Braves 8, Nats 1

Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – August 11, 2009 – ESPN

The Nationals were on a roll, but the Braves reminded them that they are the Nats after all, and handled them easily even with their best pitcher on the mound. The Nats scored first, taking the lead in the first with single-stolen base-single. The Braves loaded the bases with none out in the second, but got only one run as Diaz grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Then came an incident in the third when the Nats either ran themselves out of an inning or got screwed by the umpires, or both.

After that, it was all Braves. In the bottom of the inning, Prado doubled in Church, and then came home on a single by Chipper and error by the left fielder. They broke it open in the fifth. The returning Omar Infante (the Braves have been de-Diorified, at least for now) scored on a ground-rule double from Church, Church scored on a McCann single after they pitched around Chipper (with a lefty, so it was justified, this time) and Yunel doubled in Chipper to make it 6-1. Chipper hit a long solo homer in the seventh, and Norton, of all people, scored on an error in the eighth to reach the final score.

Tommy Hanson gave up seven hits, but only one was for extra bases, and that was a fly ball misplayed into a double by ACHE. While his velocity was off, he made up for it with a particularly sharp curveball, and struck out nine while walking nobody. He only had one inning, the first, where he was getting into deep counts, and pitched until it was two out in the seventh. Bobby yanked him basically as soon as he reached 100 pitches (actually, 101) but he didn’t seem to me to be tired. Just caution on the Braves’ part, which is good. O’Flaherty stranded an inherited runner, then blew through the eighth, striking out two. Acosta, of course, came in to pitch the ninth, and of course stunk, allowing a hit and a walk and causing Bobby to get Gonzalez up, again. If Carlyle isn’t ready, can we try Nunez?

110 thoughts on “Braves 8, Nats 1”

  1. Had the Marlin’s game on Gameday while watching the Braves on TV…

    Either home plate umpire Adrian Johnson is a Marlins fan, or Gameday was waaaay off, because there were little green dots, denoting balls, all over the strike zone while the Fish were hitting.

  2. Hey, no-hitter for Cory Rasmus in Danville.

    Cody Johnson hits #27.

    Also, Gwinnett has just taken over first place in their division with another win over Durham. Diory Hernandez was 2-for-3 with a walk.

  3. Incidentally, I could be wrong, but I believe Carlyle is not on rehab assignment anymore and is officially on the Gwinnett roster, although I guess that doesn’t really mean much. Regardless, he won the game tonight, striking out five over two innings in relief before Gwinnett hit back-to-back homers in the ninth to win, so it seems like he’s pretty much ready to me. Nunez has also been pitching well most of the year and I agree that he would be better than Acosta, too.

  4. You know Prado has finally made it when he misplays a hard hit ground ball into a double and Mac doesn’t even mention it in his write up of the game. Congratulations, Martin!

  5. It feels good to beat Washington after the letdown against them last time, now lets finish them off and kick some Cheesesteak butts this weekend.

  6. The Braves play much better against the Nats in Atlanta than here in DC and they play the last four games of the season against them in Atlanta. That’s good.

  7. Now at least Soriano has had three (3) !!! days off in a row. With Thursday also an off day, it might be best to work him one inning tonight, even if not needed. Then, he will be sharp, but not heavily worked as we start on the Phillies.

    O’Flaherty and Logan have been good pickups and have justified Wren’s decision not to stay in on Ohman (but it sure looked dangerous at the time).

  8. I like the use of O’Flaherty for more than 1 inning. That helped to give Moylan a night off (unless he warmed up?).

  9. I like the use of all relievers for multiple innings. Innings dont matter as much as appearances for them. Anyways, did they ever give us a distance on Chippers HR? It was easily 450+

  10. Not overlooking the Nats, but right now it is looking like the match-ups with the Phils will be:

    Fri: Hamels vs. JJ
    Sat: KK vs. Blanton
    Sun: Vazquez vs. Happ

    At least we avoid Lee. He looks like the kind of lefty buzzsaw that has generally been our kryptonite.

    Plus, we’re coming off of an off day, and the Phils are heading straight in from Chicago.

    Huge, huge series

  11. I would like to be tied or with in a half game of the Marlins when the Phills roll in.

    Huge game tonight, it could really set the tone for the weekend.

  12. Colorado plays at Florida this weekend, so the Braves need to really take care of business against the Nats today and then the Phillies.

  13. Exciting times right now. I’m still holding out on some optimism, but I like the way our team is constructed and the way they’re playing. I have no bones about winning the Wild Card; let’s just get to the playoffs. Things are looking pretty good right now.

  14. Boss gave out a 4 tickets/parking pass to tonight’s game today to the first person who e-mailed back to ask for it… I missed it by less than 30 seconds. A friend got the tickets, so that’s cool… but it’s my younger son’s birthday and I really liked the idea of a free game with him.

  15. sure would be nice to have this same team next year adding Heyward and subtracting Anderson/Norton. Dont think we’d have enough funds to keep Vasquez, Hudson, Soriano, and Gonzo

  16. As it stands, our “big questions” for next year are largely:
    “Who is playing 1st Base?”
    “Who is closing?”

    right? We have extra pieces in the starting rotation to deal with, but barring a brain failure by Wren we should have a set, good, rotation. McCann, Chipper, Escobar, KJ, Prado, McLouth, Diaz, and Church are all “booked” for the year right? (depending on arbitration costs and such)

    That leaves a little wiggle room in the OF for Heyward to come up or not and still have a passable outfield. We may or may not bring back Soriano and/or Gonzo, but even if neither of them come back we’ve got internal options that can hold together the pen even if we don’t have any official “closer”.

    2010 is looking like it should be a good season.

  17. I know we always talk about Chipper missing time (and he does)… but he’s actually been in more games this year than anybody else on the team.

  18. This is the time of year I get so confused. Is it really that clear cut to root for the Cubs to beat the Phillies? I just like it when the Pirates beat the Rockies. There’s something we can all get behind.

  19. Also, and I know it’s only in 61 plate appearances, Ryan Church has posted a 1017 OPS since the All-Star break. He’s doing a lot more than merely not being Francoeur, at least when he plays.

  20. dont see Schafer starting in MLB at the start of next season. They’ll want to see him healthy and producing again before they give him that job

  21. Yeah, with McLouth on the ML team I think Schaefer spends ’10 in Gwinnett. Heyward seems more likely to be on the team in ’10 to me than Schaefer does. I think the org wants some maturity and seasoning for him in AAA to build up the plate discipline while we have a good enough CF to hold us over (McLouth is signed through next year right?).

  22. The biggest decisions of the off-season will be:

    (1) Do you exercise Hudson’s option?
    (2) Which of KJ/Prado do you trade (it’ll be KJ), and what do you get back in return? An elite reliever?
    (3) How many of GA/Church/Diaz do you bring back? In other words, how much do you count on Schafer/Heyward breaking camp and playing well next year?

    Of course, this is also pretty speculative, and I expect something weird that no one expects to happen and have a major effect on the club’s outlook going forward. :-)

  23. Im going to guess or starting OF is Heyward/McLouth/Church with Diaz as the 4th. Im guessing Vasquez could get moved for a 1B, if not, Huddy’s optioned may not get picked up. Then again KK or even Lowe could get moved if we pick up some of the $$. Good thing is it should be a pretty active offseason once again and the core is better now than last year

    for the cost I think you keep Prado and move/release KJ

  24. BFedREc at 54,

    It isn’t a hole (which I agree, you have identified fairly well), but it is a “question” for sure.

    Which expensive starter do you NOT have and how do you get there. We have to add back for almost half of Hudson’s salary coming from insurance this year. So we are roughly 5 million up if we hold all of our starters (well, maybe a little less depending on how they account for KK’s bonus).

    Another is “who to offer arb to”. I would offer both Gonzo and Soriano. Odds are if neither shows more signs of being hurt, that both can get a better multi year deal than what the Braves would want to offer, but we would get some picks. I think they look for a move like Wuerth and then go with “the remaining roster bunch” of Moylan, O’Flaherty, Logan, Medlen, and whoever sorts his way out of AAA, AA and A (maybe Kimbrel?). That will free a little money.

  25. Is anyone listening to Rome? A friend just texted me that ACHE was on. Rome asked him how he liked ATL and he said “different.” Rome said different as in good? ACHE apparently said “no.”

  26. #67
    Exercise Hudsons option.
    Neither KJ or Prado is traded. Prado at 1b. If KJ becomes bad KJ play Infante
    Bring Church and Diaz back your outfield is complete save for a platoon partner for Diaz.
    Heyward starts in AAA with Schafer who actually has more to prove than Heyward. Heyward comes up in late May.
    In the meantime you look for a right handed outfielder with power.

  27. Jermaine Dye is a right handed outfielder with power. He’ll be 36 next year so a short term deal might do it. And I doubt the White Sox try to bring him back after signing Rios.

    I’m more curious who they bring in for first next year. Unless they aren’t as optimistic about Freeman as it looks like they are I don’t see anything more than a one year deal to hold the spot for 2010. Given LaRoche’s age I don’t see him taking a one year deal since this needs to be his big contract. (Unless he jumps at arbitration which I don’t see them offering.) I’d put Nick Johnson in that same boat though with his injury history the market might dictate that he can only get a short term deal.

    Looking through the list of 2010 free agents there aren’t a lot of good options. Either washed up has beens or never was.
    The only good looking option would be Russell Braynan but it sounds like the Mariners want to give him a long term deal.

    I don’t know if Prado retains as much value as an everyday first baseman so I’d expect to see a trade this off season for somebody because I don’t think Barbaro is going to get a long term look.

  28. I highly doubt Anderson just said on air that he doesnt like Atlanta. Im not buying it

    in other news, Hardy just got sent down and Alcides Escobar is getting his shot. Pretty much kills any value Hardy might have this offseason. Seems like they’d wait until rosters expand, guess not

    I dont think the Braves will give Barbaro a shot either

  29. For the benefit of an occasional reader who didn’t see the game, who exactly is ACHE?

  30. I’d say Tommy’s chances are pretty slim. if Happ qualifies (I think he does) then he’s going to take away a lot of Tommy’s thunder in that discussion. I think he’ll get votes, but as rarely as pitchers win it, AND with guys like Garrett Jones and Andrew McCutcheon out there (even with minimal playing time Jones is probably more likely than Hanson)… just seems Tommy’s not likely to win it.

  31. ACHE is Garret Anderson. Early in the year, when McCann was struggling or out, Bobby hit Anderson cleanup even though at the time he was hitting under .200 with no homers. I named him Anderson, Cleanup Hitter Extraordinaire.

  32. Outside of the financial considerations, all of this talk about starting Heyward off at AAA in ’10 is nuts. Put out a few stories in the press about the possibility of keeping him there to avoid super 2 status, then sign him to a Longoria type deal (17.5 million over six years plus three option years), sit back and watch him rake.

  33. Colby Rasmus has cooled off, plus he is now sitting a two or three nights a week. McCutcheon would be a solid choice.

  34. How are the Braves doing on signing their draft picks? I can’t find any word on us signing Minor yet. Saturday is the deadline, correct?

  35. Frank Wren is lucky:
    Griffey rides into the sunset in Seattle.
    Smoltz wants 5 million more.
    Furcal likes SoCal.
    Peavey doesn’t really like Southern cooking.
    Omar Minaya is dumb.
    Frank Wren is a freaking genius:
    Javy Vazquez for who?
    The Pirates are ripe for fleecing, although this deal may end up working out for them.
    Kenshin Kawakami.
    Getting a real live living breathing ball player for Jeff Francoeur.
    Didn’t care about sentiment or pub relations and released Tom Glavine.
    Didn’t succumb to the temptation to trade the future away for the likes of Matt Holliday.

  36. I don’t understand why that “bigger bonus than Francoeur” line keeps getting trotted out there. Of course it’s bigger. Minor was selected 7th; Francoeur was selected 21st. Bonus figures have escalated since 2001.

  37. #84, we’ve signed all of the first 4 rounds picks at least.

    Hanson only trails Happ, Randy Wells and McCutcheon in VORP. Considering we still have 7 weeks left of the season, there’s plenty of time for him to put in a good claim, especially if we get involved in the playoff race.

  38. Stu, I trotted it out only because it was mentioned at the time… not knowing anything about the significance of it one way or another (though inflationary theory would seem to imply that it should’ve been bigger than Frenchy’s)…

    My Mets fan friend has been happy with Francouer so far… looks like they may have gotten ’05 Frenchy so far, and with all their OTHER problems anything that’s not “he’s hurt” is probably good news.

  39. I don’t understand how discussing starting a player who has never played above AA in AAA next year could be considered nuts.

    Some people are getting waaaaaay ahead of themselves here. Imagine if we had signed Andy Marte to a $20 million contract when he was at the point that Heyward is at right now. Pretty stupid, no? At least wait to see what he does in spring training next year.


  40. 2010 you need to fill two primary holes.

    Anderson will be vacating LF which means you need a corner OF. You have a few not-insane options before looking at a trade or free agency.

    If Heyward is ready, you shift Ryatt Diurch over to LF and play the Manchild in RF. If Heyward isn’t ready but Jordan Schafer is, you leave Diurch in RF and shift Nate McLouth to LF.

    If neither Heyward or Schafer is ready you can shift play with a Kelly Johnson/Omar Infante platoon out there, assuming Prado starts at 2B.

    All of those players are under team control for next year. Diaz, Church, Johnson and Infante are all 3rd-year arb cases. Prado is 2nd-year arb. McLouth is under contract through 2012. Schafer is a contract renewal and Heyward hasn’t even started his arb clock.

    The next big question mark is 1B. The options there are more limited. LaRoche is a free agent next season. If you resign him you’re effectively blocking Freddie Freeman for the length of that contract. But Freeman is NOT Jason Heyward and it’s foolish to project him as a starter in 2010. If one of Schafer or Heyward fills in the OF slot you can continue to play Prado at 1B but that’s not an optimization of his skill set.

    Cody Johnson has played a little 1B as well, but he doesn’t project any faster than Freeman. 1B is an open question.

    The other factors to consider are the previously mentioned question of Hudson’s option. I like Hudson well enough, but I’m not sure I commit $12 to him next year. I’d prefer to extend Vasquez personally, but I have always like Vasquez.

    The other major roster construction/payroll consideration is the status of Yunel Escobar. No, I am not suggesting he should or will go anywhere. I am noting that he is arb eligible next year and the Ryan Howard precedent looms large over his compensation package. We often assume Escobar will be ‘cheap’ through is arb years, but if I were his agent I’d be trotting out his numbers in comparison to other SS’s and asking for no less than $8 mil per in arb next year.

  41. Sam,
    Yunel’s only arb-eligible next year if he’s a Super 2, which he apparently will not be.

    Also, Infante is under contract for 2010 (not arb-eligible), KJ will only be in his second arbitration-eligible year, and Prado will not have enough service time yet be artibration-eligible.

  42. Good points, Sam. I’d like to reiterate what you said regarding 1B and Freddie Freeman. Freddie has not hit that well since his promotion. Until he does well at AA, it’s silly to address 1B with the fear of blocking him.

    Sure, he’s a fine prospect, but you’re absolutely right: he ain’t Jason Heyward. He’s a normal prospect who needs a more normal progression through the system.

    Since he’s most likely about 2 years away, I see no problem giving LaRoche a 2-3 year extension, as long as it’s reasonable.

  43. Andy Marte’s minor league career with Atlanta:

    Year Age Lev PA BA OBP SLG OPS
    2001 17 Rook 148 0.200 0.306 0.272 0.578
    2002 18 A 542 0.281 0.339 0.492 0.831
    2003 19 A_adv 541 0.285 0.372 0.469 0.840
    2004 20 AA 467 0.269 0.364 0.525 0.889
    2005 21 AAA 460 0.275 0.372 0.506 0.878

    Jason Heyward’s minor leage career with Atlanta:
    Year Age Lev PA BA OBP SLG OPS
    2007 17 Rook 43 0.302 0.354 0.488 0.843
    2008 18 A-A_adv 471 0.316 0.381 0.473 0.854
    2009 19 A_adv-AA300 0.337 0.413 0.597 1.010

    Jason Heyward is not Andy Marte. He is performing far better than Marte and he’s doing it a year earlier per league.

  44. Stu, could you email me your service time/arb eligibility calcs? I am processing from Cot’s contracts page and that’s a blunt instrument on arb clocks.

    I agree Jason. You have to go into 2010 thinking about constructing a roster that can fit Heyward or Schafer in, should they play themselves onto it. You don’t need to give that same level of consideration to Freddie Freeman. As you point out, he’s struggled mightily with the adjustment to AA – he’s hitting a meagre 268/331/393 at MS. I wouldn’t shy away from a 3 year deal with LaRoche just to keep a slot open for a 19 year old kid with a 724 OPS in AA. If Freeman adjusts and moves up faster than a potential contract for LaRoche you can address that as a trade when the time comes.

    I’d also be scouring the trade markets to see what sort of 1B I could find in exchange for one of my starting pitchers.

  45. Sam, I don’t have your email address, but I’ll note that (a) RotoWorld is way more helpful on arbitration stuff (at least timing issues) than Cot’s, and (b) generally speaking, I’ve found that a guy needs 2 years and more than 120 days of service time before getting in Super 2 range. (Yunel is very close—I assumed earlier in the year that he would qualify, but apparently it’s been reported that he will not.)

  46. The Braves don’t need to trade Kelly Johnson. He is starting to come around. He may not be a starter, but Chipper will miss time every year and the braves would be better using Prado at 3B with an Infante/KJ platoon at 2b for when Chipper gets hurt or has to miss time.

  47. Scanning through Cots spreadsheet (linked @99) I see a troublesome fact about Yunel. He is represented by Wasserman Media Group. That’s the same Wasserman Media Group that screwed the Braves over in the Furcal mess this winter, the same group that John Schuerholz swears he’ll never do business with again.

    Pete Moylan is represented by Wasserman as well.

  48. Yunel is represented by the same agency that represents Rafael Furcal. But Yunel is the type of player that makes you break a vow to never work with an agency again.

  49. Eh, tempers flare and things are said. I doubt the FO will let an old grduge with a player agency keep them from fielding the best possible team.

    Especially given how their screwing with us worked out in our favor.

  50. You must not have been hanging around here during the Furcal Fiasco, Sam. Believe me, that fact did not go unnoticed.

  51. I’m also curious to hear of anyone’s experience with a Roku box.

    As far as goes, however, if you already have an internet connection, wouldn’t you just connect your computer to the TV? I believe you have to pay for the MLB.TV service either way.

  52. re: 106 – I took my laptop & connected it to my TV with a VGA cable (though I know not all TVs have VGA input). Ran RCA cable from headphone jack on computer to my receiver, and it worked great.
    I don’t have a Roku box, but get Netflix stuff through both xbox 360 & tivo (btw, if anyone has an xbox live acct & wants to send me a friend request, let me know). It would be cool if you could stream through xbox/tivo as well as roku…

  53. @106

    I’ve been doing that all season. Works beautifully.

    To be honest, I don’t really know what the Roku is (past the general description), but if it’s not broke…

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