Great Save #254

5-24-07: The latest pitching match up between John Smoltz and friend Tom Glavine of the Mets would end with a historic save for Bob Wickman.

Pitching in his first save opportunity since coming off the DL from a back injury, Bobby’s first converted save in the month of May would cement John Smoltz in Cooperstown as the first ballplayer ever to record 200 wins and 150 saves.

The Wickster’s save record at Turner field was a perfect 14/14 with a stellar 0.35 ERA. But as usual, nothing would come easy in this monstrously important game between the Braves and their arch-rivals, the Mutts. Number 28 would have to summon the beast within to secure this piece of history. With Atlanta leading 2-0, enter the dragon…

The ninth started out with Carlos Delgado leading off, who was 0-6 lifetime against Bob but always dangerous. Looking just to reach base, Delgado slapped a low 1-2 pitch to the opposite field for a single.

…did anyone just hear a growling sound?…

Next up is the equally dangerous Shawn Green, who would be swinging for the fences with a guy on. After our hero fires 2 quick strikes, Green hits what should be a routine 0-2 grounder to 2nd. Bobbled by second baseman Kelly Johnson! E4 – Everyone safe! Not again!

…what the?!-Is that an earthquake? The whole place just shook…

After Ruben Gotay bunted the runners over to 2nd and 3rd, the 48 (or something like that) year old Julio Franco gets his chance to spoil the night for the good guys. He promptly skies a check swing bouncer off home plate. Wick flies off the mound to the right side. He settles, grabs it and smartly underpaws it to Thorman at first. One run scores.

…what’s with the lightning flashes?! Not a cloud in the sky…

One run in, man on third with 2 outs. This is it -Do or die with Jose Reyes to the plate and the pressure at a fever pitch. First pitch is a 90 MPH bulls eye. The second one high. Here comes the 1-1…Popped a mile in the air! Renteria frantically waves everyone off at short. He settles under it and squeezes the final out!

The Bobzilla roar blends in with the cheers of 34,000  fans as the Monster of the Mound fires his spent chaw across the infield in jubilant relief. Save #7 was a long time coming, but couldn’t have been scripted any better as the Big Guy gets a grateful hug from Smoltzie on a baseball night for the ages. J.Ladd