Braves 9, Brewers 4

Atlanta Braves vs. Milwaukee Brewers – Box Score – July 24, 2009 – ESPN

Ah, the vagaries of run support. Sometimes you’re great, and you give up one run, and you lose. Sometimes you’re not so great, and you give up four, and you win. If “you” are Javier Vazquez, and the Braves’ good hitting after the exorcism of right field continues.

The Braves jumped out early again, with a weird play where Kotchman hit into a first-and-third DP but Diaz (at first) avoided getting tagged and couldn’t be forced at second in time, getting into a rundown more than long enough for Yunel to score from third. (It’s hard to describe, but it happened to the Braves earlier this year, I believe.) Then in the third, Martin Prado struck again, hitting a long three-run homer to seemingly bust it open at 4-0.

But in the bottom of the inning, Vazquez had some control difficulties and a rather silly double caused by the fakey projections in foul territory in this park, which I could easily grow to hate almost as much as Coors Field. Anyway, it was 4-2. The Braves had a real shot to break it open in the fourth, when they loaded the bases on a walk to Kotchman, a “double” off the knee of the second baseman by McLouth, and a walk to Prado, but Chipper struck out and McCann’s fly ball died at the warning track. (Brian wound up 0-6 with three warning track fly balls. I didn’t really think he hit them that hard; maybe the ball was just carrying well.) And then the Brewers got a two-run homer from Braun in the bottom of the fifth to tie it.

But these are the new-look, post-exorcism Braves, and they got right back off the mat, with Chipper hitting a two-out solo homer in the sixth to take the lead. And then McLouth, who had been hitting in such poor luck (other than his “double” in the fourth) took luck out of the equation with a two-run homer in the eighth, after which ACHE drove in Chipper. In the ninth, it was Prado again with a flare single.

Vazquez did strike out nine, but four of the seven hits he allowed were for extra bases. Bobby used Moylan to pitch the eighth; given that with a five-run lead (and not even the excuse that it was close in the half-inning before) he used Soriano (who struck out one to end it) to pitch the ninth, I have to assume Gonzalez was unavailable. I just hope that Soriano isn’t unavailable sometime because he keeps working blowouts… The Braves had seventeen hits and six walks. Really, they should have scored more. Everybody but McCann had a hit (even Vazquez, who doubled to get the three-run third started) led by Chipper with three.

85 thoughts on “Braves 9, Brewers 4”

  1. Did O’Flaherty (sp?) enter the dog house? We haven’t seen him much lately and it seems like a night like this would fit him well. It’s not such a blow out that Acosta or Medlin can be used, but not so tight that it really requires the use of either Gonzalez or Soriano (unless either is “starved” for work).

  2. Posted in the last thread:

    Yunel and Prado since June 1:

    Yunel: .322 BA / .375 OBP / .500 SLG / .875 OPS; 6 HR, 23 R, 31 RBI

    Prado: .364 BA / .422 OBP / .526 SLG / .948 OPS; 4 HR, 27 R, 18 RBI

    Also, a statistical analysis of The Prado by FanGraphs, written before tonight’s 4 RBI peformance. A good read: Prado Producing in Atlanta

  3. “exorcism of right field” put that in the glossary if we make the post season. 2.5 out of the WC

  4. EOF pitched Tuesday and yesterday.

    Great win for the Braves and Nate keeps hitting balls hard.

  5. 77 2/3 innings by Braves pitchers without allowing a home run.
    nice state before BB knocked one out

  6. The Prado phenomenon just goes to show you that a team can make rational decisions to prepare for success all day long, but sometimes it takes a player producing beyond what anyone could reasonably expect in order to be successful. The ’91 Braves had that in spades — TP, Otis, and Lonnie Smith (who was a Braves vet by then, but who we picked off the scrap heap a couple of years before). Speaking just of position players, it’s hard to find an antecedent to Prado’s combination of production and utter lack of history to suggest it was possible.

    TP and Lonnie were picked up on the “downside” of their careers, but they’d been good players. Otis did what he’d always done, just a little better and with a lot more playing time. Marrero and Chuckie T were flashes in the pan — it never got to the point where you thought, “holy crap, he’s going to keep doing this, isn’t he?”

    I’d say the biggest divergence in expectations versus performance in recent Braves history would have to be Julio Franco.

  7. “I just hope that Soriano isn’t unavailable sometime because he keeps working blowouts”

    Well, you know Bobby, everyone’s always available. I’m pretty sure this is the checklist Bobby goes through when he determines if a player is available:
    1) Is he on the active roster? (If yes move to 2)
    2) Are all of his limbs attached to his body? (if yes, he’s available)

  8. Sure with the Angels could land Halladay instead of Philly, but doesn’t look like that’s gonna happen.

    Mike Hampton hit a 2-run HR off Johan Santana tonight. Yes, he made it around the bases safely.

  9. The way I see it, the Phillies are giving up a lot for one+ year of Halladay. Go ahead and do it. I don’t see the Phillies resigning Halladay next year.

  10. They are giving up a lot, but why would they wait?

    With their core, this is Philly’s window for another title or 2. I’d do it, too, if I were them.

    If they can get to the post-season with Halladay & Hamels pitching well, that’s a really scary team in a short series. And it’s not like they’re a walk in the park right now.

    FWIW, Marlins win in LA tonight.

  11. I hadn’t much hope of catching the Phillies anyway, and had focused on the wildcard. At any rate, what this really does is set up the next several years for the Braves to dominate the East again. The Mets’ core is decaying and their farm system, as noted, is bare, and now the Phillies are likely to decimate theirs in exchange for two months of Halladay. Whose worst month, historically, has been September…

    ADDED: Think of this as offsetting the effects of the Teixeira trade. Halladay will help the Phillies more than Teixeira did the Braves, but it will have the same long-term effect.

  12. This was a really good win for the Braves, and I am really enjoying watching this team.

    On another note, I just realized that all the women in my house are asleep and I can watch whatever I want for the next hour or so on TV. What a great evening!

  13. I don’t really get what all of this “getting closer to a deal”, “making progress”, etc. stuff actually means. It’s pretty straight forward for block busters of this magnitude:

    The Jays say, “We want Drabeck, Happ and a couple of other guys.”

    And the Phils either say, “Yeah, something like that could work,” (in which case you get the deal done in the next hour or so) or, “Hellllllls no!”, in which case both squads move on. I mean, it’s not like there’s a bunch of different ways to structure a trade like this. Halladay is who the Phils want and they’ve only got a few legitimate pieces to trade. The Jays either want these or they don’t, and the Phils are either willing to move them or their not. It’s not like there’s a ton of negotiating to do.

  14. @19 ~ Halladay is signed through 2010

    The Teixeira trade is a good point of comparison. Both players have/had 1.5 years remaining on their contracts, and the price will be huge.

    However, in the Teixeira trade, the only real killer part has Feliz. Andrus has no spot, Saltalamacchia has been underwhelming, as has Harrison. At the time however, no one really knew how good Feliz was. He was putting up killer numbers in Danville, but there have been tons of guys who did that. I mean, shit, Edgar Osuna was there at the same time as Feliz and his K/9, BB/9, and WHIP were all better, and he pitched more innings at the same age.

    If I were the Phils, I’d pull the trigger on the deal in a second. (The proposed I heard was Halladay for Happ, Drabek, and one of Dominic Brown/Michael Taylor) Ububba’s right, their window is only open for a few more years. Victorino, Blanton, and Werth will be FA’s after next year, and Howard the year after that. Moyer is on his last legs. I also think that no one has a real clue how Rollins career will progress over the next five years….etc, etc

    They’ve already got most of their chips in the pot; they may as well go all in.

  15. i understand he is a GREAT pitcher and everything, but the phils as a team is one we can & have handled this year. Hamels isnt himself & Halladay is one pitcher, we may not evern see him in a series & well the Jays havent exactly dominated the AL east, though i understand AL east & NL east= 2 completely differnt worlds i,m just saying the phils pitching isnt a scary thing

  16. Taking his track record into this year, outside MAYBE Lincecum, Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball. Any flaws of the Toronto Blue Jays do not include him. Unless he gets hurt (not knocking on wood) he has and will continue to dominate.

    The only real ray of light I would see from this deal is that the Phillies would probably be sending JA Happ in the proposed trade and Happ is right now probably their #3 starter. While the net gain is still great, the difference between Happ and Halladay isn’t nearly what it would be between Halladay and a Rodrigo Lopez.

    With that offense though, Halladay and a healthy Hamels would be a brutal opponent in a postseason series.

  17. Prado is just the flavor-of-the-month until he inevitably stops hitting like .395 in the starter’s role, than everyone will dislike him.

    Francoeur and his big RBI seasons prove track record means nothing, it is all and only about RIGHT NOW, right this second.

  18. The problem with Halladay is that his acquisition would severely diminish our chances at the division. You might think we’re already out of the division, but their rotation is very underwhelming: they’re throwing a 46-year old, an over-achieving rookie, a under-achieving all star, and Country Joe Blanton out there. I’m not sure Halladay would ever lose with that offense behind him.

  19. #24, if he goes there and it’s between us and the Phillies, we will see him.

    They’d rejig their rotation to make sure he faced us.

  20. Fancoeur,
    but him hitting well IS the reason everyone likes him, and aside from him a few players that we become attached to, the reason we like players is because they produce. So yeah if prado went frenchy like, I would hope people became vocal about his sour play.
    I think fairly certain no one here in the summer of 2005 wanted to turn on jeffy- but the reason we all really liked him then was because he was mashing the ball.
    You can’t be upset for people wanting and liking production out of their team, rooting for players hitting well and booing those who aren’t

  21. If the Phillies get Halladay and, as a result, win the division then at least we will not be the team facing them in the short 5 game series. As the wild card winners in the same division as the Phillies we will face them in the 7 game NLCS. That’s a little better than the short series and we would have a better chance. Hamels and Halladay couldn’t pitch all 7 games could they?

  22. 26
    Your comment should have been marked as spam as soon as “RBI” was included in your “I love Jeffy” defense.

  23. IF Phils get Halladay and IF the deal was just for this year, that FAVORS the Braves becausethehelp we will get nextyearin waht the Philswouldgive up is worth more than the extra chance of getting by the Phils this year.

    Next year is when a Halladay acquisition by the Phils could hurt the Braves.

  24. @26,

    I would say another reason people like Prado is his hustle and work ethic. He comes off as very humble, takes responsibility for his mistakes (those pesky “Prados” that pop up every so often), and puts the team first.

    F4anc000r’s sending-me-to-the-minors-even-though-I’m-awful-has-put-a-strain-on-my-relationship-with-the-Braves speech tells me that he’s either delusional about his abilities, convinced he has the right to play everyday no matter what (because….?), and that he’d rather the team lose than sit out. If you look at REAL statistics (and not misleading statistics from two years ago), it’s hard to get too upset about him leaving.

  25. “So yeah if prado went frenchy like, I would hope people became vocal about his sour play.”

    And believe you me, Prado would not get a year and a half to “come around” if he got infected with the Frenchy Virus (knock on everything).

  26. Can we just stop discussing frenchy? If someone has not realized how terrible Frenchy has been, no one is only to change his or her opinion now. The guy is no longer with the team. If he or she is a Braves fan, there is no point to discuss the player anymore. If he or she is a frenchy fan, go to the Mets blog and enjoy.

  27. Prado’s career OPS, in 556 at bats, is .834. It seems less and less likely that this is going to stop.

  28. @36,

    Fair enough. I’m still baffled at how dense some fans are.

    Any interest in Troy Glaus? I don’t know his career that well…

  29. Was at the game last night–and after seeing more than a few games at Miller Park over the years, I have to agree with Mac: it’s a ridiculous stadium, and not just because of the Cubs-lite fanbase. Bandboxes just don’t sit right with me, and when you couple that with the funky foul territory, you–if you are the Braves–end up with corner outfielders running all over the place for balls they can’t field. Expect more runs this weekend.

    In any event, caught two games this week and both were wins. I sure picked the right time to get to the ballpark.

  30. @38 Glaus has not played a game this season. I don’t think adding him at this time would be smart…of course, if he can be taken at a very low cost, there is no harm in getting him. He is a good righthanded power bat.

  31. Rob, he reacted the same way when JC revealed his true identity. “I’m gonna go away and never come back! I swear! You’ll never see me again!”

    Everything in that is believable except the remote thing. That can’t possibly be real.

  32. That’s awesome Rob, though I’m still trying to figure out why he tried to shove the remote up his ass

  33. 42,
    I mean, the Braves scouts can probably answer that question better than we can. (The question being whether or not he’s recovered to the point he’d be worth acquiring)

  34. @ 29 i dont doubt we would see him, i know we would but he is one man & we have done well with the phils this season, it reminds me of when santana came to the Melts & everyone was saying how he will dominate the NL & he just got his first win aginst the Braves this season. Chipper & the boys know how to handle this kind of thing granted life would be easier if he stays his ass in Canada

  35. It’s rare that a player hits major league pitching better than minor league pitching. I’d love to have someone who knows a lot about hitting analyze why that is the case with Prado. It’s a crazy outlier.

    If we’re going to critique TP on the the free-swinging ways of the rest of the team, we should give him credit for Prado. It’s really looking like something clicked with this guy in the Majors, and the most likely catalyst for that is the hitting coach.

  36. “Koreans fight like this…”

    The weirdest thing in that clip was the pitch that hit him. Looked like the pitcher was throwing under-handed.

  37. Wow, that was disturbing.

    Not the video, of course — the comments accompanying it. After sifting through them it seems that was a charity game being played by celebrities and comedians. And I also learned a few new words in the process, so there’s that.

  38. TP should be given a free pass until we see what this team does minus Jeffy – because, so far, this team is a hitting machine without him in the lineup. But nobody wants to give him credit for that, right?

  39. Anyone check out that BP “Playoff Odds Report” today? The Mets have a negative chance of winning the Wild Card.

    How does this happen under their methodology as described? Does it have to do with the way they handle ties? Like if the Mets are tied for both the Wild Card and the Division Lead? I can’t see, off the top of my head, how a team would be the wild card a negative number of times.

    Also, it can’t be a typo, because if it wasn’t negative, the NL Wild Card odds wouldn’t add up to 100.

  40. I really wish this team would get Nick Johnson. I’m tired of seeing KrotchRocket hit balls into the ground.

  41. Joshua,
    The lineup removed dead weight (kj, schaefer, frenchy), put a good hitter from another organization at the top of the lineup (mclouth) moved a guy who hits well with guys on base to a place where guys are on base more often (escobar), and had two guys return to their career avgs after healing from injuries (kotchman and ache).

    Now aside from prado, what credit should TP get for that?

  42. I can’t stand Nick Johnson. I mean, I know he’s a better offensive player than Kotchman, but I watch him lug his butt down to first base after once again succeeding in not swinging and wonder if I’m still watching a sport….

    Remy, I didn’t mean to sound offended by the link. Although I do despair a bit for the human race at times like that (along with the times I venture too deeply into AJC discussion boards…shudder…..)

  43. Phillies are getting pissy over the Blue Jays’ asking price. This is a once-in-a-career kind of trade for J.P. Ricciardi–he better get all he can get from the team who wants Halladay.

  44. @58 – Just saying you can’t blame him for all our struggles, then not give him credit when all our crappy players leave.

  45. #60

    sansho1,

    I didn’t think you did, but thanks for clarifying. I know that feeling of despair all too well.

  46. @62,
    the goal of a hitting coach should be to point out mistakes in a swing or approach at the plate. The transformation of our offense has had little to do with that, and more to do with reorganizing and replacing.

  47. Clarke, that doesn’t explain Prado’s emergence from his terrible May slump or Diaz’ sudden turn towards patience at the plate or Infante’s career years either. All three of those guys have improved greatly. We’ve switched out a lot of the problems, but it’s not like he’s got Murderer’s Row to work with, either.

    Just because Chipper and McCann have fathers who could be hitting coaches doesn’t mean TP is a bad one.

  48. I have no idea if TP is a good hitting coach or not. Some guys get better, others stay the same, still others get worse. Some get worse, then better. Others get better, then worse. Etc etc. Seems to have more to do with the vagaries of hitting a round ball with a rounded stick than anything.

    I believe a forward-looking team would encourage players to hire their own hitting coaches, and employ a hitting coach coordinator who would assemble the collected advice of the other experts, and sit in the dugout during the games. Because 25 guys = 25 swings = 25 sets of problems.

  49. @65,
    The question was should he get credit for the turn around of the offense this past few weeks- aside from prado, I’m not sure he’s done anything. Infante hasn’t played and I don’t know if Diaz has had more patience, but he has been playing to his career norms it seems.

  50. TP lost me when we had two guys in the lineup (Andruw and Jeff) who were easy to pitch to and made no adjustments. Major league pitchers can and do find your weakness and live there. A hitting coach’s job is to help you adjust to reality.

  51. @69 – Yes, I’m sure TP told Druw and Frenchy you’re approach looks great guys, don’t change a thing. I just don’t see how you can blame a hitting coach for having a hitter who is UNWILLING to recognize that he has obvious flaws. Andruw said more than once I am a pull hitter and that’s just the way it is. And Frenchy, for some unknown reason, just thinks that he is good. Not too much a hitting coach can do with that, though I’m sure he tried.

  52. hank, both of those guys are idiots. It wasn’t as if TP was sitting on his hands. Andruw just wouldn’t listen to him (if you think that’s a function of TP’s incompetence and not Andruw’s arrogance, I don’t know what to tell you) and Frenchy was a totally broken player.

    Clarke – Alright. But he should get credit for his successes if everyone is going to ride him for his failures. Diaz has set a new career high for walks this year, by the way. He is walking more, even if he still swings at awful pitches from time to time.

    I don’t know if TP is a good hitting coach, but I do know that he’s had good hitting teams and he’s had teams with Jeff Francoeur on them.

  53. What a hitting coach does is not quantifiable. The job TP has done is no different. I will say that if you’re going to blame him for every hitter that stinks, then you better give him credit for the successes — i.e., Prado and Escobar. Not to mention Kotchman, who has more than doubled his walk rate from last year.

  54. Hey, you can’t say that! Walks mean everything according to Dexter @ BaseballProspectus.

  55. As I’ve said before, (a) TP does his best work with hitters who are similar to him — line-drive hitters, especially infielders, with good contact rates and mid-range power, and (b) it’s absurd to think that one hitting coach can even come close to helping every type of hitter on a major-league roster.

  56. He’s new. And no, not from Oregon. Just the tip of the Francorps, I’m afraid.

    Jeffy’s little hot streak with the Stem is pretty much like his little hot streak in April this year — .317/.333/.439. A little bit of power and a few singles falling.

  57. most of it is infield singles, or bloops, mixed in with bad defense and you have yourself Jeff Francouer. I hope he keeps this little hitting streak and convinces the Mets to keep him around longer

  58. cgs, exactly.

    Watch his at-bats in the last game. He went 1-4. The hit was a bloop single that a good CF should have caught. There happened to be a man on second, so he got an RBI. For the outs, he struck out once and hit two taylormade DP grounders to short. Nobody happened to be on first, so they were just outs.

    That’s our Jeffy, he hasn’t changed one bit.

  59. I didn’t realize this, but by just about any metric, we have the best starting rotation in the National League.

  60. RE Prado hitting better in The Show than on the farm:

    Didn’t David Justice also hit better once he got called up? I’m too much of a n00b to find his minor league stats/too lazy to try and Google them. So it’s definitely a guess for me that he did that.

  61. You guys are unreal. 25 year old stud has a few bad months starting in May of ’08, and that is justification to dump someone w/ so much potential, a hometown favorite, after being so awesome between ’05 callup and 05/2008?

  62. I think we should just start referring to Francoeur as “she” and “her”, like Bill Parcells did with Terry Glenn some years back. Maybe Bobby should have tried that with him while he was here.

    On Prado, the thing that encourages me about his prospects for long term hitting success is he simply looks like a hitter. He hits the ball to all fields, has some pop, can handle the hard stuff, handles breaking pitches and generally hits the ball hard. Over the last week he’s had a number of rockets get run down in the alley or hit right an an infielder, and I remember few bloopers and bleeders. This is just the opposite of Francoeur, who it seems can occasionally handle a hanging slider, but most of the time gets singles to right after getting jammed.

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