Braves 9, Phillies 1 (7 innings)

Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies – Box Score – August 29, 2009 – ESPN

Well, that was inevitable. Derek Lowe versus Cliff Lee? Obviously a mismatch in favor of the Braves.

For once, it was the other guys who scored early and then shut down. The Phillies got their lone run in the first on a homer by Utley, but after that it was they who had a whole bunch of hits (ten more, in just six innings after the first) but somehow couldn’t score.

The Braves were unable to to anything either until the fourth, when they exploded for five runs, scoring on two homers. McCann and Escobar singled to lead off the inning, then Anderson hit a three-run job. LaRoche grounded out (then left the game with a hamstring situation) but Gorecki singled, and after a bunt Diaz homered to make it 5-1. Yunel hit a solo homer in the sixth, and in the seventh Diaz singled in Gorecki and then came home on a homer by Chipper. Eight runs on homers — I’ll take it.

Lowe did his tightrope thing, allowing eight hits in 5 2/3 but getting out of it somehow. He did strike out five — it’s a lot easier to get out of those problems with a strikeout, though you’d prefer not to get into them to begin with. Moylan finished the sixth, getting out of second and third, two out. Gonzalez pitched the seventh, and then it started to rain after a scoreless top of the eighth. I think that inning doesn’t count.

36 thoughts on “Braves 9, Phillies 1 (7 innings)”

  1. Gotta “love” this offense. The night after looking hopeless against Moyer, they came back to destroy Lee. Wish they can be more consistent, but will take that any day.

    Robert, if you take out the downtime Mac had in the beginning of the year, he is hardly getting ANY day off recently. Just look at Ross’s at bat numbers. You really don’t want to kill our best young player who also happens to be our catcher.

  2. And still 3.5 out of the Wild Card race. The Rockies have a pretty easy September ahead of them however…

  3. It will be good to get McLouth back, but I hope it doesn’t get Diaz out of the lineup. He’s hitting .416 for the month and has increased his avg against righties significantly. I’ve gotta’ say it couldn’t happen to a better guy. He looks like he’s playing himself into being an everyday player again to start out next year.

  4. Repeat every day until October 4: If Braves runs scored > opponents runs scored, print “Woo hoo, playoffs”, else print “Ballgame”.

  5. It’s interesting to note that of the two teams ahead of
    Atlanta in the WC race, and 6 teams behind them, the Braves have the best record of any of them over the last 10 games. The Rockies, who looked unbeatable last week, have now lost 4 in a row. The Braves may be able to pull this off if they continue to win series (not sweep them), if the teams close to them continue to sputter. I wouldn’t be shocked to see it happen.

  6. I guess Nate is NOT coming back for now…sucks…and Adam is hurt as well…that sucks even more…

    @4 You are right, I notice that too. The Rockies are indeed having a pretty light schedule in Sept…

    @7 There is no way we are chanting playoff after every win. Not on this board my friend. I doubt you see many Braves blog liking the team’s chance of making the playoff.

  7. Robert, if you take out the downtime Mac had in the beginning of the year, he is hardly getting ANY day off recently.

    1) And why would I take out the downtime at the beginning of the year? It happened right? Time not spent squatting is time not spent squatting.

    2) He’s playing a lot now, it’s true. Probably not ideal but when you are trying to make up ground in a playoff chase getting your best player in the lineup is advised. The team has actually had a fair number of scheduled off days recently.

  8. After the last week and the way the Rockies were playing I’m amazed we’re only 3.5 games back. I thought losing 2 out of 3 to San Diego might ruin us.

    The Rockies may regret that they didn’t bury us.

  9. Matt Diaz was injured last year. Before and after his injury he has always hit consistently well.

    This is unlike the consistent suckage of the guy who was playing before him.

  10. Gonzo didn’t just pitch the 7th, he came on in the 7th, after Moylan had loaded the bases with nobody out, and he got Howard, Werth, and Ibanez.

  11. @16, you can take out “Atlanta” and “corner” and it still works…maybe “outfielder” too.

  12. francoeur has about 200 at-bats more than diaz this year. can you imagine the stats diaz could have put up if he were given those at bats. he has 92 hits now, and could have probably had at least 60 more with 200 atbats. diaz, if given full-time at-bats, could be an all star.

  13. Yes Parish, it was. I think I forgot Gonzo on my list of current favorite Braves, but I DO love watching him bob and weave on the mound, looking pissed off. I came back in the room, wrested control of the TV from my wife, and saw us up 9-1, with Howard at the plate and bases loaded… then watched Gonzo mow him down. Ibanez got REALLY close, but I’m pretty sure I said the same thing Gonzo did when that long fly was caught… and I won’t repeat it here.

    BTW, Yahoo Sports has a nice piece up on Smoltz and his appearing to get it together for the Cards, and how he’s realized that holding on to the chip on his shoulder over the Braves FO probably didn’t help him.

  14. Robert, hope you can see Mac is struggling. You can tell he is tired just by watching his swing. Honestly, you don’t have to defend everything Bobby does. I know all the reasons behind Bobby’s moves as we have watch the guy manages for almost 20 years. I just happen to disagree with him on certain issues.

  15. Diaz is having a good year, but let’s not whitewash how terrible he was last year. He had an OPS+ of 50 when given the starting job, and looked totally clueless at the plate. I like the guy, but let’s see if he can sustain his numbers against righties before we hand him the keys to left or right for next year.

  16. Diaz is a career .314/.365/.465/.820 hitter

    vs righties – .284/.332/.398/.730

    thats not a terrible line to pay someone a couple of mil to handle a corner OF spot. We gave the “keys” to Francoeur and watched him post 3 sub .300 OBP in 5 years. Dont see any reason the Braves wouldnt want to keep him around and Im sure he thinks he should be getting a full time job by now

  17. even factoring in his poor year last year, diaz has a career .284 batting average and .332. obp against rhp in 588 at-bats.
    so, am i hearing this right? matt diaz, because he’s so amazing hitting lhp, should platoon because he’s only a little above average against rhp? it has to be frustrating to be matt diaz.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?n1=diazma02&year=Career&t=b

    and he still looks clueless at the plate, even this year. what matt diaz are you watching?

  18. Well, the Francoeur example isn’t really a good one. There were maybe 5 people on this board who thought Frenchy should still be the starting right fielder at the beginning of the season.

    I guess my question would be: why did Matt Diaz fail so spectacularly when given a full time job? I’m not wholly opposed to him as our 2010 starting left fielder, but I do want to know why he was so terrible after two months of starting every day in 2008.

  19. I can’t believe the Rocks keep losing, toying with me by keeping my hope alive.

    We will pass the Giants. Count it. We just have to hope the Rocks keep losing.

    Pretty much every win by the Braves and loss by the Rocks are roughly equal in value, but some are a little different. Rocks vs Giants isn’t as important, since the Giants winning mitigates the Rocks loss a little, and Braves vs Phillies is a little more important because of our outside shot at the division. Braves at Phillies is a little more important than the other way around because we’re an underdog to the Phils at their place.

    I guess what I’m saying is today’s game is, by a little bit, THE MOST IMPORTANT GAME OF THE REST OF THE YEAR.

  20. The fact that Jeff Francoeur was not qualified to start every day is not an argument that Matt Diaz is qualified to start every day. The one has nothing to do with the other. That the Braves wasted three years on Francoeur in RF does not support nor undermine the case for Diaz.

    Should Diaz be the starting LF next year? Maybe. He’d be quality against LHP and serviceable against RHP. Would it be better to have a quality LH caddy for him? Yes, yes it would. “But he’s better than Francoeur” is not an endorsement for him to start above AA.

  21. Still no word from sansho1. Could someone please drop him a line just to make sure that everything’s all right?

  22. #21 – there’s a winning post.

    The idea that Bobby should have magically given Diaz at bats in place of Francoeur at the beginning of the year is ridiculous. Diaz was given an everyday job last season and was sub-Francoeur horrible before getting hurt.

    And the organization didn’t decide to pay Francoeur’s multimillion dollar arbitration bill to have him backup a guy who had a OPS+ of 50 last year.

  23. I see outfield for next year as McLouth in center (maybe Schaffer), Heyward in right, Diaz / Church (maybe McLouth) in left with probably Schafer as 5th outfielder. Then, Diaz can spell Heyward in right once a week against a tough lefty and play sometimes against righties and get 400 PA’s. Church will get 300-400 PA’s, McLouth 600 and Schafer the difference (if you option Schaffer down, then you either (1) find a 5th outfielder or (2) let Infante cover s a 5th outfielder).

    I am a Diaz fan and believe he is much better than many on this blog think, however, his career against righthanders says “maybe not”.

    Realize that the first half year or so of Diaz stats are off because that is before he was diagnosed as visually impaired in one eye by Braves people. His “against righhanders” before he got to ATL is like 180 / 200 / 250. Factoring that out raises his career numbers against righties, but not enough to carry left field well.

    One improvement in Diaz game is an increased walk rate. It is particularly pronounced against righthanders. IF he can hold a 350 OBP against righthanders, he is serviceable as a lead off man. then, bat him lower against lefties.

    Also, left field is one of the few places we can “go get a bat” for.

    Think about it:

    Catcher: no better bats available and a pretty good bat for a back up.

    2B: Between Prado, Infante, and maybe KJ, you are very unlikely to even find an upgrade, but the cost of one (in money or players) would make little sense.

    SS: Now everybody understands that Escobar is a plus glove, plus plus arm, and plus bat at SS. infante is a way better than average back up.

    3B: Even with “bad Chipper”, there aren’t many better. We COULD find a bat for 3rd and move Chipper to 1B, but even if we move Chipper across, it makes more sense to keep Prado at ML minimum at 3rd, plug KJ / Infante at 2nd and put the moey elsewhere.

    Center: we have three pretty good fielding ML centerfielders (Schafer, McLouth, and Church, in that order). With McLoth’s bat and probably slightly bettr fielding than Church, he should be the man for now. Where would we find a better option at all, let alone for similar money?

    RF: Heyward’s arm is too good to waste in left. He is a plus defender in right. If we pick up a bat this offseason for the outfield, it needs to be somebody to play left.

    1B: Another place to possibly pick up a “bat”. I am sceptical that “2nd half LaRoche” should be that player and I wouldn’t go longer than 2 years on him with Freeman a chance and close (NOT 2010, I am almost sure) to the big leagues.

  24. Damn, Sam – what does Diaz have to do to convince you that that – absent signing a $10 million (or more) right-handed hitting left-fielder – he deserves a full-time slot.

    Name one Braves outfielder that is performing at a higher level.

    Perhaps we should emulate the Cubs and get rid of our DeRosa so that we can sign Milton Bradley. How’s that working out for them?

  25. Diaz deserves a full-time slot if an only if you don’t have a better option vs. RHPs. Earlier this year, we didn’t. When we have our full complement of OFs back (ie, Anderson, Church, and McLouth), we most certainly do have a better option. Next year, when we have Heyward up, we’ll probably have better options vs. RHPs then, too.

    Just because Diaz isn’t completely useless vs. RHPs doesn’t mean we should play him over someone who hits them better.

    And I’ve been a Diaz support for quite some time.

  26. Diaz has been great this past month. He’s a lot of fun to watch play and easy to cheer for. I still tend to believe that the role in which the Braves could garner the most benefit from him is in a platoon in LF with a guy who mashes righties.

  27. #30. If Schafer is still thought of as the center fielder of the future, then there’s no point him being up as the 5th outfielder. Better to have him getting the at bats he missed at AAA this year instead.

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