Marlins 6, Braves 4

Atlanta Braves vs. Florida Marlins – Box Score – May 25, 2010 – ESPN.

Kenshin Kawakami is never going to win another game. It’s obvious. Not that he was all that great, delivering only a minimal quality start (6 IP, 3 R on 7 H, 2 K/0 BB) but he was never in danger of winning the game after relinquishing a 2-1 lead in the third. Any chance of even getting him off the hook was lost with another one of Bobby’s mystical decisions, this time with the bullpen.

The Braves got the first two men on in the first, but Chipper, on a “defensive” two-strike swing, grounded into a double play to end the threat, which is the sort of thing that keeps happening. Marlins leadoff man Chris Coghlan (who has been awful coming off his ROY campaign last year) led off the game with a double and came home two batters later on a single.

The Braves got a big hit in the third when McCann hit a two-out double into the leftfield gap (it would have been a triple with anyone else running) which scored Kawakami from third and Chipper all the way from first (see, I told you about the triple thing). And then, Hibernation Mode. Kawakami gave up the lead practically instantaneously; I think Cameron Maybin’s solo homer was hit while Maybin was still walking to the plate.

The big play of the game might have been a bunt. The Marlins got their first two men on in the fifth on a pair of singles. Then Anibal Sanchez got a two-strike bunt down to move them up, and the lead runner scored on a groundout. Sanchez bunts foul, that run doesn’t score, and Bobby presumably doesn’t put the White Flag into the game, as he did after the Braves blew a golden chance to score in the seventh, leaving the bases loaded when Chipper hit a liner right at the third baseman.

Chavez pitched around an error and a walk in the seventh, then pitched the eighth like the aspiring journeyman he is, giving up a single and walking the next man to bring up… Commando Cody Ross. The chances of Ross not doubling to right field to score two runs in that situation are slim, with the next-most-likely scenario being a three-run homer. And Bobby, who apparently has completely given up on the Braves rallying — despite all the comeback victories — brought in Cristhian “The Lisp” Martinez to allow Ross to score on a single.

But it’s not like the Braves had any chance, right? Not with the pitcher’s spot (and hot-hitting pinch-hitter Brooks Conrad) due up second, and Martin Prado (and his .314 average and .369 on-base percentage and two hits already that night) third, and Jason Heyward (and all his heroics) due up fourth in the ninth. Sure enough, Conrad hit an infield single, then Prado doubled, then Heyward singled them both home, which would have been nice if the game had still been 3-2. And before you say it, this was against the Marlins’ closer.

For the life of me, I can not understand why managers manage games in which they’re a run down like they do. Bobby’s not alone here. Bringing in the last two guys in your bullpen — after an off day, against a team in your own division which has now passed you in the standings — in a one-run game is foolishness in the highest order. He’ll use Moylan to pitch against the bottom of the freaking Brewers order with a two-run lead the day after pitching in another blowout, but he won’t use him to keep a 3-2 game close against a division rival? I can’t stand it.

50 thoughts on “Marlins 6, Braves 4”

  1. Mac, I’d be interested in a poll on whether or not Bobby takes Chip out of the 3 hole in his last year.

    I say no way…if Chip is hitting 200, Bobby keeps him there.

    It’s a shame…maybe Chipper will ask to be moved. He’s all but said that Heyward needs to be there publicly.

  2. I couldn’t believe Bobby didn’t use his top relievers today. That’s so unlike him honestly.

    Yes, Chipper, please retire.

  3. I don’t understand calling on Chipper to retire after this game at all. His bases loaded out in the 7th was smoked – just right at 3rd base. If a guy is taking good swings and hitting the ball hard things will eventually start falling for him. I think that’s the case with Chipper now.

  4. Kawakami hasn’t actually been good, but he hasn’t really been bad, either. Certainly shouldn’t be 0-7.

    Most teams will take a 4.90 ERA from the 5th starter. I don’t think that Resop would do any better.

  5. chipper and j-hey flip flop soon. they’ve got to.

    randall delgado was smoking tonight for myrtle beach:
    7 ip 5h 1r 12k 0bb
    schafer still struggling and down to .179. there’s practically noone in our minor leagues hitting worth a damn this year.

  6. @7
    agreed however medlen will do better when jurrjens comes back. if we can find a taker, there’s no reason to keep kawakami on this team.

  7. If it were 9-0 Braves we’d have seen O’Flaherty, Moylan, Saito and Wagner, with Cox saying they all “need work”.

  8. Chipper is actually producing a fair number of runs, but it’s all on the on-base side of the ledger. Hitting him between Heyward and McCann is counterproductive, though I think someone should be between those two to keep them from being LOOGYied to death. Prado would be the obvious candidate. You’d never see it, but flipping him and Chipper would make a lot of sense.

  9. td, nothing about Chippers lineout was smoked. He rolled over on a pitch that was actually not hit that hard. There is nothing about Chipper right now that says he’s not finished. We are about to be the only team in baseball where pitchers will be pitching around our 2 hole hitter to get to the 3 hole guy. Chipper is done, his OPS has dropped .300 pts in less than two seasons

  10. #13 – I kind of agree/disagree. I think Chipper and Heyward should be flipped as well as McCann and Glaus

    Prado
    Chipper
    Heyward
    Glaus
    McCann

    solves the loogy thing and Chipper should get some pitches to hit as well as Glaus

  11. What would be best is if whoever’s in center, McLouth or Melky or Schafer or hell, Hank White, could play like he has full control over his arms and legs so you could move him to the leadoff spot and Prado down in the order.

    Normal Human Being in Center
    Heyward
    Prado
    McCann
    Glaus
    Chipper
    Hinske
    Yunel

    Though if Yunel were hitting like he normally does, he’d fit in the three spot too.

  12. I dont like Chipper in RBI spots, he cant drive the ball. Id much rather see him high in the order, #2 spot, where his OBP can help create runs.

  13. Chipper is now a perfect #2 hitter except for his lack of speed.

    @6 I wouldn’t call for him to retire if he makes only $3-4M. We can’t pay a guy $13M who can’t hit for power anymore.

  14. 16,
    The #3 hitter gets by far the most double play opportunities and Yunel Escobar hits more ground balls than anyone on the team.

    Minimizing GIDP mignt not the most important thing to consider WRT line up selection, but given just how insignificant the whole subject is in general, maybe so.

  15. Good point. Though I think it’s avoiding pitching matchups first; I saw way too many rallies get killed that way during the McGriff/Justice/Klesko period. Well, then, Yunel leadoff and Prado in the 3 spot.

  16. I’m not ready to give up on Chip but that at bat in the ninth was pathetic. Totally guessing and jumping at the ball, he clearly did not think he had the bat speed to get Nunez if he waited back.

    Prado continues the awesome, so there’s that.

    And add me to the list puzzled by tonight’s bullpen usage. Combined with Sunday’s lineup fiasco, the lack of urgency to – you know – win these games is striking.

  17. ‘the Lisp’ – I cracked up.

    Except for getting your best hitters the most at bats does batting order really matter?

    Chipper’s BABIP is just .263. That and the fact that he isn’t seeing any pitches in the zone have to be contributing factors to this seasons lack of power. Since I don’t get to see many games I have to leave it to you guys to tell me how he looks. All that said I still think he is a net contribitor to the team this year.

    I agree that the bullpen management last night was puzzling. Do you use the big 3 only when we are winning? That’s ridiculous.

  18. The BABIP may speak to some bad luck (although .263 isn’t historically low — he “should” have all of four more hits), but the 2 HR in 157 PA is the real problem. Sooner or later he’ll start seeing more strikes, as pitchers begin to fear him less, and then we’ll know once and for all whether he has anything left beyond a good batting eye.

    Meanwhile, I’m having a hard time deciding what part of a headline reading “Francoeur: No problem with Strawberry” I like best.

  19. “For the life of me, I can not understand why managers manage games in which they’re a run down like they do”
    One of the myriad reasons that I can’t stand Bobby Cox. Thank GOD we’ll be dealing with someone else next year.

  20. Having a high OBP is great, but at some point, the number 3 hitter has to have some pop in his bat. Chipper seems to have lost any ability to drive the ball. And, since this is a continuation from last year, you have to be concerned.

    This looks like a divison (and league) where no one is really that good, so all it may take to at least get a wild card is one or two hot streaks and maybe acquiring a Normal Human Being. The Braves are really pretty lucky to be where they are considering some of the games they have pulled out. I’m becoming resigned to being a slightly above .500 team.

  21. — Francoeur told the NY Daily News “I can take criticism and I can use advice. At no point did I take exception to [Strawberry’s pep talk].” —

    Where was this ability to take criticism and advice while he was in ATL? Did ATL neglect to teach him base-stealing skills AND the ability to take criticism.
    What a joke he is.

  22. So do we go after a true LF with some pop, or do we hunt for a legit leadoff candidate.
    I would rather us make a move soon while everything is tight.

    Who goes, Delgado, Teheran or Vizcaino. Resop may have some value to someone but I cant see him getting us anything to help us right now.

  23. Right now a hitter is very expensive. I think we are fine with Hinske/Someone in LF.

    Getting Escobar or McLouth to do anything would alleviate some of the situation.

    And yes I agree that we need Chipper to start hitting with more authority.

  24. I agree that Chipper probably needs to be moved down in the order, but with the black holes of Escobar, McLouth and Cabrera (when he plays, unfortunately), it’s hard to make too many changes. My vote is to keep Chipper where he is until Escobar or McLouth start hitting. When one of them gets hot we can make changes at that point. My guess is Escobar, Chipper and McLouth will significantly pick it up (in that order).

  25. We have found the Phillies’ kryptonite and it is the knuckleball!

    Yo, Phil! Got a few innings left in ya?

  26. Amidst the Frenchy-bashing (always fun), don’t lose sight of the fact that the Mets invited Darryl Strawberry to give a pep talk. Hell of a hitter, yes, but a zilch in terms of leadership qualities. This would be like Cox inviting Bob Horner to come give a lecture on professionalism.

  27. @31 – Whatever happened to Lance Neikro? He had converted to pitching and was in the Braves low minors for a while. He could be our secret weapon.

  28. Wonder if Smoltz or Lemke could come out of the booth and strike out a few Phillies.

  29. I think every staff (bullpen or starter) should have a knuckleballer. Hell, they carry more pitchers than a high school team seeking funds these days.

    You could say Moylan fills that role, but the dude throws 94 on good days.

    I think there are many times it would serve a team’s interest to slow the other team’s bats down and then bring in your flamethrower.

    Can you imagine facing Neikro on one at bat and Wagner the next?

    Btw, has there ever been a successful left-handed knuckleballer?

  30. Wilbur Wood was the last pitcher I remember who started both ends of a doubleheader.

    And like Niekro, Wood had a 20-win/20-loss season.

  31. Not to mention a 20-save season.

    Wood is also one of two pitchers (Mickey Lolich is the other) to throw 350+ innings in a season in the last 66 years. He threw 376.2 IP in 1972 and 359.1 in 1973.

    Lolich threw 376 innings in 45 starts in 1971 without benefit of a knuckler, one of the more underrated feats in baseball history IMO.

  32. Is this memory correct?

    I seem to remember one year when the Braves were terrible and Neikro had 19 wins going into the final series of the year at the AstroDome that he started all three games in an effort to get 20 wins.

    And failed.

  33. I don’t remember that either. I could see Knucksie coming out of the bullpen on a few of those days, but even as a knuckleballer it would be hard for me to imagine him starting 3 days in a row.

  34. In 1978, Niekro had 19 wins and started the first of threee games in Houston in the next to last series of the year, but lost. No mention of him appearing in the next one.

  35. http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/ATL/1978-schedule-scores.shtml

    In fact, he lost that game to Joe!!! and went 1-4 in September that year.

    Stupid editor swallowed my changes to the previous post. Games were IN Atlanta, series prior to the end of the season. Phil got another chance 4 days later at CIN, but lost again to finish at 19-18

    Umpires for that game in 1978 –
    Umpires: HP – Joe West, 1B – Bill Williams, 2B – Dick Stello, 3B – Bruce Froemming. Geez louise!

  36. We can’t ever get away from Cowboy Joe West.

    A funny Wiki entry for the Cowboy:

    July 23, 1991: After Cincinnati pitcher Rob Dibble threw a ball at Cub Doug Dascenzo and was thrown out of the game, West was bumped by Cubs Andre Dawson in the same game; Dawson was suspended for one game and fined $1,000. On the check he wrote to the league, Dawson wrote in the memo “donation to the blind.”

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