Sunday, June 18, 2006

Bad News Braves

It's been a long time since we've seen a Braves team slump this badly, 14 years to be exact. The last time the Braves were nine games under .500 - which they are this morning thanks to the Sox and Josh Beckett last night - was 1992.

Bobby Cox's crew is 2-14 in the month of June, and his team is 13 games out of first place. Yesterday, the Sox added to their misery with a clean 5-3 victory. Beckett threw a lot of pitches (over 100 in six innings) but mixed them effectively enough to keep the Braves hitters off-balance. Offensively, Kevin Youkilis hit the first pitch of the ballgame out of the yard, Big Papi smashed his 19th home run, and Alex Gonzalez banged out three hits. Papelbon (yawn) earned his 22nd save.

One interesting sidenote to this interleague series is how many Red Sox fans are in the stands in Atlanta. Whenever the Sox do something good, you can hear the cheers coming through your TV set. "It's pretty irritating," said Braves OF Jeff Francouer in this morning's Atlanta-Journal Constitution. "When David Ortiz hit that home run and he got a standing ovation, it's unsettling to hear that at home." Now you know how the Devil Dogs and Orioles feel, Jeff. Two words: play better.

Third and final game is on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball tonight, which unfortunately means we're forced to listen to Joe Morgan. No, not the colorful ex-Sox manager - rather, the Hall of Fame 2B from the Big Red Machine who has to be the worst analyst in the history of sports broadcasting. That's a lot of analysts. In fact, calling Joe Morgan an analyst really isn't accurate. He's more like a celebrity guest who stops by the booth every now and then to schmooze - only he never leaves. I've always said - if you want to bring terrorists worldwide to their knees, lock them in a room on a Sunday night in June, with one team enjoying a blowout early in the game. Morgan's useless, inane "analysis" will get them to squeal every time. (Imagine Joe Morgan in Arabic?)

Alright, enough - let's focus on the good. We've got a superb pitching matchup tonight with old guns Curt Schilling and John Smoltz facing each other. I think I heard it's the first time in 9 years the two have gone head to head - makes sense with Smoltzy's long stint as closer. Joe Morgan be damned, it should be a good one.

Happy Dad's day to all...

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