50 thoughts on “Who? The real question is Why? game thread: Aug. 15, Giants at Braves”

  1. Because the sooner we can get finished with this year, the sooner we can start hoping for a better ’09?

  2. I’m planning on going to my last (sigh) Richmond Braves game this evening (although the weather does not look promising), and I just saw Dontrelle Willis is scheduled to pitch against us. This should be fun…

  3. So since I was ignored in the last thread, I ask again. What happened to the Jeff B. Francouer blog?

  4. Let’s see if today’s gamethread can be as nasty as yesterday’s…

    Heckling/Booing: As someone mentioned before, I’m actually OK with it as long as it’s not too malicious or profane. If there’s some genuine humor, it helps.

    In my 18 years in NYC, I’ve seen the good, the bad & the ugly (especially at hockey games). Sitting in the Yankee Stadium bleachers for a particular Indians/Yanks game in ’94 comes to mind—to this day, I can’t even look at Manny Ramirez without having this hilariously vulgar chant/song coming to mind. Totally ruined.

    So I don’t do it, but that’s just me.

    Any NYC peeps going to see the Bravos @ Shea next week? I think RobBroad4th & I will be grimly flying the flag, drowning our sorrows & entertaining a myriad of other cliches.

    On another note: It’s kind of a bummer today to find out that WFAN’s Mike & The Mad Dog have “broken up.” That, by far, has been the most entertaining sports radio in the country.

  5. Here’s something of note… According to the Fielding Bible statistics, Kelly Johnson is +3 at second base this year, ranking eighth in the majors.

    Martin Prado, in much more limited play, is -5.

    Your eyes aren’t lying, people — Prado really is that bad.

  6. So, Tommy’s back on the DL, & we called up Matt Desalvo….anybody know anything about him?

  7. On the subject of booing/ heckling from the last thread. I don’t do it, but I’m okay with it as long as they’re pro athletes and it’s not vulgar. College athletes are a different story. I mean these guys are young kids and don’t get paid. Well, unless they play for Tennessee.

  8. I see the Yanks demoted Melky today. I know he’s stunk but Brett Gardner in center? The remains of Johnny Damon? There’s got to be a better plan than that. Any word from NYC ububba?

    Somewhat related: When I switched over to the Twins-Yankees the other day, I saw a Twin tag and go from second to third on a fly ball to medium left field. Such is the state of Johnny Damon’s arm that he didn’t even attempt the LF to third base throw and looped it into second.

  9. #12 – didnt here Tommy is on the DL again, well that at least seals his fate and Im guessing he’s done

  10. DeSalvo’s a guy who was in the Yankee chain and had some fans there, but really isn’t major league material from all I read. For most of his career, including this season, he’s struck people out but at the cost of a grossly elevated walk rate.

  11. who replaces Glavine in the rotation? Reyes? What about calling up one of the 4 guys at AA? Parr, Hanson, Redmond, or Medlen

  12. Speaking of moronic fans acting out, the Giants & Jets have instituted an “idiot-protection policy.” I don’t go to a lotta NFL games up here, but I love it. Seems like a great idea.
    http://tinyurl.com/6r95rc

    Robert,
    I don’t know what options the Yanks have in CF unless someone sneaks through waivers. Honestly, most of the NYC sports convo today is about The Mike & The Mad Dog split. It’s really that big. If you don’t live in the area, it’s really impossible to convey how central they have been to NY sports.

    Just listened to the weekly Girardi show on WFAN. Damon will not play CF, for reasons you mentioned. He can hit still, but he can’t do anything but DH or play LF. (This remains a team loaded with DHs.)

    Gardner is not any kind of answer, but Girardi intimated that Melky is so fouled up now that they had no choice. He started out hot this year, but sank back into Melky-dom. He’s a better-than-average defensive CF, but he’s “anchored” the free-fall at the bottom of their lineup. There were nights when 7-8-9 was Cano (when he was really struggling), Melky & Molina.

    Nady has helped a lot, but they only have 42 games to make up 6. (Marte has been remarkably bad, however. He walks the ballpark.)

    With Jeter & Abreu, in particular, falling off to some degree—though, Abreu’s “clutch” numbers remain very good, he’s had a lotta big hits—this lineup is no longer terrifying. (Good call, Mac.)

    And guess which future HoFer in the middle of the lineup has really underperformed in big spots? Yep, #13. (As Stengel said, you can look it up.) Their best player is still terrific, but it’s been a weird year for him.

    They’re not dead and they’ve rallied the troops late in recent years, but I have a hard time believing that this team is going to pull it off this year. Still, that post-season invoice will be showing up in the mail any day now…

  13. Abreu has basically gone Brian Giles on the Yankees — he still hits for average and controls the strike zone (if not quite as well as Giles) but he’s lost some power, and some homers are turning into outs. He can still help a lineup, but not at that cost. Jeter’s lost even more power and is slugging under .400.

    The whole team is suffering from that — the Yankees led the AL in homers last year, and have annually finished first or second with over 200 in recent years, but are only seventh this year. The outage isn’t quite as severe as the Braves’ but it’s noteworthy; they only have four players in double-digits in homers (the same as the Braves do, if you count Teixeira), one of whom is Cano, who has been almost as worthless at the plate as Melky — or Francoeur, for that amtter.

  14. I know Infante is hot and this season is lost, but if Infante is an everyday middle-of-the-order (4-6) hitter next season, the Braves have a serious problem.

  15. Cano was awful before the all-star break—he killed them early in the year. Difficult to get out after it. He still doesn’t walk very much at all, but he’s been blazing since then (329/365/598).

    He’s basically a Matt Diaz playing second base, a career 800 OPS, but with twice as many MLB PAs, a very good #6 or #7 hitter in the AL. Not a great defensive 2B, but he’ll be alright.

    Abreu’s power numbers have been falling for awhile & his ’08 OBP has dropped more than 40 points from his career number, too. This year, Abreu only seems to get big hits, which is definitely noticed. But, no, he probably won’t be re-upped and certainly not for $16M. Nady will replace him in right.

  16. Gammons is a traditionalist in many ways, and once upon a time, when he was young, it was common for the catcher on a pennant-winner to be an MVP candidate, even if he wasn’t really among the game’s elite hitters. But Soto isn’t within a mile of McCann.

  17. MVP candidacy for Soto is fine. His team is in first place & he’s had a good year. Just don’t call him MVP at the end of it.

    I think it’ll come down to Braun or Utley, perhaps depending on which team makes the post-season.

  18. Looking at his numbers a little more closely, Soto’s home/road splits weren’t as bad as I thought, I just don’t think he should sniff anywhere close to the top 5. I guess maybe I’m just suspicious of a guy who hit 25 minor league home runs in his career, gets to AAA and hits 26 with 3 more in the big leagues. This year he has 18 so far. I know catchers traditionally take longer to develop, that’s pretty rapid development. Call me old fashioned.

  19. Top eight best MLB offensive catchers in 2008:

    1. Brian McCann
    2. Joe Mauer
    3. Ryan Doumit
    4. Chris Iannetta
    5. Geovany Soto
    6. Kelly Shoppach
    7. Chris Snyder
    8. Russell Martin

    McCann is the best.

  20. From an SI Players Poll this week, a ranking of “best all-around” catchers:

    Russell Martin (30%)
    Joe Mauer (17%)
    Ivan Rodriguez (14%)
    Jason Varitek (10%)
    Brian McCann (9%)

    As for Varitek, I always thought that “best all-around” still included hitting.

  21. The Giants are awful, but the Braves have a whopping five more wins at this point. I raise a question, who is closer to contention, the Giants or the Braves ? I was thinking about this on the way home listening to the game. I think I’d lean towards the Giants situation going forward. The position player talent at the big league level is terrible, but their system appears to be ranked in the top 5 wherever you look. They have one awful contract but their rotation appears have some good, young controllable arms. Am I crazy ??

    Of course, Brian Sabean could mess all of this up. I was thinking about how many NL teams either because of young talent or payroll that are better situations than the Braves. It was kind of depressing.

  22. Stu – you might know already, but Boston did ink Westmoreland (Stupid Red Sox). Paid him $2M after drafting him in the 5th round to keep him away from Vandy. Wow.

    On the bright side, supposedly Jason Esposito (7th round, I think) has refused $1.5M to sign with the Royals. Looks like he’s coming to Nashville.

    It stinks to lose some of these guys in the draft, but it’s nice to know ML scouts think so highly of our recruits.

  23. As our dearly departed Mr. Caray would say, “Jurrjens deserves a better fate.”

    Stu/Parish,
    Did you see the SI story on David Price a couple weeks ago?

  24. #32 – Huh?

    If the Giants are closer to contending it is because of Tim Lincecum, not a better system. Pitchers like him are few and far between.

    The Braves should have a top 10 farm system this year, close to top five. I might be misremembering, but I don’t think the Giants were top 20 in the off season. They drafted Buster Posey, who still hasn’t signed and inked a big name in the international signing period. Have they improved in some way I don’t know?

  25. The Giants system was devastated several years ago when they signed a bunch of mediocre free agents — guys like Michael Tucker — as an intentional strategy to lose draft picks and avoid paying bonuses. (This never made sense to me, but seems pretty well established.) The system wasn’t especially productive before. The only “homegrown” regular on their World Series team in 2002 was Rich Aurilia, and he was actually drafted by the Rangers and came over in a trade.

    Anyway, since then they’ve concentrated on pitchers and had some success there, but their hitting prospects haven’t done anything.

  26. John Smoltz is calling tomorrow’s game with Joe Simpson on Peachtree TV? That should be interesting…

  27. Ububba, I don’t think I saw the article, but I feel like there have been a few out recently. USAToday, ESPN.

    I do, however, see that SI has a story on the site of how this will be a banner year for free agents. Supposedly Dunn wants $100M+.

  28. And I want $100 M, too.

    Supposedly, nobody really wanted Dunn at the trade deadline. He’s not so in-demand. He ain’t getting that kinda cash.

  29. Olympic swimming thoughts:

    1. Phelps really is unreal.
    2. I don’t think that guy is really a Kenyan.
    3. Who goes all the way around the world from Zimbabwe to go to college at Auburn?

  30. One step forward, one step back.

    When was the last time Francoeur put up back-to-back good games?

  31. May 12 double-header against the Pirates, May 13 against the Phillies, Francoeur had 2, 3, and 2 hits. He’s only had one other occurrence of back-to-back multi-hit games this year, and that was back in April.

  32. I was at the double header Mac talked about. I think (before last night) I was at Francoeur’s previous good game, it was a Wednesday night in May against the Mets in Atlanta. He almost hit for the cycle (typing this, it sounds absurd).

    Seriously.

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