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.

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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 here hard by the Alleghany River in downtown Pittsburgh.
  We’ve got what should be a stellar pitching matchup on tap tonight, with Jair Jurrjens (2-0, 2.45) facing Pirates lefty Paul Maholm (1-0, 1.32). Unfortunately for the Braves, they might be facing Maholm without two of their best hitters, the injured Chipper Jones and Yunel Escobar.
  Chipper’s expected to miss his third consecutive game with that bruised left thumb and hand, though that’s not a certainty.
  Escobar is expected to be out after straining an abdominal muscle Thursday while doing that odd little hop-warmup thing he does in the ondeck circle, though that’s also not a certainty. (That he’ll miss the game, that is; that he hurt himself hopping, that much is certain.)

  Escobar’s hitting .343, including a NL-best 7-for-10 with runners in scoring position. By the way, of the top five RISP averages in the league, three belong to Marlins (Jorge Cantu, Dan Uggla and Hanley Ramirez, all above .600).
  The Braves and Marlins rank first and second in the NL, respectively, in batting aveage with runners in scoring position, Atlanta at .382 and Florida at .347.
  So it’s not like the Fish are just doing it with starting pitching, although their starters’ 2.98 ERA ranks second in the NL, behind the Cardinals’ 2.86.
  Meanwhile, Braves starters have slipped to fifth with a 3.71 ERA, and while their 50 strikeouts in 51 innings is impressive, their 27 walks is tied for the league-high for starting pitchers.
   Marlins relievers (wasn’t that supposed to be a team weakness?) rank fifth in the NL with a 3.38 ERA. Meanwhile, Braves relievers are 15th with a 6.60 ERA, and they’ve allowed 40 hits and 19 walks allowed in just 30 innings.
   Pittsburgh hurlers rank in the NL’s top four in both starting and relief ERA so far. 

  ♣ Jurrjens’ road roll: Bet you folks didn’t realize how good Jurrjens has been on the road. Since mid-June 2008, he’s 6-2 with a 2.20 ERA in his past 10 road starts, with eight quality stats in that span.

  One of his only two non-quality road starts in that period was his only road start this season, April 7 at Philly, where he gave up four hits in 5-2/3 scoreless innings (gotta go at least six innings, three earned runs or fewer, for a quality start).

J.J. on road roll

On road roll

  The Braves have scored at least four runs while he’s been in the game in eight of those 10 starts, including six runs or more while he was in four of them.
   Maholm, on the other hand, is Mr. Hard Luck for the Pirates. Dude has a 2.86 ERA in his past 10 starts (home and road) since early August, including nine quality starts. But he has just two wins to show for it. Two!
  He’s 2-2 in that 10-start stretch, and the Pirates scored two runs or fewer while he was in six of those games.
  His last start was at Cincinnati on Saturday, and Maholm allowed one run and three hits in seven innings in that bandbox of a ballpark. He won that game.
  The Braves will have Brian McCann back in the lineup tonight after he took a needed day off Thursday (at least from catching duties; he did pinch-hit).
  McCann is 1-for-15 with one single and one RBI in the past five games, after going 6-for-15 with three doubles, two homers and six RBI in the first four games. Against lefties, he’s 1-for-14.

  ♣ Kid’s skid: Rookie center fielder Jordan Schafer is 1-for-15 with 10 strikeouts and no walks in the past four games, after going 8-for-19 with two doubles, two homers, three walks and four strikeouts in his first five.
  You had to expect him to go through hot-and-cold spells like this at the outset. Remember, this is a young guy who’s played barely half a season above A-ball. He’s got a load of talent, but he’s going to have to make adjustments as teams develop scouting reports on him, and he knows that.
  If history is any indication, Bobby Cox will probably stick with him until he hits his way out of the slump. Remember Kelly Johnson as a rookie?
  In 2005, Johnson went 1-for-30 with one RBI in his first 11 games. Cox stayed with him despite plenty of howling from outsiders who said the then-outfielder should be benched.
   Johnson went from that 1-for-30 slump in his first 11 games to hitting .353 (24-for-68) with five homers and 19 RBI in his next 17 games.
   The difference in his slump and Schafer’s — other than being about three times as long as Schafer’s little skid is right now — was that Johnson only struck out three times in those first 30 at-bats, and had six walks in that 11-game span.
  Cox talked every day about how good Johnson looked at the plate, how many balls he was hitting squarely, even though he wasn’t getting hits to fall. Then, they started to fall.
  Schafer’s got to make more contact than he has the past four games, obviously, before anything’s going to fall other than his average.
   But he will. Takes time.

Boyer

Boyer

♣ Who’ll go to make room? The Braves have to make a move to open a roster spot for Jo-Jo Reyes on Saturday, when Reyes will be added to the 25-man roster to start the middle game of the Pirates series in place of sore-armed Tom Glavine.

  The odd man out could be reliever Blaine Boyer, who has struggled mightily in two of his three appearances this season, after struggling for the last 10 weeks of the 2008 season.

  Boyer was charged with four runs while recording one out Wednesday against Florida, giving him a 40.50 ERA this season and an alarming 14.73 ERA in his last 25 appearances since July 26, 2008.

  In those 25 games, he’s given up 29 hits, 30 earned runs, seven homers and 10 walks in 18-1/3 innings, while recording 21 strikeouts. The Braves have a 4-21 record in those 25 games.

  Boyer, 27, is out of options, which means the Braves would have to get him through waivers before he could be sent to the minors. There’s probably a reasonable chance they could get him through without another team claiming him, though there’s no way of knowing for sure without actually trying.

It’s a risk the Braves might decide they’re willing to take, given the depth of his struggles since late July. But all it takes is one team to decide that he’s still reasonably young and has a power arm that’s worth taking a shot at, since it’s such a low-risk move to claim a player on waivers.

 ♣ ’97 Marlins vs. ‘09 Marlins: Speaking of that first Marlins World Series championship team, and the current team matching its 8-1 start, the similarities pretty much stop there.
  That Marlins team had big-dollar free agents including Kevin Brown, Al Leiter, Alex Fernandez, Devon White and Bobby Bonilla, and late-season pickups Darren Daulton and Craig Counsell, and Jim Eisenreich on the bench, and closer Robb Nen, and homegrown standouts Edgar Renteria and catcher Charles Johnson (can you remember when C.J. was an All-Star?), not to mention manager Jim Leyland, who was hired away from his longtime job in Pittsburgh before that ‘97 season.

Leyland

Leyland

  This Marlins team is doing it with the lowest payroll in the majors and the second-youngest starting rotation. Fredi Gonzalez is doing a hell of a job, as is that front office (again) and that scouting department (again).

 ♣ Record Store Day: It’s unfortunate that my man Don had to shutter his Ella Guru record store a couple months ago, so close to something that’s becoming a cool happening — Record Store Day, tomorrow, at 1,000 or so surviving (and many actually thriving) indie record/CD stores around the country.
  At the first Record Store Day in April 2008, Metallica played at the Rasputin Music store in San Francisco. Bands are playing at a bunch of record stores around the country Saturday, including Criminal Records in Atlanta.
  Many artists (Radiohead, My Morning Jacket, Sonic Young, Dylan, Springsteen among them) are putting out special CDs and/or DVDs for this record-store day. (By the way, look up to the right at Leyland’s mug — would you guess the man sings in front of people, in public, without much prompting? He does. Look at this. You have to get past the Pepto commercial first, but it’s worth it.)
  Anyone from Pittsburgh know if there’s an indie record store downtown? I haven’t seen one, but will check. I’d like to get to one after the day game, but not if it involves schlepping in a cab to the other side of town.

“PUT YOU DOWN” by Alejandro Escovedo

Some people say the world’s a strange and evil place
And all the shadows fall across your face
Because the world’s a strange and evil place
Then others say because the sun shines every day
That we should live life come what may
Because the sun shines every day

But I gotta say
That I just can’t put you down
And all the girls think I’m insane
You know I can’t put you down
And my dad can’t recall my name
But I just can’t put you down
And my friends won’t call back at all
But I just can’t put you down

Some people say
If you feed a dog a bloody bone
He’s your best friend for your life
If you feed a dog a bloody bone
Patch up your dreams
With all the gold that falls at your feet
Stick your finger in a dike
All the gold falls at your feet

And I want to say
You know I just can’t put you down
And all the women think that I’m insane
You know I just can’t put you down
And my Mom won’t call back at all
You know I just can’t put you down
I rub my wounds with alcohol
You know I just can’t put you down
I just can’t put you down
There ain’t a pill that’ll cure that pain
But I just can’t put you down

Some people say
That money can buy anything
All the drugs to cure the pain
Money can buy anything
Then some people want
All the sin and pleasure in this world
They don’t care about the price
They pay for all the sin and pleasure in this world

But I’ve gotta say
You know I just can’t put you down
I don’t care how far I fall
You know I just can’t put you down
And I don’t care if they call back at all
I just can’t put you down
All the women can forget my name
You know I just can’t put you down
You know I just can’t put you down
You know I just can’t put you down
You know I just can’t put you down

 

2,136 comments Add your comment

N Nine

April 17th, 2009
1:50 pm

nice pic of yunel

N Nine

April 17th, 2009
1:50 pm

TnBrian

April 17th, 2009
1:55 pm

Love Yunel, but that grill looks like the “funny” teeth you buy at Spencer’s.

Lineup: 1-KJ 2-Infante 3-Diaz 4-McCann 5-Franc. 6-Kotchman 7-Kotchman 8-Schafer… JJ has to pitch like he did in Phily.

N Nine

April 17th, 2009
1:55 pm

Fredi Gonzalez/Leo Mazzone for 2010

TnBrian

April 17th, 2009
1:56 pm

batting 7- Prado, my bad

DAP

April 17th, 2009
2:03 pm

DOB, very funny yunel pic and caption!

the thing that makes leaving schafer in there easier is that he is batting 8th, and playing great defense.

DAP

April 17th, 2009
2:04 pm

TnBrian, i was going to ask you how bobby would sneak that first lineup by the umps. plus, i dont think they allow “ghost runners” in MLB!

DAP

April 17th, 2009
2:07 pm

someone may have mentioned this last night, but the nats got thier first win yesterday vs. our rival phillies. you gotta love it when our enemies lose. lets hope the nats put a streak together and hand a few L’s to florida.

2010 A Braves Odyssey

April 17th, 2009
2:08 pm

2pm man this day is dragging.

PWHjort

April 17th, 2009
2:10 pm

DOB, small-market teams can’t afford to keep really good, MLB-ready players in the minor leagues. And Klye Blanks (stud 1B prospect, their future at 1B) is almost MLB-ready. Plus, making 5 million dollars in the Padres organization makes you automatic trade bait. It seems like a silly idea for them to trade Gonzalez, but when you look at it, it makes a lot of sense. When Blanks is ready (he’s in AAA, so not long), they’d love to move Gonzalez’s salary in favor of using Blanks. Think like the stengy Padres ownership, not a reasonable GM.

From the last blog.

Swi

April 17th, 2009
2:11 pm

TnBrian — I have a feeling that Bobby will go with GA again tonight… especially after he showed some signs of life.. 2 doubles, 2 runs… we’ll see… but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was in again against the lefty…

AGTFan

April 17th, 2009
2:13 pm

OUCH! It really hurst being spanked by a fish.

Brooklyn Braves Brawler

April 17th, 2009
2:13 pm

From the last blog but happening now,

Just a heads up guys, the Mississippi Braves are leading the H’ville Stars 6-3 bot 8. They are in on the 4th game of 5 game series that got going early @ 10:30 am CDT.

Kyle Cofield pitched 6IP 2H 2ER 3BB 4SO 0HR 3.27ERA

Rudy Darrow also made it into the game and pitched a 3rd of an inning.

RBI’s by Kody Kirkland-2 (3B) & Kala Ka’aihue-2 (1B)& phillip Britton-1 (C)

They let you blog in the stadium, will update when I can

Run Heap Run

April 17th, 2009
2:15 pm

Found this on google, DOB. Looks like a complete and recent list of Pitt’s record stores with addresses and phone numbers.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09105/962799-388.stm

Rodney Derrick

April 17th, 2009
2:16 pm

Hey DOB– Enjoy that cool stadium in Pittsburgh. I remember going to a game at old Forbes Field in 1962 when I was 15. Pirates versus Reds, two years after Mazeroski’s World Series winning homer and the year after seeing game four of the World Series in Cincinnati (ancient Crosley Field) which the Yankees won with Whitey Ford in a 7-0 shutout and record consecutive shutout innings. Anyway, the power and the lights in Forbes Field went out twice, delaying the game almost three hours in total. Ahh, the good old days. Of course Ponce de Leon Park with the right field wall and advertisements and the train above it, plus the magnolia tree in center, was better than either of those “cathedrals”.

HokieBravefan

April 17th, 2009
2:17 pm

Just a quick observation I thought was funny

On my Braves tool bar when I click on >> and
pull up all MLB teams it doesn’t list the Marlins?
So does this mean they aren’t really a MLB team
and the past three games didn’t count?

JJMB

April 17th, 2009
2:17 pm

Dave, are you going to do your afternoon spots on 680am this year?

Michael Scharff

April 17th, 2009
2:17 pm

I have no idea what kind of a person Boyer is, and I feel badly for him. That said, the kid has got to go. MLB is all about performance, and right now, this is a pitcher who doesn’t have a clue. I’m not sure what is going on, but the last time I watched a game and saw Cox bring Boyer in, I literally yelled at the t.v., “Aw, come on, man, not HIM!”
Hopefully, if(when?) he gets sent down, he can get his head on straight.

David O'Brien

April 17th, 2009
2:17 pm

N Nine: Don’t you think if Fredi got the job, he might possibly bring his own pitching coach from Florida, Mark Wiley? The dude’s been pretty good, you know?

Anyway, Fredi signed a contract extension with the Marlins. Unless fired, he should be with Marlins through 2011.

Hillbilly

April 17th, 2009
2:18 pm

Wayne,
To expound on your late night Francisley Bueno discussion from last night: That incident was part of the on-going Ted Lilly vs. Braves bean-ball experience that has a 2 year history, now. If I remember correctly, It went down like this:

2007
-Alfonso Soriano hit 3 bombs vs the Braves in one game. Tim Hudson thought he stood and admired them a little too much, so he hit him with a pitch in the back the next day.
-Ted Lilly retaliated in the 3rd game by hitting Edgar Renteria in the chin with a pitch.
-Edgar promptly stole second and planted a Colombian elbow into Mike Fontenot’s jaw (it was his major league debut, I think.)

2008
-Ted Lilly decided he wasn’t finished as he sailed a fastball toward Brian McCann’s face on the first pitch following a Greg Norton 3-run HR.
-Jeff Bennett nailed Alfonso Soriano, breaking his hand.
-Ryan Dempster hit Brian McCann in the butt in that same game.
-Later in the season Soriano admired another long fly, but this time is hit the wall, and he wound up with only a single.
-One inning later Franciscely Bueno (in his ML debut) threw at Soriano’s head. He was ejected, demoted to AAA, and suspended 3 games which will be served at the time of his next call-up.
-Ted Lilly, once again, goes for the kill shot, but Yunel Escobar blocked it with his arm. No retaliation followed from the Braves.

ease19

April 17th, 2009
2:20 pm

I love it when people claim to “know” what other organizations are going to do.

Ignorance disguised as intelligence

ease19

April 17th, 2009
2:22 pm

Ryan Dempster hit Brian McCann in the butt

That just sounds funny :lol:

Slugger

April 17th, 2009
2:23 pm

I’m reposting this from yesterday since Chipper still can’t get a break from some on this blog:

All –

A stone bruise in your hand is a terrible, terrible thing. If Chipper plays through this, his approach will change unintentionally. Because you’re someone reluctant to swing at anything inside (or to let the ball get deep) for fear of getting jammed, you start swinging at pitches that won’t hurt to hit.

Since I swung at just about everything when I played, the stone bruise in my right hand thumb (top hand batting) area actually helped me!

It forced me to take pitches so I got into good counts. Chipper has one of the best eyes/approaches in baseball, so it’s the exact opposite.

The last thing we want is for Chipper’s bruise to nag for a couple of months with him in the lineup while he’s subconsciously changing his approach mid-pitch. Then he’ll almost certainly be in a slump when that thing heals because he had been swinging at a different set of pitches for 2 months.

If you want to know what the injury feels like. Take your left index finger and left thumb and pinch between your right index/right thumb. Try to touch your fingers through that skin/muscle and notice that deep and painful feeling.

Now, if you want to know what it feels like if Chipper hits now with that wihout squaring the ball 100% perfect on the barrel, count to five and squeeze as hard as you possible can in that same spot.

That’s what that darn stone bruise will feel like, and it goes back to 100% unhealed everytime you’re jammed.

Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty

April 17th, 2009
2:25 pm

Dave, if you have the desire for a Primanti’s sandwich, you have to go to Oakland or The Strip District…they are much better there than the park…so are the Lube wings. See you at the game tonight! Go Braves!!

Notre Don't

April 17th, 2009
2:28 pm

Boyer going away . . . SOOOOO sweet. I wouldn’t have believed someone could make Manny Acosta looks appealing, but Rhianna Boyer has done so. Might be a nice guy, but total waste of roster space. Bobby has some blame for the hit maker’s woes. Bringing in Boyer with bases loaded in Philly . . . not a bad decision, an AWFUL decision. Maybe someone will take a flyer on him because they find his huge wooden cross necklace he wears appealing.

Run Heap Run

April 17th, 2009
2:34 pm

I don’t want to seem insensitive, but it … when people are defending players because they’re “great guys” or “good christians” or “super nice” or whatever..that’s…I mean, it’s great that they’re nice guys, it really it is, but baseball is a business. In sports some of the biggest jerks you’ll ever meet are also some of the best players you’ve ever seen, do you think fans of those teams want to get rid of those players because they’re jerks? Uh…I’m guessing not.

Rodney Derrick

April 17th, 2009
2:34 pm

Chipper should get his hand right before playing again. He is a “feel” hitter. Martin and Omar can do the job in the interim.

Run Heap Run

April 17th, 2009
2:35 pm

You need to repeat that on ever page, Slugger. Unfortunately, it won’t help.

Rodney Derrick

April 17th, 2009
2:36 pm

I expect Red Sox could bite on Boyer. Remember the bearded icon is a fan of Blaine’s.

sportsmandh

April 17th, 2009
2:36 pm

If Boyer does get cut, there is something we can all read between the lines on. This move would obviously have to be blessed by Cox. Regardless of what you think about Bobby, it would be a meaningful sign that he is agreeing to cut Boyer and not give him some time to ‘come around’. The meaningful sign is this, that Bobby is showing a sense of urgency, and that management expects to win and win now.

This is not the usual approach with Cox, we’ve heard all the ‘players manager’ stuff and all that, which is true. But for the last few years the attitude has seemed to be ‘lets play and see how things play out’. A cut of Boyer this early, and the DL assignment with “Dead Arm” (yeah right) of Campillo this soon, shows that the management is not gonna waste time, and sees it to be important to be proactive and not wait around a couple months to ’see what happens’. It will signal they believe they are good enough and should be winning now.

Of course they always want to win, but showing a sense of urgency 2 weeks in will be an encouraging sign to me.

TnBrian

April 17th, 2009
2:36 pm

Freddie Goanzalez isn’t the main reason Fla. “surprises” people with that pitiful payroll. The pitching coach and the minor league p.c. deserve most of the credit. Continuing on Fla.- that lineup is not built for the playoffs when pitchers are better and mostly on their game. All or nothing hitters, aside from Ramirez while Bonafacio hasn’t proved himself yet, don’t impress me at all. Look at the K’s we piled up on them…WOW!

Slugger

April 17th, 2009
2:37 pm

Regarding Retaliation:

During one of our summer games in Brainerd, Minnesota, a certain Rays MiLB prospect needed a double for the cycle. When he belted a 3-run MAMMOTH moonshot to right, he threw his bat about 15 feet in the air.

First we saw the ball go into orbit, then the bat. I’ve pimped a few in my day but this was beyond pimping a homerun. He was playing North Korea Taepodong with his bat after his HR, and everyone knew what that meant.

We were winning big, no reason to celebrate a massive tank like that. When he got back to the dougout, our coach ROASTED HIM (so did a couple other guys). Meanwhile, the guy on deck is just trying to make an excuse to not go up to the plate (thank goodness I was in the hole, not on-deck).

Guy comes up, nailed in the square of the back. We understood the retaliation that needed to happen, and we weren’t mad at all at the pitcher for hitting our guy. Instead, we were upset with our guy.

It’s not a deep personal hate, we just were upset with him for that moment and it was over.

Sometimes the unwritten rules of baseball supercede defending a player that’s on your team (if he’s the one to break the rule). It’s not anything personal because you try to help your player by calling him out if he breaks that rule.

The next inning our pitcher did not hit anyone on purpose, nor the inning after that. Our coach said he’d make a guy run polls for days if anyone intentionally hit a guy because of our guy getting hit.

Essentially, it was our player (that hit the mammoth jack) that threw the beanball at his own guy, get it?

With that all being said, Soriano should have fun his a** to first after hitting the jack, and I have NO respect for Ted Lilly. What a d**** bag.

The Patron Saint of the Lost Art

April 17th, 2009
2:38 pm

I would like to see Martin Prado get some more ABs.

And poor Greg Norton. He never gets to play and it has shown in his plate appearances. He can’t get a bat on anything.

ease19

April 17th, 2009
2:42 pm

Slugger, that was a really nice post (caught it the first time around too), same thing can happen to catchers if they are catching 90+ fastball in the pocket every time. However, I am afraid that most here will look at your post and read it as:

Blah, blah If Chipper plays through this, blah, blah,hurt blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah Chipper’s bruise blah nag for blah couple of months blah, blah slump blah, blah, blah, blah, blah

Herschel Talker

April 17th, 2009
2:43 pm

The Braves bullpen and the donkey that mismanages them will be their undoing this year. Lineup is solid. Rotation is solid. The set up man (when healthy) and the closer are solid. The middle relief is a train wreck. It’s as if the starters must give the Braves 7 innings or they have little chance of winning. But that’s OK. Cox will just keep shuffling Bennett and Boyer (unless DOB is right and they ditch him) out there until they get it right. Which will probably be after they blow more games than Wickman blew for Hudson. What a disaster.

Original Jon

April 17th, 2009
2:43 pm

Ummm, The Patron Saint of the Lost Art, Norton is a pinch hitter specialist, that is what he is on the team for, not to get regular at bats. He is on the team to be brought in as a pinch hitter. Thats what he needs to excel at.

spotts

April 17th, 2009
2:46 pm

Chipper could lose a leg from saving a baby in a burning building, and you guys would still be on his case about going on the DL.

spotts

April 17th, 2009
2:48 pm

A sniper could nip Chipper in the calf in the top of the 9th, and you guys would complain that he didn’t go out in the bottom half.

David O'Brien

April 17th, 2009
2:48 pm

Found out about a great record store here, Jerry’s. A cool girl who works at Bloodshot Records in Chicago just informed me.

The Patron Saint of the Lost Art

April 17th, 2009
2:48 pm

Original Jon. True.

jbutler

April 17th, 2009
2:48 pm

Run Heap Run – I agree with your comments about it really being a business. These guys see enough upside to living the major league dream that they should be able (not a reality to all…) to handle a setback like a trade, a DFA- something like that. We only have a glance as to what a player is really like. Most people expect them to be upstanding citizens/decent people, sign autographs for our kids – all that. Which isn’t all that unreasonable. But…the reality of getting to the big leagues is that most of these guys are coddled and told they’re the cats meow their whole life – which doesn’t always breed the selfless athlete we’re hoping for.

Whatever happens w/Boyer- he seems decent; which means he has the life skills to bounce back at whatever he does. Bottom line- he didn’t produce- turn the page.

spotts

April 17th, 2009
2:50 pm

The cat’s meow?

ease19

April 17th, 2009
2:52 pm

Slugger, funny story on retaliation: We were playing Centre College in KY, and this tall lanky dude hit a home run. No biggie, just left the ball up and he crushed it. He did nothing unusual, just made his merry way around the bases. Well when he came up again a couple of innings later, he was standing between the on deck circle and the plate while I was warming up. Our pitching coach comes running the mound and yells at me to hit him. I was like “ok” no big deal right? Except he meant right then, while I was warming up! Coach said he was standing too close to “my” territory. I could only laugh, but he was serious! End of story is that I tried throwing some curve balls that way, but really, even on purpose, could not throw a pitch that bad! But boy was the coach mad…He got fired son after but still!

LT- A Blogger

April 17th, 2009
2:52 pm

Wow- didn’t realize Yunel was hitting so well with RISP. Get well soon Yunel.

Isn’t there some law of physics or mathematics that predicts Dayton Moore/Royals will claim Boyer off waivers?

Slugger

April 17th, 2009
2:53 pm

TnBrian -

This payroll argument is a little overhyped, in my opinion. When you’re drafting the best players with a 1-5 pick in each round of the MLB draft every year because your team sucks (or you don’t care if then win), then eventually you’re going to have a pretty ripe crop of players.

Arizona, Tampa Bay, Colorado… only exception here is KC, for which I say KC doesn’t have the management or scouting that AZ, Tampa Bay, Colorado and Florida does.

Hanley Ramirez is a superstar and will be paid a TON. Hermida, Uggla and all those quality SP will also cost a lot of money down the road.

It’s just a different business model, I guess. I like the Braves sustainable model over the Marlins model any day though.

Can’t say I’d enjoy watching my team win 1196 games and lose 1328 games over the past 15 seasons. Last season was enough, thank you.

NC Braves Fan

April 17th, 2009
2:54 pm

Tough call on Boyer. Methinks the young man might need a change of scenery.

JEZ

April 17th, 2009
2:56 pm

BOYER MUST GO!!! He’s too big of a liability in the close games! He could take a pay cut and be our bat boy..

Slugger

April 17th, 2009
2:56 pm

Ease19 -

Thats what umpires are for. Get the umpire to move him.

If he still doesn’t move, tell the catcher to say “Hey buddy, back the f*** off or you and the guy behind you will be wearing the first pitch of your at bats.”

Of course, don’t hit the buddy (guy behind him), but having the guy behind him scared or thinking about it certainly decreases his mental focus to execute his approach.

spotts

April 17th, 2009
2:57 pm

LT – good call. I forgot about Moore snatching as many former Braves as he can. He’s got like, half our old team. Maybe Boyer won’t make it through waivers.

Yoda

April 17th, 2009
2:58 pm

Go, Boyer will not.

Slugger

April 17th, 2009
3:01 pm

Ease19 -

Good point, shoulda summed up my post like this:

Hold a hammer above your right hand about 3 feet high, now drop the hammer. Go try to hammer nails all day long but repeat if you ever miss a nail head.

You only get to stop hitting yourself in the hand if you never miss the nail head, but you have to keep dropping the hammer on your hand every time you miss.

Now, how good are you at hammering nails with that hand, and how long does it take for your hand to heal?

Thom Thomsen

April 17th, 2009
3:02 pm

Haven’t read all the posts, but that photo essay of freak Braves injuries left out a doozy. Infielder Randy Johnson injured himself putting on his sock. No lie.

MariettaDerek

April 17th, 2009
3:03 pm

I’m so pumped for the Bravos to get double pits to chesty with it tonight!

sportsmandh

April 17th, 2009
3:06 pm

Speaking of the fluke injuries gallery, I remember when Esasky’s vertigo hit. It was really too bad. I remember my granddad, who was a mega Braves fan, was really deflated by that b/c he thought Esasky was gonna do a really good job for the team. I didn’t know he was from Marietta. Wonder if he still lives around there.

Slugger

April 17th, 2009
3:10 pm

Or, maybe the Marlins Are who the braves were from the 70s-90s and will reap the benefits of a stacked farm system for the next 10-15 years.

ease19

April 17th, 2009
3:12 pm

Slugger, thing was, he was not bothering me. I could not have cared less where he was. I was like, warming up and stuff, trying to get ready for the inning and did not care. So instead of warming up, I spent my 7-8 pitches trying to hit a guy that was 15 feet from the plate. The pitching coach was a real poop-head (for lack of a better word, well not for lack of, just politer). Like I said, i was willing to hit a guy (on purpose, not on purpose, didn’t really matter)…but just during actual game play not during warm ups.

Slugger

April 17th, 2009
3:14 pm

Ease –
Your coach shoulda told your catcher to say what I posted so the guy would back up and no one would get hit. Then if you did have to hit someone it would be during the first guy’s AB.

ease19

April 17th, 2009
3:21 pm

Slugger, that would have been too polite :lol: Plus back in ‘96 I looked like Rod Beck and Centre was our biggest rival, outside of Emory. We had an image to maintain! Coach was just a douche (bag of cleaner)

ncscoots

April 17th, 2009
3:23 pm

Most people expect them to be upstanding citizens/decent people, sign autographs for our kids – all that. Which isn’t all that unreasonable.

Except…some of these guys wouldn’t be upstanding citizens in any other line of work, either. As with any aggregation of humans united by a common thread, the MLBPA has its share of saints, worthless d-bags, and everything in between; ball players are no more a homogenous group than the denzines here.

But, many fans expect the guy anchored with a 1-for-30 slump (or a personality large on suckitude) to still be affable, agreeable, and amenable to being put upon with every demand from fandom, regardless of his professional situation, his marital situation, or any other damn situation. Also regardless of the fact that the guy wouldn’t give you time of day or directions on the street, if he drew any other paycheck, either.

Besides, “living the dream” is sometimes its own nightmare, and you just want to be left alone to roll over and go back to sleep.

Run Heap Run

April 17th, 2009
3:30 pm

I want to know if Smoltzy really ironed a shirt while he was wearing it.

njbraves

April 17th, 2009
3:31 pm

Another team claiming Boyer, though unlikely, would be the greatest thing to happen to thid team in a long time. He sucks…and he will most likely continue to suck for the rest of his career. Braves aren’t lucky enough to have someone claim him.

ncscoots

April 17th, 2009
3:31 pm

RHR, true story…and, at the time, there wasn’t even a microphone around to distract him.

TnBrian

April 17th, 2009
3:32 pm

slugger, true, true. I’d like to have a list of the “impact” players that are/or will be with Fla. that are due to the draft. Scratch Ramirez/Bonafacio/Johnson/Cantu/Ross/Maybin and I’m sure others from that list. If I’m correct about at least Ross from that list, they break and make a good team quicker than anything I’e ever seen in MLB.

PWHjort

April 17th, 2009
3:34 pm

The Braves do have a bit of trouble letting go of players, even if they’re hurting the team.

Chop Chop

April 17th, 2009
3:35 pm

scoots,

Your post is a lie.

All ballplayers are in lock-step with one another. They never have disagreements or differences of opinion with anyone. They never harm anyone. Every ballplayer is able to handle any situation perfectly. Ballplayers do not sin. These are facts. The fact that these are such well-known facts makes me wonder about you, my friend. It really does.

Mitchell

April 17th, 2009
3:37 pm

If I have to hear Tom Verduochey on 680thefan ever again I’m going to change the channel. He’s been on twice in the last… the fact that he’s been on twice this *year* is disturbing to me.

I’m tired of hearing him forecast, among other pitchers under the age of 25, Jurrjens demise after mounting however many innings last year. If we can get just a little of what he did last that’s better than what a lot of teams have in the middle of their rotation. He hasn’t been too sharpe so far though. He doesn’t look quite the same but hey, he’s 2-0. I’m going with Leo on the matter, he’s not having it.

I’m ready for a strong outing tonight. I’m also going to avoid something I’ve done the last couple years which is to say after a few good wins around this time, “It’s on!” It wasn’t on. It looked like it was on, or so I thought. In fact, one if not two of those times I said that was in Pittsburg (well, I was in Atlanta but I was refering to the Braves playing in… you know). The next day they lost by 11 runs and managed to to win one in a four game series with the Nationals.

It definitely wasn’t on.

But I like the Braves tonight and in this series. I’m not saying we’re better than the Pirates, I am saying we should be better than the Pirates. We haven’t beaten them a whole lot lately but this is a chance to get back into this thing. A series victory would be nice.

I don’t know, I’m feeling slightly more optimistic today. How bout that?

David O'Brien

April 17th, 2009
3:39 pm

Escobar and Chipper, both out. As expected.

LINEUP
1. Johnson, 2B
2. Infante, SS
3. Diaz, LF
4. McCann, C
5. Francoeur, RF
6. Prado, 3B
7. Kotchman, 1B
8. Schafer, CF
9. Jurrjens, RH

TnRyan

April 17th, 2009
3:40 pm

Bonafacio has not proved reziliant. He’s wookin’ pu nub in all the wrong places.

David O'Brien

April 17th, 2009
3:41 pm

Absolutely perfect weather day, 70 degrees, sunny — and no pollen.

And the most beautiful view from any ballpark in the country — the river, the Roberto Clemente Bridge, and the downtown skyline. Really is stunning. Of all the places to have this … you wouldn’t expect it here. But it is. And it’s awesome.

Sam

April 17th, 2009
3:42 pm

While on the topic of freak injuries from the past… how can we forget the master of them all … Mike Hampton injuring his pectoral muscle (or whatever crap that was) while turning the page (pun intended). Holy BS, thank god that guy is now someone else’s worry !!!

Chop Chop

April 17th, 2009
3:42 pm

If I were a ballplayer, I’d sign every last baseball. If there weren’t any more balls to sign, I’d go grab a bunch of them and throw them to the fans. I’d grab bats and sign them, too. I’d take the shirt off my back and sign it. I’d make sure that it was given to a Make-A-Wish kid. I’d sign autographs between outs. I’d call time at the plate, step out of the batter’s box, and go sign some baseball cards. If a woman showed me her luscious bazooms, I would refuse to sign them. I’d tell her clothe herself and resume the quiet, chaste dignity that makes her one of God’s children.

This is what I would do. After all, I’m just being a ballplayer.

2010 A Braves Odyssey

April 17th, 2009
3:43 pm

DOB the lineup makes me sick, no power….:( Lets face it Prado and Infante are probably never gonna be 40 home run/100 RBI guys.

I know its early, VERY EARLY……However I am getting a bad feeling the rest of the year with our team, I think its going to be very up and down and we end with a similar record as last year.

Thrillhouse44

April 17th, 2009
3:45 pm

Is Kawakami available for pinch hitting duties? The bench is a little depleted.

David O'Brien

April 17th, 2009
3:45 pm

MariettaDerek: Yeah, whatever.

ncscoots

April 17th, 2009
3:45 pm

Union brotherhood, Chop, LOL. What must I have been thinking?

That’s also the reason you don’t see as much head-hunting these days…hard to get a hate on for a guy after you’ve sat together ripping The Man!

Josh H

April 17th, 2009
3:46 pm

2010 A Braves Odyssey:

Prado and Infante: In past years we’d be trotting out Woodware and/or Gotay.

Thrillhouse44

April 17th, 2009
3:46 pm

Chop Chop, thrown balls could injure your fans. You’re not worthy of being a ball player.

Loaf Garret on a blackberry from a massage table in the Pittsburgh visitors clubhouse

April 17th, 2009
3:47 pm

LINEUP
1. Johnson, 2B
2. Infante, SS
3. Diaz, LF
4. McCann, C
5. Francoeur, RF
6. Prado, 3B
7. Kotchman, 1B
8. Schafer, CF
9. Jurrjens, RH

WHAT? Oh hell no.

McFann :Ô:

April 17th, 2009
3:48 pm

Thanks for the Blog and lineup, Chief! Great caption under Escobar’s photo…

Got a weird feeling about tonight’s game for whatever reason. Thankfully my history shows that I’m usually wrong when I get this feeling, anyway. (Betcha I’m a solid 1-25 or something like that…)

ncscoots

April 17th, 2009
3:50 pm

Holy BS, thank god [Hampton] is now someone else’s worry !!!

Yeah, 14 Ks in 11 innnings pitched. I can see how that would be worrisome.

Chop Chop

April 17th, 2009
3:50 pm

Thrillhouse44,

Some fans ask to have baseballs thrown to them. No Sicilian can refuse a request on his daughter’s wedding day. C’est la vie, but I pray the fans don’t get hurt.

Sam

April 17th, 2009
3:52 pm

MariettaDerek , call quits with that double chesty thingy, enough already.

stynes

April 17th, 2009
3:52 pm

In other news, the City of Marietta just evicted Derek.

ncscoots

April 17th, 2009
3:54 pm

Chop Chop, thrown balls could injure your fans. You’re not worthy of being a ball player.

Not to mention the mere thought of the last two lines of his first paragraph. Oh, the humanity!

W. T. Sherman

April 17th, 2009
3:54 pm

After just 9-10 games it’s too early to know what the future season will bring. It’s takes about 40 games to get a real feel for the season.

Chop Chop

April 17th, 2009
3:54 pm

It’s a shame that we ballplayers are forced to be in the MLBPA. Our union is a perfect example of why unions are evil. After all, all people in all unions are filthy, stinking rich. Our union garden parties just happen to be the swankiest. Such decadence disgusts me, but this is also part of being a ballplayer. As with every other situation, I handle this perfectly.

MariettaDerek

April 17th, 2009
3:54 pm

I like this line-up. Prado hitting 6th, BEFORE Kotch. Interesting. And Diaz hitting 3rd. I like that too. Wonder when the last time he hit third. Probably never, although I remember he hit 2nd a couple of games in 2007. Right? Not sure if he got DP to the C then.

mbatl

April 17th, 2009
3:55 pm

Man, I love the double pits thing. Every time I read it, I just laugh and laugh and laugh. Then I spend a couple of minutes reflecting on the wisdom and intellect of the guy who keeps posting it. How does he do it? Wow!

And ’scoots, I have never refused to sign an autograph for a fan. Just for the record.

BravesfanfromBirth

April 17th, 2009
3:57 pm

A couple thing here for me.. The Braves should tell Escobar that he can no longer perform his before hitting rituals because now he got injured because of it.. I don’t understand why a grown man needs to jump into the air several times in order to “warm up” before an at bat..

Secondly, not only do I hope that Boyer is the one sent down to make room for Reyes, but I hope he never returns again.. Let him go make a different teams bullpen weaker and strengthen ours in the process.. I am happy that Diaz is starting tonight, and I want to see what both Infante and Prado do with playing the entire game.. We need to get back on track tonight, lets sweep the Pirates.. Go Braves!!!

Anders

April 17th, 2009
3:59 pm

What’s up Braves fans? Let’s start with a trivia question from last night’s Mets broadcast. What 2 MLB players are the only one’s to hit a HR before the age of 20 and after the age of 40?

Looking it up is lame. Take some guesses.

Chop Chop

April 17th, 2009
4:00 pm

It has been brought to my attention by myself that I would throw baseballs to fans but refuse to sign a woman’s luscious bazooms on my daughter’s wedding day. While this may seem to be a bit of a contradiction, I was not Sicilian at the time of my first comment. I hope this clarifies any confusion.

Perfectly handled. BOOM!

ncscoots

April 17th, 2009
4:01 pm

And ’scoots, I have never refused to sign an autograph for a fan. Just for the record.

Understood. That gets you down the left side of the saints-d**bag player spectrum, LOL.

I, however, did once fail to sign an autograph. But, jbutler still cheers for me, in spite of it. I think.

JEZ

April 17th, 2009
4:01 pm

Yea, I can’t describe how much I wish Boyer was going going gone! I like the guy, but he just can’t find the zone, and his stuff is too predictable! I agree with you Braves fan that we would already be a stronger bullpen if he would get off the team.

Chop Chop

April 17th, 2009
4:01 pm

David Wright and David Wright, Anders. He can be two people at once and time travel.

McFann :Ô:

April 17th, 2009
4:02 pm

Last time Matt Diaz hit third in the order was Sept. 10, 2007; he went 0-4. He has a career .259 AVG in 27 AB in the 3-hole.

Anders

April 17th, 2009
4:03 pm

Chop Chop _ THAT was funny. Have to admit the Wright stuff has died down so much on here I didn’t even see it coming.

Chop Chop

April 17th, 2009
4:03 pm

Well, in the interest of full disclosure, David Wright doesn’t travel time. Space and time do David Wright’s bidding.

Loaf Garret on a blackberry from a massage table in the Pittsburgh visitors clubhouse

April 17th, 2009
4:03 pm

I’m gonna say Will Ohman. Don’t bother telling me if I’m wrong. I’ll be in the spa.

MLH

April 17th, 2009
4:05 pm

Ty Cobb & Rusty Staub

W. T. Sherman

April 17th, 2009
4:05 pm

Anders….Was it Willie Mays and Hank Aaron?

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