LIVE: Braves go for sweep; Kawakami will take anything

Not to kenshin Kawakami: See the ball. Be the ball.

See the ball. Be the ball. (Photo by Curtis Compton/AJC)

Good afternoon. Happy Father’s Day. It’s Kawakami time.

Of all the things the Braves and manager Bobby Cox have accomplished this season, where would finally getting a win for starting pitcher Kenshin Kawakami (0-9) rank?

Would it rank higher than being in first place for 20 straight days? Higher than not having lost a series since the first week of May?

Is it something that could be eclipsed only by, I dunno, a World Series?

Seriously, this is just too goofy. It’s one thing for a starter to go thr0ugh his first 13 starts (nine losses, four no decisions) without a victory. It’s another to do it for a first-place team that has gone 28-10 since May 10.

It’s precedent setting in major league baseball for a pitcher to have this kind of start for a first-place team. The Braves’ franchise hadn’t had a pitcher start 0-9 in 101 years. The last to do it was Tom Tuckey of the 1909 Boston Doves (seven starts, two relief appearances). Kawakami has suffered from little run support but he also has been banged around in two of his last three starts: 10 runs, 16 hits and six walks in 11 1/3 innings against Los Angeles and Tampa Bay.

The Braves, who have the best home record (23-7) i n the majors, close out a home stand today against Kansas City. They leave town for only a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox, then return home for nine games (Detroit, Washington, Florida).

One last thing before I turn it over to you. It struck me when Cox called for his second successful squeeze play in a week — last Saturday at Minnesota and Friday against Kansas City — that this might be the best managing job he has done in a while.

Some in the clubhouse disagree. They believe Cox is just taking advantage of having better base runners at his disposal than in the past. Either way, there’s no question he is pulling more strings. The Braves are having more hit-and-run plays than in recent memory. I may make that the focus of the column.

Does it seem to you Cox is being more aggressive in his final season?

And here’s the biggest question of all: Will Kawakami finally win a game today?

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303 comments Add your comment

Mike S

June 20th, 2010
12:15 pm

First

June 20th, 2010
12:17 pm

Kawakami gets a W today over Kyle Davies.

Mike S

June 20th, 2010
12:17 pm

Like me KK will get his 1st win today!

First (Actually, Second)

June 20th, 2010
12:17 pm

Josh

June 20th, 2010
12:17 pm

He’s doing a good job this season, but If Bobby could manage the bullpen a bit better then I’d say he was doing a great job this season. Hard to complain when you’re first in the NL, though.

chalkdawg

June 20th, 2010
12:18 pm

chalkdawg

June 20th, 2010
12:20 pm

Not even close. Time to put this 0-9 thing to rest. It’s starting to be like the Falcons back to back winning seasons. A bit of a distraction to this great season. I’m really pulling for him today. Go Braves!!!

Dr. Warren

June 20th, 2010
12:21 pm

Kawakami hasn’t pitched very well, either, frankly. Can’t blame it all on bad luck or poor hitting. We need the guy to shape up if we’re gonna really go far this year.

LizDawg

June 20th, 2010
12:21 pm

3 years, $24 million dollars for Kawakami – what a RIP-OFF!

Go Braves and Dawgs (30-24)!

Ted M

June 20th, 2010
12:22 pm

KK gets the win, perhaps he’ll even provide a key hit.

BC is more aggressive…its about time.

LuisG

June 20th, 2010
12:23 pm

3rd?!

And, by the way, Kawakami wins today by a 7-2 score. Go Braves!

Mike S

June 20th, 2010
12:23 pm

If Kawakami loses today the bullpen will be his next stop with JJ almost ready. Bobby is an idiot if he puts Medlin back in the pen.

mmgtfan

June 20th, 2010
12:26 pm

Please let Kawakami just win once!!!

JMAYNE

June 20th, 2010
12:29 pm

Cox has done an amazing job throughout the season. Even during the 9 game losing streak when everything was going wrong. He always seems to keep his patient demeanor. Kawakami gives up 4 or 5 through 5 or 6. gets a no-decision and the braes win 8-6, 10-7. The ball should be flying in the heat wave. Not good news for kawakami’s kamakazi balls.

Jeff Schultz

June 20th, 2010
12:30 pm

First — Some irony there if his first win were to come over Davies, an ex Brave.

Billy O

June 20th, 2010
12:31 pm

Come on Braves, win one for KK…….let’s go!!!

Jeff Schultz

June 20th, 2010
12:31 pm

Dr. Warren — Agree completely. It hasn’t all been “bad luck” as his defenders have claimed. Even he would tell you the same thing.

JMAYNE

June 20th, 2010
12:32 pm

The problem with kk to the bullpen is he probably is gonna stuggle just as bad. Medlin is a much better option in the rotation and the pen. I think the idea would be to package kk and a minor leaguer for a decent prospect or try to add more for a right-handed OF bat. Then Medlin stays in the rotation and can keep Resop in the bullpen as a long arm.

Mike S

June 20th, 2010
12:35 pm

Resop is on the DL?

"Chef" Tim Dix

June 20th, 2010
12:39 pm

Chef predicts first win in grand style: Perfect game. Reality compels me to say you couldn’t find odds on that with the hubble telescope.

"Chef" Tim Dix

June 20th, 2010
12:42 pm

IF Resop is on the DL it’s becuase he pulled Wren’s finger.

Jeff Schultz

June 20th, 2010
12:44 pm

Pretty cool Braves promotion right now — dads and kids playing catch in the outfield.

Jeff Schultz

June 20th, 2010
12:45 pm

Mike S — Resop went on DL day after his last (abysmal) appearance: oblique.

JMAYNE

June 20th, 2010
12:49 pm

Resop should be back about the same time as jj. and saito will be back soon. The braves have to figure out who their 11 or 12 best arms are and settle into their roles. jj, huddy, hanson, lowe, medlen, wags, saito, moylan, o’flaherty, venters have to be locks. That leaves chavez aka manny acosta jr., kimbrel, resop, and kk for two spots. have to figgue kk gets one and maybe kimbrel.

bg3003

June 20th, 2010
12:54 pm

KK has gone up against some pretty tough pitchers, but i expect him to getta win today

turkeycaller

June 20th, 2010
12:58 pm

Bill Stanfill

June 20th, 2010
1:01 pm

Braves have best record in NL. They are 1 game away from having a .600 winning percentage. They are 1.5 games behind the Yankees for the best record in MLB
Questions: Will the Braves trade for an oufielder? Will Jair regain last year’s good form and return to the rotatation–and who will go to the bullpen? Will Escobar find his power stroke? Have pitchers adjusted to Heyward–will he sink down to the .250s? Everyone says the Phillies are a giant who will wake up and go on a tear–I say that’s not a sure thing by an means.

Ben

June 20th, 2010
1:27 pm

Stanfill…. what is a sure thing in life…never mind sports….which team doesn’t have question?…..Go Braves…

JMAYNE

June 20th, 2010
1:28 pm

mets-yankees on tbs. cc vs. johan. should be good. maybe the bravos can gain another game after cc dominates

Ben

June 20th, 2010
1:33 pm

There are pitchers with a 4+ ERA that have winning records…Can’t totally blame KK if one watchs Braves games often….Lowe won 9, count them, games with a 4.77 ERA…W-L records are so misleading reguarding pitchers…

Jeff Schultz

June 20th, 2010
1:37 pm

First pitch 1:36. .. 91 degrees.

AWJ

June 20th, 2010
1:37 pm

Cox is certainly managing more agressive this year. He is finally starting to realize that you can’t win every game with a 3 run bomb, especially at Turner field. It is a shame it took him this long. Still a HOF manager.

Mr. Turnip-Green Jeans

June 20th, 2010
1:37 pm

Resop went on DL day after his last (abysmal) appearance: oblique.”

Wasn’t the oblique one of Hammy’s favorites?

Jeff Schultz

June 20th, 2010
1:38 pm

One down for Kawakami. 26 more to a perfect game.

Ree Roe

June 20th, 2010
1:38 pm

Happy Fathers Day Jeff! Great afternoon for baseball. Let’s get the sweep Bravos!

-REEsurgens is Roe!!!

Jeff Schultz

June 20th, 2010
1:40 pm

Mr Turnip Green — The trick is trying to remember what Hampton DIDN’T injure.

Jeff Schultz

June 20th, 2010
1:41 pm

Thanks Ree Roe.

Mitchell

June 20th, 2010
1:43 pm

Finally Bobby puts a line-up out there for KK that is not a total embarrassment.

He might as well have had Nate, Melky and Gregor Blanco leading off each game he’s pitched this year.

I mean, I know Melky is not completely as terrible as he was up until recently but anytime you have him and Nate out there, which of course means Hinske is on the bench, you’re just not really going to win. Proof is in the 0-9 pudding.

And what is that I see? Troy Glaus batting clean up? I must be having heat stroke.

It’s about time. I mean, putting Brian ahead of him for like the last three weeks? It’s retarded. If there’s any one spot in the order that should be set in stone, it’s that.

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Jeff Schultz

June 20th, 2010
1:48 pm

Chipper gives Kawakami a 2-0 lead. The man can still hit. Nice shot inside the bag at first.

Aaron

June 20th, 2010
1:48 pm

There’s 2 runs…

Jeff Schultz

June 20th, 2010
1:53 pm

Not a great start for ex-Brave Kyle Davis: walk-walk-double-walk.

Mitchell

June 20th, 2010
1:54 pm

I wonder what the odds of KK finishing the season with a winning record are?

How do you say “fuhgeddaboudit” in Japanese?

Watch out I don’t smack you in the head. Kyle Davies is a real wise guy. Take the cannoli. Show me the money.

I love lamp.

JMAYNE

June 20th, 2010
1:54 pm

Now if they can get about 5 more, it should be an easy day for kk. Pick up his win, and the sweep and move onto the white sox who actually, in fact wear black socks.

Jeff Schultz

June 20th, 2010
1:57 pm

That’s too more. Kawakami has pitched one-half inning and has a 4-0 lead.

Jeff Schultz

June 20th, 2010
1:58 pm

Great bit of hitting by Infante on that. He’s like Prado before Prado was Prado. (Does that make sense?)

JMAYNE

June 20th, 2010
1:59 pm

Glaus from first, on a double that didnt even make it to the warning track. Gotta love the hustle on this team. 2 times in one inning a player scores from first on a double. Heyward’s got wheels so its not as surprising, but you gotta love this team.

Jeff Schultz

June 20th, 2010
2:00 pm

OK, 4-0 lead for Kawakami. Can he hold this? Declare!

doc

June 20th, 2010
2:02 pm

definitely think cox is managing again, talked with father and brothers about it yesterday.

he didnt hold back the rook and moved him up in the order and has played hinske rather than leave hin to his original role for straters. last year he fell asleep at the wheel and kept kj at second too long among other bad decisions, like to start hanson in the minors. short sighted thinking kept them from a true run at pot season.

Jeff Schultz

June 20th, 2010
2:02 pm

JMayne — good observation on Glaus. He was motoring on that. I had to do a double-take to make sure it was Glaus.