Atlanta 10 Los Angeles 2

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

Much better. The Braves took a 3-0 lead after two and built from there, Hudson gave them eight good innings, and the bullpen didn’t come into play until the game was well in hand.

Chipper drove in Furcal with a double in the first. Francoeur tripled in the second, then was singled in by Johnson, who came home later in the inning on a Furcal single. But they broke it open in the fifth, with a solo homer by Andruw and a two-run homer by Francoeur. Chipper walked with two out and the bases loaded, but then they got Andruw to end the inning.

The Dodgers cut it to 7-2, with Hudson maybe relaxing a little, but pushed it out to 10-0 in the eighth, the big blow being KJ’s two-out, two-run triple. All the Braves’ regulars but Giles had hits, and of those who had hits all but Andruw had at least two. McCann had three and a walk, and Furcal had four and a walk. Johnson and Chipper had two hits and two walks each. Francoeur, in addition to his triple and homer, also threw out another baserunner. Sixteen hits in all.

Hudson wound up pitching eight, allowing seven hits, striking out three and walking two. He’s getting good sinking action right now and that’s always good. Kolb pitched the ninth, allowing a hit and hitting a guy, but getting a double play.

The Phillies beat the Natspos; the Braves lead the former by five and the latter by a half game more. Marlins and Mets both won to keep pace with the Phils, who are now tied with the Astros for the wildcard lead. I think they’ll win it… Rubber game tomorrow on TBS, Thomson versus Jeff Weaver.

99 thoughts on “Atlanta 10 Los Angeles 2”

  1. Great game good come back after last nights tough loss. Did anyone see on the Braves website that it said the Braves are still confident in Chris Reitsma. Unbeliveable. Any thoughts?

  2. When is the last time Braves management ripped another player in the press? It just doesn’t happen, which is one of the things that makes Cox a great player’s manager. I think Francouer has officially entered “Michael Vick” territory for me. Whenever he comes to the plate or has a ball hit to him in the outfield, I can’t wait to see what will happen next.

  3. I’m confident too. I’m confident that he’ll snatch defeat from the jaws of victory if given another chance.

    Man, we sure own former Braves pitchers. Maddux, Glavine, Marquis, Schmidt, Ortiz, and now Odie. The coaches must do a good job of prepping the hitters.

  4. Good to see the rookies have good games. Was starting to get concerned that pitchers were figuring them out.

    The Francouer Factor is awesome, Vick comparison is a good one.

  5. A website this morning named Francoeur “the next Shane Spencer?”

    I think it’s b/s…and I’m a stat-head.

  6. Since nobody usually digs into old game threads, I’ll respond to Stu’s Furcal (and other) comments right here:

    As far as Furcal being a better leadoff option than Giles, it’s a fine thing to say right now, but how much have we really seen of Marcus Giles in the leadoff spot? Almost none, and as such, we’ve had no significant opportunity to assess what he can do there. Pitch Moneyball into the trash all you like, but the fact remains that Giles’ OBP is significantly higher, .386, than Furcal’s, at .333. That means something whether you ignore it or not. The comment made about Giles not advancing to 2B on an errant throw after a bunt, I frankly find ludicrous. Why would he not advance? He’s almost as fast, just as aggressive if not more in the way he plays the game (or he wouldn’t have so many accidents), and the only reason he doesn’t go to 2B is that he’s rarely called upon to bunt because he hasn’t been a leadoff hitter much to date. If he’s put in a different role, who knows how good he could be? If it became his role to simply get on base and steal, I think he’d do just fine, and he’s better at getting on base than Furcal, as evidenced by the “baseball geek/Billy Beane statistics.” The 2-hitter is not expected to do this as much. So I don’t see how it can be said flat out that Furcal is much better when we have no empirical evidence to base that on. And as for the knowledgeable and thoughtful theme and the lack of humor, uh, you kind of came off as a jerk. Just a friendly heads-up for next time.

    SHANE SPENCER? What website was this? Francoeur isn’t even close to Shane Spencer. So this guy thinks Francoeur will wind up as a washed-up utility outfielder dragging around from team to team for the last 8 years of his career? Someone needs to confiscate that guy’s bong.

  7. That was the BP article again. Here, I’ll quote a little:

    Francoeur’s K/BB above A ball is 109/21 in 516 AB. Unless you really believe he’s a .370 hitter with .700 power, it’s pretty clear that what we’re seeing here is a fluke, a Shane Spencer month to kick off a career. Francoeur is a tremendous talent–big, strong and very young, with a terrific arm–but his drive for the DiSars is more than just a fun stat: it’s an indication that he’s not actually ready to stick in the major leagues.

    Sheehan’s not really saying that Francoeur is similar to Shane Spencer. He’s saying his start is similar to Spencer’s callup in 1998 when he hit .373 .411 .910. There are certain problems with this, the foremost being:

    1. Spencer was 26.
    2. Spencer had 73 PA that year, about 2/3 of what Francoeur has had so far.

    It was a dumb comparison made without thinking about it, probably. Francoeur’s walk rate — or lack thereof — is worrisome.

  8. You go Jenny. IMO, there are no good comps for Francoeur, particularly when you include his minor league stats. Vlad seems the upper level of what’s possible, but perhaps not – anyone doing this over 100+ ABs at his age and with his ability usually becomes at least a star. Shane Spencer was much older when he had his month-long fluke as a rookie.
    And for anyone (un)fortunate to watch the game on Fox Sports West, Charley Steiner continues to establish that perhaps there should be a Road from Bristol followup for ESPN alumni – he spent an inning discussing the grammar of an OF saying “I got it” vs “I’ve got it” – and what he said was wrong!

  9. The Shane Spencer comments are being taken out of context. It’s from Joe Sheehan’s BPro article earlier today, and all he did was compare Francoeur’s start to Shane Spencer’s first month when he was called up….nothing more.

  10. Well, given Mac’s quote, it doesn’t seem entirely wrenched from context – particularly the “it’s an indication that he’s not actually ready to stick in the major leagues.” That strikes me as one of the more egregiously stupid things BPro has written – does Sheehan really believe Francoeur will be worse than 2 of KJ, Langerhans, and Brian Jordan the rest of this season? Even if you think he’s coming back to earth, that seems laughable. So, he clearly deserves to stick and start.

  11. My comment was largely an excuse to work the word “Bong” onto a baseball page without the obligatory “Jung” in front of it. But I still think it’s a mind-numbingly stupid comparison.

  12. I’ve gotta agree with Jenny on this one. If Francoeur is a Yankee or a Red Sox then we’d be hearing endless comparisons to the next Babe Ruth or Ted Williams on ESPN etc. The kid can flat out hit(but the 0BB and high K rate do worry me a bit–but he’s still very young). I also like the Vick comparison(both are gamechangers).

  13. Rolaids scoring, FYI:

    Tough Saves +4
    Saves +3
    Relief Wins +2
    Relief Losses -2
    Blown Saves -2

    Also, FYI, Reitsma isn’t even in the NL top 10 for the year.

    Not that any of this matters.

  14. Giles might be as good as furcal in the leadoff spot, but I don’t think anyone could be a better fit for the #2 spot than Giles. He’s got just the right combination of power, speed and OBP for the role. Plus, hitting the ball to right field as often as he does is an added advantage as it allows the runner to advance to third more often.

  15. I was checking out the box score of the Richmond and Mississippi games tonight, and seems like Atlanta has really drained out all the talent from those two teams except for Marte, and he is supposed to be our best prospect…Davies, McBride, and Devine pitched tonight, Davies and McBride pitched well while Devine allowed five UNEARNED run (two Ks). Then, we still have Lerew and James at Richmond, and Vasquez is pitching very well for the Mississippi as well. Geez, I don’t think I remember a time in the last fifteen years when the Braves are so deep in the farm system. Not even the class of Chipper, Javy and Klesko beats what’s happening at the moment…which is very special…quite similar to the first wave of talent including Glavine, Smoltz, Avery, Justice, Gant, Mercker and Stanton.

  16. Keith, et al,
    Just to be a contrarian here, I think that Sheehan has a strong body of evidence that the start Jeff Francoeur is having is a fluke. So flukey that he had to dig hard to find the Shane Spencer one month comparison. Over history guys that depend so much on batting average to drive their offensive worth have had very inconsistent careers. No where in his history has Jeff established that he is a legitimate .330 hitter like Vlad. The Braves will be smart and ride the Frenchy wagon for the rest of this season but I wouldn’t be surprised if he is ineffective in the offseason when he is facing the oppositions best starters and he has been scouted to the nth degree. Nor would I be surprised if next season at some point he is in Richmond working on his plate discipline.

    All that being said I think that at some point Francouer is at least a championship caliber player.

  17. Regarding Francouer: The only way that Cox, Pendleton et all can react to this young star is to simply keep letting him do his thing, not mess with it, until or IF it becomes broken.

    If there’s a worrisome part (besides never ever taking a walk) it’s that his adrenaline has probably not stopped pumping since being surprisingly called up to the “big show” a few mos. back. That’s great and brother, let that adrenaline take you through ‘Hulkamania’ style into the post season…I have this itchy feeling we could see an Andruw Jones/1996 World Series type performance.

    The concern for me personally at this point would be the 2006 season. Once he’s already had the comfort of going into Spring Training as the Braves every day right fielder and his “Brain” has mentally settled in that he’s got the everyday job in Atlanta and he’s where he’s supposed to be. He won’t necessarily have that “first time, mid season rush of being a 20 year old suddenly going from Double AA Mississippi” to the big club.

    So, if he’s not as “locked in” from a mental standpoint, the average could very well drop big at the start of 2006. That would be my concern.

    In next year’s Spring Tarining, on one hand, I wouldn’t want to ‘mess with’ anything if it’s working; however, I would be awfully tempted to let Chipper spend a lot of time with young Jeff next March, mentoring him on being a patient hitter and taking some key walks. Besides Chipper’s power and beautiful swing, one of the things to always like about Chipper is that when he is in a slump, you can still count on him mixing in some walks and being on base until the slump is over. It’s the key to why he’s so valuable.

    Anyway, just my thoughts but personally, I love Francouer, love his enthusiasm and watching him play and still believe he’s the future leader of this club after Chipper leaves. I didn’t think us Braves fans would get to already enjoy Jeff’s abilities by 2005!

  18. Jenny, I didn’t say Marcus Giles wouldn’t advance to second on an errant throw. I said his speed wouldn’t cause a fielder to make an errant throw that would allow him to get to second. Big difference.

    Also, Giles may have a high stolen-base percentage, and that’s great. But he doesn’t scare anybody on the basepaths. To the extent that he does scare anybody, it’s certainly LESS than Furcal does. I’d rather have someone with the same stolen-base percentage who steals over twice as many bases, wouldn’t you? I mean, percentages are a fine use of statistics, but the actual number of stolen bases is more important, especially when two players are successful at the same rate.

    Further, even assuming arguendo (and I still maintain that Furcal is a better leadoff option) that Giles is as or more valuable there than Furcal, Grst raises a good point. Aren’t we much better off having both of them in the top two spots than only one of them up there? My original point–the reason we got on this Giles vs. Furcal debate–was that the Braves really need to make a strong effort to re-sign Furcal in the off-season. Nothing anyone has pointed out here changes my opinion on that.

    And with Schuerholz’s fiscal creativity, we should be able to do that.

  19. Another subject:

    Random Playoff Thoughts:

    1. Chris Reitsma and the bullpen. Sorry to sound like a broken record but the answer is JORGE SOSA. I don’t trust Reitsma and he’s always come off more solid as a set up man. The same goes for Kyle Farnsworth but he too works better in an 8th inning role…it’s honestly a mental thing.

    I really believe Sosa could handle the relief role.

    That said, we still don’t know if A) Bobby will use a 4th starter in the Playoffs (he usually does to try to keep the starters fresh) and if he does go with 4 starters, he may actually go with Sosa over Thomson unless Thomson starts pitching better.

    Obviously Thomson was average or below average in his first start so it’s not fair to judge him yet…however, if he consistently gives up 4-5 earned runs each time, then he becomes a liability to use in the post season. overall, Sosa has been pretty effective (at least through 5 innings) and in that case, Bobby would look to use Jorge in a Game 4 type start and keep Thomson and Horacio READY by the 4th or 5th inning…that’s my GUESS and what I see him possibly doing.

    In an ideal world, whether we end up playing San Diego or Houston (and by all accounts, we will be playing 1 of those 2 teams should we make the post season again), we could finally win a first round series and do it in a sweep so that the “4th starter” question doesn’t necessarily come into play. Of course, let’s also hope that Mike Hampton stays healthy and starts pitching again like he did back in April & May….if we get that Hampton we are in GREAT shape.

    Back to the pen…this is a real problem. I have NO faith in Reitsma on a night-to-night basis and it’s become KOLBIAN for me. This is SCARY. And what it does mentally to the starters for the Playoffs is NOT good…it puts even more pressure on Hudson, Hampton & Smoltz to be perfect, especially if we are forced to deal with Houston. I think considering they have Brad Lidge and we have Reitsma/Kolb, we are at a huge disadvantage…our trip of starters will go into this series knowing they have to face the doiminant trip of Clemens/Pettitte/Oswalt and basically have to pitch perfect baseball since they won’t feel comfortable with how many runs we can get off that group.

    Sure, anything is possible but I am VERY concerned with our closing situation especially in a possible 1st round series with Houston. I think it could be our downfall and it will affect our starters, just a little, mentally.

    2. Offense

    Assuming McCann and not an injured Estrada is the catcher, then one problem in my book is solved. I feel good about the outfield offense with either KJ or Langerhans at this point (and of course Jones and Francouer a given) and I feel great if Chipper is healthy and Marcus will even take the occasional walk…Furcal is not consistent but he’s gotten better over the course of the season so we are fine there.

    The one major concern I have is Adam LaRoche. I don’t like him and I don’t trust him, AT ALL. Sure, he hits the occasional clutch homer or double, but overall, he’s had too many inning ending double plays and frankly, if we get base runners in a 1st round series with Houston, we cannot afford that. We have to move base runners and bring them in.

    What’s worse, if Bobby insists on MOSTLY playing LaRoche (at least against Pettitte we get a Franco start), he makes it 50X worse by batting him 5th in the order…it’s such a rally killing spot for LaRoche. How many times have we now seen one of the Jones boys or Furcal and Giles or whatever on base with less then 2 outs and LaRoche hitting into a DP? I don’t understand why Bobby can’t move Adam to AT LEAST 7th????? What, is he SAMMY SOSA and he’s going to whine about where he hits in the order?

    I have grave, horrific concerns about Adam hitting 5th against Clemens and Oswalt or Jake Peavy and whomever in the post season…I think the Braves will be in real trouble and have real trouble scoring runs.

    My lineup for the POST season?

    1. Furcal, SS
    2. Giles, 2B
    3. Chipper, 3B
    4. Andruw, CF
    5. FRANCOUER, RF
    6. McCann, C
    7. KJ/Langerhans, LF
    8. LAROCHE/FRANCO, 1B
    9. Pitcher

    Frankly, I am ok with moving Julio up if he plays because Julio, even at age 78 is more trustworthy in the clutch then that piece of shit LaRoche. Sorry…I just can’t STAND Adam…his lazy, no intensity “moseying” style just grates on me. It’s why I especially appreciate Francouer…even when Jeff does strikeout and occasionally blow a rally, I am not mad because the kid plays heart and intensity and fire. It never ever seems to bother Adam that he’s officially the biggest rally killer on the Braves.

  20. Not to take anything away from Jeff — I mean in most parks he would have had a 2HR game last night — but what was Perez doing on the actual HR pitch to Francoeur? It looked like a high change-up (could have been a hanger though) that dropped into the zone. You have two friggin strikes on a guy who swings at anything. How is a slow ball down the middle going to fool him? If he’s giving in with two strikes, it’s no wonder he didn’t get along with Leo. In any event, the ball didn’t fall out of the park, Jeff hit it a mile. There’s no disputing this kid’s power.

  21. Alex, let’s give Adam another month and see where he is. If he’s still hitting into double plays, I agree he needs to be moved down (although I’d say to 7th, not 8th), if Bobby continues to insist on playing him. However, it was in the second half that he got hot last year, and he absolutely destroyed the Astros in the playoffs. Again, I’m also much more confident with Julio in the line-up right now, but Adam still has a little while to figure something out. I hope.

    I also don’t agree that Adam doesn’t care when he kills a rally. He hustles, he’s just not fast. That doesn’t make the double plays any less rally-killing, but let’s not get carried away with attacking the way he plays the game.

  22. I just saw this in the AJC:

    Pitchers may want to bribe a couple of the Friends of Francoeur who sit in the right-field seats. Apparently, some know his kryptonite.

    “I know how I’d pitch me,” Francoeur said. “My buddies know how they would. They always call me and leave messages on my answering machine and say, ‘Why are they pitching that way to you?'”

    Even the kid has noticed.

  23. Alex,
    On Furcal’s consistency:
    post allstar .413 .508 .339 Actually very consistently excellent in July and August. Stu at this rate we unfortunately won’t be able to re sign him unless we get a homer discount. He might be one of the premier free agents available in what looks like a weak class this off season.

    LaRoche post allstar: .239 .372 .198 Which backs up the visual evidence that he has been a huge partial vacum lately. His overall OBP of .309 is terrible for any player much less a 1B. Playing Julio more may be the answer. I don’t see Chipper trying on a first baseman’s mitt until the off season. Alex R. I don’t think that he is very good now and he does look lackadaisical but that fire and intensity stuff sounds frighteningly like Terrence Moore.

    JC, Glad YOU got to watch the game. You don’t get those kind of observations from BBT or ‘watching’ the game on foxsports.com. I read something somewhere once about a player who starting having more success at the major league level becuase major league pitchers pitch in the strike zone more consistently than they do in the minors. No way to prove that but just thought I’d throw that out there. Don’t you love it when someone like Jeff comes around and blows up all of your carefully crafted, backed up by statistical evidence notions of how to be a successful major league hitter.

  24. There was this minor leaguer who was called up for another team a few years ago who only had 95 at bats above A ball, and in those 95 at bats he had two (2) walks, two (2) home runs, and got on base at a less than .300 clip.

    His name was Albert Pujols. Not saying that Wonderboy is Pujols (no one is) but let’s not pretend that, on occasion, studs come out of nowhere to rip it up in the majors. Maybe Wonderboy is the once-every-four-years exception.

  25. it really is baffling why pitchers keep throwing the same shit to francoeur. it’s not that they’re throwing too many strikes, as he’s hitting tons of balls at his ankles hard, but if they’d just keep the ball above the belly button on the inside half he doesn’t have a shot. to go with that and his impatience, he’ll swing at the occasional slider or slow curve three feet outside. if he keeps seeing all these 88 mph fastballs at the knees on the inner half he might hit 30 this year.

  26. Got to come up with a nickname for Jeff because Francoeur is so hard to type. Frenchy? Wonderboy? the Natural?

  27. Cox’s public statement of trust in Reitsma is overshadowed by his timely decision to bring Sosa back to the bull pen. It was spinned that Sosa had a bad outing and Ramirez is a proven stallion but I believe Cox wanted the strength of Sosa in the bullpen, and perhaps,if needed, as closer.

  28. Why can’t we afford Furcal, even at a high price? We lose Kolb’s salary, and both Smoltz and Hudson make significantly less next year than they do this year. We can and should re-sign Rafael Furcal.

  29. Scarey thought about Farnsworth from today’s AJC article “Farnsworth fits the closer prototype, with his 98-mph fastball and imposing demeanor. It’s worth noting that he blew 13 of 14 saves in 2002-04 for the Cubs.”

  30. It’s Furcal or Giles, who will be a free agent after next year. (I think. His part-seasons confuse the picture.) The Braves probably can’t afford both.

    Also, a number of players will get arbitration raises: Giles, Estrada, Ramirez. Thomson’s option would include a raise.

    And there’s the Hampton situation. The Braves say that the money is budgeted so they’ll consider him making $8 million every year, but it would be like TW to say that for three years then count the whole of his massive contract once the Braves start actually paying him.

    Furcal is making $5.6 million this year. The Rollins contract suggests that he’d get at least $10 million a season.

  31. 1) How much will Hampton’s salary next year influence whether we can afford Furcal?

    2) I think this was an excellent series of posts on the profile of most of the strengths and weakness of the team.

    3) If you have watched the Braves over many postseasons..it is maddening to try to figure who will be hot and who will turn cold. I wish I could believe the rookies will be hot…but I don’t. I wish them well but I can see Houston eating them all for snacks.

  32. I agree we could re-sign Furcal, sure, and overall he brings more to the table for what the Braves need then Wilson Betemit…but Betemit is a .300 hitter with power and good ENOUGH defense that the Braves see saving a LOT of money.

    Though fair point on Kolb…also, keep in mind that the Braves will save more money next year by not keeping John Thomson. I imagine they will give a starter slot in March to Kyle Davies and let Thomson walk.

    Plus, if we trade LaRoche and/or Estrada for prospects (since we don’t need either with McCann being far superior and cheaper then Estrada and Chipper likely moving to first for either Betemit or Marte to take over at 3rd) then that’s even more cash we are trimming…so yeah…between Kolb, Thomson, Estrada and LaRoche, definitely trimming the fat and saving cash that we don’t have to spend on those guys.

    Ideally, I would rather re-sign Furcal for at least one more year and keep Betemit full time at 3rd and give Marte more time in Richmond, with Chipper moving to first and Franco staying another year at least as a valueable bench player. BUH-BYE Adam.

    And though I loathe Terrence Moore, I am not looking at Francouer in the same way as say Brian Jordan. Yes, both have great intensity but Jordan is washed up…I like seeing a 20 year old kid with that kind of intensity and backing it up in the field and at the plate. Jordan is washed up but I would like to see Jordan retire into either a coach’s role or some other position in the organization…I like his intensity as a moral leader, since he clearly isn’t much of a player anymore.

    Back to LaRoche, I am sorry…but that slow, moseying style, that lack of intensity, that lack of caring (and he has as much admitted that is his personality) wouldn’t bother me right now if he had 25 home runs, a .370 OBP and was hitting .296. I think we would all be happy with that. But we are getting a .309 OBP and daily rally killing double plays.

    To give you an idea of how sick to death I am of this kid, when I put the game on TV or on the computer and I see the Braves lineup come up, my knee jerk reaction now is to see if Franco or LaRoche is playing…it’s the first thing I do. I don’t care whether Langerhans or KJ starts because both are about equally solid…the only thing I look for is who’s at 1st. Like last night, when it’s FRANCO, I feel a sense of giant relief coursing through my veins.

    What does that say about LaRoche? That’s a beyong the numbers feel where I intensely don’t like him. Plus, Bobby INSISTS on keeping them at the 5 hole. Again, if it’s Franco I can live with it (though still misguided) but when I see it’s LaRoche, I know now it’s going to eb a long night.

    It’s the same sick stomach-y feeling I get when Kolb or Reitsma come into a game. Like, “Oh God…please just hold on, just hold on for the win.” That’s not the way we should be feeling about a Playoff level team.

    regarding Sosa’s MOVE to the bullpen, I actually didn’t realize that he had. I noticed Horacio was listed as starting Friday but it didn’t dawn on me.

    While I don’t like Horacio (unless he’s pitching at home and at night…can Bobby just make sure that he never ever pitches a day game on the road, ever again?) I would rather “get by” with Horacio in a 4th or 5th starter’s role and allow Sosa to beef up the back of the bullpen more…we need the help. We have shown overall we can score some runs, we are not the Nats for God’s sakes…so, if get 3 to 4 runs for a Hudson, Hampton or Smoltz, I would sure feel a lot better if Sosa came out in the 9th.

    In fact, if Bobby is going to sting us by publicly endorsing f*ng Reitsma (and yes, mac and I called him that the entire 2nd half of 2004 and he’s back to that…hey Mac, where’s his BOLG?) then I am actually openly rooting for him to blow 1-2 more games so that Bobby is left with no choice and either gives Farnsworth or Sosa a shot.

    If Bobby goes back to KOLBB, I swear I will have to beat him to bloody pulp with a sledgehammer.

  33. Who is the most popular #7 in town right now, Francoeur or Vick? Rightnow I have to say FRECHY!

  34. One actual piece of information last night from the FSW broadcast – Charley Steiner apparently interviewed Furcal before the game, and when he brought up Rollins’s contract, ‘Furcal’s face lit up.’ So much for the hometown discount.

  35. Yes, Alex – I suggested earlier that if you wanted to run a sequel to Road from Bristol, you could vote on which ESPN personality you’re happiest HAS left. Steiner’s gotta be a contender…

  36. I like Charlie Steiner. Actually, the date of the beginning of the decline could easily have been his departure to the Yankees if Stu Scott hadn’t made it so easy.

  37. Keith,

    Unfortunately, there aren’t enough personalities outside of the ESPN/ABC universe (unless we did it NIT style with 32 folks?) but if we did, that fat, fuck face, horse’s ass Steiner would be in there. Sports Journalists are supposed to ask questions, call games, be JOURNALISTS….they aren’t supposed to be pot stirrers.

    It’s obvious with Steiner, who is blatanatly a Dodger lifer, that he hates the Braves and is happy to speed up Rafy’s departure from Atlanta. what an ass.

    It has also become noticeable with various Dodger fans I have met that live here in D.C., they still harbor a ton of resentment against the Braves, back when they were our bitches in the NL West in the 90’s…I mean, it’s not like we harbor resentment when they kicked our asses in the division in the 80’s?

  38. Why would Furcal want a hometown discount? The hometown has already arrested him twice :-)

    Replying back to Stu: okay, if I missed your point on Giles, you also missed mine. My point was that Giles has consistently been in a spot in the order where it isn’t his JOB to scare pitchers on the basepaths. He has had no real motivation to let pitchers know that he can run because his main job is to move the guy already on base over and give HIM a chance to run. Giles can run, but it has remained pretty much hidden from pitchers to this point because he doesn’t do it very often, at least not nearly as often as Furcal. My point is that if we stuck Giles in the leadoff spot, which I’m not advocating because I think he’s a great 2-spot hitter, we have no idea how much he could distract pitchers because we have no experience to base it on. I think he’d run a lot more and he would scare pitchers, because experience has shown me that if you ask Giles to do something, like assume a different role in the lineup, he’ll do it. Just look at what he did with his defense. So to suggest that he couldn’t do it, I don’t buy that. He can do it.

    Yes, we should try to resign Furcal. I’m with you there. But if he wants $10 million/year, that’ll break the bank and I really don’t think he’s worth THAT much, though he is worth a fair amount. So, yes, while it would be good to have both, reality tells me that we can’t. And that I think we’ll keep Giles instead of Furcal, and that he’ll do fine in whatever he has to do in Furcal’s absence.

    On the bullpen: we could get away with it if we had an offense like Boston’s, which routinely scores so many runs that they can have a complete bullpen meltdown and still win. That offense is SICK. If we go all the way, I’m dreading that matchup, because a)I like the Red Sox and I wouldn’t want EITHER team to lose and b)Nobody’s offense can keep up with them. I too am very nervous about our pitching going into the postseason, and our offense has, well, died in past years once we get to October. So I’m not feeling too good about that right now.

    Francoeur simply summarized: He’s good, he’ll slump, he’ll recover. He won’t play like this forever, but he won’t be Shane Spencer. He’s special. ‘Nuff said.

  39. Alex, I do! I hate the Dodgers and I pull for them to loose everytime they play. They were the Yankees of the National League, until Murdock ran them into the ground.

    That Tommy LaSorda can go to hell and take Strawberry, Oral, Murray, Karros, Fernando, Soscia, and that guy who sat behind homeplate witht he white hat with a Jugs Gun, with him!

    BEAT LA, BEAT LA, BEAT LA!!!!!!!!!!

  40. I think worrying over Furcal is pointless right now as that problem will be dealt with in the offseason. The big, huge dilemma is the bullpen, obviously, and I think you got give it Farnsworth. Let’em go in there a couple of nights and just throw some heat right into a couple of guys chins and let them know we mean business. You can tell teams, once are bullpen comes in, are tuned up and ready to score some runs. We need teams to be scared to see are guys come in. I say let Farnsworth knock a couple of people out, and let him and Sosa duel it for closer and eighth spot.

  41. Clarke, lets take it up even more. I say we tell Farnsworth to hit the Bull. It would be great!

    “Also a new league record.”

  42. I agree about Clarke’s point on the bullpen–let Sosa & Farnsworth battle it out and get Reitsma and Kolbb the FUCK OUT OF THE WAY ALREADY, THOSE SON OF A BITCHES.

    Re: Furcal…I would put money on him being gone. I wish he was back but I can live without him…if, for example, we cut a trade with Houston and somehow snared BRAD LIDGE in the offseason, or Billy Wagner from Philly.

    Re: Dodgers–I was being partially sarcastic…I hate ’em too. And Charley Steiner pulling that bullshit with a guy like Furcal makes me SEETHE. I will kill you, Steiner.

  43. jenny’s first point may be apropos – Furcal’s history with the Braves – DUIs, lying about his age, etc. – may all conspire to make him and the Braves mutually agree to part company. But that’s an issue for the offseason 2006 roster construction. I just hope we offer arbitration! And reading the tea leaves, the Moneyballers have become enamored of defense lately, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Depodesta deal an overrated C. Izturis and then make an offer to Furcal. It might even explain Steiner laying some groundwork. Or, he could just be doing an interview.

  44. The bottom line on fuckhead, rat fink Steiner is this.

    If Skip Carey were interviewing Albert Pujols during the Braves-Cardinals series, I would find it equally as unprofessional if Skip, a BROADCASTER, were to say he heard that LaRussa hated Pujols and felt he was overpaid and in the same breadth said he heard he was a free agent and we were looking for him to come to Altanta.

    I might not be AS angry if that led us to getting Pujols, but I would still think it was incredibly unprofessional of Skip to do that.

    And yeah, it’s blatantly obvious that Steiner wants to plant the seeds to DePodesta in the offseason. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this was pre-planned by DePodesta WITH fuckface Steiner to “GET” an interview with Furcal, a seemingly harmless interview for his XM/Dodger broadcasts, and then find a way to “remind” Rafy about Rollins’ huge contract.

    Just a disgusting display by a disgusting, fat, homer of a broadcaster for the Dodgers.

    Vin Scully wouldn’t do that. just shows how far the Dodgers have stooped as an organization that they have taken to pimping their fat, ugly broadcasters to steal better players. What a fucking joke.

  45. I don’t trust Betemit at short. We have Escobar and Andruw in low minors. Maybe 1 of them will develop into a player equal to Furcal. That is probably 2 years away. At the least I would like to see them offer Arbitration to Furcal. Brandon Jones is the resuly of the Braves offering arbitration to Jared Wright. If they had offered it to Shefield we would have another prospect at Myrtle Beach now.

  46. Don’t forget the risk we take on when we offer arbitration, we offered it to maddux once and got stuck with him. So, it doesn’t always work like we want it to. If we offered it to furcal and he accepted for say 10 million, then what would the repurcusions be this time around. I would guess that we would definitely be letting thomson go if furcal accepted and for me that may not be such a bad thing.

  47. I agree with Josh…Maddux has been as good as ‘4th starter’ now for about 4 years running and would have much rather had that 10 million for other pieces then the extra so-so year from Greg (though I will always love the guy for what he did here in Atlanta).

  48. Maddux was an aging player with a huge arbitration award that could swamp what he’d make on the open market; Furcal is near-peak age and so the risk in offering arbitration is minimal. He’s going to get a multi-year contract somewhere. As fjensen noted, the only good SS prospects in the system won’t be ready in 2006. So some offseason deal appears certain. The Angels and Mariners have numerous SS prospects at or near the majors, and I’ve mentioned Maicer Izturis (who could be better than his brother) as a plausible target.

  49. I didn’t realize how big a douche Steiner was, oh well screw him.

    What’s the odds of Frenchy getting a look at not only for ROY but Gold glove as well? I mean if over takes the league in assists, wouldn’t that take some notice? I realize that its hard to break through the gold glove barrier and get noticed, but damn it seems every night (and technically almost every 3rd night) he’s gunning someone out.

  50. Hey, Alex, have you checked your TV schedule lately? The Braves are on FOX on Saturday, and guess what we get? YANKEES! Okay, it’s NYY vs. ChiSox, so it should be good anyway, but I WANT MY BRAVES! WAAAAAAAH!

    If you want to check your listings, go to washingtonpost.com under Arts and Living, they have an interactive TV grid under the television section that you can put in your provider and your zip code and they’ll tell you what you get. WHICH IS NOT WHAT YOU WANT!

    And Betemit isn’t Furcal. That’s not his fault, but I really don’t think he’ll be an adequate replacement.

    I’ll join the “try Farnsworth as closer for now” camp but I want to see Joey Devine.

  51. My guess is that we’ll offer furcal arbitration and/or a short term deal, but he’ll move on thanks to some team like the cubs or the payroll increasing tigers throwing big wads of cash at him.
    That is fine, I know he’ll be a loss initially but I think we can find a way to replace him. We have no shortage of expendable bodies (LAROCHE) who could bring us back a SS. Somebody call up the Angels (Figgins, Izturis, Wood at AAA)

  52. Jenny,

    I will actually be BACK in Vegas this weekend…however, since the Braves-Pads game will be at 10:15 am Vegas time this weekend, the sports books in Vegas will not actually air the game (I found this out when I was there 2 weeks ago) if its on that early and will air the 4 pm eastern FOX game ONLY at 1 pm in the casinos/sports books.

    So, I am S.O.L. either way! Alex R.

  53. Is anyone watching Cold Pizza? Great segment on the Braves rookies and how cool it is that they’re homegrown. Also great that the Braves director of player personnel has this really distracting facial twitch near his right eye…

  54. Mac:

    Well, if you want to assume we’ve been lied to about the Hampton contract and that we’ll owe 7 million more than we think next season, you’re right, we won’t be able to afford Furcal. All of my points are contingent on the Hampton contract being what we’re told it is, and on things like arbitration-eligible players who have capable replacements (ie, Estrada and Thomson) being dealt or not re-signed.

    Alex:

    First, yes, Betemit is cheaper than Furcal. You get what you pay for. Betemit’s defense and offense are inferior to Furcal’s. Betemit is not “a .300 hitter.” He has hit around .300 in pretty limited playing time for one season.

    Second, in regards to LaRoche, this statement is nonsense: “That’s a beyong the numbers feel where I intensely don’t like him.” Well, Alex, if you don’t like a player, that must mean he doesn’t hustle and isn’t a good player. Since when is a player’s objective worth determined by how you feel about his involvement in a game? And, for the last time, he isn’t carefree and he does hustle. He has ADD, which is annoying those times when he forgets how many outs there are. However, not all players express their frustrations in the same way. Andruw grins. Kyle Farnsworth tackles people. Greg Maddux drops a few f-bombs. John Smoltz says, “shoot!” Adam LaRoche, like Andruw or Smoltz, holds his frustrations inside. Both Chipper Jones and John Smoltz have attested to Adam’s competitive nature. I promise you, he cares. And, to reiterate, he isn’t as fast as Francoeur, and thus he is physically unable to beat out some of the groundball double plays into which he hits.

    Third, well, who wouldn’t be all for acquiring Wagner or Lidge? The problem with that is, of course, neither will be available. Even if we could sign Wagner (reports are that he’s about to re-up with the Phils), that would likely cost more per year than would Furcal. I think we can fill the closer’s role a little better and a little cheaper (Farnsworth, Devine, Boyer, etc.) than we could the gold-glove-caliber and leadoff-hitting shortstop. At least in the immediate future.

    Jenny:

    No, I did not miss your point. I understand that Giles is not asked to be a leadoff hitter. However, that doesn’t change my point. Rafael Furcal is faster than Marcus Giles. As in, in a foot race, Furcal wins. Every time. And they’re both savvy base runners, so Giles doesn’t have much of an edge, if any, in terms of knowing when to run, reading pitchers moves, etc. You’re right in saying we have very little experience on which we can base an assumption about Giles’s leadoff capabilities, but we do have objective facts, such as speed, which clearly favors Furcal.

    Also, my hypothesis is that if Giles were to run more, his success rate would decrease, perhaps substantially. Part of his success, in my opinion, is a result of the fact that he isn’t expected to go as often as Furcal, so he catches teams more by surprise than does Furcal. This, of course, can’t be proven, but it’s certainly as likely a scenario as Giles being able to steal 33 out of 40 bases successfully.

    I’d also like to address this: “I think he’d run a lot more and he would scare pitchers, because experience has shown me that if you ask Giles to do something, like assume a different role in the lineup, he’ll do it. Just look at what he did with his defense.” Well, if that’s the case, I think we should ask Giles to hit 50 homeruns and steal 50 bases next season. Ask him to win the Triple Crown. Ask him to play error-free baseball. Jenny, like all of us, Giles must at some point be limited by his physical abilities. He may indeed be WILLING to run a lot more and TRY to do what Furcal has done for us–my point is that he’s unable to. He’s a gutsy player, has made quite a mark on this team, and I love the guy…but I’m unwilling to assume he can be close to the threat or have close to the production of Furcal in the leadoff spot. As a side note, Giles also strikes out an awful lot for a leadoff hitter. Of course, he strikes out too much for a number-2 hitter, too, so I’m not sure what my point is there.

    Finally, I do think Furcal is worth 10 million a year over the next 3 years, until our young studs are ready (note that Furcal is also just entering his “prime”). Objectively, he isn’t, but in the current market, with his speed and defense, he’s worth 10 million a year.

  55. He’s worth 10 million a year in this crazy market, and we can’t pay it. At least, I don’t think we can unless we do something weird in the offseason. So, that being said, I’d rather have Giles than Furcal. That’s just my opinion. I like Furcal, but I think Giles brings more to the team in terms of intangibles, and I’m just really tired of Furcal’s off-field problems.

    I think he’d run a lot more and he would scare pitchers, because experience has shown me that if you ask Giles to do something, like assume a different role in the lineup, he’ll do it. Just look at what he did with his defense

    Shamelessly quoting myself here, I didn’t mean that he can do anything. Why would I say that? That’s ridiculous, of course he can’t. I just think that if you stuck him in the leadoff hole and asked him to play that role, he’d do an adequate job. He wouldn’t be Furcal, obviously, but I think he’d do all right and we shouldn’t just say that he CAN’T do it.

  56. I agree that if we have to choose between the two, Giles is the obvious choice. I’m just saying–and it’s all I’ve been saying–is that we really need to try our best to re-sign Furcal.

  57. I just had an epiphany…
    Francouer should be our closer, has anyone noticed the gun on this guy… :)

  58. Yeah, okay. I completely agree with you, then. I’ve been saying that since the “TRADE FURCAL!” posts started showing up around, oh, April 5. I’m not optimistic about it, however.

  59. You made some good points Stu. Furcal on base changes a lot. It give Giles more Fastballs to hit for one. I don’t want Giles to try to steal 50 bases. All we need in the last few months of the season is a worn down Marcus Giles.

    Giles doesn’t have the patience to be a lead-off man. Kelly Johnson does. If Furcal leaves, that would be my choice for lead-off. Plus, I think he runs fairly well.

  60. Correction: I just read what I wrote and it made no sense. Erase that. I’ve wanted to try to resign Furcal since about June 20. When he sucked at the beginning of the year, I didn’t want to resign him, but I didn’t want to trade him, either. That’s what I MEANT.

  61. It has been my observation, from what I’ve read about Marcus Giles and seen of him when he’s not at bat, that he is not a terribly patient person, in a baseball game or otherwise. He does work walks occasionally, but from what I glean of his personality, patience is not his thing. Bouncing off the walls and talking people’s ears off seems to be his thing. Suffice it to say that I would not want to be stuck in the car with him in a slow-moving drive thru.

  62. Betemit’s defense and offense are inferior to Furcal’s. Betemit is not “a .300 hitter.” He has hit around .300 in pretty limited playing time for one season.

    Stu – please explain why Francoeur’s minor league numbers do not predict his major league potential, but you’re completely sure that Betemit is not a good hitter. Or, for that matter, a good defender. People keep saying these things, but nobody wants to explain. I thought maybe you would. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, and I haven’t researched this entirely… so if you haven’t made that particular Francoeur argument, please explain your position on Betemit anyway. I’m particularly interested in the defensive evaluation.

  63. Remember this is the same Giles who only saw like 3 pitches per at bat on the last road trip. I want a guy up there who will take a few pitches so we can see what the pitcher has that night.

    Bobby Cox himself said Marcus is not the best option for a lead off guy. I like Giles hitting with runners on base.

    To me KJ should hit first if Furcal is not there.

    Can we discuss something other tna Furcal signing with another team in 7 months and how we need to kill Adam LaRoche and HoHumm right now or how Francoeur needs to be looking for more walks?

    Bayless

  64. As for our bullpen situation, I think we are stuck with what we have. The question is how to best use our in house tools. Yes we have a couple of guys in the bullpen who are ‘tools.’ (klobber) My guess is that Bobby and Leo will continue to experiment down the stretch with the closer role and will come to a conclusion (for better or worse) in the next couple weeks. My best bet is that we’ll end up with Farnsworth as closer. Although I’m sure we’ll see Kolb, Reitsma, Farnsworth, and possibly Sosa getting opportunities to earn the job.

  65. With regard to the Steiner/Furcal issue, why would the Dodgers want Furcal? They have Cesar Izturis, who is probably the best defensive shortstop in baseball, and who is still relatively inexpensive. He’s not the hitter Furcal is, but I’m pretty sure the difference is not worth $7-8 million.

  66. I agree Farnsworth can be nasty. I would like to see him hit a few guys to prove it.

    However, he can’t go in against St. Louis. The former Cub in him will come out.

  67. Bullpen: Yes, I think we’re stuck with what we have, and, considering our position in the league, we are unlikely to make any trades through the waiver wire, although Guardado would be nice. Since this worries me, I don’t want to think about it anymore. I think we just have to hope somebody steps up and that closer-by-committee will work.

    Why doesn’t Marcus have the patience to be a leadoff hitter?

    Because he just DOESN’T. Duh! Can’t you tell just by looking at him? The man is totally incapable of hitting leadoff.

    ;-)

  68. I’m telling you, it’s all a mind game in there. Have Farnsworth come in there a couple of times with a little chin music. If he can deliver the goods he will be intimdating and thats what we need. Nobody in that pen scares the other team, and they know if there patient they will either be walked or see a pitch to hit. But if they are spending a part of the time up there worrying whether or not they are going to get nailed with a 100 mph fastball, then we have the advantage.

  69. ‘The Farns’ should only throw two pitches. 98 four seamer and his slider. That’s it, nothing else.

  70. Giles would be a terrific lead off hitter. High OBP, good doubles power, decent speed. Speed as in can run from 1st to 3rd kind of speed not base stealing speed. Having a ‘base stealer’ at the leadoff position is way overrated.

    We should try to re sign Furcal but we won’t be able to. We shouldn’t pay him what LAST seasons market was paying shortstops period becuase although he is a very good player he isn’t the kind of difference maker that justifies a 10 mil contract. If there is yet another market correction (return to sanity) this year and we can get him for less, then entertain the notion. But as I mentioned before this years free agent class looks pretty thin and he is going to have a lot of leverage.
    Alex R., odds are we are going to find out if Wilson Betemit is really an everyday SS next season.

  71. HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What about this season? Let’s win the division first, worry about Furcal in November!

  72. Come on Smitty, we have to have something to talk about. Otherwise, we’d have to work. Oh wait, I’m listening to the Rangers’ game, writing this, and surfing. Guess I’m not working much today, at least not at the moment. :)

  73. There is just so much to talk about, but half the people on here want to talk about things that don’t make a diffrence at all right now.

    By the way Andrew only had one hiy last night and only leads all major leaguers by 2 dingers now. Stupid Francoeur didn’t go up looking for a walk, AGAIN! Time to trade both of them to Minnesota for a minor league shortstop. Hudson couldn’t go the distance and Sosa kind of looked dumb sitting in the pen.

    The only real negative about this team is the bull pen. We can bash that all day. What about the Phillies? The are playing well right now. They could make a run. Let’s talk about something positive.

  74. The Phils are looking good, and they’re a lot better off with Howard than the carcass of Thome they were rolling out there earlier in the year. I still figure it all comes down to pitching with them… and not letting Bell kill the offense, of course.

  75. BP’s postseason odds still has Astros in best position for wildcard, with a 30% chance or so. I think this last month you will see a lot of teams beating on each other to take themselves out of the race.

    Natspos up early 1-0 over Phillies.

  76. I’d have to agree that this is Houston’s wild card to lose. The 4 nl east teams have to beat eachother up too much and this could give the stros a chance to pull away.
    Unfortunately this would mean we need to be ready for Clemens, Oswalt, Petite.

  77. Francoeur reminds me of Andruw Jones who spent about a week in Richmond (all road games so not in Richmond) and is youngest player to het HR in WS. Also second youngest couple innings later. Hits, hits with power, runs, throws and fields and has similiar plate discipline.

  78. One difference has to be their ability to make contact. At this point Jeff is more likely to double the other way off a pitch that bounces in front of the plate then to swing a wiff.

  79. The Phils don’t look dangerous. Myers can’t pitch every game.

    They look kind of scary to Braves fans because they have the one thing Atlanta lacks, a bullpen. I’d kill a helpless grandmother to have Wagner and Madson on the playoff roster.

    Still, it’s hard to get into the playoffs with one starting pitcher when you’re up against a team with Clemens, Pettitte, and Oswalt for the Wild Card and a team with Smoltz, Thomson, Hudson, and Hampton in the division.

  80. If we played the phils I wouldn’t be too worried about the bullpen because we’d have 10 runs when playing in the matchbox of a stadium.
    The brightside I see of playing the stros is that their offense is offensive. Plus there is the fact that we’d have smoltz and hudson to lead off any series.

  81. Poor old Frank is about to get completely loony. How long before he sets a blank lineup card in the middle of the clubhouse and tells the players to just fill it out however they like?

  82. I love this. Every day I get to come downstairs and read articles in the Post about how the Nats suck. Yesterday they did a 2-PAGE SPREAD devoted to how bad Cristian Guzman is.

  83. This reminds me… did you guys know that Bobby Cox actually wears spikes? I’d never thought about it, and I can’t figure out why he would… but it’s just perfect. I don’t recall wear I heard that, so it may not be news at all.

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