All about the Braves and baseball events.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chipper Jones Signs Three-Year Extension

Chipper Jones has said all along that he desires to retire as a Brave. Now that's closer to becoming a reality.

Chipper Jones agreed to a three-year contract extension with an option for a fourth year on Tuesday.

Cot's Baseball Contracts lists the breakdown of Chipper's payment plan:

2009: $11 million vested option
2010-12: $13 million + $3 million signing bonus + $750K for 135-140 games played
2013: $7 million club option.
* 2013 option increases to $9 million w/123 games in 2012, or average of 127 games in 2011-12.
* 2013 option increases $1 million for each 128, 133, 138, 140 games in 2012, or
averages of 132, 137, 138, 140 games in 2011-12

After looking at this contract, I think it's very sensible. I'm glad that Jones got this out the way so that he can concentrate on the season. At the same time, I hope this doesn't hinder the budget in any way.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Braves Snatch Victory From the Jaws Of Defeat In Win Over Red Sox

Brooks Conrad capped the Braves' comeback with a game-winning double in the bottom of the tenth to seal a 4-3 comeback victory for the Braves.

The day started off like some overly-hyped pitching duels would. Kenshin Kawakami and Daisuke Matsuzaka traded zeroes for the first three innings. In the bottom of the fourth, the Braves scored two runs, aided by a rare error from Kevin Youkilis. The Red Sox knotted the score quickly, thanks to a two-run shot by Rocco Baldelli off of Kawakami. Dustin Pedroia's RBI double in the seventh off of reliever Manny Acosta gave the Red Sox the lead.

The Braves tied the game in the ninth when Greg Norton doubled to lead off the inning and Martin Prado singled him home with two out. After Rafael Cruz held the Sox scoreless, third baseman Van Pope lead off the bottom of the inning with a double. After David Ross made an out, Brooks Conrad doubled home Pope to end the game.

Kawakami pitched six innings and allowed four hits and two runs. He walked two batters and struck out four. Matsuzaka allowed two hits, two runs and three walks in five innings; he also struck out two batters.

Enrique Gonzalez pitched three scoreless innings out of the pen for the Red Sox. Eric O'Flaherty (1 1/3 innings) and Mike Gonzalez (1 inning) recorded their seven outs out of the pen with strikeouts.

W - Rafael Cruz (1-0)
L - Bryson Cox (0-1)
HR - Rocco Baldelli (2)

Josh Anderson Swapped To Detroit For Pitcher Darrow

CF Josh Anderson

RHP Rudy Darrow (Class AA)

Freeing up the starting center field position for rookie Jordan Schafer, the Atlanta Braves sent outfielder Josh Anderson to the Detroit Tigers for minor league sidearmer Rudy Darrow.

Since being traded from the Astros for reliever Oscar Villarreal, Anderson shuffled between Richmond and Atlanta a few times. He posted a .294 average in 194 PAs with Atlanta. He stole 10 bases and was only caught just once. His K/BB ratio, however, was pretty miserable (33/8). In Detroit, Anderson will attempt to win a fourth or fifth outfielder job.

Darrow spent last season in high Class A and Class AA ball. In 33 games with the West Michigan Whitecaps, he posted a 1.85 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 48.2 innings. After being promoted to the Erie SeaWolves, his WHIP increased to 1.54 in limited action, but he still logged a 2.63 ERA in 13 2/3 innings. He should start in Class AA Mississippi this year.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Big Bounce Gives Tigers Win Over Braves

Curtis Granderson hit a ball on the plate that bounced high in the air, getting an infield single and driving in the Tigers' final run. Detroit held on for a 5-4 win.

The first two innings featured home runs form both sides. Casey Kotchman hit a solo home run and Jeff Francoeur smacked a two-run shot to give the Braves an early 3-0 lead. The Tigers lit up Braves starter Javier Vazquez in the first two innings for four runs, buoyed by a two-run shot from Brandon Inge and a solo home run from Placido Polanco.

The Braves tied up the game 4-4 when David Ross provided the only hit off of Detroit reliever Zach Miner; a solo shot off the top of the wall. Granderson's tapper came the next inning with men on first and third off of Braves reliever Blaine Boyer. Although the Braves had two men on base in the ninth off of Tiger reliver Eddie Bonine, David Ross grounded out to third at the end of the game.

Javier Vazquez pitched six innings and allowed seven hits and four runs. He struck out four batters. Jeremy Bonderman pitched in a limited start for the Tigers, allowing three runs in the first. Bobby Seay (1 2/3 innings) and Zach Miner (3 2/3 innings) combined to retire sixteen straight Braves batters until David Ross tied the game.

The Japanese media will have a field day with tomorrow's spring game when Atlanta's Kenshin Kawakami will square off against Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka.

W - Clay Rapada (2-0)
L - Blaine Boyer (1-1)
S - Eddie Bonine (3)
HR - ATL - Casey Kotchman (2)
Jeff Francoeur (2)
David Ross (3)
DET - Placido Polanco (3)
Brandon Inge (4)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Yanks Take Advantage of Jurrjens' Inconsistency

The Yankees pounced on Jair Jurrjens in the first inning for four runs and two more in the fifth; holding on for a 6-4 victory.

Atlanta's starting pitcher was inconsistent from the first pitch. He allowed nine hits and three walks in five innings. Jurrjens also gave up solo shots to Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano.

The Braves made a comeback in the later innings, getting the tying runs in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth with the score 6-4, but J. C. Boscan, who was inserted in place of Brian McCann struck out to end the game. Jordan Schafer had three hits for the Braves. Xavier Nady and Melky Cabrera had three hits for the Yankees. Teixeira added two hits.

McCann left the game in the first inning when Teixeira hit a foul ball that struck him on the ring finger of his throwing hand. He is now listed day-to-day.

W - Brett Tomko (1-1)
L - Jair Jurrjens (1-1)
S - Edwar Ramirez (1)
HR - Mark Teixeira (2)
Robinson Cano (2)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Braves Pull Out Win Against Tigers In Pitcher's Duel

Atlanta pulled out a late win against the Tigers' bullpen Friday afternoon, scoring three runs in the last two innings to win 3-2.

Tom Glavine pitched four innings of scoreless ball for the Braves while Justin Verlander pitched seven innings of shutout ball. The 0-0 tie ended in the seventh inning when the Tigers' Matt Treanor hit a two-run home run off of Manny Acosta.

In the bottom of the eighth, Braves first baseman Greg Norton smacked a two-run double to tie the game and Martin Prado drove in David Ross with the game-winning run.

The Braves face the Yankees tomorrow afternoon.

W - Buddy Carlyle (3-0)
L - Brandon Lyon (2)
HR - Matt Treanor (2)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

BRAVES PROSPECT BUSTS: The Closer Of The Future?

1999: RHP Kevin McGlinchy

(#47 in Baseball America's Top 100, #4 Atlanta Braves Prospect)

Kevin McGlinchy was a hard-throwing right-hander drafted out of Malden (Mass.) High School in 1995.

He spent his first three seasons as a starter, spending most of 1996 with Rookie level Danville (13 G, 3-2, 1.12 ERA, 77/11 K/BB) and two games with the Eugene Emeralds. The next season was rather bizzare, he started 26 games and his record was only 3-7. His ERA was 4.89 and he had a 149/44 K/BB ratio in 140 innings.

He was promoted to the high Class A Danville 97s for 1998 and finished with a 9-8 record in 22 games for them (142 IP, 129/29 K/BB, 2.92 ERA, 1.063 WHIP). He ended the year with the Greenville Braves, starting six games for them (1-1, 5.18 ERA, 20/15 K/BB).

From the 1999 edition of Baseball Prospectus:

McGlinchy is nine days younger than [Bruce] Chen and about that far behind him as a pitcher. A clssic power pitcher, [McGlinchy] made big strides from 1997 and could emerge this year. The Braves are asking him to work as a reliever in winter ball, a move they're hinting could be for good. Given that the one thing the major league staff is missing is a couple of hard-throwing right-handed relievers (Who can throw strikes, Mr. Wohlers), it's a good idea for both McGlinchy and the organization.
That's exactly what the Braves did with him in 1999; they called him up to the big club, moved him to the bullpen and McGlinchy had an immediate impact. He won seven games in relief, pitching in 64 games. He logged 70 1/3 innings and turned in a 2.82 ERA with a 67/30 K/BB ratio and 1.365 WHIP.

McGlinchy may be remembered fondly by Mets fans, however; In Game 5 of the 1999 NLCS, after blowing the save in the bottom of the 15th with a bases-loaded walk to Todd Pratt, he gave up Robin Ventura's game-winning grand-slam. Ventura was only credited with a single because after the winning run scored, the whole Mets team mobbed him at first base.

McGlinchy also worked two scoreless innings in the World Series against the Yankees.

In 2000, McGlinchy pitched in ten major league games and 17 games in the minors. He missed most of the season with shoulder tendinitis. It turns out those ten games are the last games that he'd ever pitch in the major leagues.

The last games that McGlinchy pitched in the Braves organization were two rehab games with the Gulf Coast Braves in 2001.

HE WAS LAST SEEN: pitching in the Cubs organization in 2004. He pitched nine games with the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx (0-1, 8 1/3 IP, 4.32 ERA, 1.93 WHIP) and 18 with the Iowa Cubs (0-1, 29 1/3 IP, 5.52 ERA, 1.47 WHIP).

Blue Jays Batter Braves' Bullpen, Pull Out Victory

Boone Logan and Kris Medlen did themselves no favors on Thursday. The Blue Jays scored six runs off of the two pitchers, pulling out a 7-5 victory.

The lefty Logan and righty Medlen combined to allow six runs in the final two innings, erasing a four-run lead for the Braves.

Derek Lowe started the game for Atlanta and allowed five singles. He didn't walk a single batter, allowed just one run and registered seven strikeouts. He also contributed to his own cause with a two-run single.

Leadoff hitter Kelly Johnson registered three hits in three at-bats, including a double, and scored two runs. Yunel Escobar went 2-3 with a double and a run scored and also stole a base. Chipper Jones had a two-run single. Jordan Schafer went 2-4 and scored a run. In his last spring at-bat with the big club, Freddie Freeman had an RBI single.

The Braves play the Tigers tomorrow.

W - Jeremy Accardo (1-1)
L - Kris Medlen (0-1)
S - Zach Dials (1)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nats Take Charge, Beat Braves

The Nationals pounced on Mike Gonzalez in the sixth and added a couple of runs at Charlie Morton's expense to come back and defeat the Braves by a score of 6-3.

The game started out as a pitcher's duel. The Braves' Kenshin Kawakami and the Nats' Colin Balester pitched five innings apiece. Kawakami allowed a double to Cristian Guzman, two walks, and one unearned run. Balester's only mistake was a two-run home run to Chipper Jones. The Braves scratched another run off of Kip Wells with Jeff Francoeur's RBI single.

The Nationals, though, teed off on closer Mike Gonzalez in the sixth. He allowed five hits and three runs, the coup de grace being a two-run double by Elijah Dukes. Washington tacked on another two runs off of the wild Charlie Morton in the eighth.

The Braves play the Blue Jays tomorrow.

W - Kip Wells (1-0)
L - Mike Gonzalez (1-1)
S - Saul Rivera (1)
HR - Chipper Jones (2)

EDIT: Added title.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bucs Outpitch Braves, Win 5-2

Pirates hurler Ross Ohlendorf outdueled Braves pitcher Javier Vazquez and the Pirates tacked on enough runs to defeat the Braves 5-2.

Ohlendorf, who was traded to Pittsburgh in the Xavier Nady-Damaso Marte deal, pitched six scoreless and walk-less innings, allowing just five hits and striking out three batters. Vazquez allowed five hits, one run and one walk in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out six batters.

Brian McCann was the only Brave with two hits. Bucs catcher Ryan Doumit went 2-3 with an RBI, walk and run scored. Shortstop Brian Bixler went 3-5 with a run.

Atlanta got both their runs off of former Brave Tyler Yates. Jeff Bennett and Rafael Soriano were tagged for two runs apiece.

W - Ross Ohlendorf (1-0)
L - Javier Vazquez (1-1)
S - Jesse Chavez (2)

Monday, March 23, 2009


It's an unfortunate thing when prospects don't show the promise that they display in the minor leagues or don't capitalize on promotions to the majors, for whatever reason. The Atlanta Braves have had their share of failed prospects. The list from the last ten years, I think, is particularly interesting.

This post is the start of a ten-part series where I list ten Braves prospects from 1998-2007 that did not make the grade in the major leagues. It may be a little depressing sometimes, but I think it's an interesting idea. We'll start with the 1998 season and a name that may be familiar to long-time Braves fans:

1998: LHP Bruce Chen

(#27 in Baseball America's Top 100, #1 Atlanta Braves prospect)
(#4 in Baseball America's Top 100, #1 Atlanta Braves prospect)

Chen signed with the Atlanta Braves in 1993 as an amateur free agent when he was 16 years old. He started with the Gulf Coast Braves in 1994 (1-4, 3.80 ERA, 26/3 K/BB) and steadily climbed the minor league ladder. Chen made stops with the Advanced Rookie Danville Braves in 1995 (4-4, 3.97 ERA, 56/19 K/BB), and the short-season Class A Eugene Emeralds in 1996 (4-1, 2.27 ERA, 55/14 K/BB). Chen's first full season came with the Class A Macon Braves the next year. He continued to impress, putting up a 12-7 record with a 3.51 ERA, walking 44 and striking out 182 batters in 146 1/3 innings.

The 1998 campaign seemed to be Chen's breakout year. In 28 games between Class AA Greenville (24) and Class AAA Richmond (4), Chen complied a 15-8 record and a 3.09 ERA. He pitched 163 1/3 innings and racked up a 193/67 K/BB ratio. With a sparkling 1.163 WHIP for the year, his future seemed bright. The Braves called him up in September and he started four games, winning two of them. In his two wins, he pitched 6 1/3 innings (2 runs) and seven shutout innings.

Baseball Prospectus had this to say about Chen in 1999:

The Braves' other prospects, great as they are, are just pretenders to the throne. Chen is the Prince. When those around him discuss his success, one aspect towers over all: mound presence. He throws hard, has excellent command of four pitches, but what distinguishes him is that he sets up hitters with uncanny ease for a 21-year old. The Neagle trade [which involved Rob Bell and Michael Tucker in exchange for Bret Boone and Mike Remlinger] was made with him in mind. Chen certainly looks ready, he has an opportunity waiting for him, and he has the best crew in baseball to help him develop. He may be the best pitching prospect in the game.
Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. Chen rejoined the Braves in 1999, but only won two games that season. He was demoted to Richmond after a July 28 start where he allowed six runs on 4 1/3 innings to Milwaukee. Chen returned to the team in August, but he was put in the bullpen. He only had four scoreless stints out of nine. He made a start in the next-to-last game of the season, tossing six shutout innings against the Marlins.

Chen started the 2000 season in Atlanta's bullpen and was pretty decent, posting a 2.80 ERA in 39 2/3 innings. However, the Braves seemed to give up on Chen ever becoming the #1-#2 starter that he showed he could be in the minors. On July 12, 2000, Chen was traded with fellow pitcher Jimmy Osting to the Phillies for veteran hurler Andy Ashby.

The Phillies converted Chen back to a starter and he produced; he just didn't get any support. Chen went 3-4 in 15 starts and he had a 3.63 ERA and his lowest WHIP in the majors: 1.145.

The next several years were hardly stable ones for Chen. A litany of teams vied for his services:

2001: Phillies, Mets
2002: Mets, Expos, Reds
2003: Astros, Red Sox

Chen didn't win more than five games in any of those years.

Chen received a break after he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays as a free agent. The Blue Jays sent Chen to the Baltimore Orioles as part of a conditional deal. With them, he enjoyed his best year in baseball in 2005, going 13-10 in 34 games for the Orioles. He pitched a career-high 197 1/3 innings and struck out a career-high 133 batters. He crashed once more in 2006; he suffered five losses and five no-decisions in ten starts. His bullpen work wasn't any better, so the Orioles released him after the season. The Rangers took a chance on him in 2007, but he didn't produce out of the pen in five games for them.

HE WAS LAST SEEN...: pitching for Panama in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He pitched four innings against Puerto Rico, giving up solo home runs to Carlos Delgado and Ivan Rodriguez.

The Royals signed Chen to a minor league deal before the Classic began, which is more than likely a continuing project of Royals GM Dayton Moore to bring in every single player who was a Brave once upon a time.

EDIT: Added the specific year where Chen went 13-10.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Yattaa!: Japan Rides Big Innings To Finals, Defeats Team USA

On the strength of a four-run fourth and a three-run eighth, Japan secured the other spot in the World Baseball Classic finals by defeating Team USA 9-4.

Davey Johnson opted to go with Roy Oswalt over Jake Peavy, the only two starters who could have pitched. Japan's manager, Tatsunori Hara, countered with Daisuke Matsuzaka; he could have gone with Yu Darvish as well.

Team USA struck first; Brian Roberts hit a leadoff home run off of a fastball. Japan tied the score in the bottom of the second on a sac fly by Kenji Johjima. The United States countered in the third with a single by Jimmy Rollins, a stolen bases and a double by David Wright. Matsuzaka left two men on in the innning to get out of the jam.

After Team USA left two on in the fourth, Japan struck off of Oswalt. Designated hitter Atsunori Inaba led off with a single and moved to second on first baseman Michihiro Ogasawara's single. Kosuke Fukudome then hit a hard smash between first and second that Roberts misplayed on a hop and Inaba came around to score while Ogasawara moved to third. Johijma hit another sac fly and Ogasawara scored. Akinori Iwamura then smacked a ball over Adam Dunn's head in right for a triple, driving in Fukudome. Munenori Kawasaki continuted the hit parade as he singled home Iwamura. After Ichiro Suzuki grounded out to third, shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima singled home Kawasaki. Oswalt was removed after Kawasaki's single and John Grabow got left fielder Norichika Aoki to ground out to second.

Matsuzaka, Toshiya Sugiuchi and Masahiro Tanaka held the United States scoreless from the fifth to the seventh, allowing just a single, two walks and triple the whole way. Team USA's bullpen was just as good from the fifth to seventh innings, allowing just two singles and a walk. The key was using three left-handers in a row: Grabow, Jay Howell and Matt Thornton. Thornton provided the highlight of the pen's work; he struck out the side in the seventh.

The United States mounted a rally in the eighth off of Takahiro Mahara. With one out, Ryan Braun doubled down the left field line. Brian McCann battled Mahara, fouling off four two-strike pitches and then drew a walk. DeRosa then tripled down the left field line, scoring both Braun and McCann, making the score 6-4. Team USA's newest member, Evan Longoria, was sent up to pinch-hit. Mahara got him to strike out and then got Roberts to ground out back to him.

Joel Hanrahan came on to face Fukudome in the ninth. The center fielder drew a walk and was replaced with pinch-runner Yasoyuki Kataoka. Johjima sacrified him to second and then Iwamura grounded out to Roberts, allowing Kataoka to go to third. With two out, Kawasaki hit a grounder to deep short. Derek Jeter's throw pulled DeRosa off the bag and Kawasaki reached, scoring Kataoka. Scot Shields was brought in to face Ichiro. Kawasaki promptly stole second and then scampered home on Ichiro's first hit of the day. Nakajima then hit a soft liner to right that fooled Dunn so badly it landed in front of him and bounced behind him. Center fielder Shane Victorino had to go over and get it as Nakajima went to second base. Aoki grounded to second to end the inning.

Hara wanted to make sure Japan would win the game by putting pitching phenom Darvish in to finish the job. He got Jeter to ground out for the first out. Rollins hit a single, but Wright struck out swinging. Rollins moved to second on defensive indifference, but Dunn struck out looking to end the game.

I can say it was a fun ride, and I'm proud of Team USA for getting this far, in spite of all their problems during the whole tourney. I just can't help but think: what is it going to take for Team USA to win the WBC? Because they're compromised entirely of MLB players, they're at an inherent disadvantage. Why? Simple. They're thrown out of their normal spring training routines and aren't completely ready for real baseball action. I believe that most are in basic playing shape, because most athletes nowadays work to stay in shape all year long. Injuries can happen anywhere at anytime, for whatever reason; they're not a particular concern to me.

After Monday, we'll see the World Baseball Classic again in 2013. I'd love to see what kind of team the United States can put out.


SS Hiroyuki Nakajima, Japan - 2-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI

3B Munemori Kawasaki, Japan - 2-4, 2 R, RBI, SB

DH Jimmy Rollins, United States - 4-4, 2B, R, RBI

Braves On Other Side Of Saturday's Score, Lose To Mets

Jair Jurrjens allowed one run in 4 2/3 innings and Johan Santana allowed one run in five innings for the Mets, but New York pounced on Atlanta's pen to win by a 12-1 score.

The Braves' only run came on Matt Diaz's solo home run on the fifth. That gave the Braves a brief 1-0 lead. However, the Mets scored 12 unanswered runs. The Braves only mustered three other hits. Eric O'Flaherty allowed nine runs in just 2/3 innings, which sent his ERA skyrocketing up to 14.21 for the spring. The big blow was Omar Santos's three-run shot. Jeremy Reed went 4-5 with two doubles, scored two runs and drove in four for the Mets. Three other Mets had two hits and Fernando Tatis (one of those three) drove in three runs.

The Braves have the day off tomorrow.

W - Johan Santana (1-1)
L - Boone Logan (0-1)
HR - ATL - Matt Diaz (2)
NYM - Omar Santos (1)

Glavine's First Spring Start A Success, Braves Thrash Mets

Tom Glavine's first spring start after two off-season surgeries was excellent, and the Braves demolished the Mets 12-1.

Glavine allowed just two hits in three innings of work. Kris Medlen, Peter Moylan and Blaine Boyer each had a scoreless inning of work. Jorge Campillo, in his first appearance since the World Baseball Classic, pitched three innings of relief, giving up three hits and one run.

The Braves teed off on Mets starter John Maine, who gave up six runs on five hits in four innings. Jeff Francoeur led the charge with a 2-3 day, including a double and 3 runs batted in. Josh Anderson had a pinch-hit three-run homer off of reliever Nelson Figueroa in the Braves' five-run eighth. Brandon Jones went 2-4, scored two runs and drove in two runs. Brooks Conrad also had two RBIs, and Kelly Johnson and Freddie Freeman drove in a run each.

The Braves play the Mets again this afternoon.

W - Tom Glavine (1-0)
L - John Maine (0-1)
HR - Josh Anderson (2)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Braves Come Back, But Drop Game To Marlins In Extras

Derek Lowe wasn't particularly sharp, but the Braves took the lead late in the game. However, they quickly lost it and then lost in the tenth by an 8-6 score.

Lowe pitched five innings and allowed four runs on seven hits. He left the game with a 4-1 deficit. The Braves were able to score a couple runs off of Marlins starter Andrew Miller in his five innings of work. Jason Heyward hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh, his second dinger of the spring. However, Manny Acosta allowed two runs in the ninth and Emiliano Fruto allowed two runs in the tenth and the Braves couldn't make another comeback.

Yunel Escobar, Josh Anderson and catcher Alvin Colina had two hits apiece and Jason Heyward turned in a 2-4, two-run, two-RBI performance thanks in part to his home run. David Ross also had a home run. Mike Gonzalez and Buddy Carlyle had the scoreless stints for the Braves' relievers.

W - Logan Kensing (1-0)
L - Emiliano Fruto (0-1)
S - Eulogio de la Cruz (1)
HR - David Ross (2)
Jason Heyward (2)

Vazquez Makes Triumphant Return, Braves Defeat Tigers

Javier Vazquez made his first start since the World Baseball Classic, going 4 2/3 innings. He allowed four hits and two walks, but only allowed one run. He struck out six batters.

Brandon Inge hit a solo home run in the first off of Vazquez to give the Tigers a quick 1-0 lead. The Braves responded with three in the third and two in the fifth. Detroit got one back in the sixth, but there was no scoring the rest of the way, and the Braves earned their 15th win of the spring.

Greg Norton had two hits and scored two runs. Omar Infante went 2-4 with a double and a triple. Matt Diaz drove in three runs with a 2-3 day and also scored a run. Three other Braves had a double. Gerald Laird and Adam Everett had two hits each for the Tigers.

Rafael Soriano, Boone Logan and Jerome Gamble all had scoreless innings for the Braves. Starter Jeremy Bonderman, Ryan Perry, Ricardo Rincon and Clay Rapada all had scorless stints for the Tigers. Dontrelle Willis was tagged with all the runs in the loss.

W - Javier Vazquez (1-0)
L - Dontrelle Willis (0-2)
S - Jerome Gamble (1)
HR - Brandon Inge (1)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hurting Venezuela Wins Second Straight Seeding Game Over Hurting USA

With both teams shielding regulars with injuries, Team Venezuela jumped out to a huge lead early and held on for a 10-6 victory over the United States in the semifinal seeding game.

Team USA started Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, who hadn't pitched a live game in a week. It showed as he was lit up in the second inning for six runs, coming on three doubles, three singles and an error. Henry Blanco had a two-run double and That erased an early 1-0 lead for the United States.

Team USA tacked on two runs in the third and fourth innings, but left five men on base in those innings. Venezuela added a run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single by Miguel Cabrera.

Mark DeRosa had a two-run shot in the fifth and David Wright an RBI groundout in the sixth to close the gap to 7-6. Rangers prospect Max Ramirez restored the cushion with a two-out, three-run home run off of LaTroy Hawkins and both teams pitching made the score hold up.

The winner of tonight's Japan-South Korea game plays the United Sates in the semifinals while the loser plays Venezuela.

W - Armando Galarraga (1-0)
L - Jeremy Guthrie (0-1)
HR - USA - Mark DeRosa (1)
VEN - Max Ramirez (1)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hanson Impresses Again, Braves Beat Mets

Tommy Hanson's only mistake was allowing a two-run home run to Fernando Tatis in the first inning. Mets starter Livan Hernandez allowed just one run in five innings of work, outpitching Braves prospect Tommy Hanson. However, the Braves teed off on Freddy Garcia and cruised to a 7-4 win.

Hanson allowed a two-run homer to Fernando Tatis in the first inning and escaped trouble otherwise. He pitched four innings and allowed three hits and two walks; he struck out three Mets.

Livan Hernandez helped his case for a starting rotation spot for the Mets, going five innings and giving up just one run on five hits. He walked none and struck out three.

After Freddy Garcia entered the game, the Braves struck. They pounded the pitcher for seven hits and five runs in two innings, including a three-run shot by third baseman Martin Prado. The Mets didn't get back on the board until the ninth inning, with two runs off of Zach Schreiber, but by then, it was too late.

Jordan Schafer, further making his case to be in the starting lineup for Opening Day, went 3-5 with an run and RBI. Brandon Jones went 3-4 and drove in a run. Kelly Johnson went 2-3 with a double and a run scored. Martin Prado added a double to his three-run homer; he scored two runs as well.

Andy Green drove in the two runs in the ninth with a home run off of Schreiber. In addition to his home run, Tatis walked twice.

Blaine Boyer tossed two scoreless innings for the Braves and earned the win. Eric O'Flaherty pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless ball and Rafael Cruz chipped in with the other 1/3 of an inning.

Javier Vazquez will start tonight for the Braves against the Tigers.

W - Blaine Boyer (1-0)
L - Freddy Garcia (0-3)
HR - ATL - Martin Prado (1)
NYM - Fernando Tatis (2)
Andy Green (2)

Wright Lifts Team USA To WBC Semifinals In Walk-Off Fashion

When David Wright's flair landed in fair territory in right, Team USA was able to put the past behind them and ushered in a chance for a title. The United States scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to overcome Puerto Rico and claim a 6-5 victory.

The events leading up to the game were not plesant; Team USA had to deal with being three men short for the game. Chipper Jones had to return to the Braves, Ryan Braun was scratched due to a strained ribcage muscle and Matt Lindstrom injured his right rotator cuff in the last game.

Ted Lilly started for the United States while Johnathan Sanchez started for Puerto Rico. Sanchez didn't make it out of the third inning and Lilly only pitched into the fourth.

Right fielder Alex Rios opened the scoring with a solo home run in the second inning. The United States countered in the bottom of the inning when with two men on, Brian McCann hit a sacrifice fly to left field where Wright made a headfirst slide to avoid the diving tag of catcher Geovany Soto. Shane Victorino then chased home Mark DeRosa to give Team USA the lead. Kevin Youkilis added a solo home run in the third inning to up the lead to 3-1.

Puerto Rico struck back in the fourth. Ivan Rodriguez led off with a walk. After Carlos Beltran struck out, Carlos Delgado launched a deep home run to center field to tie the score. Brian McCann hit a ball to the same spot in the bottom of the inning, but Carlos Beltran tracked the ball down and pulled the ball back in to take away a solo home run from the United States catcher.

Puerto Rico pushed across another run in the sixth. Ivan Rodriguez led off with a walk and moved to second on Beltran's sacrifice. Delgado was intentionally walked to bring up Rios, who singled Rodriguez home.

A bit of controversy occured in the bottom of the seventh. With Shane Victorino on second and Derek Jeter on first with one out, Jimmy Rollins flew out to left field. Rios, the right fielder, threw the ball back in and on a hop, the ball struck Victorino on the leg. It bounced away from the infielders and Victorino was able to take an extra base. The play was rendered moot, though, when Youkilis grounded out.

Team Puerto Rico added another run in the ninth off of Johanthan Broxton. Rios led off with a walk and stole a base. Soto grounded to third and then third baseman Ramon Vazquez singled Rios home.

J. C. Romero, who was brought in to face Brian McCann in the eighth with the tying run in scoring position, continued work into the ninth. Victorino and Brian Roberts hit consecutive singles, then Derek Jeter lined out to right, allowing Victorino to move to third. Rollins coaxed a walk out of Romero and Puerto Rico's closer, Fernando Cabrera, was brought in to try to hold the United States off. Youkilis waited out Cabrera and he got a walk, forcing in a run and bringing the United States one run closer. Cabrera was similarly wild to Wright, going to a 2-1 count against the third baseman. On the fourth pitch, Wright golfed a ball that would have been ball three down the right field line. It landed a few feet inside fair territory and the United States team rushed the field in celebration and dogpiled near second base.

If anyone thinks that the United States players don't care about this tournament enough, that victory celebration should dispel any of those notions.

W - Johnathan Broxton (1-0)
L - J. C. Romero (1-1)
HR - PUR - Alex Rios (1)
Carlos Delgado (2)
USA - Kevin Youkilis (3)


3B David Wright, United States - 3-4, GW 1B, BB, R, 2 RBI

RF Alex Rios, Puerto Rico - 2-3, HR, BB, 2 R, 2 RBI

CF Shane Victorino, United States - 3-4, R, RBI

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Jurrjens Cruises, Braves Defeat Mets

Braves third starter Jair Jurrjens tossed six shutout innings against the Mets, leading the charge for the Braves' 5-1 victory Tuesday.

Jurrjens allowed just four hits in his stint, striking out six Met batters and walking none. Josh Anderson went 2-3 with a home run, scored two runs and drove in two for Atlanta. Brandon Hicks had a two-run single and Martin Prado had an RBI single as well.

David Murphy had a good day for the Mets, going 3-4 with a double. Ryan Church scored the only Mets run with a solo home run.

Tommy Hanson starts for the Mets on Wednesday afternoon.

W - Jair Jurrjens (1-0)
L - Jonathan Niese (0-2)
HR - NYM - Ryan Church (1)
ATL - Josh Anderson (1)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Team USA Lives To Bat Another Day, Ousts Holland

Team USA may have lost Chipper Jones and Dustin Pedroia for the rest of the tourney, but replacement Brian Roberts contributed immediately and teamed with shortstop Jimmy Rollins to pace Team USA to a 9-3 victory.

Rollins drove in four runs with a 2-4 night, including a two-run shot in the second inning, an RBI triple and a sacrifice fly. Brian Roberts reached base in all five of his plate appearances and scored two runs. He had a double and triple in his 3-3 night. Adam Dunn and Ryan Braun each had two hits for Team USA. One of Dunn's hits was a home run to straight-away center field in the sixth inning.

Roy Oswalt started for the United States and pitched four scoreless innings. He allowed five hits and left the bases loaded in the third; he also struck out five hitters and didn't walk a single batter. LaTroy Hawkins, Scot Shields and Johnathan Broxton all had scoreless innings for the United States.

The Netherlands had four players with two hits each; the team matched Team USA in the hit column 12-12. Bryan Engelhardt hit the Netherlands' only home run of the tournament off of Matt Lindstrom in the eighth inning. Because he appeared to admire his home run, Lindstrom threw a foot behind the next batter, Vince Rooi, on the next pitch. The Netherlands' players and coaches, naturally, did not take kindly to this and they came out of the dugout. Things settled down, and no further retaliation occured.

The United States will play another elimination game against Puerto Rico Tuesday evening. The winner will advance to the WBC semifinals with Venezuela. A game will be played with Team Venezuela for seeding purposes, like the previous round.


SS Jimmy Rollins, United States - 2-4, 3B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI

2B Brian Roberts, United States - 3-3, 2B, 3B, 2 R, 2 BB, RBI

P Roy Oswalt, United States - 4 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Braves Bail Out Lowe, Defeat Astros

Houston scored two runs in the second inning and the lead held up until the eighth, when the Braves scored three runs and held on for a 3-2 win.

Geoff Blum and Darin Erstad drove in the runs in the first for the Astros and Brandon Jones drove in two with his double and was driven in by Greg Norton. Erstad and Miguel Tejada had two hits for the Astros and Matt Diaz and Jordan Schafer had two hits for the Braves.

Derek Lowe started for the Braves and allowed four hits and two runs in five innings of work. He walked two and struck out six. Houston starter Jose Capellan pitched 4 2/3 innings and allowed just four hits. He didn't walk anyone and he struck out four batters.

Relievers from both teams didn't allow any runs until Tim Byrdak gave up three runs in the eighth. Rafael Soriano, Jeff Bennett, Peter Moylan and Boone Logan all had scoreless innings for the Braves. Wesley Wright, Felipe Paulino and Danny Graves all held the Braves off the board for the Astros.

W - Peter Moylan (1-0)
L - Tim Byrdak (0-1)
S - Boone Logan (1)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Puerto Rico Lowers the Boom On USA, Wins In Seven

If I may be so bold as to offer a little commentary before the summary: I don't think Jake Peavy has any business pitching for Team USA. His stuff is terrible when he isn't completely ready to pitch.

Now back to our show...

Puerto Rico put on a show for their large fan section in Dolphin Stadium. It was 6-0 after two innings and they added runs until a walk-off two-run single in the 7th completed the 11-1 mercy-rule shortened victory.

Puerto Rico used three singles in the first to plate two runs. Felipe Lopez's two-run shot and consecutive doubles scored four runs. Team USA starter Jake Peavy was done after just those two innings; he allowed the six runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out one.

Team Puerto Rico added runs in the fifth on an RBI double by Ivan Rodriguez that Adam Dunn attempted to catch but completely missed, and four in the seventh, capped off by shortstop Mike Aviles's only hit; the game-ending two-run single landed in front of Dunn in right.

Javier Vazquez started for Puerto Rico and pitched five innings, allowing just four hits and one run, walking none and striking out two batters. The only run scored on an RBI double by Brian McCann in the fifth. Nelson Figueroa, Javier Lopez and Saul Rivera finished the six-hit performance off for Team Puerto Rico.

The United States will face the Netherlands in an elimination game while Puerto Rico will take on Venezuela in the other game.


CF Carlos Beltran, Puerto Rico - 3-3, HR, 3 R, BB, 2 RBI

2B Felipe Lopez, Puerto Rico - 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI

P Javier Vazquez - W, 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO

Cardinals Win Pitchers' Duel Over Braves

Former Brave farmhand and current Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright and Japanese import Kenshin Kawakami staged a little bit of a pitcher's battle, but the Cardinals squeezed out enough runs to win 2-1.

Wainwright allowed six hits and one run in five innings of work. He didn't walk any batters and he struck out four batters. Kawakami allowed seven hits and two runs in 4 2/3 innings. He walked one batter and struck out one.

Third baseman Martin Prado went 3-3 and drove in the Braves' only run in the fourth. Jeff Francoeur went 2-2 and scored that run. Second baseman Skip Schumaker had two hits for the Cardinals. Albert Pujols and Jason LaRue drove in the runs for the Cardinals.

W - Adam Wainwright (2-1)
L - Kenshin Kawakami (1-2)
S - Josh Kinney (1)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Braves Come From Behind, Run Away From Marlins

The bats came alive for the Braves once again. Four different Braves had two hits and two had two RBIs apiece as Atlanta used a five-run sixth to take the lead over the Marlins and put them on their way to a 9-2 victory.

Center fielder Jordan Schafer had two doubles and scored a run. Jeff Francoeur had two singles and scored two runs. Omar Infante went 2-3 with a home run, scored a run and had two runs batted in. Marvin Freeman also went 2-3 and scored and batted in a run. Shortstop Brandon Hicks had a home run in his only plate appearance.

Tommy Hanson started for Atlanta and allowed two runs in the first inning, one unearned. He allowed just five hits in 4 2/3 innings, walked two and sruck out two. James Parr turned in a perfect 2 1/3 inning stint, striking out four. Francisely Bueno and Mariano Gomez each had scoreless frames.

The Braves play St. Louis tomorrow and Kenshin Kawakami will make his third start against other clubs.

W - Tommy Hanson (2-0)
L - Sean West (1-1)
HR - Omar Infante (1)
Brandon Hicks (1)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Braves Smack Phillies Around, Win By Eight

The Braves scored three in the sixth inning to break a 2-2 tie and Jason Heyward put the icing on the cake with a solo shot in the seventh, giving the final touch to the Braves' 6-2 victory.

The Nationals scored first with Ryan Zimmerman's two-run double in the third inning. The Braves scored two in the fourth and three more in the sixth. Jason Heyward hit his first Grapefruit League home run in the seventh, off of reliever Steven Shell.

Omar Infante, Brandon Jones and Freddie Freeman had two hits. Brandon Jones's two singles drove in two runs, while Infante scored two runs. Freeman also drove in two runs.

Jair Jurrjens allowed two runs in the third inning, but only allowed four hits in four innings. Mike Gonzalez, Buddy Carlyle, Kris Medlen and Jerome Gamble all had scoreless innings.

The Braves play the Marlins next.

W - Buddy Carlyle (2-0)
L - Josh Towers (0-1)
HR - Jason Heyward (1)

Venezuela Avenges Earlier Defeat, Wins Pool C

With Francisco Rodriguez getting Kevin Youkilis to swing through a pitch to end the game and save a 5-3 victory, Venezuela avenged their earlier loss and earned the right to be called Pool C champions.

Venezuela got on the board in the third inning when catcher Henry Blanco led off with a solo home run to left field off of United States starter Ted Lilly. The United States tied the game when Ryan Braun doubled home Derek Jeter in the fourth. However, Brian McCann left the two men on base.

Venezuela re-took the lead in the fifth when Baltimore starter Jeremy Guthrie took the mound. With one out, Henry Blanco doubled. Cesar Izturis struck out, but Gregor Blanco tripled him home. Team Venezuela struck again when Miguel Cabrera led off with a double. Magglio Ordonez walked and was pinch-ran for by Endy Chavez. Carlos Guillen grounded back to Guthrie and the runners moved up a base. With a full count, Marco Scutaro singled home both runners to give Venezuela a 4-1 lead. They added another run in the seventh off of Guthrie when Izturis led off with a double and scored on a single by Melvin Mora after Gregor Blanco singled.

The United States finally scored in the eight when Chris Ianetta blasted a two-out, two-run home run down the left field line to score Adam Dunn and close the gap to two runs.

Venezuela brought out new Mets reliever Francisco Rodriguez to close the game in the ninth. Jimmy Rollins led off with a walk and stole second base. Dustin Pedroia flied out to center. Derek Jeter reached on an error by Luis Maza, who couldn't corral a routine grounder. Davey Johnson then tried a double steal on a 1-2 pitch. The pitch was outside, but Henry Blanco gunned the ball down to second and Scutaro applied the tag to Jeter who was just sliding in. Rodriguez then struck out Youkilis to end the game.

Henry Blanco and Gregor Blanco each had three hits. Henry had a homer, double and single to make up a 3-4, two run, and one RBI night. Gregor went 3-5 with a single, double and triple and drove in the go-ahead run for Venezuela in the fifth.

Ryan Braun went 3-4 with two singles, a double and an RBI. Jeter went 2-4 with two singles, a hit by pitch and a run scored.

The United States opens Round 2 play against Puerto Rico while Venezuela goes up first against the Netherlands.

W - Jan Granado (1-0)
L - Jeremy Guthrie (0-1)
S - Francisco Rodriguez (1)
HR - VEN - Henry Blanco (1)
USA - Chris Ianetta (1)


C Henry Blanco, Venezuela - 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI

CF Gregor Blanco, Venezuela - 3-5, 2B, 3B, RBI

C Chris Ianetta, United States - 1-1, HR, R, BB, 2 RBI,

EDIT: Added Three Stars
SECOND EDIT: Added Link To Boxscore

Braves Defeat Phillies In Slugfest, Win Fifth Straight

Third-string catcher Clint Sammons smacked two home runs and drove in four runs as the Braves jumped out to a big lead and held on to defeat the Phillies 12-10.

Seven differnt Braves had two hits, including starting pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes. Jeff Francoeur and Diory Hernandez drove in two runs as well for Atlanta.

The Braves are playing the Nationals right now.

W - Jo-Jo Reyes (2-0)
L - Kyle Kendrick (1-1)
S - Zach Schreiber (2)
HR - ATL - Clint Sammons 2 (2)
PHI - John Mayberry (3)
Miguel Cairo (2)

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