Atlanta 5, Los Angeles 2

ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Braves at Dodgers

See, judging from the season so far, you’d think that the Braves jumped on Scott Erickson early and held on, with the Braves’ pen giving up late runs after Hudson left the game. Doesn’t work that way. Hudson gave up runs in the third and the fifth, and trailed 2-0 when Chipper hit a game-tying homer off of Erickson, the only runs the latter would give up, and one of only three hits in six innings. Meanwhile, Hudson was pitching in and out of trouble all day, allowing nine hits and two walks, striking out five, in his six innings of work.

But the Dodgers’ bullpen faltered, while the Braves’ pen gave them three perfect innings. Freed from his LOOGY role by the hard work the bullpen did last night (Bernero and Reitsma probably unavailable) John Foster threw an inning and a third, striking out two. Sosa finished the eighth and got a strikeout of his own. And Kolb actually threw a perfect ninth for a save, adding a strikeout. Cesar Izturis helped by foolishly trying to bunt his way on leading off the inning, which is just dumb against a pitcher with Kolb’s control problems.

Andruw gave the Braves a lead with a line-drive homer down the left field line leading off the seventh. Since it was Andruw, it doesn’t count. Today’s reason: the ball probably would have hit off the wall in any other park, because only Dodger Stadium has such a low fence down the left field line. LaRoche hit a homer of his own in the ninth, followed by Andruw’s double, which didn’t count because he didn’t run hard to second base for no reason and slide to bring up a huge cloud of dust. He scored on Langerhans’ sac fly. (The latter started for Jordan today.)

If you can explain why the Phillies would trade Marlon Byrd for Endy Chavez, give it a try. I can think of three reasons:

1. They’re trying to boost the Natspos’ chances.

2. Ed Wade is in fact, as has long been suspected, a deep-cover agent for the Braves.

3. They’re dumb.

I’m leaning towards #3… Eddie Perez has some sort of shoulder problem, not for the first time. He seems to be saying that it’s okay and the Braves haven’t made a move… The good news is that the Padres have finished off a sweep of the Marlins to give the Braves a 2 1/2 game lead on the Marlins and 3 on the Natspos. The bad news is that the Braves now have to play three at those same Padres, who are red hot and 13-4 at home. At least the Braves will miss Jake Peavy. The intermediate news is that Dan Kolb can watch Trevor Hoffman to see what a real closer looks like.

19 thoughts on “Atlanta 5, Los Angeles 2”

  1. Izturis perhaps remembered the last time someone bunted on Kolb, when he threw the ball into the left field corner.

  2. The trade was for a change of scenary for both. I think the Phillies will be making a lot of those before the year is over, because almost none of them want to be there.

    Good game by the Braves except Mondesi’s airmail throw to the backstop. I have officially given up on Mondesi. He’s not hitting and his outfield assist last night was due to him overthrowing the cutoff man, which he is doing all the time now. He looks uninterested at the plate.

    Kolb looked good today. His pitches weren’t all over the place and he was consistent in the low 90’s. I hope Langerhans didn’t hurt his hand on the catch. It looked as if he turned it or jammed a finger on the replay. Boy’s gotta learn how to slide correctly when he does that.

  3. OK, Mac, you’ve convinced me that Andruw is the MVP and should be immediately inducted into the Hall of Fame.

    With all the talk about how bad the bullpen is, for the most part, it hasn’t been that bad. There have really only been 4 or 5 games that I can think of that the bullpen has really been that bad. Other than Kolb (obviously a big part of it), they have done the job for the most part and even Kolb hasn’t been the worst closer in major league history. It’s certainly not a great bullpen, but it’s certainly not the worst they have ever had.

    Mondesi is playing the way he always has with no concern for anything but showing off his arm. He really isn’t a Bobby Cox type of player and I suspect that if Langerhans shows he can play, Mondesi might be gone.

    By the way, has anyone noticed that LaRoche is showing some serious power?

  4. I didn’t watch the game today, but I did listen to it over the radio. Was Kolb throwing anything besides a fastball?

  5. I don’t care what ballpark we’re in, GW Homeruns count.

    Marc, I don’t know of anyone talking bad about the bullpen around here. I think most of us agree that the bullpen, aside from KolBB, has been a huge strength for the Braves. Middle relief has been really good in the absence of Gryboski, whose injury I though might expose Bernero and Sosa a little.

    John Foster has been an absolute revelation in the LOOGY role for about 5 innings of work.

    LaRoche is becoming a very valuable player.

    Hudson struggled and was getting squeezed by the ump. Kept us in the game, though.

  6. I would agree with the change of scenery thing, except that those kinds of trades usually involve two underachieving players. This one had one of those: Byrd. Chavez has been achieving just about as well as can be expected. He’s just not very good. Maybe they needed to dump Byrd… these things do happen… but I’m sure they could’ve gotten someone with upside potential. Guess I should be glad they didn’t.

    I was only watching the 9th out of one eye… with my fingers partially covering it… but Kolb looked pretty darn good.

  7. I had noticed Kolb’s control looked alot better back at Colorado, even though he got rocked up. And, though this opinion may not be popular, I think he’s getting his problems under control.

  8. Talent-wise, the Nats got the better end of the deal, no doubt. The Phils must view Chavez as a better fit — he’s an LHB to Michaels’ RHB, and he may be more likely to accept the spare part role. I’m surprised Byrd didn’t get more of a shot in the post-Bowa era, though.

    And now I’ll take the opportunity to piggyback on Mac’s notoriety and loyal following to pimp my own blog:

    http://braveomatic.blogspot.com/

    Hope you all check it out, but only AFTER an exhaustive reading of Braves Journal!

  9. Here’s another reason: The Phillies have learned that “Endy Chavez” is Spanish for “Doug Glanville” and wanted to bring back the glory days of 2001.

  10. A buddy of mine, who is a Mets fan, and I are each building all-time teams which we are going to use to simulate a season. I can only use the Atlanta incarnation of the Braves, by the way. I know, I am a dork. Anyway, I am really struggling at short for the Braves. The only decent offensive seasons I can find are Blauser in ’97 and Furcal in ’03. Otherwise, it’s a whole lot of suck. Am I missing anyone? Anybody have any suggestions as to some hidden gems from seasons past?

  11. No, that’s it. Well, Furcal’s ROY campaign in 2000 might be a better bet because of OBP and steals. Blauser was almost as good in 1993 as in 1997. They’re the two best shortstops in Atlanta history. Sad, isn’t it?

    You know about this page, right?

  12. Mac-

    Thanks, you are right about Furcal in 2000. I did use that page as a reference- I just didn’t rummage through every year of the revolving door that has been shortstop for the Braves. I was hoping that maybe someone had a great year against lefties or something that got lost in the shuffle…

  13. You could try Menke when the Braves first moved to Atlanta, though I don’t know if he played much short. His best year was in Milwaukee, though. Chipper played 38 games at short in 1996. He hit a typical Chipper line, .309 .393 .530.

  14. Mac, I there are some prblems with that stie. Grissom and Justice were traded for Embree and Kenny Pulled Hamstring before the 96 season. The site has Grissom listed as the starter in 96 and Dye as the right fielder, he was sent to KC also before the 96 season for Dye. Am I right on this? I am not trying to pick it apart or anthing, just checking my facts.

  15. The Braves traded Grissom and Justice for Lofton before the 1997 season (remember, Lofton’s year was the one when they lost to the Marlins in the NLCS). Dye was traded for Tucker + Lockhart before that season. The listings are made purely statistically just by who played the most games at the position. That does lead to some oddities. For instance, Ryan Klesko isn’t listed as a regular in 1999 because he moved between left and first; Fat Brian Hunter wound up playing more games at first, Gerald Williams more in left. Andruw played in 153 games in 1999, the second-most on the team, but because he swung between center (during Lofton’s injuries) and right, he isn’t listed as a regular. (In this case, probably rightly, because Tucker and Lofton had more PAs.) These things happened.

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