Braves 5, Mariners 3

Box Score

Hey, a road sweep against an American League team. We could feel proud, if the NL weren’t so inferior in every way.

Scoreless through three, the Braves got a run in the fourth with a two out rally, singles from Freeman, Uggla, and Conrad (playing third base with Chipper taking the day off). They got a run in the fifth mostly on wildness by the Pretender Felix Hernandez; McLouth walked, went to second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a fly, and scored on another wild pitch. Schafer followed with a single and Heyward with a walk; McCann grounded out, but Freeman came up big with a single to make it 4-0.

Derek Lowe gave up one run, in the bottom of the inning; the Mariners got the tying run to the plate, but Freeman made a nice stop with two out to keep it from probably being cut to 4-3. Lowe went six, as usual, with four hits, three walks, and five strikeouts.

Brian McCann, the best catcher in baseball, drove in a run in the seventh with a single to make it 5-1, but Eric O’Flaherty came in to pitch the seventh anyway; he had no problems. Our paste-eating manager has decided not to give Jonny Venters any rest or any chance to build on success, and Venters came in to pitch the eighth, allowing a two-run homer, his first in almost a year. Fredi’s next project will be to ruin Craig Kimbrel, whose third day in a row went well, getting two strikeouts and a flyout.

200 thoughts on “Braves 5, Mariners 3”

  1. As far back as 2009, there wasn’t an AL/NL split so much as an AL East/everyone else split. I’d certainly put the NL East up against any other division besides the AL East as far as top-to-bottom strength. Heck the AL West is probably even worse than the NL Central at this point.

  2. DOB tweet…

    “Fredi G. said they must do better job managing Venters’ use, that he’ll rest at least a couple days (sounds like could be few days)”.

  3. So, we’re 8-4 in IL, including 7 straight wins vs AL clubs. Bring on the O’s.

    I remember when I used to dread the IL part of the schedule. Of course, we weren’t as good & were playing the Sawx 6 times, too.

    #5
    Perhaps by necessity. Slightly ominous.

  4. The Braves lead the Wild Card by 3 games over Arizona now.

    4 GB of the Phillies, don’t know if there will be any catching of them this year, they still have the best record in MLB.

  5. 5 – here’s a thought: don’t use him when the lead is more than two runs. I hope Venters is around for the stretch run.

  6. I think Venters should start looking for hotel rooms in the greater Birmingham area.

  7. From DOB’s post game quotes:

    Had he already warmed up today, is that
    why you went ahead and used him in 5-1
    game?

    “What was it, 5-1? A 5-1 game and you had
    those left-handers coming up. We had
    Linebrink going just in case we popped
    another one [in the top of the eighth], and
    give Linebrink an inning. We didn’t and it
    was a 5-1 game, so go ahead and run Jonny
    out there.”

    He’s a moron. The debate is over. He’s a moron.

  8. He’s absolutely a moron. And here’s the thing – it’s not like he’s got to make these decisions on the fly. Baseball is a slow game for a manager. I can see myself doing some off these ridiculous things if someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked for a snap decision about reliever usage, but that’s not going on here. He’s probably got 5 minutes in which to mull over who should be pitching the 8th. He has time to consider it, and he’s still running Venters out there with a 4 run lead.

  9. “What was it, 5-1? A 5-1 game and you had
    those left-handers coming up. We had
    Linebrink going just in case we popped
    another one [in the top of the eighth], and
    give Linebrink an inning. We didn’t and it
    was a 5-1 game, so go ahead and run Jonny
    out there.”

    So we only have three pitchers in our bullpen that can be trusted with a four run lead and the bases empty? Is that what he’s saying?

  10. I think it all goes back to giving Proctor a shot in ST (or an inflated value, non-guaranteed contract, whatever). He’s pretty redundant since we already have Lisp to mop up and absolutely no one with any level of investment in the Braves (emotional or vocational) has the least bit of faith in him to complete an inning.

    Gearrin would be an OK callup, but I wonder if he was pitching above his level? Fredi doesn’t seem to want to use him either, so it probably wouldn’t fix anything (and what’s stopping the Braves from making the move yesterday? So it’s probably not happening). Which leaves trading for someone (might be a good idea anyways as Linebrink isn’t a stellar 2nd RH option).

  11. In a way, it’s kind of funny that the Phillies just tooled on the Red Sox with Vance Worley. Mostly, though, it just sucks.

  12. I’m torn on this guy. We have the second best record in the NL, and the third best record in baseball, so there’s got to be something he’s doing right. I know we get down on this team a lot (myself included), but this is clearly a really good team relative to the league.

    I don’t necessarily disagree with a lot of his lineup choices the way other people do. In any given night, he could have 4 or 5 players in the lineup with a sub .700 OPS, so his options are limited. Putting this guy instead of that guy in the 2-hole or 6-hole is, to an extent, is shifting the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    On the other hand, he is KILLING our bullpen. Venters, Kimbrel, and EOF are first, third, and fifth in the league, respectively. Linebrink is 18th. You can’t tell me that those are only 4 guys in the pen who can hold a 4 run lead. That, to me, is the infuriating part of his management.

    Other than that, I guess, I don’t know if I would necessarily do anything differently.

  13. A fair question might be whether the Braves would have the 3rd best record right now if every team rode their three best bullpen arms as hard as Fredi has his. The problem is that they haven’t, and there’s no trophy for being the third best team after the first half. If Venters is rendered ineffective thanks to overuse, we’ll give a lot of games back in the second half that we took an advance on in the first half with Venters’ elbow as collateral.

  14. I think Fredi is a moron, but he has gotten a little better. He handles Lowe well, but his misuse of Venters has to improve.

  15. Let me just chime in on the chorus – Fredi is most definitely a moron. There’s no debate.

    That’s what is so scary – imagine if we had a halfway competent manager and say Pendleton was still in charge of the hitters – we might have the best record in Baseball.

    But Fredi is a Bobby CLONE and abusing your few best relievers while you have perfectly respectable other relievers collecting dust is so Bobby. And again, look at the situation: you are up 5-1, but this isn’t 5-1 against Philly, your NL East hated rivals with a solid lineup. This is 5-1 against a team that’s worst than hitting the baseball than us, and they don’t even have Larry Parrish on their payroll. At that point, I’d give Proctor or some other reliever a shot in the 8th – if trouble happens, fine, you bring in Venters but Seattle is a horrible offensive club, why not roll the dice on lesser relievers?

    We likely won’t have Venters for the stretch run. Sheesh.

  16. Every game counts. Yeah maybe you bring Proctor et al with a 4 run lead. But if the butt doctor blows the lead most of y’all call Fredi a moron for pitching him with only a4run lead. Oh well, this has been hashed out ad nauseum, and with more top quality snark by Sam.

  17. small sample size-for last 8 games Uggla has .925 OPS, 3 HRs, 8 Rs and 7 RBIs. Daylight at end of tunnel? But Mather had a good game.

  18. According to DOB:

    Kawakami in #Braves Double-A Miss. start today: 2 IP, 6 H, 7 R (7 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 30 strikes in 53 pitches

    Damn, did he completely lose whatever stuff he had?

  19. 25,

    Who exactly is he showcasing for nowadays? No team is going to change his opinion on him, even if he maintains a sub-1 ERA at Mississippi. At this point, he’s just trying to hold his own, and hope that he doesn’t get injured. I doubt he’s even trying. That way, he can sign with a team in the Nippon Professional League next year (where he belongs).

    Other than Ichiro and Hideo Nomo (and Hiroki Kuroda, to a certain degree), has there ever been a Japanese player that’s worked out long-term for an MLB team? The jury is still out on the Twins’ SS Nishioka, but I can’t think of any others. Either way, I’m glad KK didn’t become quite the sinkhole that Daisuke is becoming up in Boston.

  20. 23,

    Hopefully he’s turned it around… but that’s what I’ve been saying to myself after every good two to four game stretch that he has (especially the Houston games). This time however, he’s done this against two very competent pitching staffs in the two hardest parks to hit in baseball: Petco and Safeco.

    At this point, I keep telling myself that there is no way that he can be this bad. Even he continues to stink up the joint for the rest of the year, I really think that he turns it around next year. Because if he doesn’t… that’s incredibly problematic. And the worst part of this, in my opinion, is reading the Keith Law chats. Sure, he may be a pompous airhead (okay, he is), but he’s got some good opinions. But nowadays, there isn’t a chat about him that doesn’t contain some bashing of the Braves FO for either Uggla or their recent draft. He’s an arrogant shmuck, but it’s much worse when he has evidence to back his claims up.

  21. FWIW, Venters and Kimbrel have been two of the best relievers in baseball. Until these past couple days, Venters’ numbers were completely insane. If there ever were two relievers to ride so hard, it’s gotta be those two. The Braves have also played a lot of close games. OTOH, this just means that Fredi has to be more careful about when he brings in his good relievers.

    Still, 50IP at the half-way mark for the season is way, WAY too many, especially given that you’re going to want to pitch your best guys a lot down the stretch.

  22. @29

    A .378 slugging for a corner outfielder is only good compared to the Braves. He’s provided 6 WAR for his 48 million dollar contract (on which he has 6.75 million left). That’s a bust.

  23. The main problem is, Matsuzaka excepted, these guys come over when they’re really really old. Ichiro and Nomo came over in their primes. The success rate for Japanese players under 30 is probably a lot better.

  24. Venters will probably not pitch this weekend. For all of the Fredi defenders out there–all two of you–think about this: Venters has pitched six times in the last eight days, and of those six times only two were in legitimately high leverage situations. Leaving aside the question of whether Fredi has burned out his best reliever by July, he has most definitely put himself and the team in a situation where they cannot use that reliever for an entire series because he insists on using him in 5-1 games–because Venters is the “8th inning guy,” and because Fredi doesn’t understand what “high” or “low” leverage actually means.

  25. @27-

    I’ll take Frank Wren and co’s track record over Law’s any day of the week. Law often has an interesting perspective, and I’m not really sure if the Braves had a good draft or not. But the Uggla signing looked good, and I’m going to give Uggla a year before I write him off.

  26. @ desert (27) – Curses to you for giving me the idea to go back and read old Keith Law chat transcripts instead of going to bed. What an oddly irresistible asshole that guy is. His Braves-related opinions mostly seem ridiculous though. He seems to hold some sort of grudge against Beachy that requires him to explain away his success, and he apparently thinks Wren should take heat for having prospects take spot starts. Like Rodrigo Lopez would’ve been a better option.

    He’s right that locking Uggla up through his mid thirties was not ideal, but someone was going to give him that contract, or probably more than that contract, and it totally would’ve been worth a couple of years of overpaying at the end to be just about guaranteed a playoff spot for the first couple of years. No one, not even Law, had any basis on which to predict that Uggla would completely lose his hitting ability in the first year of the contract, but that unlikely event is coloring his retrospective evaluation of the deal. Uggla’s recovery from zombie disease would probably shut Law up for a couple of years at least, and that would be very welcome.

  27. Given the circumstances and considering all the information Wren had at the time, the Uggla signing was a brillant idea. Let’s be fair.

  28. 35,

    Me too. There’s a reason Frank Wren runs a Major League Baseball team and there’s a reason Law couldn’t hold down a job with the Jays. He really fits ESPN: snark, biases, and not much evidence to back up his claims.

    36,

    I’m really sorry you had to go through that. He really does seem to have something against Braves. I’d like to say that I don’t try to read into team biases too often and am a level headed person, but between Neyer, Schoenfield, and Law… there really seems to be someone at ESPN who’s had a really bad experience with the Braves. Neyer was a sabermetrician, but Law is a scout. And excluding the Rays, I think that the best scouting team in baseball is Atlanta. I’d expect that he would enjoy Atlanta’s work. Schoenfield… I’m not really sure what he is. But his writing sure makes him sound like a dunce.

    37,

    I completely, 100% agree. I was ecstatic when the deal was announced, and it still has a lot of potential to look great for us. I was just lamenting the fact that it gave Law more ammo.

    38, 31

    I forgot. My bad.

    33,

    An excellent point that I haven’t really considered.

  29. 37—Not even close to brilliant. The trade was a very good idea; the extension was always extremely risky.

    40—Law is a sabermetrician who was trained how to scout over the past decade. Not exactly an old-guard kind of guy who’d be expected to worship The Braves Way.

    Also, he’s right about Uggla and the draft. Although I agree that the constant shots are unnecessary. Just part of his schtick.

  30. There were plenty of dissents here and elsewhere when the Braves extended Uggla. In fact, I’d say I read more criticism on this blog than praise. Let’s be fair.

  31. 42,

    I wasn’t in that group.

    41,

    Knowing only what we did three months ago, I wouldn’t say he was right about Uggla. The draft: well, with the restrictions put on spending, can we do any better? I didn’t like the Gilmartin move, but if ownership is (and they most definitely are) putting a cap on draft spending, this is probably the best the Braves could have done. And Law certainly does not seem to take that into account when bashing our draft.

  32. It’s not that the extension was beyond reproach, it’s just that what’s happened with Uggla so far should have no bearing on our evaluation of the extension. Nobody could’ve predicted Uggla’s crappy first half, and it’s annoying to hear the extension haters (KLaw primarily) chiming in so audibly right now, as if the unpredictable event of Uggla immediately sucking somehow proves their point. They’re two separate issues.

  33. 41, I was talking about the idea of solving our outfield problems by signing a second baseman, not the terms. Furthermore, show me a single deal of that magnitude with no risk involved. There is always, always a risk. You’re never going to sign anyone if you never take a chance. Nothing indicated a decline like this, and I have never heard from anyone that we could have signed Uggla for less.

    But ok, “very good”, not brilliant. Fair enough.

  34. 43—It’s not ownership that put the cap on; it’s Schuerholz. Yes, it’s fair to criticize the entire organization for a laughable draft, regardless of where the decision to make it so is coming from.

    As for Uggla, I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve been of the opinion that the extension was a mistake since it was first signed.

    44—But they’re not entirely separate. The fact that he’s bombing so badly right away definitely highlights the extreme riskiness of the extension.

    45—You originally referred to the Uggla “signing” as being brilliant. I thought you were talking about the extension.

  35. @desert (43) – Schuerholz’s position on the MLB draft commission almost certainly had a big role to play in our slave-to-slot draft. That’s not Wren’s fault, it’s Schuerholz’s, and he should be blamed for it. He put the team in competitive disadvantage by accepting a position that forced us to play by rules few other teams were playing by. It was explicitly stated that we couldn’t go over slot at all, but I also wonder whether we were discouraged from trying to game the compensation pick system as well. I’m guessing the Rays and the Blue Jays don’t have team reps getting cozy with Selig like Schuerholz has, and they’re going to benefit from it with restocked farm systems.

  36. @45 – Exactly. Repeatedly drawing 7-2 off-suit at the first table in a texas hold em tournament might highlight the risk of entering poker tournaments, but it says absolutely nothing about whether you should’ve entered or not.

  37. Law is, of course, arrogant and full of himself–a blog about books and cooking?)but he is not congenitally anti-Brave. Part of it is he has developed this on-line persona and feels obligated, I guess, to maintain it. But he has had lots of good things to say about the Braves. For example, he rates the Braves system very highly. However, I agree that his criticism for bringing hot prospects up for spot starts seemed incomprehensible.

    From last thread re MVP:

    “Concerning MVPs, how valuable can a player be if his team loses? The best player in baseball can play on a team that fails. I’m not certain the most valuable player can.

    It reminds me of Branch Rickey negotiating a contract with Ralph Kiner after Kiner had led the league in home runs playing for Pittsburg. Rickey denied Kiner a raise.

    Said Rickey, “We finished last with you and we can finish last without you.””

    I think the whole concept of most valuable is silly. Having said that, the above makes sense only if you think winning games matters only to the best teams. If you win 70 games and would have won 60 without a player, I think that’s pretty valuable. People are paying to see those games, even if the team is bad. When Steve Carlton won 27 games for a team that won 59, that’s pretty valuable in my book. To say you could have finished last without so and so is, I think, an insult to the fans.

  38. On KLaw, I do agree that he seems butthurt (my new favorite e-word) about Beachy panning out when he poo-poo’d him earlier, so he’s sticking to his guns and looking dumb.

  39. Apparently Liberty Media put in a bid on Barnes & Nobles for a billion dollars.

    I guess that’s why they keep lowering the Braves payroll.

  40. The “extension haters” pointed out that Uggla was terrible defensively, on the wrong side of 30, had a skill set that was not likely to age well, and that committing a significant portion of the forseeable payroll to this kind of player was inherently risky.

    So but me no buts about this being impossible to predict. That it appears to have happened sooner than is just salt in the wound

    http://atlanta.sbnation.com/atlanta-braves/2011/1/6/1918804/dan-ugglas-extension-could-prove-risky-for-braves

  41. My point is: it’s ridiculous to suggest that anyone who is now pissed off about the Uggla extension is relying entirely, or even mostly, upon a half season’s worth of data to support their criticism. That’s a straw-man. It’s simply untrue. Many people here and elsewhere thought the deal was a bad idea at the time–not just risky, but bad because the risk outweighed the predicted benefits–and are, understandably, even more irritated by it now. I’m not sure why anyone here would want to criticize them–Frank Wren is the guy who signed the deal.

    Moreover, even if the Uggla ideal was a good idea at the time–that is, even if everyone in their right mind was on board with it–its failure, if that’s what ultimately happens, is nevertheless damning for Frank Wren. He made the deal; he has to live with the ramifications, which includes criticism.

  42. I guess I’m saying that the deal should be criticized for having 60% (or whatever) chance of negative value in the long run when the deal was signed, not for being a 100% failure because OMG look how bad Uggla’s been in the first year already!!! Decisions have to be based on the likelihood of events at the time they’re made, and they should be evaluated later in the same manner. 100% negative value after the fact should only be viewed as 60% negative value, or whatever the likelihood was determined to be beforehand. It’s a fine point, I admit, and probably not one worth arguing. Most of us agree that it was a very risky contract.

  43. That’s a straw-man.

    BS. A predictable dropoff in production has to be factored in to the back end of a contract. If I don’t get the first two years of full value, it dang sure ain’t going to happen in the last two.

  44. Anyone find it amusing that these so called Baseball people (Olney, Heyman, Rosen.) keep reporting than NO teams have called about Matt Kemp or Jose Reyes?

    Are people really suppose to believe that?

  45. @52

    And that’s a pretty good example of why corporate ownership sucks. We’re always going to be an afterthought when our owners are worried about stuff like buying Barnes & Noble (which should be more important to Liberty Media than whether the Braves make the playoffs BTW, I’m not decrying that).

    Incidentally, what happened to the promise Liberty Media gave Bud Selig that they wouldn’t lower our payroll? Our payroll certainly seems to be lower now than when they first bought the team. Maybe it’s not yet lower than it was the last year Time Warner owned it, so it still counts as not lowering it.

  46. Shades of Marcus Giles. A terrible thing that I can’t comprehend how you get through while trying to play pro sports.

  47. @50 Stu, that’s definitely my LEAST favorite newfangled word, phrase, whatever. I had a printmaking professor who said it constantly in the fall and by the end of it I was ready to run HIM through the relief press.

  48. @58, It’s not hard to believe, and also at the same time, beside the point. MVPs are rarely traded in-season for a few good reasons. And both teams are publicly known to be reaching out to the players about extensions. That’s not exactly going well for either team right now, but that would indicate to any rival RM that neither is interested in dealing now either.

    When I read what those writers have to say, I always try to think about what the GM being covered wants me to think, since writers are, to some degree, their mouthpieces when it comes to dealing with trade rumors, with the writers very much in on the game. In this case, the message seems to be, “Don’t call me right now about my star player.”

    Of course, the last time I really thought I had it all figured out, I was sure Cliff Lee would be going to NY or TEX.

  49. Why would they release him instead of DFA him and try to get something back?

    If, for example, Cameron would sign with the Phillies if released, it would be in our interest to either pay a little of his salary or give up a low level prospect to make him a Brave instead.

  50. I get many of the criticisms of Klaw, but I thought he had a point about bringing up a Delgado or a Teheran for one spot start being foolhardy. If either of them had been injured, then he’s sitting on the major league DL accruing service time for however long it takes him to get healthy. It’s an unlikely but substantial downside, whereas the upside of Delgado over, say, Redmond for one spot start doesn’t seem all that significant.

  51. The guy who reported release took it back:

    Epstein confirmed DFA.

  52. Strange to DFA him instead of trying to keep a little leverage before you deal him.

    Maybe they feel like there will be enough competition from teams that they might get at least a lottery ticket for him even when the clubs know they HAVE to deal him.

    I guess they need the roster spot today, not 2 or 3 days from now when a deal might be completed.

  53. I’ll always love Cameron for ’01 in Seattle…but hasn’t he just about had it? I believe this board would have a collective aneurysm if Uggla, AGon, and Cameron ever batted in the same inning…..

  54. My mother had four miscarriages and me. She was the type that should have had eight kids around her, not just one.

    Never did have the conversation with her about that. Should have.

    Prayers for the Harris Family.

  55. Cameron is batting .149/.212/.266 this season, and wasn’t anything special in 2010. Not convinced he’s any better than Nate McLouth at this point.

  56. I’d take Cameron to play off the bench without a thought. Maybe with some (ok, a lot) of luck he could recapture something for a brief stretch like Jim Edmonds did with the Reds, and if that happened it would patch our CF issue.

    Even if not, he still brings more defensive value than Ramirez.

  57. Yeah, that’s just what we need, another guy hitting below the Mendoza line. Would fit right in.

  58. My boss just tweeted to me that Chuck James is the sole representative from the Twins at the AAA all-star game.

  59. Pro-rated portion of league minimum, at that.

    Maybe he hits his way in to a platoon with McLouth. Maybe he doesn’t. Wilkin Ramirez sure isn’t going to.

  60. Is there any chance that Mike Cameron’s production fell when the stricter drug testing rules were implemented?

  61. Everyone’s production fell when the stricter drug testing rules were implemented. Offense fell so much last year that it was called “The Year of the Pitcher”; it has fallen even more this year. The sole culprit, everyone seems to agree, is the banning of amphetamines.

  62. Cameron is old, that’s all that happened. But it’s a non-zero possibility that he could slam lefties for a few months in a bench or platoon role.

  63. BTW, “Instant Replay” is back in print. Great book, and it was written before “Ball Four” but because it’s not as scandalous isn’t as famous. (Also, it’s bizarre that Jerry Kramer isn’t in the Hall of Fame.) Anyway, Kramer writes at one point that there used to be amphetamines available in the Packer locker room — just like Bouton’s greenie jars. But “they disappeared about five, six years ago.” That would have been approximately 1963. Presumably payers started getting them from other sources after that.

  64. Mike Cameron against lefties.

    2009 – 150 PA of .271/.420/.534/.954
    2010 – 48 PA of .357/.438/.690/1.128
    2011 – 70 PA of .143/.214/.302/.516

    Hurt or done, I don’t know. But I’d rather give him a chance than Wilkin Ramirez, who was bad at AAA and is only up because Joe Mather was Joe Mather.

  65. I remember reading a book about Kramer when I was very little – didn’t he play for a long time with some large bits of wood in his stomach or something from a childhood accident? I think the family cow kicked a fence rail into him or something like that. One tough dude.

  66. Yeah, Kramer had splinters in his abdomen for twelve years and had several surgeries before they figured that out. Did I mention that I read this just after getting out of the hospital?

  67. Boy, do I miss Dr. Z’s columns—my NFL-pool results haven’t quite been the same since his stroke.

    He was the man—SI’s all-time MVP in my book.

  68. Cameron is old *and returning from herniated disc surgery.* I’m not against taking a flyer on the guy. “Better than Wilkin Ramiriz” isn’t that high of a bar. But there’s a better than zero sum that he’s this year’s RH version of Garrett Anderson, if a little less “I hate everyone but California.”

  69. Like I said, I’m not against taking a Mike Cameron flier, just for shits and giggles. He’s always been a guy I wanted to see in Atlanta. If he’s a shade of his former self there’s no position in the OF he couldn’t defend. And if he came back to be a RH option to Nate McLouth/Jordan Schafer, well, that’s worth a nickel bet.

    But he could be D-U-N done, too.

  70. I should add that one of Fredi’s few strengths compared to Bobby is that he seems less likely to get attached to veteran carpetbaggers for no good reason.

  71. Well, Id rather take the gamble on him instead of the Phillies or another contending team getting that shot. He may very well be done, but he could also be the 2010 Pat Burrell of the Giants for someone. Can he make us worse vs lefties? We already dont touch them.

  72. How come the Phillies never have to play in Fenway?

    It’s a conspiracy, I tellya!

  73. Would it make sense to DL Chipper now? Make him have that knee surgery and return after the AllStar Break.

  74. When Prado is ready to go, then Chipper should go under the knife immediately, regardless of where he currently is. Bathtub? Slice him. Hooters? Dig in. Even with Prado out though, it’s not like Chipper is providing that much more than Conrad would give you for a week, with the bat anyway.

  75. Yeah Chippers .293OBP in June isnt helping. Might as well try to get him fixed.

    BTW, its his 1st sub .300 month since June 2004.

  76. When will Prado be back? Real lefty and righty smasher. Wilkins will go down soon enough. I do not want to give a 38 year old a 100 at bats to see how done he is.

  77. Brooks Conrad has a very healthy .861 OPS in 63 plate appearances. Chipper could go on the DL now and the offense or defense wouldn’t lose much. I mean, seriously, the offense can’t get much worse.

  78. Given Ramirez is going right back down as soon as Prado’s ready, isn’t the Cameron vs. Ramirez debate irrelevant and the Cameron vs. McLouth (and maybe Schafer) debate very relevant?

  79. He’s looked all right at 3B so far. But yeah, I’ll never not hold my breath when the ball is hit in his direction.

  80. It may be tougher for Conrad if he knows it may be for more than one game.
    Game is 90% physically and 50% mental to quote someone
    No, Yogi said it was 90% mental, the other half physical

  81. Sign Cameron, DL Chipper to get his knee fixed, put Prado at third when he gets back, and platoon McLouth and Cameron in left; Schafer stays in CF.

    When Chipper returns in 3-4 weeks, Prado returns to left and you choose between McLouth, Cameron, and Schafer for CF.

    If Chipper’s gone 10 – 12 days and none of them are hitting, and you can’t live with 2 of Cameron, McLouth, Schafer in the OF at all times, pick the best of them for CF, move Prado back to LF, and Conrad plays 3B for awhile.

  82. Yeah, Conrad will probably be bad, but he won’t be worse than Chipper was in June. If Chipper’s zombie-like symptoms were knee related, and a surgery would reduce them, then what’s the risk? It’s either Zombie Chipper for the rest of the season, or Zombie Chipper Proxy for a couple of weeks followed, hopefully, by un-undead Chipper for the mythical second half. A small investment in suckiness up front could save us millions in suckiness down the road.

  83. So, some guy on twitter is going nuts about Yunel’s latest escapade. Apparently, he “punched” Matt Diaz with a baseball. I guess I’ll have to see it.

  84. I did say that as soon as Escobar became a non-Brave, he would quickly come one of my least favorite players. This just solidifies my standing. What a douche.

  85. To quote Archer…that is just babytown frolics. What a juvenile, douchebaggy thing to do. And to a former teammate, at that.

  86. Apparently there was a previous, similar, incident between MattyD and Esco. Residual bad blood, for sure.

  87. After watching the footage of the first incident, if someone slid into me like that I would totally punch them next chance I got.

  88. From @141, “Recently, I had the opportunity to sit with a veteran scout who had seen the entire Braves system from top to bottom. Per his words, Edward Salcedo is the only legitimate bat in the entire Braves system right now.

    Boo, booooo.

  89. It would require insanity to deal Salcedo, right? I’d have no problem with losing Carlos Perez, but Salcedo fills a huge looming need at 3rd. I guess I’d be ok with sending Salcedo to LA in a deal for Kemp, with whom we’d sign an extension, and whom I’d move to left with Prado taking over 3rd for the long haul, but we can’t throw away our sole legitimate offensive threat in the minors for a rental. Surely we can’t do that.

  90. You’d punch someone instead of trying to complete the double play? I don’t get that at all. Takeout slides are part of the deal at second base. Diaz was in the baseline. It wasn’t pretty (in that it was performed by Matt Diaz), but that same play gets made without further incident all the time.

  91. Matty’s got a lot of cushion. He’ll be fine.

    As for Yunel, what a douche. Diaz must have said something about his tips.

  92. urlhix, you wouldnt make it as a middle infielder then. Both of Diaz’s slides were clean and well inside the basepaths. Diaz broke up both DP’s, looks like he did his job.

  93. To me, when you initiate physical contact, you get no gripe about consequences. I personally hate the “takeout slide” simply because it puts players at an unneeded injury risk. I would prefer a low bridge throw next time going first to second some hard tag, but again, when you start shit you have no bitch about what happens.

  94. I have to say that Diaz is a better man that I. I would have got up and stuck my cleats into his leg for that.

  95. 143,

    That statement is seen is presented in a better light the more you read:

    “Now, the conversation shouldn’t be about whether this is an accurate statement or not since Braves fans will point to Christian Bethancourt, Tyler Pastornicky, and even Matt Lipka as other viable sticks. My interest in the quote is more along the lines of how big an impression Salcedo must have made to separate himself from other position prospects in the organization by that much. For a scout to throw that out there means the young third base prospect is significantly improved…”

  96. It wasn’t until the recent Yunel Escobar-Matt Diaz discussion that I noticed how bad Diaz has been for the Pirates. A .268/.297/.331 line and not even one home run. Too bad Diaz is not still here: he’d fit in nicely with the Braves’ low OBP crew.

  97. @149, probably not. Someone coming in with an unnecessary roundhouse kick to my knee, obviously trying to hurt me, is gonna get a little something in return at the first opportunity.

  98. @150

    That’s street fight logic. Diaz wasn’t trying to hurt Yunel, just impede him by making a baseball play within the accepted mores of the sport. Not the case w/ respect to Yunel’s retaliation.

  99. Diaz wasn’t trying to hurt Yunel,

    What?!? The whole POINT of the slide is to threaten the defender with imminent danger, i.e. physical discomfort in the form of cutting your legs out from under you that could easily result in injury. I am going to walk towards you swinging my arms. If you get hit it’s your fault for not moving. Why the heck should anyone tolerate that?

  100. Diaz’s leg wasn’t low to the ground enough — I get that Yunel had beef, and that’s fair enough. But swinging the ball into his ribcage is a punk move. You jaw with the guy, you disclose a few facts about his sister, and then you tell him to come meet you in the parking lot. But punching him with the baseball? No way.

  101. The whole POINT is to break up a double play, not injure the player. If he wanted to injure him he could go in standing up. I dont think we’ll agree on this one though.

  102. Jesus, in a sport where it’s okay to throw a fastball at someones head for how they look at you after a home run, it’s not okay to give someone a love tap in the ribs after they have a go at your ACL?

  103. Why the heck should anyone tolerate that?

    If you’re starting baseball from scratch today, then you get to apply a new set of ethics. The ethics of this particular situation have been forged. A shortstop and a baserunner converging on second base share the common understanding that an attempt can be made to impede the throw to first in this exact manner. Again, it happens exactly like this all the time without further incident.

  104. @160
    But it’s not okay to do that, either. You can get thrown out of the game and risk suspension if the intention is clear. And Yunel’s intention was very clear.

  105. DOB –
    •In the 12 games since his 5-hit game, #Braves CF Schafer is 7-for-44 (.159) w/ a .229 OBP, 1 RBI, 2 SB, 4 BB, 13 K, 7 R

  106. Adam Milligan, Tyler Pastornicky, Andrelton Simmons, Christian Bethancourt, and Edward Salcedo are all having pretty good years but no one is tearing the cover off of the ball. All seem to have major flaws either offensively or defensively.

    Salcedo might be the only legit 5-tooled player in our system, but has struggled mightily on defense(24 errors and a .912 field percentage….Yikes!).

    Pastornicky is walking less this year but is hitting for a higher average. He’s also booting the ball fairly frequently (.938 fielding percentage).

    Andrelton Simmons, best defensive SS in the system, but can’t hit the ball with any authority (0 HR in 303 plate appearances). He’s Elvis Andrus without the ability to steal bases at a high percentage (10 sb and 10 cs).

    Adam Milligan, best hitter in the system, but swings and misses often. Seems very Francoeurian to me, except left-handed.

    Christian Bethancourt is the real deal behind the plate, but doesnt have the power to back up his high K rate.

    I agree with the scout. There’s really nothing to get excited about unless you like backup players.

  107. spike,

    It is reasonable as Yunel has been playing baseball long enough to know that Diaz is going to come in hard in that situation.

  108. @161, then why is it you suppose Yunel chose this particular play to react to? He’s made it thousands of times “without incident” Why is there no more weight given to “Diaz somehow broke the code here” to “Yunel is a dick”? Diaz kicked him in the knee the night before. His own pitcher didn’t/wouldn’t TCB. How else are these unwritten rules supposed to be enforced? At least Yunel took care of it personally, instead of hiding behind someone else to do it for him. “Hard but clean” I thought worked both ways.

  109. Give Salcedo some time at 3B and I think you’ll see the defense get much better.

    Chipper made 56 errors (.919FP%) in 1991 – A ball
    Jeter made 56 errors (.889FP%) in 1993 – A ball

  110. @167
    Yes, but his value greatly decreases if he’s moved to 3b (which is apparent, now).

  111. Phils get Jays, Mariners on the road and Braves before the ASB. Atlanta gets Orioles, Rockies at home and at Phillies.

    What’s the difference in the standings when play resumes? I think we get within 2 games.

  112. spike –

    Diaz did nothing wrong. He stretched his legs out so that he could reach Yunel, and it just happened by chance that he drug Yunel’s leg with it. I’m almost positive it was not intentional. With that in mind, Yunel is just a punk – there were other ways to go about it. That’s along the lines of charging the mound when a pitcher had zero intention of hitting you. It’s just stupid.

  113. So have we moved past going after Pence?

    Putting Pence in left and Prado at third seems to help our lineup a great deal.

  114. It does, but they arent going to take Chippers spot away from him. I dont know if Pence can play CF. Our only two spots that can really be addressed offensively are SS and CF. Its probably going to be expensive prospect wise also.

  115. God bless you, Mac. Do what you’ve got to do to get well. Prayers and positive thoughts are yours.

  116. Here’s something to put us all in a better mood –

    Francoeur pleased by production, primed for big second half

    Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur knows the numbers and admits those from the last several weeks aren’t particularly good. But he dismisses any suggestion that he is slipping back into bad habits at the plate.

    “I’m on pace for 100 RBIs, 20 home runs and 40 doubles,” he said. “I think I’ll take that. If the critics don’t like that, I don’t really care.”

    Francoeur acknowledges his production dipped after a torrid start but attributes the decline to a normal slump — something he said he typically battles in May and/or June.

    “I’ve always said if you play six months, you’re going to have one bad month,” he said. “If you don’t, you’re Adrian Gonzalez and you’re making $100 million. There are very few guys who don’t (have a bad month).”

    Francoeur’s ups and downs reflect the Royals’ season. He batted .303 in the first 37 games, when they went 20-17, with eight homers, 20 extra-base hits, 26 RBIs and a .350 on-base percentage.

    In 42 games after that — even after some recent encouraging signs — Francoeur batted only .227 with two homers, 10 extra-base hits, 20 RBIs and a .272 on-base percentage. The Royals were 13-29 in that span.

    The difference this year, Francoeur insists, is he continues to show improved discipline at the plate even in tough times. He is on pace to set career highs in pitches seen and pitches taken.

  117. “I’m on pace for 100 RBIs, 20 home runs and 40 doubles,” he said. “I think I’ll take that. If the critics don’t like that, I don’t really care.”

    A lot of people will agree with him. Many, even here, declared Francoeur’s 2006 season a success.

  118. Frenchy’s been “on pace” to do these things at some point almost every year, but other than in 2007, he hasn’t come close.

  119. So was there a massive rush to judgement in the Straus-Kahn (IMF head) case?

    How can a such a high profile case fall so utterly apart?

  120. Frenchy is only on pace because of his ridiculous April. He’s been awful since.

    April – .316/.361/.551
    May – .233/.287/.388
    June – .235/.280/.367

    9 of his 18 doubles came in April

  121. I know it’s been said before, but he’d be a pretty awesome player if he could switch teams every 50 games or so.

  122. “TORONTO (AP)—Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar left Friday’s game against Philadelphia in the first inning after being hit on the left hand by a pitch.”

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