Cubs 4, Braves 2

Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs – Box Score – July 06, 2009 – ESPN

Echhh. Well, what do you expect when team star Martin Prado goes 0-5?

The Cubs did all their damage in the first two innings, a two-run homer in the first and two more in a sloppy second inning. The thing about Jair Jurrjens is that he isn’t dominant, so he wins by not giving up homers and not making mistakes; when he gives up a homer, it’s usually not going to be a good day. It wasn’t a good day, though six innings and four runs isn’t too bad.

The Braves got a run in the fourth on a single by Escobar, and loaded the bases on an error. But Diaz struck out, and Jurrjens grounded out. A really aggressive manager might have pulled the trigger on a pinch-hitter there, but you can’t really expect that. McLouth hit a homer in the sixth, but the Braves didn’t really threaten much after that; their best scoring opportunity was two on and two out in the seventh, when McCann grounded out to end it.

The Braves actually had as many hits as the Cubs, but the Cubs had four doubles while the Braves had no extra base hits but the homer. That’s basically why they lost. Francoeur had a pinch-hit infield single, but he sucks. Bobby has indicated he will play soon.

75 thoughts on “Cubs 4, Braves 2”

  1. anyone else noticed that brian mccann has quiety sucked for about 6 weeks now?

  2. The thing is Mccann should have to carry this team… They need a power hitting player in the middle of the order to take the pressure of Mccann and Chipper. Those guys have the weight of the world on their backs. If they struggle this team has no chance at scoring runs

  3. I know McCann defense has been horrid, but his power outage is more of a concern. 3 HR for the month of June. I wonder if he is okay. I hope he wasn’t pressing to be the starting catcher in the all-star game.

    I agree the catcher shouldn’t have to carry the offense, but that’s what Chipper is getting paid the big bucks to do.

  4. i think he must be especially bad in high leverage situations. i score all the games using the MWPct delta according to “The Book”, and mccann has dropped a full game since his hot streak directly off the DL

  5. Does Chipper’s contract really count as “big bucks”?

    I mean of course in the world of baseball, not in the real world where I could live off one year of his contract for the rest of my natural life.

  6. good to see that Francoeur is openly talking about playing elsewhere. His punishment for speaking out again will be to be in the starting lineup tomorrow. Half of the problem is the writers Peanut and DOB go to him for quotes and crap. Everyone knows he sucks, just let him stay to himself about it

  7. so Woodward and Langerhans are both hitting over .300 for Seattle. Apparently their hitting coach must be better than the guy in Texas

  8. Just catching up on the Braves from Brisbane–as I have been on the road….What a team! I guess I hope that we can trade Derek Lowe, but I know better. But the new rant has to be: Derek Lowe has got to go!

    Otherwise, its nice to see Heyward get off to a good start at AA….

  9. Well, it’s 2 GB to 5 GB in a blink.

    It’s tough knowing that our starters often have to pitch lights-out if we’re going to win. Meanwhile, the team we’re chasing rattles off 22 runs.

    Surprise us, fellas, or at least keep it interesting. I wanna have something to cheer about before September 5th.

  10. Here’s some easy moves the Braves should make:

    1. Move Bennett to the 60 day DL, place Burke on 40 man roster.
    2. Promote Burke, demote Subzero.
    3. Promote Barbaro, demote Blanco. Burke can back up in CF if necessary.
    4. Platoon Barbaro with Kotchman at 1b. Kotchman has been fine against right-handers but awful against lefties. Barbaro looks like he’d be a lefty masher, and we need all the offense we can get.

    Meanwhile, the Braves need to figure out what to do with Reyes, Norton, and Carlyle. Shouldn’t Reyes be healed by now? He could start at AAA and is depth in case we need another starter (God forbid), another LOOGY, or trade bait. He didn’t really pitch as badly as his ERA showed earlier this year. Also, Norton’s rehab stint should be over soon, and I don’t think we have room for him on the 25 man roster. We could use Carlyle as the long reliever and send Medlen to Gwinnett to get regular starting work.

  11. If Reyes had a legit hamstring injury it could take months to truly heal, and you don’t want him pitching injured because he was bad enough healthy.

  12. Sorry for the obscure reference — the Prado is a museum in Madrid. In ’06 I had an idea for a fan club called the Prado Museumgoers (we would shuffle slowly through various sections of Turner Field with blank looks on our faces, then hit the gift shop on the way out), but I think it was too soon.

  13. just browsed through our minor leagues again, we have very few fielding prospects outside the big three.
    the lack of development from Van Pope, Brandon Hicks and eric Campbell has gutted our IF depth, their is nobody ready to come in at 2B or 3B in A or above.

    Not good.

  14. 20

    You hit the nail on the head. That is why this team needs to be sellers at the deadline. It hurts, but it is true. There is NO replacement for chipper in the system. 2b is not that much of an issue, but still worrisome, however the guys at AAA and with the big club are young(ish).

    The braves are going to win on nights they string together hits, no matter who they play. They are going to lose on nights they don’t, no matter who they play. The hitters on this team are not good enough to be consistent on a night to night basis, thus they dry spells are longer than the hot spells. That is why we can look so good against the Phils and then lose 2 of 3 to the Nats.

    I think the best way to put it is like this. Have you ever played golf with a guy who hits it all over the place, then hits two good ones in a row and says “I just wish I was consistent”? Well, unbeknownst to him, he is consistent…………AT SUCKING!!!!!! The good shots are an aberation, much like the braves’ good streak last week. This team is only consistent at sucking, with a few aberations thrown in to sucker us back in.

  15. Would any jury of baseball fans convict someone of homicide if they lost it after reading this idiotic quote from He Who Shall not be Mentioned:

    “I’ve got all the confidence in the world. I know I can play. Sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to. Every ballplayer wants to play. Just have to be patient and wait my turn, whether it’s here or somewhere else. I don’t control that.”

    This is like the French army in 1940 saying,don’t worry, I know we can stop any attack. What does he have all the confidence in the world about? That he can put on his uniform without strangling himself? Because it damn sure shouldn’t be that he can play baseball. Most players in his situation would at least acknowledge that they are struggling, as KJ did. This guy acts as if he is on the bench for some inexplicable reason. Maybe this is some sort of Hegelian dialectic, where Frenchy is putting out a thesis to have it refuted or something.

    As for the team, it is what it is. Whether Bobby is a good manager or bad, it’s like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Chipper is in decline, McCann is pretty much helpless against lefties, Escobar and McLouth are solid but not much more. Then you have our slugging first baseman; for some reason, Kotchman annoys me more than anyone other than He Who Shall Not be Mentioned. What an utter mediocrity; this is what we got for Andrus, Harrison, et. al. No speed, no power–great way to put a team together.

    The only good thing is that Steve Phillips thinks the Braves have no chance, which means they will probably win the World Series. :)

  16. As far as the poll goes, it really is all of the above. His stubbornness and stupidity really came to light after he lost his athleticism. He lost his athleticism in an attempt to gain muscle to hit for more power. He wasn’t hitting for power because he lacks any sort of baseball skill or ability. And he lacks baseball skill because he’s stubborn and stupid. And he’s probably stubborn and stupid because nobody ever told him he’s not the most special little boy ever. When you put it all together, he just sucks.

  17. The most damning comparison of all has been made on another Braves blog:

    Omar Moreno, 1986: .234/.276/.351, OPS+ = 69
    Jeff Francoeur, 2009: .247/.280/.342, OPS+ = 66

  18. 20 – Who’s the big 3? I only consider Freeman and Heyward our top fielding prospects. Who’s the 3rd?

  19. I haven’t looked at stat pages for a while, so I was kind of surprised when I went over to the Hardball Times stat interface (my favorite for most things, though ESPN has some advantages) and found Vazquez #1 in their “xFIP” in all of baseball. “xFIP” is Fielding Independent Pitching (kind of like a league adjusted DIPS ERA) with the added adjustment of normalizing HR rates to fly ball rates.

    Essentially, one could argue that Vazquez has been the best pitcher in all of baseball this year. I knew he’s been good, but I guess I just didn’t realize how elite he’s been.

  20. You mean the injuries to Jeff Bennett, Buddy Carlyle, Greg Norton, Kelly Johnson and others may not be quite as bad as their time on the DL would indicate! I can’t imagine this -say it isn’t so!

  21. It is a bit disconcerting, the Braves’ use of the DL. I get it with Kelly Johnson. But even when we admit a player isn’t useful, why do we sneak around and try to find a way to still hold on to them. Buddy Carlyle? Jeff Bennett? Greg Norton? Other teams would just release these guys. Why are we DL’ing them?

  22. Norton has hit AAA fairly hard. It doesn’t seem like he needs any more “rehab”. I know MLB doesn’t police it much, but does anybody know of any hard rule?

    KJ needs to play everyday at a minor league level with a decent hitting coach to see if he can get his head turned around. I really still think he can be a plus 2b, but Pendleton and Cox (excuse me, certainly not the Golden One)have apparently FUBAR ed him.

    Bennett broke his non throwing hand. Presumably, within a couple of day of it being out of cast / splint / whatever, he should be able to play, right? I think the fit means he will be released if they can’t trade him. And if he is released, he will go back to bein a league average number 2 / 3 bullpen righthander, which is, after all, something with value. We shall see.

    Carlyle hasn’t been sent out on a rehab yet. I would think that he should have been ready to start by now. If his lack of strength over the diabetes was the main difference between 07-08 Carlyle and 09 Carlyle, then he could help us. And, the diabetes shouldn’t prevent him from being effective. it should cause him and the med and training staff to be REAL careful.

  23. 33—No way. I was diagnosed on the second day of school in third grade and was back in class, dominating multiplication tables, in less than a week. Buddy is clearly a puss.

  24. jjschiller,

    As to Bennett and Carlyle, I think they COULD end up being useful. Maybe not, but why not try?

    As to Norton, with what we owe him, we can’t trade him unless he gets it back together. If he gets it back together, we don’t want to trade him unless we are “sellers”. If we release him, it only saves the 200,000 of major league minimum for the rest of the year and then only if somebody signs him. My guess is FO doesn’t want a competitor to be able to sign Norton and maybe catch lightning in a bottle (like we did last year with this very player) for $200,000.

  25. Marc Schneider,

    McCann isn’t useless against lefties. 3 year splits have him around 800 OPS. However, some people earlier this year saying “McCann hits lefties well” were missing that his power is absent.

    So why not semi- platoon McCann? He needs to sit about every 4th game anyway. NL East sees lefties about 35% of the time. Ross has a career lefty killer status (particularly adjusted for catcher offense) with OPS around 860, 2006 – 2008. If back to back lefties, McCann starts the second game and ROSS PLAYS FIRST (unless we bring up Barbaro again). Schedule the starts of Ross by “opposing pitcher is lefthanded” rather than by “day game after a night game, 5th game in a row” and such stuff.

  26. Cliff- You’re right and I understand the arguments. I guess I’ve just seen enough of all three of those players that I’m tired of even reading their names.

    But I would argue there’s risk in any move, aswell as any non-move. Let’s give those AB’s and IP’s to younger, cheaper players; because at this point they’re likely more talented players too. Every AB Norton gets upon returning could go to Conrad or Canizares. Every IP by Bennett later this year could go to… oh, wait….

    But yes, I understand that that risk is much less when you’re taking those AB’s away in Gwinnett rather than Atlanta. I’m just scared that they’ll “prove” something on their rehabs, just to hurt the ballclub upon their recall.

  27. I know that an important part of minor leagues is players learning to play in the field at their best and / or most valuable (likeliest most positive place on defensive spectrum the player will be able to play), but it looks to me like they should identify a secondary position for every player and get them some work there.

    For example, working shortstops at either third (if they carry a big bat) or 2nd (if they have good range and lack arm) or center field (big arm, fair bat, some fielding inconsistency). Trying catchers at first or third.

    There is no reason that a Major League competent catcher shouldn’t be able to play first at least fairly competently (and I know Javy Lopez and Piazza failed in late career transitions, but remember, they were “late career”). Both Ross and McCann should have been getting some work at first. Then, we could make this semi platoon work even better.

  28. Speaking of DL time – does anyone know when Jorge Campillo is expected to start a rehab assignment?

  29. Cliff,

    Point well taken. But an 800 OPS isn’t that good for a cleanup hitter. Obviously, most lefties are going to be much less effective against lefties and I’m not taking anything away from McCann but my point is, he isn’t Mike Piazza (who is?) and the team lacks a truly dominant bat.

  30. 41,

    Around Spring Training 2010. He underwent season ending shoulder surgery about a month ago.


    I agree.

    Norton is 3 for his last 17 (all singles) with 1 BB and 5 K’s at AAA.

  31. td,

    Yesterday on the blog was a copy of something from Carroll that Campillo had had shoulder surgery (probably season ending). If he rehabs any, it will be LATE season.

  32. Throw out Ryan Spillborghs for discussion.

    The Rockies are very inclined to move him. They have 4 outfielders in front of him. He is in last year of pre-arb this year. His career OPS away from Coors field is high 7’s (780 or so). Add in Rockie Mountain High and he is 820 or so for career.

    He is right handed, with similar numbers overall to 2009 Diaz (the increased walk rate of Diaz, similar lefty / righty split).

    He has played center more often than left or right. I think he is only a passable centerfielder, but that is worth something. At 780 as a centerfielder, and with three arb years coming, he should be worth something.

    However, the Rockies need to move him and he shouldn’t take more than a credible reliever.

  33. @47, he’s killed us too. I remember Mac calling him “Babe Spilborghs” rather derisively, heh.

  34. I’d take Spilborghs on my team. But he isn’t much of an answer. He seems to me a Mini-McLouth. An outfield of Diaz, Spilborghs, McLouth sounds like three awfully similar players, and it still hasn’t got the power we need. But you could get away with it if you replace Kotchman with a slugger. But where are the prospects to make two moves?

    With Frenchy out, Kotchman is the first guy I’d like to replace. Then Anderson. Then Diaz. And by the time you figured all that out, Prado could very well have turned back in to a pumpkin.

  35. According to the Sports South Facebook page, we should just trade Francouer, KJ, and Reyes for Adrian Gonzales and we’ll be in much better shape. Sounds like an awesome idea.

  36. I’d give the Padres my left nut for Adrian Gonzalez. What they’d want with my left nut, I have no idea. But it’d probably be about as useful to them as Francoeur and Reyes would be.

    Maybe Kelly, Yunel, and Krotchman opens the conversation. But I doubt it. Probably don’t get anywhere unless we talk Heyward and Freeman.

  37. I’d send Freeman to the Padres for Gonzalez.

    Hell, I’ll pay for the plane ticket.

  38. Thats a great trade!!

    3 sack of crap for a stud, perfect and balanced.

    I like Kotchman but he is starting to wear on me now too, time for him to become Mark Grace lite or get out of town.

  39. Another gem from FB (since I’m a cynical bastard):

    I believe Joe Simpson needs to come out of the booth and be the hitting coach for the atlanta braves. Trade Escobar and Kawakami to Boston for Kevin Youkilis, put Kotchman in left and Youkilis at first, he can play third when Chipper needs a rest.

  40. But an 800 OPS isn’t that good for a cleanup hitter.

    I think you are underrating how good that is. It would have yielded an OPS+ of 121 last year.

  41. OT: Thoughts on the Hawks’ offseason? Adding Crawford and Teague, losing Murray (and Law and Claxton), retaining Bibby and (probably) Williams and Pachulia…I like all of those moves.

    What happens with Childress? Sign-and-trade? Do they try to add another big man? Do they try to add a big name if/when they do it?

  42. 55 — I tried to read some of it, but just had to stop after the claim that W-L is how you should judge a pitcher. I expected as much, but it’s still just a little much.

  43. Joe Morgan says he got the smartest group of chatters he’s had in awhile today. What qualifies him to make that assessment is my question.

  44. This just sounds stupid. He needs to talk a little more elegantly, maybe at least trick people into thinking he knows what he is talking about. From the Joe Morgan chat:

    The name of the game, people always want to forget, for pitchers is wins and losses. If you beat a team 1-0, as he did recently, or 5-4, it doesn’t matter. If you win, that goes on the team’s side of the victory column. I’m not so much for a guy that has a low ERA and a losing record. That tells me that the other pitcher pitched better than he did, because that team scored more runs.

  45. #59, the moves so far don’t really make the Hawks any better than they were last year, but it should be enough to win a playoff berth with a decent shot at advancing to the second round if they can earn a 6th seed or better. It all depends on what other moves are made and what moves the rest of the conference makes of course.

  46. @59

    Sign and trade–as he won’t re-sign with the Hawks–hopefully for a big man. But Milwaukee is his likely destination and I’m not excited by the words “Bruce Bowen.” I also think Marvin and Zaza have to be back. Sund has impressed me so far with his lack of incompetence, which among a group of NBA GMs counts as competence.

  47. Yeah, I saw where Sekou suggested Bowen; does he really offer much more (or different) than Mo Evans?

    Now that the Clips shed Randolph’s contract, I assume they aren’t as itchy to unload Kaman or Camby. What kind of big man are you thinking, Adam? I’m higher on Tyson Chandler than is rational, but I’m curious to hear other ideas.

    It would be nice if’s Trade Machine were up-to-date.

  48. @58,


    You are right; I didn’t realize that.

    JM’s hilarious. My head hurts after reading him and it’s even more amazing that people send in questions expecting real answers. The Reds had lots of pitchers when Joe played that had high ERAs but still won a lot of games. Did it have anything to do with having Joe Morgan, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, and George Foster on the team? Nah, I guess those pitchers just knew how to win.

  49. Read a good story on Adrian Gonzalez in a recent SI.

    He’s a great all-around player signed to a reasonable contract for a team that’s trying to market itself to both San Diego & Mexico. Gonazales fits the bill perfectly.

    He grew up a Padre fan and his entire youth saw him move back and forth from San Diego to Tijuana. (His dad has an air-conditioning business South of the Border.)

    So…basically, Adrian Gonzalez is everything to the Padres & San Diego community that the Braves only wish Jeff Francoeur was to Atlanta. A local boy makes good & becomes a legit star, as opposed to…well, you know.

  50. I just watched the Top 10 Met blunders of the year on ESPN. Murphy trying to catch that ball after falling is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. And that was only #6 or so.


  51. To quote CBS Sports Larry Dobrow, and his weekly CBS Sports Power Rankings which rank the Braves 19th…

    “We can talk all we want about the Braves’ starting-pitching depth and how Tommy Hanson looks so awesome that I plan to name my first daughter Thomasina Hanson Dobrow, but the bottom line is that they don’t score enough damn runs. Until they get at least one hitter of moderate impact, we can only mete out so many Power Rankings air-kisses. We’re not cheap, you know … They’re all-business on the trade front, with rumors circulating about dealing Yunel Escobar or Javier Vazquez for an individual whose primary skill is making contact with pitched balls … This isn’t to dump on the excellently crusty Bobby Cox, but it’s amazing that it took him this long to see what has been apparent to everyone else for 18 months now: that Jeff Francoeur sucks. Platoon issues or no, Matt Diaz is the better choice.”

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