Phillies 3, Braves 2

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – August 14, 2009 – ESPN

Sometimes, it’s just not your night. The Braves hit the ball, hard, all over the ballpark, but unfortunately not out of the ballpark, and the Phillie outfielders kept catching them. The Phillies generally didn’t hit the ball as well — but hit two homers, accounting for all three runs. Bobby didn’t help with the bunting and the bizarre managing. In the eighth inning, tied at two, he brought in Gonzalez to pitch to the righthanded portion of the Phillies’ order. He got out of a leadoff double, retiring Utley on a popup to end it with Howard on deck. He had thrown 14 pitches — but Bobby brought in Soriano to pitch to Howard in the ninth, and he hit a solo homer, the game-winner. Why don’t you use Gonzalez to pitch to Howard? I don’t know.

Jair Jurrjens really had one bad inning, the fourth, in which he allowed a two-run homer to Utley, two other hits, and a walk, though he got a double play to end the threat. He allowed only one baserunner after that. Mostly, he got a lot of weak fly balls. The Braves didn’t give him much to work with, though.

In the first, McLouth led off with a double. Bobby decided to have Prado bunt, because that’s what you do with a .313 hitter. Prado couldn’t get the bunt down, and then Chipper singled in McLouth. I hate bunts. Their only other run came on a Church double to left, scoring Yunel from first. The rest of the night was dedicated to line drives right at the infielders and long fly balls that the outfielders tracked down. I think at one point, Shane Victorino shot down a fly ball using a missile launcher. Drives you nuts. Get them tomorrow, guys.

45 thoughts on “Phillies 3, Braves 2”

  1. LAB I know Norton walked but who do you want at the plate trying to drive in the tying run? Norton or Infante?

  2. You gotta go Infante there, I dont see the point of sending up Norton! Unreal, thats cause he is Bobby’s Boy

  3. more regarding bringing in Soriano vs. leaving Gonzalex in: You not only could leave Gonzalez in to pitch to Howard (who was .193 against lefthanders) but also Ibanez then bring in Soriano to pitch to Worth. Bobby continues to make asinine decisions in close games that cost the team. And don’t get me started about saving Jackie Gleason’s sidekick to pinch hit in the 9th.

  4. Gotta get the next two. I know it’s one game at a time, but the Phils ain’t going away. A loss tomorrow means at least 6 back and at most 8 in a sweep. I think we can do it, though. Still 7-3 against them.

  5. 2 – The really bizarre thing is he then burned a 2nd player in the bad move by having Infante run for Norton.

    This really goes beyond stupid into the twilight zone. It’s like some amalgam of Mike Tyson and puppy love Tom Cruise is making the decisions in that dugout.

  6. From Joe Sheehan via Twitter:

    “Ryan Howard: .311/.391/.663 vs. RHP. .193/.278/.313 vs. LHP. What is so freaking hard about this, Bobby?”

  7. I held a touchdown signal when Chipper hit that ball late. Thought for sure it was long gone.

  8. I know Mac thinks I am picking on McCann, but he needs to step up offensively. He, according to Diaz, is the leader of the team. So not picking on him, just stating the obvious.

  9. @11

    Tony, It’s pretty simple. McCann isn’t a cleanup hitter.

    He’s definitely got some power, but not cleanup power. He’s a phenomenal hitter, but not when he’s carrying the homerun weight of the team on his shoulders. This is more of an indictment of our lack of team power, than anything particular to him.

    And as far as tonight’s game: R. Howard Splits. ’nuff said.

  10. Even worse than Bobby not using Gonzalez against Howard, is McLouth swinging at the first @$#£§ pitch right after Greg Norton of all people drew a walk against a closer with a million blown saves so far this year. What the hell was that?

  11. This game really explains why Phillies fan don’t mind Howard striking out as much as he does…

  12. @18, that’s what I’m screaming, man.

    Anyway, the team is playing well. Let’s get ’em tomorrow.

    Colorado loses
    San Francisco loses
    Florida wins

  13. Bobby should really consider batting the pitcher 2nd in our lineup. That way if someone is called on for 2 sacrifice bunts its not the guy hitting .315

  14. You know, I almost can accept having Prado bunt in the 8th but in the first inning???? We’re the home team! Our man is already in scoring position!! It’s the first inning against a guy that can be beaten. After a good start to try to give up an out is crazy. Bobby has truly lost his mind on this and it’s ridiculous.

  15. I was at the game tonight and both teams went at it 110 percent. It was a fun night, except for the result.

    A couple of observations:

    1. The braves have got to start letting McLouth run more and Prado swing the bat and drive in runs. I understand going for one run against guys who are good, but Joe Blanton does not fall into that category. Bunting with Prado is a bad idea. The braves needed to be aggressive in that spot. Swing the bat with Prado, Chipper is going to have to go out and get one anyway bunt or not. If you play for 1 that is usually what you get, but they should have tried for the haymaker early, cause it was there for the taking.

    2. Everyone is going to look at the Howard homerun and while obviously it was huge, the key AB in the game was Victorino blooping a hit with 2 strikes right before Utley hit the 2-run bomb. Philly would have caught that ball tonight. It looked to be catchable from row 4 of section 401, but it would have been a great play, but sometimes to win you have to make the great plays.

    3. Victorino is an incredible CF. He is a gamer and was on point tonight. Werth is really good in RF too. The Phillies truly have the best D in baseball in my opinion.

    4. The Phils have the best bench in the NL too. Dobbs from the left side and that Fransisco kid from the Right are tough, especially hitting 9th with two switch hitters coming in behind them. If the braves had went Soriano in the 8th, Dobbs probably leads off and he kills us. After that Rollins and Victorino hit from their best sides. It is a no win situation.

    Look BC has forgotten more baseball than I know. That said, he manages games like this very tightly. He is too conservative. Example A of this is the Prado thing. Also he was not about to NOT pitch Gonzo and Soriano in this game. Does’t O’Flarrety in the 8th make alot of sense? Using him neutrilzes Dobbs (which I gurantee is why BC used Gonzo in the 8th, that and the whole managing tightly thing.). That would leave Gonzo for the 9th against the meat and Soriano in the 10th vs. the bottom of the order.

    For once when McLouth reaches, considering he has only been thrown out 3 times by a catcher in his career, I would like to see Atlanta force the issue and steal a bag. Also they are going to have to think about moving Gonzo back to the ninth. Soriano cannot handle the pressure of a pennant race as the closer. You could tell he was aiming to Howard and left the ball up, just like LA.

    Fun evening, but a frustrating result.

  16. stupup74,

    it was pretty obvious on TV that McClouth is still not 100% — he was going about as fast as he could tonight. . . and it would probably not been a good idea to have him try to steal.

    The pitch to Howard was actually down and out over the plate (just where Howard likes it). We had pitched him inside all night with great results. But Soriano let him extend his arms and . . . well, that was the ball game.

  17. Lets not forget that stretch Soriano had in 2007 when he was getting torched in August. I hope he rallies before this current stretch gets any further out of hand.

  18. @9 It’s still too hard for Bobby to understand.

    @11 THere is something wrong with Mac’s swing. You can tell he is not comfortable. Let’s hope he will get his swing back soon.

    To all, it’s just Bobby being Bobby. Alex R and I and some others have been very critical on Bobby’s in game strategy for many years. A lot of people didn’t like what we said when the team were still winning. I am glad more people are seeing the real Bobby Cox now.

  19. To all, it’s just Bobby being Bobby. Alex R and I and some others have been very critical on Bobby’s in game strategy for many years. A lot of people didn’t like what we said when the team were still winning. I am glad more people are seeing the real Bobby Cox now.

    Every message board for every team has posters who believe the manager is an idiot and that they have all the answers. You guys fit in well with that delusional group.

    The real Bobby Cox has a World Series ring and a spot in Cooperstown waiting for him.

  20. Robert, that’s the same argument I have heard time and time again. I am not saying he is not a HOFer, but does that mean he can not have flaws? Geez. I think you are the one who needs to wake up.

    Have you been watching any games lately? Putting aside all the stupid bunts, putting anyone in besides a lefty to face Howard in the 9th inning is as stupid as one can get.

  21. I’m going to have to disagree over Victorino’s defensive play. Looks to me like he has the Jim Edmonds fall-down-after-the-catch method down just right. So, I just looked up his Plus/Minus for the year: -22 plays and -12 runs, ranked 33 among CFs.

  22. @ Robert #30
    The WS ring was 14 years ago. Fourteen! He was great, and he’s probably the best player manager still, but his game calling skills are crap now. His lefty/righty matchups fanciness has turned into pure fetishism, and his willingness to trot terrible players (Bennett, Francoeur, Norton) out on the field every dayuntil they are released by Wren is just terrible for the team. There’s a reason we had something like a 1-18 record in 1 run games last year, and there’s a reason we’re barely 5 games over .500 with the best rotation in all of the NL in mid-August.

    If you’re the boss of some company, do you let all the old, used-to-be-the-best guys in and let them do a terrible job, or do you go with fresh blood?

  23. @33, Ron E.,

    No, Bobby Cox is more the Gary Sheffield of managers. One of the greatest of his era, an all time great with questions about his post season production, every once and a while still good, but vastly past his prime.

    Nasa,

    It was 11-30 in one run games (as I remembr from last night’s game).

    On the first Prado bunt. Not amplified was that McLouth was IN SCORING POSITION WITH NO DOUBLE PLAY POSSIBLE. TOTAL MANAGER STUPIDITY. The Phillies do not have (with Hamels not as sharp) a single pitcher that you play for 1 run in the first.

  24. Nasa from france–Well put–I like Bobby, but he is past his ‘sell by date’. I missed the bunt, but why not let Prado hit? Bobby Cox is good at making his players comfortable and having them ready to perform. But game calling is not his strength….

  25. the reason you dont make Prado bunt, besides the fact that he’s hitting .315, is the fact that it opens 1B up and takes the bat out of Chippers hands. If Mac was on fire or something I could see it sometimes. Right now, not a chance

  26. Robert, that’s the same argument I have heard time and time again. I am not saying he is not a HOFer, but does that mean he can not have flaws? Geez. I think you are the one who needs to wake up.

    Right now there’s a Dodgers message board where a group of smart guys are killing Joe Torre for burning out the bullpen and hitting Furcal first and Hudson eighth. To them any success he had in New York was simply because he had Jeter and Mariano and the success the Dodgers have had this year is in spite of Torre not because of him.

    A couple of clicks will take you to an Angels board where a similar group of smart guys will gladly fill you in on all of Mike Scioscia’s faults – overworking the bullpen (of course, every team complains about this), his handling of Ervin Santana’s delicate temperament, all the pitching injuries being (obviously) traceable to Scioscia’s tendency to work his starters hard, not stressing plate discipline, etc.

    Fact is Torre, Scioscia, and Cox are probably the best MLB has to offer in terms of managers but of course they all have a dedicated group of detractors who waste everyone’s time.

    The Braves players had plenty of chances to win the game last night, but instead the Phillies best players came through. That’s the story.

  27. Nasa @33,

    I tried to post this from another computer, but was apparently “moderated out of existence.”

    Bobby Cox is the Gary Sheffield of Major League Managers. One of the best of his era, sometimes an all time great, problems in the postseason, sometimes still pretty good, but definitely past his prime.

  28. On the lack of value / negative value in Cox’ managing.

    2009 Actual 60-55: pythag 63-52

    2008 Actual 72-90: Pythag 78-84

    2007 Actual 84-78: Pythag 89-73

    2006 Actual 79-83: Pythag 85-77

    2005 and 2004 were dead even. That is as far back as I could find on ESPN.com.

    I believe that in most of those years the 3rd order pythag was even more out of sync.

    Four straight years of underperforming the pythag (with 3 of those clearly not from lack of bullpen talent) shows bad managing is costing games. JC could probably run the math for real, but I can estimate that the odds of random chance producing 5 or so win underperformance by pythag on the same team 4 years in a row is probably 15%. so 85% it is either, (1) we don’t have “clutch” ballplayers” (and most measures say there is very little to no “clutch”), or (2) our manager is misapplying the talent we have.

    Bunting 840 OPS guys in the first inning with a mediocre pitcher on the mound. Starting Jeff Francoeur when he couldn’t hit a baseball off a tee. Not recognizing that with 3 lefties there is no excuse for a righthanded reliever NOT to face Ryan Howard (who becomes current Jason Giambi against lefties. And Soriano had just asked NOT to pitch 2 days before after 3 rest days) in a close game. Wanting Norton on a roster and putting him in key situations (yes, he wasn’t bad last night, but that is because he will take a walk if someone doesn’t throw strikes, but in every other way he is done. Damn, Cox used Infante to run for Norton, why didn’t he just let Infante hit? Ths situation was best handled with a single, not a walk, and Infante was twice as likely to get one).

    The Emperor has no clothes. This is not like criticism of Sciosia, although I do not agree with Sciossia’s “style.” Torre DESERVES criticism on his overwork of bullpen guys (worse than Cox, but Cox is stil bad on this). And the whole “preserve the starters even if you blow up the relievers” concept doesn’t justify it because you are right back to late inning bullpen blowups. So, if not to win a division or get to the postseason, why exactly are you preserving the starters?

    The pythag tells the tale. This team would be breathing down the Phillies necks and sitting in front in the wild card if not for this crazy managing.

  29. I hear a lot about the Angels’ “style”, but because I never see them play, I’m not sure what that means.

    Can anyone enlighten me?

    Thanks!

  30. They swing at everything. They don’t walk and they try to put everything in play, and hit lots of singles and doubles. When it works, it works, but sometimes they hit in bad luck and they can look awful.

    Game thread is up.

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