Chipper: Win was like ’90s

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

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

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 ”That’s shades of the early and mid-90s right there. That’s how we won all the time back then.”

  Back then the Braves, of course, had a pitching staff anchored by the Big Three of Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz. They don’t have that now, but they’ve got a solid starting rotation with Derek Lowe, Javier Vazquez and Jair Jurrjens at the top.

  And if either Kenshin Kawakami or Reyes or, perhaps, one of the Tommys (Glavine or Hanson) can come through on a regular basis, well, you can see where this team has the pitching to compete for a playoff spot.

 The only question is whether they have enough offense. Remains to be seen.

  They won’t need many runs, not if they get quality starts and the kind of relief pitching they’ve gotten more often than not lately, particularly from bullpen’s Big Three – Rafael Soriano, Peter Moylan and closer Mike Gonzalez.
  Gonzo was clocked at 95 mph on several fastballs last night while striking out the side in the nine, including Albert Pujols and Ryan Ludwick to end the game. Very impressive.

Gonzo the strikeout leader

Gonzo the strikeout leader

  Bobby Cox and a few players all said that looked like the Gonzo who was a dominant closer for Pittsburgh in 2006, before his elbow surgery with Atlanta early in the 2007 season. Recent concerns about his velocity and elbow will fade quickly with a couple more outings like that.
  You probably didn’t realize this — I know I didn’t — but Gonzalez leads all major league relievers in strikeouts per nine innings with 17.28. The only other reliever as high as 15.0 per nine is Cleveland closer Kerry Wood (15.75).
  Gonzalez is tied with four other relievers for the major league strikeouts lead with 16 (in 8-1/3 innings).
  ”It’s starting to heat up, man,” said Gonzalez, a Texan who was talking about the weather, but connected that to his arm condition. “I’m starting to feel better. It’s getting looser quicker. I’m to that 18-, 19-month period [since surgery] that I was aiming for.”
  Meanwile Soriano ranks among league leaders with a 1.00 ERA and is fourth among NL relievers with a .111 opponents’ average. He hasn’t allowed a hit by right-handed batters, who are 0-for-16 against him.
(Speaking of dominance on one side, lefty batters are 1-for-15 against Reyes.)
  Strange stat: Jeff Bennett has the third-highest opponents’ average (.405) among NL relievers, but the eighth-lowest ERA (0.96). He’s only given up one of his own runs in 9-1/3 innings. Problem is, those important inherited runners.

 ♣ Tonight’s game: If you think Jair Jurrjens’ run support has been bad lately (and it has been terrible), check out Vazquez’s run support in his starts against the St. Louis Cardinals.
  In six starts against them this decade, Vazquez is 1-5 with a 4.05 ERA. His teams scored no runs while he was in two of those starts, one run while he was in two others, and two runs in another.
  He got losses in three of those games despite quality starts, including losses in two complete games he pitched — a six hitters with 10 strikeouts and two earned runs allowed in 2001, and a three-hitter with eight strikekouts, no walks and two runs allowed in 2005.
  The Braves have provided Vazquez with a whopping 9.38 support runs per nine innings pitched in his first four Atlanta starts, the second-best run support among NL pitchers. They scored 10 runs while he in a game at Philly in which he he gave up three runs in six innings, but he got no decision after the infamous bullpen meltdown in an eight-run seventh inning.
  The Braves also scored 10 runs while he was an April 19 win at Pittsburgh.
  Vazquez has turned in four consecutive quality starts for the Braves, going six innings in each and recording 29 strikeouts with three walks 18 innings over his past three.
   The veteran workhorse says he wants badly to go more innings, but needs to economize his pitches better – he’s topped 100 pitches in three starts, and totaled 98 in the other.
  Don’t look for the Braves to score 10 runs behind him tonight. Not against Adam Wainwright, the former Braves prospect who is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA in three starts against Atlanta. He’s given up just one run in each of those starts while allowing six hits or fewer in six or more innings.

♣ More eye-opening stats:
  • Albert Pujols has hit .409 with six homers, 20 RBI and a ridiculous 1.390 OPS in 13 home runs. But the big Cardinals slugger has hit just .194 (6-for-31) with one homer, five RBI and a .688 OPS in eight road games.

So far, no Albert damage

So far, no Albert damage

  Also, Pujols has hit .362 (17-for-47) with five homer, 19 RBI and a 1.190 OPS against right-handers, but a relatively modest .250 (7-for-28) with two homers, six RBI and a a .953 OPS against lefties.
  Something tells me those road and lefty numbers will be rising before too long. Braves just hope the road totals don’t spike tonight, because so far they’ve kept him in check in this series (1-for-8 with three strikeouts and one walk).
 • Kelly Johnson’s .224 OBP against right-handers is the second-lowest among NL qualifiers, ahead of only SF’s Emmanuel Burris (.192). Johnson (a left-handed hitter) has the fourth-lowest average (.136) against righties, but at least he’s in good company: Lance Berkman has the fifth-lowest avg (.160) against righties.
  While KJ has been in a 4-for-39 skid over his past 11 games, backup second baseman Omar Infante has done well in limited duties in the leadoff role, with a .474 OBP that ranks behind to San Diego’s Scott Hairston (.500) in NL leadoff OBP among qualifiers.
  Infante has reached base via hit or walk in nine of 19 plate appearances as the leadoff man.

  ♣ Ross stepping up: No one would ever suggest the Braves are a better team with David Ross catching instead of three-time All-Star Brian McCann. But at least while McCann is out dealing with eye problems, Ross is contributing plenty.
  The strong-armed vet is 9-for-25 (.360) with three doubles, two homers and six RBI in eight games, all since April 16. He has a .484 OBP and .720 slugging percentage, and the Braves are 4-4 in his games.
   Braves pitchers have a 3.21 ERA in 70 innings with Ross catching, compared to 4.54 in 105 innings with McCann.
  McCann went 1-for-19 with no RBI and two errors in his last seven games (six starts) before going on the DL last weekend to try and figure out what’s causing the dryness and blurry vision in his left eye.

 ♦ OK, let’s close this. Since Wilco has St. Louis roots (Jeff Tweedy is from Belleville, Ill.), and since they’re even better than the toasted ravioli the town’s famous for, let’s go with a Wilco tune. And here’s a pretty cool video for the song.

ASHES OF AMERICAN FLAGS by Jeff Tweedy (Wilco)

The cash machine is blue and green
For a bundle of twenties and a small service fee
I could spend three dollars and sixty-three cents
On Diet Coca-Cola and unlit cigarettes
I wonder why we listen to poets when nobody gives a f*!#
How hot and sorrowful, the machine begs for luck

All my lies are always wishes
I know I would die if I could come back new

We want a good life with a nose for things
the fresh wind and bright sky to endure my suffering
I’m a hole without a key if I break my tongue
Oh, speaking of tomorrow, how will it ever come?

All my lies are always wishes
I know I would die if I could come back new

I’m down on my hands and knees
every time I hear a doorbell ring
I shake like a toothache
every time I hear myself sing

All my lies are only wishes
I know I would die if I could come back new

I would like to salute
the ashes of American flags
And all the fallen leaves
filling up shopping bags

1,712 comments Add your comment

PWHjort

April 29th, 2009
3:56 pm

Here’s a pretty good story about the no-no kid, Schuster, and Scott Kazmir. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090429&content_id=4475336&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

Random

April 29th, 2009
3:58 pm

N8 : “Those teams went first to third in a blink of an eye, those teams rarely had guys thrown out at the plate trying to score. This team has zero speed other than Jordan and maybe Escobar. Add to that, we have a minimum of three guys (when they are all healthy), that flat out clog up the bases (Chipper, McCann and Kotchman). . . . OK DAP, next time the Braves DON’T get a runner from first to third, or get a runner gunned down at the plate (or Snitker doesn’t even send them home), you come back and argue with me. KJ, Escobar, Schafer and Francoeur. The only guys that can run AT ALL. And other than Schafer, they’re not that fast. KJ does a nice job grinding out triples, and certainly is capable of scoring from 1B on a double. But Chipper, McCann, Kotchman, and the Diaz/Garret combo certainly isn’t winning any foot races. . . . DAP, I can agree with that. But a guy is only as fast as the guy ahead of him on the basebaths. So by having Chipper, McCann and Kotchman in the middle of the lineup, the 6, 7 and 8 hitters have that much more work cut out for them in terms of getting RBI. If McCann is on 2B and Francoeur gets a hit, and McCann either gets thrown out at the plate or held up at third, Francoeur gets “blamed” for not being clutch. I might be wrong, I might be over-exaggerating what I think I see. But in my eyes, when I’m watching the games and seeing how it unfolds, this team appears to be a notch below past Braves teams and very often their opponents, in the speed department.”

I think you may be both misremembering and over exaggerating your faulty memories.

Here are all of Chipper’s and McCann’s pertinent baserunning results for the first 20 games (an a freebie of Kotchman). Bold text indicates good baserunning, ie, NOT “clogging up the basepaths”. Italicized text indicates less than that (”normal” or “poor” baserunning):

7 Apr, @ PHI, 1st: Chipper doubles, McCann reaches on an E-4, Chipper scores from 2B

7 Apr, @ PHI, 1st: McCann reaches on an E-4, Anderson singles to LF, McCann to 2B from 1B

8 Apr, @ PHI, 3rd: McCann singles, Kotchman Ks, Francoeur singles to CF, McCann to 3B from 1B

10 Apr, v WAS, 5th: Chipper BBs, McCann flies out to LF, Kotchman singles to CF, Chipper to 2B from 1B

10 Apr, v WAS, 7th: McCann doubles, Kotchman IBB, Francoeur singles to CF, McCann scores from 2B, Kotchman to 3B from 1B

12 Apr, v WAS, 4th: McCann BBs, Diaz doubles to CF, McCann scores from 1B

12 Apr, v WAS, 5th: Chipper singles, takes second on throw, McCann singles to CF, Chipper scores from 2B

17 Apr, @ PIT, 2nd: McCann HBP, Francoeur singles to CF, McCann to 2B, Prado singles to LF, McCann to 3B

18 Apr, @ PIT, 4th: McCann BBs, Kotchman doubles to LF, McCann to 3B

19 Apr, @ PIT, 1st: Chipper reaches on FC, Anderson doubles to LF, Chipper to 3B

19 Apr, @ PIT, 3rd: Chipper singles, Anderson flies out to RF, Francoeur flies out to CF, Kotchman singles to LF, Chipper out at 3B

19 Apr, @ PIT, 7th: Chipper HBP, Diaz lines out to SS, Chipper to 2B on throwing error, Francoeur doubles to RF, Chipper scores from 2B

20 Apr, @ WAS, 4th: Chipper triples to RF

21 Apr, @ WAS, 1st: Chipper BBs, McCann BBs, Francoeur doubles to RF, Chipper scores from 2B, McCann to 3B from 1B, Francoeur singles to SS, McCann scores from 3B

25 Apr, @ CIN, 1st: Chipper singles, Kotchman singles to CF, Chipper to 2B

26 Apr, @ CIN, 8th: Chipper doubles, Kotchman flies out to RF, Francoeur sac flies to CF, Chipper to 3B

28 Apr, v STL, 8th: Chipper BBs, Francoeur BBs, Diaz singles to LF, Chipper scores from 2B

In summary, out of 12 baserunning opportunities, Chipper EXCELLED in all but 4 (including only once being thrown out on the bases). And he’s hit a triple.

Out of 9 baserunning opportunities, McCann EXCELLED in all but 4, and made no baserunning errors. Four out of eight times, he advanced 2 bases on a single (or 3 on a double). He has yet to be thrown out at the plate, has scored from second on a single, from first on a double and from third on an infield single

McFann Ô

April 29th, 2009
3:58 pm

Thanks for the new Blog, Chief!

Braves pitchers have a 3.21 ERA in 70 innings with Ross catching, compared to 4.54 in 105 innings with McCann.

Oh, that’s lovely.

Tom O'Hawke

April 29th, 2009
4:01 pm

I’m trying to get caught up, but it takes time. It would’ve been much faster if I came across RHR’s overnight summary, earlier.

K. Street … I saw your 11:43 answer. Thank you.

McFann …… I see you saw K. Street’s post. Good.

18 Wheels of Love

April 29th, 2009
4:01 pm

DOB, you see that pic of Tweedy in the new Rolling Stone? Looks like he ate small human.

Swi

April 29th, 2009
4:06 pm

FYI… Marlins up 4-3 on the Mets heading to the bottom of the 9th.

PWHjort

April 29th, 2009
4:07 pm

Jorge Cantu hit ANOTHER home run today. Off of Santana in the first inning.

Bobby's Cox

April 29th, 2009
4:08 pm

Anyone see the Brewers/Pirates game today? Gallardo struck out 11 and gave up only two hits and Milwaukee won 1-0. How did Milwaukee score? HR by Gallardo in the 7th.

Gallardo couldn’t go the distance because of a high pitch count. Villanueva pitched the 9th, but talk about a one man show…

Kevin McGlinchy

April 29th, 2009
4:08 pm

DOB — any reaction to our Abreu questions from the last blog?

Swi

April 29th, 2009
4:09 pm

Bobby’s Cox — I think Gallardo would be a better clean-up hitter than Kotchman !

Shane

April 29th, 2009
4:09 pm

There is no such thing as clogging up the bases. Speed helps but id rather have a slow guy who gets on base all the time vs a fast guy who never does. A lineup full of McCanns will beat a lineup full of Vince Colemans most every night

PWHjort

April 29th, 2009
4:09 pm

Isn’t that Gallardo’s 2nd HR this season?

David O'Brien

April 29th, 2009
4:10 pm

18 Wheels, I did see that picture. He’s eating well, apparently. A lot of toasted ravioli.

David O'Brien

April 29th, 2009
4:12 pm

Added a poll question to blog.

Going downstairs now (clubhouse opened late, I think for kangaroo court). Still no lineup posted in pressbox.

ease19

April 29th, 2009
4:13 pm

Hey Random

How come Chippers

19 Apr, @ PIT, 7th: Chipper HBP, Diaz lines out to SS, Chipper to 2B on throwing error, Francoeur doubles to RF, Chipper scores from 2B

Does not equal

21 Apr, @ WAS, 1st: Chipper BBs, McCann BBs, Francoeur doubles to RF, Chipper scores from 2B, McCann to 3B from 1B, Francoeur singles to SS, McCann scores from 3B

??

ncscoots

April 29th, 2009
4:13 pm

Anyone see the Brewers/Pirates game today?

I can see where that kind of series could mean slump-onset-disease for both teams, LOL. At least, right now. Some young arms throwing pretty good, both ways.

Run Heap Run

April 29th, 2009
4:14 pm

Toasted ravioli? Oh man…I wanna try that.

mbatl

April 29th, 2009
4:14 pm

Marlin closer Lindstrom is blowing up… walks first 2 batters in the 9th with a 1-run lead… ugh.

Josh H

April 29th, 2009
4:15 pm

McFann:

McCann was catching during those early bullpen meltdowns. I don’t think I’d count those against him. :)

CB

April 29th, 2009
4:16 pm

I’m afraid we may have to win a lot of 2-1 games this year. That’s ok if we win more than we lose. Good possibility with our better pitching

Bobby's Cox

April 29th, 2009
4:16 pm

Lidstrom is doing all he can to give the Mets the game. BB 1st 2 batters to lead off the bottom of the 9th.

jort…indeed, that was Gallardo’s 2nd HR this season (month)…

Thrillhouse44

April 29th, 2009
4:17 pm

Jo-Jo and the bullpen were outstanding, the defense was outstanding, and we finally got a timely hit to win. Hoss

I know there’s a lot of talk about the lack of power and the lack of speed, but sometimes scrappiness can make up for other weaknesses. Speaking of scrappy: “Head Bussa” by Lil Scrappy was used as the theme for the 2004 Atlanta Braves.

Nick

April 29th, 2009
4:18 pm

Speaking of clutch: David Wright struck out looking with 2 on and 0 out in the bottom of the 9th…

Swi

April 29th, 2009
4:18 pm

Bases loaded 2 outs bottom of the 9th…. Marlins holding on to a 4-3 lead… I think Ramon Castro is coming up…

MFin04

April 29th, 2009
4:19 pm

Random…What do you do for a living? :)

TnBrian

April 29th, 2009
4:19 pm

If the Mets win the game today, expect some of the loser trolls to stink up this place today.

I think it’s obvious that Ross can call a better game than McCann. Damn, just look at the #’s this year. He’s better defensively and has a sronger arm too.

Bobby's Cox

April 29th, 2009
4:19 pm

lol…i wonder if Lidstrom hit Tatis on purpose with 1st base open and 2 out in a 1 run game. Tatis was 3-4 today and is hitting .348. Castro, who’s up now is 2-4, but hitting .233. Probably wanted to walk Tatis anyway.

Jerry

April 29th, 2009
4:19 pm

basesloaded bottom of ninth 2 out marlins up 4-3 lindstrom vs santos

ncgary

April 29th, 2009
4:21 pm

mets lose , mets lose, mets lose

Run Heap Run

April 29th, 2009
4:21 pm

Been nice knowing ya, TnBrian….

Jerry

April 29th, 2009
4:21 pm

Nick

April 29th, 2009
4:21 pm

Santos pops out, after being called in from the bullpen (where he was catching a reliever warming up) to pinch hit…

Bobby's Cox

April 29th, 2009
4:22 pm

game over…another choke job by NY. PH Santos popped up.

ncscoots

April 29th, 2009
4:23 pm

Been nice knowing ya, TnBrian….

Yes, the window closes on another life of the tragically stupid, LOL.

Jerry

April 29th, 2009
4:23 pm

does Wren get any credit for the ross signing

ease19

April 29th, 2009
4:26 pm

nscoots – Aren’t you on borrowed time as well? Or was all forgiven?

TnBrian

April 29th, 2009
4:27 pm

ncscoots, oh please! You’re all talk, you geek! I think it’s obvious Ross is a better catcher just by watching the games. Cannon arm and blocks balls very well. Mac ain’t no slouch, but Ross is better. Hitting? Please, Mac is an All-Star hitter that will get better at the plate, and I’m sure behind the dish. What is stupid about that?

Il Cattivo

April 29th, 2009
4:27 pm

Get with the program Jerry. We dont go about giving credit for for good things on this blog. We just dont talk about it and hope no-one notices it. Shame that DOB brought that up today. He should know better.

pfunkATL

April 29th, 2009
4:29 pm

I think Wren gets MUCH LOVE on THIS blog for Ross…I can’t IMAGINE the VITRIOL that would be SPEWED here if we still had Corky and/or Thorman!

Run Heap Run

April 29th, 2009
4:30 pm

Has anyone else tried the pirate language setting on facebook? I just turned it on and am giggling like an idiot, as per usual.

PWHjort

April 29th, 2009
4:33 pm

Wren gets a ton of credit for the Ross signing. The Braves were the first team to seriously pursue Ross, they offered him a 2-year deal, and he jumped on it. Ross is a starter, really. He would start on a lot of teams. And now we have one of the best back-ups in MLB. People criticized Wren for giving a 2-year deal to a back-up catcher, but the move looks pretty damn good right now.

Rhett

April 29th, 2009
4:34 pm

Escobar needs to sit on the bench for a while. That guy has done absolutely no good (offensively speaking) over the past few games.

CharlieAlphaBravo

April 29th, 2009
4:37 pm

No kidding… Is it too early to go ahead an extend Ross’ deal??

ncscoots

April 29th, 2009
4:38 pm

nscoots – Aren’t you on borrowed time as well? Or was all forgiven?

You lost me there, ease, have to refresh my memory.

TnJeff04 (or MFinBrian321)

April 29th, 2009
4:39 pm

P-Town Brave (3:13 pm):“We’re 20+ games under .500 since the end of 2005…”

Here’s some advice to bolster your credibility (which could use all the help it can get) — simply refrain from fabricating verifiable statistics. Just don’t do it. Look it up before you make it up.

Since the end of the 2005 season thru last night, the Braves are 16 games under .500, not “20+”. It was that blustering, bluffing “+” that raised the doubts.

“Big deal,” you might say — “you know what I mean!!!”

Leaving that prickly and disturbing philosophical question aside for the nonce, it is a big deal. ‘Cause it gives very valid reason to question your whole comment, with the following results:

“[Cox] plays station to station baseball, no stealing, no hit and run, and fully hopes that we are going to pitch shutout ball and sit on the 3-run HR…”

The Braves ranked 3rd among NL teams in steals in 1991, 2nd in 1995 and 6th in 1993, 1999 and 2005. They were in the top ten in stolen bases nine times from 1991-2005. “No stealing”, hmmmmm?

And all these errors in facts lead to valid questions as to your judgment, so that when you say something like the following, it’s not worth a dime of warm spit:

“[Cox] just assumes that Lowe/Vazquez/Jurrjens will pitch like Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz everytime out and that Jones/Kotchman/Francoeur will perform like Jones/McGriff/Justice…”

And the following just leaves us howling with laughter:

“I’ve watched enough baseball to know the guy hasn’t changed his philosophy that he had with the 1995 team he has with the team now…”

You talk like you haven’t watched any baseball at all (at least not that you understood). Maybe you’ve overheard people talking about baseball, and are just repeating your own garbled version of what you thought you heard.

Just guessing.

Run Heap Run

April 29th, 2009
4:39 pm

I just hope Wren doesn’t get the itch to trade one of them…I mean, the Braves having 2 good catchers is unheard of.

ncscoots

April 29th, 2009
4:40 pm

You’re all talk, you geek!

Why, yes…I am. This is a blog, after all. You know, talk, conversation, and so forth?

Macon Braves (RIP)

April 29th, 2009
4:41 pm

Bet Escobar was in the defendants chair today at kangaroo court.

Please oh please no Kotchman at cleanup when the lineup is released.

Serge

April 29th, 2009
4:42 pm

Who do you put at cleanup?

Random

April 29th, 2009
4:43 pm

ease19

The first was a mistake on my part — I thought the double was to LF (even though I correctly wrote RF). No big deal to go first to third on a double to right, but imo it is on a double to LF (generally speaking).

My bad there.

Random

April 29th, 2009
4:45 pm

No — I compound my error. It should be no big deal to score from second on any double anywhere.

McFann Ô

April 29th, 2009
4:47 pm

Random

Thanks for the base-running stuff!

Tom O’Hawk

Yup, I saw it! Oh, and for dinner tonight–Chicken-celery-cheese salad on sesame seed buns!

Josh H

Good point.

PS: TnBrian, Braves pitchers have raved about McCann’s game-calling skills…just sayin’.

Yeah, OK…so he’s thrown out a few more base-runners, but McCann’s only made one bad throw this year (error)…he’d have more CS in his defensive line if Escobar would catch the friggin’ ball when it’s thrown to him. I’ve seen BMac make some really good throws that Escobar mishandles…drives me insane!

And wait till he gets his eyesight back! Just wait

JCG

April 29th, 2009
4:47 pm

DOB, have you listened to Ray Lamontagne any? If you have what did you think? I usually am not into that kinda of music but he reminds me of Van the Man who I love to listen to at certain times. Just got tickets to see Jamey Johnson on May 29 at the Orange Peel up here in Asheville. Let Carroll take over that weekend and jump on the ole bike and take a ride up to the mountains and go to the show.

CB

April 29th, 2009
4:48 pm

ease19 you read all of Random’s post? oh dear!

PWHjort

April 29th, 2009
4:49 pm

Sid Bream scored from 2nd on a single once. It was pretty cool.

Ross

April 29th, 2009
4:52 pm

I love STL but toasted Ravioli – and Wilco – suck. Man the Cobra looks great in his last two saves.

Jordan Schafer

April 29th, 2009
4:52 pm

agreed no kotch at cleanup please bobby… heres my lineup

1.shafer 2.infante 3.escobar 4.jones 5.frenchy 6.ross 7.diaz 8.krotch
i know this will never happen so realistically…
1.infante 2.kotchman 3.esco 4.jones 5.french 6.ross 7.diaz 8.shafer

RC

April 29th, 2009
4:52 pm

There was a big debate on the last blog in which some were claiming that Bobby was stubborn and unable to make adjustments in his style to help his team win games. I just happened to run across this comment, and thought it shed an interesting light on that idea:

“What happened to Soriano this past week was odd. Mike Gonzalez appeared to be the main closer in Atlanta, with Soriano the clear next guy. Then Gonzalez was used to record the final out in the eighth inning of a scoreless game in Washington. Of course, Gonzalez struck out Adam Dunn, and when the Braves took the lead in the top of the ninth, on came Soriano to get the save. Kudos to Bobby Cox for using his best lefty — his closer, even — in a tie game before the ninth. So few managers do this. Soriano had no problem picking up the save, striking out two of the three hitters he faced.”

I had actually forgotten about that, and Bobby went with Gonzo in the 8th in 2 consecutive games, because the matchups dictated that he should. I doubt we’ll see much of that in the future, but it was a cool move (and likely helped us win the game).

Jersey Gil

April 29th, 2009
4:53 pm

DOB…In the kangaroo court, The defendant has to paid a penalty in $$$? and it he did , where the money go…

Ross

April 29th, 2009
4:53 pm

Did anyone notice how Gonzales was using his position on the rubber to get an advantage? He really befuddled Pujols, which needless to say, is not easy. Then Ludwick looked even worse. PFFAP PFFAP PFFAP gone.

McFann Ô

April 29th, 2009
4:54 pm

Meant to say, “so Ross has thrown out a few more base-runners”. I was thinking “Ross” in my head…guess I thought I copied and pasted part of TnBrian’s post. Sorry.

PWHjort

April 29th, 2009
4:55 pm

RC,
I think we WILL see a LOT of that in the future. Sometimes the game is saved in the 8th. Or the 7th. Bobby has said he’ll use Gonzo before the 9th if the situation calls for it.

Original Jon

April 29th, 2009
4:55 pm

Jersey Gil, could you please repeat that?

crap-wheelie

April 29th, 2009
4:59 pm

DOB:

Watching the performance of Omar Infante this year and last, I’m left with one serious question: Why isn’t this guy starting some place? He’s a tough out, he plays good to very good defense in multiple positions, and he has decent speed. It looks to me like he was relegated to the utility role because he’s not a long ball hitter. Is he a guy who was burned by the steroid era when managers and GMs came to expect middle infielders to pop 30 homers a season? If so, that’s a tragedy. In the ’60s and ’70s, his performance would have made him a star.

Couch Tater

April 29th, 2009
4:59 pm

Pardon if this has been posted already, but Maddux vs.Pedro partII over at Joe Posnanski’s blog. Outstanding.

Jersey Gil

April 29th, 2009
5:00 pm

Original Jon …DOB say that the club house was lated to open because a Kagaroo Court, my ?? is the Defendant has to paid a fine in Dollars and where the Fine go.

monty

April 29th, 2009
5:01 pm

Kind of a shame that Chipper had to go so far back to be able to relate the win last night.

RC

April 29th, 2009
5:01 pm

PWHjort,

I hope we do see Gonzo used in different situations. Especially if we are facing a team that doesn’t mix their left-handed and right-handed hitters very well. For instance, if we are facing the Phillies in a close game and Utley, Howard, and Ibanez are up in the 8th, let Gonzo have a shot at them and Soriano can come in the 9th to mow down the righties at the bottom of their lineup. The way they are both pitching, might as well leverage their usage to get the most out of it.

Jersey Gil

April 29th, 2009
5:02 pm

For thoe they don’t understand the Kagaroo Court is the one the Player call for someone that commit a error or late for meeting or practice. Some penalty can be in $$$$ or others.

P-Town Brave (Schafer for Leadoff)

April 29th, 2009
5:03 pm

TnJeff or whatever the h*ll it is you wanna be called-

Oh you got me there…too bad I was also calculating August and September of 05 AND the playoff series the Braves threw away.

BTW, maybe you can tell me what we’ve done in the SB dept the last four years, because thats mainly where I went for that…

Only an idiot wouldn’t know that we have had Otis, Deion, Ron, Marquis, and Rafael…but if you were smart enough to read prior posts, I made a comment simply referring to our lack of leadoff hitter or as it seems since the old man decided to go w/ Kelly…

Cox DOES in fact sit and hope for the 3-run HR…I’m NOT the only individual who feels this way…

Besides, if you really REALLY want to argue the merits of being 20 games or 15 games under .500 in the last 3+ years, go ahead…

REGARDLESS, its still mediocre *ss!

I’ve forgotten more about baseball than you’ll ever know…

When you come after someone, you should know to come a little stronger…

OR maybe just watch the game tonight and learn a thing or two about Bobby and his managing…

See what happens when Omar or Jordan get on base and camp out at 1st.

PWHjort

April 29th, 2009
5:04 pm

Agreed, RC. We’ve got a very versatile bullpen. We should be mixing it up to create mis-matches in our favor. We’ve been doing that so far and I’ve been shocked with how well Bobby’s managed the bullpen with regards to the back end (when we have a lead).

fat people sink faster

April 29th, 2009
5:04 pm

would love to take 2/3 from the cards…that’s one strong team on the other side of the diamond

Roy Hobbs

April 29th, 2009
5:04 pm

My favorite band finally makes an appearance on my favorite blog…thanks DOB! By the way, check out Wilco’s new DVD “Ashes of American Flags” shot on last year’s tour in some great venues (Tipitina’s in New Orleans, Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, Ryman Auditorium in Nashville) Very well done with some very high quality audio download’s that come with it.

Let’s get some runs for Javy tonight!

PWHjort

April 29th, 2009
5:05 pm

Couch Tater, I read both Pedro vs. Maddux posts today, good stuff.

Supes

April 29th, 2009
5:05 pm

Mets lose and a big series against the Phillies this weekend for them. Braves will be gaining ground on one of those 2 teams.

Mets starting pitching…talk about below average after Santana. Nobody is stepping up for them.

Phillies are all offense. No pitching except the occasional lucky day performance by Meyers or Hamels (who isn’t healthy, doesn’t look dominant like he did last year).

Marlins coming back to earth.

Braves need to win today, have a winning april, build on that, and try and score some freaking runs!

nolie

April 29th, 2009
5:08 pm

Maybe only cougars can see it? (RUN HEAP)

that was funny. good to see that you are taking a couple of somewhat lame jokes in stride.

TnBrian

April 29th, 2009
5:10 pm

McFann, Mac has trimmed down some, so I think his defense will improve this year. You’re right though, I really didn’t give the dude enough credit for what he does out there. I just think, right now, Ross is a little quicker to block balls in the dirt, and a little quicker to throw to 2nd with a more accurate arm.

P-Town Brave (Schafer for Leadoff)

April 29th, 2009
5:11 pm

Supes-

At this point, I’d like to see the Muts win 2 of 3 from the Phils…the Phils are starting to gain some confidence and get it going…

And as everyone else would most likely say, I’d rather be lookin up at the Muts come Sept. than Philly.

That being said, we’re gonna need a big long winning streak at some point in the season, if nothing else than to make everyone else realize we’re around and we’re for real…

And at this point, we haven’t seen enough steady solid play to think that will happen….but hey, it is only April.

Scott

April 29th, 2009
5:15 pm

Lineup yet??

TnBrian

April 29th, 2009
5:15 pm

McFann mentioned Escobar’s occasional dropped balls on throws, and it reminded me of his last two nights when he made some baserunning errors. Sometimes I think he gets so excited that it causes this. I think with age, he’ll learn to more calm and think clearer on things like that.

Willy Wally

April 29th, 2009
5:18 pm

Thanks for the kind words, Scoots, you geek! LOL

BTW, only geeks call other geeks geeks. Cool people just make fun of their loafers, khakis, and argyle socks. Then those cool people find a place to hide when they remember that Mr. Penny Loafers has quite the gun collection, and actually knows how to use those guns

TooBusy?

April 29th, 2009
5:20 pm

Been nice knowing ya, TnBrian….

Yes, the window closes on another life of the tragically stupid, LOL. SCOOTS & RUN

whataya mean? what happened to TIN BRAIN, the love of my life. Don’t tell me he is gone. I just could not stand that. I’m sure he will come back to me. Gloom despair and agony of da feet.

Willy Wally

April 29th, 2009
5:21 pm

Alright, I’m off to the Ted. Hopefully, I will be in for what Chip Caray likes to call a “baseball treat.” Hey, I made fun of him when he said that in the pre-game last night, but it turned out that he was exactly right.

Ed Glennon

April 29th, 2009
5:21 pm

I have figured out why Bobby hits hapless Kotchman 4th. He wants to prove that Andruw hitting fourth a couple of years ago was really a good idea. Compared to hapless Kotchman it probably was. Here is a tough one: Who has made a greater impact on the Braves in the last 9 months Casey Kotchman or Terry Pendleton?

McFann Ô

April 29th, 2009
5:23 pm

TnBrian I really didn’t give the dude enough credit for what he does out there.

Nah, you didn’t–but won’t hold a grudge or anything. You admitted it; you’re forgiven. Even I have to say that BMac does have trouble blocking pitches (sometimes), and Ross is really good at throwing guys out.

Mac’s defense will improve–once he’s got this eye problem solved, combining that with his slimmer frame will really help, I think.

And Escobar does need to calm down a little. Don’t mind a guy being excited, but sometimes it’s over the top.

TooBusy?

April 29th, 2009
5:26 pm

You talk like you haven’t watched any baseball at all (at least not that you understood). Maybe you’ve overheard people talking about baseball, and are just repeating your own garbled version of what you thought you heard TnJeff

P-TOWNBRAVE is and idiot no question about and a negative nellie and smartazz to boot. you could put what he knows about baseball into a thimble full of water and still have room left over for a rowboat.

Reid in EAV

April 29th, 2009
5:27 pm

On that Kangaroo Court, I hope it was Escobar in the dock for some a$$ stupid baserunning. There was just no excuse for last night — what is the third-base coach for, anyway?

PWHjort

April 29th, 2009
5:27 pm

McCann worked on his defense all off-season. Understandably so, that was his weakest category last year. I hope he’ll get up to around 30-35% CS this year, which will tighten up our defense significantly.

DirtyDawg

April 29th, 2009
5:28 pm

I think it’s time we found out if Brian McCann can play any position besides catcher…like first? I think we’re a better club with Ross behind the plate and with Brian’s bat in the lineup.

Reid in EAV

April 29th, 2009
5:29 pm

PS – The forthcoming new Wilco album is called “Wilco (The Album)” and the first track is called “Wilco The Song.” Brilliant.

TnBrian

April 29th, 2009
5:31 pm

TooBusy, I’ll agonize my foot up your rear-end! “TINBRAIN” ain’ta goin nowhere!

Tom O'Hawke

April 29th, 2009
5:33 pm

Alright, this time I am caught up.

Ted

Your 3:20 post was very cerebral. I’m not saying I agree with it all, but it was cerebral. If you don’t write for the show, “Numbers”, maybe you should submit a resume. It was kind of the blog-opposite of MariettaDork’s, DP to C.

JEB

April 29th, 2009
5:33 pm

If you look at the 1991 Braves team, only Ron Gant had 32 HRs, Justice had 22, and Pendelton had 21. After those three only one other player had 11 HRs and all the rest had under 10 HRs. Only one player (Ron Gant) had over 100 RBI’s.

In 1992 it was much worse. Justice had 21, Pendleton 21, and Gant fell off to just 17 HR’s. Pendleton was the only player who batted over .300, and noone else batted over 275. Noone had 100 RBI’s.

The point? You CAN win with good pitching and clutch hitting!
These 2 years were BEFORE Maddox joined the team.
Glavine, Smoltz, and Avery were the top dogs then.

keylargo

April 29th, 2009
5:33 pm

Hey McFann!

Haven’t taken the time to say hello lately, but I see you online quite often. I have a guess as to your age, if I may? Of course, even if you’re ten, you’re much more mature than 95% of the bloggers on here. Let me know if it’s OK and I’ll post it.

On the subject of BMac and David Ross. I think it is the best thing that could happen to BMac. I think there is a “competitor extreme” hidden below that laid back exterior. McCann could put it on cruise control and outhit, outcatch, outthrow, heck out anything that Corky could do. That’s just what he did last year and really didn’t get any better over the course of the year. You put David Ross out there hitting .300+ and throw out runners left and right and I’ll bet you see BMac improving before your eyes. He ain’t wanting to finish second best! And he’ll have to work at it or he will.

Mitchell

April 29th, 2009
5:34 pm

DOB, that is one of the greatest Wilco songs.

That’s not even doing it justice. It’s hard to rank them but that is in a rotating list of top five Wilco with Misunderstood, Sunken Treasure, Via Chicago and Jesus, etc.

They’re getting a little boring to me these days but those are some of the best songs ever. It’s a proven fact.

Those lyrics are truly some of the best poetry you can find.

Anyway, uh, baseball…

TooBusy?

April 29th, 2009
5:34 pm

TooBusy, I’ll agonize my foot up your rear-end! “TINBRAIN” ain’ta goin nowhere TINBRAIN

Oh that is such good news sweety-lamb. I saw that post by that bad ol’ geek Scooterpie and got so skairt. I’m so thrilled that you didn’t run off and leaf me. :)

Tom O'Hawke

April 29th, 2009
5:36 pm

DOB — RHR — Ross

I’ve toasted TO ravioli, I’ve been TOASTED and ate ravioli, but I’ve never heard of toasted ravioli. I’ll have to see Mr. Google and find out what the heck it is.

kdbanks

April 29th, 2009
5:37 pm

My goodness, I can only image the fine the Escobar has to pay in Court today.

bravefaninok

April 29th, 2009
5:37 pm

Ed Glennon

April 29th, 2009
5:21 pm

I have figured out why Bobby hits hapless Kotchman 4th. He wants to prove that Andruw hitting fourth a couple of years ago was really a good idea. Compared to hapless Kotchman it probably was. Here is a tough one: Who has made a greater impact on the Braves in the last 9 months Casey Kotchman or Terry Pendleton?

just who you would have hitting clean-up? Casey is batting about .292 with a .363 obp,who would be better?

Shamus Thacker

April 29th, 2009
5:39 pm

We need a legit base-stealer to make things happen. That should have been as high a priority as any during the off-season. Otis Nixon could STILL outrun ALL the current Braves. I’d put cash on it!

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