Braves 2, Astros 1

Atlanta Braves vs. Houston Astros – Box Score – September 08, 2009 – ESPN

Hey, a win. Rah. The Braves’ “magicish number” to finish above .500 is 11.

Javier Vazquez was pretty special tonight, as he had to be, striking out nine in seven innings and giving up but three hits, though he walked four. He had one real jam in the sixth, second and third one out, but struck out Berkman; then he walked the next man to load the bases, but a grounder he deflected went enough towards Chipper that the latter could make a great play and throw out the hitter to preserve the shutout.

The Braves “offense”, such as it was, was solo homers by LaRoche in the second and McLouth in the fifth. The Braves only had five hits, and two of them were by Vazquez. It’s really pathetic.

Gonzalez gave up a hit in the eighth, but got out of it. Soriano allowed a leadoff triple (McLouth maybe should have made the play — certainly Andruw would have gotten it) and then a single. Fortunately, he got a double play by the next man, before allowing another single. A flyout ended the game. If there was any point, I’d say to shut him down.

32 thoughts on “Braves 2, Astros 1”

  1. I am sure the Braves will sweep the Astros, just to tease their fans – then lose the next 5 games, again.
    Depressing turn around from a week ago…

  2. Bobby shouldve thought about that during all his bunting episodes…at this point we might as well let Valdez close and see what he looks like

  3. Mac, When is the last time the Braves had a complete game?
    Also, I voted for Cormier. I didn’t care for Mickey Mahler, but I sure liked Rick plus Cormier sounds like he should be playing hockey. The real reason is I’ll never forget Mickey (try as I may) but I had almost put Cormier’s stint as a Brave out of my mind.

  4. Jon, I think one more power bat, plus keeping Adam, on top of a fine debut season of Heyward will do it…wait, that’s three bats as you said. Never mind, ha.

    csg, I see Valdez as another Acosta.

  5. 9,Our Braves have one complete game this season. It was on June 17th against the Reds, Javier Vazquez was the pitcher. He went eight innings and we lost 4-3.

  6. from previous thread:

    “Matt Diaz has never been an everyday player and never will be at the age of 31. Comparing OPS under the circumstances is laughable at best.”

    care to elaborate, or is this another one of those statements that you cant back up with any sort of stat or fact?
    coach, the reason i argue with people such as yourself and chief nocahoma is the “i told you so” mentality of your posts is a pet peeve of mine, especially when the posts have nothing to back them up. it’s probably just as childish of me to argue with an “i told you so” poster, but i can’t help myself.

    you really dont think i know the scoop on dan uggla? what makes you think he can play left field? not once has he ever played the outfield, not even in the minors, and he’s very streaky (as much as kj). ok, so he hits homers, but are you seriously going to stick a .250 hitter that can go through ridiculously long cold streaks (such as the one he was in the first 2 months of the year)?

    if the braves were to re-sign laroche and if bobby were to actually bat people in the spots they should be in, this lineup really doesnt need any more power. a lineup such as this would be great, imo.

    lefties
    diaz
    prado
    chipper
    escobar
    laroche
    mccann
    mclouth
    heyward

    righties
    diaz
    chipper
    mclouth
    mccann
    laroche
    escobar
    heyward
    prado

    the lineup doesnt have the 40 homerun guy in it, but has 3-4 20-30 homerun guys and 2-3 10-15 homerun guys. not to mention, each player has a .350 obp or more.

  7. 16

    Funny, and appropriate.

    This team needs to find a cleanup hitter badly. A guy to take Chipper’s spot in the 3 hole, in order to bump him down to 5 (or up to 2) would be great, but is probably not feasible because of all the money the braves waste on old guys.

    If the braves can swing a deal for a big time cleanup hitter, the benefit should trickle down to the rest of the offense, making everyone better.

    Anyone who thinks the braves can contend with this pop gun offense is fooling themselves. Also, Heyward will be 21 next year so don’t put too many expectations on the kid just yet.

  8. I don’t know if we need that much. Our offense has been pretty good since Francoeur went away, and our pitching, of course, is excellent.

    However, we do have a surplus in one area, a really valuable area, and could use improvement in a couple of others, so I imagine Wren will make a move. Medlen and Kawakami could really be starting. We need a power bat, especially if Heyward is in AAA for a bit, and we need relief pitching, since we probably won’t keep Gonzalez and Soriano.

    Every day I wish more and more that Wren had found the money to sign Dunn.

  9. I’d like to keep Soriano, he can be so lights out and intimidating at times, but I imagine he will be pricey. However, wasnt it just a few years ago we couldnt hold a lead after 6-7 innings? We could load up on offense, but wouldnt it suck just as badly to loose 10-9 all the time instead of 3-2?

  10. @19, the problem is that closers are risky for the number of innings they pitch. Sure, if you’re a big money club like the Yanks or Sox or Dodgers, you can afford to be risk neutral and spend big on a closer. Most clubs, like the Braves, can’t afford to have a lot of money wrapped up in a player as risky as a closer.

    Look at Toronto. Similar payroll situation as the Braves, and the Ryan collapse really hurt their ability to compete.

  11. hey 15, you can’t come up with a better idea, now can you?

    You’re line up’s are a joke too.

    And Frankly I don’t give a hoot about what you think about my “I told you so mentality” I had two expectations for this season:

    1. My Braves would win more game than they lost.

    2. They would also miss the playoffs.

    Both happened. There you go, have a nice day.

  12. I don’t understand the idea that, because the Braves aren’t going to the playoffs, it doesn’t matter if they win. I think it does matter. You always want the team to win rather than lose. I want them to finish above .500.

    Ryan C,

    There is no point in arguing with people that are incoherent. Just let it go.

  13. NO,NO,NO 24. Cox is incoherent and Ryan C. is his long lost love child :)

    That said, anybody who would defend the horrific job of managing by Bobby Cox this year is in need of a lobotomy.

    P.S. I’m pissed off…….at Tony LaRussa. He’s gonna throw Kyle Lohse on the mound for his first start in three weeks, and skip John Smoltz in the Cardinals rotation when we see them in St.Louis this weekend.

    AAARRRRRGGGGHH!!!!!

  14. The offense has been good in spurts but it’s hardly a lineup that will scare people, especially with Chipper struggling. I agree that you can’t expect Heyward to come up and be an immediate impact hitter. But if your best hitter isn’t hitting, you can’t really expect lesser players to compensate. But, as for not contending with a pop gun lineup, how about the Giants who have a worse lineup than the Braves?

  15. “You’re line up’s are a joke too”

    well, your usage of “you’re”, making “line up” 2 words, and putting an apostrophe on “line up’s” is more of a joke.

    but back to baseball. that lineup is solid. yes, a GREAT BIG BAT would be nice, but with the big holes that will be in the pen, the relief pitching needs are greater.

    btw, isnt this “big bat” theory different than what you have been bitching about so often: pitching and defense. do you know what you want? you suggested to get uggla and put him in left field, yet you also harp on pitching and defense.

    your own philosophies dont follow through on your posts. once again, you make no sense.

  16. Ryan c. (and others),

    I don’t quite get the “gaping hole in relief pitching.”

    We have under control (in more or less order of how good they are):

    1. Moylan
    2. O’Flaherty
    3. Medlen (he won’t be starting unless we make a deal AND have an injury).
    4. Logan
    5. Campillo (guessing on him being back, but not as good)
    6. Kimbrel
    6. Jo Jo Reyes (I know Jo Jo hasn’t shown a lot, but at ML level he has shown good skills against lefties and could certainly be a #2 bullpen lefty).

    We have Gonzo (2.8) and Soriano (6) whose payroll can be used to either (a) offer one or both arb (and Bobby’s mis management impacts this, because we have to assume that anybody in the pen worth a damn that we have had for a year will be hurt and worthless the next year) or (b) find somebody else. With that money, we can add one “Closer” TM on top of the above list or 2 “proven set up guys” (many of whom like Beimel, sat on the vine last year)and be in good shape in the pen.

    Within the players we have and the previous year’s payroll, we hav ethe pen and the starting rotation (subject to reducing one for salary relief) in good shape.

  17. As to lineups for next year assuming the current bunch as per Ryan c. at 15,

    Against lefties, I would assume Ross as the catcher. Ross has a 3 year average OPS against lefties
    of about 860. He has to play every 3rd to 4th day anyway. Then, when back to back lefties, maybe you have McCann take one, but the other one should go to Ross.

    Your “same sided” hitters are too close together. This is one thing I agree with Bobby Cox on. You can’t make it easy on the other manager to use a LOOGY or ROOGY.

    Try,

    against lefties

    McLouth
    Prado
    Chipper
    Diaz
    LaRoche
    Escobar
    Heyward / Infante
    Ross

    against righties

    McLouth
    Diaz / Church
    Chipper
    McCann
    Escobar
    LaRoche
    Prado
    Heyward

    The only “if” in those lineups is Chipper. That is, he has to bounce back a little. All that Heyward has to do is to do about 280/ 340/ 450 to equal ACHE’s line for this lineup to equal the “post Francoeur” offense.

  18. cliff,
    i dont think that big of a gamble can be taken on next year’s bullpen. aside from moylan, not one of those guys have a proven mlb track record. i’m not saying they arent good, but there have been many times that the braves have been burned by a “less than experienced” bullpen. that’s why i think vazquez has to be traded for 2 proven bullpen arms.

    also, i just really like diaz in the leadoff role. he can steal an occasional base, he walks and doubles quite often. imo, mclouth’s power is wasted at the top. i understand that people might not be on board taking mclouth out of the leadoff role.

  19. Diaz has performed well in the leadoff role. He ain’t Rickey, but until Rickey gets here, Diaz will do just fine in that spot.

    I don’t understand why folks think Shaeffer will show up and hit .300 next year. I sure didn’t see it and stubbornly sticking with him and Francouer cost us a number of games.

    If Pendleton is to be our next manager, might as well stay with Cox. I really want to see some new blood. (Might want to keep McDowell, though.)

    Any way to pry Scioscia (sp?) out of Anaheim?

  20. Ryan, you just can’t let it go can you? What, is the maxipad in need of a change, are the panties to tight?

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