Braves 8, Astros 2 (10 innings)

Atlanta Braves vs. Houston Astros – Box Score – August 11, 2010 – ESPN.

Did someone mention resiliency? After again blowing a lead — actually two leads — with a combination of Hibernation Mode and sketchy defense, the Braves erupted for six tenth-inning runs to take the series.

The Braves took a lead in the first when Melky doubled with one out, took third on a passed ball, and came home on a groundout by Gonzalez. Tommy Hanson really had it working — it’s a shame he doesn’t know how to win. He retired the first nine Astros in order, but was hit by a ball from the leadoff man in the fourth, and couldn’t come up with it in time for the out. The runner stole second, then Tommy had him picked off, only to drop the ball in a rundown that the Braves really didn’t execute well. The runner then scored third and, after a walk, came home on a single. Hanson then locked down and got the next three men, and with two out in the fifth singled home Conrad to give himself a 2-1 lead. He didn’t allow another baserunner except for a walk in the seventh.

The Braves blew a couple of chances to extend their lead. Diaz doubled with two out in the sixth, and was stranded. Ross doubled to lead off the seventh and was, typically, never advanced. Venters walked a man in the eighth but got around it. But Wagner wasn’t so fortunate. The leadoff man in the ninth hit a terrible little dribbler to reach. He then went to third on a hard single to left; I still don’t understand how that happened. Wagner got ahead of the next batter but allowed a long lineout to score him, then got the next two.

Conrad didn’t come up with the heroics in the tenth, flying out leading off. But Ankiel worked a walk, and then went to second on a botched pickoff play (finally happening to the other guys!). Hinske, hitting for Wagner, was intentionally walked. Infante just missed a homer, hitting high off the wall for an RBI double, and Diory ran for Hinske. Then the Astros, for some ungodly reason, intentionally walked Melky. AAG came through with a single to make it 4-2, then Brian McCann hit for Diaz. Homer, a long one, 8-2, just like that. Conrad committed an error leading off the bottom of the tenth, but Saito struck out the next two then got a flyout to end it.

224 thoughts on “Braves 8, Astros 2 (10 innings)”

  1. If the Braves make the playoffs, I don’t see how they can possibly pitch Hanson. He doesn’t know how to win. :)

  2. spike, do we really have to defend negative opinions of Jeff Francoeur?

    Yes, they are similar hitters. But the more interesting connection between the two is their unwarranted sense of selves. Hillenbrand always thought he was better than he was. Jeffy obviously shares that trait

    I agree – but that’s not what you said, which was “Francoeur isn’t half the hitter Hillenbrand was” which is just not true. I am fine with giving Frenchy grief, but he’s been terrible enough that hyperbole is unnecessary.

  3. That was a pretty incredible catch by Melky to end the game. Incredible because of his own mistakes but still incredible.

    #6- I never remember Jeffy starting a winning rally with a walk. Ankiel seems to be a threat to get picked off anytime he reaches which is a problem that Jeffy never had (one of the few).

  4. Ankiel hasn’t hit well, but he had two walks today. I think it’s much too early to call him Frankiel. Maybe AnkLouth would be more appropriate.

  5. Not that I’m rooting for them, of course, but the Cards put quite a slapdown on the Reds in Cincy this week.

    Six NL teams, 4 playoff spots. I vote to leave out St. Louis & Philly.

  6. Braves, Phillies, Cards, Reds, Padres, Giants, Rockies, Dodgers – ain’t that eight contenders?

    My best guess is that the Braves will make it, and so will the Phillies, Padres and Cards.

  7. If fans who complained about Billy Wagner were mustaches, Marc Schneider would be Tom Selleck’s.

    We’re back to winning series. Which is nice.

  8. According to B-Ref, Brian McCann has been good for 10.7 WAR since 2008. (According to Fangraphs, he’s been good for 13.9 WAR since 2008.) And, over that same period, the Braves are 223-214. So, McCann has literally been the difference between a winning and a losing record.

  9. @13,

    Stu,

    Well, Tom Selleck has a nice mustache, so I will take that as a compliment. :)

    To be fair, I’ve complained about pretty much all our closers except for Smoltz. I even complained about Cecil Upshaw back in the day.

  10. Jesse Chavez just gave up a walkoff homer to Bobby Abreu. At least we don’t still have that on the team.

  11. @10 ububba, that’s exactly what I am thinking too.

    @19 I absolutely love the name of “Frankiel”.

    @1 Seroiusly, we didn’t get Dunn because we want to keep Hanson, what is Wren thinking?

  12. Hope the home team can keep grinding against LA – they are very beatable right now. 3/4, while not essential, would definitely be a reachable goal.

  13. “Frankiel”? Nah, the one thing he does well is walk. And considering his history, he is the opposite of a crybaby. Also, he never smiles.

  14. Ugh, ok. You’re right, I used hyperbole while discussing the most universally reviled Brave of the last decade. I’ll work on that next time I’m typing up a quick post during the final outs of a fun 10th inning win.

  15. One of us made the novel suggestion that calculating a pitcher’s “Win” total was useless and should be discontinued.

    My first reaction was “this guy’s crazy”.

    Upon reflection, I think he/she is exactly right.

    Odd, in an era where new stats are born everyday that getting rid of an old standby makes perfect sense.

    If stats don’t help reveal the truth, they are useless at best and often deleterious.

    There’s a great line from a popular 70’s novel called “Falconer” that states: “It is a fact, but I swear it is not the Truth!” Always liked that.

  16. I doubt most executives pay attention to wins anymore. At least I hope so. I think the only people who care are announcers like Joe Simpson, Joe Morgan, et al., and roto league players. Oh, and baseball writers who vote for Cy Young Awards, of course.

  17. I have always hated W/L and will always hate it. There is no such thing as an individual winning or losing a baseball game.

  18. I was just reading up on Nolan Ryan today and I was a little surprised to see that his winning percentage was only .526! (324–292) Yet he’s one of the greatest pitchers of all time. I also learned that in the 32 years he played, he only pitched in one World Series game with the ’69 Mets. What an amazing career.

  19. I was a little surprised to see that his winning percentage was only .526! (324–292)

    Ryan A: walked a ton of guys, and B: played on some pretty pedestrian teams

  20. Some day soon Wins and/or Win Percentage will get Jack Morris and his 105 career ERA+ into the Hall of Fame.

  21. I don’t think W/L is totally useless. It just doesn’t tell the whole story of how someone pitched.

    You may see a guy like Esteban Loaiza or Russ Ortiz have a season of lucky where they somehow wriggle through for 20 wins, but I’ll give ’em some credit for getting there. I just won’t call ’em great pitchers or genuinely great seasons.

    #34
    Nolan Ryan was amazing to watch & his durability was freakish. He certainly played in a pitching-rich era, but from that time, I’d take Seaver, Palmer & Carlton over him.

    The one time I saw him pitch in Atlanta, of course, he got battered by the Braves & Rafael Ramirez (of all people) hit a HR off him.

  22. I was at the Ryan-Ventura bout.

    IF Chipper turns out to be really hurt (and I don’t think he will be out for the season) what do we do? Mike Lowell? Aramas Ramirez? Infate and Folk Hero?

  23. @40 They all proceed to get hammered, and Hamilton calls a cab – Bartender says “but Josh you live a block from here”, Josh says “whattaya think my chances are of getting home on a walk with these guys?”

  24. @36, Yeah, just read about the walks. The conversation about W-L being a very misleading stat reminded me of the article. I guess I naively thought that all Hall of Famers had extraordinary winning percentages.

  25. Jeff Francoeur, Rick Ankiel, and Melky Cabrera walk into a bar.

    Bartender says ‘Get the eff out!’

  26. There is no such thing as an individual winning or losing a baseball game.

    You’re forgetting Brooks Conrad, my friend.

    Also, Smitty, there’s no chance we get Lowell. With Youkilis out for the year, Boston’s hanging onto Lowell for dear life.

  27. Jeff Francoeur, Rick Ankiel, and Josh Hamilton walk into a bar.

    Even with their bad eyes, you’d have thought that at least one of them would have seen it.

  28. @34 Do you all think Nolan Ryan was one of the ‘greatest pitchers of all time’?

  29. @57, it depends on how you define it. Bottom of the 9th game 7 of the WS, bases loaded and Pujols at the plate… Who do you want in there? Ryan is certainly in the discussion.

  30. @57, He’s certainly one of the greatest pitchers I had the pleasure of watching, albeit toward the end of his career. I personally think Hall of Famer = “one of the greatest players of all time,” but maybe that’s me being naive again. Guy had nasty stuff.

    And I love that clip of that batter charging the mound and Nolan getting him in a headlock. :)

  31. Health updates: Prado, Heyward, O’Flaherty | Atlanta Braves.

    We need to get O’Flaherty back before Venters’ elbow explodes.

    Prado to third, Omar at second seems like the most reasonable course of action assuming Glaus’ knees can hang in there.

  32. I was at the game this afternoon. McCann’s Grand Slam passed 10 feet over my head. My daughter asked me why I didn’t jump for it (I did, but I don’t get any lift). Melky’s catch was incredibly surprising. Good game all told.

  33. As long as Conrad stays hot, I’m all for keeping him at third. He has a 120 OPS+ with only a .240 BA, so it’s not like most of his hits have been lucky dribblers like tonight.

    Among NL players with at least 100 PA, he’s third to Dunn and Votto in isolated power (SLG-AVE). Right ahead of Pujols.

  34. Well, Rob, there are now 231 players in the Hall of Fame. It seems reasonable to have a third of them be pitchers, at least. That’d be 77 pitchers, and Ryan’s well within that measure of greatness.

  35. “Frankiel”? Nah, the one thing he does well is walk.

    “Francoeur career OBP: .309
    “Ankiel career OBP: .309

    Missing the point. The relevant categories are:

    Francoeur career BB Rate: 4.8%.
    Ankiel Career BB Rate: 7.6%

    Ankiel walks below league average, but not by much. Francoeur, obviously, hardly walks at all. Now, if you want to compare someone to Francoeur:

    Alex Gonzalez career BB Rate: 4.9%
    Alex Gonzalez career OBP: .295

  36. Nolan Ryan is one of the 5 best pitchers of the modern era.

    Look at an 11 year period starting in 81.

    ERA
    1.69*
    3.16
    2.98
    3.04
    3.80
    3.34
    2.76*
    3.52
    3.20
    3.44
    2.91

    In that time he was only 26 games over .500 total. That year he led the league with a 2.76 ERA, he was 8 and 16. Near the end of his career he didn’t even walk that many guys. He had 3 straight seasons of WHIP’s at 1.0X in his 40’s. He led the league H/9 TWELVE times and K/9 12 times.

    *Led League

  37. @66 and 70, Thanks for the reassurance! :) My baseball knowledge pre-1990 is lacking (I’m 26), so I try not to make too many declarative statements like that. Easy to stick my foot in my mouth. I’ll slink to the back of the journal and let the adults talk now. :)

  38. Robert, Venters’ elbow will explode next year but not this year. Unfortunately it will eventually happen. Hope I am wrong.

    JoeyT, I personally prefer to keep Conrad’s bat on the bench.

  39. @69 You know, I have always said I wish Frenchy and Mac could just switch position. I can live with Frenchy if he can catch.

  40. The best of those ERAs were put up in the Astrodome at a time when it was the best pitchers’ park in baseball since Dodger Stadium in the sixties. Even with that working for him, he won only two ERA titles. In the first of those seasons, the 1981 strike year, the team ERA for the Astros was 2.66, and the legendary Bob Knepper was second in the league with a 2.18 ERA. Still, it’s the 45th best ERA+ of all time, not bad. In his other ERA title campaign, the 8-16, 2.66 ERA season, Ryan’s ERA+ was 141, which is genuinely excellent — but not the equal of the best years of the best pitchers of the last half-century.

    I don’t know what you consider the “modern era”, but just considering his contemporaries and successors, Ryan simply wasn’t nearly as good as Seaver, Carlton, Clemens, Maddux, or Johnson. That’s five right there. Ryan’s career ERA+ is tied for 276th all-time. That’s not really fair, because he’s behind a lot of active pitchers who will fall down the list, and longevity counts for a lot, but he’s just not in the class of the best pitchers of all time.

  41. Really? Of the five I named, you pick Seaver — Ryan’s contemporary and teammate — to knock out?

    Seaver won three ERA titles to Ryan’s two.
    Seaver won 20 games five times to Ryan’s two.
    Seaver won three Cy Young Awards to Ryan’s zero.
    Seaver’s career ERA was 2.86, Ryan’s was 3.19.
    Seaver lost 205 games in his career, Ryan lost 292.
    Seaver three times in his career finished in the top ten in walks allowed. Ryan eight times led the league.
    The Mets only traded one of these guys for Jim Fregosi, and it wasn’t Seaver.

  42. #80
    The ’99-’00 Pedro is one of best pitchers ever. But, as has been said, Ryan’s longevity has to count for something. Pedro doesn’t really have that; few did that that extent. Ryan was an absolute physical freak.

    The other thing about comparing eras is that the older guys threw a ton of innings, Ryan included. Pedro generally threw around 200 IP and sometimes not that many.

    Extreme Example: Jim Palmer threw over 300 IP several times in the ’70s. In fact, between 1970 & 1978, he threw over 295 IP six times. I mean, that’s just badass.

    As great as Maddux, Clemens, Johnson & Martinez were—and we know the story of our Steroid Era mound stars—they didn’t work as much as the guys from previous generations.

  43. Nolan Ryan putting Robin Ventura, who was probably 15 years younger at the time, in a headlock will always endear Ryan to me. Totally classic and awesome baseball moment.

  44. @83 Not trying to argue with you, but I just noted that Randy pitched over 240 innings six out of seven seasons between the age of 34 to 40. I didn’t know that, and that’s quite impressive.

    Regardless, I don’t consider Randy as one of the top five.

  45. Well, that’s my question, ultimately. Pedro didn’t just have a better peak than Nolan Ryan — he had, relative to his peers, the greatest peak of any starting pitcher in the modern era. He has the highest career ERA+ among all starting pitchers, ever; as Mac said, Ryan’s 276th. Does Ryan’s longevity more than compensate for the fact that, when he was on the mound, he couldn’t hold a candle to Pedro?

    Comparing similar pitchers, like Nolan Ryan and Jim Palmer, is interesting. They were two guys with huge fastballs who threw a billion innings and still somehow lasted forever. But I also like comparing the guys with wildly different careers, like Kirby Puckett and Jim Edmonds.

    Is Nolan Ryan more deserving of the Hall of Fame than Pedro Martinez? 5000 strikeouts and 7 no-hitters are impressive. But with a gun to my head, I think I’d say Pedro had a better career.

  46. Which brings up another interesting question: Would anyone argue that any current Hall of Famers DIDN’T deserve to be inducted?

  47. I got one: Rick Farrell.

    OK, another: Bill Mazeroski.

    But those are kinda easy.

    And I go back & forth on Hack Wilson, the Sandy Koufax of hitters.

    #90
    Right on, KC.

  48. I will give you Seaver over Johnson. But Seaver after age 32 was fairly ordinary. From 22-32 however he was pretty incredible.

    As for HOF’er who don’t deserve it – Andre Dawson comes to mind…

  49. Turns out Sean Smith’s Historical WAR database agrees with you two. Nolan’s #16 in all-time pitcher Wins Above Replacement, with 84.8; Pedro’s #23 with 75.9.

    The Braves have three pitchers in the top 11, #8 Greg Maddux, #9 Phil Niekro, and #11 Warren Spahn.

    Of all the pitchers in that era, I think I underrate Niekro the most — he’s not only ahead of Ryan, but also Gaylord Perry (#10), Randy Johnson (#12), Bob Gibson (#15) and Steve Carlton (#16). I envy those of you who got to watch him in his prime. I don’t envy you watching his 24 teammates, but it sure would have been cool to watch him.

  50. @87

    I completely disagree with you, and my argument would be pretty much the opposite of everything you just said. Those numbers you just mentioned are two of the most impressive numbers in baseball history, two numbers that it’s legitimate to say may never be replicated. And not that I would agree with it, but I think a plausible argument can be made that Pedro Martinez doesn’t even deserve to make the Hall of Fame (an argument you would disagree with, I’m guessing). Given his peak was among the best in baseball history, letting him in is probably what I would go for, but he had no longevity whatsoever, and I think it’s fair to ask if you should let someone into the Hall of Fame for essentially five years of work….but if Sandy Koufax is in, I guess it makes sense to let Pedro in, too.

  51. Pretty crazy game in Arlington tonight. Rangers were cruising with a 6-1 lead & Cliff Lee on the mound. Yanks touch him up to make it 6-4, then they come back in the top of the 9th to take the lead 7-6.

    Rivera comes in for the save. He’d taken the loss last night, but Elvis Andrus leads off with a triple. He gets a pop up, then a comebacker from Hamilton. Then 2 future Hall of Famers showdown: Rivera vs. Vlad.

    Rivera gets him on a grounder to third.

  52. How about guys who aren’t in but deserve to be? It seems like a huge shame that Bert Blyleven isn’t in.

  53. Blyleven most likely will get in next year.

    Mac did a lot of writing during the offseason a couple of years ago on Dale Murphy deserving to be in.

  54. Bly, Trammel, and Dewey (WAR has him way ahead of say Rice, Murphy or Dawson) are the ones that get a fair amount of mention.

    Somebody’s got to be the cutoff – sucks to be him

  55. I have said all along that Dale Murphy does not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame (numbers just are not good enough over a long enough period), but if Andre Dawson and Jim Rice are getting in, it gets harder and harder to continue holding that position. If Dale Murphy played for either the Cubs or the Red Sox, he’d probably be in the Hall of Fame right now, or at least have a chance of getting there.

  56. @101, Evans didn’t get much of a look, despite being a member of some historic Red Sox teams, and being a fine hitter as well as a first rate defender with a highly respected throwing arm.

    hmmm…Dale Vs Dewey…have to go with Evans I think, by a nose. Longer career, as good of a defender given positional adjustment, fewer poor seasons.

  57. Wait a minute, Nick. Pedro had “no longevity whatsoever”? “Five years of work”? He pitched 18 seasons and won 210 games. For 11 years from 1995 to 2005, he won 3 Cy Young Awards, made at least 29 starts in all but one season, and had a cumulative ERA+ of 171 — a mark that Ryan matched exactly once. Pedro basically pitched an entire decade at a level comparable to Ryan’s absolute peak. So what do you mean by longevity?

    Don Drysdale pitched 14 seasons and won 209. Bob Gibson pitched 17 seasons and won 251. Catfish Hunter pitched 15 seasons and won 224 games. Jim Bunning pitched 17 seasons and won 224. And I haven’t even mentioned Sandy Koufax.

    Look, I think Ryan’s a Hall of Famer. And I’m willing to accept the argument that Ryan had a better career because he continued to pitch at a fairly high level for so much longer. (Of course, Niekro is even better than Ryan, both in terms of longevity and peak.) I think I’d probably prefer Martinez, but that’s just me, because I tend to overvalue a player’s peak.

    But saying that Pedro Martinez isn’t a Hall of Famer? I’d love to hear your full argument, because that just seems untenable to me.

  58. Wow. Pedro had a 7 year run of being arguably the best pitcher in the game every year, with a few other damn good years on either side of that. And it’s not like his peers were chopped liver either. 3 Cys and could easily have doubled that but for a few other HOF’s at the time. That’s a tremendous, long peak, that by itself would merit induction.

  59. What about somebody like Curt Schilling? He had some pretty dominating seasons and has over 3,000 Ks, which that alone gets you some serious consideration. And if you go by that, Javier Vazquez could end up with 3,000 strikeouts, but I have a hard time believing he would get any consideration…

  60. espn.com headline says “Oswalt and Phillies rout Dodgers”

    uh, 2-0 is a rout? Then what was that 15-8 the other night? A world record for largest margin of victory?

  61. Schilling? A 30 point ERA+ deficit, no Cy’s, 300 more IP and fewer wins? He had a longer career, but not that much longer and really, never had a single season as good as any one of Pedro’s 7 year peak.

    /I don’t know how I feel about him as an HOF. Doesn’t feel like one to me, but certainly merits discussion.

  62. Not to mention the strike in 94 hurt Pedro far worse than Schilling. Curt was having a terrible year, Martinez a darn good one, and a shot at the postseason went a-glimmering for him too.

    /and was one of the most horrifyingly lopsided trades in history. Dan Duquette, foreshadowing greatness.

  63. Smoltz & Schilling had kind of similar careers & unbelievable post-seasons (something I always value). Smoltz, of course, has those saves. I think they both get into The Hall. Both those guys certainly are behind that Randy Johnson/Pedro group, but they get in.

    Kevin Brown had a similar career, but was so-so overall in the post-season. I think he just misses. Plus, he wasn’t particularly liked by anyone.

    Which brings me to Albert Belle. He’s kind of in the Dick Allen category. Numbers are there, but nobody wants to vote for him.

  64. I think Schilling gets in the HOF a few years after he becomes eligible, with his postseason success putting him over the top.

  65. Ryan was the Jim Thome of pitchers. Seaver was Frank Thomas. Ryan played long enough to eclipse Seaver in the popular imagination, and had the better second half of his career, but it’s no contest who you’d rather have at his peak. Ryan didn’t know where the ball was going for ten years.

  66. among the Mac’s posts

    @45 link from Molly Flether
    Molly Fletcher can best be summarized as a trailblazer making monumental strides in a sports industry sector traditionally dominated by men.
    Even medical staffs in each front office. Frankly, I am too lazy to search the whole mlb teams though. If I could apply for the job….. To kill two birds with one stone. It would be appreciate. Just in my dream……

    @49 about the Anti-Mustache Team
    I have been wondering why the only Yankees players don’t have a beard and a moustache or something like that. In my own opinion, hope the Braves have to accept the rule, please! :)

  67. @46 spike
    Wiping the coffee spit from my computer screen now.

    I’ve seen all of Mac’s list of Ryan’s cohort pitch in person. I can only say that for twenty years I fully believed there’d be at least one night each season Ryan might throw a no-hitter. He threw seven. Davey Lopes once said, in wonderful baseball logic, “you ain’t nobody if he hasn’t struck you out.”
    I know “mystique” doesn’t count for much when we discuss the greatest.
    But it’s sure entertaining.

  68. Nick,

    I question any Braves fan’s loyalty that doesn’t think Dale Murphy shouldn’t be in the HOF.

    Not trying to be a jerk, but come one man!

  69. brule,

    Dear God, no. That’s one of the reasons why I hate the Yankees (it is pretty far down the list, though). It’s none of their business if their players want to wear a beard or not.

    AAR,

    I am *not* happy with you. Ever since I read that JD article you posted, I’ve been drinking Wild Turkey 8 year (which is 101 proof). I haven’t quite adjusted to that yet and I hold you responsible. When you fly over to Asia, I’m going to make you drink copious amounts of it.

  70. 119—I don’t have a problem with beards, but I’ll note that there are plenty of private, professional organizations — banks, law firms, medical practices, etc. — that don’t allow facial hair, either.

    118—Murph is a no-doubt HoFer. I agree with you, and I’m sure you agree that I agree with you. It’s f***ing logic.

  71. @119 I think the Braves have some of their own opinions on certain hair styles, for what it’s worth. Nate used to have longer hair, until he came here. Basically, he’s Samson without his mane, I’m not sure why we expect him to play well.

    For what it’s worth, Lowe’s hair used to be longer too:

    It’s just a weird observation, but I think that the Braves nudge players in certain directions when it comes to long hair.

  72. Yeah, but Billy Wagner with no beard? Randy Johnson looked like a freak when he was in NY. Well, more than usual. I’m going to mostly avoid speaking of my own company, but I get to grow facial hair and while I don’t make ballplayer money, I do pretty well.

    Also, I think a lot of that is Bobby Cox. I’ve heard that the sportcoat rule while travelling is a Bobby rule. But I admit that the scouts can’t wear jeans rule is probably not his (unless it’s a carry over from his time as GM).

  73. Bethany, I think that’s Bobby’s call. If/when he gives up on Glaus, I think we’ll see him.

  74. Despite his 0-5 yesterday, Glaus hit some balls hard right at people and was 2-4 with a homer the day before. Maybe he’s snapping out of it.

    Freeman might be a September callup.

  75. I do think Glaus might be on the verge of coming back to the land of the living. I like this team a hell of a lot more when he’s right.

  76. Let’s see…

    1. Pedro Martinez is a no-doubt HOFer. His peak is ridiculous. The rest of his career is merely “great.” A HOF without Pedro isn’t a HOF.

    2. John Smoltz and Mike Mussina are both borderline cases. Smoltz will likely go in while Mussina, who was better than Smoltz by a smidge, won’t.

    3. Curt Schilling is not a HOFer, but he will go in because of the Red Sox/2004/Bloody Sock crap.

    4. Nolan Ryan was great. He is also the most overrated pitcher in the history of baseball.

    5. I have no idea if the Braves “nudge” players to shorter haircuts. I do know moving from home games in souther California and/or Pittsburgh and getting your first blast of Atlanta in the summer can prod a lot of hippies to come to terms with the barber’s trade.

    EDIT

    6. Dale Murphy was a great player. He is not a HOFer (though there are many worse players – Jim Rice, for example – in the HOF.) Dale Murphy is the living, walking, talking definition of the “borderline” between HOF and not-HOF. He’s toeing the line, but from the outside looking in.

  77. @131

    That is why may barber is the offial barber of the Atlanta Braves Front Office. That is how I get all my good information. ha ha ha

  78. I tend to value longevity when evaluating HOFers because lots of guys can have one or two great years. That’s why I reluctantly don’t think Murph should be in because, while he was definitely one of the two or three best players in his prime, his prime was very short. The rest of his career was mediocre or worse.

    To some extent, I make an exception for guys like Koufax (I know he’s not a big favorite here, but, hey, he’s a MOT)and Pedro, who were absolutely dominant, albeit in a shorter time period. Pedro was clearly one of the best and most dominant players ever during his prime in a way that I don’t think Dale Murphy was. He definitely deserves to get in.

    I always felt Nolan Ryan was overrated and, to some extent, his legend grew because he threw no-hitters in his forties. He was certainly an exciting pitcher, and was probably better later on in his career than he was earlier. It’s amazing to me that he has become the avatar for old-school baseball. I have no problem, however, with him being in the HOF. The excitement he brought should be recognized.

  79. I dont see anything borderline about Smoltz

    3400+ IP
    3000+ K’s
    480+ wins
    150+ saves
    15-4 Postseason
    6 time Allstar
    Cy Young Award winner

  80. Koufax isn’t a big favorite here? I love me some Sandy Koufax. He was my dad’s favorite player as a kid.

    Who doesn’t like him?

  81. For a guy my age saying Dale Murphy isn’t a HOFer is hard. I know, short peak and all that but he WAS the Braves for so long …..

  82. 15-4 Postseason

    With a 2.67 ERA. You couldn’t slide a sheet of paper between Smoltz and Mussina in terms of regular season careers, but the postseason performance gives Smoltz the edge.

  83. @135 Smoltz doesn’t have a particularly gaudy win total, and he did become a reliever (obviously a very good one) for a non trivial part of his career. No era titles. You could argue (I wouldn’t) that for all his counting stats, that he really only put up one otherworldly year, he was only the third best pitcher on his team, closers don’t have as much value as starters, and when you look at his career, you see a very very good pitcher who played for a long time, but not enough HOF seasons to qualify.

  84. Yes, but he’s also someone who has 200+ wins and 150+ saves, a Cy Young and is considered to be one of, if not the best playoff pitcher ever. I think the novelty of his amazing success as a starter and a closer will be more than enough to get him in. But I don’t know much.

  85. I hear you, Spike. But those 3 years as a super-dominant closer and his insane post-seasons (incl. ’92 NLCS MVP) make Smoltz a unique candidate.

    Schilling’s post-seasons, bloody sock & all, are crazy, too. We’re talking 11-2, 2.23 ERA in 133 IP, plus ’93 NLCS MVP & ’01 WS co-MVP.

  86. I think that the public opinion is decidedly in favor of Smoltz’s induction, so I don’t think he’ll have any trouble going in. But like spike says, Smoltz has a weaker case than Maddux and Glavine, mostly because all of those injuries sapped his chance to get more impressive counting stats. And if he’d had a normal aging curve and had a regular decline from 35-40, rather than pitching some of the best seasons of his career, there’d be no chance he went into the Hall.

    As it is, he’s pretty much a lock — even though his career wasn’t really THAT different from Mussina’s, or Kevin Brown’s, or Curt Schilling’s. (Other than 3 seasons of being a shutdown closer. But seriously, it’s a little weird to me that the guy was a great starting pitcher for a decade and a half, a great closer for three years, and it’s the years as a closer that supposedly cement his case.) I’m really happy that he’ll be in the Hall, but he’s an interesting case.

  87. @131

    Mussina will got into the HOF for three reasons. Pitching in that bandbox in Baltimore, pitching in the AL his whole career and pitching during the steroid era.

    Smoltz will go in b/c of his dominance as a starter and a reliever AND his post-season effectiveness.

    Pedro is no doubt a HOF. Just complete dominance.

    Ryan’s K’s, no-hitters and laboring long enough to get 300 wins, was enough. I don’t think he is overrated as a pitcher, I never here anyone say he is one of the greatest PITCHERS of all-time, but he definitely deserves to be in the HOF.

  88. FWIW, if Mussina had just played a couple of more years and got to 300 wins he’d be a shoo-in. He finished with 270 and in his last season he won 20 games at age 39.

  89. Hate to see it, and I didn’t wanna say anything, but torn ACL was what I was thinking when he went down. Really sucks, he was just beginning to mash. Hope that wasn’t his last play as a Brave.

  90. I think Smoltz is, and will be, a HOFer. I was just listing the arguments I have heard against him. And while to me he isn’t exactly borderline, he’s closer to the outer circle than inner. Not that that is faint praise by any stretch.

  91. @156 You gotta think he doesn’t want to go out like this, but maybe he’ll take it as a sign that he’s done?

  92. oh well….I guess Infante and Prado will be playing from here on out. Any 3B that would clear waivers?

  93. Bethany, my list of arguments would track well with Spike’s post @141. First of all, I’m a “small Hall” guy. I don’t like an expansive HOF. I don’t like having players like Jim Rice or Tony Perez in the Hall. I think Don Sutton is a very weak HOF inductee. In my Hall, the greatest players of the games live, not slightly above average 1B for The Big Red Machine, not “Phil Rizzutto and all of his friends” from the Yankees, and not mediocre to decent starters who happened to pitch forever and rack up 300 wins. Chipper Jones is a dead-red, no doubt HOFer. Greg Maddux too. Tom Glavine is deserving, but outside of that inner circle realm. Dale Murphy and Fred McGriff are the definitions of “the Hall of Very Good.”

    I would put Smoltz somewhere between the Glavine “in but second tier” and Murphy “not quite in” category. I don’t value “saves” the way many people value saves. I think Smoltz’ years as a closer were a waste of 12-15 million per year on a guy that pitched less than 70 innings a year (and not even the highest leverage innings at that.) I recognize that I’m in the minority with this opinion, that Smoltz’ “uniqueness” as a very good starter (he wasn’t “great” like Maddux or Glavine) and a dominant closer will get him in. I realize that in this crowd of Braves fans, I’m even more of a minority. But I personally find Smoltz to be a borderline case at best.

    And for the record, I value the “he was great in the post-season” about as much as I value “Jack Morris won more games in the ’80s than anyone else!” Which is to say, I don’t.

  94. Even if Chipper tries to come back he’ll miss much of next season with that injury. He’s probably done.

  95. Re: Dale Murphy

    I’m a little bit too young to have seen Dale Murphy play (for anyone other than the Phillies and Rockies, that is), as I started watching the Braves in 1991. His MVP years were the year before and the year that I was born.

    If you look at his numbers, I just don’t see it. He just wasn’t good enough for long enough. One of the 10 greatest players in Braves history? Yes. I have no problem with his number being retired, either. (A lot of teams, I think, require people to be in the Hall of Fame before they do that.) He was the Braves for a decade (admittedly a decade where the Braves were a pretty bad thing). But he’s just not a Hall of Famer. I know he’s everybody’s favorite player, but I think most objective looks at it will say that he doesn’t belong. Of course, neither do Dawson and Rice, and they’re both in there.

  96. Terrible news. Really terrible. I feel sick, too.

    Time to go get Dan Uggla. And the Marlins might as well throw Cody Ross in there, too, right?

  97. Murph’s in the Outstanding Human HOF as far as I’m concerned. To me, that’s as good as it gets.

  98. Prado to thrid, Infante stays at 2nd. Chipper’s done. Too bad he had to go out this way. Ben Sheets is also probably done. 16 to 18 month recovery time for his injury.

  99. @171

    Chris Dimino is a sports talk radio host here in Atlanta. While not as reliable as DOB or someone of the like, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t just out-and-out lie.

  100. The only report so far is from 790 The Fan, talk radio in Atlanta. Says they “just talked to Chipper” and he’s out for the year. Semi-respectable sourcing, but I will wait until DOB confirms or denies to start drinking heavily.

    I can’t imagine a torn ACL wouldn’t put the end on his career as well. He may be game for it now, but I don’t think he’s really going to rehab an ACL to play another 6 months in 2012.

  101. Chipper was told this on the field “Its not your ACL, its stable.” Now he’s out for the year with a torn ACL.

  102. ACL’s are maybe 6 month rehabs, but you have to understand the level of pain and work a professional athlete has to put into rehabbing a knee like that. Chipper would have to want to play again with every ounce of his being. I’m just not sure he has that desire to play any more.

  103. Prado 3B
    Infante 2B
    Heyward RF
    McCann C
    Glaus 1B
    Hinske/Diaz LF
    Ankiel/Melky CF
    AAG SS
    Pitcher

    Bench
    Ross
    Folk Hero
    Platoon OF
    Platoon OF
    Diory (Freeman for the pop off the bench late August?)

    Make it so, Number 1.

  104. My personal gut feelings notwithstanding, Chipper’s agent says he’s not going to retire without trying to rehab. Granted, his agent has motivation to say such things, but still.

  105. You know, with the insurance money, I bet we could afford Manny…

    Save the money and buy Adrian Beltre out from underneath the Red Sox this winter.

  106. Presumably Hicks up until Prado returns.

    Over or under 50% that Wren trades for an infielder? I’ll guess over, but I’d rather he do nothing than do something stupid.

  107. Figgins would add much needed speed…if he can get on base. For right now I’m good with Prado at 3rd and Infante at 2nd. With Yunel at short, that should be ok.

  108. Figgins would be a nice get if we could offload someone and get salary relief.

    When I saw him after he made the play I assumed it would be the last he’d make. Hell of a way to go out.

  109. Alas, poor Larry. I knew him, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy; he hath borne the team on his back a thousand times

  110. Conrad and Prado can handle 3B. No need to panic, but Uggla sure would look good in our lineup about now.

    Just don’t give up too much (Minor or Teheran).

  111. Wigginton was put on waivers yesterday I believe. He’s been hot since the break. Im sure he’d be claimed by an AL team though

  112. Figgins for KK + Hoover

    M’s would have to eat at least 6-8M over the lifetime of Figgins’ contract before Hoover is replaced by Delgado. Teheran and Vizcaino ought to be very much out of the question.

    Just thinking out loud here. I kinda had my head in the sand hoping the injury was just a sprain…

  113. How ironic that Chipper’s mlb career is delayed by a leg injury and now may be ended by a leg injury. Who knows how much better he could have been, if not for his legs….

  114. @201–thumbs down

    KK is owed something like $7m and Figgins is owed something like $25m plus. So I wouldn’t trade KK for Figgins straight up and sure wouldn’t throw in Hoover.

  115. With Prado, Brooks, and even Infante, I feel like third base is in good hands. Let’s call up Freeman like we were probably going to anyway and push forward.

    But man, I’m heartbroken.

  116. For the last few years my oldest kid (now 13) has named Chipper as his favorite player, even though he (my son) hasn’t really grasped baseball and doesn’t play. Now that he’s finally “getting” it a little bit, his favorite player may not play again. Tis a shame. I hope Chipper recovers and comes back for at least one grand good-bye season.

  117. If I may ask, why on Earth would we want Chone Figgins? The guy is hitting 253/343/303. Do we really want a starting 3B who hits like Gregor Blanco and costs $25 mil over the next three years?

    EDIT:

    I might take a flyer on Wigginton, who has at least shown some pop in the second half. But Figgins is a no go for any cost.

  118. Chipper’s been OPSing 900 the last month and a half. We should not make a move to just make a move. We would need to replace his production, and it’s a short list that does it.

    During the waiver trasde period, it seems likely that other teams would block any trade that could replace Chipper’s bat.

  119. I was born in 1988 so I wasn’t really able to follow baseball until around the 1995 season. Chipper was the first player I got to follow right from the start of his career, and now to (hopefully not) the end of his career. This really, really sucks and I really, really hope an injury is not the reason he has to retire. I will raise a glass to him tonight.

    On a side note, because I visit here so often I always get the news about stuff well before my friends, so breaking big news always makes me feel kind of cool

  120. Figgins led the AL in walks last year…He’s having a down season at the plate, but so is every Mariner. He’s been hitting better lately and is a career .287 hitter. He doesn’t have much pop, though, and he is entering his decline years.

    I don’t mean to endorse his acquisition, but he’s likely available and is worth consideration.

  121. The official site still has the article “Chipper Feeling Better, Hoping For Clean MRI” up. I gotta say, I was optimistic.

  122. Absolutely absurd trade proposal: is there any reason to go after Andy LaRoche? He had a sorta decent year last year, and though he’s sucking this year, he’s a Pirate, which tends to suck the life out of anyone. He’s could probably be had for not a whole lot, he’s turning 27 in a month, which means that he could be entering his physical prime, so if he’s ever going to live up to any of his prospect hype, it’d be about now.

  123. Figgins has never been a great player. He was moderately useful the couple of years when he played 2B and got on base at a near .400 clip. But he’s 32, his skills have declined back to the ‘not very good level’ and he’s never been able to slug his way out of a wet paper sack. He’s an old, broken down Omar Infante. Pass.

  124. Too bad Glaus can now barely walk. Putting him at 3rd and Freeman at first would have been nice. I was pretty sure Chipper’s injury was season ending when I saw it happen. As Mac pointed out, I’ve seen several football players get up and walk or even jog off the field after an ACL tear.

    I don’t think we need to make any trades. Prado at 3rd and Infante at 2nd will be fine. It would be nice to call up Freeman, but Glaus, Prado, Hinske and Diaz can already play first if needed. As I’ve said before, it is nice to have a deep bench. Even with Chipper’s injury we have at least 2 players who can play every position. Can Freeman play anywhere except first?

    If it’s not Freeman, who will it be? Canizares can hit, but can’t play defense. Keeping Diory gives us someone who can pinch run and that’s about it. Willie Cabrera, an outfielder at Mississippi with a .308 avg and an .822 OPS is an interesting possibility. Wes Timmons, a 31 year old 3rd baseman at Gwinnett with a .289 avg and a .799 OPS, would be my choice, but mostly for sentimental reasons. I would like to see him get his chance.

  125. Figgins was very good but he’s never been great. I’d like to think he’d rebound coming to ATL, but I’m not sure I’d risk $25M on it, especially with the possibility that Chipper returns next year.

  126. I expect something more like (assuming we trade at all) moving Prado to 3rd and getting KJ back from AZ to play 2nd and going back to using Omar as the super-sub. (not saying I’m advocating it per se, just that it’s the sort of deal I’d expect… cept we might have to give up something to get KJ back now).

  127. Figgins is 32? Wow didn’t know he was that old. Still he has 30 stolen bases and 59 walks so far this year. Looking at his career stats, he has been pretty good.

    I seriously doubt the braves go after KJ or if he wants to come back. I think we will be fine, if we get 1st base and CF fixed. THEY are the main problems, with Wagner lurking.

  128. what a kick in the nuts.
    i’m cool with shifting Prado to 3B & letting Omar play everyday. i do not want to make a deal just for shits & giggles (Figgins, KJ, etc)…

    on a different slightly less depressing note…is anybody else worried about Billy Wags? can we shut him down for a week or 2 to get him ready for September?

  129. ACL injuries.
    Had 3 of them, didnt even know about the second one. I had some swelling one day and the push test they did on the knee was fine, the MRI said otherwise though.

    He could be ready for next season, but will the drive still be there?

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