October 06, 2004

Game One: The Diary


Ok, so here's how it starts. Not only are the two color commentators Jeff Brantley (the Biggest Mouth and Ass in the West) and David Justice (hero of the '95 World Series, then traitor who signed with the Yankees), but the news story right before is of Furcal's second DUI. That's a bad thing, yes, but he's still in the game, so how about we focus on some baseball, hm?


K #1 for Wright to lead things off. That's how we like to start.

Even still, this game scares me. Houston has a great line-up, and you never want to face Clemens in the playoffs (I don't care about the Game One thing, he's still a great pitcher, which Mr. Brantley will tell us at great length, I'm sure). I don't doubt the Braves will win, it's just gonna be a great game, and an excellent chance to see what Jared Wright's made of.


Is that Marcus Giles stealing a base? Not a bad idea after Furcal missed the bunt single opportunity. Works quite well after a wild pitch from the Rocket. That's why Bobby Cox has won 13 straight titles....

On another note -- what the heck is on Ausmus' helmet? I can't decide if it's a horse skull or if he thinks he's the Punisher? Can anyone give me a hint?

Meanwhile, we've got bases full of Braves with Mr. Clutch himself, Johnny Estrada. This is the guy you want at the plate with runners in scoring position. He's done an absolute whale of a job replacing Javy Lopez, mostly by playing every game as opposed to 4 of 5. True to form, there's a sac fly -- Braves on the board, 1-0!



Braves can't get a run across with guys on second and third, one out. Follow that with a lead-off (first pitch!) homer from Brad "Skullz" Ausmus, and suddenly we're tied. Perhaps I should invest in that Skullz helmet and see if it can improve my Skillz like it seems to have done for Brad....

Aside from that blip, Jared Wright is pitching a heck of a game. Four K's after he strikeout Biggio (again). Hasn't found himself in too many jams, yet either.

No sooner did I type that than Bagwell smacks a two-out double, scoring Carlos Beltran. Fantastic. I'll shut up now.


Didn't do it soon enough. Berkman knocks in Bagwell and himself, hitting a line drive screaming over the right field fence. Wright gets out of the inning, but four runs score. That's why they make two halves to an inning (I hope).


Ouch. That's the second inning in a row to have at least two on and one out and come away with nothing -- that's what makes him a great pitcher, while Jared Wright (a fine pitcher, don't get me wrong) has had no more than one runner on base for the whole game, and he's given up 4 runs.

I've got to stop talking about Jared Wright -- as I'm typing this, he gets nailed solidly on the leg. He'll stay in, and gets his man out on the first pitch. I'll wager he's got another 2-3 innings in him, as long as he can get past the Punisher, Brad Ausmus. Yes, sir! Strike-em-out, throw-em-out, the second in my favor in two playoff games! Into the dugout, where that ankle hopefully won't tighten up....


Well, crap. Beltran knocks one over the wal, scoring two, that'll be 6-1 Astros. That's it and that's all for Jared Wright. Gave up six runs, but never really found himself in a pressure situation -- actually faced fewer batters/inning than Clemens had to this point, but just couldn't get the third out. Kevin Grybowski can't do it either, as a two-out triple makes it 7-1. Braves still have 5 innings at bat left, and Clemens should be out soon. Chipper saves a run with a big stop at third, ending the inning. Down sixe runs with half the game to go. We'd come back from larger decifits, but let's get to the bullpen as quick as we can, eh, Braves?


Ok, Andruw stops the bleeding with a solo shot, making it 7-2, but Bobby sends a pinch hitter for Grybowski in the fifth inning. Seems a little early to me, but I guess with 2 outs and a runner on and down five runs, you'd rather have Dewayne Wise at the plate than a guy who's had at most 10 at bats all year.... Fly out to the left fielder ends the inning, but it does get Clemens out of the game, and I'll put our pen against Houston's pen any day. Course, we've spotted them five runs, so it's still a stretch for us to pull this out.

Between innings, here's a quick advertisement:


Thanks. Back to the game.


K, sctratch that. Clemens comes back in, despite six walks, two wild pitches and almost 100 total pitches. Furcal hits a lead-off triple off that -- kid can flat-out FLY -- and Clemens is still in. Can I please, please, please hear echoes of leaving Pedro in for too long in last year's Game 7? Furcal scores on a groundout, so the lead's down to 4 with 3 2/3 inning left for the Braves to bat.

Two quick outs after that, and Clemens is through 6 with a 7-3 lead. And throwing well. Scary well. I won't be surprised ot see him in the 7th. Marvelous.


Jeff Brantley is quickly showing why he's the biggest ass in the west. Two hitters after Cruz hits Carlos Beltran in the ribs (on accident, the look in the kid's face was of anguish, not of triumph), and Brantley's STILL talking about how it had to have been on purpose because the kid's a righty. Maybe it's because... he's a KID! Hmmmmm... common sense seems not to be strong in thee Jeff Brantley (though this IS the same guy that picked the Cubs to win the wild card with three games left in the season...). Another line drive off the leg of a Braves pitcher (that HAD to be on purpose, right Jeff?) scores Beltran, and it's now 8-3. Cruz looks to be ok, as he gets another K, Braves have 9 outs to score 5 runs.


All quiet on the home front, with neither the Braves nor the Astros doing much against the pens. If this all plays out the way the first eight innings did, I don't think this is THAT bad of a loss, because Jared didn't pitch that bad of a game, just got hit hard at the wrong times, and the Rocket didn't pitch all that well, but got out of jam after jam after jam. The Braves cannot bank on six walks every game, but if they fix a couple things between now and tomorrow, they can still win the game. The Astros will not win both games at home in a playoff series, I don't care how loud the crowd is, so if we can win tomorrow, we'll be back in Atlanta for Game Five. This is gonna be a much better series than this game shows, esp. after Reitsma gives up a leadoff home run to make it 9-3.


Ick. Not the best of games for the Braves, but that's why it's a series, after all. Houston leads 1-0, but there are four games left to play, the next tomorrow afternoon with two red-hot pitchers in Roy Oswalt and Mike Hampton pitching. Should be a good one, and a must-win for the Braves. I think Hampton's on a better streak than ol' Roy, so we'll say the Braves head to the Juice Box tied, needing to take at least one in Houston to get games back in Atlanta (though now they have to win both to make me right -- they'll get at least one, but even I'm not sure if they can get both). Great job to the Astros, and best of luck to both teams tomorrow.


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