Braves 11, Padres 3

ESPN.com – MLB – Box Score – Braves at Padres

That was more comfortable — despite the efforts of Macay McBride to blow an eleven-run lead — and the Braves are more or less cruising. Cruising with a faulty radiator and the muffler dragging, but cruising.

It was actually a shutout through three until Andruw hit the longest homer in the storied history of Petco Park, a “453-foot” (these numbers are basically made up) shot to make it 1-0. They took over in the fifth, Thorman leading off with a homer and Andruw doubling two in. In the sixth, they finally chased Chan Ho Park after he threw a curveball into center field on a tailor-made 1-6-3 DP that scored Thorman from third, after which Chipper doubled in another run and McCann followed with a three-run homer to make it 9-0. Betemit made it 11-0 in the seventh with a two-run homer.

Smoltz was the star, going seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits, striking out six and walking but one, and scoring two runs on a 2-3 line with a sac bunt thrown in. McBride came in to pitch the eighth, got two of the first three plus a single, then didn’t get anyone else, allowing a three-run homer then loading the bases on a walk and two infield singles. Paronto had to bail him out. It’s not the first time he’s faded after facing two or three guys and I think Alex’s speculation that he needs to get in better shape may have merit. Ray pitched the ninth, gave up one hit. Why he had to pitch with an eight run lead is unknown, except that Bobby probably figured anyone else is likely to let the game get to a save situation anyway. Come on, you were thinking it too. Never fear, Peter Moylan has been recalled!

The Braves had twelve hits, six players with two apiece — Betemit (starting for a banged-up Giles), Chipper, Andruw, McCann, Thorman (starting in left) and Smoltz. Chipper had a double to stretch his streak of games with an extra-base hit to thirteen games, one short of the record. He also passed Dale Murphy for the Atlanta hit record. Jake Peavy tomorrow; Chipper has more or less killed him in his career, 4-10 with two doubles and two homers. Still, it would be earning it.

24 thoughts on “Braves 11, Padres 3”

  1. ..and all of a sudden you’re 12 GB of the Mets with 9 head-to-head the rest of the way. The Cubs blew them out today.

    Just saying.. I think it’s not a dead cause.

  2. Wow, that was just what the doctor ordered. Forget the Mets (for now), but the wild card’s very reachable if we can get this bullpen sorted out.

    Could Chipper be any hotter?? Mercy.

  3. I hate to say “I told you so” but I told some here so. If you go back to the early threads of this season, you’ll see all the “can’t wait till McBride get backs” type posts, and it appeared it was only me who didn’t think McWalk is the second coming. He had a 5+ ERA in 2005 if I’m not mistaken, so I don’t really get what he ever did to impress so many.

  4. Dan, McBride did the same thing most of the other “bullpen saviors” we’ve been looking for did- be unavailable because he wasn’t pitching. (You’re right on McBride’s ERA, 5.79 in 14 innings.)

    Honestly, we’re desperate for someone, anyone, who can pitch at the major league level. And we don’t have any plausible pretenders who are lefthanders, since we DFA’d Remlinger’s sorry ass.

  5. Mac, the way McBride is pitching, he shouldn’t be the reliever to start an inning but should be used to bail out other relievers in mid-inning. Using him as a LOOGY would be perfect. Hope Bobby can see that and will use McBride properly…not likely though…

    Wow, Mac, you stayed up to watch the game and wrote the recap! I am pleasently surprised. Thanks for everything.

  6. McBride’s ERA last year was deceptive; his components were much better than that, but he was burned by a ridiculous batting average on balls in play. That simply isn’t something that is consistent from year to year, he just had a lot of really bad luck. Considering his strikeouts, walks, and groundball/flyball ratio he was a good bet to have much better results in 2006.

    He hasn’t, and has actually pitched worse than his ERA. His strikeouts are down, his walks are way up. All he has going for him now are the groundballs (as demonstrated by his .083 Isolated Slugging Allowed) but he’s allowing far too many baserunners (.412 OBP Allowed) to be successful. He isn’t healthy, but the Braves can’t shut him down because there’s nobody to take his job. Until tonight he’d been very effective in the LOOGY role (.170/.278/.170 before tonight, splits haven’t been updated) but he’s walking everyone normal (.275/.431/.373 before tonight).

    The home run to Gonzalez was the first homer he’s allowed as a major leaguer, and the second extra-base hit to a lefty. I tend to think that, at least, is a fluke. But he’s not right.

  7. Marcus said in the game notes that he feels like he broke his thumb. Given that they don’t have the x-rays back yet, I can only hope he’s wrong. He was starting to get hot with the bat, and I’m sorry, but Betemit sucks defensively. I think expecting him to be a full-time starter is asking for trouble. He’s much better as a super-sub or as trade fodder. We have this idea of him as our savior whenever Marcus is slumping, but then I see him hit and field and wonder why I felt that way.

  8. McBride is unquestionably best used as a one-out-guy, a lefty specialist for people like Ken Griffey, Jr. He is not a full inning guy, he walks too many. The minimum requirement of a major league pitcher should be, if it isn’t, to be able to throw the ball over the plate.

    While sitting around thinking about how bad the Braves’ bullpen is, only Ken Ray seems to make give you that feeling of a scoreless inning, and how John Schuerholz does nothing, I photoshopped this pitcher. It’s mildly funny and I was bored, but it’s very poorly done.

  9. Betemit is good defensively only at third base it seems. His offense is more then good.

    I guess if Marcus Giles is out, we’ll be seeing a lot more of Pete Orr.

  10. Making JS into Baghdad John is a good idea, but his claims need to be more emphatic. For instance:

    “I’m telling you, our bullpen won’t allow another run this season.”
    “Ken Ray has won multiple Cy Young Awards in his career.”
    “Chad Paronto weighs less than Callista Flockhart.”
    “Chris Reitsma will come back and pitch a no-hitter next week.”
    “Jorge Sosa…” ah, heck, even Baghdad John can’t pretend Sosa has any use.

  11. Yeah Jorge Sosa pretty much sucks. If somehow, some way, he’s tendered a 2007 contract or even still in the organization come Feb. I hope Mac makes for Sosa’s individual pre-season thread “Jorge Sosa. Jorge Sosa Sucks” and have that be it. Will Startup at class AAA can pitch, but he’s not ready. Outside of that, the best choices in the minors are Wayne Franklin, Cormier, or even Matt Harrison. All of whom are currently being used as starters.

  12. “I’m telling you, our bullpen won’t allow another run this season.”

    HA! That’s the best one. Wish I thought of that.

    Also look what Smoltz said, he’s trying to give you a hint Schuerholz:

    “You hate to say that’s what it’s going to take to get us into it, but that’s what it’s going to take,” Smoltz said. “Those guys are extremely hot. They have to pick up the slack and carry us for some of the things that we’re not doing.

    “And that’s why I echo again — I sure hope we make some moves,” Smoltz said. “I hope we do something. If we can crawl back into this, it would be nothing more than to give us some veteran help down there because we’re relying on a lot of young guys.”

    Asked if he was referring to the Braves’ bullpen, which has been shaky, he said: “Any area that we need strengthened. It is what it is. That’s why Andruw and Chipper are so vital.

    “It just would help,” Smoltz said. “Hopefully we can play our way into a position where maybe that move can be made, but certainly we could shore up a couple of things.”

    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/recap%3b_ylt=aifnufbiqcgtergxpplh_h0m0byf?gid=260715125&prov=ap

  13. Even if your contract calls for millions of dollars, it’s hard to publicly criticize your boss, especially one that has generally been pretty good to you, as JS has been. The Braves have been a very professional organization in that they usually keep their conflicts private. As they should.

    But the bullpen’s status has become so critical that it threatens the well-being of the starting rotation (Cox has to keep tired starters in unless, like tonight, the game is completely out of hand) and places undue pressure on the offense, which won’t score 8+ runs a game for long. It’s proper for John to call JS out if all private means of communication have failed.

  14. Cmon people, do you honestly thinkJS isn’t trying to find some relievers? It’s not like the just grow on trees. The fact that he hasn’t made a deal hardly means he doesn’t recognize a problem, it might simply mean that he hasn’t been able to make a deal yet. Relax, the deadline isn’t here yet.

  15. Grst:

    1. Click on “Simon & Game Thread: Braves at Padres, July 14” under ‘Last articles.’
    2. Read #14

  16. Interesting that most of the ink spilled about the Braves playoff chances focuses on the wildcard chase, because it seems clear to me that winning the division has a significantly greater chance of happening. Even though the deficit is twice as large, there’s a better chance of outplaying one team by a lot (and staying ahead of Philly and Fla) than seven teams by various amounts (and staying ahead of those same two teams). And really, you have to include St. Louis and the Padres in the wild card mix, because it’s not as though they’ve locked up their respective divisions.

    The BPro folks have a way of determining playoff chances if you’re into that sort of thing — Pythagoras is surely involved. I’m not going to delve into probability theory, but I’ve read enough and seen enough to believe that the main focus should be on the Mets.

  17. I love the way the Braves are hitting right now. The relief pitching still sucks and the starting pitching outside of Smoltz is way too inconsistent to start thinking about the playoffs as tempting as it is. This team is still 7 games under .500 after all. Get to .500 before you start talking about chasing a playoff spot. 81 wins isn’t getting you past the Astros, Dodgers, etc. into a wild card spot. There’s still a long way to go on this road trip. A 7-3 or better trip is needed to seriously vault this team into playoff contender status. It’ll be very difficult to get a quality relief pitcher in a trade. Every other playoff wannabe is trying to get one too and many of them have more prospects to trade than the Braves. It might actually be easier to get a mediocre starting pitcher (Livan Hernandez?) to replace Thompson or a left fielder who can leadoff. The Braves are most likely going to have to hit their way into the playoffs this year.

  18. McBride pitched reasonably well during the second half of last year, but the league has now had a pretty good look at him. Not surpisingly, in 2006 many of his weaknesses have been exposed.

    His walk rate speaks for itself; there was nothing surprising about last nights’ performance.

    I think that he ought to go to Richmond and work on his command.

  19. I’m sure someone has said this possibility, but I want to reiterate:

    John Schuerholz doesn’t want to publicly say he’s desperate for relief pitching. Leave that to the players. Because if John says it, the other GMs see it and go “Aha! He NEEDS a reliever. Well, we’re just going to make him screw himself royally and we’ll make the most lopsided trade ever because he’s so desperate to get our relievers.”

    Supply is low, demand is high, so you charge more.

  20. It’s almost like people are saying he’s being offered Brad Lidge for Pete Orr, and he’s just saying, “Nahhhh. I can make a better deal.” I’ve been screaming for a deal (once out loud… my family didn’t like that), but I can’t really think of a whole lot of people besides Scott Linebrink.

  21. What kind of pitcher has an 11 run lead and can’t get through the inning. And Paronto was lucky that the line drive was right at the outfielder or the Padres might have been in the game. There is NO WAY the Braves can win with this kind of pitching–they can’t possibly score this many runs all the time. These guys are not major league pitchers. McBride is clearly afraid to throw strikes; at one point, with two guys on base, he started off the next hitter with a slow curve; this with an 11-3 lead. C’mon guys, just throw stikes, maybe they will hit it at someone.

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