Not to be
overshadowed by the tremendous performances of Balfour and Rowland-Smith
yesterday, top ranking Aussie reliever PETER MOYLAN once again put on
a clinic of efficient relief pitching for the Atlanta Braves with two
brilliant scoreless innings during their epic 3-4 loss to the Florida
Marlins in an 11-innings heartbreaker. ‘Big Pete’ relieved starter John
Smoltz for the bottom of the seventh inning with Matt Treanor grounding
softly back to Pete on the mound, then he struck out Alejandro De Aza on a
foul tip and had pinch-hitter Todd Linden called out on strikes. Back to
face the heart of the Fish’s order in the bottom of the eighth Moylan got
Hanley Ramirez to fly out to centrefield, Dan Uggla to ground out to the
short stop and mighty Miguel Cabrera to ground out to the first baseman. It
was yet another masterly day on the hill for Moylan who pared his ERA below
the magical 2.00 mark once again to emphasise what a marvellously consistent
season he has had. Pete pitched 2.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 2k (1.95ERA), while his
bullpen mate RON
MAHAY (Gold Coast Cougars 1996) pitched a useful 1.0ip 0h 0er 1bb 1k
(2.50ERA) in the narrow losing cause.
It was a
hard choice to decide which of Australia’s two relievers was more impressive
yesterday… and who cares?... we’ll start with GRANT BALFOUR who was
positively “filthy” during his one inning for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in
their tight 4-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox. ‘Balf’ kept his team in the
game with a scoreless eighth inning against the toughest part of the White
Sox batting lineup when he hardly gave them a sniff. He started with Paul
Konerko flying out to centrefield, before he literally blew away A.J
Pierzynski with a succession of 97-98mph “heaters” for him to finally
succumb called out on strikes. He then strangled former World Series MVP
Germaine Dye with another thunderbolt, followed by a nasty change-up that he
could only dribble back to the mound for Grant to complete the assist. It
would be difficult to be much better than Balfour’s eight of nine pitches
thrown for strikes in his 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k (6.14ERA) performance.
slower start, young Aussie RYAN ROWLAND-SMITH also turned in a
stunning performance of late relief for the Seattle Mariners who were
already destined to a 0-6 shutout defeat by the tough Los Angeles Angels.
Like Balfour, Ryan was faced with the heart of the Angels lineup today when
he came in for the top of the seventh inning and things looked ominous for
him when Orlando Cabrera singled to left field and superstar Vladimir
Guerrero singled up the middle. He earned a massive relief when he induced
the dangerous Garret Anderson to ground into a double-play to the second
baseman. This enabled him to shut down the inning with Maicer Izturis flying
out to right field. If his seventh inning was a little shaky, his return for
the eighth was anything but, with three ‘whiffing’ strikeouts notched on his
belt. Down went Gary Matthews Jnr., Kendry Morales and Howie Kendrick all
fanning at Rowland-Smith’s deceptive arsenal of pitches. ‘RRS’ threw 22 of
27 pitches for strikes to record another neat 2.0ip 2h 0er 0bb 3k (3.08ERA).
In this game GARY MATTHEWS JNR. (Brisbane Bandits 1997)
batted 1-4 (.264) for the team from Anaheim.
BLUM (Hunter Eagles 1995) was the hero yesterday for the San Diego
Padres when his seventh inning two-run homer was the game breaking blow in
their 3-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Geoff batted 1-3 (.257) with
the two biggest RBI’s in the game.
presence felt immediately after his long-awaited comeback from injury was
New York Mets catcher PAUL LoDUCA (Adelaide Giants 1995) who batted
2-4 (.270) with RBI in their 2-9 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
MAHAY (Gold Coast Cougars 1996) produced another solid inning of
relief for the Atlanta Braves with 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k (2.55ERA) during
their 13-2 belting of the Florida Marlins.
back to today’s other MLB games:
GARY MATTHEWS JNR. (Brisbane Bandits 1997)
‘went yard’ for the 17th time this season with his 1-4 (.264), the RBI and
two runs scored helping his Los Angeles Angels to overcome the Seattle
playing a key offensive role for the Los Angeles Dodgers in their narrow 4-3
win over the Washington Nationals was recent signing SHEA HILLENBRAND
(Gold Coast Cougars 1998) who batted a decisive 2-4 (.251) with two RBI’s.