Man, how times change. On this day 17 years ago the Bravos were cruising to the finish line, and Smoltz tuned up with 5 innings of one-hit scoreless ball. An 11-0 pasting of the Fish gave the Bravos a 15-game lead in the NL East. Of course, the Marlins had dismantled their ’97 World Series championship team.
The Braves, alas, would go on to fall to the Pads in the NLCS after winning a franchise-best 106 games and finishing the season on a 14-2 tear. Hot at the right time, eh? Yeah, till Kevin Brown and #$#!%#!! Sterling Hitchcock came along.
Back to that night in South Florida, the lineup at funky Joe Robbie Stadium was funky: Ozzie Guillen SS, Gerald Williams, Andruw, Galarraga, Javy, Bautista, Helms, Grafanino, Smoltz.
Tonight’s order: Markakis, Olivera, Swisher 1B (Freddie aggravated his wrist but expected back Friday), Pierzynski, Simmons, Peterson, Maybin, Bourn, Perez.
The Mets aren’t playing particularly well, but the Braves never do anything against the roly-poly oldster Colon. I wouldn’t expect them to tonight. Ws Perez has been pretty good lately, but that streak is prone to end suddenly and violently. On a happy note, after last night’s excellent start, Wisler has a 3.43 ERA over his past four appearances. It’s not a huge sample size, granted, but at least one of the kids appears headed in the right direction.