First place, all alone!

The Braves led 4-1 through five, and 4-2 after seven. I was wondering who Bobby would put in for Hampton, who had thrown 101 pitches and gave up a homer to Thome in his last inning. I was thinking, with Reitsma’s recent struggles, he’d go with Alfonseca, or possibly Cruz (who he’s had a little more faith in lately). But he sent out Smoltz to start the eighth. It paid off, in the short term, anyway. Smoltz mowed the Phillies down in the eighth, striking out two. He gave up a leadoff single to Abreu, but got Thome.

Then things got weird. Burrell grounded out to short, but Giles threw the ball away trying to turn the DP. Then Ricky Ledee struck out, but reached on a passed ball. Normally, if you give the other team five outs it’s going to hurt you, but Smoltz got out of it, and the Braves are all alone in first.

The Braves took the lead in the second when LaRoche doubled home Estrada and Andruw singled him home. Thomas plated Andruw in the fourth, and Chipper doubled home Drew in the fifth. It’s hard to point out an offensive hero — all the Braves’ regulars reached base, but none had a really big day — but I’ll say LaRoche, who was 2-3 with a walk.

Hampton was above-average, striking out four and walking only one, allowing five hits. His season ERA is now under five, finally.

Milton and Wright tomorrow night. The Marlins beat the Mets and are back into a third-place tie.

11 thoughts on “ATLANTA 4 PHILADELPHIA 2”

  1. By the way, great diving catches by Charles Thomas and Andruw, and a dramatic backhand leaping catch of a screaming David Bell (seriously) line drive by Furcal for the final out, with runners on first and third.

  2. Last thing, another thread jogged my memory. Why Ledee to pinch-hit in the 9th. I’m pretty sure the Phils still had Tomas Perez available. Ledee was 0-7 and is now 0-8 against Smoltz lifetime, but the Phils got lucky and it worked out, sort of.

  3. Madson was unhittable once he came in to replace Abbott. How long until Bowa figures out that instead of bringing in Madson once Abbott has lost the game, he could just start Madson? August? September? Ever? It must be hell being a Philly fan with him running the show.

  4. Baseball Tonight just reported that The Braves would be willing to deal prospects to Arizona to get…Danny Bautista? It seems pretty ridiculous to speculate something like that. Who would the Braves part with? Who does he replace on the bench? DeRosa maybe? More importantly, do the Braves really need him? Not sure I put too much stock in this one.

  5. Good to see Smoltz in the 8th. Bobby did the right thing, but it shows his confidence in Reitsma may be waning.

    Why the heck would we want Danny Bautista?

  6. Pingback: DFMoore
  7. Has anyone else noticed that Bobby seems to managing a bit better these days? His use of Smoltz in the 8th is just one example. With men on, Bobby used to exclusively go to Gryboski — the on-base machine. I wonder if Schuerholz said something like “We’re paying that guy $10 million, so make him work for it,” But also, Bobby hasn’t transferred his confidence from Grybo to Cruz. I wonder why that is.

  8. Any of you subscribe to ESPN Insider and have read Neyer’s “not sold on the Braves” article? I’m wondering if it’s a sham (traveshamockery?), and I need something to get mad about this morning.

  9. Madson started once and got lit. That’s why they got Abbott, IIRC.

    That’s right. He did have that bad start, so I guess it makes sense. It’s not like the guy has a 1.84 ERA, a solid minor league record of starting, and the other option is Paul Abbott. No time for patience when your trying to run a team into the ground.(Not knocking drewdat obviously, but the Phillies thinking)

    Has anyone else noticed that Bobby seems to managing a bit better these days?

    I wouldn’t say better, but different and with more urgency. I think that in the past when Bobby knew he had the best team, he didn’t always optimize his stradegy for each game because he didn’t want to risk burning anyone out since it was likely they were going to the playoffs anyway.

    This season he seems to recognize that the Phillies are the Braves equal (at worst) on paper and is going all out for every regular season win, even if it means risking having Smoltz’s elbow blow up in September. It’s the right move.

    Any of you subscribe to ESPN Insider and have read Neyer’s “not sold on the Braves” article?

    Doesn’t he put out this article every year? Just cut and paste, changes a few of the particulars, and spend the rest of the day gazing loving at his wallsized portrait of Billy Beane?

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