Astros 6, Braves 1

ESPN – Astros vs. Braves – Box Score – July 05, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Atlanta Braves present… A tribute to Jeff Francoeur! 4-31 at the plate, no walks, bad throws from the outfield, and some hard hit balls to make you think, “Gosh, we’re almost there!” Sounds like Francoeur to me.

Reyes didn’t have it tonight, though the aforementioned bad throws from the outfield (allowing runners to advance and letting Carlos Lee score from second even though he’s probably the slowest outfielder in the majors and should have been out by 15 feet) did not help. Anyway, he gave up two runs in each of the first two innings, and only went 4 1/3 and had some Davies Disease, the inability to finish batters off. Still, he probably should have only given up two runs.

That would have been enough anyway. The Braves’ one run came on a solo homer from McCann in the fifth. They had three singles, one each by Blanco, Escobar, and Teixeira. All of this against an emergency starter who came in with 5.08 ERA, and three pretty good relievers. Just awful. Bennett came in (after good relief work from Atrosta and Carlyle) to give up two runs to make it definite. I have no more words for this monstrosity.

41 thoughts on “Astros 6, Braves 1”

  1. From the newest article on Frenchy on the AJC site:

    He still objects to how the Braves handled the matter, but then freely admits things had grown so bad, he couldn’t even watch himself in the tape room.

    “I tried,” he said. “I watched some at-bats and you ask yourself, ‘What were you thinking?’ “

    Even he couldn’t watch himself bat. I think that is kind of funny.

  2. Again–Glad that I missed the game. There was a time in the not so distant past when it would have been frustrating that the Braves lost while the Mets played the Phillies. Now, its not really relevant.

    Going back to an earlier thread, if this loss demonstrates anything, it is that Francoeur has not been the Braves’ biggest problem.

    I suppose that some may draw comfort from that fact that the Braves are just as punchless with Francoeur in AA, as they were with him in Atlanta striking out repeatedly with runners on base….

  3. Francouer has been the Braves’ biggest problem. He just hasn’t been the only problem.

  4. Going back to an earlier thread, if this loss demonstrates anything, it is that Francoeur has not been the Braves’ biggest problem.

    The worst everyday player in the NL has not been the Braves’ biggest problem? Boy must they suck if they have bigger problems than that. He may not be the only problem, but he sure as heck has been the biggest.

  5. The OF as a whole has been the biggest problem. Even with Chipper and Tex and McCann, you can’t be a good offensive club when you punt your entire OF. Blanco/Kotsay would be fine in CF if they were surrounded by above avg. players in left and right. Instead, Blanco & Kotsay are our BEST OFers. That’s just staggering.

  6. Well, glad i missed this one while i was at july 4th weekend party marathon, amazing what a 12 of PBR and a couple shots of Sambuca will do for ones spirits.
    Braves lost, blah, blah blah….
    I expect nothing less these days.
    A flawed team struck by lots of injuries and this is what you get. Crap.

  7. I maintain that if Jeff Francoeur had the same amount of attention as Kelly Johnson or Brian McCann, he wouldn’t be hated as much. Since that’s the case, it throws objective evaluation of his talent levels right out the window.

  8. I think Reyes is getting unfair treatment. The kid has had terrible run support this year.

  9. Yuck–if the Braves played like this over the past two weeks it was a good time for me to go on vacation. I should have stayed another week.

    I think the Braves should listen to offers for Tex. If an enticing offer comes along, take it; if not take the draft choices at the end of the year.

    Why is Corky still around?

  10. Sorry, Mac. Guess I didn’t bring the right energy. It really wasn’t a fun game to watch even from the Frenchy-less RF stands where I was.

    ~JB

  11. The Braves probably could have had some success if they would have been more patient at the plate. The starter was not all that accurate, and the first reliever they brought in had more walks than Ks. I’m not sure if I can watch this team play bad baseball for much longer.

  12. If Frenchy is the team’s only problem, then the team will not actually be that bad. However, that doesn’t mean he does not deserved to be demoted.

  13. I think Bethany has hit on it. And it’s a systematic problem, not just tonight. This team as a whole presses. They get too aggressive with runners on base, as I’ve pointed out (especially with less than two out, when they’re trying to “put the ball in play” and “make productive outs” rather than not make outs at all). But they also get too aggressive when they fall behind. They’d be a lot better served trying to work counts and get runners on base; you aren’t going to hit five solo homers very often.

  14. I’m glad TBS doesn’t do the games anymore. The Braves seem to be in a period of decline–which they will deny, but I don’t see how you can argue with the record. I’m not sure that Wren and JS and Bobby have any idea what the hell to do to turn things around. This just is not a very good team. Teixera is proving to be one of the more overrated players in baseball. As far as I’m concerned, he can get his money somewhere else.

  15. Fire Terry Pendleton.

    I saw a good question brought up elsewhere today. What hitter(s) has TP made better with his “aggressive”, “productive outs”, “go the other way” nonsense? Anybody?

  16. The sample size from the minors won’t be significant enough to tell us much. Anyway. He’s an ‘aggressive hitter,’ whatever that means. So unless you can hit .320 with some translatable power, you won’t make it. That article depresses me.

  17. Jeremy, I’m with you. The best hitters on this team go elsewhere to get advice, I can’t see a player that he has improved.

  18. I maintain that if Jeff Francoeur had the same amount of attention as Kelly Johnson or Brian McCann, he wouldn’t be hated as much. Since that’s the case, it throws objective evaluation of his talent levels right out the window.

    It’s pretty amazing that even now folks don’t have a good grip on how bad Francoeur’s performance has been. Still reading posts like “he’s not the biggest problem”, “he’s got a lot of talent”, and the above which seems to pin the blame on the Delta commercials.

    I just don’t know what it would take for some people. If three straight seasons of crap doesn’t do it…

  19. That article depresses me.

    Me too. Isn’t there anybody in this organization that can explain to him what goes into making a productive player? He still seems clueless, and Wellman telling him to stay aggressive and keep swinging is, um, unlikely to work.

    Loved the section in the article about the mean old internet folks writing so darn nasty about him.

  20. That article frustrates me for the reasons already mentioned above and Francoeur’s persistent arrogance.

  21. Dude, the guy is talented. How can you debate that? The guy has so many tools. He has good speed, a great arm, power, and has shown an ability to hit for a high average. Even after his deadful first half, his career BA is .272. You guys talk like he’s been hitting .234 his entire career. The guy has a profound inability to make productive strides in his plate discipline, but before this year, that was his one problem. I’m not going to disagree that he has been atrociously bad, and both he and Atlanta are both to blame for that, but the guy has legitimate talent and you simply can’t deny that.

    I’ve been listening to this “Atlanta can’t develop patient hitters” agreement for a while now, so I looked up a few things. Currently, you can say Atlanta developed Francoeur, McCann, Johnson, Escobar, Chipper, and Blanco. These are their career isolated disciplines:

    McCann – .059
    Johnson – .098
    Chipper – .094
    Escobar – .064
    Francouer – .041
    Blanco – .104

    Now, those are 6 homegrown guys out of our current 8 regulars. Francouer’s ISO is low, but McCann’s and Escobar’s are pretty good, and Johnson’s, Chipper’s, and Blanco’s are very above average. As far as I’m concerned, the Braves have developed some guys that can take a walk. If you’re looking for a reason for why we’re not playing well, you haven’t found it in the “the Braves have developed a buncha slop-hacking retards” argument.

  22. Now, you can say “Oh yeah, well Chipper and McCann get help from their dads so they don’t count!” I’ve heard that so many times, that our best hitters are getting help from outside the organization, implying the positives from our hitting corp are not because our instructors are doing their job. Well that’s just ridiculous.

    Their dads weren’t with them in the dugouts and in the cages with them every day while they went through all the minor league stops. They aren’t in the Atlanta dugout during ballgames, helping these guys through. You can’t just say that just because you hear of a few stories of help from their dads during slumps that that’s why they get the majority of their help. And honestly, any guy from a baseball-rich family probably does get help from their dad, whether you’re in Atlanta or St. Louis. I’m sure those of you whose parents are in the same line of work have offered you advice when you’ve needed it, even when you were in your career. Does that mean the people that have helped you along the way don’t deserve the credit? No, it just means you can get help from more than one place.

  23. This is just one game post-Frenchy, so it does not tell us anything about his effect on the team. I do agree that he is not the only problem.

    We seem to have forgotten our run differential and our offensive statistics relative to the League for most of the season. This team has been a good offense on paper, and the lineup looks like it should be that way. We have just been really bad at scoring runs when it counted most. That’s a mental thing and I think it is affecting the overall team performance now.

  24. Yeah, I just saw the MB boxscore, where the hard hitting Pelicans won 1-0. Forgive my cynicism, but I could not help but wonder if it was one of the those games at the Beach where virtually anybody would pitch well.

    Owings has been great and has now missed a couple games in a row–I hope that he has not been hurt again….

  25. #7 +#24–Frenchy has been an obvious problem for the Braves. Virtually no one thinks that it was a bad idea to send him down to Mississippi. But the biggest? I rather doubt it: instead, I think that it has to do with the Braves organization. For more than a decade the Braves could been as a ‘model organization’, but times change and I am guessing that a big part of the team’s struggles reflect ogranizational issues. And Francoeur? Clearly he has never fulfilled his potential (Rob Cope has written quite well about it in this tread) and he has gone into meltdown in 2008. Because he has been hyped as a ‘star’ (see the above article #19–provided by kc) when he did not warrant it and since he is the most obvious problem in 2008, Francoeur has become the class scapegoat for Braves fans.

    What better way to deal with the anger and frustation of 2008 than blame the overated and failing Francoeur?

    Sure, he has played his part, but the current meltdown has deep and diverse roots….

  26. Leaving aside that Francoeur is an obvious symptom of the Braves’ systematic problems, those systematic problems are not directly a cause of problems on the field. Francoeur is, quite obviously, the single biggest problem the 2008 Braves have had, even more than the loss of Smoltz.

  27. He is obviously the single biggest underperformer, but he is hardly the only reason that the team consistently fails to deliver.

    And, yes, the fact that the Braves became dependent upon Francoeur belies significant organizational issues….

  28. Here’s a remark from Francoeur in an article on the AJC site. It shows just how clueless he is. “The minute I go up there and tell myself to take a pitch, it’s right down the middle.” Patience at the plate isn’t a matter of deciding to take a pitch beforehand, except perhaps in certain situations like a three balls and no strikes count. It’s a matter of refraining from swinging at balls that aren’t strikes. When you’re ahead in the count, it might also mean refraining from swinging at pitches that aren’t in a certain part of the strike zone. It doesn’t mean taking pitches that are right down the middle of the plate.

    In my opinion, Francoeur’s problems aren’t because his swing is out of whack. It’s because the league has finally learned that you never have to throw him a strike. He’ll swing at low pitches that break off of the plate, as well as high fastballs, and he’ll get himself out. Last year, he hit better with runners on because opposing pitchers felt that they had to throw him strikes in that situation. By this year, they’d learned that they don’t have to. If he can’t adjust to that, then he’ll struggle again when he returns to the majors.

    Bobby Cox and the Braves don’t much care for patient hitters who work the count, unless they’re obvious stars like Chipper. They like hackers. I recall an interview with Cox several years ago where he said that he liked guys who put the ball into play because good things happen when they do. Over the years, he’s seems to have shown a lot more patience with hackers, than with guys who work the count.

  29. Trade Francouer to someone who still believes in his talent and tools. And don’t be THAT GUY! (guh)

    I’ll take injured Elijah Dukes straight up right now! (I’m aware injured players can’t be traded, plus Dukes is better suited to stick around in D.C. with the support system in place–and as far from Tampa as possible!)

  30. This is totally unacceptable.

    Jonathan Schuerholz, son of Braves president John Schuerholz, is five days into his new job as roving infield instructor for the Braves rookie league teams in Orlando and Danville, Va., and Class A Rome. Schuerholz played six years in the Braves minor league system as an infielder before retiring last August to finish his degree at Auburn.

    “I can’t believe they’re paying me to do this,” said Schuerholz, who stopped by Braves batting practice Saturday.

    With Aaron Spelling dead, it’s clear who the biggest nepotist on the planet is. I hope there is someone at Liberty Media who will put a stop to this blatant favoritism. I’m certain that none of the managers in their corporate offices are allowed to hire their sons. Just the appearance of impropriety (and this is more than just appearance) ought to be avoided. If you want to give your kid an allowance when he’s in is late-20s, use your own damn money.

  31. I knew that the organization has its problems, but this takes it to a new level….

  32. ChuckO, I dont’t fully agree with that. Sure, it isn’t helping that he constantly swings at pitches that aren’t good pitches to hit. But the bigger problem to me is his inability to put good swings on any kind of pitches right now. It’s not that pitchers only throw him crap, he can’t do anything with their mistakes either! Go back to that first Phillies game and his bases-loaded at bat, and check out the hanging sliders and fat fastballs he missed. IMO, the number of mediocre fastballs that he either completely misses or fouls off weakly has been staggering. He’s just not catching up, and his bat speed, which was never that good to begin with, seems to have decreased further. As odd as it sounds though, I don’t think he’s flailing at as many pitches in the dirt as he used to. Maybe he’ waiting a little longer in order to recognize the pitch better, and in turn gets his swing started too late to catch up with the fastballs. Or maybe the additional bulk he put on has decreased his flexibility (see Lopez, Javier). Whatever it is, I don’t think strike zone judgement is even his biggest issue anymore.

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