Cardinals 5, Braves 4

ESPN – Braves vs. Cardinals Box Score, August 25 2007 – MLB

Unbelievable. We can’t even win with Hudson on the mound now. A lot of familiar themes in this one — the starter has one bad inning, the team led early but couldn’t take advantage of chances to blow the game open, outhitting the opposition. I’m starting to think this isn’t our year.

The Braves got single runs in the second, third, and fourth innings, but blew chance after chance to get more out of those situations. The team left on base was 12, but the aggregate individual LOB was 23 — meaning that the Braves blew a lot of chances with none or one out. Other than an infield single by Teixeira to score a run, the Braves’ only good hitter with runners on base was Hudson, who had two RBI singles; KJ hit a solo homer for the other run.

Hudson looked sharp for four, then fell apart in the fifth to allow five runs. Well, he really only had the one bad pitch, which Rolen doubled on; the rest were all singles up the middle (and a bunt single leading off). He probably should have gotten out of it with a 3-2 lead but Escobar let a routine, and perfect, double play ball go right under his glove. At least the bullpen did a good job of keeping it close, especially Joey Devine.

The Braves had a good chance in the ninth thanks to a two-out error allowing Francoeur to reach and put runners second and third, but Andruw struck out. It’s all his fault, of course.

27 thoughts on “Cardinals 5, Braves 4”

  1. It’s becoming clear why we released Wickman–when we win, it’s by 5+, and when we lose it’s by 1 and thus a non-save situation. We might actually not need a closer.

  2. Let’s keep blaming Andruw. This is the last year we have this excuse…may as well use it while it lasts!

  3. Ain’t looking too good right now. The Braves need to win with Smoltz and Hudson to have any chance.

    Maybe Reyes will finally pitch well?

  4. Guys, with tonight’s win by the Padres (thank you, Philly, by the way), it’s time to brace ourselves for another mediocre season without postseason play. This squad doesn’t have a fearless, killer instinct that it needs and there is a real void in the following:

    – Starting pitchers 3 thru 5
    – Leadoff hitter
    – Driving in runs with less than 2 out
    – Late inning offensive production

    Up until now, the bullpen would have been added in the list, but that seems to have righted itself. I am actually optimistic about the young arms in there. That said, anyone care to add to the list?

  5. New manager? Ok, that won’t go over well here. How about better in-game managerial decisions, like how to get a guy batting .350 IN a close game, and how to get guys batting .205 and .210 OUT of one.

  6. That pretty much says it all, huh?

    Question, if there is a trade involving the DFA’d Wickman (highly unlikely) can other players be included in the trade?

  7. There is no reason to question Bobby now because he has been doing the same thing for 20 years. This team actually isn’t as bad as it looks. I am not concerned about the offense at all. If JS can get one #3 starting pitcher this offseason, I think the team is in good shape.

    This season?! Two among James, Reyes, Buddy, and Cormier must step up. Otherwise, there is little chance the situation will improve.

  8. I’m fed up with Bobby. His bullpen decisions and his love of Woodward have made me seriously consider his mental health.

  9. OK, shorter posting here I promise. No six-pack of beer to fuel my rantings now. Bye the way, thanks to those of you who welcomed me.
    This is just a bad year. Karma is not with us. The team is just not that good. This is much worse than if the team were truely terrible. At least then they wouldn’t tease us.
    Nonetheless, I will continue to watch every game I can, because losing builds character and when great things again happen in the future, I will be that much happier.

  10. Remind me of the rule, but if Texeira rounds second before Rolen’s throw goes into the dugout doesn’t he get Third and the plate?

    He trotted into second and was standing on the bag when he noticed the bad throw. I think if he had been running full speed around the bags (which he should with two outs) he would have been between second and third and would have been rewarded third and the plate when the ball went out of play.

  11. “This is just a bad year. Karma is not with us.”

    Scratch Karma insert starting pitching.

    How big are the Hampton relapse and Gonzalez injury now?

  12. They are both big, Downtown ATL. I am still feeling the pain of Gonzo’s injury. I am hoping JS will not count on Hampton taking an important role next season.

  13. I am hoping JS will not count on Hampton taking an important role

    JS will trade and sign this off season as if Hampton doesn’t exist, but he will be given every opportunity to crack the 2008 rotation. He is a gritty, determined, dedicated, athletic, dude.

    The Hampton we see next march/april/may would be a welcome addition to this year’s rotation.

  14. Without a starting pitching miracle we’re not playing post season ball this year, but this team has to stand pat for 2008. My prediction…

    Andruw tells Boras to simmer down and our line-up is;

    Johnson 2B
    Escobar SS
    Jones 3B
    Texeira 1B
    Jones CF
    Francouer RF
    Harris/Diaz LF
    McCann C

    plus this rotation;

    Hudson
    Smoltz
    Hampton
    serviceable free agent or trade for Thorman
    minor leaguer/carlyle/reyes/cormier/???

    and this bullpen core;
    Vulture
    Moylan
    Kali
    Soriano
    Gonzalez

    That’s a team that with a bit of luck can win more than one playoff series.

  15. I don’t think JS will even make much effort to bring back Andruw (see also: previous years with Glavine and Maddux). He’s just too expensive and the offense will be fine without him. Those dollars need to go into the pitching staff.

    I’m wondering if Acosta has ever started. With his nasty off speed stuff and excellent fast ball, it seems like he could do well.

  16. I would envision 2008 as:

    Harris CF (Possibly Rowand)
    Johnson/Escobar 2B/SS
    Jones 3B
    Texeira 1B
    McCann/Francouer C/RF
    Francouer/McCann RF/C
    Diaz LF
    Escobar/Johnson SS/2B

    We all know Bobby is infatuated with the Lefty/Righty, so switch Escobar/Johnson & Francouer/McCann in the lineup when facing the southpaws. If we’re lucky maybe snag Roward for far less than Dru and get someone as fearless without one that refuses to go to right field. (Even though they hit 50HR the year they made an attempt to…)

    Rotation

    Hudson
    Smoltz
    Hampton (unless someone would take him in trade)
    Trade Pitcher (using Renteria as bait)
    Minor Leaguer (someone other than yoyo or homer james)

    BP

    Moylan
    Soriano
    Gonzalez
    And hopefully a few travelers that JS can find out there.

  17. I blame Bobby’s in game decisions in the past couple of years on the absence of Pat Corales. I read somewhere a long time ago that Pat served as Bobby’s memory and sounding board during games. Probably he was what provided sanity to Bobby’s in game decision process. I think the recent bench coaches are not doing half the job Pat did. I also blame some of our defensive woes on missing the great defensive positioning of Pat.

  18. I just can’t figure out why this team is so utterly futile offensively in the late innings. It’s as if a different team is hitting after the fifth inning. Obviously, the pitching has been the primary problem, but the offensive has failed to do its share too–a two run deficit in the middle innings shouldn’t be insurmountable for this offense yet it almost always is. And that’s not even talking about the extra inning games. I find it inexplicable–I don’t think I have ever seen a team so bad in late innings. They are probably all trying to hit home runs.

    As for Hudson, apparently not all his fault but, by the same token, he hasn’t really been pitching all that well the last few starts but has been getting a ton of runs until now.

    I still say the problem with this team is the inability of the organization to develop pitching. Whether it’s scouting or player development, they have done a pathetic job of developing pitchers. Maybe some of the young arms in the bullpen will be useful but I don’t see much in the way of starting pitching that will help unless Jo Jo develops a lot over the winter.

  19. Downtown, that lineup’s not bad, but not that different than what we have this year. I want to see ALL the platoons stop. If that means trading Renteria, DFA’ing Harris, whatever…these guys need a regular role and a secure spot in the batting order. I’d like to see Diaz and Escobar play every day, meaning we can trade/release Harris and Renteria for pitching. We DO NOT need to count on Hampton or Reyes in terms of next year’s rotation–plan as if neither of them are ready. Sign 2 decent starters, and even if they just give us innings, with our lineup, it’ll be fine. We don’t need our #4 starter going 9 every time with a shutout, but we DO need a guy who can at least go 7 occasionally and give our offense a chance to win. That’s what we’re missing this year, the team knows it, and they’re playing like they don’t have a shot to win 60% of the time.

  20. I think the only deal JS needs to make in the offseason involves

    Renteria (+reliever+prospect?)

    for

    # 2-3 caliber starting pitcher, (arroyo/vasquez actually would have been very valuable)

    I wouldnt mind him signing a vet outfielder to replace andruw, but realistically he could save the money and allow diaz/harris(or Thorman?) to continue in left until Lillibridge learns CF. Im thinking its likely Brandon Jones starts in either RF or CF depending on how well he plays center, (Francouer obviously the other). Andruw’s money is already accounted for with raises, plus they need to do a contract for Jeff (and maybe kelly?) and seriously consider locking up Teixeira if Liberty is raising payroll 10-20 mil.

    a lineup of

    SS Escobar
    2B Johnson
    3B Jones
    1B Teixeira
    CF Francouer
    C McCann
    LF Diaz/Harris
    RF B. Jones

    would be solid, if not outstanding. or even more preferably

    CF Lillibridge
    2B Johnson
    3B Jones
    1B Teixeira
    RF Francouer
    C McCann
    SS Escobar
    LF B. Jones

    would be young, talented, cheap, and hungry.

    with the great young core of relievers we seem to have coming up, a good number 3 starter would make us tough. James, despite his inconsistencies, would be an excellent #4, and for number 5 you can sign a project vet to compete with Carlyle/Reyes/Cormier/Hampton.

    so after all that, resigning Teixiera, promoting the young guys, and getting a # 3 for Renteria seems like a solid way to be very good next year and in the future. (btw, being from canada and watching the jays, renteria is exactly what they need in their offense, see Macdonald, John. Ricciardi will be under extreme pressure to win next season, meaning a cheap veteran offensive shortstop would be ideal and they also have a plethora of young pitching, Marcum or Mcgowan would make me very happy)

  21. Blake, nice point about Lillibridge in CF, although I think he only played there his first or first two years at Washington. Do you think he would be adequate out there? I think we could look something like this next year.

    C McCann
    1B Teixeira
    2B Kelly
    SS Escobar
    3B Chipper
    LF Willie/Diaz
    CF Lillibridge or Brandon Jones (baseball america says that he has the speed for center)
    RF Francoeur

    the rotation could be
    1. Smoltz
    2. Hudson
    3. Someone we traded Edgar for (I was very against this before, but seeing Escobar play makes me think we can survive without him)
    4. Chuckie (who would be a good 4th starter)
    5. Hampton/Lance/Buddy/Jo-Jo

    and the bullpen i think could be the strength of the team
    Closer – Gonzalez
    Set Up – Soriano
    Moylan
    Acosta
    Ascanio
    Devine
    Mahay

    I love the trio of Ascanio, Acosta, and especially Devine. Did he personally hurt Bobby Cox to deserve this criminal mismanagement? His confidence must be shot

  22. you basically summed that up well Eric, dont forget about Ring/Yates/Villarreal, et al for bullpen depth as well. Mahay will need to be resigned.

    I definitely think Lillibridge could handle center (at least in terms of Arm/Range, will have to see on the fielding/reads yet) most projections had him moving to the outfield because of our log jam at short, and although we could do better than escobar, the organization loves him and he wont kill us hitting 8th. If Lillibridge isnt ready at the beginning of next year, I hope to see B. Jones in center so francouer doesnt have to move, and we’ll deal with the platoon until either Lillibridge is ready or the team brings in a vet outfielder.

    Above all Renteria + Villarreal? + Thorman/pitching prospect? for a 3rd starter is an absolute necessity for next year

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