Braves 7, Marlins 5

Florida Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – August 23, 2009 – ESPN

Brian McCann gave the Braves the lead in the first, and when they blew it, he gave them the lead back in the eighth. The Braves got walks from KJ and Chipper in the first inning, and after falling behind 0-2, Brian lifted one into the stands in right field to give them a 3-0 lead. Unfortunately, Derek Lowe was pitching. Lowe was already lucky that he got out of the first inning unscathed, giving up a single and a double but getting a GIDP to avoid a run. In the second, he gave up a double, a single, and a walk, leading to two runs. In the fourth, he gave up two one-out singles, then KJ botched a relay at second, all hands safe. (It was probably not a double play ball.) The next batter lined an 0-2 pitch into the gap for three runs. For some reason, the box score is representing this as one earned and two “unearned” runs, but this is a mistake. Only one of the runs should be scored “unearned”.

The Braves got one run back in the bottom of the inning; Diaz doubled, and Lowe and Infante had back-to-back singles. But they couldn’t get the tying run across, and left a bunch of runners on: two on, two out in the third, two on, one out in the fourth, bases loaded, one out in the fifth, two on, two out in the sixth. It’s very trying to watch. Diaz tripled with one out in the seventh, and came home on a sac fly from Gorecki, who had been one of the major culprits in the earlier failures. In the eighth, Infante and KJ walked, and Chipper followed with a swinging bunt to make it second and third, one out. The Marlins drew in the infield, and McCann lined a single (against a lefty) for two runs. They had a chance for more, but Yunel hit into a double play.

Medlen pitched two hitless innings in the sixth and seventh. Moylan got the win; after giving up a leadoff bunt single, he gave up a liner that Yunel caught and doubled up the runner on. Soriano gave up a one-out hit in the process of getting the save… Though the teams had the same number of hits, the Braves left eleven men on base, the Marlins only four. That’s partly because of three double plays and two Marlin runners getting thrown out on the bases, partly because the Braves had eight walks, the Marlins only two… Francoeur sucks.

310 thoughts on “Braves 7, Marlins 5”

  1. Huge win today for Atlanta. I’m almost starting to believe.

    I’ll take the 2 out 3 that they’ve been getting but I would love to see a 7-10 game win streak at some point here.

  2. Smoltz striking out the side in the second. Just doesn’t look right in Cards uniform but dealing tonight – good to see.

    I think I have a man crush on Matt Diaz.

  3. I wonder if the Braves would consider replacing Lowe with Hudson, especially if he remains ineffective in his next start.

  4. On the Braves? McCann?

    If we can keep winning series, we can push it up to or past 90 wins (at one point, that sounded impossible, I know.)

    This team isn’t exactly lovable and I’m not sure I can say it’s really a whole lot better than its 3 main WC rivals. Still, it’s played good ball for awhile now. For the moment, I’ll keep the expectations reasonable: Meaningful baseball in September.

    BTW, looks like Smoltz found a team he can beat, the Padres.

    He’s up 4-0 after 2 IP & he has 4 Ks so far.

  5. It’s a matter of definition, but KJ debuted ten days before Brian in 2005. You could say it’s not continuous, while Brian’s is. If Hudson is activated, he’d be the longest tenured… The only other current Brave who was on the team in 2005 was LaRoche, but he doesn’t count.

  6. Lincecum and Jimenez are locked in a pitchers duel. 2-1 Giants, Rockies batting in the bottom of the 7th.

  7. HAHA. I was under the impression that Bruntlett hit into a triple-play. Ha! Francoeur made three outs with one swing of the bat. Ha! And it ended the game! Ha!

  8. Great win. It was nice to see the fans into it.

    I checked the “condensed” version of Friday night’s game and, sure enough, my uncle and I are in a few shots in the ninth inning, looking pissed off and wet after waiting out the rain delay. I’m sure I could get some better looks if I subscribed to MLB.TV, but it’s probably not worth it.

    I’ll have some very blurry Facebook photos of Chipper and me at any rate.

  9. Smoltz is yet another piece of evidence for everyone who says the NL is a much weaker league than the AL. Guy gets blown out of the water in the Junior Circuit, starts blowing people away in the Senior Circuit… or just look at Javy Vazquez this year.

  10. Huge win!

    I got to listen to the game on the radio on my way back from South Carloina. Don Sutton and Jim Powell are great to listen to!

    sounds like Escobar had a great day with the glove.

  11. “Blowing away” a team with a crap hitter at every position but one in an extreme pitcher’s park doesn’t seem like much of a feat to me.

  12. @18 – Not necessarily AL vs NL here. More like San Diego vs THE REST OF BASEBALL when you consider that lineup.

  13. Oh I agree, Alex – just pointing out that today doesn’t really count as a data point.

  14. @21

    Hard for me to smile about that play. I can’t stand Francoeur, but I hate the Phillies even more. Living in the Philly area when you root for another team will do that to you.

  15. Asked about the triple play, Mets RF Jeff Francoeur responded, “I’m just glad I didn’t hit into a rally killing 3 run homer.” Mets manager Jerry Manuel nodded his head vigorously in agreement.

  16. In fairness to Francouer, if the runners aren’t going that’s probably an RBI single.

    But yeah, (nelson)Ha-Ha!(/nelson)

  17. I will say this. I am actually really happy about Smoltz today. He has always been my favorite player. My favorite of all time. It bothered me to see him like he was in Boston, today made me happy, almost wish he would just walk away after today!

  18. “Sunday, 5:45 PM

    AP

    NEW YORK—In a season marred by injury, the New York Mets suffered another loss in the wake of their afternoon defeat by the Phillies, when they were forced to place their entire fanbase on the DL.

    “My passion was feeling a little balky going into the game, but I felt fine when we started hitting Pedro. I never liked that guy,” said fan spokesman Vin Lazzaro. “Then when Francoeur hit into that triple play — my God, I felt like I was going to die.”

    Team owner Fred Wilpon responded to the latest injury by issuing a statement assuring fans that Omar Minaya’s job was safe.”

  19. Is Diaz one of the full-time starting corner outfielder at this point? And is ACHE gonna come back or get DL’d?

  20. He’s really the only starting outfielder we have, what with a minor league lifer and a shortstop manning the other positions. So I guess he better be a starting corner outfielder… He’s been, per PA, the fourth-best hitter on the team this year, after Chipper, McCann, and Yunel, and actually the difference from Yunel was so small that today’s action might put him ahead.

  21. 35,

    That’s good news. Javy Vazquez has no business pinch hitting in the seventh inning.

  22. Can somebody explain to me what the harm of KJ taking some flies in the outfield would be ? This should happen whether or not somebody goes on the DL.

  23. @23 – Cliff Lee’s last 3 starts in the AL before being traded:

    7 IP – 2ER
    9 IP – 1ER
    9 IP – 1ER

    And in 3 of his 5 starts for the Phils, he has pitched against the Giants, Diamondbacks, and Cubs.

    I think it is safe to say he was a bit hot before he came over to the NL. He just continued his hot streak over here. I would agree that the AL is the superior league, but everyone knows that your ERA is going to drop when coming over here (especially without an automatic out in the 9th spot). I would also argue that there isn’t much difference in the top teams from that league, and the top teams in our own. The big difference comes in the teams below that. Their mediocre and bad teams are MUCH better than ours. I remember we could have easily taken 4 of 6 from the Red Sox.

  24. In the bottom of the first inning in the Mets/Phils game, Pagan hit a ball into the LF gap & it lodged underneath the OF wall’s padding.

    Victorino ran over, saw that the ball was stuck & raised his arms, looking for the umps to declare a ground-rule double. No call was coming & Pagan raced around the bases for a HR.

    Even though it was only 6-1, Ibanez gave Victorino a look like he wanted to kill him.

    Not sure if that qualifies as Awful Umpiring or Presumptuous Outfielding.

  25. According to Baseball Tonight — hardly an unimpeachable source, I know — Victorino was right and Ibanez screwed up. The proper play was to call out the umpire to verify that the ball was stuck and that it was a ground-rule double. But once the ball is put back in play, that no longer applies. It’s a dumb rule, but what can you do?

  26. #43, I’m pretty sure it happened to us in Philadelphia a year or two ago where Burrell threw his hands up, got the call and it cost us a run as the guy on first had to hold at third.

    Hudson scheduled to start on September 2 according to mlb.com, which would be Tommy Hanson’s turn in the rotation.

  27. I still can’t see who I blame on that Victorino play. I want to blame Victorino just for personal reasons, but I don’t know. Who I want to blame is whoever decided to make the outfield wall like that. Can we just make stadiums that don’t have stupid ground rules that create unnecessary controversies? What does that little crevice at the base of the outfield wall add to the stadium? Aesthetics? Functionality? No.

    Of course, Victorino could have easily picked that ball up, fired to the cut-off man, and easily kept Pagan at second. I could see if it was hit into right-center, and he was worried about Pagan getting a triple, so he tries to get the ground rule double angle, but it just looks like Victorino is being lazy.

    Either way, get the stupid hole out of the outfield wall and this doesn’t happen.

  28. That’s possible, but you almost never see a triple on a ball hit to left-center. Victorino also has a great arm. But you’re right; Pagan could have made third.

  29. I watched that Victorino play live & when he put up his hands, he just assumed he’d get the call—he quit looking at the ump & quit on the play.

    Some time passed until the ball was put into play, and Pagan was already headed for third. From what I understand from the Met TV announcers, the ump never made a move to call a ground-rule double.

    Either the ump was too slow at the switch (Awful Umpiring!) or Victorino took too much for granted & just now pulled his head out of his own ass.

    As the ump never gave a call & the runner never stopped running, I’m not sure how Ibanez gets blamed for that one.

  30. Apparently, the umpire has to come out and physically inspect the ball to make sure it’s out of play. If that’s the case, Victorino did the right thing. It takes a while for an umpire to run 300 feet. Ibanez forgot the ground rule.

  31. And if the ump runs out to inspect it & decides it’s not out of play, then the OF is SOL.

    Given the circumstances—it was 6-0 Phils—I think Victorino should’ve picked up the ball & tried to prevent the triple. (While I was watching the play, I thought: “Why bother? You’re up by 6—pick up the ball.”) As was readily apparent soon after, the ball was lodged, not stuck.

    But the funniest thought occurred to me in Francoeur’s last AB. The Mets had rallied to get within 2 and I thought: “Wouldn’t it be hysterical if Frenchy hit a 3-run, walk-off HR here? So many good things can result from it.”

    Of course, that notion’s hilarity factor was quickly trumped.

  32. 18

    I’m going from memory here but didn’t at least two of Smoltz’s Boston starts come against the NL? I know Was lit him up. And on the subject I remember the Sox bullpen blowing a b
    10-1 lead for him as well.

    Can’t argue recent interleague success of the AL, but the disparity has more to do with the DH in my mind than anything else.

  33. I think that the problem is twofold: That there are more really bad organizations in the NL, and that of the big-city teams that should drive the league, only the Dodgers are smart while the Cubs and Mets are dumb.

  34. The Cubs are really dumb. I think their new ownership may change things, but there is no real reason they should. They sell out every game and their fans buy tons of stuff. They make too much money to win.

  35. “I think that the problem is twofold: That there are more really bad organizations in the NL, and that of the big-city teams that should drive the league, only the Dodgers are smart while the Cubs and Mets are dumb.”

    I completely agree with all of this, but the flip side is also true: there are more really well-run organizations in the AL, especially from smaller markets. Leave aside LA, NY, and Chicago. Usually the AL produces a Tampa, Minnesota, Oakland, Cleveland, and/or (now) Texas to compete with the big market clubs. I see little future for a number of NL teams, while in the AL, only the Royals look hopeless. Even Baltimore and Seattle have begun to lay solid foundations.

  36. @58 I agree

    In the NL the Pirates and Reds are on par with the Royals. Then you have the Nats and the Padres that are passing in the night (Nats better Padres worse) followed by the Cubs and Mets that just throw money att problems and get fans to buy stuff. That is six teams that are poorly ran, where in the AL it is three or four.

  37. The D-Backs don’t look too good either, though that may be a fluke. I have a feeling that in a couple of years the Astros will be in Reds Country. That’s half the league.

  38. Let’s see, ranking the NL organizations:

    1. Phillies
    2. Rockies
    3. Dodgers
    4. Braves
    5. Marlins
    6. Cards
    7. Giants
    8. Brewers
    9. Astros
    10. D-Backs
    11. Cubs
    12. Nats
    13. Mets
    14. Padres
    15. Reds
    16. Pirates

    That’s pretty arbitrary; I only feel strongly about the top and the bottom of the list. There’s a big drop after the Dodgers, and another one after the Padres. And the Reds have done the single dumbest move this year, the Rolen acquisition.

  39. Peter Moylan has really come around. The last earned run he allowed was on July 12. He’s gone 19 appearances 9 (17 innings) since then and has allowed just two unearned runs. His turn around has been critical.

  40. I also hate that the NL is held with a distinct dis-advantage in interleague play. I mean, AL teams are built with an extra bat (not a reserve/bench player, but a real bat). It is hard for the NL to compete with a bench player acting as their DH.

  41. Moylan had 14 walks in his first 26 appearances in April and May. He’s walked 11 in 42 appearances since June 1.

  42. I agree Mac,

    When the Astros move Oswalt for trash that will drop them down quite a bit.

    I think the Nats have done well for themselves in the last couple of months, but the Bowden years have really hurt.

  43. Yes, it’s the latest, greatest win. But we’re going to need a bunch of them. (Those 2 in LA were pretty good, too.)

    The DH
    Everyone should use their glove, everyone should have to hit. The DH just sucks for a variety of reasons. If MLB really wanted to shave time off games, dumping the DH would be a great place to start.

    #64
    This year’s indignities simply won’t stop

    With this season, I think the Mets have overtaken the Jets in the woe-is-me derby. You gotta give it to the Mets—when they suck, they do it with flair.

  44. “The Wild Card,” says John Kruk on Baseball Tonight, “is the Braves’ to lose!”

    I genuinely appreciate his enthusiasm, but it seems Ol’ Krukie hasn’t seen a newspaper in a while.

  45. I hate John Kruk, but only because he was the face of the 1993 Phillies. That was one of the ugliest teams I’ve ever seen, with their guts hanging out and their chew running down their chin. They were clearly the villains. When they beat the good guys in the playoffs, my nine-year-old heart broke.

    How do you not hate this guy?

  46. On the whole “NL vs. AL” thing, I think they’re basically the same anywhere outside of the AL East. The AL East is a whole lot better than any other division in baseball, but I don’t look at the teams in the AL West or AL Central and think, “Those teams could blow away anyone in the NL”.

    When pitchers from the AL come to the NL, they get one more free out per trip through the lineup and don’t have to face what are possibly the three best teams in baseball anymore. If Roy Halladay were pitching anywhere but for the Blue Jays (or, I guess, the Orioles), his numbers would be insane. Well, more insane than they already are. That he’s pitched as well as he has over the past few years given his level of competition blows my mind. Heck, you put the Jays in any other division and allofasudden, they’re in the hunt for a playoff spot.

    But no. I think the Braves or Marlins or Rockies could compete for an AL Central or West crown. I think the Phillies right now would have like a 40% shot of winning a 7-game series with the Yanks or Saux or DRays.

    Look at it this way. Do the Rangers really blow you away? Well, they’re competing for the AL Wild Card. Mostly because they get to beat up on the mediocre teams in the AL West for most of the season instead of playing the legitimately elite teams in the AL East.

    So I guess it’s just more of an “AL East is better than everyone else” thing for me.

  47. I think the Angels are a product of a few timely visits from the luck fairy and career year wizard. Offensively, at least. I don’t think their line-up is really even close to as good as that of Boston, New York, or Tampa Bay. The AL East is just flat out the best division in Baseball. The AL West and Central are probably numbers 5 and 6, but fairly close to the NL divisions no matter how they rank.

  48. The Angels have scored the most runs in the game. They have a team OBP in the .350s. Most nights, their lineup has about 8 .300 hitters. They take extra bases like no other club in the game. They’re a bitch to play.

    Call it what you want, but all those runs and all those wins count.

    It’s their pitching that may ultimately do them in.

  49. The Angels are going to start being referred to as ‘the new Braves’ because they are built for the regular season, but never do anything in the postseason, outside of their one championship season. The Angels don’t scare anybody come playoff time, especially this year.

    I will also say the Dodgers aren’t a well run organization in my opinion. They have money to cover up their mistakes (Andruw, Juan Pierre, Jason Schmidt) but their Casey Blake for Carlos Santana trades will come back to haunt them soon enough.

    I could not agree more with the point that the AL East is great, and may have 3 teams that are better or close to better than anybody than the NL has, but the rest of the AL is nothing special.

  50. Yeah, but their pitching ain’t what it used to be. The Angles are in the same class as the Phillies and Dodgers: really good, but not as good as the AL East elite. And the bottom half of that division is just awful.

    My point wasn’t that every team outside the AL East was mediocre, just that the AL East was substantially better than the other AL divisions in addition to the whole NL. You take the bottom teams in the AL East and put them in another division, they’re in the middle of the pack. You take the bottom half of the AL Central or West and put them in the NL, and they’re still in the basement of their division.

  51. jjbag,
    I promise you that the Angels scare the hell out of the Yankees & their fans. It’s the one team they don’t want to play.

    And that goes back to the Torre Era. Not only have they twice beaten the Yanks in the post-season, they’re the only team in the Torre Era to have a winning record vs. the Yanks.

    BTW, LAA is 4-1 vs NYY this year.

  52. Well, the Cardinals scare the hell out of just about everybody right now. John Smoltz looked like the Smoltz of old yesterday and I can tell you exactly why, Dave Duncan. The Red Birds 28 year veteran pitching coach can fix pitchers with the best of them.

    By the way, we have a three game series against the Cardinals on the 11th, 12th and 13th of September. It could be very, very interesting folks.

    As for watching the reaction of Jeff Francouer after lining into a game ending triple play….. I just had to smile and then laugh with satisfaction as the triple play was exceptional, but the look on Frenchy’s face was absolutely priceless.

  53. @83 Too bad Duncan can’t do anything with Boyer! Nothing against Duncan as I also think the guy is legit, but Smoltzie’s success has more to do with the fact that he was facing the Padres than anything else. Nevertheless, I am still happy for Smoltzie. I don’t want to see him ending his career like the way he was pitching in Boston.

  54. @83 Duncan seems to be getting some well-deserved attention. The glow of the Hateable Face will often wash out lesser lights.

    We’ve had a season long argument here about East Coast bias in the media. I think it’s real and it sucks, especially in light of Mac’s discussion of productive organizations.

    A quick illustration: Ask a casual fan to name a Dodger in recent seasons who had 5 years of 30 HR and 100 RBIs. You’ll be amazed at how few ever heard of Eric Karros.

    “Oh, yeah, that I guy. I wondered who he was when I saw them last night.”

  55. Francoeur got brought into Jerry Manuel’s office and spanked for hitting into that triple play. He went home to Catie and cried and then they drove to NYU for Chik-Fil-A only to remember that it was a Sunday.

  56. Are we going to a six man rotation when Hudson gets back? No way should Tommy go to the pen.

  57. Random fact: The Braves need to win 6 more games to tie the 2008 Braves’ win total. How about that for an improvement?

  58. Considering that the Phillies won the WS against the vaunted AL East, it’s fair to say they could compete. (Interestingly, the Phils had gone 4-11 against the AL last year until the World Series.) The relative strength of the leagues is sort of irrelevant anyway because it doesn’t prevent the NL from winning the WS. The All-Star game and even the interleague games don’t mean anything; if the NL never won the WS, that would be a problem. Just like when the NL was much stronger overall, yet the A’s won 3 straight WS. Other than Rob Neyer, who seems obsessed with this, who cares?

  59. Of the AL East teams, I don’t really consider any of the Big 3 to be run at a different level than say Colorado, Florida, or Atlanta. The Yanks and Sox outspend everybody (I mean really – how hard is it to decide to sign Sabathia, Teixiera, and Burnett as your big off-season moves for 500 million bucks?). Tampa does it with a smaller budget, but they sucked for so long they got to draft all the elite amatuer talent.

    I’ve heard a lot of complaining about F. Wren earlier this year, but in my opinion, he’s done a very good job assembling a team that is competing this year without torpedoing our shot at 2011 and following. That’s even more impressive than claiming Billy Wagner off waivers because you can afford to drop the cash he’s owed for this year and next.

  60. Smitty, Hanson wont go to the pen. They’ll probably try the six man thing or send Kawakami to the pen. It should be Lowe though, if anyone is removed from the rotation

  61. Lowe is the elephant in the Braves living room. Right now, we’re focused on making the playoffs, but long-term we’re looking at a huge contract that limits what else we can do.

    Not sure of a solution. Can’t imagine anyone will take his contract in the offseason. At this point, it would be better to let him go for nothing rather than be stuck with that absurd amount.

    Wren’s one failure may turn out to be our long-term undoing.

  62. I think it’d be a mistake to write Lowe off long-term because he’s been crappy this season. I mean, he’s had stretches of pretty-goodness, so it’s not like he’s completely lost it or anything.

  63. It-Just-Doesn’t-End Dept.

    After making a 9th-inning diving catch yesterday (then hitting into a game-ending triple play), Jeff Francoeur woke up today with a swollen wrist.

    He’s out of the lineup this afternoon because he’s in the hospital having “special surgery” on it.

    Can’t make this stuff up.

  64. Apparently it was his thumb, according to some reports – I’ll leave you guys to create your own punch line.

    http://www.metsblog.com/2009/08/24/news-francoeur-getting-mri/

    “According to SNY, Jeff Francoeur’s thumb swelled up overnight and he is now in the Hospital for Special Surgery getting an MRI.

    Last night, MLB.com reported that x-rays on Francoeur’s thumb taken after the game were negative.”

  65. Actually, Frenchy being out would actually make the Mets worse at this point. Says more about them than him, but there you have it. I hope he can help them get a win or two against Colorado.

  66. The Mets suck so bad that it really doesn’t matter whether they have Frenchy in the lineup or not.

    I personally think Bobby will go with a six-man rotation.

  67. No, really – go look at their “depth chart”. Without Frenchy pretending to be a league average RF this month, they go from Mets-bad to Nats-bad, maybe worse. It’s a significant dropoff.

  68. @102 –

    “I’m not dead yet…I’m getting better….I think I’ll go for a walk”

  69. A true 6 man rotation is too revolutionary an idea for Bobby, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they skipped or pushed back a start here and there for Kawakami and Hanson to work in starts for Hudson.

    Lowe had pitched great for weeks until the last 2 starts. I’m not ready to call him a bad signing yet.

  70. If you are talking about this year, I see no reason why Hudson would simply take his rotation spot back. He hasn’t even pitched in the majors. There is every reason to think he will struggle with command as other pitchers do when they come back. I think you bring him back in the bullpen; a six-man rotation makes no sense because you give guys too much rest, especially at the end of the season when there are more days off.

    Lowe has sucked recently and he has generally been a disappointment but, as mraver says, it would be a mistake to write him off. He may be the most expensive number five starter in baseball but it’s not as if he has gotten hammered all year. I still would rely on him before I would rely on a guy that hasn’t pitched in a year. Clearly, however, there are concerns with Lowe going forward.

  71. 103,
    By a fairly wide margin.

    The only thing the Nationals need to do to become a playoff contender next year is a) add a good defensive SS, b) add a Catcher, c) add a 2B, d) add a veteran SP, and e) add a closer. 5 small acquisitions and they’re a contender.

    The Mets, on the other hand, even if they get Wright, Reyes, Beltran, and the gang back, still need about 3/5 of a rotation, most of a bullpen, and a decent player at half their positions.

  72. Shorter Lowe – BABIP is way up, SO/BB is way down. Plus side is, you hope these numbers regress. Down side is, maybe that’s just where he is going forward.

  73. I realize we’ve long KNOWN the Mets were done for the season, but I did like seeing this in the accuscore thing today:

    *Arizona, Cincinnati, New York, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and Washington are out of playoff contention

    Yes… yes they are… now I hope they go beat up on Cliff Lee (I also hope to win the lottery tomorrow… neither seems very likely though).

  74. If they added Jack Wilson, Akinori Iwamura, Brad Penny, Bengie Molina, and Jose Valverde I could definitely see them making the playoffs.

    Morgan, Iwamura, Zimmerman, Dunn, Willingham, Molina, Dukes, Wilson

    Strasburg, Lannan, Olsen, Penny, Detwiler

    Valverde, Balester, Bergman, Burnett, Martis, Stammen, Mock.

    That’s a good, young team. There’s not really an area that team is below-average. They’re good defensively, offensively, and the staff is above-average as well.

    EDIT: The reason the Nationals were so bad for most of this year is a) all of their starting pitchers are 26 and younger (except Daniel Cabrera, who they released), b) their defense was atrocious, and c) their bullpen is made up of a bunch of washed-up 38 year old journeyman that have more business playing independent ball.

    They’ve got enough young, talented pitching to field a good staff if they add a sort of mentor in the rotation and a closer in the bullpen. Problem a) fixes itself with time, and the year of experience they’ve gotten this year will undoubtedly help the rotation in the future. And problem b) was largely fixed with the trade of Johnson and the Morgan acquisition. They still need a SS, 2B, and C (preferably good defensively, why I suggested the 3 I did), but they’re not far away at all. Zimmerman, Dunn, Willingham, Morgan, and Dukes are fine offensive players.

  75. You really think Strasburg is a difference maker out of the gate? He could suck, he could get hurt, or maybe it just takes him a year or two to get there. Assuming he is going to be even replacement level in year one is a long shot at best. Olsen, Detwiler, and Lannon are young, but other than Lannon, haven’t really gotten it done. Sure, they are a good bet to get “better”, but that doeasn’t translate into “good”. In fact, Lannan’s K’s are way down this year. He may get worse. And why do you think Penny is due to suddenly get better than “terrible”?

    I agree they have a young team that will get better, but even your assessment requires them to add 5 players, and hope everything comes up heads. Not seeing it.

  76. I think Strasburg probably is a difference maker right out of the gate. There’s no empirical evidence, but everything I’ve heard suggests he’s already MLB ready.

  77. I’ll bet anyone a glass of Chimay that the Mets will have a better record than Washington next year.

    The Mets’ll have their problems, but the Nats still won’t have Santana, Wright, Reyes, Beltran or K-Rod.

    BTW, this Mets/Phils game today is already getting super-weird. Dropped fly balls, an inside-the-park-HR-on errors, 4 defensive errors so far. Mets announcer Howie Rose is invoking quotes from “Blazing Saddles.”

    Howie’s no Skip Caray for dry gallows humor, but he sure can make a lousy team entertaining on radio.

  78. Nats won’t be better than the Mets for a while. They have made strides but they still have a long way to go. Jordan Zimmermann’s injury will really set them back and I’m skeptical of anyone, even Strasburg, coming from college and immediately having an effect. On the other hand, their record is far worse than their pythag because of the early bullpen problems and I wouldn’t mind having a middle of the order of Zimmerman, Dunn, and Willingham.

  79. On the Victorino inside-the-park homer thing, I’m not sure what the rule officially states, but I do know that it is freaking ridiculous that Victorino can perfectly see the ball and reach it with no problem at all, yet it could still be called a ground-rule double. Good for that umpire. Just pick up the freaking ball! It’s right there! If the rule states that it’s a ground-rule double, perhaps it should be changed. The ball is not in any way out of reach.

  80. Howard could’ve come up in the 4th, but Utley swung at a 3-0 pitch to end the inning. He’ll lead off the 5th.

    I wonder of Bobby Parnell will bother to throw the ball over the plate.

  81. Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women!

  82. I’m going to another Mets-Braves game in September. It should be my last chance to see a Braves win.

  83. “According to SNY, Jeff Francoeur’s thumb swelled up overnight and he is now in the Hospital for Special Surgery getting an MRI.”

    Why do they have to call it “Special Surgery”, can’t they call it something more politically correct, like “Surgery for the Intellectually Disabled”??

  84. BravesJournal fantasy league update- Moylan’s Mavericks making one large, final charge to make it into the playoffs! I need two bad weeks by Smitty’s Swatters and the BALCO Bandits, don’t let me down, guys!

  85. @124,

    I question why they didn’t amputate the thumb for the betterment of the team.

    Based on his comments to the media, Stenchy hasn’t earned the privilege of opposable thumbs. He can have a transplanted big toe though, until he figures out why OBP is important and why homeruns are not rally killers.

  86. hank, (from Friday)
    Don’t think the Printer’s Alley location exists any longer. Would you be up for a Guinness at Mulligan’s, my favorite local pub? It’s on 2nd Ave.

  87. #118, where’s the cut off? At what point do you say it’s a ground rule double?

    I’d say once it passes the bottom of the wall is the easiest to tell.

  88. Mulligans is pretty smokey. Other than that, it’s awesome, and I will admit to being less tolerant of smokiness than an ordinary human. Try the darts, but beware wife of Stu, she’s a ringer.

  89. She’s better than I am. At most things, really.

    Not sure I want to give a UK fan the pleasure of meeting her, though.

  90. Re: 133

    What of it, everyone? Can we get a collection started? There’s no way I’m paying that much, but I feel like we might be able to get 24 five-dollar pledges.

  91. Do I get the tickets then?

    I can attest to Rob’s bad luck. When it comes to Braves misfortune, he’s like Pigpen from the Peanuts comic strip—the Flushing anti-mojo surrounds him.

    I’ve been to 3 of those games with him—one at Shea, two at the new place. In 2 of those games, weird things happened.

    I don’t remember the circumstances of the Shea loss, but this year we had the bad call at 3B & an extra inning loss after a wasted JJ effort in the first one. Then we saw Lowe’s 8-run debacle in the second.

    Let’s just hope Rob doesn’t attend any Braves/Mets doubleheaders here.

  92. I’m not exactly looking forward to it given my track record. The last loss at Citi-Field was pretty depressing, then I had to walk home in a thunderstorm. I must have slept with one of the wives of the baseball gods in a past life.

  93. 136,

    That game we saw at Shea, I seem to remember we were winning when we went to go grab beers and then we were down by one shortly after. Andruw was up with the bases loaded in the ninth with one out and hit into a double play.

    And we saw two at Shea, ububba. One was a major blow out and I drowned my sorrows with Guiness.

  94. It’d be cheaper to arrange for him to be forcibly prevented from attending the game. No need to pay him off.

  95. Oh yeah. Must’ve been the beers.

    Wait—I’m 0 and 4 with you? I might have to invest in a kneecapping!

    Anyone going to the Braves/Padres game on Thursday night? I’m gonna take a quickie weekend vacation in Georgia & I’ll be there.

  96. I got some good seats after the Friday rain delay game. I’m the furthest blob on the left.

    That’s Chipper grounding out because he had no interest in playing.

  97. @125 – Sry I didn’t see that trade proposal. I caught it on the last day, I guess. I wanted some time to think about it, and came back in the next day to accept, but the request was gone. Oh well.

  98. So now that playing every day is off the list, whats the best thing Francoeur brings to the table?

  99. “Freddie’s probably going on the DL tomorrow,” said Mississippi manager Phillip Wellman on Sunday afternoon, just after the Chattanooga Lookouts beat Wellman’s Braves 2-1 at AT&T Field.

    “He’s been playing in pain for the last couple of weeks with a bad hand. It’s probably time to shut him down.”

    Said Freeman as he exited the visitors clubhouse, “It’s really frustrating. I didn’t want to end the season like this.”

  100. @144, the OBVIOUS answer is that the best thing he brings to the table now is that he ISN’T playing every day.

  101. Was watching a little bit of MLB TV’s rebroadcast of Mark Buerhle’s perfect game from earlier this summer, and the announcers were discussing the opposing pitcher, Scott Kazmir. Steve Stone (who I always kind of liked when I used to watch Cubs games on WGN back in the ’90s) alluded to one of the dumbest deals the Mets FO ever made by saying, “Kazmir was a highly, highly sought-after prospect, but the Mets decided they just couldn’t live without Victor Zambrano, so here he is with the Rays.”

    That made me smile. Big.

  102. Apparently, he’s listed as day to day still, and may not require surgery

  103. And it’s over, 6-2 Phillies. This puts us seven games down.

    Guys, as much fun as it is to laugh at the Mets, we needed help from them and they didn’t deliver.

  104. There’s nothing worse than rooting for a crap team to help you.

    I root against the Phils, of course, but I don’t have any illusions about catching them. It’s gotten to the point where we’ll have to root for the Phils to win some games (against Florida, for example).

    As much as it pains me to admit, it’s Wild Card or bust for us.

  105. “Mets as saviors” doesn’t seem realistic. The Braves have to go 24-14 the rest of the way, and hope somebody else goes cold. There’s a pretty good schedule for the stretch, and 6 more games with Philly. Difficult, but doable.

    Downside is no more games against COL, and they don’t have a terribly stout schedule after this month. Have to hope the Dodgers and Giants can slow them down this week.

  106. Wow, of active position players on the Mets who has the highest OPS with the team? That’s right… Mr Francoueeouer.

  107. On the bright side, the Mets head to FL now and have Santana & Pelfrey (their most reliable, ok ONLY, starters) going up against the fish… so they MIGHT win one of those games and help us out. Of course the Phils are going to play the Pirates, so even up against the Padres we’re unlikely to win more of the next series than the Phils are.

  108. Mets remaining schedule vs. contenders:

    9 games vs Florida (3 home, 6 road)
    6 games vs Atlanta (3 home, 3 road)
    3 games vs Philadelphia (road)
    3 games vs Colorado (road)

    Have great weeks in Denver & Miami, fellas.

  109. That’s a bitch of a windup for NY. I’ll be shocked if they win 8 games.

  110. I’ll bet anyone a glass of Chimay that the Mets will have a better record than Washington next year.

    Both this statement and Mac’s claim that the current Nats are better than the current Mets can be true. Next year’s Mets will have several players return to the lineup (Beltran, Reyes, etc.) plus one can expect them to spend some $$ on FA.

  111. Regarding Jeffy and his team-leading OPS, I just hope they lock him up forever so he can hit into triple plays for them forever.

  112. @157 – I think the bet was more geared to PWHjorts contention that the Nats could be playoff contenders next year.

  113. It just does not stop.

    Johan Santana’s start scrapped tomorrow. Elbow discomfort. Visiting doctor. May be shut down for season, according to WFAN.

  114. JWHjort,
    You got it. Where do you live?

    Fact is, it’s not a bet I’d mind losing.

    Mac,
    The Mets have become Wile E. Coyote of the NL East.

  115. Mac I think the obvious answer is for Doc Gooden & Tom Seaver to make a cameo appearance in the news service.

    ububba all of the analogies I came up with to compete with the Wile E Coyote one ended up being just a BIT too crass/tasteless/insulting-to-things-not-the-Mets for public consumption… so I think we should stick with your Wile E one.

  116. BFR,
    “Most players on the ’09 Met roster have in some unique way fallen victim, not unlike the doomed characters in a Friday the 13th flick—it’s just a matter of how they go down.

    “And how many sequels do we get?”

    You mean crass like that?

  117. I was thinking more like “The ’08 Mets are more like the Christopher Reeve of the NL East. Bright future, crippling injury, slow and painful death.”

  118. I think they are more like the Joe Theisman of the NL – mouthy, not as good as they think they are (although good, and not without moments of success) but you wouldn’t wish that kind/those kinds of injury on anyone/any team.

  119. Minor league outfielder Jason Heyward and first baseman Freddie Freeman headline this year’s Braves class of invitees to the Arizona Fall League.

    Heyward and Freeman will join shortstop Brandon Hicks as the Braves’ three position players, along with a set of four pitchers: first-round pick left-hander Mike Minor, now with Class A Rome, who was designated as a starter; and Class AA Mississippi relievers Craig Kimbrel, Jeff Lyman and Lee Hyde, according to Kurt Kemp, Braves director of player development.

    All of them will play for the Peoria Saguaros. They report Oct. 7 and play their first game Oct. 13.

  120. I had a few others, but they all went downhill from superman… yes, downhill from there. It has been a long day at work, I blame fatigue.

  121. oh wow:

    Johan Santana was scratched from his next scheduled start because of discomfort in his pitching elbow, the latest injury to a star player on the depleted New York Mets.

    Santana’s setback is particularly alarming for the fourth-place Mets, who are counting on the two-time Cy Young Award winner to lead their rotation for years to come.

    “He has not been throwing between starts for quite awhile,” New York manager Jerry Manuel said Monday after his team’s 6-2 loss to Philadelphia. “I would say since before the All-Star break. He has been pitching with this problem, but not with the level of discomfort he has now. … Now, it concerns him.”

    The details are even more worrisome (for him and the Mets) not sure what that sounds like, but not throwing between starts since the AS Break can’t indicate good things for him.

  122. DAMN! my Mets fan friend beat us both ububba:

    “If Mike Hampton was a team, he’d be the 2009 NY Mets.”

  123. Stu,

    A Guinness at Mulligans? Aye, laddy.

    Didn’t you say she was a Harpeth Hall girl? I’ve already had one of those break my heart so my Kentucky Gentleman* act will be in full sway.

    Looking forward to it!
    —————————-
    *Not just for breakfast anymore!

  124. No, not a Harpeth Hall girl. (Thank God.) Just a girl from South Louisiana who ended up a Commodore.

    Anyway, I’ll probably have to bring her along in order for you to like me.

  125. I don’t necessarily want the Mets to beat the Rockies. I just want the Rockies to lose at home. Aside from the Braves winning games, what helps our playoff chances the most is when the Rockies lose at home. I’ll be rooting for the Dodgers to sweep them. I’ll be drinking a lot of beer to inspire the Brewers to take two out of three. I hope Smoltz gets a shot at them. Or Carpenter. Or how about Wainwright doing a favor for his old favorite team?

  126. From BJOL:

    The hottest hitters in baseball at this moment are:
    Matt Diaz 104°
    Jack Cust 101°
    Michael Young 99°
    David DeJesus 98°
    Miguel Cabrera 97°

  127. Now Francoeur claims to have talked to Santana and that Santana expects to require Tommy John. WTF are the Mets going to do now? Maybe we can trade them Lowe?

  128. Stu’s 5 Fave Braves:

    1. McCann
    2. Diaz
    3. Vazquez
    4. Prado
    5. KJ (I just can’t quit him.)

    Honorable Mention: Moylan, Jurrjens, LaRoche, Chipper (whom I generally take for granted)

  129. Don’t know enough about Hanson the person, yet. As for Escobar, I love that he’s ours, but there are days when he’s my least favorite player in the game, so…no.

  130. @182 – you have to take Jeff seriously about this – he did get his GED in medecine.

  131. “but there are days when he’s my least favorite player in the game, so…no”

    I thought we had all agreed that Jeff was our least favorite player at all times? I used to like KJ but he’s slowly becoming one of my least favorite, Norton is far away leading that list

  132. Fave Brave? Gotta be Chipper for me, especially for his exploits in this town. Too many thrills to forget.

    Lifetime vs NYM: 325/419/563
    Lifetime vs NYY: 353/446/588

    But if there was a Brave I wouldn’t mind meeting & having a beer with, it would have to be Moylan.

    .

  133. Well there’s snake bit and then there’s the Mets. Eaten, digested, and defecated. I don’t know what Chimay tastes like but if the Mets ever get healthy they should be better than the Nats.

    BFed. I laughed. But I’m a sick bastard.

  134. My 5 favorite Braves
    Chipper – good case could be made for him being the greatest ATLANTA Brave.
    McCann – the new face of the Braves. Great player.
    Javy – he could be having an outlier year but he has been excellent this season. The true ace of this very good staff.
    Diaz – How does that guy barrel up swinging all over hells half acre like he does?
    KJ – dunno why but I still think he can be a very good player. I think this season is an aberration. Handled his demotion and relegation to the bench with professional class.

  135. Johnny and Stu, I used to love KJ and I couldn’t give up on him too, but now I am finding it easier to watch him play when I have no expectation on him. I really had high expectation on him when we are heading into this season.

    Honestly, if he is going to be good, this should be the year he should have a good season, but he is failing once again. Wren mentioned before the season that Frenchy, Kotchman, and KJ have all reached to a point of their careers that they have to start performing on a consistent basis. He has shipped two of them out. I think Wren will try to trade KJ and JoJo this offseason.

  136. Do they have to be current Braves?! My 5 favorite Braves:

    Chipper – a career Brave, top notch hitter, potential HOFer…where would we be without him?
    McCann – I don’t see how anyone not liking him
    Diaz – just the way he keeps killing the Marlins is worthy to be a favorite!
    JJ – I know we all love Hanson, but I think we are starting to take JJ for granted. You all realize the two were born in the same year? If you really think about it, the development of JJ is even more amazing than Hanson’s development.
    Andruw – Sorry, I just love Andruw.

    Tied to sixth: Javy, KK, Gonzo.

    Nate needs to hit for a higher average before I can call him one of my favorite, but I do like him a lot. I would like him more if he plays leftfield for us instead of centerfield.

  137. Top 5 current Braves:

    Escobar – Personal favorite. By far.
    McCann – The man.
    Chipper – Have to include Hoss.
    Hanson – The future.
    KJ – I just can’t quit him, either.

  138. Five favorite current Braves:
    Chipper
    McCann
    Hudson (I know hes not active, but hes still with the team)
    Vazquez
    Gonzo

    All Time:
    Chipper
    Javy Lopez
    Maddux
    Smoltz
    Big Cat, Mcgriff, Justice

  139. There’s a Q&A in DOBs blog right now where he talks to Adam LaRoche. DOB asks about Freddie Freeman and upcoming free agency. Adam’s respons3? “Who’s Freeman?” LaRoche has no idea who Freeman is….classic!

  140. Top 5 Current Braves
    1–Chipper—My all time fave Brave
    2–LaRoche—Hey, I liked him first time around
    3–McCann—Foundation of the franchise
    4–Soriano–Love it when he closes the door
    5–JJ–Don’t want to take him for granted
    Special Mention–Diaz—Plays hard all the time

  141. Top 5 Braves All Time

    1–Chipper
    2–Dale Murphy—Dale and I spent a lot of time together in the 80’s—He playing, me watching on TBS
    3–Henry Aaron—Along with Ruth, Mantle, and Musial as the greatest player of all time.
    4–Felipe Alou—Man, I loved Felipe when he was a Brave, had some great seasons.
    5–Phil Niekro–I’ll never forget that home run he hit in game 160 in San Diego in ’82.

  142. Is that Boog in the booth with Joe Morgan on ESPN2?

    The man has suffered through Chip Caray enough.

  143. Wait, that’s me that has suffered through Chip Caray enough. Peachtree makes Joe deal with Chip. Still. Joe Morgan? That’s asking a lot from anybody.

  144. Top 5:
    1. Phil Niekro
    2. Hank Aaron
    3. Dale Murphy
    4. Greg Maddux
    5. Andres Gallaraga

    Honorable Mention:
    Francisco Cabrera
    Jose Alvarez
    Rufino Linares
    Buzz Capra
    Zane Smith

  145. As much as I hate to say it, it looks like Heyward is coming back down to earth at Mississippi. He’s still got a .338 avg and a 1.046 OPS, but this is a long way from the almost 400/ 1200 avg/OPS he was putting up just a week or so ago. He’s got a .162 avg with 1 HR and 3 RBIs in his last 10 games. It’s looking more and more like a September callup would be a terrible move. Giving him until at least June of next year still seems like it may be the best formula.

  146. @199 As Freeman is heading to the DL, seems like he is far from being ready for next season. I personally would love to see us signing Adam back. It would be great if Adam is willing to take a two-year contract, but I think some teams would be willing to offer three years to Adam.

  147. Rockies and Giants are tied at one in the top of the ninth (SF has a runner on 2nd with 2 out). Jason Marquis won’t get the win, but he pitched his guts out – 1 run on 6 hits and 5 Ks in 8 innings. Who would ever believe he’d be leading the league in wins (14-8) and putting up a 3.47 ERA for the Rockies of all teams? Nice work Jason!

  148. Since I neglected to mention it earlier, Diaz’s “take a step back and hit a triple” is one of the reasons I love to root for him. It was such an absurd play, but the run it got us was crucial. He’s a guy who goes up there and hacks away, but for some reason is able to hit .300+ consistently, which makes it all work out.

    He’s that guy other teams’ fans notice in the lineup and go, “Who is this guy I’ve never heard of that’s hitting .330 for you?” I love it.

    That said, favorite Brave is probably McCann. Kid’s just special, though I really think he needs to get some games off going forward or he’s just going to collapse mid-September.

  149. Um, maybe not.

    Rox load the bases in the bottom of the inning with one out, but they’ve run out of players, so pitcher Adam Eaton has to hit.

    He walks, 4-2 now.

    EDIT: Then Spilborghs hits a walk-off grand slam. Ridiculous.

    I hope this team isn’t charmed or something.

  150. DOB is right in his piece from Monday night. Forget about catching the Rockies. Let’s hope they sweep LA, move into first and leave the Dodgers fighting for the wild card.

  151. I think I just saw the worst game of my life. That had to be one of the poorest played/managed games I have ever seen.

  152. Or you could hope for a sweep of the Rockies by the Dodgers, and us sweep the Pads – then we are only 1.5 back.

  153. Because of connections in Denver, the only team I watch nearly as much as the Braves is the Rockies. I can’t explain it rationally — except to say they’re getting quite a few career years (or just aberrations) from guys like Jimenez, Marquis, Street, Hawpe, Barmes, et. al. — but they’re legit for this year. If they play at the same pace they’ve been on since Jim Tracy was promoted, we’ll have to go 29-9 just to tie them on the last day. The Dodgers have been a .500 team the last two months. If the Rockies take two of three from LA this week, catching the Dodgers looks like our best shot.

  154. Then you could say that our best shot is a sweep by either team.

    But we still have to catch the Giants and keep ahead of the Fish, so I wouldn’t get too excited unless we string off a couple sweeps of our own.

  155. @219: Theoretically, yes. But then the team that gets swept has to keep fading. For this Great Braves Revival of 2009 to result in the postseason, there must exist one factor beyond our control: another team’s collapse. The Rockies’ run of 2007 doesn’t happen if the Mets don’t implode. So who’s the most likely team ahead of us to crumble? Looks to me like it’s L.A., which has been average since Mannywood reopened for business and below .500 since we took three of four from them.

    The Giants — if both the Braves and Giants maintain their post-July 1 paces, we’re past them before Labor Day. Not too concerned about them at this moment, especially given the devastating one-two punch they took the last two days.

    Oh, well. Just must hope for the best. If the Braves get to 90 wins, I’ll still be happy with the season, even if it isn’t enough for the playoffs.

  156. Well, with 38 games left to play and having to basically catch three teams, It is only going to get harder.

    To count on the Dodgers falling down, the Rockies moving into first place and the Giants folding is wishful thinking. Not to mention very flawed logically and don’t discount the fish just yet.

    The Dodger are 24-22 since Manny rejoined the team. Juan Pierre last led off and stole a base on July 1st.

    Basically, the juiced Manny hit .348 with 6 HR’s and 20 RBI in 27 games. The clean Manny has hit .277 with 7 HR’s and 25 RBI in 45 games played and Juan Pierre has sat.

    If our Braves do pull off a miracle and win the wild card, we can thank Manny for *NOT BEING MANNY*

  157. Fave Braves:

    1. C. Jones
    2. McCann
    3. Prado
    4. Vazquez
    5. Gonzalez

    (Got to love The Cobra – even if he won’t throw strikes with the bases empty…)

  158. Fave Braves Alltime:

    1) Maddux
    2) Hubbard
    3) Eddie Perez
    4) Skip, Pete, And Don Sutton
    5) Hank

    Favorite Current:
    All of them!

    Go Braves!

  159. Basically, the juiced Manny hit .348 with 6 HR’s and 20 RBI in 27 games. The clean Manny has hit .277 with 7 HR’s and 25 RBI in 45 games played and Juan Pierre has sat

    So, steroid advantage dissipates in two months and playing Manny Ramirez (368/491/859 – post suspension) over Juan Pierre (.376/.403/.780) is why the Dodgers are just over .500 for the last 46 games.

    Sure, makes perfect sense to me.

  160. “The right thing now is to let the swelling go down. It’s kind of big,” Francoeur said.

    That’s what she said.

  161. It also has to do with their pitching. Billingsley has posted an ERA of nearly 5 since the Break, and they haven’t been able to keep Kuroda healthy, which means they have only had two good starters for a couple months. Plus, both Casey Blake and Orlando Hudson have come back to earth, leaving only Ethier and Kemp to solidify the lineup. Now that Billingsley is starting to pitch well again, they’re gonna be fine. They still have a solid rotation and lineup for the postseason.

  162. #123

    Dix, that is arguably one of the funniest comments ever uttered on Bravesjournal. Shameful that you didn’t get more love on here for it. Beautiful stuff.

    (#227 is pretty good, too…always good time for a Michael Scott reference).

  163. Just because it still amuses me many years later:

    Chics dig the longball.
    “Hey ladies! Cy Young winners over here!”

  164. The Roadrunner. Every time Ralph Garr came to the plate in the old AFC Stadium, the PA would let out a loud “Beep! Beep!”

  165. On the chances of the Braves catching somebody.

    The key is still the Braves have to win their games. if they do, good things can happen. If they don’t, forget it.

    These 3 games against the podunkrays are just as important as the three over the weekend with the Fish. We need focus on every pitch, every batted ball, every at bat. That would give 3 wins against San Diego’s own “Pride of Emma Lazarus”.

    Meanwhile this week, such a performance will result in EITHER (a) picking up at least 1 game on the Rockies or (b) the Rockies catching the Dodgers. If (a) we have weeks to go to cut that 3 games. If (b) we only have to hope for one of the two to have bad times (and I am pretty sure they have more games against each other).

    And, I may jinx it, but lately this team seems like it can win one every once and a while and doesn’t seem to lose focus against the dregs. BEAT THE DREGS!!!

  166. A two game losing streak would be nearly the end at this point, and even without one, it will be very difficult. Every game is critical.

  167. #234

    Spike, one can only hope that we give it 110%. We really have to leave everything on the field. There is no tomorrow. :-)

  168. I don’t want the Rockies to catch the Dodgers. I want the Dodgers to sweep the Rockies. The Dodgers are a better team than the Rockies, and I would much rather the Braves be racing the Rocks.

    Also, if the Rocks sweep, even if we sweep, we’re still in the same spot. Any game the Dodgers win helps us close the gap. I’m in full root-for-the-team-facing-the-Rockies mode. Catching the Rockies is, by far, the most likely way we’ll reach the playoffs. We’re more likely to catch the Phillies than beat the Dodgers for the Wild Card, and we don’t have much of a chance of catching the Phillies.

  169. So much for catching the Rockies. They have 10 straight home games to begin September against the Mets, Reds and Diamondbacks. And after the 3 games set against the Dodgers this week…they don’t play them again this season. As a matter of fact they have 18 home games in September. Wow…

  170. The only good thing I see with the Rockies schedule is that they have 6 games left at San Francisco.

  171. ububba, that’s right, I’d forgotten that was his nickname. Was a really good hitter with speed but had a really short career. I often wonder what kind of numbers he would have put up if he had been surrounded by some other good hitters in the line-up.

  172. Ububba’s right- either scenario of rox or dodgers doesnt matter if we don’t win. It’s fun to be back in a playoff race

  173. I should learn everytime I start looking at schedules, the Braves go out and lose a 1st of a series to the Padres in San Diego, Met in NY and Marlins at home. So I’ll wait until Atlanta wins their games.

  174. I’m afraid, ultimately, we gave away too many games this year. The third game of the season (10-3 lead blown against the Phils) and the game before the All-Star Break (4 run lead blown against the Rox) loom the largest.

    The encouraging thing is that since the trade for Person Who is Not Francoeur, we have been in almost every single game. A couple that we lost to LA at home and maybe one of two more, but we have had a real shot at every game and that’s saying something.

    I think the best chance will still be the Dodgers or Phillies as the Rox schedule seems too easy and they have that destiny thing going again.

  175. Current Braves: Escobar, McCann, JJ, Diaz, Vasquez.

    All Time Atlanta Braves: Maddux, Murph, Andruw, McCann, Hank

  176. Current Braves:

    1)Chipper
    2)McCann
    3)Diaz
    4)Jurrjens
    5)LaRoche

    All-time:

    1)Chipper
    2)Maddux
    3)Smoltz
    4)Javy (Lopez)
    5)Vinny Castilla (just kidding… Glavine)

  177. joelk,
    Garr did hit leadoff for a really great lineup in ’73, but they didn’t break .500. (Also, check out Aaron’s numbers in ’71 & ’73—insane.) Aaron, Evans & Davey Johnson hit 40 HRs each, plus we had Dusty Baker. Mike Lum had a pretty good season, too.

    Garr lead the league in hitting in 1974. That year’s lineup fell off, but the pitching was way better—Niekro won 20 & Buzz Capra took the ERA title. Consequently, the Braves finished over .500 that year. Back then, that was reason to celebrate.

    Garr hit .300 almost every year with Atlanta. But when he fell off about 75 points in 1975 (from .353 to .278 or something), we dealt him to the White Sox, and he ended up wearing those stupid softball shorts.

  178. We just need to keep winning 2 of 3. I just hope that game before the All Star break that we pissed away to the Rockies doesn’t come back and bite us.

  179. It’s funny, the games that stick out to you. Soriano’s meltdowns against LA and Florida are the ones I’ll be thinking about if we miss the playoffs by a game or two. I guess the slip-away-in-an-instant losses hurt me more than do the more prolonged choke-jobs.

  180. Don’t forget Marshall Mann, Atlanta-Fulton Co. Stadium’s P.A. announcer. Great voice! He made every at-bat exciting without being a ham about it.

  181. #246 – Dusty, its not the two or three games that you mention that cost the braves this year. Its playing right at .500 ball vs the bottom of the barrell teams that will cost this team

  182. Favorites…

    Current: Chipper, McCann, JJ, Diaz, Escobar

    All Time: (two groups)
    Early Childhood (Phil Neikro & Murphy);
    Teens through now (Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine, Chipper, & Andruw)

    I remember as a 7 year old (who wasn’t allowed to play in any organized sports because the conflicted with my parents religious beliefs) first seeing Neikro’s knuckleball and being totally fascinated. Murphy was just a god to young baseball fans in Atlanta area in the early-mid 80s (and the man was a spokesman for ICE CREAM! I mean how can you not love a guy who sells ICE CREAM!).

  183. Roughly in chronological order:

    Hank Aaron (first baseball player I was aware of)
    Phil Niekro
    Dale Murphy
    Bruce Benedict
    Glenn Hubbard
    Ron Gant
    Greg Maddux
    Andruw Jones
    Marcus Giles
    Brian McCann

  184. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but when I was 6 or 7 and went to my first game at FulCo I was very confused when Bruce Benedict came up to the plate and everybody started booing him… wasn’t till his second time up I figured out they were saying: Bruuuuuuuuuuce.

  185. #255

    I’m with Mac as the bigger reason we’re behind the 8 ball right now.

    yes, Soriano blew a game here or there we should have won and that memorably awful 3rd game from April…all games we wish we had back.

    But for 2+ solid months, we had Jeff Francour, Kelly Johnson and Jordan Schaefer just KILLING our lineup (and for a lot of that period, Casey Kotchman as well) so we were losing low scoring games upon low scoring games…getting quality starts with no hope of scoring runs.

    Had we had the McClouth/Prado/Church/LaRoche thing going in April, we’d probably be leading in the Wild Card at minimum.

    Honestly, I’m just happy it’s almost September and we still have a realistic chance. That’s a nice change from the last few years.

  186. Current Braves:
    Chipper
    McCann
    McClouth
    Hanson
    Diaz
    Javy

    All Time:
    Smoltz
    Glavine
    Maddux
    Chipper
    Murphy
    Aaron

  187. Wow, I never would have guessed that we would ever have a Face/Off reference on Braves Journal. Well done, AAR

  188. It’s interesting as I read people’s lists, you can kinda tell peoples ages based on who their fav’s are.

    Ububba, you’re right, the Braves did have more offense than I remembered during his time there but in 74 or 75 I seem to recall him hitting 3rd alot. He also led the league in intentional walks one of those years I think.

  189. The Alex R. List:

    Current Braves:

    1. McCann
    2. Prado
    3. Chippuh
    4. Jurrgjens
    5. Hanson

    *Hon. mention: Jason Heyward :-)

    All Time Braves:

    1. Dale Murphy
    2. Rafael Ramirez
    3. Gene Garber
    4. Glavine
    5. McGriff

    Honestly, if you asked me this question tomorrow, both lists would change. But this is a pretty fair indicator for me.

    And I am 34 so yeah, you can kinda tell my age with that 2nd list as well.

  190. Oldtimers turn.

    Current.
    1. Jones
    2. McCann
    3. JJ
    4. Hanson
    5. McClouth

    Past.
    1. Murphy
    2. Justice
    3. Smoltz
    4. Glavine
    5, Avery

  191. OK, I’ll play.

    Current (seems redundant):
    1. Chipper
    2. McCann
    3. Esco
    4. JV
    5. Huckleberry

    All Time
    1. Maddux
    2. Smoltz
    3. Lopez
    4. Justice
    5. Klesko

  192. It was impossible not to love Rafy, ububba.

    And I realize I left out announcers, but I think Skip Caray passes even Murph as my ALL TIME FAVORITE Brave.

  193. One of my favorite memories of TBS was watching the Dale Murphy night held at the stadium after he retired. They brought back a bunch of his old teammates, and even though Bruce Benedict had been gone for a few years, I was amused that everyone still remembered to go “Bruuuuuuuuuuce.”

    But, the really hilarious part was that a little while later, they announced one of Dale’s old high school buddies, and his name was also Bruce.

    Right on cue: “Bruuuuuuuuuuce!”

  194. Very insteresting stat:

    With Tommy Hanson’s effort on Saturday, the Braves notched their Major League-best 75th quality start of the season — matching their 2008 total.

    I’m not much of a stat head, so I wouldnt know how or where to find it, but what is the breakdown among the staff?

  195. Former braves that Im glad that are gone
    1. Frenchy
    2. Grybo
    3. Kolb
    4. Tex (never liked him, seems like a douche)
    5. Hampton (mostly contract reasons)

    would like to also mention Pratt, Woodward, and Corky in this list. Just becuase they were always useless

    Favorite Current braves
    1. Chipper
    2. Mac
    3. Prado
    4. Diaz
    5. Yunel

  196. ububba, I was referring to this year’s version of the Angels that don’t (or shouldn’t) scare anybody come playoff time.

    Jepsen/Fuentes as an 8th/9th inning combo is nowhere near as good as Shields/KRod in years past. Lackey/Weaver/Saunders isn’t nearly as good either, IMO. They’ve been getting by with the Matt Painters and Sean O’Sullivan’s of the world in the regular season, and outscoring people, but I doubt that’s going to cut it come playoff time.

    You’re 100% about past year’s Angels teams scaring the Yankees, but I doubt the Yankees are worried about anybody in the AL really, even the Saux.

  197. All Time:

    1. Maddux
    2. Craig McMurtry
    3. Pascual Perez
    4. Otis Nixon
    5. Jeff Treadway

  198. Thats funny mac, because I was thinking that Lowe probably was behind Vasquez or even JJ, not leading the team…

  199. we have 75 QS, but yet only have 66 wins. If we dont make the playoffs, we should all remember how bad our offense was this year. Wren’s only bad mistake this offseason was putting faith in Francouer

  200. Mac, I liked Hubbard until that horrible ’84 Fleer card with the snake around his neck. Unforgivable.

  201. csg,
    I’d be interested to see what the “normal” ratio of wins to quality starts is. The bullpen probably gets the blame for some of that discrepancy, too—there are ~3 unaccounted-for innings of pitching in each recorded quality start.

  202. @277, if you look, he’s below JJ, Hanson, and Vazquez in innings pitched per start. That’s kind of the problem with quality starts. If you go seven or eight innings and allow a fourth run, you miss it.

  203. Billy Wagner finally agrees to trade to Boston (for 2 PTBNL).

    jjbag,
    Trust me, Yankee fans see those orange uniforms & they sweat. It’s the only team that scares them. They talk about it all the time.

    And it’s not like the Yankee rotation is going to shut them down either. They never do. When those 2 teams play, it’s almost like watching the ’85 Cardinals because the Angels first-and-third them to death.

    They run on every outfielder—and few things are funnier than seeing Chone Figgins go from first to third on a routine single to Damon in LF. You can see that it’s demoralizing for the Yankees to play them.

    The Yanks are on an amazing run right now, especially at home, but their rotation isn’t exactly terrifying. (They remain closer to the bottom in AL team ERA.) It’s solid, sure, but outside of Burnett, who’s never pitched a playoff game, their 4 main starters don’t give you post-season trembles.

    To me, what makes them playoff-scary (along with their own terrific lineup) is Phil Hughes, who has become a super-dominant setup guy.

    All-Time Braves Faves
    1. Maddux
    2. Aaron
    3. Murphy
    4. Niekro
    5. Willie Montanez

    Yes, I’m showing some age with #5. I’m allowed. I’m 46 today.

    How do I celebrate? Got a game at Yankee Stadium tonight (Millwood vs Joba), but I’ll consider Thursday at The Ted more of a celebration.

  204. 5 Least Fave Braves
    1—Ken Oberkfell—If you ever needed a weak groundball to second, Ken was your man, unless you actually needed a weak groundball to second, upon which he would either strikeout or popup. Also had an ugly beard.
    2—Len Barker—Brett Butler, Brook Jacoby need I say more.
    3—Gary Sheffield—Even when he was productive, I couldn’t stand him.
    4—Ozzie Virgil—We traded Bedrock for this bum?
    5—Bob Tillman—He goes way back, and has more to do with a bad-looking ’68 Topps card, but I couldn’t stand to have him in the lineup.

  205. Ok I’ll do a list:

    Current top 5:

    1) Escobar
    2) Jurrjens
    3) McCann
    4) Vazquez
    5) Not Francoeur (Church)

    Honorable Mention: Chipper (probably should be on the list but it’s hard to quantify the value of not being Francoeur), Diaz, Sori, Gonzo, KK

    All Time:

    1) The Murph
    2) Hubbard
    3) Maddux
    4) Smoltz
    5) Gant

    Honorable Mention:
    Benedict, Greg Olsen, Horner, Mahler, Otis Nixon

  206. My wife would like me to mention that her favorite current Braves are McLouth (because he’s SO dreamy) and Medlen and her favorite former Brave is Klesko.

  207. Your birthday is today? Ya gotta be kiddin’.

    At lunch, I stumbled across the astrology blurb in the paper. Under the “Today’s Birthday” horoscope I swear to you it said, “Your strong sexual energy is evident to everyone.”

    I haven’t looked at a horoscope in decades. I laughed and tried to think whose birthday it might be.

    Shoulda known – when the subject is strong sexual energy that is evident to all, it’s gotta be ububba.

  208. @273

    I’d like to throw Albie Lopez, BJ Surhoff, Keith Lockart, Trey Hodges, Jung Bong, and Robert Fick into that mix.

  209. Current List
    1) McCann
    2) Chipper
    3) Diaz
    4) Jurrjens
    5) Prado

    All Time
    1) Aaron
    2) Neikro
    3) Murph
    4) Maddux
    5) Smoltz

  210. Bruce Benedict. Damn, forgot him…he should easily be mixed in my top five all time. If we did a “top 10”, I’d probably add Bruce, Maddux, Gant, Steve “Bed Rock” Bedrosian and YEAH, Bob Horner (!).

    Bedrosian and Garber are maybe my all time top 2 favorite relievers to watch pitch. Seriously brought me a lot of joy back then to see those two.

    Least favorite all time:

    1. Keith Lockhart
    2. Andruw Jones
    3. Dan Kolbb
    4. Chris Reitsma
    5. Lonnie Smith* (cannot forgive him for 1991)

    *Hon Mention* – John “The Yankeeeeeessssss winnnnnnnnn” Sterling.

    Those of us in our 30s and older, can remember when he was a Braves broadcaster along with Skip, Pete and Ernie.

    (after Sterling left, this led to the forgettable Billy “snorrrrreeeee” Sample) before we finally got the wonderful Joe Simpson and the not so wonderful but I am used to him, Don Sutton.

    And as much as Skip will always be the man for me, Ernie Johnson is impossible not to love…he’s like your favorite Grandpa, telling you a Baseball story for 3 hours. He was the east coast version of the still wonderful, Vin Scully.

    (as much as I am with Mac in hating the Dodgers, I absolutely love Scully…his voice maybe the best voice ever in sports).

  211. #291

    Yes – Robert Fick – a top ten least favorite.

    By the way, I would have easily put Adam LaRoche on that list a few years ago but not anymore! :-)

  212. @280 – Wren had no choice but to put his faith in Frenchy. We had no money left after the pitching aquisitions. And there is no way we would have been able to pull off those trades in the offseason for McClouth or Church – those happened b/c the teams found out they had no shot at winning. But Wren has done a helluva job filling in those holes when he had the opportunity. But I still say you can’t fault him for not getting someone in the offseason.

    In fact, the only move I haven’t really liked was the Lowe signing. But that could eventually work out, too early to tell.

  213. How’d-HE-Get-The-Pictures List:

    1) Lockhart
    2) Woodward
    3) Brogna
    4) Roberto Hernandez
    5) Ed Giovanola

  214. @300, I don’t think he cares. If loathing was so important, they’d put it on the scoreboard.

  215. Wow Woodward, Lockhart and Ed Giovanola have made the disscusion today. Who would have thought that?

  216. I kind of like Francoeur, if only because “If on-base percentage is so important, then why don’t they put it up on the scoreboard?” is one of my favorite Braves remarks of all time. Up there with “Both of them. Count it!”

    It really cracks me up every time I think about it. Go Frenchy.

  217. Reading this blog today has been a great trip down the “braves memory lane”. I’d completely forgotten about many of them like Billy Sample, Yikes! I agree with many of you that Ernie Johnson had a great baseball announcers voice. I always thought he and Milo Hamilton were a good team although not quite on the level of Skip and Pete.

    Oh and happy birthday ububba!

  218. #284

    Happy birthday, ububba! What’s it like to share a birthday with Gene Simmons, Martin Amis, and Elvis Costello?

    Don’t feel bad: I turn fifty on Thursday.

    We old guys should definitely include Carty and Felipe Alou, maybe even Felix Millan.

    Dylan to Voice GPS System?

  219. Least favorite:

    1. Keith Lockart
    2. Lonnie Smith(’91 was unexcuseable)
    3. Mark Lemke(sorry)

  220. He wasn’t around too long, but I’m surprised no one has mentioned Chris Resop as their least favorite. I remember him getting A LOT of hate here.

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