Braves winning the close games

As the Braves prepare to begin this three-game series against the Giants, I decided to see where they stood on May 25, 2008.  Given how bad the season developed, it was somewhat surprising to see that they were 27-23 and 2 1/2 games behind the front-running Marlins in the National League East race.

But those aren’t the important numbers to utilize while comparing the 23-20 record the Braves carried into Monday afternoon’s Memorial Day game at AT&T Park. 

Instead, it’s more important to look at the fact that the Braves got off to that decent start last year, while winning six of their first 22 road games and two of their first 14 one-run games. 

Armed with a much better pitching staff this year, the Braves have gone 12-8 on the road and 8-6 in one-run games.  The only National League teams with more one-run wins are the Dodgers (9-3) and Padres (12-5).

Four of those one-run victories garnered by the Braves have occurred during the 7-3 stretch they carried into the Giants series. 

However you cut it, this Braves team doesn’t seem like the same one that was 11-15 and four games back on May 5.  Brian McCann and Garret Anderson have provided the lineup a spark and Jair Jurrjens continues to strengthen a sound starting rotation.

The fact that the Braves produced their seven-run seventh inning after Jurrjens exited on Sunday simply provided more reason for the young right-hander to be frustrated about the fact that he ranks fourth in the Majors with a 2.07 ERA and has just four wins. 

During his past eight starts, Jurrjens has gone 2-2 with a 1.98 ERA.  In the 50 innings that have encompassed that span, he has limited opponents to a .230 batting average and .285 on-base percentage. 

It would be nice for him to gain some of the luck necessary to garner the win total that would allow him to receive deserved consideration when the National League chooses its All-Star team.

Chipper out again:
  Still bothered by some soreness and swelling in his right big toe, Chipper Jones was out of the lineup again for Monday’s series opener against the Giants.   While the Braves would like to see him return to full-time action soon, they know he’s dealing with a very sensitive injury that can be easily aggravated. 

It wouldn’t surprise me if Jones remains out of the lineup for the remainder of this series.  When you think about it, there’s very little you can do on a baseball field without putting some pressure on your big toe. 

It was kind of telling, when Jones said that it took him nearly 10 minutes to make his way back to the clubhouse after taking batting practice on Sunday morning. 

As for Yunel Escobar, it seems like he’s still dealing with a day-to-day right hip ailment.  He could return to the lineup as soon as Tuesday.       

  
    

 

22 Comments

I agree this is a better team than this time last year for all the reasons stated but after watching the SF game on Monday the holes are huge. Jordan Schafer has no business in the Big Leagues right now. Jeff Francouer may never succeed playing in Atlanta. He is virtually clueless at the plate and has little success with men in scoring position in the clutch. He has more discipline than last year but overall has no pop and little success in the clutch.

The starting pitching is clearly our strength, which provides hope since this anchors a mediocre lineup. McCann and Chipper must play and we need one or two outfielders who can hit.

Honestly, a half dozens guys would be better choices than Schafer right now. I wanted Cox to pinch-hit for him in the 6th today so badly. Bases loaded and you just knew how they would pitch him and what would happen. It is so hard to watch this kid fail and fail and fail. Stop the pain.

In the next couple of days, we will play against Dan Haren, Randy Johnson, and Tim Lincecum. That will be difficult. I don’t think we will win any of those games.

Darion – After Friday night’s Kawakami vs. Halladay matchup I learned to NEVER have that attitude… but you’re right, it doesn’t look favorable.

Well Big Unit has a 6-something ERA. So facing him doesn’t scare me in the least bit. And it isn’t like Lincecum has matched his 2008 form either. But I have a feeling we don’t have much of a chance against Haren. This Road Trup should be called “Dead Ball Road Trip” because SF and Ari’s offenses (along with ours) are straight out of the dead ball era and all 3 teams have excellent pitching staffs.

I can’t see how Anderson egnites any kind of “spark” to the offense, he is about the most life-less major leaguer I have ever seen, can barely get the ball over the infielders and how long is Cox going to force us to watch the team get beat because of his experment in CF.

Very true, Johnson’s name is scarier than his game these days. He does have that great game once in a while thing going on, but he is there for the taking. Medlen should do very well tonight. The game may be one of those 1:45 jobs with these two going at it.

when is bobby going to set SO schafer down for a game or send him back to AAA.

Winning the close ones is the mark of a good team. So is finding a way to hang in there against tough starting pitchers. Plug away and get to the bullpen.Russhttp://wight4256.mlblogs.com

Beyond the DeRosa talk, has anyone seen the Braves mentioned in any other sites for possible deals? Buster “Olney conjecture on my part” aside.

I am yet to see a report that is more than speculative that links us to DeRosa. Rosenthal had a column up that linked the Red Sox and Royals to Francoeur. I highly doubt the Red Sox are interested….

Braves didn’t hit Sanchez. Bottom 3 (4 if you count Francoeur) in the order aren’t supplying much offense. But while everyone’s trying to send people back to Triple A, I think Jerry Meals needs to be sent down. This is the second bad performance that the Braves have had with him behind the plate. Never saw such good blocking on the stolen base as what the Giant batters got away with. Particularly in the first 3-run inning. McCann tagged one out at the plate and didn’t get the call, and Kelly Johnson was upset with him in his last 2 at-bats (Kelly rarely says anything). Meals is the same guy who wouldn’t ask for help in Philadelphia when Hamels ran way inside the baseline on the swinging bunt and the throw went into rightfield and kicked off a 4-run inning. Missing the call is one thing, being to proud to ask for help makes it worse.

I can’t see the Red Sox getting involved either. Even if Smoltz has Theo’s ear, which I seriously doubt at this stage.

I have learned that if you doubt the Braves in a big game, then they will win, or at least play a hell of a game. That is what I am doing for the next couple of days. It will be a tough week.

Here is a list of obvious players that shouldn’t be traded by Bleacher Report:
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/183133-the-top-ten-atlanta-brave-untradeables

Then here is a list of potential targets:
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/182470-ten-potential-acquisitions-for-the-atlanta-braves

Both are set up in a slide show.

Trading for any of the guys on that list would be akin to releasing any of the players we send in the trade outright. The Braves would basically be getting nothing in return.
Anyone who trades for Brian Giles and his post-Roid power drought should be fired immediately.

I would be willing to trade Charlie Morton, Jeff Franoeur, and Cody Johnson (16 hr, 37 rbi, .278 single A Myrtle Beach) for Justin Upton of Arizona. I bet they’d do it. We have got to get a right handed power bat in our outfield. These guys aren’t cutting it.

Haha. Why is Giles still on these lists? Oooh can’t wait to get a 38 year old ex roid-head who is hitting under .200. It would be nice to get Ludwick.
I know we would be basically giving away prospects for a rental in most of the options that seem to be present, it would be a shame to have all of this good pitching go to waste this year because we can’t hit on a consistent basis.

I have 2 questions. 1, who in the name of h*ll is Jerry Meals? Did that guy watch a different game or is he just confusing everybody but me? The Giants catcher was Molina and we had McCann behind the dish so I have no idea who he’s talking about. Second, you guys keep talking about Francoeur’s lack of hitting/offense. I might be wrong on this, but I’ve heard Boog and Simpson say I think on the last broadcast that Frenchy was either tied or leading the team in RBIs. If I’m not mistaken, doesn’t that translate into everyday english as “he hits runs in” which is exactly what we are trying to do? I won’t deny he hasn’t show a lot of consistency on producing though and I agree he needs help on that. But based on his performance so far, the last thing I want to do right now is get rid of him. If he performs worst in the near future, ok then maybe a trade. On a third note, the Braves were I believe 5th or 6th in the Majors when it came to scoring with 2 outs. How do the Braves stand in that colomn after the 7 run 2 out 7th inning we had against Toronto?

jimphelps.. i was confused too. i think Jerry Meals was the umpire.

I would love to get Justin Upton as well, but the DBags would be crazy to get rid of him. I think a Heyward or Hanson would have to be thrown in for that to happen.

May I vent? Assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is the most useless statistic in baseball. For instance, a pitcher may pitch 8 innings and give up 1 run. His team doesn’t score a single run, and we say the pitcher lost the game. His next outing he pitches 6 innings and gives up 6 runs, but the team scores 8 runs, so he is the winner! Who lost game one and won the next game? It’s a TEAM STAT! We can assign plenty of stats to the pitcher: ERA, balls/strikes, starts made, innings pitched and on and on. All those reflect on the pitcher alone.

I was stunned in Saturday’s extra-inning loss to the D’backs that after a D’back double and sacrifice to third, Cox didn’t have Bennett walk the next guy to set up a double play and allow the infield to play back. Bobby is usually a smart manager but in my opinion, when he didn’t walk a batter with one out and a man on thrid, he did a very dumb thing. I played baseball all the way through college so it’s not like I’m a novice with this comment.

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