Cubs 8, Braves 0

ESPN – Cubs vs. Braves – Box Score – August 13, 2008

I have little to say, except CURSES UPON THIS TEAM, MAY EVERLASTING HELLFIRE BURN YOU FOR PUTTING ME THROUGH WATCHING YOUR INCOMPETENT ATTEMPTS TO PLAY BASEBALL!!!!!!!!

Okay.

Anyway, Jorge Campillo gave up four hits and a walk in the first inning, leading to four runs. And then everybody could have gone home, because there is no way that the Braves were going to score five runs no longer how long they played. It’s not totally Campillo’s fault — you’re around the plate, you’re going to give up some hits, and sometimes they’ll be all together like that. The Cubs got another run in the fifth. Bennett and Ohman staunched the bleeding, but Gonzalez was super-wild in the ninth and was lifted with the bases loaded and one in, and Tavarez allowed a couple more to score.

Chipper was out of the lineup with a “stomach virus”. I dunno, watching this team gives me nausea. Anyway, the Braves had all of three hits, two by Escobar and one by Prado. They loaded the bases on walks in the third but Kotchman grounded out to end the threat. I hate this team.

52 thoughts on “Cubs 8, Braves 0”

  1. Boy does this blow. This is the first time I can remember that I really looked foward to the offseason. End this nightmare and trade/dump/ditch Francoeur this offseason please.

    Unlike many here, I don’t like college football so I don’t look forward to that and the Falcons are probably going to suck even worse.

  2. Sorry about the comment on Bueno being kicked from the Braves on the last thread. I assumed he was thrown out for losing his cool with an ump, not throwing at someone. I doubt that there will be repercussions from this. That being said, I bet he still gets sent down when Glavine is called up.

  3. This team is so far away from being able to content.

    Childress was a very good sixth man off the bench for the Hawks, but can’t pay him such a high salary for being a sixth man…

  4. kc,

    We actually have members of this blog’s community that think we are 1 or two players away from competing.

    We are LIGHT YEARS away from being competitive.

  5. I don’t see why the Braves can’t at least be competative next season if they get a top of the rotation pitcher and left fielder like Burrell. They have the money to big big free agent players.

    Saying they’re completely hopeless for next season sounds like a kneejerk reaction to this trainwreck season.

  6. One thing the Chief isn’t is kneejerk. He’s been saying this team was doomed since May at least. I don’t agree, I don’t think they were doomed that early — but he’s consistent.

  7. “but can’t pay him such a high salary for being a sixth man…” Seems to work okay for the Spurs.

    I also seem to get a stomach virus while watching this team this year. I’m not sure I’m ready to say I’d rather have herpes, than Francoeur, but at least you can take medicine for that.

  8. I have had a stomach bug (for real), like Chipper, so something is going around. Maybe it’s Francoeuritis.

  9. I’ve come down with something too, braves14. I blame… Keith Lockhart. Still.

    Speaking of Lockhart, people have been comparing his situation when he was inexplicably getting tons of playing time to Francoeur’s. I don’t think that’s particularly fair. Francoeur has a TON of upside; Lockhart didn’t. With Lockhart, pretty much what you say was what you got. With Francoeur, he’s athletic enough and has a track record of providing much more than he has. Lockhart was never going to be much more than he was. Plus, Francoeur is still pretty young. We forget the guy is only 24.

  10. From the game thread. Jordan Schafer was a double short of the cycle in the first game of the Mississippi double header today. The game was shortened to 7 innings as MiLB double header games always are, so he was probably slighted one at bat. What does he do his first AB of the 2nd game? He hits a double, of course.

  11. no offense, but I really hope Francoeur finds his upside elsewhere. I dont see the upside though, yes he’s a good athlete, but that doesnt mean anything in this sport. His range is bad, his pitch selection is bad, his contact is terrible, too many things going wrong.

    I am definitely not a fan of Kotchman, but I dont see Wren moving him. He’s the young 1B that he wanted, at least this offseason should be exciting.

    With Schafers recent games, we may see him pretty soon.

  12. To say that the Braves are light years from being competive is ridiculous. I will have to say though, that unless we get on a tremendous hot streak at the end of next year, we are unlikely to be a World Series caliber team with only a few changes (SP and LF mostly) in 2009.

  13. The Braves are not going to move Kotchman….this team needs at least a LF, RF and 2-3 starters to be strong. It could be ‘competitive’ with less if other teams in the divison falter….

    The idea that the Braves are “one or two players away” illustrates the power of Denial on the human mind….It would be better for the Braves to aim for 2010 (and beyond) while strenthening their team in 2009.

    The situation is not hopeless and the Braves still have some young talent in the minors. However, it is easy to see how the Braves could misplay their cards and make the situation much worse.

    Lets hope for the best….

  14. Lets not carried away with Schafer–with is big night now behind him he has a .258 average and a good OBP. Sure, he has made the transition to AA better than Thorman, Kala or Pope, but it would be nice to see him show some ability to dominate at Mississippi before penciing him into Atlanta’s lineup. Scaher is a good prospect, but there is no objective reason to believe that he belongs in the majors.

    The last time the Braves rushed a promising OF from AA to the majors he landed with great fanfare, failed to devlop as he should and regressed during 2008, making him possibly the biggest target of invective (and scapegoat) yet seen on Braves Journal….

  15. Well I wouldn’t say that Francouer has a ton of upside, but he does still have some upside in the power department. Of course it would be great to see him come back and have an outstanding career, but there is a lot of work to do just to have a decent career. I don’t see the harm in DL’ing him for a 15 day stint. He wouldn’t have to go to the minors, though he would probably still complain that he wasn’t really hurt.

    On Schafer he really needs to have a torrid end of the season and find some winter ball to make up for what he missed earlier in the year. With Blanco and Anderson around he should still start next year at either AA or AAA.

    With the success of a lot of guys in our low minors, I am really beginning to come around on the idea of playing for 2010 instead of ’09. But having said that it really won’t be that hard to be competitive in ’09 with a couple of good signings. And by competitive I mean 85-90 wins fighting for the wild card. Just hope we don’t mortgage the future to fight for the wild card.

  16. If the team still expects a lot from Jeffrey in 2009, I doubt the team will have any chance to compete.

  17. KC–I would hope that the Braves would trade Frenchy over the winter. If they could get a solid prospect I would be happy because the more important thing is to free RF.

    He may well play better somewhere else and someone like the Royals (who like our prospects) might take a chance on him.

    Clearing RF is one of the preconditions for the rebuilding of the Braves….

  18. I can’t remember in the last 17 years the Braves looking this bad in consecutive games, especially at home. The era really is over now and I’m sick of the eternal optimist Bobby Cox. It was annoying when they were good and now it’s driving me crazy.

  19. #22, heck with a solid prospect, just get rid of Jeff for whatever you can get. Trading him would be the purest example of addition by subtraction ever. I could see Jeff eventually becoming the player he was in 2006 again (obp around .300, 30 homers, 100 rbi, a bunch of outfield assists) but not much more than that. Time to move on before he becomes expensive.

  20. Yes–it would be addition by subtraction and if Frenchy is successful it will almost certainly not be in an Atlanta uniform. By solid prospect I don’t mean anything better than the throw in (Marek) that came with Kotchman. Of course if we could deal with the Mariners we might get luckier…

  21. On Schafer,

    All of the scouts say he is a GREAT centerfielder (covers ground AND great arm). Anderson is great in covering ground. I am not sure about arm for him. Blanco is mediocre at covering ground and his arm is not good enough for a regular in center field on a .500 club UNLESS he hits like either Andruw Jones or Johnny Damon from a few years ago (his offense is more like the good Juan Pierre with more walks and less stolen bases, which won’t cut it in center with that arm). Blanco’s offense is too suspect for left and the arm problem is more pronounced in right.

    If you think Schafer hasn’t done well this year, you need to look at his splits. He has OPS in mid to high 800’s. He has climbed from “pitcheresque “numbers (400ops about June 20)to Francoeur like numbers (600 ops) against lefthanders . Agaisnt righthanders his OPS is around 900. The usual MLE projections should put his projection for 2009 above any other outfielder we have (unless Diaz becomes useful again) for NEXT year.

  22. The Braves will not concede 2009. That’s a fact, Jack. The revenue drop would be hard to take. Atlanta has shown again and again that non competitive teams suck wind on ticket sales big time.

    So, then the next questions are (1) (as Justin Parker @20 says) is how does management define “competitive”, and (2) what does management do to make that?

    I think management uses Justin’s definition. A reasonable chance at 85 wins where, if everybody craps out or if you get more than a little lucky, you make the post season. It will not be “make us the favorite in NL East next year with a good shot to take it all”.

    So then the more important and difficult moves center around the subtractions. Who do you want to subtract and who are you willing to subtract to either (1) save payroll or (2) move to get other players.

  23. @30–Actually a recent Forbes article rates teams on how sensitive their fans are to winning (i.e., how much attendance fluctuates with higher or lower winning pct) and finds the Braves are among the least sensitive (only Texas and the RSox less so). I’m not entirely conviced by the article but, fwiw, here it is:

    http://tinyurl.com/5zls68

  24. I could see this team competing in three or four years…provided they have three or four excellent drafts, get lucky on some trades, and fill in the pieces with some good free agents.

    We doubled-down on Teixeria and it didn’t work. I’m not saying it was a good move or a bad move, it just didn’t work. Not only did we empty our farm system for one guy, we won’t even get the two compensatory picks for his departure.

    It’s not quite as bad as trading two future all-stars for Len Barker (when you could have gotten Sutcliffe for that price or gotten Blyleven for less). Nor is it as bad as Milt Thompson and Steve Bedrosian for Ozzie Virgil.

    I have to switch sports to think of a cognate. The Carolina Panthers gave up two first-round draft picks for Sean Gilbert, thinking they were a player away from being an elite team. They weren’t. Gilbert played reasonably well for a couple of years, but the Panthers had a lot more holes than just one Def. End.

    The two picks that the Panthers gave up ended up giving the Redskins Champ Bailey and Chris Samuels. So, other than forfeiting the rights to a rock-steady left tackle and one of the best cover corners in the NFL, it was a fine trade.

    For Salty, Andrus and Matt Harrison, the Braves could have taken the long view and probably worked out a much better deal with the Red Sox. You could have gotten Brandon Moss, David Murphy and Aaron Bates. There’s your corner outfielders and a first-baseman of the future.

  25. Frank,
    I saw that the Braves were on the list of teams with the most loyal fans and almost spit coffee all over my computer… but then I realized… it’s not so much that there are a bunch of loyal fans, it’s that winning or losing doesn’t effect how much people come out to the games… and that’s true. Win or Lose we don’t pack the Ted.

    To the “when can we compete” question, does our problem lie largely in that the way the market is now, you have to have a lot of lean years to develop a full team of players, and/or you have to have the cash to fill in with FA? We don’t have QUITE enough cash to really fill in more than one or two gaps with FA guys, and we haven’t had enough lean years to really have a full squad that are all ready for the show in the same 2-4 year period (like the Rays). I think our payroll level in the last 5-6 years doesn’t work for building a team, only maintaining it for a couple more years if you already had a core.

  26. Wow, it is simply amazing how quick people forget the promise Francoeur showed. Maybe it’s because I don’t watch him suck on a daily basis like some of you guys do, and all I can do is look at stats, box scores, commentary and analysis.

    Francoeur has every baseball tool but plate discipline. Physically, he possesses every tool. The guy has hit for average, he’s hit for power, he’s played truly Gold Glove defense, and he’s proven he can play. He’s simply awful right now, but the point still stands that he is more likely to rebound from this than a fat, lazy, out of shape Andruw Jones or a simply mediocre Keith Lockhart.

  27. @34

    Maybe. But I still see him more of like the Scarecrow, only we don’t have a Wizard to give him a brain.

  28. Remember when we had guys like Gant and Justice in our corner outfield spots? Those days were nice.

  29. I live in Jackson and see the AA Braves almost weekly. I haven’t seen a player yet come up and “dominate.” I think for whatever reason its a difficult hitters park because most of the pitchers do come up and do well. The only guys that have really shown up and “dominated” were “old” independent league guys on their second try like Jason Perry and Reid Gorecki. The closest hitting prospect to hit the ground running was Diory Hernandez.

  30. Stu, or Justice, Grissom, and Klesko. Gant was one of my favorite players in the early ’90s. I bet if he played for the Braves now we’d all kill him for his mediocre OBP lol. His career stats are .256/.336/.468. He was sort of what we all hoped Francoeur would turn into this year except with good speed too until his motorcycle accident.

  31. Wow, it is simply amazing how quick people forget the promise Francoeur showed.

    Yes, that .322 OBP he put up in the Southern League really gets me wet. Lotta promise there, boy.

    Francoeur is not a skilled baseball player in any sense of the word. The only plus tool he possesses is his throwing arm.

  32. jorgbacca–That is a very useful comment and one that will change my thinking about how to interpret performances at Mississippi.

    Do you think that Diory Hernandez is an undervalued prospect?

  33. I would agree that Frenchie has all the tools except pitch judgment. However, that one is the one that MLB pitchers are most able to exploit, as they have the control to do so. So the .321 OBP in the southern league was a very telling 9and very bad) leading indicator. once MLB pitchers knew he would swing at stuff 6 inches off the plate, they were smart enough and skilled enough to do that, ending any chance frenchie had of succeeding.

    But that having been said, how can a guy who swings that hard and is making decent contact go 15 games without an XB hit? Could he have been slightly juiced early on? Prorating his 4 seasons in the bigs to 650 AB seasons, his HR totals go 35; 29; 19; 13. Doesn’t that just strike you as odd?

  34. bfan, I’ll disagree with you slightly. I have watched most of Frenchy’s ab’s this year and I just dont ever see him making very good contact. Seems like most of his recent (2 months) he’s been hitting weak grounders, strikingout, and lazy fly balls. I dont recall him even hitting many balls to the warning track recently. He’s just not able to hit mistakes by pitchers anymore.

    The Braves have a very interesting decision. Do they keep him around another year and hope he can perform at league average or slightly above for the next few years or do they trade him this offseason with the mindset that he’ll never be able to adjust. He still might have a little value to some teams, but if he performs this way next year they wont be able to give him away

  35. Stephen,

    I would say so. I thought Diory looked great down here and his numbers at Richmond are pretty good as well. (.295 BA but only .716 OPS) He doesn’t have a lot of power but hits well. He’s looked better at this level than Prado or Escobar who also didn’t show any power in Mississippi. (And aren’t really now.) But since he’s not even listed as a prospect in any top ten list I’d think he’s under valued. He’s not a Heyward by any means though.

    The flip side is after watching Chuck James, and JoJo, I thought we had two dominate pitchers. Especially with JoJo. And they struggle at the major level. Makes me nervous about Hanson because he’s absolutely destroying the league at home right now. Seen him five times or more and he’s looked great. Of course the one I missed was the no hitter.

  36. ‘Plus, Francoeur is still pretty young. We forget the guy is only 24.’

    Rob your starting to sound like the AJC now. Personally if he ever gets to league average it will be a surprise. The athleticism that got him recruited to a major college football program and a decent 1/3 of a season have masked the truth. Jeff Francouer isn’t a good baseball player. Period.

    @32 ‘For Salty, Andrus and Matt Harrison, the Braves could have taken the long view and probably worked out a much better deal with the Red Sox. You could have gotten Brandon Moss, David Murphy and Aaron Bates. There’s your corner outfielders and a first-baseman of the future.’

    Ahhh yes. 20/20 hindsight. Chipper was 35, Smoltz was 40. There were your two best players in 2007. There was no long view when the Braves acquired Teixiera. Win now. IMHO that was the correct view.

    Glass is half full:
    Chipper, McCann, Escobar, Johnson, Jurrjens, Gonzales, Campillo are enough of a core to add a couple of players to to compete in a weak NL East. You get to the playoffs and become the 2006 Cardinals. Realizing that Francouer has to bounce back to at least league average and Campillo isn’t a pumpkin, Morton is ready and you can get something anything from Reyes and James. Long shot?

    Glass is half empty:
    We suck. We only have 3 good players. Chipper, McCann and Jurrjens. Make some trades and restock for the future. Compete in 2011.

    I think that we are in purgatory. Just enough talent not to go into total rebuild mod but not enough that we can acquire enough to be really good. But really good and competing in this era of parity and the wild card are two different things. I think the Braves will take the half full scenario.

  37. #32, the main problem with the Tex deal was Feliz. Everyone else is blocked to some extent, but he projects to be an ace in a couple of years. I’m also hoping that Freddie Freeman or Tyler Flowers can be our 1B and of course Heyward our RF of the future (albeit probably in 2010 at the earliest), so the deal with Boston would have been a little pointless.

    I’d let Schafer stay in AA until he gets himself sorted against LHP and then bring him up to the majors. I’m guessing that could be around June next year.

    I’d go hard after Sabathia because he’s a horse and it seems he doesn’t want to play in New York. He’ll also be there for when the talent in the minors will hopefully breakthrough.

    After that, maybe a flier on Holliday if we get a window to extend his contract, but there’s no other left fielder I’d feel confident giving a big contract to. Burrell and Dunn won’t be the same players in 2/3 years time and to get them we’d need to be paying them a lot then.

    I’d just do the Marlins trick of going in with the aim of competing in 2010, but with enough talent that if a lot of things go right it’s possible to make a run.

  38. Allyson, Dallas: Will Holland and Feliz both be in your top 25ish minor league players?

    Keith Law: (1:56 PM ET ) Feliz will be in the top 10.

    *hangs self*

  39. Michael Jordan hit .202/.285/.266 at AA. Jeff had an OPS+ of 126 in ’05, and a 103 OPS+ last year with Gold Glove defense. I’m not quite sure that’s a valid comparison. Look, I’m not saying he’s a .300/.380/.550 guy. I’m just saying he’s shown the ability, he’s got the physical tools, and he can be a decent player and a lot better than he has been this year. That’s not AJC propaganda. That’s my own personal evaluation.

  40. I think a better comparison for Jeff would be Danny Ainge.

    Jeff Francoeur is nowhere near the athlete that Jordan is. (And Michael is twenty years older.) Even if Michael couldn’t hit minor league pitching.

  41. #47
    Don’t do it Stu. Feliz could be the next Pedro or ….. not. Its over. Spilt milk. Water over dam. Whatever.

    Rob, you are right Francouer could be good. But your hope is around a guy that has really not been all that good despite the hype. Look I am hoping too that he at least gets back to his 2007 form because I’m positive the Braves believe that this season is an aberation and not a new low level of performance and they will not look for a right fielder next season.

  42. Rob is not the first and won’t be the last to confuse physical talent with baseball talent. Sadly the relationship is far from one-to-one.

    Francouer has lots of physical athletic talent. He’s just not a baseball player.

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