Braves 5, Padres 1, Wickman -3

ESPN – Braves vs. Padres Box Score, July 8 2007 – MLB

The Braves dominated this game for eight innings, only to almost lose it because Bob Wickman, right now, couldn’t get me out with any regularity. Sheesh.

It was Old Home Night at the ballpark, with Greg Maddux on the mound for the Padres and Marcus Giles playing second base. Greg got through the first fine, but in the second walked Andruw — yes, walked — and gave up a homer to McCann, followed later by a solo homer from Johnson. Kyle Davies gave up a run in the third, but otherwise was sharp, allowing just four hits (one a double) and walking two while striking out six. Maybe Bobby should call him out in the paper more often.

Andruw had a big night, singling three times and stealing two bases. In the sixth, he and Chipper scored in front of a McCann single (after Andruw hustled to second on a throw to the plate which Chipper held up on). Andruw is now all the way up at .211, which doesn’t seem like much but is about 15 points higher than it was a few days ago.

Moylan pitched the seventh with no problems — Yates was on the shelf, for good reason — and Soriano the eighth similarly. Wickman got two of the first three in the ninth (in a non-save situation) on strikeouts, but then allowed four straight singles to put the tying and winning runs on the bases before striking out Marcus to end it.

Jeff Francoeur should never be allowed to face Clay Meredith ever again unless we need to save someone’s life by making them laugh or something.

59 thoughts on “Braves 5, Padres 1, Wickman -3”

  1. My heart can’t stand watching Wickman pitch anymore.

    Also, this is the new Pythagorean Theorem: Frenchy + Sidearm Pitcher = Disaster.
    …It would send Tom Emanski into seizures.

  2. Nearly a horrific way to close out MLB’s noted 1st half. Hate to say it, but perhaps we might be primed to make that run now.

  3. Wow….what was supposed to be an easy win almost turned into a deflating loss. I have no idea how Wickman struck out the side yet allowed 3 runs, 5 hits and generally made things wayyyyyyy too interesting. I wonder also if he, like the rest of the pen, is just worn out from overuse, or, is he just out of gas for the rest of teh season at this point. I have no idea, but I would like to see some others get looks in the 9th. He has been extremely shaky of late, and has a tendency to blow games open even with a comfortable lead.

    Let’s not overlook some positives. 2/3 & 5/7 against the Padres this year…a 6-4 roadtrip…AJ is hitting again, to the opposite field even…good starts from Carlyle and Davies.,,,and best of all, only 2 games back as the ship is no longer taking on water.

  4. You can’t really complain about a series win (against a divisional leader, no less) when your starting pitchers are Buddy Carlyle, Jo Jo Reyes, and Kyle Davies.

    I’ll take it.

  5. I second that Jeremy.

    Did anyone else think that Wickman, for the most part, was making decent pitches that were just being hit?

  6. I think Wick is definitely overused. He has logged 30 innings now despite having a 15-day DL trip. I think the break will do nothing but wonder to Wick.

    Looking at the big picture, we are only two games back and five games above .500 despite a “bad” first half. I think the team has put itself in a good position for a second half run. Hopefully, we will see another strong second half like all previous Braves teams. Even last year’s team had a good second half.

  7. Regarding Wickman’s pitches….he certainly hung some sliders, and his fastball looked pretty straight though not up in the zone. However, every hit was hit hard though some found some holes. He was doing a good job getting ahead in the count but had trouble finishing anyone off except Khalil Greene, who is a lot like Francouer as a hitter. I think the pitch he made to Bradley was a pretty good pitch, and he made good pitches to Giles and Greene as well, but none of the hits were cheap.

  8. I’m down with the posi-vibes.

    All things considered, we gotta like how the Braves ended up the half after the IL debacle. After the 5-game losing streak, they went 9-4. Now let’s get the pitchers rested & healthy, and make a real move.

    Any way you slice it, we’re 2 games out. Here’s to some meaningful second-half baseball.

  9. ha! I just noticed the title Braves 5, Padres 1, Wickman -3

    almost as funny as that 9th inning

  10. As Jeremy said, ANY series win when the Braves run Carlyle, Reyes and Davies out there is a good sign. I was very happy to see the offense hit the ball well, especially Andruw.
    As has been said a million times, the ASB could not be coming at a better time for the ‘pen and if the starters don’t work deeper into games, then arms are going to start to fall off by the truckload.

  11. Everything looked good until Wickman came in, so I think perhaps people are being a little bit too melancholy. There’s far more positive out of this than negative. And Wickman’s gonna have a week off, so I’d wait until we come back and he gets a couple more outings before people start going all Chicken Little. Plus, we won, so that’s really all that matters there.

    CB Bucknor (tonight’s home-plate umpire, for those not in the know) is just as terrible as ever. I don’t know how he still has a job. At least send him to a seminar or something. Or maybe they’re all required to go to seminars over the offseason, in which case, back to option number one. At least his incredibly crappy umpiring went in our favor this time, and he’s apparently toned down the thing where he goes nuts anytime someone questions him. But still…worst umpire in baseball, and it’s not even close. And that’s saying something when the sport still employs Bruce Froemming.

    I know we all know that Jon Miller and (particularly) Joe Morgan are terrible. I really don’t even need to point it out. But their mindless banter on the Clemens vs. Maddux debate was some of the most ridiculous crap I’ve ever heard. The most hilarious bit was when Morgan claimed that Clemens is still a No. 1 starter. Yeah…why don’t you ask the Yankees about that one, chief? Then they went on to compare the careers each have accumulated and their current status and proceeded to talk about only the things that made Clemens stand out (i.e. strikeouts) and not the ones that made Maddux stand out (i.e. Gold Gloves, the fact that he’s not a phony, prima-donna wuss).

    And if there’s one thing I know, it’s this. I could not give less of a damn whether or not Joe Morgan was invited to Barry Bonds’ party with Jay-Z. Congratulations, you pompous ass! No one cares! Excuse me for intruding on your mental masturbation exercise, but you do know you’re supposed to be announcing a baseball game, right? Sheesh!

    For the record, I actually don’t think that Jon Miller would be that bad if he were paired with someone decent (someone who’s heard him on Giants radio can maybe confirm or refute this theory…I haven’t). He just doesn’t (or perhaps doesn’t know how to) reign Morgan in, so he winds up agreeing with everything Morgan says.

  12. I don’t think Miller/Morgan were that abd tonight ( apart from few standard Morganisms. ” khalil Greene is the key to the Pads offence” ).
    And I thought Miller made an excellent point
    regarding Maddog and Clemens. In that Maddux doesn’t go thru the media hype, enjoys being with the team everyday, and is just as valuable as Clemens over the season cos of the # of innings he pitches
    I like the win, but damn, I hate when Dawgie gets beaten like that.

  13. And the Braves have to feel good about their chances, but the only improvement we may see in this team though is from Andruw and McCann. Some of the others will do well to maintain this pace of hitting ( Harris anyone..3/for his last 25 ) or pitching ( Hudson coming back from his godly April, yates/Wickman/Soriano tiring ).

    The Mets OTOH have hit rockbottom pretty much, and I can only see them improving. Phillies meh, unless Gordon/Myers come back real soon.

    I think the key to winning the division is solely in Andruw’s hands now. If he can carry us, some of the others coming back to hurt won’t hurt us.

  14. I have an idea for those who continue to complain about the ESPN announcer crew: Don’t listen to them.

    I don’t listen to music I don’t like. I don’t listen to pundits I don’t like. I don’t put up with people I don’t like.

    And when it comes to TV announcers, I use these 2 rather old-school notions: the volume knob and the mute button.

  15. That’s why I didn’t watch the game tonight at all. I played Resident Evil 4 and did another Fantasy Footballl Yahoo draft.

  16. I know we all know that Jon Miller and (particularly) Joe Morgan are terrible.

    I really couldn’t agree less with this. They are calling a game of teams they don’t really follow, to a national audience. I ain’t gonna sound like Skip and Pete.

    I think the pitch he made to Bradley was a pretty good pitch

    Agree. Bradley is just a good hitter, hard to believe Oakland couldn’t find a spot in the lineup for him. After that he through a lot of straight fastballs over the heart of the plate. He’s pretty lucky no one got elevation.

    I had forgotten how much I don’t miss Marcus. I was sitting there in the ninth saying if we can just get to Marcus it will be ok. Glad to see he hasn’t changed his maddening ‘over aggresive in pressure situations’ approach.

    And just an awesome game from Andruw tonight. If we see that guy regularly in the second half, we may have a chance.

  17. Wow, Franceour really looked bad in his last AB. I don’t know if I’ve even seen Andruw look that bad before. As far as Wickman is concerned, he didn’t have much tonight – especially his breaking ball. Fortunately he was able to hit some spots dead on with his fastball, or we would be pretty angry right now. I still don’t know if that last pitch was a strike, but I’ll take it.

    I’ve been trying to be patient with Thor all year, but my patience is wearing thin. I didn’t think he compared with some of the illustrious 1st basemen of the past (Hessman, Helms, Fick, …), but now I’m not so sure. Salty needs to play a LOT more in the 2nd half. I’m also a little concerned that the clock may be striking midnight on Harris’s Cinderella season. He has looked pretty bad lately, hopefully it will only be a few games. AJ looks like he’s primed for a solid 2nd half.

  18. I still don’t know if that last pitch was a strike, but I’ll take it.

    Yeah me neither, but it’s CB Buckner back there. Throw that pitch ten times and you will get five strikes and five balls. He is truly horrible at his job.

  19. Why writing off Harris? He is doing great! As for Thor, I like him being a late inning pinch hitter and defensive replacement for Salty!!!

  20. On Wickman –

    I must have been fooled by him getting ahead in the count against all those hitters and striking out the side. I know he let some of his pitches get too much of the plate, but I thought the Pads were hitting some pitches on the corners and I though I saw good movement on the heater.

  21. I thought the Pads were hitting some pitches on the corners and I though I saw good movement on the heater.

    His breaking stuff has been awful. His slider is getting hitting worse than Kyle Davies’ fastball. Anyone notice Davies working consistently in the 95-96 range today? Juiced gun or adrenalin?

    harris has been awful for 2 weeks now. KJ to leadoff spot and let Harris hit in the bottom of the order where he had success.

  22. Godot, it’s a juiced gun. Maddux’s fastballs were clocked at 89. Take 3mph off and everything will make sense again.

  23. If Harris can stay above the .300 and drawing walks, I think he is fantastic at the top. His speed really disturb the pitchers and that will help Edgar, Chipper, and Andruw. Besides, I want KJ hitting seventh instead of Thorman.

  24. Someone might have mentioned this already–I haven’t taken the time to read all the comments–but Andruw does have a good walk rate. It therefore isn’t all that surprising that he could draw a walk from Maddux.

  25. Glad to see the ChiSox signed Buerhle (spelling?) to a rich contract. Maybe that’ll save the Braves from a bad trade.

  26. I will add to the Wickman (semi) optimism. 3 K’s in the inning, and 4 ground balls that just got through (along with 1 line-drive). That was just an unlucky inning. I say he is due some luck, and is going to go on one of his 12 out of 13 appearances with 0 runs given up streaks, pitching exactly the same way.

    I do wish someone in management would put him on a treadmill, though. You cannot convince me that even a guy who only throws 20 pitches a game wouldn’t be better and more able to at least make better pitches at 16-20 if he wasn’t carrying around an extra 30-40 pounds of fat.

  27. I’m not giving up on Harris yet, but his .390 Avg is not something anyone can maintain – especially not Harris. If he comes back down to earth and settles in the .300 range for the rest of the year, I’ll be happy.

    I was hoping that Wickman would stay strong – at least thru this year. He’s had a few nagging injuries, so maybe the break will help him reverse the trend.

    One other note: The Dodgers look to be a much better team than the Padres. The Padres’ hitting is terrible and the Giles brothers don’t seem to be helping much. I’m amazed that Brian has only 1 homer.

  28. The Harris/Diaz platoon has been solid since its inception. I’d suspect that Harris isn’t going to bat .390 all year. He is finally having a cool streak and like td I’ll be happy if he hit near .300 there rest of the year. Considering his career numbers, .300 is more than what I expected.

  29. Can someone please explain to me why Cla Meredith doesn’t have a “Y” on the end of his first name? It’s really annoying. My dad has him on his fantasy team and calls him “Claw” Meredith. It looks more like Claw.

    But he’s a very good pitcher.

    I will say again what I said last night: Rafael Soriano, not Blob Wickman, should be the closer of this team. The closer should be the best reliever.

  30. Other than Bobby does what Bobby always does, I was a little surprised Bobby didn’t trot Raphael out for the 9th last night. He had had an easy 8th with not a lot of pitches (15), and a guaranteed 3 days off after yesterday. It was a perfect time to see him close out the game.

  31. Morgan was right about Maddux and Clemens; at this point in their careers, Clemens is a much better pitcher. No way that Greg could pitch back to back 8 inning/1 run games in the American League. He is basically a (good) 3 or 4. No way that ten years ago, that he gives up two home runs in an inning. Whatever you think of Clemens, he can still be a dominant pitcher (at least for 3 months). And he is in demand because of that–no one would think of paying Maddux that kind of money to be a number 1 at this point. And, given the difference in leagues, I think you have to acknowledge that Clemens has been the better pitcher over their careers as much as I like Maddux. Being a power pitcher does give him an edge.

    I was wondering if there was actually a game going on because Miller and Morgan seemed completely uninterested in it. You would think they might have at least mentioned that Davies was pitching pretty well, but they didn’t seem to care too much about that.

    Soriano is clearly the better pitcher, but a lot of times the 8th is a more critical inning than the 9th. Soriano will definitely be the closer next year or possibly by the end of this year.

    I suspect that Harris will end up hitting in the .270s or .280s. Players find their level and their is no reason to think that a career mediocre player is all of a sudden going to explode. That’s not to say he won’t be a useful component but if the Braves really need to rely on Harris, they’re in trouble. But, did anyone notice how ordinary Marcus Giles has become? I would much rather have KJ and Excobar at second that Marcus, especially at the price.

  32. No one ever talks about the Giles brothers and steroids, but stats don’t lie. I’m just saying…

    Man if AJ and McCann continue to come around, Chipper stays healthy, KJ bats seventh, and Harris continues to get on base…I really like our chances. I think we have depth in the bullpen if everyone is rested. Of course Smoltz and Huddy have to be the aces, but I look for a big 2nd half from James…he should be well rested since he never went past 5 or 6 innings in the 1st half.

  33. If Willie ends up at 270 or 280, we’ll be in some trouble.. Because he’ll have to hit like 210 for the remainder of the year to drop that low.

  34. Tony, I was thinking the same thing when they were discussing the drop in his homers on Friday night. He has 1 hr this year. Here are his hr numbers from 97 to current: 17, 16, 39, 35, 37, 38, 16, 4, 23, 15, 14, and 1 this year. The year he hit 4 he only played 23 games.

  35. The B. Giles steroid issue was bantered around Atlanta radio again this morning. I have no idea, but his power drop off sure is alarming. his power surge and fall off also correspond to suspected usage period/testing period.

  36. O.K. I’m not stat geek, but I just wrote 97 to current which would mean that this year is 2008. :) It’s too early after a long weekend.

  37. It just seems that every little guy in recent memory that bulked up and started hitting homers in suspect. Bret Boone, I mean that was obvious. Lenny Dykstra…well he admitted his use. Then you have B. Giles. I know I’m missing out on some others…

    I still think the most blatant use of all-time goes to Brady Anderson…his 50 HR year looks likes a typo when looking at his career stats.

  38. I think the key to the second half will be the effectiveness of carlyle/davies- buddy has pitched well his last couple of outings.

  39. The 16 and 4 in the Brian Giles sequence were in the same season (stats listed for 2 different teams). Combine those and you have a natural progression, I think, especially since the downturn coincides with him going to a very unfavorable home park.

  40. Exactly, he throws strikes and makes the hitter do his job. The one thing I have no patience for is a major league pitcher who can’t throw strikes. I have never understood how you can make it so far and can not throw the ball over the plate. As long as Carlyle locates, he will be a solid number 5. I also think James will be just fine, but is probably a number 4 guy. Davies is a wild card.

  41. I think you can contribute a little of the drop off to a pitchers park for home games, but you also have to wonder if his supplier was in pittsburgh.

  42. While I only saw part of the game, I was struck by Morgan and Miller’s indifference to it. They seemed more interested in the ‘fish taco’ than in the game. I say this as one (possibly a minority here) who does not have a big problem with Morgan.

    Otherwise, I am not thrilled by the All-Star break, but it is good for our bullpen and starters. Even though Renteria should have been named to the team, the rest will do him good as he seemed to wear down last season.

    with a good second half 2007 might just have a flag race to remember….

  43. Lets not overrate these outings against a San Diego team who has some serious offensive struggles. Davies didn’t look any different to me, except that the Padres aren’t good enough to punish him.

  44. Sorry: I forgot to mention in the previous post that I thought Marc Schenider’s observation about Morgan and Miller was on target….

  45. Quick note on the numbers JoshQ reported for B. Giles- The 16 and 4 are from the same year, when he was traded mid-season to SD from PIT. So it should be a 20 there instead of those two. ;-)

    Otherwise, I’m VERY pleased with how the Braves closed the first half out. The Bravos are primed for a 2nd half run, and while Andruw will play a significant role, I think it’ll be JoJo/Davies/Carlyl that are the biggest difference. Two months of Mark Redman took their tole on the Braves, as did three months of Bad Davies. If we can get some consistancy out of the bottom two spots (and Buddy has looked very sharp thus far), it’ll not only take pressure off the lineup (which won’t continue to score 6 runs per game, I don’t care how much Andruw turns it up), it’ll take a load off the ‘pen.

    And speaking of the ‘pen, Bobby’s use of it just kills me. Why does he constantly throw Moylan (our #3 or 4 guy out there) out in blow outs to eat two innigs when Chad Paronto or the once-in-a-week used Joey Devine languish on the pine with fresh arms? For crying out loud, they called up Devine so they’d have another fresh arm out there, but he gets even less PT than Pete Orr was getting. Yeesh. Give Yates and Sori a break!

    And while I’m on it, I think both the Dodgers and the Padres have better bullpen management than the Braves, just long they play their RPs in blowouts. Letting a guy go 3-4 innings rather than burning two pitchers is a much better long-term strategy, IMO.

  46. If Willie goes south, we always have Diaz, who I think can start everyday, if he only had a little more pop.

  47. Bfan,

    B Giles still plays half of his games on the road, including Colorado and Arizona.

    Justin,

    That’s a good point. If you think that line-up is bad, wait until we play the Giants.

    I think maybe Renteria’s slide last year was due to maybe not being in contention…some players just step it up when they are playing from something. Just a guess…

  48. I’d say I’m the least worried about Renteria. He just seems to be a player that is a model of consistency.

    I also think that we’re primed for a run in the 2nd half and that after going through a rough patch will be in the thick of it the rest of the way.

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