Braves 6, Padres 2

Atlanta Braves vs. San Diego Padres – Box Score – August 05, 2009 – ESPN

I will sometimes be critical of an offense based upon singles, because you need three “events” to score anything with singles — hits, sacrifices, stolen bases, etc. But if you get eleven singles in four innings, you’ll score some runs. The Braves had fourteen singles in all, at least one by every regular. And for the first time, the Braves’ desired regular lineup was in play, as Ryan Church finally got back into the lineup, and was a key contributor.

In the first, McLouth singled, but was erased trying to steal. Hey, the guy hardly ever gets thrown out, you can’t blame him, but the Braves got two hits and a walk later in the inning, netting one run, but it might have been more. Anyway, ACHE singled in Chipper with the game’s first run. In the second, McLouth brought in LaRoche, and then Prado hit a sac fly to score Church, making it 3-0. Nothing in the third, but in the fourth they put together five singles and a sacrifice by the pitcher before ACHE lined into a double play, scoring three runs and building a comfortable lead.

Tommy Hanson had a little trouble in the first, but a caught stealing and a GIDP got him out of it. For the next three innings, he was outstanding, striking out five and allowing only one baserunner, on a walk, and who was erased on a double play. He allowed a leadoff triple in the fifth, but Church threw out the runner trying to score on a flyout. In the sixth, Hanson finally broke, allowing a two-run homer to, who else, new Braveskiller Will Venable. (Venable finished the series 6-10 with two walks, two homers, four runs scored and two RBI, and went from hitting .236/.300/.400 to hitting .267/.333/.467. Heaven help us if the Phillies get ahold of him.) So, bullpen time. Moylan, Gonzalez, and Soriano each allowed one baserunner, but no real threats.

McLouth and Chipper each had three hits. Church had two and a walk. I don’t think you’re going to get very far with a singles-based offense — two games over .500 is where it’s gotten the Braves — but it worked today. Hit some homers in LA, guys, the Dodgers aren’t the Padres.

156 thoughts on “Braves 6, Padres 2”

  1. Hanson has pitched 138 and 131 innings over the past two years.

    Currently he is at 127 IP. There are 56 games left in the regular season so you would figure he has about 10 starts left. He’s averaging about 6 IP per start which would put him at 187 total (combined majors and minors) for the season.

    I don’t have a huge problem with this, but I thought I read once a young pitcher shouldn’t bump their IP over a certain percentage from year to year.

    Does anyone know anything else about this? In any case, I have no problem pulling him early on occasion to save the arm…especially should we make the postseason.

  2. from earlier, the biggest Braves killer = Washington Nationals, Snitker, Randy Winn, and Cody Ross

  3. and Gonzo has now pitched in back to back games, one with a 7 run lead and a 4 run lead in the other. The 4 doesnt bother me much normally, but this is the Padres. They cant score against anyone

  4. @ 1 – “especially should we make the postseason.”

    I like your thinking…

    I can’t decide if that video is funny or sad.

  5. Not to defend Bobby’s decision making all the time, but it’s the Padres. Gonzo had 5 K’s in 2 IP. It’s barely work.

  6. he’s up and throwing almost every game, a 4 run lead is a huge lead against this team and Gonzo and Soriano had no business throwing

  7. I should point out that the Dodgers are largely righthanded, and kill lefthanded pitching (.293/.377/.445 — their .275/.348/.409 against righthanders is actually a little below average). You’ll want lefties available to pitch to Ethier, whose platoon splits rival McCann’s, but there’s nowhere in their lineup you’d really want Gonzalez pitching a whole inning to.

  8. Braves Killer? How ’bout Carlos Beltran?

    In 73 G, 324 PA, he’s 318/407/596 with 17 HRs.

    That’s only regular season. In that 04 NLDS with Houston, he went 10/22 with 4 HRs & 9 RBI (455/500/1091). Ouch.

  9. Two more hits for Prado puts him at .321/.377/.483 for the year. Pedroia won the MVP last season as a secondbaseman with a .326/.376/.493 line. Obviously I’m not suggesting, but it’s just interesting.

    Marty’s real useful to have around. It’s amazing this organization can churn out secondbasemen that can rake no problem, but goes a decade without producing a useful outfielder.

  10. “Hanson has pitched 138 and 131 innings over the past two years.

    Currently he is at 127 IP. There are 56 games left in the regular season so you would figure he has about 10 starts left. He’s averaging about 6 IP per start which would put him at 187 total (combined majors and minors) for the season.”

    Very interesting. If we are in a pennant race in september, he pitches every 5th day. If not, you baby him, and keep him in good shape for 2010.

  11. For all the whining and crying that goes on around here over Bobby’s usage of Gonzalez and Soriano (guys with no future with the team) it gets overlooked that Bobby takes real good care of the two prized assets Jurrjens and Hanson. He doesn’t let them go deep into games much, pulls them if the game gets lopsided (today), and generally gives them every chance to be healthy while they are still cheaply under team control.

    Seeing how Dusty Baker broke Edinson Volquez (and many before him) makes me thankful that Bobby gets it in this regard.

  12. Bobby’s had extraordinary “luck” over his career keeping his starting pitchers healthy. The bashers, of course, won’t give him credit for it, but to my mind one of the main reasons is that he realizes that relievers are comparatively fungible, that starters are rare and precious, and he’ll break three of the former to save one of the latter.

  13. IP H R ER BB K
    Pitcher A: 6.0 8 3 3 0 4
    Pitcher B: 7.0 4 2 2 2 6
    Pitcher C: 6.0 5 2 2 3 5

    Somehow, pitcher A is completely hated for his performance while the other two are loved. I just don’t understand.

  14. @16

    What Mac said. The drop off from Jair Jurrjens to Kris Medlen (or Jo Jo Reyes) is far greater than the drop of from Mike Gonzalez to Boone Logan.

  15. Or it’s cheaper to find a replacement for Gonzo than to find a replacement for JJ. I think it’s a fair point, but that doesn’t kill the complain that Bobby would use his closer when the team is ahead by five runs or more.

  16. Gotta love Jeff Bennett’s first appearance for the Rays:

    2 batters, 1 walk, 1 double, no outs. Walks off the field to a chorus of boos.

  17. @20 I have read lots of positive notes on Teheran. I am glad you are impressed! How were the runs scored?

  18. @16

    Let’s say we grant the point that Cox keeps his starters healthier than would normally be expected. Isn’t it a false dichotomy to say the choice is between injuring starters and injuring relievers? My complaint isn’t that he protects his starters from abuse. It’s that he overuses his best relievers to the point of brining them in for situations that could be handled by the less talented relievers. Use everyone in the bullpen at appropriate times and prevent injuries to relievers as well as starters!

  19. #17 – Kawakami is essentially the fifth starter and for that role he’s well above average. The wisdom of committing three years and $23 million for your fifth starter when you have gaping holes in the outfield is more of a problem than his actual performance.

    For $8 million per, some folks are going to expect you to be good and not just sorta ok.

  20. I didn’t comment on this when it came up in the game thread, but the obvious difference between Hanson last year and Heyward this year is that this year the Braves might have a shot at postseason play. And if Heyward really can help, you probably have to risk a callup if at the end of the month the playoffs are still conceivable.

  21. @24 Robert, what I am saying is the three performances are essentially very similar. The blame should be on the offense, but somehow Kawakami is the first guy everybody complained on after that game. If we are complaining Kammy, why is no one calling for the head of Lowe?

    I just think Kammy is getting some unfair treatment on this board. That’s all.

  22. My complaint isn’t that he protects his starters from abuse. It’s that he overuses his best relievers to the point of brining them in for situations that could be handled by the less talented relievers.

    Bobby just has no faith in those guys. He has to figure if he gets Acosta or Logan involved in a 6-2 game there’s a strong chance that his good pitchers have to come in to put out the fires anyway.

    The Kolb/Reitsma years seem to have shown Bobby just how fast a game can get away.

  23. KC, (a) there really is a difference between giving up three runs and giving up two (it’s one run), and (b) Hanson at least had to face a lineup with Gonzalez in it. Three runs against the Padres without Gonzalez really is subpar. Two runs without is about par. Two runs with is a little better.

  24. If we indeed have a shot, I agree, we should call up Heyward. Heck, the boy is hitting over .400. It’s only for six weeks max if we don’t make the playoff?! I doubt that will kill his development.

  25. #11
    Yeah, it’s Carlos Beltran, but against us he’s still 150 points higher than his career OPS (plus 3o points of BA).

  26. #14 – Don’t forget he went to the AFL last year. I am not sure if that is better of worse.

    #22 – 4 of the 5 hits were for extra bases. He struck out the three batters he faced in the first, but it went downhill from there. Two solo homers in the 4th. Also had a WP and HBP.

    I’m not down on Teheran, though. This was his first start in full-season ball facing a lot of guys that were 4-5 years older than him. He missed a lot of bats, too.

  27. Mac, Vázquez didn’t have to face Gonzalez either. Also, should the blame be on the offence instead? Are we getting too demanding on Kammy when the offense could only score two sorry runs?

  28. @32 He still ended up lasting six innings allowing three runs. I am not saying Kammy is awesome or anything. I just think the level of complain on him is not really fair.

  29. 22,
    He struck out the side in order in the first, allowed a double, a single, a walk, and threw a wild pitch/passed ball in the 2nd for 1 run with 3 grounders sandwiched in between. Got a groundout and 2 weakly hit air outs in the 3rd. Allowed 2 solo shots (to the same 2 guys who got hits in the 2nd) in the 4th and notched 3 K’s. Hit a batter, allowed a double (for the 4th run), struck out 2, and got a weak lineout in the 5th.

  30. How can you not love Ryan Howard? Just watched a segment on Jim Rome. Howard’s a great representative for the Phillies and a damn fine sandwich salesman to boot.

    Mac, I know you complain about his game and not the man, but the homerun is the most important offensive factor (in my opinion, and perhaps Cal Ripken’s, slugging is underrated) and no one in Major League Baseball is better at that aspect of the game than Howard. He’s going to end up in the Hall of Fame–fastest ever to 250 HRs, with more to come! And he should have been up sooner to add to the total–too bad Thome was blocking him when he was ready.

  31. @37 – I don’t think Mac believes he sucks or anything. He is just grossly overrated. The guy is as one-dimensional as they come.

  32. “How can you not love Ryan Howard?”

    Is this a question you really just asked on Braves Journal?

  33. 36,
    Yep, me too. There’s really nothing to not like about him. He made a few mistakes tonight, but the guy who had a HR and a 2B off of him is seven years older than he is. A very, very exciting prospect. Probably the most exciting I’ve seen come through Rome in awhile.

  34. I agree with KC, the criticism directed at Kawakami is highly unfair. The Japanese import has been about as good as anyone could expect when considering the differences between Japanese baseball and the Big Leagues.

    The 34 year old has been the consummate fifth starter. He gives his team the chance to win more than half the time while eating innings, and that’s what should be expected from a back of the rotation starter.

    Kawakami’s 5-9 record is more indicative of the lack of run support than anything else. When your posting an ERA of 4.38 while getting an average of 3.49 runs per start, losing is inevitable. He has ten quality starts in twenty trips to the mound. In fact, Kawakami has made thirteen starts in which he has given up three runs or less.

    I said all that to say this. He eats innings, does his job and gives his team the chance to win more often than not.

  35. Clearly because Cal Ripken, Jr. said it, that means that the home run is the single most important offensive factor in a game. This seems to me to be grossly oversimplifying matters. There is plenty else that is just as important. And also, if we accept that the home run is the single most important positive offensive contribution, then I present that the strikeout is the single most important negative offensive contribution, and he does a hell of a lot of that, too.

  36. 35 – The guys with the big hits were 23 and 24 years old. I have noticed that the Sand Gnats are pretty old for the Sally League. And really old for sand gnats.

    Also, one should note that Infante played 3rd in that game and went 1-for-3 with a walk. Diory’s days are numbered.

    In other minor league news, I like how the Montgomery AA team’s caps really do look like biscuits.

  37. He’s going to end up in the Hall of Fame–fastest ever to 250 HRs, with more to come!

    I vaguely recall a guy who hit 368 HR by age 30 (Howard is 29), that people used to say that about, but it’s a stretch to think he’ll go in now…what was his name?

  38. Um, is Cary aware that Ryan Howard is actually two months older than Albert Pujols? They are both 29 as of right now.

    Pujols is sitting at 355 HR’s while Howard has 202.

    Pujols had exactly 250 HR’s at the tender age of 26.

  39. @44, not being smart about it, I queried the lahman db to see whom you meant.

    select * from (select sum(HR) as HR_count, nameLast, nameFirst, p.playerID from Batting b join Master p on b.playerID=p.playerID where (yearID – birthYear) <= 30 group by nameLast, nameFirst, p.playerID) counttable where HR_count < 370 and HR_count > 360;
    | HR_count | nameLast | nameFirst | playerID |
    | 366 | Aaron | Hank | aaronha01 |
    | 368 | Jones | Andruw | jonesan01 |
    | 369 | Ott | Mel | ottme01 |
    3 rows in set (3.56 sec)

    I take it you meant Andruw, but it’s funny that Aaron, another Brave, is right in that list.

  40. @45, Howard is the fastest ever by number of games played, not age. I thought that was understood, but there you go. As I said, Howard was delayed when he could have been mashing HRs in the Majors. In his age 24 season, he hit 48 HRs in 2004, but only two were for the Phillies. The next year he hit 16 HRs in AAA before getting the call and running away with the Rookie of the Year award. The next season he won the National League MVP.

    Mac compares him to Adam LaRoche. Let that sink in. (though I’m sure he’s exaggerating)

  41. @42, I didn’t mean to imply that Cal Ripken’s opinion means all that much compared to several others, but that I was surprised by it, as it was relayed in the previous thread. Sorry for the confusion.

    There are certainly other important factors to offensive performance and I was somewhat intentionally simplifying the issue. Fair enough. Obviously a player like Albert Pujols or Barry Bonds or prime Manny Ramirez embodies the blend of qualities that are truly the key to elite offensive output, but it is my opinion that slugging, and particularly homeruns, are the most valuable component.

    As to strikeouts, you can make the argument that they are the most negative component and I’d be interested to hear your argument, but initially I would have to disagree.

  42. @38, I disagree that Ryan Howard is one-dimensional, that he only hits HRs. He also hits 25-30 extra base hits along with his 50 HRs while also kicking in 80-100 walks. That’s a lot more than one dimension of production.

  43. Come on Cary, do you really expect a player who is getting so many at bats will not have 25-30 extra base hits besides his homeruns?! Even the sorry Frenchy can do that. The thing is, the guy hits more than 50hrs a year and still manages to have his OPS below .900.

    In my point of view, Howard and Dunn are essentially the same (and Dunn is actually having a better season than Howard this year), but that’s not what the media and most people think. That’s why I think it’s perfectly ok to claim Haward to be overrated.

  44. Nice game. LaRoche hit some balls hard even if they didn’t fall for hits. How do you guys see the chances of the Braves resigning Soriano? I love this guy. What kind of deal will it take to lock him up?

  45. OK.

    Ryan Howard or Albert Pujols?

    One is headed to Cooperstown for sure and is regarded as the most complete position player in the game, the other is an All-star but is far from being the player that he could be.

    I’ll stick with Pujols but Ryan Howard can thump in spite of being a whiff machine.

    And Adam LaRoche isn’t even in the same zip code as the two aforementioned first basemen.

  46. #52, I see no chance unless Rafe really, really wants to return to the Braves rather than taking the most money to play elsewhere. The Braves have always been reluctant to pay big money for closers while the usual big market teams have no such reluctance and will give him more years than the Braves rightly will offer too. I’d guess the Braves will try to trade for a closer in the offseason rather than signing one on the free agent market.

  47. How can you not love Ryan Howard?

    That’s what I said….No, wait….That’s what she said.

  48. I like Ryan Howard, but less as a player than as a guy. He just comes off as cooler than your usual major leaguer (which, honestly, isn’t that hard).

    The Braves absolutely must put together a legit winning streak soon. There are four teams ahead of them and all have solid pitching… unfortunately, that means the Braves’ bats will have to come alive for more than two or three nights in a week.

  49. Closer solution:

    The Braves will offer arb to Gonzalez and Soriano. Soriano will decline and sign elsewhere for 24 over 3 years.

    Gonzalez will accept arb and get 4 million.

    The above is why the Braves were trying to trade for Wuerth. He has 2 arb years left and would probaably cost 2.5 and 4.

  50. Cary,

    On the offense killing nature of strikeouts.

    IF the homerun is the most important offensive event, that is because it ASSURES you of at least 1 run no matter what else is going on.

    The strikeout ASSURES (except fot the uncaught run to first which probably happens a couple of times a year per batter) that the offensive player will not score a run. It significantly assures (stolen bases, advances on wild pitches, etc. can happen) that no base runners will advance.

    Further, major league stats show that if you put it in play around 30% of the time you will get a hit of some kind. That creates a baserunner and advances any other base runners.

    There are other plate outcomes worse than strikeouts. Hitting into triple and double plays.

    Now, a strikeout is NOT as negative as a HR is positive. But it is among the most negative consequences a hitter can achieve.

  51. I think Howard is a great player and we would be in first place if he were at first for us.

    The best reason I can think not to like hi is that big “P” on his hat.

    At least he is not a Met.

  52. 1,
    I always hear you want to increase a pitchers’ workload each year by 40 innings maximum. But he pitched in an all-star game and the AFL, and those innings figure into that calculation. He threw 6 fairly low-stress innings yesterday with a low pitch-count, which is good for the injury-prevention thing.

  53. Howard is very good, but his average and OBP have really dropped, so has his IBB, basically in half, which is interesting for a guy who hit 47 hr’s annually.
    His is one dimensional, but he is excellent in that category.

  54. Strikeouts are bad, home runs and walks are good. When you add up all the good an bad things Howard does he’s got an OPS of .865 and is good for about 12 runs above average. Howard’s good, not great. I’d love to have him on the Braves.

  55. Howard almost certainly isn’t going to the Hall of Fame. He got a late start, as you note, and lost 100 or so homers to the minor leagues. And he’s a guy with old players’ skills and a big body, and they don’t age well. His most-similar player through Age 29 is Cecil Fielder. None of his comps is in the HOF; only McGriff has a case, and he isn’t really that similar.

  56. I think the shift and the LOOGY’s have really taken a lot of steam from Howard after his first couple of years. the IBB drop is probably that teams have decided it is o.k. to pitch to him with a lefty. He may get a hit or walk or even a homer, but he is not even an average first baseman (and barely an ML average player) against lefties.

    This is a further reason he is not really an elite player. If in crucial situations you can substantially negate him, he isn’t an elite player.

  57. The easier you are to get out, the less valuable you become.

    Howard may have even more power than Pujols, but it’s so much easier to get Howard out that you can’t even compare the two.

  58. #66 – still dont see how signing him at that cost is a good thing for us. Seems as if we are wasting money and a great draft pick on a soft tosser. Maybe he’ll be another Glavine

  59. how do people like Wil Ledezma and Mark Redmond keep getting deals from other clubs. Are these guys really better than some kid in their farm system?

  60. Not since Bonds was in his prime has anyone performed like Pujols.

    And Pujols is probably the one guy (including Chipper) that it would bother me to learn is juicing.

  61. On McGriff,

    I remember the first ML comparisons on Heyward I saw were to McGriff. Before he crashed into an outfield wall (in upper minors?) he played right. His throwing shoulder (right) was injured badly and never regained any throwing ability. In fact, he had an inaccurate throwing arm almost as bad as I have ever seen in ML even at first.

    But, IF HE WAS CLEAN (and I have no reason other than maybe 80% of the big guys weren’t), then he is absolutely getting jobbed by the “steroid era.” He was basically the best power hitter in the game for about 7 years with good obp and good defense (except for the throwing) and o.k. basrunning for a 1B (say, as compared to Cecil Fielder. I still remember McGriff and Deion going inside the park in the same game against the Rockies and Deion did the circle in 13 seconds and Fred in something like 15.)

  62. @ 70 – Yankee or not, I was really disheartened to hear A-Rod juiced solely for the fact I knew he would break Bonds’ record. I thought he would break it legitimately, and he’s the best right handed hitter I’ve ever seen.

    Now it will just be one juicer breaking another juicer’s record.

  63. Pujols, Manny and the Hurt have all been great right handed hitters of the modern era. But they each fail substantiallly (not a much Pujols) to be the all around players that Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Frank Robinson were. I know there has been an effort to translate defense into modern metrics from retrosheet data, but I don’t know how much adjustment those are producing. If there were numbers comparable to “plus minus” and UZR, I believe the career values for that 3 above would significantly exceed the modern 3, despite offensive numbers that would be somewhat similar (Aaron and Mays’ career tails and length and early call ups bring in the higher “counting stats” for them).

    If the Hurt isn’t a massive fraud and hypocrite, he also is not going to get the credit he deserves for his career because the numbers looked easier in most of his era (and they are a little better to the SABR conscious than to the “old school”).

  64. Joey Belle too- maybe not quite on a level with the others we are discussing but his peak was arguably better than anything Pujols or A-Rod have done. Not trying to start a fight- it’s just hard to believe the dude hit 50 bombs AND 50+ doubles in one season…

  65. The Minor drafting and signing to now seems quite underwhelming. It looks like it would have been better to get a higher ceiling talent and over slot to a greater extent. I do, however, believe that the Braves do as good or better job of scouting than almost anybody.

    Particularly true of Fregosi, who continues to be a great finder of talent in unexpected places.
    EDIT NOTE: originally I didn’t capitalize “Minor”. Freudian slip?

  66. I saw Bennett last night with the Rays, I chuckled when after giving up the BB the pitching coach came out and really tore into him

    Also saw Roman Colon with KC one night… he’s awful

  67. “But they each fail substantiallly (not a much Pujols) to be the all around players that Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Frank Robinson were.”

    unfortunately, before my era

  68. I have a hard time believing that anyone would vote for a name other than Sweet Jesus in the Best Name Poll on the front page.

  69. Frank Thomas was a hell of a hitter and you are right to champion him here Rufino – it’s worth noting that this point in Thomas’ career, he has a non-trivial ten point edge in OPS+ over Pujols. Having said that, Albert has a huge lead in HR’s that will only get bigger, and given his body is probably a better bet to maintain an insane rate production for many years to come. Thomas never really had a decline -just one full season (his last) with an OPS under 125 (isn’t that amazing?), but I suspect Pujols’ trajectory will be even flatter. They are pretty close in career to date offensive value right now, but I expect that not to be the case in five years, barring injury.

  70. #83-

    I went back and looked at stats for Big Hurt and Pujols and I guess it’s just a privilege to have seen either of them. Everything you said about Pujols is true and I would agree that, if he’s truly 29, there’s little doubt that his career overshadows big Frank. One thing that surprised me was that they were not even in the top 10 of each other’s most similar batters- while I confess utter ignorance as to how this is calculated, they seem pretty similar to me- with the notable exception that Pujols hits for a higher average and Thomas drew more walks. Guess I sort of answered my own question…

  71. Pt II of poll is up. “Jair Jurrjens” is a pretty good name, but I limited it to minor leaguers. Winner takes on Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg in the final.

  72. “Eyechart” – lol

    Does everyone agree that not signing Adam Dunn was a big mistake? Imagine our lineup with him batting cleanup.

  73. @70 It would also bother me if McGriff was juicing. I’ve already concluded Chipper(injuries, bulked up that one year which looked strange), Bagwell, Beltran were doing it, but it would bother me if Fred was doing it. I doubt it though.

    Manny Ramirez use to be cool to me before PEDS, now he just looks sloppy with the oversized uni, the chewing tobacco, the dirty helmet…clean yourself up.

  74. According to the Clarion Ledger (Jackson’s local paper) Frank Wren was in Pearl yesterday and is following the M-Braves to Huntsville for the weekend to watch Heyward and Freeman instead of going with the big club out west.

    “Asked specifically about Heyward, Wren would not rule out a promotion to the major league club this summer.

    “We’re always evaluating, not only what is best for our big club, but what is best for the individual player,” Wren said. “Jason has done a very good job here. My philosophy has been that as players progress through your system, they’ll always let you know when they are ready for a promotion.”

    Even at 19?

    “We’ve had players, such as Andruw Jones and Rafael Furcal, who have made the jump and been successful at the big league level at that age before,” Wren said. “Some players can handle it and be successful at a younger age than others.””

  75. while talking about the best hitters lets talk about the worst

    I dont know how to research these things, but Id guess Tony Pena Jr has to be one. Career 800+ Ab’s


    thats awful

  76. @93 I totally agree with Wren. If you are ready to play, you are ready to play. No matter if you are 19 y/o or 25y/o.

  77. But they each fail substantiallly (not a much Pujols) to be the all around players that Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Frank Robinson were.

    Barry Lamar Bonds. Gary Sheffield and Vlad would be the next tier, but Bonds is alone at the top.

  78. @97: I totally agree with Wren.

    That’s not a sentence you find on Braves Journal in every thread.

  79. and thats why they have scouts. Heyward is close to ready if not already there. The thing is now, do the Braves think he’ll help them win the wild card. If they do he’ll be up, if not he’ll start 2010 in RF

  80. I’m not saying that Pujols is definitely doing steroids, but that anyone is assuming he’s not is crazy. And I’m not saying you are, hankonly. You definitely had more of the hopeful thing going on. But people on ESPN and so forth are constantly talking about how great it is that Pujols is clean, as if there’s no possible way he could be on steroids. And I’m sorry, but have we been watching the same sport over the last 10 years?

  81. 102,
    He didn’t travel out west with the team so the beat writers haven’t had any contact with him since the incident so no news.

  82. Would the current testing being done by the MLB likely catch Albert if he were using?

    I’ve heard that there’s no test for HGH. Yet.

    DNA seems to live forever, so one day they’ll likely be able to determine for certain.

    But, yeah, I’m hoping in a 10-year-old-kid kind of way that at least Albert is clean.

  83. Some misconceptions on “PEDs”.

    1. HGH almost certainly does not improve performance. It may, but probably doesn’t, help healing after injury. The real sources on this have been run to ground by JC in his blog. Believing otherwise is not as bad as believing in a “flat earth”, but is probably less scientific valid than disbelief in DARWINIAN evolution (more accurately described as biological Smithianism).

    2. It IS possible that new designer steroids are still getting through the checks. There are some who think the “back up” checks for changes in other hormone levels (what caught Manny) are able to detect any steroid doses high enough to actually affect performance. This is not proven, so far as I am aware.

    3. Neither steroids nor hgh “have” DNA nor should they alter DNA of a user. If they do alter DNA, then users need to stay away even worse than I thought.

    4. No one in media or otherwise should hold up anybody as the “clean alternative.” Most people that have tried to do that have ended up with their feet (both) in their mouth.

  84. @106

    I suggest we get over our Puritanical obsession with the training practices of professional athletes. If it’s okay for John Smoltz and Tim Hudson to have surgeon remove a tendon from their knee and use it to replace the similar tendon in their pitching elbow (Tommy John surgery) what on Earth is the matter with Manny Ramirez using modern medicine(s) to improve his training and healing regimens? Tommy John procedures literally create a Frankenstien’s monster of sorts. You are re-engineering the human body was a sort of organic robot, and that’s just fine with everyone. But rub some HGH creme on your thighs after doing squats and everyone’s like “oh no, that’s unnatural!”

    I don’t get it.

  85. Well, using a manmade chemical to make you a better athlete as compared to surgery to repair an injury is quite different.

  86. @109

    Why? Why is taking a medicine unacceptable but surgically altering your musculature fine?

  87. @112

    Oldtimer said “using a man made chemical.” Me, I have high blood pressure. It’s a genetic thing from my dad’s side of the family. Every morning I take a man made chemical called Avapro to reduce my BP to a healthier rate.

    Mac recently went through a major illness where he took any gazillion combinations of man made chemicals to assist his body in recover after getting inundated by deadly radioactive waves.

    In both cases we call those man made chemicals “medicine.” Why do we not call PEDs “medicine?” Cultural Puritanism as far as I can tell. Manny Ramirez does 4000 reps in the gym to maintain the physical condition required to perform the job he gets paid millions to do. His muscles are torn apart with every single rep. They have to heal in order for him to continue doing the job that fans across the nation worship him for doing. So he takes a “man made chemical” to speed that healing process along.


    In my opinion PEDs are *less* invasive and *less* controversial than Tommy John surgery. A player taking a training supplement/medicine is small potatoes in comparison to SLICING OPEN THE KNEE AND PUTTING THAT TENDON IN THE ELBOW in order to extend a pitcher’s career.

  88. Does anyone get cable through AT&T Uverse in the Atl area?

    If so, do you get the Turner Southj Braves games?

  89. Your are comparing an anti-inflammatory (a cortizone shot) to anabolic steroids?
    Do I really give a crap? No.

  90. Are there negative health consequences from Tommy John surgery?

    Are there negative health consequences from steroid use?

  91. They’re both steroids. They’re both prescription medication. I see little difference between the two, both of which are used to recover from injury. If anything’s more “natural”, it’s the one that’s used to speed the body’s own healing processes, not the one used to block the body’s sensation of pain.

    There can be negative consequences to using anabolic steroids, but that’s a risk with any medication. (Trust me on this one.) The biggest problem isn’t that people are using them, it’s that they’re using them without proper medical supervision.

  92. Mac hit on the big picture which is the unregulated use of steroids.
    Most people have used them to some degree, a rash, a bad lung infection, but using them to add muscle mass is completely different then recovering from surgery.
    And baseball allows for the use of steroids for injury purposes, it just has to be reported properly.
    But defending Manny because he is sore after a workout is crazy.
    Take an advil, it works wonders.

  93. Are there negative health consequences from Tommy John surgery?

    The 18 months of not being able to use your arm and leg properly seems to qualify.

  94. Two thoughts here:

    First thought: Medicine is prescribed by a physician to assist in treating injury or disease. PEDs are not taken to treat injury or disease, nor are they (legally) prescribed by a physician for that purpose. As in any line-drawing exercise, there are close distinctions, but there is a difference between taking a substance to treat pain significant to be a symptom of injury or disease and taking a substance to speed recovery from exertion. That distinction is particularly easy to make when the substance taken may have serious side effects that outweigh the benefit.

    Second thought: The fact that steriods do not have DNA has no bearing on whether use of steriods affects DNA or DNA synthesis. All kinds of chemicals have serious effects on DNA and DNA synthesis. This is analogous to the “it’s natural so it must be okay” or “it’s organic so it must be okay” line of thinking. A class of chemicals called organophosphates is both natural (meaning occuring in nature) and organic and also happens to include some of the most toxic chemicals on earth — used, for example, as nerve gas.

  95. Wellman on Heyward:

    “At the core of his extraordinary potential is his plate discipline. Heyward is such a good prospect that he probably could get away with being a free swinger, Wellman mused. ‘But he has a tremendous approach at the plate,’ Wellman said. ‘He doesn’t swing at bad pitches.’

    “As a result, Heyward has 15 walks and only 10 strikeouts. ‘I feel very, very fortunate to be the manager who keeps an eye on him every day,’ Wellman said. ‘He’s some kind of special. I keep sitting back and waiting to find some sort of weakness, and I don’t see it’ …

    “[Said Wellman:] ‘I tell you what, in terms of the tools and talent, the fact that he can run and he’s big, he reminds me of somebody I saw a long time ago. Darryl Strawberry’ …

    “He also, at a young age, already possesses the kind of presence that Strawberry had, the kind of aura that caused other players to stop and watch him take batting practice. When he and teammate Freddie Freeman were promoted to Double-A, Wellman sensed that the entire Mississippi team began drawing some adrenaline from the young slugger, some confidence …

    “Heyward’s personality has a lot to do with that, Wellman believes. He is the son of two Dartmouth College graduates, and his manager finds him to be humble, understated. ‘It’s obvious his parents did a tremendous job with him,’ Wellman said. ‘He’s very mature for his age. He’s as humble as can be, and I hope he stays that way, because he’s an absolute pleasure to be around.’ “

    Man I can’t wait to see this guy in Atlanta.

  96. I agree with Sam and Mac. The distinction between the acceptable medical interventions and the unacceptable seem arbitrary at best. People complain about records being tainted by steroids, but I think TJ surgery should get more attention. The effects of steroids are dubious, but you can say without a doubt that pitchers today have a huge advantage over pitchers pre-Tommy John. Take Smoltz as an example. Is he a Hall of Famer without his post-TJ career?

  97. Is age a disease? From what I can tell, the primary effect of anabolic steroids is (as Bill James says here) to reduce the effects of age upon players. They didn’t make Barry Bonds better; they made him able to continue to take advantage of his increasing skills without the loss of athletic ability that normally counteracts this. The most extraordinary thing about late-period Bonds was not his home runs, it was his control of the strike zone that allowed him to win batting titles and put up records for drawing walks at the same time. Bonds broke the home run records, but he destroyed the walk records.

    The bad players who took steroids, the Manny Alexanders of the world, didn’t get any better. The players who keep coming up in steroid allegations, by and large, were all already excellent players, but they were getting older, or they were having trouble staying in the lineup due to injury. Or both; they’re interrelated. Lots of pitchers take steroids, but I doubt it makes them throw any harder; what it does is reduce recovery time so they can stay available. If this is the case — and I really think it is — the difference between anabolic and corticosteroids in a baseball context is relatively small. In a sport like football, where strength and mass are more of an issue, it’s a different matter.

  98. The 18 months of not being able to use your arm and leg properly seems to qualify.

    And you find no difference between the recovery period from a surgery to repair an injury and the long term consequences of protracted steroid use?

  99. MSAE: That’s not because they’re using steroids, that’s because they’re using them without proper medical supervision. What do you think would happen if you tried to open up your own elbow and change the ligament? That used improperly they have bad side effects doesn’t mean that they’re bad. Morphine and heroin are basically the same thing, but people get morphine administered all the time, and most of the time don’t become junkies.

  100. Bonds’ record for walks in a season is 36 percent higher than the old record (Ruth); for a career, it’s 17 percent higher than the old record (Henderson). In comparison, his record for home runs in a season is 1.3 percent higher than the old record (McGwire) and for a career .9 percent higher than the old record (Aaron). I defy anyone to explain to me how steroids improve plate discipline. He got a lot of intentional walks, but so did Ruth and Aaron.

  101. I wouldn’t say that steroids improve plate discpline but they can improve power which would lead to the more powerful player being pitched to more carefully thus drawing more walks.

  102. And you find no difference between the recovery period from a surgery to repair an injury and the long term consequences of protracted steroid use?

    In addition to Mac’s comments @127 I don’t personally take it upon myself to tell grown men what risks they can take with their future health in pursuit of athletic greatness. I don’t consider that to be my place. If Barry Bonds wants to bet his health on extending his career by 3-5 years that’s his decision, not mine.

    More to the point, you’re begging the question that I’m attempting to distinguish. You accept blindly that Tommy John surgery “to repair an injury” is natural and fine. Why do you assume that? What, exactly, is natural about the TJ procedure. Why, exactly, should John Smoltz be allowed to surgically modify his career threatening injury while Chipper Jones is not allowed to take supplements that modify his nagging but still career impinging injuries? What makes it okay to slash a tendon out of your knee and magic glue it into your elbow but wrong to take some meds that keep your hammys young enough to not miss 30 games per year?

  103. @127

    I suppose there is something to that. It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what it is that bothers me about PED use in sport. Some of it is that I want to watch competitions between human beings not bioengineered cyborgs. However, the natural cycle of evolution is increasingly being manipulated by man so perhaps I should reconsider what it means to be human. It’s difficult for me to decide exactly what I think about this issue.

  104. If a hitter is using steroids or HGH and hits a home run off a pitcher using steroids or HGH, are they both cheating or is it a wash?

    Good point about the walks Mac. I think the fact that other than Jeff Kent, Bonds really never had a hitter behind him that could make teams pay for walking him.

  105. Age is a not a disease, since disease is an abnormally or non-functioning organ, system, etc. There are normal declines in body systems during aging (e.g., eyesight, hair follicle reproduction, muscle repair, bone density), and normal decline is not disease.

    PEDs do make elite athletes “better” if by better we mean the performance measured by counting stats (e.g., ABs, hits, HRs, RBI, etc.). I think the jury is out (though I’m certainly no expert) on whether PEDs make better athletes (e.g., able to hit the same pitch further because of PEDs). Though I can see arguments why they would: for example, a pitcher who is less fatigued or dealing with less muscle soreness may be more mentally focused, be able to throw with more effort on more pitches, etc., than the same pitcher who is more fatigued or dealing with more muscle soreness because he’s not taking PEDs.

  106. @130

    You make some good points. I do think there are merits to the argument that it would have tremendous negative health consequences for society at large if it becomes a requirement to take PED to play professional sports. It’s not so much about an individual adult choosing to ingest harmful substances but how that person’s decision will affect every aspiring athlete thereafter.

  107. @127 – Well, morphine and heroin are similar in that they’re both analgesics, but heroin crosses the blood-brain barrier far more readily and so is far more potent and has much greater addiction potential than morphine.

  108. The only reason Bonds starting using steroids, is that he saw how much attention McGwire and Sosa got. Steroids help you recover. Plain and simple. So instead of players bodies wearing down naturally after playing 100 games, they are playing like it’s April. And someone said something about Bonds plate discipline, well that’s obvious if you really think about. Steroids made Bonds, a great player already, into a player out of this world.

    Bottomline, unless everyone had access to the designer steroids Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, etc were using, they had an unfair advantage over their peers…therefore they were cheating.

  109. AND nearly all of those steriods are illegal to buy, sell and possess. That’s not a minor issue.

  110. @117
    Thanks for the link, Mac. Obviously, I have a new James book to look forward to reading.
    I hope that should the Big Ugly Issue come up again you’ll link to this thread.

    But tell me, should Barry Bonds start working on his HOF acceptance speech or not?

  111. Re 136:
    If PEDs are objectionable because they’re not available to everyone, what about teams who traditionally have really bad medical care? The last Pirates administration seriously screwed up some players’ careers due to terrible medical treatment, including a couple people who ended up suing the Pirates. Does that mean that it was cheating for people on teams with good medical staffs to take advantage of those good medical staffs, because players on the Pirates couldn’t?

    This is even more complicated when you think about cases where a team might have a good medical staff, and that staff actually advocates (in private) that the players on that team take steroids, as the Red Sox have been accused of at various times.

  112. People always bring up the illegality of using steroids without the approval and supervision of a physician. I don’t get it. No one seems concerned when a player gets a DUI, or reckless driving ticket, or anything like that. I also doubt that many people would care about recreational drug use by baseball players. I guess my point is that if no one thinks MLB should police all aspects of players’ lives to ensure they’re not breaking any laws whatsoever (and I’m sure no one thinks that way), the legality of steroid use isn’t something to get really mad about.

    130, kudos on proper usage of “beg the question.” It bothers me to no end when that phrase is misused, as it is by almost everyone who uses it.

  113. I think people are concerned when athletes get a DUI.
    Furcal got ripped by people for his drunken actions.
    I believe that MLB should punish their players for inappropriate conduct.
    I would get fired for a DUI.

  114. @141, that’s just not the case, though. All professional sports have rules that prohibit illegal and socially unacceptable behavior by players, coaches, etc., and players are often penalized for doing so. PEDs, however, raise an issue that is different and more threatening to professional sports organizations: Illegal and socially unacceptable behavior that raises questions about on-the-field competion. Recreational drug use is a problem and sports will punish players and require them to undergo treatment, but not many people believe that drug use affects on-the-field competition like PEDs.

  115. @140 Did the medical staff intentionally “screw up some players’ careers due to terrible medical treatment”? No I doubt it. Especially since players are their investments.

  116. Mac, I realize they’re controlled and not illegal. Sorry if that wasn’t clear in my post.

    Oldtimer, I get your point about the DUI. My point was that I don’t like it when the legality argument is brought up, because it is usually a last-ditch effort made by people who have moral opposition to steroid use. I believe MLB players shouldn’t use steroids because MLB bans it, but if MLB were to lift that ban, I’d have no problem with players using.

  117. Steriods are both illegal and they are controlled substances. They were classified as schedule III controlled substances in 1991 under the Controlled Substances Act. Other schedule III controlled substances include barbituates and certain forms of LSD.

  118. Steroids are not illegal but it is illegal to use steroids without a VALID prescription or to distribute them.

  119. @135 The addiction statistics on heroin are widely overstated and have been for decades; the major American study on this subject, as with all other drug-related subjects, remains the Consumer Union’s “Licit and Illicit Drugs.”

    Anyway, I find all the furor over steroids ridiculous in light of the ubiquitous use of greenies for many, many years by many of baseball’s greatest starts–but even more so in light of how baseball has consistently soft-pedaled the fact of alcohol abuse that has been part of baseball from its earliest days till now. If Manny Ramirez or Barry Bonds inject steroids, they’re risking their own health and no one else’s. But every year there’s at least 3 or 4 players arrested for DUI, and most years at least one vehicular manslaughter, caused by a player or manager getting behind the wheel loaded. Yet the DUIs are brushed under the carpet, and the steroid injectors get 50 game bans. How does that make sense?

  120. Steriods are illegal, just like any other controlled substance is illegal. As with all controlled substances, there are differing restrictions (and differing penalties for violations) depending on how the controlled substance is scheduled (schedules I-IV).

    Also, FYI, it is not illegal to USE steriods. It is illegal to receive and possess them, among other prohibited activities, without a prescription.

  121. Mac,

    You said cortico steroids are only a pain reducer and not a healer, but anabolic steroids are a healer. You may have been on some of these things recently, and I may be wrong, but from what my doctors have told me, that is incorrect.

    Cortico steroids accelerate the body’s natural processes. They actually do the healing BETTER than anabolic steroids. Cortico steroids ARE similar in their affects on the body to NSAIDS, some of which are used or sold as “pain relievers”, but that is not the function of cortico steroids.

    Anabolic steroids actually make the recipient more of an “Alpah male” (whether the recipient is male or female). tht is, muscular, aggressive, domineering, dangerous. With Ryan Church getting 3 cortisone shots (it sounded like a lot to me as well) that should have made the tissue heal in 1/2 or less of the time otherwise.

    To the “anabolic steroids are no different from (a) cortico steroids, (b) ligament transplant surgery, or (c) pain killers”, there are many distinctions which are important.

    1. they are outside any regulated or protected medical service delivery system where other medical treatments are followed by medical practitioners and the results are reviewed by FDA, state boards of health and plaintiff’s lawyrs (yes, they do keep a lot of bad practices out of the way). Also, they are outside of those systems not out of some “prejudice” but because the serious helath issues riased by use of these are well known and well understood.

    2. The only “accepted” practice that seems to offer performance inhancement beyond the “pre injury” state of a player is LASIK. However it is easily distinguished in that thousands of “every day” people have this procedure all of the time, it is reviewed in the medical services and literature, and it
    still only “moderately” improves performance beyond the “old fashioned” solution of glasses and less old fashioned, contact lenses.

    3. For us as fans, the problem is having a fair starting point.

    4. It is unfair to the players that don’t like steroids or don’t want to endanger their own health. TJ surgery does not injure the health of the patient. Anabolic steroids do. The recovering TJ patient does not get an advantage against the other competitors. the anabolic steroid user does. The “clean” player shouldn’t have to compete against the unclean player.

  122. #4 from #153
    That’s a crucial point—thanks, Cliff.

    The topic is interesting as hell, but I remain fairly unmoved by any rationalizations (or what I perceive to be rationizations) about PEDs in MLB. The game screwed this up a long time ago & now we’re having conversations like this.

    See you in a bit, Rob.

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