Stop me if you’ve heard this before — Horacio Ramirez had a quality start but lost when the Braves didn’t score any runs. I hate sequels. The Braves left ten men on base and scored their only run on an error, Furcal (after tripling) scoring on a botched throw to first on LaRoche’s swinging bunt.
Ramirez, meanwhile — and I seemingly say this every day now — didn’t really pitch that well. He went 6 1/3, allowing eight hits and walking two. But all the runs scored on three solo homers, two in the sixth and one in the seventh. Generally, if you allow ten baserunners and three homers you aren’t going to get away with allowing only three runs. The main point is that he can’t go around allowing lots of homers, because he doesn’t have the peripherals to get away with that. Few do.
Furcal did have two hits, his first since returning to the lineup. Everyone had a hit except the 3-4-5 hitters (Drew and the Joneses) which isn’t a recipe for success… Ortiz tonight against Expo ace Livan Hernandez. Maybe Eric Gregg can throw out the first pitch. Yes, I’m still bitter.
I know I’ve been hard on Horacio, but I just have to say that if you can strike out THE EXPOS only once, you have serious problems. The Expos have averaged about 5.5 Ks a game. This is the fourth time this year he has struck out only one batter. Remember, this is the National League, where pitchers bat. In the NL he is 187th in K/9 rate. This is very very worrying to me. The good part is that he only walked 3. If he can keep the BBs down and bring his Ks up, he should be in good shape..that is, if the HRs were a fluke.
That being said, Ramirez should have gotten the win. 1 unearned run against the Expos is pathetic.
Oops! I gave Alfonseca’s walk to Ramirez. He only had two, not three.
And one of those was intentional. On the other hand, who intentionally walks Einar Diaz?
Bobby Cox, obviously.
Changing the subject: The Braves have a groundball staff backed up by a less-than-stellar infield. Discuss.
I figured all winter that defense would be the factor that would convince Bobby to keep the DeRosa at 3B experiment short. I guess the lack of options keeps it going, but Bobby just can’t be pleased with the glovework he’s seeing out there.
Considering that Cox would defend leadfoot Vinny’s often poor offense by pointing to the number of runs he saved with his glove, I’m wondering how the defense of keeping Derosa’s overall pitiful game in the lineup. Yeah, yeah, he has few options, but the Derosa stop-gap until Marte is ready has turned out bad. Basically, when I start missing Vinny, things are bad.
I was always a bit worried about the DeRosa elevation, but I thought he would be better than this. His fielding fundamentals just aren’t very solid.
He talked about how he worked out and buffed up for the 2004 season in anticipation of starting. To me, it looks like all the weight work has left him stiff and with a slower bat. I haven’t seen every pitch by a long shot, but every time I watch a DeRosa at bat, I marvel at how he can’t get around on average heat. He should have talked to Javy.
But at the base of it is the fact that some guys, no matter how good they look as utility guys, are simply utility guys who cannot play on a regular basis.
I was totally bummed by the poor hitting performance. I mean for cryin out loud Tomo Ohka? The Expos?
Yeah I agree with Jeff, I’ve actually started wondering if the free agent we should have re signed is Vinny. Egad, what has this world come to.
I’m feeling so much despair that I’d like the Braves to try Hesseman again. He can’t be much worse than a buck 90 batting average and 10 errors….. can he?
I hardly see any criticism of LaRoche here. His offense is horrible too. Last I looked a .260 OBP just doesn’t cut it.
I am one of those folks that is glad that Eric Gregg ‘resigned’ from baseball and can’t get back in. I’m just as bitter.
Despite the research done by Andy over at BravesBuzz I still think the Braves (especially 3-4-5) have always performed poorly with RISP. I don’t know if they press too hard or if the runners distract them but it seems to me every game we have a ton of runners LOB. The trend apparently has continued this year. Someone needs to get the Braves doing something right when they have RSIP.
You are very right about LaRoche. I was looking at his stats the other day wondering why I didn’t feel so negative about him. His numbers are barely better than DeRo’s AND almost all of his at-bats are platooned. DeRosa is batting more against righties than lefties. That has to be accounted for. I guess Adam gets some rookie slack, but it is clear Julio has outplayed LaRoache and ought to play every day.
On Hessman, I think his MLB career is over. He destroys AAA but looks awful in the majors (.129/ .182/ .226). Betemit getting the call was the end of the line for him I think.
The thing about LaRoche is not only the statistical evidence but from my observations. The kid doesn’t have a clue how to adjust to the inside fastball on his hands. Every team pitches him that way and he flails. Only 4 walks is also of grave concern. Nick Green has already drawn 6 in far fewer games. This blog is good at drawing and quartering DeRosa with good reason but we have a big problem at both of the offensive positions of the infield.
You are correct of course. Hessman is the quintessential AAAA player. A good AAA player (at least this year) but not good enough for the majors. I’m really grasping at straws.
I’m still in denial about the LaRoche thing. Part of the reason is because Julio does make up for the crappy production that LaR gives the team. And he is a rookie, so I’m a little more willing to forgive. I think I would have more patience w/ LaR if it weren’t for the fact that Zerosa is stinking up the joint like he is. Hard to do when your corner infielders couldn’t bat there way out of a cave.
There have been a few attacks on LaRoche, but not quite as many, I’ll admit. I think there are three reasons for this:
1. LaRoche, after some early jitters, has played basically sound defense, while DeRosa continues to look lost.
2. The Braves have seen a lot of lefties recently, so Julio’s gotten a number of starts.
3. Yeah, he’s a rookie, so he gets a little slack.
All I want to see from this Braves team is improvement. Lately they’ve begun to show some, but it has come in small bursts. Now that the bullpen has solidified and the rotation has begun to pull it together, we’re still lacking too much in offensive and defensive consistency. We can’t afford to have our 3-4-5 hitters silenced in addition to the three designated outs we already have in the lineup (Derosa, Laroche, and the pitcher).
It would take a blazing hot streak to convince me that this team has the tools to win a playoff series, much less win the division which is what they will have to do to get there. I hate to make the comparison, but this infield needs to play like the ’99 Mets (fewest errors by an infield ever!) the rest of the way to even have a chance.
The upcoming series against the Phillies will tell us what kind of team this really is. We’ve looked good against the Marlins so it’s time to show that it wasn’t a fluke by rising to the occasion. It could potentially be the launching pad for a division run. Or possibly the crash site.
To quote Larry Bowa, “The time is now.”
I’ve been noting laroche’s performance pretty regularly, I thought. He only has 4 walks all season, none since May 1. He looks so bad with the bat that I don’t think he belongs in the majors at all, not until such time as he solves that gaping hole in his swing for inside pitches. I’m not too sold on his glovework, though I am trying to track down some better metrics to tell me more about that.
I do cut Laroche a little slack because a rookie, but not much. The reason I get mroe irritated about the DeRosa thing is that it looked to me all along like a bad idea. His offense was overrated coming into the season (substantial platoon split, terrible career walk rate once you factor out the IBB), and I saw no reason to think he’d do well at 3B defensively given his complete lack of experience over there. I sure didn’t expect him to be this bad, but those who were penciling him in as a 15-20 HR guy were just nuts.
I hate bashing the rookie and DeRosa. I think that the Braves figured that the above average offense that they get out of Giles and Furcal would allow DeRosa and LaRoche to eventually find themselves. Instead with the injuries, they are under tremendous pressure to produce. They aren’t and our big bats are in a slump too so with really what amounts to league average starting pitching we are below .500 and will stay that way until the Joneses start hitting.
My biggest wonder is if the Braves intend to continue carrying below average corner infielders. I think that they should be shopping. Once Chip and Andruw start hitting and we get Giles back I still think that we have enough to contend.
I’m opposed to JS shopping for anything if it means giving up some of the young arms in the system for a one-year fixit. When Giles comes back and if the Braves are in shouting distance of first, then make a move. Otherwise, take the lumps, give us all something to complain about, and get ready for the next wave of young talent to emerge and make this franchise a contender for another decade. I cringe at the thought of weakening the farm and the potential of years of possible division (or beyond) championships just to keep this overrated streak in tact for one more year.
The only problem is, when the next generation of talent is ready for the show, who else will be around?
Furcal isn’t going to be around much longer, and I doubt the Mets fans at Time Warner will allow whoever the GM is (I have a feeling JS will leave in the next few years) to re-sign Giles after he is eligible for free agency. The club will probably trade Andruw and/or Chipper too.
To make things worse, the NL East will become even stronger later in the decade (along with the Mets and Phillies, the Washington Senators will have one of the largest payrolls in baseball). We should enjoy being in fourth place while we can.
The Braves have a history of exchanging potential for performance. That is a good way of using a strong farm system. This season is a case in point. Drew and Reitsma have peformed well this year and while Wainright may be the next great pitcher, at least for now he he is struggling at Louisville. I’m sure that guys like Marte are untouchable but there are good finds out relatively cheap if you look hard enough. Finding a league avg first baseman or left fielder might cost us a prospect or two but even after some injuries that would be catastrophic for a lot of teams we are still close. For that reason I think we should make a move. Time is of the essence though as we can’t count on Phillie to continue to under perform. It isn’t about maintaining an overrated streak. Its about striking while our core players are in their prime. Recent history has told us that once the post season starts funny things happen like for instance the Florida Marlins and the Anahiem Angels winning the World Series.
we are below .500 and will stay that way until the Joneses start hitting.
Well, the main Jones was hitting until he got hurt; now he’s playing still a little hurt, and has sucked since he came off the DL.
The other Jones currently has a line of 358/351/528 against a career line of 268/342/496. IOW, he’s hitting pretty much as he does every year (he’s had an OPS in the mid 800s 5 of the last 7 years). That he’s been streaky goes without saying, but Andruw’s always been streaky. What we’ve gotten from him this season is about the same as we get from him every season.
Isn’t this game supposed to be on FSS?
It is in Tuscaloosa.