Game Thread: July 17, Reds at Braves

Okay, try again.

UPDATE: My sleep schedule is kind of messed up right now. This is probably going to be a morning recap.

249 thoughts on “Game Thread: July 17, Reds at Braves”

  1. (reposted from last thread)
    I’m not completely sold on KJ. Here are some stats:

    2005: .241 .334 .397
    2007, April: .326 .473 .593
    2007, May: .259 .322 .426
    2007, June: .256 .356 .360

    The beginning of this year looks like a fluke. I don’t dislike him, but if we are trading for a pitcher, I’d let the other team choose between him and Escobar, and be happy with the other as our 2B.

  2. All scouts see KJ as a good hitter with high OBP’s. KJ was able to hit his way to MLB. Escobar never hit for good avg. in the minors, something like .270 or so. KJ has more power, maybe more speed, and better plate discipline. Escobar should be the one traded in my opinion

  3. Bobby Cox plays favorites. He personally likes Escobar, so he platoons him with a guy (Kelly Johnson) who didn’t deserve to be reduced to a platoon.

  4. .285 in AA isnt that impressive, however if he keeps hitting above .300 against lefties then I’m happy with him

  5. as much as most of us would rather KJ play everyday, the platoon at 2B and LF have been pretty good moves by Cox this year

    KJ against LHP .255, RHP .306
    Escobar LHP .369, RHP .255

    so it really makes sense to play these matchups. keeps both guys rested and fresh. If I had to choose one as an everyday player, however that would be KJ.

    Our 1B platoon is what still gets to me. Thorman’s defense has gotten worse and Salty is a far superior offensive player. This one bothers me

  6. KJ hasn’t been awful and would have been fine starting every day, but the platoon is better production overall. Escobar is a better player than he showed in his brief minor league career. Remember, while he was playing in AA, he was also transitioning from Cuba to America, which isn’t an insignificant change.

    Personally, I like the platoon and I see no reason not to keep it up.

    As for Johnson, he’s always been somewhat streaky, but remember, this is just his second year in the bigs, and he’s coming off of major surgery. I don’t think anyone thought he was as good as he showed in April, but I think it is a sign of the things he is capable of doing. He’s not a .260 hitter long term any more than he’s a .325 hitter. I think he’s more in the .280-.290 range that he’s hanging in now. The biggest question is whether he’ll hit 10-15 HRs, 15-20, or into the 20-30 range. It’s that which will define him as anything from an average player to often-all star.

    Oh, and for whatever it’s worth, he’s hitting .390 in July.

  7. CSG…we disected, inspected, and over analyze the stats yesterday. Too bad you missed it….

    Are you serious? We are back on KJ and the Cuban Assassin again? One thing that’s bothering me is this “Bobby showcasing Escobar is ludicrous.” Bobby is trying win, and he feels Escobar leading off against lefties is his best shot.

    Not to bash the golden boy…but Salty needs to step it up a tad in the power dept. Otherwise, we really need a 1st baseman, but he will come around.

  8. It’s the roster limits. When Bobby was with the Blue Jays and had ten pitchers, he could afford to platoon at several spots and to platoon good players. With only five, or now only four bench players, you just can’t do it.

    It would be better if KJ were established as the regular at second base and Escobar was used as a super-utility player, getting four or five starts a week at various positions. Alternatively, they could move KJ back to left field to fill that developing hole and make Escobar the regular 2B with Harris in the utility role. This sort of thing works better in the American League, where Chipper or Renteria could DH on their day off.

    As it is, having one minor star (Johnson) and one good player (Escobar) splitting time, while first base is a catastrophe and left field is manned 2/3 of the time by a second baseman who probably isn’t as good of a hitter as Escobar, much less KJ, just isn’t a good use of scarce resources. It’s like living alone in a crappy apartment but having two nice cars. You’d be a lot better off selling one of the cars and using it for a down-payment for a house.

  9. It seems to me that the discussion here talks a lot about Salty as a 1st baseman. This has probably already been noted, but I believe he would have a much higher value to the Braves as a trade chip than playing first base. His offense will certainly be more valuable behind the plate than at first base, and he’s better there defensively as well. Trading him to a team that needs him to catch will drive his value up far higher than playing him at first, and it’s pretty clear that he’s not going to be the Braves’ catcher unless something were to happen to McCann. Admittedly if he’s traded this year then there is an immediate hole at first, but I’d argue it is more likely that his value is diminished the more his awful defense (and, so far, roughly average bat for the position) is showcased at first…

  10. Well put, Tony. Escobar isn’t playing to be “showcased”, he’s being played becuase Bobby luuuuuvs those platoons, and in this case, he’s got one that’s working very well.

    Also, Salty’s stats now are looking more like Jonny Estrada than Mike Piazza, but I’ll give him a pass for now. Semi-high K-rate, decent walk rate, but the only real “red flag” is that 70% of his extra-base hits (including all 4 HRs) have come from the left side in almost the same number of ABs as the rigth side. And that’s not particularly distressing, it’s just something to watch long-term.

  11. Rufino-

    As for “average” bat, there are currently only 3 Cs in MLB with a better OPS than Salty, and two are in the AL. The same three are the only Cs with better BAs, too, for what that’s worth. Salty is already an elite-level batter at C.

  12. Word on the wrestling street is that Edge is injured and they’re having him vacate the title at tonight’s tapings, and then staging a Battle Royal to determine new champ. Who comes out on top? I vote for Kane.

    Just kidding. It’ll probably be Batista. He hits the shit out of left handed pitchers. Plus he’s like, 6’6″. That’s a big target over there at first base.

  13. I would, but I doubt the ChiSox would; I think we value KJ more than they do. Of course, if Javy Vasquez pitches like a #4 instead of a #2, then I’ll eat my words.

  14. mraver,

    I agree. He’s an above-average bat behind the plate, but (and I didn’t look this up) probably around an average bat at first base. That was mostly my point, the Braves are devaluing him if they turn him into a first baseman.

  15. Mac,

    I am probably too high on KJ and too low on Escobar, but no I don’t think I’d make that trade. If we still had Aybar floating around… maybe. And Escobar, Davies, and (boring A level pitcher), then hell yes.

  16. Mac-
    I doubt it. We’re talking about 4.5 years of KJ and 4.5 years of Davies at very cheap rates Vazquez at a market-level salary for however long he’s signed. I’ll take the two youngsters, for whom there is significantly less risk involved (ie, we have to pay Vazquez even if he really starts to suck next year or whenever). I don’t even think I do it for Johnson straight up. It makes the team significantly worse off next year than if we had, say, not traded KJ and instead signed a pitcher to a market-level deal.

  17. I really really hate Davies right now, but I also keep forgetting that he’s still young. It just seems like he’s been around long enough now to be 27.

  18. Oh, I don’t do the deal if it’s Escobar/Davies either, and I’m not sure if I do it for Escobar straight up.

  19. josh-
    Davies has sucked more this year than most 27 yo pitchers have in their career. Bleh.

  20. True enough. I like to think of myself as a glass-half-full kind of guy when it comes to the Braves though.

  21. An aside: Does anyone here have either The Bigs or All Pro Football 2k8? I think they both look like shit, but I was hoping for some opinions from people that are smarter than those that frequent video game boards.

  22. The thing that scares me about KJ, and he was beat out by Ryan Langerhands two years ago as he was horrible down the stretch. I repeat Ryan Langerhands. Bobby doesn’t forget…

  23. Hence the cash, to offset some of the salary. The Sox have some money, they don’t have a lot of young talent. Their infield is a horror.

    2B Iguchi: .253 .333 .379
    3B Crede: .216 .258 .317
    SS Uribe: .222 .278 .341
    UI Cintron: .250 .298 .319

    Not that their outfield is any good either; their entire offense is basically Konerko and Thome.

    Vazquez is signed through 2010.

  24. I think Davies needs to be in AAA. I don’t want to give up just yet. I’d trade Escobar in a Vasquez deal that included cash to alleviate some of his salary.

  25. Oh my CSG, for some reason only Stu Saks and jacktothemax stick out from yesterday..or was it JohnQ?

  26. I’d do the Davies/KJ or Escobar for Vasquez + cash deal in a heartbeat. Davies has so little value that it’s basically just a 2nd baseman for a starting pitcher deal. Whichever of the 2nd basemen didn’t get traded could easily play full time. Smoltz, Hudson, James, Vasquez, Carlyle would be enough to reach the postseason you’d have to think.

  27. Harris is struggling a bit of late and if he stops getting on base then he and KJ need to flip in the order. He hit one really good last night but Griffey ran it down. He’ll keep it around .280-300 the rest of the season I hope

    Tony, no big deal

  28. I also dont really care what happens to Davies at this point. I know he’s young, but he’s not getting better. Every outing seems to be worse and worse. I almost would rather see him pitch well for another team, I dont like him very much right now

  29. I must admit, though KJ with his power, walks, and higher ceiling seems like a more valuable player, Escobar seems more like a “White Sox” player. Like the Angels, the Sox are a batting-average-centric organization. That can work, as it did for both teams in recent World Series, but sometimes everybody has a bad year at once, as is happening in Chicago right now.

    Davies has very little value right now. But then Jason Marquis had little value when we traded him, and now he’s making $7 million a year and is probably worth it; he’s an average pitcher at a time when average pitchers make $7 million a year.

  30. Odalis Perez looked like an effective pitcher for long enough to get a payday; hell, even Bruce Chen looked like the Good Ron Villone for a while. But none of them is as perfectly league-average as Paul Byrd, who is the very model of a modern major league-average innings eater.

  31. I know this is random but how is Jonathan Schuerholz considered a prospect/worthy of Triple A spot? He is batting .204 this year and his minor league stats can be found at the following URL:

    http://www.rbraves.com/team/roster/index.html?player_id=20

    Btw – langerhans hit the .100 mark with batting average. Should be days before he dips below .100. I believe Joe Simpson refers to this range as the Bingo numbers.

  32. Ryan Langerhans didn’t totally suck in 2005.

    If that’s your logic, what’s that say about Escobar? His small sample-size major league stats are worse than a guy who lost out to Langerhans.

  33. I am not sure if Davies will ever get there either; however, remember that two of our in house Big Three had a lot of ups and downs and inconsistencies for the first couple of years.

    Steve Avery was the only one learning in a pennant race.

  34. JS Jr is an example of someone who gets promoted because of who he knows. I wonder what other players around him are thinking. He should be playing in low A ball at best

  35. I would take a small risk on Arroyo. Isnt he cheap or reasonable? He’s not going to win us a pennant, but may give us a inning eater and a 4 era. realistic expectations I think

  36. I am sorry but hitting .100 through July 17th as MLB player is deplorable. I also don’t buy this epiphany that Langer “beat out” KJ like it was the 2nd coming of Tom Brady taking over for Drew Bledsoe. They both played in 05. There was never a headline in the AJC “Langerhans beats out Kelly Johnson for Left Field.”

    I wonder if JS jr. will be called up in some September call up situation in order to say that he made the show.

  37. with the Mets playing the Padres and the Dodgers, we cant have any more games like last night. After the next 7 or 8 days we need to be in 1st place.

  38. Schuerholz was actually drafted twice by the Braves:

    Selected by Atlanta Braves in 37th Round (1134th overall) of 1999 amateur entry draft (June-Reg)

    Selected by Atlanta Braves in 8th Round (245th overall) of 2002 amateur entry draft (June-Reg)

  39. Hey you guys need to back off, Langerhans is actually hitting .161 for the season. So put that in your pipe and smoke it!!!
    I know, I know whats the difference anyways?

  40. yes, arroyo’s guitar playing and over-all counter culture coolness is worth about half a point in E.R.A., on the trade vailue market.

  41. csg,

    .285 in AA ball is very impressive. That is the hardest league to hit in, pitchers have mlb talent with no accuracy. It’s much harder to hit in, look at players like McCann and Francoeur as they are doing better up here then when they were in AA.

  42. even though that seems high for Arroyo, keep in mind Gil Meche got 11M for the next 5 years. Next year he’s still at a bargain. Do you think that the NL has finally adjusted to him after seeing him a little more. He was lights out last year

  43. The question is what will our payroll be in those seasons? If we are to remain a serious contender, then our payroll structure has to change. When you are paying a #3 starter 11M, something has to give. Personally I’d like to avoid Arroyo, mostly because I don’t think too much of him.

  44. It wouldnt have to change too much other than Smoltz and Huddy for next year

    Smoltz 14 million
    Hudson 13
    Hampton 8 mil prorated so they say
    Arroyo 3.4
    James 400K

    thats a pretty solid rotation. After 08 Hampton is gone and Arroyo’s $9 wouldnt change us that much. Also if he has a good year with us then he could be a good trade piece. Might not be that bad unless he starts pitching like Davies.

  45. what is up with the problems at yahoo sports. they seemed to make way too many mistakes when reporting anything sports related. check this out about huston street’s progress. it confuses the hell out of me. apparently, lidge and street are the same person. i dont think it’s legal to close for 2 teams.
    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/7468/news

  46. Just can the JS Jr. talk, for God’s sake. I thought he was going to be called up last year. Didn’t happen, did it?

  47. Tonight’s lineup

    LF Harris
    SS Renteria
    3B Chipper
    CF Andruw
    C McCann
    RF Francoeur
    2B Johnson
    1B Salty
    P Reyes

  48. Ahh Time to rejoie and celebrate with a win!

    I think the 2B platoon is ok, as long as Bobby stops carrying 13 pitchers!! Otherwise we will end up seeing Reyes and James pinch hit a lot. KJ has had a long long winter, and he might tire out, so giving him a break is good. I won’t even mind Escobar stealing some ABs from Renteria, and give him a break.
    Escobar has value, he can play all over the IF, hit for a decent average, but thats his upside. He is 24 already. He is not going to develop any more power. And he really is not that fast. He is a poor man’s Betemit really.
    Betemit walked a lot and had power ( same with KJ, but KJ has more speed ). His defence was slightly suspect though.
    If you had to rank them, it would be KJ / Betemit / Escobar. Aybar, when non-medicated and touching all bases, would rank above Escobar too

  49. Thorman as a pinch hitter actually sound pretty good. It’s good to have some pop off the bench. Mark it down, the Salty Era begins in earnest on July 17, 2007.

  50. I decided to look up the 1993 expansion draft — because I have no life — and the Marlins did a pretty impressive job after the first three picks. Their fourth pick was some guy, a converted infielder, I think, named Trevor Hoffman. Their fifth pick was Pat Rapp. Tenth they took Bryan Harvey — basically to meet a salary floor, I think, but he had a couple of good years left. Conine went next.

    Their first pick of the second round was Carl Everett; next was Dave Weathers. The Rockies did okay too, but it’s not every day you get a Hall of Famer and a couple of legitimate All-Stars in an expansion draft.

  51. Thor from Marvel is awesome. Thor from the Braves is terrible, but still fun to watch flail.

  52. I’d like to see someone take down velocity recordings from all MLB stadiums, and compare between pitchers and try to get a good estimate on how varied they are. I’d guess the highest different would be at least 5 MPH.

  53. Other than LF, this is the lineup I wish the Braves would run out there every day from a positional standpoint. I think I’d still leadoff with KJ (for the long term).

  54. Arroyo has that sidearm frisbee ball working tonight it seems.

    Count me in your camp Hate King.

  55. Interesting fact from the local FSN station:
    The Braves have faced more lefty starting pitching than any other team in the majors, at 43. The team who has faced the second most is the Reds, with 35. That’s insane. The Braves have faced 8 more lefty starting pitchers than any other team.

  56. Maybe if we have a rain delay Davies can come in to pitch to 5 more batters tonight.

  57. I got Kyle’s autograph up in boston couple years back the day after he made his debut, along with Roman Colon, Adam Bernero and Leo Mazzone. If it wasn’t for Leo I would burn that hat

  58. Someone on Baseball Fever is saying that I should cut Andruw some slack because Chipper is a “failure” at 2 out and RISP. He said that since I give Chipper a pass, I should give Andruw a pass.

  59. He mentioned the amount of RBIs that Andruw has, and what a hot streak he has been on, but I told him anyone that hits in the middle of the lineup can get lots of RBIs.

  60. Who’s watching SportsSouth? There’s a nice little graphic up there about the 2B platoon.

  61. I think you should give Andruw some slack because of his immeasurable contributions to the success of the Atlanta Braves franchise, previous unselfishness shown, etc. Plenty of good, logical reasons not involving Chipper Jones’s fluke RISP numbers.

  62. Yeah, me too, then we remember that our offense struggles like hell at home and we do have a guy out there that is making his second major league start.

  63. I’m not saying you should believe that he’s having a good year. I’m saying that all Braves fans should give him some slack. He’s the only way we get to the playoffs, and it’s a bit hypocritical to bash him for both his current performance (a failure to recognize the value of the past) and for the contract he supposedly wants (his perceived failure to recognize the value of the past).

  64. What’s in the past doesn’t matter. It’s true that baseball players are a streaky bunch, but this is a BAD BAD BAD streak by Andruw. I’m not cutting him any slack for that.

  65. drewdat,
    any player that makes $13m plus a year opens himself up for an earful, especially when he’s asking for a super fat contract. come the end of the season boras will be asking the same question that andruw’s critics and fans are asking now …what have you done for me lately.

  66. Of course the past matters. I’m not really sure what you mean by “not cutting slack”, but if it equates to bashing in any way, then it’s highly illogical not to consider the past in that evaluation.

    If it’s thinking that he’s having a pretty bad year, being willing to resign him to a reasonable extension, etc., then I’m not sure where the slack comes in.

    Pretty much any conclusion based upon Andruw Jones’s 2007 (especially with regards to a hypothetical extension) is an incomplete conclusion simply because it willfully ignores a lot of relevant, readily-available data.

  67. #124

    So what, then? Bench him? Release him?

    The Atlanta Braves are stuck with Andruw Jones for better or for worse for this season (I think for better, and I think without the typical Andruw Jones we miss the playoffs. May not make it with him.)

  68. #128

    And I would too, because of corporate ownership. Not because he’s a bad player, or I hate him.

    #125

    Of course the typical fan will, but I’d hope that isn’t the standard anyone is trying to live up to. I love you, Dale, Jr.!

  69. Don’t you think I realize that? He has been doing better lately, which is great, but what he has done the whole season is what ultimately matters.

  70. What he’s done up to today matters 0 from this point on. What he can do from now until the end of the year is what still matters for the Braves this year. The hitless AB’s aren’t coming back, he won’t end up at .265, so it’s best to just let that go. Even for next year and beyond, his 2007 overall stats won’t weigh upon a decision any more greatly than his career stats.

    And why does it matter that his past hasn’t helped us yet this year? We can’t really get rid of him this year, and next year is an uncertainty, but surely should be based upon more than just 2007.

  71. I’m done. See you guys later.

    I’ve basically been preparing for Andruw to leave, and the way I have been acting sort of indicates that, I think.

  72. Tough match-up against Harang tomorrow. Wouldn’t that be something to be swept by the Reds.

  73. Off-topic: It’s being reported that Arizona is shopping Conor Jackson for some pitching help. If the Braves could land that guy on the cheap, it would pay off in a big way in the upcoming years…Okay, back to the lousy game….

  74. at this point we may have one of the weakest hitting benches in the majors (thorman, woodward, orr — all with the middle name of “out”)

  75. When Druw hit the ball in the 9th me and my buddy got up and high fived, based mainly on Sciambi’s call. We were laughed at when it was caught. I take back all the nice things I said about Boog the other day. He needs to put some serious time in the tape room listening and looking at the difference between blasts and pop ups off the end of the bat. Boo Sciambi!

  76. The worrisome thing about Reyes is he isn’t striking anybody out, nor is he getting many swings and misses.

  77. Willie Harris, the leadoff spot barely knew you. Time to shuffle KJ back there and put Willie where the pressure is less in the 8th hole.

    Losing 2 to the Reds is pathetic. That said, a sweep would be ghastly.

  78. MLB should ban the Braves from the playing. No “contender” should two out of three at best to the NL-worst Reds.

    Where were they the first seven innings? Getting shut out by a pitcher with an ERA over 4.50. Than they rally just enough to tease. A 6-0 loss counts the same as a 6-5 loss and doesn’t hurt as much.

  79. It’s a 162-game season, Dan. We trotted out our worst starter. They trotted out their best.

    It’s life.

  80. Okay, don’t shut up, but all playoff teams lose to bad teams. I can name several times in Braves’ playoff years that they lost to terrible teams in a series.

  81. It shouldn’t be “life” to have to watch AAA callups when you’re in 2nd place and trying to catch the Mets. It’s amazing how far our expectations have fallen…now some people are ok with this and just accept it. JS is doing to the starters what he did with the bullpen last year–take a lot of chances, watch it blow up for 2/3 of the season, and then make a move or two by the time the Mets are up 7 games. This has been a problem since April…what is he waiting on? Carlyle/Davies/Larew/Cormier/Reyes are not the answer the same way Reitsma wasn’t last year. Time to try something else. There are free agent starters to be had. We have the young talent to get them.
    MAKE A DAMN MOVE.

  82. The Reyes strikeouts will come, just needs to get his feet under him. I was surprised at how hard he throws, too (didn’t catch the Padres game).

    Fun to have another young gun to root for, at least.

  83. I hope it doesn’t take Harris to drop his average well below .300 to get him out of the leadoff spot. That will be a lot of outs.

  84. Lerew is done, you don’t say the comments he said and think your going to get another chance!

  85. First sign of failure? Davies has the highest career ERA for any pitcher with 40 starts. But yeah, the lightbulb will come on soon. Just one more start…
    As for the rest, I didn’t say to give up on any of them. I’m just tired of the revolving fifth-starter door. You can’t win a division winning 3 days then losing 2. Not with the Mets getting Pedro back. We’ve treaded water since the first week of the season and I think 100 games is enough of a sample size to realize that this isn’t working.

  86. Do you actually expect Pedro Martinez to do anything?

    I think an outless outing is the last straw, smart guy. Someone has to go away for Smoltz to come back and guess who it will be.

  87. AP recap:

    “It was the first time Arroyo didn’t allow a run in a start since Sep. 25 against the Cubs.”

  88. Well he can’t hurt. And I like their chances when we play them next and trot out Reyes, Davies, or even Chuck James on a bad day. And I’m not just talking about the Mets. This isn’t a pitching staff that’s going to “catch fire” for an extended period of time and dominate people.
    You’re really ok with our 3-4-and 5 guys? Like I said, low expectations.

  89. I’m okay with James and I’m okay with Carlyle, but I am not okay with the fifth starter shuffle. If the Braves can get a good starter, Carlyle can be a great fifth starter.

  90. And I think that I can’t expect anything higher because this is about as good as it gets without a trade.

    You’re just basically screaming at a wall until JS gets a trade done, which I’m sure he’s trying to do.

  91. I have concerns with Smoltz. If he is in fact healed though, he should be fine at the top of the rotation.

    Hudson is a good #2.

    James is a good #4, and Carlyle is a solid #5.

    We need a #3 starter. But, we shouldn’t give up the farm to get a 2 month rental. If we can get away with trading a couple of mid-level prospects for a #3, that would be feasible.

  92. A tale of a three teams:

    Braves lose to Reds, Mets and Phillies winning/leading nicely against Padres (Peavy) and the Dodgers.

  93. We trotted out our worst starter. They trotted out their best.

    No, their best starter trots out tomorrow.

    You can’t win a division winning 3 days then losing 2.

    Dude, that would give you 97 wins. You can and usually will win a division with 97 wins.

  94. And the Phillies beating the Dodgers means that they don’t gain on us in the Wild Card. The Braves are still in it on two fronts. They can hang in there. Don’t give it up now.

  95. Holy shit, 2 losses in a row to a bad team and the fucking sky is not only falling, but burning, imploding, and Davies is raping it to some.

    I thought the Braves were going to pull it out because well, Weathers sucks ass, but I’m not that upset about yesterday’s loss. Arroyo was dealing from the get go. Watching him in the 1st Inning I could tell it was probably going to be a long day offensively.

    And I’m a little worried that Reyes was hitting 94 mph (allegedly) on his fastball and didn’t strike ANYONE out.

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