ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Reds at Braves – 05/27/2003
Where would the Braves be without Chris Reitsma? Reitsma, who allowed three runs in the eighth Monday to let the Braves tie the game, hung a changeup to Chipper leading off the tenth last night. Chipper deposited it in the right field seats to end the game.
The Reds scored runs in the first and third off of Shane Reynolds, who was lucky to keep it close. The first run was a bases-loaded, no-out walk, but he got a popup and double play. After the third, he settled down, and the Braves shut the Reds down — no hits — the rest of the way.
However, the offense was dysfunctional all night. Vinny had a leadoff homer in the third, but the Braves left runners at second and third to end the inning. Reynolds had to drive in a run in the next inning with a single, but Vinny overran third base on Furcal’s infield single to load the bases and was thrown out. And so on. The Braves stranded single runners in the fifth and sixth, two in the seventh, one in the ninth, and couldn’t get a run across. Sheffield was 0-5, but every other Brave starter — and Mark DeRosa, who came in when Marcus Giles left the game after being hit by a pitch — had at least one hit. They just couldn’t get them in bunches.
Trey Hodges picked up the win after escaping from a jam (error, walk, HBP) in the tenth. Bobby once again used Smoltz to pitch the ninth and only the ninth instead of double-switching to allow his best pitcher to get two innings. Boom-Boom Bobby Hernandez did not make an appearance.
Giles, who was hit on the elbow, is day-to-day, but who isn’t? Andruw has a 34-game on-base streak going and collected his 999th career hit last night. He goes for 35 and 1000 tonight against Royals reject Jeff Austin, who has a 7.16 ERA. You would think that the Braves would pound him, but they couldn’t hit Jimmy Haynes last night and Haynes is 0-4 with a 10.72 ERA. Russ Ortiz goes for the Braves.
With runners on first and second and two out, Furcal hits a grounder between first and second. Casey ranges right, fields it and looks to throw to second for the force, but the short stop isn’t on the bag. He looks to first, but Furcal is going to beat the pitcher, so he just holds the ball. At this point, Castilla is just reaching third. So what does Fredi Gonzalez do? Waves him home! He was literally forty feet from the plate when the ball arrived.
How many rallies does this idiot have to fuck up before we find a new third base coach?
I agreed with you initially, but after seeing the overhead decided it actually was a pretty good play. If Casey throws to second, Vinny has a good chance of scoring, and the shortstop was close enough to make a throw possible. Casey was smart enough to put the ball in his pocket, then smart enough to remember there was a runner at third and look home.
What surprised me was that Furcal didn’t try to go for home in a similar situation later in the game. He was already at least a third of the way there when he stopped.
Give credit to Reitsma, but don’t forget certified genius Bob Boone who is still waiting for the right moment to pinch hit Adam Dunn. Of course it is insane that Dunn doesn’t start (do you think Reynolds would rather face Dunn or Guillen?), but to then use hitless wonders Wily Mo Pena and Reggie Taylor instead of Dunn is off the charts crazy.
Top of the 9th, 2-2, Smoltz on the mound with two outs and the bases empty. Perfect time to go for a solo homer to win the game. Pitcher’s spot is due up. Adam Dunn is available. Up steps an overwhelmed Reggie Taylor to end the inning. Unbelievable. We might complain about some things Bobby does, but if Bob Boone were managing my favorite team, I might just give up baseball altogether.
Finally, a quote from Trey Hodges about working out of the bullpen after last night’s game:
“It’s a pretty big role. I like it. … Anything they throw my way, I’ll be ready to adapt and give it a try.”
Someone should clip this quote and send it to Jason Marquis and tell him he would be in The Show right now if he had this same attitude. Free Trey Hodges!
I watched the game with the sound muted while I dug into “Moneyball,” which came in my mailbox earlier in the day. (Great read so far, by the way). I did however turn the sound up if I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Atlanta had runners on (just wondering, does anyone else watch games like this?).
Anyway, I turned the sound back on just in time to hear Joe Simpson trot out the following nugget about Adam Dunn: “He’s sort of an all-or-nothing slugger like Gorman Thomas or Dave Kingman.”
Thomas career OBP: .324
Kingman career OBP: .302
Dunn career OBP (through Tuesday): .381
Sure, he’s tall, has power and strikes out a lot, but Dunn’s so much better a hitter than those two it’s not even funny. Not to mention he’s an asset defensively.
You have to wonder, though, if Bob Boone doesn’t look at Dunn the same way Professor Simpson does…
Rob Deer, maybe. (Pete used that comparison on the radio Monday.) But not Thomas or Kingman.
I’ve noticed that someone at AOL/TW apparently has told Don & Joe to pay attention to OBP. They’re already slipping. They mentioned Jose Guillen’s low walk totals last night, but seemed to think that was because pitchers only throw him strikes, not because he swings at everything.
Gorman Thomas wasn’t a brilliant fielder, but he was a competent defensive CENTER fielder. Adam Dunn might become a decent leftfielder, but appears to be waiting his time ’til his next shot in the batters box. And for what its worth, Thomas walked as many as 98 times in a season and three times was among the league leaders. Put him into today’s hyperoffensive era, and take him out of County Stadium, and he’d be a very, very good offensive force. It was a short career, but in no way was he a one dimensional Kingmanesqe slugger.
And Mac, Freddi Gonzalez completely blew the decision to send Castilla home. Even if Casey had thrown to Short, Castilla was just then reaching third. What, don’t you think a major league infielder can catch a throw and then throw home in less time than it takes a slow runner to get from third to home?
A couple of weeks ago, Baseball Prospectus had a little blurb indicating that the Braves had lost the most runners on the bases trying to take an extra base. I don’t recall any year where we had so many folks thrown out and how frequently its been at home. When Shinjo threw out Chipper at home the other night, I was astounded. Shinjo fielded that ball at little league depth and is in the majors *only* because of his defensive prowess.
Yeah, Deer was another one they mentioned. But his career OBP was only .324.
I know Dunn hasn’t yet experienced a decline phase, but he’s also only 23, so it’s highly possible he’ll get better before he gets worse.
Just wondering, does Freddi Gonzalez deserve some sort of a grace period because he’s just come up from the minors and has yet to learn the major league outfielders (their arm strength) and runners (their speed)?
If so, wouldn’t it make more sense for him to start his big league career as a first base coach, where he could do a lot less damage?
By the way, Dan, I agree that Stormin’ Gorman was a better player than Kingman (and probably better than Deer as well), but I think Dunn is better than all three. This guy’s got Mark McGwire potential. I’m just glad Bob Boone refuses to realize it.
I haven’t watched as many games this year as I normally do, but this season’s baserunning can’t compare to that season in which Bobby Dews started out at third base, only to be replaced by Ned Yost. That was cover-your-eyes awful.
Creg, I too think the world of Adam Dunn and expect him to be an All Star for a long time to come. But in his one full season, he had an OPS of about 850. Gorman Thomas did that four out of five years in his prime. And Thomas did it in the late 70s and early 80s while playing in a tremendous pitchers park. His park & league adjusted OPS, according to baseball-reference, was 142, 138, 112, 146, 137. Dunn, in his only full season, was 118. Lets let Dunn fulfill his potential ~ something I certainly expect to see ~ before annointing him a star.
And about Freddi … I can’t imagine that there is that much difference between AAA outfielders arms and major leaguers. Its not like runners have been getting thrown out on bang-bang plays; we’re having runners thrown out from here to Smyrna. There are a few notoriously weak armed outfielders. Guys like Juan Pierre or Bernie Williams couldn’t throw out Mo Vaughn even if he were carrying Cecil Fielder on his enormous behind. Run on them. But trying to score from second on a ball hit to Sean Casey? Or score when a ball is hit firmly up the middle to a shallow playing Shinjo? Not in this lifetime.