Monday, August 08, 2005

You gave up a game-winning homer...

to this f***ing guy?

I was all ready to throw laurels on Jorge Sosa, Jeff Francoeur, and Tim Hudson, whose decision to bring out the splitfinger pitch was likened by my wife to Derek Zoolander busting out Magnum, and then one inning of madness by Chris Reitsma ruined what would have been a 4-2 road trip, a victorious weekend in St. Louis (the Braves will beat the Cardinals as currently constituted in the playoffs, but there's no way that they'll be this unhealthy in the postseason,) and a 6.5 game lead in the division heading into the 12-game homestand against the NL West that looks for all the world like it will be the Braves' chance to put the East away. (That, for the record, is the longest sentence ever.) Now, we have to worry that if the Braves do make it to an NLCS against St. Louis (and my suspicion is that the Astros are going to vanquish both the Braves and Cardinals,) they'll do so with a set-up man who has a double-digit career ERA at Busch Stadium and a closer whose last inning there involved allowing four runs in 1/3rd of an inning against Abraham Nunez, So Taguchi, Hector Luna, Scott Seabol, and David Eckstein. You never want to read too much into one game or one appearance, but Farnsworth and Reitsma are the keys to the team now that the starting pitching and lineup are settled and they did not have a good day Sunday.

Other thoughts from the weekend:

1. A discouraging thought about a potential match-up with the Cards: the Braves didn't hit either Mark Mulder or Chris Carpenter this weekend. On the other hand, the Cards didn't hit Tim Hudson and one suspects that John Smoltz will pitch better in October, given his history in the post-season.

2. An encouraging thought: Jeff Francoeur is the new Vlad Guerrero. Seriously, are pitchers going to start throwing him nothing but balls to see if he will get himself out? Is he eventually going to be forced to take a walk?

3. In the realm of "don't read too much into one game," here's an interesting parallel: in April, I was in Charlottesville for my law school reunion when the Braves were hosting the Cardinals. On Sunday, I was driving back listening to the rubber game of the series and Dan Kolb had his finest moment as a Brave, retiring the heart of the Cards' order to protect a 2-1 lead. This past weekend, during the Braves-Cards return leg, the wife and I were in Charlottesville for a wedding party, driving home on Sunday listening to the rubber game and Chris Reitsma blew a 3-1 lead in the 9th. Conclusion: Kolb is better than Reitsma?

4. Speaking of Senor Doodie, the wife and I went to BW3 in C'ville when we got to town on Friday night and as the Braves' pen was imploding in the 8th inning, she looked at the giant TV and then excitedly told me to avert my eyes because "IT'S DAN DOODIE!!! AAAAAHH!!!" I spun it positively, saying that an 8-1 game is exactly the sort of situation that's appropriate for Dan. (BW3, by the way, has terrific spicy BBQ sauce and the one in C'ville has great local color. On Friday night, the wife and I were treated to a local proclaiming that he could drive drunk all the way home to Waynesboro and a middle-aged floozy in a turquoise get-up with a bad blonde dye job breaking down because she forgot to pay her bill and was flagged down in the parking lot by a waiter. You gotta love rural Virginia.)


Steve said...

and my suspicion is that the Astros are going to vanquish both the Braves and Cardinals

I'd give us a shot vs. the Braves, but we (the Astros) have been like lambs to slaughter vs. the Cards this season.

With the Nationals and Marlins nipping at our heels, Houston first must worry about getting to the postseason.

peacedog said...

I wouldn't worry about the Nats.

I'm a Realist said...

I thought Bobby should have left Farnsworth in to face Edmonds. He made a pretty decent pitch to Pujols, but Pujols is a terrific hitter who pounded the outside fastball. Having to use Reitsma in the eighth was not the ideal situation (especially since his spot in the batting order came up).

Michael said...

Steve, you were also lambs to the slaughter against the Braves earlier in the season, but the 'Stros are playing much better since then. I agree that the Marlins are a threat if their starters get hot and if Houston's starters cool off a little, but right now, it seems likely that the Braves and Astros will lock horns again. I'm probably selling the Braves' chances short a little, since Smoltz, Hudson, and Thomson would be a far from shabby first three (certainly as compared to the schlock the Braves sent to the hill last year against Houston.)

I thought the decision to remove Farnsworth was a good one, given his record at Busch and the fact that Edmonds is a lefty. Farnsworth should have stayed off-speed, given Pujols' ability to hit fastballs, but you're right that it wasn't a terrible pitch.

Steve said...

Certainly we're playing better than when we faced the Braves early in the season, but the Cards swept us once again only about three weeks ago. I think they've beaten us nine of 11.

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