Greg Maddux and Livan Hernandez faced each other — again — but this time Eric Gregg was nowhere to be seen (and Gary Sheffield was on Maddux’s team) and the best pitcher won. Maddux went eight-plus before giving way to John Smoltz, allowing only one unearned run and pulling his ERA down to 2.89. The Braves scored six runs, Vinny Castilla driving in three. But Castilla still stinks and still has a .263 on-base percentage. He doesn’t belong in the lineup.
But who got benched? Marcus Giles. Giles, who is third among Braves regulars in OPS and OBP, was benched in favor of Mark DeRosa, who played shortstop with Rafael Furcal at second. I’m all for getting DeRosa some at-bats, but not at Giles’ expense. It’s not that Marcus has been great — he hasn’t — but he’s been a lot better than Castilla or Helms or Franco. On a team whose offense this year has basically come down to the Jones Boys, they can’t afford to give any up.