Atlanta 7, Houston 4

ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Astros at Braves – 07/31/2003

Since we’re never going to be rid of Shane Reynolds, at least we can take comfort in him pitching adequately last night. He went seven, giving up four runs, three on Jeff Bagwell’s sixth-inning homer. He apparently is in “put it in play” mode, walking none and striking out only two, and throwing only 76 pitches. I don’t think that will work longterm, but it got the job done last night.

Of course, that was because of the Braves’ offense, which scored six in the first. The rest of the night was frustrating, as they stranded nine runners and a couple of times let potential big innings get away. The game started making me nervous after Bagwell’s homer, and it never should have gotten to that point. The big blow in the first was Javy’s 30th homer of the season. Five Braves — Javy, Giles, Sheffield, Chipper, and Vinny — had two hits apiece.

Holmes had another strong outing in the setup role, and Smoltz threw only four pitches in about the easiest save you’ll get. It was his 40th of the season. The Braves are exactly 2/3 of the way through the season, and that means he’s on pace for 60 saves, a major league record. We’ll see what happens.

The Braves didn’t wind up with Mercker before the deadline but apparently are still talking to the Reds. I don’t know if he’ll get through waivers, though… Next up, the evil but punchless Dodgers come to town for three.

8 thoughts on “Atlanta 7, Houston 4”

  1. Well, the Giants got more stocked, and potentially scarier as an adversary, but as has been pointed out here before, the NL Central winner doesn’t look to pose a Huge Threat to the Braves in a potential first round of postseason.

    I’m happy with Schuerholz’ moves or lack of them. Vasquez was the ultimate prize, and if it’s MLB’s ruling that we can’t have him, then what can you do? As far as I’m concerned, that’s pretty close to ‘fixing’ the game, but it’s also just speculation.

    On a sunnier note, the Braves still look so good offensively. Can you believe Javy has 30 home runs?! And obviously, we’re not always going to score seven runs when Reynolds pitches. But somehow, we have. And it works.

    Did anyone hear some announcer the other day (I forget who) suggesting that Maddux’s low workload so far this year was somewhat “intentional”, with the hope that he will be just hitting his stride at the end of the reg. season?

  2. I’m also happy with Schuerholz’s lack of activity so far. Sure it would have been nice if he could have gotten a free Williamson like Boston did, but it’s far more likely he would have gotten taken in any deal, so I’m glad he did nothing.

    The Giants drastically overpaid for three months of Ponson. It was essentially Ortiz, Ainsworth, and a minor league arm for three months of Ponson and the two draft picks they will get when he leaves. That’s not a good deal anyway you slice it.

    Schuerholz will probably tinker with the bullpen down the stretch to make it look like he’s doing something, but the odds are that Bobby won’t trust whoever he gets in the playoffs anyway so it will be moot. So I think the group we have now is the group we’ll go to war with and I feel good about that. We’ve certainly got as good of a chance as anybody else.

  3. The Giants drastically overpaid for three months of Ponson. It was essentially Ortiz, Ainsworth, and a minor league arm for three months of Ponson and the two draft picks they will get when he leaves. That’s not a good deal anyway you slice it.

    Well, their goal is winning the World Series this year, and that doesn’t get done with Jim Brower starting playoff games.

    I’m sure Sabean would undo the Ortiz trade if he could, but given that he can’t, giving up a good prospect, an utterly unremarkable starter, and a live A-ball arm to correct the “Oh, my god, we don’t have enough starters to complete our playoff rotation!” dilemma isn’t out of line.

  4. Yeah, it’s hard to evaluate trades like that at this point. From a long-term perspective, one could say the Giants overpaid. But if they end up winning the WS with Ponson in the mix, who could say it was a bad deal?

    It’s the Braves’ job to work on their inconsistencies between now and then to ensure that doesn’t happen. It looks bad in some respects, but this team has won more games than anyone else. As i see it, the lack of movement should serve as inspiration to the current pitching staff to work with each other to get better. Everyone always talks about Maddux teaching young starters. Why couldn’t Smoltz take a few days looking at Jung Bong tape and give him some pointers?

  5. Mac, don’t be surprised if Kent Mercker passes through waivers that the Braves turn around and deal Mike Hessman to Cincy for him.

  6. Seeing that the Reds seem to want to corner the market on AAAA players, that seems pretty likely. Say what you will about Bowden, he at least knew what a ballplayer looked like. These guys have traded most everything they have of value and wound up with Brandon Claussen and a half dozen potential reserves.

    Oh, and lots of cash.

  7. I think a trade of Hessman would be great–if we get anything at all of value for him, it would be worth it (IMHO). He’s Wes Helms-lite (and therefore, thoroughly replaceable). Of course, I could be wrong; but Hessman has never really impressed me (he played a while at Greenville, which is where I live, and I got to see him a good many times). Considering the predictive value of minor league performance, he has never really had numbers (again, IMHO) to justify ‘prospect’ status. So getting a decent reliever for him would seem to be a pretty good deal.

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