See, judging from the season so far, you’d think that the Braves jumped on Scott Erickson early and held on, with the Braves’ pen giving up late runs after Hudson left the game. Doesn’t work that way. Hudson gave up runs in the third and the fifth, and trailed 2-0 when Chipper hit a game-tying homer off of Erickson, the only runs the latter would give up, and one of only three hits in six innings. Meanwhile, Hudson was pitching in and out of trouble all day, allowing nine hits and two walks, striking out five, in his six innings of work.
But the Dodgers’ bullpen faltered, while the Braves’ pen gave them three perfect innings. Freed from his LOOGY role by the hard work the bullpen did last night (Bernero and Reitsma probably unavailable) John Foster threw an inning and a third, striking out two. Sosa finished the eighth and got a strikeout of his own. And Kolb actually threw a perfect ninth for a save, adding a strikeout. Cesar Izturis helped by foolishly trying to bunt his way on leading off the inning, which is just dumb against a pitcher with Kolb’s control problems.
Andruw gave the Braves a lead with a line-drive homer down the left field line leading off the seventh. Since it was Andruw, it doesn’t count. Today’s reason: the ball probably would have hit off the wall in any other park, because only Dodger Stadium has such a low fence down the left field line. LaRoche hit a homer of his own in the ninth, followed by Andruw’s double, which didn’t count because he didn’t run hard to second base for no reason and slide to bring up a huge cloud of dust. He scored on Langerhans’ sac fly. (The latter started for Jordan today.)
If you can explain why the Phillies would trade Marlon Byrd for Endy Chavez, give it a try. I can think of three reasons:
1. They’re trying to boost the Natspos’ chances.
2. Ed Wade is in fact, as has long been suspected, a deep-cover agent for the Braves.
3. They’re dumb.
I’m leaning towards #3… Eddie Perez has some sort of shoulder problem, not for the first time. He seems to be saying that it’s okay and the Braves haven’t made a move… The good news is that the Padres have finished off a sweep of the Marlins to give the Braves a 2 1/2 game lead on the Marlins and 3 on the Natspos. The bad news is that the Braves now have to play three at those same Padres, who are red hot and 13-4 at home. At least the Braves will miss Jake Peavy. The intermediate news is that Dan Kolb can watch Trevor Hoffman to see what a real closer looks like.