Sunday, August 26, 2007

Let's try something new...

Rather than post my game recaps over what it is becoming an increasingly terrifying proposition that the Braves are again a third place team, why don't we talk about the positives?

The Braves falling short this season gives us more time to devote to watching football. The Braves may not be capable of winning, but I have my Dallas Cowboys, my Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and my lovable James Madison University Dukes to care about. The Dukes face off against North Carolina with a real short of beating a DI-A team.

More time for fall series premieres. Scrubs enters its final season as part of the highly entertaining NBC Thursday night lineup. Well, except for the putrid 30 Rock. Seriously, I've taken leaks that were more comical. Being drunk and trying to aim into a bowl that seems smaller each time is fun times. Oh, college, I miss you more and more with each passing Friday.

More time to write that great American novel. I'm thinking...Paris Hilton and Michael Jackson travel on scooters from Hollywood to Disney World. Think of the hijinks!

Less time worrying about whether or not Bobby Cox actually knows what he is doing. Honestly, Cox has killed me with his odd decision making with Kelly Johnson (is he valuable, is he not valuable) and bullpen management that it might be best for both Bobby and myself to have a few months apart. When the weather starts to get warmer in the spring, maybe I'll have put it behind me. Then again, I still want to hurt Phillip from the 4th grade for telling the class ugo that I had a crush on her. You're dead to me, Phil. Dead!

There will be less time to worry about John Smoltz's shoulder. Love the guy, but every time he shakes his arm after a splitter, I start a rough draft on my poem, "Ode to the Balding Superhero." I'm up to 7,127 rough drafts.

There may not be less time to worry about what John Schuerholz will do because he'll remain busy sorting through the bargain bin (can you believe I found Hackers there?), but there might be less time to worry about Schuerholz's legacy. Thankfully, those are built on the field, not with Mark Bowman's latest rambling about how great Schuerholz really is. Sorry, Marky, but it gets kinda irritating.

Did you know that snow usually falls when baseball isn't played? That's enough to get excited about.

And did you know that the NHL and NBA will get their seasons rolling in the coming months? No? Well, that's not too surprising.

See, kids, it's all great when you put it into perspective. After hardly a whimper against the Cardinals on Sunday, the Braves are just three games over .500, which is convenient because they are three games under .500 since May 1st. My hope is put in to the chest that formally harbored Davy Jones's heart and it's time to dream up a new scenario of just how good the Braves could be. This season has been licked. Some people will doubt it, some people will hold on hope, some people will pick their noses.

But in the opinion of one Dreamscape, one Tommy Poe, one BAMF, this season is a lost cause. We'll get them next year, I'm sure.


This was also Raw Numbers #30 over at chopnation, though altered somewhat.

He Still Could Be a Contender

Andy Marte is beginning to feel it again and whatever it is, it is good.

The third baseman who was twice traded during the 2005-06 offseason is 13 for his last 31 (.419) with 3 doubles, 2 homers, and 9 ribbies. Even more impressive, he has walked three times to just five strikeouts. Before those nine games, Marte had struck out 57 times for Buffalo and walked just 16 times so any news on that front is good news.

Obviously, a small sample size can make any player look like Superman. Nevertheless, when a former prized prospect begins to look like...well, a prized prospect again, it's time to take a moment and ponder. Marte will turn 24 in October so he's hardly looking at a clock expiring. Remember, Wilson Betemit needed a few years to get it, too.

A few years, the choice between Marte and Jeff Francoeur was well discussed on Braves forums. Who was the better prospect, the patient power hitter who reminded people of Matt Williams or the free-swinging good looking kid who seemed like Dale Murphy was back with the Braves. I always stuck with Marte. But after posting a near .100 IsoOBP at Richmond in 2005 that saw him receive a brief cup of coffee with the Braves, Marte slumped after his trade. He walked 47 times between Cleveland and Buffalo last year and was off to an even worse start this year before recent times. When a .275 type hitter with power isn't walking, it's probably the old adage at work. He's not seeing the ball well or he is trying to do too much. Well, Marte is sitting back and making more contact and letting his power do its thing. The results have been thoroughly impressive.

I still think he'll be a consistent power hitter for 15 years.

It'll also be nice to get those people off my back that are still holding it over me that Marte hasn't been that good yet.

I love being right too much.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Hug for Langer

Ryan Langerhans is one of those players I can't help but wish good things for. Jeff Francoeur can struggle, succeed, whatever...Yunel Escobar can continue to hit...whatever. But Langer? Man, I never stopped hoping he could get it going this year.

Well, chances are bad for it to happen now. The Nationals designated Langer for assignment Saturday. He will likely either be waived or sent to the minors as it's doubtful the Nats will work a trade for him. He's hitting just .158 on the year with 7 doubles, a triple, and 5 homers, spending most of the year with the Nats. He did post a good OBP and if he could fix whatever holes have developed in his swing, he could still be, at the very least, a good fourth outfielder.

However, struggles like this truly kill a fringe player's career. He will be way down on the depth chart of any franchise he joins, destined to be a AAAA outfielder who won't be on anyone's 40 man roster and will have to have a great Willie Harris type year to get another shot.

But Willie's showing that he could get another shot.

Hopefully, for me, he gets that shot like Willie. With the Braves.

Braves 6, D'Backs 2

-Everytime I'm ready to say John Smoltz is entering the twilight of his career, he goes and does something like he did in the muggy Atlanta weather. Smoltzie went eight on 118 pitches and gave up just five hits and two runs to improve to 11-6. He walked a trio, but struck out a dozen to become the franchise leader in that catagory, passing Phil Niekro. Smoltzie now has 2920. Pedro Martinez will likely beat him to 3K because Pedro's two away, but Smoltz will likely be the 16th pitcher in baseball history to strike out 3000. Granted, that number, like the 500 homer club, has been cheapened slightly with Clemens, the Big Unit, Maddux, and Schilling all above the mark, increasing the collection of 3000 K guys from 10 when Nolan Ryan retired to 16 by the time the next All-Star break arrives, it will be just one more major accomplishment for my favorite pitcher.

-Mark Teixeira had a huge game, homering twice and driving in four. Since he was acquired, Teix has 7 homers and 19 RBIs.

-KJ added two doubles, Mr. Dynamic had a good-sized homer, and Willie added a triple as Yusmeiro Petit was roughed up pretty bad.

-Wickmoo sucks, by the way. Thickman loaded the bases in the ninth before a game-ending groundout put the D'Backs at bay. Since June 1st, Wickman has appeared in 30 ballgames pitching 27 innings. His ERA in that time is 4.33 and his WHIP is 1.59. When you pitch just one inning a game and you are putting 1.5 runners on, you're going to get roughed up.

-Braves get an off day tomorrow and start a 10 game road-trip. I'll check in again next weekend most likely. Hopefully, the Braves will make a move by then.

D'Backs 12, Braves 6

-How bad was this game? Micah Owings, according to Game Scores, had the second best day of any pitcher and the best day of any hitter. That's the kind of game you can only laugh about because if you think about it too much, you might find a very tall building to jump off of, cursing Owings' name the whole way down.

-All told, Owings allowed three hits (all solo homers) and struck out seven in seven frames. At the plate, he went 4 for 5 with a double and a pair of homers. He finished with six ribbies and now has an OPS of .851. Brian McCann's OPS is .770. Yeah...

-Jeff Francoeur had a solid game, homering twive and picking up three RBI's. The Braves scored three meaningless runs in the ninth to give the impression that the game wasn't as much of a turd as it could have been.

-The defense did little to help Buddy, but then again, he also did little to help himself. He was charged with eight runs, five earned, in five innings. He struck out four and walked two while allowing ten hits. Three errors added to the shitfest. Villy sucked and allowed four insurance runs in his one inning, though two scored after Manny Acosta replaced him. Mahay and Soriano brought some calm to this storm.

-Braves leading 6-2 right now so they can salvage a game of this series.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Week in Review Aug 14-17

Well, I was out all week so it's time to get caught up.

Braves 5, Bonds 4
-Down 3-0 and after watching their manager get ejected the previous inning, the Braves woke up against Jack Taschner, who had replaced Kevin Correia in the fifth. Teix opened the sixth with a solo bomb and McMan singled. After a K, Andruw walked and Mr. Dynamic doubled in two to tie the game. Matty pinch hit for Smoltzie and brought the go-ahead runner in.

-It remained 5-4 until Wickmoo El Vulturized Mr. Smoltz. Dan Ortmeier tripled and after a single, a steal, and an intentional walk, Randy Winn brought in Ort with a groundout.

-Funny story on Ort. I picked him up in OOTP and brought him in on a minor league contract for 2006. He became my fourth outfielder and was a .300ish hitter as a pinch hitter. Only reason why I know who he is and feel comfortably calling him Ort.

-Anyway, Willie leads off the ninth by walking against Steve Kline, who has been Mike Remlinger horrible this year. KJ was called on to bunt him to second (hey Coxy, I know you did that) and he puts the bunt down. Dumbass Kline's throw is bad and runners are on first-and-second. Chipper ends the game with an RBI double off Randy Messenger.

-Quality start for Smoltzie. Six innings on 93 pitches. He does give up six hits, three walks, walks three, and strikes out four, but it was a quality effort for a team needing quality efforts. Um, quality.

-Mahay and Soriano were both solid before Wickmoo's sixth blown save of the year.

Braves 6, Bonds 3
-I hate Russ Ortiz. I hated him as a Brave, hated him as a non-Brave, and love every moment he suffers. It's almost unfair to him. I just hate pitchers who have no real stuff, no real talent, and still get the media to love on them. When Ortiz won 20-some games for the Braves, it proved the worthlessness of the "win" stat.

-Braves never trailed this one, though it was briefly tied at 2-2 in the sixth when the Giants' only player homered to cut the Braves one-run lead to zip. But the Braves quickly retook the lead with four runs in the sixth. Teix walked, McCann was hit, and Francoeur singled to load them. A wild pitch brought in Teix and Andruw doubled in both runners. Huddy singled him to third and Willie made it 6-2 with a sacfly.

-Huddy = Cy Young winner? Eight innings on eight hits and three runs. One walk and five K's to add to that solid effort.

-Wickmoo allowed a pair of runners, but no runs while not having it in him to get a flyball. I don't like him.

Bonds 9, Braves 3
-Wow, big surprise that Chucky James sucked it up. Four homers allowed, oddly none by Barry Bonds, and a loss is the result. James allowed only six of the 17 batters he faced to reach base, but long balls will kill you. Tyler Yates got him out of anymore trouble in the fourth before Villy sucked in his 2.1 ING. Manny Acosta looks like he could be useful and Aussie tossed a good inning.

-Braves had a chance of going apeshit in this game, but failed. After Bengie Molina's three-run bomb in the first, Willie led off against Tim Lincecum with a triple. After a walk to KJ, Lincecum uncorked a wild-pitch to make it 3-1. A Chipper Jones line drive single put runners on the corners, but Teix hit into a force out, McMan flew out to center, and Francoeur struck out looking. Teix's grounder did make it 3-2, but it could have been a huge inning.

-Braves got another run in the fourth when McMan doubled and after an out, Andruw singled to put runners on the corners. Another big inning was defused by a sacfly.

D'Backs 4, Braves 0

-Brandon Webb allowed two hits, walked one, and struck out six while tossing a shutout. KJ had the first hit of the day in the fourth with a double with one out, but Chipper and Teix did nothing to follow. Francoeur singled in the fifth, but Andruw followed with a twin killing.

-Lance Cormier bought him the rest of the year as a starter with 7.1 innings in which he allowed just three runs. However, he did give up eight hits, walked two, and struck out just three so I wouldn't go too crazy. Moylan finished the 8th for Cormier and Yatesy gave up a solo homer in the ninth for the rest of the scoring.

-Oh, and ugh.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Filthdelphia 5, Braves 3

-Buddy Carlyle was average, but if his defense would have helped out, who knows what would have happened. Jeff Francoeur picked up a few outfield assists, but the middle infield of Mr. Dynamic and Martin Prado did little to help out. In the first, McCann tried to throw out Prado, but his throw was low and Prado didn't keep it front of him. Escobar followed by not backing up the play and a ball that trickled away only 10 feet allowed Rollins to third.

-Carlyle walked the bases loaded before getting a K. Jayson Werth singled to right, however, and that brought in Rollins, but for some dumbass reason, they sent Pat Burrell. Joe Morgan said Burrell could run so maybe they heard that and thought with the count full and the runners running with the pitch, Burrell could score on Francoeur's arm. Talk about running into an easy out. Burrell never even touched homeplate after being stopped a half-foot short by McCann.

-In the fifth, they tested Francoeur again and this time, it was Werth who was Werthless (thank you). Werth literally scoots around home plate and McCann's tag only to get into a stare down before being tagged out. The throw was to the first base side of homeplate, but Werth was dead meat at the plate.

-However, the middle infield defense went to work, unfortunately, and after a Rollins walk, Prado got a high bouncer that he refused to go back on, nor charge. He kind of let it come to him and it played an odd bounce. He tossed the ball to Mr. Dynamic, who dragged his foot across second and went on to first for a double play. Oh, wait, that's what should have happened. Instead, he missed second completely and then couldn't get the runner. Frankly, the double play was probably not possible, but they didn't get an out and Ryan Howard hit a three run bomb one out later.

-Yatesy was solid, but after the Braves got a run to cut the two-run hole in half, Aussie allowed a triple to Rollins and he scored on a sacfly by Burrell. Francoeur air-mailed the throw home, but he had no chance anyway.

-The third run I just mentioned was insane in how ESPN handled it. Still slurping on Bonds's knob, the network reaired the Henry Aaron held-at-gunpoint speech that originally played, as ESPN pointed out, on August 7th (bastards tried to ruin my birthday). While they did this, Martin Prado doubled in McCann. Unbeknowist to these jackasses at ESPN because they were too busy playing homage to their controversial God. Bastards.

-Chipper picked up the other two RBI's with a double. Prado was in because he was 4 for 9 off the soft-tossing Jamie Moyer, as reported by Mark Bowman. Being that Bowman's basically Bobby Cox's alter ego, it was clear Prado would start ahead of KJ.

-Mets won, Padres won, Senators won, and the Beaneaters got a win. Bad day for a Braves loss. Off day tomorrow and then...BARRY BONDS~!

-Ah, dammit.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Braves 7, Filthydelphia 5

-Gotta like any game you can steal when Lance Cormier is on the mound. He sucked, by the way. He was able to hold the Phils at bay for most of the first four innings, allowing a few hits (including a Jimmy Rollins homer) and picking up a walk before the fifth inning when the true shitty pitcher came out to play. Chris Coste singled, Chris Roberson singled, and both runners advanced on a wierdass wild pitch. The ball hit a foot in front of the plate, bounced up and hit the bottom of McCann's mask and then slid behind the chest protector. According to MLB rules, the runners were awarded a base because of it.

-After Rollins walked, Iguchi doubled in a pair and Burrell singled in Rollins to make it 6-4. Ryan Howard, Aaron Rowand, and Greg Dobbs were due up so Cox goes to Ron Mahay and he K's the first two and gets a weak grounder to first. He gets the victory.

-Braves scored early when Willie doubled, advanced on a groundout, and scored on a sacfly by Chipper. Another Willie double with two outs in the third preceded a Kelly Johnson homer to make it 3-0 and then things got nutty. It goes down as back-to-back triples by Chipper and Teix, but the truth is, it should have been a single and an out. Burrell, who is the immovable object, completely sucks and bellyflops after a Chipper single, turning it into a triple. Then Teix lines the very next pitch toward Burrell and it goes off his glove, generously called a triple. That made it 4-0.

-A Francoeur homer on the first pitch of the fourth was followed by singles by Andruw and Mr. Dynamic. After a weird bunting mishap with Cormier, Willie K's and the runners are still out there, but KJ singles in Andruw. Andruw nearly hit a homer of his own in the 8th, but settled for an RBI triple.

-That was big because Soriano gave up his obligatory homer to make it 7-5 in the 8th. Wickmoo followed by allowing a leadoff double to Coste, but was able to get a flyout and a pair of groundouts to end it.

-The Mets and Padres lost yesterday so the Braves are 2.5 GB in the division, a half-game back in the Wild Card. At about 2:45 when this post was typed up, the Mets are tied 4-4 with the Marlins in the top of the fourth and the Pads have a 5-1 lead on the Reds, who everyone but the Braves can beat. Buddy Carlyle and Jamie Moyer face off tonight on ESPN. Joe Morgan and Jon Miller have the call. I really should have got my prozak filled Friday...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Filthdelphia 5, Braves 4

-Weird little game. Braves put a four spot on the board in the first on Cole Hamels and then serve up four runs in return. What followed was less miracalous and more strange as fuck. Chuck James actually tossed scoreless frame after scoreless frame. Five straight, actually, after the first and retired the last 16 batters he faced.

-However, Hamels had calmed down himself and was getting enough groundballs to overcome not having his best stuff. That led to the bottom of the seventh when Peter Moylan replaced James. After a single and a bunt, Greg Dobbs hit a deep short grounder that Mr. Dynamic Yunel Escobar tried to do entirely too much and Mark Teixeira did entirely too little to keep it in front of him. That led to an error and the go-ahead run and eventually, winning run.

-Braves managed six hits, but five were part of the first. Matty hit a solo bomb before Chipper doubled and scored on a Teix single. After Francoeur singled and the runners advanced on an Andruw groundout, McCann doubled in both for the early lead. The Braves would not get another hit until the top of the 8th when Francoeur doubled with two outs.

-Andruw Jones should be on the DL. He just can't swing right now.

-For the second time this week, we lost a game in which we had a chance to at least tie the game in the ninth. After McCann opened the inning with a walk, Woody ran for him and took second on a KJ groundout. KJ was ahead 2-0, but swung at ball three (after a four pitch walk no less) and grounded back to the pitcher. That left it up for Willie and Mr. Dyanmic, but neither could get the ball out of the infield.

-Tough loss, though Yatesy had a good game a day after his Big Apple meltdown.

-Octavio Dotel was placed on the DL and in a move that just confuses the fuck out of me, Manny Acosta gets the call. Why, Bobby, why?

-Adam Eaton and Lance Cormier tonight. Las Vegas is predicting 20 runs from this game.

-Not really...well, maybe they are, I don't know.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Braves 7, Metatags 6

-I hate games that give me reason to punch my dog and this game did that. Luckily, my dog Chipper knows when this happens and had baracaded himself in the front closet. He is a smart puppy.

-The Braves fell back by two runs in the early frames. Tim Hudson, like John Smoltz the day before, didn't have his best stuff and got into a lot of jams. His GB/FB ratio was slightly over 50%, which is a sign that he's not getting the late sinking movement he typically enjoys. Nevertheless, the Mets lineup continued its struggles and couldn't take advantage. They scratched a run across in the first and third for the 2-0 lead.

-After getting a run in the fourth on an Andruw Jones sacfly, Chipper Jones absolutely crushed a John Maine pitch. Apparently, he was targetting the Chipper bio on that massive Shea scoreboard. Chipper rarely begins his homerun trot right out of the box, but he could have Barry Bonds'd that one up. Walked half-way to first, did a turn, thank God, hugged his son, ignored his son, whatever. That thing was one of the prettiest homers I have ever seen. My dog Chipper approved.

-Teix followed with a homer of his own. Jones-Teix is going to be a threat for at least another year so enjoy it.

-Braves even got a run on a two-strike safety squeeze bunt by Hudson after Mr. Dynamic Yunel Escobar stole second and advanced on some shitty defense from Jose Reyes as he failed to knock the throw down. The Huddy bunt wasn't perfect, but Maine couldn't make the play and was removed.

-After another run in the seventh when the Mets pretty much conceded a run to get a double play, it was 7-3 entering ninth after some solid work from Ron Mahay and Peter Moylan (5 pitches = 3 outs). Cox goes to Tyler Yates, who hadn't worked in the series. However, Yatesy was horrid. Gotay singled, Reyes doubled, and after a groundout, David Wright make it a one-run ballgame with a homer. Bob Wickman's sore fat arm kept him out so the Braves savior was...

-...Oscar fucking Villarreal? On the second pitch, Carlos Delgado hit what is referred to as a "flyball: LF" It was a bit more.

-Willie Harris EndyChavez'd the Mets and after Moises Alou grounded out, the Braves escape with a 7-6 win and Villy's first save.

-KJ added a pair of hits, including his tenth triple, and Brian McCann had two hits of his own.

-Bob Wickman has returned to Atlanta. No word yet on whether or not he will miss this weekend's series with the Phillies.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Metrosexuals 4, Braves 3

-If there is a more disappointing loss this season, I hope I sleep through it.

-We should have won this game. Simple as that. But we did not and that breeds a devastating loss. Luckily, there is that earlyass start-time tomorrow to get over it in some ways.

-John Smoltz struggled some through the first few frames and was around 90 pitches entering the seventh with a 3-1 lead. I feel he's transferring in front of our very eyes. He simply doesn't have his best cutter anymore or his overpowering fastball. He's having to locate more and seems to struggle in the early innings before hitting his stride.

-However, the seventh opened. Smoltz immediately struggled, giving up a single to Old Man Green before Paul LoDouch flew out. However, Smoltz couldn't set down Lastings Milledge and the kid singled. That brought out Bobby Cox for a discussion which eventually led to Smoltz's night ending. Cox had Peter Moylan and Ron Mahay ready. The Mets went with Ruban Gotay, who rakes righties. Cox played the book and brought in the lefty and Randolph in turn went to Damien Easley. Here is where I start to really disagree with Cox. It was a by-the-book move, but you need a twin-killing here and Moylan's sinking action would be a big key. However, Mahay, who has been a LOOGY his entire career, stays in obviously.

-Well, Mahay walks Easley and brings up Jose Reyes with the bases loaded. If you didn't mutter or yell "fuck," you have, as Lewis Black said, "anger problems." However, Mahay got him to hit a looper that Jeff Francoeur _just_ got to. Two away and Luis Castillo, a guy I absolutely hate, steps in. He gets sawed off and singles in two. In some ways, it was bad luck. But bad luck usually needs a situation in which it can go bad. Going to Mahay over Moylan in that situation is the kind of thing that asks for bad luck.

-Moylan, by the way, got the final out.

-After Moises Alou broke the tie in the 8th, the Braves had a real shot in the ninth, but like they do every October, they broke some real hearts. Chipper Jones singled before Mark Teixeira snaked a single through the left side. Cox starts getting cute again and goes to Chris Woodward _OVER_ Brian McCann to get a bunt down. Now, I hate the bunt and I especially hate wasting a pinch hitter on a bunt. Not to mention you possibly force the Mets to walk your hottest hitter, Francoeur. Matt Diaz should have gotten the call if you want to waste McCann here.

-However, Billy Wagner walks Woodward on five pitches. It was the oddest damn thing I'ver seen. Jeff Francoeur hits a hot shot toward third that David Wright briefly bobbles, but recovers to get Chipper at the plate. The bobble kept the twin killing from happening, but it only postponed it. Andruw grounded into the easiest double play ever to end it.

-Horrid game. Just horrid. One I'd like to forget. At 12:10 tomorrow, it will be forgotten.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Braves 7, Metropolitians 3

-Holy foshizzle, the Braves can hit Oliver Perez. Well, for three innings before the offense went in shutdown. I don't buy much into a player's domination over one team, but Ollie was testing that theory with every solid effort he had against the Braves. However, six runs in the first three innings changed that.

-Matt Diaz, hitting second because Cox loves to bury Kelly Johnson, had a solo shot in the first, but was quiet from there. Not so quiet was Jeff Francoeur. He became the latest Brave to challenge Albert Hall's immortality by nearly reaching the cycle. His three-run bomb in the third was the biggest blow to Ollie's day and best birthday gift of the day to yours truly. Francoeur finished with four hits (two doubles, a homer, and a measly single) to with his three ribbies and two walks.

-Chipper Jones, famed Mets killer, got the triple Francoeur needed (bwah) and also challenged Hall, finishing a homer short of the cycle with three hits.

-"My Buddy" Carlyle (don't fucking steal that, Berman) was good for a few innings, but ran into trouble in the fourth and fifth. A runners-on-the-corners and no out situation was helped by a double play that scored the first Mets run. The Mets grounded into three killer twin killings (too much?). In the fifth, My Buddy really sucked, but no Met could get some real contact off of him. Despite just 79 pitches, Carlyle's day was very Chuckish in that it lasted just five innings.

-The bullpen was pretty awesome. Ron Mahay, Octavio Dotel, Rafael Soriano, and Peter Effin Moylan each tossed hitless frames. Mahay walked a batter, but all faced the minimum.

-Huge win and Mets fans are certifiably insane. They are the ones up by 3.5 games, yet they are the ones panicking and talking about how this series and possibly season is lost. I mean, jeez, you still have El Dukie and John Maine going, though they are facing John Smoltz and Tim Hudson.

-Unlike today's shitfest scheduling that had this game on no widely available and easy to access channel (see TBS or WPIX), tomorrow's game will be covered by ESPN and Thursday's EARLY day game (12:10) gets TBS treatment. The Phils destroyed the Marlins to keep pace. If you're a Wild Card watcher, Jake Peavy shutdown the Padres (hardly much of an effort for most human beings (*ahem*, Boomer, *ahem)) and they stay 1.5 games up on the Braves in the Wild Card.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Don't Call It a Comeback

Hey...I'm back.

Sorta. I don't really know how much I'll post during the week, but I figure the weekend should give me ample opportunity to post.

Today is my birthday and for my present, I get the Braves and the Mets. I figure it's time for a little background on this most important of all days for you, me, and every Corkscrew Swing reader who is glad to see my ramblings return. Today's game is the first time in my life that the Braves and Mets have ever faced off on my birthday. Here is the seven most recent games on my birthday.

2006 - Phillies 9, Braves 6
...What the hell was Bobby Cox doing starting Horacio Effin Ramirez on my birthday? Of course, also not in the lineup was Chipper Jones (probably broke a nail) and the pinch hitters used in the game were Pete Orr and Tony Pena. Cox didn't give this day a chance of ending positive.

2005 - Cardinals 5, Braves 3
...This one hurts the most. Up 3-2 on a ninth inning RBI double by Jeff Francoeur, Chris Reitsma proceeds to load the bases on three singles before David Eckstein steps in. Eckstein, who is all of 2'6" in heels, takes Reitsma deep for Reitsma's fifth blown save of the year and a highly depressing birthday.

2004 - Braves 6, Diamondbacks 2
...Paul Byrd posts one of his few quality starts of his second stint as a Brave and the Braves score three in the third and ninth to cruise to their 62nd win over the absolutely horrible D'Backs.

2003 - Braves 7, Brewers 1
...The biggest dog the Braves have had in years actually tosses a complete game five-hitter. Mike Hampton even added a two-run double and Vinny Castilla homered and...tripled? Weirdass game.

2002 - Diamondbacks 6, Braves 3
...Just so you know, the Braves bullpen's troubles weren't limited to just 2005-06. A 1-1 game in the seventh ends with five runs allowed by the wonderful pen of 2002 that included Chris Hammond, Mike Remlinger, and Darren Holmes. Oh, and Tim Spooneybarger sucked it up, allowing a two-run bomb to Rod Barajas of all people. Chipper Jones had a two-run shot for the Braves, but surprisingly, they couldn't win a game in which Wes Helms, Keith Lockhart, and Henry Blanco all started.

2001 - Braves 6, Astros 5
...Greg Maddux improved to 15-6 despite looking pretty shitty. Brian Jordan and Marcus Giles each helped out with homers and the Braves were quite efficient, turning six hits and five walks into six runs.

2000 - Reds 3, Braves 2 (10 innings)
...I remember this game if only because my mother is a Reds fan. Greg Maddux started for the first of three straight years on the holy day and tossed 7.1 scoreless innings, but a Chipper Jones error led to two unearned runs off John Rocker in the ninth and Kerry Ligtenberg lost it in the tenth.

1999 - Braves 15, Giants 4
...I hate Russ Ortiz. Hated him as a Brave, hated him otherwise. So imagine my happiness to see the Braves crush him to the tune of 9 runs in a 15-4 rout. Gerald Williams and Brian Jordan each homered in the sixth after Ortiz left and Ryan Klesko added three ribbies.

Overall, the Braves are 12-11 on my birthday. They lost a double header in 1990, received their only official off-day for my birthday in 1986, and in 1985, they were rained out. Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux have he most wins on my birthday with two.

Today's starter Buddy Carlyle has never worked the holy day, but neither has Oliver Perez so what happens is completely unknown.

I'll call it, though. KJ homers off Billy Wagner to break a 4-4 tie in the ninth. Wickmoo has a scary ninth, but the Braves win.