175 thoughts on “Suspicious game thread: July 18, Mets at Braves”

  1. NY Times

    “He’s swinging at balls, looking at strikes,” said the scout, who did not want to be identified talking about another team’s player. “Pitch recognition is his biggest problem. He turned around once to ask an umpire if one pitch was a strike, and it was clearly a strike.”

    The scout’s observation, when conveyed after the game, brought a rare burst of anger from Francoeur, who was traded to the Mets after playing in 82 games with Atlanta this season. He is ordinarily one of the most congenial players in baseball, but, for now, he has heard enough criticism.

    “That’s why they are scouts and they don’t play,” Francoeur said. “Did he see the at-bats I had in the first couple of games” for the Mets? In those games, Francoeur said, he hit the ball hard.

  2. That column is a fractured mess of wharrgarrbl, even by Bish’s “standards”.

    “Neither do I understand just why a hitting slump can’t be cured like the common cold.”

    “What if he had come back to the Braves hitting .300 with a generous sprinkling of home runs? Would he ever have been traded?”

    Positively Shakespearean.

  3. “That’s why they are scouts and they don’t play,” Francoeur said.

    Oh my sweet lord. Denial really isn’t just a river in Africa. Well, Jeff, it’s true, they don’t put scouts on the scoreboard, so there is always that.

  4. If Jeffy ever heard a scout talking about on-base percentage, I do believe he would murder him right in the face.

  5. Luckily for Jeff, scouts think on-base percentage is just as stupid as he does.

    That entire quote is just hilarious. As if two days’ worth of at-bats is enough to wash away two years worth of horrible pitch recognition. And as if hitting the ball hard a couple times has anything to do with ball-strike recognition.

  6. I was watching the game last night via the Mets’ channel. I really like Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez’ ability to analyze the game. They have been really impressed with McCann’s swing. Talking about Francine, Hernandez was saying that the problem wasn’t really pitch recognition, it was his long swing. With the unspoken implication being that he’s just not fixable if he doesn’t fundamentally fix his swing.
    Did the Braves announcers ever in 3 years ever even mention that Francine had a fundamental problem to fix. My impression from them was that he was just in a slump for the last 2 yrs, that he needed to “get out of” somehow.

  7. “Did the Braves announcers ever in 3 years ever even mention that Francine had a fundamental problem to fix.”

    No. I find our guys really weak on analysis, without any modern baseball smarts. Lemke loves to talk about productive outs, because when you hit .240, that is about all you contribute on offense.

  8. According to Joe and Chip, if the ball ends up in the off-field, it was done purposely and was a product of great skill. Funny, when I hit the ball weakly to to right in batting practice, my little league coach would say, “you’re swinging late.”

  9. There is some skill involved in hitting the ball well to the opposite field. Carew, Gwynn & Boggs made careers out of it.

    But when a guy like Francoeur decided to do it, he was basically admitting that he wasn’t going to be hitting HRs. And if he doesn’t hit some HRs, what good is he?

    BTW, speaking of announcers, it was a pleasure watching the Dodger game & listening to Vin Scully at the same time. The man is old & he still sounds amazing, his timing perfect.

  10. I was working on another Francoeur song but I’m stuck. Anyone want to finish? To the tune of the “Facts of Life” theme:

    He takes the good
    Swings at the bad
    Pops up to short
    And there you have
    The Facts of Jeff!

  11. Oh, it definitely is a skill, but I don’t think players purposely hit the ball to right field as often as Joe claims.

  12. Just got back with my dad from the clubhouse at our favorite golf course in Kansas City. We just played nine today so we could make sure we could watch the Open. We weren’t the only ones.

    It’s pretty special what Tom Watson is doing. He’s really a big deal in KC, and as much as fans in this city have been beaten down over the recent years, its almost like they’re aching to believe, but can’t quite pull the trigger. I’m really pulling for him; tomorrow should be fun

  13. Our Bete Noir remains New York Met right fielder Jeff Francoeur. Wow the ‘New York Met’ part sounds soooooooo damn sweet!

    So he has a long swing and can’t recognize pitches. In other words he sucks. In a way it is a testament to what an athlete the kid is that he has had a couple of ok years. Think of the last Braves athletic type outfielder. George Lombard never did anything close to what the Groundhog has in MLB.

    Any of you old timers remember when guys like Carew, Boggs and Gwynn were called ‘bat control artists’? Always lauded because apparently they hit the ball exactly where they wanted it to go 90% of the time. I guess in reality they had mastered the inside out swing and sprayed the ball all over hell’s half acre with a lot of opposite field hits.

  14. If hitting to right field helped Jeff get on base and hit for power, then he’d still be a Brave. He only hit to right field because that was all he could do to make contact.

  15. His average sucks
    OBP too
    He doesn’t slug
    And so you’re screwed
    The facts of Jeff
    The facts of Jeff

  16. Again, I said this last year. He will never get better if he doesn’t fix that long swing. He should look at what Chase Utley does – very short, compact swing. If he were to do that, he’d be a very good ballplayer. But as everyone can see from #4, the kid just doesn’t get it. I truly don’t think he believes he is a bad ballplayer. Step 1 to recovery is Acceptance, buddy.

  17. if those guys hit the ball where they wanted it to go 90%of the time, why didnt they hit .900?

  18. Sorry, can’t stop now

    He thinks he’s good
    He’s really not
    There’s lots of skills
    He hasn’t got
    The facts of Jeff
    The facts of Jeff

  19. Ahaha, Don is starting to cut loose: “See, Jeff thinks like a pitcher. He gets strike one and then he wants to expand the zone.”

  20. We are waaaaaay too lefthanded out there today, but I don’t see many other options. Should Prado be playing first and Conrad second? Heck of a defensive hit.

  21. @27 – I was thinking the same thing, but I would have gone with Prado and 1st and Conrad at 2nd. At least that was what i was hoping to see.

  22. We really need to have Canizares up to platoon with Kotchman. I don’t know the Braves would make room though other than releasing Norton.

    It will help some when Infante gets back.

  23. #36, from Yahoo! sports: “Omar Infante (broken left hand) has been cleared to begin swinging a bat, hitting off a tee in the indoor cage. Manager Bobby Cox estimates he is two weeks away from a minor-league rehab assignment, which Cox thinks should last five or six games.”

  24. Ok, thanks. Surprised Peanut hasn’t said anything about it, considering how much he wrote about how much the Braves miss him.

  25. Not sure if I have this straight or not, but for a younger player, namely one just starting to get regular playing time, don’t doubles start to turn into homeruns?

    I ask that because Prado just hit his 21st double earlier, against 5 homeruns. Those 21 doubles have come in less at bats than the average starter in MLB has gotten to this point in the season. Will Prado’s doubles start to turn into homeruns? Not sure if there is a sabermetric calculator for that kind of thing or not.

    Either way, I’ll take the doubles.

    Speak of the devil…..great stab there by The Prado. Wow.

  26. If Wright was injured I’m afraid I may have actually felt sorry for the Mets.

    The Mets have become one of those teams that i’ll pick up a free agent to spot start against in fantasy baseball. The Mets are the new-and-improved Padres!

  27. Infield single for francoeur??!!? wtf how is it possible with a runner at 2nd and 3rd to not get anyone out? For the people that are watching can someone please explain what happened

  28. two gdmf runs with just one ball past the infield. Why not just forfeit and save the embarrasment.

  29. Somebody want to explain how French didn’t make an out with a force at all 3 bases?

    Nevermind – thanks Daniel

  30. The ole “walk-the-pitcher-and-let-him-pull-a-hammy-while-running” scheme. Touche, Kawakami, touche.

  31. We’ve had a few chances today, but McLouth is doing his Francoeur LOB impression today.

    Still, Santana is an ace. Some days you just gotta tip your cap. I can also smell a K-Rod meltdown coming on in this game.

  32. pinch runners at 1st with the bases loaded. Im guessing Bobby wanted to see if he could catch the guy in front of him

  33. This is what happens when you play “small ball.” I know it’s late and close and the marginal value of one run is huge, but, man, small ball still feels bad.

  34. I don’t think he could have fouled it off. His only chance would have been to get hit with the ball, to be honest. That’s Bobby fault for a stupid call.

  35. You have to swing there to try and foul it off or impact the catcher’s throw. In the broader sense, i’m not sure why bunting or a hit and run were even being considered there. I think Bobby and Yunel should both have to run laps after the game.

  36. I don’t get to watch many games, and now I’m grateful. That was one of the worst calls I have ever seen Bobby make, and that is saying A LOT.

  37. It was a bad call….Yunel gets alot of crap, but he doesnt deserve crap for that, thats not his fault, he couldnt have touched that ball

  38. Stuff like this is why hit and runs should never be called with fewer than 3 balls. What if someone’s stealing signs? All the pitcher has to do is what this pitcher just did, and the player is toast whether the batter swings or not. A sharp catcher sees the same signs the batter does and can call for the ball outside the strike zone even with no institutionalized sign stealing. It’s just too risky.

  39. I think it was clear that Escobar got the sign, he wanted to swing but knew he wouldn’t be able to hit the ball. That was Cox’s fault for calling a H&R after the pitcher couldn’t find the strike zone, you don’t do that up in the count 2-0. I just hope Cox doesn’t bench Escobar again and leave us with Diory in there to put up his usual 0-4.

  40. I know it was in off the plate, but he probably could have gotten a bat on it. Worst case scenario is he puts the ball in play and we get a runner on second. Or he fouls it off and we have a 2-1 count. Or he at least swings, affects the catcher, and hopefully doesn’t leave Diory totally out to dry.

    May not have been a smart managing decision, but Yunel needed to pick up his teammate there.

  41. Might have had a run there if we hadn’t pissed away a baserunner trying to steal.

  42. Norton? That does it, Bobby’s cracked, get him out of there before he wets himself. You have to bring Ross into the game anyway, this way he empties the bench.

  43. Was Yunel scared of (1) Francoeur or (2) furthering the Cox-rage?

    We should leave Moylan in to hit…

  44. You don’t play smallball against a wild bullpen prone to conceding the big inning. That’s what still irks me about the hit-and-run call. Yunel will be in the doghouse, but it should be his boss admitting the mistake.

  45. Why is he bringing in Norton and not Ross? Didn’t we already pinch run for McCann?

    edit: Ok, he didn’t want Kotchman running. Or had to get him out of the game. Fair enough.

  46. I wouldn’t necessarily call a hit and run playing small ball. Small ball is more like getting outs to move runners up (i.e. ball to right side with runner at second, bunt). But that’s just my take on it. With a hit and run, you open up a hole on the infield, and your job is just to put the ball in play.

  47. Kotchman might really be hurting. He fouled that ball right off the top of his knee.

  48. What a terribly mismanaged 8th inning. I love Bobby, I never beat him up, this game has been mismanaged, Norton is terrible, now he has to play first?

  49. That inning was brought to you by the genius of Bobby Cox, one of the worst in game managers in the history of baseball.

  50. Norton can’t be blamed. He’s not good enough to be in the majors. Bobby Cox is finished. So too am I, potentially.

  51. Ububba–I caught that it was a blown hit and run but I still don’t like the call–outs in the 8th are too precious to risk with K-Rod lurking in the 9th

  52. I’d rather have half-assed undermanaging than half-assed overmanaging any day.

  53. run for Anderson with the bases loaded, waste Conrad
    bring in Diory to run for McCann
    call for a hit and run with a pitcher that hasnt thrown a strike
    bring in Ross to run for Kotchman
    then use Norton for whatever reason

  54. A1 Your right, Norton should not be on the roster. He is terrible, not a pro hitter. Bobby lost the bench early, and left us with nothing.

    This is frustrating

  55. 140 Ha, I could do that, and take the major league minimum to do so, at least I would work hard….

    On the bright side, at least we got Moylan some much needed work

  56. Frank,
    I wasn’t crazy about the result either, but if they score another run there you probably don’t see K-Rod.

    A lost gamble for sure.

  57. Again, I don’t see the big deal on the hit and run. So the pitcher hasn’t thrown a strike yet. Seems to me he’d be aiming to throw a strike to the next batter. Gambled and it didn’t work. Doesn’t mean it was a bad call, people.

  58. Good call, Mac. I just glanced at the career splits and gave Bobby the benefit of the doubt.

    This game is suddenly not very fun.

  59. Someone said it earlier this week, gotta win 3 or lose 3 to find a direction, it would be fiting to split this series 2-2, and leave us scratching our heads.

    Today is slipping away,w e had chances

  60. @149 – you can’t be serious, right?

    After all the complaining you guys do about him using our top 3 relievers, you are going to complain that he didn’t bring one in? Seriously???

  61. Gambled and it didn’t work. Doesn’t mean it was a bad call, people.

    This is strictly a results-based board. With K-Rod lurking, Bobby fired every bullet he had. Didn’t work. Now Acosta is sending everyone home early.

  62. Atrosta is up to his tricks again.

    I’ll agree that pretty much none of the moves in the 8th made any sense. Building Norton’s confidence or getting him AB’s should be another team’s problem at this point.

  63. @158 – and who do we replace him with? What options do we have. If ya’ll want any reason in the world as to why Bobby always throws his top relievers out there, this is it. We don’t have any other options.

  64. @157 I wouldn’t completely agree with that. I do like the fact that Bobby was trying to be aggressive. But I would hope Bobby will put the hit-and-run on a 2-1 count instead of a 2-0 count.

  65. It would be worth the cost if Acosta would have the Mets bat around three times while obtaining the three outs by striking out Jeff Francoeur three times to end the inning.

  66. @162 – why is that? Wouldn’t you think you are probably more likely to get a strike on a 2-0 count than a 2-1?

  67. release for a seeing eye grounder is a bit harsh–allowing a homer to captain turkey drawers would be grounds for immediate release

  68. @ 160

    After what he did in the Colorado blow out we lost and this outing I would say replace him with just about anyone. I do agree with you that this is a big part of why Bobby over uses the top 3 in the bullpen.

  69. I do agree with you that this is a big part of why Bobby over uses the top 3 in the bullpen.

    Yup. Good example today of just how shallow the bench and bullpen are. Bobby doesn’t have much to work with.

  70. So, after the game do you think Jeffy’s going to stress his “hits” or how hard he hit the ball?

  71. OMG – fire Manuel, he brought in K-Rod with his team up 4. And Bobby was stupid enough to bring in Soriano being up by 2.

    That is sarcasm, in case you’re wondering.

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