The NL Central-leading Cubs’ rallying cry might apply to the Braves now, after a 2-5 week pushed them seven games back in the division race (behind 2 teams) and four in the wild card (behind 4 teams). Coolstandings gives the Braves a 13.8% chance of making the postseason, which seems about right. That’s half what it was last week, if you’re keeping track.
This Week’s Stats
Scores and FanGraphs game summaries:
8/20: Braves 14, Reds 4
8/21: Reds 8, Braves 7
8/22: Reds 4, Braves 2
8/23: Reds 9, Braves 7
8/24: Braves 7, Cardinals 2
8/25: Cardinals 5, Braves 4
8/26: Cardinals 4, Braves 1
Stats for the week alone:
Best plays of the week:
- Chipper Jones hit a 3-run homer off Elizardo Ramirez, tying Thursday’s game at 5 in the 5th inning (+.259).
- Brian McCann hit a grand slam off Phil Dumatrait, giving the Braves a 5-0 lead in the first inning of Monday’s game (+.246).
- Andruw Jones hit a 2-run triple off Bobby Livingston, tying Tuesday’s game at 5 in the 5th inning (+.239)
- Brian McCann hit a 2-run homer off Bobby Livingston, giving the Braves a 7-5 lead in the 5th inning of Tuesday’s game (+.232).
- Tyler Yates induced a fielder’s choice from Jason Ellison with one out and runners at 2nd and 3rd in the 11th inning of Thursday’s game (+.206).
Jeff Francoeur lost a full win off of his 2007 season with a poor week at the plate. His 7-for-33 performance looks something short of awful, but when you factor in a GIDP, just a single walk, a single extra-base hit, and poor clutch play, that put him at -.543 for this week. The left field platoon joined him, with Harris and Diaz combining to post a -.584 WPA.
Every other Braves regular was significantly on the positive side, with Mark Teixeira leading the way at +.377. He was 12-for-29 with 2 doubles, 3 homers, and 6 walks against the Reds’ and Cards’ pitching staffs. Kelly Johnson, Chipper Jones, Yunel Escobar, and Brian McCann all topped +.200, and Andruw Jones fell just short at +.163.
On the other side of the ball, the Braves only got 2 quality starts in three tries from Smoltz and Hudson, since Hudson was ineffective on Saturday. As for everyone else, there’s probably no hope at this point. Reyes gave up 5 runs in 2 2/3 innings on Tuesday and 4 runs (only 2 earned) in 6 innings on Sunday. The Braves are now 0-7 in his starts. Cormier allowed 3 runs in 5 innings on Wednesday, lowering his ERA to an even 9.00 for the year. Then, Carlyle gave up 6 runs in 5 innings on Thursday, raising his ERA to 5.00. Smoltz was the only starter to finish the week with a positive WPA, and his was just +.055.
The bullpen was actually decent, but they finished with an overall negative WPA mostly because of Bob Wickman’s efforts on Thursday. Wickman was DFA’d on Friday, so there will be one less decent/healthy reliever on the team this week. Villarreal managed a negative WPA without allowing a run in his 1 1/3 innings of work, while Mahay and Moylan earned their way into the red, allowing 4 runs in 10(!) combined innings. Moylan appeared in five of the seven games, so don’t be surprised if he’s the next to come out totally ineffective because of overwork.
Soriano, Acosta, and Yates added the most WPA this week, with Yates allowing the trio’s only run in a total of 11 innings of relief. Devine and Ascanio also appeared in games this week, but neither was in a remotely crucial situation.
Bob Wickman finished the season for the Braves with a 3.92 ERA and nearly a win below average in WPA (-.472). He was a decent reliever, but not good enough to be used in the most crucial situations (which should have gone to Soriano and Gonzalez from the start). Based on the reports surrounding his release, he appears to have been reluctant to pitch in non-save situations, which is unfortunate. He would have been quite useful as a middle reliever.
I’m guessing he’ll pitch elsewhere this season, since he still has something left in the tank, but it may have to be for a bullpen-starved contender who would use him in much the same way as the Braves did. That’s not a recipe for continued success on his part, since he’s no longer a dominant reliever. He shouldn’t be thrown into high-leverage situations on a regular basis.
The Road Ahead
The Braves finish their current road trip with three games in Florida, starting today. With the Mets and Phillies coming to town after that, this upcoming stretch could decide the Braves’ season. Here are the probable pitchers for this week:
Monday: Cormier vs. Fighting Scott Olsen
Tuesday: Carlyle vs. Rick VandenHurk
Wednesday: Smoltz vs. Dontrelle Willis
Friday: Hudson vs. John Maine
Saturday: Reyes vs. Brian Lawrence
Sunday: Cormier vs. Tom Glavine
10 thoughts on “Wait 'til next year?”
Wait till next year? my answer is yes. when one of our 3-5 guys starts, I’m reluctant to even watch. Take today for example. Wanna know how excited I am to watch Cormier pitch tonight? yeah….
For us to have a losing week against the reds and the cardinals, it’s just flat embarassing.
We’re below .500 ever since acquiring Teixeira. That says it all. The problem wasn’t first base (although I won’t deny that production was low).
at least college football is close so i’ll have something else to focus on
Tell me about it. I’m doing my best to join about 47 online fantasy football leagues and get my mind off of this mess.
This, of course, is how fans of virtually every other major league franchise have felt more often than not over the past 15 years. Are we just spoiled?
Yeah, I suppose it helps to remind ourselves about that. The Braves have been at least in contention every year since we were 7 years old. The older we get, the more impressive that seems.
By the way, I think those probables are inaccurate. The Braves appear to be using Smoltz tomorrow and Carlyle on Wed. My best guess towards this reasoning is so that Smoltz will pitch in the Mets series as well, probably Sunday. Didn’t know if you knew about that or not. Hey, at least it gives me a reason to watch tomorrow.
I thought there was something screwy about that list when they didn’t have Hudson listed at all this week, even though he threw on Saturday.
What you’re saying would seem to be a good plan, since it would allow them to go Smoltz-Carlyle-Hudson-Cormier(?)-Smoltz again, skipping Reyes altogether and using Cormier only once.
Here’s the AJC story:
(Also in the above story, the Joey Devine Yo-Yo Spectacular continues, as the marvelous Pete Orr has been recalled.)
Ha ha1 Yeah, I noticed that. I keep hearing how Devine’s problem is confidence. He has the “stuff” but just needs to gain his confidence back after 2005.
But are we really helping his confidence by bouncing him around so much, and refusing to use him when he is up with the big club? If it was me, I’d probably be LESS confident if my manager refused to put me on the mound.
I know that Bobby is one of the most optimistic managers in the MLB (to a fault at times), but I wonder if even Bobby thinks the team’s post season chances are over. Look at what he has done lately. He got rid of Wickman, now he is bringing in Orr. But only the top dogs now how much of that was Bobby and how much of it was JS, so I could just be rambling about nothing special.
Pete Orr! Our season is saved!
Devine still has minor league options? Wow. For what it’s worth, the Braves are 3-17 all-time in games he’s pitched in (which probably speaks to an innings eater when the games are in doubt).
And I would also wager that he’s the only player ever to give up grand slams in each of his first two big league appearances.
And a Gulf South Conference Basketball Threadjack.
Arkansas Tech signed two Jucos (Neither with shady backgrounds that I could find anyway).
[Coach] Downey, who is entering his second season at the helm of the Wonder Boys in 2007-08, says that both Flowers and Henderson come from winning programs.
“The thing I like about both of these young men is that they know how to win basketball games,” Downey said. “They know what it takes to compete for championships, like we want to strive for here at Arkansas Tech.” …….
Shouldn’t they be striving for more than one conference win first????
I guess Arkansas Tech can get away with saying things like that, since they only have 45 fans.
You have to love D-II basketball.