66 thoughts on “Game Thread: August 5, Braves at Cardinals”

  1. Er, I think it’s more “you could do a lot worse than John Schuerholz”. Billy Knight is vastly overpaying a shooting guard (most replaceable position in the NBA) and potentially giving up 2 lottery picks to do so!
    Ok, back to baseball – does this series have any special meaning, given it’s presumptively the two best teams in the league? I.e., how often does a team decisively lose a season series to a team, and then beat them in the playoffs? Someone must have researched this…

  2. The Hawks have used their lottery picks very poorly since the drafting of Dominique Wilkins, so that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Hopefully, Marvin Williams will turn out differently (as will Childress).

    I would ordinarily be against the Hawks trading their picks, but at some point they need to commit to the players they’ve been drafting. Plus, next year’s draft class will probably be abominable anyway: here is one mock draft. Wow, I think I can live without the chance to take Rudy Gay #1 overall.

  3. Kyle S, if I understand correctly, the pick is lottery-protected next year (when the draft will suck, as you indicate) but the protections are off for the future (when the drafts should begin to return to normal, even improve). There’s a non-negligible chance he traded away a shot at Greg Oden, plus $70 mil, for Joe Johnson. The Hawks can’t afford to do that – they should’ve just forced Phoenix to match, or gotten him clean.

  4. My understanding is that it’s lottery-protected, period, though there may be some sort of full protection, then only protected for the top 5 sort of thing. Other points:

    1. Johnson’s supposed to play the point for the Hawks. I don’t know how well that’s going to work out, but with Smith at the 2 and Williams at the 3, he has to.

    2. They haven’t been able to sign a marquee free agent in a very long time.

    3. They’re way below the salary floor. If they don’t sign Johnson, they’re going to have to bring in a bunch of nobodies and overpay them.

    What the Hawks are assuming is that their core is going to come together and they’ll be a playoff team in 2-3 years. With their current group of inside players, this is highly unlikely.

  5. Mac: “…they’ll be a playoff team in 2-3 years. With their current group of inside players, this is highly unlikely.”

    – I couldn’t agree more, which is why this is crazy. On the pick protections, here’s something from (Hawks fan and ESPN.com writer) John Hollinger’s chat Thursday on ESPN’s sportsnation:

    “Michael (Boston): How have you not had a nervous breakdown? The Hawks’ first major free agent “coup” is a shooting guard that you more than anyone know is overrated, since his stats are padded by an abnormally high minutes per game average. Your thoughts?

    John Hollinger: I was hoping nobody would birng that up today.

    Um yes, the Johnson deal. Horrible, horrible deal for the Hawks. So not only do they have to pay Johnson about twicde what he’s worth, they have to give up No. 1 picks for the right to do it. And of the two picks, one is only top-three protected in ’07 and I believe its naked in ’08, so they better get better fast. “

  6. Well, it’s obvious there is a reason why the Hawks are so bad, this is just another example. And also why if you’re rooting for an Atlanta team, you’d better cheer for the Braves

  7. It’s a terrible trade for the Hawks, one of the worst blunders in league history. They already have Childress at the same poistion and he is basically the same player.

  8. First, the trade would be a good one for the Hawks. They don’t need those draft picks, they don’t need to get any younger. Joe Johnson is not the same player as Childress. Johnson is a point guard, which the Hawks sorely need. He would create tremendous matchup problems in their favor because having him, Josh Smith, and Childress/Williams on the court at the same time would mean other team’s guards would have to match up with a backcourt where no one is under 6’5. That’s pretty significant. The Suns were a different team when Johnson was healthy. He is a very good player.

    Second, lineup:

    1. R Furcal, SS
    2. M Giles, 2B
    3. J Francoeur, RF
    4. A Jones, CF
    5. J Franco, 1B
    6. W Betemit, 3B
    7. J Estrada, C
    8. K Johnson, LF
    9. J Smoltz, P

  9. Sounds like we still don’t have a definitive picture on the level of lottery-protection that the two picks carry. At first I thought it meant that any lottery pick would be kept by the Hawks, which would make the deal a cinch. But it sounds like that’s not the deal.

    The more I think about it, the more I see Belkin’s point. I was psyched about scoring Johnson (yes, I’m a Hawks fan — please be kind), but the price seems steep. Sounds like the Suns are taking Billy Knight for a ride. Knight has talked a good game, and I understood the need to “get bad to get better” because of our aging roster back then, but Part One of that equation was accomplished three seasons ago.

    I don’t necessarily buy the argument that nobody will ever want to play for them if this falls through, though. Today’s scandal is tomorrow’s footnote, especially if they can manage to get their power hierarchy figured out.

  10. Joe Johnson is not a point guard (he is a spot up shooter in fact) – the hawks may be putting his name in as a point guard, but he has never really played the point in college or the pros.

    He averages about 1 assist per 12 minutes for his career.

  11. According to foxsports, Estrada is catching Smoltz. Weird.

    Joe Johnson played point all year last year when Nash was on the bench. He brought up the ball even when Barbosa was in the game. And he was very good at it. If he’s healthy, no one knows how that San Antonio series turns out. He was vital to Steve Nash’s health because he was the only one other than Nash who could be trusted with the ball in his hands.

  12. Well, if Franco’s in the lineup, I’m assuming the pitcher is a lefty. McCann is a lefty. Estrada aggravates his back hitting left-handed so therefore he’s in the lineup tonight as a righty even though he’s largely a waste from that side of the plate. There’s your explanation, although I don’t think I like it very much. I’m sick of this whole righty-lefty thing. It’s an assumed advantage that may not actually be true in many cases, but is done anyway.

    Aside from that, at least KJ’s hitting 8th and Marcus is back to the 2 hole. Nice job in that respect.

    And I HATE the NBA.

  13. Traditional basketball statistics are supposed to be just as bad as using RBI to measure a hitter’s value, right? I’ve heard the case made for per-48 minute stats, but even then, does (say) assist rate per 48 really translate to scoring?

    Some of the “advanced” basketball statistics I remember seeing last season were basically nothing more than plus-minus from hockey, and incredibly bad at judging talent. Antoine Walker isn’t an all-star or anything, but he’s also not the worst player in the league (like the +/- stat said). A very basic first step would be to control not just for the players on one’s own team on the floor but the players on other teams as well, and then run a bigass regression. I understand this would be very difficult to do, and maybe it’s already been done, but I have never seen anything that sophisticated.

  14. Johnson was 7th on the Suns in Assists per 48 Minutes (right behind Jimmy Jackson). It may not be a good measure, but I’m not ready to say Joe Johnson should be nicknamed Magic…

  15. I also agree that Johnson is by no means a great point guard. But he is much better than what the Hawks had, Boris Diaw. And I don’t see any Steve Nash’s beating down the door to take the Hawks’ money. Considering the aforementioned matchup problems he creates, I think the gamble was well worth it for the Hawks.

    I love the fact that we get Mulder, Marquis, and Carpenter in this series. I’m not that big on statement games in August, but I am interested in seeing how we fare against the best.

  16. Looks like the cards have a rookie rightfielder who is having a great start to his career. John Rodriguez 54 ab .352 3hr 9 rbi 1.042 ops. He is a bit older at 27.

  17. Somebody should give our pitchers better report on Pujols. Otherwise, I don’t mind treating Pujols like Bonds.

  18. I know I’m wrong for thinking this, but I’m beginning to not care if Francoeur ever walks or not.

    Of course I’d rather he would walk, but still, this is crazy.. Its been crazy, and it’ll still be crazy in a month(hopefully).

  19. Ugh I know we got a run and all but I didn’t like what I saw. One doesn’t swing at a ball low in the zone on the first pitch especially when the pitcher had been struggling so much. All 6 braves hitters did it that inning.

  20. The best I can come up with is that somebody (Cox? Corales? Pendleton hasn’t been around long enough to have started it) believes that the best thing to do with a pitcher having trouble throwing strikes is to jump on the first one he throws. I think I can see some logic there: the guy going to give up some “stuff” for location. But I don’t like it. It does seem counter-productive to me. But there has to be a reason for it… it’s been a pattern for many years.

  21. damn, you guys had to bring up the hawks….

    i don’t think johnson’s the answer at the point. we should have drafted chris paul, imho. but billy knight seems facinated with tweeners (JSmith: 6’8″, Childress 6’9″, Williams 6’9″, johnson 6’8″ , not to mention Al Harrington, who will probably be shipped). not sure you can win with that.

    but then again, if they sign eddie curry for the max (if the johnson deal falls through), i will hurl myswlf off of I285.

  22. I think estrada just hurt his back somemore. It looked like when he threw that strike to second that he looked hurt so to speak.

  23. 7 batters swung at the first pitch…

    Smoltz broke that string of swinging at the 1st pitch.

  24. Hey, have you guys noticed that twice tonight TBS has come back from commercial late, with play already in progress? I hope this doesn’t become a habit; Fox does it every time, and it drives me nuts!

  25. Team LOB: 4 , sgh…
    can’t protect Andruw.we really need the 5th spot.
    be in striking contrast STL.

  26. Can we simply replace “Johnny Estrada flied out to left” or “Johnny Estrads grounds out 6-3” to “Johnny Estrada sucks”? Seriously, after each out he makes, I don’t want to hear who got the putout or who got the assist, I just want to here “Johnny Estrada sucks”. For example:

    “The 2-2 to Estrada. Grounder to second. And Johnny Estrada sucks.”

  27. I don’t know about Smoltz, but I want McCann behind the plate.

    Adam needs to come through here.

  28. Not that it matters so much in this game, but Brower seems to have very few positive outings. Tonight it only took one pitch.

  29. Never mind, I just looked it up. His numbers weren’t so bad before this year, but he’s been pretty awful in 2005. 5.29 ERA with 58 hits in 47 innings? Not so nice. And I haven’t seen him pitch well yet.

  30. Here’s a lopsided line:

    SD 6 runs, 16 hits
    WAS 5 runs, 4 hits

    SD has the lead on an error by, who else, Cristian Guzman. This makes me feel a little better.

  31. I don’t want to be harsh on Estrada as he really did a good job for us last year, but I really want to give McCann more playing time. McCann seems to be a better player all around than Estrada right now.

  32. Hopefully everybody wakes up angry tomorrow and we even this series up. Tonight was just embarrassing.

  33. Okay, that’s what they did, but I think McBride should never have come in in the first place or he should have been yanked way sooner. Why damage his confidence?

  34. Hey, guys, it only counts as one loss. Everybody has nights like this. It wasn’t much fun to watch, but we’ll be okay.

  35. I think once the damage had been done you have to let him try to get out of it to “build character”.

  36. “Building character” is the worst phrase ever coined.

    And Marcus? I love that you’re batting in runs, but let’s just go home.

  37. That’s why I put it in quotes. But basically you have to let him take his lumps (another one), clean up his own mess, etc. and hope he learns from it. He will face numerous situations where he will have to get out of a jam he has put himself in and it is better to have it go bad now than in October.

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