212 thoughts on “Repeats already? game thread: April 20, Braves at Nats”

  1. I have tickets for tonight’s game, but it’s rained so much today that I figure there’s not much chance of them actually playing.

  2. but do you happen to have any clue as to how long Lugo is out?

    another week or two I think

  3. so if we get a double header tomorrow, what do we do catcher wise. Mac might not be able to go. Do we DL Anderson and call up Sammons? Send Reyes back down?

  4. We play the Nationals a million more times this season. I don’t think a double header will be necessary this early on.

  5. Although, if I understand the rules correctly, someone would have to go on the DL to bring up Sammons, because he was sent down less than ten days ago. Sammons is the only other catcher on the 40-man, and also the only thing resembling a major league catcher in the Braves’ minor leagues.

  6. #4 – I agree, but with a DH and the way Bobby uses relievers I’d think they’d keep him up. He shouldnt be here anyways.

    #5 – you’re probably right, but DOB was alluding to it

  7. Yeah, I thought the Boyer DFA was odd considering Parr’s relative worthlessness, but whatever.
    Has anyone heard anything about Garret today? I read that he left yesterday’s game early. He’s been hitting better, right? It seems like he’s been hitting a couple doubles every other day the past week.

  8. 2009 Atlanta Braves Franchise Batting Stats and Depth – Baseball-Reference.com

    1. Lord, but is the cupboard bare at catcher. There is nothing even resembling a prospect in the full-season leagues; the only “prospect” catcher the Braves have is 17-year-old Christian Betancourt, who hasn’t even played rookie ball yet.

    2. If Blanco is called up, the Braves would presumably have to move Gorkys up to AAA to play center, and he really shouldn’t be up yet.

    3. Or they could call up Quentin Davis from High-A. I have no explanation for why the Myrtle Beach centerfielder is 26 years old, or why he is in the organization at all since he seems to have no hitting skills.

    4. At some point, doesn’t someone have to give Barbaro Canizares a chance? Can he possibly give back that many runs on defense at first base? If so, shouldn’t some AL team (Oakland!) take a chance on him?

  9. I have tickets tonight as well. Earlier, I assumed it would be rained out because it was pouring, but it has stopped for now (although thunderstorms are expected later); I have seen nothing on the Nats’ website about postponement so I am assuming that they will at least try to play unless the skies open again. Teams hate postponing games.

    ermoore, if you see something about a postponement, please let me know at mschneider@ftc.gov.

  10. @4: I’m pretty sure Parr was just brought up to eat the kind of innings he pitched yesterday, and I don’t expect him to be up for long. I think those kind of innings were slated for Carlyle, and he’s been thrust into a different role now, so it makes some sense… some. I’d agree we probably don’t need such a large ‘pen, but the versatility of our bench allows us the luxury of keeping a mop-up man around. It’s also nice to know we have somebody we can throw out there for 4 or 5 innings and not have to handicap the ‘pen if necessary.

  11. Well, looking outside my window now, it is gray and dreary, but I see people walking without umbrellas, so I assume the rain has stopped.

  12. In light of the Yankees-Indians debacle yesterday, could someone please tell me what in blazes the point of having replay is?

  13. From the last thread (I must know):

    #87 – Did anyone else own a ColecoVision when they were a kid?

  14. Earlier I was sure it would be PPD, but now I think they’ll play.
    Near as I can tell from weather.com it looks like it’ll be pretty clear up until around 10pm. Or at the least they’ll wait till I show up and get to my seats before they call it.

    Man I can’t wait to see some Braves baseball. I’m looking forward to this season cause I figure that with the Nats just sucking so much that people will lose interest and I’ll be able to get decent tickets for less money (tonight’s were buy one get one free).

    Marc, I’ll send you a word if I hear anything.

  15. I asked a guy who actually watched some G-Braves games about Canizares and he said he really is that much of a butcher in the field. I still think he would have value as a pinch-hitter. Is Mark Sweeney could do it for 12 years, it seems Canizares has the track record to match that production. I guess it was safer to keep Norton for this year.

  16. #10 – I think Matt Kennelly has a shot to be something. I know the Braves were impressed with him this spring.

    Did anyone get to see him play much?

  17. I feel like Canizares in the Major Leagues would be like Casey Kotchman without the defense.

  18. Watchman,
    I’d say that, yes, 8+ minutes of replays is a bit much and I suspect that it was the correct call on the Posada HR, but I can’t say I’m 100% either.

    I still like the HR-replay rule. It’ll help in most fair/foul cases—that Brian Jordan game in Washington from a few years ago still irks me.

    It’s just that, IMO, that particular call from yesterday was just difficult no matter how many times you looked at it.

  19. Boyer traded to STL for OF Brian Barton. Looks like a decent pickup for a guy we were basically getting rid of.

  20. ermoore,

    I have two extra tickets to the game tonight. Do you want to take one (or both) off my hands? I am part of a season ticket consortium and, while I have not been to any games yet this season, I am told these seats are very good (upper level but close to home plate), $22 apiece, but would $15 a piece be fair. If you are interested, call my cell at 301-928-9310 and we can make arrangements to meet at the ball park.

  21. Looks like he hit the wall at AAA, once he was playing guys his own age. Sure, why not? One of the better HBP/GIDP ratios I’ve seen!

  22. whats the deal with Barton. Looks like a OF with no power and a low avg in AAA. What am I missing? He’s hitting .107 right now and hit .260 in AAA last year with 3 Hr’s

  23. Yeah, Barton is a great pick-up for a guy we had given up on…but his numbers the last few years are un-inspiring at best. Are we going to send down Parr?

  24. AAR – No love for Coleco? Anyone?

    Also, agreed on the Barton pickup. Seems like a move we should have made anyway.

    And, AAR, I like the way you put it:

    “Our sell-low policy on relievers we misuse.”

  25. Barton slugged around .400 last year, which makes him a significant upgrade over Blanco. A righty who can hit .280/.350/.400 off the bench has definite value to our team.

    Parish, Coleco wasn’t obscure! I was trying to give love to the systems no one remembers any more.

  26. I thought the ColecoVision was great, but I do not remember anyone else having one. It did not seem to be much of a success, but it brought many of my favorite arcade games home.

    Donkey Kong (and Jr.)
    Q*Bert
    Cosmic Avenger
    and Lady Bug was intense.

  27. One should mention that Barton played a decent centerfield in the minors and OPSed 750 as a rookie. His minor league stats suggest that he should improve some from his rookie line.

  28. Can Barton play CF? Will he go straight to the bigs or will he go to AAA? My guess is that he has options – correct?

  29. LINEUP

    1. Johnson 2B
    2. Escobar SS
    3. Chipper 3B
    4. Kotchman 1B
    5. Francoeur RF
    6. Diaz LF
    7. Schafer CF
    8. Ross C
    9. Lowe P

    What is Bobby thinking? Kotchman in the four-spot?

  30. Mac – The Crabman, I love it. He totally looks like him.

    Meanwhile, the link you provided shows not much support for this move from Cards’ fans. As informed as they are supposed to be, that should bode well.

  31. Barton had some pretty good numbers in ML action last year and maybe the year before.

    He probably becomes the best minor league outfielder that we have who might actually be allowed to play at ML level this year.

    I have recommended a deal like this one since late last year. The Cardinals had lots of great to good to decent outfielders all bunching up at ML and AAA level.

  32. Who do you want at 4? Frenchy? Diaz? We don’t exactly have a plethora of options here.

  33. Here’s the deal with Barton. He had a knee injury in 2006 and he hasn’t been the same since. Before his 2006 knee injury he hit 300+ at every level he played except for hitting .274 in 223 ABs in the Carolina League (Class A Advanced). We have a team in the Carolina League (Myrtle Beach) and the league is known as a pitcher’s haven. Additionally, before the 2006 knee injury, he posted an OBP of 400+ every season (including the .274 BA season) and also accomplished the feat in 2007 at AA (.333 OBP in 25 games at AAA in 2007). He slugged 500+ every step of the way before his 2006 knee injury except for the dreaded stint in the aforementioned Carolina League in which he slugged .435 despite hitting only .274 (ISOP of .140, a healthy ratio). He hasn’t been the same since that injury, but if he ever regains his pre-injury form, the Braves could have something very special coming forward.

  34. Well, somebody has to bat cleanup. It’s either Kotchman, Francoeur, or Diaz.

    Though I might actually fulfill Chipper’s decree and move Francoeur to cleanup and Kotchman to 5th to make it R/L/R/L/R

  35. Well, we are now on to John Schuerholz, In My Own Words.

    He might be wearing the worst bow tie ever.

  36. Chip said that the rain has cleared and neither team wants a double header. However, weather.com shows more storm cells coming through.

    Take it easy, Mac.

  37. The coolest thing (to me) about “Purple haze” is that my dad played it when he was in a band in high school and I played it when I was in a band in high school (’93-’96). Although I’ve played that song a ton of times, if I sat down to play it now I’m not sure my fingers would remember how.

  38. Based on the pre-game hype, I’d have thought Zimmerman would throw a no-hitter for his career.

  39. Sheesh! Really bad luck there for Kotchman.

    And Zimmerman’s 1st career K is Francoeur.

    Diaz!

  40. blocked ball was headed away from the catcher and hits francoeur. ball drops down and its easy pickens at 3rd.

  41. There can’t be more than 500 people in the stands right now. This is like a Marlins game in mid-September … or Fulton County Stadium, circa Sept. 1988.

  42. then stupid or sloppy casey for not making sure the ball has gotten away cleanly, before breaking; never make the first or 3rd out at 3B, correct?

  43. Cripes, I’d think even Lowe could have made third base with Dunn stumbling around right field.

  44. I agree Casey should not have gone on that.

    Meanwhile, Lowe should have gone to 3rd on that KJ single, especially after Dunn bobbled it.

    Yunel hits into DP, so it probably doesn’t matter.

  45. It was raining earlier tonight; it’s starting to pour now. We have two more trips to the District later this season. In other words … there was no reason to try to squeeze this game in tonight.

  46. @89:

    Seems like everyone can bunt better than the Braves. Ironic because our manager calls for it so often. Mysteries of the universe.

  47. our starting pitchers have been better than I expected, so far. Lowe; Vasquez; Kawikami; all doing quite well, all in all.

  48. @92:

    At least with that quartet we have a decent chance every night except when the fifth starter goes. By midseason last year, we were royally f$^#ed three nights out of five and we had no hope on those nights.

  49. Last time around the order for the Braves, 9 batters, 5 hits, 3 for extra bases, and no runs.

    This is a team that cannot afford to squander this much opportunity

  50. I think Boog likes the Presidents’ race better than the baseball games here at Nationals’ Stadium.

  51. Given the way the Braves played at this place last year, I can’t blame him.

  52. I hate when we grab a lead and give it up right away.

    That’s a lot of fly balls for Lowe.

    And a lotta pitches.

  53. That’s just criminal. If that isn’t obstruction, I don’t know what is. That would have been worth Bobby getting tossed — but he probably doesn’t want to leave the dugout in this weather.

  54. Where the hell is Lowe’s head? Pops up a 2nd bunt in a row?!?

    How did they not call that obstruction? That was a terrible call.

  55. Ross showed great restraint. Last thing we need is for him to get ejected. That’s why you have a seasoned backup catcher.

  56. I would say that this is why baseball needs instant replay, but the Yankees game Sunday shows why it’s just freaking useless and the umpires are going to call what they want to call, regardless of what actually transpires. It’s just a bloody joke, and since the 1997 NLCS, I’ve gradually come to a docile acceptance of it.

    And maybe that’s another reason why Bobby didn’t bother. Maybe he’s finally come to accept that it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference.

  57. WOW – I don’t think I have ever seen Cox not argue a call like that. I’d be pissed if I was Ross up in an umpire’s face and my manager didn’t go in there to have my back. Rediculous!

  58. Lowe is tired. It’s late for an LA guy.

    Esco is still tender too, he normally would have gone to the dirt for that one.

  59. It’s probably hard for Lowe to get a feel for this strike zone tonight. It’s all over the place.

  60. That guy who was yelling ‘Bobby Cox, why are you batting this guy cleanup’ just moved up a notch in my book.

  61. @129, Jeez, I ALWAYS screw that up. My bad.

    Still, he looks tired and his mechanics are definitely off.

  62. Lowe is gassed. But the bullpen options currently warming up are frightening.

  63. this team is frustrating as hell…worst timely hitting team in the league. They can score runs when they’re up 8-0 but come time to manufacture runs in tight situations this team flat out fails everytime

  64. @136:

    And because the bullpen is so shoddy, the team is incapable of a comeback … it’s more likely that this game ends up a blowout Nats win (7-2, 8-2) than any kind of Braves win. Hope I’m wrong, of course.

  65. It’s fun like watching Lowe work when he is having a difficult time on the mound. Guy is a gamer.

  66. After all that laboring, does Lowe still get the quality start?

    I thought 3 runs/6 innings was the mark.

  67. @141: He does. Given the fluid nature of the strike zone tonight, he did as well as could be asked.

  68. If the offense isn’t getting homers, it’s useless. Only in two games have we seen good moving-the-runners offense (series finales at PHI and vs. WAS).

  69. The downside is I don’t see anyone on the team getting past 25 HRs on the season.

    Maybe that’s cynical. However, the team high last year (I think) was McCann’s 23.

  70. Unreal…

    Peanut lays the boom on Ganderson.

    Money line:

    …I’m also pretty sure the Braves spent about $2.5 million too much on the left field manequin that Scott Boras sold them in February.

    When you talk to Garret Anderson, he’s as lifeless as he looks during those few occasions that he’s actually deemed himself healthy enough to be on the field.

    Probably the best line of the year. If only it weren’t true…

  71. I think Peanut, like anyone writing for a team or a league Web site, has to put a spin on things more often than not. Nice to see him being able to write something honest like that.

  72. Enjoy. Probably better than watching Soriano throw it all over creation.

  73. Just got back from nationals park. I left during the 8th inning rain delay because i had to take the metro. Being there, I’m guessing 37 is pretty spot on for the number of fans left. We had maybe 1500 or so at the start of the game and it slowly went down from there.

  74. @165:

    Doesn’t look like it’s our night. Fairly meek at-bat from Chipper.

  75. This reminds me of a game I was at in the mid 80’s at Candlestick. Braves and Giants, maybe 500 people left in the stands and we were all on the rails!

  76. @172:

    The problem is that the Marlins are a stellar team right now, and we are average, at best. Lot easier for the Nats to get out of it tonight.

  77. no diaz blows folks. when are people going to realize this guy is a bench player, and not a starting OF. When you have 4 guys in the lineup who flat out can’t hit (Kotchman, Diaz, Schafer, and Ross) your team has no chance at winning. This team has to make a deal for a big bat at LF or at 1B or they will end up in 4th place at the end of the year

  78. @178

    Didn’t Diaz hit a 2 run homer?

    He’s not gonna make the All-Star team, but he was far from the problem tonight.

    In any case, this doesn’t seem like the night to come down him, of all people.

  79. Diaz hitting a homerun is once in blue moon. The guy only has 25 hr in 360 plus at bats in his career Ethan. Have you watched this guy at the plate this year? He is right there with Schafer, kotchman, and francoeur for swinging at the worst pitches. I’ve lost count at how many times I’ve seen this guy swing at breaking balls in the dirt where he ends up almost corkscrewed at the end of the swing and halfway out of the hitters box. He hacks at anything near the plate.

  80. @178. I know Diaz got injured last year and before that he did terrible, but how can you say the guy flat out can’t hit? The guy averaged over .330 in over 750 plate appearances between 2006 and 2007. As was pointed out, he got a hr and a double tonight. He is definitely the one person on the team that can’t be blamed for tonight’s loss.

  81. @178:

    He’s the only one responsible for anything on offense. He helped keep the Braves in the game with his defense. This game was lost more by botched baserunning and horrific bunting than anything that Diaz did or didn’t do.

    When listing the problems with this team, Diaz isn’t in the top 10 … or probably the top 20.

  82. The big problem was we had two injured players in the lineup.

    Edit: And a third watching one-eyed from the bench.

  83. Bobby, on the no-call for baserunning interference:

    “I thought it was the right call. He got to the bag.”

  84. Whoa, is no one gonna call Jon K out on his stats? He says Diaz has “only 25 hr in 360 plus at bats”. Umm, who is this slugger you’re referring to and where can I find him?

  85. @185:

    In Bobby’s defense, I think us TV viewers had a better angle than he did.

  86. Rob-

    He mean 367 games, not ABs. Diaz has had just over 1000 PAs in his ML career, so yes, 24 HRs isn’t ideal.

    But he’s also hit over .300 for that time period and OPSed .790. No one’s going to confuse him for Manny Ramirez, but he’s a fine platoon player in LF, especially given the (lack of) alternatives. He’s gotten off to a slow start in the hits department, but he’s been taking an uncharacteristically high number of walks while maintaining a reasonable strikeout rate (he’s got 5 of each on the young season, an excellent ratio).

    To complain about Diaz, especially tonight when he knocked in both of our runs and played great defense, sounds absurd to me.

  87. What a fiasco! First, they delayed the game for two hours when it wasn’t raining (waiting for a “rain cell”), then started it when it was. The Pirates-Marlins literally played five innings while we were waiting to start the game.

    Then the game. If Terry Pendleton isn’t the worst hitting coach in baseball, I’d like to see who is. Always the same poor at bats, horrible situational hitting, etc. I know stat guys like to pooh-pooh the “little things” that baseball traditionalists like to talk about, but when you run the bases poorly, can’t get bunts down, do nothing with men on base, and can’t throw strikes (Lowe was lucky not to give up a lot more runs), I don’t see how you can expect to win.

    This seems to be a pretty lifeless team. I left after seven innings because it was late but we all knew that the Braves had no chance to come back even against the Nats. I know it’s early in the season but we have been seeing this same act for the last four years.

  88. If Diaz is the starter for the rest of the year you can put it on the board this team won’t finish above 0.500. Diaz is not the biggest problem but he is average at best. This team needs a cleanup hitter and Diaz (along with Kotchman) are the two expendable positions in the lineup. So say what you want about what Diaz did tonight, but wait til the next game when he goes 0-4 with 2 k’s and swings at balls that hit the plate. And good defense? The guy has a cap gun for an arm. Yeah he can catch fly balls like any other major league LFer… but just because he is a better outfielder than Garrett Anderson doesn’t mean he actually should be considered “a good outfielder”. I’ll agree he is the best we have and that’s pretty depressing.

  89. And Garrett Anderson is a horrendous LF… don’t get me wrong. You could take any high school outfielder and he’d play as well if not better than Anderson out in the field. At least they would catch fly balls with their glove in the air above their head and not try to basket catch every fly ball like anderson does with two hands down by by his crotch

  90. This seems to be a pretty lifeless team.

    Dude, you were there first-hand for the conditions last night. Don’t you think it’s possible that the cold, damp evening had a lot to do with the “lifelessness” you preceived? We’ve played 13 games. Come on.

    Anyway, I thought Lowe deserved to lose last night with his bunting performance. Just brutal.

  91. yeah Stu… I saw Lowe practicing in the batter’s box. You know, not like bunting isnt something you learn in little league. As far as I’m concerned being a great bunter goes hand in hand with being a great pitcher. If the pitcher is totally useless when he gets to the plate by striking out, popping up bunts and not being able to at least move runners then your team is in big trouble.

  92. I remember when we use to just blame Andruw for everything.

    Now we blame the guy who hit the two run homer and had a double.

    This is progressing to the point where we are going to start blaming Phil Neikro, Skip Caray and Dale Murphy.

    Guess what, it is April and the Marlins are in first. Chill.

  93. #196 – Lowe was awful all night and anyone that listened to Sports South got to here Joe talking about him falling behind every hitter. When you throw 110+ pitches in 6IP but right at 50% of them are balls you’re lucky to only give up 3 runs. He wasnt close to hitting his spots, but he was pitching in terrible weather and probably couldnt get a good feel of the ball. Anyways, we need another bat

  94. (Small sample size warning)

    I think that when Lowe pitches in wet conditions, he is more affected by it than a non-sinkerballer might be. He has not seemed sharp at all in either of his two wet outings, and his pitches were consistently up in the zone in both games.

    Also, anyone have any idea how Francoeur is doing? Has he tried any new approaches to hitting? Learned any valuable lessons from last season? Flown Delta lately?

    Maybe we need to have him move back in with McCann, he seemed to hit better when they were roomies.

  95. Lowe struggled last night but he’s a gamer and fought hard all night long. He gave our team a chance to win that’s what matters. That’s what I like about Lowe, even when he doesn’t have his best stuff he is going to go out and grind as hard as he can to put his team in a position to win. The blame goes on the hitters and coaches since they failed to manufacture runs and consistently blew opportunities to score. We had our leadoff runner on 4 of the 9 innings last night and we only scored 2 runs. The two of which Diaz got a gift above belt high straight fastball on an 0-2 count which he managed to hit out. If that was a veteran pitcher, Diaz would have struck out swinging at an off speed pitch on 0-2. I’ve said enough about Diaz, but everyone else managed to shit the bed as well at the plate.

  96. Id like to put a lot of blame on Bobby for last night, Kotchman at cleanup??? It was our typical team hitting performance against a rookie pitcher. We should’ve all seen it coming

  97. Why do we expect more out of these hitters? Kotch is just terrible, KJ is in one of his KJ slumps where he cant hit the broad side of a barn, Yunel has been so so at the plate, Chipper looks good in one at bat then helpless in his next 2, Mccann is struggling with his eye and hasn’t played/hit well in a week, Diaz/Anderson are terrible in LF, Schafer swings with his eyes closed everytime, and francoeur is playing alright (def one of the few bright spots right now in the lineup)

  98. Who would be on the market this early? I don’t think you’d find anyone who you’d want to have available for trade at this point of the season.

    ETA: Finishing up the thought.

  99. On the Matt Diaz issue…he wasn;t the problem last night. However, he’s not the solution for LF either. He has too many holes in his swing to be an every day option, but properly utilized can be a contributor as a role player.

    The problem with this team, and this has been a recurring issue for awhile now, is quite simply they’re gutless. All these 1-run losses are happening for a reason, and that’s because these guys spit the bit when they feel the pressure. The relievers don’t trust their stuff and throw strikes, the hitters go up there trying to hit 8 run homers, they can’t situational hit, they drop pop ups….it is just sickening. I’ve long felt this team needed a change at the top, because it sure doesn’t seem like BC is willing to stick a foot up the rear when he needs to. Also, how long is it going to take before one of their pitchers drills Dan Uggla or Cody Ross? When they get to 9 or 10 RBI’s in a series? This team has no fire in its belly, and doesn’t play fundamentally sound ball. They have holes for sure, but there is a systemic issue as well that is derived from their leadership.

  100. Stu,

    There were two teams playing and the Nats, despite a series of dispiriting losses, seemed much more alive. It’s not like this is the first time the Braves have played like this; it’s been a consistent pattern for several years. After they fell behind, did you really think the Braves were going to come back? Obviously, it’s partly a function of not hitting but they didn’t even make a fight of it against a bullpen that, although revamped, didn’t exactly feature Mariano Rivera.

    I agree that, while Lowe didn’t pitch well, he obviously wasn’t the reason they lost. I can understand struggling against a rookie pitcher with good stuff; most teams do that. But they consistently squander opportunities and seemingly find new ways not to score. Diaz saved them once, but only after Kotchman had an especially pathetic at bat and Frenchy grounded weakly to second. Doesn’t TP teach them anything about situational hitting?

    It seems to me that the Braves keep thinking that they are much better than they are and they play that way. Bobby Cox’s approach of blowing smoke about how good the players are worked when they actually had a lot of talent, but it doesn’t seem to work so well now when they just aren’t that good. There is a sloppiness on this team that comes out in games like this.

    I’m not saying it’s time to give up on the season after 13 games but the Braves, at least when I see them, don’t look like a good team.

  101. The Braves as a team do seem to have behavioral tendencies that are recurring and identifiable over multiple recent seasons. Mac does a pretty good job of noticing and highlighting them.

    Maybe they are imagined, or just post facto explanations for bad results, but they seem legitimate to me.

    Who is responsible for tendencies like that consistently appearing? Wren as the one who built the team? Bobby as the one who manages the players? TP as the one who coaches the hitters? Chipper for being the leader of the team?

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