Braves go on the offensive to snap streak – Friday’s postgame comments

So look what happens when the Braves get aggressive:

Nate McLouth swings on the first pitch of the game Friday night – home run.

Jason Heyward swings on the first pitch he sees in the third inning – two-run home run.

Tommy Hanson pounds the strike zone with 72 of his 99 pitches for strikes.

With that, and a Billy Wagner save, the Braves snapped their nine-game losing streak by going on the offensive Friday night, and it worked out perfectly.

It was a beautiful thing to manager Bobby Cox, who’s been wanting Braves like Heyward and McLouth to swing at hittable strikes.

“You can’t feel for the ball all the time,” Cox said. “You’ve got to let it go once in a while. Hopefully (McLouth) will continue to be more aggressive.”

Apparently Heyward doesn’t need to be told twice. The 20-year-old has shown the ability to make lightning-quick adjustments his first month in the big leagues.

On Wednesday, Cox sat him for the first time this season, after he struck out looking with the bases loaded with a key scoring opportunity on Tuesday in St. Louis. He gave him a rest and time to contemplate taking a little more aggressive approach. Heyward’s two games since? Homer. And homer.

“You want to get in that groove to where that instinct becomes more natural, on a more consistent basis,” Heyward said. “I’m just trying to go up there and say, my only decision should be not to swing. Be ready to hit every pitch that’s thrown up there and trust your eye.”

HANSON GOING DEEP

As for Hanson, he pitched past the sixth inning for the first time this season, and he blew past it. He’d thrown only 81 pitches after six innings, needed only six pitches in the seventh, and 12 in the eighth. He was sitting at 99 pitches entering the ninth and Cox could have easily run him out there.

“Hanson could have gone one more probably, and if our bullpen was tired out there, the short guys, we would have let him finish, but we’ve had a ton of rest with Wags and he was ready to go,” Cox said. “Get him jump-started also.”

Hanson’s first four starts looked like this:

Chicago 5 1/3 innings 100 pitches

San Diego 6 innings 101 pitches

Philly 4 2/3 innings 102 pitches

New York 5 innings 93 pitches

The last outing in New York was shortened by rain. But for the other three, Hanson admitted maybe he’d gotten away from his usual aggressive mode.

“My style of pitching is to be aggressive and make them hit my best stuff,” Hanson said. “Maybe I did get away from it a little bit, going out there and trying to make perfect pitches or too good of pitches instead of letting them put the ball in play and just pound the zone.”

Hanson also showed the kind of stopper he can be, with the Braves looking for something positive Friday night to turn this nine-game losing streak around.

“I like when I get the ball in big games and big situations,” Hanson said. “So I wanted to go out there and do exactly what I said, be aggressive and try to go as deep as possible and make pitches. It worked out tonight. We got the win. You can see how everyone is acting around here, a little more chipper than the last few days.”

29 comments Add your comment

benc

April 30th, 2010
11:44 pm

its about time. first

tyler

April 30th, 2010
11:45 pm

Now- if we can just put together 4-5 in a row- our record won’t look nearly as bad and we can crawl out of this hole

J-MAN

May 1st, 2010
12:13 am

Luke Wilson for Manager and I’ll switch to AT&T I he gets us a 5 game winning streak

Frank Wren

May 1st, 2010
12:17 am

How do you like me know?

Kelly

May 1st, 2010
12:22 am

Yeah about time. Now let’s win more. And I still don’t like you Mr Wren.

BuckheadBrave

May 1st, 2010
12:41 am

this season has already changed in a heartbeat, if they take care of the Astros by the time they are home again they could be back tied for first. If you dont think it can turn a round quick just look at every other team, who would have thought the upcoming series in philly would look very winable and the two upcoming games here against the Mets are the ones should be worried about.

Youngerthan Thatnow

May 1st, 2010
1:51 am

You’ve got to take it one game at a time and remember that it’s a long season and it’s still early. Good one tonight and just what the doctor ordered.

Always right on it Ms. Rogers!

willieg hates bill shanks

May 1st, 2010
5:12 am

THE braves should have won tonight they were minus 2.50 in vegas the braves can win all 3 here because they dont get oswalt although rodriguez is warren spawn against these hitters and today is the GREATEST 2 MINUTES IN SPORTS THE KENTUCKY DERBY GO HORSES GO!!!!!! THEY WILL NEED A BOAT THOUGH IT WILL BE interesting to see if the best horse in the race sidneys candy can win from the 20 hole in the pure mud isay no it will be a long shot mission impazable or the best bet will be put as much as you want on super saver to show also the braves today if they dont win they really need to get rid of 5players on this team MONDay and BILL shanks picked ice box to win today on his radio show shows how stupid he really is in that mud today no way he wins in the 2 hole see ya at the races.

willieg hates bill shanks

May 1st, 2010
5:15 am

the fans will now say we will win this division because of one game hanson cant pitch every day to bad the 2week road trip will put this team on life support and liberty media will once again be laughing all the way to the bank with yr money.

bill shanks doesn't care what willieg thinks

May 1st, 2010
6:12 am

OK Bobby haters. what happened when Heyward swung at the first strike he saw in the 3rd inning? No mention of that “public criticism” now, huh?

Lil' Barry Bailout

May 1st, 2010
6:32 am

“You can’t feel for the ball all the time,” Cox said. “You’ve got to let it go once in a while.”

This is exactly what I was talking about in a previous thread when I said Cox-led teams have no balls. Bobby’s preference is to “feel for the ball”. He thinks pitchers are supposed to nibble around the strike zone and walk people they are afraid to pitch to. Batters are supposed to see if opposing pitchers will be kind enough to walk them, instead of swinging when the count is in the batters favor.

This is why good players who come to the Braves get worse, and why seemingly bad players who leave get better. When you join the Braves you have to put your balls in a lockbox. You can have them back when you’re traded or become a free agent.

steve whitmire

May 1st, 2010
6:33 am

it has been a frustrating season for Braves fans so far, I’ve been as angry at the team as anyone, but the Wren bashers have it all wrong. Wren takes orders from his bosses at Liberty. Apparently he is on a very tight payroll leash. given a choice don’t you think he’d rather have Johnny Damon, couldn’t afford to hire him, or LaRoache, couldn’t afford to rehire him, in his lineup instead of Melky or Glaus? Unless the Liberty magnates loosen up their wallets the Braves will continue to go nowhere without enough high priced talent in key positions

bob

May 1st, 2010
7:11 am

Thank God for J-Hey. His 6 home runs leads the team. Others are a distant second…2 for Jones, 2 for McCann, 2 for Glaus and 2 for McClouth.

No wonder why J-Hey was placed on the team.

Disturbing however are the averages. 6 hits last night. such is not the stuff which will produce many wins. Too many guys around .200 averages.

Yes, it is still early with only around 12% of the season over. But by the end of May (25% of the season) it could be the end of the season unless averages and run productions do not increase.

Is it TP? I do not know but there is stong circumstantial evidence suggesting such is the case.

huh?

May 1st, 2010
8:08 am

Lil Barry= what are you talking about?

huh?

May 1st, 2010
8:10 am

That is the exact opposite of what Bobby said.

Mike Jay

May 1st, 2010
8:46 am

Lil Barry,

you don’t watch much Braves, Do You? The Braves Have never, ever never had a passive walk the guy approach to pitching. (see Ryan Howard last season) They pitch to everyone and are almost always aggressive. Every pitcher in baseball try’s to nibble the strike zone.

curtis jones

May 1st, 2010
8:48 am

When Cox is inducted into the HOF, I hope they put Smoltz, Glavine and Maddux on the plaque with him. How else would he have gotten there?

Ben

May 1st, 2010
8:54 am

I am slightly concerned about TP. I truly love the idea of him as a Braves coach, but I have not been impressed with the results. I know that the years we had Baylor and Rettenmund things seemed to be better. I haven’t looked at the numbers, but I just remember the issues in most of those years were with the bullpen. Now we have a great bullpen, but no offense.

huh?

May 1st, 2010
9:01 am

And when Torre makes the hall of fame, they should put jeter, ARod, Rivera, etc with him. When Larussa goes in they should put Pujols, Carpenter, McGwire, Henderson, etc in with him. What’s your point, curtis?

nemov

May 1st, 2010
9:56 am

All the hype surround Heyward the past few months Hanson has taken a back seat, but he’s an amazing talent. The future is bright with those two guys.

chief pitchanono

May 1st, 2010
10:14 am

I agree with Whitmire, you can only do so much with what you are given. The only mistakes Wren has made is overpaying for D.Lowe and if he hadn’t have taken a nosedive once comeing here we wouldnt even be saying that. He’s getting paid ace kinda money witha 5th sarter performance- so far. The extra money would have been nice to get us a one more real hitter, but what can you do. Wren didnt know at the time that Frenchy was gonna bomb and we would end up letting him go for nothing. Fact is we are on a budget as most teams, and you have to have a little luck too, with your rookies and with the free agents that you can afford to have a real good team. So far we just haven’t had real good luck. Maybe this year luck will be on our side, doesnt look like it so far but it still could happen.

Marc in FL

May 1st, 2010
10:24 am

Origonally Hewyard was going to be our LF with Frenchy still in right. We’ve just been falling apart the last few years and it’s catching up with us. The one thing we have going for us is a team of mostly vets (and not the old senile breaking down kind of vets) that know how to make adjustments and keep fighting the good fight.

steve whitmire

May 1st, 2010
11:29 am

amen Pitchanono, I am not a Wren apologist, some of his moves are baffling, like trading Frenchy and getting nothing in return, trading Vasquez for Melky, etc., but there’s no substitute for luck…except money and operating under Liberty’s tight budget we don’t have enough $ to spend on first class talent so we need to hope for some lucky breaks

lee

May 1st, 2010
11:35 am

wow!! the braves beat the Astros one game and all the appoogist now want to make bobby cox manager of the year and give the braves the division tittle!! i mean thats all this organization can seem to try to live off of the past! instead of REALITY!!

bruce

May 1st, 2010
11:51 am

carroll, thanks for the extra quotes… I love that.

Mitchell

May 1st, 2010
12:27 pm

Anybody notice that for the most part we have really good pitching and all we have to do is score runs and not just two or three but maybe four or five and on occassion, six, seven or eight?

It seems like it would make things a lot easier. But that’s just one man’s opinion.

GovClintonTyree

May 1st, 2010
12:48 pm

The key to this offense is Nate McLouth. If he gets going, the Braves get going. Here’s hoping he’s got it figured out.

Putting him in the leadoff slot and leaving him alone might help. Instead he’s hitting in front of the pitcher again. How’s he gonna get any flow going with Bobby jacking him around like that? I realize W Rodriguez is going for Houston, but either he’s an all star full-time CF or he’s not. Leave him alone for a month and let’s find out. I really don’t care if Melky gets at bats or not…Nate’s the key to this team.

carlchamblee

May 1st, 2010
12:55 pm

Wow – Braves racked up 3 earned runs against maybe the worst team in NL other than Pirates. I’m sure Heyward would never have swung at a first pitch his entire career if Cox didn’t publicly chastise him.

Great to see Hanson dominate though while keeping the pitch count reasonable. Him and Hey are money.

Lil' Barry Bailout

May 2nd, 2010
4:34 pm

Mike Jay: The Braves Have never, ever never had a passive walk the guy approach to pitching.

I watch a ton of Braves games, and it’s been very interesting this year with Smoltz and Glavine in the booth to hear that they were even MORE willing to walk guys that they were afraid of than I had imagined. Now, Smoltzie did make a point of saying that he always wanted to challenge Barry Bonds…an ego thing I guess. Why do you think the Braves starters pitch so few innings and have so few complete games? They’re always going deep into the count, wasting pitches trying to get sucker swings, etc. They’re not aggressive because Cox’s approach is not aggressive. His pitchers aren’t aggressive, his hitters aren’t aggressive, and his baserunners aren’t aggressive.

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