Bad pitching, bad defense, and not enough offense to overcome that this time. You score four runs against the Dodgers, you should win. You should never give up eight runs to that lineup — a lineup, moveover, without Paul Lo Duca.
The Dodgers started just about the most obscure pitcher they could find, a lefty up from the minor leagues, Scott Mullen, who was prior to this year a poor-to-mediocre relief specialist in the Royals organization. He didn’t have much, giving up three runs in three innings — actually, the runs were all in the first. But the Dodgers have a great bullpen, and Jim Tracy turned the game over to them from there, and the Braves couldn’t do much against them, getting only a seventh inning solo homer from Sheffield.
The Braves’ occasional woes with stranding baserunners reappeared, as ten men were left on base. It started in the first. Russ Ortiz was wild, but could have gotten out of trouble except that Furcal made a bad throw on a double play ball and the Dodgers got four. The Braves came back for three, but left the bases loaded when Ortiz couldn’t get a hit. After that, the Braves never mounted another rally.
Ortiz lasted five, but needed 118 pitches to do it. He only walked two, but seemed to go 3-2 on everybody. He did strike out seven. With the score 5-3, Bobby decided to add a degree of difficulty and brought in Boom-Boom. Hernandez went 2/3 of an inning, made the game 7-3, and Bobby could rest comfortably knowing he wouldn’t have to make any close-game decisions.
One good sign: two innings of hitless relief from Jason Marquis. You take what you can get… The Padres have broken out to a 5-2 lead in extras over the Phillies. If that holds up, the Braves will maintain an 11 game lead in the division. Turns out there was a double header there yesterday. The Braves finally have an off day tomorrow, and will use it to travel to Milwaukee, where they will play three games against Team Bud.