10/01/2003 2:31 AM ET
Bullpen gets the job done
Trio of relievers lift Wood, Cubs past Braves in Game 1
ATLANTA -- Trying to protect a 4-1 lead against the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, Chicago Cubs starter Kerry Wood got into some trouble in the eighth inning, but relievers Mike Remlinger and Kyle Farnsworth prevented the Braves from doing any serious damage.
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
With the bases loaded and one out, manager Dusty Baker brought in the lefty Remlinger, who played for years with the Braves, to face the switch-hitting Chipper Jones and force the latter to bat from the right side of the plate. Jones is less powerful from that side of the plate. Only two of his 27 homers were hit from the right side.
Jones hit what looked like a routine groundball, to shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who forced Gary Sheffield at second base, but Jones beat Mark Grudzielanek's throw at first. Matt Franco scored the second run of the game for Atlanta.
The replay showed that Jones was out, but Remlinger refused to criticize first base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt.
"I thought he was out. I don't want (Wendelstedt's) job. I think those guys do a good job back there," Remlinger said. "It was definitely a bang-bang play. As long as it didn't cost us the game, that's fine. I don't need to look at the replay. As long as you get the outs, that's all that matters."
Baker then brought in the right-handed Farnsworth, who walked Andrew Jones to reload the bases. Farnsworth
redeemed himself, however, by inducing Javy Lopez to hit
into a force play to end the inning.
"I said all along without the guys in front of me I wouldn't be able to do my job effectively," said closer Joe Borowski, who saved Game 1 by shutting out the Braves in the ninth inning. "Unfortunately, they don't get the praise for it."
Said Remlinger, "That's what we expect ourselves to go out and do. If the situation calls for us to get out of the jam or maintaining a lead, we pride ourselves in trying to do that job. I think a lot of people of knocked what we have done in that bullpen and I think if you look at what we have done in the past month, we have done a pretty good job out there."
There is no reason to knock Remlinger and Farnsworth.
Remlinger was 6-5 with a 3.65 ERA, while Farnsworth was 3-2 3.30 in 77 games during the regular season.
"Our job is to get people out and that's what we are called upon to do. We did that tonight. We hope to just keep it going and we just go from there," Farnsworth said.
a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to
approval by Major
League Baseball or its clubs.