The Braves Report: Maddux Pounded by Marlins

<B><U>Marlins 8, Braves 1</B></U> <BR> Mark Redman pitched a five-hitter and the Florida Marlins roughed up Greg Maddux and beat the Braves 8-1 on Monday night. Maddux (6-8) gave up seven runs on six hits in four innings. <BR> <BR> <B><U>Down on the farm</B></U> Pitching was the word on Monday night as Andy Pratt, Macay McBride, Ryan Ewin, and Adam Wainright all pitched strongly and Steve Doetsch keeps on hitting for Orlando.

There are not too many positives you can find in a game like this.

Greg Maddux was drilled right from the start, giving up a three run shot to Ivan Rodriguez in the first inning, as the Braves drop the first game of the series in grand fashion, 8-1. Derek Lee added a two run homer of his own in the 3rd, as Maddux lasted only four innings on the night, giving up 7 earned runs on 6 hits and only one strikeout. The loss drops his record to 6-8 on the season.

Maddux's control just doesn't seem to be there right now. It's not that he is walking people, as he didn't issue any tonight, but the pinpoint control he has relied on in the past just isn't there. His pitches are coming back right over the middle of the plate and just getting crushed, like the homer he gave up to Rodriguez.

Aside from the lackluster pitching performance by Maddux, the Braves bats are in a deep freeze. Mark Redman handled the Braves lineup the entire night, logging his second complete game of the year, two more than the Braves as a team. No one was able to handle the former Detroit Tiger and his 65 MPH junk, and 85 MPH heat. Atlanta tallied only 5 hits on the night, 2 coming off the bat of Marcus Giles, who is showing signs of life these last two games.

The trio of Gary Sheffield, Chipper Jones, and Andruw Jones combined to go 0-for-11 against Redman. Vinny Castilla and Henry Blanco threw in 0-for-3 nights for good measure.

The Braves bullpen did an admirable job after Maddux was removed from the game, but five different relievers were used to close out the final four innings. Kevin Gryboski left after only three pitches in the 5th, due to what is being reported as a muscle strain or stiffness in his back.

I did hear it mentioned on the telecast that both Bobby Cox and Leo Mazzone believe that it is less taxing on a reliever to use him for only one inning several times a week, as opposed to 2 or 3 innings twice a week. At the rate the pen is getting used right now, they are going to get burned out no matter what system Cox and Mazzone use. The starters need to log quality starts with a greater frequency to relieve some of the pressure on the bullpen.

That being said, I look for the Braves to start shaking up the rotation soon, either through trades or possible a call up from the minors. Now that Byrd is done for this season, and maybe next, and Shane Reynolds is Six Feet Under, something is going to have to be done, and done quickly.

Down on the farm

Richmond Braves 7, Indianapolis Indians (MIL) 4 -- 1B Adam LaRoche was 3-for-3 with 2 RBI, and 3B Wilson Betemit added 2 RBI on a 2-for-3 day, as the Braves beat the Indians, 7-4. Andy Pratt got the start and the win, improving his record to 5-5 on the season. It wasn't a great performance by Pratt though, as he allowed 4 earned runs on 6 hits, with 6 walks and 6 strikeouts, in 6.1 innings. Travis Phelps picked up his 4th save with two perfect innings of relief.

Greenville Braves 1, Jacksonville Suns (LA) 2 -- Adam Wainwright turned in a quality start, allowing 2 earned runs on 4 hits and 7 strikeouts in 6 innings, but the Braves drop one to the Suns, 2-1. Wainwright was on the hook for the loss, falling to 5-6 on the season. 3B Ramon Castro and RF Cory Aldridge each went 2-for-4 in the loss. Dan Curtis fanned 4 in two scoreless innings of relief.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans 1, Frederick Keys (BAL) 2, 10 innings -- Macay McBride threw seven scoreless innings and struck out five, but the Pelicans gave up the tying run in the 9th and the losing run in the 10th to fall to the Keys, 2-1. Dave Watkins coughed up both runs, falling to 0-1. C Brayan Pena had a 3-for-4 day, and CF Gregor Blanco hit his 4th homer of the year for the lone Pelicans run.

Savannah Sand Gnats (TEX) 0, Rome Braves 2 -- Ryan Ewin (1-0) earned his first win as part of the Rome staff, allowing no runs on 3 hits and 3 strikeouts in 5 innings of work. Efigenio Peralta and Sung Jung held the Sand Gnats scoreless over the final 4 innings to seal the victory, 2-0. RF Onil Joseph and LF Angelo Burrows each had a double and drove in a run.

Johnson City Cardinals (STL) 4, Danville Braves 2 -- C Morton gave up 4 earned on 6 hits in 3 innings of work, as Danville loses at home to Johnson City, 4-2. RF Dominique Partridge was 2-for-4 with an RBI, and CF Matt Esquivel doubled in the other Braves run on a 1-for-4 day.

Orlando Braves 4, Jupiter Expos 5 -- CF Steve Doestch keeps on hitting, going 2-for-4 with an RBI, but the Braves fall to the Expos, 5-4. LF Angel Ponce added his 1st homer of the year on a 2-for-4, 2 RBI day. JoJo Reyes got the start, allowing 2 earned runs on 3 hits and 4 strikeouts in 3 inning. Jake Stevens took the loss to fall to 1-1.

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