Atlanta 3 New York 1

ESPN.com – MLB – MLB RECAP

Hey, a 4 1/2 game lead! The Mets jumped out in front 1-0 in the top of the third, but the Braves tied it up in the bottom of the inning, Drew singling in Giles (who had doubled, and was 3-4 on the day). In the fifth, it was Giles’ turn to single in Furcal (who had doubled) to give the Braves the lead. Andruw (who was 2-3 with a walk hitting fifth) drove Marcus home for insurance.

Mike Hampton was on. He allowed four hits and walked only one in seven innings, struck out six, and threw nearly two strikes for every ball (66 in 102 pitches). His ERA is now 4.71 after being in the fives and sixes most of the season. Maybe he’s just a second-half pitcher, huh?

Chris Reitsma (a couple outings from being the Rejuvenated Chris Reitsma) allowed a single but got a double play and needed only four pitches to get through the eighth. Smoltz allowed two two-out singles but got a flyout to end it.

The Marlins weren’t playing the Phillies and got smoked, 9-0 by the Expos. The division stands:

ATL 56 46 —
PHL 52 51 4.5
FLA 52 51 4.5
NYM 49 53 7
MTL 40 63 16.5

Oddly, the Expos are playing the second-best ball in the division right now… Aaron Heilman is listed as the Mets’ starter tomorrow night, but Kris Benson will probably be the actual starter, I guess.

7 thoughts on “Atlanta 3 New York 1”

  1. I told you the Marlins can’t beat any team outside of Philadelphia. Even better, the Phillies can’t either. Should we be able to figure out Benson with the 3rd start in less than 2 weeks? They scored just enough Monday to beat him, and are due for 5 runs this time around against him.

    The only good thing for the Mets is Benson. Zambrano will not survive in the NL. He’s 6-7 since the 1st week of the season (when he started 3-0 by April 11), and has lost 3 in a row, but he comes really cheap, and wa 3-0 against the NL during divisional play. The knock against him, he has a 6.48 ERA on grass, and a 5.71 ERA away from OJ Field (Tropicana). He was 7-2 at home. That spells good news for the Braves. He’s also rumored to have some tendenitous.

    The Marlins basically gave away their spot in the East. They got an overrated catcher/1st baseman, and very good middle reliever (who will do no good with the starting pitching they have now), and someone they don’t really want. The Dodgers made a major upgrade and set themselves up to pick up Randy Johnson (or was it Charles). The other part to this is the rest of the world will get to see how good Gagne really is. He won’t be able to stick to one innings saves much longer without Mota.

    The Phillies got a middle reliever from San Fran, but who cares? The Braves will be 5-6 up by the end of the weekend, Maddux will have win #300, Bowas will be ejected at least once, and Every 1st baseman released this year (McGriff, Karros, Olerud, Manny Mota, etc.) will be playing for the Yankees at a combined salary of $25 million plus luxury tax. Too bad they’re not in Georgia, it’s a tax free holiday this weekend.

  2. Don and Pete were saying on the radio that Zambrano would be the probable starter tomorrow night, as the Braves have faced Benson twice within the past week or so, the idea being that they would be less familiar with Zambrano.

  3. Speaking of pitchers with tendonitis, John Smoltz appears to be well on his way to another DL stint. Smoltz has worked in 10 of the last 13 games with the only off day being a rainout in New York. Not really a way to handle a guy who’s had four elbow surgeries. He wasn’t hurt by the two singles he allowed tonight, but he wasn’t particularly sharp either. He threw six “strikes” in 13 pitches with all six being batted balls. Only one of them was fouled off. I don’t think we can afford to lose for a month this season and have him come back only half as effective like last year, but if he keeps going this way…

  4. Benson is listed as the starter today. Can anyone post some stats about pitchers facing teams in three consecutive starts?

    Went to the stadium last night. It was packed.

  5. While I am also a little concerned about Smoltz’s pitching load of alte, I think at some level it’s been necessary. He had a fairly light load the first half, and this team has had to take advantage of a chance to open up a lead in head to head competition against division rivals. It may come back to haunt them, but it’s not like most of these games haven’t been close.

  6. I just posted a more in-depth look at Smoltz’s usage of late in the Braves newsgroup, I’ll repost it here (sorry for the formatting):

    http://bigleaguers.yahoo.com/mlbpa/players/4232/gamelog

    He’s pitched 12 innings in ten days in the last 13 days since July 13, and
    on ix of the last 7 days. He has saves in all but two of those games (in
    both of which he pitched with a tie). Six of his games have come against
    division rivals, the other four against Pittsburgh.

    What’s impressive to me about the Braves’ recent streak is how many of their
    wins have been close games, and almost all of these in which Smoltz has
    pitched have been very close. Of these eight non-tie games, only two have
    had a margin of victory more than 2 runs; in one, Smoltz came in in the 8th
    with only a two run lead and men on base. In the other the Braves put up a
    four run 8th inning, so Smoltz likely started warming up when the lead was
    merely likely or just small, and they decided to use him since he was
    already up.

    That leaves six other saves, two with two run leads, four with one run
    leads. Of the two with two-run leads, one was a two-inning stint against
    rival Philly after a day off, one a one inning stint against Pittsburgh.

    I am a little torn in my response to all this, but not terribly so. Part of
    me worries about injury risk mentioned above (especially as he hasn’t struck anyone out his
    last three outings). But mostly my response is positive – this is how you
    get your money’s worth out of a closer, using him aggressively to protect
    the close leads over division rivals and keep the team in the game with
    ties. That the Braves have had so many close leads in a two week span is the
    only reason he’s seen so much work, but he’s come through. But most
    important, this is a team making a run to take first place, and Bobby has
    shown a willingness to pull out the stops to beat division rivals when the
    chance has presented itself.

    Here’s hoping the Braves can win the next two by 5 runs apiece to get John a
    few days off. But I expect if today is this close we might finally see
    Reitsma or Alfonseca in the 9th.

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