Washington 4, Atlanta 3

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

So, what is that, the fourth one-run loss to the Natspos this year? No, I checked, the fifth. Sheesh. The Braves left nine men on base, hit into two double plays, had a runner thrown out at third and another at the plate, and generally played the field like little leaguers with motor control problems. Somehow, this is Kelly Johnson’s fault, even though his egregious misplay didn’t lead to any runs.

John Thomson pitched the worst six innings of two-run baseball ever. The Natspos were having similar problems with leaving runners all over the place and getting them thrown out. Thomson allowed eight hits, including two doubles, and walked two.

But the real action was left for when the bullpen came in. Chipper left the game with some sort of stomach virus (bad wings at Hooters again?) and Marcus, who was supposed to take the game off, came in at third, where he’s rarely played. It cost them. On a chopper with runners first and second, one out, Marcus made the relay to second well enough but Orr dropped the ball. Well, not so much dropped it as threw it backhanded into center field to allow a run to score, making it 3-1. Then, after the Braves rallied to tie it, Marcus tried to stay on the bag at third on a bad throw by McCann on a steal attempt, allowing the runner to get up and trot home. This is also Johnson’s fault, because he wasn’t standing right behind third base to make the play.

Reitsma picked up the loss. Boyer looked good again. So did Kolb, but we’ve been burned by him before, haven’t we?

The Phillies beat the Mets, and the Marlins lost. The Phils stand four back, Florida 4 1/2, the Mets 5 1/2, the Natspos 6. Should be 5, 5 1/2, 6 1/2, 8. This one shouldn’t have been lost. Smoltz versus Tony Armas tomorrow night. You’d think that the Braves should win this one. It would help if Furcal and Chipper play. Callup day; expect Davies, Brower, and Pena. Others will be called up eventually, I expect, but not yet. Well, Furcal’s and Chipper’s situations make a Marte callup more likely.

46 thoughts on “Washington 4, Atlanta 3”

  1. I don’t get it – what did KJ do?

    Jeremy Hermida had a pinch-hit granny in his first major league at bat. Good news for my fantasy team, bad news for the Braves.

  2. It is more about what KJ didn’t do. He is a rally killer and is the worst baseball player ever. Moonlight Gramm was 6 times better

  3. Called the split, by the way. Knew it.

    Alex R. may be right about needing to call up Marte for a righty on the bench, but I got the split.

  4. Well done Joey. This game should have come with a big red bow and a gift receipt. It’s a shame today wasn’t callup day. Then LaRoche;s slow *** would have been pinch run for and the winning run would have scored on Betemit’s hit in the eighth. Betemit had four hits, which of course means he will again hit eighth tomorrow.

  5. Oh, I should have mentioned Betemit’s 4-4 night. Of course, he didn’t score any runs, which is really partly Johnson’s fault but more Thomson’s and Orr’s.

  6. Smitty, the Braves will win tomorrow.

    Really going out on a limb with that Tony Armas / John Smoltz matchup, too.

  7. If you guys are looking for someone to blame, try the clown that came in to pitch in the ninth. You should all know by now if the game is on the line and the clown comes out of the bullpen, the game is over. Just turn the tv off and save yourselves some time. Pathetic….simply pathetic excuse for a pitcher.

  8. Pathetic excuse? The only guy who scored on him scored on an error after stealing a base.

    Sure, he’s not the best option, and pretty much everyone wants to see Boyer-Farnsworth at the end of games, but it’s not like he’s a bad pitcher. He hardly ever walks anybody, and he doesn’t give up homers.

  9. steel211, the Braves should have won the game by scoring more runs in the seventh or eighth inning, and Farnsworth will be in the game pitching the save for the save. Poor managing, poor base-runnung, poor speed…

    Anyway, it’s amazing Francouer draw two walks today (in seperate games though!).

    JoeyT, I was wishing you are wrong. Oh well. In respect of the second right handed bat off the bench, the Braves will have Jordan and Marte in September. Now, I am wondering if KJ deserves any more starts in September. It is getting very obvious that Langerhans is a better overall player of the two at this point. I hope Bobby will try the platoon of Langerhans and Jordan in leftfield for September.

  10. I hate to tread water like this and that’s what we’ve been doing for a month now. But, again, if the Braves score the split with Smoltz, they will have burned a few more days off the calendar and no other NL East team will have swept their intradivision series. Hard to make up ground on the leader if the leader doesn’t begin to completely shrivel. No Gene Mauchs here, BTW.

    Of course, it would be nice to put a thumping on the lousy Redlegs this weekend while the rest of the East cannibalizes each other.

  11. How is it “getting very obvious” that Langerhans is a better overall player? It’s pretty close between the two. In fact, I would go for KJ right now until his bat gets cold. Same reason I’d go for Hollandsworth over LaRoche until Franco’s healthy or Adam’s bat heats up.

    I can see going for Langerhans because, SUBJECTIVELY, he looks better defensively (though my opinion of KJ may be skewed by one bad throw and one missed catch at the wall). Kelly’s still swinging the bat well, though, and I’d keep him in for a bit. It’s really a toss up for me.

  12. So we were screwed by mistakes from a rookie left-fielder, a rookie catcher, a little-used rookie utility infielder, and a guy who hasn’t played 3B since 2002. I’m not overly upset by this one–all that happened was people played like they should have been playing over the past few months: like rookies.

    Does KJ have some pathological fear of the wall? A little bit of anxiety is a healthy thing, but he seems to have a wall phobia. Combine KJ’s wimpiness with Marcus’s recklessness and you’d have a fine player–maybe they should coach each other. Of course, he wasn’t so hot at shortstop, either, so maybe defense isn’t his thing. Either way, Langerhans should be in left for awhile.

    We’ll get ’em tomorrow and go for the split. I have faith.

  13. Chipper left the game because of a stomach virus.

    I knew he shouldn’t have finished off that snickerdoodle after John Patterson said he only wanted half!

  14. It pisses me off when Giles bats clean up.
    the guy has 8 home runs.
    And andruw was on deck when the game ended.

  15. JoeyT, when I say “it is obvious”, it is of course from my subjective opinion. I am just seeing Langerhans playing better than Johnson at the moment. If you purely comparing Johnson and Langerhans based on stats, you will find Johnson a better player for sure. It is funny that if you look further into KJ’s stats, you will find that he hits much better in the 7th and 8th spot of the batting order, which most of us agree that’s where he belongs.

    Anyway, perhaps I am too harsh with KJ and Ramirez. My real target is LaRoche, he has just been a huge disappointment. The guy is hitting fifth in the batting order, and he has been a rally killer. If Hollandsworth is an option at first base, I would like Bobby to start Hollandsworth over LaRoche immediately. However, I just checked that Hollandsworth has played a total of only 17 games at first base in his major league career, that doesn’t sound like an appealing option to me as he will be worse than Robert Fick defensively.

  16. Giles wasn’t batting clean-up, he was batting third, having replaced the departed Chipper.

    In my opinion, Bobby blew this game. Even though some of his decisions didn’t necessarily hurt us, some did, and they were nevertheless incredibly questionable.

    1) When Giles came in, why was Orr not moved to third? I’m not sure there’s a good explanation for this, and it certainly cost us.

    2) When Francoeur came in to pinch hit and KJ ended up ending the inning, why did Bobby not double-switch? You improve the defense by bringing Holly over to left and getting Smurph in right, and you move the necessary pinch-hitting back two spots.

    3) Even though he didn’t pitch badly and would have kept the run from scoring sans McCann’s throwing error, why was Reitsma even in that game? You have a well-rested lefty (McBride) on the bench, with the left-hand leaning top of the order coming up, the same situation in which you brought Foster in a couple innings prior. Instead, you opt to go for a guy who’s already pitched in the first game and who has proven to have serious stamina issues over the past two seasons? That just makes no sense.

    Cox was begging to lose that game and he did. Really shaky managing.

    On the bright side, Betemit had a good offensive game (although a couple balls up the middle, Furcal would have gotten to). We need to rebound today.

  17. My turn to chime in here.

    I can always judge how I am feeling about certain BRAVES players by my stomach’s reaction or lack thereof when they come in…aka, meaning RELIEVERS.

    Last night, my stomach actually DIDN’T churn when Kolbb came in. Yes, he gave up his obligatory hit (I think he’s anti 1-2-3 innings, like it’s against his religion. So, it all worked out.

    Then Kolbb’s batting order spot hadn’t come up yet so HE COULD HAVE STAYED IN THE GAME, BOBBY. However, Cox chose to bring in Reitsma…that’s when the stomach gave out. I felt nausea.

    It’s SAFE to say Chris Reitsma is the NEW DAN KOLBB. Kolbb still isn’t that great but even I will say he’s not as awful as Reitsma and if you took my pulse today about WHICH pitcher doesn’t deserve a post season roster spot between the two, I would vote reitsma. He’s been DOG SHIT WITH FLIES ON IT.

    This happened last year with Reitsma and if you will look back at archived Bravesbeat columns, you will see his name officially changed to FUCKING REITSMA.

    Chris is officially a problem…the worst part is he was brought into 2 seperate games..hell, I would have rather used MCBRIDE.

  18. Is there any reason CHIPPER JONES wasn’t used to PINCH HIT in Game 2? Is Chipper hurt again?

    I want to make a point WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREEING WITH MAC ON JOHN THOMSON.

    That absolute was the worst fucking 2 earned run start I have seen by a pitcher this year. If that had been the Cardinals or some other team with a REAL offense, Thomson would have given up five runs for sure. It’s just because it was the Nats offense that he “escaped” with only 2 runs. That was a terrible start and ANY defense on here of Thomson should really look in the mirror.

    Furthermore, Chip Carey and his big mouth didn’t help any. On the way home from my first fantasy football draft of the year (I was at a sports bar that had Direct TV so I was able to watch the Braves games amazingly) — and listening to my XM radio on the way hom, Chip basically ignores what he saw and his statistics sheet to say what a GREAT start Thomson had by only giving up 2 earned runs.

    I am sorry, WONDER BOY, is this the kind of announcing the Cubs got? Were we watching the SAME GAME? He stunk and got lucky, time after time. What’s worse is that Cox will now pitch him through like 4 more bad starts in a row because of it, and Chip Carey and his massive eyebrows and big mouth didn’t help any.

    I think your dad needs to give you a spanking Chip.

  19. Chipper started the second game, Alex. Thus, he was unavailable to pinch hit.

    Calm down. Did you forget to take your meds or something?

  20. I’m still really glad Alex R. isn’t the Braves manager. Maybe he’s really Larry Bowa and he won’t be honest…

  21. Hollandsworth getting picked off second was a real back breaker, and was a bigger mistake than any of the rookies made. I like KJ, but he’s quickly reaching “replace in the late innings for better defense” status for me.
    The run in the 9th was scored earned because even if the throw is not errant, Wilkerson scores on Johnson’s ground out. Reitsma must take the majority of the blame for this run because: a) the leadoff batter (Wilkerson) got a hit; and b) Reitsma did not do a good job holding Wilkerson on second (Wilkerson is not that speedy, and he had the throw beat fairly easily even with a lefty up). He didn’t pitch that badly, but I was very surprised that Bobby brought him in because he had pitched in the early game and was pretty shaky. I think he has entered “f*****g Reitsma” mode like last year. Bobby is not a master of late-game strategy, and I think his questionable decision making in late-and-close situations is part of the reason that the Braves have not had more post season success. But it’s part of the package you get with him, and the rest of the package has worked out pretty well. Re: Thomson, I agree that he was extremely lucky to escape with only two runs scored. He clearly can’t locate the ball with any real consistency. However, my guess is that he will still get a couple of more starts before they decide whether or not he makes the postseason roster.

  22. Also, it was highly questionable to bring Marcus in at 3rd instead of shifting Orr. Maybe Marcus turns that double play, who knows? However, if Chipper wasn’t feeling well, he should have asked out of the second game at the start. Maybe then Orr starts at 3rd, and Chipper could have been available as a pinch hitter during the end-game.

  23. I’m assuming the 11 pitchers is the final number? I didn’t see any last-minute transactions, but sometimes they take a while to show up.

    So, who’s the best 11th, now? There’s:

    Smoltz
    Hudson
    Boyer
    Farnsworth
    Reitsma
    McBride
    Sosa
    Foster
    HR
    Thomson
    Kolb

    on now. I figure, unless Thomson somehow regains his ability to pitch, he’s probably not terribly useful. Kolb is a waste of space. That leaves nine, unless a called-up lefty dominates and pushes out HR.

    You have to figure Davies over either Thomson or Kolb. That’s 10. So, who would be 11? Does Bobby plan on keeping Kolb to blow a playoff game? Will Devine turn it up and earn a spot?

    My whole support for 11-pitchers was predicated on Thomson being able to return to form. Since that doesn’t look likely to happen this season, it sure would be nice to have Marte on the roster over a waste reliever.

    Alex R. was totally right on this one.

  24. Actually, Thomson did seem steadily better throughout the game. He’s still trying to regain the touch on his pitches, which showed up in the inability to put guys away after two strikes. The good thing is that he was quickly getting the two strikes, putting the hitters on the defensive. I suspect we will see continued improvement in his next start.

    Unless they disable someone, Davies won’t be postseason eligible, so those 11 pitchers up in Joey’s post would seem to be the postseason roster.

    My question would be the rotation – I know what I’d use, but will Bobby & Leo go with 3 man or 4 man? HoRam seems incapable of effective relief, although his last few starts have been effective enough. If Thomson does continue to struggle, do you put him in bullpen, or disable him in favor of Davies?

  25. Oh, and today’s notes on the team’s official page at MLB.com mention that Hampton has a herniated disk in his back, but feels better after getting an epidural. No word on when he might return, but the quote says he hopes to get back soon.

    There is some stuff about the other team injuries in it as well.

  26. As discussed in earlier posts, I don’t think Furcal will be back next year. But, I am becoming convinced that the organization does not see Betemit as a full-time starter there either (or at any other position for that matter). I think they view him as a useful spare part that can be plugged in wherever needed in the infield. Even though he has been effective at the plate all season, he is stuck in the 8th slot when he’s in the lineup. If they believed in him (as they apparently believe in KJ), he’d be higher up in the order by now. I’ll bet that they make a trade in the offseason for someone they think can start for the next year or two until an adequate replacement comes up through the minors.

  27. I was listening to one of the Braves broadcast the other day before the game. The topic was on Furcal, and one of the Braves scouts was reporting that the Braves are happy w/ their talent at the SS position in the minors. He was referring to Escobar, Guzman, and Pena. Two of these are in single A and dont even appear to be ready. I dont remeber who was giving this info but he stated Escobar had many of the same skills as Furcal.

    I hope this wasnt their plan for next year!

  28. We all need to pray that Cox or Pendleton don’t try to pull a “Mondesi” and try to salvage the career of Christian Guzman next year. That guy used to be decent, but I think the Nats would be better off with Rafael Belliard this year.

    I kid you not, an announcer on a Braves broadcast (Sutton?) a few weeks ago said that KJ would win a batting title one day. I’m actually not a KJ basher, but if that prediction comes true, that announcer needs to play the lottery more often.

  29. If Sosa put up a line similar to Thomson’s, as he usually does, people like Alex R. would be praising Sosa. Where this notion that Sosa is a better starter than Thomson came from is beyond me.

    Sosa has had about 12 good starts his entire CAREER and all of a sudden he’s better than Thomson who has been a great pitcher for us, including 200 innings of above average pitching last year and a 3.42 ERA before his injury. And yes, he has been one of the best pitchers in the league. He’s had three bad starts and everybody quickly forgets his year and a half of great pitching. It’s ridiculous.

  30. I think Guzman still has talent, just like Nomar does. I’m not saying that I want either one of these guys next year, but look at who they are playing for. I dont think anyone enjoys playing for Frank, but maybe I’m wrong

  31. Rob Cope, Thomson isn’t even a shadow of the pitcher he was before the injury. I still think he’ll be good for next year, but it might take a whole offseason for him to recover. I certainly wouldn’t want to put a playoff start in his hands with what he’s shown since he’s come back.

    Sosa, on the other hand, has been hot recently. He’s cut down on his walks considerably in the last month, and he’s hardly been giving up homeruns since early July. I see nothing but improvement from the guy. Leo’s lessons are really taking.

  32. Alex,

    Amen brother. Finally one that see s the light. “He’s been DOG SHIT WITH FLIES ON IT.” I love it. Perfect description.

  33. Joey, it’s been four starts. With a finger injury, what do you expect? Is he gonna come back and be lights out? Of course not; he never was anyway. On the other hand, everyone is clamoring for Sosa to be a staple in the rotation and he’s only had 14 starts with the Braves, and he’s needed in the bullpen. Plus, Thomson had a good start. He may not have pitched a gem, but Sosa isn’t exactly a WHIP-master either.

  34. the reason I asked the question is because both of the pitchers suck…Reitsma is almost as bad as Kolb was in the 1st half of this year

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