Braves 6, Padres 2

Atlanta Braves vs. San Diego Padres – Box Score – April 15, 2010 – ESPN.

For a west coast trip, that actually went pretty well. The Braves went binary early on — 1001100 — but broke out for a three-run eighth to make the game fairly secure, though using three relievers to pitch to three men in the sixth and seventh meant that the Saito-Wagner pair had to pitch again.

Martin Prado jacked a solo homer with one out in the first to give the Braves the lead. They scored a run in the fourth when Heyward doubled in Yunel, and another in the fifth when McCann doubled in Chipper from first. (Originally scored a double and an error, but the scorer changed his mind.)

Meanwhile, Tim Hudson was not really pitching well, but getting out of it somehow. He finally couldn’t in the sixth, which was led off with a homer, later followed by a two out double and a single to make it 3-2, after which Bobby went to Medlen. (Peculiarly, he double-switched McLouth out for Smelky with the pitcher’s spot due up and McLouth having made the last out… but only let Medlen face one man anyway. He got a groundout to end the threat.) Hudson was squeezed a little but simply wasn’t getting the Padres to swing and miss, walking five and not getting a single strikeout. That won’t work.

O’Flaherty faced Gonzalez in the seventh and got him, followed by Moylan getting the next two guys. The Braves finally got a big inning in the eighth, mostly with two out. Chipper started things with a walk and a stolen base, but McCann and Glaus couldn’t get him home. Yunel could, with a single, then scored again in front of a Heyward double that would probably have been a homer in most other parks, hit over the head of the left fielder. Hinske pinch-hit and brought Jason home to make it 6-2, and Saito and Wagner had no problems at all finishing up.

78 thoughts on “Braves 6, Padres 2”

  1. Melky looks lost. Diaz looks terrible, however Diaz looks terrible all the time. I made a prediction after the Melky acquisition that he would be as hated as Jeffy. So far, he makes Jeff look like Mickey Mantle. Good to see Mclouth with a solid single and a walk. He might be coming out of his slump. Hopefully our whole offense can get going at home.
    5-4…WOOT!

  2. Wow Heyward is going to be good. That was a 20 year old hitting that opposite field double.

  3. ryan, we had expectation on Jeffrey. We have no expectation on Melky. I will never have as much feeling on Melky as I had on Frenchy.

  4. Nate did look good at the plate, which means, Bobby will say something great about Melky and Nate will sit for the next week

  5. Well they pulled that road trip out of the ditch.

    Consider, 2 really tough losses in SF followed by the 17-2 debacle to open to the SD series, this one had 2-4 written all over it. All things considered, 3-3 isn’t bad. I think the hitting will be better when we start getting something from LF and CF (one of those positions has to produce eventually???). Also, I was pretty impressed with the arms that both SF and SD can run out there. Those teams can’t hit much, but their pitching looks promising.

  6. watching the series, i realized something: kyle blanks is big and looks rather unintelligent. in what will probably be a rather unintelligent move of my own, i dropped him from my fantasy team and picked up jeffy. i hate him….but he’s so hot right now.

  7. It’s not that difficult. They get a lot of power arms, most of which wind up being relievers, and in that ballpark they’re going to get a lot of breaks on home runs. The Padres’ problem is that they haven’t been able to develop hitters at all.

  8. Melky looks lost. Diaz looks terrible, however Diaz looks terrible all the time. I made a prediction after the Melky acquisition that he would be as hated as Jeffy. So far, he makes Jeff look like Mickey Mantle. Good to see Mclouth with a solid single and a walk. He might be coming out of his slump.

    McLouth hit the ball hard (the walk was intentional) so that’s nice. Diaz apparently missed the team meeting about working the pitcher as he swung at pretty much every pitch thrown his way including balls that bounced in there and balls a foot outside.

    His personal feelings aside, just hit McLouth leadoff and rotate Melky and Diaz at the eight hole.

    Prado is awesome.

  9. Maybe, but I don’t think it’s just the park. They haven’t developed an all-star type hitter since Tony Gwynn Sr. Their best hitters, post-Gwynn, have been Klesko, Giles, Gonzalez, Phil Nevin, and Reggie Sanders. These were all either veterans who had already hit at a high level, or guys off the scrap heap. On their World Series team in 1998, Gwynn, the oldest player on the team, was the only regular who had played his rookie year for the Padres.

  10. Checking back… I think that the last homegrown Padre hitter, other than Gwynn, to make the All-Star team with the club was Benito Santiago, who made the team from 1989-1992, after which they let him leave as a free agent. The last homegrown player to come up and make the All-Star team was Roberto Alomar who came up in 1988, a couple of years after Santiago, and was an All-Star in 1990. That offseason, they traded him. They had a good group of talented players that came up in the late eighties, but in the last 20 years, zippo.

  11. Strictly going by batting averages, the Braves have 5 players that are hitting a combined 500 points below what should be reasonably expected of them. Prado’s .400 + average won’t last and McCann will fall off some along with Heyward. That being said, I’ll take a 5-4 record at this point. Our pitching is about what we can expect all year (if we don’t get injuries) and even Melky will hit better. Our team BA of .231 and .690 OPS is 15th out of 16 NL teams. I expect we’ll be in the top 1/2 before the end of the year. Our 4.03 team ERA will also improve (obviously Monday’s performance skews this a lot).

    All in all, I like our chances at this point.

  12. The Braves have had some ugly moments (which team doesn’t), but we are 5-4 after a 6 game trip to the West coast, which is actualy a prety decent start. Now, if we can keep Chipper healthy and build fires under Diaz, Melky and McLouth, then we are going to be alright….

  13. Melky Cabrera was a great return….if the trade had sent Lowe to the Yankees instead.

    As it stands, he’s a big shining monument anchored out in the outfield to Wren’s worst move as the Braves’ GM.

  14. @24 – The Joe and Boog page has been gone for a while now, replaced by a Fox Sportsouth page.

    It’s updated by interns now, I think. Chip doesn’t seem too tech-savvy.

  15. #23–I don’t think it was Wren’s move as a GM–but the signing of Lowe and the subsequent failure to move him in the offseason will not only haunt this team in 2010, but in the next two offseasons….

  16. #28, who cares? Sanatna sucks early in the year, and we have Kenshin-san do deal with other team’s aces. He just knows how to beat them!

    Regarding Melky, i called him an “out machine” on the day the Braves traded for him, and took some heat for it on this very blog. It is still early, and so far he has done nothing to prove me wrong, but his track record does indicate that he is better than what we currently see. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt for another month or so. Same with McLoud, of course.

  17. #27 – Wren tried mightily to move Lowe. Remember the 9 million dollar sweetner? Your statement seems to be placing blame. If NO one wants Derek Lowe then Wren can hardly be blamed.

    #23 – I think the Vazquez trade turned out better than we could have possibly expected. An outfielder,a top pitching prospect and another live arm are good returns for a guy with JV’s track record and given that every team in baseball knew that Wren HAD to move one of either Lowe or Vazquez.

    Pollyanna mode here but I think smelky, Glause, McLouth and Diaz will come around. I just wish Bobby wouldn’t give Cabrera 5 PAs per game.

  18. If NO one wants Derek Lowe then Wren can hardly be blamed.

    Other than for the contract Wren signed him to in the first place. But you’re right, we weren’t going to get equal value in the Vazquez trade and everybody knew it.

  19. If the Braves don’t blow two games in SF, everyone would be thrilled with the road trip.

    BTW, Vazquez continues to struggle in NY. Does this prove how much better the AL is than the NL?

    From previous thread:

    AAR, it’s pretty cool that you worked on the book. I have been intending to get the book as I am a Cold War history buff anyway.

  20. #32 – Hindsight is crystal clear. I seem to remember the general mood here was that sure the Braves overpaid but it was a move that most thought didn’t suck. We needed a ‘number one starter’ and he was the only one available.

  21. @ 33 – Melky continues to struggle in Atlanta, does this prove how much better the NL is than the AL? I agree there’s some difference and the AL is better overall, but the only thing Vazquez’s struggles prove is that he’s off to a bad start.

  22. @35 I hated the move then and remember most folks hating it as well. Now, I’ve moved on at this point, but no way in hell will I ever admit to saying that “it didn’t suck.” As for ever getting production out of two of our outfield spots… it’s not as if we have gotten production over the past three years. This continues to beguile Wren, and, frankly, I have no answers either. McLouth is our best bet to start hitting; Melky just sucks.

  23. td –
    By that reasoning then, do Melky’s struggles only prove he’s off to a bad start?

    I think both Vazquez and Melky have issues – Javy’s being a wildly inconsistent career and Melky’s being that he’s not as good as the Yankee’s hype machine would have you believe. Right now, if JV turns it around, then the Yankees will have had the better of the trade in the short term, but if Vizcaino lives up to his massive potential, in 5 years we might be talking about this trade as the second coming of Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz.

  24. I think Wren is an exceptionally good GM, and I don’t get the criticism on the Vazquez trade. We had to dump salary. He optimized his return given a bad situation.

    Of course, the situation is partially of his own making by signing Lowe to a long deal for someone his age.

    The Lowe signing was bad, although it didn’t seem as bad at the time. The worst move he’s made as GM is probably the Glavine signing. Other than Lowe and Glavine, though, he’s done great work. Maybe he should delegate the signing of pitchers on the wrong side of 35 to someone on his staff.

    @38, everyone knows the second coming of Alexander for Smoltz was Renteria for Jair.

    Other than that guy in Tampa, I can’t think of a GM in all of baseball I’d rather have than Wren.

  25. OK, the THIRD coming then…

    (I like the idea that there’s even a possibility of a third coming of such a lopsided trade. And yes..chickens, counting, and hatching…and all that…)

  26. @37 – I went back and looked in the archives from the day that Lowe was signed and here’s a few choice quotes from those wanting Wren’s head for the Lowe signing:

    “The Lowe and Kawakami signings did a lot to cheer me up for this offseason. Otherwise, Wren was looking like a tool, deserved or not. That Furcal thing really bit him in the a$$.”

    “Kawakami and Lowe almost at once…pretty cool day to be a Braves’ fan….”

    “To change the subject, signing Lowe may even suggest that the Braves will have more luck with Boras and his clients in the future. Maybe JS would have gotten the deal done, but after a string of frustations, it has to be said that Wren was able to succeed with Boras and in so doing broken new ground. This may be expensive, but given the number of clients that Boras has locked up, it is probably a necessary evil.”

    “good job Wren, now lets make Lowe official.”

    “I’m excited by the idea of Swisher. He was pretty unlucky last year, and the idea of upgrading Kotchman with Swisher make me salivate. If we pull Lowe and Swisher, I’m pretty sure we make the playoffs.”

    “Rosenthal said we offered the 4th year on the condition that Lowe would make a quick decision. I like that.”

    “@33 & 34: I love it… and I’m amazed at how quickly Frank Wren’s reputation turned from idiot to mastermind around here all by overpaying for one guy… Of course I’d rather have Lowe at 4/$60 than Burnett at 4/$68+(?)”

    “This guy knows what he’s doing. Scheurholz didn’t just pick his name out of a hat.”

    (LOVE THIS ONE!!!)”I would not do KJ/Morton/Soriano for Maggs. It’s too much to pay. Besides, we do not want Prado behind Lowe for 162 games.”

    “From DOB: “And remember, the Braves might have overpaid for Lowe, but they avoided giving him a no-trade clause.”
    I certainly like that a lot. I personally think Wren has a fine offseason, but he completely underestimated the market for Smoltzie and handled it very poorly. Up to now, I will give him a “B/B+”. If not for the Smoltzie incident, I would give him a straight “A”.”

    “And just to add to my excitement, I find that we have signed both Kawakami and Lowe. Go Braves!”

    Bottom line: hindsight is 20/20 and you can’t do your job knowing exactly what will happen in the future. Nobody can. They got what they could for Vazquez, and people are fooling themselves if they think they know exactly what the market was for Lowe/Vazquez or that the Braves could have done better.

  27. I have a feeling no matter how bad Melky sucks, he isn’t going to hit .089 all year.

  28. Am I the only one who thinks that both of Heyward’s opposite field homers, as well as his double last night, missed the sweet spot of the bat?

    When I see those replays, it looks to me like he didn’t square them up, yet he still got them to the track or beyond.

  29. #42–Hindsight is not 20/20, but it is also the case that those of us who post on Braves Journal do not have access to the information which the Braves’ front office has. My guess is that Wren pulled the trigger on Lowe because he got burned by the fallout from the Smoltz fiasco and because he thought he had adequate financial resources to do so. Yes, it still seemed expensive at the time, but if a club has the resources this is not an inherently serious problem.

    However, with the 2009 MLB Player Draft rolled around a couple of months later it was evident that the Braves did not have much money. Now, my supposition is that Wren signed Lowe and Liberty Media then tightened the purse strings. If Liberty Media reduced his budget before he signed Lowe, then I think Wren should probably be fired. After all, why pay 16%-17% of your team budget for an aging pitcher who is not much more than better than average.

    I don’t think that it was any surprise that moving Lowe would be difficult; however, the inability to do so will hinder the organization for the next couple of years.

    Lets just hope that Lowe has a great year….

  30. This: “Bottom line: hindsight is 20/20 and you can’t do your job knowing exactly what will happen in the future. Nobody can. They got what they could for Vazquez, and people are fooling themselves if they think they know exactly what the market was for Lowe/Vazquez or that the Braves could have done better.” Is exactly right.

  31. @ 47 – Agree, at least on the two homers (didn’t see the double last night). He seems to get a ton of carry, and I think it’s because of all the backspin his downward swing creates.

  32. Freeman update: .156/.156/.188 through eight games played. I really have to question the wisdom of starting him at AAA. He’s the third-youngest player in the International League, one of only three 20-year-olds in the circuit.

    The entire Gwinnett team is struggling mightily and hitting a collective .214/.278/.286 and scoring less than three runs a game. This is despite being one of the oldest teams in the circuit.

  33. Is it possible that Gwinnett has just faced some really tough pitchers in their first eight games?

  34. The SI Heyward article compares Heyward and Freeman to the Beatles. Using my handy baseball player/rock star conversion chart, this makes Medlen Ringo, and Saltalamacchia Pete Best.

  35. Vasquez trade – yeah Im sure Wren didnt jump at his first offer and Im sure he didnt take an offer with a better one on the table. People are forgetting that Vasquez really is a #3 starter, not an ace. He was in the final year of a $11mil deal and he could block any trade to a 1/3 of the teams. I doubt many people were knocking down Wren’s door to get him, most teams couldnt add that salary and we couldnt add much of a salary back in return. Wren did get a top prospect

  36. @54

    They have faced some good pitching. They faced Hellickson of Durham (Tampa Bay system) the other night, for example. But you can’t blame their woes on the quality of pitching they have faced. Their offense flat-out sucked in that season-opening homestand, and that includes Freeman.

  37. Here’s the deal. Wren looks at batting average for hitters, Wins for pitchers, and then calls Joe Morgan and Tim McCarver for final consultation before making moves.

  38. Vasquez trade – yeah Im sure Wren didnt jump at his first offer and Im sure he didnt take an offer with a better one on the table. People are forgetting that Vasquez really is a #3 starter, not an ace.

    Stuff like this always kills me. Vasquez never misses start, 200+ IP every year, 200+ Ks every year…and he’s a third starter. Ok then. The Dodgers started Vincente Padilla on opening day.

    When adding up the true cost the Lowe contract you have to include not only the four years of sucktastic pitching we will have to endure but also that we had to send Vasquez away a year too soon.

    I think Wren is an exceptionally good GM, and I don’t get the criticism on the Vazquez trade. We had to dump salary. He optimized his return given a bad situation.

    A situation of his own doing. Putting yourself in bad situations is not a sign of an exceptionally good GM.

  39. The SI Heyward article compares Heyward and Freeman to the Beatles. Using my handy baseball player/rock star conversion chart, this makes Medlen Ringo, and Saltalamacchia Pete Best.

    If I’m reading my slide rule correctly, that means that Brian McCann is Eric Burdon, Jair Jurrjens is Stevie Winwood, Tommy Hanson is Mick Jagger, and Chipper Jones is Pete Townshend.

  40. “Chipper Jones is Pete Townshend”

    Let’s hope Chipper doesn’t engage in the same type of “research” as Pete.

  41. 63–I hope you are right–he has not demonstrated it so far. I don’t think it would have hurt him to start at Myrtle Beach….

  42. I think Elvis Costello’s a better match for Murphy.

    I get Sid Vicious as my Yunel Escobar comp.

  43. Well, I’m told SEC play is roughly equivalent to the Carolina league, so after playing in the SEC for three years, he should be ready for the Southern league.

    With any prospect, there’s going to be an adjustment period immediately after promotion. The fact that Minor is essentially making the biggest jump in MiLB (class A to class AA) this side of MLB promotion buys him even more leniency, I would think.

    Regardless, I don’t think there’s a whole lot for him to learn in the Carolina league. He already knows how to pitch and he’s got plus control. The main thing he needs to work on is commanding his breaking pitches (and possibly deciding which one to keep). Most of the time pitchers in that phase of their development are assigned to AA.

  44. Randy at 59,

    I think Epstein would be Frank Wren, or maybe Eddie Perez (as in “management”).

    And, it seems that nobody has assigned George Harrison a “modern Braves counterpart”. How about Matt Diaz? He has the mellow thing (but maybe not caused the same way), the “My Sweet Lord” thing (although it probably means something different to Diaz), and he is a pretty good talent that doesn’t get fully appreciated because of the superstars around him.

  45. cliff at 72,

    The problem with that picture is that George Harrison was a /superstar/ who was not appreciated because of the superstars around him. The closest guy on the team there, though he has already been named, is Yunel. Last year’s stats could have slipped unnoticeably into Derek Jeter’s career line with no problems, and he had much better defense.

  46. #71–I don’t Minor ever played in the Carolina League and his results in the AFL (not the best player to evaluate a pitcher) were mixed.

    I hope that I am wrong and Minor proves to be dominant at AA….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.