Punchless Braves face formidable task, but it’s doable

SAN FRANCISCO – The last time I was in San Francisco as a beat writer covering a wild-card team was October 1997, when the Marlins were the team and Candlestick Park was the venue.

If the playoff setup were still as flawed as it was then at the dawn of the wild-card era, the Braves would probably be favored in this division series by more pundits than the few currently picking them.

Back then, the best-of-five series format was a simple 2-3 arrangement – two games in the wild-card team’s home park, then the rest of the series at the division winner’s ballpark. Think about how stupid that was.

The wild-card Marlins won the first two games at home, then traveled to San Francisco to play the West Division champion. So much for home-field “advantage,” huh?

The only way the Giants could have had home field advantage in that series would’ve been if it’d had gone the full five games. It did not. It went three. The Marlins continued the momentum of their first two wins at home and finished off the Giants in Game 3. A three-game sweep.

Alas, the format was soon changed to the current 2-2-1 setup, where the wild-card team must play the first two games on the road, then go home for one or, if necessary, two games.

Imagine how the Giants would be feeling right now if they had to open a series with two games on the road against the wild-card Braves, whose 56-25 home record was the best in the majors this season.

Atlanta’s 35-46 road record was the worst of the eight postseason teams, and the Braves will open the playoffs in San Francisco, where they lost five of six games during the 2009-2010 seasons and have a 5-12 record over five seasons.

Cox is beginning his record 16th trip to the postseason, which will also be his last barring a totally unexpected change of his retirement decision.

Cox is beginning his record 16th trip to the postseason, which will also be his last barring a totally unexpected change of his retirement decision.

The Braves are facing the two-time reigning Cy Young Award winner, Tim Lincecum, in the first game, and are opposing him with a pitcher, Derek Lowe, that the Braves tried  to trade last winter, a pitcher many Braves fans hoped the team would move to the bullpen at midseason, a pitcher booed at Turner Field on several occasions.

The injury-riddled Braves are 14-16 with a puny 3.5-scoring average and 17 homers in 30 games since Sept. 1, and are going up against a team that’s 19-10 with a 1.91 ERA and 39 homers since Sept 1.

San Francisco’s September ERA was an absurd 1.78, the best single month of pitching by any team in more than four decades.

Did I mention the Braves have a lineup that features two players, Omar Infante and Brooks “Bruce” Conrad, who were utility players at the beginning of the season, one of them (Conrad) a player who might possibly have not even made the team if Joe Thurston had been a bit more punctual during spring training?

Have we mentioned that the Braves head into the postseason with a rotation that doesn’t include Jair Jurrjens, whom many believed in January would be the ace of a staff that had two veterans (Lowe and Kenshin Kawakami) coming off disappointing seasons and another (Hudson) in his first season since Tommy John surgery?

That’s why I’m picking the Braves to win the series.

Because any team that’s overcome the injuries and adversity that this team has overcome to get to this point, has something that can’t be quantified, an intangible or two that, in pressure situations, backs to the wall and all those clichés, sometime mean more than do stats on a page.

Think about Jason Heyward homering in his first at-bat before a frenzied sellout crowd at Turner Field.

Think of the Braves having a nine-game losing streak in April and being written off by many before the season was one-fifth completed.

Think Conrad hitting a walkoff grand slam to cap an impossible seven-run ninth-inning rally.

Think Brian McCann clearing the bases with a double off a lefty to give the NL its first All-Star win in more than a decade.

Think of the Braves blowing a 10-1 lead in Colorado. Wait, don’t think that.

Think of a few veterans speaking during a players-only meeting in New York before the opener of a crucial nine-game road trip, and the Braves then going out and sweeping the Mets.

Think of them continuing that road trip by being swept in Philadelphia and dropping two of three at lowly Washington (no, wait, that’s another in the don’t-think category).

Think 69-year-old Bobby Cox being hoisted upon the shoulders of players young enough to be his grandsons, while fans, players and front-office workers chant the retiring manager’s name.

Think about how crazy this season has been, folks. What a wild ride it’s been that took us from Dark Star to here.

Think of “6″ and Wags riding off into the sunset when this thing is over, whenever it’s over.

Now, seriously, are you going to be surprised if the Braves win this thing? Really?

Braves in five.

Why? Well, I’m not really sure.

It’s been that kind of season.

Lincecum vs. Lowe: If you’ve not paid much attention to Mitch Kramer – err, I mean to  Lincecum — since he and the Giants faced the Braves back in April, you might be surprised to know how much Lincecum’s season resembled Lowe’s, at least during the past two months.

Lincecum

Lincecum

images

Kramer from Dazed and Confused

Lowe went 3-8 with a 4.60 ERA and .288 opponents’ average in 16 starts from June 7 through the end of August. Then after missing a start and getting what he said was the first cortisone shot of his career, to relieve inflammation from a bone chip in his pitching elbow, Lowe returned with his best run of pitching as a Brave.

He’s 5-0 with a 1.17 ERA in his past five starts, with 29 strikeouts and three walks in 30-2/3 innings. Where did this come from? No one’s sure, but the Braves wouldn’t be in the postseason without it.

He was NL pitcher of the month for September, ahead of Lincecum and a few others who got votes.

Lincecum’s 3.43 ERA this season is nearly a run higher than he posted in 2009 (2.48), primarily because of the career-worst stretch in which he went 1-5 with a 6.20 ERA and .306 opponents average over eight starts from July 20 to Aug. 27. He gave up seven homers and 19 walks in 45 innings during that stretch, and The Freak was so frustrated that he began tinkering with his famous delivery.

Like Lowe, he bounced back big-time in September, when Lincecum was 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA and .201 opponents’ average in six starts, with 52 strikeouts, eight walks and three homers allowed in 41-2/3 innings.

Lincecum is 6-2 with a 2.89 ERA in eight starts against the Braves, including an Aug. 5 loss at Atlanta (6-1/3 innings, 6 hits, 3 runs, homers by Alex Gonzalez and Eric Hinske) and an April 11 win in San Francisco (7 innings, 5 hit, 2 runs).

Brian McCann hit a two-run homer in the first inning of that April 11 game, but the Braves didn’t score again ujtil the ninth inning in a 6-3 loss. (I remember that Sunday game clearly, because it was getaway day, the game was delayed a few hours by rain, and I ended up changing my Sunday-night flight to San Diego to Monday morning and staying an extra night in an airport hotel in San Fran. Good times.)

Lowe’s got plenty of experience against the Giant, much of it good during his time with the rival L.A. Dodgers.

Lowe is 7-5 with a 3.02 ERA in 17 starts against the Dodgers, including 3-0 with a 1.32 ERA in the past five.

Game 1 starter Lowe, the NL pitcher of the month for September, has enjoyed plenty of success against the Giants, particulary at San Franciisco.

Game 1 starter Lowe, the NL pitcher of the month for September, has enjoyed plenty of success against the Giants, particulary at San Franciisco.

At AT&T Park, he’s been quite impressive. Lowe is 5-1 with a 1.98 ERA in eight starts at the picturesque ballpark hard by the bay and China Basin.

For those who might’ve forgotten what we wrote about Lowe after the Braves signed him two winters ago, he’s got a reputation as a big-game pitcher, a rep secured when Lowe got the clinching wins for the 2004 Red Sox in their memorable ALCS (Game 7 vs. the Yankees) and the World Series (Game 4 vs. St. Louis).

Lowe is 5-5 with a 3.33 ERA in 21 postseason games including 10 starts (remember, he was once a Red Sox reliever and closer). In his past six postseason starts, Lowe is 3-1 with a 2.86 ERA.

As Braves fans know from the careers of great Atlanta pitchers, putting up those kinds of numbers in the postseason is doing serious work.

Lowe will be followed in the Braves’ rotation by Tommy Hanson, who has only three wins in his past 18 starts despite a stingy 2.40 ERA in that span, and Tim Hudson, who’s 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA in five starts.

They’ll face San Francisco’s Lincecum, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez, who were a combined 11-2 with a 2.21 ERA in September.

In that regard, it’s like some of the other opponents who beat the Braves in their latter postseason appearances, teams that entered the playoffs with multiple surging starters such as Arizona (Schilling and Big Unit), the Cubs (Prior, Wood), and the Astros of Clemens, Pettitte and Oswalt.

But again, think Heyward homer in first major league at-bat. Think Conrad grand slam. Think of the Eric Hinske factor. Think Billy Wagner and Cox in their final go-round. Think Chipper Jones sustaining a season-ending, career-threatening injury making one of the best defensive plays of his life (no, wait, that doesn’t belong in this graph; doesn’t strengthen my point at all).

The Giants hit more than twice as many homers as the Braves in the last month of the season. Shortstop Gonzalez and the Braves outfielders haven’t done much at all lately with the bats, and Omar Infante’s leadoff production has slipped significantly in recent weeks.

The Braves’ defense has been abysmal at times during the second half, particularly in key games down the stretch.

McCann leads the Braves with 77 RBIs, and, as ESPN’s Tim Kurkijan pointed out, it’s been a quarter-century since a team went to the postseason with an RBI leader with so few. Steve Balboni hit 28 homers and drove in 77 runs to lead those 1984 Royals, who also had Willie Wilson with 47 stolen bases, Buddy Black with 17 wins and eight complete games, and Dan Quisenberry with 44 saves.  I was a student at Kansas at the time, and vaguely remember a few party/road trips to Royals games. Vaguely.

That Royals team went 84-78 to win the West, then got swept in three games by Detroit in what was the first round of the playoffs back, then, the ALCS. So you might not want to think about that, either.

Really, the Braves’ only hot middle-of-the-order hitter is Derrek Lee. And they don’t steal bases or do much run-manufacturing to offset their lack of power. And they’ve got rookies in several key roles, guys untested in a playoff environment. Not good.

Yes, I’ll take the Braves in five.

♣ FYI: The Braves were 4-3 this season against the Giants, who hit .197 against Atlanta and scored three runs or fewer in five of those seven games…. Bobby Cox is making his major-league record 16th postseason appearance, one more than Joe Torre…. A poll in this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated asked players which team other than their own would they most like to play for. There were 284 responses, and the Braves led with 14 percent of the votes, followed by a quartet of big-market teams: New York Yankees (11%), Boston Red Sox (10%), Los Angeles Angels (8%) and Chicago Cubs (7%). I’d be interested to see the response if that same poll is taken after Cox leaves.

♣ Let’s close with a great John Prine song for those of us picking the Braves to win this thing, and you can hear the tune by clicking here.

images

“CRAZY AS A LOON” by John Prine

Back before I was a movie star

Straight off of the farm

I had a picture of another man’s wife

Tattooed on my arm

With a pack of Camel cigarettes

In the sleeve of my T-shirt

I’m headin’ out to Hollywood

Just to have my feelings hurt

That town will make you crazy

Just give it a little time

You’ll be walking ’round in circles

Down at Hollywood and Vine

You’ll be waitin’ on a phone call

At the wrong end of a broom

Yes, that town’ll make you crazy

Crazy as a loon

So, I headed down to Nashville

To become a country star

Every night you’d find me hangin’

At every honky-tonk and bar

Pretty soon I met a woman

Pretty soon she done me wrong

Pretty soon my life got sadder

Than any country song

That town will make you crazy

Just give it a little time

You’ll be walking ’round in circles

Lookin’ for that country rhyme

You’ll be waitin’ on a phone call

At the wrong end of a broom

Yea, that town’ll make you crazy

Crazy as a loon

So, I gathered up my savvy

Bought myself a business suit

I headed up to New York City

Where a man can make some loot

I got hired Monday morning

Downsized that afternoon

Overcome with grief that evening

Now I’m crazy as a loon

So I’m up here in the north woods

Just staring at a lake

Wondering just exactly how much

They think a man can take

I eat fish to pass the time away

‘Neath this blue Canadian moon

This old world has made me crazy

Crazy as a loon

Lord, this world will make you crazy

Crazy as a loon

1,771 comments Add your comment

richbrave

October 6th, 2010
1:52 pm

richbrave

October 6th, 2010
1:55 pm

richbrave

October 6th, 2010
1:55 pm

NEW BLOGGAGE – THIRD

Rolly

October 6th, 2010
1:58 pm

Punchless? Punchless? Why you…

Hey, I do hope the Braves are able to bring some offense and a little magic to AT&T Park.

GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!

David O'Brien

October 6th, 2010
1:58 pm

We’ve got a request from our superscribe, Steve Hummer. He’s doing a story for this weekend about what the Braves returning to the postseason means to fans. Specifically, he’s looking for parents or grandparents who experienced the run of the 1990s and early 2000s, but whose kids/grandkids were too young at the time to understand. Those kids would be 10 or so now, maybe in position now to really share the experience with their families for the first time.

But if anyone has a good tale to tell about what the return to the postseason means on a personal level, he’d love to hear it and perhaps use it in his story. Contact him directly (not me) at steve@ajc.com, and please include a contact number so he can call you if he’s going to use it, and/or he needs to clarify something in your story.

laura

October 6th, 2010
1:59 pm

GO BRAVES!!!!

bigboi

October 6th, 2010
1:59 pm

Big Head Eric and the Mini Monster

October 6th, 2010
2:00 pm

Can they do it? Yes! Likely they advance? No… at least I don’t think so.

I’m happy they are there. I’ll root and cheer…… I’ll curse them when they look impotent on offense. I’ll second guess and complain, but I’ll still be rooting for them.

jeffrey d

October 6th, 2010
2:00 pm

Thanks for the new blog, DOB!

Nookah

October 6th, 2010
2:00 pm

Greetings Braves fans!!

Fret not….we got Hinske. This guy has to be doing something right….World Series rings follow him!!!

Go Braves!!!

jeffrey d

October 6th, 2010
2:01 pm

Not the most flattering picture of Bobby

Will

October 6th, 2010
2:02 pm

Columns like this are why you’re the best sportswriter in the business, DOB.

Brava

October 6th, 2010
2:04 pm

Really, Jeffrey? I like that picture of Bobby. Looks like he’s enjoying something something really funny.

richbrave

October 6th, 2010
2:04 pm

ncscoots

October 6th, 2010
1:53 pm
rich, I’m glad I saw your name. Weren’t you saying something to the effect of not liking Freeman’s swing, or something? Something you didn’t like? What was that?

He dips his left shoulder which lengthens his swing. Same problem my oldest grandson has. He’s been used to getting away with it in the minors. He needs to cut down on that, plus the slo-mo camera showed his body already open to the ball while his bat was in mid-swing. He was actually looking the pitch onto the bat out of the corner of his eye. He’s got to stay on those pitches, and not open up too soon. He needs work.

P-Town Brave ©

October 6th, 2010
2:05 pm

YIKES!

Heat on the umpires already… :roll:

Murph

October 6th, 2010
2:06 pm

I don’t think Bobby has taken a flattering picture in 25 years, Jeff.

Thanks for the new blog. Interesting stuff.

P-Town Brave ©

October 6th, 2010
2:07 pm

Lee escapes major trouble in the 1st, striking out both Pena and Baldelli to leave the bases loaded.

End of 1

Rangers 0
Rays 0

Mixxo

October 6th, 2010
2:07 pm

Pena got owned by some Lee filth. 8)

richbrave

October 6th, 2010
2:07 pm

Nookah

October 6th, 2010
2:00 pm
Greetings Braves fans!!

Fret not….we got Hinske. This guy has to be doing something right….World Series rings follow him!!!

Go Braves!!!

And .316 as a pinch-hitter off the bench this season hasn’t hurt either.

Mixxo

October 6th, 2010
2:09 pm

The Trop looks like playing under a lampshade.

PMC

October 6th, 2010
2:09 pm

Come on Rematch of the 91 Series! NO Hrbeck this time.

Mixxo

October 6th, 2010
2:10 pm

Frenchie up!!

McFann ;Ô; ;Ô; o

October 6th, 2010
2:10 pm

Great Blog, DOB!!

Think of the Braves blowing a 10-1 lead in Colorado. Wait, don’t think that.

Think of them continuing that road trip by being swept in Philadelphia and dropping two of three at lowly Washington (no, wait, that’s another in the don’t-think category).

:lol: Don’t worry, I won’t think those…

Think Brian McCann clearing the bases with a double off a lefty to give the NL its first All-Star win in more than a decade.

HECK yeah! This just feels like it’s meant to be…

Mixxo

October 6th, 2010
2:10 pm

Frenchie RBI double!

Almost OUT!

jeffrey d

October 6th, 2010
2:10 pm

RBI 2B for Francoeur…I still like that guy :)

McFann ;Ô; ;Ô; o

October 6th, 2010
2:11 pm

This is so totally unfair that everyone else gets to start the playoffs today, but we gotta wait! :(

Mixxo

October 6th, 2010
2:11 pm

Rays look tight.

Rangers nice & loose.

Tami

October 6th, 2010
2:12 pm

I wouldn’t be so optimistic calling the Braves in five, DOB. They essentially need to win at least ONE in SF, then come home and sweep the Giants in their 2 games here. If they have to go back to SF, the Braves will likely be eliminated. Although, if the Braves stretch it to five games, it shows that they played SF tough and hard. THAT in itself will be an exciting thing to see. So….I’m calling the Braves in four — IF they play solid defense, don’t give up the fat pitch too often, and actually improve their RISP.

At any rate…..GO BRAVES!!

Mixxo

October 6th, 2010
2:12 pm

31 hrs. 25 minutes!

P-Town Brave ©

October 6th, 2010
2:12 pm

And just like that, Frenchy comes through for the 1st big hit of the postseason…

In the playoffs, you just never know :-)

abwright

October 6th, 2010
2:13 pm

Braves split in San Fran. Come home and win two in the Ted. Not that unlikely a scenario.

Wayne in Utah

October 6th, 2010
2:14 pm

Frenchy, Freel and J-Hey………like I said, a winning combo that can run through walls at will!

abwright

October 6th, 2010
2:15 pm

I’m rooting for the Rangers in the AL. Glad to see the Rangers take the early lead against TB.

There was already a hinky call on a phantom foul tip that might have given the Rays an early lead against Cliff Lee.

If we end up with a Rangers Braves WS, I may be able to actually attend a game (albeit in Arlington).

Heisenberg

October 6th, 2010
2:15 pm

Offensive woes aside, the key to advancing in the playoffs for Braves is the bullpen must revert to the pre-September dominance. Otherwise, it is gone fishin.

McFann ;Ô; ;Ô; o

October 6th, 2010
2:15 pm

bigboi

October 6th, 2010
2:15 pm

Wow think in we had Frenchie in left/right and Druw Jones in Center.

Heisenberg

October 6th, 2010
2:16 pm

Frenchy gives Rangers an early lead. Whodathunkit?

katherine

October 6th, 2010
2:17 pm

Nice to see some positive people on here today….i’m so sick of all the negative people :)

Murph

October 6th, 2010
2:17 pm

FYI, for those of you with the MLB app on your iPhone, you can watch the playoff games for free. Just do go expecting a TV style broadcast… this is my first time watching the game like this and it really, really sucks.

Mixxo

October 6th, 2010
2:20 pm

Price….all jacked up like he did something. :roll:

Yeah, he did something all right, he gave up 2 runs in the inning.

DawgDad

October 6th, 2010
2:21 pm

The Braves hitters would do well to take a deep breath, relax, and remind themselves regular season stats mean NOTHING right now. Just ask Barry Bonds, or Mark Lemke. Rick Ankiel hasn’t struck out yet, Nate McLouth isn’t hitting south of the Mendoza line, and Alex Gonzalez isn’t hitting .240. Melky hasn’t misplayed a fly ball, and McCann hasn’t made a single bad throw. And, by the end of the day, it’s quite possible the Phillies could be closer to elimination than the Braves.

toga party

October 6th, 2010
2:24 pm

Great blog DOB. I’m glad you could so eloquently not put into words the reasons that I think this team has a chance.

RC

October 6th, 2010
2:24 pm

Who had Frency in the “first hitter to record an RBI in the postseason” pool? Your winnings are ready.

BWar26

October 6th, 2010
2:25 pm

Any word on how JJ did in the instructional game last night?

kelly&carriefan

October 6th, 2010
2:26 pm

Think of “6″ and Wags riding off into the sunset when this thing is over, whenever it’s over.

Dang it, Dave! I didn’t cry at The Ted when they honored Bobby, didn’t cry Sunday when Wags made it interesting in the 8th, but that….THAT gets me. *sigh* There’s NO cryin’ in baseball. These d@mn allergies!

I believe this scrappy bunch can do it! :)

toga party

October 6th, 2010
2:28 pm

“Wow think if we had Frenchie in left/right and Druw Jones in Center.” – bigboi

I’d rather not. There are plenty of ways to improve this outfield, but that ain’t one of them.

StingerSplash

October 6th, 2010
2:30 pm

Lowe also got the win in the 2004 clincher of the ALDS, meaning he finished off all three series.
But the Giants’ starters are pitching better than the rest of the Braves’ starters right now, and there’s no indication the Braves lineup will shake out of a funk. D Lee is swinging better; Infante is still playing well; McCann is a clutch guy.
But Gonzalez can’t buy a hit from a stripper at the Goldrush right now. The outfield, aside from Heyward, still has McLouth, Ankiel and Melky from which the Braves have gotten bagel, doughnut and a Timbit (for those who have patronized the lovely Tim Horton’s franchise). Diaz will be neutralized since the Giants can run Lincecum-Cain out there.
Sure, the Wags and 6 riding off into the sunset in a blaze of glory makes for a fine story. But in Ring Lardner’s original version, Roy Hobbs struck out. Only in Redford’s romanticized dream did Hobbs go deep and deliver a pennant.
And DOB, why do I get the feeling you and your cohorts loved seeing (if you could still see by the ninth) the late, great Quis come in to pitch?

bascogcjs

October 6th, 2010
2:32 pm

DOB, thanks for the picture of the guy from Dazed and Confused.
I’ve always said Licecum looked like that guy when he was on the
mound before his paddling. Great movie, but I didn’t realize his name
was Cozmo.

timthebrave

October 6th, 2010
2:34 pm

Got my tickets for the sunday game. My twin brother is coming into town from KY. So excited about the Braves making the postseason. Go Braves

shmoe still believes

October 6th, 2010
2:34 pm

braves in 3. bc i’m going to the sunday game!

Jim

October 6th, 2010
2:36 pm

Braves in 4 because I am going to game 4.

Heisenberg

October 6th, 2010
2:36 pm

“can’t buy a hit from a stripper at the Goldrush”

where do I send the royalty checks every time I use that?

Teresa

October 6th, 2010
2:38 pm

HAHA!!! Mitch Kramer…love it!! Think of Dazed and Confused every time I see Lincecum. Go Braves!!

nola braves fan

October 6th, 2010
2:38 pm

DOB – you are simply the best in the business man. thanks for all the hard work this year, long nights, planes, etc… as a loyal reader and sometimes poster, i feel as connected with this hometown team as any.

Let’s hope we all get to read your in-game blog for a few more weeks!

Go Braves and thanks again David.

LeeeMac

October 6th, 2010
2:39 pm

Rangers up 3-0. Cruz blast!

Murph

October 6th, 2010
2:39 pm

Wow, Cruz hit that one a mile!

southern hope

October 6th, 2010
2:40 pm

Love you DOB. Dang, I hope you’re right.

Meanwhile, I’m a meek, mild-mannered person but I am pulling for the Red to annihilate the Phillies starting at 5 p.m. today. I am hoping for a total blow-out….and the Reds in 3.

IndianapolisBraves

October 6th, 2010
2:41 pm

Mitchie Mitchie

Wayne in Utah

October 6th, 2010
2:41 pm

I think all the Negative Nellies must be all hopped up on drugs today! Obviously they have found somewhere else to be. Good news!

All I can say

October 6th, 2010
2:41 pm

Hinske/Diaz need to be in the line-up. I dont understand why Hinkse has not been playing third at all. The man has pretty good defense and his offense we know is good. I say him at third and Diaz in left. Having Brooks come up in clutch situations as a pinch hitter is what I like to see. I mean he has had some big hits, but on a regular basis, I like Hinske.

optomist

October 6th, 2010
2:41 pm

Lot’s of things point to DLowe winning game #1. The giants did not win with their offense!

shmoe still believes

October 6th, 2010
2:41 pm

thats why you play the games. this one is not over yet, but rangers are in good shape. and not many people gave them a chance against the team that finished ahead of the yankees.

TTTT-Thumbody Thed Thats Thupid

October 6th, 2010
2:42 pm

I still don’t quite understand the Braves trading Francoeur. Should have stuck with him a little longer. He was a “home boy” and sure would be coming in handy right about now. Sure thought Bobby would have “fought” for him harder.

nola braves fan

October 6th, 2010
2:42 pm

amen southern hope. just like i root for anyone playing tech almost as hard as I do for my 1-4 bulldawgs, I am going to be the biggest Reds fan in New Orleans this afternoon. Go get ‘em Dusty! Wouldn’t that be great if the mightly Phils stumbled a bit in round 1

All I can say

October 6th, 2010
2:42 pm

Actually shmoe, a lot of people gave them a chance. They have been resting since July.

Ted Turner

October 6th, 2010
2:42 pm

Relax people. San Francisco is a good team, but they are beatable. Their lineup is weak, and they have very few playoff tested vets.

The Bravos dipped at the end because they were exhausted. A three-day break should do wonders for this team, as will the shorter post-season rotation.

laura

October 6th, 2010
2:43 pm

I would love to see all the “underdog” teams win Game 1…..Go Braves!!

DAP

October 6th, 2010
2:44 pm

DOB Brian McCann hit a two-run homer in the first inning of that April 11 game, but the Braves didn’t score again in a 6-3 loss.

im not a math guy, but i can count ok. that dont add up.

All I can say

October 6th, 2010
2:44 pm

We traded Frenchy because we have an incompetent hitting coach that ruined him. Look at our really good hitters over the past couple of years, Chipper and Mac. They both have outside help from their own hitting coaches. Enough said. I hope Freddie(aka our new manager) does not keep Terry.

StingerSplash

October 6th, 2010
2:45 pm

Listened to just enough of the Rays-Rangers broadcast to hear too much. I guess the foul tip by Pena was a controversial call? Because the idiot color analyst said “I guess the umps now are going by what they hear as well as what they see.”
Which is how they’ve done it, genius, for generations on foul tips and hit batters and balls that glance off catchers’ mitts.
And Nelson Cruz is one bad man.

Puma

October 6th, 2010
2:45 pm

DOB your article makes the Braves sound kind of bad or just lucky. We still won 91 games, and that doesn’t all happen by accident. With that said, our offense and fielding has been pretty bad the last couple of weeks.
BUT, post season is all about pitching, and our pitchers have been pretty good lately. How many times did the Braves go to postseason only to be beaten by an inferior team with those hot pitchers DOB was talking about? Well, dang it, we are now that inferior team with good solid pitching. Look for Hansen to go from good to great this post-season, a la Josh Beckett when the Marlins last won it. It’s all about pitching.

All I can say

October 6th, 2010
2:45 pm

or is it Freddy? I am not sure.

shmoe still believes

October 6th, 2010
2:45 pm

actually all i can say,

no they didn’t. nobody is picking rangers to be in the world series. its a simple process of elimination to deduce their reasoning.

StingerSplash

October 6th, 2010
2:46 pm

DAP,

Consider that McCann’s shot capped a three-run inning, not began it nor was in the middle of it. In other words, a run already had scored before McCann went deep.
Then the offensive plug got pulled.

All I can say

October 6th, 2010
2:46 pm

You must not watch Baseball Tonight ever. The Rangers have been one of the top picks all season. Where have you been?

Brave4life-We made it, now lets WIN it

October 6th, 2010
2:47 pm

Damn

I wish the playoffs were during the summer, I cant concentrate on College work and Braves baseball.

Impossible, I cant concentrate. I just go on ESPN and look at each and every Giants situational stats

good thing is Giants lead the league in grounding in grounding in DP

we got Lowe and Hudson going two top sinker ballers

faninva

October 6th, 2010
2:47 pm

DOB – didn’t know you were a Royals fan back in the day when they were good. Brett is still my all-time favorite player. Referencing Bye Bye Balboni. nice.

bravofan

October 6th, 2010
2:48 pm

So Lowe, Hanson, and Hudson who is it for the Giants is it Lincecum Cain and Sanchez?

shmoe still believes

October 6th, 2010
2:48 pm

no i dont watch baseball tonight, it is worthless.

UKUGA

October 6th, 2010
2:50 pm

Lowe’s got quite a sweaty belly (left-side) in that photo.

Could be the Braves-equivalent of Schilling’s “bloody sock”.

All I can say

October 6th, 2010
2:50 pm

No it isnt. Well Cruk, or King Kong Im not sure, is kinda worthless. Kurkigen, or however you spell it, is not worthless, neither is Stark, or the other guy that I cannot think of right now. Regardless, there are still plenty of people that have picked the Rangers. You must not be informed of anything.

Mixxo

October 6th, 2010
2:50 pm

eeek…..Frenchie K’s in his 2nd AB.

Brave4life-We made it, now lets WIN it

October 6th, 2010
2:50 pm

Curt Schilling wants the Braves to win it all

and he picked the Braves to win in 3 against SF giants

All I can say

October 6th, 2010
2:50 pm

Olney. That’s his name.

Owl Hunter

October 6th, 2010
2:51 pm

All I can say

Frenchy gets one post season hit, and suddenly we shouldn’t have traded him? The guy hits sometimes, but he’s inconsistent and undiciplined. He flamed out here, NY and hasn’t had a sustained impact in Texas. He’s been given chance after chance, and after a while, you have to stop blaming hitting coaches. Explain Prado, Heyward, and Omar. They haven’t been “ruined” because they are good hitters who don’t swing at anything thrown their way, unlike Frenchy.

StingerSplash

Great name!

SkinnyWilbo

October 6th, 2010
2:51 pm

Hey, dude, did nobody ever teach you the concept of editing? The Braves has no chance whatsoever of winning the World Series with Cox as the manager. All you guys leave out these 2 facts– facts a Johnny Come Lately homer like you may not even know– Cox has lost 7 of the last 8 postseason series he managed, and incredibly the last 8 consecutive World Series games he managed. That kinda postseason incompetence cannot be overcome.

All I can say

October 6th, 2010
2:52 pm

Look at the overall stats Owl Hunter. The offense just hasnt been good enough.

toga party

October 6th, 2010
2:52 pm

We traded Frenchy because we have an incompetent hitting coach that ruined him.

This again? Really? Did the Mets hitting coach fix him, and then ruin him again? At what point will any of the responsibility rest with Jeff?

Mixxo

October 6th, 2010
2:52 pm

…A three-day break should do wonders for this team, as will the shorter post-season rotation. – Ted Turner

What I was thinking as well.

TTTT-Thumbody Thed Thats Thupid

October 6th, 2010
2:52 pm

I had a “feeling” when “Frenchy” went to TX he might get lucky. They were already good and just needed a piece or two to complete their puzzle. I was wishing though that they had kept another Brave, Saltalamacchia(thought I couldn’t spell it didn’t you). He went to Boston in a trade and now has to have thumb surgery. I liked “Salty” and wish the Braves would have hung on to him too.

iChop

October 6th, 2010
2:52 pm

They were talking about Frenchy just a minute ago during the Rays-Rangers game.

It doesn’t suprise me that the first full season the Braves have had without Frenchy breaks the no post season streak.

All I can say

October 6th, 2010
2:52 pm

I also blame Wren. Its not all TP’s fault.

Snotboogie

October 6th, 2010
2:52 pm

I might have missed this before but did Joe Thurston not make the roster after ST because he wasnt punctual? That’s quite ridiculous but thankfully for us Conrad made the roster.

O.J.

October 6th, 2010
2:53 pm

shmoe still believes

October 6th, 2010
2:53 pm

all i can say,

thank you douchebag. yeah, i’m not informed of anything. show me a majority of the analysts that picked the rangers to get by both the rays and yankees, and win the world series. remember, cruk, olney, kurkjian(that’s how you spell it), stark, and bobby valentine are not the only analysts in the world.

Mixxo

October 6th, 2010
2:53 pm

….and Benji was his name-o…..

4-0 Tejas….Benji bomb.

Murph

October 6th, 2010
2:53 pm

Man, Price looks like he’s pitching batting practice out there.

McFann ;Ô; ;Ô; o

October 6th, 2010
2:54 pm

Now Bengie with the homer! Take notes, BMac. ;)

faninva

October 6th, 2010
2:54 pm

oh gawd – here we go again – Frenchy is now a HOF’er we shouldn’t have traded. Pauleeessse.

jeffrey d

October 6th, 2010
2:54 pm

Could be the Braves-equivalent of Schilling’s “bloody sock”.

I don’t know….”sweaty jersey” just doesn’t have the same allure

Add your comment