Braves 8, Red Sox 2

Atlanta Braves vs. Boston Red Sox – Box Score – June 19, 2009 – ESPN

All Braves. Surprising, of course, on the road against the best team in baseball. The Braves opened the scoring with a first-pitch-of-the-game homer by McLouth. The next four men reached, Garret Anderson, Designated Hitter Extraordinare driving in a run with a bases-loaded walk, but they couldn’t get any more runs as Diaz struck out and Kotchman lined into a double play. At this point, I figure, we’re probably not going to get any more runs all night and will lose 3-2.

But no! Sure, they hibernated to the fourth, but then they broke out with two more runs, both with two out; McLouth doubled off that big wall in left field — does it have a name? It’s a lot like the Teal Tower in Florida — and came home on an Escobar single. In the fifth, McCann and ACHE chased the starter with back-to-back doubles, and Kotchman made it 6-0 with a sac fly.

Kenshin Kawakami had another great start; considering what he’s done against the AL East, the Yankees may want to inquire about him. He made one mistake, a two-run homer by Bay in the sixth. Bay had the only other hit against him, a “double” in the second where a fan interfered with the ball and Diaz had him held to a single. Why, exactly, you reward the home team for fan interference puzzles me. At any rate, Kawakami left after six having thrown only 90 pitches. The Braves got a run back in the seventh, another RBI for ACHE (who finished 3-3 with a walk) and another in the ninth (ACHE again, with a sac fly). Bobby used Moylan in the seventh, Soriano in the eighth, and Gonzalez in the ninth. Personally, I see it. For the Red Sox, five runs really isn’t that much. They average 5.4 runs a game. Moreover, we’re going to be lucky if we can finish one game over the weekend, considering the weather forecast.

61 thoughts on “Braves 8, Red Sox 2”

  1. Except it was a 6 run game for Gonzalez…

    Bobby is the bullpen management equivalent of Herm Edwards with the NFL game clock

  2. ACHE did a great job of running the bases. It was like he isn’t lazy. I think he just hates the Red Sox because they crush the Angels in the post-season every year and he’ll go back to being lazy when we’re not facing them.

  3. It’s a good win, but as the saying goes: “ever team loses 60 and wins 60. It’s what you do with the remaining 42 that determines your season”

    Lately, all it seems like we’ve been doing is winning our 60.

    And if this recent abuse costs us Soriano or Gonzalez, it could get ugly very quickly

    @4: Agreed

  4. Seriously, guys, how long after you bring in Bennett to face Youkilis, Bay, and Ortiz are you going to have to bring in Gonzalez anyway? And honestly, I doubt we’re going to lead any time in the rest of the series.

  5. @6

    With a five run lead, I’d have let Medlen pitch the last three innings. At the very least, I’d have put Acosta in instead of Gonzalez in the 9th with a 6 run lead.

    And you might be right about the lead for the rest of the series, but you can’t manage like that.

  6. I agree with Mac here. I didn’t have a problem bringing in Sori and Gonzo. Guarantee yourself at least one win in this series. We got to their worst pitcher – the next 2 won’t be as easy.

  7. 4 — How? Because we give him 4 full days of rest after he throws 80 pitches in a game?

  8. @7

    That might be true, but then who do you send to the mound if it’s a one run lead? Also, while the Red Sox have some studs, the combination of Nick Green, Ortiz’s corpse, Jason Varitek, and even JD Drew don’t especially scare me.

    @9

    So you just basically concede that you’ll lose the next two? If that really is Bobby’s mindset, he should be fired.

  9. No you don’t concede, but you take the win when you can get one. Especially having lost so much lately. You may not realize it, but this team’s poor play has a big say on how Bobby manages.

    Tonight he was managing to the team’s capabilities, not to the situation.

  10. If he truly believes that he needs his closer to pitch for a third straight day to protect a six run lead…what he is saying is that this team has no hope of contending….or that he doesn’t care if he has a closer in September

  11. (long time reader, new “contributor”)

    love the blog, laughs everyday they play

    i agree with mac and joshua

    the worst thing for this team right now,
    be ahead of the tool nation in fenway and blow it

    gotta go for the win

  12. all 4 of the red sox defensive highlights were on casey kotchman tonight. casey, 0-4, could have easily been 3-4.

  13. By consistently utilizing your bullpen in the manner that Bobby did tonight (which he regularly does), it doesn’t matter if you win tonight…because you will not be able to sustain any measure of success after your top relievers are rendered ineffective/injured from overworking them.

    For all the talk of “going for the win,” no one addresses this point. Maybe if Gonzo was jonesing for some work, but again, it was his third straight day with a 6 run lead. Stupid.

  14. Welcome, ringer!

    “If I keep going like this, I have no right to be a part of this rotation,” Matsuzaka said through an interpreter after being shelled from the start in the Atlanta Braves’ 8-2 win over the Boston Red Sox on Friday night.

    Take a lesson, Jeffy.

  15. if bennett, acosta, et al wouldve preserved our lead tonight (unlikely), then im sure youd be comfortable with them pitching in closer games?

    if they cant hold a 3 run lead regularly, then we wouldve had to go with gonzo/sori anyways.

    also, seeing ACHE succeed is strangely annoying.

  16. If he truly believes that he needs his closer to pitch for a third straight day to protect a six run lead…what he is saying is that this team has no hope of contending….or that he doesn’t care if he has a closer in September

    If you are going to be this annoying at least learn to look things up. This wasn’t Gonzo’s third straight night, it was his second. He threw 14 pitches tonight, Soriano 14, Moylan 12. The next games are likely to be rained out and they can all rest up.

    Are we done here?

  17. Well, okay, so long as Bobby can predict the weather.. maybe Chief Nockahoma taught him a rain dance back in the 80s..

    I agree with Ethan. No sense in playing scared and firing off bullpen bullets unnecessarily. It’s a long season and neither Soriano nor Gonzalez has been the picture of health in recent years.

  18. Ethan, Bobby understands what we all know. The Braves probably wont have a lead late in a game the rest of the series, so he believes in winning a game while you can.

  19. @18

    No, you save your Sorianos/Gonzalezes for close games…you use the other guys for when you have a 5 or six run lead. This is generally SOP around the majors.

    @19

    Fair enough. Three in four days is much better.

    And you should definitely base your managerial decisions on expected weather reports. That’s clearly always a winner.

  20. Nice win for the Braves and KK–in particular….

    A good start for Cofield at AA, especially because it looks like he had good command of his pitches….

  21. JJ,

    I hear you, but that just seems to me like you are managing with the expectation of losing. Abstractly, I see the practicality, but I guess I just have issues with that.

    I think, to be a winner, you need to play with the expectation that you will win. Wasting your best relievers when, for a winning team, the game would be in hand, doesn’t IMO lend itself to that expectation.

  22. @ 22. SOP does not apply to the braves, hence, terms like “Atlanta save”. SOP also dictates that your best reliever should only be used in the 9th with a lead <=3…

    also, as much as i wish the old man could, i dont think bobby can will the braves to a win with expectations. and, winning teams usually have a better ability to protect large leads with the bullpen. we may not be (ok, probably arent) a winning team.

  23. Somebody must be telling Furman Bisher to write everything controversial from now on. His new topic: “It’s time for John Schuerholz and the Braves to put Chipper Jones on the trading block”

  24. I have no problem using our big arms against the Red Sox even with a big league. If Bobby has been doing that even to the lesser teams, why are we surprised by tonight?

  25. Stephen, seems like Kimbrel has recovered from his terrible start. I am very concerned over Rohrbough. I had such high expectation on him this year.

  26. KC–I think the Braves are being cautious with Kimbrel–they want him to be fully confident the next time that he faces Carolina League pitching….

    For the Braves’ sake Rohrbough really needs to get it together: he looked to be our best pitching prospect after Hanson…

  27. Two things having just watched the game on mlb.tv:

    1) Bobby Cox’s management of the bullpen was insane. I guess I can see pulling Kawakami (pitching on extra rest) after 90 pitches if you think he’s lost something (I didn’t), and I guess I can see pitching Moylan and Soriano in the 7th and 8th. (You’re protecting the lead, making sure you get a win in the first game of a tough series.) But Gonzo in the 9th instead of Bennett is just stupid. First off, he faced mostly RH-hitters, so Bennett isn’t losing you that much ground in those matchups. Second, if Gonzo doesn’t “have it” tonight and just starts walking people, you’ve got no where to turn to. Why even risk that when you’re up 6? And finally, this means your top 3 arms have all pitched on two consecutive nights. What if it’s a close game after 5 and you’ve got to pull the starter because of rain tomorrow? Just hope Bennett or Medlen can shut ’em out for 2-3 innings? Resting Gonzo ensures you have one of your top guys rested and ready to go, which can be huge.

    2) I believe Garret Anderson is going to hit .290 the rest of the way. I’m not convinced he’ll have enough doubles or walk enough to be a truly useful player, but I think he’s going to hit .300 and OPS closer to .800 than .700. (Actually, I think he’ll be closer to .760 than either of those, but I digress.) My reasoning is thus: the only components that are different this year from his previous few is the BABIP and ISOP. He’s walking a little more than before, striking out a bit less, and getting similar proportions of GBs and LDs. The only thing that has gone south is his BABIP, which I believe will regress to about .310, where it has been for most of his career. Now, the isolated power is down substantially, and if that fails to return, he’ll still be basically worthless to most ML teams. But the key thing to recognize right now is that even with the reduced ISOP, a simple regression to the mean of BABIP, which is suggested by his components, would make for a substantial improvement in production from LF. If the power returns (which I am less optimistic about), we’re talking about a marginally-better-than-replacement corner OF, which is something this team needs in the worst possible way.

  28. I have no problem using our big arms against the Red Sox even with a big league. If Bobby has been doing that even to the lesser teams, why are we surprised by tonight?

    No one should be. Folks getting worked up over 14 low leverage pitches are simply looking for things to complain about. Foolishness.

  29. Ethan, I agree, I’m just saying who would manage this team with the ‘expectation of winning.’ This team is .500 at best, as it is currently constructed (in my opinion), so I think Bobby is just taking the win when he sees it.

    On a different note, the Braves have apparently signed Chris Burke, whom I think we all hate with a passion, at least I do. Apparently they couldn’t get Leyritz out of jail to sign him.

  30. Does anybody know if we are close to signing Minor or Hale?

    We should find out more on Tuesday when the GCL and Appalachian Leagues begin play, but I hope that it does not take the Braves to make slot signings….

  31. JJ,

    The team might be what you say, but if you are it’s manager, don’t you have to manage like you believe it can be a consistent winner? If not, what does one extra win really matter?

    I agree with about Burke though. I’ve been rooting against him consistently for years now. I really hope we don’t have to see him on the ML roster.

    KC,

    I’m not surprised (although Gonzo in the ninth was a little extreme even for him). It was just kind of the tipping point for me for both the reasons I pointed and what mraver addressed.

  32. Mraver,

    Very interesting points on Anderson. If (a large if obviously) Anderson reaches the status that you believe to be possible, and the club could replace Frenchy with a Spillbourghs type player, where do you think that leaves the team with regard to the rest of the season? Is that enough, or does it even matter?

  33. Anderson may improve (but given his age, I think an injury is just as likely), but I don’t see the attraction of Spillborghs. IF Frenchy played in Colorado, his numbers might well be similar…

  34. Why not use Soriano and Gonzalez tonight? Because he just used them Thursday in a similar blowout. What happens if it’s a 1 or 2 run game in the 8th Saturday… and Sunday… and Monday… and Tuesday? Soriano and Gonzalez aren’t going to be available for some of those games and the Braves will instead have to have lesser arms trying to save games for them, something that could have been avoided by not pitching Mike and Rafe on Friday. It’s not like the schedule is some mystery and the Braves will be surprised to find out they are playing the Red Sox, Cubs, Yanks, Red Sox, and Phils. This kind of managing is why the Braves only won one World Series during the Streak.

  35. I think ACHE is just stepping up his game in hopes that an American League team will make trade inquiries.
    The pace of National League games is way too fast for him.

  36. Think anyone wants a .300 singles hitter for their DH? I know where they can find one.

    Free Matt Diaz.

    Seriously, if the Braves aren’t going to use him, trade him to Cincinnati where he’ll hit cleanup.

  37. Using his studs looks odd but we need to preserve every win we can.
    We are drifting away from .500 and we need to hang around it if Wren can justify adding payroll.

    We move to 6 or 7 under the season is toast, as long as we are close things can happen.

    Just a JV coaches thoughts.
    Good to see KK pitch well, he had some nasty movement going last night.

    Kotch was robbed on a couple, he had some cuts.

  38. Don Sutton said Javier Vazquez’s start against the Pirates where he fanned 12 (and we wasted it of course) should be “Required Reading” for every young pitcher in the organization. I tend to agree.

  39. Furman Bisher apparently doesn’t realize that Chipper has 10-5 no-trade rights. Of course, that’s sort of new-fangled stuff that they didn’t have back in the day.

    A quote from BC:

    “We went up swinging; we didn’t go up taking tonight, and we had a great pitching performance from our guy,” Cox said.

    So that’s why the Braves haven’t scored any runs. They keep forgetting to swing. Damn. I don’t know how you explain Jeffy, though, since he never takes. Maybe Bobby thinks this is the correct approach.

  40. I thought it was pretty silly to use all 3 of Moylan, Soriano, and Gonzo. Just use one of them, if you must. Just wait until Jeff Bennett comes into a close game because these guys have pitched too much in the previous few days.

    Will take the W, though.

  41. Diaz would be a good fit for the Braves, Bobby likes Jeff better (who’s now slugging in the low .300, to go along with his sub .300 OBP and sub .250 BA)

  42. craig monroe dfa’d by the pirates. i bet we pick him up. he would fit perfect with our current outfield. he also sucks and doesnt walk.

  43. Gonzo in to face a bunch of righties with a 6-run lead in the 9th—people are trying to defend this? LOL.

  44. Thought: you have a 5-run lead and 2 halfway-decent relievers to use, one noticably better than the other for the final 2 innings. Is it better to use the better reliever in the 8th or 9th? Logic for the 8th is you want them facing the inferior pitcher with only 3 outs to burn, not 6 when it’d be easier to gain momentum. Probably doesn’t matter.

  45. Geez, Furman Bisher really needs to write about something other than the Braves. He advocates keeping Francoeur and trading Chipper Jones.

    He’s lost his damned mind.

  46. That’s two wins in a row now where the vast majority of people on here did nothing but complain afterwards. I think lightening up a little bit might be in order.

    EDIT: Also, that is two-in-a-row for Gonzo, but before that, he pitched like twice a week for two or three weeks. I probably wouldn’t have pitched him either, but I’m pretty sure he’ll be alright for now. We are not looking at a Blaine Boyer situation here.

  47. Bisher is much like the AJC and print media in general: An irrelevant relic that has seen its better days.

    Last night was one of the few complete games this team has played this year, a sight for sore eyes. Good pitching, hitting and defense. Overall the team looked much more crisp. Let’s hope it continues.

  48. I’ve been digging through splits this morning and it’s pretty clear so far:

    vs LHP they need to play Anderson in LF, Diaz in RF, Johnson at 2B and Prado at 1B. Of those four players, the only one with an OPS below 900 vs LHP is Matt Diaz (812.) Anderson and Johnson have huge reverse splits.

    vs RHP they should move Prado over to 2B and put Kotchman in at 1B and pick two out of Anderson, Diaz and Francoeur for the corner OF slots until Omar Infant comes off the DL, at which point he should start somewhere.

  49. I’d be just as happy to see Brian Barton as a fourth OF and Francoeur in AAA, but I doubt that’s going to happen.

  50. Nine qualifying players in the NL have lower offensive winning percentages than the Groundhog:

    Francoeur .304
    Jimmy Rollins .293
    Emilio Bonifacio .292
    ACTUAL 2009 NATS WP .292
    Jason Kendall .280
    Ivan Rodriguez .278
    Emmanuel Burriss .266
    Garrett Atkins .256
    Willy Taveras .246
    Alex Gonzalez .224
    Brian Giles .218

  51. Nick,

    Agree with you, but what would the blogosphere be for if people didn’t obsess?

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