The Atlanta Braves have had some woes in the offensive category over the past 11 games that have many Braves fans feeling a little antsy. Yes, a good formula for making the playoffs is not losing 6 of the last 11. What is worse is that the team we are trying to catch has been 8-3 over the same stretch and the Arizona Diamondbacks are nipping at the Braves in the Wild Card race by winning 8 of their last 11. So the recent outcry of Braves fans is certainly understandable and my goal in this post is help ease the pain and look at the bright side of things.
The Braves are only averaging just over 3 runs a game in the last 10 games; that’s not enough to win you many ball games. What I have seen though is that it’s not due to a lack of hits and opportunities. In the last 4 games alone the braves are 2-2 but are averaging 11 hits a game and only 3 runs a game. If the Braves can continue to hit like they are now the runs will eventually show up.
This team is struggling, yes. This team is not playing up to their ability level, yes I agree. My only argument is that when any team loses their 3 and 4 hitters at the same time they are going to struggle. This is simply a time where the team is going to have to grind it out and do their best to put some wins on the board. All teams go through times like this in the course of a 162-game season. The Braves are about to go on a tear and they are going to get hot at the right time. I truly believe it. We just have to hope the other teams around us struggle a bit as well.
Braves fans, don’t sweat too much. We may be feeling the heat in more ways than just the insanely hot weather. This is not a team who is going to roll over and die. Look for this team to be fighting until the very last game….where we win the World Series.
Tags: Injuries, playoffs
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To start things off, no, you didn’t miss some big, revolutionary news that the Braves got rid of Chipper Jones. When I was sitting down to write our Christmas wish list the other day, I talked to Colin on the phone for awhile about what he wanted to see on the list and he mentioned Chipper Jones and….well, I just forgot to put it on the list. So when I woke up at 3 in the morning today and realized that, I figured I would write about today. So, no, Chipper hasn’t gone anywhere, we just want to see pre-2009 Chipper again!
So heading into the 2009 season, we made a wish that Chipper Jones would stay healthy for once and be a constant contributer to the team after playing in less than 135 games in the previous 4 seasons (with the lows being 109 and 110 games in 2005 and 2006). Well Chipper played in more games in 2009 than he had since 2003 at 143. But that’s about where the benefit to the team stopped in comparison to 2008.
Now, granted, comparing to 2008 may not be the most fair thing to do seen as how Chipper had a career year, batting .364 with a .470 OBP and slugging .574. There was a decline in power with him only hitting 22 home runs, but he continued to prove that he is one of the best situational hitters in the game.
The 2009 season however provided few of the highlights that we saw in 2008 however. By the time the season ended, Chipper, a career .307 hitter, managed only a .264 batting average and hit less than 20 home runs for the first time in his 15 full seasons in the big leagues. On top of that, he had his fewest number of RBI in his career as well, with 71. We have always said that we would rather see a semi-healthy Chipper Jones playing for the Braves than many other players, but one more wish for this season is to see a little bit of a rebound of his offensive potential.
Chipper’s under contract through 2012, but I’m still not convinced that he will continue to play after this season if he has another sub-par (by his standards) year. He’s a key piece in our Christmas wish to give Bobby one more shot at the playoffs and we want to see Chipper Jones performance to bounce back a little closer to his career average numbers. At the age of 38 just after the 2010 season begins, there aren’t many more seasons left for Chipper, so this is the year to give it one more run for Chipper and Bobby.
Tags: Chipper Jones, Chipper Jones 2010 Performance, Health, Injuries
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The Braves have struggled in the past couple of seasons keeping people healthy and playing and the 2009 season looks like it’s not getting off to much different of a start. There has been a good bit of injury-related news for the Braves in the last 24 hours so we figured a quick update was in store:
Jorge Campillo is the first of the Braves pitching staff (a pitching staff that is all too familiar with the DL, mind you) to make a trip to the disabled list since the start of the season. After yesterday’s game against the Marlins, it was announced that Campillo will be placed on the DL with right shoulder fatigue. He has complained of having a “dead arm” since pitching for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic and playing winter ball. The outlook for Campillo is a little vague right now and he will be evaluated over the next couple of days. James Parr will be called up from Gwinnett to replace Campillo on the roster.
Yunel Escobar came up lame in yesterday’s game while running out a grounder to first base. The injury however, a strained abdominal muscle, happened while he was warming up in the on-deck circle. Braves fans are accustomed to seeing Yunel jumping up and down in the on-deck circle before heading to the plate, which apparently was the cause of the injury. I’m sure he won’t stop doing it however. The Braves think it may be three or four games before Yunel is back in the lineup, despite Escobar’s confidence that he could play tonight against Pittsburgh.
Chipper Jones continues to battle the bruised left thumb that has kept him out of the last two games. He reaggravated the injury while getting jammed against the Marlins on Tuesday. He is expected to miss tonight’s game against the Pirates, but could be back in the lineup Saturday. The thumb only bothers him on his left-handed swing. His play on Sunday will be dependent on how he feels as the Pirates will be sending right-handed Zach Duke to the mound.
David Ross was activated from the disabled list before yesterday’s game and took the start in place of Brian McCann behind the plate. Don’t worry though, Braves fans, it was just a regularly scheduled off-day for Mac. Clint Sammons was optioned to AAA to make room on the roster for Ross. He had been on the DL since straining a groin muscle in a March 31st preseason game. Ross gives the Braves a little bit of power in the backup catcher role and he should be a good fill-in for the days when McCann needs to be rested.
So the left side of the infield is a little battered and bruised aready, with Chipper and Yunel both missing time, but the Braves aren’t expected to call up another infielder. Infante and Prado are quite capable and handling the load and we should see the starters back in the lineup soon. Let’s just hope this is nothing serious for Campillo and that he recovers quickly. I don’t want the pitching staff to start getting too familiar with being injured yet again.
Tags: Chipper Jones, David Ross, Injuries, Injury, Jorge Campillo, Yunel Escobar
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I’m sure I speak for many Braves fans when I say that I really want to see John Smoltz back in a Braves uniform for a little bit longer before he hangs up the spikes on a great career. I also speak for those fans in saying that I don’t want to see him play in anything but a Braves uniform should he make the decision to come back for the 2009 season. For all of us, there is encouraging news in the AJC today.
Smoltz threw from a mound on Friday for the first time since his shoulder surgery in June and experienced no pain or discomfort. At this point in his rehab, he has been described as being “way ahead of schedule”. The official answer from the Braves at the current time is that they cannot yet count on Smoltz for the 2009 season, but it appears that his rehab is at least coming along fairly well. It seems that Bobby Cox is very confident that Smoltz will be back on the mound for the 2009 season, saying, “oh, he’ll be back — no doubt in my mind”.
Though saying that he can’t yet count on Smoltz for 2009, Frank Wren has indicated that he hopes to offer him a contract when he reaches a point in his throwing program that it seems like he will be ready to pitch again. It’s good to see that 5 arm surgeries throughout his career have not killed the desire in Smoltz to get the Braves back to postseason play.
It’s not yet clear what role Smoltz would take up on the pitching staff and I presume that a lot of that would depend on how the rest of his rehab program goes. He has, however, indicated that he would be willing to return in any role that would be helpful to the team, though he would love to return to the rotation. Whether it be as a starter, in the bullpen, or as the closer, I’d be more than happy to see Smoltz back out at Turner Field.
So what do you think? Will we see Smoltz back in 2009? Will he be back in a Braves uniform? What role do you see him serving on the pitching staff?
Tags: Injuries, John Smoltz, Pitching, Rehab, Surgery
Posted in Injuries | 4 Comments »
Chipper’s not getting better fast enough. Bobby said yesterday “I don’t think Chipper’s close to playing.”
So he’s likely headed to the DL, at the very least when they bring Kotsay back tomorrow as he completes his rehab assignment. That lingering quad injury will keep Chipper out of the crucial series this week against the Phillies. If it continues to bother him, you can be sure he won’t risk hurting it in the All-Star game.
Chipper said in the AJC today “Make no bones about it, I would love to play in [the All-Star game], but if my body doesn’t allow me, that’s just a tough break.”
Chipper also admitted that he should likely have been on the DL before now. “We probably should have DL’d me right when it happened. I knew it was worse than the previous time it happened. But the competitive side of me wanted to keep playing. I’ve always been a quick healer, and I thought I’d be able to play in five or six days.”
When you can’t run it doesn’t matter how well you can hit. We’ll pray Chipper heals quickly and that Tex can carry the team while he’s out. Get well soon, Chip.
Tags: Chipper Jones, Disabled List, Injuries
Posted in Injuries | 3 Comments »
Chipper Jones will miss at least his next three starts with a slight tear in his right quadriceps muscle. The strain occurred in the 7th inning while Chipper was trying to beat out a ground ball to first base. He bent over in pain after the run, but decided to stay in the game.
This is a little worrisome to me to say the least. Our team doesn’t do well without Chipper in the lineup this season and our struggles to produce runs lately cause even more concern. We’ll see how the team can compete today, but the real key is to get Chipper healthy as quickly as possible. I guarantee we will really be missing him in the lineup for the next few days.
Tags: Chipper Jones, Injuries
Posted in Injuries | 9 Comments »
I knew it as soon as I saw Chipper slide into second. He slid awkwardly and then was slow getting up. And on Kotsay’s foul ball down the line, he was barely 10 feet in front of Teixeira, who had run around second and third by the time Chipper got from second past third.
Then, when Martin Prado came in to play third defensively in the top of the next inning, we all knew. Chipper apparently tweaked his quad and decided to play if safe and sit it out the rest of the game. He’s day-to-day.
I’m a little worried, to be honest. Chipper has had a history of doing random weird things like this that bother him for far too long. Or he could just bounce back. No way to tell. What do you think, will this be a quick trip to the bench, or will he randomly end up on the DL? The Braves sure need his hot bat.
Tags: Chipper Jones, Injuries
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Rafael Soriano went to the 15-day disabled list with elbow tendonitis today, clearing room for Chuck James to come off the DL and promptly give up six runs in three innings tonight against the Rockies.
Soriano has had issues with his elbow on and off all spring. He didn’t pitch for the first few games of spring training because his arm was bothering him. And his elbow troubles aren’t new – he missed most of 2004 and 2005 with Seattle after Tommy John surgery. Bobby has used him in a limited number of games (only pitched in 4 innings), but he’s still having issues with the arm.
It’s better to get him on the DL now than it is to let him languish on later in the season. We need him healthy during the heart of the season, and if that means missing him for 15 games now, we’ll take it.
In the meantime, I think we’ll see Manny Acosta as the temporary closer. He’s been good in spots this spring – a couple bad outings (like the home opener), but all spring has looked pretty good out of the bullpen.
Tags: Disabled List, Injuries, Manny Acosta, Rafael Soriano
Posted in Injuries | 2 Comments »
This may change things. Brad Lidge reinjured his knee yesterday on his first pitch off a mound. He remains optimistic that it’s just some scar tissue that came loose, but the full extent of the injury should be known today.
Lidge, the Phillies’ scheduled closer, had surgery on the same knee in October, when doctors removed scar tissue. He was the Phillies’ biggest off-season acquisition, supposedly allowing Brett Myers to return to the starting rotation.
More as we hear it – but this could shake things up. Without a legitimate closer (other than pulling Brett Myers from the rotation), the Phillies have even more pitching issues than they’d like to admit. They may need every run that high-flying offense produces, because without Myers in the rotation, their starting pitching is mighty thin after Cole Hamels.
Tags: Brad Lidge, Injuries, Philadelphia Phillies, Pitching
Posted in League Analysis | 3 Comments »