Fredi G. and his much-debated lineup

It doesn’t sound as if Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is planning significant changes to his lineup. So don’t expect to see Jason Heyward batting second anytime soon.

Plenty of fans and baseball analysts have opined that Gonzalez should move slugger and on-base-percentage machine Heyward up from his current sixth slot. The No. 2 position – Nate McLouth’s current spot — is a preferred destination of many critics.

The AJC asked Gonzalez about the lineup again before Wednesday’s game, the day after the Braves’ 5-0 win against Florida that included a long Heyward homer and at least one hit from all eight starting position players.

In that Tuesday win, McLouth had a double and a sacrifice bunt that moved a runner to third before a sac fly by Chipper Jones.

Did the performance make Gonzalez even more certain about the lineup (given that he’d already stuck with it despite a lot of bad hitting nights so far by the Braves)?

“Yeah,” he said. “When you make out the lineup, the lineup is a function of the entire lineup – eight guys, not just one guy. Statisticians, numbers crunchers and my SABR [Society for American Baseball Research] people – I’m a member – they shoot holes in that stuff. But you’re dealing with humans in the way the lineup is constructed.

“Yeah, you put this guy in the No. 2 hole, but what are you going to do to the 6-hole? What are you going to do to [No. 5 hitter Dan] Uggla when he’s hitting good?”

Gonzalez believes his current lineup is balanced, and that that balances, along with the alternating left-handed/right-handed situation up and down the order, will cause difficulties for opposing managers when most of the Braves are hitting well.

“Like the situation [Tuesday], when McLouth bunts [Martin] Prado over to third,” he said. “Now are you are going to play the infield in? Are you going to pitch to Chipper or pitch to [No. 4 hitter Brian] McCann? That kind of stuff.

“When everybody doing things like we did yesterday, hitting gappers, hitting some balls out of the ballpark, it makes [the lineup] good.”

Some critics have cited the additional 60-80 plate appearances that Heyward could get if he hit high in the order as a big flaw in Gonzalez’s lineup. He was asked specifically about that fact and if he thought it was outweighed by the overall function of the lineup.

“I think the way the lineup is constructed is more important,” he said, before applying the additional-plate-appearances reasoning to a rhetorical question to reporters: “Then why don’t we lead off [Albert] Pujols? Or [Barry] Bonds? Lead ‘em off.”

Gonzalez then came back to reiterate one of the factors he emphasizes – the “human being” aspect. He’s said several times that part of why he decided in the spring to put McLouth in the 2-hole – besides his speed and bunting ability — was that he wanted him to get more fastballs, to get him going after his career-worst 2010 season.

“Believe me,” Gonzalez said, “when a guy’s going good in a certain spot — he likes it; he’s comfortable – his whole game is [going well], let ‘em play. Let ‘em do it….

“When you’re going bad, you come up with the bases loaded every time. I mean, you can be hitting 11th and it’ll happen. When you’re going good, it doesn’t matter.

“Everybody [in the lineup] has got a function.”

267 comments Add your comment

bravofan

April 14th, 2011
12:11 pm

KLB

April 14th, 2011
12:21 pm

KLB

April 14th, 2011
12:24 pm

Regardless of lineup, I think the next best question to ask Fredi is how long of a leash does McLouth have? He’s currently hitting 220/.289/.293/.582 (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS). That’s not good. When does it make sense to see if someone else could do better?

the real filipino flash

April 14th, 2011
12:24 pm

bravo fredi! besides who else can boast they have a line up so strong, jason heyward hits 6th?

Nick

April 14th, 2011
12:26 pm

“Regardless of lineup, I think the next best question to ask Fredi is how long of a leash does McLouth have? He’s currently hitting 220/.289/.293/.582 (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS). That’s not good. When does it make sense to see if someone else could do better?”

My best guess is probably as long as everyone else who isn’t hitting.

KB

April 14th, 2011
12:28 pm

The hilarious thing is that Fredi goes out of his way to mention that he is a member of SABR. As if that makes him magically understand statistics.

The Choperator

April 14th, 2011
12:29 pm

It was only a matter of time until this came up…

I’m not sure why Fredi thinks Heyward’s greatest asset is his ability to drive in runs. Despite the thumb injury last year, his OBP was top five in the league. When he’s hitting sixth, his OBP is much less effective with Gonzalez, Freeman and the pitcher behind him. It’s a bit frustrating that McLouth will be getting 40-50 8th or 9th inning PAs over Heyward this season.

Also, the idea that McLouth’s performance in one game (a double and a BUNT) validates the lineup is a joke. Although it looks like it was a setup question – what’s Fredi supposed to do, say no?

KLB

April 14th, 2011
12:29 pm

@Nick – Hopefully that’s not the case. Everyone is on equal footing to you? I’m willing to wait a little longer for Dan Uggla to come around because he has a well-defined history. McLouth was abysmal last year and, while it’s only been 11 games, has been even worse so far this year.

justafan

April 14th, 2011
12:30 pm

Yeah….Fredi……tell’em to kiss… your line-up!

ugaman

April 14th, 2011
12:30 pm

It’s one thing to say that you’re using Heyward to protect Uggla, but who protects Heyward? Alex Gonzalez is one of the biggest hackers in baseball, and he’s supposed to protect Heyward? We’re going to see more and more of teams pitching around Heyward all because Fredi doesn’t understand how to construct this lineup.

Art Vandelay

April 14th, 2011
12:33 pm

@KB – What makes you think he doesn’t understand statistics….

1eyedJack

April 14th, 2011
12:34 pm

I don’t want to see Heyward having to bunt a runner over. Batting 11th? Is that the same as batting 2nd?

thunda

April 14th, 2011
12:35 pm

it’s a little early to say who’s gonna do what. I have doubts about McLouth too, based on what he did last year, but playing musical chairs with the lineup before you’ve played 20 games is the sign of a manager who doesn’t trust his own decisions.

jim

April 14th, 2011
12:35 pm

I would prefer to see Heyward hitting 4th. Move Nate to leadoff and bat Prado, Chipper, Heyward, Mac, Uggla, Freeman, Gonzalez — It bunches the 4 best OBP guys in the middle of the order, and moves Freeman out of the #8 hole. If Nate is still the 2010 Nate, then some other change will need to be made, but this lineup bunches the highest OBP hitters, and is still L,R,S,L,L,R,L,R,(P) — no more than 2 left or righthanded hitters in a row.

justafan

April 14th, 2011
12:35 pm

It’s a long season…..the lineup will change! everyone knows it’s April….right?

1eyedJack

April 14th, 2011
12:39 pm

Bobby would have already employed 12 different lineups.

Yakman

April 14th, 2011
12:42 pm

I think an understated element in all of this is the development of Freddie Freeman in the 8th spot. While Freeman may never blossom into a 3-5 hitter, few here would argue that Freddie will spend his entire career in the 8 hole. He is bound to move up at some point. When he is ready, maybe Nate slides down to the 8 spot, and we juggle from there.

Interesting quote – Gonzalez said, “when a guy’s going good in a certain spot — he likes it; he’s comfortable – his whole game is [going well], let ‘em play. Let ‘em do it…

Didn’t Heyward look pretty comfortable in #2 for the majority of 2010?

truth

April 14th, 2011
12:43 pm

I like this lineup

you need a run producer in 6th or 7th spot and someone that can protect Uggla

If you move Heyward to 2nd… 6-9 spots in the lineup will be automatic outs

Fredi

April 14th, 2011
12:43 pm

Kiss my ….lineup!!!!!!!

Luke

April 14th, 2011
12:45 pm

Yeah ugman! You go show him how its done! Go get Fredi! What loser! He’s only been in baseball for 30 somethin’ years. He doesn’t know crap.

Tracey

April 14th, 2011
12:46 pm

If Uggla is not going to be hitting until May, then why can’t he be moved down in the order temporarily.

Matt

April 14th, 2011
12:47 pm

Heyward hitting sixth is just silly. Uggla is majorly slumping but I realize the $ keep him where he is. Chipper still gets on base constantly so put someone else who gets on base around him.

Put Heyward in 2nd or 4th, move Uggla down until he gets hot and then adjust.

Dumbo

April 14th, 2011
12:49 pm

Don’t blame Fredi G., Blame useless WREN, he assembled this team just like he assembled last years error prone lite hitting crew….ughhhhhhhh

Copy and Paste

April 14th, 2011
12:50 pm

DOB never responds to anyone. It’s just a waste of time to ask him a question.

jim

April 14th, 2011
12:53 pm

Dumbo,
Lest an elephant forgets, last year’s error prone, light hitting crew made it to the playoffs.

Tip O'Cap

April 14th, 2011
12:54 pm

Fredi needs a legit leadoff hitter w/speed, so Prado can hit second.

Jason will ultimately be hitting third or cleanup.

David O'Brien

April 14th, 2011
12:55 pm

Jim, you beat me to it. I would just add that those Braves won 91 games, topped in the NL only by San Francisco (92) and Philadelphia (97).

justafan

April 14th, 2011
12:59 pm

Let’s see……we have…. what 150 games left to play! …..please!….let the boys play some ball!!!!!!

Sir Cranium Bonds

April 14th, 2011
1:01 pm

Fredi just needs to add a little juice to the line up–know what I mean. Looks like I will not be going to jail, after all, so I am available. Yeah, baby . . .

the truth..............

April 14th, 2011
1:02 pm

McLousy to #8…he minimizes his at bat times and gives him the opportunity to be on base for the first of the lineup….with him at the eight spot the pitcher can bunt him over if he gets on…

The point about Heyward having more at bats is huge…give him more and McLousy less….

Doesnt’ sound like rocket science to me…..

David O'Brien

April 14th, 2011
1:03 pm

DOB never responds to anyone. It’s just a waste of time to ask him a question. -– Copy and Paste

Copy and Paste: Yes, a waste of time. Only been answering readers’ questions on blog and Twitter — and writing that lineup article — for a couple of hours this morning. Carry on. Don’t wait for a reply.

Rupert

April 14th, 2011
1:03 pm

I get that it’s important to Fredi because McLOUTH is comfortable in the 2 hole, which he has said in numerous interviews. So Fredi’s argument is that you try to make “people” happy or comfortable by placing them where they can succeed. I am down with this notion. Obviously players play better when placed where they feel the best in the lineup. HOWEVER, you don’t torpedo a lineup just to keep a guy who may nor may not hit comfortable. McLouth simply strikes out too much, and does not make enough contact/get on base enough to be a high in the order hitter for a contending team. I get that you may lose protection for Uggla or weaken the lower part your order throwing him down there, plus he may not be happpy, but at the end of the day, a lineup has to be about getting the best players up early, and then progessing downward, otherwise, you’d hit Chipper 3rd and Mac 7th to “balance” everything out. I will also say that McLouth’s inability to make consistent contact will rear it’s ugly head much more when the offense starts hitting more consistently. Don’t forget the run that DOB and everyone talks about last year started with, among other things, Heyward moving up to 2nd in the order.

jim

April 14th, 2011
1:08 pm

The notion of protection in the lineup is overstated. Gehrig protected Ruth, and Mantle protected Maris because there was more than one batter in the lineup that was “the guy you went into the game planning not to let beat you” Pujols protects the guys hitting in front of him, because you don’t want anyone on base when facing him, but as good a hitter as Holliday is, he is not likely to get Pujols better pitches to hit. A pitcher will still rather take his chances with Holliday than give in to Pujols. Heyward has not gotten Uggla better pitches to hit — he’s been fed a diet of breaking balls and changeups. The bases have been empty most of the times Heyward has come to bat this season — the Sat. AB against Oswalt a notable exception. Who protected Ernie Banks or Ralph Kiner in their lineups?

Mark (another one)

April 14th, 2011
1:09 pm

The link to the value of lineup positioning that was posted here yesterday claimed that changing things around could lead to 1 additional run over 162 games. That’s an awful fine line to be arguing. Let them get 20-25 games into the season and watch for changes based on performance.

We all appear to agree that NMis the real question mark, and that we expect the rest to perform over the course of the season. With that said, having the Manager focus on giving NM the best chance to perform sounds like a good idea. No one can say that FG isn’t giving NM the opportunity to succeed.

nique

April 14th, 2011
1:10 pm

I def want Heyward to get more ABs but if McLouth and he switched then you’d have 4 (6, 7, 8, 9) hitters in a row. Although presumably you’d also have more runs scrored in 1-5, so maybe that’s ok.

Smart Jay

April 14th, 2011
1:11 pm

Chipper should be number 2 and Heyward 3. Move Nate to 8. This team doesn’t run, cChippee handles the bat well, gets Heyward those extra abs and minimizes Nate’s ab’s.

As for leading off with best hitter, there is a school of thought on doing just that.

nique

April 14th, 2011
1:13 pm

I of course meant to write 4 “weak” hitters in a row…..

RC Chistian

April 14th, 2011
1:13 pm

I think one of the commenters on the fangraphs article hit the nail on the head, at least in regards to the vehemency with which this “issue” is debated. We, as fans, want to see Heyward hit more often. The commenter states this in terms of fantasy owners, but as Braves fans we have another, more profound, reason to object to Fredi’s line-up: we are addicted to watching Jason Heyward hit.

Every since his 450ft bomb off Carlos Zambrano in his first swing last April, we can’t get enough of watching Heyward at the plate. Similar to Michael Jordan in basketball and Michael Vick in football, when #22 makes an appearance with the bat in his hand a whole new realm of possibilities, a realm that doesn’t exist with even the best of the best ballplayer, opens up. His plate appearances are the reason you wait one more inning before flipping off the TV and going to walk the dog or leaving to beat the traffic when your team the Braves are down five runs in the night All the SABRE number lovers are hiding the real argument here, and it is one of aesthetics. Jason Heyward’s swing personifies our love of the game and Nate McLouth (God Bless him!) is Nate McLouth.

RC Chistian

April 14th, 2011
1:14 pm

eh, missed some editing in that last comment. You get the point.

Billy the Kid

April 14th, 2011
1:16 pm

get the he!! of Nate’s back……….

RC Chistian

April 14th, 2011
1:16 pm

Couldn’t resist correcting myself:

I think one of the commenters on the fangraphs article hit the nail on the head, at least in regards to the vehemency with which this “issue” is debated. We, as fans, want to see Heyward hit more often. The commenter states this in terms of fantasy owners, but as Braves fans we have another, more profound, reason to object to Fredi’s line-up: we are addicted to watching Jason Heyward hit.

Ever since his 450ft bomb off Carlos Zambrano in his first swing last April, we can’t get enough of watching Heyward at the plate. Similar to Michael Jordan in basketball and Michael Vick in football, when #22 makes an appearance with the bat in his hand a whole new realm of possibilities, a realm that doesn’t exist with even the best of the best ballplayers, opens up. His plate appearances are the reason you wait one more inning before flipping off the TV and going to walk the dog or leaving to beat the traffic when the Braves are down five runs in the ninth. All the SABRE number lovers are hiding the real argument here, and it is one of aesthetics. Jason Heyward’s swing personifies our love of the game and Nate McLouth (God Bless him!) is Nate McLouth.

Curse of Brett Butler

April 14th, 2011
1:19 pm

Anyone who still thinks Heyward is batting in the wrong spot is illiterate and brain dead. Let Booby Cox’s style of managing end or you will never be happy. The reason Heyward is batting 6 is because the almighty scouting report uses logic instead of bonehead gut regurgitation. Heyward can’t hit three run homers in the no 2 spot. The Braves will always be looking for players like Adam LaRoche and Mark Texiera to spark their offense. So I guess all the weight of the team should be put on Freeman. Way to go Wren. The main problem with the Braves as forever has been the lead off spot because whoever they settle on putting there can do much more damage lower down in the order.

carlchamblee

April 14th, 2011
1:22 pm

DOB thanks for asking the questions that are bandied about here.

That said, Fredi uses the one game where the 2 hitter got a sac bunt and everyone played well as an example.

He’d rather Mclouth see more fastballs than Heyward? WTH? He’d rather Mclouth gets pitched to and Heyward gets pitched around? That “overall lineup” is worth 70 or so less at bats per season for Heyward? What a steamy pile o’ poo.

Yes Fredi we’re dealing with human beings – The human being Jason Heyward belongs at the top part of the order, the human being Mclouth at the bottom.

As for his why not bat Pujols/Bonds leadoff example – uhh Fredi those guys bat 3rd or 4th not buried at 6th.

Bob Leblaw's Law Blog

April 14th, 2011
1:24 pm

Please stop w/ it’s only been 11/12 games for McLouth. This is the same McLouth we saw last year. I didn’t realize hitting .220 meant he was comfortable.

I would also argue FG doesn’t know a lot about statistics if he is using one game as a sample size to justify why McL should be in the 2 hole. Statistics are used as averages over time. I would argue the sample size is big enough for McLouth, esp considering he looks the same as last year. That is also why most people aren’t complaining about Uggla. He has a history of doing this and then bouncing back.

Even Cox gave up on this guy and after watching him manage for 20 years, that’s saying something to me. I don’t mind that this team is 5-7. What bothers me is the manager isn’t doing his best job in maximizing run production from the lineup.

One other thing – EVERY PERSON IN THE LINEUP CANNOT BE PROTECTED UNLESS YOU ARE THE YANKEES. Gonzo & Freeman are very solid for 7 & 8 hitters (I would say the same for McLouth if he were in those positions). If those positions are so flipping important, why not just put your best hitters there? It’s because there not that important. Almost no teams in MLB expect signifcant run production from those holes.

Fols

April 14th, 2011
1:26 pm

This is not a huge issue right now…….what is an issue is why does the ENTIRE team go cold on the same day at least once a week? Is it just me or does this happen nearly every season? I just can’t understand why we look so lost at the plate so often and then praise the pitcher. I would much rather take loses where we don’t look so over-matched.

Reading this blog the past couple years I thought it was TP….clearly it’s just the guys standing with a bat in their hands.

Curse of Brett Butler

April 14th, 2011
1:26 pm

Gut feelings don’t win World Championships, scouting reports do.

Fols

April 14th, 2011
1:28 pm

or maybe it’s that I only watch the Braves and every team does this?

I don’t know, frustrating! I made a great snack last night and by the time I finished it we’re losing 5-0. I wouldn’t have wasted such a great snack on last night’s performance.

Point is, i’m never going to get that snack again….ugh….so depressing. Tonight i’m sticking to a medium snack and if things go well…..then I guess i’m not meant for great snacks!

Atticus

April 14th, 2011
1:29 pm

DOB, it is getting OLD to say “last year’s team”…..did this or that. There is NO guarantee that this team gets hot like last year or that the Phillies or WC teams will fall back. Certainly the season is long and you lose 50, win 50 and what you do with the other 50 is key. But these games mean just as much as they do in September and even though we did make the playoffs last year as a result, that team was not going to win the in playoffs becaus ethey could hit or field.

You don’t panic, I agree, but this organization doesn’t seem to treat every game as important until they get in the summer but last I checked they all mean the same.

Atticus

April 14th, 2011
1:30 pm

, sorry……correction…..Could NOT hit or field

Bob Leblaw's Law Blog

April 14th, 2011
1:30 pm

No one said it would produce 1 extra run over a season, it’s 1 extra win, ON AVERAGE. I believe the optimal lineup would create approximately 10 additional runs/year. I can find several teams over history that would like to have that 1 win. Games in April are just as important as games in September.

But nevermind, Brett Butler just told me I was brain dead. I need to find some updated stats but last time I checked, McLouth has more ABs than Heyward with runners in scoring position. Heyward has also been on base more than McLouth.

Brett, you can keep waiting for the 3 run homer and wonder why you can’t win more games. That philosophy worked out so well for the Braves during their run.

carlchamblee

April 14th, 2011
1:30 pm

I kinda missed it reading the article the first time until some other blogger mentioned it. Fredi actually implied that Nate is comfortable in the 2 hole and “going good”? Seriously?

BravesFanInKy

April 14th, 2011
1:31 pm

What’s getting old is complaints about the lineup 12 games into the season.
Only 150 more to go!

Bob Leblaw's Law Blog

April 14th, 2011
1:32 pm

so the braves just had bad scouting reports for 15 years?

Fols

April 14th, 2011
1:33 pm

Atticus, DOB doesn’t have time to answer you, he’s trying to come up with an idea for my game day snack. It’s going to be epic and i’ll eat it every game day if they win from here until the streak is over. I’m thinking they go on about a 5 game win streak starting tonight.

Don’t quote me on that though……cause i’m not a member of that wicked statistical club. How do I get a membership?

Kevin Banks

April 14th, 2011
1:33 pm

I like Fredi’s idea of hitting McLouth 11th. Although, technically, the second time through the lineup he is hitting 11th, so nevermind.

j/k I may be one of the few people that likes Nate at the 2 spot. I just want him to use his speed more.

Bob Leblaw's Law Blog

April 14th, 2011
1:34 pm

I didn’t like the game last night but in reality, the braves were facing one of the best pitchers in baseball. Let’s get the series today & ATL will be fine. Although, if PHI keeps this up, the braves will be playing for the WC by the end of May.

Fols

April 14th, 2011
1:35 pm

When the team goes hitless for 7 innings does it matter what order it’s in?

P. Bull Terrier

April 14th, 2011
1:35 pm

A line-up of nine one handed dwarfs “hitting gappers, hitting some balls out of the ballpark,” would cause other managers some difficulties, too – when most of them are hitting the ball well. The real question is, how often is that going to happen?

It may be too early to panic and start making changes just for the sake of change, but there comes a point when you have to stop thinking about what looks good on paper and focus on what works in the real world.

carlchamblee

April 14th, 2011
1:36 pm

Mclouth coming off a .190 demoted-to-minors season.

Heyward coming off a near rookie of year season.

Heyward OBP was 95 points higher last year. This year it’s 111 points higher.

Guess who bats at the top of order, guess who bats in second half of lineup.

jim

April 14th, 2011
1:36 pm

Last night the 1-5 hitters got that 1 extra AB than the 6-9 hitters.

Fols

April 14th, 2011
1:37 pm

Again….when NOBODY can hit the ball on nights like last night….you can have Chipper in the 9 hole and it’s not going to make a difference.

I don’t care about the line-up, these guys need to put the bat on the ball more consistant. THEN we’ll see who deserves to move in the order. Right now nobody is truly making a great case.

Bob Leblaw's Law Blog

April 14th, 2011
1:38 pm

But carlchamblee, don’t you see how comfortable McLouth is?

Fols

April 14th, 2011
1:39 pm

carlchamblee…only problem is do you want innings consisting of Gonzo/Nate/Freeman/Pitcher? Yikes, that is a serious concern.

markie mark

April 14th, 2011
1:40 pm

I like the fact that Fredi knows what he wants and why; analysts may not agree with his reasoning but he obviously has put a lot of time, effort, and thought into it. Any guy that is a member of and uses the stats of SABR, while at the same time not loosing site of the “human aspect” , is a guy that I like having as my manager.

Copy and Paste

April 14th, 2011
1:41 pm

Looks like DOB owned me. Touche, good sir.

Fols

April 14th, 2011
1:43 pm

Copy and Paste….easy to get him to reply to cut you down….try asking him for a good game day snack idea and NOTHING!

SFBrave

April 14th, 2011
1:43 pm

I like Freddi’s idea to hit McLouth 11th. Can we look into that?

Jgainsey

April 14th, 2011
1:43 pm

It really isn’t THAT big of a deal. And to be honest, I really haven’t see a whole lot of “outrage” over the subject. There are simply many of us that would rather see the guy who is probably the best hitter on the team now, hitting 2nd instead of 6th.

Is that going to make the back of the lineup even less effective than it has been lately? Sure, but to me, it seems like a tough argument to make when you want the guy with the best OBP and SLG% hitting in front of the worst hitter.. well, maybe the 2nd worst hitter if McLouth can’t get it together.

That’s not a knock on A. Gonzalez, we all know what kind of player he is. He’s a great glove at SS, and despite looking lost at the plate most of the time, he does have considerably more pop than most SS in the league. But he sure as hell isn’t the guy you want behind the best hitter on the team. Why not force teams to put that team leading SLG and OBP to the test in the 2-hole, instead of being able to consistently avoid the issue by forcing AGon to produce…

Unless you’re one of the teams with a monster payroll, the back end of the line up is almost always going to be inept. It’s not going to be the end of the world if all of the worst bats on the team are at the end of the lineup. Last time I checked, that was usually where you wanted your worst hitters. And the chances are that either McLouth or Freeman will be able to put up decent numbers sooner rather than later, and the 6,7,8 spots won’t be the complete black hole that some are so worried about. Plus, the extra production from a top of the lineup that includes Heyward will probably more than make up for the whatever you’re losing at the back end.

Why are some people making this out to be such a crazy argument?

Bob Leblaw's Law Blog

April 14th, 2011
1:45 pm

I think one thing that is missed in some of this lineup talk, to me at least, is when ATL isn’t putting the best lineup on the field, I am less inclined to go to the games and spend my $$. I have no idea if this is how most fans think. I used to go to about 10 games per year but since the Franceour fiasco w/ BC, I have been to much fewer games because my feeling is if the braves aren’t trying their hardest (manager included) why should I bother giving them my $$?

I’ve already been to 2 games this year but I am quickly getting the same feeling with FG. It’s one thing when people complain on a blog. It’s another when the national media is reporting on how ridiculous it is.

The braves may not miss my money. At best we’re talking about $1000, at worst $500. But I’m not going to give away my money when ATL is playing at a disadvantage the second the lineup cards are exchanged.

Bob Leblaw's Law Blog

April 14th, 2011
1:47 pm

nicely put, Jgainsey.

Fols

April 14th, 2011
1:48 pm

I still don’t know if it’s the line-up or the fact that the Braves look unable to string together 2-3 hits at a time. They lack the speed to swipe a base so in order to generate non-homerun production they just need to simply hit better.

Could it be as simple as swinging the bat and hitting the ball?

Money Handshake

April 14th, 2011
1:48 pm

Atlanta Nate is still Atlanta Nate. We may never see Pittsburgh Nate….Nate’s bunt should earn him another trip to the All-Star game.

The biggest problem that this Braves team has is their pitching staff. Basically, as soon as our pitching staff gives up a run to the opposing team, game over.

steve whitmire

April 14th, 2011
1:50 pm

I am not ripping the manager however if you’ve got a losing record and are already three games behind the Phillies this early in the season you should try something different, start different players, change the order up, whatever it takes to get the offense started. Earlier, someone said Bobby Cox would have already used 10 different lineups by now, duh, isn’t he the guy who is heading for the Hall of fame, pretty good track record I’d say. Try something different Fredi otherwise you just look lazy and stubborn.

jim

April 14th, 2011
1:50 pm

The problem with the offense so far goes far beyond McLouth, Uggla is not hitting, and Mac and Chipper have been contributing mostly singles until the last two games. Freeman is just getting adjusted to ML pitching, and Prado is a much better 2 hole hitter than a leadoff man — he doesn’t walk alot and is not a base stealer. There have only been one or two innings when the team has bunched more than two hits together in the same inning.

Fols

April 14th, 2011
1:51 pm

I’d like to see a homerun wall personally…….true home field advantage would be if we could pull in the fence while we bat, then replace it when the visitor comes up.

I’m just saying….I don’t think it’s been tried so maybe there’s no rule?

Aubrey

April 14th, 2011
1:51 pm

Braves have extended power outages every year. Very frustrating.

Atticus

April 14th, 2011
1:52 pm

Yes I agree. The thing is, McLouth just doesn’t SEE the ball well. He strikes out way too much and he fouls off a boatload of picthes which also says he is not seeing it. He is what he is. I just hate the fact we don’t take each game as serious now as in Sept. They all mean the same! You play every one to win and you put the BEST lineup out there that has a chance to win.

Curse of Brett Butler

April 14th, 2011
1:52 pm

Well, the big issue here is that McLouth had no where to turn last year until the Triple A batting coach got to him. Just because McLouth is in the wrong position and probably doesn’t fit in with this team anymore doesn’t mean Heyward can’t produce in the 6 spot. He is a better hitter there than no.2 The lineup will always be out of whack thanks to Booby Cox’s over-managing .It’s a tradition now to put your first baseman in the lower part of the order. That just tells the rest of teams that you are vulnerable and they can pitch around your ridiculous line up. The line up argument will go on all season long because FG is a BC protégé and everyone is used to BC. So, if FG wants to think outside the box and use a scouting report than more power to him.

Fols

April 14th, 2011
1:53 pm

I agree with Jim…….2 or more hits in an inning so far is just too much to ask for. Doesn’t matter WHERE they bat. Heyward had a bases loaded situation and popped up just a few days ago. THAT is what the difference is. They just aren’t hitting as a team and that will hopefully change!

Bob Horner's Blonde Mullet

April 14th, 2011
1:56 pm

People can argue about lineups all day long, but what it boils down to is that only a couple of guys are hitting at all. Any lineup you run out there is going to look like crap right now. Give Freddie a break for now. Don’t worry, when Uggla heats up, he will carry the team like Glaus did last year. Dude is streaky, but he will hit 10 homers in a month, and the rest of the team will feed off of that. Let’s just hope this happens before we’re 10 games out of 1st place.

billmaier

April 14th, 2011
1:56 pm

Minor, delgado and kk to st louis for colby rasmus

rob from sc

April 14th, 2011
1:57 pm

Heyward should be hitting third. This is only an issue because nobody.is willing to make chipped hit second

Curse of Brett Butler

April 14th, 2011
1:57 pm

“so the braves just had bad scouting reports for 15 years?” No, the refusal to even look at one in the last 15 years.

JF McNamara

April 14th, 2011
1:58 pm

Man, do I wish Yunel Escobar was around. Alas, Bobby couldn’t handle him and we now have a hole for shortstop in the batting order.

Just think, if he were around batting second, the McClouth thing wouldn’t be an issue. McClouth would be protecting Freddie Freeman in the 8 hole and have the ability to steal bases while the pitcher hit to get in scoring position creating RISP opportunities for Prado.

There’s a reason the Braves only one world series, and Cox’s ability to handle players is high on the list. It certainly is the source of our current problem.

Fols

April 14th, 2011
1:59 pm

I think we’ve all given up on the idea of Chipper hitting outside of his 3 hole. Despite what people believe…

what of it?

April 14th, 2011
1:59 pm

Jason Heyward batting numbers 2010:

Batting #2 .281 .393 .430 .823

Batting #6 .359 .469 .846 1.315

I appreciate the balance Freddi’s bringing, and it’s much better than the musical chairs line-up we played last year where no one could find any rhythm or consistency

Curse of Brett Butler

April 14th, 2011
2:00 pm

yeah, the lineup is made around Chipper whether he’s having a good year or not.

Money Handshake

April 14th, 2011
2:00 pm

The Braves season has been pretty ugla so far.
How many more games before Chipper breaks Cal’s streak?
Ozzie Guillen would go Meatloaf on the Braves hitters, if he were the manager.
Do the Braves really need closers?

Curse of Brett Butler

April 14th, 2011
2:01 pm

Escobar had one good year and was a cancer

Fols

April 14th, 2011
2:01 pm

I went a little Meatloaf last night…

Go Dawgs!

April 14th, 2011
2:02 pm

Not to interrupt the McLouth bash-fest, but he’s been hitting better the last few nights. Just sayin’…

what of it?

April 14th, 2011
2:02 pm

If escobar makes the all-star team this year, we’ll have traded two all-star SS since Furcal with nothing to show for it

Bob Leblaw's Law Blog

April 14th, 2011
2:03 pm

the triple a batting coach got him going? Well…..one of us is brain dead. Depending on which sample of stats you want to use, he either hit .222 or .246 following his return. Triple A really didn’t make a difference.

Fols

April 14th, 2011
2:04 pm

Nothing to worry about, we’re the Braves. We’ll explode for 13 runs to make it all feel great tonight.

Our main concern should then be Friday’s game vs the Mets in which we’ll proceed to go hitless.

Braves Bats

April 14th, 2011
2:05 pm

Don’t blame us, we just follow what the hands and arms do.

ncb34

April 14th, 2011
2:06 pm

okay, b mac and uggla (once he gets going) are not going to homer every time they walk up, so move heyward to 2nd in the lineup, then who is going to hit those runs in come june-july? freeman?? gonzo?? i’d rather have heyward for now. if moved anywhere it should be third.

Bob Leblaw's Law Blog

April 14th, 2011
2:06 pm

What of it – care to let us know how many AB’s in the 6 & 2 holes respectively?

Jay Dubu

April 14th, 2011
2:06 pm

As long as Chipper is a player on this team, he’ll be hitting #3, unless he asks to be moved.

Give the lineup a chance. All of the hitters have been sketchy so far, it’s only been 12 games.

Nate

April 14th, 2011
2:07 pm

It was .246, and I was raking.

Brohio

April 14th, 2011
2:07 pm

So stubborn. The Pujols and Bonds comment is irrelevant. Those guys don’t/didn’t hit 6th.

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