Back page blues

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

   So I had to dig through my sports page to find the Braves game story today, which means a) it’s that time of year where college football takes center stage and b) this is not a good time for four consecutive losses. Perhaps the editors, anyway, think the Braves’ six-game gap in the wildcard with 26 games to play is a bit much.
   I think it’s looking that way myself. But hey, they pay me to keep on covering the team and see what twists and turns might be in store these last four weeks.
   So today, we get Tim Hudson on the mound for his first start at Turner Field since his Tommy John surgery. Maybe that will give the Braves a spark they need to stop the bleeding in this Reds series.
I know the atmosphere has got to be a little more uplifting for him than when he made his return Tuesday in Florida against the Marlins. He had to wait out a three-hour rain delay, and only his wife Kim was there to witness it from his family (and she got major wife points for sitting out the delay and then having to catch a 5:30 a.m. flight back the next morning.)
   Hudson gave up two runs on six hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings that game. It was wobbly early, as he gave up doubles to the first two batters before settling in. I think he’s looking for bigger and better things today, even though that was a nice start considering the circumstances.
It also happens to be the last time the Braves won.

CHIPPER OUT, NEW-LOOK LINEUP

   Chipper Jones was out of the lineup today with a sore abdominal muscle. Brian McCann is getting a day of rest. Brooks Conrad is getting his first start at second base since his September call-up. And Yunel Escobar is still nursing the injury he suffered Friday night, though after taking batting practice Sunday he’s said he’s thinking probably Tuesday.
   Frank Wren said the injury has migrated from his ankle to his heel. Escobar said it didn’t bother him taking groundballs but did bite him some at the plate taking bp, when he loaded up his weight on his back leg.
   The Braves are 11-10 in games without Chipper in the lineup, not nearly as lopsided as last year, so it’s not all gloom and doom to have him out, necessarily. (Pause here for comments from the peanut gallery.)

Lineup:

1. McLouth CF
2. Prado 3B
3. Anderson LF
4. LaRoche 1B
5. Diaz RF
6. Conrad 2B
7. Infante SS
8. Ross C
9. Hudson P

   Chipper said he was told the sore spot in his abdomen was another part of his oblique muscle. But unlike the area he hurt a few weeks back, which was more to the side, this is right under his ribcage in the front.
   “I started feeling it a couple days ago and it just gradually got worse,” he said. “It was sore. When (the trainer) was poking and prodding on it last night, I almost came out of my chair.”
Chipper was not expecting to be available to pinch hit today. He thinks with the off day on Monday and then the night game Tuesday in Houston, he’ll probably be back ready to go.
   “I’ve never had pain in the front part of my abdomen before,” Jones said. “We’ll see what a couple days do for it.”
   I asked him about his experience on the GameDay set yesterday, he said he had a blast. I didn’t see the whole thing, just a snippet on YouTube, but I did hear that he picked against a certain local team….And yeah, that’s looking pretty good about now. (He picked Oklahoma State if you didn’t know.)  
   Chipper said he had 17 text messages by the time he got off the set at Centennial Olympic Park.
   “Georgia made me look good,” the well-known Gator fan said with a grin. “I honestly didn’t feel like they were going to win the game. I knew I was going to take a bunch of guff for it, but when you go up on stage and on national TV and pick eight games, why wouldn’t you want to go 8-0?”
   He said he missed on Illinois, Oklahoma and Wake Forest. He’s waiting on Miami-FSU.
Chipper, who as we know, is a natural-born quote and fits right in in that setting. He said broadcasting does hold some interest for him, but not the kind that forces you to travel with a major league team 81 games a year.
   “I might,” Chipper said when I asked him if he had some interest in broadcasting some day. “It could be something that bridges the gap between playing and coaching. I don’t want to get into coaching when I’m done playing right away because I don’t want big league travel. But if I could get on the air a couple times here at home, where I could actually spend some time at home until the kids are up and out, then maybe I might go into that. (Beyond that) I might want to be a hitting coach one day.”
   The more I hear him talk the more I think he’s serious about wanting to be a hitting coach some day.

ACOSTA BACK, VALDEZ DOWN

   The Braves re-called reliever Manny Acosta from Class AAA Gwinnett as they told him they would once his 10 days in the minors were up. Acosta appeared in three games for Gwinnett, giving up one earned run in 5 1/3 innings.
   They also sent Luis Valdez back to Gwinnett, even though they didn’t have to because major league rosters have expanded. But Gwinnett clinched a playoff spot on Saturday, so that played a part.
“Give them their closer back for the playoffs,” Wren said. “And give him a chance to pitch more than he would here. Then we’ll re-evaluate.”
   So yes, Valdez could come back once the playoffs are over.

RALLY HEAD

   Stay tuned for Peter Moylan hairstyle updates. He still had the “rally head” Smoltz-look working this morning but said it might be time to shave his head completely if the losing streak continues. The Braves were 0-3 heading into Sunday. He said he was going to let Hudson weigh in on that.

1,687 comments Add your comment

P. W. Hjort

September 6th, 2009
1:08 pm

Good move sending Valdez back down for Gwinnett. Their season is more important than Atlanta’s at this point.

hoho

September 6th, 2009
1:13 pm

crickets….

Bravissimo

September 6th, 2009
1:13 pm

That rally head is hilarious!..I hope Smoltz enjoys it!

Urban Meyer

September 6th, 2009
1:16 pm

dawgs sure are quiet today. wonder why?

Elbravox(ebx)

September 6th, 2009
1:21 pm

Whatever, just saying…

Mitchell

September 6th, 2009
1:22 pm

Brooks! Brooks! Brooks!

So on and so forth.

jeffrey d

September 6th, 2009
1:22 pm

Maybe because you’re looking on a baseball blog, Urban.

bruce

September 6th, 2009
1:23 pm

Not sure how many in a row we would have to win to dig out of this hole… but it seems very unlikely which is discouraging

jeffrey d

September 6th, 2009
1:23 pm

I don’t think Kelly’s ever going to play again :(

kirkinga

September 6th, 2009
1:24 pm

Well if history is any guide, the Braves should bounce back to day. They obviously were not mentally prepared to handle a hot Reds team after two devastating losses to the Marlins.

I don’t know how the two leaders of the team could be made to take today off, with avoiding a sweep on the line and an off day tomorrow, but I guess this team just isn’t healthy and I imagine that should they not make the playoffs, we’ll here about that ill health all offseason long.

As big a game as it is for the team, it is just as big for Hudson who in just his second game back, must show that he is still capable of being an ace. He’s got an 3.10 ERA against the Reds the last 3 seasons so the Braves are going to have to start scoring today.

Mitchell

September 6th, 2009
1:24 pm

JJ.Strokenhomers

Classy.

Urban Meyer

September 6th, 2009
1:25 pm

jeffrey d – try again amigo. lots of dawg talk before the game at osu. not much after. just wondering if everyone is hung over. you should have scheduled a cupcake like we did.

liz

September 6th, 2009
1:29 pm

They gave up after the last Philly series. The level of play in the Florida and Cincinnati series has not been that of a team in contention.
I am glad Huddy is back and looking promising. I’d like Bobby & co. to bring up some more minor leaguers to see what we’ve got.

They gave it a good ride since the AS break…imagine if they play that way a whole year!

Soph

September 6th, 2009
1:30 pm

I don’t think Kelly’s ever going to play again

Tell me about it – he can’t even get into the game with the B-lineup. Geez.

jeffrey d

September 6th, 2009
1:30 pm

Urban – well first off, I still insist that a baseball blog isn’t the best place to look for college football talk. Second, I just checked out the UGA blog and surprise….there’s UGA football fans there. Third, what are we supposed to say? “Go Dawgs! Beat the Cowboys!!!”?

MiaBchBravesFan

September 6th, 2009
1:31 pm

With a couple of exceptions, I see the blog regs have accepted that the Braves are done for 2009. In recent memory, I do not recall a lineup that has so poorly supported this good a pitching staff on any MLB team. From one through eight, these guys are pitifully inept.

With all due respect, Chipper has got to go. For the salary he takes up, he will never be a 30-100-.300 guy for the rest of his career. He needs to go NOW, and the Braves need to get a real #4 bat. Matt Holliday has to be gone after with the same fever they went after Derek Lowe last winter. McCann is a five-hole hitter, and will need more breaks next year that he had this year, or his career will end by 2011.

If Frank Wren thought he had problems last winter, wait ’til he sees the mess he created:

-Now he’s gotta have Cañizares play half or two-thirds of next season until Freddie Freeman is ready to take the 1B job.
-He’s gotta find a SS or 3B, depending on where he wants to place Yunel Escobar. Escobar is not speedy by any measure, and would be better served by playing third, where his gun of an arm would be still useful. You think Wren and JS still wish they would’ve just held Elvis Andrus back in that crappy Teixeira trade, not making it the total rape it was of our farm system?
-Jason Heyward is the new RF by default.
-Nate McClouth is a gamer; Nate McClouth is expensive; Jordan Schafer has to be the answer in CF next year.
There is a YAWNING canyon in LF that HAS to be filled by a legit 30-100-.300 bat, no cheap rent-a-crap player.

That is why McClouth has to go, Clint Sammons has to be the (inexpensive) backup catcher, and either Soriano or Gonzalez must go.

JJ.Strokenhomers

September 6th, 2009
1:32 pm

I just aint drinkin the cool-aid that this team serves mitchell…er dumbass!

bulldog bubba

September 6th, 2009
1:32 pm

Hey “Urban” the dawgs know we are bad so why bring it up on a baseball blog? Lets talk about a poor no enthusiasm team like the Braves.Watch them sit on the bench with no emotion while Greg Norton blows another opportunity to get a run across.When are they gonna get excited about what they do?Chipper is “suppose” to be the leader but he acts like a washed-up veteran on his last leg.At least they have sat Kawakami down since every game he pitches leans toward a loss rather than a win. The fans pay for better results than what they get.Its time to sit some of these losers down and bring up the AAA guys!!!

jeffrey d

September 6th, 2009
1:33 pm

I mean, remember when everybody accused Kelly of being Bobby’s boy (and race even came into it)? He was hitting .220 with ease but he was still leading off for weeks.

Now even Norton is getting pinched before him.

Skeezix

September 6th, 2009
1:34 pm

This feeble Braves offense was one hit by a pitcher who hadn’t won since the first gulf war.
Plus another great performance by J.J. squandered.
—Going backwards with 26 games left….is that gagging I here?

Steve from OH

September 6th, 2009
1:35 pm

MiaBchBravesfan–how do you get the tildae over the n?

Carroll Rogers

September 6th, 2009
1:35 pm

Chipper took the lineup card out today….

Soph

September 6th, 2009
1:35 pm

Where’s Mixxo?

I’m highly disappointed in one of his posts from the last blog -

Falcons will go 5 – 11 this year.

AND, he said Go Yankees? I thought we were friends Mixxo. I hardly know you. ;-)

jeffrey d

September 6th, 2009
1:36 pm

It’s gonna take some bizarre 3-way collision between Infante, Conrad, and Prado for Bobby to even consider playing Kelly.

Bobby: Kelly, I need you….
KJ: Yeah???
Bobby: To go tell the ump we forfeit. Got nobody to play second.
KJ: oh…

aswingruber

September 6th, 2009
1:37 pm

We had a glimmer of hope when we were up 3-1 against the Marlins in the last game of that series. Then Bobby decides to bring in Medlen for his third straight appearance the night after he got shelled. Medlen proceeds to let all inherited runners score and a couple more to boot. Expanded rosters are supposed alleviate overuse of the pen. Someone forgot to tell Bobby though. Just one example of the many games Booby’s helped give away. How much closer in the race would we be without him? It probably will never happen but the Braves need to wise up and can him.

Carroll Rogers

September 6th, 2009
1:37 pm

Ball on the ground, 6-3, first out, what you like to see for Huddy

MiaBchBravesFan

September 6th, 2009
1:39 pm

OH Steve – ALT-164

JJ.Strokenhomers

September 6th, 2009
1:39 pm

What’s with all this love for Kelly Johnson? he is total crapola just like Schafer, Anderson,Jones,and that turd Norton!!!!

Supes

September 6th, 2009
1:39 pm

Lets see, Braves major league lineup couldn’t get it done the past 2 days, why not give the AAA lineup a shot?

Biggest thing will be to watch this game to see how Tim Hudson does in his 2nd start. It would be encouraging to see good action on his pitches, and hope he goes at least six innings.

I’m sure KK isn’t happy that he’s not starting right now, but the braves organization needs to see what they’ve got in Hudson for 2010. It’s a huge roster/financial decision and I’d rather they see Hudson pitch right now than Kawakami (who’s already shown what he’s got).

Vinings Jim

September 6th, 2009
1:40 pm

Good start, Tim!

Soph

September 6th, 2009
1:40 pm

Good inning Huddy!

kirkinga

September 6th, 2009
1:41 pm

MiaBchBravesFan , you can forget the “trade Chipper” argument. I believe someone tried to make that case last week and got shot down quickly.

jeffrey d

September 6th, 2009
1:41 pm

Oh right….the game’s on

Supes

September 6th, 2009
1:41 pm

Also, if money is an issue as far as payroll in 2010…The more I think about it the more Javy Vazquez being traded (and his 12 million dollar salary) would make more sense than trading KK and his (6 million dollar salary).

TnBrian

September 6th, 2009
1:41 pm

Anybody have an opinion on Conrad and Prado… say if Conrad plays like he did last time he was here and Prado keeps struggling the rest of the year, think Conrad should be the favorite for our 2nd baseman next year. To me, it just seems Prado will break out of it and get back that line drive type swing, but I do like what I see from Conrad.

Mitchell

September 6th, 2009
1:42 pm

JJ.Strokenhomers

What the hell are you talking about? I’m not telling you to drink anything.

But if you’re going to work “blue”, why don’t you try coming up with something better than “prostitutes on peachtree street”?

It was a little tacky and not really funny. Sounds very specific though, like it’s based on a personal experience.

That’s all I was saying.

Supes

September 6th, 2009
1:42 pm

If Chipper wants to coach he needs to remember one thing, just b/c you were a HOF hitter doesn’t necessarily make you a good teacher & hitting coach. They are 2 completely different things.

Soph

September 6th, 2009
1:45 pm

Owch. Poor Marteen.

Kelly Johnson Fan Club

September 6th, 2009
1:46 pm

Anybody have an opinion on Conrad and Prado… say if Conrad plays like he did last time he was here and Prado keeps struggling the rest of the year, think Conrad should be the favorite for our 2nd baseman next year. To me, it just seems Prado will break out of it and get back that line drive type swing, but I do like what I see from Conrad.

You’re crazy. Kelly Johnson is, and always has been, the answer at 2B. If they don’t need him more in LF.

Mitchell

September 6th, 2009
1:47 pm

GA’s really bringin’ it lately.

Well done sir.

kirkinga

September 6th, 2009
1:47 pm

Wow, Chipper is 8-66, it doesn’t seem that bad.

AndyC

September 6th, 2009
1:48 pm

I think Prado will head into next season as the starter at 2nd. He has earned his shot at being the starter for a full season I think if Conrad plays well the rest of the season and has a good spring, he has a shot at making the team as a reserve next season.

TnBrian

September 6th, 2009
1:49 pm

OH-MY-GOD! This team takes suckeness to a new level with each passing game. Hey, it’s good for a laugh though.

MiaBchBravesFan

September 6th, 2009
1:50 pm

kirkinga: bad bunions, chronic pec pulls, a cranky surgical knee. Chipper will never be a 30-100-.300 guy again. For the $11 millions-plus he’s getting paid, that is money the Braves cannot afford to waste when you potentially have a rotation of Vasquez, Hudson, Lowe, Jurrjens, and Hanson – with Medlen waiting in the wings.

Yes, KK has to be traded. Love the guy, but he’s a good #4-#5, nothing more. Matt Holliday has to be the bat Wren has to go after this winter.

Jones has to go.

Donny Corleone

September 6th, 2009
1:50 pm

Laroche sure does have a pretty swing when he whiffs.

AndyC

September 6th, 2009
1:51 pm

Don’t make MattyE mad gosh darn it!

Soph

September 6th, 2009
1:54 pm

Nice play Omar.

Donny Corleone

September 6th, 2009
1:55 pm

Jalb3rt

September 6th, 2009
1:55 pm

Hahaha, omg this team is fantastic!! They find a way to $uck more and more every night!

Diaz is a DORK

September 6th, 2009
1:56 pm

Gosh dernit to HECK, Cueto! What are you doing big guy?? Can’t you see me in the box, I mean, GEESH! FUDGE TO POOEY! Do it again and I’ll…. oh, you just don’t and we’ll be fine, STINKIN PITCHER!

Donny Corleone

September 6th, 2009
1:56 pm

I hear crickets.

Jeff321

September 6th, 2009
1:56 pm

Does Chipper make that play? Hell NO!

Soph

September 6th, 2009
1:57 pm

Go ahead Marteeeeeeen. Great D, so far.

John

September 6th, 2009
1:57 pm

The comments on the blogs have been up and down all season , depending on whether the last game was an up or a down. The fact remains that the Braves management and owners never put the team in a position to win, and no surprise , they are losers again at the end.

TnBrian

September 6th, 2009
1:58 pm

Hudson is getting NAILED this inning.

Mitchell

September 6th, 2009
2:02 pm

Who is this a-hole sprinting to first base on a walk?

Give me a break.

Sarah Palin-Joe the Plumber 2012!

September 6th, 2009
2:03 pm

For a second, I thought that said seven homeruns for Corky Miller. Then I realized it was seven RBIs. I was about to say: “WTF!”

RHR

September 6th, 2009
2:03 pm

My laptop charger is broke and trying to read the blog on an iphone is just too annoying plus it sucks my battery down quick.

Good notes on Chipper, Carroll. It’ll be what? 15 years before Chipper’s youngest is “up and out” dang he’ll be an old man by then lol but would still make a fine hitting coach.

Can’t see the game from in here so I’m out..

Soph

September 6th, 2009
2:03 pm

Poor Kelly. What is that on his head?

Jeff321

September 6th, 2009
2:03 pm

“That was right down the middle.. Corky Miller left at the doorstep.”

-FSO

Roman Gal

September 6th, 2009
2:05 pm

What’s with all this love for Kelly Johnson? he is total crapola just like Schafer, Anderson,Jones,and that turd Norton!!!!

Ok, now you’ve gone and done it!!

Mitchell

September 6th, 2009
2:06 pm

Another hard hit ball by Brooks and another out.

I like it but I don’t like it.

RHR

September 6th, 2009
2:07 pm

Brooksie with a hit!

Insert “if Bobby had sent Norton down instead of Conrad the Braves would be the favorites to win the world series” comment here.

RHR

September 6th, 2009
2:07 pm

Oh it was an out? See this is what happens when I’m listening from the other room.

AndyC

September 6th, 2009
2:08 pm

Sounds like even Joe and Boog have finally accepted that the Braves are out of the race….talking about next season.

Sarah Palin-Joe the Plumber 2012!

September 6th, 2009
2:09 pm

Brooksie with a hit!

Uh…he didn’t get a hit. Another “BUT IT WAS HARD HIT!!!!1″ crap out like we heard with Francoeur.

FlaReptile

September 6th, 2009
2:10 pm

MiaBchBravesFan you made some good comments. If Chipper does not take a pay cut he may need to go. Unless he’s “seriously injured” he looks like he is done. KK has not been that bad his last 4 or 5 starts he may turn out to be ok. The offense needs speed and power. They also need a manager who will let them steal bases.

MiaBchBravesFan

September 6th, 2009
2:10 pm

The only playoff baseball in Atlanta in 2009 will be by the G-Braves.

Mitchell

September 6th, 2009
2:12 pm

I love that organist.

Very creative.

TnBrian

September 6th, 2009
2:12 pm

This looks like Cueto’s day, just like it was Arroyo’s and Wells. A sign of very bad hitting and brain dead pitches by our guys.

Rob from SC

September 6th, 2009
2:13 pm

not looking good here

Mitchell

September 6th, 2009
2:13 pm

Are you effing kidding me?

Come on!

Donny Corleone

September 6th, 2009
2:14 pm

Why do announcers always think that if someone makes an out and the next batter gets a hit that it would have happened the same way. Don’t they know that the situation at hand dictates the way a batter is pitched to?

Jurrjens4NLCY

September 6th, 2009
2:14 pm

If we don’t win…!

*Angrily shakes clinched fist at world*

JJ.Strokenhomers

September 6th, 2009
2:14 pm

Hopefully Boog,Joe and Chip will be replaced as well as Chipper,Cox,Schafer,Anderson,Johnson,and that,human gas can Mike Gonzalez, add in carlyle,Acosat,and Crampillo, and maybe they can save a few bucks and seel us a different brand of cool-aid next year

Rob from SC

September 6th, 2009
2:15 pm

Does McLouth ever try to throw home

Soph

September 6th, 2009
2:15 pm

Get over it Joe Simpson.

TnBrian

September 6th, 2009
2:16 pm

It’d be very nice to see them trade Chipper in a few months. But would Wren be willing to take more of a beating from certain morons like he did with Glavine and Smoltz? Lets hope so.

kirkinga

September 6th, 2009
2:16 pm

Um, Joe calling out someone other than Yunel, that’s refreshing.

Tomahawk Mafia

September 6th, 2009
2:16 pm

Rob from SC
No, because he has a weak arm

DOB Braves Blog

September 6th, 2009
2:17 pm

Mike J

September 6th, 2009
2:17 pm

Wow…why did he not throw home? Looks like a real fight to win.

Mike J

September 6th, 2009
2:17 pm

NO ONE ON THIS TEAM IS IMPRESSING ME NOW.

Rob from SC

September 6th, 2009
2:17 pm

That was one ugly swing

JJ.Strokenhomers

September 6th, 2009
2:18 pm

Chipper+ Anderson=LOAF!!!!

Mitchell

September 6th, 2009
2:18 pm

You said it Soph.

Worst swing I’ve ever seen in my life by apparently their most dangerous hitter.

This guy scares me… as a hitter, not for any other reason.

Donny Corleone

September 6th, 2009
2:18 pm

Nobody’s going to take “Buck Commander” unless the Braves pay most of his salary.

Rob from SC

September 6th, 2009
2:19 pm

Tomahawk Mafia

I really believe Wren wants Schafer and Heyward in the opening day lineup. I would not be suprised to see McLouth traded this offseason

Tomahawk Mafia

September 6th, 2009
2:19 pm

Classic Braves inning, Hudson has given up three hits on 0-2 counts, and they were bleeders that barely found a hole.

Soph

September 6th, 2009
2:19 pm

Good job Rossy & Marteen.

Mike J

September 6th, 2009
2:19 pm

They are not trading Chipper. They just gave him a huge deal, and half a bad season/slump doesnt make you decide to trade a veteran and one of the best hitters in the league.

JJ.Strokenhomers

September 6th, 2009
2:19 pm

Team full of gutless quitters!,Besides what do you expect when you go out and acquire Pitsburghs trash!

Tomahawk Mafia

September 6th, 2009
2:20 pm

I would welcome a trade of McClouth, good guy, good piece to have, but no primary star.

AndyC

September 6th, 2009
2:20 pm

BMac, are you taking notes? That’s how you throw out a baserunner.

MiaBchBravesFan

September 6th, 2009
2:20 pm

If these hitters watch video, they sure don’t know what they’re looking at. No discernable pitch recognition. Everybody is pull happy. With the exception of Matt Diaz, nobody else hits to the ooposite field with any consistency. Just pitch the Braves away, and they’ll roll a weak grounder to short or strike out. Watching these guys try to hit makes me puke!

All season long; these guys suck!

TnBrian

September 6th, 2009
2:20 pm

CJ would have made that tag on the runner and adventure, unlike Prado who made it look natural. Just another reason why trading huntin boy is a good idea.

Rob from SC

September 6th, 2009
2:20 pm

Speaking of 2010, the Cubs will have a lot of work to do in order to make the playoffs. I don’t like that team at all for some odd reason.

RHR

September 6th, 2009
2:20 pm

There is a big damn difference in Glavine and Smoltz who were both coming off surgery and both over 40 years old and Chipper who is 37, played in more games than anyone else on the team, and is in a slump.

MiaBchBravesFan

September 6th, 2009
2:21 pm

Mike J: ???????????????????????????????????

Donny Corleone

September 6th, 2009
2:22 pm

Strokenhomers, that was harsh.

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