Braves 15, Mets 2

Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets – Box Score – August 19, 2009 – ESPN

The night after Bobby watched his starting pitcher give up eight runs in an inning while the other team batted around, Jerry Manuel did the same thing. It came in the second, an inning McCann got started with a single down the left field line and ended with a titanic three-run homer to right field over the bullpens. It was still just 2-0 with two outs, two on, when the Braves got consecutive infield hits to short from Infante and ACHE; the second was a terrible play where nobody covered second base and by the time the shortstop got the ball towards first Anderson was safe. It was a bit more reasonable than Bobby’s doze last night, because it was the second and not the fourth, because by the time the Braves got four runs in the game was already getting out of hand, instead of being tied, and because the Mets don’t really care if they win.

Anyway, the Braves poured it on; a run in the third, two in the fifth, three in the sixth on homers by LaRoche and Diaz. Reid Gorecki closed the scoring with his first major league hit, driving in Church with a single in the ninth. The Braves finished with eighteen hits, Infante, LaRoche, Escobar, and Church with three apiece. Everybody got into the game but Prado (who is in Atlanta getting tests; the diagnosis of “exertional headaches” sounds like a descriptions of symptoms, not cause, to me, but I’m not a doctor) and Norton; obviously, you want to save your valuable ace pinch hitter for close games.

Jurrjens wasn’t seemingly that sharp, allowing two runs on eight hits in six innings, striking out four. But handed an eight-run lead after pitching just one inning, he appeared to basically be on cruise control, concentrating on getting the pitches over and getting through the innings. Acosta pitched the seventh and Logan the eighth. Soriano pitched the ninth. It may seem insane to use your closer with a thirteen-run lead, but remember that Bobby had him warming up when the lead was only twelve runs. His velocity was good and he struck out two, but walked the leadoff man… Francoeur, who sucks, was 0-3 with two strikeouts, the second of which he whined about, before getting pulled from the game.

86 thoughts on “Braves 15, Mets 2”

  1. Second big problem with scoring 2 touchdowns and a 2 point conversion tonight. Jurrjens run support number will go up causing tittering that he doesn’t win enough.

  2. this was probably mentioned but I can’t stop laughing about it:

    (regarding last night’s game)
    “That was a lot of fun,” Jeff Francoeur said. “You just keep pounding balls into the gap. The one thing you don’t want to do is hit a home run. That’s a rally-killer.”

    so THAT’S why his power vanished… he stopped trying to hit HRs to help(wtf?) the team

  3. You mean that a guy with 3 unintentional walks in 142 PAs doesn’t have total command of the strike zone?

    #4 You made that up right? link?

  4. Meanwhile, Dimaster Delgado and Ignacio Geronimo are in a dead lock for best pitcher name.

    Vote Dimaster!

  5. The Braves won on my wedding anniversary.

    And my wife is cool enough to let me watch the end of the game.

    And I plan on making it to at least third base tonight. Which is a lot better than NYMET Francoeur did.

    Yee-hawww!

  6. It may seem insane to use your closer with a thirteen-run lead, but remember that Bobby had him warming up when the lead was only twelve runs.

    Oh c’mon. He’s been struggling. Getting some work. Seeing if he’s broken or just sore. Use your imagination.

  7. “Huge,” manager Bobby Cox said. “You can really count on him [Medlen] now. We’ve tried to work him into more meaningful situations, and he’s damn good right now.”

    I am looking forward to that Bobby. I hope you will do what you said. How lucky we are to have JJ, Hanson, and Medlen. It has been a while since we have any young pitching talents.

  8. It may seem insane to use your closer with a thirteen-run lead, but remember that Bobby had him warming up when the lead was only twelve runs.

    And just seven NL relief pitchers have made 60 game appearances………three of them are Braves. Gonzalez, Moylan and O’Flaherty.

  9. I actually don’t mind having Soriano pitch tonight given how mediocre he’s been lately. Give him some work against a crappy lineup and build some confidence.

  10. Now, to explain the slight differences in the way Cox and Manuel both chose to leave their respective starters in the game in an eight run inning.

    Cox would rather let his starter lose the game than be second guessed by burning his bullpen before the fifth inning. Bobby’s strategy failed because he was forced to use Chris Medlen in the fourth inning anyway.

    Jerry Manuel left his starter in the game for several reasons. The game itself was meaningless, the Mets are done. Parnell was left on the mound to learn how to deal with adversity and to take one for the team. Of course, Manuel was forced to burn his bullpen too in the fourth inning.

    Simply put, all managers hate to dip into the bullpen early in the game. Both were willing to let their respective starters lose the game in order to save their pen from extra work. Both managers failed to save their bullpens from having to labor the extra innings and both lost the game anyway.

    For the Mets, it doesn’t matter. As for our Braves, we are now forced to try and beat Johan Santana in a pitchers park in order to salvage the series.

  11. Small Sample Alert: Since the trade from Boston, Adam LaRoche is 367/484/694.

    In 15 G/62 PA, he’s 18/49 with 5 HR, 12 BB & 11 RBI.

  12. 12,
    I posted that last thread. Still hilarious, though not funny. Though still funny. Because it’s Mike Hampton. Mike Hampton: King of Pop is still one of my favorite videos of all time.

  13. From the last blog, Rob Cope wrote:

    What speed is Bobby supposed to utilize to steal more bases, Coach? Should it be Chipper’s or McCann’s, or LaRoche’s and Diaz’s? The only guy that has legitimate speed to steal a lot of bases is McLouth, and the only other guys who might are Infante and Church. This is not a lineup of speed, and a manager would be stupid to be trying to run all the time with these guys. We don’t have Rafael Furcal and Quilvio Veras at the top of the lineup anymore…

    My answer is….. Albert Pujols has stolen twelve bases.

    Nate Mclouth has ten as a Brave and leads the team. The lack of a running game has little to do with the players or athletes. It has everything to do with the offensive philosophy of Bobby Cox and the fault for it is his and his alone.

    p.s. There is a reason why Tony LaRussa has won a WS in both leagues. He’s the smartest manager in the game.

  14. Coach is right; even if you don’t have speed, you can still hit and run and be aggressive. You don’t have to rely entirely on home runs. During the early years of the run, as I recall, Bobby was pretty aggressive on the bases, but as the team developed more power, he stopped.

    LaRussa is a good manager, but I should point out that he has also LOST Word Series in both leagues, in two cases where he was a huge favorite.

  15. When Wren did the LaRoche deal, I was left scratching me head, wondering why the deal was made and initially I didn’t like it. After a day or two I realized that if nothing else we are saying that Kotchman is not our 1st baseman for 2010-2011 and I was good with it. However, looking at the numbers, Wren looks like a genious.

    Kotchman w/ATL: 511 PAs, 8 HRs, .378 slg
    LaRoche w/ATL: 67 PAs, 6 HRS, .741 slg

  16. I give credit to Wren for now in making the LaRoche deal (the reason “for now” is what do we do next year at 1B with Freeman not ready, but close, and Rochy’s minimum arb at 5.6?). But, calling him a genius based on that trade with career numbers that are not too dissimilar for Kotchman and LaRoche is a little much.

    A trade should only be judged by what was known or could have been known at the time of the trade, not by the actual results. IF Wren made the move based on “LaRoche is always better after the All Star break” he either took a leap of faith or he has access to some statistical method that hasn’t gotten out to the public.

    On the other hand, with Church for Francoeur he knew he probably didn’t have a downside, and, in fact, has gotten an upside. The ability to play a credible center field was a great feature in that evaluation that has served us well (if not, either Barton or Blanco would be in centerfield now, probably).

    And, a shout out for one of my favorite players, Matt Diaz. He has added walks and added power against righthanders this year. His weight loss has made him a threat on the bases and his hustle continues to get infield hits and to frequently avoid double plays (I know he just had a bunch in one game, but he always runs them out). He missed a line drive he possibly should have caught (at least should have smothered)last night, but he has been credible in the field.

  17. At what point could we legitimately say that LaRoche becomes a much better hitter in the second half of a season? If that actually happens and is not just an anomaly, what mechanism would be at work to make LaRoche so much better later in a season?

  18. @32 – Said like a true stat-head. I’m a big advocate of using data and analytical tools in evaluating talent/performance in baseball, and am by no means a “traditional” scout-oriented, gotta-see-it-with-my-own-two-eyes type of baseball fan, but it’s silly to say that Wren took a leap of faith if he didn’t use some statistical method that predicted LaRoche’s great performance after the trade. Wren said it and (I assume) meant it — he believed LaRoche would perform better than in the past by returning to Atlanta with old friends, Bobby Cox, and a better hitting lineup around him. No model is going to support that conclusion, but Wren was right (so far).

    EDIT: Just to elaborate, people in all professions are more likely to perform better (even succeed) when placed in an environment to succeed. Data on past performance (which is the only kind of data we have in baseball) won’t reflect this unless the player has been in a good environment.

  19. or he has access to some statistical method that hasn’t gotten out to the public.

    Every single MLB team, with the possible exception of the Royals, has access to non-public, proprietary statistical evaluation methods. They pay smart people to do stuff. They don’t just subscribe to BPro.

  20. But Jeff K.,

    A large part of LaRoche’s past peformance WAS in Atlanta WITH Bobby Cox as his manager and WITH more at stake in the playoff picture, etc. And that performance said LaRoche was an 800 OPS player. And, what he has done in Pittsburgh said that as well. And the Braves traded LaRoche and replaced him with Scott Thorman and Craig Wilson thinking (wrongly, in the end result) that Thorman and Wilson could approximate LaRoche’s production (but this certainly shows that this organization did not feel LaRoche was more than a mediocre offensive player). And Kotchman’s career said that he was an 800 ops player. So, basing this trade on an expectancy that LaRoche would be better than Kotchman was still just a hunch.

    In this case, the hunch did not appear to have much downside (if LaRoche dropped off while Kotchman came on, which was unlikely), but there was no reason to expect upside.

    Wren got lucky with this one. He didn’t show genius. Well, unless you think the guy that put his kids’ birthdays on his lottery ticket and won it showed genius.

  21. Stu at 35,

    Understood and agreed.

    However, IF the Braves have a way of predicting who is TRULY a “second half” or “first half” player rather than somebody who happened to have his random good streaks in such half and if they have been using it long, there would be scuttle butt out on it. Not that I would have have had to be aware of it, but even if the competitors thought it was hogwash, it would be out there in the circles for people to retest and react to.

    POSSIBLY part of the Teixeira trade was high confidence in second half performance because of past perforamce (which has since been repeated two more years). So maybe Wren (or somebody in FO) is a genius, after all.

  22. Let’s quit the obsession over the stolen base. It’s not that valuable of an offensive weapon. Sure, it’s a nice complement, but base-stealing is much less important than getting on base, hitting for power, and even taking the extra base on a single/out.

  23. #36, I don’t think the LaRoche trade was luck. I saw that trade largely as the difference in how the teams measure defense, and I agreed with Wren. A lot of people who utilize advanced stats think that the Braves took a slight downgrade, as Kotchman’s defense looks bit more helpful than LaRoche’s offense. Because of variances in scoring and charting, I don’t really trust defensive stats. Some of the methods are really inovative, but the data isn’t always great. (How many times on TV has the spot in MLB gamecenter not matched the spot the ball was caught? How many times have errors been scored hits?) My eyes told me that Kotchman’s defense was largely overrated.

    Also, there’s some bell curve involved. We were really good on runs allowed, but near the middle in runs scored, so a defensive downgrade didn’t hurt us as much as an equivalent offensive upgrade helped us.

  24. cliff, not really so. LaRoche was in Atlanta 2+ years ago as a 24-26 year old. During that time he posted OPS of .821, .775 and .915. OPS of 1.042 post All-Star in his final year (2006) with the Braves. Last 3 years OPS post All-Star? .952 This year 1.009.

    I think he uniquely thrives in a comfortable surrounding with a good hitting lineup around him, but I only saw that after the trade. Kudos to Wren for seeing and acting on it earlier.

  25. @36 – “Wren got lucky with this one. ”

    I think that’s a little unfair.

    LaRoche OPS splits:

    1st Half – .773
    2nd Half – .916

    There’s probably a million different ways to look at it, but I’d say that’s pretty daming evidence that he has been a better hitter in the second half than the first. How hard do you really have to look at it? I mean, the Red Sox traded for him for a reason, and they are supposed to be the statistical Masters of the Universe. Of course, they did trade him to the Braves, but I’d be willing to bet they didn’t trade FOR him just so they could turn around and dupe the Braves into giving up Kotchman.

    I think the Braves did a great job of looking at the numbers here and pulling the trigger. They know him and he’s comfortable with the players and the manager. All things equal, how is that not a trade that you make? Especially since you’re not making a commitment to him beyond this year.

  26. We needed HRs. Kotchman doesn’t hit any; LaRoche does.

    Kotchman is a terrific defensive 1B; I’d consider LaRoche better than average. (I’ll take the HRs.)

    Also, we were free of Kotchman’s contract.

    It’s worked out so far. Luck or genius—I don’t care. Good for Frank Wren.

  27. Yes, Tony LaRussa is the greatest manager in history. So much better than Bobby Cox. Never mind that LaRussa’s postseason record is almost identical to Cox. He does have two titles instead of one, but he also has a long line of blown playoff series in his wake. And there’s the constant out thinking of himself. Tony LaRussa is absolutely no better of a manager than Bobby Cox.

  28. The trade doesn’t show genius, but it wasn’t all luck either. All trades involve some luck. Wren obviously thought that, whatever his other deficiencies, LaRoche at least provided power that Kotchman didn’t. He couldn’t have expected it to work out as well as it has so far, but given Kotchman’s general mediocrity and the Braves need for power,it wasn’t a complete shot in the dark (although I admit to being bewildered when the trade was made). It could have worked out the other way–LaRoche struggles and Kotchman gets hot but it didn’t.

    It’s not really fair to say every bad move is stupidity and every good move is just luck. Wren deserves some credit at least.

  29. the diagnosis of “exertional headaches” sounds like a descriptions of symptoms, not cause, to me, but I’m not a doctor

    I was thinking the same thing.

  30. Well, genius is better than luck, since the former tends to produce more repeatable good outcomes than the latter.

  31. If Im looking at this right Roach has hit 6 Hr’s with the Braves, before that we only had 7 from all our 1B on the season

  32. I guess when I said genius I meant as in comparison to me, who scoffed at the trade at first and wondered why we didn’t get more for 2 1/2 years of Kotchman. Granted, we don’t know who plays first for us next year, but we know it won’t be Kotchman, which should be a good thing.

    I’m all for LaRoche coming back for 2 years at $8 million per. IF Freeman tears it up next year, we could always trade LaRoche after 2010 or midway through 2011.

    So genius may be strong but Wren sure looks smarter than me (or numerous other commenters) on the Kotchman deal.

  33. LaRussa is a pretty smart guy but I will forever hate him for foisting the closer-is-the-guy-who-pitches-the-9th-inning-when-he-can-record-a-save idiocy on us.

  34. 51,
    Momentum, brah. (Yes that’s a joke, and though I’m one of the most hard-nosed if-you-can’t-quantify-it-it-doesn’t-exist people, I don’t think momentum is a useless concept.)

  35. OK, here’s an objective look at it. If the A’s win game 1, and the next 4 games play out like they actually did, the Dodgers have a 3-2 lead going into game 6. Game 6 would have been a re-match of game 3, a game that the A’s won. Then you’re in a game 7 if you win there. My point is, if Kirk Gibson doesn’t hit that Home Run, maybe LaRussa has another WS ring. Basically, I’m pointing out that it’s silly to judge managers by WS rings.

  36. I’d like to see the Braves re-sign Laroche to a 2-3 year deal. It doesn’t look like Freeman is ready to start in the majors next year like Heyward is. The Braves can afford to let Freeman develop in the minors while Laroche plays first for Atlanta. Laroche for Gonzalez wasn’t one of Shuerholz’s better moves. The Braves have been flailing around to find a replacement for Laroche ever since, first being forced to trade the farm for Tex then trading Tex for Kotchamn who in turn was traded to bring Laroche back. It would have been better to just keep Laroche.

  37. wasnt Lillibridge held in high regard when the LaRoche trade went down? He at least did help us in getting Vasquez, but he was brutal at the plate

  38. Kotchman sucks. He’s a nice gloveman, but as a hitter, he sucks. I’m sure FW recognized this as well. When he was able to get a better hitter in a straight up swap, he jumped at the chance.

    LaRoache has a consistent track record of hitting better post ASB than pre ASB. It’s not rocket science, and I don’t call it luck that Adam has outhit Casey since the trade.

    I admit, I was initially confused about the trade at first too, but apparently Frank Wren is better at evaluating baseball players than I am.

  39. @55 – Wow, taking the “if we can’t quantify it, it isn’t important” fallacy to an extreme. Does love exist? Do emotions? Creativity? Faith? Quantum mechanics?

  40. just think…..IF the Cards won 4 against the Red Sox instead of getting swept, Mr Face would have another ring………while we’re at it, IF Lonnie Smith doesn’t fall down……

  41. Lonnie’s problem was looking at Chuck Knoblauch, who acted like he was turning a DP, & he became confused. He never looked at the 3rd base coach until it was too late.

    For WS-turning gaffes, IMO, it’s up there with “Snodgrass’ Muff” & Don Denkinger.

  42. Haven’t seen this posted here but did you guys see who the Mets submitted for their Hank Aaron Award nominees: Wright, Castillo and Pagan. Wow.

  43. Also want to mention that I think the Braves handling of Hanson has been outstanding and seems to go overlooked a little. You see all these other top prospects constantly going back and forth between starter and reliever (Joba) or the majors and minors (Price, Scherzer, etc.).

    They waited until probably past when he was ready (I know it was probably about $) and he has succeeded thus far. Granted the fact that he has succeeded made it easy to keep him with the big club but I think this is the way to develop a successful player. Don’t confuse him as to what his role will be and give him every chance to succeed.

  44. Joba began with the big club as a reliever & last year he was made a starter. He hasn’t really gone back & forth.

    With the emergence of Phil Hughes as a dominant set-up man, the Joba-back-to-the-bullpen talk has settled a bit. I still think Joba’s better suited in the pen, but the Yanks don’t have too many other rotation options right now.

  45. There was really little critcism of the LaRoche to Pittburgh deal if I recall correctly. Gonzalez was considered a premium closer and Lillibridge a top prospect. Thorman’s minor league career had closely mirrored LaRoche’s so many on this board and I think the Braves thought that we had an in house replacement. Finally I think that the consensus was that he was great trade bait because his excellent 2006 season was a career outlier. Turns out that was correct. He has been good but not as good as he was in 2006.

    In any case for what ever reason I’m glad that I was wrong and the Braves were right because the guy is on fire right now. I can see the Braves tendering him an offer and thats ok since he isn’t really blocking anyone. But if they don’t sign him I can see the Braves going to Prado as a stop gap solution if they feel Freeman is the real deal.

  46. I criticized the LaRoche-to-Pittsburgh deal and the Kotchman-for-LaRoche deal. Glad I seem to have at least been wrong about the latter.

  47. Johnny, thats the way I remember it too, we were happy to be gathering arms because our bullpen was overall bad.
    Did that trade allow Smoltz to return as a starter? I forget.

  48. I think we should re-sign LaRoache this offseason. It’s crazy to let Adam walk just to avoid blocking a guy who hasn’t proven he can handle AA yet.

    Having two good first basemen would be a nice problem to have.

  49. Tony LaRussa turned the nine inning game into an eight inning game. But no, he did not invent the closer as they have been around since the seventies. What LaRussa did was to simply use his closer in the ninth inning exclusively. He invented the three out save.

    And comparing LaRussa to Cox is asinine.

    Cox has taken fifteen teams into the postseason, winning five pennants, five league division series and one world series while losing four world series, five league division series and also losing five pennants. His total postseason record stands at 66-66. Which is coincidently, the most losses by a manager in post season history.

    LaRussa has taken five teams into the postseason, winning five pennants, two world series and losing three world series. His overall postseason record is 35-22 and LaRussa holds the distinction of being one of just two managers who have won a world series in both leagues. He is the first manager ever to win multiple pennants in both leagues.

  50. I would hardly call the comparison asinine. They are two of the most accomplished managers *ever*. In any sport. Comparisons are inevitable.

    But just for kicks Bobby has a higher career winning percentage than Tony, .556 vs .535.

  51. By my count, LaRussa has taken a dozen teams into the post-season (3 diff franchises: CWS, Oak, StL). This year would be 13.

  52. @64, we can quantify quantum mechanics. that’s sort of its point – we can’t explain it very well though…

  53. I loved the Laroche for Kotchman deal from the very first moment. I never thought LaRoche would be this hot, but I just didnt want Kotchman spending several years in Atl

  54. we can quantify quantum mechanics. that’s sort of its point – we can’t explain it very well though.

    Don’t ask me to do either one.

  55. @64,

    Jeff K,

    Quantum mechanics has been experimentally proven so in a sense it has been quantified . . . except that in quantum mechanics, observing the phenomenon changes the result, so maybe it hasn’t been, uh,anyway, it’s confusing.

    Ububba,

    I disagree that Smith’s baserunning mistake is one of the all-time blunders. Remember that the Braves still had runners on second and third, no outs and the middle of the order up. It shouldn’t have made any difference.

    Coach,

    LaRussa has actually taken 11 teams into the post-season (White Sox, A’s (4), Cards (6)). He lost three WS, all in 5 games or less (2 sweeps) and in two of which (88,90), his teams were heavily favored but got blown out by fairly weak teams (Dodgers, Reds). He also lost the NL pennant in 2005 to a pretty ordinary Houston team. He blew a 3-1 lead to the Braves in 1996.

    Cox lost four World Series, but, arguably, were favored in only one (1996). He lost Series to the Twins largely because of the Metrodome, to an extremely good Jays team, and twice to the Yankess, one of the best teams at least of the last 25 years. He beat a Cleveland team that won 100 games in a 144 game season. Obviously, his record is hurt by the last five years when the Braves lost in the first round but the only time the Braves were ever blown out was the 1999 World Series.

    LaRussa is a good manager but I think you are exaggerating the difference between him and Cox.

  56. @81, quantum mechanics is like matt diaz; you can’t explain it, but there are numbers that show you it works.

  57. Marc,
    It shouldn’t have made a difference, but it did.

    If Lonnie scores, there’s a very high probability that we win the ’91 WS. He should’ve scored on that play.

    LaRussa’s 12 Post-Season Teams
    1. ’83 CWS (lost ALCS)
    2. ’88 Oak (won ALCS, lost WS)
    3. ’89 Oak (won ALCS, Won WS)
    4. ’90 Oak (won ALCS, lost WS)
    5. ’92 Oak (lost ALCS)
    6. ’96 StL (won NLDS, lost NLCS)
    7. ’00 StL (won NLDS, lost NLCS)
    8. ’01 StL (lost NLDS)
    9. ’02 StL (won NLDS, lost NLCS)
    10. ’04 StL (won NLDS, won NLCS, lost WS)
    11. ’05 StL (won NLDS, lost NLCS)
    12. ’06 StL (won NLDS, Won NLCS, Won WS)

  58. I would like to start the campaign: DIAZ FOR LEADOFF (platoon’d)

    Currently has a 0.431 OBP versus LHP and has the most steals other than McLouth

    DIAZ FOR LEADOFF

    DIAZ FOR LEADOFF

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