Braves 16, Cubs 5

Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs – Box Score – August 22, 2010 – ESPN.

A strange game, baseball is.

Omar Infante led off the game with a homer, but after the next two batters reached the Braves couldn’t get them home, and then the Cubs tied it up in the bottom of the inning when Jason Heyward let a fly ball hit off his glove for a “double” and an unusual hit-and-run (runner at second, one out) worked for a perfect single. The Braves took the lead again in the third on a solo homer by Jason Heyward, only to lose it in the bottom of the inning on a two-run homer by — who else — Aramis Ramirez.

Mike Minor‘s three runs were weird, because virtually everyone who didn’t score struck out — eleven of the first fourteen outs he recorded were strikeouts. He got his twelfth strikeout, tying a franchise record for a rookie, with two out in the sixth for his last out of the game.

He had the lead by then, because Omar had come through again with his second homer, a three-run job with two out in the fourth to make it 5-3. It stayed that way until the seventh, when the Cubs defense broke down, allowing one run to score on what should have been an inning-ending GIDP by McCann (the pitcher came off the first base bag allowing Brian to reach) and then three more on a bases-loaded single by Gonzalez, where Melky scored all the way from first when AAG got into a rundown.

The Braves broke it totally open in the eighth, getting an RBI single by Heyward, a bases-clearing double by Derrek Lee, and a Melky groundout to make it 14-3. The Cubs got a couple of runs off of Peter Moylan in the bottom of the inning, but Heyward capped his perfect day (4-4, two walks, 4 runs, 4 RBI) with a two-run homer to make it 16-3. The Lisp finished it off.

151 thoughts on “Braves 16, Cubs 5”

  1. Stu (from last thread, re: Cody Ross)

    The Braves wouldn’t have gotten Ross for nothing, even if he had made it to them on waivers. The Giants claimed him and the Marlins were willing to let him go to the NL West for nothing more than salary relief, if the Braves had claimed him Florida would have demanded some sort of prospect package in return. While it might be “nothing” for the Giants, the Braves would have had to have done significantly better than “more than nothing.”

  2. At the trade deadline, the Braves were offering more than nothing, and the Marlins steadfastly refused to take yes for an answer.

    Larry Beinfest usually makes smart moves, but their behavior regarding Ross was perplexing at the time, and now it’s even more so. I understand the thing about not trading within your division, but if they were willing to give him up for nothing, they can’t have believed that he’d be a huge improvement for the Braves. The Braves clearly valued Ross more than the Marlins did.

    Pricks. I hope we beat ’em twice as hard next time.

  3. So, Omar Infante is about 70 PAs short of qualifying for the batting title. He has 333 by my count, in 96 games leaving 66 games to get 169 more, or 502 total.

    A: does he get there?
    B: does he win the batting title?

  4. With the point lead he has, the whole “if he doesn’t have enough PAs to qualify, but if he went 0-fer as many as it would take to get enough PAs, would he still have the BA lead?” thing comes into play right?

  5. @6 But we only have 38 games left. That’s pretty tough even if he bats leadoff. He basically needs 4.5 at at bats per game the rest of the way.

  6. @7, Yeah, which is why spike’s (B) probably has a greater chance of happening than his (A), though I wouldn’t take either at even money.

  7. It would be hilarious, though, if for all the crap Manuel took for picking Infante, he ended up winning the batting title.

  8. How bad do the Mets suck? Well, let me tell you.

    The Mets suck so bad that it took them until late August against the Pirates to win their first road series of the season.

  9. Infante’s actually been a lot like Prado for us — not a whole lot of hype when he got here, but he’s pretty much killed the ball, hitting .300 while playing all over the place. (Admittedly, he was once a top prospect but was mishandled by the Tigers and played himself out of town; by the time we got him, he didn’t seem like much.) Two incredible finds.

  10. So assuming, just for the hell of it, averaging 3 more PA’s per x38 games remaining = 114 PA’s, which means he would need to add an 0/55 to his total. Further assuming he maintains his current rate (.349), that would put him at an estimated 418ABs/146hits. Add an 0/55 and you get about a .308 average. It’s going to be tough.

  11. spike, I think your numbers are off by the mere fact that Omar has pretty much locked down the second base/leadoff hitter job for the foreseeable future. 4.5 PA/game is a reasonable expectation for a leadoff hitter, with the caveat that he’ll probably get at least a couple days off.

  12. 3—Yeah, I think you’re wrong. I don’t think it would have taken much more than nothing, if he’d made it to the Braves. Which obviously wasn’t meant to be. I wish it had been meant to be in July.

    Question: Could the Giants now put him on waivers if they decide they’d rather not pay him, after all?

  13. I think the Marlins are stupid, which is good for us, I guess.

    I think the Giants can put him waivers, but I don’t think they would do that.

  14. If he averages 4 PA per game the rest of the way, that’s 152 total. He’d walk (bless him) about 8 times, leaving 144 ABs. A .300 average (more or less his established level over the last couple years) over those ABs would be 44 hits. Which would be 153/456, or .3355 in 485 PA. Add an 0-17 and he would be at .3234. Which might be enough, although I wouldn’t put it past Prado to exceed that!

  15. @16, I was fudge factoring a few days off, and games at home getting 4PAs, and potential double switching shenanigans with Conrad and the like. If you bump it to 4 PAs per game, you have to take an 0/17 and leaves a .337 – obviously a much more defendable number.

  16. @20

    Agreed. I think today’s game was roughly the equivalent of 6/30/2009, after which Bobby said Prado basically left him no choice in the matter.

  17. @17

    Yes, they could, but he’d have to pass through over again – And I’m pretty sure the Phillies would claim him before he made it to us

  18. Let me check my math here –

    38*4=154*.93(AB/PA Ratio)=152ABs(mythical)+312(in the books)=464 total ABs *.349BA=162 hits.

    333PA+154PA-502req’d=15 deficient.

  19. In any case, what I said a couple days ago goes double now — future generations will see the “AS” next to Omar’s 2010 numbers and not blink, and I love that.

  20. Watching the highlights, there sure did seem to be a lot of Braves fans at Wrigley. Cool.

  21. “I usually pound the fastball in and away, back and forth. And today, after Ramirez hit that home run – it was over the middle of the plate, a cookie for him – after that I called Mac out there and said we need to mix in the changeup and curveball more, because the fastball’s just not cutting it tonight.” – Mike Minor

    thats why this kid was drafted so high. He knows how to pitch and knows how to make the adjustments.

  22. Let’s put Minor’s brain in Hanson’s body.

    Seriously, I’m really loving this guy. He’s such an baseball nerd and it’s awesome.

  23. Just looked at the schedule for the last few weeks of the season, and it could be an awesome time for baseball. Not only do we have the Phillies and Braves possibly deciding the NL East, but the Padres go to San Francisco on the final weekend too so the Giants just need to whittle the lead down to 3 or less.

    Also, the Yankees finish vs. Boston, vs. Tampa, @ Toronto, @ Boston. They will have to be careful.

  24. MLB Tonight insinuated that the Giants picked Ross off of the wire specifically in order to prevent him from going to San Diego. Regardless, even if they could try to send him through waivers again (and I don’t think they can, technically) he’d never make it through to Atlanta. The Padres or Phillies would pick him up first.

  25. Padres would choose after us, as they have the better record no? I am sure it’s a moot poiint, as you noted the Phillies do choose ahead of us.

  26. I doubt we’re looking at Ross anymore, anyway. Ankiel will get his shot, and McLouth will get a last look as well, and we’ll go from there. As Norman Dale would say, “THIS is your team.”

  27. Freeman 2-5 now hitting .310
    Clevlen 4-6
    KK 5.2IP 4ER 0BB 9K

    Nate hasnt played the last two days any reason why?

  28. #31
    We probably already know which 4 AL teams will make the post-season. In my mind, the only “drama” is who wins the AL East & who settles for the WC.

    The NL remains 6 teams going for 4 spots. The WC difference is 2 games.

  29. I’m really hoping KK comes back strong in September. If Minor keeps pitching this well, is there any chance Bobby starts him over Lowe in the post-season?

    I’ve got tickets for Braves/Mets in NYC in mid-September. I’m getting more excited by the day!

  30. FWIW, we now have 4 regulars with an ops over .800 (bmac, omar, prado, and heyward) with gonzalez knocking at the door. what a stat-padding, lovely day at wrigley!

  31. @38
    i dont see why KK would even see the mound in september. there’s really no place for him.

  32. Four days ago:
    The point is that, 20 or not, Heyward is a regular on a pennant contending team. He isn’t hitting much and has become a drag on the offense. I’m quite willing to concede he is likely to be a great player, but he isn’t right now. I’m not saying he sucks or let’s get rid of him, but I think people are counting on him to get hot and hit home runs and it just doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

    I know I’ve been giving Marc a lot of crap for this, but I just have to post it again. What a difference a couple days makes, huh?

    By the way, yesterday, Heyward’s OPS was .800; today, it’s .830.
    Yesterday, Infante’s OPS was .810; today, it’s .839.

    Apparently, all you have to do to raise your OPS 30 points is get four hits and go yard a couple times.

  33. jonny venters is 4-0 with a 1.13 era and 69k in 63.2 innings. i know he wont get much ROY love, but he should. that’s an amazing year, rookie or not. i

    n his splits, he hasnt had a single month where his era wasnt under 2. anyone doubt that he’ll be the 2011 closer?

  34. I’d say protecting those arms is pretty darn important. Even if the race is tight — and I expect it will be — I would be in favor of having KK take some of the burden off of those guys. KK’s pretty decent, you know.

  35. Wow…glad I didn’t see that comment by Marc. The facts are this: Both Martin and Jason are playing hurt, they are battling, so if they can get somewhat back to their norm, that would be great. However, it is absolutely imperative that Lee and McCann produce out of the 4 and 5 spots. I think people are forgetting how good Infante was last year before he got hurt.

  36. I’m with Stu. Exhibit A is Strasburg; exhibit B is Medlen. By the way, if we could find a way to limit Jurrjens’ innings, I’d be totally okay with that, too.

    I mean, yeah, I know that we’ll likely be in a division race for the rest of the season. On the other hand, if I were given the choice between riding our young arms hard and winning the division, versus limiting their innings and contending for the Wild Card, I’d lean toward the second.

  37. While not rising to the level of Haynesworth v. Shanahan, this thing between Bobby and KK is pretty disappointing.

    The cogent use of scarce assets is a key component to a successful year. This may not get fixed until next year, but it seems a waste.

    Being rich sure helps you be petulant. Minor’s (quite nearly) brilliance has made KK an afterthought.

  38. I don’t see the issue with Marc’s comments. What he said was true.

    If Jason is stepping it up, well, it’s certainly what we all hope for. Until recently, he wasn’t contributing at a level that a top-of-the-lineup hitter needs to for a team with WS aspirations.

  39. 50—Well, Jurrjens’ innings were already limited by his time on the DL. But, yeah, extra rest for a young pitcher ain’t a bad thing.

  40. @52. Which Braves hitters besides Infante are contributing at a level in their current place in the order, that is at a World Series level? Just asking….

  41. yes, i do understand that kk is decent, but when every game and run is crucial, i’ll take my best 5 guys, and kk is not one of those guys.

    and the problem with kk’s 4.75 era that i have is that he’s also allowed 7 unearned runs. and, rarely does he have dominant stuff. out of his 15 games started this year, he gave up 2 or less runs only 4 times. that wouldnt be so bad if he were an innings eater, but his longest outing of the year is 7 innings.

    that’s my argument against kk starting, but i do agree with you about protecting minor and hanson, just not at the expense of losing games. i’m selfish like that. however, it looks like my mentality has already cost us medlen for the year, who was quickly becoming my favorite pitcher to watch.

  42. @52 Just classic rookie inconsistency. I honestly can’t see how he is being a drag. For me, it’s another “why he is not Hank Aaron” type of comment. The same kind of questions some people asked on Andruw for years.

  43. #47 – with all the young pitchers getting injured after their workloads get increased, the team has to be careful with Minor. Look at Josh Johnson, Liriano, Hamels to an extent, Strasburg, Medlen, Devine, and plenty others. They wont, and shouldnt, let him pitch another 50IP

  44. @50–I agree with protecting young arms but Medlen doesn’t make the case. He pitched essentially the same number of innings this year as last.

  45. I’m all for limiting innings, but neither Medlen (as Frank says) nor Strasburg provide cautionary examples. If anything, they demonstrate how, even if you do the right thing and play it safe, things can go wrong. The truth is that while you can reduce the probability of a severe injury–and we should–you can’t eliminate the possibility completely.

  46. Adam, you’re absolutely right, and I don’t mean to imply that the case histories of Medlen and Strasburg should inform the Braves’ specific treatment of Medlen, Hanson, and Jurrjens. I only mean to say that, because young pitchers are so incredibly likely to be injured, the Braves really need to take every precaution.

  47. @50

    What about the choice between riding them and making the playoffs or not and failing to?

    I have not done the numbers to find out how many more starts Minor would likely have to make if he were to finish the rest of the season as the fifth starter, but if he’s only one or two starts from the end when he hits the innings number, I really don’t think those two starts are gonna make a difference. If it’s a wider gap, there’s no problem with incorporating Kawakami in that role, but I don’t think you just shut Minor down and say that’s the end of it. If the fifth spot comes up in the final week with the division still up for grabs, it has to be Minor starting in that spot IMO, unless Kawakami shows more than he has thus far.

    Also, Jurrjens and Hanson have to make every start as scheduled the rest of the way, at least until the point where we’ve clinched the division or been eliminated. We simply cannot afford to have our Nos. 2 and 3 starters missing starts because their innings are too high right now.

    In general, I think we’re a little bit too concerned about this. Vastly overworking pitchers does cause injuries, but none of our pitchers are being overworked like that right now, and I really don’t see that it’s a concern for the rest of this year, with the possible exception of Minor. The playoff race is more important than coddling our pitchers right now, and coddling them very well may not work anyway.

  48. I’m with Stu. Exhibit A is Strasburg; exhibit B is Medlen.

    Nobody knows how to keep young pitchers from getting hurt. It looks like innings limits are the hot thing now but nobody has any idea if they work. Pitchers are still breaking down all around. The folks who authoritatively state that ‘Pitcher X needs to be shut down at Y IP or they are at dire risk of injury’ have lost touch with reality. Pitchers are at risk of injury anytime they step on the mound.

    Obviously I’m not saying bring back the 300 IP a year pitcher but it’s pretty amusing some of the schemes folks hatch with no evidence that they work. The morphing of the Pitch Count nazis into the Innings Pitched nazis has been disappointing to say the least.

    Anyway, this game was a fun watch after a hot day at Disneyland. I’m off for a week to Vegas so if someone could cover for me by popping into the game threads and overreacting to every negative thing New Guy does, I would appreciate it.

  49. When it comes to pitchers’ health, I subscribe to the Joaquin Andujar philosophy that youneverknow. And so, short of obvious abuse of the type Dusty Baker used to engage in, I don’t watch games in fear for them. The basic framework of protection has been done and fully integrated, so I don’t think about it anymore.

  50. I’m with you, sansho. It must be miserable to watch games in constant fear of pitcher injury. You gotta enjoy every sandwich.

    I think the last 3 guys we had undergo Tommy John were Medlen, Hudson and Mike Gonzalez. What’s the common line between those three guys?

  51. To be honest, if there is are any big games at the end of the season, no way Bobby sends Minor out over Hudson on three days rest.

  52. AAR,

    As everyone should know by now, I believe in reverse psychology and that my thoughts can influence everything on the planet (not the mention the universe). Fortunately, I don’t have an overly elevated opinion of my influence. Thus, by coming down on Jason, since the universe naturally works in reverse, my remarks inevitably led to his resurgence. You all should be thanking me.:)I was also happy to see that even though I lost my tennis match yesterday morning, the Braves won. Recently, they won when I won and lost when I lost, so I’m glad to see the Braves overcome that additional hurdle. This team is resilient!

    In seriousness, though, you have to admit he was struggling and he wasn’t providing a lot of pop for a corner outfielder. That’s all I was saying. I was, of course, thrilled to see the game yesterday. As you suggest, I like being proved wrong, especially when it involves good things for the Braves.

    Robert’s right. I don’t think anyone knows how the hell to prevent young pitchers from getting hurt. I think pitching is just hard on the arm and some guys are lucky and some are not. Raising the mound might help; I think it was Don Sutton that once said the lower mound forced pitchers to work harder to make the ball break. But who wants to go back to 1960s offense?

  53. Jurrjens and Hanson should be okay on the IP count, at least for the regular season. Jurrjens had his innings cut down early this year after the hamstring injury, and Hanson is on pace to go about 200 IP, which IIRC would be within the reasonable 30 innings increase from the year before.

  54. I agree that nobody really knows how to prevent injury. Like I said, though, extra rest can’t be a bad thing, so when you have a credible replacement (Kawkakami), I think it makes sense to use him.

    And, Nick, I think you vastly overrate the difference in value between Kawakami and Minor over a couple of weeks. This coming from literally Minor’s biggest fan on this site.

  55. KK is the dragon slayer! He will come in with the high pressure situation of making the playoffs and totally rock it. Right? Right???

  56. I think he was being facetious, but I wouldn’t disagree that it’s getting pretty close.

  57. I wasn’t either. I never bought the whole HGH “covering for a friend” thing. It really showed the lack of serviceable CF when we let him start the season as the starter.

    Did the orgainzation really think he could hold the job full time perminatly? Were they hoping to catch lightning in a botle?

    I mean he had what, one really good minor league season?

  58. The difference between KK and Minor isn’t huge. Minor was dominant yesterday, but I wouldn’t expect that every time. If the Braves maintain a 3-game lead in the division and a 5-game lead in the WC, then I have not problem with skipping Minor and/or Hanson once or twice in September to get KK a look. Perhaps most importantly, Bobby needs to know if he can pitch him come October. I’m not saying have a long leash with him. But see if he can throw 6 innings and strike a few guys out.

  59. He has (had?) tools out the wazoo, was a plus defender, and was, after all, a third-round pick. Not unreasonable to expect that the “one really good minor league season” was an indication of what he was going to be.

    I still have hope for him, though I realize that the organization may not.

  60. that the difference in mike minor and kk isnt huge. in fact, using the SSS that we’ve seen from minor at a major league level, he is head and shoulders better than kawakami.

    his hits/9, bb/9, hr/9 and SO/9 are all better than kawakami. i’d say that’s a head and shoulders difference.

  61. 91—Yeah, that’s totally wrong. The difference isn’t much, especially over a couple of weeks.

  62. On Omar’s chase for the batting title:

    He needs 169 PAs over the last 38 games to reach 502 which comes to 4.44 PAs per game playing every game. Seems like a long shot but if you look at August alone, he has played every day and averaged 4.66 PA per game. The wildcard is Glaus. If he comes back and gets actual playing time at 3rd then I’d have to imagine Infante is the first one to the bench unless the Braves want to rest Prado’s finger or give Omar time in the outfield (not a bad idea but I’m not sure Bobby would do it though I’m starting to believe otherwise).

  63. I think we’re remembering the fact that he didn’t deserve to be 0-9, which is true, and not remembering the fact that, overall, he still wasn’t very good at all. Lowe has pitched better than Kawakami did this season, and you won’t find many people on this site claiming that he’s pitched well.

    I’m not saying that Minor’s gonna pitch like this the rest of the season, but right now, he’s pitching a great deal better than Kawakami ever did.

  64. MTBTR linked the new Elias rankings and D. Lee has moved up to a Type A. He’s right on the line so I guess it could go either way and I don’t guess there is anyway we would offer but just thought I’d throw that out there.

  65. “We” aren’t relying on our memory. “We” are looking at the statistics compiled by both pitchers (Minor and Kawakami) in the majors and minors over the last two seasons in reaching our conclusion that the Braves won’t suffer much in this pennant race by taking precaution with Minor’s arm and giving a couple of his starts to Kawakami.

  66. @92, no, KK is related to Jayne Mansfield – they knew she had died of dandruff poisoning, when they found her head and shoulders in the back seat..

  67. Let me take a quick break from reality to ask (again): How awesome would it be if we claimed Manny on waivers here in the next couple of days?

    It would be very awesome.

  68. Smoltz could be in the booth announcing for the first 6-8 innings, and then in the ninth he could come down to the pen to be the righty specialist closer while Wagner serves as the lefty specialist closer, and Joe sits in the booth doing PBP and color by himself.

    Epic, imo.

  69. Why doesn’t anyone link the Reds with Manny? It’s not like they couldn’t use him, and they might have higher priority than the Braves (depending on the results over the next couple of days).

  70. I already said that I’d be OK with Kawakami spelling Minor for a couple starts if Minor goes over his arbitrary innings limit. I’m willing to be somewhat cautious with Minor. However, although Smitty’s probably right that the fifth spot will never see a truly important game, I do not want Kawakami anywhere near the mound for such a game. If that makes me an idiot because I haven’t re-looked at whatever numbers have you convinced he’s a decent Major League pitcher, then so be it.

  71. I’ve always kind of thought most MLB teams, with the amount of money they have invested in these pitchers, probably have some proprietary way of directly noninvasively measuring arm fatigue. I would be surprised if they relied on things like innings or pitch count to restrict workload, considering how differently different bodies respond. I’d trust something simple, like measuring the impedance of muscles during a sample pitch, more than pitches thrown or innings pitched.

  72. I think it is out duty as Braves fans to each make gigantic signs promoting the acquisition of Manny, and taking them to every game from now till the end of the month.

  73. Stu,

    Im pumped for the Manny additon.

    I wouldn’t mind adding Smoltz to the pen if he can go to AAA and show he has something left in the tank. He would be a bad ass September call up. Think about having to face this coming out of our pen:


    That gets me almost as pumped as Manny hitting third.

  74. Just as a measure of good faith, if I were the Braves’ owner, we’d have about a $130MM payroll.


  75. @93
    uh, no it’s not. it’s all we got and it’s completely true. whether it stabilizes or not is the question.

    as of right now, kk allows approximately 3 1/2 more baserunners/9 innings than minor. when we’re playing one run games, that’s a freakin’ HUGE difference.

    stu, would you say that there’s not a big difference in halladay and lowe? their whips have about the same difference as minor’s and kawakami’s.

  76. mocking other’s posts and one-liners with no real dignity have been a very stu thing to do lately.

    i guess 3 1/2 baserunners allowed per game isnt a big difference over the course of 3 starts which would be a grand total of 10-11 baserunners during that span of time.

    man, it’d be great if that kawakami guy could induce the double play to get the extra baserunners out. what’s that you say? flyball pitcher? YIKES!

  77. 120—Really, it’s just yours, and I shouldn’t have been making such a point to note how wrong you are, recently. Sorry about that. We don’t evaluate baseball players in the same way, and I should learn to just ignore analysis like yours, rather than feel the need to mock it. I’ll try harder.

  78. No, Ryan, your point was that Mike Minor is a much better pitcher than Kenshin Kawakami. I disagree. Minor is a little better, but not a lot better. Roy Halladay is a lot better.

    If the Braves skip Minor’s spot in the rotation once or twice and give those spot starts to Kenshin Kawakami, their odds of winning simply won’t decrease much.

  79. @123
    you did it to nick as well at post 99 and you do it quite often to others. there are people on this blog that have came (and went) that were out to piss people off. i’m not one of them and i dont appreciate being openly mocked on this board.

    well, i disagree. especially if our games are as close as they have been throughout the course of this year.

  80. I think there will be a point where Braves fans will have some uneasiness with either Minor or Kawakami starting a mid-September game.

    By then I expect Minor to have a typical rookie outing or 2 and get shelled…typical growing pains for a young pitcher working himself through the league, with the pressure of a pennant race to boot.

    Kawakami…because we have seen his body of work, and while he occasionally pulls a good start from his ass, is mostly mediocre. I myself get worried with Lowe out there.

    With that said, if Minor steps back, which is possible, then the difference between him and Kawakami is minimal. If however, he stays hot, then you would have no choice but to pitch him in a tight pennant race.

  81. 125—My reply to Nick was most certainly not a mocking one-liner. I disagreed with him (as I usually do, you) and noted the reasons why.

    You really ought to have thicker skin if you’re going to post as often, and with as much length (and confidence) as you do.

    Which isn’t meant to take away from my previous apology. While I don’t think you’re right about much, I really am sorry for the dismissive tone.

  82. I hate playing the Rockies. They used to be our beyotch, but have turned the tables in recent years and always seem to snatch out our hearts and show them to us.

    Always felt that thick skins were a requirement of an entertaining blog.

    You never want it to devolve into “You suck! / No, YOU suck!” but a little contentiousness is welcomed. My opinion, anyway.

    I mean if sansho can return after our “sansho’s basement” episode … (Damn, that was fun. Well, for everyone except sansho, I’d guess.)

  83. Carlos Gonzalez, when playing at home and coming off a minor injury, is insane. In other news: Carlos Gonzalez returned to the lineup yesterday afternoon after a four game hiatus; the Braves, meanwhile, are in Colorado. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  84. @129
    you’re right. i should have thicker skin. my baseball knowledge is ever growing and i do appreciate a good debate and i’m wrong many a time.

    if you’re going to disagree, i’d like to see reasoning behind your disagreement and not just a “no, that’s wrong”. seriously, what’s the evidence that there’s not much difference between kk and minor? i’d seriously like to hear it.

  85. Without directly answering, I will say that we essentially have a 4 1/2 game lead on the Giants and Cardinals for a playoff spot.

  86. 134—The main point is that the difference between the best pitcher in baseball and the worst pitcher in baseball — neither of these guys come close to fitting either bill — isn’t going to make much of a difference over a game or two. On average.

    Now, if it’s the last day of the season, and you go home if you lose, yes, you pitch the better pitcher, which Mikie appears to be. Otherwise, though, give the 22-year-old a rest.

  87. Ryan, I think that Stu is saying that Kawakami taking maybe 2 or 3 starts from Mike Minor isn’t that big of a deal in the large scheme of things.

    It’s the small sample size thing. Kawakami could randomly pitch one good game, for example, or Minor could randomly stink it up once.

    If you’re talking about a couple of months’ worth of starts or more, then yes it would be a big deal. But nobody is saying that. It’s just at the end of the season if Minor reaches his limit for the year (since it is his first full professional season).

    Edit: Stu beat me to it.

  88. OK, imagine you just read that the Braves claimed Manny Ramirez off of waivers, and that he’ll be starting in LF tonight in Colorado.

    Isn’t that imaginary feeling incredible?

  89. As someone neatly pointed out on another site, the stars are aligned that in order for everyone to make the most profit, the big teams need to win and the small teams need to lose.

  90. Johnny Damon was claimed on waivers. No team announced yet. Speculation (on radio here, FWIW) was that it was either the Giants or the Red Sox.

  91. I was in Pittsburgh earlier this summer, and I learned that Pittsburgh sports fans don’t really even care about baseball anymore. I’m sure if the Pirates got good again, their fans would come back, as Pittsburgh is a very loyal and rabid sports town, but until/unless they do, Pittsburgh sports fans will never be anything more than casual baseball fans.

    That having been said, I have a buddy who was still an absolute die-hard Hawks fan during their entire 10-year downturn, even when they were at absolute rock bottom. And the Pirates have a far greater history than the Hawks, and a far greater connection to their town, so I’m sure that there are still some die-hard Pirates fans floating around.

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