There is something wrong with John Smoltz. He should be shut down immediately and probably should be on the next plane to Birmingham to see Dr. Andrews. The Braves turned an 8-6 lead over to Smoltz in the ninth, and he gave up five runs. First he gave up a single, then he threw a wild pitch. Then he gave up a run on another single, then he threw another wild pitch. He got a strikeout, then he gave up a double to tie the game. He intentionally walked the next batter, which was stupid, and then gave up a three-run homer. The Braves finally actually had to turn to Travis Smith to get out of the inning. They actually got the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the inning, but Marrero hit into a double play.
Paul Byrd didn’t have anything either. He gave up the first six runs in four innings of work, four earned and the other two on his own throwing error. Cruz (who should be closing until Smoltz is straighten out), Colon, Martin, Alfonseca (who would be my second choice, God help me), and Reitsma (who the Braves would probably turn to instead, God help us all) pitched the fifth through eighth. Reitsma actually struck out the side, with a single mixed in; the other relievers gave up one hit and one walk combined, both by Colon.
The Braves rallied from 6-2 down with three runs apiece in the sixth and seventh. Marcus was 2-3 with a first-inning homer. Chipper was 2-4 and hit a three-run homer in the seventh to give the Braves the lead, but left the bases loaded in the eighth. Drew was 1-2 with three more walks; what is he, Barry Bonds all of the sudden? Bobby used a lot of players, replacing (among others) Andruw, LaRoche, and Marcus from the starting lineup.
Okay, on Smoltz… Some are blaming this on overwork during the middle of the season. Maybe. But what he has almost has to be some sort of injury. He’s rested enough that he’s not tired. I would almost bet on a reoccurrence of the bone spurs that struck him last year.
The Marlins lost to the Phillies again, so the magic number is two… The Reds will start rookie Luke Hudson (who has been very good so far in seven starts, a 2.89 ERA to lead the team) tomorrow night against Wright. The game is listed as being on TBS.