Thursday, June 08, 2006

Take Me Home Tonight

John Smoltz was no match for the Ramon Ortiz Cy Young Express, nor for our Cavalcade of Second basemen! When the Express and the Cavalcade are in synch, whoa boy! Look out, look out!

Ortiz threw great, winning for the fifth time in a row after being left for dead. Something's clicked, but beyond dialing down the velocity, be damned if I can figure out what it is. Less velocity sometimes equals more movement (like how they say sinkerballers pitch better when they're tired), and perhaps that's giving him the fraction of an inch he needs to turn line drives into popups and dribblers. For his first five, he was on fire, cruising through batters as if he were pitching to the Nats instead!

But what about Marlon Anderson, star of the Cavalcade? A two-run homer off John Smoltz? Are you kidding me? (He's already a better hitter than the man he's replacing!)

The key inning, though, was the 8th, a typical Frank Robinson special. With two on and nobody out, Nick Johnson, the team's feckin' cleanup hitter bunted!?!? The bunt took the bat out of the hands of Nick and Ryan Zimmerman, who was promptly walked. Frank then faced a dilemma of his own making. Batting was the non-hitting Marlon Byrd, the defensive replacement for the King of the Cavalcade. What to do, what to do? Frank, at least in this case, pulled the right trigger, pinch-hitting Daryle Ward -- who really has been a superb PHer this year. Ward worked the count, ripped a double, and drove in two runs. A one-run game became a three-run lead -- one that even Chad Cordero would have a hard time making interesting. Frank would later let a reliever bat again, but if I complained about that every time it happened....

Gary Majewski was the unsung hero of the game, but did enough, at least, to win a Majority Whip. After Ortiz allowed a solo homer and a triple, the tying run was on third with two outs. Majewski, as he's done so many times this year (check out OMG to see just how many!), came in and blew away Edgar Renteria. Even after the orgy of runs (is three an orgy?), Majewski didn't let the Braves in on the fun, getting Chipper, BJ Jones, and the UniBrow in order. Breaker, breaker, the Trucker is back on the road -- let's just hope he doesn't blow out a tire.

UPDATE: I changed my mind. Ortiz gets the feckin' Whip. Almost seven innings of two-run ball when facing John Smoltz in a series-clinching win? What was I thinking!