One of the side effects of the high-walk, work-the-count offensive style favored by the “Moneyball teams” is that your starting pitchers get worn down. John Smoltz kept the Red Sox off the board until two out in the fifth, but was already up around 100 pitches, and they chased him after a pair of RBI singles to tie the game. Final line, 4 2/3, 9 hits, 4 K, 3 BB, 2 runs, both unearned after a Betemit error earlier in the inning.
The Braves’ offense didn’t help a whole lot. Chipper’s oblique muscle was acting up again — no surprise given yesterday’s weather — and Betemit was in the lineup in his place, but this time didn’t get a hit. The Braves had only five baserunners in the game, four hits and a HBP. Three of the hits and the HBP were in the fourth, which allowed the Braves to take a 2-0 lead. But they went 1-2-3 every other inning but the ninth, when Orr (playing left) had a leadoff single. Furcal, Giles, and Andruw had the other hits.
Roman Colon is so bad that he made Dan Kolb look good. He did get the last out of the fifth (he has gotten the first batter faced most or all the time this year) but gave up three runs in the sixth. Frank Brooks was sent down after Gryboski was activated; I have to ask what it will take for Colon to get whacked. His ERA now stands at 8.10. Childers allowed a walk in the seventh, and Kolb allowed two hits but had two strikeouts and no walks in the eighth. Needed 25 pitches to do it, though.
This horrible, horrible road trip finished, the Braves stand 1 1/2 out of first. They’re in a lot better shape than they were last year, and have some obvious moves (getting rid of the Mondesi/Jordan monstrosity comes to mind) to help out. But the Marlins are an awfully good team and not a collection of randomly arranged elements like the Phillies of recent years. Anyway, the Mets come to town for three starting tomorrow. The game’s on TBS. Horacio will start against Kaz Ishii, which is Japanese for “Horacio Ramirez”. Expect a lot of long counts. The Braves have announced that Hudson and Davies will start the other games of the series on three days’ rest, rather than calling up another starter or pushing someone like Sosa into a starting role. They have Thursday off and Hampton is eligible to come off the DL on May 31, the next time they’d need another starter.