Boston 5 Atlanta 2

ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Braves at Red Sox

One of the side effects of the high-walk, work-the-count offensive style favored by the “Moneyball teams” is that your starting pitchers get worn down. John Smoltz kept the Red Sox off the board until two out in the fifth, but was already up around 100 pitches, and they chased him after a pair of RBI singles to tie the game. Final line, 4 2/3, 9 hits, 4 K, 3 BB, 2 runs, both unearned after a Betemit error earlier in the inning.

The Braves’ offense didn’t help a whole lot. Chipper’s oblique muscle was acting up again — no surprise given yesterday’s weather — and Betemit was in the lineup in his place, but this time didn’t get a hit. The Braves had only five baserunners in the game, four hits and a HBP. Three of the hits and the HBP were in the fourth, which allowed the Braves to take a 2-0 lead. But they went 1-2-3 every other inning but the ninth, when Orr (playing left) had a leadoff single. Furcal, Giles, and Andruw had the other hits.

Roman Colon is so bad that he made Dan Kolb look good. He did get the last out of the fifth (he has gotten the first batter faced most or all the time this year) but gave up three runs in the sixth. Frank Brooks was sent down after Gryboski was activated; I have to ask what it will take for Colon to get whacked. His ERA now stands at 8.10. Childers allowed a walk in the seventh, and Kolb allowed two hits but had two strikeouts and no walks in the eighth. Needed 25 pitches to do it, though.

This horrible, horrible road trip finished, the Braves stand 1 1/2 out of first. They’re in a lot better shape than they were last year, and have some obvious moves (getting rid of the Mondesi/Jordan monstrosity comes to mind) to help out. But the Marlins are an awfully good team and not a collection of randomly arranged elements like the Phillies of recent years. Anyway, the Mets come to town for three starting tomorrow. The game’s on TBS. Horacio will start against Kaz Ishii, which is Japanese for “Horacio Ramirez”. Expect a lot of long counts. The Braves have announced that Hudson and Davies will start the other games of the series on three days’ rest, rather than calling up another starter or pushing someone like Sosa into a starting role. They have Thursday off and Hampton is eligible to come off the DL on May 31, the next time they’d need another starter.

23 thoughts on “Boston 5 Atlanta 2”

  1. I disagree w/ putting Hudson and a rookie on 3 days rest. Hudson has been average of late asnd this may screw up a 21 year old rookie.

    Luckily they are at home but still, I think this is a grave mistake. The Braves need a series win here to regain confidence and having rested pitchers at home will help out.

  2. Hudson had one bad start in Colorado, like many other people have had. Then he had a good start against the Dodgers (without his best stuff) and pitched well after the early problems on Friday. Four runs against the Red Sox isn’t bad. He’s had some extra rest with all the off-days lately. Davies is a different matter, but then he went only five, and less than 100 pitches, on Saturday, and he was on long rest. It’s not too big of a stretch, especially with the team carrying eight relievers.

    The main problem, for me, is that the Braves would have to either pass someone through waivers or put Thomson on the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man to call up another starter from Richmond.

  3. I’m being forced to read Nikolai Gogol’s “Dead Souls” for English and I can’t help thinking, it’s a perfect title for this team right now, especially since a corpse could out-hit some of our guys (BJ and RM come to mind, although without them in the lineup we still got only 4 hits, I hope Bobby doesn’t draw any misguided conclusions from this). Missed the game, but sounds like Smoltz had a slightly Kolbous outing. Nice to see Marcus’s average creeping up to .300 again, and maybe Furcal’s coming around as well. At least he got a hit.
    Agree with the Hudson/Davies decision. Bad move. Of course, what else can you do?
    I also think we can’t afford to be so blase about the Phillies. They look like they may be coming to life. Maybe it’s just taken 6 weeks for Larry Bowa to fully wear off, but they really torched the O’s today. Granted, we had the fat drunk convict on the mound, but they are really starting to win. Beware of a surge. However, the Nats are tanking right now, so maybe it’ll balance out.

  4. A one-for-four day makes you think Furcal is coming around? His numbers are simply UNACCEPTABLE for a major league shortstop. Since he is a free agent next year, we need to trade him and get value now. Somebody out there will take a flyer on him.

  5. Why the all-out assault on the guy? Yeah, his numbers suck. No arguments there. But I don’t react as strongly to the difference between .211/.259/.303 (Furcal) and .200/.261/.362 (Mondesi). As far as I’m concerned, they both suck, I don’t like Mondesi, and I do like Furcal. And I think he can pull out of it. I think Mondesi is a has-been in an irreversible skid. A lot of Furcal’s decline has been on this hellacious road trip. He was at .248 when they left, which isn’t great, but was pretty much around everybody else (who also weren’t great). And man, has this road trip been awful. I think we should just discount the whole mess and start over again. But, out of curiosity, Malone, why do you hate Furcal so much? I don’t get it.

  6. I know why I don’t like Furcal.

    http://www.mugshots.com/Sport/Rafael+Furcal.htm

    Once is a mistake. Twice is reckless.

    His performance will be fine. Everyone goes through slumps. Also, the offensive production of an outfielder is expected to be higher than that of a shortstop, so comparing his raw numbers to Mondesi’s isn’t really that useful. I can see dropping him in the order while he works through it, but trading him would be rash.

  7. I, personally, am not fond of serial drunk drivers. As you probably saw a few days ago, Furcal is on my list, and I’m comfortable with his place on it. Also, of the longtime Braves hitters (the Joneses, Giles, Franco) he’s the only one I rarely refer to by his first name. And because he plays a key role on the team and never leaves the lineup, his poor performance is much more costly than the Corner Outfield Gang. He’ll probably be gone after this season — unless he keeps hitting like this and can be signed to a discount, but who’d want him then? — and I won’t be particularly sorry to see him go.

  8. For the record, I know I got two strikeouts, but those goons didn’t help me realize my dream of giving up a HR over the Green Monster. It goes to show they are hackers, and I would be a Cy Young candidate in the AL.

    I’m glad Hudson and Davies are going on 3 days’ rest and the other guys are overused. You know I’m going to be in at least two of the games against the Mets. Those guys are an AL team in disguise and I’m gonna go Mariano Rivera on them. Time to get me some more K’s (the over-under for me for the series is 5).

    Hey teammates, don’t forget Boom-Boom is on their team and he’s just starting to hit his stride, so swing away.

  9. Oakland has a pretty good young shortstop who is on his way back. And Billy Beane isn’t stupid enough to take Jordan or Mondesi.

    I actually thought Mondesi was a decent risk. I was dead wrong about that, of course. I’m not even sure if I could defend if he were playing to form. I guess I’ve just always been fooled by his apparent potential. But since he was a *risk*, that you means you have to be willing to accept that it didn’t work out and move on. One day… maybe. I hated the Jordan signing because I’ve just never really thought much of him as a player. But I think he’s looking like a potentially useful platoon guy.

    Malone – obviously, you’re not going to drop your “TRADE FURCAL!!” rant. And I surely can’t blame you for hating the guy right now. He’s a huge part of what’s dragging the offense down. But it’s just incredibly unlikely that there’s a workable deal out there. And you don’t get a lot of value in return when a team takes a “flyer” on a player anyway. He should get better, although he’ll never be what most of thought he would be. And then he’ll be gone next year. The bad part of that is that his replacement will almost certainly be even worse. The good part of that is that he’ll probably be cheaper.

  10. Actually, I think we can get some value for him because there’s gotta be someone out there who thinks it’s just a matter of change of scenery. Obviously, Furcal has been a VERY productive major league SS. Someone will see that he’s not finished. He needs to get out of Atlanta.

  11. What I hate about a game like yesterday is that Jordan and Mondesi sit, and the offense still sucks, so there’s likely another two weeks riding the pine for Langerhans and Betemit et al.

  12. It would be interesting to see if Atlanta could make some deal with Cincinnati involving Lopez and Kearns (I guess there was some rumor about this in the offseason). Cincinnati might bite if thought they could sign Furcal, and if Atlanta included a prospect. Plus, I’m sure they’d have to take Graves (ugh). But you include Mondesi in the deal (assuming they see him as a useful 4th OF), and at least the salaries shake out. There’s a mutual option on Graves’ contract for next year, so they wouldn’t be saddled with some nasty long-term commitment (depending on buy-out $$, if any). Interesting, but it just doesn’t seem like the kind of thing Atlanta would do even if Cincinnati would.

  13. Malone, I don’t see the Braves trading Furcal. SS with his ability are rare commdities. He sucks now but when he gets hot (and he will) he’ll end up being one of the top 5 offensive SS in the league. Next year someone will pay 10 to 11 million per year for him (based on the outrageous contracts that Renterai and Cabrera got) and we’ll end up putting a light hitting defensive hole in the lineup there. No replacement within the system and proven potential are the main reasons Furcal won’t be traded but the corner OF Godawful mess makes it impossible. At least Furcal has a decent chance to get better. Mondesi (whom I agree was a decent gamble) and Jordan (who is at best now the 4th OF) don’t. Because of that getting some guy that fields but can’t hit a lick hurts us even more than letting Furcal sort himself out.
    Bobby needs to move him down in the linup and the organization has to take a chance on our AAA talent soon or we may be double digits down in the lost column no matter how good our pitching is.

  14. Furcal/Jordan/Mondesi for a Thomson replacement ASAP. The youngsters can take over in the field/lineup.

  15. There isn’t a replacement. Orr isn’t really a shortstop, and Betemit plays defense like Howard Johnson on crystal meth. In the minors, Tony Pena Jr. can’t hit at all, and Luis Hernandez has been making Pena look like A-Rod. Kelly Johnson was apparently so bad defensively that they’d rather keep Betemit at short and play him in the outfield.

  16. Letting my mind run. Y’all think that Giles would have the range to play SS and Marte the grace to play second? Its playing two guys out of position, but I’m thinking more about this happening next year than now.

  17. OK, I’ll drop the TRADE FURCAL rant. But if his numbers are still in the bottom 20% of the league at the end of June, I shall return.

    Look at the front page of baseballprospectus.com to see the top 5 NL shortstops.

  18. Marte could probably play shortstop, at least at a Nomar-type battling the position to a draw level. But the Braves have never tried to push him there.

  19. I’m not sure about that, Mac. I don’t really think the skill sets for third and short are the same; third base requires quick reactions and soft hands but little range, while shortstops needs quickness and running speed, as well as the ability to turn double plays, hold runners on, throw across the body, etc. Sure, Marte has some of these, but I would wager that both Betemit and Kelly Johnson would be a much better shortstop than him.

  20. Honestly, I think Marcus is too short to play SS. More range is needed there and he’s never going to have it. Plus he’s not naturally good defensively, he’d have to learn it. Not really viable.

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