Braves 9, Phillies 3

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – May 31, 2010 – ESPN.

Memorial Day, and the Braves are in first place. Of course, the last time they beat the Phillies to take over first place, they then lost their next nine games in a row. But it’s a lot better than not being in first place.

While Tommy Hanson was wild in the early innings, Joe Blanton threw straight and true and right down the middle of the plate, as the Braves put three runs on him in the first (and he was lucky that was all, as two of the outs he got were on hard-hit flyballs) and three more in the third. Zombie Chipper — Chipper! — hit a two-run homer, his first homer since April 16, and after Glaus reached on an error (on another long fly) he came home on a single by Hinske. In the third, McCann scored on an error by Howard, and Yunel drove in Glaus and Hinske, but was thrown out trying to stretch. Still, 6-0.

Hanson, after some early struggles, was cruising; after Blanton singled leading off the third, Hanson retired fourteen Phillies in a row before allowing a two-out double in the seventh. Bobby pulled him then (at 107 pitches) and oddly brought in Moylan with a six-run lead. Oops, make that a five-run lead. Four… Three… Moylan allowed three consecutive doubles to let the Phillies back into it. Venters came in and hit the next man, but got a groundout to end the threat. The Braves then got the lead back to six when Glaus hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh. Venters had no problems in the eighth (retiring Utley and Howard; he may have passed O’Flaherty given the latter’s recent struggles) and Jesse Chavez was able to get through the ninth, allowing a day off for Saito and Wagner.

All this on a day in which Heyward was 0-5. McLouth continues to be McLousy, but everyone else was there to pick the kid up… Jayson Werth did not play for the Phillies, and I assume he’s really hurt, as the Phillies didn’t use him when they went with a pinch-hitter representing the tying run in the seventh.

88 thoughts on “Braves 9, Phillies 3”

  1. I don’t think Werth is hurt. He’s just so deep in a funk that he’s making Nate McLouth look productive.

  2. @8, I think TP said it would take Glaus a month to adjust and to be patient with him. Man was he right.

  3. Seconded #1. Werth is not hurt. He struck out all four times yesterday and is completely out of sync. I’m happy to have him out of the lineup too; the Phils just aren’t that great without Werth and Rollins in there.

  4. Anybody think the Angels would want Canizares?

    He seems to be able to hit at the major league level and he could slide to DH when Morales returns.

    I would not expect a lot in return, but a C+ prospect, lower minors, infielder, shouldn’t be too much to ask.

  5. Went today and saw a terrific game. Really did a nice job for Memorial Day as well. The Ghost of the Beach Boys that followed…not so much.

    The run differential is nice Mac. Especially as we were in the negatives earlier this year.

  6. Teheran is impressing at all levels…great win today, lets beat these chumps while their in town. Pretty interesting thing on the sign stealing info, I dont know what to think about it, but theyve been in a huge funk ever since. We did go 0-9 in a stretch too

  7. yep, braves need another RHP in the pen that Bobby can trust. KK and Lowe are pitching better which also helps with the decision

  8. So far the Glaus/Hinske signings are the bargains of the year. If the signs of life we are getting from Chipper are an indicator we may be able to carry McLouth for a while.

    Personally I don’t see us trading organizational pitching depth for a hitter unless we have an injury.

  9. I don’t know how I feel about run differential. After seeing Braves teams year-in, year-out “underperform” on their Pythag, I don’t think run differential means a whole lot to me anymore. Maybe I’m being too subjective.

  10. I think trading organizational pitching will depend on where we are near the end of July and what a couple of other teams do.

    If it is mid-July and we are in the race and have a great shot at the playoffs, I could see us moving some pitching for a left fielder.

    As well as we have been playing, adding another bat to center or left could really put us over the top. If we can get over the top, I say do it!

  11. Run differential and pythag records have taken a reasonably large hit over the last few years. It’s pretty clear that certain types of roster construction – particularly bullpen construction – can generate non-predictive pythag results. Similarly, managerial tendencies have a big impact on run differentials. Bobby Valentine is a classic case example. If his team gets down by more than 3-4 runs he’ll punt, put in his worst reliever to slop it all up and lose by 8-10. It’s one loss in the real world but 2 or more in run differential equations. Back in reality, Valentine goes into the next night’s game with his best relievers ready in top form. Dude always “outperforms his pythagorean record.”

  12. The Braves are in first place heading into June with Chipper (now) having one home run left handed and Jurrjens having zero wins. Who would have thought that would be possible before the season.

  13. Not since 2005 have we been in first place this “late” in the season.

    Lookin’ down on creation….

  14. I think it is pretty clear that the best teams will generally have the best run diffential. Managerial style and so forth may have an effect in the short term but eventually run differential will reflect the quality of the team. That doesn’t mean the team with the best RD will win the world series but I bet it will generally be reflected in the record.

  15. Does anyone here feel like Hanson has the ability to do what Ubaldo Jimenez is doing right now? I certainly do.

  16. Wow…what a great run this team has had! I had no idea they had it in them when they were playing such poor baseball and not scoring. Hopefully we get Jurrjens & Diaz back in at some point to further strengthen the team.

  17. I doublechecked, and Sam’s right. In Bobby’s 15 seasons in the majors, 12 whole seasons from 1986-1991 and 1997-2002, and parts of 1985, 1992, and 1986, he outperformed his Pythagorean expectation by about 25 games. (I’m just using Baseball-Reference’s formula, which is (RS^1.83)/(RS^1.83 + RA^1.83). He beat the expectation in nine of the seasons, hit it exactly in three others, and only three times did he come up short.

    Bobby V was demonstrably good at outperforming his Pythagorean win expectation, for what it’s worth.

  18. I’m as pleased as the next guy, but the schedule for June looks like a tougher row to hoe. If they are 5 over for the month, I’ll be ecstatic.

  19. I agree with Spike, might want to plan on winning against the DBacks, Royals and White Sox, because other than that, everybody else is over .500.

  20. I definitely agree that June will be a tougher month schedule wise. The Twins and Rays are definitely good, but I’m not so impressed with Detroit and they’re not much over .500 (2 games). The Rays have also swooned a little lately. I think the 4 game series in LA with the Dodgers this weekend will go a long way in telling what kind of month we’ll have. If we go 2-2 or better, I like our chances of being more than 5 games over for the month.

  21. Gotta love the walk off balk. Yikes. The DBacks bullpen has got to be the worst I have seen in recent memory.

    Was that ’06 that the infamous 6-20 June happened ? I’m sorry for bringing it up and I just threw up a little in my mouth thinking about it.

  22. If we’re any good, we’ll do fine in June.

    BTW, the Tigers’ top of the order is pretty scary & it includes 2 of the best righthanded hitters in the game (Ordonez & Cabrera).

  23. The most impressive thing about this team is that the offense can still score without Chipper and McCann in the lineup. We haven’t been able to do that for the past couple seasons. Prado, Heyward and Glaus need to continue their good work. It will be huge if Yunel and Nate can rebound from the poor start.

  24. Our top three pitching prospects are really as good as advertised (or even better). I actually think they will allow Wren to trade away JJ before he hits FA instead of using them to trade for offensive help this season. When all is said and done, we will have a rotation of Hanson, Minor, Teheran, Vizcaino, and Delgado.

  25. 42 – The uncertainty of pitching prospects makes it hard for me to believe that we go 4-for-4 on the development of our top pitchers. It’s more likely that only one or two of those guys pans out.

    Of course, we still have Medlen. And it seems the Braves will always keep one veteran in the rotation be it Hudson or someone else.

    Maybe it’s:

    Hanson
    Teheran
    Minor
    Hudson
    Medlen

  26. @42, 44… no matter which rotation, it certainly looks promising and is exciting!

  27. I suspect there will be a lot of moving around within the division, one team getting hot and moving up, then they cool off and someone else moves up. The Phillies aren’t going to continue to struggle like this. The teams seem pretty even; the Nats aren’t going to win or make the WC, but they are not an easy team to play. It could make it difficult for East to get the wild card, especially since there are plenty of bad teams in the Central for the Cards and Reds to beat up on.

    I still think that it’s better to have a good run differntial than not. Typically, it seems like (and I don’t do research on it so maybe I’m wrong) that teams overperform or underperform their pythag by no more than a 3 or 4 games at most. Saying the Braves outperformed their pythag during most of Bobby’s tenure seems a little misleading because, for much of that time, it meant winning,say 101 games instead of 98. I realize that’s not insignificant, but it sure seems to me that teams with better run differentials will usually be the best teams, especially when you consider the capricious nature of close games; the Pirates are something like 10-5 in one-run games. It seems to me that winning 9-3 is a better reflection of quality than winning 10-9 on a walk-off grand slam-not that I didn’t love that win.

    Anyway, Sam and AAR have done a lot more research on this so maybe I’m just BSing.

    @42,

    I agree that you can’t count on all pitching prospects making it (see Chen, Bruce or Nied, David). At the same time, it drives me nuts everytime I see Adam Wainwright pitch. I know why the trade was made at the time, but JS essentially traded for one division title at the expense of a rotation of Hanson, Wainwright, and Jurrjens.

  28. It’s tough to play revisionist history, as you can’t really assume everything else would have played out the same way (butterfly effect and all). But picture this:

    If we don’t make the JD Drew trade, not only do we still have Wainwright, but we probably wouldn’t have gone all-in on Teixeira the following year, so we’d still have Feliz too.

    Cheer up, we’re still in first place. :-)

  29. @47,

    Good point, and if the Braves don’t make the trade for Drew, they don’t win the divison in 2004 and who knows what they would have done to get back in 2005. Maybe it would have been worse. Still. . .

    I just want the Braves to play well. At this point, first place is nice but sort of irrelevant.

    BTW, on Mets Blog, the fans are complaining about Oliver Perez refusing to accept a minor league assignment. I felt obligated to submit a comment about Jeff Francouer also refusing a minor league assignment last year. This from a guy that supposedly has great “intangibles.”

  30. What do you guys think it would take to get Franklin Gutierrez away from the Mariners? He isn’t great, but if McClouth keeps struggling, Gutierrez might be a center fielder we might look in to.

  31. 50. Franklin Gutierrez is hitting +129 and is the best defensive centerfilder in baseball. I think he’s pretty great

  32. the nats are good. their offense has 3 guys that are on pace to hit over 30 hrs, they’re getting good production from the 2b position and shortstop will probably continue to improve throughout the year. with strasburg coming up, the nats are no worse off than any other team in the nl east.

    if they make a splash into the trade market to fix a weak spot in the outfield, they could be serious contenders.

  33. “yep, braves need another RHP in the pen that Bobby can trust. KK and Lowe are pitching better which also helps with the decision”

    That’s really too bad, because the Braves would be a better team with Medlen starting in place of Lowe or Kawakami. I still have faith that Kawakami will improve–much as he did last year after a wretched April–but Lowe’s peripherals are actually worse this year. I’m also concerned that Hudson and his .222 BABIP, 1.08 K/BB, and 87.2% LOB rate will regress soon. That’s gonna be ugly, and the Braves will need good pitching from the rest of the rotation to make up the difference.

    EDIT: Gutierrez has a 2.4 WAR so far this season. That’s 8th-highest among position players. He’s great, and almost certainly untouchable.

  34. @51

    And so do the M’s.

    I wouldn’t count the Nats out of the race for the East. We’ve all seen what adding a player mid-summer can do to light a fire under a team – whether it’s via trade, see: McGriff – ’93; or through calling up a rookie midseason, see: Frenchy/McCann – ’05, for examples affecting the Braves. If Strasburg is the real deal, then who knows if the nats can catch lightning in a bottle and steal away the East, especially with the other division teams beating themselves up.

    But, all in all, it’s better to be where we are now than not. I just have a feeling we’re going to need every win we can get as October draws near.

  35. I am not sure the Nats have the chips to trade in the high minors, or any surplus of major league talent to trade for significant OF help. But yeah, Dunn, Zim and Willingham are just destroying the ball right now. If Strasburg holds up in the bigs, they can hang around for a while.

  36. 12 – Just saw this. Canizares was not released. In fact, he’s hit a couple homers in the last few games for the G-Braves.

    Barbaro did get removed from the 40-man and was not claimed by another team. I realize that this makes the prospect of trade partner for him less plausible.

    Still, the Angels need to do something and Canizares probably needs to be an AL guy. Do they have any wild card bats in the lower minors?

  37. Adam, I would think that the M’s would bet that is Gutierrez is hitting at an unsustainable level right now, and if they got an overpay they’d take it. Especially being 12 games under at the moment. It remains to be seen if other teams would do so, of course.

  38. Glaus has turned me into a believer. A Hinske-Diaz LF platoon may play very well as the season progresses. CF, to me, is of greater concern.

    Nate’s defense is good enough, but Melky’s probably isn’t; and Shaffer (Schaffer?) is not ready yet. I certainly don’t want to shed any of our pitching prospects or Freddie Freeman for a short term solution.

  39. I really want to see Nate pull it together soon. Because over the last week Melky’s looked better than him. And that says a lot towards how bad he’s looked.

    Granted Nate’s looked better than Melky for the first month and a half.

  40. Maybe not Gutierrez, but they might trade Cliff Lee. I’d love to put a very good lefty in our rotation.
    ————————————

    As the one and only member of the the Gregor Blanco Fan Club, I say try him in CF. Can’t possibly be worse.

  41. I know Freeman is young and I haven’t given up on him, but his .261 BA, .309 OBP and his .762 OPS at Gwinnett make me think he’s not quite ready. If we don’t see major improvement from Freeman I would like to see Glaus signed to a second year. If not, I’m a little concerned that we may see wes Helms lite next year.

  42. Of course he’s not ready — but those are incredibly impressive numbers for a player as young as he at AAA. I think he’s the third-youngest player in the International League, and the youngest American. The rebound in his power is a great sign.

  43. Mac – Do you think Freeman will be ready next year or is 2012 more likely? If it’s 2012 what do you think our plans are for next year? If Glaus has a strong year I would think he’d want a longer term deal.

  44. Generally these days you can, because the government is a lot more careful about who they let into the country. But even if they’re legitimately 20, Latin players have often been playing professionally since they were 14 or 15. Many of them are simply more polished than Americans, and most have competed against older players.

    I am not a prospect expert in any way — but I’d be surprised if Freeman was an average MLB player before 2013 at the earliest. You might get by with him in 2012 but he wouldn’t push the team forward.

  45. You mean you don’t expect him to dominate next year like Heyward is doing now? I’m afraid Heyward has skewed my outlook on how quickly prospects should develop.

  46. td,

    Try not to consider Heyward’s start as anything other than once in a generation / lifetime. He is so young and he has exceeded the usual Major League Equivalent calculations by almost 200 ops points. Players like that are not duplicated.

    I spent some time today looking at Freeman’s stats. Basically, he is at 800 ops against righthanders. 500 or so against lefthanders. He had a terrible start. IF he can be serviceable against lefties by the end of the season (say 750 ops from AAA all star game on) then he is passable for Major League play next year. However, his 2011 will not be half as good as his 2017, so why pencil him in to a Major League lienup at 21?

  47. Good god, how could you forget Sid Bream? .258/.330/.417 OPS+ 103

  48. Although that is positively Ruthian compared to the ATL performance of Alex’s list. Yeesh. I’ve never understood this clubs recurring problem with filling the two “hitting” spots of LF and 1B with, you know, hitters

  49. Living in the DC area, I watch the Nats every day and they are fun this year finally. But, even with Strasburg, I don’t see them having the pitching depth to be a legitimate contender. They really have a bunch of soft-tossers and are relying on Livian Hernandez and the bullpen to get them through. I doubt that can last. And, while Strasburg will be a big addition, I think the Nats plan to be very careful with him, which will probably limit his impact this year. Plus, while the offense is solid on paper, they really haven’t been scoring a lot of runs (of course, facing the Giants and Padres on the road doesn’t help)and Nyjer Morgan has been very inconsistent. All in all, I see the Nats as being a spoiler and a very difficult team to play down the stretch, but I doubt that they are a serious threat for the division.

    Since Steve Phillips isn’t the GM, I doubt the Nats would be making any Strasburg for Oswalt deals or being buyers at the deadline generally. I think their plan is to keep stockpiling talent. I can’t see them taking on signficiant additional payroll this year, especially with the likelihood that they will have to deal with Scott Boras again to sign Bryce Harper. Having said that, I doubt either that they would trade Willingham unless they got bowled over as long as they are at least marginally in the race. Dunn might be a possibility, though, as he is not signed after this year but, again, I doubt it as long as they are at least theoretically in the race.

  50. Cliff is right @ 71. Every hitting prospect of the next few years will suffer from Heyward glare. Even nominally bright lights look pale and insignficant compared to the sun. I wouldn’t pencil Freeman into the starter’s slot for 2011, but he’s still on track for 2012. If Glaus maintains his May performance through the season he will cost a hell of a lot more then $2 mil per, and he’ll probably want more than a one year deal. I wouldn’t expect to see him extended, personally, even though he looks very very good right now.

  51. I totally agree with Marc, and I likewise see the Nats hanging around as Marlins-style spoilers — a team you can’t totally sleep on, that will probably finish with a win total in the high 70s, and a team that will probably beat us in a couple of games that we will feel that we never should have lost. Not by any means a good team, but also not a bad one. (Say what you will about Jim Riggleman, but he’s pretty good at achieving mediocrity.)

  52. Of all those 1B mentioned only Bream and Kotch were considered defensive pluses(sp)… Chipper would not be.

  53. Here are some of the worst offensive winning percentages for Braves first basemen since 1991:

    Adam LaRoche 2005 .435
    Brian Hunter 1991 .425
    Sid Bream 1991 .403
    Wes Helms 2001 .390
    Ken Caminiti 2001 .361
    Wes Helms 2002 .352
    Casey Kotchman 2008 .332
    Matt Franco 2003 .309
    Brian Jordan 2006 .297
    Scott Thorman 2007 .289
    Rico Brogna 2001 .264
    Tommy Gregg 1991 .239

    It’s amazing that they won in 1991 getting production like that from first base. 17 of the 37 first basemen from 1991-2008 (min. 100 PA) had OWPs below .500. Throw in Kotchman from last year, and it’s 18 of 39.

  54. @75, 81 and all
    I consider this a product of the Curse of Ryan Klesko.
    I know that’s an irrational, fan-based notion, but I haven’t been a fan of any Braves LF fielder since he left.
    You just know he laid down a curse or two before he left town.

  55. Hey now, a 1B that hits .435 is a Baseball God, and LaRoche was just smoking the ball that year it appearsfrom that BA. in fact, I’d say he….

    (Huh? Winning pct, not average?)

    Nevermind.

  56. From Sickels:

    “Julio Teheran, on the other hand, does have number one starter potential. The Braves prospect got off to a blistering start at Low-A Rome, with a 1.14 ERA and a 45/10 K/BB in 39 innings, 23 hits. He moved up to High-A Myrtle Beach a couple of weeks ago and continues to blow people away, 2-0, 0.43 with a 28/4 K/BB in his first three starts, covering 21 innings with just 14 hits allowed. Combined, he’s 4-2, 0.90 with a 73/14 K/BB in 60 innings, 37 hits. Scouts who have seen him are effusive with praise, pointing out greatly improved command this year of his 93-96 MPH fastball and rapidly sharpening curve and changeup.”

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