Braves 5, Rangers 2

ESPN – Braves vs. Rangers – Box Score – June 18, 2008

Remarkable. The Braves led 2-0 early, lost the lead, and yet, rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth to secure the winning margin. I’m not sure this is even allowed. Texas will probably appeal the game on grounds that the Braves aren’t supposed to do that.

Chipper hit a two-out solo job in the first, and Escobar doubled with two out in the third and come around on a hit from KJ to make it 2-0. But the Rangers got a run in the bottom of the inning thanks largely to a stolen base and a wild pitch, and another in the seventh thanks to terrible defense, a steal with a throwing error to McCann followed by a misplay by Infante at third base (he would make up for it later) that was scored an infield hit even though it was no more a hit than The Slugger’s Wife.

Francoeur, leading off the ninth, hit a little swinging bunt and blatantly ran inside the baseline, but instead of plugging him the pitcher threw the ball into foul territory, allowing him to make it all the way to second. Brandon Jones couldn’t make the “productive out” and move him to third, but Infante followed with a flare single; a good throw would have gotten Francoeur but it was a bad throw and Infante moved up. Blanco tripled into the gap to score Infante, and after Escobar walked came home when KJ beat the relay on a grounder.

Mike Gonzalez came in for the easy save. He was unsurprisingly a bit wild (the announcers acted like it was “nerves” but it’s more likely the usual control problems of a pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery) and went to 3-2 on the first batter, but got a flyout. He struck out the next and got a weak flyout to end it.

Chipper was 2-5 and his average stays at an even .400.

77 thoughts on “Braves 5, Rangers 2”

  1. with a little security in the 9th, this team could easily have 4-5 more wins this year . hopefully gonzalez will be able to stay healthy. i really enjoy watching him pitch.

  2. we have to expect some inconsistency from Gonzalez. It took him a little while to get into a groove at the beginning of last season. It’ll take some time. Here’s to hoping it doesn’t take long… I look forward to him shutting the door.

  3. sorry for the triple post but i found this quite amusing:
    from peanut (regarding bobby’s decision to keep ridgway over stockman):

    “As for Ridgway, he doesn’t have a statistical strength. While at Richmond, right-handed hitters batted .333 against him and left-handers hit .293.”

    even peanut can’t find a reason to like the move. that’s gotta say something. 7 2/3 scoreless innings with great numbers at richmond vs. a +4.50 era at richmond and an overkill of lefties already on the roster. just stupid!

  4. However, for whatever reason Bobby won’t use Stockman, so there is no reason to keep him on the team. Personally, I don’t know why we can’t send both down and bring up someone who can hit.

  5. Canizares could. Timmons could at least get on base. Hernandez or Anderson could at least hit for average.

    And I think Gonzalez and Wagner are roughly comparable in that they’re both lefthanded and throw hard. It’s not a great comparison.

  6. The lack of use of Stockman and last year of Devine, when Bobby admitted that the rest of his pen was spent, is one of the things that finally has me questioning Bobby’s managerial ability.

  7. I hope that Bobby breaks Gonzalez in slowly and doesn’t use him virtually everyday like he has some people. I wouldn’t mind seeing Boyer tomorrow if a save situation comes up with Gonzo getting the day off.

  8. Barbaro’s good for on pinch-hit AB and that’s it. He can’t play the field. Also, I wouldn’t expect Hernandez to do much at this point; he still needs to get his cuts in at AAA. It’s very unlikely that he’d be better than Infante at this point. Anderson would be fine to have around.

    In other news, outside of the Hudson hick-up, this has been a very good string of starting pitching, dating back to the Glavine/Jurrjens double-getting-hurt debacle. Charlie’s pitching in a tough spot, but I’ll be rootin’ for him. :-)

  9. “The long road returning from Tommy John surgery begins and ends in Arlington, Texas.”

    To those listening on the radio, that is how Chip Caray ended the game. I am not sure what it means. Either the road was not so long, or it did not actually begin in Arlington.

    Chip says a lot of inane things during a broadcast, but to be fair, anyone who talks for three hours straight about baseball is likely to blunder here and there.

    I am certain that he, knowing the circumstances of tonight’s game, thought about the above line for some time, and it is the best he came up with. Just sad.

  10. #15 – Mraver, just how does this make Canizares different from Norton, and for that matter, Infante?

  11. Why would we possibly want 4 lefties in the bullpen? My only hope is that we’re trying to showcase Ridgway or Ring for a trade. The only other thought is that maybe we think we’ll need more lefties for Seattle and Milwaukee. Whatever the case, Stockman has to be discouraged and disheartened.

  12. And isn’t Bobby supposed to be a “player’s manager?”

    He’s missing it with this player.

  13. Warning: trvia post ahead

    I had to watch the game on Fox Sports Southwest since the stuff on MLB Extra Innings is blacked out here in TX. What the Texas announcers said was that before tonight’s game, only two NL teams had 100 or more interleague wins–Florida and Washington. The Braves had 99 going into tonight, so congratulations to our boys for winning their 100th interleague game! FYI, nine different AL teams have 100 or more interleague wins. However, five AL teams have 100 or more losses, while only two NL teams have that many–make that three since Washington lost tonight. So for all you trivia buffs, Washington is the only ML team to have at least 100 wins and 100 losses in interleague play.

  14. Down on the farm, the much awaited debut of Julio Teheran was . . . okay.

    5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks.

    His Danville teammates pounded out 18 hits for him and 10 runs and he got the win.

    Also, in Mississippi, Hanson got rocked. He had nothing, but his offense, led by Schafer and Ka’aihue carried him to a win. The M-Braves are 2-0.

  15. Ka’aihuie is still striking out at a high rate ( 26% ). If you are doign that in AA as a 25 yr old, your major league chances are grim. Heck, Mike Hessman was better :)

  16. you know, there is really no point in carrying 13 pitchers unless your manager is bad at in game management. Quit pitching to matchups and let these guys do their jobs. A couple of roster moves that I think could help this team.

    Sammons replacing Miller
    Anderson replacing Gotay
    Perry or Barbaro replacing Ridgeway

    make these moves until Diaz, Kotsay, or Prado are ready

  17. Gonzo had yesterday off, if there is a save situation he better be out there again tomorrow

  18. FYI, nine different AL teams have 100 or more interleague wins. However, five AL teams have 100 or more losses, while only two NL teams have that many–make that three since Washington lost tonight.

    That’s because there are fewer teams in the AL.

    I know he more than makes up for it with his offense but this thing where McCann can never throw anybody out and makes errors trying is kind of a problem.

  19. Just got done watching the game. A road victory, they’ve almost got half of their total this trip, pretty crazy for the middle of June. Anyway, good to see Gonzalez back, wasn’t exactly facing the heart of the Texas order, but he pitched well for the first time out there I thought. I’m sure there will be some ups and downs, but I think those will be alot less pronounced than any of the other relievers, that’s for sure.

    csg, did he pitch back to back days during his rehab ??? I can’t imagine he would pitch tomorrow, but it’s Bobby’s bullpen management, so you never know.

  20. Also, didn’t see it mentioned in the game thread, and didn’t hear it during the game, but Texas starter Eric Hurley was who they drafted as compensation for the Braves signing the immortal John Thomson. Just found that interesting, I thought he pitched fairly well.

  21. With teams running so little nowadays, I’d rather have a catcher who has a good reputation with pitchers and hits a ton. Thankfully, McCann does both.

  22. #29 – yes he did

    June 8th 1.0 IP
    June 10th 1.2IP
    June 12th 1.1IP
    June 14th 1.0IP
    June 15th 1.0IP

  23. Richmond didnt play on the 9th and they got killed on the 11th and 13th, so I dont really know if he could’ve pitched on those days or not

  24. If the situation warrants it Gonzo should pitch. You don’t want to interrupt a man’s crazy eye.

  25. csg, alrighty then, throw him back out there. Anyway, the Mess, er Mets just scored one off of K-Rod to tie it in the ninth.

  26. Sorry if this is old news, but who’s the wiseguy that added this to Francoeur’s Wikipedia page?

    On May 24th, Jeff hit his 2nd career walk-off home run off Diamondbacks reliever Chad Qualls. Francoeur briefly silenced his critics regarding his struggles in the clutch.

  27. To clarify from above, I guess I should add that I don’t have any idea what they’re doing with Ridgeway, either. He’s a LOOGY at best, but they’re not using him like one, and they’ve already got two on the team. Only reason to keep him instead of Stockman is if you want to make sure to get Stockman work. But in that case… why not just use him when you have the chance?

  28. I can’t figure out why the Braves gave up two players for Ridgeway. Maybe the Braves want to give him more chances to pitch since they overpaid for him in the first place….

  29. #29 – And how often have they worn the blue road jerseys on this trip? Have we seen them since Chicago?

    Just sayin’.

  30. Stephen, the Braves put themselves in a poor bargaining position by selling low (or very low) on Ayber. They almost had to bag the Rays to take him. Do you know how Fortune is doing?

  31. KC–The last I checked Chase Fontaine was sent back to A level. Its not that I think its a huge trade (Fontaine may well have done better had he stayed within the Braves’ system–but obviously that is just speculation), but I have never seen the point behind Ridgeway….

  32. McCann made a great throw to get Chone Figgins the other night and got Maicer Izturis in the same game. He’s not Johnny Bench, but he’s not terrible.

  33. The Now-I’ll-Probably-Get-Hit-By-A-Bus Dept.

    Tonight worked out pretty well. Had to leave a tie game in the 7th inning & move a carload o’ stuff to the new place in Queens.

    Did all that. Hopped back in the car, listened to the Mets improbable comeback—K-Rod is now 28 for 30 for a team that almost never gives up the lead—yet I managed to avoid all the NL scores.

    Made it home unscathed & watched the end of the game. I still have a smile on my face.

    An extended 9th-inning rally! A 1-2-3 save! A road win!

    I know Gonzo looked like a bucking bronco out there, but just having him back & succeeding just does so much for my nerves. Welcome back, Mike.

    Let’s take this series & skedadle back to the ATL at .500—for the trip & the season.

    And Stu, we get your man-crush at The Ted on Friday—Bedard vs. Campillo.

  34. I still love that story about Bedard refusing to pitch beyond the 100-pitch limit.

    I absolutely love watching Gonzo pitches. I still remember how he striked out Utley and Howard last year.

    The only reason they are keeping Ridgeway with the major league ballclub is to build his trade value…the same goes to Brandan Jones, but he may have gotten himself a full time promotion if he keeps hitting like that.

  35. I guess that I think that the Braves look at Ridgeway the way they did Kali. That is, they believe that he can become a much better pitcher. With Yates, this proved to be the case and I suppose it could with Ridgeway.

    To be sure, the one area of trading strength which the Braves have is in the bullpen…

  36. “Based on the teams that we’ve played and the amount of travel, going 5-5 would be great, and maybe it would give us confidence that we can win on the road,” said Jeff Francoeur.

    He should really think about how he can help his team to improve on that 5-5 record.

  37. Teheran’s debut was not great, but I don’t think it matters. It is still impressive for a 17 year old.

    The player that I am really interested in following at Danville is Michael Timms. I think the Braves signed him in 2005 and said that he would not pitch until 2006. Now–finally in 2008 he joins Danville. Timms was seen by many as the best pitching prospect in Australia and compared to Kerry Wood. At least that one point proved to be prophetic….

  38. Robert @28:
    Good point. I was noticing while checking out this link, http://www.sportsline.com/mlb/story/10827216, that almost all of the AL teams with 100 wins have played at least 200 interleague games while only Washington has reached that number in the NL. I didn’t realize that having two fewer teams would make that big of a difference. The Texas announcers sure didn’t mention that last night.

  39. I liked seeing Gonzo out there. i love his intensity on the mound and that is something we are lacking, emotion.
    IF he can be THE closer, the bullpen usage should shake out properly and Bennet and Boyer wont have to pitch everyday. Even Acosta can get a break, he was pitching very well until his recent skid which all relievers go through.
    (See Rivera,Wagner)
    I dont know, he got me amped Gonzo, hope he got the rest of the team amped up too.

  40. I think the best line on Gonzo was over at Rowland’s Office:

    More than anything, I’m happy for Gonzo, who worked his ass off to return ahead of schedule, ready to contribute immediately. I hope he’s a Brave for years to come.

    I wonder if Hampton was watching tonight?

    (note: I don’t think Hampton is “trying” to be hurt, he’s just failing at getting/staying healthy… and it was just a funny line).

  41. Is the stuff in the AJC about Soriano’s ‘mysterious’ elbow ailment an indication that the team is wondering about his commitment? I sure read it that way.

    Missed in the discussion about Ridgeway and Gonzo is the fact that Joseph Reyes pitched another good game.

  42. The thing I appreciate about Gonzo (aside from him being pretty good) is his intensity on the field… he’s got a Smoltzian competitiveness in the way he comports himself that makes him fun to watch. I will say I didn’t recall him being quite as pronounced in his “weaving like a snake charmer” pre-pitch stance before… but maybe that’s just my faulty memory.

  43. AJC

    Cox said he wasn’t sure when Rafael Soriano would throw a bullpen session to test his sore right elbow. “I’m not even sure when he wants to throw,” Cox said.

    This surely isn’t a vote of confidence. Give Bavasi some credit here.

  44. Johnny, thanks for reminding of Jo-Jo’s start. Projections of him being a potential #2 in the bigs are looking pretty good right now, but we will have to see how he does once the league has seen him a couple of times.

  45. Timms and Kent supposedly had very high ceilings a couple of years ago. Now, Timms’ timetable is pushed back a couple of years, so I guess his best case is down a bit. Kent went last year in the GCL as an 18-year-old and had good results, but the peripherals were only okay. He pitched over the Winter in an independent league and in a smaller sample size was less than mediocre.

    #66 – If Soriano never throws another pitch we won the trade with Seattle.

  46. @66 – it could be that they are letting Soriano set his own timetable for when he thinks he can throw. That might not have been a bad statement from Cox, just depends on how he said it. When he was up here, they were letting him decide if he was ok to pitch every night.

  47. Maybe they’ll trade him to us before the start of that game, ububba. We surely don’t need to face another good lefty.

  48. “Francoeur, who has two hits in 18 at-bats with the bases loaded, struck out on three pitches against Frank Francisco.”

    Why is he still here? I don’t care if he started the rally in the 9th, I still think he needs to be sent down.

    And, “wow” at the Bobby quote about Soriano.

  49. I’m not denying that he’s not hurt. To the contrary, I think he is hurt. The fact that they can’t find what’s wrong is even more troubling. I was just surprised that Cox said what he said on the record.

  50. That and that you guys in the media and the team have joined together to ram “Jeff Francoeur, Star and Face of the Franchise” down our throats.

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