The Freak and the Giants are inbound

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

 

   Just when it seemed like the Mets were here for about a week – hey, four-game series, what can you say – we get the Giants for another “week.” Four days to contend with, at least statistically, the best pitching staff in baseball.

   The Giants’ starting rotation’s ERA of 3.55 is the best in the majors. Their bullpen ERA of 3.27 had been best in majors until the Dodgers moved ahead of them at 3.25, but it’s darn good. (The Braves, by the way, are second in the majors among rotations with a 3.69 ERA. So not too shabby either.)

   The Braves get the National League’s reigning Cy Young winner and All-Star starter on Wednesday in Tim Lincecum (the Freak), a guy tonight in Jonathan Sanchez, who’s coming off a no-hitter in his last start.

   They’re also expected to face rookie Ryan Sadowski tomorrow – though the Giants have been saying TBA. He’s made three starts as the Giants’ fifth starter and wasn’t needed heading into the All-Star break, so he made a tune-up start in Class A on Monday. All he’s done so far in the majors is pitch 13 shutout innings in his first two starts – both wins – then allow two runs in five innings against the Marlins.

   The Braves are doing well to miss Matt Cain who is 11-2 with a 2.32 ERA.

   Between the Braves and Giants, though, momentum has to favor the Braves, coming off a series win against the Mets, while the Giants lost two of three to the Pirates and have lost three of their last four overall.

   I’m no rocket scientist, but it would seem the key is not to let Pablo Sandoval beat you. He’s leading the Giants in batting average (.331), on-base percentage (.381), OPS (.950), home runs (15), RBIs (56) and comes to Atlanta on an eight-game hitting streak.

   The Braves averaged 7.7 runs in the three wins against the Mets and have reason to feel good about the way they’ve been swinging. But they could use a little help from the Cubs, who are in Philadelphia for the next three days.

   The Phillies can’t seem to lose right now. That’s eight wins in a row and 12 out of 13 since the Braves swept them. Those on the ol’ blog who are saying the Braves woke the Phillies up might be on to something.

   Since that sweep by the Braves, which ended on July 2, the Phillies are 12-1 with a 2.40 ERA. They’ve averaged 6.23 runs per game, hit .293 with 19 home runs and looked like the defending World Series champions that they are.

 

ESCOBAR REDUX:

   I’ll try to make this brief because we hashed it out a good deal last night and it’s just throwing grease on a fire, but I’ll give Yunel Escobar his point, that we the media, don’t come talk to him after three hits but we want to talk to him after he makes a mistake.

   That’s true, he’s right, can’t argue that, and I’ll tell you why – like I told him during a relatively cordial chat at the batting cage yesterday with Martin Prado translating. Sad as it is to say, maybe, we don’t make the effort we should when he does well because of the language barrier and the time and effort it takes to get a teammate or coach to translate, when we’ve got limited time after a game to scramble on deadline.

   Odds are there are other players who also did well in the game offensively who speak English. Like I said, sad to say, and I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, and I wish I had taken Spanish instead of Latin, but that’s just how it’s been.

   As for talking to Escobar when things go poorly, I also tried to explain this yesterday. We are trying to get his perspective because there are always two sides to everything, and he might say something that clears something up that we couldn’t see. It’s an attempt to be fair to him and accurate about what happened in the game, and to give him a chance to explain his side of things. More often than not, things aren’t black-and-white, they’re gray, and it’s good to have multiple points of view.

   It seems like we’ve come to him a lot lately with things like that, and it’s piled up and I can understand why he’s frustrated. And yes, we’ve totally overblown one hit-and-run play. People mess up. He didn’t miss the sign, he just didn’t pull the trigger on a pitch, and it cost the Braves a key runner, but there were other chances in the game.

   But having said that, I also think he could have gone a long way in diffusing the situation last night just by talking. One way we are pretty darn lucky as a media crew around here, is that the Braves understand we have a job to do and owe a debt to Braves fans/readers. So they like to have players who deal with the media in a professional manner, and frankly, just keep things sailing smooth around here.

   That’s not how they are with Escobar right now. Maybe, hopefully, that’ll change.

 

   ESCOBAR’S HOT BAT: And now, onto brighter topics with Escobar. Bobby Cox noted last night how Escobar has been driving in runs like crazy since he was dropped lower in the order.

   Since Prado took over the second base job and the No. 2 hole in the lineup on June 30, Escobar is hitting .375 (15-for-40) with five doubles, a triple, two homer and 13 RBIs in 15 games.

   He’s hitting .427 with runners in scoring position – something he’s done well all season – and lower in the order seems to have brought him a ton of opportunities with men on base lately.

   “Prado is doing such a great job in the second hole, and Esce’s got gap power, home run power,” Cox said. “He doesn’t strike out a lot in big situations. He puts the ball in play. He’s been important that way.”

 

MADDUX REDUX

   I just wanted to re-visit this topic one last time, how special I thought Friday was and what a nice job the Braves did of honoring one of the best to play the game.

   I think it was pretty plain to see how moved Greg Maddux was. I’m not sure anyone actually caught him in tears, but he was close – both during the ovation he got at the luncheon when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame and when No. 31 was unveiled Friday night. You could see Maddux flush, and his wife wipe away tears, and his father wipe away tears. Terry McGuirk told me Maddux said to him, up on the stage, “This is unbelievable.”

   I wasn’t there for the Cubs ceremony, obviously, but it’d be hard to be as moving as what the Braves did for Maddux Friday night, with the team on the field behind him and all. I think the fans should be proud, as well, for the kind of welcome you guys gave him on Friday night, showing up on time and being there. Very cool.

   OK, more from the ballpark later.

 

2,443 comments Add your comment

18 Wheels of Love

July 20th, 2009
12:59 pm

Carroll, it’s nice to see you take the time to try and explain things to Yunel – I for one hope he listened to what you were saying.

Atticus

July 20th, 2009
1:00 pm

Great stuff Carroll.

is it me or does McLouth foul off an AWFUL high amount of pitches? Needless to say he is in a slump.

Carroll one question:

With our starting pitchers being so effective this year, why is our bullpen overworked (as usual)?

Slugger - theweeklyscene.com

July 20th, 2009
1:02 pm

Carroll -

Thanks for your input [and honesty] about the dynamic and case with Yunel Escobar and the media.

You’re not the only one who tries to go with the most efficient solution possible when facing a strict deadline.

I think we’ve all done the same in our own professions.

Shamus Thacker

July 20th, 2009
1:03 pm

If Escobar is traded, you gotta one-man boycott here…

unbelievable

July 20th, 2009
1:03 pm

good to see Bobby noticing Yunel’s solid performances lately. Somehow the media people need to repair their relationship with this kid. Im sure Yunel hated the fact that everyone always went running up to Francouer for quotes after big wins, even when Frenchy did nothing to contribute. Bobby was quick to pull Yunel out of the lineup, but Frenchy remained even when he was one of the worst hitters in baseball

GboroBravo

July 20th, 2009
1:04 pm

Have any of you went to a game at Nationals Park? If so what are the best/affordable seats to get? I’m planning on going to the Braves series in September.

Shamus Thacker

July 20th, 2009
1:04 pm

Don’t mind the “first” stuff, but it’s nice to see cooler heads prevail.

Gary

July 20th, 2009
1:05 pm

If Escobar is traded, we better get the moon and at least 2 gas planets revolving around the sun.

Shamus Thacker

July 20th, 2009
1:06 pm

Have any of you went to a game at Nationals Park? If so what are the best/affordable seats to get?

Dunno Gboro, but if it’s like everything else in DC, you might wanna think about sneaking in…

DiamondJim

July 20th, 2009
1:07 pm

Thank you Carroll for your remarks about Esco. The media should get off his back and let him just play ball. He is the most dependable of ALL the Braves in run producing situations. Start praising him for that and leave off with the negative.

On another note, thanks to the poster last night who reported that Dish Network now has Peachtree TV on channel 449 or 450. PTV has the Tuesday & Wednesday games and our Dish guide already shows that those games ARE on Dish!!! Thank the Lord that somebody at Dish finally woke up.

Thanks to DOB and Carroll for the blog – enjoy reading your comments.

The_Superhoo (Montana by way of Virginia)

July 20th, 2009
1:09 pm

Kind of ashamed to say it myself, but I hadn’t really considered the language barrier factor in all this. Not that I’ve been overly upset with Escobar of late. For the most part he’s been playing outstanding for a few weeks now. But there are so MANY latin/hispanic players nowadays that I guess I (and probably many others) take it for granted and don’t think of the language issue we might, say, with a player like Kawakami.

Good blog, Carroll!

Buffalo NY Braves Fan

July 20th, 2009
1:10 pm

Great blog Carroll. I’d be interested to see what McLouth has to say about his recent plate struggles, seems like he is pressing, or not comfortable in the lead-off role?

Slugger - theweeklyscene.com

July 20th, 2009
1:14 pm

Diamond, Gary -

Agree with both comments on Escobar.

As previously stated, Escobar has a chance to be our version of Jeter.

Let’s NOT trade him…

Kotchman swings at everything always. There are some guys that hit so much their whole life (say with his Dad), that they just want to swing at EVERYTHING.

Kotchman’s got a pretty great swing, it just doesn’t look as good when the ball is 6 inches in, up, out or down.

He’s very flat through the zone with his hands and lower body in a good position to hit, the guy’s just rarely seen a pitch that doesn’t look tasty to swing at.

You know, GA swings at a lot of pitches, too. Both guys make a lot of contact but don’t walk so much. Maybe their hitting styles are preached down on the Anaheim farm?

Josh

July 20th, 2009
1:15 pm

wow! thats awesome that Dish network finally added Peachtree TV!

The_Superhoo (Montana by way of Virginia)

July 20th, 2009
1:15 pm

Shamus Thacker,

What’s “affordable?” You can get tickets right at the left field wall for about $30. Good view of everything (field, scoreboard, “crowd”). If you get one closer to right-center you can see in the bullpen too.

Also you can walk right in that gate from the Metro, and get right out ahead of everyone else. Good stuff.

gotigers72

July 20th, 2009
1:15 pm

The Freak needs to get a new hairstyle. Haircut is more like it! Right now, he looks like someone’s mother, especially when he gets hot and sweaty during a game. Someone’s mother that lives in a trailer park, in a trailer with no AC.

Dude can throw the rock like nobody’s bidness, but somebody needs to get in his ear about his personal grooming habits. Please Timmy, lose that hairdo, before some trucker mistakes you for a trailer park Momma.

Rodney Derrick

July 20th, 2009
1:16 pm

Yunel does not need to talk to the media. His playing speaks. Why should we care what he says? Or what any of the players say. Even Bobby. Well, with Bobby we know what he is going to say– “We hit a lot of balls hard, but right at them….He threw a lot of strikes, but they hit a couple where no one was playing….They got a few good bounces….Tomorrow night we will get them.” And so on.

Personally, I could care less what they say. A lot of athletes run out the old line— “Thank you God”! Give me a break. What I want is colorful language describing the scene from Carroll and DOB. Give us some Grantland Rice, give us some Dizzy Dean (with better grammar and pronunciation perhaps), give us something to go Selah over. A flash of spikes, a burning caldron of heat at the old ball park, rocking the stands, slow as a turtle, fast as the wind, smoking holes in the bats, choking on their failures, blowing those calls at first.

These sports figures are not Barack Obama or George Bush or Fidel Castro. What athletes say to the media does not matter.

Slugger - theweeklyscene.com

July 20th, 2009
1:16 pm

I want to give Church the benefit of the doubt, but I think we need to move McClouth to right and find a leadoff guy that can also play CF.

Rick

July 20th, 2009
1:17 pm

Maybe it’s just me, but if my job required me to communicate with a large number of spanish speaking players, I would’ve made it a point to learn the language in order to be the best reporter I could be. I’m not trying to be critical, I’m just a bit surprised by your comments on the subject. You sound as if you can’t learn a new language because you didn’t take it in school. The “I wish I’d taken spanish” comment was a weak excuse. Trust me, I took spanish in high school and it taught me little more than uno, dos, tres. Heck, considering the number of latino players these days, your employer should offer you language training!!

madduxglavinesmoltz.blogspot.com

July 20th, 2009
1:17 pm

I’m so glad that I was able to make the game Friday night. The Braves hit the celebration out of the ballpark. I’m not sure how they could have done a better job. It certainly didn’t hurt that the team just destroyed the Mets as tribute as well. It was enough to pretend it was the late 90s again!

Homer

July 20th, 2009
1:17 pm

unbelievable

July 20th, 2009
1:18 pm

Josh, what?? what channel #?

Buffalo NY Braves Fan

July 20th, 2009
1:18 pm

GboroBravo,

By September you’ll be able to buy the cheap seats and sit wherever you want. The Nats will have lost close to, if not over, 100 games by then.

AlabamaBrave

July 20th, 2009
1:19 pm

Buffalo NY Braves Fan

July 20th, 2009
1:10 pm
Great blog Carroll. I’d be interested to see what McLouth has to say about his recent plate struggles, seems like he is pressing, or not comfortable in the lead-off role?

The team needs Nate to break out of his slump. One of the announcers (Joe Morgan) said last night that when a player is acquired mid-season he might try too hard to do what the team acquired him for. Hopefully he will snap out of it. The good thing is that he has not let it affect his defense and he did get on base 4 times last night.

AlabamaBrave

July 20th, 2009
1:20 pm

Slugger – theweeklyscene.com

July 20th, 2009
1:16 pm

The problem is finding somebody. Give Church time, he is till adjusting to his new team.

Steve from OH

July 20th, 2009
1:20 pm

Slugger–Jordan Schafer.

Salamander

July 20th, 2009
1:21 pm

Music from previous blog: RE – Fiery Furnaces

Totally agree with you DOB, not sure if you thought I was into them, but I actually think they’re kinda boring/pretentious. I bought Blueberry Boat (2004) a while back, and I’ve heard pieces of Gallowsbird’s Bark (2003), and it sounds a lot like slam poetry sung over a piano and other noises. I like ‘weird’ music, but Fiery Furnaces songs (at least from the albums I heard) tend to be lyrically verbose – Its like they went to grad. school for literature, but decided to be musicians with bloated poetry for lyrics instead.

If you like music with lots of big words in it, and rambling themes that take a while to develop, then I guess you might like thi

If Escobar is traded, we better get the moon and at least 2 gas planets revolving around the sun.

Heh, I liked this (Solar System dork).

CB

July 20th, 2009
1:21 pm

McFann and Lew, as far as comic strips Pickles is the best. Of course it is closer to my age group. :-)

Atticus

July 20th, 2009
1:23 pm

I wasn’t at the game but I think the one thing that would’ve been nice (if it wasn’t included) in the celebration would’ve been to have Hall of Famers and old Braves to have soundbites and quotes about how good Mad Dog was and their best quick story.

I actually wish the Braves would give the freaking shell game or the hammer, drill, race or cheesy mid-inning games a rest and show more classic Braves highlights. This franchise has some great moments that need to be replayed to the fans, especially if we miss the playoffs 4 straight years.

AlabamaBrave

July 20th, 2009
1:23 pm

CB

July 20th, 2009
1:21 pm
McFann and Lew, as far as comic strips Pickles is the best. Of course it is closer to my age group.

I am a big Garfield fan as well as Luann and Funky Winkerbean

getsomewins

July 20th, 2009
1:24 pm

If Braves offensive struggles are behind them, we should make some serious noise for the rest of the season. We can make some hay this week if we can win at least 5 of the next seven games (vs teams ahead of us Giants and Brewers in wildcard)

Brooklyn Braves Brawler

July 20th, 2009
1:26 pm

Esco is money in the 6 slot and his defense is fantastic. He has mental lapses like all kids that age but you take the good and bad with talented people. I would have taken that ball that Esco missed as well. That pitch was so far inside, even if the hi & run sign was on, Diory should have had the base stolen. Love Diory, he is just a slow baserunner.

Somebody needs to get Nate & Chipper’s arses in gear.

Russell

July 20th, 2009
1:27 pm

DOB: “Like I said, sad to say, and I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, and I wish I had taken Spanish”. The only thing sad about that quote is that we are in an English-speaking country and you are embarrassed that you don’t know Spanish. How about Yunel Escobar being embarassed that he is being paid $400,000+/year by an American company and he doesn’t know how to speak the language. That is embarassing.

glord

July 20th, 2009
1:28 pm

Slugger – theweeklyscene.com – I will agree that I over simplfied it by saying the hitter always swings. I should have said almost always swings. Not to be arguementative but in your opinion when would a hitter not swing on a hit and run? Here is my opinion. The only slack I cut Escobar is that the pitch ran in on him. He might have frozen up because he thought he was going to get hit. Do you not believe swinging impeeds the catcher a little? Do you think that it has to be a strike to swing?

Interesting discussion. Just interested in your take on it.

DJ

July 20th, 2009
1:30 pm

What channel is peachtree on dish??

bakerman

July 20th, 2009
1:32 pm

Russell, Amen.

DiamondJim

July 20th, 2009
1:33 pm

unbelievable – DJ — Dish channel is 449 or 450

Atticus

July 20th, 2009
1:33 pm

Alabama, I also think Nate has somewhat had his “teeth” taken out. I realize they go hand in hand (hitting and stealing) but over the last month, there have been at least 5 occasions where we should’ve stolen him and we didn’t. I wish we would use his talent more on the bases, maybe even drag bunt to get him going again.

I still wonder though, he seems to foul off a ton of pitches when it seems like he should drill them.

Bravos33

July 20th, 2009
1:34 pm

“Have any of you went to a game at Nationals Park? If so what are the best/affordable seats to get?”

Hey, I think i have your answer. I am from GA, but live in DC for work now and I go to Nationals Park quite frequently (especially when the Braves are in town). It is a beautiful place, and ALL of the seats are very good for viewing the game. The cheapest seats are the $5 “grandstand” tickets. they are in the upper deck down the leftfield line, and they are similar to the Skyline tickets in ATL in that they are ONLY available the day of the game at the box office. Unless you get there right at game time, you will be able to purchase these tickets without a problem. As far as pre-purchasing, online you can purchase tickets, but do a google search for coupn codes for Nats tickets, because sometimes they offer discounts for games a few weeks in advance. If you want a good place to sit though, for the price I would say the Grandstand, but for more $, get tickets in left field and sit next to the Braves bullpen. It is a good view, and it is very close to the Braves pitchers warming up. Good luck!

Threadkiller

July 20th, 2009
1:35 pm

If we are shopping Escobar, we better get a huge return!!

Gary

July 20th, 2009
1:35 pm

4.5 games back in the Wild Card. Time to cut that lead in half with a series win against the G-men. Gotta take 2 our of three against the Brew Crew as well. Good to see the Braves finally playing like they are built too.

Atticus

July 20th, 2009
1:36 pm

glord, I also was wondering why we had such a POOR lead at first on that hit and run. At least make the thing interesting. With the pitch inside it, even with Esco not swinging, it should been closer.

unbelievable

July 20th, 2009
1:36 pm

those are the sports alternate channels. I never seen anything being picked up on those, but Ill give it a shot

Atticus

July 20th, 2009
1:37 pm

Can we make one thing clear and put it to rest:

We ARE NOT shopping Escobar. The dude is a stud and he in only due $500,000 next year. It aint happening. You don’t get that caliber of play for half a million, he is one of the best deals in the league.

GboroBravo

July 20th, 2009
1:38 pm

Thanks Bravos33

bravesfanforever

July 20th, 2009
1:39 pm

Oh man… Escobar, Escobar, Escobar… Carroll… You talked about a lot of stuff in this latest blog and guess, what: The fans can’t keep off the subject… Geez… Can we move on now?

The bottom line is that Yunel needs to learn English and he will not only get better treatment but he can also defend himself better. I hope he is trying very hard right now to take down those barriers because I don’t have much respect for people who don’t do what is necessary. So far I’m on the fence with his attitude. I default to Bobby on this one. He’s been around long enough to know that Escobar should know better… So this is first time and last time I’m going to talk about him and his attitude, except maybe to talk about trades.

One important note… For any of the California teams, we always and I’m mean ALWAYS need to mention ballpark effects. Pitching in the western dry air combined with huge ball parks is akin to offense in the high altitude in Colorado. Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego have the advantage when it comes to staff ERA.

So… San Fran may sport a league low 3.46 ERA, but they are benefiting from that humongous ballpark since they have a tiny 3.17 ERA at home. The Dodgers lead the league with a 3.12 ERA and the Braves have a 3.50 mark at home. if it wasn’t for the summer humidity in Atlanta, they may have an even lower ERA (water droplets reduce friction on the ball so it travels further). San Fran has a 3.78 road ERA thus balancing out the minuscule home ERA. The bottom line is that the Braves have an advantage playing at home for this series. They have the lower ERA and the Giants have the league’s worst run scoring on the road. Good combination for the BRAVES!

Hopefully the Bravos bats continue to hit against the Gints!

GO BRAVES!

Atticus

July 20th, 2009
1:39 pm

Gary the problem is not the lead, the problem is the number of teams ahead of us. It is very difficult to jump that many teams but your point is on, we need to beat them head-to-head.

glord

July 20th, 2009
1:40 pm

Slugger – theweeklyscene.com

July 20th, 2009
1:16 pm
I want to give Church the benefit of the doubt, but I think we need to move McClouth to right and find a leadoff guy that can also play CF.

I agree with moving Mclouth to either RF or LF. I the offense can be fixed with two players. A lead off hitting center fielder and a power hitting 1B.

Look at this line up by July 2010.

1. lead off CF
2. Prado 2B
3. Chipper 3B
4. Power 1B
5. Escobar SS
6. McCann C
7. Mclouth FL
8. Heyward RF
9. Pitcher

That is a pretty good line up. Especially with Esco amd Mac at weak hitting positions. The big question in all this is Schafers health/development. If he could be that lead off hitter by next July then we could put this line up together without much salary increase.

"Chef" Tim Dix

July 20th, 2009
1:41 pm

We all like his swagger, etc…but pouting in the field, not swinging on the H&R, and using his “language barrier” when good for him, makes Esco seem petty and childish. Dude can play no doubt, but I have to admit there have been times in the field I thought Chipper wanted to slap the highlights off his dome.

David O'Brien

July 20th, 2009
1:41 pm

Russell: Carroll wrote today’s blog, not me.

Tomahawk Talk

July 20th, 2009
1:41 pm

i wouldn’t go so far to say the offensive struggles are behind us because we started out the year pounding homeruns but tailed off. the lineup is MUCH better than at the beginning of the season. with the improved hitting of garrett anders, the subtraction of frenchy, and subtraction of the streaking kelly johnson this team is a lot better than when we started this season. we will be better but we still need the added POWER bat in the lineup. i say go after luke scott or ryan ludwick if we can. holliday is a last resort if we can get him for cheap.

DiamondJim

July 20th, 2009
1:42 pm

unbelievable those are the sports alternate channels. I never seen anything being picked up on those, but Ill give it a shot

True – but our Dish Guide shows the game there on Tuesday!

bravesfanforever

July 20th, 2009
1:43 pm

Speaking of a language barrier… If I was in another country, I bet I would be at a rudimentary level with the language within 30 days because I can’t stand having to depend on other people. It is difficult to learn other languages but when forced to do so, people can learn very quickly.

Atticus

July 20th, 2009
1:43 pm

g lord how about putting Votto in that line up at 1B :-)

Russell

July 20th, 2009
1:44 pm

DOB: Thanks for the correction. I realized after I posted that Carroll did the blog.

Slugger - theweeklyscene.com

July 20th, 2009
1:44 pm

Glord – it’s not my opinion. It was what I was taught by several former MLB players that were my coaches.

Please take what I previously said with far less emphasis, because I see now that you weren’t stating a hitter MUST swing EVERY time there is a hit and ru.

Times when the batter does not swing on a hit and run:
-If there’s a 54-footer breaking ball, you don’t swing.
-If the ball’s inside and a breaking ball, you let it hit you (and dont swing).

I played under two systems in college bball, with a third system for two summers in a wood bat league.

You’re going to have some coaches that say swing every time, no matter what, but that’s usually with a younger (HS or lower) type player. Of course no coach is going to want you to swing at a breaking ball bouncing on or infront of the plate on a hit-and-run.

It really depends on the pitch and situation, all things a hitter should know.

Should Escobar have swung?

Fastball inside, YES! (if not, he should have taken it off the left tricep).

Should Escobar have swung if it was a CB bouncing before the plate in the dirt or on the plate? Probably not.

I think he just had a mental lapse. I don’t think it was selfish or anything, he was just really suprised by a FB inside.

It happens, but if he wants to get 3 hits and drive in 4 every game after missing a hit and run, I say we let him forget to swing on hit and runs more often ;)

Great response from Escobar, and I think everyone should appreciate a guy that makes up for his mistakes with his bat (his glove too, the guy’s really started to come get the ball, HOORAY!!)

Curtis Jones

July 20th, 2009
1:44 pm

Recipe to winning the Giants series:

1. Move McLouth out of the leadoff spot. Put Prado at 1B and leadoff. Give Brooks Conrad and his smokin’ bat, great hustle and good speed the # 2 spot (I bet he can bunt). Leave Loaf in the # 5 spot while he still has a pulse. 6-7-8 are Yunel, McClouth and Diaz. What a lineup! Your 8 best bats will give you a chance to give your starting pitcher a lead, and give your closer a save opportunity.

2. Kotchman is late-inning defensive replacement only. He is the Ken Oberkfell of 2009. Slow-footed, good glove, .280 hitter, will give you 6 homers and 45 RBI every year. That’s it. If he’s in the starting lineup every day, the Braves will be watching the playoffs on their big screen TV’s in October. You get into the World Series with a Carlos Pena or Ryan Howard at 1B. Not a low-pressure punchless singles hitter.
If you’ve got a lineup full of mashers elsewhere on the field, you can afford a defensive whiz at 1B. The Braves do not have that luxury.

3. We’ve seen Ryan Church. His only upgrade over Frenchy is, he doesn’t strike out as much. Adequate in field, no power. Diaz is far superior.

4. Why do Manny Acosta and Greg Norton still have uniforms and locker space?

unbelievable

July 20th, 2009
1:46 pm

just called Dish Network, they DO NOT offer the channel

glord

July 20th, 2009
1:47 pm

The reason the line up looks better is we have elininated two automatic outs from the line up. Yes Prado is killing the ball but even though Church has done little so far he is at least caplable of making a productive out (as is Diaz). What was lost on KJ and JFs struggles beyond the poor OBP and slugging was they almost never made productive outs to move runners.

I think the line up we are playing now is about average in the NL right now.

Richie

July 20th, 2009
1:47 pm

Atticus

The amount of games between each wild card team and the Braves isnt insurmountable. I believe with yesterday’s win, the Braves are tied with Hou, 1 game behind Mil, 2 games behind Chi & 4 games behind Col. Those teams can be caught, especially if the Braves keep playing at this pace. Add a potent bat(like Martinez’s-preferably), and just keep playing the way we have been recently and the we will be playing meaningful baseball in August and September. Something the Braves haven’t played in the last 2 seasons

Slugger - theweeklyscene.com

July 20th, 2009
1:47 pm

ALL BLOGGERS -

This Braves lineup sure looks a lot like having the potential to be a mini-98 Yankees lineup.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/NYY/1998.shtml

Lots of guys with the ‘potential’ to flirt with .300 and 15-25 HR.

Or guys that could flirt on the low end of that potential end up at .265-.280 with 12-15 HR.

Atticus

July 20th, 2009
1:47 pm

Curtis I heard an interview with Cox and he said “Norton is one of the best fastball guys we have had here”…..I wanted to puke, come on Bobby do you think we are THAT gullible?

Richie

July 20th, 2009
1:48 pm

3 seasons- Sorry!!

unbelievable

July 20th, 2009
1:48 pm

diamondjim, hopefully we’ll be able to see it on tuesday. According to Dish Network it will most likely be blacked out in my viewing area

ncscoots

July 20th, 2009
1:48 pm

I know it has nothing to do with nothing, but did Escobar not go through a divorce in the last year or so? Seems I read that somewhere.

getsomewins

July 20th, 2009
1:49 pm

Kotchman may not be starting tonight against the LHP Jonathan Sanchez.

Atticus

July 20th, 2009
1:49 pm

Ritchie, I agree, but it makes it more difficult because the more teams you have in front the less likely it is because that is that many more teams that you have to have a better record. Odds are one or two will get hot, let’s just hope its us.

Frank from KS (now living in CO)

July 20th, 2009
1:50 pm

N8 to reply to your post toward the end of the last blog

Am not for sure when he came aboard…..but the Braves had a pretty serviceable back-up first baseman to Sid in 91/92 (I think he was still a Brave in 92) in Brian Hunter.

I actually liked Hunter a lot, actually. I remember one game where Sid and him won a game hitting 2-run HR’s in the 9th…and I called both.

LOL

DiamondJim

July 20th, 2009
1:50 pm

unbelievable just called Dish Network, they DO NOT offer the channel

Hey, just go to your Guide, go to 449 and then hit the right button till you get to 8PM on Tuesday! It show San Francisco and Braves!!

Dish people mostly don’t have a clue as to what is being shown!!

You’re welcome.

DiamondJim

July 20th, 2009
1:51 pm

should be ’shows’ – sorry about that!

bravesfanforever

July 20th, 2009
1:51 pm

Everyone… It’s not really a race to win the division or the wild card you know. It’s not like you are competing against anyone else but your own team’s talent level because we don’t directly play against everyone at the same time like a foot race. Because you can’t control what anyone else does and you can’t WILL a win against a superior team. You can only win as many games as your talent and your fortitude will allow.

So don’t think: “if we only played harder.” That does not apply. And even head-to-head doesn’t really apply either because of the above arguments. Should the Braves only play their hardest against the Phillies or against everyone?

Anyway… It’s fun to think of it as a race but can’t get too serious about it. If the Braves have the talent and we get some big contributions from key players and many guys play above their heads, maybe we’ll luck out in the end.

Buffalo NY Braves Fan

July 20th, 2009
1:52 pm

AlabamaBrave,

That is understandable. He did take 4 walks yesterday, so it’s not affecting his plate discipline either. I was kind of hoping Carroll or DOB would ask him what he makes of his struggles, what he thinks the issue is, etc.

ncscoots

July 20th, 2009
1:52 pm

If you’ve got a lineup full of mashers elsewhere on the field, you can afford a defensive whiz at 1B [but not otherwise].

And your solution is to give Brooks Conrad 25 ABs a week, and reduce the number of appearances by McLouth? Somehow, that doesn’t excite me.

Biff Pocoroba

July 20th, 2009
1:52 pm

Why is everybody trying to run the third best (behind Chipper and McCann) everyday play on the Braves roster out of town? The Braves knew that this kid didn’t speak English. Get him some help. There is clearly a communication breakdown between him, the media and the Braves organization. Why isn’t anyone trying to fix it? Last time I checked, poor communications is the fault of TWO parties.

I am a big fan of Bobby Cox, but why is he getting a free pass here? He made this a big deal by making a big show in the dugout when he thought Yunel missed the sign. In recent years, Bobby has pulled Andruw and Yunel out of games for what he considered to be lack of effort. Meanwhile, Kelly made error after error at 2B and Garrett jogs around the OF and nobody embarrasses them!

The Braves and the AJC need to get off of Yunel’s case or we are going to lose one of the few good everyday players we have.

RHR

July 20th, 2009
1:52 pm

That’s true, he’s right, can’t argue that, and I’ll tell you why – like I told him during a relatively cordial chat at the batting cage yesterday with Martin Prado translating. Sad as it is to say, maybe, we don’t make the effort we should when he does well because of the language barrier and the time and effort it takes to get a teammate or coach to translate, when we’ve got limited time after a game to scramble on deadline.

That is awesome of you to try and explain to him. A lot of people wouldn’t have done that and thanks for another word on Doggie. Once again, great work Carroll. And hey, if you ever want a career change that Latin will come in handy in the medical field. :)

TnBrian

July 20th, 2009
1:54 pm

Curtis, agree with you on Kotchman and his hitting… he’s just not that good. But, don’t underestimate how important his glove is at first. Say the Braves went out and got a offensive 1st baseman and we and the pitcher that day watches him stretch out innings because the errors he makes. Kotchman saves errors from Chipper/Yunel/Prado/ etc. just with his glove and more importantly, he saves the pitchers arm from long a** innings. He’s more important than what people give him credit for.

glord

July 20th, 2009
1:54 pm

Slugger – theweeklyscene.com – I agree with everything you just stated. With a ball in the dirt there is no reason to swing because the catcher is pretty much screwed to begin with so why give up the strike. My point is anything around the plate that could be put in play should be swung at every time. I also agree that Esco got frozen on the pitch. Just one play in the course of a game. Escobar is a hell of a player and a bit of a knucklehead. No big deal.

What was obvious though is Esco is not getting the benefit of the doubt on anything from Bobby right now.

Atticus

July 20th, 2009
1:54 pm

Slugger, we are nowhere CLOSE to the lineup and I will tell you why–look at the SB count on that team. Bobby doesn’t steal. Look how many different players stole on that team.

Richie

July 20th, 2009
1:59 pm

Atticus

Let’s not forget we can help ourselves this week by taking 3 of 4 from the Giants(I think we can and will-the pitching matchups favor us with exception to that dandy of a game on Wed., Lincecum vs Jurrjens)this week, as well as 2 of 3 vs the Brewers as well. You could ask how is that possible when they have Sanchez going tonight? I know he threw a no-no in his last start but we all know, no hitters are more luck than skill. We’ve had 3 of the greatest pitchers of our generation( i think we know who they are) not throw a no-no, however, Kent Mercker throws the only no-no in recent Braves history. Sanchez does have control issues and with the righty line-up tonite, I like our chances against him. We also have Hanson going tonite as well, so they won’t have a walk in the park either. We dont have to sweep but if we keep winning each series we play, that is tough for teams to keep up with.

Outside Robber

July 20th, 2009
2:00 pm

Carroll,

Your explanation and the events which surround the Escobar situation were first rate.

Gene Garbage

July 20th, 2009
2:00 pm

DOB-

I have an extra Neko Case ticket- you want in?

Gene

PWHjort

July 20th, 2009
2:02 pm

Carrol, any word as to what the roster move is yet? Or do they keep that a secret until the clubhouse is open?

Edward( Bobby Retires after 2009 or Bust )

July 20th, 2009
2:03 pm

Yunel Escobar named NL Player of the Week:

yeah, totally need to trade him.his “mental lapses” far outweigh his contributions.

good job Yunel!

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20090720&content_id=5957986&vkey=pr_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

Jack G.

July 20th, 2009
2:03 pm

Carroll

How nice to have a blog without having to wade through all the music crap to pick out the baseball comments.

glord

July 20th, 2009
2:04 pm

July 20th, 2009
1:43 pm
g lord how about putting Votto in that line up at 1B

Votto is a pipe dream unfortunately. He is a guy that is flying under the radar because he was out a long time earlier this year. I believe he is going to be a .315 35 HR and 115 RBI guy for a long time. Plus he makes no money yet. To get Votto it would take atleast Heyward or Hanson. No one else on the roster gets us Votto. Sure would be nice though.

Fortunately Freeman could be our own version in a couple of years.

McFann :Ô:

July 20th, 2009
2:06 pm

Pearls Before Swine is pretty funny, too…and I’ve read a few Pickles.

Garfield Minus Garfield is really funny, IMO…but my favorite are definitely Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side. And the early Foxtrots (’80’s-90’s) were classic, but now that it went Sunday only there are as many funny ones. I also like Get Fuzzy…

Thanks for the new Blog, Ms. Rogers!

Horner's Corner

July 20th, 2009
2:07 pm

I’m not the biggest Kotchman fan, but a guy with a .350 OBP and more walks than K’s hitting in the 7th or 8th hole is not that bad. I realize he only has 4 HR’s, but Chipper currently leads the team with 10! It’s not like he’s the only guy lacking power this year. And he hangs in tough against quality pitchers.

My real problem with Kotchman is his speed. He is just unbelievably slow for someone who’s only 26. I was at the Saturday’s game and Bobby actually pinch ran David Ross for him. His lack of speed will force him out of baseball by the time he becomes eligible for free agency.

RHR

July 20th, 2009
2:07 pm

scoots – yeah I don’t know when it was or what happened but Yunel was married when he first came up and now he’s not.

PWHjort

July 20th, 2009
2:07 pm

By the way, great blog. I hope Yunel likes it too.

CB

July 20th, 2009
2:08 pm

RHR, my wife is Korean and a friend’s daughter is a Korean translator for a hospital in Charlotte making 70,000 for simply talking to the patient!

Heath (Cleveland)

July 20th, 2009
2:09 pm

Buster Olney says that as of today, Phillies may not even consider Halladay now because they are all but guaranteed to win the NL East without him (since they are 8 games better than the Braves in the loss column) and that the recent trend is to really value prospects.

The Phillies are looking good, no doubt, but I’m gonna wait to give up on the division until after the Phillies play the Cubs (really good pitching) and the Cardinals (good over-all team). Of course, this is all predicated on the Braves taking care of business against the Giants and Brewers (which will not be an easy task).

Buffalo NY Braves Fan

July 20th, 2009
2:09 pm

Horner’s Corner,

Bobby pinch ran Ross for him because he fouled that ball off his knee. I don’t think there was any other reason pinch running Ross.

Horner's Corner

July 20th, 2009
2:09 pm

ncscoots – “And your solution is to give Brooks Conrad 25 ABs a week, and reduce the number of appearances by McLouth? Somehow, that doesn’t excite me.”

Well said my friend!

The Bird and Indian

July 20th, 2009
2:09 pm

We’ve had 2 NL Players Of the Week in the last month or so I believe.

McFann :Ô:

July 20th, 2009
2:10 pm

And this Pablo Sandoval of which you speak…does he have any um…speed?

Buffalo NY Braves Fan

July 20th, 2009
2:11 pm

McFann :Ô:,

Apparently you haven’t seen Sandoval’s “svelt” physique. He looks like heap pre-2009. He’s got Prince Fielder type speed.

jeffrey d

July 20th, 2009
2:13 pm

How nice to have a blog without having to wade through all the music crap to pick out the baseball comments.

Is it really that hard?

Jon

July 20th, 2009
2:13 pm

Much more enjoyable when Carrol handles the blogging. As I have said many times before, it seems as though DOB would rather react to negative comments than positive comments. After surfing the last few blogs, it seems as though 4 out 5 comments written by him are responding to negativity by people in the internet world. I think DOB does a WONDERFUL job covering the team and seems to be passionate about it, but wish he would focus more on the Braves and music rather than idiots getting on these blogs successfully getting a reaction out of him.

The Bird and Indian

July 20th, 2009
2:14 pm

Horner’s Corner: His speed will not force him out of the game. That’s going too far. There’s been slower players.

zmerk13

July 20th, 2009
2:14 pm

PWHjort,

I would imagine the move would just be Hanson for Valdez. The real interesting move will be what they do with Kelly. Keep him in the minors? Cut Norton? Send Diory back? But then you dont’ really have a backup for Esco. Tough decision.

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