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|Sports Illustrated asked major league scouts who have closely followed the
playoff teams to help prepare reports on the four clubs in the League
Championship Series. The scouts were promised anonymity in exchange for their
candor. Here's what they revealed. For more postseason baseball coverage see
this week's issue of SI, on newsstands Wednesday, October 17.|
Marcus Giles, 2B |
.262, 9 HRs, 31 RBIs
Has good plate coverage and some home run power. Not as bad
defensively as people make him out to
Julio Franco, 1B
.300, 3 HRs, 11 RBIs
Bat isn't as quick as it used to be. Pitch him under the
hands. Still can pop an occasional homer.
Chipper Jones, 3B
.330, 38 HRs, 102 RBIs
Scariest guy in lineup. Can get the big hit even if not swinging well.
Why throw him a
Brian Jordan, RF
.295, 25 HRs, 97 RBIs
Threatening hitter because he rises to the occasion. Excellent defensive
B.J. Surhoff, LF
.271, 10 HRs, 58 RBIs
His swing has slowed, but he's a veteran who grinds out
at bats. Decent
Andruw Jones, CF
.251, 34 HRs, 104 RBIs
Dangerous if he's seeing the ball well; if he's not, he can
be an easy out. Best centerfielder
Rey Sanchez, SS
.281, 0 HRs, 37 RBIs
Free swinger likes the ball up. Offensively has lots of holes. They'll pinch-hit
for him. Adequate
Paul Bako, C
.212, 2 HRs, 15 RBIs
Probably better offensively than defensively. Can be run on,
especially with Maddux
| Bench |
| 3B Ken Caminiti still hits a home run once in a while, but he has a stiff
body and stiff swing. Good fastballs get him out. The guy I like off the bench
is 2B Keith Lockhart . He makes contact consistently and uses the whole field.
Hits good pitching. I think SS Mark DeRosa is better than Sanchez. He makes
better contact, catches it better and is a better
| Rotation |
| Greg Maddux, RHP (17-11, 3.05 ERA) Still expert at changing speeds and throwing
strikes. You can steal on him. Has been beaten in the postseason. I don't know
Tom Glavine, LHP (16-7, 3.57 ERA) One of the guttiest guys in the game. He's like
the cartoon characters who stop at the edge of a cliff -- a few pebbles go
over the side, but he doesn't. Doesn't give in to
John Burkett, RHP (12-12, 3.04 ERA) Turned his career around this season. Now
looks like another Maddux. Sinks the ball and changes speed on all pitches.
Gives Braves a chance to win almost every time
Kevin Millwood, RHP (7-7, 4.31 ERA) Scares me because of his propensity for
giving up the big inning. Stuff is good enough, though he has lost velocity.
Ability to make pitches consistently is a
| Bullpen |
| RHP John Smoltz , the closer, has explosive stuff he can throw anywhere he wants.
When he gets the ball in the ninth inning, the game's over. RHP Steve Reed gets
righthanded hitters out with a sweeping slider, making for a very different look
before Smoltz comes in. LHP Mike Remlinger has good velocity and comes right
after you. He gets out righthanders as well as lefthanders. RHP Steve Karsay's
stuff is good enough to get people out, but he gives up home runs. Is it his
inability to make a pitch? It's not his stuff.|
How To Beat Them |
|You can't blow the Braves out, and you can't let them get to Smoltz or
you're done. You must play little ball, including stealing bases. Your starting
pitching has to be good. You can't let Chipper Jones or Jordan beat you with
home runs. Two or three runs might be enough to beat
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