Atlanta 13, Arizona 8

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

Mike Hampton gave up three early runs, but settled down. Horacio Ramirez made him look good by giving up a bunch of homers. Everyone contributed, the Braves win the series.

Hampton gave up a run in the first, but Chipper hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning to take the lead. But Hampton gave it up again in the second. For the first two innings, he looked pretty atrocious, allowing seven hits and only actually retiring four men; the D-Backs gave him an out on a bunt, and Francoeur threw out Luis Gonzalez at the plate. After that, he settled down.

The third inning made that easy, as the Braves had seven runs in before making an out. Furcal doubled, Marcus was hit by a pitch, then Chipper doubled to make it a tie game, with runner second and third. Andruw singled home Giles, then Chipper scored when Gonzalez (who will want to forget this game for sure) misplayed the ball. LaRoche singled to make it first and third, then Francoeur hit a three-run homer. Langerhans capped it with a solo shot.

The Braves got two more in the fourth without a hit — two hit batsmen and three walks. Chipper hit another double to score Marcus in the fifth, and Johnson, who came in to rest Andruw, hit a solo homer in the sixth.

By that time, Ramirez was in to throw batting practice. Hampton went five, allowing nine hits, walking one, and striking out none, but at least he was getting ground balls. HoRam’s specialty is home runs. 3 2/3 innings, six hits, five runs, all earned, two walks, one strikeout, and three homers. It was enough that Bobby couldn’t let him finish the game, and Boyer game in to get the last out.

Every Brave who came to bat had a hit except for McCann, who had a bases-loaded walk and hit the ball hard for outs. Chipper was 3-4 with the homer and two doubles, plus a walk. Marcus had a couple of hits.

Macay McBride got sent down to make room for Hampton, because they can’t send Ramirez down I guess… The Marlins won, the Natspos are winning, the Phillies and Mets are just underway… Tomorrow is a day off; Smoltz will face Derek Lowe in the first of a three-game series with the Dodgers on Tuesday.

48 thoughts on “Atlanta 13, Arizona 8”

  1. Is Ramirez out of options? Because sending down McBride to keep this yahoo in the bullpen is otherwise inexplicable. It must be said: Ramirez sucks a big one. The season is almost 75% over and he has shown us nothing except the ability to throw more balls than strikes and give up as many home runs as starts. Two or three good outings don’t make up for the slew of bad ones he’s had over the year. You absolutely can’t let this guy pitch in the playoffs. He needs to be traded in the offseason. I don’t buy the “fifth starter” or the “lefty” argument-he sucks, okay? You can’t defend against gopher balls and walks! Terrible.

  2. He’s been on the major league roster for nearly three years now; I’m pretty sure he can’t be sent down without going through waivers. He was taken in the 1997 draft; that’s a year before Langerhans was drafted, and the Braves had to keep him on the 25-man.

  3. You guys are somewhat hard on HRam…

    His last 10 starts have had way more good than bad…

    Good Games
    7.2 IP – 1 ER
    8 IP – 1 ER
    7 IP – 3 ER
    7.1 IP – 4 ER
    7 IP – 3 ER
    9 IP – 0 ER
    7 IP – 1 ER
    5 IP – 0 ER

    That’s a 2.01 ERA for 8 of his last 10 starts

    Bad Games
    4.2 IP – 6 ER
    5 IP – 8 ER

    Of course he has a 13+ ERA in the other 2 starts.

    I would wager that any team in the league would take a 26 year old lefty who puts up a 2.01 ERA in 8 of 10 starts.

  4. Of course any team would take him, claiming Ramirez sucks is nonsense. 8 out of 10 good starts like that is good for any pitcher, for a #5 it’s terrific. Then again, people around here are still trying to argue Sosa can’t pitch; it’s like beating your head against a brick wall.

  5. Remember HoRam was out for a substantial amount of time and is still in the recovery stage. He has good stuff, just needs some time to develop. I would think he fits in nicely in a middle inning relief position, assuming Cox will take his f’ing starters out when its time. Cox is living in the 60’s and 70’s when CGs were the norm. If he pulls that in the playoff run again, Mazzone might strangle him in the dugout.

  6. Well, we can agree to disagree, then. I still think he sucks, largely based on his high number of HRs given up and the fact that he has more walks than strikeouts (and he only has 45 of those), which is…well, bad. I’m just so incredibly sick of all the HOME RUNS! He’s one of the worst in the majors in that category, and the fact that he has no unearned runs at all means it’s ALL HIM. I think we have minor league starters that can do just as well and that he should be traded in the offseason.

    Do any of you want him pitching in the playoffs? I just can’t see that being a good thing.

  7. Ramirez has been unbelievably lucky to have an ERA in the mid-fours, largely thanks to superb defense. He’s striking out 2.8 men per nine, and allowing 1.3 homers per nine. Those are both awful. The strikeout rate is the worst in the National League, by a wide margin — Glavine, at 3.84 is next-worst. You can’t maintain success — even by a definition of league-average ERA as “success” — with those numbers unless you never walk anyone and get lots and lots of ground balls. That’s not what Ramirez does. He hasn’t hit bottom yet.

  8. Speaking of guys who aren’t all that good, check out LaRoche’s stats for the last two years. He has had about as many at bats this year as last and I am not seeing a whole lot of improvement. And just for fun, here’s a nice quote from him too:”That guy’s unbelievable,” Braves first baseman Adam LaRoche said of the 6-foot-7 Clark. “That’s some serious pop. The guy’s huge. I felt like a little girl standing next to him at first base. No offense to girls.”Sorry if you guys already talked about this. I don’t keep up with this blog as much as the regulars.

  9. Had this discussion with Stu in an earlier thread. Ramirez doesn’t have what it takes to be a reliever.

    But with our luck somebody gets hurt and we need him in the rotation again. ugh.

  10. Stu,

    Easy there, I said in danger of not making the post season roster, not WON’T make it.

    Horacio’s stats during the first 30 pitches of his appearances (from ESPN) this is what I figure for an inning of relief. OBP/SLG/OPS/avg

    0.343 0.456 0.799 0.281

    Not all that awe-inspiring. His K rate is awful, he walks a lot of guys, he doesn’t pitch well with men on base OBP/SLG/OPS/avg

    .395 .642 1.036 .340

    He may make the post seasone roster on account of his left handedness and he is relatively effective against southpaws. However, given Bobby’s penchant for carrying designated runners and third catchers I don’t think it is a sure bet.

    I hope that he pitches well out of the pen. Just don’t see a lot of reason to think he will, he doesn’t have a dominant pitch and is a slow starter.

    I think we are looking at the post season rotation being Smoltz, Hudson, Hampton, Thomson

    Relievers: (Assuming we carry 8) Reitsma, Foster, Sosa, Farnsworth, Boyer, McBride, Davies and either Kolber or Horacio, truly hope not Bower.

  11. Then again, people around here are still trying to argue Sosa can’t pitch; it’s like beating your head against a brick wall.

    I’ll second that. I’ve given up hope of rational discussion of those two on this site.

  12. Sosa doesn’t have even remotely decent control at this point. He’s not a good pitcher yet. He’s only a little above average at striking people out, and he’s among the worst in the league at preventing walks.

    However, he’s certainly an improvement over Ramirez. Davies would probably be a better option, but that’s arguable. Neither are good yet. Both have huge upsides long-term.

    Sosa will be a good pitcher. Right now, though, his control problems are ridiculous.

  13. You know who’s had a nearly identical year to Sosa in terms of strikeouts, walks, and homeruns? Kip Wells.

  14. Horacio is only frustrating in my book, because he doesn’t seem to learn. It is the HR bug every single game.

    And Sosa is Sosa he has pretty much been a stopper for us in a sense, and I will take that.

  15. Whatever you want to say about Ramirez, leave this game out of it. He came in to eat innings in a blowout. All managers typically ask is for pitchers in those situations to throw strikes. That’s what he did, and three of them were hit for homeruns. (On that note, whoever claimed that Stinnett’s homerun was so long that KJ just watched it go wasn’t watching the game–he chased it to the wall and the ball barely cleared the fence. Had Langerhans still been in Left, he may have even made the play.)

    Ramirez gave up some runs today, but it didn’t hurt us at all, and he gave us innings. You people really are ridiculous.

  16. JB – I agree Ramirez is not reliever material. Maybe in a long relief role, but even then it’s questionable. Clearly he’ll have to carve out an role as a starter to have staying power in the big leagues, and at this point he’s probably not needed on the post season roster. But he’s not the horrible pitcher so many try to make him out to be.

    JoeyT – Sosa’s control is not nearly as bad as people are claiming. There’s a difference between having wild movement and having no control at all. Sosa gets the ball around the plate with a lot of movement, which is how he gets people out. Obviously, the more he improves with regard to location the better he’ll be, but there’s nothing ridiculous about what Sosa has done as a starter, period.

  17. Yes, because he’s certainly never given up a bunch of home runs before. Or gone four innings with one strikeout before. This was a complete reversal of his normal pitching pattern. He should be a Cy Young candidate.

    Ramirez has been an adequate innings eater whose stats indicate he’s unlikely to maintain that status. That’s all.

  18. Look, short of major injury emergency, HoRam isn’t starting a playoff game, so the debate over his (de)merits really should concentrate on whether he can be effective in relief – and today did nothing to help his cause there. The larger concern for me is Hampton, who also strikes out few and gives up tons of hits. I think he’s a very poor choice for a playoff starter, and even assuming Thomson’s health, that means trouble… I would be more comfortable with Davies or Sosa starting a playoff game than Hampton. What about the rest of y’all?

  19. Hampton’s a really good pitcher. It’s a testement to the stellar staff the Braves have that he’s only the fourth best starter on the team.

    Hampton’s coming off an injury and is a bit rusty. Yesterday, Thomson, a guy who never gives up homeruns outside of extreme hitters parks, gave up a homerun and couldn’t buy an out despite being 0-2 on nearly every hitter. Similar situation here. These guys are rusty. They’ll be good down the stretch and for the playoffs.

    Davies has the most potential to be better than Hampton one day due to his age, but certainly not yet.

    I would definately feel more comfortable with Hampton over Sosa and Davies. Heck, if there’s a lot of lefty sluggers in the lineup, I’d probably even like him over Hudson and Thomson.

  20. And people thought Keith Lockhart had pictures. Gees, HoRam, must have pictures of lots of fans to get love after this season and this game. My Tivo cut off before the final inning. When I saw the final score, I knew what had happened.

    I went to the M-Braves/Lookouts game today. Whew, we stink in AA now.

  21. Mork, the top four should be exactly the same. Smoltz-Thomson-Hudson-Hampton. The number five guy will probably be Davies, unless Sosa learns to consistently throw strikes over the latter part of the season and the off-season, which is entirely possible.

  22. Does Thomson have a team option on his contract for next year? Will the club cut him to save money?

  23. Thomson has a 4.75M team option for next year with a 500K buyout. For the level of pitching he brings to the table, especially since the all-star break of last year, there is no way the Braves don’t pick it up.

  24. I have questions about Hampton, too, but he’s just coming back from injury and we should see if he picks up his early season form again, because that was pretty good. I think Davies is the most solid as long as he doesn’t stay in too long. I know he wasn’t exactly fantastic in long relief the other day, but I just feel better about him than HoRam.

  25. I figured I chime in on the HoRam debate, such as it is.

    Let me first say, I have no ill will for him. I’ve seen him pitch well and I’ve seen him suck more than Dan Kolb (Is Tom Martin a better comp? Left handed and all?) I digress…

    I don’t think of HoRam as a good pitcher. I don’t consider him average. I do consider him fine for a number 4 or 5 starter. (In my world a pitcher like Smoltz is great, Thomson is good, someone like Kris Benson is average, HoRam is ok, and Eric Milton is the eptiome of suck)

    I just hope we can agree to disagree here. Just because I find HoRam acceptable doesn’t mean I have to be happy with him, when there are better options out there (Pitchers who I believe could (right now) be better starters than HoRam: Davies, James, Sosa)

    Now, all that said, I don’t see how it really matters. He certainly won’t be used to start in the playoffs, and he probably won’t be brought into too tough a situation there. Maybe against a lefty or for an inning. Clearly Rietsma, Farnsworth, Sosa, Foster & Boyer are better options there, (meaning they’ll probably get used before him), so again, I don’t see what it matters.

    OK, I don’t think I said anything earth shattering, just giving my opinions. That said, once in a while, I feel the need to moan about how HoRam or Laroche suck. I don’t hate them, I just feel frustrated when there are better options easily available.

    OK, this is my last sentence.

  26. Let’s look at today’s start:
    IP H R ER BB SO HR PC-ST
    Hampton 5.0 9 3 3 1 0 0 77-50
    Ramirez 3.2 6 5 5 2 1 3 73-46

    If moaning and groaning about HoRam is justified, what about the guy who didn’t strike out ANYONE and would’ve given up at least 2 more runs, possibly more, if the D’backs has a 3rd base coach who bothered to do his job? (If today wasn’t enough, he also didn’t notice the hidden ball trick against the Marlins a couple days earlier). Hampton, even more than HoRam, is doing an unsustainable smoke and mirrors act, and I suspect disaster awaits.

  27. I think Hampton has proven himself being a good playoff starter, and none of us sees any hope in Ramirez. Ramirez’s problem this season has been so obvious that we don’t need to look at any numbers to justify his case. My humble opinion is that, unless Ramirez proves himself to be a good relieve pitcher, I predict he will be left off the playoff roster completely in favor of McBride. Bobby would love to have two lefties in the bullpen for matchup purposes in the playoff. I think Bobby will give Rameriz many chance the next two weeks to see if he can be a situational lefty out of the bullpen.

  28. Keith: Don’t get me wrong, I’m not huge Hampton fan either, especially for what he gets paid, and if he can’t even stay healthy he doesn’t even serve an inning eater function.

    That said, today Hampton was getting a lot of ground balls. They were hits, but I’d rather have a ball sneak through the hole than sneak over the fence.

  29. Nice to see Chipper back. When he is on his game the Braves are a different team. This year the Braves don’t seem thin in any area. Hopefully, with their schedule they can keep a lead and they all can be rested for the playoffs.

  30. I certainly hope Hampton gets healthy, strikes out at least a few, gets lots of double plays, and makes me eat my words. I suspect, however, that he’s going to get routinely lit up by good teams (i.e., not Colorado or the Nats) and give up about 6 runs in his sole playoff start as we lose a 1st round series yet again. And so I simply register my opinion that Sosa and Davies should get plenty of starting opps through Sept, and hope that one or both of them will prove better options. And if we can somehow unload him in the offseason – preferably to a NY team – all the better.

  31. Surprisingly, this is the most concerned I’ve been about our pitching heading into the postseason that I’ve ever been. I just don’t think we have the consistency we need, more from the bullpen, but also from several spots in the rotation (everyone besides Smoltz and Hudson, who has also been shaky sometimes). Sosa has been good but he has a 1.43 WHIP and he, like Hampton, just makes me nervous. Davies? He’s very good, usually, until he gets tired, then it’s Katy-bar-the-door. And I’m worried about the bullpen, too.

    Should I be concerned?

  32. I do consider him fine for a number 4 or 5 starter.

    Exactly. The Braves have a lot of budget tied up in their front four starters. As a result their number one requirement for a fifth starter is: make the league minimum. With that requirement in place, you need to keep your expectations low. It’s silly to pay for pot roast and then get upset because it doesn’t taste like filet mignon.

    So how has HoRam done for our meager investment? Made every start, worked deep into a lot of games, league average ERA, helped out with his bat. We paid for pot roast, we got pot roast, nothing more.

    Going forward, if HoRam doesn’t improve (and it’s sure looks like he won’t), he should be dumped as soon as he starts making any kind of real money, possibly as soon as this offseason. As such, it would be best if Bobby didn’t hang him out to dry like he did today so that his stats look shiny for some sucker team. He’s not going to be Johan Santana or even Ervin Santana, but considering the way the rest of the rotation crumbled this season, he’s been a valuable guy to have around.

  33. Should I be concerned?

    Oh yeah. At this point both the rotation and the bullpen are shaky. The bright side is that there is a strong chance, now that everyone is back, that our rotation could come together in the next six weeks and be a force in the post season. Our bullpen on the other hand is a question with no answer. We just don’t have arms down there and as a result will be riding the starters for better or for worse.

    So go ahead and worry. I know I will be.

  34. Anybody watching ESPN2? These parents are ridiculous. The pitcher intentionally walks someone and the other team’s parents start raucously booing. How tacky is it to boo someone else’s 12-year-old kid? It’s Little League!

  35. The rotation isn’t shaky at all. All four of the core starters are ace material. Each would be, at least the #2 starter in almost any rotation in baseball, and in most cases the #1.

    Thomson and Hampton are rusty. It takes time to get back into form. Fortunately, the Braves have a month and a half for them to get ready.

    The rotation was shaky when three starters were on the DL. It might be shaky for the next week or two while Thomson and Hampton get back into shape. It sure as heck won’t be shaky come playoff time.

  36. Worry? I remember last year when everything went so well in August, then suddenly Wright, Hampton, Thomson and Chipper all got injuried. Basically that’s the reason why we lost to the Astros last year. Reitsma is definitely not the one to blame as Bobby was treating Reitsma as the last man out of the bullpen.

    Remember 2003 when our offense was sooooo good and then they got completely shut down by Prior and Wood?

    Remember 2002 when our pitching was so good and then Glavine suddenly lost his craft?

    So, I wouldn’t be too concerned about the playoff right now except for monitoring the possible matchup against the Astros or the Padres. I will be spending the rest of the season monitor the questionable areas such as Hampton, Thomson, Ramirez, Farnsworth, Reitsma and LaRoche to see if they will have strong finishes.

  37. OTP – I know this would have been more germane on the ‘road to Bristol’ site, but with Joe Morgan going up against the unstoppable Stu Scott, I thought I’d throw it in here. Have you guys seen this site?
    http://firejoemorgan.blogspot.com/
    Pretty interesting & he has an amusing style (if you’re into the whole ‘belittle those who don’t agree with you’ style…)

  38. kc, I can answer that for you. Thomson and Reitsma will have strong finishes. Ramirez and LaRoche will not. Now, you don’t even have to watch the rest of the season.

  39. JoeyT, you didn’t predict on Hampton and Farnsworth! There are lots of fun too watching how many hr Andruw will hit, see if Chipper and Smoltz can stay health, when Francoeur will draw his first walk, whether Langerhans or KJ will play better the rest of this season.

    Actually, I enjoy watching all Braves game, even though what you predicted are probably right!

  40. The Braves bench is the best I can remember. I do hope Cox watches some tapes of LaRussa managing against him.

  41. If the season ended today, would we play Houston or S.D.? I forgot whether that stupid rule that says ‘a wildcard team cannot face a team from it’s own division in the first round’ still exists. Despite their crap offense, would not look forward to seeing Clemens and Oswalt.

  42. The thing that kills me about Ramirez is that he keeps coming inside when he shouldn’t (Khalil Greene’s 2 HR performance earlier this season comes to mind). His slider is just sitting flat in the zone and an 85 mph pitch coming in belt high and sitting there is just an invitation to trouble.

    I can’t remember if it was Joe S. or Ronnie G. that pointed out that Ramirez’ slider just had no dip on it yesterday. When he’s pitching well, there is downward movement on that pitch. There simply wasn’t any movement yesterday. When Stinnett and Snyder are tatooing your stuff, chalk it up to not having it.

    That being said, I don’t think Ramirez is suited for the bullpen either. He’s a good back-of-the-rotation option, but unless he makes some major adjustments, I don’t see him as being a reliable option in the bullpen. He nibbles and doesn’t have an above average “out” pitch, which I think is just the opposite of what one would want in a reliever.

    I keep waiting for midnight to strike on Sosa and from Friday night’s performance, I think it’s about 15 minutes away. The guy has a great fastball and will probably contribute in the pen in the playoffs (if we get there).

  43. As of today, we’d play Houston. However, Houston’s only up a half-game on Philly (1.5 games if tonight’s scores hold) and a game on the Natspos. We’re 6 games behind St. Louis for the best record in the league, so it’s probably more likely one of the other 4 NL East teams (all within 4 games of the WC) overtake Houston than we overtake the Cards.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.