Pittsburgh 8 Atlanta 4


The Braves led 4-2 headed into the bottom of the seventh. But then came Gryboski. With one out, the Pirates put two men on. And Bobby, for some ungodly reason, still hasn’t figured out that Gryboski is the last person you want coming in with the tying run on base. The record will show that the Braves committed three errors in the inning, and that the Pirates got an infield single as well. Some will say that it’s not Gryboski’s fault. That’s garbage. It’s the inevitable result of a guy with bad control who doesn’t strike anyone out. Maybe he’ll get a groundout. Maybe he’ll get a groundout more often than not. But enough of the time something will go wrong that bringing the bastard in is going to screw you. And then he gives up a bases-clearing double. Johnny Estrada committed two errors on that one play in the disaster, allowing the hitter to score.

Paul Byrd gets a no decision and not even a quality start, but pitched really well for five innings and well enough to win. But… Well, you know. JD Drew had his hitting streak snapped, though he did walk twice to keep his streak of reaching base going. Despite Estrada’s errors, he did have three hits, including a homer, and scored twice. Charles Thomas also had three hits; every time you think he’s been figured out, he does this.

The Marlins lead the Phillies 3-2 in a rain delay in the bottom of the eighth, with a runner on second. If that holds up, at least the Braves will keep their lead on the Phillies. The Mets are winning late… Ortiz versus Oliver Perez tomorrow. Perez is a lefty and has been pitching really well.

13 thoughts on “Pittsburgh 8 Atlanta 4”

  1. At least Philly lost. That team is pitiful. They will not win their division when they can’t even beat the teams they are competing against.

  2. So is now a good time to start taking notice of Andruw’s 10-game hitting streak? Or should we not jinx it until it gets closer to 20? He’s now 23-for-77 (.299) and his OBP is right at .420 for the month of July.

  3. According to ESPN’s Stark, the Braves are a darkhorse candidate in the Benson sweepstakes. I’m not enthused, especially if the Pirates are demanding what’s been reported, though it would be superficially interesting to see a right-handed Glavine look-alike in a Braves’ uniform. Surely he’s not going to turn into Jason Schmidt, right? Right?

    Stark also reports that Finley won’t accept a trade to Philadelphia or Florida.

  4. What could the Braves have to offer for Benson? Juan Cruz seems about the only tradeable asset that meets their “major league ready” criterion, and since Bobby won’t use him in any meaningful situation, he might as well be traded. They won’t trade Capellan or Marte, though

  5. I’m beginning to formulate a theory about Cox’s bullpen usage. I think his plan is to use the present setup guys until their arms fall off, then completely revamp the usage pattern for the stretch drive and (hopefully) playoffs. At that point, he’ll switch to some fresher arms for setup duties.

    I thought about this when I heard (here? i don’t remember) that the Braves may be trying to talk Graeme Lloyd out of retirement. Can’t get much fresher than retired! Combine this with Cox’s inexplicable refusal to trust the guy (Cruz) with the best stuff in the pen (besides you-know-who), and we have the makings of a fiendish plot.

    OK, maybe not. But I’d still like to see Cruz take the 7th-inning-with-a-lead slot, with Alfonseca as the guy who comes in with runners on. And we do need a situational lefty. If Mazzone gets something out of Graeme Lloyd this season…well, I already think he should be in the HOF, so how about the Leo Mazzone Coaches’ Wing in Cooperstown?

  6. I am consistently amazed by how the pitchers get all the blame and the defense is let off the hook on this site. Three errors in one inning, and it’s still all Gryboski’s fault? Um, ok. You can’t strike everybody out. Even though Grybo’s K rate is unacceptable low, he can survive because he is an extreme groundball pitcher. He just needs guys to make the plays they are paid to make. Personally, I cringe every time a ball is hit to Furcal with men on base.

    All that said, if Cruz is the first man out of the pen last night, the Braves win 4-2. Now there is a strike out rate we all can love.

  7. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pirates wanted Betemit. I think he qualifies as “major league ready,” or at least “Pittsburgh 3B ready.” They’d probably also want one of the many pitching prospects not named Dan or Jose. Just guessing out loud here. When was the last time the Braves were involved in a trade that there were rumors about beforehand, other than little waiver trades like Merker last year? I can’t think of any, but I didn’t follow things as closely until the last few years.

  8. Historically, the trades the Braves make are not the ones that are rumored. With Hampton, it was 1st heard about on a Saturday night, then confirmed the next day. If the Braves were going to go after a starting pitcher, I would take someone else over Benson. He’s a local and has been good lately, and until recently had not lived up to his potential, but the physical ailments worry me.

    Let’s make a run at Randy Johnson. We could give them Andruw and a pitcher, who they could either keep or use to get something else they want. We have to have a power pitching workhorse to get through the playoffs. The Yankees proved the theory last year. Clemens is great, but he’s not the workhorse he was in the past. But that’s just one person’s opinion. Probably wrong, but inciteful just the same.

  9. Why exactly would the Braves go after Benson? Whom does he replace in the rotation? Clearly not Ortiz or Wright, and Byrd is not long off the DL. Hampton has pitched very well for the last month, and Benson is not so much better than Thomson as to justify the players we’d give up.

  10. What the Braves need is left-handed middle relief. Nitkowski’s gone, and Sammy Mac doesn’t have the seasoning for a tight pennant race.

  11. Trading Andruw while trying to win this year makes no sense. Among all ML CFs, Andruw is 6th in OPS:

    Edmonds 1007
    Burnitz 974
    Beltran 916
    Damon 874
    Griffey 862
    Andruw 855
    Kotsay 847
    Finley 844

    Of those above him, Griffey will never be rid of his hamstring problems, Burnitz is a brutal defensive CF with an 800 road OPS (an even better gauge of performance, as it minimizes park factors), and Damon’s road OPS is 834. Andruw’s road OPS is 900, and then of course there’s his defense, which is superior to Kotsay (road OPS 773, lifetime OPS 765). Finley is 39.

    So what you have in Andruw is the third best CF in baseball. I admit that his caught stealings and DPs bring his value down a bit. But I don’t understand the perception that he loafs. Yes, I’ve seen him run at less than full speed on routine plays to first, but I see A LOT of players do that. Who leaves his feet to make a play in the outfield more often than Andruw? And his performance with runners in scoring position is not as bad as is often claimed (804 OPS).

    If someone said your center fielder would bat .260 this year, you’d say so what? Guys like that grow on trees. But then add that he would hit (projected) 47 doubles, 7 triples, 26 home runs, and play Gold Glove center field, and don’t you think you could win with a guy like that?

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