Sizzling Diaz helps Braves stay in wild-card race

 Philadelphia – Before the Braves take it south to Florida for a four-gamer with the Marlins that begins with the much-anticipated return of Tim Hudson on Monday, they’ve got some business to finish in Philly tonight. [NOTE: Kenshin Kawakami now starting tomorrow, Hudson moved to Tuesday. Please look down in blog comments at 6:01 p.m. for explanation on this late development.]
  Jair Jurrjens will try to continue his success against the Phillies and his mastery of Citizens Bank Park, while Joe Blanton aims for an overdue win against the Braves. Winner takes the series and possibly more, as Braves try to whittle their wild-card deficit with Colorado or San Francisco.
  If the Giants beat the Rockies again this (Sunday) afternoon, the Braves would be three games behind wild-card co-leaders Colorado and San Francisco before tonight’s series finale in Philly. If the Rockies win, the Braves will be four behind the Rockies and threee behind San Fran.

Diaz ... hottest hitter in majors?

Diaz ... hottest hitter in majors?

  But before we consider tonight’s game, let’s take one more look at the unexpected beatdown the Braves put on Cliff Lee last night. I mean, he had been the hottest pitcher in baseball. It’s worth revisiting.
  You probably know the lefty was 8-0 with an 0.97 ERA and .198 opponents’ average in his past eight starts before Saturday. That the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner was 5-0 with a 0.68 ERA and .175 opponents’ average since being traded to the Phillies, with 39 strikeouts and six walks allowed in 40 innings.
  But did you know he had never allowed more runs in an inning than the five he gave up to the Braves in the fourth last night, when Garrett Anderson (he’s making it difficult for the haters, isn’t he?) and the so-hot-it’s-silly Matt Diaz drove in all the runs with two long balls?
 Lee was charged with 10 hits and five runs in five innings, and Anderson’s three-run homer with none out in the fourth inning matched the total number of earned runs Lee had allowed in five previous starts since being traded from Cleveland to Philly.
 Yes, Lee had given up just three earned runs (and no homers) in 43 innings since the trade, including the first three innings last night, before the Braves blitzed him for five runs and two homers in that fourth inning, including Anderson’s pivotal homer that turned a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead.
  Obviously, Anderson’s homer — the first by a lefty hitter off Lee since Hank Blaylock took him deep on opening day — was the biggest hit of the game.
  But Diaz’s two-run homer later in the inning was also huge, as it served to let the Phillies and their sellout crowd know that the first homer in the inning was not just a fluke, and that Lee was hittable when leaving pitches up in the zone.
  Yunel Escobar would add a third homer in the fifth inning against Lee, who hadn’t given up three homers in a game in 66 starts since a game at Cincinnati in 2007 (Cincy’s Great American Small Park … er Ball Park, and new Yankee Stadium might be the only two stadiums more homer-conducive than Philly).
 The Braves hit .417 (10-for-24) and slugged .833 against Lee last night, which stands as his highest average and slugging percentage allowed against one team in the past two seasons.
  ”You put us in a very hitter-friendly park and we were able to take advantage and slug with one of the best hitting teams in baseball,” said Diaz, who has been able to hit with just about anyone lately, regardless of pitcher or venue.
  I had asked him a few times in the past couple weeks about whether he’d ever felt this good at the plate, and he had reminded me that he tied an NL record in 2005 with hits in 10 consecutive at-bats.
  ”We can finally say ‘no,’” Diaz said last night, smiling.
  No, as in, he’s never felt quite this good, even when knocking out 10 straight hits.
  We’re talking sustained sizzle right now, beyond all expectations for a guy that one prominent major league manager once told, “You’ll never hit in the majors” with the free-swinging, unorthodox approach that Diaz takes.
  That manager will remain nameless unless Diaz tells me he doesn’t mind me using his name (my only hint to you: it was while he was playing for one of his former teams, Kansas City or Tampa Bay).
  Anyway, Diaz has obviously proven him and every other doubter wrong.
  All he’s done for the Braves is hit .321 with 93 extra-base hits (31 homers), a .360 OBP and .473 slugging percentage in exactly 400 games for the Braves since they acquired him in a December 2005 trade from K.C. for — are you ready for this? — minor league pitcher Ricardo Rodriguez.
  Before he came to Atlanta, Diaz had a .252 average, two homers and a .308 OBP in 48 games (119 at-bats) for the Royals and Rays during the 2003-2005 seasons.
 Again, with the Braves: .321 average and .360 OBP in 1,070 at-bats.
 And, of course, lately he’s taken things to a whole different level.
 Diaz is hitting .329 with 10 homers, 44 RBIs and a .390 OBP and .521 slugging percentage in 98 games this season, including .398 (49-for-123) against lefties, with five homers and a 1.062 OPS.
 As a leadoff man, he’s 11-for-20 (.550) with four extra-base hits and five RBI.
 For the month of August, he leads the majors with a .416 average, including six doubles, a triple, six homers and 18 RBI in 26 games. (Adam LaRoche is fifth in the majors with a .375 average in August; more on him and his hip and Nate McLouth’s hamstring in a moment.)
 In his past 13 games, Diaz has hit .500 with four homers and 13 RBI.
 He has going a streak of seven consecutive multi-hit games, during which he’s batted .613 (19-for-31), including three consecutive three-hit games going into tonight’s game on ESPN.
  And for as much as we’ve made of Ryan Howard’s demolition of Braves pitching, what about Diaz vs. Philly? I think he got booed more last night than Chipper Jones, which is understandable given Diaz’s performance against the Phils.
 Diaz has hit .444 with five homers, 17 RBI and a 1.287 OPS in his past 21 games against them, a stretch that goes back to May 27, 2007.
 This season, Diaz is 18-for-31 (.581) with four homers and 10 RBI in nine games against the Phillies, with a .606 OBP and 1.129 slugging percentage.
 Howard is 17-for-53 (.321) with five homers and 11 RBI in 14 games against the Braves this season, with a .368 OBP and .717 slugging.
 OK, just one more Diaz stat before we move on (sorry to bombard you with so many, but the dude is doing stuff lately that warrants it).
 The Braves now have two of the top five qualifying NL hitters with runners in scoring position, Escobar (league-high .400 average in 105 RISP at-bats) and Diaz, who ranks fifth at .355 (27-for-76).
 Chipper gives them a third in the top 10, with his .341 average in 85 RISP at-bats (he’s 10th).
  The Braves also have three in the NL’s top 10 in RISP with two outs, or four if you count Casey Kotchman. Escobar is sixth at .364, followed by Kotchman (.361), with Chipper (.357) and Todd Helton tied for eighth, and Diaz (.355) at 10th.

♣ Lowe’s rebound: It was a much-needed rebound performance last night by Derek Lowe, who worked out of a couple of precarious spots in the second and third innings on the way to allowing just one run and eight hits in 5-2/3 innings.
 Dude’s taken a lot of heat here lately, after being fairly awful during his previous two starts and completely awful during that five-start stretch earlier in the season.
 But look at the bottom line, and Lowe is 6-1 in his past 10 starts, and the Braves are 8-2. Granted, his 4.06 ERA and especially his .322 opponents’ average in that span are unimpressive, but eight of the earned runs (and 11 hits) came in 3-2/3 innings of one horrid game at New York.
 In the other nine of his past 10 starts, Lowe is 6-0 with a 3.00 ERA, and the Braves are 9-1.
 Meanwhile, the big goofball (oh, yes, he is a goofy dude, but in a good way; got a irreverent, self-deprecating sense of humor) has done exactly what the Braves hoped he’d do against the rival Phillies.
  Lowe is 6-09 with a 2.17 ERA in his past nine starts against them going back to 2005, including 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA in three this season. And he’s found a way to consistently tame Citizens Bank Park, where he’s 4-0 with a 1.60 ERA in five starts, with 17 strikeouts and only three walks (that’s key) in 33-2/3 innings.
 Keep this in mind going forward: For his career, Lowe is now 25 games over .500 (67-42) with a 3.59 ERA after the All-Star break. Before the break, he’s 72-73 with a 3.96 ERA. His career strikeouts-to-walks ratio after the break is nearly 3-to-1 (600 strikeouts, 217 walks) while it’s closer to 2-to-1 before the break (762 strikeouts, 379 walks).
 And should the Braves be fortunate enough to make it to the postseason, remember: Lowe is 4-1 with a 3.07 ERA in eight postseason games (seven starts) over the past five years, including a few memorable ones for those ‘04 World Champion Red Sox.

 ♣ LaRoche, McLouth concerns: The Braves are hoping really hard that Adam LaRoche is feeling better by the time he gets to the park and gets treatment before tonight’s game, because they can’t afford to be without his hot bat for long.
 But I’m not so sure about McLouth and whether his impact is really that great.
 First, LaRoche.
 He left last night’s game after three innings because of increasing pain in his right hip, which had been hurting him for several days but worsened after a couple of plays last night, including when he reached for Lowe’s errant throw.

Braves only 28-28 with McLouth

Braves only 28-28 with McLouth

 ”It got to the point where I couldn’t run on it at all,” he said after the game. “When you’re as slow as I am, the last thing you need is to get slower.”
 LaRoche has played a major part in the Braves’ recent success, batting .375 with eight homers, 18 RBI and a .462 OBP and .682 slugging percentage in 25 games since being traded from Boston at the July 31 deadline. He makes the bottom half of the lineup much more effective. His bat down there changes the way teams look at the Braves.
 He’s a big reason why the Braves have the second-most homers (56) in the league since the break (behind Philly’s 62), and the second-most runs (216, behind Milwaukee’s 218).
  I asked him late last night if had any idea how long he might be out: “No clue. I hope I wake up tomorrow and it’s gone. I don’t want to miss a game.”
 As for McLouth, I’m not sure his possible continue absence is as crucial. Don’t get me wrong — the Braves obviously want him back. But the way Diaz has performed in the leadoff role, it’s not as essential that they get McLouth back as it is to have LaRoche back. At least that’s how I see it.
 McLouth reinjured his troublesome right hamstring Saturday night during the second game of his injury-rehab assignment at Double-A Mississippi. Braves weren’t sure of severity, but believed it to be only a mild strain. Or re-strain, if you will.
 Anyway, I was a little surprised while ago when I broke down the numbers since the Braves got McLouth in a June 3 trade with the Pirates.
 He’s hit .260 with six homers, 22 RBI, 10 stolen bases anda .344 OBP in 56 games for the Braves, who are 28-28 in those games. In the games he hasn’t played since they got him, the Braves are 14-7. That’s not a typo — 14-7 without him.
 McLouth felt a twinge last night when he went into the gap to chase a ball. He took himself out of the Double-A game in the fifth inning, after going 0-for-1 with a walk. (He was 0-for-2 with a walk in his first rehab game Friday.)
 The initial diagnosis was a mild strain, but the Braves wouldn’t know more until they see how he responds today.
 McLouth was only going to play two games at Mississippi before joining the Braves in Florida on Monday, the day he’s eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list. He was there rehabbing after an injury to the hamstring, and Saturday’s pain was in the same location.
 Before his injury Saturday, the Braves were already leaning toward not activating McLouth until Tuesday, when rosters can be expanded for the rest of the season. Now, he might not be ready anyway.
 The team will have to make a roster move Monday to open a spot for Hudson, coming off the DL to start that night’s series opener at Florida.

 

We really, really like them

We really, really like them

“SELF DESTRUCTIVE ZONES” by Mike Cooley (Drive-By Truckers)

It was 1990 give or take I don’t remember
when the news of revolution hit the air
The girls hadn’t even started taking down our posters
when the boys started cutting off they’re hair
The radio stations all decided angst was finally old enough
it ought to have a proper home
Dead fat or rich nobody’s left to bitch
about the goings’ on in self destructive zones

The night the practice room caught fire
there were rumors of a dragon headed straight for Muscle Shoals
“Stoner tries to save an amplifier”
and it’s like the dragon’s side of the story is never told
When the dream and the man and the girls hang around long enough
to make you think it’s coming true,
it’s easier to let it all die a fairy tale,
than admit that something bigger is passing through

The hippies rode a wave putting smiles on faces,
that the devil wouldn’t even put a shoe
Caught between a generation dying from its habits,
and another thinking rock and roll was new
Till the pawn shops were packed like a backstage party,
hanging full of pointy ugly cheap guitars
And the young’uns all turned to karaoke,
hanging all they’re wishes upon disregarded stars

My Grandaddy’s shotgun is locked in a closet
and it never shot a thing that could have lived
An old man decided that you couldn’t choose your poison
till you’re nearly old enough to vote for him
They turned what was into something so disgusting
even wild dogs would disregard the bones
Dead fat or rich nobody’s left to bitch
about the goings’ on in self destructive zones

 

2,146 comments Add your comment

Goldenglove002

August 30th, 2009
4:04 pm

I was watching the Yankee-White Sox game and they were talking about september callups and how they will likely call up a catching prospect to keep 3 of them on the team. Gives them alot more late game versatility. This got me thinking, will the braves bring up a catcher so they can use David Ross to pinch hit? Clint Sammons is on the 40 man roster, and Gwinnett also has JC Boscan who is considered a great defensive catcher and Alvin Colina (hitting .261, best of the 3).

By the way, how many players can be called up? is it 40? The one thing in baseball I always seem to forget.

northbeach Scott

August 30th, 2009
4:09 pm

The entire 40 man roster may be called up Sept 1, although it is seldom more than about 10 guys over the 25 man, because of playing time logistics.

Hurricane Corky

August 30th, 2009
4:12 pm

Hank BLALOCK

David-ATL14

August 30th, 2009
4:12 pm

Put this in the last blog but wanted to place it here also.

Some posters are under the assumption that hanso can be optioned Monday to make room for Hudson and then return on Wednesday.

He can’t and it doesn’t work that way.

If Hanson or any other player were to be optioned back to AAA to make room for Hudson that player is required to remain with that Minor League team for 10 days unless he’s replacing a player that goes on the DL.

My guess is that is how it will be handled with Boone Logan being the player that goes to AAA on paper anyway and remains there until the conclusion of the Gwinnett regular season on Sept 7th.

Either that or KK is placed on the 15 day DL retro to Aug 26th.

Hanson being optioned to AAA and returning on Wed is not going to happen. It’s precluded by the rules.

David-ATL14

August 30th, 2009
4:14 pm

Braves will also have to open a spot on the 40 Man roster for Hudson by removing a current player or placing someone already on the 40 Man on the 60 Day DL.

ncgary

August 30th, 2009
4:16 pm

yeah you cant have more than 40 on the roster

nolie

August 30th, 2009
4:16 pm

(Goldenglove)

They waill almosr assuredly call up a catcher, they always do. One thing to remember though is that they have to pay anybody they call up a pro-rated MLB salary for a montyh. In their present economic climate I’m guessing that will limit how many they bring. Maybe a catcher,two pitchers and two position players? Just a guess

Heath

August 30th, 2009
4:17 pm

nolie -

Agreed, probably looking at handfull or less called up.

Will

August 30th, 2009
4:18 pm

DOB Hanley has a .425 avg this month just fyi

Chong

August 30th, 2009
4:18 pm

Matty D. is the sizzle on tonights philly cheese steak samich

David-ATL14

August 30th, 2009
4:19 pm

The beat writer for the Gwinnett Braves said in an article that Clint Sammons,Diory Hernandez,Brooks Conrad, Luis Valdez and possibly Barbaro Canizarez would be added on Sept 1, with others possibly being added upon the conclusion of Gwinnett’s season after the playoffs.

Will

August 30th, 2009
4:20 pm

nvm I guess if you add in his 4 abs today then it is .409

NORRIS

August 30th, 2009
4:21 pm

if they dont bring up heyward then I just dont get it. we are hurting in the outfield and have a shot at the wild card. You cant let money get in the way here. it is not everyday that you are in contention this late in the year.

NORRIS

August 30th, 2009
4:22 pm

Gorecki needs to be sent down. he is not ready for the majors. we are ending up with back to back outs every time hits in front of the pitcher.

Kibby

August 30th, 2009
4:22 pm

roster move for Hudson?? How about sending Norton packing??? that guy is doing absolutely nothing for the Braves except take a paycheck.

Gov Clinton Tyree

August 30th, 2009
4:25 pm

NorCal

August 30th, 2009
4:25 pm

Love the stats, DOB.

Did not realize that Diaz was leading the majors for August.

NO MORE BOBBY

August 30th, 2009
4:26 pm

What was a good trade at the time has turned into a “what now” situation with McLouth. Any chance we try trading him this offseason for someone not so soft? And any history of him hurt when with the Pirates?

Bravesfan1984

August 30th, 2009
4:26 pm

Norris: Heyward is injured anyway…no point in calling him up really with the way diaz and anderson are playing…heyward may or may not produce immediately if he was called up…and at this point with us in the playoff race, i think its better to stick with what we got rather than taking a risk on whether heyward may produce or not. i wouldn’t see cox starting him over anderson or diaz right now anyway…let heyward get healthy and go to the AFL and see what happens there for the beginning of next season.

cabravesfan

August 30th, 2009
4:27 pm

David-ATL14-

I could be wrong about this but I do know earlier this year at least the team did not have 40 men actually on the roster…

Goldenglove002

August 30th, 2009
4:28 pm

what about Brian Barton? He has SB for the braves in his only appearance right? we need the speed! But in all seriousness I would like to see him given the opportunity if the braves can afford him

Bravesfan1984

August 30th, 2009
4:28 pm

with mcclouth re-injuring the hammy and church still hurting, looks like cox will be putting gregor blanco out there in center once rosters expand….so i really hope church can get healthy quick because i really don’t know if mcclouth will be able to help us at all the rest of the season..lets hope so though

NORRIS

August 30th, 2009
4:29 pm

Mclouth is an important part of next years team. Try talking about getting rid of lets say;
norwood, johnson, acosta, anderson, kawakami, and the list goes on and on.

David-ATL14

August 30th, 2009
4:30 pm

You’re right cabravesfan earlier in the season Braves were less than 40.

As of right now though they have 40 players and Hudson coming off the 60 Day DL means a roster move will have to be made to open spots on both the 25 Man active Roster and the 40-Man Roster.

nolie

August 30th, 2009
4:31 pm

Any chance we try trading him this offseason for someone not so soft? (No More)

I bet you’re a football fan

NORRIS

August 30th, 2009
4:31 pm

bravesfan?? we still dont have anybody in center field. Gorecki isnt going to get it done.

Heath

August 30th, 2009
4:31 pm

NORRIS -

I would not be surprised to see GA get another 1-year offer from the Braves. He’s given the Braves exactly what they wanted when they signed him. There still is no guarantee the Heyward will make the team out of ST. You could see Heyward come up next year the same time Hanson came up this year.

NO MORE BOBBY

August 30th, 2009
4:32 pm

Hibbadee hibbadee flap jack boogie doo!!

I just removed the Braves ESPN curse. We are good to go tonight!

NO MORE BOBBY

August 30th, 2009
4:33 pm

nolie – Actually no. Just would like to see some more Jeter type players on the Braves. Our guys sit with a hangnail.

Bill

August 30th, 2009
4:34 pm

Well it looks like I’ll now miss on my 77-85 prediction.However this teaam does just enough to sniff a wild card before fading away.Diaz and Laroache will cool off soon enough.Chipper will pick it up a little bit.McCann is worn down from a season behind the plate.Soriano will break our hearts in the ninth once or twice more when the Braves need it most

This team has too many holes to be a playoff team.They can be corrected in the offseason.They maybe a wild card next year.Maybe Liberty Media will sell to someone who cares about winning.

Bravesfan1984

August 30th, 2009
4:34 pm

Norris: Heyward is not a center fielder

Steve from OH

August 30th, 2009
4:34 pm

I would not be surprised to see GA get another 1-year offer from the Braves.

I would. A Diaz/Church (or Jones) platoon would out-produce him by a good margin I’d be willing to bet, and while for other prospects I might not say this, I bet they don’t want anyone in Heyward’s way when his time comes.

Plus, there’s always Schafer to think about too.

McFann :Ô:

August 30th, 2009
4:35 pm

Thanks for the new Blog, Chief! Great numbers on Matty! Thanks for those especially.

A0ville Ranger

August 30th, 2009
4:37 pm

I’m not trying to be dramatic but, tonight’s game seems critical to any chance of winning the division.

David-ATL14

August 30th, 2009
4:37 pm

Not going to type out the entire 40 Man roster but to give people an understanding it’s currently comprised of the 25 Active players today plus McLouth on the 15 Day DL. For a total of 26 Current MLB players.

Hudson and Campillo are both on the 60 Day DL and thus do not count against the limit.

The Minor leaguers on the 40 Man are as follows: Pitchers-Jojo Reyes,Manny Acosta,Todd Redmond,Luis Valdez,James Parr(AAA-DL) Stephen Marek.

Position Players are the follwing: Clint Sammons,Barbaro Canizares,Brooks Conrad,Diory Hernandez,Brian Barton,Gregor Blanco,Brandon Jones,Jordan Schafer(AAA-DL) ]

That makes a grand total of 40. When Hudson comes off the 60 Day DL tomorrow a spot will then have to be opened on both the 25 and 40. Hopefully that helps clear up some confusion.

Chop Chop

August 30th, 2009
4:37 pm

The Phils should hit Diaz in the face tonight. That’ll teach him a lesson.

We can turn around and hit Howard in the face.

Wouldn’t that make for some truly exciting TV? Hell yes.

Bravesfan1984

August 30th, 2009
4:38 pm

I don’t believe the braves will resign anderson…look his bat is decent but next season i believe we will be starting mcclouth, schafer, and if not heyward a power hitting OF for the other corner spot, with diaz in the role he’s in now. anderson’s defense is just not great and we need some wheels on this team.

bruce

August 30th, 2009
4:38 pm

Dave —
Ask Matt if he is a “More Beautiful You” these days?

That is the title of his brother Jonny Diaz’s top hit song. Here are the lyrics
http://www.jonnydiaz.com/?page_id=5
and here is Jonny playing the song
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ks3R2BwyO0
Impressive.

dusty

August 30th, 2009
4:39 pm

chipper goin deep twice tonight

Heath

August 30th, 2009
4:39 pm

Steve from OH -

I am not forgetting Schafer. Schafer did not play well and has been injured. He has, and maybe to not fault of his own, not proved anything this year to guarantee himself a spot on the club next year. Both he and Heyward are far from guarantees to start the year next year. With that in mind, the Braves very well could start the season with the Church, Diaz, GA, and McLouth. They may not. I’m not advocating any position, just saying that I would not be surprised if they want him as insurance.

Chop Chop

August 30th, 2009
4:40 pm

Jair is due to give up six or seven runs. Go Phils.

cabravesfan

August 30th, 2009
4:40 pm

David-ATL14-

Thanks- hadn’t looked in a while (and yeah, I know they will have to take someone off the 40 man if it is full… ;) )

Chop Chop

August 30th, 2009
4:41 pm

Chipper’s due to hit six homers. Go Braves.

Steve from OH

August 30th, 2009
4:42 pm

With that in mind, the Braves very well could start the season with the Church, Diaz, GA, and McLouth.

I think they’d do McLouth-Church-Diaz-Jones instead, to save money. Just sayin’ that I don’t see him as a part of next year’s club. Could be waaay off though, of course.

BravesFanLostInOhio

August 30th, 2009
4:43 pm

Norris, Gorecki is hitting .263 in his first stint in the majors. I realize that’s not all star stats or anything, but its pretty solid for his first 19 ABs. Plus, he has filled in nicely in the field. How about cutting the kid some slack.

Paul Lentz

August 30th, 2009
4:44 pm

Since the Jeff Francoeur-Ryan Church trade was made on July 10th, here are how the stats compare for Francoeur, Church (who has played right and center), and Diaz (who has played both left and right field since the trade):

…………………..Francoeur……Church…….Diaz.

Average………..(.308)…………(.281)…….(.352)..
At-bats……………172…………….96…………128…
Hits………………….53…………….27…………..45…
Doubles……………12…………….10……………7….
Triples……………….2………………0……………2….
Home Runs………..6………………2……………6…..
RBIs…………………28…………….17…………22…..
Walks………………..5……………..14………….8……
Strikeouts…………26……………..16…………27….
Runs……………….21………………19………..21….

When you break down the stats to when Diaz and Church COMBINED have played right field vs. Jeff Francoeur, here is how they match up:

………………..Francoeur…..Diaz…..Church……Diaz/Church…

Average……….(.308)…….(.361)……(.261)………(.333)………
At-bats…………..172………..122………..46………….168………
Hits…………………53………….44………..12……………56……….
Doubles…………..12…………..2………….8……………10……….
Triples………………2…………..0………….2……………..2……….
Homers……………..6…………..1………….6……………..7……….
RBIs…………………28…………7………..22…………….29……….
Walks………………..5…………11………..7……………..18……….
Strikeouts………….26…………8……….27……………..35……….
Runs………………..21…………9……….20……………..29……….

While Francoeur has played well for the Mets…….the combination of Church and Diaz have played well for the Braves. Because of McLouth’s injury (and also Church’s injury earlier)…..Church hasnt played as much in right. Diaz has the bulk of the at-bats in right since the trade.

However, I feel that consistent playing time has benefited both Church and Diaz (especially Diaz because he also plays left field on days that Anderson rests against a lefty).

Maybe this is one of those trades that benefits both teams, for the time being anyway. It remains to be seen how good a player Francoeur will be long term.

Masters of the Obvious

August 30th, 2009
4:46 pm

Welcome to the club, Paul Lentz.

Bravesfan1984

August 30th, 2009
4:47 pm

good stat comparison paul…really shows just how well the church/diaz combo has been far more productive then running francoeur out there everyday

NORRIS

August 30th, 2009
4:47 pm

bravesfan. DUH… bottom line is we need another outfielder. diaz can play center.

CaliChopper

August 30th, 2009
4:48 pm

White Sox have lost 7 of their last 10 and are 6 games back. Sure didn’t look today to be playing with a sense of Urgency. Think Ozzy needs to get fired now Lentz?

David O'Brien

August 30th, 2009
4:49 pm

LINEUP
Diaz rf
Prado 2b
C.Jones 3b
McCann c
Anderson lf
Escobar ss
LaRoche 1b
Church cf
Jurrjens rhp

NO MORE BOBBY

August 30th, 2009
4:50 pm

What the heck ever happened to Brandon Jones in the outfield mix? I liked his play last year.

A-ville Ranger

August 30th, 2009
4:50 pm

Resign and re-sign are different words with near opposite meanings…don’t make me come over there.,
people

Heath

August 30th, 2009
4:51 pm

Steve from OH -

They could do that too. In a perfect world, Diaz would be given the starting job in left (he deserves it more than anyone), McLouth in center, Heyward would prove he deserves the job in RF, and the 4th OF would be one of Church/Schafer/Jones. No matter what, I don’t see the Braves signing any ‘big’ OF bats. If they decide that Heyward isn’t going to break camp with they big club, they may want GA in LF and Diaz in RF again because Church just doesn’t seem like a good full-time corner OF guy.

Ebenezer Snerdberg

August 30th, 2009
4:51 pm

DOB:
Thanyewverymuch for the new blog! Uh,huh!

Brightside

August 30th, 2009
4:52 pm

Hey DOB,
Do you remember in Atlanta Charlie Manuel said the Phillies gave the Braves a game. If you see him, would you ask him if he feels like they gave us that game last night? I know all things usually even out, but he could have been a goooood loser.

Paul Lentz

August 30th, 2009
4:53 pm

Bravesfan1984……….thanks for the props. Even if Francoeur is doing well for the Mets, the bottom line was that he SUCKED for us. The Diaz/Church combo, whenever they play right field, is raking at the plate, particularly Matt Diaz.

I said all along that Diaz was one of those guys who needs to play everyday. He is one of those guys who is hard to pitch to. Sure, he’ll have his at-bats where he will take one of his “Matt Diaz wild man” swings. However, later in the game he’s liable to get a hold of one drive it to the wall, or even over the wall.

This is a must win game. Pretty much the rest of the way out, are must win games. Bobby needs to manage EVERY GAME as if it’s the 7th game of the World Series, especially with the cream puffs the Rockies have upcoming on their schedule the next 13 games.

Soph

August 30th, 2009
4:53 pm

Thanks for the lineup DOB.

3 more hours…

I have questions

August 30th, 2009
4:53 pm

Could you talk a little about pitching prospects the Braves have in the minors? Any potential Hanson’s down there? How far away are they from the Bigs?

pryguy

August 30th, 2009
4:54 pm

Thatta boy Adam and Churchy… Playing through some pain so it seems. I like our chances with JJ tossing tonight. Need to go into FLA with some good momentum. Let’s bring the bats again tonight!

PWHjort

August 30th, 2009
4:55 pm

Great song, DOB. My favorite on that record. Seems like a Cooley song is always my favorite on each of their records. Uncle Frank, Zip City, Loaded Gun in the Closet, Gravity’s Gone, and Self Destructive Zones.

So, what happened last night we gave Jurrjens the ball for a rubber-match on Sunday Night Baseball? EEKKKK. Let’s not do that again, JJ.

GO BRAVES.

PHUCK THE FILLIES.

Will

August 30th, 2009
4:55 pm

No More Bobby, Brandon has had a decent season but his power was down this year at least until lately. It took him until July to hit a homer and only has 7 on the year.

bravefaninok

August 30th, 2009
4:57 pm

ravesFanLostInOhio

August 30th, 2009
4:43 pm

Norris, Gorecki is hitting .263 in his first stint in the majors. I realize that’s not all star stats or anything, but its pretty solid for his first 19 ABs. Plus, he has filled in nicely in the field. How about cutting the kid some slack.

Agreed,and the kid (other than that first airmail job)has played really good defense.

NORRIS

August 30th, 2009
4:59 pm

defense is fine for the kid. But he isnt ready for the majors. His hitting has been in late innings and hasnt hit at all in the clutch. I really would like to see the stats on him with runners in scoring position. Be that as it may, Im not saying he is going to be bad or anything like that. We are just in crunch time here and we dont have a bat in center field.

Ebenezer Snerdberg

August 30th, 2009
4:59 pm

I agree,it probably going to be Gorecki,but my vote would be Norton,Norton and then Norton. Blobby Clux will just have to get his bellyrub sumaires else!

KC

August 30th, 2009
5:00 pm

Something else to take note of…

If you scale Matt Diaz’s ‘09 numbers out to 550 at-bats, you’d have 20 HR’s, 86 RBI, and 39 2B/3B.

When you put that with his .329 avg. and .333 with RISP… wow.

VaBraveFan

August 30th, 2009
5:03 pm

This is going to be a big offseason for the Braves. Alot of decisons to make.
Gonzo and Soriano will be free agents
LaRoach will be free agent
Hudson has team option
Heyward and Schafer will they be ready? should we get insurance by resigning Loaf??

A perfect sernario would be if Schafer and Heyward earn jobs in ST.
Outfield of McLouth in Left Schafer in CF Heyward in RF Diaz will start vs lefties in either Corner spot , and also be primary pinch hitter.

LaRoach might be hard to resign and the team could benifit with a right handed hitting first 1b considering our outfield are all Lefties.

The Braves resign one of Soriano and Gonzo on a 2 yr deal.

Kawakami has pitched well and doesnt get credit for what he has done. His whole career in Japan he pitched in a 6 man rotation so its different over here. He has ajusted and i expect him to be a solid contributer in the 5 spot in the rotation next year.

Javy or Hudson?????

Javy is more of a gaurantee to be solid/good and pitch alot of innings for us
but Hudson can be a risk after the surgery we will find out the last month of this season. He can be a great pitcher for us but never know if the arm could get reinjured.

The bench should be great with Ross, Infante, Diaz definitly on the roster. Replace Norton.

What do yall think….?

AdirondackDave

August 30th, 2009
5:04 pm

Church and LaRoche back in the starting line up. This could be a great game.

Roman Gal

August 30th, 2009
5:04 pm

Plus, there’s always Schafer to think about too.

Yep…ya gotta think about him.

Shamus Thacker

August 30th, 2009
5:06 pm

It’s weird how we can pound a pitcher like Cliff Lee, but Brenda Lee shuts us down.

The pitcher I fear most is Jeff Bennett on another team.

Sparks

August 30th, 2009
5:07 pm

Any word yet on who the Braves will be calling up when rosters expand?

Bravesfan1984

August 30th, 2009
5:09 pm

norris you really trust diaz’s defense in center field on a consistent basis…cause i sure dont

Kurdt Kobain

August 30th, 2009
5:10 pm

I feel bad for McClouth. His first chance at a playoff race, and he’s hurt. Gotta be eating him up.

McFann :Ô:

August 30th, 2009
5:11 pm

Thanks for the lineup, Chief.

unbelievable

August 30th, 2009
5:11 pm

McLouth, not McClouth

Bravesfan1984

August 30th, 2009
5:12 pm

vabravefan…i agree with how you’re outfield shapes out for next season…i think if heyward produces like he has this year in the AFL it will help his cause of making the team out of ST. i would really love to have javy and hudson both in the rotation…im really hoping hudson will restructure his contract since he loves it so much here, but i guess we’ll have to wait and see

A-ville Ranger

August 30th, 2009
5:13 pm

Paul Lentz, very good 4;44 post, solid info.

mike28212

August 30th, 2009
5:13 pm

Good to see LaRoche in there. Hopefully, that won’t change between now and game time. Love the stats on Diaz. I didn’t realize his numbers were that impressive over his time with the Braves. And great lyrics from a great song as always.

Bravesfan1984

August 30th, 2009
5:13 pm

**restructure in terms of braves declining option and re-signing him to a more financially friendly contract

NORRIS

August 30th, 2009
5:14 pm

bravesfan.
No i dont like the idea of diaz in center. In fact his bat is really good now but his defense is not good at all. but geez, we have a non bat in center right now with playoff hopes on the line.
its just frustrating that we are so close and dont have enough bats.

Kurdt Kobain

August 30th, 2009
5:14 pm

I feel bad for the center field guy we got from the Pirates this summer. His first chance at a playoff race, and he’s hurt. Gotta be eating him up.

There.

PWHjort

August 30th, 2009
5:15 pm

defense is fine for the kid. But he isnt ready for the majors.

And he’s 28 years old. Ergo, he’s most likely never going to be ready for the majors. Ergo, DFA him and bring up a kid who might learn something ala. Brian Barton or Brandon Jones.

nolie

August 30th, 2009
5:15 pm

would not be surprised to see GA get another 1-year offer from the Braves. (HEATH)

STEVE’s worst nightmare

Cheese

August 30th, 2009
5:15 pm

Paul,

Nice comparison…I agree that the Church/Diaz combo is better for the braves. I personally don’t care about the Mets or frenchy cause I don’t believe frenchy would be doing the same for us that he is for the Mets. What I care about is right field production prior to frenchy trade compared to after and I think their would be an even bigger improvement.

aj

August 30th, 2009
5:18 pm

pick up mike cameron off waivers…gives us another huge bat and speed in center field

Bravesfan1984

August 30th, 2009
5:18 pm

norris completely agree….but with how the 40 man is setup right now its just about a given the cox will run blanco out there in center if mcclouth/church arent healthy…but seeing church in the lineup tonight makes me feel much better about that now. as much as i’d like to see heyward also, there is just a 0% chance he would be here for september.

Supes

August 30th, 2009
5:19 pm

I hope the Braves lay the smack down on the Phillies again tonight.

Blanton has always been average at best against us, except his last start in ATL.

Good news to see Church and LaRoache back in the lineup.

Need all our LH sticks in there against the RH pitcher tonight.

Jair needs to be careful against Howard and pitch him INSIDE. I think we’ve seen enough of the away stuff where he can hit the opposite field jobs in the bandbox that is Citizen’s Bank Park.

Keep Rollings and Victorino off base, and don’t let Howard beat you = Formula of success against the Phillies.

Bravesfan1984

August 30th, 2009
5:19 pm

and whatever happened to the braves trying to pick up another bullpen arm through waivers??

McFann :Ô:

August 30th, 2009
5:20 pm

Good to see that LaRoche is playing. Hopefully his hip will be OK.

Alright, so BMac’s struck out 18 times this month. That matches his total for July, and is also tying a career-high for K’s in a single month (he’s now done it 4 times in his career). Obviously, then, we are hoping for no K’s tonight.

What would be great would be an RBI double or two…

Supes

August 30th, 2009
5:22 pm

Paul Lentz,

That’s some good research stats…I sincerely hope the Mets are foolish enough to sign Jeff or offer him arbitration based on what he’s done for them so far. I don’t believe he’ll be anything more than a serviceable OF with 10-15HR, who hits around .260 or there about and doesn’t have a high enough OPS.

Much happier with the production of Matty Diaz and Ryan Church. Diaz b/c he can drive the ball to all fields with power, and Church b/c he gives you the same defense (no drop off) plus quality AB and a higher chance on base and not make an out.

Chopdawg

August 30th, 2009
5:22 pm

If Frenchy still played for ATL, we’d be better off than we are with Church. Frenchy’s defense is better; his arm is better; he’s a better hitter, and he hits righthanded.

Obviously Diaz is the hottest hitter in the NL at the moment, but you can’t compare Diaz/Church with Francoeur, you have to compare player for player

McFann :Ô:

August 30th, 2009
5:23 pm

Just realized that, with the submission of my last comment, BMac is now sure to K at least once tonight…

Should I take back my 5:20…? :roll:

Steve McP

August 30th, 2009
5:24 pm

We would only be better off with Frenchy if he had made the improvements that he has at NY, there was no indication that that was going to happen while he was here.

Shamus Thacker

August 30th, 2009
5:24 pm

Hell Lentz, that 4:44 is a good post.

(going to wash mouth out with industrial strength solvents)

Rodney Derrick

August 30th, 2009
5:25 pm

During spring training and even during the season, DOB, you reported on the awesome workouts that Derek Lowe does daily. Things like running up and down stadium steps. When he is pitching and they show him in the dugout, he is often getting towels and treatment from the trainers. It seems he sweats and exerts himself during the games to the point of exhaustion. This of course happens more when he has these innings with lots of pitches, but it also happens after easy innings. Now we are in summer, and it is hot, but I have never seen anything quite comparable with other pitchers. Does this have something to do with his ADHD and/or his medication? In any case, he is a battler, and if Braves make it to the playoffs, he will be invaluable. I know lots of folks believe we could never trade him because of his salary, but after this year, there are only three years left and salaries are going higher, so his salary will not be insurmountable. I would prefer to keep Vazquez and Hudson. As for Kawakami, it may be harder to trade him, but a West Coast team might well want him. For a great Japanese player like an Ichiro or the young phenom pitcher everyone is eyeing, I just do not believe the Braves can financially compete. Stay where the club is strong, with the Latino players and the great scouting and development in the USA.

VaBraveFan

August 30th, 2009
5:26 pm

It would be nice if Hudson comes out this last month and starts 3-4 times and getting 5-6 innings each start. Maybe instead of just taking the option restructure it and make it a new deal like 3 yr 33 mil in that area. Then during the offseason see if there are any takers for Kawakami. Our rotation would be one of the best in majors
No specific order
Lowe
Hudson
Vasquez
JJ
Hanson

damn that looks good

nfieldr

August 30th, 2009
5:28 pm

We’re talking sustained sizzle right now, beyond all expectations for a guy that one prominent major league manager once told, “You’ll never hit in the majors” with the free-swinging, unorthodox approach that Diaz takes.

Has to be Piniella. Even sounds like him.

Doc Holiday

August 30th, 2009
5:28 pm

ARE WE READY TO RUMBLEEEEEE!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

yall are crazy

August 30th, 2009
5:30 pm

That roster move had better be Norton. I can’t think of anyone else who could possibly be sent down. With McLouth hurt again, they need to keep Gorecki on the team.

PWHjort

August 30th, 2009
5:30 pm

Anyone have the Phillies’ line-up?

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