Braves 8, Dodgers 2

Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – Box Score – August 09, 2009 – ESPN

I think three out of four against the Dodgers is the best you could have hoped for coming in. It just so easily could have been a sweep… Javier Vazquez didn’t get a complete-game shutout, but he had the next best thing, eight innings of one-run baseball. He served notice by striking out the side in the first, and fairly cruised from there. The only run he allowed was in the fourth, on a single, a terrible flare double by Ramirez that went about 80 feet but right over LaRoche’s head and right on the line, and a sac fly. Fortunately, we had an incident of Manny Being Stupid, as Ramirez tried to score on a long pop flyout to Yunel, and was easily gunned down at the plate to end the inning.

It was 3-0 entering that inning, and stayed 3-1 for a long time after. Diaz opened the scoring with a solo homer in the second; it was to right field, and just a little longer than his four flyouts to right last night. Sooner or later, I guess you get it right. Prado singled in KJ in the third. The Braves had a good chance to break it open in the fourth, loading the bases with none out, but LaRoche grounded into a double play. It did score Yunel (who hit in the cleanup spot against a lefty, with McCann hitting fifth; a good idea). The Braves didn’t do much in the middle innings, as Jeff Weaver faced the minimum in three relief innings. One wonders what would have happened if Weaver had started instead of a guy who started a minor league game on Thursday.

Vazquez got some good defense behind him, and finished with seven strikeouts, two walks, and five hits. The Dodgers never got more than one baserunner in an inning except in the fourth. He had little room for error, leaving the game still up 3-1, with 113 pitches thrown. But the Braves broke it open in the ninth. Yunel started it with an infield single. McCann worked the count, just missed a double down the line, then doubled to right-center. (Snitker tried to wave Yunel home, but Yunel stopped anyway. Yunel Escobar has better judgment than our third base coach; there is no reason to risk anything with nobody out.) Diaz singled in Escobar, then LaRoche hit a sac fly to score McCann. 5-1, and that seems like enough, but they poured on. KJ walked; Bobby gave up an out not by bunting, but by sending Norton to pinch-hit. After that, Church laced a double to score Diaz to make it 6-1, and Prado singled to score two runs, 8-1.

Bobby didn’t bring in Gonzalez, even though he was Already Warmed Up. Unfortunately, the most rested member of the bullpen was Acosta, who was awful. He gave up consecutive singles, but did get a double play, scoring a run but seemingly all but ending the game. However, a hit batsman and a single later, Bobby had to go to the pen, bringing in Moylan, who finished it off. He never should have had to.

215 thoughts on “Braves 8, Dodgers 2”

  1. Braves are only 3.5 out in the Wild Card and 4.5 out in the division. It’s good to see them playing consistent baseball.

  2. I dont think Acosta hit Martin, the LA announcers basically said the same thing, but he still stinks.

    The LA Announcers were incredible and are exactly what baseball should sound like, what a pleasure to listen to them.

  3. Last year I called this team cowardly. And I was right.

    This year’s bunch may not be last year’s Phillies, but their toughness is admirable. Easy bunch to root for these days.

    Also, I’m the biggest Diaz fan here but I swear he’d be an All-Star in Cincinnati. He’d hit 25 homers at that park.

  4. Can anyone tell me if MLBTV is worth it? I have watched a game on the laptop before and it was acceptable.

    Man if we don’t do our usual and follow a streak with a total inability to hit the ball I like our chances. We may not get into the post season but it won’t be for a lack of trying. I really like this team.

  5. The tag line offends me and my lisp.

    @4, Johnny –

    I had MLBTV last year. I think I paid for the middle quality (theres high, medium, and low that you can get for different prices).

    I was completely satisfied with the quality of the picture. It was a really cool thing to have in conjunction with fantasy baseball, because I could watch all my guys at bats and starts.

    One big problem though…I couldn’t watch Braves games on it. The Braves games were blacked out for me, due to my location. Obviusly, since I’m in Atlanta, I had access to the games on television, but sometimes, if my wife was watching tv, it’d have been nice to get the games on the laptop so I could still watch.

    If you’re not in Atlanta, I’d recommend MLBTV. I enjoyed having it.

  6. We are actually winning games? What’s going on here…. Until we figure out what is happening I will be waiting for the other shoe to drop.

  7. Johnny, it is much better this year and has gotten better as the season has progressed.
    I like it because you also get to pick what station you want to watch the game from, home or away.

  8. Church is hitting something like .280/.410/.450. Imagine if he had gotten that production (or just a mere .780ops) all season long, where would we be now? Moot point I know, but he’s making Wren look like a genius, and he’s making me enjoy the Braves again. Go Church!

  9. @4

    I really enjoy it. Don’t live in Atlanta anymore, and w/out TBS, it’s been a lifesaver.

    Also, if you have a newer TV, you can plug a laptop into it and get almost HD quality (with a decent internet connection)

  10. Am watching the Hall of Fame Game for some reason. Gosh, a terrible spot on the first play of the game. I may need to branch out into Awful Officiating.

  11. #4—I’ve been with the last two years, it’s great. I must say as a caveat that I live in Nebraska, so the Royals games are blacked out, not the Braves. It probably wouldn’t be worth it if I couldn’t get the Braves. Now is the time to strike as they are offering the rest of the season for $35.

  12. Im glad you said that Mac, that spot was atrocious…as a high school football coach, I am infuriated by those kinds of officials, the kind that are clueless and blind!

  13. “Utility man Omar Infante could be activated as soon as Tuesday. He’s been out nearly three months recovering from a broken hand. He was 5-for-17 with three walks in his first five games for Class A Rome, including two hits Saturday.”

    Nice having you Diory…

  14. Awful things about MLB.TV:

    -The between-inning commercials they run are really loud
    -Some times, they force you to watch commercials on archived games (ie, they don’t let you skip around when a commercial is on, so you have to be on your toes and hit the “skip to next inning” button right after the 3rd out gets recorded)
    -It gets really frustrating when your feed isn’t working for some reason, and it’s almost always impossible to tell whether it’s your machine, your connection, or MLB.TV’s website that’s screwing up.

    That said, I’ve really liked it a lot this year. I had the audio for a couple years prior, but this is the first time I thought I’d watch enough games to justify it, and I’ve really liked it a lot. It’s pretty cheap if you get the full year in like April. I’m not sure if they’ll give you that price pro-rated to today, but if they do, I’d recommend it. I have the “premium” service, btw. The bandwidth requirements really aren’t that bad, and the picture quality is FANTASTIC. It’s not HD, but it’s really nice.

    Also, triple check to make sure you’re not in the Braves media “zone”, because I don’t think it’s super intuitive. I’m in Raleigh, which places me in the Orioles/Nationals zone. If I lived like 100-200 miles west, I’d be in the Braves zone and would essentially be screwed.

  15. Yeah, thats a nice upgrade. Its like making a trade, both having him and Huddy coming back…..It could put us over the top if we are really close and can get hot

  16. Thanks guys. I am debating. I do want to watch this team play but we are about to enter high school sports season around here and with 3 daughters playing sports I never get to eat at home much less watch tv.

  17. @18 “-It gets really frustrating when your feed isn’t working for some reason, and it’s almost always impossible to tell whether it’s your machine, your connection, or MLB.TV’s website that’s screwing up.”

    You can’t describe it any better than that. However, I would still recommend I have been using it to watch Braves games for three to four years now. I wouldn’t say I am 100% happy with it, but I definitely think it’s worth the money. The improvements they have made in the past couple years have been incredible.

  18. They just said the Yankees didn’t pitch Phil Hughes tonight because he had works 2 straight days.

    After watching the Braves all season…this concept is incomprehensible to me

  19. I’m in my second season of MLB.TV, and from a technological aspect, this year has been far superior to last year. It’s a great investment for an out-of-market Braves fan (I’m from Ohio). Oh, I also don’t have much of a life. (Again, I’m from Ohio).

    The games are archived if you miss anything, and they offer DVR features (pause, rewind, etc) and “condensed games” which is like a summary/greatest hits feature.

    I’m also in a Yahoo Fantasy League, and the player tracker feature is great.

  20. That’s being a bit overcautious, actually, unless he’s worked a lot this year, or is coming off an injury. I don’t see how those things could possibly apply to Soriano, Gonzalez, or Moylan.

  21. I think Hughes had a fairly heavy workload before this series, and Girardi didn’t want to use him at all.
    Soriano / Gonzalez : Relievers for another team next year maybe. Hughes, stud prospect you want to keep. Obviously going to be a bit of different treatment.

    What will it take from here on for Javy to get serious Cy consideration over Lincecum / Cain / Carpenter / Wainwright?

  22. What will it take from here on for Javy to get serious Cy consideration over Lincecum / Cain / Carpenter / Wainwright?

    A couple no-hitters or perfect games. I don’t think Javy’s gonna get any love for the Cy Young, even though he deserves it.

  23. He needs to win more games. So, since that largely has no bearing on how well you pitch, he needs to do nothing differently and hope the Braves decide to keep scoring when he pitches. Seriously, though, he’s been just as good as those guys. Just has fewer wins to show for it (through no fault of his own, why do we let peole who consider this vote for the award?). Just go on a winning streak and he should put himself squarely in the race. Would help for the Braves to make the post-season and for the Giants to miss it. Another stupid criteria.

  24. @15 & 16
    I didn’t see the Vince Young segment but I have to say anyone that didn’t expect him to be atrocious was dreaming. He had NFL bust written all over him.

  25. Javy’ll finish top 10 in the Cy voting, I would imagine. A strong finish to the season by the Braves (especially if they make the playoffs) would be a huge boost. More than anything, though, Cy Young Awards are determined by Wins and ERA. Same as they were 50 years ago.

  26. I fully expect Lincecum to win the Cy, and he is who i would vote for too. But if Javy got his ERA down to 2.6 range, pitches 220 innings, and the Braves get to the postseason, I think it won’t be so clear cut.

    Unless someone has a 20 win season, I don’t think the Cy voters factor in wins THAT MUCH. But then, you can put nothing past those mediots..

  27. Lincecum: 12-3, 2.20 ERA, 163.2 IP, 198 K, 1.04 WHIP, 196 ERA+
    Vazquez: 10-7, 2.90 ERA, 155.1 IP, 171 K, 1.04 WHIP, 144 ERA+

    I’d say that Lincecum is the next level up, which is not to downplay anything Javy has done, just to say that Lincecum is that good. There’s a reason the Giants are tied for the lead in the wild card without any hitting.

  28. As easily as the Braves could have swept the Dodgers, we could have easily been swept. Last years team would have rolled over after Thursday’s game, especially with no Chipper in the line up.

  29. One irritating thing about MLBTV:

    I live outside of Birmingham, and used the “Zip Code Checker” thing on mlb website to make sure I wasn’t going to be blacked out from Braves games before buying the service. The checker said I was not in the home market for any MLB team, so, no blackouts. $120 later and the first time I try to watch a Braves game on it at my house, its blacked out. That infuriated me.

    Other than that, its pretty neat. If you play fantasy baseball, its particularly cool to watch your guys hit and pitch.

  30. Heresy Alert!

    I like the Braves better with (the good) KJ at second, Prado at third, and Chipper’s salary letting us keep Javy, Hudson, Lowe, Soriano and Gonzalez.

    The Braves pay Chipper a lot for McLouth-type power.

  31. Vince Young sucking in the pros, while not completely unexpected, still kinda blows. VY’s brutal dismantling of the USC juggernaut in Pasadena was one of the more thoroughly enjoyable sports outcomes I’ve experienced despite not having a dog in the fight (see also: George Freakin Mason over UCLOWN, ’06). For a second there, ESPN imploded in a supernova of howling self-pity and delusion, and it was beautiful. And then…Teblow committed to Florida, and all was lost again.

  32. I need to see this team sweep the Nats then take 2/3 from the Phillies before I get back on the bandwagon. It will be awesome having a backup shortstop who hits above the Mendoza line on the roster again.

  33. Well, the Nationals are the hottest team in baseball at the moment, so don’t hold your breath.

    I could see them winning a series against the Phils, though. I’ll be happy with a 3-2 week.

  34. yeah, we definitely need Infante back However, Id rather keep Diory over Norton. AT least Diory can play good defense, Norton doesnt even play the field and he cant hit anymore

  35. i say this team goes on a tear and goes 12-5 the next 17, putting them in a tie for first.

    then the reality of our lack of movement at the deadline (and don’t call LaRoche movement), coupled with the Lee trade will have the Phils pull away and win the division by 2.

    we get the wild card, but lose in 4 to the Cards.


    i seriously thought that we could have gotten ALOT for Chipper at the deadline from, say, Boston. A Chipper/Vasquez package could of gotten us probably:

    OF – Reddick
    SP – Bowden
    SS/RHP – Kelly (i say tell him to play the field)
    OF – Westmorland

  37. @43

    I think we made a lot of moves and why wouldn’t you call LaRoche movement? He has played well. Don’t forget we also filled our holes in center and in right without giving up a lot of talent.

    I don’t think there was any reasonable moves left for us to make, unless we went after Dunn or another big name bat that would have cost us at least Freeman.

  38. If the Braves could somehow steal Willingham or Dunn from the Nationals when they come to town, I would feel a lot more comfortable with the teams chances. They Braves DESPERATELY need a consistent power hitter. Chipper may not hit 20, McClouth’s last HR was 7/24, and McCann’s last HR was 7/30.

  39. I think this team is set up perfect for a run in the playoffs with the wild card. We would probably match up with the Dodgers, and look how well we just played them.

  40. @44

    Um…how in the hell would that have helped us at all? We weren’t selling at the deadline. There is no reason on Earth we would’ve made that move.

  41. @45,

    Speaking of Freeman, I think there’s a decent chance we’ll see him in September when the rosters expand.

  42. “I think this team is set up perfect for a run in the playoffs with the wild card.”

    Unfortunately, i feel the opposite. We have the best #5 starter in the league, which becomes irrelevant in the play-offs. We have the best #4 starter in the league, which may or may not be relevant in the play-offs. Bill James proved long ago that HR hitting teams fare better than singles hitting teams in the play-offs (basically you are facing better pitching, so offensive sequences are shorter and harder to come by).

    I really like this team and hope we make the play-offs, but remember that play-offs are just short-series where 1 or 2 stud pitchers can dominate-think of us vs. the Cubs the Prior/Wood year (2003). We wre 13 games better in the regular season than the Cubs, but saw Wood/Prior/Zambrano, and got wiped out.

  43. Also, while it wouldn’t be the end of the world if we split with Washington, it wouldn’t exactly show that we’re serious about this.

  44. I like our pitching and think we could go on the road and get a split in LA and come home and take it.

  45. The Nats picked a hell of a time to start playing good.

    #44 Chipper is a 5 and 10 guy and CANNOT be traded without his consent. sigh. beat you to it Mac.

  46. Chipper is still the best hitter on the team…people were ranting and raving about KJ getting released and now we’re better with KJ than Chipper? Seriously?

    Im fine with throwing Anderson on waivers and looking at KJ and Infante in RF also

  47. I dunno. Certainly not this season. Maybe next season but more probable that Prado goes to first.

    Any odds that they’ll attempt to re sign LaRoche?

    Besides Jason Bay are there any right handed power hitters coming up on free agency this year?

  48. Chipper isn’t moving to first. One of the main points for moving Kotchman was to clear the way for Freeman to take over first sometime next year.

  49. It is very possible we could see Prado playing alot of 1B next year.
    Laroach will want a 3 year deal and the Braves are not likely going to give him that with Freddie in the wings.

  50. Chipper Jones is hitting 293/409/488. He is only “struggling” compared to his previous HOF calibre production. He’s still arguably the best 3B in the National League. Anyone – absolutely anyone – who thinks their team would be better without Chipper Jones rather than with him is an unadulterated idiot.

    Chipper’s contract is cheap for what he provides. On the open market he’d command Manny/ARod money.

  51. Chipper’s a stud. They’re not going to trade him or ask him to move to first or anything like that for Martin Prado or Kelly Johnson. That’s just silly.

  52. The Nats are good offensively pretty much all the time and stink defensively pretty much all the time. Their pitching is good when Lannan or Zimmermann start (Zimmermann being injured helps us there).

  53. Chipper is the Braves Cal Ripken Jr, w/o the durability obviously. It would be nice if he could revert back to 1999 for just a few weeks. He could be the difference maker between this team just contending with the Phillies, or overtaking the Phillies. I think his batting avg. is lower than his career avg, b/c he is trying to hit homers. He understands this team needs someone to hit the ball out of the ballpark.

  54. Chipper can hit for average. He may even have more power than anyone else on the team. Maybe not. He is a liability in the field.

    Ponce de Leon didn’t find the fountain of youth. With current testing, Chipper probably won’t either.

    It doesn’t matter, because we can’t trade him without his consent. He’s a Brave whether it helps or hurts the team. I think he’s a liability. If you think he’s an asset, I’m good with that; but sentiment doesn’t win ballgames. And I think I’d rather be an unadultrated idiot than an adultrated one, Sam. Since i value your opinion, I won’t return the venom.

  55. Sentiment doesn’t win ballgames, but teams who show a commitment to their star players do win games, especially when those star players are still very productive. Other players see that.

  56. @67: should Wren put Smoltz and Glavine in the rotation? They’ve done more for the Braves than Vasquez or Hanson.

    If the Braves were in the American League, Chipper would be useful as a DH. He’s played more games this year than I thought he would, but to say he’s worth Pujols money is a stretch. I will concede that he’s one of the best hitters on the team, but he’s not light years better than Yunel or BMAC.

    I’ll shut up now, but Chipper today ain’t Chipper 1999.

  57. Chipper has actually been the most effective hitter on the team this year, by a wide margin. Oddly, this partly has to do with playing time; he’s played three more games than Yunel and five more than Brian. But it’s mostly due to that .409 OBP.

    Anyway, Chipper has created 71 runs this year, versus 60 for Yunel and 57 for Brian. His Offensive Winning Percentage is .698, versus .611 for Brian and .594 for Yunel. I think Yunel has been the most valuable player on the team, because of defense, but it’s very close.

  58. So the 6th best 3b in MLB by OPS (too lazy to use more sophisticated stats) is a drag on the team????????????

    I think the Braves have established that sentiment is not likely to get you anywhere. See Glavine, Tom, Smoltz, John

  59. Though honoring my pledge to shut up in the face of superior statistical analysis, I’m still on my soapbox in my mind.

  60. @68 – That’s silly, and strawman at best. Chipper is still a very productive star player. Both Glavine and Smoltz are done (brings tears to my eyes, but they’re done).

  61. By OWP, Chipper has been the nineteenth-best hitter in all of baseball this year. The only third basemen ahead of him are Sandoval and Reynolds, plus Youkilis and Zobrist have played there some. He’s not nearly as high — 50th — in RC, because of playing time.

  62. Some of you are talking like Chipper is the Chipper of 1999. Sure he is having a good year and he has had a great career, but bottomline is the Braves are paying him to be their Pujols or Braun. I know it’s a lot to ask of a 37y/o, but that’s the way it is. Also, MAC Ryan Zimmerman is ahead of Chipper as far as best hitting 3rd baseman.

  63. Why is it when we start winning, we start hearing stupid things like, “let’s get rid of Chipper”. There has to be something around here that we can all unite around – oh yeah, let’s get rid of Diory and Norton. EVERYONE should agree on that, and it’s not outlandish to hope for it.

    But as far as Chipper goes, leave the guy out of it. He’s still the best hitter on this team. Period.

  64. Mac,

    I’m looking at OPS, and according to what I’m looking at Zimmerman is ahead of Chipper. Not a big deal, but he still is ahead of Chipper.

  65. Would be quite good if we could get Smoltz back. Him and the starter who drops out of the rotation when Hudson returns would solidify the pen quite nicely.

  66. Of course Chipper isn’t the same player he was 10 years ago. No one is suggesting that we should extend him thorugh 2020. But when you look at production you sort of have to accept the fact that “Chipper not quite at his MVP levels of 1999” is still *the best hitter on the team.* I agree that Escobar is pushing him for best all around player, and I don’t doubt that David Wright and Ryan Zimmerman are better bets going into the future. But you don’t punt your best hitter just because he’s no longer one of the three best hitters in the league. You backfill around him with other good hitters – Escobar and McCann and soon Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman.

    The day the Braves can no longer run Chipper Jones out for 4/5ths of their games at 3B is the day they become a much worse team. I would think folks at “BravesJournal” would not want the Braves to become a much worse team.

  67. @ 83

    What makes you think John Smoltz would be anything other than a more sentimental Jeff Bennett?

  68. I’m using Offensive Winning Percentage. OPS, as I’ve stressed several times, is severely flawed because it gives equal value to slugging and on-base, while the latter is far more valuable. Because Chipper’s OBP is about thirty points higher than Zimmerman’s, it more than makes up for Zimmerman’s advantage in slugging.

  69. And an .897 v .909 OPS is hardly a difference worth mentioning. OPS+ also a dead-heat with Chipper at 137 and Zim at 136.

  70. Zimmerman is a better player. He’s nearly the equivalent with the bat – not quite, but close enough to throw stones. He’s the best defensive 3B in baseball. Zimmerman is really good. I’d have to say, if it was possible to trade Chipper for Ryan Zimmerman, you probably should.

    Of course, that trades starts with “crazy” and ends with “f*ckin-crazy-head” and would never happen. You’re not going to get Evan Longoria for Chipper either. Not going to get David Wrigh…wait, the Mets might actually do that. They’re crazy-f*cking-crazy-heads.

    In the real world, the odds of you acquiring a player that improves you more than just sending Chipper out there every day he can walk like and upright primate are virtually non-existent. If the Braves are really, really, really lucky one of Heyward or Freeman will approximate the HOF calibre bat that Chipper has provided since 1995 by the time Chipper’s final extension runs out in three years.

    10 is the only number that deserves a place in the OF wall along with 31, 47 and 29.

  71. We aren’t paying Chipper to be our Puljos. There is only one Albert Puljos and any production near that level, I will take.

  72. @89 Everyone knows there is only one Albery Pujols. I was basically saying Atlanta is paying Chipper to be the man for the Braves. Geez…

    @87 Zimmerman is still ahead of Chipper, whether by a little or a lot. No big deal though. I like Chipper.

  73. any thoughts on moving Lowe to the pen when Hudson is ready or will the FO view be that we pay him too much to be in the pen

  74. I’m not saying Zimmerman isn’t a better player, but he’s not a better hitter. Plain and simple. The only way to make him a better hitter is to say that slugging is as important as on-base, and it’s just not. Or you can just ignore the evidence.

  75. McLouth has finally passed Schafer to be listed as the Braves’ regular CF on B-R, bringing the number of “regulars” no longer with the team down to two.

  76. See post #69. The Braves are paying Chipper to ‘be the man’ and offensively he is the man.

    Tony one series win without Chipper doesn’t make him expendable.

  77. @95. I don’t believe I said the Braves should get rid of Chipper, if I did I wasn’t that serious.

    @93 If Chipper could hit 55 HR, that would be awesome! but since he can’t…I will settle for 20.

  78. new poll idea….what is crazier…. dumping chipper or paying smoltz a single penny for a farewell tour?……or ever letting norton bat again?

  79. It’s easy to think of Chipper as “struggling” when he’s not hitting as well as he has over the last couple of years… but those last couple of years have been INSANELY good. Generally speaking I don’t think most people follow up every career year with another one, and if Chipper has a decent August/Sept (as good as every non-June month this year) he’ll have followed up his batting title season with one almost exactly as much worse as the one he followed up his MVP season with (wow that’s awkwardly phrased… sheesh).

  80. Wren has done a terrifc job this year of doing something that hasn’t been done the last few years, getting rid of the dead weight. He still needs to Welease Gweg, but with the demotion of Schafer and trade of Francoeur he got rid of the two biggest drags on the lineup. On the pitching side, he not only dumped Jo-Jo and Boyer, he looked beyond the ERA to see just how badly Bennett was actually pitching. I’ve no doubt that this team as currently constituted is of playoff caliber. But it was probably too late in assembly.

  81. In a way, you sort of feel sorry for Norton. He’s knows he is the only one on the team not contributing. Even Diory can at least play defense and make the pitcher throw a pitch or two. Must be tough for a professional.

  82. Tony: thanks for taking the heat I should get. What you’ve been saying is all that I was trying to say anyway. With apologies to all the Chipper faithful, and regardless of what an unadultrated idiot I am for voicing this sentiment, I believe the Braves could be a better team using the money they’re paying Chipper for other purposes. Chipper was great, is still good, but …

  83. I understand not taking a lot of pitches as a pinch hitter. You really should swing at the first hittable pitch you get.

  84. @103,

    But the question is, just what could they do with that money that would be better than Chipper Jones? Trade for Albert Pujols? Just what are the other purposes that they could use the money for? The players that would be upgrades (at least in terms of age) just are not going to be available.

    It’s like saying, as some were early in the season, let’s break up the team and sell. Well, sell what and for what?

  85. w/r/t Chipper ’99…

    ’09 Chipper would have been the second-best hitter on that ’99 team. (A case could be incorrectly made for Klesko.) So.

  86. Mac, not many other pitchers have finished games this year. Bennett and even Medlen come to mind if it’s not Acosta.

  87. #100, it’s got to be either Medlen or Acosta. They usually finish the blowouts while Sori and Gonzo finish the close ones.

    If I’m wrong, it’s probably Moylan.

  88. Good point, Marc. Since I was talking about from now going forward and not this year (that was someone else’s deadline trade suggestion, even if I did agree), how about locking up Soriano, Gonzalez and Hudson through the length of Chipper’s contract?

  89. Chipper is definitely not the Chipper of 99, but he’s also not the Chipper of 2004 – .362 /.485 /.248 – good thing! Seems to me that there were many who wanted to dump him at that time.

    I also happen to believe his fielding this year is just an outlier. No doubt his range is decreasing, but I seriously doubt that his fielding percentage will be as poor next year – it will also improve this year, IMO.

  90. Chipper is only getting $10 mil this year.

    Zimmerman’s OPS was 42 points below Chipper’s (.846 to .888) on July 31. Zimmerman’s gotten hot, but he is also on a one-year contract, having his best year by far, and has benefited greatly batting in front of Adam Dunn. He’s hitting .237 with runners in scoring position, .268 with runners on, .100 with bases loaded, and .179 with RISP and two outs.

    Chipper is .377 with RISP, .314 with runners on base, and .435 with RISP and 2 outs.

    I’ll take Chipper everyday and twice on Fridays.

  91. You don’t need to spend the big cash on both Soriano and Gonzalez. Pick one (I’d go with Sori.) I’d extend Vasquez over Hudson.

  92. From an organizational standpoint I think at least one of Soriano/Gonzo are gone after this year simply because it looks like they’re both going to be Type A free agents and the draft pick potential combined with the cost will make signing both too costly.

    Part of the Chipper factor is that there isn’t another 3B in the system who can replace his output, and if you spend the money on one to replace his output you’re going to be paying them about what you’re paying him (sure, if the Pirates had Evan Longoria or Zimmerman then you could make the case that you could probably trade some pieces to get them and it would save money for a few years). Prado and Infante can cover in a pinch, but nobody can honestly think they’re replacing the offensive production of Chipper over the course of a season… can they?

  93. But the elephant in the room must be addressed.

    MANY (most, actually) power hitting players have had to move along the defensive spectrum as they aged. Hank played 1B and left field a lot in his last few years in ATL.

    Chipper can transition to first over the offseason. He would save wear and tear and range wouldn’t be as big of an issue. Then, presumptively, you are Chipper, KJ, Esco, Prado around the infield. Ross and McCann can work at first to be able to cover for Chipper’s nicked up days.

    Then, you find a Brayan Pena (maybe
    THE Brayan Pena) to be your 3rd catcher / utility player. You have Infante under contract for next year. You have McLouth on good terms, Diaz is 2nd time arb eligible and will probably come out 2.5. You have Church in right with Heyward and Schafer in the background.

    That is a pretty good team (if “bad KJ” can be exorcised, successfully and if the Prado is not too much of a pumpkin).

  94. Zimmerman’s deal’s numbers:
    2009: $3.325 million, plus $175,000 in plate appearance incentives, plus a $500,000 signing bonus

    2010: $6.25 million

    2011: $8.925 million

    2012: $12 million

    2013: $14 million

    And just for information, Chipper’s contract:

    “Due $10 million this season in the option year of a contract that began in 2006, Jones gets a $3 million signing bonus as part of the new deal, payable in $1 million installments each Jan. 15 starting next year.

    Jones receives annual salaries of $13 million from 2010-12 and can earn $1.5 million a year in performance bonuses: $750,000 each for 135 and 140 games.

    His contract contains a $9 million option for 2013 that would become guaranteed if he plays in 123 games in 2012 or averages 127 games in 2011-12. The option price could increase by up to $4 million: $1 million each for 128, 133, 138 and 140 games in 2012 (or averages of 132, 137, 138 and 140 in 2011-12). In addition, he could earn $1.5 million in performance bonuses based on the earlier criteria.

    If the vesting option fails to become guaranteed, the club would hold a $7 million option.”

  95. I think I’m gonna have to go with Jeff Bennett there. If not it’s Acosta, but Bennett was involved in a lot early in the year.

    That’s the thing about trading Chipper. You can’t just dump him and get whatever you want, and the very strong likelihood is that we could not get fair value for Chipper. We would get a bunch of players that we would not be able to use at the moment and who would be very unlikely to match Chipper’s production even when they got to the majors. It’s very easy to say: “I don’t like this team. I’m not confident it’s going to win a World Series. Dump the whole damn thing.” If that worked, Pittsburgh would not be on nearly 20 straight years without a winning record. It just doesn’t work that way.

    Also, I would still give Chipper team MVP over Yunel, because Chipper didn’t cost us an untold number of games earlier in the year because he was being a dumbass. I’m pretty sure it was at least a couple games directly, and then God knows how many games were affected by Bobby being forced to bench him and then him pouting and not playing well, etc.

  96. The intracicies of Chipper’s contract are enough to warrant a blog post in itself.
    I remember Bennett was 3rd on GF at one point in the season. Guess Acosta assumed his mop-up role after a door punched Bennett’s hand and has since surpassed him.

  97. What’s up with Schaefer’s health? he’s listed as on the 7 day DL on the Gwinnet Braves site and hasn’t played in a game since July 3rd?

  98. @126 Zimmerman is only 24 y/o. I think he will get better with age.

    @122 Well if Yunel cost us a couple earlier on, he made up for alone in the Dodger series.

  99. Last rumors were that Schafer might miss the rest of the season. The DL in AAA isn’t like the ML DL where you have to flip players for roster spots.

  100. I think one thing not mentioned in the Chipper discussion is how dependable he is. There are always questions about players, especially as they grow older – how will they perform? You cannot put a guy like Prado or Infante at 3rd and know you will get the same production you do with Chipper. But you KNOW with Chipper there. You can truly “pencil it in” in your planning. The question with him is how may games will he play? But when he does play, you know he will produce. Least streakiest player I have ever seen play in person.

    Combine that with his undervalued contract (a major bonus – who else of that caliber CAN you get for that kind of money? Not may get, but real possible acquisitions…) – one must begin to see the value of Chipper, over and above anything nostalgic and even recognizing his skills have eroded, at least somewhat this year (I still think he’s playing hurt.) Move to 1st, maybe, but this team is not playing without Chipper for the next couple of years barring an unfortunate injury (God forbid) and better on us for it, I say.

  101. #85, his peripherals have been mostly good.

    Also, if he comes to us, he won’t be facing American League lineups.

  102. the Eric Gregg might be “offensive” to some since he’s dead and all (though I think his strike zone in ’97 was more offensive). looks good as it is

    I have a umpiring story that happened this weekend:

    I was at catcher and I call for a curveball. The pitch comes in and it is a slow looping curve right down the middle (not exactly 12 to 6… more like 11 to 7 but you get the idea)

    the umpire calls it a ball because “it went around the plate” … I look back in disbelief and ask “around?? … I don’t think that’s physically possible.” .. and the umpire just shrugs “well that’s what I saw”

    the distance between the front edge of home plate to my glove is about 24-30 inches…. either our pitcher has the sharpest curveball ever (which he doesn’t) or this umpire has played too many games on NES

  103. probably.. I’ve never heard “it went around the plate” so that really threw me off since usually ‘around’ gives off the feeling of left to right and not over the top.

  104. Apparently the Jays are giving Rios to the White Sox. I know we aren’t in a financial position to take him on but wow.

    How do waivers work is it Rios is offered to all AL teams first from worst record to vest and then the NL?

  105. @134

    His peripherals look good?! Did you see him pitch? His fastball is flat and 5-10 MPH slower than it was. His slider is still sharp but hitters won’t chase it. They sit there and wait for a fat, slow fastball and when they get it the *crush* it. Think Jeff Bennett. Sure, some impatient hitters will get themselves out chasing the slider but most will not. He’s done.

  106. Are the White Sox projecting Rios as a centerfielder? If not what do they do with Jermaine Dye for the rest of the year?

    He’s got a .857 OPS for the year so its not like he isn’t contributing.

  107. Rios is a pretty good right fielder who might be a usable center fielder. They’d obviously be more likely to bench Quentin/Podsednik than Dye.

  108. 2005 is looking more and more like a fluke for Rios and he’s due to get paid $12 per over the next few years. It’s not quite Francoeurian but $12 mil per for a career 285/335/451 (with the trend line going in the wrong direction) isn’t something anyone should be shopping for.

  109. The ChiSox will certainly use Rios in center. At least for now. No telling if he’ll be able to swing it in 4 or 5 years time. :-o

  110. sdp,

    I agree. Let’s add the Phillies, Giants, Rockies, Marlins, and all others that may be ahead of us in the Wild Card race to the list.

  111. Scenario: three fairly attractive looking guys are dressed nicely (Ralph Lauren, sport coats, dressy jeans) and eating together at an uppity and hip restaurant. The pack of three-to-four hot hostesses keep glancing and making eye contact with these guys. Are the hostesses thinking a.) that they are gay or b.) that they are good looking?

  112. I just read sdp’s above post and wondered what forum I was in for a minute. FWIW, I’m going with good looking, but I gave up trying to figure out what the hell females are thinking years ago.

  113. Best time travel movie I’ve ever seen:

    Primer (2004 Sundance winner). It’s really good and probably won’t make sense the first time(s) through. It’s full of technical jargon, but not in a campy Star Trek way, and if you’re a programmer, engineer, or general science nerd, I recommend it highly. Pretty short film, too, so you don’t have to spend a ton of time on it.

  114. Id be excited if I was a blue jay fan right now. $60mil + freed up in order to do other things. Rios has a bad contract and his slg #’s have dropped tremendously.

  115. It’ll be like Cripple Fight ’08. Only this time….it’s ’09.

    I should be in marketing.

  116. Fangraphs did a Rios assessment and concluded that his great defense and still-pretty-good offense actually made his contract a reasonable outlay of cash. The outfielder they need to get rid of is Wells, who has completely collapsed and is much more expensive. Rios was fine at the price.

    If I weren’t on vacation dialup I’d link to the piece, but you can find it over there.

    Fish sticks was a great episode (and so was the Civil War reenactment episode), but the best South Park episode ever is, was, and always will be Scott Tenorman Must Die.

  117. hank & Rob,
    Just haven’t been able to sit down at the computer very long for the past week or so. Was traveling for work last week and had the in-laws in town over the weekend.

    As for Lent, I gave up my XBOX 360 this year, and since then, I’ve played maybe 2 hours on that thing. I wouldn’t want to risk wiping Braves Journal out of my life like that, so this place could never be a Lenten sacrifice.

  118. Hey, Stu, it’s great to see you around. I’ve been pretty absent this week while I’ve been on vacation.

    By the way, if you can’t think of anything to do with your XBOX, I can make sure it finds a good home.

  119. You could call Stu the Kelly Johnson of this board. A strong performer who at times looks like an MVP, but then disappears for weeks at a time.

    Yeah, I went there.

  120. I would never call you. You haven’t answered your phone once in the 5 years I’ve known you. And it’s an awkward thing to text someone for the spelling of a word, since you have to spell the word you don’t know how to spell in the text seeking correct spelling.

  121. I need a ruling on events that transpired in last nights law firm softball league.

    In four consecutive at bats, a buddy of mine reached 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and then all the way around to home.

    However, every one of his at bats resulted in a defensive error. He basically hit one single and two doubles, but he is claiming the cycle.

    Can he lay claim to a cycle? I say no. What say you?

  122. Per Rosenthal:

    Confession: Wren was right

    OK, time to admit the truth.

    Much as I love John Smoltz and Tom Glavine, much as I hated to see them leave Atlanta, Braves general manager Frank Wren was right to part with both.

    Smoltz, who left the Braves for a better offer from the Red Sox coming off shoulder surgery, is mulling his options after getting designated for assignment.
    Glavine, who was released by the Braves just as he seemed on the verge of returning from elbow and shoulder surgeries, has not resumed his career.
    Wren, the bad cop in both cases, took a public-relations beating. His decision on Glavine seemed particularly cold, considering that the pitcher would have received a $1 million bonus upon joining the major- league roster.

    The issue, Wren said, was performance, not money. The Braves simply did not believe that Glavine still could pitch effectively in the majors.
    Instead, the team promoted rookie right-hander Tommy Hanson, who is 6-2 with a 3.22 ERA — numbers Glavine probably could not have matched.
    The Braves’ quest for more stability in their rotation was the main reason they were reluctant to commit to Smoltz, 42, and Glavine, 43.

    Now the question is settled.
    The Braves’ rotation, bolstered by the off-season additions of right- handers Derek Lowe, Javier Vazquez and Kenshin Kawakami, ranks fourth in the National League in innings pitched and third in ERA.

    — Ken Rosenthal,

    *cough, cough…not that I was among those bashing him on the Smoltz non-signing…cough, cough, but well done Frank

  123. @184 Not a cycle unless they’re each scored a 1B, 2B, 3B, and HR. Of course, most law firm softball leagues don’t have official scorers, so it’s probably wise to let him enjoy the moment… unless he takes it too far. Then you take him down.

  124. The cycle is the most useless thing in baseball yet it is so romanticized. I don’t know why. I think it’s akin to a foul-pole homer–interesting and unlikely but nothing to get worked up about.

  125. Well, 6 additional total bases are involved in a cycle, so it’s slightly more interesting than a foul-pole HR.

  126. @184,

    I can only imagine how many arguments you have in a law firm softball league. Do you ever finish the game? :)

  127. Cycles are fun, like triple plays. Note hugely important in the grand scheme of things, but nice to see.

    Tulo’s was certainly the result of defensive mis-management, but I’m not sure who you give the error to on the 3B. The SS for the relay throw?

  128. My favorite battle cry from a corporate softball league team came from the accountants:

    “No pay due!”
    “No pay due!”
    “No pay due!”

  129. A word or two of praise for Bobby Cox. (I know many of you will be surprised.)

    Ryan Church appears to be a “Cox reclamation project.” He has been really good and I think will be a major contributor over the next 2 years, or get traded for something decent. I think his good play is partly from that “Bobby Cox clubhouse atmosphere.”

    Jerry Manuel sure hated him, for some reason. And the Mets medical staff almost fried his brain running him out too soon after concussions. He has been a better fielder than I had realized. Offensively, about like he should have been, but better than with the Mets since the concussions.

  130. Well, do you move Heyward on to AAA to let him see the junk ball, sidearm, change up artists as his last test? He would have 15 games before 8/31. He certainly seems to have solved AA quite effectively. MLE of about 1000 OPS.

    I wouldn’t be inclined to bring him on ML roster UNLESS one of McLouth, ACHE, Diaz, or Church got an inury that would take them out for 10 days. Then, I think it would be worth the risk of non peformance and the earlier arb clock. But to be ready for such a callup, I think 2 weeks in AAA would help.

    The next best outfielders are to me in order B. Jones, Barton, and Blanco. The thought of any of those getting significant playing time in a pennant race is frightening, to say the least.

  131. I think it’s stupid when people run the bases just to get the cycle. As in, stopping at second instead of continuing to third, just to get the double needed to complete the feat.

    a single, two triples, and a HR is a superior game, why not go for it?

  132. I thought Double AA is where they send all the prospects. Triple AAA is mainly for lifetime minor leaguers. No way they waste sending Heyward to Triple AAA. You rarely ever see a great prospect go to Triple AAA anymore. Unlike 15 years ago.

  133. Tony,

    A little of an overstatement there. Hanson went to AAA and I think he was a pretty good prospect.

    Absolutely you are correct that AAA is not a decidedly better level than AA as it probably was in the past. However, there are a lot of “4 pitch pitchability” guys, change up artists, sidearmers, and not quite good enough crafty veterans that provide a different type of test.

    IF I thought I MIGHT bring Heyward up by 8/31, I would rather see him at AAA for the next 3 weeks. He has essentially conquered AA (more walks than strikeouts? 1200 + OPS? SLG 750? Well hit percentage must be 75%. WOW!)

  134. I agree with Tony that Heyward will not see any time in Triple AAA. As far as I’m aware, the Braves organization has no 9-A teams.

  135. Heyward is not likely to be much of an upgrade over either Church/Diaz or ACHE, if at all. And the added pressure of a playoff race could adversely affect him. I see no reason to rush him. He’s barely 20 years old.

    And I wouldn’t proclaim that he’s “conquered” AA after barely 100 PAs.

  136. I’d handle Heyward in a manner identical to Hanson. The Braves really brought him along beautifully.

  137. Cliff,

    Whether it’s Bobby Cox’s managing or not, the Braves are playing a lot better. If this continues for the rest of the year I will give him full credit and eat my words about the Braves needing a different manager.

    In regard to Church, it’s a little too early to call him a BC reclamation project at this point. For most of the time he’s been here he’s been underwhelming. He has improved significantly over the last few weeks and it’s a great sign. Putting him in a platoon is definitely the right thing to do and would have been a good idea for the Mets. As far as overall improvement, the sample size is much too small to develop major conclusions – let’s see it plays out for the entire year. Sometimes the change in scenery works for a short time in a player’s favor – this can also be said of Jeffy.

  138. I haven’t seen/heard the games in a while (the combo of a newborn, a new job, and 2+ weeks without internet at home will do that to you), but I’m guessing that Bobby hasn’t changed much. I’m going to take the better players route.

  139. what’s the point of having AAA then?

    The primary use of a AAA affiliate is to get players MLB ready. The other use is that of a sort of “holding tank” for players that aren’t needed on the MLB roster but could be at some point in the season. Development is largely complete as soon as you’ve hit AAA and you’ll frequently find MLB wash-outs there. As opposed to all levels AA-to-rookie ball, in which a) nearly everyone is still developing and b) you’ll usually never see an MLB washout. AAA is just for seasoning, not really for development. If you’ve completely developed as a player (as far as minor league development goes, because you really don’t stop developing once you’re in MLB and continue to develop usually through your early 30’s) by the time you reach AA, skipping AAA is an option. So is going to AAA to get a little more seasoning or to control your arbitration/service time or because the club doesn’t have a spot on their active roster for you.

    In short, AAA is largely for nothing developmentally. Maybe ironing out a few kinks here and there. So your point is sort of valid. But functionally, the AAA club is vital to an MLB club’s roster. So there is a very good reason to have a AAA team.

  140. The Church / Diaz platoon is working very well. Between them, we’ve got close to an All-Star right-fielder.

  141. Speaking of Right Field, anybody ever heard Paul Stookey’s song called, er, “Right Field”.

    Kinda fun.

  142. I thought part of the reason we skipped AAA the last 5 years was that the Richmond stadium/clubhouse/training facilities weren’t exactly posh and you didn’t want to punish your young stars before you gave them their big shot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *