Cardinals 5, Braves 4

Atlanta Braves vs. St. Louis Cardinals – Box Score – April 27, 2010 – ESPN.

Oh, what’s the point? The losing streak reaches a week as, yet again, the Braves took an early lead (2-0) and then shut down; they rallied to cut it to one, but left the bases loaded in the seventh when Heyward struck out looking (again).

Derek Lowe looked good the first time through the order — actually he looked great, getting 1-2-3 innings for each of the first three. He was less effective the second time, and got blown up the third time, not leaving until it was 4-2 and getting hung with an inherited run to make it 5-2. LaRussa did his usual overmanaging in the bottom of the seventh, helping the Braves get back to 5-4 as he constantly changed pitchers, but finally his second LOOGY of the inning got Heyward to strike out with the bases loaded. Then he let a pitcher who isn’t his usual closer throw two innings in a one-run game. I don’t get that guy.

The Braves had as many hits as the Cards (six) committed no errors to St. Louis’ 2, and walked twice as often (6 to 3). And lost. This sucks.

75 thoughts on “Cardinals 5, Braves 4”

  1. if Chipper turns the DP its 2-2 and not 5-2 or if the ball lands in Melkys glove instead of hitting him in the wrist its 4-2. Lowe pitched better than this outcome

  2. The Pirates are also 8-12, tied with us for futility.

    To be fair to Chipper, Holliday hustled down the line, and I thought Chipper did all he could.

    Lowe gave in to Molina and threw a HORRIBLE pitch, which figures because he is a HORRIBLE pitcher.

    He and KK are not just bad, but their velocities are noticibly down.

    Another bad sign for a bad team.

  3. Listening to the current state of Braves baseball at the gym (on the iPhone app) seems to work better than listening to Slayer. Burns more calories, that’s for sure.

    Every time we do something stupid, I groan like Clint Eastwood in “Gran Torino.”

    Let’s not get swept again, fellas.

  4. This may sound strange…but the team has actually looked a little better the last couple of games. It’s hard to look much worse than the end of the PH/NY stretch, but the Braves at least resemble a big league team these last 2 nights. Those games could have easily swung the other way, so there is some reason to be encouraged.

  5. This season has taken an ugly turn. Prado 0 for 5.

    I was streaming the game through my PS3 (nice feature upgrade, the folks at mlb.tv really get it) but it stopped working around the fourth inning for whatever reason. It’s just as well.

  6. From DOB Twitter:

    Cox on Heyward’s bases-loaded K: “He’s taking way too many pitches. The first pitch to him was a little nothing breaking ball….

    Observation 1: Cox is certainly right.
    Observation 2: It’s not that harsh of a things to say. But …
    Observation 3: It’s still a bit of a departure from Bobby’s usual approach with the media. I wonder if he’s doing this to try to counter all the hype. I remember taking note earlier in the season when Heyward had his four K day that Cox said something along the lines of “He’s trying to win it all by himself out there.”

    Just seems like Cox is a little quicker to criticize Heyward in the press than he typically is with his players.

  7. Derek Lowe is one of the gifts which just keeps giving…..

    I am afraid that the Braves will probably get worse before they get better…..

  8. 12—Please, please tell me we’re in for an Alex R. rant. That may be just what we need, and it’s been quite a while since we’ve seen a good one.

  9. Lowe pitched as good as Ive seen from him in a while, outside of Ludwick no one hit him hard tonight

  10. I still think that Lowe has the chance to be league average–but the decrease in velocity is not encouraging….

  11. People are overreacting, things are really going to turn around for this team……in 2013.

  12. #22–That may be right: we will be paying Derek Lowe for 2011 and 2012. Unless the Braves come into a windfall from Liberty Media or some new owner, Lowe’s contract will limit us for the next two offseasons….

  13. @20 Maybe Lowe is actually hurt.

    @16 This is the first time Jason is seeing the league’s pitchers. I don’t see the problem with seeing more pitches before pulling the trigger if he is seeing the pitcher for the first time.

  14. KC, i hope Lowe is hurt. I do not want to believe he is just this bad so I am begging to hear he has an injury of some sort so we can shelve him for a stretch.

    If we are looking to make a change, are there any 2B round? Move Martin to 1B for a year or so until Freeman is ready, then bump Prado 3B because Chipper will be gone.

    I would take a slick fielding light bat at 2B just to help the athleticism of the infield.

  15. I don’t know about the rest of you but I had a long, cold, winter. It feels like I waited a long time for this season to start and I had planned for it to be interesting well into fall. If things continue as they have been I’ll have to pick up a new hobby for summer.

  16. You asked, Stu.

    I won’t even starts with the fact that we’re losing to TONY LARUSSA’S HATEABLE FACE. That’s a crime in itself for that jackal to further be able to prod Bobby Cox.

    But seriously, let’s start with TERRY PENDLETON. A guy I used avoid saying a bad word about personally because he’s a long time Brave and a good guy, but let’s all be honest – he’s a FAT, LITTLE TROLL WHO COULD TURN ALBERT PUJOLS INTO A .225 HITTER WITH NO POWER.

    All we have to do is look at how Jeff Francouer and Kelly Johnson are performing with their new teams, the Mets and D’Backs, to know that Pendleton is the #1 source of our problems. Yeah, Melky SUCKS and Glaus SUCKS, but I bet if each left the Braves tomorrow, they’d each raise their batting averages 30+ points and hit a few more homers.

    This again goes back to the endless blind loyalty of Cox. The offense has been wildly inconsistent for more than just this season, and yet Cox kept Pendlton on. Cox and Wren’s solution was to keep replacing hitters while pinching pennies. No, instead if they would just fire the G-D Da–ed hitting coach who’s the WORST IN BASEBALL, we might actually get a little bit of offense.

    And speaking of Cox, stop teasing us with retirement you senile old fart and retired today. You stink. You haven’t been able to manage a bullpen basically EVER, and you have no clue what to do with your lineup half the time. You think slapping everyone on the a– and giving them nicknames is enough to motivate these players? try MANAGING. other teams do it.

    This is embarrassing. Not only should Cox and Pendleton go (and Pendleton should leave today since I realize there’s no chance in he– that they fire Cox), but let’s talk about defense. Used to be a staple of the Braves. Now we make the Bad News Bears look competent. Maybe Yunel Escobar needs Ritalin. And maybe Chipper needs to stop worrying about being critiqued by Braves analysts and worry about not going on the DL everytime he gets a freaking hangnail, further leaving the already anemic lineup in complete dire straits.

    And then there’s the white haird devil himself, Frank Wren. I get that you have a budget you moron. We all know that we have one of the worst ownership situations NOW in Baseball and it seems that Arthur Blank isn’t walking through that door anytime soon. But my goodness. Give away Derek Lowe and eat half his contract before you give away the teams ace for a piece of flotsam garbage like Melky Cabrera. His name is MELKY for godsakes. It screams .220 with limited power.

    And Troy Glaus? Honestly, I may have been no LaRoche fan in his younger years, but it was specifically Adam who helped key the Braves run in the 2nd half last year, so you let him go and bring in a worn out old shoe like Troy Glaus. Brilliant. Maybe Goldman Sachs should hire you to run their books with that logic, and then after that job, Toyota could hire you as a safety expert?

    Yes, I have stayed off BravesJournal precisecly because watching this pi– poor excuse of a Baseball team has left me angry, shaken and completely embarrassed. What kind of insanely horrible team with a cra- manager and a piece of garbage hitting coach gets swept by the METS!??!?! When Jeff Francouer is in the other dugout laughing at us, well, he needs to be hit in the face with a Billy Wagner fastball just because I hate his stupid face, but seriously, the Braves are a joke. Thanks for not retiring already Cox and keeping Pendleton. Awesome.

  17. 20

    To add to your excellent point. I saw Lowe at Turner on Thursday and he hit 90 a couple of times. I don’t think he was over 88 the whole night last night

    KK is even worse. I was at the Citi, and I looked up at the gun after every pitch and I don’t think KK hit 88 but a couple of times. He stayed around 86 on his fastball.

    I know the velocity is not everything, but when you add the lack of velocity with a lack of command it signals that these two are over the hill, bad.

    BTW, KK and Lowe have not pitched better than their records, Joe Simpson. They have pitched precisely to their records. KK can’t get pitchers out, and the second time through his junk doesn’t fool anyone. Also, Lowe can help but groove 88 mph fastballs to fat catchers in critical situtations.

  18. While blaming Terry Pendleton and Bobby Cox for things may be cathartic I’m not sure it makes sense. It’s a logical place to go as a fan because it gives an understandable and palatable reason for why the Braves suck. It also presents a somewhat simple solution to the problem. (Fire the coach) I think the reality is this team is not very good. It’s not about coaching or effort. The only solution is personnel changes. Things only improved last year with the arrival of Hanson and LaRoche, emergence of Prado, and jettisoning of Schafer, Kotchman, and Francoeur. Unfortunately the Bravos don’t have much money and it’s still early in the season so not that many people will be looking to deal. I think this year may be a stinker folks.

  19. Ahhhh, a classic Alex R. rant. Now I KNOW the season sucks thus far.

    Well, shit. We are working our way down to being so far behind that if we ever get hot it’ll be too late.

    Glad I haven’t ponied up for mlb.tv yet.

  20. Charles,

    First, there’s AMPLE evidence about Pendleton’s ineptitude. Not only does the team have too many guys with low averages striking out, but this has been the case, ongoing under Pendleton.

    Second, how do you explain the multiple guys who couldn’t hit in Atlanta but are raking elsewhere?

    Third, and maybe the best reason, is something drastic needs to happen to throw cold water in the faces of this team. Since Cox is a “legend” (though his inexcusable managing decisions are more legendarily bad) and in his last year (at least I hope that’s true) then Cox isn’t getting fired and Pendleton needs to GO.

    Hitting coaches or pitching coaches have gotten fired plenty in the midst of a season and it’s perfectly normal when a team is as futile as the Braves. In fact, it’s at the point that it would be weird NOT to fire him. It’s not like Pendleton is in year one or two. The reason he has his job is obvious to ANY sane Braves fan – Bobby knows him, likes him and is COMFORTABLE WITH HIM.

    Comfort is half the problem with the Braves. Those guys need to start feeling a lot more uncomfortable and making a justifiable firing of Pendleton, Cox’s “little buddy”, would send a HUGE message.

  21. Well, if Heyward keeps struggling at the plate, we might still be able to avoid him being a Super Two by sending him down to Gwinnett to get his swing straightened out.

  22. I don’t buy the evidence that the Braves have been that bad under Pendleton. He took over the job before the 2002 season. Since then they’ve had some pretty damn good years. Check out their ranks in batting since he took over:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/ATL/batteam.shtml

    I also don’t buy that guys are ‘raking’ elsewhere. Francoeur and KJ both had good and bad seasons while on the Braves and haven’t been gone long enough to make any conclusions. If you are going to randomly assign Pendleton responsibility for guys not hitting you have to give him credit for guys like Escobar, McCann, Prado, who came up under his reign.

    I think the idea of ‘throwing cold water in the faces of the team’ is laughable. Is the assumption the players aren’t aware they’ve lost every game for a week and aren’t really trying? This isn’t a poorly written movie, the lineup just isn’t very good.

  23. Cox has a pennant or two as reason to keep his job. What does TP have? A 1991 Gold Glove? I wouldn’t have any problem dumping that man, but at the same time, I’m not sure it would do a whole lot to help the club. (I’m not convinced hitting coaches actually do a lot.)

  24. Charles,

    You’re picking and choosing YOUR facts.

    Francouer had an initial burst. There’s talent there and a good hitting coach is able to bring that talent out. Not Pendleton.

    A poorly written movie is losing 7 straight with the worst offense in the league and DEFENDING the hitting coach.

    I never said we should be the Phillies. But we shuldn’t be as bad as we are. It’s completely inexcusable.

  25. Let’s face it – it is impossible to quantify a hitting coach’s impact on a team. I am not completely sure they are needed, and are definitely overrated in terms of day to day impact. They are assigned far too much causality than can be reasonably confirmed. Alex, how come Frenchy had that initial burst under TP? He never hit particularly well over a full season in the minors.

  26. 29, I don’t trust the radar gun at Citi Field. I went to the Tommy Hanson game and the gun had him at 90 mph all night. Same with Pelfrey. I had a hard time believing that Tommy wasn’t throwing much harder FWIW.

  27. @ 40 That’s the point I was trying to hit Spike. I just don’t believe the hitting coach is ultimately a large determinant in a guy’s performance. The current holes in the lineup (Glaus, McClouth, Cabrera) are maybe just not that good of players.

  28. Alex R.;
    Thanks for speaking up. There’s a lot of precedent for making a coaching change when a ballclub just plain stinks. I hope somebody’s listening.

    AAR;
    You did a great piece a while back asking where Mia Sara had gone. (I guess she’s a Muppet now.)

    Can you invoke T-bone Aaron, by any chance.

    Oh, Skip! I’ve never missed you more than this week!
    Whew!

  29. I’ve heard players say that “you’re your own best hitting coach” and things like “you know your swing the best.” In that light, what role does Pendleton play? I don’t like him at any rate.

    The past few years have shown us just how extremely overrated Cox really is.

  30. Hitting and pitching coaches simply don’t matter that much. Firing Terry Pendelton ain’t gonna make Troy Glaus hit more home runs.

  31. Bobby just said that “the worst person to blame for a team not hitting is the hitting coach.” So apparently TP is not the problem and we shouldnt blame him for the 8-9 regulars hitting under .260

  32. If you watch Glaus’s at bats in slow motion you can see he actually closes his eyes and begins to swing before the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand. It’s the only way he can catch up to anything over 65mph.

  33. #48 – but yet he’s still finding a way to hit better than Yunel, Diaz, Melky, and Nate

  34. @49- he’s good at guessing where the pitch is coming. Plus, he found a way to put his fat into the ball when he does connect.

  35. IMO Glaus is swinging the bat pretty well right now. I don’t want to sound like Cox, but if he continues what he’s doing I think he’ll be okay (not great, but okay). Melky is also swinging a better bat and Heyward just missed on a few last night. Escobar, McLouth and Diaz are the guys that concern me the most at this point.

    As far as Lowe, I thought he looked excellent last night but ran out of gas. If Cox would have yanked him two batters earlier I think we would have been in much better shape.

  36. Vitriol for vitriol’s sake might just be the tonic. That or another week of Cannibal Corpse videos. Or Hall & Oates.

    If we don’t start winning soon, I might just crawl inside a Nick Drake box set & never come out.

  37. Ububba, you wrote you were at the Thermal’s show a while back. How were they? I’ve been dying to see them for a few years now.
    I at least have Frightened Rabbit and The Shout Out Louds to look forward to in a couple of weeks.

  38. I still think that was Lowe’s best outing that we’ve seen in a while. If Chipper can turn the DP he’s out of the game 2-2, if Melky makes the catch its 4-2 and not 5-2.

    The biggest frustration that I had was Heyward watching the fastball right down the middle with the bases loaded. Still think it wouldve been the right call to let Diaz or Infante hit there, but can also see why you wouldnt want too at the same time

  39. Ububba, for every Nick Drake song when you crawl in there’s a Napalm Death song waiting when you crawl out.

    I really have no problem with firing Terry — or even just kicking him upstairs or reassigning him. But who becomes the hitting coach then? If Julio Franco wasn’t managing in the Mets system, or Don Baylor wasn’t coaching for the Rockies, I’d say bring either of them back. Or, hell, maybe Dale Murphy could do it. But who’s the best replacement?

  40. Al-ex! Al-ex! Al-ex!

    I couldn’t have bitched better myself. You hit all my hot buttons.

    With this exception:

    It is my belief that if the old fool who remains our manager would put Diaz in one spot in the batting order and leave him there, he’d get what Diaz always provides: a solid .300 hitter who can play a decent left field RATHER THAN SOMETHING NAMED MELKY WHO IS THE WORST OUTFIELDER NOT NAMED RAMIREZ AND CAN’T HIT HIS EVER-INCREASING WEIGHT AND IS ALL WE GOT FOR OUR BEST STARTER.

    Ah. I feel better now.

    Melky’s pursuit of pop-ups could be repackaged as porn: “Fat man in ill-fitting clothes attempts to mount a chicken.”

  41. Good stuff from Alex, although it’s not quite the same without Andruw to kick around.

    Andruw’s .393/.667 would play pretty well in leftfield.

  42. Im wondering if the Angels ever offered Wren Kendry Morales for Tex. I know we ended up with Kotchman, but Kendry sure would fit nicely in the middle of our order

  43. In no way am I comparing Heyward to Schafer in terms of long term ability and potential, but do any of you see similarities between what is happening to him and what Schafer did last year? Schafer came out of the gate on fire last year, then really fell off. Some of that was his injury, but also the league figuring him out and Jordan being in over his head. Is that what we are seeing with Heyward at this point? Is this really too much, too soon?

  44. I’m honestly not that worried about Heyward. He’s striking out more now than he will by the end of the season, but that pretty much always happens with young players. He’s still drawing walks, OPSing over .800, and playing solid fundamental defense. His approach at the plate is still good. At this point, I think you just let the kid play — though if there’s any hint of injury, take him out of the lineup.

  45. Apparently Bobby is upset that Heyward doesn’t swing at everything like such great former Braves as Jeff Francoeur and Garret Anderson. Jason is one of the few hitters on the team with a league average OBP. I’d say just leave him alone. His patient approach will pay off over the course of the long season. Speaking of which, 3.5 games out in late April is no big deal. Most of the hitters will come around before long and then the Braves will start winning a lot of games they’ve been narrowly losing recently.

  46. at some point failed regimes don’t get to fail any more, and if this current group (Wren/Cox/Pendleton) doesn’t move the needle again this year, I think more than Cox should be moved along. I do not see how an internal guy gets the head job of a team that misses the play-offs 4 years in a row. Maybe that is unfair to Pendleton, but Pendleton cannot fire Wren, and the opposite is not true.

    No different than the Hawks situation, and they actually make the play-offs these days. If Woodson doesn’t get past Milwaukee, i think he is gone; if he gets by Milwaukee, but gets swept by Orlando, i think he is probably gone, too.

  47. Heyward’s our RF. He’s gonna have his good days & his other days. Hopefully, he can get hot again. Like right now.

    AAR,
    I’m trying to lighten my mood, so I dug out an old LA punk compilation & I drove to work in record time.

    marspr,
    Overall, The Thermals were a buncha fun. (It helped that they played a venue where you could bowl & have pitchers of beer brought to you.)

    IMO, their newer material is OK, not great. Kinda like the point in the career of Superchunk where they seemed to become enamored with their own songwriting, so they slowed things down. The first part of their set was some of that.

    Live, they should just dispense with that stuff. Let it roar. Like Superchunk, that’s what they’re good at.

    The second part of set properly kicked ass, though.

  48. AAR,
    I love the Repo Man soundtrack.

    It’s called “Tooth & Nail” on this old label called Upsetter (not to be confused with the Lee “Scratch” Perry label). Came out in ’79, has The Flesheaters, Negative Trend, The Controllers, The Germs, etc.
    http://tinyurl.com/2f8uwsd

    As Cali punk goes, IMO, it’s not as great as the stuff that came later on Slash or SST, but it’s fast & pretty snarly. Regulation punk.

  49. What we clearly need is Derek Lowe and David Ross to get into a shoving match in the dugout a la Zambrano and Barrett. That’ll right the ship!

  50. Way to go Alex R

    I agree it’s to for Pendleton to go. And sooner rather than later. Have his hitters ever made adjustments during a game?

    Cox should have retired 10 years ago.

    Escobar reminds me of Andruw Jones during the fat years.

    Heyward is still learning, too bad he is surrounded by garbage.

    McCann defense is horrible.

    Chipper is Chipper.

  51. Excellent post yesterday on talking chop if you’re curious about the actual evidence of TP’s skill:

    http://www.talkingchop.com/2010/4/27/1446842/terry-pendleton-is-not-a-bad

    Now, if you’re just yelling about him for the emotional release, that’s another story.

    Truth is, the season is still very early and we’re only 3.5 games behind. I know this team will turn it around. The only question is will we do it before falling too many games behind to make up later.

  52. Interesting article from Talking Chop (I saw it yesterday), but showing that Sheffield, Renteria, A. Jones, Giles, and Fick regressed after leaving Atlanta doesn’t prove a whole lot. Age, weight, lack of performance enhancers, and changing leagues also may have been contributing factors. Not that I completely disregard the article, I just don’t think there’s a stat that can fully capture his influence (good or bad).

    I’m still of a similar mind with those who think the impact of a hitting coach is overrated. TP is not my favorite and probably needs to go at least by the end of this year, but sending him packing now will most likely have a very limited (or negative) long-term impact.

  53. 71- The guy put a lot of data on a chart. So what? At the end of the day, he’s coming up with some anecdotal theories and basically saying he can’t prove that TP is a bad hitting coach. Not being able to prove something doesn’t make it true.

    While I might not be able to quantify that TP sucks as a hitting coach, I can quantify that this team has sucked at hitting. And there comes a point where you need to bring in a new guy if for no other reason than he probably can’t make it any worse, and the status quo is a loser.

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