Waiting on some runs, and Huddy

    So the Braves have scored one run in three days. The denizens are rightly restless for some semblance of offense…(Sure, there was the rainout Sunday, but didn’t that wait after a 12-0 loss Saturday just serve to stir up the masses and stretch out this offensive malaise even more?)

   The Braves managed only 12 hits in the last two games against the Rockies and Diamondbacks and 11 of them were singles. The lone extra-base hit was a double by Yunel Escobar on Saturday night.

   Doesn’t it make it worse when you consider Mark Teixeira homered from both sides of the plate last night for the Yankees? Is it really that easy?

   The Braves and their 28 homers are ranked 26th in the majors, ahead of only the Mets, Pirates, A’s, and Giants. Their .395 slugging percentage is ranked 24th in the majors ahead of only the Padres, White Sox, Mariners, Marlins, Giants and A’s.

   What can I tell you? Maybe the best news of the day this Tuesday is that there’s a wind advisory in effect today until 8 p.m. Maybe the Braves can catch one of those 35 mph gusts in the early innings and get some balls to leave the yard, or find some gaps in the outfield anyway.

   Chilly weather is not a good combination, though, for a fanbase that trickled down to 15,364 last night – the lowest paid attendance in the 13-year history at Turner Field.

   The theory among some blogging here is that fans are speaking about what they see on the field. There’s got to be truth to that, yes, but still more fans than 15,364 managed to put their rear-ends in the seats last August when all was lost on the season. This team is still, perhaps amazingly, only 2.5 games back in the NL East with an 18-19 record, and can run a starter out there like Derek Lowe who pitched eight dominant innings last night despite the loss.

   Anyway, to me, it says a lot about the economy and the apprehension people have about spending what money they do have. I’m not looking to turn this into a blog about economic times – too depressing – and maybe a great deal of it does have to do with the baseball side and a lack of excitement there, but to me, just looking around at the stadium it’s a vivid reminder of the times we’re living in right now. I don’t think you can blame it all on the ole lame Atlanta fans right now.

   So how about some alarming home stats to perk you right up? The Braves are 6-11 at Turner Field with a 4.56 ERA. They’re batting .252 and averaging 3.4 runs a game.

   Some road stats to make you scratch your head? The Braves are 12-8 on the road with a 3.87 ERA. They’re batting .265 and averaging 4.95 runs a game.

   It’s pretty obvious they’re getting hurt the most at three spots in the order right now, and it all starts with, as is how it goes, the leadoff spot. Kelly Johnson is hitting only .191 (18-for-94) in the leadoff spot with a .262 on-base percentage. Goodness.

   Jeff Francoeur is in a full-out slump. On May 9 in Philadelphia, he had hit in his 10th game in a row, was batting .283 in his first 30 games and had four doubles, two triples, three home runs and 18 RBIs. In seven games since then, Francoeur has hit .077 (2-for-26) with no extra-base hits and one RBI. He has seven strikeouts in seven games after having only 12 in the first 30.

   Then there’s Jordan Schafer, who it hitting .215 and is fourth in the majors with 45 strikeouts. There is some better news there, if you’re looking at baby steps. From May 2 to May 8, Schafer had multi-strikeout games in five of the seven games. Since then he hasn’t had any multi-strikeout games in the last eight games.

   So when one-third of your lineup is scuffling, and you don’t hit for power or have much speed. This is what you get. Yes, I know, obvious.

   So I’ve got to solve the problems as well as point them out? I do think there’s validity to getting Omar Infante back at the top of the  lineup, where he’s hitting .367 with a .409 on-base percentage in the leadoff spot. He’s been starting only against left-handers. Who’s to say his numbers will stay that high when he’s seeing more right-handers, but maybe worth a try for a few days to jumpstart things at home.

   Kelly hit one pretty good to straightaway center field last night for a loud out in the eighth. He lined out to right in the third. He also got a key hit Wednesday in New York coming off the bench. So he’s shown some signs too. But I think it’s clear he’s comfortable batting lower in the order. Trouble is, if you move Johnson lower in the order, who do you have hit leadoff then because Infante won’t be playing second base?

   I’ll let you guys continue to debate the merits of moves there and take a second to tell you about Hudson.

HUDDY’S EXCITEMENT

   Tim Hudson sounded really, really excited yesterday about how he’s progressing in his rehab from Tommy John surgery. So much so, that he said: “I honestly feel like my best years are ahead of me. I’m not just saying that. That’s really how I feel about it.”

   Now he knows he couldn’t have said that five months ago, or even probably a month ago, when he took some time off coming out of spring training to rest a little soreness in his arm. But that built-in break in his rehabilitation has got him feeling strong and confident.

   A lot of it comes, I think, from the work he’s done strengthening his shoulder, while he’s worked on rehabbing his elbow.

   “My shoulder – it’s the best it’s felt probably in my whole career,” Hudson said. “It’s as strong as it’s ever been. And my elbow is making strides like it’s supposed to. I think it’ll be better than it was. I honestly feel like the better years are ahead of me.”

   The Braves will have an intriguing decision to make, when the time comes, whether to pick up his $12 million option for next year. Honestly, if things goes well in Hudson’s return – which is projected to be some time in August – I can’t see them letting him walk. If they end up trading a Javier Vazquez or a Charlie Morton at the deadline, and Tom Glavine retires, the rotation isn’t as crowded as it seems now.

   Hudson, who turns 34 in July, wants to stay, but he’s trying not to get wrapped up in what if’s.

   “I’ll cross that bridge when it comes,” Hudson said. “I’d love to stay here. But I’ve been around a long time. I know how the business is. It’s something I can’t control. I hope I’m here as long as Chipper. I feel like I’m going to come back and help us win. I hoping to make it a hard, but a good decision for them.”

   He’s already told Roger McDowell and Bobby Cox that if the rotation is doing well and they have a bigger need in the bullpen come August, he’ll go to the bullpen. He could get back faster that way because he wouldn’t need as much time in the minor leagues building up pitch volume.

   “I hope all five guys are pitching lights out,” Hudson said. “If I come out of the pen – that’s where I’m needed – that’s fine.”

   That’ll be an interesting decision. You have to think the Braves would rather get him in the rotation, where he can use his fullest potential over six-seven innings. And maybe pitching every fifth day helps him recover better. But it also might be tempting to get him back quicker. We’ll have to see.

   And I’ll have to stop rambling. On to your comments.

 

 

 

 

 

1,565 comments Add your comment

GboroBravo

May 19th, 2009
1:16 pm

King521

May 19th, 2009
1:17 pm

Huddy could be a solid CLOSER!

Eware

May 19th, 2009
1:24 pm

Thanks for the updates on Huddy, Carroll. I think we’ve underestimated how much this team misses him. We could’ve saved a lot of money (KK) and maybe signed a better bat if he was healthy.

Huddy won a few awards for hitting at Auburn. Do you think we could get him in the cage and then send him to right field? That’d be awesome!

Piedmont Blues (formerly BravesFan InRockies)

May 19th, 2009
1:26 pm

Thanks for the new blog, CR. I had promised to say nothing about Frenchy until Memorial Day (ya know, give him a chance to work with the new swing, whatever), but I did on the last blog. And CR was way ahead of me.

Pete

May 19th, 2009
1:27 pm

From DOB: “Jeff Francoeur is in a full-out slump. On May 9 in Philadelphia, he had hit in his 10th game in a row, was batting .283 in his first 30 games and had four doubles, two triples,…….”
With 1 (half) of his triples being a pop fly to right that was lost in the sun.

since57

May 19th, 2009
1:28 pm

Gotta love Huddy’s attitude and the Braves had better be making plans to keep him. Attitude/Fire is part of what is lacking with the Braves. A couple of big bats wouldn’t hurt, but it would sure be nice to see some semblance of caring out there. Huddy, Esco, McCann, Gonzo all show it. Very few others do on a consistent basis. Way too lax of an attitude even though it is a 162 game schedule.

Chop Chop

May 19th, 2009
1:30 pm

For my money, the worst stat we’ve got going right now is this:

16

That’s the number of homers we’ve hit in 31 games away from Citizens Bank Park. We have one more series left in Philly this season (Aug. 28-30).

JJ

May 19th, 2009
1:31 pm

The solution is simple….put OMAR in RF and hitting leadoff. Move KJ down in the order and keep him playing 2b. Bench Frenchy. Or at least make it a platoon.

Omar RF
Esco SS
Chipper 3B
BMac C
GA LF
CK 1B
KJ 2B
JS CF
Pitcher

That would be my regular lineup against Righties. Against lefties, you could throw Frenchy and Matty D in there occaisionally, but I’d still stick to this lineup most of the time.

The Abs Man

May 19th, 2009
1:35 pm

Is it just me, or anyone else agree these former Angels are rats……
Seen more than enough of Kotchman, awful in the clutch, you could draft a large army with men he leaves on base.
Yes his defense above average, but overall a “soft” player, no asset.

Anderson gets more time, respect for resume, but first impression he is washed up. You hold your breath when a fly ball goes his way.

N8

May 19th, 2009
1:38 pm

Totally love Huddy’s attitude about being willing to go to the bullpen for the remainder of the year. Interesting decisions ahead, indeed.

Thanks guys on letting me know the 24 finale is bad. I just watched last week’s episode on line last night (had bad weather last week and the DVR was going crazy with the weather warnings every 5 minutes).

So I plan on watching last night’s finale, tonight. But they did their normal “you think it’s over…. but it’s not” kind of nonsense. Like a couple years ago, when they “solved” the issue at hand, and then the Chinese government nabbed Mr. Bauer.

Like a Jeff Francoeur AB, the show is too predictable. Though this season was definitely one of the better seasons. John Voight is/was a great “bad guy”.

DOB, just reading between the lines here (because sometimes you throw in little comments without drawing much attention to them), but do you see it as a reasonable possibility that the Braves move Vazquez if Hudson is deemed healthy (or Hanson and/or Medlen prove to be “ready” to contribute)?

I’ve been under the impression from your past comments that they wouldn’t have any interest in moving him mid-season.

Braves20

May 19th, 2009
1:38 pm

From previous blog. Either put Infante in the line-up for a week and see if he can sustain his current pace or if we must play KJ, flip flop him with Escobar which would at least give him a hole on the right side when Esco is on base – which is often.

We will not stay close much longer with two regulars averaging .220 between them.

TN Jeff

May 19th, 2009
1:39 pm

Been out of commission for a bit

Anyone talk about Cox’s move to have an open bar on the plane ride home from the last road trip and then have van/buses awaiting the players to take them out clubbing all night to celebrate?

Team is playing like they’re still hung-over! Perhaps Cox should hold off on the debauchery celebrations until after they really accomplish someting!

N8

May 19th, 2009
1:39 pm

Sorry Carrol, assumed it was DOB doing the blog. You are “allowed” to answer my questions as well. :-)

chris from md

May 19th, 2009
1:43 pm

Carroll, DOB, others,

Franceour is one of my favorites Braves. As DOB said of Gonzalez, “He’s one of the good guys.” I tire of the bashing of him on the blog.

Having said that, here is one thing that I’ve noticed since about him over the years that discourages me most. Almost every quote that comes from him about his hitting troubles centers on numbers. The latest was, “I’m just two or three good games from geting my average where I want it to be.” Last year he said something along the lines of, “I can still finish with 70 RBI’s.” Other times, he’s made references to homeruns and stolen bases.

I don’t think I’m being nit-picky. And I do think Frenchy is very much a team player. But he seems obsessed with his numbers. You almost wish someone would pull him aside and say, “Don’t worry about your stats. Just focus on your fundamentals, mechanics, etc.” Do you see what I am talking about? Almost always, he mentions his desire to have good stats and I just wonder if that is why he sometimes presses. Thoughts?

Chris from MD

atlbravesfan44

May 19th, 2009
1:43 pm

JJ, I like most of that lineup. Mine would look more like this:

OI RF
YE SS
CJ 3B
BMc C
CK 1B
Prado/KJ LF/2B
KJ/GA 2B/LF
JS CF

Waive – Francoeur, Norton, Diaz
Call Up – Barton, B Jones, Diory Hernandez

Joe Fan

May 19th, 2009
1:43 pm

The Braves are stale and the fans recognize it. It will take a revamping of the team attitude and that starts with the manager and flows right on down to most of the players. Until then the fans will stay away.

MFin04 (Bennett, Buddy, and Cox Have to Go!)

May 19th, 2009
1:43 pm

Anyone else noticed that we have 2 to 3 innings a game that we get 3 straight automatic outs with Schafer, Frenchy, and the pitchers spot (which should be hitting 7th in the lineup currently because our pitchers are out hitting those two).

N8

May 19th, 2009
1:43 pm

GREAT interview on Jim Rome right now with Ranger’s 3B Michael Young about moving to 3B for Elvis Andrus. He’s got nothing but praise for the kid. Said after griping about it in the off-season, he’s moved on and agrees that it was the correct move.

N8

May 19th, 2009
1:46 pm

Great post/question and observation chris from md. You might be on to something there.

Lew

May 19th, 2009
1:46 pm

Pete-Re: Francoeur-isn’t there enough about his performance to complain about without having to go after the hits he actually HAD?

MFin04 (Bennett, Buddy, and Cox Have to Go!)

May 19th, 2009
1:47 pm

At this point in time there is no reason to try and play Infante, Prado, Diaz, Norton or Ross. Could be in random positions. LF is already a nightmare so we could put anyone out there. RF and CF there is no production, couldn’t hurt to have someone random out there, we can’t score runs we can’t win. 1B and 2B would be positions we could get Prado into. And Ross and Norton could play 1B.

It’s about time to start trying some ridiculous lineup to score runs, because this same old lineup ain’t scoring runs.

Chop Chop

May 19th, 2009
1:47 pm

N8,

It would be funny if Young were to say, “I know I won a Gold Glove last year, but me winning a Gold Glove is kind of like Derek Jeter winning one…or David Wright. I mean, David Wright? So, yeah, I don’t have a problem with Elvis taking over short. He’s actually good there.”

Heavy Medlen

May 19th, 2009
1:47 pm

DOB.. since Ross was going to catch the game that got rained out, does that mean he wont play until the date that his next scheduled start would have been? Any word, or guess, on when his next start is?

TennesseePaul

May 19th, 2009
1:48 pm

“My shoulder – it’s the best it’s felt probably in my whole career,” Hudson said. “It’s as strong as it’s ever been. And my elbow is making strides like it’s supposed to. I think it’ll be better than it was. I honestly feel like the better years are ahead of me”

Reminds me a lot of what Moylan said this off-season. I was real excited for him. Then I watch him top out at 88mph. I begin to wonder if that is a result of pushing it to come back early, or that is all he’s going to have now.

I’d probably still pick up Tim’s option and trade Kawakami (if possible) or Vazquez when the time comes. Might be able to pick up a good bat if it is worked right.

Tomahawkin

May 19th, 2009
1:48 pm

When was the last time one of our starters pitched 8 innings strong and still lost…? I think it’s been awhile since that has happened…

Heavy Medlen

May 19th, 2009
1:49 pm

OH, it’s my Carroll Roberts!! Any word when Cody…errr… David Ross is playing next?

How’s the paper route going?

bravos2249

May 19th, 2009
1:49 pm

monty

About Dye’s fielding ability.

Granted Jeff has played 49 more games in RF. But Jermaine’s fielding % is .989 since 2006 to Jeff’s .983. Francouer also has twice as many errors 18, to Dye’s 9 since 2006. While Jeff definately can play everyday and throw out more runners, Dye is not a liability in RF.

Tomahawkin

May 19th, 2009
1:50 pm

Also, It was nice to catch The David Ross (D-Ross) Interview…I’m glad that he likes the Ol School Rap and doesn’t listen to that Pop-Tart Lil Wayne/Gay-Kon Garbage that fills the airwaves today…

Nuff Respect to D-Ross…!

Capt Caveman

May 19th, 2009
1:51 pm

Hey DOB — just curious ———-

Of the players you mentioned that were struggling, have you seen or noticed any of them
putting in extra work, more so than normal, to break out. I know I’ve seen guys on some
of my teams that did the only mandatory stuff but the guys who were willing to do all sorts
of extra stuff were the ones you wanted in the lineup day in and out.

Just curious if you are seeing any of that. Thanks.

Shane

May 19th, 2009
1:52 pm

I wouldnt be suprised if this is Francouers last year. In fact I think he will be out of the league all together in 2 or 3 years. We need someone to fill in RF next year and by then Heyward should be ready.

JasoninAtl

May 19th, 2009
1:53 pm

First things first. DOB and CR, we are lucky to have both of you. Access is king in the internet jungle, and you two provide us with great access to our favorite team. True thanks from this Braves fan.

Great news about Huddy, and I would suspect that any semblance of success triggers his option. Also pretty cool to hear a guy say that no matter what, he will go wherever the team needs him when he comes back this year. Refreshing.

Oh, the bats. Ummm, I got nothing. JJ, I wonder if having Omar in RF is not a bad option. But how much is that really worth? Over the course of the year, one win, maybe two? Granted its going to be a tight race and two wins is nothing to sneeze at. We may have to face reality, we are not a team built on power or speed, and hitting slumps by multiple regulars will severely cut into our run production. This just feels like a team that needs to pitch well all year, hope to get mutliple guys hot, maybe get one of those 20 game runs where Chipper carries us, and sneak into the playoffs, where anything goes. That seems like a best case scenario to me.

whose battin

May 19th, 2009
1:53 pm

when you don’t have anybody that can steal a base at all why does it matter whose in the leadoff.Put mac batting first for godsake if it will help kelly get going.I think most of you’ll agree that frenchy went into the slump once he was moved down to make room for loaf and b-mac.Put him second and put escobar fifth or sixth

MFin04 (Bennett, Buddy, and Cox Have to Go!)

May 19th, 2009
1:54 pm

Why not try playing Norton, Prado, Infante, Diaz, or Ross, couldnt hurt right? So what if they strike out, don’t get hits, don’t score any runs, commit errors in the infield/outfield, the rest of the “starter Braves” already have that stuff down.

2 runs in the last 24 innings and Bobby still won’t shake up the lineup? What are we waiting for? How bad could Ross do at first or left field? He might actually hit a homer or a double or score a run. I mean try something crazy!?

Carroll Rogers

May 19th, 2009
1:55 pm

Chris from MD, those are valid points you raise about JF’s quotes. I’ve wondered that myself, about his attention to stats. What I don’t know is whether all players are like that, and most just don’t talk about it openly like Jeff does. He is a wide open guy and sometimes that comes back to bite him. Really, i think some of those things Jeff has mentioned are games he plays in his mind to keep the confidence up. I used to do that too. If I get 100 on this test, it’ll pull my average up to a B. Course I stopped getting 100s on things in about the fourth grade!

JJ

May 19th, 2009
1:57 pm

Chris from MD, I don’t have anything against Frenchy aside from baseball. Problem is, this is a baseball blog and right now (and for over a year now) he pretty well sucks at baseball. So he gets what he gets on here.

On a side note, how long will Cox and Wren keep playing the games handicapped? I mean 6 on 8 offensively isn’t much of a fair fight. Heck, with KJ struggling it’s actually more like 5 on 8 most nights. Not going to win much if your 7,8,9 and 1 hitters are all easy outs. And ours are right now.

Trade Not Made

May 19th, 2009
1:58 pm

Count me in on the idea of hitting Infante leadoff and playing right field. Try him and KJ in the lineup together for a few days and see if KJ can produce lower in the order. You might say I have more hope KJ can be productive over a career than the golden headcase boy Francouer.

Don’t think you can afford to let Shafer twist in the wind in center too much longer. He’s gonna have to hit soon or should be sent out to learn to hit again in the minors. His confidence has to be shot. If it isn’t, then he’s too dumb to be in the bigs! He was rushed, no question.

I suppose we should start a Garrett Anderson “For-Against” watch. We tally every offensive run that GA has contributed to in some form or fashion and then tally every opposition run that GA’s defense has contributed to in some form or fashion. Right now, I would bet it would be close with the negative Garrett leading the positive Garrett by a small margin.

Gosh, our outfield really stinks! It was an issue in the off season and it’s still an issue. Wren gambled on pitching and hoped the outfield situation would not bite him. Guess what? It’s biting Wren and every Braves fan.

I wonder what Kawakami money would have brought us in the outfield market? Don’t get me started on the fashionable “sign a Japanese guy” thing. Obviously the Braves scouts have some work to do when it comes to translating what a guy’s performance over there equals to his performance here. Three years for 27 mil for a 5th starter. Or quite likely a Jorge Campillo who isn’t even up(nevermind the dl) and wasn’t effective this year when he was up.

Shane

May 19th, 2009
1:58 pm

Francouer has been in a slump for 3 years. At some point it isnt a slump. Its who you are.

JasoninAtl

May 19th, 2009
1:58 pm

Chop Chop, that was funny. Gold Glove = Popularity contest.

McFann :Ô:

May 19th, 2009
1:59 pm

Thanks for the new Blog, Ms. Rogers! Great news on Timmy! I really hope we hang on to him.

Really, i think some of those things Jeff has mentioned are games he plays in his mind to keep the confidence up. I used to do that too. If I get 100 on this test, it’ll pull my average up to a B.

I do that kinda stuff with BMac’s stats all the time…

The Truth

May 19th, 2009
1:59 pm

Chris from MD-

Have you ever heard Jeff Francoeur say “If I could just draw a few more walks, I would have a higher on base percentage”.

No?

Me neither.

Carroll Rogers

May 19th, 2009
2:00 pm

Capt Caveman, it’s Carroll. And I’m sure all three of those guys are putting in extra work. I know Schafer has spent extra time lately working with Chipper and TP in the cage and watching video with Chipper and that’s not something that was necessarily in his routine before.

Kelly always works hard, sometimes maybe too hard. If i had a dime for every time I’ve seen him walking to or from the batting cages, I could pay for some of you guys to go to some Braves games.

Francouer gets his work in too. They all do. I’ve never really seen where struggling guys don’t give a rip and don’t work as hard as they should to get right. that’s not something I’ve seen much of in the Braves clubhouse over the years.

kirkinga

May 19th, 2009
2:02 pm

N8, I’m going to have to disagree about 24, I thought it was one of the best finales in years. Yes it left open some questions, but if it had answered every question still remaining then I think it would have felt forced. I think they also set up what could be the end of the series.

It was a good old fashion cliff hanger that leaves you unsatisfied yet already anticipating the next season.Anyway, keep an open mind. Not everyone thought poorly about the last two episodes.

N8

May 19th, 2009
2:03 pm

“Francouer has been in a slump for 3 years. At some point it isnt a slump. Its who you are.” Shane

Exactly. I said it before, when guys try and stick up for Frenchy and KJ saying that “Chipper and McCann have slumps too”, that it’s not even comparable.

IMO, Chipper and McCann are great hitters that occasionally have slumps. All good hitters do.

Francoeur and KJ are average (at best hitters) who happen to occasionally show signs of life with some “hot streaks”.

It’s that simple. Francoeur and KJ are just not as good as many of us thought (or hoped) they are. As soon as Wren and Bobby figure it out, the better off the team will be.

cabravesfan

May 19th, 2009
2:03 pm

And you all thought it was only the Braves that made costly mistakes and can’t run the bases…

Last night the mets made 5 errors, including 2 in the 11th that cost them the game…and Ryan Curch somehow managed to miss third base in the top of the 11th that would have given the mets the lead.

Must be an NL East thing

whose battin

May 19th, 2009
2:04 pm

line up-1.G.ANDERSON 2.FRENCHY 3.B-MAC 4.HOSS 5.ESCOBAR 6.K JOHNSON 7.KOTCHMAN 8.SCHAFER

Carroll Rogers

May 19th, 2009
2:07 pm

N8, I don’t have much of an indication one way or another, I was just going on what would look inviting in Vazquez’s case as trade fodder and that’s having him under contract for a couple years, having a real solid year, etc. and by default. Braves aren’t going to part with Jurrjens or Lowe or Medlen or Hanson and might not be able to move Kawakami. I can also see them trying to move Morton, or Reyes, if he shows any kind of rebound here in the next few weeks. Just kinda thinking out loud. Did you read Mark Bradley’s column today? You should.

N8

May 19th, 2009
2:07 pm

Thanks kirkinga. I usualy treat 24 like the Braves seasons. I’m pumped at the begining, get hooked with some early excitement, usually have a few “episodes” in the middle of the year that lull me to sleep, followed by a stretch where I wonder why I even bother watching, which is then followed by some re-newed “hope” that it might turn around (think trade deadline), which is followed by me wondered when the pain and suffering is going to end, and then a big sigh of relief that it’s over and I can move on with my life.

Only to start it all over again the next season.

JJ

May 19th, 2009
2:07 pm

JasoninAtl –

How much is Omar worth? I don’t know. But as someone who doubts that JF will get much better over the course of the season, I can say Omar wouldn’t be any worse. Omar currently has 8 fewer hits in 63 fewer at bats then JF. He has the same number of walks and fewer strikeouts (again in fewer plate appearances). His BA is 90 pts higher and his OBP is 100 pts higher.

How all that translates into wins and losses I’m not sure. But Omar can almost equate JF’s production of Hits, HRs, and BBs in some 60 fewer ABs, I’m willing to give it a try to see if he can keep it up. I mean, what’s there to lose? You aren’t getting any better with JF in RF.

getnathan

May 19th, 2009
2:07 pm

If the Braves are considering getting rid of Bobby, they should stop. He has brought too much to the franchise, and should let him go out on his own terms. He’ll probably end up retiring after this season.

That being said, when Bobby Cox decides to hang em up, we need a manager who is the opposite of Bobby Cox.

chc4

May 19th, 2009
2:07 pm

If I hear Joe Simpson use the excuse that Braves players have too many distractions during homestands one more time, I’m going throw up. Uh Joe… I think all teams play half their games at home and have wives/children living in their home city. Yet it seems to only affect the Braves.

Capt Caveman

May 19th, 2009
2:09 pm

Carroll — thanks for that. I guess what would be a better question is have you seen anybody who is struggling doing anything different in an effort to break out of it?? I know some players have their preferred practice habits and sometimes they are encouraged to change it up a little in an effort to obtain different results.

Like I said, I’m just curious from a players viewpoint. The one thing I miss the most from my playing days was the time spent with the team just practicing. Sometimes the input from a teammate is just the thing to cure whatever is ailing in your game.

JJ

May 19th, 2009
2:09 pm

And I’ll also add, Omar has 10 RBI in 83 ABs leading off while JF has 19 in 146 ABs hitting in the 6 or 7 hole. I think it’s pretty obvious that the team would be better with Omar in RF instead of JF.

N8

May 19th, 2009
2:10 pm

Thanks Carroll, I will read Bradley’s column. Thanks for the heads up.

getnathan

May 19th, 2009
2:11 pm

If we are going to trade Francoeur, I want something good in return. Jermaine Dye and Matt Thornton for Francoeur, Medlen, Todd Redmond

Trade Not Made

May 19th, 2009
2:11 pm

Not to take lightly Ms: Rogers comments. I’m sure she wanted to pass along that the guys are working hard. I believe that.

On the other hand, I can go work just as hard as those guys if they will pay me and let me in the clubhouse! I promise I’ll be the first one to get there and the last one to leave! I’ll be sweating and have blisters on my hands from swinging in the cage! Then someone can report that I’m the hardest worker on the team and in the clubhouse!

But the fact is that ain’t gonna make me an effective hitter! It may earn me some respect for my work ethic but at the end of the day the fans and the other guys in the clubhouse are gonna say, “what a worker! But he ain’t no ballplayer!” You need ability, knowledge and coaching. I think some of the guys have the ability but lack knowledge and the coaching is nothing less than bush league quality.

I can butt my head against the wall and be praised for my dedication to that task. But at the end of the day the wall is still there and all I have is a bloody head.

Ripped again.

May 19th, 2009
2:12 pm

They need to trade Francoeur he’s no good !

BBraves

May 19th, 2009
2:12 pm

I don’t know why Escobar isn’t leading off. Didn’t do too bad over there a few years ago and he won’t hit into so many double plays batting there as well.

Art

May 19th, 2009
2:13 pm

You know last nights attendance should wake up Frank Wren and realize there needs some life put in this team. Get a home run hitter or a clutch hitter. Move Kelly out of leadoff and put Yunell there and Kelly 2nd. Garrett is a bust. No Hr’s and CAsey is not much better but he has been hitting doubles lately.

Carroll Rogers

May 19th, 2009
2:14 pm

Campillo is slated to pitch Thursday for Gwinnett in another rehab outing. Hanson is starting that game – Thursday night – and he’ll face Jeremy Bonderman, who’s rehabbing from surgery for the Tigers with the Toledo Mud Hens.

Tomahawkin

May 19th, 2009
2:14 pm

CHC4
If I hear Joe Simpson use the excuse that Braves players have too many distractions during homestands one more time, I’m going throw up. Uh Joe… I think all teams play half their games at home and have wives/children living in their home city. Yet it seems to only affect the Braves.”

Agreed, Just call the team out for playing flat and how its reflecting in the attendance…Instead of making excuses…

I miss the 4 man crew We had on TBS…I like Joe but to harp on the same excuse as to why we suck at home gets old fast…

Paul Paulding

May 19th, 2009
2:14 pm

I love all these supposed quick fixes for the Braves troubles. Yeah, KJ, Frenchie, and Schafer are struggling, but none of them have been consistent enough that you get the feeling that playing them would be the answer. Chipper is not the Chipper of last season. Brian is ok, but he’s had his issues too. Hitting is contagious and so are slumps. This team is going to have to man up. Either that or the pen is going to have to get much much better and we’re going to have to go back to the days of winning 2-1, 3-2,4-3 type games. The Braves offense is what it has always been under Bobby Cox except these guys don’t have as much power, or hit well situationally. They are more talented at some positions but the results don’t match that talent. The more I watch, the more I think it’s a head and heart problem. These guys are mostly wussies and the few that aren’t are wussified by the others. So you can trade whoever, but if you don’t get rid of enough wussies …players and pitchers…it’s not going to matter who you bring in.

chc4

May 19th, 2009
2:15 pm

Random stat question:

Let’s say Prado leads off an inning pinch hitting for the pitcher and gets a hit. The Braves bat around in the inning and Prado makes the last out. Do both plate appearances counts as PH at bats? Technically the pitcher is out of the game as of Prado’s 1st AB so not sure that’s 2 PH Abs. For some reason I’ve always wondered about this scenario. Would’ve been a great question to throw to Skip in the old days of the call-in show.

JJ

May 19th, 2009
2:15 pm

Trade not Made –

Agree completely with your first paragraph. Out of Omar, KJ, and JF, if you can only play two, you HAVE to think the best two are Omar and KJ. Put them in the lineup and see what happens. It’s not like the current lineup is working well. Mix it up and see if you stumble into something good.

Heck, I’d even be in favor of batting KJ 2nd since Esco GIDP too much. Move Esco down to 3 and Chipper 4 and see if that works? I don’t know. But I’ve about decided that for me, JF in RF ain’t gonna cut it unless this team is resigned to winning 70 games or so.

TRobb

May 19th, 2009
2:15 pm

I’m in on trying Infante in RF. Why not? Why the f— not?

I think the time for massaging Jeff’s ego has passed. He has just not developed. I am not one of those who says he never got any better, but the difference between April 1 and May 18 is just astounding. He is literally right back where he was, with a closed stance, one eye on the ball and the bat wrapped around his head.

PWHjort

May 19th, 2009
2:15 pm

From the last blog:
“There is no way the Indians trade DeRosa for that package. Marek has gotten off to a horrendous start this season. Reyes has been a bust at the MLB level and Valdez is a longman type pitcher at best.”

Well, that’s about what the Indians gave up for DeRosa (they gave up 3 minor league relievers that all have a very outside shot at ever even making it to the show). And if they’re out of contention and nobody is going to offer more, why not? Like I said, may not be enough, but it’s probably pretty close.

AZBravoFan

May 19th, 2009
2:15 pm

I think last night was a perfect example of what this team is missing. 2 teams battling out a low scoring game. One team has the bases loaded and no out and can only muster a run on a double-play ground-out from the middle of the order. The other team puts together a bloop, hustle double and 2 well placed ground-outs to manufacture a run and wins. Schafer looked like the right pick coming out of spring training. He was playing with energy, stirring things up. But now he’s doing none of that. This team can’t really afford to wait around until he figures it out. Don’t know what the answer is, but they’ve got to find a speed guy that can make something happen and put pressure on the defense on nights when there’s a stingy pitcher on the mound. The last time this offense was able to do anything was when Furcal and Giles were at the top of the lineup wreaking havoc in front of Chipper et. al. Once Giles went south and Furcal left, the runs dried up and they haven’t been the same since. Do we really have to wait for Gorkys for this team to start scoring runs again?

Carroll Rogers

May 19th, 2009
2:16 pm

Capt. Cavie, the best example i got right now is the time Chipper is spending with Schafer. Chipper approached him about it. But Schafer has been really receptive.

PWHjort

May 19th, 2009
2:16 pm

Also, we’d be getting 2-3 months of DeRosa vs. a full year.

chc4

May 19th, 2009
2:18 pm

Annd the worst part about Joe Simpson’s excuse-making for the poor play at home is that he prefaces it w/ “I’m not making excuses for the Braves”. I like Joe but it’s so irritating b/c it makes absolutely no sense.

JasoninAtl

May 19th, 2009
2:18 pm

JJ,
Omar’s VORP this year is at +5.8, Frenchy is at -5. So yeah, Infante in right makes sense. Of course that VORP considers Infante as a 2B, so it wouldn’t be as high in RF, but that is still a huge swing.

Wasn’t disagreeing, and it would be a start. Still seems to me that the Braves have to have everything break perfect to make a run this year.

Supes

May 19th, 2009
2:19 pm

Shane,

Best post and analysis regarding Jeff on the entire blog. You’ve summarized it perfectly sir with a simple statement. Now let all the Jeff apologists get to work and rebuddle that one!

BamaBrave

May 19th, 2009
2:20 pm

I’m not sure which is more disturbing…the punchless Braves offense, or the SI article by Tom Verducci which raves about the “new” Texas Rangers, prominently staffed by ex-Brave farmhands. I’m also jealous of Texas for another reason…in Nolan Ryan, they have a real leader, not afraid to shake things up and get his players motivated. Not sure we have that kind of leadership, either in the dugout or in the front office. Pity.

kirkinga

May 19th, 2009
2:20 pm

You’re right N8, it’s always a roller coaster ride with that show, but it would be hard to maintain that type of intensity every episode especially on network tv. I’ve always wonder what the show would have been like if it was on FX, or HBO.

MFin04 (Bennett, Buddy, and Cox Have to Go!)

May 19th, 2009
2:20 pm

Why not try playing:
Norton (heck he can hit doubles and homers),
Prado (.295 2/7)
Infante (.337 1/10)
Diaz (.261 2/14)
Ross (.264 3/9)

You have LF, CF, RF open, and the right side of the infield.

JasoninAtl

May 19th, 2009
2:21 pm

Follow up, to (mis)quote Dennis Green, “We are exactly what we think we are.”

Roman Gal

May 19th, 2009
2:22 pm

Question:

Can we send KK to the minors? He’s a rookie and all that, so he has options, right? I know it’s not the same kind of options as Scott Thorman, but…

Supes

May 19th, 2009
2:23 pm

Where would the Braves play Mark DeRosa? LF? RF? He’s always been a better infielder by trade.

Aja

May 19th, 2009
2:23 pm

So Chipper’s helping Schafer. My question is, who is helping Francoeur? Because whoever it is needs to stop!

TRobb

May 19th, 2009
2:24 pm

Concur on the Shane comment.

N8

May 19th, 2009
2:24 pm

“Still seems to me that the Braves have to have everything break perfect to make a run this year.” JasoninAtl

That’s pretty much what most predicted all winter. While the rotation is much improved from last year, long gone are the days where this team can withstand one or two major injuries and survive the standings.

EVERYTHING that went wrong last year (injuries, 1-run Games), needed to go the other way this season. So far they haven’t most of the time. Thus the mediocre record, when it would appear on the surface that the Braves have enough talent to dominate the division.

JJ

May 19th, 2009
2:24 pm

JasoninAtl –

I don’t disagree that we need a lot of breaks to go our way. That’s why this is particularly frustrating because it feels like instead of getting a few breaks, we are actually handicapping ourselves by sticking with 7,8,9,1 of JF,JS,Pitcher,and KJ.

I’m one that thinks KJ can really hit when he’s comfortable and I just don’t think he’s comfortable leading off. But unless and until JS can do it effectively, you really have no other choice unless Omar is in there. So JF is the odd man out in my mind.

Of course, I’m not the allknowing HOF manager.

Dan DC

May 19th, 2009
2:25 pm

BAT ESCOBAR LEADOFF!!! He has a .375 OBP and it would eliminate his propensity to hit into double plays. Basically do what the Yankees did with Jeter this year. He doesn’t have much speed, but putting a high OBP guy who hits into double plays in the leadoff spots make sense.
BBraves, you beat me to it!

cabravesfan

May 19th, 2009
2:25 pm

MFin-

where exactly do you plan on playing David Ross? I hope you aren’t suggesting sitting Mac, and Ross (as much as I like his hitting) would be a huge liability at 1st…and that’s assuming he has ever even played there and knows what he’s doing

Macon Braves (RIP)

May 19th, 2009
2:26 pm

I think Joe is much better when Boog is his play by play guy. Chip’s stupidity must rub off on him when they are in the booth together.

Perfect example last night, Joe’s talking about Marquis’ stubborness and the way he hasn’t listened to those around him in the past. Chip’s genius contribution…”He must be a Sinatra fan, you know, I do it my way”…. that guy makes me want to watch the game with the freakin mute button on.

Jack G.

May 19th, 2009
2:27 pm

You can comment all you want too on the lack of offense, but the root of the problem is TP and BC. There will be no solution to the offense until both are gone.

And since Carroll hides her face, I can only assume she is as ugly as a mud fence

JJ

May 19th, 2009
2:29 pm

cabravesfan –

I’m hoping MFin was just screwing around. He can’t be serious about playing Norton everyday.

MFin04 (Bennett, Buddy, and Cox Have to Go!)

May 19th, 2009
2:29 pm

I’m not sure where to play Ross, LF or 1B are probably the only realistic solutions, that or we move McCann to 1B. LF is already a darn nightmare, and GA is slow as crap and doesnt get to any routine balls.

My real point is that we have a bunch of bench guys rotting on the bench, when we have Schafer, KJ, and Frenchy rotting on the field, doesnt make sense. They are consistently easy outs.

Jeff321

May 19th, 2009
2:30 pm

Carroll Rogers – If you have the free time one day.. Can you get an in depth interview with Omar Infante?

Michael Milligan

May 19th, 2009
2:30 pm

Does the hitting coach bear any responsibility?

JJ

May 19th, 2009
2:30 pm

I’m ok with Esco leading off, but I’d still rather see Omar in there instead of JF. Maybe you could have this:

Esco
KJ
Omar
Chip
BMac
GA
CK
JS
Pitcher

MFin04 (Bennett, Buddy, and Cox Have to Go!)

May 19th, 2009
2:31 pm

JJ – Norton has some pop in his bat, Casey K doesn’t This team needs power at all costs, singles with RISP often don’t score runs for this team. Chipper, GA, McCann, and Kotchman all can’t score from second on a single. They really can’t and haven’t consistently. We need power. Norton atleast has some power. The notion is half-hearted since we have others that can play first like Prado…but we need to try SOMETHING…somewhere.

Eware

May 19th, 2009
2:31 pm

I think we need to get Norton into the lineup a little more. I would like to see him get 4-5 at bats every once in a while. It would probably help out his pinch-hitting. He was phenomenal last year, and I think it had a lot to do with him actually getting some time in the field. Give Kotch a day off and play Norton.

As for DeRosa – I’d love to get him on the team. If the Indians are out of contention, and DeRosa only available for a few months, I figure the price for him wouldn’t be crazy high. Granted, we’ll lose some prospects, as we’ll more than likely be bidding against other teams. But, I think he’d be great at 2b or RF. Spell Chipper when he needs a break. I’m of the opinion that DeRosa is an everyday player.

I’m really disappointed in KJ so far this season. My magic 8-ball said it was going to be his breakout season.

I don’t even want to talk about Franceour anymore…

Roman Gal

May 19th, 2009
2:32 pm

I think Joe is much better when Boog is his play by play guy. Chip’s stupidity must rub off on him when they are in the booth together.

I think it’s pretty obvious that Joe doesn’t like working with Chip. Whenever Chip says something stupid, you can tell Joe wants to smack him or tell him to leave. I don’t particularly like Joe as a commentator, but he’s better than Chip and he’s better when he works with someone else. I thought he did fine with Mark Fein the other night. Now, whether the snoozefest was a product of the game or the commentary is up for debate.

JasoninAtl

May 19th, 2009
2:32 pm

On another note, I know that theoretically it shouldn’t matter where you are in the lineup, but that is pretty obviously not the case with KJ. What is up with that? Yogi had it right, 90% of this game is half mental.

cvbraves

May 19th, 2009
2:34 pm

Lineup:

Escobar, SS
Schafer, CF
Chipper, 3B
Infante, RF
BMac, C
Prado, 1B (or Kotchman vs. RH)
Kelly, 2B
Diaz, LF (or Anderson vs. RH)

Bench: Ross, Francouer, Norton plus either Prado or Kotchman and either Diaz or Anderson.

JasoninAtl

May 19th, 2009
2:35 pm

If Greg Norton is the answer to any question other than “Which Braves player seems like a really nice guy?”, then we are in big trouble.

JJ

May 19th, 2009
2:35 pm

MFin –

Ok, I see now. And I agree with you that we need to do something ANYTHING to try and jump start the offense. But the only realistic place I could see Norton playing is 1b and I doubt you’d sit CK and his Gold Glove Defense for more power. And I disagree about KJ. I think if he’s hitting lower in the order (or even in the 2 hole) he’d be more comfortable and would be a good hitter. He just looks very uncomfortable in the leadoff role.

cabravesfan

May 19th, 2009
2:36 pm

MFin-

you are refering to Greg Norton, he of the .130 avg, .174 slg, .507 ops, 3 for 23 with exactly 1 extra base hit, right?

Dwight Schrute

May 19th, 2009
2:36 pm

Carroll…..I think I Love You.

Macon Braves (RIP)

May 19th, 2009
2:37 pm

RomanGal–I agree that I don’t think Joe likes working with Chip. After Chip’s genius Sinatra reference and at some other times last night, Joe would just pause for a second and you could almost feel him rolling his eyes. If it wasn’t for Chip’s dad (who I loved, maybe wasn’t the greatest announcer but I did grow up listening to Skip, Ernie, and Pete so I have a soft spot in my heart for their voices) there is no way Chip would be where he is.

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