288 thoughts on “ESPN revealed game thread: April 9, Braves at Astros”

  1. @ Sam from last thread –

    “Getting Utley and Howard back is no more certain than “getting Chipper back.” Except they’ll be paying those guy $20+ mil for the next five or so years…”

    Thanks, but you missed my point completely.

  2. From last threat, JohnR: If you are going to Bratislava, do Vienna – it’s only 30 minutes away. Munich isnt’t too far either. Lots of good cities close by or a cheap hour’s flight away…

    Well, watching Braves in Europe… only one way: mlb.tv.

  3. Yeah it’s not like we have our two best hitters hurt. Our team is what it is, except that we’ll eventually get a 40 year old back in the lineup who might hit 10 HRs and hit .280 or so for probably 80 or 90 games.

    That said, when in the lineup, Chipper is still our best overall hitter. Not sure whether that’s more of a compliment to Chipper or another example of how bad this roster really is.

  4. Tonight’s lineup:

    Bourn CF
    Prado LF
    McCann C
    Uggla 2B
    Freeman 1B
    Diaz RF
    Francisco 3B
    Pastornicky SS
    Beachy P

  5. Thanks, but you missed my point completely.

    Did I? I thought your point was that the Phillies lineup should improve along and along, but the Braves were going to be shut down forever. If that’s not right, please help me out.

  6. @3 – Exactly. For at least the past 3 years, McCann has been the best hitter on the team. I love Brian as much as I’m sure we all do, but a truly competitive line-up needs Brian McCann to be it’s 3rd best hitter (Maaaaybe 2nd best if there is very little drop-off behind).

    And any line-up featuring Pastornicky and Francisco really needs to make up for them by having some mashers at the top.

  7. Diaz for Heyward already?

    Sam, yes you did. My point was that the Phillies have a crap lineup right now and shouldnt be expected to score many runs until Utley and Howard return. The Braves on paper look much better than their current level of production and should be able to put some runs on the scoreboard. Thats what makes these offensive struggles that much more frustrating.

  8. My comment wasn’t meant as a put-down of Francisco or Tyler specifically, just that it’s a batting order relying on two guys with very little ML experience. You can get away with that if the other 6 hitters are murderers row.

  9. Why Fransisco over Jhey against Happ? Neither guy has faced him so Im confused on why Fredi chose that lineup.

  10. Heyward obviously didn’t impress Fredi this weekend. What with the walks and extra base hits and all. This concerns me…

  11. Q – What’s funnier than Braves fans giving up on the season after 3 bad games?

    A – Yankee fans doing the same thing.

  12. Not sure a game could be much less enticing to watch than this one. Jurrjens/Livan starting would be worse, I suppose, but blech, what a lineup.

  13. Mac,

    On your Super Sekrit ESPN flowchart, you forgot to put in the part that includes Duke playing basketball. Or, reshowing a Duke game from the last ten years on replay.

    Other than that, you would have had me.

  14. @18 I came back here to post exactly that, verbatim. He is the destroyer of baseball joy.

  15. I think I really mean this:

    Braves should make Chipper player/manager for this year. He’s going to be here anyway, so he might as well see if he likes it.

    It’s not like he would do worse than is currently being done.

  16. Chipper has said recently that he has no interest in managing, but would love to be a hitting coach.

  17. Victorino, mostly because I’m not convinced Fredi would feel anything hitting him directly in the head. Don’t want to waste my rock.

  18. @24, Actually, I’m pretty sure this previously posted gif is proof that the rock wouldn’t do much damage to Victorino either:

  19. Matt Diaz vs J.A. Happ (17 PA) – .533/.588/.867 (1.455)
    Martin Prado vs J.A. Happ (13 PA) – .200/.385/.600 (.985)
    Jason Heyward vs LHP* (322 PA) – .227/.323/.365 (.688)

    But hey, you boys pretend like there’s no rationale at all for it, okay? It makes you *feel better* and all.

    *Heyward has not faced Happ.

  20. Exactly. If he wants to start Diaz, fine. But wtf with Francisco over Heyward? Heyward needs to play when he’s healthy. Francisco has looked completely out of control at the plate so far.

  21. A better case can be made against Francisco, certainly. But unless you think Heyward should play every single day you’re going to need to get him rest somewhere. And you’re going to need to get Francisco ABs somewhere. And honestly, there’s no real reason to believe Heyward would fare better than Francisco against the lefty tonight.

  22. Francisco needs to get at bats too. You aren’t going to get through the season playing Heyward every day.

  23. I think Francisco will always look out of control at the plate. But hopefully he will connect on some long ones in the process.

  24. It’s the 4th game of the year. We lost the 1st three and he was one of the few offensive players showing signs of life. We need to win tonight. Francisco is a spare and Heyward is not.

  25. I was critical of Heyward’s swing last year, especially how high he was holding his hands. So far (granted it’s just a handful of AB’s) I have to say that he’s fixed that problem and he looks a lot better up there to me. Why would you sit the one guy on the team that has at least hit the ball hard a few times? Why would you sit him against a lefty when you know you need him to hit lefties this year? If Heyward is a platoon player (and if is platoon partner is Matt F. Diaz) then we’re freaking dooooomed.

    Someone said it perfectly a few blogs back – I can take losing because we just suck, but losing because we’re stupid is harder to take, and Fredi surely appears stupid.

  26. You aren’t going to get through the season playing Heyward every day because he gets hurt somewhat frequently. So when he’s not hurt, you should probably play him all you can. Yeah he’ll need rest occasionally if he’s playing all the time, but in the fourth game of the season?

    And the real reason to believe that Heyward would be better against Happ tonight is because he’s a better hitter period. That’s ignoring defense and baserunning, both of which he is far and away better at than Francisco.

  27. Also, 17 and 13 PA samples of a couple of batters against a certain pitcher would be terrible grounds upon which to base any sort of decision.

  28. The other side of Heyward’s proneness to injury is to give him lots of rest, to try to avoid the sort of catastrophic injury that he’s managed to find the last couple of years. Might not work, of course, but it’s not notably less reasonable than the “play him every day until he inevitably hurts himself” tack.

    As for sample size, yeah, sure a few ABs are poor statistical measures. On the other hand, some players see some pitchers and hit them well. If you don’t believe that ask Tom Glavine about Mike Redmond sometime.

  29. Francisco needs to get at bats too. You aren’t going to get through the season playing Heyward every day.

    It’s game four.

  30. DOB tweeted that Francisco is 5 for 12 at Minute Maid Park. A small sample to be sure, but an insight into FG’s thinking here.

  31. So Francisco is playing because the Braves want to get an extended look at him before Jones is reactivated sometime soon, and they need to make a roster move?

    Wouldn’t Constanza be the one demoted?

  32. Holy crap, a lead.

    @52, Fredi might actually get his first manager’s win of the year, the way this is going.

  33. Tyler! Pastornicky isn’t looking like he’ll be a problem for the offense. Unlike the rest of the offense.

  34. Pastornicky has the best slash stats — all three — in the lineup. Obviously, that will probably change the next time through the lineup.

  35. The problem is that the rest of the offense is hitting like everyone expected Pastornicky to.

  36. That would be our very first hit with RISP this year. Go Pastornicky! (Do we have a nickname for that guy yet?)

  37. Brandon Beachy shows the truth in the old saying, “If you want a job done right and you can’t smash your lineup’s kneecaps before the game, do it yourself.”

  38. What are these things crossing the plate for the Braves in the second inning? What does it mean?

  39. I get the impression that, even though Juan Francisco is a very poor hitter, he’s a very poor fielder.

  40. I like how Joe and Chip talked like the Braves are letting Fransico play because they will have to make a roster move tomorrow. Guess what boys, he is out of options. I wonder how hard Fredi will cry when Constanza is send off?

  41. I wonder how hard Fredi will cry when Constanza is send off?

    It’s going to be a sad day for Sam tomorrow.

  42. @68, Thanks for the translation, Mr. Boomhauer. I mean, Dale, er, Mr. Shackleford.

  43. I’ve already had two Cokes and we’re only in the 3rd inning. And Francisco is 1-1, so good for FG.

  44. Who are these guys, the 1998 Colorado Rockies?

    2003 Braves. Scored over 900 runs. Lost their first three games of the season to the future fourth-place Expos. Finished season at 101-61.

    (Yeah right.)

  45. Let’s see, Heyward is on the bench right now so we can have that type of crap with Prado in left and Diaz in right?

  46. Francisco? Wow that was a whole portfolio of suck right there. You could probably charge him with two errors on one play.

  47. Wow. I fire up the game to see 3-0. The first two plays I see are TWO errors on one play followed by one crappy cutoff throw home.

  48. Gameday says “In play, runs score,” on a 92 mph cutter on the outsider corner. Looks like a good pitch.

  49. Sorry, I meant to explicitly ask about how that pitch/swing looked on video. Did Brandon throw a good pitch and just get beat?

  50. And somehow it’s 3-3.

    Yeah — Buck’s double was on an outside cutter — and he’s left-handed, so if he swings at an outside pitch he’s almost certain to hit it towards the left side. But for some reason, Francisco was playing WAY off the third base line. Either Brandon missed his spot or Francisco was asleep.

  51. As I was saying, Francisco is a spare.

    Really glad Fredi wanted to get him some AB’s over heyward before chipper comes back in the middle of an 8 game losing streak. Idiot.

  52. I’m throwing Francisco in with Durbin and Livan as products of a desperate organization whose feeding tube has been severed by its corporate overseers.

  53. “The errors are still being sorted out,” intone the Astros announcers as the fourth inning begins.

  54. There wasn’t anything wrong with the cutoff throw home from Pastonicky. McCann tried to apply the tag too soon.

  55. Francisco is more like Alex Gonzalez. We needed a player at that position and so we got someone available, who happens to have moderate power and zero plate discipline. So we were dealing from a position of desperation.

    But unlike AAG, Francisco sucks at defense.

  56. Braves like Fransisco’s upside and have wanted him for a long time. Says about all we need to know right now.

  57. @113

    I agree, they gave it to him for letting the runner get to third. IT should have been on McCann though.

  58. Now, I’ve seen three full baseball games this year. And braves.com tells me these 25 guys were present at all three of them. So it is verifiably true that they have at least SEEN how baseball is played.

  59. I think Francisco will get a lot of playing time. He was signed to back up Chipper and we don’t have anyone ready in the minors that’s any better. We need to keep him and option Constanza just so Fredi will stop giving Constanza AB’s. He may try to bring in Constanza even when he’s not on the roster, but hopefully we have contingency plans for that as well.

  60. @123,

    Yep, so far not starting heyward has cost us at LEAST three runs, maybe more.

  61. The Braves have just gifted the Astros this lead. Two straight innings with two outs and they start throwing the ball all over the place and give up an RBI hit to the opposing pitcher.

  62. 125- I refuse to believe that Simmons or Terdoslavich could be worse than this. They’d have to carry Ebola to be worse than a guy with no bat or glove.

  63. 133 – He’s got a ton of power, and has hit the ball hard in several AB’s so far. Granted he appears to lack plate discipline, but this roster lacks power and his bat will be welcome off the bench every now and then. If he’s this bad defensively then of course he won’t stick around long, but I’m hoping that he’s just nervous b/c this is his big chance, and after sh*tting the bed and getting it out of his system he’ll settle down and be fine. Patience with younger players should be one of Fredi’s strengths (assuming he has strengths).

  64. I blame Beachy. He had no business walking Scharfer and then he can’t get the bottom of the order. IMO he nibbles way too much. I’m so impresed with these great young Braves pitchers.

  65. 140 – I was too young to really know how bad they were then. What did I care? Dale Murphy was on tv everyday!

  66. So do the Braves have any pitcher capable of pitching into the 5th or beyond?

  67. What were the four errors? I’ve been in and out of this game. I’m starting to regret the in part.

    @150, Or throwing over 92 mph?

  68. Well, a perfect start to this inning…Beachy gets jobbed on a swinging strikeout and then walks the lead off hitter. Has the makings of a big Astros inning for sure

  69. On a somewhat tough grounder, Francisco’s throw pulled Freeman off the bag. (1)

    On a grounder, Francisco bobbled the ball (2), then he wheeled around to try to get a runner advancing to third but threw it at Pastornicky’s feet. (3)

    On a play at the plate, Pastornicky threw the relay throw too high for McCann to be able to tag the runner out; the runner advanced to third on the throw, which got away from McCann. (4)

  70. Screw fielding metrics. Freddie Freeman is the best fielding first baseman in the history of baseball and the Braves are lucky to have him.

  71. Geez. It’s too bad we can’t put a Rascal Scooter by the mound so Livan can cover first base.

  72. The runs Livan will give up are not really of consequence because we are done scoring anyway

  73. Fred McGriff … the AFLAC duck … Corpulent ex-‘Bama OL Andre Smith … Stephen Hawking … the old space-shuttle crawler transporter … glaciers in Greenland … a Merchant-Ivory film …

    … all of these move faster than Livan Hernandez.

    EDIT: I’ll add Fredi’s brain waves. But it’s a photo finish.

  74. He was born a pauper to a pawn on a Christmas day
    When the New York Times said God is dead
    And the war’s begun
    Alvin Tostig has a son today

  75. I think Wren hates his job. Livan was supposed to be the final sign, but upper management is pretty dense. He thought Durbin would be super obvious. Nope.

  76. Livan has done all but ask to come out of the game. The real problem is sitting in the dugout texting Bobby what he should do. Too bad Bobby can’t text and Fredi hasn’t figured that out in over a year.

  77. I didn’t think it was possible to hate Livan more. Lesson learned–there is always more hate in me.

  78. I’m guessing the last time the Braves started 0-4 was during the Reagan administration.

  79. 185- I hope it’s my birthday instead, which is next Monday.

    194- I’m sure you’re right. Someone needs to find that flowchart and arrange it so that Fredi sticks his head in a toilet.

  80. @183

    This team is Wren’s way of telling Liberty Media, “You pay for s—, you get s—.” Payroll is $10 million less than it was in 2002; it was $26 million above the mean then; it’s $14.4 million below the mean now.

  81. You know your team is bad when the Astros announcers are pondering the longest losing streaks to start a season when referring to the start your team in the midst of

  82. Feel bad for the Twitter researcher looking for innocuous questions. I’ve had half a mind to start tweeting abuse at the official Braves Twitter account.

    “Nice job today, assholes” #Braves

  83. Why did we think we needed Livan Hernandez? Is it because his name ends with ‘z’? Scott Proctor would’ve been better. Or Dan Kolb. Or Dan Kolb’s mom. Or carrying 11 pitchers.

  84. @198 – Oh yeah, I’d be completely unsurprised to see Venters come in with a three run deficit. He really does shit like that. Hell, Kimbrel probably needs some work too.

  85. I’m out. Enjoy the meaningless 2 runs they’ll probably eek out against the wife beater in the 9th.

  86. Poor Hernandez, the only NL team he can pitch well against, he can’t even pitch to now.

  87. Well, now it’s a mop-up situation. No reason to take him out now if you didn’t before.

  88. The official scorekeeper ought to be able to give this loss to Francisco rather than Beachy

  89. My money is on him bringing Kimbrel into get some work. Bill parcels always says your only as good as your last……fredi isn’t verygood

  90. Incidentally, I’m not nearly as concerned about the hitting and the crappy end of our bullpen as I am our starting pitching. There’s a reason we’ve had to go to the crappy end of our bullpen in all these games save the Hanson start, and that’s because our starting pitching has sucked in every game save that one. The hitting will come around at some point. In fact, you could argue we’d be well on our way to two wins in a row right now if the starter hadn’t collapsed in both games. We scored five runs yesterday and appeared to be well on our way today.

  91. I hate this team.

    I was heading down for a game this weekend. Not anymore. I am not spending any money on this bunch of losers.

  92. Standing pat sure looks like the smart, scotch-laden move at this point. Very smart. Very scotch-laden. Scotchity, scotchity, scothity…Braves won 90…we do nothing, and the fans will like it.

    Another double with a splash, please!

  93. Tomorrow’s line up

    RF Constanza
    SS Chipper
    3B Durbin
    1B Diaz
    LF Prado
    CF Don Sutton
    P Livan
    C Jack Wilson
    2B Uggla

  94. @219 – I don’t think you can say Beachy collapsed. Beachy minus Francisco would’ve been just fine.

  95. Could Durbin possibly be worse than Scott Proctor? Will he exhibit the same undead properties?

  96. I was so looking forward to this year. At this point four Games in I feel like the season is lost. This keeps up fredi won’t make it to may

  97. I wish we would use some of our good RPs in close games, so that we can use our other good relief pitchers when the games stay close.

  98. So let’s recap:

    Three Houston runs created by Francisco.
    Two Houston runs created by Hernandez.
    Two Houston runs created by Durbin.

    The Holy Trinity of slapdash solutions. Ordinarily I’d say these were duct-tape solutions, but that’s too kind. More like Scotch tape.

  99. I can’t believe our crappy players are crappy. Unexpected and just plain rude if you ask me.

    When is Moylan back? You have to think he’d take a spot from Livan or Durbin, right? …right?

  100. @226

    No, he collapsed. None of those errors directly resulted in a run and there were two outs. Even if you assume the double was Francisco’s fault, which we don’t know, it was still 3-2 when he started hanging pitches to everybody in sight and giving up RBI hits to the pitcher and such. He wasn’t good enough, and neither were Jurrjens or Minor.

  101. Being in Atlanta I got to watch the Braves for the first time this year. I think I would rather watch retuns of Andy Griffith. The Brsves play like Aunt Bea.

  102. So basically we have to have a lead going into the 5th inning, otherwise Livan or Durbin or Craig McMurtry will brought in to eat innings. And by “eat” I mean give up a shit ton of runs and render the rest of the game pointless.

    Livan can hit better than half our regulars, maybe we should teach him to play LF.

  103. This is worse than the end of last season. This is like August ’08, post-Tex trade all over again. The salad days of Jorge Campillo, Buddy Carlyle, Charlie Morton, Casey Kotchman, Corky Miller and Brandon Jones.

  104. @246

    We don’t have to have a lead going into the fifth, but our starter does need to pitch through the freaking sixth without having it seem like a monumental accomplishment. Nobody’s managed that this year, even in the good start. That’s bad, and is way more ominous than any slump the hitters are in right now or the shocking revelation that Livan and Durbin suck, because if the starters keep coming out in the fifth, crappy Livan and Durbin are gonna see a lot of action this year.

  105. Pitching with 4 errors behind you doesnt help your pitch count either. Biggest concern is the fact that this team, no shock here, still cant hit lefties.

  106. @255, 256 – Can’t we just agree that everyone on the Braves has sucked very efficiently thus far?

  107. @255, I don’t know if it’s “way more ominous.” Our pitchers have gone a little deeper into games (albeit not deep enough) more recently than our hitters have done anything at all at the plate. Hitting was a chronic problem last year; pitching, not so much. I’d wait more than one turn through the rotation before sweating our starters relative to our bats.

  108. This is worse than the end of last season. This is like August ’08, post-Tex trade all over again. The salad days of Jorge Campillo, Buddy Carlyle, Charlie Morton, Casey Kotchman, Corky Miller and Brandon Jones.

    Wow, bad memories.

  109. Let it be noted that Brad Mills pitched to Pastornicky with the pitcher due up next, a runner in scoring position, and two outs — and still outmanaged Fredi.

  110. Braves are 0-4 for the first time since 1988, when they went 54-106

    Seems attainable.

  111. 246 – if we’re trailing then the starter will be pinch hit for in the middle innings regardless of how he’s pitching because we need more Constanza AB’s.

  112. I remember in the 70’s being depressed about the Braves by May 1st, but we have a new record here. How don’t we lose 100 games this year?

  113. Yes we can Nick. Here’s something to ponder till tomorrow. Braves team scored 3 runs, Houston’s 9th hole hitters scored 4. Enjoy

  114. Everyone should have watched Hawaii Five 0 instead of the game. It was a pretty intense episode.

  115. “However, our performance in the month of September was unacceptable to all in the organization, and we will evaluate and analyze our missteps to do all we can to prevent this from happening again. Our General Manager, Frank Wren, and his staff have already begun to evaluate our team and will be focusing throughout the off-season on building upon the strengths of this team and repairing our weaknesses to achieve our goal.”

    -Schuerholz, October 6, 2011

  116. 273 – That’s awesome. So our front office boys did some heavy analysis over the winter, and deduced that we needed to add two totally-shitty-should-be-out-of-baseball relievers that will be used in all high-leverage middle inning jams, and that we should also add the should-be-out-of-baseball Matt Diaz because nobody else wanted him and he’s fun to have in the clubhouse (and oh by the way he’ll play more innings than Heyward).

    I guess one way to prevent another September collapse is to be 40 games back on Aug 31. At that point nobody will be asking them those pesky “does the way the 2011 season ended still bother you guys?” questions. Seems like a win/win.

  117. Fredi seems like the kind of guy who would cut a fart in a crowded room and blame it on a pregnant lady.

  118. @276 sdp, that would require a level of “quick thinking” of which Fredi is genetically incapable.

  119. #266 and #273 almost make losing worth it….

    After all, its just 4 games, Right?

  120. Do you know who the Braves beat for their first win 1988?
    Don Sutton and the Dodgers!

  121. So my buddy went to the Braves game in Houston tonight, while I saw Bruce Springsteen in Madison Square Garden. Our texts went something like this:

    Him: Yes, Braves up 3-0!

    Me: C’mon up for the rising!

    Him: Dammit, 3-2 now.

    Me: “Crazy Janie & her mission man…” He’s doing “Spirit in the Night”!

    Him: We’re dropping the ball all over the field. It’s 3-3 now–—3 errors in the inning. This is bad. He must be playing “Mary Queen of Arkansas” now, right?

    Me: “Trapped” Whoa-oh-oh!

    Him: Ack, it’s 4-3 Astros. Livan just failed to cover first, seemingly out of disinterest.

    Me: Fuggin’ fat-ass. “Dogs on main street howl…”

    Him: It’s 8-3 now.

    Me: “Backstreets”!

    Him: The new guy really blew this one. I’m glad you’re having fun. We’re getting killed.

    Me: “Rosalita”! (Sorry)

  122. #268: Thanks for that link. That’s some good readin’.

    As fate would have it, I’ll be in Houston the next couple days. That means Braves-Astros for me tomorrow night. I will be the guy with Fredi on the back of his jersey if anyone sees me and wants to punch me in the face.

  123. From the article mentioned in #268:

    “Murphy, 32, still has at least five good years in him.”

    Oh, if only that had been true. Also, I had no idea that Boston offered Jim Rice for Brad Komminsk. As someone who watched the latter hit many a moon shot at the old Durham Athletic Park, I probably wouldn’t have made that trade either, but in retrospect- damn.

  124. Add Constanza and Diaz- that’s a fifth of the roster, and more than that in playing time so far, burned on sub-replacement schmucks.

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