Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

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

13 Jul

Atlanta 7, Chicago 2 – MLB – Recap – Braves at Cubs – 07/13/2003

That’s a pretty nice way to go into the break. Of course, when you’ve won nine of ten, I’m not sure you want to take the next three days off. (Well, a quarter of the team won’t.) Vinny had three more hits and two more RBI. For the four-game series, he was 11-15 with ten. Go figure.

Shane Reynolds started, and was really pretty good, allowing only one, unearned, run. He had some hittability issues early on, but got out of trouble with double plays. Just from my observation, it looked like he had a lot of movement on his pitches, though he still can’t throw a fastball through wet paper. Throwing lots of breaking pitches, he managed six innings, four strikeouts, two walks. Needed a lot of pitches to do it, but it was a fairly impressive effort. I won’t count on a repeat any more than I will Vinny hitting .733. Trey Hodges had two strikeouts in an inning of work, Ray King struck out the only two batters he faced, and Boom-Boom Bobby managed to get Smoltz working in the pen, but got Sosa to GIDP.

Javy had three hits, Chipper two and two runs scored. Big at-bat that will get absolutely no credit: Andruw in the sixth. After Chipper led off the inning with a walk, the pitching coach came out to settle down Carlos Zambrano. Andruw went to 2-2, fouled off a couple of pitches, and got a walk. Two pitches later, Fick doubled home both Joneses to get a five-run inning going. But Andruw looks like a chump for being the only starter to not get a hit.

The Phillies lost to fall to 8 1/2 back. The Expos are 12 1/2 out, the Marlins 13. One of those two teams will likely fall completely out of the playoff hunt by the end of the month. With the Braves looking to add pitching, and Javier Vazquez and Brad Penny both rumored, it’s worth keeping an eye on. The Mets are 21 back (ha!) and will come to Atlanta for four when real games resume.

18 Responses to “Atlanta 7, Chicago 2”

  1. 1
    wes Says:

    So Reynolds isn’t looking so bad now huh ?

    Kidding. He’s horrible but he has done well the last couple games, so props.

  2. 2
    Creg Says:

    For those of you who didn’t get to watch the game, ESPN lost power in its truck for about an inning and a half and had to use the ESPN Deportes feed. The bleached-out picture, odd camera angles and lack of on-screen graphics made me think I was watching a game from the early 70s.

    The announcers weren’t great, but hey, they speak English better than I speak Spanish. And anything that can spare us from hearing Joe Morgan for a little while is all right by me.

  3. 3
    Ted Arrowsmith Says:

    Pretty great first half. Who would have predicted that Maddux would such, Byrd would be hurt, and we’d be dominating the division.

    Reynolds is terrible but he does eat up some innings and keeps the Braves from having to rush Wainright.

  4. 4
    Troy Says:

    It’s true. The first half has been just amazing. For all the apprehensiveness that comes with any offseason, but especially the last one, the Braves have really quashed all doubters and are on pace for a franchise-best season (wins-wise and i guess in a few offensive categories as well).

    And i don’t mean to be branded a heretic here, but maybe Reynolds as stopgap is not as bad as we may have thought a few weeks ago. yes, he has had some dreadful outings. But so has pretty much everyone else (save Ortiz) at one point. If Reynolds can keep giving us something like Sunday’s performance every two or three starts, we might be able to coast.

    I must admit, having him in the rotation was looking dumb a week and a half ago. But that was when we were skidding and the Phillies were within 4.5 games. As long as the Braves dont go on any huge losing streaks, having reynolds lose a game or five in the second half won’t neccesarily hamper the Braves’ chances of winning the division. He obviously won’t be used in the postseason. And though much of it is luck, having seven wins at the break (more than Maddux or Hampton) is a good thing.

    Basically what I’m getting at is, at this point I hope the suits try to bolster the bullpen or the bench before the rotation. I’d much rather have Bragg outta there than Reynolds at this point. :)

  5. 5
    snellville jones Says:

    [Reynolds] has had some dreadful outings. But so has pretty much everyone else

    This is, in essence, the real problem. Shane Reynolds would be a good stop-gap for a rotation with four solid guys, but with question marks surrounding the rest of the rotation, it becomes a little harder to manage. I would value a reliever more than a starter, but I don’t see how we can survive the post-season with our rotation.

  6. 6
    Robert Says:

    This point has been made many times but I’ll do it again. It would be easier to accept Reynolds as your fifth guy if he was all you had and it truly kept you from rushing Wainwright or trading some prospects. But there are three guys on hand Hodges, Bong, and Marquis (in that order) who should be getting those starts. Reynolds continued presence on the roster does nothing but hinder the development of the young pitchers.

    I mean, Hodges is striking out nearly 10 per 9 innings. He needs a chance to step forward.

  7. 7
    D Says:

    Has anybody ever heard of any of the guys the Mets got for Burnitz? The article I saw on ESPN did not say much about them, but this could make the Dodgers a dangerous team. Let’s hope it doesn’t help the Mets’ farm system though.

  8. 8
    Andrew Says:

    And is it at all reasonable to expect Hodges to strike out anywhere close to 10 batters per 9 if stuck in the rotation? When was the last time he had a strikeout rate that high in the minors, when he was starting?

    He never did. His fastball has an extra MPH or two. His slider his a little sharper. All of this is the result of being in the bullpen and being able to air it out for one or two innings and not have to preserve himself.

    If he’s put into the rotation, I wager that Hodges’ K rate would plummet as his ERA ascended.

  9. 9
    Robert Says:

    Certainly no one expects him to keep up the strike out rate as a starter. As you mention, you can put a little more juice on the ball if you know you only have to do it for an inning at a time.

    Hodges has been a big winner in the minors. He’s pitched well whenever he’s gotten a chance at the major league level. He’s better the Reynolds, cheaper than Reynolds, and certainly has more of a future than Reynolds. There is no downside to releasing Reynolds and plugging Hodges in, especially when you have Bong and Marquis as backup plans on the off chance he can’t handle. Given his stuff, it’s a real safe bet that the worst Hodges would be right now is an average starter and that’s still far better than the timebomb we have in the fifth spot now.

  10. 10
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Out of books from before the season…

    Victor Diaz: Had showed some flashes with the bat (hitting .350/.412/.521 in High-A last season), terrible defense, needed to get into shape.

    Nothing on the two pitchers. Live arms, I’d guess. Burnitz basically replaces Jordan; he won’t hit as well as Jordan did this year, but probably about as well as he would have hit had his season continued, but not a defensive player of Jordan’s class. The Dodgers need more, starting with some infielders who can hit.

  11. 11
    Creg Says:

    I also see where the Dodgers have signed Rickey (Last Name Not Necessary). Whoever it is that keeps suggesting that the Braves should pick him up as a fourth outfielder can put that thought right out of his mind…

  12. 12
    Rob Cope Says:

    I haven’t said something stupid in a while. Here goes…

    You know guys, how could they let Rickey sign with the Dodgers? Now we need to trade for him.

    Alright all kidding aside. I think we’re forgetting that the Braves are looking for a frontline starter and Hodges, Bong, or Marquis won’t be around in a few weeks if that happens. Also, if that happens, then it should give the Braves four solid starters (Maddux _can_ be solid, sometimes…). That would make Reynolds a decent stopgap.

    I used to hate hearing they might trade Betemit, but dealing him, Hodges/Bong/Marquis, and a decent minor leaguer for a #1 (If there is one) or #2 starter might not be such a bad idea. They have Andy Marte at 3B for the future, and SS and 2B are definately taken. With Adam LaRoche at 1B, there is nowhere for him in the infield.

  13. 13
    Robert Says:

    Not a Dodgers chat board, I know…

    I think the Burnitz and Henderson deals should help a good deal for the Dodgers. They’ve been starting Chad Hermansen in left and leading off with Cesar Izturis and it doesn’t get any uglier than that. Henderson and Burnitz should at least give them a chance to score a few runs, especially if one of them can fake playing center.

    I’m glad the Braves didn’t get either of these two guys, and of course I’m adopting the same attitude I go with every year with Schuerholz: Praying he doesn’t make any deals because if he does it’s likely to be a disaster.

    I have nightmares of Betemit and Hodges for Kris Benson or Bong for Paul Shuey deals. I think we would all be best served if John Schuerholz was locked in somebody’s basement until September 1.

  14. 14
    Colin Says:

    I have nightmares of Betemit and Hodges for Kris Benson or Bong for Paul Shuey deals. I think we would all be best served if John Schuerholz was locked in somebody’s basement until September 1.

    At this point I might not mind trading Betemit, but I think his value has plummeted. His command of the strike zone has caught up to him in a big way, and his struggled for a while.

    Similarly, teams will be apprehensive about taking Marquis, wondering why the team has no confidence in him. His value is at its trough also.

    Hodges is overperforming a little, and will likely be the most effective trade bait.

  15. 15
    chief knockahoma Says:

    I agree with Robert regarding any potential deals for another starter. Given that a) Schuerholz hasn’t had the most discerning eye for pitching lately and b) it is not a buyer’s market for pitching right now, the Braves may be just as well off not making a deal.

  16. 16
    Aaron Says:

    I hope Mac reads this because I need somebody to tell me why Marquis is dominating tripple-a with complete game shutouts, era under 3, and multiple 10 strikeout games. (I don’t know the exact numbers) We’re letting him rott in the minors while Shane Reynolds rotts in the bigs. Shure he’s had two decent starts in a row, but what about his first 2 starts? That left Braves fans getting all excited and now his era is inflated in the mid 5’s. It’s never a good sign when you have to say “Hey Shane’s era is down to 5.46.” I don’t think he’ll be there much longer, there’s been serious talks for Sydney Ponson for Estrada in a 3 way deal.

  17. 17
    bamadan Says:


    Marquis is doing well, but far from dominating AAA. He has one shutout, not multiple ones as you posted. His ERA is fine (3.12) but not under 3 as you posted. In fact, his ERA is only third best of the Richmond starters, trailing Pratt and Glynn. As for dominating AAA, I think that others have a much better claim, including Carlos Reyes, Jason Phillips, Jason Ryan, or Justin Durscherer

    I’m no fan of Shane Reynolds; far from it. But Jason Marquis has pitched in parts of four seasons in the Bigs. Three of those four years, his ERA has been over 5.00. His career AA ERA is 4.02, his career A ERA is 4.12. As of last week, his AAA career ERA is 4.26. Already 24 years old, I have a hard time getting worked up about Marquis’ prospect status.

  18. 18
    Sturgill Says:

    Hey you gotta remember that Marquis got bombed in his 1st couple of starts when being demoted. And he does have multiplae complete games.

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