Braves 9, Astros 7

Atlanta Braves vs. Houston Astros – Box Score – September 10, 2009 – ESPN

Hey, offense! And hey, Mike Gonzalez for the save!

The Braves jumped all over Roy Oswalt for six runs on ten hits in two innings. Actually, they could have had more — they left the bases loaded in the first and two on in the second — but six runs is plenty. Usually. Lowe allowed one run in the first, then in the third gave up a three-run homer to Berkman to make it 6-4. Uh-oh.

But the Braves didn’t go into Hibernation Mode yet, and added two runs in the fifth to make it 8-4. Whew. But then the Astros got another run to make it 8-5. And then the Braves got a run to make it 9-5, which is how it stayed until the eighth. With two out and two on against Moylan, Chipper threw away a grounder and both runners scored to make it 9-7. Because nothing comes easy for this team, Gonzalez allowed a one-out single and walk in the ninth, but got a double play to end it.

The Braves finished with sixteen hits, including four by McCann, who had two RBI and two runs scored for his trouble. McLouth hit a homer to lead off the game. With Prado taking an off-day KJ played second, garnering two hits, while Yunel hit in the two spot, where he had three.

27 thoughts on “Braves 9, Astros 7”

  1. That game was much harrier than it should’ve been. Lowe is acknowledging he’s not pitching as well as he should, and Chipper is even saying he might hang them up if he sucks next year. If the first step to correcting a problem is acknowledging you have one, that at least bodes well for 2010…err 2011.

  2. I’m shocked at how bad Lowe has been since Opening Night in Philly. On the other hand, this is not inconsistent with his overall career, which has had its share of ups and downs. Right now, he is the most expensive number five starter in the history of baseball.

  3. I wouldn’t say he’s been “bad”, he’s had a ton of very decent “quality” starts… and half a dozen or so really bad ones. He has been lacking in the “shutting the opponent down” starts since opening day though. While he’s not been an “ace” by any stretch of the imagination, he has generally done a good job of keeping the team “in” most games he pitches. With us winning last night it, and him leading the team in wins, it seems he epitomizes the Braves propensity to play up to, or down to, the opponent. He hasn’t won a game in which the offense hasn’t scored at least 4 runs…

    Interestingly, or not, Vasquez has had almost as many “bad” starts (though his half a dozen or so bad ones involve giving up 5-6 runs in 7-8 innings instead of the 5-6 runs in 3-5 innings Lowe’s bad ones have), but his good starts have been SO good as to almost make us forget the bad ones. He has actually won a few 2-0, 1-0 type games.

  4. I love McCann, he’s the best catcher in the league. But he’s not good enough to be hitting clean up for any major league team. Show’s how pathetic our offense is.

    Also, I’m extremely worried about Chipper going forward. His defense is HORRIBLE and his offensive stats this year are WAY BELOW the average levels for a 3rd baseman.

  5. @3,

    Even Lowe’s “qualtiy” starts haven’t been that good, though, and a lot were sort of marginal anyway and put a lot of stress on the bullpen. He has been pretty lucky in a lot of those games that he didn’t give up a lot more runs. Vazquez’s bad starts have generally involved having a bad inning that he just couldn’t get out of. That happens. Lowe has struggled with command and given up a lot of hits and that really is a recipe for disaster.

    I agree with Dan about McCann. He is a fine player, but catching in the NL in Atlanta is inevitably going to take its toll.

  6. Yeah Marc, he hasn’t been sharp, and it may be because of how poorly things have gone the last couple years, but it feels like he’s one of the most expensive, and one of the best, fifth starters. It might be interesting to see… his first year in Atlanta seems similar to Glavine’s first year in NY. If we get 3 years of him as good as Glavine was his next three years for NY it won’t be HORRIBLE… not the best money spent, but not like we signed the Zito deal.

  7. Lowe is the one I would like to see gone after this season. He’s not a SO pitcher, he relies on control and good defense behind him. I’d rather have Hudson and/or Vasquez than Lowe. Maybe we could trade large contracts with someone for a power hitter?

  8. We’re eight and a half out and the Rockies simply are not losing steam. Chipper, McCann, and Hanson need to be shut down.

  9. I think we have Lowe until his contract ends, unless we want to pay some of his salary to a team that would trade for him. Who’s the last aging, declining, highly paid pitcher that has been traded that anyone can think of? That’s not a rhetorical question, I’d really like to know. David Wells, maybe? I personally hope he improves b/c I think he is a Brave for a while.

    Chipper, on the other hand, I just don’t see him being much better than he has been this season. His defense has been pretty bad, and combine that with the usual injuries and how bad he has looked at the plate at times, and I think that’s a storm brewing. People get all upset when you talk about moving him from 3rd base, but I think the Braves are going to have to get creative with him the next few years to cover up some of these holes.

  10. The Braves aren’t going to have to do much of anything with Chipper since he’s making it clear he’ll retire if he can’t play any better than he has this year. Given his track record, he deserves a chance next year to show this year was a fluke or due to nagging injuries he hasn’t disclosed. I hope though that whoever manages the Braves next year gives him at least a few more days off.

  11. I haven’t checked th eback end of the last post, but JC has new stuff up on Larry Wayne, Jr. and it is pretty good.

    Basically PrOPS has Chipper a good bit better than OPS (menaing he has been just about as unlucky this year as he was lucky last year). His offense is not as out of whack, season long, as it might seem.

    However, this slump has been scary.

    I really think he needs rest, healing, massage and therapy, and rehab. With that, he will be an ML plus 3B next year (big plus with bat, small minus, overall plus).

  12. Offseason improvements:

    1) Retire Bobby, it’s time

    2) Yunel moves to the 3 hole, and find a legit clean-up hitter.

    3) Yunel and Jair join a gym, and get off the Andruw Jones workout plan.

    4) Sob, b/c it’s nothing the Braves can do about Lowe.

    5) Get the Heyward Express ready to go.

  13. Micheal @ 9 and others,

    First, I don’t think Lowe would be as negatively perceived by other teams as by this fan base. We are blessed with starting pitching more so than probably anybody other than the Yankees and BoSox. When the Lackey offers start coming in, then teams will be able to value that contract.

    But, you had an interesting point. Who (position player outfield or 1B) has had an “Edgar Renteria (2005, not 2009)” performance as a hitter which doesn’t “look right” but might make his team want to move his contract?

    The obvious first one is Milton Bradley, but he is a serious piece of work. I really don’t want Cox back and even he probably couldn’t handle that dynamic.

    The other Cubs outfielders fit that too. Kosuke Fukudome however projects like a Ryan Church or so and we have one of those. Soriano is a different and older version of Francoeur, so I am not interested there.

    Actually, the Cubs would probably take Lowe and give us any of those 3 and them pay 1/2 or more of pay.

    Who else? Big Papi? No, way.

  14. If Chipper has really lost his bat then moving him to 1B makes no sense whatsoever. If he hasn’t lost his bat then there’s no real reason to move him off of 3B. There’s not a lot of difference in “wear and tear” between 1B and 3B and I’m not sold that Prado is that much of a defensive upgrade on the hot corner.

  15. Matt Holliday has sort of ressurected himself coming back to the NL. Sign him to play LF, let Church/Diaz cover RF, McLouth CF. If Schafer or Heyward push themselves into the big league lineup move Holliday or Diaz/Church to 1B.

    The downside is that you go into the season with Prado as your starting 1B.

  16. someone, aka Yanks or Sox, are going to offer holliday a ridiculous contract. We wont be able to compete there.

  17. If Holliday is priced out of consideration you find a quality OF or 1B that someone will flip for Javy Vasquez.

  18. On players with bad contracts that I might take (if somebody took Lowe’s), there don’t appear to be many.

    Cuddyer with the Twins is the kind of expense they like to move and is a pretty good player, but not the “bat” that we really need.

    Konerko might make sense. The wild card might be Helton. He still is pretty productive. Neither of them lets you move Chipper across to first base.

    the only 3rd basman that potentially “fits” is Lowell, and I wouldn’t want to trust that hip.

  19. Ordonez could be flipped for Lowe maybe. His opton will vest and its for $18 mil next season

    he’s had a terrible year and his slug has dropped .200 pts since 2007, but his second half is promising

    .349/.428/.516/.943

    we had a couple of good trades with the Tigers in the past

    question is whether one yr of Maggs is better than 3 years of Lowe for the long run? im thinking that it is

  20. I doubt they trade Lowe. They have to find a buyer who is somehow less convinced that 2009 was a bad sign than they are (virtually impossible), have to pick up Hudson’s extension (easy enough) and have to extend Vasquez to lock in the “#1” spot going forward.

    Doable, but convoluted. More likely they either skip on Hudson or trade Vasquez.

  21. csg @ 12,

    So you think you want to force an employee to work for you when they don’t want to?

    MAYBE if the player just got a signing bonus and then retires, you make an issue by going after the signing bonus. but otherwise, you let them retire. We ought to be glad we have one that is saying if he can’t pull his load, he is gone. That is very rare.

    It is problematic for the Braves though, because until Chipper decides, 13 million is tied up and you don’t know if you have another hole to fill.

  22. As much as people clamor for pitching, many of you are convinced that Lowe’s contract is beyond a little pricey and is an outright white elephant? Really?

    Lowe’s contract based on what he has done this year probably would come in this offseason (if he was an FA) as 3 years 12 each. Meaning a team is paying 9 extra mill over 3 years if they take him on, relative to free agent value.

  23. cliff, you misunderstood what I was trying to say. You explained it the exact way that I was looking at it. Its hard to offer someone a big contract not knowing when he’s thinking he’ll be done. Earlier this year he said he wanted to play until he’s 40, now it may be only through next season

  24. I would rather have Vasquez and Hudson than Lowe, but if it’s Lowe and one of those two I won’t complain. I don’t underestimate the value that Lowe brings to the team.

    As for Chipper, I absolutely love that he is 1) willing to accept his limitations as he ages and 2) refuses to drag down his team’s production just to hang on and draw the paycheck. That’s *awesome* in this day and age.

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