Nationals 9, Bravespos 2 – MLB – Box Score – Braves at Nationals

Oh, what’s the point?

Chuck James didn’t have his best stuff and allowed five runs in 4 1/3. (It would have been a good outing for Cormier.) It was walks, mostly, six of them, and homers, two of those. Kevin Barry came in and let the Natspos pile on. George Lombard actually drew a pinch-walk and scored a run, which may have been Robinson’s way of taunting us.

Meanwhile, the Braves were stymied again by some guy off the street. “Beltran Perez”, which sounds like NYMETS’ porn name, allowed one hit in six innings, a single by the returning Chipper in the first. Didn’t walk anyone either. The Braves got a couple of runs late off the back of the pen but it hardly matters.

Sorry for the inadequate recap, but frankly I can’t summon the energy for outrage anymore.

65 thoughts on “Nationals 9, Bravespos 2”

  1. Frank Robinson finally figures out how to beat the Braves…just find a starting pitcher that the Braves never faced before. The Braves always have trouble handling rookie pitchers since I don’t know when…

  2. In case anyone didn’t know, the Falcons signed their old kicked, Morton Anderson, to a one year deal.

    .500 looks about dead now.

  3. man, 105 pitches in just 4 1/3 not a good night for chucky.

    and damn, how is morton anderson still playing, hes gotta be pushing 50

  4. I really need to read these over before I post them.

    In case anyone didn’t know, the Falcons signed their old kickedkicker, Morton Anderson, to a one year deal.

  5. It is amazing to me that the Braves still haven’t been officially eliminated from the WC. The 13 game losing streak a few months ago is what doomed this team, but if they wouldn’t have been swept in 2 recent DHs, they would still have a realistic shot. The Braves and D-Backs were the only two teams (before today’s game) that haven’t been eliminated from the WC that have a winning record over their last 10 games. Unbelievably the Pirates had the best record in the NL over their last 10 games (7-3).

  6. Yeah, we stunk in June, which is strange because that is where we normally start to pull away or come from behind and assert ourselves normally these past few years. I was at the game tonight, Chuck James, although promising just didn’t have it though. At one point he walked the pitcher on four straight pitches to load the bases. The boys seemed to know they’d had a good run but it was over too, they seemed reluctant to dive/kill themselves and towards the end of the game Bobby started pitching people just for the hell of it or to see what was there. It’s like we won the division anyway and are resting for the palyoffs, only instead we’re anticipating next year. Moylan’s ERA dropped from 6 to 5.4 in one inning of work, I think he’s gonna try to get it under 5 that way maybe he’ll be able to stay stateside and play next year or at least next spring.

  7. From AJC:

    “Every time we face a guy for the first time, he always manages to pitch good against us,” said Andruw Jones

    I am glad the players are recognizing this frustrating trend.

  8. The season was lost in June. Even if the Braves played .500 ball that month, the team would lead the wild card now I believe.

  9. KC–I agree with both comments. After June the Braves were pretty much out of it. I hate to say this, but better teams might have become competitive: the Braves simply have not had the pitching this season to go on a long winning streak or play .750 ball for a month–either of which might have put them back in the Division race, let along the WC.

    Obviously, the Wickman trade came too late…

  10. The Wickman trade did come too late. I am 100% sure June will not be that bad if the team actually has a closer. The lack of closer prevented the team from winning close games, and the lack of talant in the rotation prevented the team from have a long winning streak.

    I have said it a long long time ago, the Braves have plenty of arms, but they are mostly fourth and fifth starters. If one of Hudson or Smoltz has a bad season, the team would be in deep trouble, which is exactly the case now. I thought for a month that HoRam would step up, but he got hurt too often. Chucky is a fine fourth starter, and Davies will be a fine fifth starter for next season. However, Hudson, Hampton and HoRam are not good enough to compliment Smoltz at the top of the rotation.

    Even if JS manages to resign Wickman this offseason, the starting rotation next year will not be good enough for the team to overtake the Mets. However, I bet our brilliant GM will look for good come back seasons from Hudson and Hampton…which is essentially the same as thinking Reitsma would be a fine closer.

    As I have also said before, if Chucky and Davies are anything but special, the Braves will have to live with a mediocre rotation until the contracts of Hudson and Hampton expire.

  11. I think the season was lost before it started. The bad pitching was not surprising, the size of the break-outs of LaRoche and McCann was. Even with Wickman on opening day, the team probably wouldn’t have made the playoffs if LaRoche and McCann play good but not great. If it were not for them the Braves wouldn’t have needed a bad June to sink them. Either Schuerholz gave up on the season before it started, or he was very unrealistic about his expectations for the team.

  12. I was there.

    I need to stop going to games.

    Every game I’ve been to, since 1995 in Florida, they’ve lost. Detroit, Miami, Atlanta, DC… doesn’t matter. They lose.


  13. Every team has ups and downs — the long season serves the Bill Parcells maxim that you are what your record says you are. There’s no use saying “what if”. Losing 20 of 23 is a part of what this team is.

    Maybe the Wickman trade was too late, but if he’d been around longer there’s more a chance he’d have hit a bad patch himself. Obviously he’s been great with us, but he’s spent a dozen years proving he’s not exactly a HOFer. I do hope he sticks around — I think we’ve got the makings of a decent bullpen here, believe it or not. But we’re one Smoltz injury/retirement away from having the worst rotation in the league.

  14. #19 – I blame Terry Pendleton for this and our scouts. We look clueless against rookie pitchers. I think the other teams have seen that we will swing at anything. That’s why we fall behind in the count and that’s why we need to become more patient.

  15. I agree that the losing streak wasn’t 13, but it seemed like 50. We lost the thing in June. Outside of that month we’ve played average baseball – which is good enough to win the WC and finish ahead of everyone but the Mets.

  16. What a typical game this season. I figured with James on the mound, Chipper back in the lineup, and a rookie making his first major league start that it would be an easy win, but no…. Now watch Cormier pitch a shutout and the Braves score 10 runs.

  17. Almost all teams, including the Yankees, have trouble against rookie pitchers. It’ s not unique to the Braves because, at this level, hitting requires being familiar with the pitcher.

    I’m glad Zerotres is taking the blame. I was at last night’s game and at the game the last time the Braves were here where Pedro Astacio pitched a two-hit shutout. I was just praying that they would at least score this season. In two years, I have gone to seven Braves games here, the record is 2-5 and they have scored a total of 14 runs. Maybe I intimidate them.

    Chuck James actually had good stuff; he made Soriano look awfully bad; at one point, he had gotten 8 outs and six by strikeouts. His command and control were just bad. I’m actually very impressed after watching him because he changes speeds beautifully and can throw just hard enough. I think he is going to be a good pitcher.

  18. Notes from the road:

    If anyone is to blame for this it has to be Rathburn, Torborg, and Chip Caray. Isn’t it obivous?

  19. One of the constant pleasures of reading these posts is that it eliminates any ability to kid myself about the Braves.
    I hope for big changes in the pitching staff this winter. I give JS and his staff all the respect due for the job they’ve done. Even in a bad season, the Braves are a joy to me.
    But there’s much work to be done and I hope JS has the will and energy to do it. I don’t feel like I saw it this year.
    Although, I’ll admit I’m way on the outside looking in.

  20. #30: lol. Yes, I’ll take the blame. I was there at the Astacio game. I was going to go tonight, but I think it’s best if I just stay at home and let them win.

    I’ve also noticed it doesn’t matter what tickets I get, whether $100 ones next to field or last minute $3 dollar ones in the nosebleed sections. They lose. I think they’re 0-6 when I’ve seen them live in the last 2-3 seasons.

    Is it known that Pendleton took over 1st base for Hubbard? I noticed. Don’t know if anyone else did.

  21. I’m not expecting major changes in the offseason. I’d be surprised if the Braves bring back Wickman and/or Baez. JS has a long trackrecord of not liking to pay for quality free agent relievers. I expect another year of JS crossing his fingers and hoping somebody cheap (Devine? Boyer? Yates?) that the Braves probably already have on their roster steps up to become the closer next year. You might see Giles or Ramirez traded, but I would expect Hudson and Andruw to stay.

  22. Ron, unfortunately, I think your right. JS will offer Wickman a $3 mil offer and he’ll run back to Cleveland for $5. We will offer Baez $2 mill and he’ll go somewhere else for $3. Then Reitsma will make a comment that he can do the job and we will be right back where we started. Sorry folks, Huddy is not leaving us.

    Giles will be moved, probably for an average reliever. Andruw will stay and not be resigned to an extension. Smoltz option will be picked up. Aybar will be at 2nd. Diaz and KJ will platoon in left and Langy will be a bench player. Prado and Orr will be our back ups.

  23. I was at the game too; I got the tickets from Marc S. a couple months ago, back when there was sun in the sky and hope was dead but not rotting. One good thing that I can say, however, (cover your ears, Jenny) is that RFK serves Guinness on tap for just $6.50–and that’s one heck of a bargain.

    Oh well… I guess I can try to get used to waiting ’til next year for once.

  24. Hubbard’s mother died, which is why he wasn’t coaching first last night. I think he’s supposed to come back after this series is over, with TP coaching third until he returns.

  25. People are being a bit hard on JS given his track record. Yes, everyone is disappointed with his work during the offseason, but it wasn’t all that different from how he put together the tremendous bullpen in 2002. (Remember Chris Hammond’s below 1.00 ERA?) It just didn’t work this time. I have always had some issues with JS and BC’s approach to building a team, but you can’t really argue with the overall success. Having said that, the Braves remind me in some ways of the Green Bay Packers after Vince Lombardi (I know I’m dating myself). It seems a lot harder to get back on top after you have been there for a while than to get there in the first place. The Braves need to get lucky on pitching; building a bullpen will be damn hard when you consider how many rotten bullpens there are out there–eg, the Marlins. There will be a lot of competition for the few decent relievers on the market and, of course, the Braves don’t have the ability to spend like they used to. Of course, I would like to see the Braves adopt more of a Moneyball statistical analysis approach–which would be more in keeping with their reduced resources–but obviously that’s only slightly more likely than A-Rod and Derek Jeter buying a house together. Still, I think it’s a bit unfair to toss JS under the bus after one bad year.

  26. I was acutally 3-0 in games I’d seen at Boston before last night, the opposite of zerotres. Too bad they lost, I might go tonight. I was rooting really hard for Soriano to have an 0-for with a couple strikeouts (he had 3 and was 0-4 at one point) after how he’d absolutely killed us this year but he got a hit so rats. It’s nice to be in a city where you can decide to go to a game the day of and get tickets and sit pretty much anywhere you want.

  27. John, I was rooting for the same thing with Soriano–I found it amazing that James hung a hat trick on the Nats leadoff and no. 2 hitters, and still got shellacked because he simply couldn’t throw strikes to anyone else.

  28. “There will be a lot of competition for the few decent relievers on the market and, of course, the Braves don’t have the ability to spend like they used to. ”

    I dont really buy this anymore and I know I’m probably in the minority here. Guys we still have one of the top payrolls in the game. According to this we have the 9th highest team payroll this year. I know some of these salaries are being paid by other teams, but where is our talent. Teams like the Phillies, Twins, Tigers all have lower payrolls and have a lot better team. We have the capability to put together a real good ball club. Instead we are wasting big bucks on players such as Hudson and Hampton. Recent trades by JS have really put us in a big hole. I do have respect for him and think he’s done a great job over the last 14 years, but now we are going to start feeling the affects of taking on these big contracts and our big contract players getting old.

    I know I’m probably wrong, but thats how I feel

  29. i dont think hampton will be too bad when he comes back next year, he was doing pretty good before he got hurt last year (5-3/3.50) and if Hudson can get the ball down and away like he did in Oakland rather than leaving stuff out over the plate he’ll be good too. Overall, the starters shouldnt be too much of a concern next year it just all goes back to the pen and whether or not JS can find some quality relievers- if theres any even out there

  30. The problem with Hampton is that his apparent leap forward in 2005 was largely due to him getting his walks under control, and pitchers returning from TJ surgery often have control difficulty.

  31. I still think we need to get Hampton throwing somewhere in Winter league play. I read something the other day that he didnt feel it was necessary. I would rather see it though

  32. $92M isn’t right. That’s been discussed on here before. That is assuming that the Braves are paying all of Hampton’s contract, but a lot that is being paid by insurance, Colorado, and Oakland. Hampton’s salary this year is 13.2M. Subtract that and it brings it to $78.8M. Of course, that probably means that other numbers on that site are skewed, but if you put that figure on that last, Atlanta is 15th behind the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, White Sox, Mets, Dodgers, Cubs, Astros, Giants, Cardinals, Mariners, Phillies, and Tigers. Doesn’t sound like a big-market team that can spend, spend, spend to me…

  33. dont want to get excited here, but Hudson looked better the other day. Was it me or did it look like his delivery looked a lot slower and his pitches looked to be more deceptive. The one thing about him is if people get on base two things can happen.

    1. He rushes his delivery and his pitches are left right in the middle of the plate or he’s all over the place

    2. He focuses on the hitter, but he’s too slow w/ the delivery and everyone can steal against him.

    that’s not a good combo, but I’ll give him credit that he looked better last time out

  34. Rob, I mentioned that. $78 million, but we also went out and spent to get some FA’s and also picked up quite a few minor league contracts. All in all our contract commitments put us around $90 mil or so. We were just lucky that insurance picked up Hamptons contract. JS says he still has money to spend

  35. What is our actual budget that JS is allowed to spend? Does anyone know that. I’m thinking its $90 or 92, but might be wrong

  36. Since were most likely gonna trade giles anyway id like to see JS sign someone to play second with some speed to fill the void at the top of the lineup when furcal left

  37. im from kc and id like to see a guy like esteban german signed, hes fast, plays infield, is a real good hitter, and they have no room for him in kansas city

  38. I would not be surprised to learn that the budget holds one of the keys to this season. I am guessing that there have been some limits on what JS can do. If that is not the case, then I am struck by the complacency of the Braves’ managment–espcially during the season. Over the winter JS made some moves which helped the team–at least in the short term.

    Trading for Renteria (which required cash from the Red Sox and for which he was maligned) and picking up Matt Diaz for next to nothing (a move which says some thing about the Royals). The Diaz trade was a small coup. The trade for the vulture and Cormier was not bad because the Braves no longer needed Estrada.

    As we all know, the Braves waited too long to get quality relief help, possibly because of financial constraints.

    Trading Hudson or Hampton would help–if for no other reason than it would make other things possible. Finding a taker for either will be a challenge….

  39. I’ve said before that Hudson, Hampton, and Andruw being traded would create a lot of opportunities. Lee and Schmidt would be good pickups, and with $5M from Thomson’s contract and whatever Giles made this year could be freed up too, it could create even more opportunities.

  40. “It’s nice to be in a city where you can decide to go to a game the day of and get tickets and sit pretty much anywhere you want.”

    Tell me about it! I think it’s amazing.

    Plus, if you get off work late, you can buy those $3 outfield tickets and still catch part of the game.

  41. You said it. I go to school in Clearwater, FL, which is about 20 minutes away from the D-Rays stadium in St. Pete, and we pay 5 dollar student tickets and we can sit anywhere we want. It’s great.

  42. Zerotres-you are reminding me of the late 1970s–not only could you sit pretty much anywhere, but parking was easy and lines for concessions were virtually non-existent.

    That said, I hope we are not headed for a return to the Jerry Royster era….

  43. If I remember correctly, JS tried to get a top notch closer last winter but we were just outbid. Our odds of getting a good starter via FA are slim to none. The only great FA starters that I can think of are Zito and Schmidt (if there are more that I’m not thinking of, then scratch the second half of this comment).

    But since there are only two, then that means there will be more of a $ battle for them. Whereas, if there were 6 or so then each would be less expensive, its just a perfect example of “supply and demand”. Oh, and the fact that Oswalt got a $73 million dollar extension is going to pony up the greenbacks for the other FA starters too.

    If we get a starter then it is going to be an average at best pitcher. While it seems not good, if this average pitcher stays healthy all year and can pitch around 200 innings then he should help us tremendously.

  44. anyone think Smoltz would turn down an extension offer this offseason and just want his option picked up. He has nothing to prove anymore and years like this one may help him to decide to retire a little sooner.

    I hope not

  45. Getting a quality starter is easier said than done–in fact, that is how we got Hampton and Hudson. Supply is always limited (see how much the Diamondbacks gave to Russ Ortiz) which means it will probably take a significant trade to land the kind of frontline pitching help the Braves need.

  46. It may seem hard to believe, but I haven’t looked at the NL East standings in more than 6 weeks. Ifigured I’d wait until the Braves hit .500 & worry about the WC at that point. Of course, that never really happened.

    But I just looked (for no good reason) and noticed a stat that spoke to me: They’re 36-39 at home & 37-39 on the road.

    Consistently sub-.500.

  47. well i think if JS is going to trade andruw at all he should do it now rather than later because u know that next year as a free agent scott bor-ass is going to be asking a lot for him and the braves arent going to be able to pony up the money to pay him so we might as well try to get someone for him while we can.

  48. under .500 at home, thats sad.

    Awl, I think we offer an reasonable extension like $4yr/40 and if he balks then send him elsewhere. Of course, now he would have to approve of any trade.

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