Filed Under (Chatter Up) by mrose at 1:48 PM on 07-28-2009
|Welcome to the first edition of NLEC’s Chatter Up!Â This will be a normal occurrence when two divisional teams play each other.Â I (or others) will ask questions of the affiliate blogs and their writers for the teams which are going against each other during that series.Â These questions can be in regards to the divisional rival or to the state of that team themselves.Â I welcome guest questions for upcoming series via email at email@example.com or just leave comments/questions in the comment section!Â We will begin this Chatter Up! with the Braves visiting the Marlins starting tonight, July 28th in South Florida.Â The Series Preview for this week has more on the series, but lets get right to the questions.Â As in a normal game, the road team will lead off, with the home team getting last licks.Matt R. of NLEC will address Matt Fournier of The Braves Baseball Blog, followed by addressing Wally Londo of FishGuts.|
|Matt R(NLEC): Lets start with the trade deadline.Â What do you feel the Braves need to do this week to give them a shot at a playoff birth?Â Given that answer, what WILL the Braves do, knowing the moves they already have made, and do you think the Braves could ever possibly regret the trades made so far?|
|Matt F(BB): If I’ve said it once I’ll say it again they need a big bat. While McLouth was good then still need some more pop in the lineup. An Adrian Gonazalez type player would be nice (probably not going to happen). It couldn’t hurt to look at another closer. Soriano has done well, but I don’t trust his health.|
|Matt R(NLEC):Comparatively, the Braves have an “old” starting staff when they trot out Derek Lowe, Javier Vazquez and Kenshin Kawakami compared to the Marlins.Â I would imagine those three (Kawakami being unknown) will handle the innings as they pile on, but what do you expect from impressive rookie Tommy Hanson?Â Â Will the Braves look to curve his innings, or go pedal to the metal hoping for a playoff birth?|
|Matt F(BBB): I think the sky is the limit for this kid. He already is 5-1 with 2.95 ERA and 37 K’s. As far as curving his innings I don’t think they’ll do much of that. I mean he was an MLB ready prospect so therefore they will use him to his fullest. That being said I don’t think they will overwork him. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but it’s the only way I know how to explain it.|
|Matt R(NLEC): As it seems the way its going for all NL East Teams this year, the hot streaks sometimes give false hope.Â Do you really believe this team is a playoff contender this year, or do you see them fading back come September and possibly playing spoiler?|
|Matt F(BBB): As far as the playoffs this year I’m highly optimistic, but I feel with the way the Phillies are playing and the way some other NL teams are playing that they should look towards next year. Hopefully I will be biting my tongue though. And for them falling back in September I don’t see it happening. I don’t see the pitching fading away, the only thing that worries me is the consistency of the offense. I think they will be able to sustain for the whole year.|
|Matt R(NLEC): So far this season the Marlins have taken 3 of 5 with 13 to be played in the final 2+ months, with it seemingly being a battle between the two teams for 2nd and for the possible wild card, what do the Braves need to do in this series to begin securing the that place?|
|Matt F(BBB): They must jump all over the Marlins weak pitching staff early and often. The pitching will be there for the Braves, so it is a must that they exploit the Marlins weak pitching staff.|
|Matt R(NLEC): What Marlins pitcher and hitter do you feel will be the biggest challenge this weekend?|
|Matt F(BBB): The pitcher that scares me the most is obviously the ace Josh Johnson. Great pitcher, who scares any team. And for the hitter it would have to be the great Hanley Ramirez.|
|Thanks Matt! Now, moving on to FishGuts and Wally|
|Matt R(NLEC): Lets start with the trade deadline.Â What do you feel the Marlins need to do this week to give them a shot at a playoff birth?Â Given that answer, what WILL the Marlins do, knowing their management and referencing the earlier FishGuts article, why would they think of trading Cody Ross?|
|Wally(FG): To really make a run at the playoffs, the Marlins need to add either an impact bat or starting pitcher. Roy Halladay is the pie in the sky dream, but that probably isn’t realistic, given the cost in money and prospects for a team that values those two things above all else.
Realistically, the team should at least add Josh Willingham kind of bat, though Larry Beinfest doesn’t seem like the type of guy who will trade back for a guy he gave up on in the offseason.
As for Cody, the only reason you trade him is if you are out of it, because he has more value than anyone else. However, he probably has more value to the Fish than in a trade, so I’d hope they don’t do it. He’s very good offensively and extremely underrated in the field.
|Matt R(NLEC): Looking today, the Marlins extremely young and inexpensive pitching staff is 8th in the NL overall, which is very impressive.Â Do you expect that throughout the remainder of the season this will take a dive, or do you feel though they are young, they can handle the innings as they pile up and the possible pressure of a post-season run?|
|Wally(FG): The pitching has actually been infuriating outside of Josh Johnson. Chris Volstad’s home run problems have been stupefying, and Ricky Nolasco, one of the best pitchers in baseball last year, hasn’t been able to put it together for more than a few starts.
If Volstad and Nolasco can get to where they were last year for the stretch run, adding a pitcher might be redundant, because Sean West, Andrew Miller, Rick Vandenhurk, Burke Badenhop and Anibal Sanchez in some kind of order should be able to sustain the back end of the rotation.
I’m an optimist at heart, so I think they’ll actually be better from here on out than they have been up to now.
|Matt R(NLEC): As it seems the way its going for all NL East Teams this year, the hot streaks sometimes give false hope.Â The Marlins started out the season 11-1, then looked horrible for a few months before their late resurgence.Â Do you really believe this team is a playoff contender this year, or do you see them fading back come September and possibly playing spoiler as they do so well.|
|Wally(FG): There’s really no reason to think the Marlins aren’t at least as good as the Braves, Rockies, and any of the other wild card contenders, they just haven’t been able to get it together. I’m pretty much willing to concede the division, but 3.5 games is nothing in the Wild Card, and if they can put together a good month and a half, they can do it.
Realistically, there’s too many teams to beat out to say I’m confident, but you always have to believe as a fan. Dan Uggla, Jeremy Hermida, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Volstad, and Matt Lindstrom have wildly underperformed, and we could see Cameron Maybin come up soon and catch fire with how he’s been at AAA.
|Matt R(NLEC): So far this season the Marlins have taken 3 of 5 with 13 to be played in the final 2+ months, with it seemingly being a battle between the two teams for 2nd and for the possible wild card, what do the Marlins need to do in this series to begin securing the that place?|
The Braves can pitch, but they struggle scoring runs. If we can shut them down, we can score enough to take them down. Chipper and Yunel seem to be the only guys to worry about given their careers against us, so if you can take care of them, you effectively silence their bats.
I do think the Marlins are a more complete team than the Braves, and I think we’ll have a good shot to take at least 8 of the final 13 against them, and hopefully put them away for good.
|Matt R(NLEC): What Braves pitcher and hitter do you feel will be the biggest challenge?|
|Wally(FG): Jurrjens is the guy we go against in the first game and he’s a guy who can give the Marlins, but I’m more worried about Kawakami. We scored 4 against him in 6 innings the first time we faced him, but he’s the type of guy we always seem to struggle against.
Chipper Jones might be getting up there in age, but he is the 2nd greatest switch hitter of all time, and he’s got a .939 career OPS against the Marlins so he’s always the guy you worry about.
I hope everyone enjoyed the first Chatter Up! segment, and as I mentioned, please feel free to email any recommend questions or comments about the segment to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to this forum topic and post a reply.