Braves 4, Marlins 0

ESPN – Braves vs. Marlins – Box Score – July 21, 2008

Great, hope. I’ve mentioned before that I have a low opinion of hope, which normally plays you false. If the Braves really hope to compete, standing in fourth place, six games out — and five games out of third — well, I don’t think they’re being very rational. I’m in sell mode, as I wrote yesterday. Hope rules out sell mode, and the Braves really aren’t in position to buy, so they just sit there. I just hope they bother to offer arbitration to Teixeira and Ohman.

Jorge Campillo continues to somehow get major league hitters out even though he has no fastball to speak of. He took a perfect game to the fifth and wound up allowing just two hits and one walk in seven innings, while striking out six. I have no idea how he does it, or if he can keep doing it, but as long as he does it we’re in good shape when he starts.

Kotsay drove in Teixeira in the second. The Braves had a chance to get more, but Li’lbridge grounded out (McCann was out at the plate on a fielder’s choice) and then Campillo did the same (Francoeur, who sucks, had somehow reached on a walk earlier but was out at the plate). Chipper singled home Blanco, and was in turn doubled in by Teixeira, in the fifth, giving Campillo some breathing room. Prado doubled in Kotsay in the ninth to move it out of a save situation, but Gonzalez of course pitched anyway. He and Ohman both had perfect innings in relief. Oh, and Francoeur sucks.

73 thoughts on “Braves 4, Marlins 0”

  1. I think the chance that the Braves will offer arbitration to Tex is much greater than to Ohman.

  2. FINALLY – a well played game. I was actually able to watch this one the whole way through w/o asking myself if this was a major league ball club. Manufactured runs, pitched well – like the days of old.

  3. from the prev thread…

    The thing is, I don’t necessarily believe in “buying” and “selling” per se. A Teixeira for Kotchman plus, or Bay for prospects deal are going to make the team better going forward no matter what happens this year, and may in fact make them better this year at the same time.

  4. Yeah, but sitting on Teixeira and Ohman and losing them for draft picks (assuming the team actually offers arbitration this time) is not going to help the team anytime soon.

    I figured out that my evil upstairs neighbor is leading a double life. Some nights, he has small children (who evidently live with their mother) over and lets them run and jump all over the place instead of just watching TV like normal kids. And other nights, he has adults over who drink and talk REALLY LOUD just to be annoying.

    He also parks on the line. I hate that.

  5. I think this is the third game in a row in which Boyer has not pitched. Granted the other two were basically blowouts but still, this has to be some sort of record.

  6. Mac that was my point – these players that need to get moved can be, and for parts that should improve some areas immediately while not opening up gaping holes in others

  7. Oh, I hate it when people park on the line. I hate it more when they take up 2 entire spaces.

  8. An actual poll from Site Officiale:

    How would you assess the Braves play the first half of the season?
    A. Exceptional
    B. Above expectations
    C. About as expected
    D. Below expectations

  9. They have certainly exceeded my expectations of how creatively they could suck.

    By the way, you guys have probably seen this, but among active players with at least 3000 PA, Tex is tied with Adam Dunn for the 21st-best career OPS+ (131), exactly one point ahead of J.D. Drew and Jason Bay, and one point behind Jim Edmonds. (Also, Tex’s #1 most similar hitter through age 27? Kent Hrbek.)

    Kinda puts his career in perspective, no?

  10. No mention of the great moment when Chipper forgot the count and headed to 1st on the 3rd ball? Loved the obvious “my bad” and sheepish grin… wish he’d have managed to get a HIT after that, but was still hilarious.

  11. Just checked on how Andruw is doing. Still horrible. I have to admit that I was wrong, I thought the Dodgers were going to get a decent Andruw year (.265 with 30 dings), and not a .166 batting average… It’s just sad… what is it with the Braves and center fielder longevity? Andruw seems to be on the Dale Murphy express to “not quite a hall of famer” debate.

  12. francoeur was 1-3 with a walk. he may suck. but id that that night out of anybody in our lineup. he’s flawed but he was on base 2 out of 4 times.

  13. You know, when you think someone has had a nice night when they get a walk and a seeing eye single, the standards being set aren’t very high. Usually what we would say if Hudson did that.

  14. Winning one game isn’t hope. If they win 5 of 6 or sweep the road trip, then there will be hope. I expect them to lose the next 5 in a row.

  15. when frenchie went down he was hitting .234, with a .662 OPS. Now, 9 games back in MLB, he his hitting .234 with a .662 OPS. He sure ’nuff did fix his swing in those 3 games in Mississippi, didn’t he? He has just solidified his stature as the worst RF in MLB.

  16. Jeff Schultz in the AJC says Tex isn’t a difference maker and they should trade him. He bases that on the Braves record since they acquired him. But by that standard, the Braves should have traded Hank Aaron after their first three seasons in Atlanta. It’s silly to hold one guy accountable for the record although Tex has been a disappointment to some extent this year. (Now he seems to be padding his stats for free agency.) I’m not necessarily opposed to trading him since resigning him is probably unrealistic but I hate it when sportswriters gin up numbers just to prove their point. Of course, expecting quality writing in the AJC is a bit like expecting Jeff Francouer to not suck.

    And, oddly enough, the Braves seem to be playing a little better on the road at the same time they are playing worse at home. Figures. I predict they WILL win a one run game on the road by the end of the year, probably a game in which they lead 5-1 going into the 9th and give up three runs.

    But, no, winning one game is not hope, especially when, even in winning, they scored one run with the bases loaded and no outs.

  17. I think if Andruw crashes and burns this quickly, he’s not even in the “not quite a hall-of-famer” category.

  18. Sorry, I just heard a knee-slapper as I was listening to Eric Karabel on the Baseball Today ESPN podcast. He was talking about Adam Loewen of the Orioles deciding to pull a Rick Ankiel, and he goes, “Don’t be surprised if you see Loewen in the majors again — anyone can learn how to hit.”

    Really, Eric? Well then, let me introduce you to Jeffy — perhaps you can teach him a thing or two. Or better yet, come and be the Braves batting coach.


  19. I don’t think there is any way we should trade Frenchy because I don’t think he is this bad and I don’t think other teams will be stupid enough to overpay at this point.

    We are stuck with him.

    I wish that he would accept whatever assignment is necessary to get him proper instruction. He showed promising signs at the beginning of the year but was truly hit-unlucky. I think the “slump” spiraled out of control and that’s where we stand. But he does have a low ceiling with his current approach, IMO. I think we can rebuild him, make him better.

  20. Orel Hershhiser provided some truly trenchant analysis last night, noting that there was a difference between a one-run lead and a three-run lead because with a one run lead, you only need one runner to get the tying run to the plate whereas with a three run lead, you need two. Orel apparently doesn’t think too highly of the intelligence of his viewers.

  21. I think we offer Tex a $20 million / year long-term deal and see what he says.

    If it’s “no” (my guess) then it’s off to the auction house.

    Who knows, we might get lucky.

  22. Whatever voodoo Campillo is doing to channel the Mad Dog needs to be taught to Frenchy. then he can work on learning another Hall of Famer’s skills, that of The Hammer.

  23. Hey, I was at the horrendous little league game played on Sunday, with the only bright spot being I talked to Blaine Boyer. I asked him if Bobby Cox was overusing him (duh), to which he sorta stopped for a second, rotated his arm, and said ‘welllllllllllll…., it’s still attached, ain’t it?’.

    I then asked him for his hat, to which he countered with a straight trade for my sunglasses.

  24. per mlb rumors…

    The Rockies and Braves will wait until right before the July 31st deadline to decide whether to trade Matt Holliday and Mark Teixeira. The Rox have been more active calling around about Holliday, though. Heyman notes that Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd has spoken to the Mets, Angels, Phillies, and other teams about him. The Rockies are seven games out, while the Braves are six back.
    Charley Walters has a rumor: Teixeira to the Angels for Robb Quinlan and Brandon Wood.

    you can go to the site and click on the links to read the full article also

  25. How come the Braves never seen to use a position player to pitch when they’re getting blown out to avoid working the bullpen real hard?

  26. Baseball Digest Daily has an article today about whether the Braves should be buyers or sellers.

    In the article it says that Tex may command a salary of $15M per or more. I know I have not been in favor of re-signing Tex, but I would do $15M in a heartbeat. I might even do as much as $20M, but that would have to be accompanied by a a permanent increase in payroll.

    Anyway, the short article ends with this:

    “According to Terence Moore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, manager Bobby Cox told his club to ignore any trade rumors because the team is still trying to win the NL East.”

  27. So I got to see Sports Center’s highlights of the game. I enjoyed seeing that the Braves had pitched a shutout, and later in the bottom line, I saw that Campillo had really pitched well. So I was kinda miffed that the only pitcher they mentioned in their whole thing was Chris Volstad. I mean, seriously, how does a guy go seven shut-out innings allowing only two hits while striking out six and not even get a MENTION let alone a highlight?

    That’s just weird, man.

  28. From “titletown”, to “the greatest higlight”, to “who’s number one”, I’m really starting to hate sportscenter.

  29. FJM lays into DOB today.

    Here’s an email I sent the author, Junior:

    I like Dave O’Brien, so I’m gonna defend him even though that article wasn’t his shiningest moment. But I think the reason that Teixeira has disappointed Braves fans isn’t that he’s done badly this year (horrible, horrible April and May; shiny, shiny June and July), it’s that he was billed as one of the elite hitters in the game — possibly the Boras Effect, and possibly because we gave up a ton of prospects to get him — when in fact he’s merely very good.

    Among active players with at least 3000 PA, he is tied with Adam Dunn and Jason Bay for 21st place in career OPS+, with 131. This is exactly one point ahead of lifelong disappointment J.D. Drew, and one point behind the freefalling Jim Edmonds. (Plenty of people on the list are guys on the way down like Edmonds; since Tex hasn’t yet hit his decline phase, he’s probably higher on the list than he will be when he gets to be their age.)

    Now, don’t get me wrong — Bay, Drew, and Edmonds have all had great careers, but none was ever among the top 5 hitters in the game; none was ever seen as the best player at his position; and between the 4 of them they have a combined 7 All-Star appearances. Teixeira’s .893 OPS this year is lovely in the middle of the order, and nothing to sneeze at, but it’s probably not worth $20 million a year.

    Of course, whether to pony up to Boras and hand him long-term deal is a different question, and the phrase “impact offensive player” is rather unfortunate too. But if you ask whether Teixeira’s elite — like, is he one of the best 15 hitters in baseball, or one of the three or four best first basemen? — the answer’s probably no.

  30. BA for last 10 games (by my rough calculation):
    Pujols .416
    Chipper .235
    Francour .210

    It looks like Chipper has picked his swing back up a bit in the last 6-7 games, I just hope that Pujols doesn’t catch him because as bad as the season has gone otherwise, I want Chipper to win that batting title.

    As an aside, the AL batting title race is shaping up to have as weak a winner as the 91 NL one did (when Pendleton won it with a .319 average… just looked it up and saw that Julio Franco won the AL title that year for Texas).

  31. Sell Tex now. He is not a primetime difference maker type of player.

    In regards to Murhpy and AJ, the similarities are interesting. Both played almost every game for 10 years in that heat from hell in Atlanta in centerfield, and later right for Murphy…maybe it just wore them out. Plus AJ is fat.

  32. Stu, if you’re out there, I heard the Sox have signed Ryan Westmoreland for $2M plus.

    Stupid Red Sox.

  33. Lotsa Twins fans at the Stadium last night & they’re so well-behaved & nice that even those Pinstripe types with the deepest brow ridges and draggingest knuckles couldn’t faze them. Just a bunch of really nice folks, even when their team is getting smacked.

    Odd Way to Start My Day:
    So I’m driving down 21st Street in Long Island City this morning, on my way to the LIE. I stop at a light & I see a huge commotion to my left—tons of papparazzi aiming their cameras in one direction.

    I follow their attention & see a white trailer. I notice that a movie or TV show is being shot—film cameras on dollies, extras, the whole bit. I can’t see who the “star” is that they’re shooting because the light turns green & I have to move about 50 yards up the street to another red light.

    Long light, I see the crazed shutterbugs come rushing again, this time in my direction. I look to my left and there’s a handheld camera man walking backward and 10 feet from my car, emerging from behind another trailer, there’s Lindsay Lohan.

    Wearing grey Dickies work pants, looking very freckly & vaguely boyish, she’s being filmed as she “walks down an NYC street.” A minute later, I’m on the LIE. The day goes downhill from here, I think.

    BTW, I love the Campillo nickname—Senor Smoke & Mirrors

  34. You said everything I wanted to in that email AAR. I’m a big FJM fan but I think the fact that DOB was discussing Teixeira’s production, relative to a team’s payroll, was kind of lost in translation for Junior. Teams with more restrictive payrolls have to come up with more affordable ways to compliment their cornerstone players (in our case, Chipper and McCann). Teixeira is a good player but his position is the easiest to fill from an offensive standpoint….and like clockwork as I type this the ill-fated Thorman/Wilson platoon comes to mind and I begin to feel lightheaded.

    To sum it up, I agree with DOB – the Braves don’t need to spend $140 – $160MM on Teixeira. I’m not surprised it ended up on FJM though.

  35. If the awful rumor is true (doubtful) expect a Thorman/Quinlan platoon or a Norton/Quinlan platoon. Quinlan hits lefties ok (.832 ops) whereas the others hit RHP better than they do LHP (though they both suck).

    Wood makes no sense with Chipper at third and Esco at SS.

  36. AAR,

    I crunched some numbers on Tex back in the spring, and I estimated that he’d be worth an average of $26 million/year over a six-year contract.

    I don’t think Tex has had his best season yet. He looks to be in fantastic shape, and hitters tend to peak at around 29-30.

    I would also say that Dunn, Bay, and Drew, are pretty darn good hitters who happen to be underrated.

  37. JC, I agree that all are probably underrated in one way or another, but I’m also not sure that I’d want to pay any of them $20 million a year — at least, not now. In 6 years, I’m sure $20 million will look like a bargain. My point was to try to show that Tex’s peers are guys like Bay and Dunn, not guys like Miguel Cabrera and Berkman, whom I’d be much comfortabler paying that kind of dough.

  38. The Brewers are apparently signing Jay Gibbons to a minor league deal. He’s had injury problems and the hgh bit, but with the Braves outfield he would have been an upgrade.

  39. Seeing how it’s past the Allstar break and we have Kotsay through this year, anyone have a reasonable assessment on Jordan Shafer’s ability to deliver in CF next year?

  40. If Tex ends up with a top-10 lucrative contract, it’s not because he’s a top-10 player. It’s because he hit free agency now. In a year, there will be a couple other guys to command that kind of money, and so on and so on. The point is that, sure, you can argue Tex doesn’t deserve top-10 money because he’s not a top-10 player. But that’s not how the market works. Often a guy gets top-10 money because he’s a top-10 player on the market that offseason. The limited supply of the best players available raises their value, which, in the end, raises the market values of everyone. If Tex is the 22nd best hitter in baseball he’ll still command top-10 money. That’s the chance someone will have to take on him. And this is why Boston and New York have such a big advantage: you have to overpay to win, and they can overpay more than anyone else.

    Also: Pujols, Berkman, Cabrera, et al., aren’t going anywhere. At some point the Braves or any other team with aspirations to play with the big boys are going to have to sign and ‘overpay’ a couple really good, but not great, players.

  41. The diminished supply of free agents is offset by the diminished demand by teams. If there are few guys on the free agent market, then there are fewer job vacancies. For example, last year when the Mariners signed Ichiro, several writers correctly reported that there was one less free agent option, but they forgot to mention that there was also one less team needing a starting CF.

  42. It’s hard to think of a contending team for which Kotsay would be a CF upgrade. I don’t mean that to sound too snarky–when healthy he’s probably done better than expected this year. Maybe the Yankees given the loss of Matsui and Damon’s injuries?

    Now for the snark–he’d be an upgrade for the Dodgers.

  43. trade Kotsay??…………man, theres a deal that would bring us a boatload of good players………seriously, weren’t the Braves the only team that wanted him this spring? or maybe his value has gone up since he’s proved that he can still walk. most of the time, anyway.

  44. per Rosenthal…

    Et tu, Huddy?
    Even if the Braves sell, it is extremely doubtful they would discuss right-hander Tim Hudson, who could be the lone accomplished veteran in their 2009 rotation.

    Lefties Tom Glavine and Mike Hampton are in the final years of their contracts and the return of John Smoltz is uncertain as he recovers from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

    Hudson, who turned 33 on July 14, will earn $13 million next season in the final year of his contract, which includes a $12 million mutual option for 2010. He is 10-7 this season with a 3.31 ERA.

  45. “If there are few guys on the free agent market, then there are fewer job vacancies.”

    I figured it wouldn’t be long until an actual economist corrected me. Whatever. I’ll step back into the lion’s den–for fun.

    Just because teams have full rosters doesn’t mean they don’t have needs for some of those ‘filled’ positions. So yes, even though the Mariners, by signing Ichiro, left the pool of available buyers, there were still buyers available who had center fielders under contract. With top talent the demand, except under special circumstances, should out-pace the supply and drive up prices. This could be curbed with a salary cap (see, for instance, Josh Smith’s quandary as a restricted free agent in a league with a cap).

  46. Parish,
    Where’d you read that? Last I read (BPro had some info the other day), the Red Sox were going to pony up, but I don’t think it’s actually happened yet. I was expecting the Sox to hold out as long as possible and then sign him in August.

    Losing both Milligan and Westmoreland would really sting. Hewitt, meh–he wasn’t going to be starting, anyway.

  47. Stu – there was a B-Pro article entitled draft signings unannounced. Here’s the quote:

    Fourth- and fifth-round outfielders Pete Hissey and Ryan Westmoreland are both monster athletes and tough signs, but the Red Sox have seemingly come to terms with both for “greater than seven-figues,” with Westmoreland reported approaching $2 million.

  48. Even if FJM was right about Teixera, the tone of the article just illustrates the problems with the internet. DOB has a different opinion of Teixera, which seems to send this guy into paroxisms of anger. What was the need to personally attack DOB just because he had a different (perhaps uninformed) opinion. These guys become so full of themselves because people tell them how funny and cool they are. They lose the ability to be civil.

    The fact is, the numbers can be interpreted however you want to interpret them. The issue of whether Teixera is worth the money is, pace JC, still depends to some extent on your personal evaluation. He will be worth it to some and not worth it to others, in the same way that paying $60,000 for a Mercedes would make sense for some people but not for others.

  49. Marc, I got an email back from Junior, who agreed with my points about Tex, basically saying that there’s a perfectly rational argument to be made that Tex isn’t worth the money, but saying things like “doesn’t put his team on his back” or “doesn’t deliver big hits when his team needs it most” or “performance doesn’t seem bigger than his numbers” or “hits meaningless solo shots” isn’t the way to make that argument.

    I think he was a bit out of line with his tone — some of the guys they write about are actively hostile and deserve the piss taken out of them, and DOB isn’t one of them — but generally I’m a fan of FJM. Most of the time, they’re funny, and quite good — and when they’re wrong, they tend to own up.

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