Unbelievable. You have this guy Valdez up there throwing total slop. His arm is shot, he can’t break 90 anymore, all he does is the Shane Reynolds-style “throw sinkers and hope for the best”. And the Braves go out there and get two hits off the guy in six innings. When the real pitchers, Mota and Benitez, came in, they must have looked like they were throwing 200 MPH. The Braves got one hit in two innings against Mota, and that’s it. Benitez needed only nine pitches in the ninth.
Russ Ortiz threw six innings himself, and until the sixth was matching Valdez. But then he allowed a two-run homer to Jeff Conine, and that was it. Conine also singled in a run off of Colon in the eighth. Alfonseca pitched a perfect seventh.
The Braves weren’t helped by Bobby’s bizarre decision to hit DeWayne Wise third. Wise replaced Drew in right field due to the latter’s “illness”. I really thought Bobby had been cured of his tendency to plug in replacements in the normal guy’s batting slot, but I guess not. Julio played for LaRoche, who has a tender hamstring, for the second game in a row. Furcal had two of the Braves’ hits, Andruw the only other.
The magic number remains six, headed back home, where Tuesday they’ll start a three-game series with the Reds. The Braves should have an opportunity to clinch against the Marlins, who come into Atlanta next.