I don’t believe this. The Braves led from the first inning, but a combination of Hibernation Mode, bad luck, and Bobby managing like it’s 1967 cost the game.
Kelly Johnson, still in the two-spot with Kotsay out, hit a solo homer in the first. Gregor Blanco hit a solo homer in the second. That was the offense. The Braves had only five other hits and only one (intentional) walk; their only real scoring opportunity was when Chipper followed KJ’s homer with a double, but Teixeira flew out, McCann was ealked, and Francoeur did what he does. And that was it. They had only four baserunners over the rest of the night, and two were erased on double plays and a third when Diaz for some reason tried to steal second. This is against a guy whose ERA entering the game was over six. It’s like being stymied by Chuck James, but this was a righthander.
Tim Hudson looked to be able to make it hold up, shutting the Brewers out through six. However, it was obvious that he was tiring even then. You can tell when Hudson’s not right because he starts allowing fly balls. The last out of the sixth was a long fly ball to the right field gap, and I would have gotten the bullpen at least loosening up then. But Bobby didn’t, and I guess it’s too much to expect him to. But after Hudson allowed a leadoff double and an RBI single in the seventh, Bobby let him hit for himself leading off the next inning, which is just stupid. Hudson got the first two men in the eighth, but then gave up a terrible single to Fielder due to the horrible shift. (For your information: the shift did lead to a double play, but also led directly to two hits, both routine groundouts if the infield is played normally. The shift sucks.) He got ahead of the next batter 0-2, but then allowed a double, pulled hard down the left field line, which would have scored anyone but Fielder.
At this point, Bobby had to pull Hudson, who was well over 100 pitches and clearly tired, but he wouldn’t make the move, just sent Roger out to talk to him. And then he walked Russ Branyan (who had doubled and scored in the last inning) to load the bases, which is especially moronic because the on-base percentage of the next guy is a whole lot higher than Branyan’s batting average, even against a righthander. Sure enough, the next guy hit a liner off of Hudson’s foot to tie the game. (You could call it bad luck — KJ probably makes the play if it gets through — but the ball was hit hard.) Hudson got the next guy, Kendall, who is deader than Carlos Delgado, but for what? Jeff Bennett allowed yet another pathetic bloop hit (seriously, it was terrible luck in addition to everything else tonight) followed by a groundout, a steal of third (unforgiveable) and a flyout that probably doesn’t score the run if Diaz is still in left, but Diaz was out after hurting himself trying to field a ball earlier (apparently he needed stitches in his knee) and Blanco doesn’t throw as well as Diaz. Ballgame.
Chipper was 2-4 and hitting .418. Solomon Torres won for the Brewers — I don’t know what’s worse, Torres getting the win or Julian Tavarez pitching a 1-2-3 eighth.