Giants 9, Braves 3

ESPN – Giants vs. Braves Box Score, August 16 2007 – MLB

That’s not good. Chuck James gave up a three-run homer in the first, and when the Braves answered with two in the bottom of the inning came back with solo homers in each of the next three innings, putting the team down 6-2 and getting pulled with two out in the fourth. Chuck is going to give up some homers, but probably needs to make some adjustments.

It probably didn’t matter, as the Braves couldn’t mount a comeback anyway, but the Vulture was unable to keep it close, allowing a run in the fifth, one in the sixth, and one in the seventh. Finally, Manny Acosta was able to get through the eighth unscathed.

There were certain similarities to the Phillies game on Sunday, as the Braves’ first three hitters reached and scored two runs, but after that they did little. The Braves were limited to six hits. Two were by Andruw, which may be a promising sign.

114 thoughts on “Giants 9, Braves 3”

  1. Spot on Smitty–Chuckie throws BP plus a ho-hum night from the offense add up to a lousy game.

    Classic example of Cox’s burning the pen–why use Moylan for the 9th instead of letting Acosta (who’d thrown only 12 pitches to get 5 outs) finish the game. Moylan seems to be fairly durable so it probably doesn’t make much difference, but it’s another example of Cox’s pen management.

  2. Sorry, but it seems after every Andruw Jones hit, or especially homerun, this season I read someone somewhere say: “could this be the end of the slump?”

    Answer: no.

    Cormier vs. Webb doesn’t sound promising, and I highly doubt the Braves will win, but everyone thought the recent Oliver Perez against Carlyle matchup was a sure-loss as well. Though Webb is clearly better than Perez.

  3. I’m not sure what adjustment Chucky can make right now. He needs a quality 3rd pitch pretty badly, but I don’t think he’ll be able to do that until spring training.

    The good news is Brandon Webb is overdue for a bad game. Right???

  4. Andruw is a wreck that should be benched, period. He sucks, sucks, sucks. I can’t wait to see him in a Rangers uniform.

  5. As Vince Lombardi once said, “what the hell is going on here?” A guy named Frandsen hit a home run–didn’t he play Sipowicz on “NYPD Blue”?

    It is a very, very bad sign that Chuck could get beaten up by a lineup this pathetic–without Bonds.

    So, now we are down to Smoltz and Hudson . . . and pray for bad weather for three days. Meanwhile, Adam Wainwright looks pretty good, doesn’t he? Just saying.

  6. Mets and Phillies have two very easy series coming up while we play the D-Backs. I say our season is on the line this weekend. If we do not win two out of three, I don’t see us coming back from five down against two teams ahead of us. And I just don’t see us winning two out of three with the pitching matchups that are coming up. Too bad.

  7. Is there another pitcher in the bigs who is as upright in their delivery as James?

    I don’t know of another guy who doesn’t his bend his back at all on his follow-through like James does.

  8. The D-backs offense isn’t exactly stellar, so there is hope for this weekend.

    Chuck needs to learn either a sinker, or a cutter to become a truly effective starting pitcher.

    Andruw did hit the ball hard three times, the last one an ironic twist, as the Giant’s centerfielder robbed him of a homerun.

  9. Yeah, count me off the ‘is this the end of Andruw’s slump?’ wagon. I’ve jumped aboard too many times this year. I’m tired of waiting and watching.

    Webb is sick. It’s just that the Braves can’t beat the ‘ok’ pitchers with any regularity – or frequency – that leaves me nervous. I wish we had a viable third starter, I really really do. It leaves too much pressure on the top two guys.

  10. james has a tendency to tip the batters as to which pitch he will through, it’s cost him several games and i’d be willing to him was happening agin last night.
    i think buddy will bounce back this week, and maybe we can get wells, but i gave little faith in lance. the other concern is our batter’s ability or inability to adjust to pitching, i think these last two games have really shown our guys are doing a lot of guessing at the plate.
    as far as aj goes, i’m happy we’re getting any production out of him, and if he wants to carry the team into the postseason by all means go right ahead.

  11. I think the key tonight is to get one run early on Webb. If he shuts us down early, it’s over. The longer the game goes, the whole “scoreless innings streak” thing is going to doom us. If we can get that out of the way, I would feel much better.

  12. Well, the odds are highly in favor of the Braves scoring at least one run. I see the game going one of three ways: (1) Webb is off,the Braves score some runs, and Cormier and the bullpen hold on; (2) Cormier sucks again and the Braves get pounded; or (3) Cormier pitches ok, the Braves scratch out a lead and Soriano/Wickman give up the lead and the Braves lose in extra innings. If I was gambling, I wouldn’t pick number 1.

  13. Marc,

    I couldn’t said it better myself. That little boy who pitched last night was embarassing.

  14. If I was gambling, I’d place my money on: “Cormier pitches bad but not terrible, gives up five runs in five innings, Braves unable to do much, Diamondbacks win 6-2.”

  15. I agree with the 3rd pitch. Right now all Chuck does is change speeds with his fastball and changeup and that is usually effective, but he needs to give the other hitters a different pitch to see for the 3rd time through the order.

  16. Agree with the Chuck sentiments…No major league pitcher can be successful for very long with only 2 pitches. Relievers can, but not starters. A pitcher who relies on changing speeds can succeed but they need that 3rd pitch (curve, sinker…) to last deep into games. Chuck is a 5 inning guy because of his over-reliance on changing speeds which leads to him nit picking and throwing a lot of pitches.

  17. If the third pitch is that important, why didn’t the Braves recognize this? Did they all of a sudden realize that he didn’t have a third pitch? Seems like this should have been a priority if they thought it was important. Frankly, I am totally unimpressed with the team’s pitcher development. Either these guys don’t have the physical skills, in which case it’s a scouting issue, or they are not being properly prepared in the minor leagues, in which case, it’s a player development issue. Either way, if they want to contend in the future, they are going to have to find a way to get guys to the majors that can actually pitch. Even the Yankees haven’t been able to bring guys in and the Braves certainly can’t. You can talk about trading Renteria for a pitcher, but at best you are probably talking about a middle of the rotation guy. That still leaves a 40 year old Smoltz and a bad end of the rotation. Unless Jo Jo Reyes develops quickly, there doesn’t seem to be much in the system. The fact that we are debating whether Oscar Villareal is the solution to the Braves problem says something. If he’s the answer, what’s the question?

  18. #2 – I agree with questioning Cox’s use of the bullpen. I also didn’t understand the move of taking Chuck out right before facing Lincecum. Yes, he had just given up his fourth homerun, but to bring in Yates jsut to strike out the pitcher seems ridiculous. Especially, when they had to use a pinch hitter for him the next inning.

    I know it didn’t happen, but if the Braves had managed to get back in that game, it could have been a strain on the bullpen to have already lost Yates to face one batter.

  19. Someone earlier said that he won’t be able to learn another pitch until Spring Training. That’s more or less true. He can experiment during that time and during the offseason, but not during a pennant race.

  20. Also, in talking about pinch hitting for Yates, how obvious was it that Thorman was going to strike out in that situation?

    After he watched the first pitch fastball go by as a strike, he was doomed.

  21. I think the Yates thing was to build up his confidence. I remember him being quoted a month or so ago about confidence issues.

  22. Okay I was mistaken Chuck does have a third pitch, its a slider that isn’t effective at all, and my post should have said he needs to develop an effective thrid pitch.

    As for Marc’s question of why they would bring him up if he didn’t have third pitch. I would venture to say they thought his slider was good enough, but maybe Chuckie has lost confidence in the pitch over time, because I don’t recall seeing him throw the slider since very early in the season.

  23. 26 — That’s just not true. James tore up the minor leagues and the Braves needed a starter last year. He’s pitched well for what’d you expect from a first year pitcher.

  24. I’m desperate enough to say we may have to consider recalling Jo Jo Reyes, who’s gone back to Richmond and is mowing hitters down, left & right.

    But seriously, when you are choosing between Cormier, James, Carlyle, Reyes or an ancient, on the market, David Wells, and then deciding who the THIRD starter should be–well, it really might be too much to overcome.

  25. What is with you people? A guy pitches well for a year and a half, he has one poor outing and one really bad one and suddenly he’s Kyle Davies. Sheesh. Anyone who isn’t Maddux in his prime better watch out.

  26. The problem Mac, is that he is the recognized third starter for this team and he can’t get out of the fifth inning.

  27. Actually, my point was either that (1) the Braves made a mistake by not working on a third pitch with James during the offseason, or (2) they thought he had enough to win now, which he had done last year. He certainly wasn’t rushed to the big leagues. If he really lacks a quality third pitch after spending several years in the minors,this should have been obvious to the Braves organization. It’s one thing to bring a guy up throwing 97 and hope he can get buy without a full repertoire for while, quite another to bring up a finesse pitcher. I really don’t think the Braves are that incompetent (even though I think their pitcher development is not very good). They obviously thought he could get by. I mean, what did Glavine really have other than a fastball and changeup? He had a curve that he rarely used until recent years.

  28. Cormier/Reyes are about the same pitcher.. Cormier was pitching great in AAA in his last few starts just like Reyes. Reyes has way more upside, but he didnt have a strikeout pitch while he was here. He would get ahead of almost all his hitters and then leave them a BP fastball on that they could tee off on. I really think as a staff our pitching philosophy has changed. Even last night if we get ahead of hitters we start trying to come in on them and leave it over the middle of the plate. James did it, Villareal did it yesterday on an 0-2 count. Our guys need to learn to waste a pitch and throw some more offspead stuff to these hitters, remember the good ole days of low and away. What happened to that? Mazzone vs McDowell maybe

    Watch Kyle Davies turn into a better pitcher in KC when he realizes that he has more than just a fastball to throw to some hitters

  29. Our pitching’s no good, but I can’t shake the feeling that our offense is the problem.

    I’m not sure what a “good” hits:runs ratio is, but since we acquired Teixeira—the point at which the organization effectively decided that our strategy was going to be out-slugging teams—we’ve averaged 10.79 hits a game and 5.86 runs. It seems like we’re getting lots of guys on base and not driving them in.

    If the strategy is to out-slug teams, we need to start out-slugging teams.

  30. James’ overall stats are pretty respectable… for a #4 or #5. If he wants to be the #3 next year and thereafter, he needs to go deeper into games which will require him to stop throwing as many homeruns and have something else to show batters the 2nd and 3rd time through the order.

  31. Pick another term to describe Chuck’s outing last night, Mac. I’d prefer horrible, but I’d take miserable, embarassing, and deplorable.

    But not worthless and not clueless. Something’s gone very wrong, though, and when he craps all over the field, I hope you’ll let us call him out.

  32. People, Chuck James is 25 and in his 1st full season.

    I suspect the Braves are pulling him earlier sometimes just to protect his arm. Remember Steve Avery?

    He does need to develop a 3rd effective pitch and will probably do that after this season.

  33. Maybe James should try pitching backwards? The hitters, with their scouting reports, would never predict it.

  34. I agree with Stu to some extent. This is a good offense but hardly dominant. It can put up a lot of runs but can also be shut down and continues to struggle in late innings. Teixera has helped but not as much as I expected. Obviously, having Andruw struggle as much as he has makes a big difference and the overall lack of home runs (with some exceptions)has hurt. Having said that, I don’t think you can put last night on the hitting. You can’t expect them to put up runs in bunches on a good pitcher, especially when the other team keeps scoring.

  35. Marc,

    I wasn’t putting last night on the hitting. That was on Chuck and Oscar. I just meant the overall mediocrity we’ve shown since the Teix deal has more to do with the offense, IMO. That is, we’d have lost last night, anyway, but we’d have piled on a few more wins prior if the offense were doing what we thought it would be capable of.

    I must admit that I view McCann to be as big a problem offensively as Andruw. He hasn’t been very good this year. I think he should bat no higher than 7th and certainly shouldn’t be in the heart of the order right now.

  36. Braves14,

    Avery was 19 or 20 when he came up. At 25, the Braves shouldn’t have to baby James’ arm. Moreover, he spent several years in the minors and was not rushed. I would have expected him to be a much more finished product than, say, Davies or Reyes or, for that matter, Avery. That’s why this stuff about not having a third pitch makes no sense. He’s not a bad pitcher but I think we all expected more. And, to answer Mac, even when he was pitching well, he was going five innings. That’s not acceptable for a number three starter.

  37. Chuck’s a solid 4. Carlyle’s a solid 5. Cormier is a solid 6.

    Sure wish those Arroyo rumors were true and had come to fruition.

  38. Stu,

    I agree with the first part of your statement. I somewhat disagree about McCann. I think last year created unrealistic expectations. He isn’t a .330 hitter, especially catching in the Atlanta heat.

  39. Whether last year created unrealistic expectations is irrelevant. Even if this is the Brian McCann we should expect, he doesn’t need to be hitting 5th.

  40. McCann is the best option for the fifth slot in the order, at least while KJ (who anyway is going into one of his slumps) is hitting second. He’s not a problem.

    Nor is James. “Solid fourth starter”? He’d be a superb fourth starter. Carlyle, based on his performance so far, would be a sensational fifth starter. It’s not 1992, guys. You aren’t going to have four All-Stars in the rotation all the time. You aren’t going to win many games in which you score three runs with your fourth and fifth starter, or even with your third. Deal with it.

  41. Mac,

    I’m sorry, but someone who can’t go 6 innings would not qualify as a “superb fourth starter” by any reasonable standard. Carlyle, I’d agree, would be awesome as a 5th starter. I mis-categorized him. We have two 4s in James and Carlyle.

    McCann: 104 OPS+
    Francoeur: 112 OPS+
    Diaz: 130 OPS+

    The idea that McCann is the best option for the 5th spot just doesn’t have any factual support.

    I know these are two of your favorite guys, but let’s not overstate what they’re giving the team this year.

  42. Stu, look at those ERAs in the story I linked. Last year, the average NL #4 gave up more than five earned runs per nine, the average NL #5 more than six. Five innings, three runs would be a huge advantage, especially with these ridiculously overstocked bullpens.

    Here’s an example. The Mets, last year, finished third in the NL in ERA and won nine more games than the next-best team in the league. What did they get from the back of their rotation? Pedro started 23 games with a 4.48 ERA, 5.77 innings a start. Trachsel started 30 games with a 4.97 ERA, 5.49 innings a start.

    The Astros had the second-best ERA in the league last year. Their fourth starter, more or less, was Wandy Rodriguez. He had a 5.41 ERA in 24 starts, 5.54 innings a start.

  43. Mac, I am with Stu on this one. James can’t get past the 5th so I am actually surprised to hear you defend him so voraciously and call him a “superb” 4th starter.

    Last night was a dreary performance and while he’s had many fine starts, we’ve always acknowledged the basic problems of James…can’t get past the 5th and prone to the gopher ball.

    On a serious contender, he should be no higher than 4th starter, IF there was a really good 3rd starter.

    Which there isn’t. And I agree again, Stu, about the offense. It’s been very hit or miss and while Lincecum is a solid rookie, an offense w/ this type of supposed firepower (and everyone annointing us as the best offense in the NL) should be doing better than this.

    As was stated earlier in here, this weekend has huge implications and makes me very quesy: the Mets & Phils each have easy series, and we are playing the red hot Diamondbacks and have 2 unfavorable pitching match-ups Friday & Saturday.

    And whomever said the D’Backs offense is a “problem” hasn’t been keeping up with all their young, on fire hitters like Chris Young.

    If we managed to avoid being swept this weekend (and Sunday’s our best hope), I will be relieved.

  44. Alex, one start ago he went six innings. He’s averaged about five and a half per start. That’s not great but not bad for a fourth starter, not at all, and his ERA is leaps and bounds greater than most #4s. As a #3, he’s not a plus but not a minus. Average isn’t bad.

  45. Marc, James has never thrown more than about 150 innings in a season before. In the minors starting pitchers don’t go but about 5 or 6 innings usually. You can’t suddenly send Chuck out there for a ton more innings than he’s ever thrown before, he has to work up to it.

    McCann is fine in the 5th spot, though I wouldn’t mind Francoeur switching to his spot to split up the 2 righties in Francoeur and Andruw. Batting order isn’t that important.

  46. its time for Arizona to come back to earth, how they are winning is beyond me. They have some good players, but they arent that great. I think we can take this series and I think its time to give Webb a few runs. Cormier can keep this offense in check, but its his job to do so. Like what Stu said before, our offense has to start driving people in. Tex has been great at doing that when people ahead of him get on base. KJ, McCann, and Andruw have to step it up. We can definitely out-slug this Arizona ball club

  47. Mac;
    This gives me some insight as to why JS went after relief pitching before the July 31st deadline. It seems we’re gonna see “five-and-dive” pitching in the back end of every rotation.

    So, I’ll just deal with it.

  48. The Astros had the second-best ERA in the league last year. Their fourth starter, more or less, was Wandy Rodriguez. He had a 5.41 ERA in 24 starts, 5.54 innings a start.

    What does this have to do with anything? They had the great ERA because of their top 3—that doesn’t mean we should consider their 4 and 5 “great” or even “good”.

    And I read the story before I posted. I just don’t agree with your jump from “better than league-average”, which Chuck obviously would be as a 4, to “superb”.

  49. Mac, I agree with you that when compared to the average of the rest of the league’s 3rd through 5th starters that James looks good. However, I must say that the numbers you cite don’t make the league look very good at all. I guess the standards have been lowered because pitchers with ERAs over 4.50 who can’t go a full 6 innings don’t seem to be “good” at all, at least in my opinion.

  50. I would rather go with a short rotation or promote another minor leaguer than pick up David Wells. There has got to be a better option than him.

  51. I think the umps are somewhat to blame, the strike zone continues to get smaller and smaller and you can tell that some umps are just out to get certain teams.

  52. Ben, the AL has historically had higher ERAs than the NL. It’s an MLB trend, and like Mac said it’s not 1992 anymore.

  53. I would rather have Towers than Wells, Towers could be better in the NL and was above avg 2 years ago

  54. Wells is a better pitcher, but I think he’s done. he just looks completely worn out and has been shelled in his last several starts

  55. Chuck’s ERA is about a run better, maybe more, than the average #4 starter. I’d call that superb. Certainly more than “solid”.

    Again, #3 starters are average. You can complain about it all you want, but the fact is that the league average runs per game nowadays is in the mid-fours. That’s just how it is.

    It’s like saying that the typical adult male should be six feet when the actual average is about five nine. Chuck, in this example, is maybe five nine and a half.

    Here’s another one, Stu. The Dodgers had the fourth-best ERA in the league last year. For the season, they had one starter with an ERA under four (Lowe) and two partial seasons (Maddux and Billingsley). Penny, who was basically their second starter, had a 4.33 ERA and averaged about 5.7 innings a start.

    You guys are falling into a trap of considering pitching by the standards of 1970-1992. By the standards of today the Braves are doing pretty well in the #3 spot.

  56. The pitching gets rocked while Andruw has two hits and is robbed of a third and three of the first five posts are Andruw-bashing. This board has nothing on W when it comes to staying on message.

    James is a fine back of the rotation guy of course. Sure it would be great if he could go deeper into games, but he still helps the team more than he hurts them. As long as he’s making near the league minimum, he’s a great guy to have around.

    Our pitching’s no good, but I can’t shake the feeling that our offense is the problem.

    but since we acquired Teixeira—the point at which the organization effectively decided that our strategy was going to be out-slugging teams—we’ve averaged 10.79 hits a game and 5.86 runs.

    The Phils use there cartoonish ballpark to lead the NL at 5.41 runs per game. With Tex (and mostly without Renteria) we are easily beating that, and the offense is still the problem? Um, okay.

  57. Alex R.,

    The D-backs are 27th in the Majors in team batting, and have allowed more runs then they have scored. So yes its a fairly craptastic offensive team.

  58. It’s all well and good for James to have a somewhat better ERA than the average #3 starter, but teams with average #3 starters aren’t going to be in the playoffs most years. Let’s take the Mets’ rotation for example:

    Glavine 4.25
    Perez 3.46
    Hernandez 3.12
    Maine 3.59

    Even Jorge Sosa who’s pitching more out of the bullpen now has a 4.10.

    Also the fact that James goes less than 6 innings per start only compounds the overworking of the bullpen due to the black hole that is the 5th spot in the rotation.

    For the Braves to be strong playoff contenders and do something once they get there, James will need to take the next step forward in his development and soon.

  59. Do you have the info on what the actual average innings pitched in the 3/4/5 spots are, Mac? That’s what I’m hung up on. I know Chuck’s ERA is fine and was never disputing that; if you show me that 5.5 innings is actually good for a 4, I’ll give in.

  60. I don’t have the data, just the ERAs from the HT study. But the #3 and #4 pitchers I’ve looked at have mostly pitched between 5.5 and 5.8 innings per start.

    Year ERA
    1990 3.79
    1991 3.68
    1992 3.50
    1993 4.04
    1994 4.22
    1995 4.18
    1996 4.22
    1997 4.21
    1998 4.24
    1999 4.56
    2000 4.63
    2001 4.36
    2002 4.11
    2003 4.28
    2004 4.30
    2005 4.22
    2006 4.49
    2007 4.37

  61. I still see Chuck posting a 4.00 era or below, he’s just struggled in his last few starts. Im with Mac, he’s avg for a #3 and would be a great #4

  62. hopefully, I say hopefully, we can get a #3 for Renteria and Chuck and Healthy Hampton can be a great back end for next year. I wouldnt be surprised to see us keep Andruw either through arb. or extension and make one last run next year

  63. Robert,

    Fair point. I think I’ve just gotten so used to this shaky pitching that I was hoping for the requisite 10 runs each game to cancel it out. I crunched the numbers and it looks like we’re scoring a full run per game more with Teix than without, so that’s probably not really the problem.

    I still don’t think McCann should be batting 5th, though.

  64. Robert,

    Fair point. I think I’ve just gotten so used to this shaky pitching that I was hoping for the requisite 10 runs each game to cancel it out. I crunched the numbers and it looks like we’re scoring a full run per game more with Teix than without, so that’s probably not really the problem.

    I still don’t think McCann should be batting 5th, though.

  65. Mac, you’re right. Chuck’s very valuable in this day and age as a 4, and adequate as a 3.

    I do agree with Ron, though, that a team with playoff aspirations should look for more out of their 3 than “average”.

  66. I like that idea. Just go to a four man starting rotation, get more starts for Smoltz and Hudson and end the Redman/Davies/Reyes/Cormier experiment for the rest of the season.

  67. Just wondering, but what kind of pitcher would Dontrelle qualify as these days. he was an ace two years ago, but looks more like a 4 or 5 now

  68. McCann vs rh pitchers:

    .285/.350/.485/.835 8 hrs 48 rbi 21 BB 30 K

    Looks like as good a choice at #5 vs righties as we have. The only other choice would be Kelly who has even better stats vs rh but if you bat him 5th, who hits 2nd? Plus it sets up the middle of the order S-S-L-R which makes it difficult for opposing managers to bring in specialist relievers in late innings.

  69. I can’t see a 4 man rotation working with Smoltz’s balky shoulder. We’ll just have to endure a mediocre to terrible start every 5th day from the likes of Lance Cormier. That’s why it’s so important for James to do better because we know we’ll need 4+ innings of relief when the 5 spot comes around. He and Carlyle need to limit the amount of innings the relievers do in their starts so the bullpen doesn’t wear down which seems to have already happened to Soriano and Yates.

  70. That’s true, Ron. I hadn’t even looked at the splits. And he’s not hitting 5th against lefties. I’m on a roll this morning!

  71. Wow, some of you guys have officially lost your minds. I’m not gonna get into the Chuck James thing, as that’s already been covered, but Mac is absolutely right.

    Even more hilarious is the contention that the hitting is the problem. There has not been one game since Teixeira showed up where the hitting is the problem. There has been one game where we scored less than three runs since he got here. We weren’t gonna win that one (which was the first Colorado game) or last night’s game no matter what the hitting did.

    So which game do you think the hitting was unacceptable in? The game where we scored 11 runs against Houston but lost? The one where we scored four in the first against Philly and found ourselves tied at the end of that inning? Other than the Colorado game and last night’s game (which, as I said, we wouldn’t have won anyway), the offense has put us in position to win every single game. I’m not sure what more you want, but whatever it is, it doesn’t seem to be a fair expectation.

  72. Also, I would like to again point out, since no one seems to ever remember…there is a wild card!!! We don’t have to win the division!!! We are not “doomed” if we fall five behind the Mets!!!

  73. The braves are looking for that Tom Glavine type pitcher and Chuck is the closest thing they have to it. However as the Detroit Tigers proved, the 2nd or 3rd time through the order, he basically has no chance agains a good hitting team.

    Does James even workout? He looks like he is the 11th grade physically. Everyone can’t be Greg Maddux.

    I wonder did facing those lefties disrupt KJ timing or something…b/c he is slumping at exactly the WRONG TIME. This is why he can’t bat leadoff. This is also why we need Edgar back in a hurry.

    Ok, I’ll be honest. I know he is doing ok, but for some reason I was expecting the McGriff effect on the offense when we got Tex, but we couldn’t beat 44 y/o Jamie Moyer, a washed up Russ Ortiz gave us trouble…just saying.

  74. I think the 4 man rotation idea would be something the Braves might use in the last 2 weeks or so.

  75. There is only a month and a half left in the season. Smoltz won’t melt down from a couple of extra starts.

    I’ll take a hurt, worn out Smoltz and a tired Hudson over a healthy, well-rested Lance Cormier every day of the week.

  76. I would rather lose 9-3 to the Giants than blow a five run lead against the Pirates and lose 10-7 like the Mets did last night. How deflating.

    Cormier, if you’re reading this, if you can pitch six innings without giving up more than 3 runs, I will take back every terrible thing I’ve said about you and your family.

  77. While I fully understand & acknowledge that there is a Wild Card, for some reason, I refuse to process that information.

    Headed up to The Bronx tonight to see the Motown Kitties. (That bunch can mash.) I’ll be scoreboard watching. I never chalk up a loss before the game is played & I won’t tonight, but if there’s a Braves TV game to miss, this could be the one.

    It’s not so much that Cormier is starting for us; it’s the other guy. We sure better get our mash on tonight, too.

  78. You can’t use a four-man rotation. Smoltz’s shoulder is about to fall off as it is.

    The Braves are what they are. Mac’s right about James I guess(although I still think that it is not unreasonable to expect the Braves system to produce something more than a league average no. 3). It seems unlikely that they will go on a tear and reel of 18 of 21 or something like that. On the other hand, they are 8-6 with Tex in the lineup and if they continue that pace, they would win 87 games. Probably not enough to win the division, but maybe enough for the Wild Card. I guess I’m becoming resigned to the fact that these aren’t the 90s anymore and that we probably shouldn’t expect much more than we are seeing–a decent but not dominant team.

  79. I’m late responding–been in a meeting–but just b/c I said James looked like he was throwing BP last night does not mean I think he should be sent back to the minors, fed to Michael Vick’s dogs, or whatever. He had a lousy game last night–perhaps a cause for concern since it was his fourth in a row allowing 4 or more runs. He was good from May to July (only 3 of 17 starts with 4 or more runs allowed) and just seems to be scuffling a bit in August. I certainly don’t think there are any better alternatives available.

  80. I’m surprised we haven’t heard any rumors about JS investigating SPs who have cleared waivers (mainly Towers and Wells). Anyone who doesn’t give up 7 runs a start and implode in the third will do.

  81. Does James even workout?

    Aside from not having a third pitch, I think this might be the biggest obstacle for Chuckie. While it’s convenient to say that hitters “figure him out” the third time through the order, his physical strength and stamina might be as big a hindrance to going deeper into games.

    Chuck’s game is to pitch up in the strike zone, yet he’s not a fireballer. Any loss of velocity or location as the game progresses is therefore deadly, and while that might be interpreted as hitter adjustment, it might also be that they’re just seeing some fat pitches.

    He’s crossed this up by having first inning troubles in his last two starts, so who knows. It’s still my working hypothesis that he needs to become physically stronger.

  82. csg,

    Bird in the hand. You never know what a jury will do plus it is very costly to actually do a trial. And, even if he was convicted, he almost certainly would not get the max anyway.

  83. Just wondering, but how many bullpen sessions do our guys throw between starts and how many pitches do they throw? I bet if we didnt make them do that a 4 man rotation becomes possible

  84. I guess your right, look at OJ. however, all of his friends are taking plea deals and are willing to testify against Vick

  85. sansho,

    Stamina issues can’t be blamed for not locating your pitches for the first three innings. Chuck has to be perfect with every pitch, and when he is not he gets hammered.

  86. Nationals got Wily Mo

    Wily Mo Pena Traded To Nationals
    According to Rob Bradford of the Boston Herald, Wily Mo Pena has been traded to the Nationals. Jim Bowden finally got his man again.

    Assuming he can stay healthy, it’ll be interesting to see what Pena can do with 550 ABs. For what it’s worth, PECOTA projected a line of .276/.336/.504 heading into this season. Pena still has a one in five chance of becoming a star, according to Baseball Prospectus.

  87. I’m going to the Nats-Mets game tonight with Glavine pitching. It will feel weird rooting against him.

  88. #103

    You’re right. I’d been thinking about this issue before his last couple of starts (which, as I mentioned, muck up the theory somewhat), and Tony’s comment about working out reminded me of it.

    I’ll stick to this, though — since he doesn’t have a great margin for error, and since fatigue increases the likelihood of error, it would behoove him to get stronger.

    Listen to me going out on a limb and saying that physical strength is an asset for an athlete. Dispute that! :)

  89. Not to pick on Chuck, but one thing that has always bothered me are the stories that are told about him not knowing who he is facing, whether Pujols is a good hitter or not. I don’t think being dumb is a good quality in a pitcher, especially a guy that doesn’t throw hard. Guys like Maddux and Glavine always knew exactly what they were doing because they studied the hitters and knew their weaknesses. Now, I don’t know if these stories are actually true, but it seems to me that Chuck needs to be more of a student of the game rather than just going out there oblivious, at least if he wants to be more than a league average number 3 starter.

  90. Re: 105

    But you must.

    It’s fun reading the new SI—college football preview issue. Only 15 days until UGA-Okie St.

  91. ububba,

    I will but I’m afraid the stadium will be half Mets fans anyway. I’m going with a Mets fan as a matter of fact but he knows my loyalties. There were tons of Philly fans the other night–do any Philly fans NOT get drunk when they go to a game?

  92. And, even if he was convicted, he almost certainly would not get the max anyway.

    I actually had a 15+ minute discussion with some folks in the office earlier today. The 4th Circuit is pretty dang tough—the consensus around here is that he’s fairly likely to be staring down that 6-year sentence if he’s convicted.

  93. Stu,

    Really? That shocks me. I didn’t think they could do that under the Sentencing Guidelines for a first-time felon, although not being a criminal attorney I probably don’t know what I’m talking about. Interesting.

  94. Well, given that if he doesn’t take the deal, they’re gonna indict him for some other stuff (or at least try to, and at this point, I don’t see how they wouldn’t get the go-ahead from the grand jury), including racketeering, I would think six years is a definite possibility, and might be a low-end if convicted.

    Given that all his alleged accomplices have already pled and are going to testify against him, I don’t see how he can refuse this plea deal. Although admittedly, this isn’t really my area of expertise.

  95. Cormier, if you’re reading this, if you can pitch six innings without giving up more than 3 runs, I will take back every terrible thing I’ve said about you and your family.

    What you are saying here is that you’d settle for a loss. There is no way we are going to score 3 runs or more against Webb. And while their relievers might not be much better than our (which says something), when was the last game the Braves did ANYTHING against a reliever after being unable to score against the starter? This team wins it early or doesn’t win it at all.

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