Padres 4, Braves 2

Atlanta Braves vs. San Diego Padres – Box Score – August 03, 2009 – ESPN

That’s just sad. You just can’t lose to a Padres lineup that doesn’t even contain Adrian Gonzalez. Kawakami, who got the loss, had a minimal quality start, six innings, three runs — but six innings and three runs to that bunch in that park is like five innings and five runs to a real team. The highest OBP in their starting lineup was leadoff hitter L’il Tony Gwynn, at .359. Only two players, Kousmanoff and somebody named “Venable”, are slugging over .400, and neither is at .450.

The Braves loaded the bases with nobody out in the first, and McCann drove in a run with a sac fly. But Prado then tried to score on a shallow flyout — so shallow it was caught by the second baseman — from ACHE, and was thrown out at the plate to end the inning. The Padres tied it up on a two-out double by Kousmanoff in the bottom of the inning. LaRoche hit a one-out homer in the second, but they basically did nothing the rest of the night. Kawakami gave up a leadoff homer in the second, and a go-ahead run in the third. O’Flaherty allowed an infield single then two stolen bases in the seventh, and then a single to make it 4-2.

The Braves’ only rally after the first was in the seventh, as Escobar (back in the lineup at last) singled and LaRoche walked with one out. Diaz hit into a force play, and Bobby sent up — yes, of course — Norton to pinch-hit. Second-pitch lineout, game over.

I’m going to leave this up as a the game thread. Once again, tonight’s game will be recapped tomorrow sometime, probably late morning.

112 thoughts on “Padres 4, Braves 2”

  1. I think the braves take this one tonight… not that it really matters for the season but I’m thinking a 5-2 victory seems in order. I think Hanson will pitch well tomorrow, but I’m feeling a pen meltdown. What’s new? If the offense figures out how to put it together you can always count on one of our stellar bullpen pitchers, or Bobby Cox’s bullpen mismanagement to cost us the game.

  2. Why do the Braves always limp along with injured bench players? Put Church on the DL already and call up Heyward or Brandon Jones.

  3. @2, On the radio and in print, folks have been saying that Prado’s now playing with a sore groin and a sore ankle.

  4. So, did Snitker send Prado or did he go on his own? I couldn’t tell from the replay. Joe seemed to think Prado was “late getting back,” but you would be if your initial intent was to go halfway before being called back.

  5. @4, Yikes.

    We lost this game fair and square, but what’s-his-face was way out trying to steal third. Slid right into Chipper’s glove. Reminded me of that horrible call at Citi Field earlier this year when Beltran slid right into his glove, was called safe, and later scored.

  6. I’m not as down on Norton as most of you. His out last night was a shot to right, just happened to be right at the RF. Last year he got more at bats when he played first of left field occasionally, and was a valuable bat off the bench. This year, he gets one at bat a few times a week. Pretty tough to stay sharp. I actually think Bobby should have put him in the line-up once in a while defensively, and the extra at bats would have helped his PH production. His defense in LF wouldn’t have been worse than ACHE, and Kotchman wasn’t exactly an ace vs. lefty pitchers.

  7. On AJC Bobby said Prado went on his own.

    I think if I get another dog (not likely) I am going to name it Biff.

    just a question for all the Braves cognesceti out there. Heyward starts at Gwinnet next year or with Atlanta?

  8. “I don’t care what fair market value actually is, I just perceive him as being over payed.

    It’s “overpaid”.

    Since you’re basing your entire argument on WAR, what makes you so sure Kawakami will even get to his $7 million “fair market” salary? He’s not even at 1.0 WAR yet. 32 starts at his current production puts him at a dollar amount of $5.9 million.

  9. Anyone else catch the sportscenter highlight of the game? hahaha they did the Jim Mora press conference during the highlight to characterize our poor play. Maybe Cox needs to give post game speeches like this…
    “First off let’s start off by saying don’t blame that game on the umpires like we have been doing. I don’t care who you play, whether its a high school team, a JR college team, a college team, much less a MLB team… when you only get 6 hits, commit an error, strand runners, ground into double plays and give up 10 hits, get caught stealing, and strike out 7 times, you ain’t gonna be anybody I just talked about… anybody. That was a disgraceful performance, we threw that game, we gave them the freakin game… in my opinion that sucked. We couldn’t do diddly poo offensively, we couldn’t score enough runs, we couldn’t get a hit, we couldn’t sacrifice runners over, we didn’t try to sacrifice runners over, we couldn’t retire any batters, we sucked. Everytime they got a hit they went managed to score a run… we sucked during that game, that was a horsebleep preformance in that game, horsebleep. I’m totally embarassed and totally ashamed… coaching I did a horrible job, I have no idea how to manage this team anymore, the players did a horrible job… we got our bleeps totalled kicked in that game.”

  10. #9, Next year? Hell, Heyward may be starting in Atlanta by the end of the month with the way he’s hitting and the Atlanta Braves aren’t. It’s hard to imagine him going to Gwinnett next year unless he struggles badly in a call up this year and in spring training.

  11. As someone who detests WAR values on many levels and for many reasons, I would like to say that based on my research on player salaries that I do not believe that Kawakami is overpaid. If he is overpaid, it’s not by much and not the contract that Braves fans should be worried about.

    Edit: this sounds snooty. Just trying to say that another method backs up the sound payment theory.

  12. Thanks JC — I was about to ask what you had Kawakami valued at.

    I hereby concede defeat in the argument of Kawakami’s overpaidness, though I am not pleased with his performance. I’m fine if he’s average, but he’s gotta pitch a little deeper into games.

  13. Let’s see,

    Contracts to worry about, in anxiety order:

    1. Lowe

    2. Chipper

    3. Kawakami.

    4. None remaining of significant negative consequence beyond 2009

  14. Another way of looking at it, Jeremy.

    Kawakami hasn’t been a bad comp for Gil Meche over the last few years. He has certainly been better than Carlos Silva, Sidney Ponson and many others that have been paid more highly.

    I agree with someone a few weeks ago on this thread. Kawakami could, assuming April was his adjustment period and that post April will be his average for his contract, be the most economically justified Japanese player signing other than the original Ichiro deal and probably the best pitcher signing (dollars for performance).

    I think Red Sox on Tazawa will, however, come out better.

  15. cliff, you have to be kidding. Hideo Nomo? And you realize Hideki Okajima has had ERA+s of 214(!), 177 and 152, for which he has been paid only 1.2 mil a year? The odds of Kawakami matching that value are I don’t know, zero maybe?

  16. Hideki Okajima – xFIP:

    2007 – 3.72 (69 IP)
    2008 – 4.23 (62 IP)
    2009 – 4.58 (42 and 2/3 IP)

    He’s not been as good as his ERA+ suggests. An asset, though. I wonder what Kawakami’s ERA+ would be as a reliever. We’ll probably find out soon enough.

  17. 16,
    I agree with your list.

    Did everyone hear Joe and Boog talking about how the Padres have two players they’ve committed money to in 2010?

  18. Well, most of their players are in the six-year window and are signed year-to-year. I mean, the Braves don’t have that many players they’re committed to in 2010.

  19. PWHjort,
    This is a case where his xFIP is equally misleading. He has eras of 2.2, 2.6 and 3.1, with WHIPs of .97, 1.16 and 1.17 while striking out 8.5 per nine, all while pitching in the AL East. Kawakami couldn’t touch those numbers, even if he had a dream team of gold glovers behind him.

  20. On Heyward.

    He is 19. More time in the minors won’t hurt, but bringing him up too soon might.

  21. I get that they’re under team control just not guaranteed contracts. But out of the 23 signed year to year, there aren’t an overwhelming number of players you even want on your team. Sad state of affairs in SD. Though I think they did well in the Peavy deal.

  22. No dog in this fight, but comparing a reliever rate stats and ERA+ to starter without taking into account IP disparity is disingenuous at best.

    Carry on.

  23. Does anyone know if the Braves ever considered moving Tyler Flowers to first or third?

    I know without trading him we probably wouldn’t have Vazquez but the kid has continued to impress.

  24. dirt @ 29,

    Flowers played as nuch or more first base in the Braves organization than catcher (he had a kneee injury and they wanted him to hit, but not squat).

    The problem in projecting him at first was if he ended up low side (“Kotchmanesque”) with the bat then he would have no value because he would not be a plus defender there.

    So, to preserve value, he needed to be at least a part time catcher (say a recent Victor Martinez career model might work for Flowers).

  25. Thanks Cliff,

    I don’t really follow the minors other than what I pick up here. I wasn’t aware that he had played first.

    Also, I went back and looked at his stats and realized I had misread his numbers. I hadn’t noticed that one of the lines contained his combined 2009 stats. The numbers don’t look nearly as impressive now.

  26. Does anybody know if in direct translation it is actually Sugar Jesus or if “Sugar Jesus” could idiomatically mean “Sweet Jesus” (although dolce (?) would be more direct)? I think the second of 2 words is the presumed adjective and, unless the noun form can’t be used like an adjective, it would translate Sugar Jesus.

    I know that is the way it would be in French anyway.

  27. I have a friend in Atlanta who, in Francoeur’s first year on the big club, referred to him as “Baby Jesus.”

    It worked for awhile.

  28. Teheran promoted to Rome–no info on when his first appearance will be.

    Tonight’s game–which I’m attending since the mother ship is playing one of those awful West Coast games–has Carlyle and Infante in the lineup.

    edit–my mistake–Teheran starts tomorrow’s game

    edit–@29–at the time folks said Flowers was expendable b/c Freeman was going to be at 1B though that was a bit premature since Freeman had not, at the time, played above low A ball

  29. As posted earlier this team is nothing more than a .500 team which I still contend I’d rather have just sold everyone of value and hoped for MUCH better down the road.

    I know I’m in the minority (OK one) but this franchise is doing nothing more than spinning its wheels in place getting not really better but not much worse.

    BLOW IT UP from Wren to Bobby to Chipper etc.

  30. Frank Wren has been one of the top 5 GM’s in this league. He may not have the on-field results yet, but there are few GM’s I’d rather have than him at this point.

    N. McLouth cf
    M. Prado 2b
    C. Jones 3b
    B. McCann c
    G. Anderson lf
    Y. Escobar ss
    A. LaRoche 1b
    M. Diaz rf
    J. Vazquez p

  31. #43. That would be the plan if we didn’t have guys in the minors with a great shot at helping out in the next couple of years.

    Add a healthy Schafer, Heyward and Freeman to today’s lineup and we’d look pretty stupid to surround them with kids.

  32. Outside of Heyward and maybe Freeman who do we have? Hanson is here and good/great. It takes MULTIPLE players to be good. Still way too many Matt Diaz’, Ryan Churches, Greg Nortons, Adam Laroches around for this team to ever be any good, frankly. McLouth is really just a league average player. He’s great for our current team, but he’s just an average OVERALL MLB outfielder.

    Schaefer will never amount to anything. He’s wasn’t even a star at AA.

  33. Over/Under props
    Vazquez K total: 8
    Braves runs scored: 1
    Innings that you wish Skip & Pete were still calling games: 9

  34. “Frank Wren has been one of the top 5 GM’s in this league. He may not have the on-field results yet, but there are few GM’s I’d rather have than him at this point.”

    I simply cannot undertstand this. I like what wren has done during the season this year, but all a GM’s job is, is to win. He has 2 losing seasons as a GM, out of 2. He needs to finish above .500 this year, because no matter how cool his moves look, they either work (we win) or they do not (we don’t win). We aren’t KC; we are not pay-roll disadvantaged vis-a-vis the league.

  35. Didn’t the Braves finish with a winning record in 2007? And I don’t think Wren has made many bad moves. Maybe the Lowe contract or not taking Francoeur to arbitration.

  36. With all due respect to the original poster, bfan, remember this is the same fan base that a vast majority of which were mad when Francouer was traded. The fanbase has always had a peculiar affinity for ‘the fan favorite’ even at the expense of the overall team ethos.

    The goal is to win, and I can’t see THIS collection even with Heyward/Freeman EVER winning anything.

  37. When McCann got to the majors he didn’t look like an outsized elf that couldn’t A. bench his weight or B. hit a major league fastball.

    I’ll stand by my prediction that Schaefer may never even play in the ML again, much less be a ‘winning’ MLB player.

    Hitting .230 with little speed and little power isn’t going to cut it.

  38. Chief, every team has role players. Boston won two titles with guys like Kevin Millar, Julio Lugo and Eric Hinske. Your whole team doesn’t need to be made up of all stars.

  39. “Didn’t the Braves finish with a winning record in 2007?”

    Yes, it was Schuerholtz’s last year as the GM. Wren has 1 year as GM in Baltimore (a losing record with high payroll team) and 2008 with the Braves. He needs to win this year, elegant and cool moves aside.

  40. Three cortisone shots?!? If you’ve had three shots and it still hurts, that’s not just a hyperextension, but the tendon’s actually hurt. And you should go on the DL.

  41. Yeah, you know, I’ve got no tolerance for people who feel as if they’re doing the Braves a favor by being a “fan.” Go ride a retractable baton.

  42. See, Chief, that’s what I’m talking about. Tonight’s entire starting lineup (except the pitcher) is made up of players with OPS+ above 100 — above average. The Braves are below the league average in runs scored because of the “contributions” of Johnson, Francoeur, Schafer — all gone or benched. There’s nothing wrong with this group of batters. There’s only one real star, McCann, but you can go a long way with a lineup like this. They just assembled it too late.

  43. Just back from 6 innings of the Rome Braves. Infante was 0 for 2 with a walk; he also booted a grounder. Carlyle went 2 innings. He didn’t give up any runs but I wasn’t impressed–several balls were hit hard but caught and although he didn’t walk anyone he seemed wild (hit one batter, sent a ball or two to the backstop). All in all, the kind of performances that Chief so dearly appreciates.

    Milligan had a double off the wall in left. The most exciting event was having a pressbox window shattered by a foul ball.

    No trip to a Rome game is complete without a Chais Fuller update–the slugging 1B now has his avg up to .173 (from .122 at an earlier game I saw). This guy must have the pix.

  44. You can go a long way with a lineup like this. You mean like .500? Now I fully realize that with Liberty Media for an owner, a lot of my complaints are never going to change, but a bunch of empty walks with no power isn’t going to cut it. They have the O but not the S in the OPS.

    The other day I heard an old interview with Cal Ripken Jr. when he was asked about the loss of ‘small ball’ and the bygone era. His response surprised me. Basically he said in a nutshell that the only thing that matters in baseball is hitting home runs. He said that he’d assemble 9 beer league softball players if they could hit three run homers and win more games than another combination.

    I was shocked. But if you think about it, its the one ‘play’ in baseball that “guarantees” that a run is scored. Not a walk, not a stolen base, not a single, a double or a triple.

    The bottom line is that the Braves have neither any speed or very much power, and that simply is not going to win ANYTHING more than a few meaningless games.

  45. I hate Matt Diaz. He has currently attained “Vienna Sausage” status in Frenchy’s baseball apprenticeship.

  46. Boy, the Matt Diaz bandwagon emptied in a hurry. He cannot hit righties and is best utilized as a platoon guy. I said this months ago.

  47. Mac,

    First off, I love your blog, and the this is a great website. I am not going to go all Chief on you, but I have to disagree with your 63 post.

    There is alot wrong with this lineup.

    1. No power, no one on this team will get to 20 HRs. Biggest weaknes is no true cleanup guy. This team is dying to get a bat behind Chipper.
    2. No speed, no way to create cheap runs. McClouth doesn’t run enough to put any pressure on the D.
    3. Average, well Average, this is a lineup of .250-.290ish hitters that cannot string together hits on enough nights to score consistently. When they hit a stretch where some guys get hot they look great, but most of the time they fart around and look bad, much like the Dodgers series. (I know there are 3 sometime .300 hitters, that ain’t enough.)

    When you have to start going to .OPS+ and all those formula numbers to defend a lineup, then the lineup sucks. Stuff like .OPS+ and era+ are ‘agent’ numbers. Those sound great in arbritration and contract negotations, but they translate to nothing. Hits, runs, RBIs are ‘winning numbers’. I can look on the scoreboard and see how many runs got knocked in and how many hits we had. I don’t have to get 3 guys from Ivy league schools to plug numbers in a formula to see if my lineup is producing. Once it gets to that point, your team is screwed. I want to know how many Chipper and Mac knocked in, not their OPS+.

    Again, I respect the website and that whole rant is not just aimed at you in particular. It is just my humble opinion vs. that of ‘stat guy’ that loves to rant on here.

  48. @ 76, 77 – I’m not exactly thrilled with the lineup either, but you have the stats backwards. RBIs, etc. are the “agent numbers”, because they are largely dependent on outside forces. They are not necessarily indicative of future success, as OPS is. Identical hitters in different lineup spots on different teams can have wildly varying RBI/run totals, which is why you need the predictive stats for background.

  49. You’re right, mraver. That one homer totally erases his Francoeurian OPS vs. RHP. I’m glad he finally made himself useful, but give me a break.

  50. Albert Pujols hit his FIFTH grand-slam of the season today off the Mets. Yes, he’s hit five fucking grand-slams this season.

    Completely and totally unreal.

  51. @76-

    Not to “blast” you, but I don’t see how you can argue that a lineup that is systematically league-average or better is inadequate.

    “No 20 HR hitters” sounds damning, but this is a team that hits a TON of doubles, and has some power from literally every spot in the lineup. When your SS, CF, and C are hitting 15-20 HRs each, that makes up for your 1B and LF not hitting 30+.

    As for speed, well, you’re right, this isn’t the quickest team out there. And it’s not good when you can’t get runners in from 2nd on a single or go 1st to 3rd much. All that said, according to BP’s base runnings stat (Equivalent Base Running Runs), the Braves are, season-to-date, a -10, meaning they’ve lost about 10 runs on the basepaths relative to what a team with average runners would do. So baserunning has probably cost them a game or two. But it’s not crippling them to the point where they can’t contend.

    And as for batting average, the Braves are currently ranked 13th in MLB in BA, and that’s including the failings of Schafer, Frenchy, etc. So I think it’s hard to argue that their BA is insufficient.

    Anyhow, this is by no means an elite offense. But the starting rotation is elite, and if the offense can do enough to give the quality starts a chance to stand up, this team can win some games the rest of the way.

  52. WPA-wise, how’s a guy doing if he’s hit into 3 double plays, but has also hit a 2-run homer?

    Update: just looked it up. The answer is that Diaz actually has a (barely) negative WPA, -.003. A 2-run homer’s well and good, but 3 double plays and a strikeout more than balance it out.

  53. It’s nice to have Slugging Martin Prado back. Hopefully he sticks around for a while longer.

  54. Incidentally, I wonder if Chief thinks the Phillies have enough stars to win. I mean, Jayson Werth isn’t the best outfielder in the game, and they’re getting absolutely no production from catcher. Who the hell is Carlos Ruiz? No shot at winning EVER.

    And also, everyone knows that if you don’t think you can win the World Series in a given year, you just trade every single person on the team and start over again. Every year without a World Series is a year in which the entire organization is fired. That is a sound way to run a freaking sports franchise right there.

  55. Hey, 17 hits tonight—and for Vazquez. Not bad.

    #63
    Thanks, Mac.

    I had a similar thought yesterday, but was too disinterested to actually engage anybody with it.

    Let’s get 2/3 & see if we can change our fortunes in LA.

  56. @94

    Really, mraver just stop. You are making far too much since.

    What happened to Chief, Tony, bfan?

    And yes JonK, you are truly clairvoyant. Give yourself yet another pat on the back.

  57. Anybody else hear this great story? (as told on Atlanta sports radio yesterday)

    Apparently, UF brought in Percy Harvin to speak to some recruits whereupon he regaled then with tales of his constant marijuana use and the charming incident where he strangled his position coach.

    If true, this is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard.

  58. I prefer soothsayer thanks. I just like to have a little fun on here that’s all. There are some on here who
    Have a tendency to post novels listing stat after stat. My point is that I like to analyze up to a point, some of you guys are intelligent and funny at the same time and that’s why I come on here. Not to read some statistical evaluations that even peter gammons would get tired of reading.

  59. @109

    haha I’m not surprised. How do you think they can get all those thugs to go to florida? The nice weather? The good education? The top notch football? No, no, and no. Florida gets top recruiting classes because they basically have the world at their fingertips which is plenty of weed, alcohol and ridiculously hot smokeshows. I’m sure Percy Harvin was running more “tip drills” down in gainesville wearing a backward OchoCino jersey than Nelly and Jermaine Dupri ever have haha

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