Reeling Braves need rejuvenation … and more

 

 Houston - We have a problem. OK, too easy and hackneyed. How’ bout this: Happy 39th birthday to Neko Case, and good luck to the Braves. They’ll need it. A lot of it. (The Braves; not Neko. She needs no luck.)
  That’s if the Bravos have any hope, any whatsoever, of ending their playoff drought. As most of you understand by now, this five-game skid they’re on, and particularly the sweep at the hands of the Reds at home over the weekend, has changed the whole outlook.
  I mean, they really had a legit shot just under a week ago, after they’d won the first two games of their four-game series at Florida. The Braves seemed poised to put the Marlins behind them and reel in first the Giants, then perhaps the Rockies, in the wild-card race.

When Cox's 150th ejection was the homestand highlight, it's not good

When Cox's 150th ejection was the homestand highlight ... it's not good

  But five games, five disappointing games, can really change everything this late in the season. And it did.
Four runs? The Braves scored four runs against the Red in three games? Yes. And totaled just 15 hits.   Fifteen hits and four runs in three of the most important games the franchise has played in recent seasons.
  (Hey, when your team hasn’t gone to the postseason since 2005, September games that could make-or-break your playoff chances fall into the “most important in recent memory” category, sad to say.)
  If the two games they gave away to the Marlins to split that series weren’t bad enough, the three home losses in a row in front of supportive and surprisingly large crowds at Turner Field certainly were. Bad, bad, bad.
  Didn’t matter that the Reds have been on a roll lately. Braves had everything to play for, and the Reds had, well, nothing. At least in terms of postseason ambitions.
  Yet they came to Atlanta and swept aside the Braves, who got three quality starts from Derek Lowe, Jair Jurrjens and Tim Hudson, and no wins.
  Yep, that series, coupled with the two losses to end the Florida series, has seemingly reduced the Braves’ chances of making the postseason to somewhere between slim and none, and someone told me Slim’s headed out the barroom door.
 (OK, that was just something that sounded right to type as I sit here on a 90-degree afternoon in the Lone Star State. But I realize now that I’ve typed it, it’s gonna fall flat. But I’m gonna leave it there anyway.)
 Oh, and happy birthday to Aimee Mann, too. Forty-nine and mighty fine.

We interrupt ugliness for Neko Case, on her birthday

We interrupt ugliness for Neko Case, on her birthday

 Braves in the playoffs? It’ll take a run like the Rockies had a couple years back. Braves would have to win more than 20 of their remaining 25 games, and probably hope that Colorado wins the NL West (which I think they will) and the Dodgers play under .500 ball the rest of the way (which seems unlikely, but is certainly possible when you consider how long they’ve been a .500 team).
  On top of that, the Bravos would also need the Giants and Marlins to play close to .500 ball the rest of the way while the Braves rip off that 21-4 run or whatever.
 Hey, as I’ve said before, stranger things have happen. But not too many stranger things.
 Here’s a good suggestion for the Braves if they’re to do their part in that whole scenario. Start scoring some runs. Tonight. I mean, a .185 average in the past five games? At the most crucial point in the season? Kip Wells? Come on.

 

♣ Down here in Houston: Guess what? The Astros, just like the Reds, enter their series with the Braves on a little roll. And coming off an impressive sweep.
 The Astros have posted a 2.50 ERA while sweeping four games from the previously hot Phillies during a long weekend series here in Houston. They held the Phillies to zero, four, three and three runs. That’s not easy to do. And keep in mind, te Phillies were 31-23 on the road before that sweep.
 Houston pounded them 7-0 in the series opener, then won three consecutive one-run games against the defending World Series champions and soon-to-be repeat NL East champions.
 Tonight’s matchup features Braves ace Javier Vazquez against Astros righty Felipe Paulino (2-7, 6.62 ERA), which seems about as one-sided and a sure thing as you’re going to get. (Speaking of sure, things, it’s hard to go wrong with beef brisket in Texas. Just finished a brisket sandwich. Mmmm.)
 But only if you’ve not been paying attention to the Braves lately and noticing how they’ve struggled against several pitchers who couldn’t get out of their own way before suddenly looking like world-beaters against Atlanta.
 Also keep in mind, Vazquez is 1-2 with a 4.85 ERA in his past four starts, with only one quality start in that stretch, and 14 runs allowed in 26 innings.
 This slump immediately followed his six-game tear when he was 5-0 with a 2.49 ERA and .208 opponents’ average. So go figure.
 That said, this Paulino dude has been really bad, especially lately. We’re talking 1-5 with a 7.82 ERA in his past 13 games, including nine starts. He’s allowed 69 hits in 50-2/3 innings in that dreadful stretch, including 14 homers.
 The Astros lost 10 of those 13 games in which he pitched, including the past six in a row.
 So maybe, just maybe, the Braves are due to put together a bit hitting night, wake up the bats to start this six-game trip that continues in St. Louis against a Cardinals team that, to me, looks to be the toughest in the NL.

What do Braves need most in 2010?

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   If the Braves don’t beat Paulino tonight, this trip could get real ugly. It might get ugly even if they don’t. But the chances of ugliness go up significantly if they don’t beat this guy tonight.

   Did I mention that Wandy Rodriguez and Roy Oswalt are starting the last two games of the series for the Astros? Indeed. And the Cardinals, well, they have some formidable pitchers, to say the least. Including a balding veteran who’s particularly motivated.

 Need the big guns firing: The Braves hope to have Yunel Escobar back in the lineup as soon as tonight (we’ll let you know shortly), and they also hope that the past couple days of mostly rest (out of lineup Sunday, team day off Monday) will help rejuvenate Chipper Jones and Brian McCann for the stretch drive.
 Lately, Jones has not looked anything like the guy who had a career resurgence the past few seasons and won a batting title. His average is down, but even more alarming has been the power outange, the near-complete lack of extra-base hits.
 He’s got two just extra-base hits (one double, one homer) in 23 games (77 at-bats) since Aug. 12, and in his past 20 games Chipper’s hit just .121 (8-for-66) with 16 walks, 15 walks and a .289 OBP and .182 slugging percentage.
 The Braves are 9-11 in those games.
 As for McCann, he’s had five 0-for-4 performances in his past 10 games, and hit just .132 (5-for-38) with two extra-base hits in that stretch. Something that really stands out is his seven strikeouts with no walks in that 10-game stretch.
 That’s not likely McCann, one of the more disciplined hitters on the team.
 And remember when Martin Prado was providing such a big spark? He’s hit .230 (14-for-61) with two extra-base hits, five RBI and a .284 OBP and .295 slugging percentage in his past 17 games, and the Braves are 5-12 in those games.
 That slump pretty much coincides with the start of his headache problems in mid-August.

 ♣ One other thing about Chipper, Mac: I’ve never believed errors to necessarily be an accurate gauge of a player’s defensive performance, since there are so many variables involved. For instance, a middle infielder with great range and a strong arm, might get to a lot of balls that mediocre infielders might not even get a glove on, and the talented player sometimes ends up making an error trying to throw off-balance or hurrying a throw on such a player. Know what I mean?
  Same thing for some outfielders. Some make more errors than lesser fielders because the more-talented guy is flying around trying to make plays on balls the other guy simply allows to fall in, trying to prevent a single from becoming a double rather than going for the out.
  Also, a particularly outstanding first baseman can save numerous potential errors by regularly scooping up one-hop throws that a lesser first baseman will miss half the time.
  Anyway, you get my point. Right?
  All that said, I couldn’t help but notice that Chipper and McCann have the most errors in the major leagues at their respective positions. Chipper has 18 errors and a .930 fielding percentage that’s the worst among MLB third basemen (next in both categories among 3Bs is Arizona slugger Mark Reynolds, with 17 errors and a .941 fielding percentage).
  McCann has 10 errors, one more than Arizona’s Miguel Montero, and McCann’s .988 fielding percentage is tied for second-lowest among catchers, just behind former Braves prospect Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.987) of the Rangers, who’s now injured.
  McCann also has the most passed balls (seven) among NL catchers.
  I talked to Chipper about his defense on Saturday. He said he thinks he’s played well the past month or two defensively, and complained about some errors charged by official scorer at Turner Field (the one last week, I’ve got to say, was a rough call, the hard boucer that hit Chipper in the thigh. He said it took a bad hop and he was almost incredulous that it was charged an error).
  Anyway, to me Chipper has toggled between very good plays, including some spectacular ones, and some memorably bad ones. I don’t think he’s washed up at third base, defensively. But it does seem like when he’s tired or in a rut, he’s more prone to errors than he used to be.
  As for McCann, he entered this season intent on improving his defense and becoming known as an exceptional all-around catcher, not just a great-hitting catcher. I think he’d probably be the first to say, that hasn’t happened.
 And whether he’ll admit it or not, I think the whole glasses thing, working through that transition and dealing with the glasses on particularly hot and humid days, has affected his defense. I remember a few passed balls, in particularly, where it looked like he just lost the ball.
  What’s the future for both players? I’m fairly certain the Braves have no plans on moving McCann from catcher any time in the foreseeable future. But I’m not as sure about the Chipper situation.
  Could he move to first base? If he agreed to the move and spent part of the winter and all spring working there, I’m sure he could do it. But it doesn’t seem to me that he has any interest in doing that. Haven’t asked him in a while, though.
 I do think the dropoff from Teixeira/Kotchman/LaRoche to a first-time first baseman would be huge, and I don’t know that the Braves have any interest in trying that.
 But they do need a first baseman to bridge between now and Freddie Freeman, who looks to be at least a year away from being ready. Could they get Adam LaRoche to return on a reasonably priced two-year deal? I don’t know.  Gotta think ‘Rochy second-half performance might draw him a couple of big offers, at least two years plus an option. But we’ll just have to wait and see.

 ♦ OK, gotta get to the ballpark. Loving the new Drive-By Truckers outtakes CD, and this new band Japandroids makes you want to jump around and break stuff. Try ‘em out, any of you into a frenzied sort of garage/punk DIY thing. (And just FYI, they’re a couple of scruffy dudes from Vancouver, B.C., not what you might expect from the name.)
  One more thing: Please, no one give away any potential plot turns in the Seasons of Anarchy premiere tonight. I obviously won’t be able to watch it till later, and I don’t want the suspense spoiled. Thanks.

 

Earle (left) with another Texas legend, Townes Van Zandt

Earle (left) with another Texas legend, Townes Van Zandt

“HOME TO HOUSTON” by Steve Earle

When I pulled out of Basra they all wished me luck
Just like they always did before
With a bulletproof screen on the hood of my truck
And a Bradley on my back door

And I wound her up and shifted her down
And I offered this prayer to my Lord
I said “God, get me back home to Houston alive
And I won’t drive a truck anymore”

It’s early in the mornin and I’m rollin fast
Haulin nine thousand gallons of high test gas
Sergeant on the radio hollerin at me
Look out up ahead here come a R.P.G.

If I ever get home to Houston alive
Then I won’t drive a truck anymore

I’ve driven the big rigs for all of my life
And my radio handle’s “Train”
Down steep mountain roads on the darkest of nights
I had ice water in my veins

And I come over here cause I just didn’t care
Now I’m older and wiser by far
If I ever get home to Houston alive
Then I won’t drive a truck anymore

Great God A’mighty what was wrong with me
I know the money’s good but buddy can’t you see
You can’t take it with you and that ain’t no lie
I don’t wanna let em get me — I’m too young to die

If I ever get home to Houston alive
Then I won’t drive a truck anymore

 

 

714 comments Add your comment

3WayTie4Last

September 8th, 2009
3:55 pm

Why do people type ‘first?’

HoCoJo

September 8th, 2009
3:57 pm

P. W. Hjort

September 8th, 2009
3:58 pm

“Back Of A Bible” off Murdering Oscar is such a great track.

Random

September 8th, 2009
3:59 pm

Random

September 8th, 2009
4:00 pm

(merde) cinco

CB

September 8th, 2009
4:02 pm

HoCoJo

September 8th, 2009
4:05 pm

DOB

I’d be real surprised to see Chipper Jones give up his off-season hunting to work on learning how to play first base. He loves wild game hunting as much as Smoltz loves chasing that little white ball.

Wayne the Baseball Czar

September 8th, 2009
4:08 pm

RHR and Piedmont Blues

Good to be back, if but only for a short while. Hope all is well!

Daslied

September 8th, 2009
4:09 pm

(From the last blog)

McFann – wasn’t at all putting down BMac. I think he’s great, but that stat was weird. I’m into the whole pitcher-catcher dynamic. :)

amarant

September 8th, 2009
4:14 pm

disappointed that you couldn’t put new hitting coach in the list of what we need the most.

The Braves have wiped their ass for the past 7 years, now we should be done with the TP.

He had success with already proven hitters, and now Chipper is swinging with too long a stride, just like the problems Francoeur was having here. Seems obvious that he is the problem when you mess a guy up 1 year removed from making a run at .400.

Remember that 15 game winning streak we had several years back, it would be a damn fine time for one of those now.

RC

September 8th, 2009
4:15 pm

In my mind, it’s Chipper’s offensive downturn that is much more concerning than his defense. While still a great hitter, I worry that he is trying too hard at times to regain his stature as a “power hitter”, without realizing that as he gets older his body simply won’t allow him to hit HR’s in the same way he could as a younger player. I’d love to see him adopt an approach similar to what Todd Helton has done, where he knows he’s not going to hit more than 15-20 HR a year, but looks to drive the gaps and make up for his lost HR power with double power. And maybe Chipper has been doing this and the difference in their results is simply a Turner Field/Coors Field difference. But right now, Chipper simply isn’t hitting like a lineup cornerstone needs to do.

Mitch C

September 8th, 2009
4:19 pm

Dave, the Braves are done as far as making the playoffs. This team isnt going on any twenty out of twenty five run. They will be lucky to finish at 500.

I think the Braves need a new manager in 2010. Bobby has had enough. Keep him in the orginization somewhere, but after twenty years, and four straight out of the playoffs, with the upgrades we made last winter, it’s time for him to not be the manager anymore.

You mentioned Laroche. If he leaves, that would be a big loss for the Braves. Except for Mccann, they really have no power hitters other than Lacroche, because Chipper’s power has declined.

Chances are, Laroche will depart, just like every other Braves free agent in the last seven years. Frank Wren will then have to do what he usually does. Come up with a cheap creative option, who wont be nearly as productive as Laroche, until Freddie Freeman is ready.

Mitch

Hootie Bookems

September 8th, 2009
4:19 pm

I have forgotten about the Braves since it is football season, but I like DOB so I figure I would give him some page views.

P. W. Hjort

September 8th, 2009
4:19 pm

In my mind, it’s Chipper’s offensive downturn that is much more concerning than his defense.

He’s come back down to earth offensively, but his OBP is still around .400 and he’s still an above average hitter. Defensively, he went from above average last year to worst-in-the-game this year. The defensive drop-off is more significant. The offensive turndown, I feel, is a result of a slump and coming back to earth. I’m not convinced his defensive value has completely deteriorated.

P. W. Hjort

September 8th, 2009
4:20 pm

I’m not convinced his defensive value hasn’t* completely deteriorated.

McFann Ô

September 8th, 2009
4:20 pm

Thanks for the new Blog, Chief.

Daslied

I know. I kinda think it’s int’resting, too.

flange1

September 8th, 2009
4:21 pm

Wayne,

Good to see you back!

Did you make a guest appearance in a conversation with Steve from OH right after you left?

I was thinking it was you. Think Random did too!

Mitchell

September 8th, 2009
4:22 pm

Reeling Braves need rejuvenation … and more

A new manager perhaps?

Sorry, broken record.

Doesn’t it feel like the season is already over? It seems like it’s been weeks since they last played. It’s rather appropriate that they were one of the only teams in baseball not to play yesterday on Labor Day.

And yet they’re still talking about going on some crazy winning streak. Give me a f***ing break. As long as Bobby Cox manages this team they will never put together any streak over four or five games. They’re absolutely incapable of it. No offense, no clutch hitting, an over-worked bullpen, an uninspired leader in Cox and a beleaguered Chipper Jones and his negative attitude.

They might as well quit. Literally.

I’ll be genuinely surprised if they finish over .500 at this point.

amarant

September 8th, 2009
4:22 pm

RC, I can’t help but think TP is responsible. I mean earlier this year, Frenchy had too long a stride that needed to be shortened up, Chipper has been having the same problem. I mean thinking back on what TP had to use up to 2005, was all experience, since 2005 he has been working with more or less our prospects trying to tturn them into good hitters but it just isn’t happening, KJ has been disappointing, Frenchy a disappointment, McCann seems like he has even lost a bit of his eye he once had as for bad pitches. I remember how advanced his discipline and eye was at the plate in 05 and 06 and now he is swinging at pitches he wouldn’t have moved his bat for back then. I am rather disappointed with our prospect developments once they get to the majors.

P. W. Hjort

September 8th, 2009
4:23 pm

I’m also a huge fan of the alternate take of Uncle Frank on the new outtakes CD. That was the only track on this new record I had never heard before.

Mitchell

September 8th, 2009
4:24 pm

Mitch C,

Why do you always put your name at the bottom of your posts?

We can see your screen name. You don’t need to put “Mitch” at the end.

Mitchell

RC

September 8th, 2009
4:27 pm

amarant,

The hitting coach for a major league team doesn’t have nearly the impact you think, especially on a veteran like Chipper Jones. I’ve got to say it’s almost comical to suggest that Chipper’s swing is out of whack due to Pendleton, just because Chipper himself likely knows as much or more about hitting than TP does. It’s much, much more likely that he’s simply getting older, and balls that used to be HR are now caught at the warning track.

Ebenezer Snerdberg

September 8th, 2009
4:28 pm

DOB;
Thanx for new blog,needed same!

HoCoJo

September 8th, 2009
4:31 pm

I came real close to commenting on Mark Bradley’s story on Bobby C.

taxman kenneth

September 8th, 2009
4:31 pm

The braves don’t have a chance of the playoffs this year and they know that. They need to go home and regroup with a new manager, 2 new outfielders with speed and some power, a new first baseman if LaRoche don’t resign, a new 2nd baseman, a new third baseman, put chipper on the bench or trade him to an American League Team so he can DH and maybe he won’t stay hurt all the time, a new bench, send Norton packing somewhere, probably home unless he finds a team that is more crazy than the braves are. The bullpen would be ok if Cox did not work them to death.

Mixxo

September 8th, 2009
4:33 pm

It’s my ex- gf’s birthday too. 8O

I love(d) her. :cry:

More than My Yankees and almost as much as my Braves.

Joshua Smith

September 8th, 2009
4:34 pm

Dave, don’t you think with us 7.5 back in the wild card with three teams ahead and 8 back in the division and 2 teams ahead, we may have a better (although perhaps just as unlikely) chance at the division than the wild card?

McFann Ô

September 8th, 2009
4:35 pm

Hmm…I see Chipper and BMac are both back in the lineup. We’ll see how that goes…

As for McCann, he’s had five 0-for-4 performances in his past 10 games, and hit just .132 (5-for-38) with two extra-base hits in that stretch. Something that really stands out is his seven strikeouts with no walks in that 10-game stretch.

Ew…can’t say I didn’t know that, though. Just stands out more when the Chief writes it. Boy, it’s been rough. And I would say the oblique thing may have played a part in that, but I have absolutely no idea how long that’s been an issue.

Int’resting note on the defense, too. 8O Yikes. Really disappointing, too. And say what I have about “umps blowing some CS calls”, but still…his D hasn’t quite been what I expected. It’s improved somewhat (seen him make some really good throws), but he is on pace for a new career-high in PBs (maybe even Es…his career-high as of now is 13).

And whether he’ll admit it or not, I think the whole glasses thing, working through that transition and dealing with the glasses on particularly hot and humid days, has affected his defense.

I agree with you there…totally agree. ‘Cause before he got them (and even for a little while after he got ‘em), his defense was much much better. It’s hard to back up that statement with stats since they don’t have game-by-game logs for defense, but I cann just remember how good his D looked at the beginning of the season, and then his O was so poor.

I remember a few passed balls, in particular, where it looked like he just lost the ball.

Like that one in Colorado that went straight off the top of his glove and hit him in the face mask? Yeah…I totally read ya.

Piedmont Blues (ex-BFIR)

September 8th, 2009
4:37 pm

Thanks, Wayne!

(from last blog)

Lew,

I’ve had two gripes about Cox. The main one is his handling of the bullpen, primarily using Soriano, Gonzalez, and Moylan in games where the Braves had a lead of three or more runs. Even if you use a guy for no more than one inning at a time, it seems to me that you can wear ‘em out if they pitch four or five days a week. (At a minimum, the more appearances a pitcher makes, the easier it is to scout him.)

The second one deals with the lineup, and it’s a bit more subtle. Until about a decade ago, Bobby was very aggressive with his lineups. He’d use platoons and move people around to take advantage of matchups (real or imagined; I’m pretty sure he’s not a stat guy). In recent seasons, his tendency has been to find eight starters, wind ‘em up, and send ‘em out for as long as they will go. I can’t remember him ever letting players rust on the bench. It was rare he would have anybody who stayed on the roster for a full season who didn’t have at least 150-200 plate appearances.

To his credit, this year he has been creative. Diaz at leadoff? I’d never do it, but it seemed to work when McLouth was out.

When you’re depending on older players (Chipper, GA) and guys playing premium defensive positions (Yunel, McCann) to carry your offense, you need to aggressively manage their days off so that they stay fresh. Cox’s inability do that may have prevented this roster — which was going to be challenged to score a lot of runs under any circumstances — from performing its best.

McFann Ô

September 8th, 2009
4:37 pm

Ho ho ho…Wayne the Baseball Czar

:lol: Good to see you again!

Herschel Talker

September 8th, 2009
4:42 pm

THE REJUVENATION SHOULD START AT THE TOP! BOOBY NEEDS TO GO! FIRE BOOBY COX! FIRE BOOBY COX!

Piedmont Blues (ex-BFIR)

September 8th, 2009
4:43 pm

That last lengthy post was disjointed. (Not enough coffee, clearly.)

What I meant to say was that in his earlier days as a manager, I could not remember Bobby allowing players to rust on the bench. He got everybody involved, and not just as pinch hitters.

In recent years? Not so much, unless injuries or sheer nonperformance forced his hand.

Huddy's Ligament

September 8th, 2009
4:46 pm

Went to last game of the year last night in Myrtle Beach, and 3rd sacker Donnell Linares, belted his 15th HR of the year. Could this be Chipper’s eventual heir apparent?

AndyC

September 8th, 2009
4:46 pm

If the Braves repeat their pattern of teasing fans with alternating good and bad play, they will go on a tear and close the gap in the wildcard race to a respectable number, 4-5 games. We shall see.

fifthbusiness

September 8th, 2009
4:47 pm

DOB How much of the five game slide is choke and how much is fatigue. I agree with you Prodo has slipped since his dizzy spell. How ids KK taking going to the bull pin?

Bravissimo

September 8th, 2009
4:50 pm

Tell me more about Neko!!!

Wayne the Baseball Czar

September 8th, 2009
4:51 pm

flange1

no guest appearances have been on the schedule for me…..sorry.

HoCoJo

September 8th, 2009
4:51 pm

Popcorn – finished bowl
Cocktail – poured

Now I’m ready for some baseball. As bad as it gets, it’s still better than what the networks have to offer. (’cept college football, of course)

Wayne the Baseball Czar

September 8th, 2009
4:53 pm

McFann

Hope the “Big Boss” doesn’t find out about my past affections towards the NBA, or else I might be forced to resign my post! The past can be unmerciful….

brent a.

September 8th, 2009
4:55 pm

DOB,

Have you ever hit the “House of Pies” while in Houston? One on Kirby, another on Westheimer. The one on Kirby is relatively convenient to where you are now. South on 59, Exit Kirby, head west, up on your left. It’s across from one of the original Carabba’s restaurants. The one’s run by Johnny Carabba himself, and not franchised out by the Outback Steakhouse.

Anyway, since the AJC apparently has you on a budget, I’d highly recommend the House of Pies, and please, please, enjoy the Bayou Goo.

Separately, I was intially disappointed when I knew I wouldn’t be in town for this series. But, the last 5 games have made me not want to be anywhere near the dome tonight.

TnBrian

September 8th, 2009
4:58 pm

WOW, as if we didn’t have anything more negative to say about CJ and Mac right now, DOB throws that at us… both guys lead the majors in errors at their position. OMG, could these two guys have picked a worse time to be so bad, especially CJ? And Dipper, no, they weren’t “bad calls”. You just got lazy and selfish because you apparantly have let your slump at the plate affect you defense. He’s really starting to be a whiny little beyatch these days.

Capt. Morgan

September 8th, 2009
4:58 pm

I agree with you Prodo has slipped since his dizzy spell: fithbusiness

Maybe if Prodo was more worried about hitting than getting that damned ring over to Mordor…

McFann Ô

September 8th, 2009
4:59 pm

Wayne The past can be unmerciful….

Yeah, tell me about it. I once said I liked Ross’ “hat hair”…

ncscoots

September 8th, 2009
5:03 pm

Piedmont, might have been a little easier for Bobby to mix-and-match in the days when every lineup spot was not so offensively critical. Resting a Javy Lopez when Gallaraga was still in the lineup had less of an impact than resting McCann, say, does today.

Guess I’m saying there’s less opportunity to take a bat out when there aren’t enough other bats to cover up for the absence. I’d probably be playing all my starters every day, too.

njbraves

September 8th, 2009
5:04 pm

I’ll tell ya, some of you are unbelievable. The way you guys talk you would think Bobby played for this team. has Bobby made some questionable decisions, absolutely. However, he doesn’t pitch and he doesn’t hit. This offense never had a chance from day one. No speed and no power = no runs. It’s really that simple. Do you really think they would be in 1st place with LaRussa or Torre? No way. I believe part of the reason Chipper and Mac are struggling is because they put too much pressure on themselves. They say the have confidence in the other guys, but they know the deal. This team needs a power bat and some speed…that’s it. Stop whining about the manager, and stop acting like heyward is the savior, it is such a tired act.

interested observer

September 8th, 2009
5:04 pm

I notice most of the Brooks Conrad Fan Club has jumped off the bandwagon since he has gone 0 fer 6 and his average has dropped to .289.

Of course you are convinced that 0 – 6 should end his career if you were convinced that those 34 ab’s in July made him the second coming. Just forget 5000 ab’s in nine years of minor league ball.

njbraves

September 8th, 2009
5:08 pm

Chipper has been the Braves best position player for over a decade, yet the second he struggles, everyone is ready to kick him out the door. Unreal. Can we see more than a bad two months before we decide he is washed up?? The man won a batting title last year for God’s sake.

njbraves

September 8th, 2009
5:10 pm

Prado has struggled because teams have learned how to pitch to him. Don’t blame it on the headaches. If he is as great as most of you say he is, he will learn to deal with new looks from opposing pitchers. IMO, Prado and Infante are great backups, but not everyday guys.

O'Brien

September 8th, 2009
5:10 pm

DOB,

I think Brian does not get enough days off, so mentally/physically, he could be wearing down.

Another topic I found interesting on a previous blog was how him batting cleanup may have had an adverse effect on him as well. He seems to be pressing more, and taking more HR swings, instead of taking what the pitcher/defense gives you.

Do you have any opinions on this (being tired, pressing too hard), and if possible, maybe you could ask Brian about his preference (hitting 4th or 5th), and how is he physically?

rammerjammer

September 8th, 2009
5:10 pm

njbraves, your 5:04 is right on the money, especially the “power bat” suggestion. A slugging leftfielder AND re-signing LaRoche must be top priority.

Bobby's U-haul

September 8th, 2009
5:10 pm

Time to pack up and head to Bartow county boys.

Piedmont Blues (ex-BFIR)

September 8th, 2009
5:11 pm

ncscoots,

Resting McCann against more lefties should have been an easy call. Ross isn’t chopped liver, Diaz could have taken McCann’s spot at cleanup, and McCann (who doesn’t hit lefties at all) would have been fresher for the stretch run.

Just one spot in the lineup, I know. But 10-15 years ago, Cox would have been all over a move like this (as — IMO — LaRussa and Maddon would be now).

Vinings Jim

September 8th, 2009
5:14 pm

Frightening to think that Aimee Mann is 49 – I remember when Voices Carry came out, and it was big news in Richmond because she had graduated from Meadowbrook High School a few years earlier…

Herschel Talker

September 8th, 2009
5:17 pm

Vinings Jim – you the man!

keylargo

September 8th, 2009
5:17 pm

The 2008 Braves were terrible and won 70 games. Frank Wren came in and made as many changes as he could and made absolutely no promise of playoffs in 2009. However the Braves are going to win about 84 games this year – a 20% improvement.

We rightfully should have had no playoff hopes this year and should be satisfied with the great overall improvement of the team. Just hope as Wren continues to tweak the team by adding the pieces he can, that we can improve at least 10% next year which would be 92/93 or so wins and the playoffs.

McFann Ô

September 8th, 2009
5:19 pm

O’Brien I think Brian does not get enough days off, so mentally/physically, he could be wearing down.

I agree.

…[Brian] batting cleanup may have had an adverse effect on him as well. He seems to be pressing more, and taking more HR swings, instead of taking what the pitcher/defense gives you.

Ye-ah…

Piedmont Blues Resting McCann against more lefties should have been an easy call. Ross isn’t chopped liver, Diaz could have taken McCann’s spot at cleanup

Bingo. Not sure why he’s had so much trouble against lefties this year. :?

Vinings Jim

September 8th, 2009
5:20 pm

Thanks, Herschel – right back at you (in a very manly way)…

Bushwacker

September 8th, 2009
5:21 pm

I find it amazing how teh braves announcers were ripping Hanley Ramirez for taking hinself out of the line up while the Marlins are trying to make the playoffs, but SAID NOTHING about CHIPPER taking himself out.
how many games has Chipper sat out in tghe last week?

I know, he says he’s injured, but if he can swing at bat, HE NEEDS TO BE IN THERE!

If your best player sits out in the middle of a pennant race, you gotta wonder exactly when will he play again and what does that say to the young guys on the team?

It say’s, I QUIT, which is exactly what this team has done.

How many of the current 5 straight losses did Chipper sit out.

He seems disinterested when they show him in the dugout.

I think he realizes he has no shot at 500 HRS or 3000 hits anymore and he thinks he has the numbers to get in the HOF anyway, thats another debate!!

You heard it here first, CHIPPER RETIRES at th end of the season!!!
He might as well because Prado is better than him now anyway fielding and hitting.

Go ahead and retire noe CHIPPER, you’ve already quit on your teamates!!!

cabravesfan

September 8th, 2009
5:22 pm

VJ-

ahh, yes I remember when that song came out. Oh wait a minute…no I don’t- I was 6 ;)

Piedmont Blues (ex-BFIR)

September 8th, 2009
5:25 pm

McFann,

I wonder if the glasses affect how well he sees pitches from lefties. Or maybe he’s just tired. I don’t have the time to see if he was hitting lefties better early in the season. He’s always dropped off a little vs. LHP, but never as much as this year.

It’s a puzzlement.

njbraves

September 8th, 2009
5:25 pm

Bushwacker…You’re kidding right?? You ever had an oblique strain?? I have, and can tell you that it hurts like hell. I’m pretty sure the guy wants to make the playoffs, but if you think he quit, then he must have quit.

Mixxo

September 8th, 2009
5:26 pm

prince fielder (yeah, he doesn’t warrant capitalization in my book)…..

What a classless pr*ck. :mad:

Anyone see his latest shenanigan on his walk-off. :roll:

Vinings Jim

September 8th, 2009
5:26 pm

cabravesfan – Darling, you were a very precocious 6, so you seemed much older… :grin:

Anders

September 8th, 2009
5:27 pm

Sorry folks, moving Chipper to first is not the answer. Keith Hernandez always talks about how playing first is very hard on a players legs. Especially an older one. Lot’s of continous moving around on every ground ball as opposed just to those hit to you. Plus holding guys on, then bouncing off on every pitch. And all the stretches for throws to you. All in all you lower body really gets stressed. Unless Chipper plans to play first like your uncle at the family picnic softball game to save his body for offense then he’s probably be better off physically staying on third.

DH was the answer for him.

Anders

September 8th, 2009
5:29 pm

Beltran’s back tonight. Cue up theme from Rocky! {:

Piedmont Blues (ex-BFIR)

September 8th, 2009
5:30 pm

Anders,

At this stage in his career, I think Chipper can still play 120-130 games a year at 3B very effectively. And be worth the contract. Not sure he can play any more than that and be effective, however.

Vinings Jim

September 8th, 2009
5:30 pm

cabravesfan – I do remember my daughter singing “Addictick to Love” (sic) when she was six (although she doesn’t) – maybe you remember Aimee subconsciously…

Shamus Thacker

September 8th, 2009
5:30 pm

Bushwacker: He seems disinterested when they show him in the dugout.”"

He’s probably like every other 37-year-old nowadays, so many things on his mind that he drifts during moments when not directly involved in the proceedings.

keylargo

September 8th, 2009
5:30 pm

McFann

I butchered up that post I made comparing BMac to Johnny Bench, but hopefully you got the point I was trying to get across which was that Bench played far more games and had far more plate appearances at the same age as BMac. That led me to conclude that BMac needs to devote his off season to getting in shape for the first time in his career. I just don’t agree that he needs more time off unless he is going to come back in next spring in horrible condition again.

I know this is kind of harsh, but this is what it is going to take to get him to stop playing like he’s worn out, which he is.

And the exact thing applies to Chipper Jones.

PS Bench was playing a 154 game schedule compared to BMac at 162.

Lew

September 8th, 2009
5:31 pm

Steve-I’m not thrilled with Bobby’s bullpen management sometimes, either and maybe he does go with players longer than is sometimes advisable-no doubt. I’m not quite as upset though as some here are, because sometimes you are screwed no matter which way you go (I love the cries of “He needed to be taken out sooner” about starters and then turning around and griping “He’s overusing the bullpen”. To me, you just can’t have it both ways.

That being said-what really galls the hell out of me is this crap about the “game passed him by.” What a load of manure. The game has not changed appreciably and he’s not senile. The only thing that’s changed in baseball over the past 50 years is the way the pen is used (by everyone) because pitchers don’t complete games anymore, the shrinking of stadiums, the lowering of the mound and the DH (all of which have increased offense-like they say, Chicks dig the long ball) and the players are stronger and better conditioned. The game, however, is played the same damned way. There is absolutely no justification for that comment about it passing him by. It’s crap and nothing else except disingenuous.

Oh yeah-one more change-the Fantasy Baseball mentality. If someone goes 0-4, they suck and must be replaced. Of course, REAL baseball isn’t like that. You’d never know to hear much of the commentary, though.

HoCoJo

September 8th, 2009
5:31 pm

Maybe Fox Sports South could replay this during the next rain delay.

Buffalo NY Braves Fan

September 8th, 2009
5:32 pm

Wow Anders, seems like you are getting some players back for one last playoff run….

don’t get too excited I was talking about your company softball team…. not the Mets.

Waittilnextyear

September 8th, 2009
5:34 pm

Waittilnextyear

brian

September 8th, 2009
5:35 pm

I am surprised that McCann did not get more days off this year with Ross as his back up. Maybe McCann does need to learn 1B so he can get more days off behind the plate but keep his bat in the lineup.

If LaRoche is not resigned, any chance that Matt Diaz plays first base leaving us an OF of Schafer, McLouth, and Heyward???

Mixxo

September 8th, 2009
5:35 pm

keylargo — ……That led me to conclude that BMac needs to devote his off season to getting in shape for the first time in his career. I just don’t agree that he needs more time off unless he is going to come back in next spring in horrible condition again.

I know this is kind of harsh, but this is what it is going to take to get him to stop playing like he’s worn out, which he is.

And the exact thing applies to Chipper Jones.

Agree totally!

njbraves

September 8th, 2009
5:35 pm

Thank God Anders stopped by to explain how to play first base. Not sure what we’d do with out that info.

CallUpConrad

September 8th, 2009
5:36 pm

These Braves are WAY past done.

RC

September 8th, 2009
5:37 pm

“keylargo — ……That led me to conclude that BMac needs to devote his off season to getting in shape for the first time in his career. I just don’t agree that he needs more time off unless he is going to come back in next spring in horrible condition again.

I know this is kind of harsh, but this is what it is going to take to get him to stop playing like he’s worn out, which he is.

And the exact thing applies to Chipper Jones.”

Says the guy blogging on the internet at 5:30 in the afternoon.

brian

September 8th, 2009
5:37 pm

any feeling as to when Bobby will announce his plans for next season???

I assume that free agency involves a lot of recruiting so most free agents will want to know who the coach is going to be. If the Braves enter into free agency with Bobby saying he is still deciding on 2010 it could have a negative impact, especially since the Braves are unlikely to overpay.

ernesto

September 8th, 2009
5:37 pm

Loaf. Back next year or not? I’d bet not.

RC

September 8th, 2009
5:38 pm

Lew,

Great post at 5:31.

Lew

September 8th, 2009
5:39 pm

Does anyone not remember that McCann reported to Spring Training this year down 20 pounds after changing his diet and workout routine last winter? He’s on pace to play just slightly fewer games than in 08 despite his DL stay early in the year. Dude’s worn out.

rammerjammer

September 8th, 2009
5:39 pm

ernesto, agreed. No loaf in leff, er, left.

RC

September 8th, 2009
5:40 pm

“Thank God Anders stopped by to explain how to play first base. Not sure what we’d do with out that info.”

We’d probably keep talking about how Chipper needs to move to first in order to stay healthier. I’m all for taking shots at Anders, but let’s at least wait until he says something dumb to go after him :) .

cabravesfan

September 8th, 2009
5:40 pm

VJ-

if it’ll make you feel younger… ;)

Mixxo

September 8th, 2009
5:41 pm

RC — Says the guy blogging on the internet at 5:30 in the afternoon.

:oops:

*does daily rapid 45 degree right arm bends…..for about a minute.*

Mixxo

September 8th, 2009
5:43 pm

Braves…..three words….

Slow
Soft
Heartless

Bank on it!

Piedmont Blues (ex-BFIR)

September 8th, 2009
5:44 pm

Lew,

I’d never say the game has “passed him by.” That’s nuts.

The game is played and managed differently than it was 15-20 years ago. Front offices and field managers rely on statistical analysis in ways that weren’t heard of in the past. For instance, one reason LaRussa’s teams do well is talent, yes, but look at the role players on his clubs who somehow have career years under his guidance. (I can’t stand the guy because he knows how smart he is, but he takes advantage of any edge he can find and wins.) Same with the Red Sox and the Twins, who succeed in this environment with vastly different payroll structures. The Rockies look like they may be formidable as well, and Tracy’s very aggressive with his lineups.

There really are about 20 teams with a legitimate shot to make the postseason at the beginning of any season, and the clubs that are most assertive about finding edges and exploiting them seem likely to prevail.

Unless you have far and away the best talent on your roster, it’s probably not good enough to find your best eight guys and play ‘em till they drop, which seems to have been Bobby’s approach in recent years.

brent a.

September 8th, 2009
5:44 pm

Lew, I can’t believe that you beat McCann to the punch with “Brian lost 20 lbs.”

And yes, I remember. The guy’s had a stressful season, with his eye sitaution, losing his best fried to the Mets (just like Escobar lost his friend last year ;) ).

No doubt, Brian is tired.

I’ll never for the life of me understand why we didn’t see more of David Ross this year. I know he’s no Greg Norton, but still . . .

Brightside

September 8th, 2009
5:45 pm

Lest I dissappoint you interested observer, Conrad has hit the ball hard since being back, being robbed of at least one home run by a great leaping catch. The guy plays hard. Yes, drive on Conrad, I’m still on your wagon.

RC

September 8th, 2009
5:46 pm

“I’ll never for the life of me understand why we didn’t see more of David Ross this year. I know he’s no Greg Norton, but still . . .”

You didn’t need the “, but still….” the fact that he’s no Greg Norton is plenty of reason to want to see him more this year.

Lew

September 8th, 2009
5:47 pm

BFIR-Sabremetrics is Bobby’s problem? Give me a freaking break.

HoCoJo

September 8th, 2009
5:47 pm

Speaking of diets – We switch our daughter over to a gluten free diet about a month ago, and she has more energy than she’s had in the last 4 years. She has Lupus. My wife and I are trying a modified version of it. I lost 15 lb in 3 weeks (no exercise, either). I would think team nutritionists would promote the idea to pro-players. Couldn’t hurt!

RC

September 8th, 2009
5:48 pm

I’d love to see Conrad fill the Prado/Infante role next year, with Prado/Infante alternating as starters at 2b and backups at 1b/3b for Prado and SS/OF for Infante.

Soph

September 8th, 2009
5:52 pm

My Yankees

Mixxo, you’re killin me. ;-)

prince fielder (yeah, he doesn’t warrant capitalization in my book)…..Anyone see his latest shenanigan on his walk-off.

Yesum, saw a pic of him as the bowling ball and his teammates as bowling pins (I think). Immediately thought of you Mixxo. :-D

Soph

September 8th, 2009
5:52 pm

Sorry for all that bold. Completely messed it up.

Anders

September 8th, 2009
5:55 pm

Fat Francesa spreading rumors on the FAN that Beltran was unhappy about how his injury was handled by the Mets and now wants to show he’s healthy and wants either a two year extension or to be traded.

This is what comes with playing in NY folks. I personally heard Beltran on the FAN a few weeks back (while fatso was on vacation)completely dispute that he was upset with the Mets and as a matter of fact he made most of the medical decisions for himself with the guidance of the doctors.

Francesa loves to stir this crap up for the Mets. He’s such a Yankee lackey.

BTW- Mets beat reporter says Delgado may play the last two weeks to show he can still play. You guys may want to keep an eye on that as a possible bridge. Who knows, maybe he’ll take an incentive laden one year deal?

brent a.

September 8th, 2009
5:55 pm

IDK about Conrad for any sort of major role. Sure, I’ll take him over Greg Norton as a pinch-hitter, but that ain’t saying much.

Pendleton

September 8th, 2009
5:56 pm

They give me paychecks here…damned if I know Why

brent a.

September 8th, 2009
5:57 pm

Now Anders is trying to pawn off his New York trash onto Atlanta.

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