If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Kyle Davies got knocked out of the box, giving up five runs in the first and six in 2 1/3, and the Braves were never quite able to come back. When they did start to challenge, Gryboski struck. The two runs he gave up in the eighth were charged unearned, and he should have been out of the inning. But Marcus only committed one error, while Gryboski gave up two hits and threw a wild pitch; it’s not like he was pitching well. Vasquez got out of Davies’ jam in the third but gave up a solo homer in the fourth and will probably be sent back down tomorrow when Brower reports.
Some of the relievers did okay. Kolb continued with his recent nice work as a mopup man, allowing a hit but needing only 13 pitches to get through the fifth. Foster needed only 12 in a perfect sixth. Boyer allowed a hit off his own foot but struck out a man in the seventh and probably earned himself at least a few more days of major league meal money.
The Braves actually had only one fewer hit than the Rangers, and two more baserunners (albeit in one less inning) and if you redistribute them a little they might have come back. For instance, Pete Orr (who led off and DHed) was 3-6 after starting off 3-3; if he’d had his hits later in the game, with runners on base, things would have been different. LaRoche, Andruw, and Langerhans all had two hits, Marcus was the only Brave without a hit but drew three walks — but also had the error.
Seven rookies started for the Braves tonight (out of ten starters, due to AL softball rules) the most since 1978. Only Giles, LaRoche, and Andruw were veterans. Julio was supposed to start but had a fever.
The good news is that the Braves will not go 1-2 in their next series. It’s a four-game trip to Cincinnati. Three on Turner South then the finale on TBS. Smoltz will face Brandon Claussen in the opener tomorrow.