Phillies 3, Braves 2

Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies – Box Score – August 30, 2009 – ESPN

You can’t lose this game. The Braves, after an early solo homer by Prado, were shut down by Joe Blanton, and Jair Jurrjens, after giving up a solo homer to Utley, got screwed by his defense. It was 1-0 for the first three innings, 1-1 after Utley’s homer. Jurrjens got out of a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the fifth.

In the seventh, he walked Ibanez to lead off the inning. In one of those events that shows why the bunt can be a good play, Chipper threw away a sacrifice, putting runners on second and third, none out. The next batter hit a fly ball that ACHE misplayed so badly that it was turned from an error to a hit, allowing two runs to score. None of it was Jurrjens’ fault, but there it is.

The Braves got a run in the eighth. Diaz was hit by a pitch, and Prado singled. (At that point, he had three hits and the rest of the team had one.) Chipper singled to right to score Diaz, but Prado couldn’t get to third. It cost the Braves, as McCann hit into a double play and ACHE flew out. They went meekly against the World’s Worst Closer in the ninth.

71 thoughts on “Phillies 3, Braves 2”

  1. That was a great matchup in the 9th – the world’s worst closer vs. the world’s worst hitter (Norton). I guess we all knew who would win that battle.

  2. You know, the Phillies being the best team in the league and the defending world champions might have something to do with it. We should have won this game, but there’s no shame in losing to this team.

  3. Mac,

    I disagree with you slightly. JJ walked a guy who was in an approx. 6-45 slump to open the inning. That is asking for trouble. JJ is not solely to blame, far, far from it, but he has some responsiblity. Without that walk, none of the rest of the inning happens.

    You ask for trouble walking leadoff men, especially from the 7th inning on.

    EDIT: Your 4 post is right on, I was talking about the recap.

  4. when roster expansion hits, do you know who the braves are going to add? luiz valdez and clint sammons (along with brooks conrad, as to which i’m ok with). not brandon jones, not barbaro canizares, not gregor blanco (at least he can run). to me, that sounds like callups you make when you’ve thrown in the towel. why in the hell would the braves call up a backup catcher? hell, our backup catcher plays once every 2 weeks as it is.

  5. @ 3 – I don’t know how you define not good enough to make the playoffs. It looks to me like San Fran, Colorado, Florida and the Cubs are also not good enough to make the playoffs. The reality is that one will make it. With the sweep of the Rockies and Florida’s subpar series, the Braves seem about as likely to make it as they did before the Phillies series.

  6. @ 6 – Calling up a backup catcher is customary. This gives McCann a chance to get a day off from catching and to still be able to pinch hit. Valdez makes also makes sense. I get the feeling we’ll see the other guys soon.

  7. @7 I am not saying the other teams are good, but I just don’t see how our offense is good enough to support our pitching…especially the way Chipper and Mac are struggling right now.

  8. @9 The Braves can have ten catchers on the bench and Mac will still not get any off day until the Braves are completely out of it.

    @8 That’s my thinking too from the start of the year. We really need a power bat. We can’t have Mac hitting cleanup and carrying such a heavy load of our offense. It’s not like we are the Twins and they can rest Mauer by playing him at DH. We need one more power bat beyond the potential promotion of Heyward.

  9. @11 – You may be right, but in theory it’s still a good idea. Just like in theory Conrad should take at bats away from Norton – like yeah, that’s going to happen!

  10. Even is Sammons won’t reduce McC’s playing time, he does allow Ross to be used as a ph. Not that Ross is so great but anything that reduces Norton’s PA’s is worthwhile.

  11. Even is Sammons won’t reduce McC’s playing time, he does allow Ross to be used as a ph. Not that Ross is so great but anything that reduces Norton’s PA’s is worthwhile.

  12. @13 Can anyone able to take at-bats away from Norton?! If neither KJ nor Infante can, I doubt Conrad will!

  13. Bobby’s Nortonophilia is literally inexplicable. I know he’s fallen in love with some bad players, but they usually had something going for them, at least in theory. Norton is a pinch-hitting specialist who can’t hit.

  14. Oh, and regarding something on the game thread — the ten-day rule does not apply after roster expansion. Last year, Morton was sent down on August 29 and recalled on Sept. 2.

  15. It’s not over. Mind you, I don’t think this team is heading to the playoffs, but it’s not over.

  16. Did Ya’ll know……..the Nationals have out homered, out scored, have more walks and more stolen bases than our Braves.

    It’s something to think about when considering our Braves are ranked fourth in team ERA among all thirty teams.

  17. And entering today, the Nats (who have a pretty good offense) were averaging 4.58 runs a game. The Braves were averaging 4.57. League average was 4.48. The only teams in the NL above the median in both runs scored and runs allowed are the Phillies, the Dodgers, the Rockies, and the Braves. Even the Cards are a little below the median in offense.

  18. If ya’ll hadn’t read it already, Huddy’s start was pushed back to Tuesday because of all the injury concerns among the outfield and infield.

    The roster expansion should be interesting.

  19. The Nationals have a solid offense. No shame in being outscored by those guys.

    I will say that it’s disappointing to get shut down by Joe Blanton, however.

  20. #4–Totally agree–the Phillies have beaten us 2 out of 3 in consecutive series and, yes, things might have turned out differently, but they are a really strong team….

    But, pounding Lee and and struggling against Blanton… thats frustrating….

  21. In one of those events that shows why the bunt can be a good play, Chipper threw away a sacrifice, putting runners on second and third, none out.

    Any chance we’ve seen enough of these game-altering defensive bunt meltdowns to take a break from calling them “stupid” and “giving away outs”. If not, are we at least getting close?

    And any word on why Chipper was so shocked that Feliz bunted, after a leadoff walk in a tie game in the seventh, that all he could manage is his little barehand heave throw? Didn’t most folks expect a bunt there?

  22. @27 Should the blame be solely on Chipper or manager/coaches are also responsible for defensive positioning?

    @26 It’s frustrating because we have the pitching staff to match up with any team. The problem is our offense.

  23. 27, I’ll spell it our for you.

    Cox had his defense playing back and got caught with his pants down. Speaking of defense, ours stinks.

    The pitching is playoff caliber. Both starters and bullpen.

    However, the offense is mediocre as is the defense and the total lack of any running game, or the ability to manufacture runs is killing us.

    something else to think about: 68 wins in spite of 78 quality starts and nine more games where our starters pitched at least five innings while giving up two runs or less.

  24. @29 I am in perfect agreement with you on everything you said.

    Wren played safe with pitching and gambled on getting good seasons from Frenchy, KJ, Kotch, and Schafer. He is getting exactly what he was asking for. His recovery with Nate, Church, and Adam was too little too late for this season.

    And yes, our team defense is terrible except at 1B and SS. Our team speed outside of Nate…it’s not even worth mention…it’s as good as Norton in hitting.

  25. Agreed KC.

    Now ya’ll know why I sound like a broken record.

    Pitching, Defense!

    Pitching, Defense!

    Pitching, Defense!

    The two go hand in hand.

  26. @27 Should the blame be solely on Chipper or manager/coaches are also responsible for defensive positioning?

    Sure…I was just wondering if there was a story on why they weren’t playing bunt in a situation where a bunt was at least possible.

    We can’t have Mac hitting cleanup and carrying such a heavy load of our offense.

    kc, you are obviously fond or writing this, I’ve read it probably a dozen times. Why do you believe this? Do you honestly believe it makes a difference if McCann bats later in the game? Mike Piazza hit third or fourth his whole career, played on some real good teams, and lasted forever. Johnny Bench hit 3-4-5 all the time, his Red teams were great, and he went on to a HOF career. It’s rare a catcher hits well enough to warrant hitting fourth but if they are then go for it.

    If you are going to keep typing that could you at least back it up with something?

  27. When it comes to clean up hitters and the four hole, the league production average is a .277 BA with 23 homers, 88 RBI and a .478 slugging percentage.

    Braves cleanup hitters have a collective (including McCann) average of .280 with 23 homers and 88 RBI.

    The clean up hitter ain’t the problem.

    Our combined lead off hitters of KJ, Infante, McLouth, Church, Blanco and Diaz have hit .267 with 14 HR’s, 89 runs scored and 61 RBI. They have an OBP of .338 with 12 stolen bases, 55 Walks and 98 strike outs.

    The NL League average: .270 BA with 10 HR’s, 81 runs scored and 48 RBI. An average OBP of .334 with 20 stolen bases, 50 walks and 99 strike outs.

    Our lead off position has been slightly above average except for the stolen bases because we are severely lacking in team speed, which has limited the Braves ability to put runners in scoring position.

  28. Robert, let me write from another angle. All I am saying is: Mac needs some help. He can’t play everyday without inevitably fading, which is exactly what is happening to him right now. If my memory serves me right, Piazza also has a tendency to fade toward the end of the season because of the same reason.

    We signed Ross for a reason. We can certainly run Mac out onto the field everyday, but we will not get the level of production which we know Mac is capable of. I originally thought Mac would be fresh toward the end of this season considering the downtime he had in April, but I guess that’s not the case.

    If you want some supporting, I think seeing Mac’s struggle in August is enough of a support. I certainly understand why Bobby plays Mac everyday because he is our best player, but the kid is tired. Mac himself admitted that he is beaten. We need another bat who can carry the offense so that Mac can rest a little bit more and produce at the level where he is capable of delivering, and I hope Wren can deliver that in this offseason.

    The fact that he is batting fourth means he is one of our best player, which is hardly a bad thing. Unfortunately, our best player can not play everyday, and he needs some help, which is all I am saying. Perhaps you have mis-understood what I wanted to say from the beginning, and it’s probably my own fault, ha.

  29. If the Braves had taken 4 out of 6 from the Padres and Phils, they’d now be 1.5 games out of the wild card. That they instead lost 4 out of 6 should convince any doubters: the 2009 Atlanta Braves — not a playoff team. And Gorecki is pathetic. Can we please swap him for Blanco who at least can get on base and steal?

  30. I dunno Mac, ACHE had a long run on that ball in the 7th. Had he caught the ball it would have been a hell of a play.

    No shame in losing to he Phils, I agree. They are a very good team. Chase Utley is simply outstanding.

  31. What is really shocking is how much better the Phillies starting pitching has gotten. I didn’t think they were that good earlier, but I have to say, they are a pretty damn good team. But Joe Blanton shouldn’t be able to go through the order that easily. Without Church/McClouth and having Gorecki in there, the Braves don’t have a lot of firepower with Chipper, especially, struggling. He looked horrendous his first couple of at bats. And the fact is, no one on the Braves offense is really having a great season (although Yunel has been very good). It’s hard to win when you don’t have at least one guy blowing things out.

    What is really frustrating is to give up 8 runs in three games (one unearned) to the best hitting team in the league in their bandbox park and lose two of the games. Not much that managing can do about that.

  32. Hey Mac! I’ve been wandering the wilderness and happened across your new, improved site. Great to see you’re alive and the discussion is still great!

    Couldn’t believe the Phils’ half of the seventh. Close game relatively late, I can’t believe that no one thought Feliz might actually bunt. It’s not like the Braves are the ’27 Yanks, even with the Phils’ bullpen woes.

    Chipper should have been in a couple of steps, but one thing no one is talking about is Prado should have left the base and gotten the throw. 1st and 2nd with no outs is a far sight better than 2nd and 3rd and no outs. Anderson isn’t a good defensive LF, but that would have been a good play had he managed to catch it.

    Phils are good. No shame in losing to them. Our best OF would be their 4th OF.

    Gorecki can’t hit, but he actually looks like a decent defensive OF. That should serve him well in Japan.

  33. Braves 2009:
    JJ piches out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam.
    Our last hope for the night-Greg Norton.

    How far we’ve come; how far left to go.

    Stupid Fish next.

    Go Braves!

  34. 25-16 without francoeur. this is a good team. church and mclouth both injured are hurting our chances to make the playoffs. mclouth doesnt have a history of injuries but church, i can tell, is going to be a frustrating player to have on a regular roster. i think people will be singing a different tune when we have this team for a full season.

  35. Well, looking on the bright side, the Braves have clinched their second consecutive winning month (and third overall). Last year, they only had one winning month all season. This isn’t exactly the nineties, but it is some progress. I have to say, it’s a bit sad to see just how far the Braves are behind the Phillies in terms of talent–although that may change in the next couple of years. Let’s fact it, the “Baby Braves” of 2005, with the exception of McCann, were supposed to be the foundation of another run but, except for McCann, have been big disappointments. I think this has been the big problem rather than the lack of payroll.

  36. Believe it or not, it doesn’t look like losing 2 out of 3 to the Phillies is a killer in the Wild Card chase, but our division chances are slim and none. However, losing 2 out of 3 or worse to the Marlins this week will most likely do in our WC hopes.

    Believe it or not, as critical as I’ve been of Cox, he may be the best manager to have of the other WC contenders in this situation. He won’t give you a 10 game winning streak most likely, but he can help keep the team from getting too high or too low and can keep the focus on winning series.

  37. At this point extra baseball in October would be a bonus for me. The team looked so moribund in April, May and the first half of June that the fact that we are even discussing the playoff picture is refreshing.

  38. Hey, Mac – what’s this I hear about the Tide having multiple players with the Swine Flu?

  39. There have been dozens of cases reported on the Vanderbilt campus already, though none among the football players, as far as I’m aware. The potential is obviously there for a rough situation, though.

  40. @44,

    In a short series, you could argue that anyone could beat anyone else. But I think the Braves would have trouble scoring against Carpenter and Wainwright.

  41. Come on…the Braves’ pitching staff on the season is like .08 ERA behind the Cards’ and the Braves have about 120 more strikeouts vs about 60 more walks.

    The Braves have a higher team batting avg and OPS than the Cards.

    I think if they played ten seven games series, they’d each win 5.

  42. It’s not over. Mind you, I don’t think this team is heading to the playoffs, but it’s not over.

    This team, like the Rockies, Giants, Marlins or even the Cubs, might make the playoffs. That’s not a testament to this team, per se, so much it is a damnation of the wild card scenario. This team is decent. It’s not a great team by any stretch. But in the wild card era, mediocre-to-decent teams have a chance at being “playoff teams” because they let second place clubs play for “championships” these days.

    Regardless, I’m happy with the progress Atlanta has made on their rebuild. For 2010 they need to replace Garret Anderson with a better OF – his horrific play in LF lost the game for us last night – and stabalize Chipper for the next three years of his contract.

    Oh, and that Heyward kid might deserve a shot out of spring training.

  43. Garrett’s play isnt what lost the game for the braves, Chippers play hurt just as much. The inept offense and not being able to score in a high school ball park vs Joe Blanton is what cost them

  44. I think the upgrade of McLouth vs Gorecki in the OF over the last two weeks would mean the difference in at least a couple of those close games… Pity he’s down with hammy troubles. To have a shot at even the WC we either need McLouth OR Chipper/McCann to get out of their funk for September… preferably both.

  45. The inept offense and not being able to score in a high school ball park vs Joe Blanton is what cost them

    Perhaps, but over his last 10 starts Joe Blanton has gone 7-3 with an ERA of 2.14. In that stretch he has failed to go seven or more innings only twice (one six inning game, on 6.2 inning game.) He has held his opponents to a .650 OPS during that stretch.

    To put that another way, over the last 10 games Joe Blanton has made his opponents hit worse than Jeff Francoeur while logging quality starts every single outing. If he were a Brave we’d be talking about how he’d turned a corner or something.

  46. someone just told me that Huddy has had his start moved to tomorrow and that Kawakami is going vs Josh Johnson tonight. Any news on why? Are we going to a 6 man rotation now?

    edit: nevermind the braves website said they moved it so they didnt have to make a roster move, they couldve released Norton but Im sure Bobby will be using him over any other bench player till the season is over

  47. It’s a roster expansion issue. With the injuries in the outfield, they weren’t able to make the moves they intended tonight, so they’re activating Hudson tomorrow instead.

  48. So is KK definitely going to the bullpen after tonight’s start? And will Hudson be eligible for the postseason roster?

    edit: You know, not to get ahead of ourselves or anything…

  49. 57,
    I think you overestimate McLouth’s impact. He plays bad defense and has hit .260/.344/.419 as a Brave. Now, that’s not to say it wouldn’t be an upgrade over Gorecki’s .227/.250/.227, but it’s 24 PA’s. It’s not like you’re replacing Alex Rodriguez with Tony Pena Jr. It isn’t worth a full win.

    EDIT: McLouth would be good for roughly 1 more hit, 2 more walks, and 4 more TB over that period.

  50. #61, my impression is they are just going to skip KK in a turn or two through the rotation rather than move him to the bullpen. He needs more rest (coming from Japan where they use a true 6 man rotation) not more work.

  51. This sort of thing (along with picking the Mets every year) is why people think that Neyer is biased against the Braves:

    As September dawns – SweetSpot by Rob Neyer – ESPN

    In the National, it’s the Giants and the Rockies and the Marlins (and the Marlins have to be considered a fringe candidate, as they’ve actually been outscored this season).

    The Braves have the same record as the Marlins… and a +55 runs differential.

  52. I hadn’t been under the impression McLouth was “bad defense” in CF (and I know I’ve had the impression, though it may be wrong, that every time a ball has been hit to CF with Gorecki out there it seems like he’s lost trying to get to them). McLouth also seems to be pretty good with runners on (his OPS with the Braves when runners are on is .865, a hundred points higher than his overal OPS with the Braves)…

    Granted, it’s tough to argue that having Nate the last two weeks would mean more than a couple runs here or there, and maybe not even a extra “win”, but we’ve had enough close ones that it feels like he might have made the difference in a couple of those situations where we had guys on but couldn’t get them home.

  53. I hadn’t been under the impression McLouth was “bad defense” in CF

    He’s not “bad”, he’s just not notablye “good.” In a perfect world Jordan Schafer heals and hits well enough to play CF in the majors, moving McLouth to LF. He would be an above average defender on one of the corners. That would also allow Heyward to caddy with Diaz in RF assuming no big bat was acquired in the off-season.

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