Giants 5, Braves 2

Atlanta Braves vs. San Francisco Giants – Box Score – August 23, 2012

You can blame this on Tommy Hanson if you want, but I’m blaming Freddie Freeman. Braves pitching held the Giants scoreless in seven of the nine innings of yesterday’s ballgame, with Hanson allowing a single run in the third before a nightmare 5th inning. What happened in the fifth? A bunt single to first, a hard grounder that went through Freeman’s wickets for a two-base error, and then a high grounder past Freeman that he missed largely because the infield had been drawn in with runners at second and third.

The larger problem? Well, maybe it’s the offense that scored just two runs — both coming in the 9th, when Freddie Freeman hit a two-run double, Uggla walked the bases loaded with no outs, and Brian McCann struck out and Jason Heyward and Juan Francisco pinch- grounded out. The Braves have now lost 5 out of their last 6 games, and they have scored 14 runs in that span.

We are a team that sucks when we don’t hit, especially when we don’t hit or field.

113 thoughts on “Giants 5, Braves 2”

  1. Freeman had a bad game, Hanson was awful, Uggla was being Yunel on the basepaths, Fredi sat our hottest hitter after losing 4 of 5. Plenty of blame to pass around after that one.

  2. Last thread –

    Jurrjens’ fastball never averaged 92, so we’re really talking about two different things.

    Per fangraphs (it was pretty close)
    2007 – 91.9
    2008 – 91.8
    2009 – 91.2
    2010- 91.3

    At least Hanson is still competent.

    Last 6 starts, not so much. 30.1IP 40H 23ER 21BB 30K. And to think we went to a 6 man rotation for that. He’s not right and shouldve stayed on the DL.

  3. The thing is, none of the balls off Hanson in that four-run inning were hit particularly hard. The hardest-hit ball was the one that Freeman kicked, and it was just a routine sharp grounder. Hanson did his usual tightwire act but normal defense gets him out of it — the two-run double that was the real dagger blow ought to have been pretty routine if Freddie had been playing back. (Bringing the infield in is a weird choice in the 5th inning anyway, but it may have been defensible, considering how we were swinging against Zito.)

  4. This was just an overall piss poor excuse of effort. Hanson had a first pitch strike to 15 of the 24 batters he faced, but overall was all over the place and ended up throwing nearly as many balls as strikes to a team that does not take a lot of pitches and it burned him. Then he proceeds to give Pagan an effective double every time he got on base, whether by walk or hit then letting him steal or throwing the ball away giving him the extra base, pitiful. Learn a slide step if you’re going to be so slow to the plate. At this point Tommy needs to be the odd man out in the rotation. Then Uggla… He needs to be benched for a series or two because he’s getting to the point where he’s killing the team in all aspects of the game, at the plate, in the field and on the bases. It’s inexcusable. Fredi, who’s a moron to begin with, needs to get smart, bench Uggla, play Prado at 2b with Johnson in LF and ride Heyward’s hot streak in RF. Zito pitched like crap, yet they made no adjustments and made him look like he had a “masterful” performance in the box scores. What I’m trying to say is, Hanson and Uggla suck and Fredi is an idiot.

  5. That fifth inning was comical. Lots of lucky squeaker hits and sloppy defense. But still, 94 pitches in 4.1 innings isn’t doing anyone any favors.

  6. The concern with Hanson is that he continues to not miss bats. When he was successful, he struck guys out. He doesn’t really do that anymore.

  7. @9 – To me this is the key problem. You can talk all you want about dribblers up the middle and balls not being hit hard, but you aren’t striking anyone out with a flat 89 MPH fastball.

  8. Soooo tired of it…
    If you were a Braves opponent, wouldn’t you seriously consider bringing up any slop-throwing lefty from your farm to kill us and rest your real staff?
    Even on Monday?
    Do you think Jamie Moyer thinks he still has a career when he watches the Braves?

  9. But he does strike people out. He’s striking out 8.1 men per nine innings this year, and his swinging strike rate is 16%; both are marginally better than his combined rates for 2009-2010. His problem is that his walks are up and his homers allowed are way up.

  10. @12, Yes. I think he’s afraid of his fastball now. Its value has dropped a ton. I can’t actually get to watch these games right now, but I’d imagine he’s now just trying to keep it out of hitters’ wheelhouses, but missing a ton, off the plate or in the wrong part of the strike zone.

  11. There is probably zero correlation but it seems like everyone lost 3-6 mph on their fastball since McDowell took over.

  12. The srikeout rate is there, but the control and efficiency are not. Too many walks. Too many waste pitches that are too far out of the zone for even Frenchy to chase. Too many meatballs over the plate.

    The matchup two Tommy starts ago was intriguing to me. Hanson vs Capuano. Their stuff (at this point) is kind of similar. The main difference to me was Capuano’s control. He hit corners and got ahead in the count, while Tommy struggled to find the mitt and was pitching from behind a lot. If Tommy’s shoulder isn’t going to magically heal and let him throw 95 again, then I suggest he learn some command. Or just go ahead and demand a trade to StL to learn Dave Duncan’s sinker and start the comeback.

  13. It may be mechanical. Fastball has no movement and no command, curve and sliders are good enough to get swings, change up is never thrown.

  14. Medlin can overcome bad calls and errors. Few pitchers can do that. 5 out innings cause high pitch counts.

  15. The ball Freeman booted had wicked spin on it and was corkscrewing all the way down the line.

  16. Couple of things. If you look at K/9, Hanson’s loss of strikeouts doesn’t hurt as bad as when you look at his K%. Consider the past two years. Last year in 130 innings, Hanson struck out 142 of 540 batters faced. This year, he’s struck out 123 of 598 batters faced. The difference in Ks (19) and innings (7) isn’t too big, but when you account for all the extra baserunners he’s had, it’s huge. Difference in K/9: 9.8 vs. 8.1. Difference in K%: 26.3% vs. 20.7%. That’s a HUGE drop. His career rate is 22.2%, which is close to what he’s putting up this year. But he’s doing it by nibbling more (higher BB rate) and giving just being more hitable (higher hit rate).

    Tommy just doesn’t have the same stuff he used to. This is the first year in his career where he’s giving up more hits than innings pitched. You can call it BABIP fluctuation all you want, but the man is more hitable than he used to be.

  17. That’s a good point about k/9 vs. k%, and one that often gets overlooked. Hanson has been pretty consistent this season. He’s not really getting unlucky, or anything like that: his ERA, FIP, and xFIP are all between 4.36 and 4.58. Unless there’s a mechanical issue that he can fix–or a physical ailment–this looks to be who he is.

  18. We’ve scored 10 total runs in our last 5 losses. I’m not sure why we’re even talking about pitching.

  19. @21 – This line cracked me up:

    “Hanson’s career spray chart shares a lot in common with that bird that Randy Johnson hit in spring training.”

  20. @22 – Good point mravery.

    And I don’t think my earlier comparison to Capuano makes much sense anymore. I looked at their respective pitch f/x data and Tommy’s fastball is way more straight and, well, hitable.

  21. The Braves are in something of a tricky situation here – Hudson aside, the pitchers who are performing best right now (Minor and Medlen) have the shortest track record and least leverage. Sheets and Maholm were recently acquired specifically to fill starting rotation roles, and Hanson has been a top of the rotation guy for years. You can’t demote any of those veterans; at most, they could place one on the DL for “arm fatigue” or the like but obviously that’s just a temporary solution to the rotation crunch which also may piss off the player in question (see: Hanson, Tommy).

    Also – agree with the other commenters who stress that starting pitching really isn’t the problem here. Case in point, the Braves are 5 – 7 in their last twelve, and have allowed 40 runs, which is only 3 1/3 runs per game (for the season as a whole, they’ve allowed 3.92 RPG). We lost because we have scored 2 or fewer runs in five of those losses.

  22. Dodgers payroll is 105 Million before this potential trade. I look forward to seeing how much is shoots up too.

  23. AGon’s salary this year is $21.86 million, Beckett’s is $17 million, Crawford’s is $20.36 million, and Punto’s is $1.5 million. Loney’s is $6.38 million; the other Dodgers that are leaving are getting the minimum or still in the minors. So that’s roughly a $55 million jump in salary. Of course, the Dodgers were just bought for $3 BILLION, so I don’t think anyone will miss a paycheck.

  24. Sorry, the Dodgers were bought for “just” $2.15 billion. It’s their TV rights that could sell for $3 bill or more.

  25. This must be the Dodgers countering our signing of Lyle Overbay.

    The fan in me secretly likes the fact that we’re now a kinda-small-market team and I’m rooting hard for our ragtag band of misfits. The rational part of me says that we’re now big time underdogs to even make the postseason.

  26. The fan in me hates being ragtag. The fan in me would rather spend half a billion every year and ruin any parity in the game by winning 130 games a year every year for 100 years in a row.

  27. Heyward was just trying to show Gonzalez that benching him yesterday wasn’t the best idea, especially in the midst of a cold streak for the offense.

  28. 40- If he didn’t learn last year, then Fredi’s dumber than a sack of wet mice. Although at least Reed Johnson’s a better backup than Constanza.

  29. I wish I had more confidence in Sheets’ ability to wiggle out of this, but the last few starts … ugh.

  30. Do our infielders mentally flip coins before each play? “OK, I’m going to… make this one clean. Next one I’ll boot.”

  31. @40 – Alternately, the rest had exactly the results intended. I know when I would like to rest somebody, but I can’t really sit in my living room and know when someone needs rest.

  32. Hinske in LF makes me appreciate how splendid an outfielder Prado has become.

  33. You never realize how important left field defense is until you have a Klesko or a Hinske out there.

  34. 59- Or even our good one. (Yes, I miss the edit button too.)

    Or one of our good starting pitchers, for that matter.

  35. @61

    Why wait? Hinske’s numbers the last three months are so microscopic that he’s making Janish look like Cal Ripken.

  36. I also have a feeling that this will be Prado’s last start at SS and Hinske’s last start in LF.

  37. Ben Sheets will go on the DL very soon. He looks all kinds of awkward out there tonight. He mighta done drunk all his pimp juice.

  38. The failures of our pitchers are occasionally distracting from those of our fielders and our hitters, but it’d really be nice for one part of this team to actually succeed at what they do. I’m getting the same feeling I did at the end of last year- either this team has sprained give-a-damns or their conditioning is just dreadful.

  39. Uggla did what he’s good at- stand there like a hood ornament while the pitcher throws four wild ones.

  40. A game against a playoff contender is not the time to say, “Hey, let’s wheel out Hinske to see what he has left” when Reed Johnson is sitting on your bench. Frediocy strikes again.

  41. Hinske did what he is good at…making outs. As if making one out wasn’t enough, he decided to aim higher and take care of 2. He hits like Tommy Hanson, and as we all know, Hanson is bad at baseball

  42. Braves are an 85-88 win team. Good, but not great. Some years that would be enough, but this year… probably not. The Giants, Dodgers, Nationals, and Reds are all better. The Cardinals probably are too.

  43. This team isn’t good enough to withstand the last six days of craptacular defense.

  44. Does it drive anyone else crazy that Chip Caray starts almost every call squealing at the top of his lungs then ends it with a complete deflation?

  45. 88- I think we’ve only said that a few million times.

    Forget two more runs; can we at least get another hit tonight?

  46. So we’ve lost 5 of 6, we are playing in one of the biggest outfields, our starting pitcher is having trouble with fly balls, and our manager thinks its okay to put Hinske in LF.

  47. Our offense can cure anyone’s pitching struggles. Right handed or left handed it doesnt matter. Keep swinging for the fences boys.

  48. The Braves are the same in a relative way, but they’re older.

    Shorter of breath and one game closer to death.

  49. W – Vogelsong (11-7)
    L – Hinske (0-1)

    Only fair to give credit where it is due.

  50. We got Reed Johnson so Hinske wouldn’t have to play. So…Fredi plays Hinske and puts Prado at short???. All of these games are do or die. I just don’t see why anyone wants this guy running our team.

    That said, if we can’t score more than 2 or 3 runs a game then we might finish the season below .500

  51. I want to be mad at Fredi but sometimes you do have to shake things up to break the slumps and we are in a hitting slump.
    Now, if we can find the real Dan Uggla we would be fine, If that turd got hot for 10 to 20 games we would be set for the postseason. Sadly, i think his career is over. A Masterful trade destroyed by the contract extension he was awarded.

  52. @102 Wren couldn’t have predicted that Uggla would completely fall off the wagon.

    I don’t think we’re going to make the playoffs either. This is the third year in a row that the team has started to collapse late.

  53. Dan Uggla, at his current rate of production this year, is still earning his contract according to Fangraphs. He also earned his contract last year. If he gets hot, he has a chance to be a 3.5-4 WAR player. If he continues to slump but keep a decent OBP, he’ll probably be between 2.5&3.

  54. The Braves are 7-19 against the division leaders. They simply are not that good. The Braves are a marginal playoff contender like Pittsburgh. Good teams have their way with the Braves. This is a slightly above average team at best.

  55. If this Boston/LA trade goes through, the Sox will once again be in the bidding for almost every free agent on the market in 2013.

  56. So, if Freeman can hit a solo shot in the top of the 2nd today for a 1-0, do you think Kimbrel could go 8?

  57. Wren may not have been able to predict the scale of Uggla’s collapse, but there was enough dismay at the extension at the time of its signing to suggest he should have known better. Indeed, Uggla’s worst years are still ahead of him.

  58. So, I guess that group therapy thing in Boston isn’t working. I’d like the deal though, now it’s even easier to hate the Dodgers.

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