Braves still quiet on the trade front

All remains quiet on the Braves trade front and there’s no reason to expect that the Phillies acquisition of Cliff Lee is going to force Frank Wren to feel like he has to make a deal before Friday’s deadline.
 
The Braves have spent the past couple days inquiring about some relievers and primarily found the ones that interest them aren’t available.   This isn’t to say Wren won’t pull the trigger within the next 48 hours.  But at this time, it appears that he’ll stand pat. 

While Lee will certainly upgrade the Phillies rotation, his presence in Philadelphia doesn’t exactly significantly alter the challenge the Braves face in their bid to advance to the postseason.   Entering Wednesday, they were eight games behind the front-running Phillies in the National League East race and understanding the reality that it would be wise to worry more about the 3 1/2 -game deficit they face in the Wild Card race.  

“You hate to see the team that you’re chasing get better,” David Ross said.  “But if you want to make the playoffs and reach the World Series, you’re going to have to beat the Roy Halladays, Cliff Lees and Josh Becketts.  In one sense, I wish the Phillies hadn’t gotten better.  But in another sense, I don’t think that he’s unbeatable.”

Obviously Lee’s presence presents the possibility that the head-to-head matchups against the Phillies will prove to be more challenging.  But the Braves have gone 20-15 against left-handed starters this year and they have won seven of the nine games they’ve played against the Phillies this year.

Braves starting pitchers have allowed two earned runs or fewer in seven of the nine games played against the Phillies this year.  If they can continue this success during the final nine games played against the defending world champs, Lee won’t have much of an effect on their hopes to at least gain entry to the postseason via the Wild Card.  

When Rafael Soriano entered Tuesday night’s game against the Marlins with the responsibility of protecting a one-run lead, it was easy to draw the same assumption that was present when the Braves used to send John Smoltz to the mound to close games.
 
The Braves had won 29 of the previous 33 games during which Soriano had pitched and he hadn’t allowed a run or hit during two of the four losses suffered during that span.    The only other blown save he’d experienced in 15 previous opportunities  occurred during the May 13 game that the Braves won when Martin Prado doomed the Mets with a 12th-inning homer. 

But while pitching with three days of rest last night, Soriano showed some signs of impending trouble when he issued Cody Ross a four-pitch, leadoff walk.   He hadn’t issued a walk to any of the previous 33 batters that he’d faced and during his previous five appearances, he’d thrown 53 of his 67 pitches for strikes. 

After Soriano recorded just three strikes in this 10-pitch appearance against the Marlins, Braves manager Bobby Cox complained about Jerry Meals’ strike zone.   But really the only thing that mattered at the end of the night was the fact that Soriano grooved a 3-1 fastball that Ross Gload turned into a two-run, walk-off homer. 

With Josh Johnson set to oppose Kenshin Kawakami tonight, this certainly wasn’t an opportune time for Soriano to prove to be mortal.  But at the same time, there doesn’t seem to be much reason to worry about how this one shaky outing will affect the stone-faced closer.  

Tonight’s lineup:
McLouth 8
Prado 4
Jones 5
McCann 2
Anderson 7
Escobar 6
Kotchman 3
Church 9
Kawakami 1

32 Comments

ouch. the marlins have really had our number for the past couple years. i fear the braves playing the marlins more than the mets or the phillies. the marlins just own the braves, at the moment. KK had another poor outing. he really needs to move to the bullpen soon. losing atleast 2/3 to the marlins and then facing the dodgers; this is not goingto be a good week for the braves.

Kimbrel 5 K’s and 1 H in 2.0 IP for MB tonight.

Here’s a poll question, guys…
Who’s the worse umpire, Bill Hohn or Doug Eddings?

wren is stupid there is not a chance we will make the postseason with our current club the wild card winner getting sanchez and garko and the division winner getting lee we dont have a chance make a d a m trade wren get martinez get halday just get someone that is a imediate impact player

bad call way outside but called a strike should of been ball 4

hohn that dunce needs to get glasses

What happened where Mac and Cox got ejected? They didn’t show it on ESPN.
http://moneyball.mlblogs.com/

Moneyball… basically Garret Anderson was already batting with a 1-1 count or something and Bobby was talking with McCann about how far outside the ball was (and it was a pretty awful call).

Hohn called time right as Johnson was preparing to deliver the pitch and then went and stood next to the Braves dugout and stared in intently. Cox came out eventually and the two of them had a discussion in which Bobby Cox mostly demonstrated the desire to get on with the game, he even said at one point, “Hey, just call the game.” As Bobby was backing away, Hohn reached for his lineup card and called Bobby back. It looked like he was showing Bobby something on the card. Then it looked like Hon said something to Bobby to try and get him upset, about 20 seconds later he threw him out.

McCann was thrown out while taking warmup pitches for the next inning. According to him, he asked Hohn “Can you just admit that you missed it.” Which caused Hohn to stop cold and toss him.

The call for Brian would only have been ball 3. But I watched the archive of it and it definitely was a bad call.

Just got back from 2 games at the Shark. My girlfriend wanted to come home because I was crying so bad about the games. I have tickets for tomorrow but I dont know if we will go. Its hard to go in and harass the Fish fans and then have to keep eating crow.

I wanted to to do a little analysis of the the Francoeur trade after the first couple weeks. He’s hitting .327 with 3 HR’s and 16 RBI’s. That projects to a 36 HR season with 164 RBI’s. Now I realize that this is a brief period to evaluate the trade, but I had been hearing a lot of talk about how his bat speed had slowed and he couldn’t hit for power any longer. I guess he must have gotten a little tailwind in NY. Funny how that could happen in the most scrutinized media market in the country. Apparently his bat got a little healthier away from the coaching staff in the ATL. It seems that is a pretty common occurence. Even Andruw whose swing was pretty much destroyed when he left the Braves has 17 HR’s this year. He got some help in the batting cage and has resurrected his career. Not a great average(as usual) but his power stroke is back. Even Kelly Johnson who struggles with consistency went down on a rehab assignment and seems to have gotten some of his swing back. The only problem is in ATL. These young hitters all come up hitting lights out and ALL of them wind up with one foot in the bucket. They just aren’t getting any help when they arrive. I mean we aren’t talking about 1 or 2 guys, we are talking about all the guys who listen to the batting coaches when they get here. A classic example would have to be Jordan S. He hit so well in Spring training, hit well to start the season and then got told not to hit for power and how to change his approach. We see how well that served him.

This team isn’t going to produce consistently until they make some coaching changes. Terry has got to go. We need someone who can support young talent before we bring Heyward up and ruin him , too.

I have to agree, I would move Heyward to Gwinnett immediately, then leave him with Dismuke until TP is moved on, which probably won’t be before the off season. If they hit it off in Gwinnett, move Dismuke up to Atlanta for next season. TP is a great guy and I’m sure they can find him a job as roving infield instructor or something. No wait, Jonathon Sheurholz has that job, never mind, I guess we just have to fire TP.
Next Spring it will be really tough to keep Heyward in Gwinnett.

My wife on Hohn, “He just looks mean.” But seriously, on both occasions this year it was obvious he wanted a fight. I mean he’s the kind of umpire that makes me think, “Where’s Questec when you need it?”.

He does have that frustrated “didn’t make the cut as a policeman” look about him. He is notorious for a moving strike zone, and is probably tired of hearing how bad he is from everyone he umps for. The other members of the crew must love hanging out with him all season. Yikes….

Mark, can you address the following. Last night Haan missed a pitch to McCann. Overall his strike zone with consistent, but he did miss a pitch. McCann reacted and really had little to do with the pitch that Haan missed to him. It was related to Boston and more importantly to Tuesday night. The home plate umpire cost the Braves the game. Soriano threw two perfect pitches, which were called balls. They were definitely at the knees and accross the plate. He ended up drawing a walk. I guess they were seen as low? Then, he was forced to grove a fastball so as not to put the tieing run on base. He missed another third strike call, which affected the Homerun. I guarantee if the pitches were viewed on Questec, they would have been strikes (at least two of three). Those calls cost the Braves a game and reallly have hurt the wild card chances.

Have you had a chance to review the bad calls on Tuesday night? Is the umpire going to be held accoutable?

Nobody knows what would have happenned, but if Soriono had gotten those calls (or at least two), I like the Braves chances. Now, they need to get the momentum back.

Unfortunately, the Braves can’t blame the umps for their poor situational hitting (Kotchman, McCann, and even Prado). DPs are really hurting the Braves lately.

One more thing, can Bobby force McCloud to run more? He is obviusly a good base stealer.

We need to score at least 4-5 runs per game from hear on out if we want a chance at this thing… Especially looking at our remaining schedule. We are guaranteed to see Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Johan Santanna, and Josh Johnson at least once… some of them probably twice. Do we have the bats to consistently keep up??? Only time will tell. It will be a fun stretch, unless the Braves are caving now… which I hope they’re not!

Lyle Overbay would be a good fit for the Braves. They need some power adding Overbay and Alex Rios would put the Braves over the top in the wild card they might not be able to catch the Phillies but they can win the wild card. How about Jojo Reyes, Gregor Blanco, Casey Kotchman, and 1 prospect or two. All i know is the braves better do something or they will be on the outside looking in again this year. The Braves play every game on tv they have the money to get this done.

Overbay is alot better than Kotchman and better than all the other first basemen out there in trade talks, but if the braves dont do this trade then they should still try to get Alex Rios by himself for Jojo Reyes and Gregor Blanco maybe. Alex Rios will make a good fit for the braves. He?s from alabama it would be a welcome home party for him after being in canada who wants to play in canada.

The braves have to do something. How about Victor Martinez. Mark tTeahan for a utility guy. Aubrey Huff , Adrian Gonzalez might be impossible but that would be great to have another Fred Mcgriff. And by the way who cares so much about the Phillies when the Braves cant bet the Marlins.

Has McCloud been what the Braves expected? He seems to really struggle in clutch situations. He swings at a lot of bad pitches and strikes out a ton. Additionally, he seems reluctant to use his speed to steal bases at time.

McLouth has just been in a really bad slump lately he isn’t a super star but he is a good ball player…he will be much better off once Jordan Schafer makes his return to take over CF and we can move McLouth to a corner outfield position.

It looks like we need to do something with Kenshin Kawakami he has not been very impressive in his outtings here lately, but he never impressed me any way , maybe we should trade him for an other pitcher along with someone else for Halladay. I don’t think this will happen, but what have we got to lose but a few more game as we go backwards and not forwads in the standings.

bshonkwi: why would anyone want kawikami and his ridiculous contract??

As much as I hate to say it this, we don’t really need anyone else because I don’t want to give up the prospects for a rent-a-player like we did Tex. And we can’t get a guy long term because the places we could put them is 1st base and Right Field and we have Heyward and Freeman burning throught the minor leagues. We have Hudson and Infante rehabing and both will greatly improve are team. Kawakami will move to the bullpen where I think he’ll be great.

They aren’t going to get rid of Kawakami this year or in the offseason because we don’t bring a guy from Japan and sign him to a 3-year contract then trade him. Maybe in the last year of his contract he will be traded.

The braves should get Alex Rios from toronto. He makes 6.4 mil this year. Or Garrett Atkins to play first base.

lineup lineup b bench
McLouth Mclouth Church / Norton
Prado Prado Diaz – of
Jones Jones Infante -1b 2b ss 3b
Mccann Mccann Johnson – 2b
Rios Atkins Ross – c
Anderson Anderson
Escobar Escobar
Kotchman Church

I have said it before and I say it again. We need to get Daniel Bard from Boston before the deadline. This guy is nasty. He is setting up Jonathan Papelbon right now, and has an ERA of 2.08. I truly believe he is the best young relief pitcher in all of the Major Leagues. His numbers prove that to be true. He throws effortless 98-99mph and touches triple digits regularly. At 24, he is very young, which makes his success every scarier. To those in doubt or those who don’t know much about Bard take this to heart: Milwaukee tried to trade Shortstop JJ Hardy for Bard straight up, and Boston declined.

If they denied a trade for Hardy straight up, then who do you suppose we deal?

Plain and simple, the Braves just aren’t gonna get Bard. If the Sox have been reluctant to include him in any deal for Roy Halladay, then I doubt the Braves have a whole lot that’s going to entice them, especially with him being their most reliable reliever in the thick of a pennant race. Don’t get me wrong, I’d absolutely love it if we got him, but that’s only wishful thinking.

Speaking of wishful thinking, I know it’s already been said, but it’d be great if we managed to land Rios from Toronto (even if he hasn’t developed the power most thought he would), hopefully in a package deal with Jason Frasor. At this point though, the Braves would only likely do it if the Jays were willing to assume a decent part of his long-term contract, which I doubt Ricciardi would go for. And unless they could strike a deal without giving a whole lot, it’s probably not likely the Braves would do this kind of deal. There’s no sense in giving too much when they’re up against considerable odds in a tough wild-card race and even tougher odds in their division.

If we do go after anyone, it’d probably be for a lefty with similar lefty/righty splits, say Ron Mahay or Joe Beimel. However, considering this week’s events in Pittsburgh, I’d almost have to say that Matt Capps has to be a possibility, especially in light of the fact that both Soriano and Mike Gonzalez are free agents after the season, and we’d do well to pick up a closer candidate from now. The ERA is deterring, but he might thrive in a seventh-inning role.

Obviously a big power bat would be nice. But unless the Braves are willing to take a flier on some chance power from say, Troy Glaus, who could earn a few at-bats splitting time between first and at third to spell Chipper, I’d say we’re probably set with our current roster, take it or leave it. There’s room for improvement, but financial restrictions do limit flexibility. And I’d rather the Braves not give up more good prospects on a knee-jerk trade that wouldn’t affect the standings more than one or two games.

Medlin should be starting–he was just getting a feel for the big leagues when Bobby stuck him in the BP. Medlin’s ball moves like crazy. KK throws a dead beachball…Also, if Bobby would have the sense and guts to let Norton go and call Conrad back…well you wouldn’t see Prado’s replacement hitting line drives straight up in the air as KJ does so often. When Infante comes back, keep Conrad, who is a power threat from both sides and clutch–(who was the idiot who made the statement that there is no such thing as “clutch?”) and send Diory down as he is clearly not ready for the bigs. And yes, Wren needs to find another arm who can come thru when it counts.

Kawakami is getting hit hard, and I agree his ball is flat. He has shown some signs early on of success, but we can’t dwell in the past. In order to make the playoffs we need consistent pitching as well as timely hitting. I think Jurrjens, Lowe, Vazquez, and Hanson are four quality starters, and Frank Wren deserves credit for bringing in Lowe and Vazauez. For the offense, Norton and Diory need to fix some things in Triple-A. It’s easy for us to criticize them, but hitting a 95mph fastball is the toughest thing to do in all of sports. I think Rios would be a big boost to our lineup, and he would help us out in RF. Who would we give up for him? As long as it’s not Hanson or Heyward I’m OK with it.

Kawakami is getting hit hard, and I agree his ball is flat. He has shown some signs early on of success, but we can’t dwell in the past. In order to make the playoffs we need consistent pitching as well as timely hitting. I think Jurrjens, Lowe, Vazquez, and Hanson are four quality starters, and Frank Wren deserves credit for bringing in Lowe and Vazauez. For the offense, Norton and Diory need to fix some things in Triple-A. It’s easy for us to criticize them, but hitting a 95mph fastball is the toughest thing to do in all of sports. I think Rios would be a big boost to our lineup, and he would help us out in RF. Who would we give up for him? As long as it’s not Hanson or Heyward I’m OK with it.

Kawakami is getting hit hard, and I agree his ball is flat. He has shown some signs early on of success, but we can’t dwell in the past. In order to make the playoffs we need consistent pitching as well as timely hitting. I think Jurrjens, Lowe, Vazquez, and Hanson are four quality starters, and Frank Wren deserves credit for bringing in Lowe and Vazauez. For the offense, Norton and Diory need to fix some things in Triple-A. It’s easy for us to criticize them, but hitting a 95mph fastball is the toughest thing to do in all of sports. I think Rios would be a big boost to our lineup, and he would help us out in RF. Who would we give up for him? As long as it’s not Hanson or Heyward I’m OK with it.

Kawakami is getting hit hard, and I agree his ball is flat. He has shown some signs early on of success, but we can’t dwell in the past. In order to make the playoffs we need consistent pitching as well as timely hitting. I think Jurrjens, Lowe, Vazquez, and Hanson are four quality starters, and Frank Wren deserves credit for bringing in Lowe and Vazauez. For the offense, Norton and Diory need to fix some things in Triple-A. It’s easy for us to criticize them, but hitting a 95mph fastball is the toughest thing to do in all of sports. I think Rios would be a big boost to our lineup, and he would help us out in RF. Who would we give up for him? As long as it’s not Hanson or Heyward I’m OK with it.

Let’s hope Prado and Escobar recover quickly, Diory and KJ almost threw away three balls in about 5 minutes. Defense like that will get us nowhere. Kelly gets waaaaaay to tense defensively in a pressure moment. Maybe we should stick him back out in LF. I don’t mind having him as a bench LH hitter, but he makes me nervous at 2B.

Kawakami is getting hit hard, and I agree his ball is flat. He has shown some signs early on of success, but we can’t dwell in the past. In order to make the playoffs we need consistent pitching as well as timely hitting. I think Jurrjens, Lowe, Vazquez, and Hanson are four quality starters, and Frank Wren deserves credit for bringing in Lowe and Vazauez. For the offense, Norton and Diory need to fix some things in Triple-A. It’s easy for us to criticize them, but hitting a 95mph fastball is the toughest thing to do in all of sports. I think Rios would be a big boost to our lineup, and he would help us out in RF. Who would we give up for him? As long as it’s not Hanson or Heyward I’m OK with it.

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