Jeff Bennett, proven closer game thread

With the news that Soriano is getting an MRI and that Gonzalez had a “minor setback”, we actually need Smoltz in the pen. The closer role is cursed, I tell you — cursed!

132 thoughts on “Jeff Bennett, proven closer game thread”

  1. Let’s hope that Hudson can pick up where he left off last time…for the Braves sake, and also, for my fantasy team’s sake.

    I’m coming into town tomorrow for the Radiohead concert at Lakewood and decided to hit up the 1pm game since my friends in town will all be at work all afternoon anyway. Should be quite a pleasant day.

  2. Maybe we should call Resop the closer. I don’t mean make him the closer, just call him the closer.

    That way the curse might fall on him instead of Smoltz.

  3. Maybe we should call Resop the closer. I don’t mean make him the closer, just call him the closer.

    Well, when he comes in I know the game is over. That’s close.

  4. I’m going to the game in a couple hours, going to the gaaaaame in a couple hours… *picture an unco-ordinated fairly tall, fairly chubby, fairly bald white guy doing a dance*.

    I’m a weeeee might psyched about getting to go to another game, with very nice seats, for free.

  5. The ‘pen has been a disaster of Biblical proportion so far. I mean 40 years of darkness, earthquakes and volcanoes, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. Real Old Testament stuff.

    I’m afraid the moment Smoltz steps into the ‘pen, a meteor will strike him down.

  6. Stu (from previous thread),

    You said that if Blanco could match Kotsay’s production, then it was essentially Devine+other guy+$2M for nothing. Just a few points:

    1) It’s not really nothing. If Blanco is starting, who is our back-up outfielder? Josh Anderson. Blanco + Kotsay is much better than Blanco + Anderson.

    2) I think Kotsay’s defense is far superior to Blanco’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kotsay still had more range, and he’s got an absolute cannon. As we talked about in one of the earlier threads, you can’t quantify how much a great arm means to your team, but I would submit that it’s substantial.

    3) If Kotsay’s healthy, I think he’s going out-hit Blanco. He’s doing it already. Kotsay is leading just barely in OPS+ (122 to 118), but I’d take Kotsay’s power over Blanco’s discipline considering our 1-2 punch is pretty solid, and Kotsay is replacing someone with excellent power.

    I see your point that Blanco is pretty close to Kotsay, except Blanco didn’t cost anything to get. I just don’t think it’s that simple, so that’s where those points come into play.

  7. Radiohead, nice.

    They’re not playing a real gig here—just 2 nights at Liberty State Park, which is a super-pain-in-the-ass to get to. Great view of the city and all, but getting there & leaving is a real prove-your-love endeavor.

  8. Smoltz has been the only guy immune to the curse in Braves closer history.

  9. Rob,

    Again, I’m not saying Blanco is as good as Kotsay. I don’t know, and it would take more than a couple of weeks of playing to come close to knowing.

    Also, if Blanco were the everyday CF, I believe Brandon Jones, not Josh Anderson, would be our 4th OF. And I believe Blanco + Jones is probably as good or better than Kotsay + Blanco.

    The point about defense is fair and I wasn’t really taking that into account—although I believe you overstate Kotsay’s edge there—but if that’s the only thing separating them, I have trouble believing that defensive advantage is worth as much as Devine + other guy + $2 million. (Also, FWIW, isn’t OBP generally considered the more valuable half of OPS?)

    The ‘pen has been a disaster of Biblical proportion so far.

    The bullpen has posted an aggregate ERA of 3.97. You might be overstating that a bit. (Now, if they keep logging a ridiculous amount of innings, I believe there could be serious problems later in the season…)

  10. Brandon Jones can’t play all OF positions. What happens when Blanco needs a day off? Throw Frenchy out there, I guess. I would hope that the front office would allow Jones to get consistent ABs like he is right now and have Anderson, who can play all three outfield positions, on the roster.

    I know there’s a systematic approach that says that OBP is more valuable than SLG in terms of OPS, but I would say that’s more dependent on lineup context in our situation. I would rather have Kotsay’s power than Blanco’s on-base ability with our lineup. Johnson and Escobar get on-base at tremendous rates, and I’d rather have someone with power near the end of the order. So, generally, yes OBP is more valuable, but not from our CF at that spot of the order in our lineup.

  11. More on Jason Heyward, this time from BA’s Jim Callis:

    Chris (Boston): Jim, I see that Jason Heyward has been tearing the cover off the ball, but what do you see as his long-term position? Is he athletic enough to stay in the OF, or will he require a move to 1B as he moves up the ladder? And what do you see as his ceiling…MVP-type, All-star, or average regular?

    Jim Callis: Yes, he can play the OF. I think it’s hard to slap the MVP-candidate tag on a guy just starting his career, but if you’re willing to do it, you can do that with Heyward.

    The legend continues to grow…

  12. @13,

    Because Wohlers was that if he struck Leyritz out, he might get drunk and run over Wohlers with his car.

  13. Now, if they keep logging a ridiculous amount of innings, I believe there could be serious problems later in the season…

    You think that maybe our four best relievers (Soriano, Moylan, Gonzalez, and, gulp, Smoltz) being on the DL might amount to a serious problem in the here and now?

    Sorry, I don’t mean to attack you with sarcasm, but I don’t think he was talking catastrophe in terms of ERA, but rather in complete injury panic. And considering the way we’ve been treating Boyer, I don’t think the injuries are completely finished.

  14. Brandon Jones can’t play all OF positions. What happens when Blanco needs a day off? Throw Frenchy out there, I guess. I would hope that the front office would allow Jones to get consistent ABs like he is right now and have Anderson, who can play all three outfield positions, on the roster.

    They wanted to make sure to have a 4th OF who could play center specifically because of Kotsay’s injury history. Besides, with the LF platoon back in force, Jones would see plenty of regular ABs.

    I would rather have Kotsay’s power than Blanco’s on-base ability with our lineup. Johnson and Escobar get on-base at tremendous rates, and I’d rather have someone with power near the end of the order.

    I still don’t understand why you think so. If the studies show that OBP is like 1.4 times more valuable than SLG, generally, it seems like it would take a pretty unique lineup configuration to offset that advantage.

  15. And considering the way we’ve been treating Boyer, I don’t think the injuries are completely finished.

    Well, you know I agree with that statement.

    But I still don’t see the reason for panic (yet) when the bullpen has pitched so well as a whole. It’s not like those are the result of the 4 guys you list, either, as they have combined for only 9% of the total innings logged by the ‘pen. My point stands: It’s early to call it a disaster.

  16. In fact, it seems like the bullpen has pitched better as the injury disaster has gotten worse. When everybody was there at the start of the season, they were terrible. Hopefully this means that everybody has settled in and all we need to do is add Smoltz or Gonzalez (or Soriano, if he ever gets back) in the closer’s role and we’ll be good to go.

    (feverishly knocking on wood)

  17. braves nl rankings: overall pitching.
    whip- 1
    era- 1
    hr’s allowed- 1

    yes, the pitching’s been good.

  18. yes, the pitching’s been good.

    A lot of that is schedule (and with the Padres in town it’s not changing yet), but it’s still impressive.

  19. re: 8

    Yeah, I saw them last time they came to Atlanta in 03. It was, as you would expect, awesome. I was on the lawn that night, though. Tomorrow night I will be in section 102, Row K. Easily the best seat I’ve ever had at Lakewood. I. Cannot. Wait.

    Also pretty excited about hitting up the afternoon game tomorrow beforehand.

    Should be a great day.

  20. Man…reading that article just reeeeeally makes me wanna move Tex before the deadline.

    It’s not about the fact that Salty and Andrus might not amount to anything. It’s about the value that Tex has now. I know there is absolutley no chance that the Braves organization will move him in the middle of a pennant race, but I still am just having a hard time justifying getting nothing in return from such a valued commodity.

    Maybe I’ll feel differently when we’re in 1st place…

  21. Douglass,
    Have a blast. Here’s to a Braves win & Radiohead rocking “The National Anthem.”

    Not sure if I’ll make it to see Mr. Yorke & the boys this time—still love the new album, though.

    My next 2 big rock shows are in June: REM at MSG, then the very next night it’s My Morning Jacket at Radio City.

    It ain’t rock, but I’m also kinda psyched about going to Movement, Detroit’s Electronic Music Festival, Memorial Day Weekend. And yes, the Tigers are in town (vs Minnesota).

    I, too, like to mix my music & my baseball.

  22. he stepped towards third but his upper body was going towards home, close call, but I’ve never seen a balk to third before

    meanwhile, terrible throw from Chipper

  23. HA, thats what he is……however he’s clearly rattled and needs to throw some strikes here

  24. I really hate to see umps who feel like they are part of the show. When Huddy raised his arms after one pitch, the ump came around McCann and out past home plate and was yelling at Hudson. thats a joke…

  25. Well, we can thank the Padres for that. No need to throw Kotsay a strike with Huddy coming up

  26. With the way Ronnie Reags went out, Alzheimer’s and all, suddenly the Land of Confusion video is kinda disturbing.

    Ububba, I think you’ve said in the past you live in Brooklyn, yes? Me too. Where? I’m in Prospect Heights. Maybe watch a game some time. Didn’t know Radiohead were playing at Liberty; yes, a pain to get to.

  27. anybody else notice on mlb.tv that Sciambi’s and Simpson’s voices can be heard for a couple extra seconds before they cut to commercial? right now when Frenchy grounded into a DP, right before they cut to commercial you could hear Sciambi say “that was ..” and then it cut off. Any guesses on what he said? I’m guessing ‘that was terrible’

  28. Was at work today here in Atlanta – met an older couple from Massachusetts who called themselves “lifelong Braves fans.” I didn’t make the connection immediately, but the more they talked, they talked of going to Boston Bees games in 1938 and 1939.

    Amazing! I talked for about half an hour and was blown away!

  29. It’s a little early to go into hibernation mode, even if it’s the Padres…

  30. That’s what I like to see in the middle innings with a lead — Hudson won’t have to run the bases, but he made Wolf work for the out.

  31. tex dove for one and it went off his glove, but they probably wouldnt have made a play anyways

  32. what did Cliff Lee do this offseason???

    tonight 5IP 3H 0BB 5K era for the season .084

  33. No, Mac. The ball bounced off of Teix’s glove, and KJ just had to retrieve it. If Teix had let it go, KJ probably woulda made the play, actually.

    Ugh, Francoeur.

  34. It’s weird, ’cause after his first AB, I was thinking Frenchy had a good approach at the plate after taking some pitches while the zone was getting squeezed. So much for that.

  35. the only positive thing I see out of Frenchy pulling this kind of crap (no pun intended) is that he’ll have to settle for a contract of equal or lesser value than what McCann got. I hated him for not coming to an agreement on a deal before the season but you get what’s coming to ya.

  36. It was my understanding that he wasn’t offered a deal — he was publicly upset about the team unilaterally renewing his contract.

  37. I’m probably in the huge minority, but I also think Yunel’s bat flip is big time bush league and I’m surprised he hasn’t gotten drilled between the ears yet.

  38. I don’t know if it’s bush league, but, as I’ve stated before on here, it annoys me, too, Chief. If I were an opposing pitcher, I’d probably enjoy plunking him.

    That said, I still love that we have him.

  39. My understanding was that Francoeur was offered a deal yet again this past offseason, and when the two sides couldn’t meet, the Braves renewed him.

  40. Soriano had MRI today and everything looked good according to Joe. However, you dont have an MRI when everything is fine

  41. I think pinch-hitting is the right move, although I’d like it more if I didn’t know this meant Boyer was going to pitch next inning. :-p

  42. Ok, Greg. This one at-bat determines how you will be forever perceived by BravesJournal. No pressure.

  43. Hey, Greg Norton!

    Good work, KJ.

    Nevin,
    I live on the north shore of Long Island, a beach town called Bayville—home of of a certain “Piano Man.” Moving to LIC soon, however. Got lotsa friends in the 718, for sure.

  44. granted the hit was a rocket and Diaz had to let the ball pass him before he could run, but to answer your question No

  45. Nice debut, Norton!

    That was sort of an unfair criticism of Yunel by Simpson — with the catcher blocking the plate, exactly what options was Yunel supposed to be apprising Diaz of?

  46. Nice inning, boys. No Wickman to blow it for Huddy now.

    Nevin,
    And yeah, next time the Bravos are in town, maybe we can scrounge up the NYC peeps & make our stand.

    RobBroad4th & I went to a Shea game last year, and yes, he does somewhat favor Larry Wayne Jones.

  47. This will be Boyer’s 19th appearance of the season. It will tie him for second in the league with Saul Rivera; Rivera’s teammate Luis Ayala has 21.

  48. I think Cox has hit on a stathead use of the bullpen.

    Since middle relievers are so volatile from year to year, when he finds one who is good, just run him into the ground while the going is good, and find a new one the next year.
    2007 : Moylan
    2008 : Boyer

  49. I imagine the call to the bullpen goes something like this:

    “Hey, did Boyer’s arm fall off yet?….No?….Sweet, warm him up!”

  50. ell, atleast its 8 pitches and done. He didn’t have many pitches yesterday too. small mercies

  51. Brian McCann is rocking.

    Just keep him away from Ruiz and Feliciano and Dobbs

  52. Everyone is in a hurry. Looks like they want to catch all of the Lakers’ game

  53. What’s Macay McBride up to? He started one game and pitched 1 inning for Toledo according to b-r. Did he get hurt?

  54. Why are we pulling out of Richmond?

    Cos the Diamond is a shitty park now, and the owners weren’t ponying up for a new stadium

  55. #111

    The AAA team is moving to Gwinnett County. However, they’re waiting until the stadium is finished before officially pulling out of Richmond.

  56. May has been a lot better than April so far, can we just play all our games at home??

  57. Are the Braves trying to make their footprint as small as possible? First the TBS thing and now pulling out of Richmond too? Also, we can’t fill the Ted out as it is. Why put competition so close?

  58. I’m befuddled

    Witha 3 run lead, has to be one inning or tying run on deck ( or at the plate, not sure )

  59. It wasn’t. He didn’t pitch a full inning.

    1. You can either pitch the last 3 innings for a save regardless of score.

    2. You can pitch the last full inning if the score is within 3 runs for a save.

    3. You can get a save if the tying run is on-deck, e.g Bennett last night.

  60. I don’t think Mac was messing with me because Acosta did not meet the requirements. From the rulebook:

    Saves:
    Rule 10.20 in the Official Rule Book states:
    Credit a pitcher with a save when he meets all three of the following conditions:
    (1) He is the finishing pitcher in a game won by his club; and
    (2) He is not the winning pitcher; and
    (3) He qualifies under one of the following conditions:
    – (a) He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning; or
    – (b) He enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, or at bat, or on deck (that is, the potential tying run is either already on base or is one of the first two batsmen he faces; or
    – (c) He pitches effectively for at least three innings. No more than one save may be credited in each game.

  61. #127 – yeah thats actually right, I forgot you have to pitch the full inning. Espn has already given him a save, but I guess thats incorrect

  62. I always thought the scorer had the freedom to award a save if the pitcher who closed out the game pitched, in their estimation, exceedingly well, even if the situation did not fall under one of the normally defined cases for a save. The sort of thing where you come in with say a 2 run lead in the 8th, your team stretches it out to a much larger lead, but you strike out the side in the 8th and 9th. I wouldn’t think Acosta tonight would merit that, and I think its rare that a save is awarded due to pure dominance, but I seem to remember Rivera or BJ Ryan picking one up that way in recent years.

    Ububba: would love to catch a game sometime. You can get me offline at theBourbonCowboy@hotmail.com.

    -Nevin

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