Braves 4, Giants 2

San Francisco Giants vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – July 22, 2009 – ESPN

Remind me, who’s the Cy Young candidate around here? Jair Jurrjens totally outpitched Tim Lincecum, at one point retiring seventeen Giants in a row. Lincecum was knocked out after five innings in which he was lucky to only give up four runs.

The Braves struck early. Lincecum struck out the first two men he faced, then Chipper singled and, noticing that the Giants were ignoring him, stole second. McCann singled him in, and then ACHE singled, but they got Yunel to end the inning. That wouldn’t happen the next time. In the third, Lincecum pitched around ACHE to get to the righthanded Escobar, who made him pay with a massive homer to straightaway center, making it 4-0. The Braves really should have gotten another run in the fourth, when McLouth doubled with one out and Church at first, but it was too hard for the latter to score on, and Prado popped up. Chipper almost drove in two runs but his line drive was right at the right fielder.

Jurrjens didn’t need a whole lot of help. He gave up one hit, in the second inning, before the seventh. Headed to the eighth, he had a two-hit shutout going, but allowed a one-out double and walked a man (his only walk of the game) with two out. Bobby came in with Gonzalez, who allowed an infield single to score a run, but got a groundout to end the inning. Soriano got the first two he faced, then allowed a single, another ridiculous “catcher’s indifference” play, and another single to right (Church probably should have had it — cue the Francorps) to make it 4-2. But he got a strikeout to end it.

History’s Worst Hitting Streak continued with a two-out bases-empty single in the second. It was Kotchman’s only hit, of course… The one worrisome thing is the return of Hibernation Mode. The Braves didn’t really do anything after the fourth. The Giants have a pretty good bullpen, but four runs isn’t that big of a lead.

89 thoughts on “Braves 4, Giants 2”

  1. Posted in last thread:

    What exactly is wrong with Conrad? I don’t see anything in his peripherals that suggests he wouldn’t be a more than adequate utility player. Because he’s moved around alot? The kid looks like he can play – not saying he should be a starter or anything, but I wouldn’t go around saying he couldn’t get the job done when all he has done since he has been here is show that he can.

  2. From the last thread – there’s nothing wrong with Conrad. But if we could get Willingham for a price similar to what the Red Sox paid for LaRoche, why should Conrad stop that?

    Conrad is a nice player, but Willingham could start for us in left field next year. And like I said, Conrad would be back in September.

  3. @3 – Ahh, I see – I did not know that. I only saw him a couple times in the field, and he made a couple good plays, I thought.

  4. The good thing about Hibernation Mode is that its appearance necessarily means we put up something. The Mets would kill for Hibernation Mode right about now.

  5. I started posting and reading Braves Journal back in 2006 (coincidentally, when the streak of not making the playoffs began), and this is the best I think I’ve seen the team play in that 3 and a half year stretch.

    Go Braves.

  6. TCOB tonight. We’ve paid the Jints back for their 3-game sweep in SF. Tomorrow can be the icing.

    From last thread: Weldon, I didn’t realize how well Willingham was doing this year. I can’t help but think of him as the next Brad Wilkerson, ready to fall off the table. But obviously someone hitting like Willingham this season would be an asset.

    Still, I like our current (or soon to be) roster. But I see your point.

  7. if it is conrad or infante, who do you choose?

    are you proposing KJ for Willingham?

  8. During the world’s worst hit streak Kotchman is posting 333/422/436. I’m not sure we should really complain too much about an 858 OPS from Casey Kotchman.

  9. Conrad is brutal defensively.

    I think I’m fine with the team we have.

    KJ will replace Norton and Infante will replace Diory. I’d rather have Barbaro than Conrad, but the difference between the two isn’t enough to get pissed off. I’d like Willingham, but I wouldn’t pay too much, especially with Heyward knocking at the door.

  10. Can’t The World’s Worst Hitting Streak be a joke? In that context, the bleeder Kotch hit made me laugh.

  11. My post from the last thread got JC’d:

    I think it’s [why Conrad hasn’t been given more of a shot] his height. Scouts refuse to admit a 5′11″ person can succeed in MLB.

  12. cause and effect?

    from last thread about the KJ activation. Peanut pretty much parroting the company line. count it

  13. 17 – well a .261/.347/.461 career minor league line over 8 years spells ‘organizational filler’ no matter how tall you are.

    throw in the iron glove and well there you go

    edit – yeah we are reduced to ripping a guy for having a 17 game hitting streak.

  14. I think the World’s Worst Hitting Streak is a great joke. I laughed out loud when he hit the weak dribbler through the right side.

    I don’t know if I would trade KJ for Willingham, but I would consider it. Like I said, I’d much rather give the Nats a package closer to what the Red Sox gave up. Hell, I’d like to trade them Kevin Barry and Van Pope, but I don’t think they’d do it.

  15. @ 20: “yeah we are reduced to ripping a guy for having a 17 game hitting streak.”

    It’s a good problem to have. May it long continue.

  16. We finally made up a game.

    Geez. I was kind of afraid that when the Phillies lost, we’d lose on the same day, depriving me of that one day of hopefulness.

  17. Frenchy lighting it up 4 the Mets, Church doing nothing here.

    Shame on Wren for trading a 25 year old with limitless potential.

  18. Greyson? Is that you?

    FWIW, Church has gotten on base over 60% more often than Francoeur has since the trade.

  19. Since the break, the Braves are 5-1 and have outscored their opponents 43-13.

    That’s rather good.

    Also: In 30 Braves PA, Ryan Church is batting .250/.400/.375 with a homer, 4 RBI, 6 BB, and only 4 K.

    In 37 Mets PA, Francoeur is batting .324/.324/.459 with a homer, 7 RBI, 0 BB and 3 K. His OPS is 9 points higher than Church’s, but his OBP is 76 points lower.

    Meanwhile, in 324 Braves PA, Francoeur batted .250/.282/.352 with 5 homers, 35 RBI, 12 BB, and 46 K.

  20. Yeah, because the hallmark of a player with “limitless potential” is a .650 OPS over 1000 PA’s.

  21. I would venture that the reason the Francorpse (thanks, Mac!) is hitting with the Mets is that there isn’t any reason to worry about him. The Mets have so little punch that throwing him something to hit just isn’t going to hurt very much.

  22. Or maybe Francoeur’s brief “breakout” is the classic small sample size.

    If you don’t know what Francoeur is by now, you haven’t been paying enough attention.

  23. Or maybe Francoeur will continue to suck like he did for 3 seasons with the Braves? Or maybe Francoeur won’t continue to have lucky spurts of 37 PAs that include a home run. Or maybe you can move to New York…

  24. ah, I sorta feel for Frenchy. I wish him well. Despite the money, it can’t have been very much fun for him this season in Atlanta. Now that he’s gone, I have no interest in continuing to criticize.

  25. If Francoeur goes onto have a nice career, good for him. But the guy was killing us. Better situation for both parties at this point.

  26. I don’t feel for him, but I think he might be a good ballplayer if handled correctly. Once his numbers go down again, and they will go down again, he needs to be sent to AAA and learn some patience and pitch recognition. Those skills improve with age, anyway. With luck, he’ll hit a sweet spot where he’s a legitimate major league player. He’s just not there yet, and the trend indicates that he wasn’t getting there with the Braves.

  27. In 37 Mets PA, Francoeur is batting .324/.324/.459 with a homer, 7 RBI, 0 BB and 3 K.

    Identical batting average and on base percentage. That can only be our Jeffy.

    I don’t feel for him, but I think he might be a good ballplayer if handled correctly. Once his numbers go down again, and they will go down again, he needs to be sent to AAA and learn some patience and pitch recognition.

    He’ll never get there. His extreme lack of patience cripples him. Even a decent improvement would leave him below average.

    17 – well a .261/.347/.461 career minor league line over 8 years spells ‘organizational filler’ no matter how tall you are.

    Um, that line for a middle infielder is pretty damn good. Hell, that line would have been our best outfielder for like three years until McClouth rolled into town.

  28. Our Bravos are 13-6 in the month of July.

    Are they for real or is there still reason to be pessimistic?

    Well, here are the peripherals. The offense has hit 20 HR’s with 105 RBI while batting .297 as a team this month. They are also scoring 5.6 runs per game.

    The pitching has been unbelievable. Thirteen quality starts so far in July and seven in a row during the last seven games played. They have posted a team ERA of 3.13 in July.

    But what really rocks the boat is the uptick in defensive play. Our Braves have committed just four errors in July. Yes, just four in nineteen games.

    Pitching, defense, offense, power but sadly, no running game. I’ll take four out five any day :)

  29. Ububba’s a wise one… and I’ll follow him on Frenchy. He was an absolute drag on the team, but now that he’s gone I just don’t mind at all if he goes on to fix his problems. The most important point is that he wasn’t going to improve for the Braves.

  30. Why are we even bothered discussing Frenchy? Let’s just enjoy the ride while it lasts!

  31. from peanut:
    “Because he has options, there’s a chance the Braves could send Johnson back to Triple-A Gwinnett. There’s also a slight possibility that they could continue to attempt to trade him.”

    i had no idea kj still had options.

  32. @50 Yeah, this has been mentioned in the past couple days, but I thought KJ would still be an upgrade over Norton. Keeping KJ in the minor will help his trade value though…

  33. When was the last homer allowed by the pitching staff? I think they have a pretty good homerless streak going.

  34. You know, we are all so excited by the arrival of Hanson, but I just realize JJ and Hanson are both only 23. JJ is awesome. The Tigers just love sending us something great once every 20 years!!!

  35. 54 — 2 years ago, we finished with a winning record, but that was the only one since 05

  36. @46 New KC Royal Yuniesky Betancourt had a lower OBP than batting average for pretty much the first month of the season.

  37. #46 – context. those are his MINOR league averages. Also they are that ‘good’ only because of a couple of outlier seasons he had at A level. He also had some very awful years that undoubtedly stunted his progress. Don’t get me wrong I like that Conrad plays like he wants to stay but he has PUMPKIN written all over him.

    Trading KJ and keeping Norton = dumb as hell.

  38. trading kelly for something useful and replacing Infante for Norton not that bad. However replacing Norton and Diory with Infante and KJ makes us even better.

    Over/under on FANcoeur’s age is 13 and 100% female. IM guessing under

  39. I don’t care who FANcoeur is. I wish Frenchy good luck with the Mets. The Mets will suck for years to come.

  40. The only explanation for Frenchy’s recent success is a Tony Bernazard motivational speech.

  41. Jair (9 Ks!) and Esco bested Lincecum, we make up yet another game on SF in the WC (now only 3 back), and we make up a game against the Phils (5.5 back), and all you guys talk about is a bad player who is no longer a Brave and pick on our 7-hole hitter for his 14 game hitting streak. You guys are as bad as Mets fans.

  42. @38,

    I’m sure all it took was getting away from TP because TP was telling Jeffy to swing at pitches in the dirt and over his head. TP was telling Jeffy to swing at the first pitch more than anyone in baseball. And, of course, TP was showing Jeffy how to turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples. And, apparently, TP went to Washington yesterday just to show Jeffy how to drop fly balls. And I like the style with which Jeffy ducks away from fly balls–oh, you say, he is supposed to catch them?

    Jeffy has limitless potential to get a year older every year.

    BTW, I thought DOB’s game story was weird. He notes that Gonzo gave up a run on a single without noting that it was a weak infield hit. Then, he talks about how the Giants scored in the ninth on a “fly ball” that Church missed. That was a line drive and while perhaps Church should have caught it, it was ripped.

  43. KJ is going to be activated and Norton is going to be released before Saturday. Mark it down. You heard it here first.

  44. I cannot believe there’s a Francouer defender left. Sheesh.

    Speaking of SHEESH, my daily “I hate ESPN” rant is now aimed at the head of that annoying, annoying TWIT, Mike Greenberg and ESPN’s so-called expert, Keith Law.

    Law was on again this morning and this time, they didn’t mention the Mets, they just focused the ENTIRE NL East conversation on the Phils. The hottest NL team since the All Star break besides philly is the BRAVES.

    Yet, both Law and Greeny, without hesitation this morning, said the Phillies have the NL East “wrapped up”. Really, I am must be STOOPID. I didn’t realize you could WRAP UP a division up just 5 1/2 games and it’s not even August yet.

    Now I am not saying we will win the division. I am saying it’s INSANE AND LUDICROUS AND INSULTINGLY STUPID to say the Phillies have wrapped up the NL East with so much time left, the Braves finally playing well, and unless Halladay becomes a Phillie, the Braves with far superior starting pitching.

    My anger is rising.

  45. #70 – actually we’ve heard that several times now by several different sources. Francouer sucks and there’s a pretty good chance he always will, but Im not pulling against the guy. Im surprised we were able to get Church for him and I really think the Church/Diaz platoon is the best thing for our team. Church actually plays a decent CF just in case McLouth needs a day we dont have to throw Blanco or anyone out there. Infante will be a nice addition when he’s ready also. This team looks as if it should win the WC

    edit: Alex R, again, we should all be happy that no one thinks highly of the Braves. We’ve got plenty of time and plenty of games against the Phils to make them change their mind. Lets win today and wrap up the sweep of the team that everyone says has the best pitching in baseball. That mindset will change soon also. Its really amazing how much better this team is without KJ, Schafer, and Frenchy. IMO, Wren has done a tremendous job. Prado and Esco are carrying this team right now

  46. There’s still over two months to go. We don’t need to worry about the Wild Card. If we play good baseball like this, then I don’t see why we can’t win the division. The WC should be a last resort, not the goal.

  47. Norton’s bat speed looks worse than Francoeur’s now. Go ahead and release him or trade him for peanuts if you can find some other team that wants the proverbial “veteran pinch hitter.” Replace him with Kelly but look to trade Kelly for a quality reliever who is signed through next year at least. It isn’t worth trading Kelly for another hitter unless it’s somebody like Branyan or Dunn (fat chance) who is really mashing it. Braves baseball is finally fun again. :)

  48. Yeah, Norton looks old all of a sudden.
    He batted .316 last year as a pinch hitter, that is pretty impressive, too bad he could not maintain it this season.

  49. #72 and #73

    Exactly on all accounts.

    First, as Trace says, there’s over 2 months left. On one hand, being under the radar is a good, low pressure thing. But I can’t help my emotions here about being disrespected.

    Does anyone on Bravesjournal DISAGREE WITH THE NOTION that if the METS were 5.5 games behind Philly with over 2 months left, Keith Law and Greeny the moron would be calling it a “horse race” for the East? That’s the difference, right there. The Braves are 5.5 out and are clearly a far better team than NY, but not even a mention. DOUBLE STANDARD.

    re: Wren

    My opinion is actually slowly coming around on Frank.

    While the offseason was a mix of bad P.R. mistake after bad P.R. mistake, which invariably led us to “overpay” for Lowe and Kawakami, overall, Wren is now on the + side of his job.

    He deserves tremendous credit for some trades he’s made like Church/Francouer, Jurrgjens/Rentaria, the Vazquez deal(and you can’t pick on him too much for the first Teixiera deal because we all clamored for it and he was trying to win) and in general, completely rebuilding our pitching staff. Our staff sucked last year and now we have too many starters…good problem to have.

    He also deserves some credit for trades he’s not made or making. Current examples? Yunel and Javy Vazquez. There’s some clamoring about Yunel because he occassionally is too cocky and frosts his tips like a douche. So what…dude’s raking right now and won us another game with his bat last night.

    And Vazquez? I know Hudson is coming back but sheesh, Vazquez is easily one of our two best and most reliable starters right now (along with Jurrgjens) and I am sorry, if there are two guys I wouldn’t touch – it’s them.

    Plus, while it would be great to have a Todd Helton/Adam Dunn type power bat in the middle of the order, the fact remains that with KJ, Schafer and especially Francouer out of the lineup, all the “automatic outs” have been removed. The less reliable hitters like Kotchman and Ganderson have at least been reasonably consistent and aren’t hurting the team.

    As I said the other day…leave the starting pitching alone this season. It’s the one huge edge we have.

  50. csg – Don’t forget Jair, Vazquez, Lowe, Kenshin, Hansen, Gonzo, Sori, McCann, Chipper, and 4-5 others in the list of players carrying the team.


    [Diaz said,]”That whole situation couldn’t have been handled better by Kelly. He handled it so gracefully, and it gave all of us who are his best friends permission to root for Prado.”

    When the Braves removed Johnson from his regular role and then asked him to regain his swing during this Minor League rehab assignment, they were impressed with the dignity he displayed. He never publicly criticized the organization or the decision, which was based on the fact that he’d hit .191 with a .257 on-base percentage in his previous 39 games.

    “Kelly has handled all of this like a true professional,” Wren said.

    I think someone was ducking these comments.

  52. AR got me thinking (not easy after only one cup of coffee) but I’m coming around to the thinking that Wren should be looking to add the big bat. I don’t know anything about whether the Braves brass will add a few mil to the payroll this year, but if we could get a bopper in a salary dump, then this lineup could be downright unstoppable. Right now you get the sense that 1-2 guys getting cold will really slow this offense down, mainly because (McCann and Esco aside, and only recently) there’s no real HR power.

  53. #80

    Jeff K, it’s ironic that I got you thinking that since I essentially said the exact opposite which is I don’t want to “add” a big bat if it means trading Vazquez.

    I suppose we have to if the opportunity is there, but I hate the idea of weakening the one strong area of this team.

    In fact, I would strengthen it…Kawakami should be in the bullpen if Huddy is throwing 90s.

  54. which invariably led us to “overpay” for Lowe and Kawakami…

    am I one of the few who thinks the Kawakami deal is actually a decent one? I dont think we overpaid on him

  55. What ESPN says or does not say about the Braves zero effect on them. It’s background noise anyway. So EXPN likes the Mets and Phillies better than the Braves. So Keith Law thinks the Braves suck. Who gives a shit?

    Wren’s reputation among Braves fans seems directly related to how they are playing at a particular moment. A couple of weeks ago, people were outraged that he had done nothing to fix the offense in the offseason.

    As for Escobar, I don’t think there was ever any chance they were going to trade him. These were just rumors put out in the media. Same with Vazquez.

    And, frankly, I’m not sure how much credit he should get for trading Francouer. He was lucky to find a pigeon–Omar Minaya–that would give back a useful player. People were complaining about the Braves running out Francouer every day, but in retrospect, you can argue that they never would have gotten Church in return if they had buried Frenchy on the bench.

    The real point is that a GM cannot react to rantings by fans. He has to keep a long-term view and have a plan for what he wants to do. He also has to consider budget and other business issues.

  56. Right, I didn’t mean to imply that I was agreeing with you. I did earlier, as recently as a couple of days ago, but after the run we’ve put on over the last couple of days I’m thinking that (absent a key pitching injury) this team could make a real run of it if they add a bat. I would not trade any of our current starting pitching to get one, but would love to spend Liberty Media money for it.

  57. Ahhh, life is back to normal on Bravesjournal when Marc is disagreeing with & slamming every point I make. :-)

    Marc…please tell me exactly when I said this bothers the BRAVES about what the morons at ESPN think? I said it bothers me. I put it on ME. Thanks for playing.

  58. I think we’re better off trying to make the playoffs with the lineup we’ve got, and then outpitch our opponents in the playoffs. We’ve got an excellent pitching staff right now, one that matches up with any other team. Adding a bat may help us get to the playoffs, but I think we can already get there on our current roster. I think once we make the playoffs, we’re better off with a rotation that has Vazquez in it. He’s our game 1 starter for any playoff series in my opinion. Don’t trade him. The goal is a World Series, not an NLDS showing.

    Our lineup is hot right now, but this isn’t their baseline level of production. They’ll cool off, but the quality pitching should likely continue. Hot streak or no, the team as it currently is comprised is MUCH better than it was in the first half of the season.

    -Schaffer + McClouth
    -Francoeur + Church
    – Horrible ACHE + Better ACHE
    – Blind McCann + sighted McCann
    -Slumping KJ + Streaking Prado

    I expect Prado to come back down to Earth, but I also expect KJ to pick himself up off the mat. The two combined, plus the impending return of Infante, gives us a nice middle infield set up.

    If Hudson comes back with anything at all, we’ve got a vastly better team than we started the season with. We don’t need a big shake up, we need to see what this team can do.

  59. Dix and AR, I’m a bit on the fence as I said before. But I just don’t see this team catching the Phils (esp. if they add impact players). We have a chance to make the WC, just a chance, but have several teams bunched around — any of which could go on a 10 game tear and win the WC. I completely agree that we should not trade SP for a bat mid-season, but would love to see Wren pick up the bat in a salary dump. That may not be realistic, of course, since I have no way of knowing if Libery Media will give Wren the money to do it.

    That said, I’d not be susrpised at all if Wren did nothing. The streak gives him comfort/cover in sitting tight.

  60. #83

    People were complaining about the Braves running out Francoeur every day, but in retrospect, you can argue that they never would have gotten Church in return if they had buried Frenchy on the bench.

    I made that point several times in this forum, that JF on the bench was stigmatized and was a better trade chip playing (depsite sucking and hurting the team). I didn’t get any takers to support that position in this forum. Where was your support then? ;)

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