Through the first five innings, this game had the makings of an excellent pitching duel. Smoltz was cruising and although the offense wasn't doing much, the Braves were still neck and neck with the Dodgers. The sixth is when everything started to fall apart though. Smoltz struck out the first two batters and after striking out James Loney, Brian McCann again showed his inability behind the plate with a very lazy play, allowing Loney to reach first. The next batter destroyed a fastball 436 feet over the left field wall. That wasn't near the end of it though. The seventh inning proved to be the nightmare that put the Braves away. With one down, Tyler Yates gave up a bunt pop-up double (I've never seen it before either) on a play that Chipper Jones just gave up. The ball stayed up in the air for a couple seconds and Chipper just watched it drop about eight feet behind him for some reason that is beyond me. McCann made a good throw but Pierre stole third, Russell Martin drove him in and then stole second on one of the worst throws I have ever seen from a catcher. I actually think it skipped off the mound. A couple singles, a throwing error by Chipper, a bases loaded walk by Moylan, and a sac fly later Tyler Yates and Peter Moylan combined to give up five runs in an inning.
The hitting was pretty bad with quit a bit of help from the ump. Tom Hallion was pretty awful all night behind the plate for the hitters. Anything two inches off the ground was a strike but at least in the beginning he was consistently awful for both teams. No, on a day like this that couldn't last. As the game progressed that strike zone stayed huge for the Dodgers but shrank drastically for the Braves pitches to the point where it was getting a bit absurd and I am not one usually to go off on the umpires. The Braves just had an inability to hit with runners in scoring position tonight. The hit total wasn't all that bad but the team just couldn't do anything with runners on including a bases loaded, no outs situation where Atlanta couldn't plate anything. I feel a bit bad for Willie Harris. Harris smashed two balls in his first two at bats and came up with nothing to show for it. I remember him with the White Sox and Red Sox and his approach is just totally different this year.
The pitching matchup looks much bleaker for tomorrow as Kyle Davies is facing off with Randy Wolf. I have a feeling this is going to be a long series on the West Coast. On the brighter side, the Mets have lost both Oliver Perez and Jorge Sosa to the DL.