Washington 5, Atlanta 4

ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Braves at Nationals

I don’t get it. I understand why Bobby might have pulled Hampton after four innings. It was his first game back, though he’d thrown only 58 pitches and hadn’t given up a run. I understand why he tried to get another inning out of Adam Bernero, again, even though Bernero’s been ineffective used for more than an inning of late and he wound up giving up two runs, after blowing through the fifth. But I don’t understand, can’t understand, why Bobby, with a 3-2 lead, would use Roman Colon to pitch the seventh. It makes no sense whatsoever. Colon got one out, gave up two hits, and gave way to Gryboski, who in true Gryboski fashion allowed a game-tying single. Foster, pitching in his third straight game, gave up a double to Nick Johnson, Johnson’s 75th double of the series, making it 5-3. Then Jorge Sosa came in, as he should have to start the inning and, too late, pitched an inning and two thirds of scoreless baseball.

Hampton was Hampton. His control’s not great and he allows too many hits but he gets ground balls when he needs them and doesn’t allow big blows. Same old same old.

The Braves got only one run on one hit off of John Patterson, but he was coming off the DL too and Robinson lifted him after five. The Braves then got two runs off of CJ “Why Am I Back In The Majors Leagues Again?!?” Nitkowski for a 3-0 lead.

Julio drove in the last of those runs with a single off of TJ Tucker, who relieved Nitkowski. I mean “off of”, it hit him and ricocheted into left, scoring Chipper from second. Julio also hit a homer leading off the ninth. He hit for LaRoche, who has looked awful of late; I wouldn’t be surprised if Julio got the start tomorrow even with a righty going.

After the homer, the Braves got hits from Andruw and Estrada, and almost bailed out the pen, but Jordan grounded out, Pena (pinch-hitting because Betemit ran for Estrada) struck out swinging at a pitch around his eyes with runners first and third, and Furcal took strike three, which is just weird since he doesn’t take pitches.

Mondesi was DFAd to make room for Hampton. Hopefully when he’s taken off the 40-man the Braves can put another pitcher there and call him up in Colon’s place… The Marlins lost again, and the NL East is collapsing into a black hole at about .500. Smoltz versus Armas tomorrow, and John better go seven. SportsSouth night game.

Note: Alex was at the game tonight. He’ll probably drop by later to vent, but I just wanted to note that he voice-messaged me from the stadium, just before Colon blew up the game, to complain about him coming in. Not a second-guess, a first-guess.

57 thoughts on “Washington 5, Atlanta 4”

  1. I agree that Colon has been awful this year, but he didn’t do much wrong tonight. A blooper, an easy double play mishandled by Giles thanks to a bad hop (the soccer field strikes again), followed by a broken bat single. That’s just horrid luck, which the Braves have had all series. It’s hard to recall a more frustrating series that did not involve Dan Kolb or Matt Whiteside.

  2. Betemit has 6 XBH in 40 AB. Furcal has 13 XBH in 205 AB. Betemit has 9 BB in 40 AB. Furcal has 16 in 205!! This is unacceptable, people! If he’s hurt, put him on the DL. He’s freakin’ killing us!!

    There is no excuse. Kelly J would be a better alternative to Furcal at this point. It’s June 1!! Unacceptable!!

  3. A few observations from someone who has just spent 2 hours packed on a Metro with every other fan in the stadium:

    1) Bobby’s use of the bullpen was horrible. Bernero was left in way too long, and why do you bring in Gryboski and Foster to face one batter apiece and then yank them? What if we had tied it up in the 9th and gone to extras? You wanna turn the game over to Kolb and Reitsma? Because that was our only option.

    2)RFK lived down to its name. It is grimy, grungy, and LOUD! I thought my head would explode every time the sound system came on. There are no cupholders in the seats, so 3 people around me spilled beer in the aisle and one person kicked their Coke into the concourse. However, having the entire stadium shake every time someone stomps their foot is an interesting experience.

    3)Marcus will probably not sleep tonight b/c of that missed double play, but he shouldn’t be blamed for it. The ball ate him alive. It hopped in the air like it was possessed. Good old soccer divets strike again. Rrrgh. Too bad the understandable mistake had to be compounded by our bullpen.

    4)There were a LOT of Braves fans, most in Chipper, Andruw, or Smoltzie jerseys. We attempted to do the Tomahawk Chop with the help of a really drunk, loud guy in my row, but it didn’t catch on.

    What a heartbreaking loss. Sorry for the negativity, but I’m so disappointed.

    On another note, can anyone recommend some interesting tourist things to do in Atlanta? I’m trying to convince my parents to take a trip there this summer to see the Braves at Turner Field and they won’t do it unless there’s something else good to see. Help!

  4. Yes, I was at the game, like I was the night before.

    And no, I am not ready to KILL Colon…not until I KILL BOBBY COX FIRST. See, folks, Colon can’t pitch, BOBBY, if you DON’T PUT HIM IN THE FRREAKING GAME WITH A 3-2 LEAD, YOU A–HOLE.

    To gauge the Nats fans around me in my wonderful seats behind home plate, when they weren’t cursing the very existence of Christian Guzman as a not-so-legitimate Major leaguer, they were LAUGHING AT BOBBY FOR PUTTING IN COLON!!!! WE WERE LAUGHED AT BY THE NATSPOS FANS, PEOPLE.

    so, yes, Mac was dead on I was going to vent. and he was dead I that saw the training lights while bing tied to the train tracks in my Braves hat, the train that is Roman Colon.

    For those Colon defenders…7.43 ERA. Why are you people defending him and why is Cox a glutton for punishment?

    I hate being a Braves fan.

    I am not going to tomorrow’s Smoltz game since there is a Game 5 of my SPURS western finals; I will be at the Braves game Thursday night so we will for sure lose that when Colon comes in the 5th inning for the now awful Horacio Ramirez who I already watch lose in person LAST MONTH at RFK.

    done venting…good night.

  5. I’m a first time poster and have a few questions:

    1) If Colon is sent down (let’s hope it’s soon), who replaces him? No one at Richmond seems to fit the bill – Buddy Hernandez has been a big disappointment. Do the Braves bring in Vasquez or James from Mississippi? It almost appears that Vasquez is being groomed as a closer – why isn’t he at Richmond?

    2) Is it common to have as many older pitchers as the Braves have at both AAA and AA. There are 2 to 3 on both teams that are 29 or above and a few more are 27 or older. I know about Powell, but are the other guys basically filling roster spots?

    3) Mac, please explain options sometimes. There are so many players like Esix Snead who have been around forever and have had some major league experience, I’d be very interested to hear how options work. I also understand that this may be a reason that some deserving players aren’t called up. Thanks for your help!

  6. I think so, yes.

    Taking out the middle part of this sentence, how many times has it been true since he’s been on the team:

    ” and gave way to Gryboski, who in true Gryboski fashion allowed a game-tying single”

    I should get one of the baseballthinkfactory boys to look it up.

    He’s ridiculous.

  7. So, espn has hampton leaving due to tightness in his pitching arm. Should I be worried?

  8. Adding to my post above, did anyone notice how Andruw just fell down in the outfield twice? Once it cost us, he should have been able to catch a fly, the other time it didn’t matter. What a great field. RFK sucks. So do the Nats.

  9. I’m defending Colon because he didn’t pitch badly tonight. There are times when you pitch well and a bunch of bloopers and bleeders fall in and you can’t do anything about it. Not to mention that horrid bounce for Giles. Has Colon been awful this year? Yes. Was he awful tonight? No.

    He’s also got great stuff and could very easily turn it around. That said, he might need some time in AAA to work on it. But this is not a bad pitcher.

    And after Cox and Mazzone’s near-brilliant handling of the bullpen for 14 years, you would think they might get *some* leeway as they work things out…

    As a side, Grybo is at +1.5 runs prevented (see Prospectus) before tonight. That number isn’t great, but semi-acceptable for the 5th or 6th man in the pen:

    Foster +7.0
    Reitsma +5.9
    Sosa +2.1
    Bernero +2.1
    Grybo +1.5
    Colon -4.8
    Kolb -6.1

  10. In terms of Gryboski, I think this stat may be a little more relevant. On the 2005 Inherited/Bequeathed Runners Report for relief pitchers stat page, Gryboski is the 6th worst reliever in inherited runners scoring at -3.1

  11. If anyone has time, please go troll the Nats fan forum! These people are hideous.
    I would not exactly call some of the hits “bloopers.” Nick Johnson crushed that double off Foster.

  12. The stat I posted (Adjusted Runs Prevented) includes inherited runners and whether they score or not. Gryboski has been awful at allowing inherited runners to score, but OK with his own runners/batters (brilliantly keeping his ERA down).

    He’s an OK pitcher to have when his arm is going well, because he does get the grounders needed in certain situations. However, when the rest of the pen is floundering, Grybo’s weaknesses stand out.

    And it doesn’t help that Grybo’s arm is probably not 100% right now. There’s no question the pen is in disarray, but I’m not convinced it’s time to panic yet. Give Leo and Bobby a little time to sort it out.

  13. TRADE FURCAL!!

    He’s worthless

    Uh, if he’s worthless, what’s he gonna get in a trade?

    You don’t trade people when they’re struggling, you trade them when they’re lighting the world on fire.

  14. Cox is using Bernero the same way he used Reitsma last year, and Bernero is getting burned out, just like Reitsma last year. As great a manager as Bobby is, sometimes you wonder what it will take to keep him from repeating the same mistakes year after year…

  15. Jenny;
    My family loves the Coca-Cola Store in Atlanta for all the cool stuff. But we’re dumb Hoosiers.
    JS is up to something. Bobby’s clearly “showcasing” Colon.

  16. There are plenty of great reasons to visit Atlanta! We have the Braves, of course; a very nice zoo in Grant Park; overpriced shopping malls where you can rub shoulders with the Buckhead elite; Underground Atlanta and the Coca Cola Museum, tourist mecca that they are; the Centennial Olympic Park, with my name on a brick somewhere amidst a million others; White Water and Six Flags, if you’re into the theme park thing; a really, really big airport; ACC sports via Georgia Tech (booo – Go Hoos!); SEC sports (in Athens – Go Dawgs!); Margaret Mitchell’s house; Piedmont Park; lots of golf courses; live music outside at Hi Fi Buys or the Chastain Amphitheater; Little Five Points; Virginia Highlands; and plenty of other stuff I can’t think of. I may live in DC now, but Atlanta will always be my home.

  17. Hmmm..if Bobby is showcasing Colon, is it to the Northern Lights League or perhaps the Alaska Wilderness League? Even the DEVIL RAYS can’t ber that dumb…CAN THEY?

    And let bobby SHOWCASE Colon on someone else’s dime. Wait until we are winning or losing 10-1 before sticking that infestation known as Roman Colon out there. Why the MOTHERF–K is he putting that god awful Colon out there in a MUST WIN 3-2 ball game?

    As for the person who stated that Colon only gave up bloop hits, apparently we were watching 2 seperate ballgames. The Nats were SMOKING hits all over the field like it was freaking batting practice. Mac is right…Jorge Sosa or John Foster should have STARTED the inning. I GUARANTEE you the Braves hold on & win last night if it’s Foster-Sosa-then Reitsma and no usage of Colon.

    What boggles my mind even further is we are only down 2-1 the NIGHT BEFORE and Bobby had just used Colon then and he made it 3-1???? I can’t believe I might actually say this but I MISS Dan Kolb! Yes, the guy in front of me at the game wearing the Murphy jersey hated Kolb also but he hates Colon more.

    As for the “who do we have in our famr?” guy, we have a guy named Seth Griesinger with a sub 2.00 ERA. Is that good enough? Why is Greisinger mowing folks down in Richmond while Colon is setting the ERA record in the Bigs? Explain this to me?

  18. One more thing.

    RFK is a total dump…as a Washington area resident, I do have every intention of rooting for the Nats WHEN they don’t play the Braves (as I do with Tom Glavine & Greg Maddux).

    But, that stadium is a joke and not only are the stupid and useless DC United and the stupid and useless PRO soccer league, ruining the field, the SOCCER PEOPLE HERE HAD THE AUDACITY TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THE BASEBALL TEAM.

    what planet are the soccer folks living on? Should we take a moment and compare the revenues brought in by Baseball fans and Baseball TV money vs. NO TV for soccer (because no one is watching) & 100 fans every time out? RFK is averaging 35-45,000 for almost every home game at RFK, while the United bring in on average no more then 8,000-10,000 fans per game.

    Plus, Baseball plays 81 home games with that amount of people, soccer plays less then a 1/4 of that with no one watching.

    But the soccer morons are complaining. BITE ME.

  19. Jenny, The Coca-Cola store is actually a museum dedicated to Coca-Cola with a free sample area at the end of it where you can sample all kinds of weird sodas from around the world. It is a pretty cool place to go. Also, Turner Field has daily tours which include visiting the broadcast booths and the Braves locker room (you even get to see the putting green). Turner Field also has a Braves museum which includes stuff from when the Braves were in Boston and the old Fulton County stadium (I always take friends there when it’s their first trip to Turner Field). Then, of course, we have Stone Mountain (which has a pretty decent picnic/laser show shot on the side of the mountain) and Six Flags and White Water. An hour from Atlanta is Cypress Gardens. Also pretty cool is the Atlanta Botanical Garden (which has an amazing rose garden). Atlanta also has a zoo which is ok. That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. If I think of anything else I’ll post again.
    Good luck convincing the ‘rents

  20. Greisinger would definitely be an improvement from Colon, but he no longer has a sub 2.00 ERA. He’s now 2-4 with a 3.31 ERA. Apparently he’s fallen on hard times recently.

  21. I would call up Vasquez, who has been lights-out in Mississippi, but then I wanted him to start the year in Atlanta.

    I don’t know if Colon can be optioned still or not. It actually has less to do with the number of times a player has been sent down and more with time of service. From the Rob Neyer Transactions Primer:

    “Options”
    After three years as a pro, a player must be protected on a team’s 40-man roster, or he is eligible for the Rule 5 draft (more on that later). Once he’s served those three years, and assuming he is added to the 40-man roster, his club then has what are called “options” on him.

    When a player is on the 40-man roster but not on the 25-man Major League roster, he is on “optional assignment.” One common misconception about the rules is that a player may only be “optioned out” three times. Actually, each player has three option years, and he can be sent up and down as many times as the club chooses within those three seasons.

    When you hear that a player is “out of options,” that means he’s been on the 40-man roster during three different seasons, beginning with his fourth as a pro, and to be sent down again he’ll have to clear waivers (more on those below).

    I don’t think that Colon has been on the 40-man that long. And if so, and someone claimed him, they’d have to keep him on their 25-man, which is something a contending team can’t afford to do right now.

  22. Ok, so let me get this straight…the BRAVES may possibly be out of options but are afraid to send Colon down, despite the fact that his ERA is 7.43 & he can’t get anyone out?

    I didn’t realize Greisinger had fallen a bit. Still, his 3.31 is BETTER then 7.43.

    I agree with Mac though…it should be Jorge Vazquez who has CLOSER type stuff (Bobby, are you listening?) and we did give up Eli Marrero for him, did we not?

  23. I think we’re confusing options with the rule 5 draft. One doesn’t really have anything to do with the other. The rule 5 draft is only in effect for some defined period of time that isn’t during the season (I think this all usually goes down during the winter meetings), and only applies to players not on the 40-man roster. Colon can’t be removed from the 40-man roster without being DFA’d and then clearing waivers. After that, of course, he could choose free agency rather than accept the assignment. I’m pretty sure the only other way to get a player off the 40-man roster bust still keep him is to place him on the 60-day DL.

    If the team wishes to simply send down a player who has no option years left, they have to put him on waivers first… these waivers are irrevocable (as my limited understanding has it) and the claiming team has him for the waiver fee without the usual Rule 5 restrictions. Even if the player clears waivers, he’s still on the 40-man roster. He can just be removed from the active ML roster.

    In any event, I’m reasonably certain that Colon is not out of options.

  24. I think we are showcasing Kelly Johnson. I bet we move him and a AA guy for a pitcher and a LF.

  25. How was it that Mondesi was finally DFA’d? By playing himself out of a job. colon is, like many other players in Braves’ recent history, getting the chance to earn a job or lose it. He’ll be gone soon, though I think he’s already overdue for a demotion. But this is fairly standard practice.

    I mean, Bobby has him, has to use him. it’s not like the braves are throwing many blowouts out there for him to mop up, so anytime he comes in it’s going to be close. I agre with Mac that he shouldn’t have been in last night, but perhaps last night is the night that triggers JS to unload him.

  26. They have a 40-man roster space, Mondesi’s. What they need to do is get Colon off of the 25-man roster. If he has an option year left (I think he does) then no problem. If not, he has to pass through waivers and accept the assignment.

  27. There would be no need to showcase Kelly Johnson. He may be temporary (I sure hope that’s not so), but he’s not the kind of guy who needs to be showcased. He’s a legitimate prospect. If they really wanted to trade him, they would have been better off letting him continue to tear up AAA pitching.

  28. I think you’re right, Mac. Being DFA’d, Mondesi’s spot on the 40-man should already be open. Maybe they’re waiting on Powell to get up to speed. Or maybe there’s already a trade for a reliever in the works. I like Colon as a future reliever, but I don’t think his time has come yet (obviously).

  29. mlb.com shows two open spots on the 40-man roster. I guess they never actually replaced Childer’s spot either. So there’s apparently room if they don’t want to go with someone like Lerew, McBride, Boyer, Brooks or Vasquez.

  30. I was also at the game and was sitting with a Nats fan. He was bemoaning the fact that the Braves had 3 runs on 3 hits. I saw Colon coming out of the gate and said, ” Don’t worry, you’re back in the game.”

    RFK field condition is nowhere near as bad as the comments seem to state. It’s only about ten times better than AFC was in the eighties….

  31. Thanks for the suggestions, guys. The parental units may just want to spend the summer trailing around the Smithsonian (pleeeeease no) but we’ll see.
    I thought Mondesi was DFAed to make room for Hampton. Maybe I read the article wrong.
    And RFK does majorly suck. Don’t kid yourself.

  32. Jenny, you’re right – Mondesi was DFA’d to open a roster spot for Hampton, a spot on the 25-man roster, not the 40. KJ took the 25-man spot from Childers. Both replacements were already on the 40-man (KJ in AAA and Hampton on 15-day DL).

    Both DFA’d players were removed from the 40-man roster, which is why there is now two spots open there.

    Colon is in his 2nd year of service at the major league level (he appeared in 2004 to make his debut), so this is his second option year. They can send him down any time they want to, without using waivers. Question becomes, is anyone worth bringing up? You’d rather not bring up a prospect to be the last man in a 7 man bullpen when he could be pitching regularly (and presumably learning) in the minors.

    Is Jay Powell still recovering from injury, or is he pitching on rehab? Anyone know how close he is to coming back?

  33. How were two broken bat hits and routine grounder to 2nd “SMOKING” off Colon? C’mon. Complain about his pitching this year all you want, but he was not hit hard last night.

  34. I guess everybody is going to just blindly support Furcal until we drop out of the playoffs but continue piling on Colon and Mondesi/Jordan.

  35. Mondesi was old and coming back from a serious injury. Put those things together with his poor performance, and he appeared to be done. He was also clearly replaceable within the system. Furcal apparently is not replaceable from within, although I would love to see Betimit get a shot. Everybody who the Braves actually think can play short appears to have an upside somewhere south of Furcal’s current miserable offensive performance. Not only that, but he is still realtively young and at least has the potential to return to form.

    Colon appears to need further development. And getting shelled by major leaguers (even if he wasn’t hit hard last night, he sure has been) is not usually a good way for a kid to develop. He is also much more replaceable than a shortstop.

  36. Wondering if anyone saw the following caption on ESPN.com:

    “Former Braves closer Danny Kolb is batting 1.000 vs. water coolers.”

    Hilarious.

  37. Furcal, right now, is 10th out of 13 in OPS, for NL shortstops. That isn’t great, but Mondesi and Jordan are last in the league in that category, for their respective positions. Corner outfielders are supposed to be better hitters than SS. Add to that Furcal is 20/24 in SB, which has some utility. Yes, Jordan and Mondesi can continue to be dumped on, and while Furcal is not doing as well as one would hope, he is having a much better year than them, in the context of his position.

  38. This conversation about Mondesi vs. Furcal is ridiculous from the standpoint that A) Furcal is YOUNG and B) has shown to be an All Star most years. The biggest thing is the age.

    There’s no comparison between him & Mondesi. Mondesi was stinky crap from the word go and had to be dumped. Next to go into the trash heap HAS to be Ramon Colon.

    I think Bobby put Ramon out there for psychology so that us Braves fans would actually miss that fat tub of goo, Dan Kolb. Really, I would have rather had DAN KOLB then Ramon Colon. Colon is that wretched.

  39. PRICELESS:

    (I was at the last 2 Braves-Nats games…)

    Cost of seat at RFK Stadium – $40

    Cost of plastic Bottle Bud Light – $6

    Cost of hot dog & french fries – $12

    Cost of Bobby Cox bringing in Roman Colon and his 7.63 ERA in not 1 but 2 straight 1-run games on the road with the Nationals – PRICELESS (oh & 2 losses)

    for everything else, use REAL RELIEVERS, BOBBY

  40. don’t call Dan Kolb a fat tub of goo. That does a disservice to the real fat tub of goo, Terry Forster, who could actually pitch.

  41. Furcal looked at a strike to end the game with a runner on third.

    Who’s more to blame, Cox, Colon, or Furcal?

  42. That’s a silly question. Furcal can’t be expected to get a hit there. The odds of it can’t be more than one in three, probably less against the other team’s ace reliever, no matter who the hitter is. If you want to blame a hitter, blame Pena, who could have got a run in with an out and who swung at a pitch he couldn’t possibly have hit well.

  43. Expected Runs table

    Basically, the odds of scoring at least one run in Furcal’s situation are less than thirty percent — 28.6 percent. The odds of scoring at least one run in Pena’s situation are better than twice as good — 65.3 percent. Part of that is that if Pena fails but doesn’t hit into a double play, Furcal still has a chance, but a lot of it is that you can score a run with a fly ball, or a slow roller that can’t be turned into a DP.

  44. Malone, the simple and obvious answer to your question is… Andruw is to blame. If he hadn’t had that single after Julio’s homer, nobody’s hopes would have gotten up. And you know he knew that nobody was going to drive him in, too. That’s what makes it even more frustrating.

  45. Maybe Reitsma should just pitch 3 or 4 innings every game.

    The problem is that the starters are not going deep into games, and therefore the bullpen – and everyone in it – has to pitch. The starters averaged less than 6 innings a game in May, thanks to injury and HoRam’s inability to pitch, and 5 relievers hit double digits in appearances. It’s a no-win situation. You try and avoid running all of your relievers into the ground, but it’s tough when you’re still trying to win.

    What would be nice is if the offense could actually put together a blowout so it wouldn’t matter if the Braves used Colon or Kolb.

  46. I just don’t know why you guys are giving Furcal a free pass when he is performing miserably.

  47. I don’t think people are giving Furcal a free pass. Many people here consider him their least favorite player. His peformance certainly has been below par. However, he remains a much better bet to rebound than either Jordan/Mondesi (who are old and bad) or Colon/Kolb (who were never very good to begin with).

    Additionally, unlike the corner OFs who had Kelly Johnson breathing down their necks, our AAA shortstop has a .298 OBP and abhorrent plate discipline. Couple that with the belief on the part of the Braves that Wilson Betemit can’t play shortstop, and you are faced with a problem (Furcal) that has no easily apparently solution, at least to these tired eyes.

  48. I don’t like Furcal myself, and have made that clear. But he’s played better lately, getting some hits and running the bases superbly. He still isn’t walking much, but he’s raised his BA 18 points in the last ten days and his OBP 22 points. Furcal’s hit .333/.385/.375 over the past seven games. It’s not his fault that the Braves have lost four of five; he’s been the second-best hitter on the team in that stretch, after Marcus. Bobby, Colon, Bernero, Gryboski, Foster, Pena, and Jordan (who was 0-4) all bear far greater responsibility for yesterday’s debacle. And Foster and Pena, in particular, are favorites of mine.

  49. Jordan and Mondesi were acknowledged gambles. Mondesi didn’t pay off and Jordan may be headed that way. Furcal, the past few years, has been one of the top offensive shortstops in the NL. To say he is below par is a gargantuan understatement. I think he’s hurt or Bobby should give him a week off.

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