You can’t spell “game thread” without M-E-T game thread: July 21, Giants (not Mets) at Braves

Coming off the Mets series, still thinking about that team, which is just what they want, I bet. Anyway, I don’t do this often, but a fairly long post about the Stem after the jump, feel free to ignore it if you so desire.

So, the Mets are pretty much dead. This is not all that surprising to me, except for how completely they’ve fallen apart. The blame is going to injuries (injuries that were not all that unpredictable; more on that later) but the real story is the collapse of their pitching staff, something that was easy to see coming if you looked hard enough. Alex and Cary, if they’re here, will recall some emails I wrote early in the season making the point that their rotation was made up, after Santana, of one bad lefthander and three righthanded finesse pitchers. John Maine is okay, and struck out 7.8 men per nine in 2008, but had walk issues. Mike Pelphrey’s 3.72 ERA in 2008, however, was an obvious illusion, as he struck out less than five men per nine innings, and Livan Hernandez (backed up by Tim Redding) throws nothing but pure slop at this point.

Behind these three righthanded pitchers ranged a defense without one truly plus infield defender. Reyes and Wright are average, and on the right side of the infield they sported a 33-year-old second baseman with hamstring problems and a 37-year old DH the size of a bulldozer, with almost as much lateral agility, playing first base. It is no surprise that was Pelfrey’s ERA has skyrocketed, that Livan has been useless, and that Redding, a pitcher who was extremely lucky in 2008, is on the verge of release.

The collapse of the pitching staff — it is very bad after Santana, and even he has only been good instead of inhuman this year — has been hidden by the park effects of Citi Field. Their ERA at home is 3.70, but on the road it is 5.12, which would be the second-worst in the league after the Nats, a horrible team with one of the worst defenses in living memory. It is a curious thing that most mainstream analysts will accept the existence of park effects, but only negative park effects. They are all too eager to blame Citi Field for David Wright’s power outage (even though he’s hit more home runs at home than on the road, and that last season he hit only 12 homers in road games) and for the Mets’ offensive woes in general (even though they’ve hit almost exactly the same on the road as at home, to such a degree that the Baseball-Reference park factors consider Citi Field a neutral park). But they refuse to recognize that the Mets’ pitching is not just below-average, but actually the second-worst in the league. I’ve noticed the opposite with players at Coors Field; the announcers always make excuses for the pitchers, but steadfastly maintain that Todd Helton really is one of the best hitters in baseball and not Wally Joyner armed with a bazooka. It is the Lake Wobegon Theory of Park Effects; everyone is above-average.

At any rate, their defense took another hit when their one really good defensive player went down with a knee injury. (In addition, their manager took a dislike to their only other good defensive outfielder, Ryan Church, and started looking for reasons to bench him, like in order to play a 20-year-old “hot prospect” who hasn’t really hit in the minors yet, eventually getting management to trade him for a factory-damaged ex-prospect.) The injury to Beltran was not a surprise, really. Beltran played 161 games in 2008, but in his previous seasons with the Mets had missed an average of 17 games a year with various injuries. Also, he’s an all-out player, a guy who makes a lot of diving catches, and diving failed catches, and has been involved in at least one major collision in his career. Playing 161 games and trying to keep a team in the pennant race almost singlehandedly as the rest of the offense collapsed around him couldn’t have helped matters. It can’t be a surprise that he eventually went down. Jose Reyes is a similar sort of player, though not nearly as good (with the bat or the glove); he throws himself around a lot. He played 159 games in 2008, and clearly wore down as the season went along. For his career, he is a .248/.307/.378 hitter in September and October, a sign that he was playing too much. Carlos Delgado’s injury is the least surprising of all; the most surprising thing is that he has lasted that long without a major injury. He’s a big guy — not fat, but very large — and extremely slow. I’ve been predicting that he’d fall apart for about three years now.

That takes us to the final leg of the Mets’ collapsing stool, the lack of depth in the system. The Mets’ system hasn’t been very productive of late — really, not since Frank Cashen left. Wright and Reyes are the only homegrown stars they’ve had since Edgardo Alfonzo. Daniel Murphy, who has sabotaged the defense at two positions and hasn’t hit, is the only other current regular player developed in the system. The lineup, behind the four stars, as well as the bench are populated mostly with veteran mediocrities whose prior organizations didn’t want them anymore. They had a couple of hits — Tatis had a good year in 2008, though now he’s showing why he was out of baseball, Castillo has at least gotten on base, and Sheffield was playing well — but a lot of misses. They didn’t have much choice, though, because the cupboard is bare at AA and AAA. Pelfrey is their only homegrown pitcher of note. Maine is, in all honesty, the best starting pitcher they’ve developed (ignoring guys they traded away before they got established) since Dwight Gooden and Ron Darling, and he is not really that good. [AAR notes that Maine was actually picked up from the Orioles as basically a finished product who had made some major league appearances, so the Mets’ development system is worse than I thought.] Maine is basically a #3 starter who can win like a #2 with the offense the Mets thought they had. To shore up the bullpen, they signed Francisco Rodriguez — giving up their first-round pick — and traded almost everything left in their system for JJ Putz — an oft-injured reliever who pitched poorly and then went on the DL.

What the Mets had was money. Bernie Madoff took care of a lot of that, and the financial downturn of most of the rest. In the past, they could spend big money in the offseason on free agents (Beltran, Santana, Rodriguez) and both then and during the season offset the poverty of their farm system by taking on contracts to add players. It’s not too likely they can do this now. The Mets dynasty lived and died in 2006, when they faded down the stretch after running away from the division. They’ve really just gone from losing to the Braves every year to losing to the Phillies. This is progress?

223 thoughts on “You can’t spell “game thread” without M-E-T game thread: July 21, Giants (not Mets) at Braves”

  1. good summary, mac..

    it goes to show how blessed the braves really have been over the last 2 decades in the front office. Yes we moan and complain, but things could have been much worse.

  2. Ill start the complaining…

    I wonder if Gonzo is available tonight? Good thing he pitched the last two nights in the real close games.

  3. Mac,

    I am here and that’s an excellent summary.

    You, Cary and I have been fighting on email with other NON Braves fans (including my brother, a Mets fan) that the Mets rotation looked like garbage going into April.

    But the problem is the New York media market. ESPN and their ilk are in LOVE with the 2 NY teams and the Sox and anything they do is going to be given mroe potential than elsewhere.

    The Mets could have brought in Len Barker and Craig McMurtry this year and ESPN analysts would have said they were going to battle the Phillies for the division.

    I saw almost no analyst actually look at the Braves rotation in comparison to the Mets rotation and still say the Mets were better. There is simply no comparison between the two.

    And that’s just bad Journalism. You need a dispassionate view when you are a Peter Gammons or Jayson Stark and common sense would have led any halfway smart Baseball person to say “sheesh, that Mets rotation after Santana has a good chance to be downright horrible” – and the same with the Philly rotation.

    The difference is the Phillies went into the sason with a far more reliable and younger offense in comparison with the Mets, and even Jamie Moyer or Joe Blanton were more likely to succeed behind the Philly offense vs. the lesser Mets starters and their riskier offense. Anyone with half a brain could have seen that Delgado was finished.

    So, it’s not surprising to most of the people on Bravesjournal that the Mets collapsed. But what do we know…we’re just a bunch of “dumb, hick” Braves fans. I feel a lot better about the Braves in both the short term and the long term because as Mac said, it’s not as if the Jason Heywards of the world are teeming out of their farm system.

  4. Agreed about everything other than Maine, whom the Mets didn’t really develop; they got him from the Orioles in the Kris Benson deal, and had already made appearances in Bal’mer in 2003 and 2004.

    He was one of the savvier pickups of the Minaya era.

  5. I’d forgotten that Maine was a pickup. That means that the battle for best Mets-developed starting pitcher since Gooden and Darling is between Pelfrey and Bobby Jones. Ick.

  6. ESPN can say that in hindsight that signs of the Mets collapse were there. Mac can say he called it before the season.

    Good job there, ‘Bama Guy!

  7. AAR,

    It’s rare that I disagree with you but I do here on a few fronts.

    One, Maine stunk during his brief time with the Orioles. I am not sure it’s such a savvy pick up either, because I’ve never been a big fan of his stuff.

    Maine has had a little success, but he’s really nothing special. To put it in terms I think everyone would agree with here, Maine wouldn’t even currently be the 6th starter for the Braves with Hudson now healthy. I MAY put him even with Medlen.

  8. I think Maine’s a better pitcher than Kawakami has been on the whole (not lately) and better than Lowe has been lately. Like I said, he’s a #3 type starter who looked like a #2 when the Mets were scoring lots of runs. He lacks real front of the rotation peripherals, and with any decline (it’s hard to say if he actually has this season, given his injury) wouldn’t be much more than filler.

  9. Nice Met write-up, for sure.

    It should be noted that the Mets were 28-21 and in first place before everyone got hurt this year.

    And though it was certainly unsustainable, Livan Hernandez pitched really well at the beginning of the season.

    The Oliver Perez Experience should also be mentioned, as in…they overspent for the guy because 1) they didn’t have too many other options and 2) he seemed to always beat the Braves and the Yankees.

  10. When you’re best options to bring in are Ollie Perez and Livan Hernandez, you can’t sustain that for 162 games.

    Yes, you can do magic tricks for 30-50 games at best, but that is a group of washed up and mediocre vets you can’t win over the course of a long season with. And Santana can’t start 162 games.

    To give you an idea of the difference between our starters and the Mets rotation, if Charlie Morton and Kris Medlen were in the Mets organization, they’d be in the rotation, without question. Morton is now a Pirate and Medlen is a long reliever.

    That’s the difference.

  11. Dusty,

    Great reminder about Kazmir – that only further highlights the ineptitude of the Mets front office when they traded him for a below average Major League pitching.

  12. That guy we’re not talking about, is apparently scheduled to hit clean-up for the Mets tonight… if I’m reading Metsblog correctly.

    Oh… and after a game against the Nats it looks like “that guy” is also offensively doing better since the trade than the guy we got for him has done. Not a ton better, and small sample size, but enough to give the Mets fans hope they made a good trade. HA!

  13. Traded him before he got established.

    Bill James wrote a piece about the Autry Angels back in the day, when they were doing this same thing, bringing in veteran free agents and trading whatever prospects they could come up with for patches…

    [I]t is so graceless, so inefficient… so brutal. It’s not that the Angels’ methods cannot eventually work…. The Angels believe in taking direct, forceful action to deal with the problem at hand, at whatever cost… [T]he Angels will unhesitantly trade ten years of shortstop play for two months of relief help if what they need at the moment is a reliever. Any advantage gained by reflection, patience, or acumen is regarded as practically dishonest.

    The equation of success in baseball, while it may have been simplified (for the wealthy) by free agency, is not yet simple enough for the California Angels. That will be achieved, one suspects, when pennants are sold at auction at the winter meetings.

  14. I figured you had that one down, Mac.

    I ran into some people on the LIRR last night who were going to the concert tonight. They were in town from the Philly area asking about Citi Field, the area, etc. (They spent $175 each on tickets.)

    “Where can we go before the show, to get a bite or a drink,” they asked.

    “Nowhere,” I said, “unless the chop shops are now serving food.”

  15. Looking forward to seeing Sir Paul at Piedmont Park next month. He’s still looking pretty spry for an oldster. (ububba, B.Cook is most excited about going, as you can imagine. I think it’ll make his year….)

  16. Mac,

    Great James quote.

    I agree that kazmir flourished in TB but he was drafted by the Mets and was essentially ML ready at the time of the trade, which Alex correctly points out was THE key example of ineptitude.

    Wasn’t Izzy theirs too?

  17. They came up with Isringhausen, Pulsipher, and Wilson all at the same time. They were supposed to be the answer to the Braves’ rotation. Isringhausen became a pretty good reliever, the other two journeyman starters. Some blame Dallas Green for burning them out, but TINSTAAPP. And rather than using Isringhausen to close, they traded him to the A’s for Billy Taylor, who was 37 at the time. Mets.

  18. Tying into to the whole Cuba thing from previous thread, and now talking about Livan, I met livan the day after he defected from Cuba. He and Osvaldo(sp?) fernandez came to my neighbor’s house(my neighbor from growing up is a baseball exec) to talk about signing with the team my neighbor worked for. My neighbor called me over to meet them- they had the famous Cuban defector agent with them and looked like they just escaped Alcatraz; i brought a ball over for them to sign, which they signed:
    L.Hernandez, CUBA
    O. Fernandez CUBA
    I spoke some broken Spanish (¡me gusta beisbol!) and sat at the table while they lowered their heads and my neighbor and agent discussed them. Very weird morning for a 13 yr old

  19. Also, me and the wife are in town for the week from Chattanooga and I was wondering about some eating suggestions. We were thinking of trying Vortex.

  20. To give some context to the magnitude of the “3rd order pythagorean record” problem with the current Braves club.

    Braves OPS for is .740. That is 7th in NL. Braves OPS “against” is .707. There would be 2 teams lower than that if it were a real statistic and 14 above. Our basic pythag says we should be 2 wins above. Adding in the above is more like 5 wins.

    IF this frog can actually jump like it is supposed to, then postseason is certainly possible.

  21. The Hawks need another inside player, but preferably one with broad shoulders and a bad disposition.

  22. Smith would be an enormous upgrade over Soloman Jones, who’s currently in line to be the fourth big. I’d prefer a legit 5, but Smith would be better than the type of player I thought the Hawks would have to settle for in that roster spot.

  23. Cliff,

    The main problem right now is the Phillies simply won’t lose.

    I actually do see one possible silver lining to a Phillies “hot streak” happening right now:

    We’re nearing the trade deadline and the Phils have been reluctant to part with a big cache of young talent for Halladay, but I think were nearing the edge of doing it anyway.

    The fact that they have won 9 of 10 and are 6.5 ahead of us, in somewhat firm control of the East is likely going to cause management to really think twice about emptying the top tier of the farm system for Halladay if they feel at minimum, they can still for sure make the Playoffs without him.

    So, that’s some good news…in an ideal world, the Phils will stay hot (enough) until the trade deadline, fail to make a Halladay deal, and then their mediocre starters start to pitch as who they really are, and we catch up late.

    Maybe it’s not a realistic view, but if all of a sudden the Phils lost say the next 5 of 7 and we pull to within 1-2 games, then Halladay becomes a Phillie.

  24. I’m with you in hoping the Phillies stay hot enough over the next month to not trade for Halladay, Alex.

  25. @29

    The Vortex is a great pub food venue. Make sure you go to the one in Little Five Points. The Midtown location is fine but the L5P is the only real Vortex. There are a lot of other great eating spots around the city. Drop me an email at SAMH then the at symbol then Bellsuoth spelled correctly dot com and I’ll gladly offer up some options.

  26. But the point about Halladay might be for the playoffs, not the regular season. He would really make them much more of a force in the post-season this year and potentially next year. However, I am skeptical about making moves for the playoffs because a short series is too unpredictable. For example, Teixera had a good series last year for the Angels but they still lost.

    I’m not convinced the Phillies are as good as they look now. This is a team that lost 14 of 17 a few weeks ago and the fact is, if you take away all the wins against the Nationals, their record isn’t all that impressive. They are very streaky and they seek to have some pitchers pitching over their heads. They have a large enough lead that the chances are they will win the division, but if the Braves could play well enough down the stretch to keep the pressure on–a very large assumption, of course–I don’t think the Phillies are unbeatable (assuming they don’t get Halladay, of course).

  27. @8, reaganman, I think we could do a KJ for Willingham swap with the Nats.

    (I think KJ will bounce back to being a top 5-10 MLB second baseman as he was going into the year, but I don’t know if he’ll get the chance in Atlanta with Prado hitting so well and Bobby being Bobby).

    Willingham would give us some more thump and a righty bat. KJ would be a huge upgrade for the Nats at 2B over Ronnie Belliard, and he’s only 27 years old. Plus, the salaries match, $2.8 mil for KJ and $2.9 mil for Willingham.

    I would prefer to snag Willingham with a minor league pitcher or something else, but if KJ is to be traded, The Hammer is the quality of return that I think we can expect and would be a nice addition to the current squad.

  28. @40 Do you think we just keep Anderson as a pinch hitter in that situation. I guess that could work. It kinda reminds me of the KJ for Ludwick rumors this past offseason.

    @Joe Smith
    He would be solid. My pipe dream is to package the Joshes (sign and trade Chill) for Amare Stoudemire (sp?). If not, maybe Josh Smith for Chris Kaman straight up.

  29. @39

    The Phillies recent run has been spurred on by Jimmy Rollins’ resurgence. He’s hit 375/461/578 in July. There is no way Jimmy Rollins continues to post a 1039 OPS for the second half. He shouldn’t be as bad as he was during the 3-14 streak prior to July, and Raul Ibanez is back from the DL which gives them another thumper in the order, but when Rollins cools off the Phils will cool off too. The question is whether or not they will be so far ahead that by then that it’s all academic.

  30. That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that Josh Willingham’s nickname is The Hammer.


  31. My view of the “buy”, “sell”, trade, stuff is continue to make moves that make you better now, but only if it makes you comparable or better both talent wise and economically down the road. Don’t “buy” if that means lots of players out or lots of payroll. Don’t sell if you see where tyou need somebody. You send out surplus and get back something you need (even if it is a future need).

    The McLouth trade was a great move for those reasons. We became better now and what we sent out was surplus to us.

    Right now, KJ is surplus and it is hard for me to come up with a solution that changes that other than moving Chipper to first. The Willingham thing makes some sense because it is almost even money. A fairly high end reliever makes sense. Upper minors prospects at 3rd, shortstop, catcher, or pitching make sense. High ceiling prospects at lower levels makes sense.

  32. Re: the discussion of latino-on-latino hatin’ – all I can say is:

    “Puede no todos acabamos de se lleva?”

    Trade D. Lowe.

  33. Why would the Hawks want a crappy Mets reliever? Pass.

    By the way, after Jeff Francoeur worked out with Rudy Jaramillo this offseason, he really should have taken public speaking lessons from Jose Guillen. Just masterful:

    I hate making excuses. If I suck, then I suck. And I suck. That’s the way I’m playing. If you suck, you suck. You have to take responsibility in this game. Right now, that’s the way I feel.

    Yes, I suck.

    I’m embarrassed by the money that I making, and playing the way I’ve been playing. I’ll swear that on my kids’ (lives). I feel very embarrassed.

  34. I don’t think anybody is going to give us anything worthwhile for Kelly Johnson, because he’ll be available for nothing as soon as the season is over. Of course, I’d have thought the same about Francoeur, but the trouble Orlando Hudson had in securing a contract last offseason tells me the market is very cautious of replaceable second basemen.

  35. I think KJ would be considerably cheaper than Orlando Hudson which should have an effect on his tradability. I’d hate to give up on the guy so soon. I hate to beat a dead horse but if Garrett Anderson is acceptable in LF there aren’t a whole lot of OF who wouldn’t be. Most players are good enough to fetch any ball hit their way from the base of the wall. If GA cools back off and KJ finds his stroke in AAA I’d like to see KJ given another run in LF.

  36. It should be noted that the Mets were 28-21 and in first place before everyone got hurt this year.

    I kinda think the Mets would have been ok this year with some reasonable health. Any ship is going to sink if everyone gets hurt. You should expect some injuries (Delgado) but they had pretty much the worst case scenario (Reyes, Beltran out for months).

  37. Great read, Mac. The Mets were built to succeed this year under 2 keystone and extremely improbable circumstances, 1) everyone stays healthy, and 2) everything breaks their way. I guess 1 is sort of a part of 2, but the point is, they were playing a very dangerous, very risky game. And they’ve all but lost.

  38. Sansho1 @ 48,

    That is why I want to get the Twins to deal now.

    I don’t perceive the Braves post season push as being primarily related to the Phillies. if we play pretty good overall (600, say) and go 6-3 on our remaining 9 games with them we might have a shot at the division. But we might not.

    We definitely have a shot at the wild card. 2 of the next 3 with the Giants and really we only have to catch 1 team, the Rockies, and they will only be 3 or so games up.

    The main thing is to win your games. The other things will then work themselves out.

  39. I wouldn’t trade Josh Smith for Amare Stoudamire straight up. Smith plays defense, Stoudamire doesn’t, and Josh can score a little too.

  40. Cliff — you’re right, the Twins would be the rare example of a team that can desperately use an average 2B. What do you think we could get from them?

    Edit: I was going to suggest Luis Ayala, but the Marlins just got him. I missed that.

  41. I feel drowsy. (Thinking about the Mets will do that to you.) I think it’s going to be a morning recap, but I might bounce back, who knows.

  42. If you think you are a contender (or feel compelled to keep up the pretense), you don’t sell Vazquez now. As others have said, rotation strength is the most significant advantage we have over other contenders, and Hudson’s usefulness for this season is unknowable until it’s too late. JV will still have value after the season (still under contract at a reasonable price for his performance in today’s market) if you want to move him.

    Willingham would be a nice pickup if he could be acquired for something like KJ. Balances out the lineup nicely in the OF, can play 1st if needed.

  43. @56 Delmon Young and some spare parts might make some sense if we’re dealing with the Twins. But I’d rather just keep KJ. Plus I think the Twins would prefer to get Freddy Sanchez.

  44. Sansho, I would certainly not bet that KJ will be non-tendered at the end of the year. At 3m or so he is still a cheap sign, and could fill multiple roles for this team. That has some real value. Granted, I am a bit of a fanboy, but they could have moved him many times before now had that been their desire. I think he is sort of on Cox and by extension Wren’s good side, even though Cox has jerked him around over the years.

  45. Old variation of a classic:

    Some time in the not so distant future, David Wright goes down south for a duck hunting trip one October. He rents a pair of waders, borrows a 12-gauge from Adam LaRoche, and gets all the camouflage he needs for the hunt at his local Wal-Mart. He spends the night at a hotel near the lake he’ll be hunting on, wakes up at 3:30 AM, gets ready, and heads to the lake. After he gets to his blind around 5:00 AM, he waits until the sun comes up and the ducks to start moving. For three hours he furiously pursues his limit, but to no avail. Just as he’s ready to call it a day, one duck shy of his limit, he sees a crippled wood duck flying and figures he might have a shot at getting his limit. He takes a rather long shot and somehow connects with the duck, sufficient to knock it to the ground, though it lands away from the water.

    So he gets in his boat and travels over to the shore where he anchors the boat and begins to look for the duck. As he’s heading in the general direction of the duck he sees a fence that encloses a rather large field. So, assuming the duck landed in the field, he starts towards the fence as a tractor, heading in his direction from the other side of the fence, becomes visible. As he approaches the fence so does the tractor and a man steps off to greet David. Low and behold, that man is Chipper Jones.

    David says: “Chipper Jones! I haven’t seen you since you hit that walk-off homer at Shea Stadium in game 7 of the 2013 NLCS. How have you been?”

    Chipper replies: “Not too bad, David. What brings you down here?”

    “Well, I’m just trying to get my mind off of the massive meltdown the Mets just experienced again, so I thought I’d come down here and do a little hunting to clear my mind.”

    “So I guess you’re responsible for this.”

    Chipper holds up his right hand, which he has wrapped around the neck of a slain wood duck. David’s eyes light up, he’s finally found the duck and has his limit.

    “Oh, great!”, David replies, “You found my duck.”

    “What do you mean your duck?”, Chipper said, “it landed on my property.”

    “Well I killed it, so it’s mine, right?” David replied.

    “No sir. My property, my duck.”

    “Come on, Chipper, that’s my limit you’re holding.”

    “Nope. It’s my first of the day.”

    “Chipper, don’t be an ass, or I may just call the police.”

    Chipper sort of chuckles at the notion and proposes a counter-offer.

    “I’ll tell you what, around here, we settle things by the 3-kick rule“.

    “I beg your pardon?”

    “You’ve never heard of the 3-kick rule?”, Chipper replies in shock.

    “No, I’m afraid I haven’t.” David admits.

    “Well, here’s how it works. I kick you three times, then you kick me three times. We go back and forth until someone “gives”. Whoever prevails, wins.”

    David’s eye starts to sparkle.

    “You mean to tell me that an old man like you wants to challenge me to a kicking contest?”

    “You bet. You’ve got no idea what’s coming.”

    “OK, then.” David replies, “You’re on”.

    David stands ready with his hands covering his groin area as Chipper readies himself to commence kicking. Chipper takes a step forward and delivers a forceful kick–aided by his steel-toe boots–right into the kneecap of Wright. David keels over in pain and grabs his kneecap. Just as he bends down, Chipper comes back with another, this time right in the face. Wright leans back, nose bleeding and in an extraordinary amount of pain. Before he even realizes what happens, Chipper delivers a third blow right between the legs. Wright immediately falls to the ground and begins to vomit. After 5 minutes of recovery, Wright finally looks up and musters up what energy he has left and says in a raspy, barely audible voice,

    “Alright you son of a b****, my turn now.”

    Chipper sort of smiles at him and says,

    “Nah, that’s alright”, and he throws the wood duck and hits David Wright in the side of the face.

    “I give. You can have the duck”

  46. Heyman said the Mets turned down Halladay for Fmart, Parnell, Niese, and Tejada. I heard this was BS and makes sense because wouldn’t that be the second coming of the Santana trade? Maybe I undervalue Mets players but they would seriously be raping the Jays if they did that deal just like they raped the Twins a couple years ago. Fmart might turn out to be a nice player (might not, see C. Gomez) but Parnell and Niese have about the same upside as Jo-Jo Reyes it seems to me and Tejada is just a low-level arm.

  47. link for non-Peachtreers, should work once the game starts.

    There may be a way to go through MLB’s site to get the same feed. Or, it may just be coming from the free MLB Extra Innings preview that is going to the cable and satellite providers. Either way, tomorrow’s probably the last day, so enjoy it while it lasts.

  48. PWHjort,

    Never heard that before, but it’s great! My question is, if Chipper is hitting a walk-off HR at Shea in game 7, doesn’t it mean that he is playing for the Mets? Not cool…

  49. Usual lineup:

    CF McLouth
    2b Prado
    3b Chipper
    C McCann
    LF Anderson
    SS Escobar
    1b Kotchman
    RF Church
    P Lowe

  50. sansho,
    Please give my best to Cookie.

    I’ve never seen a Beatle play in public. But, strangely, I have seen (and heard) Yoko Ono “sing” in a nightclub.

    BTW, Jon Heyman was just on WFAN today basically standing by his version of the Halladay-to-Mets story, but he’s impugning the The Mets’ current version of the truth & explaining that, of course, Toronto is denying the story. They basically have to, he says, now that a story got out that they were willing to take what can be viewed as a fairly unexciting package.

    If Toronto’s mad about it, he implies, they should be mad at Omar Minaya.

    He’s also saying that this isn’t the first time Minaya may have hung him or other writers out to dry—telling him a truthful story, then soon denying it when reaction is negative. (He tells a similar story about the Willie Randolph firing.)

    “That’s what you learn in this job,” he said, “that the GM is not always honest.”

    If that’s his experience, why he ever believes Minaya anymore about anything, would seem to be the next question.

    Audio here:

    Also today, I heard a great interview with Marty Appel, a former Yankee PR flak who wrote a bio of Thurman Munson. The interview was fascinating & I’ll probably read the book at some point. Lotsa stuff I didn’t know.

  51. Yunie appears to be making ‘The Leap’ from good to great these past few weeks.

  52. Stu,

    Well you see, in an effort to shore up their lineup, the Mets eventually trade naming rights (for 4 years) for their stadium to the Boston Red Sox’s Green Monster at the trade deadline. The Mets play .750 ball for the first month, August, after the trade (at their newly renamed Red Sox field), and eventually take a 11 game lead over the Phillies. Unfortunately, the Green Monster is going to test positive for steroids on September 1st, at which point he will be removed from Left field in Red Sox field. The Mets will then eventually lose the division title to the Braves on the last day of the season in September. A one game playoff between the Marlins and the Mets will go in the Marlins favor, after which the Marlins will beat the Braves in the NLCS and go on and win the World Series, then go into obscurity for six years.

    Meanwhile, back in Queens, the Mets will call Red Sox field their home field until 2012, at which point Citibank will not exist. Therefore, in an effort to re-capture the magic of the ’69 Amazins (on the heavily celebrated 44th anniversary), they will rename Red Sox field Shea.

  53. I don’t follow things as closely as I used to, but it’s got to be a good sign that I’ve never heard of the seven, eight, and nine hitters in the Giants lineup.

    These guys are leading the wildcard race? What a non-threating lineup.

  54. Escobar must have been reading that guy on the official site last night who keep insisting he was one of the worst defensive shortstops in the league.

  55. After the last few months (maybe seasons) of mediocrity, this hot streak is fun.

    Heyward, Freeman, and the rest of the Miss Braves start a 5 game series in Knoxville tonight. I may be there Friday or Saturday–anyone with any info on Knoxville ballpark?


  56. Oh dear. Francoeur just dropped a line drive against the Nats while trying to power up his arm to get the runner tagging for home.

    The sad thing is he still got an assist throwing to second for the force.

  57. I believe the answer to the trivia question is Phil Niekro (last pitcher to throw 300 IP in a season). But I am absolutely sure that it is not Chip’s guess — Mike Krukow.

  58. This defense has been so good that I’m not upset about missing the Best Damn Hooters Swimsuit Contest

  59. @118: The very epitome of “addition by subtraction.” Church could have been a bag of batting-practice balls and the deal still would have helped.

  60. “Where was this team the first half of the season?”

    Well, part of it was in Pittsburgh, part of it was in New York, part of it was on the DL with glasses, part of it was the 2nd string utility man, but mostly it was here. Having the life sucked out of it by number 7.

  61. I think the players had given up trying because Francoeur was such a black hole of suck. It must have been so demoralizing to play with him, and for the managers/execs who kept playing and paying him to kill rallies and make outs.

  62. HAHA!

    I’m watching the San Francisco broadcast (MLB Extra Innings) and they just touted the superb defense and lack of errors

  63. Mac will be gratified to know that the world’s worst hitting streak was just extended in the weakest possible way.

  64. @130

    Agreed. After babbling about a upper deck foul ball, on the next pitch he comments that a Derek Lowe strike has evened the count [at 1-1]

    You could do this for days…

  65. I’ll admit I was wrong about Nitram Odarp. He’s way past sample size now. Dude can rake.

  66. Joe, if you’re going to sound like an absolute tool singing a song, at least get the lyrics right.

  67. “Those (Giants) fans look like they swallowed a porcupine!”

    WTF, Chip? A porcupine?

  68. Wow, I’ve never seen the box score as slow as it is tonight. It’s an inning and a half behind!

  69. HAHAHA. I was browsing the Braves Journal glossary in effort to write post #155 and I came across this nickname for Number 7: Fran Fran the GIDP Man. I’d never seen that. Hilarious.

  70. Chip’s laugh first makes me laugh because it is so ridiculous, but if it goes for more than 5 seconds it makes me want to puke.

  71. ESPN fantasy said if you can jeffy for dirt cheap then get him other than that he is around in 70% of the fantasy leagues. there ya go..there syour third outfielder

  72. Release Norton and call up Blanco, please. When Nate’s healthy, send Blanco back down and call up Canizares.

  73. @168, Gregor Blanco has shown NOTHING to indicate he is a MLB player. Nothing. Anyone else but him would be just as good or better.

  74. Well, unlike Greg Norton, he gets on base with regularity and can play a passable CF.

    Surprised to see you here in the middle of a winning streak, Chief.

  75. well we got JJ going so if we get 2-3 runs i think with the giants craptastic lineup we could steal a win from lil Timmy

  76. I’d like to register an official complaint about Dix’ lack of true fanaticism for the Braves @175.

  77. who is this team and what have they done with my braves? Seriously, looks like the guys are even enjoying there jobs. Who wouldve known how much Prado could improve the team. Looks like he’s always chatting it up with Yunel also.

    Good win tonight, need one of the next two to wrap up this series also. Cant watch the Phils just gotta keep winning somehow. We got plenty of games with them left

  78. If ever there was a time to bring on The Freak, this is it.

    I like this team enough that I don’t even dread Garret Anderson at bats anymore. I couldn’t conceive of that two months ago….

  79. Stu,

    My official complaint is with you jinxing it by saying we’re in the middle of one.

  80. The Cubs can’t score off of Chan Ho Freaking Park.

    The Rockies are winning their game, if they hold on we remain 4 back in the WC.

  81. Phillies won…

    However, we gained a game on the Cubs, who are ahead of us in the wild card race

  82. Samardzjija serves up a 3 run walk-off homer to Werth.

    However, we move into a tie with the Cubs in the WC.

  83. Those f&^$%ers just don’t lose. Going to have to do this ourselves. Maybe the D-Backs can steal one from the Rockies tonight.

  84. Meanwhile, the Rockies are in a bases-loaded one out jam in the 7th, up 4-3.

    Drew just singled in a run to tie it.

  85. Now Chipper is giving specific names!!!

    “Now you’re looking at a pitcher having to work hard 1 through 8 [against Braves hitters], as opposing to getting a hitter off to catch their breath,” said Jones, contrasting that to the situation earlier this season. “Kelly was struggling at the top of the order, Frenchy was struggling in the middle of the order, [Jordan] Schafer at the bottom, and then the pitcher.

    “That’s four spots where a pitcher could catch his breath. Now they can’t do that.”

  86. Feel good soon, Mac. Roll Tide and stuff.

    And man, are these Braves playing the best ball we’ve seen in quite some time.

  87. FWIW:Frenchy was 2 for 4 in a losing effort….but he had a major ‘episode’ in right field….

  88. Feel better, Mac. Your recaps are always the best. It was weird to check and not this to find out what happened tonight.

    Finally some signs of life from our offense.

  89. I have it on pretty good authority that Norton has been told he will be released when Infante comes back. He was given the choice if whether to be released last week or wait until Infante returns.

  90. @209 If that’s indeed true, kudos to Wren for making another “correct” moves. He has been doing lots of those lately. I am getting more and more comfortable with Wren now.

  91. What a great time for the big boys to heat up. It’s weird to have faith in the staff, lineup, and closer. I haven’t felt this way in a long time…

  92. I checked the standings today for the first time since, honestly, probably 2007. I usually couldn’t care less what the standings are unless the Braves have a meaningful place in them. By doing that, I think I’m letting myself getting sucked into the idea that this team may be a contender this year. And after seeing the standings, I’m gonna have to work really hard to not continue to get sucked in.

    Go Braves.

  93. Sucked Into Simple Numbers: After our annual June swoon (11-15), the Braves are 12-6 in July (14 of last 20).

    Atlanta is 7-2 since the Francoeur deal, and has scored 59 runs in those 9 games.

    Stay hot, fellas. This could get fun.

  94. Another multi-hit game today. You damn haters are going to regret dumping on Francoeur when he bloosems into his full potential 100 RBI self w/ division rival Mets.

    Francoeur 2010 comeback player of the year. Book it.

  95. No, we will never regret dumping his lame ass and he should be thrilled he got out of town and away from the hometown pressure.

    Day game today, excellent.

  96. @ 218 bwhahaha jeffy goes 2 for 4 & the melts get shut out by john lannon…have a nice life

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