Friday, June 15, 2007

I Have Come not to Bury Bob Wickman...

But to point out that the Braves scored a whopping five runs in three games in the Metrodome. The criticism of the team seems to focus mostly on the pitching, but a lot of ire needs to be directed at the offense. McCann finally went deep last night, but he's been slumping. Andruw and Francoeur haven't picked up much slack, either.

Oh, and one other issue: I hate criticizing Bobby Cox, who has forgotten more about baseball than I'll ever know, but why was Saltalamacchia still in the game in the 9th inning last night when Scott Thorman is a better defensive option at first base? Bobby is the guy who kept Rafael Belliard around for years for late-inning defensive purposes, so we know he isn't averse to defensive substitutions.

In all this gloom, it bears mentioning that Tim Hudson was fantastic last night. His movement and location were great to watch.

It also bears mentioning that all my hatred of the Twins came rushing back in the 9th inning. Cheating, monkeying-with-the-air-conditioning, can't-win-a-road-game bastards.

5 comments:

Grandy said...

As for Salty, I might alternately posit that he hasn't gotten to be in many (any!) situations like this as a fielder, so leaving him in isn't a bad idea. If he's going to be the regular first baseman at some point, he's not going to be a guy you sub for.

Yes, we're still above .500 and we can potentially capture a wild card spot (the division isn't out of the question, but hope fades quickly). We certainly aren't in a position where the outcome of the game is irrelevant. I don't hink it was an unreasonable move on Cox's part, though.

OTOH, maybe he looked up, mubled "when did Bream shave his mustache?", and then slipped back into a stupor; a sign of encroaching senility.

Joel said...

"As for Salty, I might alternately posit that he hasn't gotten to be in many (any!) situations like this as a fielder, so leaving him in isn't a bad idea. If he's going to be the regular first baseman at some point, he's not going to be a guy you sub for."

I can respect this, and certainly it will be more true as time goes on, but it was his first start at the position...in a close game on the road. Thorman should have been out there. There is no shame in bringing in a late-inning defensive replacement for the kid while he is learning a new position.

LD said...

I wouldn't mind burying Wickman, but we'd need a pretty big backhoe.

Seriously. There is no reason why Soriano isn't the closer. His stuff is electric. Wickman's numbers portend failures like last night on frequent occasions. HE's been lucky to not have a half-dozen or more blown saves.

I think the offense will perk up once Chipper gets back into the swing of things (he already looks OK) and we can truly move Francoeur down the order a few pegs.

And does it need to be said that it's still BS that the Braves play Boston (twice), Detroit, Minnesota and Cleveland (combined winning percentage right now, when you count Boston twice, .589) in interleague? There is no doubt in my mind that the unbalanced interleague schedule will come into play in the pennant/wild card race (besides the unbalanced intra-divisional schedule).

Winning percentage of interleague opponents (regular/counting rival twice) for divisional and WC rivals:

Division:
Atlanta: .589
NY Mets: .534
Philly: .494
Florida: .474
Wash.: .506

Other NL teams (in order of current record):
Padres: .526
Dodgers: .536
D-Backs: .495
Brewers: .469
Rockies: .483
Giants: .546
Cubs: .447
Cards: .505
Pirates: .500
Astros: .483
Reds: .550

Basically, if the Phillies beat the Braves in the Wild Card by a single game, here's what we can point to. To me, this is a joke. The season is long enough to have a balanced schedule.

Grandy said...

Agreed ld.

Steve S said...

Salty's the only backup catcher; taking him out leaves no safety net should McCann get injured. (credit to Dave O'Brien's AJC blog)