Archive for August, 2009

Lowe reaches another low vs. NY

  New York -- So what did we learn last night? Well, we learned that when Bobby Cox thinks a pitcher can get an inning-ending double-play grounder, he will wait … and wait … and wait a little longer for said pitcher to get that grounder.
  We learned that the bubble tea is particularly good at one of the many little late-night joints near my hotel in the Chinatown section of beautiful downtown Flushing, N.Y.
  (Before you ask why I’m here: Series is three night games, so it wasn’t even worth staying in   Manhattan and schlepping back and forth on the subway in heat-advistory weather, not without even one day game to make a night on the town possible. So it’s Flushing, and a very low hotel rate, and Citi Field literally within view from my window. And not much else.)
  (Oh, some of you might also be asking, what is bubble tea? Google it. Don’t have enough time to write a good explanation. But it’s good.)

Braves need Jurrjens to pitch a whole lot better tonight than Lowe did last night

Braves need Jurrjens to pitch a whole lot better tonight than Lowe did …

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Didn’t you used to be the Mets?


Slumping Escobar has hit .500 vs. Mets this season

  New York — Remember in recent seasons how the Braves always seemed to get pounded by that quartet of Mets hitters who absolutely feasted on Atlanta pitching?
  Well, none of them will be in the Mets lineup tonight. Or even on the Mets’ active roster.
  Not Carlos Delgado, with his .306 average, 19 homers, 77 RBI and .949 OPS in 84 career games against the Braves.
  Not Carlos Beltran, with his .318 average, 17 homers, 50 RBI and 1.003 OPS in 73 games against the Braves (which doesn’t even include his gaudy postseason numbers against them).
  Not speedy Jose Reyes, with his .301 average, 40 extra-base hits, 38 steals and .831 OPS in 94 games against the Braves.
  And now, not David Wright, with his .297 average, 23 homers and .941 OPS in 94 games against the Braves.
  All of them are hurt, with Wright joining the DL brigade over the weekend after getting beaned by a 94-mph Matt Cain fastball that hit him flush in the side …

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Rain for a rain makeup?

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


   OK, so it’s a makeup game for a rain-out and the forecast isn’t exactly peachy. I read on that scattered thunderstorms should be arriving for the afternoon. I see.

   On top of that, it’s a 4 o’clock game. The Braves are coming off a big series against the Phillies, and a letdown at that after losing two out of three thanks to Ryan Howard and his three home runs. So I’d venture a guess that the crowd today will be a lot more like the Nationals’ series than the Phillies.

   But there are a couple of things working in fans’ favor today. $1 tickets and a really nice pitching matchup: Tommy Hanson vs. Max Scherzer, the top young pitcher for the Braves vs. the top young pitcher for the Dbacks.

   Hanson (7-2, 3.05) has won his last two outings – against the Nationals and Padres – and has pitched at least six innings in each of his last five starts and seven of eight.

   Scherzer (7-6, 3.94) has …

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Braves vs. Phils, Moylan wants in … as usual


  He’s been a big part of the run that’s gotten the Braves back into the thick of the playoff race, and Peter Moylan insists there’s no reason to be concerned about him possibly being too big a part.
That is, don’t worry about him pitching too frequently, even though the bloke leads the majors in relief appearances just 14-1/2 months after having ligament-transplant (”Tommy John”) elbow surgery.
  The amiable Aussie sidearmer has pitched in an eyebrow-raising 24 of the Braves’ 39 games since July 2, pushing his season total to 65 appearances entering tonight’s big series finale with the Phillies on ESPN.

Workhorse Aussie has been big for Braves

Workhorse Aussie has been big for Braves

  Mets lefty specialist Pedro Feliciano (64 before today) was the only other pitcher with as many as 60 appearances, and he had three fewer than Moylan since July 2.
  ”I feel like I’m at my best when I am throwing all the time,” the heavily — and we do mean heavily – tattoed righty said. “It allows you to hone your craft, so to …

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Braves vs. Phillies: It’s big

 It might have gone unnoticed, if a couple of reporters hadn’t been there for Tim Hudson’s rehab start last night at Gwinnett. What we’re talking about were the couple of familiar guys down front, Brian McCann and Adam LaRoche, there to watch their teammate pitch.
 Might have gone unnoticed, but fortunately it did not. Because this is the kind of thing that speaks volumes about McCann and LaRoche. It says something that the two of them, both married and with other things to do on a precious late-season Braves off day, went out to the Gwinnett ballpark to see Huddy pitch.
  Anyone who isn’t quite sure what all the Braves meant when they talked about what a great guy LaRoche was in the clubhouse after the team traded for him last month, well, this was a little example. Dude’s a great teammate. He might not even be back with the Braves next season, might just be here for a few months, but he cared enough about the team and about Hudson to go see him pitch in one of his final …

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One step away from the Phils

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

   Well it’s been a wacky day already, and let’s just hope that doesn’t mean we’re in for rain delays all night and extra innings and who knows what all.


   I took the car in to have a tire fixed, filled it full of air long enough to get me to the shop, and on the way there, I took a pebble torpedo to the windshield. (Either that or the sky was really falling.) The crack is directly in front of where my right eye wants to look. So what was going to be a $25 job to patch a tire wound up $250 to replace a windshield. Somebody help?!

   Ah well, what are you gonna do? Cover some baseball….

   The Braves got off to just the start they wanted in this Nationals series last night, winning in 8-1 command. Now they aim to complete the deal tonight, then take a day of rest tomorrow, and get to face the Phillies at Turner Field this weekend with a real sense of confidence (not to mention maybe a chance to be within …

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Oh no, not the Nats!

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


   Somehow it keeps coming back to this, doesn’t it?

   The Braves have a date with the Nationals, and they need to play well, and they are reminding themselves not to look past the “lowly” team from the bottom of the division, yadda yadda.

   Well, I, for one, think they’ve got no room to look past the Nats. Don’t care if the Phillies are coming in this weekend for a three-game showdown, and the Braves are in striking distance at 4 ½ games behind the Phillies in the NL East.

   How can you look past a team that keeps beating you? The Braves should be staring squarely across the field at the Nationals, especially now. The Nats are actually bringing momentum with them this time – an eight-game winning streak – and they already seem ready to rise up to play the Braves tough just any old time.

   In the last two seasons, these two teams have met for 10 series (including the one-gamer to open the 2008 season). …

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(Ryan) Church in session at Dodger Stadium


Church (right) is hugged by McCann after homer Friday

  Los Angeles – The Dodger Stadium denizens let him hear it Friday in his first start here since the infamous May 18 game when he missed third base. But he had the last laugh.
  To refresh for those who might not recall the incident, Church was with the Mets on May 18 when he scored from first on an Angel Pagan triple for the lead in the 11th inning.
 Or not.
  He missed third base headed for home, and the Dodgers appealed and Church was out. Replays showed he missed the bag. Stepped beside it.
  Dodgers won in the bottom of the 11th. Mets manager Jerry Manuel didn’t exactly Bobby Cox it in terms of protecting his player.
  No, Manuel said: “It’s hard to miss third base. I don’t know if I ever remember seeing anyone miss third base in a situation like that. I don’t have any explanation for it.”
Not a high point in Church career.
  Then came Friday, his first start back at Dodger Stadium. Fans shouted “thanks” to him and …

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Braves try to slow Ethier, Dodgers

  Los Angeles — Our man Rafael Soriano has hit a rough patch at an in inopportune time, and Andre Ethier is having a season filled with a career’s worth of late-game heroics.
  The combination spelled disaster for the Braves last night while many of you were sleeping, when Ethier hit a three-run, game-ending homer off Soriano to give the Dodgers a 5-4 win that left some Bravos (and surely most of their night owl fans) with a what-the-bleep-just-happened expression.
  ”You just don’t expect to see it — it’s more a shock than anything else,” said fellow reliever Peter Moylan, who had turned in some of his best work to get the Braves out of jams in the seventh and eighth innings.
  ”Shocking that [Soriano] gave up a home run. He’s been so good for so long, the law of averages says unless you’re Lidge, you’re going to blow a few saves.”
  He was talking about Brad Lidge circa 2008, of course, when the Phillies closer didn’t blow a save all season.
  In a span of five appearances …

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Braves have big four-gamer in L.A.

Derek Lowe then…

  Los Angeles – With baseball fans in L.A. caught up the past couple of days in the Prince Fielder/Guillermo Mota contretemps, the Braves slip into town for a four-game series that starts with Derek Lowe’s return to Dodger Stadium tonight for the first time since leaving after spending the past four seasons with Los Dodgers.
  ”They’ll boo me,” said Lowe, who’s not expecting quite a different response than the standing O he got at Fenway Park earlier this season in his first start back in Boston since helping the Sox win the 2004 World Series.
 ”They boo everyone who comes back [to Dodger Stadium],” Lowe said. “[Tonight] is just another ballgame.”

  (By the way, getting back to Fielder/Mota. After seeing the video, I thought, If Prince wanted to get to him, why didn’t he just toss that lone guard aside and march into the clubhouse? I think the other Prince would have thrown some purple dust in the guard’s face and strutted past.)

Where's Mota?

Where's Mota?

Anyway … …

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