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.”
The Braves traded 3 minor league pitchers for Derek Lee today. Troy Glaus will be put on the DL to make room for Lee. He will starting working out at 3rd base with Gwinnett after a week off and is expected to back with the club after the rosters expand on September 1st.
I’ll be retweeting a lot of articles real soon that will contain more details.
First of all, the elephant in the room is whether or not Chipper will retire. Honestly, I don’t know. I was going against what seemed to the be the majority when I said the he wouldn’t retire at the end of this season if it ended on a high note. Given statements he’s made about retirement beginning last season, I would say that retirement is now a certainty, except for something he said Wednesday. David O’Brien asked him if he’d consider a long rehab to play again if he needed season ending surgery, and he replied “I’d have to consider it.” So, I honestly don’t know if we’ve seen him play his last game or not.
First, lets get out of the way what options aren’t even worth talking about, because all indications are that they won’t happen (and in my opinion, they shouldn’t happen):
Moving Troy Glaus to 3rd base
Regardless of how much time he’s played at 3rd base in his career, his knees are currently in no condition to play the hot corner.
Bring up Freddie Freeman to play 3rd base
Freeman is solid at first base, but professionally has almost no experience at third base. He played 5 games there 3 years ago in rookie ball. The sample size is small, but the numbers were atrocious. With moving Glaus to 3rd base being out of the question as well, its unlikely that Freddie Freeman’s timetable is going to be altered. The most likely way we’ll see him in the majors this year is if he is called up in September to help fill out the bench and provide some occasional rest for Glaus.
That brings us to the realistic options. We’ll start with my current favorite first:
Stay with what we’ve got
We’ve got at least 4 guys that can play 3rd base. Hinske, Infante, Conrad, and Prado. I like all these guys, so I wouldn’t be upset to see any of them playing at third, but I think the best everyday option is Prado. He is going to play everyday no matter what, and he is probably the best defensive option among the bunch. This leaves a spot open at 2nd base. As far as I’m aware, Hinske can’t play 2nd, so that leave Conrad and Infante to take over there. There has been a lot of discussion lately about how you keep Infante in the lineup after Prado returns. I don’t think this was really how we wanted to address that question, but it does address it. Conrad can continue to be a valuable asset off the bench, and Hinske is free to be utilized in left field and at first base. So, while you can pick your favorite combination, mine is going to be Prado at third, Infante at second. For the batting order, you keep Prado at the top, put Infante batting second, and move Heyward to the third spot. The rest of the lineup fills out the same as it has all year.
Bring on someone new
A few names have been mentioned, but the name that seems to the most attractive, and most likely to clear waivers, is %Bn%. Figgins has good points and bad. His overall numbers for the year have been below par, but he’s been playing well lately. He’s a true lead off hitter that has both speed and a high OBP. He’s also from Georgia, and playing for the “home team” can sometimes provide extra drive for a player. His salary is pretty steep, but indications are that Seattle would be willing to eat a large portion of it and/or take Kawakami in return. The latter would significantly offset Figgins’ salary. Another positive about Figgins is that he can play third, second, and center field.
What does it all mean?
So, what does it mean to a team in a hot pennant race to lose someone so valuable? Well, its not good news, thats for sure, but it also doesn’t mean the season is over. The Braves earned their current spot in first place back when Chipper wasn’t playing too well. While his recent production has been important, we’ve shown that we can succeed without it. Chipper is also a valuable member to the team off the field, and this won’t change. The impact he has just being in the clubhouse shouldn’t be underestimated. I think this makes things more difficult without question, but there is no reason to believe that its something that can keep us from winning the pennant, not to mention the world series.
Whether he’s played his last game for Atlanta or not, his season is over. He went down giving everything he had to try and get the Braves another championship. More than ever, its time to go out there and show our appreciation for all he has done for this franchise, now and in the past. It’s been 15 years since we won the world series, its time to win one again, and this time, lets Win One For The Chipper!
It was a strange night at Turner Field.
Not to take anything away from the masterpiece that Tim Hudson pitched, but Wagner was just amazing tonight. His first pitch was a ball, the next 10 were strikes, only one of which was hit (foul). Even though I don’t think you can blame last night’s blown save on him, he has been a little off lately. Not tonight though.
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.
The rosters for this years All Star game were announced earlier today. Jason Heyward was the only Brave voted in by the fans, but a few more were selected as reserves.
Brian McCann will be making his 5th appearance in his 5 seasons as the lone back-up catcher, and Tim Hudson will be making his 3rd trip as the only pitcher from the Braves. Martin Prado and Omar Infante were both selected for the first time in their careers, and it has been announced the Prado will start in place of the injured Chase Utley.
One player some thought had a shot but not selected was Troy Glaus. Albert Pujols will be starting at 1st base, while Ryan Howard and Adrian Gonzalez were selected as his back-ups. Below is a comparison of the all stars and Troy Glaus:
I’ve re-tweeted the AJC article, so make sure you check that out. Per Dave O’Brien: “When Frank Wren called Omar Infante at 8:30 a.m. this morning to tell him he was an All-Star, Infante at first thought he’d been traded.”
Troy Glaus had a walk off home run in the bottom of the 9th!
The late game combined with a bad headache meant that I was asleep for most of this game too. I did happen to wake up in the middle of the 7-run 7th though just in time to see Troy Glaus hit his home run.