Astros 3, Braves 1

ESPN – Braves vs. Astros – Box Score – September 28, 2008

Just to add to the disgust, the Braves finished this lost season by losing a game… largely on the strength of a home run by Brad Ausmus. Will no one rid us of this middling catcher? Ausmus hit a two-run homer in the third inning, and the Braves couldn’t do anything offensively, so the Hampton Era presumably ends with a loss in a game he pitched well, allowing just four hits, not walking anyone, and striking out five.

The Braves’ only run came on a fifth-inning RBI groundout by Corky, which cut it to 2-1, but Hampton allowed a run in the bottom of the inning to get the lead back to two. That was it.

Chipper pinch-hit and walked, wrapping up the batting and OBP titles. These mark the first time he has led the league in anything. Congratulations to Chipper. McCann sat for the second straight game, presumably to secure a .300 average, but he too pinch-hit. He didn’t get the hit, in an RBI situation, but finishes at .301.

I’ll autopsy the season in a few days.

84 thoughts on “Astros 3, Braves 1”

  1. In the AL, the White Sox won to avoid a total meltdown that would have lost them the Central (they’d been 2 1/2 up with 6 to play, but then lost five straight). They still have to make up a game hosting the Tigers, and then if they win, they get a one-game playoff at home against the Twins.

    Central winner plays at Tampa, while Boston goes to Anaheim. Again, it’s Dodgers at Cubs and Brewers at Phillies in the NL.

  2. .Did he demonstrate toward the opposition? Did he point to the stands? No, he did what he always does: He got off the field as fast as he can.

    No he didn’t but who cares. I just thought it was funny. Although, I take back what I said about it being the funniest thing. That would be the downright giddyness on the UCLA radio post-game show over how close they played – wait for it – Fresno State.

    Just like last season, watching the Mets crap the bed takes a lot of the edge of this lousy season.

  3. You implied that Moreno was acting like a punk who cared more about his TD than his team—a scenario that’s at odds with the truth.

    Re: The Mets
    The weirdest thing is that the Mets are having their “Shea Goodbye” ceremony right now, and all these heartbroken fans are sitting there watching the team trot out warm & fuzzy memories of Mets Magic.

    Now we’re getting the “grand slam single” moment. Why doesn’t that moment bother me at all?

  4. Because we won the series, I’d guess. Why are they celebrating Shea? It’s a dump, and it always was a dump. So the Beatles played there — they played in lots of dumps.

  5. Awesome: GameDay’s coming to Nashville for the #13 Auburn vs. #19 Vanderbilt tilt next Saturday!

    Not awesome: Stu will be in New York, missing this once-in-a-lifetime-type occasion.

    Kirk Herbstreit: The only AP voter not to put Vanderbilt in his Top 25.

  6. The BCS used six computer rankings last year, of which three have been updated this weekend. Two of those three have:

    1. Alabama
    2. Vanderbilt

    Sagarin doesn’t have Vandy that high, but does have Alabama #1.

  7. Being the top one-loss team in the poll would suggest that USC’s season isn’t as over as I thought it was. Doesn’t matter, they’ll find a way to beat everyone else by 40 and then lose to Washington State.

    You implied that Moreno was acting like a punk who cared more about his TD than his team—a scenario that’s at odds with the truth.

    It was just a ‘scoreboard’ moment. As in, “Nice play, but have you taken a look at the scoreboard lately?” Didn’t mean to start something.

  8. How can you put USC over UF? Ole Miss is a better team that Oregon State, and UF’s loss was on a stupid PAT block, which is as much a freak play as anything else, rather than, say, a TD.

  9. I can think of four reasons, none of which I would necessarily endorse:

    1. USC was ranked higher before they lost.
    2. USC lost on the road, Florida at home.
    3. USC lost when they couldn’t come back; Florida lost from ahead.
    4. USC looked a lot better in its wins than Florida did.

    If we’re going by the “who you lost to” standard, Georgia should obviously be higher than either.

  10. Fresno State is a damned gritty football team. They do not back down from anyone Robert. Who is your college football team?

  11. what a great weekend. i really didnt have a dog(dawg) in the Bama-Georgia fight but it was interesting to see Richt looking confident when he was down 31-0. the last team he was involved in with that score came back for a tie………..other than that, the gators lost, the ‘canes lost. the mets puked, the braves are out of their misery, the fish are biting and my in-laws decided to stay home because of gas shortage paranoia…………………… is good.

  12. I’m more baffled by Florida over Auburn in the polls. Auburn lost to LSU; we lost to freakin’ Ole Miss. I love my Gators, but Auburn should be ranked higher. I don’t care how high Florida was ranked before this weekend.

    I do, however, think Florida should be ranked higher than USC.

  13. Mac’s SEC Power Rankings!

    1. Alabama
    2. LSU
    2. Georgia (tie)
    4. Florida
    5. Vandy
    6. Auburn
    7. Ole Miss
    8. Kentucky
    9. USC
    10. Tennessee
    11. MSU
    12. Arky

    Tennessee is the worst team left on Georgia’s schedule. It’s a hard schedule.

  14. get a grip. Rob……if we’ve learned anything so far this year,. it’s that the polls are subect to radical changes. sometimes for no apparent reason.

  15. Looks like Auburn/Vandy will be an interesting tilt this weekend. I couldn’t get tix but I’ll be tailgating before the game with the Greater Nashville Auburn Assoc. Looks like I’m off the Vandy bandwagon until next weekend. Sorry Stu:(

  16. So, yes, Chipper for Hall.

    I don’t have much to say about college football this week. I didn’t watch any of it except for some of the Georgia game last night. o.O

  17. Get a grip? I know how the system works. I’m just saying, objectively, that Auburn should be higher. I know that it’s entirely subjective and the radical changes are many times inexplicable.

    An 86 yard pass, a blocked PAT, and a failed 4th down. Brilliant!

  18. Those aren’t just things that “happen”, Rob. The pass was a busted coverage, not Snead making a throw you can’t defend against. The blocked PAT was terrible blocking by a line that wasn’t prepared. And the failed fourth down was a coach who really hasn’t adjusted to the fact that Tebow is no longer the running threat he was last year, and that not having any option element to the play but just diving him into the line was guaranteed failure if Ole Miss doesn’t completely implode.

    Auburn people were like that after the MSU debacle, where they almost lost — “If it wasn’t for the turnovers and the penalties and the safety we would have won by more.” Right. And if you were a better team, you wouldn’t have done those things.

  19. Auburn is terrible.

    If Caveman Crompton hadn’t laid the ball in the endzone, the Tigers would have lost that suckfest 7-6.

    Take Vandy and the points. (Assuming there will be points.)

  20. It was really kind of a letdown that the Braves didn’t lose by one run on a Francoeur DP in the 9th with the bases loaded.

    I’ll have to say that the season was somewhat salvaged by the Mets being eliminated (and the Yankees earlier in the month). I was pulling for the Brewers, but I’m still a little miffed about them firing Yost. Whatever you think about him, he brought them a long way over the last few years.

  21. You shouldn’t. The line is Auburn -4.5 right now. They should really be able to run on us. We can win, but I wouldn’t pick us.

  22. Since the Braves aren’t making the playoff this year, there is nothing better than seeing the Mets blowing another chance…awesome…and we are getting a higher pick for the same result.

    …and we are now tied with the Giants for the sixth overall pick. Hope luck is on our side…

  23. Have you seen Auburn? If they start Burns, they could do that, but they’re married to Todd (the poor man’s Brandon Cox — and Cox was the poor man’s Patrick Nix, and Nix the poor man’s Stan White). Basically, they’re running the spread offense with a guy who can’t, or won’t, run, and who does not have a whole lot of arm strength either, leaving them with an array of short passes. Their best offensive players are all running backs, who are being asked to play in an offense in which they don’t fit — not surprising, since they and everybody on the roster except Todd were recruited to run a pro-style offense. Their best offensive play is a draw and their second-best a “handoff and do what you can”. Which at the rate things are going will be two of about five plays they’ll have, after Tubeworm spends another week of pruning plays from a playbook already a third the size of what it was.

  24. I’ll be surprised if they don’t employ a lot more power running sets against us. If they run the spread with Todd, we’ve got a very good chance, although I’m not sure how we’re going to score much on them, either.

  25. They’ve barely played under center this year, and when they tried against Tennessee they had exchange problems. Unless they’re willing to completely junk the spread — they probably should, because Franklin’s offense is totally high-school — they just don’t have much they can do from a traditional formation.

  26. Mac, I wasn’t saying that those were just random things that just “happened”. I was saying how sad it was that we let those things happen, blaming Florida for them. And that was just the fourth quarter. We also had 3 fumbles.

    I disagree that Tebow is not the running threat he was. He’s not having as many running opportunities this year simply because he doesn’t need to. We’ve been effective with Demps, Rainey, Harvin, Moody, and even Keystahn Moore running the ball. We have so many weapons on offense that Tebow doesn’t need to run. As for the Ole Miss game, he had bad protection and didn’t really have chances to run.

    This “Tebow can’t run” notion is something seemingly being put out by the national media because they aren’t watching the games and they don’t know our personnel. Last year, Tebow needed to gain yards on the ground. We had Fumblin’ Keystahn Moore, an injured Percy Harvin, and a little bit of Brandon James. Now, we have more than enough players to fill in. And shoot, as we saw against Ole Miss, Harvin is really electric when we get him the ball. Then add the rest, and we’re ballin’.

    I do agree that the play-call on 4th and 1 was pretty stupid. A shotgun draw? Wow, everyone in America knew that was coming. Bad execution and, at times, bad coaching screwed us.

  27. As a Vandy fan, I consider it an achievement that people will seriously suggest that we have a chance against Auburn.

  28. there are many pro scouts that view Tebow as a Fullback in the NFL.

    funny, though, that a kid who won the Heisman as a QB is gonna be forced to switch positions in the pros.

  29. @2, ububba,

    I don’t agree with the “about right.”

    Mac, among the autopsy topics needs to be this team’s record failing to equal its stats (for the second year in a row).

    In wins, we underperformed by runs scored by 6 (ESPN P Wins are 78).

    Then, our run differential was 3% of runs total. However, opponent’s OPS only exceed ours by 6 OPS points (less than 1%). PLUS, we were higher in the better component (I don’t know the proper weighting factor), OBP, and lower in the less important one SLG (+9 in OBP and – 15 in SLG).

    I don’t know how to calculate 3rd and 4th order expected wins from stats, but I think these two calculations (pythag and OPS comparison)mean that this team “should have” performed near .500.

    Posible things to look at that need to change maybe somebody knows how to analyze this specifically): BUNTS. too many and even more, bad execution on bunts. If Bobby can’t teach them to bunt right, then he doesn’t need them bunting. Successful bunts lower run expectancy. Unsuccessfuly bunts KILL run expectancy.

    Another one: bad bullpen management. When Joe Simpson is quoting stats on how much better Jeff Bennett is when he has a day off between appearances, then why doesn’t the manager understand that.

    By the way, we may need to non tender Ohman because his overuse this year sets him up like Moylan and Soriano last year. Also, watch out for what happens with Blaine Boyer.

  30. I agree, Tebow looks slower. He has a big time arm, I think he will be fine in the NFL. Of course, he won’t be running very often there.

    All of the hits he has taken are starting to show.

    He is still 1,000,000 times better than Crompton, but who isn’t?

  31. It’s late to be commenting on the 3rd post in this thread but I have to say I think the loss of Pat was the biggest blow to our coaching staff (bigger than Leo IMHO) in recent years. I remember going to a season ticket holder event where Eddie Perez was the speaker and someone asked him what the bench coach was responsible for. He said the two main things Pat did was defensive positioning of the players and being Bobby’s memory and reminding him of situations, what bullpen pitchers had done against upcoming batters, etc. It seems to me those are two areas I have seen drastically decline since Pat left. Unfortunately at the season ticket event this year (a week ago) Wren and Schuerholz both indicated there were not going to be any coaching changes even when someone asked about possibly getting Yost back.

  32. How the mighty have fallen; Kansas City: 75-87, Texas: 79-83, Cincinnati:74-88,

    Atlanta: 72-90

    Definitely having issues with this; it’s like my brain can’t process these numbers as a reality.

  33. Looking at the stats, Mac, you may be right that he’s slower. He’s had two good games on the ground against Hawaii and Miami, but has had two bad games on the ground against Ole Miss and Tennessee, probably similar teams. We have at Arkansas, Kentucky, and Georgia in J-ville coming up. I think we’ll have a better picture of Tebow at least after the Arkansas game.

  34. Cliff,
    That may all be true. Yes, 78 wins is better than 72 and we can argue that this team is less than the sum of its parts for a variety of reasons.

    But I was kinda referring to something else. FWIW, I do recall saying, after the Black Monday that revealed Hudson’s injury, Tex’s impending trade, etc., that this suddenly looked like a 90-loss team.

  35. As someone who reads you every day and posts about three times a season, I just wanted to say thanks, Mac, for the service you perform for us Braves fans in farflung locations like New York. Now, we just need the quality team to match your quality commentary.
    As I never tire of reminding the Mets fans up here, don’t dwell on the Mets collapse (oh, Ok dwell some) dwell on the Mets and Phillies record in Turner field this year. THAT’S the park you probably ought to want torn down.

  36. Echoing Jonathan F.,

    Mac, you do a great job. Great depth of knowledge and an interesting way of phrasing things, to say the least.

    Stu at 44,

    I guess instead of non tender I should have said “not offer arb”. I was thinking that at the time, and didn’t say it right. Odds are Ohman is toast next year.

  37. Yeah, Mac’s the man. What he does here is fantastic. You deserve a medal. A Braves Blogging Medal. I don’t know if they make those…

  38. Do we know yet if Ohman made Type B?

    If he didn’t, no way I would offer arb. Otherwise, I would. He will get a FA contract from somebody, maybe us.

  39. I’d gladly trade you a Vanderbilt loss last week for a Florida victory this week.

    Don’t know how long this will last though since its the third straight game Snead has looked awful. Spurrier might bring us back down to earth again.

  40. South Carolina’s defense is probably better than Florida’s. If you can score more than 14 points, though, you’ll win.

  41. I am not sure how much confidence I have in his calculations if Jair is not even worth compensation this year. I think it contemplates two years, but still.

    Well, if it’s true, I guess we throw all our first round money at the number 6 or 7 pick in the draft.

    One other thing – Seeing Smoltz on the list as a Type B free agent helps emphasize what a loss it is to have guys like him and Hudson injured in the final years of their contracts. Smoltz is one of the best pitchers in the League when even semi-healthy. We lose him for the year and we also potentially lose compensation for him the following year. Injuries really hurt.

  42. I can think of four reasons, none of which I would necessarily endorse:

    1. USC was ranked higher before they lost.
    2. USC lost on the road, Florida at home.
    3. USC lost when they couldn’t come back; Florida lost from ahead.
    4. USC looked a lot better in its wins than Florida did.

    If we’re going by the “who you lost to” standard, Georgia should obviously be higher than either.

    It’s basically a default. USC was the highest zero loss team, now they are the highest one loss team. And I think that voters are more sympathetic to road losses (USC) than home losses (Florida, Georgia). You start losing games at home, there is usually a real problem. Georgia certainly wins the ‘who did you lose to’ game, but being down 31-0 at home at halftime is a good way to lose the voter’s respect.

    You shouldn’t. The line is Auburn -4.5 right now. They should really be able to run on us. We can win, but I wouldn’t pick us.

    How is Auburn going to score five points?

  43. The half time score argument should work against USC, too.

    Also, shouldn’t it matter that Georgia lost to one of the best teams in the nation while USC lost to team with a losing record.

    I think it is inequitable treatment.

  44. If they’d use Burns they’d have a shot, but I can’t see Auburn winning many more games with Todd. For someone who has supposedly been running this offense his whole life, he certainly doesn’t look comfortable. He can’t run,and he floats every pass. I’m not sure why they are so scared to let Kodi throw. He had a dumb INT in one game, but how many has Todd had now? I like Tuberville, but his QB decisions have never made any sense to me.

  45. Also, shouldn’t it matter that Georgia lost to one of the best teams in the nation while USC lost to team with a losing record.

    Sure it matters. I’ll make a prediction: If Georgia and USC both win out, which they won’t, but if they do, Georgia will end up ranked ahead of USC. The rankings on Sept 29 don’t really matter that much.

    Trojan fans are huge OSU Beaver fans now. If they go and win at Utah this Thursday, that would help a lot. If Utah beats them 40-0, well,…

  46. How is Auburn going to score five points?

    I fully expect to see a lot of Burns, Fanin, Tate, and Lester. If Auburn wants to, it can run on us, as it did last year. And I think Tommy T knows that and won’t allow Franklin to screw up another game for them.

    PS: Whatever happened to Wryn (or whatever his new handle is)?

  47. “Auburn has won 13 straight in the series since Vanderbilt’s last victory in the 1955 Gator Bowl … The Tigers have won the last six meetings in Nashville since Vanderbilt’s last win in 1950 … Vanderbilt won eight consecutive games in the series from 1929 to 1950 … Auburn has averaged 36.4 points during its 13-game winning streak against Vanderbilt … The Tigers have held Vanderbilt to 10 points or less in nine of the 13 victories … Auburn has rushed for over 200 yards in nine of the last 13 meetings, and had at least four rushing touchdowns in six of those 13 games, including the last two … Vanderbilt has averaged just 106.6 yards passing per game in the last 10 meetings.”

  48. An Auburn game in Nashville is one of my worst experiences as a Commodore football fan. I arrived a few minutes late and I swear to you their were two “14’s” on the scoreboard – the number of points Auburn had already put up and the number of minutes left in the first quarter.

  49. Man, Braves Journal Fantasy Baseball is over, and I must say, I suffered a collapse as impressive as the Mets last year. Just a few weeks ago I was in second place, and I finish the season 7th. Lame.

  50. Hankonly: Depends on whether you intend to compete next year. If we don’t have to compete, he can certainly stand on first and hit 7th or whatever. If we think we have a chance, we had better be putting a more impressive hitter than Ward out there every day.

  51. From Dave O’Brien

    “Here’s WREN on the trading prospects: “We’ve got a lot of prospects, but it’s a fine line. Especially when you’re making multiple-player trades. Because we feel like we’ve got a wave of talent coming, and we won’t trade from that wave of talent. That’s not the way you build a winning team. You may win one year doing that, but [not long term].”

    When I asked, that’s when he confirmed he meant Heyward, Freeman, Hanson, Schafer and others of that ilk. That’s the “next wave” he talked about. Said Braves always were good at working a player or two into roster from minor league system, but haven’t had impact guys since the 2005 group. The ones he referred to are the “next wave” of that kind of player, in his view.”

  52. Thanks, Nathan.

    Is Kotchman the “more impressive hitter”? Do we have someone in the minors that might be?

    Gotta get power from somewhere …

  53. Yesterday, I read a NYC columnist (Kevin Kernan, I think) calling for the Yankees to trade for Kotchman.

    Can we get Phil Hughes in return?

    BTW, the Mets fallout is pretty messy today.

  54. So after a quick review of the MLB Standings, it looks like we ended up with the 6th/7th pick (same record as SF Giants). Who we gonna take? I’m excited to add another top prospect next spring who can get to Atlanta quickly. Looking for a silver lining..

    It’s too bad MLB didn’t enforce the signing deadline this year. Pedro Alvarez might have been back in the draft with an outside chance to fall to us..

    (Stu, Stu, wake up!)

    Oh god, what have I done.

  55. Huh?

    My guess, as it has been for the past couple of months, is Donovan Tate. He might not last 6 or 7 picks, though.

  56. AAR,
    Around here, it’s Met people avoiding eye contact, speaking in low tones, shuffling around in a daze. It’s a non-alcoholic hangover.

    The collapse was bad enough, but I keep going back to the preposterous “Shea Goodbye” celebration that the team insisted on having after the game. Truly, a bizarre sendoff.

  57. Hank,

    Honestly, I think for Kotchman to be a part of the next good Braves team, he has to improve some from 2008. If he hits more like the .296/.372/.467 line from 2007 and less like the .272/.328/.410 he hit in 2008, he’s a good player. 830 OPS, OBP-heavy, is a complementary hitter we can work with at first. Less than that, and, well, we saw this year what happens when a premium offensive position just entirely fails to produce.

  58. Sam,

    I agree that 3/4 of the Yankee infield don’t get to enough balls—the right side of the IF was certainly subpar. But if Cano hit at all in the first half, his defensive shortcomings (and lack of effort out there) wouldn’t have been so pronounced.

    But if they’re going to back up the truck, which is what the Yankees appear to be ready to do, why not just go for Tex?

    Again, I don’t see this happening at all because I expect to see the Pinstripers making at least one (and probably two) big FA splashes, which will also result in Joba Chamberlain returning to the bullpen.

  59. For next year, I think we need a top end starting pitcher. Strasburg probaby will not get to us, but someone like Kyle Gibson or Alex White.

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