Blog Entry

Glaus sets up Ankiel, Braves and baseball win

Posted on: October 9, 2010 2:23 am
 

One small step for the Atlanta Braves, one giant leap for major league baseball.

Oh, and a belated Merry Christmas to the Braves as well.

Yessir. When the Braves agreed to terms with Troy Glaus last Christmas Eve, they did not exactly envision him playing third base with the season on the line in the 10th inning of the NL divisional playoffs.

Fact is, they did not envision Glaus playing third. Period, end of sentence.

So what was he doing, all brittle and lumbering, starting the Braves' most crucial 5-4-3 double play in years as they seized another game with their last licks and evened their series with the Giants at one game apiece with a 5-4, 11-inning, Rick Ankiel Special on Friday night?

Excellent question.

Short answer is, quite simply, it's the beauty of the game. Sometimes the best-laid plans are forcibly scrapped at the most inopportune times, and the game reverts back to the schoolyard. You play here, you play there, and we'll see what happens.

Long answer? Desperate for offense and with a hole to plug at first base, Braves general manager Frank Wren gambled that Glaus could learn a new position and add the bat Atlanta needed. It was a sizable gamble, too, in that the shoulder surgery Glaus underwent in January, 2009, allowed him to play in only 14 games for St. Louis that summer.

It worked fine for a time, especially in May, when Glaus collected 28 RBI in 27 games. But his production diminished as the summer wore on and then, on Aug. 12, came a season-changer: Chipper Jones was lost for the rest of the year to a knee injury.

So what happens? Wren acquires first baseman Derrek Lee from the Cubs ... and Glaus is such a team guy, such a Bobby Cox devotee, that he's all for bringing Lee aboard and volunteers to play third base while he's at it.

Not that the Braves took him up on it. Are you kidding? He's 33, he's 6-6 and 250 pounds, and Glaus had reached the part of his career where, if he did play third, the odds were far greater that he would hurt himself (and the team) than much good would happen.

Until Friday night became just late and crazy enough that the Braves were left without many options. And Glaus entered the game as an, ahem, defensive replacement in the 10th.

It figured that the first batter in the 10th, Edgar Renteria, immediately dropped a bunt in Glaus' direction. Do you know how many total chances Glaus has had at third in the past two seasons? Nine, that's how many. And just one this year, in the one appearance (two total innings) he had made there.

Renteria reached base, of course. And so did two other Giants.

And there in the bottom of the 10th, with one out and the largest crowd ever to gather at AT&T Park roaring, what should Buster Posey do but roll a 'tweener grounder -- it wasn't hit hard, but it wasn't a soft grounder, either -- in Glaus' direction.

And the big guy came up with it, wheeled and threw to second to start the 5-4-3, and the relay to first barely beat Posey. Said later throwing home for the force out was never an option.

One false move in the play, and Renteria scores and the Giants win.

Instead, Glaus was perfect, in both the plan and the execution.

And next inning, Ankiel blasts a fastball into the water. And somehow, Kyle Farnsworth keeps the Giants off the board in the bottom of the 11th.

Not only did it complete a rousing comeback for a down-and-out team that had seen Cox ejected nine innings earlier, it also breathed life back into a postseason in dire need of mouth-to-mouth.

Six outs from a fourth series going 2-0 when bearded Giants closer Brian Wilson was summoned by manager Bruce Bochy, baseball was edging close to four sweeps, a first round ending by Sunday evening, the next round not slated to begin until next Friday.

So what were we all supposed to do if the game went dark Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday?

Convene a national convention to bitch about the umpires?

But enough about a downer of a first round, something that has become an all-too-familiar event and might warrant baseball reviewing the playoff format.

Right now, all the Braves care about is that, somehow, they live.

And bleak as it may look with Jones and Martin Prado (oblique) done for the year -- and, quite possibly, closer Billy Wagner (oblique) to follow after he hurt himself in the 10th inning Friday -- Tim Hudson getting the ball for Game 3 in Atlanta on Sunday looks pretty darned good.

After they scored zero runs in their first 14 innings against the Giants, the Braves finished Friday with five in the last six innings.

They get a couple more Sunday, Hudson steps up and the Turner Field magic kicks in (the Braves' 56 home victories led the majors), who knows? The Giants -- and baseball -- might have a fight on their hands yet.

Comments

Since: Mar 17, 2007
Posted on: October 9, 2010 7:34 pm
 

Glaus sets up Ankiel, Braves and baseball win

Sounds like a die hard Giants fan crying like a little baby.  Wilson couldn't get it done and your 'hero' Posey gagged and couldn't get it out of the infield with the game on the line.  Series over, you watched your last game at home this season my friend.



Since: Jan 21, 2008
Posted on: October 9, 2010 6:59 pm
 

Glaus sets up Ankiel, Braves and baseball win

Mr. Miller, I have season tickets in the first two rows behind the Giants Dugout with an absolute, clear,  view of 3rd base. I don't know what  you were watching, but the ground ball to Glaus was so routine and tailored made for a double play, your grandmother could have done as well as Glaus.  Of all the defensive plays in that game, Glaus' play was normal for any one who has played third base in the big leagues.

Get a life and do some real baseball reporting as opposed to trying to make a routine play into a lifetime achievement award.

Joseph M. Neri



Since: Sep 6, 2008
Posted on: October 9, 2010 3:29 pm
 

Glaus sets up Ankiel, Braves and baseball win

Wow. That just makes me warm and fuzzy all over. Maybe the Braves can carry the momentum to series win and earn the right to be sacrificed at the altar of a Phillies NLCS slaughter.



Since: Jan 25, 2010
Posted on: October 9, 2010 2:34 pm
 

Glaus sets up Ankiel, Braves and baseball win

Me and my mom were watching at her house. She's 85 and I'm, er, 58. Both devoted Braves fans. Neither of us fell asleep, but she had given up when it was 4 zip. I told her I wasn't giving up until the last out in the ninth. What a game!!! Duh! I had my doubts tho when the bases were loaded, Posey at bat and only one out. What a clutch throw by Glaus. And the home run by Ankiel. The Braves are destined to reach the World Series, especially since Wags is probably done. We love watching this team! And we love love Brooks "Butterfingers" Conrad, McCann, Lee, Kimbrel, Lowe, Huddy et al.



Since: Oct 28, 2008
Posted on: October 9, 2010 12:48 pm
 

Glaus sets up Ankiel, Braves and baseball win

Watching Derek Lee's reaction with the out at first was awesome.  That gets you fired up at home to watch. 



Since: Feb 19, 2007
Posted on: October 9, 2010 11:18 am
 

Glaus sets up Ankiel, Braves and baseball win

Nice job Rick Ankiel - I was shocked when that ball went into McCovey cove. After all Ankiel has gone through, it was nice to see...



Since: Mar 10, 2008
Posted on: October 9, 2010 10:26 am
 

Glaus sets up Ankiel, Braves and baseball win

What a great article, especially for those of us Braves fans who have followed this year so closely! And what may be most important is the life, the attitude, the momentum lift this gave the team. From a seemingly slumping, somewhat dejected looking bench (whether reality or not), the explosion of joy s reminiscent of them jumping up and down in the tunnel after McCLouth's homerun. Or the backyard boyish thrill of watching Conrad round first, grabbing his helmet dejectedly and turning to head to the dugout, only to see his teammates whooping and hollering, rushing to home plate to celebrate his grand slam against the Reds.

That spirit is back and will make our guys extremely dangerous. Yes, Kimbrel will have to do Wagner's job, but the kid doesn't seem awed by any of the hoopla. With the tools available, the Braves can win. Just pour some coffee on the bats to keep them awake.



Since: Oct 14, 2007
Posted on: October 9, 2010 9:11 am
 

Glaus sets up Ankiel, Braves and baseball win

UGAbiggestfan- Long week.  I too fell asleep in the 7th and woke up in the 9th mad at myself for falling asleep.  No matter how poor the game was going, I was going to stay with it.  I still hate that I fell asleep, but am so glad I woke up! This crazy season somehow continues.... 



Since: Dec 1, 2007
Posted on: October 9, 2010 7:48 am
 

Glaus sets up Ankiel, Braves and baseball win

As a tired and frustrated Braves fan, I fell asleep in the middle of what was most assuredly going to be another letdown game.  I woke up to see that the Braves pulled out yet another miracle win for the long-ejected Bobby.  Thanks for describing the magical moment in such great detail for the weary-eyed fan.



Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: October 9, 2010 6:10 am
 

Glaus sets up Ankiel, Braves and baseball win

Okay retry, there are various different kinds of stories a reporter can write, one of which being a column or editorial. A column or editorial, which happen to be one of the staples of this site, are what you read on a regular basis. In a column, a reporter's goal is supposed to be to put forth an opinion, and his goal for that column is to get people to read it, so that reporter will probably try to be controversial if that gets more hits. While this has more of a news feel to it, it is not a news story. He used the double play to make his point that someone finally stepped up and made the divisional series something that is remotely interesting and wont be over in two days.


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