Braves' shuffled lineup produces same old tired result
Posted: Monday October 25, 1999 01:41 AM
Atlanta manager Bobby Cox will look to produce more hits and better defense with his next move for Game 3. AP
By John Donovan, CNN/SI
ATLANTA -- When you're going like the Atlanta Braves are going -- which, if you're scoring at home, is badly, and very quickly badly -- shaking things up is not a terrible ploy.
But if you're going like Bobby Cox is going -- and right now, the Braves' skipper couldn't pick a winner in a one-horse race -- even a last-ditch effort like shuffling a lineup isn't ending up right.
"Well, it's frustrating," Cox said Sunday after his team scratched out only five hits in a 7-2 loss to the New York Yankees in Game 2 of the World Series. "I don't know if it's helpless. We kept waiting to get something going."
Cox, looking to uproot a team that hit .223 in the National League Championship Series and had only two hits in Game 1 of the World Series on Saturday night, went to his bench Saturday and pulled out Ozzie Guillen, Keith Lockhart and Greg Myers for Game 2.
The reasoning was simple: How much worse could they be?
Well, Myers got two of the Braves' five hits, and the only one off starter David Cone. Guillen was 0-for-4, reaching on an error in the first inning. Lockhart was 0-for-2, scoring a run in the Braves' meaningless 2-run outburst in the bottom of the ninth.
Guillen also made a costly error at shortstop, second baseman Lockhart threw away a ball trying to turn a double play (though he wasn't charged with an error) and, on the whole, the Braves didn't fare any better than they did in the 4-1 loss in Game 1.
"I think we needed something to be tried," Atlanta catcher Eddie Perez, displaced by Myers in the starting lineup, said after the game. "We did something today and it didn't work.
"We just have to hit better."
The Braves had three of their hits, and scored both of those runs, in the ninth inning against the Yankees relievers. It was way too little, way to late and meant next to nothing for a team searching for some kind of offense.
"We haven't put together an offensive attack," leadoff man Gerald Williams said in another of the vast understatements of the night, "largely due to the fact that their guys are doing their job and we're not doing ours."
The Braves hitters are trying to be patient at the plate, but when they fall behind like they did in Game 2 -- the Yankees led 5-0 after three innings -- there isn't a whole lot of time to be patient.
And that has put the Braves down 0-2 in the Series, with Game 3 in Yankee Stadium on Tuesday staring them unabashedly in the face.
The Braves are, in hitting coach Don Baylor's words, in "dire need" of a win.
"I think that's where we are now," said Baylor. "If we can just get a win ... it's tough to believe when you're not hitting and not scoring runs."
Cox will use his regular lineup in Tuesday night's game against lefty Andy Pettitte. Whether that will work or not is anyone's guess.
And, right now, that's just what the Braves are doing. Guessing.
Said Cox: "We're just honestly trying to score some runs right now."
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