Atlanta 6 San Diego 5

ESPN.com – MLB – Recap

Andruw hit a two-run homer in the ninth, off of Trevor Hoffman, to turn a 5-4 deficit into a 6-5 lead. Since, as we all know, Andruw never comes through in the clutch, the only answer is that being down a run in the ninth inning isn’t a clutch situation. And why didn’t he hit more home runs to stay out of that problem in the first place, huh?

Then, with two out in the bottom of the ninth and a runner on first, Brian Giles doubled, but the runner was thrown out at the plate by the combined efforts of JD Drew and Marcus Giles, ending the game. Marcus’ big brother was 3-3 and missed the cycle by a single; Smoltz tied Gene Garber’s franchise record for saves.

The Braves had led 3-1 entering the fifth, but the Padres tied it with two homers, and then took the lead in the sixth via Marcus’ sloppy defense, when once again he tried to get a double play but instead didn’t get anyone. They whittled it to 5-4 in the eighth, setting the stage for Andruw’s totally non-clutch heroics.

Chipper wasn’t in the starting lineup due to a migraine, but did drive in a run with a pinch-hit sac-fly. His streak of games with a homer, though, comes to an end… Reitsma pitched an inning to pick up the win.

The Marlins rallied off of Gagne to win, staying eight games back. The increasingly irrelevant Phillies lost again. The Braves now head to LA for four.

10 thoughts on “Atlanta 6 San Diego 5”

  1. It was great to see both Marcus and J.D able to make a difference in the victory after terible nights in the box and (for Marcus) in the field.

    Andruw has really come through this second half. He’s still his streaky self, but he’s definitely putting up a lot more effort in the box and it shows.

    A big negative that was overlooked was some questionable management by Bobby in this game. With the game recently tied at 3, by back-to-back homers in the previous inning, the Braves were batting with 1 out and two on in the 6th, and the pitcher’s spot was due up. Instead of going to the bench, Bobby keeps Byrd in, bunts the runners over, and Raffy doesn’t get them in. The next inning, Byrd gets lit up again, and Bobby has to go to the bullpen. With one out and a runner on third (Marcus’ error), Bobby brings in Gryboski.

    Look, I was excited when Gryboski struck out Pujols and Rolen, but that doesn’t make him a strikeout machine. As you’ve said before Mac, he gets groundballs, but groundballs aren’t sure outs. This situation calls for a strikeout pitcher, in my book. But Gryboski got his groundball, a shot through the middle of a drawn in infield, driving in a run.

    In conclusion to this semi-rant, I know our bullpen had been depleted the previous night, but Byrd never lasts deep into games, and didn’t show signs that he would last night. Bring in the pinch hitter Bobby! Or at least a strikeout pitcher (Cruz) when the situation calls for it.

  2. Byrd is increasinly showing his true colors as a pitcher. He started out strong against some mostly weak teams, and still remains strongish, but only in the early innings. Despite pitching into the 8th once, I think Bobby should have an extremely short leash on him after the fifth inning. He’s doing well for a guy coming back from surgery, but building any meaningful stamina is a lot to ask of him.

  3. Something I meant to mention but didn’t after the dramatics at the end of the game is that Andruw beating out the infield single in the fourth was key. If he’d been thrown out the Braves probably would have been held to one run in the inning, but instead got three. I’ve been critical of Andruw not getting down the line faster — a number of his double plays have been far easier than they should have been — but this time he ran.

    SJ, I can’t be too critical of Bobby in that situation. I don’t like the bunt much, but it’s a situation where Bobby’s usually going to call for a bunt, and I’d rather he used the pitcher instead of blowing Green in that situation.

  4. I actually questioned why they didn’t walk R. Hernandez w/ a runner at third and one out to get to the pitcher’s spot, which would have been a PH. Instead, they brought the infield in and Hernandez single up the middle, a ball that Furcal might would have had if playing back. Of course, next batter grounds into a double play.

    Ah well, it’s Bobby ball. Wins by the sword, dies by the sword.

  5. What a game!

    A few thoughts:

    Andruw’s homer was an absolute bomb to almost straight away center field. You just don’t hit balls out to that part of the ballpark in Petco. To bad he doesn’t hit in the clutch or off of good pitchers. I wonder if Corey Patterson is still available.

    I didn’t have a problem with Byrd batting in the sixth, and saying he got lit up in the bottom half isn’t quite right. If Giles makes the play it’s two out, nobody on and he gets the fly to center to end the inning. Giles almost singlehandedly lost that game…right up to the point where he threw a strike to Eddie Perez to end the game.

    Some details about the last batters of the game for those who didn’t stay up: Loretta struck out to end the game on a nasty 3-2 slider…except the ump ruled he checked his swing. An absolutely horrible call. Next, Brian Giles hit a sharp grounder to first to end the game…except LaRoche was channelling Mike Piazza at the time (why can’t he do that at the plate!) and the ball went right through his legs. Petco is all about angles, so when the ball got into the right field corner it took a severe bounce back towards center that J.D. Drew made an exceptional play on to knock down with his bare hand and then pick up a fire a rope to Giles. Giles in turn threw a strike to Perez who not only tagged Loretta out but gave him a pretty good head butt (and Eddie was wearing his mask) leaving Loretta with a nice gash to remember the play by.

    This game combined with the Marlins rallying to get three off Gagne in the ninth (Lenny F. Harris with the bases clearing double no less) made it quite a night of baseball for West Coast viewers.

  6. I’m not so sure that Bobby is going to bunt with two on and one out with a pinch hitter in a tie game most times. However, Paciorek agreed with my line of thinking, so there must be something terribly wrong with it.

    About the Byrd/Stamina issue: Is he destined for the ‘pen? Will we see a kind of tandem starting situation when (if?) Horacio arrives?

  7. great game tonight.. me and my dad were up till 1 or 2.. w/e it was.. I don’t like the way byrd is pitching.. Remirez needs to get healthy so we can get byrd outta here!!!

    Great job andruw… how about doing that more often.

  8. About the Byrd/Stamina issue: Is he destined for the ‘pen? Will we see a kind of tandem starting situation when (if?) Horacio arrives?

    I’ve been thinking about this, too. Considering Horacio’s lengthy absence, and the intervening success of the team, it might be a good idea to keep him in the pen (if he makes it back this season, which it sounds like he will). We do need a lefty reliever, after all, and Cox can use the injury as a reason to lessen Horacio’s load for the rest of the year, then plug him back into the rotation next spring.

    Horacio has been a good starter for us, but I don’t think he’s reached the point where he’s automatically entitled to a rotation slot.

  9. Platoon ’em. Byrd starts, pitches three innings. Then Horacio comes in and pitches the next three. Next time, switch it up. It’ll screw with the other team’s hitting platoons and give each a chance to get used to starting or relieving, adding flexibility for postseason.

    This will never happen, but I think it would work.

  10. Mac – that’s exactly what I was going to say! Well, except i was looking at their doing 4+4 innings. I think it’d be worth a whirl.

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