Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A lovely afternoon at Wrigley

1. After the pain of losing to an inferior Cubs team in the '03 NLDS, winning six out of seven against them makes me feel warm and fuzzy. The fact that the Braves beat Mark Prior and Kerry Wood twice each makes it even sweeter, although it again raises the "were they really that unhittable in '03" specter.

2. Jeff Francoeur, bunter? Hell, why not. If he bunted to third every now and again and drew third basemen in, he'd make himself an even more deadly hitter because he pulls the ball in that direction all the time.

3. Jorge Sosa is going to start Game Three of the NLDS in San Diego. Discuss. I'm trying not to imagine Sosa starting game three in Houston against Roy Oswalt or Bobby Cox deciding that the rotation is dicey, so he's going with Smoltz and Hudson on short rest.

4. Kyle Farnsworth is the closer for the rest of the year. Discuss. Bobby sure managed that way during this series, which means that he's seen enough from Reitsma to know that he's not going to be closing for the time being. Amazingly, I presented four closing options last week and three of them have been ruled out in short order. Reitsma is still slumping and can't close. Joey Devine isn't ready to stop major league hitters from launching grand slams. Smoltz can't leave the rotation because neither Thomson, nor Hampton are healthy. So Kyle it is until he blows up and we start demanding Blaine Boyer.

5. Not to be too negative after the Braves took two of three in Chicago, but the bats are pretty quiet right now. They've scored 13 earned runs in the last five games and that number would be lower if Mark Prior's throwing error this afternoon caused any of those three runs to be unearned. Adam LaRoche is particularly galling right now. He hasn't been hitting recently and today's strikeout in the 7th with runners on third and second and one out in a 1-0 game could have been an absolute killer. His .305 OBP and .748 OPS just don't cut it at a power position. He needs to close this year like he did last year or else those "Chipper to first" rumors are going to be hot and heavy during the off-season.


Malone said...

Has Chipper ever publicly dealt with the move to 1B rumors?

peacedog said...

Alas, I don't get these things much down in Macon (the rumors, I mean), but I haven't heard or read anything. One wonders if he'd be ok with it - it's not the same as going to the OF though and it could extend his career.

LD said...

Not to get all wonkish, but I thought pinch hitting LaRoche there was a terrible idea. He's one of the two slowest guys on the team. With first and third and one out (with the tying run on third), why would you bring in a guy who can't leg out a double play if his life depended on it?

Michael said...

Chipper to first has been rumored for a while, given his limited range and Andy Marte's potential. If Marte produces in spring training next year, then Chipper might need to make the move, although he's probably opposed to it because the more he plays at third, the more likely he is to make the Hall of Fame.

I agree on LaRoche being an odd choice as a pinch-hitter there, although he's the most likely guy to hit a flyball. I guess Kelly Johnson, Pete Orr, Wilson Betemit, and Johnny Estrada were the other options? Orr would have been an interesting choice because he's a contact hitter who's hard to double up, but LaRoche made conventional sense.