Braves 5, A’s 2

ESPN – Athletics vs. Braves – Box Score – May 18, 2008

Joseph Reyes passed a test for me today. He gave up a solo homer to my archenemy Bobby Crosby (it’s a long story) in the first, and in the second it was walk-single-walk to load the bases with none out. He got the the pitcher, big whoop, but then got the leadoff man and Crosby to keep the score tied at 1-1. He wound up going five, leaving with a run in and a runner on second in the sixth, and so he has to get over that hump, but he pitched his way out of a jam, and that’s good to see.

The Braves got their first run through a two-out McCann double in the first, but Francoeur couldn’t get a hit after him to score two more runs. Escobar singled in two runs in the third to get the lead, but then it was Hibernation Mode again in the middle innings. Finally, Chipper (who hadn’t had a hit in like, seven at bats, a major slump) singled, followed by a Teixeira double as the first two batters in the eight. McCann hit a hard grounder unfortunately right to the drawn-in second baseman, and Francoeur struck out, but Infante (pinch-hitting for KJ) tripled to score two runs.

The bullpen had been walking the tightrope since the sixth, two good innings from Bennett, followed by Boyer having to pitch around a two-out triple in the eighth. Ohman and Acosta finished the game. It was, again, not a save situation when Acosta entered, and the scorer got it right this time.

Three hits for Escobar (who really does seem to hit righties better than lefties, maybe it’s a Cuban thing), two for Blanco, and one each for everybody but Francoeur. Eleven hits in all for both team — it was a whole lot of baserunners. It was fun to watch the other team have trouble with runners on base for a change.

For some reason it’s an off day before a fake double-header Tuesday, even though the Mets also have tomorrow off.

102 thoughts on “Braves 5, A’s 2”

  1. Nice win today; good to take 2 of 3.

    Re Rome Braves chatter on last thread–they’ve been bad, but they’re more than a year younger than league average and they have a bad record in one-run games (something like 2-14). Most of the pitchers have been decent (a couple have good peripherals even if only so-so ERA). With some first half experiene and a better luck in one-run games, they might have an ok second half. Cody Johnson has struck out nearly one of every two ABs, a staggering statistic.

  2. “they have a bad record in one-run games (something like 2-14)”

    Gee, I wonder what that would be like.

    I think they’re next-to last in runs scored, and something like fifth-to-last in ERA.

  3. Why is Bobby Crosby your archenemy? Maybe playing bad in one-run games is an organization thing

  4. It’s not really a long story, or much of one. I made a trade for him in a keeper league, and he keeps getting hurt and underperforming, but he’s not bad enough to cut or good enough to trade, so he just stays on my roster year after year and drives me crazy while I keep importing one-year shortstops to fill the hole.

  5. Reyes was pretty good. Starting to get his Ks, and has really cut down on the walks.
    And he is not giving up many hard hit balls. Thats 2 starts in a row where he could be considered hit unlucky.

    I have a very bad feeling about Campillo as the #5 starter. Whats Bennett done to get in the doghouse?
    And I think thats 20 scoreless ip for the bullpen.

    And does Acosta have a case for a bigger raise in arb because he is getting screwed out of so many saves?

  6. I’m just sitting here thinking, who in the pen is going to lose their job’s when Smoltz, Gonzo, and Soriano return. Stockman will be the 1st, Resop 2nd, I like Ring against lefties, but I think he’ll go before Ohman.

    Is it possible that Pena has lost his job due to fluke injuries and Corky keeping his spot two years in a row?

  7. Minor correction: Boyer pitched around a one out triple by striking out someone named Georgio Petit (sounds made up) and Daric Barton. Both on curve balls.

  8. Theory: Bobby is trying to keep Acosta’s save total down so that he will stay cheap.

  9. It is kinda weird that in a 3 run game that Bobby would bring in Ohman to pitch to one batter, then let Acosta finish. He has done it several times now.

  10. I think Bobby will try anything to preserve a win, even play an exaggerated version of match-ups….cant say as though I blame him.

  11. @#9 I really think the Braves are just soured on Pena, dont know why, the guy can hit. I think its partly due to the fact the he doesnt really play any of his positions well defensively. IMHO

  12. Ah, winning. I like this.

    That’s interesting about who goes when Smoltz, Gonzo, and Soriano get back. Orrrrr… do you trade one of the three (Gonzo or Soriano, of course) in a package for a starting pitcher. Of course, usually contending teams go for closers, and contending teams usually don’t trade good starting pitchers.

    Also, both of those guys are coming off of injuries, so until they pitch well for a while, their value will be low. However, with Boyer, Gonzo, Soriano, Smoltz, Acosta, Ohman, Ring, Stockman, we may wanna turn that depth into some starting pitching.

  13. “#14 Mac Thomason Says:
    May 18th, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    I thought that all they had were lefties.”

    Haha.

  14. Apparently, my reaction to the Infante-for-KJ pinch hit move was about the same as that of here:

    “WTF is Cox doing?!

    … oh, nice!”

    :-)

    It’s weird ’cause Infante doesn’t have a platoon split. At all. He sucks against both types, but more interestingly, he sucks equally. Weird.

    I was also sort of annoyed with how Cox used the ‘pen. It’s not a huge deal since tomorrow was an off-day, but I figured he could have left in Boyer for the 9th and saved two pitchers.

  15. After last year’s IL debacles, I’m happy to know ATL took 2/3 from a decent AL team. Aside from the Hudson meltdown, the staff is still holding up.

    I was in Atlantic City for the past 2 days, watching corpulent Phillies fans puttering around The Borgata in rented scooters as big as bumper cars. They might was well just hang signs around their necks saying, “I’ve given up—now get out of my way.” Sad sights all.

    Let’s go, Yanks, tonight.

  16. At this rate it doesn’t look like Smoltz will be back any time soon, and I’m sure by time Soriano or Gonzo come back, another reliever will need to see time on the DL. Not being a pessimist here, just a realist. I guess my point is, never count on too much depth (see offseason talks about this year’s rotation) until you actually have all of that depth healthy.

  17. for those of you that didnt know, smoltz with a setback. also, do any of you think that it’s weird that there has been nothing said about mike hampton in quite a while? i have a theory: mike hampton is dead and he’s been voodoo cursed like that guy on weekend at bernie’s. he only comes alive to phil collins’ music. think about it, has anyone actually SEEN him pitch since spring training or has it just been “footage” of him pitching. even the footage has been gone of late. maybe, like it happened to everyone about 20 years ago, the phil collins’ music’s finally losing its magic.
    http://www.ajc.com/sports/content/sports/braves/stories/2008/05/18/smoltz_0519.html

  18. Fun game to attend, especially with the pooch. I hope the Wolfhound that howled the whole game came through on TV.

  19. Wow, I have two listings on the Braves Journal Glossary. I guess if you hang around long enough that will happen.

  20. The Indians have a ton of pitchers, wonder what we could get from them for Lilibridge?

    Based on his ML play earlier this year, not much.

    It’s weird ’cause Infante doesn’t have a platoon split. At all. He sucks against both types, but more interestingly, he sucks equally. Weird.

    Infante doesn’t have to have platoon splits to make him hitting for KJ beneficial. Infante could hit RH and LH equally well but if KJ has a platoon split such that he’s worse than Infante against LH then such a platoon could make sense. I’m not saying I think KJ is worse against lefties than Infante (who, I agree, pretty much sucks–though not as much as Woodward and Orr), just that the person to look for the platoon split for is KJ.

  21. I can hit enough to carry third. Trade Lillibridge…

    But in all seriousness, Smitty might be on to something. Cleveland has NO closer. They’re running Joe freakin’ Borowski and Betancourt out there. They got a big bag of suck out there in Peralta’s .221/.276/.429 line, and they have Carmona, Sabathia, Lee, Byrd and Westbrook, and they got Jeremy Sowers out there in the pen. I can see a Lillibridge (not that I really wanna deal him) and Gonzalez and a mid-level prospect getting us something decent (Lee? Please?).

  22. The Indians obviously aren’t going to trade Carmona, Sabathia, or Lee.

    Second base is actually a bigger problem than short, where at least Peralta is hitting for a little power. Their second basemen are Cabrera and Carroll, and both have been awful. They probably don’t realize how bad their offense really is. They’re 14th in average, 12th in on-base, and 13th in slugging, but somehow ninth in runs. That won’t last.

  23. I’m not saying I think KJ is worse against lefties than Infante (who, I agree, pretty much sucks–though not as much as Woodward and Orr), just that the person to look for the platoon split for is KJ.

    …and the opposing pitcher. If you are facing an absolute lefty killer, it might make sense to get Infante in there. That wasn’t the case today as Embree has pretty mild splits.

  24. There’s a very limited number of things I wouldn’t do to see Jeremy Sowers in a Braves uniform.

  25. It’s nice that Joseph pitched out of trouble, but I don’t see 5 innings and 8 hits as being anything to write home about. At best, it’s a marginally acceptable start and he got bailed out by the bullpen. Whatever the complaints, this bullpen has actually pitched pretty well given the lack of innings from the starters.

    Another k for Francouer with men on base? Gee, that’s a shock.

  26. Let’s hear those things, Stu. Just kidding.

    What’s the deal with Jeremy Sowers? Is he up there with your Erik Bedard and… I think Rich Harden affinities?

  27. @38, It was so obvious they were going to throw him one eye-high for the K that I was able to astound and amaze my neighbors in the stands by predicting it. The Amazing Kreskin would have been proud.

  28. Re lousy offense in Cleveland–in limited action Andy Marte has compiled a .294 OPS. Makes Orr seem Ruthian in comparison.

    BTW, Salty at about .675 OPS in limited time for the Rangers.

  29. Sowers was possibly the single most important recruit in the history of Vanderbilt’s baseball program. His 3 years were basically the foundation of Corbin’s awesome building job.

    Plus, he’s a really good dude and a useful pitcher.

    (PS: It’s Blanton, not Harden I like, although he doesn’t come close to my Bedard-love.)

  30. Lillibridge is vastly overrated amongst Braves fans. He OPSed .758 with 119 strikeouts and a subpar walk rate between AA and AAA last year. He hasn’t really done anything at the upper levels to suggest that he’s an everyday player at the big league level — and he’ s blocked by a better player in Escobar. I’d swap him for a serviceable starting pitcher in a heartbeat.

  31. Sowers could be a decent mid-to-back-of-the-rotation guy. Problem is, we’ve got like 5 guys that meet that description already in Braves uniforms. When trading for a young pitcher, you generally do it as a move for the future rather than an immediate help thing. Maddux is probably a much better fit than Sowers, although I’m not convinced Maddux would be a very good addition, either. I just think Sowers would cost too much in a trade, and that if we’re going to spend young talent to get pitching, we should try to get some top-teir pitching.

  32. The problem is that no GM in their right mind would trade for Lillibridge for a decent starting pitcher. Just looking at his picture might make them worry about being indicted for trafficing minors…That said, if the Mariners were dumb enough to trade Soriano for HoRam, then anything is possible….

  33. I think we’ll have to trade for someone who could be a decent starting pitcher, but isn’t, for whatever reason. I’m sure the scouts have more than a few names lined up. Any guesses at what they are?

  34. mraver,
    Just to be clear, my desire for Sowers is almost completely emotion-driven. As a rational matter, I agree with you.

    Stephen,
    At least he was still striking guys out when he wasn’t putting them on base.

  35. I think that Hanson will be fine. In fact, it is probably a good thing when a pitcher has to struggle some as he advances through the minors. I would rather have a pitcher get used to facing adversity in the minors than discover it in the majors….

  36. Reyes still has a ways to go for my tastes. I haven’t been too impressed yet…he’s like a chubby Chuck James to me. Speaking of which, do you guys remember when Belushi took his sunglasses off before he kissed Carrie Fisher in “The Blues Brothers”? He’s Jo-Jo’s twin! When I see Reyes, that’s what he reminds me of…a mud splattered John Belushi.

  37. The Tigers are definitely regretting the Renteria trade right now. He has a .650 OPS, an OBP below .300, and their rotation is in shambles. Their best pitcher has been someone named “A. Galarraga.”

  38. In my opinion, we need a LF who has some power more than we need another starting pitcher.

  39. Yeah, Stephen, I believe the struggle will be good for Hanson as well. Let’s hope he will make the necessary adjustment quickly!

  40. Psh, yes, that would add some power very quickly.

    I think our rotation is fine. Hudson and Jurrjens obviously have been very good. Jo-Jo has been a pleasant surprise so far and has been decent. Tom Glavine is still Tom Glavine. We can probably find a fair enough 5th starter from what we already have. When we get some of our injured pitchers back we won’t even need the starters to eat innings every night, with the bullpen having 7 reliable relievers.

    However, unless Francoeur starts to hit, we don’t have a corner outfielder with any power.

  41. That said, if we’d only have to give away a mid-level prospect to get Greg Maddux…I’d do it.

  42. In truth, we just need a couple guys to come around and allofasudden, we’ve got an elite offense (I mean, it’s already near the top of the league, but Chipper’s bound to cool off at some point.)

  43. The Chipper may ‘cool off’ but the amazing thing is that he is really continuing the way he hit during the second half of 2007. I really wonder what his current ceiling is–if he can just stay healthy. It would make the season for me if he could chase .400.

    In any event, if he stays healthy I see him as a force all season long….

  44. In short, the offense needs Tex and Frenchy to turn around, and the pitching needs to get healthy. Starting rotation may need one more veteran starter. Can’t get simpler than that.

  45. …and Stephen reminds me…we can all throw this season away if Chipper AND Smoltz are both out for extended period. We are surviving without Smoltzie right now, can’t live without Chipper.

  46. Why not sign Bonds? Even if we get 90 games from him, thats way above anything we will get on the trade market..

    OOh don’t like roided guys? How do you feel about Schafer?

  47. Well, Godot, we still don’t know what’s the deal with Schafer yet. With Bonds, it’s pretty much a fact.

  48. KC–I agree: how nice it would be if Tex came back to his second half of 2007 form; it would be great to see Frenchy regain his power.

    On another note, I think that Jo Jo is very different pitcher than James. He arrived in Atlanta at an earlier age and has much better stuff. I think that he probably has a better body (if he can keep the pounds off) for pitching than James as well.

    I was also impressed with the way he handled the 2nd inning. As a young starter Jo Jo will get in trouble–and in some games lit up pretty good. It is worth remembering that Smoltz, Glavine, Avery, Millwood and Maddux (though not with the Braves) got hit hard at times. I don’t see Jo Jo becoming as good a pitcher as the big three, but I think he has a chance to become a quality starter–and ultimately one that will eat some innings…

  49. I honestly can’t see Chipper chasing .400 — as great as he’s been, he’s had a whole lot of bloops and bleeders find empty spots on the diamond. As much as I’d like to believe that they were all on purpose, I have to admit he’s had a fair amount of luck so far this year.

    But I don’t see why he can’t continue to hit .333 or so from here on out. He is, after all, the best hitter in baseball….

  50. I know that it is a stretch to see him chasing .400, but a batting crown and a monster year are not out of the question. Still, its early and fun to dream…

  51. I think Chipper will hit at least .340 or .350. He seems to be hitting the ball hard, and the longest he goes is like 7 at bats without a hit. The fact that hes hitting .410 almost 50 games into the season is pretty amazing

  52. i may be senile. but hudson is only slightly more consistant than old chuck james. for every start that wow’s you. there is a head scratcher and a pedestrian outing.

    as for chipper. 1/7 is my ideal cold streak. maybe in the future we could see about furcal again at ss and escobar to 3rd. just an idea? or vice versa. as long as mark kotsay is in cf im fine.

  53. I like the way Bobby has moved the order around. We were all against Kotsay in the one or two hole, but the way he is hitting, I am for it.

  54. #53 – Jo Jo will have games where he’ll struggle, but I like the fact that he’s made some adjustments for the better. James is the same as he was when he first arrived and every team has figured him out. If he cant throw his change ups for strikes, they just sit and wait on that 88 mph fastball. Jo Jo now has 3 above average pitches and it looks like he can throw all 3 for strikes now, if he can keep the walks down then he’ll be a very solid pitcher.

  55. please dont compare Hudson to Chuck James. I dont see how anyone would want Furcal at the price he’ll get this offseason. He’s a good player and he has plenty of tools, but he’s becoming injury prone. If you take away Tex’s potential power and replace him with Furcal, our lineup becomes very weak.

  56. shouldnt there be something in the glossary called a Frenchy or a Diaz when someone strikes out swinging at pitches in the other batters box, or is that the only two players that we have that will do that

  57. Our rotation is currently pitching better than they should, whereas our lineup is currently playing worse than they should. Which leads you to think that eventually it will be our rotation that needs the help, not the lineup.

    Also, for the love of God, stop comparing Hudson to James before you make my head explode! That’s like the third person that’s done that over the last day and a half. There is absolutely no comparison whatsoever.

  58. 50 games in and only 2 games out with a pitching staff put together with duct tape and baling wire.

  59. Nick,
    I think it’s Ben who keeps making the comparison over and over. And, yes, it’s insane.

  60. So. Any decent corner outfielders that can be had on the trade market? To me, this year’s line-up screams for a McGriff type trade to ignite the offense.

  61. bwarrend,
    That’s the reality of the standings. Another reality is that we just haven’t been very good at winning games.

    Strangely, our pitching has been…kinda good.

    But I’ll play Pollyanna & be relatively grateful that no other club has run off with the division already.

    Met fans will be on a high today. Here’s to knocking them back down this week.

  62. That’s what’s great about it. Neither the Mets nor Phillies have played to the hype, and the marlins haven’t played very many games against teams with winning records.

    We could go on a run like in 2005 where we took control of the division since those teams allowed us to hang around.

  63. bwarrned

    don’t forget…we also have a guy that Bobby wants to get into 120 games this year…

  64. As much as I want Tex to be heating up, it drives me bonkers when the guy gets a two game hitting streak and people cry out “oh, he’s turning the corner!”

    I wish Bennett was starting tomorrow instead of Campillo…

  65. doesnt McDowell deserve some credit for the way he’s helped Reyes and the way the rotation is performing. Actually the bullpen has been pretty dominant as of late too

  66. I think McDowell deserves far more credit than anyone here will ever be willing to give him. It’s a tough job taking over for a legend, and while his first year or two were kind of shaky, he’s settled in and is doing very nicely this year.

  67. Campillo is starting tomorrow? Awesome. Between Glav and Campillo you will never see so many change ups. Hopefully the Mets are vulnerable to low to mid-80s junk.

  68. I don’t think we need to trade for bats. Assuming Teix will turn it on (which is a relatively safe assumption) and hoping that Frenchy will start hitting — then that’s at least the equivalent of a McGriff type of trade to jump start things.

    Whenever the bullpen gets fully healthy, then we will have some extra pieces to deal. Who knows what we’ll get for them (if anything).

    Chipper could hit .400 if Smoltz told him to. heh heh. Seems like Smoltz should just tell his shoulder to heal at this point.

  69. OK, folks, what would you think of…

    …trading for Ben Sheets?

    He’d be a half-season rental, and he’s injury prone, of course, but he could be the ace we need for a playoff run, and he wouldn’t cost too much precisely because of the fact that he’s a half-season rental. I’d bet the Brewers will be open to trading him. And I think it’d be worth the risk on the Braves’ side.

  70. Why would the Brewers be open to trading him? They haven’t given up the season yet. And they wouldn’t just give him away, injuries or no.

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