Braves 4, Phillies 1

Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies – Box Score – April 05, 2009 – ESPN

Can’t anything be easy?

The Braves jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first two innings, all the runs scoring on homers. McCann hit a titanic shot to the second deck in right field, scoring Chipper, with two out in the first. Francoeur hit the first pitch he saw on the season hard, making it 3-0 on a drive down the left field line. And Jordan Schafer, hitting eighth, hit a homer in his first major league plate appearance, taking it out to the deepest part of the ballpark.

Yunel Escobar almost hit the Braves’ fourth homer leading off the third, to basically the same part of the park, but came up just short for a double, and after that it was time for Hibernation Mode, as the Braves couldn’t get anything going. Fortunately, Derek Lowe was magnificent. I can only describe him as “Maddux-like”. He allowed just two hits, a double in the third and a single in the sixth. He didn’t walk anyone, and only went to three balls on rare occasions. After a couple of early long flyouts, he mostly got ground balls, and mostly weak ones, on his way to eight shutout innings.

After eight, Lowe had thrown 97 pitches (59 strikes) and I wanted him to come out to at least start the ninth. But Bobby went to Gonzalez, who really didn’t have it, throwing pitches all over the place. He very easily could have blown it; with one out, a run was in and the tying run at the plate, in the person of Howard. He went 3-2 on him before getting a strikeout, and 3-2 on Ibanez before getting another.

Chipper had a single and a double. Schafer also had a single and was intentionally walked, the only walk the Braves drew. (They struck out ten times.) Kotchman looked just terrible at the plate but good at first base.

144 thoughts on “Braves 4, Phillies 1”

  1. Kotchman worries me. He has not hit much since coming over. He is definatley a gap and slap hitter. Lowe looked great, mixed his pitches well. Defense was solid. I am hoping these are the kind of professional outings we can expect from Lowe and Vasquez. We can get some highs and lows, hoping for more highs from Jurjens. Those three could be pretty good.

    If Johnson gets on, we could be a pretty good lineup. Im happy, we need to win the series though!

  2. The entire game I was trying to ignore the Maddux similarities cropping up in my mind, especially this early, but yeah, that was one masterful performance by Mr. Lowe.

  3. He did move the ball well, up and down, side to side. Had great movement, very Maddux-esque. I gotta tell you though, I felt awful not seeing Smoltz as part of the bench

  4. I don’t think Shafer will be hitting leadoff anytime soon.

    And I’d like to know how Soriano felt after warming up in the pen later in the game.

    I find it hard to believe Cox didn’t put in Boyer…as he is supposed to make 162 appearances this year, right?

  5. Escobar & Kotchman looked really good in the field…lots of Gold Glove caliber players on this team, at least.

  6. Give Kotchman a couple games to get warmed up and learn his role in the lineup. Kelly Johnson looked pretty bad, too.

  7. Johnson is so streaky, tuesday he will probably go 4-4, thats just the way he is!
    I like Schafer where he is until he gets settled in.

    Anderson is a professional hitter, i like him!

  8. ***5***
    In high school baseball we can take players out and put them back in, i think thats what bobby will do with boyer to get him to 162, he can pitch him in the 5th, take him out, trot him out for the 8th!

  9. ***5***
    In high school baseball we can take players out and put them back in, i think thats what bobby will do with boyer to get him to 162, he can pitch him in the 5th, take him out, trot him out for the 8th!

  10. Lefty-righty. He’ll bring in Boyer, then move him to left field for one batter while O’Flaherty pitches, then put Boyer back on the mound.

  11. ha! True, that is too funny! The freshman team I coach has only 11 guys, so i am VERY creative as to how to coach em up, and work my pitchers!

  12. Logan Schafer is getting walked (takes a huge swig of bourbon). Can you believe it Joe? In his first major league game, Logan Schafer is intentonally walked at the eight spot (squinting eyes after tequila shot). Great game by Logan Schafer!

  13. I think Gonzo was pumped and was over throwing. I hope he gets it worked out before the playoffs.

  14. I cant believe no one corrected him, I think Joe Morgan was out of it, and Steve Phillips was admiring himself, and his baseball strategy

  15. Ha!
    They can call him whatever they want if he plays the way he did tonight, hopefully Jocomo Francouer continues to play well also

  16. Well, I gotta get up early, last day of school before the kids get off for spring break and a game of my own tommorow at 4 weather permitting, what a good way to start off the year, here is to 161 more in a row!

  17. They mentioned that Bobby might would bring Gonzalez in for the 8th if it happened to be Utley-Howard-Ibanez. Joe said Bobby’d do it because he’s so smart. Joe Morgan calling Bobby’s potential bullpen management smart. That’s awesome.

    Gonzo never seems right in non-save situations. Maybe it just seems that way… but he likes to create pressure situations for himself.

  18. courtesy of PWHjort at MLB blog:

    During McCann’s at bat here is a paraphrase from Steve Phillips. “Brian McCann hitting cleanup is a testament to the lack of power that the Braves have this year.”

    McCann deposited the next pitch in the upper deck.

    During Schafer’s at bat, here’s another paraphrase from Miller – “I don’t know why Myers is pitching around this rookie. They should really go after him with fastballs.”

    Schafer deposited the next pitch in the center field seats.

  19. It was fun to watch the first couple of innings before hibernation mode. I hadn’t even noticed the 10 k’s (I noticed more all the first pitch swinging).

    It was fun to watch real baseball.
    Great W.
    Lowe was excellent.

  20. Kotchman looked absolutely horrific at the plate. He swung awkwardly and even struck out—which he does not do very often. The other times he put the ball in play were very weak grounders.

    Here’s hoping that he was just pumped up and overswining.

  21. It was so refreshing to watch a pitcher throw 8 shutout innings, and under 100 pitches too! but of course, the game wouldn’t be dramatic enough without a near-blown “Braves save”, now would it?

  22. Only got to watch the first 3 innings this evening but had a great time reading all the posts just a bit ago! Mac thanks so much for this site, can’t wait for more games like tonight. I’m flying to Philly to see Tuesday’s game. My roommate from college has box seats behind home plate. Looking forward to seeing JJ pitch in person! Oh, and my buddy say’s “don’t wear anything that says Braves on it”!

  23. Well Mac, this is the first game of the season as well as the start of the 4yr/60M contract on our 35 years old ace. I actually think it’s a good idea to protect Lowe a little bit with a four runs lead.

  24. Well I’m sorry I missed all the action on here, but I was busy watching basketball… I watched the first 4 innings line and DVRed the rest, and just finished it up.

    Very pleased with what I saw from Francoeur. Obviously the homerun, but his next two ABs were pretty good too, despite a pretty shifty ball called in his 2nd AB. Not as impressive in his 4th AB, but at least he was unimpressive in a different way than last year: taking too many close pitches instead of chasing crap.

    LOVED what I saw from Lowe, and I’m right with you Mac, I wanted to see him at least start the 9th. BUT it probably did make sense to keep the pitch count down with 31+ starts to go. I might have gone with Moylan to start the inning though, so that we wouldn’t get in the situation we did, where Gonzo was struggling but couldn’t come out with the 3 lefties in order still coming up.

    Gonzo got it together, finally, but I just hope Rob Cope’s dad wasn’t watching that 9th… too much stress.

    Here’s to being on top of the baseball world!

  25. Are you guys trying to say that you don’t trust O’Flaherty against Utley and Howard? Shocking.

    Great game, hopefully our homerfest is a gift that keeps on giving for Myers.

  26. I love the DVR…

    Lowe had some nasty movement tonight. Of course, Gonzo looked like Mitch Williams. But, all in all, a helluva way to begin the season.

    And there’s no doubt that I’ll be rooting for the Reds tomorrow afternoon.

  27. Remember Gonzo’s first game against the Phillies two years ago? He walked the bases loaded and striked out Utley and Howard to end the inning. Gonzo will be fine.

  28. I’m so glad the Braves have Lowe. I bet Burnett doesn’t turn out this good of an outing at any point during his new contract.

  29. Well, we’re not going to go 162-0, but it sure does feel good to win the first game, and despite the semi wild 9th and the hibernation after the 3rd inning, we outplayed the “champs” last night. Is it a fluke or is it real?

    First and foremost, after Lowe’s Maddux-like performance last night being the #1 most impressive thing, I was MORE IMPRESSED by the defense, particularly the infield defense behind Lowe than evemn the 3 home runs. All 4 of our defenders ate up every ball hit to them with ease and that is a great sign. Great defense will continue to make good pitching even better.

    I’m not overly concerned about Gonzalez. He settled down and struck out the last two guys and recovered nicely. His stuff loomks good and I think he’ll be fine. If I were the Phillies, I’d be more concerned about the “great” Charlie Manuel’s decision to bat 4 lefthanded hitters in a row. Who does that? This guy managed a World Series winning team? He basically made it less stressful on the Braves.

    If I were the Phillies, I’d also be concerned about what happens if Hamels elbow inflames again. Brett Myers may have settled down but we still tagged him pretty good so for a “defacto” ace, not that effective. Here’s hoping the Hamels thing continues to be an issue for the Phillies.

    I am concerned about what could be a sever lack of offense from LF and 1st Base, however, it is only 1 game.

    I feel so much better about our potential this year than the last 2 yrs.

  30. @42 – Try not to be too concerned about a SEVERE lack of offense from LF. Anderson looked good last night. He may turn out a league average performance, but we won’t see a severe lack from that position.

  31. I am excited to think of what this rotation could be with Hudson as a part of it. Imagine Hudson comes up, and Hanson overtakes 5 and is like lights out. Could be a special rotation.

  32. Joshua,

    I’ve definitely been in the minority on here in terms of defending the Anderson signing as a solid platoon partner for Diaz. I think the capabilities are there for left field to be productive and decent.

    But I didn’t think Garret looked that good. he looks old. Now Chipper’s about the same age but Chipper looked like Chipper last night.

    Look, if Anderson can mostly replicate his 2008 season, then he was worth the expense. .293 with 15-17 home runs, and even a mediocre OBP? I’ll take that.

  33. #45

    It’s rather intriguing the kind of starting pitch depth the Braves might have. If our current five man rotation is as good as it’s capable of being, we’ll have an excess of arms if Hudson returns healthy by August. Not to mention Hanson.

    If the starters are as good as they can be and Hudson returns, there’s a likelihood we could deal with an A.L. contender that has an excess of outfield or first base bats & a lack of starter and maybe trade one for a hitter at a weak offensive spot during the Summer.

  34. Not as impressive in his 4th AB, but at least he was unimpressive in a different way than last year: taking too many close pitches instead of chasing crap.

    No, no, no. Getting called out on borderline pitches outside is GOOD. This is Jeff Francoeur. This is the man who saw Andruw Jones corkscrew himself into the ground on breaking ball away after breaking ball away and thought “Oh, I can do THAT!” Taking that pitch is what he needs to do. Spit on it. Let the ump give it to the pitcher for the first month. The second time that crew cycles through they’ll start thinking “maybe that pitch is a little outside.”

    That was probably the best 1-4 Francoeur’s ever had.

  35. Rob,
    I know I’m late, but I wanted to let you know that I’m praying for your dad and the rest of your family, too. Keep me posted.

    On the game,
    So nice to have the Braves back in my life. Last night was obviously enjoyable but a couple of things concerned me:

    (1) Kotchman looked awful. Does he always flail wildly like that when he swings?

    (2) We couldn’t score when we weren’t hitting homers. We’re not going to hit 3 HRs every game, so we’re going to need more timely hitting.

    I do realize it’s only one game; I just can’t help but look for negatives.

    On Jay Cutler (I know this is very late),
    Whoever it was that made the dumb comment about Jay doing in Chicago what he did at Vanderbilt—“putting up a bunch of stats but never winning,” or something like that—that’s kind of, well, dumb. Jay’s time in Nashville and his time in Denver were marked by the same problem: absolutely no defense. If we didn’t have Cutler in his senior year, that team would have won 2 games. If you’d given him last year’s defense, they’d have won at least 9 games.

    Yes, he’s immature when it comes to personal relationships—although, to his credit, he is not the party responsible for taking all the drama to the media—but he’s a heck of a good QB. He’ll win games and make some mediocre WRs look pretty good. He’s already got a good RB, a good TE, and a close friend at WR. The Bears will be good; there’s a reason their players and fans are so excited.

  36. Stu,

    I second you on two different things there:

    First, only scoring on home runs, yeah, that could be a concern since our lineup doesn’t actually have a lot of power. Yeah, one game so we can’t get too caught up, but it was noticeable.

    Second, Jay Cutler is going to do well in Chicago, the Bears do have a better defense vs. anything he had in Vandy or Denver, and the Bears with him should be the favorites in the NFC North division.

    The Vikings have a great defense and running game, but I’m sorry, they’ll eventually learn what the Bears finally fixed…you can’t win with cruddy Quarterbacks and make no mistake: Tavaris Jackson sucks.

    The Packers, if they improve their defense, could be good but their defense looked awful and their running game is questionable. I liked what I saw of Aaron Rodgers but he needs a lot of help.

    The Lions, if they draft smart, could improve in a hurry, since I’m one who thinks Stafford can play very well at the next level, but I’m a biased Georgia fan so what do I know. If they draft the Baylor off. lineman and have Dan Orlovsky, they are likely losing 15 games next year.

  37. I’m not done with the article… but I can’t imagine anything in the Stark piece is better than this line from Bobby:

    And Lowe — in his first start after signing a four-year, $60 million contract in January — promptly went out there and became the first Braves starter to get through eight innings on Opening Day since John Smoltz did it in 1997, and the first to do it in his first start as a Brave since Greg Maddux in 1993.

    “But he did go to three balls twice tonight,” Cox deadpanned, “which I’ll talk to him about.”

  38. Question for you coaches out there:

    How does Lowe grip his sinker? That thing is nasty.

  39. First off, more posi-thoughts for Rob & his dad.

    Secondly, winning on opening day is always great because you get that extra full day to savor it.

    Re: D.Lowe
    What do you say when your starter is damn-near perfect? Been awhile since we’ve seen an effort like that—and I love the Bobby humor.

    Here’s some more from one of the great comic geniuses of our time, Woody Allen. In this short New Yorker column, he offers a hysterical Madoff revenge fantasy incorporating crustacea via the Borscht Belt.

  40. @54

    I don’t know about Lowe especially…but from a guy (me) who, during his prime (3 years ago) could top out with much more velocity than Tommy Glavine can now,(85 MPH) here’s kind of how you do it…(for a righty)

    It is basically a variation of two seamer, but instead of keeping your fingers on the seams, put them just inside. Also, move your thumb over to the left little and not straight at the bottom of the ball.

    When you go to throw it, just throw it like a fastball; however, the positioning of your fingers should make you turn the ball over and, hopefully, with that topspin, get the down/in sink on RH hitters.

    Some people move their fingers outside the seams, but my hands weren’t big enough (and I also think it’s more of a sinker/splitter hybrid)

    Anyway, that’s how we were taught…

  41. Rob, wish your dad all the best.

    Let’s just cherish yesterday win and ignore all the negatives from last night. I am sure we will have plenty of opportunities to bitch about the negatives after a loss.

  42. Last year we lost Sunday night opening day despite a great pitching performance by John S. It’s a new year.

  43. @48: Wow how times change… I’m actually getting called out for criticizing Francoeur. I love it!

    Like I said it was unimpressive in a different way. I am glad to see him being more selective, but he took a pitch even further out in his 2nd AB and it was called a strike, so he probably should’ve got the bat off his shoulders in that last AB. It wasn’t an awful AB, but his first three impressed me more. He really showed off his eye in his 2nd AB, despite a couple questionable calls, and still ended up hitting a stiff liner to Rollins.

    I was also glad to see him get that homer, and still not be pressing to duplicate it the next time up. He was definitely taking what the pitcher gave him, and that’s a big step in the right direction. Good first game, lets just hope he keeps it up.

  44. After last night’s game and the first bit of Reds-Mets today, it seems clear that there’s been a belated directive from ESPN to push OPS during game broadcasts. Player stat graphics include a brief explanation, and the announcers are providing uncritical primers about it. I suppose there exist some unwashed masses among baseball fans who are unaware or distrustful of OPS, but to me this development is firmly in the category of better late than never.

  45. I noticed it last night, too, sansho. Jon Miller talked awkwardly about it. As you said, better late than never.

  46. Steve Phillips (Steve Phillips!) actually said OPS was a good way of measuring a player’s offensive production. Right before he went off on a tangent about Joey Votto’s intangibles.

  47. Once they get through the roll-out, it’ll be nice to see. Maybe it will have an enlightening effect on some of the more troglodyte analysts like Morgan and Sutcliffe.

    OK, that might be too much to ask….

  48. I did not sleep all night to watch the game here in Europe, took the 7 am flight to London for dreadful meetings all day and I am dead tired right now in my hotel room… but it was so worth it. One of the best Braves games I’ve seen in a long time.

  49. Interesting Yahoo! Column analyzing just how potentially horrid the Mets starting rotation might be:;_ylt=AoSm9pk.8EoN5vUzBynb_aCFCLcF?slug=ge-metsrotation040409&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

    Everyone picking the Mets to win the World Series, those people should maybe take note that it requires starting pitching to accomplish this.

    Even if Santana is healthy and wins 20 (especially with Putz and Rodriguez behind him now) you’re still left with Ollie Perez, John Maine, Mike Pelphrey and the rotting carcas of Livan Hernandez.

    Sorry, but I’ll take everyone of our five starters + Hanson and Jo Jo over anyone in that group (with the exception of Santana). I might give Perez an experience edge over Jo Jo Reyes, but Reyes is pitching in Gwinnett.

  50. The thing about OPS is it doesn’t exactly “measure” offensive prowess — it’s a sum of two quantities with different denominators, which is kind of mathematically ridiculous. Nonetheless, it’s a very easy sum to compute, and it appears to be well-correlated with offensive prowess, which makes it a good, easily-quotable proxy for prowess itself.

    There are much better measures, however, as Ken Tremendous’s son McCarver FRAA “Woody” Tremendous can easily attest.

  51. Aaron Harang provided 5 innings of 2.00 WHIP to my fantasy team…at least the Mutts only scored once.

  52. It seems to me, that this may be the point where the Mets extend their lead… when the new pitcher for the Reds throws two balls to Santana to start things off (AFTER the double by Castillo)…

  53. Trifecta post and I’ll wait for others… just have to point out that our ostensible ace shut down the reigning world champions for 8 innings, and Johan Santana was just pulled in the 6th after giving up a run. Small sample size and all that, but man that feels good.

  54. I see the Mets-Reds score is 2-1 Mets in the bottom of the seventh. It’d be nice is that hyped Mets bullpen blew the game in the eighth or ninth inning.

  55. Living in New Jersey, all I hear is mets and yankees, it sucks, im so tired of tihs revamped bullpen bs! I hope they all come down to earth.

    And your right, ill take our rotation over the mets, even with santana

  56. #73

    True, and those metrics have their place. Speaking as someone who visits Wonkville frequently, I have zero interest in seeing VORP, FRAA, etc, rolled out for mass consumption. Not because they aren’t valid — they are. But there’s no entertainment value in trying to explain them to a mass audience, and it’s not really necessary to most people’s enjoyment of a ballgame to know so precisely where a player ranks among his peers. OPS and WHIP, in addition to traditional stats, take it about as far as I need.

  57. Did the Reds forget to bring their MLB team to this game? who are some of these guys? Several rookies and guys who didn’t play at all last year…

  58. Sansho, I’m basically with you, though I like OPS+ and ERA+ — they’re pretty easy to explain, even if they’re a bit cumbersome to calculate (they require a lot of data to do all of the normalization; the formula itself isn’t too hard).

    There is a whole lot you can explain with just OPS+ and ERA+, and the marginal usefulness of other stats, in a general-interest context, tends to decrease as their complexity and difficulty to explain increases.

    So I’m not saying that Joe Morgan should all of a sudden try to educate his audience about wOBA and WARP3. But it’d be awfully nice if he could at least contain his derision at the same time as refraining from folksy nothings like “He lets his players play” and “He knows how to win the game.” If that’s all he’s got, he should shut up and let us hear the crowd noise.

  59. Thanks, Ethan!

    Whoever takes the Xavier job is going to walk into a good situation (assuming no mass defections). Wonder why an East Coast guy like Miller went West with UCONN and other Eastern jobs likely to open up in the near future?

  60. You know, it just wouldn’t be a Yankees team without a fat guy wearing enough uniform to tarp the mound.

  61. Wonder why an East Coast guy like Miller went West with UCONN and other Eastern jobs likely to open up in the near future?

    Well, whoever takes over at UConn is likely to have lots of sanctions to deal with. What other jobs are you talking about, hank? As strange as it seems (to me, anyway), Arizona is probably a top-15 or so job right now.

  62. @88: I’d be real surprised to see “lots” of sanctions come from this, but it is possible we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg right now. My guess though, is that Calhoun ends up sticking around another year or two, and when he does go I think its likely that they’ll go with a more inside option. (I’m not a UCONN expert or anything, so don’t expect a name, but when you’ve had a run like Calhoun has I imagine there’s at least one successor, or disciple, capable of extending it.)

    SO I can see why Miller wouldn’t sit around waiting for the outside chance that the UCONN job could’ve been his, and instead took the opportunity to take over an elite program (the second time it was offered.)

  63. re: #91/Aaron’s #714

    I remember listening to that moment as a 10-year-old—Milo Hamilton on the mic. I was sitting in a car in a Piggly Wiggly parking lot.

    Boy, those uniforms were ridiculous.

  64. On a seperate topic, I still think Jordan deserves better than a HOF induction. The guy is from a different planet.

  65. UNC is unconscious. Another 5 minutes of this & the game is over.

    Check that: I’m not going out on a limb here, but MSU is gonna get run out of the building.

  66. I hold myself to one THE HELL a day… but THE HELL?!?!?!? Did I just see Sir Mix-A-Lot do a version of “Baby Got Back” in a commercial for “Spongebob Squarepants” toys at Burger King? I don’t think a random generation program could have come up with that.

  67. I like square butts and I cannot lie.

    Anyway, did anybody see this from the Tigers game:

    “Umpires waved both teams off the field for nine minutes in the bottom of the eighth inning after two balls were thrown from the stands in the direction of Tigers left fielder Josh Anderson. Groundskeepers cleared paper airplanes and empty beer cups from the warning track as the public address announcer read a message warning fans the game could be forfeited.”

    You stay classy Detroit.

  68. This is not meant to lament over a bad trade, but I have to say that the Teixiera trade may go down as the worst trade in Braves history. I just saw where Andrus, Salty and Harrison are all on the Texas opening day roster and Feliz will probably be the best of them all -Beau Jones may be pretty good also. I will have to say that I was in favor of the trade, but in hindsight I was stupid. I had no idea how good Feliz could be and how useless two months of Mahay and a few weeks of Dotel would be. Considering this trade gives me more appreciation for what Wren did this offseason. At least we are on the upswing instead of on the downswing like we’ve been for the last two years.

  69. Agreed for the most part. I just hope that it’s a lesson learned for the Front Office. As I said I’m also optimistic for the first time in several years about our general direction.

  70. I was thinking last night that we don’t know the outcome of the Teixeira trade yet, because we don’t know what Kotchman will be. Though he certainly won’t be worth four or five major leaguers, and last night he looked, as noted, terrible.

    But anyway, I was also thinking that if the Braves had gotten anything from the outfield corners last year, they would have stayed in contention until Hudson got hurt — and would therefore have not traded Teixeira. What would the offseason have looked like then?

  71. I was listening to the Yanks/O’s game on the radio today & they were booing Tex like he was Bernie Madoff (or Robert Irsay).

    BTW,’s “premium package TV” is pretty awesome. I broke down & ordered it today. Tons of cool features. I’m not a fanstasy player, but those who are will love this thing even more.

  72. @113 – Yes, a big ol’ klunker over there at first would just be a fantastic idea. Especially with Lowe in the rotation where infield defense is a BIG factor. Let’s go with that plan.

  73. Just saw 49 from Stu. I used to work with a Vandy grad in Nashville who had just as much passion toward Jay. I’ve been a Broncos fan my entire life and am definitely bitter, but there is no way Jay will duplicate this year the numbers he had in Denver last year. If Chicago gets some different offensive weapons than what they have now, it would be a different conversation. I grew up not far from Santa Claus, Ind., and I always liked Jay. But that insane temper tantrum has me hoping he pulls an Archie Manning career.

  74. @115 – I didn’t really mean to make it sound that snide. But after reading over my own comment, I feel kinda bad. Sorry bout that. Just tired of hearing that we should have picked up Dunn from EVERYONE. Not saying I disagree, just that it didn’t happen – and I’m tired of hearing about it. But again, I do apologize.

  75. ububba @ 112, they kept it pretty low on the TV feed but you could still hear it. Like he was ever going to play in Charm City.

  76. @118: Yes, it was Marek.

    The thing that always bothered me about the Tex trade was how it kept expanding. Even from the first reports that it was official… then they “threw in” Neftali Feliz… Ultimately, it was a Hail Mary kind of move, and it fell short both years.

    Then again, if we stack up all the good trades we’ve pulled over the last 20 years on one side and all the bad ones on the other… well you get the point.

  77. I agree with Gadfly on this one, I was okay with the trade, and then when it become official, it seems like they ‘threw in Feliz AND Harrison’ or Beau Jones. I can’t remember which.

    To borrow a line from Wedding Crashers, “I don’t want to talk about it, it’s just gonna upset me.”

    That season was just a case of JS thinking in his mind he had one last year to go for it, and he went for it. I can’t really blame him for that, it’s one of the few trades that worked about horribly for him.

  78. I still consider the Tex trade as our gift to JS. That was his last year. He went for it and fell short.

  79. I had the impression they threw in Feliz, too. The other throw in was Beau Jones, who Daniels got b/c he started complaining about a minor injury Harrison was suffering. At least Beau Jones is the type of player you throw in to finish a deal, but it seemed like JS was continually bidding against himself.

    I said this at the time and I stand by it: take Feliz or Andrus out of that deal and I am okay with it. I really think I still would be today.

  80. @111 that first comment on that link is priceless:
    “But in the business world, in the baseball world, sometimes you have to make difficult decisions. When it came down to it, the Yankees had a sh**load more money. Deal with it, b**ches.”

  81. I was just reading on Scientific American’s site about baseball science and their interview on A-Rod’s roid use… licked this bit about the Mets. Though they’re just being used as an example of how it effects a baseball team late in the season (recovery time and all that):

    “If you take a look at good power hitters in April and May (early in the baseball season that runs from April to September, excluding the playoffs), their numbers are going to be pretty good. But these guys aren’t able to maintain that in August and September. Take the New York Mets: If that team was on anabolic steroids the way they were in 2000, they probably would have made the playoffs the past two years instead of running out of gas late in the season. It makes a big difference when having that little extra.”

  82. Dunn is gonna have a better season at the plate than anyone in the Braves’ outfield.

  83. I’m not bitter about the Tex deal. If we would have won, it would have been owrth it. I like taking the chance an going for it. Usually we are the winner’s in this type of deal (see Fred McGriff)

  84. I am seconding Smitty and also refuse to be “bitter” about the Tex deal.

    There’s no question, in hindsight, this will go down as arguably the worst trade in Braves history, considering how the young players we gave to Texas are now performing.

    But DO keep this in mind: We have arguably the best hitting catcher in Baseball in McCann (at least with Mauer hurt) and Salty wasn’t going to ebat Brian out, and we have one of the best young SS’s in Baseball in Yunel Escobar and Elvis Adrus wasn’t going to beat him out.

    The one part of that “hindsight” that does make you cringe is had we held onto those guys, it probably would have pushed through the Jake Peavy trade this past December because Andrus would have been there to replace Escobar.

    (Despite Sunday and Monday’s results, the age difference and controlling the contract would have made that appealing).

    That being said, with the way Derek Lowe looked as our new ace on Sunday, plus with McCann and Escobar as two of our off. leaders, we didn’t royally screw ourselves in the process either.

    But again, though I refuse to be bitter about it. I can’t since I was a trumpet for getting Tex.

  85. I’m not bitter about the Tex deal or the Drew deal for that matter – you gotta give to get. What does bother me is that I suspect in both cases, we were committed to NOT resigning the player, which, IMHO, makes the deals not so hot. You can always make more money – getting good players is hard.

  86. It’s important to remember that we also got Mahay in the Tex deal, and he turned in some quality relief as well as a draft pick (our first one in last years’ draft given that we signed Glavine; I think it was DeVall?). That’s no Feliz, but it’s something.

    I’m not especially bitter about the Tex deal, but I do think that it’s clear we were taken for a ride. I thought one of Salty/Andrus plus Harrison plus another mid-level prospect would’ve been appropriate. I think I was even willing to throw in Feliz (recall at the time he was just a low-minors arm, albeit one with a ton of upside), though I thought it would have been too much. But I was hoping for Salty/Harrison/mid-level prospect. When the news came out that it was Salty AND Andrus AND Harrison AND Feliz (and two more) I was kinda floored.

    But at the same time, I remember being very excited. Tex made the Braves a REALLY good team, and I thought we had a very good shot at making the playoffs. If the entire pitching staff doesn’t implode, I still think we make it last year. Hell, we were still in it in August down 2 top bullpen arms and 3 starters until Hudson got hurt.

    Tex was a great get, and if we could’ve kept him… well, maybe it’s sorta worth it. If we make the playoffs, I’d have said it was worth it (or at least close to worth it). But at this point…. Yeesh. Just wait until Salty finally breaks out and Feliz makes the big club. Seeing our prospects on someone else’s top 10 is one thing. Seeing them winning games and hitting homers is way worse.

  87. Considering how pathetic Casey Kotchman looked at the plate on opening night, I sure wish we still had Salty at first base.

  88. I really am “Braves-centric” to say the least in terms of not caring or paying attention to the rosters of many other teams, particularly A.L. teams.

    I just realized Jason Giambi was an A this week.

    Before you make fun of me, I got a text from my Mets friend Eric on Sunday night during the game:

    “When did you guys sign Garret Anderson?????????”

    That’s worse because we’re division rivals. I guess even Mets FANS are only focused on the Phillies…

  89. In hindsight, yeah, we paid a whole lot for Tex. But I supported the move at the time and *still* say it was the right move at the time. We had a legit shot at the playoffs and Tex fixed a glaring hole in the team in a major way.

    Sure, Salty, Andrus and Harrison are in the bigs now and Feliz looks like a stud in the making. But hey, it’s water under the bridge at this point. Usually prospects flame out, sometimes they turn into John Smoltz.

    And despite losing some talent in the deal, we are still looking very, very good for the next few years.

  90. Dan at 128,

    And likely Dunn will have a better season at the plate than all but somewhere around 50 Major Leaguers. (We have 2 likely to exceed Dunn in Chipper and Mc).

    But, I really believe that offensive Runs Created plus Defensive Runs Saved for Diaz and Garrret Anderson will net better production than Dunn (even after adjusting for extra plate appearances from pinch hitting, etc. you get with 2 guys).

    So, to me, paying roughly 5 million for one committed year for what we have (Diaz and Garret) as opposed to paying 10 million for each of 2 years for Dunn doesn’t look bad, it looks good. And, I am not really a big fan of the Garret Anderson signing.

  91. I agree with Alex, mraver, et al on Tex. We overpaid, but we got a hell of a good player and he almost willed us into the playoffs like Sabathia or Manny last year. You can’t afford to roll the dice often, but sometimes you gotta take a risk. And like Alex pointed out, our farm system is still pretty kickass. Yeah, it’d be nice if we still had Feliz, but Texas would sell its soul to have the major league pitching staff we’re trotting out there.

    Re: #130, Damn. Lowe was a stud

    Lowe is, was, and will be a stud.

    Any more starts like that, and I’m going to have to make room for him in my heart next to Brian McCann and dark beer.

  92. I read that “athletes-go-broke” story couple weeks ago. Very illuminating.

    There are suckers, and then there are suckers with money & ego—those guys have targets on their backs.

    And then there are guys like Travis Henry.

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