Great game for LaRoche so far, other than a throwing error. Three doubles and three RBI and two of the doubles came against a very good pitcher. This team doesn't score much, but they've done fairly well against some very good pitchers (Pedro, Mulder, and Burnett) over the past week. Let the comparisons to the '99 team resume. (I still think that the Marlins are better on paper.) And back to LaRoche, ten walks in 67 ABs? Only Chipper and Andruw have drawn more free passes. That's a big improvement over last year. He'll have more days like today now that he's shown that he can wait for the pitcher to throw him a strike.
The Braves are getting what they paid for in the outfield. Lost in Mondesi's struggles is the fact that Ryan Langerhans, whom we were all hoping would grab an outfield job by the throat, is hitting a cool .148. One hopes that he pulls a LaRoche and gets better as he learns to hit major league pitching.
I would not have sent Hudson back out for the 8th inning. With a 5-0 lead and Hudson already having thrown 104 pitches, there's no reason to do so, especially with the top of the order up. Hudson has worn out in August the past couple years and the Braves need to treat him accordingly. On the other hand, Leo and Bobby know a shade more about pitching than I do. Wait, no, I know more. Hudson commits an error and then allows a double. I'm the smartest man in the world.
Marcus Giles has single-handedly negated Raffy Furcal's nice day at the plate by grounding into two double plays, each time with two runners on, and striking out twice. G-d help our enemies when Giles and Furcal have a good stretch at the same time.
And speaking of the guy upstairs, G-d help us if Dan Doodie lets Delgado and Cabrera hit again. We have a three-run lead and they're up sixth and seventh in the 9th.
Wonderful idea, Dan. Walking Mike Lowell, who's hitting .194, to start off the 9th when you have a three-run lead is a GREAT idea.
There's a nice recovery. Senor Doodie went 3-0 on Alex Gonzalez, a wild pitch included, before coming back to strike him out. I thought we were getting a pitcher who forced everyone to put the ball in play and doesn't allow walks or get strikeouts. Who knew we were trading for Mitch Williams?
Lenny Harris is still alive? Jack McKeon evidently needs company at the early bird special at Denny's, based on the fact that Harris and Mr. Marlin Jeff Conine are both on his bench as pinch-hitters. Two outs by the way, although I don't like knowing that the second out was a liner to center.
Did I ever mention that I went to John Rocker's last game as a Brave, in which he blew a 9th inning lead in a businessman's special against the Marlins, allowing a titanic shot by Derek Lee? Just thought I'd mention it.
And thankfully, Juan Pierre grounds out and the game is over. Not a tough save for Kolb, since he faced the bottom of the order with a three-run lead, but a nice recovery nonetheless. Overall, a well-pitched game from the Braves, other than the fact that they left Hudson in for a few too many batters. Nice job getting the split in the series. I figured that the Braves would win the opener, based on Leiter's terrible stats and Hampton's hot start, and then lose the finale. As usual, I know nothing.
Now, I smell winning three of four against the Astros, especially because we are missing Clemens. The Astros are 1-10 on the road and have scored 37 runs in those 11 games. They are missing Lance Berkman for all six of their dates with the Braves this year, which is nice. Up and atom.