Tagged: braves

Death Of A Star

dying_star.jpg

           http://stardate.org/resources/gallery/gallery_detail.php?id=141

  • Red Sox DFA John Smoltz

Three years of glory as a closer.  Fourteen years as an anchor starter for Atlanta.  Part of one of the greatest pitching rotations ever, Glavine, Maddux, Smoltz.  A dream 1996 season, while the Summer Olympics were held in Atlanta, stealing the spotlight, Smoltz quietly went 24-8 with a ERA of 2.94, a WHIP of 1.00, and a league-leading 276 strikeouts, that year he won his only Cy Young award.  Eight All-Star Game selections.  A Silver Slugger award.  Altogether eighteen years of greatness as one of the best pitchers of the game, going strong through his age 40 season.  Then a year of the injury bug.  But still he tried to make a comeback.  He unceremoniously departed from the Braves in the 2009 offseason to start his comeback afresh, in a new league, with a new team, the Boston Red Sox.  John Smoltz struggled mightily with the Red Sox this year.  Nothing went right for him.  At age 42, Smoltz has had a great career.  But its time for him to accept that it’s over.  Five years from now, he will stand next to his rotation mates, Glavine, and Maddux, as the anchors of the best rotation of their era enter the HOF together.

Advertisements

The Mark Teixeira Trade Revisited

On July 30, 2007, the Texas Rangers traded star 1B Mark Teixeira, who had just turned down a 8-year $140 million contract extension, and LHP Ron Mahay to the Atlanta Braves, they received five players, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, SS Elvis Andrus, LHP Beau Jones, LHP Matt Harrison, and RHP Neftali Feliz.  The Braves flipped Teixeira a year later for RHP Stephen Marek, and 1B Casey Kotchman.

Atlanta gave up a lot, they were trading for 1 1/2 years of one of the top sluggers in the game, but was it too much?
In a season’s worth of at-bats for the Braves, Teixeira carried to team, hitting, .295, with 37 HR, 134 RBI, and 101 R.  No doubt star numbers.
Ron Mahay put up his usual strong middle relief numbers in his half season with the Braves.
The Teixeira flip has turned out to be a disaster, not only did Atlanta miss out on compensation draft picks, Kotchman, the main player in the deal has been horrible, .258 AVG, 5 HR, 50 RBI, 37 R.  This in 441 PA.  Marek, touted in a relief role, has a 7.5 BB/9 rate, and a 6.9 SO/9 rate.  You do the math.  The Tex flip was a complete disaster.
The Rangers took it to the bank.
Saltalamacchia, while not having lived up to his offensive potential, has provided solid defense, and works very well with the pitching staff.
Andrus, making his major league debut this year, has been very good defensively this year, with plus speed on the basepaths offensively.  He could use a little more work on his plate discipline, though.
Harrison has had an up-and-down season in Texas’ starting rotation.  This has been brought on by some bad luck, and that he doesn’t strike out many.  He should stay in the Rangers’ rotation for a long time.
Feliz is the best player in this trade by far.  Dominating in AAA, striking out many, walking few, rarely allowing a longball, Feliz will dominate: 2010.
Jones has been the only huge flop for the Rangers.  He’s young, but toiling at Class-A+, walking too many batters, and getting shelled in a relief role.
The Mark Teixeira trade can go down as one of the worst in Braves history.  They emptied the farm system, for a great player, who then failed to take them to their goal, the playoffs.  The Rangers took it to the bank, and are on the edge of a star-filled future.

Crawling Back

A few days ago, I considered writing about how David Ortiz’s career was over because of his hitting troubles.

ortiz1.jpg

Guess not.  With 3 homeruns in the past week, and pushing his BA above the Mendoza Line, Papi’s proving everyone wrong.  Slowly but steadily, Ortiz is crawling back.


  • Interleague Play Again

Some hitters and pitchers primed for big days today:

Alex Rodriguez- 10-16, 3 HR, 2.122 OPS against Livan Hernandez


Vladimir Guerrero-7-16, 3 HR, 1.533 OPS against Chad Gaudin


Paul Konerko-14-34, 2 HR, 1.105 OPS against Jeff Suppan


Ian Snell against Tigers


Vicente Padilla against Dodgers


Roy Halladay against Marlins


This Day In Baseball History


1907-The Yankees commit eleven errors and lose to the Tigers,14-6.


1939-In front of a record crowd of 23,864 fans at Ruppert Stadium, Lou Gehrig plays his last game as a Yankee during an exhibition game against the Kansas City Blues, their AA farm team. Playing only three innings and batting eighth, the’ Iron 71-Horse’ grounds out weakly to second base in his only at-bat.


1939-The Baseball Hall of Fame opens in Cooperstown, New York.


1940-In a trade which stuns the baseball world, the Dodgers obtain Ducky Medwick and pitcher Curt Davis from the Cardinals for outfielder Ernie Koy, pitcher Carl Doyle, two minor leaguers and $125,000; the deal signals the emergence of Brooklyn as a serious contender.


1941-The Braves break up the Waners’ brother act sending Lloyd to the Reds for pitcher Johnny Hutchings; ‘Big Poison’ Paul will stay in Boston.


1954-Braves’ hurler Jim Wilson pitches the season’s only no-hitter as he blanks the Phillies, 2-0.


1959-Despite giving up a hit in the sixth, Giant Mike McCormick was credited with a no-hitter when the game is rained out later in that same inning.


1967-In a 22-inning game which takes six hours, 38 minutes and ends at 2:43 in the morning, the Senators defeat the White Sox at R.F.K. Stadium, 6-5. The marathon causes the American League to adopt a curfew stating that no inning may begin after 1 00 a.m.


1970-Dock Ellis throws a 2-0 no-hitter against the Padres in San Diego during the first game of a twin bill. The former Pirates’ right-hander, later an adovocate of anti-drug programs claims he was under the influence of LSD while tossing the most memorable game in his career.


Dock Ellis died on December 19, 2008     R.I.P.


1971-Padre Clay Kirby one-hits the Giants; the no-hitter is spoiled by a Willie McCovey homer.


1981-Major League Baseball’s first strike which begins after the start of a season cancels thirteen regular-season games.


1983-Hall of Famers Charlie Gehringer and Hank Greenberg have their uniform numbers retired by Detroit in a ballpark ceremony. The digits 2 and 5, respectively, will join Al Kaline’s #6 (1980) as the only numbers retired by the Tigers.


1983-Before the game against the Giants, Dale Murphy visits with a six-year old in the stands who recently lost both arms and a leg due a power line accident and is asked by the girl’s nurse if he could hit a home run for the injured child. The outfielder modestly answers “Well, Okay”, and then proceeds to hit two homers in the 3-2 Braves victory at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.


1988-Mike Scott’s attempt for his second career no-hitter is spoiled with two outs in the ninth inning by a Braves infielder Ken Oberkfell’s line drive single down the right field line. The right-hander, who settles for a 5-0 one-hitter, tossed a no-no in 1986 which clinched the Nation League West division for the Astros.


1997-After 126 years of major league play, the first interleague games in history are played as the Giants defeat the Rangers, 4-3, at the Ballpark in Texas. Glenallen Hill becomes the National League’s first regular season designated hitter.



Glavine The Complainer, And A Marathon

  • When Will The Tom Glavine Drama End?

Tom Glavine is moaning that the Braves released him for purely financial reasons, and is demanding an apology.  Sure there was some financial motivation, minor league salary over 5 million dollars.  But who would you rather have, a 43-year old pitcher who’s averaging 82 mph on his fastball, or a 22-year old with a blazing fastball, and one of the top pitching prospects ever.  The Braves have tried to cling to the past for too long, it’s time for Atlanta to move on.

  • D-backs 9   Padres 6

A win is a win, or so it is said.  A comfortable 5 run, traditional 9 inning win; is different from a 18 inning marathon, where you can’t score until you’re opponent has to bring in an infielder to pitch.  Arizona better hope that their starter goes the distance tomorrow, or they’re in trouble.

  • MLB Draft Notes
  1. Stephen Strasburg will break the bonus slot system
  2. The Padres are fools if they take Donovan Tate at number 3
  3. Redrafts Aaron Crow, and Tanner Scheppers will be top 10 selections

This Day In Baseball History

1927-Tony Lazzeri becomes the first Yankee to hit three home runs in one game, including a ninth inning blast that ties the game. The four-bagger closes a five-run deficit, and New York goes on to beat the White Sox in the 11th inning at the Stadium, 12-11.

1961-Becoming the first major league team to accomplish the feat, Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Joe Adcock and Frank Thomas hit four consecutive home runs for the Braves in the seventh inning off Reds’ pitchers Jim Maloney (2) and Marshall Bridges (2) at Crosley Field. Despite the home run barrage which also included another by Mathews and one by Warren Spahn, Cincinnati still manages to win the game, 10-8.

1965-In the first major league free-agent draft of students and sandlot players, the A’s select Arizona star Rick Monday making him the first player ever to be drafted.

1968-Don Drysdale’s scoreless streak ends at a record 58 2/3 consecutive innings as Phillies’ Tony Taylor is driven in by Howie Bedell’s sacrifice fly in the fifth inning. It will be Bedell’s only RBI for the season.

1979-Future NFL stars, Dan Marino (4th) and John Elway (17th), are selected by the Kansas City Royals during the free-agent baseball draft.

1989-After the Pirates take a 10-0 lead in Philadelphia by sending 16 batters to the plate in the first inning, Pirates’ broadcaster Jim Rooker announces if the Bucs lose the game he’ll walk back to Pittsburgh. True to his word, the radio by-by-play man organizes a charity walk from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh after the season as a result of the Phillies comeback win over the Pirates, 15-11.

2001-Damion Easley becomes the ninth player in Tiger history to hit for the cycle, and the first Detroit player since 1993 when Travis Fryman accomplished the feat. The New York City native’s eighth inning right-field triple completes the deed in the 9-4 victory over the Brewers.

2007-In the third inning of a 10-3 loss to Boston at Chase Field, a surprised Alberto Callaspo is tagged by Julio Lugo as he dusts off his uniform taking a lead from second after Chris Snyder’s base hit. The Diamondbacks’ third baseman is the victim of the hidden ball trick as he doesn’t realize the Red Sox shortstop had never returned the ball to the pitcher.

The Dan Haren Trade Revisited

Before I get to the main subject of today’s post,  a few quick notes…

  • Congratulations To Red Sox Pitcher Jon Lester For Taking A Perfect Game Into The 7th

Jon Lester is a success story to many.  A miraculous recovery from cancer, pitching again, winning the last game of the 2007 World Series, and finally pitching a no-hitter in 2008.  Lester’s story runs almost parallel with another player’s: Dave Dravecky.  At the beginning off the 1988 season, Dravecky had a cancerous desmoid tumor removed from his pitching arm, along with half of the deltoid muscle, and freezing the humerus bone.  On August 10, 1989, Dravecky made a remarkable return to the majors, pitching 8 innings, and giving up three runs.  However tragedy struck in his next start, Dravecky’s humerus bone snapped while he was delivering a pitch, ending his career.  Let’s hope that Lester’s career won’t mirror Dravecky’s that closely!

  • Chad Tracy, Stephen Drew, Chris Young, and Eric Byrnes, You Should Be Ashamed

Diamondbacks pitcher Max Scherzer has a .667 OPS, horrible, right?  What else would you expect from a pitcher?  Four D-back starters, 1B Chad Tracy, SS Stephen Drew, CF Chris Young, and RF Eric Byrnes, have lower OPS’s than Scherzer!  The D-backs offense should be ashamed.

Now the main topic, the Dan Haren trade Revisited
On December 15, 2007, the Oakland A’s traded RHP Dan Haren to the D-backs for six players, LHP’s Dana Eveland, Brett Anderson, and Greg Smith, OF’s Carlos Gonzalez and Aaron Cunningham, and 1B Chris Carter.  
After the 2008 season, in which they failed to impress, Smith, and Gonzalez were used as part of a package for Matt Holliday.  They will be left out of the analysis
How has Haren done for the D-backs?  Through 44 starts, Haren has gone 20-12 with a 3.09 ERA, and 284 strikeouts, including a career high of 206 in 2008, and a 1.06 WHIP.  Ace numbers.
But the A’s certainly received an ace’s haul for Haren.
LHP Eveland was one of the A’s starters in 2008, and at the beginning of 2009, he was solid in ’08, but with the A’s glut of young pitchers, I don’t see Eveland in the team’s longterm plans.
LHP Anderson, just 21 years old, has had a rocky start to his major league career, his minor league numbers are fantastic however, and he should be dominating in 2010.
Cunningham will take over in LF for 2010, he projects as power-speed combo, perhaps 15 HR’s, and 20 steals, with a high .OBP.
Chris Carter will defensively end up a 1B, or a DH.  But his hitting ability cannot be questioned, Carter is a slugger who gets on base a ton.  He projects as a 25-30 homerun bat in the majors.
All in all, Haren could have been a young veteran anchor in an even younger rotation, but with the potential of Anderson, Cunningham, and Carter, the A’s made the right move.  The D-backs paid a king’ s ransom to get a second ace, Haren’s been great, but the D-backs offense hasn’t put them in the playoffs yet.
This Day In Baseball History

1938-In a game against the Red Sox, Indians’ pitcher Johnny Allen storms off the mound and doesn’t return when he is ordered by ump Bill McGowan to cut off his distracting dangling sweatshirt sleeve. The shirt ends up in the Hall of Fame but the Lenoir, North Carolina native doesn’t.

1982-Dodger first baseman Steve Garvey becomes only the fifth player in major league history to play in 1,000 consecutive games.

1983-Steve ‘Lefty’ Carlton of the Phillies strikes out Cardinals’ outfielder Lonnie Smith for his 3,522nd career strikeout to pass Nolan Ryan as the all-time strikeout leader.

1989-For the first time in major league history, the same game is played partly outdoors and partly indoors as the Blue Jays beat the Brewers, 4-2 in a contest which features the closing of the SkyDome’s retractable roof in the fifth inning due to inclement weather.

1998-Dave Burba becomes the first Cleveland pitcher to homer in 26 years in a 6-1 victory over the Reds at Cinergy Field. Ironically, the right-hander was scheduled to be the Opening Day pitcher for Cincinnati but was traded to Cleveland the day before for Sean Casey.

2006-With the Yankees 10-3 victory over the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, Joe Torre wins his 2,000th game as a manager. The former Brav
es (257), Mets (286) and Cardinals (351) skipper becomes the first person in big league history to have to reached the milestone and also have at least 2,000 hits as a player.

2007-With two outs in the bottomof the ninth inning at Network Associates Coliseum, Shannon Stewart lines a single to right field to break up Curt Schilling’s no-hitter. Thanks to a first inning home run by David Ortiz, the Red Sox beat the A’s,1-0.

The Indians Are Done

It’s still early in the season, but when your offense can’t score, when your marquee player is injured, and when this happens you’re sunk…

  • Indians demote Fausto Carmona to Rookie League to “Work on his mechanics and mental approach”

What has happened to the 2007 version of Fausto Carmona?  As a quick reminder, that year, Carmona went 19-8, with a 3.06 ERA, and pitched 215 innings, more than he’d ever pitched in a single season.  Carmona’s performance came with an abnormally low BABIP.  What could be so bad in his mechanics to justify sending him down to Rookie league.  Sending a player to Rookie League to work on something, not rehabilitation, but i.e. mechanics, does not motivate a player, to try harder, it makes him feel insulted, and work less.  Back to the main question, what was his mechanical problem?

img.11629_t.jpg

  • Grady Sizemore’s injury

Elbow inflammation+possible hamstring injury = bad.  Now he may have surgery and miss six weeks .  I’ts time for Cleveland to sell players like Mark Derosa, and Cliff Lee.

This Day In Baseball History


1920-The Cardinals play their last game at Robison Field (renamed Cardinal Field in 1917), their home field since 1893, beating the Cubs, 5-2. One of new owner Sam Breadon’s first decisions is to agree to a ten-year lease for $20,000 annually allowing his team to move six blocks to share Sportman’s Park with the Browns, and then using the money from selling the aging ballpark to finance Branch Rickey’s idea of establishing a farm system by investing in a club afflilation with a minor league team in Houston, Texas.


1925-White Sox Eddie Collins, at the age of 38, becomes the sixth major leaguer to collect 3000 hits when he doubles off Washington’s Walter Johnson.


1934-Myril Hoag becomes first Yankee in franchise history to collect six hits in one game, a major league record of six singles. The 26-year old outfielder’s 6-for-6 performance helps the Bronx Bombers rout Boston at Fenway Park, 15-3.


1939-Bert and George Bebble and Carl Stotz form the Little League organization in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The three youth teams in the league have uniforms thanks to a $35 donation.


1940-Warren Spahn, who will become the winningest left-hander in baseball history with 363 victories, signs a contract with the Boston Bees (Braves). Due to a clash with manager Casey Stengel and his enlistment in the U.S. Army, the 19-year old southpaw will have to wait six years before he gets his first major league win.


1941-The New York Giants become the first team to wear protective headgear as they don plastic helmets in a game against the Pirates.


1957-After an 86-minute delay, the first fog out in major league history occurs at Ebbets Field when the umpires call off the Dodgers’ game against the Cubs due to poor visibility.


1958-Osvaldo ‘Ossie’ Virgil becomes the first black player to appear in a Tigers’ uniform. The versatile Dominican will eventually play every position but pitcher during his nine major league career.


1965-Tom Tresh hits three consecutive home runs as the Yankees blast the White Sox, 12-0.


1976-After a storm drops seven inches of rain causing floods in Houston, twenty fans canoe to the Astrodome to get rain checks for the canceled game at the enclosed stadium.


1986-Before the game against the Braves, Padres’ skipper Steve Boros tries to give ump Charlie Williams a videotape of a disputed play from the previous night and is ejected prior to the first pitch of the game.


1992-Eddie Murray drives in two runs against the Pirates to surpass Mickey Mantle (1,509) as the all-time switch-hitter RBI leader.


2002-The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission agrees to drop its lawsuit against the Twins and Major League Baseball. The deal settles a lawsuit blocking baseball’s contraction plan and removes the Twins from consideration for elimination for the 2003 season.


2006-When Eric Gagne, who will earn his first save in over a year, throws his first pitch to his receiver Russell Martin, the pair become the first All-French-Canadian battery in major league history. The pitcher and catcher both attended Polyvalente Edouard Montpetit High School, one of the few schools in Montreal which had a baseball program.


2007-At Petco Park, Trevor Hoffman becomes the first reliever to save 500 games. It takes the all-time saves leader 10 ninth inning pitches, including an 87 mph fastball thrown past Russell Martin for the final out, to reach the milestone in the Padres 5-3 victory over the Dodgers.


One Crazy Day

One no two no three big things happened in baseball yesterday…

  • The Pirates Trade Nate McLouth to the Braves

I will start off by saying that I am of the opinion that Nate McLouth is overrated.  He creates runs with his power bat, (which I am skeptical of), and his base running intuitiveness, but gives up runs with his poor defense.  However, he is still an excellent partial fix to the Braves’ outfield problems.  Atlanta was able to give up some good, but expendable prospects, to get McLouth.  The Pirates were able to get three players:

1. Charlie Morton, who’s been excellent at Triple-A the past couple of years, he is a strikeout pitcher with solid control.  He projects as a 3rd/4th starter.
2. Jeff Locke, currently playing at Class-A+, is another strikeout pitcher, however he’s seen a spike in his walk total this year, and will need to keep it under control to make it to the majors.
3. Gorkys Hernandez, currently playing at Double-A, is a fleet center fielder with no power whatsoever.  His main asset his his speed, he is a strong defender in center with a strong arm.  He must learn plate discipline, and that’s a problem.
All in all, the Pirates got a good deal, but they were building for the future with McLouth, if the wanted to make room for top prospect Andrew McCutchen, then all they had to do was move McLouth to a corner, and trade Brandon Moss, for a pitcher.  The Pirates new motto: Trade, Trade, Trade away
  • Pirates Promote Andrew McCutchen

Well, the Pirates did promote Andrew McCutchen, to replace McLouth.  What else were they supposed to do.

  • Sammy Sosa Retires

Sammy Sosa you helped save baseball in 1998.  PED’s or not, you belong in the Hall Of Fame.

  • White Sox Promote Gordon Beckham

Welcome to the first player from the 2008 draft to reach the majors.  Beckham’s here to stay, mark my word.

And in random news that doesn’t deserve a header, Tony LaRussa is suing Twitter.
This Day In Baseball History

1890-Submariner Tim Keefe of the New York Giants franchise of the Players League defeats the Boston Reds, 9-4, to record his 300th win. ‘Sir Timothy’, who won 19 straight decisions in 1888, will finish his 14-year career with 342 victories.

1937-Gus Suhr establishes a new National League record as he plays in his 822th consecutive game. The Pirates first baseman’s streak ends the following day when he attends his mother’s funeral in San Francisco.

1951-Pirates’ outfielder Gus Bell hits for cycle in Philadelphia as the Bucs beat the Phillies, 12-4. His son, Buddy, and his grandson, David, will also play in the major leagues.

1964-Dodgers’ southpaw Sandy Koufax throws his third career no-hitter blanking the Phillies 3-0.

1967-Cardinals outfielder Curt Flood’s errorless streak of 227 games and 568 chances ends when he drops a fly ball in a game against the Cubs at Busch Stadium.

1968-Dodger right hander Don Drysdale pitches his sixth consecutive shutout defeating the Pirates, 5-0.

1976-In an 11-0 victory at Dodger Stadium, Mets right fielder Dave Kingman hits three home runs. Sky King’s two-run dinger and two three-run round trippers drives in eight runs, a new club record.

1986-In a 12-3 rout of the Braves, Pirates rookie outfielder Barry Bonds hits his first major league home run off Craig McMurtry. Bobby’s son will become the All-time career home run leader hitting 762 during his 22-year career playing for Pittsburgh and the San Francisco Giants.

2000-Esteban Yan becomes the 14th player in baseball history to hit the first pitch thrown to him in a professional game for home run. In addition to his historic homer, the Devil Rays hurler picks up the victory in the inter-league contest against the Mets.

2004-At Turner Field, Julio Franco became the oldest player in baseball history to hit a grand slam. The 45-year old Dominican first baseman’s first inning base-loaded home run proves to be the difference as the Braves beat the Phillies, 8-4.