Braves 4, Astros 2

Atlanta Braves vs. Houston Astros – Box Score – August 10, 2010 – ESPN.

I’ve said it before, and the announcers said it again tonight — this team is so resilient. They had every reason to fold after the eighth inning tonight, in which Jair Jurrjens got about five outs but wound up getting credited with only one thanks to terrible defense, and was on the hook for the potential loss. Coming on the heels of last night’s seventh-inning fiasco, and Chipper Jones leaving the game in the sixth with a sprained knee, there was every reason to believe they’d go down meekly in the ninth. They didn’t.

The Braves were pretty much shut down by J.A. Happ, who is not Cliff Lee but looks like it whenever he faces the Braves; through six innings, they had one hit, a double in the fourth by Chipper, who, as I said, left the game in the sixth. In the seventh, his replacement, Brooks Conrad, folk hero, led off with a walk. Diaz struck out, but McCann followed with another walk. Then, in an unbelievably unlikely occurrence, Troy Glaus got a hit, driving in Conrad. The Astros brought in a reliever, who got Melky to ground into a double play, but one hitter too late.

Jurrjens was on cruise control, though he didn’t have the strikeout pitch he’d had working in recent starts; the Astros weren’t making solid contact, and he was throwing strikes. Leading off the eighth, however, Michael Bourn tripled over Melky’s head, and you had to wonder if Bobby should have brought in Venters or Saito to start the inning. JJ rallied and got the next man to strike out, then with the infield in got a perfect ground ball to short. Just like last night, when things went wrong. And Alex Gonzalez fielded this one, but threw badly to the plate; Brian maybe should have caught it, but AAG was charged with the error to tie the game, with the hitter winding up at second. Jurrjens intentionally walked the next man, and Bobby brought in… Moylan? The man who was in the middle of last night’s catastrophe? Who is clearly not himself right now? With Venters and Saito well-rested?

Moylan in fact did his job this time, getting a ground ball to short, which Gonzalez again threw away; Omar was charged with the error, which was ridiculous (he just barely got a glove on the throw, and AAG’s throw was much worse than on the throw to the plate). The go-ahead run scored, and the game looked over. McCann saved the day on the next play, throwing Hunter Pence out trying to steal, which saved a run when the batter later singled. Finally Venters came in and struck out a pinch-hitter, because he’s really really good. Unlike Moylan is right now.

Gonzalez redeemed himself a little by leading off the ninth with an infield single. And Brooks Conrad, folk hero, followed with an upper-deck shot to turn the game upside down, 3-2, just like that. Glaus followed with an extremely unlikely insurance home run to make it 4-2. Wagner nailed down the save, getting help from a great play by Infante to nail the leadoff man.

364 thoughts on “Braves 4, Astros 2”

  1. Bobby just said that Chipper’s going to be out “for a while.” Hope that doesn’t mean for the year.

    Helluva comeback, though. Really didn’t think the team had another game like this in them.

  2. Chipper was really finding his stroke. I guess most of us will get our wish because Omar and Prado will probably be on the field together (just not the way we were hoping). I hope Bobby puts them at 1&2 in the order.

  3. Glaus is so important to this offense. It’s not even funny. I honestly want him to do well.

    Chipper….I guess Infante has become a full-time player now!

  4. Another LHP tomorrow on getaway day. No Chipper, possibly no Heyward or McCann. It’s gonna be an ugly lineup.

  5. Hell is Chip Carey endlessly calling groundballs to New Guy with the game on the line. We got a little taste of it tonight.

  6. I’ve been at the last two games. I left tonight when Venters came in. My daughter had run out of patience, and I couldn’t stomach watching any more.

    So it would be ridiculously superstitious of me not to go to tomorrow’s game, right? Right?

    BTW, why was Heyward not playing? Flu-like symptoms?

  7. Francoeur brings to mind the player about whom Casey Stengel said “he’s twenty years old and in ten years he’s got a chance to be thirty. ”

    Yes this is a resilient team but it would be nice if they didn’t have to be quite so resilient. Like maybe scoring some runs off a wretched pitching staff in a bandbox.

  8. @17 Indeed. I’m learning to be less upset at the losses and less thrilled at the victories. The Braves simply need to do two things: hit for more power and play much, much better defense. I’m excited to see a little of the former, but the bad defense seems to be spiraling out of control.

  9. I was actually thinking earlier about how this team USED to be a lot more resilient, back in April-May-June, before our offense really took a nosedive. It was nice to see the old 9th inning offense. First time in a long time we’ve had a comeback victory this satisfying.

    I HATE J.A. Happ.

  10. I would like to apologize for my earlier overexuberance, both optimistic and pessimistic. As it turns out, that second double Jack on the rocks may have been a bit much.

  11. On a total sidebar, I had been assuming for awhile that people were just rushing through the pronunciation of J.A. in J.A. Happ, but after listening carefully tonight, there is absolutely no doubt that either Chip and Joe are complete idiots (and I mean complete, beyond anything I thought possible) or that Happ actually somehow pronounces J.A. as “Jay.” I feel that should be viciously mocked in some way.

  12. You earned it, Stu. That game was plenty, and it coulda been a real gutpunch. But, instead, it became a bit of a lift (Chipper’s situation notwithstanding).

    Every meaningful season seems to have those… moments. And Brooks Conrad is responsible for about 3 of them this year (so far).

    With apologies to Bethany, I was at the gym, on the bike, listening to the Folk Hero’s blast. Pennant-race baseball, folks. Ain’t nothing like it.

  13. If I said that, despite the errors, I still think AAG has been a better player for us since he’s been here than Escobar was for us this year, how many people on here would absolutely lose their minds?

  14. DOB tweet…

    #Braves’ Bobby Cox praised SS Gonzalez again, rather than criticize. Said he made great play just to field ball before throwing home. 27 mins ago

  15. @22 – The radio team explained that Happ likes to be called “J” Happ, but that he makes it clear that it shouldn’t be spelled “Jay”. Even though they’re right on this, they’re still idiots – especially Chip.

  16. It’s still made in Tennessee, so it’s good enough for me!

    In all seriousness, it’s not my favorite, but it was the best of what remained in my liquor cabinet.

  17. If I said that, despite the errors, I still think AAG has been a better player for us since he’s been here than Escobar was for us this year, how many people on here would absolutely lose their minds?

    Probably not many. Since Yunel didn’t hit at all in April or May the bar is pretty low. More offense, less defense it’s probably fairly close.

    The problem of course is both players are currently playing at their normal levels and we have the worse player. If we had traded Heyward the day before he went on the DL with his thumb injury for Carlos Lee, it would be a pretty lousy argument to say ‘well sure Lee kinda sucks but he’s giving us more than Heyward did the month before he was dealt so I guess the deal is a winner’.

  18. Billy-jay, I’ll defer to the superior knowledge of others on this board, but from the Wikipedia page it looks like it’s basically “bourbon,” but for a technicality:

    Tennessee whiskey is filtered through sugar maple charcoal in large wooden vats prior to aging, unlike the process used to make Kentucky bourbon.[8] Tennessee whiskey is not bourbon whiskey, as defined by Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 1, Part 5, Section 5.22.[9]

    Sorta like saying that a non-French sparkling wine isn’t really champagne.

  19. @32, you could make a good argument for Tennessee Whiskey being a bourbon. I mean, isn’t it a bourbon, legally speaking, until it goes through the extra filtration? Since the filtration is just that, you could probably get away with calling Jack or George Dickel a bourbon. In practice, no one does, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

  20. Is it possible that we have seen the last game in Chipper Jones’ career?

    I hope not. Get well, Chipper!

  21. Conrad , this guy is amazing. Did you see him when he was running the diamond? He seemed to rush into the home plate with light steps. :)

    Recently Gonzalez has made too many errors when it is important. One of my friend complained his defense to display his showmanship before. Ughhhhhh.

    Poor Moylan!! His struggling has been bugging me a lot. Hope Bobby stop killing him. Seriously!!!

  22. @33 Robert, AAG is outhitting Yunel in terms of OPS since the trade, and AAG is playing below his normal level of consistency on defense based on fielding percentage.

  23. I drink Makers.

    Conrad has won himself a job for three years at least if Bobby has anything to say about it.

    If Chipper is out for the year Wren will trade for LaRoche and move Glaus to 3rd.

  24. LaRoche isn’t an option this year. He has a clause in his contract that sets his salary for 2011 at 9.5M if traded. So…that’s not happening.

    If Chipper’s done for the year, we’ll move Prado to third and keep Infante at second. That’s not awful, but you hate to see Chipper go down just when he was starting to swing the bat well.

  25. 34 & 35,

    Yeah, but the filtration is the difference. It’s all whiskey, though.

    BTW, I should’ve thanked you for posting that article. I drink a lot of Jack. I think I’ll look for a new standard now.

  26. My fear – yesterday’s HR may be the final one of the season for Glaus.

    Chipper has an MRI scheduled for Thursday.

  27. @48:

    On a fairly awesome leaping throw across the diamond. It’s in most of the vid highlights.

  28. Ok, I have a random question to ask you all. For any car enthusiasts, what do you think of the Dodge Challenger? There is one at a dealership here that they are desperate to get off the lot before the 2011 models come in, and it’s dark blue with red trimmed white racing stripes. It would be a beautiful Braves-mobile.

  29. Get a new Camaro Bethany, more car for less money. I’ve been doing alot of shopping lately. I can finally rid myself of the family mobile, and find something I like.

    As for the Braves, if we could just get on another run, or the Phillies would lay down for awhile, I would feel a WHOLE lot better. It would be sad to see Chipper go, but I almost feel like Conrad would provide more power.

  30. I laughed out loud at the Francoeur article. Not really at the article, but at the fact that the WSJ would publish such rubbish.

    Francoeur is a whiny bitch, how he has a reputation as a good clubhouse guy is absolutely amazing. I hate him.

  31. FlaBravesFan, I do really like the Camero, and I’ve heard similar sentiments to yours about getting more for your money. But damn, I really like the way the Challenger looks a little more, and I could get one for 24 with all the features I wanted.

    This is what the one in town looks like:

  32. why wouldnt the braves go ahead and send Chipper home for an MRI today? Not sure why they decided to wait an extra day

  33. #54 – Chipper is swinging like the old chipper right now. Since the break .307/.391/.533/.924. There is no chance Conrad can come close to those numbers. I like Conrad as much as anyone but I want him swinging the bat once a day from the 7th inning on.

  34. The Francouer article is why its always open season on Frenchy at Braves Journal.

    How can someone believe that he is so entitled?

  35. That is pretty sweet Bethany…..six in one hand and half a dozen in the other, buy the one you REALLY like if $$ isnt a big issue.

  36. I’ve got $1,300 remaining in credit card debt that I’ve been paying down and I’m contemplating one final balance transfer to save some money and finish off the rest. Which would be better: 0% interest until 04/2011 or 1.99% interest until 10/2011?

  37. @34
    I gotta protect my products lol, but champagne refers to sparkling wine produced in the region with the aforementioned name, so if it’s not french it’s not champagne.
    Maybe you knew, but I couldn’t help!

  38. Random answers:

    I had kimbap, mandu, and Wild Turkey tonight. It worked out okay.

    Frenchy can be a bitch with management and still be a good clubhouse guy. All those guys have issues with management, too, I’m sure.

    As for cars, I’m a Toyota guy. I might be talked into a Nissan, but it would take some work.

    Dusty: thumbs up, man.

  39. Today’s lineup (2:05 pm ET): Infante 4 Cabrera 9 Gonzalez 6 Diaz 7 Glaus 3 Ross 2 Conrad 5 Ankiel 8 Hanson 1

    Edit: sdp if you can afford to definately go for 0% until 4/2011. The monthly payments will be higher but you get out from under the debt sooner. Taking the other one locks you into paying the interest for a full year and though it’s not a high rate, you better off not paying any interest everytime.

  40. Didn’t realize it was an afternoon game. That’s a pretty terrible lineup, but there’s not much else you can do, I guess.

    Thanks for your input, FlaBravesFan!

  41. Nissans are great, I love my Altima.

    I had some cheapass Evan Williams and it was disgusting

  42. @61 – if you are looking to have it paid off by 4/11, I definitely agree w/ Dusty for #64. If you anticipate that you will still have a balance at that time – well, never mind, just get it paid off if at all possible, and then you don’t have to worry about what the rate is after that point :-)
    Good luck – I hate debt (we – wife & I – are trying to get out from under a mtn of it ourselves)

    Also:
    http://www.kansascity.com/2010/08/05/2132262/mellinger-royals-roller-coaster.html

    and
    http://www.ranyontheroyals.com/2010/08/zack-speaks-everyone-freaks.html

    Is it time to make a play for Greinke (is it even possible)?

  43. Infante 4 Cabrera 9 Gonzalez 6 Diaz 7 Glaus 3 Ross 2 Conrad 5 Ankiel 8 Hanson 1

    Wow. Hanson better be sharp today.

  44. That lineup features only 2 players from the one on opening day (Maybe just 1 depending on how you classify the Corpse of Santa Glaus).

  45. #61- depends…can you pay off the full $1300.00 by 04/2011? What will the rate baloon too after April 2011? If you cant pay it off, lock in at 1.99% for the longer duration and make sure it gets paid off before OCT. Quit using the credit cards afterwards or it wont matter

  46. Thanks for the input. It goes to 20.24% after 04/2011. I haven’t used my credit cards in over a month. Learned my lesson after financing a vacation on plastic. I’ve brought it down from around $2100->$1300 over that frame, but I can’t afford to continue paying at that clip (I’m a student, I’ll only earn around $375/mo. during the school months). I could pay it off by 04/2011, it’ll just be a slim next 8 months for me.

    :)

  47. best advice for car shoppers, dont ever by a new car and find financing before you go to a dealership. Never mention a payment amount that you are looking for either. Just tell them your only interested in the overall price being reduced. They can do some screwy things to make a payment fit your budget, and you’ll be screwed in the long run.

  48. That’s the thing that has me torn up about the Challenger. The used cars, even if they are 08 are 09’s, are only 2 grand less and the rates are 6% instead of the 1.9 the dealership is offering now. When I bought my scion, I bought it for 5 grand less than a new one, and it was the same year model.

  49. Which Scion did you get, and how did you like it? I am contemplating buying a used Xb for a family-mobile

  50. @70 and that also depends on how you classify Melky.

    As for the bourbon/whiskey debate I’m a Buffalo Trace fan myself.

  51. #75 – that means they have a lot of wiggle room on the prices of the old cars. Dont let them fool you into thinking that an 08 is the same price as a 2010. How much is the 08 model? and how many miles are on it?

  52. I’ve got an 06 xB, and my father has an 09 xB. Amazing cars, both of them. The older “toaster” models have way more space than you would think, and get great gas mileage. The newer models have a v6 but still get pretty good mileage, and are bigger, with about the same amount of space inside. I’d highly recommend either, we’ve never had any issues with them, and they seem to hold their value well.

  53. @56: To chime in on the Challenger vs. Camaro debate, the Challenger has some of the most beautifully simple lines of any car I’ve seen in a while. Nothing bothers me more than designs that have so much unnecessary swooping, surface separation, and general busyness that your eye can’t find a continuous line to follow. To me, this is typified by 2000s motorcycle design (the GSXR1000 is a pretty good example of awfulness – ). It’s like they’re designed by 19-year-olds high on Mountain Dew Game Fuel, anxious to include every edgy element they can imagine. The new Camaro has a similarly aggressive look, whereas the Challenger exudes quiet confidence. Add in the trailer trash connotation that’s stuck to the Camaro since the IROC Z days, and it’s a pretty clear win for the Challenger for me.

  54. @78 There actually aren’t many used within 200 miles, and if there are they aren’t the right color/stripe combo for me (I’m going to be extremely picky if I’m going to drop this much on a car). The ones that around here are 09’s with none of the extra packages, and they run 21-22. So they are obviously overpriced. But, if I can’t find one with the exterior I want… blah.

    The used ones seems to have anywhere between 10 to 30 thousand miles. None of the dealerships I was considering for a new model have a used model listed.

  55. #80
    I had a ’75 Camaro. (Wasn’t one of those Z-28s, though.) Liked my ’74 Firebird better, a primo Redneckmobile.

    But I got all that out of my system. Been a Honda guy for awhile now.

  56. average wholesale for an 09 SE 35,000 miles is $19,000, they probably paid someone around $18,000 on a trade in.

  57. @84 So do you think they would come down any on the price on a used model? I’m not sure what the expected margin of profit is on a trade in.

  58. It’s like they’re designed by 19-year-olds high on Mountain Dew Game Fuel

    I don’t know about that, but they certainly are driven by them. It’s a goddamn deathtrap. That’s a stupidly fast bike that I know maybe 5 people who should be legally permitted to own, and I ain’t one of them.

  59. @79, that’s exactly what i am looking for. If perchance the vehicle is located near Atlanta, shoot me some pics if you don’t trade it in. atlantaspike at gmail dot com

  60. Bethany, there is good margin where they could negotiate with you. The MSRP on a NEW 2010 Challenger SE is $22,735 – $23,600 based on black book. You should be able to get that 09 model for $20K or less. Just depends on how long you want to hang out at the dealership

  61. @88 Sure spike, I’ll be in touch if I don’t trade it in.

    Thanks for the advice, Smitty and csg. So I guess the smart thing to do would be to wait for a used car that’s got the right features… Not sure if I can be that patient.

  62. @87 Yeah, designed *for* 19-year-olds is probably more accurate. I try to keep that in mind every time I get on my Yamaha 550 or think about motorcycle mortality rates – they’re heavily skewed by the irresponsible speed freaks, one of which I am not, and something like 50% of fatalities involve alcohol on the motorcyclist’s part too, another easily avoidable danger.

    Having said that, I’m looking for a Honda 919 (a pretty fast bike itself), and if anybody knows of a good used one anywhere within 100 miles or so of Atlanta, I’d be interested.

  63. csg, at 57 re Chipper,

    They probably need the swelling to stop before getting a good read. And then, with the early game today, they will be leaving Houston by 7:00 to 8:00. Neither they nor he want him flying commercial (the Braves Charter can let him prop as he needs to and not deal with aggravating or potentially aggravating fans and have the training staff available if something extraordinarily unusual starts like compartment syndrome or whatever).

    So, the other option was to send Chipper in a charter. (Is that alliterative zinger more like Skip or Chip. I fear the answer).

    Returning to the McLouth thing, that was the strange or bad one. They put hinm on the plane to Minnesota from Arizona when airplane pressurization is contra indicated for possible concussion sufferers. The team was going to be back in Atlanta after 3 games in Minnesota. They should have hired a car and sent him direct to Atlanta.

  64. 93—I think he’s stating a preference, not breaking a story. No way Glaus can handle third right now.

  65. I’m not sure anyone wanting Glaus to switch to third has seen him try to move since before the all-star game.

  66. I bought a 2008 Volvo XC90 from a dealer when the 2009s were rolling onto the lot. That’s where you want them to be. No way they can sell the new ones with the prior year models sitting there, so they are even more motivated to sell. And don’t be fooled by the “expected profit margin” speeches. Most dealers do not make a profit on every car they sell — in many cases they are trying to avoid further expenses they would incur by holding the car.

    No way Glaus moves to 3B.

  67. I think Chipper’s injury hurts one of my thoughts (shared in similar threads by others) that Glaus should be D’L’d for 15 days to see if resting the knees would help.

    I really was thinking he needed a “rooster shot” or cortisone shot or something like that. However, he was able to generate power on that 9th inning jack, wasn’t he?

  68. I can’t add anything to the car debate, but I know a good bit about bourbon. Kentucky bourbon is unique in the type of water that is used during distilling. The creek water is rich in limestone deposits and this is a key component of the flavor. When you head to the bourbon distilleries in and around Bardstown, KY, they are all on the same creek with high levels of limestone. One after the other…all distilleries in close vicinity.

    Favorite bourbon is all in eye of the beholder. If I’m splurging, I like Blanton’s and Woodford Reserve. Pappy Van Winkle and Black Maple Hill are also excellent bourbons.

    If you’re looking for a good value bourbon, nothing beats Old Forester. The processes to make Woodford vs. Old Forester aren’t that different, but Old Forrester is a third of the price. A lot of Brown-Forman people will even tell you OF is the best bang-for-your-buck.

  69. Will Carroll on Chipper:
    “Uh oh, Chipper’s down.” That’s what Chip Caray said after Jones’ leaping throw caused an injury to his left knee. While the video doesn’t show his landing, the combination of lateral movement before he landed and the way he was holding his knee suggests a strained collateral ligament. He was holding the left (lateral) side and with the lateral and slightly rotational force he had, it’s a classic mechanism for an LCL sprain. (Actually, the most common mechanism is having someone hit the inside.) There’s a chance it could be the MCL, but because Jones held the knee on the outside and because Jones says the outside aspect is where the swelling is focused, signs point to LCL. Jones is headed for an MRI on Thursday, with the delay in place to allow the swelling to reduce. Jones tore his ACL in 1994, so he knows this kind of injury and says it’s not nearly as severe. Let’s hope an injury isn’t how Jones ends his career.”

    More info, including Heyward at:
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=11724#64313

  70. Bethany

    Some advice:

    If you find a used car you want, go to Edmunds.com or Kbb.com and find out the Suggested Retail Price for the car (if you are buying from a dealership) or the Private Party Value (if you are buying out of the newspaper). Be sure to put in the mileage and options on the car. The two sites will come up with different numbers, but they should be close. Find a happy medium between the two and one that you are comfortable with paying. Line up financing at your local credit union before you walk into the dealership.

    I have done this every time I have bought a car and it has worked without fail: walk into the dealership with your number and tell them what you are willing to pay. Don’t listen to any of the BS about what they have in it or how there’s no way they can do that. Also don’t listen to anything they say about what kind of payment you are looking for or the trade-in value of your present car (sell it in the newspaper). Just tell them the total price that you are willing to pay, including tax, title, and any fees (known as the “out-the-door” price), and if they don’t want to take it, leave and go somewhere else.

    I normally throw in something about how I am not waiting around all day for them to talk to their manager about it. There are lots and lots of cars out there, and you will get the deal you want eventually. You have all the leverage: they have a car they need to sell, and you MIGHT be willing to buy it. Don’t ever let a car dealer pressure you into making a decision you will regret.

  71. more advice:

    on new cars, it should be fairly easy to find out what the dealership probably paid the manfacturer for the car. Once you know that, the rest is easy. Go to ConsumerReports, Edmunds, or KBB.com and gather your data about what a fair suggested price is for the car you are looking for. I rarely buy cars new because of the depreciation hit, but there are cases where its not such a terrible idea.

    I have used Edmunds before to field price quotes from local dealerships on the car I want by email. I then reply to all that responded and tell them what my lowest quote was from someone else and ask if they can beat. Whoever is left at the end gets the business. I do any further negotiating over the phone. Then I walk into the dealership and pay for the car. No more negotiation or haggling. I either use my credit union for financing or use the dealer’s “captive” financing if they can beat the interest rate. I sell my trade in on autotrader.com or in the newspaper.

  72. Heyward seems to be pretty fragile so far. That dive didn’t look like it would cause him to miss two games, but you can never be too safe I guess.

    Maybe I’m a bad southerner for this, but I prefer Bushmills to anything produced in Kentucky or Tennessee.

  73. Awesome Lineup Today (Per DOB Twitter):
    1. Infante 2B. 2. Cabrera RF, 3. Gonzalez SS, 4. Diaz LF, 5. Glaus 1B, 6. Ross C, 7. Conrad 3B, 8. Ankiel CF, 9. Hanson RH

  74. sdp,

    I would choose the 1.99% option. If you make proportional payments to pay off the balance by 10/2011, you’ll only end up paying about $20 in interest. If paying off by 04/2011 is going to be a strain, I say give yourself a little break.

  75. Until Bobby Cox knocks on my door and tells me otherwise, I’m going to continue assuming anyone who mentions Troy Glaus and 3rd Base in the same sentence is smoking meth.

  76. Bethany,
    Better yet Edmunds will give you the invoice price, ie. the price the dealer paid for the car. Invoice +1 or 2% if it is new. But I am in the buy a 2 year old car school of thought. Most credit unions will give you the preferred interest rate for cars as old as 3 years.

    A Challenger huh? Yeah they did a good job of modernizing the original look of the car on a modern platform. I only buy Hondas. You know your station in life has changed when, at the mall auto show, you walk directly to the new Odyssey and ooooh and ahhhh at the fold down back seat and automatic sliding doors.

  77. 109,
    He say the Braves are a little bit worried about Heyward’s knees and it’s not a good sign that a guy has sore knees on his 21st birthday.

    But who knows if his knees are actually sore?

  78. @109-
    You should really get a subscription. It’s like $50 or so for a year. :-)

    He just said it wasn’t a good long-term sign that a 21-yo was having knee issues.

  79. Thanks to all for the car advice. I went and drove the blue one they had at the local dealership, and it was very nice. It eased some of the practical concerns I had about visibility and horsepower.

    The dealership said they would match the price of another dealership with the same build, so I plan on taking advantage of that.

  80. Peter,

    Back when I ran hurdles in high school track, I had both shin splints and knee tendinitis (“jumper’s knee”). It would start up after 2 to 3 weeks of track practice and go away when I got off that track for 2 to 3 weeks (except for mild knee stuff if I climbed hills or went up a lot of stairs).

    Certanly durability is an issue with Heyward as he has had several things. But PPro seems to be overstating this significantly.

  81. My own experience: Better to inform yourself about the numbers on Edmunds and KBB, but do not use Edmunds or KBB explicitly in your negotiating. The last new car I bought at about $3000 less than what the dealer paid for it, even when including the manufacturer-to-dealer incentives. The point is to ask the dealer for his best price and then think about — for days if necessary — until he calls back willing to negotiate further. Oh, and don’t forget the old trick of saying “okay, I’ll take the price you’re offering, but I want you to throw in the floor mats.” Or a CD changer, whatever.

    Never, never trade in a car. Sell it yourself.

  82. @124 That’s the situation with the builds of the Challenger I am looking at. The invoice on them is just above 26, but they are selling for 24. I have no issues making them sweat it out, the one here has been on the lot at least a month… I am getting that ipod interface for free, dammit!

    Hopefully I’ll be selling my car to Spike!

  83. Melky!

    Right — but make sure that “invoice” is what they actually paid for the car. A lot of manufacturers give dealer-only incentives or rebates, often thousands of dollars. Some of this info is available on Edmunds, KBB, etc. Search around, you’ll be surprised what you can find.

  84. Bethany –

    Neat personal site (if that is your personal site that your name links to). I always love to walk in Hatch Show Print when I am in Nashville.

  85. Wooohoo!! Will do, Jeff K. Thanks Michael.

    That scoring sequence was one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever witnessed on Gamecast.

  86. FWIW, Gamecast strike zone is hilarious. It’s showing pitch after pitch, all right down broadway, as balls.

  87. Don’t know much about today’s umpire behind the plate, but at least on the Iphone MLB app, that called third strike to Pence looked pretty far outside.

    I’ll take it though.

  88. Peter – any notion that he was sitting due to a hangover was seemingly dispelled by his absence today. But if he is still hungover, more power to him. I had a lot of fun the night that produced my only (thus far) 2-day hangover.

    AAR – That is absolutely true, but any honest Catholic knows Bushmills tastes better. You’ve seen the Pepsi truck driver buy a Coke before.

  89. Never, never trade in a car. Sell it yourself.

    Just wanted bring this back. Let’s throw a third never in there too.

    I do any further negotiating over the phone. Then I walk into the dealership and pay for the car. No more negotiation or haggling.

    And this. It’s a big waste of time to negotiate in person. I just bought my new SUV in March and did everything through email. The first time I met the lady who got the sale is when I drove up to Glendale to sign the papers.

    Basically I determined the model, color combination and options I wanted, emailed the four dealers closest to me with what I wanted and what I would pay (invoice basically, but it’s a high end vehicle. For a cheaper car you could do better) and waited for who wanted to play ball.

  90. A wide strike zone and these line-ups? This game may last an hour and a half. I hope Tommy can make 1 run hold up; we don’t score more than 4 runs in any game when he have our “hitters” in the line-up and healthy. I can’t see this line-up putting up much of anything, unless Ankiel goes all crazy on us.

  91. Uh-oh, Melky just grinned after a fly out. While I tend to like seeing people enjoy themselves while playing baseball, some on this board will have no choice but to hate him now.

  92. New Guy would have a better OBP if he would stop swinging at balls that are about to hit him.

  93. “Melky’s coming up again. That should yield some runs.”

    Sounds like someone’s been taste testing some of the beverages discussed above.

  94. @145, it was icing that his knees buckled, and he collapsed in shame at the tail end of the swing.

  95. #141
    Although Francoeur’s on-field shortcomings had been discussed & debated on NYC-area radio all year, he’s begun to take heat for his “new” me-first stance. (Of course, for Braves fans, it’s not so new.)

    One WFAN host today: “For a guy who has cultivated an almost-pristine public image, he’s finally taking some hits as someone who’s really just another ‘me guy.’ He and his agent seem to be playing a game of good-cop/bad-cop. It comes off as sneaky.

    “His agent is basically de-valuing him in public. If the Mets get anything for him—a guy they’re probably going to non-tender at year’s end anyway—it probably won’t be much.”

    The consensus: He’s just not good enough to be acting like this.

  96. Honestly, I’m surprised we didn’t throw the ball away at some point during that attempted rundown.

  97. I’m not where I can watch the game. I assume Michael Bourn got caught in a rundown and the Braves couldn’t complete the out.

  98. The rundown was Agony’s fault, any high school team knows to run the runner back to second, not forward to third!

  99. 159- You assume correctly, with a drop by Hanson being the reason why Bourn got back to 2nd. He then stole 3rd.

  100. First place or not, it’s hard not get angry when watching the Braves play defense with men on base.

  101. Yeah, it’s amazing the errors have spiked since the All-Star break Joe. Can you think of anything that might have changed?

  102. Didn’t hang that one. Of course, it was eight miles outside the strike zone, but it worked.

  103. Our awful defense vs. the Astros’ terrible hitters. Not surprising that, both today and for this series, it’s working out to a draw.

  104. Sheesh. That works maybe once in ten tries? Maybe we can work on something a little better for a ground ball up the middle.

  105. Chip’s a moron. “High risk, high reward”? What was the risk? If he doesn’t make that play, they don’t get an out anywhere. If the flip is dropped or too high or whatever, they… don’t get an out anywhere. That’s zero risk. What a moron.

  106. Gosh, it’s almost like trading the best defensive player in the league because you think he’s a jackass might have had some side effects on the defense.

  107. Fox Sports Southwest’s announcers seem pleasantly surprised by Glaus’ strikeout. They’ve not been paying attention.

  108. Games like this are where I really hope we pull the Reds and their all-righty rotation in the first round. This team dies against even below-average left handed pitching.

  109. @176 Not that Joe, DOB, or any of the others who celebrated that asinine trade will notice. They’ll just act mystified and–ironically–condemn the breakdown of “fundamentals.”

  110. With no defense and only Conrad’s hustle to back him up, Hanson has to grab this game by the horns.

    Srsly. A weak grounder that Conrad ran out for a hit. A walk. A grounder that bounced over the head of a defender. There are no hard hit balls in this game.

  111. From the FSSW broadcast, it’s nice to know that the concept of “Omar Infante, All-Star” makes no more sense to outsiders than to us.

  112. Joe Simpson, speaking about Francoeur: “he’s really been hitting well of late…”

    Francoeur, last 10 games: 6 hits in 34 AB or .176.

  113. has anyone else noticed the odd way hunter pence throws the ball (i first noticed it when he threw out minor the other night…) he seems to really short arm the ball when making a throw, for someone with a reputation for a good arm, its very odd…

  114. Somebody needs to explain to me why every guy we seem to trot out in CF these days immediately loses their hitting skills. Did AJ somehow put a curse on the position?

  115. McLouth excepted, did any of the others have hitting skills? Ankiel had sort of a good year in 2008, but that’s old history.

  116. Melky has pretty much hit like Melky (career .269/.330/.383, season .267/.327/.374) his big problem has been defense and his tendency to occasionally roll out of the batter’s box.

  117. Joe just complimented the Astro’s lineup, saying he likes the way they’ve been scoring runs lately. Not a hint of irony, either. :-)

  118. Ankeil was a pretty darn good on base and HR guy, who could hit in the .260-.270 range. BY the way, I put Schaefer in this group as well (although he was certainly rushed to MLB). Schaefer can’t even hit AA pitching any more.

  119. Your personal experience with Yunel may vary, Adam, but when I had Yunel Escobar over for supper last November, he arrived wearing a garish white suit two months after Labor Day, then proceeded to eat his dinner with his salad fork, chewed with his mouth open, talked about politics and religion at the table, and claimed that he simply abhorred Metallica, chicken wings, Keystone Light, and wanting to get into the stadium to scream as loud as you can.

    I drew my own conclusions.

  120. 203- They’ve scored 129 runs since the ASB (before today), which comes out to over 5.6 runs a game. That includes 18 of 23 games in which they’ve scored four runs or more. Their offense has become legitimately good of late.

  121. Ankeil was a pretty darn good on base and HR guy, who could hit in the .260-.270 range

    What? He never did more than .337 in the bigs, and lifetime .324 in the minors. He has one year of more than 11 HRs, and a career .252 average as an OFer. One season does not translate into norms.

  122. okay; Houston scores 2 in the bottom of the 8th, and we come back with 3 in the top of the 9th again.

  123. Venters is going to die one day, but this is a pretty critical game. reluctantly, I agree with this move.

  124. One of Ankeil’s 11 HR years was in 172 AB’s (that is a 30+ HR year, playing full-time). The other was in 372 AB’s, which is only in 2/3rds of a year. raw totals do not do justice; he only played full-time 1 year. Shoot-he hit 4 in KC in under 100 AB’s this year, which translates to 20+

  125. NASTY pitch. That at bat reminds me of Kruk against Randy Johnson. He wanted to go back to the dugout.

  126. I’ve got to admit, I’ve always like Ankiel and was happy when we got him from KC. However, now that he’s on our side of the grass, I’m finding him to be less than enjoyable.

  127. Get back on that treadmill, Bethany!

    Interesting: Going into today, the Braves were 17 games over .500. They’ve played five other games this season starting out at 17 over… and lost all five.

  128. @220 – I agree, his story is pretty cool. But I’m starting to wish he was still striking out for KC.

    @221 – Ack! Bad timing for such trivia. ** knocks on wood **

  129. @219, unfortunately, we have the best players on the Astros in the bottom of the inning. The Astros aren’t good, but the four guys coming up next inning are all probably better than the second best hitter on the Pirates.

  130. Basically, the Braves have a good starting rotation. Both the defense and bullpen have, suddenly, abandoned ship.

  131. So basically we have a closer who can’t pitch on consecutive days. Five times he’s pitched since the ASG after pitching the day before; four times he’s blown the save. Fat lot of good that does.

  132. As much as I blame Wagner for this (and other blown saves), a lot of this garbage is on the offense. If we consistently put the bullpen in high leverage, no room for error situations, the pen will crack. What I wouldn’t give for a 4 run lead, which would mean Hanson would still be pitching. Same thing happened with Jurrjens…

    But then again, Bobby still pitches Wagner with 4 run leads, so what do I know. He can’t get rest even when he needs rest.

  133. Whew. I wonder if my client in New York will understand that the Braves game is in extra innings, so deadlines have to be moved.

  134. Wagner is great when he is saving a two or three run game. I feel great when he is on the mound in those spots

    He is very average when saving a one run game. He got burned by the no doubles defense with the hit to Pence.

    I don’t feel as good when Wagner is on the mound protecting a one run lead.

  135. I leave for 15 minutes…

    I can’t believe the let Wags pitch to Johnson there. F’ing ridiculous.

  136. I agree. It’s on the offense. But to turn it around, when you have only a mediocre offense, you have little room for error in terms of pitching and defense. And while the Braves had great defense and a great bullpen during the season’s first half, they haven’t had those since the All Star Break. That’s the big difference right now. Just taking away the blown 9th-inning saves (counting today) would make them 17-9.

  137. Wags is fine. There’s actually very little difference from the first half. WHIP the same, walk rate down a bit and strikeouts/9 down a bit, but the sample size is so small. Only notable difference is that the slugging against him is up a bit because of 2 HR.

  138. This is setting up for another Hosuton/Farnsworth/extra innings game.

    I don’t see anything really wrong with Wagner lately. He had Pence 0-2 and gave up a scratch hit, one of about 50 by the Stros this series. The conservative defense, which I agree with, allowed the hit and the advance on the Lee line drive.

    This game is on the offense, which is held back to a large extent by the absence of their best hitters.

  139. Hunter Pence stole that run from us. As much as I hate seeing Wags blow yet another save, I gotta credit Pence for some outstanding baserunning.

  140. Did you guys just try to blame this on Wagner? Really? So a guy gets on base with a swinging bunt and gets to third (how, i don’t know) on a single to left field. Not really Wags fault there guys. He is going to give up singles occasionally (i.e. Lee), but there is nothing he can do about the other crap that happened. That is just bad luck. Period.

  141. Really, this is kind of on Wren. As much as I think the guy is a fantastic GM, and I love how great of a team he’s constructed with a mid-level payroll, he’s left the team vulnerable to left handed starting pitching.

  142. It could be a run of bad luck, but Wagner has blown four saves since the All-Star Break. So I have some Meat Puppets lyrics for him.

    Make me go away
    Take me to a place
    Do some things to me
    Make me go away
    Ancient things design
    Make me go away

  143. Yeah, Wren really should have gotten the three strikeouts there, or fielded the ball quicker to hold Pence on 2d.

  144. I blame the offense as well. It seems like when everything was going well, this team was consistently turning 1 and 2 run leads into 3 and 4 runs leads in the late innings. That makes a big difference.

    Since July 24, this team has only had one win by more than 3 runs, and that was the product of the Mets throwing the ball all over the field.

  145. Looking at the splits, Wagner in

    Low Leverage: .92 FIP
    Medium Leverage: 2.18 FIP
    High Leverage: 6.03 FIP

    The xFIP tallies are closer, but still the high leverage is significant. He might be “fine,” but he isn’t the best closer in baseball by a large, large margin.

  146. Perhaps Ankiel should follow softball rules – ie, don’t leave the base until the batter hits the ball.

  147. Did Ankiel forget his Ritalin today? Almost picked off, forgetting outs, lollygagging around. WTF Rick?

  148. Saito will probably finish I would imagine.

    Let’s make it a moot point by getting two or ten more runs.

  149. I guess this sets up the double play, but I would much rather face melky than AAG, if I were them.

  150. Saito’s warming. He probably should have been closing today in the first place, with Billy having pitched just 12 hours ago. But hindsight is 20/20, etc.

  151. Watching on Gamecast – does Hernandez score if he was running for Hinske from first on the double? Seems odd to pinch run once he gets to third, instead of putting him in once Hinske walked.

    Nevermind, moot point now…

  152. LOL @302. I can see Mills now. “Oh crap…when did they get Miguel Cabrera? I don’t remember hearing about that. Oh well, better walk him.”

  153. I should probably learn from Bethany’s mistake, but I can confidently say: Game Over. Time to do some work.

  154. Joe already forgot that Conrad hit 2 game-winning slams this year. Again, he may have Alzheimer’s.

  155. Is Jeff Francoeur the new Shea Hillenbrand?

    Craig Burley asked via twitter the last time someone with no strengths to his game was allowed to play more often than Jeff Francoeur. I won’t bore you with all the math, but the name I came up with is Shea Hillenbrand. Shea had no patience at the plate, no power, slightly below average in contact, no speed, and no fielding ability.

    Frenchy currently has 3325 PA. Shea retired with 3816 PA. Frenchy is only 491 PA from matching Shea.

    http://tinyurl.com/2buwtpp

  156. Brian McCann just made my day…..and I was having a Jet Blue Flight Attendant day up to this point.

  157. @317

    One was actually a walk-off and pretty much the most memorable Braves moment of the last five years, at least. Seriously, I think Joe needs to wait for the plane ride before he gets plastered.

  158. Ross with the clutch two out hit! Man, when the game’s close and the stakes are high, he … wait, what?

  159. resilient – like Mac said, its the only thing that can be said about this team. No Prado, Chipper, Heyward, or Bmac. Wagner blows it and BMac comes off the bench to open it up. Hard not to pull for these guys as frustrating as they are too watch. Lets pull for good news with Chipper and Meds

  160. Man, we are just shelling the good end of their bullpen in this series.

    EDIT: Although I’m guessing this guy is more of a mop-up guy, come to think of it.

  161. Yea I was having a pretty damn shitty day today until BMac. Still a really shitty day, but less so I guess.

  162. @322, seriously? Is this a trick question?

    Lindstrom – RHP
    Lyon – RHP
    Happ – LHP
    Wandy – LHP

  163. The word “blame” appears four times in this thread…in a game in which we have not trailed……

  164. @333

    I wonder what would happen if our lineup attempted to face Jonny Venters. I don’t know what would happen for sure, but whatever it would be, I’m pretty sure it would be labeled “parental discretion advised.”

  165. Jeff Francoeur isn’t half the hitter Shea Hillenbrand was. The similarity between them is their utter inability to judge their own talents.

  166. strike 2 on Bourn on Gameday showed 14 inches of horizontal break. I guess he didn’t think it would get back to the back door.

  167. Is it just me or are there many more really good LH starters in the majors than there used to be? Anyone have any idea where to get historical info like that?

  168. I like seeing that smile on Saito’s face. He hasn’t been in the middle of things as much, since that worrisome DL stint. Maybe he can take over some of Moylan’s duties.

    You know what this team is? Resilient, that’s what.

  169. So my my quick tally, Hanson has had 5 wins “blown” for him by the bullpen (the blame isn’t really ever entirely on the bullpen, since the offense could always prevent any “blown save” by simply scoring more runs).

    3 by Wagner (counting today)
    1 by Venters
    1 by Saito

    However, he has also “won” two games in which the Braves were trailing when he made his exit. He has also avaoided two “losses” when the offense came back to win after he had exitied while trailing (one was the Folk Hero GS game vs. Cincy).

    So what does this really tell us?
    Hanson has been unlucky? Eh, not really.

    The bullpen/offense has let Hanson down once he has exited games? Yeah, sometimes, but they have also picked him up.

    The assigning of “Wins” and “Losses” to pitchers is an asinine practice that must be stopped? Most definitely.

  170. If you are an elite closer, you are supposed to save close games. Anyone can save blow outs. Whether it’s 2-1 or 9-8, you are supposed to do it. People keep making excuses for Wagner and, granted, some of the blown saves may not be his fault, but he keeps blowing saves. I guess the only good thing is that he generally doesn’t lose the game. Seven blown saves is a lot of blown saves.

  171. Jeff Francoeur isn’t half the hitter Shea Hillenbrand was

    What are you basing this on, exactly? 4 points of OPS+ career difference? 8 more homers in 500 more PA’s? Shea played in far better offensive environments than Jeffy, and it’s reflected in his minimally better stats, and he had nowhere near the arm Jeff does.

  172. justhank,

    I don’t think a team has ever failed to meet postseason in the wild card era with 91 wins.

  173. @351-

    Perhaps in the non-AL East portion of MLB. But there have definitely been 91-win teams to not make the playoffs.

  174. The Reds won 96 games in 1999 and didn’t make the playoffs. They got beat in a Game 163 tiebreaker with the Mets for the Wild Card spot.

  175. @346 – Seven is a lot, but all but one were 1-run leads and the Braves ultimately won three of them. The other blown save was a two-run lead. I’d say Wags is an elite closer. Glad to have him.

  176. spike, do we really have to defend negative opinions of Jeff Francoeur?

    Yes, they are similar hitters. But the more interesting connection between the two is their unwarranted sense of selves. Hillenbrand always thought he was better than he was. Jeffy obviously shares that trait.

  177. Am I the only one that would like to see McCann and Ross in the lineup together? (BMac at 1B, of course.)

    Just every now and then.

  178. @361, I would like to see that this season, but only because it means the team is in the World Series.

  179. Based on how things are going this season 91 wins would probably win us the wild card, but it’s quite possible the runner-up in the NL Central or West could also win 91+. Now, if we could win 93 or 94, we would be set (this is the Braves’ current pace based upon win %).

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