162 thoughts on “Early Game Thread: August 7, Braves at Cards”

  1. Broadcast restrictions not withstanding, we all know that a 6hr marathon of Friends is going to draw in more viewers than a Braves-Cardinals game in the midst of a pennant drive. (And yes, that was being sarcastic.)

    At least there are 5 straight games on national TV (or at least close to it) next week Wednesday-Sunday, once on ESPN (Wed) and once on Fox (Sat).

  2. When was the last time Langerhans played? It’s been a while and he didnt start against Mulder the other night.

  3. KJ second. McCann and Betemit 7th and 8th.

    I still don’t get this. The only reason I can think to bat KJ second over McCann or Betemit is to facilitate base stealing.

  4. I don’t expect us to win this game against Carpenter with Sosa starting…

    Kelly Jo! I love this guy! (Which is unpopular opinion here, but still,)

    Anyway, if we do win it makes me feel really good for the rest of the year.

  5. Langerhans last played yesterday as a defensive fill-in for Andruw in the blowout. He last started on Wed vs. LHP Claussen/Cincy. He went 0 for 4.

  6. Sosa just has to cut these walks down. They haven’t hurt him much yet, but they will eventually catch up with him.

  7. You know what? I hate watching Jorge Sosa pitch. Maybe I should try beta-blockers. I’m constantly on edge.

  8. I can’t believe what I’m seeing. When is this going to stop? Jeez!

    My brother is very proud to be named “Jeff.”

  9. Francoeur looks like he’s playing in the National Little League. I’ve never seen anyone smash so many first pitches. Ridiculous.

  10. It’s impressive that both the HRs came the first time through the order. That speaks to good scouting and good preparation.

  11. I know. Usually someone who’s so eager to swing at first-pitches doesn’t have the results that Francoeur’s is having now.

    We’ve rebounded nicely against the Cardinals. Game 1 in the series seemed to take a lot of the wind out of Braves nation. Let’s stay on track and take the series. Taking 4 of 6 from the Cardinals in the season series would be a real confidence boost heading towards the fall.

  12. Is Sosa just no good if he’s not pitching from the stretch or something? He can’t pitch without runners on base! Completely bewildering. Why doesn’t he just pitch from the stretch all the time, then?

  13. Why can’t Sosa pitch like he does with men on base BEFORE he gives up those walks.

    His walk rate is crazy for his ERA. CRAZY.

  14. I hope he can still get away with walking the tightrope when he gets moved back into the bullpen. It will be interesting to see how that works out. I won’t mind if he has the same success and he could make the playoffs twice as exciting.

  15. Francoeur’s start is reminding me a little of a guy named Kevin Maas, a big left-handed hitting 1B who came up with the Yanks in 1990 & played a lot when Mattingly’s back was acting up. He hit a ton of HRs in the second half of the season for a very bad Stump Merrill-managed team. I’d just moved to NYC & saw a ton of games from the bleachers that summer & I kept thinking: “Why is anyone pitching to this guy?” For some reason, they did and he hit like 20 HR in about 250 ABs. Like Francoeur, it seemed like he was hitting a HR every other day.

    One time, I’d just bought some beers (can’t do that anymore in the bleachers there) and was walking up the portal in time to see a Maas drive steaming right at me. The ball barely missed me & my beer tray & rattled around the concrete portal like a pinball. Of course, the next year Maas hit about .220 in twice as many at bats and became revealed as a statue at first base. Injuries ended his career soon after.

    Surely, folks will start to pitch Francoeur more carefully, but I’m loving it right now. This kid is strong as an ox.

  16. I remember Kevin Maas. My cousin was a Yanks fan and I remember how excited they got about him. For next few years I always wondered what happened to him. I think Francoeur is going to have a much different career.

    Sosa might go seven today. That would be great, considering who we’re playing. It would be even greater if Sosa could settle into this form consistenly. He’s been great and adding a couple innings to his good starts really gives us great pitching options.

  17. Unorthodox yes, but in a game vs. Carpenter when every run is absolutely huge, having a runner on second with one out and your top two RBI men on the team coming up, doesn’t sound as bad as you all are making it.

  18. You’ll forgive me if I find your description of LaRoche as a “top RBI man” technically true, but less than comforting.

  19. Does Bobby pinch hit for Sosa here? He’s certainly feeling it, but he’s had endurance problems in the past.

    I say pinch hit for him. We’ve see Sosa fall apart all at once in games before once he’s hit a reasonably high pitch count.

  20. A cherry picked stat – he gets quite the platoon advantage, and his BA has been dropping like a rock the last few weeks. He’s either hurt or figured out by the rest of the league. Would you rather he or GIles got an AB in a crucial spot?

  21. I agree with Zach on both of his last points, LaRoche is hitting like .390 with RISP and 2 out and the sac bunt wasn’t that bad considering the type of game we are in and who was coming to the plate after Giles.

  22. Absolutely pinch hit for Sosa. Don’t push it because one swing with a runner on can ruin the entire day.

  23. Raoul: Si, senor. Francoeur is an athlete, while Kevin Maas was a stiff left-handed-hitting matinee idol. Think Lyle Wagoner with no knees. But their MLB starts are similar.

  24. My espn mlb gamecast seems to be taking a break. What has happened after Orr grounded out, please? Why does it always quit on me toward the end of the game? Is it a conspiracy?

  25. Kyle needs a good outing right here because if he gives this lead up, it will be a long time before braves fans forgive him

  26. Y’think LaRussa avoided pinch hitting for Carpenter because he wanted to give him a chance to win the game? Seemed like one of those player-friendly non-moves.

  27. I honestly think, after leading Jorge “walk machine” Sosa to 7 shutout innings against the best offense in the NL, it will be hard to justify sitting McCann for Estrada more than once a week.

  28. mln, use MLB.com gameday or another real-time service, ESPN’s is the worst from my experiences.

  29. That depends on how much you value a catcher’s contribution to a pitched game. Think of it this way: should Estrada have to sit because McCann was the catcher of a game where Sosa had all his pitches going and just put it all together?

  30. Still, if they get Edmonds, it’s not too tough in the 9th. I’d have left Farnsworth in actually.

  31. Personally, the way McCann is going (whether behind the plate or at bat), it’d be worth it to have him play nearly every day to allow Estrada to get healthy. Taking two cortisone shots in a week shows that he’s not there, and he’ll admit it himself. With the Giants and D’backs coming up, it’s not like we’re playing crushing lineups the next week.

  32. It’s not just today, Rob Cope. Look at Smoltz with and without McCann. Look at McCann’s offense vs. Estrada.

    Unless they’re worried about wearing him out, I see no reason to sit McCann.

  33. What I don’t get about these real-time services is why the information comes in clusters. Two pitches, pause, two pitches, pause. I don’t get it.

  34. D’ya, know every once in a while I think of a deep profound thought. I just had one: Pujols is good.

  35. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I think McCann should be the starter period. I just don’t really get into grading a catcher by his pitchers’ performances. Just way too many variable, it’s like RBIs…

  36. I think you play matchup when its this close, Foster is the right choice. Farnsworth hasn’t pitch that badly, but he’s not getting the job done either.

  37. Anyone have the ERA splits for when McCann’s catching versus when Estrada’s catching?

  38. Who’s coming in, Reitsma? I hate not having TV and I hate when MLB.com and ESPN get the TV schedule wrong and get me excited.

  39. The starts Piers is asking for may disprove this, but I really think the Smoltz point is non-existent. Smoltz has dominated with any catcher, whether it be Estrada, McCann, or Charlie O’Brien. I don’t see how you can grade Estrada or McCann by using that metric.

  40. Don’t have the splits, but they aren’t going to be much help…McCann’s splits are skewed by a lot of good starts by Smoltz. Smoltz has had some with Estrada as well, but they haven’t been paired together a lot recently.

  41. Bobby should have been upset at the home plate umpire. That didn’t even need an appeal, it was obvious. If you have to appeal that, you’d have to appeal any swing and miss.

  42. I agree with Rob. Catching makes a difference but not that big. Smoltz lost the first gane of this series by making a bad first pitch and losing a key battle on his last hitter.

  43. Thank God for Reitsma. If the Cards had managed to tie it up as a result of that walk to Edmonds, I would have been seriously pissed.

  44. Spike this is clearly not the same situation. Giles doesn’t even have ten home runs.

  45. ESPN has “raw” catcher ERA, and McCann’s is about a run better (3.06 to 3.91), but the posters above are right in saying it’s skewed.

    I don’t know of a place that takes into account starting pitcher, opposing offenses, park factors, etc. It would be interesting to calculate that and see if the catcher has a significant impact on ERA, Krate, BBrate, HRrate, etc. I would think he does.

  46. Smoltz would dominate if Bob Uecker were catching.

    I love McCann’s offense, but he ain’t gonna be starting every day so why worry about it? Anyone who’s watched the Braves during this run knows that Cox lets both catchers play. I’m not gonna pretend I know more than he does.

    McCann should surely play some more, but Estrada isn’t as bad as everyone makes him out to be. I’d just bat him 8th.

    BTW, who had that 3-1 prediction last night?

  47. It’s worth it to get your top TWO RBI men. Of course you don’t bunt the home run champion for ONE of your top RBI men.

  48. Clearly Mac, you haven’t looked at his stats with RISP and 2 outs. He’s positively Bondsian.

  49. Julio for everyday!

    I support that no matter what our other firstbase option is, just about.

  50. I think Francoeur could strike out 30 times in a row and his stats at 100 AB would still be much better than I thought they would. Incredible.

  51. It’s not that Johnny’s bad, he was our top hitter-for-average last year. He’s clearly hindered by injury right now though.

  52. echo that mac. i hope next year chip moves to a full time 1st basemen and we ship laroche somewhere. i am just sick of the double plays he hits in. anyone have a count on how many he has hit into this year? it has to be around 30.
    francoeur for prez?

  53. When Chipper comes back, it would be nice to see him get some turns in at first when LaRoche would be playing. I’d much rather have Chipper at first and Betemit at third than LaRoche at first and Chipper at third.

    Bobby will never do it, though.

  54. All the more reason to rest Estrada for the playoffs and play McCann so we have two choices in the postseason.

  55. I wouldn’t Joey. Adam will pick it up and his power is much greater than Betemit. I LOVE WB, but LaRoche was HUGE in last year’s playoff. If he continue to slump, maybe, but let’s ride it out with him. That’s always been our way.

  56. Stunting LaRoche’s confidence and development would be worse than Julio losing time.

  57. I don’t see why everybody is so eager to get rid of 20 something homers and 80 something RBI at this point in the season. We’ll easily get 30/100 out of our first base position.

  58. (for next year)if chip moves to 1st, he can still go back to 3rd once every 5-6 starts and let franco have some pt.

  59. LaRoche will be fine, it’s just his second season. Give him some more time. He’s cheap and the platoon-numbers are absolutely fine for what we’re paying.

  60. I agree, Adam’s slumping a little, but I’ve seen him come up with huge hits. He would have been the offensive reason if we beat Houston last year. He tied both games we won with late-inning hits.

  61. Rob Cope, someone made a joke the other day about platooning a switch hitter. However, I wouldn’t be terribly opposed to that if there’s a good right handed bat like Julio on the bench. Chipper doesn’t have to move to 1st full time, and he can move back to third to make room for Julio when the Braves face lefties.

    Look at the career year Tony Clark is having in Arizona. Platooning a switch hitter can work pretty well.

  62. I don’t see why everybody is so eager to get rid of 20 something homers and 80 something RBI at this point in the season. We’ll easily get 30/100 out of our first base position.

    Because they are reactionary. What someone does right this instant completely overrides any big picture.

  63. You’re asking for defensive troubles by switching your first and third basemen every week like that.

  64. LaRoche has a .314 OBP. He hits more groundballs than flyballs. He’s not actually a plus defender, just okay. The only regular first baseman in the league with a worse OPS is Daryle Ward. He is not a good hitter for a first baseman. I thought he might be good, but right now it doesn’t look that way.

  65. Laroche has never hit 20 hr at this level. His numbers are a bit inflated by his platoon arrangement. I’ve got no real problem with him, but he’s just not enough of a hitter to play first.

  66. I disagree about the fielding Mac. He digs balls out of the dirt constantly for this young defense. Heck, even Chipper, Furcal, and Giles sometimes make it hard for LaRoche. I’m completely satisfies with Roach’s defense.

  67. but right now it doesn’t look that way.

    And that’s the key. He’s also in his second year as a platoon players. That pretty much guarantees he won’t have the same consistancy of every day players.

  68. Laroche has never hit 20 hr at this level. His numbers are a bit inflated by his platoon arrangement.

    This statement dumbfounds me. Of course he hasn’t hit 20 home runs, he’s in a platoon.

  69. Let’s do it this way.

    Does anyone here seriously think that Adam LaRoche is going to be a better baseball player than Andy Marte long-term? Because if you don’t, you’re pretty much backed into trading LaRoche and moving Chipper to first…

  70. This statement dumbfounds me.

    Of course it does – see if he faced lefties, his numbers would be EVEN LOWER. That help?

  71. Does anyone here seriously think that Adam LaRoche is going to be a better baseball player than Andy Marte long-term? Because if you don’t, you’re pretty much backed into trading LaRoche and moving Chipper to first…

    Very possibly, but that change will be alot easier to do during the offseason where chipper can get some work at first before it counts.

  72. Grst, he tried to tag the runner before he fielded the ball and booted it. Reitsma should have let the ball go through; it probably would have been a DP.

    Big break on the pop-up.

  73. Of course it does – see if he faced lefties, his numbers would be EVEN LOWER. That help?

    Which has nothing to do with your previous statement which was about HOMERUNS. More at bats would be more homeruns. Unless he’s Pujols, I don’t think he’s going to hit 20 homes run while not playing everyday. It was a stupid point to make.

  74. At least we have the NL West to come home to. Tough loss. Leaves us with unfinished business.

  75. Ugh, that’s a tough way to lose. Got a pitch he could hit drive, and he still only hit it about 340 feet. Still, a homer down the line counts as much as a shot to center.

  76. At least you kinda feel good that it was Eckstein..

    and we got a laugh out of it. . but c’mon…wow.

  77. Right down the middle of the plate. RIGHT DOWN THE FREAKING MIDDLE. Where did you think he was going to hit it, Chris? My God. The worst pitch ever, and you give up the game to DAVID ECKSTEIN. But ANYBODY could have hit that.

    S)&*(ETY#%U#HFW(*R!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  78. Agreed. We played ’em tough in their home and they got lucky. Heads up everyone, we’ve got an important homestand to dominate.

  79. If you seriously think LaRoche would get 6 HR in an extra 150 AB’s against RH pitching, we can stop right now. Additionally, his rate stats would plummet.

  80. What do you mean we got to their ace? 8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 10 K, 2BB is not getting to Chris Carpenter. Now Smoltz’s preformance two nights ago is how you get to someone’s ace.

  81. The past two seasons have really made this a rivalry. We’ll get in the playoffs.

  82. Carpenter was definitely outpitched by Sosa today. Big boost if we can look past the meltdown.

  83. Exactly, Rob. He made 2 mistake pitches. We didn’t get to him at all. WE were the ones that got lucky, and our luck ran out.

    RRRGHHH! Okay, there was a booted DP ball by Marcus, but jeez, Chris, nice way to pick him up! A GRAND SALAMI TO DAVID ECKSTEIN! RRRGHGHHH!

  84. No, the Braves didn’t bat Carpenter around like a rag doll, but they led the game until the bottom of the ninth. In other words, he’s not indomitable.

  85. Will we? They’ll get back Rolen, Sanders, and Walker by then. Today’s stranded baserunners, Sosa’s magic trick, will not recur. I’m not looking forward to that series.

    Of course, the Red Sox stomped on them. So who knows what will happen? But we aren’t the Red Sox.

  86. You’re NOT looking foward to a possible NLCS with St. Louis?!?! Why be a Braves fan? To qoute Darth Vader, “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

  87. As Branch Rickey said, “Luck is the residue of design.” A good team capitalizes on those mistakes, which is what the Braves did.

  88. Too much cynicism today…our boys did well on the road and come home to a dream homestand. We need to be upbeat and attack this oppurtunity to start pulling away.

  89. Tough, brutal, horrible loss. But, luckily, it came during the regular season. If we get the chance for October revenge, we should be thrilled. This one will sting for exactly 24 hours (or as long as we keep seeing the replay).

    Time to beat up on the Boys by the Bay, and extend our lead.

  90. There’s no way you can say that Chris Carpenter wasn’t Chris Carpenter today. He was on, like he always is. He gave up a home run to a red-hot rookie with very little scouting, and a guy that got lucky in the midst of a ridiculous slump. The only reason we had a shot in this game is the fact that their offense is very anemic right now.

    Don’t get me wrong. It was a great game that we still could have won, and I’m not scared of the Cardinals at all, even with Rolen, Sanders, and Walker returning.

  91. There’s no way you can say that Chris Carpenter wasn’t Chris Carpenter today. He was on, like he always is. He gave up a home run to a red-hot rookie with very little scouting, and a guy that got lucky in the midst of a ridiculous slump. The only reason we had a shot in this game is the fact that their offense is very anemic right now.

    I agree that Carpenter was on. He had 10 k’s and just made two minor mistakes. But I think you aren’t giving credit were credit is due. We weren’t lucky, Sosa was good as usual. I don’t know why everyone has to go out of their way to minimize his work over and over and over again.

  92. If you seriously think LaRoche would get 6 HR in an extra 150 AB’s against RH pitching, we can stop right now. Additionally, his rate stats would plummet.

    THere’s so much wrong with this statement it’s hard to know where to begind. First of all, he doesn’t only sit out against LH pitchers (i’m sure that’s what you meant). Second, fewer AB’s is not the only affect platooning has. Players perform better when they play regularly. It’s not much to assume a minor 2 or 3 HR increase per 100 AB’s. Third, you are saying he hasn’t reached a season total in a certain stat about a guy who’s only played one complete big league season. That in itself is retarded.

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