Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

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08 Oct

Houston 7, Atlanta 3

ESPN.com – MLB – Box Score – Braves at Astros

The games of this series have all followed pretty much the same script. The Astros jump out to a first-inning lead on a series of hits (Ensberg usually driving in the run). This time, they got two runs. Then the Braves come back to tie. McCann drove in a run with a bloop single, Sosa one with a 3-2 hit. It’s 2-2. Then it pretty much comes down to who can get to the bullpen first. This time, it was the Astros.

Sosa was pretty good, going six and allowing three runs. He made one real mistake, a solo homer to Lamb in the fourth that made him the losing pitcher on the day because the Braves couldn’t get any more runs. Other than that, he was in Sosa Mode, getting out of jams and getting the big boys out.

But just like the first game, when Hudson wasn’t great but kept the Braves in it before the bullpen collapsed because Reitsma couldn’t get anybody out, Reitsma came in and couldn’t get anybody out. Foster couldn’t either. Devine couldn’t either. Finally Brower — whom I have confidence in right now if nobody else does — came in, but three runs were in and the bases loaded with nobody out. He did as well as could be expected, but it was 7-2. Of course, the Braves then got their third run of the game in the next inning.

The Braves got pretty much nothing from the front of the order; Furcal, Giles, and Chipper were a collective 1-14. Marcus had the one hit but struck out three times. Andruw was 3-4 and has been huge throughout this series. It would be nice if he had some runners on base in front of him.

Brandon Backe will pitch for the Astros tomorrow at noon CT. I don’t know who will pitch for the Braves. It’s possible Bobby doesn’t know. It might be Thomson (on long rest) or Hudson (on short rest)… The bullpen sucks.

41 Responses to “Houston 7, Atlanta 3”

  1. 1
    David Remy Says:

    Before the end of tonight’s broadcast, Pete Van Wieren announced that Hudson will get the start tomorrow.

  2. 2
    'Rissa Says:

    Bold statement: Bobby Cox will never make it into the Hall of Fame.

    The reason for this is not what you might expect. Bobby Cox is the best manager in the history of the game. Someone picked up on this and wanted to preserve the image of all the other fine managers this game has seen. So they buy out Bobby Cox. They tell him he can do anything he pleases during the season (and he rolls out 14 straight division titles) but when it comes to the postseason they give him all sorts of money to throw the games. The players ignored Bobby in 1995 and did their own thing, so since then he has taken even more drastic measures to make sure his team loses. When all of this comes to light in a few years the 1918 White Sox dont seem so bad and Bobby gets banned for life (since nothing worse can happen to him). Thus, Bobby is never elected into the Hall of Fame.

    Okay, I know thats kindof drastic, and when my Dad first said Bobby must be getting paid to lose these games I laughed. However, when he brought John Foster in this evening instead of Macay McBride I began to think there might be something to the theory. When Jordan pinch-hit for Langerhans, I figured only something that off-the-wall and crazy could aptly explain why he did it.

    I love these Braves and believe they will win tomorrow (no particular reason, just a feeling. Okay, more of a hope). However, history shows they wont win the World Series anytime soon. Why? Simple. The Boston Braves won the World Series in 1914. The Milwaukee Braves won it in 1957 and the Atlanta Braves won it in 1995. They need to move to another city before they can win another world championship. If the Braves had changed hometowns every year for the last 9 years, they would be defending 10 straight world championships right now.

    Of course, we could still win it all this year and keep Schuerholzs pattern of winning world championships in tact (1985, 1995, 2005), but right now Im not overly optimistic. I would love for the Braves to get my hopes back up with a sound victory tomorrow.

    So, we arent quite dead yet. Lets go out there tomorrow afternoon and play with energy and emotion. Lets make the Astros end up sitting at home for the rest of October trying to figure out what hit them. Go Braves!

  3. 3
    Michael Says:

    The one thing that keeps coming to my mind that drives me batty: All game the Astros Big 3 were lauded as great and it was justified. What bothers me is that we had the greatest Big 3 maybe in history for over a decade and still couldn’t get it done except once. Something’s fishy about this and I’ve given up trying to figure it out.

  4. 4
    Tennessee Brave Says:

    I like us tomorrow. I think even on short rest, Tim has something to prove. If there is any way we could get 7 innings out of Hudson….gosh we have to avoid more than 2 innings of the bullpen. I think if we can jump out to a lead, Hudson will be great. I agree with Alex R., I just hate the Astros. They are the luckiest bunch of suckers to ever grace a diamond. They are not good enough to go to the NLCS. We must put an end to this nonsense.

  5. 5
    David Remy Says:

    Positive: McCann did an excellent job of blocking pitches in the dirt tonight. He kept runners from advancing, possibly scoring.

  6. 6
    Chris Says:

    I think Bobby is just following his M.O…namely, he calls upon veterans before rookies. Plain and simple. Jordan over Langerhans, Foster (something of a vet) over McBride. That’s all it is. He won’t change, so you just have to hope these guys can get runs in.

    Unfortunately, everyone will rant and rave over Houston’s starters, as though they are the reason the Astros have been winning. Really though, Pettite was hittable, Clemens was hittable, and Oswalt pitched well, but wasn’t untouchable. If we lose this series, the culprit will be our bullpen, plain and simple. Our bullpen will cost us this series or the next.

    Scheurholz has to find a way in the offseason to rebuild this pen around Farnsworth, Boyer and Devine. That’s it.

  7. 7
    Kirk Says:

    IMO, it’s ridiculous to hate on the Astros. They have great pitching and a couple of good hitters, and in some games that is going to be enough to win. They have gotten some bloop hits, but check the box score from tonight and you’ll see lots of XBH. They are a good (not great) team, and I personally don’t find anything inherently unlikable about them. We are behind in this series primarily because most of our bullpen is unreliable, and Bobby/Leo haven’t come to grips with the fact that Brower and McBride are the best options other than Farnz. Also, the fetish for Jordan doesn’t help. He did not contribute anything during the season, why would you think he could do so now? The rookies helped get us here, let’s let them play.

  8. 8
    Alex R. Says:

    Since we haven’t used Farnsworth all weekend, we could still use him 2 innings tomorrow and he would still be available for Monday, if there IS a Monday.

  9. 9
    urlhix Says:

    ‘Rissa,Normally I stay very far away from tin-foil-hattery but you might be on to something. It’s either that or Bobby is an old fool who can no longer change gears in the postseason. I personally prefer the latter.

  10. 10
    Kirk Says:

    Crawler on ESPN just showed Thomson vs. Backe. It’s possible that information is out of date.

  11. 11
    Kyle S Says:

    Chipper has been a butcher at 3b. He has absolutely no ability to move laterally at all any more. I’m not sure I’ll be able to stand too many more doubles down the left field line.

  12. 12
    Ben Says:

    I think if we win tomorrow. Then we have a good shot @ this thing. Would Smoltzie start game 5?

  13. 13
    rb from across the country Says:

    “and I personally don’t find anything inherently unlikable about them.”

    Other than the fact that they have two of the most evil men in baseball, non 97 marlins class, in pettite and clemens?

    This game was very depressing for me.

  14. 14
    urlhix Says:

    Too bad Furcal didn’t get arrested this year. He might have had something to play for. 0 for 5 is unacceptable. Ditto for Chippers 0 for 4. And Franchise has to learn how to take a pitch in the offseason. 3 and out is no way to hit. I don’t care how “good” you are.

  15. 15
    Kirk Says:

    Braves’ mlb.com site is showing Hudson, which corresponds with David’s post, so that’s probably right. Re: Chipper, butcher is a little strong but I agree that he doesn’t move laterally well at all. I really hope he is asked and agrees to move to 1st next year, but I’m not holding my breath. Marte needs to be in the starting lineup somehow.

  16. 16
    kc Says:

    Michael, as good as Pettite, Clemens, and Oswalt, they have not won anything together yet. Remember when we had Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz and the Braves never had any problem advancing past the first round? The key is balance. A team can have the greatest pitching rotation in the world and still lose because the offense and bullpen sucks. The Astros’ offense is not good enough to win anything, but they are good enough to kill Reitsma, Foster, and Devine. I still don’t get it, Bobby trusts Devine but doesn’t trust McBride over Foster, I just don’t get it.

    Once again, Furcal, Marcus and Chipper are heading into a slump (Chipper, no excuse this year). Andruw is red hot but nobody is on base in front of him. Bobby is Bobby, nothing will change him. So, we have to thank Mac for providing us a space for me to vent my frustration. I think the Astros are very beatable, the Braves are just beating themselves.

  17. 17
    Alex R. Says:

    The Houston asshole are Houston assholes. I hate Clemens and hate Pettitte. Biggio is a decent guy but he’s PISSING ME OFF.

  18. 18
    Kirk Says:

    I know a lot of people don’t like Clemens, but why Pettitte?

  19. 19
    rb from across the country Says:

    “Chipper has been a butcher at 3b. He has absolutely no ability to move laterally at all any more. I’m not sure I’ll be able to stand too many more doubles down the left field line.”

    Short memory.

  20. 20
    Alex R. Says:

    Bobby’s October managing has been inexplicable for 14 yearfs. This one feels the cruelest and most blatantly AWFUL.

    Foster over McBride.
    Jordan over Langerhans and then Jordan over Betemit
    Estrada over McCann
    Devine over Brower
    Furcal and Giles constantly swinging at the 1st pitch

    The last one is not Bobby’s fault PER SAY but just as annoying. His managing sucks, he’s old, he’s senile and now I am starting to believe ‘Rissa’s “conspiracy theories”.

  21. 21
    rb from across the country Says:

    “but why Pettitte”

    Mostly because he’s the root of all evil. He’s like kudzu.

  22. 22
    kc Says:

    urlhix, Francouer took some good swing today. The strikeout he had today, those three pitches were nasty and were all strikes and unhitable.

    Clemens has my respect for serving his duty on the day his mom pasted away earlier this season…and won. I never liked him before this year, but his professionalism has my respect for him. Why hate Pettite? Because he was a Yankee?

  23. 23
    urlhix Says:

    kc, you are so right. Thanks Mac, for having this place where we can all gather and converse about something we all love so much. Good or bad they are still our Atlanta Braves.Re: Frenchy – He has no restraint at the plate. Every pitch looks like a good pitch to hit. I don’t care how good you think you are. Sometimes it is better to take a few, especially your first time against a pitcher you have never faced than to go up there hacking. I think the rest of the league will have “the report” on Franchise next year and he will struggle unless he learns how to be more patient at the plate.

  24. 24
    kc Says:

    Well, the kid is only 21. I can remember when I was 21 and had no patience for anything. So, need to put this boy back to the real life, and everything will be in perspective. We can only wish that he will mature beyond his age asap!!!

  25. 25
    urlhix Says:

    A good point, but I had plenty of patience when I was that age. Maybe he just needs to sit down with Sosa and “meditate” for a bit *grin*.

  26. 26
    urlhix Says:

    And BTW,GO BRAVES!!! LET’S TAKE THIS ONE BACK TO THE ATL.

  27. 27
    Matthew Says:

    Last time I checked Bobby Cox has never given up a run, bobbled a ball, walked a guy, struck out, or hit into a double play. When in the wake of a loss you search for people to blame we need to blame the players. I think we all have to accept the fact that Bobby and his staff know infinitely more about baseball than any of us. We also need to approach this from the standpoint that Bobby and Leo really want to win.

    The only intelligent analysis I see is that we just don’t have a good enough team. Its not a managing issue. Some nights this season we get lucky and our starters went deep into the game. Some nights our bats went hot and pitching was not an issue. Some nights our pen kept us in it. Unfortunately, many nights our pen blew up. We tried countless guys throughout the season to find the way from the 7th-9th inning but we were unable to do so. We fielded the best team we could and now we are playing them. The bottom line is that we cannot make it through October with our staff.

    I would like to have seen Farnsworth come out and pitch the 7th. If he blows it we don’t need a closer. If he keeps it close then we worry about the 9th when we get there. I would not have even had Reitsma or Devine bother to show up at the ballpark. I would also coach football like I play Madden and always go for two and always attempt the on-side kick. The reason Bobby does what he does is because he believes in letting his players play. He doesen’t try to over-manage or outsmart the other team. He pulled Reitsma before any scoreboard damage and gave the other guys an opportunity to make an out.

    It doesen’t really matter if we win the NLDS or not because we simply cannot make it all the way with the guys we have. If is possible that everyone will pitch the game of their lives over the next few weeks, its just not probable. Even though this is a short series, we will likely be eliminated for the faults we have shown over the long haul. I just hope that we spend some money in the offseason and buy the right guys for next year. You can’t call Reitsma & Co chokers because they did it all along.

  28. 28
    chuck Says:

    guys, I am curious about the Estrada situation. My bet is that Bobby starts McCann for the rest of this series. Rendering Johnny basically useless.

    so, in the offseason. . ? Trade maybe?

  29. 29
    jenny Says:

    All right, I’m sold on Brian McCann. He can hit, he calls a pretty good game, he can block pitches, he can block the plate. His throwing ability leaves a bit to be desired but that can be fixed; it’s not like he doesn’t have the arm. I think Estrada will likely be traded this off-season, hopefully for bullpen help.

    Oswalt was filthy tonight; he looked hittable at some points but most of the time, I don’t think patience would have helped much. He was just throwing unhittable strikes consistently. Sosa hung in there very well; I put this on the bullpen tonight. As I said earlier, I’ve had it with Reitsma. At some point, it ceases to be bad luck and starts being bad pitching. He is not aggressive, gets behind in counts, waffles around the strike zone, and then when he is forced to throw a strike serves up meatballs that keep getting hit. Then he leaves a big mess for some other poor pitcher who might not have done so badly if put in a better situation to clean up. I’m sick of it. And I’m sick of John Foster, too. McBride is quite obviously better; why Bobby can’t see this is beyond me.

    During the postgame press conference I wanted to hurl the nearest available projectile (salt shaker, in this case) at the screen. “Jordan’s been swinging good lately.” Define lately. Last week? May? 1997? He is slow, below average defensively, not a good pinch-hitter, apt to ground into double plays (he would have then except there were already 2 outs), and the stats say Langerhans is better against LHP. There was no reason to pinch-hit. Stop living in the past, Bobby; I know tradition is your thing, but we’ve won ONE World Series after FOURTEEN division titles. Something is not working. There has been only one constant in that time: Mr. Robert J. Cox. So something needs to change.

    I don’t know if I want Hudson on 3 days rest or a rested Thomson. I guess his sinker will work better when he’s tired, and it didn’t work well at all in his last start, so maybe that’s something. I have little faith in Thomson, and I will be very uncomfortable during tomorrow’s game.

    If we get eliminated, I’m rooting for the Angels. I can’t stand STL or HOU and if I have to listen to Hawk Harrelson rant about the “defending champion Sawx” all year I will kill myself. So Anaheim it is. Unless NYY wins in which case I will grimace and root for Chicago.

  30. 30
    nyb Says:

    As I said earlier, I’ve had it with Reitsma. At some point, it ceases to be bad luck and starts being bad pitching.

    Nope. Sorry Jenny, he’s just unlucky. He’s actually a very good pitcher with rare and unique talents that is better in his inning than Hudson is in his. It must be true because JoeyT told me so. Has anyone ever seen JoeyT and Reitsma in the same place?

    Expected to lose tonight. We could win tomorrow, setting up another crushing Game 5 loss. At this point, watching Bobby mismanaging these games in just agonizing and having the pain be over doesn’t really sound that bad.

  31. 31
    Frank Says:

    Told you. Season over. Astros in 4. If not, Astros in 5 with Pettitte on the mound in the last game. So much for all the hype after game 2. Good night.

  32. 32
    Mac Thomason Says:

    You’re a fun guy, Frankie.

  33. 33
    Grst Says:

    Their pitcher was better than our hitters, not much more to it than that really. Top of the order needs to get on in front of Andruw. We still got decent chances though. Hudson against Backe tommorrow, then Smoltz against Pettite. If we get to game 5 I have faith in Smoltz to pull it out. I can’t say I’ll be all that surprised if we lose though. The Astros had basically the same record we did, but were much stronger the second half. They’ve been the better team most of the season, so it’s not like some grave injustice is happening here. It’s just annoying how we have to face the hottest team (or the strongest set of power pitchers) every single damn year.

  34. 34
    Frank Says:

    Mac, no offense. I’m just depressed.

  35. 35
    steel211 Says:

    Once again there are Chris Reitsma supporters here. He sucks. What does he have to do to prove it to you. Everytime this clown comes in the game bad things happen. You guys want to blame everyone else in the penn but overlook who started the disaster in the first place. I hate this guy. I knew this guy would be the demise of the Braves and he hasnt let me down. I would slap his face silly if I were in the dugout.

  36. 36
    Brian Says:

    I think it is very appropriate to “hate on the Astros.” This isn’t an Astros blog. Plus, it’s all in good fun. I’m giving you all the ‘hate away’ sign. Ha! Ha!. Ok, very lame but I want to lighten things up before our collective moment of truth. Go Braves!!!

    Brian

  37. 37
    Adam Says:

    Same old song and dance with the bullpen. Schuerholz must completely revamp this pen in the offseason. Keep the most of the younger guys, and get rid of the trash Brower, Kolb(100% gone for sure), Foster, and Reistma. Resign Farnsworth and go after Billy Wagner.

  38. 38
    Stu Says:

    Disliking Pettitte is really indefensible. I mean, it’s fine to cheer against him–that’s what you should do, since he’s not on your team. But the man is–by absolutely all accounts–a truly great guy. Teammates always love him, he’s always active in the community, he’s a big game pitcher who doesn’t show up the opposing hitters or act stupidly (like throwing broken bats at hitters). By all accounts, he’s the equivalent of John Smoltz.

    I don’t think you can say Chris Reitsma sucks, because it’s not like anybody ever hits the ball hard off of him. That said, however, he gives up way too much contact and too many hits. It’s been said before–if you’re pitching to contact on every batter, some of those swings become hits. I still think he’s incredibly unlucky, but he’s been ineffective, and it’s time to stop using him.

    I have nothing against Joey Devine, either. But I’d stop bringing him in with multiple runners on base. He’s a guy you could use to start an inning I think, but Bobby continues to bring him into situations where he’s set up to fail.

    Matthew, I don’t think it’s fair to say Bobby knows more about baseball than any of us do. We all know Jordan sucks and Bobby doesn’t. We all know Estrada can’t hit nearly as well as McCann. We all know McBride should be used instead of Foster. That’s your evidence, right there. He knows how to handle his players, yes, but to give him a free pass because he’s a manager and we aren’t and therefore he must be a baseball genius is silly and wrong.

  39. 39
    jenny Says:

    Count me out of the Andy Pettitte hate club. In fact, he’s probably the only Yankee/former Yankee I like. A great pitcher and a classy guy.

    Chris Reitsma started an inning last night, put runners on 1B and 3B with no outs, and they scored 4 runs. Until he pitches two 1-2-3 innings in a row, which may be next year at this rate, I will continue to proclaim that he sucks and that I’ve totally had it with him.

    And I agree about Joey Devine, Stu. Use him to start an inning.

  40. 40
    Kyle S Says:

    rb – suppose you mean the play in game 2. it was a nice play. however, i don’t think chipper is the only player in the world who makes it. haven’t seen enough of marte to say for sure; i’m pretty sure betemit would make it (and several others besides); i have no question that david wright or rolen would make it.

    There needs to be a logical fallacy named after the game where when a player is accused of being deficient defensively, one play is brought up as a counterexample. For instance, Edmonds saving a HR. It is perfectly plausible for him to have saved a HR and still be a crappy CF.

  41. 41
    50PoundHead Says:

    I’m a self-admitted Bobby Bobo (I realize he makes his share of misjudgments, however) but I think Matthew nails this one right on the head.

    I think Bobby’s been “managing” too much this season and that is probably because it’s a young ball club. This wasn’t a team where you could just point out the bats, balls, and gloves to everyone and put 90 wins up.

    But with “managing” comes the obvious mistakes and misjudgments and I think mid-August through mid-September was actually the most “managing” I’ve ever witnessed from Bobby because there was a questionable move or strategy employed each night, it seemed.

    But anyway. This team is hardly patched together with band-aids and baler wire, but it is deficient in a couple of places, most clearly in the bullpen. That’s the kind of stuff that shows up this time of year and it surely has.

    I, too, would have liked to have seen Farnsworth in the 7th. I think McBride’s future is better than Foster’s. Was it deja vu last night or what? It seems every time Berkman gets turned around, whether it be Martin or Foster, he drives in a run with a single. Now the ball has been kept in the ballpark and I imagine that is what Bobby is thinking, but it sure would be nice if the bleeding would just stop.

    Anyway. Go Huddy. Get this thing to 5.

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