Bradley’s Buzz: Smoltz might not make it to October

The idea was for John Smoltz to bide his time and ready himself for the big games in September and October. The way he’s going, there might not be any of those. After what transpired last night in the Bronx, the Boston Red Sox are asking themselves if Smoltz has anything left.

He yielded nine hits and eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings against the hated Yankees. His record dropped to 2-5. His ERA rose to 8.33.

From Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe: “In the end, the Braves were probably right in their decision to not re-sign Smoltz, though the execution was barbarian.”

From Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger: “Before Thursday night’s game, Red Sox manager Terry Francona insisted that Smoltz’s fastball still had life and his slider still had bite. Afterward, Francona couldn’t find many positives. He said he was unsure what to do with Smoltz’s spot in the rotation going forward.”

From Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald: “Now that plan is out the window. Instead of being the Red Sox’ October savior, Smoltz actually is standing in the way of the team reaching October. If the Sox keep giving Smoltz the ball every fifth game, they’re hurting – not helping – their postseason chances.”

From Daniel Barbarisi of the Providence Journal: “At what point is enough enough?

From Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe: “Everybody loves Smoltz the way Everybody loves Raymond. He’s a Hall of Famer. But it looks like it’s over.”

You all know Smoltz isn’t my favorite guy — then again, I didn’t much like Raymond, either — but no pitcher of his eminence should go out like this. And the Red Sox can’t afford to experiment. They’re 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees and two games ahead of the Rangers in the wild-card chase. They fully expect to be in the postseason, which was why signing Smoltz seemed a great notion. But here were the key reported quotes after Thursday’s shelling:

“We have a lot of things to talk about tonight,” said Terry Francona, the Sox manager. “I don’t think five minutes after the game we need to come to a conclusion.”

“I’m a fighter,” Smoltz said, “but time may not be on my side if this continues.”

Meanwhile, backat the Braves: Smoltz’s old club lost another excruciating game on a walk-off homer last night. When first it happened, in Florida last week, I didn’t think it was a big deal. I think this one is  bigger. Only 53 games left and they’re still 5 1/2 back in the wild card standings. It’s not looking good for them, either.

Sudden thought: Since Smoltz is proving he can no longer start games effectively, is there a chance Frank Wren might be interested in letting him close? (Probably not, I’m guessing.)

Oh, and one thing more: The legendary Casey Kotchman, as Mr. McAdam of the Herald notes, made his first start for the Sox last night — and hit a two-run homer off Joba Chamberlain. But there’s a chance I read that wrong. Casey Kotchman? A home run? Nah.

Extra! Extra! According to Chad Finn of the Boston Globe, Smoltz has been designated for assignment, which could well mean his career is at its end.

154 comments Add your comment

JB

August 7th, 2009
9:43 am

Braves were 12 million wiser than Boston. Nuff said……Can’t hang on to those old ,worn out arms of him and Glavine. I”ll always be grateful for their good years…They were great Braves.

Mark

August 7th, 2009
9:48 am

What was “barbaric” about the way the Braves handled Smoltz? They offered an incentive laden contract because they thought there were significant risks that came along with signing him (which turned out to be 100% true), but he bolted for more money from the Red Sox.

brent a.

August 7th, 2009
9:57 am

I figure MB will appreciate this quote from Smoltz:

“I’m not doing it right now,” Smoltz said. “I’m a big enough man to stand up here and say I’m not doing it. Time may not be on my side if this continues. I’ve been here before, but not like this.”

brent a.

August 7th, 2009
9:59 am

I agree with Mark (poster #2). The Braves did nothing barbaric to Smotlz. John was offered more money and he chose to take it.

Calling a free market system which allows a player to choose a higher salary “barbaric” sounds as if it comes straight out of the Obama business handbook.

Cow

August 7th, 2009
9:59 am

MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Mike S

August 7th, 2009
10:00 am

What I would love to see is the Red Sox trade Smoltz to the Braves for “considerations” and then Smoltz announce his retirement as a Brave. but probably too much bad blood still left from the winter for that to happen.

luke

August 7th, 2009
10:03 am

Ha! Smoltz cant believe it is happening to him. he is in denial.

said Smoltz: “It’s the highest ERA I’ve ever had, but what I can tell you is that each time out, my stuff has got better and better. I’m just in a position where, until I execute, I’m going to have to deal with [criticism].

“My stuff is not done. My results might put me in a category where they’re going to talk about it, but with the exception of some hits, I’m tired of tipping my hat to the hitters.”

Lefthanders are hitting .443 against you! STATS DONT LIE, JOHNNYBOY!!

Joey

August 7th, 2009
10:10 am

I would really feel bad for Smoltz if not for the way he acted this spring when the Braves didn’t throw as much money at him as the Red Sox, and then again after the Glavine thing, ripping the organization that made him rich. Horrible ending last night, was sure we had it won with Soriano coming in to close it. That may have been the final dagger…

TommyP

August 7th, 2009
10:11 am

Mark: You need to stop doing what so many others do. When the Braves were on their hot streak in July, you jumped on that bandwagon quicker than Jesse James. (did he do that? maybe not) Everybody was saying that the Braves were going to the playoffs and this and that. It was a hot streak. A good month. Nothing more.

Gotta look past their great moments….and their terrible ones.

This team isn’t a playoff team. And it starts with the lineup.

Sorry, man. Had to call you out. I still read/enjoy your articles daily, though. :)

NC Braves Fan

August 7th, 2009
10:13 am

Like Carfado said in was a possibility his article, Smoltz is probably headed to the DL and his days in Boston are likely at a close. The Sox have too much invested in their team to trot him out there every fifth day.

I do feel badly that Smoltz’s end will most likely not come in a Braves uni, but I don’t feel sorry for him at all. He took the best offer on the table and went to the cauldron that is the AL East.

luke

August 7th, 2009
10:14 am

Anyone want to help me raise funds to build statues of smoltz and glavine at the Ted? We could have Tom and John on their knees sticking their noses into a trough full of cash while statues of Yankees and Marlins whack them on the derrieres with baseball bats. This would serve as a reminder of the 7 runs the Marlins hung on Tommy G in his last game as a Met (when he couldn’t even get out of the 1st inning) and the Yankee statues would pay tribute to the 8 earned runs they tagges Smoltz with last night in his measily 3 and 1/3 appearance.

ChillyMutt

August 7th, 2009
10:15 am

The way in which Smoltz was handled and the way that Glavine was handled were completely different.

Andyman

August 7th, 2009
10:16 am

If Smoltz’s stuff has gotten better and he still stunk it up that bad last night, it must’ve been down right awful in his first couple of starts. His pitches looked pretty flat and unimpressive to me. It seems like he’s pretty much done.

Thank you John Smoltz for feeling disrespected and not taking the Braves offer, which was more than fair in my opinion for a guy his age coming off major shoulder surgery.

Coach (2010 or Bust)

August 7th, 2009
10:17 am

Yes, Frank Wren was correct in cutting ties with both Smoltz and Glavine. Unfortunately, it has made zero difference concerning the destiny of the 2009 Braves.

Smoltz doesn’t belong in the playoffs and neither do our Braves. Yo fella’s, better luck in 2010.

Mark Bradley

August 7th, 2009
10:18 am

Didn’t Jesse James jump on trains? Or was that someone else? (Butch Cassidy, maybe?)

Daniel

August 7th, 2009
10:20 am

John Smoltz falling apart as a Red Sox, it almost makes up for the way the Braves are playing.

midnite

August 7th, 2009
10:22 am

While he was a Brave Smoltz always “left it all on the field” and I will always admire him for that. To blame Frank Wren for not resigning him is flat wrong.

The Sox had the money to take a gamble, while the Braves did not. I lost alot of respect for Smoltz for continuing to bad mouth the Braves about the way they mishandled the negotiations even after he “got his $4.5M” from Boston.

He should have “hung up the cleats” with class like Maddux did. He might be OK pitching out of the bullpen on the cheap if available.

Dan Brennan

August 7th, 2009
10:32 am

Ego and ability both deflating…Oh the desire to have the hindsight and show some appreciation and class

Mark Bradley

August 7th, 2009
10:34 am

I have some sympathy for Smoltz. (I swear!) No competitor wants to leave on a down note. It was the same with Glavine.

Matty Ice

August 7th, 2009
10:35 am

Mark, why don’t you like John Smoltz? Do you mean on a personal level or as a player? I don’t see why you would not like him on either level. Please elaborate.

P Rose

August 7th, 2009
10:36 am

I love to watch the Braves until the ninth and on the road

When teams are walking off with names like Eithier and Gload

(And Juan Pierre’s a kind of name that makes me feel amused

Is he Spanish? Is he French? His mama was confused)

But Chipper shouldn’t try to make that single-handed grab

He can’t bend over far enough because of all his flab

But Chipper’s looking good when he’s compared to Manny Fanny

Whose swolen breasts are sagging (he reminds me of my granny)

His head is big, his butt is big, his testicles are small

But wasn’t him who did us in, ‘twas Rafael Furcal

I didn’t think we needed him, or Griffey Junior, neither

I don’t like either one of them – I don’t like Andre, Eithier.

Mark Bradley

August 7th, 2009
10:38 am

Great one, P Rose.

And Matty, if you’ll click the link where I say Smoltz isn’t my favorite guy, all should be revealed.

JD

August 7th, 2009
10:40 am

Hey Mark – do you know what’s going on with the Sports Vents? It’s 10:40 on Friday and we still have Wednesday’s vents up. They’re always the last ones updated anyway. If the AJC needs someone to work 4 day weeks and show up late everday, I’ll do it for like $20.

Braindawg

August 7th, 2009
10:42 am

Smoltz and Glavine were great in Braves uni’s. And a great deal of thanks is due both of them. The 14 straight div., one world series titles wouldnt have happened without them. And yes they both went a little crazy in the latter stages of their careers. Something that they both will regret. Anyone thats watched them over during their careers can see that they both have that fire in their gut to compete. And that is the reason for the way they left the Braves, and for their disloyalty to Atlanta. All of which will go away and they will be welcomed back to the good graces of the Braves and their fans soon enough. I remember the 100 loss seasons, and thats why I thank them for what they did for MY home team……And if anyone can’t see that they are and always will be Braves at heart can kiss my Braves loving A$$! Hats off to both of them! That is all! Later!

Garry Smyrna

August 7th, 2009
10:42 am

The Braves fans were railing the Braves for not signing Smoltz.Then when Glavine wasnt given his 1 million bonus and released they went nuts again.Tommy Hanson and Javier Vasqez are far and away better than the 2 ex Braves. Thank goodness we didnt put all our pitching stock into ageing Hall of Famers our pitching staff is better right now than it has been in years.Once Hudson gets back and Kawa can go to the bullpen we will be even better

Dan Brennan

August 7th, 2009
10:43 am

Agreed Mark but I think it comes down to the fact that we are ALL sick of Million Dollar cry babies while us regular folk bust our chops for our lifestyles.

Wren smarter than us?

August 7th, 2009
10:43 am

Is it possible than Frank Wren knows more baseball than us bloggers? Nah.
And Glavine was even less impressive than Smoltz, which is why he got no offers after the Braves released him. They were great in their day, even if Smoltz was a whiner earlier in his career, but their day is gone.

BravesFan79

August 7th, 2009
10:48 am

I dont think Smoltz is done just yet. This game WAS against the powerfull Yankees lineup, and he seemed to lack control. I think his next start against hopefully a more mediocure team…. will allow him to get his confidence and control back up. If the Braves cant make the playoffs, then Smoltz is the player id be watching the most in the playoffs. So im rooting for him to come back and make the postseason roster! Go Smoltz!

Braindawg

August 7th, 2009
10:50 am

Agreed Dan Brennan! You have hit a grand slam with that post! But then again what do I know? I dont make a million dollars plus a yr. like Mr. Hall of Fames Sports Writer, Mark “the pen” Bradley!!! That is all! Later!

Spud Webb

August 7th, 2009
10:51 am

He looks old. Me thinks John is wishing he would’ve taken the braves offer & stayed in the NL??? Hope you’re counting your money John and crying like a baby. I predicted this when he signed with Boston and actually remember writing…”wait until he gets pounded by the Yanks”.
Could’ve, Should’ve, would’ve. It’s over. GOODNIGHT…

Braindawg

August 7th, 2009
10:53 am

Of course i was joking Mr. Bradley! We all know you make $999,999.99 a yr.! And you should, you do a good job! TGIF Thank goodness im fried!!!!!

Bill

August 7th, 2009
10:55 am

As far as Kotchman is concerned,don’t think much of that homer.I think my neighbor’s cat can hit ome out of that part of Yankee stadium

Mark Bradley

August 7th, 2009
10:55 am

JD, I don’t work on the technical side of the ball, as it were, but I know a ton of updating has to get done by our two-person crew in the a.m. They have to go pretty hard in not a lot of time.

Techster

August 7th, 2009
10:56 am

P Rose, your poem was the best blog I’ve ever seen on this site. We could do with more of it!

BravesFan79

August 7th, 2009
10:58 am

And last nights game WAS on Cox, because he should of never of pitched BOTH closers in a blowout game the night before against a punchless offense like the Padres!! Someone needs to tell Bobby…. if were winning a game by 4 or more runs… THATS when u put in Acosta…. NOT Gonzo or Soriano!!
To me Bobby Cox is managing not to make the playoffs… but to improve his overall win total. This is why he uses his big guns to MAKE SURE the other team wont come back when were up by 4, 5, 6 runs. Too bad usually the next night it comes back to bite us in the azz when Gonzo or Soriano are either not available… or pitch 2 or 3 nights in a row… usually leading to disaster. I knew that last Padres game would cost us a game in this Dodgers series, just didnt expect it to happen in the 1st game.

G. Tampa Bedwetter

August 7th, 2009
11:01 am

If Braves actually fired people based on performance, Pendleton would have been “barbarically” removed before he ever wore the uniform.

Skeezix

August 7th, 2009
11:01 am

The blown save in Fla. was as big a deal as last night’s blown save. But let’s not forget that, over the course of the season, Soriano has been great. The reason they can’t get much above .500 is the continued lack of offense punch throughout the line up. Like so many times this season, they didn’t take advantage of opportunities to drive in more runs last night.

I watched Smoltz last night and he looked okay the first three innings, but had to throw a lot of pitches. In the fourth he had trouble hitting his spots, stayed behind in the count, walked one too many guys and then when he had to throw his “fastball” over the plate, the Yankee offense feasted on it. He clearly doesn’t have the control/speed he once had when he could use his fastball to escape trouble. He also appeared to tire. That fourth inning was hard to watch.

BravesFan79

August 7th, 2009
11:02 am

Mark: From what youve seen is Fredi Gonzales a better Manager of the bullpen than Cox??
Im hoping hes our manager next year. Why would he wanna stay with a team with a 20 mill payroll? I think hed jump at the chance to lead the Braves.

Ed-Covington

August 7th, 2009
11:03 am

Quote from John Smoltz “This is all Mark Bradley’s fault!” Brought to you by Carl Jr., thank you very much.

Brian

August 7th, 2009
11:07 am

BravesFan79, you really think Soriano blew that one because he threw the day before? What kind of relief pitcher can’t go on back-to-back days? Until last night, Soriano had a 1.20 ERA when working on zero days of rest. Before Thursday, Soriano hadn’t pitched since Saturday.

GeorgiaDuck

August 7th, 2009
11:08 am

I have wish Smoltz and Glavine had retired when they were still on top of their game. Sadly, it’s probably the hardest thing to do for a pro athlete to retire at the right time. Too many still think that they can pitch or hit at 40 plus when they obviously can’t. I always appreciate what Smoltz, Glavine and Maddux gave to the Braves during that great run but that era is over.

Brett Favre

August 7th, 2009
11:15 am

Dear Mr.Smoltz and Glavine,
I will be holding a seminar here in Kiln entitled “How to Recognize Your Limitations and Retire Gracefully.” You are welcome to attend,
Brett

curtis jones

August 7th, 2009
11:15 am

I just wish Soriano would tell someone on those nights when he doesn’t have it…before he enters the game. I’m sitting in my recliner and can tell from his body language when he’s going to suck. How Cox and McDowell can’t see it, I’ll never know.

steve munge

August 7th, 2009
11:15 am

Cox is using the same players out of the bullpen way too many innings and that is why they are not consistent, Gonzales, Moylan and Soriano all had arm surgury last season and he has them pitching too many times, McCann should also be getting some days off as he looks to have a tired swing, this is a good team when everyone is healthy but will not make the playoffs because of a bad coaching staff.

MightyQuinn

August 7th, 2009
11:16 am

Like Dirty Harry said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

Cow

August 7th, 2009
11:16 am

MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

NC Braves Fan

August 7th, 2009
11:21 am

gotech

August 7th, 2009
11:21 am

So how many of you are questioning Frank Wren now? All he’s done is make the right calls on Smoltz, Glavine (vs. Hanson), Furcal (good no-sign), McClouth, and even Frenchy. As much as I love Smoltz for his dedicated service to the Bravos, he is unfortunately well on the down-slope. If he can’t win with the BoSox’ lineup, how could he be effective with Atlanta’s anemic bats?

dawgma

August 7th, 2009
11:25 am

Damn shame that Smoltz has to follow the long line of great jocks who didn’t know whne to bow out gracefully.

Only Maddox (the great one) ends up leaving on top and with class. Not having the strength of character/ego to leave when all signs point stage right will be the final sad remembrance of both Glavine and Smoltz. One of the greatest rotations ever in baseball!

Chuck

August 7th, 2009
11:28 am

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is a moron.

He’s confusing the Glavine and Smoltz situations. Yes, Glavine’s situation was handled very badly – but there was nothing bad about Smoltz’ situation.

The Braves made an offer, the Sox made a better one – Smoltzie took the Sox offer, then whined for several months. I’d feel a lot worse for him if it hadn’t been for his behavior in the offseason. Now that the Braves refusal to risk so much money in his aging arm has been vindicated, I really don’t feel too much pity for him.