Braves 13, D-Backs 1

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – May 16, 2010 – ESPN.

Well, turnabout is fair play, I guess. Tim Hudson was just brilliant, going eight innings and allowing just three hits and, what’s more important considering how he’s been pitching, striking out six while walking just one. Success is a lot more sustainable that way than having more walks than strikeouts. He also had probably the key hit in the game, a two-out double in the fourth that gave the Braves a 3-1 lead; things sort of spiralled out of control for the D-Backs after that.

Martin Prado had a monster game, starting it off with a leadoff homer. Heyward walked and came around to score later in the inning to make it 2-0. LaRoche singled — the only hit they’d get before the Braves broke it open — and scored for the D-Backs in the second. The Braves couldn’t cash in a couple of opportunities and it looked like it might be a tight game before Hudson’s double.

In the fifth, the Braves broke it open and chased Dan Haren. LaRoche, having apparently forgotten to take his Ritalin again, not only let a Heyward ground ball go through his legs he then sort of just stood around in the basepaths while Jason ran into him, leading to an obstruction call and a free base for the Braves. Glaus singled Heyward home, then Hinske made it 6-1 with a two-run homer. McLouth doubled in Yunel to make it 7-1.

The Braves got two more runs in the sixth, one on Prado’s second homer of the game. Glaus homered leading off the eighth, an inning that looked for a while like it would never end, and maybe wouldn’t have except for Melky’s pinch GIDP. Anyway, the Braves put up three more runs to reach the final score.

78 thoughts on “Braves 13, D-Backs 1”

  1. Pinch GIDP!

    Got to love the Melkman – taking one for the team that way.

  2. Never one to pile on, but Chip sucks. If he was an 70 year old souse, it would be understandable. But pointing out the the double play remains in effect, when Esco went to third base to get the second out in the inning… for it’s one, two, three, four outs…

  3. Great game by Hudson!! I like Hinske in the lineup, what a difference. Glaus looks great as well. Funny how things can change so quickly…

  4. Chipper sees fewer strikes than any other NL regular — it’s not really close.

    Strike Percentage (Strikes/Total Pitches)

    NL Average — 62%
    3rd to last (Geovany Soto) — 54%
    2nd to last (Josh Willingham) — 53%
    Chipper — 50%

    Question: Would batting leadoff improve the quality of pitches he sees? What about batting second?

  5. I really like Prado in the lead-off role, assuming he continues to hit at a .320 clip. His OBP is very batting average heavy, and he’s got a .349 BABIP. If that even dips to last year’s BABIP, then he’s at around a .340 OBP. I suppose that’s the best we got, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

    I like Heyward in the 2 hole, like some on here. I think he’s starting to get comfortable on the base paths with the 3 SBs this week. With a .411 OBP and picking up his running, he’s a great two-hole guy… if we had a three-hole guy.

    Speaking of which, Chipper looks really awful. It’s hard to see guys like Chipper and Griffey losing it, especially since those were the two guys I really idolized as I was growing up. I hope Chipper doesn’t hang out as long as Griffey does. I was at the Rays game today against the M’s, and Griffey is just done.

    Spike is right; now is the time to go on a run. Two at home vs. the Muts, two at home agains the Reds, and three in Pittsburgh. If we can go 5-2, that would be great. Two games above .500 would be really nice considering all that’s happened so far.

  6. See, Chipper’s been a productive ML hitter quite recently, and I think he can do it again. I don’t think he’s done by any stretch, and I’m hoping for a bounce back.

  7. @10

    Take a look at Chipper’s splits as a LHB. He’s little better than Omar Infante from that side.

  8. While I don’t think Chipper is as feared as he used to be, I don’t think he’s done just yet. From the looks of him at the plate, he hasn’t been particularly happy with the swings he’s been putting on the ball. If he can rest up (and it looks like Bobby wants him to), his swing will return.

  9. 15,

    Does that include swings and misses from balls out of the zone? Just curious.

  10. Looks like Javy’s getting moved to the ‘pen. I guess with the Yankees, you don’t stay in the rotation just because you make 8 figures.

  11. @16

    I’m pretty sure it doesn’t — I think a pitch tracker is used to determine whether a pitch that’s swung on would have been a ball or strike.

  12. Prado continues to rake, even in the leadoff spot. There is no stopping the awesome.

  13. If Chipper is going to produce, we should see it soon. With Prado and Heyward getting on base ahead of him, and Glaus (yes Glaus) and mcCann providing some protection behind him, he should see some pitches to hit.

    I’m trying to see the Chipper glass half full as he hit a ball realy hard to RC today and a LC gapper last night. I also see pitchers not afraid to challenge him with hard stuff. We shall see.

  14. To be clear, I’m not arguing that they need to do anything about Chipper. He certainly doesn’t need to be pulled from the lineup for anyone on the current 40-man. But fan-goggles notwithstanding, it bears noting that the man is 37, which is ancient for a MLB 3B, and he’s lost some bat speed. The recent switch to a 32 ounce bat from the LH box seems to have bought him some extra life, but no one lives forever.

  15. I didn’t mean for that to come off the way it did. Griffey is clearly done; Chipper is losing it. He hasn’t lost it the way Griffey has, but I don’t think we’ll see a .330 BA and 30 HRs anymore. Based on what I think he’s capable of (.280/.370/.440), I don’t think he’s the answer in the three-hole.

  16. 13 – the good news keeps coming about Mike Minor. 65K/44IP is very encouraging

  17. #13–Minor can indeed pitch at AA….

    #27–At this pace he would approach 300 strikeouts for the season…

    Now if we could just get some of our bats on the farm going….

  18. Is it going to be Hanson vs Leake on Thursday ? That would be quite a matchup. Let’s plan on winning a couple against the Muts and the Pirates, because the Reds are looking pretty tough this year.

  19. @28 I would never imagine Minor would have that many strikeouts, but so did Chucky. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that. Seems like Minor will be ready by next season and Wren may try to find a taker for Lowe again.

    Again, can we sign Javy back for cheap next season?

  20. Minor’s development is exciting–but who would take Lowe off our hands for 30/2 million? We might actually have to give prospects just to do it. If Lowe pitches the way he did in his last start, then we might have a chance….

  21. it’s a pretty rough market to go against next year. there are tons of starting pitching on the free agent list for 2011 and most are better than lowe. hopefully, most of those guys sign sometime during the season, but probably not. here they are:
    Bronson Arroyo (34) – $11MM club option with a $2MM buyout
    Erik Bedard (32) – $8MM mutual option
    Kris Benson (35)
    Jeremy Bonderman (28)
    Dave Bush (31)
    Jose Contreras (39)
    Kevin Correia (30)
    Doug Davis (35) – $6.5MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout
    Jorge De La Rosa (30)
    Justin Duchscherer (33)
    Shawn Estes (38)
    Josh Fogg (34)
    Jeff Francis (29) – $7MM club option
    Freddy Garcia (35)
    Jon Garland (31) – $6.75MM mutual option with a $600K buyout
    Chad Gaudin (28)
    Rich Harden (29) – $11MM mutual option with $1MM buyout
    Aaron Harang (33) – $12.75MM club option with a $2MM buyout
    Livan Hernandez (36)
    Jason Jennings (32)
    Hiroki Kuroda (36)
    Cliff Lee (32)
    Ted Lilly (35)
    Rodrigo Lopez (35)
    Kevin Millwood (36)
    Sergio Mitre (30)
    Brian Moehler (39)
    Jamie Moyer (48)
    Brett Myers (30) – $8MM mutual option with a $2MM buyout
    Vicente Padilla (33)
    Carl Pavano (35)
    Brad Penny (33)
    Andy Pettitte (39)
    Tim Redding (33)
    Nate Robertson (33)
    Ben Sheets (32)
    Jeff Suppan (36) – $12.75MM club option with a $2MM buyout
    Brett Tomko (38)
    Koji Uehara (36)
    Javier Vazquez (34)
    Brandon Webb (32)
    Todd Wellemeyer (32)
    Kip Wells (34)
    Jake Westbrook (33)
    Dontrelle Willis (29)
    Chris Young (32) – $8.5MM club option

  22. I know he’s 37 but I have a hard time accepting that Chipper is done. But at least he’s not a complete drain on the lineup because he’s still drawing walks–same with McCann. As long as they’re getting on base, they are helping in some way. Melki Cabrera will be off the team before the end of the season. He’s just garbage. Cabrera is the poster child for the genius that is, Frank Wren.

    And I will say it again–the Javy Vazquez-Melki deal helped NO ONE. (ok, maybe the Tampa Bay Rays & the NL East). It was a deal that when it happened, I said both teas just got a little worse by doing THAT deal. Javy has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s an NL only pitcher and Melki has proven that he’s garbage and he only got pumped up by moron Wren because he’s a Yankee.

  23. Though I am happy the offense has re-grouped, and that the biggest stiffs are out of the lineup (plus, Troy Glaus is showing he has life left in him) with Jurrgjens hurt, we currently have a potential issue with the starting rotation – 2 starters we can supposedly rely on (Hudson & Hanson) and one of those, Hanson, got beaten on Saturday.

    We all agree that Derek Lowe is garbage, Kawakami is pretty close, and then there is Kris Medlen who’s decent, league average, which is fine for a 5th starter on a contending team, not arguably the 3rd starter like he is for the Braves right now.

    If the offense sputters again, we’re in deep trouble to say the least. And for Lowe and Kawakami, we need to be safe and score 10 runs a game.

  24. Lowe finally decided to stop throwing his sinker away to all batters. I remember one game where we were discussing that he needed to change speeds more often. For 3 straight innings every pitch was sitting between 87-89. There was nothing off speed and nothing inside.

    He said his outing vs the Phils “opened his eyes and told him that he needed to adjust.” (Dont know why it took a year to do that) In his last outing he threw more cutters inside to hitters and threw more changeups than he has all season. He said Roger has been trying to get him to make these changes for some time now. Hopefully, well now get the Lowe that we signed a couple of years ago.

    Here’s DOB’s blog on it

    http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2010/05/16/chipper-at-leadoff-spot-says-hed-understand/#comments

  25. csg,

    I saw the DOB column and have followed Lowe’s excuses, errrr, I mean, adjustments. Only time and more starts will tell if that is the case or if he’s an expensive stiff which is how I view him—I would be happy to be wrong.

    Medlen is solid, fine, slightly above league average. I can’t go much better than that. Not complaining about him, though. Personally, I wish Jurrgjens was healthy, that we could dump Lowe and his insane salary, and just give dirt cheap Medlen the rotation spot.

  26. @34 Chipper is a drain in a sense that he is the highest paid offensive player by far. We can’t pay a guy $13M who can’t hit for power. I love Chipper, but that’s the reality we are facing now.

    I still think Medlen should be a starting pitcher. I don’t understand why the Braves have to put him in the bullpen when there are evidences that he can be a good starting pitcher, which has more value than a relief pitcher. Too bad it takes a JJ injury to get him back to the rotation.

  27. kc,

    I agree with you about the $$$. How unfair is it that two of our worst regulars, Chipper and Lowe, are two of our most overpaid players. That’s like, what, $23 million this season alone for those two ancient war horses? Uggggghhh.

    If Lowe or Kawakami was making just like 2-3 mill per year (each), then we could easily dump one of those two and give Medlen a rotation spot full time. Unfortunately, as a middle market team now, we’re forced to keep playing expensive, untradeable players.

  28. In other news, Horacio Ramirez has abandoned his cutter and will turn into Tom Glavine now that Leo Mazzone is gone.

  29. Wren said on Saturday that “Yankee fans loved Melky…. but our fans don’t”. Then he added “give him time”. That didn’t encourage me but I think maybe it was just hyperbole and the melkman will be gone as soon as Schafer is ready (and Wren hinted at Schafer being ready soon).

  30. The reason Lowe has sucked is that he throws a lot of 87-mile an hour “sinkers” that stay up in the zone. If he can stop throwing meatballs in the heart of the strike zone, he won’t give up as many 3-run homers.

    And, as we all know, pitchers that don’t give up 3-run homers tend to be more successful than Derek Lowe.

  31. AAR, wow, that sounds quite logical–how dare you! :)

    Hap, Man, I wish you were right and that Frank Wren was deep and had layers to him, and that he’s giving us a smokescreen until Schafer is ready.

    But he’s just not that smart. I hope I am wrong. I would love for Schafer to be fully healthy and to just wave Melki. Let Melki go back to the Yankees for free–as long as he’s not wasting space on our roster past the middle of June.

  32. What do you want Fran Wren to say? Melky is trash, and he’s all that we could get for Vazquez because of his contract? And I’m not sure why they would be counting on Schafer. They basically went out of their way before the season to state that Schafer would spend most of the season in the minors. And that was when they thought he was healthy. Schafer’s high strikeout rate worries me. It may not matter much in the big leagues, but it is a strong predictive marker for minor leaguers. For his sake, I hope he has to play his way onto the roster from Triple-A.

  33. Wren also seemed to go out of his way, once again, to stress that the really good parts of the deal were not Melky but the two minor league guys we got. He actually said something like “we got a great package for Javy”.

  34. I think before the season, the Braves felt they had enough production coming from the outfield to not rush Schafer back and let him fully spend another year in the minors.

    But the circumstances have changed in that Melki sucks, McOUT sucks, and right now, the only guys who play in the outfield that we can count on, day to day, are Heyward and Hinske.

    If the Braves are still within 5-6 games of the division before the trade deadline, and that’s still a BIG IF, then we have to still add another bat. I’m happy with the production shown in the last few weeks, a vast improvement, but I am not buying this lineup over a full season. We are trying to plug too many holes on the titanic.

    Another everyday outfield bat along with the DFA’ing of Melki, is in order if this team has any thoughts on competing for the WC.

  35. I don’t think that the Braves are planning on Schafer taking over in center this year. If they were, they probably would have promoted Blanco as the place-holder instead of Clevlen. Clevlen wasn’t on the 40-man, so they had to clear a roster spot for him (wound up putting Diory on the 60-day DL). If it were just for a few games, Blanco is a perfectly capable fifth outfielder. To me, that argues that Clevlen is up for the long haul.

  36. Wren said they brought Clevlen up because he can play all three outfield positions and has speed. I really couldn’t tell by the way he was talking whether it was temporary or whether he was here for a while. Bringing him up was definitely in response to Diaz on the DL and that was about all Wren indicated.

  37. “Can play all three outfield positions and has speed” is about all Blanco has going for him. Like I said, Clevlen is up until Diaz is back.

  38. I think Melk of Magnesia (MoM) will be given a chance to work on his problems up until the All Star Break. After that, if either Schafer is tearing it up in AAA or Clevlan impressed during his time with the team, I would expect the Braves either releasing or trading MoM for a nodescript reliever.

  39. my take on it:
    clevlen is up until diaz is back and then he’ll be dfa’d because he was the least valuable outfiedler at AAA.

  40. #57

    Don’t get too excited. We have to play them the next 2 nights and both pitching match ups favor the Mets. I SUSPECT we win 1 of 2 but man, winning both tonight and tomorrow would be a HUGE rocket boost of self confidence. Especially considering they swept us last time we played.

  41. @47–that trade is looking like a disappointment for both teams. McLouth hasn’t played as well as the Braves had hoped but Morton has been awful for the Pirates, Gorkys is stinking it up, and Jeff Locke is still pitching A ball.

  42. I have a confession to make. Outside of Cox playing Melk of Magnesia too much, I have been surprisingly happy with Cox’s management of the team this year. He hasn’t killed the bullpen yet, I haven’t seen too many egregious in-game decisions, and he’s giving Hinske a shot after his fast start. I’ve been a pretty big critic of Cox, but so far I have minimal complaints from a managerial viewpoint. Does anyone who is not a fan of Bobby feel the same way, or am I going senile in my old age?

  43. Can we PLEASE beat Pelfrey today? I’m so tired of making that guy look like a real pitcher.

  44. #61

    The good news is that Pelphrey of course hasn’t lasted past the 6th in his past few starts, and our offense is currently hot. Of course, that probably means a no hitter for Pelphrey with our luck, but the odds are good we should be able to kick this guy’s a– tonight.

    And let’s face it, with “The Llama” on the mound for the Braves tonight, we better score early & often.

  45. Gosh, Vazquez would only bring Melky in trade because he had a large contract and other GMs suspected his year here of being a fluke, seeing as his career numbers were quite a bit worse. This of course turned out to be correct. This is not Frank Wren’s fault. One of Javy or Lowe had to be moved by order of Liberty. This is also not Frank Wrens fault. Lowe was unmoveable – Wrens fault, but it still doesn’t change how other teams viewed Vazquez. Vazquez could very well be putting up those numbers here, which would be far worse than the damage Melky has done. Arodys is putting together some nice peripherals in a league he is extremely young for. On balance, given the money saved, I would call this trade a win.

  46. td,

    Despite my concerns on the underperformance of the pythag (which continues), I would have to say that this critic has been better pleased than expected.

    PARTICULARLY, bullpen and starter usage pattern. Like yesterday. Hudson came back out for the 8th at 94 pitches and finished at 106 or so (an appropriate challenge with little risk of injury). Then, O’Flaherty, who hadn’t worked since Tuesday, worked the ninth.

    And, both Saito and Wagner seem to be getting regular, but not “Gonzo/Sori” usage.

    Sticking with Melkman as much as he has is a negative. Yes, he has Hinske in now, but Peter Hjort had already put together the Hinske in left against righthanders thing before the season and it was obvious (except for Bobby’s translation of slight defensive advantages into mountains when they are molehills). Also, this may be unsolvable, but we still have had nutty baserunning all over the place (particularly with Yunel).

  47. How unfair is it that two of our worst regulars, Chipper and Lowe, are two of our most overpaid players. That’s like, what, $23 million this season alone for those two ancient war horses? Uggggghhh.

    I post this all the time…so what’s once more?

    It’s all most like it’s a bad idea to give big money, long term contracts to players in their late 30s. Who knew?

    #60 – I’ve been more pleased than usual (I’m not exactly a Bobby critic) with Bobby’s performance this season. Good job in optimizing the lineup, good bullpen usage especially creating a multiple inning power reliever role for Medlen, keeping Chavez away from any game that’s close. No real complaints, he’s kept the team close in case the bats ever wake up.

  48. Even with Chipper’s struggles this year, Prado-Heyward-Chipper is a pretty mean 1-2-3 punch. Prado seems to have average speed and Heyward is above average, so it really sets the table nicely.

    As much as I loved seeing Heyward in the 3-hole when Chipper was out, I think I prefer him in front of Chipper. Heyward and Prado can both score from first on a double. Putting a slow singles-doubles hitter like Chipper in between them may stifle the momentum.

  49. I think teams will have to start pitching to Chipper soon. Nothing like the Mets to wake him up.

  50. The only time Omar Minaya’s name is mentioned in that column is in the second-to-last paragraph, as speculation for when Minaya might fire Jerry. That seems a little odd. If anyone deserves the axe, it’s him.

    Or, as commenter ElGranCombo puts it: “I could only blame two people for the mess that the Mets are in, and none of the people are named Jerry Manuel. Unfortunately the two people who are responsible will never take responsibility and they are Mr.Wilpon and Mr. Minaya. Do I think Jerry should be fired, yes, but he is not the one to blame.”

  51. The Mets had tons of holes after last season but rather then spreading out their payroll to address 2 or 3 of them, they got in a bidding war with themselves and bought Jason Bay. That’s not Manuel’s fault.

  52. #65

    Rob, as you may have noticed, I am hardly ever on anymore so I have no idea how often you or anyone posts about “Chippick Lowjones” overpaid. Sorry for repeating what I have no doubt you have stated correctly, many times.

    (I am going to coin that as a new nickname for the old and overpaid).

  53. The dump-Jerry drumbeat has been thumping since the off-season. The gist of that column was probably written before Game 1.

    I was talking with a Met fan a couple of weeks ago when the Mets were in first place & headed for a fateful showdown in Philly, “Well, you can’t blame Jerry now,” I said. “He’s got you in first place.”

    His response: “I just wish we had a manager with a little fire in his belly.”

    With some people, the guy just can’t win.

  54. ububba, wasn’t that sort of the scenario with Randolph before him? I think their fans just wanted him gone after the ’07 fiasco, even though that wasn’t EXACTLY his fault (“they should fire him because he forgot to tell them not to suck for the last two weeks of the season”)…

  55. #70 – bingo

    Say want you want to, but Manuel cant be blamed for these awful contracts

    Perez – $12mil
    KRod – $11.5
    Bay – $6.5 (how bad was this deal??)
    Castillo – $6
    Francoeur – $5

    Bay’s contract was somehow drawn up like this

    (2010)$6.5 (11)$16 (12)$16 (13)$16 (14)$17 or 3 buyout.

  56. Here are our new players’ projections:

    Player A) 22 HR 109 rbi .800 ops
    Player B) 39 HR 137 rbi .970 ops
    Player C) 5 HR 74 rbi 1.011 ops
    Player D) 0 HR 35 rbi .514 ops

    i bet noone can guess which one is melky.

    prado’s projections are quite fun because i could actually see him getting there:
    18 HR 79 rbi 101 runs .834 ops

  57. Weldon @24 Thanks for that link to the Braves ’82 pennant celebration. Man, it doesn’t seem that long ago. I can remember waiting up til past midnight that last week watching those exciting games from the West Coast all that week. Great great week!

  58. @72 It just seems like nobody likes him starting from the moment he took over from Willie. What’s wrong with the guy?

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