Hanson: Flashes of brilliance

  A few thoughts on the Braves while continuing to smile as I remember parts of the terrific movie we saw last night, Anvil! The Story of Anvil. If you haven’t heard, it’s a documentary about a Canadian metal band (Anvil) that had 15 minutes of fame in the early 1980s, faded into obscurity, but have never stopped playing. Seriously, it’s a great movie. A lot like Spinal Tap, only it’s real.
  Now, about the Braves and Tommy Hanson. Those of you whose synopsis of his performance was something along the lines of “another overhyped Braves prospect” or “not ready for prime time,” etc., did you actually watch the game?
  (For once I was glad to be able to watch on TV instead of from the pressbox. Not only could I see the movement on his pitches, etc., I could smoke a cigar while doing so, then was able to get up to Virginia-Highlands just in time to see Manchester Orchestra play some good (and free) rock ‘n roll at the summer festival thing going on there yesterday. And then make it to the Plaza Theatre in time for Anvil at 7:45 p.m., and get home in time to see the last half of the Lakes-Magic game. A good off day, for sure.)
   I’ve got to think that the ones who wrote that kind of stuff about Hanson here on the blog yesterday and last night were only following the game vie the GameDay account or on radio or something, because surely you couldn’t have watched his first three innings of work and not been entirely impressed.
  Hanson lived up to every bit of the billing in those three innings, and considering the billing he’s received, that’s saying a lot. He was poised, confident, and dominant against a lineup that’s got several savvy veterans and a couple of the better power hitters in baseball.

Hanson showed plenty early

Hanson showed plenty early

  For three innings.
  Once the Brewers had a runner reach on that Yunel Escobar bobble in the fourth, things changed quickly. Which served as a reminder, or at least should have served as one, that Hanson is a rookie. Top-rated prospect or not, rookies have a lot to learn. All of them.
  Does he have plenty to learn? Yes. Is he blessed with enormous talent? Absolutely.
  And intelligent, maturity, and confidence — and that mound presence. He’s got “it,” and that’s something that’s really hard, if not impossible, to teach to a kid who doesn’t have it.
  While I’m thinking about it, should mention I don’t think he’s as tall as listed (seems closer to 6-4 than the listed 6-6). Which would make him closer to what most scouts consider the ideal power pitcher’s frame (6-3 or thereabouts).
  What’s not open for debate is his “stuff.” His pitches. Outstanding. Mid 90-mph fastballs that he can get up to 96 or even 97 on occasion, a nasty hook, and a filthy slider.
  Did he get rattled after they got a runner aboard? Don’t know, but it appeared he may have lost a little focus, at least. Perhaps that added variable of a baserunner took him out of the zone he appeared to be in while he was retiring the Brewers in order in those first three innings.
  Consider this: With nobody on base, Brewers hitters went 2-for-20 against him, with two singles, one walk and five strikeouts. And with runners on, they weren’t 4-for-5 against him, with a double, three homers and no strikeouts.
  Again, he’ll learn.
  It’s also worth noting, Hanson has, I don’t want to say struggled, but he’s taken a period of at least two or three weeks to really find his full stride after being promoted to the Double-A level in 2008, and after starting out this season at the Triple-A level for the first time.
  We’ll see how quickly he makes adjustments now at a whole new level, the highest level.

 

  ♦ Debuts ain’t easy: We brought this up three weeks ago, after Kris Medlen struggled in his debut and some were ready to send him out of town on the first thing smoking.
  Everybody, major league debuts are not easy, even for the most gifted pitchers, and results in a pitcher’s initial weeks in the majors are not usually much of an accurate indicator of what’s to come.
  I’ll repeat the stats that I looked up for a few others’ debuts, including the Braves’ iconic Big Three.
 – John Smoltz made his first start against the Mets on July 23, 1988, and allowed one run, four hits and one walk with two strikeouts in eight innings for a win (but then he lost his next three starts).
 – Greg Maddux gave up a run on a homer in one relief inning in his Sept. 2, 1986 debut for the Cubs, then made his first start five days later at Cincinnati. Mad Dog threw an 11-hit complete game and won, allowing three runs and three walks with four strikeouts (then he, too, lost his next three starts).
 – Tom Glavine made his debut at Houston on Aug. 17, 1987, and got knocked around for 10 hits, six runs and five walks in 3-2/3 innings for the loss (then gave up three runs and seven hits in 7-1/3 innings to beat Pittsburgh five days later).
  A few others:
  – Jair Jurrjens allowed five hits and four runs in seven innings of a loss at Cleveland in his debut on Aug. 15, 2007. (He won six days later when he faced the Indians again and allowed one run and one hit, a homer, in 6-2/3 innings).
 – Derek Lowe made two long-relief appearances (three earned runs in 5-2/3 total innings) in 2007 before his first start at Minnesota that season on May 27, where he gave up six runs, four hits and two walks in five innings and got no decision in a loss.
 – Javier Vazquez made his debut against Chicago at Wrigley Field on April 3, 1998, and allowed six hits, three runs and two walks in five innings for the loss (he went 1-6 with a 5.63 ERA in his first 16 starts).

  ♦ Kawakami’s tough assignment: When he faces the Pirates and Zach Duke tonight, Kenshin Kawakami will have to hope the Braves’ pattern doesn’t continue. You know, score eight or 10 runs in one game, then three runs fewer for the next several games.
  Of course, three or fewer would be par for the course for Kawakami, who has received the worst run support in the majors at 2.16 runs per nine innings pitched.
  I’m surprised at how many people continue to act as if Kawakami has pitched poorly all season, and are willing to buy into that bogus rumor about Brad Penny coming to the Braves, as if that would be an upgrade.
  While Kawakami is not an ace, at 33, and while he was bad for several starts in April, this is fact whether some want to ignore it or not: The guy has a 3.16 ERA in six starts since the calendar turned over from April.
  He has a 2-3 record in that stretch, mainly because the Braves have provided a puny 1.2 support runs per nine innings that he’s pitched in those six starts. Only once have they scored more than one run while he’s been in the game in his past six starts, and three times they scored zero runs while he was in.
  You’re not going to get wins with your team scoring zero runs while your’e in.
  No, Kawakami is not an ace. And he lasted fewer than six innings in three of those six (but never fewer than five in that stretch), so no, he’s not a workhorse. But he’s a competent No. 4 or No. 5 starter in a good rotation, including this one.
  And come on, Penny? He’s better than Brad Penny at this stage of Penny’s career. If he had half the run support Penny’s received, Kawakami would have five or six wins.
  But anyway, tonight he’s got a tough matchup in Duke, who’s been outstanding since losing ugly to the Braves in April. The knocked him around for 12 hits and six runs in six innings of that game at Pittsburgh.
Since then, Duke has gone 4-3 with a 2.50 ERA in eight starts, the three losses coming in games when the Pirates scored a combined total of two runs while he was in the games.
  Before the Braves whacked him last time, Duke had posted a 2.76 ERA in five starts against them.
  Martin Prado is 5-for-9 with a homer against him, by the way. Chipper’s 9-for-19, and Jeff Francoeur is 8-for-17 with a homer.

 ♦ Speaking of Francoeur … Might be a good time for him to face Zach Duke, because the Braves right fielder really needs to have a multi-hit game or something to get him going. This is getting ridiculous. No, make that, has gotten ridiculous.
  At the risk of beating a dead horse or being accused of piling on, I gotta share these stats:
  Francoeur has the fifth-lowest OBP (.270) among NL regulars, and it’s been dropping steadily again lately.
He is 26-for-122 (.213) with one homer, nine RBI and three walks in his past 32 games, with an even .500 OPS in that stretch, including a .238 OBP.
  And in his past 24 games, Francoeur has hit .191 (17-for-89) with two extra-base hits, 21 strikeouts, and a .465 OPS.
  In 171 games since May 14, 2008, Francoeur has hit .231 (151-for-653) with 12 homers, 72 RBI, 125 strikeouts, a .280 OBP and .337 slugging percentage. He has almost as many double plays grounded into (21) as he has doubles (25) in that period.

♦ Outfield futility, cont.: The Braves have to hope that Nate McLouth can help boost their outfield productivity, because it can’t get any worse.
  The Braves outfield today has a dubious “Triple Crown” of sorts going, in that it’s ranked last in the majors in average (.232), OBP (.296) and slugging percentage (.333). Yes, last in all three.
  Atlanta’s outfield also has the fewest homers (10) in the majors and is tied for the fewest RBIs (64).
  McLouth has nine homers himself, but those were hit with the Pirates, whom he’ll be playing against tonight only five days after being traded to the Braves.
  Pirates players literally burned a candle in his honor the other day in the clubhouse, beside a picture of McLouth in uniform. (Hey, what can I say, the dude was popular among his teammates there. Pirates management? Not so popular.)
  ”It’s going to be a weird feeling sitting across the field from those guys,” McLouth told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sunday. “Very weird.”
  McLouth joked that third-base coach Tony Beasley “better change his signs.”
  Some Pirates players have known McLouth for nearly a decade, including Duke.
  ”It’s going to be a little strange,” Duke told the Post-Gazette. “And it’s going to be a challenge, too: He hits lefties well, and we’ve seen that for years.”

“TANGO TILL THEY’RE SORE” by Tom Waits
Well ya play that tarantella
All the hounds they start to roar
And the boys all go to hell
Then the Cubans hit the floor
And they drive along the pipeline
They tango till they’re sore
They take apart their nightmares
And they leave them by the door.

Let me fall out the window
With confetti in my hair
Deal out jacks or better
On a blanket by the stairs
I’ll tell you all my secrets
But I lie about my past
So send me off to bed forever more.

Make sure they play my theme song
I guess daisies will have to do
Just get me to New Orleans
And paint shadows on the pews
Turn the spit on that pig
Kick the drum and let me down
Put my clarinet beneath your bed
Till I get back in town.

Let me fall out the window
With confetti in my hair
Deal out jacks or better
On a blanket by the stairs
I’ll tell you all my secrets
But I lie about my past
So send me off to bed forever more.

Just sure she’s all in calico
And the color of a doll
Wave the flag on Cadillac day
And a skillet on the wall
Cut me a switch or hold you breath
Till the sun goes down
Write my name on the hood
Send me off to another town.

Let me fall out the window
With confetti in my hair
Deal out jacks or better
On a blanket by the stairs
I’ll tell you all my secrets
But I lie about my past
So send me off to bed forever more.

3,068 comments Add your comment

bang

June 8th, 2009
2:22 pm

dogsbrekky

June 8th, 2009
2:23 pm

Dobi – you are a true animal in a nice way. Way to live your life ! You make me proud as a fellow “let it fly kinda guy”

Good article

My one concern is that Hanson has had similar problems regarding drifting fastballs (out of the stretch) for some time now… I am sure we can change this but just a thought

Kawakami will be fine tonight

bravos2249

June 8th, 2009
2:27 pm

And for anyone who cares…there is going to be a live chat on the SportsSouth Facebook page @ 2:30

You guys should totally check out the pics….especially the rookie dress up ones from last year..lol

lexbrave

June 8th, 2009
2:27 pm

speaking of hanson, i got all excited to see that he is in line to pitch the last game of the cincinnati series so i could go see him in person only then to discover that it is a 12:35 game and i’ll be stuck at work.. fml

DAP

June 8th, 2009
2:27 pm

DOB i understand if you cant say, or just decide to ignore my post, but have you seen the lack of “chemistry” with the braves? shanks os talking about kotchman and anderson avoiding everyone else, yunel not talking to non-hispanics, ect. i know you said a couple of days ago that everything seemed fine, with no overbearing tension you could sense, but just wondering if it seems like a mess down there to you.

BF91

June 8th, 2009
2:31 pm

It’s waaaaaay past time to cut ties with Francoeur. Like one of my friends told me earlier, it’s a crying shame that we can let Smoltz and Glavine go yet Failcoeur is trotting out there to play every game.

Cut Francoeur. Give somebody – BJones, Prado, Diaz, hell anyone – those at-bats so we can at least get some production out of RF. Jeff is going to cost us the playoffs if we don’t.

Epinephrine

June 8th, 2009
2:31 pm

I don’t know what you can possibly say about Franceour at this point that justifies his stay on the club. In every measure except arm strength, Matt Diaz would be as good or better than Frenchy. All Jeff has left, at this point, is potential and a great personality. Neither is enough to justify an extended stay on the team. The Braves need to come up with a solution quickly, because it’s hurting our team. With Anderson, we at least have reason to suspect he will heat up as the season continues. No such luck with Jeff. And we cannot afford two out machines in the lineup (three counting the pitcher).

pryguy

June 8th, 2009
2:31 pm

DOB,

Please explain how some of these writers for the AJC (Schultz, old dude with glass Burman?) come up with the articles they write. Are they given the option to be negative and unprofessional? The old dude with glasses writes an article about how Glavine was not treated fairly. Well, no sh!#. The article before he wrote about how the Braves need to show more patience with Frenchy. I know your writing and career are light years ahead of their’s, and I am not kissing your a$$. I just want to know how you feel about the way they tackle their articles. Because I think they flat out suck.

Reid in EAV

June 8th, 2009
2:34 pm

Wow, agreed on Hanson. I was at the game yesterday, scoring every pitch, and it’s pretty hard to pitch any better than he did the first time through the lineup. If you took him out after just that three-inning stint (a fairly typical long-relief appearance, btw) the line would look something like this: 0 H, 0 ER, 4 K, 0 BB, 29 pitches, 22 for strikes. (In fact, I remember a few of his Spring Training outings having lines that looked similar.)

And even after that, he didn’t pitch terribly — just got totally victimized by the long ball and lots of RISP hits. Only six hits on the day, but they came in bunches and went a long way. (And I think the E6 took him off his rhythm a bit — at least that’s how it seemed to me. Imho, he didn’t get back to dominating form until after Cameron’s HR in the 6th, just before Bobby took him out.)

Bottom line: don’t worry about Hanson. He’ll be just fine, and probably a stopper down the stretch given his usual adjustment pattern.

ncscoots

June 8th, 2009
2:34 pm

Bill Shanks wouldn’t know chemistry if he bought a set at Toys ‘R Us, ferchrissake. And, last I looked, his name isn’t on a locker. As usual, he paints his own opinion as fact, based on whatever doltish illusions under which he labors on a particular day.

That, of course, makes him a candidate to be the real face of any number of idiot bloggers here. But I digress.

N8

June 8th, 2009
2:34 pm

I’m not one to re-post stuff from an old blog. But 3-4 times in the past few days have made posts, only to find that after I hid “submit”, that NEW BLOGGAGE is right above it. So here goes.

I think what some of you guys that keep talking about Glavine and Maddux “in their primes” not throwing hard or being a power pitcher, need to realize. THEY WERE SPECIAL. Somebody last night stated that we (the Braves) have had 3 300 game winners and none of them threw hard.

You guys realize that there are only 24 players in the 300 win club ALL TIME, right? I’m not disputing that it CAN’T be done. It obviously can.

But the fact that Glavine and Maddux had great careers by NOT having a dominating fastball, or devastating “stuff” (with when discussing these two is a joke – because both of their change-ups and PINPOINT control on their fast ball – is GREAT “stuff”, imo), is a testament to their consistency and willingness to throw strikes and put the ball where they want. Pitching to batters’ weaknesses and playing to the strengths of their own defenses.

History is littered with MANY pitchers who were dominant/successful due to overpowering fastballs and devastating breaking (”out”) pitches.

Outside of knuckleballers (Gaylord, Niekro, Wakefield), there has not been many guys that could frustrate hitters the way Maddux and Glavine did, while pitching to contact, and being efficiant.

How many times have you heard the term “poor-man’s” Greg Maddux? Maddux and Glavine were both unique and very special. There is a reason that scouts worried about Maddux being too small, not throwing hard enough, et…

It’s because those guys USUALLY don’t last long. He and Glavine found a way to make it work. Make it work for a LONG time. Adjust, and ultimately be HOF bound.

The odds of Hanson becoming the next John Smoltz, is more likely than Medlen becoming the next Greg Maddux, imo.

DOB, I’m not going to repost a long one I had towards the end of the other blog, but I had asked you a question in it. So if you desire, check it out. If not. Cool.

McFann ;Ô;

June 8th, 2009
2:36 pm

Thanks for the new Blog, Chief! In response to a few comments on the last Blog:

Sorry I’m late…

SECOND PLACE??? He went from 4th to second in ONE WEEK!! WHOO-HOO!! That’s great news!! Sweet dreams…

Buffalo NY Braves Fan

Yeah, I was there–Hanson was pitching GREAT for a while there…when he started giving up runs, I think he was missing his spots a little (we were in the outfield, so it was a little hard to see–though I did bring my binoes for dugout spying…you know…).

It was great to see him hit that triple. Haha…when he popped up that pitch, I was like, “Come on! Quit doing th–” Next thing I know, the outfielder’s holding out his hands in confusion and the ball drops 20 feet behind him! :lol: Course, then BMac tried to score and messed it up…

The RBI double was very refreshing…he almost hit a homer a pitch or two before the double, but it was just foul–looked fair from my seat…but I don’t care. As you all know, I LOVE doubles!

He’s gonna get the backup spot in this year’s ASG for sure…ya know, unless something terrible happens…

TnBrian

June 8th, 2009
2:36 pm

DAP, neither Soriano or Gonzalez are sure things. Soriano for his mentality or desire to play, and Gonzo for his inconsisancy. Right now, Soriano would be the better choice, but Gonzo, you can trust him more, if you know what I mean. I think it’s one of those things where you just can’t say for sure until the season is over. They better not trade either one this summer, I do know that.

zmerk13

June 8th, 2009
2:37 pm

DOB,

I am going to be in LA when the Braves play the Dodgers in August. Do you know where the team stays? I assume its somewhere pretty close to the ballpark. Thanks

Original Jon

June 8th, 2009
2:38 pm

Hey DOB, I cannot remember where i saw it, but, someone made a comparison of Jeff Franceour to Jermaine Dye. Do you think that is accurate in terms of production?

MFin04

June 8th, 2009
2:38 pm

Can’t make the Frenchy statements without Garret Anderson statements. GA has been just as bad if you include his horrible defense.

N8

June 8th, 2009
2:38 pm

DOB, I’ve read strong reviews for Anvil. I’m just gonna wait to see it (buy it) on DVD. Most of the money I spend going to movies, is taking the kids.

But that’s why it seems so compelling is that it’s real. Which is why I always liked The Committments better than Spinal Tap. (BOTH great shows), but The Committments is more “real”, which makes it more funny to me. Not that something has to be real to be funny.

Anybody see the clip of Bret Michaels getting drilled by the “scoreboard” from the Tony Awards? Youtube it if you haven’t. Funny stuff.

TnBrian

June 8th, 2009
2:42 pm

Kotchman and Anderson probably did that over in Anaheim too. Whoever said that is looking for something dramatic to write, that’s all. Yunel probably speaks a handful of words in English, so… I do know that Chino gave him a look like he was gonna cut a hole in Yunel’s head the other night when he made the baserunning error after McLouth’s single.

CB

June 8th, 2009
2:43 pm

ncscoots I fell in the floor.

zstipe

June 8th, 2009
2:43 pm

DOB:

Is there any legitimate reason why Jeff Francoeur is still playing for this team? There is nothing holding us back from a Francoeur DFA and bringing up anyone (Barton, Blanco) and allowing Diaz to play RF. The only thing Jeff offers at this point is a very good throwing arm, nothing else. If we absolutely must keep him, have him batting eighth. I don’t care if he complains about not seeing anything with the pitcher hitting behind him, he should consider himself blessed to be in the Bigs at this point.

zstipe

June 8th, 2009
2:45 pm

Original Jon:

The only comparison I can think of between Dye and Francoeur is that they both played for the Braves. In terms of production, it’s laughable. Francoeur is simply horrible, and there is no reason he should be in the ML’s, much less a starting Right Fielder.

Steve McP

June 8th, 2009
2:46 pm

Good Blog DOB – I was interested in the comment about the signs. In a situation like this how do teams handle things? Do they change signs or is there a “gentleman’s agreement” that the player on the new team won’t use his inside knowledge during a game? With all the moves that go in baseball I find it hard to believe that coaches are going to change their signs every time a player changes clubs.

cabravesfan

June 8th, 2009
2:46 pm

zmerk13-

The team stays at the Marriott on Figueroa when they are in LA

Bobby's Cox

June 8th, 2009
2:47 pm

It’s also worth noting, Hanson has, I don’t want to say struggled, but he’s taken a period of at least two or three weeks to really find his full stride after being promoted to the Double-A level in 2008, and after starting out this season at the Triple-A level for the first time.

That’s what i’ve been expecting and saying, but it gets more attention when DOB says it. Hanson looked good yesterday. He’ll learn and he’ll adjust, because he’s got the mentality and the tools to do so.

BF91

June 8th, 2009
2:49 pm

Original Jon:

Both Dye and Francoeur were nothing special in their early years. The only difference? Dye was given partial seasons to prove how inept he was, and for some reason we’ve given Frenchy well over a year now.

zstipe

June 8th, 2009
2:50 pm

DOB:

I forgot to include Brandon Jones who is getting on base in Gwinnett. Of course, if OBP was so important they would put it on the scoreboard.

bravesgrl4life

June 8th, 2009
2:52 pm

Here’s hoping the Braves can get a streak going after yesterday’s game. An 8th enning rally was a beautiful thing. No way they did that last year. I’m trying to stay positive about this season, but it sure is hard to do when reading this blog on a regular basis.

DAP

June 8th, 2009
2:52 pm

zstipe and original jon

if you look at jermaine dye’s first three years in the majors, they look pretty similar to jeff’s path. the difference is, dye didnt play everyday when he was putting up those poor numbers, and i believe he spent time injured.

Original Jon

June 8th, 2009
2:52 pm

The comparison was from when they first came up and how it played out up until Jeff’s career now. THink about it, Jermaine was called up and hit .281 with 12 hr’s and 37 RBI’s in 98 games, Jeff’s numbers were similiar during his first year, only difference is Jeff actually got better the next two years, whereas Jermaine was traded after his first year, produced 2 mediocre years and then started hitting like he has today.

What I am saying is, what if we did trade Jeff for next to nothing and he turned out to be a Jermaine Dye type of player, how bad will that look for the Braves?

DevilInLaw

June 8th, 2009
2:53 pm

DOB,

Thanks for providing the great statistical support in regards to current arguments I am having with friends involving Kawakami, Hanson and Francoeur.

Quick thought re: the worthless Frenchy. How in the world can Bobby justify putting him at no. 5 in the batting order yesterday? In four brutal at-bats, he saw a total of 7 pitches and left 4 big runners on base. The last at-bat was the worst, runners on first and second, one out and the Braves down two in the bottom of the 7th inning. That is a situation that DEMANDS Bobby Cox pinch hit for him with either McCann (preferable) or Garrett Anderson.

Please address why Bobby would imperil the lineup by putting Francoeur in the no. 5 spot and why Bobby won’t pinch hit for a player that is one lucky home run last week away from being DFA’d.

CB

June 8th, 2009
2:55 pm

Jon Heyman said RedSox official not impressed with Jeff- why,what a surprise.

Original Jon

June 8th, 2009
2:55 pm

BF91, actually, if you remember correctly, the Braves didnt give Dye a chance at all, he was traded after his first year to the Royals for Michael Tucker.

zmerk13

June 8th, 2009
2:55 pm

thanks cabravesfan!

VaBravesfan

June 8th, 2009
2:56 pm

I will 100% agree with the fact that Francouer has been/is terrible. I just don’t think Diaz will be that much of an upgrade.

BF91

June 8th, 2009
2:57 pm

Original Jon:

Can’t say that it would look that bad at all on the Braves. It’s obvious that he has no clue what he’s doing up there, and if somebody can fix him, more power to them. The kid’s got loads of potential, but potential doesn’t buy groceries. He might figure it out somewhere, but we’ve got a division to try to win and we can’t deal with his learning curve.

Original Jon

June 8th, 2009
2:57 pm

bravesgrl4life, the Braves did that a few nights ago, coming back in the 8th and tying it in the 9th and eventually winning.

Bobby's Cox

June 8th, 2009
2:58 pm

What are the chances of getting an original thought from DOB? I swear all the guy does is copy and paste ideas from the Braves MB.

Why don’t you go into your work, type a memo to every employee about who you think is the best asset to the company, who is the worst, who should be let go, etc… and see how they respond to you when they read it.

Seriously, it’s tough to give an opinion to the topics on an outraged blog when you see the guys you’re writing about everyday. DOB will chime in with his opinion from time to time, but his job to write facts and give us insights about everything Braves, not to give us his take on everything.

Besides, am I missing something? I mean, the whole 1st half of the blog was his opinion on how Hanson looked yesterday. Just seems like we get a lot more opinion from the guy than you give him credit for.

Jersey Gil

June 8th, 2009
2:59 pm

This is the second time i saw Hanson pitching, first time was here in lehigh valley and yesterday on TV.
From the prior blog: “Buster Olney said that he was tipping his pitches”
That it completely true…he keep his arm above his head and the batter can see the grab of the ball. That one think he has to work it. He got a above average fast ball, split, slider and a curve going to the ground. The two bump that Broun hit was fast ball elevated.
I like the Kid, he got what a pitcher need to pitch in the Major “GUTS”.

Original Jon

June 8th, 2009
2:59 pm

But then in a couple of years, all the fans would be screaming woulda, coulda, shoulda kept Jeff Franceour if he starts to be a Jermaine Dye type of player, while we are stuck with the Michael Tuckers of the world.

See what I am saying. I am all for trading Jeff, just not next to nothing.

BF91

June 8th, 2009
3:00 pm

VaBravesfan:

Matt Diaz – .270/.351/.420
Failcoeur – .244/.270/.344

Granted Diaz has mainly faced lefties, but that’s still a vast improvement.

forget the curveball Ricky

June 8th, 2009
3:00 pm

i watched the game and one thing jumped out at me: it seemed as though ross was deadset on not calling for a breaking pitch once runners got on…once tommys heater started starting gettig up in the zone, ross needed to start calling for a little more offspeed/breaking stuff to get the hitters back off balance instead of dropping one finger time and time again

bigmacattack

June 8th, 2009
3:01 pm

9 starts ago the Braves knocked Duke around for 6 runs on 12 hits in 6 innings. Braves starters for that game: Infante, Kotchman, and Schafer (3-5 w/ 1 K)

Kotchman had 1 RBI, Prado hit a 3 run homer … and Jeff had 3 RBI in their last game against him

Schafer 3 hits, only 1 strikeout and Jeff had 3 RBI in 1 game … great times back in the old days.

DAP

June 8th, 2009
3:01 pm

CB

the blip on the MLBtraderumors site said this: One Red Sox person was not impressed by what he saw from Jeff Francoeur.

why reaction was: just ONE?

VaBravesfanI will 100% agree with the fact that Francouer has been/is terrible. I just don’t think Diaz will be that much of an upgrade.

then i dont think you really understand how bad jeff is right now.

Frank from KS

June 8th, 2009
3:02 pm

N8

Don’t know if you caught my post from last blog….but ya can also add Charlie Hough to that list as well.

Original Jon

June 8th, 2009
3:02 pm

Jersey Gil, I noticed the ball thing as well, he doesnt seem to hide it well in pictures, but pictures can capture a split second of time. When I watch him throw in live motion, I can see the ball go up behind his head, but he moves it so fast that I cannot see what the pitch is going to be. I think its more along the lines of him taking a deep breath before he throws a fastball and he doesnt do that when he throws a breaking ball, something along those lines. But yeah, I think he is somehow giving up his pitches, or maybe the Brewers just realized he wasnt locating his fastball very well and thats what they sat on.

BF91

June 8th, 2009
3:04 pm

If Jeff Francoeur has half the career Jermaine Dye has, I’ll eat my damn hat. Dye was bad, but Francoeur is effin’ TERRIBLE. We can’t trade him for anything of value because other GMs know how bad he is too. It’s past time for the Francoeur experiment to come to an end because its not working out.

You keep on saying “what if”, but if your aunt had balls she’d be your uncle. Point is she doesn’t, and Francoeur isn’t Jermaine Dye.

Bobby's Cox

June 8th, 2009
3:04 pm

This whole Glavine thing bothers me. Glavine is making a debacle out of this. He signed the contract, so in essence he agreed to the clause that said he’d get $1 mil if he made the roster. Call it a team option if you will, but the Braves exercised their right.

If the ruling comes down that the Braves were in violation of releasing a player for financial reasons, then I don’t see how performance incentives can be legal in the future, and how team options will be considered legal. It will also make it illegal for a manager to sit a player so they don’t have the opportunity to get 600 PA if that player gets a bonus for doing so. It just adds a lot more grey to the game, and I am not ok with it.

Also, if it was illegal for the Braves to do what they did based on the collective bargaining agreement, then in essence, wasn’t Glavine’s contract illegal? If you have an illegal contract, then the contract is null and void, and Glavine never really had a contract to begin with. If that’s true, then certainly the Braves could counter sue and ask that Glavine repay the salary he received while rehabbing no?

N8

June 8th, 2009
3:05 pm

Bobby’s Cox, that’s always killed me. You can say something many times, going round and round with fellow bloggers. Putting up with insults, being called “and idiot”, and then when DOB puts it in his lead in on a blog, it’s “bible”.

The same bloggers NEVER question him, or call him and idiot. It is his blog. So whaddya do? I just usually smile, and enjoy it. Because I too, enjoy when DOB agrees with me or praises a post. Because what DOB writes is gospel (no sarcasm intended – dude is around the guys – I take his opinion seriously).

Reminds me of a great Steve Buscemi line from a bad movie, Airheads:

“Who would win in a fight, Lemmy or god.” To which he responds upon getting an answer from whom he asked the question to. “It’s a trick question. A**hole, Lemmy IS god!”

So I’ll repeat the question. Who would win in a fight, DOB or god?

McFann ;Ô;

June 8th, 2009
3:07 pm

Hey, I saw somebody wearing one of those “Failcoeur” jersey T-shirts at the game yesterday…

BTW–I like voting at the game…it rocks. Haha…I jokingly pretended to punch out the circle next to John Grove’s name, and I almost really punched it out! Daddy said, “If you would have, you’d have to rip it up, burn it, bury the ashes and get a new ballot.” And that’d be about the size of it…

dogsbrekky

June 8th, 2009
3:07 pm

N8 – Brett MICHAELS and co suck so much they had to bloody well mime at a “live” show for the Tony’s..

absolute joke

AGTFan

June 8th, 2009
3:09 pm

While I agree that it’s time for Francouer to go elsewhere. I wonder if the the folks who are calling for Barton of Blanco or Brandon Jones have actually seen them at the plate. As bad as Fancouer has been, there is no one at AAA that’s the answer. Having watched Brandon Jones bat at Gwinnett, I am amazed at his high BA. He looked totally lost at the plate to me. Blanco and Barton looked even more lost. We’d be much better served at this point to play Diaz in RF and use Francouer as a late inning defensive specialist. Maybe give him a spot start to rest one of the other guys. Do that until we can get a solid outfield bat and move him. I’ll repeat myself. None of the G-Braves outfielders look any better than Francouer at the plate.

N8

June 8th, 2009
3:10 pm

Bobby’s Cox, on the last blog I raised the same type of question. What about Hanson NOT being called up until the “super 2″ threshold had passed?

Couldn’t his agent essentially say that the Braves are costing him money and a year of free agency by ‘holding him down’? The irony is, that Glavine being the union guy he was, should have been clamoring for the Braves to call up Hanson in April, as to have his fellow union member’s “back”, right? :-)

chris from md

June 8th, 2009
3:10 pm

DOB,

I’m not sure this has been asked yet or not but does Cox have any sense of job insecurity in light of the Glavine move? Wasn’t he extended another year around this time last year?

Also, do you agree with Shanks’ take that Cox is upset with management and the clubhouse lacks chemistry? I could see some of that but I also think that Chipper has stepped up this year, McCann has assumed a leadership position as is well-liked. Diaz is very likable, Lowe adds a lot. JJ shows maturity beyond years. Frenchy seems fairly popular. It doesn’t necessarily mean they mix well but I don’t think it’s bad chemistry.

I do wonder if some are perhaps at odds with management. Chipper’s physical dizziness symbolizes what must be taking place in the minds of the players after all that happened last week!

Thx,

Chris from MD

CB

June 8th, 2009
3:11 pm

HEY I just saw a picture of Carroll Rogers, now I know why DOB has that smile on his face.

Wayne in Utah

June 8th, 2009
3:11 pm

Willy Wally

(Wayne,) How come you NEVER ask the owners to show loyalty to the players by perhaps giving them what they deserve on the open market, AND perhaps a little bit more if those players are all time franchise greats?

Wanted to respond to your earlier response to my post this morning.

First, who truly pays market value? We did on Derek Lowe. Probably on Chipper. Definitely on John Smoltz a few years ago.

You NEVER heard me complain about those guys getting market value. Sometimes it makes baseball sense for a team to pay market value. Sometimes it doesn’t.

What IS market value for a 40+ HOF hurler coming off surgery? Does Boston, LA and the 2 NY teams set market value for these type players?

It seems that many think that the Braves walked in (Cox, Wren and Schuerholz) and were cold and calloused toward TG. We don’t know what happened there. I would bet good money that Tommy was not hearing ANYTHING about retiring.

So WW, while I don’t have much use for a greedy player, I don’t have a problem with a guy wanting to get market value. JS did this year. TG did a few years back with the Mets. They basically did the exact same thing the Braves organization did to TG last week. They made a smart decision.

I am not buying the story that the Braves could have “handled” it better. I don’t think it was going to be handled.

Chipper on XM today states that the Braves are a better team with Hanson and McLouth than Glavine and Blanco. If TG were already on the team, and it was Mike Hampton being dispatched, I don’t think he would have stood up and protested too loudly.

So, WW, NEVER is a strong word. Please, if your going to make bold statements about my opinions, please get them correct.

DOB

I noticed that you were agreeing with WW’s response to me earlier this morning. At the end of your post, you mention bloggers making “mindless, knee-jerk reactions/accusations.” Am I to understand that is your opinion of my opinion of the Glavine situation?

Just curious….If it is, please let me know. I don’t want to be a burden.

Macon Braves (RIP)

June 8th, 2009
3:13 pm

Jersey Gil There’s no way that the batter is seeing his grip on the ball as he brings it above his head, it’s happening too fast. Like Original Jon said, if he is tipping the pitches it’s something that he does differently as he gets set for the pitch (i.e. deeper breaths, holds glove at a different angle, etc.)

And not to nitpick, but Hanson doesn’t throw a Split, his four pitches are Fastball, Curve, Slider, and Change.

McLouth of the South

June 8th, 2009
3:13 pm

Frenchy’s song

A long long time ago
I can still remember
How the pasttime used to make him smile

And I knew if he had just one chance
He would make those pitchers dance
As he drove their fastballs for a mile

But last season made me shiver
Every strikeout made me quiver
What happened to the young gun
Who used to have so much fun?

I can’t remember if I cried
Last time he gave that ball a ride
But something tells me deep inside my head
The talent died…

So bye, bye Mr. Natural guy
Though you swung so hard to hit it, still the horsehide flew by
And them good old boys were drinkin Bud as they cried
Listen, Put him on the Delta to fly
Put him on the Delta to fly

N8

June 8th, 2009
3:14 pm

dogsbrekky, agree. Never been a Poison, or a Bret Michaels fan. Which is why that clip is so funny (though in the spirit of Spinal Tap – it would have been funny even if it was somebody I liked).

I’m a huge Richie Kotzen fan, so that (Native Tongue) was the only Poison Album I ever remotely got into, and it was purely from a guitar standpoint.

But yes. Somebody saying Poison Sucks, doesn’t really ruffle my feathers too much. And y’all know my stance on using the word “suck” when describing anybody’s musical ability.

RHR

June 8th, 2009
3:15 pm

Carroll’s picture! I just noticed. :lol:

I knew I liked you for a reason, gingers are bomb, Carroll.

geauxbraves2000

June 8th, 2009
3:15 pm

Why doesn’t mgmt just send JF down for a few weeks (options left ??) and work on things out of the spotlight? He may get things turned around down there (unless an ego gets in the way).

I may have been on the trade him bandwagon, but I think I’m going to step off for a while, I don’t think I’m ready to give up on him, for as soon as he leaves, he will turn into the JF we all knew that was inside him, and everyone will be screaming what a bad trade that was.

Geaux Braves!!

Nova Scotia Steve

June 8th, 2009
3:16 pm

I’m with you DOB…I went out of my way to watch Hanson’s first start as a Brave…actually watch through MLBTV at work! My computer was down at the house…that’s how bad I wanted to see him pitch.

He’s good…real good. It so nice to see a fireballer in the rotation…He’s going to be great no question…and I believe he’s hear to stay.

Now let get some wins against these Pirates for the love of all that is holy we need to get a roll! Feels like I’ve been saying that for three years now…C’mon Braves!!!

AGTFan

June 8th, 2009
3:16 pm

N8 – Not covered by the MLBPA agreement until he has some MLB service. Minor League players don’t have nearly the same rights that MLB players do.

RHR

June 8th, 2009
3:17 pm

And yes I’m aware that DOB is writing today, just leaving a note for Ms CR.

Bobby's Cox

June 8th, 2009
3:18 pm

Couldn’t his agent essentially say that the Braves are costing him money and a year of free agency by ‘holding him down’?

Exactly N8. The ruling on Glavine, if it goes to court, essentially has a lot more meaning than people think, IMO. Managers will be forced to play players based on contractual reasons, rather than who is outplaying who, but yet teams can’t delay a player like you say as well. Talk about opening up Pandora’s Box, and because of what? Spite?

It will be even more irony if Glavine pursues a GM or manager role one day and comes across the same circumstance. I love Glavine and hate what happened, but the right move was made and it’s something Glavine has to swallow and move on with.

StingerSplash

June 8th, 2009
3:20 pm

Per DOB: And with runners on, they weren’t 4-for-5 against him, with a double, three homers and no strikeouts.

Maybe … they went 4-for-5 against him? Cigar smoke getting in the way again?
(No chops busting here. Figured you wrote it, posted it and like a lot of writers don’t read over it because you’re not likely to catch a mistake since you wrote it and you’re liable to have the same train of thought again and I’m guessing there aren’t copy editors … at all, anymore … to rip through blog stuff as it/before it goes up.)

BJones

June 8th, 2009
3:20 pm

I recommend everyone listen to kenny wayne shepherd….

Frank from KS

June 8th, 2009
3:20 pm

RHR

Carroll’s pic where?

Braves Fan

June 8th, 2009
3:20 pm

6-4-3

June 8th, 2009
3:21 pm

Man, what are the options available with Franceour? It’s either trade, send down, or release. At this point all three options stink. I don’t believe he has much value and sending him down won’t get an improvement out of him at this point.

I think the time is getting close on a decision though because he’s hurting this team, and it’s been going on for over a year now.

He doesn’t have good plate discipline and he doesn’t have an idea of the strike zone.

Turk 182

June 8th, 2009
3:23 pm

Best line in all of ‘Flight of the Conchords’ is when Murray, the band manager, admits that his early childhood nickname was ‘Ginger balls’. Classic.

Wonder if Moylan calls Carroll ‘Ranga’, the aussie term of endearment for red heads?

BF91

June 8th, 2009
3:23 pm

McLouth of the South:

That’s pretty damn epic!

PWHjort

June 8th, 2009
3:23 pm

Francoeur has 2 option years remaining.

McFann ;Ô;

June 8th, 2009
3:25 pm

McLouth of the South

Good one…

bravos2249

June 8th, 2009
3:27 pm

it’s not even 4 and people are asking for a lineup…..

Bobby's Cox

June 8th, 2009
3:28 pm

Not covered by the MLBPA agreement until he has some MLB service. Minor League players don’t have nearly the same rights that MLB players do

Bull. The reminds me of all the young teachers that got laid off here in CA because of the “budget crisis”. IMO, the young teachers have just as many rights because they pay into the Union through salary deductions and in years to follow, they too will head the Union.

If the veteran teachers took just a 3% pay cut, then all the teachers would still have a job. Didn’t happen. And that seems like irony to me, considering those same veteran teachers wouldn’t want the same thing to happen to them if they were fresh out of college. People have an ego,and unfortunately that affects a lot more than 1 just person. I hate to think how many newly wed teachers are forced to foreclose and short sale their houses now over a measly 3%, not to mention the state continually fighting to pass through legislation a 10% statewide sales tax. Again, it affects a lot more people than just 1.

bravesgrl4life

June 8th, 2009
3:28 pm

Original Jon, I know. We’ve had a couple of games like that this season. All in all, I think we are a little better, maybe a lot better, this year than last year. Not sure why I think that, I just do.

Scorby Jones

June 8th, 2009
3:32 pm

I’m glad the Braves came through and won it yesterday!

Original Jon

June 8th, 2009
3:32 pm

bravesgrl4life, maybe its because our starting pitching has actually been really good this year, just our dang offense cant get going for nothing. its like they spend all their energy scoring 8-10 runs one game, and then are tapped out for the next 4 or 5 games.

Frank from KS

June 8th, 2009
3:33 pm

I know it’s not going to happen….but out of all the other choices of OF’s the Braves MIGHT pursue (if they do that at all) I would rather have Dye than any of the rest of them.

I said that all off-season, that the Braves would be smart to go after him and O-Dog (Orlando Hudson).

CB

June 8th, 2009
3:33 pm

Frank they just took it down ,on last blog.

Efrim

June 8th, 2009
3:34 pm

Think there is any chance the Braves sit Francoeur today? Like, you know, start Matt Diaz in RF. No? Probably wishful thinking on my part.

Eric from MO

June 8th, 2009
3:35 pm

After Hanson left the game yesterday I decided to get on the blog to see what everyone was saying. I knew a few morons who wouldnt actually be watching the game would be complaining but wow, there were far more than I expected. Also cant believe how many was complaining about McLouth. He has literally played 3 games for us. I didnt stay on it long. I was having a great day and decided I didnt need them to bring me down.

Terry

June 8th, 2009
3:35 pm

Can we all just agree that Franceour is not “cutting the mustard” right now? It’s getting very old with all of these posts. If we could actually do something about it by blogging, then I would say have at it. Let’s find some good things to discuss — for a change!

Frenchy is a complete joke.

June 8th, 2009
3:35 pm

I cant believe all the anaylst at ESPN said the braves wouldnt compete because we didnt have enough pitching……… If the offense can just put 4-5 runs a game we can take the division lead. Hopefully that comeback yesterday will spark this team.

Frenchy is a complete joke.

June 8th, 2009
3:38 pm

Hey Terry her is something positive! Hanson looked beast in his 1st 3 innings of work. He has the stuff for sure. He just made the wrong pitches on those homeruns. I believe he gave them all up while leading in the count, which shouldnt happen. He is gonna be special and i cant wait for him to get completly ajusted to the big leagues cause watch out.

DAP

June 8th, 2009
3:39 pm

terry on the last blog we were talking about what free agent outfielder that braves will pickup this offseason. what do you think?

bravesgrl4life

June 8th, 2009
3:40 pm

I’m with ya, Terry. I wish we could all just stop talking about the TG mess and how bad French is right now. All this negativity is just bringing me down. And I was totally up for this season!!! Husband is finally letting me watch a game here and there on the actual TV, so life was good. ‘Course, I have to turn it off when it starts blowin’.

hayden caulfield

June 8th, 2009
3:40 pm

The only one that has consistently hurt the Braves all year would be Wren. When do we dump him?

Frank from KS

June 8th, 2009
3:41 pm

Frenchy is a complete joke

The big word is IF (Lol).

semiballcoach

June 8th, 2009
3:41 pm

no chance francoeur sits—-remember cox had blauser (at .229) hitting 2nd for nearly an entire season…as elmer fudd would say…he’s vewwy, vewwy loyal/stubborn?

TexasBrave

June 8th, 2009
3:42 pm

Efrim DOB wrote above that Frenchy is 8 for 17 with a homer against Duke. So you can bet he will be in the line up. I imagine Diaz will be in left.

I don’t want to wish Jeff any ill returns but if he doesn’t produce today against a guy he has done well against in the past I hope that Bobby and or the organization take a hard look at making a move as little as giving Diaz more time in RF.

jukeandjive

June 8th, 2009
3:42 pm

DOB

I remember hearing Chipper talk about hitting homeruns a few weeks ago. He said the key is grinding out at-bats and hitting pitcher’s mistakes. The problem with Frenchy is he can’t hit for power when he’s this agressive because pitchers know they can throw junk and he’s too impatient to wait them out.

Take a look at Ryan Braun yesterday. I would say that Braun & Frenchy have the same “raw” power. Difference: Braun waited out Hanson and hit 2 mistakes out for homeruns. Similar to what Fielder did to Vazquez the night before.

Maybe the braves should try putting Frenchy on Ritalin to calm down his ADHD tendencies at the plate…

TennesseePaul

June 8th, 2009
3:42 pm

I liked the game yesterday. Would have loved a better outcome for Tommy, but a win is a win. I couldn’t help but notice that as soon as the best lead-off hitter on the team was hitting lead-off, the team scored a ton of runs. McLouth, Chipper and McCann make for a nifty 3-4-5, but McLouth, Yunel, Chipper and (eventually) McCann makes for an even better 1-2-3-4.

As for Francoeur. It’s sad. Really is. Perhaps a change of scene would help. But, as he has sucked wind for the past two years+

McFann ;Ô;

June 8th, 2009
3:42 pm

Terry Let’s find some good things to discuss — for a change!

OK…McCann moved up in the All-Star Voting–he’s in SECOND PLACE!!! He received 244,374 votes this past week! Uh-huh…people are starting to get the idea.

VOTE McCANN 2009 ALL-STAR!!!!

Kentavo

June 8th, 2009
3:43 pm

I’m not saying we have to get rid of Frenchy, but can’t Cox bench him? Last time I checked he is not a high salaried player since he turned down that extension offer – so what’s to lose by making him 4th outfielder at this point?
Put Norton out there a little bit to get him some more at bats and get going. At least Norton hits the ball hard.

Eric from MO

June 8th, 2009
3:45 pm

TnBrian They better not trade either one this summer, I do know that

I disagree, the Braves are a .500 team. Do you know what relievers can get in return at the trade deadline? Especially leftys (Gonzo). Niether will be back next year. Cost will be too high. Between the two they could get 4 or 5 prospects back combine. I would have no problem with trading them. I have said since last September and am sticking to it, it would take 2 years (2010) for the Braves to rebuild and make the postseason. This is why I liked the McLouth trade. We got a really good outfielder for the next four years that is cheap. If we get 4 prospects for Soriano and Gonzo we can get another really good outfielder and our minor leagues wont be depleted and our outfield wont be a joke anymore. However, we would have to make a few moves to sign some relievers for next year.

bravesgrl4life

June 8th, 2009
3:46 pm

McFann 3:42 – definitely good stuff. Love the Bmac :)

TnBrian

June 8th, 2009
3:47 pm

hayden caulfield, he has? How? Explain how Wren has hurt us by dropping a guy(Glavine), who I now see why so many didn’t like him after his union BS, and getting McLouth for 3 guys that aren’t our top of the line prospects? You can’t post something like that without explaining it…explain.

Coach ( Moon Pie, Anyone?)

June 8th, 2009
3:48 pm

N8, pitching to contact, throwing strikes and working quickly on the mound are what Maddux and Glavine did for so many years. Maddux had a high school pitching coach who taught him the importance of late movement on his fastball rather than velocity.

Maddux influenced both Glavine and Smoltz when he came over from the Cubs. All three are headed to Cooperstown and it’s no coincidence. Leo Mazzone was the other factor. The man learned from Johnny Sain who had more twenty game winners than anybody in ML history.

But this one excerpt from Mazzone goes completely against the current pitch count philosophy.

Leo Mazzone quote: “It is our philosophy that the more often you throw, and the more you can make your pitch do something without maxing out your effort, that raises your longevity. The less you throw, but when you do you throw it’s as hard as you can, lowers longevity.”

In other words, less is more. More repetition, less velocity, better control.

Leo left after the 2005 season and the Braves entire franchise has yet to recover. Follow the link, it’s a great read:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=mazzone

bravesgrl4life

June 8th, 2009
3:48 pm

Bloggers, I’m off to do my women’s prison ministry tonight. I’ll be listening to the game on my way home. GO BRAVES!!!!!!

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