Atlanta 10, Montreal 8

ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Braves at Expos – 07/28/2003

There is no chance Marcus will be in the lineup tomorrow. He was 4-5 again, including two homers, one of them a grand slam, and drove in six runs in all. If you’ll recall, the last time he hit a slam, he was sent to Richmond after the game.

Jason Marquis, meanwhile, showed he definitely belongs in the Braves bullpen with his one-third of an inning in which he allowed a hit and walked two to set up a save situation for Smoltz. Smoltz got it, but not until he’d allowed the tying run on base on two hits. (To be fair, one of them was a great pitch that the batter threw his bat at and got a flare on.)

Mike Hampton was okay, going six innings before being thrown out of the game running the bases for no readily apparent reason. He allowed five runs, but at least two weren’t his fault. Two definitely were, blasts by Guerrero, one of them over 500 feet. And Darren Holmes pitched two strong innings of relief. I don’t know if he can go in back-to-back games, but he’s certainly the Braves’ best middle reliever now.

Rafael Furcal had three hits, scored two and drove in three. Bragg, playing for Andruw (who has a pulled muscle in his side) had two more hits and a walk. And Javy had two hits and a walk as well, one of his hits a long homer, his 29th. He’s got a reasonable shot at the season homer record for catchers.

The Braves now head home to play Houston for three. If the Expos can score eight and a half runs a game in their park, what will the Astros do in the Juice Box? The trade deadline is Wednesday, but almost anybody with a big contract will clear waivers after that.

21 thoughts on “Atlanta 10, Montreal 8”

  1. Well, we’ve been clamoring for relief help, and by serendipity, the Braves’ bullpen melted down repeatedly just before the trading deadline. I only hope that the Braves don’t panic and do something stupid, like trade Adam Wainwright for Buddy Groom or Andy Marte for David Weathers or something similarly Woody Woodward-ish.

    Marcus is on fire, isn’t he? He may be the only Brave sad to be leaving Montreal…

  2. Javy isn’t very happy, I’d guess.

    And Philly lost again, putting us 11 1/2 games up. Anybody with no life want to look up the number of times a team with at least an 11 1/2 game lead on July 29th went on to lose their division?

  3. Philly’s collapse of late has been quite spectacular. The Braves just salvaged a brutally-eanred split in a rought MOntreal series – and gained two games on the hapless Phils. Wow.

  4. Without looking it up, I know the 1951 Dodgers had a 12.5 game lead on Aug. 12 and ended up tied for first at the end of the regular season (I remember the date because it’s also my birthday). And speaking of the Phillies, I know they were 6 1/2 up with 12 to play in 1964 and finished in THIRD place.

    Don’t know if it’s happened since the advent of color television however…

  5. There was a certain Braves team in 1993 that came back to win the division despite being 10 games back on July 22nd – in what some call ‘the last great pennant race.’ Also in the 90s, the 1995 Mariners were 11 games down to the Angels on August 9th and won the division.

    There was the infamous Yankees comeback in 1978 which helped solidify the ‘Curse of the Babe.’ The Yanks were 14! out to the Sox in July. In 1942 the Dodgers lost a 10 game August 5th lead to the Cards. Much like the 1993 Giants, the Dodgers didn’t choke, going 31-20. But the Cards went 43-12.

    The Miracle Mets of 1969 were 9.5 games back on August 15th and won the division by 8 games, going 38-11 the rest of the way as the Cubs (surprise!) fell apart. The other ‘Miracle’ team to have a great comeback was the 1914 Miracle Braves, who were 10.5 out on July 21st. The amazing thing is that Braves team ended up winning the division by 10.5 games, as they went 56-16 to finish the season.

    It seems to happen maybe once a decade at best. I wouldn’t count the 2003 Phillies out, but the odds are long.

  6. Javy’s performance is getting more and more interesting. I’m curious what others think: Yes, it’s assumed that Estrada will be our main catcher next year, and I can’t wait to have him up.

    But Javy wants to play first base. I know that he is expensive, seven times more so than Fick this year. But if he hits .327 with 45 homers and a 1.059 OPS, in only 125 games this year (as projected after tonight’s game), seriously, would we give this guy up? At this point, he has the best offensive numbers of anyone on the team. Yes, Sheff has a better on base percentage, but he’s also paid proportionately more.

    Just food for thought. Why shouldn’t such a league leading bat stay with the team next year?

  7. I think a one year deal, even if expensive, for Javy would be fine. Make him a 1B while Estrada catches. Maybe Javy could be Maddux’s personal catcher because, you know, Estrada would have to have a day off every now and then.

    Anything longer than one year and I think you’d be sorry. I love the year he is having and he is one of my favorite Braves, but Javy doesn’t have three more seasons like this in him. He may not even have one, but it wouldn’t be a bad gamble.

  8. 1. Javy would never be Maddux’s personal catcher. Javy’s perceived game-calling incompetence (according to Maddux) is the whole reason there is a personal catcher.

    2. Maddux probably won’t be back next season, anyway (of course, we said that last year).

  9. Why did they call Hampton out? I was watching the game in a restaurant on mute at the time, and it sure didn’t look like he came inside the baseline.

    I mean, he deserves it for bunting for the THIRD CONSECUTIVE TIME but still. Any insight from people with the sound on?

  10. Yeah Bunyon, I realized you were joking after I had already posted. Sarcasm and humor are things that are often hard to convey in print. Thankfully you, like me, have thus far refused to include those little Internet smiley faces at the end of your sentences so that everyone knows you are joking.

  11. Why is there a line through “the Juice Box?”

    Trading Betemit and Marquis for Ponson and an O’s reliever is fine, but I don’t want to see Wainwright and Marte go either. That would cast a pall on this good feeling I’ve got going right now. I don’t want to trade away the future because we got crappy relievers in the offseason.

  12. There is a line through “The Juice Box” because Mac originally wrote that this week’s series is in Houston. It’s in Atlanta. That’s how he chooses to make corrections, which I find is more honest than eliminating the errant text entirely.

  13. What Creg said, and that’s why I do it that way. Unless it’s a minor typo, I try to make sure my corrections are apparent. The part in red used to just read “to Houston”.

    I’ve heard that the Braves are interested in bringing Steve Reed back. (He’d have to be a specialist rather than an eighth-inning man, because of his vulnerability to lefties.) He’s done well in Colorado and could be a good addition for the right price. Honestly, I’m not sure why they didn’t try harder to keep him in the first place.

  14. If Guerrero’s ball went 502′, I’m John Schuerholz. It’s only 328′ down the line in Montreal, and there’s no way in hell that ball went another 174′, even granting that the number is a projection of how far it would have gone unimpeded.

  15. My friend used to work at Shea Stadium and he claimed the homer distances were basically made up numbers by some guy in the press box with a general idea of how far it is to certain points in the park.

    I always think they overestimate the high towering flies and underestimate those liners like Vlad hit.

    I mean, he did hit the ball pretty hard.

  16. Yeah, I could believe the first ball at 500′, if unimpeded by the facade it hit. It was still going like hell when it made contact. It would be cool if all stadiums were built without outfield seats or, indeed, obstructions of any kind. They could paint lines to mark distance from home plate. Strikeout rates would skyrocket.

  17. Turner Field has a spot below the screen in centerfield that says that it’s 459 feet from home plate, and they have one near the ticket booth that says it’s 700something feet from home plate. Are there any others that I missed?

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