Braves need offensive spark


Kelly Johnson (l) slump deepens

  A few thoughts about some less-than-riveting recent performances by the Braves, while listening to a very good CD titled “Keep Your Soul: A Tribute to Doug Sahm.”
  The Braves were wrapping up last night at about the same time as this week’s episode of 24, and neither were exactly riveting. The positive view: Both have the potential to turn it around (24 has been very good most of this season).
  The negative view: Someone needs to light a spark to get them going. Not that we necessarily want to see that canister explode on 24 and thousands of innocent people die, but a stolen base might be nice, eh?
How’s that for transitioning, compadres?
   No, but seriously. I know this Braves team is anything but built on speed, and I know it’s probably not the biggest thing holding them back. But still, three stolen bases in 19 games? Three!?
   That’s the fewest in the majors. In fact, the next-lowest totals belong to the Padres and A’s, who each have six — er, twice as many as the Braves, if my failing math doesn’t fail me.
  Nineteen of 30 major league teams have at least 11 stolen bases, including nine NL teams. Eight NL teams have a player with at least four steals; the Braves have no player with more than one.
   Entering spring training, it was widely assumed Josh Anderson was going to be the leadoff hitter for the Braves, and we were told he gave them something they otherwise lacked — the ability to steal 40 bases.
Hey, right now they don’t have anyone on pace to steal as many as 10.
  Meanwhile, Anderson has six steals (in seven attempts) for the Tigers, even though he’s not playing every day (he’s played 14 games).
  Jordan Schafer beat him out for the center-field job rather thoroughly this spring. But you’ve gotta wonder if the Braves might regret not keeping Anderson as an extra outfielder.
  I’m not gonna suggest they should’ve kept him instead of signing Garret Anderson, because it’d be entirely hypocritical of me. I said to several of you, and to others, that there was no way Frank Wren could make no significant additions to the outfield this winter after the entire unit produced a major league-low 27 homers in 2008.
  If he’d done nothing but add Schafer to this year’s outfield and hope that Jeff Francoeur and Matt Diaz bounced back from bad and/or injury-plagued 2008 season, Wren would have been excoriated here and elsewhere when/if the outfield produced simimilar numbers in 2008.
  Were there better choices to sign or trade for than G. Anderson? Yes, earlier in the winter there were. But for whatever reason, the deals didn’t work out or the Braves deemed the price tags too high of the defensive weakness of this free agent or that one to be too great.
   So far, G. Anderson has been an injury-riddled bust. No doubt.

G. Anderson's had very small impact

G. Anderson: Small impact, so far

  Garret hasn’t stolen more than seven bases in any of the past seven seasons, and I’ll go out on a limb and say he’s not going to steal more than that this season, even if he gets back from the DL soon and plays 120 or so games (humor me and allow that assumption).
  So unless Schafer moves up the order and starts running — he did steal 23 bases in 2007, albeit in 38 attempts — or the Braves bring Gregor Blanco from the minors and hope he figures out how to use his speed a lot better than he has in the past, then the only way these Braves are going to have a legit, big-time base stealer is by making a move to get one.
  Not suggesting they should or would do it. Just stating facts.
  It’s not a team with a lot of power hitters, or at least it hasn’t been so far. And so, also not having any serious base stealers becomes more of an obvious flaw. You’ve got to generate runs somehow.

  ♣ Speaking of no runs: During their current 4-9 stretch, the Braves have scored two runs or fewer eight times. That’s eight times in 13 games, two runs or fewer.
  They’ve lost three games in that span in which they allowed only three runs (including Monday night’s 3-2 loss to St. Louis), and lost another while allowing four runs.
  Jair Jurrjens has turned in three consecutive consecutive quality starts, but gone 0-2 in that span. And I mean strong starts, not just the minimum “quality” standard of six innings or more, three earned runs or fewer.
  He’s allowed one run in 6-2/3 innings, no runs in 7-2/3 innings, and two runs in six innings last night, and the Braves haven’t been able to get him a win in that stretch.
  Jurrjens is 0-2 with a 1.33 ERA and .219 opp average in that three-game span, with 16 hits (no homers) and three runs allowed in 20-1/3 innings. He hasn’t issued more than two walks in any of those starts.
  The Braves are having most of their big-run outputs behind two starters: Javier Vazquez ranks second in the NL in run support with 9.4 runs per nine innings he’s pitched, and Derek Lowe is 10th at 7.1 runs per nine innings.

 ♣ Big glove, not bat: Braves first baseman Casey Kotchman has played exceptional defense, as usual. And he’s hitting .309. But as a power hitter … well, he’s a hell of a glove man.

Great glove, no homers

Great glove, no homers

  The Braves have zero homers and major-league low five RBIs from the 1B position. Among 30 major league teams, the Dodgers and Giants are the only others who have no homers from the 1B position.

 ♣ Clutch hitting lacking late: The Braves rank among MLB leaders in hitting with runners in scoring position, particularly with two outs. But in the late innings (after sixth) of close games, the Braves have just eight RBI.

  Among NL teams, only the Rockies (seven) have fewer RBI in late-and-close situations. The Phillies have a whopping 35 RBIs in those spots, and the Dodgers and Marlins have 19.

  ♣ “Reverse” platoon? Kelly Johnson might be the first Braves player in recent memory to warrant consideration for a reverse platoon, or whatever you want to call it.
  It won’t happen, but consider these numbers:
  Johnson, a left-handed hitter, is batting .320 (8-for-25) against lefty pitchers, with seven RBI, a .414 OBP, and a 1.094 OPS.
  Against right-handers, he’s hitting .136 (6-for-44) with two RBI, a .224 OBP and a .471 OPS.
  That’s the fourth-lowest average in the majors against RH pitchers, among qualifying hitters with at least 2.3 plate appearances per team game.
  Late he’s not hitting any pitcher, lefty or righty. Johnson is 4-for-39 (.103) with no extra-base hits and two RBI in his past 11 games.

 ♣ Tough task tonight: Jo-Jo Reyes will try to break his long winless skid tonight against the Cardinals and Kyle Lohse, and it won’t be easy.
  Lohse is 5-0 with a 2.81 ERA in 10 starts going back to late August, and he’s 2-0 with a 3.28 ERA in the last four of his five career starts against the Braves (they beat him in 2002, but he’s not lost in four starts against them over the past three seasons).
  Chipper is 5-for-9 with a homer off Lohse, and Garret Anderson is 9-for-25 with a homer. What’s that?Oh, that’s right. Nevermind about Garret.
  Reyes is 0-8 with a 7.13 ERA in 15 games (14 starts) since June 18, including 0-3 with a 9.82 ERA and .366 opp average in five home starts during that period.
  Against the Cards, he’s 0-2 with a 4.24 ERA in three starts. Mr. Pujols is 4-for-7 with a homer against him. 

  ♣ Bob Dylan today: Don’t think I’m gonna have time to get the new Dylan album released today, but I’ve seen some great reviews for it so far, including a NY Times review we ran in the AJC today. I’ll pick it up no later than the Braves’ off day Thursday.
  The Dylanphiles we have here, let us know what you think of it.
  I got a few CDs last week at Decatur CD (man, the depth and breadth of that dude’s selection is outrageous), including a great recently released one by The Heartless Bastards and a Hold Steady CD/DVD documentary thing.
  This Doug Sahm tribute album I’m listening to is stellar. It’s a tribute to the hugely influential leader of Sir Douglas Quintet (among other eclectic projects), who died in 1999.
  Among artists covering his tunes on this album: Los Lobos, Alejandro Escovedo, Greg Dulli, Dave Alvin, Flaco Jimenez, Delbert McClinton, Jimmy Vaughan, the Gourds and Joe “King” Carrasco.
  But my favorite tune on it might be Little Willie G’s version of “She’s About a Mover.”

  Anyone go to the Springsteen show in Atlanta Sunday? I couldn’t get back from Cincy in time.

“POINT BLANK” by Bruce Springsteen

Do you still say your prayers little darlin’
do you go to bed at night
Prayin’ that tomorrow, everything will be alright
But tommorow’s fall in number
in number one by one
You wake up and you’re dying
you don’t even know what from

Well they shot you point blank
you been shot in the back
Baby point blank you been fooled this time
little girl that’s a fact
Right between the eyes, baby, point blank
right between the pretty lies that they tell
Little girl you fell

You grew up where young girls they grow up fast
You took what you were handed and left behind what was asked
but what they asked baby wasn’t right
you didn’t have to live that life,
I was gonna be your Romeo you were gonna be my Juliet
These days you don’t wait on Romeo’s
you wait on that welfare check
and on all the pretty things that you can’t ever have
and on all the promises

That always end up point blank, shot between the eyes
Point blank like little white lies you tell to ease the pain
You’re walkin’ in the sights, girl of point blank
and it’s one false move and baby the lights go out

Once I dreamed we were together again
baby you and me
Back home in those old clubs the way we used to be
We were standin’ at the bar
it was hard to hear
The band was playin’ loud and you were shoutin’ somethin’ in my ear
You pulled my jacket off and as the drummer counted four
You grabbed my hand and pulled me out on the floor
You just stood there and held me, then you started dancin’ slow
And as I pulled you tighter I swore I’d never let you go

Well I saw you last night down on the avenue
Your face was in the shadows but I knew that it was you
You were standin’ in the doorway out of the rain
You didn’t answer when I called out your name
You just turned, and then you looked away
like just another stranger waitin’ to get blown away

Point blank, right between the eyes
Point blank, right between the pretty lies you fell
Point blank, shot right through the heart

Yea point blank, you’ve been twisted up till you’ve become just another part of it
Point blank, you’re walkin’ in the sights
Point blank, livin’ one false move just one false move away
Point blank, they caught you in their sights
Point blank, did you forget how to love,
girl, did you forget how to fight.
Point blank they must have shot you in the head
Cause point blank
bang bang baby you’re dead.

1,878 comments Add your comment

vabravesfan

April 28th, 2009
2:20 pm

first? thanks for new blog DOB

Andy

April 28th, 2009
2:21 pm

GAPeach

April 28th, 2009
2:22 pm

DOB-
I’ve been out of town so excuse my ignorance. What’s going on with Diaz? Is he playing tonight?
Thanks!

Question

April 28th, 2009
2:22 pm

We’ll get that spark back with McCann…

hoho

April 28th, 2009
2:25 pm

From last post:

I do think ATL is mostly a football town, but the “fair weather” attitude may be explained by the fact
that, as T. Moore suggests, there has been NO sustained winning in this town ever (almost). Except for the Hawks in the late ’80’s and ’90’s and the Bravos in the ’90’s and early 2000’s. However, as we all know, there was only one championship involved in all of that winning.

It’s tough to keep going back to watching your team lose night after night, or playoff after playoff and not get discouraged. Other than that I get tired of hearing the moaning about the sports fan in this town- I don’t remember hearing it much before the wave of Yankee immigration in the late ’90’s (post Olympics). Must just be how we roll down here in the lazy south, you know, a little slooow.
So what? Adapt to your surroundings, if you don’t like it, there are other places to live if a town’s sport’s attitude is that important in our life. I love the south and Atlanta. I don’t bat an eye at WHY we react the way we do, we just do it.

Cheers, and gooooo BRAVOS!!!!!!! (that’s supposed to be enthusiastic)

MattyRoss

April 28th, 2009
2:26 pm

I feel like David Ross should be playing 1st. Maybe Kotch can spell Chipper at third when he’s out? Love Casey, but we need a little more pop. Alas, that’s probably not realistic. It’d be cool if Greg Norton could hit.

Whiskey Pete

April 28th, 2009
2:27 pm

Hey Dave, I miss your radio spot. Too bad.

gatorhead1013

April 28th, 2009
2:30 pm

Bobby is starting to drive me crazy. Not trying to steal, not trying to sacrifice…just sitting around waiting for a big hit which NEVER comes.

I predict the Cards score at least 12 runs tonight. We’ll see if the Braves can muster more than 2.

NC Braves Fan

April 28th, 2009
2:30 pm

DOB: any plans to catch up with Blaine Boyer (or the latest with him from the team)? I noticed he finally got into a couple of games this weekend for STL.

cphizzle

April 28th, 2009
2:31 pm

i do believe a sacrifice was laid down last night cant remember by who but nothing came of it

Meat Rabbit

April 28th, 2009
2:31 pm

Somebody tell Snitker what the steal sign is.

cphizzle

April 28th, 2009
2:33 pm

braves are a big believer in the 10 commandments…specially thou shall not steal, hehe i appear here daily folks

David O'Brien

April 28th, 2009
2:36 pm

Whisky Pete: I miss doing those spots on 680. That was fun.

fifthbusiness

April 28th, 2009
2:37 pm

macdwolfpack

April 28th, 2009
2:37 pm

Unless there are some major changes this team will finish one or two spots above the Washington Nationals. I’m afraid that it may be time for management to consider a change in leadership for this team. This team seems to be going through the motions, lacks focus and seems over the last 2-3 years to be consistantly making the same mistakes over and over again. Management of this team has shown an inability to make changes to the process in timely manner, almost always hoping that they would just work themselves out and they never do. I hate to say it but with this team I think Bobby’s time has come and gone and he and the team would be better off with different leadership. Because as DOB says this team needs a spark and in times like these when you can’t spend money the spark needs to come from the top and it hasn’t in years.
Bobby won’t change his lineup despite the fact that he lacks power hitter and put speed at the top. He keeps putting KJ at the top when over time KJ has proven to be a much better batter at the 6th spot. He keeps KJ leading off when he’s only hitting .209. That is just one of the specific examples of lack of leadership in decision making over the last couple of years.

MFin04

April 28th, 2009
2:38 pm

The team has got to switch the lineup around. That is Bobby’s area…but he is too stubborn to do so. i dont know what he is waiting for. The Braves offense CANNOT score runs…so lets do nothing about it? That doesnt make sense. We have one of the best benches in baseball yet we only use it if guys are on the DL? How stupid is that.

In order to win tonight we have to have 3 things happen…
1) JoJo goes 5-6 innings of 4-5 run baseball
2) Braves score at least 6 runs.
3) The bullpen comes in and is lights out

ndbraves fan

April 28th, 2009
2:38 pm

I could care less how many homeruns the braves hit. They just need to start being better situational hitters and start playing smarter baseball. The top of the order needs to get on base and not have so many baserunning mistakes. Let’s get the bats rollin’… GO BRAVES!

Caleb

April 28th, 2009
2:38 pm

DOB,
since the braves are playing the Cards, I’m surprised you didn’t mention in your new blog the braves trade for Ryan Ludwick that never happened. With the season he’s had so far, you’ve got to wonder if the braves wished they’d pushed harder on that one.

PWHjort

April 28th, 2009
2:38 pm

1) Thou Shalt not Bunt.

2) Thou Shalt Have no Low On Base Percentages Before the Cleanup Hitter

3) Honor the three-run homer and the leadoff walk.

4) Thou shalt not steal at anything less than a 70% success rate.

5) Thou shalt make no idol of the light-hitting middle infielder.

6) Thou shalt not count to the credit of the pitcher that which is done by his fielders or by his hitters, nor charge him with their failings.

7) Thou shalt not abuse thy starting pitchers.

8) Thou shalt make no effort to ride the hot hand, for the hot hand is but a shape in the wind.

9) Place thy faith not in veterans, when youth be available to ye.

10) Thou shalt not pass freely thy opponent’s number eight hitter, nor his cleanup hitter, nor his left-handed pinch hitter, nor any hitter that is thy opponent’s.

Run Heap Run

April 28th, 2009
2:39 pm

I predict the Cards score at least 12 runs tonight.

With Jo Jo on the hill I can’t disagree. Oh well, I’ll watch anyway.

My brother is going to the game tonight, he’s going to be furious when he finds out Jo Jo is the starter. :lol: He should learn to check the schedule.

cphizzle

April 28th, 2009
2:39 pm

DOB since you are to big for radio now that you made your appearance with joe and boog the other day but you still have a face for radio

Darlington

April 28th, 2009
2:40 pm

Pre-ordered the Dylan cd from Amazon, hoping it gets here today or tomorrow. Didn’t make it down for the Springsteen show, going up to Greensboro Saturday.

PWHjort

April 28th, 2009
2:40 pm

Patrick Schuster goes for his 5th consecutive no-no today.

Daybed Wagmoe

April 28th, 2009
2:41 pm

DOB — Pasted from the end of the other blog…

“BTW, I bought Bob Dylan’s new album which comes out today, “Together Through Life.” I’m on the first listen, and it’s very good. Lots of blues, lots of accordion. Seems like a good listen for the summer. I actually like it better than “Modern Times” — it seems like a more consistent album, the blues tracks are better and there’s not the sentimental-ish filler like “Spirit on the Water” and “Beyond the Horizon” on here.”

I’d also add that while there are a couple other “filler” songs on Modern Times (like “The Levee’s Gonna Break” and “Someday Baby”), there doesn’t seem to be any on the new one. There’s a lot of 12-bar blues on this album, just like there were on Modern Times, but these are a lot better, and he does more vocally…I’d also add that the use of the accordion really adds to the album. The album starts off a little lazily (though that’s not necessarily a bad thing), and picks up as it goes.

DOB — what do you think about the idea of hitting Kotchman second? You say in this blog that he’s not a power hitter, and it’s obvious that he’s not. He seems more like the type of player to get on base and set the table for Chipper and Frenchy and Mac (when he comes back) than an RBI man to bring those guys in. They could then hit Escobar 5th or 6th, which could give him some more RISP opportunities and perhaps be more selective with pitch selection.

Threadkiller

April 28th, 2009
2:45 pm

MattyRoss Hmmm, Kotchman a left handed 3rd baseman? We had a left handed 3rd baseman in college and it made the front page news. I don’t recall ever seeing a left handed 3rd baseman in the majors..

Baba O'Riley

April 28th, 2009
2:45 pm

Can we trade GA for Nick Esasky?

cox1976

April 28th, 2009
2:48 pm

Can we go get Jeff Geonkins. He was released by Philly.

getnathan

April 28th, 2009
2:48 pm

It looks like the Braves formula for winning (as for most teams, but particularly the Braves) that hitters come through in the clutch in the late innings as Casey Kotchman did not last night. It is imperative that the starters go deep in games (which has been happening), and that the pen holds their own (which has been happening lately). We must have all three, or you can forget about playoff possibilities.

ease19

April 28th, 2009
2:48 pm

PWHjort – As exciting as that is, you are just inviting Dadgum to come on and say how high school pitchers are a dime a dozen and that he sees them all the time in the Richmond area…I think that would be quite a feat…

PWHjort

April 28th, 2009
2:49 pm

Threadkiller

April 28th, 2009
2:49 pm

Daybed Wagmoe; Kotchman needs to be hitting 2nd! With a runner on first, Kotchman can hit it through the hole!

jonathan Simeone

April 28th, 2009
2:50 pm

I was shocked when management made no effort to bring a power threat to the team during the winter. Now, the Braves are a team with almost no power and no speed. So, it’s time for an unconventional lineup. What do you guys think of hitting Kotchman leadoff? He works the count and gets on base–two things the Braves really need more of in that spot. Then, I would move Kelly to the third spot–it’s the only place he’s hit in for the last year. This would require that Chipper bat cleanup, but since he’s the club’s only home run threat I’m not bothered by that. When Kelly was hot last year he showed the ability to be more of an impact bat than I think Prato could ever be. But if Kelly does not turn it around after a couple of weeks in the third spot I would find out if Prato can be an every day player.

Loaf Garret on a blackberry from the bank

April 28th, 2009
2:50 pm

Oh sweet, a blog about me.

Baba O'Riley

April 28th, 2009
2:50 pm

I don’t believe in clutch.

PWHjort

April 28th, 2009
2:52 pm

Prato? Really?

NC Braves Fan

April 28th, 2009
2:55 pm

PWH: that story happened last season – and the player involved died earlier this year. It was in the AJC.

Rock On.......

April 28th, 2009
2:55 pm

Well DOB….the Braves could always get Kelly Johnson a little seasoning on his hitting in AAA and insert Prado at 2nd. Anyone think of that little change I wonder? Man talk about some glaring shakeups needed.

Hey they sent Francouer to Ole Miss for the same thing. Didn’t work real well but worth a try for KJ in Gwinnett. Bottom line is they can’t afford to keep Prado out of the lineup. Enough games have passed and the Mendoza line looms for KJ. Time for KJ to get his hitting squared away in games that don’t count.

Tell Bobby he won’t get caught at Turner Field for stealing. And the lyrics from Uriah Heep keep popping into Wren’s head…”stealing when I should of been buying”. Ya’ll think about it.

Threadkiller

April 28th, 2009
2:56 pm

PWHjort: That story was about a year ago!! This young man has since passed away!!

oldmike

April 28th, 2009
2:57 pm

I was at the concert Sunday night, Dave. The Boss is still the boss. An interesting highlight was the son of Max Weinberg sitting in for his dad for 5 songs. From what I’ve read it’s a precursor for the summer when Conan takes over for Leno and Max moves to LA. The kid was dynamic. He’s only 18 but played like gangbusters. He’s slated to replace dear old dad Max. Sorry I never saw Bruce before Sunday. He’s a force of nature on stage. What a showman and the E-Street band can still do rock and roll.

brent a.

April 28th, 2009
2:58 pm

And the good news is . . .

today, we have Jo-Jo pitching.

I’ll be there. I’ve seen the Braves lose so much over the last 3 years, that I’m finding my enthusiasm somewhat dampened.

Please hit the ball tonight. Please.

DOB, Good comment about the reverse-platoon. Reminds me a bit of back in 2006 when the Braves got that lefty-relever who could only get out righties. But, of course, Bobby used him against lefties because that’s what lefty relievers are for, right?

If Kelly hits left-handers better than righties, then he absolutely needs to be in the line-up against lefties. Plus, Prado and Infante both hit pretty well, in general, so it’s no crime to have them in the line-up against a righty, with KJ on the bench.

Of course, this is Bobby Cox, the man who had Todd Pratt pinch-hit for Brian McCann, because Billy Wagner was on the mound.

Don’t trust your gut, just keep pushing the same old buttons. When you have the most talent in the league, it works more than it doesn’t. But now, of course, the Braves don’t have the most talent in the league.

PWHjort

April 28th, 2009
2:59 pm

Wow, so I guess he’s not going to be making it to the big leagues. I saw it for the first time the other day when I was reading an article about a minor leaguer who got traded for nothing (which didn’t turn out to be true, it was PTBNL or Cash). The guy linked to the bats story suggesting maybe the Tigers threw in some bats. I figured we may be able to get 10 bats for Garret Anderson.

nfieldr

April 28th, 2009
3:00 pm

DOB, we caught the Springsteen show in Glendale, AZ. It was AWESOME! Almost three hours of solid rock n roll. We had such a good time that I tried very hard to get tickets for the Denver show the following week, but no luck. *sigh*

cphizzle

April 28th, 2009
3:00 pm

i say just flop the order bat schafer first and johnson eighth it might work

njbraves

April 28th, 2009
3:01 pm

I have to agree with most here…Kotchman seems like a perfect #2 hitter. He’s patient and can hit the ball where they need him to. KJ needs to be moved out of the top spot. Why not give Schaefer a shot or Yunel if you don’t want to put added pressure on the rook. I’m a Bobby supporter, but I’m starting to question some of his decisions. KJ should have been bunting last night with a man on 1st and nobody out. To me, that’s just common sense. This team will need to manufacture runs all year long if it wants to compete.

ElbravoX-- EbX

April 28th, 2009
3:04 pm

Crazy truck chase in Georgia.

BostonBravesGirl

April 28th, 2009
3:05 pm

How many bats could we get for GA?

Rock On.......

April 28th, 2009
3:06 pm

5 consecutives no-hitters for the Shuster lad? At this point you have to wonder just a bit about the competition and that perhaps his teammates are just bored to death.

cphizzle

April 28th, 2009
3:08 pm

well if schafer is big enough to take the pressure of playin in cf in the bigs then i believe he is big enough to bat leadoff…poop or get off the pot

AndyC

April 28th, 2009
3:08 pm

njbraves, from a contact perspective Kotch would be a good #2 hitter but he is the slowest base runner on the team so he would ground into a lot of inning killing double plays so I don’t think you can do it.

AndyC

April 28th, 2009
3:09 pm

I think we could get maybe two good bats and a few broken ones for GA

Bravesfan54

April 28th, 2009
3:09 pm

Where would we be without the good pitching (even middle relief is much improved since the start of the year)? Lack of power and speed will kill our chances for anything above third in this division, but I don’t expect either to dramatically improve.

Does anyone know where we are defensively? – my impression would be “middling”.

cphizzle

April 28th, 2009
3:11 pm

throw in a wiffleball bat and a couple corked bats and you got yourself a deal

TnBrian

April 28th, 2009
3:12 pm

From watching the games on TV here lately, the only time I see a disgusted Bobby is when the pitcher hits a batter…THAT’S IT! I mean, he might shake his head a little with a beat red face, but nothing riles up the old skipper like his pitcher drilling a guys ribs.

Bobby’s predicted lineup tonight:

Infante

Escobar

Jones

Kotchman

Frenchy

B.Jones

Ross

Schafer

PWHjort

April 28th, 2009
3:13 pm

Rock On, he’s going for number 5 today. And he plays in the 6A classification in FLA, so you figure the competition has to be decent, right?

Rock On.......

April 28th, 2009
3:14 pm

Well I’ll be dadgum did someone summon my alter ego?

Where’s New Cars at? We need him back on the blog patrolling for would be offenders.

sportsmandh

April 28th, 2009
3:17 pm

Threadkiller,

Kotch hitting the ball through the hole at first would require the leadoff hitter to get on base. So there may be a problem there.

dwaynerice

April 28th, 2009
3:21 pm

Kelly, God love him, needs to be less concerned with imitations of teammates’ mannerisms and more concerned with taking less called 3rd strikes, or, when he’s not doing that, swinging at 1st or 2nd pitch all the time..all Braves’ hitters, except for Chipper and Brian, could learn something about that: making pitchers work and earn it. Oh!! how about an imitation who looks like they are at least comfortable playing second…guys, it’s not working, this whole 2nd base thing. everyone makes mistakes but perpetuating a mistake for someone who isn’t never gonna be but just barely adequate is even worse. Fact is, he seems to just be a guy w/out a position on the Braves, save for the forced “we’ll stick him at 2nd” routine. Balls hit will always find the defensive weak link. That said, Kelly, you’re a good guy I know..

Rock On.......

April 28th, 2009
3:21 pm

PWHhort….well yeah probably. 6A covers a lot of schools in Florida but you have to look at the divisional teams he plays within his 6A conference. Not trying to take anything away from him but it warrants a closer look. Just because a team is classified 6A doesn’t mean they are good it simply means they have a large population base to draw from.

STRETCH

April 28th, 2009
3:22 pm

People knock Adam Dunn, but anything was better than what i saw last night! Ibanez and Dunn, those guys will hit. But we got Garrett Anderson????

Glad the Nationals are terrible again this year. Hope management gets it together next season cause if they arent careful the Bravos might find themselves in that spot next season! Way to go WREN and company!

PWHjort

April 28th, 2009
3:23 pm

Ya, true. I really have no idea how stiff his competition is. I’m guessing.

Chop Chop

April 28th, 2009
3:27 pm

I’m bored, so…

If Bobby had a hot hand, I think he’d put the hot hand in the leadoff spot. You can ride a hot hand (or bat) until it cools off. You just have to be smart enough to figure out when it has cooled off.

I remember reading something in my copy of BP 2009 about relatively recent managers who really cut their teeth during a more difficult (read: comparatively powerless) era of baseball. You know, the Weavers, Sparkys, Billy Martins, Whitey Herzogs, Davey Johnsons, Leylands, La Russas and Piniellas…and Bobby Cox. Basically, these guys began managing at a time when tactics, especially at the plate and on the basepaths, were considered much more important.

I think that Bobby’s a naturally conservative manager (like Earl Weaver), so the last 15-20 years of baseball have fit his style. The problem is that, when his team is not built in such a way that takes advantage of his conservative approach, Bobby has a really hard time adjusting. I also think that he’s not quite as conservative as some, including myself, make him out to be. I think Bobby would like to have a good-hitting, slick-fielding utility guy that he could just plug in at different spots in the lineup. He’d like to have a few basestealers that are good enough to steal whenever they choose to. He’s never really been a hit and run guy, but he’s certainly not immune to bunting (which, of course, is evil…I’m rolling my eyes). He’d like to have several position players who are adept at that skill. He doesn’t.

Bobby’s conservatism probably works best in the pitching staff. He wants guys to have defined roles. That’s fine. Most people want to have defined roles. They want to know what’s expected of them. They don’t want a manager constantly switching them from one role to the next.

His most conservative bent is toward the players he sticks in the everyday lineup. Like Joe Torre (another one of those guys), and every other manager who has ever sat in a dugout, Bobby has favorites. Once you have been deemed a Bobby guy, you get to work through slumps. In fact, he’ll let you remain a hole in the lineup for weeks or months because he’s sure that your next AB will get things turned around. That’s great for trying to keep a player in a positive mindset, but it hurts the rest of the club. This is Bobby’s true flaw as a manager. He doesn’t know when to quit.

Anyway, I don’t think that Bobby has a team that suits him. He can’t be expected to adjust to the current team he has now. Bobby ended up being the most successful of that group of managers because he had the best overall roster for a longer period of time. He’s done things his way for a long time. He can’t suddenly change his personality to fix the problems with this current roster. It’s up to the players to find it within themselves to, as unlikely as it is, conform and allow Bobby’s conservatism to pay off.

Jeff R

April 28th, 2009
3:29 pm

Kelly Johnson needs to ride the pines for awhile. Not only is he not hitting, but he’s not hitting at leadoff. I still think Prado’s gotten a raw deal from management. He out performed Johnson in spring training two consecutive years, but he’s a assigned a super utility role. He needs to play second. Swing Johnson to the outfield and let him sub for Prado at 2B.

Pitching is a problem as well; not just the hitting. The 4/5 spots in the rotation are in doubt. The going is early, but, so far, Kawakami is looking like an expensive version of Mark Redman. I had hoped that Reyes had turned a corner over the winter, but… Glavine may or may not come back.

Middle relievers and set up man Moylan have disappointed, too. Are Gomez and Medlen the answers?

Frankie Knuckles

April 28th, 2009
3:30 pm

“I hope KJ gets in a life ending car crash” The Blog.
He’s still a decent second baseman folks and its still April. He’s a top 4 NL second baseman

monty

April 28th, 2009
3:31 pm

JJ

Did you read the lead-in to the blog today? The Braves do not have clutch hitting. Which is defined by late inning heroics with the game on the line, getting a two out base hit in the second inning with a guy in scoring position is great, but not the same as doing it to tie the game or giving your team the lead late.(don’t argue that all runs are the same) The Braves have been helped to a couple of wins as of late due to pitchers walking in runs, but they weren’t due to someone driving them in. This team does not perform well under pressure. There have been too many games like last night where all we needed was for someone to get a hit late to tie the game up and nobody has.

TnBrian

April 28th, 2009
3:31 pm

Chop Chop, I don’t know who would disagree with that. Very good post and sums up Bobby’s style that we can all understand.

Supes

April 28th, 2009
3:31 pm

Stretch, I was calling for Ibanez last year, but bottom line…he was too expensive for the Braves to sign. I’m sure they would have LOVED to plug him in at LF. Guy is a veteran hitter who isn’t made of glass (unlike the guy the Braves ended up getting).

As far as Dunn…He’s a defensive liability anywhere you put him. Esp. 1B, where I believe he can actually be servicable (rather than LF).

They are also both left handed hitters, but so is Anderson (who we ended up getting), Braves really need a RH power bat. That’s going have to be their number 1 priority for the future. Get someone who can bat 4th behind Chipper and infront of B-Mac.

mr baseball

April 28th, 2009
3:33 pm

It may not be Wren’s fault entirely, but this is not a well-constructed team. No speed, a lack of overall power, too many LH hitters. The Braves have no legitimate leadoff hitter, nothing approaching a real cleanup hitter and a No. 2 hitter who really isn’t really suited to that role.

In retrospect, the decision to trade for Kotchman doesn’t appear especially wise. He is simply a poor fit here given the team’s absence of power & speed and abundance of other lefty hitters. Jury’s still out on Kawakami, but he has shown little thus far to indicate that he was worth the money the Braves shelled out for him, considering other areas that could have been addressed with the money.

The team as currently constituted is a long shot at best to make the playoffs. If the Cardinals keep playing well, the wild card is probably out (Cubs should also make the post-season), and the likelihood the Braves will finish ahead of the Phillies is remote, barring a bunch of Philly injuries.

Obviously, it’s too early to write the Braves off, but exactly what (other than the first 3 starters) has this team demonstrated through the first 3 weeks that makes anyone on here think this is anything other than a team that will finish a handful of games over/under .500?

PWHjort

April 28th, 2009
3:33 pm

I’m still waiting for ONE scientific study that suggest clutch hitting exists.

PWHjort

April 28th, 2009
3:33 pm

Well, not that it exists, but that it’s a repeatable skill.

fat people sink faster

April 28th, 2009
3:34 pm

this team is garbage at the dish

Jeff R

April 28th, 2009
3:35 pm

Cox isn’t the essential problem with the Bravos. I’m of the school that says teams make managers; managers don’t make teams.

Yes, a manager can make a bonehead move, but when the Braves were racking up fouteen straight division titles, how much criticism was there of Cox? Not much. Why? The caliber of players were generally better during The Run.

Braves still have personnel questions without immediate good answers.

ease19

April 28th, 2009
3:36 pm

Rock On….New Cars is out selling used cars, so let’s leave him be, ok? Not sure how Florida stacks up to GA but back in the middle nineties 6AAAA encompassed the East Cobb and Alpharetta teams. If that had happened then…well would have probably been near impossible, with all the talent here, however I would suspect the same of Florida, alot of talent from down that way.

61 year Braves Fan

April 28th, 2009
3:37 pm

Time for Cox to sit Kelly Johnson down and insert Prado. He has more range and is a better hitter.
Also if Reyes fails again tonight, send him down to Myrtle Beach or release him. Work on Escobar
to be a more “patient” hitter. A shame to waste good starting pitching.

AZBravoFan

April 28th, 2009
3:39 pm

DOB
Didn’t Kelly’s turnaround last year occur when he was moved down in the order? Why did they get away from that? I think the time has come to insert Shafer in the leadoff spot and see if he can bring some of that energy he brought in spring training.

Ted

April 28th, 2009
3:40 pm

Any chance Schafer gets moved up soon (to take advantage of his speed and his .370+ OBP) and drop Kelly to 7th (where he historically has batted much better than 1st or 2nd)?

I guess I’m just asking if Bobby plans to shake things up anytime soon based on this anemic offense of late. I know McCann is missing, but he’s going to be gone two more weeks (best case) and they have to do something, right?

bravos2249

April 28th, 2009
3:42 pm

I’m sorry but KJ fan or not if you hear anyone talk about solid 2nd basemen they do not include Kelly Johnson.

In terms of lead off, Fontenot from the Cubs is not bad. Neither is Ryan Theriot, who can play 2nd. You also have Utley, Uggla, who will make as many errors as Kelly, and Hudson.

Jeff R

April 28th, 2009
3:42 pm

Kotchman was the best Wren could do to get something in exchange for the (always) New York bound Super Tex. Kotchman is a place holder, in my estimation. Freddie Freeman is on the way up – if he keeps hitting the ball the way he has early in his career.

Super Tex was one of the dumbest moves made by John S during his tenure as GM. He gave up a lot of quality kids (who are now Rangers or close to promotion)for a 1B who wasn’t going to deliver a post season. Oh, and the Wainwright deal was pretty bad, too.

bravos2249

April 28th, 2009
3:43 pm

Man you can tell it’s early cause wasn’t Chipper just hitting like .270 and now he’s hitting .333.

David O'Brien

April 28th, 2009
3:44 pm

I’m still waiting for ONE scientific study that suggest clutch hitting exists– PWHjort

You’re probably also waiting for a “scientific study” that tells you Michael Jordan was money with games on the line, and Joe Montana was awesome in pressure situations. Right?

Frankie Knuckles

April 28th, 2009
3:44 pm

bravos2249 – As soon as the pressure is off he’s a solid second baseman

Smoky Peaks

April 28th, 2009
3:46 pm

My daughter has a program tonight at her preschool @7 pm. It will only go 20-30 minutes so I should be home by 8 to see what the Braves hath wrought.

This might actually be the way to approach watching the Braves. You get in about the fourth inning. If the offense has scored a couple of meaningless runs early and is sputtering, you don’t suffer through a couple of innings of missed opportunities. If JoJo throws 3 good innings, you don’t have false hope because you will be seeing him get killed in the fourth. Frustration is a slow burn. Watching three less innings doesn’t allow it to build to as much of a boil.

On the other hand, if the Braves are holding a 7 run lead in the fourth, I can just smile and think how sorry I am that I missed it.

Steve from OH

April 28th, 2009
3:47 pm

Kelly Johnson has a career .790 OPS. His career OPS from the leadoff position? .794.

getnathan

April 28th, 2009
3:47 pm

David O’Brien

April 28th, 2009
3:44 pm
I’m still waiting for ONE scientific study that suggest clutch hitting exists– PWHjort

You’re probably also waiting for a “scientific study” that tells you Michael Jordan was money with games on the line, and Joe Montana was awesome in pressure situations. Right?

THANK YOU DOB…

ncbravesgirl

April 28th, 2009
3:48 pm

If only we had Dexter Fowler on this team to steal 5 bases in one game…of course, he has a green light!

getnathan

April 28th, 2009
3:48 pm

DOB – I couldn’t agree more with the moronicism (Not a real word, I made it up) of this comment (I’m still waiting for ONE scientific study that suggest clutch hitting exists– PWHjort)

P-Town Brave (Pleading for DRASTIC Change)

April 28th, 2009
3:49 pm

jonathan Simeone-

Given the fact that you couldn’t even muster up the ability to spell “Prado” correctly, I’m not even going to bother arguing the point with you over him being better than Kelly (and more consistent at that) because I figure if you can’t spell his name correctly putting the “D” instead of “T” in, how could I fully expect you to properly evaluate the talent of the ballclub…

Oh, and Kotchman for leadoff? As the ESPN commercial would say… C’MOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNN!

Ronald Millsaps-

Hey, agreed w/ about 99.9% of what you brought up on the last page of the previous blog, but the (___) where you said you weren’t blaming Bobby or TP for anything…

At this point is there really anyone but maybe 8 guys of the 25 man AND the entire coaching staff that aren’t to blame for this mediocre April?

bravos2249

April 28th, 2009
3:50 pm

Knuckles

Not saying he won’t but when you talk to people from other teams about 2nd baseman or read anything about them, KJ does not come to mind.

toga party

April 28th, 2009
3:52 pm

DOB, I think you meant: Michael Jordan was game with money on the line. ;-)

Jeff321

April 28th, 2009
3:54 pm

Scuba Steve

April 28th, 2009
3:54 pm

Does any body else notice that when Kelly is slumping he just kinda slaps at the ball, doesn’t really put his hips into it??

MFin04

April 28th, 2009
3:56 pm

I like KJ…he just doesnt need to be hitting leadoff right now…and with his slumping…needs to be lower in the order. Put our leadoff hitter in LF and lets get on with it.

buzzmeat

April 28th, 2009
3:57 pm

I hate the word “clutch” so i agree with the point about Michael Jordan and Joe Montana that DOB stated.

Gummy Bears...Bouncing here and there and everywhere....THEY ARE THE GUMMY BEARS!!!!

April 28th, 2009
3:57 pm

DOB why didnt you comment about the crowd last night being so pathetic?

P-Town Brave (Pleading for DRASTIC Change)

April 28th, 2009
3:57 pm

Frankie Knuckles-

PERFECT statement about KJ…quite reminds me of a guy who we had playing 1b for us the 1st half of last season…hmm…

Steve from OH-

Maybe so, but the point of being in the leadoff spot isn’t to hit HR…there aren’t too many Soriano’s and Rickey Henderson’s out there…The idea is to get on base and have the guys behind you hit you in…then again, thats in a perfect world where you have a legit 3-4-5 tandem AND in a perfect world where you’re smart enough to place your FASTEST guy in the 1-slot and let him run (See Dexter Fowler)

My point is this: If Kelly wants to hit HR then FINE, by all means put him in the 5-6-7 hole, BUT don’t claim to be a leadoff hitter when you’re 1 of the if not the worst leadoff hitter in the NL…

At this point, the old man should just know better….

Obviously people were wrong about wisdom coming with age!

NCBravesgirl-

I’m not sure our coaching staff knows what green lights or red lights are…

Although this would be a fine example with the Braves:

Green light- Any time, ANY hitter, 2-0 or 3-0 counts to swing at bad pitches and get yourself out

Red light- Any time, ANY baserunner to swipe a bag OR any hitter to bunt when a situation dictates it

Yellow light- Any decision (usually being wrong) made by Snitker at 3rd.

ccrider

April 28th, 2009
3:59 pm

I think it’s time to rethink the batting order: Schafer was successful in spring training at leadoff and he has had time to get over the rookie jitters. Prado should bat second: he doesn’t strikeout much, has bat control and patience. Chipper, Franceour, Escobar, Kotchman B.Jones/Diaz, Ross. The rotation should be asap: Lowe, Jurrjens, Vazquez, Hanson and Kawakami for 3 more starts, if he continues his poor performance, he goes to the pen (he seems to do well the 1st time through the lineup) and try Medlen or Morton(if he comes around). Gonzalez, Soriano, Moylan, Bennett, O’Flaherty, Reyes, Kawakami in the pen. Sign Jim Edmonds, Release Greg Norton(Prado can backup 1st) Edmonds can backup all outfield positions and platoon in left if G.Anderson never recovers.

Jeff321

April 28th, 2009
4:00 pm

McFann – At the bottom of the Bowman writeup, it says McCann will be rehabbing in Myrtle Beach.

big dawg

April 28th, 2009
4:01 pm

i got drilled last week when i said that escobar was average and that he makes a lot of mistakes…who in their right mind gets picked off 1st when chipper is at the plate representing the go ahead run? and man does he hit into alot of dp’s..

plus, nobody deserves to win when you walk the pitcher.. WALKS KILL YOU… we learn this at a very young age!!!!

Steve from OH

April 28th, 2009
4:02 pm

So the stat “on base + slugging %” would have nothing to do with getting on base, then? Besides, I was merely showing that KJ hits as well in the leadoff role as he has for his career–it’s not a matter of “he can’t do it,” it’s a matter of “he is struggling right now.” It happens. You would sound a lot more intelligent saying that rather than making up sh!t like “Kelly can’t hit in the leadoff spot,” which, as those numbers suggest, he can. He is no different in the leadoff spot than he is over his career numbers. I don’t know how much more plain it can be.

Jersey Gil

April 28th, 2009
4:02 pm

Smoky Peaks … Enjoy your Daughher Program and don’t worry about the Braves Game tonight…those moment with your child are priceless….

Original Jon

April 28th, 2009
4:03 pm

You all do realize that that wasnt the only time someone was traded for something like bats dont you? It happened to an Atlanta Braves player. Who can guess who it was?

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