Falcons 13, Redskins 6

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

So, we’re back into midseason “If we score ten runs, we’re in good shape” mode. Whatever works, I guess. Villarreal had his first bad start, going only three innings and allowing four runs, three of those in the first. He allowed six hits, struck out two, walked one, and threw a wild pitch. Still, if he only pitches badly one in three times he’s got a leg up on everyone but Smoltz and James.

francoeur.PNGThe Braves cut it to 3-2 in the first when Chipper hit a homer (righthanded, his first that way since hurting his side, I think). The Natspos made it 4-2 in the third but the Braves erupted in the bottom of the inning. L’il Tony had a pinch-hit single leading off, then Marcus doubled to make it second and third, and Renteria doubled in his turn over the centerfielder’s head to make it 4-4. The Joneses were retired, then Robinson for some reason (yeah, I know, lefty-righty, but be serious here) had Francoeur intentionally walked to face McCann with the bases loaded.

It sort of worked, as McCann popped up. But the ball went into the dead zone behind third base and went off the shortstop’s glove to be scored a double scoring Renteria. Then Robinson had another intentional walk issued, this to Diaz, leading to a clean three-run double from LaRoche to make it 8-4.

Cormier managed to get through the fourth without giving up a run. Marcus singled leading off the bottom of the inning, then after getting the next two the pitcher hit Andruw to bring Francoeur to the plate. Jeff hit a three-run homer to make it 11-4. Cormier gave up a couple in the fifth to make it 11-6. McBride pitched two good innings (striking out three and allowing a double to Soriano, one of the seventeen doubles he hit in the series) and was credited with the win. LaRoche drove in McCann (who went 4-5) with a sac fly in the seventh and Andruw hit a solo homer in the eighth to reach the final score. Kali picked up the Atlanta Save. Day off (much-needed, even if they had Thursday off already) before the Giants come to town.

98 thoughts on “Falcons 13, Redskins 6”

  1. I think it’s amusing that the Vulture got vultured by Cormier today (although Cormier did pitch better).
    The Niners are coming to town on Tuesday, and we should be able to handle their bag of steroids. Then we head out to play the Eagles.

  2. Actually, though it was announced during the game that Cormier would get the win it appears they changed their mind and gave it to McBride (who was obviously superior) instead. At least, that’s what ESPN and AP say.

  3. I’d say the game ball goes to McCann, but then again, you could say that for virtually every game this season.

    Mac, my hat’s off to you for calling it: late last year you called him the most important player in the Braves’ organization, saying that a 21-year old catcher who could post a .745 OPS his rookie year was due for major things. Well, I don’t think anyone could have predicted he’d be THIS good, but you saw this coming before anyone else, and I salute you.

  4. Looks very doubtful McCann will garner enough PAs to qualify for batting title. I believe he needs 502 PA; he’s at 374 by my count. Only 33 games to go, of which he will catch no more than 28 or so, I would guess. That means he would have to average almost 4.5 PA in those games, which will be unlikely.

  5. McCann is actually at 380 now, meaning he needs 122 over the final 33 games. Since July he’s been in the lineup about 85% of the time. If he starts 29 of the final 33, he’ll need about 4.2 PA per game. If he’s close, you know that Cox will find the PAs for him — he’s good about that kind of thing.

  6. Did anyone see on the AJC where Smoltz’ option hasn’t been picked up yet and how Smoltz is upset about it. Quite frankly, I’m of the mindset that if you want to run your front office a certain way, that’s cool. But if you have a player who’s been with you for 18 years and showed nothing but loyalty (remember how Smotlz stayed here for less money than the Yankees offered him?), you can bend the rules slightly and at least talk to the guy. I don’t blame Smoltz one little bit for being annoyed. The guy has busted his tail off all season for a team that has serious flaws and is going nowhere. and what does he get for it all? Nothing, not even the satisfaction of knowing his team wants him back next year.

    If JS doesn’t pick up that option he is an idiot (and I don’t think he’s an idiot. Dense, maybe, but he couldn’t have won for 14 years if he was a complete idiot). So, if you’re going to pick it up anyway, why not do it now and keep your star player happy? Have the Braves always been this bad with their player-management relations, or is it just magnified this year now that they’re losing?

    http://www.ajc.com/blogs/content/shared-blogs/ajc/sportscolumns/entries/2006/08/27/smoltz_waiting.html

  7. By the way, Brian McCann is batting .341/.395/.556 (.951 OPS), with 16 homers and 66 RBI in 340 ABs. Joe Mauer, one year older, is batting .356/.434/.514 (.948 OPS), with 10 homers and 73 RBI in 424 ABs.

    Victor Martinez, 4 years older than Mauer at 27 years of age, the pre-season consensus best offensive catcher in baseball, is at .312/.377/.461 (.838 OPS), with 13 homers and 74 RBI in 462 ABs.

    Any questions?

  8. Schuerholz has always had a policy of not negotiating contracts during the season — not that picking up an option requires much negotiation. Doing Smoltz right is a no-brainer. It’ll happen, guaranteed.

  9. I have no doubt his option will be picked up. I just wish it could have been done in such a manner that would have kept our best pitcher happy.

  10. Remember that if you are the leader in a percentage points category but don’t have enough ABs they will add as many hitless ABs as needed to make you qualify. If your BA is still the highest after the hitless ABs are added you still get it.

  11. “I am not sure McCann will catch Sanchez. He is 11 points behind him anyways”

    As of this moment McCann is only 5 points back

  12. And our substitute pitching has been gawdamn awful. But hey, it’s my birthday, go shorty, c’mon shorty.

    /hard out heerrre for a pimp….

  13. 1988 Update:

    Los Angeles Dodgers 94-67 (-)
    Cincinnati Reds 87-74 (7.0 GB)
    San Diego Padres 83-78 (11 GB)
    San Francisco Giants 83-79 (11.5 GB)
    Houston Astros 82-80 (12.5 GB)
    Atlanta Braves 54-106 (39.5 GB)

    Game for August 27, 1988:
    Chicago Cubs: 010 010 012–5 WP: Pico (5-6)
    Atlanta Braves: 000 000 000–0 LP: Glavine (5-15)

    Just like the current Braves, the 1988 Braves had problems beating pitchers that seemlingly lose to every other team except them.

  14. There is no way Smoltz is not a Brave in 2007. You can bet that Schuerholz will treat him right.

    P.S.: take things you read in the AJC blogs with a grain of salt. They used to say that Joe Nathan was going to be a Braves back in June and July.

  15. True, we may just be 5 games back. But it is asking a lot of us to just play .500 baseball as of late. When that is the case, 5 GB seems like a long shot.

  16. I vote that the dog become the official TBS mascot instead of Chip Caray.
    This may be a good week to gauge the Braves’ competitive fire. The Giants have been making some noise and the Phillies honestly believe they have a ball club. When you trade for Conine; you’re telling everybody you think you’re ready.
    We’ll see. Giles is burning right now; Chipper looks unstoppable.
    Somebody please tell me when Huddy’s scheduled to start. I think his game will be the key to the whole week.

  17. if we can get it done against the Phils, then the Mets will take care of the Marlins. The mets and marlins are scheduled to tango 7 games in the month of september, and I’m sure the Mets can handle them (this is scary, am I actually rooting for the Mets?!?!).

    So if can play decent baseball (possibly the hardest task for the braves this season) and take care of the Phils. That will put us at second place in the division.

    Now we just have to worry about the NON-NL East WC Contenders.

  18. When you trade for Conine; you’re telling everybody you think you’re ready.

    This cracked me up — I’m not sure why.

  19. I have no idea, but there will be enough studs out there that the Braves can get one with the tenth pick (or whatever number pick the end up with) almost as easily as the team with the number one overall pick.

    I don’t know why so many people act as if all the great talent is gone after the tenth overall pick. Wasn’t Albert Pujols selected in the 14th or 16th round?

  20. There is, in fact, a huge advantage in the #1 overall pick (which the Braves won’t get). There’s something like twice the chance of getting a star with the #1 pick versus any other pick.

  21. “Wasn’t Albert Pujols selected in the 14th or 16th round?”

    I looked it up. 13th round and 402nd overall for Albert Pujols.

    I know the chances are higher, but the Padres and Matt Bush probably don’t think that.

  22. As far as the Braves draft position goes, we are realistically talking about a range from about 7th to 15th, so, the question is “how much better are the odds of finding a star at 7 instead of 15?” I doubt the difference is enough to root against the Braves’ playoff chances.

    Now, if the series against SF is a total disaster, maybe the Braves’ brass will figure out that the playoffs are a pipe dream in time to sell some rent-a-players who can clear waivers for some young arms.

  23. yeah, Parish, i think you’re right. history tells us that Draft positions don’t really determine much. We’ve seen plenty of top picks tank. Also, we have seen plenty of lower end picks have borderline hall of fame careers. Wasn’t Mike Piazza like a 64th rounder or something like that?

  24. You can come up with a team of stars who were drafted really low. But just because that’s possible doesn’t mean that it’s not desireable to have a higher pick. Here’s an all-star team of first overall picks. I’d go to war with this group:

    C Joe Mauer
    1B Bob Horner
    2B Jeff King*
    3B Chipper Jones
    SS Alex Rodriguez
    OF Ken Griffey Jr.
    OF Darryl Strawberry
    OF Harold Baines
    P Andy Benes

    *Second basemen are never taken high in the draft

    It’s not the greatest defensive team in the world, and the pitching (Tim Belcher, Ben McDonald, Kristin Benson) isn’t to die for, but it would probably win any division you put it in. It’s better than any other draft slot.

  25. On your team Mac, I think we should move Chipper to first and let that Justin Upton kid play third. Horner’s glove is killing us and he isn’t hitting anymore. Why can’t JS get it through his head that a guy in AA is far better than a decent major leaguer! Upton is going to be the next ARod and will dominate the majors!

    ha ha ha!

  26. I understand mac, you can come up with a stud team of both high and low draft picks. I’m not saying you should skip out on high picks and not go for the best player. I just don’t think it is worth it to start losing intentionally just to get the better pick.

  27. Some other Braves and their positions in the draft (drafted players only):

    Chipper – 1st round (1st, overall)
    Brian McCann – 2nd round (64th)
    Francoeur – 1st round (23rd)
    LaRoche – 29th round (880th)
    Langerhans – 3rd round (101st)
    Matt Diaz – 17th round (505th)
    Todd Pratt – 6th round (153rd)
    Kelly Johnson – 1st round (38th)
    Scott Thorman – 1st round (30th)
    John Smoltz – 22nd round (574th)
    Tim Hudson – 6th round (184th)
    HoRam – 5th round (172nd)
    John Thomson – 7th round (212th)
    Kyle Davies – 4th round (135th)
    Wickmania – 2nd round (61st)
    Chuck James – 20th round (605th)
    Macay McBride – 1st round (24th)
    Mike Hampton – 6th round (157th)
    Paronto – 8th round (231st)

  28. Petros, that’s not “high picks”, that’s first overall picks. You can’t come up with a better team at any other slot. I am guessing that the second-best team would be the #2 overall picks (Reggie Jackson, for example). As a rule, the lower you go the less chance you have of getting a good player.

    I’m not saying tank the season, and knowing the Braves they’d take the same player at five that they would at fifteen.

  29. It figures.

    Sosa’s BAA dropped by 100 points going to St. Louis. His walk rate is also way down, good for a 0.84 WHIP.

    Who did we get for him again?

  30. OK, Mac, Yes, i know the difference between a low pick and #1 pick. and yes, you are correct to say that the lower you go the less chance you have of getting a good player. I apologize if i communicated differently (which i don’t think i did). Let me just give you a one sentence version of what i’m trying to say, so that no one gets confused:

    A lot can happen in the minor leagues.

    none of this really matters anyway, they’ll draft you high if your last name is, “schuerholz”

  31. Exactly. The Braves would just take the same highschool pitcher with the number fifteen pick that they would have with the number seven pick.

  32. “The Braves would just take the same highschool pitcher with the number fifteen pick that they would have with the number seven pick.”

    Make that the same highschool pitcher from Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Mississippi or Louisiana.

  33. Hey all, I’ve been enjoying the past week in the Smoky Mountain Nat Park and can say that I’ve enjoyed not having time to watch this team for a week. It has given me a week with out feeling like throwing things. Well I’m back and I can’t believe we are still just 5 gb of the WC. To me the wild card has turned into a big tease. It looks so close on paper, but in reality is way to far away. On the bright side, McCann is the man. As is Tiger Woods.

  34. “We will probaly try and sign some of the Columbus kids.”

    I’m sure some of them could hit better than Tony Pena, Jr.

  35. Oh, he is horrible….i think his parents said he is going to get into basketball…he bigger than Shaq at his age.

    Kid from Saudi Arabia-6’8″
    Shaq- 6’6″

  36. An example from the Mets on how NOT to treat your stud thirdbasemen:

    David Wright hasn’t hit a home run since signing his $55 million contract extension on Aug. 6, but the Mets third baseman believes that is a coincidence. His manager, Willie Randolph, isn’t quite as convinced. — New York Post

  37. David Wright hasn’t hit a home run since signing his $55 million contract extension on Aug. 6, but the Mets third baseman believes that is a coincidence. His manager, Willie Randolph, isn’t quite as convinced.

    This is the stupidest thing I’ve heard today. A guy goes 80-odd ABs without a home run, so it’s gotta be a personality defect? It’s a freaking slump. They happen.

  38. First of all, it’s the NY Post, and second of all, everybody knows Willie Randolph is a moron.

    David Wright is the only player on the Mets that I actually like. If Willie Randolph can’t see what he’s got right in front of him, he should quit. I would kill to have that guy on the Braves.

  39. If we wanted it to be a fair trade we would trade yates to NYM for a bucket of baseballs and a watermelon.

  40. I’ll just take the fresh watermelon, actually it doesnt have to be fresh. I might just take the seeds if they would offer that instead

  41. Oh, and I just read Smoltz’s comments re: his option in BP. Methinks Mr. Schuerholz is getting a tad full of himself.

  42. More on Smoltz and the NL Cy Young award in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

    http://www.ajc.com/braves/content/sports/braves/stories/0828bravesnotes.html

    After going 1-2 with a 4.09 ERA in April and taking a 6-5 record to the All-Star break, John Smoltz wasn’t on lists of Cy Young Award candidates.

    He is now. And if the veteran extends his 10-week surge another month, he’ll be among the favorites for the award he last won a decade ago.

    “The most gratifying time of my career has been these last two years,” Smoltz (12-6) said Sunday, a day after allowing three hits and one run in eight innings against Washington to improve to 8-1 in his past 14 starts.

    Before Sunday’s games, he led the National League in innings pitched (190) and strikeouts-to-walks ratio (4.40), and ranked second in strikeouts (176) and lowest opponents’ on-base percentage (.286).

    He also ranked among the top 10 in ERA (3.36), fewest walks per nine innings (1.89) and lowest opponents’ slugging percentage (.384).

    Not bad for a 39-year-old with four elbow surgeries, including three surgeries since he won the 1996 Cy Young Award.

    In his past five home starts, Smoltz is 5-0 with a 2.11 ERA, 51 strikeouts and three walks in 47 innings.

    “The old man’s still doing it,” Braves pitcher Tim Hudson said. “He’s something special.”

    It also has Giles basically begging to stay a Brave in 2007, that story is on the official site too.

  43. This past offseason, I think JS should have spent less time working on his book and more time putting together a ball team. I read his book from cover to cover a few days after it came out and in summary, JS defines himself greatly by the run of 14 straight that the Braves have had.

    I’ve read the Smoltz/Homeboy article about 3 times now and it scares me, what JS is considering. Not that I’m against the idea of getting young talent, but JS just isn’t treating Smoltzie well. All Smoltz is wanting is answers.

    What scared me the most is that it sounds like Smoltz isn’t as loyal to the ATL organization as he once was. Correct me if i’m wrong but thats how I read his quote, “I used to always be of the mind-set that, ‘If it’s not here, it won’t be anywhere else.’ But that’s not the case any more. I’ll pitch somewhere else.”

  44. I don’t think Schuerholz will trade Smoltz. But his lack of words is making Smoltz angry, and I don’t like it. If Smoltz becomes a Met, there will probably be an angry mob with pitchforks outside turner field looking for him.

  45. Shuerholz has no idea who will own the team next season or what the payroll will be, so it’s not at all surprising he isn’t jumping to pick up an $8 million option on a 39 year old pitcher.

  46. jenny, do you dispute the facts contained in the NY Post’s account of Willie Randolph’s opinion? If not, the stupidity is entirely Willie’s.

    I have no problem with JS’s treatment of Smoltz’s contract. I love Smoltz, but he should understand that these are the same rules under which the Braves have operated for the past 15 years. His option will be renewed this offseason.

    By the way, remember when A-Rod would have signed with the Braves–even making much less money–but for our refusal to include a no-trade clause? That one still stings.

  47. Ron, I can’t agree with that; there are probably not going to be any free agent pitchers of Smoltz’s quality on the free agency market. And if there are, they’ll cost a lot more than $8 million to sign. This is not a hard question; sign Smoltz, Schuerholz, you schumck. And no more bullpen guys who haven’t been in the majors for a year (Yates) or two (Paronto) or seven (Ray).

    1914 Update:

    NY Giants 61-49 (–)
    St. Louis Cardinals 64-54 (1 GB)
    Boston Braves 60-51 (1.5)
    Chicago Cubs 60-55 (3.5)
    Cincinnati Reds 53-60 (9.5)
    Brooklyn Robins 52-61 (10.5)
    Philadelphia Phillies 51-60 (10.5)
    Pittsburgh Pirates 51-62 (11.5)

    Everyone was rained out, as will happen when your games depend on a few hours of good weather in a relatively small part of the country.

  48. Thomson’s option wasn’t picked up until last November, after the season. I fully expect JS and John to discuss the option and possibly even a whole new contract. Js isn’t stupid, even if he does trade Smoltz it would be until next July if the braves are out of it then. Smoltz will be a brave next year and he will retire a brave.

  49. Much like the ridiculous Andruw being placed on waivers melodrama, this is much ado about nothing. Assuming he doesn’t blow out his arm in the next 5 weeks, Smoltz will be back. Not quite sure I see the outrage in not picking up his option right this second. As much as we all love Smoltz, we’re still talking about a 39 year old with a history of arm problems. Seems like the smart buisness decision to me.

    And yes, JS could at least try to be less smug.

  50. I would give Smoltz $8mil just to sit on the bench and watch our team. Yes, his option will be picked up. If we are paying Hampton and Hudson their rediculous contracts, we can at least pay someone who contributes like Smoltz that much.

  51. I’m going to start officially making a push for McCann as an MVP candidate, like Mac’s Dale Murphy for Hall of Fame push last year.

    If he had enough at-bats to qualify (he’s currently 20 behind), Brian McCann would be 3rd in the majors in batting average, 18th in OBA, 19th in SLG, and 17th in OPS. Of the players ahead of him in OPS, 5 are 1B, 2 are 3B, 3 are DH, 3 LF, 2 CF, and 1 is RF. In other words, 14 of the 16 either play corner positions or are DHs. Only two players up the middle are substantially outproducing him offensively, Vernon Wells and Carlos Beltran, both of whom are receiving huge MVP PR for their campaigns.

    McCann has hit 16 homers and 66 RBI in 380 plate appearances and 100 games. Assuming he got 500 plate appearances, about average for Javy Lopez’s peak, that projects to a .345 average, 21 homers, and 86 RBIs, a very solid offensive campaign considering he spent much of the season in the 7th slot behind the offensive black hole of Francouer and first-half LaRoche. It also bears mentioning that he has played on a weak ankle for much of the year, has been our most consistent offensive player as well as a clubhouse leader and field general. For a team that has had a disappointing season, he has been the single bright spot, and is virtually the ONLY reason (along with John Smotlz) that we are still in wild card contention.

    Brian McCann for MVP!

  52. Melodrama is exactly what this smoltz thing is all about. The facts are that there is just no good baseball to write about in ATL right now. Smoltz is about the only good story (aside from McCann) to talk about. I just don’t think JS is that stupid. I’m in the camp that says JS will try to work out an extension with Smoltz if possible.

  53. Now that I think about it, this Smoltz thing does seem as stupid as the Andruw Jones on waivers thing. John Schuerholz, with all his faults, really ain’t stupid. Smoltz is a bargin for his eight million 2007 option.

  54. I don’t have any problem with Schurholtz waiting. What if Smoltz’s arm blows up in his next start? Wait until the offseason; it’ll be fine. And I doubt Smoltz is really that miffed about it.

    Oh, and I agree that Schurholtz may try to work the option into a two-year deal. I’m not saying it’s a lock to happen, but it certainly might.

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