Braves 7, Pirates 6 (15 innings)

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – June 08, 2009 – ESPN

At last. The Braves led 2-0, and 5-1, and 6-3, and yet could easily have lost the game. Chipper hit a two-run homer in the first, McLouth a solo homer in the fifth, and McCann a two-run homer later in that inning. But the Pirates got two runs on a triple, a sac fly, a “triple” (ACHE’s fault on a routine double) and another sac fly to chase Kawakami after six. And Peter Moylan, after getting the first man, gave up a “single” (an obvious error by Chipper) followed by a double, a single, and another triple by my misspelling illegitimate cousin Andrew McCutchen, his second of the game. Bobby then finally brought in O’Flaherty, who saved the game by getting a groundout; Bennett got the next batter to end the inning.

And then it looked like nobody would ever score again. Over and over. The Pirates essentially announced that they were never going to pitch to Chipper again; McCann left the game for a pinch-runner after the twelfth (common sense, nobody should catch more than twelve innings) and that turned into the pitcher’s spot, occupied by Medlen, the last man in the pen. Medlen was pretty terrific, going three innings, allowing a hit and a walk and striking out three, but he didn’t get a hit after Chipper was intentionally walked with nobody on base.

Blanco walked leading off the fifteenth. Francoeur, being Francoeur, tried to bunt but failed miserably, hitting the ball harder than he had all night, though he managed to stay out of the double play. Prado, playing on an injured leg (I am guessing Diaz will start at first tomorrow) hit a gapper to move Francoeur to third, but couldn’t get to second. After a couple of balls, the Pirates decided to walk KJ, meaning that there were many, many more ways for the winning run to score, and incidentally that they had no respect for David Ross. Ross hit a ground ball to deep short. Wilson had no chance at all at the double play and threw home, and almost got Francoeur, who was looking back instead of running, which is kind of stupid on a ground ball with the bases loaded, but he’s never been confused for a Rhodes Scholar.

109 thoughts on “Braves 7, Pirates 6 (15 innings)”

  1. it does need to be mentioned that if GA is in LF and not Blanco, the Pirates win the game. No way Anderson gets to the ball in time to make the relay throw. Whats funny, but sad, is Frenchy thought he could walk home there on the last play. He really thought the throw was going to 2nd I guess. And also, If you’re going to bunt with a guy at first, bunt it to first and not to the third baseman charging the play.

    outside of that, is it just me or did the strike zone get really big in the late innings?

    Barbaro might get the call now that Kotch is on the shelf and Prado cant move his leg

  2. A win is a win. Stellar work by the bullpen (after Moylan). And Dave Ross saves our bacon again.

  3. For those who don’t get it – post game interviews on Sports South.

    Bobby- “We’re on a roll now.”

    Medlen said he doesn’t know what his role is.

    Longest interview was of McCann and I all I have to say about that is that I am so glad that kid is on our team. True class and humility.

  4. I’m in Ardmore, OK for two weeks and missing all these games. From the sound of the recap, maybe that’s a blessing.

  5. Medlen’s role is to be a badass when someone says go. Guy threw his tail off tonight.

  6. @4 Bobby- “We’re on a roll now.”

    seriously. Please tell me he didn’t say that. It’s that kind of stuff that proves he’s completely lost touch with reality.

    edit: oh and amen about McCann

  7. Frenchy sucked as usual tonight.
    Can’t bunt & almost got forced out on the winning run play.
    Can we send him back to the minor?

  8. Sports South is now starting a replay of the game. Should I watch all 15 innings again?

  9. @9- I believe I said that in the last game thread. :-)

    I figure they’ll need someone to go now that they had Karstens relieve, and they probably want to get Morton up soon in order to placate fans as best they can. Really weird to see him debut in 2009 against his former team.

  10. It is always nice to win…Frenchy in the 15th was pretty comical—screwing up the bunt and then proudly coming up with the winning run….

  11. Spotlight: Brian McCann is coming down the pipe.

    Finally, a “Spotlight” for a player who deserves it.

  12. A little survival. We’ll sure take it however we can get it. Medlen was terrific & Acosta got by with his high-wire act. Whew.

    Still… what was Francoeur thinking on that last play? Did he just assume that Wilson was going to try to turn a DP? That was almost the dumbass play of the year.

    Rob,
    Good luck on the Great Okie Way.

  13. This is the big day–at least for draft junkies…anybody out there think that Roy Clark was sandbagging–with all of his talk about pitchers–to up the odds that the Braves might be able to draft Tate?…

  14. Thanks, ububba.

    I had a sobering realization the other day: After two years of grad school at NYU, I find myself buying beer at a Walmart in Ardmore, OK. Where did I go wrong?

  15. Can I request a video for a game thread? I just discovered the song “Hocus Pocus” by Focus and I think it’s my new favorite thing.

  16. Thanks Rob for reminding me: I once had a live Focus album which ended Hocus Pocus with ‘ and Thijs van Leer!’….great stuff…

    By the way, going to graduate school (even good ones) often produces turbulence: you leave and then may experience a’drop’ (like a plane) in terms of location, lifestyle and income; additionally, you find your career trajectory a bit bumpy–but the ride will definitely be worth it! In any event, you will probably find things to like where you are and in a few years NYU will look like a great investment. Good Luck!

    and, yes, it was a nice win for the Braves….

  17. I suspect that Tate is somewhere between Frenchy and Hayward…However, the Braves need position players more than arms. I am not saying they will take Tate–but I would not be surprised to see it happen…

  18. I wouldn’t be pissed about Tate if they took him. Just the whole scouting report of: “Big, raw, athletic guy with off-the-charts tools and questionable plate discipline” sounds ominous to me.

    However, as I’ve said before, Roy Clark and his staff are probably the most valuable component of the organization.

    More so than with anyone else, I pretty much explicitly trust that whatever they do will be the right call.

  19. 22,

    I’m in OK working on a project, but I live in Queens, not terribly far from ububba.

    It’s a different lifestyle for sure. I’ve spent the last few nights on the patio with my friends enjoying wine and cigars (as much as a novice can enjoy a cigar) until the wee hours of the morning. Not too shabby.

  20. 24,

    I think you mean “in spite.” But I definitely agree that it seems that way.

  21. With the #7 pick it is hard to make a bad decision (though the Orioles drafted Chris Smith in 2002 (I think) and he never made it to AAA), but some choices are better than others.

    One possibility: draft Tate and if he does not sign then the Braves get the #8 pick next year. Since the 2010 draft class may be better the Braves might ultimately get more value. If that is there thinking, it would also free up money to try to sign some players ‘over the slot’. The Braves might then draft aggressively–taking players who have ‘fallen’ because of bonus demands….

    Just a thought….

    Yeah, Frenchy’s preformance was rich….

  22. I mean, I think everyone pretty much knew that Jeff Francoeur was mind-numbingly bad (Posnaski spells it out very well). But I also think it’s silly to say that Frenchy’s shown no signs of power (what, was his first month all just luck?) and completely exclude that from the calculations. Kid’s got issues, but he’s also got god-given talent. Send him to the minors for a year, have him completely re-make his swing in a low-pressure environment, and I don’t think it’s completely insane to think that there’s some chance he could come back and be productive. Like I say, he’ll need a complete overhaul, but the possibility exists.

  23. mraver, I am just wondering where his on earth “god-given talent” has gone? I am starting to wonder if he is just not very talented to begin with and everybody has mis-judged him.

    For Andruw, we were talking about why he can’t be Willie Mays. For Frenchy, we are talking about if he is even good enough to play at the major league level!

  24. kc + mraver–I would be happy to see Frenchy play as a solid 4th outfielder. At this point, he is well below that–in fact, he looks like he did in June last year–over eager and confused at the plate…Of course the organization’s faith in Francoeur has been so great that they don’t have anybody in the minors that could step in….

  25. They have. It’s just couple years away. They thought Frenchy would be too expensive to keep when he becomes FA and will have Heyward ready at around that time. They just never thought they need a Frenchy replacement so soon…like now…or since last year.

  26. To be fair, Jon Mark Owings might have been a good candidate, but he has suffered form a range of injuries. Conception Rodriguez is a year away. Hayward might well play RF, but, yes, they did not get anybody at AAA–just in case.

    Its not so much that they were not anticipating replacing Frenchy, but they believed that by 2009 he would be a superstar….

  27. I think Frenchy is a mid-700s OPS player, or he was before last season. That’s useful. But he has such terrible make-up that he couldn’t handle a slump and let it get to him. I’ve been as critical of Francoeur as anyone, but I think he should be better than this. The organization is partly responsible for his struggles throught their handling of him. He still thinks he’s a star. Were he on a path to be Trot Nixon, none of this would have happened. This kid believes the hype more than his mother.

    I think he does need to go to Triple-A. Don’t give him a choice of where to go. Don’t have a meeting discussing it. Don’t hold a press conference about it. Send him down and fix him. If he complains, fine him and remind him who’s in charge. He is the property of the Atlanta Braves, and they must try to resurrect his value. Surely the team can win its next arby hearing with a 20% pay cut. Stinking it up in the minors ought to be humbling, and if he never turns it around, you’ve lost nothing. Plus, Gwinnett could use the attendance boost.

  28. @25 – thanks for the link. The anti Gadfly statisitical comparison. Like any Braves fan I want Jeff Francouer to succeed. I’m not mad at him despite the entitled tone of his comments. I’m not even mad at Bobby. Just mystified. The manager needs to put the best combination of 8 players on the field that give the team the best chance to win. I guess Bobby feels that this team can carry a right field glove and arm. I sure as hell can’t think of any other reason to continue running him out there.

    A stint in the minors is what this kid needs, I agree. If only to build up his value in a trade.

    At this juncture I cringe when I see his name in a lineup. At the very least he needs to sit for a while.

  29. JC–I agree with much of what you have said and I blame (maybe more than you) the organization for Francoeur’s misdevelopment…I might send him back to Myrtle Beach to make sure he understands that he is not ‘just a phone call away’….

  30. I just saw a replay of the final play. Did they show any slo-mo after it happened? The ball beat Francoeur to the plate, unbelievably.

    “Medlen’s role is to be a badass when someone says go.”

    Yep. If he’s confused about his role — well, he’s a rookie and baseball games are unpredictable enterprises.

  31. JC–I agree. He needs serious work and if he can’t net anything of value in a trade, then he should be sent to the minor leagues. Clearly, he has talent–you don’t get to the majors without it–but things have gone horribly, horribly wrong. It’s painful, irritating, and mind-boggling to watch.

  32. I didn’t get to watch most of the game, in fact I finally got the kids in bed and decided I’d see if I could catch the 9th. Alas what I got was the 10th-13th and finally went to bed. Glad we got the W out of it, nice to see Medlen pitching well, nice to see Chipper showing his power stroke a bit in the last few games.

  33. I was so tired last night I didn’t even notice Jeffy’s leisurely stroll home. Just saw the replay, and that was awful. I almost wish he’d have been called out. Now he’s just going to think “I scored the winning run…I’m a hero! (followed by Weaties fist-pump pose)” The other night, Yunel (surprise) was looking back on a straight steal. Maybe Chipper isn’t properly managing kangaroo court.

  34. Very happy this morning that our top four starters are averaging over 6 innings per start. With two hot kids and hope for Huddy due back soon, I feel much more optimistic this June than the last two years.

    Now if the Braves will just deal with elephant in the room. You know, the one who waltzed home with the winning run.

  35. Well glad to get the win, but it was yet another struggle over a pretty bad team. The shortcomings of the outfield and injuries aside, this team doesn’t help itself with playing very good baseball. Once again there were baserunning gaffes that could have sealed up this game much earlier. This team just looks sloppy around the edges a lot of the time, and you could never accuse them of being crisp. That goes back to BC in my opinion, who is about as immovable in his position as Garrett Anderson is in LF, so I guess there’s not much point in belaboring it. However, you have to wonder if Wren seethes when he sees Anderson jog after gappers, Escobar get thrown out AGAIN, or some other undisciplined or lackadasical play go seemingly unchallenged by the manager.

  36. “Jack Wilson made a good play,” said Ross, who had replaced McCann in the 13th inning. “I hit it pretty hard and he made a good play in the hole — and that guy is one of the best shortstops in the league, and he almost got Frenchy at home. I didn’t even know, because I just put my head down and started running hard.”

    I guess Frenchy told him after the play since he was watching it.

    mlb.com

  37. I would be very upset if we couldn’t do better than Alex White with the 7th pick.

  38. “With them coming back and answering, and us coming back and winning,” Ross said, “when you grind it out like that, those are the kind of things that make you better as a team.”

    What BS! So, in other words, it’s good to blow a big lead and play 15 innings. Let’s do it every night; it’s much better for the team’s character than winning those stupid 9-0 games. Really, you’re a better team when you win by one run than when you win by 8.

    Baseball people all drink the same kool-aid.

  39. My thinking on Frenchy’s potential is that if Josh Hamilton can come back from serious drug addictions and play baseball, Frenchy can come back from the severe mechanical deficiencies in his swing to be a productive player. I’m not sure he was ever the talent that Hamilton was, but Frenchy certainly has some level of athleticism and raw power. But as long as he’s on the Braves (for sure on the Atlanta club but also possibly just in the system), he’s going to look for small fixes, feel that he’s “just a bit off” from where he was in 2005. He needs to go somewhere where people can convincingly tell him, “You need to start from scratch.”

  40. I wouldn’t go with these projections. Roy Clark is shrewd and there might be a surprise tonight.

  41. Doesn’t Francouer scoring the winning run count as “producing a run” in the Gadfly universe?

    If this was any other team or player, Francouer would be fined/benched for loafing on the ground ball. But, since it’s impossible for him to do anything wrong, Bobby will probably celebrate his good judgment in running just hard enough to make it home–no point tiring yourself out in the 15th inning.

    Baseball talent has relatively little to do with overall athletic talent. That’s why fat slobs like Matt Stairs can hit but Francouer can’t. Baseball involves adjustments and the ability to see and recognize pitches–this isn’t really athletic talent so much as skills. Francoeur doesn’t have those skills and while I’m sure Francouer is a good athlete, he is not a baseball player. How long do you think it took the Red Sox to decide they weren’t interested–one at bat? I agree with JC that his attitude is extremely problematic–he is convinced that he is a star rather than a struggling, marginal player.

  42. When Francouer looked back on the grounder I almost lost it. To me, that’s worse than KJ dropping the routing pop fly last season or LaRoche lollygagging to first and getting outrun by Nick Johnson a few years ago. Beyond inexcusable. Send his lazy *** to Gwinnett.

  43. @49 – I think Ross’ point is that holding on for a win like that creates a sense that the team can still win after adversity — and that sense makes the team better. I don’t think he’s saying that giving up a big lead and then narrowly winning in extra frames is better than blowing someone away in 9 innings. If he is, then he’s drinking something stronger than kool-aid.

  44. @56,

    That’s what baseball people always say, but the fact is, they were lucky. Players like to pretend that games like this reflect grit and determination, but I’m sure the Pirates were just as determined. Is he saying that the Braves would have quit when they lost the lead? Were the Braves less determined last year when they lost all those one-run games? Moreover, last week the Braves came from 5-0 behind against the Cubs–and then lost the next three games.

  45. McClouth is a ballplayer. Wren did well. When he sheds Frenchy, I will endorse Wren for sainthood.

  46. Just to elaborate on something I said, I do think there is something to be said for being lucky. Whether or not, winning close games is a skill (I think it’s not), I think that winning close games makes a team feel like they CAN win them and that’s important. I think confidence helps a team even if it is somewhat misplaced. Also, while luck tends to even out over a long enough period, that period might be long enough so that being lucky can be an important ingredient in winning.

  47. Well it could have been worse, he could’ve tried a backdoor slide or bowled over the catcher or something. At that point I was impressed he actually knew it was a force play.

  48. From Keith Law:

    “Baltimore taking Wheeler, San Francisco taking Tyler Matzek and Atlanta taking Alex White all seem pretty strong. Atlanta would love to take Matt Purke, but the word is the higher-ups won’t allow them to pay that much over slot.”

    If true, that’s depressing. I guess, however, they have to save money to offer Francouer his huge free agent contract.

  49. @62,

    CSG,

    I have a feeling the Braves FO would look at those numbers and repeat the line that Charlie Brown said to Lucy after she cited statistics showing how bad his team was: “Tell your statistics to shut up.”

    Don’t you know that you can’t judge a player just by statistics? Look at the intangibles that Frenchy brings to the table . . . uh, well, never mind. :)

  50. Purke wants 7M. White is a fine prospect, and doesn’t have near the leverage of the high school guys. I don’t see drafting him as depressing – he costs less, he throws hard, and he’ll be here sooner. Sure I’d rather have Wheeler, but White is around third on most college pitcher rankings. Not so bad for #7. I still think we will draft Tate if available.

  51. Dammit, Marc. Now I’ll have to post my usual pontifications about the existence (or not) of luck and clutch.

    You all are saved by the fact that I’ve got to do some work.

    Cliff notes version: clutch exists / luck is the residue of design

  52. @66,

    Hankonly,

    I don’t necessarily disagree with you about luck; good teams tend to also be lucky. If you put yourself in position to succeed, luck will often follow. That’s true in every day life as well; if you prepare yourself correctly, things are more likely to break your way than if you don’t. But, luck (or randomness if you will) does play a role. If one of the Pirates had hit a broken bat single in the 12th or 13th, the Braves would have lost.

  53. If Padres continue to go in the tank…is there anyway in hell we might could pry Adrian Gonzalez from them?

    I think he’d be a monster at the Ted.

    We obviously have less pieces to play with on the farm…BUT…

  54. “check out these frenchy numbers”

    You look at this stuff that people compile (DOB’s, yesterday, too), and all of the excuses such as “no viable alternative” kind of fade away. That performance isn’t merely below-average; it is absolutely horrible, and if Frank Wren cannot figure that out, he needs to go find someone else to do the job of talent evaluation. This isn’t funny or cute anymore; it is serious malfeasance on management’s part.

  55. @54 Marc, I respectfully disagree. Athleticism is too often associated with speed, endurance, leaping ability etc. Hand to eye coordination and mastering the mechanics of a swing, throwing motion are athleticism too. But to your point the baseball wastelands are littered with ‘toolsy’ ‘atheletes’ with the size, speed and strength of free safteys, outside linebackers, and power forwards that could never hit MLB pitching.

  56. I think the Braves have decided to give Frenchy more than enough rope to hang himself so that when the cut the cord, there will be no doubt. From what I read, there are still enough idiot Francouer supporters in Atlanta (not to mention the teen-age girls) that would be upset if they let him go. So, I think they are going to run him out there for at least another month until he shows the world how bad he is. At least, that’s the only thing that makes sense to me. If they don’t realize by now how bad he is, it is frightening that they are running a major league team.

  57. @70,

    Johnny,

    Yeah, you are correct, I was too quick to dismiss those things as non-athletic. My intended point was exactly what you said–general skills like speed and strength don’t necessarily translate to baseball skills.

  58. ‘atheletes’ from post 70.

    I just wanted y’all to know that I can spell but I cannot type worth a damn. :)

  59. this was posted at ajc blog this morning…

    Bill Shanks is apparently reporting the that Braves have no chemistry in the clubhouse:

    To paraphrase: Casey Kotchman and Garrett Anderson don’t mingle with anyone on the team except each other, and that both would still prefer to be playing in Anaheim. Bobby Cox is unhappy and doesn’t get along with Frank Wren. Everyone in the clubhouse is upset about how the front office is handling its affairs. Yunel Escobar doesn’t talk with any of the non Hispanic players, and Jeff Francoeur is completely lost

  60. I think that adding White would be nice–but a bit disappointing. The Braves are in need of position players in the lower minors. However, this draft class appears to be completely dominated by pitchers so even though we have the #7, we may only be able to add a good arm.

    It is worth remembering that the Braves took Hayward with the #14 pick…

  61. Well, to be fair about Escobar, does he speak English yet?

    Edit: Also, none of that is good.

  62. Shanks’ last point at least shows that his evaluation is not without foundation…..

  63. I think Wren will cut, trade, or demote Jeffy on a home stand after he goes 4-4 w/ 2HRs, 5 RBI, 2 BB, and an outfield assist at home plate, a la Tommy Glavine.

    Note: I do, however, recognize the difference between playing in Altanta and playing at Rome.

  64. And to paraphrase DOB, who travels with the team and is always in the clubhouse, he hasn’t seen any chemistry issues.

  65. No chemistry?!?? We’re doomed! Get us a couple of good “clubhouse” guys – say Craig Counsell or Brad Ausmus. Playoffs here we come!

  66. Bowman wrote this in a comment on his blog:

    Schafer felt some discomfort in his left wrist while swinging the bat on Friday night. He visited a doctor today and the Braves said they will have an update on him tomorrow. Brandon Jones also had his left knee examined via an MRI exam on Monday. We should also know more about him on Tuesday.

  67. I have to admit, I used to care a lot more about what Bill Shanks said.

    I think his coverage of the Braves has suffered as he has become more “important.” Since he has tried to manage a radio program and newspaper deal, his knowledge of the team and the overall organization has definitely taken a hit. I suspect he trying to do too much himself and he needs a manager or a dedicated assistant.

  68. Should really be “Schafer felt discomfort in his left wrist while swinging the bat every time in April and May. He would have been out of the lineup but he didn’t tell anyone/the Braves realised that an outfield of Diaz/Francouer/Anderson would have been horrid.”

  69. It would be nice to envision everyone singing Kumbayah in the clubhouse, I suppose. But there’s no correlation between clubhouse chemistry and victories. Two cases in point:

    1) The Pirates were obviously a close-knit bunch, as witnessed by the McLouth candle thingy. But they suck.

    2) Who on the Braves knew Glavine better than Chipper? And what’s he done since Glavine was released?

    I’m sorry the clubhouse camaraderie angle doesn’t write itself on a daily basis for Shanks, but not every team is the 1993 Phillies.

  70. I wouldn’t worry–I think Bill Shanks is a glorified fan and a colossal douchebag.

  71. I think Bill Shanks is just jealous of how much of a lady-killer you are, Mac.

  72. Regarding Purke, I don’t think anyone thinks he’s worth what he’s asking. He wants Porcello money, and he doesn’t have that kind of ability.

  73. There’s no story. He just doesn’t like me, and I don’t know why. Past associations of mine, I guess. Some people take the Internet really seriously.

  74. Shanks hating you (and how do you know this, btw?) would be a sure sign that you are writing cogent baseball stories.

  75. To quote Jim Leyland: “All that horseshit has been media shit for years — great chemistry, great clubhouse. That’s the biggest bunch of horseshit in the history of sports. Every time somebody wants to talk about great chemistry, fuck the chemistry in the clubhouse. I’m interested in winning games, period. I don’t know who came up with it, but the worst word ever used now is chemistry. That’s something you take in school. That’s a class you take. If he gets people out, he’ll be fun in the clubhouse. If we win games, I’ll be fun in the clubhouse. If we don’t, I won’t be fun in the clubhouse, either.”

  76. Well Mac, I’VE never exchanged emails with you either. So does that mean I have to hate you too?

  77. I’m not sure I buy this and even if he’s right, does it really matter? What difference does it make if you like the guys you play with or not? It might be more pleasant, but it shouldn’t affect how the team performs. Everyone has people they don’t like at their work place but you still do the work. The Giants went to the World Series with Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent. I find it hard to believe that someone like Kotchman, at least, who is early in his career, would let not being in Anaheim seriously affect his play–it’s his career and livelihood at stake. Anderson might be a different story.

  78. Shanks probably hates just about everyone besides Bowman and O’brien. The delicious irony of his stupid kiss-ass book being published just before the franchise was about to fall off a cliff has almost made these last few seasons bearable. I’d go on, but you get the idea. Just another smug baseball writer who thinks they are some chosen class of holy men between the masses and the elected few

  79. Mac, do you hate me? You’ve never responded to a single one of my dumb, retarded posts.

    You have hurt my feelings…and I’m such a strong follower of your stand-up comedy spots.

  80. … glad Laney boy didn’t come to Clemson. Of course, Dabo Swinney isn’t ideal for me, either.

  81. #97

    Love that quote. Here’s another that’s sort of related:

    “In the end it all comes down to talent. You can talk all you want about intangibles, I just don’t know what that means. Talent makes winners, not intangibles. Can nice guys win? Sure, nice guys can win – if they’re nice guys with a lot of talent. Nice guys with a little talent finish fourth, and nice guys with no talent finish last.”—Sandy Koufax

    If Jim Leyland and Sandy Koufax agree on something, that’s pretty much all I need to hear.

  82. Didn’t see this posted anywhere on here but Norton will start at 1B tonight per DOB.

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