Posts Tagged ‘Bobby Cox’

LIVE BLOG: Can Braves find some offense (and defense)?

The Braves are hoping for different scene tonight in San Francisco. (AP photo)

The Braves are hoping for different scene tonight in San Francisco. (AP photo)

SAN FRANCISCO — Hello. We begin this evening with some good news, Braves fans. Tim Lincecum is not pitching. So the rest should be easy, right?

OK. Maybe not. The Braves and their depleted lineup aren’t much of a threat against most pitchers, let alone a two-time Cy Young Award winner. But if they have any hope of winning this National League Divisional Series, they’ll have to be far more patient at the plate tonight against Matt Cain than they were in Thursday’s series opener against Lincecum, who had 14 strikeouts and allowed only two hits in a complete-game shutout.

Here are the Braves taking batting practice. We'll find out if it helps.

Here are the Braves taking batting practice. We'll find out if it helps.

Hitting coach Terry Pendleton clearly believes the Braves could have done better. When the word “great” was used in a question about Lincecum, Pendleton responded: “The guy [Roy Halladay] in Philly the other night was great. That’s a no-hitter. That’s …

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Poll time: Does blown call reaffirm need for replay?

Buster Posey should have been ruled out on this stolen base atttempt (although the call wasn't as obvious as this camera angle would suggest).

Buster Posey should have been ruled out on this stolen base attempt in Game 1 (although the call wasn't as obvious as this camera angle might suggest).

SAN FRANCISCO — We have a little time before the Braves attempt to break out offensively against the San Francisco Giants tonight — can they get three hits? — so let’s address the issue that seems to be burning up blogs and message boards: instant replay.

It’s crazy that baseball doesn’t use it to a greater degree. I addressed this in two blogs back in June when Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga got jobbed out of a perfect game because umpire Jim Joyce blew an obvious call at first base (which he later admitted).

Here’s the blog on baseball’s stubbornness  following Joyce’s call.

Here’s the blog on commissioner (still!) Bud Selig’s illogical decision to not overturn the call, which would not have affected the outcome of the game and would’ve righted a wrong.

Back to the Braves. Yes, the Giants’ Buster Posey should’ve been …

Continue reading Poll time: Does blown call reaffirm need for replay? »

Lincecum shuts down Braves; so what’s next Plan B?

The Braves aren't great offensively but Tim Lincecum made them look silly. He struck out 14 in a complete-game shutout. (AP photo)

The Braves aren't great offensively but Tim Lincecum made them look silly. He struck out 14 in a complete game.

(Last update at 1:10 a.m.)

SAN FRANCISCO – The last time the Braves won a playoff game, John Smoltz outpitched Roger Clemens (I guess performance-enhancers didn’t work that night), Andruw Jones had three hits and a rookie catcher named Brian McCann slammed a three-run homer in his first career postseason at-bat.

That was five years ago, hardly an eternity.

So why does this seem like some scratchy radio clip from the ’50s?

The Braves opened the National League Division Series against the San Francisco Giants Thursday night. To understand just how drastically things have changed since their last postseason appearance in 2005 — an NLDS loss to Houston — consider that McCann is one of only three carryovers on the active roster. (The other two: Tim Hudson and Kyle Farnsworth, who doesn’t really count, and certainly most would rather not count.)

The 2005 team …

Continue reading Lincecum shuts down Braves; so what’s next Plan B? »

LIVE BLOG: Can Braves keep the miracle run going?

stadium

AT&T Park is the Braves' re-entry point into the postseason.

SAN FRANCISCO — Took a jog along The Embarcadero this morning, the Bay on the left and Coit Tower on my right, and passed a homeless guy (I assume) who sat with a change box and holding this sign: “Let’s be honest. I just need a beer.”

The guy deserved a six-pack just for the honesty, but I didn’t have one on me.

Now some of you are probably going to flip on the Braves’ playoff opener tonight and think, “Let’s be honest. We’re just happy to be here.” And you would be correct. I’ve been in several winning locker rooms after championships before and I’ve never witnessed a greater eruption of pure joy than I saw in the Braves’ clubhouse last Sunday after players watched the San Diego Padres lose to San Francisco on television, enabling Atlanta to clinch the National League wild card berth.

But now that the Braves are here, is it really so far-fetched to think they won’t win this series against the Giants? Not at all. …

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Derek Lowe morphs from Braves’ albatross to their key

Derek Lowe had a lot to celebrate when the Braves won the wild card, starting with his own turnaround.

Derek Lowe celebrated the Braves' wild-card berth and his own turnaround. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

SAN FRANCISCO – The implausibility of the Braves making it back to the postseason despite a cartoon-like series of medical pitfalls and a lineup seemingly written in wet sand – Look out! Wave! – is dwarfed by only this development: Derek Lowe has gone from a $60 million mistake to this team’s possible key.

Mistake might be a slight overstatement. Lowe hasn’t been awful. But when a pitcher is given free-agent dollars that scream, “Ace,” and then goes 15-10 with a 4.67 ERA, there’s going to be criticism.

There also are going to be trade talks. Or as general manager Frank Wren said of this past winter in his best non-denial denial: “We were in the mode that we wanted to explore every possibility.”

The best trade the Braves never made? It sounds strange, but consider this: The Braves are not playing their first playoff game since 2005 Thursday night against San …

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Three Braves’ keys in playoffs (and the long odds in Vegas)

Derrek Lee, who homered in Sunday's 8-7 win over Philadelphia, is a key bat for the Braves against San Francisco. (AP photo)

Derrek Lee, who homered in Sunday's 8-7 win over Philadelphia, is a key bat for Braves in playoffs.

Newsflash: The Braves are long shots.

According to the online sportsbook Bodog.com, which generally reflects the odds in Las Vegas, the Braves are 12-1 to win the World Series. That’s last among the eight postseason teams, behind Philadelphia (2-1), New York Yankees (7-2), Tampa Bay (9-2), San Francisco (7-1), Minnesota (8-1),  Cincinnati (11-1) and Texas (11-1). Bodog lists the Braves as plus-550 to win the National League pennant, the equivalent of 11-2, behind Philadelphia (1-1.4), San Francisco (3-1) and Cincinnati (5-1).

The longest World Series match-up odds are Braves vs. Rangers at 28-1; the shortest are the Phillies vs. Yankees at 7-2.

So now that you realize just how much money you can make when the Braves win it all — pause for effect — the question becomes: How do the Braves get past the Giants?

This figures to be a low-scoring series. The Giants and Braves are the …

Continue reading Three Braves’ keys in playoffs (and the long odds in Vegas) »

Braves make it back to postseason in dramatic style

The Braves made it back to the playoffs and Bobby Cox was at the center of the celebration.

The Braves made it back to the playoffs and Bobby Cox was at the center of the celebration.

On the final day of the regular season in potentially the final game of manager Bobby Cox’s career, the Braves went almost by script. They kept us guessing. They teased. They kept hearts pounding like bongo drums.

“Dramastics,” Matt Diaz cracked with a malaprop.

What?

“We’re big on dramastics, as George W. would say,” he said.

The Braves had a magic number of two on Friday to clinch a wild card berth. The number was still two on Sunday, only it didn’t seem nearly as magical.

They lost two games to Philadelphia by a combined score of 18-5. In the series finale, they fielded a lineup that included only two carryovers from opening day. They surprisingly took an 8-2 lead over the Phillies Sunday. More surprisingly, they almost blew it.

Dramastics. Bobby Cox is 69. That doesn’t take into account that he probably has aged 10 years in the last six months.

But it was worth …

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Braves win and clinch … at least one more game (UPDATED)

Tim Hudson pitched a strong game and helped himself with an RBI single in the fourth inning.

Tim Hudson pitched a strong game and helped himself with an RBI single in the fourth inning.

(UPDATED: 5:40 p.m. with quotes below)

(Next post will follow conclusion of San Diego-San Francisco game)

If the Braves made it to the postseason this year, didn’t you just know they would do it in the most dramatic way possible?

After being held to three or fewer runs in eight of their last 11 games, the Braves jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the first six innings Sunday and then had to hold on for an 8-7 win over Philadelphia at Turner Field.

The win clinched, well, at least one more game. The Braves won’t learn their fate until after completion of the San Diego-San Francisco game (which started at 4:05 p.m.). Here are the two possibilities:

♦ If the Padres lose, the Braves are in the postseason as the National League wild card and will open the divisional series Thursday night in San Francisco.

♦ If the Padres defeat the Giants, the Braves must wait for those two teams to play …

Continue reading Braves win and clinch … at least one more game (UPDATED) »

LIVE BLOG: Here are the scenarios for Braves’ playoff hopes

Bobby Cox climbs the steps to the dugout for what he hopes isn't the last time. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Bobby Cox climbs steps to the dugout for what he hopes isn't the last time. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Hello. Wasn’t this supposed to be the just-sit-and-relax day?

Two days ago, the Braves arrived at the ballpark believing they had the National League wild card about wrapped up, and so did most of us. Their magic number to clinch was two. They had an upcoming series against Philadelphia, which already had the East Division wrapped up and had scratched two scheduled starters (Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt).

The team chasing the Braves: San Diego, which was reeling and going to San Francisco for three games. This didn’t seem to be an issue.

But here we are. Two Braves losses (11-5 and 7-0) and two Padres wins later, the teams are tied and Turner Field is panic central. The Bobby Cox celebrations have been dwarfed. The Braves have the right guy on the mound today, Tim Hudson. He’ll be opposed by Cole Hamels, but for possibly only two innings. Oswalt also may pitch an inning or two.

Braves take batting practice before today's game -- and they can use it.

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Braves lose and stretch out the drama a little longer

Braves fans were set to celebrate Friday night but everything is on hold now.

Braves fans were set to celebrate Friday night, but everything is on hold now.

(Updated at 1:40 a.m.)

On the eve of the day his career would be celebrated, Bobby Cox typically wanted to talk about something other than Bobby Cox.

It didn’t matter that a No. 6 had been carved into the center-field grass, or that three of his cousins had made their way from Selma, Calif., or that the 69-year-old Yoda in the Braves’ dugout was surrounded by visiting media members, armed with questions about Cox’s life and career.

“Let’s just win this game,” Cox said at one point.

He has operated his entire career the same. He wants the focus on the game and his players, with him somewhere in the background. In a strange way, he may have gotten his wish.

While Cox will be center stage today, the Braves’ improbable run to the postseason just hit a speed bump Friday night. Jimmy Rollins cracked reliever Mike Dunn’s first pitch in the sixth for a grand slam, and Philadelphia — with its …

Continue reading Braves lose and stretch out the drama a little longer »