Braves 6, Marlins 3 (10 innings)

Atlanta Braves vs. Florida Marlins – Box Score – July 30, 2009 – ESPN

McCann saves the season!

The Braves led most of the night. It was 2-0 after two, as Kotchman drove in McCann and Escobar with a double off the wall. Unfortunately, Yunel had reached on an HBP and left the game with a “contusion” on his arm. (“Contusion” is doctorese for “bruise”.) This was unfortunate, as it put Diory in the game. The Braves were already shorthanded, as Prado was hurt on the ankle by a hit ball during fielding practice before the game and Ryan Church was out with one of those injuries that are apparently part of living with Ryan Church, though he continues in his key role of not being Jeff Francoeur.

The Marlins got a run back in the fifth, but overall Javier Vazquez was pretty much what he usually has been, striking out eight and mowing them down more often than not. The Braves got it to 3-1 in the seventh with a broken-bat single by McLouth to score Kotchman. Bobby sent Vazquez out to start the eighth, which surprised me, though he wasn’t at 100 pitches yet and it wasn’t a bad gamble. He gave up a homer to the first batter — Commando Cody Ross, of course, his eighth career homer against the Braves, it only seems like eighteen — and I was really surprised Bobby stayed with him. He got the next hitter, but then walked the pinch-hitter, his first walk of the night. And then Bobby finally got him, bringing in Gonzalez. Who went 0-2 on Wes Helms, only to throw Smelms another one of those 0-2, “Oh, you can’t hit my fastball, let’s slow it down for you” breaking pitches which he lined for a single. Gonzalez then threw a wild pitch. He struck out the batter, the hapless Emilio Bonafacio, and Bobby had him walk Ramirez to load the bases, a move I strongly disagree with. And Bobby didn’t come in with Moylan to pitch to Cantu, for some reason (fear the Marlins would hit for their cleanup hitter with Ross Gload?). Gonzalez got a grounder, but it was a swinging bunt down the third base line, all hands safe. Amazingly, he did get the next batter to preserve the tie.

The Braves didn’t do anything in the ninth. Moylan gave up a leadoff single, then had to get three groundball outs in a row before the replacement (value?) middle infield finally turned a double play, with a force play on the first one and an error by KJ on the next. McLouth lined a single to lead off the tenth. KJ bunted him over. The Marlins walked Chipper, even though McCann is a far better hitter against righthanders at this stage — you can tell their manager trained under Bobby. Sure enough, Brian hit a three-run homer to take the lead. The Braves almost had more, loading the bases, but out of position players (except Ross, whom Bobby won’t use unless McCann’s been ejected for no reason) Moylan hit for himself and struck out. Soriano gave up a leadoff “single” to Gload that was actually a play where Kotchman spazzed out and tried to make a play on a ball to the second baseman and didn’t get back to the bag on time, but then struck out the side. It seems like that’s about the fifth time this year he’s had to get four outs and it just made him mad enough to through everything past the batters.

105 thoughts on “Braves 6, Marlins 3 (10 innings)”

  1. Josh Anderson to the Royals. I can’t believe that guy is still on a Major League roster. We scored big time when Moore took that Royals job.

  2. My new Dayton Moore theory:

    “Rachel Phelps, a former Las Vegas showgirl, has inherited the Kansas City Royals baseball team from her deceased husband. She wants to move the team to the warmer climate of Miami, Florida. In order to do this, she must reduce attendance at Kauffman Stadium below a total of 800,000 ticket sales, which will void the team’s lease with the city of Kansas City. After she moves the team, she would also be able to fire all the current players and replace them with new ones. She instructs her new General Manager Dayton Moore to hire the worst team possible from a list she has already prepared.”

  3. The Cartagena Kid (Julio Teheran’s nickname I decided) pitched 8.0 innings tonight with 11 K’s, 2 hits (1 3B, 1 single), and 1 walk. He’s good at baseball.

  4. With Bennett’s release, the terrible two Jeff’s are both finally gone.

    I started to hate the name Jeff.

  5. He struck out the batter, the hapless Emilio Bonafacio, and Bobby had him walk Ramirez to load the bases, a move I strongly disagree with.

    I assume this is an inside joke or something? You object to having him walk the best non-Pujols hitter in the league with firstbase open to pitch to Jorge Cantu?

    I’m watching Dodgers-Cardinals and Joe Torre just ordered back-to-back intentional walks to Pujols and Holliday with two out, man on third, tie game. Kuo blew away Ankiel for the third out.

  6. I lot of guys look good in Danville. I mean, it’s better that he’s doing well than not, and he is really, really young, so it’s promising. But it’s just promising.

  7. @2 I’m not buying it, if that were the case the Jeff Francoeur to the royals trade would have happened.

  8. 7,
    Yeah, I know. It’s only Danville. But the kid has gone 8 in 2 of his past 3 outings. And his upside is through the roof, one of the highest in baseball. He’s not a flash in the pan type either. He was a huge international signing.

  9. You don’t intentionally walk the bases loaded unless the on-deck hitter is really weak. Cantu is a good hitter, and though he’s hardly a walks machine, he’s still more likely to get on base than Ramirez is to get a hit.

  10. Miss lost–Heyward 0-4 with 2 Ks. Also had 2 last night. He’s good but there’s no need to rush him.

    edit–Rome eagerly awaits Teheran or any other player with talent worth watching. The current team is mighty light on talent, esp. among position players.

  11. You don’t intentionally walk the bases loaded unless the on-deck hitter is really weak. Cantu is a good hitter, and though he’s hardly a walks machine, he’s still more likely to get on base than Ramirez is to get a hit.

    Cantu’s OBP is .339 and Hanley’s BA is .345. I think 10 out of 10 managers walk him. It’s a good move.

  12. @11, It’s really close.

    This season:
    Ramirez BA: .349
    Cantu OBP: .339

    Ramirez BA: .315
    Cantu OBP: .320

    Add to that the fact that a hit could score two and lose the game, and the intentional walk is a close call. In fact, I’ll say it’s a good call.

  13. Against a lefty, Cantu’s OBP is .375, and Ramirez’s BA is .302; Cantu also hits for much more power against lefties than Ramirez, who has only one homer against them this year.

  14. You can’t take much from a half season of platoon splits. Players don’t have a ton of PAs against lefties in half a year.

    Career vs lefties:

    Ramirez BA: .319
    Cantu OBP: .324

    Ramirez SLG: .538!
    Cantu SLG: .468

    Still looks like a good call, but it’s close.

  15. Also, you get a force out at every base. That’s always worth a lot.

    Essentially, however you slice it, it looks like Ramirez BA and Cantu OBP are about the same. You get a power decrease and three extra force out bases with the walk.

    I can’t think of any reason not to walk him.

    My gut is always against IBBs, also, but in this case, the call looks sound.

  16. Sorry Mac, but I have to disagree in this situation. We are talking about 1 of the top 3 hitters in the game of baseball – not just the Marlins. And first base was open – there is no way I don’t walk him there. Also, the Braves got a bad break on that weak little ground ball – can’t throw that on the fact you walked Ramirez. Everyone on here would be pissed if he hit a 3 run bomb. No reason not to walk him.

  17. I simply can’t imagine pitching the Ramirez in that situation. I just assumed Mac was joking. That’s one of few situations a IBB is a good idea.

  18. We got a win in Florida?! Let’s take care of the Dodgers before another nightmare west coast road trip!

  19. Re: Zeke Spruill

    I talked to someone with a good deal of knowledge of the Braves farm system and he believes Spruill reached the goals the Braves had set for him and are essentially shutting him down for the year.

  20. I hate intentional walks to load the bases – I’ve seen way too many walks or strange plays like tonight that score runs. I’ll have to say though that I’ve been a huge critic of Cox, but in this case, I won’t criticize him. As has been pointed out, just about every manager would have done the same thing – I still can’t stand it.

    On another note, two of our most reviled players have had a very good July. Kotchman and Anderson have both put up an OPS of around .900 for the month (I think Anderson is over .950). I’ll take it – especially from these guys!

  21. Spruill went to a rival high school of mine. He is two years younger so he didn’t pitch against us while I was there, but its still pretty interesting following him. Hope he makes it, always like reading about guys I played with/against.

  22. I walk Hanley & don’t even think about it.

    If Cantu beats me, he beats me. But I’d bash my head against a wall if I let Hanley, who is one of the great hitters in baseball, beat me with a base open.

  23. I couldn’t agree more, I’ll live with Cantu beating me. I can’t live with Hanley beating me with a base open. If Gonzo pitches to Hanley and he gets a hit, everybody would be complaining about how dumb Bobby is.

  24. It seems the vast majority on here would have walked Hanley. While I see the argument against it, the consensus is probably a decent indication that it wasn’t a terrible call by Bobby.

  25. I’ll pile on and say I thought it was the right decison.

    I admit there was a reason for pause because Gonzo can be so wild but my thoughts were that a base hit scores two runs regardless of the walk.

    So, it comes down to who is the better hitter and most likely to take you deep. That’s undoubtedly Ramirez, that’s why I would have walked him.

  26. You can’t pitch to Ramirez in that situation. You just can’t. If you don’t intentionally walk him, you engage in one of those retarded Tony LaRussa intentional unintentional walks where Chipper hits a home run on a 3-0 pitch that doesn’t quite get off the plate. There’s just no reason to risk that. There’s no way Gonzo goes right after Ramirez even if you do pitch to him there. Sometimes, I would rather have the bases loaded than face a hitter with a base empty, and that was one of those situations.

    EDIT: I will also note that if I were coaching a Little League team or something, I would never load the bases intentionally, but Major League pitchers should freaking be able to not walk in a run. If Bobby doesn’t think Gonzalez can get through that situation without walking in a run, then the answer is to bring in someone that he is confident can do that, not to pitch to arguably the best hitter in the league in a situtation where he can single-handedly beat your ass. After all, if Gonzalez can’t be trusted not to walk somebody, how in the hell can he be trusted not to give up a hit to Ramirez?

  27. I dont like walking the bases loaded, it leaves no margin for error.
    And with our infield last night, that could have been a problem.

  28. I have to say Wren is starting to impress me with the cold blooded way he gets rid of the crap players on the team. Norton, you’re next!

  29. Incomplete list of Braves who have a higher batting average than Greg Norton: Javier Vazquez, Jair Jurrjens, Derek Lowe, Clint Sammons, Barbaro Canizares, Gregor Blanco, Diory Hernandez.

  30. Bobby had seen enough of H.Ramirez this week and i dont blame him. except for that guy in St. Louis, hes the sacariest hitter in the league and walking him is almost always a good call .

  31. Imagine all the bitching and second-guessing if Bobby had Gonzo pitch to Hanley and he would have hit it out. NO WAY you pitch to him with 1B open.

  32. “McCann saves the season!”

    I think that’s absolutely the case. The Florida series can only be considered a failure, but getting swept would’ve been a disaster.

  33. I hate intentional walks to load the bases – I’ve seen way too many walks or strange plays like tonight that score runs.

    Data is not the plural of anecdote.

  34. As far as walking the bases loaded, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. It worked for Bobby last night.

    What was lost in all the hubbub is the terrible defensive play by Kelly Johnson in the bottom of the ninth that almost cost us the game. KJ blew what should have been an inning ending double play and the Braves Mike Gonzalez was fortunate to get another ground ball which Chipper and KJ did turn for a double play to end the inning.

    If Cox had kept Brooks Conrad on the roster the Braves would not have had to start KJ when Prado took a ball off his ankle in batting practice in the first place. Instead , we have Greg Norton wasting a roster spot.

    And Brian McCann saved everybody’s bacon in the top of the tenth inning followed by Soriano’s save in the bottom of the frame.

  35. (a) The KJ defensive bone-headedness was not lost in the hubbub. Go read the game thread.

    (b) Moylan, not Gonzalez, was pitching.

    (c) Even if Conrad were here instead of Norton, KJ would still be the first choice to replace an injured Prado, and Conrad would not be used as a defensive replacement.

  36. I’d rather take my chances with Cantu than Ramirez, and his Francoeurian dribbler that, in typical Francoeur, was hit too weakly to even make a play on, does nothing to change my opinion. Also, you set up the force at every base.

    The only thing I do differently there is bring in Soriano. Gonzo is often wild and had shown as much in that inning.

  37. KJ’s playing scared. It seems like he’s trying not to fail, rather than simply playing ball and having fun, and that mentality is causing him to fail.

  38. Look at what the Pirates have acquired this year:

    Aaron Pribanic, Brett Lorin, Nathan Adcoc, Jeff Clement, Ronny Cedeno, Eric Fryer, Casey Erickson, Lastings Milledge, Joel Hanrahan, Gorkys Hernandez, Charlie Morton, Jeff Locke, Tim Alderson, Josh Harrison. Kevin Hart, Jose Ascanio

  39. Well excuse me, Gonzo did pitch in the eighth inning. But KJ did go 0-4. All Conrad did was hit .344 with 2 HR’s and 8 RBI in 14 games with the Braves.

    As far as the question of who is the better defensive player between KJ and Conrad? The answer is neither, they both stink at playing D.

    So yea, I would have started Conrad over KJ… a heart beat.

    Except that Conrad is back playing for AAA Gwinnett and that is the fault of Bobby Cox.

  40. Conrad defense is probably no better than Kelly, but at least he is not a headcase.

    KJ and pressure just don’t mix. He’s a choke artist. He can’t hit at the top of the order, way too inconsistent. And the only time I remember him hitting last year, was when the Braves were out of contention. So I agree, Conrad should be up.

  41. Brooks Conrad has 152 HR’s in the minor’s. He has also played nine years down there. The dude can rake a fastball with power, is a strike out machine, has brick hands and can’t hit an off speed breaking ball to save his life.

    Conrad is a career minor leaguer or bench player at best. Prado is the starter but I would still play Conrad over KJ for one start but not permanently.

  42. I agree with Chipper, the fist bump was way out of line. It shows favoritism and that is uncalled for and highly unprofessional behavior from an umpire or referee in any league.

    Bill Hohn tossed Cox in two straight games behind the plate which proves he has it in for the Braves.

  43. Hohn has eight ejections this year. Five have been Braves. Yes, he has a grudge against the team.

  44. So you would have started Conrad instead of KJ because KJ made a bad play in the late innings? After KJ had been 4-5 since his call up? If you want to blame Bobby for the near loss, you’re going to have to try harder than that.

  45. If only there was a way to completely ruin Hohn’s life they way he ruined mine when he ejected Bobby and BMac…

  46. I like how everyone points out that KJ was 0-4 last night. But prior to, he was 5-6 with 2 doubles, a triple and a homerun. Give the guy a break. Guess who was also 0-4 last night – Chipper. Yeah, he made an error late in the game that could have cost us, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve a shot. He was raking in his last games at AAA and his first games here.

  47. so we basically won the series except the umpires decided to squeeze us & cost us a game in the standings..Hohn is a bastard

  48. Well the next time Hohn is working a game in Atlanta, let’s buy tickets and sit close to the field and tell him what we think about him and his mother.

  49. How on earth can San Diego really be thinking about trading Adrian Gonzalez?

    What could you get back for him to make it worthwhile? The entire BoSox farm system?

    Teams like SD and Pitt piss my off. Just fold up shop and redistribute the players if you are never going to keep anybody.

  50. If you think what Conrad did in his time with Atlanta is sustainable you’re extremely delusional. His career AAA line is .248/.330/.477. He’s organizational filler.

  51. @58 KJ was 0-4 in the two spot. He was 5-6 in the 8 spot and as a pinch-hitter. Bottomline on KJ: He can’t handle pressure.

  52. I like Conrad as a PH with some pop, a guy who can take an IF position only if necessary. He’ll be up in September.

    Wish he wasn’t blocked by an expensive guy who doesn’t appear to do anything well anymore.

  53. @62

    I sort of understand why the Pirates do it — they’re trying to catch lightning in a bottle a la the Marlins (try to win with young, cheap players, but jettison them when they get expensive). And if they ever did hit upon the right combination, they’ve got a fanbase who will come back, thus allowing them to keep it rolling (unlike the Marlins). But they’ve failed at it for so long that they’ve become inept.

    Blanks has gotten hot for the Pads, and will eventually have to play first base. If they were one year away, I’d keep Gonzalez and suffer through Blanks in the OF next year, but the cupboard is pretty bare from what I understand.

  54. #63, what’s wrong with an .800 OPS? That sounds awesome for a switch hitting backup infielder/pinch hitter.

  55. The Pirates are actually making the correct call(s). Simply put, you don’t build a contendor around Nate McLouth and Adam LaRoche. Those guys, and players like them, are good complimentary pieces, but they’re not the core of a competitive team.

    The Bucs have been eviscerated by horrible player assessment throughout their system, going back to the decision to sign Spanky Lavalliere and Andy Van Slyke while letting Barry Bonds walk. The management in Pittsburgh has been one of the most extremely incompetent teams in the game for nearly two decades. On top of that they’ve been extremely impatient. When they go through a self-realization and accept the need to tear it all down and start from scratch, they lose the will to carry through a couple of years into the project. They’ll go out and sign Kevin Young or Derek Bell or a pitcher that was good for the Cards three years ago, wasting their few resources and destroying their ability to build long term.

    The 2009 Pirates should continue to sell their mediocre-to-good ML players for useful and projectable prospects. They should committ to at least five years of rebuilding, spending every dime they have on drafts and player development. Don’t sign a free agent, plough those funds into signing high draft picks at or above slot. Plough those funds into upgrading your scouting and development teams. COMMIT to the rebuild. Only when you have a solid core of above average prospects – not Jack Wilson you dumbasses – ready to compete at the ML leve do you start investing in free agents to improve that core.

    The Pirates should treat 2009 the way the Braves treated 1986. They should be ready to compete in 2015. Is that harsh medicine? Yes, but it’s not like the Pirate fan base can dwindle much more than it already has, and that’s the only way you’re ever going to get out of the 20 year cycle of suck.

  56. Come on, people. Brooks Conrad is a useful spare part, but you do not start him over Kelly Johnson. Not offensively. Not defensively. Not at all. To suggest otherwise begs the question of your sanity.

  57. 69,
    There’s nothing wrong with it if he’s a back-up infielder or pinch-hitter (i.e. organizational filler). I think Sam made my point @71. He’s a useful player, but he ain’t a starter. Plain and simple.

  58. The Pirates have not had a winning team since 1992.
    They will not have one for another 5 years at least.
    They are a crap organization.
    Sam, your right that they should move players but it is a never ending cycle for them.
    Whats the point?
    Will the keep any good players anyway? WIll they always trade them as they near FA? Why bother having a franchise.
    It just irritates me to see constant dumping of salaries, they are basically a farm team for all of the other major league teams out there.

    As long as they keep trading with us though I guess its good!

  59. I am with oldtimer. The Pirates are one of the dumbest orgainizations and treat their fans like shit. They should have tried to ink Jason bay to a long term deal and should have built the team around him three years ago. If I were a Pirate fan, I would walk.

  60. yeah I think Bobby was smart walking Hanley. Dude’s hitting like .450 with runners in scoring position. No point in pitching to him with 1B open. Id take my chances with Cantu.

    However, I probably would’ve brought in Moylan to face Cantu

  61. Good news on Escobar/Prado. Via Will Carroll:

    The Braves continue to scuffle with injuries, losing both of their starting middle infielders in Thursday’s game. Escobar got blasted on the wrist—and I ask again, where’s the pad or plastic?—but at least his x-rays were negative. He was said to have a nice bruise and a clear tattoo of the ball’s stitches, so he’ll likely miss a couple of days while spending some quality time with an ice pack. Prado also visited the x-ray machine after getting hit by a line drive during warmups; it hit him right on the ankle, and he was in significant pain. His x-rays were also negative, and he was seen walking during the game. There was no need to rush him with Kelly Johnson available, though Prado isn’t expected to get Pipp’d here. (Is it wrong that I think of Dexter every time I see Prado?)

  62. I agree that the Pirates have been a horrible organization for a long, long time. I agree that Bucco fans have gotten far more than their fair share of the shit end of the stick. I don’t think the Pirates organization has intentionally screwed their fans, I just think they’ve been incompetent for nearly 20 years.

    All of that being the case, I still think the current leadership is doing the best they can with the situation they have. There’s certainly no point in trying to build a pennant winner around Adam LaRoche and Freddie Sanchez, so you bite the bullet and tear it down. If they commit to the rebuild this time and resist the urge to quit the process three years too soon they can return a once-proud franchise to respectability. But the first step in that process is turning what parts you have now into prospects as best you can.

  63. Bill James chimes in to agree with Oldtimer: “The problem, from the Pirate fans’ standpoint, is not that they are doing this. The problem is that they are STILL doing it after all these years. “

  64. So no Esco tonite or tomorrow. So an automatic out in the line-up. What up with Ryan Church?? Anybody?

    @76 Tony never said pinch-hitting isn’t a pressure situation. Although some pinch-hitting situations are obvious more pressure-packed than others.

  65. A lot of you have probably seen this, but in the book Baseball Between the Numbers there is a chart showing the scoring expectations of teams in different out and runner scenarios (1st and third with nobody out, bases loaded with 2 outs, etc) based on the 2005 season. Consider these numbers in light of Bobby’s decision to walk Hanley Ramirez:

    With runners on 2nd and 3rd and two out, teams scored 26.6 percent of the time. With the bases loaded with two out they scored 30.7 percent of the time.

    Assuming you have an average hitter at the plate this would make walking the bases loaded in this situation a bad idea. But considering we had the league’s 2nd best hitter up, I have no problem with Bobby walking Hanley.

  66. VMart to the Sox, it appears. Wonder which uber-prospects are headed to Cleveland. Will Buchholz be one of them?

  67. Minus any ability to play defense. By the way, we have no defensive flexibility. Norton can’t play anywhere really and Ross will rot on the bench.

  68. Why oh why do we have Norton instead of Conrad?

    I guess Medlen is our extra infielder and pinch hitter and Jurrjens is our extra pinch runner. In other words, the pitchers are better all around athletes than the posiiton players. That is a strange statement.

  69. Will Buchholz be one of them?

    Doesn’t look like it.

    Wasn’t Mark Shapiro thought of as one of the bright young GM’s in the game not too long ago?

  70. Masterson and Hagadone are two of the prospects involved.

    EDIT: I guess Masterson’s technically not a prospect anymore. Anyway, good job by Shapiro targeting pitching–that’s what the Indians need (badly).

  71. Yeesh, tight bench. Too bad MLB doesn’t have a clash for clunkers program. The Braves have a fist-full of players on their 40-man roster to trade in. My personal list:

    D. Hernandez

  72. C’mon guys. Norton is due for a “big” hit. When you see the slow infield dribbler somehow weave its way through the hole at shortstop, you’ll take back those criticisms…sigh.

    Did anyone see the Sox were after King Felix in Seattle? At first I thought it would be nuts to trade him, and it probably would. But still, he’s a free agent in two years…so he won’t be cheap any more (especially after his season this year). If the Sox offered Bucholtz, Anderson, Bowden, and Bard, well, you’d at least have to think hard about it.

  73. It’s sad that Travis Haffner set the Indians so far back, that they are now trading VMart.

    I wonder who will end up with Zach Duke? I know he doesn’t want to stay in Pittsburgh.

  74. I remember being incredibly frustrated last night that Brandon Donnelly only had to face two real hitters (one of which got a hit) in the 8th inning. Diory lead off, and Norton pinch hit. It was like giving away an inning.

  75. MLBTR has a story that Heymann reports we are interested in reacquiring Adam LaRoche.

  76. Captain Obvious reporting for duty: “How would we play two left handed 1st basemen?”

  77. We’re trading Gonzo and Diory for LaRoche and converting LaRoche to a lefty reliever.

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