Phillies 5, Braves 3

Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies – Box Score – May 09, 2010 – ESPN.

Oy. The Braves actually had more baserunners than the Phillies, but as the old saying goes, “If you are playing a three-game series at Citizens’ Bank Park, and you don’t hit any home runs, you are probably not going to win the series.” It’s an oddly specific old saying.

Kawakami looked like a disaster early on, loading the bases with one out in the first and then hitting the next batter, then giving up a sac fly to make it 2-0. After that, it was solo homers only, one in the second, one in the third, and one in the seventh. It could have been worse.

Kawakami got the Braves’ only scoring inning, the fifth, started with a walk; they followed with four straight singles to make it 4-3 at the time, but couldn’t get a hit to tie or take the lead, leaving the bases loaded. The Braves blew other chances, including Kawakami bunting into a double play in front of two hits in the third, and Infante leading off the game with a double, not getting moved to third, and getting thrown out by approximately 75 feet on a two-out single by Glaus.

It’s all quite sad, really. Chipper joined Heyward on the injured-groin list. The Braves need new groupies or something.

81 thoughts on “Phillies 5, Braves 3”

  1. “An oddly specific old saying”

    I love it.

    The sac fly in the first was of questionable quality. New fave Brave, Melky, decided to hug the ball rather than throw home from shallow right.

  2. Lidge gave up two wind-aided warning track fly balls in the 9th to Hinske and Infante. I thought both were out when they hit them.

  3. The same kind of mighty wind that was blowing in at Citizens Bank in the 9th inning is swirling & occasionally blowing out in Flushing. Anything hit in the air is an adventure.

    About the same time those 2 Braves flies off Lidge died on the track, Aaron Rowand hit an opposite-field HR today that was just carried out of the park into RCF. Everyone in the ballpark was shocked to see it go out.

    Ours is a sad bunch right now. Only 131 games to go.

  4. Perhaps they need new groupies, but something tells me Milwaukee is not the place to start looking.

  5. Not that it’s any consolation for our sorry state of affairs, but Jeff Francoeur just struck out to end the game with the tying run on second.

    The pitch was way up and away, almost neck-high.

    I’ve seen that movie, too.

  6. Our next game in Milwaukee is against Doug Davis who is 1-3 with a 8.13 ERA. Those are the kind of pitchers that no hit us for at least seven innings.

  7. i just woke up from fainting when i turned on TBS and saw Melky in the 3 hole…what happened?

  8. Did Len Barker throw a perfect game, or was it just a no-hitter? And, did he ever retire 27 batters in his entire Braves career?

  9. Let’s try the old Carnak routine.

    Pat Rockett, Darrell Chaney, Corky Miller, and Rafael Belliard.

    Answer: Name the only four Braves in history to be a worse choice than Melky Cabrera to hit third in the line-up.

  10. A perfect game! And it wasn’t against us?

    Look, Melky’s a mediocre player (at best) having a lousy year. Today, he went 1 for 4 with an RBI & 3 LOB.

    But can we take a hard look at the “good” players who are also killing us?

    Just today…
    McCann 0 for 3, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 2 LOB.
    McLouth 0 for 3, 1 K, 5 LOB.

    “Yeah, but that was against a tough lefty.”

    OK, then how about this from the lefty masher: Diaz 0 for 4, 1 K, 4 LOB.

    Melky’s certainly earned the animus, but many of the better players have gone almost completely belly-up this year.

  11. Guess we shouldn’t feel too bad about being no-hit a lot this year, aren’t the Rays the ones who Buerhle threw his perfecto against last year?

  12. McOut seems to be playing his way out of the majors, imo. McCan’t apparently has vision problems but won’t wear glasses. Not sure what to say there. Melky obviously has the new vintage of Cox blackmail photos.

  13. Nate McClouth has never been a good hitter. He’s always had a low average and I just hate those kind of guys. His defense is pretty good, but on a team like the Braves, we can’t afford to have his type of player in the lineup.

    In short, I’ve always thought he stank.

    I too would not be surprised to see some form of a trade or DFA just to try to shake things up.

  14. @13

    “Melky is a medicore player at best.”

    McLouth is an all star at best and Diaz is an above average player at best. So can we stop this insane outfield platoon of doom and just, you know, run the best players out there everyday?

    Melky 110PA
    Nate 98PA
    Diaz 67PA

  15. I’d consider myself a Rays fan, and it’s a little depressing that my two teams have been no-hit 3 times in the last year. Sad….

  16. McLouth is an all star at best and Diaz is an above average player at best. So can we stop this insane outfield platoon of doom and just, you know, run the best players out there everyday?

    Melky 110PA
    Nate 98PA
    Diaz 67PA

    I hate to break it to you but when you only have three healthy outfielders and none of them are hitting for crap, there really is not good way to play it.

    Diaz is rocking about a 20 OPS+ while dodging most of the tough righties. I don’t really need to see more of him thanks.

  17. We have one “best player” out there. He’s our RF & he’s hurt.

    The other 3 guys playing the 2 positions have been awful. (If you want to have another Hinske conversation, go for it.)

    Matt Diaz is a career .300 hitter, a guy who OPS’d .878 last year. McLouth is a guy who, despite his middling average, always hit for some power, something we don’t really have. Both should be way better.

    Even if Melky was doing his usual 270/330/385 kinda thing—sounds almost great, considering…—he’d be eons ahead of those guys.

    We’re turning the notion of “team effort” completely on its ear.

  18. might as well add one more….its sad but Im one the adding Sheffield/Dye bandwagon now

  19. Explain why Hinske has way fewer plate appearances than Melky/Diaz/McOut? I’d maybe be willing to give Diaz the benefit of a doubt since at least he’s been a decent hitter. Melky and McOut suck and I don’t need to see any more evidence. Melky might be the worst position player on the team (or on any team), and yet he’s gotten the most at bats. F’ing crazy. Inexplicable.

  20. A great coach might help, but I don’t assume that even a bad hitting coach has a significant enough effect to cause these types of results for major league hitters.

  21. I don’t assume that, either — but any job has to have benchmarks, doesn’t it? Some rationale on which to base a judgment?

  22. No easy answers.

    I can only see flushing TP (sorry, couldn’t help it) as a well-worn (and probably inconsequential) motivational tactic.

    I don’t think hitting coaches really help guys hit, but right now, we’re desperate. I can’t say I’m against it.

  23. I think the Braves are playing so poorly because they are sad about Bobby Cox retiring at the end of the year. Maybe if the Braves give him an extension the players would play better knowing they’ll have a few more years of playing under future HOF management to look forward to.

  24. @30 – I totally agree on Fred Lewis. I was thinking the same thing today. More than Dye or Sheffield, this guy could have made a difference. Then again, if he was a Brave, he might be hitting under .200 as well under the expert watch of TP.

  25. It’s not Bobby’s fault (just to get that out of the way) but when you get a lead off double in the top of the 1st and have been having trouble hitting and scoring AND THEN have the hitter with the highest average BUNT — you sort of pull the plug on what might have been something like a good inning.

    And it’s not Brian Snitker’s fault either, but he’s an idiot . . . we’d be better off with a mannequin at 3rd.

    And is there no one in the organization who can teach bunting? you’d think that since it’s Bobby’s favorite move, somebody could show Kawakami how to hold his bat.

    but, I know, it’s his fault (whoever he is) either.

  26. Lowe knows where Vazquez is coming from this year. This is the saddest shit I’ve ever read:

    “I’ve been there,” he said, recalling his days as a Boston closer. “I struggled to a point where they stopped the game. It was Derek Lowe poster night. They threw all the posters back on the field. They stopped the game for 15 minutes.

    “That’s when you know you’re struggling, when they throw all your free posters on the field. And it was for kids. They didn’t care. Three-run lead, and I gave up five in a matter of seconds.

    “There were bonfires. They set them on fire outside after the game. It must have been cold that night.

    “Don’t tell me about struggling.”

  27. jash, I remember when people here tried to tell us that Melky was good and clutch because of a couple of good GW singles. However, Id trade Boston Melky for any person on their roster and consider it an upgrade

  28. Last year, Melky got off to a blazing start & had some big & memorable hits for the Yankees. If I remember correctly, he had three or four walk-off hits in a year where the Yanks had a bunch of them. It all really happened.

  29. Didn’t get to watch the game, but just saw the highlights on Quick Pitch. What the hell was Snitker doing not sending Prado on Glaus’ hit ? Good thing Martin is able to think for himself and ran through the stop sign. Here’s an idea, send anybody that has a slight chance to be safe, because odds are the person behind whoever just got a hit, isn’t going to get another one.

    There are really no answers until Heyward, JJ & Escobar come back, but I’ll take my chances (even against a lefty) with Hinske at 3B instead of Conrad, or Hinske in RF instead Melky.

    I know this would be virtually impossible to look up, but I wish somebody could find the last time somebody with as low of a slugging percentage as Melky hitting third after at least 20 games into the season. This never would have happened if Bobby was still alive.

  30. ububba, I understand that, but with as much trouble as the Braves have had scoring, I’m sending Prado when the ball wasn’t hit that hard, and Raul Ibanez is the left fielder. Not that it mattered regarding the outcome, but I would like to see some aggression every once and a while.

  31. Mmmmmhhhhh….

    “SEATTLE (AP) -Hitting coach Alan Cockrell was fired by the Seattle Mariners on Sunday, becoming the fall guy for an underperforming offense that is the worst in the American League.”

  32. If we need a QB or punting coach, Cockrell is the guy. He did both for the Vols way back when.

  33. I don’t think it’s the Mariners’ hitting coach’s fault that Casey Kotchman is their #3 hitter and Milton Bradley is Milton Bradley and Ken Griffey Jr. is really old and Jose Lopez is a hacker. Their offense sucks because their offense sucks and now that they’ve fired their hitting coach their offense still sucks.

    They may improve some, but I’d bet their offense would regress to the mean regardless of their hitting coach, and their offense will still suck.

  34. @ 46

    “this would never happen if bobby was still alive”

    classic

    I have been unable to watch many braves games hence my continuing optimism about life in general.

  35. Well, the Braves continue to excel at talking about how good they are when they lose. They are very good at that; it’s those pesky losses that make people think, for some reason, they aren’t very good.

    I don’t know what to make of Chipper’s comments about some guys needing to have an approach at the plate. He has become pretty good at criticizing other players while doing little himself. ON the other hand, if he is right, this doesn’t bode well for improvement; it’s one thing for hitters to be in slumps, but if they really don’t know what they are doing, can you really expect them to suddenly learn? If he is right, to me it suggests that there are serious problems with the lineup that go well beyond early-season struggles. It sounds like Francouer wasn’t the only clueless Brave.

  36. This was posted in a comment on Craig Calcaterra’s site, and obviously a blog comment isn’t a legitimate source, and a blog comment based on a blog comment based on a rumor certainly isn’t a legitimate source, but I’ve read hints of it elsewhere, and it may already be common knowledge anyway. Salt grains recommended at any rate:

    “Melky Cabrera’s nocturnal habits make him ill-suited to day games. I have it on reasonably good authority from a friend who is a Yankee fan that Melky rocks hard, and he was dragging Cano into the nightlife. The first time he told me this was in April 2008, when Cano opened with a .446 OPS for the first month. Then again in August that year, when the Yanks sent Melky down he told me that the partying was the real reason.

    I’ve heard this a number of other places and from a commenter here most recently, but my original source has a longstanding habit of knowing things about the Yanks ahead of time, and he never gives up anything about his source.”

    So, when Melky gets DFAed or “accidentally” misses the team plane on the way back from Milwaukee, is it possible that within the time it takes to totally recover from a hangover, say 1-3 days depending on severity, several key members of the offense see a dramatic jump in results? Who would be the most likely to succumb to a partying-based slump? Mcclouth? Glaus? My money is on Yunel.

  37. #54

    I thought he might have been talking about Diaz, but Diaz actually has an approach. Swing at balls, take strikes. Pull outside pitches, and go opposite-field with inside pitches.

  38. I kept telling folks on here how Wren panicked last year and signed Lowe and KK …. why we paid 7 mil a year to an 0-6 starter who knows … we could have Jo Jo Reyes do that cheaper. This team is bad …. only about 3 reliable starters and 1 or 2 hitters … an over the hill 3B .. a hitting coach who must have some dirt on mgr cause I cannot see how TP still has a job as bad as we are hitting … NO POWER AT ALL !!!! Besides the 20 year old J Heyward

  39. I can’t decide which is the theme:

    The sky is falling! the sky is falling!
    or
    The sky has fallen! The sky has fallen!

    This is going to keep me up at night.

  40. #56
    In NYC, Melky & Cano were Frick n’ Frack and it had been mentioned publicly by Yankee beat reporters that Melky was considered a “bad influence” on Cano, a talented player that’s always been considered immature and unfocused. There was always talk about separating them, like 2 talkie kids in the classroom. (See, it’s always “blame it on Melky.”)

    When the the Yanks sent Melky down in ’08, he was in an offensive free fall & they’d made a deal for Xavier Nady, a guy who could hit some HRs. If Melky had been hitting like Babe Ruth, he could’ve partied like Babe Ruth.

    #53
    Yup, sacrificial lamb.

  41. Well, if we can’t get rid of Pendleton can we at least kill a chicken?

    It ain’t gonna happen (not in Bobby’s last year, anyway), but something needs to be done to shake these guys by their lapels and let them know this is unacceptable. That comment about guys needing an approach (not a better approach, just an approach) speaks volumes to me about how ill-equipped Pendleton is to man his position.

    When a batter is struggling, a decent coach will help him simplify by giving the hitter a plan. Apparently, none is forthcoming from our hitting coach.

  42. It seems to me that axing TP would at least shake things up and could not hurt. No hitter has come to the braves in the TP era and been better than with his previous team. McClouth, Melky, ACHE, Kotchmania all got worse once they came to ATL. I’m not counting the half seasons from Teixeira and LaRoche because of their 2nd half splits.
    What’s more, it seems that who leave like Kelly Johnson and Francoeur (yeah, I went there) are doing better under new coaching.
    I know I’ve simplified the various situations, but I just don’t see any evidence that TP improves them team.

  43. @53

    Indeed, great players make good coaches far more frequently than the other way around. With that said, coaches are often the fall guys for the poor players provided to them by management.

    I personally don’t think Pendleton is a very good coach, but this is by no means all on his shoulders. I think he’s safe here for a couple of reasons, not the least of which he’s Cox’s guy. It would also be a bad pr move for the franchise, as Atlanta is a town sensitive to their African-American sports stars (although Joe Johnson and Mike Woodsen have worn out their welcome).

  44. #62 – well actually Diaz is better now under TP than he was in KC. Actually I shouldnt say now becuase he’s awful. It couldve been a eyesight thing more than anything and Francoeur has come back to the Francoeur that we fell in love with

  45. Assume that there exists somewhere a hitting coach that could turn Melky and Diaz and McOut and Glaus into offensive juggernauts. How much would an asset like that be worth to a team? Would you pay that guy $10 million a year to coach for you? $20M? I would. He’d be worth it. Do any hitting coaches make that much? Why not? Is it maybe because hitting coaches don’t matter one bit? Hmmm.

  46. anyone here a costa del mar fan? Im about to buy a pair and dont know if the difference between their 400 lense and the 580 lense is worth the extra $75-100. I do a lot of fishing and I hear they are the best for it

  47. I just think axing TP (race politics be damned) would be a good sign and an admission from the front office that “yes, we have a problem”. A problem with cruddy, no-power players, sure, but also a problem with offensive approach and philosophy. And again, I don’t see how the move could make things any worse.

  48. I haven’t been able to watch many games, but the total lack of power makes me wonder if this is a Major League team. The Braves seem to be becoming the NL version of the Orioles (with fewer prospects on the horizon).

  49. I know a lot of people here hated the idea including myself, but Im wondering if the Braves shouldve traded Jurrjens this past offseason for the OF bat to go along with Heyward

  50. #55 – It’s tough for me to criticize the team’s approach at the plate (Diaz excepted, he’s still a clueless hacker) because they lead the league in walks. They clearly have an idea to make the pitcher work, wait for a good pitch, all good things. But when the good pitch comes, they just can’t hit it. Fewest hits and fewest HR of any non-Houston team in the league. The whole thing is weird, it doesn’t seem like it could last.

    Houston is just amazing. Fewest walks, fewest hits, and fewest HR in the league. A .226/.270/.315 team line. Ugly.

  51. I’ve never seen a good picture of Hanson on the main site. The one up now is especially weird.

  52. #70 – it just seems this whole idea of walking more than striking out thing has gotten the players with their bats stuck on their shoulders. They expect the pitcher to treat them like they do Heyward

  53. “It ain’t gonna happen (not in Bobby’s last year, anyway), but something needs to be done to shake these guys by their lapels and let them know this is unacceptable.”

    Wow, why didn’t anyone else think to tell the players that they are supposed to be getting hits rather than not getting hits? Maybe they thought this was like golf, where lowest score wins. Let’s yell at them; I know that I always perform better at work if my boss yells at me.

  54. Imagine if hitting coaches were able to visit batters in mid-AB when they were shaky, similar to how pitching coaches visit pitchers in mid-inning.

    Any argument that Pendleton wouldn’t have a desk, file cabinet and recliner adjacent to the batters box?

  55. Marc, just my 2 cents but when my boss yells at me it’s because I aint doin my job, and I listen… He don’t yell much but sometimes we all get a little lazy.

  56. @68,

    Yeah, the lack of power thing really concerns me. Are answer to address it this winter was to add Troy Glaus. I understand taking the chance, but we really needed another corner outfield power bat in addition to Glaus.

    I think Wren thought we could compete until July, then pick up another bat. But this whole team (outside of the bullpen) has really under performed.

  57. If we discount the three game sweep of the Astros, the Braves are 2-13 for their last 15 games (against Phils twice, Mets, Nats and Cards).

    Ugh.

  58. Ok Mark…you just added another verse to Carlin’s standup routine:

    In football, the coaches yell at the players when they get a penalty or fumble the ball. In baseball, you pat them on the back when they’re batting .209 and swing at a 2-0 breaking ball off the plate.

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