TheBaseballPage.com

In a Rut

It was 1998 all over again – nice start, bad finish, third place; this time 35 games behind the Atlanta Braves (103-59). And joy of joys, the Philly guys got to open the season with a four-game series in Atlanta, facing the Braves bullet-proof rotation of Glavine, Maddux, Smoltz, and Kevin Millwood. Braves manager, Bobby Cox, apparently intent on going undefeated, declined the Maddux-Schilling opening day matchup that had cost him a game last year, and picked Tom Glavine to deal with the Phillies’ horse. Too bad, Bobby, you lose again; Schilling was not overpowering as before, but he was good enough as the Phillies grabbed the league lead with a 7-4 win.

Game Two had to be a joke – Greg Maddux against the Phils’ Chad Ojea; you’re kidding, Francona, right? Maddux added a homerun of his own to the 11-3 Braves’ romp. Smoltz shut out the Phils in Game Three 4-0, as Carlton Loewer made it respectable, and the Phillies got a series split when newcomer Paul Byrd stopped the Braves on two hits in a 6-3 win.

A decent start, and a steady march through May, June, and July, though there never was much doubt that the Braves were still the class of the league as they cruised to their eighth consecutive division title. But a pair of lopsided Phillies’ wins on August 24 and 25 at the Vet, caused some heads to turn, and a small flicker of hope to flair. San Diego was the victim of 18-2, and 15-1 Phillies’ blowouts. Paul Byrd and Robert Person did the pitching, and Rico Brogna, Bobby Abreu, Mike Lieberthal, and Scott Rolen much of the hitting in those fun-filled runaways.

What happened next defies explanation – from August 26 to September 14, the Phillies played 19 games and lost 18 of them. On September 3rd at the Vet, Curt Schilling (15-5) stopped a seven-game losing streak with a 10-2 win over Cincinnati, but the next day, the Reds pummeled Paul Byrd (14-8), and four relievers for nine home runs in a 22-3 rout that triggered an 11-game Phillies’ losing streak.

Manager Francona needed to work on his game strategy.

Mike Lieberthal won a Gold Glove for the league’s best defensive catcher.

By max blue
 

More From Around the Web

Sponsored Links

This day in baseball history

August 29

  • 1982

    On August 29, 1982, Gaylord Perry of the Seattle Mariners re ...

  • 1977

    On August 29, 1977, Lou Brock of the St. Louis Cardinals bec ...

  • 1973

    On August 29, 1973, Thurman Munson of the New York Yankees c ...

More Baseball History

Player Profile

Johnny Reder

1B, Boston Red Sox

Read Bio
Hall of Fame

Ed Walsh

P, Chicago White Sox

Read Bio
Season Profile

1903 Boston American

The National League

Read Bio
Historical Figure

Ruly Carpenter

 

Read Bio
Manager Profile

Larry Dierker

Houston Astros

Read Bio
Ballpark Profile

Three Rivers

Three Rivers Stadium was named

Read Bio
 
Tagged:
Atlanta Braves, Bobby Abreu, Bobby Cox, Curt Schilling, Greg Maddux, Mike Lieberthal, Paul Byrd, Philadelphia Phillies, Rico Brogna, Robert Person, Terry Francona, Tom Glavine

Comments

    Be respectful, keep it clean.
Login or register to post comments

Stay Connected

Share |

Today's Poll

Will Red Sox Repeat in 2014: