Dodgers 5, Braves 4

Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – Box Score – August 06, 2009 – ESPN

One of those “you have to be kidding me” moments. Soriano gave up, in Bobby’s words, “two cheap hits” to lead off the ninth inning with a 4-2 lead. And then he gave up a homer to Andre Ethier to end it. And after leading all night, the Braves lose.

Derek Lowe did his highwire act for 6 1/3, somehow giving up only two runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out only two. It shouldn’t work, and it won’t work most of the time, but last night, it worked. Only one of the hits was for extra bases, for which see yesterday’s game. O’Flaherty and Moylan bridged the gap to Soriano, which has been enough all year, but not this time.

Diaz was in the middle of a second-inning rally. He singled in Yunel with two out, then stole second, and came in on a single by Francoeur LaRoche. The Braves loaded the bases in the fourth with one out, but Lowe due up. He struck out, but McLouth worked a walk to bring in a run. Unfortunately, Prado couldn’t get a hit to break it open; if he had, maybe things would have been different. The Braves’ fourth run came on a solo homer by Chipper in the seventh. He and Diaz both had three hits, and LaRoche continued his hot hitting with two hits and a walk. The Braves’ biggest problem was that McCann was 0-5 on the night. He’s struggled against lefties all year, and I don’t understand why you couldn’t get a night off for him with Wolf on the mound.

79 thoughts on “Dodgers 5, Braves 4”

  1. Not so hard to understand MAC as far as I’m concerned. Your a smart guy, this is the braves in a nutshell. The team on a whole (players and manager) fails far too often putting together multiple strings of games where they have full 9 inning efforts. From the offense not producing, the starting pitching maybe having an offnight, the bullpen blowing a lead, or Cox making piss poor game decisions that put the team into terrible situations. It’s one thing or another… pick your poison this team finds ways to lose

  2. I feel self important enough today to do this.

    From the previous thread:

    Yesterday was the perfect opportunity for a McCann “off day” as I pointed out on Wednesday.

    Can Cox not see that Ross’ CAREER and 3 YEAR AVERAGE and THIS YEAR statistics ALL say he is, by catcher standards, a “lefty killer”? So, if McCann is going to get an off day, shouldn’t it come against a lefty? Particularly when that opposing lefty is starting a game in the middle of a sequence without off days?

    Major League teams salivate at having a left handed catcher because it is so easy to find right handed catchers which allows the off days to be platoon days. This platoon advantage is not impacted by whether the lefty is a starter (like McCann, Mauer, etc.) or a backup (like Berryhill). And this manager is having trouble incorporating that into his “plan”?

  3. @ 2 – He’s back!!!

    Do you see what this type of loss does to Mac? He starts seeing the Ghosts of Francoeurs Past

  4. Jon K,

    The problems you recite are consistent. For 3 years we have witnessed some part of the team doing just bad enough to assure that no extended winning will occur.

  5. If the rest of this series goes as expected (Braves winning at most 1 game), it will be time to throw up the white flag and put Soriano and Gonzalez on waivers and see if you can get a few halfway decent prospects for them.

  6. But Kyle B.,

    The phrase “single by Francoeur” couldn’t be tiredness or something like that.

    Like, I could see Mac on the day Diaz hit into the 3 DP’s saying “Francoeur hit into 3 DP’s” because it would be a rote habit. That would be very expected.

  7. Ron E.,

    Yes, this was one we should have gotten. However, the team will probably play just good enough for there to be at least some sentiment for holding it together to make a run.

    As to waivers, obviously you can witdraw players. if not, I wouldn’t be going there right now. Offering arb to Soriano could net 2 picks (but if we are going to draft “signability” guys, what are they really worth?). So, don’t move him for something not worth what the picks are worth. And if he takes the arb, we have him for 1 year at a salary not much more than budgeted this year.

    The team will not solve this “play just bad enough” thing until either (1) Cox is gone or (2) These players are gone. And if (1) doesn’t happen, then doing (2) is probably a waste.

  8. Aw guys, you have to start voting for Dimaster Delgado.

    “I am de master of de universe and you are my slave!” The music, the cross marketing opportunities, the ironic jokes if he fails. All are great.

  9. Some losses just hurt worse than others, and this one really hurt. Trailing in the East by 7.5 games, with the Marlins sandwiched in there. Five-and-a-half back on the WC, with the Gents playing 12 games over .500. No way we catch the Phils, but I’m not convinced the Gents are really that good of a team. I guess the real problem is that the Braves aren’t likely to play significantly better than all of the other five teams ahead of them in the WC standings.

  10. And the failure to get 9 inning efforts thing. As a Georgia Bulldog fan, don’t call in Mark Richt to consult on this. He really has a bigger problem with this.

  11. Man, I haven’t hated the Dodgers like this in a long time. Not since Jerry Royster let …

    That reminds me. Bill Buckner deserves a special place in heaven if he makes it through this life without going on a murderous rampage. How many years has it been and this stupid company called KGB (does no one know even recent history?) has to bring it all up again.

    Hope they crash and burn and get no TARP funds.

    UGA fans will be thanking their dieties about Richt when all is said and done. We’re all suffering through the era of Gaytor Ascendant right now, but Tebow will be gone soon and normalcy will return.

  12. The only reason I can think of why McCann played last night is that Cox is saving his off day for Saturday, when Kershaw is pitching. Kershaw is a better/tougher lefty than Wolf.

  13. haha umm SDP I think it was Sori who only a week and a half ago threw one of his protypical straight fastballs right down the middle to lose down in Florida. This is more of a player issue, not a geographic issue. I was at the second Orioles-Braves game where the braves were winning 4-2 until the bottom of the 7th whereby O’Flaherty and Moylan gave up 6 runs and the braves lost 8-4. The braves blow games all over the continental USA

  14. Lets not forget that Colorado game right before the Allstar break! haha So we have LA, Colorado, Baltimore, Florida…. yep its not a geographic issue haha

  15. @16. Apparently it doesn’t matter how good the lefty is, McCann is just not hitting them. I think he should at least be dropped down from the clean-up spot against lefties.

  16. Matt Diaz – another 2-out rbi. He ain’t Eric Davis, but I value his contributions to the team.

  17. Ross calls a good game and is slugging .672 against lefties with a .408 OBP. I dont know if that will continue, but he should be giving BMAC some rest when we face lefties right now

    edit: nevermind Ross is doing all of his damage against righties. Numbers above are against RH and he’s been bad aginst LH this season.

    vs LH .229/.341/.286/.627 no HR’s
    vs RH .311/.408/.672/1.081 with 6 HR’s

  18. Looks like the RedSox need pitching.

    Think we could interest them in Lowe? Gotta get rid of that contract.

  19. Lowe is pitching very well, I think someone might take him. Im sure someone would claim him before Boston would and would block any potential deal though

  20. Watched a bit of Smoltz yesterday on mlb network and it was painful. He still had some stuff, but not enough to get through a lineup multiple times. He might be able to come in on relief and be OK, but he certainly looked a bit lost after the first couple innings.

    Fell asleep with us up 2-0, assumed we’d blow it, woke up and saw it was Soriano giving up a walk-off… stunned.

  21. BFedRec, you could really see for the first time in Smoltz’s interview that even he thinks he’s probably done. Sad way to pretty much end things for HOF’r. Im still hoping somehow John ends up here and gets to retire and walk off the field as a Brave, but I dont see how the Braves would take that chance

  22. @28 Let’s get Smoltzie back to be our closer next year if that’s the case…

    @29 Really?! That’s indeed pretty sad…

  23. How about putting Anderson on waivers, taking whatever you can get for him if anybody claims him (surely somebody wants an affordable veteran outfielder who isn’t signed beyond this year), then calling up Heyward?

  24. @26
    I’ve been wondering the same thing. Not that I’m sure I want to waive the white flag on the year, but if Hudson looks ready, I think moving Lowe is worth considering.

    And if somebody else claims him, you could always let him go as a straight salary dump. Again, not that I’m advocating this, just thinking out loud…

  25. I think calling up Heyward makes sense. In September. And only if it doesn’t start his arb clock. I doubt the difference between Church/Diaz and a 19 yo Heyward over a month and a half pushes us into the playoffs.

  26. Something was wrong with Sori last night. He only had a few pitches hit 93+, with many pitches at 90. Obviously on top of that his command was for sh*t.

    You could tell from the Pierre AB that he wasn’t quite right.

    Looking at the standings, I’m about ready to cancel my account.

  27. Lowe might get claimed by the Cubs or Mets. Otherwise, if he was waived, he would sail through the NL.

    In AL, Boston would probably be the first one that would jump. If he got past them, Angels or Yankees might.

    Everybody else is too broke and too unlikely not to be broke to jump on that contract.

    However, for next year, dropping Lowe and putting in Hudson only saves about 3 mill. Losing Hudson’s insurance we are getting this year probably costs 4.5.

    Moving Lowe also might be financially necessary to keep Vazquez and Hudson. And where we sit right now, I would rather have Vazquez and Hudson both for one year at 12 than one of them at 12 plus Lowe for 3 years at 15.

  28. There is no reason to believe that Heyward is not as good of a player right now as any of our outfielders on ML roster. There is high likelihood that in 2 to 3 years he will be better than the peak of any of these guys. So, he COULD help now.

    However, the magnitude of that help now shouldn’t make the difference in this year. But, if he comes up in April next year, except for paying ML minimum the rest of the way this year ($150,000 or so) you are financially the same. So, you only hold him back if (1) you are really scared he isn’t ready enough such that he will get spooked or (2) you think you might hold him back until June to avoid super 2 and get 6 2/3 years instead of 6 plus the rest of this year and that extra year being his age 27 season.

    So, if you KNOW he will make roster next year, bring him up and play him. If you get really lucky and Heyward goes all “Willie McCovey / Ryan Howard” on you, he MIGHT push this bunch over the top. Wellman really said a lot in that interview about Heyward being looked at as a leader and inspiring his players that were older. I would call it the “Herschel Walker effect” (young phenom is really good and everybody says “hey, we’ve got a chance.”)

  29. I thought we couldn’t move Lowe in the 1st year of his contract? or are there hoops we could jump through to get it done?

    If he didn’t look so done last night for them I’d consider advocating a Lowe for Smoltz as a reliever(with them picking up most his salary) and a passel of prospects (maybe some outfielders and a young 3rd baseman with potential). BUT, with him looking so bad I wouldn’t consider him part of it unless they picked up all of Smoltz’s contract and we only got him for a ceremonial good-bye inning without it changing who else we got in the deal.

    BTW, This is CharlesP, but my CharlesP ID posts get lost in the spam filter when I post from work.

  30. @40: I think you can’t move a newly-signed free agent in his first year of a new contract without his agreement. Somewhat similar to a temporary no-trade clause.

  31. The only way Heyward doesn’t crack this OF in April is either:

    1. Injury.
    2. The front office intentionally plays arb clock games.

    Since the Braves rarely do #2, barring injury, I see Mr. Heyward in Atlanta come 4/10.

  32. Actually, I think that there are 45 million reasons no one would claim Lowe off of waivers.

  33. @45
    A team with deep pockets, a desperate need for pitching, and a favorable history with said player, just might be willing to take that financial obligation.

  34. OK, who started the stupidity about dumping Derek Lowe?

    I mean, c’mon. you do realize that he has never been on the DL, right????

    He has been so incredibly durable during the past seven years as a starter(2002-2008), averaging 33 starts, 200 innings, 15 wins and an ERA of 3.97.

    O yea, Lowe had 85 saves and an ERA of 2.95 as a closer.

    As Susan Powter would say……STOP THE INSANITY!!!!

  35. Braves fans:

    Don’t get your hopes up on someone claiming Lowe on waivers. It ain’t happening.

  36. Was at the Smoltz game last night with RobBroad4th.

    The big moment of the game was the Melky Cabrera AB. Sawx up 3-2 in the 4th, but Smoltz is getting hit, 2 on and it’s a 1-1 count.

    Smoltz reaches back & blows a high, hard one past Cabrera. Swing & miss. I turn to Rob & say, “Let’s see if he can put him away. Let’s see if he still has that slider.”

    He tries to throw the same pitch, but this one isn’t as high or hard. Crack!

    The ball comes screaming toward Rob & me in rightfield, and I just say, “Nope.”

  37. #46 – I would discuss this with you but the point is moot. The Braves won’t put Lowe on waivers.

  38. @50
    I don’t think Lowe will be put on waivers either, nor do I even think he *should* be put on waivers.

    I just think it deserves some thought, given that *somebody* is going to have to be moved out of the rotation this winter, and Lowe is owed a whole lotta money. 45/3 is quite a bit for an 37 year old innings eater who has struggled in keeping his sinker down this year.

    OK, I talked myself into it. I think he should be put on waivers just to see what the return could be.

  39. Anyone see Kotchman’s “homer” off Chamberlain last night? What a cheap thrill New Yankee Stadium is. That ball would have probably been caught at Turner Field.

  40. Andruw was put on waivers several years ago when he was still fairly good to try to allow a deal to Boston. Lots of people are put on waivers. This is not the “DFA / release” waivers. Most players that clear late season waivers stay on their team to the end of the year.

    The worst that could happen with Lowe on waivers is somebody picks him up, the Braves witdraw him, and he crashes. If he crashes without being put on waivers, then it is no worse than that.

    I think the next year money is better spent on Vazquez / Hudson than on Lowe. I don’t see how we can have all 3 without reallocating our resources further toward pitching (and we are probably too heavy there now) or significantly increasing payroll.

    In 2010, we would be set fine. The worst part of the Lowe deal is the following 2 years. So if somebody takes him off waivers you have to get a pitcher by 2011. That could be a prospect (Minor, one of the other young guys who all seem to be suckng now) or it could be a free agent in 2010 or 2011 (market may very well drop like a rock).

    Putting Lowe on waivers is NOT the same as releasing him. BUT, if somebody would take the contract and if we are still lagging behind and if Hudson is looking like he will be ready to go next year, then let them have him.

  41. That sinker seems to be all he’s got and they’re waiting on it. Needs to hit the top of the K-Zone with a fastball every now and then. Seems like he’s very afraid of that pitch.

    Maybe with reason. But if you let major league hitters focus on one part of the strike zone, they’ll hit you hard whether it’s a sinker, slider or change.

  42. As for tonight’s game, I hope Jair can limit his pitches in the 1st two innings. His pitch count has been biting him the ass lately.

  43. The smoltz thing really bothers me. He was my favorite player growing up,my #1 of all time. I wear his number as a manger for a frosh baseball team. I LOVE smoltzie. I couldnt watch the highlights. I thought, he is a big game guy, will come in and be great for five or six…..not so. I wish he would get traded to atlanta go in the pen for the rest of the year, and retire a brave…then become our pitching coach. Show some kids how to compete!

  44. I also agree with putting Lowe on waivers. Hell, we should put every player on the team over the age of 30; as I am sure we will.

  45. I should clarify that I don’t particularly want to see Lowe go (was more detailing a scenario in which, if he was going to be traded, what might conceivably work), but I do realize that we’re in a tricky position with several very good starters needing a spot in the rotation, AND a fair bit of money committed to Lowe, Vasquez, Hudson, and Kawakami this year and next (well, if we pick up Hudson’s option).

    I tend to think we should look more at 2010 and:
    IF Hudson comes back strong (so we pick up his option),
    AND we can make sure to lock up JJ for a longer time,
    AND maybe re-sign Vasquez at reasonable price for a year or two more,
    THEN we look at trading Lowe during the off season rather than gamble on being short a starter in 2010.

    And I think maybe we should go with a 6-man rotation for the rest of the year when Huddy gets back to ease his arm into things, and take a bit of workload off of Hanson and JJ so we don’t destroy their arms.

  46. Hey, Steve Carlton ran out of gas & he wasn’t trying to come back from another major surgery at a late age.

    Last night, Rob & I found ourselves really thrust back in time & re-living our memories, just by seeing Smoltz’s mannerisms, watching him walk around the mound or peer into the plate from the stretch.

    From the beer line, I saw him strike out Matsui on a rare, nasty split & I had the instant urge to pump my fist.

    For all the really dumb things he’s said, it was still very tough to divorce yourself from the emotion of all the years & all the successes & all the giddy moments he gave us.

    I can’t say I was happy to see him trudge off the mound to resounding Yankee Stadium derision. We knew it was probably the last time we’d see him pitch in person. Didn’t think I’d say it, but it was a tough moment.

  47. Watched a lot of baseball last night and drew the following conclusions:

    Lowe looks old, and seems to be getting by on grit at this point. He’s a middle of the rotation guy, and if someone would claim him, that would be wonderful for the bottom line going forward. The Red Sox are getting pretty desperate and he’s familiar there, so that might be a fit. As Verducci chronicles on today, the Yankees are leaving the Sawx in the dust right now, and they just might be desperate enough to do something stupid. The Braves need to divest themselves of one of their two overpaid, middle rotation starters.

    Speaking of the Sawx, poor Smoltzie looks really old. He’s just on fumes and has nothing left. Yet another guy who didn’t know when to hang it up.

    To Soriano and the rest of the Braves bullpen…yes, it happens sometimes. However, it’s too late in the season, and every game is too important, to be grooving fastballs and blowing 2-run 9th inning leads.

  48. Maybe Soriano nor Gonzalez or big time pressure closers. They have never closed for contenders, so I really don’t know what to expect down the stretch.

    Lowe just looks like he is laboring everytime out. Even when he pitches well. Sort of hard to watch.

    Question: Which outfield would you rather have? Dunn, Willingham and Morgan? Or McClouth, Anderson, Diaz/Church?

  49. #63 Its tough to watch great competitors with a history of excellence finish their careers a shell of themselves. Dale Murphy comes to mind for me. Smoltz burned just a little of the bridge for me with his foray outside of his normal level of professionalism but he will always be a great Brave to me. But really how many guys go out on top? Or even in the middle?

  50. Smoltz cancelled his WFAN appointment for “personal reasons.”

    He’s left the team & is headed home to Atlanta. Something’s up.

  51. Too bad Smoltz, Glavine, and Maddux didn’t retire together and enter the Hall together. Of course, Smoltz had 5 million reasons not to do so.

  52. Tough way for Smoltz to end his career.

    I seriously doubt there’s any chance of this happening, but I would love for us to sign him and work him out of the pen. It really couldn’t hurt anything but maybe his pride.

  53. I’d second that. Seriously, even at this point he couldn’t be worse that Acosta. I don’t see it happening though cause he’d have to accept a pretty low salary and I doubt his pride would let him do that.

  54. @71

    Per Olney, he can’t work on consecutive days…maybe a long man, but if I’m Smoltz, I’m retiring instead of being relegated to mop up duty

  55. @74

    Hey Mac, I mentioned it yesterday, but I was thinking about Chipper in relation to your game thread. Do you have any thoughts about his career path? It seems very unusual to me that during the latter part of his career his batting average has gone up while his HR totals have gone down. Doesn’t really follow either trend.

  56. Well there’s no reason he should have to pitch consecutive days. Acosta rarely does. And he could potentially take a little pressure off of Soriano.

  57. Game thread is up… Ethan, it’s certainly unusual. He strikes out less now than he used to, and that’s a factor. I think that the biggest factor is that he’s a lot stronger from the right side than he was a few years ago.

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