Braves 5, Giants 4

You're out of here!ESPN – Giants vs. Braves Box Score, August 14 2007 – MLB

Rallying behind their manager’s record-breaking ejection, the Braves took the first game of the series. Bobby was thrown out in the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes on Chipper. In the sixth, the Braves rallied from 3-0 down for four runs, Teixeira leading off with a homer, Escobar doubling home two runs, then coming home on a pinch-hit by Diaz.

Smoltz continues to not be himself, throwing a whole lot of sliders and not having his best fastball, or seemingly any split-finger fastball. He allowed a run in the second and two in the third. For the game he struck out four and walked three (the Sloth twice) and gave up six hits.

He was in line for the win, still, as Mahay got through the seventh on nine pitches and Soriano, though he allowed a hit, had two strikeouts in a scoreless eighth. But Wickman got in all sorts of trouble in the ninth and was barely able to get out of it with the score tied. Willie led off the bottom of the inning with a walk. KJ bunted him over and reached on an error. Chipper’s hit scored Willie to end it. (ESPN is calling it a double, but my understanding is that it’s a single, because the game ends when Willie crosses the plate.)

Escobar had a big game, 4-4. Teixeira and McCann had two hits each.

122 thoughts on “Braves 5, Giants 4”

  1. (ESPN is calling it a double, but my understanding is that it’s a single, because the game ends when Willie crosses the plate.)

    I believe Chipper gets credit for the amount of bases necessary to score the winning run. So if he went as far as 2B (I wasn’t paying attention to that), he should get credit for a double, IMO.

  2. I thought Cox got tossed way too early. He didn’t even make it out of the dugout. It was a great win even if the bullpen has made every game way too exciting.

    On a much better note I thought Soriano look pretty good for the first time in awhile. Mahay again was outstanding.

  3. Ah, Bobby has never truly gotten his money’s worth on those ejections. He always resorts to magic words as opposed to true hysteria. Which is probably more human, even if it is less entertaining than the lobbing of “grenades,” the kicking of dirt, and the throwing of bases.

  4. part of me hopes wickman doesn’t pull some miracle performance out of his ass down the stretch. i don’t have the stomach for another season of blob wickman.

  5. Wickman sucked, but Soriano looked sharp. Smoltz may not be completely right but he is still and excellent pitcher at 75%. Last night was the type of game we have been losing and it was a good sign to see us persevere.

  6. I thought that Wickman has another year on his contract. He might still retire, but I would not be at all surprised to see him next year….

  7. Isn’t Gonzo supposed to be out until the middle of next season? It was my understanding when he went down that we might even see him until the very end of 2008.

  8. Stephen,

    Nope, he signed a one-year deal for 2007. Even if he doesn’t retire, I highly doubt he’ll be a Brave in 2008.

  9. By the way, I just want to say on belaf of Bobby Cox’s new record, neither BALCO or steroids were remotely involved.

    I wonder how much the dirt Bobby kicked on the Ump during his record breaking performance last night, will go for on ebay.

    I think after Bobby got kicked out, he should have circled the bases, had his son waiting for him at home plate, and then ignored him to look towards the heavens & say thank you.

    Then, Hank Aaron should have given him a video tribute. I’m just saying….

  10. @ 15: It would have taken Bobby 35 minutes to waddle around the bases. . . 35 minutes of sheer glory.

  11. JDMaker,

    LOL.

    You are so right…it would have been sadly hilarious to watch Bobby circle the bases. The poor guy with his bad knees. Yikes.

  12. alex,
    it would have been even better if snitker would have waived bobby around 3rd then hubbard threw him out at the plate with the rosin bag. (kinda working the trifecta)

  13. Also, in reading that Yahoo article, JDmaker, I thought the quote at the end from Diaz said it best:

    “It was like all the other times Bobby got tossed,” Diaz said. “He went out there and had his player’s back.”

    And that right there is what separates a man like Bobby (for all his faults as an in game manager, he’s deservedly beloved by his players) from a weasel a–hole like Tony LaRussa.

    Half of LaRussa’s team HATES him.

  14. Stu–You are right it was for just one year. While we are on the subject of relief pitcher’s contracts, does anybody know about Dotel’s?

  15. Joe Fisher, Voice Of The Commodores, reports that Tim Corbin is staying in Nashville. Stu is happy/relieved.

  16. beedee, I like the trifecta. It would have been magical.

    On another note, Vick got sued for 60 Billion dollars. Apparently he subjected someone to “microwave testing,” stole the mans pit pulls, and bought missiles from Iran. . . Who knew?

    Here’s the link the the handwritte complaint. Priceless, and I forgot to mention . . . the guys in jail.

    http://www.foxnews.com/projects/pdf/riches_jonathan_file.pdf

  17. alex,
    sure and maybe the trainer could have the oxygen tank waiting along with a stretcher being carried by lemke, pendelton, bream, and jordan.

  18. @ 12,

    I thought it was pretty funny re the Offerman story that in one of the reader comments, the guy was trying to call another commenter “moron” and spelled it “moran.” Ah, I love the intelligent discourse on the internet.

  19. I think we should have a ceremony tonight and present Bobby with:

    • A bronzed umpire mask
    • A Bob Davidson bobblehead doll
    • A collection of umpire autobiographies
    • Framed, signed pictures of Eric Gregg and Bruce Froemming
    • His very own Questec(TM) machine

    We’ll have to track down John McGraw’s descendants, of course.

  20. There should have been a video tribute. But John McGraw is dead. So maybe Bud Selig?

    “I’d like to congratulate Bobby Cox on this historic achievement…..”

  21. “His very own Questec(TM) machine” . . . priceless.

    @12 & 27: So Offerman got plunked in the calf and charged the mound with his bat? Hmm, that almost seems logical. I wish there was a video of that somewhere.

  22. @29, I think Hammerin Hank should be the one that unveils all of Bobby’s gifts. It would be great, right in front of Barroid. Maybe even wait until Barroid steps up to hit.

  23. Dotel is a free agent this offseason, so he is likely a rental. I also don’t think the Braves will consider bringing back Wickman if he wants to pitch in 08. Unless, he is willing to take less money and not be considered the closer.

  24. Dotel still has a 5.5 million player option I think.

    Mahay is only expected to be a 2.5-3 million dollar free agent. I really think the Braves should try and keep him.

  25. I forgot about that Dan. Do you guys think Dotel would exercise that option? If he pitched lights out, then I would guarantee he would try to cash in with a multi-year deal. I’m just not sure how a GM might view him as far as long term.

  26. Dan,

    He has the player option, but Cot’s website says the Braves can void it.

    I disagree with respect to Mahay. I like the work he’s done, but that’s too much for a lefty specialist. (Assuming we don’t just have an open-ended budget.) We have Royce Ring, and he’ll be much cheaper.

  27. The Question Machine is brilliant. Love that.

    I think presenting Bobby with bronzed plaque…just as Barry steps to the plate tonight would be fantastic. Anything that would annoy or piss Bonds off, always fantastic.

    And even better is Bud Selig should be on the field to present to Bobby just to REALLY piss Barry off. How hilarious would that be?

    Mac…for Bobby to get a “signed” autograph and photo of Eric Gregg, he’d have to reach down into hell to get it, seeing as Gregg is no longer with us. Sorry about the hell thing, but I will never get 97 out of my mind…

  28. off of what i’ve seen i think Mahay might be the better option. Dotel looks to be suffering from Kolbitis, and i’m not sure if he can handle the “stress” of ATL.

  29. Mahay should definitely be signed in the offseason. If Gonzalez comes back at full strength I would imagine he would get the first shot at the closer’s role.

  30. Mac;
    When did the new poll go up?
    Will the award ceremony for Bobby be televised?

    Has Escobar earned enough respect to be considered the Brave’s shortstop of the future?
    Like starting next year?

  31. Kevin Lee,

    I am definitely more on the side of liking Escobar, though I again I don’t think he’s as good as Renty.

    That aside, there seems to be a genuine concensus reached in here that we will all be fine with seeing Escobar as the everyday SS in 2008 if trading Renty means nabbing a quality starting pitcher.

  32. if we can hold onto Renty’s production next year i’d love to do it, but if we can package him for a pitcher i’m cool with that as well.
    is he under contract, or is next year an option?

  33. I’m sure when that horse’s ass Joe Morgan talks about Cox, Morgan will prboably talk about how he himself was the best at getting ejected, even though he’s not or never has been, a Manager.

  34. I really didnt think that Wickman pitched all that badly, he threw a strike to the second batter, but it was called a ball and that made the count 3-1 instead of 2-2. Then came the triple. The ump really made the strike zone small for Wick. Either way blowing the lead for John is inexcusable, but he wasnt as bad as some are saying here.

    Escobar played a great game, the play where he almost threw out Molina from his knees was awesome. The kid has a great arm.

    Congrats Bobby and thanks Harris, KJ, and Chipper.

  35. CSG: I agree with you that Wickman didn’t pitch all that poorly. If he hadn’t allowed the triple it wouldn’t have been an issue. After the triple he got two dinky infield grounders one of which scored the run.

    That being said, I still drop my head in agony every time I see him come into the game. It’s not like watching a train wreck, it is like watching a train wreck when you already knew one was going to happen.

  36. I know it’s a product of a weak central division, but the fact that St. Louis is only 3 games back in the loss column is pretty stunning.

  37. Not too concerned: This past weekend, Andruw Jones said he might get an MRI to determine why his left elbow has bothered him for more than two months. But Tuesday afternoon, the Gold Glove outfielder indicated he likely won’t be getting the MRI.

    Instead, the Braves opted to X-ray the elbow before Tuesday’s game, and it showed no structural damage. He’s been feeling the discomfort since reaching over the outfield wall to rob a homer on May 27.

    Jones, who entered Tuesday hitting just .214, played in a charity golf tournament hosted by Hudson, John Smoltz and Jeff Francoeur on Monday.

    So let me get this straight, his elbow is hurting so bad that he feels like its okay to take extra BP everyday and he feels like its okay to play golf. I played baseball throught highschool and I played golf in college and let me tell you that if your having elbow problems one of the worst things to do is swing a golf club. They are buiilding up this elbow thing, I think he’s just sucking this year. Plain and simple

  38. So….is Lillibridge better than Escobar or not?

    Mahay was in a long relief role with Texas. He is most certainly not just some left-handed specialist who comes in for one out.

  39. CSG: Not to mention that in my experience playing golf screws up my baseball swing and vice versa. Maybe he should working on his bread winning swing before working on his leisure swing.

  40. why is everyone so down on Wickman, since the All star break

    11.1IP 7H 2ER 5BB 8K’s 1.62 ERA, only Mahay and Moylan have been better than Wickman over the last 30 days

    last night was the first time he’s given up a run at home all year. I dont know what Soriano everyone was watching, but he wasnt locating his pitches last night. He’s still struggling. McCann would set up low and away and he would throw a belt high fastball right over the middle of the plate. Its just the Giants are sooo old they cant catch up to them. Soriano really struggles with his slider, he needs another pitch besides that fastball.

  41. I agree Mahay isnt McBride or someone like that, he can pitch several innings and can get both righties and lefties out

  42. @54 – I know I’m way behind.

    Plus, Wick had two questionable check swings go against him in the same at bat. He really did not get any breaks that inning, so holding the Giants to one run may really be a victory.

    Maybe, he will be a little better as the temperatures start to cool off. I don’t know how he can see the plate through all of that sweat.

  43. The Braves don’t have much tolerance for off field screw ups. I don’t see Aybar playing at the major league level for them again. At best he would start in Richmond next year then be traded later.

  44. I just looked at the contract link posted earlier, and just looking at Mike Hampton’s figured makes me angry, so I can’t imagine how JS feels.

    Question: is Frenchy signed for next season? That site makes it look like he’s only signed through this year.

  45. dan,
    lillibridge, is a decent fielder with a strong arm, but a strike out machine with some power. i kind of see him as a marcus giles type. i hope we don’t see him in ATL.

  46. Lillibridge has hit much better in Richmond than in Mississippi. He’s faster and has a bit more power than does Escobar, but he also has less plate discipline. I imagine that if Renteria gets traded in the offseason they’ll let those two compete for the SS position.

  47. Completely unrelated to just about everything, but Kelly Johnson and Matt Diaz are probably my two favorite Braves to root for. (I mean, they’re the ones I get the most excited about when they do something awesome. Of course I love Smoltz and Chipper and BMac!)

    As for Escobar/Lillibridge, well, Lillibridge was surging in AAA but seems to have cooled off a bit (still, 1-3 with a walk last night; as long as he keeps the Ks under control he’ll be in great shape). My guess is still that it’s Escobar just because of what he’s showing the big-league club at the ML level. Personally, I think Lillibridge is going to get the Bill Hall treatment, starting out next year as a super-sub type and maybe getting platoon starts in CF (with Willy perhaps?) before eventually taking over that position full-time.

  48. he’s young, it’s a substance abuse problem man, i think they’ll give him another chance. we’ll need him to spell chipper if escobar does start next year.

  49. In taking a closer look at Mahay, I’d now be less upset with signing him. Still, he’s 36, and $3MM/year seems like an awful lot for a middle relief guy. Especially if it’s over more than a year or two.

  50. One other thing I just noticed about Lillibridge is that his walk total declined a lot from 2006 to 2007. I wonder if this has something to do with the Braves system? Others have noticed in the past that players who come to the Braves often see their walk totals decline and their strikeouts rise once under TP’s “tutelage,” but perhaps there’s an organizational mandate to be more aggressive. (like in Seattle, where young pitchers like Felix are supposed to “establish the fastball early,” often to their own detriment)

    http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?n=Brent%20Lillibridge&pos=SS&sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=452121

  51. I hope the Braves come out ready to play tonight, we need to go ahead and win this series tonight. This would sum up our year if we lose the Hudson/Ortiz matchup

  52. The combination of Harris, Diaz, Francoeur, Lillibridge, and B. Jones is pretty solid in the outfield in 08. I think that gives us the ability to focus on pitching in the offseason.

  53. This is for Alex R.

    Jon Miller: Escobar leading off the inning, so Joe what do you think about Bobby Cox setting the record for ejections.

    Morgan: Well Jon, I think it shows that the game hasn’t changed much, for instance when I was with the Big Red Machine, Sparky would get thrown out every now and then, and he was good at it. I didn’t get thrown out much, but I would have been pretty good at it as a manager.

    Miller: 1-0 pitch to Escobar is a strike on the outside corner. Joe what do you think it does for the players, when their manager sticks up for them?

    Morgan: Well like I say, when I was with the Big Red Machine Sparky Anderson, our great coach for those who may not remember him, was good at getting thrown out. When he did we seemed to play better, but we were really good anyway, so I don’t know that him getting thrown out really ever helped us get fired. We did have four or five Hall of Famers on that team, so we didn’t really need our manager to get ejected to fire us up. But I think its a big help when they do.

    Miller: Two outs in the inning now with Chipper coming up. Joe I hate you.

  54. Hahaha.

    Kyle Watch: Davies pitched well for 5 innings, but struggled in the sixth and David Riske blew the game for him, inheiriting two baserunners and allowing a three-run shot. Seven Ks and one walk for Kyle, 1-2 as a Royal. Seems like he’s doing what he did in Atlanta so far: great and terrible.

  55. Parish @67,

    I would even be willing to throw in Chris Woodward!

    Re Andruw:

    I don’t think he needs to worry about being a bread winner–anyway, whatever bread he wins, he eats.

    Below are two hilarious stories about baseball from The Onion (Aug. 11 issue). It appears that someone on the Onion staff is a Pirates fan that is fed up with David Littlefield.

    http://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/pirates_gm_unable_to_trade

    http://www.theonion.com/content/news/craig_biggio_blames_media_pressure

  56. At this point I’m more surprised when Wickman doesn’t blow the lead. A one run lead is certainly not enough. Big thanks to our old buddy Ryan Klesko for keeping that game alive for us last night.

  57. “They are buiilding up this elbow thing, I think he’s just sucking this year. Plain and simple.”

    I couldn’t agree more. It is in his and Scott Boras interest to distinguish this year from all others, by a non-recurring injury, to convince MLB GM’s that they are getting the 2002-2006 AJ (.850-.900 OPS), and not the 2007 AJ (.720 OPS [!]). The difference is worth about 8 million a year, I would guess, so it is a $40,000,000.00 (assuming a 5 year contract) fabrication, and one I would try and make, in a heart-beat.

  58. Marc, that second article about Biggio and the HBP record is priceless. Thanks for the read.

  59. And big thanks to the umpire for screwing him over. Although the umpire had spent the rest of that half inning screwing Wickman over. As I said last night, worst umpiring performance by someone other than CB Bucknor I’ve seen in a very long time.

  60. And not that it affects his pitching, but doesn’t it seem that Wickman has gotten a lot fatter since he has been here (starting out fat enough)?

    Do the Braves have a team nutritionist that can sidle up to him everyonce in a while and say “Hey, Bob, how about laying off the cheese fries for a week.”

    If Wickman gets a tan, he can audition for Chief Nokahoma’s old job…

  61. I think I remember reading somewhere that Wickman refused to do the Braves’ pitcher’s workout routine. Stating something along the lines of “I don’t do that kind of thing.”

    I could have Wickman confused with someone else there, but probably not from the looks of him.

  62. I just saw on Espn website that players are on pace to hit 578 fewer HRs this season. I don’t think pitching is getting better, so the drug policy must be working.

  63. I met Wickman at spring training this year at a VIP thingy, and he is a huge man. I’m 6’4 220, and I felt like Mini-Me next to him. But he was a really nice guy, took a few minutes to talk to me and my daughter. Hey Mac, can you post that pic I sent you of Wick?

  64. I actually do think someone at The Onion is a Pirates fan – or anti-Littlefield guy anyway. Last March they ran a piece about him waking up to find out Spring Training had already started and his team still, um, incomplete.

  65. Looks like Stockman shuts down righties, has a little more trouble with lefties. Still 0.73 ERA is pretty impressive.

  66. Hmm. Looks like Boyer would be another 5 inning Braves starter. I don’t see the point. He was really good in the pen a few years ago. Why not leave him there?

  67. If you get a chance, you have to check out talkingchop.com. There is a picture of Chipper and Tex celebrating after last nights game that looks funny. Is Chipper riding a horse while Tex whips it into a trot? Maybe it’s just me…

  68. Maybe, we could piggyback Boyer and James into one effective starter. If they could go 9 innings combined you could give the rest of the pen a day off.

  69. Wickman is what he is. There was a reason there wasn’t a lot of competition to get him last year. For a while, he benefitted by being in a new league, but he wasn’t that good in the AL and clearly wasn’t going to remain a shut down closer. I still think he is generally a tolerable closer–at least compared to last year–but he doesn’t have much room for error. But I would be very surprised if he is back next year. I really think that one day Soriano is going to figure it out and become a very good closer. He was too good for two months not to have something.

    BTW, HoRam got hammered last night; his ERA, last I checked, was way over 6.

  70. #101, you jest but really that might work. It’d be easier to find two pitchers who can pitch 4-5 good innings than one starter who can go 7+.

  71. what was Smoltz’s pitch count after 6 last night. He was efficient for the 1st two innings and threw almost 40 pitches in the 3rd, then was pretty solid after that point. any idea?

  72. I also have a question. Does anyone know what the Braves “Pythagorean record” is, i.e., what their W-L record “should be” given their run diffential?

  73. Ron,

    The Braves piggyback starters a lot in the low minors. Maybe, Chuck James and Boyer got a little too used to it.

    It looks like Medlen is the real deal. I like him for actual closer of the future.

  74. #104 – Typically 24 year-old middle relief pitchers in AA are not listed among top prospects.

    Though you could throw him in the mix with a few guys in the Braves system that have similar numbers that seem to be solid middle relief/closers – Ascanio, Acosta, Devine, Medlin, Nix, Schreiber, Stockman, Jung.

    Obviously, some of these guys have a higher upside, e.g., Devine. Plus, I’m sure I’m missing others.

  75. The Pythag standings have a few interesting nuggets. Arizona has won 10 more games than expected; St. Louis and the White Sox have won 5 more than expected. On the flip side, SF is 7 games below expectations (i.e., all the calls for a sweep this week might be a bit ambitious) and the Yankees are 5 wins below expectations.

    If Pythag projections are correct the NL East will go down to the wire. Look for the Cubs (unperforming) to edge the overperforming Brewers and Cardinals.

  76. Thanks for the figures. I thought the Braves might be farther off just because of all the blowout wins and close losses.

  77. Interesting that the pythag numbers suggest that if the Braves had won some of the one-run games they might be outperforming their pythag.

  78. These *755 shirts that Talking Chop was endorsing are kinda lame. It’s one thing to call Barry a cheater, it’s another thing to deny that he has the record.

  79. “i.e., all the calls for a sweep this week might be a bit ambitious)”

    the calls for the sweep were more because of their DH in Pittsburgh on what was scheduled to be an off-day, we got (a) a reliever as a starter (whom we could not hit); (b) the worst 20 game winner in the last 10 years starting their second game, with an ERA of 8 last year, and 7 the year before, while we had our 2 best pitchers going.

    It was not that we will sweep; it is that we need to start doing that, and this is the best chance we will have for a sweep that I can possibly imagine, over the rest of the season.

    Really, I hereby totally jinx this game tonight for the Braves, but Hudson against Ortiz-how can you possibly lose that game and call yourself a contender? Average line-up vs. average line-up would call for an 8-3 game (Braves win), and we have a better line-up than SF does. If this were college football, we would need to win 10-0 or face dropping in the polls.

  80. @119: I’m not sure if the shirts are denying he has the record. I think its more about the fact he got the record while cheating. I.E. The non-cheating record is still 755. IMO, anything that calls out Barroid is all right with me. Cheating or no cheating, he’s still an asshole and a terrible ambassador for the game.

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