High-flying game thread: July 3, Phillies at Braves

Jeffy“Hi, I’m Atlanta Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur. Have you accepted Delta into your life? Delta has a wonderful plan for you…”

Stu will be with you tonight with the recap. I’ll be here in spirit, but not so much in person.

152 thoughts on “High-flying game thread: July 3, Phillies at Braves”

  1. Oh, this isn’t an illness thing, this is a “my modem at home is broken and most of the public places I would use will be closed” thing.

  2. Really, Mac’s just testing the loyalty of his readers. Only the most committed will still be here after two days of Stu.

  3. This should be an interesting two days.

    I have no doubt that we’ll all know more about Vanderbilt’s contribution to Western Civilization that we’d ever want.

    Did you know the Greeks built that Parthenon thing after seeing it on the Nashville campus?

    Seriously, enjoy your weekend, Mac. You deserve it. And we’re in good hands. (Unless Gadfly returns …)

  4. I didn’t acknowledge Greyson’s existence on the blog for the last month or so he was here.

    Vanderbilt will finish third in the East this year. In football. We’ll finish first in hoops.

  5. I don’t know Blind Hog (I suspect it’s because they’re playing the Pirates who ARE trying to roll over and lose), but they’re small balling the heck out of it with 11 singles and one walk accounting for all of their offense.

  6. That is the best fake Braves player comment intro ever. I am the way the truth and the flight. No man comes into RF but by me.

  7. Stu, huh?

    Hmmm. I’m reminded of what Andy Van Slyke said the time he sat out a game and watched Will Pennyfeather play center field for the Pirates:

    “Why don’t I feel more like Wally Pipp?”

  8. By the way, it’s obviously been around awhile, but that poll question is exceedingly difficult. Kotchman has been the most consistently reliable, but I hesitate to call him a defensive MVP. Has he really done anything that you can say has made the difference in winning and losing? I simply refuse to classify Escobar as the MVP of anything. McCann has been much better, but his defense is still just above average, at best. Schafer was the most spectacular, but a)he overran a ball per game, and b)he’s not here anymore, nor has he been for a month, nor will he likely be the rest of the year. I hereby present the argument that we don’t have a defensive MVP, per se. We simply have like four people who do not suck at defense (three when Escobar’s in one of his moods).

  9. Vanderbilt will finish third in the East this year. In football. We’ll finish first in hoops.

    lol, oh please

  10. Maybe Diaz will play RF tonight since he homered last night.

    Oh, who am I kidding.

  11. #15, have you learned so little? I am just waiting for Bobby to inexplicably put Kelly back in at 2B.

  12. @17 – It’s actually been reported that the only reason Prado wasn’t starting on a regular basis sooner is that he has a groin problem. Bobby is still worried about it flaring up now.

  13. Per DOB,

    1. Blanco, CF
    2. Prado, 2B
    3. Chipper, 3B
    4. McCann, C
    5. Escobar, SS
    6. Diaz, LF
    7. (Insert Hilarious nickname. We’ll go with) Groundhog, RF
    8. Kotchman, 1B
    9. Vazquez, RHP

  14. 12—Et tu, sansho?

    14—Just you wait and see, my friend. The SEC East is gonna be pretty bad—well, shallow—in football, and we’re just gonna be really, really good in basketball.

  15. 3rd in football and 1st in basketball?

    Former is possible. Latter less likely, but 2nd is certainly possible.

    Gaytors could finish 5th in basketball.



    USC – surely they’ll get it right this year, right?

    Vandy / Kentucky – depends on who wins the head-to-head

    The Fighting Kiffins

    Who does Vandy play from the West?

  16. Vandy actually finished 3rd in the East last year.

    I think a big question for Vandy’s 3rd place validity is: Will Tennessee rebound?

    Don’t know, but I guarantee you everyone will be gunning for them.

  17. I don’t know what my friends will do if USC loses to Vandy again this fall. Almost burned down the apartment last time.

  18. Don’t worry, sansho, I can take it. ;)

    We get MSU, Ole Miss, and @LSU.

    How I see it:

    Definite wins: WCU, @Army, @Rice, MSU

    Probable win: UK

    Toss-ups: Ole Miss, @UT, @USC, UGA

    Probable losses: Georgia Tech, @LSU

    No effing way: @Florida

    I think we’ll win at least 2 of the toss-ups. Looking forward to the sniping sure to ensue. :)

    As far as hoops, seriously, we’re going to be better than you realize.

  19. There are now 8 players in the NL who have made more outs than Out Machine.

    Rank. Name – Outs (PA’s)
    1. Jimmy Rollins – 257 (329)
    2. Emilio Bonifacio – 246 (335)
    3. Alfanso Soriano – 242 (335)
    4. Ryan Zimmerman – 236 (350)
    5. Orlando Hudson – 232 (337)
    5. Ryan Howard – 232 (352)
    7. Kevin Kouzmanoff – 230 (302)
    8. Andre Ethier – 229 (326)
    9. Groundhog – 228 (303)

    Captain Underpants has climbed to 7th in worst OWPt.

    1. Brian Giles – .221
    2. Jimmy Rollins – .235
    3. Jason Kendall – .288
    4. Ivan Rodriguez – .289
    5. Willy Taveras – .304
    6. Emilio Bonifacio – .318
    7. Failcoeur – .321

    Keep it up, Frenchy! In a month you might be off the list of 10 most useless players in baseball!

  20. Before I forget:

    Nebraska should move heaven and earth to get Paul Johnson. Never has there been a better fit. (With the possible exception of Calipari and UK.)

  21. Adam LaRoche with a game-tying, 2-run HR off K-Rod in the bottom of the 9th. It’s 8-8.

    I’m telling you, the Mets are very entertaining this year.

  22. I don’t get the logic of the Bradley piece. If we trade Escobar, and he’s good, won’t we get something good back? I think that answering the question “should we trade Escobar?” is difficult without knowing what we’d get in return. I agree that he’s a good player, which is we might get something for him. When Mark Bradley says we don’t have a shortstop, that’s irrelevant. What if we get one in a deal? Nomar Garciapara didn’t have an in-house replacement, and that deal ended up OK for Boston. Escobar’s had problems for years. I think (though I’m not certain) that Jeff Blauser’s stint at Mississippi was heavily tainted by poor relations with Escobar (maybe he tried to enforce rules instead of throw tantrums). I also believe that Brayan Pena was traded because they wanted to separate him from Escobar so that he might assimilate better with the team.

  23. Nice work, Adam!

    Fun Mets factoid of the day: Elmer Dessens is on their active roster.

  24. The Mets are a joke. By the way, if you want to see something hilarious, look at the sponsor for Johan Santana’s baseball-reference page.

  25. Gotta love those Mets. They have no pitchers or pinch hitters left going into extra innings. And K-Rod has already thrown 30 pitches.

  26. 28 — Maybe we won’t throw the season away (literally) with 500 INTs this year.

    By the way, Stu, look out for our hoops team this year. Downey and Archie both decided to return for their senior season. We only lose Frederick. Probably will be our best team in 13 years.

  27. Oh, and with the LHP Happ pitching, Francoeur actually should be playing.

    I would like it if Francoeur never played against RHPs and Kotchman never played against LHPs.

  28. Yeah, I think you’ll finish 3rd or 4th in the East, braves14, and I think at least 4 teams from the East will be in the Tourney. We only lost reserve George Drake (today, actually), and we added John Jenkins and get Andre Walker back from injury.

    We’re going to be very, very good.

  29. By the way, I think it was Stu last night who somewhat apologetically suggested that we start Prado at third and Chipper at first. If we’re going to do that, Stu, why would we not just start Prado at first and keep Chipper at third? Since like Prado has played there before and Chipper hasn’t.

  30. Nick,
    Because Prado has been much, much better at third than Chipper has and it’s the more important defensive position.

  31. I just voted my 25 times for McCann. Ugh. That’s a tedious process.

    I had a dream last night that during a Braves there was a popup to shallow right, and both Kotchman and Groundhog ran to it as fast as they could. They both missed the ball; however, violently collided head first into each other. Neither was seriously injured, but both had concussions the effects of which kept them out the remainder of the season. The lineup instantly improved and we went on a sick winning streak; 14 straight into the all star break! From there we cruised to our rightful spot to another division title…

    Then I woke up.

  32. I guess what I would say to that is that Prado’s defense at third and at first has been and would be about the same (and he’s still not exactly a defensive whiz BTW). Meanwhile, we have no idea how Chipper would take to first. The possibility exists that it could be a disaster. And even if it’s not, you’ve downgraded yourself defensively without Kotchman and there’s really no offensive benefit to it, at least until Infante comes back (assuming he’s the same guy when he does, which I’m not sure we should) or Kelly rights himself.

    And granted we don’t know if Chipper’s defensive decline this year is just a slump of some sort or if he’ll never get it back, but if it is just a slump, Chipper since he moved back to third had been way better than Prado defensively IMO.

  33. @49

    I think Stu’s idea was based upon Infante returning.

    When that occurs, it’s no stretch to conclude that our 6 best hitting infielders are: Chipper, Yunel, McCann, Prado, Ross, and Infante. The goal should be to get their bats in the lineup while maintaining the best defensive presence possible.

  34. I was actually being serious at my dream. It was really sad. I met these guys at this random gift shop outside of the stadium, and they had no idea where the Braves went either. They ended up selling me a buncha really discounted Braves stuff. It was a really weird, sad dream.

  35. And even if it’s not, you’ve downgraded yourself defensively without Kotchman

    You’d rather have plus defense at first than at third? That makes no sense.

    and there’s really no offensive benefit to it, at least until Infante comes back

    That’s why I said to do this “[w]hen Infante comes back.”

    Chipper since he moved back to third had been way better than Prado defensively IMO.

    Prado has been very, very good at third this year. Chipper has been brutal this year.

  36. WOW – just think how many teams have their RF hitting 7th or their 1st baseman hitting 8th in their order. It has to be just us, right?

  37. Chipper’s been bad, although he made a great DP-starting pick to help Moylan out of a jam the other night.

  38. Rob,

    I really didn’t see your post on the last thread. Just thinking how much better the lineup would look with 1B and RF different.

    That would be a shitty dream though.

  39. This probably is our best lineup against a lefty, until and unless we get another 1b/ rf, or Heyward is ready.

  40. So Frank Wren says he’ll wait until the deadline to figure out if they need a bat.

    Expectedly, they want to give Frenchy every inch of the rope to hang himself with.

  41. Sitting at the dinner table I noticed a fruit fly. I tracked it for a while, waiting for it to get to a spot where I could get him. Had to wait a couple of minutes. After I got him on the first smack, this dialogue ensued:

    me: I got him because I was selective and “waited for my pitch.” I didn’t just flail away.

    wife: Like Francoeur?

    She doesn’t know much about baseball… but she’s picked up a thing or two.

  42. What’s the deal with McClouth? Thought he was back today.

    EDIT: well done c. shorter. I still continually get the, “why do you get so mad? It’s just a game” line from my girlfriend.

  43. Ethan,
    Standard answer for gals who object to your watching baseball: “I could have worse habits.”

    For Dinosaur Jr. fans: I just noticed that the Braves-game lead-in music on WGST is “Feel the Pain.”

  44. Runners at the corners, nobody out and I still felt that a scoreless inning was a likelihood. Francoeur’s value to Braves Nation is that he keeps expectations low, reducing our eventual disappointment.

  45. Stenchy swings through (read: is late on) so many average, right-down-the-pipe fastballs.

  46. Unexceptable – If Frenchy just puts the bat on the ball, we probably score a run there. Vazquez should take a bat to his head…

  47. just in case anyone wants to know: francoeur 10 for 38 his last 10 games (263 avg) with no walks (.263 obp), 3 rbis and 2 runs, and yet the ass clowns that annonce the game say he’s swinging the bat better. GET HIM OUT OF THE LINEUP YOU INSANE OLD MAN! HE SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKS!

  48. “Watching” online.

    How did we not advance the runner with two fly balls to right?

  49. you think that the other teams yell out ‘EASY OUT!” little league style when Jeffy comes up?

  50. That was at least 75 feet farther than I thought it was possible for Kotchman to hit a ball.

  51. Adam R,

    From the same article, on Tommy Hanson-

    ” His nasty mixture of mid-90s fastballs and off-speed junk has occasionally baffled opponents, but not nearly with the flair most expected.”


  52. Paragraph 16

    “Obviously with Stewart five years his junior and ageless wonder Todd Helton(notes) entrenched across the diamond, Atkins and his $7.05 million salary will likely find a new address in the very near future. The Mets and ***Braves*** are rumored to be the most interested suitors. However, surging Seattle, who will be without Adrian Beltre(notes) for at least the next six weeks, could also jump into the sweepstakes. Due to Mike Lowell’s(notes) ailing hip, Boston could make a pitch too.”

  53. He’s a bad third baseman. Really, he’s a first baseman.

    I don’t want him, though.

  54. Rereading it, it seems like a bunch of speculation. ‘The Braves and Mets are the most interested, but *maybe* Seattle and *maybe* Boston…’

    I get where the Hanson critique is coming from. They must’ve missed that he’s progressed every start, but if you lump them all together, especially the first two, the stats do look a little disconcerting.

  55. Damn. Thought that Howard fly was gone off the bat.

    If you could pawn off Kotchman to someone…Atkins would be alright, but not worth Medlen

  56. Atkins’ career road OPS is .798. And he’s paid $7 million this year and is arbitration-eligible again in 2010. No thanks.

    EDIT: Ugh, Kelly.

  57. Yessss

    EDIT: And the pulled Frenchy!

    Joe:”Bobby going for another run, obviously, rather than leaving Jeff in.”


  58. At least Cox is putting some faith in Diaz…

    EDIT: And that faith has paid off!

    EDIT2: And he lifted Francoeur for GA… such poetic justice!!!

    EDIT3: My guess is Francoeur will not be starting tomorrow! I just soiled my turkey underwear.

  59. the south african Danville first baseman, Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg, went 2 for 4 tonight and lowered his batting average.

  60. Please let this be the beginning of the end for Francoeur. I know it was playing the matchup but still a total vote of no confidence in Jeffy’s ability to get a runner in from third with one out.

    And it was the right move, too.

  61. By the way, if you’re into the schandenfreude deal, beerleaguer.typepad.com is an excellent source for Phillies angst. Last night there were several devoted posters calling Hamels a pussy, halfway into the season after he dragged them to a championship. Love it.

  62. how bout this for a lineup:

    man, that’s tough. is this what we will see tomorrow?

  63. 6 pitches, 6 strikes, 3 outs.

    Nice catch too, Nitram.

    Too bad Javy can’t catch a break to get a win.

  64. I was just slightly afraid we would go into extras after all those substitutions, but that was pretty unlikely after that awesome ACHEr.

  65. I wouldn’t want anyone here to think that I don’t believe Francoeur sucks.

    Francoeur sucks and MATT DIAZ IS AWESOME!

    And, yeah, as a Bobby basher I gotta admit that his substitutions really all worked out in the later innings. It feels so freaking great to beat the Phillies.

  66. If anyone gets a chance, check out Russell Branyan’s HR at Yankee Stadium tonight. It hit the restaurant in dead-center field. Quite a blast.

  67. @139, I’ll have to look for it. His Dad lives just around the corner from us. I’m sure it’ll make the cover of the local rag, if nothing else.

    Russell Branyan = poor man’s Adam Dunn?

  68. Maybe so, 143,

    That 161 OPS+ is pretty impressive, for sure. And 15 points higher than Dunn has ever hit for in a season.

  69. 148,
    Branyan has one of the best pure power strokes in the game. But he’s never been a guy who’ll hit for a high average (and in turn doesn’t get on base that well). He has a career average of .237. His average this year is .298. He’s not hitting more line drives. The walks are the same, the strikeouts are the same. What’s different is the absurd .360 BABIP (52 points higher than his career average). 19 HR is 19 HR, though. Not sustainable. I don’t think, at least.

  70. Oh, it’s a career year, for sure. Maybe Seattle suits him. The splits suggest that might be the case.

    Anyway, the only reason I pay attention to the guy is because he has family in my tiny little town. Makes him easy to root for, I guess.

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