Braves 1, Giants 0

San Francisco Giants vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – August 18, 2011 – ESPN.

So, all the Braves needed tonight was for Mike Minor to outpitch Tim Lincecum. And lo and behold, he did — for six innings, anyway, before turning it over to the firm of O’Flaherty, Venters, and Kimbrel.

Minor looked in trouble early, allowing a double to lead off the game to Commando Cody Ross and working a lot of deep counts. But he got out of those deep counts with strikeouts, getting nine of them; his only walk was intentional. He limited the Giants to four hits.

The Braves got only five hits in eight innings against Lincecum, but one of them was a solo shot by Chipper Jones in the fifth. Lincecum actually faced the minimum through three (Dan Uggla walked, but was caught stealing on another one of those dumb send-the-runner-3-and-2 plays) before Michael Bourn led off the fourth with a single. I don’t know how he doesn’t score from first on a Brian McCann double, but he didn’t, anyway.

The Giants got only one baserunner against the bullpen, that a two-out pop fly against Eric O’Flaherty. Jonny Venters got three ground balls; Craig Kimbrel had a popup (Uggla made a great play in the Bermuda Triangle to catch it) and two strikeouts. Pretty good series, I suppose.

103 thoughts on “Braves 1, Giants 0”

  1. With ML contributions from Minor, Delgado, and Vizcaino that 8 man rotation is looking pretty good eh?

  2. GBraves beat the Nats AAA team 1-0 with good outings by Redmond and Hoover (0 hits, 5 K in 2 IP).

  3. No kidding, @2, the legend of the 8-man rotation grows. As does that of the birdman, Frank Wren, for his ostensible refusal to trade away any part of it.

    I mean Minor for Beltran – how silly does that seem in the context of tonight’s game? amazing.

    Now go get those snakes.

  4. I have to give Wren credit where it is due–him not trading away the pitching talent is now, and will continue to be, a very smart move.

  5. Yeah, not trading it away, and yet still getting a guy who’s anchoring our outfield instead of the dude who the Giants got, who’s on the DL and they’re still losing 1-0! love it.

  6. I guess Chipper can still play. Great game. Minor is looking good. He is looking less and less like another JoJo.

  7. Didn’t see the game… did Minor look as good as his line suggests? Also, how were Heyward’s at bats?

  8. If we go with 4 starters for playoffs how many reliever and who?
    Should we add another catcher if Ross is best RH pinch hitter?
    Should we consider Minor and Delgado as RP? (Knock on wood)

  9. Minor is a man. Heyward had an exception at bat, decent fly out and an intentional walk so Giants though he did well.

  10. How many smart trades (and non-trades) does Frank Wren have to make before he’s respected as a GM? After all, with the way Minor is pitching, the Braves could even deal him in the offseason and get more than Beltran for him.

    I’m very encouraged about this team. Our offense is still not where it needs to be, but this team is truly built for the postseason. If Moylan and Medlen can come back and be effective, you could be looking at one of the best pitching staffs of ANY team in a very long time. Is this what it looks like:

    Hudson
    Hanson
    Jurrjens
    Minor
    Lowe (who won’t be seen in the playoffs, hopefully)

    Kimbrel
    Venters
    O’Flaherty
    Moylan
    Medlen?
    Vizcaino?
    Sherrill?
    Linebrink?

    Could Delgado or Teheran be an answer out of the pen?

    Looking also to the future, we’re still on the hook for Chipper and Lower, but we’ll be rid of Kawakami and McLouth. Would I be close in assuming that the removal of Kawakami and McLouth’s contracts will afford us arb raises for most of our players? With the increased revenue of making the playoffs two years in a row, will this have a positive impact on player payroll? I would assume it would, but I also understand an owner’s desire to make more money.

  11. Only complaint I have about the 8 man rotation is that it will inevitably lead to another purely subjective discussion about rust when a Braves starter who hasn’t pitched for a while gets a playoff start. Very irrational pet peeve of mine but I’ve heard that topic discussed by a million different color men and I don’t feel as though I have ever heard a single intelligent point made.

  12. @13 – Heyward definitely earned another start. His single was scorched. Minor was really good but he did have some trouble putting hitters away. Nothing to complain about with our bullpen, but it would be nice for him to be able to go more than 6 innings at some point. I have high hopes.

  13. Minor threw 48 pitches over the first two innings and somehow didn’t give up a run. He then allowed only two baserunners the rest of the night. He looked very good after the first two innings.

  14. Chipper’s contract is interesting. If he plays 123 games next year, his 2013 option kicks in. If he averages 127 games in ’11 and ’12, his option kicks in. His option also increases by $1M when he hits 128, 133, 138, and 140 games in ’12.

    How awkward could it get if he’s really struggling next year, and Fredi can’t help but sit him in favor of whomever. Will it seem disingenuous because they’re trying to save money? We’ve watched other teams do exactly that. I remember Toronto doing that with Frank Thomas a few years ago.

  15. 23: Me too. Sorry. Despite my hyper-masculinity (or maybe because of it), I have a man crush on Chipper Jones. Even if he is a zombie. I don’t care. My love runs deep.

    22: Is that “starts” or “appearances” for his “games played” trigger? Thanks for that info. Clueless me had no idea he had a ’13 option.

  16. Can’t say enough about the Vandy kid tonight. Well done.

    And you gotta love it when #10 gets a big hit to win a game. That’s why he’s sticking around, right? (Other than that fat contract, I mean.)

    No need going on & on about the importance of this win, but it may be our biggest of the year. Way to go, fellas. Let’s whip them D-Backs.

  17. The only way you tell Chipper Jones “no thank you” is if there’s someone in your system who is so much obviously better than Zombie Chipper that you have to play them instead.

    If any of you guys can name that person, I’d love to hear it. Basically, you either need an OFer (to move Prado back to 3B, assuming Prado could outhit Chipper which isn’t necessarily true) or a 3B.

  18. I’ll agree with the general opinion: we want Chipper for as long as he wants to keep playing, as long as we’ve got a backup plan ready for when his aches and pains flare up.

  19. Minor strikes out too many batters to keep pitch count low. Giants did decent job fouling off good pitches but just did not get hittable pitches.

  20. @17 – the only problem I see is with Hanson. I am *seriously* worried about his shoulder. Like, Mark Prior worried about his shoulder.

  21. We had good back up plan last year until the Prado got hurt. We can trade for another backup when someone wants to pay full market value for a pitcher. We do not need old brittle guy like Betran.

  22. If Minor and Vizcaino were at Gwinnett, Gwinnett would have a better rotation (Teheran, Delgado) than the Astros.

  23. In that case, Gwinnett would have a better rotation than half the major leagues- Minor/ Vizcaino/ Teheran/ Delgado/ Redmond could all manage major league ERAs below 4.00.

    And the Phillies just won 4-1.

  24. Redmond is like 27, and the Braves have never seen fit to use him on the big club when someone hits the DL. He’s not keeping Hoover out of the rotation long term.

    Hoover’s in the bullpen to reduce his innings and let him taste AAA before starting there next year, or the Braves think he’s a reliever. It’s not because they can’t find him some starts.

  25. Honestly, the Braves might be able to put together an above-replacement-level *third* rotation: Hoover/ C. Martinez/ D. Delgado/ Spruill/ Kawakami? (OK, this might be a bit silly.)

  26. @43 That’s incredibily funny.

    Guys, we all love Chipper, but let’s remember how much the guy is making. If you don’t consider Martin as a full-time third baseman, I don’t think we will ever find a proper replacement. If we move Martin to third base full time and Chipper retires, we will actually have a position AND money to bring in a REAL leftfielder.

  27. I’ve said it before, but with all the talk about how great it’ll be when Chipper retires and the payroll is freed that has been bouncing around the fanbase the last couple years, it’s apparently escaped the notice of a lot of people that this team is still much better when Chipper’s in the lineup than when he’s not. I think we should be careful what we wish for. It’s not gonna be that simple to replace Chipper. I’m sure half the people on here think what I’m about to say is stupid, but he’s the unquestioned captain of this team, and there’s no telling what’ll happen when you take him out of the clubhouse.

  28. What Nick said @ 45. If Chipper were making a fool of himself out there, that would be one thing. He’s not. He’s still at top 5 3B in the league, for chrissakes.

    The move to make would be to package Lowe and Constanza/Prado to a team this offseason who had a need for SP and a LFer (they’d move back to us.)

    Until Chipper loses the ability to play baseball when healthy, you play Chipper Jones. He’s Chipper fucking Jones.

  29. Chipper won’t scuffle for too long. He won’t embarrass himself. A lot of folks over at the AJC blog want Chipper to retire. Nuff said.

    #47 – I disagree about moving Prado anywhere. His versatility is the key to the team being able to play Chipper. We were able to take on Uggla becauseh he is so versatile. And when Chipper goes Martin is our 3B.

  30. Chipper is great for this team and on this team. I’m going to hate to see him go, whenever he does.

  31. @48 – I wouldn’t move Prado for chump-change, but I wouldn’t rule him untouchable in the right deal. Yes, his versatility makes things easier on the days Chipper is getting his old-man on. But if you could turn Martin Prado + Derek Lowe into Carlos Quentin…? I’d do that, and live with Julio Lugo or Wes Helms as Chipper insurance.

  32. Hilarious thing I just read: the White Sox spent more on Scott Linebrink’s salary this year than they did on their entire draft. I guess if they met up with ATL in the world series, that could work out pretty well for them, but otherwise, lol.

  33. I think Salcedo will be Chipper insurance soon enough.

    *EDIT – Soon enough = next 2-3 years.

  34. Salcedo has improved his ops in Rome by about 200 pts this year but it’s still only .747 and he’s made 40 errors. So he’s probably still a decent prospect (he just turned 20) but probably will not be Chipper’s immediate replacement regardless of when Chipper retires.

  35. @48

    The AJC Blog sucks. Think of all the years Chipper was under paid. I think Chipper plays one more.

  36. I dont think I would move Lowe+Prado for Quentin. He’s one of the worst OF’rs in the majors.

    WAR average last 4 seasons
    Quentin 1.8
    Prado 2.65

  37. It remains my hope that Chipper comes back next year, Prado stays, and the Braves add a LF. That would probably entail moving Jurrjens, and that obviously won’t happen if Hanson’s shoulder is shot. But it could be done, it’s a possibity, especially with Minor ready and Teheran knocking on the door.

  38. FWIW, Hanson said his shoulder is feeling much better and that the only reason they are skipping his next start is for precautionary reasons.

  39. I go back and forth on Quentin. He has long stretches of complete irrelevance, then hits like an MVP. His lifetime BABIP is .254, which is the lowest of any active non-catcher by 13 points (min. 1500 PA). That goes beyond fluke territory — he hits a bunch of pop-ups and fly balls, and can’t beat out an infield hit to save his life. And evidently he’s a terrible outfielder. He’d be the quintessential old-player skills guy (he gets hurt, too!), but he doesn’t walk all that much, either. He gets hit by pitches all the time, though, so there’s that. And he’d solve our sac fly problem.

    So, basically, he’ll smoke one pitch per game, which is pretty good, and do nothing else to help.

  40. Just to return to Heyward for a second–the single was indeed smoked, could have gone for a double if Schierholtz hadn’t been shading him right. He definitely had a good night.

  41. AAR’s credibility just took a massive hit on Twitter, where DOB called his Heyward piece “fair and accurate.”

  42. Uh oh. Can we assume that Alex has already purchased a leather jacket and a Harley to go riding with DOB and Fredi?

  43. Guys and girls, we may be looking at one of the best Braves teams ever top to bottom. If Jason ever gets it figured out, whoa. Its a bummer that we are in the same division as the best team in the NL and maybe the best team in MLB but the best team for 162 doesn’t always win the World Series.

    Chipper Jones is Mr. Atlanta Brave. Appreciated for his greatness by the cognoscenti now. After he retires all the rest will recognize what a great player, and organization man he is.

  44. AAR’s FanGraphs piece on Heyward, in case it hasn’t been posted already:

    http://tinyurl.com/3z9x3fd

    Lots of good stuff. I especially agree with the organizational message sent that production is rewarded and there are no sacred cows. My only quibble is with the notion that his current usage pattern has much of an implication for his long-term prospects. I’ve never heard of a great prospect failing and the reason for it being “well, he was platooned for a month when he was 21 and just never caught back up.” I just don’t believe that happens.

  45. Unless there’s a serious offensive upgrade at SS the Braves can make that won’t jeopardize defense, this team’s offensive lineup is set and Pastornicky should get a serious look at short.
    1. Upgrade the bench with Hairston and Infante.
    2. Let Hoover, Medlen, and Vizcaino replace Moylan, Sherrill, and Linebrink.
    3. Trade Lowe and start locking up some young talent with his money.

  46. #70 – Just looked at the 98 team. How the heck did that team lose to the Padres?

    EDIT – AAR’s piece is very good. So how do you balance a ‘future cornerstone’s’ development against the need to put your best 9 out there in a playoff race?

  47. @73, much as it hurts to say it, the Padres got better starting pitching than we did in that series. Hitchcock was awesome, and their bullpen made it stand up.

  48. I was all set to make the case that the Braves would be the best team in the American League until I started lining each position player against the Yankees.

    We don’t win as many of those as I had hoped.

    I do think our starting and 7-8-9 pitching is better than anyone in the AL. (Yes, I know Mariano is still playing.)

    Add Ross to our defense and let McCann DH – well, that’s a helluva team.

  49. Great job, AAR.

    I love the discussion thread in the comments comparing Uggla to Heyward. Heyward has exactly one good year on MLB play under his belt, he’s got a few years to go before he catches up to Uggla.

  50. @75 – I agree.

    Spike, sorry for the hyperbole. But the potential for this team is just so exciting. Defense up the middle, power from both sides of the plate, a deep bench with versatile multi position players and an even deeper pitching staff. And all of the above is at mid market payroll levels.
    Folks will start up on Alex Gonzalez’s offensive ineptitude but I stick by my assertion that he bring a net positive to the team with his defense.

    edit: Also saw George Lombard made an appearance that year. The poster boy for the toolsy athletic guy that simply couldn’t hit a lick at the MLB level.

  51. So we don’t start Constanza and we only score one run, ay?

    Coincidence? I think not.
    —————————

    Thinking about taking the kid to the game tonight. I forget, is it illegal to BUY tickets from a scalper?

  52. Also saw George Lombard made an appearance that year. The poster boy for the toolsy athletic guy that simply couldn’t hit a lick at the MLB level.

    Lombard was just the LH version of Mike Kelly.

  53. Thinking about taking the kid to the game tonight. I forget, is it illegal to BUY tickets from a scalper?

    Nope. The ticket dealers make a very strong point of staying outside of the X-hundred foot perimeter where they are not allowed to sell. If you pick up tix from one of the guys out on Capitol you’re fine.

  54. So for those of us who get a substantial portion of our baseball news through conversation and links here:

    Cubs fired Jim Hendry. Finally.

  55. Fine piece, AAR.

    Cubs fired Hendry back in July, but didn’t announce until today. Good decision, but it doesn’t fix the albatross contracts the next GM will have to deal with.

  56. I know hindsight is 20/20 and all, but how could they have thought that was a good idea?

    From what I’ve read, the honest, no-snark applied answer is “Bernie Madoff.” The Mets ownership assumed they were going to be making Madoff rates of profit off of their investments in perpetuity, which led them to think that the rate of interest on the Bonilla contract was actually in their favor.

    Seriously.

  57. @84 – Well there was this guy named Lincecum starting for the Giants too. I’ve heard he’s kind of ok.

  58. I wonder how much more the Yanks and Phils have to pay their hitters because of all the HRs hit in their band boxes? Does the park effect hinder the development of young pitchers. Denver is worse because the thin air hurts the action of breaking balls.

  59. 90: Thank you for that link! I’m kinda tearing up it’s so heartwarming.

    ‘Mets rightfielder Jeff Francoeur, the team’s representative to the players association, chatted with Mr. Bonilla in the Mets’ clubhouse. Mr. Francoeur said he was unaware of the conditions of Mr. Bonilla’s buyout and had never heard of such a contract.

    “But it’s awesome,” he said. “You pull something off like that, and later on you don’t have to worry about [stuff].”‘

    And hilarious, I might add!

  60. Jeffy’s retirement plan is way more impressive – getting Dayton Moore hired by the Royals was probably a lot more difficult than talking Steve Phillips out of $30million.

  61. In all fairness to Jeffy, this is not the most indefensible move the Royals could have made (not saying much, but still). I have heard some pretty good arguments that even a modest improvement in his batting approach would yield a useful player, and that it would be quite a normal development path if that happened at some point, perhaps even an expected one. Jose Guillen really did string together 3 good years once.

  62. I think the NL pitching was just too easy for Jeffy. He’s done much better in the AL.

  63. I absolutely LOVED this series, what with the taking-care-of-business aspect and such. Also, I hate the Giants more than any team, non-Phillies division.

    Rewatched last nights game (condensed version.) I’m left wondering why Chipper Jones didn’t skip down to first base like a poof. By the way he acted, you’d think he’d hit a homerun before? What was that about?

    Also.. I wanted to find some quotes from Giants players, about their disappointment in themselves and such. Maybe wanted to see if Brian Sabean intended to file a formal protest with the league, because these other teams keep playing too hard, making us to lose, and it isn’t fair, etc.

    Didn’t really find the stuff I wanted. But I didn’t find Andrew Baggarly defending Bruce Bochy from fan’s criticism that he doesn’t bunt enough….

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