Rockies 7, Braves 6

Atlanta Braves vs. Colorado Rockies – Box Score – July 09, 2009 – ESPN

I really hate Coors Field. Arena Football is out of business, can’t something be done about Arena Baseball? Humidor, feh. You could drench the baseballs in hydrochloric acid and it wouldn’t do any good. The park is too big, and breaking balls are too hard to throw, and the balls go through the infield too fast. One of the two biggest hits in the game, one that tied the score in the fourth, was a “triple” to score two runs which was really a routine single over shortstop; it didn’t help that ACHE was the left fielder, but the real problem is that the park requires the outfielders to play too deep and thus far apart and routine hits go to the wall. It’s not like the Rockies were the only team getting cheap extra-base hits; Jeffy had three doubles! He still sucks, though.

Though they lost, the Braves led most of the way, 2-0, 4-2, 5-4. Didn’t matter. The other biggest hit of the game was a double to score two runs off of Gonzalez with two out in the eighth. It’s not his fault; this place sucks. The biggest play of the game was a HBP where the batter made absolutely no effort to get out of the way of the baseball. He was the seventh run of the game for the Rockies in a game they won by one run. Do the umpires even read the rulebook? Do they know that there is a rulebook?

Hanson gave up four runs, but left with the lead. I don’t care what any pitcher does in this place, of course, because it’s a joke. Did I mention that Francoeur, who sucks, had three doubles? Did I mention that the Braves blew three separate leads? I don’t blame them at all.

81 thoughts on “Rockies 7, Braves 6”

  1. I’ll say it again:

    KJ – 2-for-2 with a triple tonight. And 3 walks!

    csg – I don’t think we become a seller. Hopefully, just not a buyer.

  2. Parish,

    If it gets that far, use Ross.

    Again, what kind of odds would you have to be given to bet $50 that Diory gets a hit there? Are there any?

    Throwing an out away there is and was crippling…especially considering Diaz was wasted

  3. The Braves need to make it to the All-Star break no more than 5 back and then get some rest and get healthy.

    Infante should be back soon, and that will allow Diory to learn some more in the minors where he belongs. Plus he can play when Chipper breaks a fingernail.

    Gonzo needs to do his job. Period.

    He has had 3 bad game changing outings in his past 5 appearances. Maybe rest him until Sunday. I think his rocking needs to be refined.

  4. its called…quit calling for a slider from Mike Gonzalez and quit calling for bunts late in the game. Anyone see Colorado laying down sac bunts?

  5. I’ve had 12 mole/L (about as strong a concentration as you can get) HCl fumes go up my nose. Wanna talk about an unpleasant experience? Dear God.

  6. Why isn’t Francoeur batting clean-up? He’s turning it around, just like I told you he would.

  7. Also would like to point out that Ian Stewart’s home run off Hanson doesn’t go out anywhere else but Coors, not even new Yankee Stadium.

  8. I go to Coors Field 10-15 times a year, including four this weekend.

    I hate the place. Hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it. Especially since it will give Bobby an excuse to put Francoeur back in the everyday lineup, because his fly outs will turn into extra-base hits. But I hate Bobby’s Moylan/Gonzo overuse more.

  9. I actually think the offense won’t be as much an undoing of this season as the bullpen. If Chipper and McCann can both get going in the 2nd half I think our offense is enough to win the division, but our bullpen isn’t pretty. Moylan has already appeared in 45 games, this after TJ surgery last year. I have no confidence in Logan, Acosta, nor Gonzo.

    By the way, for all you video game lovers out there, doesn’t Gonzo’s rocking remind you of when your about to fight a big boss battle and the boss just sways before the fight starts? It’s uncanny.

  10. I was at practice and a parents meeting till 11, I went out for a bite to eat with my staff afterwards and we had a beer or two, I see Francouer had 3 doubles, i stopped drinking, i thought i was hammered, what the heck happened?!

  11. Idea. Feel free to make fun of it cause Dubai is running boringly smooth and I’ve had time tonight

    Anyway, the word in town is that the Royals want to unload Farnsworth, and more specifically, his contract next year.

    So…

    Royals receive: Frenchy, Blanco, and Acosta

    Braves receive: Farnsworth and DeJesus

    DeJesus has been bad this year, but Frenchy…anyway the Royals need a CF with OB skills and Acosta does have potential. And for some reason, the Royals still like Frenchy

  12. Jeffy bought himself through the All-Star break. The All-Star break gives everyone a clean slate. I’d say he’s safe until August, and by that point does it really matter?

    It’s funny how when he plays and sucks the Braves win, but when he sits out or plays well they lose.

  13. There used to be a feature on the Mickey Mouse Club called “Anything Can Happen Day!”
    When you see Frenchy getting two doubles in the Twilight Zone that is Coors Field, you can see that we’re in for a weird weekend.

    Consider:
    Javy scratched and Medlen starting on Sunday. A learning experience.
    Lowe trying to get his sinker back in that miserable mess.
    Maybe JJ will get some run support!
    Chipper-groin pain, Yunel-back pain, Frenchy-whatta pain.

    I’m looking forrward to these three games. There will be sights to amaze and astound.

    Edit: Any allusion to the Braves being a Mickey Mouse Club were unintentional.

  14. I hate the Rockies, I hate Coors Field… it’s like the damn Metrodome, they should burn the place down. The Rockies have a ridiculous home field advantage. I would root for the Mets to make the playoffs before the Rockies.

    “We actually pitched a pretty good game,” Cox said. “Gonzalez hung a little breaking ball to Atkins, and he hit it. Hanson was fine, and we hit the ball fine.”

    Other than that iceberg, how was the trip on the Titanic?

  15. Pretty much everyone around baseball has been saying Heyward is the game’s top prospect for a while now; what did anonymous lurker say?

  16. Just looking at that list, how glad must the Orioles be that they traded Bedard for Adam Jones and Chris Tillman? Then again, we shouldn’t throw stones.

    On the bullpen: if we’re not gonna use him as a starter or demote him, I’d like to see Medlen in more high leverage situations out of the pen. With Gonzalez and Moylan’s inevitable implosions, what’s the harm?

  17. I think a domed stadium would help in Denver, but that’s not happening.

    Wonder what it would take to get Adam back from the Pirates?

  18. 17—-I’m on record as saying, “I’ll take anyone for Jeffy.” But, I must admit the thought of anyone being Farnsworth makes me just as nauseous.

  19. I don’t post often, but a few of you may remember me saying that I know Adam Milligan pretty well, and I try and keep up with him pretty closely. I am sure you know that he recently got promoted from Danville to Rome, but before he was promoted, he was awarded the Appalachian League Player of the Week (for the week ending June 28). Over that span he put up some really nice numbers, going 13-28 for a .464 avg, 8 runs scored, 5 doubles, 2 homers and 9 RBIs. He also had 5 multi-hit games that week, including a 3-5 day with a homer and 5 RBIs. My wife has a lot of family in Rome, so I hope we can make it down there to see him soon. He’s a really nice guy and I hope to see him continue to do well.

  20. @29–For the sake of Rome’s anemic offense, I hope Milligan continues his hot streak in Rome.

    I caught the Wed game between Mississippi and Birmingham. Heyward had an O-fer but Freeman had two doubles. Both were super nice to my autograph hound kid before the game.

  21. laroche is available. kotchman for laroche? would the pirates do that? would we do that?

  22. Can we start a movement to encourage the Braves minor league player development people to encourage walking more?

    Case in point. Rian Spanjer Furstenberg. He is hitting almost 500 and I am not sure now, but as of his first week he had 0 walks. Now, hiting 500 maybe he didn’t need to walk. but it is a positive characteristic that needs to be treated as one.

    My thought:

    Every Minor League team is under discipline if at least 1 player doesn’t get a walk every game (I don’t know what they do, but I was envisioning something like running extra sprints or laps). Just 1 walk. Manager has right to exempt it if the other pitcher is in the strike zone all night.

    Usually, at least 3 or 4 times a week, 1 of our minor league teams has 0 walks. There is no way that every pitcher they faced that night was that sharp on control. They just have players that are too “hack oriented”.

  23. “Vazquez Treatment: When a pitcher tosses a gem but doesn’t get a win because of some combination of bullpen and offensive incompetence.”

  24. @31

    No. Definitely not. The purpose of Rookie level baseball is not to punish players for crushing the ball. The point is NEVER to teach players to walk for the sake of walking. The entire purpose of being selective at the plate – which the Braves system is notoriously bad at developing – is to get pitches to hit. You lay off of pitches you’d just roll weakly to 2B and zone in on pitches in your power zones. RSF is currently identifying pitches to hit just fine. There’s no reason to punish him or his teammates for his success.

  25. If you’re at the plate trying to walk, you’re down 0-1, 1-2 a lot. And the difference between 2-1 & 1-2 in the count is huge. The disparity in results is enormous. Pitching coaches know this, so do hitting coaches.

    It’s about strike-zone judgment. Swing at good pitches & don’t swing at bad ones. Easier said than done, but it comes down to that. As a hitter, all good things come from being ahead in the count, including walks.

    But yes, teaching strike-zone judgment is huge.

  26. spike,

    What do you mean by “you don’t walk out of Pulaski.”? I understand a version of that phrase as being a view, almost a slur, on Latin ballplayers about a tendency to swing at everything to impress scouts or not recognizing the advantage of being selective.

    Are you saying players shouldn’t be advanced if they walk a lot? Or are you saying, in practical terms, they aren;t advanced if they walk a lot?

    Maybe you have another spin on the phrase. I certainly don’t agree with either of these.

    Well Sam, how would you develop selectivity at the plate? I feel if the players perceive it to be an organizational expectation, that they are more likely to work on it. If they work on it more, they will get better at it than if they don’t. I am sure that those must be stupid assumptions.

    So, if selectivity is only important in order to get better pitches to hit, how do you value (playing same ability and position in the field):

    Batter A hits 280/ 280 / 430

    Batter : B hits 300 /380/ 330

    Sam’s theory says A is better. My belief is that B is better. That is consistent with linear weight calculations.

    So, a walk does have value, in and of itself, independent of the other possible good outcomes that I do agree usually result from it.

  27. Has anyone noticed that pretty much every time Gonzalez gives up a run, it’s in a non-save situation? Perhaps we could, oh I don’t know, stop pitching him in those situations??? The obvious demotion to setup man isn’t going to help this any, either.

  28. A walk has value over an out. It does not have equivalent value to a hit due to the marginal benefit of advanced runners. Per Cliff’s post @ 37, you’re resetting the example to make your position stronger. We did not begin this discussing your hypothetical no-walk slugger vs high walk slap hitter. We began the discussion talking about Riaan Spanjer-Furstenberg.

    The point of teaching patience and plate control to hitters – again, something the Braves have not historically done well – is to generate higher OBPs and higher SLG%. In RSF’s case he is hitting something close to 500/550/800 at Danville. (I haven’t checked the exact numbers for today.) Would it be more impressive if he were hitting 500/700/750? Maybe. But at that point you’re picking nits for no good reason. RSF is crushing all holy hell out of the ball. He is identifying pitches he can not only hit, but pitches that he can drive for power, as attested by his SLG%. If the league adjusts to him, or if he moves up to Rome or Myrtle Beach and his SLG craters while is OBP remains only marginally better than his BA then we have an issue where he needs to be coached to take more pitches. We can call that the Francoeur-problem if you like. But until he shows that issue, there’s no point in trying to fix a guy hitting 500 and slugging 800. Until he shows a *weakness* that needs to be addressed you sort of run him out there and say “Go hit ball hard.”

    I’m well aware of the marginal value of a point of OBP vs a point of SLG%. I promise you these concepts didn’t sprout magic and unconsidered just yesterday on the Hardball Times. Linear weights has been in use in various forms since at LEAST Bill James and the early 80s (some evidence suggest that Branch Rickey wasn’t blind to the concept much earlier.) So don’t go randomly assigning me to the AJC-commentor hordes without understanding what I know and where I’m coming from.

    To restate my point for clarity, a player like Jeff Francoeur “sucks” because he does not control the plate during his at bats. He does not identify pitches out of pitchers hand and is at the mercy of the fates when it comes to getting a pitch he can handle. If he’s playing at altitude where pitches don’t break much and his hits go farther and faster than they normally would, he can look decent (3 doubles last night.) If he’s not in such a friendly environment or he’s facing a pitcher who does more than throw fastballs over the plate, he’ll be eaten alive. The evidence of this is thousands and thousands of plate apperances detailing in gruesome specificity his weaknesses.

    We do not have evidence of such a weakness in Riaan Spanjer-Furstenberg due to miniscule sample size and a high likelihood that he is simply more advanced than his league’s pitching. Regardless, at the rookie ball level you’re teaching newly drafted players how to approach the game, basic drills and assumptions within the organization, and more or less how to be a professional baseball player. You want to instill in the player the importance of controlling the plate, but you don’t do that by punishing him for hitting 500 with massive power. You don’t punish a player for success, even if you have a potential point of coaching for the next level (make sure you can continue to control the plate and drive the ball when you get to a level where pitchers aren’t three years younger than you.)

    And again, a walk is better than an out, but a hit is better than a walk. A double is better than a single, a triple better than a double and a HR the best of all possible hitter-outcomes.

  29. I’ve noticed that pretty much everytime Gonzalez pitches 3 or more days in a row he struggles. Do you think this is a coincidence? Apparently Bobby does.

  30. and a HR the best of all possible hitter-outcomes.

    Unless that hitter is Jeff Francoeur, in which case a fractured metacarpal is the best of all possible outcomes.

  31. Agree whole-heartedly with Sam. Walking for the sake of walking (while an improvement in Francoeur’s case) is pretty pointless. The only thing Gregor Blanco is capable of doing is walking, and he’s still awful and has almost no use. The point is to be more selective. If you’re more selective, you will walk more, but making people run laps specifically because they didn’t draw a walk in a game is dumb. You’re not promoting the right thing at all. You will have hitters who go up there and constantly fall behind in the count trying to draw a walk, or draw one walk and then spend the rest of the game with a stupid approach because they already have their one walk. The amount of walks is incidental to the real problem. If you focus specifically on walks, you haven’t solved the real problem.

    Your example makes no sense because hitter B is a .300 hitter. He obviously can hit better than hitter A in the first place. Of course, you’d take him. But what if hitter B’s batting average is lower than hitter A? What if he’s hitting .250? Still think hitter B is better just because he walks a lot?

  32. Apparently, Erin Andrews was at a Mets game last night, and got nailed in the face by a foul ball. (insert dirty joke here) She’s fine, but that’s what she gets for going to a Mets game.

  33. I’d be curious to know if there is much tutoring going on during practice/BP/ film study regarding pitch selection, identifying balls/strikes and pitch type, that sort of thing. I have no idea how good instruction is at the minor league level. What I do know is that there is certainly no guarantee that for a guy who comes out of high school, he’s been exposed to these concepts; and he may not have needed to develop them since his talent level meant he was much, much better than his peers.

  34. What is the Sabermatrician’s Triple Crown — OBP, Slugging percentage, and ???

  35. Cliff, I sort of meant what you said, but not to the degree you said it. Offensive prowess measured in terms of BA and SLG seems to be valued at the minor league level far more than OBP. I realize all organizations do advanced stats now, but this really hasn’t altered how teams perceive success in the low minors.

  36. @45

    Depends on who you talk to. OPS+, EQA, RC or any number of other high math metrics are routinely quoted, often depending on whether or not the person your talking with had a hand in creating one of them. I personally stick with OPS+ if the situation requires a park or league adjustment. For the most part, outside of fantasy and/or off-season trade discussions the higher math stats tend to muddy the waters with false precision. Outside of severe hitting environments – Denver, Petco, Comerica before they moved the walls in – if you know OBP and SLG you are pretty much good to go.

    I personally like to see BA in the list to, going with traditional sabermetric “slash stats” – BA/OBP/SLG – because you can see more of the type of player if you know what elements drive his OBP. You know more about Adam Dunn knowing he hits 240/400/550 than if you only knew 400/550.

  37. BLIND HAWG,

    I would say that the baserunning efficiency stat (don’t know what it is called) that Bill James puts out (net value of stolen bases compared to caught stealings plus a factor for “extra bases”) would be the third SABR offensive stat.

    I know that baserunning thing is what sold James on Jeff Bagwell. Bagwell had one of the highest numbers James had ever calculated.

  38. #44—-As I quickly read your post, I at first thought it said, “I wonder if there’s much torturing going on during bp” when I reread it I realized you said ‘tutoring’, but with some of our players maybe torturing would be more beneficial.

  39. Jeff’s three doubles not only earned him more playing time, but it’ll get him another year with the Braves if Bobby stays around

  40. Man, the Royals just traded for another guy (Yuniesky Betancourt) who’s allergic to walks and overpaid.

  41. But Stu,

    Walks aren’t really good anyway. So why should the Royals promote them?

    Maybe the Royals should value walks higher, but just not tell their players. The Front Office just keeping its own little secret.

  42. @53,

    Yeah, “if Bobby stays around.”

    Obviously we need to give him the benefit of the doubt in playing Francoeur over Diaz against righthanders and in playing Anderson over Diaz against lefthanders.

    He’s got Jeff’s back.

  43. @51,

    I know this makes me seem like Dr. Mengele or something, but I think somebody like Francoeur would benefit from hitting in a batting cage that gave a mild electric shock whenever he swung at pitches more than 2 to 3 inches out of the strikezone.

    Except for the ball hitting them, baseball players are like wusses on stuff like that. When I played MIDGET LEAGUE football, we ran through metal chutes designed to get you to keep your head down so you would keep leverage. You had on a helmet, so it couldn’t hurt you bad. But after 2 or 3 times through those, you didn’t have to worry about somebody coming out of his stance and standing up. It just didn’t happen.

  44. I’d go with wOBA, EqA, and VORP.

    Why make things so complicated? I’m about as die-hard a stat guy as there is, and I have never paid attention to one of those stats. If you know AVG/OBP/SLG, you know pretty much all you need to know about a player,and you didn’t even have to get up off the couch to figure it out. And if you want to get complicated, go all the way with linear weights, and it will crush those other metrics.

    You can understand everything in sabermetrics through the stats on bubble-gum cards. It’s the weight on which you put things that matters. As Bill James said in the 1980s (paraphrased) “we need another offensive metric like Custer needs more Indians, or like Indians need another Custer.”

  45. #62
    When I played Pop Warner football, my coach would just kick you in the ass if you didn’t show proper technique. That tended to work.

  46. We never did punishment that would really ‘hurt’, like banging your head on a metal pole if you didn’t get low enough, but we did have punishment in high school. The team was making a ton of errors, so for a few practices, every error you made during practice was one lap. Sometimes if you didn’t do the ‘situational hitting’ right in batting practice you would have to run laps. And if the team REALLY messed up, they would run our asses off. But that was a rarity.

  47. You can understand everything in sabermetrics through the stats on bubble-gum cards. It’s the weight on which you put things that matters. As Bill James said in the 1980s (paraphrased) “we need another offensive metric like Custer needs more Indians, or like Indians need another Custer.”

    Right. That’s one of the things that makes Chris’s book on managers interesting (and book-worthy.) Everyone and their mother has an advanced hitting metric and most everyone has a (imperfect but getting better) defensive metric. Most folks prefer to argue obscure points of liturgy about their preferred numbers, usually in order to advance the sell of their fantasy baseball oriented annuals. 99% of the time everything you need to know about a player is writ large in his slash stats. On the fly factorings for position, league or park (no need for hard core specificity) and defense is more than enough for in season analysis. Add in the fact that advance metrics are essentially pointless with regard to day-to-day or week-to-week managerial decisions and you get to the point where you more or less ignore them entirely until free agent season rolls back around.

    @59 – You really don’t read for comprehension at all, do you?

  48. #63

    Hilarious, and true. Once you’ve ingrained a certain amount of sabermetric knowledge, a quick scan of the traditional stats and splits on BBRef will tell you all you need to know about a player’s offense. All the other stuff is somebody trying to make their mark. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  49. @67

    The single truth of sabermetrics: outs are more important than anything else. Outs are baseball’s clock.

    Once you get that figured out, the rest is just details.

  50. I’m not sure about the “punishment” aspect, but maybe there would be a way to somehow mechanically restrain a player from doing the “wrong” things. I know that there’s a mental aspect to changing muscle memory, but it seems like no matter how much you tell yourself to, say, keep the same release point, when the time comes you fall back on physical, not mental, memory. You’d be better off if you could have something that mechanically forced you to have that same release point a zillion times in practice, so that when the game came around and you took off whatever contraption it was that was forcing your release point, you physically couldn’t do it another way. I’m not saying this is even possible when related to plate discipline, but that’s the concept I suggest.

  51. #72

    I expected no less. That’s an excuse for me to post one of the funniest things I’ve ever read — “You Think Your Job Sucks? Try Working for Lenny Dykstra”:

    http://men.style.com/gq/features/landing?id=content_8558

    It’s long, but oh so worth the time. It’s right up there with Michael Lewis’ skewering of Icelandic venture capitalists. I honestly can’t decide which I liked better.

  52. Rufino,

    For a pitcher who had problems maintaining his optimal arm slot.

    A system with tones in ear phones where if you are too “high”, the pitch is “higher”. If you are too low” the pitch is “lower”. The set or “0” point would be set by player in consultation with the pithcing coach. This would particularly work for guys who are 3/4 guys and need to hold it exact not to change the tilt on curves, particularly (can’t hit a corner if 5 degrees of tilt is moving the ball 3 inches on the other end).

  53. Cliff-

    Something like that, exactly! I had problems with taking too long a stride (at the plate). I was able to address it by using bungie cords around my feet- nothing I did mentally helped me. Maybe I am an extreme case but I wonder- I have my doubts that anyone wants to fail or is so hard-headed that they won’t listen to advice; I think it is more that they cannot come up with a repeatable way to put that advice into practice…

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