Doesn’t that Sportscenter theme send tingles down your spine? I’m currently watching the 10:30 version while writing this as quickly as I can. Well, Brandon Backe was the starter in this feel good story. He is a Galveston, Texas, native who grew up watching Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio play and then he was playing with them in the postseason. Even as a Braves fan, I must tip my hat to him.
What Went Right
Nothing much went right for the Braves. The only real highpoint for this game for the Bravos is Andruw Jones’ performance at the plate. He had a three run homer in the 8th inning that put the Braves in a position to win the game. They also got solid relief outings from Juan Cruz. The positives in this game from the Astros perspective are that Carlos Beltran continued to perform at his same high level of talent by going 2-5 with two RBIs and the pitching performance of Brandon Backe. The fact that Brad Lidge pitched – and quite well at that – in this game is good.
What Went Wrong
John Thomson left in the first inning with a strained oblique forcing Paul Byrd into the game and a bad spot. Putting Birdie in the game yesterday also forced Russ Ortiz into a start tomorrow. The Braves bullpen pitched not very well at all. For the Astros they couldn’t much anything from their first two hitters, which is very important.
Preview of Game Four
The Astros have won a consecutive 19 games at home, but they haven’t won consecutive games in the postseason since 1981. Which streak will end? The Braves will send Russ Ortiz to the mound on ten days rest, while the Astros will bring back Roger Clemens on three days rest. This is definitely the best move for both teams, as Ortiz is better than going back to their Game 1 starter and Phil Garner feels better taking his ace on three days rest rather than whatever the backend of their rotation can muster up.
"Nobody in this clubhouse thinks this thing is over," Braves 3B Chipper Jones said. "Certainly they want to come out and take care of business. There's only one team that wants this to go back to Atlanta, and that's us."
"Our 2, 3 and 4 hitters need to step up," Braves 2B Marcus Giles said. "You ask them, they'll say it. It's no secret. I'm not bashing them. If I'm bashing them, I'm bashing myself."