Diaz says it’s not ho-hum despite 1-6 stretch

   Washington, DC – Yes, the morning came up pretty fast here in DC. And I dreamed the Braves played a game last night that lasted forever and nobody was there by the end of the game, maybe 40 people, and the Braves lost, and hey, wait….

 

   Well, believe it or not, the sky has some blue in it here today – at least for the moment – and the Braves should take some heart in that.

   Hey, I wasn’t there for the back-to-back shutouts in Pittsburgh, but things are pretty dismal if you look at this 1-6 stretch.

   How dismal? Let’s break it down, shall we?

   During the Braves’ 5-1 start, they hit .300, averaged 6.3 runs per game, hit 10 home runs, had a 4.17 ERA and two saves. During the 1-6 stretch, they’ve hit .228, averaged 2.9 runs per game, hit four home runs, and had a 5.25 ERA with no saves.

   For the most part, the pitching – like last night with a quality start from Derek Lowe – has been good enough. The offense has not. After Matt Diaz’s two-run homer off Jordann (just kidding) Zimmermann in the fourth inning, the Braves did not get another hit. They drew three walks and never got past first base.

   The hitters know this comes down to them.

   “When our starters throw well, we need to get wins,” Jordan Schafer said. “Hopefully tonight we’ll get them on and get them over.”

   I don’t know what it was, maybe it was being in the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park, where the Braves lost quite a few last year, or thinking about how this kind of streak never happened in run of 14 division titles, or if it did it’s a road trip you remembered forever– I still remember a road trip in ‘99 when the Braves went to Chicago and San Francisco and went like 2-4 and it was such doom and gloom, because they never did that.

   I was wondering if this was going to be just another one of those years where the Braves have stretches like this and it becomes part of the norm. I posed that question to Diaz last night (or should I say earlier this morning) to gauge if I was the only one thinking this had a feeling like last year in some ways.

   From what Diaz said, based on where the clubhouse stands, that’s a big fat no.

   “We had a very energetic meeting, if you will, at the very beginning of the season before the first game,” Diaz said. “And we’re not going to let that happen. It’s not, ‘Oh, it’s just one game, we’ll tip our hats.’ We’ll yeah, we’ll tip our hats, (Zimmermann) did a good job, but we need to look in the mirrors too to see what we can do better every time out. We’re going to learn from every defeat this year. And we’re going to hopefully not have any win one out of 10 streaks, even though we’re kinda working on one right now.”

   You’ve got to figure they’re not going to lose two in a row to the Nats, which is what it would take to fall to 1-9. I think we saw the best they got last night in Zimmermann and I don’t imagine he’ll be the fifth starter for too long. Anyway, Diaz said the reason the Braves feel different this year is because of their starting pitching, and that sounds at least a little more like the Braves of yore.

   “We know we’re competitive every time out there with our pitching staff,” Diaz said. “The old cliché is we’ll get them tomorrow. We truly feel every night going to bed that we’ll get them tomorrow because we like our pitching matchup against whoever.”

   Of course this time, it was more like “we’ll get ‘em later today.”

   There’s a 50 percent chance of rain tonight, but we’re not even going to think about that.

   And yes, today I do expect to have a Brian McCann update for you. He was to visit an eye specialist this morning.

 

   And now, before I head out to go for a run and enjoy the mall, I’ll share some stuff I gathered in the clubhouse yesterday afternoon, before things turned dismal again last night. They were coming off the 11-1 win in Pittsburgh Sunday.

 

   JORDAN SCHAFER: Jordan Schafer didn’t panic during his really rough stretch  - his three-hit day Sunday in Pittsburgh snapped an 0-for-14 streak. So you shouldn’t either. Know why? Here’s what’s going on between his ears:

   “I know I can hit, and I know I can compete, and I know I can play here,” Schafer said when I asked him about it Monday afternoon. “It’s just me being able to make adjustments faster than I did.”

   So what was the adjustment he made heading into Sunday, when he went 3-for-5 to raise his average to .267.

   “Stop swinging so damn big,” he said.

   He also “swung” small, with his first bunt for a base hit, I believe, and something he said he had only one of all last year in the minors.

   It’s something he’s been working on since spring training when he worked on it with special instructor Jimy Williams.

   “I’m still not 100 percent confident,” Schafer said. “But it’s getting better.”

   And yes, Schafer has been playing with a sore left wrist, which he’s been getting iced and wrapped every day. It’s something he said he hurt on a checked swing in the home opener on April 10. Somehow he managed to go out and have his first three-hit game in the majors the next night.

   “It bothers me, but it’s going to just nag for a while,” he said.

 

   JEFF FRANCOEUR: Coming into this Nationals series, Francoeur was tied for third in the majors with seven two-out RBIs. That sounds more like the old Jeff we know. He now has 127 two-out RBIs since the start of the 2006 season which is ninth in the major leagues over that time. Brian McCann was 10th with 126.

   “I feel more relaxed,” said Francoeur, who pointed out he didn’t sweat it after a couple of fruitless at-bats on Sunday in Pittsburgh. “It’s not like I’m panicking. Last year I started thinking I’ve got to get it done. I’ve been relaxed. And when there are people on base, I’m getting myself in good counts to drive them in and get the big hit.”

   Francoeur has hit safely in 10 of 12 games and had four multi-hit games in his last five coming into Washington. He’d hit safely in six out of seven games to raise his batting average from .190 to .333 coming into this series.

   “Just having fun playing,” Francoeur said. “I’m not putting too much pressure on myself. Saturday I was 0-for-3 and the next day I came back and got two hits and helped the team win. That’s the difference. Last year, once I’d go 0-for-3, 0-for-4, it’d kind of just keep going.”

   And unlike last year, he’s finding some holes with some bloops and even that can be a sign of good things.

   “I’m swinging at good pitches and when you can swing at good pitches and put it in play you’re going to have a chance to succeed,” Francoeur said. “That’s what I’m doing right now.”

 

   ROTATION: An FYI, because of the off day Thursday, the Braves will skip left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes and put him in the bullpen. The Braves will come back with Javier Vazquez, Derek Lowe and Kenshin Kawakami this weekend in Cincinnati.

1,722 comments Add your comment

N Nine

April 21st, 2009
10:26 am

Steve from OH

April 21st, 2009
10:35 am

How do you wait for a three run HR? Is it anything like waiting for Godot? Is it pretty much as meaningless? How long must we wait for it? What if it never comes? Inquiring minds want to know.

I have been asking that very same question for some months here but have yet to recieve even an attempt at an answer. I wonder wh…wait, what’s that? You don’t “wait” for a three-run homer? It’s just made-up bullsh!t propagated by Bobby-haters? What do you exactly want him to do? Bunt Francoeur? Bunt McCann? Jesus, people, I’ve heard this argument for some years on the blog and I’ve never, ever heard good reasoning for it…does that maybe mean it’s stupid sh!t? Maybe it’s because Bobby knows that bunting is generally a poor strategy and that stealing is a terrible strategy under a 75% success rate? And I know we have no one bar Schafer that could probably sniff that success ratio. So maybe Bobby is…smart to play things in such a way?

Jeff321

April 21st, 2009
10:39 am

JoJo to the bullpen “now”, eh? Well, better late than ever. So, if he can’t hack it there… trade him.

Rock On.......

April 21st, 2009
10:39 am

Did Shaefer actually say get men on and get them over? Wow! Better let Bobby Cox know that wild theory. Bobby is still waiting on the three-run homer.

N Nine

April 21st, 2009
10:41 am

Carroll: 1-6 stretch

Tom Hawk

April 21st, 2009
10:41 am

Hey DOB! are you still doing tomahawk talk on 680? I live in Fargo and only want to stream 680 when they talk braves.

Lew

April 21st, 2009
10:41 am

The Doors were Waiting On The Sun.

Steve from OH

April 21st, 2009
10:43 am

Rock on, c’mon, give me a good argument that Bobby is somehow keeping his team from “getting them over.” C’mon, I can go all day. I really, really want to hear the supposed logic behing “waiting on the three run homer.”

But its early.......LOL(Doc H.)

April 21st, 2009
10:45 am

Wayne in Utah,

It was a joke……learn not to get overaggressive over meaningless jokes ……if you can

Rock On.......

April 21st, 2009
10:46 am

Steve…when you are batting at a .225 clip of late i’ll take the bunt to move the runner over. Assuming that is we can get a runner.

To say that bunting and stealing are poor strategies is totally false. It is when you steal and bunt that affects the success rate. Not to mention players that can effectively do those things. i.e. having McCann steal is a 100% failure rate. Escobar bunting and stealing would have a 50% or better success rate.

Don’t get caught up in the overall % of success as it relates to baseball in general. If Bobby is managing to those kind of stats it is no wonder his failure rate is high of late.

Rock On.......

April 21st, 2009
10:48 am

Lew…hey hey, now I am going to put LA Woman in teh CD changer. thanks!

LT- A Blogger

April 21st, 2009
10:48 am

Blawg Dawg- from previous blog as to whether I’d rather see Dunn in LF or 1B. Well, I have to say you’re probably correct- it would be a bad idea.

McFann =Ô=

April 21st, 2009
10:49 am

Thanks for the new Blog, Ms. Rogers!

After Matt Diaz’s two-run homer off Jordann (just kidding)

:lol:

And yes, today I do expect to have a Brian McCann update for you.

Yay!

brAves Sucios

April 21st, 2009
10:51 am

I’m getting a little worried about this repeated skipping of the fifth starter because of off-days. . . we don’t want to wear out this awesome starting pitching everyone on the team mentions any time they talk to a reporter by going with a four-man rotation for the first two months of the season. I know we’re holding a spot for Tommy (and if he can’t go, then for other Tommy), but c’mon. . . let’s use an actual pitcher as a place-holder, not off-days every week. W

McFann =Ô=

April 21st, 2009
10:51 am

Rock On having McCann steal is a 100% failure rate.

Is it? He’s got 6 steals in his last six attempts. Been a 100% success since last year. He was 2-2 in SB in ‘06 as well.

Think before you type, man! Come on! :P

Bill in VA

April 21st, 2009
10:52 am

Baseball watcher since ‘49. NEVER have I seen a team make a rookie pitcher look like Cy Young as well as these Braves of last year and, sorry to say, it looks like this year, too. Lets hear a few good suggestions to change this.

brAves Sucios

April 21st, 2009
10:53 am

I’m getting a little worried about this repeated skipping of the fifth starter because of off-days. . . we don’t want to wear out this awesome starting pitching everyone on the team mentions any time they talk to a reporter by going with a four-man rotation for the first two months of the season. I know we’re holding a spot for Tommy (and if he can’t go, then for other Tommy), but c’mon. . . let’s use an actual pitcher as a place-holder, not off-days every week. I don’t think anyone’s forgotten the reason our awesome bullpen from last year sucks now is overuse.

brAves Sucios

April 21st, 2009
10:54 am

sorry for the repeat. . . laptop weirdness, and I’m still waking up.

Wayne in Utah

April 21st, 2009
10:57 am

Jeff

I don’t understand your “better late than (n)ever” on sending JoJo to the pen. He just came up. How could we send him to the pen any sooner?

JoJo might never be a successful big league pitcher, but if you were making the call, Tom Glavine would have won nearly 300 games for somebody else.

I suspect JoJo will get another shot or two before being banished to another team (he actually won’t be dealt, as he has options).

Patience, my man. I have some hope for you, since we agreed twice yesterday. Hang in there, and resist the urge to have a knee jerk reaction to every at bat or start by a pitcher.

:-)

Rock On.......

April 21st, 2009
10:59 am

Steve…..so, a little game my denizen friend. Say the Braves are down by two runs on the road top of the 9th , runners on 1st and 2nd. Prado has pinch hit for the pitcher and singled and KJ has drawn a walk. No outs. Facing a tough closer Escobar is now up. You are Bobby. Do you bunt, hit and run, double steal, hit away, pray for a homer? Oh yeah, Chipper is in the lineup hitting 3rd with McCann (now seeing well) to follow. Hint: there is only one right answer. Good luck.

LT- A Blogger

April 21st, 2009
11:00 am

Also, I wasn’t knocking BC on previous blog for waiting on a 3 run homer. Just stating that was what folks always knocked him about. Did I just make that up cause I could’ve sworn that used to be what folks complained about? I don’t think BC is the problem and have stated that before that I think he is a HOF manager. Love him has manager. I guess my point was that I don’t think this team has a very powerful lineup and apologize if I didn’t make my point clearly enough.

Rock On.......

April 21st, 2009
11:01 am

McFannOO….sorry probably should have used Adam Dunn as the analogy. Can you please give me Adam Dunn’s success rate. Thanks.

Wayne in Utah

April 21st, 2009
11:02 am

Bill in VA

Last year, we made a lot of youngsters look like Cy Young. I don’t know, maybe it’s a hole in our scouting or approach?

But, it could be as simple as the pitcher coming up is a legitimate arm with some major league potential. I think the Zimmerman guy was their #1 prospect. Kinda what we would hope Hanson would do in his major league debut.

Since ‘49 eh? You are one old fart. Your making me feel younger by the minute. I been watching since the early to mid 60’s (when I turned 8-9).

Bud

April 21st, 2009
11:03 am

The reason the Braves have become so inept last year and now into this year is not only lack of bullpen and few tough outs in their lineup but it can be traced to lack of fundamentals. They continue to fail to bunt runners into scoring position, not one player will go to right field with runner at second and no outs, mental lapses on running bases, not able to steal bases, not able to hold runners close and throw out runners attempting to steal bases, etc. All of these are fundamentals that must be executed especially if your team has a weak lineup. All of these are the responsibility of the coaches and the manager especially. These fundamental mistakes happen consistantly. Bobby needs to take charge or Frank needs to take action. We need some leadership.

brian

April 21st, 2009
11:04 am

Carroll – if you see Matt Diaz again please thank him for me for blowing off my son and a bunch of other children before last Wednesday’s game about 1.5 hours before gametime. Classy.

I, like many others, are still wondering why the Braves did not feel that they needed batting practice on Thursday

Jeff321

April 21st, 2009
11:06 am

I don’t understand your “better late than (n)ever” on sending JoJo to the pen. He just came up. How could we send him to the pen any sooner?

Wayne in Utah – Cox has been quoted as saying JoJo won’t go to the pen.. now we hear otherwise. I thought JoJo would be at least worth a try in there considering all the problems we’ve had this year.

Btw, sooner could have been putting him in there to begin the season. Believe it or not I take every game seriously and don’t think we should give any away. Maybe JoJo could have helped in our 7 losses?

Steve from OH

April 21st, 2009
11:08 am

Ok, a .225 clip over 5 games is not a sufficient sample size to just give up on hitting and start playing small ball based on “oh, geez, my players can’t hit anymore.” Our team will have a high team BA and OBP when all is said and done, so I’m not buying that.

Secondly, even a 50% success rate at stealing and/or bunting is terrible. The fact of the matter is that you DO NOT give up outs, period. Bunting and stealing (especially with this squad) is giving up outs. Absolutely no reason to do that.

And yes, bunting is a generally poor strategy (when the pitcher is not up), especially early in games. In the large majority of situations, your overall runs expectation goes down for every out you give up, regardless of if you are advancing the runner or not. Early in games, this is a bad idea because you significantly decrease your chances of a multiple-run inning. Late in games, when you are playing for one and exactly one run bunting is less of a poor strategy, but this again depends on where you are in the order. This is, of course, assuming that the manager knows which situations are the correct ones to bunt in, and I’m guessing that you don’t feel that our manager is up to that charge, correct? So why are you asking him to bunt (aka, give away outs)? I’ll just re-iterate that bunting early in games is a terrible idea, and that is what many of you are saying that Bobby should do instead of “waiting on the three-run homer.” (Why not, waiting on a one-out single instead? But then that seems less incompetent from a managerial standpoint, doesn’t it?) And we’ve discussed stealing bases for a while here.

Most of the info I’m using comes from here, but there’s plenty more where that came from. Here’s a page on why stealing is bad. I’m sure others have more up-to-date info as well.

Rock On.......

April 21st, 2009
11:08 am

LT….Love Bobby Cox as a manager? Really? Maybe as a player you would love him but as a fan I wouldn’t use the word love in connection with Bobby Cox. Tolerate him maybe. Me? I am in love with the new Miss Universe (from NC I might add).

Wayne in Utah

April 21st, 2009
11:08 am

Rock on

With Escobar hitting at over 300, I hit and run (as opposed to run and hit). I would never bunt and give up an AB.

You are probably going to say that is the wrong answer, but I don’t like the odds of taking the bat out of the hand of a 300 hitter.

One or two hits in 3 AB’s (if don’t bunt) versus one hit in two AB’s (if you do bunt) is the probable outcome to win.

I understand those that would say bunt them over though, it’s just not what I would do.

Rock On.......

April 21st, 2009
11:10 am

Jeff…..unless I am mistaken, JoJo has to stay in Atlanta for 15 days after being called up. Thus he will go to the pen to get some work.

Chuck James was Solid until the 6th!!!

April 21st, 2009
11:12 am

I’m the biggest glass half full optimistic person with this team. However, after things I’ve seen, this team can’t compete without EVERYONE healthy. Being that EVERYONE won’t stay healthy, this is a 82-85 win team at best, strictly because of the rotation if Kawakami can post a 4.00 at seasons end. It’s tough when you need to rely on a guy like Chipper when you know come October he will have 120 games at best under his belt, 10 of those pinch-hitting. This McCann injury is crushing them right now and every game counts….

Willy Wally

April 21st, 2009
11:13 am

I’m getting a little worried about this repeated skipping of the fifth starter because of off-days. . . we don’t want to wear out this awesome starting pitching everyone on the team mentions any time they talk to a reporter by going with a four-man rotation for the first two months of the season. (bravessucios)

Huh?!?!?!? The starters go on four days rest. You only skip the fifth starter when the fifth starter is scheduled to pitch on a day that falls after the fourth day of rest for one of your four best starters. That’s all the Braves are doing.

It’s not like it’s a true four man rotation they’re going with, with these guys getting only three days of rest. It doesn’t make sense to have your worst starters starting when your best starters are ready, able, and fresh off four days rest.

An extra day of rest also wouldn’t be prudent with a sinkerballer like Lowe (and to some extent Jurrjens) because sinkerballers usually lose their touch and are too strong if they are too rested. With too much rest, their pitches tend to rise, lose life, and go too straight and they lose command of the strike zone. An extra day of rest therefore usually defeats the purpose.

Starting pitchers are creatures of habit, anyway. It’s generally not a good idea to give them an extra day where their routine is disrupted (especially so early in the season when they aren’t worn out enough to need extra rest, like Jurrjens benefitted from when you twisted his ankle in Chicago and had a bit of a rejurjence in the mid-season last year due to missing a start).

Steve from OH

April 21st, 2009
11:14 am

Well, Rock on, according to runs expected tables, you let him swing away. You expect more runs in a 1st and 2nd situation with no outs than you do with a second and third situation with one out. Numbers don’t lie, dude.

Never mind that conventional wisdom says not to play for the tie on the road, which you seem to be implying (aka, BUNT!). If we bunted, wouldn’t we still be praying for a three-run homer to take the lead?

Oh, and never mind that our three best hitters (Esco, Chipper, and Mac) who all can hit for average, get on base, and slug are coming up. Naw, we should totally take the bats out of their hands.

Down one run, maybe I do bunt. Not down two.

Braves73

April 21st, 2009
11:14 am

Rock On – You make a very good point back to Steve from OH. It’s not all in the percentages, it’s more of a mindset of aggressive play that is Bobby’s downfall. I would agree that certain players are not adept at “bunting” but the idea is to be creative/aggressive with the intent of always putting pressure on your opposition. The “sit back and wait for the three run-home” is not the problem, it’s the “sit back and waiting” that is…that’s the challenge.

Pepperidge Blogs Remembers

April 21st, 2009
11:15 am

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By Coach ( This is how the Braves get over the hump.)

August 24, 2007 4:31 PM | Link to this

Ya’ll can sit down and listen to some plain old common sense. How to improve the Braves odds in the wild card chase ? It’s addition by subtraction. Come September 1st , bring up every single pitcher on the 40 man giving the Braves 21 total pitchers. Junk the five man rotation , it’s killing the Braves. The old four man rotation would give Hudson and Smoltz 18 or 19 starts over the last 34 games. Limit them both to 75 pitches or five innings , which ever comes first and use that 17 man bullpen over the last three or four innings. It’s not rocket science , it’s baseball. Smoltz and Hudson are winning at a .700 clip over the last two months. Do the math , 66 wins plus 13 or 14 wins from the two aces. The remaining 15-16 games would require nothing more than .500 from the other two starters ( Cormier/James). That would presumably put the Braves around 87-89 wins , well into wild card territory. It’s better than sticking with the five man rotation and limiting the pitch count , not throwing on the side would be the same as pitching every fifth day. There ya go , maximize the two aces , limit the damage from the rest of the rotation. Lew , would have never thought of this. NEVER.
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By Coach ( This is how the Braves get over the hump.)

August 24, 2007 4:58 PM | Link to this

Hey , thanks guys. The Braves used a four man rotation all of 1993 and it worked like a charm.
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By flange1

August 24, 2007 5:06 PM | Link to this

Oh my god LEW,

Can you believe it? A 4 man rotation! WOW, we could have never thought of that!

A 41 year old pitcher with a sore body and an surgically repaired sholder and elbow should be able to go from pitching on 4 days rest for his whole life to pitching on 3 days rest after 3/4 of a season and then be fresh for the playoffs,

SURE IT’S GOT TO WORK, IT CAME FROM COACH!!!
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By Paladin

August 24, 2007 5:16 PM | Link to this

Coach After brain-flatulence like that you could at least have the decency to fan behind you. And it smells like the drooler crawled up inside you, and died.
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By Lew

August 24, 2007 5:17 PM | Link to this

Coach-You’re absolutely right. I wouldn’t have thought of destroying Smoltz’s arm with extreme overuse. AS far as bringing up the other pitchers, Do you even realize that KC has advocated this for the past week? Do you even bother to read anyone’s thoughts besides your own? This is what we waited for all of this time you pounded your chest and bragged about how smart you were? Talk about a let down. I thought maybe you might have a plan worth something. According to you, something no one else was capable of coming up with and what we end up with is expand the rosters? And of course, James is out of the equation for at least another week and a half. Yeah, that works.
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By Coach ( Hank Aaron Is The Real HR Champion.)

August 24, 2007 5:23 PM | Link to this

The children have come over from the other blog. Lew , Flange1 or whatever you multiple personality bloggers call yourselves , your not fooling anybody. I’m out , nursery school isn’t my cup of tea.
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By Head Options Expert

August 24, 2007 5:34 PM | Link to this

Will someone please explain to ole Head Cooch what the options consequences are for bringing up the entire 40 man roster to pitch?

Does anyone dare do that after the retarded insistence of the Head Cooch the last time?

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By Willy Wally

August 24, 2007 5:39 PM | Link to this

I’m out , nursery school isn’t my cup of tea.

Oh, what’s the matter Cooch? Are you now admitting to being a failure as a Coach for nursery school kids as well?
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By The Grinch

August 25, 2007 12:08 AM | Link to this

Smoltz continues to amaze. I’ve said since I started posting here about 18 months ago that I’ve never liked Smoltz much as a person, but by Godfey that sumgun has got something more than talent going for him. He’s about as true grit as Rooster Cogburn.

Great catch by Andruw, obviously.

Braveheart, your Freudian “slip” on Coach is classic.

SG, you said something earlier I found clever and amusing, but I’m too drunk to remember what it was. Just accept this generic tip of the hat.
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Life Goes On BEST SHOW EVER!

April 21st, 2009
11:16 am

Can we trade for some POWER!!! POWER!!!! We have to have some in the lineup!, pitching is only going to get us so far.

Steve from OH

April 21st, 2009
11:17 am

But let me say that late in games in very specific situations that bunting and/or stealing may be acceptable. If you have a runner that steals successfully over 75% of the time, he can go whenever. Bunting early in games is a horrible idea (hence your “waiting on a 3-run homer accusation) as is stealing with bad basestealers. You can’t run your way into a good offense. You can’t bunt your way into a good offense.

We can’t give away outs, man. Can’t do it.

Original Jon

April 21st, 2009
11:17 am

I cannot wait to see next weeks ‘Getting to know your Braves’ video section, Kelly Johnson was impersonating Chipper, talking about how he leans to the side after hitting a homerun, lol. Good stuff, cant wait to see it.

Chuck James was Solid until the 6th!!!

April 21st, 2009
11:17 am

Bill in VA

That’s funny, I say that to myself all the time. “The Braves make these rookies look like Cy Young” ….Last year and this year so far…It’s comical. They jump all over the pitches and are unsuccessfull somehow…

Rock On.......

April 21st, 2009
11:17 am

Steve…as it relates to our little exercise above. Yes, you do give up an out. Absolutely. It will take two hits most of the time to score both those runs anyway. Why not put your team in a position to tie the game with one hit. Especially with Chipper up after Esco lays down a bunt. They may walk Chipper to get to McCann and put a double play possibility on the board but many managers won’t put the go ahead run on base in that situation.

I don’t care if the team is batting .275 you play the percentages.

Wayne in Utah

April 21st, 2009
11:18 am

Jeff

My point with Reyes is that the Braves see him as a starter. Most of the better pitchers in the league (except for the elite closers and setup men) are BETTER pitchers overall than most middle relievers and LOOGY’s.

So, while they say JoJo is going to the pen, he really is going to the pen for a few days, until it is time for him to prep for his next start, whenever than might be. (you probably knew that)

Sometimes it is better to have a guy get his innings in down at AAA than to toil for 4-5 innings over a week or two at the back end of the bullpen, wouldn’t you think??

And yes, I too think all games are important. But, in the beginning of the year, a team has a LOT of crap to figure out. Sometimes you give up a game here or there, so as to set yourself up for later.

As a salesman, sometimes I have to walk a sale, that is not good for me in the long run. Does that make sense?

cphizzle

April 21st, 2009
11:18 am

brand new day boys the streak shall start here!

Epinephrine

April 21st, 2009
11:21 am

Steve from OH is dead on–with one caveat. The pitcher in all likelihood increases chances of a run scored with a successful bunt-the statistic sample is unrepresentative as it doesn’t control for specific situations, and anyway, it comes out above even on the linked web page.

But bunting as a general strategy is a bad idea.

Rock On.......

April 21st, 2009
11:24 am

Pepperidge…..whatthe hell was that?

Wayne…..I can live with hit and run because the #1 thing is to stay out of the double play. Assuming a hitters count of course and a good contact hitter like Esco.

Steve from OH

April 21st, 2009
11:25 am

I don’t care if the team is batting .275 you play the percentages.

Yeah, and the percentages say swing away. Granted, if Bobby did bunt there I wouldn’t complain, because it’s certainly not a terrible play in that situation. But early in games? No way I bunt. Seventh inning? Nope. Eigth? Nada.

But remember, we’re talking about during the entire game, aka when we screw up and fail to score in the 4th, and someone yells “waiting for the three-run homer again!” And in the early going, any of those strategies are bad. Hell, even in the ninth inning there it is debatable…so I don’t understand how Bobby is either waiting on the three-run homer or somehow mismanaging the team’s offense.

Lew

April 21st, 2009
11:25 am

Those were the days-when Coach thought he knew more than anyone else. What’s that? He still does?

Did y’all know that Orson Welles was waiting for the wine to have it’s time? Wonder if he waited for a three run homer?

Rock On-Listened to The Soft Parade just the other day, myself.

NC Braves Fan

April 21st, 2009
11:25 am

I almost wonder if JoJo might be better off in the ‘pen … he sure seems to struggle a lot when hitters settle in and face him the second time through the lineup. Added to this, the Braves could use a reliable lefty out of the ‘pen as well.

Of course that would be contingent on having an arm to plug into the five slot in the rotation. Maybe Morton is ready to take that next step – Hanson appears to still be figuring things out at this point.

Wayne in Utah

April 21st, 2009
11:25 am

Earl Weaver would tell his pitchers, “He’s trying to give you an out! Let him!”

Bill

April 21st, 2009
11:26 am

Lew

April 21st, 2009
11:27 am

Bill-Your IQ range?

Steve from OH

April 21st, 2009
11:27 am

Epinephrine, I tried to convey that in some specific situations, yes, it is ok. Like when you really, really need ONE run. And I think the pitcher bunting goes without saying!

But there was a LOT of data on that page to sift through, but after reading it once the tables all suggested that, in a large majority of the situations, you decrease your run expectancy by bunting. There are always exceptions, but this is a general thing, just like the general accusation we’ve been arguing about.

Lew

April 21st, 2009
11:27 am

Or was that a Jeopardy question? What is your IQ range?

Will

April 21st, 2009
11:28 am

Boy, Derek Lowe has alot of nerve giving up 3 runs last night, he better learn quick to throw a shut out everytime out with this offense. Glad to see the Bravos got the Nationals bullpen back on track. This team already is a mirror image of the same old BS the last few seasons and will be lucky to finish at .500!

monty

April 21st, 2009
11:28 am

Good for Jeff in his 2 out hitting but he still swings at pitches that you just have to shake your head at and wonder.

18 Wheels of Love

April 21st, 2009
11:28 am

Today it is Sam Cookes greatest hits.

LT- A Blogger

April 21st, 2009
11:29 am

Rock On….. I, um, missed the Miss Universe Pageant. I was probably at Fight Club that night. You watch that with the rest of your girl friends?

I am glad to see the Miss CA controversy, so every web site has her swimsuit photo plastered on their page.

Steve from OH

April 21st, 2009
11:29 am

Pepperidge blogs, great post. Pitch counts are totally stupid, indeed…

Braves Love

April 21st, 2009
11:29 am

@ Life Goes On — we tried to trade for power a couple of years ago when we acquired Teix, and you see how well that worked out for us. I think our lineup would be just fine if MattE Diaz was the regular starter (with Garret as a fill-in), Frenchy stays on track, and Chipper and Mac get/stay healthy.

Lew

April 21st, 2009
11:30 am

Steve-And if the player didn’t get the bunt down, it would be Bobby’s fault because a.He should have had them swing away in that situation or b. He should have had them do bunting drills until they could get it down in their sleep. NO matter what you do it will always be Bobby’s fault. Better to wait for a Three run HR.

Fred

April 21st, 2009
11:31 am

Rock On, A player called up from the minors (like JoJo) does not need to stay on the major league 25 man roster for any minimum amount of time. For example, pitchers are sometimes called up for a spot start and then immediately sent back to AAA. The rule you may be thinking of is that if a player is sent down to the minors, he must stay in the minors for a minumum of 10 days unless a major league player is injured (i.e. if McCann has to go on the DL, Sammons can be brought back to Atlanta to replace him).

Rock On.......

April 21st, 2009
11:31 am

Steve….I will take the odds of a bunt and single to tie the game over a 3-run homer in our little scenario. Take it every time regardless of who’s up. Not saying do this at the start of the game or anything. Just in situations calling for such. Oh and play to tie always then win. Don’t care if you are home or away.

matt r

April 21st, 2009
11:31 am

Francoeur still = lowest OBP

Steve from OH

April 21st, 2009
11:31 am

Lew–of course, I forgot. It’s always Bobby’s fault in failure, and often in victory, too. Hell, give me the exact same situation in two back-to-back games. Bobby bunts in one, swings away in the other. Both fail. I’ll bet the exact same bloggers call him out as doing something wrong both times!

Piedmont Blues (formerly BravesFan InRockies)

April 21st, 2009
11:33 am

Steve from OH, Rock On …

will never settle the debate. It’s a philosophical disagreement. RO believes small ball is a winning strategy; Steve says you don’t give up outs because there are only three an inning and 27 a game and they’re too valuable to simply give away.

It’s a matter of perception, and if you really in your heart of hearts think you should play for one run — even if you score less overall and win fewer games as a result by killing big innings — then bunt and run.

RO’s problem is that Steve can cite evidence to support his position, and RO just has his preferences.

Lew

April 21st, 2009
11:33 am

Steve-It certainly wouldn’t be the first time it happened that way.

Run Heap Run

April 21st, 2009
11:33 am

I am in love with the new Miss Universe (from NC I might add).

As a pageant mom I should tell you that she’s the new Miss USA. Maybe Miss Universe is next for her though! Southern girls always do well in national competition, don’t they. ;)

Shameless boasting alert – My daughter will be competing in the Miss Alabama pageant this fall. Needless to say, I’ll let y’all (and the rest of the world) know if she wins LOL. And she honestly only got into the pageants during her senior year of high school for the fantastic scholarships they award. She’s 2 for 2 so far.

And now back to our regularly scheduled Braves commenting.

Jeff321

April 21st, 2009
11:34 am

Wayne in Utah, yes it makes perfectly good sense. Only two problems: 1) I don’t see JoJo as an reliable starter, 2) If he can help the team win by pitching in the bullpen, why not?

Sometimes in baseball you have to go with what’s best for the team. That said, of course if JoJo stinks it up in the bullpen (like he’s done in the majority of his starts) I would be calling for the old fashioned, hand crafted, custom BOOT!

cphizzle

April 21st, 2009
11:34 am

its all about execution simple as that if we can just do the little things right we can turn this little bump in the road to a smooth ride. we have all the talent in the world but we still have to execute!

Run Heap Run

April 21st, 2009
11:34 am

And did we really just have someone post a collection of Coach’s greatest hits?

Lew

April 21st, 2009
11:35 am

Giving away outs-Is that anything like the commercial where the kid gives away left over minutes? He’d probably do better to wait on a three run HR.

Steve from OH

April 21st, 2009
11:35 am

Rock on, of course you do it in situations calling for such. But there aren’t many of them and that’s not the current argument against Bobby, is it? Numbers don’t lie…

Never said I thought it was a good idea to play for the win on the road, just saying that that’s what the idea is right now…

cphizzle

April 21st, 2009
11:36 am

matt r i would hate to think about where we would be without francouers two out rbis give the guy some credit for what he has done and quit the bashing your either with us or against us

Lew

April 21st, 2009
11:37 am

Actually, I agree with Jeff 321 this time. Put JoJo in the pen, Can’t hurt anything. We have more than enough starter options even before we call up Hanson.

Rock On.......

April 21st, 2009
11:37 am

Steve….never said it was early or anytime just late in game as noted.

LA…..man that girl is flat out gorgeous! I didn’t see it either but I bet if you print out her picture and laminate it that it will hold up in the shower for ya! Duh huh…..just sayin

Steve from OH

April 21st, 2009
11:37 am

Ok, I’ve said my piece. Thanks for a good debate, Rock on. Glad we can still do it civilly around here at times, and glad to see people can still present a point in a logical, “this is what I think,” not “I am right” fashion.

bravofan

April 21st, 2009
11:38 am

The Braves main concerns are pitching and offense and they go hand in hand with each other the BRAVES need another Bat!

Willy Wally

April 21st, 2009
11:38 am

Well, hell, I guess I’ll have to somewhat refute my own argument made on the last post about Lowe and the extra day of rest. The stats don’t really support what I said, although, for his career, Lowe has a 3.71 ERA with four days rest, a 4.07 ERA on 5 days rest and a 4.92 ERA with 6+ days rest. The ERA numbers are a bit misleading though since his peripheral numbers don’t really get much worse between 4 days or 5 days rest.

And the numbers for Jurrjens are all much better with 5 days rest rather than just 4. So there I blathered on like a fool without researching the stats first to support my point.

Lew

April 21st, 2009
11:38 am

I think you should play for the tier on the road and at home. If you’re behind in the game, you ain’t gonna win it if you don’t tie it first.

Lew

April 21st, 2009
11:39 am

Obviously, that’s tie, not tier.

Threadkiller

April 21st, 2009
11:40 am

Steve from OH, Some very good points..But I have a question?? Why in the playoffs do teams change their strategy and bunt runners over at the beginning of games??

Lew

April 21st, 2009
11:40 am

That’s right-it’s half offense, half pitching and half defense.

Bill

April 21st, 2009
11:41 am

Nope,Braves finishing record.My IQ is alot higher.

Charlie

April 21st, 2009
11:41 am

1-6 stretch for the Braves…how could anyone be surprised? This team has no “money” ball players…someone who steps up when the game in on the line. The fundaments of this group are terrible. They can’t get a decent bunt down, and they run bases like a cross between Little League and the Keystone Cops. They are a bunch of first pitch hackers, with no plan for each at bat or situation. Schafer will probably be good one day. He isn’t now. The handwriting is already on the wall. With this collection, “1-6″ (under .500) will mostly be the norm, and not the exception. This is a difficult team to watch. They are full of holes. If they finish 4th in their division, they’ve played to their talent level.

Wayne in Utah

April 21st, 2009
11:41 am

Rock on

I don’t think your getting Steve’s point. He ain’t playing for a 3 run homer, he is playing for a basehit. Maybe even a double?? He just isn’t interested in giving up an out for a player hitting over 300. In that case, you aren’t playing for a 3 run homer, your playing to keep a rally going.

But I see your point. The odds are similar on both fronts. If you don’t bunt, what are the odds that one of your guys gets a single or a double, or advances a runner otherwise.

The pitcher also influences this decision.

Lew, you know it’s always Bobby’s fault. Heck, he is directly responsible for global warming. Speaking of that, I got a kick out of our pro basketball teams going green a week or two back!

I hope the Braves will go green tonight in Washington. Doubles and triples cover a lot of green.

LT

Hey, wasn’t that great, to get that gorgeous woman’s pix all over the internet! I really wonder if her answer influenced the judges. Was Miss NC a knockout also???

Lew

April 21st, 2009
11:42 am

WillyWally-Hudson’s ERA dropped by over a run per nine when he pitched on five, as opposed to four days rest. The reason it likely doesn’t hold up for Lowe is because of his sinker. A sinker ball pitcher tends to get more sink on the pitch when they are more tired than when well rested.

Lew

April 21st, 2009
11:43 am

Bill-Just qualifying-you didn’t specify.

Lew

April 21st, 2009
11:44 am

Wayne-I hope the Braves win so they can actually earn their green.

Rock On.......

April 21st, 2009
11:47 am

Steve…agreed. Kinda like Anders coming on the blog now and again. Then we had New Cars talking about the dog he had to kill. Everyone was in a somber mood on the old blog. Anders chimed in that if any of the denizens wanted to get rid of him that he prays it wouldn’t be New Cars. One of the more hilarious times on the old blog of late.

We all seem to get along despite diffrences which makes it a good blog, no, great blog.

bravofan

April 21st, 2009
11:48 am

why don’t the Braves take a risk and sign Frank Thomas he is a Free agent and may be a good fill in for Kotchman every once and awhile and he has a big bat! Sign em any other suggestions look here http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/features/freeagents

Willy Wally

April 21st, 2009
11:48 am

Francoeur still = lowest OBP (MATTR)

Francoeur = highest WAR and 3rd highest Win Probability Added on the Braves thus far on fangraphs. But, by all means, stick to OBP as the end all, be all of your laughably limited utilization of sabermetric theory

The Patron Saint of the Lost Art

April 21st, 2009
11:48 am

Good pitching always beats good hitting…and vice versa.

Wayne in Utah

April 21st, 2009
11:49 am

Jeff

I will give you that maybe JoJo would help in the pen. You never know about those things. That having been said, I suspect the Braves brain trust believe he still has a chance to be a major league starter, or else he would be relieving full-time, don’t you think?

Actually, what I would LOVE to do is to correct you (in the nicest of ways!) on JoJo’s record last year. Your statement that he does poorly in a MAJORITY of his starts is not accurate. These sort of statements are partly to blame for the rampant hate tossed on Blaine Boyer, who was exceptional in OVER half his appearances in the past two years.

As for Reyes, if you go back to 2008 and look over his game logs, he equally SUCKED or was successful in half his starts. He didn’t SUCK in a majority of his starts, just HALF them.

Words, man. They mean things. All you have to do is to hint to some of the losers on here that a guy SUCKS, and all reason is tossed.

Go back and check it out. You’ll see what I am talking about.

Steve from OH

April 21st, 2009
11:49 am

Threadkiller….because they are stupid? The only real thing I can think of is that if it’s a Santana v. Halladay matchup, and runs figure to be scarce, and you think you can win a 1-0 ballgame…but I still don’t like it.

Rock on, hope you don’t think I was picking on you, but the waiting on the three run bomb argument really gets my goat so I wanted to see if this time someone would try to defend it (not so in the past).

Like I said, lots of factors go into it (who is up, who is pitching, inning, score, et al), but generally, I’ll say swing the bats, boys.

richbrave

April 21st, 2009
11:49 am

CARROLL:

See you tonight at the new ballpark

Life Goes On BEST SHOW EVER!

April 21st, 2009
11:51 am

bravofan is right sign Frank he may be a risk but heck he can give you a power presence in the lineup….I doubt Martin Prado is going to give the big leaguers a scare when he comes up to bat.

Can you all imagine what might have been with Griffey, Furcal, Smoltzie, and Burnett signed by Atlanta…Thanks WREN!!!!

Rock On.......

April 21st, 2009
11:52 am

Wayne….no I understood Steve, the 3-run homer was simply in reference to a Bobbyism. My thinking is to get two runners into scoring position where we would only need 1 hit most likely to tie the game and two outs to do it in.

Run Heap Run…..sorry, of course, meant Miss USA.

TnJeff04

April 21st, 2009
11:52 am

brian (11:04 am)“Carroll – if you see Matt Diaz again please thank him for me for blowing off my son and a bunch of other children before last Wednesday’s game about 1.5 hours before gametime. Classy.”

Geez, dude, are you STILL whining nearly a week later?

Must be a real problem for you.

Are you feeling guilty for not spending enough time yourself with your kid, and projecting your failures onto Diaz and other Braves?

Think about it, dude, before you come back crying again.

Run Heap Run

April 21st, 2009
11:53 am

Frank Thomas?! Of the 41 year old Frank Thomas’s? Of the often injured Frank Thomas’s? Of the DH in the AL Frank Thomas’s? Of the hasn’t had a decent year since 2004 Frank Thomas’s? Are you a crackhead or is this just your first day on earth?

njbraves

April 21st, 2009
11:55 am

We need another bat in this lineup…..not quite sure what we can do rightnow, but I’m afraid by the time they actually have options, it may be too late. Braves have to win the next two.

Blake Penno

April 21st, 2009
11:57 am

Brian: I know it sucks to get blown off like that, but understand before the game beside the dugout is about the last place you’ll get an autograph. I split season tickets over there for 4 years (until this year) and rarely did anyone sign besides Frenchy, and that was right before the game. If you want an auto, go to the parking lot when they’re not on the job.

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