61 thoughts on “Sunday game thread: May 17, D-Backs at Braves”

  1. With Derek Lowe facing Garland, we should be able to win the series. After last night’s game it seems to be asking for too much…

  2. From the last thread, it wasn’t really Chipper’s fault that he got thrown out. He was running on a 3-2 count and that move should be a balk. Since we’ve been talking about balks, yeah, that was much more of what I think a balk is intended to be than what Wandy Rodriguez did a couple weeks ago.

  3. Weldon, when I saw that move I was thinking the same thing. Balk all the way! It really surprised me that nobody even mentioned it on TV. Watching the replay, I still see him turning towards 3B before stepping off.

  4. Oh, nevertheless: I can forgive Chipper, pickoffs at 1B happen, and he doesn’t have the history of baserunning blunders that Ecso has. Put getting picked off 3B should be fined.

  5. FWIW, Bobby came out and argued that it was a balk, presumably while the TV coverage was at a commercial break.

  6. already declared a rain delay. lots of rain coming in to the atlanta area. this might be a long delay.

  7. I wouldn’t mind seeing Schafer get a day off, although he has hit some balls pretty hard the past couple days. Ideally, you’d like to see a Lowe start against a LHP from the other team for Schafer’s day off, but at this point, you’d just like to see the kid get a day off.

    Looking at the radar map, it looks like most of the rain is yet to come. I agree that it could be a sizeable delay. :-/

  8. It’s raining here in Tuscaloosa, and everywhere between here and Atlanta.

    At this rate, everyone gets a day off sitting around in the clubhouse, and a Sunday night game.

  9. I was just thinking, what if Francoeur had taken that McCannesque deal the Braves offered him a couple of years ago? Thank God he rejected it.

  10. Thanks Stu. I watched the game on MLB.TV, which turns to commercials immediately after the third out. According to the spot that they are perpetuating, they want me to become a better umpire.

  11. What are the rules on the lineup?

    i.e. If it gets to 6pm, say, can we swap McCann in for Ross? Or is it finalised already?

  12. until the coaches meet with the umpires at home plate to start the game and exchange lineup cards you can absolutely change the lineup…

  13. It’s my understanding that the fake to third throw to first move isn’t a balk. It should be if it isn’t.

    The radar shows rain all the way to Jackson, and it doesn’t seem to be moving too fast.

  14. Dbacks TV just announced the game has been officially postponed and rescheduled for sometime in August when both teams have an off day.

  15. The Braves have a four game series in Arizona at the end of this month. Why can’t they double up then?

  16. Owch. Losing three starts on the final day of the week can really screw a fantasy team. >_<

  17. Trying to work out whether this is good or not.

    On the plus side, we might have McCann back in the lineup when it’s made up, have Hanson up and might have traded for a bat.

    On the minus side, this is one we could really have won going on the pitching matchup alone and a win on the board is obviously more valuable than a game in hand.

  18. Wonder if the postponement affects the Medlen call up.

    Maybe they’ll skip the 5th starter’s spot and call up another OF for a week or so.

  19. Frank,
    You’re talking nonsense here. There’s no need for any extra outfielders; we’ve got Frenchy and Schafer to strike out and end rallies. ACHE helps there, too. No, we definitely don’t need outfielders. I’m thinking that Norton could be released, however, to add one more pitcher, bringing us up to 13. You can never have too much pitchers, especially when you just throw the same 4 relief pitchers out there every night. Madness, Frank, madness–that’s all there is to this idea of bringing up any extra position players.

  20. Obviously, Jeff M. needs to contact Shirley McLaine. He is so effectively
    “channeling” the Brave FO that he must be in on the meetings.

  21. Giving our pitchers an extra day off is fine with me. Let’s just hope the makeup game in August matters.

    Hey, good point, our bullpen gets some more rest. This is 3 days in a row for Soriano.

  22. I drove four hours down to Atlanta today hoping to see this one, first time I’ve ever had to come home without seeing a ballgame because of rain. I know I should be happy to have tickets to a future game, but this wasted trip sucks balls.

  23. Trying to work out whether this is good or not.

    It’s not good. August is when you need off days. The Braves just lost that precious off day, plus didn’t get to play today when they had a decided pitching advantage.

    Real pain in the ass for the D-Backs. They’ll be 15+ games out by then and have to fly in for just the one game.

  24. So this just happened. My house just shook and swayed for about 15 seconds. 5.0 isn’t huge but it looks like the epicenter is real close to Manhattan Beach. Worst I’ve ever felt.

    Anyway, since I was reading this site when it happened I’d thought I’d share.

  25. Haven’t been on here almost at all the past week or so. I’ve moved into a new apartment and haven’t had the internet turned on. But I did want to get in on something…

    The fake-to-third-throw-to-first move isn’t any more of a balk than a lefty picking off a guy that is running on first move. It was just luck (or the D-Backs foreseeing Chipper going on a 3-2 pitching) that got Chipper picked off. Which begs the question: if you’ve got runners on 1st and 3rd with less than 2 outs on a 3-2 count, why doesn’t the defense try that play every time? You would think you’d get a lot of picks.

    Oh yeah, and what a crappy game…

  26. Well–we couldn’t take 2 out of 3 from the Diamondbacks this weekend and 3 out of 4 clubs on the farm are also rained out. From where I am sitting the rain does not seem so bad!

    Tony Armas Jr. won for Gwinnett County–even though he did not pitch that well. Nonetheless, I am glad that the Braves decided to take a flyer on him…..

  27. Chipper also ran on the 3-1 pitch that got fouled off by ACHE. So, it wasn’t like the D’backs knew that Cox was thinking of starting him.

  28. BTW,

    Congrats to Mac for being mentioned in Bradley’s column. You are moving up (down?) in the baseball world.

  29. Francoeur sucks. He’s worse than last year. He’s currently got a .252 average a .272 OBP (worse than last year), and a .371 SLG %, OPS+ of 65 (That is, he’s 35% worse than average, pretty un-heard of for a regular, also worse than last year’s abysmal 72 mark). Struck out 18 times, walked only 5. He has an OPS+ of 69 with men on and 86 with RISP. He’s come to the plate 48 times with RISP and knocked in only 19 runs. This would be excusable and you’d be able to write it off as a slump or insufficient sample size if he’d been a consistent producer his entire career, but he’s NEVER been a good player. He’s been good at making outs, thats about it. He’s an out-making machine and he’s dragging our team down. The only reason people like him is because googly-eyed girls think he’s cute. He sucks. He’s finished. And the sooner the Braves realize this, the better.

  30. @41,

    Unfortunately, it’s hard for a team to acknowledge that they blew it with their number one pick, especially when that guy is more popular with fans than much better players. At some point, if he continues like this, the Braves will have to pull the plug, but what I fear is that he will have another uptick–hit a couple home runs or have a few games where he gets some “clutch” hits and provide Bobby another excuse to keep running him out there, especially since there is no obvious alternative. Of course, I’m not going to root for him to make outs.

    This team cannot expect to seriously contend unless they find a way to score more runs. (Is that a “duh” comment?)

  31. @42,
    There’s no such thing as a “duh” comment when you’re talking to the Braves organization (har har har). You’re right though, I completely agree with your post.

  32. whats really sad is Frenchy really only has about 5 or 6 hard hit balls all year. Seems like his hits are broken bat singles or bloop hits. Hell I think his two triples were misplayed balls in the outfield.

  33. Kornheiser out, Gruden in on MNF.
    Don’t know if any of you were fans of TK’s radio show, but if this means he will be back to that, this is a very happy day.

  34. Francoeur’s most-similar player in the Sim Scores system is Harold Baines, which sounds good. But using a little different methodology, I came up with Tony Horton (same slugging percentage, slightly higher BA/OBP) who went crazy and washed out of the game at 25.

  35. Said it a couple of days ago, but to repeat…

    The Braves need to trade for Jermaine Dye.

    Adding him would fix literally every problem I have with this lineup:

    1. Right handed power hitter
    2. Gets ACHE out of cleanup permanently
    3. Will get Frenchy out of right field…eventually

    Seriously, adding Dye would make this team a legitimate postseason contender.

  36. Ethan,
    I think Dye is a perfect fit too, but there’s the small problem of his $11+ million salary. With attendence so low, I doubt Wren’s got the flexibility to add payroll.

    The only way it works is if the Sox pick up the tab, but to do that, we’d have to throw real talent their way for a rental. Not sure if I want to go through Tex Redux.

  37. Ethan @48,

    I guess the FO didn’t want to commit over 10 million to a bat until after the pitching was resolved. However, the White Sox had let it be known they would move Dye, so they could have broadened the deal and gotten Dye and Vazquez.

    Now IF they had sent Francoeur the other way, Ozzie would at least kick his ass if he played like this. And the quotes would have been spectacular.

    Ozzie could actually help Frenchy. The nice guys with patience sure can’t seem to.

  38. @50 – The only person that can help Frenchy is Frenchy himself. And that is not going to happen. The dude is a lost cause. He’s got some bad wiring up top.

  39. They could bat him 7th or 8th against lefties and 10th against righties. That would at least help a little.

  40. @46: Haha, I don’t come on here for a few days and you guys I’m still being talked about… flattering… maybe…

    @50: You’re probably right, Ozzie is probably the type of guy that Jeff needs right now. As much as I love Bobby’s patience, and it has served this team well, there comes a time when a player needs to realize that what he’s doing isn’t going to hack it.

    @53: Jeff’s produced a .347/.346/.490 line in 52 PA against LHP this year… and yes, you read that right, his average is better than his OBP (2 Sac Flies, 1 BB)… There’s no statistical data that would suggest we need to worry about hiding him in the lineup against LHP.

  41. Good thing or bad thing?

    Over the weekend I noticed Francoeur trying to hit the ball to right field on at least a couple of occasions. I think this is a good thing in one respect, as we all know good hitters use the whole field. The part of it that bothers me is he looked determined to hit the ball to right field no matter where the ball was pitched. As if he were saying to himself, “I looked terrible in the last at bat…I need to focus on hitting it the other way”. Some would say this is the process of him becoming a maturing hitter. I think it further reinforces the fact he is anything but a natural hitter who can react to a pitch.

  42. @54–it’s great that he hits lefties fairly well–just platoon him with a LH batter–he’d probably get 150-200 PA/year and the LH hitter would get maybe 450 PA/year

  43. Sadly, I’m not gonna be able to stick around all afternoon, but wanted to reply to one more thing… please forgive the length as I’m trying to avoid any misinterpretation that might lead back to another protracted Francoeur conversation:

    @41: Good is a very vague term… I’m assuming you mean good compared to his Major League peers, however, but I think you’re still off base here. If you had said he has never been a consistently good hitter, I might agree with you. Obviously 2005 was good, but not consistent or long enough to count. 2007, judging solely by his OPS, was average… now again, average ML production as a 23 year-old is pretty damn good, but that’s a different definition of good than you seem to be using. (From ’05-’07 Jeff compiled an average OPS as well, FWIW.)

    Where you’re wrong, however, is in stretching the judgment you make on his OPS to his entire level of play. In 2007 Jeff played gold glove defense, including a league leading 19 Outfield Assists. Gold Glove defense, plus average offense, plus the durability to produce at this level for almost every inning of 162 games, starts to look much closer to good than average.

    On top of that he also managed a very high level of run production. I’ve been too busy to look further into the statistics, but in 2007 there were 34 players with 100 RBIs or more. Among these players Jeff’s .770 OPS was by far the lowest, Bobby Abreu (.796) was the only other player under .800. However, when you account for RBI opportunities Jeff is right at or above a good number of his 100+ RBI peers.

    In 2007, Jeff knocked in 105 of the 487 runners who were on base during his PA, that’s 21.6%. Among 100+ RBI guys this was only good for 31st of 34, but it was still ahead of Hideki Matsui (21.5%,) Garret Atkins (21.3%,) and Bobby Abreu (20.2%.) It was also just slightly below the percentage for Troy Tulowitzki (21.7%) and Travis Hafner (21.6%, only hundredths of a percentage point ahead.) Now, here’s those six players’ OPS for the year:

    Francoeur: .770
    Abreu: .796
    Hafner: .806
    Tulowitzki: .820
    Atkins: .835
    Matsui: .840

    Jeff had an OPS 70 points less than Hideki Matsui, but still converted on a slightly higher percentage of RBI opportunities (FWIW, if you isolate conversions of RBI opportunities by removing RBIs from knocking in themselves on HR, Jeff’s numbers are pretty close to the middle of the pack.) This even despite the fact that a large number of his runners on base were Chipper and Brian McCann (and Andruw when he actually got on base that year,) none of whom were moving as quick as Abreu’s most frequent table-setters: Jeter and Damon, nor Hafner’s table-setters Sizemore and Casey Blake. He also didn’t have the benefit of playing his home games in a hitter’s park, like Tulowitzki and Atkins did.

    Looking at this same group of 34, Jeff also clearly didn’t get on base to score runs at the pace of the upper echelon, A-Rod scored 21% of the time he registered a PA, Jeff only managed a 12.3% clip. However, he was not the only one to produce at that low of a percentage. Only 5 of the 34 scored in 12.5% or less (OPS in parentheses):

    Victor Martinez: 12.5% (.862)
    Hafner: 12.4% (.806)
    Atkins: 12.4% (.835)
    Mike Lowell: 12.3% (.863)
    Francoeur: 12.3% (.770)

    As you can see, two players appeared in both groups with Francoeur. Despite an OPS 65 points less than Atkins (a 9 point OPS+ difference) Jeff produced runs at the same level that Garrett did, in a less hitter-friendly park, with less speed on base in front of him (Garrett had Willy Taveras, Kaz Matsui and/or Tulowitzki ahead of him for a large part of the season, and Holliday and Helton once he was moved into the 5th spot.)

    You can knock Jeff’s ’08 and start of ’09 performance all you want. 2008 was certainly deserving, and early signs of 2009 might suggest he’s heading that way again. 2007, on the other hand, was a solid performance that any team in baseball would be happy to get from a young corner outfielder. This solid performance, plus his first season and a half in which he put up decent offensive production and above average defense and durability, earned him some slack for last year in my eyes. Coming into this season I was set to give him 2-3 months to prove himself capable of returning to pre-’08 production. Due to his hot start, clear signs of improved pitch selection (one of his major problems last year,) and the Braves obvious lack of replacements, I’ve adjusted that timeline towards the longer end, and now will give him through the All-Star break before I’ll make any definitive judgments. (This isn’t to say that he should be playing every single game, only that he should get a decent amount of playing time in which to regain the form he started the year with.)

    I’ll leave you with one more list to stress my point of waiting on judgments. 2009 year-to-date OPS:

    Brian Giles: .515
    Chris Young: .542
    Adrian Beltre: .558
    Orlando Cabrera: .562
    Garrett Atkins: .579
    Rafael Furcal: .583
    B.J. Upton: .584
    Jimmy Rollins: .589
    Jason Kendall: .596
    David Ortiz: .618
    Jeff Francoeur: .642

  44. @57: Now you just have to find a LH batter that can hit Major League pitching with enough excess offensive production to account for the defensive regression. We just don’t have such a player currently in the organization (though I’m sure we could find one in a trade if we decide to go that route.)

    You could try Diaz everyday, or go with Infante, but neither of them are likely to really kill RHP consistently enough to make up for their defensive liabilities in RF.

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