Braves 3, DBacks 1

ESPN – Diamondbacks vs. Braves – Box Score – May 24, 2008

Well, they tried to give that one away, but Jeff Francoeur came through in the clutch. Hey, it happens!

Jorge Campillo was brilliant, again, but had to leave the game with a blister problem after four innings, having allowed just two hits and no walks, striking out three, and leading 1-0. Blanco (the only lefty in the lineup against death-on-lefties Randy Johnson) pulled a triple into the corner leading off the third, and came home on an Escobar single. But that was pretty much all they could do against Johnson (6 IP, 5 H, 10 K — at least he didn’t throw another perfect game) and Jeff Bennett was called on to hold the fort. He breezed through the fifth, then got into some trouble of his own making when he made a throwing error in the sixth, but got out of it.

In the seventh, he started having control difficulties (with his pitches, instead of his throws) and walked the leadoff man. Chipper fielded a ball by the next batter and threw to second, too late; the runner came off the bag with the glove on him, and should have been called out, but the umpire didn’t see it. Bennett got the next two, then gave up an RBI single to a pinch-hitter to tie the game.

The Braves couldn’t do anything in the bottom of the inning; Ohman and Boyer breezed through the eighth. Kotsay (in the game on a double-switch) led off the bottom of the inning with a single, but Escobar stupidly bunted and then just as stupidly ran in the baseline, getting called out for interference and sending Kotsay back to first. Naturally, Infante then hit into a double play. Boyer walked a man with two out (two of the balls should have been strike three) but that was all the ‘Backs could do in the ninth.

Chipper led off the bottom of the inning with a single. As I sarcastically noted, if you think Escobar, the team’s second-best hitter (with McCann and Johnson sitting) should have bunted with a fast man on first, surely you should bunt with Teixeira, right? He hit a little chopper that served as a bunt and moved Chipper to second. Arizona came with a righthanded reliever, and we all started to get ready to make fun of them if they ealked Francoeur, but they pitched to him, and Jeff hit an 0-1 pitch over the left field wall to end the game.

Boyer got the win. Chipper was 2-4, raising his average to .417.

73 thoughts on “Braves 3, DBacks 1”

  1. Nice win. Once again, we had excellent pitching (and good bullpen usage by Cox! Getting through that game with only 4 pitchers including on LOOGY was very nice), and Frenchy was able to come through for us. That two HRs in what, four games? Five games? Doesn’t mean he’s out of his slump, but it’s nice to see.

    I’m getting legitimately worried about Diaz. It’d be one thing if he was still slapping the ball around and just making outs, but he’s striking out more than last year while walking less. His BABIP is actually still over .300, so the problem is clearly that he’s no longer making good contact.

    I’m willing to give him at least until the ASB to work things out, but just consider: our three worst offensive positions this year have been LF, RF, and (at least until recently) 1B. We’ve been able to deal with these shortcomings thus far, but going forward, you’d think there’d be a better way would could use LF than a slumping Diaz and Blanco.

  2. 2 things…

    1. Does anyone know if Bobby put the bunt play on, or if Esco was doing it himself? I almost believe these are entirely Esco’s decision b/c of how often he attempts them – and he makes the play to first really close every time (like he’s bunting for a hit). Just a thought.

    2. There was no need to bring McCann in the game to hit for Miller – he needs rest (I think he has played in more games than any other catcher). If anything, I would have used him to pinch hit late in the game (extras) in the pitcher’s spot, and then sit him back down. The other decision to leave Infante in instead of pinch hitting with Kelly was iffy, but it is hard to come in a game cold when you have a batter who has been up there 3 or 4 times. I was ok with it.

  3. WE have gotten through several seasons with makeshift left fielders somehow, Charles Thomas, Matt Diaz, Willie Harris. But I think we need to upgrade there, and get us some power. Somehow get a better backup catcher too, he is an automatic out.

  4. I was really scared of Randy… Campillo is unbelievable. In the 9th, it was so certain that Chipper is leading off with a base hit… Nice job by Francoeur. I actually appreciated his post game interview. Said all the right things. I like him. He’ll come around… I hope.

  5. Just curious. Is the rule about the interference thing that the runner has to come back to first no matter what or should Kotsay have been able to stay at second given that he touched the bag before the ball hit Escobar?

  6. No it was a correct call. On an offensive interference, the batter is out and the ball is dead, which means it’s like the play has never happened, so all runners have to return to their previous position.

  7. njbravesfan-

    You’re right that we’ve dealt with non-elite LFs in the past, but they’ve usually been serviceable. Harris is an obvious exception, but recall that we didn’t “get through” that season all too well. I think GoodDiaz and CurrentBlanco is an okay platoon that doesn’t really hurt us much. But the way Diaz is playing, we’re one Blanco slump/regression away from an offensive black hole in LF.

    ‘Course, this being one of the bigger concerns for this team is definitely an overall positive given the concerns we were having at this point the past two years.

  8. Time for my “insert a sarcastically negative comment about Frenchy” post.

    Everyone jump back on the Frenchy bandwagon with me. There is plenty of room my fair weather fans.

  9. I promise you: I will not be getting on that wagon anytime soon. But thanks for calling me out on my fan-dom!

  10. I will have to say that Diaz’s regression reminds me a little of Marcus Giles. He seemed to be at the top of the world in hitting and then his strikeouts started increasing along with fewer lines drives. He better start turning it around quickly.

    I’m happy for Frenchy and hope he gets into the “zone” for a while.

  11. IF Francoeur is so great, where were you when he had oh-fors the last two games?

    Atlanta Braves hitters sorted by runs created/game.

    Francoeur rates only above Diaz (whom most everyone can see has been terrible), Corky (whom most everyone wants released) and Lillibridge (who was so bad that everyone wondered if this was actually the hot prospect they heard about). He’s been awful. He had a big hit today, and more power to him, but he’s losing more games than he’s winning.

  12. Where was I? Spending time with friends and living life? I don’t have the time nor the inclination to watch every game.

  13. It’s just that you only seem to watch the games where Francoeur does something good. Which leaves a lot of time for family and friends.

  14. Yes, I have a life outside of baseball. That must seem strange to you Mac.

  15. Hey Lando, no need for personal attacks here. Just because you have some kind of blind spot when it comes to Frenchy’s suckage doesn’t mean you have to attack someone who spends his time and energy giving us this very forum.

  16. Ahhh and the “sycophants” come out of the woodwork. I’m sure Mac can stick up for himself.

  17. “Everyone jump back on the Frenchy bandwagon with me.”

    Would that make me an acolyte or a minion? Just askin’…

    Dude, the kid hit a meatball for the win, good for him. Certainly not worth the trollgasm, though.

  18. Went to my first Yankees game tonight. The park was great, though I can’t in good conscience root for the Yankees. Still, quite an experience. Glad I got to see it before they tear it down.

  19. I know its silly, I just really like Frenchy and put up with his rediculous swings and 0-4 nights, but I really like him.

    But we really need some pop out of left field. When Diaz is on, he is a great slap hitter, not much power, but high average. However, we really need a consistent guy out there. Bobby loves the platoon, so he enjoys it out there and at second. Thank god we still didnt have Julio, he would be platooning with Tex.

    So what do we do from here? Do we go after an arm? Do we go after a bat? or both?

  20. Url, I think you should hold out for Myrmidon. You’re a stalwart.

    Anybody going to see X on Thursday in Atlanta?

  21. Dude, the kid hit a meatball for the win, good for him. Certainly not worth the trollgasm, though.

    Gotta let Lando have his moment here. I mean, he been waiting for Franceour to do something good. That’s a long dry walk in the desert.

  22. Why do we have to have a war about Frenchy? He’s been awful for the most part this year, which sucks, but he delivered today, which is awesome.

    I don’t get why there isn’t just a consensus on that.

  23. Wonder if the Pirates would take Lillibridge back for Nady? Heck, toss in Gonzalez also, since we have Smoltz and Soriano closeto coming back. :)

  24. He did well in a game vs the Mets last week too. He will come around. With Frenchy, it is what it is, you know what your getting, little bonuses like this are great. The good thing is, we rely on Chipper, Tex, McCann and Escobar. Frenchy is just a peice in the puzzle

  25. Think about it with a healthy Soriano Gonzo and Smoltz, it becomes a 6 inning game!

  26. Do I hear some of you saying that you don’t know everytime the Braves play and don’t actually plan to hit up MLB.com or CBS sportsline to catch each game? Turn it on at home and watch at work? And sometimes when it’s too big a game that you can’t force yourself to watch (steve avery) and even when you have a family, church, work event you aren’t still thinking about the game and how they’re doin? Of course you do, were Braves fans! I’ve got a life – but the Braves are a big part of it!

  27. spike, after looking it up, you’re right, I will settle for nothing but full Myrmidonship(?) from here on out.

  28. Saw Smoltz throwing his rehab on the news tonight, Looked good with the new delivery, FWIW.

  29. Other right fielders RC:

    R Ludwick 11.70(!)
    R Church 7.41
    K Fukudome 7.08
    X Nady 7.01
    J Werth 6.73/G Jenkins 4.06
    B Giles 6.67
    J Upton 6.42
    M Kemp 6.04/Ethier 5.97
    R Winn 5.56
    H Pence 5.45
    C Hart 5.32
    J Hermida 5.02
    B Hawpe 4.54
    K Griffey Jr 4.40
    A Kearns 2.18

    Frenchy is at 4.12. If those numbers aren’t glaring enough to tell that you he has been terrible this year so far, I don’t know what to tell you. Then you factor in him hitting fifth in the order, you see why he’s been even more awful. Look, I am many others are very happy when Frenchy does something good, it’s just impossible to not see how terrible he’s been.

  30. I like Frenchy as much as anyone here and I’m pulling for him, but I’ll have to admit that he’s been pretty bad to start the year. He’s had a few good games, but for the most part, he’s been hurting the team. I still expect him to pull out of it and hit in the .290 range with much more power (25 to 30 hrs). As I said, tonight was a great start – let’s hope he keeps it up.

  31. I’m just afraid that this make shift bullpen is equal to the spurs. not pretty but it works. I am afraid that Gonzo, Soriano, Smoltz may be the Patrick Ewing theory. Great players but despite being great…. cause the rest of the team to wet the bed. As long as we’re in good shape tell smoltzie he can continue to get healthy. we’re doing fine.

  32. I don’t think that having better players can be a bad thing. If those guys come back and are healthy, the Braves will have the best bullpen in baseball.

  33. As I’ve said before if 2 out of those 3 come back and pitch up to their level I’ll be very pleasantly surprised. I would think a plan of pitching Gonzalez or Boyer in a game, not both, and Smoltz or Soriano in a game, not both, would work in terms of keeping all four pitchers fresh and not working them in back to back days, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking and not practical. I just haven’t started penciling in 6 inning games yet. Like I said, if even two of those come back and pitch, it will help greatly.

  34. You know, I had a feeling Frenchy would hit a homer in that spot… Weird.

    I really hope Campillo can heal up quickly, we need him, and he’s been fantastic. Also, Tex is back to sucking.

  35. “Heck, toss in Gonzalez also, since we have Smoltz and Soriano closeto coming back.”

    Oh yes, do that. What could go wrong? It’s not like the great 2008 Braves’ pitching depth that was written about all through spring training didn’t quickly evaporate in about a month.

  36. I’m just afraid that this make shift bullpen is equal to the spurs. not pretty but it works. I am afraid that Gonzo, Soriano, Smoltz may be the Patrick Ewing theory. Great players but despite being great…. cause the rest of the team to wet the bed. As long as we’re in good shape tell smoltzie he can continue to get healthy. we’re doing fine.

    Come on. You don’t wanna replace Resop with Smoltz/Gonzalez/Soriano?

    This says Soriano back Sunday or Monday:

    http://www.ajc.com/sports/content/sports/braves/stories/2008/05/24/bravesnot_0525.html

    Moving day for Resop?

  37. Nah, Stockman will be gone.

    Hey, when Frenchy, or anyone else on the team does something great we should praise them. When they need to be ridden, they are fair game.

    So for today, go Frenchy!

  38. “Campillo Tequila, Mexico’ s third finnest plastic bottled tequila. Availible at Wal Green’s and Louis Liquor”

  39. Wow. Quite a war earlier. I’m really glad that Francouer came up big today. That was huge, and as much as confidence is important to an athlete, I’m hoping that does a lot for him. He hasn’t had much to celebrate about this year. Maybe this will get him turned around.

    We’re playing good baseball right now, and it’s really nice to see. If our, as njbravesfan said, pieces to the puzzle like Francouer keep coming up big like that, it’s going to be a good team to watch.

    Still waiting on Tex…

  40. Nice win for the Braves. I missed both the fireworks on Braves Journal and the game, but Campillo has been amazing.

    This a comparison from yesteryear (for those of us that lived through it) but the way Campillo has come from the bullpen to start brilliantly reminds of the Buzz of 1974

    Could Campillo be another Buzz Capra?

    I know its too much to hope for, but it would sure solve a lot of problems….

  41. In my opinion, the only thing that would make Campillo complete is if he threw a screwball (a la Fernando).

  42. I don’t even think we can consider Manny Acosta the closer anymore, really, when Cox is pulling him in the ninth to set up lefty-lefty matchups. You could argue that we have a setup man, but no closer, as Boyer pretty consistently works the whole eighth but the ninth has been kind of by committee.

    BTW this is by far the best I’ve ever seen closer-by-committee work.

  43. Fielding-independent ERAs: Boyer’s is 2.62, Acosta’s 5.15. (I think that’s before yesterday’s game.) Acosta’s is more than two runs worse than his “real” ERA. He’s just not pitching well at all, though I don’t think he’s worse than Resop.

  44. Um, Mac, this might be a dumb question but where is Timmy Hudson on that list ?? I think we all know Acosta hasn’t been anywhere near to great, that’s why he doesn’t actually get saves.

  45. Well, Hudson’s walk rate is much better, and his home run rate slightly better (and a whole lot better before his last two outings). But most importantly, the standards for starters and relievers are different.

    Oh, and obviously since I’m still up I won’t be up to tell everyone that the game thread is up. Which will be at 8 CT.

  46. braves14, that’s what I was referring to, he’s literally not on there.

    By the way, I’m watching ’99 NLDS Game 3 Hampton vs. Glavine right now (the gf is out of town, I assure you I’m not THAT big of a loser on a Saturday night), but anyway, this game is high unintentional comedy. Hampton was actually pitching this year, and went 22-4, one person is dead, which is weird (Caminiti), Operation Shutdown is in right field, and I Hate Dinosours is in center hitting left handed against Glavine. That Astros clubhouse must have been quite the seen back in the day. I mean, Derek Bell and Carl Everett in the same outfield !!

  47. Oh, I see that the list was just of non-qualifiers. I changed it to qualifiers and Huddy and Jair came up.

  48. Brian Hunter is starting at 1B, because of course there is no way Ryan Klesko can hit lefties. This still upsets me to the day. I do wish Bret Boone would have starting taking his steroids this year.

  49. I know that there’s nobody up at this hour besides me, but Caminiti just broke a bat over his knee after striking out against Remlinger. I miss guys breaking bats over their knees. When’s the last time that happened ??? I miss steroids.

  50. Woah, for a second I thought you were watching some live game and all these guys were still playing.
    If we still had Thorman, he would break bats over his heads. Hey maybe Andruw did it too and that’s why he’s on the DL.

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