Reds-Braves one for the books

Jeff Austin allowed home runs to the first three batters, a feat achieved but once before in baseball history.

Updated: May 29, 2003, 8:56 AM ET
By Jim Baker
After two good outings from their normally undependable starting corps, something was about to give for the Reds. On Monday, John Reidling pitched 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball to open the game. On Tuesday, Jimmy Haynes pitched five innings and surrendered only two runs. That the Reds bullpen blew Reidling's lead in the first game and the team lost the second game is beside the point. The fact is, Reds' starters kept the team in the game on two consecutive days. While neither start was the stuff of pitching legend (Reidling had a game score of 66 and Haynes' was 47), they were, by comparison to most Cincinnati starts, stellar.

Such was not the case last night when poor Jeff Austin allowed consecutive home runs to the first three batters (Rafael Furcal, Mark Derosa and Gary Sheffield) to open the first inning, a feat achieved but once before in major league annals. Usually, baseball players (and all athletes) look elsewhere for the reasons for their failings. It's a defense mechanism, of course and it is probably unfair to say it only applies to athletes. Everyday people do it as well. Let's just say it's human nature. Therefore, it was especially refreshing/surprising to see this quote Austin, who failed to get out of the first inning for the second straight start: "My goodness, this team is definitely better without me on it,'' Austin told the Associated Press. "I'm surprised I've stayed here this long.''

Man! Such candor! What would life be like if we were all that honest in our self-assessments?
Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at