Rockies 2, Braves 1

ESPN – Braves vs. Rockies – Box Score – April 07, 2008

Three-hit in Coors Field. That’s pretty pathetic. Two of those hits were in the first, with Escobar singling and coming home on Chipper’s double. They didn’t get another hit until KJ led off the ninth with a single, and he was erased on a double play.

Tom Glavine did his best to make it stand up. For the first five innings, he got the Rockies to chase a lot of pitches for easy outs. They started working the count in the sixth, and he piled up his three strikeouts in a row, but wasn’t as effective and Bobby pulled him with one out in the seventh. Moylan gave up a typical Coors Field single (pulled past Chipper too hard to make a play on) and hit a guy, but got out of it.

Blaine Boyer wasn’t as lucky, giving up a leadoff double in the eighth, then getting Helton on a strikeout only to follow that with a two-run homer to take the loss. That was pretty much it. I could write more but I’m nauseous.

101 thoughts on “Rockies 2, Braves 1”

  1. Well, at least nobody’s beating us badly. You always have a chance if it’s a one-run game, but they sure do leave a sour taste in your mouth.

  2. You always have a chance if it’s a one-run game…

    That doesn’t seem to be the case with this team.

  3. I just can’t understand how this offense can seem so powerful one game and so utterly ineffectual the next. It’s one thing to be shut down by Johan Santana, another to be shut down by Aaron Cook. They don’t need to score ten runs a game; just score five and most nights they will win.

  4. I’m worries that a lot of one run games indicates that the team is not as good as we thought. Real good teams win a lot of blowouts. That being said, it’s still only 7 games in, and I wouldn’t push the panic button yet. Let’s see where we are after 32 games (roughly 20% of the way into the season).

    Of course, it still sucks to have to watch this display of crud while we wait to see where we are.

  5. Marc, I can’t decide which is your favorite negative organizational narrative between “This offense is overrated and inconsistent” and “The Braves don’t develop quality starting pitching anymore,” but either way, I can always count on you harp on one of those themes.

    I can’t disagree that we should have scored more than 1 run last night, but we’re 7 games into the season. Offenses have bad nights. And no team scores 5 runs every game. Vent your frustrations, sure, but why don’t we give it a little while longer before declaring the 2008 Braves offense substandard?

  6. Agreed Stu, we all know that luck or the lack there of balances out over a 162 game season, so maybe all the bad luck now will turn into good luck at the end of a successfull season. I would rather wait till about 40-45 games in to make any kind of adjustment on this team, but right now it looks like Teix is on his yearly slump. Good news is that he always comes out of it and rakes for the rest of the year. Its way way way too early to worry.

  7. Stu, that’s ridiculous. I acknowledge that I’m negative but it’s silly to claim I’m giving up. All I said was I can’t understand how the offense can look so good one night and so bad the next. It’s not like this wasn’t happening last year too. As far as the two organizational narratives, they are both true. Based on what I have seen the last two years, the offense is grossly inconsistent. Scoring ten runs one night and one run the next is not what I consider a good offense. And, name any really good starting pitchers the Braves have developed in the last ten years. If that changes in the next few years, I will be glad to acknowledge my mistake.

    I mean, people are saying this is a World Series team and maybe it is but, based on the evidence of the last two years, it has a long way to go. Obviously, it’s early and they could turn it around but people keep blaming the bullpen for every close loss when I think the hitting is at least equally culpable.

    As for no team scoring five runs every game, that’s literally true but I think it’s reasonable to expect more consistency.

  8. Does anyone know how many flyball outs the Braves made last night? Cook pitched the way a pitcher must to succeed in that park: He kept his infield busy–SS, in particular–by throwing sinking balls that got pounded into the dirt. Take nothing away from him. He pitched a great game.

  9. KJ looks bad against hard breaking stuff. He’s getting picked up a little by Escobar. I think Bobby flips them in the order if this keeps up another couple of weeks. Teixeira seems heavy. Chip’s really the engine right now, and would be nice to see the other’s relax and chew up the other guys. We’re losing games to the Nats, Pittsburg and @ Coors.

    Last night: Anybody know why they wouldn’t have Boyer walk Holliday with 1 out and a man on second? I’d rather pitch to Atkins and/or Hawpe than the guy who won the batting title and has an OPS near 1.150 at Coors. Seriously, does anyone have a rationale?

  10. Yes the lineup was ugly last night, but I think last night is not going to be common with this lineup. There are too many good bats from top to bottom. The bullpen on the other hand should cause more concern. We have many live arms, but not a lot of experience to really know what to expect. The lineup will be fine, but the bullpen is a question mark if you ask me.

  11. …it’s silly to claim I’m giving up.

    I made no such claim.

    As far as the two organizational narratives, they are both true. Based on what I have seen the last two years, the offense is grossly inconsistent. Scoring ten runs one night and one run the next is not what I consider a good offense. And, name any really good starting pitchers the Braves have developed in the last ten years.

    LOL. I didn’t say they weren’t true. I just said you like to harp on them.

  12. To be honest …If you only score one run, then you can’t expect to win too often. So losing last night is not a surprise.
    I’d second the notion that Holiday should have been walked. That was a prime opportunity to set up a double play.

  13. Stu,

    I will acknowledge that. Lawyers tend to harp on particular points ad nauseum I guess. :)

  14. I’m guessing Bobby didn’t want to put the go-ahead run on base.

    And, yeah, you shouldn’t expect to win by scoring only one run in that park against that offense, but as someone pointed out last night, you should expect to win when you take a lead into the 8th inning. I agree with Marc that the offense and Boyer share the blame for last night’s loss.

  15. And Jea, that’s the good to take away from this loss and the overall 3-5 start.

    At the end of the day, the one thing that landed us all those division titles and playoff appearances was starting pitching. We KNOW what we’re gonna get from Huddy & Smoltz. If Glavine and Jurrjens are also going to be extremely effective most nights out, then ultimately, we’d have to say we’re in good shape.

    It’s a lot easier to scramble at the trade deadline for a bullpen arm or two from the Royals, Rays, Pirates or some other out of it team, then to go find a top 3 calibre starting pitcher, as we found out last year.

    That’s why I laugh hearily when mr. Anti Brave Neyer makes the claim that we “didn’t have a contigency plan for Mike Hampton”. Really? What does he call Tom Glavine…some unknown chump?

    Frankly, I think the Braves probably go into every season ASSUMING Hampton will go down and just visualize a rotation without him. Before Hampton hurt his pinkie in the batting cage, I am sure Chuck James and Jo Jo reyes were already keeping suitcases packed by the front door.

    Ultimately, while I am not very happy with the bullpen losing 4 of our 5 losses, and the offense getting 1 run on Aaron Cook AT Coors Field, still, the starting pitching looks great, like the Braves teams of old that won on that notion.

    And seeing as Andruw’s hitting .208, the offense could be worse.

  16. wasn’t the go-ahead run at the plate? what’s the difference in being down 2-1 or 3-1?

  17. Let’s not forget that these Rockies are the same ones that made it to the WS last year. It’s really very impressive that our pitching only gave up two runs, as they have a pretty good offense.

    Still, it would be nice to see some consistency out of the offense. I imagine it’ll start to come around when Tex stops mostly sucking.

    And don’t forget: we get to play Redman on Wednesday!!

  18. Another non sequitur. Thorman 0 for his first 14 at Richmond. Li’l Pena 1 for 18 at KC.

  19. I’ll second what Brad said…

    AlexR…It is very true that getting a bullpen arm will be easier than replacing starting pitching. This is why I am not panicking. Our starters have been a pleasant surprise and if they continue then we will be in the race all year long. The bullpen can be fixed. Middle reliever options are going to come and go all season. Oh yeah, we are only 3-4 not 3-5. I know that was a typo, but I don’t want to give up today’s game already. :)

  20. #22

    mraver, that’s a fair point you make about the Rockies. I meant to mention that earlier.

    I would argue that the Playoff/WS run last year was not so much that this is some amazingly talented team, but rather they entered into a “zone”, but still, a loss to the W.S. runner up is a lot more palatable than the Pirates and Nationals.

  21. well, something named Ubaldo Jimenez is pitching tonight, so…I’m seeing 6 innings, 6 hits, 1 run.

  22. JoshQ,

    Whoops…sorry about that 3-5 thing. I don’t know why I was putting us at 5 losses already. :-(

    Now, as for the question that may invariably come up in this thread, I think it’s very reasonable to expect Glavine and Jurrjens to be able to keep up what we’ve seen so far.

    I see no evidence that they will suddenly stink – though I am sure they’ll mix in a few bad starts here or there. It happens, even to Johann Santana.

  23. what’s the difference in being down 2-1 or 3-1?

    One run, if my math is correct.

    wasn’t the go-ahead run at the plate?

    Yep. Look, I didn’t say I agreed with Cox’s reasoning. Someone just asked what the reasoning was, and that seems like the only possible answer to me. I doubt he just didn’t realize Matt Holliday was at the plate. (FWIW, statistics—not to mention common sense—point to the fact that a run is much more likely to score from first base than from the batter’s box.)

  24. I’m torn on the Phils/Mets game today. Do I want the Phils to lose because they’re ahead of us? or do I want the Mets to lose because I think they’ll be the bigger threat over the season? Ultimately I guess I want them to beat each other up and neither come out far ahead from their series.

  25. Alex R. Andruw is currently batting .115. To add to the Dodgers woes, Pierre is batting .067. How’s that for a power outfield?

  26. Yeah, but anything can happen in Coors. You have to manage differently. Utility infielders flick their wrists and hit HR’s, and Boyer had just given up a bomb last week to Nady.
    I’m certainly not letting their best hitter get a chance to hit there.

  27. well, something named Ubaldo Jimenez is pitching tonight, so…I’m seeing 6 innings, 6 hits, 1 run.

    The line sounds about right, but of course Jimenez had a 2.25 ERA in three post season starts last season so it’s not like he’s some unknown. He’s not bad.

    And, name any really good starting pitchers the Braves have developed in the last ten years.

    Kevin Millwood, but yeah you need to broaden that to include all pitchers. We can’t even fill out a bullpen with homegrown pitchers because the farm produces so little. We end up having to bring in scrubs like Resop, Ohman, Ring, etc. just to fill out the staff.

    I’m not going to get too worked up about the offense, it’s hard to hit when it’s 40 degrees.

  28. I’m certainly not letting their best hitter get a chance to hit there.

    We don’t disagree. Again, I was just responding to Nevin’s query on what Cox’s rationale could possibly have been.

  29. I’m torn on the Phils/Mets game today. Do I want the Phils to lose because they’re ahead of us? or do I want the Mets to lose because I think they’ll be the bigger threat over the season?

    I always root for the Mets to lose just because their fans take it so poorly. That’s a good time. Philly fans pretty much always expect the worst. And with good reason.

  30. Robert, funny that I had to read through all 32 posts before someone mentioned the weather. That factor alone is a large part of the explanation of last night’s offense on both sides. I’m really feeling pretty good about this team right now. Someone last night mentioned the man crush they had on Escobar and they’re not alone, Kotsay has been (so far) a welcomed change, I have no fear that Tex will heat up soon and on and on. Hey, we beat the unbeatable Santana 2 nights ago, with 4 innings of this Gonzo-less bullpen no less.

  31. Bobby lost the game last night. Boyer obviously needs some work on keeping the ball down, but I cringed when Cox left him out there to face Holliday.

    Bobby knows he’s bringing in Ohman to face Hawpe; why not set up the double play while taking the bat out of the hands of their best hitter, in a one run game no less? Inexcusable.

  32. Bobby knows he’s bringing in Ohman to face Hawpe; why not set up the double play while taking the bat out of the hands of their best hitter, in a one run game no less? Inexcusable.

    Atkins was up next, so it would have been two on with one out, Atkins against Boyer, Hawpe on deck. Most managers are not going to walk the go ahead run on base unless their name is Bonds or Pujols. Especially not in a doubles paradise like Coors Field.

    The real problem was the first pitch fastball right down the middle. I think Atkins would have had some fun with that too.

  33. Its too bad for Blaine Boyer that we traded Devine, at least then he could walk through the quiet and tense locker room, stop in front of Andy’s locker, and snark, ” At least they werent GRAND SLAMS, huh, yeah…. you heard me Devine… you heard me.”

  34. Andruw just seems to be on cruise control. It worked for him when he was first coming up, but it is starting to catch up with him now. I can’t believe how much he is struggling these days. The guy has an immense amount of talent and yet he bats .115.

  35. Eh, Boyer just got away from throwing his curveball after Tulowitski hit that double. They were sitting on the fastball.

  36. I think Robert makes a good point, Atkins wasn’t exactly a slouch hitter for them last year with a .300 average and 25 dings as I recall. So, as good Holliday is it’s not like you were getting to the pitcher’s spot by walking him, you were just getting a slightly-less-good-but-still-good hitter instead. You could certainly make the argument for walking Holiday, but I don’t think it was a totally obvious “have to do it” move.

    Oh, anybody else read the Maddux comments on Bonds not being in the Giants line-up? Basically said “I had to think about the line-up more, because you know if it’s Bonds and it matters, you just walk him. It was one more hitter to think about.”

  37. Well, to put into perspective about Andruw, my buddy Dave who used to live here in DC and is back out in his native L.A. + is a diehard Dodger fan, when the Dodgers signed ‘Druw, I asked Dave what he thought and he was NOT excited.

    If the opposition is thinking, ‘big whoop’ in signing Andruw, than that says it all right there.

    Even the Andruw defenders can’t continue to justify what he’s doing in Dodger land.

  38. I was just looking at the usa today baseball salaries listing and it has the Braves at $102M this year. I didn’t think we were much above 90? Are we getting offsets on any of that?

  39. USA Today is always wrong. In reality, I believe we’re south of $85 million. They’re probably counting Kotsay’s full salary and Hampton’s actual salary, among other things.

  40. I thought he threw the fastball on Helton

    It was a fastball. It was outside and should have been a walk.

    Guys, Andruw has played 7 games. He may not be totally used up just yet.

    Nonsense. You know the guy we really shouldn’t have let go is Furcal. .407/.500/.593! He’s going to be MVP this year!

  41. It was a fastball. It was outside and should have been a walk.

    Oh. I could have sworn that Gameday told me it was a curveball, but I’m likely just dreaming that up. I probably shouldn’t try to correct people who actually watched the game.

  42. Stu,

    To be fair, yes, he only has played 7 games. But then again, there was this assumption last year he couldn’t hit between .220 and .230 ALL season…and he did. Everyone “assumed” he’d get back to at least the .260+ range.

    Never underestimate the power of coming into camp out of shape, smirking when you strike out, and not playing at 110%.

  43. I wish I could watch a game and tell who is and isn’t playing at 110%. That’s like a superpower. Apparently smirk identification is a big part of it.

  44. Luckily FOX has smirk-zone so we never miss an after K smirk. Effort-zone was implemented but had to be shelved because it exploded whenever David Eckstein or Ryan Theriot played.

  45. Not only would it be a superpower to be able to determine who was playing at 11o%, but also a superpower to be playing above 100%, which is the maximum percentage you can give.

  46. Technically you can play at 110% effort, you just can’t play at 110% of your own effort. David Eckstein regularly plays baseball at 110% of Andruw Jones’ effort, for example.

  47. It was cold, our offense was slack & Boyer grooved a heater. Game over, move on.

    But, at some point soon, our relievers gotta get better or this one-run trend will begin to sap our souls worse than the loss column indicates.

  48. Ha ha…clearly it’s not a superpower, nor is it difficult to watch say Andruw play and Chipper play and have any casual Baseball observer judge who’s playing harder.

  49. Dix,
    Ever try to hit a baseball with a wooden bat at freezing-cold temperatures?

    You basically don’t wanna be out there.

  50. Anyways, time to get our act together and go back out there again tonight.

    We got Jair on the mound and if he does what he did against Pitt we can turn this around before it becomes a trend.

    The starting pitching has been very impressive, the bats streaky (except for Chipper) and the bullpen could use some help (ie. Boyer leaving fastballs in the middle of the plate).

    Let’s get back on track tonight.

  51. Indeed. ububba has the right of it, I believe. Shame the bats couldn’t wake up but it was a cold as hell night and early season at that. It was a night made for a pitchers duel (even in Coors.) Too bad we had to be on the losing end of that deal (and again with Glavine on the mound after he gives us a good start.)

  52. nor is it difficult to watch say Andruw play and Chipper play and have any casual Baseball observer judge who’s playing harder.

    Not hard at all. It’s the guy with the higher batting average.

  53. By David O’Brien

    April 8, 2008 1:36 AM | Link to this

    Maybe Bobby should have given Soriano the “night off” in the 10-2 victory the other day, huh?N8

    Agreed. Don’t know why he pitched Soriano in that blowout. Didn’t make sense.

  54. Soriano hadn’t exactly pitched a whole lot up to that point in either spring training or regular season games. You have to keep your pitchers sharp.

  55. Would Bobby have let Soriano pitch the 8th? That’s when Holliday hit the home run, wasn’t it? That Soriano was unavailable, if he was, has little to no bearing on last night’s loss.

  56. I thought I was down on Andruw over the years. I don’t really understand the animosity being displayed toward Andruw. As I recall, this wasn’t being displayed in 2005 and 2006; it seems to have started in 2007. I never thought Andruw was as good as many people but he was a MAJOR contributor to many division titles and I think it’s a little petty to be showing so much schadenfreunde for his struggles. And no one seemed to mind his smirk or his demeanor when he hit 51 home runs. Yes, it was tiresome watching him struggle last year but people seem to have short memories. And please don’t talk about how good Kotsay is compared to Andruw after seven games.

    As for Soriano, I assume he wouldn’t have been pitching the 8th anyway.

    Good points about the cold weather which I hadn’t considered. My apologies to the Braves hitters.

  57. I’m kinda wondering why Bobby is using Moylan in the 7th instead of the 8th. Isn’t he supposed to be the primary set up man?

  58. Read that one along with all the others. Neither team really borke out the bats thanks to some really damn cold weather.

  59. Ladies and Gentlemen:
    Your starting shortsop for the New York Yankees:

    Wilson Benemit!

  60. #71

    I am fully aware and fine with the fact that that post is directed mainly at me. And here’s my response.

    Andruw is someone who’s career has been defined by someone with immense talent, probably one of the 10 most TALENTED players in the game, yet has always (even in the good years) gone through long stretches O-fers, having a smirk on his face even has he walks back to the dugout after his umpteenth strikeout in a clutch situation, and frankly, someone as we have all witnessed, who has allowed himself to get grossly out of shape.

    Now, I am in the shape I was at 19 years old, so I will say that right off the bat. But if I was making millions of dollars to be the centerpiece, franchise player of a playoff contender, I’d probably be inspired enough to keep myself in tip top shape.

    Andruw SHOULD have been the guy to carry the franchise mantle after Chipper left. The line of succession went Murphy to Justice to Chipper and Andruw was the logical successor as the team and clubhouse leader.

    Yet why is a chunkier version of Andruw now hitting .115 with the Dodgers at age 31?

    You can not like my criticisms of Andruw, but my criticisms of him have remained consistent over the years. The part that has always made me so animous towards him is WASTED POTENTIAL. A guy at his age should be hitting .300 and among the league leaders in home runs, every year. Even his vaunted defense isn’t close to what it once was.

    So, Marc, I am always prepared to take shots in here, I wouldn’t make statements if I wasn’t prepared, but for me, and some others on here, watching a chunky Andruw in a Dodger uniform hit below the Mendoza line is a sad statement.

    Heck, in his contract year, the one year even Jeff Blauser always “stepped up”, Andruw hits below .230. Is that my fault? Shouldn’t he receive some criticism for this?

  61. As I recall, this wasn’t being displayed in 2005 and 2006; it seems to have started in 2007. I never thought Andruw was as good as many people but he was a MAJOR contributor to many division titles and I think it’s a little petty to be showing so much schadenfreunde for his struggles. And no one seemed to mind his smirk or his demeanor when he hit 51 home runs.

    This commentary is obviously directed at Alex, and I can assure you that Alex has never liked Andruw and has always minded the smirk. Go through the archives to see for yourself. While the validity of some of his criticisms may be questioned, you can’t deny that he’s been consistent.

    I’m kinda wondering why Bobby is using Moylan in the 7th instead of the 8th. Isn’t he supposed to be the primary set up man?

    He’s also the designated Gryboski, so when Glavine allowed a runner, Cox brought him in to try to get a DP. At least I assume that’s why that was done. (He’s used him this way in the past.)

    Agreed. Don’t know why he pitched Soriano in that blowout. Didn’t make sense.

    Just because DOB says it doesn’t mean it’s true.

  62. Exactly Coz, the cold weather affected both teams equally, so it isn’t an excuse for the Braves losing, which is my point.

  63. I didn’t say it did. Just thought it was interesting that the guy who covers the Braves 365 days a year and knows more about them than us combined questions Bobby’s bullpen moves too.

  64. “well, something named Ubaldo Jimenez is pitching tonight, so…I’m seeing 6 innings, 6 hits, 1 run.”

    was that suppose to be something or someone?
    If you dont know him, he’s way better than avergage. last years postseason – 16IP 11H 4ER 13BB 13K. regular season – 82IP 70H 37BB 68K 4.28ERA. The guy will probably hit 98-100

  65. …and knows more about them than us combined…

    Personally, sure he does. He’s no better at dissecting the games/strategies, though. (Hint: the latter is all that’s relevent here.)

  66. I am in the camp that thinks the best relief pitcher should pitch when the game is obviously on the line. Assuming that the closer is designated that title because he is the most reliable and most likely pitcher in the pen to pitch an inning without giving up a run, then he should pitch when the situation is most critical. Up one with one out in the 8th with the heart of the Rockies order batting, and a runner on second base to me is more obviously critical than up one with zero outs in the 9th and the 7-8-9 batters coming to the plate. That being said, I’d want to throw my “closer” out there in that 8th inning situation. That Bobby undoubtedly wouldn’t have done so even if Soriano were available is frustrating to me.

  67. #81

    Thanks, Stu. Besides Mac, you are the one person who would probably (maybe ububba?) qould be able to remember back that far.

    That being said, that prior to this Blog being started, I like every other Braves fan LOVED Andruw.

    In 1996, when Andruw exploded onto the scene, I felt like a kid watching this wide eye’d stud rookie burst onto the national scene in the World Series and etch himself in the history books forever.

    But probably by 1998 or 1999, I started to wonder would he ever go from “really, really good with an abundance of natural talent” to one of the best superstars in Baseball, ala A-Rod and Griffey – the stratosphere he should have gone to.

    And other than the 51 home run season (which based on his Batting average, I would argue that season didn’t achieve or match Griffey or A-Rod’s best) he’s never put it all together at one time, like we all kept hoping, year after year.

  68. #86

    Dix, I agree…it’s in fact a lot harder to pitch, mentally, in a situation with 2 runners on and 1 out in the 8th, then bases empty in the 9th.

    In reality, the set up man should or could be the team’s best reliever.

  69. I would have rather had Boyer and Moylan swapped, and had Moylan pitching the 8th. He is the ‘primary’ setup man, after all.

  70. I’m sure the answer to this question has been posted recently but I’m too lazy to go back and read….

    What is Mike Gonzalez’s status??

  71. He’s on the Mike Hampton list.

    Supposedly will be recovered sometime this season. I think he’s starting to do spring training-esque workouts now.

  72. I think when it comes to the Phils & Mets we should probably just rooting for them to beat eachother up, consistently.

  73. The Tigers were my pick in the AL Central.

    All I can say is I just won my brther’s work March madness pool by accurately picking Kansas over Memphis.

    I guess what this says is that sometimes, we can feel like complete idiots, and other times, brilliant sports prognosticators.

  74. Full disclosure:

    I entered around 9-10 sheets in about 4-5 pools. The Kansas over Memphis championship game was NOT my pick on any other sheet :-)

  75. Die, Mets, die.

    Dix,
    Nobody says the cold weather is an excuse for a loss, but it is an explanation for the light hitting in the game.

    Coldest game I ever attended was Game 1 of the ’99 WS. There was exactly one hard-hit ball that night—Chipper’s foul-pole-hugging HR off El Duque. I remember thinking, “It’s the WS and all, but I’d hate to be out there tonight.”

  76. Alex,

    Based on what you and Stu said, I apologize for implying that you were being inconsistent. I’ve never been Andruw’s biggest fan either but it seemed that a lot of people kept talking about him as an HOFer until last year,which I never thought he was. Still, he played through a lot of injuries and was a fabulous centerfielder.

  77. It’s too early to tell how anyone is going to do at this point, but Andruw is definitely an enigma. After his horrible season last year, he comes to Dodger’s camp 15 pounds or so overweight. Some of those extra pounds may be muscle, but it doesn’t look like it. I still hope he does well, but I don’t think the Dodgers will have as much patience with him as the Braves did.

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