2007 Atlanta Braves season
The 2007 Atlanta Braves season was the 42nd season in Atlanta and the 137th overall. They attempted to recapture the NL East title, which they relinquished for the first time since the 1990 season to the New York Mets in the 2006 season. They opened their season with a sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies.
|2007 Atlanta Braves|
|Major League affiliations|
|General manager(s)||John Schuerholz|
|Local television||FSN South|
Jon Sciambi, Chip Caray, Skip Caray, Pete Van Wieren, Joe Simpson
Jon Sciambi, Chip Caray, Pete Van Wieren, Skip Caray, Joe Simpson, Mark Lemke
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- December 3: Signed RHP Tanyon Sturtze to a one-year deal. Sturtze, who had rotator cuff surgery on May 23, 2006, was expected to join the bullpen about a month after the season started.
- December 7: Traded LHP Horacio Ramírez to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for RHP Rafael Soriano. Ramirez, viewed by many within the organization as having great potential, had not lived up to expectations in Atlanta. With this trade, John Schuerholz showed he was going to be aggressive in upgrading the bullpen, a big part of the Braves' struggles in 2006. Soriano owned a 65/21 SO/BB ratio in 60 innings for the Mariners in 2006.
- December 9: Signed OF Willie Harris to a minor league contract and invited him to Spring training. At the time, it was assumed that Harris would either be a reserve outfielder in Atlanta or stay in Richmond the entire year. Few people, if any, foresaw the kind of production Harris would have with the Braves after earning playing time due to Ryan Langerhans' departure in a trade with the Oakland Athletics. Many of Harris' previous struggles can be attributed to his playing in the American League, which does not focus as much on "small ball" as the National League. Harris' talents, which center around his speed and his ability to hit for contact, have led him to become a valuable member of the club in 2007.
- December 12: Declined to tender 2007 contract offers to 2B Marcus Giles and RHP Chris Reitsma. Not having received any favorable trade offers for Marcus Giles, the Braves were forced to decline him arbitration, believing that their best option at second base for 2007 was Kelly Johnson, an outfielder in 2005 who did not play at all in 2006 due to Tommy John surgery. Despite many critics' claims that his defense would be abysmal, Johnson has played a fine second base and has proven to be one of the majors' best hitters at his position.
- December 20: Signed UTIL Chris Woodward to a one-year contract. Woodward was expected to be a "super-utility" player for the bench, as he had experience not only at each position in the infield, but had played in the outfield as well.
- January 18: Agreed to terms with OF/1B Craig Wilson on a one-year contract. Wilson was thought mainly to have been added as part of a platoon at first base with rookie Scott Thorman; Thorman is a left-handed batter, while Wilson bats right-handed. He was also available for use as an extra outfielder.
- January 19: Acquired LHP Mike González and nonroster SS Brent Lillibridge from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for 1B Adam LaRoche and nonroster OF Jamie Romak. With Thorman as the heir apparent at first base for the Braves, Schuerholz continued the trend of strengthening the weak bullpen by trading for a reliever in González who, by all accounts, had been a shut-down closer for Pittsburgh in 2006. Notable statistics for González in that year: 64/31 SO/BB ratio, converted all 24 save opportunities, and allowed 1 home run in 54 innings. Lillibridge ranked #93 in Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list for the 2007 season.
- March 9: Agreed to terms with LHP Mark Redman on a one-year contract. Schuerholz decided to take a chance on free agent Redman, a former All-Star with the Kansas City Royals, to shore up the back end of the rotation.
- March 22: Signed C Brian McCann to a six-year contract with a club option for a seventh season. As is becoming the case ever more frequently with many major league clubs, the Braves opted to lock up a promising young player in McCann with a long-term deal to avoid both arbitration and free agency hassles.
- March 23: Acquired RHP Erik Cordier from the Royals in exchange for INF Tony Peña, Jr. Peña was out of options in Atlanta, meaning that if he did not make the Braves' 25-man roster out of Spring training, he would have had to clear waivers to be assigned to the minor leagues. At that point, any other club would have had the opportunity to claim him off waivers. By acquiring Cordier, a once-highly regarded prospect before having Tommy John surgery, the Braves at least gained some value for Peña, who was not likely earn a spot on the 25-man roster.
The team had a great April to open the season, finishing the month with a 16–9 record. They also won both series against the rival Mets that month. Three of the four victories in those series were comeback wins. They were 2 games ahead of the Mets for first-place at the end of the month.
The Braves started off the month red-hot by winning 8 of their first 11 games, which included five straight wins from May 8–12. It was their first five-game winning streak since July 2006. The team finished out the month by winning just 6 of their final 17 games, however, which included a sweep at home at the hands of the Phillies (whom they had swept at the beginning of the season). The Braves ended with a .500 record for the month, at 14–14.
Interleague play during mid-June saw the Braves struggle, finishing with an NL-worst 4–11 record. The team lost 7 out of 8 games, including a stretch in which they scored just a single run in a five-game span. On June 24, the Braves fell to .500 for the first time during the season. The month ended on a positive note, however, as the Braves took five straight games from the Washington Nationals and the Florida Marlins. During those five games, the Braves scored 41 runs. The Braves finished the month four games behind the Mets in the divisional standings.
On July 5, Chipper Jones surpassed Dale Murphy for the Atlanta club record of 372 home runs by belting 2 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Braves went into the All-Star break with a record of 47–42, 2 games behind the New York Mets. After the break, the Braves swept the Pirates in three games, then were immediately swept by the last-place Cincinnati Reds.
On July 18, Julio Franco was signed as a free agent. On July 21, Willie Harris went 6-for-6 with 6 RBIs to become the seventh player in franchise history to go 6-for-6 in a 14–6 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
On July 31, the Braves acquired 1B Mark Teixeira and LHP Ron Mahay from the Texas Rangers for C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, SS Elvis Andrus, LHP Matt Harrison, RHP Neftalí Feliz, and LHP Beau Jones. Saltalamacchia, Andrus, and Harrison were rated as the top three prospects in the organization at the start of the season by Baseball America. Later in the day, they acquired RHP Octavio Dotel from the Kansas City Royals for RHP Kyle Davies. In the final deal before the deadline, Atlanta traded LHPs Wilfredo Ledezma and Will Startup to the San Diego Padres for LHP Royce Ring.
The Braves went through a disappointing August going 13–15. They suffered a terrible loss on August 2 losing to the Houston Astros 12–11 in 14 innings in which Édgar Rentería left with an ankle sprain which kept him out for a month. Yunel Escobar took his spot and fared similarly to Rentería and on August 5, he hit a walk-off single against the Colorado Rockies in 10 innings. On August 16, Jeff Francoeur, wore a jersey with his name misspelled on it. The "e" and "u" in his name switched, went 0-for-4 with the Braves in a game against the Giants. At the end of the month, they were 5½ games back of the Mets for first place.
After dropping the first two games of September to the rival New York Mets, the Braves won 14 of their next 20 games to pull within only three games of the wild card. The Braves could not keep up this blistering pace however, dropping four of their last five games, eliminating themselves from playoff contention. The Braves did use the late season roster expansion to bring up young OF prospect Brandon Jones, a possible replacement for outfielder Andruw Jones, whose contract expired in 2007, and won't be renewed because his batting statistics tumbled in 2007. The Braves final game of the season took place on September 30, and the Braves lost to the Houston Astros, 3–0. This was also the final Braves game broadcast nationally by TBS, ending more than 30 years of nationally televised Atlanta Braves baseball.
On October 11, John Schuerholz gave up the GM job after 17 years to become team president, signing a four-year contract. The new GM Frank Wren, signed a four-year contract after eight years as Assistant GM.
National League EastEdit
|New York Mets||88||74||0.543||1||41–40||47–34|
Record vs. opponentsEdit
2007 National League Records
|2007 Atlanta Braves|
|2007 Regular Season game log|
Note: PA=Plate Appearances; HR=Home Runs; RBI=Runs Batted In; SB=Stolen Bases; AVG=Batting Average; OBP=On-Base Percentage; SLG=Slugging Percentage.
Note: G=Games; GS=Games Started; W=Wins; L=Losses; IP=Innings Pitched; H/9=Hits per 9 IP; BB/9=Walks per 9 IP; SO/9=Strikeouts per 9 IP; ERA=Earned Run Average
|Tim Hudson||34||34||16||10||224 ⅓||8.87||2.13||5.30||3.33|
|John Smoltz||32||32||14||8||205 ⅔||8.58||2.06||8.62||3.11|
|Chuck James||30||30||11||10||161 ⅓||9.15||3.24||6.47||4.24|
|Óscar Villarreal||51||0||4||2||76 ⅓||8.84||3.77||6.84||4.24|
|Jo-Jo Reyes||11||10||2||2||50 ⅔||9.77||5.33||4.80||6.22|
|Lance Cormier||10||9||2||6||45 ⅔||11.04||4.34||5.32||7.09|
|Bob Wickman||49||0||3||3||43 ⅔||9.89||4.12||7.21||3.92|
|Chad Paronto||41||0||3||1||40 ⅓||10.49||4.24||3.12||3.57|
|Manny Acosta||21||0||1||1||23 ⅔||4.94||5.32||8.37||2.28|
|Mark Redman||6||5||0||4||21 ⅔||15.78||4.57||5.40||11.63|
|Anthony Lerew||3||3||0||2||11 ⅔||10.80||5.40||6.94||7.71|
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LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Richmond
- "Chipper's record night downs Dodgers". MLB.com. July 6, 2007. Archived from the original on August 11, 2007. Retrieved August 1, 2007.
- "Julio Franco Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
- "Braves rout Cards behind Harris". MLB.com. July 22, 2007. Archived from the original on August 9, 2007. Retrieved July 31, 2007.
- "Braves finalize deal for slugger Teixeira". MLB.com. July 31, 2007. Retrieved July 31, 2007.
- "Top 10 Prospects: Atlanta Braves". Baseball America. January 2, 2007. Retrieved July 31, 2007.
- "Braves get Royals' Dotel for Davies". MLB.com. July 31, 2007. Retrieved July 31, 2007.
- "Braves obtain Padres reliever Ring". MLB.com. July 31, 2007. Retrieved July 31, 2007.
- "MLB's Misspelled Uniforms – FRANCOUER | Sports Illustrated Kids". Sikids.com. August 16, 2007. Archived from the original on August 7, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
- "Schuerholz gives up Braves' GM job". MLB.com. October 11, 2007. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved October 11, 2007.
- Baseball America 2006 Annual Directory and milb.com
- Game Logs: