Braves 5, Phillies 2

Well, this is phun.

Early, it looked like a classic Vazquez start—Javy was dealing, and the Braves were squandering scoring opportunities. (In the bottom of the 2nd, Escobar, who was finally well enough and far enough out of the doghouse to start, led off with a double, and Diaz followed with a bunt single to put runners on the corners with none out. Stenchy, predictably, struck out swinging on a mediocre, down-the-middle fastball. After Kotchman walked to load the bases, Vazquez struck out and Blanco grounded out to end the threat.)

However, in the 4th, Diaz singled and Kotchman, clearly on PEDs, hit a ball 417 feet into the right field seats to make it 2-0. Vazquez managed to keep the Phillies scoreless despite throwing a lot of pitches and not being quite as dominant as he was throughout June until the 6th, when Utley singled, Werth was HBPed, and the annoying Greg Dobbs doubled, scoring one on a bang-bang play at the plate. Then at 109 pitches, Vazquez was pulled in favor of Moylan, who got out of the inning with weak grounders but not without giving up the tying run. Javy went 5 1/3, allowing the 2 earned runs on 7 hits while walking none and striking out 5. (His 130 Ks on the season are second only to Tim Lincecum’s 132 in the NL.)

The score held until the 8th inning, the game’s biggest. In the top half, Gonzo was (once again) less than dominant, walking Werth with one out after giving up an almost-homer to Howard. He followed by striking the next batter out, but with two out, he did what Braves relievers do and failed to hold the runner. Werth stole second easily and KJ failed to haul in an unnecessary but catchable throw from McCann, advancing Werth all the way around to third. Three pitches later, Gonzalez uncorked a wild one; McCann, however, made a nice play to retrieve the ball, which he flipped to a falling/diving Gonzo in time to tag Werth out at home, ending the inning and preserving the tie.

McCann singled off of Ryan Madson to start the bottom of the inning and was pinch-run for by Jurrjens. (Hernandez had been used earlier to pinch-bunt; KJ had been brought in earlier to pinch-run for Kotchman; ACHE couldn’t be bothered.) Bobby called on Escobar to bunt him over, and Yunel got the job done. (Howard could have had the force at second rather easily, but he froze and instead went to first.) Diaz followed with a double over Victorino’s head in center and then alertly stole third—he’s a perfect 4 for 4 on the year in stolen bases—to get himself in scoring position with only one out, but ACHE, who Bobby actually pinch-hit for Francoeur (!), made it irrelevant by homering into the bullpen on a 1-2 pitch to provide the final margin of victory. That Bobby sent ACHE in to hit for Francoeur and not Diaz in the inning may be a sign that our long regional nightmare will soon be over.

Soriano finished off the game and the sweep with a 6-pitch, 1-2-3 ninth. The Braves are now 2 games under .500 and 2 games off the division lead. We head to D.C. to square off with the Natinals come to town tomorrow.  Francoeur sucks, but we face nothing but lefties in the coming series, so expect to see more of him for now.

Author: Stu

Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I've been married since July 17, 2004 to my beautiful wife, who also doubles as my best friend. We have an almost-three-years-old Boston Terrier named Lucy who's also pretty awesome. My wife and I both graduated from Vanderbilt University in May of 2004. I graduated from Law School at the University of Georgia in May of 2007 and am now practicing in Nashville, Tennessee. I really, really love the Atlanta Braves.

84 thoughts on “Braves 5, Phillies 2”

  1. Being realistic (from the last thread), we will see a lot of Frenchy this weekend with the lefties in our nation’s capital.

    Please note: The above was not meant to be a political statement.

  2. Sorry Stu, the Braves are off to the DC to start the 10-game road trip. Otherwise, well done!

  3. So Kawakami, Hanson, and Jurrjens(?) start against the Natinals?

    The next three series may be the mostimportant ones of the year. We’ve got three teams we can stompon, and if we’re going to do anything this year, that’s exactly what we need to do. Follow up the 6-5 11 game Hell Homestand with a6-3 or 7-2 roadtrip.

    You know, I could get used to this winning thing. It doesn’t suck.

  4. 7 — This team tends to play well against the good ones and play down to the not so good ones. Here’s to hoping they beat the teams they “should” in the next few series. Go Braves!

  5. Stu, excellent recap.

    This was a GREAT game. Easily the best I’ve watched this year. It’s so good to see the team fired up and hustling. That play at the plate was incredible. Good teams get outs even when the pitcher doesn’t have his best stuff, which Gonzo didn’t (though he got squeezed on a few pitches…)

    A few other highlights for me not covered in the recap:

    1) The stupid look on Frenchy’s face when GA pinch-hit for him.
    2) Blanco hustling down the line in the 8th and almost beating the pitcher to the bag.
    3) Martin Prado’s freakish catch on the tarp to end the game.
    4) Attendance was better than usual because of the fireworks at the end of the game, but listening to the Atlanta fans cheering loudly was a pleasant change. It made me miss the 90’s.

  6. @9 “The stupid look on Frenchy’s face when GA pinch-hit for him.”

    I have to check that out…

  7. Compare the Prado tarp catch to the Pujols tarp catch a few night ago. It’s an apt comparison of the two players overall.

  8. you think the Braves have finally seen Jeffy miss to many BP fastballs right over the middle of the plate? Im hoping so….seriously platoon Blanco and Diaz in RF and get rid of the waste

  9. Just saw the replay of Kotchman’s homer–where in the hell did that come from? That ball was absolutely obliterated.

  10. A Stu-pendous recap!

    Was given two tickets 17 rows behind home plate. T00k my 14-year-old and had a blast. (Although I embarrassed him yelling at the ump – thought he was squeezing us all night. Was he?)

    Matt Diaz looked better in person than he does on tv. Great night by Matty Ice (summer edition). Everyday, Bobby. Everyday.

    There sure are a lot of, ahem, in-shape young ladies at the ballpark.

    Mayberry, Jr. could start at Power Forward for the Hawks.

    Not to pile on Jeff, but he tried to pull three straight outside pitches, missing them all by increasing margins.

    Kelly actually got a good swing on a ball.

    Soriano is a bad m____ (hush yo’ mouth).

    Prado looks like he belongs. So does Blanco.

    I’ll say it again:

    Blanco – CF
    Diaz – LF
    McLouth – RF

    Anderson – PH

    All of a sudden, we’re a serious threat.

  11. What do you guys think of the possibilities of the Braves making a deal before the trade deadline with the LA Angels? They have 3 outfielders with OPS of over 800 (Rivera, Hunter and Abreu) and a few more in AAA that look like good prospects. They also have a desperate need for at least one more starting pitcher. Their 3 starting outfielders may be untouchable, but one or two of their AAA prospects look intriguing. Terry Evans with a .287 BA, .333 OBP, .531 slugging, for a .865 OPS (including 17 hrs) may be ready for prime time.

  12. Nicely recapped, Stu.

    15 — I’d rather have Anderson’s bat in the lineup than Blanco’s. Nothing against Blanco, I like him and think he belongs on this team and not at Gwinnett, but Anderson’s bat is better. Simply replace Francoeur with Diaz in right.

  13. @17 I agree. I still have a hard time believing Blanco can deliver on a consistent basis.

    @16 I thought about that, but I would not give the Angels any of our starting pitching for their outfielders. Their prospects are not that good.

  14. Baseball is so much more fun when your team shows a little life.

    If you told me we’d have a 6-4 homestand with a perfect 4-0 vs the NL teams, I’d have to take it.

    BTW, I’m not going to get my hopes up on the Frenchy front just yet, but it was certainly an encouraging moment.

    Nice one, Stu!

  15. 11) His inner monologue must have been, “That’s weird, don’t I usually bat right now? Guess I’ll drink Gatorade.”

  16. Mark Bowman never proofreads his posts. He’s not a dumb guy, but there are stupid mistakes in EVERY article I read. Come on dude, it’s your job.

    It’s like “Where’s Waldo?” but with spelling and grammatical errors. Here’s a sample:

    “While notching their first four-game winning streak of the season, the Braves moved to with two games of first place in the crowded NL East race…”

  17. 22 – Big news.

    I think that sets the stage for Heyward and maybe even Freeman in Atlanta next year, depending on how they do.

    Unfortunately, that breaks up one of the formidable batting orders we had in the minors: Freeman-Heyward-Linares-Johnson.

  18. #25 – Gotta be Diory. Or KJ to the DL.

    I am wondering the the ramifications of the big promotions to the rest of the Braves farm hands.

    Ka’aihue – either demoted or released.
    Sumoza and G-Rod up from Rome?
    RSF and Milligan to Rome from Danville?

  19. PWH, whats your source on that? There is nothing from Bowman, Carroll, or DOB on that and one of them usually knows first. No point in replacing Diory because Yunel needs a backup. We’ve got 5 outfielders, so Jeffy could go somewhere. Conrad was taken out of the lineup tonight, but he’s hitting .194 over his last 10 games

  20. Well then, if we had sat down Saturday night and tried to put odds on not losing another game during the homestand, what do you suppose they would’ve been? These last five days have been incredible, really. Especially the Phillies series. It’s like they’re a different team all of a sudden. I don’t want to get too giddy about it just yet, but lets try to get back to .500 on this road trip and set ourselves up nicely for a second half run. This was easily our best series in at least four years.

  21. I really don’t want the Braves to rush Heyward and Freeman, but I can’t help but be excited by the move.

  22. Moneyball may be dead (on hold) but they were filming The Blind Side at Westminster in Atlanta this week.

    The only mention of Francoeur in the AJC game-story mentioned that he wore his turkey underwear. Nothing about being pinch-hit for after going 0-3 with 2Ks.

    Nice recap, Stu.

  23. That NYT article makes me almost as depressed about the film industry as the Braves have made me about, well, the Braves industry (at least until the last few days).

  24. The other day, someone thanked Mac for Braves Journal- I’d like to second that, thank Stu as well for filling in admirably, and thank all the other folks who hang out here. It’s always insightful, often hilarious, sometimes acrimonious on Braves Journal- but it’s not Metsblog and for that I think we can all be thankful.

  25. cbwilk, a pretty reliable source from talking chop reported the brooks conrad promotion. is kj going to the dl, or have we made some kind of trade? the latter unlikely. brooks conrad’s brother-in-law and gondeee (head of talking chop) are chief bloggers of their networks. gondeee gets heads up on brooks conrad related news. for a voucher, he did report on his signing before it was officially announced.

  26. Stu,

    Your wrap was infinitely better than the game story in the AJC. Great job and needed for those of us that can’t watch the game.

    “They also improved to 9-0 when right fielder Jeff Francoeur wears his lucky “turkey underwear” to the ballpark on game days. Vazquez told him late Wednesday, after he wore them and the Braves won 11-1, that he had best wear them again Thursday.”

    What kind of “journalism” is this? Why not start reporting on alien sitings at Site 51?

    Nice sweep but, in fairness, the Phils are a different team without Ibanez. The series this weekend is worrisome because the Braves generally play poorly here.

    And what does it say about the division when the team is two below .500 and two games out of first?

  27. Excellent homestand considering the competition was stiff, and this was the most daunting stretch of the schedule this year. Also, McLouth and Esco both missed significant time. I’ll take 6-4 any day.

    Good job by Diaz and Prado this week asserting themselves in the lineup when provided with the opportunities. Hopefully they both stay in the lineup, although i’d like to see Prado get some work at 1B when Infante gets back. Still, I think something else may be afoot with the roster. I just have the sense Vasquez is getting moved for a bat.

  28. Good write-up, Stu.

    I was very excited that Bobby pinch-hit ACHE for the groundhog. I hope it’s a sign of things to come.

  29. I never understood how they were going to make Moneyball into an interesting movie. I was curious to find out if they could.

    Perhaps it could have worked as a documentary-type picture with some updates. To get mass appeal on it, even with Brad Pitt involved, they’d probably have to add a lot of drama that wasn’t really in the book and probably gloss over the the tenets which made it important. Dunno.

  30. Good write-up Stu.

    From what I saw of the KJ missed ball he was trying to catch the ball, AND be able to make a tag. The problem being that he couldn’t be in the position he was and catch the ball with the runner where he was. I can understand the thinking behind his action of “get in position to make the tag” because that’s got to be your instinct in that scenario if you’re going to make the close plays. If McCann’s throw had been better/closer (looked like his mask flipped in his way and he was releasing the throw mostly blind) KJ would’ve had the ball, though still not had the out.

    Anyway, it’s neither here nor there, and ’twas nice win. Based on the match-ups for the last games before the break it seems FL will likely be in first, with everybody else bunched closely behind.

  31. i need some help.

    i’ve been trying to compare matt diaz, francoer, and josh willingham’s defensive stats, but i cant find them. can anyone help me out? i’m trying to show my pop (big ol’ school braves fan) that diaz is actually a good fielder, but my dad isnt buying it. he will probably still not believe me even if i show him some statistical analysis, but better than nothing. thanks in advance for any help.

  32. Send his ass back! Frank should do it just to piss him off.

    “Jeff, your OPS has put a damper on our relationship with you!”

  33. one of the talkingchop guys gave jason heyward a great nickname: the jay-hey kid. love it!

  34. Up in the mountains so I missed the game last night, but managed to find some internet this morning to check how it went…just watched the highlights…

    *fist pumps and high fives all around*


  35. Quote from Frank Wren’s chat this off-season:

    “Thanatos: What is the plan if Jeff Francouer struggles again next year? Will you try to acquire a solid outfielder to back him up?

    Wren: We are counting on that not happening. There just aren’t that many solid guys available to start backing up your regulars, but we will have some depth in our outfield.”

    May I follow up? Thank you. What the F*** made you think you could count on Francoeur not struggling?!?

  36. If indeed we are calling up Conrad, that would say to me that we’re releasing someone (or making a trade in which we’re not getting an equal number of major leaguers back, I suppose). I doubt he’s on the 40-man roster since he hasn’t been up before, and wouldn’t that mean we have to clear someone off entirely?

    EDIT: I just looked and he’s not on the 40-man, but we only have 39 men on it right now, so we can probably add him without releasing somebody.

  37. Also, speaking of releasing people, Greg Norton has been rehabbing at Gwinnett for like a week and a half. If you’re going to release him, just release him, for God’s sake. And if you’re gonna call him back up, I’m pretty sure he’s ready. At least as ready as he’s ever gonna be.

  38. from dob:
    cox and wren met behind closed doors for hours yesterday.

    something is going on. tons of minor league promotions, brooks conrad moving up (supposedly). there is either a trade, a player going to the dl, or someone is being released. this would be the best transaction:

    “braves release francoeur….keep turkey underpants.”

  39. who does Norton replace? We have 5 of’rs but he’s only more valuable than 1 of them and we havent released that guy after 1000 terrible AB’s. We probably arent going to either. Norton could replace KJ if he’s truly going on the DL and he could backup Kotch at 1st while Prado is at 2nd

  40. Sansho1 at 48,

    Did you read his all-star ballot?

    NL All-Stars

    Right field: Jeff Francoeur, Atlanta: Apologies to Justin Upton, but when baseball no longer has a place for the likes of Francoeur, a player so extravagantly talented that he can hold down a major league job despite seemingly having little more idea of what to do with that talent than a tomcat, baseball will no longer be worth watching.

  41. Always your biggest fan, Stu! But I hope you’ll take it as a compliment that I thought Mac had wrote it until others spoke up.
    Good job and Go Braves!

  42. Kelly to the DL. Brooks Conrad to Atlanta. So the Braves will be creative in their sending of Kelly to the minors! My idea wasn’t stupid after all.

  43. PWH, come up with an idea for Jeff’s suckiness…seriously KJ and Yunel can find ways out of this lineup, how come Jeff cant?

  44. 58,
    If I were Frank Wren, Jeff would have this upcoming series to prove he belongs on a MLB roster. We’re facing 3 lefties. If he doesn’t put anything HUGE together, go with Diaz in Left, Blanco in Right against LHP and Garret in Left, Diaz in Right against RHP.

  45. Hi guys. Yay, the public library is open! Unfortunately, it closes at 5 and (of course) will be closed over the weekend…

    Francoeur sucks. I texted Alex last night to the effect that if there were any justice in the world Diaz’s double and steal followed by ACHE’s homer would have been the final nails in the coffin, but of course it won’t be. It’s quite obvious that the Braves’ best lineup has Diaz in right, ACHE in left, and Prado at second… but though they’ve been willing to give up on KJ, the much worse player sticks around on the basis of his ability to hit an empty .280 for a couple of weeks every so often.

  46. Echoing the majority here Stu, terrific right up. Toured UVa, my daughter really liked it. 2 more to go.

    KJ to the DL for wrist tendinitis. Frenchy to the DL for brain tendinitis? Is suckiness an injury? Is there a CPBL list. Can’t Play Baseball? Just wondering. At least now with KJ on the DL Prado can play without looking over his shoulder and I can stop wondering if KJ plays can he get on a hot streak.

    Nice sweep of the Phils. I hate this team. Just when I am ready to throw in the towel they go and do something like this.

  47. Has KJ been hiding his injury?

    Johnny, what other schools are you visiting/have you visited?

  48. @62

    I doubt it. More to the point, every major leaguer could point to some muscle or joint that is aching at this point in the season. If the player is willing, and from his comments yesterday when Cox announced that Prado would be the starter for now KJ is willing, a team can “DL” anyone with tendinitus or muscle cramps or a pulled somethingorother this late into the summer. Kelly may be hurting, but I’m pretty sure the Braves just misspelled “want him to go Gwinnett and work on his swing but he’s out of options” as “wrist tendinitus.”

  49. Tendinitis, as I never tire of saying, means “it hurts and we don’t know why.” (Stolen from Bill James, like most of my lines that aren’t stolen from Dave Barry.) What Sam said, basically. Anybody could go on the DL at this point in the season.

    I’ll write up the new guy when I get a chance. He’s hit in the minors, but there are a lot of people who think he’s AAAA.

  50. From ESPN: Frenchy toast: Here’s how one front-office man describes the Braves’ efforts to export Jeff Francoeur: “They’re trying to peddle him everywhere. They’re calling people all over baseball. But nobody’s biting. Right now, he’s about as ugly as he can get offensively. He’s the kind of guy we’d think about taking a gamble on over the winter — if he gets non-tendered and you could take him for a very low base. But right now, I think they’re stuck with him.”

  51. That’s the second quote I’ve seen this week about nobody biting on Frenchy. My guess is that at whatever point we decide we’re not going to be able to move him, that’s when he hits the bench vs. RHP, and the time seems to be drawing nigh….

  52. @65 I read the rest of the article on Manny. Man, Jayson Stark is a self righteous prick.

  53. The logical assumption has always been (this year at least) that Francoeur was playing because 1) no one really demanded his spot and 2) the team hoped he’d catch far and they could “sell high”, where “high” means someone might take his contract at least. As Gregor Blanco begins to resemble at least a fungible fourth OF and Diaz and Anderson have found their swings, look for Francoeur to become a fourth OF/platooner or get sent down. Especially if the Braves come up on the end of July within a couple of games of the division.

  54. @64 Then I am sure the Braves can send frenchy back to minor for brain tendinitis as suggested by Johnny. Good one Johnny.

  55. McClouth returns tonight. Tonights lineups:


    McClouth – CF
    Prado – 2B
    Jones – 3B
    McCann – C
    Escobar – SS
    Diaz – LF
    Francoeur – RF
    Kotchman – 1B
    Kawakami – P

    Morgan – CF
    Johnson – 1B
    Zimmerman – 3B
    Dunn – LF
    Willingham – RF
    Guzman – SS
    Harris – 2B
    Bard – C
    Detwiler – P

  56. Brooks Conrad: The regulars in the stands at Gwinnett seem to love the guy. I think that is a testament to what I observed the couple of times I’ve seen him.

    He’s an okay hitter, but a gutty player, a hustle player, a la Marcus Giles. His D seems pretty good, too.

  57. Conrad may be a gritty gamer, but Diory Hernandez out hit him by 100 points of OPS in AAA. I wouldn’t expect too much. He’s a backup 2B until KJ comes back.

  58. anyone post this? per DOB

    Quick drop-in on Carroll’s blog. I forgot to mention that when I got to the ballpark yesterday, Bobby Cox and Frank Wren were holed up in the office for more than an hour. No doubt in my mind they’re seriously trying to make a move.

    Name I keep hearing, because it’s a position of strength for the Braves and he’s so attractive to other teams, is Javier Vazquez. With Hudson expected back in mid-August, Braves don’t want to trade Vazquez but realize they might be able to get an impact player in return if they do. And not a guy who’s going to be a free agent.

    I’m also hearing that Escobar’s continued misadventures have made him a legit possibility to be moved, despite the fact he’s so affordable for at least a couple more seasons (not even eligible for arb until after next season).

  59. Hey, that’s a passable major league lineup! We could threaten to be average offensively if we keep this up.

  60. I’m also sure though that Cox and Wren are aware that their other SS candidate (Diory) is hitting an amazing .135 and replacing Escobar’s production won’t be easy. Who could you trade for that would improve on Frenchy enough to make the drop from Escobar’s production to Diory’s production a beneficial one?

  61. Forget production. Diory is terrible defensively. We probably lose last night if he is the shortstop — Yunel made at least two run-saving plays that he wouldn’t have made.

  62. Milwaukee is desperate for pitching. Would they trade Ryan Braun for Javy Vasquez? Maybe not. But if that’s the level of return you have to seriously consider the deal. Anyone but Hanson, Schafer and Heyward are can be traded for the right return.

  63. Mixed on trading Vazquez. His value won’t get any higher with us, he’s a FA after next year, and we won’t re-sign him. I feel like he’s pitching a little bit better than we could have expected, and there’s a fair chance that he’s not as good in the second half.

    If by non-FA impact player, they mean someone who could be a fixture at one of our weak spots (corner OF, 1B, etc.), then it seems like a smart move, at least for next year and beyond.

    At the same time, we have Schafer, Heyward, and Freeman who are all on track to merit a look next spring. Also, it’s tough to count on Tim Hudson, KK, and Tommy Hanson to not skip a beat. I would guess that at least one will disappoint in the second half. Hopefully no more than that. Medlen helps the theoretical situation a little, but for 2009 it still seems like a risk.

  64. if DOB = mouthpiece, anybody think the FO is dangling Escobar for bait and switch purposes? Everybody knows Vasquez is on the table, but only a rental-ish… We make people think they could ask for both for player X, and we say “no, they’re not worth THAT much, but we’ll give you Vasquez and Frenchy for them”?

  65. I don’t like the idea of trading Vasquez, mainly because I don’t buy Tim Hudson as a replacement just yet. He’s been sitting on the bench for like 1.5 years, yet he’s the guy we’re going to rely on when Vasquez is gone? And what about the next couple years? Yeah JJ and Hanson are awesome, but Lowe is old and Kawakami is getting up there too.

    We’d have to get an Adam Dunn type of masher for this to be a good move.

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