Yankees 11, Braves 7

New York Yankees vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – June 25, 2009 – ESPN

So, four more years of this? Derek Lowe, like he was two starts ago, was completely hapless, allowing eight runs (two “unearned”, but come on) on eleven hits and three walks, and didn’t retire a man in the fourth. It was awful. You’re in serious trouble when your putative ace can’t get through four innings without getting hammered.

The Braves actually mounted something of a comeback, getting five runs in the fourth to cut it 8-6. But after that, they didn’t do much (McCann hit a solo homer in the ninth for the only other run) and the Yankees got two in the seventh and one in the eighth; the last of these, too, was “unearned”. Chipper committed an error and Escobar (who really should be sitting, as his hip is killing him, but we need the eggs his offense) committed two.

The Braves did have thirteen hits and four walks, but both were less than what the Yankees did. Four Braves had two hits apiece, Prado (who started at second and moved to first later), Yunel, ACHE, and Francoeur, who still sucks.

75 thoughts on “Yankees 11, Braves 7”

  1. Pretty brutal outing for Lowe. Disappointing, but not surprising series, I suppose.

    Tough not to totally junk out on Michael Jackson tonight, though.

  2. and people were complaining about the Kenshin contract

    I wonder how long before Burke gets called up

  3. Smoltz getting shelled by the hapless Nats eases the pain a little.

    The Boston series is going to be ugly.

  4. FlaBravesFan,

    I saw your post from the last thread, and I’m sorry to hear that you have to have that done. My family lives in the Gainesville area, and I might be up there within the next couple weeks. I know exactly where you’re at with Shands, and I’d like to come visit you and talk some Braves and encourage you a bit. When are you going to be there?

  5. At least we showed signs of life. That was unheard of last month.

    This team has no speed, power, or passion. It’s getting to be hard to watch. I really relate to the following quote:

    “[Baseball} breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.” –Bart Giamatti

  6. We should have never confused the word of “ace” with Lowe. My expectation of Lowe has always been pretty low and he is slowly pitching like what I have been expecting. The guy is not an ace, but he should give us plenty of innings. Outing like tonight will happen once a while.

  7. Think about this for one second.

    We went out and got Nate McLouth. He has had ZERO impact. How bad can one team be when they go out and add an All-Star gold glove outfielder, and his addition gets sucked into the black void that is the 2009 Braves with no visible improvement to the roster.

  8. @5: that quote, though a nice one, doesnt have anything to do with these atlanta braves. it should read more like this:

    “[Braves Baseball] breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it dies in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings with pain and suffering, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it mercifully rots away and lets you face the fall alone.”

  9. That Derek Lowe contract ain’t gonna be pretty for us in 2011 & 2012. He’s going to be making $15 mil and be, like, 843 years old.

  10. Jeremy, we all knew that when the deal was signed, but he was the best option available at the time.

  11. I disagree that Smoltz got “shelled”. Derek Lowe got shelled, Smoltz gave up 4 in the first and then settled in and only gave up 1 in the next 4 innings, striking out the side in his last. I don’t think that’s bad for somebody who hasn’t pitched in over a year. From everything I hear the Red Sox brass were pretty happy with the outing and I think they’ve proven they know a thing or two.

  12. This team just can’t seem to get everything working together in the same game more than once or twice a week. I blame Francoeur. And Bobby.

  13. This team is not a fundamentally good team. However, there is one change that would make it better that won’t cost prospects or really very much money.


    This team has no discipline. I know that is kind of a “pro Bobby” trait. That is he is a “player’s manager”. However, that is killing the team.

    All of the slow guys need to be put on mandatory speed drills. Then, their 5.8 40 will turn into a 5.4. If they don’t like it, sit them on the bench.

    Everybody needs more conditioning drills. I was glad to hear they had fielding practce before Thursday’s game, but this has gone on too long.

    We continue to have pitchers not react and start toward first until it is too late. They need somebody on their asses.

    Last night with a lefty starting we had a left fielder whose best ability at this point in his career against lefties is around 800 OPS (that is the upper limit) and who is a major minus (at least part of which certainly appears to be effort and that is a manager problem) in the field and didn’t play the guy who is a slight plus defensively, a better baserunner (might score from first on a double) is closer to prime age, and might score from first on a double. BAD MANAGING.

    IF MORON COX, had not pitched Gonzo and Soriano on Tuesday with a 5 run lead, then he cculd have possibly put out the fire either Wednesday or Thursday with them and picked up an extra win.

  14. #14…Smoltz was pretty good here last year too………until his arm fell off.

  15. I agree that Bobby should go but I think Cliff’s comment is a bit unfair. The team isn’t losing because of Bobby Cox any more than they won because of Bobby Cox. To say the lack of discipline is his fault is silly. Yelling and screaming at players is not going to make them more focused or disciplined. The fact is, this is not a good team even the front office refuses to accept that. The Braves have a bunch of role players (Kotchman, Diaz), has-beens (GA), disappointments (KJ),never-will-be’s (Jeffy), immature airheads (Escobar), declining, injury-prone stars (Chipper), and one really good player who has to miss one game a week. It’s hard to blame Bobby for that, although he probably has some role in picking the team. The fact is, players make the manager, no matter what people want to think. Terry Francona was an idiot in Philadelphia and is now a “genius” in Boston.

    At the same time, sometimes a switch needs to be made just to change the dynamics of the team. I think his approach works well with a talented team (which he has had most of his years managing except for the first few years in Atlanta), but perhaps his penchant of constantly praising players that aren’t that good has made the clubhous a little too comfortable given the talent level. I think his game management and talent evaluation skills leave something to be desired and if I keep reading him say he likes this team or we hit the ball hard right at people, or we played a great game even though we lost, I am liable to throw my computer out the window.

    In the AJC, there was a survey in which Bobby was selected as the manager that players would most want to play for. But maybe that’s a double-edged sword because the current Braves may be happy but they certainly aren’t playing well for him.

    At the end of the day, however, it doesn’t matter because Bobby isn’t going anywhere until he wants to leave.

  16. Unfortunately, I think we might regret Chipper’s contract more. He has been a great player and is still a well-above average hitter, but I think the injuries and time are starting to take their toll both offensively and defensively.

  17. We can bitch about the Derek Lowe contract but the fact of the matter is… we needed him. Of course it’s a bad contract over the last three starts, but on opening night in Philly, it looked like a damn fine contract. Lowe isn’t this bad a pitcher so the trend will not continue, but bad contracts are part of baseball and you’re not going to find a team that doesn’t hold a “bad” contract.

  18. Boy, we seem to be in full-on meltdown mode around here.

    Lowe’s had a couple really bad starts recently. Not sure it’s time to assume he’s done yet. As kc says, we already knew he wasn’t an “ace” and we already knew we’d be wincing during the back half of his contract. Unless he’s injured, though, I don’t think we have much reason to really be concerned about him this year, though.

  19. #15

    To your point about it being bad managing to start ACHE last night – he was something like 32-80 in his career against Petitte so it was the right move.

  20. 21,
    He’s 36 years old. Needless to say, his best baseball days are most likely behind him. Giving a 36 year old 4 years is very regrettable, regardless of how he’s pitching right now. Not saying we should’ve done it differently this off-season, but we will eventually regret that contract.

  21. I still don’t see how Derek Lowe giving up 8 runs is Bobby’s fault. Do you think that Derek Lowe would have been a better pitcher if Lou Piniella was wearing number 6 in the dugout?

  22. If Derek Lowe falls off the table, I’ll be shocked. Almost no arm trouble and has been one of the league’s better (though unheralded) pitchers for many years. He’s having a rough spell. If this is his new normal, it was not predictable.

  23. Oh for Christ’s sake, put your diapers on girls.

    Derek Lowe is not functionally any different today than he was the Monday following his start in Philadelphia on Opening Day. He’s in a rough stretch and he had a bad night – his sinker was up all night and that’s bad news for sinker ballers. His last two starts have come against the two teams in the league that know him better than any others – his old team and their historic rivals. All you should reasonably take away from those two starts is that Lowe would probably be a liability if he pitches against the Red Sox or Yankees in the World Series. I’ll live with that.

    You’re not going to change this team’s genreal status by foolishly firing your HOF manager. You could put together a committee of ghosts for every HOF manager in history, throw in however wunderkind up-and-comer options you want and you’re still not going to get around the fundamental lack of this team. It’s not a lack of “heart.” It’s not a lack of “desire.” It’s not that the team isn’t “motivated” or “ready to play” or “focused” or whatever crap-ass new-ageism you want to assign the idea. The problem is a lack of talent.

    You have a below replacement level player in RF, a below replacement level player at 1B, a replacement level player in LF and at 2B. You’re trotting out the equivalent of backup middle infielders at your “offensive” slots and you’re bitching about the manager? Please. If you field a team of triple- and quad-A players at 4 of the 8 offensive positions you can’t expect any manager to fix it. You can run on at the mouth all day about how Cox needs to sit Francoeur, but until you have an option better than Gregor Blanco you’re spitting in the wind. You can whinge uncontrollably about starting Garret Anderson against LHP but you might check his actual production before making a fool of yourself. (HINT: he’s crushing LHP this year, has always had a reverse split and has dominated Andy Pettitte for years. Diaz might should have started in RF but not over Anderson’s 900+ OPS vs LHP in LF.)

    I swear. It’s like you can’t pull yourselves out of the haze of the current mini-sample and notice that 1) this team is being rebuilt efficiently and should be truly a contender in a year or two. and 2) they’ve played well against two beasts of the AL east and are still within spitting distance of the NL East despite the glaring holes in the lineup.

    Take the cliched pill, kids.

  24. I don’t think this is the norm for now, but if he has a 4.53 ERA during the last year of his contract, I’d be very surprised. You expect him to post numbers similar to those he posted in 2008 this season (worse since Turner Field isn’t as much of a pitchers’ park), but he will most likely be bad by the time he’s 39 years old. Well, not bad, but certainly not worth the 15 million.

    On an unrelated subject, I am extremely pleased the Hawks took Teague.

  25. 28—Actually, he pitched well against the Sox. It was the game before that, against the Orioles, when he was also lit up.

  26. Garret Anderson career vs Andy Pettitte: 83 PA, 33 for 82, 402/410/549.

    He was 1 for 2 against him last night. I’m not going to go crazy about that.

    Lowe got bombed. That’s why we lost. Hard to fall behind 6-1, then 8-1 that early. It’s not often we score 7, but what are you gonna do?

    There are no easy answers here. It wouldn’t matter if John McGraw or Joe McCarthy were managing this team. They don’t have a lineup that inspires any confidence or scores enough runs on a nightly basis.

    Adding a power hitter would help. Let’s see if someone affordable become available.

  27. ububba. what do you think about adding Wily Mo Pena? He’s now a free agent.

    It’d be a gamble…but should be a cheap gamble for a team with few OF options.

  28. ACHE’s career numbers as a 37 year old who has already shown over several years a rate of decline are substantially compromised. For example, on the “small sample” direct against Pettitte, Pettitte pitched in the NL for Houston in (I think) 2005 and 2006. So ACHE had only 07 and 08 at bats against Pettite since the 04 season when ACHE was stil near his peak. So probably 90% of those at bats were in ACHE’s roughly age 25 to 33, and he certainly is NOT that age now.

    Diaz is a better hitter against lefties now than ACHE. He is also a better fielder.

  29. to all of you who defend Cox (or accept him much like 95 degree days in June),

    Do you know of any non financial and non prospect costs that can be made to make this team better?

    Try “selection of players to play.” Who does that?

    Try “batting order”. Who does that?

    Try “bulpen management”. Who does that?

    With the roster that is there now, playing Diaz every day (left against lefties, right against righties), platooning Prado with either KJ or Kotchman against lefties (I know I have not been a big Prado fan, but he keeps making slight improvement and I know his “wheels” have limited him), playing Ross, maybe, at first against lefties, not using Gonzo or Soriano when the lead is 4 or 5 runs, all of this CRAP would probably put this team 3 to 5 games up on where it is.

    All you can expect a manager to do is ot manage what is in front of him.

    Lack of talent doesn’t keep pitchers from covering first (well, maybe for Wickman). Lack of talent does not cause ACHE to move like he does on batted balls (it is lack of hustle. His speed is mediocre, it is not “kotchmanesque”)

    If Wren doesn’t shove Bobby Cox out the door, Wren is gone by the end of next year. This team will not perform to its best with Cox at the helm. It must perform to its best to be competitive.

  30. Some fun with OPS+ [note that 100 is league average]:

    McCann 151
    Chipper 141
    Escobar 106
    McLouth (with ATL) 102
    Kotchman 87
    ACHE 85
    KJ 74
    Francoeur 70

    Prado 114
    Diaz 105
    Infante 118
    Ross 151
    Hernandez -22
    Blanco -14
    Lowe 13
    Vazquez 10

  31. Over the last two games Diaz has overtaken Anderson vs LHP. They’re essentially the same hitter against southpaws. No need to pretend they’re not. Diaz is significantly better defensively.

    All the rest of your whinging is claptrap. You’ll notice that Cox completely shook up the lineup last night, no? Yanked the slumping Kelly Johnson, replaced him with Martin Prado (who also kills LHP), put Prado up in the 2-hole and dropped Escobar into the RBI production slot behind McCann, pushed Anderson and below down a slot. And they responded with one of their best offensive showings of the year.

    You act as if there’s an easy answer. There’s not. Garret Anderson isn’t slow down the line or failing to cut off gappers because he doesn’t “hustle.” He’s slow on those things because he’s old and has lost more than a step or two with age. You’re assigning cause to some sort of nebulous pop-psychology bullshit when it is perfectly well explained by the skill sets of players involved. The Braves corner OF is bad because it’s filled by 1) a RHP platoon player, 2) an over-the-hill LHP half of that same platoon, 3) a failed golden boy who hits like Farah Fawcett’s desciated corpse and 4) Gregor Blanco, who is worse than option #3. This isn’t an issue of desire or motivation. It’s an issue of skills. You can’t become a better major league player than you actually are just by clapping louder, Tinkerbell.

  32. I hardly think firing Bobby Cox will be the solution, but I don’t want to mistake that point for supporting him either. He more frequently calls for intentional walks and sacrifice bunts than ANY other manager in baseball, and his bullpen management has been terrible over the past few years. Again, this isn’t saying that this team doesn’t have enormous deficiencies to overcome with or without Bobby, but it is to point out that describing him as “our HOF manager” is to avoid one of the team’s fundamental problems.

    Lowe will be fine. Our problem this season begins and ends with the outfield. Not even the Yankees could overcome a few positions producing at replacement level rates last year; this team certainly can’t. The Mets will get healthy and the Phillies will do what they do. In the end, this remains what it has been for some time: the 3rd or 4th best team in the NL East.

  33. How bad is it that we go 4-6 over the last 10 games and PICK UP two games on the division leader?

    Grrr. The NL East is what sucks, not Frenchy or Bobby or the FO or whatever. The whole freaking division sucks!

  34. I doubt Cox bunts or intentionally walks more than your average ML manager. If you have percentages to show that to be the case I’ll admit being wrong. I suspect, rather than having facts at hand, you’re just assuming because you see him do it more often than you see Manny Acta or Joe Torre do the same thing.

  35. Hey Sam, you blathering on about facts is pretty goddamn rich. Was it facts that brought you to the conclusion that Kelly Johnson was going to be better than Jose Reyes?

  36. I’m okay with losing 2 out of 3 to the highest paid team in baseball. It’s not fun to watch, but it’s not unexpected.

  37. Hey Sam, you blathering on about facts is pretty goddamn rich. Was it facts that brought you to the conclusion that Kelly Johnson was going to be better than Jose Reyes?

    Refresh my memory as to where, exactly, I said that please. I don’t deny that I, like most people on this and other forums along with the Braves front office and most of major league baseball thought Kelly Johnson would be an offensive force at this point in his careery. In fact, prior to this year he has been exactly that, a 2B with an 800+ OPS. Overshadowed by Chase Utley, of course, but a strong addition to any team at 2B otherwise. This season has, of course, been catastrophic. He’s never found his “hot streak” stroke for more than 2-3 games on end while being mired in the worst “cold streak” phase he’s seen since his first 50 ML at bats. The Braves really need him to snap out of it and become Kelly Johnson again, because if he doesn’t they can’t use their utility men to cover the gaping wound in RF.

    As for comparisons to Reyes, I don’t recall the specific comment(s) you’re referencing – I participate in a lot of forums so remind me where I said this thing that pisses you off so – but the last three months of horrible Kelly notwithstanding, it’s not an out of the mind comparison. Both players are 26. Both hover between 750-800 OPS for the most part. Reyes brings more steals and plays SS. Johnson slugs a little more with a little better OBP. Or are you one of those people who mistakenly believes Jose Reyes is some sort of superstar?

  38. I believe it was BTF, Sam. And I’m sure it was to incite Mets fans, which you are very adept at.

    Reyes was 63 runs above replacement level last year (according to BP’s VORP), which ranked 7th in all of baseball. I think that qualifies as superstar level, yes. Now whether that’s his true talent is up for debate. Go back to 2007 though. Reyes was 47 runs above replacement level; KJ was 35. That is position adjusted, but doesn’t factor in defense — which would obviously tilt it further in Reyes’ direction. Even at Kelly’s best he is not in Reyes’ class.

    csg, was your comment directed at me? Aren’t we not allowed to throw out a few good natured barbs to one another on this blog? Jesus. Lighten up, it’s Friday.

  39. Jeremy it wasnt, so lighten up.

    edit: but, You can stop putting the GD comments into your post and it’ll be okay with me also.

  40. Bobby Cox does manage the bullpen without paying any regard to getting his bullpen arms adequate rest. It’s not like our 4 best arms down there were injured and rehabbing last year….

  41. Meh. I’m not going all wonky for VORP. It’s a cute tool but it tries to be far to precise. They’re cutting watermelons with diamonds. Reyes’ defense and speed make him a small notch better than KJ, up until this year where KJ just cratered completely. I expected (hoped) KJ would take a step forward rather than three steps back. I had no such expectations for Reyes. As such, I thought that KJ was likely to be a better player going forward. Reyes is of the Jimmy Rollins/Rafeal Furcal school of player, IMHO. That type of player is always overrated. The type of player KJ was until this year is always underrated.

  42. If Bobby pitches Gonzo, Sorriano, Moylan, or O’Flairity people bitch. If h puts any of the other guys in, people bitch.

    The thing is it doesn’t matter who he puts in the game, most of you won’t be happy. Face it. This team isn’t that good. Bobby doesn’t really have a ton of choices.

    In reality a manager moves make a difference in about 5-10 games a year. The rest is luck and tallent.

  43. Mangerial Change?

    IMHO, if Wren believes that the team is playing below its capability, he must consider it. If it’s playing at or above, he shouldn’t.

    The whining comes from seeing the team lose 5 of its last six series, with the sixth being a split against the Pirates. Sure wish some thing would change.!Could a different manager turn that around in July?

    Within a week, we’ll hear the shouts of “Buy!” or “Sell!” Also, IMHO, we’ve got the manager that can handle either outcome.
    But I firmly believe it should be Wren’s decision. Or else he ain’t really the GM.

  44. Bobby’s penchant for repeatedly using crappy relievers like Bennett in high leverage spots is my only beef with him. I think he’s been fine otherwise.

    Fair enough re VORP. I will also concede that your last point is a good one. Although I do think Reyes’ true talent is a few notches above Rollins/Furcal.

  45. Wren stated in an interview the other day that Bobby likes going year to year and he’s earned the right to stay as long as he wants. Wren, after all his PR problems in his first year as GM, will not fire Bobby. We just better hope that Bobby either gets bored and retires or decides to move into a role in the front office

  46. #34/Tiger

    Although his career suggests that it might be his turn to have a good half-season, it’s hard to get excited about Wily Mo. It would be a desperate move by an increasingly desperate team.

  47. Bobby’s penchant for repeatedly using crappy relievers like Bennett in high leverage spots is my only beef with him. I think he’s been fine otherwise.

    I hated Jeff Bennett(‘s poor performance) as much as the next guy, but who exactly should Bobby have been running out there? Everyone already up in arms about overuse of the three good relievers. Kris Medlen is a rookie starter who is awesome until a baserunner gets on, and then blows up. Not exactly a solid option for “runners on, big situation, need a ground ball.” The other feasible options – Buddy Carlyle, Jo-Jo Reyes, Jorge Campillo – are on the DL. Or are you guys seriously lobbying for more innings for Manny Acosta or James Parr? Again, it’s not the Cox and senile or incompetent. He simply doesn’t have the weapons to go to.

    Jeff Bennett sucked. He was also the best option in the pen after Moylan/O’Flaherty. What, exactly, was the manager supposed to do? Suddenly wish James Parr into becoming Ryan Madsen?

  48. RE: Wily Mo, I was interested when he was first released, but then I dug in and looked. He was posting Francoeur numbers in AAA. There’s a reason both the Nats and Mets cut him.

  49. I wasnt all that mad at Bobby for bringing in Bennett, I was more mad at the fact that our good relievers werent available because of their overuse in games where we are up 5 or 7 runs. I was also mad at the fact that both McCann and Bennett both thought it was okay to groove 4 fastballs to a struggling ARod

  50. I understand the consternation, but events this year suggest that a 5 run lead isn’t particularly secure this year. Plus, in at least one of those I’m pretty sure the good reliever was up and throwing before the lead expanded. Might as well use him at that point.

    The Braves bullpen is four deep. When they have leads late, they HAVE to win them, so those four relievers get used in those games. If they had a fifth or sixth guy better than Bennett – Logan looked reasonable last night, Carlyle will be coming back from his bout with diabetes soon – that would help immensely.

    Alternately the Braves could fix one of the offensive holes – RF and 1B spring to mind as the most desperate needs. If the offense could put more runs on the board consistently then you can take more of a risk on your “not a real save, but a save in Atlanta” situations and rest your top three relievers unless it was a +/-2 run lead. It seems counterintuitive, but the best way to fix the bullpen problem might very well be to trade for Mark DeRosa and start him in RF.

  51. I’m not trying to play peacemaker here. I think Bobby should retire — I’ve been saying that for a while now. But it’s not going to happen midseason. It may not even happen this decade.

    Part of the problem is, as we all know, Bobby isn’t quite the man he was a decade ago. His reflexes and instincts aren’t quite as good. His decisions are more suspect. But, as Mac has pointed out, part of that may be that a lot of his old lieutenants are gone — Pat Corrales, Leo Mazzone, and others, who may have been able to counterbalance Bobby and suggest a different course of action. I doubt the coaches in the dugout would be able to hold similar sway if they had a better idea on how to manage a situation.

    Similarly, one of Frank Wren’s main problems is that Bobby’s incredible influence and resume casts a serious shadow over his ability to make personnel decisions. This is why most new GMs tend to fire the old manager and hire their own, to reestablish a chain of command. Right now, Bobby’s no one’s subordinate, and no one can call him on his mistakes.

    Am I rambling? Am I a conspiracy theorist? Maybe. I’m just glad that Bobby won’t be able to call Jeff Bennett out of the bullpen any time soon.

  52. Sam Hutcheson,

    I can’t tell you the sources, but I am sure (no CERTAIN) I have read articles within the last year on bunting and on intentional walks that each put Cox at the top of those categories.

    Also, if you want to employ the bunt for sacrifices, make sure that the guys CAN bunt. Either make them take extra bunting practice, or don’t try the bunts. It is not just the number of bunts that are employed, but the substantially bad percentage of success that are hurting this team. In other words, if the runner is getting forced at second anyway, then just see what you can do if you hit it. If the player goes down 0-2 trying to bunt and then has to complete the at bat from 0-2, why start down that road at all?

    You Cox defenders are like Alec Guiness’ character in Bridge Over the River Kwai. You are not objectively evaluating the situation in light of the PURPOSE of the actions. The PURPOSE of the actions of a baseball manager is to produce wins. If that is not the result, you don’t marvel at the engineering, you figure out how to win even if you have to blow the bridge to bits.

  53. What next for the Hawks? I like the moves, but there’s more work to be done.

    Let Bibby walk now that we have Crawford and Teague?

    Work a sign-and-trade on Marvin and his ever-expanding butt?

  54. Cliff, ultimately, a lot of what happens on the field is luck. The only thing that the humans can control is the decision process. If Bobby does something dumb and it works, he looks like a genius, but in actuality he did something dumb. By contrast, if he does something smart and it doesn’t work out, he deserves not to be criticized for it.

    It’s like a bad beat in poker. All you can do is make choices for the right reasons. If you do things for the right reasons, you’ll win more often than not. If your decision process is faulty, however, you deserve to have your logic taken to task.

    I’m criticizing Bobby because I think his decisions have been frequently flawed, and that’s been borne out on the field by the Braves’ many losses over the last few years.

  55. Sacrifice hit data, if not sacrifice attempt data, is easily found. Last year, the Braves were sixth in the NL in sac bunts, with three more than the league average. This year, they are also sixth. In 2007, they were fourteenth.

    Intentional walk data is also in the standard statistics. The Braves led the league each of the last two seasons and are leading it this year as well.

  56. Yes and Yes, hank. (And LOL @62.)

    Camby or Kaman. Or Chandler. They’ve got some financial flexibility and a need for a big man.

  57. I agree with Alex entirely. It has always seemed to me that Bobby has an enormous amount of power within the organization and that this is a serious constraint on Wren’s authority. I think it affects how the team has been constructed–to the detriment of the team.

    But the fact is that good teams win with lousy managers and bad teams lose with good managers. I don’t think Charlie Manual is exactly John McGraw. In general, the only time fans are happy with their manager–if then–if when they win the World Series. Someone earlier said a manager’s moves matter in 5-10 games a year; I’m not sure if it’s that many but the fact is, how many times have you seen a manager do something seemingly inexplicable but it works? How many times does a guy fail to get a bunt down and then drill the next pitch for a double? Baseball strategy has to be the most overrated aspect of the game. (I’m not, of course, including managing the pitching staff which is really the most important part of managing.)

    I think Bobby should retire, but it’s not like this is a 95 win team waiting for the right leader.

  58. AAR,

    I don’t really EXPECT Cox to get fired. In fact, I am pretty sure that will not happen. However, in evaluating what this team CAN do to get better, some on here sure haven’t thought through this.

    What also has me riled on this issue is the talk the past few weeks that “Bobby can have it as long as he wants it” from Wren. Wren has just cut off two oldtimers that had done a lot for the club but were expensive and past their primes. Wren needs to be saying behind closed doors “No way this contract is getting extended.”

    By the way, The Hardball Times did a study on manager age compared to productivity and found almost conclusively that it peaks between 46 and 56. in fact, only Felip Alou out of ALL managers had ever had a better 3 or 5 year run after 56 than any 3 to 5 year run between 46 and 56. Cox was 56 in about 1998. This team peaked about 1996. It has never returned to that level. Why isn’t there at least a chance that this is so?

    And by the way, when Francona was at Phildelphia I think he was right around 40. Now he is about 52 or so.

  59. I don’t really EXPECT Cox to get fired. In fact, I am pretty sure that will not happen. However, in evaluating what this team CAN do to get better, some on here sure haven’t thought through this.

    That last bit is true. For example, people who think the first thing you need to do to make this a better team is to fire the manager rather than replace the crappy players haven’t thought it through at all.

    Bobby Cox is not the problem. He gives out IBB’s more than the internets would like. He’s always done that, and he’s won doing it, so I’m not really sure why I should trust the internets here. He’s no worse about sac bunting than your average ML manager. He uses the only relievers he can trust in “low leverage situations” because he’s learned from experience with his second tier relievers that what might be “low leverage” for normal teams is not necessarily low-leverage for this team. He is hamstrung by his roster (which Frank Wren nor noone else could have fixed in one off-season.)

    Basically it comes down to the fact that you guys can’t come to terms with the fact that this is the middle year of a 2-year rebuild.

  60. Oh, and there is absolutely no possibility that Frank Wren can fire Bobby Cox. I doubt he could even initiate the discussion.

    Agreed. Cox sits on the Board of Directors. He’s still John Schuerholz’ boss, who is in turn Frank Wren’s boss.

  61. Cox was 56 in about 1998. This team peaked about 1996. It has never returned to that level. Why isn’t there at least a chance that this is so?

    A chance? Sure, there’s a chance. Young Bobby was probably better than old Bobby. That does not in any way suggest that Young Manny Acta or whomever is better than Old Bobby, no more than Young Jeff Francoeur is better than Old Chipper Jones just because, well hell, he’s closer to peak performance age! The Braves peaked around 1996 because that was when all of their future HOF talent was on the field at the same time.

    If Cox had the ’96 Braves in his lineup and was still losing ball games, then you’d have a better point. But it’s silly to expect any manager to win when he doesn’t have major league caliber players on more than half of his roster.

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