Astros 12, Braves 11 (14 innings)

ESPN – Astros vs. Braves Box Score, August 2 2007 – MLB

We have got to stop playing these long games with the Astros.

Back and forth, back and forth… The Braves led 1-0 after two on a solo homer by Andruw. But Jo-Jo Reyes gave up five runs on two homers in the third. He was sent to Richmond after the game, replaced by Cormier. And the tragic fifth starter situation continues.

The Braves tied it up, getting two in the third, then a two-run homer from Teixeira in the fourth. Harris drove in two with a triple in the fifth, then Francoeur hit a two-run homer in the sixth to make it 9-5. But Soriano collapsed in the eighth, again, allowing a grand slam (we might as well bring Devine back) to tie it. Renteria had to leave the game during the inning with a sprained ankle, and since Escobar and Woodward had already pinch-hit, Chipper went to shortstop. I dunno, I probably would have used KJ there and put Harris at second, but maybe Bobby has Chipper in a one-game eligibility league. Harris promptly made an error, which loaded the bases for the slam.

The game went on and on. The Astros got two runs not on homers in the 12th, but Diaz hit a two-run shot (scoring Corky Miller, who had an infield single in his first Braves PA) to tie it back up. In the fourteenth, the Astros got the winning run on a single by a pinch-hitting pitcher, sticking the Vulture with the loss. Diaz led off the bottom of the inning with a single but Chipper hit into a double play.

Renteria will miss at least the upcoming Rockies series. If it goes longer than that, I assume they’ll think about DLing him.

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134 thoughts on “Astros 12, Braves 11 (14 innings)”

  1. Worst & mostly costly game of the season. Let’s review:

    1. possibly lose our all star level SS to the DL
    2. Used up the entire bullpen and now need complete games (practically) from Hudson and Smoltz to compensate
    3. Soriano continues to screw us
    4. Harris, Francouer and Chipper all clearly hurt themselves in the game, physically, even if none of them go on the DL
    5. Bobby’s in game bewildering decision making got even worse than normal – leaving Soriano out there making the grand slam predictable, and putting 2 infielders out of position, Harris and Chipper, rather than just one (Harris).

    And of course, this all happens against the bastards that ruined our 2005 season – over 18 innings. I hate the Astros. Hate them.

  2. I agree entirely. It was interesting to watch but it didn’t need to be. Why would you put somebody who hasn’t played 3rd in what looked like an eternity in the hot corner? We played that game entirely backwards. I have seen Bobby make some mistakes, but I think Harris to 3rd was the seasons worst. However, late in the game he made a great play.

    I hate the Astros

  3. Um, you’re telling me Matt Diaz, in all his years as a journeyman, didn’t learn to bunt?

    What I don’t get is how:

    1. With Willie Harris on 1st with none out in the bottom of the 10th, did you not let him attempt to steal, or better yet, let Diaz work a hit and run with him, when Qualls was clearly more concerned with Harris instead of Diaz?
    2. A guy who’s been around the league a few times like Diaz doesn’t know how to bunt. The guy looked like he’d rather get hit in the head by the ball instead of putting the bat head on the ball. (And I understand the two pitches he had to work with were down int he dirt, but why not pull back the bat and take the ball instead?)

    I know we’re dependent on the long ball (way too much in my opinion), but when you lack the ability to play small ball when you really need to, you’re going to lose some games.

    You can’t hang this loss completely on Bobby, although another classic in-game managing moment from him, without a doubt.

  4. Alrighty, no doom and gloom for me this morning. I’m gonna absolutely refuse and instead move on. We are still only 4.5 in the division and 1.5 in the wild card. Lets move on and sweep the Rockies out of ATL. Also, how awesome is our lineup? Awesome to watch!!!

  5. You couldn’t put Harris at short. That would have been worse. Chipper at least had played short before. Bobby didn’t have much choice.

    The problem–other than lousy pitching–was that this team again inexplicably falls apart in late innings–offense/defense/pitching. Soriano was bad but had some tough breaks. But Chipper hit into two double plays, the offense scores two runs in the last 8 innings, the defense gives away runs. I thought brining in Teixera would improve their ability to score late, but apparently not. Someone should calculate the Braves offensive numbers from the 7th inning on and especially in extra innings.

    Rob Neyer says close losses are primarily bad luck, but regardless of the reason, the Braves can’t expect to lose games like this consistently like they have and make the playoffs. You only have so many opportunities.

  6. At this point, I’d be happy to give Devine another shot. He throws hard and all of his pitches have movement. That’s better than Soriano’s pitches, which were up and completely flat.

    Soriano should take heart. He wasn’t as bad as Woody Williams. Those were batting practice pitches he was throwing. He was throwing 85 mph, waist high, totally straight “fastballs.”

    The first pitch to Teixeria was like Richard Pryor’s first pitch to a Yankee in the exhibition game he set up in “Brewster’s Millions.” I could see Tex asking the catcher, “What was that, a changeup?”

    “Uhh…fastball.”

  7. Braves OPS (League OPS)

    Inning 1-3: 760 (737) +23
    Inning 4-6: 825 (775) +50
    Inning 7-9: 725 (715) -10
    Extras: 698 (737) -39

    You’re on to something there, Marc.

  8. Don’t forget that KJ and McCann were playing there normal positions when they lazily played a couple balls in the 12th.

  9. If the game goes over 9 innings lets just forfeit it and go home. We never win these extra inning games and I’m tired of playing them.

  10. What in the crap has happened to Soriano? This guy was straight filthy the first portion of the season, and now he looks terrible. Every ball hit against him was hard, even the outs. His body language is terrible, he slumps his shoulders, looks defeated before he even starts. This guy was ridiculously intimidating early in the season. Did I miss something? Is he hurt? Somebody enlighten me, please.

  11. It just seems like he is leaving way too many fastballs out over the plate. It doesn’t matter how hard you throw if it’s not located well.

  12. Soriano’s pitches are flat because his arm is tired. They weren’t flat earlier in the season. But it makes me wonder if he is cut out for the bullpen. I realize he has pitched a lot, but should it affect him this much?

    To be fair, though, he could easily have had two outs and no one on or 1 on if those plays were made. That doesn’t excuse the pitch to Lamb, of course, but weird things seem to happen to the Braves in late innings.

    BTW, every time I listen to Chip Carey, it becomes more and more obvious that nepotism is alive and well. If I hear him talk one more time about how momentum immediately swings from one dugout to the other when teams load the bases and don’t score, I’m going to throw a shoe through the TV. I guess momentum is some disembodied entity that enters a team’s body and controls their performance. Do you think maybe the pitcher has something to do with momentum? This guy is an utter moron; every game he makes multiple cringe-inducing statements. Anyone with a UGA degree (I have one) should cover their eyes with embarrassment when he mentions that he went to UGA. If he has a degree, they should revoke it. Someone a few days ago mentioned the possibility of teaming Chip and Joe Morgan together during the playoffs. If they do that, they should should broadcast it throughout Iraq; if that doesn’t make the insurgents quit, nothing will.

  13. Hey, does anyone know of any good Braves-related podcasts worth subscribing to? I have found several of them out there, but I don’t have the time to listen to all of them and decide which ones are worth the time. Any suggestions?

  14. Wow, our defense really screwed the game right there. If Harris makes that play, the Grand Slam never happens. If KJ makes that play, Diaz walks-off and the game’s won. What the heck is going on here?

    Oh, and for the Woodward haters out there: You really want more of Harris at 3B? “But… but… Harris can play 3rd!” Let’s just go ahead and keep Harris in the outfield. Woodward would have been ridiculously useful if he didn’t PH in, what, the 7th? Man, we need more people on the bench.

  15. At least we’re consistent. Every 5th day our 5th starter digs us a big hole then we fight back only to lose late. Reyes is looking like the next Kyle Davies. Okay that’s probably unfair given how few starts he’s had, but I’m very happy he was quickly sent down. Cormier may not be very good, but he should be better than Jo-jo. Soriano should not be used in the 8th inning again for a while. Let Dotel and Moylan setup Wickman.

  16. That was a crushing loss. Just crushing. Ugh. Let’s try to forget it quick, huh?

    By the way, welcome to the NL Ron Mahay! I hope he got some rest before he got here, because he’s already thrown 70 pitches in two days.

    I was a little disappointed that Cox didn’t allow Moylan to stay in the game longer given how well he was throwing and how few pitches he threw, but I understand pinch-hitting. Usually that’s a game you easily win – up 4 runs in the 8th inning has a very high win probability (up 1 run has a 75% chance of winning, so a 4 run lead is probably 90-95%). Still just a terrible loss.

  17. the possibility of teaming Chip and Joe Morgan together during the playoffs. If they do that, they should should broadcast it throughout Iraq; if that doesn’t make the insurgents quit, nothing will.

    FUNNY!

  18. Why not move Moylan into the 7th or 8th inning role? I assume Dotel will get a shot but no reason to not use Moylan in game situations. I can understand the appeal of having Dotel/Soriano because if they are on you are bringing some serious heat, but now it might be time to move Moylan up.

    How many games have the Braves lost in the last two years where they had multiple run leads in the last two innings? As Kyle says, it defies probability.

  19. Owch.

    Rough loss, especially given the gutty performances from Mahay (3IP after 1 last night) and Villareal (2IP after 2 last night).

    But the real kicker is 12R on 11H for them and 12R on 22H for us. We’re leaving TONS of runners on and just handing them out to the other guys on walks, passed balls, and errors.

    As for moving Chipper to short, I’m fine with him there over KJ since Johnson is in his first professional season in the IF. It would be real tough to ask him to try to play SS when he’s still kinda learning how to play 2nd. Gotta get in front of those grounders up the middle!) And there’s no way Willie can play there with his arm.

    But I’m counting on Smoltzy tonight. Both the bullpen and the lineup are going to be gimped big-time. Renty’s out and McCann won’t be playing after catching all of last night. Let’s hope Frenchy and Chipper are feeling better.

  20. Rob,

    Or, if you have Franco instead of Woodward on the roster, you pinch-hit Franco. That way, if you’re smart (Bobby wasn’t last night, so this is probably moot), you still have Escobar unused and available to come in and play defensively late in the game. Willie Harris never has to touch third base, because Chipper never has to touch SS.

    Last night’s game actually hurts the pro-Woodward argument because, as sansho, the preeminent Woodward supporter, alludes to above, Bobby apparently won’t be making use of Woodward as he should, anyway.

    Marc,

    Come down off the ledge, dude. Your spirit was broken pretty quickly there! I haven’t given up on this team.

  21. I agree …

    Possibly the worse managed game I’ve seen in a while…

    Another pass ball by McCann…will he ever get another day off? I’m surprise he is even hitting .260.

    Soriano is tired as hell…This bullpen will be running on fumes by mid-August. Enjoy Moylan while you can…BOBBY THESE ARE NOT ROBOTS…

    Before Edgar got hurt he left 5 men on base…

    The once red-hot KJ left 7, this is what we mean when we say streaky.

    I’m convinced Andruw should be batting 7 or 8…he is absolutely putrid and enough is enough. Pat Burrell is batting, who was also batting around .205 is batting .268, but Andruw is still at .219? Something has to give.

    Why is Yunel pitch hitting before Woodward?

    That game was unbelievable…and made me sick….

  22. Moylan looks awesome now, such a hard wicked sinker. Let’s not totally burn him up like Soriano, Bobby. He’d be even better with a good infield.
    After JoJo’s bad games, Cormier sounds really good as fifth starter. Maybe he’ll at least figure out how to stay in the game for 5-6 innings while keeping an ERA under 9. If James can just pitch one more inning per game, and Buddy keeps pitching decent, that’s not such a bad rotation.

    Weak infield range seems to be adding at least 10 pitches per game, and that’s partly what is burning up bullpen arms, and adding to losses. Seems like every game there are one or 2 ground balls that I say “shoould have been caught”.

    Nevertheless, the team still looks good, hopefully some big leads will allow key members of the bullpen to rest, and Bobby needs to start burning up the arm of his “long man” rather than the arms he really needs in pressure situations.

  23. Last night’s game actually hurts the pro-Woodward argument because, as sansho, the preeminent Woodward supporter, alludes to above, Bobby apparently won’t be making use of Woodward as he should, anyway.

    Disagreed. The argument for keeping Woodward isn’t about what happened last night — Woodward was the obvious choice to pinch-hit leading off an inning in a game in which we’re up by 4 runs.

    It’s about tonight. I’d have laid odds that Chipper would be the one to get hurt instead of Renteria, but if Renty only needs a few games off we can plug in Yunel at SS and still have a backup middle infielder (who can play SS). I hate that my central argument has been borne out so immediately, but there it is.

  24. I was serious about disabling Soriano. With a tired arm. Get Ascanio back up here.

    Could Moylan start? He’d surely give us more and better innings than what we’ve been trotting out there, right?

  25. Tony, Kelly was “once” red hot? By “once,” do you mean “three days ago, when was 4-4 with two homers?” Going into the game last night, he was 6 for his last 6 with two home runs. Talk about high standards… and he still went 2-7 with a run scored! Plenty of other folks struggled with runners on, including Chipper and Andruw in key spots. There’s plenty of blame to go around (if it’s blame you’re interested in assigning, which I’m not), but to single out KJ is kind of silly.

    Re: Moylan – I really like him in the role he is in now because of his ability to throw lots of innings and his heavy GB tendencies. Using him as a 1 inning guy in the 8th is a waste. Shuffle Dotel and Soriano if you like, or just use other relievers in those spots to make sure everyone gets rest.

  26. sansho,

    A couple points:

    (1) Then you could have gotten rid of Julio when it became necessary and called up Prado, who’s at least as useful as Woodward.

    (2) I will concede that last night’s situation probably isn’t indicative of Woodward’s general usage.

  27. Kyle…Did you even read my post? I clearly stated Edgar left 5 on base before he got hurt. I also said AJ is putrid…How you only read my comment about KJ is amazing. The reason I mentioned KJ is b/c he left the most people on base which was 7. Relax I’mnot picking on KJ, although I’m starting to get concern with his defense.

  28. KJ has a little “loafy laroche” in him. I dont care how tired you are, you get in front of that ball and knock it down. The fact you are tired, should be even more reason to overcompensate by getting in front of the ball.

    Poor McCann, 14 innings behind the plate. We do not have that luxury anymore of resting him after a night like that.

    At least the 5 hour game gave Phil Garner some time to sober up. Did you notice his eyes during the series? Massive drinker’s facial complection and eyes reder than his jersey.

  29. The problem with “shuffling” Soriano, Kyle, is that in that scenario he still pitches. I’m unconvinced he’d be better at keeping runs off the board in a different inning.

  30. Stu,

    How many games like this can a team lose and expect to come back from? Those are opportunities lost. And the vibes last night were so good until the 8th. Every team is going to lose a game like this once in a while but the number the Braves have lost is, you have to admit, discouraging. I mean, it’s not as if this is a team playing .600 ball that occasionally plays a bad game. This has been a .500 team that shows no ability to play well on a consistent basis. If it’s not the offense, it’s the starting pitching; if it’s not the starting pitching it’s the bullpen or the defense. They have one winning month this season. I’m not giving up on them but something needs to change; it’s like there is a black cloud hanging over this team.

  31. I guess I’m clinging to the hope that this is a new team, not the same one that lost all those previous heartbreakers. We have more horses to rebound from this one, at least assuming Renteria isn’t out for a long time. Look, I’m frustrated, too, but I’m willing to give this construction of the team a chance to show me they can come back from this.

  32. Stu, Prado over Woodward would be okay with me. I have conceded that Woodward sucks. My only objection was with the idea of keeping two backup 1Bs.

    BTW, I looked up Teixeira at 3B. He played 15 games there in his rookie season, made 7 errors for a FP of .811. I’m gonna have to say “no thanks” to that idea….

  33. McCann will catch tonight as Smoltz is pitching but he will be exhausted doing it.

  34. Tony,

    Wickman closer at home and Dotel on the road? Just doesn’t work like that, even if the numbers say it should.

  35. Actually, while I’m doling out “I told ya so”‘s, I thought we should have kept L’il TP in the first place. How nice would that be right now?

  36. stu – i hear you re: soriano. i think he’s just going through a rough patch and will be okay.

    but anyway, what i meant by shuffling up the 7th and 8th inning (and for that matter, the 9th) is just using whoever’s arm is freshest, even if it’s a *gasp* save situation! i think bobby will be okay, but i just worry on him leaning too hard on some folks.

    that said, we have got to get more ip from the starters. the bullpen has thrown 19 IP over the past 3 days (versus 13 from the starters). and now we’ve got smoltz and his balky shoulder. i’m very, very worried.

  37. Not too worried, if Smoltz or Hudson have a bad game then Cormier will come in on long relief. However, I do like our chances that both those guys can at least go seven.

  38. At this point, I wouldn’t mind if McCann would swing at the 1st pitch and go sit back down…How many innings did he catch last week b/c we couldn’t use Salty? He will down to 160lbs when September comes along…but yet he is still batting .260 while Andruw is batting .219.

  39. I don’t get bent out of shape over the swapping of the infielders. Harris’ error was no more inevitable than the pair of great plays he made after that.

    BTW, the ball he muffed was scorched, just like the 2 previous balls & the HR afterward. Soriano was pitching, not Cox or Harris. Let’s take a look at him & his role, if we must. And we must.

    KJ has played short, yes, but if he plays short like he plays 2B, I’m not encouraged. I chalk that game up to bad luck & move on.

    I went to J-school at UGA with Chip Caray & when I have more time I have a story about him, but I gotta run.

    Meanwhile, some more chum for you Joe Morgan haters.
    http://www.nypost.com/seven/08032007/sports/espn_wising_up_to_morgans_act_sports_phil_mushnick.htm

  40. 1-5 in extra inning games over the last few weeks. I am sure everyone has thought of where we would be in the standings if we turned that number around.

    I would be a little more comfortable assuming our luck would even out if it weren’t so late in the season already.

  41. Stu,

    Escobar had already been used in the 5th PHing for Moyland. If Woodward was gone, after the 5th inning, we would have had no middle-INFs. This wasn’t a bad game for us pro-Woowarders.

  42. Andruw in July: 936 OPS
    Andruw in August: 1000 OPS (11 PAs)

    Yup, he’s the problem.

    The play Renteria was injured on was a perfect double play ball. Harris made an error next, and then the slam. It’s funny how bad things happen when you give a team six outs in an inning. I’m not worried about Soriano.

    Personally, I thought Bobby played it about as well as he could have considering. Chipper was smooth at short. Harris should never be mentioned as a backup infielder again.

    And of course, Diaz should never, ever be asked to bunt again. He couldn’t have been doing more things wrong. We are lucky he didn’t hurt himself.

    The highlight for me was The Vulture’s first career hit on what had to be the ugliest swing of the night.

  43. And along with sansho1, I wouldn’t mean seeing Prado over Woodward. And like sansho once again, I’m not a big fan of two back-up 1Bs.

  44. Rob…

    I think you may be getting carried away with that OPS if you don’t think AJ has been a problem.

  45. The “if you’re smart…you still have Escobar unused…” part. Point being that if you’re wasting all your bench early in the game like that, the whole “We need another utility infielder” thing doesn’t really fly. Might as well have Julio, who I think is a better hitter than Woodward, if that spot’s only being used to pinch-hit. And if you had Franco rather than Woodward and DIDN’T opt to use everybody early, you could have pinch-hit Franco instead of Escobar, not used your utility guy to hit in the fifth, and he (Escobar in this scenario) is still available to come in defensively later.

    It’s probably moot, especially since that was such an unusual game, but I still haven’t really seen why we need two utility guys (for all the talk about Escobar being a part-time starter, all he is is a glorified utility guy) instead of one utility guy and one hitter.

  46. Escobar is a “glorified utility player”…Amazing analogy of one “your” favorite team’s player. But we have come to expect that from old snarly…

  47. Rob…

    I think you may be getting carried away with that OPS if you don’t think AJ has been a problem.

    Really? Is he supposed to do something more than hit? Should he have stepped in at third? Maybe just avoided the problem all together and pitched the eighth inning?

    Blaming Andruw for everything is such a Pre All Star break mentality. I think we are on to blaming Bobby for wearing out the bullpen.

  48. We do have one utility guy and one hitter. Escobar is our hitter, and Woodward is our utility guy. Cox isn’t using them as much, but that’s not the point. Escobar and Franco are essentially equal as far as hitting ability goes as far as I’m concerned, so the fact that Escobar is more versatile and Franco’s position already has a back-up, in this case, two back-up middle-INFs is the way to go.

  49. Robert,

    How about Andruw hitting in the clutch for a change Robert? Or is that stat somewhere hidden in his OPS? A hit here or there in the 2nd half makes up for his embarassing 1st half?

    “blaming Andruw for everything” …who has done that?

    Blaming Bobby for overuse of the pen is cool, but when the offense can’t get a hit in the clutch…that’s not Bobby fault.

  50. Tony,

    That wasn’t an insult to Escobar. In late game situations, with him not starting, he can be the super-sub. When he is starting, you bring KJ in at second and Escobar again becomes the super-sub.

    Rob,

    But if one’s the hitter and one’s the utilityman, and Escobar’s roster spot isn’t in question, it really is between Franco and Woodward. Unless you believe Escobar is so much better as a pinch-hitter than Franco (I don’t), you’re hurting the team by including a poor-fielding utilityman over a solidly-hitting pinch-hitter.

  51. I think that Escobar and Franco’s hitting abilities are close enough that Escobar’s versatility teamed with Woodward’s versatility is better than Franco’s lack of versatility and Escobar’s versatility.

    This is my train of thought:

    Franco – one position, essentially same pinch-hitting ability as Escobar

    Escobar – 3 positions, pinch-hitting ability

    Woodward – 3 positions

    That’s why I would choose Woodward and Escobar over Franco and Escobar. But what it boils down to between our views is that you don’t think that Escobar is as good of a pinch-hitter as Franco. If you did, we wouldn’t be talking.

  52. You can check the stats as well as I can. He’s hasn’t hit any better or worse than normal in clutch situations. Just talking out of your ass as usual.

    If you must get on a hitter for last night’s extra inning problems, I would start with Chipper’s two double plays.

  53. THis is why I didn’t want to come back here. Bicker bicker bicker, doom and gloom. I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment.

  54. No, it’s that I think Escobar is more valuable relative to Woodward than to Franco, defense included. Everything Woodward can do, Escobar can do better. And even if he can hit better than Julio, hitters are more valuable than utilitymen, IMO.

  55. Bicker bicker bicker, doom and gloom.

    You weren’t exactly Mr. Sunshine last night when you declared the game lost and left the game thread when we were down 5-1.

    Not me. I invested another four hours in the game only to lose on a game winning hit by a pinch hitting pitcher.

    And now I’m grumpy.

  56. I only blame Soriano for the homerun; a blast that occured after Renty failed to get even one on that chopper to him (potentially two outs, but I’m surprised he didn’t suck it up and go to 2nd for one) and after the Willie botch (which would have also gotten two). The first hit of the inning just barely got by a diving Teixeira.

    So in review, Soriano got three groundballs in a row (sharply hit according to Chip, but two right at people), potentially FOUR outs and somehow this is all his fault.

    If a guy who gives you four outs on three straight groundballs should be punished, something ain’t right.

  57. Escobar’s my pinch-hitter/back-up INF. Woodward is my back-up INF. At the end of the day, Franco isn’t a good enough pinch-hitter to be more valuable than Woodward. That’s it. That’s my opinion. No more argument.

  58. Rob,

    As much as I like Franco, I’m behind you on that one. Unless we’re forced to, Woodward should almost never PH.

  59. How big of a winning streak will it take to recover emotionally from this game? I’ll go with 7. Any bids?

  60. If I can go the rest of the year without seeing the word “heartbreaker” in the braves.com recap, I’ll be a happy camper.

  61. Rob,

    At the end of the day, I still think you’re wrong. I’m happy to stop arguing about it, though.

    As for the requisite winning streak, it depends. If we only win 3 in a row, but the Mets and Phils lose two in that span, I’ll be over this game.

  62. You know what, screw it all for now. I won’t be watching the Braves game tonight for certain. Maybe then they’ll have actually won something and I can work on my bad debating skills.

  63. Robert,

    “Talking out of my ass as usual” …since I don’t really remember anything you said that caught my attention(understandable), I can’t really comment on your comments.

    However, well forget it you are not in my league. Just give Andruw the MVP this year and trade Chipper since he hit into two double plays last night. Genius.

    Moving on…

    If the Braves win tonite and the Phils and Mets lose, all will be forgotten. All the Braves want to do is to stay in shouting distance until we play them again. It looks like the Mets may have Pete and Beltran back, so it should be good.

  64. *sigh* Great, now I feel bad.

    I get pretty irrational when I’m frustrated and forget what I say previously a lot. There are things I just don’t bother to remember that I have written or said. That “chalking up a loss after Reyes got pounded” was one of those things.

    I’ll be going to the Anderson Joes game tonight, so maybe by the time I get back home, I’ll be greeted with news of a Braves victory. That would make me feel better.

  65. Franco played some third for the Mets, didn’t he? I don’t see why he couldn’t.

    I don’t think anyone mentioned Wickman’s acrobatics. That was by far the highlight of the game.

  66. guys relax it was one more of those stupid games, if Renty doesnt have that freak accident we win the game…any update on him Chipper and Andruw this morning. our lineup is awesome, but without them three swinging well it doesnt matter. Lets win this sereis and then sweep the Mets….too much ball to play to focus on that one freak game, we’ll probably have another one like that before the season is over

  67. Hey, look at Cormier’s past few starts in AAA, he’s getting healthy again. There is no way he can be worse than Reyes right now, its a plus

  68. Here’s my guess on tonight’s lineup:

    Escobar,Diaz,Chipper,Tex,Andruw,Mac,Francoeur,
    Kelly,Smoltz

    OR

    Escobar,Kelly,Chipper,Tex,Andruw,Mac,Francoeur,
    Diaz,Smoltz

    What do you guys think?

  69. hypothetical, if we win the first two do you let Cormier pitch the final of this series and let Chuckie start the 1st game against the Mets?

  70. I don’t know, has Diaz hit 2nd at all this year? I bet they’ll want the “speed demons” at the 1 and 2 spots, so my vote is Escobar-KJ.

  71. Great question CSG…I would let the lefty start against the Mets. The last thing we need is to see is Cormier get lit up by the Mets…which would probably happen.

  72. BTW, Bonds goes for 755 tonight against Maddux – I would hate to see him tie/break the record (enough as it is) against such a classy ex-Brave. I am borrowing this from another website, but this is a funny scenario as to how it may play out:

    Barry Bonds broke baseball’s all-time home run record last night with a towering, eighth-inning long ball against the San Diego Padres. After smashing his 756th career home run, the seven-time National League MVP pumped his fists in the air repeatedly. Bonds then reached into his back pocket and pulled out a large syringe labeled “DRUGS FOR CHEATING AT BASEBALL.” The San Francisco Giants slugger lowered his pants, injected himself in the buttocks, and extended both middle fingers before setting off on his record-setting jaunt around the bases.

  73. I would definitely go with Escobar in leadoff, KJ in second and Diaz eighth. I still would be damned if I wouldn’t move Andruw down to seventh and have McCann fifth and Francoeur sixth. My lineup for tonight would be:

    Escobar
    KJ
    Chipper
    Tex
    Mac
    Frenchy
    Andruw
    Diaz
    Smoltz

    I don’t really expect the whole Andruw seventh thing, but if he bats Diaz second and KJ eighth, I will be fairly upset. That wouldn’t make much sense at all.

  74. As far as last night’s game goes, I think it’s definitely time to move Soriano to the seventh-inning spot. This should serve to get him a little more rest, anyway. The problem with demoting him entirely is that he by far has the best stuff of anybody in the bullpen (well, maybe Dotel is comparable now that we have him). You really want to try to get him straight rather than just giving up on him and sticking him in mopup duty.

    And am I the only one who finds this DL him when he’s not hurt strategy freaking insane BTW? Why is that all of a sudden the most popular solution to this problem? For both he and Yates that’s been mentioned in the last several days. Uh…what happens if somebody actually does get hurt? Then you’re screwed, aren’t you? You then have a slightly fatigued but otherwise perfectly capable pitcher sitting on his ass for two weeks while you kill yourself trying to fill out the bullpen. Plus, shutting it down for two weeks really isn’t the solution, either. He’ll have to go through rehab appearances just so he’s ready to pitch again. It’s just a very bad idea.

    And yes, the Harris to third move was completely non-sensical in absolutely every respect. Harris has played shortstop in the majors before and that was the position he was directly replacing anyway. Why the hell did we decide to move Chipper over to short and stick Harris in a position HE HAS NEVER PLAYED IN HIS MAJOR LEAGUE CAREER!!! It boggles the mind, really. KJ to short and Harris to second, which is the infield position he’s most used to playing, would have made some sense, too, I guess. But decision he made that would’ve been any stupider than the one he did would be if he left Harris in left and brought Diaz in to play the infield.

  75. Nick,

    I think short is generally considered to be a more difficult position than third. The ball is usually hit right at you. Chipper has experience at short while Harris doesn’t. Unfortunately, the ball found Harris. You wouldn’t have been to happy if Harris had botched a double play turn playing a position he had never played before. I think Bobby did the only thing he could.

    Second, I agree to some extent with the comment that Soriano wasn’t all to blame. He had some bad defense and bad luck behind him. On the other hand, he didn’t have to give up another home run. With a four run lead, it was still a manageable situation if he had kept the ball in the park. And the number of home runs he has given up is alarming for someone with his stuff.

    Third, csg’s comment about this just being a freak loss is true except the Braves have had a lot of such freak losses this year. If this had been the only one, I doubt people would be moaning and groaning so much (and the Braves would probably be in first place).

    Finally, for me, it’s going to be hard to forget this loss unless the Braves make the playoffs. If they miss them, we will all remember games like this (really all of the extra inning games, the blown 9th inning leads at Florida and Minnesota, etc.). If the Braves go on a roll and win, say 18 of 21 and get a comfortable first place lead, I will forget. Not until then.

  76. Nick,

    If Bobby were willing to use someone like Devine, I don’t see that the DL thing would be a problem. Our minor leaguers aren’t going to be worse than worn-down Yates and worn-down Soriano.

  77. I beg to differ on that, Stu. Joey Devine would be worse than a worn-down Soriano and Yates IMO. If we don’t give that guy two straight years in the minors to develop without yanking him up here at every turn, he’ll never be any good. It may already be too late, quite frankly. Plus, Yates has been given much more rest lately, as has Soriano come to think of it. If fatigue is the problem, it will sort itself out with the additions of Mahay, Dotel and soon Ring.

  78. Re: Soriano’s “stuff”

    Doesn’t seem all that great to me. He’s got a hard fastball that occasionally has movement and also a putrid slider. If he’s locating that fastball, he’s tough to hit, but he hasn’t been doing that lately. This bullpen would not miss the Soriano of the last month.

  79. Well, you can say that it won’t be a problem, but it continues to be for as long as Bobby puts him out there in critical situations. He’s killing us, and I don’t think seeing what 2 weeks off could do for him is a bad idea.

    And as for Devine, you have no idea how he’d do, because he hasn’t been able to get any work at the big league level in a long time. It’s pretty tough for me to continue holding a 2005 Xavier Nady homer against him.

  80. Um…were you watching him earlier in the year? When he’s going good, that hard fastball is unhittable and that “putrid slider” is very good, especially when coupled with the fastball. I don’t know how you wouldn’t consider that good stuff. What, do you expect him to have four pitches or something? He’s a closer, for God’s sake. As I said, best stuff of anybody in our bullpen other than maybe Dotel.

  81. And yet everytime we do get him in games, he sucks. If we’re not gonna get him in them, all the more reason to stop bringing him up here.

  82. Stu,

    Soriano was absolutely dominating people for a while. You don’t do that unless your stuff is awfully good. The comment about having to locate the fastball basically applies to any pitcher, including Randy Johnson in his prime. But when you tire, it’s the command that goes first.

  83. At no point has that slider been good. It works as a change of pace when the heater is working, but that’s about it. And as I said, the fastball is very effective when it’s located, but that hasn’t been the case lately. I’m having trouble understanding how you think losing Soriano, who’s responsible for at least 3 of the team’s recent losses, for 2 weeks would be so bad for the team.

  84. Marc,

    I’m not saying Soriano sucks. I’m saying we need to rest him to get him back to his earlier form.

  85. Part of the issue with Soriano is Cox’s habit of overusing pitchers. A specific example–Tuesday’s game when Cox had Soriano pitch the 8th with a 10-4 lead. Ascanio should have pitched the 8th and 9th and given Soriano another night of rest.

  86. Because in that spot would go Yates, who would lose five in two weeks.

    If we have a chance to do something this year, we need to get Soriano better. I don’t think resting him for two weeks is the answer. A series or something like that maybe, but two weeks would turn into three or four since, as I said, sitting out that long he’d have to go on rehab assignments and the like. No pitcher can just not do anything for two weeks and then be ready to go. And we have no idea what would happen to him if we did that. For all we know, we could completely screw him up.

    Plus, from what I can tell, everytime he gives up a home run it’s because he’s trying to throw that fastball too hard and so it flattens out. Seems like it’s a job for McDowell to me. If he stops overthrowing, he’ll be just as good as he was before. He has been in situations where he doesn’t get in trouble. There’s a reason all those homers have come in situations where he has men on base and is behind in the count.

  87. Stu,

    I agree with that but I don’t think you can just him down for two weeks; he has to pitch some to stay “sharp”. He is also responsible for an near loss to the Pirates when he gave up a three run jack but, amazingly the Braves scored in the ninth to win.

    Frank,

    I stand corrected, but Chipper was a shortstop in the minors and has played it in the majors. My point is, if you are going to gamble, I think you gamble at third rather than at short because it’s simply an easier position. In retrospect, you would probably do it differently but Bobby didn’t have the benefit of knowing where the ball would be hit.

  88. #97 – Agreed. I don’t really share the general doom and gloom consensus with the majority of the board. I don’t think that this loss will have a drastic impact on the team’s spirit for the near future (unless something drastic happens like Renteria being out for multiple weeks, which isn’t the indication at all).

    Problems last night:
    1) Reyes – He’s been sent down because he obviously shouldn’t have been at this level yet. I don’t think Cormier is a savior, but for some reason I trust him more at this level.

    2) Soriano – I don’t know how Bobby can’t see that he needs some rest. Just DL him already and let him rest. We have Ascanio/Devine/Paronto/Ring that can all fill in while he’s out. Best case – he comes back and pitches like he did in the first half. Worst case – there is something wrong with him and one of the pitchers listed above will have to fill in.

    3) Runners left on base – The Braves still had 22 hits and 11 runs. Yes, there were plenty of missed opportunities, but we can’t exactly expect them to do better than 22 hits and 11 runs. As long as they keep hitting like they’re doing, they’re going to win a lot more games than they lose.

    4) Defensive Issues – A result of the wackiness that was going on last night and arguably Bobby’s decision-making. I chalk it up to the strangeness of the night – shit happens. Anyone could have made those errors, but because of people playing out of position it presented the opportunity to complain. Tonight, the starters will be at their “comfortable” positions. And, maybe Bobby learned something last night about “alternative” positions his players can play, i.e., Willie maybe shouldn’t be at 3rd.

  89. #122 – you can put Soriano on the DL for 15 days, let him rest for about a week, and then let him do rehab assignments in Richmond. He’ll get the rest he needs, and get some confidence back (if he’s lost it?) in mowing down some minor league hitters for a few appearances. Very easy solution.

  90. Do what they did when with Wickman…DL him. Soriano is tired. It should be obvious to anyone. No way you go from unhittable to Mark Redman like….Soriano stuff is way to good

  91. On the infield thing, it seems like short would be easier. There’s a reason they call third the “hot corner,” isn’t there? Seems like you would have more time to react at short. But even if you’re right, wouldn’t you still want to put players into positions they’ve been in before? Harris had never played third in his Major League career, but he had played short and second. So it is still non-sensical to me that you would shove him into a position that he has never been in when you could just as easily have put him in a position that he has. I don’t care how hard the positions are. If he’s played someplace before but has never played another place ever, I’m putting him at the place he’s played before.

  92. Short is harder…you have to have range, an arm, soft hands, etc….3rd base u mainly just react

  93. Nick,

    With runners on base the play around the bag at short (how covers, how to lead on the throw or flip, etc.) is much more complicated than anything at third. When Chipper plays the shifts he is almost standing in the same spot and has started and pivoted on double plays even this year. That is the problem with just anybody at short.

    The other option was Harris at second, Johnson at short and don’t move Chipper. I don’t know if they are comfortable enough with KJ’s TJ arm yet.

  94. Nick,

    I think almost everyone would say that third base is easier because it is primarily a reactive position. I’m not saying it’s “easy” just easier relative to short. The ball is generally hit right at you, albeit hard, and a major leaguer should be able to handle those. Shortstop requires different angles, get different kinds of hops, and much more difficult throws.

    As for experience, it depends on how much he actually played shortstop in those five games. If he actually played significant time at short in those games, I would agree with you. However, I still think you would prefer to have the less experienced infielder at third rather than short.

  95. According to Bill James, The defensive spectrum looks like this:

    [ – – 1B – LF – RF – 3B – CF – 2B – SS – C – – ]
    with the basic premise being that positions at the right end of
    the spectrum are more difficult than the positions at the left
    end of the spectrum. Players can generally move from right
    to left along the specturm successfully during their careers.

    http://www.baseball1.com/bb-data/bbd-bj1.html

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