Pittsburgh 5 Atlanta 2

ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Braves at Pirates

This is awful. Greisinger wasn’t great, but good enough to keep the Braves in it. But the bullpen sucked again, and the offense was hopeless except for Ryan Langerhans, and the Braves finally fell out of first place.

Greisinger got in trouble in the first, allowing one run and having another runner thrown out at the plate to end the inning. He was better after that, but still remarkably hittable, allowing seven hits in five innings, including two doubles and a solo homer in his last inning that tied the game at 2. It’s good enough for him to get the next start when needed, not good enough, I’d guess, for them to not skip him with the day off next week.

But Adam Bernero gave up a two-run homer in the sixth, taking the loss, and Sosa screwed up and committed an error leading to a run in the seventh. Oddly, Colon managed to pitch an inning without allowing a run.

The first five hitters in the Braves lineup — Furcal, Giles, Chipper, Julio, Andruw — were hitless against Oliver Perez. (Hey, everybody, send your struggling young aces to face us! They’ll right themselves in a hurry!) The first three did draw a walk apiece. Julio struck out three times, usually swinging on pitches nowhere near the strike zone. Langerhans was 2-3, including a long homer accounting for both runs.

The Natspos beat the Marlins and move into first place. The Braves are a half game back, the Mets and Phillies a half game behind them, the Marlins a half game behind them. I don’t take the Natspos seriously — they simply don’t have enough good players and the ones they do are fragile — but this stretch, when the Marlins have been struggling mightily, is something that the Braves should have taken advantage of but didn’t.

The Braves play the California Angels (that’s what I’m going to call them, because the name they’re trying to use is stupid) in Atlanta starting tomorrow. Smoltz will face John Lackey to start; Paul Byrd will return to Atlanta in the second game of the series. (Well, actually I’m sure he’ll be there Monday if not tonight, but he’ll be on the mound Tuesday.)

57 thoughts on “Pittsburgh 5 Atlanta 2”

  1. Time for Chipper to go on the DL. He’s hurting the team. It’s one thing for a guy to try to play through pain when he’s being effective but it should be clear that the Braves could use the roster spot better if they weren’t having to juggle guys with injuries. Time to give Mr Marte a look-see and let Betemit play for Furcal until he can get back to 100%. Then you let the guys duke it out for playing time once everyone gets back to full strength.
    But no one is going to heal if they keep playing and tweaking stuff.
    And I am not blaming Chipper for everything that’s been going wrong (besides, everyone knows it’s Andruw’s fault :-) – he carried the team early on. But it think it is time that the ‘fragile’ label can fairly be applied.

  2. This division race is shaping up to be even more of a nail-biter than the one in ’93, so Chipper should rest and get ready for after the All-Star break. It’s time to add Marte to the list of youngbloods on the team.

  3. Look at it this way: we scored 200% more runs than yesterday!

    Although that’s technically true, it means nothing. We have now scored 3 runs in 3 games. Against Pittsburgh, emphasis on the Pit. It’s time to start blaming the offense more than the bullpen. Yes, they have been giving up runs, but at this point, they cannot afford to give up any with the offense we have and that is a ridiculous standard to hold anyone to. Don’t you think the pitchers know that? They know they can’t make mistakes and so they stop being aggressive and then the tailspin just continues. Bernero gave up one bomb, one mistake, but that was it. The offense couldn’t do anything. I’m not saying our bullpen is good. It’s not. Our solid relievers, Reitsma, Sosa, and Foster, are inconsistent, Bernero is so-so and I won’t even start on Kolb, Gryboski, and Colon except to say: blecchh. But it is time to put this on the offense. Good hitting beats good pitching. The O’s have mediocre starting pitching and excellent hitting and therefore lead the best division in MLB by 3.5 games. Down by 6? No problem. Pick the pitcher up. The Braves have great starting pitching and no offense, so unless the pitching is perfect, which it isn’t, you wind up with what we have now.

    I disagree with your view of the Nats, Mac. I’m very worried about them. Maybe they don’t have the absolute best players and they ARE frail (Nick Johnson gets acid reflux? uhhh…), but all of their players are very solid, we just haven’t heard their names much. They also have a lot of spirit, a loud and obnoxious but devoted fan base (which does make a difference, look at Boston) and they’re rapidly gaining confidence. They took 3 of 4 from us and swept the Marlins. What aren’t we worried about?

  4. They only took 3 of 4 from us because of Kolb and Colon, with an umpire assist; it would have been 3 of 4 the other way with any luck at all. Most of their players are mediocre, and they don’t have any real stars except maybe Johnson. Guillen’s playing well now but he’ll come down to Earth soon like always.

  5. It’s weird. Jenny said the same thing I heard the usually correct Pete Van Wieren say today: that the Braves have scored 3 runs in 3 games. It’s actually 4 runs in 3 games. Not to nitpick, though. The ONLY reason I mention it is because of the Van Wieren thing above. Game 1 of series lost 3-1, Game 2 won 1-0 and today’s loss 5-2. The offense needs a rainout like in Bull Durham, or some help from Joe Boo. This is getting to be terribly unwatchable baseball.

  6. I agree with the “positive spin of Jonathan. This is the time for the rooks to get their chance. “Now” or be traded; or “Now” in order to be traded. This is part of what makes baseball exciting for me. The vets go down and its a chance to see what the rookies can do. Some will step up and become stars, and some will fail.

  7. Somebody on the Braves forum said 3 runs, I erroneously assumed it was correct. Sorry! But I don’t see how it makes any difference in what I was saying. And I still think the Nats will be there. They have, for sure, played much better baseball than us as of late, and I don’t see why they’d have any higher probability of dying than we would. Nobody expected this kind of performance from our team, so I think maybe expectations are overrated.

    Chipper needs to be on the DL immediately. Whatever he did to himself, it sounds serious. I don’t know what’s happening with him, but he’s not helping himself or anyone by playing. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it was steroid withdrawal a la Jason Giambi :-) Give Andy Marte a shot or make Betemit a starter and see how he does.

    Nice headline on the official site: “Greisinger shines but Braves bats buckle.” Superb alliteration, wrong word. The bats did not buckle today. They were never really there to begin with.

  8. I agree that Marte needs to be given a shot already & Chipper put on the DL. This is getting ridiculous.

    I also agree with the assessment that the pitching staff is being held to an UNREASONABLE standard. The starting & relief pitching. The fact is, the Saturday game is about the only way we can win each time. We need Smoltz, Hudson, Davies etc. to throw shutouts every single time. It’s an unreasonable standard.

    We need to think about some wholesale changes already. Call Marte up, call up Jorge Vazquez, trade for some veteran bats such as Preston Wilson, Bobby Kielty, Aubrey Huff, etc.

    Finally, Mac, you are deasd wrong about the Nationsl series—DEAD WRONG. Bobby Cox cost us all three of those games and the umps gave him an assist in Game 1.

    Just my 2 cents but I am beyond fed up with this baseball team. Thank God for following my San Antonio Spurs and my Fantasy Baseball players.

  9. That doesn’t change my basic point, Alex: the Braves should have won at least 3 of 4 of those games, and it took a ton of bad breaks and bad decisions to make things go the Natspos’ way. That sort of stuff evens out over the course of the season.

  10. Do you think that if we had another 3-game series with the Nats tomorrow, Mac, that we’d win then? I don’t.

    I still want Brian Giles. I don’t know what we’d have to give to the Padres to get him, probably way too much, but I like this idea. Aubrey Huff would also be good. And if he comes here and totally dies offensively, it’s time to give TP a hard examination.

  11. I agree with everyone that it’s time for Andy Marte to make his debut. Chipper is a gamer and we love that about him but he needs a few days off, it will help us later on in the season. Betemit can’t sit. He’s been one of our hottest hitters who needs consistent playing time to remain consistent and move him up in the order preferably an RBI spot(maybe 2nd or 3rd). Langer’s been great and should be in there everyday from now on. Wasn’t Marte trained in left field awhile ago??? What happened?? He can’t be that bad, can he?? Greg Luzinski used to play the outfield in his career and he’s slower than my coffee table.
    We also need to find a leadoff hitter(like Johnny Damon) who will sit there and see 9 to 10 pitches an at bat and walk once in awhile. Furcal’s stolen bases are great but his impatience at the plate is killing us. Giles might be the best choice for a leadoff hitter.
    It’s been up and down this year but they are still right there in the division. News could be worse. We could have a $200 million dollar payroll and just gotten swept by the Royals.

  12. One concept that has to change is this idea that you have to have a speedster leading off. Forget this asnd get good hitters out there.

    What that means really is that the future is now.

    Furcal has to go to the bench. Until our “starters” start hitting, my starting infield on the current roster would be Marte at 3rd, Betemit at SS, Orr at 2nd and Julio Franco at 1st. Furcal & Giles to the bench.

    The outfield is a much larger problem offensively. Andruw, Jordan and Kelly Johnson have all stunk of late…the only guy we are getting ANYTHING from is Langerhans.

    However, since you NEED Andruw’s defense, I would go with an outfield of Langerhans, Andruw (hitting 8th at all times now, hes completely untrustworthy) & make a trade for a veteran big bat ala Preston Wilson from Colorado for example.

    If Estrada can’t hit consistently, make him the back up to Brayan Pena.

    the new lineup:

    1-Pete Orr, 2B
    2-Wilson Betemit, SS
    3-Ryan Langerhans, OF
    4-Preston Wilson, OF*
    5-Andy Marte, 3B
    6-Brayan Pena, C
    7-Julio Franco, 1B
    8-Andruw Jones, CF

    That moves Furcal, Giles, Kelly Johnson, Estrada & LaRoche to the bench; when a Preston Wilson or someone similar comes over, Brian Jordan finally gets cut.

    Look, I am not saying that the new lineup & bullpen I am proposing wins the NL Easst. I am saying that the situation is desperate enough that wholesale changes have to be made. I am really angry with marcus the most because their’s no injury so what the hell is his excuse? Maybe he earns his way back in and Pete Orr is limited but at least he’s making base hit contact often enough.

    Next, the bullpen.

    Frankly, even Bernero & Sosa are getting hit more often but I chalk it up to more a product of the pressure of the awful Braves offense.

    Dan Kolb-Gone, already
    Roman Colon-Richmond
    Kevin Gryboski-Gone

    Add in to the bullpen–Jorge Vazquez, Jay Powell & maybe pick up Bob Wickman cheaply

    Within the next few weeks, we now have a rotation of Smoltz, Hudson, Davies, Ramirez & Greisinger; bullpen of Vazquez, Powell, Wickman, Bernero, Sosa, Foster & Reitsma as closer

  13. Orr over Giles? And leading off every day? I’d ask if you were serious, but I’m sure you are. Why is Langerhans starting over Johnson? Because of, what, 20 at-bats? Preston Wilson? Well, I suppose it could be worse… but not for his price tag. Maybe if Colorado picked up all the salary and promised to undo the trade when his leg comes apart at the knee.

    Orr over Giles? For real, man? And Franco over LaRoche every day? LaRoche has had it rough latey, and he’s not great… but, really. You’re putting an awful lot into what’s happened over just the last few days. But I guess it’s your hypothetical team.

    Wickman? Yeah, well I guess he’s a “proven closer” if that turns you on.

  14. Alex, that’s nuts. Giles is several times the player Orr is and not playing that badly. Preston Wilson is a terrible player who has hit .219/.288/.406 on the road this year. Julio has been awful all year. That team would finish last in every division but the AL Central. Get ahold of yourself.

  15. Sure, the Braves “should have” won 3 of 4 against the Nationals, but that’s just a small sample of games. The lucky breaks that will even out over a long season might just be offsetting a clustering of poor hitting or poor pitching which will be better over a long season. Even if the Braves swept, it would be hard to make season-long predictions from one series.

    The threat the Nationals bring is their pitching. Patterson really looks like a top pitcher, and it doesn’t look flukey when you look at his non-ERA stats from last year. Cordero looks like a top closer, Ayala’s been great, and Osuna will be great for them when he comes off the DL. Livan and Okha give their rotation pretty good depth, too. Sure, Loaiza’s numbers probably won’t hold up, but their other three look pretty great, with solid late relief.

    There is no real offensive star besides Vidro, but good pitching will win a lot of ball games. I’d be wary of discounting Washington.

  16. It might finish last in the AL Central as well, the Royals have been playing better as of late. Other than to say you absolutely should not bench LaRoche for Franco and that, the way we’ve been going psychologically and offensively, Marcus should not be benched for any reason other than decapitation. He has the second highest BA on the team! However pathetic this may sound, there is no reason to bench him. You’re upset because he’s not hitting .320 like he usually does, but nobody’s doing what they usually do, so I think the kid deserves some slack. Go get some sleep, you’ll feel better tomorrow.

    I was watching the O’s game today and they have activated Troy Percival. He pitched a scoreless 9th and made the O’s look stupid doing it. This means that Ugueth Urbina may be trade bait. Does this appeal to anyone? I feel he’s very solid and he may be what we’re looking for. I don’t know what we’d give them. Not Furcal, they don’t need him. Nook Logan is plenty fast enough for their speed needs and Carlos Guillen has been excellent at shortstop (well, offensively, anyway). They also have really good outfielders, so no help there. They need a 1B or 2B, I guess. Thoughts?

  17. I forgot to finish a sentence. I meant to say that “Other than blah blah, I won’t address Alex’s hypothetical scenario because it’s clearly the work of a temporarily unstable psyche.”

  18. I agree that Chipper should go on the DL. I guess that Marte should be called up, but I don’t think he’s quite ready. As good as Betemit has played, he definitely should be given an everyday job unless he stops hitting. I would like to see Furcal given a chance to work out of his slump – especially because I want to see him traded soon and he needs stats as high as possible for trade value.

    It is amazing how incredibly average or below average both the hitting and pitching is in Richmond right now. Of course taking Davies, Foster, and Gresinger from their staff hasn’t helped them much. Those 3 guys have allowed four runs in 38.1 total innings in Atlanta. Not too bad, although I’m afraid Greisinger will have problems if he pitches like he did today against a hot hitting team.

    Who said that Greisinger would pitch reasonably well, but not well enough to win with the Braves anemic offense – or something to that effect? That was definitely a good call.

  19. Marte’s hitting .277/.365/.497 at Richmond, with nine homers and 34 runs batted in. Four of those categories lead the team, with the slugging number the exception (the juiced-up Jurries still leads the R-Braves at .512). I’d say Marte’s ready, the question is just whether Chipper is hurt badly enough for the DL.

    Betemit’s been a nice surprise, but he’s exactly what he needs to be, a utility guy/pinch-hitter.

  20. First time posting here – love the site.

    Tough loss today. Actually, pretty rough series all around. To state the obvious, the offense needs to get its act together. I’m as frustrated as anybody with Furcal’s refusal to be more patient at the plate. Those few home runs he hit the first week of the year must still be in his mind, because he’s swinging for the fence at everything. Including balls in the dirt. He is playing incredible D- which is invaluable up the middle. How about moving him down to 8th in the lineup to take some pressure off of him? With less than two outs, opposing pitchers would hate to walk him to get to the pitcher. And maybe moving him down in the order would spark something inside him. Just an idea.

    Chipper is visably hurt, and with so much season left he needs to get healthy for the stretch run. Betemit is playing lights out in the field and at the plate and should get the nod at third while Chipper recovers. So if Chipper goes on the DL, who do you call up? Do you bring up Marte and let him sit on the bench? Well, interleague play is about to start; do you give him a chance to DH?Thoughts?

    As for the bullpen. I like Urbina, but I have no idea who we could offer to get him unless we gave away more than he’s worth in prospects. Where do you guys see Davies in the scheme of things once (if) Hampton and Thomson get healthy? The Baseball Tonight crew has been talking up a return to the bullpen for Smoltz, and at first I was adamently against the idea. But Davies is probably going to have at least a month more of starts to prove himself, and if he continues to shine, why not keep him in the rotation and move Smoltz to the pen? The problem is solved in-house without having to give up prospects or take on more money.

  21. If you want Urbina, Dave Dombrowski wants pitching. Power pitching. And he won’t move unless you make him an offer he can’t refuse, because he can afford to wait for the trade-deadline bidding war.

    *If* Hampton gets healthy, we can talk about whether moving Smoltz to the pen is worth having Greisinger in the rotation. I’ll be surprised if John Thomson pitches effectively this season.

    DL Chipper, call up Marte. Bench Furcal and play Betemit. Let Langerhans play every day–might as well see if he can hit lefties; it’s not like Jordan has been.

    Do not, under any circumstances, trade for Preston Wilson.

    And take two aspirin and call me next week.

  22. If Hampton and Thomson are back, I would move Rameriz to the bullpen. Reitsma has proved that it’s not that hard to pitch the ninth. We just need another solid setup man to stablize the bullpen.

    Urbina? Dombrowski will ask for Davies right away. Why do we need Wilson? He is the poor version of Andruw. I am against benching Furcal (as long as he is healthy). He has been consistent over the past three years swinging for the fence, so I would expect he will be playing better sooner or later.

    I am debating myself whether we should play Betemit or calling up Marte. I guess I am more toward playing Betemit for the same reason I think we should play more Langerhans: they have proved themselves at Richmond, let them prove themselves playing against the big guys. We can let Marte spending more time at Richmond, which never hurts his development in my opinion.

  23. Repeat after me: The guys on baseball tonight are idiots. Please say it 100 times before watching the show again. Or, better yet, just stop watching the show. John Kruk is funny and Harold Reynolds wears pretty suits, but they haven’t got a clue.

    Putting Smoltz back in the bullpen is tempting in some ways, I know. But it is a ridiculously poor use of resources. If he can start, he should start. I just can’t be convinced that a great reliever is more valuable that a very very good, and sometimes great, starter. And that’s the trade-off there as long as Smoltz is healthy.

    I don’t know what we can do about the ‘pen. There’s going to be so much competition to trade for avaliable closers, like Urbina, that the price will probably be prohibitive. I just don’t know if Atlanta can afford to get one, considering that they have no choice but to keep one eye on the future. I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing, because there will be some duds out there that teams will pay way too much for (Baez, Wickman) If Reitsma could be more consistent, I don’t have a problem with him finishing games. The we’d just need some decent depth behind him in the ‘pen. There are good relievers out there that don’t wear what Mac called the “scarlet C”.

  24. It’s time for some new faces around the clubhouse. Now with an ailing Chipper it is the perfect time to give Marte a chance. We need some spark in our bats. It gets tiresome to lose to a makeshift Pirate team and an overrated Natspos.

  25. Why does everyone think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell of the Braves making a significant move. Repeat after me–NO MORE PAYROLL. They are going to go with what they have, wait for people to get healthy and hope it’s enough. If not, wait till next year. To make any kind of significant move would require taking on more payroll and they aren’t going to do it. Frankly, I think the team was overrated from the start; we knew they would have trouble scoring runs even if the big guys hit (and, by the way, although I know Andruw is the MVP, has anyone notice that his terrific new stance has made absolutely no difference?). The bullpun was problematic even though no one thought Kolb would be as bad as he is. Teams that win in the playoffs usually make moves during the season–look at Boston next year. The Braves won’t do that, so you are pretty much stuck with a team that is currently relying on three rookies. Even if you call Martie up, the Braves track record with hitters suggests that he is not likely to light up the league. The Braves rookies are not Lynn and Rice.

    As for blaming Bobby Cox’s decisions, he’s made some bad ones, but that’s not why they are losing. They have little hitting and a bad bullpen. The guys making a lot of money are playing poorly and they are trying to rely on rookies who are trying to learn at the major league level.

    By the way, am I being unreasonable to expect the second highest player on the team to actually pick up some of the slack or is that just Andruw-bashing again? At last look, he was hitting .249. But, I forget, blaming Andruw for anything is verboten.

  26. The AJC is reporting that Chipper is possibly headed to the DL. If this is true, I’d agree with mac f above on Marte – bring him up and let him DH. If Chipper weren’t hurt, I’d actually expect Bobby to DH him for a week or two here, and let Betemit start at 3B.

  27. Except that there are only going to be 3 games using the DH this round. I don’t think they’d have any option but to bring up Marte if Larry went on the DL. But if they did, he would definitely be playing 3B, pushing Betemit to the bench unless or until Furcal needs rest. They’re not going to bring him up to sit on the bench. My guess is that they will hold off on the DL thing unless their either absolutely certain that he needs two full weeks off or there are still significant concerns about Frucal’s shoulder.

    Marc – I don’t know why you are so completley sure that there are no trades to be made. Just because they won’t be picking up some outfielder’s $12M or some closer’s $4M does not mean there aren’t deals that could be made. Using Boston as your example for last year sorta defeats your point anyway, since I believe the salaries in the big deal they made last year ended up roughly even. But I must admit that I sincerely doubt Altanta is bold enough to make a deal of that magnitude. But there are less expensive guys that could be traded for with the right mix of prospects. And there are also teams willing to eat salary in exchange for prospects. I’m not saying it will happen, but it certainly is not out of the realm of possibility.

  28. creynolds,

    I hope you are right. Maybe I am unduly skeptical, but recent years don’t give me much hope.

  29. I don’t think the Braves will make a deal so they can play the “rent a huge contract for the rest of the season” game. I do believe that they’ll make one or two significant trades. I really think they’re much closer to getting a manageable bullpen (I didn’t say great or even good) by bringing up Vasquez and Powell (when/if he’s healthy) than they are to having a decent hitting team. Reitsma looked good closing the 9th the other night, but he definitely hasn’t proven himself as the answer as closer yet – check back in a month on that one. Bernero has done okay and I’m not against him, but I still think it’s too early to tell whether or not he will be a good solution for us throughout the year. I’m still leary of his career numbers – again check back in a month or two. I can’t see Smoltz going back to the pen under any circumstances. Creynolds’ warning about the Baseball Tonight crew is right on target.

    I actually wasn’t against picking up Jordan, but I thought he would be used as a fourth outfielder and pinch hitter. I just don’t believe he’ll ever be good enough to be an everday player again. The fact is, it is almost impossible to get consistent hitting from 2 rookies at the same time at the corner o/f positions. Bringing in Marte at 3B may help for a while, but realistically he can’t come close to matching a healthy Chipper (at least pre-2004) in terms of leadership or production.

    We don’t need to panic, but having Chipper banged up, LaRoche reverting back to pre-All Star break hitting from last year, Furcal slumping, and almost everyone else hitting below their career numbers is just about insurmountable. Bringing in a proven outfielder that is not overpriced and can hit about .280 with 20 hrs is about the best we can hope for, I’m afraid. I’m not sure if this solution can bring us another pennant unless our veterans turn their hitting around and the starting staff gets healthy quickly. If Cox is able to turn it around without mortgaging the future, I think he’ll deserve MOY again – even if he has made some abhorrent moves over the last few weeks. Again, this can’t continue if the Braves are to turn it around.

  30. I’m not overly optimistic myself. Not that they haven’t made good in-season trades before. But the overall history isn’t what I would call encouraging… at least as far as offensive players go.

  31. I may look like a dope for asking this, but am I the only one looking for the braves to take a good hard look at Ken Griffey Jr. to continue to put up good power numbers. I know he’s injury prone, but 4 months of a healthy Jr. would solve the Brian Jordan situation. Oh yeah, last time I checked, Dan Kold (sic) still doesnt have the arm my little sis has!!

  32. I think Terrence Moore still wants him ;-)

    Seriously, Jr. is so tempting in a lot of ways. He’s still one of my favorite players of all time, and there’s little outside of an Atlanta WS win that would make me happier than to see him stay healthy for the rest of his career. But we already have one over-priced center fielder (it’s not all Andruw’s fault, but he isn’t earning his salary). It’s a risk they can’t afford to take.

    And, no, I don’t really have much of anything better to do this morning than to post comments to this blog :-)

  33. BTW, has anyone caught the moniker asigned from Chris Berman for Ryan “I cant palm a basketball, I need” Langerhaans. I love Boomer.

  34. I say we move WB while we still can and call up Marte and put CHipper on the DL. We are not going any where with a hurt Chipper and we are going to need him in the second half. Anyone else think we need 8 innings from Smoltz tonight?

  35. Oh, man. That is a great one. Right up there with Bert “be home” Blyleven, Oddibe “young again” McDowell and my personal favorite, the supremely under-rated Octavio “shhhhhhhhhhhh” Dotel.

  36. I’m no expert in this, but Chipper’s foot injury sounds incredibly similar to what I had. I experienced the same kind of pain playing basketball and found out it was a tear of the plantar fascia. Eventually I had to have surgery for tarsal tunnel syndrome. I went to Dr. Gould in B’ham – the same Dr. who has performed surgery on Smoltz a few times. It’s not worth a lot of speculation at this point, but don’t be surprised if you hear somthing about this soon.

  37. One correction. I don’t believe Gould operated on Smoltz, but his surgery was done by the one of the surgeons in the same staff of surgeons at Healthsouth in B’ham.

  38. Schuerholz basically stole Tim Hudson from the A’s, and Billy Beane is a smart GM. So maybe we can also work something like this for Urbina. I still find him very appealing, and I’m tired of this “don’t spend anything” mentality the club seems to have. If you want results, you have to invest. If AOL does not want to do that, they should not own the team (and they should not). We can’t give up Davies, but if we can fool them into thinking they need somebody else, maybe it will work. I just wish somebody would do something! JS will never make the kind of bold move that may be necessary to shake this team up, give it a swift kick in the butt, and make it start performing. Part of me wonders what we’d be doing now if Theo Epstein were our GM. Trading Nomar took guts, and it panned out. Of course, Theo has a lot more money at his disposal, but it’s an interesting hypothetical scenario.

  39. Couple comments –
    Everybody’s down on LaRoche, but he has habitually struggled in the 1st half of seasons (did it in the minors & did it last year – he started off strong this year but tailed off lately). There’s still a good chance that he gets hot as summer progresses. Maybe he’s the reverse Paul LoDuca…
    Franco has been (to me) the biggest disappointment (as it difference between expectations/past performance and actual performance) – I can’t even remember how many at-bats I saw over the last several years where he fought off pitch after pitch until he got one he could handle. This year he looks totally overmatched – fooled on pitches he would have taken or fouled off in the past. Is his age FINALLY catching up with him? I hope not but…
    Also, regarding bullpen help – I saw an little blurb about Jeremy Affeldt coming back from the DL for the Royals. He may not have a spot with them – if we could pick him up cheap (ie. no major prospects) he might help solidify the pen. He’s closed games, so he could step in if Reitsma falters, or could be a solid set-up guy (if Reitsma holds the line), pushing everyone else down a notch & the worst guy (Colon/Kolb) out. At any rate I think it would be a low risk proposition that could pay off nicely if it worked out. One of the biggest drawbacks is that he’s not cheap, but he’s not mega-expensive either.
    And I’d rather they didn’t try to trade for Griffey – he makes mucho dinero & is too likely to be injured (and it’s not like he’s been one of the top players recently even when healthy). I hate to sound like I’m disrespecting the guy because he was so incredible early on – I guess I just think he’s way to risky to gamble on (in an already dicey situation)

  40. Man, you gotta love this proposed lineup:

    the new lineup:

    1-Pete Orr, 2B
    2-Wilson Betemit, SS
    3-Ryan Langerhans, OF
    4-Preston Wilson, OF*
    5-Andy Marte, 3B
    6-Brayan Pena, C
    7-Julio Franco, 1B
    8-Andruw Jones, CF

    It reeks of desperation (and would make a great AAA all star lineup, with all due deference to Julio and Preston–but not Andruw because it IS all his fault).

    The braves have, in the last few years been remarkable streaky at bat, which is odd because they all hit or don’t hit together. Other teams have streaky players, but aren’t streaky together. This means that we, the fans, get to watch some pathetic displays of offense. But generally, we also get some good runs of, well, runs (just haven’t done so yet this year). A few years ago JS dealt with this by trading for McGriff (ahh the gold old Turner money days) igniting the braves. Now, as fans, we get to wait and see if there is any money (of course there is but will they spend it) for a splash, or if JS will get Beane creative and find a way to get a splashy player to help the crew (offensive or bullpen). Since only the suits and JS know the answer to this definitively, we get to speculate idly.

    But my question is this: Does any team use the DL more sparingly than the braves??? I mean injuries to Hampton and Chipper don’t automatically result in trips to the DL (as they seem to on other teams) unless the player is useless for more than 15 days. So, it seems to me that we are often playing without a full complement of players (even players of obviously less ability, for really who would prefer Seth G. to Hampton), which is especially problematic when we lose a fielder/hitter. I realize that one of my prime examples here is currently on the DL, but over the last few years Chipper and others have been hurt and sometimes out for games at a time without going the DL. It seems to me that other than Gryboski and his yearly trip to the DL, not many (like Furcal or C Jones) go there unless body parts are detached (Giles, Thomson). And I suspect that Gryboski’s trips have little to do with arm injuries–I think he has an eating disorder :) that he must tend to yearly in mid-July. Am I wrong here about the Braves?

  41. Bring up Chuck James (AA but not for long) for LH relief. 93k’s and 17 bb’s. Unhittable against leftys and overall averaging a hit every 2 innings.

  42. as Chris Dimino once said “It’s an important rite of passage when every young man grows up and realizes that Chris Berman knows nothing about sports”

    He’s simply awful these days. This year’s NFL Draft is a perfect example.

  43. Maybe it’s just the nicknames that have created a soft spot for Berman. A lot of them are great. I’ve never had any expectations of him having much useful knowledge, so that probably helps a lot too. It probably also helps that I don’t get much exposure to him anymore.

  44. Two trade rummors going around are: HR to the Reds for Kerns. HR or Marte to Tampa Bay for Huff. Neither one is having a great season, Huff makes too much $$$ and is not worth giving up Marte for. Kerns is good and cheap, but he will be hurt in 3 weeks.

  45. Didn’t see this posted yet: Apparently ANDY MARTE HAS BEEN CALLED UP? Does this mean Chipper is going on the DL? Maybe just a rumor, but can anyone confirm?

  46. It’s been said a lot, but is probably worth saying again: Andy Marte should not be traded for anyone . I mean it. You just can’t do it, and it’s not worth talking about.

    I agree on DL’ing Chipper. He’s our Al Kaline, and just as the Tigers won it in 68 with a part time Al, we can win it with a part time Chipper. We can’t, however, win it with a full time but unproductive due to injuries Chipper.

  47. I think we’re gonna get a rainout if we get what Mac has experienced in AL today. Most of these posts are panic-stricken. It’s funny how we got rid of Mondesi, who everyone felt was holding this team back, and now we’re worse. Kelly Johnson has not been patient at the plate, Langerhans still sucks, and now nobody else is hitting because they are pressing too hard.

    A rainout will be great, then maybe tomorrow the Braves will be a bit more relaxed and be able to pull off some wins. The upside is Florida is stinking up the place right now, the downside; Philly is playing much better without Thome hitting well.

  48. bwarrend: I disagree. Langerhans is up to an 800 OPS now with ~.270 ISO. Kelly Johnson has had bad luck on BIP, despite his 4:1 BB/K ratio (which I consider evidence of excellent plate discipline). Betemit has been hitting quite well up until this weekend (I missed all of the games that weren’t on TBS).

  49. I’m not so down on Langerhans. He certainly has a lot more punch than I expected. He’s managed to slug .500, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. If he’d somehow managed to make three more measly hits fall in somewhere I think we’d be pretty happy with his (roughly) .266 BA and .325 OBP to go along with that slugging. I know he didn’t get those three added hits… but, still, that’s all that has separated a pretty good start to the year for a rookie from someone who “still sucks”.

    I’d prefer if Kelly Johnson lit it up right out of the gates, but Mondesi was going nowhere fast. At least KJ has some potential.

  50. The Braves can’t have called up Marte to sit. He’s gonna play third with Chipper on the DL. It was nice to see Langerhans getting a couple of big hits against a tough lefty, Perez, even if Perez had been scuffling. Although you couldn’t prove he’d been scuffling to Franco with those 3 punch outs.

  51. And Craig C. is right. Trading Andy Marte would probably be about the dumbest move this organization could make right now. I wouldn’t object to trading Haracio, in general, but I don’t think now is the time given the issues with the starting staff. I don’t love him, but it seems like it would be a very risky move.

    Anybody got a good, reasoned take on Chuck James? Is he for real, or are we looking at the second coming of Jose Para (I think that was his name)? I don’t much about him other than those incredible K/BB numbers, but isn’t he like 25 already? Sickels rated him a B- earlier in the year, which I presume is largely due to his age.

  52. He’s 23, will be 24 in the fall I believe. He’s supposed to be a real jackass – got into a fight at the sally league all-star game last year that caused the Braves not to bring him up to High-A. Drafted out of a community college in Florida, I think. His best pitch is supposedly his changeup. More than that I can’t say.

  53. Ah, ok. Thanks, Kyle. I think that’s probably all we need to know… we now know who will head the prospect package in the trade ;-)

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