Braves 1, Natinals 0

Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals – Box Score – April 22, 2009 – ESPN

So, what does it take to get a win around here? A shutout, and the other team doing stupid things, it appears.

Jair Jurrjens was just great, going 7 2/3 innings, striking out four, and giving up just six hits. Two of the hits were leadoff doubles, but no worries; he pitched around them. Unfortunately, the Braves weren’t getting anything out of their hits either, and Jurrjens left (Bobby brought Gonzalez in to face Dunn with two out and a runner on first) with the game scoreless. Gonzalez struck out Dunn, which is the sort of thing that is going to happen. (Gonzalez has now struck out Dunn six times in 13 career PA, allowing just two hits and no homers.)

Diaz singled with one out in the ninth. Kotchman grounded into a fielder’s choice, Diaz out at second. Schafer walked, and Infante ran for Kotchman (we have got to get someone with actual speed on the bench) and Norton came out to hit for Gonzalez. At this point, Manny Acta apparently lost all higher reasoning function and sent out a lefty to turn Norton around. This made no sense because:

1. Norton is 0-11 on the season, as noted in the prior recap, and;
2. Martin Prado would hit for Norton, and Prado is hitting .368.

Prado walked to load the bases. KJ followed, and walked on five pitches to drive in the game’s only run. Soriano relieved, and was brilliant, as he has been all season, striking out two and getting a flyout. Game over. Tomorrow is an off-day, then it’s at the Reds, so you know there will be home runs hit.

116 thoughts on “Braves 1, Natinals 0”

  1. At least Schafer is starting to take some walks…but this offense is in a collective slump AGAIN.

  2. The golden boy has transformed himself to be a righthanded version of Kotchman without the walks.

  3. Seems like our starting pitchers have been pitching into tough luck. Of course, when you score like we have been doing, it’s to be expected.

    Bright spot: Our bullpen didn’t implode tonight.

  4. #4 It’s not tough luck. Our offense simply sucks. We all know it as a fact heading into this season.

  5. Can we please fire Pendleton before genius Wren promotes him to manager?

    Mr. Blanc – I beg you to buy this team!

  6. I liked the way Cox used the pen tonight. It made sense. I hope I can type that many more times this season…

  7. @6: See, I’d rather see Pendleton as manager than continue as hitting coach. That’s what I’ve been expecting to happen for a while now… we’ll see at the end of the year.

  8. So I go on to one of my fantasy leagues to see how my players are doing today only to find out that I forgot to start Jurrjens tonight. Awesome.

  9. #7 – only looked wild on one pitch tonight. Seems like our only pitcher who will brush someone off the plate. I like that, we need someone with a little fire under them

  10. following the footsteps of their parent club:
    gwinnett- 5-9
    mississippi-6-7
    myrtle beach-5-9
    rome-7-6

    as an organization, we are bringing out the suck. lets hope May has good things in store for the braves, wherever they are.

  11. Nice to see a win for a change…

    Another ugly night on the farm! The Braves have got to shut down Craig Kimbrel–who is beginning to look like this year’s Eric Barrett–even if the latter was a starter….

  12. Watching the replay. JJ is so much fun to watch pitch. That’s my favorite thing about this year so far, how enjoying it is to watch our main 4.

    TP needs to be 100% recycled.

  13. I think our best hope to contend is for our rotation to carry us and that our bats somehow warm up as the weather does.

    We need breakout years from KJ, Escobar, Kotchman and Francoeur.

  14. And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is our SECOND pinch-hit for a pinch-hitter game of the year.

  15. braves14, we basically need breakout years from everybody outside of Chipper and McCann.

    AAR, maybe Kimbrel will head to Birmingham soon.

  16. #17–I don’t know–but I am guessing that there is an arm problem behind the terrible numbers. He has now walked 15 in a 7.2 innings; he has also given up 14 runs. Last year he was nasty–filthy as people now like to say–at Danville and Rome….If its not an injury, then its about the worst adjustment to the Carolina League on record….

  17. Some times minor leaguers just put up horrible numbers. Maybe they have him working on a new pitch or something. No way to know.

  18. I didn’t read the game thread since I was at the game last night. There was a stiff wind blowing in from left field across toward the right field foul pole that knocked down about three certain home runs off of Lannan in the second and third (or maybe it was the second and fourth) innings. It also helped JJ on one AB, though I can’t recall who the Nats hitter was.

    Point is, our guys were teeing off on Lannan early on and then he settled down. JJ was just dominant — amazing how much more his pitches seem to break and pop when you’re seeing them in person.

    Also, Diaz won the game offensively with a great hard slide to break up the double play in the ninth. He went all-out to get on top of the second baseman.

  19. Other than a couple of issues with the lights, Diaz has really contributed.

    If we just had power from 1B or RF, I’d feel better about him out there all the time.

  20. @7,

    Soriano was wild? He was unhittable. The hitters had no chance. I thought he was really dealing tonight. If he pitches like that all the time, he is awesome.

    Not to jump on Jeffy again (well, maybe yes) and I know he had a couple of hits, but his at-bat in the 9th was awful; new pitcher, swings at the first pitch and hits weak fly ball. Diaz at least took a pitch and then raked the next one.

    No one else in the division is playing worth a damn either; the Marlins would have a six game losing streak if the Nats had had a bullpen.

  21. We’re in second place in the division, and the Marlins, in 15 games, have a +20 run differential. Anyone think they can keep that up for the season?

    I expect the Marlins to fall back a bit, and the 3 other quasi-crappy teams to hover right around the .500 mark. And to quote Joaquin Andujar – “You can sum it up in one word. You never know.”

  22. “It’s not tough luck. Our offense simply sucks. We all know it as a fact heading into this season.”

    Then somebody explain to me why the poll still listed on this site shows 37% of posters picking the Braves to finish 1st. Tough to win with an offense that sucks, and if everyone knew it…

    I’d actually like to see that poll posted again. I wonder what the discrepancy in tallies would be after 15 games.

  23. @28 Places in the division right now tell us nothing. While the Marlins may not keep that up, the Phillies and Mets will pick it up. What we do know is that the Braves are showing very familiar tendencies: they have the same inconsistent offense, the same shitty middle relief, and the same tactical deficiencies they have had for the past three years.

  24. Yeah, I know, I’m just in the midst of an Irrationally Optimistic phase now.

    ;)

  25. @30 Adam M.,

    Moylan, Soriano, and Gonzo are all settling in nicely. The late inning crew is good to great. I LOVE the way Bobby used Gonzo and Soriano last night. He REALLY needed to get Dunn in the 8th and if you didn’t get to the pinch hitter, Gonzo pitches the 9th. And, we still theoretically had Moylan for an inning if we went to extras (thanks, JJ, for putting in so many innings).

    I think middle relief is rounding from a black hole to a passable situation. If Campillo isn’t down for a long time, Bennett, Carlyle, and Campillo handle the long relief / early innings / blowouts well.

    We need another lefty to slot higher than O’Flaherty (and the only internal option is Jo Jo Reyes, maybe after Hanson can come up in June and I would LOVE to see them work Jo Jo into one of the next couple of games as a LOOGY just to see how he looks and keep him sharp for next week’s projected start).

    If Hamels doesn’t show improvement fast, the Phillies don’t have the horses to pick it up. The Mets also are on a high wire act with starting pitching, they just have a higher probability of getting across Tallullah Gorge successfully than the Phllies.

    The offense is not quite as crappy as it has looked. We need to organize a movement to take posters and banners to the stadium “Bobby, don’t bunt.”

  26. I don’t see why we couldn’t bring up Boone Logan. I know he’s another LOOGY, but he’s been pitching pretty well at Gwinnett recently. Can’t be any worse than O’Flaherty. And I’d much rather try that first than Reyes in the position.

  27. Interesting.

    Boyer, 27, a right-handed reliever acquired by the St. Louis Cardinals from the Atlanta Braves on Monday for Class AAA Memphis outfielder Brian Barton, threw in the bullpen Tuesday and was encouraged about the exchange of thoughts between him and Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan.

    “It’s been a long time since I’ve had somebody say, ‘Let’s work on some things,'” Boyer said. “For me, that’s music to my ears.

    “I’m a guy that likes to get busy and start working on some things and making things better. So when I hear that –and I’ve heard that multiple times now –about Dunc, that just fires me up. I’m ready to put the work in and see where we can go.”

  28. As much as I criticize Cox as a manager, he did a good job last night. He took out Jurrjens at the right time and I will give him credit for pinch hitting Norton for Prado – even though Norton’s a switch hitter. Maybe we’ll begin to see a trend, but I’m not too hopeful.

  29. Irrational Optimism Thought of the Hour (TM)

    McCann’s eye hasn’t fallen out! Yet!

  30. Mac,
    Show me a ranking that deals in percentages, not raw numbers, and I’ll be impressed. VU doesn’t field nearly as many teams as most of the other conference schools.

    Also, not all 3.0s are created equal, as any graduate admissions officer will tell you.

  31. I realize Soriano’s results have been solid, but it doesn’t look like he has any idea where his fastball is going. Maybe that’s just how he pitches (I think it is to a certain extent) but he’s still got to get his location down. Especially that slider, looked like he hung one.

    I don’t want to nitpick, he just hasn’t looked as good to me as his results have shown.

  32. #41- Soriano has always left his slider up, Id rather him just throw that fastball till someone can hit it

  33. well Hamels got pulled after 3.1IP today. His line wasnt terrible so there may be an injury here

    3.1IP 4H 2ER 0BB 6K

  34. Yeah, Bobby did really good late in the game last night. I really like how he used Gonzo and Soriano. Hopefully, he continues to use them in tandem like this, letting the situation determine how they are used. I much prefer this to rigid Setup Guy and Closer usage patterns.

  35. Hamels got socked in the shoulder by a line drive of Prince Fielder’s bat. Contusion and swelling is all it was classified as by Phillies training staff.

    Darn.

  36. It is the top education school in the country, hank.

    As someone who married a Peabody girl, I can attest to the fact that they’re required to do (a lot) more actual work than anyone else on campus. The intellectual rigor required by that work is certainly debatable, but if you get a degree from Peabody College, you’ve had your act together in the classroom.

  37. #47–Some of us started our careers at the Peabody Demonstration School in Nashville…and it was certainly ‘really tough’ for me…..

  38. Found this funny over at espn.com since we often wonder how much (if any) control Wren has:

    Tommy Hanson (Gwinnett, Georgia): When the hell can I come to Atlanta?

    SportsNation Keith Law: (2:10 PM ET ) As soon as Frank Wren gets the OK from his boss, Mr. Glavine.

  39. 36 — JC, that’s interesting and disappointing. Who is most seriously indicted on such a statement? Roger? Bobby? Someone else?

  40. Hey, the Falcons got Tony Gonzalez for a 2nd-rounder next year. I like the move; they can now address the defense with the 24th pick.

  41. I hadn’t seen Soriano pitch until last night and I grant that he did hang one breaking ball to Dukes that luckily wasn’t hit, but I was impressed. It looked like the Nats had no chance.

  42. A question for the Nashvillians on this thread–how are schools–esp privates–in Nashville/Clarkville area?

  43. I like the Gonzalez pickup, though a 2 is a little steep for a player his age, because now the Falcons aren’t going to spend a first round pick on a tight end. I can’t prove this, but I think that tight ends taken in the first round are almost always busts — with Gonzalez a notable exception.

  44. @33: Couldn’t be worse than O’Flaherty? You do realize he hasn’t given up a baserunner in his last 3 appearances, and he’s pitched quite well in 5 of the 7 games he’s been in. I agree that I’d go with Logan over Reyes, if not only to keep Reyes’ value up, but O’Flaherty still deserves the job.

    @38: Is it just me, or is that Pirates team looking pretty good?

    @53: I find it hard to take that statement too seriously… If anything it’s a slap at McDowell, and the rest of the organization’s pitching coaches. I’ve always been suspicious of what McDowell’s actual effect on the team is, but this quote is also coming from a guy who failed after being given multiple chances and is now trying to ingratiate himself with his new team.

    @56: Let’s see here, so you’re offering me a future Hall of Famer who is hungry for a chance to win, and you want nothing in return this year? If the Falcons make the playoffs that pick will be somewhere around the mid-50s overall at the earliest. Sounds like a steal to me!

  45. Frank,

    Several good—but expensive—private schools in the Nashville area. Montgomery Bell Academy (all boys) and Harpeth Hall (all girls) are the two most reputable and most expensive. (Roughly $20K per year.) Ensworth is the big up-and-comer. Can’t go wrong with Nashville University School (formerly the Peabody Demonstration School), Fraklin Road Academy, Father Ryan (Catholic, and by far the least expensive of the good ones) or Brentwood Academy.

    There are some good public magnet schools in Nashville, and the public schools in Williamson County, just south of Nashville, are outstanding.

    Clarksville is over an hour away; there are one or two OK private schools there.

  46. I’m going to miss Gonzalez.

    We moved up here to KC when I was 14, and one of the things that helped me transition from living in Atlanta was going to Chiefs games. (Probably the closest equivalent in the NFL to SEC football)

    Tony has been the one constant that whole time. Sucks he couldn’t have finished his career here. Just have to keep telling myself Pioli has three rings from his time as the Pats GM and knows what he is doing…

  47. In Franks’ biggest year, he had 442 yards receiving. I would want more than that from a first-round pick. He’s like a quiet Shockey — overrated, largely because the team took him in the first round.

  48. Thanks Stu. I’d heard good stuff about U School but figured there should be some other good options.

  49. U School is very good, probably 4th (after the top 3 I mentioned) in reputation. The only folks I know who consider it the best are the ones who went there or teach there or send their kids there. :)

    You moving to these parts soon, Frank?

  50. Nothing definite as this point …

    Braves shown on tv there? The second most important criterion to me behind a good school for my kid–pretty sad eh?

  51. I have DirecTV and see all the games. Most of them are on the “local” channels that come with the most basic package, but the Peachtree TV games may only come in because I have the extra sports package.

  52. Shockey’s at least had two 890 yard seasons and three seasons with 6 or more touchdowns. When healthy he’s pretty good. The problem is that its pretty rare when he’s healthy.

  53. I just signed up for Direct TV so, FWIW, I will be able to see lots more Braves games. I’m not sure if that’s good or not.

  54. AAR, Gyrate was one of the records I learned to play along with on my very crappy first bass guitar. Still love that record.

    Along the same line of shame, I recently finally picked up Wire’s Pink Flag. Man, how did I miss that one?

    What else have you heard lately that’s good?

  55. We’re talking some art-punk here.

    Pink Flag is one of my favorite records of all time. “Ex-Lion Tamer,” “3 Girl Rhumba,” “Strange,” “Mannequin,” the list goes on.

    Gyrate still gets me misty. And don’t sleep on the single that before that LP (“Cool”) or the one that came after (“Crazy”).

    “Volume” is a good bass lick to start with–even I can play that one. But live, the thing that really knocked me out was always the drummer Curtis Crowe—what a powerhouse.

  56. Yeah, actually, I haven’t listened to Wire yet either… don’t tell anyone. I feel rather embarrassed about that.

    Last night I listened again to “Traced in Air,” the second album by Cynic, only 15 years after they released their fantastic debut. It’s one of the best albums I’ve heard in a long, long time.

    Also, I don’t know about 18 months — Moylan tried to come back in 11, and we’re witnessing that experiment. We’ll see how long it takes Joey.

  57. We really needed a pass-catching tight end last year for some over-the-middle offense. Rumor has it Gonzalez is pretty good at that…

    I hope he has something left in 2010, when the NFL schedule pendulum should swing back our way….

  58. Speaking of shameful omissions, I am just now finding out about Unknown Hinson. A country-western troubadour who also:

    1) sort of claims to be a vampire
    2) wears the most egregiously fake sideburns ever conceived
    3) is the voice of Early on the Squidbillies
    4) can rip off Hendrix licks like you would not believe
    5) purports to hate rock music which he pronounces “roke”

    I could go on but most of y’all probably know more than I- but if you don’t, I urge you to search for Unknown Hinson on youtube- you will not regret this!

  59. Underappreciated Musical Artists – that list begins with James McMurtrey.

    He was in Birmingham recently. Fifty people showed up.

    I swear he does his best to hide from success as it is commonly defined.

    “Choctaw Bingo” is the score to my unfinished screen adaptation of The Screwtape Letters.

  60. Unknown Hinson is beyond awesome. I saw him live here in Columbia last summer and he was great – and yes, he played Little Wing as part of his encore. Anyway, the guy is just superbly talented on the axe and even funnier with those lyrics.

    If you want to talk about under appreciated artists, look down under. There are tons of Australian bands that don’t get the attention they deserve. Weddings Parties Anything kind of sound like a less-insane Pogues, the Whitlams are a perfect pop group, and the Lucksmiths are great, too. But anyway…

  61. hankonly, James McMurtrey is criminally underrated, for sure. An amazing songwriter and storyteller. Not to mention that voice…

  62. BTW, love the music/misc thread on the off day. Personally, I’ve been listening to a LOT of Dylan bootlegs lately. My current favorite being a show at the Globe in ’96 (were you there ububba?). A perfect mix of freshly-roasted classics and late period gems.

    As far as new music, I’ve been catching a lot of newish power pop tracks lately. Some of my current faves are: Captain Wilberforce (Confetti, Champagne and Roses), Sally Crewe and the Sudden Moves (Your Nearest Exit May Be Behind You, Sleepyhead), The Higher Elevations (Saturday Night Out Again), The Madd (Going All The Way), The Lullabies , the Pillbugs, The Pop Project, Telepathic Butterflies (worst name ever), etc.

    Lots of good music out these days.

  63. @89, 89 wins just might take it this year. Ask me again in a month.

    Medlen, sick (the good kind). Blanco, sick of it all.

  64. url,
    Nope, wasn’t there.

    I’m a bit of a Dylan psycho myself, but I basically went 20 years between the first time I saw him (1981, Fox Theater, Atlanta, during his “Jesus Phase,” lotsa gospel backup singers) and the second (2002, MSG, NYC, finished with “Something” for the recently departed George Harrison).

    Saw him 3 more times after that & every time I say, “OK, that’s the last time.” But I keep going back.

    I go on crazy Dylan junkouts every couple years. Just listened to Blonde on Blonde the other night, so another may be on its way. (I do it with Jimi Hendrix, too, but there’s a lot less material, of course.)

    BTW, if you haven’t seen Scorsese’s Dylan doc, No Direction Home, I highly recommend it.

    Most of my recent listening is a lotta crazy electronica: Kevin Saunderson, Joris Voorn, Fake Blood, Steve Bug & Josh Wink.

  65. @65: Franks was a 3-time Pro Bowler, so I find it hard to say he was terrible… Probably could’ve gotten more statistical value from another pick, but he gave the Packers a piece that they needed at the time. I’d say the same about both New England picks, Watson and Graham aren’t going to light up any scoreboards, but they played their roles well, and ultimately didn’t cost the team regular 1st round money.

    I’d say it’s too early to judge the top few of your list, but overall TEs don’t look any more subject to Bosworth-syndrome than any other position.

  66. Yikes, Medlin needs to be in the bullpen NOW. THats a pretty solid line….he may be the best part of the Tex trade.

  67. Yes, Medlen was drafted by the Braves. Marek came over from Los Angeles. I guess it’s easy to confuse the two.

    Rob, how are you and your family doing?

  68. Sutton reminded me the other night what a good deal the Renteria trade was.

    Jurrjens and Gorkys for Renteria? Was that it?

    If so, someone deserves a pat on the back for that one.

  69. #100 – thats exactly what the deal was, some here will say it was JS. I think it was Wren. Doesnt matter though.

    Gorkys is raking right now

  70. @101,

    However, following our minor leagues from a distance, the dearth of position prospects is depressing.

    Apparently Heyward has missed 2 games in a row. Must be (hopefully) a minor injury. He and Freeman and Cody Johnson are raking (I know cody is hitting 250 and strikng out a lot and may fade, but his BAPIP is low and with the doubles and homers and the high 7000’s SLG he must be killing the ball ALMOST EVERYTIME HE HTIS IT).

    Otherwise, (besides Gorkys) Eric Campbell is low on SLG but BA and OBP are great. Rafael Sime (3b, at Rome?) is hitting well. Most of the rest are the upper level dreck we have come to love and loathe or are pathetic.

    Plus, the minor league pitching overall does not look as dominant as I would have supposed.

  71. csg @101,

    Actually, who made the Renteria for Gorkys and Jurrjens trade is VERY important. I don’t think we will ever know an exact proportion, but if it was heavily Wren, then his overall track record is quite good. If you take it out, then looking forward, we may not have a good GM.

  72. I’ve seen Gorkys twice this week in Pearl and he’s looked great. Solid contact and he is super fast.

  73. Gadfly@95: Nah. He made the Pro Bowl because he was a first round pick and thus a big name, and didn’t completely fall on his face. Again, a first round pick should produce more than that. As for the two Patriots, you don’t have to spend a first round pick to get a decent blocker who can occasionally catch a pass. What if the Pats had taken Ed Reed (who went a few picks later) or Lito Sheppard (a few picks after that) instead of Graham, or Karlos Dansby (the next pick) instead of Watson? Obviously, you can do this all the time, but there really aren’t many tight ends — Gonzalez and Gates are the only ones who come to mind, maybe Witten — who are worth a first rounder. Witten was a third-rounder, and Gates was undrafted…

  74. There are a lot of reasons I envy Ububba’s job — he spends his life listening to music and writing about music, for starters — but today the biggest reason I envy Ububba’s job is that he gets to hear every Mets fan in a two-block radius screaming into their New York Post.

    Considering the way we’ve played the last two weeks, the Mets are easily the best thing about being a Braves fan right now.

  75. @108,

    Alex,

    Reading Mets Blog at times like this is always good entertainment. These guys should do a sitcom.

  76. Early returns suggest the Wild Card will come from the Central. Better strap it on every night against the Division.

  77. I’m surprised it hasn’t happened already. Heck, I’m surprised the Phillies haven’t tried to pre-empt them, their rotation isn’t in much better shape.

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