Game Thread: July 20, Braves at Giants

Smoltz versus Lowry looks good on paper, but you know what they say about that.

I’ve always linked to ESPN.com game stories, partly because they stay up forever. Do you guys think that they’ve gotten asinine enough lately that I should switch?

181 thoughts on “Game Thread: July 20, Braves at Giants”

  1. As you wish. I rarely read ’em anyway, since your summaries generally tell me everything I need to know.

  2. Instead of switching to a different game story, why not switch to the ESPN box score? I don’t read the summaries anyway because you tell the story much better than they ever could. What with “journalistic mediocrity” and whatnot.

  3. I normally glance at the AP summary on Yahoo, but never click the ESPN links you provide. I’d prefer you link to a box score, actually, if you could. Doesn’t matter which site.

  4. If Erik Kuselias was on The Road from Bristol, he would win. He has his own show on ESPN Radio, but always fills in for other hosts when they are out. If i had my own show, I would do my own show and not be Dan Patrick’s lackey. If I was Dan I would never let Erik Kuselias sit in for me. I would rather let my sister who knows nothing about sports over this guy. Thank God my ESPN radio picks up the Braves game and I won’t have to listen to this guy!

  5. Interesting… this was on the cnnsi.com rumor page today:

    Houston is also rumored to be interested in Braves shortstop Rafael Furcal. Furcal’s availabilty increased with the return of Chipper Jones.
    — Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

    I think someone suggested this possibility recently. It’s starting to make some sense, but I don’t know that they can really help where Atlanta needs help since they’d be doing this to make a run. They may be able to spare a reliever, but I doubt they can give an outfielder (although I’m not all that familiar with their roster). And I don’t think one reliever would do the trick since there’s no way in hell that reliever would be Lidge.

  6. If it is Lidge, as Braves fans, we should buy the plane tickets and personally deliver Furcal and pick up Lidge. There is no way we could get that lucky, is there?

  7. I’d prefer a boycott of all of ESP-Insider.com, I think you can link to Simmons directly w/o going through the homepage.

    How much bait is Estrada at this point? Trade for what? With whom? Baltimore? His defense is not going to improve anyone, except maybe the Mets. He’s not the switch-hitting-witch of last year. I cant remember the last time he roped a double down the line. He’s never going to have power numbers. Think, La Duca with ridiculous facial hair. Hopefully, Cougar will heal his wounds and once again be the Johnny “2-down-doubles” Estrada that we saw last year. As for McCann, he is in a great position right now. He can adjust to MLB pitching, while sharpening his game calling with a future HOF. I dont see anyone giving great value for a young catcher right now, especially not when they can just go shake the Molina tree, and see what falls off.

  8. If anyone wants a GMAIL invite, you can email me as well. doubledawg@gmail.com

    if you take any digital photos, get Picasa off googles “tools” page. it will find and organize all photos based on date/folder. also, the improvements you can make to photos are amazing. just promise none of you will go nuts with the sephia effects, creating lots of introspective emo-kid extreme close-ups.

  9. It’s kinda the same thing as with LaRoche… and Horacio… at this point. All three will have good value, but probably not right now. None are the “difference makers” that a contending team is looking for, and those trades are so hard to make when you’re trying to get major league players in return anyway. Other teams can wait until the offseason to make the kind of roster reshuffling deals we’d want with Estrada, LaRoche and Horacio (or even Sosa).

  10. Forget a bat. I’ll say it again. FORGET A BAT!

    We need a closer. Imagine how different the team would look if we could count on Billy Wagner or Danny Baez to close games. ‘stros won’t let go of Lidge. Marlins Todd Jones, Cleveland’s Bob Wickman, Detroit’s Ugeth Urbina, Seattle’s Eddie Guardado are all out there.
    Clev. probably wouldn’t let go b/c they are still in it, but Baez or Guardado could change the way people think of the Braves.
    You can’t win a WS w/o a closer.
    Wonder if Mark Wholers is available?

  11. We have a closer – “Proven Closer” Dan Kolb! Oh wait! You don’t trust him? Then WHY DO YOU TRUST BOB WICKMAN? Sheesh.

    “shake the Molina tree and see what falls off” – this is the best thing I’ve read today. FWIW I agree that no one would take Estrada in a trade. Just sayin’ is all :)

  12. Since this has turned into everyone-dump-on-Estrada day, I thought I’d come to his defense as is my contrarian nature. Using PrOPS I estimate that he ought to be hitting .303/.348/.406 for the season. He’s been a bit unlucky. I think the knock on the head didn’t help things (and the Eddings incident can’t have been good either), but a decent offensive catcher is hard to find. I don’t see the Braves moving him until after the season. McCann’s only had 50 ABs or so. He’s looked good, but it’s just too small a sample to know if he really is capable of a full-time MLB role.

    In other news, what the heck is Adam Wainwright still doing in the minor leagues? He’s tearing up Memphis. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cards flip him to the Reds for an outfielder.

  13. He can’t be considered an improvement over Reitsma… or maybe even Kolb if he can get to something in between last year and this year. Same with Wickman. Guardado I kinda like, but I don’t get real excited about guys just because some team has decided he’s a closer. And, no, we don’t need a bat. But it sure would be nice to at least have an improved bench. And I don’t think you trade Estrada for a rental reliever only. He’ll have more value than that later, and it’s not so desperate that you have to do that. Hey, if Philly would take him back for Wagner, that’d be a different story. But they can get just as good a deal (or better) outside the division (Shoppach, for instance).

  14. First Bernero, now Estrada?! Next you’ll be trying to convince us that Andruw shouldn’t bother trying to hit “the other way” or some other such ridiculous stuff.

    ;)

  15. Well with the way things have gone on this message board over the last few days, I this is what I think about the following players:

    Furcal-trade him now
    Johnson- swing at strike 3
    Giles-Take ball one
    Andrew-FLuke
    Chipper-go back on the DL
    Franco-retire old man
    McCann-lets trade him
    Francoeur-too young
    Smoltz-What, no no hitter?

    probable pen guys for today-
    Grybowski-not a real closer
    Foster-over rated

    Now we should win 15-0!

  16. If JC starts saying good things about Brian Jordan, we’re going to keep him from having sharp objects.

    Actually I agree that Estrada has been hit-unlucky. OTOH, he was probably hit-lucky last year. It evens out; in reality, he’s probably a .300/.350/.400 hitter, which has its value for a catcher. But since he doesn’t walk, and doesn’t hit homers, the natural variance of batting average is going to mean that some years he’s going to hurt the team. And if he’s gunshy about blocking the plate, that’s just another strike against him.

    I mentioned yesterday that Estrada sees fewer pitches per PA than any Brave regular. I have a feeling that you can get away with P/PA rates like his if you have real power, but if you don’t you’re going to be overly aggressive and go through periods where you’re an automatic out.

  17. Johnny isn’t just a .750 OPS catcher (well, he’s worse, but let’s assume he’s “really” a .300/.350/.400 guy). He also hits into lots of double plays, he’s a poor baserunner, and he is a poor defensive catcher. On balance, he’s not killing the team, but he’s not helping it much either (especially since Bobby refuses to hit him 8th).

    He’s really going to be a problem if he’s doing all of this for big bucks next year when we have players capable of doing as well or better for $300k. That’s why I’d move him now, if there was anyone around who’d take him.

  18. I’ve been thinking about an all-JC team for the Braves made up of all my favorite not-so-popular opinions. Keep in mind, this is not necessarily the lineup I would really choose to put on the field. It’s just for fun.

    1B Chipper
    2B Nick Green (I like Giles, but who doesn’t.)
    3B Betemit
    SS Furcal (although I dump on him, I’ve got no one else)
    OF corners Langerhans/Johnson/Marte
    CF Andruw “the pull-hitter” Jones
    C Estrada

    Starters (in order of quality)
    Smoltz
    Thomson
    Huddy
    Davies
    James

    HoRam placed below Nate Pudewell on depth chart.

    Bullpen
    Grybo (As long as the bases are empty. One runner on and he’s cut).
    Kolb (Same as Grybo. Barred from pitching in high leverage situations)
    Bernero (my all-purpose reliever)
    Reitsma (Closer, but available for emergency starts)

    Anyone else got some suggestions.

    Also, Brian Jordan is not allowed on any of my teams. Not for his suckitude, but for his support of Esix Snead. Automatic cut.

  19. Non-contenders with surplus closers:

    Uggie: left Detroit a while ago, he’s a bust in Philly.

    Farnsworth/Detroit: who can flat mow people down. But, with Percival making # Days on the DL his top stat the past few years, i dont see them moving him.

    Scott Shields: i can dream. maybe they’d realize Steve Finley is OLD, Garret Anderson (fine american) is getting achy, and Vlad cant cover the entire outfield. OR, Furcal/shields, and kick cabrera out of the majors. But, they have the most coveted talent in MLB, and owner that’s quick with the checkbook.

    Wheeler/Astros: we cant get lidge, but maybe wheeler. They have young, unproven outfields already, damn. But, Adam Everett doesnt even make his mother proud these days.

    Most Likely….. Jose Mesa- Pirates are always looking to get younger(cheaper,shhh). But, Mike Gonzalez has to get healthy. And do we want to give up Marte or Betemit for a One and Done guy. But, he is a proven closer, not sure how he does it, but he does it.

    Beware the Second Coming of “Senior Smoke”

  20. Kyle, you have to remember that most catchers are poor baserunners, and most hit into lots of double plays; certainly most with Estrada’s low-power profile do. He doesn’t ground into any more than Miller or Rodriguez or the Molina of your choice.

  21. A little something I posted on a previous thread.
    The closer we get to the trade deadline, the more I get the feeling that we won’t be making any big moves.
    I really think all the player and position questions we’ve been posing aren’t going to be handled until the offseason. Besides, I bet we could get a whole lot more for much of our trade bait (i.e. LaRoche, HoRam, Estrada) in the winter.

  22. Kyle Farnsworth is even more of a head case than Kolb, if that’s possible. Affeldt is the second guy he’s body-slammed in 2 years, I believe, and he also assaulted an electric fan in the Cubs dugout last year and actually hurt himself, which is worse than Kolb’s attacks on Winston. I don’t care if Farnsworth throws 140 mph, I don’t want him.

    Of Doubledawg’s list, I like Scot Shields the most, but we’ll never pry him away. The Angels have all their pieces and they don’t want to ruin a good thing.

  23. Livan is pitching for the Natspos today. Hw will hit a grand slam in the fourth and the Nats will win 4-3

  24. I’m going to watch the end of the O’s game. Looks like the final score will be 3-2 for the third game in a row. May the Braves score 20 runs!

  25. Man. I can’t believe Andruw missed that. I hope he didn’t hurt himself slamming into that wall.

  26. At least Giles took the first pitch (a ball) before swinging at the next two. And leadoff double for Sanchez to leadoff the Giants half – the radio guys can’t believe Andruw missed it.

  27. Not sure it’s a case of can’t hit it, it is more like he can’t see it, at least not to know it is a strike.

  28. JC beat me to it and did it much better. Estrada isn’t a great player but he isn’t all that bad a player either. Its given that his offensive value is tied up in his batting average and the fact the he hits a lot of doubles. But although I’m not one to believe in the Varitek effect but he is a good reciever and seems to do a good job of helping the pitcher call a game. But the main reason for me to come to his defense here is that handing the full time job to a rookie that has all of 50 abs this year is nuts. With a little luck Estrada is contributing a lot more offensively and really just how many plays at the plate are there in a season that have the game on the line?

  29. As I predicted, the O’s lost 3-2. And now I come here and find they have a runner on 3rd with only 1 out. It’s gonna be a long day.

  30. KJ made some adjustments after the 1-30, the reports of those adjustments have now circulated, so he’ll have to make more adjustments. He will, well, adjust.

    If you can’t beat the Giants with Alou taking the day off (apparently, Donna Shalala is playing left field) there’s something wrong with you.

  31. Too bad we aren’t playing in saome AL parks. Chipper could really use some time at DH

  32. I just can’t believe the old man can still hit like that. Maybe he will get to 3k.

  33. That blows. I saw “McCann grounds out to catcher” and my jaw just about hit the floor. How lousy is that?

  34. So which name is better “Yorvit” Torreala or “Yadier” Molina? I keep going back and forth… leaning toward Yadier at the moment.

  35. You know, I kind of like the name “Yadier” for some weird reason. Yorvit, though? Sounds kind of Yiddish, strangely.

  36. with a 3:1 HR ratio, if Bobby starts him every day he’s on pace for about 30 more, given another 200 PA’s this season. I can’t figure out how you can bench a guy like that.

    Seriously, if he is the solution to the Langerhans/Johnson issue, no one would be happier than I. Having all those guys available for the playoffs would give the team in-game options like they’ve never had before.

  37. I think both names are made-up, at least in those forms. Every hit I can find on both is to the baseball player. “Andruw” is the same way.

  38. I know a guy named Lindsay. No joke. Also, a guy named “Stevephen.” His parents apparently couldn’t decide between Steven and Stephen, so they went with both. I thought it was a typo at first, but it’s not.

  39. Further research reveals some hits for “Yadier” that are mistakes for the composer Sebastian Yradier. And nobody else named “Yorvit” or “Andruw”.

  40. There’s a space before the word “image” in your URL, Spike. That kid looks young enough to be named after Andruw Jones.

  41. Did anyone see the Raymond Burr clone on ESPNews talking about the Braves? I tuned in about halfway through, but all he said basically was that John Smoltz should be in the HOF and that JS doesn’t need to make moves. Maybe he was just talking about the OF, since he mentioned “Rall Mundissy” but I think he meant in general. This isn’t the first place I’ve seen this. Of course, these guys probably just pass around the same sheet of paper from talking head to talking head.

    And Marcus is out on the first pitch. No comment.

  42. Andruw tried to steal a base? Trucks need more than 90 feet to shift gears, Andruw :-)

  43. The jinx continued when Mac referred to him as “inexcusible” (misspelling not mine, haha). Now he has taken issue with it.

  44. Obviously too good of a 1-2 pitch. I hate when that happens, especially to a guy like Feliz who hacks a lot.

  45. Why does anyone ever throw Feliz a strike? I mean, it’s not like he’s Vlad or somebody who can hit anything He’s Dave Kingman Lite. Just throw him curveballs or sliders away and he’ll get himself out.

  46. Atlanta Braves-Rookies of the Year

    If he can do this for the rest of the season, maybe. Right now, it’s betemit.

  47. Let him draw a walk first.
    The hits may be all good, but it is not a precursor for long time success unless he shows some plate discipline.

  48. Chip said “Good bunt! Throw to third and he is out. Bunted too hard.” What is it Chip, I blame him for all of our losses!

  49. Who then? He’s outhit Johnson and Langerhans by a mile, and McCann and Francouer have only a handful of AB’s. He saved the collective team’s ass by hitting when Chipper was on the DL.

  50. It’s gotta be Betty. I can understand being reluctant if you don’t think he’s for real. But just look at the list of former ROYs, and you’ll find plenty that weren’t for real (Pat Listache would be a good place to start).

    I’ll wager you lots of money that Betty has a far better career than Pat Listache.

  51. THey are not handing out the award in the NL because they are the minor league for the Yanks and Red Sox. The only two major league teams. So says ESPN, thus is law!

  52. At this point, the ROY is probably Taveras, since he plays every day and is supposedly (despite what we saw from him) a good CF. Per PA, Betemit far outshines most of the other rookies who have played a lot.

  53. Chip said “Good bunt! Throw to third and he is out. Bunted too hard.” What is it Chip?

    Chip tends to make overly assertive statements while the play is still unfolding. Once, on a liner to second, he cried out, “Orr dropped the ball! Everyone’s safe!!” Orr then picked the ball up and calmly threw out the runner at first. It wasn’t even a close play. An uncomfortable silence followed.

  54. Kelly Johnson is probably the only Brave with any kind of shot at the real thing just because of playing time and what he could mean to the pennant race. But he’d have to do something like .300/.400/.600 and 15 homers to make that.

  55. NL ROY candidates IMO:
    Taveras, Zach Duke ( 3 good starts don’t a ROY year make though, ask Davies! ), Church ( if he gets more ABs ), Betemit/KJ, Yadier, Atkins(?).

    Are Felipe Lopez and Brad Hennessey rooks?

  56. Well, if the Braves really did trade Furcal and Betemit played SS adequately down the stretch, he might win. Or if Langerhans really went on a tear, but he’s got enough PA now that it’s hard to see his averages getting very high even if he plays well.

  57. Re: throwing like a girl… I remember when Tucker first came to the Braves, the belief was that he had a terrible arm (remember, he started out a second baseman), so bad that he couldn’t play center or right, only left, even though he ran well at the time. But Bobby didn’t care as much about the arm compared to the range (plus Klesko was in left) so he stuck him in right. Eight years later, Tucker suddenly has a rep as throwing pretty well even though he throws as poorly as ever.

  58. How come Lowry has so many Ks?! He was a soft tossing lefty with a good changeup..last I saw him.

  59. Carleton College. Minnesota. Nobody’s ever heard of it, but it’s a good school. And really freaking expensive, too :-( I’ll have to learn to like the Twins, I guess. Do the Braves play the AL Central next year?

    “Donna” just made a nice error! What happened?

  60. I thought the thing on him was weak, yet accurate. I thing that was pretty much how it played out, but I never trust my memory.

  61. Not deep enough, but the play was hard enough where Kelly could probably have given it a good try.

  62. Donna probably would have needed seven or steps to get set and make a throw from the shallow end of left field.

  63. That’s the right scoring. Johnson was not planning to tag. He was coming half-way.

  64. And Paciorek went off on a correct rant that on a play where the 2B,SS and LF are converging on a pop-up, a runner at third should probably sit tight. If it’s caught, there’s a chance you could make. If it falls, you’re going to score anyway.

  65. In a footrace between Franco, Gimper and Estrada, Franco would finish first, take a shower, have dinner and then come back to see the photo finish between the other two.

  66. Creynolds, now you’ve confused me – if he was coming halfway, and not planning to tag, then if Shabala catches it Johnson doesn’t score, and the run is UNearned? Have I misread you?

  67. Can he possibly be that slow? He’s so slow he looks like he’s running backwards. Maybe he’s not trying as hard as he could.

  68. No, you haven’t misread me. I misread you. Sorry. It should have been an UNearned run, and that is what one of these goobers said was the official scoring.

  69. Oldie but a goldie: Tommy Lasorda on the speed of catcher Mike Sosscia, “if he raced a pregnant lady to first base he’d finish 3rd”.

    Did he just claim Barry Bonds the “greatest ever”. I’m going to hurl.

    Carleton, eh, how do you think Braves Journal will go over with the “great books” crowd? Don’t bother going to the Metrodome, its a very bad scene, especially when you think back to 1991.

    Notah Lowery, this guy is chasing down Tom Glavine as the best left-hander to make a big league career with 3 average pitches.

  70. Carletonians are flat-out weird. It shouldn’t be so bad.

    Wow. It’s hard to type and eat a popsicle at the same time.

  71. It was a whole lot better than when he said Kenny Lofton was the best player in the game in his first stint with Cleveland. At least Bonds deserves to be in the discussion. Lofton was good, but never anywhere near to being the best player in the game any year.

  72. Okay, Smoltz, you need to remember your age, buddy. Those of you with TV, how far did that ball get away from the catcher?

  73. Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying attention. But I looked up in time to see that the play wasn’t even close.

  74. He can do whatever he wants if he’s going to drive in important insurance runs himself.

  75. My Aunt Charlotte (my grandmother’s sister) went to Carlton College, and she turned out alright. Although she went there 65 years ago so I expect the crowd is a little different now.

  76. He gets some slack. But when the catcher can get you out trying to take third by throwing to the shortstop (he didn’t, but I think he could have), it deserves a few digs.

  77. My mom went to Carleton, and I guess she’s okay :-) Hmmm, wonder if that’s how I got in…nah.

  78. Smoltz will go one more I think, though I would take him out of the game now :)

  79. Anyone read this about Hampton:

    As Cox described it, Mike Hampton was getting out of a hot tub after Tuesday night’s game when he suddenly felt a pain in his back.

    The starting pitcher was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Wednesday, but the pain in his back prevented him from doing so. The pitcher is scheduled to start Saturday against the Diamondbacks, although that may not happen now.

  80. So he hurt himself getting out of a hot tub? Wow. Not as stupid as Smoltz’s iron burn or Marcus’s window cut, but pretty dumb.

  81. I didn’t mind Hampton when we didnt have to pay him. What’s the chances we can talk Col-Fla to pick up the tab next year too.

  82. Marcus swung at the first pitch again. No comment.

    Waiting for Mac to jump on me…. :-)

  83. Im not sure what’s more shocking, Andruw not getting that one out, or Sanchez bothering to run catch it.

  84. Andruw’s now 3 feet from 31HR today. first he grazes the foul pole and now drives it to the top of the wall in center.

  85. Yes, Jenny. That’s the same Alex Sanchez.

    Mac, I think Reitsma wants you to recap on time too.

  86. Sanchez has been dropped by Detroit and Tampa for being lazy, in the same year, with a steroid suspension sanwhiched in the middle.

    I bet it really pisses off Sabean that we have Franco, he seems to be on a quest to have the oldest players in MLB. Speaking of Sabean, why is he talked about so fondly. I always here his name mentioned with positive words, “crafty, creative, etc.”. He should’ve been fired for the Ortiz/Moss trade, then made it worse by getting Ponson. He has an outfield of geriatrics, has paid JT SNow for years, no pitching, no closer (Rob Nen is dead, i heard it on a beatles album), and his best move in years was picking up Alex “the dude” Sanchez. what gives?

  87. I got home and turned the game on my usual FSN/Braves radio setup. It’s freaky hearing the call, comprehending it, visualizing what it looks like, then, after all that, seeing it replayed on the screen.

    The delay has to be like 8 seconds today.

  88. Yeah, well, he got rid of Ponson, didn’t he, and now the O’s are stuck with him AGAIN for some unfathomable reason. What a fat tub of lard.

  89. Sabean has managed to put together some good teams made up largely of guys with the good face, high butts (or whatever it is about butts that these guys like) and “proven” ability. Of course, he’s built them around the most sabermetrically complete player that any of us will probably ever see play, but that’s conveniently forgotten.

  90. You forgot the Pierzinski trade. That’s gotta be his worst. But he will get lauded in the press for even minor successes since he does it the “traditional” way.

  91. The Ortiz trade was a good one. Forget Moss; for an overrated and overpaid pitcher with control issues he got Merkin Valdez, their best pitching prospect. But the real key was dumping Ortiz and the $10 million-plus he was owed over the 2003-04 seasons.

  92. Yeah, he and Adam Wainright are just out there waiting to rear their heads one day. I think the Ortiz trade may turn out to be Johnny’s worst. Well, with the Braves at least.

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