Killer loss for the Bravos, wasn’t it? Er, not exactly

JJ pitched great, as per usual. That man Prado had another RBI. Chipper hit a homer. Esky made a heads-up play afield. Glidin’ Garret looked to have won it. Then Soriano entered and it all fell to pieces, and now the Braves are not just way behind the Phillies but also a game in arrears of the Fish.

Killer loss. Wasn’t it?

Nah. It’s baseball. This stuff happens. Even Mariano Rivera blows the occasional save. (He blew one in Game 7 of a World Series on a weird night when it rained in the desert.) The Braves are playing well. More to the point, they’re pitching beautifully. Keep doing that and they’ll have a realistic chance to win the wild card, which is all they can ask at this late date.

Back to Rivera and that blown save. It came in a World Series the Arizona Diamondbacks looked to have blown. Two nights in a row they’d carried a lead into the ninth inning in Yankee Stadium, and both times Byung-Hyun Kim yielded two-out tying home runs. (The first to Tino, the second to Brosius.) Headed back to Phoenix that team was down 3-2 and all but dead.

But this is baseball, and in baseball — I believe the saying originated with Earl Weaver, though it might have come from Eddie Haas — momentum is tomorrow’s starting pitcher. That’s why the work Frank Wren did over the winter was so important. On Wednesday the Braves will start Kenshin Kawakami, who’s pretty good. And then on Thursday they’ll have Javier Vazquez, who’s really good. And then Tommy Hanson and Derek Lowe and Jurrjens against L.A., and on and on the rotation spins.

A bad loss? Sure. But nothing that figures to leave a scar. So long as you can pitch, you have life. The Braves can pitch. They don’t need to panic. They don’t even need to make a trade. They just need to keep pitching.

127 comments Add your comment

beachbrave

July 28th, 2009
11:10 pm

Bummer, bummer, bummer!!! We really need to gear up for the stretch drive and tonight’s game may be illustrative of our needs. We obviously need offensive help. Say what you will, but we aren’t really legit yet! Sorry Mark, but you just are absolutely wrong- we will not go anywhere with a defensive, conservative, stand-pat, hunker-down philosophy (even you can understand the last comment)since we don’t have the necessary parts to maintain the illusion of the last several weeks.

Really depressing! Understand the realities of the situation but still depressing. Finally in contention, at least in the standings, entering August and everyone is happy to stand pat. We have played the best ball of the season in the last few weeks, avoided serious injuries and still barely within striking distance. We know we have weaknesses and decide to hope for the best and wait for next year. Next year we may never be this close with all the better teams in the division having off years- at least thus far. We should seize the day and do everything within our power to at least get into the playoffs within whatever middle of the road budget we must work within. Understand that even if we should defy all logic and squeak into the playoffs, we can’t go anywhere with the team as currently structured. However, it appears we have truly accepted mediocrity when we agree that the Braves should do nothing. No, I don’t have any idea what specifically we should do, or could do, but guarantee that with the knowledge that our leadership possess about the league possibilities, an individual should be able to manage a little risk and try to do something to improve the team’s chances. Just so depressing. And I haven’t even had a single beer! Oh well, I’ll be cheering them on and hoping for the best just like the rest of you. Come on real Braves fans, let the braintrust hear from you- get us some help before its too late.

Hillbilly Deluxe

July 28th, 2009
11:11 pm

No single win or loss in July is that big of a deal. September is a different story though.

beachbrave

July 28th, 2009
11:14 pm

No single loss is that important unless it illustrates critical needs that the Atlanta press, and much of the lemming following, chooses to ignore. Wake up- the trading deadline is 72 hours away. Get off your duff and get the job done. We aren’t going anywhere with the current configuration.

Lou Vales

July 28th, 2009
11:21 pm

Always get a kick out of the “it’s a marathon and not a sprint” crap. Have you ever noticed how most races are decided by no more than 5 games. Therefore games like this are horrific. And have you ever noticed the guy who wins the marathon is not down 4 miles at the 18 mile mark. Yet we will continue to hear that killer losses in April should just be brushed off–It’s baseball. It was also baseball in 1967, 1951,1948 and 2007 and so many other years when it came down to one game. Don’t ever buy into shrugging this crap off.

todd

July 28th, 2009
11:24 pm

Stand pat with this team? If you do it will be a long winter. They need a big bat and badly. Getting rid of the choker Kotchman would be a start. Ryan Garko would have been a perfect solution. Garret Anderson looks as though he is bored and would rather be somewhere else every time the camera is on him. His defense is terrible! I say make his wish come true and ship him to another team. ADAM DUNN MR. WREN!!!

Mark Bradley

July 28th, 2009
11:25 pm

I remember taking the subway back from Yankee Stadium and seeing the Diamondbacks waiting by their buses outside the Grand Hyatt to head for the airport after losing Game 5. I remember thinking, “Those poor guys have no chance now.” They won the World Series.

It’s baseball. Baseball’s about pitching. And the D-Backs started Randy Johnson in Game 6 and Curt Schilling in Game 7.

Mark Bradley

July 28th, 2009
11:26 pm

Garret Anderson is playing very well, in case you hadn’t noticed. And if you think his defense is lacking … check out Mr. Dunn’s.

Robards

July 28th, 2009
11:30 pm

Well said. Tough loss, but Soriano was due to blow one. Braves can still win the series and pull ahead of the Marlins. Could be catching the Dodgers at a good time as well.

Daybed Wagmoe

July 28th, 2009
11:32 pm

Several things:

a) Mark — good point about this loss not being a huge deal. We narrowly lost it, and it came on a blown save from Soriano, which is a freak thing this year. It sucks, but not as bad as if it kept happening time and time again.
b) Yeah, Kawakami’s been pretty good, but his opponent, Josh Johnson, is much better. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see Kawakami’s trend of very little run support continue tomorrow night.
c) Hanson, Lowe, and Jurrjens will be pitching in Atlanta against L.A., not in L.A. as you said above. ;)

Thanks for talking us down from the ledge!

beachbrave

July 28th, 2009
11:33 pm

Bark Maddley,
We don’t have the parts to even get into the playoffs, much less win 2 series to get to the WS, or to have the opportunity to win the last two games to win the WS. Don’t really understand your point. Stand pat and hope for the best? Yes we have some pitching and that is important and is something we haven’t had in the last few years. However, no serious baseball observer could possibly think the Braves have the other parts to make a deep run into the season, much less the playoffs. Unless you are a homer, or really, really do believe in miracles. I acknowledge that the unbelievable occasionally occurs, but would much rather rely on strength and abilities. What exactly are you selling?

Mark Bradley

July 28th, 2009
11:37 pm

Thanks for serving as my editor, Daybed. I’m much obliged.

Dawga4Life

July 28th, 2009
11:45 pm

I do question why we pinch hit for JJ with Norton who is hitting just over a buck. Why is he still in the majors? His ONLY job is to hit. (And not into double plays.) Now granted we still should have won but…

Dawg19

July 28th, 2009
11:52 pm

I truly do get a kick out of all the negativity that comes after a close loss like tonight. Just in case you didn’t know, Nolasco is a VERY good pitcher and did his job tonight.

It is also amusing how everybody clammers for a big bat when the Braves only score 3 runs in a game and don’t put up a 10 spot. My question is what kind of moves do you “fans” expect? Dunn? Washington is NOT trading him. They have said so already. Plus, do you really want a .250 hitter in the lineup? The Braves have started to play so much better since our automatic outs, Francoeur, KJ and Schafer have been traded, replaced in the linup or demoted.

2 more points:
1. What kind of difference maker is available on the market right now?
2. What would the Braves have to give up in order to get that person?

Here are your answers. There are no impact bats avaialble right now. Too many teams are so close in their division races or the wild card race to be sellers. The teams that have given up aren’t offering anybody that would make a difference. If there were a substantial offensive piece that was available the Braves would have to once again empty their farm system to get it. Is that what you want to see again? A repeat of what happened with Tex?

The Braves pitching is its strong point right now. Giving up any of them would be disasterous for this year and next year. The most attractive of the starters we have right now is arguably the top performer on the team this year, Javier Vazquez. Our farm system has two top ten rated (one is the #1 prospect) prospects that will be major league ready by sometime next year or 2011 if their development continues like it has.

The Braves do NOT need to make a big move. This team is good as it is.

GatlinburgBrave

July 29th, 2009
12:12 am

The Ump didn’t give Soriano the low strike twice…game over. The Braves will be fine. As for Florida, they’re a fluke.

beachbrave

July 29th, 2009
12:14 am

Dawg19,
Truly hope you are right but seriously don’t think you are. Any negativity I have is not the result of a close loss tonight- I’m not a Johnny come lately, but a long time Braves fan (even from the Milwaukee days). I don’t even recognize it as negativity, rather as realism. If you have watched baseball long enough, you should know that the current structure of the Braves roster will not, barring a bizarre run of good luck, get it into the playoffs or past the first part of it at the very best. The need for a bat or bats, as I see it, isn’t the result of a one night stand, but the result of a serious pattern that has lasted for the entire season. Yes, we have hit and pitched well the last few weeks. Unfortunately, that isn’t the pattern that has been established thus far this year. While we can all hope that it continues, I would rather go out there and make some changes that will improve our odds. We are close this year, against all odds, so lets seize the day and give it our best shot. Playing for next year is safe, but we may not have a better opportunity than now. I thought the Braves were set for at least a decade after 1956-59, and we all know what happened after that. (Maybe you can look it up.) No, I don’t know what opportunities are out there and neither do you or Mark. However, I can guarantee you that there are opportunities out there and all it takes is the willingness to manage a little risk and go for it. No, don’t mortgage the future, but make a sound trade even it is “little”. For goodness sakes, lets go get it and not be afraid of failing. The Braves have been there and done that enough over the years.

Coach (2010 or Bust)

July 29th, 2009
12:26 am

Tomorrow’s starting pitcher for the Marlins………..Josh Johnson. We will be lucky if the fish don’t sweep this series.

O yea, the fish are not flukes and Fredi Gonzalez can manage circles around Bobby Cox.

Will

July 29th, 2009
12:30 am

Im sorry folks, i do agree that losses like this do happen, that is the game of baseball for you, but this loss was a big deal. What people forget on these message boards the last couple of years is that the Bravos used to play from ahead in the playoff race. When you are atop the division or the wild card its okay to have a setback like this, but when you look at the wild card standings and there are 4 teams between you and first place and its basically august, that is alot of scoreboard watching for 2 months.

Stanco

July 29th, 2009
12:41 am

I hope management is not thinking this is a team that can go deep into the playoffs (see 2007) and give up the farm for a false hope. Build something strong from this year……a team that can truly take up to the promised land.
Next year add some offense…..move Chipper to 1st…and move Kotchman for a bag of balls, and close the nightmare of that quick fix in f.ing 2007!!!!!

Mitchell

July 29th, 2009
12:42 am

Yankees suck.

That series should have been 5 games. The Diamondbacks lost game 3 and almost blew game 7 but if not for their closer they should have wrapped it up before going back to the desert.

Of course in the three other games they destroyed them.

Yankees suck.

Bad loss tonight. Not a good time to have a game winning homerun on the other side and KK doesn’t really inspire a lot of confidence in me after his last two starts.

He was going really good there for a while and then he got hit in the neck and he’s kind of lost a little something since then. I just hope we score some runs.

Amazing play by Yunel. That kid is somethin’. You betcha!

Benjamin

July 29th, 2009
1:01 am

Kenny K. is just as good as Josh Johnson. We’re still winning this series.

For God’s sake, they play in LAND SHARK STADIUM! ;)

THWG

July 29th, 2009
1:04 am

Thanks, Mark, for “talking us down from the ledge” as Daybed stated earlier. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

We, as sports fans, often times forget that this is baseball. 162 games. This isn’t the 12 or 13 games of college football, where each loss is brutal and each win glorious. The season does not hinge on one game, win or loss. Sure, we may look back to a game like this one if the Braves miss the playoffs by one game, but we can look at many other games that should’ve been won (vs. Philly early on, the Nats right before the break, etc).
At the same time, we can look at games that should’ve been lost (5 runs down in the 8th vs. Cubs, some dude named Francoeur hit a game-tying HR in the 9th). Point is, tonight is merely 1/162 of our entire season. Not enough to be a microcosm, especially with the pitching we’ve got. Tough loss, but not the end of our season.

Island Dawg

July 29th, 2009
1:16 am

That one really hurt. Thought Anderson had it won and that was so non-Soriano. I think Church’s and Yunel’s plays to the plates were sick though. Braves are looking good. We have plenty more head to heads vs. the cheesesteaks and refuse to rule out a pennant at this point.

Coach (2010 or Bust)

July 29th, 2009
1:30 am

Love is blind and so are the fans. In about 72 hours, Frank Wren is going to prove me right when I say the man is way in over his head.

DirtyDawg

July 29th, 2009
1:43 am

Would somebody please be honest about the play where the long fly ball actually hit the warning track and the Marlin’s two runs scored. It wasn’t that GA ‘lost’ the ball in the lights, he simply thought it was probably going out…or going far enough toward left-center that the one guy that can run out there might, in fact, go get it…or he was just ‘doggin’ it ‘ like he usually does. Sure the can hit, and thank God for that cause if he couldn’t he wouldn’t be worth the powder it would take to blow him to hell. And what in blazes was he doing in the game in the bottom of the ninth. As it happened it didn’t figure into the outcome – that ’short people got no reason’ ump saw to that, and it wasn’t just the two low strikes he called balls, there was another pitch earlier in the count on one of those guys that had been called strikes all night by that little twerp, but not this time.

Tim

July 29th, 2009
2:09 am

The Braves are 2-3 since Kelly Johnson returned from the disabled list

Tsu Yuan Nieh

July 29th, 2009
3:11 am

I am very happy about the way Braves are playing but I am very worried about the way Phillies’ are playing. They are unstoppable. I though Braves could catch up by the end of first half but Phillies just flying and destroying anything stand in their way. They basically destroyed Dan Haren’s pitch count yesterday. It is so unbelievable both Marlins and Braves are playing so well but still keep fallen behind the Phillies.

I think Braves’ rotation is doing really well but still not Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz kind well. I remember Braves in the 90s consistently winning 1-0, 2-1 games. Today Braves showed some power but still Marlins managed to keep the game close enough to strike back. In addition, without the power of old Jones boys, Braves really need to get their work done to win games.

It is a struggle to play the season like this season. I am glad to see Jason Heyward is doing well though so he might be available next season. I hope Frank can firmly sacrifice some pitching to release some money this offseason so Braves can get a 40 home run guy in the outfield or at the first base. He had been ruthless last offseason; we need him to be ruthless again.

scottbravesfan

July 29th, 2009
3:20 am

BeachBrave,

The Braves clearly have the talent to win the wild card. In fact if they don’t win the wild card it would be considered somewhat of an upset. The Cubs are not a playoff team. The Astros are not a playoff team. The Giants offense is not very good, if they get a really good bat, which isn’t likely, they will be dangerous. The Rockies will continue to compete the rest of the year as well. It’s going to come down to the Rockies, Giants, and Braves to win the Wild Card. The Marlins pitching is good but I do not believe have enough to make a serious run at the wild card this year. Next year might be a different story.

Coach (2010 or Bust)

July 29th, 2009
3:22 am

The Phillies are running away with the division and there ain’t a damn thing we can do about it. Since being swept by our Braves they have reeled off 19 win in 22 games played since July 3rd.

It’s absurd. They are the defending World Champion, the hottest team in baseball and they know it. The NL East division race is over and everybody knows it.

Our Braves are a third place team trying to stay relevant in a seven team wild card race.

Coach (2010 or Bust)

July 29th, 2009
3:24 am

Hey Scott, you do know the Cubbies are 16-8 this month, right?

Coach (2010 or Bust)

July 29th, 2009
3:31 am

And since our Braves are 15-8 in July and trailing the Cubbies by two games in the wild card race, they must not be a playoff team either, Right? Am I making sense or are you just jaded? :)

Braindawg

July 29th, 2009
3:50 am

No but you are making an A$$ out of yourself! You’ve shown two things coach, One, you have no idea what your talking about. Two, Your drunk, go to bed and sleep it off. I’ll give you this much, as I laugh my A$$ off at you, Your Funny, Your very Funny!!! Nite loser!

Coach (2010 or Bust)

July 29th, 2009
3:57 am

Wrong blog, dork. Personal attacks and foul language are appreciated over at O’Brian’s blog. Not here.

kevin

July 29th, 2009
3:57 am

And lets not forget the Mets and that fellow who we trade to 16rbi in 14 games since traded wonder why…Oh no change of team maybe coach um well hittin coach very good!Oh if u not want a automatic out be sure Bobby cox never plays AJ ever! Oh marlins are no fluke who won 3 world series as wild card oh wait the Fish who they beat to get there we know…that so called greatest team of the 90’s who lost that when yankees won 1999 world series…ha ha home kiss ass sportswriters here at AJC

Keith

July 29th, 2009
4:01 am

I saw on ESPN Insider mention that Braves are upping their efforts to grab a middle reliever. Any inside info, Bradley?

Rufus

July 29th, 2009
4:13 am

Anderson should be used in a pitch hitting role, he can’t get to half of the balls that are hit to him, when he’s in the outfield.
Glad it wasn’t Escobar, who miss play the fly ball, or we would never hear the end to it.
Anderson may be hitting, but he gives up more runs, than he drives in, he can’t run and looks like he need after silver hair vitamins, and now Soriano, he looks like he has taken a bottle of sleeping tables.
It’s not that they lost in the last inning tonight, it’s that Bobby gave the game away.
How long is it going to take before, they realize that no matter who the trade for it won’t matter, either Bobby or Pendleton will screw them up, one way or another.
It makes me laughs when the Brave hit and get a lot of runs, the T. V. cameras will focus on Pendleton and the Braves Announcers, will tell us, what a great hitting coach he is, like we’ll a bunch of idiots, and don’t know the opposite is true.
Winning is a pasting thing to the Braves, they can’t keep their head in the game long enough to win on a steady basis.
The late innings are a peril to the Braves, that’s when they fall apart, that when most of the Braves start falling asleep, especially Bobby.

Rick

July 29th, 2009
4:50 am

Fredi Gonzalez learned to manage from Bobby Cox . Does the student know more than the teacher – not likely .

Larry

July 29th, 2009
4:56 am

What’s the point of it all?

Should we win every remaining game and win the division by 20 we will still be managed in the postseason by the worst postseason manager in baseball history who sports a truly remarkable 1-14 last game record. That’s a 93% likelihood of us watching the opponent celebrate a victory in the final game. Who would enjoy watching this again?

Again, what’s the point of it all?

rickman

July 29th, 2009
5:54 am

Church is not the answer, he is just a lefty Frenchy….1st and 3rd with one out… What happens…grounds into a DP. Looked just like Frenchy, that was the ballgame. We need offense. Trade pitching for someone that can hit… Make Norton go away!!!! Blanco can get it done with.

stew

July 29th, 2009
6:51 am

Church is a band aid until Heyward arrives. Freeman should be the answer at first. Why isn’t everyone raving about Cody Johnson? Problem is we need right-handed power. One thing nobody ever mentions is our natural rival in interleague play. Why do we get to play the Red Sox 6 games every year? I don’t want to play the team with the second highest payroll consistently while other teams natural rivals are K.C., Baltimore, Oakland, etc. If the payroll rankings changed every year then maybe we would have a weak natural rival. Every year we play 6 games against a strong opponent while other teams play a weak opponent.

TommyP

July 29th, 2009
6:58 am

Not enough offense to win the wild card, Mark. And I’m saying that during our best offensive month, not when we’re struggling.

Hooter Girl

July 29th, 2009
6:59 am

So Chipper hits a homerun last night, wow ain’t he great. But wait, how about the times he came to bat with runners on? What happened then? But he is our leader.

Marc

July 29th, 2009
7:00 am

Don’t forget we have a 7 position right handed bat coming back soon in Infante. As much as I like Norton, I think I’m gonna jump on the addition-by-subtraction bandwagon and call for his release. KJ would have been a better person in that pinch-hit situation last night, but because Norton is there he got used.

We can also call Conrad back if Bobby really wants a switch hitter on the bench. I don’t think we need a trade, I think we need to just get serious and follow Wren’s approach of tough love. I like Norton, but this isn’t his year.

mama's boy

July 29th, 2009
7:01 am

I’m not panicking but I almost started to cry last night when that ball went over the fence but Mama Cox put her arms around me and told me everything was going to be allright. I felt so much better. I love Mama and Mama loves me.

Baby Ruth

July 29th, 2009
7:03 am

Sure, it’s only one of 162 games. But when you’re seven games out of the division lead with 60-something remaining, and a couple games out of what promises to be a tight wildcard race, this is one of those games you hate to see slip away.

Isn’t baseball supposed to be a game of inches?

richbrave

July 29th, 2009
7:24 am

From this vantage point it appears the BRAVES consider the winner of last night’s game to be JERRY MEALS and his one-eyed strike zone. I think they felt it was just a matter of time before one club or the other got a fat pitch to hit, and both did in the ninth. No harm, no foul to the team psyche.

18 Wheels of Love

July 29th, 2009
7:43 am

My question about tonight’s game….who pitches the 7th, 8th, and 9th?

Greg

July 29th, 2009
7:52 am

Four teams that you are fighting with for the wild card berth won last night and you lost. This IS a tough loss I don’t care if it is July, the Braves can not afford to blow games such as this one.

raleighbravesfan

July 29th, 2009
8:13 am

I’m tired of giving up our future, and loosing great prospects for a MYTHICAL shot at it now with a rent-a-player. Let’s continue to build on what we have and add the young guys in the system as they become available. One expensive temporary player is not likely to put us over the top this year, and could cripple us in the future. TEX TRADE. Need I say more?

Mark Bradley

July 29th, 2009
8:17 am

Last night marked the Braves’ 100th game. They have 62 to go. Plenty of time to win the wild card.

Mark Bradley

July 29th, 2009
8:20 am

The NL East? Well, that’s another matter. Eight games behind the Fightin’ Phils as of this moment.