Natinals 4, Braes 3

Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals – Box Score – April 21, 2009 – ESPN

I’m really starting to hate this team.

Ninth inning, trailing by one. Diaz leads off with a walk. Schafer pulls a pitch towards the line for a double, second and third, none out. A golden opportunity. The Braves do not score. Ace pinch-hitter Greg Norton grounds out to the pitcher to go 0-11 on the season. Kelly Johnson pops out. Escobar grounds out to second. Chipper stands on deck and watches.

Typical.

Also typical was the Braves blowing an early lead. They got all their runs in the first before Hibernation Mode set in. Chipper and McCann walked, Kotchman doubled Chipper in, and Francoeur hit an infield single that also scored Kotchman because the shortstop screwed up a throw that wouldn’t have gotten him anyway. The Nats got a run back in the bottom of the inning, but Kawakami shut them down for the next four, before giving up a leadoff homer to Dunn in the sixth. The next man reached, then Diaz misplayed a fly ball into a single and a two-base error, chasing Kawakami. Bennett held the runner for the next two batters, then gave up the Grybo to give the Nats the lead.

There was lots of nonsense on the night, like Prado somehow getting thrown out trying to steal third with two out and Chipper at the plate in the seventh, and the time in the sixth when Schafer overran second base on a double, again with two out, fell down, and was thrown out before he could get back to the plate. It’s simply incompetence, and there is no excuse for it. You can’t win every game, and you will make outs, but stupid outs are another matter and there is no excuse for them.

Again, this is the game thread. Recap will be tonight for a change, unless something unexpected happens.

128 thoughts on “Natinals 4, Braes 3”

  1. “The next man reached”

    only because of Chippers error, then followed by Diaz, I feel for Kawakami. He deserved better. We are second in the league for starters ERA

  2. Prado’s baserunning should get him sent to AAA. That was the dumbest base running play I have ever seen. Hell, even Lonnie Smith thought it was stupid.

    This team bores me.

  3. the most worrisome thing about this team( at least to me ) is my non-intrest…..i didnt even learn the score from last night until just now. sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

  4. for a second there i thought you had posted the new green day video. It premieres this Friday but I thought maybe you had found a leaked version of it. rehabreject = green day inspired nickname

    oh, and 1-run losses on the season… are we at 3 already? or is it 4?

  5. Didn’t read the last thread, so don’t know if this is common knowledge yet, but apparently Joey Devine just had tommy john.

  6. Carroll Rogers has up a new blog post that says something like the team is tight trying to be “too perfect”.

    I know that being “over peaked” can produce similar results from being “under peaked”, but I just don’t buy that as a proper expression of the main problem.

    Braves have a problem where everybody wants to be “the guy” instead of just doing their damn job. If a pitcher won’t pitch to you, take the damn walk. If it isn’t a good situation to take the extra base, don’t try. They don’t have confidence that the next guy can or will do his job and alter their approach because of that.

  7. Prado’s attempted steal was actually a wild pitch that didn’t get far enough away.

    Stupid play, still.

  8. As Chef said in South Park #805, “You got F’d in the A”:

    Oh Lord have mercy. Children, children! No no, you’ve got it all wrong. Don’t you see, children? You have the heart, but you don’t have the soul. Nono, wait. You have the soul, but you don’t have the heart. Nono, scratch that. You have the heart and the soul, but you don’t have the talent.

  9. Rob–I am really sorry to learn of your loss. You and your family will be in our thoughts and prayer.

  10. Not having another legit right handed power bat is really biting us in the ass….it shows a glaring weakness. I know the market was weak in that area (Pat Burrell) but good lord, we could have gotten somebody.

  11. Man, Chipper deserves better than this crap. Some of these guys don’t appear to have played the game before.

  12. Wonder what the Sox want for Carlos Quentin?

    The entire Gwinnett Braves team?

    Imagine if we were getting that kind of production out of one of the corner OF spots right now. Dream scenario…but daydreaming makes the pain stop for a bit.

  13. @ 16: At least Chipper doesn’t have to suffer but every second or third game. When’s he’s good he’s good; when he’s not, he’s healing up for the coming weekend. But hey, $14 + million doesn’t go as far as it once did.

  14. Schafer’s baserunning boner, over-running 2nd badly, getting himself out, was worse than Prado’s. Neither should have happened. We’ve been making alot of these. I don’t think its that we’re trying to be too perfect, but that we’re pressing. We’re badly in need of a Kevin Millar type, someone to keep the clubhouse loose. Our LF, RF, CF, 1B and bench kinda have the sword hanging over their heads/jobs, Larry Wayne’s trying to keep from hurting himself, McCann and KJ are trying to keep it cool. Escobar seems unflappable. Seems like we could use a shot and a fart joke.

  15. No farting!

    I don’t want Chipper or Yunel straining an anus gland and missing a week.

  16. On another note: I want to buy a scorebook. Ideally, I’d like one that can hold an entire 162 game season, and preferrably one with a reasonable– dare I even hope for generous?– notes box / area available for each game.

    Anyone have any advice on scorebooks to preference or avoid?

  17. I’m really curious to hear opinions on the poll at this point – how can anyone think this team is going to finish 1st or 2nd? I don’t see glaring errors that are bound to improve. Instead, I see guys doing about what I thought they would do. I voted for 4th, which may be pessimistic, but I think the Marlins are just that much more improved.

    Not trying to flame, just trying to understand what I’m missing.

  18. Nevin,
    Usually, scorebooks include 20 to 30 games each.

    I use the old Peterson’s Scoremaster books. I usually buy a half-dozen at a time & I run through one and a half each year, but I go to a lotta games and, like an ubergeek, keep score every time.

    There’s a decent-sized Notes section on each page, which can be useful & amusing to revisit. I’ve gone back & found entries like:

    “Mets’ Howard Johnson continues to impersonate a center fielder” (’90 Shea Stadium).

    “Greg Maddux gets me to the airport on time.” (’97 Turner Field)

    “Armando Benitez instigates pier-6 brawl; Graeme Lloyd takes on entire Baltimore team; Darryl Strawberry punches everyone in sight” (’98 Yankee Stadium)

    “Almost got mugged before the game, almost drove over a street person afterward” (’00 Pac Bell Park).

  19. @27,

    I’m voting for fourth or fifth on the reverse psychology theory–the less I expect of the Braves, the better they will do. Hope it works. :)

  20. Marc,

    The less you expect of the Braves, the better they will do at meeting your expectations. That’s all.

  21. I was there last night. This team looked really flat. I still don’t know how Matt Diaz misplayed the fly ball. I guess he couldn’t decide whether he wanted to catch it on a one-hop or not. Either way, it’s bad when you second guess yourself with the ball in the air – it’s worse when you do it and you’re name is Matt Diaz.

    This is a poor Nats team that we need to beat.

  22. I actually was expecting the Braves to finish 1st or 2nd. This wasn’t based on thinking that the Braves will be a great team, but not buying the hype of the Phillies and Mets. Unfortunately if the Marlins are for real, this theory is blown out of the water. Assuming most of our guys stay healthy, I still think we have enough talent for 2nd or 3rd in the division.

    It just appears that Bobby Cox can no longer get the most from his players. I know we aren’t far into the season, but based on the last 2 years, this is a pretty safe assumption. A 4th place finish is well within our realm of incompetence at this point.

  23. Bobby needs to make his announcement that he’s retiring effective the end of this season. Then everyone gets inspired and the braves win the championship, sending Cox out on a high note!

    (Hey it’s better than frenchy sucks – nuh-uhn! that usually goes on around here.)

    ;)

  24. @ 33 – I guess I expected a lot too, and was hoping to contend with the Phillies and Mets. The Fish have surprised me – they have some very good young arms, and Ramirez is as good as any young hitter in baseball. I just don’t think our lineup can keep up with any of the other 3 teams, and our bullpen is gawd-awful, with the exception of maybe 2 guys. The rotation is better, I’ll admit that, but not enough to compensate for a poor lineup. Chipper is hurt too much, McCann’s health is now a concern, etc.

    Sure, the others could crumble, and it’s early, but if I were a betting man, I would say 4th place is a logical end point.

  25. If you were a human being living in a world (and many of you are, let’s be honest), which of the following would cause the most self-loathing?

    A) Getting baited by a predictable pessimistic Chief post such that you respond directly;

    B) Getting baited by a predictable Gadfly post such that you respond directly; or

    C) Getting baited by Spencer Pratt’s attention whoring antics such that he makes a single additional dollar.

    Hopefully, this exercise will help you all come to realize the truth that the three options are all equally loathsome, and you will hate yourselves for ever getting sucked in to A and B and you will never again succumb to the temptation.

  26. would we be better off if Ted Turner still owned the team?

    Seems like an obvious answer…but would we?

    What would be different? Who else might we have starting for us right now?

  27. Better off with Ted?

    To quote Cheech Marin, “Not anymore, man.”

    Now, Arthur Blanc? Yes, please. And hurry up.

  28. Actually, that was a Tommy Chong line, now that I think of it.

    Cheech: (after hearing Tommy’s girlfriend’s name called out on TV on the Free Clinic Report) – Hey, isn’t that your old lady, man?

    Chong: Not anymore, man.

    You had to have been there …

  29. If you replace Ted Turner with “generic billionaire individual unaffected by the current state of the economy” then I think we would be better off.

    I couldn’t say specifically who we’d have that we don’t have now, but I think we’d more easily address the needs that have recently been exposed.

  30. We would be better off with anyone who could credibly come in and make fundamental, sweeping chnges to the front office and management structure in this organization. It will not be an easy or popular action.

    Let’s start with Bobby Cox, who still has some of the best skills of any MLB manager. I think he uses his bench and engages his entire 25 man roster better than any mananger around.

    However, what sabremetrics has brought to our understanding of baseball has exposed a lot of the old school beliefs and practices as just wrong. The new wave of management and managers have kept up; Bobby has not. It is no coincidence that we are now on a 3 year down, with no end in sight. He bunts too much, with the wrong guys; he uses the intentional walk too much; he uses his bullpen foolishly and falls into too many patterns that have no basis in prior success (what exactly is a 7th inning pitcher?; what special skill is that?).

    At what point do we look at the tremendous underperformance of our pythag the last 3 years and realize that it is an in-game problem and not just bad luck?

  31. you cant lose 25 something 1 run games in a row and call it bad luck. its bad managing and poor player performance.

  32. Maybe old news but in the stats that surprised me column.

    Francouer is only a .14 above his batting average in his on base percentage. (Not the surprise) Yet he still has a higher on base percentage than Kelly Johnson. (Johnson’s OBP is .309)

  33. It’s amazing that in the 15th game there’s so much despondency. Not that it’s undeserved; just that the Braves have already managed to be so unimpressive. Errors, baserunning mistakes, stranding runners…

  34. So far the impression I’ve gotten is that the Braves will stop at no lengths to sabotage themselves this year. The Mets and Phils could both bomb, the Marlins end up at about 84 wins, and I still think this team could roll in with about 79 wins and blow it. I know that’s results-based, but it just doesn’t seem results-based – it seems more like team character, the emblem of our franchise.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is… what’s the opposite of killer instinct?

  35. I’m online… can someone tell me how Francoeur can’t score from first on a two-out double? McCann last night, I’ll buy, but Francoeur?

  36. I am tired of people saying ‘its early’ or ‘its only 14 games in’. Bottom line, this team has done the same things for the last 3 years. They take poor ABs, they do not throw strikes and they can’t catch the ball. These are not just this year problems, they are problems from 2006 that HAVE NEVER BEEN addressed. The young guys have not improved and the old guys are too old.

  37. Kotchman’s double was hit very well. Just a little dinker over the bag that bounced around where the stands come back out in mid left field.

  38. Nice pitching by Jurrjens to get out of the jam there. I think teams are supposed to score when they have a man on 3rd with less than two outs, at least, but I’ve never actually seen it done before.

    Then how did Kotchman make it to second? Never mind, guess you had to see it.

  39. The good thing about having a free swinging crappy offense is the game moves a lot quicker.

  40. Guys, Jurrjens was up with the bases loaded and struck out, clearly the fault lies with him.

  41. This team is a flat out joke. Someone needs to be fired, traded or cut. This organization has accepted below average play for a couple years now

  42. Well, the Natspos’ reliever just made a “Mock”-ery out of the Braves 2-4 hitters. Ha. I’ll be here all week…

  43. If anyone else is using gameday right now, does Nick Johnson’s picture look a lot like a fat Billy Bob Thornton, or is that just me?

  44. Washington’s team ERA before the series: 6.40

    Washington’s team ERA this series: 1.38

    This is beyond embarrassing.

  45. Kotchman has slowly been growing on me. Defense has been spectacular, and his offense has been coming around.

  46. I really don’t like this move.

    Edit: Oh, Gonzalez. I thought he was bringing in O’Flaherty. I don’t mind the move nearly as much if it was Gonzo.

  47. c’mon mac, McCann…Esco, hey even KJ has looked OK in spurts no?

  48. Cox is by far the worst manager in MLB… wren needs to make a statement and fire this goat now

  49. bringing in a guy who has been struggling with control vs. a guy that has been rolling through 8 innings. dont like it.

  50. I don’t know… Dunn is a frightening player, and he hits one and the game is essentially over considering the way our offense looks. He’s a lot less likely to hit one against Gonzalez than Jurrjens, and this way Jurrjens at least won’t get hung with a loss for a brilliant outing.

  51. By pitch count and the placement of Jurrjens’ pitches to Zimmerman, I know where you’re coming from, Mac. I’m simply skittish about Gonzalez since he’s conceded at least one run in three of six appearances so far.

  52. Jon K is by far the worst poster on Braves Journal… mac needs to make a statement and ban this goat now

    Just kidding. Great outing by JJ, too bad it had to end that way.

  53. Wait, so did Bobby just put Norton in, take him out, and then put in Prado, all in the space of one pinch hitter?

  54. For those of you who think that Bobby is historically incompetent, I give you Manny Acta, who brought in a lefty reliever to force Bobby to hit a .368 hitter for one who is 0-11 on the season.

  55. Mac,

    BC is totally incompetent. He burned through 3 guys for the Prado AB with a short bench and 2 outs, but it worked, through no fault of his, but it worked.

    Acata however may have made the dumbest move I have ever seen. I don’t think you gave him enough credit for his incompetence. He had the Loogy up in the pen with Kotchman AND Schaffer back to back with one out and Diaz on first and didn’t go to him then. He waited to bring him in like you said.

    WOW my baseball IQ was lessened by a bunch of points in that exchange.

    One good move by BC, Gonzo in the 8th v. Dunn was proper and I thought a nice call.

  56. stupup74, you sure you’re watching the same game as the rest of us? Not sure what you would have had bobby do there.

  57. Soriano for closer anyone………I vote yes. That, for once, is a good development.

  58. @113

    On the road, no less.

    It was like our Phillies giveaway, but in extremely abridged form. Nothing our bullpen couldn’t handle with aplomb.

  59. I actually like Cox’s decisions in the last two innings. I wont complain. Gonzo struck out Dunn (who scares me just looking at him against our pitchers) and Soriano was just filthy

  60. Krugerindustrialsmoothing,

    Three things,

    1. Have Gonzo on deck then go with Prado in the situation, if you feel he is a pinch hitter.

    2. Norton is a switch hitter, you know he could have hit.

    3. Agreed that Kotchman had to be pinch run for, but just go with your best gun at the plate, matchup be darned.

  61. Norton can’t hit lefties, never could. He’s a switch-hitter in theory only. Moreover, Acta wouldn’t have made a move until the pinch-hitter was announced. The on-deck thing is meaningless.

  62. 125 I’m not sure I get you. What does having Gonzo on deck change? No way he goes to the plate there. I’ll admit that I didn’t realize Norton was a switch hitter, but still, don’t you have to go with the hot guy once you turn the pitcher around. Is the issue that he burned Norton there? cuz that may have been his best game this year.
    either way, good win, no hard feelings.

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