Cincinnati 11 Atlanta 8

ESPN.com – MLB – Recap

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.

12 thoughts on “Cincinnati 11 Atlanta 8”

  1. your funny as crap mac. Smoltz needs to straighten up, we dont need Reitsma AND smoltz sucking in the playoffs.

  2. Smoltz says the arm is fine according to the AJC. He continues to pine about starting. This is not helping his case. I hope that he straightens it out becuase Mac’s listed alternatives (God help us) are not very palatable at all.

  3. I have to agree with Mac. It is weird for Smoltzie to just fall off like this. There must be something wrong. If we can’t get it together, we have to hope that Bobby will vote for keeping starters in longer during the postseason. Most of these guys can do it, and we wouldn’t have to turn to some of our weaker bullpen arms.

  4. Not to defend Smoltz too much but Estrada has got to learn how to catch John’s splitter. Those two wild pitches were just really nasty splitters. Estrada always seems to turn his glove the wrong way to catch those… almost as if he were still trying to frame the catch to help it look like a strike. He should not be trying to do that with a splitter; he should just be trying to stop it (especially Smotlz’s nasty splitter). Eddie (or someone) needs to help Estrada with this area of his game so Smoltz will feel confident about throwing that pitch. Last night after the two “wild” ptiches every other splitter John threw was up and that’s not what you want to happen with that pitch.

  5. Bases loaded in the ninth was a bad time (I thought) for Chipper to jump on the first pitch. It did look “up in the zone” but Chipper got on top of it and hit it hard on one bounce to the pitcher. A hit there probably deflates the Reds.

    As for Smoltz, to me, his fastball looks to be very straight right now. Both going into the plate and coming off the bat.

  6. He continues to pine about starting. This is not helping his case

    I know on first glance that would seem to be the case; howev er, if this marks his second straight injury-fueld late season crash as a reliever, then shouldn’t we conclude that relieving isn’t working out in terms of keeping him healthy?

    A strict five man roation is just not the only option. Teams have managed so successfully employ fragile starters late in their careers – I’m thinking Bret Saberhagen for the Red Sox toward the end of his career. Make him a starter next year, but put him on more of a 6 day rotation, or put him in the fifth starter slot and skip him from time to time for the rest.

    Of course, the main problem with all that is dealing with his ego, which likely wouldn’t welcome such treatment.

  7. I noticed that yesterday’s appearance was his contract-vesting 57th…maybe now they can shut him down without fearing MLBPA reprisals…I agree that there is something clearly wrong with him.

  8. I agree with Colin’s idea. He’s really no good to us if he’s a $12 million closer who can’t pitch in the postseason because he broke down. The idea should be put forward in the offseason. For a short amount of time, he should pitch 80-100 pitches at game speed simulation every 5 days, and see how he responds. If he doesn’t, we shoot him and go pry the invincible Dustin Hermanson away from the Giants.

  9. I should point out that John said during the offseason that if he had to have surgery again he would call it quits. If I’m correct that this is a reoccurrence of the bone spurs, he will face that decision.

  10. I’d hate to sound unappreciative to what Smoltz has brought to this incredible run, but it just may be best that he has surgery again and decides to retire. It would help the Braves by saving $12 million at a position that could be filled, maybe not as effectively, for a fraction of that.

    Also, for Smoltz himself. He could end his career as one of the best starting pitchers and closers, ending with a truly dominant season in which he was one of the best closers in the league, all at age 37. On the other hand, he could try to return, be very ineffective, and have that stain on his career statistics because he made that all-too-common decision to stick around because either he couldn’t physically, or just didn’t have it.

    Don’t get me wrong. I would love to continue to watch him pitch. But as a fan that wants the Braves to succeed and also have the highest amount of respect for one of the best pitchers to play for the Braves, it might just be best he spends more time playing golf.

  11. My bet – no way Smoltz walks away from $12.5m. Given the choice, I’d expect him to try to come back with the bone spurs before I’d expect him to retire. I know what he said last year, but I just don’t buy it.

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