Brewers 1, Braves 0

ESPN – Braves vs. Brewers – Box Score – May 28, 2008

What’s the damn point? The Braves can’t beat Jeff Suppan when they get one of their best pitching performances of the year. They were limited to four hits, all before the sixth. They had scoring chances in the first and third, both times two-out rallies by Chipper and Teixeira, only for McCann to make outs. That was it.

Joseph Reyes was great, going 7 innings and striking out a career-high nine. But he walked the leadoff man in the eighth, Bobby pulled him (sure, now he goes to the bullpen, when a pitcher had retired the previous fifteen in a row or something like that, not when the pitcher has been struggling for three innings) and Boyer allowed a two-out triple to score the game’s only run. So Reyes, who was the best player on the field tonight, gets stuck with a loss. Stupid, stupid stat.

Chipper was 1-2 and is hitting .418. An umpire with delusions of grandeur (in other words, an umpire) decided to make himself the center of attention in the top of the eighth, and after calling Teixeira out on a pitch at shin level and several inches outside, then let Suppan throw strike two to McCann when he wasn’t even in the batter’s box. This team sucks on the road.

75 thoughts on “Brewers 1, Braves 0”

  1. I’m sure struggling teams can’t wait for the Braves to come to town. There’s nothing like a few 1-run victories at home to get a cold team rolling. And the Braves are really good at handing them out.

  2. For those who think switching Tex and McCann in the batting order will solve the problem, think again.

  3. csg, it may help, but this offense is not going anywhere when Tex and McCann are not hitting.

  4. This team is crazy if it thinks it can make the playoffs and be 25 games under .500 on the road.

  5. By the time they start playing well on the road, they will then be terrible at home. It’s all a matter of luck!

  6. Is it any wonder that we’re having trouble scoring runs with an OF of Infante, Blanco and Francoeur.

    Paging Frank Wren.

  7. I’m going to propose a new term: boyered, when a starter pitches great, then Boyer comes in and loses it for him. Usually its Glavine…tonight, Reyes got boyered.

  8. I have to admit; our OF is looking really bad right now. Can we go back to Sheffield/Jones/Whoever played LF?

  9. I think the more appropriate term for Boyered should be someone who pitches about 24 and 2/3 innings per week.

  10. Boyer’s been fine. I’ll admit, I saw the extra-base-hit coming, but I thought it would be a double in the gap, not a triple down the line.

    Considering that Sheffield and Andruw appear to be done, and Chipper hates the outfield, I don’t know that that would be the best idea. But the Tigers and Dodgers will listen.

    Serious trade suggestion: Raul Ibanez.

  11. Suppan sure knows how to step up in big games. Like game 7 of the NLCS, or the 60th game in mid-May.

  12. Can’t believe it. It’s like we have a different team outside Turner Field. The only good part is that I get to root for Chipper to get hits, even when Teixeria is choking away opps right after.

    Strike me down for this, but as pathetic as the outfield situation has been, would anyone consider going after Milton Bradley? (Granted, after Daniels bent us over for Teixeria, it might cost too much) But still, somthing needs to be done. Dunn maybe?

  13. I’d be happy if they traded for Dunn, but it won’t happen, because he strikes out too much. Of course, other guys on the team strike out too much and they won’t walk 100 times, but they have advertising campaigns built around them.

  14. What’s weird is that we don’t have a ridiculously glaring weakness this year. Last year, it was the starting pitching. This year, statistically, our offense, starting pitching, and bullpen have been good. I don’t know if it’s still the case (meaning I don’t feel like looking it up) but we were leading in raw stats like BA and ERA. I simply don’t get it. We lose 1-0, but we’ll win big in other games. We’re not consistently getting out-hit or out-pitched.

    What do you make of a team that’s bad on the road? Are we not booking good hotels? Is getting to see their wives at home making them looser at the plate? I don’t get it. What makes a team play this poorly on the road?

  15. Is it me, and I know he has good stuff, but I always have the feeling the Blaine is going to cough up a lead or give up a go ahead run. Just doesn’t seem clutch enough.

    Meanwhile, this was the ugliest outfield rotation I had seen in quite some time tonight. Hope some options are realized soon…

  16. Mac, does it really bother you that Francouer is marketed so much? Come on, you’re a smart business guy. In the United States, in the southeast, in Atlanta, Francouer sells. It’s not his fault just his persona and looks bring people to the park. Blame the front office.

    It kinda reminds me of something today. I live near Gainesville as many of you know. Tim Tebow is almost worshiped here. A church in the area had him come speak at a local high school, and he packed the place out. He talked about his faith and talked about what it means to be a student-athlete and encouraged high schoolers. A friend of mine teaches 6th grade, and can’t stand Tim Tebow because she grades paper after paper about Tebow and she’s a Miami fan. Now, Tebow is the best player in college football (just go with it…) and Francouer is grossly overrated, but the idea is the same: you can’t hold the person responsible for hype they may or may not deserve. I listened to Tebow speak for about 30 minutes, and the dude is humble and gracious for the ability he’s been given, and the guy doesn’t seem to heap praises on himself. But outside of Gator Nation, people seem to hate him. Why? It’s not his fault he’s good looking and marketable and humble.

  17. I’ll suggest Ibanez again. He’s a better player than he looks in the raw stats, and after Dunn probably the best corner OF on an out-of-it team. The bad teams seem to be particularly weak in the outfield this year. He should be a free agent after this season. And the Mariners and Braves have a relationship and have made a couple of trades over the last two years.

  18. (Sent that too soon)

    Let me clarify: people don’t hate Tebow, but there seems to be a level of resentment towards him because of the hype he receives. Some of it is because of his faith, and that’s understandable. Some of it is because he has this “aww shucks” personality, but those are the two reasons I can see you don’t like Tebow personally. But because people like him and he may or may not be overrated as a player doesn’t mean you should hold it against that person, unless you’re just straight petty and jealous.

  19. Nah, people hate Tebow because he’s a Gator, not because he’s chaismatic or whatever.

  20. But Tebow deserves it. He won the Heisman trophy and a national championship. People hate him *because* of that stuff. Francouer, on a regular basis, looks like he should be in AA. People rag on him b/c ANY praise he’s gotten hasn’t been “earned” yet…at all.

  21. I’d take Ibanez. The only problem is we have a lot of medium-power guys like Ibanez (Johnson, Escobar, Kotsay, Diaz, McCann, Francouer). I know getting a huge power guy would be tough, but he might not be exactly who we’re looking for. I’d still take him in a heartbeat.

  22. Rob, the problem isn’t that Francoeur is overhyped, it’s that he’s overhyped and that keeps the Braves from doing what they need to do with him. They’ve been far too patient with his numerous problems.

    I asked this question yesterday in the game thread, and nobody responded… Why do the Braves value Francoeur more than Johnson? Is there a single thing the former does better than the latter? Anything at all? Yet they’re trying to lock up Francoeur long term, while Johnson is probably going away as soon as he gets expensive. Francoeur never sits, while KJ is constantly fighting off platoons. The obvious answer is that it’s all about marketing and not about baseball.

  23. Stu, I tell ya man, he’s a different guy off the field. He goes nuts on the field and jacks some fools (Gino Hayes, where are you?), but he’s a pretty quiet guy off the field. Not exactly a public speaker, but for a 19 year old college football player, I think he did pretty good for himself.

    Let’s not forget that Francouer showed 4-tool player ability (is plate discipline a “tool”?) in his half-season in 2005. He’s had a bad last 2 1/2 years, but he came up and he hit for average, power, played good defense, and stole a few bases. That’s produced two things:

    1) He set himself lofty expectations that he may or may not be able to achieve.

    2) He’s shown he can be a great player.

  24. The “five tools” are hitting for average, hitting for power, running, throwing, and “fielding”. It’s obviously not a very complex concept. John Sickels’ “seven skills” are an improvement and include plate discipline.

  25. Oh, I know, Rob. I’m just messing with you. As I’ve said before, I’m a big Tebow fan. I just hope he loses every game he plays.

  26. I totally agree with you there, Mac. He doesn’t deserve the job security that KJ has been fighting to have a taste of. Now, things might be different if we had a legitimate person to replace him with. But you’re right; KJ is a stud and he’s being treated like a dud. Francouer deserves to be sat every now and again, or maybe even given some time in AA. And you’re right that there’s too much marketing involved. It goes back to it though: do you hate Francouer for that? Is it Francouer’s fault they let him play every day and has never been demoted?

    There was a guy on our team who played third for about 2/3 of the year. The kid could rake, but he was atrocious defensively. Like, worst third baseman I’d ever seen. But he never sat and we had some better options to replace him with. I couldn’t fault Luke because he was being overrated by our “coaching” staff. The blame goes on the people making the decisions, not the player benefiting from them.

  27. I wont argue the point about KJ deserving more value, but I might give the “throwing” tool to Francoeur.

  28. Ya know, we’ve gone through this before, but you could make the case that Francouer had a good year last year. He played good defense (maybe not Gold Glove defense), and he was oh-so-slightly above average at the plate (103 OPS+). I could live with a .293/.338/.444 line right now with his defense. Corner outfielders can’t throw up 89 OPS+ though. I don’t care who you can throw out or keep at a single.

  29. The home cookin’ for these guys must be mighty good for them to suck so hard on the road.

    And as far as Tebow goes, he seems like a nice enough kid but the recent circumcision story kinda weirded me out.

  30. Mac, I like the Ibanez suggestion, but do you think starting pitcher has a higher priority for the team right now or when the trading deadline comes? I don’t think the team has enough bullets to trade for both. However, if we are only to suggest Ibanez, I may actually prefer giving the job to Brandon Jones. The kid is coming around after the early struggle.

  31. Mac, the Braves seem to think there is 40-HR power in Frenchy. Maybe that’s true, but Frenchy can seem to combine the skill of patience (not that he has much) and power.

    I do agree with you that the team needs to appreciate KJ more…maybe they will when Bobby finally realizes KJ can actually hit lefties pretty well…and KJ improving on his defense…

  32. Wow, just read about the Tebow-circumcision thing. Uhh… whatever, I guess. That is kinda weird. To be fair though, circumcision is probably not the hardest thing to do, and in the Philippines, any help is needed. One of my professors grew up in the Philippines as a missionary kid (just like Tebow), and he had to do some crazy stuff to help people there. It’s just a different world…

  33. Hmmm, a different world, OK… Don’t chop the wang. It is not considered help, in my book. That is all.

    You are correct about the marketing of Frenchy, though. I would love to see the jersey and t-shirt sales numbers on Frenchy versus everyone else.

  34. I wish Wren had the stones to trade Francoeur. With Frenchy’s toolsy reputation, and marketing ability, he could probably fleece a team with him…I’m thinking for some good 0-3 pitching…

    Who has good young pitching, a disdain for actual production and a need for a “Fresh! Young! Superstar Slugger! ®”???

    The San Francisco Giants

    Sabean + Frenchy + (Vizquel is old/Lillibridge is young) + something else? + Wren letting ’em drop = Lincecum or Cain with a tomahawk on their jersey

  35. Look I like Timmy Tebow, but I think the reason why so many people hate him is because a) he has a Chuck Norris like page devoted to him and b) Urban Meyer makes rediculous statements like “The first time he picked up a golf club, he hit it 370 yards”

    It gets a little nauseating at times.

  36. I don’t think teams are quite that stupid. Teams like the Giants, dumb as they are, have at least somebody their organization that can google “Runs Created,” and be scared off by Frenchy.

  37. hopefully the Giant’s D.G.G. (designated google guy) will be out sick when Wren drops the fleece bomb.

    Make The Call Frank!

    Of course I’m being facetious, but it’s frustrating to see a player providing lower production while playing a position of more offensive importance, getting to play every-single-day with a more drastic platoon split, while another player surpasses everyones expectations while learning a new position, provides near-elite level production from that position, and has to fight off a platoon. That was a long sentence. Ima sleep now

  38. M-Braves just played their 53rd game, which means Schafer is about to come back and play.

  39. Frenchy does exactly one thing better than KJ: He plays his position better. You can carp about this or that with Frenchy’s outfield play, but he’s definitely not below average. KJ is average at best.

    But, that’s all.

    As a player, I generally like Tebow. He’s not a great passer, but he’s not bad either. If one of those actual ball-carrying running backs works out this year, he won’t have to take such a eating (or give such a beating).

    Much to our pleasure, Florida didn’t really have a feature back last year. Or much of a defense.

    Also, I agree with Rob that Tebow’s constant professions of faith can alienate people sometimes. I was watching the Heisman show & when he won & went into his speech, my girlfriend looked up from her magazine & said, “Oh, keep it to yourself!”

    Personally, I don’t care—he can do whatever he wants. It was his moment & he earned it.

    But I’m generally with Stu. I respect him, but he wears those blue-and-orange uniforms, so if he ever went 1-11, I’d be disappointed that he won that one game.

  40. Glad to say that I was wrong about Jo Jo on the road…Of course the Braves have yet to figure out road games…

  41. On another note: I am in Windsor doing research and last night watched England beat the U.S. in soccer. This prompted me to suggest that Frenchy should somehow be connected to David Beckham as both are loved by local media and both are overrated. I realize that what I just wrote might be unfair to Beckham, but somehow I can see them together….

  42. Why is it unfair to Beckham? In terms of football or soccer which ever way you want to call it, Beckham’s skill set is very limited. He has no speed, he can’t dribble, but he is an awesome deadball player with great stamina. He is indeed the most overrated player, but England somehow continues to struggle to score without Beckham’s deadball skill…go figure…

  43. Unlike Frenchy, there was a time (about 8 years ago) when Beckham was a great player….

  44. That’s true Stephen. I hope there will be a time when we can call Frenchy “a great player”.

  45. Yeah–and sooner rather than later….I have not been a big Frenchy basher, but I am not seeing any of the ‘growth’ or ‘development’ which once seemed to be likely…

  46. Do you think the “growth” of Frenchy is as frustrating as watching Furcal’s early years?

  47. Three things annoy me about Francoeur.

    1) The organization rammed him down our throats as the next big star since the day he was drafted. I believe it is the cause for the next issues.

    2) This has resulted in him being far more popular among fans than he should be. I went to the game on Monday and Francoeur received the loudest cheers, by far. Chipper is chasing .400 and is the best hitter in baseball this season, yet his applause is about half what Frenchy got. Even McCann, who is the same age, from the same county, and is on his way to his third straight All-Star team got less hoots and hollers.

    3) Like the fans, the media has bought into the same myth of the Natural. I constantly hear Francoeur’s name mentioned with Chipper and Tex as a “slugger” or a “big bopper.” The dude had about 150 ABs in which pitchers stupidly grooved fastballs down the middle of the plate and he still lives off this reputation. Before last season Buck Belue predicted Francoeur would hit over 40 HRs (and Chipper would not) while getting MVP consideration. How far does your head have to be up your butt to say something like that? And this isn’t isolated. Frenchy is often one of the three braves mentioned in Fox and ESPN teasers as one of the team’s stars.

    Do I blame Frenchy? No. But I think he has bought into his own hype, which has hurt his development. People still compare him to Andruw as a negative comparison. That is a bad comparison, because AJ was far better than Francouer.

  48. I give Frenchy some slack because the organization completely rushed him into the bigs. he responded well, but truly needed more time down there to work on his game as a whole.
    If Tex was hitting like last year, we would not care, he deserves much more of our grief than Frenchy.

  49. Hmmm…two suggestions:

    1) Maybe the Braves need to sleep in their own beds to play well. Soooo….why not commute to road games? Especially on the East Coast? Atlanta to Cincy is what, a two hour flight? Home by 1Am, leave for Cincy at 3PM the next day. Heck, we couldn’t play any worse doing that than we are now.

    2) Free Phil……………………..


    Ugh. But, it seems to be the only thing that’s working.

  50. That was a painful loss to stay awake for… I didn’t catch the early part of the game and when I saw JoJo still in it in the 7th with no score I had that sinking “we’re not going to hit on the road, and we’re not going to hit late in the game” feeling and should’ve just turned it off and gotten another 20 minutes of sleep.

    Intellectually I know that we’re going to lose some heartbreakers, but emotionally I look at Hudson’s 8 innings, 2 runs, 6Ks, 1BB (plus the fact he hit a double); and JoJo’s 7 innings, 1 run, 9Ks, 3BBs and can’t help but feel a bit depressed we waisted both of those starts by not winning either of them. At this point it seems to be such a psychological block that our guys not named Chipper just can’t get the bat on the ball when they’re not at home.

    I’m sure it’ll average out in the end, but until it does it’s going to be pretty friggin annoying.

  51. Oh, and in case nobody noticed, we’re heading to Cincinnati next… where they’ve won 9 home games in a row now… they’ve got a home/away split that’s similar to ours, that’s a recipe for another ugly series.

  52. This is random, but…

    The AJC and the Braves MLB site both have the exact same picture of Jo Jo up right now, and under the AJC one they credit the Associated Press. What is this? Has nobody taken any pictures of Jo Jo? Isn’t it weird that they both used the same picture?

  53. unfortunately i may be to blame for this loss, i got home just in time to watch the last two pitches to Tex in the 8th and then the stupidity that followed during B-mac’s at bat. i have never seen an ump show his ass quite like that. to demand the McCann returns to the batter’s box…then lets the pitcher have a free pitch when he doesn’t step in. what an ass. Jo-Jo pitched great and i was great to see him bounce back. the offense needs to get going.
    i agree with you completely. Frenchy has bought into his own hype and it has hurt his development. he’s on the express train to sub-mediocrity. the best i’ve seen him at the plate this year was after he got a game off and finally started applying some of the things his coaches had been preaching at the plate.
    i’m not a frenchy basher, but i certainly don’t think he’s the braves’ next big thing either. i’d give him a lot less grief if he’d start taking his time at the plate. nuf said. let’s go out and get a game from the boozers!

  54. I am with Mac. and JC. The Francouer hype that the organization has constantly been pumping out has resulted in a lot of distaste for the kid by baseball cognoscenti. Not his fault. It is the Braves fault (Bobby’s) that they continue to give Frenchy so much rope. Where he is at now he is an actual drag on the team. McCann and KJ are much better players, period.
    The KJ thing mystifies me too. All statistical evidence points to him being an everyday player. I am a Bobby Cox fan but I don’t understand this.

  55. Totally agree with JC. Frenchy is an average player and even people that should know better buy into the hype. John Kruk couldn’t stop talking about how good Frenchy was (ok, admittedly, it was John Kruk). Part of it is the Braves buy into the tools thing so much when tools aren’t necessarily the defining quality for a baseball player. No doubt Francouer is a great athlete but that’s not the same as being a great baseball player. Lots of baseball skills are not, per se, athletic skills; eg, the ability to read pitches and be selective.

  56. I really thought that Frenchy showed significant improvement last year in plate discipline. His power was down, but I was hopeful this year. He’s had a rough start, but I hope he can break out of it.

    It just looks like he decides whether or not he’ll swing at the first pitch in the on-deck circle. He often ends up looking horrible on a ball way outside or he takes a pitch down the middle. He digs himself a hole that is hard to get out of. If this doesn’t change, he’s in for a long year.

  57. Well, you knew this was gonna happen…

    I’ll say what I said yesterday: this is not a division winning team. It breaks my heart to see two outstanding pitching performances wasted. And it isn’t like the opposing pitchers are of any quality. It’s pitiful.

  58. I think we all know Jeff Francoeur’s limitations as a player by now. Sure, there are probably some troglydyte fan-boys out there who think he’s the MVP of the team or some such nonsense, but most everyone here (and in general, to my experience) knows what he is at this point. And that’s Joe Carter. We’d all love for him to take the next step and justify the hype and such, but Joe Carter can be a useful player nonetheless.

    As for his usage, I’m not sure who else should be playing in his stead. Its not like Brandon Jones is just demanding a platoon role in the majors with his sub-600 OPS in Richmond.

    Regarding his popularity, that has nothing to do with baseball. Francouer is a pretty face and the young girls love him. If you want him to get fewer cheers than Chipper you’re going to have to limit the attendance of Braves games to, well, baseball geeks. That’s not a good business plan.

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