Bats prepared to come to life at Turner Field

Instead of dissecting statistics to determine why the Braves have encountered most of their success on the road, you can look at the simple fact that Brian McCann and Garret Anderson have been in the same lineup just once at Turner Field this year.

OK, now let’s delve into the numbers to show why the Braves have gone 2-9 at home since opening Turner Field with a three-game sweep of the Nationals.  In these 11 games, the Braves have hit .236 with THREE homers, a .329 on-base percentage and a .325 slugging percentage.

While going 6-2 on their recently-completed road trip, the Braves hit .285 with seven homers, a .380 on-base percentage and a .426 slugging percentage.   This improved production was obviously a direct result of  Anderson and McCann returning from the disabled list last week.

With the Braves opening a 10-game homestand on Friday night against the Diamondbacks, the home fans should also be prepared to see the return of Chipper Jones’ bat, which slumbered as McCann and Anderson dealt with their ailments. 

During the past 11 home games, four Braves players produced a .300 batting average (min. 20 at-bats)    —  Omar Infante  (.355), Jeff Francoeur (.310), Casey Kotchman (.306) and Yunel Escobar (.300).   The next-best batting average compiled during this span was .208 — a mark produced by both David Ross and Kelly Johnson. 

This lineup obviously revolves around the success of Jones and the team-worst .143 batting average he produced during the past 11 home games was a direct result of some of the impatience he showed while facing pitchers, who didn’t feel the need to challenge him without Anderson and McCann hitting behind him. 

The 11 walks Jones drew during this 11-game span represent half the total he’s tallied through the first 27 games that he’s played this year.

“I stayed as patient as I could,” Jones said. “Some teams were just determined not to pitch to me.  Other teams were taking their chances.  It’s going to make Garret and Mac making guys pay whenever they do walk me. That’s how you get 2-0 fastballs and 3-1 fastballs.  There weren’t a lot of those.”

In the five games that Jones has played since Anderson returned to the lineup and started hiting cleanup, he has hit .400 with three doubles and seven walks  — four intentional. 

After Jones recorded two doubles and a sacrifice fly during his first three plate appearances against the Mets on Wednesday, he drew two consecutive intentional walks. 

Anderson followed the first intentional walk with a sacrifice fly and the second with a fly ball that would have put Yunel Escobar at third base with one out in the ninth inning of a tied game if Mets right fielder Ryan Church hadn’t made a perfect throw to third baseman David Wright.

Obviously, I’ve been very critical of Anderson and a lot of that stems from the fact that because of his reserved demeanor, you can’t get a good read about his desire to be in Atlanta. 

There’s no doubt that he should have taken the short drive to Gwinnett County to play at least one Minor League game before returning from the disabled list.  In addition, he still has provided indication that he’s going to cost the Braves some runs with his limited range in left field.

But while getting the chance to watch him play over the course of the past week, I’ve seen seen a professional hitter, who will provide a presence in the middle of the lineup by putting the ball in play with regularity when runners are in scoring position.

While giving credit where credit is due, I’m also ready provide some to Kenshin Kawakami, who has allowed two earned runs and completed at least five innings during his past two starts against the Mets and Phillies.  I still don’t think he should be considered anything more than a fourth or fifth starter.  But if you’re fourth or fifth starter is providng these kinds of efforts on a consistent basis, then you’re probably feeling good about your rotation as a whole. 

Speaking of fifth starters, I think it’s pretty safe to assume we won’t be seeing Jo-Jo Reyes making another big league start in the near future.   Instead, I think we should expect to see Charlie Morton taking Reyes’ spot in the rotation until Tom Glavine is ready to resume pitching near the end of this month.

Tommy Hanson will still likely arrive in June.  But until then, he’s going to gain a little more Minor League seasoning, while Morton is given the chance to prove that he can carry his recent success to the big league level.

The Braves are going to be looking to find some power before the trade deadline and with a surplus of arms, there may be a number of teams interested in Morton, who has allowed just four earned runs in his past 27 innings with Triple-A Gwinnett.    

 

24 Comments

I agree that Charlie should be getting the ball in the 5th spot this week. Jo Jo really needs to have some sustained success at AAA before he should even be considered again. That would include working out of a jam every once in a while, which is an area he needs to improve on dramatically before he gets the ball again in Atlanta for any reason. Run him out there every 5th day until September in Gwinnett and see what you’ve got then.

Also, I am very glad GA is back to being GA. His hitting is needed and his approach is classic. I would still like to see him a little more “invested” in this team, but 4 quality ABs per game is enough for now. A good winning streak can help the attitude for sure.

Mark, has there been any indication of what Bobby will do when he has 6 starters in Atlanta? And 6 starters who will stay starters, I mean, considering Kawakamis pay, Glavine’s career, and the top-notch caliber of the other four pitchers? Even just an idea of what you might think would happen?

If Jurrjens is traded or made a reliever or sent to AAA, it will piss off too many fans(and he’s our best starter), Lowe is too valuable, and I don’t see anything happening to Vazquez … nor Kawakami.. and Glavine is pretty much ensured a spot. What does that leave?

There is no way Jurrjens is sent to AAA unless he is hurt and makig a few rehab starts. Let’s let it shake out before we start sending starters with an ERA of 2 down to AAA.

I didn’t say it would happen – I said it can’t happen. I just don’t know what WILL happen… So I’m asking Mark if he has heard any rumors or has any theories.

Neverwhere,
In addition to that probably never being an issue, because what are the chances all 6 will be healthy and effective? (low), they’ll just move the worst one to the bullpen or minors. Overall, not something to worry about because the problem will likely correct itself and if not, they’ll cross that bridge when they get there.

Mark,
It is certainly a relief to hear the organization will be using some of its’ excess pitching to shop for some power. Lord knows we need it.

Mark,
Do you see us making another dumb trade like when we traded for Tex? I am all about us going out to get some more pop in the line-up but we can’t keep depleting our farm systems for these one year wonders.

Man, do you all realize that we are right in the thick of things and haven’t played that well? We have the best pitching in the NL East. (Including Florida) We are just that big bat away from running away with it. PWH I agree, no more of those trades for someone that we can’t keep for at least a couple years. Need a good homestand and off to the races we go. GO BRAVES!!!

Agreed, no more Scott Boras rental players. However, be prepared that if Frank Wren makes the trade, at least one of your “favorite” everyday Braves is going to be part of it along with some AAA pitching.
And while we’re at it, what position is this new power bat going to be playing defensively?

Remember too that a big part of why we beat the Mets in NY is the fact that our guys could get to the balls in the outfield and their guys couldn’t. The Braves got a ton of bloop hits. That tickles me to no end because it proves the Mets are mismatched for their own field and they will struggle all year with lack of defense and/or range costing them games. But, they do look good on paper, lol.

With an attempt to multi-task and answer multiple questions at once, I’ll say that the only way the Braves will make a trade as regrettable as the Tex is if they were to deal Jurrjens…Until Glavine proves that he’s healthy and effective enough to stay in the rotation for an extended period, I don’t think the Braves are going to truly start determining their contingency plan…Personally, I obviously think Hanson should be called up in June, after having had the opportunity to make 10-plus starts with Gwinnett. But if they are still pleased with the production they’re receiving from their rotation, I guess there’s a chance they could make him wait until July to make his debut…I’ll keep poking around to see if I can provide you more clarity about potential contingency plans.

If they trade Jurrjens, Wren should be lynched. Period. He and Hanson will be the new Smoltz, Maddux, and Glavine. Hell, it’d be nice to see Jurrjens, Hanson, and Medlen destroying NL East batters for the next ten years…

Seriously, I’ll have to reconsider my life-long braves fan-dom if Jurrjens goes to another team for a frickin rental bat.

There is no way Jurrjens would be traded. A quality #1 or #2 guy that isn’t even arbitration eligible is the most prized possession there is.
The only people that are bait on the Major League roster are the relievers and the position players. Teams like Detroit that are really close to being contenders will be very interested in Bennett, Carlyle, Campillo, Morton, Redmond, Parr type arms to get them over the hump. The trick will be getting someone to part with a legit stick that isn’t 40-75% out of wack by today’s market prices.
And please, no more “nice” guys with potential to hit 20 HRs. If we are going to do it, get a legit thumper. Arizona may be ready to part with some of their can’t miss (unless you’re talking about strike 3) thumpers like Upton, Reynolds, Young or Steven Drew. I think Zobrist from the Rays would be a guy who is on the edge of making an impact as well. Hank Blalock would be another interesting choice.
We’ll see when the time comes who is really out there. I like the thought of dealing with a team that is in contention for the first time in a while. They are more likely to overpay for their “one big chance” than the teams that are there year in and year out.

Heck, trade a couple of the middle relievers for Micah Owings, and he can take Norton’s spot as well as mop up innings from the pen. That frees up another roster spot.

Medlen is going to start Tuesday’s game and Jo-Jo is heading to the bullpen.

I’m pleasantly surprised to hear that Mark.

With that being said though, having Jo-Jo available out of the pen after today(rest & recovery) makes it prudent to ship Parr out today. Then another releiver or extra position player could be utilized for Fri,Sat,Sun and Monday’s games.

Obviously it would need to be someone on the 40-Man

Acosta,Valdez,Logan,Jones,Blanco,Barton.

Several possibilities.

I like that move. Having a lefty long reliever to follow up the all righty starters gives Jo Jo the chance to go against a lefty heavy lineup every night. That can only help. Plus it keeps Jo Jo on the major league roster giving him more value for possible trades.
When is Medlen getting the call, Tuesday morning or sooner?

I can’t wait to see if Medlen can shut down major league pitching. I am VERY excited to see this game. He should be good to watch.

It’d be nice to see by the end of the season something like Lowe, Jurrjens, Hanson, Medlen, but it’ll never happen… I really have no idea what we’ll do about our pitching, especially once Hanson and Medlen are up and Hudson is back…

Thanks, Mark. Once again you prove your worth to all of us lowly fans …lol.

Calling up Blanco would be the ultimate admittance of desperation. He is not a Major League quality player at all. He isn’t even particularly good as AAA outfielders go. Barton has been better defensively, and more aggressive offensively. Bobby and Frank also need to see what they’ve got sooner rather than later with Barton.. Neither is the answer, but Barton at least makes sense.
Pulling the trigger on Blanco would be like watching Married With Children reruns. You didn’t really like it the first time, but you hate seeing the same Cialis commercial ten times during each of the Braves games so you change the channel anyway.
Nothing good can come of it. If he plays well, Bobby might get used to him, and keep him in the lineup as he settles in to the .250 average with zero power or aggressiveness, and if he doesn’t he isn’t even status quo to what is struggling now.

While I usually agree with you rother, you have a blind spot concerning Blanco.Rather Pavlovian

No one is calling for Blanco to be up full time or even play just saying they could use an extra position player with Reyes being freed up for pen duty.

Makes Parr superflous. Obviously whatever player being called up would return to Gwinnett on Tuesday when Medlen’s contract is purchased.

To recap-
How it should be handled for maxium roster efficiency

Friday-Parr optioned to Gwinnett, then add either another pen arm in Acosta,Logan,Valdez any of the three would contribute more than Parr. If you wanted an extra position player then B.Jones,Barton,Blanco could come up for a few days then return on Tuesday to Gwinnett.

And yes Blanco could help off the bench. A solid case could be made right now than any of the position players in Gwinnett that are on the 40 man would contribute as much or more than Diaz right now.

Lost part of the last post. While I like the scenario above I fully expect Parr to remain with the big club until Tuesday when Medlen will take his spot on the roster.

A waste of a roster spot for the weekend that could be utilized much better and more effectively with relative ease.

For anyone watching the Mets/Giants game,

What the hell?? How do the Mets keep getting cheap wins?
Whatever, it aint over til its over… Lets go Giants

Talking about pitching and hitting, I think that the best move they could make would be to get rid of both McDowell and Pendleton. I don’t understand Pendleton’s worth whatsoever. Shafer, Francoeur,and even Diaz could sure use something to help their hitting approach. Just a thought!

I hope those bats wake up, and in a big hurry. Getting blown out 12-0 by a joke of a D-Backs team at home isn’t funny.

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