Braves 5, Marlins 2

Atlanta Braves vs. Florida Marlins – Box Score – August 31, 2009 – ESPN

This game can change in a hurry. By the second inning, I had a bad feeling, and actually worried about a no-hitter; Josh Johnson had one going until Diaz broke it with a two-out single in the sixth. Meanwhile, Kenshin Kawakami seemed likely to get hung with an unfair loss after giving up a run in the second.

Chipper singled leading off the seventh, but with two out he was still at first, and Johnson seemed to still be cruising. But suddenly, everything fell apart for him. Yunel singled, and Chipper went to third. Then Infante hit one into the gap for a two-run triple, and Ross singled up the middle to make it 3-1. Bobby sent up Norton to end the threat, but the game was turned completely on its head.

In the eighth, they got breathing room. Diaz was hit by a pitch leading off, and after the dumbunt (Prado, hitting .306 and coming off of a game in which he had three hits, had two sacrifices on the day) Chipper was walked. The Marlins brought in a lefty to pitch to ACHE, and how you don’t hit for him when you’re going to pull him for defense anyway I don’t know, but at least he didn’t hit into a double play. Then LaRoche and Yunel hit back-to-back flare singles and it was 5-1.

Kawakami was great; he was limited to 75 pitches but made the most of them, striking out five and not walking any. Moylan walked one in 2/3 of an inning, and O’Flaherty finished up. Gonzalez needed only seven pitches to finish the eighth. Soriano doesn’t have shoulder problems or anything, so Bobby had him pitch the ninth. He allowed a run on two doubles and needed 26 pitches to get through the inning. Sheesh.

105 thoughts on “Braves 5, Marlins 2”

  1. Gonzo should be our closer again – he has been absolutely rediculous.

    Actually, I wouldn’t mind him and Soriano trading off depending on lefty/righty matchups. Both are capable.

  2. I want us to sign Gonzo back.

    We need to sweep the Marlins.

    Gotta love Yunel.

    Why didn’t Infante start in Philly instead of freaking Gorecki?

    Norton needs to retire.

    Mac got a day off!!!

  3. Three back. We have to pull for the Phillies and Mets, or hell to open up and suck them the Rockies and Giants in

  4. Smitty – what time is the UT / UCLA game? Is it televised?

    I went to the UT / UCLA game (Peyton v. (blocking on name). Wonderful spectacle.

    Much as I hate to say it, you guys do football right.

  5. Yes – Cade McNown v. Peyton Manning. Helluva game. Great atmosphere.

    My host treated us to dinner at the private dinner club overlooking Neyland. As the sun was setting, the mists floated in from the river, silhouetting the stadium against the water, shadowed by the bridge. Absolutely stunning.

  6. Peanut says Valdez, Sammons, and Conrad will get the call tomorrow. I was right about 3. Surprises me they’re not bringing in another OF’er.

  7. I was going to say that having Blanco around is a good idea if Norton continues to get at bats, in case, you know Norton does actually get a hit, Blanco could run for him, but then I remembered that never happens, so it doesn’t matter.

  8. norton does occassionally draw a walk, with that said, Id rather Blanco just try to bunt for a hit

  9. In answer to the question on the previous thread about whether Greg Norton is the worst Brave ever: there is no way that he’s as bad as Corky Miller. Granted, Miller didn’t get thrust into important situations, but Miller was definitely worse. I’m guessing there’s a bench player somewhere else in baseball that’s as bad as or worse than Norton. Perhaps not one that will continually be thrust into important situations, but that’s another matter. I am certain that there was not a bench player in all of baseball worse than or as bad as Corky Miller. It’s just not possible.

  10. Flipping past FSN Ohio the other night I saw Corky Miller in a Reds uniform.

    So yes, Greg Norton and Corky Miller are both still playing major league baseball. Somehow.

  11. Yeah, that’s the thing. Norton has only one job, and he can’t do it. Corky could catch, sort of. Francoeur could play the outfield. Langerhans could play it very well. Even Andres Thomas — he sucked at everything, but at least he had a variety of things he could supposedly do, which has a sort of utility.

  12. If you want walks, Blanco can do that.

    Mets at Colorado this week. I hate having to root for them, but… a little help, fellas.

  13. 20,

    Here’s hoping. Anyone want to buy me tickets to all the Mets-Rockies games? I can damn near guarantee a sweep.

  14. Wow, we won the first game of a series. I feel like celebrating!

    As for Corky Miller, the dude will always have a job if he keeps his defensive game where it is right now. He just doesn’t know what to do with the bat in his hands.

  15. Although he’s really, really bad, I would take Norton over Corky any day. Corky was supposedly a good defensive catcher, but he had a .980 fielding % and 2/10 caught stealing.

    If Norton was given a chance to play a few full games here and there I think he would raise his avg to almost .200 (wow). Corky got that chance at times and hit .083 with a .152 OBP in 31 games and 60 ABs. Norton has a .136 avg and .321 OBP (better than Jeffy’s .282 with the Braves this year) in 66 ABs.

    Norton needs to go, but if you think Norton is worse than Corky, you have a short memory.

  16. The Braves announced that Brooks Conrad, Luiz Valdez and Clint Sammons will be joining the team when the 40 man roster’s expand.

  17. Norton is worse than Corky.

    Corky Miller is a back up catcher who does his job.

    Norton is a pinch hitter who doesn’t hit. He’s a waste of a roster spot.

  18. Corky Miller does his job if you consider squatting behind the plate and doing nothing that could be remotely considered to be worthwhile his job. If we’re using that as a template, then Greg Norton does his job too, in that he stands at the plate and does nothing even remotely worthwhile. It’s possible that he’s more annoying, and he’s certainly a waste of a roster spot, but there is absolutely no way Greg Norton is worse than Corky Miller. I’m pretty sure that in every single offensive statistic, Norton has Miller beat. If you ask me which I would rather put in a game, it’s Greg Norton. Which I would rather have up in an important spot, it’s Greg Norton. Which I would keep if I had to keep one, it’s Greg Norton. Greg Norton sucks beyond belief, but let’s not get carried away here. No one deserves to endure talk that they are worse than Corky Miller, the single worst Major League Baseball player that played last year.

  19. I am very excited about Hudson returning to the mound tonight. He’s been one of my favorite Braves in the past years since he’s been here. While it will be unlikely, he’ll dominate his first games back, I think he will help the Braves down the stretch and I hope he will return to the Braves next year.

  20. Of course I’d love to have McClouth and Church back and healthy, but Infante was pretty darn good in center tonight. He definitely covered a lot of ground.

  21. dodgers got garland also. the diamondbacks are going to pay the rest of his salary this year AND his buyout for 2010. their return: a ptnbl. does that sound odd to anyone else?
    they’re giving him away to someone else in their division for nothing and sending money to them to cover the rest of this year and any commitment next year. i’m not aware of any other trade that has looked this fishy.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2009/08/dodgers-acquire-jon-garland.html

  22. Norton is so far removed from worst Brave ever it’s not even funny. At least he was useful last year. We’ve had tons of guys be totally useless for more than one year getting a lot more at bats than a pinch hitter.

  23. My buddy claims to have seen Norton get a hit once (supposedly last season). I called BS. Can anyone verify this?

  24. I still have nightmares about Chris Reitsma and Dan Kolb. They should be in the discussion for worst brave ever

  25. I once saw Thorman hit two home runs against Pittsburgh.
    1.) It was against Pittsburgh.
    2.) It was all downhill from there.
    3.) This directly lead to the Tex trade.
    4.) By the transitive property, it is my fault for the Tex trade.

  26. We really need a vote on the Norton/ Corky thing. I can’t see how anyone who ever watched Corky play can argue that he was better than anyone. A batting avg of .083 and an OBP of .152 speaks for itself. The thing about Corky was that he was our main backup catcher. At least Norton only gets one chance every few games to strike out or walk.

  27. Norton put up decent numbers last year as a pinch hitter (a tough job). However, having Ross on the team this year really made me realize how truly bad Corky Miller was and how lucky we are to have a really good back up catcher.

  28. Thorman and Brogna were acres better than Miller/Norton. Thorman actually had some power, granted is was real isolated, but hugely better than Miller/Norton. Brogna was a pretty decent player at one time, unfortunately when he got to us, he was suffering from some sort of debilitating injury (back, knee, hip? not sure—does anyone remember. For worst Brave, I’ll go way back to Pat Rockett. When your manager says you can’t hit, but you’re here for your glove, and then you show, you can’t catch the ball, well that’s a bad player. One last thing, God Knows that Norton is through, and no longer worthy of a roster spot, but he’s so much better than Miller, it’s not even close.

  29. Norton’s ability to get into games at the worst possible moments can’t be discounted. Corky possessed the skill of remaining on the bench for crucial ABs, while Norton is drawn to them like a magnet to iron. Yes, Corky was a much worse hitter, but at least his ABs were randomly distributed, and his auto-outs could be grouped with the pitchers’ auto-outs and occasionally be disposed of all in one, worthless, game-shortening inning. Norton’s are hand picked for high-leverage situations. He’s like a white blood cell attacking stray scoring chances that happen to make it into the body of a game.

    Norton getting the last AB against Philly Sunday while Kelly languished on the bench was almost too much, especially after hearing Morgan and Phillips fellatiate Ryan Howard for bloop singles and groundouts.

  30. I remember Craig Robinson, a mid-’70s SS we got from Philly, as being pretty hopeless.

    He had awesome aviator glasses, though.

    EDIT: Looked it up. We’re talking a career .519 OPS. But looked very ’70s cool.

  31. Norton didn’t just put up decent numbers last year. He was the best pinch hitter in the league. He had an OPS of .999 as a pinch hitter. He was phenomenal for us last year. Don’t let this year’s suck cloud your memory of last year.

    Or, put it another way: despite how awful he’s been this year, in a Braves uniform, his career OPS as a pinch hitter is still .770.

  32. how many players can the braves call up? Dont players have to also be on the 40 man roster to be called up also?

  33. There’s no question that Norton was great last year, but his baseball reference Pinch Hit Leverage Index is actually a little higher this year than last, and this year, not last year, is the one in which his team has a chance to win something. Last year was a complete lost cause post-all star break. If you’re going to have a horrible year, at least do so for an otherwise horrible team. This is a concept that Corky has mastered to perfection but Norton seems incapable of understanding. He is the force driving us back to the mean.

  34. so, doing some research, here’s what i concluded:
    since july 10th (the exorcism), our record is 27-18 .600
    san fran’s record: 26-21 .553
    colorado’s record: 26-20 .565

    of the 4 teams in the wild card race, we have the easiest remaining schedule. so, i took the remaining schedule and factored in those winning percentages to get a final record. here it is:

    san fran: 89-73
    colorado: 89-73 or 90-74
    atlanta: 87-75 or 88-74

    so, if we keep up the pace we’ve been at for the past 45 games, we will still probably fall short. here’s to hoping that mclouth and church can get healthy, chipper can get hot, and hudson can really give us a boost. it will be interesting nonetheless.

  35. I’d have to vote for Corky Miller. The way I see it, he did nothing and looked bad doing it. At least Norton has provided one season of very good pinch hitting. Even if he didn’t have that going for him, i’d rate Norton’s role as simulated game hitter higher than Corky Miller’s “contributions”.

  36. The general point is that we’re not talking about the most annoying player or even the most self-damaging player, we’re talking about the worst. And I repeat that there is no way that Greg Norton is worse than Corky Miller. And for those who think that being a catcher automatically makes Miller somehow useful, he was a truly horrible defensive catcher who couldn’t block the ball and couldn’t throw anybody out. For a backup catcher who couldn’t hit Little League pitching, that is every bit as useless as a pinch-hitter who can’t hit.

  37. @67—21 Rbi’s and 1 HR in 10 MLB seasons is pretty bad. The funny thing is I can remember when Matt Sinatro was considered a pretty good prospect. Have to say this about the guy, anybody who could last in the show for parts of 10 seasons had to have something going on for him.

  38. @65
    in judging by teams over .500 compared to teams under .500, they do, but judging by overall winning percentage, we do. i’ll go by overall winning percentage which makes more sense.

    also, they end with st. louis, milwaukee, and l.a., while we end with washington, florida, and washington. we have 7 games left against washington and 6 games against the little league team that went by the name of “the mets”. i’ll take our schedule any day of the week.

  39. @62,

    Frankly, I would be happy with 87 wins even if it didn’t get the Braves in the playoffs. The fact is, even though their record has been good, the Braves have squandered a lot of chances to make up ground. They could easily be five games better than they are.

  40. #69, well after last week’s Padres debacle I wouldn’t get too excited about the Braves playing the Nats and Mets. The ’09 Braves have a knack for playing down to the level of their competition. Those games won’t be slam dunk wins.

  41. @71,

    But the last four games with the Nats (the last four of the season) are in Atlanta and the Braves have not lost to the Nats at home. I’ll take my chances with those. The other three games here in DC, however, are likely to be problems considering how poorly the Braves play here.

  42. @71
    i completely agree. i was just talking in terms of schedule comparison, i would take ours over colorado’s schedule.

  43. @69 A good analysis nonetheless! Your result is consistent with my gut feeling…which is that we will end up a couple games short…unless we start sweeping teams…

  44. Didn’t Brogna have some sort of disease? Kieth Lockhart sucked. He we don’t speak lost a lot more games for us than Norton has. Here is my all suck Braves team:

    SP- Albie Lopez
    C- Corky Miller
    1b- Ken Caminiti
    2b- Keith Lockhart
    SS-Andrés Thomas
    3B- Ken Oberkfell
    LF-Reggie Snaders
    CF- Terry Blocker(!)
    RF- Michael Tucker/ Frenchy (platoon!)
    RP- He we don’t speak
    PH- Norton

    That’s my team. It would lose a ton of games.

  45. Is there anybody in the NL Cy Young discussion besides Lincecum, Carpenter, & Wainright? Dan Haren? Matt Cain? (just looking at basic stat lines).

    Does the AL have a discussion? or is it just Greinke’s year? (lowest ERA, 2nd in K’s, 6 CGs, but fewer wins than some)

  46. #78, a quick glance at the stats makes me think Lincecum is a slam dunk to win unless Wainwright or Carpenter win 20 games and Lincecum ends up with, say, 16 (voters tend to overrate wins compared to other stats).

  47. Brogna came to us after spending a year and a half on the DL with a broken (I think) femur, and never played the same because of it.

    Chris Woodward’s OPS+ was 4 points higher than Norton’s right now, but also got about 70 more at bats over the course of the season. He also was Bobby’s answer to who needs to spell Chipper at 3B, and was an incompetent fielder as well, so not only did he include defensive misadventures to his resume, but replaced the production of Chipper (or, I guess, Thorman) when he played. Norton, on the other hand, is terrible, but is used primarily as a pinch hitter, so he only replaces the offense production of the pitchers spot in the order. While there is certainly opportunity cost there, I’m sure Woodward cost the team more.

  48. I didn’t realize how good (offensively) Dunn has been this year. in 3 of the 5 months of the season he’s hit .297 (or better), with an OPS of over 1.000. He’s on pace for another 40HR season, and his highest avg/ops for a season. He’s no Gold Glove mind you, but… yeesh what a lot hitting.

  49. Peanut says Brian Barton cleared waivers and was outrighted to Gwinnett. This opened a 40-man spot for Tim Hudson.

  50. I almost hate to bring him up because man I loved this guy when I watched him play for the Durham Bulls, but what about Brad Komminsk for all-suck? Especially if you factor in expectation versus return- I mean this guy was all-freaking-WORLD in the minors and then he was (I think I am stealing this phrase from another commenter on this board) a massive vortex of suck once he made the show.

  51. @82,

    Yeah, Dunn’s been terrific for the most part. He certainly gives up a lot defensively but I can’t believe it’s more than he provides with his bat. Of course, some of the announcers here complain that he is TOO selective and should be swinging at some of the pitches he takes to drive in more runs. I guess they know better than Ted Williams, who got similar complaints.

  52. I’d say Oberkfell represents more suckiness than Jim Presley ever did. He earned his eternal enmity.

    Presley felt like a rental (and someone who kinda “paved” the way for our getting Pendleton), but Oberkfell was someone I always felt we were stuck with.

    Back in the ’80s, I always thought, “Guys like Ken Oberkfell is why we suck.”

  53. lol hearing the name Terry Crowley makes me think of that Earl Weaver interview

    Francoeur is the worst Brave to me just because of all the plate appearances and outs he sucked up.

  54. What was our record in August?

    Also, is it just me or has this been a really healthy year for the Braves? Or am I just comparing it to last year … and the Mets?

  55. braves14 may have it. When you take playing time and production not obtained, Jeffy is in there with Andres Thomas and a few others.

  56. looking at random stats… in 1999, we had a guy with an OPS of .725 in 72 PAs. Compare that with Norton’s OPS of .488 in 84 PAs… that guy in ’99? John Smoltz.

    Not to pile on the guy, but Norton’s OPS this year is .034 higher than Tom Glavine’s career OPS. If you average out what Glavine did the last 5 years, he would have been almost exactly as effective as a pinch hitter as Norton has been this season (I can’t remember how their contracts compared to know if it would’ve been cheaper to use Glavine in that role).

    Have we talked about how likely it will be if we take the WC that we’ll be facing Smoltz? That would suck.

  57. Breazeale. Komminsk. Helms. Thorman. Big strong white boys with holes in their swings. It’s always been a Braves weakness. They bring up one of these guys every five years or so. A few worked out OK. I hear this guy Murphy was pretty good…. but he was no Klesko.

  58. Parish, I wouldn’t say a “really” healthy year, but we haven’t totally lost anybody yet. We have had McCann, Chipper, McLouth, Church, & Escobar all hurt at one time or another… we have escaped without having our entire starting pitching staff except a rookie on the DL though.

  59. Rico Brogna had Ankylosing spondylitis, more commonly called spinal arthritis. He took medication for it for his entire career but it finally caught up to him for good in Atlanta. Whether due to the disease or his general inability to draw a walk, he was never very good.

    @96

    That weakness is not limited to “big strong white boys.” Mike Kelly and Randall Simon are prime examples as well.

  60. Braves were 17-11 in August, 16-11 in July (incl. 5-4 with Francoeur).

    As previously mentioned, Atlanta is 28-18 since dealing the RF.

  61. Just looked and see that as bad as the Mets are, they’ve currently got a better win pct than we had at the end of last year… yeesh. What would the last two years look like for the Phils if they’d had to contend with both a healthy Braves and Mets team all season long?

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