Five Cuts: After an improbable win, the Braves are looking dangerous
SAN FRANCISCO -- Their manager was in his office (wink, wink) and their closer was in pain in the training room when the Atlanta Braves forestalled their retirements for at least one more game. The Division Series between the Braves and Giants will go at least four games. There is more baseball left for
The Braves defer retirement and defy logic.
"Yes, I was nervous, no doubt about it," Glaus said. "But then I told myself, 'Relax, you've done this before.""
Nothing about Atlanta's Game 2 win made sense, but neither do the Braves. They keep losing key players -- Wagner (who injured his oblique muscle in the 10th inning) follows
It's a weird dynamic: The more the Braves win in a depleted manner, the more dangerous they become. And right now the Braves are very dangerous. The series is tied, but Atlanta seized the momentum.
"The longer I'm around," Jones said, "the more I come to believe that there are some times when a team is just not supposed to win -- or lose -- that there are things beyond your control. The baseball gods decide the way it will be and that's it. I mean, the Reds today had
"We had no right to win that game. But we did."
Wagner could barely walk after leaving Thursday night's game. He is unlikely to pitch again in the series, and might be replaced on the roster for Game 3 by Saito -- though that would mean keeping Wagner off the NLCS roster, too, if the Braves advance.
So who closes for Atlanta if Wagner is shut down? The next Billy Wagner:
Kimbrel is a 5-foot-11 flamethrower who has chewed up big league hitters since he was called up in May: 45 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings. Kimbrel threw 33 pitches in Game 2 and the Giants managed to put only two of them into play.
Asked if he was nervous while making his second postseason appearance, Kimbrel said,"Oh, yeah. I was nervous -- only on every pitch."
The kid who throws 97 mph and snaps off hard sliders has been called a right-handed version of Wagner. He has a deceptive, short-arm delivery that somehow causes the ball to hurry past hitters. "He's got that extra little giddy-up at the end, just like Billy," Jones said.
Now won't that be fun: a 22-year-old kid with one career save trying to close out games for a retiring Bobby Cox.
Don't even start with the second-guessing on Giants manager
Wilson has thrown two innings or more 12 times in his career. He had not pitched in five days and was staring at another off day the next day. It was not a time to be passive.
Wilson simply didn't get the job done. He couldn't get
Now that there will be a Game 4 between the Braves and Giants, who will be the starting pitchers? Atlanta is likely to bring back
Bochy has a more difficult call. He has not ruled out bringing back
Suddenly the pitching matchups and homefield have turned for Atlanta:
And on the day when there were no more Cy Young Award winners left to start, the postseason went all nutty on us. The Reds and Giants each blew four-run leads and the winning pitchers -- Yankees fans will appreciate this -- were
The collapse of the Reds in Game 2 was stunning because of the fundamental blunders they made. The typically smart Rolen made a critical mistake in the seventh at third base by trying for a force play at second after fielding a grounder. It was an unnecessarily aggressive play. Given that the out was in doubt, the smart play -- throwing to first for the sure second out -- would have left
An eyeblink later, right fielder