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Preview/Matchup/Game Thread Game # 61 vs. Braves

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John Thomson Andy Pettitte
2 - 5, 4.65 4 - 7, 6.03

Let's see if the good times engendered by the back-to-back wins over the Drubs can continue in a series against a legitimate contender, shall we?

One run given up over the last 22 innings pitched, the bullpen actually clutch, and although it was kind of puny and lonely as offensive outbursts go, a home run from Ausmus in living memory can ONLY be good omens.

Still no news on Chris Burke, though I think we are all in agreement and of the opinion that the move to the DL is inevitable. Maybe T-Purp and Tal Smith are still arguing over the player to be brought up. . . .

Image kiped from the Chronicle
Chris Burke Writhes in Agony.

Thomson appears to have pretty much sucked this year; astute Astrofans may remember that he went all of 1/3 of an inning in Game 3 of the 2004 NLDS.

He has a long and not particularly distinguished history against the Astros, possessing a 4 - 5 record against Houston with a fairly ghastly 6.25 ERA. Biggio is 10 for 31 off Mssr. Thomson, with three doubles. Preston is 9 for 22 with four doubles and a shot, good for a cool 1.136 OPS.

Not that Pettitte's splits against Atlanta mean anything, seeing how he's pitching the very worst baseball of his entire career, but so you got it, Andy's 4 -1 with a 3.46 against the f***ing Braves. Larry Jones is the man to watch, as the record shows he's 6 for 16 off Lefty, with an OPS over 1.000.

So I was thinking that the Braves, being fourth in runs scored in the League, might be one of the VORPiest teams around, but turns out, they're one of the few teams with an outfield crappy enough to be mentioned in the same breath with Houston's. Can you imagine a guy twice as bad as Willy T? The Braves are obviously in denial on Francouer and need to send the guy to Richmond, or wherever it is they send guys with less discipline than Pete Doherty.

One advantage the Bravos do have over Houston is that their one good outfielder actually BELONGS in the outfield. I've been kind of live and let live about Berkman in right field in the short term, but this is becoming long term, and trust me: the Berkman outfield thing is a stratagem that will end badly if Garner gives it its chance.

Value Over Replacement Player
VORP Brave Pos Astro VORP
-2.7 Todd Pratt C1 Brad Ausmus 7.9 x
x 1.8 Brayan Peña C2 Eric Munson 0.0
x 7.0 Adam LaRoche 1B Mike Lamb 6.1
4.4 Marcus Giles 2B Craig Biggio 12.0 x
x 21.1 Edgar Renteria SS Adam Everett -5.6
10.6 Larry Jones 3B Morgan Ensberg 18.8 x
20.1 Andruw Jones OF1 Lance Berkman 20.6 x
x -1.1 Ryan Langerhans OF2 Preston Wilson -1.4
-8.5 Jeff Francouer OF3 Willy Taveras -4.3 x
x 5.7 Matt Diaz OF4 Jason Lane -4.6
x 6.3 Wilson Betemit Util/PH Eric Bruntlett 3.7