Braves 8, Phillies 6

ESPN – Braves vs. Phillies – Box Score – May 14, 2008

What the Hell is wrong with this team? 8-0 after five, and they wind up about two feet away from losing it. I guess it’s okay, they won. I guess.

The first five innings were all Braves. Escobar and Chipper hit solo homers in the first, and KJ in the second. In the third, McCann hit a two-run double to the right-field gap. McCann drove in Kotsay with a fifth-inning single, then he and Chipper came in on a bases-loaded single by Blanco, who had a great at-bat, getting to ten pitches by fouling a lot off. Meanwhile, Tom Glavine was throwing a one-hitter.

But he couldn’t get through the sixth, giving up four runs capped by an Utley homer, and left with two out and only 87 pitches thrown. I think Chuck James is a carrier. Bennett only had to get one man, but gave up a hit and walk before doing so. Ohman needed only five pitches to get through the seventh, and we can breathe easier, right? Wrong. In addition to the usual Hibernation Mode offense, Ring allowed a solo blast to Howard to make it 8-5, and, oh, they’d run out of lefties. Boyer finished the eighth, then got the first two in the ninth, then ran out of gas. (What are the odds, it’s not like he’s pitched in every game.) He allowed three straight singles to bring in one run and get the tying run on base, then for some reason they didn’t hold Rollins and he stole second. Victorino hit one to the gap, but it held up and Francoeur got it, while Boyer got a very bad save. Well, he is the fifth-string closer. Smoltz, Soriano, Gonzalez… I don’t care, get one of them healthy soon.

Teixeira was back in the lineup, but was the only regular without a hit and struck out three times. Kotsay, Chipper, McCann, and KJ all had two hits each.

163 thoughts on “Braves 8, Phillies 6”

  1. Considering the game is played in Philly, I will take whatever win they can get no matter how ugly it is.

  2. Nats held on to their 5-3 lead to beat the Mets, but the Reds gave up 6 to the Fish in the top of 9th… so we may gain no real ground.

  3. Always nice to see Aaron Heilman come through for us.

    He may be the only person in Flushing less popular than Willie Randolph right now.

  4. Hampton is still resting and is not expecting to start throwing again until June. I think the Braves are counting on collecting insurance money again to bring back the Mad Dog at the trading deadline.

    Mac, we have to get TWO of Smoltzie, Sori, and Gonzo healthy because I believe none of them will be ready to pitch on consecutive days too often when they are back…and the fact that Boyer is about to break down any minute from now…honestly, despite his ERA is still over 4, he deserves a lot of credit for stablizing the bullpen in the first six weeks.

  5. Also, two ft away from the wall at CBP means it’s just a routine flyball everywhere else, right?

  6. Anyone else notice Franceour getting first-to-thirded by GREG FREAKIN’ DOBBS with TWO OUT IN THE 9TH, when DOBBS’ RUN DIDN’T EVEN MEAN ANYTHING?

    Jeff jogged in and squared up in front of that ball, instead of charging hard and clearing his body as if he MIGHT throw it. He basically TOLD the third base coach “Wave him on over, take it.”

    There’s no reason the Phils should have felt comfortable risking a first-to-third on the reigning assists leader, with TWO OUTS IN THE 9TH WHEN THAT RUN DIDN’T MEAN ANYTHING.

    And I know he “held” Rollins at first, but if he “held” Dobbs at second by just charging hard and ACTING like he might come up throwing, Rollins can’t steal that base.

  7. jjschiller,

    Umm… who cares? First of all, Greg Dobbs isn’t slow. Second, Francouer was playing ridiculously deep to keep the hitter off second which would put the tying run in scoring position. Third, when you charge the ball to make a throw, your chances of booting it are ASTRONOMICALLY higher. Then what? Rollins takes second and then you have the tying run in scoring position. What is the point of charging the ball there? So the hitter takes third, big frickin’ whoop. You said it yourself: the run doesn’t matter. Shoot, I would have been happy if Francouer would have dropped to one knee and fielded it. As long as Rollins stays off second, I’m happy. I’m sorry to be harsh, but that simply ridiculous to criticize a smart, conservative move like that that made absolutely no bearing on anything.

    Why do we insist on finding the most ridiculous things to harp on when we actually win one?

  8. Let me champion another thing: Francouer is not the problem. His approach frustrates me as much as anyone here, but the guy is playing some darn good defense and his offense isn’t killing us. Teixera, who is playing the least important defensive position in the yard, is killing us in the cleanup spot. I know he’s injured, but he was 0-4 with the hat trick tonight. With everyone on Francouer’s tail, his and Tex’s OPS are very similar, and Francouer is actually helping the team on the defensive side. I’m not railing on Tex because I know he’ll hit, but Francouer is not the problem, even with his maddening approach.

    My last two posts have been saturated with negativity, but let me say this: as mraver said the other day, this team’s total is far less than the sum of its parts. I really think this team is going to kick it in the gear, and really, we’re only lacking in one area: BA w/ RISP. We’re down a bit in power, but we’re doing fine. We can criticize the manager for what he’s doing, but when a pitcher can’t get a freaking bunt down in two ABs, what’s the manager to do? Stop sacrificing with pitchers? Period? That’s ridiculous; what else are they good for?

  9. Anybody remember yesterday’s discussion about saving the bullpen for the Glavine and James games? Probably not.

    Anyway, never a dull moment. Good Chuck James impression by Brett Myers today. We’ll see what the original has in store for tomorrow.

  10. It be nice if Francoeur actually hit for a little power. Right now, he’s BJ Surhoff without the walks.

  11. Rob, when Tex and McCann at least start hitting their average when there are runners on base (like McCann did tonight), our offense will be scary. Frenchy is definitely not our biggest problem, but he has shown zero improvment from last year so far, which is disturbing…

  12. but Francouer is not the problem, even with his maddening approach.

    He may not be the problem, but he is a problem. I’m not sure what else you would call a guy who plays everyday and is not very good.

  13. Robert, save what bullpen? The only reliever who needs rest is Boyer. There was a rainout on Sunday anyway, no need to save any reliever last night.

  14. Robert, when you put together what Francouer is doing out there, I don’t think he’s a problem. And if he is a “problem,” meaning that he’s a detriment to our team (is that what we’re calling a problem?), his detriment-to-board-bashing ratio is off. He gets railed for his deficiencies when no one recognizes his defensive contributions(which I don’t care if people agree, the guy’s a good outfielder), and his hitting performance isn’t hurting the team, really. I suppose it’s a expectation vs. reality thing, but I don’t expect Francouer to be a middle of the order guy. I think he’s hitting like your prototypical 6-hole hitter.

  15. Brad, I’m sorry man. It’s one thing to make this guy or that guy a scapegoat, but to rail on someone for a conservative, smart play, that just hacks me off. Ask any outfielder; there’s no reason to come through that ball. Plus, he was playing deep, which is perfect positioning in that situation of the game. I don’t know if the outfielders position themselves, but it is what it is.

  16. Rob, Frenchy is becoming our new Andruw. Sooner or later, we will all say “It’s all Frenchy’s fault.”

  17. Everyone says Frenchy is not the problem. I think he is a BIG problem. In my mind, he has taken Andruw’s spot as THE LAST guy I want to see up there with the game on the line. Those swings he had on those sliders 2 foot off the outside corner were rediculous. Yes, if a pitcher makes a mistake, he can make you pay – but if the pitcher is smart, Frenchy doesn’t look like he knows what the heck he is doing.

    And to re-iterate that he IS part of the problem – our problem is in one-run losses. Doesn’t that scream situational hitting, and he’s probably the worst on the team at it. Believe me, I like the guy alot and I think he could be great (I have always been one of his greatest supporters), but to say he isn’t the problem is a bit off in my opinion.

  18. I suppose it’s a expectation vs. reality thing, but I don’t expect Francouer to be a middle of the order guy. I think he’s hitting like your prototypical 6-hole hitter.

    Well this is off. 6-hole hitters hit for power, Francoeur doesn’t. Some else here said it better, he doesn’t hit for power and he doesn’t walk, what’s left? I guess it’s nice that he can field his position, but that doesn’t cover for his offensive problems.

  19. My concern with Frenchy is the homers. He’s tied with Kotsay for the least amount of homers in the everyday lineup with 3. 2 of his homers came in the same game.

  20. Hey, we won another one on the road, y’all. Whooo!

    Anyone else going to Bark In The Park on Sunday?

  21. I agree, braves14. His power in general is sorely (and strangely) lacking, which is a huge red flag for a young, bulky guy who can’t draw a walk.

  22. I guess Frenchy is our HOT Topic for tonight. Since we won, I guess we have to beat up on SOMEONE!

    However, if you have to blame someone, I wonder why so few people are picking on Tex…I mean, the guy makes $12.5M afterall…

  23. I guess it’s nice that he can field his position

    So do his pitchers. You just minimized 1/3 of the game too “Hmm… I guess that’s good.”

    As far as OPS w/ RISP: Francouer is ahead of Teixera, Kotsay, Blanco, and Diaz. BA w/ RISP (which is ultimately more important; you need a hit): Francouer is ahead of McCann, Johnson, Teixera, and Blanco. I can understand if he’s in the back of the pack in these things, but he’s not, and he’s better than some important members of our team. And close & late, Francouer’s OPS is higher than Johnson, Diaz, Escobar, and Blanco’s.

    To be honest with you, going by those numbers, I’d rather have Francouer over McCann or Johnson or Teixera, but no one would ever actually say that.

  24. I will say that Francouer’s lack of power is a problem. Like someone said, if you don’t hit home runs and you don’t walk, what else is there? Well, he has a decent BA and he’s leading the team in doubles. That has to count for something.

    Let me make it clear though: I’m not saying Francouer doesn’t have weaknesses, I’m just saying his actual performance isn’t matching the perception of his performance by some on this board.

  25. Eh, Greg Dobbs isn’t that slow. He had 3 SBs and 4 triples last year. In a ballpark that small, 4 triples isn’t something to scoff at. Plus, you don’t have to sport a 6.6 60′ to get from first to third on a single on an outfielder rightfully playing a foot in front of the warning track.

  26. Perhaps our perception in clouded by the fact that he looks god aweful in so many at bats. Sure, he may not be in the bottom of those categories you listed, but I don’t think any of those others listed have had as many BAD at-bats as Frenchy (except maybe DIAZ). He just looks lost alot of the time.

  27. Rob,

    Umm.. What’s wrong with it is exactly what happened.

    You play it easy, Dobbs takes third and that opens second. Rollins steals second base anyway and we don’t contest it.

    So why hold Rollins at first if we aren’t going to contest the stolen base anyway?

    What you’re forgetting is, that if you’re winning in the 9th inning, it’s the other team that is in trouble. With two outs in the 9th, taking third base on Jeff Francoeur is a much bigger risk than Jeff Francoeur running and fielding at the same time.

    Dobbs can’t afford that risk if Jeff simply contests the play. Charge hard, and you freeze him.

    A big league right fielder has to be confident that he can charge a ball and come up throwing it without kicking it. Especially a “gold glove” right fielder.

    If you hold Dobbs by just ACTING like you might throw him out, Rollins has no base to steal, and never gets into scoring position.

    And besides, charging hard doesn’t mean Rollins will take second. IN FACT, he could actually come up and throwing to third, and that doesn’t necessarily mean Rollins takes second, if the throw is low and hard and can be cut-off.

    Get to the ball quickly, and throw it in hard and low and let your infielders decide what to do with it.

    It’s the Phils that have to be conservative there, not the Braves. They need 3 runs and have no outs to give. In that situation, you contest every single base, because A.) You can afford to, and they can’t. And B.) Because every single base is going to matter if the next guy singles.

    I guess McCann didn’t throw through on the stolen base because he “might” have thrown it in to centerfield? Or maybe he had no shot because Boyer didn’t want to pay any attention to Rollins, because it “might” distract him from Victorino?

    We led that game 8-0 and came out lucky to win it because of poor play in the 9th. And its that kind of thoughtless play that has us losing close games, even though we managed to hold on and win this one.

  28. You just minimized 1/3 of the game too “Hmm… I guess that’s good.”

    Shagging flies is not 1/3 of a corner outfielder’s job. It’s a hitter’s position. He doesn’t hit enough and shows no signs of being able to hit enough to carry the position. That’s the bottom line and that why he catches so much flack. Both for his lack of production and his lack of improvement.

  29. Hopefully, Teixiera’s and Francoeur’s power will improve when the weather gets warmer.

  30. @29

    Well, he is nicknamed Tex, not Frenchy. This IS the South, after all.

    I am kidding.

    @36, I, too, have wondered how much the crappy conditions have played into our woes. Of course it shouldn’t matter, but on the road it might.

  31. Joshua. There is.

    Think how monumentally stupid it would be for Greg Dobbs to get thrown out to at third, to END THE GAME, representing a meaningless run, with Jimmy Rollins already on base, representing the tying run, with the chance for Chase Utley and Ryan Howard (each of whom already homered tonight) to come to the plate.

    Taking third base is a risk you simply CANNOT AFFORD, especially when it’s against an arm like Jeff Francoeur’s. Even if you think you can make it. If you think there’s a chance Jeff might throw that ball, you have to hold that runner. And that removes Rollins speed from the equation entirely.

    And all he had to do was charge the ball.

  32. jjschiller,

    Rollins’ SB should have been contested. You throw him out, and the game is over, and if Dobbs scores, then his run doesn’t matter and would have scored anyway if Rollins, the second run, scores. That McCann didn’t throw Rollins out is not Francouer’s problem, who is the one being criticized.

    Gold Glove outfielders boot balls. Also, Gold Glove outfielders know when not putting them in a position to make an error helps him. Francouer, for what he isn’t, is smart to not charge balls he doesn’t need to.

    I agree with you that charging the ball doesn’t mean Rollins will take second, but who cares? If Francouer fields the ball, throws through, and Escobar lets it through, then Rollins could take second.

    What happens when, because Francouer is playing so deep, Dobbs still takes third even with him charging? Francouer’s throw could get past Chipper, and Dobbs scores and Rollins moves to second. Plus, since Francouer is playing so deep, he might not have been able to gun Dobbs at third even with a good feed and tag. Honestly, what is the point of charging it and/or making a throw?

    I understand that we were in a position to nail Dobbs at third or at least hold them at second, but I’d rather see my outfielder play it safe and keep the hitter off second, which is ultimately what is most important. There’s no point in criticizing that move when there’s so many unknown variables and the actual play didn’t make a difference.

  33. Robert,

    I agree that RF is pretty low on the defensive spectrum, but I wouldn’t chalk up good outfield defense as ho-hum. And being a RF isn’t just “shagging balls.” He’s good at cutting balls off in the gap and down the line, and he’s got a rocket. Those two are huge, and keep runners off bases they otherwise would be on, and makes outs after batters have reached are things that help a team win. I’m not saying his offense is what I’d like to see out of a corner outfielder, I’m simply saying we’re forgetting his defensive contribution and his hitting isn’t killing us. Oh, and he’s cheap.

  34. Andruw collected two hits tonight! Only the second time he has done that this season!

    Admit it everybody, at the end of the day, it’s still Andruw’s fault!!!

  35. KC’s got the line of the night. And with that, I’m going to bed.

    After all of the arguing tonight, we can agree about this:

    Go Braves.

  36. My contention, Rob, is that by charging the ball, Dobbs CAN NOT go to third. He simply can’t do it. It doesn’t matter if he thinks he can beat the wrap. If he even thinks Jeff MIGHT throw through, thats a risk he simply CAN NOT TAKE with two outs in the ninth, representing a meaningless run.

    And it didn’t make a difference in the final score, but it made a difference in how the game played out.

    Representing the tying run, with Brian McCann behind the plate, and Jimmy Rollins on first, stealing second base is a reasonable risk to take. Rollins was right to take that chance, because he he’s a good basestealer, and McCann is poor at throwing runners out, and because the reward was very great. He had an advantage, and he pressed it.

    And if Victorino comes through with a single there, the game is tied, because Jeff had an advantage and he didn’t press it. He had the advantage of the score.

    All he has to do is look like he might throw the ball, and Dobbs stays at second. No ifs, ands, or buts. And now there are 3 available force-outs in case a ground ball is hit and juggled. And in the case of a single Jimmy Rollins is not in scoring position. And in the case of an extra-base hit, Rollins has suddenly become 90 feet slower than Greg Dobbs.

    That is a little thing that could have meant a lot. And when you’re losing as many close games as the Braves are, you have to do those little things right…

    And for what it’s worth, I don’t think Jeff is a bad or stupid outfielder.

    I think he’s playing in slow-motion because he’s playing on a hurt ankle. And he needs a day or two off. But Bobby is treating him like a veteran, when he should be treating him like the 24 year old kid that he actually is.

    He’s trying to keep a meaningless games-played streak alive, which is utterly stupid considering he’s about 10 years away from breaking any records.

    I think an outfield of Norton/Diaz, Blanco, and Kotsay from left to right for a few consecutive games is in order.

  37. jjschiller, if there is one thing which I agree with you, it’s that Frenchy needs to rest for a day or two. I think everybody here will agree with you on that.

  38. KC-I totally agree about Tex. He is 28 and should be at his peak. The Braves has every reason to think that he was capable of a monster season.

    I think that he will hit, but 1/4 of the season is almost gone and his impact has been minimal. I wouldn’t mind if the Braves keep him (especially if he hits the way we expect), but I don’t think he warrants a fat contract.

    Lets hope that he gets it turned around quickly…

  39. I still have hope in Tex, that’s for sure…but a part of me is telling me that he is stressed over his contract year…like Andruw…

  40. Chucky really is a strange guy… I am really worried about his next start tonight in Philly. I’d be surprised if he makes it out of the 3rd…

    “I don’t like to think too much, and I’ve definitely been doing too much thinking lately,” James said.

  41. I don’think Andruw’s problem was his coming contract. The Braves knew what they were doing as his offensive skills (and possibly his defensive ones) have erroded. If Andruw had played all of 2007 in pitcher friendly Dodger Stadium his numbers would have been much closer to what they are currently. I fear that his bad numbers in 2007 and 2008 cannot be explained away by pressure.

    Don’t get me wrong: I would love to see him have a great year….

  42. jjschiller, I totally agree with you…Bobby should do what is best 4 the TEAM. Frenchy looks tired “maybe hurt”. He’s not charging the ball like he used to.

  43. I’m not going to bash Frenchy but he does need a day off. He looked bad at the plate last night.

    Greg White had a good at bat last night but I also think that the league is starting to catch up to him. He will probably be this years Willie Harris, playing because he has a .300 BA produced by an early hot streak.

    As an early basher of the trade I’ll eat crow. I like the way Mark Kotsay plays.

  44. Frenchy definitely needs a day or two off. He hasn’t hit a home run in a month, despite the fact that his K’s are down. He’s just not hitting the ball with authority often enough. He’s in the top 5 in the NL in ABs with RISP, but he’s only 25th in RBI.

  45. Tommy was just dominant until the 6th. It perplexed me until it dawned on me that he is 42 years old.

    Of course the night that I am watching the bullpen looks like a high wire act. Dang. Blaine Boyer throws heat and he has a smooth easy delivery. I think that he can be good if Bobby doesn’t Moylan his arm off.

    Erin Andrews interview with Smoltz was interesting in the fact that Smoltz was pretty much putting a stake in the ground that his starting days are over. That must be tough for a guy with the reputation Smoltz has as a competitor.

  46. franchy is hurt. if i remember correctly his right ankle needs to be surgically repaired, which is quite an obstacle to over come for any player. i’m all for giving him some time off, he’s looked a little thread barren of late.

  47. Jeff is being consistantly Jeff. I mean the guy is hitting almost .280. If I told any of you that would be his average coming out of Spring training you’d take it.

    On the flip side… when can we get rid of Mark Teixiera. That trade looks worse to me all the time. We should trade Schaeffer and lock up Kotsay to the $10 million dollar deal. That guy is the biggest FA signing we’ve had in a while.

  48. Mac,

    Actually, they probably almost lost by a couple of inches. . . if Victorino hits the ball a couple of inches farther down on the sweet spot, we are screwed.

    As for Frenchy’s play, it’s not the worst in the world, but he should have charged it. Dobbs would not have tried to make third if he had charged the ball. Under the circumstances, it was a good play to get the third but only if there was no risk in getting thrown out, because it ended up with Rollins being in scoring position.

    Enough defending him. Why should a 24 year old guy playing right field be tired after 40 games? His streak is really 39 games; he didn’t have to play all winter. I don’t buy that he is tired; until last night he had 7 hits in 10 at bats. He just isn’t that good of a hitter. He has bad at bats the first day of the season. Certainly, at this point, Teixera is a bigger problem–he looked terrible last night. But, Teixera has a proven track record which Francoeur doesn’t. It’s not as if Francouer is a terrible ballplayer. But when John Kruk says he is a “very good ballplayer” he is wrong. He is an average right fielder. He is better than some and worse than others. It’s a question of what your expectations for him are. If you expect him to be a star and a cornerstone of the team, at this point, you would have to be disappointed. If want a solid right fielder with a great arm and some occasional pop at the plate, he is fine. The Braves could certainly do worse but I can’t see giving him big money at this point to buy out his free agent years because he hasn’t proven to me that he is worth it.

    What are the chances for a win tonight with Chucky pitching in CBP? I would say not very good. I would have skipped him in this ballpark.

  49. He’s good at cutting balls off in the gap and down the line, and he’s got a rocket. Those two are huge, and keep runners off bases they otherwise would be on, and makes outs after batters have reached are things that help a team win.

    They are not huge. They are nice to have. Your posts are straight out of the old TBS playbook of finding positive things to say about Frenchy even though he’s not really a productive player. Might as well start throwing RBI stats around.

    I’m willing to concede that he does some of the little things well. However unless he starts to do some of the big things well, he’s not going to be a player that helps you win games.

  50. Tex will bounce back…wouldn’t mind having kotsay around for another year or two. and yes frenchy is performing about where he always has…and is the new whipping boy. heh, welcome to the big time. we luv to blame u.

  51. Jeff is being consistantly Jeff. I mean the guy is hitting almost .280. If I told any of you that would be his average coming out of Spring training you’d take it.

    On the flip side… when can we get rid of Mark Teixiera. That trade looks worse to me all the time. We should trade Schaeffer and lock up Kotsay to the $10 million dollar deal. That guy is the biggest FA signing we’ve had in a while.

    I can’t tell if this is a serious post or not. It seems mostly serious, if erroneous, until the last two sentences…but then it falls off a cliff into Crazyland. Maybe Ben was sleep-typing.

  52. A voice of reason on the board, thanks Rob.

    A couple people on here have made it fashionable to bash Frenchy and others jumped on the bandwagon.

    Everyone loves a scapegoat.

  53. If only KJ were consistent. However I really like Kotsay in the # 2 hole behind the Great Escobar and in front of Chipper.

    Now I’m not the biggest fan of Frenchy…but I think maybe people are being a little too hard on him. He is still only 24 and hopefully as someone said earlier his power numbers will come around when the weather gets warm.

  54. But on the plus side, we know that Chuck won’t be thinking! Not thinking to Chuckie is sort of like spinach to Popeye — it gives him his edge.

  55. A short play.

    ROGER: How’s it going, Chuckie?

    CHUCK: Not too well, Rog. I just keep thinking so much!

    ROGER: Oh, man. That’s not good.

    WILL OHMAN: What?!?!?

    ROGER: I wasn’t talking about you! You’re doing great!

    OHMAN: Thanks!

    CHUCK: What can I do to not think? I tried getting drunk before the game, but I keep falling down.

    ROGER: I have an idea! Chipper!

    CHIPPER: Yup?

    ROGER: Hit Chuck in the forehead with your bat. Not too hard!

    CHIPPER: Okay.

    CHUCK: Duuuuuuuuh.

    ROGER: Success!

  56. just wondering if the Frenchybashers and wanna-be GMs’ have noticed that hes playing at least as well as the 1st basement/clean-uo hitter that thet’re saving their pennies to re-sign… looks to me like Mr. Tex was paying close attention when Andruw got the big contract he thought he was entitled to after going through the motins in Atlanta. all the “wait til Tex starts hitting” talk sounds exactly like waiting for Andruw.

  57. maybe Bobby has a similar problem “In-Game Management Sleeping”

  58. I think Tex has a track record of being a better hitter than Andruw. His BB/K are better, and he has a higher career average. I don’t think we should be connecting Andruw and Tex simply because they both played for the Braves during contract years. I think the situations are too different.

  59. OK, let’s cool down on the Francoeur/Teix comparisons. They’re patently ridiculous. I don’t think anyone is actually assigning blame to Francoeur for our early-season frustrations—they’re just saying he’s not very good and doesn’t show signs of progress.

    I mean, yes, so far, they’ve been about equally (un)productive. We have reason to believe the first baseman will start to hit…a lot. We don’t really have any such reason to believe Francoeur will.

  60. Stu, you realize you just said to stop the comparisons and the proceeded to make one.

  61. Supposedly, the matchup tonight is Hamels v. Chuckie. I am not confident.

    As for Frenchy and Tex, can’t I pile on too?

  62. nice work stu……you say stop the comparisons……….then you do exactly that. and remember, not everything you disagree with is ridiculous.

  63. Stu, it’s that people are looking for someone to blame for the team’s struggles. If you’re going to criticize Francouer for his lack-of-hitting, then the same should be done for Teixera. That’s really where the comparison ends, if that is even one.

  64. Also Frenchy was compared to Wright, Zimmerman and Ramirez as the future stars of the east. Well obviously Ramirez is the best of the bunch, and Wright is a close second. But here in DC Zimmerman is at .240 batting in the 3 hole. Give Frenchy a break. It’s not his fault he was way overhyped coming into the big leagues. With that said his plate discipline is a little Andruw-like.

  65. I believe Frenchy’s K’s per at bat are one of the best, if not the best on the team. I don’t think you can even come close to comparing his plate discipline to Andruw’s.

    And I don’t remember seeing Frenchy fall down after over swinging.

  66. Two comments about Frenchy (who isn’t “the” or really much of “a” problem):

    1) He’s been about league-average for a RF overall. Clearly worse than average in the hitting department but one of the top two in the fielding department. Which isn’t like trivial or anything.

    2) His extra-base hit rate has been very good. He’s got 17 XBH in 160 ABs, which is fine. A few doubles haven’t gone over the wall. He hasn’t had a power outage or anything.

    We’ve just got to stop expecting him to be all that good from the offensive side. He’s still got the upside to be a star, but I think his career will now mostly look like what he’s got going currently but with a couple of crazy “why can’t he be this good ever year?!” years that get him a huge payday post-arbitration.

  67. Also, Frenchy’s K/AB is far worse than McCann or Chipper. Probably also worse than Kotsay and Escobar.

  68. Yes, Lando and barry, I did make a comparison…to show how ridiculous making comparisons between those two is. You obviously missed my point, but I’ll be sure to choose my words more carefully in the future. And, barry, thanks for the valuable advice.

  69. Yeah the Frenchy bashing is getting almost Andruw like in proportion. I guess it bothers some that he is marketed like a star when it is clear that he isn’t. But he is more telegenic than McCann and I guess someone has to be the face of the franchise.

    I was looking at Escobar’s number so far this season. I wonder if the guys over at Baseball Prospectus are having a crow sandwich now? I gotta admit that I was skeptical that he was this good but I didn’t buy their assessment that he was a glorified backup either.

    Since it is apparent that so far we are no better than a .500 team I am wondering if the curse of the dark horse prediction has landed on us. Remember all those sports writers coming out of the woodwork predicting a division win for us?

  70. Stu, it’s often hard to tell when someone is being stupid or sarcastic on the internet. Tone doesn’t translate well on a message board.

  71. Stu, it’s that people are looking for someone to blame for the team’s struggles.

    Maybe I’m misinterpreting, but I honestly don’t read any of the Francoeur criticisms as blaming him for the Braves’ underachievement so far this season. The frustration I see is more generalized—he isn’t progressing and his hype-to-production ratio is off the charts. Nobody is saying, “You know, our team AVG and ERA are stellar, and we hit a lot of homeruns, and our lineup is potent, but we can’t get above .500 largely because of Jeff Francoeur.”

    If you’re going to criticize Francouer for his lack-of-hitting, then the same should be done for Teixera.

    I agree with you completely on this, as long as we’re just talking about 2008. Like I said, though, I just don’t think the Francoeur complaints are about 2008.

  72. I haven’t seen any discussion about it so I assume he’s fine, but just to verify- is Chipper’s groin OK? I saw him strain it in his last at-bat and at the time it looked a little scary, but I never heard anything after that.

  73. I think we should be happy his hype-to-production ratio is what it is. The Braves need to market certain players to get the average fans to the games more. The average fan doesn’t care that Frenchy’s RC/9 are less than most NL RFs. They don’t care that Yunel Escobar has a higher OPS than Frenchy. In Georgia, Francouer is a hugely likeable and marketable guy. He’s from the area and he’s a big, strong, good looking guy that brings girls to the stadium. And if it translates to more dollars coming into the team, then we should be happy. After all, more dollars theoretically mean a higher payroll.

  74. Again, I don’t disagree with you, Rob. I’m just saying that—and not simply his performance in the context of the 2008 Braves—is why people get frustrated and criticize him.

    Great point. I was worried when it happened but somehow had managed to forget about it. You should check with DOB.

  75. Johnny, you are exactly right about Escobar. I called it last year over some heated Escobar vs. KJ discussions. The man can flat out hit and he is consistent. And I can only see his power numbers increasing.

    The problem with the Braves is that right now they have one superstar and that’s Chipper, who is an injury waiting to happen. Sure Tex has been good in the past, but for an out of contention Texas squad. Meanwhile, the Mets have Reyes, Wright, and Beltran who have had superstar seasons in the past and are capable in the future and of course the Phillies with Rollins, Utley and Howard. I left out Delgado b/c I believe it’s about over for him, but he is still dangerous. I think McCann can be a superstar, and Yunel can be very good…but after that there is a huge dropoff.

  76. Rufino (and everyone else):

    By David O’Brien

    May 14, 2008 11:23 PM | Link to this

    …Chipper didn’t tweak anything.

    Someone’s lying, probably Chipper or whoever DOB talked to after the game.

  77. Good stuff Mac. You are right Francouer ISN’T good. When you are using these stats as a measuring stick. I am guessing that Bobby is looking at 13 doubles , .275 ba and 24 rbi and figures him to be good.

  78. Chipper mentioned that he’d be okay in his interview with Erin Andrews after the game. She asked what had happened and he didn’t say much and seemed embarrassed as if he couldn’t discuss the area in question with the lady. heh heh.

    Mac, excellent short play earlier. Any chance that we see the video production of it?

  79. francoeur is on the mark to knock in 100 runs, score 80 runs and have 50 doubles. at least that’s something positive, right? i think his power numbers will come up to about this year, probably knocking down his chances to finish the season with 50 2-baggers.

  80. I think Francoeur is progressing.

    His strikeout rate is down this year and his walk rate (which had improved) has not suffered. It seems to me that Frenchy is seeing more pitches per AB. His XBH% is also better than it was in 2006 and 2007.

    I think the problem is that this is not a “break out,” but it is sustainable, marginal progress. I admit that I would like to see a quantum leap, but the kid is an okay player in the Majors at age 24 and he is getting better.

  81. Thanks all for the Chipper update. As much as it hurts the Braves any time he gets injured, I would really hate to see him miss time now- he’s swinging such a hot bat. I know that the “hot hand” has been proven (arguably) statistically invalid by people a lot smarter than me, but still the fan in me wants to see him ride this streak out, not have it interrupted by a few games off or even worse, ruined because a nagging injury affects his mechanics.

  82. I don’t think anyone is “blaming” Frenchy for the team’s problems but pointing out that he is a league average right fielder. Nothing wrong with that but you would expect a first-round draft choice to be better. I don’t buy anymore that he is still young. He is going on his third full season in the majors. Most really good players are, at least, making significant progress by this age.

    As for Teixera, yes, he is having a bad year and has been a real drag on the team. But I am more willing to give a proven player the benefit of the doubt than a guy that consistently been worse than his publicity. In any event, Tex is irrelevant to Francouer, especially since Tex is likely to be gone after this year anyway. I agree with the previous comment about Zimmerman, who seems to be, at this point, at least a bit overrated. But, again, how does the fact that Zimmerman may be worse than Frenchy make Frenchy good. Juan Pierre is worse than Frenchy too. So what?

    Obviously, Francouer is far from the only reason the Braves are struggling but it doesn’t help to pretend that he is better than he is.

    As for Escobar (and Jurrjens), I am thrilled about how they are playing and pitching but I think it’s a little early to talk about anyone eating crow.

  83. With Hamel going today, who will be at 2nd?

    Infante or Gotay

    Wow Tex and Frenchy really need to come through tonite. When Prado comes back, who gets sent down?

  84. I think Francoeur is progressing.

    His .275/.318/.425 line says your wrong. Simply hitting more weak popups instead of striking out is not progress. I’d take the strikeouts back in a minute if it meant he could hit a HR occasionally like he used to.

  85. Brewers just inked Braun to an 8 year extension at 45million. Seems like a bargain for the crew. Yeah, he doesn’t have a position and he doesn’t hit righties well (his numbers against lefties last year were ridiculous). But I’d say he’s definitely worth that price. He definitely could have gotten more on the open market… but I guess you can’t argue with guaranteed wealth. Good for the Brewers.

    I have nothing to say about Frenchy and whatever contract he may or may not get offered. heh heh.

    Go Braves!

  86. Robert, I think you are taking a rather simplistic view. Perhaps, you are overly focused on batting average. That’s a mistake a lot of people make.

  87. I know the Chuck James “thinking too much comment” seems dumb but it does make a certain amount of sense. I suspect most of you all know this and are just using it as an excuse to crack wise. You’ll hear this type of thing from many athletes. An athlete has trained his body for a very long time to perform a specific function. After mastering the mechanics of the action it’s best to clear your mind and then visualize performing that action successfully. Any other thoughts that occur during the process are just a distraction.

  88. Braun was not up for arbitration unitl 2010-2011 and not up for free agency until 2013-2014. I’m pretty sure if he is as good as he has been so far, they will redo his deal. Damn the Diamondbacks and the Brewers have so many good young hitters.

    I guess the Braves are waiting to see if Frenchy is the real deal.

  89. I couldn’t care less about batting average. His walk rate is the same as last year (terrible) and his isolated power is the same as last year (bad for a corner outfielder). There is no progress.

  90. Parish @105,

    No I think Robert is NOT focusing on BA,w hich is the point. His BA is ok but his actual production is not. Strikeouts can be a problem but they are often not that big a deal. Obviously, there are times when a strikeout is worse than a ground ball but, in general, an out is an out. Frenchy makes a lot of outs.

  91. Francoeur was 3rd in the league in outs in ’06, 10th in ’07. I guess that’s progress… Ha! And his OPS+ from the same years was 87 and 103. 96 so far this year. From a corner outfielder. I don’t believe that even a radical boost for his defense can offset that. I wish he was better, I want him to be better, but I won’t hold my breath.

  92. I wonder if/how Francoeur’s development thus far would have been different with Don Baylor as his hitting instructor.

  93. I called out KJ vs Yunel last year also. KJ is a streaky hitter who comes out to be an average player at the end of the day.

    Yunel is the real deal.

  94. Yunel is the real deal.

    Agreed. Yunel should be the face of the franchise when the older guys are done with it. He’s just an awesome player. Credit to our scouts and brass that they saw something in him that the raw numbers weren’t showing and didn’t package him for Rocco Baldelli or something.

  95. …and didn’t package him for Rocco Baldelli or something.

    Heh. Yeah…

    I think McCann should be the face of the franchise, but maybe that’s just me.

    I still think Kelly’s better than Yunel, although Yunel is way better than I thought he was. I sure hope we hang on to both for a while.

  96. I’m fine with Frenchy being an average OF considering his salary/experience. What I’m not okay with is Teixera not producing considering his contract/experience.

    One guys is your cleanup hitter and the other bats in the 6 spot.

  97. Why do you think KJ is better? Average defense and #’s?

    As for McCann, I am very happy to see him back to form this year. Those injuries last year really held him back.

  98. I should say I think KJ’s a better hitter. Yunel is obviously much better and more valuable defensively, and that might well make him the better overall player.

  99. I still think Kelly’s better than Yunel,

    It’s a tough call right now, I’d probably take Yunel. Kelly’s defense is still a little spotty for my tastes.

    But yeah, they are both great building blocks to have. I just wish that the minor leagues would crank out some outfielders.

  100. On McCann, is anybody worried that he’s not taking care of himself physically? He looks much bigger than he used to be, although part (most?) of that could be that he opts for the Manny-Ramirez-style baggy look with his uniform.

    Dude sure can hit.

  101. I was one of the Yunel haters last year hoping JS was hyping him up for a trade, but I am now sold on his abilities. He has quickly become one of my favorite players.

    Stu, I too think McCann should be the face, at least until Heyward is ready. My expectations for Heyward are quickly spiraling out of control.

    Ububba, have you ever seen Paul van Dyk perform live?

  102. I just wish that the minor leagues would crank out some outfielders.

    I’d love to see what Brandon Jones could do.

    Schafer, Hernandez, and my man Heyward are on the way, but yeah, it’s been a while since we have and will probably be a while longer (at least) until we do produce any impact bats out there. Unless Francoeur blows up soon, of course.

  103. No not the Yunel vs. KJ argument again! lol. I love Yunel’s approach at the plate. Either KJ is an underachiever or just not as good as people think he is.

    Francouer has talent, he is just not smart. It’s that simple. I still think McCann’s injuries had something to do with his season last year…I think he is a legit .300 with 25 to 30 homers a year. A possible superstar.

  104. My expectations for Heyward are quickly spiraling out of control.

    Yes, yes, and yes. He’s already my favorite Braves player of all time, and I’ve never seen him play an inning of baseball.

  105. Tony,
    To the extent that a catcher outside of New York, LA or Boston can be a superstar, I’d say McCann already is. He’s 24 and will make his third consecutive All Star team this season.

  106. I agree. I am so tired of the Diaz shuffle in left field. Give Jones a chance. That’s what the Diamondbacks do…play their youngsters, and they are a fun team to watch.

  107. He could bike a lot too. That’s another low impact work out that’ll be easier on his ankles.

    At the end of the day, with Francouer’s youth and cheap salary, I’m okay with him having a 96 OPS+ and good defense. He’s shown ability to hit for power, an ability to improve his walk rate, and his BA is solid. I’m willing to wait and hope that he puts it all together.

  108. And on KJ, Tony, I think it’s you who doesn’t understand how good he actually is. For all the complaints about his streakiness and strikeouts, he was the 5th-best offensive 2B in baseball last year and is currently the 5th-best offensive 2B in baseball this year, with the only other top-5 constant being Ace Chutley.

  109. Robert / Marc,

    Francoeur’s isolated discipline and power are virtually the same as they were over the whole of last season. We saw a little bit of progress over the year last year and I think it is reasonable to expect the same this season, resulting in marginal improvement.

    The reason I am pointing at peripheral stats is that they give a more complete picture over shorter periods of time than BA and SLG (the components of isolated power).

    Frenchy is striking out less, but his walks have not suffered. Also, seeing more P/PA gives an indication that he is improving his judgement of the strike zone.

    Next, striking out less means Francoeur is putting more balls in play. A lower average under those circumstances means his BABIP is way down. Also, his LD% is up and better than it has ever been, implying that Frenchy is hitting the ball better and just has less to show for it. He’s been a little hit unlucky, relatively.

    I mentioned the XBH% because its increase typically accompanies a higher ISOP. That is, we should expect more power and more homers out of him.

    I am not saying that Frenchy is great or anything; I am just saying he is getting better.

  110. I love Yunel’s approach at the plate. Either KJ is an underachiever or just not as good as people think he is.

    Well a 115 OPS+ from a second baseman is nothing to sneeze at, but his minor league numbers suggest more is possible. He gives us a nice competitive advantage when the Mets are running the ghost of Luis Castillo out there.

  111. Someone mentioned Ryan Braun’s contract earlier with a reference to Francouer. Well the Braves have been trying to lock him up but he obviously wants too much.

    Funny KJ is out hitting Frenchy and yet Bobby platoons Johnson. Sigh.

    I might have been hasty in denouncing BP over their Escobar hate. Yunel might come crashing back to earth but the one thing that they dinged him on was his walks. Shoot I think that he is tied with Chipper for the most. Meanwhile back on the farm Brent Lillibridge is having a very tough season.

  112. Heads up! Tornado warnings have been issued for parts of Alabama. Check your local listings.

  113. Rob,
    Yeah, corner OF. Or 1B, if we somehow have a logjam out there, but at this juncture that doesn’t seem too likely.

  114. “I wonder if/how Francoeur’s development thus far would have been different with Don Baylor as his hitting instructor.”

    This is an interesting thought. It’s hard to see that TP has done much good with our hitters in general.

  115. As far platooning Francouer.. With whom? You already have to platoon the one extra outfielder Blanco, with “doughboy” in LF. Meanwhile you have 4 2nd baseman on the roster when Prado gets back. Bottomline, I say be patient with Frency. No I don’t think he will be as good as Wright, who he will be linked with b/c of their age, but I think he is serviceable FOR HIS CURRENT SALARY.

    Sure KJ numbers looked good at the end, but his streakiness during the season is almost Andruw-like. All we ask for is consistently KJ.

    I don’t see Yunel crashing down. If you can hit, you can hit. And his approach to going up the middle and to right is excellent.

  116. One of the Phillies announcers informed me during the game last night that TP is “one of the best hitting coaches in the game”.

    I’m glad they are fans. Maybe we could loan him out to let him “work on” Utley and Burrell for the rest of the season.

  117. pretty nasty here in B’ham, probably a good thing that they are playing in ATL tonight, then again with Jeff and Diaz facing Cole we might could use a rain out. Cole could have 10 k’s easily tonight if we throw this lineup out there


  118. they were talking about KJ trying to go the other way too much this year, over the past few weeks TP has been trying to get Kelly to hit the ball between 2B and the 1st baseman. Kelly has looked real good and the replays are showing that he’s really staying behind the ball and driving everything to RF right now. I’ll give TP some credit here if thats the case. I want to see KJ in the lineup tonight. He’s too hot right now to be sitting

  119. I wasn’t very high on Yunel coming into the year.

    There he goes silencing his critics again.

    Go Braves!

  120. For the record: I love Yunel, I agree that KJ’s defense can make me queasy, but I don’t go crazy about Frenchy—I save myself the disappointment & allow myself to be surprised whenever he comes thru. I do love his arm.

    I don’t think RBI are completely unimportant. Over-emphasized, sure, but not without value. And I hate it when Frenchy bats 5th.

    Hate King,
    Seen Paul van Dyk many times in many venues. I’m not a big trance guy, but (to use a very bad pun) he transcends the genre a little bit.

    He’s so much more than that. He’s actually a great DJ & one of the very few that can push any club onto the Richter Scale. When he’s on, the place goes bananas.

    Are you going to see him?

    Here are a few stories we’ve done on him.

    From ’07:

    From ’03:

    From ’00:

  121. For once this weekend I’m hoping the Braves don’t do anything truly amazing or remarkable this weekend. Still pulling for them to win every game but if Tim throws a no hitter or Chipper hits for the cycle or something I’m going to be annoyed.

    I’ve been watching games for years hoping to catch the truly special game and you just know they are going to do it the weekend I get married and can’t watch any of it.

  122. ESPN today had a blurb on Elvis Andrus. Last night he had multiple extra base hits, multiple stolen bases, 3 runs and an all around great game. They were saying he will be the prize of the Tex trade, not Salty or the fireballer who’s name escapes me.


  123. Thanks, Remy.

    Actually pretty excited about it. Just want to be able to go back to the hotel and see something along the bottom line ticker like Braves 6 Oakland 1. Not leading off Sportscenter with, “This game was one for the ages.” Unless its the Randy Johnson perfect game again. I just assumed have missed that one.

  124. My condolences Jorgbacca. At least it sounds like you had some pretty good years there watching games. That will be of some comfort while you are suffering through a matinée of Made Of Honor 2 while the Braves play the Mets.

  125. Jorgbacca,
    Don’t do it!

    Just kidding—congrats. And here’s to a wedding-weekend winning streak.

    No-Hitter Alert:
    Mike Pelfrey thru 6 IP, which begs the question: How are the Mets going to blow it this time?

  126. Oh, drat. (snicker, snicker)

    I write the words “no-hitter” and, just like that, the Nats’ Aaron Boone breaks it up.

    In its history, the Mets have now played 7,359 games without ever having a no-hitter.

  127. Here are a few pitchers who have thrown no-hitters since the Mets came into the league: Bud Smith. Anibal Sanchez. Kent Mercker. Hideo Nomo (once in each league!). Jose Jimenez. Tom Seaver — with the Reds.

    Of course, they’ve been no-hit 6 times.

  128. The Mets are currently being stymied by Bravekiller Jason Bergmann, who couldn’t have picked a better time to be an occasionally great pitcher.

  129. Merker was part of two no-nos

    I agree with everything Rob Cope said on this thread!

  130. Ububba,

    I am going to see him with a huge fan that promises a great time. I am looking forward to it.

    Does Pelfrey wear the mouth guards while he pitches?

  131. jorgbacca — congrats to you and the mrs. hopefully she’s a fan or at least tolerates your fandom.

  132. @99


    You don’t EXPECT a mid to late first round draft pick to be better than an average major league player (especially by age 24). If you did, and got nothing else out of the rest of the draft, you would still be awesome.

    Usually half of the mid to high first round are no more than “cup of cofffee” guys.

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