Los Angeles 6, Atlanta 4

SI.com – Major League Baseball – Box Score – Los Angeles? Dodgers vs. Atlanta? Braves

Well, so much for Chris Reitsma. Odds are that the next time there’s a save situation, Kyle Farnsworth or — wonder of wonders — Danny Kolb will be the closer.

John Smoltz went seven, allowing three runs, two of them earned. Actually, with a little luck he might not have allowed any. Furcal threw a double-play relay away, and Francoeur threw a throw to third away as well (Chipper should have gotten it) which allowed one run to score and set up another. On the other hand, he got lucky on at least one call at first base which would have scored another unearned run. Smoltz allowed but seven hits, only one double, walked none, and struck out six. Pretty good outing.

The Braves got three runs on solo homers by Chipper, McCann, and Furcal, but couldn’t get any hits with runners on and Andruw hit into a couple of double plays. Finally, Marcus drove in Kelly Johnson (who reached on a pinch-hit error where he might should have been out) with a single in the seventh. He got to third with one out but they didn’t get him in.

Farnsworth pitched around a leadoff double. But Reitsma had absolutely noting. A long double to the gap, a single, a walk to load the bases, two-run single, intentional walk. Foster came in to allow another single to make it 6-4. Kolb, of all people, came in and got a pair of grounders to get out of it without further harm, but it was too late.

The Mets won, the Marlins lost, the Phillies and Natspos were rained out. The Braves lead the division by 4 1/2 over Washington, 5 over Philly… Tim Hudson versus Odalis Perez tomorrow.

67 thoughts on “Los Angeles 6, Atlanta 4”

  1. The clearest way I can say it:

    If Chris Reitsma is assigned any role of importance going forward, we are finished as a team. Period.

    If this game removes Reitsma from Bobby’s late inning plans it could be a turning point in the season. This was going to happen eventually, I’m just glad it happened sooner rather than later.

  2. Now that Sosa is returning to the bullpen, we will have a great time discussing who should be our closer. I know what AlexR is thinking already! But AlexR, do you prefer Sosa over Farnsworth?

  3. In L.A., we get the Dodgers broadcast on FSN, and the only thing worse than watching Reitsma crap his pants was hearing Charlie Steiner call Olmaedo Seinz “The Killer Tomato” every three seconds.

    I say give Sosa or Farnsworth a shot at the closer’s job immediately. Maybe Sosa can avoid walking 12 people if he only goes an inning at a time.

  4. Shut Reitsma down, let him rest. This fatigue thing is real, and they need to acknowledge it. The problem is that no matter how well he pitches, he can’t be the closer because they’re going to see heavy use sometimes.

    I think Farnsworth will be the man. And suddenly Joey Devine might get a callup after all.

  5. Anyone else feel reminded of last season? Reitsma wears down late in the season, Cox sticks with him in the playoffs, and he sticks the fork in the Braves’ back. I hope Bobby learned from past mistakes. As for this game, it was crystal clear after the second batter in the ninth that Reitsma didn’t have it. This guy either has a 1-2-3 inning, or completely falls apart (not quite that extreme, but you get the point). After watching this for the past two seasons, I have finally reached the conclusion that he just can’t handle pressure. Shocking, I know. If this guy is allowed anywhere near the mount in a close playoff game, you may just add another yellow pennant with a blue “2005” on it to the collection at Turner Field.

    Man, this is frustrating.

  6. Oh I knew it wouldnt be too long before I was back on here ready for another Chris Reistma bashing. According to some on this website, I am so ignorant and wont get off the Reitsma bashing. Well how can I when this clown gives me so much to write about. I’m glad some are finally argeeing with me that this clown cannot be the closer if the Braves hope to be successfull in the playoffs. Stu what do you have to say for yourself now?? To everyone else who thinks this clown is such a “bargain” what are your thoughts??

  7. This fatigue thing is real, and they need to acknowledge it.

    Well, Bobby worked hard on it, and all the appearances in blowout games finally did the trick.

    Truthfully though, how much value does a reliever have who can barely pitch 50 innings before wearing down?

  8. Man, this is frustrating.

    It sure is. How many games have we lost this year on situations like this? It must be getting close to a dozen between Kolb and Reitsma. It’s got to be the most in the league. If we had just a decent closer we would have a ten game lead right now.

    As I wrote yesterday, it’s a question with no answer. We just don’t have the arms. Farnsworth helps but he’s not going pitch every important inning for the next two months. He’s going to need some help, but we’ve got nothing to offer.

  9. I think Farnsworth takes the closer role, as I expected him to a few weeks back. Chris needs some rest, but he will be effective in the playoffs. Kolb is no pushover, despite his struggles and can be effective. Cox is clearly experimenting with his personnel and will take the best group to the playoffs.
    Don’t jump all over players who have a bad day. Stop and think for a minute. We know what these guys can do. Everyone struggles at some point, but when they do, you dont need to speak about them like they should be sent to Rome. Trust in Bobby and Leo.

  10. To everyone else who thinks this clown is such a “bargain” what are your thoughts??

    I’m willing to give you credit steel, you were definately ahead of the curve on this one. Although this is easy for me to say since I was closer to your side of the argument than most.

  11. Chris needs some rest, but he will be effective in the playoffs.

    I’ll have some of whatever your smoking. Those are some extremely rose colored classes since he has a history of melting down just like this last year.

    Keep hope alive I guess.

  12. I think Reitsma is a good but limited pitcher. And I’m starting to think again that he may need to be in the rotation, even if he’s only a five inning starter.

  13. Rivera blew another save tonight. So he succumbs to fatigue as well, the difference obviously being that a fatigued Rivera is still ten times better than a fresh Reitsma (not a knock on him, just the truth; few pitchers are of Rivera’s caliber). But it happens to everyone. The fact that this happened last year too is a little disheartening, because it implies a pattern, and Reitsma never improved after July. But I hope we can work this out, and if anyone can, it’s Bobby and Leo. The problem seems to be that it’s a crapshoot as to whether or not you’ll “guess the pitcher,” or bring in the guy that has his game on that particular day because our pen seems so inconsistent. I’m not sold on Farnsworth, and I’m sure as hell not sold on Kolb (although he has been MUCH better) but my guess would be that we’ll see them in alternating roles over the next few weeks with Reitsma interspersed.

    Do we need to get anyone else before the waiver wire shuts down? It’s very unlikely we could claim anyone, I know, but I’m just asking if we might need to. Somehow, I think we need to get McBride back up as soon as possible. The rest of the division is not going away and I think that while we do have some wiggle room to experiment, we don’t have a whole lot. Mike Remlinger, after giving up a grand salami tonight (fortunately the Red Sox were already up by 7) is likely to disappear very fast from Boston, and if he doesn’t, somebody needs to see if Theo Epstein is feeling all right. Remlinger was good here and has sucked everywhere else. Do we take a flyer and let Leo work his magic? After all that rambling, I say we have enough shaky lefties in the pen as it is, but just a dumb thought to throw out there.

  14. I’m not sure how HRam’s appearance on Sunday translates to him going back into the rotation, but for whatever reason, it does. If nothing else, hopefully it allows us to get the idea that we need to de-Ramirezify ourselves before the playoffs come around.

  15. Jenny, as you said, I don’t think we will get anyone outside of the organization. I doubt we have any more room in our budget to squeeze in another player who can possibly good enough to be our closer. Therefore, the team will have to look for internal solution. The good thing is we have plenty of options available.

    The real question, however, is when Bobby will pull the trigger on Reitsma. Cox has the kind of patience which I will never have. Remember how long he put up with Kolb before lifting him from the closer role?!

  16. When rosters expand, can we PLEASE try Joey Devine or something? Just for a few games? I know he’s not on the 40-man, but we can transfer Powell to the 60-day DL (don’t know why this hasn’t been done already) or DFA Bernero, who is still on it for some reason, to create space. Him or maybe Chuck James? It’s worth a try, isn’t it?

  17. The thing on Reitsma is, he was only allowing singles through the infield in his prior blown saves, and he always managed to limit the “damage” to one run. Now, it is like flood gate being opened and totally out of control since St Louis. He can’t even get an out. I really want to believe in him because I like the way he bounced back from last year’s struggle, but his struggle is becoming a distraction to the team like Kolb in April and May.

  18. I agree that Devine should be called up in time to give him a shot at the postseason roster. The way I see it, Brower is completely ineffective while Kolb and Foster are only mildly effective. Farnsworth, Reitsma, Sosa, and Boyer can’t get through innings 7-9 in every postseason game by themselves. They need at least one more reliable late inning arm, who will hopefully be McBride or Devine or a WW pickup, and someone in house to step up at closer, because they can’t acquire someone any better than the guys they already have. I don’t think we want Jose Mesa on this team.

  19. I think the team needs to put Devine on the 40-man roster by 31 August. Otherwise, he can not pitch in the playoff. I think that’s how the Angels managed to put K-Rod on the playoff roster in 2002 despite he wasn’t with the major league team on 31 August.

  20. There’s a rule that allows a team to add a player they didn’t have on the roster to the postseason roster. What they do is name an injured player, then disable him, which allows his replacement. It has to be a pitcher for a pitcher, hitter for a hitter.

    Let’s get to the postseason first. 4 1/2 is way too close for my comfort.

  21. 1. Reitsma has had considerable success earlier this year; Kolb has had none until recently. Farnsworth has NOT looked good since his arrival in ATL.
    2. Reitsma does have a low strikeout rate (like Kolb) and to be effective needs excellent infield defense – anyone notice Chipper made no attempt at all on 2 grounders in the 9th? His range to his left is approximately that of a statue (or Derek Jeter).
    3. Reitsma also has the history of wearing down, as does Kolb (look at his post- all star splits last year).
    4. We assume that Bobby won’t allow Boyer to close.
    5. So given all that, I say let Farnsworth try closing while Reitsma takes a break, and then see who’s pitching best by late Sept – maybe Devine will be up by then, or Boyer will have broken through, or….

  22. Farnsworth has looked fine since his arrival. Has he walked anybody? Nope. He has a good strikeout rate. And the two homeruns? One was really just a deep fly that Great American magically turned into a homerun. The other was to Pujols.

    I’ve seen nothing to make me think Farnsworth isn’t a quality pitcher.

    Kolb’s recent “good outings”, tonight excluded, have involved letting a runner on base and getting a double play. I don’t think that’s a reliable strategy in the long term.

  23. I am wondering if the Braves will call up Paul Bush. He is throwing the ball well and they have had him start a couple of games (I am guessing to face more hitters) recently. He does not have Devine’s upside, but he is pitching better and is a good bit older. At least he looks like a relatively fresh arm….

  24. I guess late season slides are becoming a pattern for Reitsma. For us to be successful we need him in late inning roles, but we need to use him less going forward, and hopefully find someone else who can close.

  25. Reading the post-game articles, I don’t get a sense that anybody has any intention to pull Reitsma from being the closer. It would probably take two or three more blown saves before Bobby will even consider the idea…I believe we will have to live with Reitsma until the end of August…

  26. Reitsma actually pitched better in the 2nd half last year. I would say he didn’t ‘wear down’ until October.

  27. Have you noticed that Reitsma was really popular in the Reds clubhouse; and Bobby has felt the same way since he came here. Its too bad that he seems to wear down by the time August gets here but that’s because Bobby likes him. I am guessing that resting him will only be a temporary thing. Bobby’s known for his loyalty to players…so I would guess that Reitsma gets an off day regularly but as soon as he says he is ready, Bobby will put him back in the closer position.

  28. Maybe we should start a poll with a question of “Who should be the team’s closer for the rest of this season and the playoff?”

  29. I hate to see Reitsma struggle like this. He has pitched so well, and the Braves are going to need him to pitch well if they want to succeed in the playoffs. Chris has one K in August, which indicates he’s having trouble fooling people. It’s real problem, not a hit-lucky problem. I hope whatever is bothering him is fixable, and I’m not sure it’s fatigue, which means it might be something he can work on with Leo. He’s pitched about 12 innings less this year than he did at this point last year. And, as Mike A. pointed out, his peripherals didn’t really fall off at the end the year.

    I would not be surprised if they took him out of the closer role simply to let him work of fixing the problem before the post-season. Maybe even DL him to get some special instruction. The addition of Farnsworth does make this an option. Reitsma doesn’t suck, and most teams would be happy to have him on their roster. It’s just a slump, and slumps are very visible when you’re a closer.

  30. Yeah, what JC said. Reitsma’s been too good, and good relief pitching is too valuable, to completely give up on the guy. Slumps happen.

    Here‘s the AP article about HR’s triumphant “return” to the rotation. I really don’t think it’s any kind of permanent return. I just think that since the Padres have such a horrible line against lefties this year, Bobby’s iching to put in any left handed starter he can against them. He might be, strange as it sounds, somewhat platooning his fifth starter. Otherwise, it seems strange to put HR in over Davies after that Diamondback Debacle.

  31. Did I say Davies? I forgot that it’s probably too early to call back up Davies. I meant “any arm on the roster”.

  32. Will Stu please tell me how I, as a good Braves fan, should feel about this. I’m so confused, and I need the most THOUGHTFUL and KNOWLEDGEABLE person here to tell me how I should deal with this!

  33. I also think now is the time to dump Brower. The Braves need to get a look at their minor league arms to see if any of them are ready to help. James, Devine, Lerew, and even Matt Childers (who is quietly having a nice season) could be useful down the stretch. There’s only one way to find out.

  34. Okay, Steel, I’ll bite.

    I never said Reitsma was a great closer. I just said he’s as good as any of our other options. I’ll rescind that statement now, as I think it’s worth giving Farnsworth a shot.

    My main point, which still stands, was that Reitsma is not a “clown” and that bashing him as a bad pitcher is stupid. He’s not a bad pitcher. As Mac has noted, it’s an issue of fatigue. He was overused last year, and he’s been overused this year. It’s not like Reitmsa can’t go 50 innings in a year…he just can’t go 50 innings by accumulating 3 innings every four days. He has limits. He probably shouldn’t be our closer. That doesn’t make him a clown. It means Bobby needs to be more careful with him in the future.

  35. I think the problem with Farsworth is Bobby and Leo want him to throw his fastball letter hig to players. He is still trying to adjust to that and he is getting hit some. Also, some of the slidders he threw lastnight were hangers that didn’t get put in to play. I say we try him as the clsoer for a week or so, just to see.

    Another note. CR is not the only one at fault here. We should have score at least three more runs last night. There were a couple of blunders in the field too. I’m not too worried right now though, let’s just get back on the horse and keep going. We need to keep our lead at at least 4 games.

  36. I think it will take Farnsworth a few more scoreless appearance before Bobby and Leo gain confidence in him, which is about the same amount of time Reitsma has to prove himself still being capable to be the Braves’ closer.

    I agree we should dump Brower. If Bobby has less confidence in Brower than in Kolb, I don’t see any reason why we should keep him. We still have a couple more weeks before the end of August, I know I will be monitoring Devine’s progress closely in the minor.

  37. Dan Kolb’s spelling on his “bolg” is getting worse by the day. It’s actually becoming difficult to read. Wonder if this is a degenerative condition?

    Why is Ramirez returning to the rotation? I know I asked this already, but what did he show us on Sunday that would give Bobby and Leo ANY REASON to put him back in the rotation? I’m sure they have a plan in mind, but I wish someone more knowledgeable and thoughtful than I am would explain this to me, because I really don’t get it. He gave up 3 bombs in 4 innings. When you’re a starter, you don’t enter with a 10-run lead as a cushion unless you’re on the road and your team has a REALLY BIG top of the first. So why is he starting again?

  38. I wonder if Horacio’s return to the pen is his kiss of death for the playoff roster?

    I can see Bobby and Leo wanting to get Sosa ready for what he is going to be doing in October. I can also see Scherholtz (most misspelled word on this website?) wanting to show case Horacio where he has the most trade value this off season.

    As to who should be closer, I can’t believe I am saying this, perhaps we should go with a committee. I don’t think any of our options (Sosa, Farnsworth, Reitsma, Kolber) have earned the job.

    Thoughts on this, I can’t remember is Bobby has done this before. Maybe with “Slow” Pena and Senor Smoke ?

  39. Sosa walks too many people to close, but he seems to get out of jams, so maybe he can close.

    Farnsworth is the logical choice to close and I think they will let him before long. What worries me is, IF we make the playoffs and we get through round one, we have to face St Louis. Puljos eats Farnsworth flakes for breakfast. If Dan Kolb wants to save face with the fans, now is the time for him to step up and do it. Danny we need ya pal!

  40. JB, I absolutely agree with you on Ramirez. Perhaps he is happy to be back in the rotation, but he has pitched himself out of the playoff roster for sure! Since we don’t need five starting pitchers in the playoff, there is no point keeping Ramirez on the playoff roster. By moving Sosa to the bullpen now, it gives time for Sosa to re-adjust his role in the bullpen, and moving back Ramirez to the rotation will make Horacio happy. This is probably the best way to solve the situation with Ramirez and Sosa.

  41. I’m neither knowledgeable nor thoughtful, but I think that what Ramirez showed the other day is that he’s probably not a good candidate for relief. If he’s going to be around, he may as well start. How do you keep him off the playoff roster without faking an injury or losing him? I know there’s lots of sneaky things that can be done for that roster, but wouldn’t he have to be removed from the 25-man (which I would assume would require irrevocable waivers at this point)? I think that would be a hard choice. Even if you don’t want him on the team next year, I assume he has some trade value that they’d like to maintain.

    Kolb for Kloser :)

  42. Smitty, I don’t think Boyer will be considered as an option by Bobby simply because there are other veteran options being available. Therefore, I can’t possibly imagine Devine to be our closer anytime soon either. At best, Boyer and Devine may possibly become the main setup man like what happened to K-Rod.

  43. Did anyone see the article on the Braves homepage about how Johnny Estrada went to a gas station wearing a DARE t-shirt and somebody tried to sell him crack? I nearly died laughing.

  44. Why not hard throwing Sosa working the 9th? Worth a shot. I’ve wondered all year why they haven’t.

  45. Smitty, you say that Pujols owns Farnsworth, but Pujols owns every Braves pitcher.

    We’re not dealing with large sample sizes, so the numbers are sketchy, but the only Braves pitcher against whom he’s had more than five at bats that he hasn’t owned is …

    Jim Brower

    (And the only other one off of whom he hasn’t hit a homerun is the homerun killer himself, John Thomson.)

  46. In fact, just for fun, here’s a list of the Braves pitchers against whom Pujols has more than 5 at bats.

    And yes, those SLG are, in fact, SLG, not OPS.

    Pitcher name – #ABs – BA/OBP/SLG – HR

    Farnsworth – 18 – .389/.476/1.056 – 4
    Smoltz – 12 – .417/.462/.917 – 2
    Hudson – 9 – .444/.500/.778 – 1
    Reitsma – 20 – .400/.478/.750 – 1
    Thomson – 12 – .500/.500/.667 – 0
    Hampton – 18 – .333/.368/.778 – 2
    Brower – 15 – .267/.267/.333 – 0

    Brower will be on the playoff roster to get out one guy.

  47. Albert Pujols is Albert Pujols. He owns much of the league. I’d be nervous with him at the plate no matter WHO’S on the mound. If we get past the first round, we are going to have a really tough time of it with them, although we are tied in the season series (right?). And then, if we go all the way, we probably get to face the wonderful Boston Red Sox, who routinely score 10 runs a game off of EVERYBODY. This postseason(and I am not yet assuming we’ll make it because the rest of the division is still pretty close) will be VERY interesting. I’m not sure how much I like our chances. Our pitching just isn’t what it usually is on either end.

  48. SLG is a bit deceiving when you’re dealing with such high batting averages.

    Also, these are small sample sizes. He might not actually own Thomson, against whom he only has an ISOP of .167. Those could have been fluke hits.

  49. if horacio goes back to starting (which seems foolish to me), then sosa should be given a chance at closing. he has earned it! on the other hand, he does not deserve to be taken out of the starting rotation. on the whole, how many blown saves have the braves had this year, and how does that rank in the league? we have to be close to the top in blown saves (or close to the bottom, depending on the way you look at it). i think it is time to play musical closers once again. try sosa. if that doesn’t work, try farnsworth. if that doesn’t work, try devine. if that doesn’t work, call an old priest and a young priest.

  50. Just going on about the lack of walks. He says it indicates that, even though he’s a huge talent, Francoeur’s success so far is a fluke and shows he’s not ready. He’s kinder to Francoeur than Jose Reyes, but the tone is clearly pessimistic.

  51. just did a little research, and found we are the 5th worst team in save conversions in the major league. 3 of the teams worse off than us were the yanks, royals, and rockies. i cant remember who was the other team.

  52. What metric are you looking at? Based on save %, the ESPN sortable stats show ATL 24th out of 30, with the Yankees a few places ahead. I don’t like the way they have apparently determined the number of save opps, however. For reasons that I’ve spouted off about here too many times, simply adding saves to blown saves doesn’t give an accurate number. Not that seventh is a whole lot better than fifth, it just made me curious.

  53. Have you noticed that Reitsma was really popular in the Reds clubhouse; and Bobby has felt the same way since he came here.

    I know why. It’s pretty clear here. Or here.

  54. i just did some calculating myself comparing the percentages of converted saves. thats all, so maybe i had some miscalculations.

  55. They were all kinda bunched up pretty good near the bottom, and probably no rounding on the % in their sort either. Just made me curious. But mostly, our bullpen makes me nervous.

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