Tagged: pitching

How To Make The Best of a Throwaway Season

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Posted by JB | braves vs diamondbacks | Friday 8 August 2008 6:31 pm

~JB, just drank a lot of coffee today… a lot. 

All in one game, Charlie Morton pitches 7 scoreless innings, gets his first big league hit/double, gets picked off shortly after that, and even gets caught stealing (cue the Jane’s Addiction music). So maybe Morton has promise after all. But he’s still only 3-7 and may need a little more time in Triple A before he’s a true big leaguer. Nonetheless, that’s two impressive starts in a row for Charlie. Two more like it and I may even suggest he be on the Opening Day rotation. Of course that may jinx his whole career…

But after Morton is done being great, Boyer comes into the game and does what our bullpen does best. That is, giving up runs in late innings. Gonzo comes into the ninth and does what he does best. Gets a save (number 5) and since he has only allowed 3 ER’s in 11 appearances is by far our best bullpenner. I think Mike will be sticking around for a while.

With that said, the Braves are trying to continue to play spoiler to the D-Backs who maintain a pencil thin lead over the revamped Dodgers (who keep winning while #99 Manny keeps hitting homers).

Speaking of the Dodgers, if anyone wants to feel nostalgic about AJ, take a look at his stats for 2008. He’s no longer a starter and even though he belted a pinch hit homer in the ninth, he’s looking to be an odd man out pretty soon and get the Javy Lopez in Baltimore treatment. Could Andruw be unemployed in 2009? Of course he’s making $18 million for the next two years so I guess you can’t feel too bad. 

But now that I’m done digressing…

The Braves need to do a few things to finish up the season in a befitting way. It’s a throwaway and so by-golly, let’s have some fun! 

Making the Best of the Remaining 2008 Season

1) Wanna do throwbacks? It seems so popular to go retro on the field these days, so why not dress the Braves up in the old 1980’s red, white and blue duds since they’re playing just like those terrible teams from 1983-1986. With the exception of 1982 we had some real stinkers out on the field representing “America’s Team” on TBS. 

2) Get Ted Turner to race ostriches and push eggs with his nose across the field again to invoke waning fan interest. Be a whole lot more fun to watch than a tankless water heater try to beat out a grounder in HD.

3) Bring back Chief Noc-a-homa and the Teepee and to heck with political correctness. 

4) Call the Rangers and literally beg and plead with them to give us back pitching prospect Neftali Feliz, who could’ve been our hope of a better pitching staff someday. 

5) Dismantle the HD screen in centerfield, sell it to Japan for $10 million, and use the money to assist us with some offseason free agent acquisitions (CC?). In it’s place put a more simpler, manually operated scoreboard that is characteristically surrounded by ads of course, but no longer displays “The Tool Race” “The Flander’s, what are they thinking?” or “The Napa Cap Shuffle”. I know some of you people who don’t like to watch baseball enjoy these little diversions but after enjoying a day game a piece at both Fenway and Wrigley, I much prefer the quiet in between inning moments of watching players warm up to the loud in your face trivia games or the Auto Trader match up’s crap. Call me a traditionalist or better yet, a purist. 

6) Fire the tomahawk girls. Baseball doesn’t need cheerleaders. But keep the drum line. They rock. 

7) Trade for Pedro Cerrano and sacrifice a chicken before each game to make Joe-Boo happy. 

8.) Hand out scorecards before each game and require each fan to spend the day learning how to keep score. Maybe then they’ll be too busy trying to figure out why the shortstop is “number 6″ to get up in the middle of the game six or seven times to do God-knows-what that’s so important it can’t wait until the half inning. 

9) Make sure Jeff Porter has some good orthopedic shoes just to make it through the next two months without going on the DL himself. Or better yet, get him one of those “Rascals” for frequent on field visits. Maybe Bobby can get one too and they can race out to this week’s injured player. 

10) Bring back the “Hey batter batter batter” chant for the guys in the infield. Sure it’s not professional but we’re not going to win any way. Why not make some noise? 

11) I’m not going to lie. I like the Chick-Fil-A cow. But why not put a smaller version of the Pink Pig and the Big Chicken (two other existing notable Atlanta icons) on either side so we can have a little barnyard up there. Of course I hope they don’t go all Animal Farm on us. 

12) Finally, sign Phil Neikro to a contract that lasts until the end of the season and let him start a few games. How many other good knucklers’ are there in baseball other than Wakefield? It’s a lost art and I’m sure it doesn’t take much physical effort to hurl butterflies at batters. Sure would be entertaining to me. 

 

So there you have it. My short list of ways to make the final two months of
Braves baseball a little bit better. 

You know, this is a pretty good list of suggestions. I’m going to make sure this gets into the hands of some upper management. Wish me luck. And as always…

Keep Choppin’

Keep Dreamin’, JB

JB@TheLaunchingPad

Posted by JB | Thursday 7 August 2008 1:06 pm

Braves lost again. On the road in a one run game and thus, lost another series.

Surprisingly, Chuck James only gave up three runs. Of course he gave up his mandatory homer to Aaron Rowand but the Braves couldn’t come up with a series win even against the second to last place Giants. 

Such is life. 

The real story in this game to me is Tim Linececum. 8 innings pitched, 8 K’s and only 2 ER’s against the Braves. In three career starts against the Braves he’s 3-0 w/ a 3.32 ERA and 17 Ks. We could use pitching like that. 

So with 4 of the 5 pitchers we counted on at Opening Day having spent significant time on the DL, here’s a list of a pitchers I’d like us to grab for 2009. Of course I would love to grab Tim Lincecum but we’d have to trade a lot to get him and while in only his second big league year, he’s a key component to the Giants’ rebuilding and they would never part with him. 

For 2009, I’m going to assume we keep both Jair Jurrjens and Jorge Campillo in the rotation and drop Mike Hampton, Tom Glavine, and even John Smoltz. It appears Tim Hudson won’t return until sometime in late 2009 so I’m going to fill 3 rotation spots. 

Rich Harden

In his sixth full season, and despite missing some time in both 2006-07, he’s notched 100+ innings in 3 of those seasons and should, if he can pitch 23 more,  surpass 100+ again this year. Also with the exception of his rookie year and ’06-’07, he’s recorded over 120 K’s, and 40 or less walks in all but one year. The righty has a mid 90’s fastball and a good slider and changeup to go with it. But as I mentioned, some significant time on the DL between ’06-’07 is a concern especially with the injury riddled year we’ve had. Of course if he can finish 2008 the way he’s been going so far, it may make him a sought after free agent in the offseason and I’d love to see a healthy Rich Harden possibly fill John Smoltz’s role since he’s the same type of pitcher. 

Brandon Webb

He’s under contract until the end of 2009 and has a 2010 option. Should the D-Backs not make the playoffs or decide to trade him away in this offseason rather than try to re-option him after 2009, the Braves could get Webb for a full year before his contract expires. Of course this would definitely involve trading away some good prospects  (Schaefer, Brandon Jones, Gorkys Hernandez or Brent Lillibridge for example) and/or some young pitching (JoJo, James). The 2006 Cy Young winner has at least 14 wins in his last four seasons, is a strikeout machine getting at least 170 every year he’s started and is en route to get another 170+ this year. This may not be a smart move if the Braves cannot do something similar to what they did with Hudson; trade for him and sign him to a multi year contract right away. 

CC Sabbathia

No points for creativity for me on this one. A lot of talk amongst Braves fans has already circulated about CC. He’s a hard throwing lefty who will get big bucks somewhere this offseason. My main reason for selecting him is that we need a lefty like CC to start. My selections so far leave him as the only lefty starter but I realistically don’t expect the staff to consist entirely of my selections anyway so… let me have fun!

CC will probably cost upwards of $15mill+ a year after coming off an $11 mill year for 2008. But if we could lock him into a long term contract it would be worth it. The 2007 Cy Young winner gets wins (at least 11 a year) and has been lowering his walk ratio while consistently recording 160+ K’s a year with 209 in 2007. He’s 11-8 now with 166 K’s so it’s not his best year in terms of wins but considering that he was with the Indians for the first half and is now 5-0 with the Beermen…

So who are your dream starting pitchers for 2009. Be as crazy as you’d like and come up with as many trade possibilities as you can to tell me which pitchers you’d love to see in Braves uniforms for 2009.

Keep Choppin’!