South Beach Diet Supercharged

Just when we thought the South Beach Diet is good enough, now comes a new and improved makeover of the diet plan encapsulated in the book “The South Beach Diet Supercharged: Faster Weight Loss and Better Health for Life.” The book is created and developed by Dr. Agatston together with exercise psychologist Joseph Signoril, PhD introduces a fitness program to let you work out not longer, but smarter.

It is an expanded version of the plan which offers more ways to eat right, list of supercharge foods, 40 additional nutrient-rich recipes, tips to make healthier choices when eating at a restaurant and a fitness exercise. Together with the original diet plan’s three Phases, the eating plan now included a two part fitness program: Interval Walking and the Total Body Workout.

According to Dr. Agatston, the program is designed to “supercharged” metabolism to burn more calories and lose weight fast by a 20 minute-a-day walking.  The authors said, “With interval training, the higher the intensity of the exercise, the longer the afterburn; that is, you will continue to burn more fat and calories after you’ve completed your exercise session,” “This means you’ll burn more fat and calories while you’re going through your daily activities, and even when you’re resting.”

Though the supercharged is well received by the masses, Timothy Church, director of preventive medicine research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, criticize Agatston claims. According to Church that people really do burn a few more calories when they exercise at a steady pace, but won’t burn “far more calories afterward.” In addition, the afterburn idea is not really suggested according to recent research and will only last for 15 to 30 minutes. John Jakicic, director of the Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh, somewhat supported Chruch’s criticism by testing a portion of Agatston’s theory. He concludes that what Agatston’s saying isn’t wrong, but he’s just inflating the impact. He added, “the majorities of are burned when you are doing the exercise.”

Dr. Agastton defended his theory and said, they “didn’t overstate afterburn. At most, you can nitpick some of what we say.” “You are going to be able to get greater caloric output per unit of time with this workout.” “Interval training is more efficient, and over time you will burn more calories. That’s my point, and I absolutely stick with it.”

Here is an overview of the two components of this program.

Interval Walking

Alternating periods of fast and or very fast walking with periods of slower recover walking

Boost metabolism, burn more calories and lose more weight fast

A great workout for the heart and lungs for cardiovascular health

Total Body Workout

A workout designed to target and work on several muscle groups simultaneously

Increases flexibility while toning your muscles and legs

Promotes stability, good posture and coordination.

Vertical Jump Program

Vertical Jump Program… What? Not Another One!

If you do a search for this phrase in Google, you
will find multiple websites that promise you a vertical
jump training that will deliver significant inches
to increase your vertical jump fast.

But…

What does it mean to you to increase vertical jump
fast? And how many inches do you really think you
can gain with any vertical jump program?

Furthermore…

How much would you pay for a vertical jump program
that could really show you how to increase your vertical
jump fast, say…

3-5 instant inches in 30 minutes or less?

If I told you that I could show you a short video that WILL
show you how to add 3-5 fast inches to your vertical
jump or jump higher fast without any vertical jump program…

Would you be compelled to take me up on it?

Or in other words, if I could show you a short video
where we literally go to a basketball gym and randomly approach
some guys playing basketball who are seriously trying to touch
the rim or even trying to dunk (unsuccessfully).

AND IF…

We were able to reveal some simple but powerful technical
JUMPING TIPS to those same basketball players
that could increase their vertical jump instantly, right
before their eyes and YOUR eyes…

So that they could go from barely skimming the
bottom of the rim to grabbing and snapping the rim.

Or…

So that they could go from multiple failed attempts
at dunking the basketball to throwing it down with
authority…

Would that be valuable enough information
for you to take the time to watch?

Yes It’s true…

The content on this site is FREE and very helpful
to anyone who is looking for information on how
to increase vertical jump.

But…

One of the main goals of this post is to show you
how easy it is to increase your vertical jump by
3-5 inches with our FREE VIDEO.

It does require you to voluntarily subscribe in our
FREE JUMPING TIPS VIDEO Opt-in box.

No worries…

When you do this, we will send you this amazing
Free Jumping Tips Video that will reveal all.

All you have to do is type in your name and email
address (on the right side of the screen). Hit the
Yes, I Want To Jump Higher Now! button and You will
then receive the video

Why am I stressing this Point?

Because the content in the Free Jumping Tips Video
is unmatched. There is nothing else like it online. It will
help you or a friend to increase your vertical jump by 3-5
Instant Inches.

How to get taller by using the natural resources?

In this world there are many men and women who are not satisfy about their height and wondering how to get taller,especially a midget and you can tell from other “normal person” by the standard of legal midget height. Due the lack of height the confidence level of these people are very low and they never feel strong enough to take any bold decision in their career and in result their life, career and relation all suffer.

There are many people who search about how to get taller everyday and very interested in knowing them. But they should consider the fact which is proven that men and women did not gain height after 20 – 25 age. But thanks to science and technology now there are many proven method and pills available that help you in gaining height. But beside these pills and methods there are also many natural ways that helps you in gaining your height.

If you naturally want to get taller then you need to keep one thing in mind, is that there are three essential things that helps you in gaining height. These three important things are, first is proper healthy diet, then second is daily exercise and third is free-mind sleeping. These all three are equally important for how to get taller and you can’t leave any of them.

Proper healthy diet is one of the most important if you want to increase your height. You need to do your best to avoid unhealthy foods like fast foods as much as you can and try to eat fresh vegetables and fruits. Try to eat foods that are rich in calcium, minerals and vitamins.

Exercise is also plays important role in increasing your height. If you want to get taller then you need to add exercise in your daily routine. There are some special exercises that are design to help you to increase your height. Exercises like vertical hanging and forward spine stretch are very effective for increasing your height.

Many people who follow proper healthy diet and do exercise daily but still fail to gain height the main hurdle for increasing the height in these people is that they don’t take enough sleep. According to doctors, 8-9 hrs sleep is necessary for every men and women. Many people neglect it and beat their mind how to get taller.

If you want to gain your height then you need to build proper daily routine in which you need to include all three things properly. By properly following these three tips then I am sure you will see your height increase and you get the answer of how to get taller.

Reducing Hospital Infections

RID is the committee to Reduce Infectious Deaths that occur during hospital stays & surgeries. These infections affect 2 million Americans and cause ~103,000 deaths per year. RID offers some simple steps to avoid this potentially life-threatening type of infection. Here are 3 of them:

Ask that hospital staff clean their hands before treating you, and ask visitors to clean their hands too.
Before your doctor uses a stethoscope to listen to your chest, ask that the diaphragm (or flat surface of the stethoscope) be wiped with alcohol.
If you need a “central line” catheter, ask your doctor about the benefits of one that is antibiotic-impregnated or silver-chlorhexidine coated to reduce infections.

Brent Blackwell’s 2008 Season Preview

After a decade and a half of owning the NL East, spending two years watching playoff baseball on TV has seemed like an eternity for Braves fans.  While the most current edition is no lock to return to past glory, it does appear to be Atlanta’s best team since the 2005 squad that last reached the postseason.  Returning a phenomenal offense and vastly underrated defense, Atlanta is hoping that through free agency and some rehabilitation, the pitching staff will be improved enough to once again be considered a strength.

Atlanta has conventional stars, like most teams, but it is production from the players at the non-traditional offensive positions that makes this offense so special.  That all begins with catcher Brian McCann.  After an outstanding 2006, McCann came back to earth in 2007 but still was quite helpful in the offense.  Expect a slight rebound in 2008, and there’s no reason McCann can’t hit near or higher than .300 this year.  Moving around the infield, 2007 mid-season acquisition Mark Teixeira is primed for his first full season in Atlanta.  Last year Teixeira hit roughly .800/.933/1.350 for two months in Atlanta – I kid, but doesn’t that seem strangely accurate?  Given that Teixeira, who besides being an ideal #3 or #4 hitter is also a Gold Glove candidate, is only guaranteed to be a Brave through the end of this season, the pressure is on the organization to take advantage of this great window of opportunity.  Across the diamond, team leader Chipper Jones returns for his 14th full season in Atlanta after leading the majors in EqA in 2007.  With Chipper, it’s never a question of whether he will produce, but whether he’ll be on the field enough to produce.  While Chipper has announced quite a lofty goal of 150 games, Braves fans will be happy with 130, a total he’s reached only twice in the 4 years since he returned to 3B.  Lost somewhere in Jones’ chase for the NL batting title last season was Chipper’s sudden and surprising improvement on defense.  Never a favorite among defensive analysts, Chipper upgraded his game last year, which was a huge help to Atlanta.  According to Revised Zone Rating, Chipper was among the league leaders in Out of Zone plays.  Up the middle, Atlanta will rely on 2B Kelly Johnson, an on-base machine who could approach 20 HR and who should be much improved defensively in his 2nd season at the position.  In 2007, coming off Tommy John surgery, Johnson played plus defense and was a quiet offensive force.  If he gets any better, he arguably becomes Atlanta’s most valuable player.  His double play mate will be SS Yunel Escobar, a solid defender whose best offensive attribute is his ability to make consistent contact.  While unlikely to match last season’s impressive stats, Yunel should still be reliable .

Anchoring the outfield will be RF Jeff Francoeur, who spent 2007 working on his biggest problem – plate discipline.  It’s rare to see players try to reinvent their hitting approaches and much rarer to see them have such success in doing so.  Granted, a cursory glance at Francoeur’s ’07 season might indicate a loss of power, given that his HR count dipped from 29 to 19.  However, Francoeur cut his strikeout rate, doubled his walk rate, and got more loft in his swing, increasing his fly ball and line drive rates.  In 2008, Francoeur should finally put it all together, and I’m calling for a .300/.350/.500 season with 30 HR.  Given that he has added 17 pounds of muscle this offseason and considering the natural progression of offensive growth, that could be quite a realistic forecast and possibly even a modest one.  In CF is newcomer Mark Kotsay, who hasn’t been healthy since Mike Hampton was simply an overpaid pitcher rather than an overpaid injured pitcher.  Kotsay’s back problems are unlikely to go away for good, but if he can rediscover his youth just a bit in Atlanta, he should be at least league-average offensively.  His defense won’t remind anyone of his predecessor, Andruw Jones, but it won’t be as big a drop-off as might have been expected when Atlanta announced Jones’ departure.  Since Kotsay comes extraordinarily cheap, Atlanta is hoping he can be on the field for 125 or so games, and contribute a line somewhere in the vicinity of .275/.325/.400.  In left field, Atlanta returns Matt Diaz, who will continue to be the quietest .300 hitter in the game.  Despite Bobby Cox’ natural instinct to platoon Diaz, he has the ability to hit right-handers at a .300+ clip and his defense was ranked 5th among Major League LF according to fielding guru John Dewan’s +/- ratings.

While the offensive optimism is unbridled, a look at the pitching staff encourages more optimism, but with a dose of caution.  Leading the way is John Smoltz, who returns for another season as Atlanta’s ace.  While his increasing age is of course a red flag for injury concerns (which we’re already seeing with his shoulder), Smoltz is one of the 5 most reliable pitchers in the game in terms of predictable performance.  He’s probably not going to go 1996 on us anymore, but we can trust that he’ll pitch like the ace he’s counted on to be.  Atlanta also returns #2 starter Tim Hudson, who in 2007 finally put an end to his National League struggles.  The groundball pitcher should be due for an even better 2008 considering he’ll have a full year of Mark Teixeira and Yunel Escobar in the field, both of whom are vast improvements over last year’s combo of Scott Thorman and Edgar Renteria, and Huddy will also benefit from Kelly Johnson’s defensive progression.  Sliding into the third slot is the familiar face of Tom Glavine.  Let’s not get too nostalgic about this signing – Glavine isn’t the pitcher he used to be, we don’t need him to be the pitcher he used to be, and we’re not paying him to be the pitcher he used to be.  That’s important to remember when we take a look in June and see an ERA closer to 4.50 than what we’re used to from him, which is about half that.  42 year olds without strikeout capabilities don’t tend to age as gracefully as the John Smoltzes of the world, so let’s not expect too much.  With that being said, what Glavine will lose by moving from pitcher-friendly Shea to neutral Turner Field, I think he’ll make up for in happiness.  Glavine will be more at home in Atlanta, and that will play a part, even if it’s a small one.  Next is the young Jair Jurrjens, acquired in the Edgar Renteria trade.  His impressive spring made it impossible to leave him in Richmond to begin the season, and to be quite honest, I think he might be the 3rd best pitcher on the team.  Jurrjens won’t blow you away with ability, but his pitch selection and pitch location are his biggest strengths, and that’s something we’ve been missing in Atlanta.  The fifth starter will be – and I can’t believe I’m actually typing this sentence in late March – Mike Hampton.  The last time Mike Hampton threw a major league pitch, Darren McFadden was entering college and hoping for some playing time as a freshman.  As McFadden prepares for the NFL draft, one can’t help but think that even if Hampton is truly healthy, and I really hope he is – won’t there be some rust after so long?  His spring has looked decent enough to make me think he might actually be able to help.  If Hampton can defy critics, Father Time, and Mother Nature, he’ll be a great boost for this team, possibly enough to push them well past the Mets.  If he can’t, don’t worry – Atlanta will still be in the race.  If the old guys get hurt, Jurrjens struggles, or Hampton remembers his true identity, Atlanta has several other options for the rotation, and it’s that sort of flexibility that I do love about this year’s pitching staff. In the mix is Jo-Jo Reyes, off a disappointing rookie year, Jeff Bennett, winner of this year’s “I Pitched 5 Dominant Innings In A Spot Start So I Automatically Get To Be Mentioned In The Rotation Battle Like Oscar Villarreal Award”, Buddy Carlyle, and Cox favorite Charlie Morton.  Being a Cox favorite doesn’t mean much, though – I guess Morton can start a bowling team with Trey Hodges, Anthony Lerew, Chris Brock, and Travis Smith.  In all seriousness, though, at least Cox has finally targeted a real prospect with his affection.  Morton seems like a real future asset.

The 2008 bullpen will be unheralded but solid.  Closing is Rafael Soriano, who has dominant stuff and should be very solid in the role, as long as he can put last summer’s home run struggles behind him.  Considering that despite those struggles, he still ranked as one of the NL East’s best relief pitchers last year, he should be very valuable, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Soriano become the NL’s best closer in 2008.  Setting him up will be Peter Moylan who, according to the Win Probability Added stat available at FanGraphs (a wonderful tool/toy), was the most valuable reliever in the division in 2007.  Moylan sets batters up with a mid 90’s sinker and devastates them with a slow, sweeping slider.  Due to his side-arm delivery, it creates an unfavorable effect from the hitter’s perspective.  It’s no surprise that right handed hitters were helpless against Moylan, batting .183/.244/.290.  Atlanta is looking forward to a mid-season bullpen boost when Mike Gonzalez is slated to return in June.  Until then, the lefty duties will go to either Will Ohman, a talented youngster who posted a 4.95 ERA in limited duty with the Cubs last year, or Royce Ring, acquired at the trading deadline last year.  Also available is Jeff Ridgway, picked up from Tampa Bay this offseason.  All three are adept at getting out lefties, and it’s likely that’s all they’ll be asked to do.  The final spots will be duked out in spring training and most likely will be some combination of Chris Resop, Manny Acosta, Jeff Bennett, and Blaine Boyer.  There is great uncertainty with such an unproven pen, but also great potential.  The bullpen most certainly holds the key to Atlanta’s season, because the unknown is such a major factor here.

All in all, Atlanta should be improved from 2007’s 84-78 record, but the roster adjustments were slight, so don’t expect a huge improvement.  Still, there’s some room for optimism.  Last year’s team probably underachieved a little bit, and was good enough to have won close to 88 games.  If Atlanta improves by a few wins thanks to upgrades here and there, 90 wins isn’t out of the question.  I’m a loyal fan, but I’m also a realistic fan, and I know the Mets are improved and hungry.  Guess what?  That’s fine.  Atlanta is my favorite to take home the NL Wild Card in 2008, and that’ll make this Braves fan very happy.  After all, the last 6 World Series have all featured at least one Wild Card team, and to me, that goal is much, much bigger than simply beating the Mets.

The Debate: Smoltz vs. Glavine

So Chipperboy and I were talking the other day about the Braves. I made the comment that Smoltz was the 2nd best pitcher behind Maddux. He took offense to the comment and we started to argue. We stopped arguing and decided that we will continue this on the blog. I agreed to post my argument first. He will post his argument tomorrow. We will then continue the debate on the forum. Feel free to join us in the debate. John Smoltz was better than and still is better than Tom Glavine. He was the second best pitcher on the Braves during the streak. To prove this we will look at the numbers.

What is the first stat that comes to mind when you think of pitchers? To me, it’s ERA. So let’s look at the career ERAs of both players. Smoltz’s career ERA is 3.26 compare that to Glavine’s poultry ERA of 3.51. When it comes to ERA+, Smoltz once again has the edge. Smoltz’s career ERA+ of 127 is good enough for 53rd all-time, while Glavine’s is 119 which places him 118th all-time. Glavine’s career WHIP is 1.309, that places him 482nd all-time. Smoltz’s WHIP of 1.1696 places him 82nd all-time.

Smoltz has better stuff. I do not think anyone can deny that. Glavine’s game has always been built around his control. But Smoltz has a better K:BB ratio and it’s not even close. Yes, Smoltz strikes out a lot more hitters, but, if Glavine’s control was so great then the number of walks he allowed should be much less. Smoltz’s K:BB is 3.02 while Glavine’s is 1.76.

If it had not been for Smoltz’s injury problems over the years, he would be approaching 300 wins. He basically did not start a game for 5 straight seasons (2000-2004). He started 5 games during those 5 years all of them coming in 2001. From 2002 to 2004, he was the most dominating closer in the game. This versatility proves just how good Smoltz truly is/was.

I am not saying that Glavine was not a great pitcher. Glavine is a 2-time Cy Young Award winner. He was a great pitcher. But he was not better than and is not better than Smoltz.

Trade Deadline Preview

The July 31st, trading deadline is rapidly approaching. With the Braves continuing to fall further and further back of the NL East leading Mets, the Braves will be sellers for the first time in a while. But what parts do the Braves have that they can sell and what can they get for those parts?

1) Mark Teixeira – Last year the Braves traded away a king’s ransom to get Teixeira from the Rangers. Unfortunately, the move hasn’t paid off like the Braves had envisioned it would. With Scott Boras as his agent, Teixeira will likely seek a 7 years deal at 20 million dollars per year, it seems unlikely the Braves will be able to re-sign him this off-season. So will other teams offer more at the deadline knowing it is likely that they will not be able to resign him than the Braves would get as compensation if they lose him via free agency? It appears the Braves will be able to get that. The teams in the running are the Angels, Diamondbacks, Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees. A deal appears to be imminent.

2) Will Ohman – Ohman is another player the Braves acquired in a trade in the last year. With contending teams always looking for dependable relievers, he is one of the premier left handed relievers on the trade market. Ohman is having his best season to date, currently possessing a 2.84 ERA with a WHIP of 1.128. Teams said to be interested in his services include the Cardinals, Rays, Tigers, and Yankees. Ohman is a free agent after the season and the Braves believe he will be a type B free agent which would net them a draft pick, so if there is not an offer the Braves like they will have no problem holding onto him and letting him walk.

3) Mark Kotsay – Yet another player acquired in a trade. Kotsay, like Teixeira and Ohman, will be a free agent after this season. But unlike Ohman and Teixeira, he will not likely bring the Braves any draft picks if he leaves. So it makes sense to deal him. Kotsay would be a nice addition for the stretch run for a team like the Rays.

It certainly will be interesting to see how the trade deadline unfolds this year for the Braves. Stay tuned to Braves-Report for its continuing coverage of the MLB Trade Deadline and the Atlanta Braves.

Jeff Francoeur’s Offensive Struggles

After an impressive 2007 that saw much improvement in plate discipline, it seemed that Jeff Francoeur was poised to take the logical next step forward in 2008.  As of June 9, he is batting .253/.303/.415.  Atlanta fans are clearly still waiting for that step forward.  So what happened?  There’s a fine line between a flawed player and an unlucky player, and we have to look a little deeper to see which area Francoeur falls into.

Francoeur’s batting average on balls in play this year is .278, which tells us that while he can’t chalk up his struggles completely to luck, he hasn’t exactly had balls falling in either.  That naturally corrects itself, so expect Francoeur’s BA to slightly raise in the coming weeks as a result.  However, Francoeur could do things himself to help his BA, notably hitting more line drives.  His line drive rate is his lowest of the last 3 years.  If Francoeur levels his swing a little bit, he could really help his batting average.  It will probably reach .265 on its own by only the sheer probability of the situation.  Francoeur could conceivably make small adjustments to push it to .280 or so, though.

While Frenchy hasn’t taken a step forward, it’s not exactly accurate to say he’s taken a step back.  He has maintained his much-improved walk rate from 2007.  He has cut his strikeout rate to the lowest it’s ever been.  He’s more selective than at any other point in his career, seeing a personal best 3.48 pitches per plate appearance this year.  Not only is he seeing more total pitches, he’s seeing more balls.  66% of the pitches he’s seen have been strikes, a career low.  He’s more patient than ever – he’s taking more strikes than ever in his career and he has the fewest swinging strikes of his career as well.  His contact rate of 77% is a career high.

However, this improvement in pitch selection might also be the accidental root of his problems.  Frenchy is pulling the ball less than ever, and he’s hitting a pretty hefty chunk of his fly balls to dead center field, where it’s less likely to go out.  If he can pull the trigger on some fastballs a little sooner, and pull them into the left field stands, all while maintaining his improved plate discipline, I think he could finally pick things up.

The power is still there as well.  He’s hitting a home run about as often as he did last year, and he’s hitting doubles with increased frequency.  His average home run distance, courtesy of HitTracker, has only dropped 3 feet, and he’s clearing the wall on those shots with ease.

All in all, while the lack of results is troubling, there aren’t any serious warning signs in Jeff Francoeur’s peripheral stats.  Yes, it’d be nice if he improved his home run rate and walk rate, but there’s no regression to worry about.  Sometimes the game just isn’t kind to players for a month or two, and it looks like that’s the main culprit with Jeff’s meager season totals so far.  Among things that he can control, he’s not any worse than recent seasons.  In fact, he’s better in some areas.  There are things he could still do, but as fans and, in my case, faux-analysts, we have to remember that he’s only 24 and still has plenty of time to grow as a hitter before we start thinking his ceiling has been reached.  The stats show that the wheels are turning in his head, and he’s progressing in little ways every year, even if the results aren’t all evident in black and white.  Count me as still very optimistic.

Smoltz done for the season; possibly career.

It was announced today that John Smoltz will have season ending surgery on his shoulder on Tuesday. The only question left is whether he will be able to come back in pitch in 2009. If he is unable to then John it has been one hell of a career. If he is able to come back then the Braves will have one of the most valuable players in baseball on the roster.

Smoltz only threw 28 innings in 2008 but he was able to record his 3,000 strike-out. His record was 3 and 2.

The only of the big three to have played his whole career as a Brave, may have thrown his last pitch. Smoltz will be a Hall of Famer. He was the most versatile of the big three.

Smoltz pitched in 708 games over the course of his 20 year career. He won 210 games and lost 147. The thing that really sets him apart from other 200 game winners is his 154 career saves. He spent 3 seasons as the Braves closer. During that three year stretch no closer was more dominant than he was. His career ERA is 3.26. He is the all time post-season leader in wins with 15 and strike-outs with 194.

He is an 8 time All-Star. He won the NL Cy Young in 1996. He won the Rolaids Relief award in 2002. He was awarded the Silver Slugger in 1997.

No one is more completive than Smoltz is. He always gave everything he had when he took the mound. He has had 4 separate elbow surgeries. He missed the entire season in 2000 to have Tommy John. But this time it is his shoulder that has betrayed him.

Smoltz being the competitor that he is has said that he intends to pitch again. He will be seeing Dr, James Andrews, who will perform the surgery on Smoltz’s shoulder. If Smoltz doesn’t comeback, he will be eligible to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.

Thanks for the memories, John.

Paging Frank Wren

It’s not all your fault. Unlike the flabbergasted Bill Bavasi in Seattle, you actually built a pretty good team this offseason. Many pieces were in place, but you had to know that while strong, the team was built on a shaky, 40 year old foundation. Surely you have a backup plan in place, right? If so, I think now’s the time to enact said plan.

Something has to be done. The team is playing pitifully. Do you know how many runs the average team scores with the bases loaded and no one out? 2.15 runs. That’s average. That means some teams have scored 4 or even 5 runs in innings like that, probably balancing out the hapless Braves. Now, am I saying this team is incapable of scoring those 2.15 runs that the average team could score in that situation? Not at all. Am I saying they wouldn’t score them tomorrow if the same situation came up? Not at all. I’m simply saying they didn’t score them today, and it seems in line with everything else that’s been happening with this team lately. To Atlanta, tied means losing. When tied entering the 7th, Atlanta is 2-6. When tied entering the 8th, we’re 4-7. When tied entering the 9th, we’re 2-6. In extra innings, we’re now 1-7. This can’t stand.

I’m a pretty analytical guy. You won’t see me writing about how a team needs more heart, more fire, or more grittiness. I don’t believe anyone can will their team to victory and I don’t think team chemistry is real important. But right now, it seems that this team is suffering from more psychological issues than any other team in the game. They just don’t have any confidence, and while I don’t think confidence alone wins games, I do think it’s a requisite for being able to properly execute the things that do win games. Bobby Cox can pep talk them all day and night, but Bobby Cox’ pep talks won’t help ease the stress of making up for John Smoltz’ shoulder, Tom Glavine’s elbow, or Jair Jurrjens’ ankle. Things are falling apart pretty quickly, and this team needs help right now, not on July 31.

It takes a big man to admit he’s wrong, which probably explains why most general managers either blame the players or manager (see: Bavasi) or simply proclaim they’re astounded when things don’t go the way they planned. That’s why most are too stubborn to make the necessary changes until the trade deadline, at zero hour. For Atlanta’s season, zero hour is nearing. Not only is the wild card easily in sight, this division is still very winnable. Now isn’t the time to sit idly by while things slip from our grasp.

They need some help, and by help, I don’t mean another call-up from Richmond, I don’t mean a waiver pick-up from Seattle. This team needs something important, a move to rally around that will lift a little of the load off their shoulders. This team needs a veteran starting pitcher and a veteran bat. There are two teams equipped with both, have no shot of competing this year, and should be looking to deal.

Seattle is 24-42, already a ridiculous 16 ½ games out of first. They’re already looking to 2009. However, there are some gems to be found. Raul Ibanez is a relatively cheap veteran hitter who could really boost the plate discipline and performance of the offense. If we’re willing to take on Jarrod Washburn’s contract for next year, I bet a pair of mid-level prospects could get the deal done. We could retain our top prospects and land some players who could really help the team and soon. Washburn has a scary 6.00 ERA, but that ERA is misleading as he’s mismatched in Seattle and could flourish in Atlanta. Here’s a guy who really isn’t pitching any fundamentally different than he did last year, but he’s suffering due to Seattle’s horrendous defense. Atlanta, conversely, has one of the best defenses in the majors. Washburn isn’t an ace, but he still has his command, can let the defense make plays, and could thrive with a change of scenery.

San Diego is 29-38, in 4th place, and falling out of the race. While Greg Maddux is a tempting reunion, complete with all the warm fuzzies that come along with having the big three on the same roster, the Padres should be willing to unload Randy Wolf, and right now he’s a better pitcher. He’s cheaper and is a free agent at year’s end. Brian Giles is the sort of impact veteran bat that could really save this team. He’s as patient and smart a hitter as Chipper or Tex. He isn’t going to hit many home runs, but he will help the offense by constantly being on base. Make the other pitcher throw more pitches, get to the middle relievers. That’s how this team can get its confidence back. Start winning 1 run games rather than losing them.

Whether it’s Washburn, Wolf, Maddux, Giles, Ibanez, or someone else, this team needs an influx of not only talent but confidence. This teams needs something, and it isn’t a pep talk from Bobby Cox. My only hope is that we don’t have to wait until July 31 to get the help we need. You give a man medicine when he’s sick, not when he’s dead.