Archive for April, 2009

Chipper: Win was like ’90s

  Braves Happy Land (for a day at least) – After Jo-Jo Reyes combined with two relievers for a three-hitter against the NL’s top-hitting team last night, and Matt Diaz delivered a game-winning two-out, two-run single in the eighth inning, Chipper Jones got to thinking….

  ”We played well enough to win tonight,” Jones said after the Braves’ 2-1 victory against the Cardinals on Tuesday. “We didn’t swing the bats particularly well. But Jo-Jo and the bullpen were outstanding, the defense was outstanding, and we finally got a timely hit to win.

How much more encouraged are you by bullpen lately?

  • A lot, especially with Soriano and Gonzalez pitching so well
  • Feel a little better about it, but still some health concerns
  • I felt good about it before, feel as good or better now
  • I’ll reserve judgment until I see them a few more weeks
  • Still worried about health and/or the lefty situation

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 ”That’s shades of the early and mid-90s …

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Braves need offensive spark

Kelly Johnson (l) slump deepens

  A few thoughts about some less-than-riveting recent performances by the Braves, while listening to a very good CD titled “Keep Your Soul: A Tribute to Doug Sahm.”
  The Braves were wrapping up last night at about the same time as this week’s episode of 24, and neither were exactly riveting. The positive view: Both have the potential to turn it around (24 has been very good most of this season).
  The negative view: Someone needs to light a spark to get them going. Not that we necessarily want to see that canister explode on 24 and thousands of innocent people die, but a stolen base might be nice, eh?
How’s that for transitioning, compadres?
   No, but seriously. I know this Braves team is anything but built on speed, and I know it’s probably not the biggest thing holding them back. But still, three stolen bases in 19 games? Three!?
   That’s the fewest in the majors. In fact, the next-lowest totals belong to the Padres and A’s, who …

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How important is a winning April?

   Hey, it’s Carroll here. Just back to the ol’ Braves beat from the NFL draft….which I have to say, is a lot more fun to cover than the baseball draft. Talked to two guys yesterday (Peria Jerry and William Moore) who will actually play next year.


   It’s nice not having to be all patient and everything. And the food wasn’t half bad either – my goodness. Thanks Falcons.

   OK, so back over here to the small stitched ball. And wondering what to blog about this lazy Monday morning….This Monday morning, April 27….OK, got it.  

   We’re down to three more games in April. The Braves are 9-9. One way or another after three games with the Cardinals, we’re going to have a crooked number here. So how big of a deal is it to have a winning April?

   They say you can’t win the division in April but you can lose it. These numbers for the Braves seem to bear that out: only four times in the last 18 years have the Braves had a losing April and still …

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Braves go for (gulp) a sweep

Turns back on infinity ERA

  Cincinnati – Hopefully Sunday morning’s come down well for you all. Coming to you once more from the Great American Small Park on the banks of the Ohio River, where it’s another gorgeous day, 80s and sunny with low humidity, as the Braves to go for a sereez … series swepe … er, series sweep.
  Pardon me, just had a hard time writing that, difficulty getting my brain around that one when recalling how bad things seemed for this Braves team just a few days ago.
  Then again, it wasn’t long ago when some were calling for Peter Moylan to be sent to Triple-A and others were saying strikeout-plagued Jordan Schafer had been rushed to the majors.
  Look at ‘em now: Moylan, after posting an ERA of infinity in his first two appearances (three hits, five earned runs, no outs), has allowed one hit and one run with nine strikeouts in six innings over his past seven appearances, including a current streak of four perfect appearances.

Where …

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Braves face resurgent Reds

  Cincinnati — Greetings from the banks of the Ohio River, where the Braves and birthday boy Chipper Jones will go for their first back-to-back wins in 10 games tonight when they open a series against the surging Reds.

  That’s right, the surging Reds.

  In case you missed it, they just put together a 7-3 road trip that included series wins at Milwaukee, Houston and Chicago, where the Reds outscored the Cubs 10-1 Wednesday and Thursday at Wrigley Field.
They return home with a 9-6 record that’s tied for the third-best in the NL, and tonight on Hoss’s birthday we’ve got the V-quez matchup, Atlanta’s Javier Vazquez vs. Cincy’s Edinson Volquez.

Chipper's 37 today


  Volquez is 2-1 despite a 6.46 ERA, while Vazquez is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA. Ah, the beauty of run support.

  Anyway, the Braves were the only major league team in Cincinnati for most of Thursday, when they spent their off day here and were able to savor the unusual flavor of Wednesday’s 1-0 sweep-averting win at …

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No blog-outs, please.

   Washington, DC – So a 1-7 stretch here and a denizen is calling for a blog-out? No blogging in protest of the way the Braves are playing? Does that apply to beat writers as well? Can I go back to bed and leave a big white space here?


   Nah, didn’t think so. Hey, aren’t we here to give fans a voice? Or are we here to make statements? Oh, wait, I guess both.

   I gathered in your comments from last night that I failed you in not smoothing the edges and calming the masses, setting the blog on course for a torturous night.

   Can’t say I realized that was my responsibility, and it’s not exactly simple to do when the Braves have lost seven of eight and two in a row to a team that was 1-10 when the Braves came in here. But I can see where the pessimism gets to be a really big drag, so OK, let me try for a minute.

   It is early.



   Fine, a little more. Pitching is keeping the Braves in games, bullpen is getting better, so the …

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Diaz says it’s not ho-hum despite 1-6 stretch

   Washington, DC – Yes, the morning came up pretty fast here in DC. And I dreamed the Braves played a game last night that lasted forever and nobody was there by the end of the game, maybe 40 people, and the Braves lost, and hey, wait….


   Well, believe it or not, the sky has some blue in it here today – at least for the moment – and the Braves should take some heart in that.

   Hey, I wasn’t there for the back-to-back shutouts in Pittsburgh, but things are pretty dismal if you look at this 1-6 stretch.

   How dismal? Let’s break it down, shall we?

   During the Braves’ 5-1 start, they hit .300, averaged 6.3 runs per game, hit 10 home runs, had a 4.17 ERA and two saves. During the 1-6 stretch, they’ve hit .228, averaged 2.9 runs per game, hit four home runs, and had a 5.25 ERA with no saves.

   For the most part, the pitching – like last night with a quality start from Derek Lowe – has been good enough. The offense has not. After Matt Diaz’s …

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Cloudy in the capital…

   Washington, DC - Greetings from our nation’s capital where there are big green blobs on the radar map, and I’m having a bad hair day. (Here’s your clue No. 1 to double-check that byline at the top.)


   We’ve got an 80 percent chance of rain forecast for tonight in Washington and this little nugget: “a few storms may be severe” from our friends at It says storms may produce large hail and strong winds. Let’s hope the walk over to the ballpark happens before or after the hail.

   Of course, the worst of it looks like it’ll be coming between 8 and 9 p.m., when the hourly breakdown says there’s a 60-70 percent chance of rain, and there are little lightning bolts pictured. That’s terrible timing, when it comes right down to it. I think I’d rather get hailed on.

   As for the prospects of a doubleheader tomorrow, it looks like tomorrow afternoon is OK but there’s more rain coming tomorrow night. And I do wonder, if it comes down …

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This just in: Braves need a win


 Pittsburgh — Let’s start with the good news for Braves fans: Chipper Jones is back in the lineup today, Tommy Hanson is pitching today (although in Gwinnett, and not in Pittsburgh), and top prospect Jason Heyward is on the cover of the new Baseball America, which proclaims that he and Marlins prospect Mike Stanton “could set the standard for the next generation of right fielders.”

  Now, everything else. 

What’s your biggest concern about Braves?

  • Bullpen
  • Power shortage
  • Frequent injures (Chipper, etc)
  • Sameness or lack of spark
  • Management

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  No, but seriously, folks: To say the Braves, riding a five-game skid, need a win today, would be like saying things haven’t gone as the Yankees hoped so far in their new $1.5 billion stadium. Or, closer to home, like saying the food at the Turner Field concession stands isn’t the best in the major leagues.

  Anyway, they need a win. Badly. And they’ll have Chipper Jones back …

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Braves sweep, swept … on to Steel City

 Pittsburgh – They came. They swept. Got swept. And left.
  That was the Braves’ past week at home in Atlanta, where they took three from the hapless Nationals before getting swept by the surging Marlins, whose majors-best 8-1 record matches the start by the ‘97 Marlins World Series team (which I covered, and it seems like yesterday when rookie Edgar Renteria hit that game-ending RBI single up the middle in Game 7 against Cleveland….)
  Now, the Braves have taken their act back on the road to face the Pirates here in Steel City, where the Pittsburgh LaRoches were just outscored 10-4 by the Astros in losing the last two games of a three-game series that ended Thursday.

After further review, who’ll win the NL East?

  • Phillies
  • Mets
  • Braves
  • Marlins

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It’s a gorgeous, sunny afternoon, temps in the low 60s and climbing, and I can see one end zone of Heinz Field and the right-field corner of PNC Park from my 14th-floor hotel room …

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