No one could have seen 2008 coming. Jorge Campillo was arguably the second most dependable hurler on a team that built its reputation on pitching. Jo-Jo Reyes (1.646 WHIP) started 22 games; Charlie Morton (1.621 WHIP) started 15. Chuck James, who looked so promising in 2006, finished with a 9.10 ERA in 7 starts. Then there was the courageous Mike Hampton, who overcame a bruised titty and other assorted boo-boos to appear in 13 games.
Morton got the call in the 18-3 loss to the Cards and didn’t make it out of the second, walking 5 of the 14 hitters he faced, good for 4 ER. Five Braves relievers — none of whom pitched in the majors in 2012 — would allow the game’s remaining 14 runs. The names say it all: Vladimir Nunez, Matt DeSalvo (11 H, 7 ER in 2 IP as a Brave), Blaine Boyer, Jeff Bennett and Julian Tavarez.
Might as well have been 1988.
St. Louis scored its 18 runs without a homer; 21 of the Cards’ 26 hits were singles. Starting pitcher Adam Wainwright had 3 hits while reliever Joel Pineiro stroked a double in his only AB. Cesar Izturis, who hit like a pitcher, singled four times.
The Aug. 22 defeat was the Braves 6th loss in a row. They were outscored 54-14 during that stretch and finished the year 72-90, 20 games out of first. Strangely, the ’08 Bravos drew 100,000 more fans than the ’12 version.
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