Astros 8, Braves 3

Atlanta Braves vs. Houston Astros – Box Score – June 13, 2011 – ESPN.

A disappointing end to a productive road trip, but not a surprising one. Wandy Rodriguez dominated the Braves the last time he faced them, and the Braves only won because they were able to keep it close for Brian McCann, the best catcher in baseball, to put on some late-game heroics. The Astros blew this one open in the sixth, and McCann was 0-3.

The Braves’ best shot came in the first when Jordan Schafer doubled and Dan Uggla walked, but McCann and Chipper Jones couldn’t get them in, and after Freddie Freeman walked to load the bases Joe Mather was at the plate, so there wasn’t going to be much chance of scoring. Derek Lowe looked pretty good for two innings, but in the third allowed a two-run homer to Hunter Pence to make it 2-0. It would turn out to be all the Astros would need, but not all they could get.

Lowe complete broke down in the sixth, single-double-groundout-single, and it was 3-0 with two men on. Fredi brought in Scott Linebrink, and you all know I have little use for Linestink but (a) he had actually been pitching pretty well, (b) Jonny Venters, and possibly Eric O’Flaherty, weren’t available, and (c) the game looked like pretty much a lost cause anyway. About five seconds after Linebrink entered, the score was 7-0. George Sherrill allowed a run in the seventh to make it 8-0. Schafer hit a homer with two out in the ninth to make the score somewhat more acceptable.

The Braves only had six hits, though oddly four of them were doubles, mostly by punchless players: Lowe himself, Schafer as mentioned above, Brooks Conrad as a pinch-hitter, and Matt Young.

41 thoughts on “Astros 8, Braves 3”

  1. I blame the mid-series day game, followed by a night game on getaway day.

    Day games are for getaway day. Playing a day game with no plane to catch, these guys had probably been drinking since 4 pm yesterday.

  2. This game didn’t count, which is why Fredi treated it like a split-squad spring training affair.

  3. Kimbrel, Venters, and O’Flarety got some rest. Schafer keeps swinging a decent bat.

    I had fun on Friday and Saturday at Minute Maid. It was fun to see the Braves mash. Tonight was just one of those days.

  4. I wouldn’t want to talk to reporters either after that sorry game.

    He probably will go get D-Loaded to forget all about it.

  5. Nate who?

    If Schafer continues to do well, he will solve lots of problems (leadoff, centerfielder, speed, defense, etc).

  6. So our most experienced, highest salaried vet cant hang around after this piss poor performance? Seems like he really doesnt care about himself or this team. Gotta face it when you suck, dont make your team answer questions for you.

  7. @7

    I agree. If Schafer keeps walking, playing solid defense and chiming in with the occasional extra base hit even after Prado gets back, I hope the Braves will be willing to think outside the box and shift McLouth to the bench, despite his salary.

    Has anyone else compared Schafer’s fWAR to McLouth’s fWAR recently? Tonight’s performance hasn’t even been added into his stats and he’s already put up 0.8 WAR to McLouth’s 0.1 WAR, mostly because he’s rated an insane 64.7 UZR/150 so far. I haven’t had the chance to watch many games lately; has Schafer really looked that good?

  8. That UZR is apparently equal to Andruw’s three best seasons combined. So, no. Not to say that he’s not a good defender.

  9. Fredi is supposedly considering moving Schafer to LF when Nate gets back. i don’t get it.

  10. Anybody see the replay of Schafer’s homer? Seeing Young standing next to Hinske at home plate is awesome.

  11. Uggla-Watch 2011: .180/.252/.322

    Hinske and Mather should be ahead of Young and McOut on the LF/RF depth chart, but of course we’re talking about Fredi here, so who the heck knows what he’ll do. I guess calling up someone that can actually play is out of the question.

  12. Hopefully we only have one more game of this mess. I bet Heyward plays Wednesday.

  13. Mather should not play over McLouth. Maybe Gartrell or Costanza should but I doubt we’ll ever find out for sure.

  14. I applaud blogger’s new advertising algorithm. I am now treated to a cute Japanese chick apparently trying to sell me bras.

  15. I really hope we find some better options than Mather, Hicks and Young to call up when a starter or three goes down in August or September. One of them at a time may be tolerable, but the three of them in one lineup is something I would hope we could avoid for the rest of the year.

  16. @22 When McClouth, Prado & Heyward come back we will have 5 OFs with Hinski and Success. Did Hinski tire last year when he played everyday? I expect Prado will and some 3B to rest Chipper and 2B to rest Uggla when he returns.

  17. Schafer has been playing excellent defense in CF. I don’t know if it’s Andruw in his prime defense, but he’s been playing very well out there. Noticeably better than anyone we’ve had in CF since, well, the last time Schafer was out there.

    A rotation of McLouth, Hinske and Prado, with Prado getting everyday at bats by cycling through 3B and 2B (and 1B) on occasion wouldn’t be that bad. I’d rather see Schafer stay in CF for the defense, but if McLouth simply can’t read the ball in left flipping them, and letting McLouth play shifted towards RF (while Schafer covers a lot of ground in LF) also wouldn’t suck.

  18. Schafer definitely needs to stay in the lineup and preferably in center field. His defense makes the offense tolerable, and he’ll probably get better at hitting if he just keeps playing anyway. Bench McLouth unless one of the outfield corners is open and then play him over there. He’s got zero chance to contribute to the team after this year. A full year of consistent at bats for Schafer would probably pay great dividends over the next few years.

  19. Seems like Schafer has had an unusual number of opportunities to track down long fly balls, which accounts for the over-the-top fielding stats. To his credit, he’s done so. Absent those opportunities, though, he’s going to have to get on base at least a third of the time to be a viable player. He and McLouth are pretty much a wash as starting CFs, I think.

  20. I would probably like to see Schafer play everyday in CF, even when we have McLouth, Heyward, and Prado back. But I don’t think it fits the Braves M.O., Nate won’t lose his job to an injury.

    Since Prado will be out the longest, I think LF- Nate, CF- Schafer, RF- Heyward makes the most sense. Still, don’t know if the Braves would look at that as Nate “losing” his job to injury… But “Nate’s worse is LF than he is in CF,” looked to my eyes to be true last season… Doesn’t mean we aren’t still better with Schafer in CF though.

    When Prado returns, I’d prefer to see McLouth go to the bench, and get his AB’s by spelling Schafer some, playing LF when Prado’s in for Chipper, and pushing Schafer to RF when Heyward needs days or returns to the DL.

    But since Mather is a righty, and McLouth, Schafer, Heyward and Hinske are all lefties… Schafer is only here until Prado returns.

  21. Schafer’s not horrible in center. His offense is roughly the same as McLouth’s, and he’s much, much better killing flying things.

    If Schafer can keep up not being absolutely atrocious, and Lugo can get into playing shape, our bench is suddenly looking pretty good. With Prado, McLouth, and Heyward back, Young and Mather are history. You have a bench that starts with Hinske, Ross, Lugo, and McLouth. Since Prado can be moved to 2B or 3B, they can handle rest days or injuries for any two players at the same time.

    That leaves a bench spot for one of Diory, Conrad, and Hicks. Probably Diory, since he can play short and isn’t hopeless against major league pitching, but they might go for Conrad’s switch hitting. Or you go with 13 pitchers.

  22. 22—As depressing as the analysis is, it is well worth clicking on that link just to see the picture of Frank Wren. That may become my new desktop background.

  23. Nate’s and Schafer’s lines so far:

    Schafer: .235/.325/.338/.663 in 79 PA
    McLouth: .238/.332/.341/.673 in 194 PA

    One thing worth considering is that Nate put in 80 PA in the 8th spot, putting up a .313/.443/.484/.927. I don’t know if you can discount his BA or his SLG for hitting in front of the pitcher.. but you gotta take that .443 OBP with a huge grain of salt. Since moving to the 2 hole, .235/.307/.324/.630

  24. Marc – From a few threads ago (I was traveling and not able to answer your post), I am at a large law firm in DC, perhaps maybe we’ve worked together in the past. The recession has been hard on the service sector and law firms in particular. We like nearly all firms have laid off associates and some partners have moved elsewhere for a variety of reasons. But in my experience (at my firm and the other DC firms where I have friends and colleagues) those decisions are made out of necessity to help ensure that the firm as a whole stays viable. By and large my firm’s management team makes those decisions out of loyalty to the lawyers at the firm — it would be a perverse view of loyalty to allow a commitment to a small number of lawyers to drive a firm to crater for everyone. As best I can tell, the other firms I’m familiar with also make similar decisions for similar reasons and motivations.

    This isn’t to say that there aren’t selfish or disloyal partners at big law firms. There clearly are. If I were ever to decide to leave my firm, one of the main reasons would be because of a particularly disloyal partner in my group. But overall, these people are the exceptions and not the rule. The huge majority of my partners are wonderful, loyal people, who frankly are so successful because they build loyal teams around them. No doubt nearly all of them — and probably I — could leave for more money at another firm. The vast majority of us don’t do that because we value the things that (most of) our partners do for us to help build our practices and enjoy our profession.

  25. Schafer has been great in CF. I hope he sticks. McLouth, meanwhile, seems to have lost his ability to steal bases and hit for power, meaning a player who once had no real weakness is now one who has no real strength.

  26. We’ve vanquished a coach in each of our last two series. I’d be pretty nervous if I was Dave Hudgens or Dan Warthen right about now. Ken Oberkfell, current Met’s bench coach, would be a pretty nice get too.

  27. Not sure we could specifically target a bench coach. What do they even do? Defensive positioning maybe? Chino Cadahia was a special case, since a strategically placed platter of hamburgers could have caused him to waddle onto the field during a crucial play.

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