Game Thread: Aug. 16, Dodgers at Braves

Oh, how the mighty hath fallen. You realize that the Braves now are more or less what the Dodgers were for fifty years?

193 thoughts on “Game Thread: Aug. 16, Dodgers at Braves”

  1. Sorry, not sure where to post this, but what’s the skinny on Chuck James? Is he a legit prospect? His stats are through the roof, he keeps getting promoted, but something doesn’t seem right. Is he old for the leagues he has dominated? Or a perennial AAAA guy? Any expect insight? To whom could he be compared in terms of potential and pitching style?

  2. I don’t know much, but he’s a legit a prospect. He’s not old for his level now that he’s at AAA (he’s 23). John Sickels rated him the number 6 prospect in the system at the beginning of the year. Those above him being Marte, Davies, Jacob Stevens, Francoeur and McCann. In other words, that’s a very nice ranking. The only knocks I’ve heard about are that he’s a hothead (could be significant in this organization) and that his velocity is “only” in the low 90s (who cares?).

  3. I got to see him a couple of times in Double A in Jackson, MS. He’s completely legit. I think baseball america had him in the top 75 prospects and around #6 in the Braves organization before the season started. I would compare him to a young Tom Glavine in the since that the radar gun in Jackson, MS doesn’t show him much faster than 90mph but his fastball is sneaky. He gets a lot of K’s and has unbelievable control. Scouts probably don’t have rated any higher because his physical tools aren’t what they would like but he’s a winner and he understands how to pitch. The only way he isn’t in ATL next year is if they treat him like Davies this year and want him to stay in RICH to get the innings.

  4. Skip said something the other day that indicated he might be. Something like “His playing days may be over, but…” I don’t know that Skip has much actual inside information, but you know he talks to guys a lot… and I’m sure he talks to Eddie a lot in particular. So I assume there’s something to that. He’s sure has been out an awful long time without much, if any, talk about rehab.

  5. anyone know anything about how Powell’s surgery went and if its go to be a career ending injury?

  6. James threw an 8 inning 1-hitter last night, FWIW. Not a lot of Ks but who cares. His rise this year closely parallels that of Capellan last year in terms of dominance per level (and at the same age, too – although James is an “old” 23 while Cappy was right in the middle with his Jan birthday). Of course, James is the exact opposite from Cappy in that he’s a crafty lefty without a lot of gas instead of a fiery Dominican flamethrower.

    As far as parallels go, I would compare him with Zach Duke – he’s probably not as good a prospect as Duke is since Duke spent this year at AAA at 22 and is now doing very well against MLB hitting, but he’s probably not all that different either. Glavine is probably not a good comparison because Tommy never had the same strikeouts or the control. Much as I love him, I wouldn’t wish Glavine’s statistical profile as a prospect on anyone. That he has greatly exceeded that profile is a credit to the man, deserving Hall-of-Famer that he is.

    I find myself having to really look for Braves prospects now that all the good ones have been called up. Here’s a top 10 guys to watch based on who’s currently in the minors

    1. Jarrod Saltalamacchia
    2. Davies
    3. James
    4. Martin Prado
    5. Matt Esquivel
    6. Joey Devine
    7. Eric Campbell (CRUSHING the Appy league – lg lead in R, HR, RBI, SLG I think)
    8. Elvis Andrus (.412 OBP in GCL as a 16 year old SS)
    9. Yuniel Escobar
    10. Jake Stevens (because of last year)
    Honorable Mention: Beau Jones

    Salty takes it because he’s destroying a pitcher’s park at a tough defensive position. He could start 4 or 5 all-star games if he can convince McCann to change positions :) Elvis Andrus probably has the most upside just because he’s still so young.

  7. Everything I hear is that Powell’s injury should be considered career-ending. He might come back but it wouldn’t be for a long time, and at his age he doesn’t have the time.

  8. Back to the OP, I remember Alston and Lasorda bringing in championship teams when both clubs were in the NL West, and just whaling the snot out of Atlanta. Then came 1991, and the world was set right.

    Still love beating on those dog-ass Dodgers.

  9. In keeping with the, ‘Oh how the mighty have fallen’ theme, Kevin Gryboski was sent to AAA by the Rangers today.

    His ERA with the Rangers was about 154560.14

  10. Lineups:

    Izturis SS Furcal SS
    Robles 3B Giles 2B
    Bradley CF Jones 3B
    Kent 2B Jones CF
    Valentin LF LaRoche 1B
    Werth RF Francoeur RF
    Choi 1B Langerhans LF
    Navarro C McCann C
    Lowe P Smoltz P

    Man the Dodgers suck. I can’t believe that DePo is talked up in so many circles when he has used resources as deep as the Dodgers can offer to assemble this dreck.

    Good to see Hans in there tonight. Could be a pitcher’s duel, I like to see the better defensive player in there.

  11. vent of the night: THE BRAVES ARE ON TURNER SOUTH AGAIN!!!!!!!!! I can’t remember the last time I have seen Smoltzie… I live in Pennsylvania so anything ending in “South” is out for me (TS, FSS). All I have is TBS… you would think a pretty solid Lowe vs. Smoltz matchup would be good enough to show, but no. That is all.

  12. I’ve never seen James play but it seems odd that with his great control he usualy pitches 6 innings and then is out. Kyle, you think he has a small tank? Also I read in BA that Prado was picked as best defensive secondbaseman in Carolina League and Thorman best defensive firstbaseman in Southern league.

  13. Why is LaRoche even starting major league games at first base? Bobby took him out against a righty, and Franco helped the team score like a billion runs. He also made the “defensive play of the game” (according to the highly qualified individuals who control the output of oversized HDTV at the Ted).

    Is Franco really so old and tired that he has to be rested, or is this just another case of Bobby “sticking with his guys”?

  14. In Adam’s defense, he hasn’t been bad this year, just not especially good. Sophomore slump, perhaps? And yes, I do think Julio needs tp be rested. I remember last year (I think) he got the starting job for a couple weeks in a row- maybe Adam was hurt- and he started to fade toward the end.

  15. I think it’s the “I’m gonna need him somewhere down the line, so I’d better stick with him” deal that’s probably a little more common with relievers, as opposed to the “I don’t trust that other guy, and this one plays more like I used to” thing that you sometimes see with short middle infielders.

  16. I wonder which Derek Lowe will show up tonight? Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? If he pitches like he did in ALCS Game 7, we are in DEEP trouble tonight. If he pitches like he did in the rest of the season last year, this should be a cakewalk. If nothing else, Derek Lowe is a colorful story and a complete head case. Womanizing, boozing, depression, you name it. I think the Red Sox finally got tired of having him waste Theo’s time bailing his butt out of jail and let him walk. The constant whining all of last year didn’t do much for him either. I sure hope we get Lowe’s dark side tonight!

  17. Well, that tends to happen when Scott Boras is your agent. But they weren’t exactly TRYING to sign him, were they?

  18. OK, I’m freaking out a little bit here, TS says the game is on, but it is some old movie.

    Anyone else with TS have the game? Rain Delay? My cable company decided to hasten my inevitable implosion?

  19. Well, there was a commercial and in the middle of a very long Direct TV ad(which I find mildly funny) the Braves game cuts on with a runner on second and Smoltz throwing a pitch.

    ‘least its on now…

  20. Turner South via my cable company had the game from the start. There was no “in progress” action.

  21. Comcast cable which I’m actually stealing from my neighbor anyway. Perhaps I ought not complain.

  22. James only goes ~6ip each time because the Braves don’t want to overuse him. No sense in having your minor league starters blow out their arms, that’s all.

  23. Whoops. I forgot “Big Mac” was already taken by the Big Juicing McGwire. I’ll go with BMac.

  24. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t sinkerballers supposed to give up ground ball hits, not bombs?

    That Apache CD is going to break up in the sound booth.

  25. You know that commercial when they morph Clemens and Randy Johnson into a redneck two-handed super pitcher? I want to see that with Lowe and Ramirez.

    “Twice the Home Run Power . . .”

  26. Looks like we got the ‘hittable’ Lowe tonight – at least for homers. At this minute, Dodgers have 4 hits, 1 run, Braves have 3 hits, 3 runs. Another reason why BA as a statistic is vastly overrated (not, IMHO, useless as others would say, but nonetheless WAY too depended on…)

  27. Sinkerballers often give up lots of homeruns when they don’t have their A stuff. When sinkers don’t sink, they instead scream, “Hit Me!”

  28. Joey,
    I haven’t seen that comercial – what’s it for?

    McCann’s homer was actually a good pitch – way down in the zone, he just went down & got it. Furcal absolutely CRUSHED his homer

  29. Speaking of not having one’s A-game: Smoltz does not have his A-game. He hasn’t for a few starts. Anyone a little worried?

  30. What did Francoeur DO that the guy scored all the way from 1B? Did he try to throw him out at third?

  31. Grrrr – I thought Langerhans started back, then couldn’t get to the ball when it fell in front of him.
    Chipper should have caught Francouer’s throw – yeah, it would have meant he wouldn’t have tagged him out, but it was catchable… (not to go all BP “Chipper needs to move from 3rd” because I’m not in that camp – I’m just sayin’)

  32. Anybody get the TS HD feed? It’s cool how you see the field & warm-up tosses instead of commercials. sometimes you’ll hear the broadcast guys talking, just off the cuff comments.

  33. defense is being abnormally sloppy tonight. it looked to me that izturis got that double that because andruw was cruising. furcal threw taht ball away in the 1st, and franc the tank threw the ball away at third. only 1 error but 3 huge mistakes that have cost smoltz 3 runs. maybe one should have scored but not 3.

  34. Joey,
    Sounds funny. Can anybody think of other good/funny commercials w/ baseball players? The one everybody thinks of were with Glavine & Maddux talking about ‘chicks love the long ball’ (hilarious cut in there of Randy Johnson taking BP) – and they had Bo Jackson commercials (that weren’t just baseball, of course). I don’t know if Yogi & the Aflac commercials count as funny, but Yogi’s Yogi no matter what…

  35. I read somewhere that in one of A-Rods deodorant commercial, the display on the stadium reads “E-5”. I haven’t seen it since I read that though, so I can’t say for sure. But it sounds funny… if not in exactly the way you meant.

  36. Johnny Damon has 2 that are very funny. The DHL one where he takes off a fake beard to give to the Hall of Fame and the Dunkin Donuts one where Theo Epstein walks in on him combing a wig and he has to bribe Theo with a caffe latte. I love that one.

  37. BBTN used to have some funny commercials – they’d do scenes from baseball movies w/ Peter Gammons, Karl Ravech & H Reynolds (“There’s no crying in baseball!!”)

  38. Nobody has any thoughts on Smoltz’s recent performances?

    I think it’s funny to look back on Giambi’s deodorant commercial. You know, the one where he flexes the ‘roid-given bicep?

  39. Also, Furcal’s throw was not that bad. If you’ll notice the replay, Smoltz went past the bag to cover first (as in, toward right field). If he’d been able to properly cover the bag, they probably would have had the runner out. I’m not saying Smoltz is at fault–the play was definitely a mess and you can’t expect your pitcher to cover the bag like a first baseman should–I’m just saying Furcal’s throw wasn’t really that bad.

  40. Maybe he’s a little tired or sore or something? I don’t know, it’s John Smoltz. I wouldn’t worry too much yet.

  41. i think rafael palmeiro’s limp noodle commercials are funny now. apparently the love muscle needed juicing as well.

  42. Is he okay? Where did it hit him? Gameday says the elbow, but ever since I tried using it AND watching a game at the same time I don’t trust it.

  43. I thought most of the runs he’s given up tonight weren’t any big thing. Poor defense & bad luck have had as big a part as anything (I thought Langerhans could have caught Kent’s single with a good jump on the ball, Izturis probably wouldn’t have had a double if Langerhans & Jones hadn’t got in each others’ way, and of course the throwing/fielding error by Francoeur/Jones). I thought Smoltz looked good last time until he tired in the 9th (wasn’t it the 9th?).
    When you have a guy who’s had as much injury history as Smoltz, you always get a little nervous (as in “I hope nothing happens to him, given what he means to the team, but remember what he’s been through already”)
    3rd HBP by Franceour – getting that OBP up the hard way…

  44. Ok, I’m back. To answer questions/items I saw above: No I don’t have direct TV, that’s why I thought the choice of ad was funny, as I was just getting agry at Charter. And I know it is wrong of me to complain when there are others out there who can’t see the game, but with all due respect: I expect to have TS, so me not having it is more of a shock than you guys :P

    Another point: Smoltz hasn’t looked sharp his last few games, but I’m not worried. He may be tiring a bit as the season moves on (isn’t he still leading the league in innings pitched?) But if he can get a few days off before the playoffs I won’t worry too much.

    Another point: those old BBTN commercials were hilarious, that was back when I used to watch the show.

    Yet another point that happened mid-post: Francoeur’s still raising his HBP the painful way.

  45. Franco Jr (I don’t think that’ll be the nickname that catches on) looks to be ok – looked like he got caught on the top of the arm. Looked a bit painful, but not too bad…

  46. Dont post it, Jenny, but could you email me the URL? I would like to use it Wednesday nights in lieu of the FSN audio.

  47. The link to the radio station is right here. You have to install a free program, Abacast or something like that, but it works fine. Enjoy.

  48. Oh, yeah, and it’s Skip and Chip, I think. At any rate, it’s the Braves regular announcers.

  49. Does the 96 rock link work still? I used it the other day at work, but remember someone saying something about it not always working (or MLB clamping down or something)

  50. Mac,
    Oh yeah, that was a good one. I had forgotten about it, but it’s one of my favorites in the last several years…

  51. Ha. “96% of the WCCP audience is male”

    Congratulations, Jenny! You’re their second female listener!

  52. This would be hard (ie impossible) to determine for sure, but I wonder what is the record for shortest double (feet traveled)?

  53. I’m getting it through 96rock.com right now. They clearly have some sort of problem with the filtering there. Sometimes I get a rerun of something else, and I was listening the other day when it cut to that in the 6th inning, but sometimes it’s fine.

  54. Apparently, you were right, Mac. Big fat hairy deal. He’s out where it counts! And it went our way.

  55. No problem, Joey! I’m not much for “playing around with URLs” and I already downloaded the software, but I’ll keep your link.

  56. WCCP, eh? I knew that was familiar – that’s right in my backyard here. It’s too far away to get a good signal usually, but if I’m in my car I sometimes get a signal. I don’t think they carry every game (I think the Braves get pre-empted during football season, and maybe other times too…)

  57. And Marcus again!

    Rivera blew a save against Tampa Bay! A home run, no less! They’re tied in the 10th.

  58. That actually happens through my DVR sometimes. The other morning it was during the Today show, but I didn’t realize it until Katie wasn’t the one talking anymore.

  59. I like the fact that Chipper and Marcus are carrying the offense right now right Furcal and Andruw are cooling down a little bit. A healthy Chipper is sooooo important!

  60. Is it a good idea to bring somebody who hasn’t pitched in 6 days in a one-run game?

    And why didn’t Robles tag up? Thanks!

  61. i really dont like laroche right now. if helium is the gas that is making the ball fly out, laroche needs to stop inhaling it.

  62. I really wish Bobby is resting Julio for the playoff because I want to see Julio playing every game in October…

  63. I hope that this this means that Farnsworth will become the closer; Reitsma has looked bad of late and wears down easily….

  64. Reitsma’s looked like crap so far with the Braves. I’m not impressed by him at all. He throws hard, but doesn’t seem to be striking anyone out. And he gives up a lot of hard hit balls. Why would you want him closing?

  65. This is Great, I can listen to the game for the first time!!!!!! thanks for the 96 rock lead.

  66. Hell, let Danny be the closer again. He can’t do any worse than Reitsma these days.

    Wonder if he’s hurt?

  67. What a shock. Reitsma worn down by the end of the year. I mean, it’s not like this happened last year or anything. 7 bs’s in 22 chances is not a good ratio. There is not a team in the league that’s scared to see this guy in the 9th.

  68. One or two bad outings happens. This makes it three of his last four.

    I don’t know if Bobby sticks with him next time or tries Farnsworth.

  69. Damn, this is just not acceptable, especially not even getting an out. I want to believe in him for once, but I guess he is having his typical second half struggle again…

  70. How many runners did we leave on 3B tonight? Not getting an insurance run REALLY hurts now. I have a feeling LAD is not done scoring.

  71. 7 blown saves in 22 tries. that is a pretty shitty conversion rate. too bad for smoltz. i bet smoltz has to be wondering if he could bring himself in to save a game for himself. reitsma has never been the answer for a closer. only thing i can imagine is to give farnsworth a shot.

  72. Ok, this has nothing to do with the game…
    I sent Stephen A Smith an e-mail and asked, “Why do you yell on tv?” He responded, “Working on it. It’s a trait I’m trying to rid myself of :)”

    Check out the smile face he put in it! ha haha!

  73. Well at least we can relax, and enjoy the puritu of the game. the game is possibly out of reach. I think this a time for KOLB REDEMPTION!!!!!!!!!

  74. Well, here’s the big problem with the bullpen – first batter OBP:
    Foster ~ .400
    Kolb ~ .500

    That sucks. With a capital SUCKS.

  75. Thanks, Braves. You demote McBride so we can keep HoHum the HomeRunner in the pen and now we’re stuck with a lousy long man and a loser LOOGY. These guys were okay earlier, but not now. Demoting McBride, in hindsight, was stupid.

  76. Kolb redemption?! No way…at least we have now another alternative in Farnsworth. Gotta give credit to JS for pulling the trigger this year.

  77. If the Braves come back in the bottom of the ninth (unlikely as it may be), Kolb will have earned the win.

  78. Thank you, Dan Kolb. I hope he gets his job back. He can’t be worse than Reitsma right now.

  79. Wow I can’t believe he reads his email, and responds to it. I am going to tell him it is ok to yell at Skip Bayless.

  80. The commercial break has given me distance I need.

    Even a blind squirril can find a nut.

    No Kolb for closer.

    Maybe LaRoche for closer.. He can hit pretty well as a pitcher.

  81. On a walk right after an IBB to load the bases! Even better! Oh, those damn Yankees!

    Come on, Braves.

  82. If word gets out that SAS personally responds to email from viewers (all four of them), it might sabotoge his Road To Bristol run.

  83. I emailed Skip Bayless the other day. He has yet to respond. Maybe because I tore him a new one…I don’t know. I’m not a doctor.

  84. we were discussing nicknames the other day, and it seems that “the ageless wonder” has caught on for julio. i guess that could go for any1 overachieving at a late age, but just a thought

  85. Jenny, Ho-Ram isn’t in the bullpen anymore. He is going to start on Saturday. Sosa was sent to the ‘pen.

  86. Julio,

    It is fine to take pitches but at least sell it like you are going to swing. You are old enough to know better.

  87. Well, doesn’t THAT just crown it all. He’s starting after that POS relief effort he gave us on Sunday? Is Bobby sniffing glue? I know Sosa got pummeled against the D-backs but he has been better.

  88. How could you, an avid braves fan, EVER question moves made by Bobby Cox? C’mon Jenny. He knows what he is doing.

  89. As bad as Ramirez is, he might be good to trot out against the Padres. Lefty pitchers have absolutely destroyed that lineup this year. They’re slugging like .369 against lefties.

  90. Farnsworth was pretty good with the Tigers. He’s the next logical option to close if Bobby decides to give Reitsma a break from the 9th.

  91. Remember, Mike, this is the same Jenny who will one day call for Kolb’s hide and call Cox stupid for using him, and the next day, request that Kolb be returned to the role of closer. It’s this bizzare state of fandom in which previous results don’t matter and decisions are made based solely on a player’s performance in his last half-inning. Or something.

    Whatever happens, though, Reitsma does not need to be closing right now. His control really hurt him tonight. After walking the bases loaded, Saenz came in looking for a fastball down the middle, which is what he got. Same thing Eckstein got with the bases loaded. I see a trend developing….

  92. Free Paul Bush and find a way to bring back McBride. Kevin Barry is worth a look as well!

  93. Seriously, I want Kolb to be given a chance soon in a crucial situation to measure his progress.

  94. So you weren’t calling for Kolb’s hide earlier this year, Stu? Hmmmm, are you a Mets plant? ;-) A little bit exaggerated account of my exploits, but hey, it’s a game thread. It’s all off-the-cuff (hint hint). And it’s why I’m the one on the couch with a laptop and Bobby’s the one in the dugout. As said couch potato, however, I feel it’s perfectly within my rights to call him stupid and make a fool of myself. It’s in the job description of “fan.”

  95. Actually, no, I never called for Kolb’s hide. I just started posting to this site about a month or so ago, so Kolb’s struggles came long before I would have said anything to you guys, anyway. I actually defended Kolb (along with Reitsma and LaRoche), if you’ll recall, in requesting that we not get so down on our players. I noted that if anyone has paid attention over the last month–and, judging by the overwhelming majority of comments on this site, very few people here have–Kolb has been effective, walking very few and only giving up broken-bat loopers and seeing-eye ground balls.

    A Mets plant? Heh. No. You’re just thrown by my remarks because I’m one of the few KNOWLEDGEABLE and THOUGHTFUL Braves fans to post here.

    And, Mac, you can talk about Giles’s stolen base percentage and on-base percentage all you want…he doesn’t change games on the basepaths. Pitchers don’t get distracted by him and make bad pitches. He can’t lay down a bunt and end up at second because someone made an errant panic throw to first. You can throw all of the baseball-geek/Billy Beane statistics at me that you want, but it’s the little things that make Furcal a much, much better leadoff option than Giles. Anyone who has actually played the game of baseball–not just read a couple of books on the subject–knows what I’m talking about.

  96. I’m one of the few KNOWLEDGEABLE and THOUGHTFUL Braves fans to post here.

    Apparently one of the most humble too.

    You can throw all of the baseball-geek/Billy Beane statistics at me that you want, but it’s the little things that make Furcal a much, much better leadoff option than Giles. Anyone who has actually played the game of baseball–not just read a couple of books on the subject–knows what I’m talking about.

    Are you channelling Joe Morgan? And what does “actually played” mean? Little League? HS? College? At what point does someone’s opinion pass your credibility test?

  97. Nobody will probably read this since it’s an old thread now, but I just have to say it: Stu, you’re being an ass.

  98. But he has such a great sense of humor and a humble nature that I hope we don’t lose.

  99. I can say I’m glad to have missed that game last night..Maybe we can let Farnsworth try for a while, 5 blown saves from Danny, and 7 from Reitsma. Its sad to say but he makes Kolb look good.

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