Cards 3, Braves 2

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – April 27, 2009 – ESPN

So, what kind of game was it? It was the kind of game where Casey Kotchman went 3-4 with two doubles, but the one out was a fly ball with the bases loaded and two out, trailing by one run, in the eighth inning. It was the kind of game where Jair Jurrjens, having gutted out a quality start on a night where neither his control nor his luck was much in evidence, allowing two runs, gets hung with a loss because after leaving trailing 2-1 after six, he saw Moylan walk the pitcher leading off and then give up a two-out single to score him the half-inning before the Braves score what would be the tying run. It’s the kind of game where they hold Albert Pujols to 1-5 with six runners left on base, and lose.

Jurrjens could have pitched six shutout innings with a little luck. Some will disagree with me, but singles are basically luck, and they just fell right for the Cards in the first two innings. He allowed six hits, all of them singles, but three of them were in the first inning, which is just the sort of thing that happens. He had good stuff, but didn’t have the best control of it. After Moylan gave up the run in the seventh, Soriano cruised through the eighth, and Bobby used three pitchers — well, two pitchers and O’Flaherty — to get through the ninth.

The Braves’ big chance was the eighth, when Schafer singled and Infante (switched-in for the ice-cold KJ, who was a particularly hapless 0-3) after pinch-hitting in the sixth) bunted him to second. Pinch-hitter Norton walked, but Escobar flew out. Chipper walked on four pitches, a semi-intentional walk, and Kotchman, after getting ahead in the count, took a home-run swing on a hittable pitch. Unfortunately, whatever his virtues, Kotchman does not have home-run power and it was a routine fly ball. The ninth was routine.

117 thoughts on “Cards 3, Braves 2”

  1. I almost wish Wren would fire Cox just to get rid of all the whining and bitching.

    Jon K, I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about with clutch. They seemed to be a “clutch” team their first 6 games. They were “clutch” on Friday. They went 1-8 with RISP today. It happens, it’s called baseball.

  2. Johnny Says:

    Crap! Season is still very young but Cards look like they have the pieces for now. Good pitching, great defense and some good hitting. We simply got out played.

    Ok. I’m a Braves fan and I’m pulling like crazy for Jeff Francouer but what is it about all the networks? You would think that at one point in time he was like actually good. Its not just ESPN tonight but Fox Sports Ohio’s guys too. Constantly yapping about the new approach, the new patience (3 walks this season), more controlled swing ad nauseaum. Tonight Steve Phillips (ok is Steve Phillips) used the word ‘resurgent’ for a corner of with a .778 OPS. I dunno. Just wanted to let y’all know its not just the AJC and the Braves announcers that are making Frenchy more than what he is.

    Tough loss tonight. As Mac mentioned lots of good stuff from some guys but I can’t complain though the Braves played way better than the win I got to see against the Reds last Friday.

  3. Weldon… It’s not just baseball. You’ve got your head so far up your ____ that it’s sickening.

    Tell me the last time this team came back and won after being down after 7 innings? Ohhh yeah I remember… a couple of games ago against the nats when those clutch braves hitters drew 3 walks to win 1-0. Spare me… this team lacks anything close being a clutch team. Look up the definition of clutch. Here I’ll save you the time…

    Sports. an extremely important or crucial moment of a game:
    14. any critical position or situation
    16. done or accomplished in a critical situation
    17. dependable in crucial situations

    This lineup can not be explained using the definition of clutch… that’s what I’m saying. All of their players lack that intangible to perform in “clutch” situations.

  4. The braves are two bats and 2 pitchers short of a good team.

    We don’t have a leadoff man or a cleanup hitter. There is no second banana in the lineup to protect Chipper and there is no one to get on in front of him.

    The pitching is fine, I quess, of course Kawakami is making 9 million that could have been used toward a real bat, but hey who is counting. Those are the same 9 million reasons that Hanson won’t be replacing him in the rotation. However if Glavine doesn’t come back and JoJo reeks, then welcome Tommy H.

    The bravos need to think about leading off with Escobar and then bat Kotchman 2nd and let Franceour bat cleanup until McCann gets back. (not the best option, I know). Infante may need to be in the lineup at 2nd more to bat 7th between Jones/Anderson in the 6 hole and Schaffer in the 8.

    Thats all I got. thanks

  5. Sorry to disappoint Stu but I have been no more antagonistic than yourself or mraver. I should request certain people get banned for defending this team. No excuses should be made for this team. Stupup was barking up the right tree. The pitching is there… the team has no leadoff hitter, no cleanup hitter and lacks the ability to win games after being down

  6. Jon K — appreciate your passion, but the statistics show that cltuchness basically doesn’t exist. It resides in our memory — someone is clutch because we remember the big hit. If someone consistently gets hits in the big moments, it’s usually because he normally gets hits. It just boils down to who is a good hitter and who isn’t as good. What the team needs is another power hitter (as you mentioned in the last thread) and for some of the current hitters to take a better approach at the plate.

  7. Commenter policy: It’s pretty simple. Be nice to me, and be nice to your fellow posters. Don’t use extreme profanity. Don’t make comments slandering entire groups of people. Use common sense. Basically, treat this forum like a civilized conversation. Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want your mother to hear you say, or that would likely provoke a fight in person. Don’t discuss politics or religion, two things that get people riled up and which nobody’s going to come to an agreement on.

    There is one judge, me. Everyone gets one warning. On the second offense, you’re banned. You can appeal to me via email but insulting the judge is a very bad way to get him to agree with you.

  8. Escobar started off the year 7-7 with RISP. Was he clutch then and not now? Did Kotchman stop being clutch in the 8th inning?

  9. I’m going to start assigning stupidity points, keeping track of them, and see who the stupidest player on our team is. My theory is that it’s currently Yunel Escobar who AGAIN made a base-running error with 2 outs and Chipper at the plate. Either that or Kelly Johnson who has really looked pathetic as of late. He’s 4 for his last THIRTY NINE. Even though he’s drawn 5 walks in that period, a sub .250 OBP sucks.

  10. Im tired of watching Escobar continue to take Chipper out of the game. He’s swinging at crap pitches and getting the last out or he’s having baserunning problems. Its getting old

  11. Mac, I think Jon is looking for the late innings stats.

    Weldon, whole I don’t agree with the language Jon uses, he is right about the team’s lack of ability in coming back from behind in the late innings. This has been going on for the past three years. I don’t have any stats to back it up, but it is a noticeable “problem” which I have been seeing as well.

    Honestly, our cleanup hitter should never be a catcher. It’s great that our catcher is such a great hitter, but ideally we need someone else to hit cleanup who plays everyday. It is a flaw in our offense which Wren is not able to solve during the offseason.

  12. Mac, you mean someone can be dumber than Frenchy? How can that be possible? I don’t think Yunel is dumb. He just has low EQ…

    Mike, ideally hitter batting second should have good contact skill, which Brandon doesn’t have.

  13. kc — I think Mac has discussed this some. Some of the close losses are just bad luck. But when you have as many as the Braves do, you start looking for other factors. It’s easy to look to the bullpen as the culprit (or who is calling those shots). For this team, we could also look at the number of outs they give away (over and over again) to bunt runners over. I understand the logic of the strategy, except that it’s still going to necessitate a base hit and you’re losing an opportunity (an out) to do it.

  14. kc, I don’t think any team is good at that. If they are, I don’t think it’s a discernible skill. I’ll agree that your cleanup hitter should not be a catcher, but it’s not like those guys grow on trees. Maybe Wren should have spent Kawakami’s money on Burrell or Dunn. If we played in the AL, I would say that was definitely the correct decision. So it goes.

  15. 23 — to follow up, the bunting isn’t always the problem. Sometimes they just don’t get any hits.

    It’s still infuriating to lose so many close games…

  16. here’s the problem with bunting. We dont know how (biggest problem) and you give away outs.

  17. I don’t necessarily think that Yunel is dumb. I just think he lacks a certain baseball skill, which, for lack of a better phrase, I’ll call “tendency not to do inning-killingly idiotic things.” Chipper Jones has this skill. Jair Jurrjens has this skill. Yunel Emansky does not appear to have this skill, as manifold as his talents are otherwise.

  18. Either that or Kelly Johnson who has really looked pathetic as of late. He’s 4 for his last THIRTY NINE.

    Like no one saw this coming. That’s Kelly, you have to take the very good with the very bad.

    The bravos need to think about leading off with Escobar and then bat Kotchman 2nd and let Franceour bat cleanup until McCann gets back. (not the best option, I know). Infante may need to be in the lineup at 2nd more to bat 7th between Jones/Anderson in the 6 hole and Schaffer in the 8.

    Shuffle the deck all you want but with McCann out and KJ slumping this team is going to struggle to score much.

  19. The bunt tonight was excusable because of how many double plays we had already hit into.

  20. Yes, I agree that the poor bunting is an even bigger problem than the call for the bunt.

    You’d think the team would designate a special coach to help the hitters on the team, or that they would practice something that Bobby often utilizes. /sarcasm

  21. At least we can agree this team needs to start making some changes and/or start playing smarter more efficient baseball. Clearly that was lacking tonight. In addition, I think LaRussa is above and beyond a better manager than cox. He has this cardinals team looking like the best team in the NL. And it’s also interesting to point out that the great teams usually have that big time clean up hitter. With or without Mccann in the lineup, he isnt a cleanup hitter. I’m more than confident that if we are within 6-8 games of first at the all star break Wren will pull off a deal for a big bat.

  22. I’m more than confident that if we are within 6-8 games of first at the all star break Wren will pull off a deal for a big bat.

    Really? The Braves needed a bat all offseason and he did absolutely nothing. Now you are confident he’ll bring one in mid-season? Based on what? How do we know that a guy who brought in Casey Kotchman and Garret Anderson even knows what a big bat looks like?

    The time to fix the lineup was the offseason when the options were plentiful.

  23. Robert, I agree absolutely on your last statement for post #29.

    cshorter, I understand bad luck comes into play, but how much longer can we blame it on “bad luck”? A part of me feels Bobby is slowly losing his ability to fire up his team, but I can be wrong.

    Weldon, I MAY agree that nobody is particularly good at “cltuchness”, but I think our team definitely sucks at it during late innings. We do get two-out RBIs in the first six innings, but that skill seems to always disappear after that.

  24. Where do we put that bat is my question. Apparently we’re married to what we have on the field. Which sucks. But according to Wren, they’re professional hitters, so don’t worry about it. By the way, had anyone ever even heard the term “professional hitter” before Wren started using it to mask the fact that our offense is crap?

  25. Not walking the pitcher is more clutch than working the count and getting caught on a good pitch.

  26. I’ve heard “professional hitter” a lot, particularly about AL players. It usually does not mean an elite hitter, even those who are bad defensive players. Frank Thomas and Edgar Martinez weren’t called “professional hitters”. It tends to mean guys like Norton, whose only skill is hitting but who are still pretty average. In his DH days, Julio Franco was called a “professional hitter”. John Kruk at the end of his career. Brian Daubach. That kind of guy.

  27. The only reason why they are called “professional hitters” is that they are paid for doing that. Hey, Wren never said whether they are good or bad, ha!

  28. I wouldn’t go out and say that this team isn’t clutch. It isn’t clutch that this team lacks. It’s almost an unwillingness to fight through things. I am with Jon K on the fact that this team just can’t pull out late inning wins – not unless given to us (i.e. the Nats game). Everytime the Braves are down in the 8th and 9th, you could very well turn your TV off and not miss a thing.

  29. 29

    I agree that without McCann runs are going to be at a premium. I am just made a suggestion working in the framework of what we got. I just think the KJ leadoff man thing has truely and completely run its course.

    Again, the bottom line is the bravos do not have enough lumber even with G.A. and McCann healthy.

    The braves are a probably no better (or worse) than a 79-83 win team as currently constructed. I hate to say that because the braves are no less talented than the Cards, or several good teams, but the other teams do the little things better. They move guys along, they hit cutoff men, throw strikes, work the counts, stuff like that.

    I know that is harping on stuff people don’t want to hear, but it wins games and the braves just don’t do the dirty stuff well enough. They also don’t have an Albert Pujols or a Johan Santana ‘eraser’ to cover up the short comings.

  30. I always remember hearing ‘professional hitter’ associated with Greg Colbrunn when we would acquire him every season.

  31. Maybe Wren is taking the Thomas Dimitroff approach. Fix pitching this year, fix offense next year.

  32. I always thought that Matt Stairs was the guy for whom they coined the term “professional hitter.” Although it would seem you could literally apply that to any full-time DH, in which case wouldn’t it have been Brian Downing (I think) that necessitated that completely non-descriptive phrase?

  33. The problem with positing a fix pitching approach this year and offense next is that Wren has effectively tied our hands for next year, unless we let Hudson walk (which I am afraid is inevitable) and trade Vazquez, at which point we have to go find another starter to go with Lowe, JJ, KK and Hanson plus at least two bullpen arms. Even if we get those on the cheap I can’t see us being able to afford more than one big bat and we are still left with gaping holes at two of left, right and 1B. Wren really should have moved KJ for the best OF bat he could find.

  34. I’ll second the notion of Kotchman hitting second. He seems prototypical of that spot. I also thinks its time we give Schafer a shot at leading off. I still dont know what to do with the cleanup spot. Maybe swap McCann and Chipper, or does Smitty’s barber have something up his sleeve?

  35. Guys, OF COURSE clutch exists.

    Clutch is what wins – not loses – one run games.

    You simply cannot look at our record in one run games and say clutch does not exist.

    The Phillies are clutch. The Red Sox are clutch. We are not clutch. We suck at clutch. We whimper like abandoned puppies in the face of clutch.

    Last year I caught some flak for calling the Braves “cowardly”. Ya know what? I was right.

    This is a cowardly, shallow team.

  36. @36: Zaza Pachulia is clutch.

    @51: I’m not sold on Schafer leading off, but we’ve got to try something new at the top of the order. Found myself wishing we had Josh Anderson back today…

    For all the bitching that goes on around here Kelly Johnson hasn’t received anywhere near his share of derision. I don’t get a chance to watch too many games, and I can only hope that today’s wasn’t a good representation… but that play going to his right, surprise!, in the 2nd inning… there isn’t another 2B in the league that doesn’t stop that ball from getting to the outfield and scoring the pitcher from 2nd. I’ve really wanted to like Kelly for a long time, and when he’s hot his bat is well worth his defensive struggles, but the guy simply isn’t a second baseman.

  37. If we don’t win, it’s because we’re not good enough. It’s not a question of character flaws, it’s a question of the level of talent on the field.

    I mean, if the difference between making it to the World Series and not is a question of character, then you’re sitting around watching a game in which 95% of the teams are character-deficient. Why would you want to watch that?

  38. @50- If we don’t resign at least one of Soriano or Gonzalez we are going to have to go out and buy a closer, which won’t be cheap, and I suspect we are also going to need a reliable lefty. Moylan will be due a sizeable raise if he is arb-eligible. We could save some money by plugging Medlen in to one of the other spots.

    And if ticket and concession revenues really do drop more than 5% this season as some front offices are suggesting, then I suspect Liberty may well demand Wren cut the payroll further.

    No matter how it shakes out he is going to have way less flexibility next offseason than he had this year. At this point I am just praying he doesn’t screw things up for two or three years down the road.

  39. And Mac… what’s your deal with O’Flaherty???

    In his last five appearances he’s pitched 3 1/3 innings, struck out 4, given up only 1 fly ball, 0 line drives, and the only batter that has reached base was Ankiel’s HBP today. This isn’t a pitcher?

    He’s made 9 appearances, 5 of which were pretty much perfect, and only 2 were bad. What’s it going to take to get you to swallow your pride and give this guy a shot?

  40. Hey Gadfly, it’s not O’Failurety anymore, so he is getting some improved treatment!

    Schafer leading off is a bad idea. I don’t want to do that until next year.

  41. 19 games into the season and some are talking trades and next year? Geez.

    Another bat would be great but obviously the Braves weren’t willing to part with our young talent or we wouldn’t be paying Garret to nurse his leg.

  42. You want to talk about clutch? I once rolled three Yahtzees in a row after I had gotten all the other combos; hence, my nickname “Yahtzee-man.”

  43. @53,

    Yes, I am surprised in the write up that Mac didn’t point out the “double Prado” by both KJ and Infante on rollers hit by Ankiel. Both occurred with 2 outs. Neither was probably playable for an out. Both were close enough that a dive could have knocked the ball down. There were 2 outs. So, hold the ball on the infield and you have a 30% chance (if the batter is a 300 hitter) of the run scoring. Neither of them had the determination and guts (or maybe the situational awareness) to dive for it.

    On Infante’s, I know Pujols followed Ankiel with an out. I can’t remember for sure on KJ, but I think Pujols also followed that hit with a 3rd out.

    These kinds of things are where Bobby Cox’ “players’ manager”, “let the boys play”, style is wrecking this team.

    So Moylan (Just groove the damn ball to the pitcher), KJ, and Infante need to be running stair steps. Judge Chipper needs to bring the kangaroo court up to a new level and start giving out fines for failure to perform like a credible big leaguer.

  44. JC, you define clutch.

    Gadfly, I don’t think the pitcher scored in the 2nd, and I think Infante was second at the time Ankiel hit that grounder up the middle in which the second baseman had to range to his right. So…

  45. According to Baseball Prospectus, we’re now 30th in baserunning, and we’re not even close to the 29th best team. We’re also 28th in defensive efficiency, so we’re doing a pretty good job of giving the other teams free outs on both sides of the ball.

  46. This year–competitive team. Looks like an improvement.
    The Braves have no player with outstanding power.
    They also have no player with outstanding speed.
    So any team that keeps the Braves from a big inning, from putting up a “crooked number”, has an excellent chance to beat them. Every day.

  47. IM fully expecting about 30 1 run losses this year. The starting pitching will keep every game close, the bullpen will do its job, but we cant hit and Bobby will try to bunt every inning

  48. I don’t understand why people think that “defending” the team entitles them to insult everyone else on the blog. Try acting like an adult for a change.

    Teams don’t win on “clutch” hitting, which is basically arbitrary; they win on getting guys on base consistently and driving the ball. The Braves have almost no power on this team; when they do hit home runs, the offense is fine. How many times have you seen a team win (including the Braves in Game 6 of the 1995 WS) without any really “clutch” hits? It happens all the time. And, was Luis Gonzalez “clutch” when he it a little pop up over a drawn in infield to win the World Series?

    To the extent that “clutchness” exists, I think it’s just another way of saying so-and-so had a good at bat? The Braves clearly do not have good at bats in late innings. A couple of years ago, someone here analyzed the Braves OPS from the 7th inning on and it was very low. I think the Brave hitters tend to try to hard to hit home runs, especially in late innings and TP, for whatever reason, cannot get them to take better approaches at the plate.

    The fact is, this lineup is mediocre at best even if McCann was back and hitting. At one point, late in the game, the announcers said the middle of the Braves order was coming up–Chipper, Kotchman, and Francouer. Gee, I guess the 1927 Yankees would be quaking in their boots. KJ is simply too inconsistent and Frenchy is–well, Frenchy. I don’t know how much to pin on TP, but I don’t know of one hitter that has improved under his tutelage.

    A couple of things really bothered me about the game last night. First, of course, Bobby’s insistence on bunting in late innings. Second, I was baffled that he didn’t start the runners occasionally; not necessarily stealing, but hit and running. He just seemed to be sitting back and hoping something would happen.

    I tend to agree with Cliff that Bobby’s managerial style isn’t working with this team anymore. It was fine when he had a veteran (or at least more talented team). This team plays with no discipline and, seemingly, with no accoutability for their mistakes. I think it’s a mistake to assume that a given manager’s style will work in all circumstances.

    Also, I have now come around to thinking that the official scorer should have the option of awarding a loss to the pitcher that gives up the actual winning run. Why should Jurrjens get the loss when he only gave up two runs and the Braves scored two? Moylan lost the game by his idiotic walking of the pitcher.

  49. Raul Ibanez last night = Clutch…. that win by the phillies last night is exactly why they are the world champs. Being down at home, late innings, and coming back with big hits to win the game. The braves would have cowarded to that nats bullpen like they did 2 series ago. That phillies team did what most good hitting teams do to the nats bullpen, they exploit it and punish it

  50. ok kiddies……………clutch is a mechanical device the disengages a transmission from an engine.

  51. @ 66,

    You just don’t get it, do you? Clutch hitting is a result, not a cause. Obviously, Ibanez got a “clutch” hit but what if the Nats had gotten him out? And what if he comes up the next time in a similar situation and strikes out? Is he then a choker? Do players go from being clutch hitters to being chokers depending on every at bat? And what about a guy that hits a home run in the first inning and the team wins 1-0. Is that a clutch hit?

    And, it’s absolutely ridiculous to say that the win last night is why the Philliers are world champs. It’s more because of Brad Lidge (and the Mets). I guarantee you, you could find just as many situations where the Phillies didn’t come through and lost games, including last year. You just remember what you want to remember and forget everything else. And, of course, it helps that the Phillies play in a band box.

    You don’t make any arguments. You just make assertions and trash people that disagree with you.

  52. @67,

    Thanks, Mac, I appreciate that a lot. I saw “Carnal Knowledge” when I was in college in the 70s. Seeing Ann Margaret naked was a real treat. Now, she is an old lady. I guess I will have to go out and overcompensate when I play basketball this week.

  53. The Braves offense lacks punch and speed, so that places a premium on scoring runs without the benefit of slugging. Unfortunately, they seldom demonstrate an ability to situational hit, work counts, hit and run, or generally manufacture runs. Many Braves hitters hit like they are sluggers, even when they really aren’t and the situation calls for less. Escobar and Kotchman illustrated this perfectly in the 8th inning of last nights game.

  54. It’s not like Ibanez came out of nowhere to hit that grand slam last night, he’s been performing at a high level all year. “Clutch” is a joke. If you look at guys career “clutch situation” numbers, they are almost always in line with their career numbers.

    Look at Big Papi, widely considered to be the most “clutch” player of this generation by idiots.
    Career OPS: .932
    Playoff OPS: .944
    Career 2 Outs, RISP: .967
    Career Late & Close: .943

    Those are all reasonably close to each other.

    The guy is/was a terrific hitter in any situation. So, ya he is going to have more 2 out playoff comeback Homeruns than Pete Orr. But there isn’t some “clutch” switch that is flipped, or a “clutch” meter that is more full than another guy’s.

  55. People who notice & recall that Big Papi has hit HRs in the biggest situations possible aren’t idiots. One can attempt to re-define or re-evaluate such a situation, but let’s not insult everyone, OK?

    #67/70

    And don’t forget Ms. Margret’s bizarro bean scene in “Tommy.”

  56. @ 73

    OK, “idiots” was a little harsh. And the guy has had some amazing playoff plate appearances. I’m just saying that he was one of the top batters in the AL for a good while, and had just as many towering shots off of crappy middle relievers in early May with the Sox up 7-2 as he has in the playoffs. A good hitter is a good hitter is a good hitter.

  57. Ububba,

    I don’t see where the insults are. Jon K was the one that insulted people that disagreed with him. The point is not that there aren’t clutch hits but that there is no evidence that a specific clutch hitting skill exists. It’s a matter of selective memory. People that remember homers by Big Papi is clutch situations aren’t idiots, but they are only remembering the times he came through and forgetting the times he didn’t (and I’m sure there are many). And what does it take to make someone a “clutch” hitter? Is it only memorable home runs in key situations? I’m willing to acknowledge that someone like A-Rod has not performed well in the playoffs when you look at his overall numbers, but you are talking about specific at bats that define a player as a clutch hitter and there is no standard–no hitter comes through all the time so you need some benchmark as to what constitutes clutchness other than “I remember him hitting a couple of big home runs.”

    And, Jon K is extolling the Ibanez home run as an example of why the Phillies are champions but he wasn’t even on the team last year so you can’t attribute their championship to him. And, what happens if Ibanez comes up in a similar situation in September and pops up? Will he then be a choker?

    I do believe there is such a thing as situational hitting and the Braves clearly are not good at that, but that’s different than looking at specific results of at bats and saying so-and-so is a clutch hitter.

  58. Wow, I just realized that Zack Greinke has gone 4-0, with an ERA of 0.00 and 36K and 2 complete games… dang. I think we had discussed before how much it would be nice to have acquired him from KC, but wow.

  59. at least Chipper notices problems

    “We continue to waste JJ’s good outing with bad offensive performances,” Jones said. “Until we start doing something at the top, we’re going to continue to struggle. We’re just not getting anything generated at the top of the lineup offensively. We’re continuing to make baserunning mistakes at inopportune times. You walk pitchers, you’re not going to win a lot of games.”

    And when I pointed out that they probably felt like they should win when they hold Pujols to 1-for-5.

    “Take that man, I don’t think we got him out four times all year last year,” Jones said. “The guys did a good job of keeping him at bay, keeping everybody at bay. We pitched, and we played defense. We just didn’t hit. Just didn’t hit. Kotch had a good game. Aside from that it was pretty slim pickings.”

  60. maybe this will help, but I almost wish they’d just go in and fix whatever the issue is. We’ll deal with this all year long probably

    Carroll Rogers…

    BMac is headed to Myrtle Beach to play two games there – Tuesday and Wednesday – to try out the new contacts he was fitted for. yes, he’s to wear two contacts this time, not just one on the left eye. He played a little catch at the ballpark Monday night to see how it would feel and it went well enough for him to want to get in a game and test it out

  61. 78–second time in just a few days that Chipper has called out Escobar–I’m guessing they’re not drinking buddies

  62. Increasingly, Bobby Cox seems to be a bystander on this team. Of course, he probably prefers that it be someone like Chipper calls the other players to account. But it sure seems like the only thing Bobby does is make up nicknames for the players. At some point, blowing smoke up players’ asses doesn’t work anymore.

  63. “BMac is headed to Myrtle Beach to play two games there”

    The middle of the Myrtle Beach Braves line-up (Freeman; Hayward; Johnson; McCann) is going to be better than the Atlanta Braves middle of the line-up.

  64. This offense and team just seems disjointed. KJ needs to get out of the leadoffspot, not because we have a clearly better option, but because he’s shown that he just doesn’t produce in that role. With a BA/Doubles based offense you need speed and timely hitting, we’re lacking in both of those departments and our defense isn’t particularly impressive either. We have several good players, but they don’t make sense on this team.

  65. Our top 3 starters (Lowe, Vasquez, JJ) have a combined ERA of 2.45ish in 14 starts, 75K, but only 6 wins between them. While our offense has troubles, one has to assume that over the long-run of a season if our starters remain as good as they’ve been (KK aside, and not knowing who #5 will be), we will average out to be a better team than we appear to be at the moment.

    Edit: and now that I say that… if you project that out as a single starter who has about 28 starts, 150K, and pitches 180 innings, but only 12 wins… well you’ve got something akin to Jake Peavy’s season last year (actually a couple wins more than he managed)… which I guess isn’t entirely unreasonable, though I’d like to THINK we’re a good bit better offensively than the Padres were last year (who appear to have been in the bottom 5 of most offensive categories).

  66. I suspect the following line in the cleanup spot would have netted us at least 3 wins already: .311/.475/.607. But hey, at least we have a 23 million dollar trade chip.

  67. Let’s just move away from the word “clutch” and say what we mean… this team just flat out can’t get it done when the situation gets tough and they need to come through in pressure situations. Clutch is just a word to define teams that seem to have a knack for being able to make things happen at the plate and win games… and don’t give me
    baseball is baseball etc etc” this team flat out stinks when it comes to showing moxy and grinding out tough wins (meaning the hitting never comes through). They lay down whenever the going gets tough and it’s been an issue for the last 2 years. If the braves don’t start showing some fight in them during these late inning situations its going to be an exact replica of last year, a ton of 1 run loses and frustrated blog posts. I mean looking down this roster you have 2 hitters who you can call premier all star hitters (Chipper and Mccann). One of which is playing like a 37 year old, and Mccann who hasn’t been the same this year due to his eye issues). That leaves an entire lineup of average to sub par hitters. Either a trade has to be made to put some pop in the middle of the lineup or this team is going to find itself in 4th place by the allstar break. The hardest part to take is the fact the pitching has been great, and its the lineup and mistakes which are hurting this team.

  68. at least we have Reyes throwing tonight. I cant wait for the Pujols AB.

    1 win in his last 20 starts

  69. I’m guessing, barring injuries, that this could be JoJo’s last chance at a rotation spot. Morton pitches tonight for Gwinnett — I predict that whoever pitches better gets the next chance at the fifth slot.

    Then, when that doesn’t work, we bring up Hanson.

  70. “Our first base offense woes are solved! The Rangers just released Thorman…”

    Thorman’s failure probably set the Braves back 5 years. If he plays adequate 1B in the year he is given his chance (or at least hits the ball), we don’t have to bet the farm on Tiex, and we have, going into this year, Salty as either a 1B prospect or a great bargaining chip; Yunel’s replacement if we want to trade him; a servicable LH starter so we do not have to re-sign Glavine; and 2 of the hottest young arms in the minors (Feliz to go with Hanson).

  71. Thorman’s doing so poorly didn’t exactly do the Braves any long term favors… though Feliz is apparently not doing so well at his level this year (though he’s still young and promising, he’s just not nearly knocking on the MLB doors like Hanson is).

  72. 96–I trace the bad chain of events to the LaRoche trade rather than the mighty Thor but thinking that Thor would be an adequate replacement for LaRoche was a bad gamble

  73. Ububba,

    What blanket pejorative are you referring to? Was it me? If so, I did not intend a blanket insult and apologize if I did.

    @88,

    You sort of contradicted yourself. On the one hand, you say the Braves are gutless and then on the other you say they need better hitters. You can’t really say that bad hitters are gutless–they just aren’t very good. I agree with you that the problem with the team is that they need better hitters period.

  74. I think it is still early and KK should get more time before peoople write him off etc., but I think the source of the grumbling here is the team basically had one too many holes to fill. Assuming that Kotchman and Frenchy would get another chance (looking like a pretty good call in the case of Kotchman), there were 3-4 holes in the rotation, an OF bat, and a CF. In hindsight (and, as noted above, allowing that it’s still early etc.), I’d probably have preferred the Braves choose the sign Dunn/don’t sign KK and GA option, that still would have left a hole in the rotation (at least until Hanson, Morton, etc. were deemed ready).

    So here’a modest hope for the next few days–no boneheaded running from Esco and KJ going from one of his funks to one of his hot streaks.

    Longer term–the other NL East teams are also flawed and maybe some help will be brought in midseason.

  75. Fair point Frank, though at least the LaRoche trade netted us Gonzo, who I like an awful lot (and think his ERA looks much worse for last year than he actually was).

    Edit: Oh, and I forgot that’s the trade where we got Lillibridge which was included in the Vasquez trade… oh the rabbit hole.

  76. I just turned 50—but Ann Margaret 68–Mac you just succeeded….and Marilyn Chambers died the week before last….

    Nice to see Eric Barrett regaining form (as a reliever) at the Beach….

  77. Who now wishes we had made the KJ for Ludwick trade ??? ME, ME , ME and ME .. Ludwick would look good in LF .. here would be my lineup.
    1. Shaefer – CF
    2. PrADO OR iNFANTE – 2B
    3. c jONES -3B
    4. lUDWICK – lf
    5. mCcANN – c
    6. eSCOBAR – SS
    7. fRANCOUR – rf
    8. kOTCHMAN – 1b ( you could swap spots if a righty was starting)

  78. Tad, only problem there is none of us know if that deal was ever on the table. Id guess that it wasnt

  79. I think everyone is getting too irrational. It’s April 28 and we haven’t fallen out of the race, which is all you can ask for in April.

    Like someone else said, if we keep getting good starting pitching, the wins will come.

  80. Marc,
    No need to apologize, my fellow Dawg.

    RyMo used the word “idiots,” then backed off from it. It’s allgood & sunny.

  81. @61: I’m still catching up on comments, so forgive me if someone pointed it out already, but the runner did score on that play… after refreshing my memory it wasn’t the pitcher running after all, it was Thurston, but no runner would’ve scored if Kelly keeps that ball in the infield.

  82. @65: A hitting coach’s job isn’t only to work to develop young hitters. In my opinion, the most important role of a ML hitting coach is to keep veterans from regressing. It really ends up as a thankless task, because even if you do the best job possible the laws of probability are against you, and someone’s likely to slump.

    I’m not sure how you can say “clutch” is arbitrary… unless you’ve never done anything in a pressure situation. The position of Closer was obviously built around the concept of clutch, and there are people of every profession who have excelled due to their ability to handle pressure situations. I’ll admit the term gets over-used, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    I’d agree I’d like to see Bobby do more running, but this team has been devoid of real speed since the mid-90s… he might have forgotten we’re allowed to run too. Again, I feel myself wishing we had Josh Anderson back.

    @69: I wouldn’t call a hitter clutch for coming through in a situation like Ibanez did. I’d call the hit clutch. Now if one particular hitter repeatedly get hits in clutch situations, THEN you might label him clutch… but it certainly isn’t something you earn in a night.

  83. #106 – maybe, or it could be that we are just watching the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. These guys lack the ability to produce and find ways to lose games. Until we see some kind of improvement from this group, I dont see anyone being too irrational. Its a .500 club from the last 3 1/2 years

  84. @99: Exactly… it was funny, I found myself yesterday watching the game and trying to remember who it was that made us feel like we could deal LaRoche. I couldn’t for the life of me come up with the player, which shows how awful it turned out for us. Rochie… now there’s a clutch player.

  85. @61 @108,

    There were TWO SIMILAR PLAYS. One by KJ and another one later by Infante (each playing second). Both times 2 outs. Both times runner at 2nd.

  86. @87: Are you really that dense, or do you just strive to appear so? I never called KK a trading chip. I said he’d bolster our exposure in Asia, and if couldn’t possibly clog the rotation, because if we needed an open spot there’d be teams lining up to take him off our hands at his <$7 million price tag for the next two seasons. I bet the Mariners would overpay for him in an instant.

    @101: I’ll say it again. Dunn for KK/G Anderson is not exactly an equal trade. Assuming we sign him to the exact deal the Nats signed him to, which is a big assumption, it saves us a few bucks this year, but it leaves us with Dunn @ $12 million next year, which is too much of the payroll, in my opinion, to devote to a one-dimensional defensive liability.

    I would’ve loved to see him in the middle of the order, but the Braves would’ve been ridiculed if they went into the season with Reyes AND Morton in the rotation again… we’ve been down that road, and it doesn’t go anywhere good. If we’re not going to seriously compete, neither KK or Dunn was going to be the lynchpin for the season, KK sets us up better to compete in the future than Dunn would have.

  87. @104-105: I’d imagine Ludwick was attainable, but I’m certain the hold-up was that the Cards wanted more than just Kelly Johnson. It would’ve been a tough gamble given that Ludwick’s breakout season last year could’ve been a fluke. I still thought it was worth exploring at the time, but I’ll give Wren the benefit of the doubt that the asking price just wasn’t worth the gamble.

  88. @113: I don’t recall the Infante play as much, and I give him LOADS of credit for his stop of that insane throw by David Ross. I guess I just have a predisposition to judge Kelly on those kinds of plays. I let it go his first year at the position, but honestly, going to your right isn’t that hard… I could’ve kept that ball in the infield when I was 13!

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