163 thoughts on “Oscillating game thread: June 11, Pirates at Braves”

  1. Responding to reaction to my comments about Diaz in the last thread, I don’t believe I overvalue him. I agree that he is a 4th outfielder type and I don’t see him as a permanent solution to our OF problems. Diaz has hit the ball well lately and compared right now to Francoeur, Norton, Anderson and the slumping KJ, he is an All-Star. I agree that I got carried away in basically guaranteeing a win if Diaz would have started, but I don’t think I was that far off. Our chances for a win with Diaz or with anyone else who is able to hit major league pitching at this point in time would have been much greater!

    The point is that the 1st 4 in our order were a combined 5 for 16 with 4 doubles (McCann doubled twice but scored 0 runs) – not great, but good enough to do some damage with any help from the last 4 in our order. The last four were a combined 1 for 14 with Anderson’s 9th inning HR. It didn’t take a genius to see this coming and several of us pointed this out before the game began.

    I understand that we have limited options with Prado hurting and Kotchman and Infante on the DL. Starting 3 of Francoeur, Anderson, Norton and the slumping KJ may be a necessary evil at this time. Starting all four and batting them from 5th to 8th is stupid and greatly reduces our chances of winning.

  2. Diaz is a pretty good hitter. Basically you can expect .280/.325/.460 from him year in and year out if you’re giving him most of his AB’s against lefties.

  3. Sweet! I’ve been wanting to see what this guy can do. All he’s done in the minors is hit at every level. Now if he can just learn how to play right field now.

  4. WOW! I’m eager to see what Barbaro can do. He can’t be any worse than Norton offensively and it’s hard to imagine that he’ll be a whole lot worse defensively.

  5. I think you have to wonder about KJ at this point. He seems to go from slump to slump, with an occasional hot streat in between. He is an adequate–not great–second baseman with limited power and little consistency. I know people rave about hs ability to get on base, which is important, but he doesn’t seem to do much else real well. He has yet to have a really good year. With a better team, he would be fine, but I think he is a real disappointment and typical of a lot of Braves prospects that are good enough to play in the majors but never become really good players. I realize it’s unfair to compare him to Chase Utley, but I would like to think he is capable of more than he is showing.

  6. With an OBP of .300 this year, it’s not like KJ is an on-base machine. Crap, Schafer’s OBP was .313.

  7. It’s not that I don’t like Barbaro’s hitting, but prepare to be more than annoyed by his truly wretched defense and even more wretched baserunning. His baserunning demeanor makes ACHE look like he’s hustling in LF by comparison. That said, he will definitely come in handy as a DH in the AL parks over the next week or so.

  8. You know we’re in bad shape offensively when we are (rightly) clamoring for a 29 year old career minor leaguer. Though I wonder if he might be an offensive upgrade from Kotchman.

  9. How does Bobby decide the guy who was just called up bats clean up instead of Diaz or Ross? Sometimes I just have to scratch my head.

  10. spot on, #19. Casey Kotchman gets a pass here because of the gushing blood in the OF. By 1B standards (a hitting position), he is not good. This is his peak year, and this is what you get; very little HR power (he is projecting 5 to 6 for the YEAR) and some decent doubles power; okay average and okay on-base.

  11. #19, it’s understood that Kotchman is a guy who will give you an ok OBP, hit a lot of doubles, hit 10-15 homers and play great defense. When a player does exactly what you expect, it’s hard to complain.

  12. Wasn’t Fred McGriff a poor defensive player? If Canizares can hit, I can live with poor defense at 1B.

    Besides, I’m sure this is just a showcase.

  13. “Because that guy can rake? ”

    Did you mean “that guy can rake at AAA?” I’d like to see him rake at the major league level before I stick him in the 4th spot.

  14. Sure, Kevin. Per DOB:

    One player said this was what he was told about Canizares: “I hear he can’t run, can’t throw and can’t field, but the sumbitch can hit.”

    I meant because that guy has always raked wherever he’s been.

  15. 23 — He’s dead-last among qualifying first basemen in RC/27 outs. When Prado was playing first, we were losing very little, if any. I find this to be a source of complaint.

  16. Just wanted to make a minor note on Kotchman being at his peak. The peak age = 27 mantra that is passed around in sabermetric circles is incorrect. I’ve investigated it pretty thoroughly, and I’m convinced it’s closer to 29. I even published a paper on it earlier this year.

    Now there is no doubt he is closing in on his peak (guys at 27 are within 1% of their peak value) and that he is under-performing as a first basemen. I just wanted to point this out, because many people still trot out the 27-peak argument without being aware that the data doesn’t really support this.

  17. If Kotchman is going to hit 10-15 HR’s, he had better hurry. I understand people talk up his defense. I know he has never won a gold glove-do they disclose the gold glove votes? Is he second or third in the voting? I think none of the defensive metrics that float around on the internet rate him that highly-average maybe?

  18. I’d really love to know how Barbaro did with Industriales in Cuba. But in my search for comprehensive numbers from there, let’s just say that the official team/league sites in the Cuban National Series aren’t as robust as the ones stateside. All I can find of note is from Wikipedia — his career batting average in Cuba (.303).

  19. Just for the fun of it, I hope Barbaro hits the crap out of the ball and Wally Pipps Casey Kotchman. At the very least Barbaro can play vs. LHP and some righties, and Casey can come in as a defensive replacement after Barbaro’s 3rd AB in the game or something.

    I did not know about the new thinking of a later peak age-interesting and thanks. I guess I am still stuck in the early Bill James years (which at least has me much more up to date than Bobby “bunt-em over” Cox).

  20. Hmm, speaking of raking in the minors, I just looked up Casey’s minor league numbers, and he did quite well: 325/404/493 for his career. FWIW, Barbaro’s career minor league line: 318/376/461.

    I’m not as excited as I was 10 minutes ago.

  21. That was before Mickey Hatcher got ahold of him, though.

    That was quite an impressive inning by Javy.

  22. @34: I’m curious about Barbaro, but my expectations are low. I simply hope he’s better than Scott Thorman was.

  23. On the Braves, throwing must be the most important quality valued.

    at least for rightfielders

  24. Casey Kotchman was I think the USA High School player of the year, by USA Today or Gatorade or something. The mystery with him is unlike some other very top HS players (ARod; Chipper), he has never been as good in the MLB as his HS and minor league numbers suggest. I think the Angels thought he would be a .300 BA, 25 HR a year guy, and it just hasn’t happened. Here is hoping it does, while he is a Brave.

  25. Hey, whatever, we just need Barbaro to catch some lighting for awhile, knock in some runs & not lose any games in the field.

    Then we can pound some Budweiser.

  26. Hmmm. I too thought a player peaked earlier rather than later. It was my impression that the traditional peak was 28 to 30 but the Bill James peak was 26 to 28. Oh well

    I am as big a fan of KJ as there is but when Infante comes back I’m ready for him to take most of the at bats at 2b. By month KJ had a lousy Mar/April a great May which means he is going to suck as bad as Benchy the next 30 or so days.

  27. Hmmm I thought ‘peak’ was age 27 too.

    When Infante comes back I hope he gets most of the playing time at 2b. I’m as big a KJ fan as there is but I am tiring of his streakiness.

    edit: thought I had lost the earlier comment. my apologies

  28. bfan,

    Somewhere I read an analysis that said the players of the 30’s did not age nearly so well as the 20’s or the 40’s and thereafter. Even when James did his stuff, (which was 20’s to 70’s) taking the 30’s guys out made it over 28.

  29. No “A” on Barbaro’s batting helmet. What are we, the Natinals? Sweet merciful crap.

  30. No “A” on Barbaro’s batting helmet. What are we, the Natinals? Sweet merciful crap.

    I laughed out loud at that.

  31. Nyjer Morgan and Jeff Francouer have the exact same slugging pct. at .336. I found that absolutely amazing.

    Also amazing, KJ has the worse OBP of any 2nd baseman in the NL. Incredible.

  32. I’m listening on the radio and Sutton said the first pitch to Francoeur was down and away. Ok, but did he swing at it? In Francoeur’s case it’s more likely than not that he did swing.

  33. I wonder if Bobby is planning to retire at the end of the year, with all of the attention that the club is giving his 2,000th win with the banners and all.

    52 — Yeah, Sutton does that, he went almost an entire inning without telling me the score when I got in my car the other day.

  34. @53: I wonder that, as well, but I also sense that he doesn’t want to leave the Braves while they’re down. I recall Tom Landry said something similar when the Cowboys sacked him for Jimmy Johnson 20 years ago. I think if this team sneaks into the wild-card slot (implausible as it may seem, but the McLouth trade makes it clear that management believes the team can somehow put it together this year) then he walks away.

  35. #53
    The worst radio offender for avoiding the basic game info is Yankee announcer John Sterling.

    I often have a similar experience. I’ll take my 25-minute drive home from work at night & not know the actual score the entire time.

    As much as I root against the Mets, I gotta say that their radio guys have always been pros—from the late Bob Murphy to Gary Cohen and now Howie Rose. Terrific, terrific radio announcers.

  36. Amazing that a billion-dollar team (stadium included) can have the worst broadcasters in the sport. But as we experience every time a Peachtree broadcast airs, they don’t have a monopoly on awful announcing.

  37. Joe with the generalization about bloggers in their mother’s basement!

    Sciambi’s taking him to school.

  38. What did Boog say, braves14?

    Paul Maholm, with a career K/9 of 5.71 and a season K/9 of 5.02, has struck out 6 Braves in 3 innings.

  39. Does Maholm look as good in person as he does on Gameday? sitting on the corners every time.

  40. Well, the argument between Joe and Boog wasn’t so much about bloggers as it was about steroids. They were discussing the Philadelphia Inquirer having a column reporting about a blogger’s speculation about Raul Ibanez using steroids (because Ibanez is having a career year at the age of 37). Joe about blew a fuse that the paper bothered to report about it (making the comment about bloggers in their mother’s basement). Boog countered that nobody was actually accusing Ibanez, but that it was a fair question to ponder in this day and age. Joe continued throwing a tantrum without really listening to Boog.

  41. #58
    The Yankees want an on-air publicist, someone who also can ably read their ridiculous amount of in-game ad spots, not a real baseball announcer.

    In that sense, Sterling fits the bill perfectly. But he’s plain annoying to listen to.

  42. The Braves just took their second guy with VU connections in the draft—45th-rounder Nate Dorris, a lefty pitcher out of Illinois, signed his LOI to Vanderbilt.

    I don’t think there’s any way the Braves sign him away from school, but it’s interesting (to me), anyway.

  43. A stolen base from someone other than McLouth?
    The end is nigh.

    edit. RUN! Frenchy with two hits in a game??? The end is really nigh.

  44. @63: That explains it. Marketing shill. Having worked in a sports organization before, I know how in some quarters, that trumps all other priorities.

  45. That was actually a nice piece of hitting by Frenchy. Yes, I know, I can’t believe I’m typing that either.

  46. McLouth must have said in the clubhouse…
    “Hey guys, did you know you can steal bases in baseball?”

  47. Apparently we don’t think much of this battery’s ability to cut down on the running game.

  48. The three most improbable things that could ever happen to the Braves happened in the last five minutes: Somebody stole second, Frenchy hit a single, AND the runner scored from second. RJ in KS, the end IS nigh.

  49. For some reason, Mac is letting Stu live.

    Don’t start your car this evening, Stu.

  50. @92–as much as Francouer sucks, he is better than last year’s BJ fave Corky Miller

  51. hank, I only pointed out the public record. Even noted that we haven’t *actually* won any of those games. What’s there to be upset about?

  52. Can we have Bama’s bowl revenue for 2007 since they got picked over us to go to scenic Shreveport?

  53. That would be much too fair and reasonable for the NCAA to ever consider it, braves14.

  54. “…better than last year’s BJ fave Corky Miller.”

    Yeah, just like 3.02 is greater than 3.01.

  55. @94 – No comparison. Corky was a BACKUP catcher. Frenchy is the STARTING right-fielder. Absolutely NOBODY worse.

  56. Wouldn’t giving up two hits to Frenchy be immediate cause for the pitcher’s demotion or release?

    Or, as John McKay once said about the Tampa Bay Bucs execution, “I favor it.” The same could be said about a certain right fielder.

  57. Ok.
    That’s it. I’m barricading myself in the basement, loading the guns and turning off all the power.

    I just saw Frenchy draw a walk.

    The end is coming!

  58. My brain can’t process what is happening during Francoeur’s plate appearances. I hear the word ‘walk’ but it means nothing to me.

  59. Seven innings, ten Ks, two hits, one run. Javy’s been pretty close to elite this year, if frustrating some times.

  60. And the Braves escape the inning with no damage done by the bad call.

    Let’s get it started, KJ. Yes!

  61. KJ with a double. Maybe this will start his hot streak. When he’s cold (like he’s been the last several weeks) does he ever get a double?

  62. There are 4 hits today. Three of them by the only two position players in the lineup batting under .250. The other is by a guy making his major league debut. Is this bizarro day?

  63. Not sure I understand the logic in bunting Kelly over when Javy has thrown 100+ pitches.

    Why not pinch hit Mac there?

  64. Does Javy go out there for the 8th?

    Apparently he does, and apparently he found a little more juice; he’s throwing 93 again, according to Gameday, after sitting 88-90 last couple of innings.

  65. For what it is worth the bowl win was not vacated, the “offenses” were extremely minor, and the only victim was the University itself, which was defrauded by the athletes.

  66. Let’s face it, the Braves are basically an average team at best. The pitching is good (but not otherworldly like the 90s) and the lineup is average or below at, probably at least four positions (LF, RF, 1B, 2B). Basically, you have probably very good players at C, third (when healthy), SS, and slightly above average in CF. Hard to see how you can win with that lineup unless you have Koufax and Drysdale in the 60s.

  67. “Slightly above average in CF”? Name 8 starting centerfielders in the NL better than Nate. I can’t think of five.

  68. @128,

    OK, I will grant that on a relative basis, he is good. But, is he really enough of an impact player to compensate for the weaknesses at the other positions?

    If Jeff hits a walk-off, he will be in the lineup forever.

  69. If Jeff hits a walk-off, he will be in the lineup forever.

    That’s already a given.

  70. I love it when we intentionally walk a guy and then let him get in scoring position without even trying to stop him.

  71. No. To hibernate, you have to first be awake. We’ve been over this before. Getting totally dominated by the opposing pitcher from start to finish does not qualify as hibernation mode.

  72. @122
    I wish it were sarcasm, but earlier this season in the exact same situation (tie game, late innings, potential go ahead run in scoring position) Bobby did not pitch hit with McCann. Bobby never pinch hits with catchers unless absolutely forced to or he happens to have a 3rd catcher on the bench. This has cost us at least one playoff series.

    So, it’s kind of sarcastic…but not really.

    *sigh* we just split the series with the friggin pirates.

  73. How many times does this team let the opponent take 2nd on defensive indifference. This is ridiculous.

  74. And NOW McCann gets to hit. With 2 outs, in the bottom of the 9th, with the bases empty. Perfect.

  75. Well, I’m guessing after our brutal stretch against the Yanks, Sox and Phillies, we’ll be double digits back and considering selling in July. With so many teams needing pitching, Vasquez should net us something pretty good. Gonzo too.

    So we have that going for us. Which is nice…

  76. And also Sciambi, shut up about the Pirates being a bad team. We have exactly one friggin win more than they have, and they have scored more runs (and not given up more either).

  77. Did he say we’re not a bad team? It’s possible for one bad team to lose to another.

  78. Our starters the last two nights pitched a combined 14 innings, allowing 3 runs and striking out 19. And we lose both games.

    Very frustrating.

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