One ugly shutout for John Thomson — 11 hits. On the other hand, no walks, just two extra-base hits, both doubles. It’s very hard to score when all you do is hit singles, because it takes three singles (or two singles and a “productive out”, or two singles with a stolen base in between) to score a run. Thomson’s allowed a .298 BA this year, but as long as he keeps the ball in the yard and doesn’t give up free passes (he’s been inconsistent with the one, pretty good with the second) he’ll be okay. Reitsma allowed a hit in the eighth, Alfonseca two (either could easily have been an out with a little luck) in the ninth, striking out two.
Offensively, Andruw hit two homers, a two-run job in the second and a solo homer in the seventh. I know people sometimes think that whenever Andruw has a big day he’s about to start slumping by trying to do too much. We’ll see. Drew hit a solo homer as well. Chipper singled home a run, then got off the death turf to rest his hamstring in the late innings. In fact, everyone got a hit except Furcal, now 0-9 since returning to the lineup.
Horacio Ramirez tries to keep up his string of good starts tomorrow night. The Braves could get back to .500 with a win.
Back to back ugly pitching performances, yet 2 wins and 1 run scored. Baseball is a funny game (and it helps that the Dodgers returned to 2003 form and the Expos have a pathetic offense).
A win’s a win!
And DeRo got a hit. Things are looking up.
Hopefully (more like, they better) they’ll sweep the Expos and be over .500. Wow. A winning record. I almost forgot what that was.
I’ll take a win. I don’t care how ugly, I’ll take a win.
We’ll have a 4 game winning streak as we square off with the hated Phillies. The Joneses, Drew, Estrada, and Green all look good. Furcal will be warmed up. This is the annual turning point.
It is always nice to have a win and especially a shutout, even if it was not always pretty. The phrase `winning ugly’applies to baseball as well as football.
Reaganman is probably right: we are approaching a turning point. A good away and home series and the season will look entirely different.
I had to follow the game on the computer, and, therefore missed the information which sometimes comes with the game’s commentary. Since Bobby has used Smoltz to close games with big leads, I was surprised to see Alfonseca finish. Is there any known reason (i.e. a problem with Smoltz) for this?
I think it was more the fact that Alfonseca hasn’t worked much recently (that I can recall). He continued to look good though. Over his last 12.2 innings (month) he’s given up just 2 ER and 11 K’s with only 2 walks.
There is also a sign on the wall behind home plate that says “Field Turf”. Maybe some other people noticed it too.
Last year, Outside The Lines did a story about field turf and Shaun Alexander said he preferred field turf to natural grass. I don’t know if the surface works quite as well for baseball though.
BTW, this means SkyDome is now officially the worst Major League Baseball stadium.
When I was watching the game last night, I thought “Man, these Expos look just like those Tanner/Nixon-era Braves’ squads.”
Is Endy Chavez’ game a dead-ringer for Dion James’, or am I having another one of the Carlos Castenada moments?
Can Omar Moreno still play? Is Jim Presley available?
Chavez is a better defender than Dion, but other than that they’re pretty close. But even Chuck Tanner’s teams drew better than these Expos.
I’d like to apologize, profusely, to the Expos for making fun of their turf. I’m terribly, terribly sorry.
Good point Mac. I forgot that Dion had that curse of looking faster than he was.
Omar Moreno, Dion James. Wow those are names out of the bad old days.
Is Skydome really worse as a baseball park than Tropicana Field?
At this point, I’m willing to take Andreas Thomas at third.
Mac, did the Tanner Braves really outdraw the current Expos? Gosh, I remember watching games and seeing vast expanses of blue seats at the Pad. I remember reading in a Baseball Abstract that Omar Moreno was the worst player in major league baseball.
Anybody notice how well Jose Capellan is pitching in the minors? Granted, it is Myrtle Beach, but his recent lines have just been outstanding (last 6 starts- 38IP, 14H, 2ER). Any chance he will be called up this year, or is he going to be handled with care?
Three points about Tannerball…
My favorite baseball nickname of all time was Moreno’s: “Omar the Outmaker”. I don’t think that was one he particularly liked, though. Baseball Reference doesn’t have a batting outs “leaderboard” but I believe Moreno in 1980 set the all-time record, batting 676 times and making 560 outs. OBP .306, right on his career average.
In 1988, the Braves must have put out one of the worst offenses of all time, considering the ballpark. Ron Gant, as a rookie second baseman, was probably their best hitter. Dion James led the team in OBP at .353. The best player on the team was probably Rick Mahler, who was 9-16 with a 3.69 ERA — giving him an ERA+ of 100. Even the Expos will probably have one or two players who are better than average.
Yes, the Tanner-era Braves outdrew the Expos. The latter actually drew a little over a million fans last year, but that’s due to the San Juan novelty. They won’t draw that many this year. In 2002, playing all their home games in Montreal, they drew 812,045. The Braves drew 848,089 in 1988 (the year Tanner was fired and replaced by Nixon) and well over a million in Tanner’s two full seasons.
Tannerball was the single biggest factor that shaped the way I enjoy baseball. As a kid, I hated to see my teams lose. Just hated it. Then I moved to a place where Tannerball was the only game I could see thanks to TBS. It forced me to face the proposition of knowing, just knowing, that an ugly loss was going to happen. I had a choice: I could forget watching baseball, or I could find something to like in all the ugly losing. Instead of the result, I began to appreciate the game. The rhythms of it. The sounds. The lazy August nights against the Pirates or Padres or some other non-contending team. Winning was a nice surprise, but I just learned to enjoy it as baseball.
After over a decade of being spoiled, this season has made me remember what I like about baseball. I still enjoy watching the Braves. Maybe even a tad more than I did in 1993 or 1999 or some other season when I had temporarily forgotten that winning isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of things.
The thing I remember most about the Haas/Wine/Tanner/Nixon era (besides the absolute shellacings), was that the opposition was never out of the game.
The pitching rotations were absolute “baler wire and chewing gum” contraptions for which no lead was safe. The bullpens were ghastly. Close games became routs and big leads became close games. And let’s not forget the defense. The only thing worse than Gant as a second baseman was Gant as a third baseman. And Chuck Tanner always had another re-tread ready to join the fun. Talk about taking the “he’s a vet and knows how to play the game thing” to the extreme.
All of the reminiscing has made me even more thankful for the last 12 seasons. This team may end up disappointing but at least there are prospects in the system and a talent base to build on.
You know, despite the errors Gant’s range factors as an infielder are pretty good, well above the league. That’s probably due to the pitching staff, though.
Ah, the bullpen… Gene Garber’s card from the years he was in Atlanta is fun. They keep pushing out of the closer’s role, but the new guy always fails, so every other year he’s back in it. Still has the team career record for saves. If Smoltz gets close later this year I will definitely launch the Garber Watch. 24 to go…
Quick anecdote about the crowd size back then: A college buddy and I attended a game circa September 1988. Our seats in old Fulton-County were upper-deck right-center field, a looong way from the field in that bowl. We ruminated that it sure was nice to have Dion James, a genuine average ballplayer, and decided to pay homage. So, between batters while the Braves were in the field, we yelled from the nosebleeds, “Dion, you the man!” (not very inventive, I know) Anyway, he heard us clearly, and it sure was nice of him to turn around and wave to us….
Gene Garber is my all-time least favorite Brave. He once turned me down for an autograph and basically shouted at me all the way back to my seat. I traded every Garber baseball card I owned and cheered the day they got rid of him.
Thank you GRST for the answer about Alfonseca. I am grateful to the rest for the trip down memory lane. Even though he was traded in 1988 lets not forget Ken Oberkfell.
I think I can remember a 30 second commercial which ran on TBS with Tanner saying “don’t ever give up”…
I never met the guy or have any anecdote about him, but I will always love Gene Garber for one big reason. He put the last nail in the coffin of Pete Rose’s hitting streak.
I can remember Rose was ticked because Gene “didn’t challenge him.” Garber’s response was basically, “It’s my job to get guys out, so screw the style points.”
I remember that Rose also complained that Garber (Gene-O) was pitching “like it was the World Series”. Garber rightly replied “he was hitting like is was the World Series”.