Lowe faces desperate ‘Stros

Tony

Lynyrd

  Dark Star, Fla. – Good morning from Lake Buena Vista, where the temp’s already in the 70s and the sun is shining as Braves players filter in from the parking lot beyond left field here at Champion Stadium.
    It’s 10 a.m. The fellas were given a rare morning to sleep in after the overnight trip to Jupiter, which nearly the entire team made.
     Just now I was transcribing some interviews I did in Jupiter this weekend, and while Tony Perez is speaking in his distinct Cuban accent, he’s nearly drowned out by Lynryd Skynyrd’s “Tuesday’s Gone” that was blasting on the stadium speakers in the background as we talked by the batting cage. The beauty of baseball’s melting pot never ceases to make me smile.
   

   Anyway, about today’s game… The Astros are busing the 12 or so miles over from their spring compound to take on the Bravos today here at Disneyopolis, with Derek Lowe facing former Braves prospect Jose Capellan.
    Believe it or not, Capellan and another couple of former Braves you might be familiar with, Mike Hampton and Russ Ortiz, have been the Astros’ best pitchers this spring. Which probably ain’t saying much, considering the Astros are 1-13-2 in Grapefruit League play.
   They haven’t won a game in March. That’s not a typo.
    Not coincidentally, the ‘Stros are bringing over their entire lineup today. They want this game, folks.
The Braves are coming off a 2-1 loss against the Cardinals yesterday that snapped a 10-game winning streak, including eight Grapefruit League wins in that stretch.
    Granted, these results will be forgotten in a few weeks when the teams play a game that actually counts. But it’s still worth noting when you’ve had the kind of streaks and skids that the Braves and Astros, respectively, have been on these past two or three weeks.
   You don’t want to get too excited about winning most of your games in spring training, but you do get concerned if your team loses almost every game. Even if Roy Oswalt and a few others are away for the World Baseball Classic.
   Speaking of the WBC, yesterday’s Braves loss was the first since Chipper Jones and Brian McCann left camp to join the U.S. team for the WBC. And on the same day the Braves’ winning streak ended, the U.S. got pounded by the Puerto Ricans, mercy-ruled 11-1 in seven innings, for God’s sake, in a second-round game at typically three-quarters-empty Dolphin Stadium.

How many games will Chipper Jones play this season?

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   On a bright note for the Braves, Javier Vazquez pitched for Puerto Rico and stuck it to the U.S. The man was dealing, folks. If you saw the game or highlights, you know what I’m talking about.
   And even if you’d be disappointed to see the Americans fall short of the final round, hey, at least Vazquez helped move them one loss from sending Chipper and Mac back to Braves camp.
   Alright, gotta get down to the clubhouse for a while. Braves may or may not be announcing their first round of roster cuts today, but either way, we’re not expecting any of the premier prospects to be among those shipped out.
    OK, I’m back now. Big day for bullpen: Peter Moylan and Rafael Soriano are both scheduled to pitch an inning today for the Braves, only the second Grapefruit League appearance for Soriano and third for Moylan.
   The surgically repaired relievers are obviously major players in the Braves’ planned bullpen, and they could be the difference in turning a decent ‘pen into an exceptional one.
   Moylan, who’s pitched each of the past two Sundays, joked that he’s on the NFL schedule. He told me this morning he believes he’ll be ready for opening day. He’s who’s less than 11 months removed from Tommy John surgery.
   Moylan threw two side sessions without incident since last Sunday’s appearance. The Aussie will fly to the Bahamas tomorrow to get his visa. (It’s a complicate explanation, but those who were around the blog last year remember he had to do the same thing then. You have to get your work visa stamped in a foreign country, and his paperwork wasn’t ready before he left Australia after Christmas, or something like that.)
When I asked Soriano if he thinks he’ll be ready for opening day, he said in his low grumble: “Yeah, I think so.” His surgically repaired elbow presumably hasn’t caused any problems yet this spring, or he hasn’t said it has. His lingering upper respiratory infection, or whatever he had, has been better since they gave him some sort of inhaler, which he showed me and tossed into his locker.
   Gold Glove at first base? Four different first basemen in the past five years have won National Gold Gloves, which got me wondering whether Casey Kotchman could possibly become the fifth different winner in six seasons.
   Possible, but not real likely.
   Because as much as the award is supposed to be for defense, and as much as Kotchman’s D might be as good as any NL 1B (especially now that Mark Teixeira is out of the league), the coaches and managers who vote on the award often lean heavily in favor of guys who also put up big offensive numbers.
   Now that San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez has won one (last year), we can probably expect him to win more. He’s very good defensively, on top of being a beast with the bat: In his three full seasons in the bigs, he has 90 homers, 106 doubles and 301 RBIs, and also top-20 finishes in the MVP balloting in ‘07 and ‘08.
Others who’ve won the NL Gold Glove at 1B the past six seasons: Derrek Lee (2005 and 2007), Todd Helton (2004) and Albert Pujols (2006).
   In the 11 years before that revolving door of winners, the award was dominated by Helton (2001-02), J.T. Snow (1997-2000) and Mark Grace (1992-93 and 1995-96), with Jeff Bagwell (1994) the only other winner in that long stretch.
   If Teixeira, a two-time AL winner, had spent more than one full season in the NL, it’s a good bet he’d have won a Gold Glove or two over here. Dude’s extremely smooth around the bag.
   But watching Kotchman, it doesn’t look like the Braves lost much at all on the defensive side with that trade.
   “Tex might have a little more movement,” infield coach Glenn Hubbard said. “But Kotch looks very similar. He’s solid.”
  I asked Bobby Cox if he thought Kotchman was a Gold-Glove caliber player.
   “I think you have to put him in that class,” Cox said. “He’s real good. And he’s swinging the bat, too.”
GM Frank Wren said, “No question about it, he can really play first base.”
   Hubbard went on to discuss the Braves’ overall defensive strength and deep pitching staff, the biggest reasons that so many in the organization, including players and team officials, are optimistic about this team’s chances to contend for a postseason berth after a three-year absence.
Wren was commenting on Kotchman’s defense when he expanded the subject.
   “That’s one of the things that we really feel so good about with our club, is an outstanding defensive infield,” the GM said. “And with the number of sinkerball guys we have in our rotation, especially when Huddy comes back, that’s important.”
   Tim Hudson could be back sometime in August, a year after having Tommy John surgery. The Braves hold a $12 million option on his contract for 2010, with a $1 mill buyout if they don’t pick it up. Hudson has the right to veto it.
   Charlie update: Almost forgot to tell you, pitcher Charlie Morton has been long-tossing for the past week and said he’s not had any issues with his strained oblique. He hopes to get on the mound in the next few days — “ASAP,” he said — and resume preparations for the season. He’s anxious to get going again.

TODAY’S LINEUPS
Astros
1. Kaz Matsui, 2B
2. Hunter Pence, RF
3. Lance Berkman, 1B
4. Carlos Lee, LF
5. Miguel Tejada, SS
6. Geoff Blum, 3B
7. Darin Erstad, CF
8. Humberto Quintero, C
9. Jose Capellan, RH

Braves
1. Jordan Schafer
2. Yunel Escobar
3. Kelly Johnson, 2B
4. Matt Diaz, LF
5. Jeff Francoeur, RF
6. Freddie Freeman, 1B
7. Martin Prado, 3B
8. David Ross, C
9. Derek Lowe, RH

We’ll close things out with a song for Sunday morning….

“SINK HOLE” by Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers)

I’ve always been a religious man, I ‘ve always been a religious man
but I met the banker and it felt like sin, he turned my bailout down
The Banker Man, he let into me, let into me, let into me
The Banker Man, he let into me and spread my name around
He thinks I ain’t got a lick of sense cause I talk slow and my money’s spent
Now, I ain’t the type to hold it against, but he better stay off my farm
Cause it was my Daddy’s and his Daddy’s before
and his Daddy’s before and his Daddy’s before
Five generations and an unlocked door and a loaded burglar alarm.

Lots of pictures of my purdy family, lots of pictures of my purdy family
lots of pictures of my purdy family in the house where I was born.
House has stood through five tornadoes,
Droughts, floods, and five tornadoes.
I’d rather wrastle an alligator than to face the Banker’s scorn
Cause he won’t even look me in the eye
He just takes my land and apologize,
with pen, paper, and a friendly smile, he says the deed is done.
The sound you hear is my Daddy spinning, The sound you hear is my Daddy spinning
The sound you hear is my Daddy spinning over what the Banker done.

Like to invite him for some pot roast beef and mashed potatoes and sweet tea
follow it up with some banana pudding and a walk around the farm
Show him the view from McGee Town Hill
Let him stand in my shoes and see how it feels
to lose the last thing on earth that’s real
I’d rather lose my legs and arms

Bury his body in the old sink hole Bury his body in the old sink hole
Bury his body in the old sink hole under cold November sky
Then damned if I wouldn’t go to church on Sunday
Damned if I wouldn’t go to church on Sunday
Damned if I wouldn’t go to church on Sunday
and look the Preacher in the eye

1,297 comments Add your comment

dogsbrekky

March 15th, 2009
12:06 pm

Good blog thanks

1-13 is a kind of like my eating record at the Big Texan, one success in 14 tries at the 72 oz steak…

Mitchie-san

March 15th, 2009
12:10 pm

Doc Holiday

March 15th, 2009
12:12 pm

After watching last night game……….

I liked the way Peavy came down to earth with style. I wonder how does he really feels now. I can recall him acting as a GOD, as if no team but the Cubs deserved him, the Braves werent good enough for him. He could have been part of a rotation that has the pitcher that shutdown his teamates (Vazquez). I know he will put good numbers again (Peavy), but he learned last night that he is only human and that he has too big a mouth.

On the other hand, USA got pushed around by PR, but it has to be encouraging to all of us Braves fans to see outing after outing how good Vazquez has looked.

ShamusThacker

March 15th, 2009
12:13 pm

Anyone here? Someone? Someone Else?

mbatl

March 15th, 2009
12:15 pm

Another ex-Brave, Chad Paronto, has also pitched well for them this spring.

Vazquez has looked great in both of his WBC appearances. As I recall, he pitched some Winter League innings too. I’m assuming he’s a guy who can just go and throw it as much as needed (hopefully) without problems.

AdirondackDave

March 15th, 2009
12:22 pm

Shamus — Adirondack Dave reporting in.

David O'Brien

March 15th, 2009
12:22 pm

It’s 12:30 p.m. on a Sunday in 2009, and on the stadium PA here at Dark Star, they’re playing “Saturday Night” by the Bay City Rollers.

Perfect.

Braves Fan in PA

March 15th, 2009
12:25 pm

DOB, Any news on your favorite bullpen arm. It seems his price is dropping any chance the Braves consider signing Ohman at this point?

VENEZUELA

March 15th, 2009
12:28 pm

Yeah DOB? Whats going on with the BIG LEBOWSKI? Ohman is a huge Loogy for us considering boone logan isnt that impressive

spotts

March 15th, 2009
12:28 pm

Gold Glove voters seriously take offensive stats into account? That’s so dumb.

But it would explain how David Wright keeps winning. I just assumed his parents were on the NL Gold Glove voting team.

Jim

March 15th, 2009
12:31 pm

One ST start under unusual circumstances does not say much of anything about how Peavy OR Vaszquez will fare this year, but one little tidbit that the announcers threw out last night might make us happy that we have Lowe + Yunel, etc. instead of Peavy. In Peavy’s Cy Young season 2 years ago, he never went more than 7 innings in any start. He throws a lot of pitches at max effort.

DukeBoy

March 15th, 2009
12:32 pm

The stadium crew is playing some awesome music today. Skynyrd then some Saturday Night, could the day get any better.

A Duke win against FSU, and a Braves win would make it a perfect day!

Roach

March 15th, 2009
12:37 pm

DukeBoy,

You are right my friend.

Someone

March 15th, 2009
12:41 pm

Anyone

March 15th, 2009
12:42 pm

Someone Else

March 15th, 2009
12:43 pm

Whew, finally made it. I’m here too.

northbeach Scott

March 15th, 2009
12:45 pm

Dave-O, sorry to have missed you on Thursday, my last Grapefruit league game–that was not me at the batting cage. Just returned to Atlanta. Appreciated the feedback on ST observations. Glad to contribute. Will bring you a nice Ybor hand rolled sometime in the future.

Very interested in the progress of young Marek as he seems to have had an impressive spring. Assuming he makes the first cuts-he should. Would love to see an article about him. Especially if he has a shot a being on the opening 25 man roster with Glavine not needed until 4/19.

DukeBoy

March 15th, 2009
12:47 pm

anybody catch Puerto Rico-United States last night? Javier was lights out! Braves rotation now and in the future (barring injuries) could be the best in the NL.

DiamondbackMac

March 15th, 2009
12:51 pm

ShamusThacker I have a theory that there only about four posters on this blog and they all have multiple personalities who sit around and argue with each other all day. I’m not sure if I’m one of them or not. Hmmmmm

1058.38

March 15th, 2009
12:52 pm

Dang, Chipper’s hitless in the WBC.

DiamondbackMac

March 15th, 2009
12:53 pm

ShamusThacker Could be that you’re one of my personalities, or maybe I’m one of yours. I think I need professional help.

Epinephrine

March 15th, 2009
12:56 pm

Duke Boy, I still think there is a whole lot of uncertainty with our starting rotation. It could be great, or it could be decidedly average.

We know what we have in Lowe, and it will be good. Could be very good.

We don’t know what we have in Vasquez. We know he will probably put up around 200 innings and a bunch of Ks. But will he be the guy that put up an ERA of the low to mid 3s, or the guy that approaches 5? Hopefully playing under Bobby, pitching in the NL, and pitching closer to home will help push him back to the very quality pitcher he has always shown flashes of being. But who knows?

For Jurrjens…dude has struggled a bit this spring, and we should always be wary of a sophomore slump. I am hoping JJJ is the real deal and avoids a slump. He has good stuff, and a great head on his shoulders so he has a lot of things going for him. But the truth is we won’t know until he gets out there and succeeds–especially given his inconsistencies this spring.

We certainly don’t know what we are getting out of Kawakami. Could be a guy with really good stuff who will put up around 200 hundred innings. Could be a guy that never makes the adjustment.

And Glavine…if healthy, an advantage from the 5 spot. If not, a liability.

The good news is we have Hanson, Reyes, and Morton waiting in the wings. Hanson still hasn’t found his form this spring, but nevertheless has been flat out nasty at times. He is the real deal. Reyes may have finally turned the corner–if so, a huge deal for this club. And I actually am still very high on Charlie Morton. He pitched hurt last year without his best stuff, and still kept the Braves in games. When his velocity is touching 96, the sink on his two seamer and his 12-6 curve are impressive stuff. So anyway, despite uncertainty we have guys that can jump in. But with that being said, there is still uncertainty with this rotation.

DukeBoy

March 15th, 2009
12:58 pm

Epinephrine, excellent points

David O'Brien

March 15th, 2009
1:01 pm

Gorkys is among the minor league players brought over for this game. We’ll let you know if he gets in

Robert

March 15th, 2009
1:02 pm

Donk is excited since the team is what 10-3? Gosh he’s close to his dream 162-0 season.

Just like the Braves to be the nest team in baseball on March 15

If just once they could be the best on October 15

Not while Cox is around, that’s for sure

AdirondackDave

March 15th, 2009
1:03 pm

1058.38 — Not to worrry… Chipper’s saving them up for us when he returns. Mac on the other hand should be reprimanded for his shameful hits.

David O'Brien

March 15th, 2009
1:04 pm

PHIL STOCKMAN has been released. If you knew him, you’d really feel bad, because that big Aussie is as good a bloke as they come. And hilarious. We’re gonna miss him, for sure.

Eight roster cuts will be announced tomorrow.

Mike S

March 15th, 2009
1:05 pm

1058 – to be honest, I am getting a little concerned over Hoss’s struggles at the plate. Obviously the oblique pull did not help matters, but Chipper is at that age where some hitters just suddenly lose that little bit of bat speed that made them special.

I am hopeful to see another .300 season out of him, but so far this spring he has looked completely overmatched at the plate. Hopefully it is just rust and lack of swings.

Mike S

March 15th, 2009
1:07 pm

Hate to hear that DOB. Stockman is one of my favs, it is a shame he never really recovered from that injury. Hopefully someone else will sign him and give him a shot.

Epinephrine

March 15th, 2009
1:08 pm

Mike S, Chipper always looks terrible in the early spring. He has only had a few live at bats thanks to the WBC-not every day play like the normal club. He is the least of our concerns.

Lowe is dealing…and the Stros are atrocious.

dogsbrekky

March 15th, 2009
1:09 pm

spotts – JETER won I think 3 Gold Gloves recently (04-06 ?) and he outright stinks

It should be the Teachers Pet Glove award

David O'Brien

March 15th, 2009
1:10 pm

Lowe has struck out Matsui and Pence to start the game….

Great play by Kotchman Freeman leaping to his right to stab Berkman grounder, then tossing to lowe covering first for third out….

DiamondbackMac: Regarding your 12:51 p.m. post, iI so, they’re using hundreds and hundreds of different IP addresses and putting in a lot of work to come up with 125 or so different and quite interesting profiles and photos on that Facebook club that Run Heap Run started.

Crista

March 15th, 2009
1:10 pm

Moylan! I hope he does well.
He’s my favorite&&
I’ve missed him!

Jim

March 15th, 2009
1:12 pm

Epinephrine,

There is uncertainty at this point with most every rotation. Having Reyes, Hanson, Morton, Parr, etc. at AAA and people like Lowe and Vasquez who have consistently avoided injury and provided 200+ innings in the rotation provides a reasonable assurance that the pitching will be at worst average with reasonable protection against the complete breakdown that occurred last year. I assume that if Glavine is not ready to make his first start, that it will be made by Reyes, not Hanson. Reyes is left handed and I think the Braves want to give him some time in AAA and keep the arb. clock from making its first tick this year. I agree with you on Morton. Before he was shut down, his velocity was topping out at about 91 mph and he did not have the movement on his pitches that he had in his earlier starts. However, he will have to re-establish his prospect status at Richmond this year if he is to fit into the long-term plans of the Braves.

David O'Brien

March 15th, 2009
1:12 pm

Schafer just pulled an inside fastball onto the top of a tented TV location set up above the RF corner seats. If he’d straightened it out a bit, it would have landed at least 30 feet beyond the fence.

Then he grounded out.

DukeBoy

March 15th, 2009
1:12 pm

how many pitches did lowe throw in the top half of the inning?

chuckw/deadjournalist

March 15th, 2009
1:13 pm

i hate to see stockman go, but that’s an open 40-man roster spot … interesting to see who moves in

Scott M

March 15th, 2009
1:13 pm

Any idea where I could hear the broadcast over the internet? I can’t seem to find it anywhere.

brian

March 15th, 2009
1:13 pm

Too bad about Stockman, just couldn’t keep himself healthy. I wonder if he gets his back figured out, if the Braves might re-sign him to a minor league deal.

Andy

March 15th, 2009
1:14 pm

Epinephrine, yes there is uncertainty. Yes……. last year was a pretty big painful fluke. If you take out pretty much everyone of the starters to injury except 1 most teams would fall apart to that kind of uncertainty. Lowe and Vasquez you pretty much know what they are going to get—pretty much. JJ is more of a wild card than kwami(good enough)—and I think JJ will be pretty solid. Kwami can pitch–even without his best stuff–he is our 4th starter and he will be solid. Glavine—in 23 years been on the disabled list when….oh yeah last year. He is the 5th starter and I simply can’t wait. Even when he has nothing he’ll still won’t be giving into a hitter. It has been a while since the braves were relevant. It just seems like to me the pen is way more uncertain and the lineup…..well….

Il Cattivo

March 15th, 2009
1:16 pm

Shame about Stockman. Hope he can get his back fixed and get his career back online.
While on this topic, if Moylan doesnt pitch well today I’m sure someone will suggest it was because of the Stockman release.

dogsbrekky

March 15th, 2009
1:19 pm

DOB – re our fellow Antipodean, if he gets his back fixed, does the club pay for that and/or can he come back next year and try out again ?

JerseyGil

March 15th, 2009
1:20 pm

Yes i think we going to see Stockman in Gwinnett, The next to go is Ridgway.

pfunkATL

March 15th, 2009
1:21 pm

I am PUMPED about the season. HUGE BBall fan here, yet in my years in the ATL I have seen the Braves go one and out in the play-offs, WITNESSED the KJ pop-up game first hand, watched Smoltz’s arm fall off, saw AJ go from BEST to WORST( same with JK) and watched this team lose 90 last year. Seems like OLD TIMES. I was a LONG-SUFFERING Royals and Marlins fan as well.

I have REAL HOPE this year. I am projecting wild card, but at LEAST entertainment. Last year was HEART-WRENCHING. I am also a HUGE Escobar fan, and hoping for big things from him. With a rebound from Frankie, a healthy rotation, and some contribution from the KIDS, I should be at LEAST a semi regular in our corporate seats behind first base, assuming Ray’s Restaurants let me get the tickets…LOL.

I am a regular reader of the blog- only contribute on occasion, but ALWAYS here. KC I will be at the opening day kick-off party, same as last year. Let’s TOAST that this one will be better!

David O'Brien

March 15th, 2009
1:21 pm

Walked Carlos Lee to start second inning, then a broken-bat single for Tejada puts runners on corners with none out and Blum to bat

DiamondbackMac

March 15th, 2009
1:22 pm

DOB I was just making an attempt at humor. Not very successfully it seems.

gobravez

March 15th, 2009
1:22 pm

I wonder who will be added to the 40 man? Schafer, hopefully.

David O'Brien

March 15th, 2009
1:23 pm

Blum sac fly to left field, terrible throw by Diaz about 12-15 feet off the mark

brian

March 15th, 2009
1:25 pm

gobravez, why would you add Schafer?? That would start his options, and we don’t want to do that.

David O'Brien

March 15th, 2009
1:26 pm

Erstad just lashed a double that sailed past Diaz. Would’ve taken a good jump and route to get to it, but honestly, he wasn’t even close. Ball went to the wall, drove in a run, Astros up 2-0

6 Grapes

March 15th, 2009
1:26 pm

DOB, who’s playing 1st? You have freeman in the lineup you posted, but said kotchman made a great play over there…

trublueBravesFan

March 15th, 2009
1:27 pm

Hey DOB…..I thought you said in the linup section that Freeman was playing 1b?

gobravez

March 15th, 2009
1:28 pm

Brian, Because you have to add Schafer to the 40 man to add him to the 25 man roster.

Schafer has done more than enough to win the CF job. Not to mention Anderson is coming back down to earth now.

David O'Brien

March 15th, 2009
1:29 pm

Freeman made the great play at 1B, not Kotchman. I instinctively wrote Kotchman.

brian

March 15th, 2009
1:31 pm

gobravez, you wouldn’t do that till you absolutely know that you’re going to keep him. As of right now, we don’t know without a shadow of a doubt that he’s going to be on the team. There’s still 3 weeks till the season, so adding Schafer now, doesn’t make any sense.

Epinephrine

March 15th, 2009
1:32 pm

Andy, I actually feel pretty good about both our lineup and our pen. Our pen could be flat out nasty-and I hate to say it, but at least it is a contract year for Soriano…maybe that will give him the extra push he needed. But what we are seeing with Moylan…if he is coming in during the 7th inning, look out.

Our lineup may lack power, but we have tough outs top to bottom, and potential break out years from any one of KJ, Esco, Frenchy, and Kotchman. McCann could also have an absolutely huge year. With Schafer eventually in there as a spark plug…this line up with put up runs.

Isenberg

March 15th, 2009
1:32 pm

Why is Will Ohman still a free agent?

Something’s gotta be up; teams wouldn’t normally let a left-handed reliever THAT valuable stay on the market this long (even with such a poor economy).

northbeach Scott

March 15th, 2009
1:32 pm

JerseyGil, I think Stockman will miss a good portion of the season, if not the entire season, with injuries. I hope the Braves would give him another minor league shot should he come back next year injury free. Agree with you on Ridgway, he’s been lousy and the other two LOGYs have been better. We may also see Redmond, and Vlad Nunez go down.

David O'Brien

March 15th, 2009
1:33 pm

Francoeur FIRST STRIKEOUT of the spring. Capellan blew a fastball that Francoeur swung and missed to go to 1-2, then an off-speed pitch that Francoeur was way out in front of.

Runnin

March 15th, 2009
1:35 pm

I never thought it was possible for the Capellan for Kolb trade to look any worse.

David O'Brien

March 15th, 2009
1:35 pm

northbeach Scott: Vlad Nunez can’t get sent down — he’s already down. He’s in minor league camp, been brought over for a bunch of games.

McFann :Ô:

March 15th, 2009
1:36 pm

Pete

Yeah, I noticed it right away. Like I said–Clint Hurdle Syndrome.

brian

March 15th, 2009
1:37 pm

Francouer has done well this spring but as I have said before he needs to come through with bases loaded sometime to really get over the hump

dogsbrekky

March 15th, 2009
1:38 pm

Can anyone claim Stockman if he gets healthy or do we get first shot

Schafer deserves to be in this OF, he can play, eff the “clock” starting to save a few $

jaker

March 15th, 2009
1:38 pm

why did chip caray say that freeman is #5 on baseball america’s top prospects? That is Heyward, right. Does he always make mistakes like that?

Epinephrine

March 15th, 2009
1:38 pm

Haha man. I forgot about Dan Kolb. Between him, Reitsma and Ken Ray, good lord. Are people really worried about the pen?

DiamondbackMac

March 15th, 2009
1:39 pm

Miss St. – 25
Tenn. – 23

brian

March 15th, 2009
1:40 pm

dogsbrekky, that’s fine if Schafer deserves the spot, but you don’t just add him now. It’s pointless. If you add him and he goes on a slump, you started his clock for nothing. If you add him now and he makes the team, you could have just waited till the last minute to do it. It’s spring training, you don’t need to add a player till you absolutely have to.

dogsbrekky

March 15th, 2009
1:41 pm

brian – how much $$$ does it cost to start the clock now on Schafer and Hanson versus waiting say until August ?

brian

March 15th, 2009
1:43 pm

could cost millions, you start their clock now, they would be eligible for a “super two” arbitration, where as if you start it in August, that’s an extra year till they’re eligible for arbitration.

That’s millions in future contracts that could be saved. It also saves an extra year, in case they struggle.

Lew

March 15th, 2009
1:44 pm

Dogsbrekky-The situation would be analagous to Francoeur’s. He was arbitration eligible for the first time this season after 3 1/2 years instead of just three. In essence, by waiting until August, they can get an extra half year out of the player before they become arbitration or Free Agent eligible.

dogsbrekky

March 15th, 2009
1:44 pm

okay so its not just a $400k contract we are talking then

Thanks for the info brian

Also. Why is Tennessess called the Volunteers?

dogsbrekky

March 15th, 2009
1:45 pm

ShamusThacker

March 15th, 2009
1:46 pm

I’ve sorta been on the Frenchy hater/fan fence. I’m solidly on the fan side now.

Anybody know if the rumor’s true that Roger Clemens has denied being Roger Clemens?

I would have asked you the question Anyone, or even someone or someone else, just thought I’d ask Anybody for a change of pace…

Lew

March 15th, 2009
1:46 pm

Shamus-Have you left Anyone Else out of the equation?

David O'Brien

March 15th, 2009
1:46 pm

Lowe just hit a two-out single into the l-c gap, just beyond the outstretched glove of Carlos Lee. He should’ve had it probably, but Lowe will take that hit gladly.

Epinephrine

March 15th, 2009
1:47 pm

Sure we could save millions by starting him in August…and also we could save ourselves the trouble of playing in October. I’m all for saving money, but if he’s the best man for the job he should be out there. The ultimate goal is winning games with the best team possible, not putting forward the best budget we can. The games in April count just as much as those in September.

mbatl

March 15th, 2009
1:47 pm

Don’t think it has to be “August”. I read that it’s typically about 86 days, so with the late start this year, that would put us around early July.

I have a feeling that Schafer will be on the 25-man on opening day… but there is certainly no reason to put him on the 40-man until we’re ready to make that decision, whether it’s on Opening Day or July or next year.

brian

March 15th, 2009
1:49 pm

epinephrine, I’m not saying that we don’t put Schafer on the 40 man roster to start the season, I’m just saying we don’t need to do it now. There’s 3 weeks till ST ends, we can wait till then.

DukeBoy

March 15th, 2009
1:51 pm

Lowe with a base hit…very nice… Duke up by 15.

Lew

March 15th, 2009
1:51 pm

Epinephrine-You’ve only seen about 40 Spring Training At Bats from Schafer-and those not necessarily against the best ML pitching. There’s three weeks left until the season starts and anything could happen in that time. It has yet to be proven-much less proven beyond the shadow of a doubt-that Schafer is ready for his Clock Starting Party. The kid missed a goodly portion of his AA season. We have time AND other options with more experience against said ML pitching.

ShamusThacker

March 15th, 2009
1:51 pm

Lew, Someone Else asked me the same thing.

dogsbrekky

March 15th, 2009
1:54 pm

Schafer – The reason I think we give this kid a go now is;

1. He plays like a man on a machine (Pete Rose like)
2. He is super super fast down the base paths
3. He can hit for power
4. He has a good arm
5. He spent his own loot buying an expenisve batting machine to improve himself
6. He spent his own loot paying for sprinting/speed lessons.

Kid outright guns. Josh Anderson I like as well but you do not go for Carrie Fischer if Carrie Underwood is available

DiamondbackMac

March 15th, 2009
1:54 pm

dogsbrekky – Tennessee is nicknamed the volunteer state.

Frankie Knuckles

March 15th, 2009
1:55 pm

volunteers – Has something to do with either the Revolutionary War or the Civil. Not sure – Do know they volunteered some as* woopings this past football season

ShamusThacker

March 15th, 2009
1:56 pm

They volunteered to shoot Yankees.

Epinephrine

March 15th, 2009
1:56 pm

No I agree. And if Schafer is in a rut come opening day, by all means put him in AAA. Then ignoring the business side of things would be foolish. But if he’s ready to go, I say let him take the shot. I really don’t think Josh Anderson is an every day MLB center fielder. But that is the whole point of these battles.

Lew

March 15th, 2009
1:57 pm

Epinephrine-In addition, Shafer has less than 300 AB at AA. Josh Anderson has a .315 BA and .363 OBP in 203 ML AB. He has stolen 11 bases and been caught twice-in the bigs. Schafer hasn’t played a single game in the Bigs.

Andy

March 15th, 2009
1:57 pm

Epinephrine my heart feels the same way you do. I think everything you say about the line up is true. I hope and pray it is true. My head says that left is a big question mark. How much does GA have in the tank? Diaz I love and a big fan—when he gets 9 straight hits all of it. But its been a while since he has been a constant force. Not his fault he’s been injured. CF lots of uncertainty. RF hopefully will be alittle different from the last two years. 3rd solid. SS can be amazing and infuriating. 2nd adv. to good. 1st okay to good? Catcher awesome. Yes I think this lineup could drive in tons of runs. esp. if cf provides a spark al la furcal. But thats still alot more uncertain than our starters. The pen is just one big question mark. But has alot of pieces that could be amazing.

DiamondbackMac

March 15th, 2009
1:58 pm

ShamusThacker Actually, I think it was because they sent volunteers to fight at the Alamo.

Lew

March 15th, 2009
1:58 pm

Shamus-Did Anyone answer?

Bobby's Belly

March 15th, 2009
1:58 pm

Lew – Your “other options with more experience ” is struggling something fierce w/ the pressure of a ST competition.. Got news for you – the pressure of facing Cole Hamels opening night is far greater. Schafer’s 0-2 today. Both times the stadium was on their feet. He brings similar speed as Anderson and much more of everything else. If you haven’t noticed, this OF could use some pop.

Steve McP

March 15th, 2009
1:59 pm

Don’t overlook Blanco – he played a fair bit in CF last year and he is having a good WBC. He started well last season (although he tailed off a bit at the end) and might get a look if Anderson does not get the nod.

ShamusThacker

March 15th, 2009
2:00 pm

Anybody’s guess Lou….

David O'Brien

March 15th, 2009
2:00 pm

Chip Caray just came over to our side of the pressbox, reminded me of his late, great dad’s classic intro from the field formerly known as Joe Robbie/Pro Player Stadium. It was something like, “Hello again, everybody. From the banks of the Miccosukee River….”

Anyway….

Last week when I was home, Chip made his first appearance of the spring out here at Dark Star. He called my cell, not knowing that Skip did my voicemail message a couple of years ago, one that I intend to keep on there for a long, long time (it’s awesome, done off the top of his head, about 30 seconds long, something about me at the plate, hitting the ball, then “O’Brien is rounding second, now he’s headed for third, it looks like he’s going to try to score, O’Brien is … out at home. But if you leave a message, he’ll call you back. So long, everybody.”

It’s really good, and he did it without hesitation when I asked him one time in a pressbox somewhere.

Anyway, Chip called my phone last week, and when that message came on, he said he just about cried.

Then he left me a message using a spot-on impersonation of Skip’s voice. It was almost surreal, when I checked my voicemail that afternoon after being in the gym or somewhere.

Epinephrine

March 15th, 2009
2:02 pm

Lew, a significant chunk of Anderson’s good MLB numbers come from September games, which statistically should count for absolutely nothing given that he was playing for bottom dweller teams. Spring numbers and September numbers are meaningless. For the rest of his career-a much better statistical sample-he has put up sub-par OBP numbers. I don’t see why that would change over the course of a regular season. I could be wrong, but I don’t think it will change.

Also, I don’t see how the fact that Schafer hasn’t played in a big league game should be an argument against him…playing in a big league game. Seems a bit circular, no?

DiamondbackMac

March 15th, 2009
2:04 pm

dogsbrekky – I was wrong.

Tennessee has had several nicknames, but the most popular is “The Volunteer
State.” The nickname originated during the War of 1812 when thousands of Tennesseans
enlisted in response to Governor Willie Blount’s call for volunteers.

2Parc

March 15th, 2009
2:05 pm

Chip’s one of the best in the biz.

Lew

March 15th, 2009
2:05 pm

Bobby’s Belly-SO? Like I said-there’s three weeks left in spring training. Yes, Schafer IS the future for the Braves-if you go back and check, you’ll find that everything I’ve ever said about Schafer-going back to on the scene reports from Dark Star last spring-have been completely positive and enthusiastic. However, Anderson has performed well at the big league level-yes, a small sample size, I admit, though nearly the same sample size as Schafer at AA-but success, nonetheless. Considering that he has no remaining options and the clock has NOT started on SChafer, I’m betting JS goes to the minors to start the season-as he should. There is zero need to throw him to the wolves yet-no matter the fan consensus.

ShamusThacker

March 15th, 2009
2:05 pm

That’s right, the Davey Crockett deal…

Well, I’ll bet a bunch uv’um volunteered to blast Yankees too… lol

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