Braves 5, Phailies 2

ESPN.com - MLB - Box Score - Phillies at Braves

Walkoff homers are so fun. Andruw had this one, a three-run shot with one out in the ninth while Joe Simpson was busy in the booth trashing him for looking awkward at the plate. (Joe's seen Andruw even more than I and should know that Andruw often looks awkward at the plate while simultaneously hitting colossal homers. I was surprised Joe didn't criticize him for not singling to right instead.)

Tim Hudson went eight and allowed just four hits, all singles, and one walk. Unfortunately, three of the hits came in one inning, the sixth, punctuated by a stolen base, and the Phillies got two runs out of it, overcoming the Braves one-run lead on a Hudson groundout. Chipper came back and tied it with a homer in the bottom of the inning.

After blowing a chance to take the lead in the eighth, in which Hudson was hit for (he had thrown 94 pitches), Gonzalez came in. If you hadn't heard, Bob Wickman was placed on the DL with the unlikely-sounding condition of "upper back tendinitis" and Chad Paronto was called up. Gonzalez and Soriano will share closer duties; Mike did his part tonight by blowing away Utley, Howard, and Burrell.

He picked up the win on Andruw's homer. KJ had led off the inning with a single. (He'd walked three times earlier in the game.) Renteria botched the bunt and the Phillies got KJ at second. Chipper was walked. (Joe claimed this was semi-intentional, but only a lunatic would walk the winning run into scoring position. Of course, this is Charlie Manuel.) Andruw followed, game over.

Willie Harris played left and went 1-3. All the Braves' starters had hits, including Hudson; Andruw and Francoeur had two.

(Crossposted on the new Bravesjournal. I'm afraid comments from here probably won't make it there. This place is going to stay up but tomorrow's game thread will be in the new place.)

Game Thread: April 30, Phailies at Braves

Philadelphia is actually playing pretty well now, and has caught Florida in the standings. Luckily, we miss Moyer, who's been their best pitcher.



Langerhans era over at last

Wish you were here ... and be nice! | Braves

In the immortal words of Lenny Dykstra... "Great trade! Who'd we get?"

From DO'B:


For cash or a player to be named. Braves are bringing up Willie Harris, who’s batting .362 with a homer and seven RBIs in 17 games at Richmond, and .412 vs. right-handed pitchers.

Bobby says doesn’t know how he’ll use him when I asked if it’d be platoon. But I think it will be.

Harris is playing well but is still Willie Harris, a 29-year-old career .238 .306 .294 hitter. But he can't possibly be worse than Langerhans. Things in Oakland must be worse than I thought. Looking it up, they're hitting .229 .309 .344 as a team and the only outfielder hitting at all is Travis Buck. Still, Langerhans could make it worse.

UPDATE: Full story... Langerhans traded to A's | ajc.com

Rockies 9, Braves 7 (10 innings)

ESPN.com - MLB - Box Score - Braves at Rockies

Sheesh. Well, I guess that in a game in which you walk 13 men and have an unassisted triple play turned against you, you're probably lucky to get to the tenth inning. I guess.

Davies sucked out of the gate, somehow got past the first, then allowed four runs in the second (blowing a lead from a solo homer by Thorman). Thorman then cut it to 4-2 in the fourth by singling home Andruw (who had doubled) but the Vulture gave the run back with a homer.

Thorman drove in two more runs with a single in the sixth. Langerhans (who had earlier in the game had his first hit since the Great Depression April 11) hit a sac fly to make it 6-5. In the eighth, Pena drove in a run on an "error" against the drawn-in infield (in my opinion, it's not an error when you put the second baseman in a position where a normal play can't be made, but I don't make the rules).

Wickman's apparent collapse, however, continued. He walked three men, two of whom scored, and allowed an infield "hit" that was a routine forceout at second for any shortstop with complete use of his arms and legs. He got a soft groundout to score the tying run, then hit the next batter. The surgent (he's not resurgent, he's never surged before) Kali came in to get the last batter, which he only did because Francoeur made an outstanding catch in right.

Thorman doubled to lead off the tenth, but was erased when he fell down trying to scramble back on a lineout. Then Colyer came in, walked the second guy (Helton, who walked five times today) and gave up a homer to end it. Meanwhile, Mike Gonzalez was playing Sudoku in the bullpen or something. I don't know.

The Braves had twice as many hits as the Rockies, 16-8, but oh, those bases on balls. Everyone in the regular lineup (including Pena for McCann) had a hit and only Chipper and Langerhans (.068) had less than two.

Game Thread: April 29, Braves at Rockies

I would have a game thread video here but all I can think of is John Denver, and I'm not going there.



Braves 6, Rockies 2

ESPN.com - MLB - Box Score - Braves at Rockies

John Smoltz got off to a really shaky start. He walked the leadoff batter, then allowed a home run. The next two hitters hit long fly outs, then he allowed a double, before getting out of it with a groundout. Then he settled down. He didn't walk anyone else, and he struck out eight; while he allowed seven more hits he scattered them over six innings, and you're going to allow a few hits in this dump.

The Braves' offense also got off to a slow start, the first seven men producing only one walk. But Langerhans hit a routine grounder which the shortstop dropped (the nitwits in the booth pretended there was some question but it was an obvious error). Smoltz bunted him to second. KJ and Renteria walked to load the bases and Chipper singled home two. Andruw followed with a sac fly to give the Braves the lead.

Francoeur homered leading off the fourth, and with two out KJ tripled home Langerhans (who had walked -- of course he was 0-3, he's always 0-3 or 0-4, and now hitting .049) to make it 5-2. It stayed there for a long time. Smoltz left after seven. Gonzalez allowed a leadoff double in the eighth but got out of it with a popup, strikeout, and groundout.

Renteria hit a homer with two out in the ninth. Soriano got the first two in the bottom of the inning, then Renteria dropped the third out, but Soriano got the next guy easily.

The Braves had only six hits, but walked five times. Nobody had more than one hit; McCann (who's fighting it a little, but did hit a long drive that almost made the wall for a double) and Thorman both went 0-4.

Game Thread: April 28, Braves at Rockies

Today's Game Thread Video is dedicated to Mel Kiper Jr.!


Braves 9, Rockies 7

ESPN.com - MLB - Box Score - Braves at Rockies

Did something happen to the humidor?

It was actually a shutout through three innings because the Braves stranded a bunch of baserunners and hit into two double plays, letting seven hits and an intentional walk go to waste. With two out in the fourth, they finally broke through, KJ singling home Diaz and going to second on the throw, then Renteria doing the same for KJ. The Rockies homered off of Chuck James to lead off the bottom of the inning, but it stayed 2-1 to the sixth.

Wilson homered to lead off that inning. With two out and runners second and third, Andruw -- whom they had walked intentionally with a runner on second and two out in the first -- lined a homer to left to make it 6-1. But the Rockies game back with five singles in six ABs, most of them up the middle while Renteria looked on helplessly. Kali gave up the last two singles but then got out of the inning with the score 6-4.

The Braves then made it 9-4 with Renteria singling in Wilson and Chipper doubling home Johnson and Renteria. Gonzalez pitched a one-hit seventh, Soriano walked a guy but got a double play in the eighth. Wickman came on and after getting the first out walked a man, got a grounder which Renteria couldn't get two on, then another grounder which Renteria couldn't get anyone on, then walked the bases loaded, followed by a double to make it 9-7.

Bobby then brought in Colyer, who predictably walked Helton. Moylan and the Vulture were the only men left, and Bobby went with the Australian to face Matt Holliday. He allowed a long drive to the right field corner, but Francoeur made a running catch to preserve the win.

Renteria had four hits, which may make up for the four hits a normal shortstop would have taken away. Wilson had three. KJ walked twice and singled twice, and Chipper, Francoeur, and Diaz had two hits apiece. Glove Boy had a pinch "hit" appearance where he failed miserably as usual. What are the odds?

Game Thread: April 27, Braves at Rockies

New site soon, I promise. So, has anyone heard if the humidor is still working?


Good news, bad news

ESPN.com - MLB - Braves, Smoltz agree on contract extension

No confirmation yet from the official site or AJC, but ESPN says that it is a contract for $14 million next season with an option for 2009 that kicks in if he pitches 200 innings, then a team option for 2010. You would assume that would take him to the end of his career.

Cormier has soreness in throwing arm | ajc.com

Well, that's not good. After the Hampton Experience, any time a pitcher has mysterious muscle soreness I worry about his elbow.

UPDATE: Smoltz confirmation from the official site, though no press release yet.

UPDATE UPDATE: Press release, which is essentially the same as Peanut's article.

Open day thread

I think we're probably going to have one more game on Blogger but things should be ready on Saturday. Maybe not. Who knows? Anyway, everything's in motion.

Today's video is dedicated to Cody Ross! You'll see why 4:56 in.


Marlins 4, Braves 3

ESPN.com - MLB - Box Score - Braves at Marlins

You have got to be kidding me.

You know I'm a great admirer of Bobby's, but a younger manager, one not hung up on the outdated notions of complete games, probably wins this game. The Braves led 3-0 basically the entire game, and Tim Hudson looked bulletproof, striking out 12 in the first eight innings. But Bobby sent him out to start the ninth at over 100 pitches. Okay, that's reasonable, I guess, especially after getting only three innings out of your starter the day before, even with an off day tomorrow.

But Hudson allowed consecutive singles to lead off the ninth. You just can't get yourself into a situation where he's facing the tying run now. He was clearly spent. But after a discussion with Roger Dodger, he stayed in the game and allowed another single. Bobby finally went to Wickman, but he allowed a double to score two runs. Then they walked Joe "Florida's Langerhans" Borchard to intentionally load the bases, suggesting that they didn't actually see last night's game. Wickman got the next guy on strikes, but allowed a pathetic little flare single to tie the game, then threw a wild pitch to lose it. Hudson deserved much better, but at least he doesn't have to pitch in Colorado.

All three Braves runs came on solo homers, by KJ leading off the game, Chipper two batters later, and Diaz in the second. But Andruw had an awful day, striking out three times including with the bases loaded and two out. The Braves could have blown the game open then.

I probably would have had Gonzalez pitch the ninth.

Game Thread: April 25, Braves at Marlins

As I've mentioned I'm in an APBA keeper league. It's pretty deep, 20 teams, 40-man rosters. Anyway, I usually lose so in last year's draft I decided that I'd just take Braves because if I'm going to lose I might as well lose with players I'm rooting for. I took McCann with the ninth pick in the first round and also took KJ and McBride.

So it actually worked out pretty well and my team is suddenly a contender, so I went back to my "when in doubt, pick a Brave" strategy this year. Only this time I wound up with Paronto and Kali. Hm.

Langernote: In case you didn't know, Baseball-Reference is updating during the season now. Here's the Braves page. Note that Langerhans has an OPS+ of negative thirty. Sweet Jesus.

No video today, slow connection.



Braves 11, Marlins 6

ESPN.com - MLB - Box Score - Braves at Marlins

So, here's what we know: Mark Redman is done; Ryan Langerhans is awful; and Fredi Gonzalez is really, really stupid.

Fredi did make a nice call in the second inning. The Braves had scored four in the first off of Rick Vanden Hurk, whatever that is, but Redman gave it all back in the bottom of the inning. RVH then walked the bases loaded, including Redman as the leadoff hitter, and Fredi pulled the plug. He almost got out of it when Chipper and Andruw popped out, but McCann walked to score one and Francoeur singled to score another to make it 6-4.

Redman actually got through the second, but gave the lead back in the third, allowing two runs, and Bobby had seen enough as well and went to Moylan to start the fourth. Moylan was great (mostly, I have to point out, against a primarily righthanded-hitting lineup assembled against the lefty starter) and went three, striking out three and allowing just one hit and one walk. McCann's sac fly in the sixth gave the Braves a 7-6 lead.

Kali came on in the seventh and was as good as I've ever seen him, needing only nine pitches for the 1-2-3 inning, including a strikeout. The Soriano of the first two weeks put in an appearance in the eighth, striking out two of the three Marlins he faced.

Then Fredi's brainlock. Andruw and McCann went down to start the ninth. Francoeur singled. Thorman singled and took second when the Marlins idiotically tried to get Francoeur at third. Langerhans was due up, and I was hoping against hope Bobby would pinch-hit when Fredi called for an intentional walk. Intentionally walking a man who was at that point rapidly closing in on an .050 batting average -- he's now 2-38 on the season -- is suicidal insanity.

Orr pinch-hit, worked the count to 3-2, then lined a single past first to score two. KJ and Renteria added RBI singles and it was 11-6. Wickman was already ready, since once again it was a one-run game with two out in the top of the ninth, and allowed one hit in the bottom of the inning.

Every Brave regular except, of course, Langerhans, had at least one hit. Francoeur and Thorman had three apiece and each had two RBI. KJ had only the single, but walked three times and scored off of each. The Braves scored 11 runs with no homers. I'd give the MVP to Moylan, who got the win.

Game Thread: April 24, Braves at Marlins

No news on the new site front. I'm hoping to have something in the next couple of days. Meanwhile, if you just hate Blogger, I can set up a new auxiliary backup at WordPress.com, which would at least have the familiar settings.

Today's Game Thread Video is dedicated to Ryan Langerhans' extra base hit total, because it doesn't exist either! Sorry, I'm on a slow connection here.