If you were on a boat in the middle of the ocean, and Danny Kolb and Raul Mondesi were drowning, and you could only save one of them, would you?
The Braves had rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth inning to take a 5-4 lead after a valiant outing by John Smoltz. So, one run lead, ninth inning = save situation = “Bring in the
clown closer!” Kolb got the first man he faced, but then homer (to .111-hitting Dustan Mohr), single, single, intentional walk (to Helton) and Chris Reitsma was brought on to try to get out of it. He actually got a strikeout on pinch-hitter Preston Wilson, but Todd Greene singled up the middle to win it. You can’t blame Reitsma — that’s an impossible situation in this park. It’s all on Kolb, the Closer. All that can be said in his favor is that he didn’t walk anyone unintentionally and didn’t throw any wild pitches. Such a standard. I think this has to be the last straw and that Reitsma will get the next save opportunity.
As I said, John Smoltz was valiant, holding the Rockies to two runs through the first seven innings despite not having his best fastball. Bobby probably tried to get a little too much out of him, and should have lifted him after giving up a one-out double to Helton when nearing 100 pitches. He didn’t, and two hits later it was 4-2. Yes, the bullpen was worked hard in the prior two games, but you have tomorrow off and a new callup in Brooks. To John’s credit, he got out of the inning.
Ryan Langerhans had two more homers, giving him four in the past four games. His on-base is still only .294 as he isn’t walking at all — none this month so far — but he’s slugging .625. As for Mondesi, he was 0-2 with two intentional walks, walks issued I think only because of Smoltz’s back problem because John’s obviously a better hitter if healthy. His line for the season is an incredible .200/.252/.355. He hasn’t homered since April 30 or had a multi-hit game since April 24. It is obvious to me, anyway, that Bobby thinks that Langerhans is a better hitter. If not, then why hit Langerhans ahead of Mondesi?
I mentioned to Alex on the phone earlier that I don’t think keeping Mondesi in the lineup is Bobby’s call. I think that he knows that Mondesi is a drag on the lineup but that he has to play him as long as he’s on the roster. The onus here isn’t on the manager but the GM, who has to make the decision to get rid of Mondesi, and soon. When Jordan comes back (not that Jordan has been that great but at least his OBP is over .300) the Braves need to pull the trigger, even if Esix Snead or somebody like that becomes the fourth outfielder. Mondesi is too great of a cancer if he’s not playing.
Furcal and Giles were both 1-5 but had hits in the ninth-inning rally, Marcus doubling home Rafael to tie the game. Julio was the only Brave other than Langerhans with multiple hits, singling twice and driving home Marcus to take the ninth inning lead. Andruw homered to tie the game in the fourth; the Andruwometer reads .287 after briefly going over .290.
The Marlins are about a 10:1 favorite tonight against the Astros with Dontrelle Willis pitching. A win would bring them back to half a game out. The Braves are at the Dodgers for three starting Friday, all games on TBS. Hopefully I can stay up for all of Friday’s game. Horacio is listed as the starter for the first game, meaning he won’t be skipped this time.