Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

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

10 Jul

Atlanta 13, Chicago 3

ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Braves at Cubs – 07/10/2003

Yawn, another offensive explosion… Vinny is the only player in the league who can go 4-4 and still be an easy target for criticism. He already had the single, double, and homer heading into his last at bat, and then hit a high drive to right-center that landed in the ivy with Sosa and the CF having trouble fielding it. It was a sure triple, but he jogged into second. Albert Hall lives. Vinny wound up 4-4 with four RBI, two runs.

In the battle of the Personal Catchers, Henry Blanco soundly thrashed predecessor Paul Bako. Blanco hit his first homer of the season in the ninth and also walked, finishing the day with two runs scored and three RBI. Bako was 0-4 (he did score a run) but is batting a robust .190 for the year, far ahead of Blanco’s .178. (Eddie Perez, however, is hitting .317/.344/.492. Go figure.)

The Braves as a whole had a 13-hit, 6-walk day. The game was still in doubt until the eighth, when the Braves turned a 6-3 game into an 11-3 hitting exhibition. Julio Franco started again against a lefty and had three hits, and even Darren Bragg had a single (okay, an infield single) off the bench. All the position starters except Giles scored at least one run.

Greg Maddux had a minimal quality start, six innings, three runs (two earned), but there were some good signs. He did allow a homer (okay, the wind was blowing out) but struck out seven and didn’t walk anyone. The pieces are there; more than anything he needs to cut down on the homers. Gryboski, Boom-Boom, and Hodges threw shutout innings to finish it. Why is it that the first two guys can have bad outing after bad outing and keep pitching, while if Hodges (whose ERA is still nearly a run better than Boom-Boom’s) has one, he disappears for nine days? Okay, that’s a rhetorical question.

Tomorrow’s game isn’t on TBS or WGN, but Saturday is a Fox network game (at least in the South and the Midwest), Sunday the ESPN night game.

10 Responses to “Atlanta 13, Chicago 3”

  1. 1
    Rhett Says:

    Was it just me, or was it unnerving to see both Andruw and Chipper get thrown out on slow grounders to the hole at short (at Wrigley!), by an airball from a mediocre shortstop arm?

    I thought for sure those were going to be infield singles, but nope. They were thrown out by a full-step or more.

  2. 2
    Colin Says:

    I’m more disappointed about that with Andruw than Chipper, because of what it says about his declined speed. And it’s not the first time it’s happened this season either.

    Something very odd about a game where Vinny is the hitting star, and Bragg and Blanco both get hits.

    Colin

  3. 3
    snellville jones Says:

    When did the non-legging out occur? I’ve noticed it also and wonder if Bobby isn’t telling guys to take it easy if there are, say, two outs or we are winning. What with the pretty large lead in the division, Bobby might be in injury-prevent mode. Don’t get me wrong, as a fan it drives me nuts when I see a guy get thrown out with a bang-bang play as the guy trots across first base.

  4. 4
    Colin Says:

    With Andruw I haven’t thought of it as not legging stuff out; I just think he’s gotten that slow.

  5. 5
    Matt Davis Says:

    Most very athletic outfielders lose a step or two as they go along, and not always at age 37. Look at Griffey, for example. I will trade that marginal speed (he’s STILL probably the best CF in the game, except possibly Torii Hunter) for consistent offense. Andruw is/was fast but he’s also a master at positioning and getting to the ball efficiently – he doesn’t have to rely on raw speed as much as some guys do. If he hits 40 homers and keeps the OBP up around the .360 range, you won’t hear me complain. One thing I have noticed though is for a power hitter with his athletic ability, he is last in doubles (12) among the regular starters (very similar HR/2B ratio to Javy Lopez in fact). That may be another indication of what you are talking about, whether it’s laziness or slowness it’s hard to say. And remember, he never complains about injuries – he could have some nagging minor injury we don’t know about that is slowing him down a little. Anyone know what his range factor looks like this year compared to previous years? I know it was slipping a bit as of last season…

  6. 6
    Leon Says:

    Andruw Jones is overweight, which hinders his speed. A scout told me about a month ago that Andruw needs to lose about 15-20 pounds to get in shape and play better, and to last longer in his career (Bonds?). I see that Andruw could be in better shape, but is he really 20 pounds over?

  7. 7
    Creg Says:

    “A scout told me about a month ago…”

    Hey, who invited Jayson Stark?

    I don’t think Andruw’s fat; he just naturally has a pudgy build. I think the weight he has added is in muscle, which can also detract from speed, a l?onds and Sosa.

  8. 8
    Colin Says:

    I really don’t think Andruw gets as good a jump on balls s he used to. Part of that is pitching staff – he used to start moving based on where the ball was pitched, but with a less predictable pitching staff that just isn’t possible. But also, these days there are just all sorts of balls out there that I’m real disappointed at when he doesn’t get to them.

    Maybe he just set exceptionally high standards his first 3-4 years, but in the last few he has seemed slower to me. And as noted above, all guys slow down, but they shouldn’t be doing so this conspicuously around age 26/27

  9. 9
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Andruw’s always picked his spots to try to leg out hits. He’s slow out of the box anyway, because of the way he hits, but I’ve always thought that he’s usually slow up the line. When he’s slumping, he usually runs harder.

  10. 10
    Ted Arrowsmith Says:

    Andruw is still a great centerfielder, but now he’s like lots of great centerfielders rather than a historic, transcendent defensive player like he was. It’s likely that he’s slower, but it’s probable that his stats in his great years were helped by some luck. That’s not a knock on him, it’s just to note that when you have the best defensive stats ever, your true level is probably worse than the sample suggests.

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