5/27 Game Thread: Can Bobby Show Ned How It's Done?
Update (Will Schaffer): Matt Diaz has been placed on the DL with a strained left knee that he suffered while sliding into the leftfield wall to try and make a catch on Tuesday. The announcement has not been made official, however the Braves are expected to activate Rafael Soriano to take Diaz's spot on the roster.
From one hot seat to another: after torching the Mets and putting Willie Randolph's job in serious jeopardy, the Braves travel to Milwaukee tonight to face the underachieving Brewers. Not all that long ago, many Braves fans thought their skipper Ned Yost and pitching coach Mike Maddux might be possible targets to replace Bobby Cox and Leo Mazzone.
These days, that stock has fallen a bit, despite a core of young players just about any manager in baseball would kill for: Ryan Braun, J.J. Hardy, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, Prince Fielder, Yovani Gallardo, Manny Parra, all 26 or younger. Believe it or not, Ben Sheets still hasn't turned 30.
The Brewers are 24-27, and they've actually overperformed their Pythagorean W-L, which says they should be 23-28, since they've scored 224 runs (~4.39 a game) and allowed 249 (~4.88 a game). Gallardo's out for the year, Weeks is around the Mendoza line and killing my roto team again, and $10 million closer Eric Gagne has 5 blown saves and an ERA around 7.
I'd say "snakebit" but they've followed this script for several years now: an underperforming, injured pitching staff coupled with an underperforming, injured lineup, expected to be a dark horse contender in the weak NL Central but rarely even able to win as many games as they lose, despite playing almost 60 games every year against the Pirates, Reds and Astros. Hardy, Weeks, 3B Bill Hall, CF Mike Cameron, and C Jason Kendall all have OPSes under .730, so they're not exactly hard to pitch to.
Pitching matchups: Tim Hudson vs. Dave Bush tonight, Jo-Jo Reyes vs. Jeff Suppan tomorrow, and Jorge Campillo against Seth McClung on Thursday. We have the clear advantage tonight and Thursday, and Wednesday's game has all the makings of a slugfest, which we'll win with our superior lineup. Calls for Ned Yost's head haven't gotten nearly as loud as the vitriol in Queens, but the clock is ticking on how long he can continue to helm a team this talented with this little to show for it.
Let's do to his boys what we did to Willie's.