Montreal 8, Atlanta 4

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Einar Diaz? When Einar Diaz — the poor man’s Henry Blanco — drives in three runs against you, it’s just not your night. When you give up 17 hits, it’s almost never your night. Throw in eight walks and four errors, and it’s hard to see how the Expos only scored eight runs. In a way, you could see it as kind of a moral victory for the pitchers (Hampton, Alfonseca, Cruz, Nitkowski, and Almanza) that it wasn’t worse.

Hampton was the main culprit, allowing six of the runs, five of the walks, and seven of the hits. Alfonseca relieved him with the bases loaded in the fourth, nobody out, and a run already in on a bases-loaded walk. He allowed two of the inherited runners to score, which in that situation isn’t that bad. Cruz allowed three hits and a walk in two innings but kept them off the board; Nitkowski basically allowed the Expos to put it away with two runs allowed in a single inning, and Almanza finished it by loading the bases, throwing 10 strikes in 24 pitches, but somehow getting out of it.

The Braves had a number of chances to get even or close to it with a big hit, but couldn’t come up with it. Trailing 3-1 in the third, they loaded the bases, then Wise (the new regular left fielder, I guess, and aaarrrrggghhhh!) got hit by a pitch to score a run. But DeRosa (who was hitless after several good games in a row) flew out. Wise and Hessman (yes, Hessman) hit solo homers in the sixth to cut it to two, but they couldn’t get any closer. Nick Green seriously threatened his folk hero status with an 0-5, two error night; the second error helped the Expos put together the rally that knocked Hampton out, but really that was only a matter of time.

Back to .500. The Mets look to be on the verge of beating the Phillies in extras again, and the Marlins lost again, so everything is tightening up. Again. The Phillies now come calling, and a series win would be awfully nice.

11 thoughts on “Montreal 8, Atlanta 4”

  1. One of the worst parts is that Hessman’s homer didn’t help win the game, and probably bought him another week or two in the lineup. Yuck.

  2. Hessman’s thoughts as he rounded the bases for his homerun: “Did you see how far I hit that? Now everyone will understand why I always swng so hard and often miss. My value to this team can never be denied again! HAHAHA!!!” I imagine it was something like that, if not exactly like that.

  3. I was checking out stats from BA on the minors to see who might be ready (jurries or langerhans would have to be better than larry dewayne) for a cup. Anyway, I saw Branyan’s odd 179/452/286 line and wondered how things were going for him in buffalo. Gah. now I wish I hadn’t done so. That line has now morphed into 258/390/490 with nine home runs. The answer to our injury questions was given away…

  4. I imagine Hessman was thinking “I can now die a happy man” and he’s probably only in the line-up until Julio can pop himself out of the Barcalounger without assistance.

    I don’t know if Branyan was the answer, but he certainly would have been helpful in all of this. My question on Russ is, “Why isn’t he in Cleveland, where the awesome 1B platoon of Broussard (who the Indians obtained for Branyan) and Merloni has managed to hit 2 HRs and drive in 26 runs with a combined BA of .247 and SLG of .327 (Don’t have time right now to do the OBP, but I think you catch my drift.).

    I think the Braves had one of those “player can walk at any time” contracts with Branyan and unloaded him before he could do that. But I also think a strong case can be made to have kept him around, especially given the 12-man pitching staff.

  5. Did you also notice Branyan was leading the international league in strikeouts with close to 60? Don’t forget that Hessman was batting well over .300 with 12 homers in fewer at bats.

  6. Has anybody ever seen a worse at bat than DeRosa’s in the 3rd? I mean, come on. The pitcher had just walked three straight batters and hit one, and he swings at the first two pitches that aren’t even strikes? You gotta be kidding me.

  7. Branyan has 33 walks in 155 at bats, Hessman 8 in 98. I would say that is a huge difference. I honestly can’t explain all of the Hessian’s home runs. I’m going to the game in richmond tonight (Trey Hodges is starting) but the other three I’ve been to, Hessman hasn’t played and in years passed he’s looked just as terrible as he has in Atlanta. At the very least, Branyan has shown he can walk, hit homers, and whiff at a prodigious pace in the majors. The Hessian? Not so much.

  8. Why isn’t Jurries ever mentioned for the 1B or 3B job? He is hitting the crap out of the ball in Richmond (900+ OPS), and has a history of hitting well. I know Hessman was hitting well at Richmond, too, but Hessman has a pretty clear MLB track-record now, so we can say he is a AAA hitter, but nothing more. I can’t see that as being said about Jurries, and isn’t Jurries younger (much younger?), too

  9. I know I mentioned him for first base. Unfortunately for Jurries, his natural position is DH. (He’s not all that young either, 25.) Third base will be spoken for soon — Marte is about another week of hitting like this from a promotion to either Richmond or Atlanta. If Chipper moves to first, Jurries goes into the pool (with LaRoche and maybe Green) for a stand-around-in-left-field role.

  10. Wow; I just looked it up-Jurries was 23 when he was drafted! I knew he hadn’t been around that long; I did not realize he was that old. That having been said, i would give him his shot now; we are burning up games with no bat or glove at 1B and 3B. You know, if his fielding were that bad, you could create a funky offensive/defensive platoon with LaRoche, by putting Laroche in after Jurries last bat in the middle/late innings. You could even look to do double-switches, so you weren’t really burning a pinch-hitter. i just don’t know how long the Braves can take .200 cumulative avergaes, with no power or walks, and hideous fielding, at the corners.

  11. About Branyan’s contract, it was not a “player can walk away” deal; there was an article here in the Richmond Times-Dispatch a few weeks back, when Buffalo played the R-Braves, where Branyan talked about how surprised and disappointed he was when he was dealt.

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