Braves 8, Brewers 1

ESPN – Braves vs. Brewers – Box Score – May 29, 2008

See, that’s how you get yourself a really distored Pythagorean record — you lose two one-run games then you win by seven. At first, it looked like more of the same. With the bases loaded and one out in the first, Norton (playing left because Kotsay is still out, hitting fifth because it was McCann’s day off and the other options were even worse) grounded into a double play. They finally got a run, after eighteen innings, in the third, on an infield single back of first base by Teixeira (a great play would have gotten him, but as it was he and the pitcher ran into each other). But Norton grounded out and that was the end of that threat. The truly horrible Abe Miller lined into a double play (Francoeur helped) with two on and nobody out in the fourth.

Jorge Campillo, meanwhile, was doing what the Braves’ starters have all series and holding the Brewers down. Finally, in the fifth, the Braves burst through for some real offense. KJ singled with one out, then stole second, which of course turned on the “Walk Chipper” signal. Finally, Teixeira made them pay with a three-run homer to make it 4-0. With two out, Francoeur doubled and Blanco was intentionally walked. They then walked Corky (who is hitting .077) to load the bases, and Campillo came through with a single to make it 6-0. He made one mistake, leading off the bottom of the inning, allowing a solo homer to Branyan, but that was it. Campillo struck out six and didn’t walk any in five innings, leaving with 73 pitches thrown and 49 strikes. I don’t know if it was blisters again or overcautiousness.

Bobby now has an eight-man bullpen, and yet won’t use at least three members of it. Instead, the same guys who pitched earlier in the series came out with a five-run lead. Bennett got lucky in the sixth when the Brewers made a baserunning mistake and got caught in a rundown between home and third to end the inning. Boyer got two men in the seventh, but walked two, and Bobby came back with Acosta, who was well rested, and who faced four men in all and struck them all out. (He also batted with the bases loaded and two out in the eighth inning, when a 6-1 lead is not that safe, but whatever.)

Johnson came through with a bases-loaded two-out single in the ninth to make it 8-1. Coming back off the DL, Soriano struck out the first man he faced, but walked the second, and his velocity (according to Gameday) seems to be down. I remain unconvinced he’s truly healthy, but the Brewers didn’t do anything to him.

Chipper was 2-4 with two walks and is hitting .420. His on-base percentage is about .500. The Braves had twelve hits and eleven walks, and everybody reached base at least twice except Norton, who was 1-4 before leaving for defense. On to Cincinnati.

128 thoughts on “Braves 8, Brewers 1”

  1. Ok , Another theory. Jurrjens can’t go tomorrow because of the blisters and Carlyle is going with Stockman as backup.

    There has to be a reason!

  2. at least we were able to win one without our regular LF (well Blanco actually plays more), Kotsay, and McCann.

    its really time for the personel to be addressed on the team. We have 3 relievers who have no chance at coming in. We have two reg outfielders healthy. A pinch hitter hitting .120 and a catcher hitting .080. Please send Carlyle down and call up Jones. Send Corky down and call up Sammons.

  3. My god Chipper is just…. words can’t describe it.

    When was the last time someone was at .420 going into June?

  4. What’s the word on Pena and Resop clearing waivers or being traded? I hope Resop is released, but we should at least get something for Pena, or send him to the minors for a short while. As is stated above, release Corky.

  5. as I and some others have stated, Pena has more value to this club than Miller. Its the backup catcher role which isnt all that important, but you would at least like to have a little faith that the guy coming in can contribute somewhat. Miller has 3 passed balls and is hitting under .100.

  6. Because I know you all care, a Vanderbilt update from Keith Law!

    Brandon (Nashville): How does Vandy’s recruitting class look for next year?

    Keith Law: Unreal. If they get all/most of their guys, and I think they will, they could be a powerhouse for the next three years.

    I can’t wait.

    Tony, Chicago: Given the baseball renaissance at Vandy recently, for a non-big state school to do the same, in what order of importance do you put the following factors: weather/conference/coach/facilities/academics?

    Keith Law: That’s a cool question. Totally my opinion, but I’d say academics, coach, conference, weather, facilities. Corbin and whoever does his recruiting deserve credit for scouring cold-weather states for kids like Flaherty, Hewitt, Marquis, Loftus, etc.

    Nah, I’d say it’s (1) coach, (2) facilities, (3) academics, (4) conference, and (5) weather.

    Note that in four of those five categories (weather being the only exception), Vanderbilt is pretty much second to none among D-I programs.

  7. it takes talent to score twice as many runs as your opponent, have more hits, less errors, and have your starters put up a line of 20IP, 4ER, 1.80 ERA and you manage to lose 2 of 3.

    today is positive though

  8. I’m very happy about the win, and Campillo’s performance in particular, but the Braves still left at least thirteen men on base (I lost count).

  9. I wonder what would happen if Bobby managed French like this. FROM SI.COM:

    What’s wrong with Guerrero?
    Posted: Thursday May 29, 2008 07:20AM ET
    Vladimir Guerrero has shown signs of coming out of his season-long funk, hitting three home runs last week and going three for six Monday night. But Manager Mike Scioscia saw enough of a regression Tuesday — a first-inning strikeout on an outside ball in the dirt and a strikeout looking at a full-count slider with two on to end the sixth — that he gave Guerrero his second game off in four days Wednesday. Guerrero, who has hit at least .300 with 25 home runs in each of his last 10 seasons, is batting .258 with seven homers and 28 runs batted in. The notoriously free swinger has expanded his strike zone even more this season and has been falling off to the third-base side on too many swings.

  10. To be fair, Corky’s lineout in the 4th was a hard hit ball, he just got unlucky that he hit it right at the third baseman.

  11. should the team be penalized for leaving runners on base when the manager allows a reliever to hit with 3 of them on?

  12. Did Jorge Campillo and Pedro Martinez switch bodies before the season or something? Where the hell did this guy come from?

  13. I agree that Corky has been hit unlucky. With better luck, he could be batting very close to .150!

  14. BTW, Erik Bakich is the recruiting coordinator—I doubt he’ll be around too much longer—and this is the list of names you should remember:

    RHP/1B Jack Armstrong, Jr. (dad pitched for the Reds)
    RHP Will Clinard
    3B Jason Esposito
    LHP Grayson Garvin
    RHP Sonny Gray (the crown jewel of the class, recently told teams not to draft him ’cause he’s going to VU)
    INF Andrew Harris (local kid who’s walking on, just like his older brother)
    SS/OF Anthony Hewitt (if he makes it to campus)
    3B Joe Loftus
    OF Matt Marquis
    OF Adam Milligan (if he makes it to campus—the Braves have already drafted this kid twice)
    RHP Navery Moore
    C/OF Dylan Pratt
    ss Riley Reynolds
    OF/RHP Ryan Westmoreland (if he makes it to campus)
    LHP Corey Williams

    (I don’t actually believe that any of you are reading this. I do this for my own edification.)

  15. Corky Miller is the Keith Lockhart of this generation (except Lockhart was better).

    By the way, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the Braves have a 12 game road trip coming up shortly.

  16. Stu,

    Actually, I am reading it. As a Kentucky grad, I’m looking forward to our respective almae matres performing well in the CWS. I’ll actually be in Omaha during that time and hope to see one of us there.

    Vandy seems to be becoming a destination spot for dominant starters. I’ll trade you one of our hitters for one of your lefties …

  17. And, of course, Georgia gets another chance to swat the Humble Bumbles from the North Avenue Trade School in the Athens Regional.

  18. hankonly,
    Yeah, well, beating Arizona State in Tempe isn’t going to be easy, but I think we’re due some good fortune after the Regional debacle in Nashville last year. (Of course, VU athletics would always seem to be due some good fortune and it hasn’t come our way yet…)

    Cohen, though a completely classless tool, has done a pretty remarkable job turning that UK program around. It’s gotta be tough for y’all to compete with a bunch of super-warm-weather schools.

    That said, we’ll keep our pitchers and our hitters. :)

  19. Much as we hate Miller, McCann needs the break – he’s 4th in the bigs in innings caught. I’m glad he got some rest today.

  20. It’s not the use of the backup catcher that’s the problem, it’s who the backup catcher is. And the worse hitter the backup catcher is, the more reluctant Bobby will be to rest the starter.

  21. From ESPN:

    • Mad Dog for sale?: Greg Maddux to the Braves? Hey, it’s a beautiful plot line. It’s a rumor that never quite dies. And it sure isn’t impossible, if the price is right. But clubs that have spoken with the Braves say they’re more focused on trying to find a younger starting pitcher they can hang onto for just the last few months of this season. So think more along the lines of the non-free agents who could pop onto the market (though not necessarily these names in particular) — Joe Blanton, Rich Harden, Bronson Arroyo, Daniel Cabrera, Jeremy Bonderman, etc.

    The Bronson Arroyo rumor starts again. Didn’t we go through this last year?

  22. There’s some Chipper and Braves stuff in this Stark column, but I’m most interested by this:

    One described watching Delgado these days as “sad.” The other put it this way: “He can’t field. And he can only hit [mistakes]. Anybody who can throw the ball with any velocity at all throws it right by him.”

    [Mistakes], huh? I’ve a feeling that the word used was a bit stronger.

  23. I don’t know if it was discussed or not.. but that SB by KJ in the 5th was intentional by the Brewers. They didn’t want to face Chipper at all and no one was holding KJ on 1st. Chipper should get credit for an IBB and an ISB.

  24. OK, it’s time to call up Brandon Jones and see what he can do as an everyday LF.

  25. Yesterday, I said:

    “Honestly, I’m willing to give odds that we hang a 10-spot tomorrow and end up with a 1-2 series where we out-scored the opponents by 6 runs.”

    So I guess I was off by a couple. It’s insane how predictable this has become. This team is very good. At this point, the road thing has to be mental. Maybe they’ll continue wearing non-standard hats like they did today and that’ll do it.

    All that said: if we take two of three from Cinci, we come out of it all with a .500 road trip, which has to be seen as a positive at this point. We’ve got Jurrjens, Glavine, and Hudson (which is probably the best three we could send to pitch at that bandbox), so I’m optimistic.

  26. Yes, but whenever any of those three starts to leave the ball up (which is a signal that they’re tired) Bobby has to be ready to make a move. Immediately.

  27. I’m reading it Stu.

    I am very excited about Sonny Gray and Grayson Garvin who is from our area and goes to my church.

  28. I’m looking for Yunel, KJ, Tex, McCann and Chipper to have big games in Cincy. It will be warm. On the flip side braves pitchers need to keep Paul Bunyan in the yard.

  29. Stu, I’m reading, but only because I’m at work. I don’t care about college sports, and I really really don’t care about Vanderbilt. Don’t root against ’em, and I’m happy you’re happy, but that’s where I’m at.

  30. I said it in his last start and I’ll say it again — the best thing about Campillo is he just throws strikes. His K:BB ratio this year is 33:5 and he hasn’t walked anoyone since May 8th in a relief appearance. The only run they scored yesterday came after the leadoff walk. I hate seeing free baserunners because they tend to score. We’ll need both Joseph and Jorge to duplicate these starts against the Marlins next week.

    Did anyone wake up the rest of the bullpen and let them know the game was over?

  31. Parish,
    Next year could be kinda rocky, especially on offense—if Giobbi (RS Soph.) comes back to school, that’ll make 1 returning starter in the line-up—but the pitching should be incredibly good, and in two years, the sky is the limit.

    Uh, OK.

  32. Nah, ububba. Tech is going to win this. They have a good offence and just enough pitching.
    I hope Fields gets plastered.

  33. Fields was reaching 97 (97!) on the gun at Turner Field against the North Avenue Trade School.

    Just the fastball will not be enough, but it’s a pretty good start.

  34. Glory, glory to ol’ Georgia!
    Glory, glory to ol’ Georgia!
    Glory, glory to ol’ Georgia!
    And to hell with Georgia Tech!

  35. “It was good for the one time I’ve thrown,” Soriano said. “I’m going to be all right. I’m not worried about that right now because I know I’ve got my fastball. Sometimes it takes a while to come back [at] 97, 98. Right now to come back and throw 94, 92, I’ll be all right.”

    I hope that makes us all feel better.

  36. Personnel issues are Frank Wren’s problem, not Bobby’s. Can’t fault the guy for only trusting a couple of his RPs.

  37. its not really a matter of trust, its situational. There is no point in bringing in Boyer when we’re winning by 5 in the 8th and he’s pitched in the last 3 days. Bobby is going to kill all the people he trust because he doesnt use the other guys when he needs to. Stockman has always put up strong numbers and he’s continued to do so in the 4.1 IP that we;ve seen him here this year. We’ve had two big leads in the last four games and Bobby could’ve used some of these other arms, but he refuses to do so. It makes no sense

  38. If personnel issues are Wren’s deal, then he needs to find players Bobby will use, or make Bobby play the players he has. We’re working with a 21-man roster right now.

  39. Knowing Bobby, if Wren made him do that, he would probably then use our worst relievers in one run games while still using the best in blowouts.

    Okay, that’s probably not accurate, but it’s frustrating.

  40. I love to pick as much as anybody, but I find it challenging to knock Bobby for how he’s handled the pitchers when we’ve had the fewest runs allowed in the NL pretty much the whole season – without Soriano, Moylan and Smoltz for much of it.

    However, I find it very easy to knock Wren for not suppling Bobby even one everyday major league quality corner outfielder, and therefore keeping the offense from being truly scary.

  41. 29-25 , 2 games out with Smoltz, hampton, moylan, and soriano contributing very little.
    Wren did acquire Jair and Gorky is doing well.
    not that bad.

  42. As much as we hate Francoeur, and as much as we want him to do better, you are setting pretty high standards if you dont consider him an everday quality major league player. And there was no reason to believe Matt Diaz would not produce given the chance. Remember that Blanco was supposed to be our 4th outfielder, not our second best. We can’t just get players at the snap of a finger here

  43. And just a couple minor league updates: Gorkys Hernandez went 1-for-4 today in his first game back since his hamstring problem. Smoltz threw 2 innings for Rome and struck out 3. And Charlie Morton is spinning a shutout through 7 innings at Richmond

  44. Morton walked 1 and struck out 7 in 7 innings, lowering his ERA to 1.91. If we need another starter soon, he’s definitely an option.

  45. Eric, I must politely disagree. Asking that Francoeur provide the production of an average major leage right fielder is not “setting pretty high standards.” It is merely setting average standards. And he isn’t meeting those. As for there being “no reason to believe Matt Diaz would not produce given the chance,” what about that time they gave him the chance to start and he didn’t produce? Hmmm, when was that? Oh yeah, the 2008 season.

  46. Yes I agree that he did not produce at the beginning of the 2008 season. But given the information available, I do not believe it was a mistake going into the season believing Matt Diaz could be a capable everyday left fielder. Obviously we were wrong, but like I said, we cannot just acquire players at the snap of a finger

  47. Just back from Rome Braves–Smoltz went two, facing 7 batters and giving up one hit IIRC. He didn’t seem happy with his control (esp the breaking ball I think) and he airmailed one to the backstop. Apparently he’ll pitch in Rome again on Saturday.

    My kid got a graph from Rohrbaugh; it was good of him to sign for a bunch of kids.

    Just like the big club, there was a 1 run loss. Hayward had 3 walks. Freddy Freeman was the only batter getting good wood on the ball–he had two doubles and a long fly to center.

  48. “Personnel issues are Frank Wren’s problem, not Bobby’s. Can’t fault the guy for only trusting a couple of his RPs.”

    yes, wren’s done terribly. he’s only given us the best pitching in the nl, the 5th best run producing team, the best batting average in the nl, and it’s not like he’s had to deal with diversity. i mean, only 4 of the starting 6 have been hurt for a significant amount of time, a starting left and right fielder who have put up terrible numbers, a first baseman who’s underachieving, a closer who has barely pitched, a setup man who has season ending elbow surgery, and yet his team is still above .500. not to mention that we have lost 14 one run games this year. yes, it’s all frank wren’s fault.

    braves armchair managers, what should frank wren do that he has not done yet? blaming him for ANYTHING is just not fallable.

    just step back from the picture for a bit and realize what a manager and gm has had to go through with this team the first 2 months of the season. frank wren’s done a good job. bobby has made his normal bonehead game decisions, but that has never been his strength.

  49. I really liked the look of the team going into the season. My questions were about Kotsay more than anything. Diaz sucking is surprising but also not too out of the question given how dependent he is on balls in play for his value. What we really need is a Scott-Thorman-but-good type of player to shore up the bench and give us someone to stick at an outfield corner in a pinch.

    The Frenchy issue is different. In the past, he has been a league-average player in RF due to his excellent arm and defense. But this year he’s really fallen in the tank. He’s making contact, and until recently the only problem was that a few doubles weren’t making it over the walls. But he’s been pretty bad recently. I’m still holding out hope that he turns a corner. I mean, there are still a lot of positives going for him, not the least of which is his age. I worry that his swing is too long and that he’ll never make the adjustments necessary to shorten it. Honestly, my best guess is that he never realizes his potential while he’s with the Braves but instead leaves after his arbitration years before realizing his potential.

    Replacing Corky might not be a bad idea, although you wouldn’t want to screw anything up with Campillo. (‘Course, I don’t think Corky has much to do with that….)

    On balance, all we need to do is get healthy and find a real bat for LF, whether that is Diaz getting healthy, Jones remembering that he’s good, or importing Murton or something.

  50. Was at Richmond last night for the 9-1 loss. B.Jones had one plate appearence then apparently got tossed for arguing balls/strikes….the immortal Reggie Taylor replaced him.

    Lillibridge is fighting it, striking out twice and tossed his helmet/bat after both, he’s pressing for sure.

    Sammons was steady behind the plate, made good throws, and would be an upgrade over Corky….of course, what remains of Charlie O’Brien would be an upgrade too.

    Anderson has some sorta speed and really busts it down the line, even on the routine stuff. He made everything close. Scott Williamson struggled to say the least and Rowenhorst (sp?) got beat up in the starting effort.

  51. I always thought Diaz’s production in ’06 and ’07 was evidence that he was being used properly. He’s a lefty masher that you ride while he’s hot. Fortunately for him, we face a lot of southpaws in our division.

    He hit for such a high average that he forced their hand — he deserved a shot to play every day, but there was every chance he’d be overexposed with a starting job. It happened more quickly and more severely than anyone could have predicted, but I can’t fault how he’s been handled. It just hasn’t worked out very well.

    Fortunately, Blanco has taken well to increased playing time. I remain convinced he should be leading off — he sees a lot of pitches, which has value over and above his production. He’s been on base 51 times, but has only been driven in from the bases 11 times, despite being very fast.

  52. Robert, #50, I’m very happy with run prevention, but timing is everything. If you told me we’d hold the Brewers to 5 runs over three games, I’d have been happy. If you told me we’d lose two of them anyway, I’d have been perplexed. But we managed to.

    Bad management? A lack of timely hitting? A lot of both. But Bobby’s not blameless. And our good relievers are going to be toast by the summer, just in time for our yearly June swoon. This is a cycle we’ve been on for a while now.

  53. Bad management? A lack of timely hitting? A lot of both.

    So good management would have held the Brewers to three runs? one? none? Nah, the problem is we have no outfielders – and of course the timely hitting thing but I’m not sure what a manager can do about that.

    we cannot just acquire players at the snap of a finger

    This is true of course, but it was very predictable we’d need an outfielder or two all off season yet it wasn’t addressed. The team relied on Willie Harris last season – Willie Harris! – and still didn’t bring anybody new into the mix. And of course Francoeur has never been adequate but it’s asking too much for them to fix that until he gets expensive.

  54. Vandy is going to be sick. I just graduated from high school here in Nashville and I played against Will Clinard, Navery Moore, Andrew Harris, and others. They are nasty. A kid on my team is a junior who Tim Corbin wants bad and he can straight play. A coach for an opposing team who played in the majors said my teammate is an MLB 4-tool prospect. He really wants to play for Corbin.

  55. Great news from the entire minor league system:

    AAA – Charlie Morton: 7IP, 4H, 0R, 2BB, 7Ks
    AA – Tommy Hanson: 6 IP, 3H, 1R, 1BB, 6Ks
    Advanced A – Gorkys is back!!!
    A – Smoltz pitched, Locke pitched a fine game, Heyward is starting to draw walks on top of hitting high average with power, and I am liking Freeman more and more.

  56. Smoltz apparently physically, mentally, and emotionally felt good about his outing upon immediate reflection, which in my opinion is the most important thing during a rehab assignment. (His results were fine too). He should be activated Monday according to Peanut.

  57. While it seemed clear we weren’t going to field an All-Star outfield, there was every reason to believe that Francoeur would improve this season — consolidating his “improved” plate discipline and adding some power was not an unrealistic expectation, hindsight be damned. He and Diaz have both underperformed.

    Kotsay wasn’t my first choice, but considering we had B. Jones, Blanco, and a pre-scandal Schafer waiting in the wings, a place-holder made sense. As long as he wasn’t Corey Patterson, I wasn’t too perturbed.

  58. Remember a few years ago when we had the best outfield in the Bigs?

    Chipper, Andruw, Sheff. Yeah.

  59. “yes, wren’s done terribly. he’s only given us the best pitching in the nl, the 5th best run producing team, the best batting average in the nl, and it’s not like he’s had to deal with diversity. i mean, only 4 of the starting 6 have been hurt for a significant amount of time, a starting left and right fielder who have put up terrible numbers, a first baseman who’s underachieving, a closer who has barely pitched, a setup man who has season ending elbow surgery, and yet his team is still above .500. not to mention that we have lost 14 one run games this year. yes, it’s all frank wren’s fault.”

    You’re right, now I see that it’s all Bobby’s fault.

  60. A) we’ll see if blockquote works for me
    B) I think they got it right on the Quote of the Week.

    Quote of the week
    From Charles Barkley, of all people, on Jon Lester’s no-hitter:

    “If it was against the Royals, it should only count as half a no-hitter.”

  61. The Braves’ normal outfield (Francoeur, Kotsay and Blanco) would probably be lucky to combine for 30 homeruns over the course of the full season.

    That is a real problem. Adam Dunn alone will probably hit more homeruns than the Atlanta Braves’ entire outfield.

  62. Everyone was convinced during the offseason that the offense would be awesome and the pitching needed help. Wren got the help and assumed that, at the least, Francouer would be an adequate if not better right fielder. I didn’t think that was true but, given how the Braves feel about him, it was not an unreasonable assumption. Very few people thought the offense would be a problem even if the corner outfielders weren’t great. And the fact is, if Tex was off to a better start, the lack of production from the outfield would be much less of an issue. I can’t fault Wren for what he did; there were more holes on this team than anyone was willing to admit and it’s impossible to do everything.

    It’s interesting too that the Braves are far from the only team struggling on the road. There are only 3 or 4 teams with winning road records and the awesome Red Sox have actually lost more road games than the Braves (but they also have won more). Something is going on in baseball because the home field advantage is usually not this large. That doesn’t make me feel any better about the Braves’ road record but it is something to consider.

    There’s another point as well–the Braves are a very young team for the most part. They are like the 2nd or 3rd youngest team in the league. That might explain some of the struggles on the road. It’s certainly a better position to be in than the Mets, who are saddled with a bunch of aging, over-the-hill players other than Wright and Reyes (and Reyes is struggling).

    Of course, this is what I say in my rational periods. When the Braves lose ridiculous games like Tuesday and Wednesday, I say they suck.

  63. The Braves’ normal outfield (Francoeur, Kotsay and Blanco) would probably be lucky to combine for 30 homeruns over the course of the full season.

    While Frenchy is struggling right now it’s not like we don’t know he CAN hit the ball out, even if he isn’t doing it much this season. The kid did hit 29 in 06.

    I’m sure he’s almost as frustrated by his struggles as the fans around here are. I don’t expect him to be the best RF in the game, but I expect he’ll turn things around a bit and have a passable season. It will probably not be for as high an average as last year or as many dings as the year before, but I don’t expect him to have an Andruw year (of course I didn’t expect Andruw to have an Andruw year last year and I was obviously wrong about that, so maybe I’m too optimistic).

  64. Very few people thought the offense would be a problem even if the corner outfielders weren’t great. And the fact is, if Tex was off to a better start, the lack of production from the outfield would be much less of an issue.

    VERY good point. Yesterday is a fine example actually. Our 1-4 guys were our infielders and they were able to stomp the other team almost single handedly. With Tex doing what we expect/think/hope Tex is supposed to do we don’t have to have a well rounded offensive line-up… we won 8-1 without our opening day CF, LF, or All-Star Catcher. While we can’t expect that sort of offense EVERY game from those guys, we can expect it enough that the outfield not being as potent won’t keep us from doing well. (Likewise it wasn’t unreasonable for the Braves to expect either 06 or 07 Frenchy and Diaz to show up to play this year and be more than “good enough”).

  65. Charles, Francoeur did hit 29 homers in 2006, but at the expense of being a net offensive loss for the team. Those kind of homers, we don’t need.

  66. kc, I need a minors report on the MB Pelicans. I am going to the game on Saturday night. Good to hear Gorkys is back. I was looking at the roster and he seems to be the star on the team. From my half-hearted research it seems Hicks has been producing too.

  67. And while our right fielder and left fielder are not performing up to standards for their position, our second basemen and catcher especially provide better than league average offense. I can’t imagine that the league average BA for a catcher being higher than around .275. McCann is hitting .320

  68. AAR,
    A) I was just pointing out that the statement we’d be lucky if our outfield could combine for 30 homers wasn’t exactly accurate/oredictable.
    B) how were his ’06 ones a net offensive loss for the team? because of all the Ks he got for flailing while getting them? (I’m actually just wanting clarification of what you meant, not arguing a point there).
    C) Wouldn’t we rather he strike out more often but generate more runs, than have him hovering near .250 and hitting into DPs?

  69. Weird note, not an invitation to discuss politics… The “Poblano” who has drawn some attention lately for his primary voting projections using demographics turns out to be Nate Silver. It’s Saberpolitics!

  70. Charles, it’s because of Francoeur’s inhumanly low .293 OBP in 2006. Francoeur didn’t do anything well that year but hit home runs — he hit .260, and his slugging percentage was below .500, and he was caught stealing six times with only one successful steal.

  71. OK, that’s what I was assuming. Though with his OBP of .305 right now I’d be OK if that included a few more dings for the extra .012 in his OBP (with as low as he hits in the batting order I’d suspect that him hitting a home run would be more likely to plate extra runs than him being on base and having nobody knock him in would).

  72. It’s funny that the catching position is really competitive this year in the National League. Benji Molina leads with .333 ba, followed by McCann at .320, Russell Martin at .311, the crazy rookie Soto at .299 and Yadier Molina at .286. Has the league ever had this many good hitting catchers at one time?

  73. I would guess the catching batting averages drop as the year goes on and fatigue starts to set in on the guys playing innings in the heat.

  74. Well except for Benji Molina and Russell Martin…you know they play in Cali…where it is a dry heat.

  75. No Molina is going to be near the top of the lead in anything offensive at the end of the year. Soto is clearly a great hitter, but he’s already beginning to come down from his torrid start. I’d predict that McCann and Martin will be in it till the end of the year.

  76. Martin is going to be tough to hold off b/c his stroke is so short and compact. Hey B. Molina has career BA of .278, that’s not too bad.

  77. MB Pelicans who have been touted : DP combo of Jones and Hicks, 3B Campbell, CF Gorkys

    Good bullpen too.

  78. Martin and Soto are good, but the Molinas are mostly catch-and-throw types.

    As for HRs from the OF, I don’t think 12-15 from Diaz, 7-12 from Kotsay, and 20-25 from Frenchy was silly to expect. So I’d say I had anticipated closer to 40 HRs from our OF this year, accompanied by a TON of doubles. Well, Diaz has sucked and Frenchy has sucked, and when that happens, projections change.

    At this point, adding an OF bat who is a bit better than Greg Norton would be a good plan.

  79. I depends on whether the Baseball Gods feel that Cincy has been appropriately punished for using their two best starting pitchers in relief to try and beat the Padres a few nights ago.

    They lost the game and Harang got knocked around his next time out so maybe that’s enough. However I would say that bringing in your young ace pitcher on one days rest to pitch is worth further smiting.

  80. Dusty Baker is always searching for innovative new ways to destroy quality young pitching.

  81. using two of your best starting pitchers in a one game playoff — understandable. using both in an 18 inning game when you’re in last place and approaching double digits back? umm… riiiight.

  82. BA on Jason Heyward and Freedie Freeman, who rank 1st and 6th, respectively, on this week’s Hot Sheet:

    If it felt like something was missing from last week’s Hot Sheet, you may have been thinking of Heyward, who had appeared on the previous three (twice on Hot Sheet, once on Not-Hot) before having a relatively ordinary week. That changed this week as the Rome right fielder unleashed his best week yet. Heyward is having the best season of any of the top hitting prospects in low Class A. He has hits in 18 of his last 20 games, and Thursday’s 0-for-2 (with three walks) night was just his fifth hitless game of the month, whereas he’s racked up 11 multi-games. As great as Heyward was in April (.330/.375/.470), he’s been even better in May (.343/.383/.552), and his .337 average ranks fourth in the SAL. He also leads the league in hits and runs scored. Heyward turned in four multi-hit games this week, and his biggest game of the week came on Tuesday against Hickory, when he went 4-for-5 and finished a triple short of the cycle.

    * * *

    Freeman has provided Jason Heyward with plenty of protection. The two of them, who were Atlanta’s first and second round picks a year ago, have anchored the middle of the Braves’ batting order. Freeman leads the team in doubles with 19 and RBIs with 38. Freeman attracted strong interest as a pitcher in high school, but he preferred hitting and it looks like he made the right career choice since he’s putting up a .299/.341/.507 line for the season. He had four multi-hit games this week, including a 3-for-5 night with a double and a home run last Friday against Asheville.

    Of course, ranking first on the Not Hot Sheet is Brandon Jones:

    While it was a banner week for young Braves like Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman (and RHP Charlie Morton pitched well in Triple-A and SS Brandon Hicks has played well in high Class A), the opposite has been true for two of Triple-A Richmond’s brightest prospects. Shortstop Brent Lillibridge is batting just .209/.272/.269 for the year, which obviously isn’t good. But the stakes are higher for 24-year-old, lefthanded-hitting Brandon Jones, who entered the season ranked as the organization’s No. 4 prospect. To this point, his season has been a disappointment: .258/.337/.371 with 14 doubles and two home runs, an evaluation compounded by a .105/.182/.105 (2-for-19) showing this week. Jones also has been eaten alive by lefthanders this season, as he’s batting .196/.220/.268 with four extra-base hits and just two walks in 56 at-bats.

  83. I’m not sure why Dusty did that, but then I don’t know why he does a lot of things. It’s not necessarily a bad idea, and it’s something that pitchers did for a hundred years with no more problems than they’ve had in the specialization era.

  84. sansho1 — nice post on the history of asselstine on yesterday’s cardboard gods. didn’t see it until today when neyer linked to the “meeting minutes.”

  85. Hey, thanks! Josh Wilker is astounding — he inspires the writer that I used to believe was inside me. I worry about him, though — he seems to teeter on the brink of sanity fairly often. Navel gazers make great writers, but not particularly happy people. You gotta compartmentalize that stuff….

  86. Mac, since you mentioned “something that pitchers did for a hundred years with no more problems than they’ve had in the specialization era,” has anyone made a study of this? Do just as many pitchers blow out their arms now as they used to, but more of them are able to come back and pitch thanks to modern medicine? Or is there a difference?

  87. If it’s his day to throw, why not? Dusty had to use somebody; the problem was bringing Harang back the next day after throwing four innings.

    I maybe overstated, AAR, but I don’t think that the prewar usage pattern (little specialization, starters relieving on days off) was any worse than the postwar pattern (strict roles for starters and relievers). Rather, pitchers were used too much before the war and after, and only started to get used a reasonable amount starting about 1980 or so. I would guess that the biggest problem isn’t that the pitchers can’t move between starting and relieving, but that everyone’s in strict rotation now, so they can’t move a starter back a couple of days if he has to relieve, or use one of the “other pitchers” to pitch in his place.

  88. Speaking of Dusty Baker…can someone tell me why Cito Gaston have never gotten another managerical job. The other day the NY Daily News had a survey of possible replacements for Willie if he gets fired, which seems very unlikely now, and guess who the fans chose: None other than Ken Oberkfell

  89. I don’t really disagree, but there is a difference between throwing and pitching from an effort standpoint. I would be more ok with using a veteran guy who knows his limits as a reliever than a younger guy.

    Obviously all speculation, the trend towards babying pitchers more and more shows no signs of slowing down.

  90. Thats weird with Brandon Jones. He has always hit lefties well upto this point in his career. In fact, had a bit of a reverse split going.

  91. Mac,

    That’s an interesting point and it also brings up something else that I think used to be prevalent, ie, moving pitchers around to face or avoid certain teams. For example, it was pretty clear that Chuck James had no business starting in Philly. In the fifties, Casey Stengel used to save Whitey Ford for the better teams and would have him skip the Senators, et. al at times, which obviously hurt Whitey’s win totals. I think the reluctance of managers today to do this reflects the unwillingness of managers to disrupt the pitchers’ normal routines.

  92. “When was the last time someone was at .420 going into June?”

    Lando, it’s more than I originally thought. I wish I could find the picture slideshow that I was looking at the other day that detailed all of the guys who have come close in the last 20 or 25 years or so. One of them was Carney Lansford, who went from something like .450 to .250 in the last couple of months of the season. It also mentioned Dykstra, Brett, Carew, and several others. Compared to that list I saw, Chipper still has a ways to go before he gets serious consideration for making it. However, going 2 for 4 each night will help.

  93. It’s the schedule. Before air travel, night games, TV, etc., there were lots of double-headers and lots of off-days, so you really couldn’t use a rotation. Now you can, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best idea. It’s just the simplest. Managing a baseball team is hard, and managers try to simplify their jobs. One way is by having strict bullpen roles, and another is the starting rotation.

    I tend to think that it would be better to have two or three pitchers you use every fourth or fifth day, while using whoever seems best suited for the job the rest of the time. But I don’t know that this would work as well in practice as it would in, say, a complex table game. What you’d be likely to end up with, as Casey would put it, is the fifteen guys in the middle siding with the five who hate you. Players aren’t APBA cards, they’re human beings, and they like structure.

  94. Just a little tidbit from Jayson Stark on a chat at regarding extending bobby to next year:

    SportsNation Jayson Stark: (1:09 PM ET ) Seems like I say this in a chat every couple of weeks or so. Bobby Cox is the greatest manager of his time. And he’s still as good as any manager in baseball. His team still plays its butt off for him. He wins with whatever kind of team he’s given. And his players always buy into whatever he’s doing. So why would you tell a guy like that to go away. People get so fixated on World Series trophies, they’re missing the big picture.

  95. I don’t think Chipper hits .400, but I can definitely see him hanging around the .360, .370 mark. Then again I don’t see him dropping 30 to 50 points the way he’s going with the amount of at-bats he has already accumulated. Hell I guess I don’t really know…either way if freakin crazy as hell.

  96. OR… There’s little doubt in my mind that the current system is better for the favored players, the four or five or six who get the glamor roles (rotation starter and closer). And pretty much everyone else, except for career LOOGYs, thinks that one day he could be a rotation starter or closer. So there’s nothing in it politically for a manager to shake up the system by trying something new, even though it would likely be better for the team. LaRussa found that out when he tried the short-starter plan a few years back.

  97. Jason Heyward = the best pure hitter in our system since Chipper.

    Interesting that he’s coming on the same year that Chipper is chasing .400.

  98. It should also be pointed out that Heyward and Freeman are hitting so well in the Sally League as 18 year olds.

  99. Anyone that tried something different would be criticized–unless it worked. And Mac is right; players, like most people, want structure. Sabermetric types always talk about how any pitcher should be able to pitch any inning but it’s not that simple. Guys get comfortable in certain roles, especially relief pitchers who, in general, are lesser players. That’s why, I think, bullpens tend to work better when each guy has an assigned role. In theory, it shouldn’t make any difference but in practice, it does.

    re Chipper, actually, if you look at some of the guys that flirted with .400, they dropped precipitously late in the year. Olerud was at .402 on Aug. 2 and ended at .363. Despite the large number of at bats, you can still drop pretty quickly. He only has played about fifty games. He could hit well and still drop 30-40 points.

  100. GL = gimp list :-)

    Stu–thanks for Freeman/Hayward info. Both looked good last night. Rest of offense stunk. KKKKKody Johnson–owner of 78 K’s in 200ish PA’s–wasn’t in the lineup.

  101. So, Kotsay makes his inevitable trip to the DL. I am glad to say that I truly hope he gets well soon.

  102. 120 — Wonder how many dollars employers have spent on time spent on the site by readers at work. heh heh. I’m on my own time… and it’ll be fine as long as I pass my comp exams in August.

  103. I know he’s a name that has often come up before, but considering the apparent disdain that the cubs have for Matt Murton… would it be worth offering them 10 maple bats for him?

  104. Damn I was hoping for Brandon Jones….Unfortunately with a bad back this will not be the last trip to the DL for Kotsay.

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