Tagged: Chipper Jones

What Would You Do If I Sang Out Of Tune?

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~JB, Braves Blogger Extraordinaire and Coffee Addict.

Espresso. The fuel of blogs. At least it is for mine.

Hello, Braves fans and baseball fans otherwise. It’s been a long
season already for the Braves and somehow we’ve only managed to fall 4
games away from first place. How? I don’t know. We can’t seem to remain
above .500. We can’t seem to win series against struggling teams and we
can’t seem to stay healthy.

But here we are. About to welcome the Phils, who cling to the
aforementioned 4 game advantage, and a chance to improve our standings.
How can we do so without Chipper when his fill-in is not only not
hitting anywhere close to Chipper’s “BA” B.A. but he could make Mr.
Mendoza blush.

But even though this Braves blogger has seen better days… I’ve seen
worse too. And though our roster has more missing pieces than my
Pac-Man puzzle from 1982… well… I don’t know if there is an
upside here actually. It’s just baseball and it’ll break your heart as
quickly as it’ll make you leap for joy. Those of you not prepared for
this fickle love affair will have a hard time even mustering the desire
to read a Braves blog let alone watch an early July ball game.

So in case you haven’t heard yet, Chipper will make his perennial
appearance on the DL starting this week and it’ll come just in time for
him to miss the All Star game. Just when I was getting optimistic that
he’d make it through the whole season… Well, I still love Chipper and
there’s very little not to love. At least I can say that Mike Hampton
makes Chipper look like the 6 Million Dollar Man.

Now at this point the post takes a turn. Call this an opinion, observation, insight or whatever but here’s how I end.

When in Chicago visiting Wrigley Field this June,
I noticed something about the fans in the Friendly Confines. They
turned out in very strong numbers and gosh they love their team. I
happened to make it to one of those day game treats on a Thursday
afternoon but the attendance would’ve told you it was a Sunday. Now
true, Wrigley is smaller than Turner but I will say that the love the
“Friendlies” have for their team is… electric.

Here’s my point. The Cubbies haven’t snagged a title in close to 100
years. They’ve had nothing but bad luck in the postseason and are now
this century’s version of the Red Sox. You could use success as an
argument for why to give up on this loveable franchise on the Northside
but it would get you nowhere with a true Cubs fan.

They are to me, an example of what I believe a team and its fans
must sometimes go through to gather a TRUE following. I’m not talking
about the “fans” that show up in gale force when the team is winning
and then allow the Ted to become a Ghost Town when we’re down in the
standings. I’m not even talking about the tailgaters who get thoroughly
intoxicated before, during, and after the game only to make complete
fools out of themselves in the parking lot (I’ve hit one with my car
this season). I’m talking about FANS. And truth be told, sometimes Fans have to go through some “Character Building Years” to refine their Fanship.

Now we Braves supporters have had a good run. Yes we only managed
one Title in the 14 banners we collected during that time but I’ll
briefly state my argument once more, how many more WS’s Championships
would we have won playing 20 years ago without the dreadful playoff
system we now employ? Regardless, we’ve obviously had some success
since 1991 and now the years wane on. I’m not throwing in the towel on
this season or saying our play off hopes for 2008 are shot when I say
this. I’m just saying if the rough season we’ve had so far and the two
missed playoffs of ’06-’07 continue to be a trend, we will have to take
our devotion to a new level.

I think this level of devotion has benefited teams like the Cubs.
Disappointment is sometimes very good for a team and its fans to go
through. Remember the magic of 1991? It wouldn’t have been there in
quite the same way if it wasn’t for 1990 and all the other last place
years before it.

Just a thought but getting through these hard times (and if it turns
out… a hard season) and emerging as Braves Fans who know how to truly
love our team is my silver lining.

Enjoy the day off of baseball. We got a brand new month and chance to gain some ground.

Whatever you do… Keep Choppin’


Going for Three in a Row, Four Against the Mets


A lot of things went right last night.

The Lineup

Kelly had a big 2-4 night w/ 4 RBI’s.

Tex had a pair and has only one hitless night in his last 10 games going 14/44 .318, 2 HRs, 9 RBI’s. Maybe the slumping start is coming to an end.

Chipper got a hit to increase his chances of finishing April above .400. I’d like to see 3 more HR’s before the month is over to bring his total to 10…. But I don’t mean to be greedy.

In fact everyone in the regular lineup with the exception of Diaz (and Yunel who left early with a really bad boo boo…but we’ll check on him later) got hits.

The Starter
Was actually a lot better than the 3rd inning would indicate. After that Dutch Merry-Go-Round Jurrjens hosted Jair slammed the door, retiring 10 Mets in a row and recording 4 K’s for the night. If you watch Jurrjens pitch location and the calls he was getting it looks like the strike zone was shrunken to just about the size of Barry Bonds’ testicles.

After an exasperated non-verbal reaction from Jair, Tim McClelland came out barking and Bobby came a-runnin’. After Cox’s first ejection of the year, Jurrjens didn’t even seem phased.

This is actually the kind of start that makes you feel great about his potential and his place in a rotation that needs to stay strong and healthy. Rather than having a meltdown after an infuriating 3rd inning he pitched a fine game.

The Bullpen
Ohman, Boyer, Ring, Acosta, worked to keep the door Jurrjens slammed from coming (ahem) “A-Jair”. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist). The bullpen that we’ve been biting our nails about since Moylan, Soriano, Gonzalez have been missing allowed no runs, no hits, no walks, and got 2 K’s…against the Mets…at Shea. I love it. Delgado even got booed after whiffing to strike out to Boyer in the ninth. Looks like trouble in paradise.

We’ve got Hudson on the mound going up against John Maine.
How They Compare

Hudson 3-1, 2.93, 5/16(BB/K), 1 HR, 30.2 IP’s, bald head, cool tattoo.

Maine 1-2, 3.57, 14/16 (BB/K), 3 HR, 22.2 IP’s, played “The Joker” in the Batman movie.

So I like the matchup for today’s game. Maine is a good pitcher but Hudson has better control, can last longer, and uh…. excuse me this is starting to sound like a Viagra commercial or something.

I’m going to quit now. Enjoy the game.


Week in LA; Pics and More

Dsc04109Our trip to LA ended too soon but not before my wife and I got to experience a memorable night in Dodger Stadium.

So here’s some highlights worth mentioning.

  • Beautiful stadium. The landscape is surrounded by palm trees and mountains that are a constant west coast reminder. I love looking out into the city scape of Atlanta while at Turner Field but the view from Dodger Stadium is to be envied.
  • Dodger Fans. They were not too bad to us. I walked in with apprehension that the heated rivalry of ’91 would be revived as we came to support our Braves. Yet, a few "boos" notwithstanding, we were met with a level of hospitality and even respect when other fans found out how far we had traversed to see our Bravos. We had some good conversations with fellow fans and even saw a strong Braves presence in LA. The greatest thing I appreciate about Dodger fans is their enthusiasm for their team. They got excited, chanted throughout the game and showed a lot of support for the boys in Blue. I’d like to see more of that in ATL as well.
  • Hot Dogs. Not all that bad but not all that great. You gotta have a dog at the ballpark and it didn’t dissappoint.
  • Atmosphere Pretty nice. We got to wander around the stadium without any problems and were impressed with the casual, quiet ambiance around the field before the game. We made our way right up to the bullpen to see Hudson warm up and were right next to the Braves pitchers. The atmosphere got pretty electric as the fans cheered on their team during rally moments. I love their passion for their team.
  • The Game Hudson didn’t do too hot and had a shaky defense behind him. Penny also didn’t dominate as both starters gave up 6 runs. However, Chipper tied and passed Dale Murphy for the all time Atlanta homeruns leader so we had the chance to witness history. Those two dingers turned out to be the game winners and we saw a strong outing from the Atlanta bullpen. Moyland, Ledezma, Soriano and Wickman shut out the Dodgers to split the series. Great game!

Hoping to Split With the Nats

98ylvrbcWell we have to catch up little since last night.
Edgar’s two dingers helped big time and Hudson is pitching like he’s back on the west coast. Monday’s game could’ve been worse but not by much. Tonight’s game ticks me off because Kyle couldn’t keep any of the leads the Braves gave him throughout the night. Starting in the first inning, the offense kept runs on the board and Davies ended up allowing six before the bullpen came in to quiet things.

We can’t pull out miracle wins every night, especially with AJ striking out with RISP’s, so the pitching needs to step up and Davies needs to go down. I don’t know what happened but he doesn’t look anything like the promising prospect of ’05. More like an expendable Horacio Ramirez but still not as bad as Albie Lopez Part II (aka Mark Redman).

It was good to see Smoltz pitching today. A matchup with Daiske in Boston would be a treat on Saturday. If we don’t get tomorrow’s game from the Nationals, Boston is not gonna be a pretty place to play. It’ll be a tough series no matter what but I’m hoping the Braves will be up to the challenge by then.

The Good: Chipper returns; hits a double, scores. Yay, Chipper…now hit some more homers to get back in the lead!

Willie .404 and got another RBI tonight. He probably won’t be hitting .400 anything in September but it makes me happy to see Langerhans wearing a Nationals uniform these days.

Wickman’s back. Scoreless inning is a good show to work back in.

The Bad: Gonzalez on the DL because of “lack of velocity”. Just a breather for him really. It just stinks to sit a guy who had just come off 14 scoreless innings in a row. But I’d rather bench him if it means keeping him fueled later.

The Ugly: Davies IP 4.2 H 5 R 6 ER 2 BB 2 K’s 3 HR 1 5.17
Two ER’s isn’t that bad but what makes this ugly is that Kyle has had only one real memorable start this year. He’s failed to impress again.

Andruw. The two RBI’s were nice but the 2 K’s, 2 LOB’s, and .231 is not pretty. Not cleanup numbers at all.

Finally the Braves’ sale to Liberty Media became final today. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I know our front office won’t shake up but TBS will not broadcast any more games after ’07. I guess since I grew up with Ted “running” the Braves and TBS it’s just a little sad to see the last remnants of what Turner put together gone. I miss the days of having one eccentric, passionate, owner rather than a faceless corporation at the helm. I mean who didn’t love watching the guy tomahawk chop with Jane Fonda in the owner’s seats?

So here’s to a new era and hopes that our new ownership will invest in this team with some vigor and strive for excellence.

Deja Vu

O23juxmnThe self proclaimed pull hitter came through for the second night in a row landing the go ahead RBI single into right field. No, I’m not posting on Tuesday night’s game again and yes you heard right; Andruw Jones not only got a hit when it counted…he went the other way.

Smoltz vs. Maddux was not a letdown on any level.

Smoltz (W, 5-1)

IP 7.0 H 7 R 2 ER2 BB 0 SO7 HR 2
IP 5.1 H4 R1 ER1 BB2 SO4 HR0

Not bad, considering that not only were the two in the throes of a memorable pitcher’s duel but the 40k+ that showed up got to see two future HOFer’s go at it.

Today’s matchup is not one to overlook either. Hudson and Wells is a nice way to end the series and send the Pad’s packin’.

I’ll be there today. Which is nice because I’ll get a day off at the ballgame…and a free Chipper Jones shirt.

Dodgers Come to Town, Smoltz Shuts them Down

Smoltz’s 7 inning 6 K performance was good enough for a momentum building win last night as he shut out a good Dodger team in front of the hometown.
With the LA team (the real one) off to a great start coming into Atlanta and the Braves starting their second series of the long homestand, this is a win to feel good about. Now, if only we could get the rest of our rotation to start pitching like Hudson and Smoltz.

Frenchy and McCann (I guess that hand’s not too bad) provided all the runs the Braves would need. Gonzalez and Soriano kept the Dodger bats as silent as they were against Smoltz giving up no hits or walks with a strikeout each for the eighth and ninth. I would love to see the old Wickman back but these guys are making it hard to miss him lately. Remember Chris Reitsma?

Well chalk this one up as we keep pace with our Met friends and strap in for game two tonight with Lowe and Hudson on the mound.


Catching Up

Well we’ve got a lot of ground to cover since last week. I do apologize to all my many fellow bloggers. Recap: Here we go!

Braves get two series wins one with the Rox one with the Phils.
Langerhans is off to Oakland…Willie Harris, Georgia native comes in and gets last night’s winning hit. Sorry Ryan, we love you but Willie is fitting in so far.
Bob Wickman on the DL, 3 blown saves, he’ll back in strong form soon enough. Let’s stay optimistic.
Soriano fills in nicely last night with a save.
Andruw knocks a three run walk-off.
Hudson is dominant.
Chipper is leading the NL in HR’s (did anyone notice?)
Smoltz will be a Brave just a little bit longer with an extension.
Salatalamaccia made his debut last night and looked alright despite not getting a hit. I don’t know exactly how I feel about this seeing as how I love McCann but I was excited (as I always am to see MLB debuts).
And the Dodgers are coming