Astros 7, Horrible Team 4 – MLB – Box Score – Braves at Astros

I swear, I can actually smell the Braves from here. Or maybe that’s just an open sewer.

Francoeur hit a solo homer in the fourth to give the Braves a lead. But Berkman hit one to tie it in the bottom of the inning. The Braves got a run in the fifth when Chipper singled home Marcus.

Then, in the sixth, they had a chance to take the game over; they loaded the bases with nobody out and Pettitte was over 100 pitches. But Pratt struck out weakly, then Thomson hit a liner to Berkman in right. Francoeur at third ran home but looked like he was running in place for a couple of seconds; he was out by a mile despite complaints that Ausmus was juggling the ball.

After that, there was no chance Thomson wouldn’t give up the lead. Single, single, Berkman homer. Then Bobby decided that he didn’t want to risk the game going eighteen innings or something and brought in Reitsma. Inevitably, it was 6-2. Inevitably, Chipper hit a two-run homer in the next inning to make it 6-4. A Mike Lamb homer to make it 7-4 was just icing.

The only good thing is that maybe Chipper is coming out of his funk, but frankly there’s plenty of funk to go around. The Braves actually outhit the Astros but the homers are a bit of an equalizer. I don’t drink, but right now I wish I did.

40 thoughts on “Astros 7, Horrible Team 4”

  1. The problem is we are losing talismans faster than we can create them–bye bye Danny boy… Perhaps it is time to resurrect Pascual Perez, lose him on an express way, and restore matters to a more acceptable harmony (Braves Win, Mets Suck). Here’s hoping, anyway. (I-285)

  2. Mac……….when I saw the title “astros 7 horrible team 4” …….I almost pissed my paints and laughed uncontrollably. That, and the phillys losing, and the mets wining just made my night.

    Good Night

  3. Buck up people. Things are not as bad as you are making it out to be. It’s not like your so far behind that you cant make a nice little run for wild card or even our own division. But if your team is gonna make a run they better do it soon. Time is running out, and with the Nationals playing great ball it will be an uphill battle, But nonetheless can and has been done.

  4. I really believe the whole team would stabilize with a reliable closer. Still not good enough to win a title, but definitely good enough to beat the Mets. It would bump Ray to a setup guy and McBride/Villareal could share the seventh. Then you shuffle in your Sosa’s (once Davies gets back) and your Chuck James’s and your Mike Remlinger’s. I think hitting/defense/baserunning is less of a concern over the long haul, because most of the reason for the overall “weak mindedness” of this year team is that they are demoralized for seeing so many late leads get away from them because of a crap closer. For the second year in a row! It’s got to be hard to keep your focus when you know that no lead is safe against your bullpen. Easier said than done, but if the Braves could get someone capable to close out the 9th, it would be the lift the entire team needs. That and seeing Chris Reitsma traded to the Nippon Ham Fighters.

  5. I do drink. And after getting the result of this game, I just switched from tequila to beer.

  6. I hereby propose Smoltz for closer again. He HAS to be tired of not getting wins because of the bullpen. His arm and attitude are worth more in the pen. Keep the Fu Manchu and have his entry music be Hell’s Bells. We win the division by 2.5. Can I get an A-main?

    And yes, I drink too. Nothing like a cold beer or four after working on fencing all day.

  7. I don’t think the problem can be isolated to the bullpen; obviously, that’s a problem, but it’s not the only one. Thomson has been abominable lately. The Braves starters have to be at this point among the worst (as a group) in baseball. I mean, Horacio has been the most consistent guy over the past three cycles, and that’s just… scary. I guess I knew this day would come – that the Braves would be unable to depend on a strenght to pull them out, to depend on their pitching really – but it still seems like a shock to the system.

  8. Mac, like KC I enjoyed the write up–in fact, during this losing streak I think that recaps have been a scream. I even read one of my wife…Keep up the good work–because I think we are going to need it.

  9. Ok, I overstated it. The Braves starters are 9th in the NL in ERA. Whatever, it still hurts.

  10. And while we are on the subject of ASKING players to change positions, can someone finally ask Chipper to move to first base? He played well tonight,(even defensively, and looked like he was mentally into the game for the first time in a while, but c’mon. LaRoche and we need to have the WB in the lineup. It’s not rocket surgery, to quote David Lee Roth.

  11. The worst part about all of this is that it comes down to one decision that was the undoing of last year, this year, and maybe the Braves’ dynasty. The decision to move Smoltz to the rotation and acquire Dan Kolb. If Dan had been in the top 30% of NL closers last year we would have coasted deeper in the playoffs, never had to experience Reitsma, and would be in 1st right now.

    My solution:

    Reitsma- back to AAA. Betemit at third, Chipper to first. Thomson + LaRoche (they are both ok with low salaries) for a closer. Have to replace Giles- not sure how but it has to be done.

  12. All of our opponents expect to score runs on our pen, especially late in the game. Heck, I expect them to. I’m sure the team expects them to. It has to suck. There is a guy in the dugout that is more than capable of closing and isn’t. Not that it mattered tonight but it really stuck me that this is the only possibility of having a “real” closer this year. I would rather move Smoltz to the pen and trade for a starter than trade for a closer at this point. He’s a proven commodity. Losing one run games doesn’t help us, at all.

  13. What’s strange to me is that it seems like all of our starters lately (including Smoltz and Hudson) pitch several shut out innings, but have one or two terrible innings where every mistake they make is hit hard. It seems like after that if the game’s still close,we have one reliever that pitches horribly. Of course, Reitsma’s performance tonight was a given.

    It’s still too early to give up on the team, but the Braves just seem to be missing an impact player on offense, they’re bullpen will never be decent w/o a major overhaul, and their starters have potential but are inconsistent. Maybe it’s time to go back to blaming Andruw for everything. His production after the first of the year hasn’t been where it needs to be. That seemed to work last year.

    Remember, it’s all Andruw’s fault!

  14. Surely there’s another average looking white guy out there with a German/French sounding name that Schuerholz can find to save this crew. At least if they can’t win the division, maybe they could put on plaid shirts and win the lumberjack championship.

  15. The thing about Smoltz I am realizing is that he is a better closer than he is a starter. That is not to take away from his starting, he is a really good starter, amongst the top 10 in the NL definitely. As a closer I think he was arguably the best in the Majors. It was just so easy to take it for granted back then…

  16. I don’t think he is over the hill as far as closing goes either. Certainly not compared to what is available, within reason, on the market.

  17. It’s been said time and time again, but Smoltz will never resume the closer role. It is too hard on his shoulder to pitch full out every couple of days. He has said so himself. Kenny Ray has proven himself as a decent closer, so we can’t continue to blame our closer situation as the reason we’re losing. Our starters are the ones giving up big innings lately. If you’re going to point fingers, start with Roger McDowell.

    Baseball is all about momentum. I think having McCann back will be a huge psychological boost for the team. Think about it, if McCann were in the line-up today, we wouldn’t have The Tank batting eighth and squandering our bases loaded no out opportunity because Langerhans, Diaz, or Jordan would have batted eighth (though I thought Francouer running home on that fly ball by Thomson was really careless. How many miles was he out by?)

  18. What I hope for is that we at least make a move of some kind. I want to see some fire from the front office and see us try some wild stuff out.

  19. Did you ever think that Smoltz says so himself because he really wants to start not close?

    Plus, his arm was shot at the end of the year last year, as a starter. I don’t think the role really matters, it is how he is used. Hell, don’t make him close out every save. Pick your spots and keep them guessing. I would rather have his arm at the end of the season than at the beginning. I’m not an unreasonable man.

    I just want results

    I want momentum going into the 9th with the opposition fearing the fact that they might have to face Smoltz. I don’t think McCann quite inspires fear just yet, Smoltz does. But like I said, I know it will never happen. Ah…if wishes were kisses…

  20. Charles, I totally agree. I want to see something creative out of the front office. That’s what they are paid to do, right?

  21. I think the bottom line is we are know changes are necessary. There is absolutely no fire in this team at the moment. The Braves are desperate in getting some kind of acquisition in the nature like the Crime Dog to wake up the team spirit.

    Maybe JS is too old to pull such a trigger now…

  22. I was just thinking about the Crime Dog and how he could use something like that. Maybe we toss the lineup around right now and if that doesn’t work we look on the market. Lately I’ve been trying to think of the Astro’s and the A’s last year and how they turned it around. What changed for those teams? If Smoltz really wants to start, and I guess he has said that, then I guess we have to let him start.

  23. There is a Fix the Braves thread on John Sickels site which can be found here:

    I think that the Braves are coming to a defining point in the season. Either we start trading for prospects–making some painful decisions–or we part with a lot of talent on the farm and try to get back in the race.

    In any case, big changes are necessary. Basically, this team has not played well all year. Yes, we beat up on Florida and swept the Cubs (who hads already lost 20 of 25 games) in Chicago. Right now, we would be doing well to get back to .500.

  24. What about this trade idea. Reitsma to the O’s for LaTroy Hawkins. Hawkins isn’t great, but at least it gets Reits out of Atlanta for some quality. He needs something else, possibly the Mazzone touch. He doesn’t appear to be injured, or missing pitches. He just can’t hit his spots. He also still has value to other teams, because he’s still young, has some arbitrations years, and is versitile. He could even be a starter if he gets his act back together.

  25. Laroche? 8th in the league in OPS for 1B, with a .839 OPS.

    Frenchie, 10th for RF, with a .718.

    BJo weighing in with a big .642 OPS.

    We have a RF who is hitting, in the aggregate, leki a poor middle infielder, and have of a 1B platoon who is hitting like a bad middle infielder.

    The solution? Say bye-bye to BJo again, bring up Thorman at least to platoon with LaRoche. Send Frenchie to strike judgment school; he has nice raw numbers but is using way too many outs.

  26. Why is Phil Stockman still in AAA? that guys numbers are sick. also, he’s 6’8”, 250 lbs. i know the commonwealth has been bad to us, but its time to ditch reitsma. Stockman hasnt performed this well since he played Donk in the Crocodile Dundee films.

  27. While Don and Chip were discussing roster moves last night, the solution came to me, and it’s incredibly obvious and cathartic, which means it will never happen:

    DFA Reitsma to make room for Brian McCann. That way Bobby won’t have the option of using him any more. That game was entirely winnable.

  28. I like your idea JC. However, Leo can’t seem to be able to fix Reitsma either in the past two years, but getting Hawkins is a pretty good and reasonable idea.

    bfan, Thorman is a lefty as well, so he can’t platoon with Adam.

    To be honest, the biggest problem is the lack of consistency from Marcus and Chipper which the Braves have been counting on. Marcus is turning the corner, and I think Chipper will eventually be fine. I honestly don’t think the offense is the fundamental problem when McCann is back.

    It’s the damn pitching. When is HoRam’s next start? I can’t believe I just said that…

  29. How long does the front office have to make a fish/cut bait decision? My feeling is the Braves are at a point where they should (shudder) say, “All those division titles are nice, but we need to think about retooling for a World Series run.”

    There are some useful pieces we have that might help out other contenders, and I wouldn’t be terribly upset if we moved them to set up next year’s or the year after’s team. I would think some new scenery for Reitsma might bring a small return, and Renteria has shown he can still be an offensive force who could bring useful prospects. Send Frenchy back to Richmond to work on his strike zone judgment, and let’s play for the long term.

    Heck, it worked for the post-1997 Marlins. And at this rate, I’d be unwilling to bet on a 2nd Braves WS win before a 3rd Marlins WS win.

  30. I think Schuerholtz needs to put some more unknown average looking white guys with German/French sounding names on the field. Putting a bunch of new guys like that worked like a charm last year, so maybe the problem is that those guys just aren’t new any more and so the magic is gone. It’s time to recapture it — there are a lot of displaced New Orleans guys running around so that should answer the French side of the equation anyway.

  31. Marcus is pressing. Move him down in the lineup (seventh), bat Rent leadoff and Andruw second. Let’s try to bunch some hits by going with some hot hands. Veteran Chipper can handle the lack of protection this move will bring.

  32. Andruw batting second? That’s the worst suggestion I’ve ever heard. What’s next, Reitsma batting clean-up?

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