Other than the loss of Andruw (hopefully not for long, but see below) not a bad result. Russ Ortiz continued his inability to get through an inning without throwing 20 pitches, but only walked two in six innings (five Ks) and allowed just two runs. He’s got to figure out a way to be more efficient. That doesn’t mean not striking people out and getting ground balls instead, it means not needing eight pitches to get a strikeout. At any rate, he’s successful, 14-4 with a 3.55 ERA for the season.
King and Gryboski (I guess he’s an improvement over Boom-Boom) held the Marlins scoreless and Bobby made Peter Gammons happy by using his best reliever to pitch one inning with a three-run lead. It was Smoltz’s 37th save. Before he moved into the pen, the Braves had five 30-save years in team history by four pitchers. (Wohlers did it twice.)
Javy had the big blow of the game, a two-run homer to break a 1-1 tie in the fourth. After a fairly long home run slump, he’s back in the groove and has 27 for the year. Javy was also the only Brave with more than one hit. Is Maddux sure he can’t pitch to Javy? (Sorry for starting that again.)
Andruw heals pretty well and plays through injury, but I’d be surprised if he played in the field again until Tuesday in Houston. The Braves are traveling to Montreal next, and the turf there is basically indoor/outdoor carpet over concrete, not good for anyone playing on an injury. I’d be tempted to tell him to stay in Atlanta and not hurt himself anymore with a long plane trip, but I don’t run the team. If they do that, that Braves would have to send Hodges down and bring up an outfielder, preferably one with more range than Bragg. I suggest to all the pitchers that they work on their sinkers the next few days.
The Phillies just jumped all over the Cubs for eight runs in the sixth and are still batting. Needless to say, they’re likely to keep pace.