Milwaukee 4, Atlanta 1

ESPN.com – MLB – MLB RECAP

Well, you don’t see that every day. Unless you’re us. Brewers starter Ben Sheets struck out 18 and at one stage retired 19 Braves in a row. The Braves had only three hits, one by DeWayne Wise leading off the game, one by Nick Green, and a solo homer by Andruw. Which kind of sums out the problem. The Braves had three legitimate major league regulars in the lineup, Drew, Estrada, and Andruw. The rest were the usual assortment of bench types, rookies, and Wise. Chipper was being rested out of concern for his hamstring. (He wanted to play, but Bobby held him out. I’m eagerly awaiting Mark DeRosa’s condemnation of the manager.)

Jaret Wright pitched five shutout innings. Unfortunately, that came after giving up three in the first. That seems to be his pattern — one inning that cascades out of control. The rest of the time, he looks very good. Any chance of a comeback probably died when Nitkowski allowed a run in the seventh after Andruw had cut the lead to two. Cruz allowed a hit in the eighth.

Furcal still can’t throw. Hopefully he and Chipper will be in the lineup Tuesday (the first of three in Atlanta against the D-Backs), but who knows. One possibility is that Furcal could play second with Garcia or Betemit at short. Right now, he’s just a pinch-hitter.

22 thoughts on “Milwaukee 4, Atlanta 1”

  1. Ben Sheets…wow! What a game. Too bad he had to waste most of his stuff against a AAA team. The Braves have to make a move with Marcus down or it will all be over soon.

  2. Wilson Betemit has no business being in the Major Leagues right now. How many times has he now struck out on the same down-and-in breaking ball? I realize that everyone looked bad today against Sheets, and he probably could have beaten the 1927 Yankees with his stuff today, but Betemit’s play is upsetting me more and more.

  3. In the silver lining department, I thought Cruz pitching well today after pitching not-so-well last night is a positive sign. He has shown he can go out there in consecutive games and with the starters struggling to get to the 7th, that may come in handy.

  4. Okay, Pedro Feliz is making $850,000; Edgardo Alfonso seems to be doing a respectable job so far, and the Giants have no shortage of needs. Maybe we can swing a deal for Feliz.

  5. Apparently the quality of play isn’t the only thing that is poor when you go to Milwaukee, because the plate umpiring in this series was horrible. The strike zone yesterday was the size of a postage stamp, leading to early showers for both starters and a high scoring game. The strike zone today was massive for Sheets on a day where he really didn’t need any help.

    The scene at the end where Estrada stopped play twice to argue balls and strikes with the ump (normally an automatic ejection) and somehow didn’t get ejected was surreal. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. It was like an acknowledgement that the ump knew he had been terrible and didn’t want to make things worse by throwing guys out of the game. Just strange.

  6. Enjoy this “rejuvenated” Braves lineup while it lasts. It will only get worse:


    The Braves already have been told they have to cut another $10 million or so off the payroll for next season. That’s one reason why their people are gauging interest in (gulp) Andruw Jones. He’s in the third year of a six-year, $75 million contract. He’s also noticeably heavier this year, scouts say. …

    The Braves need to trade Time Warner for an Owner to be Named Later. That is the only trade that will truly matter. If we do not get rid of the Met fans in New York who set the Braves’ payroll, every night will soon be eighties night at Turner Field.

  7. IMO, Andruw is a deal compared to market. Chipper too, really. These guys are not the problem. Paul Byrd and Mike Hampton are the problem.

  8. To be clear, there is no problem, other than Time Warner. I just meant if you are going to cut salary, don’t cut your legitimate stars, signed below market value.

  9. If Time Warner, or whoever owns the team by 2006, sticks with that $10 million salary cut, it will in effect be about a $23 million dollar pay cut, as that it when we begin paying most of Mike Hampton’s contract.

    Does anyone think Cox and Schuerholz are going to stick around for that?

  10. Don’t worry, that Andruw rumor is about as credible as the deal cooked up by George Costanza to get Bonds and Griffey for the Yankees.

  11. Someone — Stan Kasten, when he was still with the club? — has said that the suits were calculating Hampton’s contract on a prorated basis, charging each year’s payroll a share of what the team will pay him. Not that they’re incapable of using that then changing the theory when that time comes.

    Leaving Hampton aside, the Braves have three free agents making more than $5 million this year — Drew, Ortiz, and Byrd. If all those guys walked, the Braves wouldn’t have to get rid of anyone else.

  12. If Smoltz doesn’t come back, there’s over $10 million off the books. On top of that, you’ve got the guys Mac mentions. So I don’t think a $10 million cut is going to be that hard to make.

    Still, it would be nice to find a taker for Hampton.

  13. You guys seem to be saying that if we simply ditch our (arguably) best position player, best starting pitcher, and best relief pitcher, and spend almost no money to replace them, then we won’t have to get rid of anybody else, and presumably remain competitive.

    If’n a frog carried a gun, he wouldn’t be afraid of snakes….

  14. I guess you could let them walk, but who would you replace them with, especially Drew? As much as some people think, he and Estrada are the only consistent players we have right now. Chipper still hasn’t gotten back to 100%, and he’s like 4-20 since coming back.

    Good news is, they usually do well against Randy Johnson.

    One year he was facing them and the Braves have a contest between innings. They ask the fans qustions, and when one person got the mike, he said “Randy Johnson looks like a wet rat!” That’s the loudest I heard the crown the entire game after he said that. Best part is, the Braves dismantled him.

  15. There indeed was some Turner exec (not Kasten, I think) who said they were prorating Hampton’s contract, budgeting it at $8m a year so as not to get hit hard down the road.

    As for finding takers for him, their best option was likely this past offseason. They’re going to need to hope he reinvents his ability again if they ever want to get rid of him.

    As for the payroll cut, it seems plausible, and I expect a fire sale of some sort if we’re out of contention in July.

  16. Up here in Minny, I can assure you the Twins will be looking for starting pitching. They should win the division, although I wouldn’t discount the Pale Hose, but for them to go anywhere in the playoffs, they are going to need another solid arm in the starting rotation. If the Braves fall out of it, this may be Ortiz’ most likely destination.

    Twins have a surplus of bats in their system (including a couple that are big league ready), but no pitching prospect near being ready. Durbin, their best guy, is having shoulder problems.

  17. I honestly don’t know what the Twins are going to do with Morneau. Mientkiewicz has two years left after 04. I would guess Morneau will be DHing for them sometime soon.

    I doubt we could get Morneau for Ortiz. I wouldn’t be shocked if Cuddyer was available in a deal like that, however.

  18. re: Hampton’s prorated salary

    My recollection is that MLB told the Braves following the trade that they had to count the salary that way for luxury tax & revenue sharing purposes. IMHO, Kasten was just putting the best spin he could on it, since I’m pretty sure he thought he was going to have the extra 6M to play with in 2003-2005.

    Supposedly, someone submitted an unsolicited bid to buy the Braves from Time Warner. Got my fingers crossed.

  19. Good News for the Braves. With Wagner out, the Phillies are no better off than they were last year in late innings. Cormier blew one yesterday, and Worrell blew one tonight. Maybe Boom Boom can be activated and try for the bullpen trifecta Wednesday night.

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