Back to baseball and Game 2 of the Cardinals series

 

McCann has been great with RISP

McCann has been great with RISP

 

(Staff writer Carroll Rogers is filling in for David O’Brien today.)

You know it’s not good when you’re walking to the car a little before 1 a.m. last night and a great stat dawns on you just as you’re leaving the building, long after your game story is filed.

Well, I couldn’t do anything about it in that moment, so I’m rehashing it for your reading pleasure now. How ironic was it that the key at-bat last night in a 5-3 extra inning loss to the Cardinals was when Brian McCann grounded into a double play with the bases loaded, and the Braves couldn’t add on to Nate McLouth’s homer in the second inning.

That was the guy who’d been killing it with runners in scoring position – leading the majors in fact with a .688 (11-for-16) average with RISP and 13 RBIs. As manager Fredi Gonzalez said last night, Chris Carpenter made a great pitch at the right time to get McCann and avoid key add-on runs.

McCann had come up with a runner at second in the first inning and lined out to left, hard out.

It would have been nice to point that out in my gamer. Nothing like great timing. Moving on…

Chipper like a young buck

It’s a day game after a night game, and a night game that went 11 innings at that, and Chipper Jones is back in the lineup today at third base. This is pretty much the trend this year, for the recently-turned 39-year-old who seems to be in the lineup as often as a 20-something.

Jones is making his 25th start in 28 games this season on Saturday. He’s missed only one start with a nagging injury – a sore right knee last weekend in San Francisco, the opposite one from his surgically-repaired left knee.

“It’s early and I’m fresh,” Jones said. “I want to take advantage of it while I got it.”

He gave that the familiar wry smile. And judging from the way he sounded like morning, he wasn’t fresh, fresh. West Coast road trip will mess with your clock and he said he was still awake at 5:30 a.m. this morning. Then he was up early to see his 6-year-old son Shea play in a machine pitch game at 8:30 a.m.

Shea went 2-for-2, by the way.

But Jones and Gonzalez seem to have developed a trust already where Gonzalez leaves it up to the veteran to tell him when he needs a day off.

“He and I have had great conversations,” Jones said. “Pretty much every day game he comes up and asks me, especially after a late night game like last night. I feel fine. And this is an important time of the year for us. I think you need to be in there as much as you can.”

“Dude – you faced Albert Pujols”

In the game-within-the-game department last night, we had the rookie reliever Cory Gearrin taking on the best hitter in the game Albert Pujols in the 10th inning with the game on the line.

Gearrin wound up taking the loss allowing a two-run triple to Nick Punto in the 11th, the first hit Gearrin has allowed in a charmed week to begin his major league career.

But let’s not forget about the 10th inning, when he mowed through the heart of the Cardinals order – Pujols, Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman. Gearrin said he was told he might come on to face Pujols in the seventh inning, so when it happened in the 10th, he was ready.

“I was excited,” Gearrin said. “That’s what you want. You want to face the best and see how you stack up.”

Dude just faced Albert Pujols

Dude just faced Albert Pujols

Stacked up well last night. The young sidearmer got Pujols to ground out to second base on a 2-2 fastball away. He struck out Holliday, who was leading the majors with a .433 average coming into the series, and coaxed a groundout from Berkman, who was hitting a cool .410 coming in himself.

What made it all the better for Gearrin was having a host of his former teammates from his Young Harris College baseball team, as well as his family, at Turner Field to see his home debut.

He said his old teammates were gathered around the Braves bullpen the whole game and were there to watch him warm up. They came around behind home plate once he came into the game.

They were among 30 friends and family to make the trip down to see the Chattanooga native pitch.

“They were like ‘Dude, you faced Albert Pujols,’” Gearrin said. “That’s a lot of fun, knowing what he’s done in this game, the quality player he is. Getting to share that with friends and family here was something none of us will forget.”

Kimbrel’s entrance

I’m going to write a note on Craig Kimbrel here shortly so I’ll leave the serious stuff for that. For now I’ll just point out the hard-hitting news that he’s changed his entrance song.

The rookie closer ditched “Devour” by Shinedown and went with the more familiar “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns-n-Roses. I think it was a good choice. It’s more upbeat, more people know it. Resonated better in the stadium.

“Yeah, it’s pretty cool,” said Kimbrel, who’d actually changed the song before the West Coast trip but the game staff needed some time to get it ready to go.

As for “Devour?” he said, “It just didn’t sound good on the speakers.”

Beachy vs. Westbrook

Brandon Beachy is on the mound today looking for a third consecutive quality start and a third consecutive Braves win in a game he starts.

Jairo Asencio’s four-run seventh cost Beachy a win his last time out in San Francisco, but Beachy allowed only two runs in six innings in the outing. He’s still looking for his first home win (he finally broke through for his first major league win in a 10-1 win in LA). He’s 0-2 with a 5.82 ERA in three starts at Turner Field, where opponents are hitting .309 off him.

The Braves face groundball specialist Jake Westbrook, who’s ranked 11th in the National League with 56 groundouts and seventh in double plays induced (12). He has the best groundball percentage in the majors (76.9 percent) since being acquired by the Cardinals from Cleveland at the trade deadline last year.

Westbrook is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in two starts against the Braves but allowed them only two runs in six innings in a no-decision last September.

Braves lineup

1. Prado LF

2. Heyward RF

3. Jones 3B

4. McCann C

5. Uggla 2B

6. Freeman 1B

7. Gonzalez SS

8. McLouth CF

9. Beachy P

1,220 comments Add your comment

nolie

April 30th, 2011
12:54 pm

“Well, not much for the doom-and-gloomers to whine about in this one.” Scoots

foolish person…

Venice Jim

April 30th, 2011
12:55 pm

Getting radio feed on WQNT 1450…

flange1

April 30th, 2011
12:58 pm

Thanks for the new blog CR!

BravesQueen

April 30th, 2011
12:58 pm

rob from sc

April 30th, 2011
12:58 pm

Hey Fredi Gonzalez. Way to Support Freeman. I hope you realize Freeman is more important to this team than you are. I want Cox back…

DOB

Is Kimbrel ok, his FB looked flat

BravesQueen

April 30th, 2011
12:59 pm

I thought it was about time for new bloggage. Thanks CR!

Venice Jim

April 30th, 2011
12:59 pm

Correcting post at the end of last blog, no Sutton or Powell today…

rob from sc

April 30th, 2011
1:00 pm

How the hell do you not back Freeman there. I want Gonzalez gone. You support you players either way.

Dennis Reynolds

April 30th, 2011
1:01 pm

LTBF

April 30th, 2011
1:02 pm

Thank you for new blog Carroll, informitive as always.

Heath

April 30th, 2011
1:02 pm

Back to normal (Another feeble offensive performance)

April 30th, 2011
1:03 pm

Trading for Reyes, and fielding the kind of line-up that I proposed in my 12:12pm post would be TOO PERFECT! Frank Wren needs to make that trade happen ASAP!

I know, the following proposal would be really OUT THERE to consider…..however, if the Braves were to be willing to accept K-Rod’s contract in a Jose Reyes trade…..I’m sure that the Braves wouldnt have to give up NEARLY AS MUCH to the Mets in talent ..as they would if they only traded for Reyes.

Sure, K-Rod is making $11.5 mil this season (minus 1 month that the Mets have already paid him). He’s due a $3.5 mil buyout (he needs to finish 46 more games this year in order to get the $17.5 mil option guaranteed…which isnt going to happen).

Reyes is making $11 mil this year (minus 1 month that the Mets have already paid him). Hypothetically speaking, if the Braves were to trade for Reyes and K-Rod TODAY, the Mets would be getting a net salary relief of approximately $20 mil ($18.5 mil prorated for this year, plus K-Rod’s $3.5 mil 2012 buyout…..minus Alex Gonzalez’s $2 mil prorated for the rest of this year).

Sure, the Braves 2011 payroll would increase by approximately $16.5 mil (the $3.5 mil K-Rod 2012 buyout wouldnt be on the books until 2012) if the trade was made TODAY.

However, if the trade was made TODAY, as opposed to waiting until late July to make this proposed trade, when the $16.5 mil added payroll figure would be cut by 3/5th (5 months left in the season from today, minus 3 months passing until the end of July from today)….then the Mets would really end up saving approximately $9.9 mil by making the trade TODAY, instead of waiting until the end of July to make any deals involving K-Rod and Reyes.

Money is the big issue here because the Mets are in dire financial straights. Their attendance is WAY DOWN. They are bleeding money. If Frank Wren were to swing that trade today (which would result in the Mets saving $9.9 mil by doing a deal TODAY instead of waiting until late July….AND….save the them $16.5 mil over the rest of the season…AND save them $20 mil overall, when factoring in K-Rod’s 2012 buyout)….then one can stand to reason that when factoring in the amount of money the Mets would be saving by making that trade TODAY, the Braves wouldnt have to give up NEARLY the talent level of prospects that they would have to give up…if they waited until late July to make this deal.

Having Reyes bat lead-off would infuse some much needed speed in the top of our line-up. Also, having K-Rod close games for us would this year would give Venters and Kimbrel ANOTHER year of grooming (imagine having Kimbrell and Venters slotted for the 7th and 8th innings….our bullpen would be hella nasty, especially when Moylan returns, as well as EOF).

Sure, some of you may knock K-Rod, however dude gets the job done. He’s won a World Series in 2002, he’s the record holder most saves in a season. Plus, I’d like to see some attitude and cockiness on the field. When on, I feel that K-Rod can electrify our crowd.

Also, Frank Wren could decide to trade Derek Lowe if he didnt want to take on so much payroll (not saying that he should, just saying that it was an option). My point is that waiting for our hitters to start hitting isnt a great game plan. I feel that even if we start hitting, we’re going to struggle to be anything other than a .500 team.

Shaking up the Braves roster would definitely take the focus off of what’s happened (both on and off the field)…….and put the focus on putting some fear AND notice into the Phillies and Marlins.

Now would be the time for Frank Wren to try and sell to Liberty the benefit of increasing the payroll in the manner I just suggested. Dont you guys want to see an electrifying team on the field who isnt afraid of bringing some intensity to the other team? As it is right now, we have a bunch of zombies playing for us right now, lol!

1. Reyes
2. Heyward
3. Chipper
4. McCann
5. Uggla
6. Freeman
7. Prado
8. McLouth

Closer…K-Rod
7th-8th…Kimbrel/Venters
5th-6th…Moylan/EOF (if starter is struggling and we need to keep the game close)

Sherill/Limebrink/etc….mop up duty

Now isnt that MUCH BETTER than what we currently have?

Tomahawkin

April 30th, 2011
1:04 pm

Gametime!

“All Da Way Turn’t Up!”

LTBF

April 30th, 2011
1:05 pm

Hi BravesQueen
Praying for you and your son as you wait for Tuesday.

nolie

April 30th, 2011
1:05 pm

I thought y’all wanted to hear the manager tell it like it is instead of sugarcoatin’ it all?

BravesQueen

April 30th, 2011
1:05 pm

Ugh…scroll. Not into reading reading ‘books’ disguised as posts today. Sorry.

BravesQueen

April 30th, 2011
1:06 pm

Thanks, LTBF! Much appreciated. I’ll be sure to fill you all in as soon as I know something.

Brava

April 30th, 2011
1:07 pm

Let’s Go Braves!!!!

LTBF

April 30th, 2011
1:07 pm

Gametime so outta here. We need a win today,count on it. Later ya all lets have a good one.

nolie

April 30th, 2011
1:07 pm

Trading for Reyes, and fielding the kind of line-up that I proposed in my 12:12pm post would be TOO PERFECT! Frank Wren needs to make that trade happen ASAP! …. jerkoff

they are not gonna trade for Reyes idiot. what would they pay him with?
Have you not noticed how well Gonzo has played D?
at least try to come up with something that makes sense dude

CaptainMudderland

April 30th, 2011
1:08 pm

…Kenny Albert and Mark Grace in the booth for the second game on FOX.

Heath

April 30th, 2011
1:09 pm

If I’m in Cleveland….why am I getting Rays and Angels? Is it because I’m in a AL market? Phillies and Mets or Braves and Cards represent teams closer to me.

Venice Jim

April 30th, 2011
1:11 pm

nolie – I prefer both, except when I want neither…

Back to normal (Another feeble offensive performance)

April 30th, 2011
1:12 pm

Is there an online feed to today’s game?

Tomahawkin

April 30th, 2011
1:12 pm

Why the Hell is Gonzo hitting 7th?

He sucks when he hits with runners on base…Bat Nate-Dawg 7th while he is hot…

Come On BB

Venice Jim

April 30th, 2011
1:13 pm

Dutchieeeeee

April 30th, 2011
1:13 pm

For anyone not being able to watch, here’s a stream:
http://www.myp2pforum.eu/threads/55730-Streaming-MLB-Today-Saturday-30-April

Let’s go Braves!

Tomahawkin

April 30th, 2011
1:15 pm

I love these quick outs…And furthermore I like seeing Phat Albert hit with no one on base

Tomahawkin

April 30th, 2011
1:16 pm

Nice inning BB

Venice Jim

April 30th, 2011
1:16 pm

Excellent first inning!

Hugo Z Hackenbush

April 30th, 2011
1:17 pm

PL, Braves aren’t likely to want to take on Reyes’ contract, much less Reyes and K-Rod’s together. And what message would that send to Kimbrel?

Tomahawkin

April 30th, 2011
1:18 pm

Come On Martini

Lets Do this!

Dutchieeeeee

April 30th, 2011
1:19 pm

Nice start there, for the BB gun

Tomahawkin

April 30th, 2011
1:20 pm

There we Go Martini!

Back to normal (Another feeble offensive performance)

April 30th, 2011
1:20 pm

nolie…..Dude, it isnt that I’m UNHAPPY with Gonzo playing short, lol! It’s about being REALISTIC about where to play someone who can bat LEAD-OFF for us.

Listen, McLouth is untradeable. We are pretty much stuck with him playing center in 2011 (Frank Wren isnt about to bench McLouth, given his recent decent production and his salary).

So knowing that, where would we play a potential lead-off acquisition IF we didnt consider trading Gonzo, as well as being stuck with McLouth in center? 1st (Freeman), 2nd (Uggla), 3rd (Chipper) Catcher (McCann), LF (Prado) RF (Heyward)? Tell me? I’m all ears.

My point is that trading Gonzo for Reyes would be with the idea of upgrading the lead-off spot of the order (again, IMAGINE Reyes and Heyward’s speed in the #1 and #2 part of the batting order…batting in front of Chipper, McCann and Uggla)…as well as being able to slide Prado down the the 7th hole.

So please, tell me how do we improve the lead-off spot of the order? How do we increase the speed at the top of our order?

Venice Jim

April 30th, 2011
1:20 pm

Marteeennn!!!

LAG

April 30th, 2011
1:20 pm

Way to play, Martín.

Tomahawkin

April 30th, 2011
1:21 pm

OY!

Just our effing luck!

Mike

April 30th, 2011
1:21 pm

LAG

April 30th, 2011
1:21 pm

Way not to play, Martín? No real reason to go there…

VaBravesFan

April 30th, 2011
1:21 pm

What a joke, my guide says Braves vs Cards, but the Phillies are on. BS

Carroll Rogers

April 30th, 2011
1:21 pm

Let the record show, we just had a request to move Nate McLouth up in the lineup….that’s gotta be a first? and pretty astute by Tomahawkin. Course you might say he’s hitting well because he’s comfortable where he is – since he moved to the eight spot, McLouth is hitting .414 (12-for-29) with four doubles and a .500 on-base percentage

JC from DR!

April 30th, 2011
1:21 pm

Nice base running!

Atta boy Prado!

BravesQueen

April 30th, 2011
1:22 pm

Marteen shouldve known where the shortstop was and stayed put! Bad baserunning there. :(

Dutchieeeeee

April 30th, 2011
1:22 pm

Marteeen, with a bit of luck!

JasonInFL

April 30th, 2011
1:23 pm

Tomahawkin

April 30th, 2011
1:23 pm

laird is a good throwing catcher!

We just ran ourselves out of this inning, GRRRR!!!

JC from DR!

April 30th, 2011
1:23 pm

They are on fire!!

Dutchieeeeee

April 30th, 2011
1:23 pm

That’s what you get with online streams…..delayed bad baserunning…

BravesQueen

April 30th, 2011
1:23 pm

Well, this isn’t a very good start. I thought it was going to be a good first inning with the Martin double, but dang!

LAG

April 30th, 2011
1:24 pm

That CS was thanks to Tyler Greene and his magical left foot blocking the bag. :\

BravesQueen

April 30th, 2011
1:24 pm

JC — Who exactly are you rooting for? Geez, man!

JasonInFL

April 30th, 2011
1:26 pm

Ok, so maybe Fredi knows what he is doing by not running more.

Tomahawkin

April 30th, 2011
1:26 pm

@Carroll

I’m still standing by my stance in that Nate Dawg needs to hit 7th while he is hot. Lets Face it Gonzo is what he is, A stellar defensive player but he’s a streaky .230 hitter who doesn’t hit with runners on base, his production this year isn’t going to come anywhere near what his inflated stats were last year spending 1/2 the season in Toronto

Kat

April 30th, 2011
1:27 pm

Thanks Dutchieeeeee for the link on our lovely Fox Saturday.

VaBravesFan

April 30th, 2011
1:27 pm

whats a complete joke, 1st 3 batters reach base and we fail to score.

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

April 30th, 2011
1:28 pm

That picture of BMac is pitiful. :(

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

April 30th, 2011
1:28 pm

VaBravesFan 1st 3 batters reach base and we fail to score.

Yeah, that [dang] McCann. :roll:

Dutchieeeeee

April 30th, 2011
1:28 pm

you’re welcome Kat. Enjoy myp2p.

And let’s keep the BB gun on target in the second

JC from DR!

April 30th, 2011
1:28 pm

I take it as a joke to try not to cry when im watching them. Or maybe I shouldn’t watch at all.

JasonInFL

April 30th, 2011
1:29 pm

We are not good when we get leadoff doubles.

cabravesfan

April 30th, 2011
1:30 pm

McFann-

Be he looks adorable anyways. He needs a hug ;)

Tomahawkin

April 30th, 2011
1:30 pm

Ho Sit Down Rasmus!

JasonInFL

April 30th, 2011
1:30 pm

Serious Question: How do folks rate Fredi so far on a scale of 1 to 10?

JasonInFL

April 30th, 2011
1:31 pm

BB is better than I thought.

Tomahawkin

April 30th, 2011
1:31 pm

Jason in FL

5 and slowly declining by the day

Tomahawkin

April 30th, 2011
1:32 pm

BB is already Dealin, nice

cs95

April 30th, 2011
1:32 pm

Carroll: I tweet a similar idea to DOB last night… about putting nate leadoff then prado 2nd (with heyward at 6th) or prado at 6th

JasonInFL

April 30th, 2011
1:32 pm

Nate is going yard today.

JC from DR!

April 30th, 2011
1:32 pm

All of them need a hug after this awful April. Let’s give them straitjackets as gifts.

LAG

April 30th, 2011
1:32 pm

JasonInFL – Depends who you ask. I prefer not to seriously rate managers until after May. Especially new managers.

JasonInFL

April 30th, 2011
1:32 pm

Let’s get FF rolling. Starting this AB.

Heath

April 30th, 2011
1:33 pm

Hey… I’d move McLouth up right now too…

cabravesfan

April 30th, 2011
1:33 pm

This April > last April

Heath

April 30th, 2011
1:33 pm

….if he played to his Pirate’s days potential, he could bat lead-off.

cs95

April 30th, 2011
1:34 pm

if nate is hitting or walking fo that matter he really is the braves best option at the leadoff spot. period. if he’s not i am fine hitting him eight. also, think there might be something to the being comfortable in the 8th spot, too.

Frankie Wren

April 30th, 2011
1:34 pm

Haven’t seen the replay except for last night and it’s still BS call on Freeman. Chipper up and it’s a ball without question. I know that yahoo was pretty much consistent with the low pitches but just wrong. Who knows what happens if he walks still. Umpires never being noticed generally call the good games. This idiot’s ego is not what the crowd paid to see umpiring behind the plate.

JC from DR!

April 30th, 2011
1:34 pm

This April team > Last April team (on paper)

So, it hurts more.

Venice Jim

April 30th, 2011
1:35 pm

Good job by Uggla of avoiding the dreaded leadoff double…

VaBravesFan

April 30th, 2011
1:35 pm

Tomahawkin

April 30th, 2011
1:36 pm

Come On Fab 5 Freddie!

Carroll Rogers

April 30th, 2011
1:36 pm

Well today is the last day of April for Uggla….

just sayin.

JasonInFL

April 30th, 2011
1:36 pm

LAG, that’s cool. Just throwing it out there for some discussion. I think he has some of the same qualities as Bobby as far as communication, being a players’ manager, and trusting his players. I also thought a strength of his was how he used his bullpen, but there have been some questionable moves there as well…mostly in the SF series.

I thought he might be a little more agressive with the smallball type of play, when the situation was right for it (like last night with Nate on base and ‘Teen up), but you are correct….it is still waaaay early. If the guys were hitting up to their potential, some moves probably wouldn’t even be being discussed.

Tomas

April 30th, 2011
1:36 pm

If it’s not broken why change it. Let Mclouth down there.

fuzzmeister

April 30th, 2011
1:37 pm

Jason in FL— Got to agree with Thawkin, 5 and sinking but has a nice MC— 8.5 there

JasonInFL

April 30th, 2011
1:37 pm

Good point, Venice.

Frankie Wren

April 30th, 2011
1:38 pm

Rob, relax on Kimbrel man, kid’s going to have struggles. It’s going to happen again. Wags had 7 blown saves early last year. Last thing I am concerned about is Kimbrel.

If you were smart...

April 30th, 2011
1:39 pm

If you KNOW someone just flat out stinks in April (Uggla), why not bat him 8th until May 1st?

Bravofan

April 30th, 2011
1:39 pm

Who wants to watch the D-Backs and Dodgers in primetime!!!!!

Heath

April 30th, 2011
1:40 pm

Base on balls.. hit one in the gap now Nate!

cs95

April 30th, 2011
1:40 pm

four pitch walk for alex.. that takes skill from westbrook.

JC from DR!

April 30th, 2011
1:40 pm

Alex Gonzalez walked. This game should be called and given to the Braves.

jim

April 30th, 2011
1:40 pm

Enter your comments here

JasonInFL

April 30th, 2011
1:41 pm

Who wants to watch the Dodgers vs. D-Backs at any time?

JasonInFL

April 30th, 2011
1:41 pm

Come on, Nate-Dawg!

Pete*

April 30th, 2011
1:41 pm

CR, I would wager that Uggla will be celebrating that fact tonight!

LAG

April 30th, 2011
1:42 pm

JC from DR!
Alex Gonzalez walked. This game should be called and given to the Braves.

I lol’ed.

cs95

April 30th, 2011
1:42 pm

it would be nice to at least clear the pitcher here

Venice Jim

April 30th, 2011
1:42 pm

Jason – just trying to look for the bright side…

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

April 30th, 2011
1:42 pm

Hey! Those two guys that just waved—was that jeffrey d and whoever he went with?? :P

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