ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Braves at Marlins – 04/12/2003
Let’s face it; the Braves stink right now. Maybe they’ll improve, but they’re legitimately a last-place team. They have some offensive weapons, but not nearly enough to overcome a pitching staff that stunningly is worst in the NL.
Russ Ortiz, who had been pretty good in his first two starts, was roughed up for seven runs in only four innings. Jason Marquis, demoted to long relief it appears, gave up the other five in the seventh. Rafael Furcal had three hits and scored twice, and Javy Lopez hit his first homer of the year.
Normally, having Greg Maddux going next would be a good thing. But now…
Now that Vinny’s offensive “explosion”, you know the one where he had two consecutive multihits games and then one in the next 7 games has ended, maybe Bobby (I won’t hold my breath…) will wise up and try DeRosa full time. It’s hilarious how he has two extra-base hits and everyone thinks he’s a productive hitter now. He had a 4-4 game that ballooned his BA up, and all he had was 4 seeing-eye singles. Well I’m preaching to the choir in this place, so I’ll stop.
I’m not at all worried that the Braves are gonna suck this year because:
1)Giles is the starting 2B now, instead of Rapheal Belliard, err, Keith Lockhart. Now they may have a legitimate #2 or #6 hitter. Also, Fick is a lot better, maybe not defensively, than the Franco/Franco/Helms platoon last year. Anyone’s better than the Wonder Horse.
2)The pitching staff is a lot better than this. If just for statistic’s sake, no team will continue with an ERA of 6. So they must get better. Horatio Ramirez will be a lot better than his start two nights ago, and Ortiz really gave up only 5 ER this start tonight. Maddux will eventually get back to form. Even if he’s not as good as he was anymore, he’s not gonna go from 2.62 ERA to 11.05. Even if he pulled a 3.20, we’d be in good shape. Hampton will hopefully pitch well, and if Shane Reynolds can give us his career ERA, 3.95, then that’s a run and a half better than Jason Marquis, who will hopefully be sent down to Richmond to get more work.
3)I’m gonna go to the top of Turner Field and pick off with a rifle every Braves player that makes a stupid error. How’s that for motivation…
Just heard on Baseball Tonight that the Royals have allowed fewer runs than Greg Maddux this year…ouch!
A couple of thoughts:
-Obviously Vinny is showing his true colors. I think Bobby ought to use a Matt Franco/DeRosa platoon at third. Derosa isn’t good enought to start everyday.
-We don’t need more 35 year old pitchers. We need to be using a rotation of Maddux, Ortiz, Ramitez, Marquis, and Hodges right now. The only way our young guy are going to improve is by getting some innings. When Hampton get back we should send the young guy with the worst numbers to Richmond. I don’t see the point of using guys we need ready to start next year in mop up roles. They ought to be in Richmond getting their innings.
I dont think Franco/Franco platoon was honestly that bad last year. They were statistically below avg, but they never really hurt the team. They managed to hit around .300 and were very good at moving runners over. I wouldnt mind going back to the Franco/Franco platoon at first.
Here is my Lineup:
1. Furcal ss
2. Giles 2b
3. C. Jones 3B
4. Sheffield rf
5. A. Jones cf
6. Fick LF
7. Lopez C
8. Franco/Franco 1b
Derosa is no better then a utility player, and his good hitting in the last two years may be because of his limited exposure to major league scouts. CLearly, teams now know how to pitch him and he has struggled. I like Dero, but he is not the everyday option.
That looks like a good lineup, though I doubt Chipper would move back to 3B. And if you think Fick is bad at 1B, I’d be afraid to see him in LF, with more chances…
Among the many things that worry me about this team is Andruw Jones’ defense. Never have I seen him completely lose a ball the way he did on Derrek Lee’s inside-the-park job last night.
Andruw still makes enough forward diving catches that people still think he’s a legitimately great defensive center fielder. But it’s patently obvious he’s not as fast as he used to be.
That’s pretty sad to say about a 26-year-old, but the days of Andruw making flabbergasting running stabs of balls hit to his right and to straight-away center are apparently long gone. When was the last time you saw Andruw make a superb play at the wall?
It was only two or three years ago that I would find myself legitimately surprised if a ball was hit over his head. Not any more…
There you have it, folks. Another prime example of someone thinking it’s a trend when someone has a bad stretch. Last year he was outstanding in center, but this year he’s just lost it. Just like with everybody about Maddux. I’ll bet you next time Andruw makes a great catch going back or to his right, then it’ll silence him. Might not, but I think it will…
Easy brother. This is not a knee-jerk reaction to a “bad stretch,” but Andruw’s defense has gotten progressively worse since 2000. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but ‘m sure Mac or Colin or somebody does.
I hate to get all Joe Morgan on you, but watching the Braves four times a week or so as I do, I can tell Andruw doesn’t get to balls like he used to. I don’t know if he’s lazy or overweight or what, but he’s not the center fielder he was three years ago. It’s obvious.
Andruw’s Zone Rating (from ESPN) by year:
And his Fielding Runs Above Average (Baseball Prospectus)
My observation would agree with the numbers: he has lost a step or two from his defensive peak. He appears to be heavier, something that can’t have helped his speed.
But even with a slow defensive decline, I’d still take the entire package ~ a very good, even if not historically dominant, fielder plus a darn good hitter at a key up-the-middle position.
Thanks, Dan. Rob, if that doesn’t satisfy you, then it’s pistols at dawn.
I will throw in that Andruw was SO good when he started playing center full-time that he could manage to drop significantly and still be the best CF in the league. And he has. His 1998 season is arguably the greatest defensive season of any outfielder ever.
For what it’s worth (I may have mentioned this) Bill James’ Win Shares show Andruw’s defense as so good that he was absolutely equal to Vlad Guerrero in value over the years they were both in the league (through 2001) despite the latter’s huge advantage as a hitter. Some of that’s because Andruw never leaves the lineup, but most of it’s defense.
im shocked to read that anyone thinks andruws lost a step. ive been watching brave games for years and havent noticed anything thats slipped in his defense. ive read this several places though so it must be true. dont you think that when you lose a glavine and a millwood who were two guys who heavily relied on andruws defense he wont get as many putouts thus the decrease in attempts and so forth?. maybe someone can give me alittle more indepth as to why hes lost a step. hes only 26! and he also doesnt appear to be out of shape this year