Ramblings about the Braves by True Braves Fans
I like the Braves chances after picking up this game. As the team with the best home record in the NL this year, we definitely have the advantage going back home with the ability to clinch the series while there. Winning this game the way we did will hopefully add some extra drive.
Glaus’ great defensive play in the 10th inning just shows how much it hurts not having an experienced 3B manning the hot corner right now. Our offense is just struggling too much to put in another guaranteed out, not to mention the fact that he’s range at 3B would be limited.
Before the series began, I had predicted Heyward would hit a splash down. If I had to pick someone else, I probably would have said McCann or Hinske. The name I probably wouldn’t have come up with is Rick Ankiel. He did hit one though, and it won the game last night. When asked about it after the game, he said “This is the pinnacle of everything I’ve ever done, to win a playoff game with a home run.” I really like the way Mark Bowman summed it up when he said “10 years after he couldn’t throw a strike against the Braves, he delivers the strike that they desperately needed.”
I think this game was further proof that Matt Diaz is too hot when he starts to not be given a chance to play everyday, at least while Hinske is unavailable to platoon because he is playing first while Glaus gets some much needed rest. At this point I almost think it might be worth putting him on the DL in order to ensure he gets some time off. Doing so would allow us to call up someone else (such as Freddie Freeman) to play first, preventing the need to break up the Diaz/Hinske platoon.
Another option would be to give it until mid-month. During that time give Glaus as much rest as possible. If he’s still struggling by the time Prado is back, then DL him and let Prado play first so that you can keep the Diaz/Hinkse platoon intact.
However its worked out, I think the bottom line is that Melky Cabrera plays as little as possible. He MUST be confined to the role of a backup and nothing more.
I’m working on a few blogs right now that I hope to have up soon. They are more than just “my thoughts” blogs, so they require a bit of extra time in terms of compiling data and what not. The ones that are currently in the works are:
The Braves are in serious trouble if they don’t properly utilize their players. Glaus needs more than a few innings off, and until he shows he can’t handle it, Diaz needs to be the everyday left fielder against lefties and righties.
With a bit of rest, I think Glaus can be effective down the stretch, but right now he is hurting the team by batting in the middle of the order while not able to produce. Cabrera, on the other hand, has shown that he can’t be a productive member of the team when he is playing everyday. Ankiel and Diaz should be given a chance to play everyday with Cabrera filling in when one of them needs a rest. If either of them show they can’t handle playing everyday either, then a platoon can be discussed.
Also keep in mind that by the time its determined whether or not Diaz or Ankiel can contribute as everyday players, Glaus might be rested up enough to resume playing every day. In that case, Hinske can be utilized in left field again. Even if Glaus shows that he needs to take a day or two off on a frequent basis, there is no reason that Hinkse can’t be played in left when Glaus starts, and at first when he doesn’t.
If you haven’t heard about the trade made today, I assume it’s because you have horrible internet service and can only access my page. If that’s the case, I apologize, because I’m not going to provide any deep analysis of what happened. There are tons of tweets and retweets about the trades in the twitter feed that pertain to the trade, many of which contain links to articles containing such analysis.
I will, however, give you a brief overview of what happened and a few of my thoughts.
|From Braves/To Royals||From Royals/To Braves|
Gregor Blanco: I’ve always liked Blanco, but he was never going to be a starter in Atlanta. He didn’t have much power, and that pretty much was going to never allow him to rise above the level of a 4th or 5th outfielder, mainly being used as a pinch runner or late inning defensive replacement.
Jesse Chavez: I’ve never been candid with my dislike of Chavez. I feel that the good outings he’s had this season were flukes. I’m was only partially joking earlier today when I asked whether we could have got more out of the deal if we hadn’t included Chavez.
Tim Collins: A drink made of 2 parts gin, 1 part lemon juice, sugar, and soda water. No, wait, that’s a Tom Collins. He’s one of the main characters in Rent, first played by Jesse L. Martin. No, wait, that’s also Tom Collins. Tim Collins is a left handed minor league pitcher that was aquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in the Yunel Escobar trade. Reports were that he was a pretty solid pithcer, but as always, the Braves have a bevy of pitching prospects and giving up one like Collins isn’t a big loss at all.
Kyle Farnsworth: A hard throwing right handed reliever that pitched in Atlanta back in 2005. Farnsworth is a solid reliever that will help avoid the need to overwork Moylan and Venters down the stretch. He’ll fit in nice as a 6th or 7th inning guy, and has the experience necessary that he could taken on 8th or 9th inning responsibilities if needed. His numbers this season are pretty good, and they were excellent during his last tour in Atlanta. I saw where one scout had that this year he was “throwing the crap out of the ball,” which is good, because if there is one thing I can’t stand, its balls with crap in them.
Rick Ankiel: A solid outfielder with some power, Ankiel had been on the DL for close ~2.5 months before being recently activated. Since then he has been playing well and will definitely not be a downgrade for the Braves in center field. The Braves also play into his career history, and I’ll be blogging about that later (I was actually including it in this post, but it was getting long enough to where it deserved it’s own post.)
Cash: bread, cabbage, currency, dead presidents, dough, funds, green stuff, money, etc.
While this trade wont go down in history as a blockbuster, I think it was a solid move. We added depth to an already solid bullpen as well as power to out lineup. Ankiel might not be the bat some were hoping for, but he is an upgrade to to the mediocre performance we’ve been getting out of center field for most of the season. Personally I’d like to see Ankiel playing everyday in center field for the Braves while Diaz gets the majority of the playing time in left field. This allows us to give Hinske some starts at first so that Glaus can get badly needed rest. Such a scheme also allows for what I consider to be a very important key to winning the pennant: minimizing the amount of time Melky Cabrera is actually on the field.
Granted, we still have a long season ahead of us, but I think things look good. My prediction is that if we are still in 1st place by the end of the long road trip we have coming up, we’ll stay there the rest of the season.
The Braves went 20-8 in the month of May, taking them from last place in the division to first in the span of just a few weeks. All of this was done with Chipper, McCann, and Escobar playing way below what’s expected of them for most of the month. Add to that the fact that McCann and Chipper have both started to show marked improvements, and even Escobar has shown signs he is coming out of his slump. We also can’t overlook Cabrera’s recent performance which has been much better than how he started the season.
Then there are the guys that have been performing on a high level the entire time. Heyward, Glaus, and Prado are the everyday players that top the list. Then there are guys like Hinske that seem to perform as a starter, pinch hitter, or late inning replacement. Even Ross is providing solid offense from a position that you don’t usually expect such things from (backup catcher).
Things are looking good Braves fans!
I think the offense is finally on track. The Braves haven’t been shutout since the game on 5/7 against Jamie Moyer. Since then we’ve played 13 games and only lost 3 (3-5 on 5/9, 1-11 on 5/15, and 2-3 on 5/17) and the Arizona game is the only one of those that can be considered a blow out.
Last night’s game was another example of how things are looking much better. Our offense looked good. continued to perform well, Hinske had another solid game, McCann hit a homer, and Chipper even got on base (twice), once with a hit and an RBI.
Anyway, as I’ve mentioned previously, tonight’s game will not be on television. If you live in the metro Atlanta area, you should be able to get the game on Rock 100.5 or 680 the Fan. Of course you wont be able to listen online via those (or any other) radio stations because MLB forces online blackouts of all the games so they can sell more subscriptions to their own online audio package. I do know that you can get the audio for a single game for a lower price though if you want to get it just for today.
I’ll actually be listening on my iPhone. I bought the mlb app early in the season. It was $15.00, but I thought it was worth it to be able to listen to the afternoon games at work, listen while I am out walking, or otherwise in a situation where I don’t have access to a radio or tv.
One thing I have not looked into is whether or not the game will be available online via mlb.tv. Normally it would be blacked out in the Atlanta area, but I don’t know if that applies to games not being televised or played in the Atlanta area. I also don’t know if Fox’s exclusivity agreement applies to online broadcasts or not either. If it is available, I’m pretty sure they still offer the ability to purchase a single game as well.
For those of you outside the reach of the stations listed above, check out the list of stations in the Brave’s Radio Network. If you are in the South East, there is a good chance you’ll be able to pick up the game. I’ve added links for the two stations I mentioned, as well as the list of stations in the Brave’s Radio Network to the list on the right side for future reference.