Capital-bound for July 4th

(Staff writer Carroll Rogers is filling in for David O’Brien today.)

 

   Washington, D.C. – Or I will be as soon as I get on this plane…..What you see above is a new little tagline we’re going to try at the top of the ol’ blog when I’m at the controls to see if we can minimize confusion. I know there will be aplenty still, without my photo at the top, but I’m told even despite your dutiful suggestions, there is just too much involved to swap out me for DOB on the days I cover.

   So there you go.

   Onward and upward (literally, I’m about to board)…..to our nation’s capital for the July 4th weekend. I like it. That’ll be a first for me, and it’s a first for the Braves. Shoot, the Nationals’ (and the National League) have just been around DC since 2005. And back in the day, the Braves always seemed to be at home on July 4th.

   The Braves landed there last night and had to be downright giddy with the way things went against the Phillies. Three game sweep, four wins in a row. Now they’re back in the hunt at only two games back and with three games ahead against the lowly Nationals. But they’ve got to make these count, and the Braves have had the hardest time with the Nats in the last two years. This weekend is not the time to mess with that.

   The Braves are 3-0 against the Nationals at Turner Field this season, but 1-2 against them at Nationals Park. They’re 3-9 at Nationals Park over the last two season, including 2-7 last year.

   The Nats, losers of eight of their last 10 and three in a row, have a couple of new faces since last the Braves saw them. The Nationals traded center fielder Lastings Milledge, who’d fallen out of favor, and closer-turned-mop-up man Joel Hanrahan to the Pirates for left fielder Nyjer Morgan and left-handed reliever Sean Burnett.

   The Nationals also optioned Elijah Dukes to the minor leagues. He’d been slumping, hitting only .198 with two homers and six RBIs since June 2, and doing things like showing up late to the ballpark, like he did Wednesday in Florida.

   That’s good news for the Braves who watched Dukes hit .364 (8-for-22) with two doubles and four RBIs in five games against them this year.

 

   And what’s a July 4th weekend celebration without Manny Ramirez? The dreadlocked Dodger is back in uniform tonight – hey, we Americans believe in second chances – and he will play in front of a sold-out Petco Park against the Padres. And nope it won’t be Padre fans.

   How do I know? The Padres have only sold out two games all year – and have had 12 of their smallest crowds of the season in the first 39 games.

 ALL-STAR ANNOUNCEMENTS:

   Also coming this weekend: All-Star team announcements on Sunday, and you have to figure Brian McCann finds his way onto the team as a reserve, maybe Chipper Jones. Both Jair Jurrjens and Javier Vazquez have had All-Star caliber first halves but could well be penalized by their poor records, thanks to such a derth of run support.

 

   Rafael Soriano is deserving, but it’s tough for a non-closer to make it as a reliever. Of course Charlie Manuel has seen all three of these guys over the last three days and that might help.

   Manuel has eight picks, including one extra pitcher since rosters expanded to 33. (Fans choose eight starters, players pick eight reserve position players and eight pitchers – five starters and three relievers. Then the manager gets to pick eight more players, including the starting pitcher. Then there’s of course, the wildcard one pick by fans after the teams have been announced.)

   But you also have to figure Manuel is going to be busy making sure at least one player is chosen from every team.

 

   Speaking of Manuel, watching him walk to the mound on Wednesday night reminded me of this great little anecdote from Eddie Perez, who as you recall, caught for two years in Cleveland when Manuel was manager there.

   Some Indians starter – I can’t remember who Eddie said – was getting battered around and Manuel comes out to get him. As Eddie tells it (he’s standing there on the mound listening to the whole thing), when Manuel reaches for the ball, the pitcher tells him “I’m all right. I’m fine. I’m not tired.” And Manuel goes: “Yeah, but my outfielders are tired.”

   Eddie said even the pitcher had to crack a smile on that one.

 FAUX-HAWK:

   While we’re being silly, we’ll tell you what Kris Medlen has gone and done to his head, if you haven’t seen it yet for yourself on TV or something. He’s got, not a Mohawk, but something he’s calling a “faux-hawk,” with his head shaved close like a crew cut on the sides.

   “It’s modified version of the Mohawk,” said Medlen, who’s apparently been affected by all his time down in the bullpen and hanging around clubhouse barber Jeff Bennett.

   So why not the full-on Mohawk?

   “I don’t want to be that guy,” Medlen said. “I’m already ‘the rookie.’ And it’s a little cooler and it’s a little attention for myself. I’ve got to outdo Tommy in something.”

   Tommy Hanson, from one locker over, without missing a beat said: “Good luck.”

 WOODWARD

   Just to make sure you guys are paying attention on this holiday weekend – is anyone still at their computer – I thought I’d include this next note to make some stomachs turn….I read this on our notes group from our esteemed colleague Larry Stone of the Seattle Times: Chris Woodward has been playing third base for the Mariners since Adrian Beltre announced he would have season-ending shoulder surgery.

   The Mariners signed Woodward to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training. They just called up from AAA Tacoma (sighs and gasps) and he made two errors in one play on his first game as a starter at third. As of last night, Woodward was hitting .333 (2-for-6) with two walks. He had two hits vs. the Yankees in his first game, went 0-for-3 in his second.

   Our old friend Russ Branyan, a native of Warner Robins and graduate of Stratford Academy in Macon, is having a monster year for Seattle at first base. He’s got 19 home runs and 40 RBIS. He could play third base for the Mariners easy, by why mess with a good thing there?

 

   And I’ll leave you with this little nugget. For those of us woken from a happy slumber by our bosses last July 4, we’ll remember that this is the anniversary of Jeff Francoeur’s being sent to AA Mississippi. Happy holiday weekend!

 

3,596 comments Add your comment

Lamar Banks

July 3rd, 2009
9:14 am

Great piece Carroll.

Vol_In_Ohio

July 3rd, 2009
9:15 am

I am starting to wonder if the Braves lack of offense has made Vazquez a MUCH BETTER pitcher. Have you noticed he doesn’t seem to have that “one bad inning” very often anymore? I wonder if he’s had to be more focused and that’s helping.

This type of situation hurts some pitchers (feel like you have to make a perfect pitch everytime), but I think it is helping Javy. Not from a W-L standpoint though!

jason

July 3rd, 2009
9:18 am

Roman Gal

I was busting McFaan’s chops today and told her if McCann didn’t get a hit tonight I would go vote for Yadier Molina.

Rob, t you are in trouble now. I said something similar yeaterday, not Molina far. To scared to do that. McFann will be out to get you… :)

Rodney Derrick

July 3rd, 2009
9:18 am

Braves have a good chance tonight because Carroll is back. However, thanks to the stupid policy blacking out Nats and Orioles here in Durham, no watching tonight for me. Fortunately, I have something else happening so I will just have to hope fellow denizens root the team home over the dynamic Willie Harris and some folks’ hero Adam the Dunn. Time for folks to understand defense is important too. Credit Andruw Jones for part of Braves’ pitching legacy.

ryan c

July 3rd, 2009
9:20 am

dob or carroll,
a lot of action last night throughout our minor league system. many promotions have been unofficially reported, however one source (talking chop) reports that brooks conrad got the call to atlanta. any word on this and what’s the counter move? brooks conrad is, for most part, a 2-bagger, but plays shortstop some (rather poorly). my guess would be kj going to the dl and rehabbing his hurt pride (because everything else looks healthy) in the minors. thanks for a great blog. let’s continue to see great baseball!

Daybed Wagmoe

July 3rd, 2009
9:20 am

Carroll — nice work. Have fun in the capitol running through The Mall or wherever else you opt to run.

Glad you pointed out that the Braves have had a bit of trouble against the Nats the past couple of years, and how important it is that “they’ve got to make these [games] count.” It’s been the Braves style this year to show signs of life and give us fans hope, only to stumble for a few games and fall back in the standings. Can’t do that against Washington this weekend, and even though it looks like a “gimme” on the schedule, it’s still a very important series.

CB

July 3rd, 2009
9:20 am

yay, no DOB JINX!

semiballcoach

July 3rd, 2009
9:21 am

CR—try highlghting your comments in pink instead of gray/grey

jason

July 3rd, 2009
9:21 am

Vol_In_Ohio, Good post, however I always thought Vazquez was a good pitcher. When you play on bad teams as he you don’t develope the confidence to get out of tough spots. I like to think that Javy has found himself. It happens. He is only 32-33. Sometimes it can take a few years. I like the fact that he cares. He holds himself accountable when he feels he didn’t do his job. Last night when he left the game, you could see it written on his face that if ATL would have lost; he would have taken full responsibility for the loss. He knew he didn’t have his best stuff, but he fought tooth and nail to give ATL all that he had.

Rock On........

July 3rd, 2009
9:22 am

Rock On……..
July 3rd, 2009
9:03 am

So it took Bobby about 9 months to figure out that Prado was the man for 2nd base. Fact is that he and Infante have always been the guys there. KJ now must get reacquainted with the outfield probably in Gwinett. Bobby has his good moments but if he ever plays KJ again at 2nd then that will be a tip that old donk is back to his old tricks.

Good win by Braves but again you have to feel a little for Vazquez. The man is simply our best pitcher but last night the runs came late. Hope Javymakes the all-star team just so it will be an in your face slap at Ozzie

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ryan c

July 3rd, 2009
9:24 am

rodney, i’m not encouraging you to break the law, but i go here on blackouts (which only happen to me on saturday games before 7).

mp2pforum.eu

you have to download tvants. remember, i am not encouraging this behavior!

Rock On........

July 3rd, 2009
9:27 am

Oops sorry….pasted from the last blog. Love the iPhone but it can be a little touchy.

Come on up Carroll the weather is great. Tiger is even in town.

JPS

July 3rd, 2009
9:30 am

Kelly The Fraud hit the ball hard last night. I guess Bobby will have him out there at second tonight.

Supes

July 3rd, 2009
9:32 am

Carroll,

Great blog, and the newsbit about Woodward is “priceless”. I seriously thought the guy was out of baseball all together, but alas…that’s how thin major league roster are.

BTW…Beltre was stealing, has been stealing money from the M’s at least Woodward will be “earning his pay”.

the “anniversary” of sending jeff down to AA…wouldn’t mind a deja vu right now:)

On the previous blog…a trade with the nats involving Jeff and Josh Willingham would be most welcomed, not sure who else would the braves have to give up though? Jo-Jo Reyes?

Supes

July 3rd, 2009
9:34 am

Freeman and Heyward will start 2010 (barring an injury) at AAA.

The future is near:)

Jeff looks absolutely finished…I hate having to agree with Coach and Paul Lentz but I will. It’s not even entertaining to call him FRANCINE anymore.

Doc Holiday

July 3rd, 2009
9:35 am

Dodgers are 1st in pitching + 2nd in hitting + 1st in F% + Joe Torre + Manny Ramirez ———-Does that spell NL Championship?

JPS

July 3rd, 2009
9:36 am

Supes
Bobby pinch hit for Jeffy last night. Is the end near?

Supes

July 3rd, 2009
9:40 am

Doc Holiday,

There is no question that the Dodgers should be the favorites to win the NL. All those numbers, plus their overall record is vastly superior to any other team right now…and adding Manny back will only make them better. People waiting for them to crumble a bit with him out and Juan Pierre in there, but he more than held his own.

JPS,

That was the ultimate vote of ‘no confidence’ from Bobby Cox. It’s about darn time too. Jeff has been his “boy” since day 1. But I guess Bobby found a way to get those “incriminating pics” from Jeff’s safe and can now bench him as he sees fit.

jason

July 3rd, 2009
9:41 am

Supes, I hear ya. I don’t even get mad when he makes an out anymore. Now, I get mad when he lucks into a hot on a blooper. He is more of an automatic out than some of the pitchers. I mean JJ makes more consistent contact than him.

Rodney Derrick

July 3rd, 2009
9:41 am

Ryan– I am not encouraged, but is there a corresponding download for macs and using safari or firefox?

jason

July 3rd, 2009
9:44 am

JPS, one can only hope. And about the pinchitter for Francouer, I liked the fact that BC said we are going for another run. Too many times BC would have just been happy with the lead, and just turn it over to the BP. I can not say enough about the managing job by BC last night. Let’s just hope it was not an abberiation.

Doc Holiday

July 3rd, 2009
9:49 am

You guys think Phillies will regain strength once Ibañez is back? I have read his injury was real back, they had to make an MRI which came out negative. They should be winning more games as soon as he gets back around next weekend.

CB

July 3rd, 2009
9:52 am

ryanc, I am not seeing where Brooks Conrad has been promoted on talking chop? Where did you see?

NCBravesFan

July 3rd, 2009
9:53 am

“Good luck.” Looks like Tommy is the master of the deadpan wit, in addition to having filthy stuff. :lol:

Bayou Brave

July 3rd, 2009
9:55 am

Woodward is 2-6 (.333)

Supes

July 3rd, 2009
9:59 am

Chris Woodward has a job STARTING for a major league team.

Just boggles the mind I tell you.

I guess it’s no different than having Diory Hernadez starting at SS for the Braves while Yunel was out.

It’ll be good to get McLouth back in the leadoff spot.

I know Blanco had the one good game against the Phillies, but he still just a bench outfielder.

DH,

I’m thinking Ibanez will still have a decent 2nd half, at least while he’s playing home games. Ball jumps out of “the launch pad” during the summer months and he’s got a good power swing when on.

Bill Heller

July 3rd, 2009
10:01 am

Two Words: Franceour. Knuckleball.

Somebody should teach him how to throw it.

Lamar Banks

July 3rd, 2009
10:02 am

I haven’t read anywhere where Brooks Conrad got the promomtion. I have read were Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward got the bump to AA.

KJ+Frenchy=Garbage

July 3rd, 2009
10:02 am

I really hope to see McLouth back in Center tonight and Blanco/Diaz in Right. The Willingham for Jeff and a player to be named sounds like a decent deal. He has average defense at best, but his bat would be major improvement over Jeff’s. Also dont forget Willingham came up as a Catcher, which could come in handy. Nats took Lastings who is kinda in same boat as Jeff so we never know.

brian

July 3rd, 2009
10:07 am

we will find out this weekend if the Braves offense has truly turned it around or if the Phillies pitching is really worse than everyone thinks.

We did see an example this week of good pitching beating good hitting.

I would love to get into the postseason with a rotation of Lowe, Jurrjens, Hanson, and Vazquez (or Hudson in the unlikely event that Vazquez is moved for a bat)

Eric from MO

July 3rd, 2009
10:07 am

Oh, I didnt know Freeman and Heyward got promoted to AA. Thats good, I figured they would sometime during the year. My guess Heyward gets called to Atlanta sometime next June or July and Freeman gets called up next August or September.

Keeping It Real

July 3rd, 2009
10:09 am

I must admit that I watched the game last night and got excited. Then I remembered that anything is better than what the Braves had done previously. If GA had not hit the dinger, everyone would still have him in the dog house even though he has been hitting the ball lately. If Gonzalez had not made that play at the plate then he would be in the dog house. If Bobby Cox had not made the moves he did(Prado, Blanco,Yunel, speed on the base paths, aggrssiveness,swagger, etc.) he would be in the dog house. The fact is the players came through in the clutch for once. This does not make them a contender as all the teams in this division are very weak. If the Braves handle the Nats, then I will become more of a believer. This is their biggest series of the year.

Also, the biggest mistake that Wren can make is to assume that Hudson can come back and to even consider trading Yunel and Frenchy. You think the Phillies are considering trading Jimmy Rollins? McCann and Chipper have not looked good lately either. I guess that they are trade bait also. Can someone tell me why Brandon Jones is not in left field or alternating with Frenchy while he clears his head? Last I heard, he runs well and plays good defense. Is he in Cox’s dog house?

abwright

July 3rd, 2009
10:10 am

Rock On……..9:22 am … “Bobby has his good moments but if he ever plays KJ again at 2nd then that will be a tip that old donk is back to his old tricks.”

DOB reported a couple of blogs back that Bobby had said that Prado is the starting second baseman. To me, this means that he will as stubbornly defend Prado’s place in the line-up the way he formerly supported KJ.

Probably only see KJ in situations like last night, where KJ comes in late and Prado moves over to third for defensive purposes.

Thrillhouse44

July 3rd, 2009
10:12 am

Enter your comments here

Eric from MO

July 3rd, 2009
10:13 am

Abwright your probably right. Only way Kelly starts again is if Chipper gets hurt or Prado needs a day of rest. However, once Omar gets back I dont see anyway Kelly starts again.

jason

July 3rd, 2009
10:14 am

Keeping It Real, If GA had not hit the dinger, everyone would still have him in the dog house even though he has been hitting the ball lately.

With that remark, why would you want Brandon Jones in LF?

or alternating with Frenchy while he clears his head?

This , I agree with. Anything to get Francouer off the field.

Wayne in Utah

July 3rd, 2009
10:15 am

Probably won’t hear anything about Conrad, if it is true, until a little while before game time.

Patience, grasshopper!

jason

July 3rd, 2009
10:18 am

We are on a nice roll, it is good to see. We now only have one problem left to solve, RF? Any realistic ideas? I am all for moving Diaz to RF and play Francouer like KJ. Defensive replacement when Diaz would shift to LF for Loaf.

Don

July 3rd, 2009
10:19 am

Braves outfield woes would be solved if Cox had just kept Josh Anderson instead of giving him away in favor of keeping up Schafer who had never learned to make solid contact even in the minors. (This was stupid beyond belief when Anderson had already proved himself.) Could now have Josh Anderson, McLouth, and Diaz – a very good outfield – that is if Cox would play Diaz. Cox has no apatituted in making necessary moves and changes. With their Pitching, Braves should now have a comfortable lead in their Division if it were not for Cox’s incompetence. And he has no clue as to teaching, emphasizing, implementing, demanding the first absolue necessity for run production -working the count/ making the opposing pitcher throw a lot of pitches. This enables your hitters to adjust to the pitcher, see what he has, get better pitches to hit, make him make mistakes, tires him out, gets you into their weak middle relief etc. The Braves are next to last in all of baseball in average number of pitches seen per at bat – Typical Cox managed team – This guarantees terrible run production and not being competitive.

jason

July 3rd, 2009
10:19 am

I also noticed that noone mentioned this on the last blog. How bout MattyD beating that bunt out for a hit lastnight. You think that guy doesn’t want to win. MattyD, our Prado in the OF.

jason

July 3rd, 2009
10:21 am

Don, While part of your post is true, I thought they did a great job of working counts last night with the exception of our “professional” hitter, Chipper Jones.

cvbraves

July 3rd, 2009
10:23 am

Supes…apparently you hacen’t seen Willingham play defense.

FloridaBrave

July 3rd, 2009
10:24 am

Great to see Heyward and Freeman up to AA. I’m excited to see how they do, but I think they accomplished all they could in Myrtle Beach. I’m also pleased to see Johnson stay in Myrtle Beach a little longer.

I don’t know if it was mentioned but P Thomas Palica was also promoted.

Lamar Banks

July 3rd, 2009
10:25 am

Keeping It Real

I don’t think Braves brass feel that Brandon Jones is an everyday outfielder. He has had a few chances to play and really hasn’t impressed. I think many think he is just a 4th outfielder. Besides you already have a platoon situation in left and they already have 5 outfielders. I think one the outfielders will go to AAA once they deem Greg Norton ready to play. He has done pretty good in his rehab.

Wayne in Utah

July 3rd, 2009
10:25 am

Don

As for saying we should have kept, Josh Anderson, have you checked how he’s doing so far this year?

Kinda like saying “I would be rich today, if my mom hadn’t thrown out all my old baseball cards!”

ryan c

July 3rd, 2009
10:26 am

commenter cbwilk on talking chop:

“I’m not sure who’s spot he’s taking, but Brooks Conrad got the call and is headed to Atlanta.”

no link or anything, but talking chop’s (sbn network) affiliate that blogs for the padres is brooks conrad’s brother-in-law. i dont normally rely on these kind of things, but he did know about the brooks conrad signing way before anyone else (december 26th when others reported it december 28th).

and rodney, i dont own a mac so i am not sure. sorry.

cvbraves

July 3rd, 2009
10:26 am

Sure hope Mr. Wren is not considering pulling off a Tex-type deal with a Hanson, Jurrjens, Heyward, Freeman or Cody Johnson involved. His comments about not wanting to “mortgage the future” UNLESS Braves appear to be definitely in the hunt later this month are confusing.

ryan c

July 3rd, 2009
10:28 am

might i add that brandon jones has 000000000000 homeruns this year! he’s hitting the ball well, but he doesnt provide an answer for any power outages the braves are experiencing.

PWHjort

July 3rd, 2009
10:29 am

“Braves outfield woes would be solved if Cox had just kept Josh Anderson” (Don)

I stopped reading right there. So Cox is both managing the team and swinging trades now? He’s the new Manager/GM figure.

Keeping It Real

July 3rd, 2009
10:30 am

Jason,

Correct me if I am wrong, but GA was a pinch hitter last night and did not start in left. Do you know why Brandon Jones is not playing with the obvious holes the Braves have in the outfield? I think that GA would be a good pinch hitter and spot player against right handers while Diaz would be the same against left handers. Neither are starters and are liabilities defensively. I will take Frenchy and his arm any day when it comes crunch time. Same with Brandon. Why has he not been given a chance? He has speed and a good arm and can hit the tater. Sounds to me like he is an outfielder.

Wayne in Utah

July 3rd, 2009
10:31 am

Brandon Jones is an enigma. A couple of years ago, he had 15-20 HR power, and was drove in 100 runs between AA and AAA. I know that in 2008 he had some sort of nagging injury. I wonder if it could still be affecting his power??

Does anybody know?

ryan c

July 3rd, 2009
10:33 am

we have many trading pieces to dangle without trading any of our future studs: boone logan, kj, francoeur, canizares, b. jones. a package of logan, canizares, and kj might net some value (nothing elite). i only listed francoeur because he might be a throw in that sends the deal over the top. as of now, we could be looking to trade kotchman for some first base power. if i am guessing correctly, francoeur is probably going to lose his starting job soon, if not already. our outfield might be alright. so…add kotchman to the above list of expendables. trade francouer….keep the turkey underwear.

unbelievable

July 3rd, 2009
10:35 am

Don, Josh Anderson has this line right now .255/.287/.321/.608. Yes another outfielder with a sub .300 OBP and no power would solve all of our needs. We’re having a hard enough time getting Diaz to play over Jeffrey right now. You probably think Jeff is still a good mlb player also

ryan c

July 3rd, 2009
10:35 am

matt diaz is a defensive equivalent to francoeur. better range, but worse arm. i’d rather have range. plus, he can hit a little.

Lamar Banks

July 3rd, 2009
10:37 am

cvbraves

I’ve read numerous reports that gave the indication that Frank Wren will not trade the young talent for a bat. Rest assured that Hanson and Heyward will not be traded. Freeman would go on that list unless a 1st baseman became available who was under club control i.e Adrian Gonzalez. And SD has not indicated he is available. I don’t think Cody Johnson is as “untouchable”. Many scouts feel he has to cut down on his strikeouts but has undeniable power.

brent a.

July 3rd, 2009
10:37 am

Big week-end, and our toughest pitching opponent should be Lannan, tomorrow, but he’s facing Hanson.

I think it’s fitting that Tommy is pitching on the 4th, because I think he’s our most exciting guy and is liable to step up and do something amazing, like throw a no-hitter (with about 8 walks), or strike-out 20 batters on the 4th of July, in our nation’s capital.

Happy Birthday America!

Go Braves, sweep the Nats!

AndyC

July 3rd, 2009
10:37 am

Don

Anderson’s stats for the season are below. You tell me how these numbers would have saved the season.

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
137 18 35 3 3 0 12 6 16 12 2 .255 .287 .321 .608

Yeah, and Bobby is the one that doesn’t have a clue….right.

Supes

July 3rd, 2009
10:43 am

Josh Willingham is serviceable defensively, no worst than Matt Diaz.

LOAF is definitely a defensive liabilitiy, but he can still hit mistake pitches and make solid contact. So we tolerate him.

Look, beyond having Jeff’s throwing ability (out of the game when he is not in RF), he isn’t vastly superior to either Diaz or Willingham. Jeff has slowed down, he doesn’t make big catches anymore. He’s solid, but not great. Diaz and Willingham are serviceable, which is just the step below.

and yes I’ve seen Josh play LF when he was with the Marlins.

McFann :Ô:

July 3rd, 2009
10:43 am

Thanks for the new Blog, Ms. Rogers!

Dutchie

Yeah, that was a clutch hit–felt good! Maybe that will get him going…?

Jason McCann (sorry McFann) has got to do a better job on his defense.

Don’t apologize…I’m kinda over the, “He’s better than he was last year” thing…at least for now. This past homestand he didn’t look very good with his throwing.

Rob, t you are in trouble now. I said something similar yeaterday, not Molina far. To scared to do that. McFann will be out to get you

Well, he can’t do it now! Voting is closed…ah, boy. BMac didn’t do such a hot job at showing off why he should be the ASG starter last night, did he? :roll:

Roman Gal Now McFann and cabravesfan are out to get me and my posts are becoming Marietta Derekesqe.

Do NOT insult yourself like that! Holy cow…you’re not even in the same universe as that guy…

AustinBrave

July 3rd, 2009
10:44 am

Would not surprise me if Conrad is taking Kelly’s place he needs to go down and work out his problems.

abwright

July 3rd, 2009
10:44 am

Doc Holiday, 9:49 am … “You guys think Phillies will regain strength once Ibañez is back?”

Both the Mets and the Phillies started the season with impressive bullpens and good/great hitting. However, the weakness in starting pitching has been wearing on both bullpens.

The Phillies have played four fewer games than the rest of the NL-east. They have played at least 10 fewer games against the NL-central than the rest of the teams in the NL-east have. Although Ibañez’s return will be a lift to the Phillies offense and J-Ro seems to be coming out of his funk, the Phillies are going to have to live with a lot of late blown leads by the bullpen. This will grind them down for the rest of the season. Even if Philly makes some moves in their starting pitching, their bullpen is worn down. My guess is that Philly ends up sub-.500 for this year.

If the Mets get some injured players back, they still have the problem of a worn-out bullpen. Even K-Rod is starting to show the wear-and-tear, especially since he is being used for two innings in critical games. After last year’s work-load with the Angels, his arm must be just about falling off.

Of the Marlins’s starters, Josh Johnson has pitched at most 157 innings (2006), Volstad has pitched 84 innings (2008, he has surpassed that in 2009 already), Miller has pitched 107 (2008), Nolasco pitched 140 (2006), 21 (2007, injury), 212 (2008), and Sean West is their new fifth starter and a rookie.

Nolasco is due for a problem with his 212 innings last year being an 70+ inning jump from his previous high. Volstad, Miller, West, and Johnson have never accumulated close to 200 innings. I don’t see how this entire staff is not going to blow up come September.

Because of pitching fatigue (Mets and Phillies – bullpen, Marlins – starters), late August and September are going to be nightmares for those three clubs.

Even though the Braves are frustrating to watch due to their inconsistent offense, their starters are routinely going into the sixth or seventh inning. Their bullpen may be locally tired due to over-use of Moylan, Gonzalez, and Soriano, but Medlen, Acosta, O’Flaherty, Carlyle (when he returns) should be in good shape for the remainder of the season.

Supes

July 3rd, 2009
10:45 am

I’d trade Jeff and Jo-Jo straight up for Willingham, if the Nats want to do that type of deal why not?

Jeff is finished as a Brave. If not during the season, he’ll be released in the off-season and free to sign elsewhere.

Jo-Jo isn’t cracking the Braves rotation this year or the next. Yes he’s injured right now, or still on the DL, whatever, but he’s got some value as a left handed starter/long reliever. The Nats don’t have much pitching.

It would be a “change of scenery” type trade as far as the OF-ers go, and the Nats get a throw in pitcher.

Nothing spectacular but a decent deal for both sides.

Lamar Banks

July 3rd, 2009
10:46 am

We also have to remember that John S. made the Teixeira trade and not Frank Wren. I think he has made some great personnel decisions. The only move I was critical of was one we didn’t make and that was the signing of Furcal for that amount of money.

Overall I have complete faith in the direction this team is going in

jason

July 3rd, 2009
10:48 am

Keeping It Real, The only reason I can think as far as Jones is concerned is his lack of power. Loaf is not going to play Defense, but he is going to hit.

As far as Francouer is cocerned, when you compare his defense to his offensive production… the defense just does not win out. Francouer SUCKS as a MLB player. All he has going for him in RF is his arm. Not his glove, not his range, his arm. That is all he has going for him. When you swing through three strikes, Three fastballs (no higher than 90mph) right down the middle, then it’s time to go find another career. It’s a shame, no an embarrassment that not only is he starting everyday, but that he is even on the team.

Keeping It Real

July 3rd, 2009
10:48 am

Lamar Banks

I do not agree with you based on what the Braves have trotted out on the field. I did not see where either Anderson or Schafer were better than Jones. They did get more playing time and opportunity. The Braves have mediocre outfielders(Mclouth included) who do not make the grade in comparison to the other teams in the league. How many of these guys would be starting for other teams in either division? If the Braves had the Dodgers reserve outfielders, they would be in first place. I think I read somewhere on this blog that the outfield starters should be McLouth, Diaz and Anderson(had he stayed). LMAO!!!!!

McFann :Ô:

July 3rd, 2009
10:50 am

Why would the Braves be calling someone up?

jason

July 3rd, 2009
10:52 am

Lamar Banks, I think that fact is often overlooked. I think FW has done a good job this year. The JoJo/JF for Willingham deal would be good, but that’s all I would offer, nothing more.

AndyC

July 3rd, 2009
10:54 am

I was just looking at the stats for the Bravos and noticed that even as bad as KJ has been running the past month or more, he still has a higher OPS than Frenchy .645 to .628. That’s pretty bad.

jason

July 3rd, 2009
10:55 am

Keeping It Real, Your 10:30 post was basicly calling for a platoon in LF. I think that’s what we have now with Loaf and MattyD. I like Brandon Jones, and wish he would get a longer look, but the fact that he has seemed to have lost all his power is why he is not getting that shot.

McFann :Ô:

July 3rd, 2009
10:55 am

CONGRATS to Tommy Hanson, BTW!!

Keeping It Real

July 3rd, 2009
10:56 am

Jason,

Are you telling me that the guys playing outfield now have more power and overall ability than Jones? Something is out of whack here.

Frenchy will be all right once he stops pressing.I like his swagger. He is a winner and he is getting his groove back. As far missing three 90 mph fastballs, how many of us arm chair observers could even get the bat off our shoulder to swing.

jason

July 3rd, 2009
10:57 am

AndyC, It just goes to show you hoe inpetent and horrible Francouer really is. I bet his wife doesn’t love him for his “Big Stick”.

PWHjort

July 3rd, 2009
11:00 am

Yeah, I honestly wouldn’t look at Willingham as a solution. He’s really bad in the field and constantly injured. But if you can get him for Francoeur/Reyes, I’m all for it.

Greg in TN

July 3rd, 2009
11:02 am

Morning denizens…

Fresh off a sweep of the reeling defending champs, the team heads to DC looking to build on what turned out to be a rather fortuitous home stand in terms of gains in the standings. The Braves sit two games behind the pace in a division that either nobody apparently wants, or is healthy enough to seize control.

Have to play better ball this weekend in a ballpark that the Braves haven’t played well in since it opened. The Nats/Expos have always played this team tough, even back in the golden era of Braves ball and since baseball’s return to the beltway in the 2004 season, no Atlanta team has left Smithsonian land with a series sweep. I don’t believe a sweep is needed here, but a series win certainly keeps the momentum going toward the All-Star break.

Speaking of said All-Star break, here’s hoping Everybody’s Favorite Catcher can catch Yadier Molina for the starting NL backstop for the mid-summer classic. Molina’s defensive numbers are better, but I don’t see those numbers making up for the edge B-Mac has offensively.

For what it’s worth denizens, this is the ballot I turned in:

AL: C – Mauer (MIN); 1B – Youkilis (BOS); 2B – Cabrera (CLE); SS – Bartlett (TB) (who is just a little better this year than Jeter IMO); 3B – Rolen (TOR); OF – Crawford (TB), Suzuki (SEA), Hunter (ANA).

NL: C- McCann (ATL); 1B – Pujols (STL); 2B – Utley (PHL); SS – Ramirez (FLA); 3B – Sandoval (SF) (really would have loved to go with Chipper here, but Sandoval has had a great first half); OF – Beltran (NYM) (DL), Braun (MIL), Hawpe (COL).

jason

July 3rd, 2009
11:04 am

Keeping It Real, You are kidding right? I don’t get paid millions of dollars to hit 90 mph fastballs. He does, and he ain’t. So he is basicly getting paid for nothing.
“Frenchy will be all right once he stops pressing.” I tried telling that one to myself for over a year now. It’s not that simple. He is late on fastballs and can’t hit hanging breaking balls. What does that tell you? It’s not like Chipper’s slump that has been going on for a month. This has been going on for 2 1/2 years. Pressing? If he was pressing that much for that long, he would be insane by now. He is just not that good of a player. He has been given time to produce, and he has only produced failure. I am bot talking about him as a person. I am sure he is a fun and likeable guy. He just sucks and really doesn’t have any talent left. I guess he has used it up. He has used up his 15 minutes of fame. He can now just disapear a millionare.

As far as Jones goes, I am with you. I would have liked to see more of an oppurtunity with him. I just don’t see. It’s strange how things work out. I would rather see him in RF now, but I don’t think that will happen.

McFann :Ô:

July 3rd, 2009
11:05 am

Gre in TN here’s hoping Everybody’s Favorite Catcher can catch Yadier Molina for the starting NL backstop for the mid-summer classic.

Here’s what mlb.com said today:

“Did Brian McCann of the Braves have enough gas to keep sprinting all the way past Yadier Molina? Or did the Cardinals’ catcher resist that rally sufficiently to become the first NL catcher in 17 years to be voted a hometown starter? If Molina’s lead was lost in this race, it would go down as one of the biggest final-week comebacks in All-Star voting history.

That would be sweet!

L8r.

bravefaninok

July 3rd, 2009
11:05 am

I would turn frenchy into a pitcher at this point,he would be a good hitting pitcher

jason

July 3rd, 2009
11:06 am

bravefaninok, Well said…

glord

July 3rd, 2009
11:07 am

My son wanted to watch the team get on the bus after the fireworks last night. The only player we did not see get on the bus was KJ. We also saw someone that did look like a player that we did not recognize. Maybe Conrad?

Bill

July 3rd, 2009
11:08 am

Now that BC has seen the light with KJ, any chance he will stop coddling Francoeur? Anderson and Diaz are hot with the bat right now. Sure we lose a little defense but it hasn’t been defense that caused us to be under .500, it’s hitting. Francoeur would be a great late inning defensive replacement.

J Dub

July 3rd, 2009
11:08 am

Keeping it Real
“Also, the biggest mistake that Wren can make is to assume that Hudson can come back and to even consider trading Yunel and Frenchy. You think the Phillies are considering trading Jimmy Rollins?”

Believe me, I am with you on not trading Yunel but are you really throwing Jimmy Rollins in the same category as Frenchie? Rollins has an MVP on the shelf. Frenchie? He has 6 good months on the shelf and 2.5 horrible years. Rollins has built up a little lee-way with his past performance. Frenchie is just plain awful and has been for going on 2 years.

PWHjort

July 3rd, 2009
11:09 am

Bravefaninok,
That’s pretty much Francoeur’s only shot at a successful MLB career at this point.

J Dub

July 3rd, 2009
11:10 am

Wanna read a classic Philadelphia blog post? Check out John Newlin at 7:53 on the Philly Blog.

http://www.philly.com/dailynews/sports/20090703_Phils_head_home_after_sweep_by_Braves.html

jason

July 3rd, 2009
11:10 am

And who the heck keeps talking about trading CK? There are some crazy trades being thrown out. CK, Chipper, BMac, Prado, Diaz, Loaf, McLouth, Infante are going nowhere. Yunel, most likely not. If he does it will be to get rid of him, not for thst ellusive Big Bat. There are no starting pitchers getting moved. I don’t see either Gonzo or Soriano getting moved. So, cross all those players off the list and tell me out of who’s left, what kind of deal are we looking to make. We have nothing to offer for that Big Bat that we need.

PWHjort

July 3rd, 2009
11:11 am

“I do not agree with you based on what the Braves have trotted out on the field. I did not see where either Anderson or Schafer were better than Jones. They did get more playing time and opportunity. The Braves have mediocre outfielders(Mclouth included) who do not make the grade in comparison to the other teams in the league. How many of these guys would be starting for other teams in either division? If the Braves had the Dodgers reserve outfielders, they would be in first place. I think I read somewhere on this blog that the outfield starters should be McLouth, Diaz and Anderson(had he stayed). LMAO!!!!!” (Keeping it fake)

I don’t get it. Your post, well, it doesn’t make sense. English sense. Like, the sentence and paragraph structure is such that you don’t complete an idea with the post.

aswingruber

July 3rd, 2009
11:11 am

Here are some posts by fans on the Philly.com website:

“I agree we or Charlie better start to worry…..By the end of the holiday weekend the Phils will be in 2nd or 3rd place……Time to think of something…..did anyone else see how Bobby Cox managed the Game and Charlie doesnt manage the game? He just worries about how is players are going to react if he does manage the game……Did anyone else see this?”

“I’ve said it before, they will be in 4th place by the end of next week. It’s time to start looking at becoming a seller. This team can get a nice bounty of prospects that could be part of the Phils with guys like Taylor, Drabek, etc. I know this isn’t a popular thought, but this team is not a Championship team this year and the sooner we realize that the sooner we can set ourselves up for improvement in 2010.”

Nice to see that the Philly faithful are as reactionary as our bloggers. I mean you got guys asking the Phillies to be sellers and rebuild for next year and they’re still in first place and a year removed from the WS Championship! Wow. They even appreciate Bobby and think the guy that led them to a championship last year is no good. Haha…

Same crap, different team.

Shamus Thacker

July 3rd, 2009
11:12 am

I have a disturbing mental picture of Frenchy after last night’s game. Slumped in corner pouting, turkey-drawers pulled over head.

bravefaninok

July 3rd, 2009
11:14 am

And if he ever did find his stroke again he could be like owings ….lol

aswingruber

July 3rd, 2009
11:15 am

HAHAHA Shamus

AndyC

July 3rd, 2009
11:15 am

McFann

I sure hope that BMac did pass Molina but I don’t see how it is possible. Especially the way he played the last week or so. I still think he is a lock as the reserve so don’t worry. :)

Roman Gal

July 3rd, 2009
11:17 am

I’ve got to outdo Tommy in something.

I love Medlen. How can you not just love him? He’s so adorable!!

jason

July 3rd, 2009
11:17 am

Yeah, Keeping it real is not keeping it real.

DAM

July 3rd, 2009
11:18 am

Packerman –

Not sure if you’ll see this flipping over to the new blog, but let me explain why it doesn’t matter about Diaz’s lack of fielding.

Based on data from fangraphs.com, Diaz has actually improved his fielding drastically since his first season in 2004. He has improved from a UZR/150 of -51.1 in 2004 to -33.6 in 2005, 16.5 in 2006, and 20.1 in 2007. In an injury-shortened season last year, it dropped again to -9.6, but this year he is once again above-average at 1.8 through 44 games.

Francoeur’s fielding, on the other hand, has gotten WORSE since 2005, primarily due to a very low Range rating … a rating that is actually lower than Diaz’s Range rating. That stat is not a short-term fluke, either. His ratings from 2007-current, playing virtually every game, have been -0.8, -7.7, and -4.9.

Ok, so now we’ve established that it turns out Diaz actually has more range in the OF than Francoeur. Francoeur’s only defensive value is his arm.

Now, let’s look at offensive runs above average based on wOBA and wRAA from fangraphs.com. This is where it becomes clear that Diaz needs to be playing every day (or else we need to bring in a different OF). Francoeur is currently projected to finish this year -19.1 runs BELOW average, and that is being generous since he is already at -13.1 below average.

On the other hand, Diaz is currently 5.7 runs ABOVE average offensively and is projected to finish 8.7 runs above average.

So, just to review all that data, yes, you read it correctly, Diaz is currently better than Francoeur both offensively AND defensively. Do I really think Diaz is a better fielder than Francoeur? No, I don’t. I think you can tell just by watching them out in the field which one is quicker and should be the better fielder. However, I personally believe that Francoeur’s horrendous offensive struggles have been affecting his performance in the field.

Bottom line, as of now, Diaz needs to be out there every day. Period.

Roman Gal

July 3rd, 2009
11:18 am

McFann-

Thanks! That just makes me feel so double pitts to chesty special.

BravesfaninWis

July 3rd, 2009
11:20 am

Nice blog Carrol.. This whole wave of momentum is freaking me out to be honest with you.. We sweep the Phillies, gain 3 games on them in that series alone, now we are heading off on a huge high to take on one of the worst teams in baseball..

That is the part that scares me.. What better time then now to possibly get into first place? If we take care of the Nationals like by all accounts that we should, and the Mets and Phillies continue on a slide, the Braves could very well be in first place.. I am not going to hold my breath though, afterall, these are the same Braves that have let us fans down in recent times..

jason

July 3rd, 2009
11:20 am

Maybe while out on the golf course with Chipper and Smoltz in the offseason, Francouer could get a referral to smoltz’s shrink. Francouer could definitely use one.

Wayne in Utah

July 3rd, 2009
11:21 am

Lots of talk about who is better defensively, and whether a good defender is worth it or not……doesn’t matter. Bobby is going to play whoever he feels gives him the best chance to win. If he thinks Jeff in right gives the team a better shot at winning, I suspect he will be right back out there again tonight. (that would be my guess)

Just because you pinch hit for the guy, doesn’t mean he doesn’t start again the next day.

Frenchy is a much better rightfielder than either Diaz or Blanco. Probably better than McLouth by a smaller margin.

Another thing, we can’t trade a guy on the DL (JoJo).

Last thing: I chuckle every time I see a post about trading all our misfits for a bat. I can see it now. The Nats are thinking, geez, we have a lot of outfielders and other marginal players. Let’s trade one of those that has some power (Willingham) to the Braves for all their misfits. That will definitely make us better!!!

Let’s try to keep it real folks.

bravefaninok

July 3rd, 2009
11:22 am

Diaz looks much better in the field this year.looks comfortable out there.

PWHjort

July 3rd, 2009
11:23 am

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOEEEE You don’t know the shape I’m in.

DAM

July 3rd, 2009
11:25 am

Based on offensive runs above average alone, Diaz is currently 18.8 runs better than Francoeur (ignoring projections through the rest of the season). He would have to be one of the worst defensive players in baseball to counteract that. Even Adam Dunn has only managed a UZR of -14.1 so far this year … and he has to be the worst fielder in baseball.

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