Braves (hope to) open at home tonight

  The Braves must be hoping the forecast improves and they can avoid a rainout tonight. It’s the home opener, with a big crowd expected and the great Pete Van Wieren set to be honored before the game.

Pete Van Wieren

Pete Van Wieren

 But beyond that, the last thing the Braves need is to sit around for another day with that rotten taste lingering from the one that got away Wednesday — or to be precise, the one the bullpen gave away.
  I’m guessing that some Braves might have had a less-than-relaxing off day Thursday while ruminating on how awful that eight-run, five-walk (four with bases loaded) seventh inning was on Wednesday at Philadelphia, the Colossal Collapse that saw four relievers blow a seven-run lead — and then some.
  Eric O’Flaherty took over for Javier Vazquez (after another quality start) with a 10-3 lead to begin the seventh, and before the nightmare was over, Peter Moylan, Blaine Boyer and Jorge Campillo had all poured gas on the blaze.
  Was it a troublesome relief performance? Of course. Tough to argue otherwise.
  But how troublesome do you folks think it was?

How concerned are you about the bullpen?

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  I mean, do you take into account that O’Flaherty pitched a strong 1-1/3 innings some 16-17 hours earlier? That Moylan was making his first reg-season appearance since Tommy John surgery 11 months earlier and was admittedly too amped up? Is it reasonable to give those two, or at least Moylan, a pass for that game?
  Or do you say, yeah, but this was too reminiscent of past bullpen struggles, and it was just too painful to watch the ‘pen spoil that chance at a big sweep?

Moylan

Moylan

 Maybe you think Moylan looked like he has a ways to go? Or you don’t believe O’Flaherty should be excuses for giving up a Chase Utley hit and hitting Ryan Howard with a pitch, the only two batters he faced? And Boyer … oh, my.
  What’s left to say? He faced two batters and threw eight balls in nine pitches.
  With the bases loaded.
  He faced two batters and walked in two runs, immediately after Moylan had walked the last batter he faced, also with bases loaded.
  When a reporter asked Bobby Cox about the importance of Boyer throwing strikes in that situation, the manager said, “Everybody’s got to throw strikes. You can’t throw balls when you’ve got a seven-run lead.”
  Was it deflating to lose a game after having such a big lead through six innings, and with a series sweep of the World Series champions sitting right there waiting for the Braves to shut the door?
  ”Well, everybody loses games here,” Cox said of the hitter-friendly Philly ballpark. “Philadelphia loses ‘em, too. You get a five, six-run lead and it’s like a two-run lead, the way the ballpark plays.
“It’s a hitters’ park from the word ‘go.’ … But you can’t catch walks.”
  The Braves hit eight homers in three games, while the Phillies hit just one. Atlanta got two homers and five RBI from its All-Star/Silver Slugger catcher Brian McCann, and two homers from the rookie phenom Jordan Schafer.
   The Braves, a team that got a majors-worst 27 homers from its outfielders in 2008, got four bombs from outfielders in three games at Philly, including one apiece from Matt Diaz (in the only game he played) and Jeff Francoeur.
 Braves starters have a National League-leading 1.37 ERA.
  However, the relievers have a 14.21 ERA after giving up 10 hits, 10 runs and eight walks with four strikeouts in 6-1/3 innings at Philly.

♦ Frustrating opponent: As poorly as the Braves fared against the division-champion Phillies in 2008 (4-14 record), surprisingly they weren’t much better against the last-place Nationals (6-12).
The Braves lost 13 of their last 16 games against the Nationals, posting a 6.02 ERA in that span. Atlanta pitchers allowing seven or more runs in the last nine games between the teams.

 ♦ Good thing they got Lowe: The first-week schedule couldn’t have worked out much better for the Braves and Derek Lowe, who’s scheduled to pitch tonight against the Nationals after pitching the season opener Sunday against the Phillies.

Lowe opens again

Lowe opens again

  As you probably know, Lowe pitched eight scoreless innings of two-hit ball to beat the Phillies on Sunday. But did you know that Lowe is 5-0 with a 2.14 ERA in his past seven starts against the Phils?
  He’s been almost as good against the Nationals throughout his career, posting a 5-1 record and 2.41 ERA in six starts against them.
  By the way, after the offseason, a change of teams and a long spring training, Lowe picked up right where he left off last season. Since Aug. 10, he’s 7-1 with a 1.13 ERA and .183 opponents’ average in 11 starts, with nine quality starts.
  Lowe has allowed 49 hits (one homer) in 72 innings during that stretch.
  It gets better: In his last seven starts, Lowe’s a sizzling 5-0 with a 0.51 ERA and .153 opponents’ average, yielding 23 hits and two runs in 44-1/3 innings.

 ♦ About Boyer: In his first appearance of the new season, he had another of the multiple-run outings he produced too frequently late last season. Boyer has given up at least two earned runs in four of five appearances since Sept. 1.

Boyer

Boyer

  In his 23 appearances since July 26, Boyer has posted a 13.76 ERA and .351 opponents’ average, allowing 26 hits, 26 earned runs and seven homers in 17 innings over that stretch, with nine walks and 19 strikeouts.
  The Braves lost 19 of 23 games he pitched in during that period.
  It gets worse. Against the Phillies, Boyer is 0-4 with a 15.43 ERA and .432 opponents’ average in 11 career appearances, with 19 hits, 16 earned runs and nine walks allowed in 9-1/3 innings, and only five strikeouts.
  The Braves lost the last eight times he pitched against the Phillies.
  In his past seven appearances against them, Boyer is 0-3 with a 23.63 ERA and .500 opponents’ average, having allowed 14 hits, 14 runs, and seven walks in 5-1/3 innings, with more homers allowed (three) than strikeouts (two).

“I AM A ROCK” by Simon and Garfunkel

A winter’s day
In a deep and dark December;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I’ve built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

Don’t talk of love,
But I’ve heard the words before;
It’s sleeping in my memory.
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.

 

2,236 comments Add your comment

Steve McP

April 10th, 2009
7:12 am

Nice to start the day with a new blog. I get a bit concerned when DOB says how well someone is doing, fears of the observers curse. Let us hope though that the game gets played and Lowe is as dominant as his figures suggest he should be.

jc

April 10th, 2009
7:15 am

Normally don’t agree with the Cox bashers but why the hell was Boyer in the game considering those stats? Sounds like the Phillies smoke him like cheap reefer.

Scooter

April 10th, 2009
7:15 am

DOB, My family is headed to Atlanta for the opener tonight and are trying to figure out arrangements if it rains out. I know you don’t control it but thought you could give me a better guess of when the rescheduled game would be? Next day? Later in season? Thanks!

Dutchie

April 10th, 2009
7:18 am

Good day everyone.

How about that, 4 days into the season and all has changed since the last days of ST. Gotta love it over here in Holland, where no one has a clue about baseball!
Just figured I’d put in a ‘first’: after the Dutch surpise in the WBC, it allmost happened this weekend….an all Dutch pitching matchup in MLB: Shairon Martis vs JJ! Maybe later on in the season:).
Btw, Shairon won’t stand a change against D-Lowe. Go Braves!

And really everyone, the Braves are looking gooooooood so far. Some power, great starting pitching, nice agressiveness on base, proper defense. It’s looking good!

RHR

April 10th, 2009
7:20 am

The weatherman here said the rain and storms would be over “by dark” so maybe if anything it will just be delayed but hopefully not by so much that Lowe can’t start.

TN Johnson

April 10th, 2009
7:21 am

DOB, do you see any of our AAA pitchers being traded? Especially JoJo or Morton, considering their major league experience. If so, could the Braves expect a decent return of young minor league talent?

Also, with the recent implosion (well, explosion might sum it up better) of the bullpen, who are the next 2-3 guys in line for a shot at the bullpen if/when moves are made? Thanks, enjoy the blog.

RHR

April 10th, 2009
7:24 am

“In his 23 appearances since July 26, Boyer has posted a 13.76 ERA and .351 opponents’ average, allowing 26 hits, 26 earned runs and seven homers in 17 innings over that stretch, with nine walks and 19 strikeouts.
The Braves lost 19 of 23 games he pitched in during that period.
It gets worse. Against the Phillies, Boyer is 0-4 with a 15.43 ERA and .432 opponents’ average in 11 career appearances, with 19 hits, 16 earned runs and nine walks allowed in 9-1/3 innings, and only five strikeouts.
The Braves lost the last eight times he pitched against the Phillies.
In his past seven appearances against them, Boyer is 0-3 with a 23.63 ERA and .500 opponents’ average, having allowed 14 hits, 14 runs, and seven walks in 5-1/3 innings, with more homers allowed (three) than strikeouts (two).”

In other words….why is this guy in the major leagues?

Pickin' Daisies

April 10th, 2009
7:26 am

The biggest question I have in reference to the bullpen – Why didn’t they make a run at Ohman when he was sitting in Arizona for so long? I know they thought that they had brought in capable replacements, but Ohman is a proven commodity and was one of the more consistent performers out of the pen last year.

My thought as I was listing to Walkfest ‘09 was….They don’t have a leader out in that pen or on the staff. They may have capable arms, but there isn’t a bearded presence in the club house.

some sense

April 10th, 2009
7:30 am

Where is Will Ohman???

Oh, man (get it???), that one HURTS.

Smyrna Jim

April 10th, 2009
7:46 am

DOB, thanks for the Simon and Garfunkel to start the day. The first time I heard I Am a Rock was in my 8th grade English class, which was pretty amazing (in retrospect) for the late ’60’s in a Catholic school. We also studied Dangling Conversation and Richard Cory (and compared it to the E. A. Robinson poem). I still owe a debt to Sister Brigid for introducing me to the writing of Mr. Simon.

Rodney Derrick

April 10th, 2009
7:47 am

Good morning all! The big question on a COLD day early in the season is why did not Bobby use Buddy who is a strike throwing machine instead of all the wild guys. Personally , I think Bobby really likes to see what he has early in the season– can X throw two games in a row, what will Y do in this situation, and so on.
Remember Smoltz says Blaine is great; the icon also had early season problems gripping the ball, and if you recollect the icon even blew a couple big time and the braves have done this in championship seasons as well. I distinctly remember horror shows against the Mets, Phillies, and others. That being said, Hanson and Medlen were awesome yesterday against Charlotte. I may go to the game with the Durham Bulls Tuesday!

Rodney Derrick

April 10th, 2009
7:56 am

On the sad news about the Angels’ Nick Adenhart, I would add that I often wonder why more such bad news does not happen. With players driving late at night, there is always a chance for drinking, stoned, falling asleep, and reckless practices by others and by the players resulting in tragedies. Hey, I am 62, in great shape, yet I very rarely drive at night any more, and when I do, certainly not late at night. I am amazed when I think about Bobby Cox at his age driving so far to his farm after games. These guys and their teams, with their salaries and the teams’ investments, should hire professional drivers. Most Braves players live in the suburbs, so they have substantial drive time. I am sure they are not all like John Rocker or a lot of the basketball or football players, but like almost all dynamic young athletes, they have an aura of their own invincibility.

toga party

April 10th, 2009
7:58 am

Wow, pretty early blog. Thanks for all the good info this early in the AM. I guess the bullpen’s not just keeping Bobby up at night. ;-)

Sure is nice to have a front line starter that stacks up well against division foes. The Braves need to reverse last year’s trend against the Nationals really quickly if they want to have a chance of competing this year.

Magnum

April 10th, 2009
8:07 am

You really can’t fault Bobby for using those guys in that situation. Let’s face it. They are major league pitchers and are going to have to be counted on to get outs at some point. If not in a 10-3 game, then when?

bravesfan1124

April 10th, 2009
8:12 am

I agree that the Nats are looking to correct their ills against the Braves. They only need to remember last year. Our bullpen needs a confidence booster, question is who is up to it? Hope Bobby gets lucky.

22oz

April 10th, 2009
8:15 am

This weather is my main concern. I’ll be heading to Atlanta from the east, so that means driving directly into this storm. That is gonna be a crappy drive.

18 Wheels of Love

April 10th, 2009
8:18 am

Wow, pretty cool to wake up to a fresh blog with fresh coffee. They usually show up at game time.

I’m not overly concerned about the pen – just curious as to why NO ONE Bobby put in could throw strikes. The one thing I missed was why Vaz was pulled….pitch count? Regardless, let’s see what they do next. And I do believe Hanson in the pen is not a bad thing…but only if there is not a starting spot available. And I don’t mean closer.

Garrett looks old and slow to me. If Diaz continues to rake, how can you not at least go straight platoon?

Very impressed with Schafer, looking forward to watching him all year.

Skeeterleg

April 10th, 2009
8:24 am

Does anyone know when they will make a decision about the game? I hate to drive four hours for a rainout.

Bill

April 10th, 2009
8:28 am

As I said yesterday Boyer is mothing more than a AAA pitcher at best.I admire Cox for his loyalty but it’s time to step back and look at reality.

DOB stats on Boyer don’t lie.

I am worried about this continuing with the bullpen.If it does it puts more pressure on the starters to go deeper into games.

DOB I still see this as a 75 win team.

dap01

April 10th, 2009
8:28 am

DOB/Anyone: Is there any thought of letting someone like Reyes or Morton switch to the bullpen temporarily to help the major league club? Is there another bullpen arm on the radar that may help us latter this year?

Cecil34

April 10th, 2009
8:30 am

Based on Satellite imagery, I don’t see where this is going to be much of a storm. The weather guys would love for it to be a “storm” but it appears the home opener will be played.

10-80

April 10th, 2009
8:30 am

Anyone else hear the 92.9DaveFM “baseball opening day” deal yesterday?

I only caught the “9th inning” with Pearl Jam. It was weird, dont really understand what the deal with it was but Josh Caray was announcing it. Something about, “here comes Eddie Veddar and Pearl Jam in the top of the 9th” and then they played 3 Pearl Jam songs.

Anyway, Josh actually had a pretty good voice, would love to have him mature into the next generation of Braves broadcaster

Scooter

April 10th, 2009
8:31 am

Skeeterleg, I’m with you… we have about a 5 1/2 hour drive and I’m wondering if they would do the makeup game the next day since it is the opener

10-80

April 10th, 2009
8:31 am

Cecil, thats waht I was thinking too, dont see how that little bit of storm can stick around all day. just started getting thunder in Gwinnexico.

flange1

April 10th, 2009
8:32 am

Morning all,

Thanks for the new blog DOB!

I am looking forward to seeing the Braves in Atlanta! Hope we can get the game in tonight.

Feel good having DLowe on the mound.

I think the pen will be fine.

I have never been comfortable with B Logan or E’O'F, but I trust the Braves brain trust to know more than me about LOOGY’s.

I also think that Bennett and Boyer will contribute this year.

Let’s blow out the Nats tonight and het these guys right back into the fire and see what they are made of.

Dadoodi

April 10th, 2009
8:40 am

Get rid of Blaine Boyer! Don’t send him down to AA or AAA…GET RID OF HIM. Send him to the Mets and give them some $$$$ too! This guy can’t pitch and he doesn’t care.

Rufio

April 10th, 2009
8:43 am

I think the perfect remedy for that last game blunder is a complete game shut out by Derek Lowe.

Jeff321

April 10th, 2009
8:46 am

I think Blaine Boyer just got inducted into the hall of shame!

Wait a minute. Lets go ahead and induct Cox too. Because as Ric Flair says — “What’s causing all this?”

You heard me, its the decider that hand-picked Boyer for duty.

18 Wheels of Love

April 10th, 2009
8:46 am

Radar makes the storm look like it will drift N of Atlanta.

BringOnHanson

April 10th, 2009
8:51 am

We’re talking about one game out of 162. The four who pitched in the PHillies debacle were sort of iffy for me. O’ Flaherty was a big question mark due to his past struggles. Moylan is returning from Tommy John surgery. Boyer has been melting down for a while now. Campillo was a starter last season and some players can’t adjust to the change. They may have to retool the bullpen on the run, but it is still one game. Bobby Cox’s theory has always been to win series and they did that. Let’s hope we don’t get into a situation that the starters are pushed to pitch too many innings. The Braves pitchers arms will be falling off again.

BB FAN

April 10th, 2009
8:55 am

I just hope Cox can use the bullpen the right way this year. I believe it has the potential to be a very good one. But if Cox abuses guys like he has in the past, then it will be the downfall of the 2009 Braves.

Why would Cox use Eric O’Flaherty 16-17 hours after he pitched 1 1/3 innings? Where was Buddy Carlyle? Buddy Carlyle would have been the perfect guy in that situation as he could have pitched 2 or maybe 3 innings. And he throws strikes. I hope Cox doesn’t think he only has Gonzalez, Eric O’Flaherty, Peter Moylan and Blaine Boyer in his pen. Last year, he used Boyer so much it didn’t surprise me he had an awful 2nd half. Ohmann was overused as well. It seems like every year, Cox gets it in his head that he can only trust 3 or 4 guys and overuses them. Then by August, their arms are ready to fall off.

Why is Moylan pitching already? He should be in extended Spring Training until all of the minor leagues games start for a rehab stint. He hasn’t pitched in a game that counts in a year. He should be gaining his control back in games that don’t count. I know he had a good spring, but I really think the extra time would be benificial for him and the Braves.

Anyway, I was still happy the Braves took 2 of 3 from the Phillies but it would have been so sweet to sweep them.

JayDub

April 10th, 2009
8:57 am

I like Boyer … but he might be due for a change of scenery.

Cecil34

April 10th, 2009
8:59 am

I wonder if Chipper is going to play…..

RHR

April 10th, 2009
9:01 am

All the storms we had early this morning are gone and there is nothing behind it on the regional radar and yet the weatherman still says storms likely this afternoon because of a cold front coming in. I would love to be at the home opener but now kinda glad we didn’t get tix because of the iffy weather with a 2 hour drive.

SimpleDawg

April 10th, 2009
9:03 am

Dump Boyer…..having him enter a game is like having a few more Indians come to Custer’s aid. I wish we had a couple of dependable bullpen pitchers who can come in and throw strikes without looking like a coach-pitch game.

Play Diaz in Left Field….don’t let Garrett handle anything heavy that he may drop on another player’s foot.

Random

April 10th, 2009
9:04 am

I expect Blaine Boyer to excell for the Braves this year.

pryguy

April 10th, 2009
9:10 am

Why couldn’t the Braves be on TBS any longer!!? Now it’s time to wait until they are on ESPN or play the Phillies again so I can see the local broadcast here in Philly. Quite depressing, I guess gametracker will have to do for now.

ncscoots

April 10th, 2009
9:10 am

Why would Cox use Eric O’Flaherty 16-17 hours after he pitched 1 1/3 innings?

Because the one-inning strategy evolved in order that managers could do that very thing: use RP on 2 or even 3 consecutive days.

Cox gets it in his head that he can only trust 3 or 4 guys and overuses them.

There’s not a bullpen in MLB that’s deeper than “3 or 4 guys”. Jeez, you’re lucky when you have two. Those guys at the end of the bench aren’t there because the manager can’t wait to put them into high-leverage situations; they sit where they do because they are last resort.

I’m not taking aim at your post in particular. Many posters have thrown out the same sort of comments since Wednesday. Those guys stunk up the joint, no question, but, unless you think that all of those same guys are going to all throw suckitude at every appearance, then you have to consider the game a fluke, an anomaly, and inconsequential in the long run.

The Patron Saint of the Lost Art

April 10th, 2009
9:13 am

I’m curious as to why anybody would be optimistic about Blaine Boyer. How much does he have to do to prove to people that he is not good? Just because he worked out with John Smotlz, doesn’t make him good.

If it looks like a duck, if it sounds like a duck, and if it pitches like a duck…it is probably Blaine Boyer. Time to close the book on him and send him the way of Mark Redman and Dan Kolb and Bob Wickman.

At least Joey Devine would’ve served up a quick grand slam and given us a chance to win.

Pete

April 10th, 2009
9:14 am

Magnum: You really can’t fault Bobby for using those guys in that situation. Let’s face it. They are major league pitchers and are going to have to be counted on to get outs at some point. If not in a 10-3 game, then when?
When the game is 10-3, thats fine. But at some point it turned into 10-7, then 8 then 9, and thats when you go to your best to try and end it. If the Phillies beat your best, then you tip your hat to them.

Gary

April 10th, 2009
9:15 am

I still think Boyer has good stuff. I just dont think we should ever pitch him against the Phillies.

sportsmandh

April 10th, 2009
9:19 am

The blown lead Wednesday afternoon is still leaving a bad taste in my mouth. I hope the Braves take it out on the Nats this weekend so we can forget about it. I’m still encouraged but that was more than just a bad game, it was a deflater, and if this is a 3 or 4 team race in the division this year, we can’t have many more like that to have a shot. Over the course of the year, if you finish close, you can always look back at a few specific games and say what if. No doubt this would be one of them.

Pickin’ Daisies above makes a great point. Pickin’ Daisies says there’s no leader like a Smoltz in the pen. I’m not overly concerned about the bullpen yet, but this is true. Of course there’s only one Smoltz, but who’s gonna step up to be the leader of the pen? Gonzo doesn’t seem to be an outspoken guy. Sorianno obviously isn’t. Somebody does need to be IT. Again, if it comes down to a really tight race, the bullpen will be critical in some close games. I say even after seeing the meltdown I take our pen over Florida’s or Phillies (not much after Lidge). But the Mets? That’s a different story, especially if they get Wagner back by seasons end. So no doubt our bullpen needs to step up.

BrandonC

April 10th, 2009
9:21 am

I’m so glad I was at work when the bullpen had that inning or I would have been throwing things at the tv. They better get it together, this team has a chance to compete in this division and the weakest link right now seems to be the ‘pen. Our rotation is way to good to be giving up 7 run leads, it’s absolutely uncceptable.

RHR

April 10th, 2009
9:23 am

Why are you up so early, DOB? Do you have deadlines or just couldn’t sleep or wanted to do something else today? I decided since you told us all about your sleeping patterns before that this question wouldn’t be inappropriate. :) Plus, I’ve always wondered if beat writers had to actually go into the office and all that crap when the team was in town (and during the off season) or do you just get to phone it in from home?

Knuckle Sandwich

April 10th, 2009
9:24 am

Lefty Irishman who can’t hold Ohman’s Jock + Aussie Side-armer throwing 88 + Redheaded Headcase + Mexican Junkballer = Oh crap, our bullpen sucks.

Knuckle Sandwich

April 10th, 2009
9:26 am

For the record, Blain Boyer has no place on our major league roster. AAAA Player.

Dadgum

April 10th, 2009
9:30 am

Random….I hope you are right about Boyer. Hope he doesn’t excel for the Nats. It is much much harder to pitch in relief than to start. Not any time to get settled in and always coming into tough situations. You have to have your “A” game from the first pitch.

Having said that, Boyer’s demise may have stemmed from being overused last year but I am not getting a warm fuzzy feeling right now. Bullpen guys have a short leash so we will see. My guess is you won’t see Boyer back on the mound until later in the weekend.

Rock on……

Jackie Treehorn

April 10th, 2009
9:33 am

The scariest part of Wednesday’s game was not that the bullpen blew the lead, but rather that Bobby decided to go with O’Flaherty the day after he pitched 1 1/3 innings to go after Victorino, Utley, and Howard. That tells me too things: 1) even with a seven run lead, he didn’t trust any of his other relievers to get those lefties out, and 2) that he’s going to ride his one lefty, O’Flaherty, all season long in a division that is chock full of the likes of Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, Ibanez, Murphy, Delgado, Beltran, Church, Dunn, etc. until his arm falls off. We’ve seen it before, with Will Ohman, with McBride, with Mike Remlinger, and countless others.

If you’re only going to carry one lefty reliever not named Gonzalez, you’re going to have to trust the likes of Carlyle, Campillio, Bennett, etc. to come in in middle relief to face southpaws if your one lefty went an inning and a third the day before and EVERYONE ELSE IS FRESH. Bobby basically sent a message to his bullpen saying I don’t trust you in this situation.

Jackie Treehorn

April 10th, 2009
9:34 am

Am I wrong? Am I wrong?

Skeeterleg

April 10th, 2009
9:35 am

thanks Scooter and the other weather reporters. I’m just going to head down and hope for the best. At the worst there will be a game tomorrow.

BravesfanfromBirth

April 10th, 2009
9:37 am

Nice to see that we have the power game coming on.. Schafer has already hit 1 more HR in his first 3 games in the majors then Gregor Blanco hit all of last season. Think the Braves made the right decision there?

I love how our starting pitching is lights out so far. 3 games, 3 quality starts, 2 wins (should be 3 wins) and leads the NL in ERA.. There has got to be another righty in AAA that can take the place of Boyer on our roster. Boyer has been horrible since last season, and he is just no good. Time to get rid of him before this season wears on and he costs this team more games.

Bob Horner

April 10th, 2009
9:43 am

Can you really trust a guy named “Blaine?”

Why, OH WHY is this boob still on the team, let alone getting opportunities. He throws meatballs right down the middle of the plate (when he slips up and finds the strike zone)

The bullpen makes me nervous – Sorriano has been a big bust, Gonzales seems to get the job done – but with high drama – but that monkey movement he does on the mound is tough to watch. Is Jeff Bennet our best reliever? Uh oh…

flange1

April 10th, 2009
9:46 am

Jackie Treehorn,

From my observations of Bobby Cox’s bullpen use, he likes to match up lefty pitchers vs lefty hitters when he has a chance.

I think that is what he was trying to do on Wednesday, let E’OF take on the lefty’s then bring in a righty.

That is typical of the way Bobby likes to use his pen.

I don’t think that means that he thinks the righty’s can’t get the lefty’s out, just that he likes to play match-ups.

LOOGY’s often work with 1 or no days rest for an inning or just for a batter or 2. It is the nature of being a LOOGY.

PMC

April 10th, 2009
9:46 am

Thanks for illustrating the numbers on Boyer DOB I know that took some effort.

PMC

April 10th, 2009
9:48 am

oh and good vibes out to the Professor tonight. It’s never going to be the same as it was without Skip and Pete. So much of my loved memories of the Braves were illustrated by them. It was better driving across Georgia listening than it was watching.

ssiscribe

April 10th, 2009
9:49 am

Rain, rain, stay away!

–30–

buzzmeat

April 10th, 2009
9:49 am

Ohman is a dodger

RHR

April 10th, 2009
9:49 am

Blaine? Blaine?! His name is Blaine?! That’s not a name, that’s a kitchen appliance!

Props to those old enough to get that.

buzzmeat

April 10th, 2009
9:51 am

what about buddy carlyle???? he has been pretty good in my opinion, (better than bennet as of late) ge needs to get some playing time. BUT id rather have Mr. Lowe pitch his 8 and gonzalez get the save

BB FAN

April 10th, 2009
9:57 am

ncscoots,

Eric O’Flaherty is not a guy I would think about trusting on consecutive days when he’s pitching 1 1/3 inning stints. he’s a left habded specialist. He’s not Will Ohman who could get right and left handers out. Now I know he was pitching to left handed hitters and that’s fine if he wasn’t worked for 1 1/3 innings the day before. My point is he can be used to get a lefty or two out at a time.

And as far as 3 or 4 guys in the bullpen…that’s nonsense. Every player has a role. O’Flaherty pitches to tough leftys. Gonzalez closes most nights and Soriano backs him up. Soriano and Moylan can pitch the 8th or 7th if needed. Carlyle the 7th and or 8th. Bennett and Campillo in long relief. Boyer, well before Cox overused him last year, I would have said 7th inning. Now, the less he pitches the better.

I understand there are going to be nights when a guy just doesn’t have it, it happens. However, it’s Cox’s job to put these guys in situations where they are most likely to succeed. And bringing in O’Flaherty on consecutive nights after going more than 1 inning is stupid. Other guys, yes, but not your lefty specialist.

Cox has been burned so many times in the post season by his bullpen that he no longer knows how to use it. If it wasn’t Reardon losing the 92 WS, it was Wohlers losing the 1996 WS. Then it got worse, he stopped using the bullpen in the 1999 WS. In game 1, Maddux had pitched well enough to have a 1-0 lead going into the 8th inning but it was not Maddux like. He had given up 5 hits and walked 3 guys. He obviously didn’t have his best stuff as he walked only 28 guys in 35 regular season starts. Remlinger had been dominate all season pitching the 8th and had rested 3 or 4 days since the end of the NLCS. Cox leaves Maddux in for the 8th, and he gives up a walk and two singles and loses the lead. The Yankees win game 1 and go on to sweep the Braves. It’s only one game but you never know what that might have done.

Cox did the same thing to Glavine in Game 3 of that same 1999 WS. Glavine had gutted out 7 innings and lead 5-3 while battling the flu. Cox leaves him in for the 8th and he gives up a single and a homer.

Cox just doesn’t know what to do when it comes to the bullpen because he has been burned by every decision he has made in the past.

Don’t get me wrong, Cox is a great manager…one of the best. But his biggest weakness is bullpen use. That and he is too loyal to the veteran player. There were numerous years that Cox took a Braves team that should have been a .500 club and made the playoffs with them. Or other teams would have key injuries and Cox would still lead them to the playoffs. Great manager, but poor bullpen use.

Bill in VA

April 10th, 2009
9:58 am

Jackie, You nailed it at 9:33!!

Greg

April 10th, 2009
9:59 am

Boyer needs to go. Bring up Medlen or Reyes. Bring up anybody who can throw the ball over the Fing plate.

bravofan

April 10th, 2009
10:00 am

What do yall think of the Marlins they are off to a pretty good start 3 and 0? I think the Braves will take care of the Nats tonight and make em 4 and 0!

Dadgum

April 10th, 2009
10:01 am

Jackie….no you aren’t necessarily wrong. There is absolutely no worse feeling as a starting pitcher than what Vazquez must have felt after the game. His bullpen snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. A 1-run loss to boot. Welcome to Atlanta Javy.

I will stand on my past comments that Cox lost this game for Atlanta. Many others here beg to differ and we can all come up with ammo to back our opinions so that is a dead issue.

What isn’t a dead issue is the bull pen makeup and will they have what it takes to keep most leads safe during a 162 game campaign. It is early and the pen is so much of a reclamation project that nobody has any great feelings that they can make it through the month much less 162 games.

To wit, Soriano, Gonzalez, Moylan, Boyer have all had major injuries and no where near top form yet. We have O’Flaherty, Bennett, Campillo, and Carlyle of which NONE strike fear in the hearts of any batter. Exactly when (if) they all start to pan out is anyone’s guess. Let’s put it this way, how comfortable are you going to be with a say 2-run lead and Bobby goes to the pen in inning 6 or 7. Exactly. This pen is heavily dependent on Soriano/Gonzalez. Eventhough we won the first game 4-1 he entered the game with a 4 run lead and the tying run came to the plate twice.

Rock on…..

Random

April 10th, 2009
10:03 am

proeye — Thanks. I agree with most all of your 1:06 am (except that I really do have hopes that Boyer will excell this year. And, hopefully, that will be for the Braves. Just call me KC, Jr.

PS: You, too Dadgum (9:30 am).

(Clap off…….)

;-)

McFann :Ô:

April 10th, 2009
10:03 am

Hopefully they’ll get this game in tonight. They’re gonna have one of those cool fly-overs, too, aren’t they? Dang, I love those! Think we’re gonna DVR the beginning of the game so as not to miss that.

Actually, just stopped by to tell you that I can’t stay. This being Good Friday, the computer use is at a minimum today. It’s also my Lovey’s “hatch-day” (he always gets the Home Opener). Hopefully the entire team will celebrate his a little better than they celebrated mine. (BMac doesn’t have to change his techniques, though. He cann have a repeat performance, Petey won’t mind…)

So, Go Braves!! Don’t let a little rain scare ya!

Joe Fan

April 10th, 2009
10:03 am

No excuses for what happen Wednesday against the Phils. That game counts as much as the ones in September. What a shame to throw a game away like that.As soon as Wren/Cox realize they have better bullpen options at AAA then changes will be made. If that means using Hanson for a time in the pen so be it. The Cardinals did the same with Adam Wainwright and they won the WS that year. This is the big hole for the Braves and if they successfully rework the pen then there is no reason the team want be competitive the whole season.

Fred

April 10th, 2009
10:04 am

Wow, I’m impressed that DOB had the new blog up at 7:00 AM. I’m off this week (spring break) and I slept until around 9:00, as did my infant son. We are both eagerly awaiting tonight’s home opener.

bravofan

April 10th, 2009
10:06 am

What about Hanson striking out 10 count em 10 guys in that Gwinnett Braves game! Bring Hanson up already to the Ted it is only 26.80 miles away from the Gwinnnett stadium only 36 short minutes away folks

Ryan

April 10th, 2009
10:10 am

Is there somewhere that we can check postponement updates for tonight’s game?

Dadgum

April 10th, 2009
10:12 am

Bravofan…..don’t even get me started. I am sure 90% of this blog doesn’t want to see me start railing against Tom Glavine.

The only way Hanson gets to Atlanta is if they tell Glavine thanks for the memories. They would never put Hanson in the pen but of all the players on teh 25-man Glavine has the shortest leash. In fact if he isn’t lights out in the first couple of starts I am positive the Braves will summon Hanson.

Rock on…..

RC

April 10th, 2009
10:12 am

Not only did Hanson strike out 10, but he did it in 4 1/3 innings! For those scoring at home that’s 10 outs by strikeout, 3 outs by the fielders. Sounds like he was almost untouchable!

ozzie

April 10th, 2009
10:13 am

Boyer flat out stinks. He has the occasional stretch where he makes you forget how easily and quickly the wheels can come off his game but then he reminds you, but good.

He needs to go and quick – like DFA today.

Moylan is not ready so move his Aussie backside to AAA or AA for at least a 60 days. There is no reason with this rotation to rush his recovery, none. If anything he should take extra time.

Campillo was a one year fluke, period. He throws soft junk and is not fooling umps or hitters anymore. Put him in AA as a starter and leave him there until you need him as a spot starter.

O’Flare – he is shaky but they need a left specialist so use him for that and then sit his butt down. The longer he is out on the mound the more damage he may do.

And why O why did Bobby not bring out “i throw strikes” Carlyle? Buddy could have pitched the 7 & 8th with likely a zero to 1.00 ERA..

I am guessing Bobby knew all the relievers he wheeled out in the 7th inning had questions marks and he wanted to see how ready they were with a big lead.

Unfortunately he ran his experiment went too far and then the wheels fell off.

The challenge is who to bring up to replace Boyer, Moylan and Campillo? Medlen could replace Boyer though he needs more minor league time and they still seem to see him as a starter.

Acosta could replace Boyer but wow is that an improvement?

JOJO could replace Campillo and double as a lefty specialist (thereby getting more innings) but he is going no where until they are sure if Glavine can make it this year.

Losing is happens and sweeps are rare (against good teams). Getting blown out happens as well but what we saw on Wednesday eve was one of the worst displays of bullpen pitching in donkeys years.

You can and should brush if off publicly if you are the Braves but internally I hope they are ready to pull the trigger on some internal moves.

Baseball is a head game and if the position players and more so the starters lose confidence in the pen they will press in their respective roles.

For now this just an embarassment but not something the Braves should tolerate for long stretches if they hope to compete.

Lew

April 10th, 2009
10:14 am

Reefer is cheap?

k_chub

April 10th, 2009
10:15 am

I was reading a story on the Atlantabraves.com website about Hanson’s game yesterday and I noticed that MLB.com has him ranked as the 24th best prospect in baseball. Not that being ranked #24 in all of baseball is a bad thing, but I thought that he was in the top 5. I did noticed that Heyward is listed as #3 and that Freddie Freeman is #38. It really doesn’t mean anything, but I was just surprised to see Hanson drop to #24 – what has he done that has warranted that? It seems he has only gotten better and proved that he is capable of being a major league Ace.

bakerman

April 10th, 2009
10:16 am

I don’t care if it’s hit out of the ballpark, throw strikes!!!!!!!!! Dammit!!!!! Maybe we should just back the truck up to the so-called bullpen and run a whole new group out there. We wil go nowhere with this incompetent bunch.

bravofan

April 10th, 2009
10:17 am

Ryan: I would keep it here DOB does an AWESOME good of keeping us up to date! Dadgum: our bullpen has already been ify so I really dont see it out of the question for them to bring him up and put him in the pen!Nobody in the pen has absoulutely been lights out this year!

Dadgum

April 10th, 2009
10:19 am

Ozzie….pretty much right on the mark. The Braves will make sweeping changes in bullpen personnel if they don’t produce pretty regularly. We just revamped a starting pitching corp to get deeper into games while spending over 30 million a year to boot on said starters. No manager is going to continue to watch a bullpen under perform when their starters are lights out. They don’t have to be perfect but they must be effective.

Rock on…..

onionhead

April 10th, 2009
10:20 am

Ok the bullpen stunk it up. We will be able to say that about every MLB pen this season! Now they have to prove it was a fluke. With a 7 run lead they must make the other team earn a victory. There is no way to defense a walk!

bravofan

April 10th, 2009
10:21 am

yes I agree the Bullpen is our weakest point!

bravofan

April 10th, 2009
10:21 am

onionhead not every bullpen is bad

bravofan

April 10th, 2009
10:22 am

Who is the new guy on the radio calling the games? on 96.1

onionhead

April 10th, 2009
10:23 am

I agree not every pen is bad but every pen will blow a game it should have won!

Lew

April 10th, 2009
10:24 am

Bravofan-If the Marlins are 3-0 and if the Braves beat the Nationals tonight, how can that make the Marlins 4-0? You been smoking any of that Cheap reefer?

bravofan

April 10th, 2009
10:24 am

Exactly especially a 7 run lead that was terrible it was a 1 inning collapse too!!!!!!!!!!!

Salamander

April 10th, 2009
10:25 am

Damn, Boyer’s numbers since the end of July last year are disturbingly bad. I had no idea he had fallen off the table that badly. Ugly ending to your post DOB – not sure I wanted to know how bad he has been, but informative for sure.

I’m left wondering if the Phillies’ success against Boyer last year was in the back of his head somewhere when he was brought on Wednesday… then implosion.

Randall G.

April 10th, 2009
10:25 am

Hey DOB,

Too busy writing Francoeur fluff pieces to grill Bobby about his dumb bullpen moves?!

onionhead

April 10th, 2009
10:27 am

To early to panic about the pen. Great reason for concern but lets let this play out and if need be then make some moves.

Random

April 10th, 2009
10:30 am

ncscoots (9:10 am)</a): “you have to consider the game a fluke, an anomaly, and inconsequential in the long run.”

Totally agree — well put.

(Sorry for that.)

I also wonder why Coach and so many others here expected Vazquez to be in midseason form in his opening start. A bit unreasonable, imo.

Coyote

April 10th, 2009
10:30 am

I’m still cautiously optimistic about the Braves because they really should have swept the defending champs on the road to start the season. Plus, when you think about Hanson eventually making it up from AAA, the rotation could be really something. In fact, if the Braves are still in the pennant race when Hudson finally returns, they could have the best rotation in the NL late in the year to make a push for the playoffs. Plus, this team can hit and I like our tandem of Gonzales and Soriano to close out games. So, I’m not going to let one middle relief meltdown spoil all that.

That said, you have to blame the guys who blew the lead first and foremost for not doing their jobs, but Bobby Cox really mismanaged the bullpen on this one too. He’s got two great relievers (Gonzales and Soriano) that just sat and watched while the meltdown occurred because he used them in games he really didn’t need them on Sunday and Tuesday. Plus, with the day off coming up, why not use one of those guys to stop the bleeding anyway? I know he made several moves to the pen only to be disappointed by the guy he brought in each time, but at some point, you have to go to your aces and not let an 8 run inning happen like that.

onionhead

April 10th, 2009
10:30 am

On the same note as the pen and a wait and see attitude, the starting pitching has been incredible! Please tell me you dont buy that they will pitch that way all season. Just as the pen will not crap the bed like that all season!

Buffalo NY Braves Fan

April 10th, 2009
10:34 am

For those still crying to have Will Ohman….

He smoked the game last night for the Dodgers. If he was in an Atlanta uniform and did that, 1/2 the people here would be crying about “what a waste of money he was.”

RHR

April 10th, 2009
10:36 am

But Dodger fans don’t cry..oh no.

Couch Tater

April 10th, 2009
10:36 am

Based on Willie Frank’s Pythagorean expectation model, he should have got away with it…

http://www.al.com/birminghamnews/stories/index.ssf?/base/news/1239351322240950.xml&coll=2

Supes

April 10th, 2009
10:37 am

Blaine B. will be the Jeff F. of 2009. Mark my words.

Guy can’t throw strikes under pressure with ROB.

I have no doubt Lowe, and the rest of the starting rotation, as well as Gonzo in the pen will hold up. Soriano is a big question mark, if he’s healthy he should be setting up Gonzo.

We are going to need 7 innings out of most starts to avoid “middle relief” and further collapses like the one in Philly.

By all means, the encouraging sign was that the Braves flat outplayed the Phillies in all phases of the game (except middle relief).

Marlins looking really good. Don’t be shocked if they end up winning this division or a WC.

Except for the Nats (who end up pestering the Braves to death), this division is stacked!

k_chub

April 10th, 2009
10:39 am

Randall G. – are you an idiot? Francouer is a local kid and there is a lot of interest in how he is doing among the Metro Atlanta community. The AJC is a newspaper for the Metro Atlanta community – why wouldn’t the AJC write articles on something that people in the Atlanta area care about? Just because you don’t care doesn’t mean the majority of people in Atlanta don’t care. Get off DOB’s back and I suggest that if you don’t like reading about Francouer then you don’t read the articles.

Lew

April 10th, 2009
10:45 am

Bobby Cox used Gonzo and Soriano on Sunday and Tuesday in games that they weren’t needed? Would you have preferred having Bopyer and Moylan pitch with only a three or four run lead instead of seven? Would you prefer to be 1-2 or 0-3?

Catfish

April 10th, 2009
10:47 am

I’ll give Moylan a pass on yesterday’s performance seeing that he’s coming off major surgery only 11 months later. However, this is way too common of an occurrence w/ Boyer. He’s got to go. Campillo is more of a starter/middle reliever. He’s doesn’t need to be brought in w/ the bases loaded while the sky’s falling all around.

Still no excuse for walking people.

Lew

April 10th, 2009
10:49 am

Supes-Sorry Dude, but if Boyer doesn’t get better and turns in a 08 Francoeur type performance another time or two, he won’t be here to put up Frenchy-like numbers for an entire season. Take that one to the bank. Three or four performances do not a season make and I think he won’t get much more rope than that before he’s swinging from that metaphorical hanging tree.

Lunatic Fringe

April 10th, 2009
10:49 am

In football you normally set you roster to compete within your division. Shouldn’t it be the same in baseball?
If you have a guy who is lights out against Colorado, but is lowsy against the Fhils and Mutts, why keep him?

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