ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Braves at Astros – 04/29/2003
Reports of Greg Maddux’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. After a first-inning double to plate a run, Greg shut the Astros out the next six innings, and Hernandez and Smoltz finished the job. Maddux’s ERA is now 5.13 after a standard Maddux performance: seven innings, five hits, one run, no walks, five strikeouts, 86 pitches, 58 strikes. Smoltz was a little shaky with his tenth save, allowing a double then a walk, but struck out the last batter to get out of trouble. Smoltz, for the season: 13 2/3 IP, 0 R, 10 H, 2 BB, 19 K. Yikes.
The Braves only had six hits of their own, but bunched them better, scoring two runs in the first and an insurance run in the sixth. Gary Sheffield drove in the first two with a single following an infield hit by Furcal and a double by Giles — the latter the Braves’ only extra-base hit. Andruw drove in Sheffield for the sixth-inning run.
The Braves got a single hit from the first six batters, but typical 0-4 performances from Vinny and the Personal Catcher. Robert Fick returned to the lineup last night, hitting sixth, with Johnny Estrada banished again to Richmond, even though the Personal Catcher is hitting .192/.222/.231.
Everybody seems to like Estrada a lot. What would be the problem with making him Maddux’s Personal Catcher for the remainder of the season and just getting rid of Blanco. Is it purely a financial thing?
I guess maybe we can’t send Blanco to the minor leagues cuz of an options thing? Perhaps he could be traded for some minor league guys and that would allow us to bring up Estrada.
I just don’t see the point, if Estrada is truly the braves’ catcher “of the future”, of keeping him in the minors. Wouldn’t it do him better to gain more experience on the major league level? What better way than to train as Maddux’s catcher.
Although now that i think about it, maybe the plan is to unload Javy, not Blanco, as the season progresses. I could see Javy being dealt before the deadline, since it’s pretty much assumed he wont be a Brave next year, and then i guess we’d have Estrada and Blanco. It just seems silly to have the guy stewing in Richmond all year when he clearly can play in the majors.
But can he no-hit the Giants?
If Estrada is really the “catcher of the future”, and I think he is with the possibility of Lopez returning next year very slim, then its a better idea to give him regular work in Richmond rather than playing once every fifth day for Maddux and some sporadic pinch hitting.
My version of the best idea is to play Javy every day now, and then flip him for a prospect at the trade deadline to some team in the race with no catcher (let’s say the Angels). Then play the best of the three catchers (Estrada) every day down the stretch.
The interesting part of last night’s game was that the strike zone appeared to be approximately 3 feet wide. The teams combined for three runs in the first before the pitchers figured this out and then it was goose eggs from there. Not that I blame the ump. If you call a tight strike zone in that ballpark you would be there all night.
The chances of the Braves trading a regular before the deadline — always assuming they’re in the race, and I think that as long as the bullpen holds up they will be — especially Javy, the longest-standing regular on the team and still one of the most popular… Well, “slim” doesn’t describe it. I’m not saying it might not be in the team’s best interest to do that, but it will never happen. Nobody but Billy Beane would try that.
Lopez won’t be traded. If no team, supposedly, would take on $10M to take Millwood, then there is no way they would take Lopez for $7M. Makes sense to me.
Although, the club being traded to would not be on the hook for the entire 7M–it would only be for whatever period of time he was with them. Which would be two, three months. Still, like others, I also don’t see it happening.
I see it this way – if Javy is hitting and the team is in contention, he doesn’t get traded; if Javy is not hitting, then nobody will want to trade for him. so the only circumstance under which he gets traded is if he’s hitting but the team is not in contention. Unlikely, I think.
Greg Maddux is my favorite player, he also has the same birthday as me, does ne1 know his homeaddress or email address?