JJ can take the series

(Staff writer Carroll Rogers is filling in for David O’Brien today.)

 

    Once again, things come down to one game to either make or break the mood around the Braves right now. They beat the Dodgers tonight? And they can head out west knowing they just matched up with the team with the best record in baseball and took the series.

 

   Lose? And it’s back-to-back series losses at a critical time. And an even longer flight out to San Diego after the game tonight.

   Not that it is ever a bad thing to fly to San Diego, one of the great cities on the planet (and a place I used to visit frequently because Mr. Richmond used to be Mr. San Diego). But because ESPN wanted this game tonight and moved it to an 8 p.m. start, it’s going to be a rough night for both the Braves and Dodgers, both of whom fly west in the wee hours of the night, and both of whom play tomorrow.

   The team that takes the series gets to do it happy.

   The team that loses won’t have long for a little revenge. After three days in San Diego, the Braves head up to LA for a four-game rematch with the Dodgers. Got to love the schedule-makers on this one, not to mention such a short, three-game turnaround at home amid 13 games on the road. Anyway…

   We’ve got Jair Jurrjens going tonight against Chad Billingsley, a good match-up of one All-Star against a should-have-been All-Star.

   Jurrjens has been on his game all year, but especially so in the last month. He went 4-1 with a 2.09 ERA in six starts in the month of July, allowing more than two runs in a game only once, when he allowed four runs that night when Derrek Lee homered off him in Chicago.

   He’s faced the Dodgers twice in his career and beat them twice, allowing only two earned runs in 13 innings. He’ll try to keep Andre Ethier inside the park for the first time all series.

   Billingsley has been hit around of late, giving up five or more runs in three of his last four starts. Maybe the Braves are catching him at a good time.

   Billingsley one-hit the Cardinals for five innings in his last start before the wheels came off in a six-run sixth inning.

 

MAS LAROCHE

    I admit, I might be doing this because I just opened the paper to see one of my Adam LaRoche quotes lopped out of the notebook, and I want to get it back in there somewhere. I posted this last night in the body of the blog, but I’m going to put it on here again. Because I can. (Then I’ll give you a new quote.)

 

   This is LaRoche on how it felt like coming home yesterday at Turner Field:

   “It’s weird,” LaRoche said. “I’m standing there next to Bobby (Cox) on deck, and I’m looking around and I’m like ‘Man, it feels like I never left.’ It feels like I was gone for a month or two, three years later wind up back here. This turned out great. I’m not going to lie and say Boston wasn’t fun. I did not see this coming at all. But if I was going to go anywhere from Boston, this is where I’d want to be. Couldn’t have drawn it up any better.”

   And here is LaRoche talking about all the recent change, and what it meant to be traded away from Pittsburgh, a place he had come to really enjoy playing.

   “I loved Pittsburgh,” LaRoche said. “It was kind of bittersweet. It was obviously a rough stint there, but I had my little brother playing across the diamond from me. That’s something I would have loved to have done for another 10 years. Luckily I got a year with him. But them moving to Boston right into a pennant race, coming here, in the heat of it, this is a good change for me. I’ve missed the playoffs for too long.”

 

THE PEAVY TRADE THAT WASN’T

   Somebody mentioned this to me the other day – and he knows who he is – but now, looking back, you’d have to think the Braves did the best thing by pulling out of the Jake Peavy trade talks.

 

   Some of the names mentioned in that trade were Yunel Escobar, Charlie Morton, Gorkys Hernandez and Blaine Boyer.

   Escobar has had one heck of a year for the Braves. Morton and Hernandez got the Braves what they needed in Nate McLouth after Jordan Schafer’s jump to the majors fell short. And with Peavy, the Braves would have either not traded for Javier Vazquez or signed Derek Lowe, and both those guys have made a big impact, while Peavy hurt his ankle and has been out since mid-June.

   Just makes you wonder if the Padres would have rather had Escobar to be their everyday shortstop, Charlie Morton pitching in their rotation, Gorkys Hernandez ready to patrol center field soon, etc. Who’s to say Peavy would have agreed to the Braves trade, and who’s to say the Padres aren’t excited about building for the distant future which pitching prospects allow for, not to mention dumping as much salary as they just did.

   I just wonder if the Padres got as much value as they would have, and if they had that trade to do over again if they would have. The Braves sure wouldn’t.

   Just something I thought I’d throw out there as the Braves prepare to head west and play the Peavy-less Padres.

 

PITCHING MATCH-UPS FOR PADRES:

 Monday: RH Kenshin Kawakami (5-8, 4.37) vs. RH Mat Latos (2-1, 2.70)

 

Tuesday: RH Javier Vazquez (8-7, 3.01) vs. RH Tim Stauffer (1-2, 2.57)

Wednesday: RH Tommy Hanson (5-2, 3.25) vs. RH Chad Gaudin (4-9, 4.76)

CARAY ANNIVERSARY

 

   Last but not least, tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of Skip Caray’s death. Let’s all pause and reflect tomorrow. There will always be a void at the ballpark without Skip’s huge personality around. It was larger than life.

   OK, more from the ballpark this afternoon. Just had to go ahead and post and give you some relief for the 4,000 posts on the last blog!

 

 

2,007 comments Add your comment

ernesto

August 2nd, 2009
12:10 pm

Skip is still missed

JasonInFL

August 2nd, 2009
12:12 pm

huge game tonight…we have been saying that for a while, but we can’t lose back to back series. need to beat a tough pitcher tonight and head out West with the mindset of sweeping the Friars…

RHR

August 2nd, 2009
12:15 pm

Hold up. Chad Billingsley was an all star and JJ and Javy were never really even in the conversation? Travesty.

joe

August 2nd, 2009
12:20 pm

we’re gonna bill billingsley for 5 runs today

JasonInFL

August 2nd, 2009
12:22 pm

skip will always be missed!

The_Superhoo

August 2nd, 2009
12:23 pm

With the number of games the Braves probably have to win to take the Wild Card, we either have to win every series going forward, or lose a few, but sweep others.

Doug Drabeck

August 2nd, 2009
12:25 pm

Yesterday’s victory was an absolute gift from Russell Martin and the umps. The Dodgers should be going for a sweep tonight.

Marc from FL

August 2nd, 2009
12:28 pm

After tonight’s game the rest of the month looks like this:

Padres – 6 games
Dodgers – 4 games
Arizona – 1 game
Nationals – 2 games
Phillies – 6 games
Mets – 3 games
Marlins – 4 games (rolls over into 6 over the next month)

Aside from the Dodgers, we have good odds to pull out a big month. We’ve owned the Phillies this year, the Mets and Nationals are vulnerable, the Padres just suck, and we should have a better team than the Marlins. Tonight’s game matters, but if we have a losing record against the Dodgers this month and a winning records against everyone else we’ll be in good Wild Card shape if not in a position to take back the division.

Brightside

August 2nd, 2009
12:28 pm

I have this picture in my mind everytime I think about Skip. It was shortly before he died, maybe his last game and he was doing radio. He came over from the radio booth a took a piece of pizza they had from the TV booth. As it happened the camera was turned to him taking the pizza. I really miss him. I wish someone could take some sound bites of his more famous lines and play them in certain situations.

Chopdawg

August 2nd, 2009
12:35 pm

Rome Braves rained out today; don’t know if Buddy Carlyle’s ever going to get his rehab work in, he was walking up on the mound last night when the storm hit. We get to look at Omar Infante Tuesday, hope he’ll be ready for ATL very soon.

About the Peavy trade: to me the Pads made out like bandits, I don’t know why anyone would ever trade for a player who’s on the DL.

semiballcoach

August 2nd, 2009
12:36 pm

new tarentino movie—kill billingsley vol.3

Braveheart

August 2nd, 2009
12:40 pm

The pizza is my last memory of him too, brightside. Always the scoundrel.

Pete

August 2nd, 2009
12:43 pm

Doug Drabeck: “Yesterday’s victory was an absolute gift from Russell Martin and the umps. The Dodgers should be going for a sweep tonight.”
With all the talk recently about umpire Bill Hahn’s calls going against the Braves, Im a little surprised that Carroll didnt say 1 word about the gift the Braves received on Ethier’s line shot in the 1st inning that was ruled foul, but was clearly fair. A little objectivity would be welcome here, even from a home town writer ya know.

richbrave

August 2nd, 2009
12:44 pm

LEW:

Hang in buddy. New ice age is upon us.

brian

August 2nd, 2009
12:44 pm

great blog. It is amazing that often times the best “moves” a GM can make are when a trade falls through. The Braves would be much worse off if they had been able to make the trade for Peavy. The Braves need to take the series tonight!

AndyC

August 2nd, 2009
12:44 pm

I don’t know if it was mentioned last night but Jeff Bennett pitched well for TB last night. Faced two batters and struck them both out. Maybe Atlanta is cursed. Former players go away and play well (Frenchy 18 RBI in 18 games).

Who cares. Glad they’re both gone, I don’t miss the feeling of impending doom I got when either one of them showed their faces wearing a braves jersey. – RHR

I guess you won’t be checking the box scores to see how your man Kotch is doing in Boston? It’s interesting to see how former Braves perform after leaving. Besides, what would we talk about?

VaBraveFan

August 2nd, 2009
12:46 pm

Yeah definitly glad we didnt end up with Peavy. I just hope this offseason Wren finds us a few bats like he found arms.
Next Year Projected LineUp

CF Shafer
LF McLouth
3B Chipper
RF New Guy ,
C McCann
SS Escobar
1B LaRoach? Freeman (Hope not) New Guy?
2B Prado/Kelly/Omar???

looks pretty good, with the pitching we already have.
But the main need is just to get a Legit RH Cleanup hitter that plays Corner outfield or First Base.
I dont know what to say about bringing Heyward and Freeman up except they definitly need more time in minors considering there just turning 20.
Get that 1 big bat and Resign Soriano should be the most important.

abwright

August 2nd, 2009
12:48 pm

AndyC “I don’t know if it was mentioned last night but Jeff Bennett pitched well for TB last night. Faced two batters and struck them both out. Maybe Atlanta is cursed. Former players go away and play well (Frenchy 18 RBI in 18 games).”

Tyler Yates also pitched well, initially, for the Pirates. Blaine Boyer pitched well, initially, for the Cardinals. Where are they now?

Bennett pitched some really good innings for the Braves this year. But, he also cost them about 3-5 games.

I’ll leave it to Paul Lentz to educate you on the stinkiness that was Jeff Francouer. <g>

Steve from OH

August 2nd, 2009
12:51 pm

Chopdawg–you get out to the Rome games often? Whaddaya think of JJ Hoover and the rest of the Rome staff?

McFann :Ô:

August 2nd, 2009
12:52 pm

Thanks for the new Blog, Ms. Rogers! All righties for the San Diego series, eh? Nice…

Can’t wait for the lineup…

unbelievable

August 2nd, 2009
12:55 pm

and there is no telling how may games Frenchy cost this team this year

RHR

August 2nd, 2009
12:57 pm

Oh sure, AndyC, that was just my comment in general, not really meant to be directed at you. Will I check on Kotch in Boston? lol no. I mean, he wasn’t really “my boy” … I just didn’t understand the trade, its not like he was Jeff at the plate, you know. But I trust that Frank Wren knows what he’s doing so whatever.

Lash La Rue

August 2nd, 2009
12:57 pm

It was good to see LaRoach out there yesterday. He’s not great but he wants to win bad and can help this team.

Great job again DOB.

Go Braves!

VaBraveFan

August 2nd, 2009
12:59 pm

Just a note i wanted to add about McLouth.

For the Pirates he was there best hitter he batted 3rd for them, he bats Leadoff for us. 2 very different jobs in the Lineup.
That explains his K’s and not working the count as much as a normal leadoff man. I’m sure he wont be batting leadoff next year considering he can hit 25 homers over a full season and i think he’ll be even better next year since he’s not in the Pirates lineup at all.

Lash La Rue

August 2nd, 2009
12:59 pm

sorry about that..thanks Carol!!!!!!!!

Doug Drabeck

August 2nd, 2009
1:02 pm

How about the non strike three call with Chipper at the plate? He smacked the next pitch to right center for an RBI double. No, the Braves P.R. people posing as journalists don’t even mention something like that, but they’ll harp on a close call against the Braves for days.
Joe Simpson is the worst of the bunch.

Duke

August 2nd, 2009
1:09 pm

Any chance Kelly gets a start in RF tonight? Diaz has struggled of late and if “somehow” Kelly were to get hot, this team would be very dangerous.

Chopdawg

August 2nd, 2009
1:10 pm

Steve–I think the pitchers in Rome this year have a lot of potential: Hoover, Randall Delgado, Dimasther Delgado, David Francis, Brett DeVall, eventually Zeke Spruill as starters; relievers Jaye Chapman & Craig Kimbrel & Tyrelle Harris–before he got hurt–look strong.

richbrave

August 2nd, 2009
1:11 pm

DOWN ON THE FARM:

It is a pleasure to see WES TIMMONS finally stroking the ball as a bona-fide AAA infielder at age 30. As a 2002 12th rounder, I have watched him struggle for years coming up the BRAVES ladder, always giving his all to improve. Strictly a singles hitter, he’s a credit to the farm system. Hitting .429 in his last 14 AB’s since the break, its great to see him finally mastering the AAA level of play with the stick. Last year he got his cup of coffee in ATLANTA. Maybe one more is called for in September. Hope so. He’s earned it.

v8r in SATX

August 2nd, 2009
1:11 pm

Hi guys, new to the blog. I look forward to seeing the spark that LaRoche will bring also. He has been on a loser team the past few years. Hopefully getting into a wildcard/playoff race will help re-ignite him as well.

v8r in SATX

August 2nd, 2009
1:13 pm

Yes, right now its all righties slated for SD. We should be able to take good hacks against them too.

Mav

August 2nd, 2009
1:13 pm

Let see Paul Lentz will have to “happily” admit he is wrong about today!

abwright

August 2nd, 2009
1:16 pm

It’s interesting to note that Philly plays SF, COL, FLA, CHI in the series leading up to the next series in Atlanta.

If Atlanta plays good ball between now and that series, one of two things will happen…
1. Braves will catch up in the Wild Card (Phillies go 7-3, 8-2 or some such)
2. Braves will catch up on the Phillies but not gain much ground on the Wild Card

How weird is that, though? In consecutive series, a division leader will be playing the 1 through 5 placed teams in the wild card race.

northbeach Scott

August 2nd, 2009
1:16 pm

The ump misses that went in the Braves favor, yesterday, goes to show that the umps do not have anything against the Braves, their just human. Over the course of the long 162 game season, these gifts and misses, typically balance out-compensating variations is the term I use for this in business.

That is why you just cannot get too wacked about calls. That is why Bobby Cox gets tossed out, he lets it be known that he is not happy, but does not insult the ump in a way that causes long-term damage. Cox takes the heat for his player, so that the player and the Braves can fight and win another day.

richbrave

August 2nd, 2009
1:17 pm

DOUG D:

Since you were a playa’, you are acutely aware of the old groove one in frustration after a missed call by the ump. No mystery in seeing that pitch riding high. But guy, come on, every homer who calls a game is allowed that largress. Who’s going to remember a favorable call for the home-team and complain about it later? Just goes against human nature.

Kenny Powers

August 2nd, 2009
1:17 pm

Already got my Tickets to see Jason Heyward in Montgomery Aug 15th *assuming he isnt called up before then)

He is only hitting .420 since being promoted to AA

jason

August 2nd, 2009
1:17 pm

Bill Hahn (spelled right?) Cost ATL 2 games in that FL series. One while at 1B, nad the other while behind the plate. Every time ATL plays while he is umpiring is pretty much a loss waiting to happen. I don’t know how he keeps his job. The bad thing about it is that it also affects the other team also. The guy just SUCKS at doing his job. You can’t make a bad call, and then give a make up call later. It doesn’t work as susposed to all the time. Hahn needs to be fired. Simple as that. Why are umpires not held accountable for their bad play in games?

Kenny Powers

August 2nd, 2009
1:19 pm

Drabek nice try but that ball was just outside or boderline. The pitch to McCann was a foot outside. Apples to oranges my friend

v8r in SATX

August 2nd, 2009
1:20 pm

We got Hahnjobbed…

Kenny Powers

August 2nd, 2009
1:20 pm

Watching the Mutts now. They arent shaving as a team until they get back to .500 . Its gonna be a scruffy Sept in Flushing

NORRIS

August 2nd, 2009
1:21 pm

why do you guys keep thinking that Schafer is going to be in center next year. He will not be in center. Mclouth is 10 times better fielder than schafer. Mclouth will be in center next year. If Schafer makes the team it will be in left or right. He has a lot of improving to do.

Lash La Rue

August 2nd, 2009
1:21 pm

Richbrave…thanks for update. Always look for your report and opinion.

Go Dawgs

August 2nd, 2009
1:22 pm

I hope we don’t mess up Jason Heyward like we did Jordan Schafer. Heyward could be our Pujols (wishful thinking–I know), but boy we would be killer if he lives up to his potential. Hopefully another decade or so of playoff appearances in the future…

richbrave

August 2nd, 2009
1:23 pm

Well off to the “DIAMOND” to see my grandson play in a VCU showcase game. The old place looked like PARKER FIELD used to in the early ’70’s. Moribund and practically empty.

Duke

August 2nd, 2009
1:24 pm

From Buster Onley’s Blog:

The Phillies landed the biggest pre-deadline prize in Cliff Lee, and Detroit might’ve acquired the biggest difference-maker in Jarrod Washburn, but Atlanta may have done the best overall work in summertime deals so far. The Braves have reshaped their offense by acquiring Nate McLouth and Adam LaRoche, and only four teams scored more runs than the Braves in July. They already have outstanding starting pitching, of course; only the Giants’ and Cardinals’ pitchers have lower ERAs. As of Sunday morning, the Braves are four games behind the Giants and Rockies in the wild-card standings, and they are dangerous.

UNCBrave

August 2nd, 2009
1:25 pm

HEYWARD AND FREEMAN UPDATE:

OF JASON HEYWARD-23 Games, .420 average, 81 AB, 3 HR’s, 19 RBI, 11 2B, 14-BB, 9-K’s, .500-OBP, .716-SLG, 1.216-OPS

(HEYWARD turns 20 1 week from today)

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?pos=&sid=t430&t=p_pbp&pid=518792

1B FREDDIE FREEMAN-24 games, .310 average, 87 AB’s, 2 HR’s, 20 RBI,
7 2B, 5 BB, 7 K’s, .347-OBP, .460 SLG, .807 OPS

He turns 20 next month..

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?pos=&sid=t430&t=p_pbp&pid=518692

Lash La Rue

August 2nd, 2009
1:26 pm

Schafer has alot to do in order to return. He’s had a bad year all around and 7 weeks of spring training don’t prove you can cut it in majors. I do wish him well.

Steve from OH

August 2nd, 2009
1:26 pm

Mclouth is 10 times better fielder than schafer.

Fielding metrics don’t agree with you and neither do scouting reports. McLouth is terrible according to UZR and +/- and while I don’t think he’s as bad as those metrics indicate, he’s just average IMO. Schafer, OTOH, has gotten nothing but rave reviews in the minors and watching him this year I think his range and arm are outstanding. I read a scouting report on McLouth from BA when he was in the minors and they weren’t all that impressed with his D. We don’t just say stuff to say it, we’ve got good reasoning behind what we say.

So I think it’s safe to say that McLouth is not “10 times better than Schafer.”

o-me

August 2nd, 2009
1:28 pm

Ok, just 5 times better.

hoho

August 2nd, 2009
1:29 pm

Speaking of horrible announcing:
the Brave radio guys did a horrible job of letting LaRoche “have his moment” on radio yesterday.
You could hear the cheers for him as he came up for his first at bat. Don and Jim don’t even say “here’s LaRoche” or “welcome back Rochy”, they just prattle on over his ovation about something very inane (eye black I think) laughing to themselves. Self indulgent (but that’s Don, he’s probably not a great singer but he sure does love the sound of his own voice). Way to “paint the picture” for us radio guys. Sounded like you worked for FOX the way you ignored the local flavor.

VaBraveFan

August 2nd, 2009
1:30 pm

I’m thinking with McLouth under contract for 3 more seasons and the Need for a Power Bat and With Heyward getting closer, Shafer might be involved in a trade during the offseason for that power bat. I also think that with LaRoach back in Atlanta he will play at a much better level, He averaged 274.avg 21 homers and 74 rbi in 3 season with Atlanta, with good defense. Hopefully the Braves can sign him to a 2 yr deal, giving Freeman more time to develope, and possibly using LaRoach in a trade near the end of his new contract.

NORRIS

August 2nd, 2009
1:31 pm

ok 5 times. I agree. I have watched Mclouth now for a couple months. He is a pretty dang good outfielder. Very solid. I just dont see them moving him for a guy that is unproven.

Steve from OH

August 2nd, 2009
1:31 pm

McLouth’s career UZR/150 is -10, meaning he’ll cost you a win per year with the glove by that standard, and he’s been the worst CF over the last three years by the Fielding Bible in both +/- and runs saved.

Kenny Powers

August 2nd, 2009
1:33 pm

Schaefer is the better defender but McClouths overall game might be 10 times better at this point in his career.

abwright

August 2nd, 2009
1:33 pm

Steve from OH … without the metrics, I tend to believe that you are correct on McLouth v. Schafer and that we’ll see Schafer in CF and McLouth in RF when Schafer is ready to make it back from the DL.

However, anecdotally, McLouth has made some really outstanding, game-saving running catches in CF in the last few games. I’m not sure whether you can say “anomaly” or “improvement.”

Steve from OH

August 2nd, 2009
1:33 pm

Ok, just ignore what the stats and the scouts are both telling you…what was your reasoning, again?

NORRIS

August 2nd, 2009
1:35 pm

I call them as I see them. What has he had? one error this year. When schafer was in there earlier this yearr I cringed everytime the ball went to him. He just didnt seem sure of himself out there.

VaBraveFan

August 2nd, 2009
1:35 pm

McLouth has won a gold glove, and i consider him a good outfielder, i dont like the fielding UZR crap. Just watch him play look at the plays he has made.

NORRIS

August 2nd, 2009
1:37 pm

I just feel that Mclouth is our center fielder for the long haul. You dont move a guy like that.

Steve from OH

August 2nd, 2009
1:37 pm

abwright–absolutely, he’s made some fine plays, and like I said, I think the metrics are too unkind to him–I think that overall he’s average. But Schafer is a flyhawk according to every scouting report I’ve ever read, and I definitely prefer scouting reports to defensive stats any day. I think a McLouth-Schafer-Heyward defensive alignment saves us a TON of runs with the glove, and McLouth and Schafer on the basepaths will be a lot of run value right there. Never mind Schafer’s plus arm.

Go Dawgs

August 2nd, 2009
1:38 pm

I think signing LaRoche would be our best option. He might give us a little discount (but who knows nowadays) and he is the power hitter the Braves desperately need. He isn’t a marquee slugger, but he won’t cost as much. We will have our rotation intact next year and just need some bullpen and outfield help (if we sign LaRoche). That would make the Braves dangerous in the NL East b/c would finally have the hitting to go with the pitching. Anyone have a good list yet for big free agent outfielders after the season is over?

NCBravesFan

August 2nd, 2009
1:38 pm

Carroll: nice post as always. The Skip reference made me think immediately about how terrible last year was on so many fronts – players started getting hurt left and right … and it seemed like Skip’s death capped off a miserable summer.

This year has been more about the fits and starts involved with moving forward as a franchise. The direction is good in my opinion and it’s a damn shame Skip’s not here for the ride

RIP Skip.

Kenny Powers

August 2nd, 2009
1:38 pm

Unfortuantly your eyes lie. A hard running catch by McClouth might be and easy running catch for Schaefer. The numbers dont lie

Jaglawyer

August 2nd, 2009
1:39 pm

Hoho:

No offense, but your comment about the radio guys not giving Laroche his “moment” is borderline asinine. Who cares?

Thank God Don Sutton is back with the Braves on radio . . .especially as we approach the one year anniversary of Skip’s passing.

Steve from OH

August 2nd, 2009
1:40 pm

The series that sticks out for me was the series we played against the Mets at Citi early on in the season. Schafer was really outstanding there, he covered that huge CF easily and threw out a couple of runners at the plate IIRC.

NORRIS

August 2nd, 2009
1:41 pm

Your assuming Shafer makes it back.

Go Dawgs

August 2nd, 2009
1:42 pm

McLouth may not be a good of fielder as Schafer, but he’s good enough to play the position and not be a liability out there. He’s been a better hitter and Schafer isn’t ready yet, so I’d say the aggregate score goes to McLouth. I don’t give a damn about fielding if the guy can’t hit.

Pal Joey

August 2nd, 2009
1:42 pm

All Braves fans hope they make the playoffs. But with their inconsistent play of one great game and one not so stellar, they just don’t seem destined to be much above .500 at year’s end. The bats still are one big gun shy and it will likely come back to haunt them down the stretch. I just don’t see them having the fire power to pull it off. We have the pitching to do it, but without another big bat, it just doesn’t look promising. Losing Escobar for an extended period takes a huge bat out of the equation, and with Chipper’s problems of staying healthy, they have very little to fall back on. McCann can’t do it all. McLouth hasn’t exactly been a ball of fire so far, Anderson is still good at bat but not so great in the field, Norton has been, for the most part, an automatic out, KJ was a miserable problem the whole first half, while Prado has been a breath of fresh air at second of late. But with a couple of consistent bats out of the lineup for any period of time, we have a very thin bench to fill in. If we are injury free the next two months, we just might pull it off. But common sense tells you that won’t happen, and we seem to be short on fire power to make it work. I hope I’m wrong, but experience tells me the playoffs may just be wishful thinking this year.

Chop Chop

August 2nd, 2009
1:44 pm

Roachy is, without a doubt, one of the greatest Braves of all-time. The fact that the radio guys didn’t give him his moment makes me physically and, if this comment is to be judged, mentally ill.

Go Dawgs

August 2nd, 2009
1:45 pm

Don Sutton is great on the radio, but Jim Powell is a stick in the mud. His jokes are awkward and his monotone voice is annoying.

Jaglawyer

August 2nd, 2009
1:47 pm

Chop x2:

Props for 1:44 post . . .

You would think Sid Bream or Fransico Cabrerra had returned . . . or even better, Brian Hunter, Randall Simon or shhhhh Robert Fisk.

VaBraveFan

August 2nd, 2009
1:47 pm

McLouth, Schafer, Heyward outfield looks great. All 3 can play D all three can run well and 2 out of the 3 we know will hit.
I still think Schafer gets dealt for a power hitter.
McLouth is overall a good player, good defense, good speed, good power and under contract for 3 more seasons at a cheap price.
Heyward is a 5 tool number 1 prospect in baseball tearing the cover off the ball and has amazing Plate Disipline and isnt even 20 years old yet. Good Speed and Great D with a Plus Arm. Should be a sure thing as Atlanta’s Future Number 3 hitter.
Schafer has major league defense ability with great speed and great arm. But has no plate disipline and has poor contact. Hopefully he will be improved and ready to roam Center or Left next season.

NORRIS

August 2nd, 2009
1:47 pm

I think the move to get Laroche was great. We got a first baseman with some power. We also picked up a guy that is great for team morale and chemistry in the dugout. Chipper will definitely benefit because he is a friend of Adam. Chipper was down to being the only older guy from the good teams. I think the move will help chipper emotionally.

Steve from OH

August 2nd, 2009
1:47 pm

Right now, of course there’s no debate as to who plays center. But Schafer has got the tools and the plate approach to be a good hitter, IMO. He definitely needs more development time. I hope he’s healthy in time to get some AAA at-bats in August and in time to play winter ball so that we can see him sometime next year. Even if he only becomes an average hitter at the big league level, his defense and baserunning abilities will make him an above-average player. Hey, you win the game by both scoring and preventing runs, so don’t dismiss defense so easily–it’s mighty important, and with a flyhawk like Schafer in center, our pitchers will give up less runs. Remeber Andruw Jones in center? I’m sure his defense wasn’t that important, right?

Jaglawyer

August 2nd, 2009
1:47 pm

Fisk or Frick, who cares?

Jay212033

August 2nd, 2009
1:50 pm

Why does everyone think the Braves “messed up” Jordan Schafer?!?! I really would like for you half Braves fans to go back and look at the film from ST and the first week of the regular season and look at how quick Schafer’s bat was getting through the zone and how he got on top of the ball. Then look at his swing after he hurt his wrist, Schafer should’ve let the Braves know he was hurt instead of trying to play though the injury. I saw the kid personally several times in the minors and his swing was quick, compact and under control, his defense was awesome. He made several catches that reminded me of #25.

Jaglawyer

August 2nd, 2009
1:50 pm

Norris:

My god not this whole “emotional” nonsense again ala Escobar and Pena.

Big leaguers making big cash . . . they can call a shrink if they are depressed.

Now, if Chipper starts batting .500 I’ll change my tune

Go Dawgs

August 2nd, 2009
1:52 pm

But you don’t win games if you never score runs Steve, it doesn’t matter how many you prevent. Baseball games don’t end in ties and balls dont always fly to CF. And applauding Schafer’s plate approach is laughable. He was on his way to have the most strikeouts in the major leagues before they sent him back to the minors. He’s a free swinger like Frenchy and known to rack up the strikeouts. He still has a long way to go.

AndyC

August 2nd, 2009
1:53 pm

abwright

I certainly didn’t mean that I think Bennett and Frenchy were going to be long term successes. Just making an observation about former Braves. Also, there are plenty of former Braves that left to become very successful (Marquis, Schmidt, etc.) so don’t just give the bad ones as examples.

Steve from OH

August 2nd, 2009
1:53 pm

No plate discipline? He walked 14% of the time this year! That’s more than McCann and Yunel, and those guys to well in the plate discipline department…

And I don’t think he should be traded for a power bat. We’d be selling low, and in any case, like I said on the last blog, we’re going to have a lot of money tied up in the pitching staff, Chipper, Mac and Yunel that it becomes really important to have cheap, contollable position players. Don’t know if we can afford the cost of a middle-of-the-order thug. Heyward should fit that mold more effciently cost-wise than someone outside the organization. This team going forward looks to be built around winning by run prevention, so let’s add a player that fits that mold, huh? Never mind that he shouldn’t be a liability with the stick long-term.

Zach

August 2nd, 2009
1:53 pm

I dont know if you watched shafer play center with the braves but there is no doubt in my mind that he was a deer in headlights out there. Sure he has a great arm, and he can run. But balls were flying over his head because he mispositioned himself, and oftentimes he would misplay the ball of the wall and the double (and maybe should have been out) would turn into a triple.

I’m not ripping the guy because he’s a young guy and very inexperienced, however I find there to be no comparison between him and nate in the field or at bat.

VaBraveFan

August 2nd, 2009
1:53 pm

Free agent to be Outfielders this offseason
Left Fielders
Garret Anderson (38)
Marlon Anderson (36)
Jason Bay (31)
Emil Brown (35)
Carl Crawford (28) – $10MM club option with a $1.25MM buyout
Johnny Damon (36)
David Dellucci (36)
Cliff Floyd (37)
Matt Holliday (30)
Jacque Jones (35)
Gabe Kapler (34)
Greg Norton (37)
Wily Mo Pena (28)
Manny Ramirez (38) – $20MM player option
Dave Roberts (38)
Fernando Tatis (35)
Center fielders
Rick Ankiel (30)
Rocco Baldelli (28)
Marlon Byrd (32)
Mike Cameron (37)
Endy Chavez (32)
Coco Crisp (30) – $8MM club option with a $500K buyout
Darin Erstad (36)
Ryan Freel (34)
Jerry Hairston Jr. (34)
Reed Johnson (33)
Andruw Jones (33)
Gabe Kapler (34)
Mark Kotsay (34)
Corey Patterson (30)
Scott Podsednik (34)
Right fielders
Bobby Abreu (36)
Jermaine Dye (36) – $12MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout
Brian Giles (39)
Vladimir Guerrero (34)
Eric Hinske (32)
Geoff Jenkins (35) – $7.5MM mutual option with a $1.25MM buyout
Gabe Kapler (34)
Austin Kearns (30) – $10MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Jason Michaels (34)
Xavier Nady (31)
Magglio Ordonez (36) – $15MM club/vesting option with a $3MM buyout
Randy Winn (36)

Your Mom is Unknown

August 2nd, 2009
1:54 pm

anyone have any idea when Schafer might be playing again in Gwinnett? He’s still on the DL, yes?

Steve from OH

August 2nd, 2009
1:55 pm

Sure, but like I said, he doesn’t project to be a below-average hitter, and we’ve got a lot of good hitters on the way in Chipper, Mac, Yunel, Prado, McLouth, Freeman and Heyward. Throw in Schafer and I like the look of that offense.

Carroll Rogers

August 2nd, 2009
1:55 pm

Pete, I did mention that blown call by the umps last night on the blog. I didn’t in my gamer because it came in the first inning with nobody on and one out and who’s to say if Lowe wouldn’t have gotten out of the inning anyway. Had there been a runner on base, it would have been a bigger deal. I was actually kind of laughing at myself at what I didn’t mention in my gamer and that was Chipper’s two RBIs. ….But we have a finite amount of space and I was all into the sudden eruption coming from the bottom of the lineup last night.

Jaglawyer

August 2nd, 2009
1:56 pm

VaBraveFan:

nice list. who wants to bet Kearns and Mags get the ol’ buyout?

Go Dawgs

August 2nd, 2009
1:56 pm

It’s not uncommon for rookies like Schafer (see Jay Bruce) to come in and set the world on fire their first few weeks in the majors before they come back down to earth and pitchers figure them out. Schafer had a lot of K’s in the minors and will have a lot of K’s in the majors if he ever plays for the Braves again (he’ll probably be traded)

VaBraveFan

August 2nd, 2009
1:56 pm

Yes Schafer did walk alot but look at the K’s most swinging at pitches down and in out of the zone.
I like Schafer and hope he does well, but i rather have a true cleanup hitter to put in between Chipper and Mac

brian

August 2nd, 2009
1:57 pm

for the Braves OF of the future it is easy to pencil in Schafer in CF, McLouth in LF, and Heyward in RF. My only concern there is that they are all left handed hitters and combining with of 1B of the future Freddie Freeman and our catcher of the present and future Brian McCann that is an overwhelmingly left handed lineup. I am sure the Braves would love to put a right handed slugger in LF to complement the lefties. That would involve moving Schafer or McLouth and possibly Cody Johnson as well, though after seeing Cody in person it sure would be hard to trade his power potential.

Zach

August 2nd, 2009
1:58 pm

I think shafer is still leading the league in strike outs.

# 31

August 2nd, 2009
1:59 pm

Steve from OH – I 100% agree that scouting reports are more reliable than defensive stats. My problem with Schafer is the paths he takes to fly balls. He always seems to take this odd, winding route to gappers and doesn’t get there because of it. McLouth always seems to be in the right position. I know people who rely heavily on defensive stats hate this justification, but just by watching the the games they have played in I have to deem McLouth a more valuable centerfielder.

Go Dawgs

August 2nd, 2009
2:00 pm

Thanks for the list VaBrave.

Carroll: any word yet on the fall out of the “Fist-Bump Gate” (Bill Hohn fist bump with Marlins catcher John Baker)?

Steve from OH

August 2nd, 2009
2:00 pm

Schafer’s not a cleanup hitter and I never suggested he would be. He’s either a leadoff or no. 8 type guy. Heyward is your long-term no. 3 guy, meaning Chipper is probably your no. 4 guy and Mac bats 5th, and long-term the no.4 guy is likely Freeman. Nate isn’t suited to lead off anyway, I like his bat in the 6 or 7 spot myself.

v8r in SATX

August 2nd, 2009
2:01 pm

I don’t see Shafer up here with the Braves next year. Braves will go get some power for the outfield, and leave Roachy at first(hopefully at a discount). Shafer is gonna be trade bait, capable and cheap for another team looking to shed some dough.

Kenny Powers

August 2nd, 2009
2:01 pm

I’m not ripping the guy because he’s a young guy and very inexperienced, however I find there to be no comparison between him and nate in the field or at bat.

Thats because you are using your eyes not the math which doesnt lie. Schafer has a stronger arm and better range. That being said McClouth is clearly the better player now

Gone Viral

August 2nd, 2009
2:02 pm

“Thank God Don Sutton is back with the Braves on radio . . .especially as we approach the one year anniversary of Skip’s passing.”

Amen, brother. Sutton’s going to Washington significantly damaged my enjoyment of the Braves for a time. Skip and Don (and The Professor) taught me the game of baseball.

Jeffro

August 2nd, 2009
2:02 pm

God I can’t believe its been a year since Skip passed. Would love to hear him and Pete for just one more series….preferrably the World Series.

VaBraveFan

August 2nd, 2009
2:02 pm

Chipper is 9th in the Majors in walks with 65 and in the top 50 he is the only Brave, thats shows he has been pitched around alot, Not to mention he is 3rd in the Majors in IBB with 14 only behind Adrian Gonzalaz and Pujols, we need a real cleanup hitter to protect Chipper, Mac is great hitter but everyone rather face him instead of Chipper

Steve from OH

August 2nd, 2009
2:03 pm

Sorry guys, I watched Schafer play too and I thought he was really good out there. Combine that with the opinions of scouts who, unlike you or me, actually know what they’re looking at and defensive metrics as a ballpark estimate, and I fail to see the argument for McLouth. I know you guys like him, but I like Schafer and neither of us are scouts, so I’ll go with what the pros say.

Go Dawgs

August 2nd, 2009
2:03 pm

Schafer may have walked 14% of the time, but he struck out at a much higher percentage than ANYONE IN THE LEAGUE. That doesn’t prove he’s disciplined at the plate whatsoever.

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