Reds 4, Braves 3

Atlanta Braves vs. Cincinnati Reds – Box Score – June 17, 2009 – ESPN

I think Javier Vazquez is cursed or something. He was easily good enough to win tonight, but made one mistake. To the pitcher. Who, unfortunately, was Micah Owings, who hit a three-run homer in the fifth that turned a 2-1 Braves lead to 4-2 Reds. Vazquez went eight, struck out seven, allowed the other run on a solo homer that really wasn’t hit that well but went out of this pathetic excuse for a ballpark, and is now 4-6 even though he leads the NL in strikeouts.

Yunel Escobar hit a two-run homer in the third to give the Braves the lead, but given several chances (notably, when the Groundhog led off the fourth with a routine single and went to third on a misplay that was so bad they had to give an error even though the centerfielder never touched the ball) couldn’t get anyone home. Their other run scored on a wild pitch. The Braves again outhit the Reds, 7-4, and outwalked them 4-2, but left eight men on base. This is a sad excuse for a baseball team. Francoeur, by the way, sucks.

62 thoughts on “Reds 4, Braves 3”

  1. I’m so ready for Anderson to be released. The back 4 in the lineup of Anderson, Kotchman, Francoeur and Johnson just won’t get it done. There should be a law that Francoeur and Anderson cannot be in the same lineup.

  2. Im gone you guys .. no more posts for me . this team is just too bad .. I cant stomach it anymore … got to find something to keep me busy till football season … GO VOLS !!!

  3. I’m not exactly sure the CG context you guys are speaking of, but I know that Grienke was credited with a complete game shut out on my Fantasy stats when he threw 8 earlier this year (as the home team).

  4. In the post-game wrap-up Jerome asked Vazquez something like “Have you ever experienced anything like this in your career?” Vazquez thought for a moment and said ” mumble mumble, in Montreal.”

    Ouch.

  5. I think most fantasy games follows a simple rule for complete games (Yahoo does at least):

    If the pitcher throws the first and last pitches of a game, then they are credited with a complete game. It can be six, seven, eight, nine, ten, etc….innings. As long as it qualifies as an official game by the rules of baseball and the starting pitcher threw the last pitch, its a complete game.

    When it sucks is when your pitcher throws the first nine innings and the game goes extras without anyone winning. Generally, you don’t get complete game credit for that.

  6. This team is very tiresome . . . just as it has been for the previous three seasons. Sigh.

    Stability has been the hallmark of the Braves since (before) their run of championships began, but clearly, the model doesn’t work now. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think, as a starting point, Bobby Cox should retire (not that tonight was his fault though–though his refusal to play Diaz is rather baffling).

    Sigh.

  7. Mac,

    I can’t tell you how loud I laugh when I see the obligatory “Francoeur, by the way, sucks” at the end of the recaps.

  8. Boy this team is hard to watch. It may not be this simple behind the scenes, but I was thinking today that I’m not really interested in showing too much support monetarily to the Braves until they show some signs that they are really trying to put the best product out there on the field.

    It really tests your patience as a fan when they keep trotting Anderson, Frenchy and KJ out there night after night. There are so many other clubs out there that wouldn’t put up with this crap. I’ve loved the Braves for a long time, but I’m starting to wonder if this is just what the Braves have become and that they may stay this way for a while.

  9. I cancelled my MLB.TV membership tonight. I’m done paying money to watch this team fail

  10. Let me preface everything I am about to say with this, Javier should have had a better fate tonight, but he is not without blame.

    I am going to take the opposing view on Vasquez. I hate the guy. He is on the post game show whining about his ‘tough luck’. Guess what, Javier, you are the one who gave up a 3 run HR to a pitcher. You are the one who gave up a walk and a single to the 7 and 8 hitters before that. It is you that wants to strike out everyone in the first 4 innings instead of getting some quicker outs and get tired in the 6th inning. He loses focus in the middle innings, and the only thing I can think of is fatigue from all the pitches he throws, that and he is a flake.

    Look, I know I am the only one that thinks this way. I am not knocking any of you opinions, I just think it is funny a guy with his ‘stuff’ is under .500 for his career. He is a flake and a cancer. (Don’t give me the whole, well he played on bad teams angle, he was on the Yanks and the ChiSox and didn’t hack it.)

    This organization is the furthest of any team in MLB from winning the world series. Even the Padres and the Nats know they have to blow themselves up and start over. The braves and the management still think they are close to winning. They are not and need to trade off pieces for prospects and the first piece that needs to go is Vasquez.

    The last two weeks have proven the bravos have a ton of holes, and are not ‘one bat away’.

  11. When the opposing pitcher can outscore your entire offense with one swing, then the hand writing is on the wall.

    This game was lost in the fourth and fifth innings.

    The failure to execute and get the runner home from third with nobody out in the fourth.

    Then the MANAGER’S failure to MANAGE in the fifth with two runners on first and second with nobody out. Cox was supposed to bunt the runners over but of course, Cox never bunts runners to third, just to second. Those two blunders lost the game, end of story.

    Poor or no fundamentals, lack of small ball and no running game adds up to another one run loss.

  12. Are you seriously saying that the Braves should have bunted with Brian McCann?

    UPDATED: I mean, seriously. Gene Mauch wouldn’t have bunted there. He wouldn’t have considered bunting there. There isn’t a manager since 1920 who would have bunted there. Get real.

  13. Exactly. Go for the three run bomb and get the double play instead. That’s why they lost.

  14. Micah Owings has a career OPS of .901. The Reds seriously need to find a position in the field for him. He could actually play in the field all year long and only pitch against Atlanta.

  15. Any blame on Javy is misplaced. He gave up FOUR hits the entire game–two were homers. You’ve got to have an offense worth a damn to support your pitchers. Major league pitchers aren’t going to limit major league offenses to 2-3 runs every time he takes the mound.

  16. I don’t have much to say about the game, so I’ll pass along something I found humorous. Right now on ajc.com there is a pair of side-by-side links to related stories under their “Latest headlines” which read as follows:

    PETA to Obama: Don’t kill flies / See fly die

    Edit: Never mind my stab at levity. Saying McCann should have sac bunted is way funnier….

  17. Hey Mac, want to know what’s stupid? The inferior skill set of today’s modern ball player. I wasn’t referring to McCann laying down a sac bunt, the Reds third baseman was so far back on the outfield grass he couldn’t have thrown out my gramma if she had dropped a bunt down the third base line.

    Bunting for a base hit is a lost art. Hell, I remember back in the day when Mantle, on the left side, wouldn’t hesitate, even with a two-strike count, to stick the bat over the plate as he broke toward first and drag a slow roller past the pitcher toward the second baseman while he beat it out. Right-handed, he could break from the plate while poking the ball in the same direction.

    I guess I’m just too damn old but it just seems such a waste when the game of baseball keeps changing and sometimes not for the better.

  18. Ill have to admit, I laughed when I saw this post on DOB’s blog

    “Garret Anderson: The only reason they wash his uniform after the game is to clean off the pigeon poop. The birds think there’s a statue in LF.”

  19. I agree that players should try to bunt for hits more — and McCann has bunted for a hit this year, you might recall. But sacrifice bunts are bad plays in almost all circumstances, and when you have a chance to blow the game open with your best hitter at the plate (and a terrible hitter on deck) they’re especially bad plays.

  20. The inferior skill set of today’s modern ball player.

    This possibly tops anything Gadfly ever said.

  21. Isn’t bunting for a base hit, or at least attempting to, something akin to bluffing in poker? Meaning that you have to, sometimes, or else you’re too predictable and you allow the opponent to adapt. Even if it doesn’t work, you’re planting the seed of doubt in the other guy’s mind, and that’s a good thing. That said, when you try it does matter, and at that point in tonight’s game doesn’t seem like an optimal time to make the effort. Which, I suppose, you could argue is the perfect time to do it…

    Upon re-reading, the above was a Francoeur-esque post. Futile and meaningless.

  22. Bad team. Bad luck. FO in denial. Simple as that. We ARE the Pittsburgh Pirates.

  23. Hey Mac, I hate to be redundant but again, My referencing McCann bunting wasn’t an effort at sac bunting.

    But this will really make one think. When Micah Owings hit his three run bomb in the fifth inning with two runners one base, there were exactly how many outs?

    Zero.

    Had Bobby Cox been managing in the same situation instead of Dusty Baker, he would have had Owings bunting.

  24. Not sure where you are going there but Owings can hit, dude. The HR wasn’t a big surprise to me.

  25. The managerial error was not sending the runners on a 3-2 count with Mac (who, like, never strikes out) at the plate. But there’s no way you bunt there. That would be insane.

    I will say that registering 0 runs when in successive innings, you have a runner at 3rd with no outs and 1st and 2nd with no outs is pathetic.

    And speaking of pathetic, Jeff Francoeur has been significantly better (though still ultimately sucky) this month than Kelly Johnson. I say this to emphasize just how bad Kelly has been and not to make anyone think that Francoeur has been anything besides awful.

  26. Depressing Stat of the Night, Part II: Of Micah Owings’ 7 career HRs, 3 have come vs. the Braves.

    In 160 career PAs, he’s 309/342/559. Hey kid, can you play RF?

  27. Owings!! This team is so bad (and boring) that losing to the Reds this way was actually funny.

    We all know that the team sucks, but what is beginning to really irritate me is just how boring they are. We don’t even have a Kolb or Reitsma to blow games for us; Frenchy, Ganderson, KJ and Blanco just put this Braves’ fan into a stupor….

  28. Well, at least pretty soon they’ll be forced to sell. There’s no way the Braves come out of the coming storm intact, not with this lineup, and at that point Wren will be forced to face up to the cold hard reality of this team’s obvious limitations. I’ve sat and listened for three years about how the lineup was ok… not this time. The Braves’ offense is so awful that there is nowhere to hide. Major changes HAVE to come soon.

    All this, anyway, is my dream, though dreaming of the logical with this front office is dangerous.

  29. What I find annoying (but no less expected) is how many winnable starts we get from the staff. Better get used to it, I guess.

    So with this team finding rather predictable ways to lose, I find a tiny amount of comfort with MLB Network. Tonight on DVR I’m watching one of its 30-minute World Series wrap-ups: 1959, LA vs CWS, the one where Al Smith takes a beer bath at Comiskey Park.

    Playing baseball in the LA Coliseum just looked ridiculous. Never been there, but it looks really impressive for football games, just bizarro for baseball. That enormous screen they put up in the very short LF (251 feet!) must’ve turned the games into pinball.

    http://tinyurl.com/m5cfg4

    Apparently, that year there was a big screen-related rhubarb in a late-season game between LA & the Braves that had direct pennant implications.

    Joe Adcock hit a ball over the screen. But (according to Wiki) it hit a girder behind it and got caught in the mesh. Somehow the umps scored it ground-rule double. Adcock didn’t score & Milwaukee lost in extra innings.

    Of course, the Dodgers & Braves ended up tied after the 154-game regular season, with LA winning the playoff mini-series.

    Goofy screen.

  30. This team is so uninspiring, it’s rediculous.
    True or false, Micah Owings would be hitting fifth if he were on the Braves ?

    With every baseball writer seemingly talking about there being no starting pitching available, surely Vasquez could fetch something of value in a trade. It really doesn’t matter much to me whether they finish 10 games out of a playoff spot or 25 games.

    Trade him and get prospects, an actual outfielder, I don’t really care at this point. Plug Medlen/Campillo/Carlyle/John Halama/whoever into the 5th spot. Give Hudson a two month trial to see if it’s worth picking up with ’10 option.

  31. I wonder how often Frank Wren looks at the lineup and goes WTF?

    He must dream of Bobby walking into his office and saying I am going to retire, right now.
    And then he wakes up and cries.

  32. We all are observing the offensive futility. However, based on most of who we actually have right now, that should not be this bad.

    I haven’t gone and found PECOTA or anywhere else, but I can’t believe that many of these exact players would project this badly. KJ has been a disaster. On him, I think Cox and Pendleton are both to blame. He should be a 280 / 380 / 450 hitter.

    If Cox can’t figure out that Diaz should play right against righthanders, he can’t figure out where the urinal is.

    In any other team in baseball, if the talent is not focused, making stupid plays, not performing up to reasonable projections, do you know what happens? They fire the manager.

    Cox is an icon, but we need some iconoclasts.

  33. I don’t think that it matters, or that anyone cares for any reason whatsoever, but Frenchy has posted a .290 BA/.387 OBP line with only two strikeouts over his last ten games.

  34. the bad management call was not sending the runners on a 3-2 count against a guy without a strikeout all night with one of your 2 best contact hitters up at the plate. bunting mccann, with 2 runners on and 0 out is ludicrous.

    and jon k, from the last thread: cutting a player with a good track record through the minors with 2 1/2 years of good major league experience after a bad month is not smart baseball. sitting him a game or 2 and letting him get his head straight is good baseball, but cox, as we have all seen before, trots the some shit out there day in and day out. kelly johnson, unlike jeff francoeur, is a good baseball player, but he’s a headcase. he needs to rest for a few days and see how he responds.

  35. #50 just enough for the Groundhog effect to continue.

    When I am watching the Braves its like watching a soccer match. You get down a run and you just know we won’t come back. Vazquez pitched his ass off last night. But with this team you cannot afford mistakes at all.

    @22 So you bunt for a base hit with your best hitter up who also happens to be the team’s slowest runner?

    @21 Should change your posting name to stupup Guillen.

  36. What I can’t understand is why Bobby is being so conservative with the base runners. I understand they don’t have a lot of speed, but in earlier days he would put the runners in motion to at least possibly open up holes and maybe make it easier for the hitter. Often he would squeeze to get a run in. Today, it seems he does nothing but sit around and wait for the three-run homers that never come. He doesn’t seem to be the same manager he used to be.

    I don’t know how Cox is reacting behind closed doors, but I wouldn’t mind a little Lou Pinella at this point, just to make me feel better that the manager gets it.

    As for Vazquez being a “cancer”, that I don’t understand. Was he a cancer when he held the Pirates to one run and struck out 12? No one has ever said he’s a great pitcher and maybe he isn’t the guy you want pitching in Game 7, and yes, he tends to have innings where he melts downs, but he has done more than enough to help the team win. As for his whining about not getting run support, where is the whining–he is just telling the truth. If Javy Vazquez was the biggest problem the Braves had, they would be in pretty good shape.

    If anyone is a cancer, it’s Francouer, who continually complains and finds excuses for his failures, who keeps getting sent out time and again to have terrible at-bats.

    But it doesn’t matter; the team sucks and I think even the players are starting to realize that. Once reality sets in, two things could happen: (1) they start playing more within themselves and get better; or (2) they fall apart completely. I bet on the latter.

  37. Bobby’s description of the team should change from “on a roll” to “on a shingle.”

  38. Can you believe this guy? From ESPN.com:

    Rangers outfielder Andruw Jones said the main reason he asked the Dodgers to release him this winter wasn’t his desire for a change of scenery. He said he asked out mainly because of the way he was treated by Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.

    “He wasn’t standing behind me, I think,” Jones said, telling the the Los Angeles Times that if McCourt had shown him more respect, “I almost definitely would be part of the L.A. Dodgers right now.”

    I guess being overweight and hitting .158 didn’t have anything to do with it.

  39. Johnny–The main difference is that in soccer it is relatively easy to score a goal…whereas for the Braves….

    I enjoyed the Charleston reference the other night ….

    #55–I am already nostalgic for the days of Andruw….

  40. 53

    Real simple answer, yes, he just happened to avoid the big inning in that game, and it was the PIRATES.

    He is money when everything is going his way, but he comes apart like a cheap suit if some hitters actually battle him instead of swinging at stuff outside the zone.

    Javy Vasquez is NOT the biggest issue the braves have, just one of many. I get the Frenchy sucks, we all get it, this is discussed ad nauseum on here. My comment was not meant to take up for him or anything like that. There just seems to be a perception that if the Braves trade Jeff and Ache then everything will be okay. It won’t be, the staff is average to slightly above at best, the pen is one arm short, and even if you put two ‘average players’ in the OF, you still have to deal with lack of production at 2b and 1b.

    I hate this team.

  41. 57,

    I’m not sure what you expect from the staff or from Vazquez. Clearly, it isn’t 1990s Maddux-Smoltz-Glavine, but it has certainly been good enough to win with even moderate run support. An above average rotation–which this one clearly is–ought to be good enough to win. And Vazquez is a huge upgrade over what the Braves had last year. The fact is, bad innings or not, he is keeping the team in the game which, unless you are Maddux, et. al, is all you can reasonably expect from a pitcher. Now, if he were getting a lot of run support and had, say 12 wins and people were talking about him for Cy Young, I would agree that he is not in that category.

    I agree, however, that the team is short in many areas and that one or two moves won’t solve the problems.

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