Mets 9, Braves 4

Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets – Box Score – August 18, 2009 – ESPN

That was terrible. Bobby hung Derek Lowe out to dry in the fourth inning, allowing him to give up eight runs on nine hits, resembling nothing so much as trying to save the staff. Except that the Braves entered the inning leading 4-0 and the bullpen was fairly well rested. There was no excuse for that.

The excuse will be, I will guess, that Lowe got some ground balls that the Braves didn’t make plays on. To a degree, that’s fair; LaRoche didn’t react to a sharp one past him for the second hit of the inning, and the backbreaking runs scored on the last hit Lowe allowed which Infante, playing second base, really should have fielded. But there were also the rockets; a liner to open the inning that glanced off Lowe’s fielding hand, and back-to-back doubles by Sheffield and (God, does it hurt) Francoeur, the latter of which would have been a homer in most parks. Lowe was less unlucky than not-lucky; if the Braves had played good defense, he might have gotten out of it with a tie. He was probably nursing a hand problem; at any rate, he showed his right hand to Jeff Porter after the second and the third innings and the booth speculated it might have been a callus that was peeling. And then after the line drive his other hand was hurting; sure, it’s not his pitching hand, but it can mess with your delivery.

Diaz hit a three-run homer in the second to give the Braves the lead; LaRoche, who entered the game after Prado left with a “sudden onset headache” that reminded me of nothing so much as an anemia headrush I used to suffer, and I wonder if they’ve tested his blood, hit a solo homer in the third. The Braves had a couple of other chances after that but nothing came of them. Giving up eight runs in an inning tends to have that effect.

Medlen relieved Lowe, and after giving up a double got out of the inning, then pitched two scoreless innings. He struck out five. The Braves absolutely could have won the game if Bobby had gone to the pen earlier. Acosta, who sucks, gave up a run in the seventh.

129 thoughts on “Mets 9, Braves 4”

  1. at this point on, nothing Bobby does in a game can surprise you. Its sad, but its just become one bad decision after another

  2. Leaving Lowe in to get knocked around is what will keep the good clubhouse atmosphere that Bobby prizes.

  3. I’m starting to wonder if there is any way a game could go where it would end in a Braves loss and it wouldn’t be portrayed on this site as a massive screw-up by the manager. It’s not analysis, it’s a crutch.

    The $15 million dollar pitcher melted down against a team missing five starters and the offense was thereafter stifled by Oliver Perez and Elmer Dessens.

  4. Robert…do all 15 million dollar pitchers determine how long they want to stay on the mound? Is that a new MLBPA contract item that was recently added?

  5. Robert, Im not a cox basher, but how can you leave any pitcher in a game where he gives up 9 hits and 8 er in one inning? Thats what Medlen is for, he’s the long man. Lowe was hurting and you could see it, once it got tied and there was still only one out you have to go get him

  6. There is no reason to excuse a manager to keep a pitcher in an inning to give up eight runs when he has the entire bullpen to use. I don’t care how much money the pitcher is making.

    Robert, I know you love Bobby, and I know Bobby is a HOF manager. However, that doesn’t mean he is off-limit of criticism on obvious mistakes. We are not saying Lowe is not a problem, but should a manager removes his starting pitcher once it’s pretty obvious that he has nothing?!

  7. Robert, Im not a cox basher, but how can you leave any pitcher in a game where he gives up 9 hits and 8 er in one inning?

    It’s not that unusual. Starting pitchers can take a pretty good beating if they don’t have it. Scherzer gave up nine runs just yesterday. Beckett gave up seven today and – I know it sounds impossible – but the offense didn’t just give up, they won 10-9.

    Team’s win and lose because of the players. Managers get way too much “credit”.

  8. Uhhh…Mac…I thought you said Frenchy SUCKED. Well now it looks like Church SUCKS!!!

  9. @10 Robert, Beckett didn’t give up 8 runs in one inning (and don’t tell me their end-results are the same because at least Beckett was able to get that third out). Giving up 8 runs in one inning is a pretty obvious sign that he just doesn’t have it tonight.

  10. I have never seen the Mets lose in 13 games either. I should sell my services on Craigslist.

  11. Robert, I know you love Bobby, and I know Bobby is a HOF manager. However, that doesn’t mean he is off-limit of criticism on obvious mistakes. We are not saying Lowe is not a problem, but should a manager removes his starting pitcher once it’s pretty obvious that he has nothing?!

    I pretty much defend managers across the board, Bobby’s no exception. Folks overestimate the effect a manager has on the W/L record by about a factor of 10. If you read this site you would believe this team should be 30 games over .500 if they had a “good” manager.

  12. The manager’s job in situations like the one the Braves faced in the fourth is to do what he can to limit the damage. That’s his job. Bobby failed. Again.

  13. Jon K, wishful thinking. The only way Bobby won’t be the manager next year is if he voluntarily decides to step down . . . or dies. I’d prefer he voluntarily step down.

  14. Robert, even if Bobby removed Lowe, the Braves might still lose. However, at least he is giving the team a chance to win. Sometimes a manager’s decision may not ultimately win any ball game, but they are made to give the team the best chance to win.

    What we are saying is that Bobby has not been helping. I don’t even need Bobby to be creative. I just want him to make logical decisions like removing Lowe after he gave up the fifth run? Like putting in a lefty to face Howard in game 1 of that series? Like not using Sori and Gonzo when the team’s leads are larger than four? Is that too demanding?!

  15. I think Wren fires him to be honest. Cox won’t step down, he prob thinks he can manage until he’s 80. As the GM he needs to take his authority and do what’s best for the team and tell Cox he can step down or be fired

  16. sdp, can you please do me a little favor? Please leave the words Christ and God out of your cursing spells

    Scherzer only gave up 3 ER btw, thats a big difference and their team also isnt in a tight wild card chase either. Our pen has had a pretty light workload lately, there were plenty of fresh arms down there to go to. Medlen mightve blown it anyways, but you have to pull a starter thats just throwing BP.

  17. Jon, after the PR hits Wren has taken there is zero chance he’d survive a Cox firing. Bobby will be given every opportunity to stay as long as he wants. There may be a org. decision to move him the the FO but if Bobby wants to do it again next year he will

  18. hasnt Rizzo done a pretty good job as the interim Nats GM? Seems like he may be a good person for the job, but MLBTR says he’s about to be let go

  19. Scherzer only gave up 3 ER btw, thats a big difference and their team also isnt in a tight wild card chase either.

    Yes the peculiarities of the earned run rules make it a really different. Yup.

    Whatever, people like what is easy and the easiest thing in the world is to blame a manager or head coach after a tough loss. Like I said before it’s just a crutch, no real value.

  20. Robert, you just don’t understand what we are trying to say.

    Using your logic, then why do you even care if Bobby is a HOF manager if you don’t think manager plays a role to win any game? It’s the players who won the World Series, right?!

    I understand what you mean in terms of people putting too much stocks in a manager’s decision on the outcome of the game, but that doesn’t mean their decisions don’t make any difference.

  21. WTF, now you are claiming crutches aren’t valuable? Tell that to the man with an ankle injury.

  22. @33 Unless we have great players to overcome bad decisions, which we don’t have enough of that at the moment.

  23. at least, according to Cox, Lowe didnt struggle tonight. I dont know how 8ER and 9 hits in one inning isnt struggling. but per DOB

    Cox said he didn’t think Lowe necessarily struggled.

    “You live by the ground ball, [and] you die by it,” Cox, referring to a handful of hits that Lowe gave up that skipped through the infield.

    Lowe, however, said there was a difference between cheap hits through the infield and some of the balls that the Mets smoked through.

    “I understand what a ground ball is,” Lowe said. “But even when it’s on the ground, it’s hit hard [Tuesday]. They’re on the ground, but firmly hit.”

  24. @36 I think that’s just Bobby being Bobby in defending Lowe. As I have said many times before, I would love working for Bobby.

  25. Glavine was untouchable.

    Smoltz was untouchable.

    Bobby Cox is untouchable.

    I love all three of them…but I’m glad two of the above has not been a part of the Braves in 2009.

    And I wonder how things would look if the third had a different role this year…

  26. Be nice to Rob, he’s taking this one hard. I have tix Thursday, but luckily for Braves fans…Rob will be back in Georgia by then.

    Nothing went right tonight. We lose horribly. All our rivals win. The last thing I saw before I sprinted to the 7 Train through an endgame rainstorm was a guy in a Florida Gators cap. I arrived home drenched.

    I’m with Robert in the sense that I’m not going to go completely crazy about Cox either.

    Granted, I kinda thought Cox would/should take out Lowe after Perez’s hit loaded the bases, but I also figured: The way this inning is going he could just as easy get a GIDP. He did—we just didn’t turn it.

    Then came the deathblow 2-run, seeing-eye single by Castillo. BTW, Infante is a statue out there (and Chipper’s not much better these days.)

    There were 3 really hard hit balls in the inning—the first one off his glove & the 2 2Bs. There were at least 2 balls that should’ve been outs and the unturned GIDP.

    And not scoring more against Perez & Dessens was brutal. Can’t give up when you have 5 more at-bats in the game. They just shut it down.

    Gotta win tomorrow or I don’t wanna think about being there Thursday.

  27. Don’t get too excited about my GA trip, ububba. I have tickets to the Friday game against the Marlins.

  28. Robert you make no sense. You even go so far as to say head coach, which tells me your including all sports in this and that is nuts. Especially in FB and Basketball where the head coaches are responsible for the plays being run on the field/court.

    Sure, you could say in baseball there isn’t much more to it then saying “Go score runs” and “Don’t allow any runs” but that’s not the case at all. I don’t think you believe that either as you cited Cox as a future HOFer but under your logic there is no such thing as a HOF manager.

    And actually by expanding your logic then Bobby should never go to the pen. Just put the SP out there for better or worse, right? Hell they make millions of dollars to get people out so why even have a bullpen, right? Start Lowe all 162 games, I mean he should get everybody out, right? After all it wouldn’t be Bobby out there giving up those runs.

    The only thing worse then somebody who jumps to blame the manager for everything is somebody who jumps to defend the manager from everything.

  29. Well Mac, I have an explanation for Cox’s latest mind blowing managerial gaffe.

    The real reason that the man sat in the dugout in the fourth inning and waited until the game was out of reach before replacing Derek Lowe is because…….

    Cox has no confidence in anybody not named Soriano, Gonzalez or Moylan. In other words, we have a three man bullpen.

    Cox would rather let his starter lose the game than be second guessed by bringing the bullpen in and actually having to manage before the sixth inning.

    And there you have it……ladies and gentlemen. The reason why Bobby Cox is his own worst enemy.

  30. In other news the Cardinals beat writer is reporting that Smoltz will sign with St. Louis and compete for the 5th spot in the rotation.

  31. terrible game

    i had tix and went from my house in jersey to see them play in flushing, and i should have bought tix to see jurrjens or vazquez instead.

    bobby should have gone to pen way earlier. me and another braves fan were cheering for medlen after the 3rd hit in the 4th.

    to bring some upside, however, i met a cute braves fan in my section (can we calculate teh chances of that) who has a braves tattoo (bullseye) so the night was not a total wash

  32. Glad that I missed the game and I am sorry that Lowe couldn’t cut it. I know a number of you will disagree, but I wish we could move Lowe. He is not much more than a league average pitcher–and in a couple of years he will be less than that….

    I am a bit surprised that Erik Campbell got released….

  33. @48 If there is any contract we would like to move, it will be Lowe’s. However, there is no way he will/can be moved. At the same time, Lowe has been doing exactly what he was brought in to do, which is to provide innings and stablize the rotation. I think JJ, Javy, Kammy, and Hanson have all been benefitting from having Lowe taken the “ace” label instead of one of them having to shoulder that.

  34. 48, I’m not gonna disagree with you. You’re just just flat wrong about Derek Lowe.

    Lowe is a near Ace. He’s a winner. Never been on the DL. The right hander already has 19 quality starts this season. The Braves have won 15 of his 26 starts. His career record of 138-115 is hardly league average. In fact, it’s pretty darn consistent.

    Derek Lowe had one bad inning, it happens to the best of pitchers. Never mind the fact that Lowe was 5-0 with an ERA of 2.91 in his previous seven starts.

  35. Last year the Brewers fired their manager and made the playoffs. Maybe that would work for the Braves.

  36. Ron, I think the superman act of Sabathia played a bigger role in the Brewers making the playoff last year, but I certainly can not discount the impact of a new manager.

  37. A) looks like Smoltz is going to the Cards as their 5th starter?!?!? How badly in need of a starter are they? Righty specialist out of the bullpen I could see, but his starting stuff didn’t look even passable for a post season contending team. (granted, they’ve got 4 other guys pitching well ahead of him, so who knows).

    B) I turned on the game in time to see Diaz trot around the bases, watched till the roach hit his ding, and went in the other room to do something with the kids, confident that we’d be winning this one. I walked BACK in the room 20 minutes later and we were down 8-4 and I was suddenly quite confident that we wouldn’t win it.

  38. Ick. My straight pythagorean monte carlo now has the Braves at a 2.4% chance at the division and a 8.6% chance at the wild card.

    You might want to look at that baseball reference 3rd order hyper adjusted monte carlo. It likes the Braves better. Their even more adjusted PECOTA odds likes them even more and gives us pretty good odds.

  39. @ Robert #17
    You’d think we’d at least be better than 5 games over .500 with the best rotation in the East, if not the whole NL. Bobby needs to go!

  40. I think there is enough blame to go around. Bobby was wrong to leave Lowe in so long but, on the other hand, you don’t expect your “ace” to get pounded by a AA lineup. I generally agree with Robert that baseball managers don’t have a lot of impact on the team’s performance (obviously different in football and basketball) but, on the other hand, you do expect the manager to not screw up situations where he has to make a decision. But, let’s face it, it’s easy to criticize Bobby or any manager for making or not making a specific decision, but we can’t really know all the factors that go into that particular decision. But, based on what I know, I won’t defend Bobby for leaving Lowe in.

    Having said all that, managers with the best players generally win more than managers with lesser players. It’s hard to screw up talent. The Braves are a moderately talented team; perhaps better decisions might have won some more games but if you look at the Phillies, for example, I wouldn’t call Charlie Manual a tactical genius. I’m convinced that managers all manage pretty much the same way and that the differences come from differences in talent and, to some degree, luck. Bobby’s decisions these days look worse because he doesn’t have as good of players to bail him out like he did in the 90s.

  41. I agree with Tiger, if Wren feels bringing a new manager in would make the team better, then it will happen

  42. Regarding what i said yesterday, I stand 100% behind my criticism of Bobby Cox. I have been someone who has NEVER liked him as an in-game manager.

    I am old enough at this point to recognize what bobby has done well all these years – relate to players. Everyone who has ever played for him (even Sheffield) reveres Cox. But I have never liked a lot of his in-game decisions, they make no sense half the time. Him leaving in Lowe yesterday cost us the game, hands down.

    Now there is a fair point to be made that when facing a beleaguered team with most of its starters on the IR and facing the pitching tandem of Ollie Perez and Elmer Dessens, there is no excuse to score 4 runs early and not add to that. But it’s possible the team watched that horrible 8-run Lowe inning & was shell shocked…I certainly was. Yesterday was an example of why I am praying this is the final year. Enough. Get a young manager in there.

    The bottomline is YES, a Baseball season is a marathon. And if you want to “hang Lowe out to dry”, do it in April or May. It’s now past Mid August with 44 games left and we’re now further down in the W.C. standings, and just lost a game to a etam that’s completely out of it and missiong half their players.

    Not to mention that if you’re going to blow a game in NY of the 3 game set, it better be the one with Johann Santana. You can’t afford to lose a game when facing a below average pitcher like Perez. Just inexcusable and this is the game I will point to if we miss the Playoffs. I know others might, too.

  43. Re: Smoltz to St. Louis

    This actually bothers me more then the Red Sox.

    I hate the Red Sox franchise mainly because I am sick of seeing Boston hats even now in places like Austin…bandwagon jumpers make me ill. Just can’t stand that.

    But Terry Francona is a good guy, a class act, has a good relationship with Cox, treats his players well, and on THAT level, Smoltzie to Boston made me feel somewhat better about things.

    But I HATE Tony laRussa with every fiber of my being. He’s a drunk driving, arrogant, obnoxious, hateable prick. He’s Baseball’s answer to Urban Meyer…just an arrogant, hateable man.

    As much as I absolutely criticize Cox as an in-game manager, he’s a super nice guy, super friendly to the players, the media, to his rivals and his opponents, and I have never ever heard Bobby utter a bad word about anyone, ever. Yet LaRussa has publicly tried to feud with Bobby over the years and publicly rips the Braves and Cox and the franchise. He’s a nemesis.

    To see one of our Brave all timers go and play for a bastard like LaRussa makes me ill.

  44. You forgot to mention that LaRussa has a hateable face, too, Alex.

    I admire Robert’s stance in the face of pretty much everyone else on this site. I think Bobby has more effect on wins and losses than he’s allowing, but I agree that most of the frustration needs to be directed at the highly-paid “ace” who goes through stretches of not being able to get even crappy hitters out.

    And ububba confirms what I said last night—that inning was as much Infante’s fault as anyone’s. He lollygagged on the potential DP and missed two grounders which ought to have been within his range.

  45. Forget ground balls, Lowe had zero strikeouts. He had nothing. Grady Little would have pulled him.

    We should start calling Prados “Infantes”.

  46. Hey guys, back again, After surgery I contracted Bacterial Menegitits….I’m a lucky guy, I lived through 2 things most people dont, Brain surgery and menengitits….lets hope some of my luck rubs off on the Braves.

    SO what not with Lowe? DL him and move Hanson to a regular rotation spot or bring up Hudson?

  47. its pretty clear here that the Braves only lose because of Bobby and ony win despite him.

  48. Put me in the camp with Robert. Game decisions by the manager in the grand scheme of things have a minor effect on won loss records. Good players are the reason a team wins or loses. Put me in the I’m disappointed that Lowe couldn’t bring more when the team needs every win it can get.

  49. csg, seriously, are you REALLY that disturbed when someone mentions one of your christian touchstones in a way you don’t find respectful? I would think that would severely restrict the number of websites you could visit.

  50. Bobby didn’t cost us the game, but he cost us a chance to win the game. I think there’s a subtle but significant difference there.

  51. spike,
    Is it really that tough not to mention them? This is a place where politics and religion are supposedly off-limits; I would think crass references to major religious figures would fall into the category of the impermissible, though, of course, that’s Mac’s call.

    csg isn’t saying you have to play by his rules or he’ll leave; he’s just asking that folks show a little respect. Or, at least, a lack of utter disrespect.

  52. Bobby supporter here. That being said, Lowe should have been removed sooner. He had injuries to both hands, and was getting knocked around. Bring on the hook.

    But it’s not a fireable offense. Those of you calling for Bobby’s head after every loss need to give it a rest. Bobby’s not going anywhere, nor should he.

  53. (soapbox)

    This has been said ad nauseum, but the bottomline is I’ve seen inappropriate things said that would offend Christians, Jews, Muslims, the Gay Community, African Americans and every other group and it should be left OUT of Bravesjournal. Everyone in here needs to tread carefully.

    We can bash Cox or Francouer or Omar Minaya or whomever…they’re individuals and it’s Baseball related. But we should stay within those brightly colored lines and avoid saying things that would offend someone’s religious or ethnic background. The nice thing about the world of BravesJournal is we have all types in here…young and old, religious and not religious, left and right. And it’s just important to remember that not everyone in here agrees on that stuff in life.

    FBF – wow, congrats on making it through that stuff. I second Stu…you are tough.

  54. spike, no Im not really that disturbed by it, id just rather not see it. If I was doing something here and someone respectfully asked me not to do it again I would consider that request and thats all Im asking. Are you really that disturbed that I asked for someone to try and not do it on here if at all possible? If he wants to continue that’s his choice

  55. As much as I am not a Bobby Cox fan – when it comes to in-game managing (I am a fan of him as a person) – we have to put some of the onus on Derek Lowe.

    Yes, Bobby should have pulled him. Ultimately, he’s who I blame first, he’s the manager, with the power to change pitchers. But Derek Lowe is making $60 million over four years. He needs to do a little bit better and stop acting like a 4th or 5th starter.

    If we lose a few more and fall completely out of it, I would love to see him put through waivers to see if maybe Boston would be dumb enough to take him back.

  56. Sure, but the offhand mention of “god, it was hot today” or “Christ, he left him in there way too long” does not seem to rise to this level. They are (for the most part) accepted phrases in social discourse.

    *I am not discussing a particular religion here – simply generally wondering aloud what the standard is.

  57. It’s the name-in-vain thing. George Carlin might’ve been intrigued as well.

    Lowe had a bad game. He was on a good streak before that. Hopefully, he’s not hurt & he’ll get back on track.

    Need a big one from JJ tonight. Seems like another season-in-the-balance game.

  58. Yeah, ububba, and we’ve responded well the last couple of times we had those. Hopefully, the trend continues.

    If it’s Jeff Francoeur and the Mets who do us in this year…

  59. Again, the problem is of the 3 game series with this black and blue Mets team, we blew the game with Ollie Perez now, and now we have to win the other two road games with our own depleted lineup and facing freaking Santana tomorrow.

    I maybe reacting too early, but I see last night’s loss as a possible nail in the coffin…unless we beat Santana and win 2 of 3. (of course, even if that happens, if we lose 2 to the Marlins, it’s over anyway).

  60. Again, the problem is of the 3 game series with this black and blue Mets team, we blew the game with Ollie Perez now, and now we have to win the other two road games with our own depleted lineup and facing freaking Santana tomorrow.

    Seriously, can you please be more sensitive before just throwing out the term black and blue. I don’t appreciate the reference to Bobby Cox’s battered wife and don’t think it should be bandied about as a joke in a thread discussing Bobby Cox’s short comings. (can’t you tell?)

    Very insensitive. Please proceed with more caution, lest any of our readers who struggle with domestic violence or color-blindness be insulted.

  61. Dix…well played, sir…well played.


    I stand by that we should all be sensitive about religion and ethnicity, but I was on my soapbox long enough that making fun of me a little is fair game.

    Is it wrong of me if I am rooting for one of Mac’s predicted injuries and maybe a meteor hits Santana before tomorrow’s game?

  62. Both the actually perceived and the sarcastically derided slights being pointed out have gotten VERY old.

    If you were in a bar and somebody said it and you wouldn’t be “man enough” ( I know that can be a sexist slur, but it makes a point and if somebody responds to that it damn [not a point of take off either] sure makes a bigger point) to say it to somebody’s face there (because maybe you thought you would get your ass whipped) then let it pass.

    This site’s direction and purpose should not be to try to make the world a more peaceful and tolerant place. It’s about baseball, dammit. Get over the slights and perceived slights.

  63. I’m with Stu and ububba giving Infante and Chipper some blame for that inning. Infante made such a nice play to start the game and then displayed zero range and no willingness to get dirty in that fourth inning. His lethargy made me wonder if he was feeling okay or didn’t want to risk landing on his bad hand.

  64. Jason C @ 73 and all of the Cox supporters.

    No, the one thing of not pullng Lowe earlier, in isolation, is not a fireable offense. However, it absolutely is not in isolation.

    This is a PATTERN. These dumb ass things happen over and over.

    And as to the “you don’t know, everybody criticizes managers,” 4 years, 4 YEARS in a row, 4 YEARS IN A ROW of underperforming pythag.

    As to the “he’s not going anywhere”, I will not stop the protests of Cox’ stupidity nor of stupidly retaining him. These negative types of comments are ultimately supporting and forcing Wren’s hand. He has lopped off 2 icons (very successfully it seems) so now he needs to know there are real fans with him as he contemplates how to make this move (in the offseason).

  65. cliff, that is one bizarre standard for this line of discussion. How is Braves Journal analogous to a bar?

    I agree with you that this is a baseball site, though, and that, generally speaking, baseball is where the discussion should be, hence my reference to Mac’s no-politics, no-religion policy.

  66. Bad plays by Infante or not, you can’t leave Derek Lowe or any other starting pitcher in there to give up 8 runs in an inning. It wasn’t a secret to Bobby that Lowe’s hands were bothering him. Lowe should have come out when the game was tied if not earlier. Bobby is like a grade school teacher that gives everybody a gold star for attendance and brings them cookies. All the kids love him, but they don’t learn anything in his class. If not now, then next year the Braves need to bring in somebody younger and smarter who can make such complex decisions as don’t have Escobar or McCann bunt ever, don’t bring in a right handed reliever to pitch to Ryan Howard, and don’t let your starting pitcher give up 8 runs when he’s hurt.

  67. cliff,
    Who would you replace Bobby with and how do you know they would do a better job? Believe it or not, Bobby has a pretty good track record.

  68. RE: the offended

    Mac polices this site really, really well. I don’t think we need any deputies running around defining what is and is not appropriate.

  69. Nick (Esasky) Prado????? Geez. I thought KJ was joking about puttng ExLax in Martin’s drink.

    Cliff – Really, man, do you think that Wren is going to fire Bobby Cox because of the prevailing opinion of the blogosphere?

  70. I can’t believe anyone thinks that Wren can fire Bobby. I doubt that he could even suggest it. If Bobby’s getting fired, that would have to be initiated from the top.

  71. 89—Feel free to ignore the “deputies,” but it’s not atypical in real-world social settings for folks to make such requests. Nobody is claiming Mac’s authority.

  72. #91 – and that wont happen either. Wren has no choice but to let Bobby leave on his terms. Wren said earlier this year that if Bobby wants to return he will. Wren may suggest that Bobby moves upstairs to another position, but I doubt that any baseball fan would know anything about that discussion

  73. Since we know that Wren can’t fire Bobby, the argument about whether he should fire him will rage on.

    For those in the should camp I’ll point out that this is probably the first time in 3.5 years that the team has been anything close to good and we still have some serious issues.

  74. Mac,

    Frequently people on here say that Wren shouldn’t tell Cox what to do because that is not his job, but rather that Wren’s job is to evaluate and change managers if he see fit. So, if everybody is in on the fire Cox decision, why isn’t everybody in on the stupid overuse of relievers?

    In practical terms, Wren is not about to fire Bobby without the “higher ups” on board, nor, in my opinion, should he. However, his heinie is on the line for non performance (as in not winning) and he should realize this is an area where change is needed. And he should take it to the higher ups rather than waiting for them to make a move.

    And Johnny @ 90,

    Francoeur was toppled by, first the blogosphere, followed by second the local media in Atlanta, and THEN, low and behold, the FO starts putting out stuff negative on Francoeur. It is not that the blogosphere traded Francoeur, but it certainly influenced the debate.

    Wren is not an idiot. He undoubtedly sees these failings. Where the blogosphere comes into it is in showing that there is a significant and growing anti-Cox contingent.

    @88, Johnny,


    As to qualities needed in a new manager, a better appreciation for taking pitches and getting walks, a significant dislike for bunts, a PLAN for reliever use that assures that relievers don’t pile up appearances, and a slightly greater “kick ass” methodology (not Bowa esque, but more affirmative than what cox does). I have no doubt that a reasonable candidate can emerge from a search.

    I likewise have no doubt that Cox will continue to cost this team 5 plus games a year versus Marcel the Monkey (that is really what the pythag is telling us once we get the multiple year continuance of that pattern) until he is moved.

  75. Isn’t this the last year on Bobby’s contract? Wren may not have the institutional support to outright fire Bobby during the season, but if he can’t choose not to offer him a new contract afterward, then he’s not really the GM — Shuerholz is.

  76. Ron E.,

    I think that is, as to the Cox issue, no doubt the effective truth. Wren can’t “do away with” Cox without “higher ups” concurring (or maybe even initiating it).

    And yes, the contract is up at the end of the season. And I actually expect a change this winter (but I can certainly be wrong).

    And as to Marcel the Monkey, I meant that as in “random computer generalizations” not as in literally a monkey.

  77. @90 Cliff you are deluding yourself.

    a. If the blogosphere had been influential in any way Francoeur would have started the season in Gwinnett or in another organization.

    b. You are right Wren isn’t an idiot because the blogosphere was singing the praises of Bobby Cox just a couple of weeks ago after our stirring series win over the Dodgers. He isn’t going to fire Bobby Cox just becuase Derrick Lowe couldn’t pitch in this game and Omar Infante and Adam LaRoche couldn’t field.

    c. You would be hard pressed to put any proof into your statement that Bobby’s field decisions cost 5 games per year.

    Look Bobby does some stuff that drives me just bat shit crazy. (hope I’m not offending any winged mammals or for that matter feces :) But I look at it this way. He pulls Lowe and Medlen gets rocked. The blogosphere goes nuts saying he is an effing moron for putting a rookie in a high leverage situation. He leaves Lowe in and Lowe induces a double play ball and pitches around trouble. Cox praised for knowing the strengths of his veteran pitcher. In other words every decision is a crap shoot. The only ‘genius manager’ is the guy that has all 25 guys execute perfectly in every situation. Last time I watched there were 50 very gifted athletes out there playing a difficult game but none of them were perfect.

  78. Johnny,

    4 years running of underperforming the pythag by 5 to 6 games. That is evidence and, by the unfortunately amorphous nature of evidence for such, pretty good under the circumstances.

    However, there is NO factual evidentiary proof that anybody can submit to the contrary, that Cox has been recently successfully managing this team. So if proof is what is needed, the Pro-Cox gang has a mountain to climb unless it falls back on “well so and so likes Bobby.”

    This team has underperformed for the past several years. Even after adjusting for the talent they had (yes, talent has not been great) and adjusting for non contributions of the injured (who do not affect statistics, right?), the team doesn’t win as often as its runs scored (talent manifested in peformance) and runs allowed (talent manifested in performance) say it should.

    And yes, it is somewhat random to underperform pythag. But this is 4 years in a row. If you see somebody win at poker 4 times in a row is that random chance? If somebody rolls 7, 4 times in a row do you not wonder if the dice are loaded?

  79. We’ve won some recruiting battles with Auburn recently, which can’t be a good sign for the Tiger program.

  80. Cox makes mistakes, sure, but who do you think we’d get to replace him? Who would do a better job? The way I see it, most managers around have basically the same faults and blind spots that Cox has. However, Cox has all of those great “intangibles” that you want in a manager (like continuity, the broad support of the players, etc.), and if you get some one new, you run the risk of having the same faults without any of the useful things.

    So there’s a lot of downside to firing Cox but not a lot of upside.

  81. Cliff,

    Where we fundamentally disagree is our opinions on how much a manager affects winning and losing. The first sentence of your 103 post should have said ‘4 years running of THE TEAM underperforming the pythag by 5 to 6 games’

    Using the pythagorean theorem to say that the team has under performed and then use that as evidence that its Cox’s fault is fatuous. To your point the pythag is about as random as an ouiga board. The most accurate explanation for the Brave’s lack of success the last 3 seasons is pretty simple. They weren’t a very good team. Injury to key players, unexpected drops in performance or expected increases in performance not occuring will do that to a team.

  82. No, not that computer. I’d have to delete my porn to make room for the Braves Management software. The hard drive is full.

  83. RE: Pythagorean Record

    I don’t think it’s a good way to judge a manager’s performance. If over the course of a series a team wins 10-1, and then loses 2-1 and 1-0, they outscored their opponent 12-3, but lost the series.

    “Pythagoras says they should be 3-0! Fire the manager!” That doesn’t do it for me.

  84. The blogosphere has no influence on managerial decisions, none.
    Performance and attendance do, because for a GM to be successful you have to be winning or selling lots of Tix, thats it.

  85. I don’t have any computer stats, this just seems obvious to me. Clearly, bad managerial decisions (or the absence of good managerial decisions) can be the difference winning and losing. Refusing to make a move when it is clearly the best thing to do or making a move that is clearly the worst thing to do, often is the difference in a close game. Yes, players can overcome bad managerial decisions — thus, Diaz’s bunt gets mishandled and ends up allowing us to tie the game (a bad managerial decision that happened to work out). But over the long haul, stupid decisions cost you in close games (or in situations where the game might be kept close if a move is made). Dusty Baker is the poster boy for this (but Bobby is rapidly drawing even with him).

  86. @113,

    we call it “The Dungeon”…it’s named after an Australian metal band, since I love music and stuff

  87. Was it that great theologian Voltaire who said something like:

    “I may despise what you say, but will die to defend your right to say it.” ?

    That, like most libertarian tenets can be carried too far, but it’s a pretty good foundational plank for a civilized, self-policing blog.

    Having said that, if one or more of our consistent posters makes a reasonable request, I for one would try to honor it.

    Not to do so would be gay.

  88. Jason, the Pythagorean approach is quick and dirty, and not perfect — but it’s not meaningless, and it stands up to the common sense test. The best teams should be the teams who score a lot of runs and don’t give up a lot of runs. If you score a lot of runs and don’t give up a lot of runs, you should win a lot of games.

    If you win 81 games by a 9-run margin, and lose 81 games by a 1-run margin, you’re going to have severely underperformed your Pythagorean win expectancy, and fans would be justified in asking why the hell the team couldn’t have managed a better record considering how well they played in half their games.

  89. We’re probably going to miss the playoffs by 2 – 5 games.

    That’s where adroit managing becomes so very important. Nonsense like last night – coupled with all those other head-scratchers this year – cannot simply be waved away by past success.

    If I’m Frank Wren, I’m looking for somebody who wins a few he shouldn’t and hardly ever blows ones we have in hand.

  90. Bad talent explains the level of actual runs scored and the level of actual runs allowed. I suppose you can say “they weren’t even that good” but, again, THAT is the position that is UNSUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE.

    Pythag adjusts for the hitter striking out or not walking or not hitting for power or not taking the extra base and for Ynel’s stupid baserunning and Prado and Chipper’s failures to knock down balls and on and on. EVEN AFTER all of that, the team still, (for how long, chorus? maybe 4 years) hasn’t met the expected win level. That is consecutive years.

    And as to the appropriateness of utilizing Pythag to judge managerial talent, the first time I saw it was in an article by a known national columnist / blogger. I can’t remember, but I think it was Neyer. And the conclusion from that was that Cox was one of the best managers ever, because his roughly 1991 to 2000 pythag was almost always 3 to 5 wins LESS than actual (and nobody else in hsitory had ever consistently over performed pythag like that). Again, there is nothing but substantilly more nebulous stuff saying he “is” a good manager and none of it is as strong as the last 4 years’ pythag.

  91. Can you give some examples of “somebody who wins a few he shouldn’t and hardly ever blows ones we have in hand.”?

  92. I think we can all agree that Lowe sucked and that the Braves are pretty much running in place. I certainly think Cox has to start managing with more urgency; whether or not Lowe was pitching that badly is not the point. Bad things were happening to him and, at this point, you can’t afford to just let it snowball like that.

    I think Alex is right; this game might have been the nail in the coffin. The Marlins, Giants, and Rockies are winning and while the Braves aren’t that far behind, catching three teams isn’t easy. Yes, they play the Marlins a lot, but is there any reason to think they will play better against them than they have so far?

  93. What about the release of Eric Campbell? Something on that was up earlier. Is it for real? Any word on why?

    He certainly had not performed well lately. But, unless they really had a bad problem with him or really had somebody that needed playing time, it seems strange.

    Plus, it would look like this would be Van Pope’s last year and maybe a few more.

  94. #117 Funny. Very funny.

    #120 Uhhhh Cliff – so you’re saying that the last 3 or 4 years that those talented Braves teams underperformed becuase of their incompetent boob of a manager? And your evidence is because they performed below their pythag projection? Really????????
    Taking last year as an example:
    It didn’t have anything to do with our #1 and #2 starters having season ending injuries? A right fielder that hit like Rafael Belliard in a down year? Our projected 6 7 and 8 guys going on the DL for extended periods of time. Thats a lot of bad shit happening and yet the Braves STILL won less than their pythagorean expectation? Well I’ll be damned. That crappy manager should have his ass fired. Or maybe sir you should take the pythagorean projection for what it is worth.

  95. If you think you can find a manager who is, over the course of the season, going to be better than Bobby Cox by 5 or so games, then by all means fire Bobby and hire the other guy.

    I’ll agree that Bobby screwed the pooch (sorry PETA folks) last night with Lowe, but I think Bobby brings far more to the table than his questionable in-game moves take away.

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