Braves 8, Mariners 3 (not that close)

ESPN – Mariners vs. Braves – Box Score – June 22, 2008

So, that’s what we’re paying (well, Liberty Media is paying) Mark Teixeira for. Teixeira was 3-4 with all three hits home runs, one of them actually righthanded, driving in four runs.

Tim Hudson was great (I guess not all of the American League has “figured him out”). He was a bit wild in the first few innings, but settled down after that. He went seven, allowing just four hits. He only struck out two and walked four, but was getting lots of ground balls. After the third, he was in complete control.

Teixeira opened the scoring with a solo homer in the second. He then led off the fourth with another homer, followed by one from McCann, and Blanco singled home Brandon Jones. Gotay hit a two-run single in the fifth, and Teixeira capped it with a two-run homer in the seventh.

Ohman pitched the eighth without incident, and then Bobby, for some unknown reason, had Gonzalez pitch the ninth. He didn’t do very well, allowing three runs. It wasn’t entirely his fault, but he did allow a two-run homer (I thought on a pretty good pitch). I don’t get the Ichiro Suzuki thing — he didn’t look like even a decent player in the last two games. He was 0-5, but scored the last run of the game after reaching on an error.

Jeff Francoeur, who sucks, had a “scheduled off-day”. It is not entirely a coincidence that the absence of the Out Machine coincided with an eight-run outburst. He did pinch-hit, and of course struck out with two men on, because he sucks. Chipper and Escobar did have the whole day off this time, though Escobar wanted to play. McCann didn’t get any rest; you’d think they would at least have had the Hamster catch the ninth.

110 thoughts on “Braves 8, Mariners 3 (not that close)”

  1. 4.0 GB and 1.0 under .500. Apparently the Phillies and Marlins have returned to Earth with the rest of the East.

  2. Amazing that we’re 4 games back after the sweep by Philly and the schedule following.

    I am not sure whether that is a blessing or a curse in disguise.

  3. You guys think Fresno State will win tonight?
    I live about an hour north of Fresno. Bull dogs vs Bulldogs?

  4. Every time we’ve gotten this close this year it has been just a tease. It’s hard to get too excited when it’s quite possible a losing streak will begin in our next series.

  5. Also consider what we are doing with 4 bench players in our starting lineups. I think it is amazing we are even this close. We have been hit HARD with injuries this year. If we can get everyone healthy – we just might make a run at it.

  6. Hope this is Tex’s coming out party, that could do wonders for our team.
    Why Gonzales? Giving the other guys a day off maybe?

  7. Carlyle is thw new Stockman?

    No point paying attention to division races till we atleast get to a game over 500.
    Given we are running into a red-hot Milwaukee team, I am less than optimistic.

  8. The division race? It’s nice that we’re within striking distance, but count me among those who won’t get too excited until we have some sustained run of +.500 ball.

    But, it is true that this team, challenged as it is, hasn’t quit. The win last night was proof of that.

    Helluva effort from Huddy today. Nice to finally break that bad IL streak.

    The Joys of Cable
    Sometimes having the MLB Extra Innings package is a real treat. In the A’s-Marlins game (A’s up 5-1 in the 5th), the Oakland TV broadcast has ex-pitcher Vida Blue as a special guest & his stories are entertaining as hell.

    He told the story of how his owner—legendary cheapskate Charlie Finley—refused to give him a substantial raise after his MVP/Cy Young season of 1971. Instead, he got a Cadillac with a 24-gallon tank and an Exxon credit card. (Remember, this was before free agency.)

    Vida was so pissed about it that every time he went to the station with his own car, he’d fill up half the neighborhood’s cars with gas, too. Finley finally found out & put a stop to it, but he said he filled up plenty of family station wagons in West Oakland in 1972.

  9. I think this game proves that Teixera is really the key to the rest of the season. You can say what you want (mostly bad) about Frenchy-he is what he is. But the Braves are a different team when Tex hits. If he gets hot in the second half, they might be able to do something. If not, they won’t. And he especially has to start hitting lefties at least some.

  10. HA HA HA, this Francouer thing is getting better every day. Here’s the reason why he thinks he got the day off…

    “I just needed a day, I’ve gotten hit so much,” Francoeur said

  11. Who knows? Maybe Tex hits better knowing that he doesn’t have to pick up the guy behind him?

    Two ninth-inning rallies to win in one week is a good sign.

  12. Okay, it’s officially time for Braves Journal to resurrect Brian McCann’s official first nickname: Pimpbot 16.

    By the way, in response to Basil from the last thread:
    Between innings late in the game last night, they played Sussudio on the loudspeakers at Turner Field. And then we won the game. Is there anything the music of Phil Collins can’t do?

    There’s just one thing the music of Phil Collins can’t do: not suck.

  13. I’ll put up with Mr. Musical Mediocrity all year long if it means we’ll win.

    And it would be awesome if Tex became the bashing beast of last year. Lord knows we need him now.

  14. I’ll go with Pimpbot 16, gladly. Really, just don’t call him “Mac”, because there’s enough confusion in my life already.

    Since Francoeur is incredibly popular and all, I think that the Braves should take advantage and name a club after him. I was thinking “The 98 Club”, after his lifetime OPS+. Or “Club .301”, after this season’s on-base percentage. Or even “Studio 45” after his lifetime stolen base percentage. The possibilities are endless, if always quite low.

  15. I’m not able to attend home games or watch them on TV, but have Francouer’s Franks disappeared?

  16. To paraphrase Public Enemy, Jeff’s 98 was 87 on the record, yo, so now he goes suck-o.

    He’s no doubt hoping that he gets an arbitrator who knows nothing about baseball so he can get more of Liberty Media’s money.

  17. It is quite likely that Schafer, Hernandez, and Heyward will all be better major leaguers than Francoeur in a couple of years. I would project, though, that Frenchy’s trade value will go the way of Marcus Giles’ towards the end of arbitration.

  18. As much as I resent Francoeur’s poor play, I believe it would be a mistake to non-tender him, at least in the next year.

    I am guessing he gets $1.5M in arb at his current production level. I think it is worth it to pay the guy that much recognizing potential for a big time break out year. That seems unlikely now, but I bet it is a gamble most teams are willing to take, so Francoeur has trade value that we would not want to forfeit by non-tendering him.

    There is also the matter on our team of having no real prospect ready to fill his shoes. The Braves’ dearth of outfielders should guarantee Frenchy a spot on this team next year.

  19. Mac,

    On a few days ago, you could compare in the splits by month. That takes the 4 games waiting on the suspension ax to fall and sets them aside if you look at June. In June this year in AA as of Friday, he had an OPS over 1.000 (in 16 games). The April games were like 350 OPS.

    I wish they broke the left / right split for June out separately. IF a large part of his catastrophes against lefthanders were in April, then he may be ready to move up.

  20. Is anyone getting the CWS right now? ESPN has baseball tonight and ESPN2 has world series of poker.

  21. Thanks, Mac. Didn’t think to look there. Here’s to an 18-inning game that gets suspended.

    Weird Stat of the Day:
    In his career as a Yankee, Andy Pettitte is 16-1 in final games of a regular-season series where the Yankees were facing a sweep. That was the case today & he won.

  22. Frenchy is batting 1 point higher (.246 to .245) than Greg freakin Norton. Wasn’t he supposed to be good.

  23. In a clutch situation i’d take Norton all day right now over Frenchy. Frenchy’s biggest contributions of late have been a couple of HBP’s. At least Norton has driven in a few runs and had some extra base hits. He’s actually been a decent pickup, and he’s surpassed my admittedly low expectations.

  24. I wouldn’t actually be pissed off with Frenchy if it was just his average. The biggest problem with him now is that he’s been to the plate with so many men on third with less than 2 out and can’t get them home (over and over and over). It is beyond rediculous. I’ve gone out of my way to just turn the chanel when he is up to bat in that situation b/c I KNOW the outcome. Sad really.

  25. Do you think players from other teams yell “easy out” when frenchy comes to the plate?

  26. And I am not knocking Reyes. He has been really good for us lately. It’s just that Sheets OWNS us.

  27. It just irritates me how bad his AB’s are, over and over again. The other day Texas was trying to walk him, yet he was swinging at garbage as usual, and they bailed him out by hitting him. Also, against Washburn last night he had a long AB (about 7 pitches), but was never pitched a strike and grounded out weakly to SS.

    I realize learning the strike zone takes time, but he has 500 games or so under his belt and hasn’t improved in the slightest. Even more disturbing, it seems like he’s missed “mistakes” on fastballs left up and in the middle of the zone.

    I dunno…I’m just tired of this free swinging crap at anything between the batters boxes.

  28. I assume the use of Gonzo was just to get him regular work–he’s been pitching every 2-3 days as part of his comeback. The use of Ohman was more puzzling–he’s been one of the best relievers but he’s used with an 8-0 lead. That inning should have gone to Ring or Carlyle.

    Can we schedule some more off days for Monsieur Francoeur?

  29. It seems like IF Frenchy gets a hit, it’s a jam shot that just manages to clear the infield. He’s never making good contact, even, as Hanan points out, when the pitches are mistakes.

    This was a weird game. I was worried about Hudson in the beginning, and then he pitches 7 shutout innings. It was also good to see the backups play well, and of course, to see Tex actually do something.

    I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game, even if Sheets is going to own us. I love watching JoJo pitch.

  30. I didn’t have much problem with seeing Gonzo. He probably needs to get some work, and an 8-0 game is a good time to let a pitcher freshly back from the DL work on his repertoire. Better he work out the kinks in a blowout than in a close game. Assuming Bobby does;t blow his arm off like he is prone to do, I don’t have a problem with a reliever getting occasional work in a blowout game just to stay sharp.

    Ohman was a Bobby head-scratcher. He leads the league in appearances, but has been one of more reliable RP’s. I just didn’t see a reason to bring him in today when there are other more expendable options.

  31. You know what’s weird? Even though it seems like he never makes solid contact, Frenchy has an LD% of 21.6% and a BABIP of .273, so it’s possible that he’s been just slightly unlucky.

    On the other hand, I’d vote for Than Shwe.

  32. Since he kills rallies so mercilessly and effectively, I vote he be named after Mao Zedong.

    which ofocurse would also allow us to refer to him as Ze Dongey

  33. AAR, can you explain those stats to me? If it’s not BA or OBP, I’m lost.

    Bobby might just have wanted to get a good outing from Ohman so he wasn’t festering over hit 5 run appearance a few days ago.

  34. The main problem with Francoeur is that he is so dependent on batting average that if he isn’t hitting close to .300 he hurts the team.

    The average of .246 or whatever just shows how much he’s hurting the team.

  35. Bethany, LD% means line drive percentage, and BABIP means batting average on balls in play. Most guys bat roughly around .300 on balls in play. Higher means a lot of good luck, lower means a lot of bad luck.

    Francoeur’s line drive percentage is about average, I think, so that means he’s hitting the ball hard enough when he puts it in play. (Most line drives end up being base hits.)

  36. Actually, a rule of thumb to estimate BABIP is to add 120 pts to the LD%. So the estimator says his BABIP should be in the 330 area.
    But watching him, na! He just doesn’t make enough solid contact, and he is not very fast. Underperforming expected BABIP is not always bad luck. Sometimes you make lot of poor contact, and that will bring it down, and almost certainly the case with Frenchy

  37. @18 AAR – Thanks for dredging that up. My favorite part of that post was people getting upset about the Urbina/Polanco trade…because they thought it was a terrible trade for Detroit. That lends a little levity to the situation.

  38. So, I have an awesome story. I was at the Durham Bulls game tonight (as I often am), and it was a rain delay. It really sucked, actually, all the rain. It rained right before the game was going to start, so there’s a 1 hour delay there, and then it started raining again later. Anyhow, I’m just hoping they could call it so I can go home.

    I had moved from my usual seats when to somewhere more protected from rain, and I had been sitting there for most of the game. Between pitches and such, my eyes tend to wander, and I had noticed that there was a smokin’ hot chick sitting a couple rows up and to my left sitting by herself. I had thought when I first noticed her that it was kinda weird for a girl (especially one this good-looking) to come to a ballgame by herself, and had been expecting some guy to join her at some point.

    Well, the 2nd rain delay hits, and I’ve got nothing to do. I notice that she’s still up there by herself, and eventually I work up the nerve to go up and start chatting with her. Turns out, she’s Ben Zobrist’s wife! (Zobrist just started rehabbing in Durham recently.) The section I had moved into (behind home plate, but not field-level) is evidently the “players’ family” section, and I guess there weren’t many families there that night (owing at least in part to he rain). Anyhow, we got to chatting a bit (her favorite MLB stadium is Seattle ’cause they’ve got the best food), and in addition to being married to Zobrist, she’s the sister of Braves prospect Jon Gilmore. (Gilmore was a supplemental round pick last year, and while he’s struggled thus far, his bat should come around eventually.) Totally wild. We chatted for a bit about what it’s like to be in baseball and such (which was all I could think of to talk about at the time). Eventually the game started back up again, and that was that.

    Still, awesome night! And now I know Braves prospect Jon Gilmore’s sister! :-D

  39. cool story–to say Gilmore has struggled is an understatement

    I lived in the Triangle roughly 88-97. I became a Braves fan seeing Blauser, Gant, Klesko etc. play at the old DAP.

  40. If Frenchy is getting his rest, he may as well sit for the next game as well since he has no chance against Sheets.

    Mac, maybe we should start a poll on how many Ks will Sheets get. The chance of over 10 is pretty likely. Or the poll can be how many times Frenchy will get striked out by Sheets.

    Of course, the Braves can still pull off a win no matter how many Ks Sheets will get.

  41. mraver, when I first started reading your story, I wasn’t sure what site I was on there for a minute. I definately didn’t think it was going to end up “I met Ben Zobrist’s wife.”

    Did you get her number ?? Just kidding.

  42. Wow, kc, that’s depressing. I always thought Gant could have and should have been a better ballplayer than he ended up being, particularly after his motorcycle accident. The realization that he’s likely to be better than Frenchy just makes Frenchy seem that much worse–all potential and little if any product. Ugghh.

  43. Nice to hear that Frenchy’s LD% is that high. I am pretty sure that is not been that high lately.

    For a while, his XBH% was up and he was seeing more pitches per AB. That made me feel like he was improving marginally in some fundamentals. I think that it is possible he was on the path to better baseball, and bad luck helped him fall back into bad habits.

    Speculation, I know. Maybe, I should have left it at I am encouraged by Frenchy’s LD% which has certainly gone down during the recent slump.

  44. You know, Gant’s peak was very short — 1990 to 1996 — but at his peak, he was a very, very productive player. Of course, we’ve always had a bit of an inkling just exactly why he was so productive, but that’s neither here nor there. If Frenchy, or any Braves outfielder, gave us Gant’s peak production, I’d be exceedingly pleased.

  45. Watching Gant’s at-bats were always very frustrating…watching Andruw’s at-bats were always very frustrating…watching Frenchy’s at-bats are always very !@#$%^& [for lack of a better “word”].

  46. …I guess depressing is the right word to use there…but it’s beyond depressing…what’s the word for that?

  47. Then we should all turn off our TV when Frenchy is up for his at-bat…for the sake of our general health…

  48. Wow, George Carlin died. I can honestly say that his old LP, “Class Clown,” got me thru Catholic school with my sanity.

    RIP, Mr. Carlin & thanks for the work.

  49. Just the other day, Carlin was named as the latest recipient of the Twain Prize. You know he would have given a memorable acceptance speech.

    RIP, George Carlin.

    That routine about weather reports was pretty funny too.

  50. He is the one we got back from the Bucs for Kali…not a scout favorite as far as talent, but he is putting up pretty good stats at AA…much beyond my expectation.

  51. Redmond has been pitching reasonably well; I see him as another HoRam, but if he can pitch the way Horacio did when he first came up then he was a steal….

  52. PrOPS says Francoeur has been unlucky this year. I agree somewhat, but I think lately he’s let his “slump” get into his head. He looks worse at the plate than I have ever seen him. He used to at least hit mistakes.

  53. Going back to an item from last week’s thread: Rohrbough missed his start due to an injury–which Shanks calls an ankle problem.

    Lets hope that it is nothing more than that…

  54. Ahhh, the DAP.

    I was in school at UNC when Steve Avery came through Durham. I saw the game right before he got called up, and he was LaLooshian that night. Walked the bases loaded in the first, then struck out the next three on about 10 pitches. Then set down 17 out of the next 18. He was dominant.

    Fresno St. – Congrats on beating the Heels. All I’ll say about the CWS Finals is good luck to the Bulldogs! (Covering my bases.)

  55. more Soriano trouble..just shut him down or give him TJ surgery. He’ll probably need the surgery around the all star break, which will mean he’ll miss all of next year also

    Outfielder Matt Diaz will meet with Braves physician Marvin Royster on Monday to assess his rehabilitation. Diaz said he expects to be given a new brace for his injured left knee that would allow him to begin all baseball-related activities. He said he may be back before the All-Star break, instead of after the break, as was originally thought. He has been on the disabled list since May 28 with a posterior cruciate ligament sprain in his left knee. … Braves manager Bobby Cox didn’t know the status of reliever Rafael Soriano, who still has discomfort in his pitching (right) elbow. Soriano said Saturday that he feels elbow pain even while playing catch.

  56. Gant had significant weaknesses but he was definitely a productive player–much better than Frenchy. And, if I recall, he took away a home run to save a 1-0 win during the stretch run in 1993.

    I just have to note the latest “Joe Morganisms.” During the Cubs-White Sox game last night, Morgan is talking about the Cubs record at home (31-8 at that point) and then noting that the Cubs have a lot more road games than home games left. Actually, they had played 39 home games and 36 road games–yeah, Joe, that’s some real discrepency. And, he said that despite the fact that the Cubs’ home/road records were on the screen so all he had to do was add.

    The second thing was Mark Derosa was playing second last night and Morgan notes that he has always been a good hitter and now he finally has a position. Uh, Joe, if you had been paying attention, Derosa has been playing all over; he is not the regular second baseman but he plays somewhere almost every day.

    Does this guy do any research at all? He just continually talks off the top of his head and ESPN continues to allow him to make these egregious mistakes of fact. I assume Jon Miller doesn’t want to show him up by correcting his mistakes but someone ought to tell him that he needs to make at least some effort to know what he is talking about.

    I guess Francoeur is modeling his baseball career after Joe Morgan’s broadcasting rather than his playing career.

  57. Feliz continues to excel.

    But it’s looking somewhat like he might be the only minor leaguer they got in that deal worth caring about. Which isn’t what it was looking like earlier this year. Andrus continues to not hit, and Harrison’s components are horrible.

    Salty can hit okay, but I don’t think he’s progressing very well behind the plate (hell, we ran all over him), so he may not turn out all that great after all.

    I dunno. I expressed trepidation about the deal when it occurred, but I also remember getting excited about it in the end. I think it we make the playoffs this year, then screw it, the deal was fine.

    If we don’t… well, at least we may have been the ones to figure out how to solve Texas’ pitching issue. >_<

  58. LOL @ 85…maybe Francoeur will crash on a mysterious island and miraculously be able to discern the strike zone.

  59. If Frenchy landed on the island, Hurley’s response might be, “woa, dude, who taught you about the strike zone?”

  60. Feliz was our best power arm and Andrus is only 19 and too young to give up on. Harrison had hit a plateau last year and Beau Jones continues to be an engima….I just hope that we saw the real Tex last night….

  61. “I dont have pet peeves, I have major psychotic hatreds”……George Carlin……………RIP George

  62. @ 83. You know that Joe has an honorary Doctorate(from Cal State East Bay???) so everything he says has to be right.

  63. Maybe Ichiro didn’t show it this weekend & maybe he’s running out of steam at “an old 34,” but he’s always been my favorite guy to watch. I always make sure my season-ticket group gets the Seattle game(s).

    I’ve seen him throw out guys at 3rd & home, I’ve seen him beat out a routine grounder to second base, I’ve seen him hit HRs & generally drive the Yanks batty on the basepaths.

    And if he gets to 200 hits this year, that’ll be 8 seasons in a row—only one other player has done that. Throw in a .330 lifetime average (not to mention a portion of right-fielder envy) and I don’t think one bad weekend will sully my impression of him.

  64. Maybe.

    But I finally figured out what Ichiro’s play on the Norton double reminded me of. In RBI Baseball, I once hit a bunt (with Eric Davis, I think) that somehow got past the infielders. And the infielder closest to the ball chased it and chased it but could never catch it, and because of the programming the outfielders were all running away from the ball, so the infielder wound up chasing it all the way to the wall and I scored an inside the park homer.

    Ichiro played that ball like that infielder.

  65. Ichiro has been a remarkable player ever since he came here. This series was by far the worst I’ve ever seen him play. I kind of get the feeling that he’s not too enthused with the way the team has gone this year, and might be frustrated and therefore dogging it a bit because of that.

  66. I am proud to report that over the last two weeks, “Francoeur Sucks” has become the most-searched term to find this site after only “Braves Journal”.

  67. Ichiro plays soft to me…

    So the Braves have won two straight. Francouer has to get the night off against Sheets tonite…right? Oh great…Prince Fielder is hitting HRs again…

    The Mets get the Mariners next…so the Braves have to do well against the Brewers. Then the Braves get the Blue Jays no Roy..

    A day night doubleheader on Friday for the Mets…1st game in the Bronx, 2nd game in Queens. I’m excited..

  68. The Braves announcers kept puzzling over the high attendance this weekend, but I think it’s pretty obvious that people wanted to see Ichiro play.

  69. yeah I wanted to watch Ichiro play and I got to see him show off some speed. He stole 2nd twice on Saturday and both times he was on the bag before Kelly even caught the throw. I dont see why he would bust it on every play when he knows, and everyone else knows, that this team is getting broken up by the new GM. Im sure he wants to win and seeing the manager and GM fired it doesnt help. Sexson and Beltre suck and no ones helping the guy. I can see how its hard to get motivated everyday

  70. Ichiro took a bad route to a ball. I’ve seen Andruw Jones do that in his prime. A game at Yankee Stadium comes to mind. Happens.

    When did Ichiro become a small forward?

    FWIW, when his time in MLB is done, Ichiro will make for an interesting HoF debate. I say he’ll make it.

  71. ohhhh that will be an interesting HoF debate. I don’t think they let him in on first ballot, but I think if he has another 3-4 years of his “usual production” in him he should certainly be in.

  72. Yea Ichiro will get in the Hall…and Bethany u are right about fans coming to see Ichiro.

  73. I wanted to go see him play. I think our pitchers did a great job keeping him in check.

  74. Ichiro will make it in and it would not surprise me if eventually his HOF plaque will note some of his achievements in Japanese baseball. More generally, he represents or embodies the trend for East Asian baseball to become increasingly related to Major League Baseball. I would be suprised if this trend does not accelerate in coming decades–possibly with a mlb franschises located in the Pacific. Whether that trajectory develops, I think it clear that Ichiro will be remembered as part of the further internationalization of the sport.

    I look forward to getting KC’s take on this–even though I don’t think baseball is as big in Hong Kong as other parts of the Pacific rim.

    In any event, I love watching Ichiro play and hope that he gives us many more exciting years….

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