It took everything Shawn Chacon had to get out of his bases loaded mess in the 8th after he walked two batters with one out.
But it was asking too much of him to take the mound in the 9th with the entire Braves roster sitting dead red knowing he couldn’t throw an off speed pitch over the plate.
Sure enough, with the bases loaded and two outs in the 9th and a 2-1 count on Francoeur, Chacon needed a strike and Paulino called for the fastball which was hammered past Chacon’s head into center field for a walk off single to win the game.
Turner Field was packed – 44,000 in attendance – and the only other pitcher in the pen Tracy could go to comfortably was Capps as he had done numerous times this year. But he didn’t.
Because a gaggle of scouts were at the game and nearly every contending team has a dire need for starting pitching, I’m guessing showcasing Chacon meant more to the Pirates than a potential win. That’s the only rational explanation I can come up with unless Capps wasn’t available.
Unfortunately for the Pirates, Chacon’s showcase went sour.
That’s just the type of front office mentality that sends a team spiraling downhill. After all, if the front office and coaching staff doesn’t make the moves they can to try and win games, why should the players? We’ll have to see where this goes.
Also, since the All-Star break in 2006, the Pirates have lost 24 of 32 games when more than 40,000 fans were in the stands, and 27 of 37 when more than 38,400 were in the stands. That’s important because seven of our next thirteen games will be in stadiums with more than 40,000 likely in attendance.
As we typically see from our players when playing away games in packed stadiums with a lot of noise, the Pirates made a lot of mental mistakes all game. I mentioned two in the short post below like Davis and Bautista’s base running blunders.
Then Bay misplayed a line drive shot off the bat of Chipper Jones that allowed him to get to second on, Gorzelanny failed to cover the plate after a wild pitch when Paulino’s throw beat the sliding Escobar (eliminate that run and the Bucs would have won this game), and Jack Wilson who, for some bizarre reason, attempted to bunt with runners at second and third and one out in the 7th and then eventually struckout looking.
Maybe ole’ Jack just didn’t want to look good for the scouts?
And how about Jose Castillo? He only had six at bats in all of July after whacking a 16 for 49 pace (.327 BA) from May 1 – June 15th, and he not only reached base twice, scored one of the 4 runs, and was the only batter to reach base after Doumit’s home run in the 7th, but he also made some sweet defensive plays to boot. Kudo’s to Castillo.
The Braves announcers mentioned that Adam LaRoche is having some knee problems. Specifically they said his knee was "barking". One Braves fan (take that for what it’s worth) said he heard LaRoche might have surgery after the season.
Whether that is true or not perhaps isn’t relevant, but it does create a question mark on whether or not LaRoche will even make it through the season. We’ll have to see.
I’m going to bury this here at the bottom of this post because I haven’t verified it in my own circles, but the Braves announcers hinted that Ian Snell might be available at the deadline this year.
Now I don’t doubt for a minute Dave Littlefield opened the "I’m a Seller" door wider at the All-Star game, and I think there is a very strong possibility at least Chacon and Marte will be flying off the shelf.
But I find it hard to believe Kevin McClatchy would allow Dave Littlefield to pull a string on any deal for Ian Snell with the organization going through front office changes later this year. I assume that move would take Robert Nutting’s approval and I just don’t see it happening in July.
This winter might be another story as the entire roster might get blown up.