Braves learn to win without Chipper

Remember when the Braves struggled mightily with Chipper Jones out of the lineup in recent seasons? How they were a well-below-.500 team whenever their slugging third baseman, amid his late-career hitting resurgence, didn’t play because of various nagging injuries?

Well, the bad news is that his late-career hitting resurgence came to an abrupt halt a couple of months ago, and the nagging injuries have been a problem again lately after his relatively healthy first half-season.

Bigger impact than Chipper lately

Bigger impact than Chipper lately

The good news is that the Braves have gotten by far better without Chipper than they did in the past. Then again, he never had a hitting slump quite like this one in the past. And so, necessity being the mother of invention, and Yunel Escobar being the father of the on-deck-circle leap, and Adam LaRoche of the standing-at-the-bus-stop batting stance….

But anyway, the numbers don’t lie (except when those numbers are a pitchers’ won-lost record, as we’ll discuss in a moment vis-à-vis the performances of Jair Jurrjens and Derek Lowe).

The Braves have this tale-of-two-seasons thing going on, with their current, season-best six-game winning streak lifting their record to 43-28 since June 28, third-best in the NL in that stretch behind Philadelphia (46-26) and Colorado (44-29). Unfortunately for the Braves, that 43-28 record hasn’t been enough to overcome their disappointing 34-40 start (the next time anyone tells you division titles or playoff berths aren’t won in April or May, tell them, yeah, but they can sure be lost then.) But, hey, there’s hope until mathematical elimination, right?

As we were saying, the Braves are 43-28 since June 28. Chipper has played in 62 games in that time, and hit .246 with 16 extra-base hits (eight homers), 32 RBI and a rather pedestrian .771 OPS in those games). The Braves are 35-27 in those games he’s played, and 8-1 in games when he hasn’t played in that period.

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And if he hadn’t pinch-hit (and struck out) last night, well, they’d be 9-1 in games he hadn’t played in that period. Right?

 

To take our admittedly unscientific impact study, as it were, a step further, let’s check what the Braves have done without a few other players in the lineup during that time (we’ll not use LaRoche, since he came a month later).

Since that June 28 Braves-turnaround date:

– Matt Diaz has played in 63 games and hit .350 with 20 extra-base hits (seven homers), 31 RBI and a .952 OPS. The Braves are 39-24 when he’s played, and 4-4 when he has not.

– Brian McCann has played in 65 games and hit .251 with 31 extra-base hits 10 homers), 49 RBI and a .746 OPS. The Braves are 38-27 when he’s played, 5-1 when he has not.

– Garret Anderson has played in 64 games and hit .272 with 22 extra-base hits (nine homers), 28 RBI and a .753 OPS. The Braves are 40-24 when he’s played, 3-4 when he has not.

– Yunel Escobar has played in 63 games and hit .313 with 17 extra-base hits (seven homers), 29 RBI and an .879 OPS. The Braves are 39-24 when he’s played, 4-4 when he has not.

So, what conclusions can we draw? I don’t know. Decide for yourselves. It’d take too long to go back and figure out which games the Braves played without two or more of those guys and what the record is in those situations, etc.

I just wanted to show how, unlike recent years, the Braves have not been crippled when Chipper’s been out of the lineup.

And how they are a sub-.500 team without G. Anderson (just wanted to see if you’re on your toes, and make you smile between gully-washers if you’re here in Atlanta wondering if your basement is going to leak again tonight like mine did last night during the worst of the heavy rains).

♣ The whole problem with won-lost records: As has been debated and discussed here so many times in the past, a pitcher’s won-lost record can be one of the least-reliable, most misleading statistics in baseball, at least when it comes to his record in one season.

 

Blistered ... and blistered

Blistered ... and blistered

Over the course of a career, I think won-lost records are, by and large, a good indication of a pitcher’s performance — though still just one of several statistics that should be taken into account, along with ERA, WHIP (walks-plus-hits per innings pitched), ERA measured against the league average in that period, etc.

But a 200-game or 300-game winner isn’t going to get there with smoke-and-mirrors or riding the coattails of a great offense — he’s got to be a good pitcher to stick around that long and win that consistently. Just as a pitcher, with, say, a 100-125 career record is most likely a flawed pitcher to some degree for at least a good portion of his career, as good as he might have been for a time.

The point of all this is the folly of won-lost records as an indication of performance within a shorter span, and in this case within a season. And we need look no further than the Braves’ rotation for one of the best examples I can think of in recent memory.

Derek Lowe is 14-9 and leads the team in wins. Javier Vazquez (13-9) and Jair Jurrens (11-10) have had better seasons than Lowe. Exponentially better seasons. (So have Tommy Hanson and, arguably, Kenshin Kawakami, but we’ll use the other examples.)

Lowe has a 4.53 ERA and 1.49 WHIP, with 99 strikeouts and 56 walks in 179 innings. Vazquez has a 3.01 ERA and 1.05 WHIP (nearly 50-percent lower than Lowe in both statistics), with 216 strikeouts and 40 walks in 197-1/3 innings.

Jurrjens has a 2.81 ERA and 1.24 WHIP, with 133 strikeouts and 66 walks in 186 innings.

Even though Vazquez is the one whose numbers just dwarf Lowe’s and put Vazquez among the top five or so pitchers in the NL this season, we’ll focus on Jurrjens and Lowe, since Lowe pitched last night against the Mets (he left after two innings with a finger blister) and Jurrjens pitches tonight against the Mets, if we can get the game in between floods.

The contrast in their recent numbers are startling:

– In his past 18 starts, Lowe has a 5.48 ERA and .346 opponents’ batting average, yet he has a 7-6 record and the team is 11-7 in those games. The Braves have scored four or more runs eight times while he’s been in the game during those starts, including eight or more three times.

In his past 18 starts, Jurrjens has a 2.79 ERA and .239 opponents’ average, but he’s just 6-7 and the team is 7-11 in those games (the exact reversals of Lowe’s record and the team’s record in Lowe’s past 18 starts). The Braves scored two runs or fewer while he was in 12 of those games.

– In Lowe’s past six starts, he is 2-2 with a 6.82 ERA and .393 opponents’ average, and the Braves have scored 8.7 runs per nine innings he’s pitched in that span.

– In Jurrjens’ past six starts, he’s also 2-2, but with a 2.11 ERA and .227 opponents’ average. The Braves scored two runs or fewer while he was in five of those games.

Beyond Lowe’s recent struggles, there’s the bigger issue, of course, of the remaining $45 million and three seasons on his four-year, $60 million contract.

The Braves can only hope this is not an early beginning of a career decline for the sinkerballer, that it’s just a bad half-season of starts, and that Lowe will get back to being the pitcher he was early this season, when he went 7-3 with a 3.44 ERA in his first 13 starts, and only two homers allowed in 83-2/3 innings. (And no, I can’t seen them paying him $15 mill per to go back to closing, not with the stuff he has at this stage of his career.)

But these monthly numbers are not good. To get to his current .300 opponents’ average and .352 OBP allowed, Lowe’s put up these worsening month-by-month numbers in those two categories: April (.229, .317), May (.248, .291), June (.336, .396), July (.297, .331), August (.356, .395), September (.356, .415).

With runners in scoring position, he’s allowed a .296 average and whopping .816 OPS, including 19 extra-base hits and a .452 slugging percentage in 177 at-bats.

♣ It’s not the long balls: Speaking of turnarounds, the Braves have won six in a row, after losing six of the previous seven games. They had a 3.53 ERA and hit six homers during the 1-6 skid and have a 2.83 ERA and have hit five homers during the 6-0 streak.

So it’s not as much the pitching (that’s been steady all season) or the homers, as much as it’s been a lot of timely hits that the Braves don’t get when they’re playing poorly. They go into collective funks offensively, and those are the times when this team’s looked horrid for a week or more at a stretch.

After hitting just .172 during the 1-6 skid, including six games with seven hits or fewer and four games with five hits or fewer, the Braves have hit .322 in their past six games, including four games with 12 hits or more and another game with nine hits.

The amazing thing is, after getting dominated by several lesser-light pitchers during the 1-6 skid, the Braves have feasted against some of this year’s top starters and closers during the six-game streak, including the likes of Carpenter, Pineiro, Ryan Franklin and K-Rod, not to mention handing Roy Oswalt one of the worst beatings of his career.

♣♣ ♣   OK, was going to get into some other stuff, but it’ll have to wait. I’m out of time and need to drive to the ballpark through what’s probably going to be bad traffic in the rain.

I picked up Slaid Cleaves’ recent release, Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away. Another solid CD by the underrated Texan. Here’s the classic “Broke Down” off his 2000 CD of the same name. And here’s a video of him doing it solo & acoustic.

3f1aee2a-294c-4997-aed9-1c4ba1d984f7

“BROKE DOWN” by Slaid Cleaves

Sherry had a pawn shop band of gold

A sink full of dishes and a love grown cold

‘Long came a boy pretty as the devil

She took his hand, the whole thing unraveled

 

There’s no turnin’ round, it’s broke down

 

Billy took the ring and jammed it in his pocket

Drove downtown and tried to hock it

Down to the bottom of Lake Ponchetrain

There’s a love note carved inside a wedding ring

 

Brokedown, cracked and shattered

Left in Pieces like it never even mattered

Broke down, torn and frayed, ain’t nothin’ left you could give away

There’s no turnin’ round, it’s broke down

 

Ain’t no tellin’ where love goes

Maybe down where the Black River flows

Won’t be comin’ back round, it’s broke down

 

Baby in the back seat and another on the way

Sherry thinks of Billy and at the end of every day

Spends her nights waitin’ for real life to start

Listening to the sound of her double-crossed heart

 

Broke down, cracked and shattered

Left in Pieces like it never even mattered

There’s no turnin’ round, it’s broke down

 

On the other side of town two lovers lie still

Cigarette smokin’ on a window sill

There’s a picture locked up in an old suitcase

Billy closes his eyes, but he still sees her face

 

Broke down, cracked and shattered

Left in pieces like it never even mattered

Broke down, torn and frayed, ain’t nothin’ left you could give away

There’s no turnin’ round. It’s broke down, broke down

921 comments Add your comment

McFann :Ô:

September 17th, 2009
3:02 pm

Boo-yah! Thanks for the new Blog, Chief</strong.!

Hope the time stamps on this one are functioning properly…

McFann :Ô:

September 17th, 2009
3:04 pm

Stupid bold…

JPHunt

September 17th, 2009
3:06 pm

Danga

September 17th, 2009
3:09 pm

Pete (I played more games than anyone...and gambled too!...) Rose

September 17th, 2009
3:09 pm

Bet the Reds and the over…as they will win 3 out of 4 with the Marlins starting tonight. At least that is what I have laid with my bookie. Ironic, his name is Chipper Smith.

BELIEVE

Soph

September 17th, 2009
3:10 pm

Thanks, DOB!

Uh oh, I see 7:06.

JPHunt

September 17th, 2009
3:12 pm

Someone needs set the clock on this blog to the correct time before the haters get on here and start ripping the tech guys.

Tiger Woods

September 17th, 2009
3:16 pm

Heres my question DOB. What is the record of the Braves when you write the blog, and what is the record when Carroll writes the blog? It seems to me that the Braves play much better when Carroll is blogging but I may be wrong. Would be interesting, no idea if you can figure that out. Thanks for the blog DOB. CHOP CHOP!!

timthebrave

September 17th, 2009
3:20 pm

DOB, I would like to see an article about miracle comebacks in baseball….Go Braves

Danga

September 17th, 2009
3:21 pm

This whole blog time stamp issue is obviously Bobby’s fault.

Leo Mazzone

September 17th, 2009
3:29 pm

Tiger – I agree I’m amazing and golfers aren’t really athletes they’re a bunch of cry babies with daddy’s trust fund – they could never throw the ROCK. Braves rule! Go Notre Dame! It aint over till it’s over. Blaine Boyer would have won the Cy Young award if I were coaching….damn baltimore…..

Leo Mazzone

September 17th, 2009
3:31 pm

Tiger – I agree I’m amazing and golfers aren’t really athletes they’re a bunch of cry babies with daddy’s trust fund – they could never throw the ROCK. Braves rule! Go Notre Dame! It aint over till it’s over. Blaine Boyer would have won the Cy Young award if I were coaching….damn baltimore…..

Mixxo

September 17th, 2009
3:31 pm

fielder looks slimmer with the dark top.

Capt. Morgan

September 17th, 2009
3:33 pm

Time jumped again…

Leo Mazzone

September 17th, 2009
3:35 pm

Tiger Woods

September 17th, 2009
3:39 pm

P. W. Hjort

September 17th, 2009
3:42 pm

What if the Braves, instead of acquiring a 1B, move Chipper to 1st and sign Jack Wilson. Jack Wilson sucks offensively, but he’s one of the best defensive SS in the game, and will probably be a 2-win player this year just because of defense alone. Move Yunel to 3rd and have the most amazing defensive left side of the infield in baseball. Of course, this doesn’t fix the Braves’ biggest systematic weakness, and perhaps contributes to it. But, if you can sign Wilson for cheap (~$3-5 million or so), you’ve got value there. And then, maybe you can go out and get a Holliday or a Bay. And that fixes the biggest systematic weakness. Something like:

1. McLouth
2. KJ/Prado
3. Chipper
4. Holliday
5. McCann
6. Yunel
7. Church/Diaz/Heyward/Schafer
8. Wilson

It could work. Not my favorite idea, but something to consider. It should be noted that the Mariners hold a $8.4 million dollar option for Wilson’s 2010 season with a $0.6 million dollar buyout. Smart money’s on the buyout.

The Braves need to get better defensively with the pitching staff they’ve got. They’re 23rd in baseball in defensive efficiency. Getting Garret Anderson out of there in favor of a better defensive LF, moving Chipper to 1B, moving Yunel to 3rd, and adding an extremely gifted defensive SS would certainly improve the defense. Crazy idea, I know. I don’t think it’s that good of an idea, but it’s not that bad either.

The Real Don Steele

September 17th, 2009
3:43 pm

Think Chipper has been a great Brave but he just killed Atlanta’s chances down the stretch. Bobby Cox was loyal to Chipper and not to the team when he left him batting third and didn’t do what Jim Leyland would have done and drop Chipper down to the seven hole to try to get his swing back. Just killed the team! You can’t blame Chipper, he’s doing what the skipper wants him to do. Cox should have dropped him in the order and the Braves would have another six to eight wins. They’d be in the middle of the wild card race. Wait’ll next year, hopefully with a fresh manager.

Ronald Millsaps

September 17th, 2009
3:44 pm

I’m not giving up on this team… in the Wild Card OR the division!

I’m a Christian, and I pray for this team to play the best it can (which includes off-field preparation) and to win, and I will continue to do so.

I wouldn’t start Chipper until he’s ready to go. As good as it is to have him in the lineup, I wouldn’t push the issue and risk aggravating his injury/injuries that much more. I like having him as a pinch-hitter, too.

Glad to see the team playing so well. Just maintain the focus and diligence!

southern hope

September 17th, 2009
3:46 pm

DOB, just wanted to note that your columns are amazingly thoughtful & detailed and I appreciate the hard work you put into them.

Oh, okay, Go Braves!

Ronald Millsaps

September 17th, 2009
3:46 pm

By the way, I highly recommend listening to Rush Limbaugh’s radio program, which has been even better than usual this week.

The Real Don Steele

September 17th, 2009
3:47 pm

Chipper’s lack of performance justed killed the Brave’s chances down the stretch. Cox should have done what Jim Leyland would have done and dropped Chipper into the seven hole to try to get his swing back. Cox was loyal to Chipper and not the team. The Bravos would have another seven to eight wins and be in the middle of the wild card but Cox kept putting Chipper in the critical three hole where he could not deliver game after game. Wait’ll next year, hopefully with a fresh manager.

Knowitall

September 17th, 2009
3:48 pm

What’s with the time? It went for 3:39 7:06. Did I just lose 4 hours? Am I in the twilight zone?

Tiger Woods

September 17th, 2009
3:50 pm

PW good points but I would have to disagree. Yunel is prob top 5 short stops in the game would make no sense in making him a third baseman. The idea of Chipper to first is interesting but wouldn’t sacrifice moving Yunel to do it. Wilson has no offense what so ever and really would do no good on this team. Our infield defensively is pretty solid (except Chip this year) so no need in changing it that much. We need to sign people that can hit. Wilson can not.

P. W. Hjort

September 17th, 2009
3:50 pm

Random

And you do realize “down the road” could be as soon as next year, right?

Down the road could also be as soon as already. The Braves have already signed a Japanese player who cited Kenshin Kawakami’s signing as the reason he wanted to sign with Atlanta. I don’t know of his status, I think he’s still pitching in Japan, and I forgot his name.

McFann :Ô:

September 17th, 2009
3:50 pm

AAAAHH!!! Is there any way to fix these messed up time-stamps, Chief???

Buffalo NY Braves Fan

What cann I say? I’m a scary gal… :P

Keylargo

I did a Google “research”, and came up with this:

Finally, there is a group of patients whose eyes are not quite ready for LASIK yet who are old enough to make a legal decision to undergo surgery: those individuals between the ages of 18 and 24. “While refractive surgery is approved for patients age 18 and above, the only ones I will do at that younger age are professional athletes or someone with an unusual circumstance,” said Dr. Kornmehl. “For example, I treated a young Harvard student with Tourette’s syndrome who could not tolerate glasses or contact lenses.”

Dr. Rubinfeld agreed with Dr. Kornmehl, although he makes exceptions for certain occupational requirements—for instance, an individual who plans to become a pilot in the military or wants to join a law enforcement agency.

Dr. Kornmehl added, “If someone needs the surgery for a job, that is one thing. However, while individuals attend college, we know that their eyes are inevitably going to change and they will need an enhancement down the line. We explain to these young patients that their eyes are likely to change and they should not undergo this surgery until there is a greater stability. Nine times out of 10, they will understand the wisdom of waiting and choose to return when they reach their mid-20s.”

Long, I know…but int’resting nonetheless.

Your Pal LarHO

:lol:

Ed-Covington

September 17th, 2009
3:50 pm

OK;
Which teams are we pulling for & against again? I couldn’t decide last night whether I should be rooting for the Rockies or the Giants!
Last night’s Bravos game was great! Beating the NYNOTS like that, in the bottom of the ninth with 2 outs, after they had 14 LOB, on an E-3, with Frenchy grinning in the dugout thinking the game was won!
Priceless!
Sweep the NYNOTs & the NATs and let’s see what happens.

McFann :Ô:

September 17th, 2009
3:53 pm

Ugh…this is without a doubt one of the stranger things in Blog-life. :roll: My post is above yours, Larho

Wow…did realize there were only 6 games since June 28th that BMac has been completely out of…nice record in those games…

Knowitall

September 17th, 2009
3:53 pm

Uh, so I make a post at 3:48 and the next one is at 7:49. I’m living in the future and the present at the same time. No boss I haven’t been smoking the sticky icky, I swear.

David O'Brien

September 17th, 2009
3:54 pm

No Chipper in LINEUP:

1. McLouth
2. Prado, 3B
3. Anderson
4. McCann
5. Escobar
6. LaRoche
7. Diaz
8. Infante, 2B
9. Jurrjens

Knowitall

September 17th, 2009
3:54 pm

But, since it’s almost 8, is it ok if I ummm head home for the day?

Joe

September 17th, 2009
3:55 pm

The Braves need to try to trade Chipper Jones this offseason to an American league team he is more of a DH hitter I don’t think he is a everyday player anymore. I think the braves can acquire some much needed value that the braves need in the chipper trade if Frank Wren does the right deal.

brent a.

September 17th, 2009
3:55 pm

Good blog topics DOB. Reading my mind on a lot of recent ongoing events, especially the Braves’ performance without Chipper in the line-up.

Sad to see Chipper struggle; but, great to see the Braves able to compete without his “protection” in the line-up.

Knowitall

September 17th, 2009
4:01 pm

Hmmmm, I seem to have missed dinner. I wonder if I can convice my boss to pay for it since I’m still at work at 8:00. Boy, this comment is going to look even dumber than it already is if this shows up at 4:00.

Knowitall

September 17th, 2009
4:01 pm

Ha! it showed up at 4.

Danga

September 17th, 2009
4:02 pm

P.W. JHort…I love the idea of building for defense. That is just the kind of baseball I enjoy watching. Good pitching and Good defense=Games that last about 2 hours and look pretty doing so. I think O Dog is going to be a free agent again this year, but I’m guessing he’ll cost a bit more than the Braves want to spend on someone who doesn’t hit the long ball.

Mixxo

September 17th, 2009
4:02 pm

Knowitall –

It’s buggy, must be the “new” system.

Chipper needs to sit for the rest of the year, he’s pretty much done. Lowe too.

Bobby Cox is NO Jimmy Leyland (best mgr. in baseball today!)

braves4ever

September 17th, 2009
4:04 pm

DOB, since its 7:58 on your last post ,whats the score ,it should be like 4th inning?

drdebug

September 17th, 2009
4:05 pm

In response to a question about the Braves surplus of pitching, ESPN’s Baseball Today podcast has Derek Lowe & Kenshin Kawakami as the two most likely starters the Braves would offer in trade for a big bat going into 2010. Because of their respective contracts, Kawakami should be the easier guy to move.

Link

Thrillhouse44

September 17th, 2009
4:06 pm

Now my post shows up above the posts with the later times

“If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight miles per hour… you’re gonna see some serious ish”

You all are Cox apologists

September 17th, 2009
4:09 pm

NOW YOU DECIDE TO WIN 6 IN A ROW,

When the pressure was on, the Braves couldn’t muster more than a 5 game win streak. Now, “they’re tearing it up”.

HMMM…. So, when the pressure is on you FOLD like LAWN CHAIRS but as soon as Cox PISSES the season away, now you start winning. What a freaking joke!

UNLESS they stretch their current streak to DOUBLE-DIGITS, you can chalk this season up as another FAILURE and underachievement.

With our pitching, we should not be 5 GAMES OUT OF THE WILDCARD.

Anyone who thinks “BOOBIE COX” isn’t ULTIMATELY responsible for the Braves missing the playoffs, your an IDIOT. PERIOD.

braves4ever

September 17th, 2009
4:09 pm

Whats the score ,if its 8:02 it should be 4th inning

You all are Cox apologists

September 17th, 2009
4:11 pm

OH YEAH, NO MORE BOBBY IN 2010. YES!

ncscoots

September 17th, 2009
4:11 pm

The reason behind the blog timestamp boondoggle is a simple one: Braves are not losing, so the blog needs another mechanism to make bloggers’ heads explode.

Much as I hate myself for even thinking it, I wouldn’t mind seeing Dentz’s reaction to his posts showing up hither, thither, and yon, LOL. No rhyme or reason to his stuff, anyway, might as well pop ‘em up any-old-where. :-)

rockinthebeergut(formerly southbeachdietfreak)

September 17th, 2009
4:12 pm

Hate to belabor the time-stamp point, but the sooner this gets fixed the better. Most of us are too old for time to be moving even faster.

Johninnc

September 17th, 2009
4:14 pm

Hi What up with the AJC The time is way off

September 17th, 2009
8:09 pm

The time right now is 4:13pm not 8:10pm

RHR

September 17th, 2009
4:15 pm

By the way, I highly recommend listening to Rush Limbaugh’s radio program, which has been even better than usual this week.

I wouldn’t listen to that gas bag if my life depended on it.

Piedmont Blues (ex-BFIR)

September 17th, 2009
4:19 pm

PWH — It’s not as manly as hunting, but Chipper might get a heck of a lot more flexible if he did yoga or pilates. Seriously. Ol’ Roy’s had the Tar Heel basketball players doing yoga for at least the past couple of years, and for all I know it’s been part of the conditioning program since he was at KU.

If anyone were considering a position switch for Chipper, he’ll have to be a lot more limber.

ncscoots

September 17th, 2009
4:20 pm

I love the idea of building for defense. That is just the kind of baseball I enjoy watching. Good pitching and Good defense=Games that last about 2 hours and look pretty doing so.

It’s no so pretty when a bad hop, a bad call, or a simple human mistake costs you one of those 2-hour close-game beauties, LOL. Those kind of games can go south because of just about anything, because luck becomes a much larger variable in the win/loss equation. No, thanks. More mashing and less flashing, for me.

Piedmont Blues (ex-BFIR)

September 17th, 2009
4:21 pm

Enter your comments here (And is it 8:20 already? My wife will kill me for being this late!)

Facts Please

September 17th, 2009
4:21 pm

The braves will trade Jurrjens, Vazquez and leave us with Lowe, KK, Hanson and Hudson. They wont get anything in return for these pitchers, it will be a one year rental.

What they need to do it

Hudson, Jurrjens, Vazquez, Hanson and Medlin
Trade KK
Put Lowe in the Pen as a closer
Chipper retires
Bring up Heyward
Schaffer is fine, he was really hurt and he will be back in form next year.
Spend some money and put a lineup on the field to go with the pitchers. Lets face it, short of McCann and Escobar we have nothing to brag about. Nothing but good utility players, oh yea and a Norton. Show that guy the door.

Let our starters pitch and quit pulling them in the 7th just because.
Bobby go home and stay home. Being a player manager isnt good, you have team and you should respect the team not the player.

There I said it.

Piedmont Blues (ex-BFIR)

September 17th, 2009
4:23 pm

Is it 8:20 already? My wife will kill me for being so late …

Couch Tater

September 17th, 2009
4:28 pm

Rod Serling and David Gilmour taking away moments that make a dull day…It’s the Twilight Zone.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTwdhpudsSc

Danga

September 17th, 2009
4:29 pm

Scoots…My mind’s eye had the Braves going 162-0 with that pretty defense and great pitching. There you go throwing reality into the situation and ruining this nice little daydream.

How about we go for all players like Mike Cameron or in his prime A. Jones? Great defense and either a homer or a K at the plate. That would be interesting.

Jake7

September 17th, 2009
4:30 pm

CHIPPER will not go to 1st base for SELFISH reasons…he wants to set the RECORD for 3rd baseman.

NC Braves Fan

September 17th, 2009
4:32 pm

PWH: I think the Chipper to first idea will merit at least some thought. Best guess is, they’ll look at a variety of available players and position scenarios and sign the best player they can get for the money – and figure out how Chipper figures into the mix position-wise from there.

That said, I also think that Chipper at the plate and in the field this year could be an anomaly as much as anything. He might snap right out of it and play a a sharp 3B next year. Who knows?

So I think it comes back to who’s available to the Braves and how the puzzle pieces all fit – as you have implied.

Necromancer

September 17th, 2009
4:34 pm

I wonder if Japan has any good managers over there??? Hmmmm…..

Ray Pugh

September 17th, 2009
4:36 pm

Did some of you people just get lobotomized? Trade Jurrjens? Who is available that is worth 4 years of a premium starter at a bargain price?
What the Braves need to do next year is:
1) Move Lowe to closer;
2) Sign Mike Cameron and move Nate to left;
3) Sign Carlos Delgado to a 1-year, incentive laden contract.

OR Trade Vazquez, PTBNL and cash for Adam Dunn.

CB

September 17th, 2009
4:38 pm

This blog is making my head spin!

Frank Wren

September 17th, 2009
4:39 pm

Anyone who thinks “BOOBIE COX” isn’t ULTIMATELY responsible for the Braves missing the playoffs, your an IDIOT. PERIOD.

I know you are but what am I ?

Bobbie Cox took the ATL Braves the worst team in pro sports and make them a winner every year.

He is universally respected by his players and peers as one of a handful of the very best managers of all time. Yet some fool who watches the game on his couch thinks he knows the game or what to do or what is going on with the team better than anyone. Thats idiotic. That like me saying I know what kind of employee you are better than your boss even though Ive never met you.

The only thing worse than a fool is the fool who doesnt know he is a fool.

P. W. Hjort

September 17th, 2009
4:45 pm

NC Braves Fan -

That’s a good point regarding Chipper’s defense. Here’s what I wrote yesterday about it:

Let’s take a look at some of the advanced stats from 2004-present, starting with +/-:

Year +/-
2004 +6
2005 -2
2006 -15
2007 +2
2008 +8
2009 -13

And UZR/150:

Year UZR/150
2004 +1.2
2005 +0.9
2006 -14.8
2007 -2.7
2008 +7.5
2009 -13.0

They both pretty much tell the same story. About average in 2004, 2005, and 2007; above-average in 2008, and very bad in 2006 and 2009. The 6-year average for +/- is -2.33 runs and the 6-year average for UZR/150 is -3.48. The three-year UZR/150 average is -2.73 and the 3-year average for +/- is -1.00. So, what is Chipper’s true defensive value? He’s had bad seasons before and rebounded both offensively (2004) and defensively (2006). The 3 and 6 year samples and trends sort of lead me to believe that this year is an anomaly and I shouldn’t be concerned. On the other hand, Chipper is 37 years old and having a miserable year with the glove, so I don’t know what to think.

Wes

September 17th, 2009
4:50 pm

PWJ – you want Chipper hitting 3rd next year??? Chipper in the 3 hole has KILLED this team countless times this year. Yunel is the 3 man of the near future.

Wes

September 17th, 2009
4:52 pm

nj – nobody hates him. It’s just time to accept he is declining and is in no way, shape or form a 3 hitter or a 3rd baseman anymore.

RC

September 17th, 2009
4:55 pm

Inside Guy,

Where in the world are you hearing that? I can see why the Dodgers would do it, but makes no sense for the Braves.

tralfaz

September 17th, 2009
5:00 pm

“By the way, I highly recommend listening to Rush Limbaugh’s radio program–Millsaps

–Why would we want to listen to a fat drug addict?

Jake7

September 17th, 2009
5:01 pm

NJBRAVES,
This isn’t JUST this year……How LONG have you been watching the BRAVES? He’s NOT MR OCTOBER!

Chipper (lost my viagra...) Jones

September 17th, 2009
5:03 pm

Yup. Been tough lately. No lovin’ from the fans nor the little lady. Need to get that script refilled…among other things on my list…

Chipper’s…honey do list….

1.) Refill prescription..need them blue pills.
2.) Assume the position…
3.) Make contact…at least get to 2nd base…on occassion…and if I am real lucky, maybe go all the way and get a 4 bagger?
4.) Also, remember how to play the 3rd base position…again. Think I forgot where it was for awhile?
5.) Relax – smile…maybe even light a cigarette or have a beer after I am done. At least enjoy those Hooters wings. Been a while.

Oh. Almost forgot…pull for my teammates to do well…since my performance has not been up to par.

BELIEVE

richbrave

September 17th, 2009
5:05 pm

SCOOTS:

Don’t know who you were responding to, but this is for the person asking about restaurants in the MURRELL’S INLET, S.C. area.

Not familiar with restaurants on the southern end of the MYRTLE area like MURRELL. SEA CAPTAIN’S HOUSE in MYRTLE just north of downtown is really good. Oceanfront. Recommend getting there early. Stays pretty full all the time. If it’s clear and a full moon, seeing it rise out of the ocean is great. Further north between MYRTLE and NORTH BEACH is CHESTNUT HILL. I found the food marvelous, but noted one bad recent review. You know restaurants, new owners, bad finances, poor staff, over-pricing, almost anything can bring a great spot back to earth. But I’ve been there five times and never had a bad plate yet. Haven’t been to MYRTLE in two years though, and went to the CAPTAIN only the last time.

Chipster

September 17th, 2009
5:07 pm

How can they POSSIBLY win without me? I’ve been hitting around 200 & making a ton of errors. Who can possibly fill shoes that big?

-By the way, when I raised my leg to cut one, I think I may have strained my hammy. Gonna need a couple more days off…

Skeezix

September 17th, 2009
5:13 pm

The lyrics are great! —have a John Prine quality to them.

N8

September 17th, 2009
5:17 pm

“the next time anyone tells you division titles or playoff berths aren’t won in April or May, tell them, yeah, but they can sure be lost then.” DOB

I’m not saying that you were in the group telling people to mellow out in the early weeks/months of the season, but there were about 2 or 3 people off the top of my head (myself not included in that number – but included), that were stressing how important those games were early in the season. We were then bombarded with posts stating how early it was, and that the Braves would turn it around. Which they did…. I September.

In 1982, the Braves started off 13-0. From there on out, they went 76-73. Winning the division on the last day of the season.

So, DOB, in that season, the Braves DID win that division in April. All 162 games count, to teams resigned to fighting for wildcard births. If this was the 90’s when the Braves were a “given” to win the division, they could “afford” to have some bad losses, and give games away by keeping guys like Bennett in games, and using Norton off the bench.

With this group, EVERY game is as important as the last and the next. No margin for error.

Anyhow, nice blog. Well done. Now….. about the time travel?

Test

September 17th, 2009
5:20 pm

P. W. Hjort (September 17th, 2009 3:50 pm): “Down the road could also be as soon as already. The Braves have already signed a Japanese player who cited Kenshin Kawakami’s signing as the reason he wanted to sign with Atlanta.”

I didn’t know that — thanks.

DAP (September 17th, 2009 8:34 pm): “i agree with most of your post above,”

Thanks! 8-)

“but two things are way wrong.”

Oh. . . :-(

“one, this statement:

” ‘Kawakami’s good, and getting better. Braves would not be able to replace him for the same or lower salary’

“it will be easy to replace him. in fact, hes already been replaced. there is no room for him in the rotation for him. hudson and vazquez do cost more than him, but they are significantly better, too.”

I understand what you’re saying. But “hudson and vazquez do cost more than him” — that’s my point. And I think Kawakami will be in their range, $ per performance-wise, next year. And better than Lowe (SP) or Medlen, $/performance.

“and this:

” ‘retaining Kawakami will help make the rotation the best it can be next year. Too many people here want to gut the rotation to shore up the offense.’

“strong language there. who wants to gut the rotation? getting rid of one of your 6 quality starters when you only have room for 5 is hardly gutting the rotation. and we would be getting rid of our next to worse starter (though he hasnt been bad at all)”

“who wants to gut the rotation?” The dozens who want to trade Vazquez AND Kawakami, or release Hudson and trade Kawakami — mine was a general blast at those types in order to express the hope that the braves can improve their offense without sacrificing their pitching.

Why “get rid” of any of our pitchers if we don’t have to, especially when we already know we’ll have to acquire several relievers? (I know you’ll laugh, but I’m thinking Lowe as closer.)

curtis jones

September 17th, 2009
5:20 pm

Still waiting on some courageous AJC writer to pen the inevitable, and much needed column, “Thanks Bobby, But It’s Time To Go.” No danger of it happening anytime soon. After all, they’re winning now! And besides, we’re polite here in the South. “3rd place is fine, just fine. Pass the grits, please. Bobby has dedicated so many years to the Braves!” And made so many millions.

A few thoughts:

1. Puh-leeze, don’t put Chipper at 1B. Two words: Daniel Murphy. That’s the kind of defense we would see. Don’t want it, don’t need it. Chipper has entered that esteemed DH period of his career.

2. And for you Chipper-ites who bawl, “But if you were a REAL Braves fan, you would understand that you’re talking about a guy who hit .364!” He sure did. So did Rico Carty. He’s available next year too. Sure, he’s 60-something, but like Cox, Chipper and Lowe, we’re real big on people who have produced in bygone days.

3. DOB summed it up well in his blog, but didn’t follow up. Yes, the Braves were 34-40 this season. That was during the period when Cox was running his boys out there: Kelly, Frenchie, Kotch and Schafer, all killing rallies left and right while Diaz, Prado and Infante (when healthy) were spittin’ seeds on the bench. We had half a lineup that couldn’t hit a bull’s A$$ with a bass fiddle, while better hitters twiddled their thumbs on the bench, or were marking time in AAA.

So are pennants lost in April and May, Dave? Could be. If the driver is asleep at the wheel.

daveD

September 17th, 2009
5:21 pm

DOB – any chance we’ll see Jason Heyward called up? Just a sneak preview…?

David O'Brien

September 17th, 2009
5:25 pm

Too bad we couldn’t have started this game at 4.

Hasn’t been raining for quite a while here, and they just took tarp off field. However, as you all are probably aware, the forecast blows. Flash-flood warnings all around the metro Atlanta area, and 60 percent chance of rain all night.

But as I said, it’s not raining now. So we’ll see.

Gonzalez is out another day or two, they’re going to let him (make him) rest until that lower back spasm is gone. Chipper’s day-to-day. Lowe is questionable for next start. If can’t go, it’d be Kawakami, most likely.

McFann :Ô:

September 17th, 2009
5:27 pm

ncscoots

I agree. I LOVE offense.

Lou Vales

September 17th, 2009
5:27 pm

Has anyone ever met Mike hampton? I really don’t care how much money he has made in his life while doing nothing. I’m sure he realizes his time on earth is limited as it is with all of us. I guess it would just make me have a little more respect for the guy–NOT that he cares—if he just ONCE expressed some shame over what has transpired for what seems to be a decade. I’m not blaming the man for getting hurt, I’m not blaming him for taking the money BUT wouldn’t any of the 323 million people in America who had benefitted under similiar circumstances at least ONCE come forward with an ad in the paper to apologize for his “contribution.” Wouldn’t that be the decent thing to do. I would have done it and I’m sure the GREAT majority of people on this Blog would have done it. Wouldn’t they??

So sad. isn’t it?

Nova Scotia Steve - Is Worried

September 17th, 2009
5:30 pm

Braves just refuse to die. Give them credit.

McFann :Ô:

September 17th, 2009
5:31 pm

Thanks, Chief. It better not rain during the game…already gonna have the football game going on starting at 8. :roll:

David O'Brien

September 17th, 2009
5:33 pm

Actually it’s clearly up here, at least for now….

If this game got rained out, both teams are off Thursday. Don’t know if they’d agree to make the game up in NY, but that would make more sense, obviously, since Braves open a series at Washington the next day. Having both teams fly from NY to play one game here on Thursday, then the Braves having to fly back to Washington to start series Friday … that’d be a bit much. But if they are concerned about losing a gate, don’t know if they’d play in NY, maybe agree to split the gate up there or something. I have no idea.

Ed-Covington

September 17th, 2009
5:40 pm

Maybe Wren can duplicate the Millwood trade: Tommy Hanson for Paul LaDuca!

I3r4v3z

September 17th, 2009
5:41 pm

That’s what I’ve been proposing. But I really don’t think it will happen. The Braves have invested too much (money and time) into landing a Japanese pitcher. They simply aren’t going to insult the Japanese by lobbying so hard to get him, then turning around and trading him.

Well he insulted us with his crappy pitching. Who cares about insulting the Japanese, they all suck at baseball anyways.

Jay212033

September 17th, 2009
5:44 pm

What is this Japan time or something?!?!

Anders

September 17th, 2009
5:45 pm

When a team feels like its a team and not about one person, players rise up to their full potential. (No More Bobby)

It’s the loss of the Alpha Male I’ve been talking about. I still believe that was as much a reason as any that the Braves let Smoltz go. The rest of the staff needed room to grow. Not just on the field but in the locker room too. Look at the results. Although Chipper has more left than Smoltz I think it’s kind of the same thing. It just happens with old time vets. Especially those that had success. I’ve wondered if being out from under Chipper’s shadow has played some part of Frenchy’s resurgence. It’s not something negative the old guy does, it’s just the natural course of things imo.

That and all the money the old unproducing duffer commands.

"Chef" Tim Dix

September 17th, 2009
5:46 pm

Braves are 40 and 24 when Garret plays???

Still doesn’t cover his defensive liabilities.

David O'Brien

September 17th, 2009
5:48 pm

Here’s a link to today’s Detroit Free Press column about the great man, Georgia native Ernie Harwell.

The Real Don Steele

September 17th, 2009
5:49 pm

Drunkin’ Jack’s in Murrells.

Rob from SC AKA - Derek Lowe sucks

September 17th, 2009
5:54 pm

Take care of business Jair Jurrjens. Get us 1/2 game closer to where we all want to be.

Pacual (love that Perimeter thing you got in Atlanta...I-285) Perez...

September 17th, 2009
5:57 pm

Time on this blog today is like me trying to get off I-285…

But, Hell…at least I had 7 complete games in 1983! How many does this Braves team have this year, Bobby?

BELIEVE

Anders

September 17th, 2009
6:00 pm

But if they are concerned about losing a gate, don’t know if they’d play in NY, maybe agree to split the gate up there or something. I have no idea. (DOB)

I’m sure the Braves would jump on the split the gate idea. Triple the fans at triple the prices. Would actually be cool if they played it with the Mets as visitors. Has that ever been done in MLB?

David O'Brien

September 17th, 2009
6:05 pm

A poll about next year’s starting rotation has been added to the bloggage. Voter fraud is encouraged.

Buffalo NY Braves Fan

September 17th, 2009
7:06 pm

Where is everyone…. did McFann scare them away?

JPHunt

September 17th, 2009
7:09 pm

Thats the first time I have ever been right about being third. Strangely this accomplishment has left me feeling empty. Hmmm perhaps I should be finding more meaningful things to post on this blog.

keylargo

September 17th, 2009
7:15 pm

McFann

What are the age limitations on Lasik? Do you think that has something to do with BMac’s trouble with the operation?

Sincerely,

Your Pal LarHO

Herschel Talker

September 17th, 2009
7:18 pm

When can we begin the process of learning to win without Booby? That will take about a week once he is put out to pasture. Looks like it was Booby who set the clock on the blog.

Tiger Woods

September 17th, 2009
7:18 pm

Is the game in a rain delay?

Leo Mazzone

September 17th, 2009
7:20 pm

I’ll be the first to say the braves lose only two more games and edge the rockies for the wild card. Then we’ll sweep the divison, league and world series by combined scores of 102-0. Bobby Cox is the greatest ever and Greg Norton is gonna break out in a big way and I love this guy Hanson. TOMAHAWKIN!!!

Tiger Woods

September 17th, 2009
7:23 pm

Leo you had one smart comment. “I love this guy Hanson.”……………..Cool stat, the Nationals have the second best OBP in the NL, yet they have the worst record in the NL.

Nova Scotia Steve - Is Worried

September 17th, 2009
7:23 pm

KC

September 17th, 2009
7:24 pm

Yeah, the Braves certainly DO have to hope that this is just an off year for Lowe, and that he’ll bounce back next year. Same with Chipper.

The nightmare scenario would be if both of those guys were starting to see an age related decline, and the Braves find themselves on the hook for more than 80 million over the next 3 years with 2 guys that can’t help them win. Let’s pray that’s not the case.

If Chipper can’t bounce back next year, I hope he’ll make good on his suggestion that he’ll retire rather than play out the rest of his contract as an anchor around this team’s neck (Chipper might do that, where no many players would). But obviously, my greatest hope is that he WILL bounce back, and that he has a least another good year or two left in him at an all-star level of play.

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