Braves 3, Mets 2

Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets – Box Score – August 20, 2009 – ESPN

Give Kenshin Kawakami a star pitcher to work against, and he comes through. Tonight, he threw seven innings, allowing one run while striking out five. He got in trouble in the first with two walks and a double (by Jeffy — the double, not the walks, of course), but spaced them right and got out it unscathed. The only run he allowed came with two out in the third, and the runner probably should have been cut down at the plate, but the throw from Gorecki (in place of ACHE, whose back aches) was terrible. Of course, he was pitching against a Mets lineup that was missing its one remaining credible power threat (Sheffield pinch-hit late in the game, and struck out) and had at least one guy who should have retired, one guy I’ve never heard of, and Jeff Francoeur, who sucks.

That inning cut a 2-0 Braves lead to 2-1. In the top of the third, LaRoche and Church hit back-to-back doubles off of Santana, with Church scoring on a bunt and a sac fly. The Braves had nine hits off of Santana in seven innings, but he didn’t walk anyone and got a couple of double plays, one with the bases loaded by Chipper that really hurt. The Braves’ only run after the third came on another long homer by McCann in the fourth.

Chipper had one of those nights. With one out in the eighth, he made a terrible throw on a grounder by Jeffy — “Hey, let Jeff get to first, he never gets on base!” — which led to the Mets’ second run. Gonzalez walked Tatis with two outs, and Moylan gave up a single to the next batter. Soriano allowed a couple of hard-hit outs in the ninth, then a single, but got a popup on the next pitch to end it.

111 thoughts on “Braves 3, Mets 2”

  1. I feel for you Rod.

    Seems like Mac has gotten his swing back, thank goodness.

    As I said before, I am starting a Kenshin Kawakami fan club here!

    Wow, the poll is still dead lock at 50-50…that amazing.

  2. All I can say is thank goodness Rob only went to game 1. Does the curse only count the games you see in NY? I seem to remember that you’re going tomorrow.

  3. Glad to get two of three on the road. Unfortunately, the way the Phils are going, the Braves are going to need a Colorado Rockies-like run to win the division. The WC is closer, but there’s still a long way to go in that race, too.

    Still, it’s fun to watch games that matter in late August. :-)

  4. Braves announcers said that Sheffield took himself out of the lineup before tonight’s game. Said he went up to Manuel and told him he needed “time to think.” Didn’t say what he wanted to “think” about.

  5. He asked for an extension and was told no. He allegedly threatened to quit the team.

  6. @9 I guess the Mets have already a deal in place to trade Shef, and Shef needs to “think” about whether he wants to join that team or not…

  7. I dont know how to really judge this but Kawakami has pitched very well everywhere except for Great American and Dolphin stadium.

    Im also thinking that he’ll cut down on the walks next year and will be even more efficient. With Hudson coming back soon it might not be a bad idea to go with a six man to keep some innings off everyone else

  8. Went to the game tonight and, like Tuesday night, it’s apparent that these Met fans have been defeated, squelched, neutralized, completely de-balled.

    Even during the 8-run Lowe debacle, it wasn’t that crazy in there. When they gag—like the big Sheffield K tonight or the 7th inning GIDP—the groans aren’t even that loud anymore.

    It shoulda been more fun to walk out of there with a win. Usually, I eat it up, especially in the Shea years. Back then, there was palpable, seething anger. You’d hear all these great, clenched-teeth spewings (“I freakin’ hate Chippah Jones!”)

    Now it’s, “Hey, we suck, whatever…”

    Nonethless, glad my team still has some life & got outta there with the series. Great effort from KK tonight. Thank goodness the Mets were in a hurry & swung at everything.

    Now for a real team. Ball’s in your court, Rob…

  9. I usually just lurk here, but I wanted to come out of the shadows to say that you’re all out of your goddamn minds for not voting for Ignacio Geronimo for best name in the Braves’ system.

    Seriously, say it out loud and then try to tell me that it doesn’t just beat the tar out of Dimaster Delgado.

  10. Mac said he was going to call it at 201 votes. He’s probably gone to bed but it’s at 207 votes both have 50 %, though it looks like Ignacio may be the winner.

  11. @20 I actually think the chance of Chipper get hurt playing first base is actually greater than playing at third base. First baseman involves in more plays…

  12. Biggest series of the season coming up tonight. We’re tied with the Marlins in the NL Wild Card race–we can put them three games behind us.

  13. After reading the recap on the official site, I can’t believe we’re talking about putting one of our starting pitchers, who have obviously been the best part of our club, into the bullpen for a guy coming off major surgery in the heat of a playoff race. My vote is to put Hudson or Lowe in the pen. We can’t afford to have Hudson get off to a rough start.

  14. From Mets Blog:

    “This team has no days off for quite some time. I hope Jerry just reconsidered not giving him a night off tonight – Sheffield is one of two guys (the other being Francoeur) left on this team whose at bats I find remotely interesting to watch. There is no reason to do anything with him.”

    This will probably be the last time ever that Jeff Francouer is mentioned in the same breath as Gary Sheffield.

  15. like I said before, we need Frenchy to keep it up and get that long term deal with NY. What was Oliver Perez last offseason needs to be Jeff Francoeur this year

  16. Francoeur is a perfect example of the old saying “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” Geez, what a moron. I used to really like the guy (as a person, not a player), but he seems to be taking lessons from the John Smoltz school on “How to change teams with less class than most people expected.”

  17. Ignacio is a good name, but if you say the other one with a Swedish Chef accent it is SO much more fun than Ignacio’s.

  18. #36, I don’t know. Until you said something, and I checked out the link, I thought they were talking about his comment regarding not wanting to kill a rally with a home run. That comment is dumb enough to discuss for a second day.

  19. It’s hard to beat that scoreboard comment, though. I have a lot of Mets fan friends, and any time he screws up anything, I get three or four texts with stuff like, “If catching fly balls was so important, they’d put it on the scoreboard.”

  20. On the “who starts” thing.

    Hudson should have been activated to do “high leverage, long relief” 2 to 3 weeks ago. That would have kept him “stretched out” in case a starter went down or in case they decided to limit Hanson’s innings. But MEANWHILE, the ML team could have taken advantage of Hudson’s innnings in place of Acosta or somebody, which, even still “in rehab” would have probably been better.

    Not one of our present starters needs to be replaced by somebody who hasn’t yet pitched to ML hitters and is still rehabbing. Maybe if Lowe needs to skip a start for blisters. Maybe if Hanson’s innings need to be slowed up. Maybe to go 6 man if we have a stretch with a doubleheader. But otherwise, no, don’t start Hudson. Do get him to the active ML roster and have his innings replace innings going to dregs.

    By the way, either last night or the one before, Carlyle had another great performance. “Good Buddy Carlyle” is a vastly better and more reliable pitcher than Acosta.

  21. JC,

    To me, it was his implication that he had nothing to do with the Braves struggles. It’s as if he wasn’t there and his lousy hitting wasn’t a big piece of the problem. Maybe he was one of the reasons the magic stopped.

  22. Sheffield reminds me of Bonds.

    All the talent in the world an no appreciation for the gifts they’ve been given.

    Total self-absorption. Really distasteful.

  23. I am pretty sure a fair amount of self-absorption is required to get to that level. Not sure what you are referring to by comparing Bonds to Sheffield – can you elaborate?

  24. In fact, the person who is most similar to Sheff right now is Smoltz, don’t you think?

  25. On McLouth, ACHE, Gorecki, and Heyward.

    My take is the ML club is about to the point of projecting Heyward in right in April 2010. If they really think he needs more time down, he should at least be sampling AAA and seeing the “tricks of the trade” (changeups, forkballs, sidearmers, knuckleballers and whatever that are so much more prominent in AAA). And, if he comes up to ML now as compared to April 2010, the only cost is ML minimum prorated salary the rest of the way ($130,000 versus probably $8,000 minor league pay).

    So, cost wise, there is no reason to hold him down.

    Play wise, if Heyward can’t play almost every day, he doesn’t need to come up.

    Performance wise, Heyward’s MLE’s are far above anybody else in the system. He is the best combination fielding and throwing active minor league outfielder the Braves have who has even a semi credible ML bat, so he doesn’t hurt you there. (In other words, Blanco may cover more ground, but after you adjust for his Juan Pierre like throwing arm compared to Heyward’s near cannon, Heyward would still be a better fielding option in center.)

    So, if ACHE can’t go, I move Diaz to left, hold Church in center, and bring up Heyward to play right. I don’t count on Gorecki, B. Jones, Blanco, or anybody else for frequent playing time. i would have probably brought Heyward up over Gorecki, but it is o.k. to stay as we go unless ACHE can’t stop aching.

  26. Spike at 45,

    Good one.

    Sheffield’s approach is a better version of Terrell Owens. He has great talent and usually uses it effectively, but if he can’t get what he wants out of the deal in playing time or money, he pouts.

    Sheff, you are getting the money you contracted to play for. You were released by the team that agreed to pay you because you looked hopeless. You chose to go to the Mets when there appeared to be other options because they proposed to give you greater playing time. You have gotten even more playing time than they projected for you. Now you don’t want the playing time because they won’t commit to hiring you for next year? Get over yourself.

  27. If 40 posts pass without someone complaining about being offended by a post, I think that post is cleared of all wrongdoing.

  28. It was only 30, Dix. What does that say about our board? Isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to me, but I am not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

  29. Spike,

    I thought what it said about our board is that some of our posters are bad with math and don’t have any business on “Are you smarter than a 5th grader”.

  30. Cliff,
    Your second paragraph is something I’ve been thinking about Sheffield for a decade.

    He’s a me-guy, could care less about the team. If he did, he would’ve picked up his glove & taken the field last night. Instead, he pouted like a 4th grader.

    Never liked the guy, and I liked him even less after going 3 for 30 in the playoffs for us.

    From the Newark Star-Ledger:

    http://tinyurl.com/lexebn

  31. I chose 40 on purpose, knowing you posted at 30. I just felt 40 was a good number, clearly you got your complaint (if it was a complaint) inside the window of opportunity, and we should all feel free to berate post #19 with impunity.

    I thought 50 was a better number, but that seemed to convenient a choice.

    Furthermore, even had I chosen 30, which I never even contemplated because it’s too arbitrary, the post would still have been timely, as it was the 30th post after #19.

  32. I think it’s the “angry-all-the-time” stance of both Bonds and Sheffield that bothers me the most.

    For cryin’ out loud, guys, I’d be on my knees every morning saying thanks for being given those gifts.

    At least I like to think I would. I should be doing that very thing now and don’t do it nearly often enough.

    But at least I’m not angry. Except when I watch Kentucky play football. Dumbasses have taken years off my life.

  33. He is an ass, no doubt about it. But he never pulled any of this crap while with the Braves, and he put up a fantastic 2003 season, so I don’t hate him as much as everyone else.

  34. hank, I think I would very much enjoy hanging out with you, as long as you weren’t wearing any UK paraphernalia.

  35. Fantastic seasons, weak post-seasons. It’s not wrong to expect your best players to play well (or at least not totally suck) in the post-season.

    From what I recall—a Bradley column, I think—Sheffield tried to get his own round of attention from the press in Atlanta, but as we know, that’s the wrong town for that.

    He also knew that he was a two-year rental in ATL. There was no chance JS was re-signing him.

  36. It’s not wrong to expect it, but it is also worth noting that without the first part, the opportunity for the second is not going to happen.

  37. What about Chipper only going 3 for 18 in the 2003 playoffs? Or Andruw going 1 for 17? Furcal only went 4 for 19. Its not like Sheffield was the only one on the team sucking ass in that series against the Cubs. Really, Giles and Javy were the only ones who did anything in that series.

  38. 23,
    It’s not the avoidance of injuries we’re looking to accomplish by moving Chipper to 1st (though you do have a point, but he rarely gets hurt in the field, usually swinging and missing at pitches), it’s shoring up the defense. Because Chipper has been awful at 3B this year.

  39. Right, but is an even-more-frequently-injured Chipper at first more valuable than the current one costing runs at third? I doubt it.

  40. Yeah, I don’t know if it was playing for Bobby or what, but Sheffield behaved himself to an extreme and noticeable degree while playing for us. The only thing I can remember is a few slightly off-color quotes in the media, and I think 95 percent of those were coaxed out of him by Terence Moore. Everywhere else, he’s been at best a complete jerk and at worst a destroyer of team chemistry.

    Also, totally disagree on Heyward. I would absolutely not call him up and thrust him into the middle of a pennant race. I think some people on here are expecting way too much of him. I would be OK with sending him to Gwinnett, I suppose. And yes, I’m aware they’re also in a pennant race, but it’s not the same thing. There is no way Heyward should come anywhere near the Major League team until spring training.

  41. Hypothetical:

    You ARE the New York Yankees. It is the last day of the season. You have clinched top seed overall in the postseason. The Angels have clinched second overall.

    Tampa has made a surge and is one game behind Texas for the Wild Card. You are playing Tampa. If Tampa wins the Wild Card, you face the weak Central winner in the playoffs. If Texas wins the Wild Card, you play them. It helps you if Tampa wins. Also if Tampa wins and Texas loses, they play an extra high-stakes game, so there could be a secondary benefit.

    You gain nothing by beating them. If you forfeit, or throw it by tossing out a team of callups, you save your staff and you have a shot at playing a weaker team or a team that just burned a bunch of pitches in a playoff.

    Do you forfeit the game?

  42. So who would be the everyday 3B in this scenario – Prado? How sanguine are we about his defense going forward?

  43. Hypothetically? You owe the sport an unbiased opportunity to select its postseason representatives. You might be in Texas’ shoes one year. In real life? You run out the second string and swing at the first pitch a lot.

  44. I dunno, that stuff always seems to backfire. I can see the headline now:

    “Tigers Shock World / Sweep Yanks”

    Stu, I’m hoping to come to Nashville for the SEC Tourney this Spring. If so, I’ll buy you a beverage at Mere Bulle (if it’s still there).

  45. You are the Yankees, though. You don’t owe the sport anything. You fill their stadiums when you visit their towns. You share internet revenue with clubs that get a fraction of the hits. The thought that you owe anything to the sport is preposterous to you, because you are The New York Yankees™.

    You only use pitchers not on the postseason roster. You bunt every at bat, and if a member of your team accidentally gets on base, he’s caught stealing on the next pitch.

  46. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player with a quicker bat than Sheffield. Obviously he’s self-absorbed, but to his credit, he seemed to behave himself surprisingly well in Atlanta. I’m just glad he’s the Mets problem now.

    On another note, Hanson is now 8-2 and probably has 8 more starts over the next 41 games. If he goes something like 5-1 over those games and has an impressive showing in a high profile game, I think he has a shot at Rookie of the Year. It’s not likley to happen, but it’s possible – of course a few other players would have to finish weakly. Who was our last ROY?

  47. I keep waiting for two division winners to play the last game of the season tied in the standings with a weak third division winner and a strong Wild Card. Essentially, I’ve been curious to see that South Park episode in real life. Rewards for losing always interest me.

  48. You are the Yankees, though. You don’t owe the sport anything.

    How about the exclusive right to own a franchise in the sports’ richest market, with only one competitor? I’d say they owe baseball plenty. Everything you mentioned comes as a result of their arrangement within the cartel. Further, if you were obvious about tanking the game for your benefit, I think the sport would have a vested interest in taking action just as if a player had thrown a game for gambling purposes. The only thing the sport has to sell is the absolute integrity of it’s results.

  49. Think people are selling the Tigers short, they are a very dangerous opponent over a 5-game series.

  50. Kentucky football took years off my life, too. The Mildkittens get one more freaking yard against Tennessee in 2007, Georgia goes to the SEC Championship Game, whips LSU, then detonates Ohio State for the BCS Championship.

    One yard! Was that so hard to ask? Sheesh. You *deserved* to get punted from the SEC basketball tourney by us just for that.

  51. @82 – “The only thing the sport has to sell is the absolute integrity of it’s results.” I’d argue that the main thing MLB sells is the entertainment value of its results; the integrity of said results is secondary. Given that the result of the Yankees throwing a meaningless game would, hypothetically, be the Yankees winning the World Series, the largest fanbase in the sport would be so overwhelmed with delight (i.e. entertainment) that they would largely never mentally make it to selling point #2 (integrity). Witness the lack of outrage among boston fans over the 04 series post-steroids revelations.

  52. so doing my first NFL ftsy draft last night and with the 11th overall pick I took Brandon Jacobs. I then had the 14th overall pick and was ready to take Marion Barber when my draft froze up. They (ESPN who sucks) drafted Drew Brees for me.

    Should I be happy to have the #1 projected QB or a little upset that I missed out on Barber?

  53. If baseball fandom were ever to believe that the outcomes were predetermined, the sport would be reduced to WWE overnight, with a commensurate drop in fan base size and revenue. You just couldn’t take it seriously. Steroids is hardly equivalent to intentionally losing a game – quite the reverse. And it may be that the lack of outrage is because people just don’t care that much about steroids. If you had released info that they had tanked a game on purpose, do you really think no one would have cared?

  54. @90- While RBs are extremely valuable in fantasy football, you do have one good one. I would be happy with Brees. I’m stuck with Cutler in mine.

  55. Gary Sheffield went from a 19 phenom shortstop with an attitude problem with Milwaukee to a 40 y/o serviceable outfielder with an attitude problem with the Mets. What a journey.

  56. There are two kinds of tanking though – type A. would be the Black Sox variety, wherein baseball is just a means to an end (making nefarious money). Type B. would be the kind suggested here. You’re not throwing your season – you’re simply losing now to win later. This routinely happens in the NBA – see the rash of mysterious illnesses that befalls the one or two stars on every lottery or near-lottery team when a major batch of college talent is on the way in next year’s draft. As long as winning is still the ultimate goal, even if it’s delayed winning, it can’t be as bad as throwing a game for gambling purposes.

  57. They wouldn’t forfeit the game; people paid for the tickets. There would be hell to pay for that. I think most people in baseball would make at least a token effort to win, although I see no reason why you couldn’t take out your starters early. The Yankees have no obligation to risk injury in order to help another team that couldn’t win on their own. The question of whether they lose on purpose to help their playoff chances is more difficult, but I doubt they would be so blatant as to simply tank the game.

    @67,

    Sheffield didn’t hurt team chemistry enough to prevent the Marlins from winning the WS in 1997. He didn’t hurt team chemistry on the Braves. In fact, I don’t think there’s any proof that he really hurt team chemistry anywhere he played. First, I think team chemistry is overrated. Second, I think players look at this differently than fans; if a player is bitching about something or other, they don’t care unless it affects how the guy plays. I suspect that players like a lot of guys that fans hate and vice versa. The players don’t care if a guy can’t get along with the media.

  58. I think you can’t presume that you know which team will be easier to beat in the playoffs especially considering how frequently the wild card team has made it to the World Series. You do what you think is best for your own players to have them ready for the playoffs and let the rest of the teams sort themselves out.

  59. JoeyT,
    Trust me, the Yankees aren’t afraid of Texas or any Central Division winner. In a situation like that, they’d trot out their scrubs & line up their pitching for the ALDS.

    The only club the Yanks genuinely fear is the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, a team they won’t play in the first round anyway.

    Doesn’t mean they can’t lose in the post-season to any of these clubs, but only the Angels give them pause. They’ve lived that movie before & it never ends well for them.

  60. Another thought on Sheffield,

    Some of you (particularly Mac) probably know this better than I do. But, if a player refuses to play can’t he be placed on a restricted list that stops their salary (obviously subject to union grievance, which they would file)?

    And if Sheffield went on such a list, wouldn’t the withheld pay include tha part coming from the Tigers?

    If the above is right and if I am Omar, then I put him on the restricted list. This would be one of those where Omar owes it to his future dealings and to ML to force this confrontation. It is not like future relations with Sheffield are important to the Mets (those are blown now) or wins the rest of the year (no way they get back in the picture).

  61. I think the Cubs did the restricted list on Sosa a few years ago in a similar situation (weren’t agreeing to extend him and he just tanked and then was benched and then left the ballpark before the game was over).

    Does that sound familiar?

  62. I won’t use the word, but these people are addressing the odds of multiple occurrences in the positive direction. It seems just curiosity, not detailed analysis.

    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2009/8/21/997250/the-angels-and-pythag

    Gammons threw i something today about the Mets getting 2 draft picks if they keep Billy Wagner and offer arb. My memory from somebody in the last few years is that the compensation system values players on a last 2 years’ basis and that if someone is out for most of a year there is almost no way to make Group A or Group B.

    Does that sound right?

  63. Incredibly, Wagner does project to an A as of right now.

    Somebody would have to sign him, and he’s have to turn down arb – neither of which are likely.

  64. Diaz for leadoff!

    Also, I think any mention of Hanson for ROY will be overshadowed by Happ of Philadelphia.

  65. Well, they couldn’t forfeit the game. I’m pretty sure that’s even against the rules, and at the very least it’s very cheap and anti-competition of them. They could, probably would, and perhaps even should roll a team of bench players out there. However, they should still give them instructions to win the game if they can. Otherwise, that’s still throwing the game and still against the rules. And while they would never get called on it by MLB, everyone would know the chickenshit they were pulling and they would get blasted in plenty of circles for it (a la Bill Belichick that year he very clearly lost the last game of the season on purpose so he didn’t have to face the Steelers).

  66. It seems to me the benefits of losing to get a particular opponent in the playoffs is much greater in football than in baseball. The playoffs in football involve matchups that really favor one team or another while in baseball, it’s really who gets hot at the right time. Plus, I’m not sure you would really want to signal to a potential opponent that you lost because you would rather play them.

    It would also depend on your situation at the end of the season. If you have been coasting-as it appears the Yankees will-and have been giving players rest the last week or so, you might well want to play the regulars at least some in the last game so they can stay sharp since there is a two or three day layoff before the playoffs start. And once they are playing, they aren’t going to try to lose. I think how you prepare would be more important than who you play.

  67. hank,
    Mere Bulles, the Brentwood restaurant? That’s pretty close to my house, but we could meet somewhere closer to downtown Nashville, where the tournament will be happening. (Brentwood’s half an hour away.) Either way, I’d love to meet up.

  68. I sure hope the Mets can beat the Phils at least twice this weekend… I’d hope for a 4 game sweep, but that’s just NOT going to happen (especially with them not facing Santana).

  69. 90 – Be very happy you autodrafted Brees at 14. Most drafts he will never be there. Running backs, while still the most valualbe fantasy position are losing their grip on that title as more teams go to 2-3 back systems. Dallas may be playing 3 backs this year. Losing Barber should work out well for you.

    This weekend’s best possible scenerio – Braves sweep, Giants sweep. Braves move 2 back of SF, 1 back of CR. Worst case, Braves get swept, Rockies sweep. Braves are 7 back of the wild card and virtually done. Big series.

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