Ex-Braves excelling for Diamondbacks

PHILADELPHIA — Arizona had just one more win than the Braves through the middle of the week, so imagine where the Diamondbacks might be if not for their hot-hitting Atlanta cast-offs.

Kelly Johnson and Adam LaRoche combined for 32 extra-base hits and 38 RBIs in the Diamondbacks’ first 30 games, and Johnson’s 10 homers were tied for the National League lead through Friday’s games.

“Kelly’s just getting lucky as hell, playing way out of his league,” LaRoche joked in a text message. “I haven’t changed a thing. Have some pretty good hitters around me, so they have to throw strikes.”

Johnson has been one of the NL’s big stories, hitting .291 with 18 extra-base hits and a 1.048 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) in his first 28 games through Friday, including a .324 average and .410 on-base percentage in 71 at-bats from the leadoff spot.

All this after the Braves released him in December, rather than risk paying an arbitration salary in excess of $3 million. He hit .224 with eight homers and 29 RBIs in 106 games last season and lost his second-base job to Martin Prado.

Arizona signed Johnson to a one-year, $2.35 million deal.

Braves outfielder Matt Diaz, who lived in the same neighborhood as Johnson last season and used to share a ride to Turner Field, has talked to his friend a few times this season.

“I think it was the third game, I called him afterward and said, ‘Hey someone’s raking,’” Diaz said. “He said, ‘It was one good game, Matt.’”

Johnson went 3-for-3 with two homers in that game against San Diego.

“It’s turned into a lot more than one game,” Diaz said of Johnson, who had seven homers in his past 10 games at Arizona’s Chase Field.

LaRoche often hits fifth between Mark Reynolds (nine homers) and center fielder Chris Young. Reynolds and Young had 25 RBIs apiece through Friday.

LaRoche had a meager .195 career average and .654 OPS in April before this season, when he hit .296 with a .943 OPS in the month.

The first baseman hit .325 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs in 57 games for the Braves in 2009 after coming from Boston at the trade deadline. Surprised the Braves didn’t make a free-agent offer, he said in December, “Guess I should have hit .400 while I was there.”

The Braves never made him an offer ostensibly for two reasons: One, they believed reports that LaRoche sought a lucrative three-year deal and they didn’t want to block prospect Freddie Freeman, and two, they were concerned about LaRoche’s typically slow starts.

Before this season, he had a .253 career average with a homer every 25 at-bats before the All-Star break and .300 with a homer every 17.7 at-bats after the break.

LaRoche signed a one-year, $6 million contract with Arizona, which includes a $4.5 million this season and a $7.5 option for 2011 with a $1.5 million buyout.

Lowe relates to Vazquez

Javier Vazquez, ace of the 2009 Braves staff, was 1-3 with a 9.78 ERA through his first five starts for the Yankees and twice got booed coming off the field at Yankee Stadium.

Braves pitcher Derek Lowe said he could relate to being booed off the field.

“I’ve been there,” he said, recalling his days as a Boston closer. “I struggled to a point where they stopped the game. It was Derek Lowe poster night. They threw all the posters back on the field. They stopped the game for 15 minutes.

“That’s when you know you’re struggling, when they throw all your free posters on the field. And it was for kids. They didn’t care. Three-run lead, and I gave up five in a matter of seconds.

“There were bonfires. They set them on fire outside after the game. It must have been cold that night.

“Don’t tell me about struggling.”

92 comments Add your comment

Fire Frank Wren

May 9th, 2010
11:09 am

KJ, Roachy, Francour, Kotchman, Tex, and Andruw. They are the lucky ones, they got away from No Can Coach T.P.

Fire Frank Wren

May 9th, 2010
11:16 am

Starting line up today behind CC Sabathia for the Braves. Leading off: Rafeal Furcal, second at second Kelly Johnson, third: Chipper Jones, clean up: Andruw Jones, Fifth: Adam Laroche, Sixth: Brian McCann Seventh: Jayson Heyward Eighth: Jeff Francour. Oh, I wish we had a GM.

Doc Holiday

May 9th, 2010
11:21 am

Same old stories/excuses for this team………….Jones injured, Mc cant see, Yunel DLed, Cox Making bad decisions, No run support………….same ·!·%%)·? different year.

Clint

May 9th, 2010
11:39 am

I see where Feliz has 9 straight saves for Texas. We gave him — and his 100 MPH fastball — away for a song. Brilliant. Hey, I got an idea—let’s trade Freeman and Heyward for a couple of draft picks.

Roy Hobbs

May 9th, 2010
11:49 am

Clint, Feliz is just a prospect, you dont know that he will turn out………..or thats what all the regulars used to blare anytime someone said we paid to much for tex.

Doc Holiday

May 9th, 2010
11:52 am

Clind maybe we could get a whole MP3 CD.

Mike

May 9th, 2010
11:54 am

It does sting to see guys like Andrew Jones, Kelly Johnson, and Adam Laroche doing so well. I would kill to trade those three guys for Nate McClouth, Melky Cabrera, and Troy Glaus. (Heck I may even want to throw Francour in there and send Chipper on his way. Put KJ at second and Prado at 3rd, Frenchy in left, and AJ in center)…….But maybe it wouldn’t matter. It may be that the winning culture we used to have in Atlanta has been quickly replaced with a losing mentality. Ever since 2006 it seems that this team has lost all leadership, confidence, and swagger. I think that maybe a change in the coaching staff after the year and some more young guys can give us a fresh start where the team and city feels excited about the possibilities of the future. The team needs to be reinvigorated.

awesomeo

May 9th, 2010
11:58 am

prospects are prospects but they were top prospects.
2 of the four are gonna be superstars. and 1 catcher has a chance to be good

at the time we thought it was gonna get us a WS ring but it was 50-50 on the for and against

now we know that you shouldnt give up so much for 1.5 yrs of service cause noones ever gonna sign with us over boston and redsox

tim scott

May 9th, 2010
12:07 pm

Lets see x Braves that the franchise gave up on Frenchy,KJ,La Roche top the list common demonenator Terry Pendleton…Adam Wainright his mistake he angered the pitching coach, Leo. The Texas Rangers aka Braves of the Southwest = GM was a morone. Now what does all this mean for us the diehard Braves fans? Last place frustation and a high rating on the suck o meter

MVH

May 9th, 2010
12:09 pm

DOB: anyone getting a day off for Philly?

Richie

May 9th, 2010
12:15 pm

Terry Pendleton is not a hitting coach. Should’ve talked to Don Baylor again. When the season is over place a HIGH priority on going after Kevin Long

Richie

May 9th, 2010
12:16 pm

Kawakami is a long man. Can’t they see this? He is good 1 time thru the line-up. It is time to groom another starter

Richie

May 9th, 2010
12:17 pm

And we won’t even talk about Glaus

williamshakespeare

May 9th, 2010
12:31 pm

The season is five weeks old. Some of you have the patience of a two-year old or a premature ejacking 14 year old (My apologies, if that is actually your age, which would not come as a surprise).

Give these guys some time to work their way out of slumps, get used to new surroundings, etc. And I’m just being euphemistic – the time they take isn’t determined by us. It’s bleepin’ baseball. If this were the NFL, you’d perhaps have a point.

theriddler

May 9th, 2010
12:54 pm

680 pre-game is unlisteneable. Buck sounds like he’s buckin for a raise.

Fire Frank Wren

May 9th, 2010
1:00 pm

Yea, relax. Your team has sucked for going on five years now. Give old Frankie a chance man.

The Abs Man

May 9th, 2010
1:02 pm

Melk-Dud batting third today in finale at Philly.

Even for Cox this is new low.

cheese

May 9th, 2010
1:06 pm

I think venters could start, he’s pitched well overall and looks really calm and collected on the mound

beauvighn

May 9th, 2010
1:07 pm

Please tell me you are joking. No way Melky is in the 3 hole. If this is true then Cocks has officially lost it. Somebody needs to check his meds and see what he is taking…or smoking.

Fire Frank Wren

May 9th, 2010
1:10 pm

Lets run out our $8Million free agent joke KK to start for his sixth loss in a row. And this lineup is strong with five starters below the Mendozza line. What is the problem, it’s all good man.

Donny Corleone

May 9th, 2010
1:12 pm

The Braves will give up on a ton of players but will keep the same old hitting coach and manager forever.

Fire Frank Wren

May 9th, 2010
1:13 pm

Just checked tweet from Cole Hammels, he is scared to death of this potent lineup. He is looking for another no hitter for sure today.

The Abs Man

May 9th, 2010
1:13 pm

Top 10 Reasons Bobby Cox plays Melk-Dud every day:

10–Bobby gets “homie discount” at Washington Heights (NYC) bodega.

9–Bobby gets 10% agent fee when Melk-Dud does Weight Watchers commercial.

8–Bobby covers Wren’s ass for giving away Vazquez, top starter of last season.

7–Bobby has seen 1,000 “Switch to Allstate” commercials, thinks it means switch hitter.

6–Bobby’s eye sight worse than McCann.

5–Bobby’s brain as sound and functions as well as Chipper’s body.

4–Bobby wants to surpress BP Petroleum for disaster.

3–Bobby wants to parlay Wren’s Baltimore resume to appear on “The Biggest Loser.”

2–Bobby thinks Melk-Dud has pretty sister.

1–Bobby challanges Clippers’ owner Donald T. Sterling as biggest boob in professional sports.

Gwinnett Braves Bible

May 9th, 2010
1:15 pm

Why should anyone be surprised by ” The Melk Man ” hitting third??? Yesterday Booby Cox said that he was going to have to play Hinske allot more than he has…. Folks you have to translate Booby, what that meant was that he will play Hinske against left handed pitchers. You have to have as many right handed hitters against lefties, and as many left handed hitters against righties, or at least that’s the way that Bobby” Play It By the Book” plays it and he always has, thus yes he’s a HOF manager, but as I’ve said for years, he’s also one of the most overated managers of all time

Gwinnett Braves Bible

May 9th, 2010
1:15 pm

Most managers play their best eight hitters out there every day, but then, Bobby isnt most managers

Gwinnett Braves Bible

May 9th, 2010
1:16 pm

sorry I meant best eight players

Joey M

May 9th, 2010
1:17 pm

The main positive about Bobby Cox leaving after this season is he will be replaced by someone that isn’t as sentimental as he is. Terry Pendelton would have been fired long before. We got rid of Merv Rettenmund after just one season. And our offense was pretty good that year. I for one would love to have a guy like Wade Boggs as a hitting coach. My first choice would be Pete Rose. Guys that hit consistently throughout their careers.

FUWren

May 9th, 2010
1:18 pm

Possibly the worst lineup of the year?

Infante, 6; Prado, 4; Cabrera, 9; Glaus, 3; McCann, 2; Diaz, 7; Conrad, 5; McLouth 8; Kawakami, 1

Possibly the worst lineup in the history of lineups? In the history of history? Dan Kolb will probably be the first man out of the pen today.

Donny Corleone

May 9th, 2010
1:18 pm

The Braves’ new marketing campaign: “Come to The Ted and have an excellent chance of witnessing a no-hitter!”

Gwinnett Braves Bible

May 9th, 2010
1:18 pm

How about asking Chipper to retire and become hitting coach

jack

May 9th, 2010
1:20 pm

heaven forbid they are saying terry p will be the new manager. now he can mess up the whole team ,not just the hitters

don

May 9th, 2010
1:20 pm

Fire Frank Wren, Clint, and Mike have seen the light. The resto of those who continue to try to rationalize the Drew, Teixeira, et als. desasters are leaving the ridiculous and approaching the insane. “Feliz is just a prospect…” Poor Roy Hobbs. I’ll bet he is still trying to get a boarding pass for the Titanic. I guess Wainwright and Andrus are “just prospects”. The sooner the Braves’s management and Braves’s fans wake up and face the reality of these disasterous trades (add the Vazquez trade which was solely caused by the fact that no one would take the obscenely overpaid Lowe off the Braves’s hands) the better.

FUWren

May 9th, 2010
1:24 pm

Couple more things about today’s murderer’s row of a lineup…I guess Hinske’s start yesterday wasn’t good enough to earn more time…and if I’m Kawakami I’m thinking that there might be some kind of conspiracy to make sure that I go 0-27 this year.

Gwinnett Braves Bible

May 9th, 2010
1:26 pm

FUWren- You cant play a left handed itter against a lefty pitcher, the book said so. – Booby Cox

The Abs Man

May 9th, 2010
1:27 pm

Living on west coast, watch MLB package daily.

Gotta’ think you Georgia folks grow $$$ on trees paying real money to see these stiffs in person…

P.S.–Bark in the Park clever promotion..how about “Bring Cheese for Melk-Dud the Rat”

Fire Frank Wren

May 9th, 2010
1:29 pm

Uncle Festiss says he will look to make a change if KK starts 0 and 10 just like he did when we kept starting Barker and Moss. At this rate we won’t have to watch it much longer.

Doc Holiday

May 9th, 2010
1:31 pm

Im not surprised about the Hamels picture showing on gameday……….I suppose the picture was taken when the braves were announcing their lineup.

williamshakespeare

May 9th, 2010
1:41 pm

Hamels is mediocre.

Fire Frank Wren

May 9th, 2010
1:44 pm

Shockingly, Braves don’t get bunt down and it costs us a run. Just amazing to see AA coaching in action day after day after day and old Frankie sits and plays his fiddle.

Gwinnett Braves Bible

May 9th, 2010
1:51 pm

Another fine defensive play…

Kyle

May 9th, 2010
1:52 pm

you know bobby is a genus playing melky in the 3 hole. maybe next game he will let the pitcher hit leadoff

williamshakespeare

May 9th, 2010
1:54 pm

SSS, but Melky was 3-for-6 vs. Hamels going into today. Maybe that’s what he’s looking at.

SID

May 9th, 2010
1:56 pm

the UGA girls softball team is playing on ESPN. They play better defense. AND send this KK back to Tokyo.

FUWren

May 9th, 2010
1:57 pm

Bobby bunting in the top of the damn first inning with one of our better hitters…in a small ballpark…with one of our worst pitchers going…is this another reason why he’s the best manager of all time? The sad thing is that 95% of the tards on this blog will say that it was a good idea that we just didn’t execute.

SID

May 9th, 2010
1:58 pm

and get rid of Cabrera too. What a piece of …..

SID

May 9th, 2010
1:59 pm

FUWren, no argument here.

CATlanta

May 9th, 2010
2:00 pm

KK may not get much run support, but he sure doesn’t help his own cause much either. KK= major league bust. Oh,and while I’m at it, and great defense Melky!

Gwinnett Braves Bible

May 9th, 2010
2:01 pm

FUWren- You havent read Booby book, “Managing for Dummies, by A Dummy” The book told Booby to do that

Kyle

May 9th, 2010
2:10 pm

DOB – cant we just get rid of this dead weight and just start over? surely there are better options than melky glaus diaz and nate. im ashamed to watch this team. i know schafer is hurt but cant we call up freeman? can we put medlin in the rotation and remove either kk or lowe? I guess its time for me to realize this is what we are – a last place team.

Kyle

May 9th, 2010
2:16 pm

DOB – also what kind of heat is wren getting for this team? i cant blame him for the tex mess cause he didnt start it but he signed lowe, kk, glaus and traded for melky and nate. he was forced to deal for melky cause of the mess he made to start with. we have some good pieces to build on with heyward hanson freeman etc but its clear we are the worst team in the division and its not going to change until we make a move.

Gwinnett Braves Bible

May 9th, 2010
2:17 pm

Kyle,
The Braves arent likely to call up Freeman when Glaus has been one of the few Braves hitting over the last couple of weeks… even if they are singles

Kyle

May 9th, 2010
2:27 pm

yeah what was i thinking saying glaus isnt terrible. my bad

brave's jock strap

May 9th, 2010
2:30 pm

Just got home, do we have a hit yet?

Braves One

May 9th, 2010
2:31 pm

I agree to attempting to bunt the runner over even though it is the first inning. When you are playing as poorly as the Braves and things aren’t happening, you have to ‘make’ things happen. That means moving runners over, hitting and running and forcing plays whenever you can. We’ve had four years now of not making things happen on the bases.

We do not have the guns to play for big inning. We do not need to play a nine inning game, we must play ‘one ninning at a time’ nine times during the game.

Why did Cabrera hold the fly ball to right alowing Utley to score from third on a shallow fly? Not sure…its a question Cabrera should be forced to answer.

Why do we have two failed bunts (one a double play) in the first three innings of the game?…fundamentals, or lack of them.

I suggest that the next time we are in Florida to play the Marlins, we should take an off day, go to our spring training complex and work on the fundamentals.

Where’s Hinske today? He should be in the lineup. Don’t worry about lefty vs righty when you in last place and spiraling downward.

Why is Kawakami still staring and still giving up home runs?…The management needs to answer that one.

Why is Frank Wren not coming before the cameras and taking responsibility for this disaster so far in 2010. Any other ‘CEO’ would have to answer that one.

Omar

May 9th, 2010
2:31 pm

Werth has a corked bat

Gwinnett Braves Bible

May 9th, 2010
2:34 pm

Kyle,
Glaus has been terrible, he’s a cleanup hitter who only hits singles when he hits, but do you think the Braves are going to make that move, hasnt been their history to do that when someone is in their mind “producing”

brave's jock strap

May 9th, 2010
2:34 pm

I don’t see why lefty vs lefty matchup is a factor for not playing Hinske when none of the other three outfielders can’t hit anybody.

FUWren

May 9th, 2010
2:37 pm

Braves One, Good teams don’t bunt. It is almost never a good idea to purposely make an out. It’s is definitely never a good idea in the first inning. Of course we run out 9 guys on a daily basis that are so good at making outs that they don’t have to ever do it on purpose.

brave's jock strap

May 9th, 2010
2:38 pm

You had to think coming into this series, when you saw the KK vs Hamels matchup, that we were going to lose to day. Hamels almost pitched a complete game shutout against the Cards in his last start. Hamels is going to be much better this year. He is a good pitcher.This is why losing to Jamie the fossil Moyer was so bad. If we had won that game we would still be winning this series. KK is not a Major League starter. Hamels has been a World Series MVP. That’s not a good pitching matchup for the Braves.

Gwinnett Braves Bible

May 9th, 2010
2:38 pm

brave’s jock strap- The ” Book” tells Bobby how to manage

Omar

May 9th, 2010
2:39 pm

What prospects would you give up for Adrian Gonzalez?

brave's jock strap

May 9th, 2010
2:40 pm

awesome, i hope my last post about Hamels being a good pitcher has completely jinxed him. fingers crossed.

brave's jock strap

May 9th, 2010
2:44 pm

Good thing he played Diaz over Hinske. I’ve always liked Matt Diaz, but he no longer looks like a Major League player. Our lineup is terrible.

Braves One

May 9th, 2010
2:44 pm

FUWren … I agree with what you are saying…my thoughts are that putting a bunt in play is better than watching third strikes go by and putting nothing in play that we have done so often this year. Many, many times this year we have put runners on and left them there. Our problem is that when DLowe or KK are on the mound you better score 6 or more runs or you have little chance of winning. With the H & H boys (Hanson & Hudson), we only need to score four to win, but that is a tall order with this lineup.

i love the 90s

May 9th, 2010
2:46 pm

i really dont think it is a fluke of all the ex braves that are having good years since they got away from tp , please fire him before he messes up heywards swing its just a matter of time he will try to “tweak” it

Braves One

May 9th, 2010
2:48 pm

Attn: Frank Wren

HAVE YOU SEE ENOUGH YET!

brave's jock strap

May 9th, 2010
2:53 pm

Does Bobby know Melky can play center? If it’s the need to play Melky against Hamels, then put him in center and sit McOut. I mean come on. This is just dumb logic. If McLouth’s in there for defense, then my argument is that it’s hard to catch a ball that lands 20 rows back. The bottom of our lineup is Diaz, Conrad, and McLouth…. that’s just fierce. Is one of them even hitting above .180 anymore. Conrad is excusable to play because Larry needed a day off and we got no one else, but how many time do we have to watch the McLouth, Diaz, Cabreraa suck fest in the outfield.

The Abs Man

May 9th, 2010
2:53 pm

Wren forgot it was a day game.

GT

May 9th, 2010
2:54 pm

Why would the Braves give up anything for Adrian Gonzalez? This team is way more than one hitter away from seriously contending for anything. Even if Gonzalez were batting 1.000, the only thing he would do for this lineup is give the opposing pitcher something to pitch around, to face whatever Mendoza-line hittter we have in the lineup to “protect” him.

Trading for a quick fix when there are so many chronic problems is what got the Braves into this mess. Wren & Co. need to learn you can’t get out of the hole by digging.

brave's jock strap

May 9th, 2010
2:57 pm

Amazing, of our three starters in this series, the best one has been the guy spot-starting out of our bullpen. I hate Lowe and KK. I have defended KK in the past for his shoddy run support, but the home run by Werth and the double by Ibanez were on terrible pitches. Granted I can only judge on what happened after the first two because that’s all I’ve seen so far. I’m sure the first 2 were just as bad. Hamels is trying to give this game away. Can the Braves do anything??????

FUWren

May 9th, 2010
2:58 pm

Agree GT. This team should be sellers, not buyers. Not sure what we have to sell though. I’d like to see us do nothing trade-wise and let’s just call up Freeman and a few pitchers and see what that does. Nothing is really going to help this year, and I’d want to see how my low-minors pitching prospects do for the year before I start trading them for offense – how do we know which ones to keep and which ones to give up when they haven’t pitched much yet?

Braves One

May 9th, 2010
2:59 pm

Fith inning, behind 4-0, KK giving up the long ball, we are in last place and Kawakami is leading off the inning at the plate. It appears the Braves are conceding the game already.

brave's jock strap

May 9th, 2010
2:59 pm

Teheran, Delgado, and Vizaino are the keepers for sure. Add Dunn and Marek in the pen

brave's jock strap

May 9th, 2010
3:00 pm

Let’s see it Melk Dud

brave's jock strap

May 9th, 2010
3:01 pm

Thanks Utley

brave's jock strap

May 9th, 2010
3:02 pm

We need to get to pretty boy Cole Hamels right now. Come on Troy

martha

May 9th, 2010
3:05 pm

I was just reading on another website that the Mariners fired their hitting coach because of the teams offensive struggles. I wish the Braves would wake up and do the same thing.

brave's jock strap

May 9th, 2010
3:06 pm

Nice job Troy “singles” Glaus

brave's jock strap

May 9th, 2010
3:06 pm

That ball had eyes.

brave's jock strap

May 9th, 2010
3:08 pm

McCann’s new name should be McCan’t.

brave's jock strap

May 9th, 2010
3:13 pm

McLouth is effing terrible.

SID

May 9th, 2010
3:18 pm

Surely there is someone better than McClouth to play CF. And maybe McCan’t should sit a while. At least Ross isn’t lazy.

BUYAVOWEL

May 9th, 2010
4:07 pm

We need players.Right now we have pallbearers.Carrying a lot of dead weight.Liberty needs to call 911 and get us some BIG LEAGUERS……right now!Take Bobby and Chipper and Melky and ETC off of life support and bring in some new life…………

steveP

May 9th, 2010
4:40 pm

Can we trade Lowe straight-up for Vazquez? I’d even be willing to throw in Melky.

bjbg540

May 9th, 2010
5:47 pm

We actually have a lot to trade that other teams want, so far most who leave Atlanta find success and I’m sure other teams recognize this.

nate

May 9th, 2010
6:22 pm

frank get off your butand make some move this roster you put together suck dumb ass

ajbuckner

May 9th, 2010
6:33 pm

The Braves will not be sellers this season because “This one’s for Bobby”

nate

May 9th, 2010
7:02 pm

Get rid off McLouth and then we can sign Dye

dennis

May 9th, 2010
8:12 pm

Fire Terry Pendelton and hire Mario Mendoza of the Mendoza Line fame. He’s bound to do better…………

Wes

May 9th, 2010
8:37 pm

ajbuckner…the Braves won’t be sellers this year because they have no one to sell

bbua

May 10th, 2010
10:45 am

I find it interesting we are talking about how much we miss Frenchy, AJ and Kelly Johnson. When they were here most everyone wanted them out of here. I remember one post in which a trade of Frenchy for a bag of balls.

Be careful what you wish for, it may come true.

ChippersLoveChild

May 10th, 2010
12:16 pm

Ehem… not all Ex-Braves…. see Boyer, Blaine.

Add your comment