Preview: On The Reservation
On The Reservation
Chief Knockahoma where are you?
The top five teams in scoring are also the top five in on base percentage. Here is my "solution".
Leadoff man Wilson Betemit. The best all around player we have right now. Get him on the field.
Giles in the second spot. He will come around. He is a .300 hitter and he knows it.
Estrada in the three hole. He can make contact and he hits the ball to all fields. He also gets on base a decent amount.
Andruw cleans up. He's hot and he needs to bat with more than Laroche on base.
Laroche five. Still showing good power.
Langerhans Six. He has good at bats and hits better with men on.
Marte Seven. Linedrives is all he hits. Let's give him more chances.
K. Johnson Eight. Every at bat is decent, as long as he doesn't swing at the first pitch.
Pete Orr DH this week. Pop and speed in the nine spot acting as a second leadoff man.
If this lineup happens I vow to never drink beer again. (until July anyway)
Doom and Gloom
It's taken me about six hours to go through the stages of grief. I have come full circle now and I don't believe it's all doom and gloom. The bullpen is horrible we all know it. Each night a new guy steps up to be the goat. Did anyone follow the Indians bullpen last year? Their bullpen singlehandedly put them out of contention the first two months. Our guys wish they could be that bad. My point is the Bravos are still above water with arguably the worst pen in the majors. Reitsma is set and I'm not going to say it but you know who has had a couple of good outings. Foster can still throw strikes. I feel like the roles may be forming.
I meant to predict the callup of Jorge Vasquez earlier, his numbers in AA(1-0, 1.17, 34k, 6bb, 30.2ip). Not to shabby. Easily the best in our farm system. Hopefully the numbers translate into outs in the big leagues.
The Pena move doesn't surprise me. No arm and no bat. I had high hopes from his low K's in Richmond but he's not ready.
What scares me this week is who is going to be the DH? My gut tells me it will be Franco even against all the righties. Bobby seems to have selective loyalty. Furcal? Why still? Jordan? But Betemit who has performed offensively and defensively, it's the bench for you. I hope it will be McCann but probably not because of the whole backup catcher ideal, but who knows.
And I don't want to hear any trade talk of Laroche, Estrada, Andruw. Laroche saves 3-4 hits a game digging out throws from Furcal, and his bat has power. If he continues to hit to all fields he will be hard to get out. Estrada is our best hitter day in and day out. Why? He doesn't change his approach ever. Notice how many times he gets on base in the ninth when we need it. Defensively he has improved enormously over last year. He's throwing out everyone.
If we make a trade it will be as a buyer. JS will work some "magic" if we need to. He will not give up 14 straight without a fight.
My "dream" lineup this week. K. Johnson, Betemit, Estrada, Laroche, Andruw, Giles, Marte, Langerhans, McCann.
Smoltz put it on his shoulders and waited for the offense to come through. Laroche continues to hit well. Andruw may be coming alive. He can carry us like I have said before.
The most frustrating player is not K. Johnson. Furcal gets my vote. Another stellar 0'fer. He did get the walk of course. Move him down to 8th, if you must play him Bobby! Play Betemit! Come on!
Marte continues to make great contact. His hits will come.
What can you say about McCann? He's not going anywhere.
Great game for the kids. Furcal get it together.
Furcal must sit
I have said it in other posts. Many times. Furcal's numbers .223 avg./.277 obp/ .339 slug. If you look around the league no other teams employs a more inept leadoff man than the Braves. To start the game Raffy looked at three straight strikes. His second at bat a weak grounder for a double play which killed a great inning. I think he only swung the bat 3 times in all five of his at bats. Is the shoulder more of a problem than we think? Did his throws to first seem less rocket like than usual?
Giles looked better. Only in the ninth did he rollover a pitch.
Betemit had good at bats. I like him as a three spot hitter because he possesses all the tools. Good eye(this year), power, speed and a switch hitter. I would really like him in the two spot. Have Giles lead off. Estrada in the three.
Laroche seems to get better each at bat. When he makes contact he is hitting the ball hard. The hit pattern is very balanced to all fields. This is a great sign.
Andruw? Who knows from day to day. I hope he hits a hot streak soon. He can carry us if it happens.
Langerhans. Did not have a great game but he deserves a spot. His bat has come alive lately and he has learned from Estrada that a bloop hit is as good as a line drive. His defense is impressive. Good arm, and he is in position to make plays.
Jordan and K. Johnson need to have a straight platoon. Righty and lefty matchup. BJ did have a good at bat in the second and drove the ball through the right side. He can do that at will it seems.
Brian McCann was impressive, most impressive. Power, contact and patient at bats. More suprising was the opposite field hit in the ninth. He meant to do it. I'll forgive the base running. Marte hit a rocket double that happen to find Chavez.
Kyle Davies gave us a chance. He had his first mediocre game. Get ready for your next start.
Not a bad game overall. Colon for some reason gets called to pitch in tie games. And blows it every time. Bobby seems to be in a daze. Let Leo make the switches. Kolb? Was that you? I still have no hope for him. The A's did him a favor by swinging the bat.
I will feed my torture fetish again today. Fox 3:05 which means 3:30 start. I will be tuning in the radio at work. At least I don't have to see.
Right where we want em
Two and half out, Nationals have won 100 straight, Phillies too. Rookies all over the place, no bullpen, no starters, can't hit. Sounds like the makings of a great story. Now if Furcal will get on base or get off the field. He has tried to drag bunt, can't. He has tried to slap it past third, can't. He trys to hit home runs, and of course cannot. It is time for a change. Make it now. Trade him for bullpen help.
We start getting our leadoff man on base, we start winning.
Maybe it's just me....
But why is Betemit on the bench? Our best hitter over the past week by a long shot. I don't mind seeing Marte play but Wilson deserves the playing time over any of the other infielders. Furcal especially. At the very least let's have a rotation.
Hudson seems to be alright. Just regular cramps.
Kolb continues to choke. I thought he had it together with Figgins. Grand thoughts entered my mind and splat, a walk. That is the last ounce of hope I will spend on Kolb. He's nothing but a 400 ton anchor on the Titanic. Useless.
Kelly Johnson continues to hit third for some reason. Oh yeah, that's where he was hitting in Richmond. It's a little different with the pressure of winning a 14th straight division, replacing a possible Hall of Famer, and seeing big league pitching for the first time. Move him down to the seven spot. Laroche can hit third and Betemit fourth. Why not? It's hard to get less than 4 hits.
Off day tomorrow. Maybe we can pick up ground in the division. We can't lose at least.
I don't think McCann is being showcased. I would guess he will be a backup catcher. Perez will be re-DL'd. Estrada gets a few days off to recover.
Some bright spots
Laroche is on pace for 20-25 HR's, 100+ RBI. He seems to be a little better with runners on this year. Betemit of course with his .339 avg and .446 obp. Also in 62 at bats WB has 38 total bases. Compare to Jordan's 169 at bats and 50 total bases. Langerhans is putting it together. Already better than BJ with 60 less at bats. Reitsma also seems very confident out there. Maybe I just got used to Kolb sweating through is uniform after the first walk. Did anyone else notice that?
A big problem is the fact Jordan is getting to much playing time and he hits third, with a slugging pct. of .296? Langerhans is at .490 and is as good as any corner outfielder. Furcal if he indeed does get to start needs to hit low. Maybe even the 8 spot. If he gets on, he can steal and then bunt him to third with the pitcher. Giles does not need to sit. Let's put him in the leadoff spot. He can concentrate on getting on and hopefully stop thinking about homeruns. Remember his OBP is .340, 80 points higher than Furcal.
Giles, Betemit, Laroche, A. Jones, Marte, Langerhans, K. Johnson, Catcher.
Betemit does not need to sit. I think the light bulb finally went off for him, let's not turn it off.