Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

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

30 Jun

Florida 8, Atlanta 1

ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Braves at Marlins – 06/30/2003

Just what we need, Greg Maddux doing a Shane Reynolds impersonation. Actually, it was a little different — no walks, but two homers allowed — but the results were the same. Four innings, six hits, seven runs. Five relievers mostly pitched well again, but the Braves had no offense after a first-inning run.

Marcus Giles had two of the Braves’ five hits, and I think his slump is over. But the outfield, still the engine that drives the team, was hitless, and of course Javy had the day off with the Personal Catcher contributing his usual 0-3.

Gryboski threw three pitches in the fifth before leaving with muscle spasms. That sounds like an injury that’s going to reoccur but won’t put him on the DL, bringing to mind the horrible thought of an ineffective Kevin Gryboski.

Does it ever seem to you that the Braves are particularly vulnerable to these fast, get-it-in-play singles hitters? Juan Pierre hurt Maddux today, Jimmy Rollins gave them fits in the Philly series, and so forth. Maybe it’s my imagination.

The Phillies have rallied to take a lead from the Cubs, and might be 5 1/2 out after tonight. At least the Expos lost.

11 Responses to “Florida 8, Atlanta 1”

  1. 1
    Creg Says:

    In the Braves’ last five losses, they’ve given up 9, 8, 8, 9 and 8 runs and been outscored 52-10, with seven of Atlanta’s runs coming in one game. At least when they were losing on the trip to the West Coast and Philadelphia, they were simply getting outpitched. Recently, they’re getting drummed like a bunch of Detroit Tigers.

  2. 2
    samuel Says:

    Giles may be emerging from his slump, but he also put the ball in play on the first pitch in three of his ABs. Emulating Vinny is not the direction this guy needs to be going.

    I caught the Marlin broadcast on the dish, and their announcers were certainly quite pleased Javy wasn’t in there, especially against the lefty. But, like seemingly all writers and broadcasters everywhere, they didn’t QUESTION it. It’s just taken as an article of faith.

    Similarly befuddling is the constant mis-framing of the catching issue generally. The issue is not whether the Braves will be tempted to deal Javy for pitching and give Estrada the job, but rather why Blanco is even on the team when a switch-hitting catcher with a good defensive rep batting .350 with 21 doubles and more walks than strikeouts is wasting his time in Richmond. Can anyone explain that?

  3. 3
    Troy Says:

    The only explanation I have, which won’t satisfy you, is that Blanco can’t be sent down to the minor leagues and he’s making 1.3 million bucks.

    I know, that is an economic explanation, and doesn’t take into account the possibility that if we were just to unceremoniously drop Blanco, eat his salary, and call up Estrada, we might win an extra few games over the course of the remaining season.

    As far as I understand the “economics” (not far, i tell ya), I would think that the current Front Office plan is to let Javy go his merry way after the season is over, bring up Estrada for his true rookie year next year, and keep Blanco around as a backup (not a Personal Catcher).

    Too bad that scenario is preventing the Braves from fielding the best team they can right now, which would mean dumping Blanco to team Javy and Estrada (and replace Bragg with Donzell/Porter, and replace Reynolds with Hodges/Bong/Wainwright). Oh well..

  4. 4
    Robert Says:

    Somebody is going to do a study on catcher’s caught stealings percentages twenty years from now and think Blanco must have torn his labrum when he heard he was traded to Atlanta. He always had great percentages in Milwaukee but now he only catches Greg “I can’t be bothered to hold runners on” Maddux and he never throws anyone out.

    How about that matchup in Philly tonight? Prior against Wolf. I hope it’s on WGN.

  5. 5
    Hap Says:

    Next year we let Maddux go (and thus Blanco also). This frees up salary to re-sign Javy to be Estrada’s mentor/backup.

  6. 6
    Creg Says:

    Javy’s not going to stick around to be anyone’s backup, not coming off a season in which he’s likely to set a record for home runs by a catcher. Some team like the Dodgers, Rangers or Cubs is going to throw $10 million a year at him.

    And any money saved by letting Maddux go is going to be used to re-sign Sheffield, make a run at bringing back Millwood or squirrelled away to offset the cost of the non-pitching Paul Byrd.

  7. 7
    Colin Says:

    Chances are that insurance will cover a large part of Byrd’s contract. Maddux’s salary, assuming they let him go (they might keep him if the price is right) will hopefully go in part to keeping Sheffield (though he may not cost too much more than they’re paying him now). And then the rest will likely go to a veteran pitcher and (hopefully) a 3B.

    There will be a lot of cash kicking around this offseason – $14.75m from Maddux, $4.5m from Vinny, $7m from Javy, $11m or so from Sheffield, maybe $5m in Byrd insurance money (assuming 70% coverage); hopefully $1.3m in Blanco salary; and $1m from Robert Fick.

    That’s about $45m, but there are substantial holes to fill with that $45m, plus some scheduled raises for Andruw and Chipper and furcal in there too.

  8. 8
    D Says:

    I don’t know if anyone caught Baseball Tonight last night but Bobby Valentine did seriously question the practice of running Blanco out there as Maddux’ personal catcher, and he was actually a little fired up about it. His point was the same one everyone here is making- it makes no sense to leave one of your best offensive players on the bench at the whim of a pitcher. Something tells me that Bobby V’s opinion won’t hold much water with Cox or Maddux though.

  9. 9
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I’m not sure about his service time, but I think Giles will be arbitration-eligible this year. My guess is that they’ll be looking short-term at first and third, hoping that LaRoche and Marte are ready in 2005, so they’ll probably try to re-sign Fick (but not at an arbitration price) and look for a fill-in across the diamond.

  10. 10
    Colin Says:

    I have really enjoyed Bobby V’s stuff on Baseball Tonight. He can be entertaining and even insightful.

    I don’t know how arbitration works regarding service time. Seems like he debuted pretty early in 2001, but then disappeared for a while (following hsi game winning slam off Hampton) before returning later in the season. Not sure when that started his arb clock.

  11. 11
    Colin Says:

    Oh, and if they are looking short-term at 3B, then be afraid. Look for Vinny back at $2.5-3m.

    Colin

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