Archive for May, 2009

Thinking with Chipper in the box

   Miami - OK, first off, a disclaimer. Chipper Jones is not in the lineup today against the Marlins. Bobby Cox is giving him the day off because it’s a day game after a night game, and he wanted to give his 37-year-old a little rest.

 

   “I didn’t even ask him,” Cox said. Just did it. And it’s nice for Cox that he had a choice and not because something is ailing Jones.

   But here’s the thing, I talked to Chipper for a good while yesterday about facing K-Rod, and I want to blog about it. So can we suspend belief and let me blog on something that’s not pertinent to the next two hours? (He might be pertinent in three hours though, I can see him pinch hitting.)

   Great, thanks.

   One of my greatest curiosities when it comes to baseball is wanting to know what goes on inside a hitter’s head, or a pitcher’s head, during the course of an at-bat. What are they saying to themselves? What would they say to each other, if we could have a little trash talk in baseball?

   It’s one …

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Kicking off key trip in Sunny Fla.

   Miami – So last time the Braves played the Marlins, it was a three-game set at Turner Field, and I blogged about what a big series it was.

 

   Both teams were coming in hot, each at 5-1, and tied for first place in the division, and the series seemed like something that could set the tone in the division race.

   The Braves got swept, as you know. And since the first game of that series, they have gone 6-14. The Braves have to beat the Marlins tonight to avoid matching the five-game losing streak they sunk into starting with that last Marlins series.

   Not that the Marlins have done much better. Since opening the season 11-1, the Marlins are 4-11. A loss to the Reds last night dropped them into second place in the NL East behind the Phillies, who’ve won three in a row.

   In those first 12 games, the Marlins hit .273, hit 15 home runs and scored 77 runs. They had a staff ERA of 3.24. In the 15 games since then, the Marlins have hit .211, hit 11 home runs, and scored only …

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Braves need infusion of power

  We can only imagine if Atlanta’s professional-sports hopes still rode entirely with the Braves, who for so many years were the city’s only real viable playoff contender in any of the major pro sports.
  While the well-managed Falcons really do appear to have turned a corner — although they still haven’t had consecutive winning seasons, which I find amazing — and the finally improved Hawks have advanced to the second round of the NBA playoffs, the Braves have been out of the postseason for three consecutive years and are not off to a flying start this season, to say the least.
  Hey, we’re only 25 games into a 162-game season, and the division doesn’t look nearly as tough as we thought it would, but still, these Braves have got to hope an infusion of Garret Anderson tonight and Brian McCann’s expected return Friday can get their stagnant lineup going.
  Because it’s getting ugly.
  The Braves have gone 6-13 since their 5-1 start, and they’ve hit exactly as many homers in …

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Braves face Mets, but not Johan

 

   Welcome to Atlanta, the new rain-delay capital of the National League, where we’d be ecstatic to get one series in without significant rain delay.
  The good news is that with the New York Mets in town, the Braves might actually benefit from rain. Not rain here, but rain in Philly, where the Mets were rained out yesterday, which led to them changing their rotation.
  Instead of facing Livan Hernandez and ace Johan Santana in this two-game set (I don’t like calling a two-gamer a “series”), the Braves get to face John Maine and Livan. Santana’s pushed back a day.
  Then again, the last time the Braves got help from the rain in avoidance of an ace — Houston’s Roy Oswalt left after pitching just one inning before an extended delay on Saturday — it didn’t work out so well for the Braves.
  So we’ll see how they take advantage of this opportunity.

If Brian McCann and Garret Anderson are healthy, can Braves win the NL East?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Yes, but Braves will need other …

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Watching the leadoff spot, and other business

   Greetings from the ballpark where “76 Trombones” is playing right now for a parade of Little Leaguers around the stadium – gotta love a little Music Man to start your Sunday – and dogs are making their way into the upper deck for a little Bark in the Park.

 

   Lots of activity going on, including in the lineup. Get to that in a second. It’d be nice not to have to endure what DOB did the last two days with some inopportune showers. I don’t think the stuff is supposed to roll in until the late afternoon, so maybe we’ll squeeze this one in.

   OK, the lineup. Before anybody thought Jordan Schafer was going to stay in the leadoff spot, and Kelly Johnson would be back in there again today. No. With left-hander Wandy Rodriguez going for the Astros, Omar Infante is batting leadoff and Jordan Schafer is back in the eighth hole. And Kelly Johnson is out the lineup again.

   I can just feel some blood pressures rising out there, but let me throw this stat out at you that was …

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Braves face Hampton, Astros

   This probably isn’t the best way to get folks flocking to the old ballpark during a recession: The Braves have hit .220 with one homer while going 1-5 in their past six home games, including five homerless games in a row entering tonight’s series opener against the Astros.
  The good thing is, there will be fireworks tonight, guaranteed.
  Well, almost guaranteed. There’s always the chance that the weekly Friday night postgame fireworks could get squelched by rain or a rain delay that pushes the game to midnight and brings a city ordinance banning post-midnight fireworks.
  But what about in-game explosions of the hitting kind? The Braves (and their pitching staff) could use some run support including perhaps a few long balls.
  Three homers in 291 at-bats at home this season. That’s it. That’s the Braves’ total output, and it’s the fewest home-park homers in the majors in 2009.
  The first two pitchers going for the Astros aren’t the ones you’d pick first if you wanted an …

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