Cincy has become a nightmare destination

After Tuesday night’s 7-2 loss to the Reds, Braves manager Bobby Cox essentially said that if you record 12 hits, you’ve got to win.   But since Great American Ball Park started to become his team’s house of horrors two years ago, Cox has come to realize this isn’t necessarily true.
  
While winning just two of the past 10 games they’ve played at GABP dating back to Aug. 21, 2007, the Braves have won just one of the six games during which they’ve recorded a  double-digit hit total. Their other win during this span occurred on April 24, when they tallied four hits, the first of which came courtesy of  Jeff Francoeur’s  two-out, fifth-inning homer.
 
So much has occurred over the course of these 10 games that it’s hard to pinpoint why Cincinnati has recently caused Cox more heartburn than Skyline Chili.   This skid started with Jo-Jo Reyes blowing a three-run second-inning lead by allowing the Reds to produce a five-run third-inning.
 
One day later, Edgar Renteria came off the disabled list and then went right back on it before even having the opportunity to do anything more than check his swing during his first-inning at-bat.   Then to cap off that three-game stretch in August of 2007, Adam Dunn continued his assault of Bob Wickman with a 12th-inning, walk-off homer.
 
Given that Wickman was released the following day, I guess you can say something good has come out of this 10-game stretch, during which the Braves have competed against the Bengals for the right to be considered the least successful team in Cincinnati.
 
Looking back at last night’s game, things might have certainly been different had Francoeur not grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the sixth.
  
But things like this are going to happen.  Former American League MVP Justin Morneau has grounded into 16 double plays (third-most in the Majors) during the 240 at-bats he’s compiled with runners in scoring position since the start of the 2008 season.   But he’s also compiled a .350 batting average and collected 130 RBIs in these situations.
 
The frustration that stemmed from Tuesday’s sixth-inning has to do with the fact that these situations seem to always find Francoeur.   The 250 at-bats he’s had w/ RISP since the start of 2008 ranks as the fourth-highest total in the Majors  –  a distinction that is partly  product of the fact that his aggressive nature limits his walk total and consequently increases his at-bats total.
 
If completely ignoring the big picture by solely looking at this from an RBI perspective, you would be able to say that Francoeur compares to Alex Rodriguez.  In 285 plate appearances w/ RISP since the start of 2008, Francoeur has tallied 85 RBIs, which is just one shy of the mark A-Rod has collected in 274 plate appearances.
 
But upon exiting the delusional world, it’s obvious that A-Rod has proven more productive while hitting .262 with a .403 on-base percentage and .463 slugging percentage during this span.
 
Those numbers don’t seemingly scream $59 million (A-Rod’s combined salaries in 2008 and 2009) worth of production, but they’re certainly more impressive than the ones posted by Francoeur, who has hit .216 with a .284 on-base percentage and .316 slugging percentage w/ RISP since the start of last season. 
 
Among the 14 Major Leaguers who have had at least 275 plate appearances w/RISP  since the start of last season, Francoeur and Rockies third baseman Garret Atkins (.226) are the only ones who haven’t hit at least .250 or compiled a .300 on-base percentage.

Among the 46 players who have had at least 250 plate appearances w/RISP since the start of last season, Francoeur’s .316 slugging percentage ranks dead last.  Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano’s .371 mark ranks as the second-worst.
 
Now re-entering the optimistic world and taking the approach that you’re only as good as your last at-bat, we’ll say Francoeur took a step in the right direction while scoring Chipper Jones from third base with his eighth-inning single on Tuesday night.
 
Unfortunately for the Braves, that single, which brought them within a run, only served as a tease.  Jones’ throwing error helped the Reds tally four unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth against Mike Gonzalez, who had allowed six hits while holding opponents scoreless over his previous nine innings.
 
This was another instance where Gonzalez encountered struggles during a non-save situation.  Just four of the 13 runs  he’s surrendered this year have come in save situations.  Five of the nine runs he’s allowed in non-save situations have been unearned. 

In 14 save situations, Gonzalez has limited opponents to a .200 batting average and .302 on-base percentage.  In his 17 appearances without a save on the line, he has allowed a .270 batting average and .378 on-base percentage. 
 
Yankees and Red Sox tickets:
  Tickets remain for next week’s games against the Red Sox (June 23-35) and Yankees (June 26-28).   While purchasing these at braves.com, you can also buy a daily parking pass that will admit you to one of the team’s lots.  Fans without these passes or season permits will have to find other parking options or utilize MARTA.

46 Comments

Yuck those numbers were depressing.

The problem with the Braves not scoring many runs even while managing 12 hits is that the vast majority of their hits are flare singles.

We cannot keep making bad teams look good. If there is a team struggling to win ball games or a team in need of something to turn their season around….hope that the braves are on your schedule. Dont get me wrong i am a die hard fan and i follow the braves religously but, lately even i am starting to lose faith. maybe if the braves do bad enough this season – then they will make the changes that needed to be made at the end of last season. it just feels like a early 1 or 2 run deficit seams like a 10 run deficit….there just is no offense….and it is getting old.

For all of you that are jumping on Yuni’s case for a couple of mental mistakes at age 25, try this on. He has more homers than McCann. He has the best RISP on the team. He usually plays above average defense. He has more doubles than anyone except Kotchman. He has the second most AB’s on the team.

Why the hate? Because he plays on a team that is struggling? Because he has yellow hair? Because he doesn’t speak English that well. This is starting to sound like a redneck revival. He is one of the three best things the braves have going (McCann, Lowe and our shortstop) Chipper doesn’t qualify because he only plays 3 times a week(he only has one more homer than Yuni). Trading Escobar would be the biggest mistakes this team could make under what will be Frank Wrens short career. Guess what Peavy’s doing? You guessed it, NOT pitching.

Another day another loss for the braves. Unbelieveable.

Unbelievable? Hardly. The fact that it is so believable is sad, but very believable.

billreef: I don’t think anybody can dismiss the fact that Escobar’s talents. In fact when you factor defense, you can easily argue he’s the most all-around talented player on that roster right now. And as I said in my earlier post, he’s far from dumb. But far too often he plays dumb because of the fact that he’s stubborn and doesn’t listen to what Chino Cadahia or some of the veteran players express.

His mental mistakes are primarily a product of aggression. That wasn’t exactly wise when he took third base on Chipper’s one-out chopper back to the mound during tonight’s seventh inning. Masset was coming out of the game. So I don’t think you can argue he was positioning himself for another wild pitch. Of course had he drawn a bad thrown and scored, some would have said that it was good aggressive baseball. But in the end, there are just so many chances you can take and he takes far too many both offensively and defensively.

Plus, I can see giving the guy a few breaks. But he’s been in the league for two years now. It’s time for him to deal with the criticism that his play produces.

The Braves sent Kenshin Kawakami down to the bullpen tonight to be ready to serve as a long reliever in the event that Vazquez had been forced to make an early exit. Because of their long relief appearances earlier this week, Medlen and Bennett were unavailable to fill that role. Had Kawakami been needed, we would have been denied the opportunity to see him face Dice-K on Friday. My guess is that Lowe would have started Friday and Jurrjens, who threw 38 pitches on Tuesday, would have gone on Saturday. The Sunday starter could have then been either Kawakami or more likely Medlen.

The Braves have played 15 different opponents this year and the only ones that they’ve compiled a winning record against are the Phillies (4-2) and Nationals (4-2).

I wrote a thoughtful commentary on Escobar and the puter ate it. Suffice to say. Esky has been one of the few bright spots on this team for the last couple of years. He is 25 Years old, from Cuba and struggling with English(hell, I live in FL and I can’t speak Spanish, who is more of an outcast?) Can i forgive a few mental errors after being shopped for the last year, yes. The guy, has the 2nd most homers on the team, the second most doubles and is third in the majors in BA with RISP. Why are we raking Escobar? Sounds klike frustration to me.

Escobar wasn’t being “shopped”. He was part of a package for Peavy, but that doesn’t mean you’re being shopped. When your GM is calling around asking what other teams would offer for Escobar and actively trying to trade him, he’s being shopped. When your GM includes him in a potential deal for a former Cy Young winner, that’s not necessarily being shopped. He didn’t want to trade Escobar, but that was the only way to put together a package for Peavy without Jurrjens, Hanson, Heyward, Freeman, or McCann.

Talk about wasted opportunities… Two losses to the Reds, yet we remain 6.5 back. Sure would have been nice to have been able to close up some ground before going to Boston. Guess we’ll be 10.5 back on Monday morning. Hate to be negative. I just can’t see anything positive happening anytime soon. Something needs to change. I won’t pretend to know what, but something does.

It makes sense that a line drive team struggles in a band box stadium like Cinci. No ground to cover in the outfield makes doubles and triples into singles and doubles. We can’t go yard, they can.
When do we finally get smart and trade for Micah Owings. Put him in the pen (he’s a wash vs. Bennett), and pinch hit him every time you would go for Norton. His brother is at Myrtle Beach right now, and it would make economic sense by freeing up a bench spot.
If Dontrell gets released, pick him up and put him in LF at Gwinnett. He can crush the ball as well and we need more personalities like his in the organization. His arm is strong, but I can’t see those mechanics ever working consistently in the Bigs. He is legit as a hitter.
Time to get create Braves. There are some gems out there.

Does anyone know if Prado is too injured to play? I can’t figure out why Kelly keeps playing. Is Bobby trying to let him work through his struggles or does he have no options?

Just read an article about the 30 teams and university experience. Apparently only 26 players and managers in the league have completed degrees. And guess which team ranked lowest overall? Man, talk about kicking us while we’re down.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124511558996917441.html

That just shows that we take a lot of people right out of high school in the draft. None of those 26 earned a degree in baseball, so it doesn’t really matter. Although I will admit that is an interesting article. I would have thought there would be more degree holders than that.

I am a Braves fan and have been since the moved to Atlanta. The team this year reminds me of the Wizard of Oz movie. Some have no courage but most have no heart. When Escobar hit his homer yesterday the way he was greeted in the dugout reminded me of a funeral. There was no joy in Mudville and it looked like he had struck out by the reactions of his teammates. What is up with these guys? Baseball is supposed to be FUN but they act as if it is a chore. RELAX guys and have some FUN. Enjoy every day playing a kids game and being paid millions. If you are THAT unhappy swap jobs with me and sell real estate right now! I will be waiting for your calls!!!!!!!!!! GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yah, determining good teams by their college degrees is like picking your batting order by the color of socks they are wearing.
That would seem to be how the Braves do it as “No sock” seems to be the style of the day in the clubhouse.
Alright Tommy, how about a shutout this afternoon to keep us from being swept.

I realize that a college degree makes no impact on anything – just an interesting article. Now we also seem to be last in power hitters… which is a little more disturbing. Oh, shoot, I forgot the game is on this afternoon! Anyone else up for pretending they’re working but just watching gameday?

Today’s lineup:
McLouth 8 Escobar 6 Chipper 5 Diaz 7 Prado 4 Francoeur 9 Kotchman 3 Ross 2 Hanson

My guess is that there might be a window to play this game between 2-5 p.m. If this game were to be postponed, we’d at least get a chance to see Mr. Hanson challenge the Red Sox lineup…but I think the Japanese fans are definitely pulling for Friday night’s matchup to pit Dice-K against Kawakami.

rain. boo.

Mark, whens the game going to start? Rain is killing me this season, I can’t remember a worse season getting rained out or delayed so much.

Bravenorth, thats what I do every day game… it’s rather ridiculous, really.

My previous post was based on what I saw on weather.com. But you’ll be glad to hear that the field crew is pulling the tarp now. They are now projecting a 1:10 start.

Did they specifically make it so that Daisuke and Kenshin could face each other? It’ll be a good matchup, but only because Dice-K is hurting. It seems a little coincidental that they lined up like that.

Thanks for the update – I asked right before you posted that(The first one). Sorry.

Oh, Mark, any word on Infante?

I promise not to jinx Hanson or the Braves so I’ll ask it this way….
Would you feel good about a game where one team has 5 of their 8 hitters batting for a worse average than the lowest average on the other team? Especially with a potentially dominant pitcher going in that game? Just checking, not for any particular reason…..

Now to take care of Murphy’s LAw while I’m at it….
Tommy Hanson just hasn’t been as dominant as I thought he would be, I’m a little disappointed.
(that last part about being disappointed might even get us a no no through the first 6 innings or so)
Now I’ve done my part without even getting out any chicken blood. Go Braves!!!

Great work by Hanson in getting out of that jam in the 2nd. Wow!

he just needs to work on keeping that pitch count down – but he’s got time to learn. Let’s see if he can raise his OPS to where Frenchie’s is by the end of the day.

As long as he gets people out he can take hitting lessons from Don Sutton if he wants to. Hanson seems to be rushing with his feet because he is up and away to lefties. As he settles in that will go away today. It’s mostly with the fastball so far that he is doing it.

nice economical 4th

yep, and he even scored a run while jogging. Just like Garrett Anderson always does, lol.

Peter..

I hear Esky’s name in every trade rumor that goes around. If he isn’t being shopped or hasn’t been, Braves management has sure kept it a great secret.

Who’s the home plate umpire, Brandon Philips’ dad? He’s getting all the close ones today.

Diaz is having a heck of a game. I agree with Joe Simpson. He consistently produces and you have to go with your hot hands. In three seasons he has given every indication that he can contribute on a daily basis. And there’s NO WAY that Garret Anderson gets to that ball in left field. Diaz saved two runs defensively. He needs to be playing every day and I’ve said it from day 1 in Spring training.

There are 32 articles about trading Escobar in MLBTradeRumors.com alone.

yeah, I love Diaz. What does he have to do?

also – Ross? He’s playing great! 5 Homers in 73 atbats. We’re not missing a step when Mac’s out.

and evidently he has a good eye, as he just walked

Hanson with the RBI single! His OPS is knocking on yours, Frenchy.

Francoeur took 3 pitches and then hit a single… It is already a good day. And we are winning!

billreef,
Every rumor about Escobar on that site from 2008 on is either about Peavy or pure speculation usually of the “but the Braves don’t want to trade Escobar” variety.

Wow. 32 stories about “pure speculation” and Peavy. Must be some kinda urban myth. :)

Most of what goes on at that site is pure speculation anyway. “Rosenthal said X player would be a good fit for Y team” qualifies as a “rumor” over there. Not saying it doesn’t have its place, but those aren’t legitimate rumors. Peavy is being actively shopped and there are 224 threads about him as opposed to 32 about Escobar. There has also never been a rumor that says the Braves are actively shopping Escobar. Ever. No evidence that the Braves are shopping or have shopped Escobar. They were willing to trade him for Peavy. That’s it.

Boy isn’t it odd that they were trying to sign Furcal AFTER the Peavy deal was dust. If they weren’t trying to move Esky why would they(in Wren’s quite vocal expression) be signing another shortstop. They weren’t going to play Furky at second.

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