Natinals 3, Braves 2

Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals – Box Score – April 20, 2009 – ESPN

Yucky yuck yuck. I hate it when they play through the rain; it distorts the game. I don’t think for a moment that Derek Lowe would have had the control difficulties he had (only three walks, but 51 balls versus 64 strikes) if it had been dry. I’m not blaming the rain, exactly — both sides played in it — but I don’t like these games. A double-header won’t kill you.

The Braves blew lots of early chances, again. Particularly delicious was the second inning, in which they had two doubles but failed to score; that is extremely hard to do. They almost blew their only runs of the game, in the fourth. Chipper led off with a triple, but neither Kaptain Kleanup Kotchman nor Francoeur could get him home. Diaz went 0-2, then hit a homer to give the Braves a 2-0 lead.

But Lowe gave the two runs back in the next inning, as he started having a lot of trouble throwing strikes. In the fifth, the Nats got another run to take the lead, while the Braves stayed in Hibernation Mode. They didn’t get a hit after Diaz’s homer. It’s extremely frustrating.

This will be the game thread again. Also, I’m having an Internet disruption at home and have another appointment in the morning, so I don’t know when there will be a recap of this one. Maybe it will rain again.

268 thoughts on “Natinals 3, Braves 2”

  1. When we were 5-1, Kincaid of Buck & Kincaid here in the ATL was giving Frank Wren props on building a contender.

    This team is not a contender. If we had a potent offense, the pitching could be doable.

    But we have too many gambles that have to break our way for this offense to click.

    Frank Wren sucks. He should’ve NEVER gotten the job.

  2. I think its time we dangle some of this pitching surplus for a legit right hand bat, or use them to plug some of our so called bullpen……just a thought

  3. Wren has had some mistakes, but there are plenty of teams with equal or lesser talent that play better baseball.

  4. Wren was giving scraps when he took over the job, most of his deals have been good for the club

    maybe we should call Texas and see what Andruw’s asking price would be

  5. Assuming McCann comes back quickly at close to 100%, this team still is a contender. If Brian has to miss much time, they are done of course.

    Would it have made any sense to push Lowe back until today and give Carlyle a spot start yesterday? It seems like a waste not to mention an unnecessary injury risk to throw your ace out to pitch in the rain.

  6. I hated last night’s game, too.

    But I’m not gonna go crazy about anything just yet. Hard to get excited about the first 13 games, sure, but we’re not completely buried.

    Good luck in appointmentland, Mac.

  7. I think Wren is getting blamed for things that may not be his fault. For example, it appears that Bobby Cox was the one that wanted to sign Garrett Anderson. I continue to believe that Cox is the one behind a lot of the moves that most of us consider wrong-headed. Of course, it’s the GM’s job to make player decisions but I’m sure it’s difficult for someone in Wren’s position to overrule Bobby Cox.

  8. Which goes back to the problem that while Wren supposedly has the power of a general manager, he doesn’t have the authority of a general manager, that he has too many bosses and not enough room to work on his own. He remains a caretaker.

  9. I agree with Mac. As long as JS and Bobby are both around, no one else is really going to have much authority.

  10. Color me not worried. About the record, at least. If McCann is out for any extended period of time, we’re going to have a very rough time of it.

    Also, for whatever it’s worth, even if Kotchman doesn’t get thrown out, I don’t think he scores on Diaz’s “double”. Dukes would have probably bothered to charged it hard, and Kotchman being a slow as he is wouldn’t have been sent from 3rd.

    Still, the Braves gave away a few too many baserunners last night, and it caught them in the end.

  11. From the Hardball Times, here is a response to the notion that the only way to rebuild a team is to “tear it down and start over”:

    “Under Joe Brown, the Pirates at long last began to improve. They inched into seventh place in 1956 and ’57. Then Pittsburgh burst into second place in 1958, and in 1960 won the pennant and World Series. . .

    Most pundits declared that Rickey had been vindicated, as the Pirates’ dreadful struggles of 1951-55 were now seen as a painful but necessary stage of their development into a champion.

    To put it simply, that’s nonsense. . .[b]ut it’s a ridiculous notion that it was necessary for the Pirates to field laughably incompetent ball clubs for the first half of the 1950s, and drive their attendance completely into the ground, in order to emerge with a core of strong talent. That a team in need of rebuilding, as the Pirates were in 1950, must choose between short-term and long-term improvement is a false dichotomy: It can and should manage both.”

  12. For $10M a year, Wren should’ve brought in Dunn…and traded Kotchman and a surplus arm for a good corner OF.

    Sure, everyone is an expert at hindsight…but damn, with all the gambles Wren took on this club…he’d have better odds on a roulette table in Vegas.

  13. Okay, here’s a little game, guess which team:

    This team is 5th in the NL in team OPS w/ .784
    This team is also 5th in Slug% allowed w/ .382
    This team has 3 starting pitchers with an ERA under 3.28, and 4 starters with a WHIP under 1.37
    4.5 of this team’s regularly starting lineup are OPSing above .800, 3 more are above .720. 3 of their most accomplished veterans have been battling health issues, and their most valuable rookie is still adjusting to the jump from AA.

    This team is 1/2 a game behind the team most people picked to win the division, and percentage points ahead of the defending World Series champions, who everyone else picked to win the division. The only team they’re more than .5 a game behind has NEVER won a division in the history of the franchise.

    Well I think we all know who I’m talking about…

    We’re certainly not the favorites to win it all this year, but I don’t think it is a stretch to imagine this team contending for the division. I really don’t see the Marlins running away with it, they always tend to start hot and then usually come back to the field once the weather equalizes. The biggest weakness so far, the bullpen, is probably the easiest area to improve if they decide we need to make a move. It’s a long season guys, and it’s only about 8% over.

    Final note for those of you still bashing the front office: of those 4 starting pitchers mentioned above, all 4 of them were acquired by Wren, 3 of them were acquired this offseason.

  14. @18: We’ve all been down this road before. Where is this $10 million coming from? Assuming you can answer that, Kotchman is only making $2.885 million this year, so even if we had an additional $10 million (which we would’ve had to rob our pitching staff to get) that leaves us at, rounding up, $13 million.

    Dunn signed for $8 million this year and $12 million next year. Let’s assume, wrongly, that we could’ve signed him to this exact contract… which notably hampers the team’s cash flexibility for next season. That leaves us with $5 million to acquire a LF or 1B… Now, all you have to do is find a team that would’ve traded a significant upgrade that fits those qualifications for Kotchman. Then, you just have to fill the hole you made to get this extra $10 million without spending anything.

    It isn’t easy being a GM.

  15. @20: He did as much as he could given the situation. After the implosion of his pitching staff next year he had to reload, and he rightly focused on that early on. Once he had those pieces in play he moved on to try and upgrade LF, but lost out on his top two choices for reasons that he couldn’t control… unless he was going to force Escobar to move to 2B and Kelly to move to LF, or he was going to move the entire team to Seattle and turn back the wheels of time so that Griffey could’ve started his career with the Braves.

    I’m not thrilled with who we settled for, Garret Anderson, but I think he’s going to end up being more productive than any other option we had available (that we could’ve reasonably landed at a price we could afford.)

  16. Trade Kotchman and not sign G-Anderson…and you’ve got $5M right there, man.

    Look, I’m not suggesting either A)the season is over OR B) it is all Frank Wren’s fault (he doesn’t bunt or play LF)…but Wren was counting on all of the following to happen for this offense to be solid:

    1 – Chipper stays healthy
    2 – Frenchy come back
    3 – Garrett Anderson not to be washed up
    4 – Rookie Jordan Schafer be able to be somewhat of a hitter

    What are the chances that all four of these gambles work in our favor for the rest of the year?

    Not very likely.

    Throw in a gasoline can bull pen…and you have all the makings of a 3rd or 4th place finish.

  17. @23: First off, so there’s $5 million to get a 1B AND a LF. Plus, you’ve got to find a suitor for Kotchman that will give you some decent return.

    Second, 3rd or 4th place in the NL East this year could very well be the 5th or 6th best teams in the NL. It’s not an easy division.

    I’d modify your 4 expectations slightly. #3 should include, “and/or Diaz bounces back” and #4 should include “or Josh Anderson or Gregor Blanco produce.”

    That’s still a few gambles, but that’s the business. I think #1 is an unavoidable gamble, because you’re not going to be able to add a backup Chipper to any team… if Chipper were to miss significant time, we do have a couple pretty good options in Prado and Infante to replace him without losing TOO much. Most importantly, Wren wasn’t focusing solely on this season, because he knew even if everything fell into place we weren’t going to have an easy road to the playoffs, much less a World Series Championship. This team is looking 100% better than we did at the end of last year, and the future is 100x brighter because of the job Wren did in keeping our major prospects and opening opportunities to allow our young crop of players to develop. If we make the playoffs that’s gravy in my opinion, but in the meantime we’ve got an exciting young team to follow, and the front office is to thank for keeping things interesting.

  18. @25: Okay, so where did the $8 million come from to sign Dunn, again assuming, wrongly, that he would’ve signed the exact same contract with the Braves.

    And then who are you trading Kotchman to, and who’s the $5 million LFer? And how do you fill the hole made from wherever Dunn’s money came from?

  19. Wren wasn’t looking to far down the road…when you sign a 36-year-old Derek Lowe…and a 34-year-old Kawakami.

    A young team to follow? That’s very arguable.

    “100% better”…”100x brighter”…come on, that’s a bit ridiculous. How do you quantify either? You can’t.

    Sure, the rotation is revamped. I’ll give Wren that. But the 1-8 aint that much different, in terms of capability.

  20. This teams suffers from no bullpen, no power at 1B,not enoght power collectively from 3 OF positions ,too many LH hitters in a league full of lefties.Im afraid its gonna be another year or two for the Braves to be back .. they are behind in talent to the Phils, Mets and Marlins in our division …

  21. I think freaking out about the bullpen 2 weeks into the year is a bit shortsighted. Hell we just cut Boyer and the Cardinals gave up something of value to acquire him. If our trash is getting scooped up, we’re in OK shape relative to a lot of other teams.

    Bullpens are fickle year to year. It’s not as if every contending team in the league has an airtight pen right now. There’s time to sort this out.

    The lineup, however, sucks.

  22. @28: He might have, but I don’t see any advantages we could’ve provided him that would have surely persuaded him to do so. Washington provides him with a place very similar to what he’s used to, with loads of available playing time, and very little pressure. It’s more likely that we would’ve had to increase the dollars, but in the scenario above I’ll grant you the assumption that he would have chosen us over them, given equal offers.

    @27: Obviously I was just speaking in hyperbole, but I’d say our current rotation is pretty clearly better than the Jurrjens, Campillo, Reyes, Morton, James projected rotation that we had last October.

    He might not have had enough resources left to add too much offensively, but that wasn’t the problem with last year’s team. The Braves finished 7th in the league in team OPS in ’08 and 6th in Runs Scored.

    The nucleus of this team is very young still, even if Wren added a few more experienced pieces around it. It was obvious we would’ve prefered adding Peavy and/or Burnett, but those fell through and he went to the next best available options. That said, I don’t think it is a stretch to see Kawakami producing surplus value for the life of his contract, and Lowe for at least the first 2-3 years… there weren’t any young options available to add to the rotation, because there really never are.

  23. @30: You take the best two bats out of any lineup and it has problems. (2009 OPS)

    Johnson (.867)
    Escobar (.819)
    Jones (.948)
    McCann (.783)
    Francoeur (.802)
    Kotchman (.724)
    Diaz (.956)
    Schafer (.752)

    That’s not a bad lineup, all things considered.

  24. Wren just had too many holes to fill. We’re not the Yankees, we couldn’t just throw money at every position of need and be done with it. Frank had to choose which ones to go after (and he chose starting pitching, obviously) and then had to divvy up the rest of the money and scrap together some bats.

    It’s like some of you people expected him to turn water into wine.

  25. I’ve read and enjoyed this blog for a long time and never commented but alas the gadfly has finally gotten my goat. The Braves could have had Dunn, and there is no way they would have had to pay more than the Nats. And the only reason they don’t have Dunn is because Bobby Cox and Wren didn’t want him, and the reason they didn’t want him is because they don’t understand or appreciate Dunn’s skill set and that lack of understanding manifests itself in a whole host of others ways including but by no means limited to an absurd predilection for bunting. This team has about the same chance of competing for the division (or even the wildcard) as Francoeur has of hitting .300 for the season or having an OBP better than .330 or an OPS of .750. You can believe that a couple slap singles and a fluke triple or two mean he is a changed hitter if you want to, but the fact is that he still can’t control the strike zone and he has below average bat speed. And the most infuriating thing about Wren is that all of the other ways in which this team will fail this season are just as easily predictable. Ganderson turns out to be below replacement level? Shocking! His age and past stats virtually guaranteed it. Schafer can’t hit major league pitching? Shocking! He could barely hit AA pitching. His defense isn’t nearly as good as the hype, and nowhere close to Josh Anderson’s? Shocking! His minor league range factors are actually fairly mediocre. Kotchman is a black hole on offense? Shocking!
    Chipper Jones has already missed six games? Shocking! Let’s give him a three-year extension.

    That said, Wren did well to get Javier and while he likely overpaid by close to ten million for Lowe (there were no other offers in that range), it was not a terrible signing. Kawakami may turn out to be a bargain but it was a stupid gamble, especially knowing that Hanson and Medlen are in the pipeline and that Hudson will be back next season. Why not give a one-year contract to a Randy Wolf type and leave as much payroll flexibility as possible for 2010-2011?
    And once he had done that he should have fixed the OF situation and addressed the bullpen and he would have had plenty of money to do so. Don’t offer Francouer arbitration and put that money in the bank (3+ million). Save at least a million bucks by not answering the phone when Glavine’s agent calls. And rather than setting fire to 2.5 million for Ganderson, put that money in the bank too. You will probably have to keep Kotchman because nobody is going to give you a serviceable part for him, but KJ and change could have been traded for a quality RF freeing up even more cash. Dunn would lumber around out in left, but put up a staggering OBP in the cleanup spot while hitting 40+ dingers. And we would have a shutdown lefty out of the pen.

  26. @35 – good post

    To Gadfly, me and you aren’t a world apart in our disagreement. FWIW.

  27. @35: We certainly could have had Dunn. I never said different. We could have had C.C. Sabathia too, if we wanted to mortgage the future for one player. It’s all about priorities, but it wasn’t because they misunderstood Dunn’s skill set. They didn’t want to commit at least $20 million over the next two years to another slow-footed left-handed bat, and defensive liability. It’s actually not that they didn’t, but that they felt they couldn’t given the other pressing needs.

    I was under the impression that the Lowe negotiations were pretty tight, and that there was even a strong possibility that he could’ve ended up with the Mets.

    Randy Wolf’s deal could very well end up costing close to as much as Kawakami’s this season. Most likely KK costs $10 million this year, but that also buys us increased exposure in the Japanese market and his next two years of service at $6.67 million each. Wolf’s deal, if he matches last year’s innings total (190,) will cost the Dodgers $7 million, and would raise by $500K each if he reaches 195 or 200 innings. Again, and especially with Wolf who I remember hearing wanted to stay in the west, we likely would’ve had to beat that offer. Beyond Wolf there weren’t really any other more affordable options: Brad Penny? Chan Ho Park? Jamie Moyer? Andy Pettite? Mike Hampton? Daniel Cabrera? Horacio Ramirez? As for payroll flexibility, that KK deal is much less hampering on next year’s team than Dunn’s deal at $12 million, and if necessary KK, at that price, becomes a very tradeable asset as long as he doesn’t fall flat on his face making the transition.

    Seeing as Francoeur had an OBP of better than .330 and an OPS of better than .750 in 2 of the last 4 seasons I’d say that is a good approximation of the Braves chances. Even if you exclude his one partial rookie season, I think anyone here would’ve taken a 1/3rd chance of genuinely competing for the division if you asked around New Year’s.

    Finally, any discussion that we should’ve released Francoeur at this point is just laughable. Even then, the three moves you mention save the team under $7.5 million, which wouldn’t have even been enough for Dunn’s 1st year alone. Kelly Johnson’s making less than $3 million, and I doubt you could find a reasonable RF to trade him for that doesn’t make close to that much (Ludwick makes more than him, and Ankiel’s contract is basically equal.) Not to mention you’d then have to fill his spot at 2B with Prado or Infante and then fill their spot on the bench. All you’re doing is moving holes around, and creating a few new ones on top, and all for just a few extra bucks.

  28. Rob,

    I’m very sorry to hear about your loss.


    I wish you would post more.


    I wish the opposite. I’ve written briefs to Court in fewer words than that last post.

  29. Very sorry to hear that Rob, sincerest condolences.

    Here’s hoping he gets a good seat next to Skip for tonight’s game.

  30. @39: My post was 50 words less than Mr. McMurtry’s to which I was responding… and you’re not required to read all, or any, of it. When I express an idea, I try to do it as completely as possible, so as not to miss any important parts. When I do this quickly it tends to make for some long posts… if you’d ever like me to write a summary just for you, I’d be happy to, on request.

  31. What if everyone on the board requests summaries, will you post only summaries?

    Also, that was McMurty’s first post, I’m sure his next post, if he ever posts again, will be more brief.

    I also did not read any of your post, I merely summarized my thoughts on the apparent word count.

    It is possible to express your thoughts on a subject in a brief post, with follow up posts submitted if people dispute, question, or misunderstand the initial point.

    I would like to officially request that you write summaries just for me. I can be reached in the comment section of Braves Journal threads.

  32. Cripes gadfly, you are worse with math than you are with logic. Wren budgeted 4.5 million for Glavine. Fortunately less than a quarter of that has actually been squandered (for now). Frenchy is making 3.375, KJ 2.825, and Ganderson 2.5. That is a total of 13.2 million. Prado slides over to 2nd for the minimum (400k) and one of Blanco/BJones/Anderson (400K) fills one of the two holes left by Ganderson/Frenchy, while JoJo/Morton/Hanson act as 5th starter (400K). That is a total of 1.2 million and we are left with 12 million. Guess what, we have plenty of cash to pay Dunn and Ludwick (3.7 million). Nor have we even considered the fact that Wolf at 4.95 + bonuses is still a lot less than Kawakami at 10 (8.3 plus signing bonus), meaning an additional 2 or three million at least, and yes there are other guys I would rather have too, including Hampton (2 million), who would not plug up a roster spot for an additional two season. Add to this the 1 million we should have saved by not signing Ross (1.4) and using Sammons or any other catcher at league minum (BMac plays six days a week and if he goes down we aren’t competing this year anyway). And we haven’t even begun to get creative yet. I would have opted against offering arbitration to Kotchman (2.9 million) and either resigned him for what he is worth (less than 2 million) or picked up a guy like Duncan (825K) from the Cards (they would have given us him and Schumaker or Ankiel [430K]) instead of Ludwick), or even taken a chance on a guy like Josh Koshansky who we could have gotten from the Rockies for practically nothing and would out-produce Kotchman for the league minimum. These are just a few of the many possibilities I would have considered, but the point is that Wren had tons of options that could have freed up payroll to reshape the outfield and allow us to sign or resign a reliever, but most of these option would have involved admitting past failures and require a willingness to go in a radically new direction. But Wren and Cox (and you Gadfly) suffer from a kind of Stockholm syndrome (you might call it Suckholm syndrome), believing that the players we have are just a piece or two away from the promised land.

  33. I am sorry for your loss, Rob.

    I am going to check out now. I’ll report in if my internet at home has corrected itself. If it hasn’t, there probably won’t be a recap until noonish tomorrow.

  34. JoeCraigMcMurtry,

    How do we know you are not Gadfly with an alias purposely responding to your own posts with counterarguments?

    And how do we know you’re not the real Joe Craig McMurtry who once went 15-9 for the Atlanta Braves with a 3.08 ERA in 1983 and surrendered Barry Bonds’ first home run?

  35. @48

    How do we know gadfly isn’t the real Joe Craig McMurtry?

    Edit to add: My condolences Rob on the passing of your father.

  36. why is anyone assuming we could have gotten Ludwick? The Cards never traded him, it was internet rumor that he was on the trading block.

  37. Ha, I love all the intrigue. I can’t answer all your questions, but I will state for the record that I never gave up a single home run to Barry Bonds… that fool could never touch my Eephus pitch.

    @42: You shouldn’t have been so sure as to Mr. McMurtry’s follow-up post length. I think it’s fair to give someone equal time to respond to a post of such length, especially one that makes such a variety of claims. I knew I wouldn’t be back for a couple hours, so I figured I’d try to make my case as fully as possible.

  38. On the radio broadcast, Don just referred to Francoeur as the “spark plug of the organization.”

  39. @53: I was just using his name as a possibility. I agree it was unlikely that he would’ve been available, and he likely would’ve gotten more than just KJ in trade. He’s also one of the few names out there that would’ve been worth trading Kelly for.

    @46: The overwhelming majority of Glavine’s contract bonuses, which makeup $3.5 of the $4.5 you quote, can be deferred for up to 5 years. They didn’t factor into the budget in any reasonable respect for this season. Hence, Glavine ($1+)+Francoeur($3.375)+Garret($2.5)=$6.875 plus whatever part of Glavine’s bonuses wouldn’t be deferred… in other words well “under $7.5 million” as I said. Still not enough to pay Adam Dunn’s $8 million salary this year, and you’re back to the same cast of 5th starters and LFers that we tried last year. Not to mention you also released the guy who’s clearly one of the best two outfielders on the team right now.

    I talked extensively about Randy Wolf, and as I said before his easily attainable bonuses bring that contract quickly closer to Kawakami’s. Unless KK fails exceptionally he’s not going to “plug a roster spot for two years,” he’s going to be a bargain that could be moved easily if we need to. The difference between what we’re paying KK this year and Wolf’s earnings, likely $2-3 million, buys us those two additional years at a great bargain AND the kind of exposure in the Asian market that will help us not lose out on the Junichi Tazawas of the future. Also, note that Wolf wanted to stay in the West, so for us to have attracted him would’ve required a much improved financial guarantee and total… if it was even possible.

    Your next suggestions border on insanity… Kotchman has put up respectable numbers in the past, and even if he isn’t showing promise in Atlanta yet, it is way too early to start talking about releasing him. Ross is a hugely important signing, and a significant improvement over Sammons… not to mention that we needed to at least have a third ML-ready catcher in the organization.

    Frank had an almost impossible task this offseason, and he managed to put together a team that, when healthy, could easily contend well into the summer. You’re suggestions look like you’d rather have traded this team for the Nationals…

  40. Gadfly – you’ve obviously done your homework on the off season, nobody can deny that.

    I hope you’ve got the damn graveyard shift somewhere though dude, you’ve been on here for about 6 hours.

  41. I think the breaking-into-the-Japanese market concerns have more to do with making money from fans in Japan and the rest of Asia than they do establishing Atlanta as a destination for NPB players. Are we seriously imagining a scenario where a Japanese League player declines an offer an MLB club because they have never fielded an Asian player?

  42. OMG. New radio dude is totally pwning Don Sutton re: hitting with RISP.

  43. Rob, so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my prayers. Hope you find peace and comfort.

  44. Sorry about your loss Rob.

    Nexdef a no go tonight, an error message came up for me too.

  45. JoeCraigMcMurtry – I could not agree with you more. I believe @35 was spot on and I liked @46, too. Thank you for your posts.

  46. Peanut writes that the Braves might put Anderson on the DL if he doesn’t heal soon.

    Don’t know if anyone else saw this yesterday, but Bowman shed his Peanut label on his blog yesterday when he called Anderson a ” lifeless mannequin” who was a waste of 2.5 million.

    I didn’t know he had it in him.

  47. Can someone please explain what Nick Johnson was trying to accomplish by falling down 15 feet from 2nd base?

  48. @60: I think that was actually a big part in the reason why Junichi Tazawa chose Boston over Atlanta. It’s not just about fielding a player, it has to do with having a framework in place to deal with a prospect whose primary language is Japanese. Boston has that framework in place, and Atlanta didn’t. Ultimately, I do agree that it is more about marketing merchandise than bringing over players, but in the long run every little Japanese kid that we get watching Braves games is a plus for the organization in many different ways.

    @59: Haha, thanks for the remarks Skip. Most of the homework was done during the offseason, or Spring Training, and I was really just checking back in frequently… today was a slower day for me… though I admit I do spend more time paying attention to baseball than I probably should. Maybe someday someone will pay me to do it… someday…

  49. Hey, Rob – hang in there. I lost mine a few years ago and it’s just a weird combination of feelings. Just turn up the volume on your strengths and march through it.

    Question: if McCann got Lasik in the offseason, why is he getting a NEW contact?

  50. And is it just me or are our pitchers getting squeezed all series long?

    Nah, we don’t need Dunn. We have Kotchman.

    Dumbass Wren.

  51. @75: Probably trying to give me one more reason to regret not breaking down for the MLB package yet… I would’ve LOVED to see that.

    @77: Apparently AAA is where they teach you NOT to make the third out of an inning at third base… though as I hinted above, I’m not watching the game, and the blame probably lies on Snitker as much as anyone. All in all its looking like a pretty good game so far for the Braves that people around here love to hate on.

  52. so Bobby yanks Kawakami after two errors, Kawakami say thanks to our offense and to our defense

  53. Let’s see… how many people were defending Diaz on here last night? The guy sucks plan and simple he flat out is not a starting OF in MLB. He’s a bench player nothing more nothing less

  54. I’ll give it a rest when people come to their senses the guy stinks… until then the matt diaz supporters are delusional in my book

  55. He’s definitely the best option for LF, but he does look like a damn 4th-grader out there sometimes. How many balls can you “lose in the lights” in a span of 8 games?

  56. Powell bemoaning the Prado on the radio after the official scorer changed that to a triple for Kearns.

  57. The only two seasons Diaz had more than 250 AB — ’06 and ’07 — he had averages of .327 and .338 and OPS of .839 and .865. Yeah, he really stinks.

  58. I like Diaz but this is getting rough. If we aren’t going to get any offense from LF we may as well at least run someone out there who can field.

  59. TRADE… they need to trade for a LF who can field, hit for average and power and not choke time and time again like Diaz. Heck bring up brandon jones to compete. He can’t be any worse than Diaz is

  60. The bigger problem here is that we’ve scored five runs the last 15 innings against a few dog-crap pitchers and one who’d never been in the majors before. And injuries aren’t an excuse tonight.

  61. Go back to your dungeons and dragons game “our new insect overloards”

    Diaz is terrible plain and simple, can’t hit for power and can’t field worth a tinker’s dam.

  62. Why are the Braves bunting with KJ? And isn’t supposed to be “against the book” to bunt down by one on the road?

    We’re going to lose.

  63. This team is going to have to trade some starting pitching in reyes or morton along with some prospects to get an all star left fielder… I’m counting down the days until Heyward is in Atlanta

  64. Really hurt my feelings there, Jon. Wow, I’m freaking crushed.

    And Bobby’s book — the one that says, “always bunt in a tight game” — ought to be burnt.

  65. What should Wren do first….
    A) Trade for a LF
    B) Fire Pendleton
    C) Fire Cox
    D) All the above

  66. this team makes stupid decisions, what good does it do to advance to third there. They earned one out in that inning and we had to get 5 the inning before. Thats the difference

  67. I wonder if Bobby Cox has ever even heard of the run expectancy matrix.

  68. This team made the biggest mistake in the world when they decided it was smarter to not pursue Adam Dunn in the off season but instead work on signing a washed up Tom Glavine.

  69. I wonder if Bobby Cox has ever even heard of the run expectancy matrix.

    Seriously? There’s absolutely no way that he has.

  70. There’s a nuclear war over left fielders on this thread, but that’s two major baserunning gaffes in the last two nights when the catcher got hold of a bouncing ball. Idiocy. Baserunning is a far larger problem with this team than whoever’s playing in left.

  71. haha whatever you say our new insect. Our LF can’t field and can’t hit… that to me is a major major issue.

  72. I guess this team’s going to have to hit homeruns to win at all because anything else requires too many (basic) things to go right.

  73. If Adam Dunn were on this team… over the course of the entire season he would be the difference in at least 10 or more wins this team would lose with their current left field situation. The reason is because this team just has no game changing hitters (minus the aging Chipper Jones). Yes he isn’t the best fiedling OF, but his bat makes up for it. The braves LFer’s cost the team at the plate and out in the field.

  74. See @ 109

    Did Joe just say that was a “crushable” pitch?

    (1) That hook was nasty

    (2) That can’t be a word

  75. I have never seen baserunning this bad from the Braves. Cox should get in people’s faces and not tolerate this garbage. It may not all be Snitker’s fault, but he better get his act together or leave. Unfortunately neither will happen and it’s one of the many reasons I think BC’s best managing days are behind him.

  76. I’ll give you the fielding issue tonight, though he’s not in Prado’s defensive class. We’re obviously not watching the same sport, though, because there’s no way that a guy who’s batted .316 since 2006 “can’t hit.”

    I also find it curious that you bash the numbers I cite, yet you sing the praises of Dunn, a sabermetrician’s wet dream. And for the record, I wanted Dunn. But he’s not walking through that door, and I’ve let it go.

  77. Ok I digress… the only thing worse than Diaz is Rob Dibble’s commentary. He is by far the worst announcer I’ve ever heard. He’s basically an ignorant fan in the broadcast booth

  78. yes, Bobby is talking about Garrett Anderson here

    “We’ll see how it’s coming along,” Cox said. “We hate to put him on the disabled list, because he could be such a force in our lineup. He really can hit [and is a] good-looking hitter.”

    meanwhile, he’s causing us to have a short bench becuase he cant move his legs

  79. Maybe the Braves’ lack of late-inning comebacks this year is because they can’t face their own bullpen.

  80. Dunn puts fans in the stands and runs on the board… Diaz strikes out at balls in the dirt and makes people laugh at how much he fields like a fairy out in LF

  81. The fact that you guys are even HAVING to argue over players like Prado, Diaz, Infante, probably Schaefer, are the reasons why this franchise is in a downward spiral.

  82. Wow how Ironic… a ball to hit our best defensive player and he makes the smart accurate play. Interesting…

  83. Why the hell can we not score on these guys? Can’t wait to see how we do against bullpens from the Major League. Oy!

  84. While the Marlins ARE an immensly talented young team, does anyone else think that having a young, energetic manager like Freddi Gonzalez maybe helps a club more than say an ancient fossil like Bobby Cox?

    Just saying.

  85. @136:

    This is true. Would love nothing more than to go back to the days when budget was of no concern. Now we’re like most of the sport, reliant upon developing our own and trading from our system to supplement, unable to ante up cash with the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets. If the Rays and Rockies can make World Series, then this franchise can, too. But not until problems of personnel (bullpen, for starters) and philosophy (overreliance on bunting) are fixed.

  86. Alex R you hit the nail on the head. Cox is past his prime. He’s an old goat who can’t motivate anymore because his belly is finally full of so much beer and pastrami he can’t muster the energy to move and motivate his team

  87. Rob,

    I’m so sorry to hear that. I don’t know you, but I’ll pray that God
    gives you and your family comfort and peace during this time.

  88. @145:

    Only if it’s the right young energetic manager. You could end up with Manny Acta. A Joe Maddon-type might be better for this team.

  89. BAAAAAAAANG nice piece of hitting there…. This is it… I’m feeling Norton’s first homer this year right here

  90. Holy crap. What are the odds of scoring when you have second and third and none out?

    There is a real mental problem in our dugout right now.

  91. No late-inning comeback wins so far this year. And two consecutive one-run losses. In other words, looking a lot like last year and ’06.

  92. Wow, just wow. Runners on second and third with less than two outs, and you can’t get the run home. That, my friend, is just bad baseball.

  93. The Nationals infield was conceding the run when Norton was at bat. A groundball OR flyball of any depth gets the run in. This is tough to swallow.

  94. The most pathetic display of half inning offensive baseball I can remember. It was offensive all right.

    I am seething, seething, mad right now.

  95. Can I have the last couple of hours back? I need to finish grading these essays…

  96. In the last week we’ve seen some interesting things. The first game of the Pirates series had a bases loaded nobody out situation where NO ONE scored. Tonight there were runners at second and third with no one out and nobody scored. Oh and last night there were the two doubles in an inning where nobody scored. These are statistically improbable feats.

  97. Wow. This really is 2008 Part 2 w/Extra Rotation Sauce

    You’ve got to be kidding me. 2nd and 3rd with NO out. And we get NO fucking runs?


  98. There is nothing worth saving here.

    I’d really rather they return to Milwaukee if this is the cowardly crap they’re going to give us.

    For once, I agree 100% with the charming Jon K.

  99. bobby’s sitting there wondering why he didn’t have Norton lay down a squeeze…

  100. The worst fundamental team in baseball over the last 3 years. They lose one run games due to their inability to bunt, move runners over and drive in runs from 3rd with less than 2 outs. I think their terrible fundamental hitting falls on the approach that Pendlenuts is teaching them. They have dropped 3 or 4 games already due to their poor execution

  101. i’m getting tired of joe simpson’s commentary… They should let Don Sutton take his place every so often

  102. This is exactly the kind of crap that happened last year, it’s a mind set with this team. I want some fire, some passion like the Marlins showed when they were coming back and beating the Nats. Instead we just ho hum it to another stinking loss because we can’t score in the easiest of situations.

  103. Gadfly,
    I agree, right now Francouer is “one of the two best outfielders on the team”. And he is frigging terrible. If I were Frank Wren I would place him on waivers. And I would waive Garret Anderson too. Then I would send Schafer down to AA and bring up Blanco, BJones and Barton. Call them the Filler Bees. And guess what, no one would claim Francouer and his 3.3 million dollar salary. Not one single team in all of MLB, including the Royals. But at least we would recoup that part of his contract which is non-guaranteed.

    Then I would pick up the phones and see if anyone out there wanted to take your other much-coveted trade chip off my hands. What, no one would want Kawakami for three years and 23 million? Well, I guess we’ll have to keep him then, but you better start working on the lame rationalizations as to why Wren will be doing the right thing for not exercising Hudson’s 12 million dollar option next year.

  104. Frank Wren doesn’t have the BALLS TO DO IT, but I would fire Bobby Cox. Oh, Chipper will get his panties in a bunch and go crying to D.O.B. about it, but you know what, this team needs something drastic – shock n awe.

    The Braves are a pathetic embarrassment. Pathetic. The offense looked scary bad going into the season and any kind of semblence of a half dead brained pitcher can shut us down.

    Bobby Cox should be forced to retire. This team isn’t going anywhere right now and the only kick in the pants I can think of that might wake them the heck up is to finally end the Cox era. Nobody really respects this old coot anymore and our team looks listless and uninspired. I am bored watching them.

    I am going to the Braves-Nats game tomorrow night, only because I have free tickets and it’s the last time I’ll ever get to see the Braves in the D.C. area since I’m leaving the area in less then 2 months for Austin.

    But now my excitement for tomorrow night has been completely killed. Losing like that – to the horrifying Nats – is frigging, embarrassing joke.

  105. Anyway, i’m not particularly mad after that last half-inning, because, by now, we should all expect this kind of performance from the Braves, now shouldn’t we?

  106. I wonder if I can write a research journal article on how watching braves baseball is carcinogenic to your health.

  107. The thing about KJ… He sometimes does really great things, but other times he fails miserably, like that popup tonight… I don’t know what to think of him

  108. @208, unlike what this board will try to tell you, regardless of the SABR stats, etc. KJ is just an average to below average MLB player.

  109. Jeff Bennett loves to give up Grybos!

    Matt Diaz loves to give runs back via the glove!

    Damn. I hate this team.

  110. Alex R., this team has plenty of holes in it. I honestly don’t expect all matters to be solved immediately and we can be competitive this year. This offense is too weak as expected. Wren solved the rotation mess, and he will solve the offense next year.

  111. I have 3 ideas to fix the braves. This won’t mean they will win more than they lose…………..I am just trying to avoid 100 loses.

    1. DL G. Anderson, he is hurt and behind from being hurt in spring training. Send him on Rehab when he is well. We need an OF for Defense late in games because him and Diaz have cataracts or something. Call up Jones or Blanco I don’t care, just get someone up here who can catch the ball in left.

    2. Release Norton. I have defended him on this blog, but his bat is too slow and he is swinging at hidious pitches. He is supposed to provide pop off the pine, not anymore, see ya. He doesn’t have it anymore. They are not going to use him to spell Kotchman at first vs LHP, so why keep him.

    3. Platoon Infante at 2b. He is one of our best players and did not get off the pine tonight. He has to play some. KJ is talented, but he is just too streaky. He cannot be relied on until he fixes his swing vs. RHP (Pendleton do your damn job.) We have to someone more consistent.

    I’m sorry, but this team isn’t even worth getting upset over, but I am anyway.

  112. I was upset about the game, so I signed on to vent…but you guys have made me happy again! The collective meltdown on here right now is awesome.

  113. i could have predicted a chief nocahoma sighting after tonight’s atrocity. well done, braves. most frustrating team in baseball.

  114. I also came on here just to witness the meltdown. I was pretty pissed about the game too. Then I realized that what happened was exactly what I expected to happen, and that means I can’t be disappointed.

  115. Bottomline: I hate this team and hate even more how they don’t look like they play hard or seem to care.


  116. Dix, you could be disappointed in the typical product that has triggered your low expectations that have tempered your disappointment. I am.

  117. Dix, if you expected this to happen, I’d hate to see your nightmares.

    I fail to see how firing Bobby Cox would fire anybody up, either. Seems it would just lower morale even further considering how much everybody loves him.

  118. #220, they obviously love him, see how hard they play for him and appear so enthusiastic?

    ryanc, I have been right about EVERYTHING on this board and it must kill you.

    The team is just flat out awful, and the reason I say it needs to be blown up is because IMO, there aren’t MANY players at many of our positions that COULD be worse than what we have.

  119. I can be disappointed in the thing that can no longer disappoint me huh? That sounds sensible.

    Stupid Braves.

    I know someone had a really bad sports day. Anyone see the Devils lose with .02 on the clock?

  120. Question for all:

    If Chief and Gadfly fought, and the loser stood to have his internet access permanently destroyed, for whom would you cheer?

  121. I think the chief’s pessimism is endearing, he doesn’t use runs produced in his arguments, and if you choose to skip him, it doesn’t take a long scroll.

  122. Okay, everybody chill.

    I know that we are only two games below .500 and things could be really different in a couple of months, but we suck comically right now and we should really enjoy the moment.

  123. with your general “we suck” comments….yes, you’ve been right. congratulations. hey, guess what i learned…2+2=4. see. i’m right.

    put some substance in your posts. you cant be that dumb to post the same things over and over again. watch…i can be you:

    “see, i told you. this team’s going to hell in a handbasket.”

    “see, i told you. this team can’t hit it’s way out of a paper bag.”

    “see, i told you that i told you.”

  124. Problem with the Team:

    Not to oversimplify it, but as I have them both on one of my fantasy teams, this losing streak has coincided with KJ and Yunel not hitting any more. Its simply not a coincidence.

    This team cannot score when they do not produce offensively.

    During the 5-1 start:

    KJ: .348 (8/23)
    Yunel: .400 (10/25)


    KJ: .115 (3/26)
    Yunel: .143 (2/14)

    Again, it’s not a coincidence.

    We can talk about everything else, but IMO, this is the main problem.

  125. While the constant bickering that goes on between Ryan C. and Chief is fairly entertaining, I would probably root for Gadfly because I like to be optimistic about my team. While the team obviously has huge holes, I always want to have the hope that anything can happen, and I don’t get that when reading Chief’s comments.

  126. I’d root for gadfly. I’m guessing you’d root for Chief, right Stu?

    Gadfly is incredibly easy to identify without reading a single sentence of his posts. Chief, however, is a more insidious troll on account of his relatively succinct posts combined with his venom. I think this is a clear choice.

  127. @221 – you think that when players fail it means they’re not playing hard for their coach? And if they don’t look enthusiastic (and I would tell you to look at Schafer’s reaction to his double in the ninth if you think they’re not enthusiastic) it probably has something to do with the fact that they’re 1-4 on this road trip.

  128. I like the overly pessimistic posters. Their posts either resonate with your feelings of despair after a game like last night, or their words galvanize you to remain optimistic in the belief that it can never truly be that bad.

    Gadfly’s words are many but there’s no soul in it. I just can’t help but feel that he’s arguing for the sake of arguing, particularly given his handle. Some people just like to hear themselves talk, and the same sort of personality comes through on the internet. I perceive him as a guy who wants us to validate his ideas by digesting them and responding. If he ever got a response along the lines of “excellent post, I can’t believe I never thought of that” he may just dissolve like a ghost in 6th Sense when Haley Joel resolves their purpose for haunting.

  129. This is the last time I allow Kelly Johnson to make a believer out of me. After the way he closed the season last year and his fast start this year, I truly believed the guy was ready to turn into an All-Star caliber player and be that third top-notch bat that we needed in the lineup to go along with Chipper and McCann. I won’t be making this mistake again.

    I was similarly a Greg Norton defender, because I liked the idea of a switch hitter with good plate discipline and decent pop. However, he looks completely lost up there this year.

  130. You know, it isn’t just the middle infielders’ start. There’s also McCann, who obviously has been dealing with blurry vision… but nonetheless the absence of his bat has hurt. Plus, Chipper’s power often goes with one of his nagging injuries. This is why you can’t so heavily depend upon two guys to anchor your lineup; and this is why we need real outfielders.

  131. All that said, what scares me is that we have been getting just under league average production from our outfield, which may not even last. If Francoeur goes into a slump, and if Schafer continues to strike out as he has… we better get more production out of the infield. Please God let us get our solid infield back…

  132. how come no one is talking about McCann. He’s the big bat in the middle of the lineup and he’s hitting under .200. Yes KJ failed, but this is a total team effort. We need BMac producing and until he does, we’ll struggle. This team is all or nothing. Either everyone hits or no one does. No one carries the load when others are struggling.

  133. Rob,

    Very sorry about your loss. My condolences. I know how difficult it is to lose a father, especially when you are young.

    Re Braves: Can we shoot Bobby Cox? I expected a quote like this but it drives me nuts:

    “The game’s over if Escobar’s line drive isn’t right at the second baseman,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “We probably win the game, we’ve got [Rafael] Soriano throwing out in the ‘pen. Just unfortunate. We finally got something going real good and line drive right at ‘em once again.”

    I knew that he would focus on the “bad luck” and ignore the incredibly bad at-bats that proceeded it. Even the players must realize by now that Bobby is full of it.

    Everyone says how awful it is to lose to the Nats. But, wait a minute; if the Nats had had a bullpen, they would have swept the Marlins. They have beaten the Braves 8 times in a row in DC. Look at the lineups–I think you can make a strong argument that the Nats’ everyday lineup is better than the Braves–I’d certainly rather have the Nats’ outfield and Adam Dunn at first rather than what we have. The Nats have more speed. Everyone swoons over KJ but he is so up and down you don’t know what the hell to expect. McCann has eye problems. The Braves have a more experienced starting rotation, but I wouldn’t mind having Zimmerman and Martis. I don’t think there is as much of a difference as we would like to think.

    Vote for Gadfly–I don’t like people like Chief that enjoy saying “I told you so.”

    I’m sure glad I don’t see the Braves except when they play the Nats. They drive me nuts. I’m going to take the position that one of the officers in “Band of Brothers” suggests to one of the soldiers at the Battle of the Bulge: “just assume you are dead and it will be easier to go on.” I am going to assume the Braves suck and that the season is going down the toilet. If I’m wrong, it will be a bonus.

  134. Perhaps these solutions might help:

    1) Hire Darva Conger as GM: “Who do I have to marry to get a slugging outfielder around here?”

    2) Feature Roger McDowell on all pregame shows: “Hey, at least nobody’s calling for MY head this year!”

    3) Hire Rickey Henderson as a baserunning coach, because, well, “Rickey be Rickey” and all, but somebody needs to explain how a team fails to score on two doubles. What’s next? “Player fails to score after stealing three bases in one inning.”

    Not too substantive, I guess, but Dr. Thompson said that when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. And this shit’s getting weird.

  135. we’ve had three runners out at second on stupid plays, I wont blame Ross becuase it was interference, and two runners thrown out at third by trying to advance on balls in the dirt. We had a big error by Chipper, and another one by Diaz. We cant score with runners at second and third and nobody out. Against the Nats we’ve only scored runs in 2 of 18 innings. We try to bunt on every occassion and we fail at that 80% of the time. Our only speed threat bats 8th with no protection. There are serious problems here

    say want you will about Kotchman, I dont care for the guy, but he’s leading the team in doubles and only struck out 3 times in 48AB’s. We need a lineup change.

  136. On KJ,

    Ks are down,
    BBs are the same,
    Power is up,
    BABIP is way out of whack low.

    On Jeffy,

    Ks are down
    BBs are down
    Power is about the same
    BABIP is up.

    Very few PAs to draw any grand conclusions. If anything, KJ looks to be in good shape, with Jeffy continuing more of the same despite what the media like to report. The highly variable batting averages are painting a misleading picture. These players are the same players they always were. KJ is above an average 2B, and Jeffy is a below-average RF.

  137. csg echos my thoughts about the team these past few games. We’re just giving away too many baserunners lately, and it’s showing up on the scoreboard.

    Look, of the top 4 hitters on the team, exactly one of them has been useful over the past week+, and that’s the one who missed 5 games. Two one-run losses to the Nats hurt after getting shut out twice by the Pirates. And I really hate having to try to “salvage” these series against crappy teams by needing to win the last game.

    So let’s just try to get out of here win a win and hope the offense picks up when it’s a bit drier.

    (And for whatever it’s worth, I think it is a good at-bat if Escobar swings at the first pitch and smokes it somewhere, even if “somewhere” happens to be right at the short-stop.)

  138. Norton was ahead of the count 1-0 and the next two pitches were balls. Unfortunately, they ended up being strikes 1 and 2 after the ump made a questionable call and Norton chased a terrible pitch. He should have had a 3-0 count and been able to wait for his pitch. Even at 1-1, swinging at that breaking ball at his feet was so frustrating to watch. That put him on the defensive and ruined the at bat.

    KJ just didn’t make good contact. He failed to accomplish his objective, but at least his approach seemed sound.

    The Diaz misplay was worse than failing to score in the 9th. That’s a play anyone above the high school level should make (except for our other LF perhaps).

  139. Glad I was out & missed the game.

    I’m certainly not against having Diaz in the lineup, but he’s quite the adventure. He has his moments where he’ll awkwardly surprise you with his glove, but he can kill you out there, too.

  140. I don’t think it would be constructive to call out Norton or KJ after the game. I think it was the right thing for Bobby to bullshit us like that. Really.

  141. Here’s the lineup I’d like to see tonight (McCann will be out toninght per DOB’s blog).

    1. Schafer CF
    2. Diaz LF
    3. C. Jones 3B
    4. Ross, C
    5. Escobar, SS
    6. Kotchman, 1B
    7. Francouer, RF
    8. K. Johnson, 2B
    9. Jurrjens, P

    Time to shake things up a bit. I might even give Kelly a night off with a lefty (Lannan) going for the Nats and give either Prado or Infante a start.

    I hate Escobar hitting second (too many GBs) and would like to see what Jordan could do leading off. We are wasting his speed because he will never get a SB with the pitcher behind him.


  142. Aside from the 9th inning debacle, I wanted to kill Diaz when he ran into an out at 3rd base a couple innings prior. You’re on 2nd base with 2 outs, what are you doing? You’re already in scoring position. Extremely frustrating.

  143. @250,

    He didn’t have to call individuals out, but to blame it all on bad luck is a bit much. He should at least acknowledge that the team is struggling rather than continue to blow smoke about how balls aren’t falling in. Frankly, it’s become insulting to fans’ intelligence as if we are too stupid to understand what we are seeing. I’m not saying Lou Pinella’s is necessarily the right approach but a little more calling to account is in order here.

  144. Wasn’t that Prado that ran into the 3rd out at 3rd?

    Agree. Let Schafer lead off. Let Kelly hit 2nd or 7th, but DO NOT let Escobar hit 2nd.

  145. That is twice in 2 games we have experienced a violation of not making the 1st or 3rd out of an inning at 3B. I guess we can blame luck or the players, to the extent they are ignoring their manager, but why do i get the sense that this is maybe a fundamentally unsound team?

    It seems also as if every mathematically proved element in baseball the past few years (intentional walks are bad; sacrificing with your better hitters is bad) just seems to have passed over our leadership’s heads?

  146. #252 – it was Prado with Chipper batting with 2 outs in the 7th. Schafer overran 2nd base to end the 6th inning

  147. It’s pretty bad when we have to pick through multiple incidents of horrible base running to find one specific example.

  148. I think Diaz is also slightly unlikely on BAPIP. Like tot the tune of 30 points of BA or so.

    I believe the IBB’s and the bunts are the biggest reason for underperformiong pythag for 2 straight years. Besides the ludricousness of trying so many bunts, if you can’t execute them, you don’t waste game opportunities practicing. If Bobby wants these guys to bunt, they need to do it 20 times a day in BP.

    Generally, I am opposed to the “soft, good ol'” Bobby. The only time our guys get in shape is when they decide to do it. They don’t practice infield and bunting, yet Bobby seems surprised that they can’t execute.

  149. McCann has to adjust to the contacts? I hope this means he’s never worn contacts before and his eyes are irritated from wearing them. If he simply has to adjust to new contacts and being able to see correctly, that’s idiotic.

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