Yesterday, when I was on my way out of Turner Field, I walked past this plastered drunk college guy, stumbling by, absolutely annihilated. This is not an uncommon occurrence at the Ted, but it was this guy's shirt that caught my attention; in the most non-descript lettering, on a plain red shirt were the words:
"matt diaz ** rules"
Now there was a censored abbreviation for an expletive there, but despite yesterday's losing effort, the shirt still gave me a chuckle. If you as a Braves fan do not like and/or appreciate Matt Diaz, then you probably don't really like baseball.
In three career at-bats against Brad Lidge prior to today, Matt Diaz was retired once. The other two were Diaz home runs.
In the fourth meeting between the two, in the bottom of the ninth today, Diaz did not homer off Lidge, but he also was not retired. An attempted sacrifice bunt to advance Garret Anderson to second, resulted in an abysmal fielding performance which saw Lidge bobble the bunt, make a bad throw well past Ryan Howard, which bounced the ball off the wall near the first base dugout, putting it into no-man's land. By the time Werth got the ball back into the infield, Anderson had scored, and Matt Diaz was on third base, with the score tied up at 3 apiece, with nobody out. Brad Lidge now has eight blown saves on the season.
After walks by Adam LaRoche and Greg Norton, followed by a Ryan Church strikeout, Omar Infante slapped a grounder just past the reach of a diving Jimmy Rollins, Braves win.
It was an ugly win, but it's a win nonetheless, and I'll take it. Things were looking bleak, and a sense of "here we go again" crossed my mind when Jayson Werth homered, and the Phils took their 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but I'm reminded again why baseball is so great; in the blink of an eye, things can change that fast.
Both starting pitchers performed solidly, with the struggling Cole Hamels settling down a little bit, despite giving up a two-run blast to Brian McCann, finished with a solid 6.0 inning performance allowing two runs on three hits. Kenshin Kawakami finished his day with 6.1 innings pitched, on seven hits, and three earned runs, one of them being the aforementioned Werth homer in the 7th.
Some things worth mentioning was in the 5th inning, center-fielder Nate McLouth re-aggravated his hamstring, and had to be replaced by Ryan Church. He was listed as day-to-day afterward. Martin Prado also left the game early; the diagnosis I heard on the radio was due to the heat. (Anyone care to confirm?) Granted, this opened the door for Omar Infante to play the hero, but you never want to hear anyone getting hurt.
Tomorrow, the rubber match takes place, this time being nationally televised, as ESPN is picking it up for Sunday Night Baseball, at 8 p.m. EST. Javier Vazquez takes the hill, with J.A. Happ opposes.
|Final - 8.15.2009||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|WP: Peter Moylan (5 - 2)
LP: Brad Lidge (0 - 5)