Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

I don’t want them forget Ruth; I just want them to remember me. -Hank Aaron

22 Jun

Baltimore 9, Atlanta 3

ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Orioles at Braves – 06/22/2003

The problem with Shane Reynolds is that — well, that he stinks. He gives up a bunch of hits and he walks a lot of guys. He has a good won/lost record because the Braves have scored a lot of runs in his starts, but he hasn’t pitched well very often. Today they didn’t score a lot of runs and he gave up five hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings. You can’t succeed giving up two baserunners an inning. It just can’t be done. He wound up being charged with four runs, but he was lucky to avoid giving up more.

Reynolds didn’t get any help from the bullpen this time, with King allowing an inherited runner to score and Hodges, Bong, and Marquis all giving up runs. Marquis, frankly, looked uncomfortable pitching on the second day in a row, and I wonder if he’ll be able to survive in the pen.

Bobby gave Furcal and Sheffield the day off. The latter was probably because Marcus Giles kicked him in the head last night, and since Furcal was pulled early I wonder if he’s also hurting. With Giles still slumping and Andruw returning to an 0-4 day, the Braves were left with pretty much Chipper, Fick, and Javy among the players doing well, in addition to Bragg being a second pitcher. Ironically, it was Vinny’s two-run homer that gave the Braves an early lead.

The Phillies come to town starting Tuesday. The Phillies swept the Red Sox and are now only 8 1/2 back, just a half game behind Montreal.

10 Responses to “Baltimore 9, Atlanta 3”

  1. 1
    Creg Says:

    To continue the previous discussion, I’m hoping the Braves release Reynolds when Byrd comes back. But my gut tells me Ramirez goes to the pen and Hodges goes to the minors. Not that three lefties in the pen makes much sense, but we are talking about a team that has routinely carried three catchers in the postseason.

  2. 2
    JH Says:

    I had a chance today to make it to the game (my first of the year). A few observations: when he’s slumping, Andruw doesn’t have a clue at the plate. They were throwing him pitches that looked like they were a foot outside, and he was just flailing. Giles seems to be pressing a bit right now. I’m one of his biggest fans, and I know he’ll come out of it, but he seems to be afflicted with the Vinny syndrome (swinging at every first pitch). Hopefully, he’ll be squared away quick. I’d hate to see Bobby lose confidence in him (seriously–as opposed to sarcastic comments in the past about Bragg, Lockhart, Gryboski, et al). The run King gave up (the inherited runner who scored) actually shouldn’t have scored. BJ ‘Sure-Out’ (from his time with us) popped up a foul ball that Javy should have caught for out #3, which was then followed up with run scoring single (doesn’t it seem like that ALWAYS happens?). BJ continued his trend of helping Braves’ opponents (I know that’s not really fair, because he was playing well for us before he was hurt last year, but sometimes you just have to say it) with a run-scoring double later in the game. Did anyone else see Chipper fall down when the two runs scored in the 8th? It had to have been embarassing, but it was quite funny. I’ve been watching SportsCenter to see if they show it as a ‘highlight’. By that time, the game was well out of hand, so it was nice to have something to laugh about.
    Oh, yeah, and Reynolds had nothing (again). He got by early on, but he (and this is my opinion here, but seems borne out by his performances this year) always seems on the edge of losing it and getting hammered (which, indeed, did finally happen). I just have a hard time seeing him seriously have continued success with his non-existent strikeout rate.
    Sorry for such a long post–thanks for the chance to contribute, Mac.

  3. 3
    JH Says:

    Also, re: Creg’s comments above
    Do you mean Hodges returning to the minors for regular work while keeping Marquis (with Jason being sent down once Boom-Boom returns)? I’d say keep Hodges up, and find something else for Jason (maybe as part of a trade? he has said he does not like the pen, and does not pitch particularly well in relief either; or send him back to Richmond for regular work). Just my 2 cents worth

  4. 4
    Colin Says:

    Javy should have caught for out #3

    In case you weren’t able to see the details of the play (maybe not, unless you had the Ted Turner seats at the game), Javy had trouble with that play because he stepped on the batting weight thing in the on-deck circle. The Braves were actually pretty fortunate that he didn’t roll his ankle and do some harm to himself on the play.

    The team’s complete lack of outfield depth just must be addressed. Yes, you absolutely need to rest a guy like Sheffield from time to time (Furcal too). But you need to still leave yourself with options in that case. Instead, what we had was Darren Bragg actually getting to bat with two runners on in a one-run game in the 6th. A perfect time for Sheff to PH, except Bobby then would have had to put him in the field, defeating the biggest point of the whole off day. Actually, though, Cox could have PHed with Sheff and then moved Fick to RF, inserting the Franco du jour at 1B.

    And speaking of Francos, why the heck did I see Maddux up there bunting so that the team could play for one run in the early middle innings, down 2-0? Good grief. Bobby, this is Shane freaking Reynolds. You don’t just assume that he’s going to hold them to those two runs, you assume he’s going to freaking implode. Sheesh.

  5. 5
    Colin Says:

    Doh! Apologies on mixup above. Somehow I lost track of the fact that Maddux was PHing for King with the score 4-2. It of course makes no senese that Maddux would have been PHing for Reynolds before Reynolds imploded. Perhaps I ought to go to bed now :-p

  6. 6
    JH Says:

    I did not see Javy’s mis-step on the pop-up play. That helps a little :-)
    I have to say I’m discouraged reading some of the comments of the AJC writers (not just them, but I think they’re the worst)–they seem to think that Reynolds is with Atlanta to stay (when Byrd & Boom-Boom return to duty) due to his ‘sterling’ W/L record. I’ve seen several Reynolds/Burkett comparisons. Which are fine, as far as they go, except that, basically, Burkett pitched really well for the Braves, and Reynolds, well, stinks. Burkett had a mediocre record with good ERAs/numbers and lousy support, and Reynolds has a good (for now) record due to mind-boggling run support. He’s been pretty much the anti-Burkett. I know that’s not entirely fair to Shane, because he did have two good starts right after the Braves signed him. But it seems like that kind of gave him a reputation (along with his prior years’ service), and he’s been able to skate since then with Bobby & the press. Oh well.
    It’s just that it bothers me to see younger guys (Hodges, Bong, Marquis) losing out on what could/should be valuable, low-pressure major league experience, because a proven veteran (TM) had some good games early on. If Shane was a stop-gap, and they’re planning to ditch him once Byrd returns, and continue to bring the young guys along, that’s one thing–but it just doesn’t seem like that’s what they’re looking to do.

  7. 7
    Creg Says:

    You’re right JH, Bobby’s likely to be so grateful to Reynolds for “saving” the Braves’ rotation when Hampton and Byrd both went down early on that Shane will skate the rest of the year.

    When faced with similar situations in the past, the Braves have nearly always sent down the young guy with options rather than cut bait with an unproductive veteran. The only two in-season exceptions I can think of in recent years were when Rico Brogna “retired” (and the Braves signed Ken Caminiti, big whoop) and when Atlanta cut Quilvio Veras (still a shock to me) and called up Giles two years ago.

  8. 8
    Tommy Says:

    It seems to me that Bobby is doing the same exact thing to his pitchers that he did for a few years at second base. Instead of playing Giles or DeRosa, who had better or comparable stats with a much higher future, he would play Lockhart. Now, instead of using Marquis as the fifth starter _right now_, he’ll use Reynolds who is worse and doesn’t have much of a future. I’m not saying Marquis is the second coming, but there isn’t much worse a player could do than Reynolds, who has actually been very lucky to not be 1-5 with a much higher ERA. Reynolds was signed because the Braves did the same thing they did in the offseason. Went into panic mode. It was the same exact reason Maddux was offered arbitration and Byrd was signed.

  9. 9
    Troy Says:

    It’s not Marquis I’m worried about, but young Mr. Ramirez, who is 6-2 with a decent era and keeps getting skipped over, while Reynolds is in the “regular” rotation. I really hope Horacio doesn’t get the shaft upon Byrd’s return.

    The nice thing is that, except for the all-star break, the Braves don’t have any days off until early August. which means that Ramirez might get a number of starts in that stretch, during which he has his opportunity to prove his mettle over Mr. Reynolds. Right now, the younger is 6-2 with a 4.09 in 12 starts, while Reynolds is 5-2 with a 5.30 in 13 starts.

    Not that I want the Braves to lose all of Reynolds’ games, but here’s hoping Ramirez can keep improving his numbers comparatively over the next month or so. If he can continue to improve his numbers, I don’t see how Bobby could justify moving him to the bullpen.

  10. 10
    Colin Says:

    I don’t mind Ramirez being skipped over from time to time. A little extra rest never hurts for your young arms. But if he’s dropped from the rotation entirely while Reynolds stays, then I’ll be ticked off.

    However, if Reynolds keeps failing to get out of the 5th inning, then that should get Bobby’s attention

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