Atlanta 2, Pittsburgh 1

ESPN.com – MLB – Box Score – Pirates at Braves

The Braves won, but lost Jay Powell. With Chris Reitsma not available, the Braves turned to Powell to close a 2-1 game in the ninth. On his second pitch, he apparently had his elbow reconstruction fail. John Foster and Jim Brower couldn’t do a damned thing right and loaded the bases between them, and Macay McBride had to come in and get the save.

The Braves had been shut out for the first six innings but broke through in the seventh. Furcal singled, and Giles doubled to make it runners second and third, nobody out. Chipper then singled them both home. They couldn’t get any more, but Ramirez had a good night so that was enough.

Horacio struck out three, walked but one, and allowed six hits in eight innings. His one run came on a sac fly in the sixth, and was the only real jam he had in the whole game. The Braves turned three double plays behind him, which helped a lot.

Chipper finished with two hits and a walk. Kelly Johnson, hitting in the eighth spot now, also had two hits and a walk. Maybe that’s a good place for him, a place where pitchers are less likely to challenge him. Marcus had two hits. Estrada was back in the lineup, hitting seventh, and had a hit.

Kyle Davies was called up to make the start tomorrow — well, today, now — with Brayan Pena sent down. Roman Colon has been called up to replace Powell. I’m still not sure Colon is suited for relief. Mark Redman is supposed to start for the Pirates, if he isn’t traded before then… The Natspos and Mets lost, the Marlins and Phillies won. The Braves’ lead is now four. The Natspos have fallen out of the wildcard lead.

58 thoughts on “Atlanta 2, Pittsburgh 1”

  1. So…at what point do we start rooting for the Phillies? The Astros won again last night, taking over the Wild Card lead. They’re the team we’d be facing if the playoffs started today – and personally I want no part of Oswalt and Clemens again. I’d much rather face the ‘below .500’ Padres.

  2. I thought Skip and Chip were very respectful and classy in discussing Powell’s injury. Skip said it best — imagine that, in a flash, you were no longer able to do your job anymore, and you get an idea of what may have been going through Powell’s mind.

    Also, kudos to Chipper for knowing that Powell’s agony was exposed to the center field camera, and crouching there to block the view and provide some measure of privacy. It’s a small thing, but he thought to do it.

  3. Devine blew another save tonight allowing 1 run and a double in a game the Braves won in the bottom of the ninth. He’s not getting hit hard but this should test his mental game.

  4. I didnt see the game but did wonder boy do what I think he did by this line?
    Outfield Assist: J Francoeur (B Eldred at 1st base).

    Eldred, despite being huge isnt supposed to be a ploddingly slow guy either.

    Of course Francouer was also 0-4 w. 3 Ks

  5. wonder boy caught a line drive and threw to first for a double play.

    Eldred was stealing on a hit and run play so it was quite easy to get the outfield assist.

  6. Losing Powell is a tough blow. I think one major reason JS executed Gerbosyski deal was due to the reports and progress Powell was making in rehab.

    Wonder if we might be willing to deal one our our young guns (johnson or lang) for a set up guy?

  7. Yes, this really stinks. I feel bad for Jay. He worked really hard to get back here. At least now Frank Robinson will have one less thing to comlain about, the big baby…

  8. I feel bad for Powell, working his way up to the majors again, and this happens to him. We have got to get someone in the pen that doesn’t walk batters, Foster is getting annoying coming in and giving up walks, almost blew the game. Thanks goodness the kid McBride came through for us.

  9. From AJC ” Mississippi: Left-hander Chuck James had three consecutive starts without allowing a walk and improved to 7-1 with a 2.44 ERA. Going into the weekend, he had issued just one walk in 25 innings during July. . “

  10. Losing Jay Powell is a real problem and we have until 4:00 pm eastern standard time tomorrow, Sunday, July 30th to fix it.

    Though I don’t see Powell or Reitsma as a “closer” per say in a Playoff scenario, they are both veterans and the 2 guys at this point we could feel most comfortable with. (though there is still no explanation on the disappearing role of Blaine Boyer? It makes NO sense…did he give Leo a wedgie or something? Put shaving cream on Bobby while he slept?)

    The point is, we are really thin in the bullpen now because John Foster & Jim Brower are too unreliable and I am left scratching my head as they AGAIN try & fit a round peg in a square hole and stick Colon in the pen.

    The Braves have to make a trade and it may cost them some youngsters. Eddie Guardardo & Denys Baez are BOTH available and both better then most of what we currently have.

    I think we need to trade for one of those guys and for FUCK’S SAKE, flip Jorge Sosa & Roman Colon. I mean look at the overwhelming evidence people.

    Sosa is GREAT for about 4 innings and then wears out; he’s a fireballer who can strike people out. That scream reliever. Colon is a young, hard thrower but clearly doesn’t have the mental chops it takes for relief. He has shown however to already be a competent starter and deserves a shot at being in the Braves rotation in the next few years, assuming he’s not traded this weekend for veteran help.

    Furthermore, we have to get at least one bat. We’ve won several games recently so but we keep winning 2-1 or 3-2 against bad pitchers, Dave Williams? A good lineup gets 6-8 runs off a chump like that! Claudio Vargas? I mean, look at some of the guys we can’t score off of. Ryan Drese is awful, just awful and we STILL only got 4 runs off of him. We should be getting 8 runs.

    When you are only scoring 2-3 runs a game on average, that then pouts extra pressure on your starters and relievers. This is all cyclical. We went through this earlier in the year.

    We have to get a Huff or Mike Sweeney or Moises Alou…something to take the enormous weight on our pitching staff because we are simply not scoring enough runs.

    It’s also an eery & ominous sign for the Playoffs.

    Not only do we have a bullpen we simply cannot rely on, but if we can’t score runs and we are fated to play Houston in the post season again, how the hell do we plan to score off Clemens-Oswalt-Pettitte? The Astros are a confident bunch now, not the same shell of a team we swept a few mos. ago and as it stands now, we’d be playing them in the 1st round while the Cardinals would luck out & draw the free falling Padres.

    This unquestionably sets up an Astros-Cards NLCS re-match unless we make some deadline deals and get some bullpen help & another big bat.

    if Sunday passes and we have done nothing I would bet anyone $100 on here that if we have to play Houston or St. Louis in the 1st round, we are completely FUCKED. (especially vs. Housdton and that trio of starters).

  11. At least Thomson’s rehab start went well yesterday. Getting him back in the rotation will ease some of the pressure, but Alex is right: the Braves need someone who can work long relief.

  12. Alex,

    C’mon, you are going chicken little on us again. Calm down. I think there is no move that makes this a WS team and any move we make only marginally improves us.

  13. That makes sense, as Walker is temporarily out of the picture and the Cards need someone to take them down the home stretch (though they have the luxury of coasting a bit). Davies may be on the block, but a lefty like Ramirez might be a higher priority. Either way, it would have to be a package deal, but I have no clue about who else the Padres might want.

  14. Would HoRam plus LaRoche get Giles? Perhaps – as I posted earlier, the Padres could easily move Nady back to the OF if they get a 1b. If that would suffice, I think the Braves should leap to make the deal.

  15. Well, the Barves could call up Marte to share time at 1b (if Chipper doesn’t move), or they could move KJ back to the infield and have him play 1b in platoon with Julio – after all, presumably Giles would play LF for the Braves.

  16. Kelly Johnson, hitting in the eighth spot now, also had two hits and a walk. Maybe that’s a good place for him, a place where pitchers are less likely to challenge him.

    Great insight here. Well done. Johnson has the perfect approach to hit double cleanup. And with Raffy raking, it would be good to have some guys on in front of him.

  17. Is there a trade out there that makes us likely to win a post season series v/s the Astros or Cards? I can’t think of one. I don’t think getting B. Giles does that. Queston 2: If we send Davies or Marte or any top prospect to a team for help this year will we be better off next year? I can’t see it. I think this team could be great next year and that we don’t need to mortgage our long term potential for the outside chance of winning the WS this year. In other words I think this team in its current configuration has as good a shot of winning the WS as any other configuration we could possibly get this year. AND I think making no moves leaves us with a team more likely to win a WS in 06 than what we would have after a trade.

    I’m thrilled by this team’s success, but I think most of us should remember we were hoping for .500 in the spring and not let the expectations get completely out of line. I am imagine there are folks out there who think we ought to roll the dice and go for broke now but I countence a little patience.

  18. I think think getting B. Giles does considerably help our odds at a WS – especially if by getting him, that means the Cardinals don’t. I certainly would not be in favor of dealing Marte, but I think Davies, and certainly HoRam and especially LaRoche, are logical players to deal for an upgrade.

  19. I seriously doubt they would trade Davies. Laroche and Horam are possibilities but with Hampton ailing you need a lefty in the rotation. And he hasn’t pitched bad, he gives us a chance to win in most games.
    We have to make a decision about the Marte/Chipper/Laroche situation but that won’t come now probably in the summer. I doubt Marte’s going anywhere so Laroche could be on the block. Chipper will be a first baseman eventually or possibly a shortstop????
    I would think the most likely traded players would be KJ,Colon,a B Prospect like Jurries or James and then Laroche.
    I’m not too worried about Houston. We can match them with Hudson, Smoltz and probably Thomson.No Jaret Wright this year for them to batter. There offense is horrible, there’s no Bagwell(if he plays at all he’s hurt), or Beltran there this year. Lidge is great but he doesn’t come in to play if were ahead. The NLCS I don’t know but in a short series I like our starters more than Houston’s.
    Baez could be off the market if he’s in this “alleged” Manny Ramirez trade. I would like us to amke an offer for him. Maybe James and Jurries… Tampa wanted prospects in this alleged Ramirez trade let’s give them some of ours.

  20. I agree that we don’t want to face the Astros, regardless of the weakness of their lineup. Clemens, Oswalt, and Pettitte are 1-2-6 in ERA right now — there’s no way our rotation matches theirs, especially in a short series.

    I’m conflicted about Brian Giles — he would be great to have, but how much will he cost? I’m willing to forego a WS appearance this year in exchange for keeping our core group of youngsters intact.

  21. As desperate as the Pads are for pitching, and as deep as their lineup is, I think we could swing something built around HoRam and Colon together with prospects. But Brian Giles… I’d give up a lot for him. I just don’t see how the money works out unless they took Kolb and picked up some contract.

  22. Of course, we’d only have to pick up the last third of B. Giles’ salary, so perhaps the AOL accountants could be persuade to give us some leeway – or maybe some salary dumping is what Will Carroll was referring to when he wrote that Schuerholz was looking for the ‘last piece’ of a deal.

  23. Adam Stern update: According to Carroll, he’s been traded to the Rockies, along with Kelly Shoppach, for Larry Bigbie. Also according to Carroll, Millwood is headed to the Yankees.

  24. Please listen to Alex. Standing pat=surrender. I’ve got a business degree and I know how spend a lot of money poorly! But unless the goal is just to make the playoffs; we need a big bat.

  25. The 2 main reasons the Braves lost to the Astros last year (3-2) was (1) Most of our pitchers were injured last year and not available plus this overtaxed the relievers (2) Carlos Beltran now a Met.

  26. Davies, like Moss before him, is at the absolute top of his value right now. If that centerpiece would do it, put me in the get Brian Giles camp – but if that’s not possible, Lawton looks like a very good lower cost option. He’s been more than competent with the bat, excellent OBP, and not a defensive liability. If Francouer can keep up his hypnotherapy through the rest of the year and playoffs, Lawton might be enough, assuming the Joneses and Giles are hitting.

  27. The Rockies have done pretty well for themselves getting a pretty good 4th or 5th OF, a decent middle infield prospect and a great catching prospect for Joe Kennedy and Jay Witasik. I guess they’ll have no trouble keeping Stern on the 25-man, so he won’t be coming back. Not a huge deal, but it would’ve been nice. A helluva lot better than having Esix Snead hanging around Richmond.

  28. The thing about Giles is that while he’s a huge upgrade for us, I would only trade for him if we could sign him for at least two more years. He would add maybe one win or so over the rest of the season (which in all likelihood we won’t need) and maybe an extra .25-.5 wins over the entire playoffs. If you’re giving up a lot of value for him, you want to be sure to have him for two years. Remember, the Padres gave up Oliver Perez and Jason Bay to get him – which do you think they’d rather have now?

  29. Based on the rumors, this could seem like a pretty good time to try to swoop in and grab Lawton. And I’d love it if he could come with a reliever (other than Mesa, of course) and some sort of salary relief. This is a team that might actually be able to use Kolb. I had read that they were looking to get Bigby for him, but that’s gone. The Cardinals need an OF but appear to be aiming higher. I would assume that Langerhans would go in a deal for Lawton, though. Not that that’s horrible, but I kinda like the kid.

  30. Reason # 3 – the Astros starters (Clemens, Oswalt, Backe, Clemens, Oswalt) gave up 9 ER in 29 1/3 innings (2.76 ERA). This year they have Pettitte instead of Backe. Really, there aren’t many less attractive first-round opponents.

  31. I’m confused about all the talk of LaRoche HoRam for Giles. LaRoche has four more home runs and three more RBIs in almost hundred less ABs. His average is 30 points lower, but I can’t see how Giles presents a significant offensive upgrade. If you add to that losing HoRam with our pitching is such a state of flux it’s hard to see the upside.

  32. 1. Giles plays his home games in an extreme pitchers’ park, which depresses his power numbers.

    2. LaRoche’s OBP is .314. Giles’ is .431. That’s an enormous difference.

  33. Giles is the best RF in the majors; LaRoche is maybe the 10th-best 1B in the National League. Big difference.

  34. Thanks Mac. I knew after I took a quick look at the numbers that I must have been missing something.

  35. 2. LaRoche’s OBP is .314. Giles’ is .431. That’s an enormous difference.

    How different fan it be? It’s the same three digits!

  36. Take two players with league-average SLG (I used .430) and the above OBPs. Assume they’re all park normallized. Give them 600 plate appearances.

    The higher OBP is worth over 30 runs more. That’s a pertty big difference :)

  37. By the way, Colin was joking. I realize that. I’m pretty dumb but not a complete moron :)

    Elvis Andrus has a .410 OBP in the GCL as a 16-year-old shortstop. How soon is too soon to get excited about him?

  38. Nationals down with only 3 outs left…looks like if the Braves win, we’ll be 5 up in the division at the end of the day. Time to go on a run and put this one out of reach…

    As for the whole Giles/Davies/others debate…I’m kinda reluctant to part with Davies — he’s only what, 21? — but do feel that as much as Petco would help him, getting out of there would help Giles. Even if we move LaRoche and HRam and Davies for Giles, we’d still have Johnson and Langerhans to alternate between backup OF and 1b, the latter with Franco…or we could bring up Marte to play there. In the rotation, it’d commit us to leaving Sosa there and leave us thin until Thomson or Hampton come back, but it might be worth it. Probably would see Colon go to the rotation temporarily, with someone like McBride maybe moving there as well — remember, Bobby told him to be ready for anything, innings 1-9 — or an outside shot at Chuck James coming up.

    Is it all worth it? In the long-run, yes. A rotation of Smoltz/Hudson/Hampton/Thomson plus the best of the youngesters & Sosa is pretty formidable.

  39. I’m not sure why you guys think we should trade Davies. Smoltz isn’t going to play forever. And I don’t see Thompson lasting too much longer, same with Hampton.
    And what’s with trading Laroche? This is just his second season. Long term I see him along the lines of Fred McGriff. He’s got a good glove and he’ll be pretty good batter. B. Giles is getting older and I really don’t see the Braves making a big move. They like the rookies they’ve got.
    Ya’ll keep talking about a big bat. Look at the team of 91, the one that started that streak. Half the teams was nobodies with no real stars. I think we’ll do just fine with what we’ve got and the rookies will add some much needed enthusiasm to the clubhouse.

  40. Pettite, Clemens, Oswalt is pretty formidable. Astros have lost Bagwell for the year. They have scored less runs and allowed more runs than the Braves. Braves have turned much more double plays. Astros do have another advantage with Lidge.

  41. “and the rookies will add some much needed enthusiasm to the clubhouse.” I love it. And what is with Bobby Cox starting to play tricks on players hitting home runs. I have never seen him so playful.

  42. In his age 24 and 25 season, McGriff had an OPS of 152 and 161, with 34 and 36 HR. Laroche was 109/13 in his 24 year, and on pace for 105/22 this year. He ain’t no McGriff

  43. Andy, that’s an insult to McGriff, and I think you should apologize to the Crime Dog. LaRoche is an okay player, but he isn’t even putting up the numbers now that McGriff did when he was a young player, and when McGriff was a young player you could lead the league in homers with 36 — as he did, in 1989. Can anyone imagine LaRoche leading the league in homers, or slugging? Take a look at McGriff’s BR page. Look at all those Top 10 finishes.

  44. I said long term I see him as a similar mode. But your right, I misrembered McGriff’s numbers. But I still don’t see Laroche as a bad firstbaseman. And I think moving C. Jones or Marte over to first base creates more problems than solutions for a penant race. It means they’d have to get use to a new position.

  45. As much as I would like to see Brian Giles with the Braves I don’t believe AOl will pick up his 8.33 million dollar salary. That is unless they trade Hampton’s away, or Furcal’s. But with the way Furcal is playing why trade him now?

  46. BA says”Giles makes $8.5 million in 2003 and will drop to $7 million in both 2004 and 2005″, and ATL will only be on the hook for about a third of that – sounds like a not too expensive player to me.

  47. If this would be about pitching for the Padres, you’ve got to think bigger than Davies, Sosa and Ramirez. Much bigger. They’re not willing to get worse this year. And they shouldn’t be. I don’t think we have the pitcher a contender needs. As has been shown, LaRoche is a huge dropoff from Giles… certainly more than Kyle Davies, Jorge Sosa or Horacio Ramirez can make up.

  48. Spike you may be right I got my number from USA today. I think the Giles brothers would be a big asset for the Braves. Saying that how much do you think Brian would sign for next year? Is AOL interested in spending that kind of money on Giles? I hope so. The only rumor I have heard is that the Braves were mildy interested in Lawton

  49. “wonder boy caught a line drive and threw to first for a double play.

    Eldred was stealing on a hit and run play so it was quite easy to get the outfield assist. ”

    Darn I was hoping he gunned him at first on a would-be single to shallow right

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