Kittens and Puppies: September 3, 2007

If you want to talk about the baseball game, I guess you can. Hey, look, puppies and kittens!

Kittens!
Puppies!

As for the baseball game, I will recap at some point, but I’m going to be away and this will probably be in the morning. I’ll put up a postgame discussion thread that will emerge at about 5 my time.

37 thoughts on “Kittens and Puppies: September 3, 2007”

  1. Let me save you the trouble, Mac.

    Recap:

    Cormier sucks so it was no surprise he gave up 7 runs in 4 innings. What is surprising is the Braves got no hit by Jamie Moyer. Maybe Bobby starting Woodward, Miller, Franco, and Harris wasn’t such a good idea.

  2. Lefty pitching. At least we should get to see Matt Diaz get his 3 hits, which will be 2 more than the entire rest of the team

  3. Vandy-Bama line currently sits with Bama a 4.5 point favorite, Mac. That’ll probably go up to 7 or so.

    Bobby Cox needs to retire. Bobby, if you’re reading this, I beg you to retire. You’re awful. I would trust a fan selected at random (with both new-borns wearing tiny Braves caps and 95 year-old ladies who barely remember that they even live in Atlanta included in the pool) to manage this team better than you.

    By the way, from this point forward, until the end of this miserable, miserable season, I will refuse to acknowledge that Atlanta even has a baseball team.

  4. Stu,

    I am definitely a long time supporter of Bobby Cox.

    I absolutely recognize the significant and unique contribution he has made to the Braves’ remarkable run (which should certainly now be referred to in the past tense). I also recognize the undeniable culpability he has with this year’s, IMO,underachieving Braves’ team. There are visable signs with the enigmatic choices he has made, but the overall results, to me, speak volumes. I always thought that the verification of his managing prowess was represented by those years at the end of the streak when he was bringing sub-par teams into the post season. If that was the case, then he certainly must take significant blame when his team consistently loses when it should win.

    Maybe, he is just having an off year (like Andruw, I hope) or maybe he should really retire.

  5. Ron–I think the recap will be a bit different. Now that it is, for all practical purposes too late, Cormier will throw a no-hitter. Frenchy will go 4-4 with 3 homers and a double. Woodward, platooning with KJ, will have a two homer game. The Braves will still lose–probably on an error by Andruw. Or something like that. :-)

  6. Bobby is signed through 2008, correct?

    If things get worse than this…which is hard to even fathom (John Smoltz and Tim Hudson are abducted and held hostage by Fidel Castro, demanding we return Escobar to Cuba), we may need to have a Mr. Winkle sighting.

  7. Parish,

    I’ve always been a Cox supporter, too, until this season. I honestly feel like he couldn’t have gotten less out of this team.

  8. I’ve long thought Bobby was below average at in game decisions and line ups, but the Braves always before overcame those faults perhaps in part due to Cox’s motivational strengths but more due to having 3 hall of fame pitchers at the top of the rotation. Just 2 years ago he willed a ridiculously young team to a division title when another playoff appearance by rights should have been impossible. This year and perhaps last too he seems to have lost the clubhouse. The team just isn’t putting forth effort that matches its talent. You can live with a manager who makes insane decisions as long as you are winning 95+ games a year. When you don’t break .500, maybe it’s time for a change.

  9. Did I read that right? Brian McCann caught stealing home?

    I really need to get MLB TV

  10. I have no idea what goes on in the clubhouse, but there were several times earlier this season when I thought the team needed a good airing out. The stretch against the Sox/Tigers was downright pathetic, and here at the end of the season, we laid an egg on the latest roadtrip and against the Mets. We all know the team lacks pitching, but there was something more missing from this team, because they played pretty heartless baseball for some time now. I think Bobby probably has lost the clubhouse, because at this time when the team needed to step up, they laid down. If he can’t hold guys accountable then it may be time for him to step aside.

  11. No one’s talking about the game?

    Wow. I realize the Mets just whooped us, but weren’t we all pretty much over the season going in?

    Oh well. Despite the pitchout on the squeeze play (seriously, squeeze on the first pitch? Take one first!), we got 3 runs out of a bases-loaded situation, which is like 3 times better than anything we could do against the Mets!

    And Cormier is pitching a decent game thus far. Maybe he can continue his success and be a player in the rotation next year.

    Common! We’ve still got a month of playing to finish over 500 to root about. :-D

  12. Offseason needs:

    1. A third starter to go behind Smoltz and Hudson and before James and Hampton will cure a lot of ills.

    2. Bench players with some homerun power and the ability to get on base. I fear the main guy off the bench next season will be Martin Prado.

    Really, that’s about it. This team doesn’t need a major overhaul. It’s got a great offense and a pretty good bullpen, especially if Mike Gonzalez comes back strong.

  13. Dan,

    I’d add taking another starter in as well. Having to rely on Hampton again is not a good idea and having a surplus of pitching is never bad no matter who we have. Trading James might be feasible if it nets us a top of the line or solid #2 starter to fill in behind Hudson (if/when Smoltz retires). Starting pitching, at least two more, should be the main goal of this team.

  14. I think the Braves only need one more good starting pitcher, not two.

    Smoltz has already signed a contract extension that ensures he’ll be here in 2008 and possibly 2009 (if he can throw 200 innings in 2008) and 2010 (if Smoltz can throw 200 innings in 2009).

    The Braves should keep James. Young league average left-handers are valuable, and I trading him as part of a big package to land a #2 starter seems kind of counterproductive.

    Hampton, coming off injury and making 14.5 million in 2008, can’t and will not be traded. And since he’s making so much, he’s going to be in the rotation somewhere. That is you pencil him and build your rotation with him as your #5 starter and not the #3 starter like the Braves tried to do coming into 2007.

    Smoltz, Hudson, new #3 guy, James and Hampton works for me and is solid.

  15. I kinda like Acosta.

    The Braves offense finally woke up from hibernation mode, too bad they will return to hibernate tomorrow

  16. I don’t think we’ll get a big-name guy; I just don’t think the payroll will be there. But I do think Cormier, James, and Reyes will, in aggregate, perform a good bit better than this year.

  17. Dave O’brien the beat writer for the AJC said there was a good chance that Liberty Media was going to raise the payroll by 10-20 million for 2008. So there is a good chance they could get another starter. Plus I do not think they will resign Andruw.

  18. Please, please do not let the Braves go into 2008 thinking of Cormier and/or Reyes as effective starters with somewhat secure spots in the rotation.

  19. Paul Byrd is an upcoming free agent who took a discount in the past to pitch for the Braves. Any chance you could still pass him off as a #3?

  20. Where was this pitching and hitting the last 3 days? We won’t make the playoffs but maybe we can at least spoil it for the Phillies.

  21. Bobby hasn’t had his greatest season, but I’m not as down on him as everyone else. I tend to look more at Andruw & JS’ inability to firm up the back of the rotation.

    I don’t think Bobby’s responsible for our 5th starters going 3-19. He’s not responsible for Gonzo’s injury, for Dotel’s injury, for Renteria’s injury, for Thorman & Andruw’s ’07 suckitude. He doesn’t make up the roster.

    I don’t believe his occasionally curious in-game decisions have cost the team the season, as much as the players have. When Wickman blows 4-run leads in the 9th, I’m not sure how that becomes Bobby’s fault. People point to Bobby, but really they should point to Wickman.

    Still, I believe that a manager is generally judged by his record. And this team is 2 games over .500, certainly a disappointment. The team has been flat, flat, flat in crucial times of the season (interleague & the stretch run).

    If you want to lay that on Cox, that’s fine. But there’s a lot of blame to go around—#25, please step forward first.

  22. #31, which is why you have to look beyond wins to evaluate pitchers because wins are a function of run support and how good your bullpen is.

  23. For instance:

    21 homers
    195 hits in 163.1 innings
    .292 BAA
    only 77 Ks in 163.1 innings

    Byrd is 4th or 5th starter material at best. Certainly not worth the money it would take to sign him. Lance Cormier gives us better when healthy.

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