Atlanta 3, Kansas City 2

ESPN.com – MLB – MLB RECAP

Things changed quickly there. A couple times. The Braves and Royals each scored a run in the first, and here I’m thinking we’re going to have another high-scoring game. But from there, things settled down, and only one more run was scored in the next seven innings, one run for the Royals in the fourth. They could have scored more, but Ken Harvey was thrown out at home trying to score from second on a single. I didn’t see the play (not being an alien) but I’ve seen Ken Harvey, so it’s not too surprising.

The Braves, however, couldn’t get anything across and it was 2-1 headed into the eighth. Furcal walked leading off, and the Royals pulled their starter Dennys Reyes even though he’d only thrown 92 pitches. Jason Grimsley came in and couldn’t do anything right. After a Green sacrifice, Andruw (hitting in the three spot, and clearly the hero of the day) singled home a run, his second RBI of the game. He made it to third on an error and a groundout, and scored on a wild pitch to give the Braves the lead, and after Smoltz threw a 1-2-3 ninth, the win.

Russ Ortiz was Russ Ortiz. He went seven, needing 121 pitches to do so, 65 of them strikes. He walked four, he struck out five, gave up seven hits (all singles) and two runs. Got a no-decision this time out, though. Reitsma got the win and earned it by facing the heart of the order (Sweeney, Harvey, Stairs) in the eighth and allowed only a single to the latter; Smoltz, as I said, finished it off.

In addition to Andruw in the three-spot (which looks good so far) Chipper was in fact at third base in this game. He played eight innings before Garcia ran for him (DeRosa had already pinch-hit) and stayed in to play third. He had two assists, apparently on the only two plays he had any part in. So far, so good. Ortiz — a righthanded flyball pitcher — was the perfect pitcher to break back into the position with. You wouldn’t want him playing there right off with Hampton or (if he ever gets back) Ramirez on the mound.

The Braves try to get back to .500 — again — tomorrow night. The game will be on SportsSouth so southern non-aliens can watch.

16 thoughts on “Atlanta 3, Kansas City 2”

  1. So it’s Chipper back at third. For those of you without Turner South Skip couldn’t wait past the announcement of the line-up to bring out the “chopper to Chipper” line. I wonder how temporary this move is. When Giles comes back they could move Green to third and Chipper back to left if his hammy feels OK.

    My Team. My Braves. My South. Go Braves!
    Why won’t it stop.(Inside joke for those who have Turner South)

  2. Cee-Lo is better than the Ludacris “Take-take me out to the ball-ball-ball game” from last year. That was just awful.

  3. JC:
    As one of the few of us who also have Turner South, I know what you mean. That commercial is burned into my brain. The tune it one of those that loops itself in your head, and the ‘dance moves’ that the players use (I’m thinking mainly of Chipper’s random pointing, and Marcus’s sideways Tomahawk chop) make my hair hurt.
    Seriously did they just stick everyone in a room and tell them to act as stupid as possible?
    Believe it or not, this is a topic I’ve been wanting to discuss with someone, but there’s so few of us who get to see the commercials and the other wonders of Turner South.

    Oh, the game was exciting. I don’t think you could really blame Julio for trying for a double. I thought he was going to make it (So did Skip, who’s first words when Julio hit it were “There’s a double down the right field line.”) And in the end Julio’s baserunning didn’t cost us anything, which is a nice change of pace.

  4. Note to bwarrend. There is no way in hell that the Pirates even as incompetent as they are let go of Craig Wilson.

    Chipper at 3rd. Yes. I know that most hate this but this is where he has the most value. I’ve always thought that an error he made in the 2001 NL Championship series precipitated the move to acquire Vinny and move him to LF. Given what Cox says in the AJC and other places he has lost confidence in Chip’s ability to play the position. I also think that he places way to much value on defense at 3rd. I remember all the quotes about how great Vinny’s glove was in 2002 when he essentially sucked offensively. The move should be permanent not only for the hamstring but it also has a positive ripple effect. If Marrero is the LF then that is a defensive upgrade. If he can duplicate his 2002 season then he should provide what they were hoping to get from DeRosa. The bench is fortified because DeRosa is better than Garcia. Faint praise indeed but I’d rather see him come up as a PH that Jesse. We keep Julio’s bat in the lineup. Franco wouldn’t be my first choice to play 1st every game but who else on our current roster is better? Next and I know what kind of reaction I’ll get is the Braves won’t feel the need to rush Marte. I think he is special but he is only 20. He should truly prove that he is Andruw and not George Lombard before they rush him up. Lastly the dumping is about to begin as teams find themselves hopelessly out of contention (I hope that aint us) and a league average LF should be an easy commodity to acquire.

  5. I think the move of Chipper to third has a bigger impact on LaRoche than D-Ro. This is DeRosa peak, so he got his time as a starter and now that is probably over. For his career, it is probably better if he starts trying to become a Bragg/M. Franco/Lockhart type. With Marte in the pipeline, I suspect Chipper will be heading to first next year. It will be an easier transition to make the spring. Jurries is playing well at 1B in AAA so I am not sure what is in store for him. LaRoche has not shown much yet, but I think the brass has to think about moving him to the OF or letting others compete for a roster spot with him. And of course, he has the luxury of trying his luck as a pitcher if he wants. He could still be a very good player so I don’t think it’s time to give up on him, but no one can assume he is going to be an everyday player at this point.

  6. I’d place money on the Pirates moving at least one of the 3 guys who came up in 2001. Who will take Kendall and is salary? The Pirates are so desperate for pitching they will do what it takes to show they are helping the club. They can probably trade Simon to somebody like they did last year, but what can they get for him?

    Now that Marrero is well and playing better, it’s great to have him to take over for Chipper in LF. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

  7. I’ve always thought that an error he made in the 2001 NL Championship series precipitated the move to acquire Vinny and move him to LF.

    I’ve always thought the turning point was this game.

    Last game of the 2000 season, and the Braves are closing out the Rockies to earn home field for the first round series against the Cardinals. Rocker is pitching, so (of course) he’s worked himself into a jam. Bases loaded, two outs, Jeff Cirillo is the batter. Cirillo hits an easy – say it with me – chopper to Chipper which Chipper proceeds to throw away and allow the tying run to score. Next batter is Todd Helton who (of course) hits a grand slam off Rocker and the Braves are on their way to losing home field and being swept by the Cardinals.

    It’s true that Chipper did play third the next season – not well but he did play there – but this game is where I think everyone realized they had a problem. Chipper seemed to be developing some kind of “yips” with his throws to first (The Cirillo play really couldn’t have been easier).

    After he moved, I was sure we’d never see him at the hot corner again, but it should be interesting to see how this experiment plays out. It’s hard to imagine that he could give away more runs with his glove than DeRo was with his bat.

  8. Yeah, Turner South Braves thing.. I actually have to mute the TV and turn away when that commercial comes on. It just has the affect of making me want to jump off a bridge.

  9. It’s hard to imagine that he could give away more runs with his glove than DeRo was with his bat.

    You could be right nyb. I remember that game. You’ve hit the nail on the head. 3b is an offensive position. If Marrero is better than DeRosa (a big if) then we are better off. Its definately better than keeping DeRo’s bat and switching out Franco’s.

  10. Personally, I think the Braves should trade Chipper while he still has some value. He is average defensive LF at best and I wouldn’t expect his offensive numbers to improve anytime soon. He is an expensive LF to put up 22-27 HR and hit .280-.290. Perhaps I am jaded by Moneyball and guys like Rob Neyer and Bill James, but I think he is replaceable at all the suggested defensive spots (1B, 3B, LF) that have been mentioned.

  11. CJ — I’m as versed in Moneyball as anyone else, but there is no way the Braves will get rid of Chipper nor should they. He is our Al Kaline. Our Mickey Mantle. Lose him, and you are basically telling Braves fandom that it’s all over, time to find a new team. Besides, though he’s not been very good this year, he is far from done. He has been worth his contract already, and barring injury or steep decline, will be worth re-signing when it’s up.

  12. The Mantle comparison is interesting. After making the postseason annually during his glory years, the Mick was injured and began to slip in 1963, his age 31 season (all things being relative, he was still very good). The Yankees still made the postseason in ’63 and ’64, but then hit the wall in ’65 and were in last place by 1966 and 1967. They kept Mantle throughout their travails (he was, after all, the face of the Yankees at that point), but what if they had traded him? They were basically a .500 team throughout the early ’70s — maybe a couple of hot prospects circa 1966 could have put them over the top.

    I’m not saying we should trade Chipper, but the signposts are there….

  13. Chipper Jones is about as Moneyball-friendly a player as you can get. The guy posted a 140 OPS+ last year(9th in the NL) and that was a down year. You don’t have to be Scott Hatteberg to be valuable to your team.

  14. I wouldn’t trade Chipper. He is a cornerstone type of player that you build your team around. At some point in time when his career is over we’ll be impressed by his consistency. He is due to decline but I don’t see a Dale Murphy type of fall off the face of the earth type of decline. He should be a good to great offensive player for many more seasons.

    It would be hard to trade him in any case. He has a big contract and the teams that can afford him already have big expensive hitters.

  15. It would be hard to trade him in any case. He has a big contract and the teams that can afford him already have big expensive hitters.

    You’ve hit on it right there. The list of teams that would take on his contract is pretty short. Add in the fact that his performance has slipped three seasons running and he has no position and the list pretty much dissappears. To trade him you would have to take back significant salary which would eliminate the whole point of trading him in the first place.

  16. The fallacy in arguing to trade Chipper is the assumption that the team will use the resources in some other effective manner. Chipper may be priced under the old economic system, but if they unload him to reduce payroll, the player they re-sign with the money they save won’t be nearly as good. it’s not like they’d get Beltran (given where his price is likely to go), and if the best they do is keep JD Drew, you’re still then left witth a gaping hole in LF

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