Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What are these guys doing?

Here's a look a few guys from elsewhere in the bigs:

Andruw Jones- on a 2 week skid, but still not too bad. He's hitting .257 (his career average is 259), he's got 7 home runs in 109 at bats. He was hitting over .300 the last day of May. That's more production than the Braves have gotten out of centerfield, and he's only played in 32 of the Rangers' 62 games.

Yo'han "don't call me Carlos" Santana is 4-2 in his last six starts even though he's given up 9 home runs, and opponents are hitting over .300 against him in that stretch. Jiar pitches his ass off every 5th night and has a 5-4 record to show for it.

Remember Mark DeRosa? Who, BTW still lives in Atlanta. He's hitting .279 with 12 HR for a terrible team in Cleveland. Since finally getting a chance to play everyday-ish in 2005 (more than 500 at bats a year- compared with 200 in Atl), DeRo is average about .290. He hit 21 HR last year and should shatter his career high this year. He's an awesome player and a good one to follow.

Albert Pujols has 22 home runs, and is slugging .689!!! I get sick of hearing about Pujols, but that's ridiculous.

There are 3 guys with 22 homeruns 62 games into a "post-steroid era" season. Those guys are on pace to hit 58 jacks. Seems a bit odd if 61 was untouchable prior to the steroid era. All 3 guys are in the National League (Adrian Gonzalez, Raul Ibanez, and Pujols). I thought the American League was where the hitters played?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Get 'em while they're still HOT

Hot Donuts NOW!

It can't be. The economy may soon be claiming it's sweetest victim yet.


Week'n' Review

Not much good to report from the weekend series in Baltimore. But it could've been worse. We could've had Santana on the mound instead of Lowe. Santana got rocked for 9 earned runs in 3 innings against the Yanks yesterday... ouch. Lowe had a tough outing, and once again the Braves can't hit (especially against rookie pitchers!). It's time to right this ship!

In other news:

Visited Gwinnett for a AAA game for the first time Friday night. It was a great game, with several homeruns and 5-4 Braves win! If you haven't been, go check it out. The smaller park (I think it seats about 7,500) provides an awesome atmosphere for a ballgame. Pretty affordable ($12 seats).

Luke Hochevar pitched an awesome game for Kansas City, and deserves mentioning. Friday night he threw a complete game on just 80 pitches!!! He allowed 1 run on 3 hits.

When we have to find a replacement for #6... I vote on taking a good look at Trey Hillman, manager for the Royals now. He's done a pretty decent job with the talentless Royals. He does a weekly interview on XM HomePlate's Baseball This Morning and is really an impressive guy.

Kudo's to #6 for benching Escobar yesterday after an abysmal 2 innings of defense.

Finally, if you have not seen The Hangover, which opened last weekend, don't bother. Unless you actually enjoy sitting in a crowded theater for 2 hours laughing so hard it makes your abs hurt. It's comparable to Superbad, but I think much funnier (and I thought Superbad was hilarious).

Real Men of Guinness

In a play on a popular mini-series over at Olive the News (not to be confused with that of some beer company), ALI salutes Real Men of Guinness.

We salute you Mr. chewer of beverages; you aren't afraid to forego a hearty steak dinner for the chance to fill up on just 16oz of your favorite beverage. Nor do you bat an eye at that creamy ring of frothy goodness left on your lips from that last time you went down on that mug o' beer.

You don't simply play around with the occasional heavy glass at St. Patty's. No, you want it all and you want it now.

And because you aren't afraid to moisten your bowl of Cocoa Puffs with this Irish delicacy, we salute you: Real Men of Guinness.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Interesting Approach

With their first 3 selections of the 2008 draft, the Braves selected 3 high school pitchers, including Robert Stovall who dominated the state of Alabama and my brother-in-law's high school team. If it means anything, Bro-in-law, then 18 said he was flat out nasty. His online video shows an incredible curveball for a highschooler, but only an 88-89 fastball.

But his year, the Braves did not select a high school until the 298th pick (their 9th overall). This probably would not have been the case, if the Giants had not selected Zach Wheeler 6th, right before the Braves' first pick (7th) in the first round. Wheeler is a 6'3" RHP out of East Paulding High School (Dallas, GA).

Instead, the Braves selected Michael Minor, out of VANDY and team USA. Pretty good looking lefty, but what the hell do I know?

Check him out here: http://atlanta.braves.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?topic_id=4961152&content_id=4737439

Monday, June 08, 2009

Yesterday's game

For the most part, the Braves had a tough weekend. But the weekend wrap-up was awesome.

I won't waste time with the Hanson stuff, read it at Braves.com. I will say for the most part, he looked pretty good, but the long-ball got him when he got it up.

The big story, did you see Chipper's HRs? Both of them were on swings that should not have produced homeruns. The first was a fastball up an in. I wouldn't even call it a mistake pitch, it wasn't in his "wheelhouse" (to use a baseball term). If you watch the video, his arms are pulled in, not extended, as he tries to put the barrel on the ball. Somehow he muscled it out.

The second homerun, should have been a single to right-center. The pitch was low and away, again a pitcher's pitch, not hitter's. Over the last 15 years, we've seen Chipper one-hand that ball into right over and over and over again. This time, he took a similar swing, basically one-handed, with his front foot way up in the box, but he was a little early and the ball jumped off his bat and over the left-center wall.

I'm not trying to take anything away from Chipper, these weren't accidents. This was awesome hitting by one of the best hitters in the game, AT 36!!! I'd probably have a bit of a man-crush on him if it wasn't for the whole talking out of the side of his mouth thing.

Other news from the game. McClouth got his first RBI with a game-tying double. Escobar pushed him across for the winning run. And I just heard (from a friend in attendance) that Gonzo hit 100mph!!!

Friday, June 05, 2009

New to the 3 hole

Yesterday's game was rained out but the line-up was announced, and Chipper wasn't too chipper (ooooh, that was terrible).

"I prefer to hit third," Jones said. "But [manager] Bobby [Cox] wants to do what's best for the club, and if he thinks Nate might get a couple of hits hitting in the third hole because I'm hitting behind him, then so be it."

Looks like McClouth will be hitting in the 3 hole at least for a while. And since he is the team's leading HR and RBI guy, why not?

My thought is Yunel who's hitting at the top of line-up has gotten more RISP chances than Chipper who's been hitting 3rd (in the same # of games). Also, you're moving your best hitter out of his most familiar spot.

I'm not sure how Yunel's #'s in the lead-off spot compare to when he's in the 2 hole, but I would have given some thought to this line-up:

G. Anderson
Johnson (while he's still hot)

Only problem is that stacks 3 lefties in the middle (with the switch-hitting Chipper separating the lefty McClouth), but against RHPs, you've got 5 straight lefties! You could switch Johnson and Francouer to avoid 7th or 8th inning lefty reliever against your 4,5,6 guys.

I think I like him in the 2 hole, and decide between Escobar and Johnson for a lead-off man. The other can hit in the 6 or 7 hole. I sure do like having a Francouer, Prado or Kotchman in the 8 hole over Schafer. I think our lineup just got a LOT better!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

I like this move

Braves acquired CF Nate McClouth from the Pirates yesterday for RP Charlie Morton, LP Jeff Locke, and OF Gorkys Hernandez.

Last year when the Braves lost a 3 games series to the Pirates and were already looking for outfield help, I was hoping to land either McClouth or Nady (both from the Bucs and both had just eaten our lunch). Finally we've got some help.

When McClouth takes the field tonight, he'll be leading the Braves in HR, RBI, and Stolen Bases! (and noone is really close in any of those categories). Not to mention we've got a gold glove centerfielder again (although fielding was certainly a part of the game that Schafer did well).
The sad part... Schafer was our 5 tool player that was going to be the future. In 50 games has he ruined his chances with the big club? I'd hate to see that all is lost on him. He was supposed to be optioned to Triple A to regain is swing (which was great during Spring Training), but this is no temporary move.
While I'm thrilled to have a great centerfielder locked up for this year and the next 3, I hope Schafer gets a chance. I think we'll see him again before exploring trade options, but probably at LF or... dare I say it... right.

It's what you wanted.

Yesterday the Braves released Tom Glavine. I was shocked, and I'm sure most of Atlanta was. But should we have been?

We all knew that there was going to be a log jam in the rotation; we all are dying to see Tommy Hanson pitch; and we all knew that Lowe, Vazquez, JJ, and Kawakami (perhaps only because he has a $23 pricetag) weren't going anywhere. Let's not forget that Tim Hudson should be back towards the last 1/3 of the season.

So it was Tommy versus Tommy fighting for one spot. One Tommy, who happens to be half the age of the other, has posted a 1.49 ERA in his 11 games at Triple A, with 90 strikeouts in 66 innings! Not to mention he's 6'6" and red headed! The other Tommy, has struggled to rehab, and though he went 6 scoreless at SINGLE A (Rome) in his last rehab start, Braves management has dismissed rumors that he got the gun as high as 86! We all know Glavine doesn't throw hard, but not getting it to 86 will get you rocked in the big leagues.

All indications were that Glavine was going to come to the bigs and get rocked. I hope I'm wrong, and he finds success (with anyone except the Mets) to finish his career. But before you get pissed at Braves management, remember that you're probably the same fan that is sick of seeing washed up players produce losses. Set you emotions aside and realize this move makes sense.

Like I said, I was shocked at first and thought management had botched it again. But look at it this way. The Braves gave Tommy $1 Million to rehab and try to make the club, with the promise of more $ if he was successful. Bottom line, Glavine couldn't make the club. I'm not sure that anyone can logically reach the conclusion that the Braves are better with Glavine.

I hate the result, but only because I hate to see Tommy go. Emotion aside, this is a good move.

Super excited about McClouth... more on that to come!

Megan Brittain

For the few readers that do not also spend their mornings @ bloggingpantsless, I'll share this story. I did not personally know Megan, but got attached to her fight by following the story @ BP. My prayers are with her family and God bless that little girl.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Squandering Opportunities

If you watched last night's game, you're likely wondering what the hell this title means. The Braves won.

That they did. And I certainly wouldn't say they squandered opportunities in reaching that result.

But, yesterday afternoon a buddy called with tickets to the game. Of course, I couldn't go. I had the opportunity, and I missed one hell of a game thanks to some stupid banquet with a bunch of high school umpires that I barely know (albeit @ Texas Roadhouse).

I would have much rather seen Francouer snap out of 0 for 2 years slump in the clutch with a game tying blast in the bottom of the ninth, and Chipper follow it up with one of his patented punch-it-out-there singles to score Escobar (after a steal) in the 12th. PAUSE... I've got to say more about that:

Escobar stole a base in the bottom of the 12th to put himself in position to score the winning run! First off, the Braves don't steal as I've addressed before. More importantly, as I've also ranted, Escobar is a terrible base-runner! This is the type of action I want to see more of: stolen bases, sac bunts (Francouer got his first ever), moving the runner, and clutch singles.

So last night it wasn't the men in uniform squandering opportunities (for a change), it was me crammed in tiny booth with 3 other large men (surround by 100 others) choking on stale peanuts when I could have been watching an awesome game!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Me and K-Dawg Blinded by the clouds


There is a ton of good stuff to write about this week, unfortunately none of it has to do with Braves, or Dawgs baseball. The Braves had a terrible west coast swing last week and the Dawgs looked like they didn't even belong in the tourney. Now to the good:

The Dawgs women's softball team posted a kick ass performance in the softball world series, forcing an if game against Washington before finally falling. Those girls were awesome to watch, and they can flat rake.

I spent the better part of last week riding motorcycles in the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. Aside from all the sherbert orange T-shirt, flags and hats, it was an awesome trip! It rained nearly every day at some point, but that didn't slow us down. What did slow us down was riding atop the Cherahola Skyway (over a mile above sea level) and literally driving into the clouds (see image above). But, Saturday's weather was amazing, so instead of heading home that morning, I rode until 6pm then packed up for the ride back. It really was a great trip!

Finally, Friday I learned that I passed the Georgia Bar Exam! I'm finally done.