I don’t have it in me to fully recap this one. Suffice it to say that the Braves held a 2-1 lead from the bottom of the fifth to two out in the top of the ninth, and failed numerous times to add to the lead. Not Hibernation Mode, Bad Hitting With Men On Base Mode. Tim Hudson was terrific after giving up a run in the first. Will Ohman got the last man in the eighth — Utley — and the first one in the ninth — Howard. Blaine Boyer got Burrell, the last of their big boppers.
By all rights, that should have done it. But Boyer walked Geoff Jenkins on four pitches (if Bobby has it to do over again, he probably brings in Ring to pitch to the lefty and risks the pinch-hitter). Then he walked Pedro Feliz, which is a lot worse. But he got Chris Coste to pop up just beyond first base. And Kelly Johnson dropped it. Just dropped it. He had a little trouble getting into position, but there was no excuse at all. Hell, this isn’t a former outfielder thing, outfielders catch fly balls. The runner at second scored, but KJ kept it tied by throwing out the runner from first at the plate.
And then KJ tried to make up for it by doubling into the right field corner with one out in the bottom of the inning. (Could he have made it to third? Maybe. Probably not worth risking it.) Chipper, of course, was ealked. But Teixeira struck out, and Francoeur, who sucks, popped up on a 3-1 pitch that might have been ball four, as he does on most 3-1 pitches.
And then Bobby brought in Mr. High Leverage, Manny Acosta, who as he does every single time he is brought into a close game imploded. Ring and Carlyle came in after him and were lucky to keep it at 4-2. By all rights, Acosta has to be the last man in the bullpen at this point, but you know Bobby.
Anderson, pinch-hitting for Infante, singled, and Blanco followed with a bunt single. Anderson made it to third on the bunt (nobody covered second so he could keep running) and Blanco went to second on catcher’s indifference. Norton, who is about as bad as Francoeur, struck out. Escobar, though, hit a line single to center. It took a perfect throw to get Blanco. It was a perfect throw. I still don’t know how they got him.
Chipper was 2-3 with a double, and is now hitting .421. He was intentionally walked the last two times he came to the plate, the first time because of Bobby’s mindnumbing insistence on having Kelly bunt every single time Escobar reaches leading off the inning. This is gonna keep happening until Teixeira makes them pay, but with him struggling righthanded and then being followed by the King of Outs, it’s as clear an Ealk situation as you’ll see. Anyway, if I were Tim Hudson I’d want to hit someone. I suggest Acosta or Francoeur, because KJ at least has some value even though he was the paramount Goat of the Day.