We’re counting down the best of the Braves, game by game, series by series, from Octobers past.
After flopping against the Padres in the ’98 NLCS, Braves fans were starting to grow indifferent. But 1999 turned out to be one of the most impressive seasons of the great run. Playing without The Big Cat for the whole season and Javy Lopez for half of it, and with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine suddenly pitching like mortals, allowing 517 hits combined, the Braves still won 103 games.
They lost Game 1 of the ’99 NLDS at home to the Astros before 39,119. But Kevin Millwood, who emerged as the staff ace that year, winning 18 with a 2.68 ERA and 0,996 WHIP, pitched like it in Game 2, allowing just one hit, a Ken Caminiti HR.
Game 3 was a classic though it got off to an inauspicious start for Tom Glavine. Houston sent 8 batters to the plate in the 1st, scoring 2, but left the bases loaded. That would turn out to be big.
The Braves finally broke through in the 6th. With 2 outs Bret Boone singled, followed by a walk to Chipper. Up stepped Brian Jordan, who put the Braves ahead with a three-run blast off Mike Hampton.
Houston responded in the 7th. Terry Mulholland relieved Glavine and gave up a double to Russ Johnson. Bobby went to the ‘pen again, bringing in Mad Dog to face Biggio, who drew a walk. Surprisingly, Bobby yanked Maddux after the Astros pinch hit lefty Bill Spiers for Derek Bell. Mike Remlinger was brought into the game and promptly allowed a single to Spiers. Game tied at 3.
The 10th was both disappointing and thrilling for the Bravos. They loaded the bases against Doug Henry in the top half of the inning but Andruw couldn’t bring them in, flying out to LF.
Houston loaded the bases in the bottom of the 10th, but with no outs. John Rocker was summoned to replace Russ Springer. After,coaxing a grounder from Carl Everett, forcing the winning run at home, catcher Tony Eusebio stepped up to the plate. Then this happened:
It turned the whole series, but not immediately. Both teams exchanged zeros in 11th. Then, in the 12th, Brian Jordan doubled home Otis and Boone, giving him 5 RBI on the day. Millwood came in to pitch the bottom of the 12th and got the Astros in order.
The Braves won Game 4 7-5 and would go on to beat the Mets in the NLCS. The World Series was a disappointment, but for the ’99 team just getting there was impressive.