The Ted Gets a Good Rogering
By Craig Elliott
Christ, I didn’t know the Braves’ uniforms came in Candyass Red. Those things are uglier than an Otis Nixon Look-Alike Contest. Maybe that’s the color you have to wear when you go deer-hunting in Georgia.
Anyway, nevermind the Braves’ poor fashion sense, because Andy Pettitte shut ’em down and Morgan Ensberg had 19 singles in a huge win Wednesday.
It was only a first step, to be sure. But every journey starts better when you kick the Braves right in the nuts. The Astros had more singles Wednesday than a Vegas stripper on Dollar Lap Dance Night, and the worst part is that it could have been 20 runs instead of 10. So we’ll pick those up today.
As I mentioned in the Gamezone, I had my own surreal battle with adverse conditions to watch Game One. We’re fixing up our house to sell, and we’ve had handymen crawling all over, hammering on things and scaring the cats. And Wednesday was the day to paint the living room.
So we pushed all the shit into the middle of the room, and told the painters to be careful of the electrical cords. I had to sit about 3 feet away from a 32-inch HDTV, with my computer monitor squeezed in between. Plus, the paint fumes were thick, and one of the painters was a Braves fan. During the eighth inning he decided we needed to unplug the TV so he could paint around the wall socket. So I helpfully provided a play-by-play from the computer.
But that was yesterday’s game, and we can’t get cocky. A stumble tonight makes it a three-game series. On the other hand, an Astros’ victory means the Braves are on the ropes with Roy Oswalt climbing onto the turnbuckle.
Thursday, October 6, 7:00 p.m. CDT – Fox
Where: The Edifice of Greed
Everyone probably gets to rest another day, because this one’s going to be a rainout. Tropical Storm Tammy has moved in next door, and everybody’s gettin’ some. Wear a raincoat.
Roger Clemens (13-8, 1.87) v. John Smoltz (14-7, 3.06)
Roger had the best ERA in the majors this season. He’s 0-2 in five appearances against the Braves, and he’s 10-7 in the postseason. He got a big win against the Scrubs over the weekend, but before that he had lost four of five decisions.
Julio Franco has 91 at-bats but only 19 hits (.209) against Roger. He also has 12 strikeouts. Chipper is 5-for-13 (.385) with one homer off Roger, and Brian Jordan is 3-for-10 with a homer. AndrUw is 4-for-15 (.267) with eight strikeouts.
Smoltz is 14-4 in 39 postseason appearances. He’s 15-13 against the Astros, and 1-0 this year. You just know we’re going to be seeing this fucker in the playoffs for the next 40 years. After he retires, he’ll probably manage the Braves while Chipper Jones sits beside him and rocks teenage girls on his knee.
Smoltz hasn’t had a win since Sept. 6. Current Astros are 72-for-280 (.257) against him, with two homers each from Biggio and Bagwell. Bagwell is 24-for-82 (.293) against Smoltz, and Bidge is 27-for-104 (.260). Berkman is 3-for-6, but Ensberg is 1-for-6.
Players to Watch:
* The grounds crew is who we’ll get to watch Thursday. And maybe some wet T-shirts.
* Watch to see if anyone besides Orlando Palmeiro is wearing warpaint tonight. Oh man, I thought OP had knocked that one out Wednesday. I was about to show the painters an impromptu reverse Chief Nockahoma dance before it came up short.
* Jeff Bagwell is a psychological weapon right now. I swear I heard the entire Bandwagon groan in unison when he stepped up to the plate Wednesday.
Houston – None
Atlanta – Hampton, Powell, and Boyer are out. Smoltz is hurting but will pitch anyway.
* Have the Braves been wearing those awful red pajamas all season, or is this a new thing? Those were so red they hurt my eyes. I had to close the blinds because hummingbirds kept crashing into the windows.
* I recommend never having strangers in your house during an Astros-Braves playoff series. I didn’t get to moon Bobby Cox even once in Game One, which I’m certain is a playoff record. I’ll make up for it today.
* And by the way, the Wifebeater is fucking creepy in that cherry-red outfit. He looks like a guest star on Touched by an Uncle. Leo Mazzone bobbing for apples next door doesn’t help either.