Nats 5, Braves 3

Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals – Box Score – July 05, 2009 – ESPN

Ugh, this team. Sweep the Phillies, then lose a series to the Notionals? Why? What is their problem?

The Bad Lowe showed up, allowing ten hits and four runs in 5 1/3. Forget the ground balls; he just isn’t going to be effective if he doesn’t get some hitters to swing and miss. He struck out only one. If you allow so many balls in play, you are going to have games like this. This is the third in the last five starts, I believe.

The Braves trailed 3-0, then 4-1, then 5-1. Late in the game, they started to have some chances, but couldn’t do anything. One of the main problems was that the 3-6 hitters were a collective 0-13, though they drew five walks. So through 8 2/3, they had only one run, and that on a sac fly. McLouth cut it to 5-3 with a two-run homer in the ninth, followed by a Prado single and a Chipper walk, but McCann, who is struggling by his own admission (some bad luck, but sometimes he’s getting under the ball and popping it up) grounded out on the first pitch.

Prado remains incredible, going 4-4 with a walk, doubling twice. He’s now hitting .329. He’s not perfect; he was thrown out trying to stretch a leadoff single in the eighth, an inning in which the Braves got two two-out walks after him, though Chipper grounded out before those and it probably would have been a GIDP… Diaz had two hits, one a double, and McLouth also had two hits. So basically, it was the new guy and two guys who started the season on the bench… In one of the Braves’ late opportunities, two on and one out in the seventh, the pitcher’s spot was due up. Bobby sent… Francoeur. You have to be frigging kidding me. Typically, he fouled out on the first pitch. He sucks. I mean, his other possibilities (since he wouldn’t use his one actual power hitter, Ross, in that situation) were Blanco, Conrad, and Hernandez, but when in doubt, go with the guy least likely to make an out. In basically all situations, that is the person who isn’t Francoeur, who sucks.

101 thoughts on “Nats 5, Braves 3”

  1. Sweep the Phils then lose 2/3 to the Nats. That right there is your 2009 Atlanta Braves in a nutshell. The recent lineup changes should pay off in the long run, but adding one more above average hitter would be a big help if the Braves are serious about contending for the playoffs.

  2. Maybe franny should be a pitcher instead of outfield. He has a good arm and would probably be a top 10 hitting pitcher lol.

  3. Well that’s a shame.

    Despite McClouth and Anderson hitting the ball well, this team will only go as far as Chipper and McCann can take it.

  4. Does anybody think there REALLY is something going on with Francoeur? Like a trade?

    Against the lefthander, I would have started Francoeur in right and Diaz in left.

  5. He has a career OPS of 1.350 against Lannan and a .919 against Olsen (before today’s spectacularly weak pop-out). So the stats tell you to start him. On the other hand, you probably just assume he compiled the good part of those numbers before he went all body-builder and lost all of his bat speed pre-2008 season. So you bench him because he sucks. I don’t know what to make of the benching. Bobby says it is nothing. Not that Bobby would tell us anything else. I don’t think the pinch-hit appearance is meaningful either way. It probably is just nothing. I hope he’s getting traded.

  6. Not only has McCann been struggling, but his defense has been very suspect.

    The Braves have to find a power bat from somewhere. 1st base is the obvious weak spot.

  7. The frustrating thing from a management standpoint is, they sweep philly and lose 2-3 from the nationals. So which team is it? I guess there are two options and thats trade some peices to get a big power bat, but is that enough?

    Or, you could trade Vasquez for a some youth, perhaps a young OF Major League Ready for ’10 or a 1B of the same spot. Because, if/when Hudson comes back, there is a logjam in the rotation, they cant move Lowe or Kawakami. So Vasquez is the only option, what does everyone think?

  8. You can’t move Vasquez…he along with Jurrens have been the aces of the staff. Plus Hudson earliest return is Aug 25th.

    The Braves basically have the same problem with their offense pre-Mark Teixiera. No big power bat in the middle of the line-up. If they had a lot a speed to make up for it, it wouldn’t be so obvious.

    This is where Francouer failures are magnified a billions times over.

  9. 16
    thats really a great point, you gotta think, hindsight is 20 20, but would we be better off now, had we not traded for tex, of course. We still wouldnt have won the east, or made the playoffs, and we would have some serious chips to trade now, but thats easy for me to say 2 years later.

    Im of the opinion right now, to play it with what we got, unless we can get rid of Vazquez who can get significant return, or to dump KJ or Frenchy, just to get rid of them.

    We cant win the east, or the wild card with no power at the 1B position, an auto out in the RF spot and several other holes to fill.

    The guys that could go and not kill us, are Frenchy, KJ and even Gonzo to a point, as he could probably bring us a nice peice back, and then Vasquez who is our best starter right now.

    Its such a tough spot!

  10. If we sneak them through waivers the first week of August can we deal them in late August? I forget how the wavier trades work…

  11. Braves lose two in a row to the Naughts and Frenchy only made one out………lets blame Bobby

  12. Dear learned friends,

    Please educate me. Do we have to place newly signed free agents on waivers and wait until after the deadline before we can trade them, or could we trade Lowe before the deadline?

    I’m not talking about the feasibility of making such a trade, just what the rules are.

  13. There’s a rule about trading newly signed free agents, but I don’t think you have to wait until August. I think you can trade them some time in May. I’m sure if I looked around I could find a player whom a team signed to a one-year contract, then traded at the deadline.

  14. Even if we wanted to dump him, who would take Lowe at that price?

    Another good call today: Spectacular weather, so we caught a crazy shootout at Yankee Stadium. Four homers to rightfield & I’m pretty sure that 3 of them wouldn’t have gone out in the old stadium.

    A genuinely disappointing Braves series, but we have plenty of time to make up ground. Let’s whoop them Cubs.

  15. The rule:

    Teams can’t normally trade a newly signed free agent until after June 15 of the following season, unless the player gives written consent.

  16. Gotta love the polls at AJC:

    Which of these Braves holds the most trade value?
    Jeff Francoeur
    Greg Norton
    Javier Vazquez

  17. Mac,
    I read your question from the previous thread.

    The nuns just repeated was what in some monthly parish mag, which “recommended” that people not see the latest Monty Python flick.

    Of course, when I was a freshman at the same school a couple years before, they made a big deal about the ABC TV show, “Soap.”

    Why? Because Billy Crystal played the first openly gay character in TV history.

    Of course, I had to watch it, but I didn’t think the show was that funny, save Richard Mulligan’s character, who thought he could make himself invisible.

  18. greg norton, ha, yes, he holds a ton of value, almost as much as alejandro pena

  19. Wow we wasted 22 million this year on our 2 free agent signings … 22 million for the next 3 years at least .. quit talking trade with these 2 guys ..Lowe and KK we are stuck with .. somebody would have to be crazy to take them or Francour off our hands .. just resign yourselves to the fact that this team has NO POWER production and that isnt going to change .. Chipper is on his way down and McCann all of a sudden has lost his power .. he is still not comfotable with glasses you can tell .. and we have to have the SLOWEST team known to man .. GAnderson and Kotchman couldnt beat my granny in a footrace .. Kotchman I thought had better power than what he shows .. this day and time you cant have a first baseman with no power .. when you dont have another position supplying the makeup ansd the BRAVES DONT !!

  20. Does that rule about trading free agents apply to ones who signed long term deals as opposed to one year deals?

  21. Any, but a player signed to a long-term deal has the right to demand a trade (and if that is not forthcoming, to be granted free agency) at the end of the season. It’s unlikely that an overpaid player would.

  22. @21 Agreed. Frenchy and Bobby weren’t the problem these last two games… But…
    Does anyone other than me cringe when Ganderson comes to the plate against a lefty pitcher? His numbers agianst lefties aren’t bad, which supports the belief that sometimes stats can mislead. He has no chance. Francoeur does at least has a chance against lefties, and is a far superior defender. I can agree with most of the Frenchy bashing, but the idea of basically platooning those two guys, while playing Diaz in left or right, depending on who is sitting, makes sense to me. (Until we can find something better)

  23. I will have to give Cox credit for the lineup he put out the last few days. I think it was the best he could have done. I will say however that bullpen management was a problem in game 2 of the series. Hanson pitches a gem and we trot out Gonzalez who has been severely overworked lately. Maybe we would have lost with Medlen or Acosta, but considering the circumstances and the overuse of Moylan/Gonzo/ Soriano, I thought they were our best options at the time and I still believe that.

  24. @38…

    If you saw the game on Saturday, Anderson looked pretty good against a solid lefty in Lannan. Also Francouer did pinch hit today in a big spot and what did he do? A weak foul out to the righfielder on the 1st pitch. So I am not ready to sing the praises of Francouer yet.

    I like Francouer on the bench, 1st base is the glaring hole with the current line-up.

  25. anderson looks bad against a lefty that throws breaking balls. he looks good against a lefty that throws fast balls. to me, a fastball is basically the same no matter which arm throws it.

  26. Anyone know the status of Jorge Campillo? When he was put on the 15 day DL I didn’t think his injury was very serious. Apparently I was way off. It would be nice to have him as a 5th starter if we trade one of our starters (most likely Vazquez) for an outfielder.

  27. Anyone know the status of Jorge Campillo?

    I would assume he’s fake injured, just waiting for one of the other pitchers to drop.

    These last two games have been like when you are at a casino and getting hammered, then you start to creep back up and it looks like you are going to get even (a 20 against a dealer six – a late lead over the hapless Nats with .500 within reach). Of course the dealer has an 11 and pulls a king and it’s back into the negative. Usually this is when they run through your whole bankroll.

  28. Greg Norton with a solid 20 votes in the AJC poll of who has the most trade value.

  29. @38 …His numbers agianst lefties aren’t bad, which supports the belief that sometimes stats can mislead. He has no chance.

    Funny, I would have argued that this supports the belief that sometimes your eyes can mislead.

  30. People have been hard on KK here, but he was pitching pretty well in his last 5 starts, especially for your 4th starter.
    He was dealing aces against the Yanks until he got hit with that line drive
    And he make a million less next year on his contract.

    Lowe looks bad, but he will figure it out, I hope.

  31. After July 31 the Braves have three days off before August 25 when Hudson is likely to be available. If they wanted to it seems they could limp along with the other four starters and perhaps plug Medlin or Campillo (if he’s well) in for a spot start if needed. They could trade Vasquez and make the other team also take Francoeur for a big bat. I’m not sure how I feel about trading Vasquez but at least it looks to me like the Braves could manage to function after the trade and before Hudson came back.

  32. The manager can only do so much with the lineups. He can only play the guys he has. No matter who Bobby puts out there, it’s not going to be a very good lineup, unless Chipper and McCann hit a lot. Basically, the question of platooning Frenchy and Ganderson and so forth is tinkering on the margins. The team simply lacks talent as witnessed by one player in the All-Star game (although some of the pitchers probably deserved to go).

    I was very disappointed with Chipper’s comment in the AJC: “Yesterday killed all of our momentum,” said Jones, whose ninth-inning walk Sunday was followed by a Brian McCann groundout.”

    That’s bullshit. There is no such thing as momentum in baseball (as the saying goes, “momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher.” Of course, our starting pitcher didn’t help.) Even if there is, good teams overcome defeats like this. The Red Sox blew a 10-1 lead earlier this week and then came back in the 9th inning the next day to win. The Braves always used to follow a bad loss with a win. This is the kind of fatalism that is starting to infect the team–or maybe it’s realism and Chipper realizes the team isn’t good enough to overcome adversity. Momentum isn’t some deus ex machina that magically descends on teams-a team has to make it’s own momentum by playing well.

  33. This is a better team if Francoeur is, in fact, out of the lineup for good.

    Of course, it appears he isn’t, according to this AJC quote:

    Braves manager Bobby Cox said the decision was based on how well fellow outfielders Matt Diaz and Garret Anderson are hitting and not an indication that Francoeur is losing his job in right field.

    And before anyone says Cox is protecting Stenchy’s ego, remember he did say that Prado had earned the 2b job over KJ.

    “Diaz and Anderson both are hitting nothing but bullets,” Cox said. “I’ve got to play the hot hand right now.”

  34. I messed that up. The 2nd paragraph is that blockquote is actually me, not the AJC.

  35. Apparently, Bobby Cox thinks that, if he got rid of Francouer, the terrorists would win.

  36. I have deduced that there two roster-trimming methods in the Braves system. There is the Mondesi method and the Jordan method:quick and easy or getting time off before the ax falls. Kelly has already been getting the Jordan, with a “DL” stint (stage two) that was preceded by a few spells of days off (stage one) earlier this season. Right now, Jeffy’s in stage one. My guess is that he will get another run at playing everyday, but his job is in impending peril. Another stretch of stinking it up and he’ll be in the minors, because they don’t have to DL him to get him there. Interesting coincidence: Gwinnett’s mascot is a groundhog.

  37. Bobby might also be saying things differently about Frenchie’s benching because of the way Frenchie reacts to that sort of thing. Frenchie views himself as a local legend (and i guess he is; just not as talented as he thinks), and he doesn’t need to be humiliated in the print media by the manager saying that someone beat him out. The playing time will just speak for itself (as will that splendid .618 OPS).

    I think we are seeing the end of Frenchie’s career here; he has to be paid for this year, so they will keep him around as a role-player. I cannot see him getting a contract in 2010, although watching Schafer’s progess in Gwinnett for the rest of the year (him in center and McLouth in RF), and seeing how Heyward does at MS (remember, Frenchie had a half-season in MS and then got promoted here; Heyward can get his half season there, this year, and maybe be ready by 2010) is important, because if either shows well the rest of the year, that is Frenchie’s natural replacement (and we can maybe spend $ on a 1B who can hit).

  38. FWIW, Keith Law has McCann, Vazquez, Jurrjens, and Chipper (replacing the injured Beltran) on his All-Star team, and he lists Soriano first among his “biggest omissions.”

  39. I really don’t understand why the Braves refuse to even attempt fixing Francoeur. If they thought so highly of his talent before, then why just give up? The minors exist for practice. Why isn’t he there? Start rebuilding his swing now and maybe he can get it together. Even I don’t think Francoeur is a sub-.700 OPS player. I don’t think he’ll ever be a star, but he was on track to be no less than a fourth outfielder who would be worth the $2.7 million that the Braves would have to pay him next season. Running him into the ground doesn’t help anyone. It’s like letting an extra car sit in the garage until its tires rot when you could at least trade it in for something now. The worst that happens from sending him down is that he whines, continues to stink, and you release him.

  40. I actually agree with 55; it is worth the effort. I personally don’t think Francoeur has the ego to permit him to work his way out of this (and sending him back to the county where he became a legend just rubs it in worse), but as an organization, it is worth the effort for the Braves to try.

    And on another note (I will look back at this in 5 years): that RSF dude from south africa that is killing the ball in Danville? 1 walk in 48 plate appearances. I hope that is a sample size problem, because otherwise, the warning signs are there now (look at Frenchie’s walk rate in the minors and tell me his poor pitch selection at the MLB level was really a surprise), and the Braves need to fix this while they can, if the kid really is a prospect.

  41. I think the Braves like to think of themselves as an elite organization, but the way they have handled things in the last few years really calls that into question. It’s really hard to see who is in charge there. It’s pretty clear to me that the management is not on the same page. Unfortunately, the ownership doesn’t really care enough to intervene; Liberty is probably going to dump the team in a few years and McGuirk seems pretty much disinterested.

  42. I really hate to bring this up, but the main side effect of human growth hormone use is carpal tunnel syndrome, which results in…wrist pain.

  43. JC.

    I think the state of things is that anything weird you see could be ped related. My personal problems with carpal (mostly gone) were not pain, but rather numbness. My organic cause was general inflammation (not repetitive use or injury).

    I have wondered about the recent spate of “hip problems.” I never remember this as a significant number of sports injuries.

    I had an All Pro NFL defensive end tell me about cortico steroids (which were what he admitted to) several years ago right before he had a hip replacement at about 50 years old. Aseptic necrosis (death) of the hip joint occurs for 3 reasons. 1. severe hip injury (bone breakage) like Bo Jackson. 2. Methanol (from bad moonshine). 3. excess use of steroids, particularly medicinal cortico steroids.

    This guy said he had been getting cortico-steroid shots almost weekly in his hands and sometimes knuckles just to be able to play the next week. Similar “testimony” to what Tim Greene (formerly with the Falcons) put in his book about 10 years ago.

    So, is the epidemic of “hip problems” a ped problem? It is hard to say it isn’t.

  44. @64

    That’s a disturbing little tidbit. I’ll counter with the fact that he has a tiny head and maybe we can kick the can down the road for a while….

  45. I don’t really know/care about Schafer’s PED use, but it just goes to show you how poorly the media has covered PEDs. Rumors of Bonds’s head size growing were 1) nothing but unsubstantiated rumors and 2) head-size continues to grow well into middle age for natural reasons. How do I know this? I picked up popular intro to motor development textbook. But, did you see the media report that? Oh no. See his head swelling is proof! Yet, no one even blinks when little Jordan has a wrist issue, which really could be evidence of something.

  46. Trotting out my favorite dead horse: Chipper thinks yesterday’s loss killed all our momentum. If Chipper’s tired of playing for the loser Braves, surely he would be willing to accept a trade to an AL contender, say Boston, NY, or the Angels, where he could DH as well as play third. He’d get to play for a team with momentum, and the Braves could get some high-level young prospects. Boston seems ready to replace Lowell.

    Ask Chipper to accept a trade or shut up and lead by example. It’s not like he’s been putting up HOF numbers this year, and he is definitely a disaster in the field.

  47. Maybe because there hasn’t been a definitive diagnosis. It seems as though you’re taking the media to task for jumping to one conclusion and bashing them for not jumping to another.

  48. @68,

    Now you are turning on Chipper Jones? Wow! I guess Hank Aaron was really a bum that last year in Atlanta.

  49. Money’s tight. Chipper’s backing up to the pay window. He’s bitching. Bum is your word, but make the bum happy.

  50. Gosh, Chipper’s been so horrible this year, what with his .400 OBP and his almost .900 OPS at the age of 37.

    I don’t think that was Chipper bitching, I think that he see himself as the “elder statesman” of the team and was rightly saying we missed an opportunity.

  51. I totally agree with Chipper. And he has a right to say it. Especially if Ryan Braun can say this about his team pitching:

    “We’re at the point right now where it would be important for us to go out there and acquire somebody,” Braun said.

    “I know [Melvin] is trying to make our ballclub better. I know he recognizes the importance of making a move and making it soon, but at the same time I think everybody’s recognized there’s a lot of teams that are still in the race.”

    “No matter who is in there, we have to find a way to throw the ball better for us to have success,” Braun said. “I think when you’re constantly behind in games, it’s not easy and it’s not fun.”


  52. While I’m not for trading Chipper, I do find his comments to be disconcerting. Declaring that you’ve lost momentum isn’t going to help you win today or tomorrow.

    That and Chipper yelling at the home plate umpire that game against the Red Sox and getting ejected all seemed very selfish.

  53. I’m with JC on the minors thing. Who cares if he bitches about being sent down? I send him to AAA today. He is of more use in AAA than sitting the bench in the majors. Hell, if hits at all down there he might be worth something in a trade.

    The more Frenchy sits on the bench, the less he is worth (right now it is a buck-o-five and falling.)

  54. Right on Smitty, having him in Atlanta makes our team worse because Bobby WILL out him in the lineup again, and we sure as hell dont wont that to happen again.

    Medlen should go to AAA as well just so he can get regular innings, bring him up when we have an injury to a starter or in September, but let the kid pitch.

  55. @74, Chipper didn’t do anything out of the ordinary to the ump that tossed him. The way he ejected Chipper and Bobby immediately, it seemed like it was just his time of the month or something.

    I’m happy that Chipper is taking on more of an outspoken leadership role, especially for a team that was so routinely criticized for being too professional and not showing enough passion not too long ago.

    I mean, it seems like we want it both ways. We get mad when “Baghdad Bobby” takes the rose-colored-glasses approach and want him to vent more…yet we want Chipper to stop whining/airing the team out?

  56. Vasquez/Medlen/JoJo for Braun.
    Vasquez/KJ for Dunn
    Vasquez/Failcour for Hart or Linden

    Just wishful thinking, I would also trade Vasquez/Kotchman for Fielder. Actually, I just want a d@mn hitter with some power. Is that too much to ask? Somebody needs to do roids on this team.

  57. Doug Melvin would be interviewing for a job elsewhere if he traded Braun for a year and a half rental pitcher, a number 3 ceiling pitching prospect, and a scrap heap AAAA lefty.

  58. I would send Francoeur farther down than Gwinnett. If he’s going to attempt rebuilding his swing, we’re talking Gulf Coast League.

  59. Speaking of Jo Jo Reyes, I know he had a hamstring problem, but it has been 4 weeks since he pitched at Gwinnett. Is there any specific news on his condition.

  60. As I said, wishful thinking.

    I too would send Jeff to the minors. Make him re-learn how to hit. He can’t do it up in the majors and maybe a 2nd demotion will give him a kick in the butt. Add KJ to that list. They can’t learn how to hit sitting on the bench. Might as well get them ABs in the minors.

  61. We’d be crazy to trade Vasquez – unless we can do what Matt M. proposes.

    Chipper and Lowe to the Yankees for Lower Manhattan.

    JC makes too much sense on here.

  62. The Braves have 6 hitters “qualified” for the batting title. Chipper has the highest OPS at 880. Then, 2 in the 7’s and 3 in the 6’s.

    McCann is above Chipper, but with the DL stint and catchers missing games, he is not “qualified.”

    But 5 players who have not been regulars are also above Chippper.

    Diaz, Prado, Ross, Conrad (very small sample size) and Infante.

    I guess it makes sense that Diaz and Prado are playing more.

    Now if we can just try Ross at first against lefties and get Infante well, we might be able to stire up a little offense.

  63. Don’t worry about Doug Melvin helping us out. Mark Attanasio, the Brewers’ owner, is very involved in the personnel management of his team. Braun won’t be going anywhere without his approval.

  64. Braun is not going anywhere, except to the Yankees or Mets when his contract is up. Can you imagine the treatment he will receive by the Jewish community in New York? Rock star status…

    Speaking of Infante, when he is he due back? We know Chipper will not hold up forever.

    If Ross plays 1st, who is the backup catcher?

  65. I just read on DOB’s blog that the Royals covet Escobar. I bet they also like Chipper Jones.

    I assume the Braves covet Albert Puljos too!

  66. Tony at 87,

    The backup catcher is Ross, who slides to catcher and Kotchman goes back to first.

    As to McCann and wanting to catch and not split time at another spot, Yogi Berra played leftfield a lot for the first several years he came up and it kept his bat in the games. And he made it to the HOF.

  67. has Braun earned the right to start calling out his employer just yet? Chipper has to an extent, but even he should be careful with what he says. I dont see anything wrong with Chipper saying that they lost their momentum because they did. We went from 2 back to 4 back while playing the Nats and the Phils playing the Mets. Things like that cant happen

  68. Prince Fielder (which is just a pipedream acquisition) is a Boras client…and I have no desire to get him. While we are daydreaming, I’d just as soon have Adam Dunn.

    Chipper has all rights to gripe about this team. Why not? All the rest of us have. This team’s performance should be called onto the carpet.

  69. Well, Fielder’s also signed through next season. I don’t think we’ll get him, either, but I think he, unlike most of the names I’ve read, would be worth trading Vazquez for.

  70. Stu-

    I didn’t realize that…so you might have a point there. But do you see the Brewers trading him? I’d say that is about as likely as Chipper being traded from ATL.

    The Natties have absolutely no reason to hold on to Dunn. Other than maybe drawing fans. That’s like spending a couple of thousand bucks to landscape the property that your old, broken down mobile home is sitting on.

  71. I do see the Brewers trading him—he’s been rumored to be on the block since at least last season—but I obviously have no idea if we’re interested or if we have what they’re looking for.

    They’ve got Gamel (who can’t really play third), and they need starting pitching. I think a Vazquez-for-Fielder trade makes a lot of sense for both sides, depending on what other players would need to be included.

    FWIW, Fielder is $1.5 million/year cheaper than Dunn.

  72. Isn’t Fielder the one who almost killed his teammate Manny Parra in the dugout last year? That was funny…

  73. Watch the next few games very closely, and you’ll see something interesting. Chipper is spending a lot more time next to Bobby Cox, I believe, in an effort to learn all he can about managing. He’s really only got a few years left, and I give him kudos to get on-the-job training from one of the best. I noticed it primarily during the Phillies series. Almost everytime they showed Bobby, Chipper was right next to him.

  74. If we got Fielder for Vazquez we should have a fundraiser and give all the money to Frank Wren.

  75. Momentum in baseball comes from playing well. Just because you win a couple of games doesn’t mean there is any carryover to the next game. You have to make things happen; it just seems sort of fatalistic to talk about losing momentum in this context.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.