ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Orioles at Braves – 06/21/2003
This was actually a pitcher’s duel for most of its length. The Orioles had a 1-0 lead going to the bottom of the sixth, but the Braves got five runs on a single by Andruw (breaking out of his slump with two hits and a walk, showing good patience at the plate) and a double by Fick, followed by Javy’s three-run homer. And in the eighth, Javy hit another three-run shot, followed by a two-run pinch hit homer by Matt Franco. Hey, the Braves are a big inning team.
Javy now has 21 homers, tying him with Sheffield for the team lead, just one behind Mike Lowell and Adam Dunn for the NL lead. Pretty good for a guy everyone thought was done when the season began. He’s like a completely different player, and not only from the ghost of a player of the last couple of seasons. He’s playing far better than he did even before the knee injury.
Horacio Ramirez pitched very well, seven innings, one run, six hits, only one of them for extra bases, seven strikeouts and one walk. For all the sky-is-falling talk about the Braves’ pitching staff, it really isn’t that bad. The Braves are now sixth in the NL in ERA at 3.98 — actually, in a pack of five teams between 3.97 and 4.01. That pitching would be better if Bobby wouldn’t do stupid things like skip Ramirez while pitching Shane “The Human Time Bomb” Reynolds in rotation. (ERAs of the Braves’ five primary starters: 3.56, 3.59, 4.09, 4.31… 5.24. Guess which one is Reynolds.)
Jason Marquis pitched the ninth after sitting on the bench for the last week, just in case the game went into the seventeenth inning or something. (Once again, why in the world do the Braves have seven relievers when one never pitches?) He threw twelve pitches, seven strikes, no hits, no walks, and a strikeout. Time to sit down for another week… Marcus Giles probably needs to sit down for at least a couple of days. He actually hit a couple of balls hard, but was 0-5 again and is now at .296. He was the only Braves starter — including Ramirez — to not get a hit.
Day game tomorrow, of course, as the Braves go for the sweep. Unfortunately, Reynolds is pitching.
Joe Simpson alluded to this on the air, but Marquis has a totally different setup than before he went down. He’s hunching his shoulders, almost stooping over. Not sure what that does, but his fastball looked lively and he had a pretty good splitter going as well.
I heard some talk of Paul Byrd throwing in a simulated game earlier in the day. Anyone know his prognosis? (I would assume Reynolds gets the boot when Byrd is ready to return … whenever that is).
You’re right Mac, Javy’s crushing everything. His two homers came on a hanging breaking ball and a low inside fastball, so it’s not like he’s just hitting mistakes. I guess that’s what dropping a few pounds will do for you (Andruw take note).
It would be a good time to trade Javy and call Estrada up. We’d save about 4 mill and could use that to go after a good set-up man (coughs urbina). I dont want to trade Javy but the braves might as well get something for him, he’s long gone at the end of the year anyways.
Beg to differ, Derek. I think that among the five high-profile free-agents-to-be on this year’s team — Lopez, Maddux, Fick, Sheffield and Castilla — Javy’s the most likely to return. Not saying that’s the best idea, just most probable given the team’s history.
However, it’s possible the Braves let Javy walk and spend the money they save on him and Maddux to try and lock up Sheffield and bring back Millwood.
Besides, messing with that starting lineup to bring in a reliever at this point would be dumb. The Braves have three cheap and capable setup men on the roster right now — Bong, Hodges and Marquis (at least two of which should probably be in the rotation, but that’s another argument). What this team really needs is a backup outfielder who can hit.
I disagree on the argument that “the braves might as well get something for him”. What theyre getting is another three months of his bat which, even if it cools, is still an integral part of this team right now. Plus, of course, they’ll get a draft pick if they offer him arbitration.
The flipside is that you trade him, and replace him with a guy who’s showing good ability…as a AAA ball repeater. Oh, and you trade him for the kind of player John Schuerholz thinks is good – and JS doesn’t often go for prospects in trades, let alone actual good ones. Most likely you get a relief pitcher and maybe your backup outfielder.
In other news…the AJC today features an article on the potential roster logjam coming up with Byrd’s possible return. The writer seems to think Ramirez would be the odd man out in the rotation. What isn’t mentioned is who gets demoted when Hernandez comes back. You figure that whichever of Byrd/Hernandez comes back first, Marquis gets demoted. But then when the other returns, who goes? Ramirez? Bong? Hodges? You can bet it won’t be reynolds
If Ramirez goes to the pen and Reynolds stays in the rotation, I say we burn down the stadium. Reynolds is actually worse than that ERA. He’s been lucky to be giving up so few runs.