Does anybody here know how to manage a bullpen?
Tommy Hanson had a first inning that very easily could have been disastrous. He got the first two, then allowed a line-drive homer to Ramirez. I don’t think he was shaken by that, I think he just completely lost his control, as he walked the next three men. He got out of it on a checked-swing strikeout, but things obviously could have been worse. He settled down for the next four innings, as the Marlins couldn’t do anything.
Unfortunately, the Braves couldn’t do anything either, and didn’t have a hit until Brian McCann bunted for one with two out in the fourth. In the fifth, though, Melky showed some of that youthful energy and singled leading off the fifth, then went to second on a wild pitch. McLouth got him to third with a flyout, then Hanson drove him in with another flyout.
Like last night, the Braves’ starter couldn’t stand prosperity. This time, Hanson walked the opposing pitcher, a career American Leaguer, on four pitches leading off the bottom of the fifth. He got behind the next guy but rallied for a strikeout, then allowed a double off the wall. They intentionally walked Ramirez, then Cantu singled in a run. Fortunately, the Marlins sent the runner from second, and Melky threw him out by about fifteen feet, which saved a run when the next batter hit a long flyout.
In the seventh, Yunel reached on a Prado, as Ramirez couldn’t get the ball out of his glove in time on a grounder up the middle but it was called a hit. Melky singled again, then McLouth bunted them up. Hinske pinch-hit and stayed in when the Marlins brought in a LOOGY, and drew a walk. They went to a righthanded reliever, and Fredi Gonzalez apparently was resolved to not, under any circumstances, use more than three pitchers in the inning, as he let the guy completely collapse on the mound.
Prado hit a long fly ball to tie it. Heyward, being Heyward, drew a walk to reload the bases, bringing Zombie Chipper to the plate. All Zombie Chipper can do is walk, which he did on four pitches to give the Braves the lead. Glaus singled to drive in two runs, then McCann singled to drive in Chipper, and Yunel had a clean hit to make it 7-2 when Glaus (who really should have gotten to third on the play before) made it home safely even though he should have been out easily because the Marlins completely botched the play. They finally got Melky to end it, but the game was now 7-2.
Since the Braves were now up by five runs instead of down one, they could use Moylan instead of Chavez. He gave up a hit in the seventh but got a double play, and wound up throwing only six pitches, so Bobby, showing that his protégé isn’t about to outmismanage-his-bullpen him, sent Moylan out for a second inning. He got the first two guys, then allowed three straight singles to cut it to 7-3 before getting out of it. Just to rub things in, Bobby then went with Wagner, who was of course well-rested, for the ninth. Sheesh.