|© 2004 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.|
Notes: Giles dropped to seventh10/11/2004 8:17 PM ET
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Throughout his legendary managerial career, Braves manager Bobby Cox has thrived by sticking to a game plan, even when his players are struggling. But this is the postseason, when all rules go out the window, even for this veteran skipper.
Like he did in Game 4, Cox made some significant changes to his lineup for the decisive Game 5 of the National League Division Series on Monday night. J.D. Drew was once again batting second. But the struggling Marcus Giles was moved down to the seventh spot in the order.
"We did juggle a little bit just to see if we can keep, you know, gather a little luck," Cox said. "Sometimes it pays off. Sometimes it doesn't. We're hoping it does tonight."
Cox's decision to move Drew up to Giles's customary second spot paid dividends when Drew delivered the game-winning single in the ninth inning on Sunday. Before that at-bat, the right fielder had recorded just two infield singles in 15 at-bats in the series.
Giles, who batted in the third spot on Sunday, was unfazed with his demotion in the lineup. Of course, while recording just two singles in 20 at-bats during the first four games, he left Cox with little choice.
"I think it's the best lineup for the team tonight," Giles said. "It's the best one that will help us win. It's not how about how many hits I got. It's about how many hits I'm going to get."
While Giles' futility caused him to drop in the order, the consistent production provided by Andruw Jones earned him the opportunity to bat in the fifth spot on Monday night. The Gold Glove center fielder has been the Braves' most consistent performer, hitting .563 (9-for-16) with two homers and a 1.063 slugging percentage enterting Game 5.
Chipper Jones, whose first two hits of the series came on Sunday, batted third on Monday. Although he declares that to be the spot in which he feels most comfortable, Jones batted there just 18 times during the regular season.
Braves fans show their colors: While the Astros had the support of enthusiastic crowds for Games 3 and 4, they entered an unfriendly environment on Monday night at a raucous and sold-out Turner Field.
The Braves estimated that approximately 20,000 tickets were sold for Game 5 after the Braves recorded their Game 4 victory.
LaRoche's proud papa: While his son has risen to the occasion during his first postseason experience, former Major League pitcher Dave LaRoche has filled the role of a proud father, one who has actually been more nervous than his son.
"It's exciting," LaRoche said. "But I'll tell you that it's a lot easier being in uniform than it is sitting up here watching in the stands."
The elder LaRoche, whose son Adam provided game-tying hits in both of the Braves' first two victories of this series, pitched in the big leagues from 1970-83. He made his postseason debut in 1979 with the Angels and his World Series debut in 1981 with the Yankees.
It's that World Series experience that he's hoping Adam gets to realize in this, his rookie year.
"I had to wait 11 years to get to one," LaRoche said. "He might he get to one in his first year."
The elder LaRoche watched Games 1 and 2 and then remained in Atlanta to help Adam's wife, Jenn, with the couple's two children. He was back at Turner Field for Game 5 on Monday night.
Braves saddened by Cammy's death: Marcus Giles got the news via a phone call from his brother, Brian, at 1 a.m. ET on Monday morning. It hurt him, just like it did the many other former teammates of Ken Caminiti, who knew that he wasn't simply a man who couldn't overcome his tragic drug addictions.
When Brian told Marcus that Caminiti had died at the age of 41 of an apparent heart attack on Sunday night, the Braves' second baseman was saddened and could only think of how much the 1996 NL MVP had helped him during his 2001 rookie season.
"When he was here in 2001, all he did was take me under his wing, show me the ropes and show me what not to do," Giles said. "He was sober as can be when he was here. I felt like I knew him better than anybody, and I don't think he was the guy everybody thought he was."
Caminiti was claimed off waivers by the Braves in early July 2001. He was at the end of his career and he provided little production, batting just .222 with six homers and 16 RBIs in 171 at-bats.
But Braves general manager John Schuerholz, and many around Major League Baseball, still remember Caminiti as an aggressive player who was a three-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove Award winner.
"He was a real competitor," Schuerholz said. "He was a warrior. It's just sad that his life ended the way that it did."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Braves Homepage | MLB.com