Braves 2, Mets 1

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

I don’t think John Smoltz would have had it any other way. John killed tonight, seven innings, no runs, seven hits, no walks, five strikeouts. A number of the hits were of the infield variety, including two in the Mets’ biggest threat in the third, but he made the pitches when he needed to, and struck out Wright to end the inning.

The Braves got one run in the first, KJ leading off with a single, Prado (in for Chipper, who had cortisone shots in his hands) following with another, and Francoeur bringing in the run with a sac fly. Diaz led off the second with a homer. That was pretty much it for the offense, with Glavine buckling down as the game went on, as he so often does.

Soriano walked Beltran on four pitches with one out in the eighth, then went 2-0 on Wright, but rallied back for a strikeout and a popup. Wickman allowed a single leading off the ninth, then got a ground ball that was no double play candidate. KJ, for some reason, was looking to second anyway and booted it.

Randolph, however, played against the book (on the road, play for the win) and bunted the runners over. Julio Franco hit a chopper to score one run, but was out at first, and the terrifying Reyes popped up to end it.

The Braves were limited to five hits, two by Diaz. Andruw was 0-2 but he did have two walks and at least sometimes is laying off those pitches on the outside instead of trying to hit them — pulling them or to right, either way he can’t drive them.

The next goal for John would be 204 wins, which would tie him with Orel Hershiser for 100th all time (he’s currently tied for 107th).

ADDENDUM: As for Chip’s “Hall of Fame” comment… well, John’s a hard case, and while I think he’s a Hall of Famer, there are basically three lines. At 300 wins, you are definitely in the Hall of Fame (everyone with 300 wins is in except Clemens and Maddux). At 235 wins, you become a likely Hall of Famer; most of the pitchers with more than 235 are in, or will be eventually, and the ones who aren’t aren’t for good reasons, while the guys from 200 to 235 mostly are not in. 200 is where you become a credible candidate; the Hall of Famers with fewer than 200 are mostly (a) really dominant guys (the Koufax type), (b) relievers, or (c) fluke picks from the Veterans Committee.

74 thoughts on “Braves 2, Mets 1”

  1. I heard on the Mets post-game that the last 9 times Wright has faced Smoltz, he’s 0 for 8 with 6 Ks & 1 BB. He’s also 2 for his last 20 vs Smoltz.

    That’s abuse.

  2. Great night for the Braves.
    Great night for Smoltzie.

    I don’t post much and I’m not one of the users everyone will recognize, but I do read this blog a lot. Mac, I have been enjoying your site for the last 2 years and think your analysis is top notch. However, I have to say that all the video clips are getting a little annoying. Like a friend of mine said, it’s like blog pollution. Does anyone else feel this way?

  3. Wow, I didn’t realize that Smoltzie just became the N.L.’s first seven game winner…

    And he becomes the first pitcher with 200 wins and 15 saves, while beating Glavine. It seems fitting somehow.

  4. Congratulations on 200th career win & 150 save Smoltzie. Today he looks nervous on the mound. Glavine is a great pitcher though.

    I do feel safe on my mind although Chipper was off-day. ‘Cause Renty take a major role. And he lives up to my expectations.

    about Kelly’s error
    He made just one in April but turned out more in May. Moreover he isn’t hitting well. Something wrong with him? I fell in love with at first sight like Bobby in some ways. He can make an error but I hope don’t let me & Bobby & all Braves fans down.

  5. I know a lot of people here have a grudge with Glavine cause of the whole strike thing, but he was still probably my favorite of the Big Three.

    That being said I’m glad Smoltz beat him again tonight. Congrats to him.

  6. was it just me or did Wick look like he was trying to break his ankles on every pitch.

  7. ESPN just asked Tim Kurkjian is Smoltz is a hall of famer. His answer is yes, but just barely. Here is what his following statements are.

    1. Top 20 in all time K’s
    2. only pitcher with 200W and 150 saves
    3. only pitcher to ever start a game after a 50 save season
    4. Career ERA is under 3.30
    5. Greatest Post Season pitcher ever

    looks pretty good to me

  8. Hat’s off to Big JOHN! Gotta give some credit to Wickman in this one- he held it together even when it was looking v e r y dicey. I don’t know what he thinks his forehead grease is doing to the ball when he’s rubbing it in there but keep it up big man!

    As far as Hall of Fame goes- Smoltz has already claimed the highest honor possible:

    He’s my favorite baseball player ever.

  9. A Cy Young for Smoltzie this year would be great and is not unreachable. If the current trend continues, his major competition may be Hudson. I think this would make him a lock for the HOF.

  10. If a 50 save season is equivalent to a 17 save season than 200 wins and 150 saves would equal 250 wins.

  11. csg,,,My comments threw you into confusion? Sorry, dear. Haha ^.* Anyway today was awesome.

  12. You know, the idea of another Cy Young for Smoltz did cross my mind. With some bullpen help, he could’ve had #2 last year.

  13. Right now it’s Smoltz, Hudson, Peavy, Penny, and Francisco Cordero IMHO. Not necessarily in that order, but those are the big 5. I’m emotionally unable to include Oliver Perez…

  14. I know I’m biased, but if Smoltz isn’t a HOF pitcher, then I don’t know what is.

  15. Anyone catch a glimpse of the article dubbing Andruw Jones the most overrated center fielder of all time – here it is at espn. Wow, somebody actually agrees with me – I actually wouldn’t go that far; his defense has always been great. But I truly believe he is killing the team this year, and it’s mostly because he is stubborn and unwilling to change. I’m not saying he needs to hit to right field, because he’s a pull hitter – but he needs to stop trying to hit the cover off the ball every time (and not fall to the ground while doing so). He just looks rediculous.

  16. In my opinion, Smoltzie is in right now, no question. Hopefully though, he pitches through the end of his contract and ends up somewhere in the 240-260 win range and then even the stupid Hall of Fame voters will see that he is a HOFer. Steller pitching in the postseason has to account for something, even though Smoltzie didn’t win any games in the ’95 playofs, which I still find hard to believe.

  17. Joshua, thanks for posting that link. I think it needs its own thread to discuss.

  18. like many have already stated, congrats to smoltzie tonight! he’s definitely got dibs on my man-crush. i hate to think of braves baseball without him. it won’t be the same.

    barring a career ending injury he should be around 250 wins by the end of his career and one would have to think that would make him a lock for the Hall.

    to follow up on the andruw posts, how many times has he “wowed” you this season? whether it be at the plate or in the field i don’t know that i can remember more than maybe a couple. i like andruw but he is not in the category of chipper, smoltz, maddux, glavine IMHO. i would let him walk after this season and spend the money elsewhere.

  19. better yet, how many times has Andruw actually carried the team. once, in ’05? he’s streaky and unreliable.

  20. Yeah, Andruw is “killing the team” to the tune of a 28-19 record (.596 winning%). Curse that Andruw!!!!

    As for the “overrated” thing, I’ll certainly agree that his offense is overrated; he’s not in the same quality as, say Chipper. But for a CF? He’s still one of the top three guys out there with the bat.

    And my only response to the declining putouts is the fact that, in more recent years, he’s been surrounded by OFs with better range than he did before (Frenchy and until recently, Langerhans). Now I’m not saying this compensates for the total number of fewer putouts. I’m just saying it’s a mitigating factor. I believe he’s probably got about average range for a CF at this point, which means he’s one of the best 5 overall CFs in the game.

    And while he might be overrated for how good he is at this point, saying his career is overrated is asinine. He was one of the historically great defensive CFs ever, and an above-average bat guy to boot, even if he has started a premature and precipitous decline.

  21. I don’t think he’s declining — he’s just screwed up right now. It happens. I’m not saying don’t worry, but there’s a tendency to think that a player has become what he’s been for a month, as though this is the new Andruw reality. There was lots of talk like this in ’04, and look what happened after that.

    He’s not old, he’s not in bad physical condition, he’s not stupid, and he has a history of success to draw on. He just needs to make some adjustments, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t.

  22. Great night for Smoltzie. I’m sure that pinky finger is hurting his golf game more than his slider.

    To revisit my “underachiever” description for Andruw, I think you should know that I think he’s a very good player. However, try to remember what potential he had before you declare yourself satisfied with the player he’s become. He was very, very raw. Despite that, he dominated all levels of minor league ball. Playing less than 2 full seasons in the minors, he hit 59 home runs and stole 86 bases, while seeing his average climb with each promotion. When you see a 18/19 year old kid perform like that, are you really saying to yourself, “I’ll be satisfied if he can hit .265, 30 home runs, 100 rbi, 5 SB and 130K’s.” Those averages are reggie sanders like.

    Why does he strike out more in his last years than his first 3? Where did his speed go, he stole 20+ his first 4 seasons, when he was on base less. Why does his a$$ look like Lonnie Smith has returned? Why, because Andruw’s not a hard worker and doesnt possess the drive many of his teamates rely upon. Have you ever heard a single player, manager, scout or member of the Cary family refer to Andruw’s work ethic? Look, he’s a very good player, a good teamate, and a loyal Brave. But when I look at where he was at age 18, I can’t help but think he could have been one of the all time greats.

  23. I’m just wondering how Bob Wickman made the top 10 most overrated players. How did that happen?

  24. Great game for Smoltzie–I am glad that I got up an insane hour to listen to it!

    HOF–I think that the criteria above is interesting, but mutable. There are pitchers with 200 wins that do not belong. But how many have 200 plus wins and 150 saves?

    By the time he is done I think Smoltz will have 3,000 Ks as well.

    If his career ended now he would probablly just make it; by the time he retires he will be a lock.

    Finally, it now looks like he is on track to appear in a Braves uniform in 4 different decades. Pretty good move the Braves made in trading Doyle Alexander…

  25. Guys with “no work ethic” don’t play over 155 games a year for 10 consecutive years.

    And Andruw is way better than Reggie Sanders, who hit 30 HRs exactly twice. Andruw has done it 7 times. Plus, when you throw in the defense, it’s not a real comparison. Reggie Sanders wasn’t a bad player (when he wasn’t wearing a Braves uni), but he’s never been Andruw.

    And comparing him to Chipper…I mean, what’s the point? One has better offensive numbers; one gets hurt all the time, the other guy doesn’t; one is an immortal defender, the other guy never was. Both have been valuable as hell to Atlanta.

    I don’t understand the Andruw abuse. He’s had a bad 2 months, so now his borderline HOF career is somehow tarnished?

  26. Good post doubledawg. I find myself agreeing with your post more than others.

    To mraver’s point about being surrounded by better outfielders, that made sense. But then I stacked up the outfielders of the past 2 years against some that we’ve had over his career. Yes, Frenchy and Langerhans cover a lot of ground, but Diaz doesn’t, and neither did KJ and Thorman when they’ve been out there. Also, Andruw also played alongside Reggie Sanders and Brian Jordan for a good little while (both former center fielders who had great range). Gerald Williams, B.J. Surhoff, Darren Bragg, Michael Tucker, and even Gary Sheffield weren’t cement blocks out there, and they could cover ground. So, while guys like Francouer and Langerhans cause him to not have to get to as many balls, others guys in the ’90s and ’00s did too, and he still got to a ton more balls.

  27. ububba, saying that his value doesn’t match his perception isn’t abuse. Public perception has him getting a $100-million-plus deal in a few months. Do you really think he’s that valuable? He turned in great years, but can you sit here and say that he is what his potential could have made him?

  28. Oh, and Smoltz is the freaking man. Now there’s a guy who is worth every bit of recognition he receives. I wanna say he’s a little underrated for a pitcher who has been so dominant. I dunno, maybe I’m biased…

  29. He turned in great years, but can you sit here and say that he is what his potential could have made him?

    Yes. He’s a likely HOFer. Guys like that don’t come around very often. What do you think he _should_ have been? Babe Ruth?

  30. Just watched the condensed game on mlb.tv. Renteria looked strong defensively, he made some great plays. I did not know he had it in him. At least that’s what one thinks reading the comments here…

  31. Andruw is terrible this year. There is no doubt about that. HOWEVER, taking out his struggle this year, how many centerfielders out there who you consider match or exceed Andruw’s performance offensively and defensively? Beltran, Wells, Sizemore, and MAYBE Hunter?

    Yes, we all think he should be better, but does that matter? Andruw is what Andruw is. It doesn’t matter that he is not as good as Willie Mays, and it doesn’t matter that he has big a$$. The fact is the guy plays almost 162 games every season and delivers almost identical results for the past nine years. Beltran, Wells, and Sizemore all have big contracts on their hands and so will Andruw and Hunter.

    Is Andruw the best centerfielder during his playing time? I certainly think he is. He is just not as good as Willie Mays, that’s all.

    While I understand there are lots of people who do not agree with me, but that’s my opinion.

  32. Renty had a real big game last night with the glove, I noticed a big difference in him recently, he seems motivated, like he is out to prove his skeptis wrong, I like that.
    I wish Andruw would try to proves us wrong, but his days as A Brave are fast coming to an end.

  33. As the only 200-150 guy, Smoltz is already a shoo in for the HOF. Add in another 30-40 wins if he plays another 2 years, and he’s a lock.

    I’m not worried about Andruw. He usually starts slow. Remember 2 years ago when he sucked through May then went on an insane tear through the summer months to propel the baby Braves to the division title? At the end of the year he’ll have hit .250 or better with 35+ homers and 100+ RBI. I’m more worried about keeping Chipper and Gonzalez healthy and getting innings out of the 3-5 spots in the rotation.

  34. Yeah, The Gonzalez thing has me nervous, I remember Avery having the same problem, sudden loss of velocity, He was one of my favorites too.

  35. AJ will turn it around, but as Mac says, he has been incredibly consistent in an inconsistent way (or something like that). He usually goes through streaks where you think he’ll hit .350 and at other times, he looks like he’ll hit .220. Somehow, every year it averages out to .260 or so. It is incredibly frustrating that he can carry the team for a while and can also be a drag on the team for a few months.

    It’s interesting to me this year how there are so many pitchers that are having good years in the NL. Last year, nobody really stood out for the Cy Young. I know it’s been said many times, but with even an average bullpen last year, Smoltz wins it easily. He still probably deserved it, but with the Braves’ downfall, he went relatively unnoticed. With his 200th win and the Braves’ resurgence, Smoltz is getting plenty of recognition this year.

  36. Smoltz ought to be a lock for the HOF, but right now, he’s probably not.

    IMO, Glavine, Maddux and Smoltz are all first-ballot HOFers. They were three of the most dominant pitchers of their era. But I also think Buck O’Neil deserves to be in the HOF for his contributions to baseball and I don’t think Tony Perez or Orlando Cepeda should be in the HOF.

  37. Great game
    Every time I see Smoltz pitch I realize what a special guy he is – not only as a pitcher but as a team mate and a person. I have seen some great interviews with John and he always seems to say the right thing – with a balance of humor and humility.

    I believe John Smoltz (even if he did not pitch another inning) is a first ballot Hall of Famer.

  38. anyone else notice that andruw is not doing his signature smile anymore? there is more to this slump than a normal andruw slump. he looks like he has lost his confidence. last night in the 8th inning, he took 2 fastballs right down the pipe, and he was squaring around to bunt. he looked like a pitcher batting just trying to get out and get to the field. it was really odd. if you have mlb.com, go back and look at it. i think he is having some self-confidence issues. maybe i am analyzing it too much, but this contract thing seems to have really taken a toll on him. in a couple of months, when andruw has 25 hrs and a .265 batting average, i will look back at this and laugh, but right now, he doesnt look like the same “happy go lucky” andruw.

  39. For the money who would you rather have in CF

    1. Mike Cameron 5-7 mil
    2. Tori Hunter 12 mil
    3. Andruw 15-17 mil
    4. Vernon Wells – how ever much his new contract is
    5. Ichiro 12 -14 mil
    6. Beltran – whatever he makes
    7. Someone else

  40. Cormier nearing return: Lance Cormier surrendered four hits and registered five strikeouts while completing five scoreless innings for Double-A Mississippi in a rehab assignment on Wednesday night. More importantly, the strained right triceps muscle that has sidelined him since the beginning of the season didn’t prove to be a problem.

    “Everybody that we talked to said he threw really good breaking balls and zippy fastballs,” Cox said.

    Cormier’s final rehab assignment could come on Monday when he starts for Triple-A Richmond in Rochester, N.Y. He’s scheduled to go six innings and if all goes well, there’s a chance he’ll come off the disabled list.

    The way the Atlanta rotation currently sets up, Cormier wouldn’t be needed in the Majors until June 5. But by giving him a normal four days of rest, there’s a chance he could be activated as soon as June 2.

  41. It’s not even noon and I’m already dying–dying, I tell you–for the Braves to thump the Phillies. Even the prospect of another Prado start at 3B can’t ta the edge off.
    The Phillies are like the snotty little brother the Bravesmust drag along to the ballpark. They whine and beat their little chests and occasionally show some abilty. But in the end, you know they’ve got a whippin’ coming.

    Take it out on them, Huddy! Go Braves!

  42. I’d rather have Andruw, but I’m a hopeless homer. I agree with Ububba on the guy, but then, I usually do. He’s maddening, one of the most frustrating favorite players you could ever hope to have, but talking about how he hasn’t lived up to his potential is really splitting hairs. (You could say that, because of all his injuries in Cincy, Ken Griffey Jr. hasn’t lived up to his potential. He’s still gonna finish with 600+ home runs.)

    Andruw’s gonna walk into the Hall of Fame with an A on his cap. If anything, his “overrated” reputation will help his case. But candidates for Greatest Center Fielder of All Time don’t come around very often. He may not be Willie Mays, but he ain’t too far from the conversation. He’s ridiculously good.

    Oh, and, he’s not exactly killing the team. Scoreboard.

  43. 10 yr GG CF with avg of 117OPS and 162 games played. Oh yeah, I’ve got a couple extra in my backyard I’ll let you have.

    I just can’t believe this is even a topic of conversation.

  44. Willie Aybar really screwed up. He’d be getting plenty of playing time if not for going AWOL during spring training. He’s a lot better hitter than Prado too. I wonder if he has any chance of making it back to the Braves this year if he gets his substance abuse problems taken care of.

  45. I truly like Andruw Jones. He has been a valuable contributor for years. But the thing that upsets me the most is that he refuses to listen, as if he’s above it all. I heard the anouncers say at a game earlier this year that Terry Pendleton won’t even talk to him anymore because Andruw said ‘I don’t hit that way’. Now tell me how that’s supposed to help the team. To me, he’s just full of himself – he needs to realize that even the best need to change things sometimes (just look at glavine).

  46. By the way, ESPN pointed out something cool (first time for everything, right?):

    Thanks to John’s win last night, there are now two franchises in all of baseball to have 5 pitchers with at least 200 wins with their club:

    The Giants (Mickey Welch, Amos Rusie, Christy Mathewson, Carl Hubbell, and Juan Marichal)

    And the Braves (Warren Spahn, Kid Nichols, Phil Niekro, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz)

    Neat, huh?

  47. Quite frankly, of the people on that list, I think I’d rather have Mike Cameron. He’s a pretty good value for the money, and having him would allow us some flexibility to get more help for the rotation and whatnot.

    He’s a perfectly adequate defensive and offensive CF. Plus he’s from Georgia, which is apparently one of the top factors in us signing somebody nowadays. Even if we had enough money to keep Andruw, I’m still pretty sure I’d rather have Cameron.

  48. Andruw is a much better hitter than Cameron. Same average but Andruw has more power.

  49. Buster Olney addresses the CF free agent impact in his blog today. Olney predicts Cameron going to the Braves, Hunter going to Texas, Ichiro going to Chicago (AL), and Andruw going to the Mariners.

    Olney doesn’t believe the big market clubs will be a factor in the discussions. Olney rules out both New York clubs, Boston, LAD and LAA, and Chicago (NL).

  50. Rob,

    I’ve not discussed his upcoming contract because that’s another issue & another conversation. Overvalue? Undervalue? Whatever. Nobody has a gun to our head & says we have to sign Andruw. We’ll either sign him or we won’t (and then we’ll really see a flurry of posts.) He’ll get his money from ATL or somewhere else.

    My main point is that if anyone thinks that Andruw “didn’t reach his potential,” I gotta wonder if those notions were ever realistic in the first place.

    The guy’s been a great player who plays every day & does almost the same thing every year. He’s been durable & valuable—a rare combo these days. That’s the player he is—to think he should’ve been something else, something much better, strikes me as goofy.

    If anyone’s perception of Andruw’s potential doesn’t match the remarkably consistent numbers that have been racked up year after year, then I don’t know what to tell you. Reality’s right there on the page for you.

  51. My main point is that if anyone thinks that Andruw “didn’t reach his potential,” I gotta wonder if those notions were ever realistic in the first place.

    Bingo. He’s in the middle of a Hall of Fame career. If you still feel compelled to say he hasn’t reached his potential, then I would say that’s more of a ‘you’ problem than an ‘Andruw’ problem. Andruw’s been a great player for us for a lot of years, I know I’m not going to waste his last year with us complaining.

  52. I agree that Andruw is better overall than Cameron, but the point is that he isn’t really that much better, and Cameron will cost a hell of a lot less money. Cameron is more than good enough to make it worth our while to let Andruw walk and give us a chance to sign another starter and whatever else we need.

  53. Cameron is 34. No thanks. I’d rather move frenchy or KJ out there, and get a hitter. As a CF, Frenchy’s value goes through the roof, if he can pull it off.

  54. I don’t trust Smurph in CF. He just *looks* too lumbering for me.

    Time for some Stu trade proposals? Time for some Stu trade proposals!

    Thorman and Matt Harrison to the Rockies for Helton, with Colorado eating a big chunk of his contract.

    Yunel Escobar and Jo-Jo Reyes to the A’s for Rich Harden.

    Salty to the Tigers for Cameron Maybin.

  55. I would do Salty for Maybin in a heart beat, but it won’t happen, unfortunately. Maybin is going to be a stud.

  56. Stu, the Rockies have a prospect better than Thorman at AAA (Koshansky) so that won’t happen. They are trying to clear payroll and clear room for him or move Atkins to first, and play Ian Stewart at 3B, all they want is pitching for Helton.

    Billy Beane historically hasn’t traded his pitching unless he gets high-level, major league ready pitching back, so Escobar and Reyes won’t get that done, in my opinion.

    I don’t see how trading Salty for Maybin makes the Braves better now, which if they trade him is what they’re holding onto Salty for, major league ready pitching.

    I do appreciate the rumors though.

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