Marlins 6, Braves 4

ESPN – Marlins vs. Braves – Box Score – June 04, 2008

Manny Acosta is a useful reliever. But he has no business closing. Given a 4-2 lead to start the ninth — not the easiest of saves, but on the easier end, with the bottom of the Marlins’ order up and Dan Uggla out of town — he retired one batter, allowed four runs on four hits, including two homers and a double, and basically singlehandedly lost the game.

The Braves didn’t exactly have an offensive explosion, but it wasn’t too bad for a game against a lefthander and with Chipper getting an off-day. After Glavine fell behind 1-0 in the first, Norton singled home Johnson to tie it. In the second, Escobar and Francoeur had RBI singles to make it 3-1. They didn’t quite go into hibernation mode, getting a run in the sixth with Josh Anderson (in his first start) singling home Infante, making it 4-2 at the time.

Bobby did a good job managing. He didn’t try to push Glavine, limiting him to five innings and not trying to bring him back at about 100 pitches to start the sixth. Blaine Boyer went 2 1/3 and pitched well, striking out two and allowing just one baserunner on a walk. Ohman got a break on a groundout call (the hitter was evidently obviously safe) but wound up retiring both of the men he faced. Everything worked out, but with Soriano unavailable Acosta was the closer — and he’s not. Ring came in, too late, to finish the inning.

Escobar got on with one out in the ninth, but KJ hit a long flyout and Francoeur, in his inimitable way, hit a first-pitch groundout to end the game. Chipper never came to bat; he probably would have hit for the pitcher two batters later. Instead of a tie for second, the Braves are two behind the Marlins now.

142 thoughts on “Marlins 6, Braves 4”

  1. Bobby did a good job managing.

    This was true for the first 8 innings. And I understand your point about Acosta, but come on. He clearly had nothing and literally anyone, including Royce Ring, would have been a better choice to face Ramirez in that situation.

    And, I’m sure you’re right about Chipper being in the hole when the game ended. The problem is that when you have baseball’s best hitter available to use whenever you want in the ninth inning of a game you’re trailing, you make sure he gets to bat at some point. Depending on 3 runners to get on before using him is a terrible, terrible idea. I don’t see how you can possibly categorize that as good managing.

  2. And the fact is, the Braves don’t do 9th inning comebacks.

    Maybe the Braves just aren’t that good. I think the evidence is increasingly growing that that is the case.

  3. Francoeur wouldn’t play on Francona’s team. Francoeur is a real problem, though he had a good game today. He’s just not good enough to play in an outfield corner, and certainly not good enough to hit third even against a lefty. Certainly I would have hit for Francoeur, even though that would have meant Infante in left and Anderson in right for who knows how long should the game continue. But I don’t think you can expect that.

    I have no problem with letting Blanco hit there. He’s done a good job getting on base this year (though he may be turning back into a pumpkin). Down one, I would have used Chipper, but down two, no way.

  4. Who is this player?

    He ranks 7th on the Atlanta Braves players who have seen significant playing time in slugging %…

    He ranks 10th among Atlanta Braves players who have seen significant playing time in OBP…

    His .251 ba is the lowest among Atlanta Braves regulars…

    He has the least amount of walks of any regular…

    He is tied for the team lead in Ks…

    But on the plus side he leads the team in ABs …

    Who is this star??

  5. Well, Mac, I can only conclude that you are crazy.

    (Although I agree with you, obviously, that Francoeur is the problem and that he wouldn’t play much for Francona. He certainly would bat third for Francona under any circumstances.)

  6. “Bobby did a good job managing.

    This was true for the first 8 innings. ”

    He penciled in Francoeur’s name in the 3 hole. That’s the work of a truly demented and incompetent individual.

  7. Blanco’s a high OBP guy. I’m fine with leaving him in. Not batting for the Atlanta Out Machine is criminally negligent. But of course, we’re just running the team to try to develop Francouer.

  8. Everybody’s arguing that Chipper should have hit for either Blanco or Jeff but I would have to argue that he should have hit for Kelly.

    Kelly who just as the script would say flew out. If you pull Kelly and the game goes extra’s you can always put Gotay in at second or shift Omar from third. Pull Frenchy or Blanco and the game goes to extras and you’ve already pulled Norton what outfield options do you have? You’d have Mac’s outfield of Anderson, Omar, and Blanco/Frency. Woof.

    Somebody will probably run the stats to show different but Kelly just doesn’t seem to have that “clutch” gear to him that Escobar, Chipper and others have.

  9. I’m sorry but that’s no argument. That’s an unjustified assertion.

  10. Well, I certainly would have preferred Chipper hitting for KJ over Chipper not hitting at all, but I would’ve worried more about offense than defense in that situation—KJ can hit, Francoeur can’t, and the Infante/Blanco/Anderson outfield might still be better defensively than the one with which we started the game.

  11. I don’t necessarily disagree with the comments about the bottom of the ninth but I think they are missing the point. The game was lost when Acosta got hammered. There was very little chance that the Braves would rally from two down against Gregg no matter who was hitting. The real problem to me is that you were able to score only 4 runs against a nobody lefthander. Mark Teixera, supposedly a $20 million player, is hitting under .220 against left handers. Jeff Francouer is basically worthless in all situations. This team has little firepower against lefties, especially when Chipper is out. And the team is lucky to get five innings from its starters. Let’s face it, if you have to use four or five pitchers every day, the chances that one will have a bad day is greater.

  12. Francouer is really not good. I wonder if Chuck James, Marcus Giles and Andruw Jones were discovered by the same scout. I’m pretty sure his notes said, talented…but very dumb.

  13. The clutch hit part is a random opinion.

    The argument I was making is what would be better in the case of extra innings. Anderson, Blanco, Omar in the outfield with Chipper, Yunel, Kelly, and Mark in the infield or Anderson, Blanco, Jeff in the outfield with Chipper, Yunel, Omar and Mark in the infield. I’d take the second but the hole things shows how bad our outfield power options are right now.

  14. I cannot believe that a team could miss the postseason for want of a righthanded platoon outfielder, but it sure looks that way. This is just plain bad general managing.

  15. Don’t insult Andruw or Giles. Both had far better careers as Braves than Frenchy has had so far.

    What the hell happened? When I left my office the Braves were up by two. When I got to my car they were down by two.

  16. There was very little chance that the Braves would rally from two down against Gregg no matter who was hitting.

    Really? I actually thought we had a shot, especially if we’d let our best hitter hit. It’s the top of our order vs. Kevin F. Gregg, after all.

    Mark Teixera, supposedly a $20 million player, is hitting under .220 against left handers.

    I see you never tire of the subtle digs at Teixeira. FWIW, he’s a $13 million player until next season, when the market will re-determine what he is.

    I do wonder, in all seriousness, what JC values Teixeira at. Maybe he’s posted that on his site or here before and I don’t remember.

    Marc, FWIW, I generally agree with you about the offense’s problems against lefties. It’s maddening.

  17. No doubt that Acosta was the deciding factor. I don’t know what else could have been done there since Carlyle was the only guy that had been warmed up. If only we had a 6’8″ Englishman to bring in there.

  18. I still can’t believe Cox batted Francoeur in the 3 hole. That’ s just unbelievable, and further proof that the org thinks he’s doing just swell. I’m appalled.

  19. I’m really not trying to dig Teixera, Stu, just pointing out that he has been lousy against lefthanders this year and, it seems to me, that you have to factor that in when deciding whether he is worth a big contract. (And, good point, that he is not a $20 mm player yet. My bad.) Even the righty hitters on this team seem to struggle against lefties.

    The second point is that Gregg is a pretty good relief pitcher and the odds are highly against coming from behind, regardless of who the Braves had hitting. The game wasn’t lost by whom Bobby did or did not hit in the ninth. It was lost (1)by Acosta throwing crap in the 9th, and (2) not scoring more runs earlier against a mediocre or worse pitcher.

  20. I didn’t say Giles and AJ didn’t have good careers, just wouldn’t be anywhere close to being the smartest players around…

  21. “I cannot believe that a team could miss the postseason for want of a righthanded platoon outfielder, but it sure looks that way. This is just plain bad general managing.”

    mac, i disagree. francoeur showed promise to improve with a “much talked about” extra 20 pounds of muscle. diaz was coming off of 2 good years. 50 games into the season, it’s pretty hard to pull off a trade for a regular without a king’s ransom.
    maybe, when gonzalez comes off the dl, someone would be interested in one of our lefties in some sort of package. i dont see this as being a general manager’s fault. with the way everyone was talking, our right-handed outfield corners, coming into the season, were not going to be the problem. they have not produced, and hopefully, we will see a move or 2 soon. what is frank wren supposed to do? he read the numbers, heard good things, and yet the good things didnt come to pass. now, if he doesnt make a move soon, and we still hover around .500 with a chance to get into the playoffs, then i will agree.

  22. I don’t disagree with you about when the game was lost, Marc, I just don’t think Cox gave us the best possible chance to win once those things—Hibernation Mode and Manny Acosta—had already happened.

    And I’m with you on wishing Teixeira were living up to his offensive reputation so far. I’d still pay him $20 million per year, though, because I think he’ll pick it up and be very valuable for the next few seasons.

  23. Marcus was a maddening player swinging for the fences as often as he did.

    I can’t blame Wren for the outfield situation…yet. Everyone thought Francouer would improve. Most people thought Diaz would finally be the everyday leftfielder. Kotsay was a gamble in center, but “Juiceboy” is waiting in the wings. Now if we don’t improve by getting someone, then I can maybe blame Wren.

  24. The point is that a good general manager has veterans at AAA that he can call on if there’s a problem. I’m not talking about a regular, but someone who can platoon in left field. These guys are cheap and common. But the Braves have never been good at stockpiling AAA talent and seem willing to go into every year with a bunch of players they’ll never call up.

  25. they had him. his name was joe borchard. he was cheap and common. they had speed to be a 4th outfielder in blanco and anderson. who would have ever thought that we would have needed a “right-handed” platoon batter? i know i wouldnt have and i still cant blame wren for not preparing for the collapse of his 2 corner outfielders. diaz and francoeur arent exactly mondesi and jordan.

  26. Oh, we have a right-handed platoon outfielder. He is disguised as a star and the supposed marketing face of the franchise.

  27. Borchard sucks, and he sucks even more from the right side. The Braves have acquired two types of role players in the last few months: lefthanded hitters, and supposed switch-hitters who can’t hit righthanded. I suppose they were looking at an outfield with Francoeur and Diaz and thinking they could piece together around that if they had to, but right now…

  28. Random question for you hardcore baseball fans:

    Does an in the park home run still count as a home run as far as stats are concerned? If a guy hits 5 out of the park home runs and 1 in the park home run, would we say that he hit 6 home runs, or would we say he hit 5 home runs?

    Dumb question, I just figured somone on this board might know…

  29. mac, as of the latter part of your post, we agree, and that was my first point.

  30. Everyone thought Francouer would improve.

    No, no they didn’t. You see this thing he’s doing now? That’s what I expected. I’ll expect that next year too, for the record.

    Not going to blame Bobby for this one. Acosta was the right call, he just didn’t get the job done. It happens.

  31. Thanks, ububba. I figured as much. Just kind of seems like an in the park homer ought to be its own stat.

  32. Remember, originally all home runs were theoretically in play (no outfield fences!). I would suspect that in the rulebook there is no such thing as an inside-the-park homer. There are home runs, a subset of which are automatic home runs.

  33. damn that Bobby Cox….i bet he TOLD Acosta to groove those pitches in the 9th. and batting Frenchy third?? dumb, dumber amd dumbest……………….any casual glance at the boxscore will tell you he should’ve been batting fourth ! all the hate at Francouer while the mighty primadonna Tex goes unscathed cracks me up.

  34. I thought Furcal was the one who always swung for the fences, not Giles. For awhile there, Giles was a doubles-hitting machine, and seemed to enjoy that role.

    I can’t remember how Giles ended up in SD. Did we trade him or release him? Was that when we had KJ waiting in the wings? It seems like he’s been gone forever (maybe that’s just because he dropped off the face of the earth after he left here).

  35. It is hard to believe how bad the outfield is killing us now, but in the long run it will be the starting pitching that is going to kill this team, not hitting.
    Look at this staff. What do we really have? Hudson is a 2, then we have two young guys who look promising, but will be inconsistent. Glavine is a 5 inning tops, then Campillo? Please, I am thrilled with what we have gotten, but I expect absolutely nothing else out of him. I want more from the OF, but if we do manage to make a significant trade, it has to be a SP, long term and short term.

  36. The news of Smoltzie just kills all my mood of today, so I don’t care if Bobby had Norton batting third or whoever. To be honest, it’s not the first time Bobby had Frenchy batting third. Why was it all that surprising? I thought we have watched Bobby long enough (18 years…) to know his tendency by now…

  37. Mac, if you are going to blame bad GM, part of the blame goes to JS. With the % of salaries tied to Chipper, Tex, Smoltzie, Hudson, Hampton, and Glavine, there are really not much left for anything else. Of course, they were really , and still are, counting on Frenchy to improve further, which hasn’t happened.

    With Smoltzie going down, I don’t know if it matters anymore…

  38. @44

    Marcus was non-tendered because the Braves made it painfully obvious that they couldn’t afford him and needed to trade him, so nobody offered anything of value. We had no idea how well KJ would adapt back to 2B after being kicked all over the place, so it was an extremely risky move that miraculously worked out really well.

  39. Bill, KJ was brought up as an infielder. While his infield defense has always been bad, I don’t think there was any doubt that he can play second base. His strength will always be his bat and not his glove. I am just glad he no longer plays LF.

  40. I’m surprised about all the Frenchy-hating today. Sure, he came up empty in the 9th, but he had a good game, getting two hits, one up the middle, the other to RF. And given his HR production of late, it doesn’t look like he’s been giving away power to get those sorts of hits. I was pretty encouraged by his performance in this game.

    Like Mac said, this one is basically on Acosta.

  41. mraver, haven’t you notice Frenchy has become our new whipping boy since Andruw left?

  42. Has anyone mentioned yet (with all this Smoltz news) that we’ve fired our strength and conditioning coach, Frank Fultz? Well, he may be stepping down voluntarily, but with the number of injuries we’ve had this season, that seems unlikely. Weird thing is that he’s been our s&c coach since 1992, so unless he changed his ways this season our incredible number of injuries can’t really be attributed to him.

  43. yeah Kc…………somebody had to replace Woodward, Orr and Andruw. i guess it might as well be the outfielder who everyones pissed at for not being Mickey Mantle. (or even Dale Murphy)

  44. He’s the whipping boy for good reason. He’s absolutely awful. And again, the Braves batting him 3rd proves that the org thinks his approach is fine and peachy.

    He’s on pace for 93 RBI! Jeffy for MVP!

  45. i’m not judging anyone by that number. all i’m doing is looking around and what i see is that Frenchy is the best outfielder we have. draw whatever conclusions you want from that.

  46. The conclusion is that we have a really, really bad OF. Not sure what you’re point is. Scott Thorman was the best 1B we had last year until the Tex trade. That fact didn’t make him suck less.

  47. and Jeremy, we were talking about todays game. it looks to me like Frenchy batted .400 and is on a 162 RBI pace.

  48. In the article on the Braves MLB site about Stockman being recalled there is this line:

    “When the game started, Stockman assumed his position in the R-Braves’ bullpen until pitcher Damian Moss told him to grab his glove in the second inning.”

    Since when did Damian Moss resign with us? Is he pitching out of the bullpen?

  49. Actually, Kotsay is the best outfielder we have. And, whether or not it will remain this way, Gregor Blanco is outhitting Francoeur. Francoeur is not the best outfielder we have.

    Can’t Barbaro Canizares play left field at least as well as Infante or Norton?

  50. Jeremy, are we whipping Frenchy for good reason? This is only his third full season and still only 24 years old. Not everyone develops as fast as Chipper and McCann. Javy and Furcal’s development were very frustrating as well. Millwood also went through two or three bad years between his two good years with the Braves. They are paid at low salary for good reason. If you are going to whip someone, whip the ones who are paid well and has been underperformed.

    ‘Rissa, Moss has been with R-Braves since the beginning of the season and has been part of their starting rotation. Can you imagaine a rotation of Chucky and Moss?! Scary…

  51. AAR, I think someone has mentioned it before, Barbaro Canizares can’t even play first base well…the bad news is…Thorman is heating up in Richmond…

  52. KC, we know that Infante and Norton can’t play left field worth a damn either, and they can’t hit as well as The Cuban Ryan Howard.

    And this may be blasphemy, but I’m all for giving Scott another shot. There is a 95% chance that he’ll suck, but that’s lower than the 100% chance that our current outfield will suck.

  53. well, personally i wouldnt trade Francouer for three Kotsays but thats just me…….if sites like this were around in D. Murphys first few years (god, what a horrible player) he would’ve went back out west and got busy repopulating oregon and utah years sooner.

  54. Hm…if we are going to give Scott another shot, I actually prefer seeing Brandon Jones…at least he should not be a liability on defense…and the team needs another Jones on the roster, ha…

  55. we’ll be giving Thorman or a bunch of guys just like him plenty of chances as soon as some sucker in NYC gives Tex the 20 million he seems to think is his birthright.

  56. Send Acosta down and call up Morton and use Stockman to close. He couldn’t be any worse.

  57. Double Post alert! If we’re going to play somebody in LF shouldn’t at least be a real OF. Try Anderson there and see how he does. He has speed and is a above average defensive OF.

  58. Barrycuda, considering that no one in the Braves front office gives a damn what loony internet yahoos like me think, I’m pretty sure that Dale Murphy’s job would have been secure.

    But Murph had a very nice year in just his second full season. So did Javy. Furcal’s problem, as Mac has pointed out, was that his rookie year was one of the best of his career; for whatever reason he has never exceeded his walk total from that year.

    Frenchy’s in his third full season, in a far less important defensive position, and is a worse hitter.

  59. AAR, I guess my point is…Frenchy is just a slow learner…

    …speaking of Thorman, he hit two homers tonight…Schafer hit his first AA homer…Gonzo continues to pitch well in his recovery…Scott Diamond continues to pitch very well out of nowhere…Rohrbough also had a good game tonight despite some control issue…Heyward is Heyward, another 2-4 game…

  60. Maybe there are people out there that actually don’t like Francouer. I don’t think that you’ll find many on here. The issue is that Francouer is a young player that is not MLB ready. The Braves either think he is or just want the Delta money to keep rolling in so they play him in spite of that fact :: I have no problem with Francouer; I have problem with the Braves management.

  61. Tough day to be a Braves fan.

    As much as it hurts, I’m not going to go crazy about the loss. With Soriano apparently unavailable, I was a little nervous about Acosta to begin with.

    Let’s see if Jair can pick us up tomorrow night. I’ll take 3/4.

    And some tough clubs on the horizon—Phils, then the Cubs & the OC Angels.

  62. Remember Mike Hessman? Couldn’t he stand in left field a few nights a week? Go checkout his minor league numbers since he left the organization. That’s the kind of guy a functioning GM stocks at AAA.

    if sites like this were around in D. Murphys first few years (god, what a horrible player) he would’ve went back out west and got busy repopulating oregon and utah years sooner.

    Even the simplist look at the numbers would tell you there is absolutely no comparison between them. Murphy had a rough rookie year at age 22 then was All Star and getting MVP votes at age 24. Francoeur is 24 now and is one Austin Kearns injury away from being the worst starting rightfielder in the league.

    This is an awesome line:

    But of course, we’re just running the team to try to develop Francouer.

    I can guarantee I will borrow that at some point.

  63. That’s right. We should all remember Frenchy was rushed to push Jordan out of the door. He really has no business to be in the major league until last year. Ok, same goes for McCann, but McCann is obviously a smarter one of out the two.

  64. Mike Hessman?! Is he with the Tigers now? I can’t stand a moment with him…he is another classic example of how patient Bobby is…

  65. Greg Maddux with win #351 tonight vs the Cubs.

    He was in classic form. 7 IP, 3 H, I ER, 4 K, 0 BB and—get this—only 69 pitches.

    Thankfully, Hoffman didn’t blow this one.

  66. Barry Lamar Bonds

    hehehehehe.. just kidding

    It would be a blasphemy against Hammerin’ Hank and just can’t be, though it would be a damn fine addition to the lineup.

    (maybe he could wear a mustache and glasses..)

  67. As Smoltzie is out for the season, the team has to get the Mad Dog back for sentimental reason. Maybe we can get Brian Giles from them as well. The guy can still hit away from Petco and is better than any outfielder we have. I know it has been rumored before, but I am liking the idea more and more.

  68. Well, it’s June 5 & the Padres are already 13 games under .500. Maybe they’ll want to dump salary & not ask for too much in return.

    Getting Maddux may not just be a sentimental move; given our circumstances, it could be a better-than-decent baseball move.

  69. SO the mets get our first round pick for the Glavine signing i wonder how that situation will turn out. Well anyways we got the 40 from mahay signing so lets hope for the best

  70. Giles and Maddux is intriguing. What do we give up that someone actually wants though? If lillibridge were hitting we would be in good trade position.

  71. our only trade pieces are underachieving. when gonzo comes back, we will have the ever elusive LOOGY to become available.
    if the pads dump salary, and we were to pick up giles and maddux, that would basically be sacrificing any chance to sign a big named free agent next year, whether it be tex or another vet. at some point this franchise is going to have to start looking to the future again.

  72. The Mighty Thor stirs!

    Seriously, I’m glad Scott’s starting to do well. I always said he was a Valium away from an everyday MBL player.

    As to Francouer hitting third – might be Bobby’s attempt to pump some confidence into a young man with a lot of talent but a less-developed (because he never had to develop it) baseball sense.

    Patience, grasshoppers. Francouer has a chance to be very, very good (though I admit he’s replaced Andruw at the top of the Frustration List).

  73. Is Francoeur lacking in confidence?

    He gets to play every day for the entire game.
    He gets the loudest cheers of any player at the ballpark.
    Yesterday was Jeff Francoeur t-shirt day.
    He has turned down long-run contracts because he thinks the offers have been too low.

    If this guy needs to bat third to feel a bit better about himself, he has some serious issues.

    If anything, it’s time for the Braves to take some pressure off. Give him an occasional day off, bat him in the seven hole, and tone down the media exposure. If he is better than he’s playing, I think it has more to do with pressing than confidence.

  74. Where o where did my out field go?
    O where, o where can it be?

    To upset to finish the gag…

  75. I think Maddux has a no trade clause and has said before he would not leave the west coast.

  76. This stuff about Francoeur being rushed to the majors and that being the reason he is struggling is nonsense. Yes, he probably came up earlier than he should have but there is no reason to think that more time in the minors would have made any difference. Once he showed he was not completely overmatched by major league pitching, minor league time wasn’t going to help. It’s not like spending more time in the minors would have given him more plate discipline; if anything, there is less need for plate discipline in the minors. And as far as being young, at 24 in his third season, that is not an excuse anymore. Most good hitters progress far more than he has by this point.

    I was critical of Andruw and always heard, oh everyone expects him to be Willie Mays. But Andruw was miles better than Francoeur. In Frenchy’s case, no one expects him to be Mickey Mantle, but it would be nice if he was at least an average right fielder. I have no way of documenting this but I suspect that historically it’s unlikely that Francoeur is going to get much better. That’s not to say he won’t put up decent RBI and HR totals but they will be largely empty. He is an out machine.

    It’s not Frenchy’s fault that he is beloved by teen-age girls and is photogenic and so forth but I do resent the fact that he gets so much positive attention when he is such a mediocre ballplayer. He is one of the things, not the only thing, that is killing the Braves.

    I agree with what someone said before, though, that ultimately this rotation is in trouble without Smoltz.

  77. I think McCann needs to be called out for some of the blame here. He’s something like five for his last 33. I love him, and he’s 100 times the ballplayer Frenchy will ever be, but we really need him to pick it up. He’s hurting us just as much as Tex is when he’s struggling like this.

  78. How long is B. Giles under contract?

    Also, I think the only thing you can fault Bobby for in game was leaving Chipper on the bench in the 9th. For what it’s worth, I think I would have had him hit in the pitchers spot, too, si it dies not seem to be as egregious an error to me.

    Everyone hitting after Blanco had homerun power and you need at least two there. No one else on the bench had any pop, though if the pitcher’s spot comes up the most you probably need is a single to tie it.

  79. Seriously, I’m glad Scott’s starting to do well. I always said he was a Valium away from an everyday MBL player.

    I love this quote! I too pulled for Thor just because he tried so dang hard. He had flaws (many of them), but he wasn’t a slacker. Similarly I pull for Matty D somewhat because he plays his butt off, and can be quite good (even if he almost never makes it LOOK good).

  80. Bethany, point taken, but maybe just because I love McCann and have little love for Tex, I’m going to quibble with you.

    First, Tex is our cleanup man, so his at-bats have a higher leverage. (Of Teixeira’s PAs, according to B-R, 26% have been high-leverage, 40% medium-leverage, and 34% low-leverage; of McCann’s, 21% have been high-leverage, 39% medium-leverage, and 40% low-leverage.)

    Second, Tex plays a far less important defensive position, so his overall usefulness to the team is nearly all offense.

    Third, on the season, McCann is outhitting the hell out of Tex. Tex is at .271/.360/.462; McCann’s at .307/.379/.563.

    So I’m still placing the brunt of my anger squarely on Tex’s shoulders.

    Send him to Richmond!

  81. Maybe the relative frustration with Frenchy is that everyone still expects Tex to turn it around and virtually no one expects Frenchy to. We’re stuck with both.

  82. since smoltz is out for the season, when are we going to start a campaign for a hampton return again? i expect to hear this very soon: “mike hampton throws off of flat ground from 30 feet without pain.”
    i guess in order to be considered a tease, you have to expect a little something first.

  83. Also of not in the minors last night is that Chuckie pitched well again. His ERA at AAA is better than Morton’s.

    But, he left after getting one out in the 4th, throwing 57 pitches, striking out 3 and walking none. I can find no note of an injury, so I wonder if was pulled early for a callup.

  84. Hampton…states he should be ready to go after around the all-star break.

    In regards to Frenchy….Two words: David Wright. Unfortunately the two were coined by the media as the future stars of the NL East, one has been unbelievable…the other has been average at best. I agree. Take some pressure of the Frenchy…he is obvious pressing. And give him some days off. John Smoltz is one of Frenchy’s closest friends on the team, maybe he can take a personal stake in making Frenchy the player Atlanta wants him to be.

  85. On the poll, I think Manny’s issue as a closer is control. Yesterday, he was seemingly not victimized by that. He didn’t have his stuff. I don’t know that he was just missing in the middle of the strike zone, because he can usually miss bats in the zone. I think it was just an off-day for him. A really off day.

  86. From the Department of Bad Timing, I just got this in the email:

    Hi Mac,

    The “MLB Rookie of the Month Award presented by Gillette” is back and I thought you’d be interested in hearing that Manny Acosta of the Atlanta Braves is one of four players nominated as the best rookie in the National League during the month of May.

    There is some stiff competition as last month’s winner, Geovany Soto of the Chicago Cubs, is nominated again for the month of May.

    This officially-sanctioned Major League Baseball award is now in the hands of the fans. Online ballots can be cast at

    Fans have until Sunday, June 8th to place their votes. Those who vote online are automatically entered for a chance to win a trip to either the 79th All-Star Game on July 15 at Yankee Stadium or one of the 2008 World Series games.

    Other National League nominees apart from Acosta and Soto include third baseman Blake Dewitt from the LA Dodgers and first baseman Joey Votto from the Cincinatti Reds.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.



    Thanks, Luce!

  87. I don’t blame McCann. He has played like 8/9’s of our games in the most demanding possition. He is going to be worn down by August.

  88. It’s hard to criticize McCann at all. I like I said before…if Tex and Frenchy were doing anything the Braves would be way ahead in the Div. In particular Tex, with Chipper, Yunel, Kotsay and KJ being on base as much as they have…he should have about 50 RBIs by now.

  89. Can’t blame a catcher whose hitting .300 on our struggles. Our pitching staff loves him and he’s a solid hitter. I still believe a catcher’s number one duty is to serve the pitching staff. Doing that saves us runs which is the same as him driving runs in. We can’t ask any more.

    1st base and RF need to pick it up. I don’t expect Frenchy to replicate McCann’s performance (so I don’t want to pay him as such). However, Tex needs to carry this team. When I say carry, I mean literally.

    I’m such a backer of incentivising players based on actual performance. I know it’ll never work. Labor unions suck.

  90. I think it’s a universal agreement that we wish Frenchy were doing better… So what would be a line from Frenchy that would be satisfactory? What Ryan Church is doing for the Mets?
    .307Avg, 10Hr, .372OBP, .534Slg

  91. Another outfield options to get y’alls opinions on. I don’t know if I’m up for it but just a thought.

    Sammy Sosa – Free Agent so only cost cash. Can pro rate since the season’s a 1/3rd over. He did very well against lefties last year which is our big problem this year. Don’t think he could play every day but would make a great platoon player. Hit .252/.311/.468 last year overall and .328/.410/.613 against lefties. Like Bonds has some attitude problems and might not fit in well. But who knows they took a chance on Raul Mondesi and made him work.

  92. I agree that a move needs to be made. This OF sux. However, I’m willing to continue to have paitience with Frenchy. But he should never bat higher than 6th.

    I’d be on board with getting Giles/Maddux. I wonder what the Pads would want? You think they’d take something like James/BJones/A-Ball arm? Too little? Too much? It’s not adding the RH pop we need, but it does give us a leadoff option allowing Escobar to return to the two-hole:

    LF Giles
    SS Escobar
    3B Chipper
    1B Tex
    C McCann
    2B KJ
    RF Frenchy
    CF Kotsay

    B – Blanco, Diaz, Miller (*sigh*), Infante, Norton

    Looks pretty good to me.

  93. “Labor unions suck.”

    I know we aren’t supposed to get political here, but that is an utterly asinine statement and shows a complete lack of historical knowledge. I shouldn’t be surprised but I am flabbergasted.

    And it’s such a meaningless comment on many levels. Players are incentivized. They make more money the better they play. What you seem to object to is the concept of multiyear contracts in which the owners have to pay the player regardless of performance in a particular year. But, that’s the way contracts work; it’s called sharing the risk. Anyway, what in the world does this have to do with either Francoeur–who does not have a long-term contract–or Teixera,who is in the last year of his?

  94. Well, after sleeping on it for a night, I still think we need pitching. 4 guys that give you 5 innings is not going to get it done. The arms of the bullpen will fall off by July. I dont think we need to strengthen the bullpen, I think we need starting pitching. So again, I, The Second Spitter, offically advocate the pursuit of starting pitching. Thank you, that is all…..

  95. I actually belong to a union, The International Association of Fire Fighters. They do great work for us. Here in Florida, they have cut funding for EMS/FIRE/POLICE all in the name of a $120 per person property tax reduction. Our union has gone to bat for us, and made sure we keep our raises and benefits. Unions have thier place, but to be honest, Professional Sports is not one of them…..

  96. I agree. No one is giving up on Frenchy, he is way too young for that to happen. But since his contemporaries or players around his age like Wright, McCann, Braun, Fielder, are doing so well it’s kind of hard not to compare.

    With that being said, Tex has to step up. I believe he will, but I hope is not too much longer.

  97. Brief comments on the R-Braves game last night:

    Chuck James got the start, but for some reason only went 57 pitches. My guess is that he’s the “emergency” option to replace Huddy on Friday. He was effective but not efficient, getting 3Ks and only allowing two baserunners (one from an E5) through 3.1, but again, that’s 57 pitches on 12 hitters. It was a solid start, and no one made especially good contact off of him.

    Lillibridge had a good first AB, working the count, fighting off pitches, and eventually grounding sharply up the middle for a single. He was pretty bad after that, striking out a couple times and ending with a 1-5.

    Thorman, who I COMPLETELY forgot to mention yesterday, (although his performance was pretty forgetable except for a nice defensive play) had a good day yesterday. He hit two very deep home runs to CF, though both were solo shots. ‘Course, he also struck out twice. :-D

    Diory Hernandez continued to impress me with his bat. He went 3-5 with a HR and another one that almost went out. It was a hard-hit fly/liner that bounced off the screen that is the last barrier above the “Blue Monster” and a HR. Hernandez evidently though this shot should be worth more than a single (anywhere else it’s a double), and made too wide a turn, eventually getting thrown out as he scurried back to first. But still a good day; his bat has real pop, especially to LF.

    Jeff Ridgeway, who you may remember as the hard-throwing lefty we got for Willy Aybar and Chase Fontain this spring, pitched two innings last night. His FB was 91-92 most of the time, and lefties really seemed to have a lot of trouble with him. Righties not as much. Left-handed batters were 0-4 with 1K and two weak grounders to the mount while righties were 2-4 with a 2B and a K. And he just seemed a lot more comfortable attacking lefties, whereas he’d nibble and throw more balls against righties. Dunno if this means he’s just a LOOGY, but he’d certainly be effective in that roll.

    Clint Sammons has come back down to earth after a hot start, and I’m not really convinced he’d be a very bit upgrade over Corky. His arm looked fine throwing down to 2nd at the start of innings, and he had one hard-hit ball that went for a single. But he also struck out once and didn’t seem to have all that much power. He’ll be a fine backup next year, but the marginal benefit of him over Corky isn’t really anything to worry about.

  98. No, you’re right. They were brief thoughts, plural, it was just that there were a lot of them.

    Anything has to be better than Corcqui at this point. Where’s Fernando Lunar?

  99. First, the comment was directed at all unions without regard to sports or non-sports. Second, I don’t know why unions don’t belong in sports. For years, the owners screwed athletes royally. Unions were established to try to even the playing field a little. Granted, today it’s hard to feel much sympathy for players and the unions–especially the baseball union–are often obnoxious. But, look at the NFL where you have a weak union. Teams can essentially abrograte contracts at will regardless of how long or how well the player has played for the team. I don’t think that’s fair at all.

    On another note, Tex’s problem seems to be entirely from the right side. Against lefties, he is basically Andruw Jones batting cleanup. I hope and think he will get it together but he needs to hurry.

  100. I am in a union too, but i do not view what MLB players have as a union, they can negotiate their own contracts and different players get paid at widely different levels, its more like a collective.
    Regardless, unions saved this country in the early 1900’s and continue to help millions of people today.
    anyway, Tex better start hitting because i back the 20 mill a year for him and dont want egg on my face.

  101. Enjoyed it mraver. Always interesting to hear how the guys a doing the year after I watched them in Pearl.

    I thought Sammons looked like a great defensive catcher but couldn’t see him getting a lot of real at bats in the league because he wasn’t much hitter.

    Diory is a guy that looked absolutely great and one of the few guys that’s hit superbly well in Pearl. Always wondered why he wasn’t considered a prospect at all.

  102. RE 116

    In the corporate world you get a salary and a bonus. After a single day of working if the company wants to fire you for anything (aside from federally prohibited critera) they can. That’s the difference.

    The risk is solely on the business in this case. They cannot just terminate an employer b/c the employer is under contract. I guess that’s one of the perks to ‘at-will employment’.

    My point pertaining to contracts and incentives in regards to Frency and Tex are that Frenchy feels like he’s worth more. Okay, if he feels that way, he can take a reasonable contract and add incentives for hitting over .300 or whatever. He won’t do that b/c he can’t hit over .300. He’s too inconsistent.

    If I take a job and agree to be 80% billable and I’m not, I get fired. That’s the difference.

    Similar to Tex. We pay him $13 mil to be average. That’s not fair to us. Pay him $8 and give him incentives for an extra $10 mil for all I care.

    This is a very simple principle of labor economics.

  103. Meltdown in Seattle alert..

    From Seattle’s Manager:

    “We’re playing our (bleep) off every day and got nothing to show for it. I’m tired of (bleeping) losing, I’m tired of getting my (bleep) beat, and so have those guys. We gotta change this (bleeping bleep) around and get after it. And only we can do it. The fans are (bleeped) off, and I’m (bleeped) off, and the players are (bleeped) off. And that’s the way it is. There’s no (bleeping) easy way out of this, can’t feel sorry for ourself, we gotta (bleeping) buckle it up and get after it. I’m tired of (bleep) losing this, (bleeping) every night we bust our (bleep). It’s gotta be a total team (bleeping) effort to turn this thing around, and that’s it.”

  104. A contract is obligated by both the player and the organization. If there were no contracts, similar to corporate America, a player could come and go as they please – making employment ‘at-will’.

    that is economics.

  105. From the files of “I’m Glad we traded Laroche even if it was for an injured Gonzalez” :

    Pirates prospect Steve Pearce is getting some time at first base in Triple A. Despite that development, Dejan Kovacevic says there is no Adam LaRoche trade chatter yet. LaRoche followed up his standard awful April with an .804 OPS in May.

  106. It is my understanding that the GA between MLB and the players forbids incentive contracts.

  107. I believe MGL is right on that… as I was advocating that a few weeks back and it was shot down as against their agreement. There are bonuses that can be based on awards, but not actual performance numbers (the A-Rod thing is structured not as incentive for the milestones but as something relating to promotional something or other).

  108. Tony, that’s a pretty good rant, but after we’ve been living with Ozzie Guillen for all these years, I think managers really have to go the extra mile for their profane tantrums to have an effect.

    I think the next frontier for cursing will be eerily graphic fusions of already-profane words, like portmanteaus, layered one upon another like drug references in a Bob Dylan song.

  109. I think the next frontier for cursing will be eerily graphic fusions of already-profane words, like portmanteaus, layered one upon another like drug references in a Bob Dylan song.


  110. Beckham, Tim.

    Nice pick by the Rays, though I wish they had gotten Alvarez, so I could go to the same park to see he and Price play for years to come.

  111. The Rays will not be a hard team to root for anyway, playing in a Division with the Yanks and Sox.

  112. Can someone explain to me why the Braves don’t have a pick in the 1st Rd. Thanks.

    As many 1st round picks as the Rays have had, they should be on top for the next decade. Although the Josh Hamilton pick did set them back a few years.

  113. @126,

    I don’t really understand your beef about contracts. Not all employment in corporate America is employment at will. Theer are plenty of employment contracts in corporate America. Many CEOs have contracts with golden parachutes in them. The whole point about a contract is that it protects both sides; that’s why people sign them. Companies want their valuable employees to be with them for a set period and not be able to pick up and leave. Same for baseball teams. Granted, they can’t offer specific performance incentives in contracts but so what? Frenchy knows damn well that if he doesn’t perform, he isn’t going to get big money. It’s not like the Braves are obligated to pay him $20 million.

    And it’s ridiculous to say the risk is solely on the business. If a ballplayer with a multiyear contract has a huge year, he can’t really capitalize on it. That benefits the team. Don’t you think Greg Maddux could have made more money after some of his Cy Young years if he wasn’t tied to the Braves? How much did the Braves benefit.

    Are you really advocating employement at will for ballplayers where either the team or the player could opt to go somewhere else in the middle of the season?

  114. RE: 141,

    I see your point. I’m not advocating employment at will. I was just discussing it’s pro’s and con’s. That goes for unions in general. I do feel that many unions are critical (teachers unions in particular). I just think that the market should be a bit more fluid.

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