Atlanta 5 Chicago 1

ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Cubs at Braves

Roman Colon finally picked up a win, largely because he finally got some run support. Greg Maddux… Well, he’s Greg Maddux for four innings but there’s not all that much left in the tank after that.

It was a pitcher’s duel through four and a half. Maddux gave up a first inning run when Johnson doubled and Marcus brought him home with a single, but got out of it. Colon gave up a solo homer in the second, but after pitching out of a first inning jam (one not his fault, the defense was pretty shaky) cruised for awhile.

Then the Braves broke through in the fifth. Betemit had a one out single and Colon bunted him over. Maddux pitched around Furcal, it looked like, and walked him (you assume that whenever Greg walks anyone he’s pitching around him) but Johnson came through with an RBI single to take the lead. Then Marcus doubled both runners home to make it 4-1 and scored on Andruw’s single to make it 5-1.

Colon got into one more jam, loading the bases with one out in the seventh, but struck out a pinch-hitter and then got a flyout to end it. For the game, he gave up seven hits, but walked just one, striking out four, and needed just 84 pitches to throw seven innings.

He probably would have left then anyway, but the rain was coming down hard and there was a two-hour delay. Brower allowed one hit in the eighth — he seemingly always does — and Reitsma pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

Marcus wound up 3-4 with three RBI and a run scored, and is inching towards .300. His power isn’t quite what it was before the shoulder injury but he’s getting there. Only to face his nemesis, Mark Prior, tomorrow. If Prior reaches base, hopefully LaRoche will be ready to tackle him should he get any more baserunning ideas.

Smoltz will face Prior tomorrow, weather permitting. Hopefully they’ll get it in, otherwise we’re looking at some possibility like a doubleheader on the Monday after the end of the season, because I don’t see Thursday’s game happening if the storm tracks like it should. SportsSouth as usual, but also ESPN. If you have both, you can compare the obscenity delays… The Natspos, typically, won by one run again. Even Pedro Martinez can’t beat them. For what it’s worth, with losses by the Marlins, Phillies, and Mets, the Braves are 3 1/2 up in the wildcard, but most of the league’s within 7 1/2.

47 thoughts on “Atlanta 5 Chicago 1”

  1. good win 2nite. marcus is looking great, but when did he become a pull hitter? the rain here in new orleans is now sideways and very hard! my girlfriend and i just drove over a big bridge, and needless to say it was a little spooky. if this is any indication of what atlanta will be getting, there will be no baseball for the next couple of nights.

  2. Colon has really defied my predictions. I thought he would be just as bad as a starter as he was as a reliever. There must be something psychological about starting that just works for him, because he was excellent tonight. Marcus was, as well, and may be getting into another hot streak. I’m not sure we’ll see a return of his power. He’s had the offseason to regain his strength and it hasn’t really worked. Something may have been permanently altered in that shoulder when it was injured, it was a pretty bad blow. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m not holding my breath. Great defense tonight, too.

    Rob, I’m responding to your Brian Roberts post here because nobody usually dredges up the older threads. In answer to your wonderings about shortstop, he originally was a shortstop but was moved to 2B because he blew out his elbow in college and had surgery on it (this contributed to the platooning controversy last year, as Jerry Hairston had to play OF because Brian didn’t have the arm/was too small so he got 2B). They tried him at SS for a few games before they got Tejada and it didn’t work all that well defensively, but nothing ever works for the O’s and they barely gave him 5 games after being at another position for 5-6 years. Perhaps the Braves would have better luck. He’s always been one of my favorite players, so my loyalties are torn here, but I think the O’s are not going to give him up. They don’t have a viable alternative since Hairston left and he’s just too good to lose. He’ll probably get a long-term deal at the end of this year. So, I’m glad you like him, but I don’t think it’ll come to much.

  3. As a starter, Colon may just be more comfortable with a regular situation where he knows what he is in for. The uncertainty of coming into the game in a relief situation may not be something he can mentally prepare for. Don alluded to that tonight when he was talking about how we are finally setting our bullpen. How about Brower turning out to be a gem in the bullpen equation? We’ve now won 9 or the 11 games he’s been in for us or something like that and a guy that we can count on to eat an inning with no real damage has to be a BIG asset. If nothing else, *maybe* we won’t burn out Reitsma before the playoffs.It does seem like Giles is making some adjustments and getting used to not having the power he had before the collarbone injury. It is those kind of baseball smarts that make him so valuable and successful. We are playing heads-up baseball right now and that will always put you in a position to win games.

  4. Well, it does seem that at least a few relievers are generally consistent now: Boyer, Foster, Brower & Reitsma.

    It’s not exactly a devastating crew but once we get Hampton and Hudson back (finally) in the rotation, that will help our depth even more and Jorge Sosa, though effective as a starter, will definitely move back to the pen because he doesn’t eat a ton of starter’s innings & he’s shown now to be effective in both roles.

    The dilemma we are facing is that except really for Ramirez, all of our “replacement” starters (Davies, Colon, Sosa) have all performed pretty darn well in the rotation. Those guys have been just as key as hitters like Marcus, Andruw, Kelly Johnson et all during this streak.

    Considering the discussion we have ALL had about Roman Colon, he’s the hardest guy to remove from the rotation because he’s been effective as a starter and completely INeffective as a reliever. That’s why you have ti make the argument as to putting Sosa the first one back in the pen.

    The idea here is to plug as many holes as we can and truly UNDERSTAND where guys are most effective. For example, I am fine with keeping Gryboski in the bullpen but as long as he’s no longer used in inherited runner situations…I trust Boyer & Foster the most in that role, eventually Sosa. People on here are right when they talk about the “mental” side of pitching and clearly, Gryboski can mentally handle the start of an inning, not inherited runners. Colon can handle starting, not middle relief work.

    Since Tim Hudson is back first, he should take Jorge Sosa’s spot because even though Sosa is more effective then Horacio, I think you A) keep a lefty in the rotation and B) Horacio isn’t as bad as Bernero or Kolbb. So, that’s the first move you make.

    When Mike Hampton comes back at some point, and he will come back, the dilemma is Horacio-Colon-or sending Davies down (Because no matter what, I want to see Davies in a regular rotation being a starter whether that’s Atlanta or Richmond).

    While I think Kyle has done a very admirable job, Mac is correct in being concerned about his high pitch counts early in the game and while he clearly can be an ace for the Braves in the next few years, he still at age 21 has some work to do in the mental aspect of throwing strikes early in the count.

    However, with that said, when Mike Hampton is back, my preference would be to send Horacio ramirez to the bullpen if that ERA continues to hover in the high 4’s or 5 and FINALLY cut Bernero/Kolbb lose. (Assuming that after Tim’s return, Bernero is likely a goner). Of course, is Jorge Vazquez still up? Would rather have him then BerneroKolbb, but he may already be getting more work in the farm.

    Sincew John Thomson is a long shot anyway, we can deal with that when it’s an issue but the rotation down the stretch should be Smoltz-Hampton-Hudson-Davies-Colon with Sosa giving us a really solid bullpen along with Gryboski, Reitsma, Boyer, Brower, & Foster. (the other 1-2 spots in the pen can be left for debate).

    I think Bobby & Leo are starting to see this take shape and I think they will do the right thing vis a vis Colon & Sosa and also eventually getting rid of Bernero at least. (I could see them sticking with Kolbb and sending Vazquez down which is not awful if Kolbb is only used in 4+ run game situations).

    Thoughts?

  5. I hope this works, Mac.

    (Has anyone else been having mucho problems posting?)

    I read the AP column on the game last night and since I couldn’t see it on TV, I was really HAPPY that the Braves fans gave Maddux a standing ovation. I only wish they could have given Tom Glavine the same consideration…I mean, Glavine was only the winning pitcher for the clinching game of our ONLY World Series championship & not to mention he came up with the Braves organization.

    Glavine deserves better but I am at least happy that Braves fans showed appreciation for Maddux’s 12 great years.

    Thank you, Greg.

  6. Here’s the thing I can’t get out of my head. Once you’re “slotted” in the Atlanta organization, it’s nearly impossible for that to change. This probably has a lot to do with Cox’s stubbornness. Consider Marcus Giles. He “couldn’t handle second base defensively”, and it took for ever for that perception to change. And it was probably only because his offense simply could not be ingored and because I imagine Hubbard lobbied tirelessly… and because JS finally got Lockhart out of the way.

    So, with that in mind…

    Horacio = Glavine-clone starter. I think most of us know this is BS by now. But it’s still the label.

    Colon = Hard-throwing reliever/potential closer. His success starting probably only tells them that he can still be an effective reliever. And I’m not sure they’re wrong. If he was over-throwing as a reliever, maybe throttling himself as a starter has helped him learn to tone it down and get more out of every pitch.

    Sosa = Starter-in-training. This is a guess based on how he was used (or not used, as the case may be) when he was in the pen.

    Kolb = Key to the bullpen. He almost lost it, but his recent success makes it almost certain that he will get another shot at “high leverage” relief situations again… probably closer if he doesn’t blow it along the way.

    So my guesses: Colon goes back to the pen first (or back down). Sosa heads back to the pen next and gets work in close games, but probably mostly either early or when we’re losing. Davies goes back to Richmond if/when everybody is back. And Horacio stays in the rotation through it all unless he gets injured or, far less likely, traded.

  7. Posting was fine for a while, but it’s been bad today. I’m only posting this now to see if I can make Mac’s trick work.

  8. If this is working now, I would like to hear people’s thoughts on what to do about the makeup of our pitching staff when Hudson & Hampton return?

    Also, I want to apologize to JENNY for being harsh…while she doesn’t necessarily know me I can be grumpy on here, that’s not unfair, and I do react off the cuff. Jenny, in general you seem like a nice person so I want to apologize to you for lashing out.

    Just FYI.

  9. creynolds, as always you are one of the more insightful folks on here so thanks for your pitching staff “thoughts”.

    I disagree about Colon vs. Sosa.

    We all agree that Sosa has shown to be an effective pitcher in both roles, while Colon is Dr. Jekyll as a starter and Mr. Hyde as a reliever. It’s utterly amazing to me how someone can vary so much mentally, with the same “stuff”. I think mac’s point about the mental aspects rings true, especially with Colon, who clearly has the talent.

    With that said, unless Colon shows me otherwise, I think the Braves have to feel SAFER with Jorge Sosa being the one to “take a bullet for the team” and go back to the less glorious role of middle relief/set up duties. I would like to see Colon learn to thrive and pitch in either role but that doesn’t seem to be happening–YET.

    Maybe that’s next year…until then, in 2005, battling for our post season lives, our best bet to get the most out of Colon, is to leave him a starter and let Sosa deepen our bullpen, which has a ray of hope now with Reitsma, Boyer, Brower & Foster; and hell, even Gryboski if he only starts innings.

    As for Kolbb, no one has been as voracious a critic of him and his water cooler abuse then me. I still don’t see, creynolds, this great “turn around” you see. He just may not stink quite as bad as he did, but he’s still a below average pitcher. I am OK at this point with him being one of 7 relievers…specifically, the MOP UP guy who only pitches in 4+ run (winning or losing) situations. Until I see him consistently have 1-2-3 innings and do that over several weeks, that needs to be his only role.

    Bernero needs to go and someone will have to shortly. There is no more excuse for him staying and he’s not being “paid” like Kobb so he can leave.

    I agree with you, creynolds, on the Ramirez comments. I think the perception amongst Braves fans has already gone away that he’s Glavine Part Deux. He’s a decent pitcher. Not great, not terrible. I am fine with him moving into the bullpen as one of 7 relievers and being a lefty middle, or mop up guy. I think he might do OK in that role and less pressure. (Keeping Foster as the end of game lefty).

    Again:

    SP

    Smoltz
    Hudson
    Hampton
    Colon
    Davies

    RP

    Reitsma
    Sosa
    Brower
    Boyer
    Foster
    Kolbb or Ramirez
    Gryboski

    Buh-bye, Adam Bernero.

  10. quote of the day (from the notebook):

    “If all stays the same and he continues to make the same progress, it seems very likely that [Thomson’s] return will certainly come before the three-month mark.”

    Where did this guy learn to write… or his editor(s) learn to edit? I’m not even sure if that’s good news.

  11. There is a new article on BP about the Nats and the reasons they have outplayed their run differential. Anyone with a subscription care to summarize?

  12. I don’t think there’s any real excuse for my personal optimism about Kolb. Objectively, I think he’s probably just an average pitcher who some good times in Milwaukee. But since I fully expect him to get another shot, I’m trying to be positive about it.

    After Sosa’s last start, my optimism is starting to fade. He’s still walking too many (and probably striking out too few). But I do worry that the walks may end up more dangerous in the bullpen than the rotation. And I’m high on Colon’s future as a reliever in spite of his absolutely disastrous time at it earlier… but I can’t say I’m anxious to give it another shot right now.

    I still want another reliever.

    Kirk – I haven’t read the BP article… those kinds of things require real thinking, and I’m not sure today’s going to be a good day for that. If you want what I assume is a good taste of the general idea, check out Hardball Times. You’ll have to look back into last week, I think, but there were a couple of good articles there devoted to the idea.

  13. Here’s one link to a THT story on the subject… sort of. There are links in there to other articles, but I think the only specific team discussed was the White Sox.

  14. I had already seen the article you linked to on THT, thanks. Just wondering if BP had any insights beyond the obvious record in one run games.

  15. I didn’t realize it was just Dayn Perry… very little thought involved inreading that at all ;)

    It’s basically : 4 relievers having great years and being used wisely (kinda obvious, but very true) + excellent home record that has cost them several chances to score 9th inning runs (I’d never thought of that before) = a team that may still be worse than its actual record, but is probably better than its pythag record.

  16. Perry says that since the Nats have held a lead at home going into the 9th inning 27 times, that’s 27 innings they haven’t needed to bat, costing them runs and affecting their run differential.

    Maybe so, but the effect is so minimal that I don’t see why he bothered to bring it up. If 27 home leads in the 9th is an unusually high number, what would be a more average number at this point. Let’s say it’s 18. That would leave nine extra innings that the Nats haven’t batted, so grant them an extra five runs. Now their run differential is +4 instead of -1. Big deal.

  17. What about Langerhans/Furcal/Bernero/another pitching prospect for a corner outfielder and a reliever?

  18. Once you’re “slotted” in the Atlanta organization, it’s nearly impossible for that to change. This probably has a lot to do with Cox’s stubbornness.

    I would say that making the argument that Bobby is stubborn is darn near impossible this year when he’s flipping guys between the pen and the rotation, changing closers and all bullpen roles on the fly, and playing rookies all over the field. By bringing up the old Giles story I would say that you are the one in being stubborn in changing a guy’s (Bobby’s) label.

    I’ll take a crack at the pitching stuff though. With three injured starters, they probably won’t all make it back so let’s say two make it. I’ll pick Thomson and Hudson since Hampton’s injury seems to be an enigma.

    Davies has been shaky and overworked so I’ll say spin him back to AA. Horacio has had some rough outings at times but also some good ones. He has no experience in the pen and Foster’s emerengence means we don’t have the pressing need for a lefty that we normally do. He stays. So the tough call is Sosa versus Colon for the fifth spot. Sosa is the better pitcher no question, second best stuff on the staff to Smoltz. I just can’t bring myself to waste him pitching the eighth inning of a 5-2 game. He stays, Roman goes back to Richmond and waits for the inevidable next injury. Good insurance policy.

    SP: Smoltz, Hudson, Sosa, Thomson, Ramirez
    Closer: Reitsma
    8th: Brower
    7th: Kolb
    6th: Gryboski
    LOOGY: Foster
    Garbage Time/Long Man: Bernero
    Anywhere there is a need/Kolb implosion insurance: Boyer

  19. re: Roman Colon’s Jeckyl/Hyde reputation. I’d just like to remind everyone that before Roman was thrown into the starters role he spent two weeks on the DL. When he returned he was a much more effective pitcher in a different role. So, while some of this might be due to the role change, you have to give consideration to injury in affecting his performance prior to the DL stint.

  20. Thanks creynolds and sansho1. I agree with sansho1 that their home record only explains a small portion of the variance between actual and expected records. I tend to think they have been freakishly lucky in the run distribution of their games. Unless something magical happens to improve their offense, I think 90 victories has got to be their ceiling. If the Braves can’t win more than that (and I think they will), they don’t deserve another division title anyway.

  21. Why do people keep proposing we trade for a corner outfielder?

    Now that Jordan is in the useful role as sometimes righty bat starting for Johnson or Langerhans (who both lit it up in June)…

    Langerhans .325 .424 .429
    Johnson .267 .370 .431

    …I am not sure we need to make any moves.

    So much of this discussion seems to focus around trading for the sake of trading.

    When we get Chipper back and any 1 of the injured starting pitchers healthy we should be in good shape.

    My only concern is the pen. But getting starters healthy ought to free up some combo of Sosa, Colon, Ramirez, Davies to help there.

    I do not agree that Davies should be sent to Richmond to start if he isn’t starting in Atlanta. I think Marquis did a fine job when he was called up to pitch in relief during his rookie year.

    My two cents worth.

  22. nyb – Stubborn is not always bad. In fact, I think that I have been pretty clear in the past that while this has bothered me at times, it is also a huge part of what I think makes Cox a great manager. Do you not think that he was stubborn about sending Kelly Johnson out there in the top of the order every day when he came up and couldn’t buy a hit? I sure do, and I think that was the right thing. I think that Bobby Cox is incredibly stubborn, and I think that if he weren’t this team would not have had the success it’s had over the last 15 years. But that doesn’t mean that certain situation don’t irk me, that they won’t continue to, or that there aren’t cases where certain individual decisions made differently could have resulted in the team being better over all. But if putting up with that is what is required to get it when it’s good, then I’ll take it.

    Oh, and his stubborn nature in his belief about his players is probably exactly the reason that he has been willing to use these rookies all over the place. He’s so stubborn that he won’t let the fact that they’re rookies deter him (remember that I didn’t say he hated rookies).

    Giles was an easy example. There are others: Jordan, Furcal and Betemit’s place in the order have been some of the very recent bothersome ones for some of us. Johnson, Colon (possibly) and just about 70% of the members of the bullpen in years past are some of the great ones.

  23. Since everyone is weighing in on the pitching staff, I will do the same! It seems to be a problem of plenty, and usually that means a trade. But in this case, with the doubtful nature of Thomson and Hampton’s injuries, and Horacio’s random suckitude, we are left to juggle the pieces. So it all boils down to options left, and where the organization sees the team in a year or two.
    Keeping that in mind, when the first regular starter returns, it is time for Davies to hit the road to Richmond. While Leo has always got credit for working on the mental side of things, our minor league coaches seem to work wonders with mechanics and Davies still needs work on that. He has to get more confidence in his curve, and locate his fastball better. While I would like to see this happen, chances are, Sosa is going to be sent to the pen. Once again, in that eventuality, I would like to see Bernero get sent to the minors, but chances are, Vazquez is going to draw the short straw, esp given that he hasn’t earned Bobby’s trust yet. And I am not all that confident in Brower. Brower as the 6th inning/long man, and Sosa should become the primary setup guy.
    When the second starter returns, its going to be a toss up between Colon and Ramirez, and I think we will cross that bridge when we get there! Personally Horacio isn’t all that safe, given Bobby’s post game comments.

  24. Oh, and his stubborn nature in his belief about his players is probably exactly the reason that he has been willing to use these rookies all over the place. He’s so stubborn that he won’t let the fact that they’re rookies deter him (remember that I didn’t say he hated rookies).

    Yeah that and the fact that with all our injuries, the rookies are the only ones left standing. But ok, now you seem to defining “stubborness” as an unshakable faith in his players, not as an unwillingness to be flexable with player’s roles as you did in your first post.

    I agree that faith in his players is one of Bobby’s strengths (although once he figures out you suck, he moves pretty quickly to eliminate your role. Mondy, DeRo, Kolb, etc). Strongly disagree that Bobby is inflexable with player roles, as we’ve seen countless examples over they years, the transition of Reitsma from unspeakable horror to ace reliever being one of the more strinking recent changes.

  25. No, nyb. I’ll try this again. Stubbornness is a trait that some people possess. I think that Bobby Cox is a strong example of one of these people. I believe that he has a nearly unshakable believe in his evaluations of players (and there was nothing quick about Mondesi or Mark DeRosa… and I don’t think Kolb’s role has been elimated, but that’s not clear yet). And I see no contradication in thinking that it has both positive and negative reprecussions depending on the situation. I think that in the case of Bobby Cox and the Braves, the positives have been greater than the negatives. But the negatives still bug me sometimes.

    I really hope this is more clear. It might help if you accepted the possibility that a person can hold two surperficially opposable thoughts in his head at one time.

    I would like to know when Bobby Cox believed that Reitsma was an unspeakable horror? Many of us believed that. And if those same people were running the team he never would have gotten a chance to transition to ace reliever. Bobby believed in him and perservered through the unspeakable horror. That’s what almost the entire second half of last season was about for Reitsma. Cox believing in him and going with him anyway. Guess what? It means he’s stubborn. And so far this one’s paid off.

  26. I think it is undeniable that Cox has certain patterns of pitcher and player usage that he will stick to unless circumstances (like injury or extreme non-performance) force him to make a change. That’s just part of his makeup. With that in mind, I think the first pitcher out of the rotation will be Colon (either optioned to the minors or perhaps back to the bullpen with Vasquez going down). Second pitcher out will be Sosa (back to the pen, with Colon/Vasquez optioned). Third pitcher out will likely be Davies (back to the minors). Ramirez stays in the rotation unless he really stinks up the joint.

  27. Marcus has 26 2B and 7 HR in 282 AB. His power may be down a bit but you’re still looking at 35-40 2B and 14-17 HR once the season’s done. I’m not sure why people are making a big deal about it.

    As for Sosa, the guy has the following line:
    50.2 IP 41 H 6 HR 30 BB 36 K 3.02 ERA 1.40 WHIP

    Not sure what’s oh-so-effective about that. He’s made one really good start and the rest have been just okay at best. I realize that’s really all the team needed but the point is that it’s not like Sosa has been a pitching stud. The guy still has major control issues and if he keeps allowing baserunners at that rate his ERA will jump. Like creynolds said, we still need a reliever out in the ‘pen. Preferably a “real” one and not another retread like Brower (who also will fall apart if he continues to allow baserunners at his current rate)

  28. I would like to know when Bobby Cox believed that Reitsma was an unspeakable horror?…Bobby believed in him and perservered through the unspeakable horror.

    Might want to check how he was used in the Astros series in October. His appearance in any game in that series was the official “throw in the towel” moment. Bobby used Smoltz for three innings, Hampton for an inning, even Grybo in the games the Braves had a chance to win. Anything to avoid Reitsma.

    Now he’s the man (for now). But since we can’t even come up with a good definition for stubborn, I have no idea of how this affect Bobby’s Overall Stubborness Factor (OSF).

  29. No one is saying that Jorge Sosa is the second coming of Dontrelle Willis or Mariano Rivera, but he’s been a pretty darn good pitcher most of the year for the Braves and has shown the best ability of ANY of our pitchers (save for Smoltz who wouldn’t go back to the pen anyway) to swing back n forth. Sosa isn’t an all star but he’s proving to be a VALUED commodity and luxury for the Braves in 2005.

    Plus, the Braves went out of their way to GET Sosa in Spring Training from the Dog Rays because Leo saw some innate ability that was being utterly wasted in tampa–he’s been proven right IMHO.

    While there seems to be an argument back n forth between the Sosa backers and Colon backers, I now sit as backers for both…in their respective roles.

    I am simply not going to be convinced that INJURIES was the only thing seperating Colon from being a good reliever to being an awful one, worse then Kolbb even. Gosh, what short memories I am seeing.

    I think it’s a mental thing; look at the Gryboski example. Fine reliever when he starts an inning, pretty effective. Inherited runners? Mental freaking breakdown. hell, even Kolbb has been BETTER since the pressure of being a Playoffs level closer has been stripped.

    The point being, you have to factor in the MENTAL aspects of pitching into the equation.

    As I am willing to do that, to me the ONLY option for Cox as we head to the 2nd half of the 2005 Baseball season as legitimate NL contenders is to stick with what works.

    We have all seen Colon come alive as a starter. Leave him be. Even if it’s in Richmond or Mississippi, leave him as a starter. Jorge Sosa has shown to be equally effective as a starter or reliever. It’s with him you can flip him back to the pen. He makes sense to return, especially considering you still have some relievers (Kolbb, Bernero, possibly Vazquez) that Cox et all don’t TRUST.

    To me, I want as many trustworthy pitchers in their proper roles as possible. Let colon continue to start.

    As for Kyle Davies, he’s 21 years old. He’s performed more then admirably for a kid that age. I am willing to see him stay in the rotation. If Hudson is the 1st one back and no timetable on either Thomson or Hampton, then move Sosa back to the bullpen and leave Davies & Colon in there with ramirez, Hudson & Smoltz. At the very least, Sosa may force the Braves to dump Bernero (my preference) but more likely will mean that Vazquez heads to Richmond.

    As for a big trade, even I am unconvinced now that is really necessary. Langerhans has been a solid 3rd outfielder, Jordan is occasionally useful as a 4th outfielder and neither cost much. Plus, kelly Johnson has finally started to blossom and should be hitting .270+ by the end of the year. Plus, if Andruw maintains what he’s doing, we will be fine defensively and offensively. I was the biggest proponent of trading and I would still WISH the Braves would at least deal for a real closer (I liked Reitsma better in set up role) but, other then maybe going after an Eddie Guadardo, I don’t really see a huge need with Chipper and 1-2 big time starters returning soon.

  30. Alex, I guess my point is I don’t see how Sosa has been “a pretty darn good pitcher” this season. Other than his ERA, what has been “pretty darn good”? The line I posted above is not indicative of a “pretty darn good” pitcher IMO. It’s the line of a mediocre pitcher.

    And, again, I don’t understand why people still claim Jordan is useful. How is the guy useful when he can’t even post an OPS over 7? The bench is going to be bad yet again. Once Julio is used, there’s no one left to hit. Charles Thomas and DeWayne Wise were bad but Jordan is probably worse.

  31. I don’t believe that being stubborn has to make a person completely and totally inflexible. But I think it makes for an extraordinarily long time to adjust expectations (seems like Brian Jordan being bad has taken forever, and it seemed like Marcus being good did too)… and that things may appear to change temporarily, but they usually come back around again. I think that Reitsma is a very good example of this. No, he was not used in the wins in the Houston series. But he was used in close games up until the very end of the regular season. And he was right back in there from the beginning of this season. He didn’t earn his way back up there… he was assumed to be there, and he’s kept it. He was the logical person to move up into Kolb’s place when he went on what is more likely, in retrospect, to be a rehab assignment at the back of the bullpen than a permanent stripping of responsibilities. I think it was awfully close there for a while, but I still believe that Reitsma is just keeping it warm for Kolb. I could be wrong, and I know he could still blow it, but that’s what I’d expect from Cox. I think he still sees the guy as a closer, and he may be one of the few left anywhere. If I’m wrong, it wouldn’t be even be the first time today.

    I do like OSF as a metric, though. I know it was a joke (and a good one), but I’m going to use it now and give him a 92 out of 100. For comparison’s sake Tom Glavine’s is 98 or 99 (or at least it was back when he was good).

  32. “Once Julio is used, there’s no one left to hit.” What about Pete Orr, Wilson Betemit (when Chipper returns), and whoever isn’t catching that day? Plus possibly Andy Marte? Our bench seems okay to me, minus Jordan, who, despite being a good clubhouse presence, is deadweight. Of course, a few of these guys may be traded, and I think it will be either Orr or Betemit, probably Betemit. I’m still not convinced of his offense, he has yet to prove that he just didn’t have a fluke hot streak. I know Furcal will probably be gone at the end of the year (but not before-if you want to contend you can’t break up your DP combination midseason) but I don’t think Betemit is our answer at SS and Pete Orr is a valuable utility player, especially since he can play 2B and 3B and our regulars at those positions are injury-prone. As an irrelevant side note, Prior on the bases tonight? No worries. Marcus never has the same accident twice, and the only major ones he has left are running into the right field wall/tarp and falling into the dugout. I’m waiting. ;-)

    As for the rotation, I think it will wind up being Smoltz, Hudson, Hampton, Sosa, and Ramirez. The organization seems to still be enamored with HoRam, although from what I see I can’t tell why. Maybe he has promise, but I’m too impatient to keep waiting for him to find it and in the meantime he’s blowing games. What I would like to see is Smoltz, Hudson, Hampton, Sosa, and Colon, with Davies getting a bit more time to learn the mentality of starting and keeping his pitch count down and possibly being used next year and definitely in an emergency. Dump Bernero, definitely, and I’d actually like to trade Ramirez as well because I think his perceived value, at least right now, is higher than his actual value and we could get something more reliable in return. He gives me fits every time he pitches. If somebody has to go to the bullpen, it has to be Sosa, because he’s been better from there than Colon has been. Just my thoughts.

    Thanks, Alex, and your apology is definitely accepted :-)

  33. Pete Orr isn’t much of a hitter (yeah, I know what his numbers look like so far and they’re out of line with his minor league career; he won’t keep it up). You have a point on Betemit, forgot about that but who’s left after? If Eddie Perez returns as the backup, he’s an offensive zero just like Jordan. If it’s Pena, he’s probably not much better at this point. If it’s McCann, we’re better off, though you don’t really PH with your backup, at least Bobby rarely does. Marte won’t be on the postseason roster so he’s out. The bench will be Julio, Betemit and no one. The thing is we all know that after Julio is burned, Bobby’s next option will be Jordan. Bank on it.

  34. That’s what Bobby would do, and yes, on that, I think you’re right, he just really likes Jordan. But I was merely pointing out other options. Don’t rosters expand September 1? That’ll give us time to try out several people and conduct an experiment.

  35. I’m kind of borrowing an idea from someone on the Braves forum, but what do you guys think, ignoring how the team would think for a minute (you can put that in, too, but I want YOUR opinion), about trading HoRam, Betemit, and a minor leaguer to be named later and/or cash to the Reds for Felipe Lopez in the offseason? Maybe we could get something else of theirs while we’re at it, too. His numbers this year are fantastic and it would solve our SS problem with Furcal. This is probably really stupid, but just thought I’d throw it out there.

  36. I’d have no problem with the Braves trading Ramirez. I think he’s been a bit overrated by some Braves fans since he came up. The guy looks like a back of the rotation starter and if we could shore up SS by dealing him, why not? If Betemit were packaged with Ramirez, I’d like to see a little more return than Felipe Lopez, but I definitely like him as a player. He just needed an opportunity to start and he’s making the most of it.

  37. Yeah, I do think Felipe Lopez isn’t quite enough, but I’m too lazy to research obscure Reds prospects. How’s the weather in Atlanta right now, someone? Is it pouring yet?

  38. Thanks Jenny!

    I absolutely agree about trading Horacio and I also agree w/ Jenny’s point about Horacio’s perceived valeu to other teams.

    I mean, a 25 year old lefty from the Braves system?..that could carry a lot of weight.

    Think about it…a team that would definitely like some young starter pitchers for the long term would be a team like Seattle and they are notoriously outsmarted by smarter GM’s (aka Schuerholz).

    I would love to let’s say package Horacio Ramirez, Dan Kolbb, and maybe Brayan Pena for “steady” Eddie Guardardo. I would love to see the Braves do a deal like that. I would love to also grab Randy Winn from them and waive Brian Jordan. Winn is a solid .280 with 20 homers every year and plays good defense. Plus, he’s a veteran. So, if one of the kids faltered, a Winn could very easily step in and be solid. Getting Winn & Guardardo may cost another A-Ball prospect but that seems a fair price and would easily solve the Braves 2 biggest needs…a reliable closer and a solid extra outfielder who could start or come off the bench.

    Thoughts on Kolbb-Horacio-Brayan Pena & an A-Ball prospect for Winn & Guardardo?

  39. I keep thinking about September, when except for a 3 game series at home vs. both CIN and COL, our team will face division foes and can decide their own fate. If the wildcard is the spot (*%$%&% Natspos), then the CIN and COL series will be invaluable.
    Imagine this for September: Our starter gives up 2 runs early, then comes out lame after two innings. Who would we want pitching a solid 4 or 5 innings to keep us close? I’d want Colon in that role, but I like high heat. How about you?

  40. If Ho-ram goes to the reds to pair up with Eric Milton then the reds outfielders would be craning their necks a couple times each go around for those two. Currently Felipe Lopez has 14 HRs and a 316/362/549 line for the season. Highly doubtful that the Reds will deal a cheap SS after a first half like that for a starter who doesn’t strike out many people and tends to get bombed worse than raffy…

  41. Guardado is expensive 4M and isn’t under contract for next year. 2 cheap players for a 3 month rental seems a bit high. I am assuming they won’t take Kolbb – if they ain’t shedding salary then what’s the point for the M’s?

    Winn sucks and is expensive (4M) http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=5998.

    Johnson/Langerhans will do better for 18th the cost.

    Seems to me the only chips JS really has are Furcal, at the bottom of his value, and Betemit at the top of his. Mortgage the future, or get little value for a potentially very good SS – tough choice. You can’t trade an SP with 3 guys on the DL. Seems to me the Braves are potstuck right now. You could maybe move Pena or McCann, or if it were me, Davies, but they are kind of useful right now on the big club. The hole in the boat right now is at SS. Cox won’t play Betemit over Furcal, and I don’t think JS has the nuts to trade him in-season. ATL either stands pat or trades Betemit, which is a terrible idea.

  42. Brayan Pena. I forgot about him! That’s easy trade bait right now, especially since he’s burning up the minors and hopefully no one realizes how not good he is in the majors and how Piazza-ish his defense is. And we already have our catching future in Brian McCann. I like Guardado’s numbers, but he seems a little old to me. That’s okay, I guess, but Randy Winn doesn’t look all that good .266/2/25. Those are better than Ryan’s numbers and he’s a switch-hitter, but I don’t know if a trade would be worth it. Of course, I’m not sure HoRam and KolBB are much of a loss, either! How about that Ichiro guy, he looks okay (har!)? I still like Felipe Lopez, and if the Reds are so bad, somebody there has to be pretty dumb, right? Maybe we could ship off HoRam as a “proven starter,” KolBB, and Pena and get Lopez and either some prospects or a pile of money? They probably won’t want to give him up, but if we’re looking for a Furcal replacement, he’s a good option.

    On another note, Kenny Rogers has now formally apologized. Pretty classy apology, too, coming from such an apparently classless guy. My animosity is somewhat diminished, but he should not go the ASG.

  43. Podsednik is now leading the AL final vote. Everybody quickly go vote so we can keep Matsui and Jeter out of the game! Not that I dislike the Yankees or anything or am voting with my heart instead of my head (heavy sarcasm)…

  44. I think Pena will eventually hit in the majors. The question is his throwing, which was pretty awful and might cost him a major league career.

  45. I’ve been talking with Alex, and I think his trade notion has merit.

    1. If the Braves pick anyone up, it will likely be someone not under contract for next year, to preserve a little payroll flexibility. So getting Guardado makes sense from that angle.

    2. Kolb to make the salaries balance a little. What the Mariners would get would be two young players that the Braves don’t need, plus a live arm. The Mariners don’t operate under the same budget constraints as the Braves are now.

    3. I hadn’t realized Winn was having such a poor season. However, I still think that picking him up (if the Mariners paid most of his salary) would be a good idea. He fits into the mold of the sort of player that the Braves picked up down the stretch once upon a time, a guy who isn’t a regular anymore but can help a team out in a reserve role. Guys like Mike Deveraux, Luis Polonia, Dwight Smith. They didn’t play every day, but they helped out and were often key postseason performers. I’d be more optimistic in Winn as a fourth or fifth outfielder than in Brian Jordan or Esix Snead, that’s for sure.

    Of course, I don’t think they can trade HoRam unless Hampton comes back. And since they still don’t know what Hampton’s problem is, I’m not that optimistic.

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