Reds 3, Braves 1

Cincinnati Reds vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – September 04, 2009 – ESPN

I still think that this has been a pretty successful season, all things considered, and wish the Rockies well in the playoffs.

You knew it was shaping up as a bad game when the Braves loaded the bases with none out in the first, but McCann hit into a 5-2-3 double play. Don’t see that every day. Unless you’re us. Immediately after getting nothing out of that situation, Lowe gave up a homer to give the Reds the lead. They made it 3-0 with two runs in the sixth; only a double play kept it from being worse.

Meanwhile, Escobar — the Braves’ best player — left the game after the fourth inning when he lined off the pitcher, was hit on the head with a thrown baseball, and then wrenched his knee trying to hit the bag. To add insult to literal injury, he was called out for running in the baseline. (It was the right call, it’s just that the umpires get that call wrong so often.) Bobby got himself ejected arguing. (Again, right call, but frustration.)

McLouth, activated from the DL, didn’t start, but came into the game when Infante moved from the outfield to short to take Escobar’s place. McLouth then hit a homer for the Braves’ only run… Lowe went seven, allowing three runs. It’s the putative quality start, but he didn’t really look that good, and gave up seven hits and two walks. Moylan pitched the eighth. Kawakami (!) pitched the ninth, getting the Reds in order. If he was available last night, the Medlen thing is even more inexplicable. Maybe he wasn’t.

66 thoughts on “Reds 3, Braves 1”

  1. Totally lifeless.

    Anyway, agree with the successful season statement. The team is trending upwards, next season should be fun.

  2. and Laroche trying to bunt towards first with two outs in the 8th, great idea

    either way, season was better than expected. Offseason should be fun. Football starting tomorrow is even better

  3. Having given up Hope for this year, I have an even better one than my usual Hope story about Pandora. It turns out that in ancient Norse belief, Hope is the drool that comes from the mouth of the Fenris Wolf that will eat the Sun at the end of the world. Hope: not actually a good thing at all.

  4. Over all a good season. Although some excoriate Wren for over paying Lowe, giving Chipper too many years blah blah blah, he did a good job of filling some major holes for the team ……. too late. Right now its all about 2010. I like our chances. Now just finish the season over .500 and with some pride.

  5. if we can keep LaRoche, get McLouth healthy for a year, and Heyward is ready this offense should be better. Id still like a bigger bat in RF, but it appears Diaz may get that job. Just going to be interesting with what Wren does with the SP situation and with the back end of the bullpen.

    Getting a new manager and rid of Norton may be big moves also. This was a good year, but couldve better. Pitching has been too good

  6. I’m fine with a Diaz/Church platoon in RF, or in one of the corner outfield spots, so long as we either (1) sign a legitimate corner outfielder or (2) Heyward is ready. He could be like a Justin Upton, productive in his age-20 season. That’d be pretty cool.

  7. I’m not at all trying to justify what Cox did on Thursday night as I think Cox has managed far beyond his usefulness, but perhaps the decision to use Kawakami in the bullpen had not been made last night and that game was the decision maker.

  8. Bummer.

    Caught a decent game at Citi Field tonight. A crucial moment came when Lou Piniella issued Francoeur an IBB. From there, things went dramatically downhill for the Cubs.

    From previous thread…
    UGA actually opened with Oklahoma State 3 years ago. This is the second part of the home-and-home.

    When you schedule these things, it’s hard to know what kinda team you’re gonna get. I mean, we scheduled Petrino’s Louisville squad a few years ago & the games are still 2-3 years off, but it doesn’t look like such a big deal now.

    A few years after that, we have a home-and-home with Oregon, too, but who the hell knows what that’ll be like either?

    As for OSU, looks like this group turned out pretty good—at least on one side of the ball.

    My thoughts about the game? I’m excited. But, I’d be excited if we were opening with South Carolina or Clemson, too.

    ’09 overview & OSU game outlook:

    Home team in CAPS

    Alabama 27 Va Tech 12 (Atlanta)
    MIAMI (Ohio) 23 Kentucky 14
    Georgia 28 OKLA ST 17
    MISS ST 16 Jackson St 0
    FLORIDA 93 Charleston So 0
    AUBURN 19 La Tech 10
    ARKANSAS 41 Missouri St 26
    VANDY 18 West Carolina 3
    Western Kentucky 7 TENNESSEE 6
    Mississippi 23 MEMPHIS 21

  10. I’m not as high on Ole Miss as some people, it’s a road game, and I don’t think they’ll take Memphis too seriously. Last time these two teams played in Memphis the score was… 23-21, Mississippi. (I just looked that up, I didn’t know that when I predicted the score.) In Oxford last year, it was 41-24.

  11. are there any Notre Dame fans here, I dont ever really recall any. If so, sorry, but I hope you lose every game. Primarily because of spitting Lou predicting an NC every single year. He predicted them upsetting FLA in the championship game this year

  12. I am really glad that college football season is here! My feeling about ND is similar, but I like to see them decent enough so that they get overhyped–because it is so much more fun when they lose!

  13. I think the bullpen will be the major factor to address this offseason. Both Sori and Gonzo are free agents, Moylan might not have an arm left, Eric O had a nice first half but he’s really not very good. After that we don’t have anybody that inspires confidence. That will be Wren’s major task. A full season with this offense minus Norton plus a better bullpen equals playoffs.

  14. What we need to do with the pen is get guys in alternate years.

    Moylan was good two years ago, injured last year and good again this year (eventually). Most likely he’ll be injured next year.

    However, all that means is that Ohman is coming back into a good year of his cycle. So we sign him for a year, overpitch him, and watch him sign with someone else the year after for when he’s injured.

  15. @14: Honestly, I think this is Cox’s last year. Two ejections in two nights? He’s seeing his last opportunity to win a championship being pissed away and it’s making him angry. His demeanor on Thursday night with Jim Wolf was something I’d never seen before.

  16. It’s a good season if the Braves can finish relatively strong. At this point, I’m afraid they have regressed, especially with the injuries, Prado returning to normal, and the starting pitching beginning to struggle a bit.

    I really wish Bobby would leave but that’s not going to happen. That’s not to say I think he is responsible for the problems, but his decision-making has been less-than-stellar. It also bothers me how the team seems to have adopted his penchant for blaming the umpires or bad luck for losses. (“We hit the ball hard but right at people.”)

    On the other hand, even the best teams have bad weeks; the problem is the Braves put themselves in a hole early and just aren’t good enough to blow through the league like they used to.

  17. can someone please tell me why jeff francoeur is slugging .489, the highest of his career since his first year. is terry to blame? is it just a fluke? what the hell is going on?

  18. Cox and Pendelton are where all hits and run scoring rallies go to die… I’m not surprised at all that Francoeur is slugging .489. He got away from those two cancers

  19. #22 – Im really, honestly, glad he’s doing well. Im happier that he’s not a brave though. He wouldnt have ever gotten anything turned around here, its for the best

    I really would like to get an overhaul in our managing. I do think McDowell has done a good job though and wouldnt mind him staying. I want a manager that will allow his guys to run, try hit and runs, and stop the bunting insanity…seems like its Bobby’s philosophy that one run is always a success. In certain situations it may be, but not always. With that said I dont want Ned Yost like some here do

  20. I’m not surprised at all that Francoeur is slugging .489. He got away from those two cancers

    Are you serious? You’re telling me Cox and Pendleton were holding Francoeur back because they have no idea what they’re doing? Look, it’s an easy target, but the organization isn’t f’n stupid. And they wouldn’t keep them around if they were holding players back. No, that’s not what’s at play here. What you have here is a classic case of a sample size fallacy.

  21. #26 – I still dont think you can fire Bobby under any circumstance. He’s become our Bobby Bowden/Joe Paterno

  22. I wouldn’t read anything into what Francoeur is doing right now.

    Frenchy hit .286 in September of last year with the Braves. He does his best when the games are meaningless.

  23. i dont know about that ugly little troll up north. but at least Bowden keeps his footballl decisions to a minimum. unlike Cox……… but at least Bobby isnt NEARLY that old.

  24. 28, then you can look forward to more of the same thing that we are seeing right now.

    In my opinion, it’s suicide by stupidity to keep Bobby Cox around.

  25. @28

    Except Joe Paterno wins my friend. Cox is a loser, no longer capable of managing his teams to playoff appearances or playoff wins. I mean think about Cox hasn’t been to the playoffs/Won a playoff series in 8 years. Isn’t it obvious this guy’s time is over in ATL? This organization is f’n stupid PWHjort… Cox clearly hasn’t gotten it done in 8 years, why is he still around?

  26. i knew that would shake Jon out of his keystone light stupor. dangle the bait and he will bite.

  27. I guess PWHjort likes to watch his manager make one head scratching decision after another while watching his teams struggle to stay above .500. If this team was managed by a Joe Torre or a Tony LaRussa this team would be in the wild card lead at this point. That’s how much Cox’s decisions and managing have hurt this team this year.

  28. @36

    Did I write that article? Sounds like I was reading my own ideas. Guy hit the nail square on the head. As long as Cox is managing this team, the braves won’t make the playoffs/or win once they get there. Cox has been out managed by about every other quality manager out there it’s become disgusting. Frank Wren… please fire Cox or convince him to step down

  29. #36 – what? Im totally in agreement with everything thats being said there. I dont want Bobby back, I dont think many here do

  30. @39

    Damn! how could I forget!? Chipper’s struggles are a combination of his declining ability and Cox moronic managing. Just because you have a guy who has always batted 3rd in his life doesn’t mean you just put him there because its what you’ve always done. Any manager with a sense of what Chipper can do for your team would understand that his skills aren’t suited for a three hole batter. Chipper would be better off shifted down the lineup into the 5th or 6th spot. But that would of course require Wren to go out and get a cleanup hitter. Everyone loves Mccann but the guy is just not a cleanup hitter. Mccann and Chipper have been put into situations this year that they simply aren’t suited for due to Cox mismanaging

  31. Hopefully Bobby will just retire after the season like Glavine should have last year. It’s obvious to everyone that he can’t get it done anymore now that the Braves can’t run out a roster that’s among the top in the league in payroll to cover up his tactical mistakes. The Braves need a new manager who doesn’t have his best hitters bunt, uses his best relievers in blowouts, and doesn’t generally mishandle the bullpen and bench. Unfortunately they’ll probably end up hiring somebody like Pendleton to replace Bobby who will just do a lot of the same things, but at least it will take me a year or two to feel the same disgust at him that I now do at Bobby.

  32. @40 Jon, I personally believe Chipper’s decline this season is mainly due to Bobby riding him too hard during this summer, and same can be said to McCann. You are talking about a defending batting champion. It will take another sub-Chipper-standard season before I truely believe he is declining.

    I have said the following before the season started and I will say this now again: we can only rely Chipper and Mac to play three-quarter of the season, and I have said countless time (and bashed by many people) that we can’t rely on Mac hitting cleanup. We need couple more guys to help the two. Getting Nate and Adam help a lot (we started our recent struggle when Nate went down, and it’s not a coincidence), and we need to get more this offseason. At the minimum, we need to keep Adam or get something similar on top of the pending arrival of Heyward.

    @36 I have asked before who wrote the team reports for Yahoo Sports…because that guy is so sharp in highlighting the team’s problems that DOB and Bowman would never write.

  33. 46,

    Agree with you 100%. We NEED a clean-up hitter. I don’t know how you can defend using McCann (as awesome as he is) in that spot. He needs rest every 4-5 days and he only has 18 HRs so far this year. That ain’t gonna get it done.

  34. @47 Because he is the best we have for that spot, but I am not blaming Wren for it because there is simply no way the team can improve everything in one offseason. This year is supposed to be our rebuilding year, and the fact that we are actually in a wild card race is amazing enough.

    Crazy but not so crazy idea: KK becomes our closer next season.

  35. I think that the bulk of the complaints with Bobby is coming from bullpen management, with the remainder centering around one Greg Norton. Norton is indefensible, but I question the perspective of most Braves fans on the bullpen (including myself) because what else do they know since Bobby has been here so long?

    Would Fredi Gonzalez (or x) use the back of the bullpen more or less? Does Bobby use the main guys that much more frequently than others (perhaps by appearances, but not by innings, check the stats)? Does our offensive futility for large stretches of the year artificially create more close games than usual, necessitating the (over)use of our best relievers?

    I’ll admit that I disagree with throwing Medlen 3 straight days, but I think for some people, we would be 119-22 (or whatever) right now if Bobby had just pulled the right strings in the pen. It’s difficult to sort out reasonable criticism of Bobby’s bullpen moves when criticism comes every time a reliever (or starter after the fifth inning) gives up a run.

  36. @49 I mentioned the following couple days ago:

    “I used to like Bobby’s style of using one reliever for one inning strategy, but I think I am starting to buy Torre’s multiple inning usage style now. If we still have the big threes in their prime who can routinely throw seven or eight innings per start, then Bobby’s style makes sense…but when all starters can only go six or sometimes five innings per start, Bobby’s style requires a much deeper bullpen.”

    …because the guys simply do not have time to recover under Bobby’s style. Somebody has to take up couple innings instead of everybody throwing one inning, which is where Torre’s style come in. I know there are also people who bash Torre for killing his relievers, but I am starting to like Torre’s bullpen management style better.

    Mac, triple play (Frenchy) kills rallies too!!!

  37. True, kc. However, I don’t think anyone can make a definitive argument whether more innings or more appearances are worse. I know most Braves fans disagree with the high appearances, but I would guess it would be the same with the Torre approach given similar results. I think our bullpen ERA is still 4th in the NL, too, so the overwork isn’t killing effectiveness too much… this year. Unless we really had the 2002 pen and should have a 2.12 ERA or whatever it was.

  38. this is big news…per Carroll

    “Just heard Jason Heyward is on his way to Gwinnett. Found out last night. So I suspect he’ll be there today, get a couple games to finish out the regular season and head to the playoffs with them.”

    Im guessing that with a strong showing he’ll be in RF next season

  39. @51 drewdat, I would generally agree with what you said until I see three of the top five NL game appearances among relievers are from the Braves…with Moylan leading the league and ahead of second place by four games…something is wrong there…

    @52 I originally thought Wren would pull a Hanson on Heyward to save money, but everything indicates to me that Wren is planning to have Heyward starting in Atlanta at the start of next season.

  40. #53–Heyward should make it to Atlanta next season, but it will depend on how well he plays in the AFL as to whether he gets there in the spring. Heyward may very well eat up the AFL, but I hope that the Braves also learned a lesson with Schafer. As things stand now, I would be happy to see Heyward get 100-200 ABs at AAA under his belt before he begins in Atlanta….

  41. @55 Stephen, I understand your concern, but I am much more comfortable with the Braves pushing Heyward than any other kids they have rushed before (including Schafer, Frenchy, Andruw, Furcal).

    Schafer has obvious strikezone judgement weakness which is so obvious just by reading his stats. Wren should have never rushed him. Heyward has none of that problem, which is critical.

  42. Lets see how he does in the AFL….That said, I am quite confident that he will make an impact in Atlanta in the near future.

    The way the Braves bought into Schafer’s spring training numbers was pathetic….

  43. I wouldn’t put too much stock in an FL performance one way or another…remember this?

    One of the most highly touted outfield prospects in baseball heading into 1999, Lombard struggled with the bat and injuries all season before turning his fortunes around in the Arizona Fall League. Healthy for the first time in months, the Atlanta native flashed the form that made him a Southern League All-Star in 1998, batting .302 and leading the AFL with 11 home runs and 37 RBI while adding 10 steals in 37 games.

  44. I would argue that since the players are so talented, AFL numbers have more predictive value than regular minor-league numbers. Tossing aside sample size issues, of course.

  45. @59 Great example. Lombard always had strikezone judgement like Schafer which was also very obiovus in his minor league stats. I am not putting too much stock in either AFL or spring training stats. I just think Heyward has proven in his two years that he has a great idea on his strike zone and the risk of pushing him is much lower than Schafer.

  46. FlBravesFan, you still in the hospital? I’ll be in Jupiter from the 12-18 if that’s close and if you want some company.

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