Every pitch counts

When you dissect the progression of a baseball season, you can lead yourself to believe that every pitch has the potential to produce consequences that extend beyond the game during which it was thrown.
 
Had plate umpire Bill Hohn called a strike on the 0-2 fastball that Eric O’Flaherty threw during Sunday afternoon’s game at Fenway Park, J.D. Drew wouldn’t have had the opportunity to deliver the next pitch off the Green Monster for a one-out, go-ahead RBI single. 

The Braves believe Hohn’s call cost them that series finale against the Red Sox.  Extending this arguable belief, did this call also deny them the opportunity to carry a four-game winning streak into tonight’s series finale against the Yankees?

If Drew had been called out on strikes, with first base open, two outs and left-handed slugger David Ortiz on deck, Cox said that he still would have called upon Peter Moylan to face the right-handed hitting Kevin Youkilis. 

But had first base umpire first base umpire Tim Welke not ruled in Jake Fox’s favor on a bang-bang play  with two outs in the seventh inning of Monday night’s win over the Cubs, Cox wouldn’t have needed to replace Javier Vazquez with Moylan, who needed just two pitches to end that threat and his evening.

After needing 14 pitches to erase Tommy Hanson’s potential sixth-inning damage and toss a perfect seventh inning during Tuesday night’s win over the Yankees,  Moylan was given a night to rest. 

Thus he was unavailable when Alex Rodriguez came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth inning of Wednesday night’s game.   Had the Braves gotten the desired ruling from Welke, there’s seemingly reason to believe that the Aussie would have been the one facing A-Rod.
 
Instead, the Braves were forced to call upon Jeff Bennett, who allowed A-Rod to halt a 1-for-24 skid with a two-run single that gave the Yankees a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. 

There’s no guarantee that Moylan wouldn’t have allowed A-Rod to deliver the clutch hit.   But they certainly likely would have had the option to stay away from Bennett, who opted to challenge the veteran third baseman with four consecutive fastballs before seeing his 0-2 delivery deposited into center field.

Bennett, who was the one who surrendered Nick Green’s walk-off shot on Sunday, was inching closer toward ending his days in Atlanta.  But he’s at least bought himself some time with the fractured left hand he suffered when he punched a door after Wednesday’s sixth inning.  

When you’ve seen opponents hit .316 against you in 33 appearances and .295 with runners in scoring position, there seemingly must come a time when you’re the one who wants to do some hitting.   All indications are that the defenseless door  simply suffered a bruise similar to the one on Kenshin Kawakami’s neck. 

Kawakami, who was hit on the right side of his neck with a Joba Chamberlain line drive on Wednesday night, reported that he was feeling better than expected on Thursday.   Still with an offday on Monday, the Braves will likely skip his next turn in the rotation and allow him to make his next start during the July 4 game in Washington D.C.  

Tonight’s lineup:   With left-hander Andy Pettitte starting tonight’s series finale for the Yankees, Cox opted to keep Garret Anderson’s hot bat in the lineup.  But he did stick with his second base platoon with the insertion of Martin Prado, who is batting second.  

Yunel Escobar, who leads the club with 36 RBIs, is batting in the fifth spot.  Escobar is hitting .385 (25-for-65) with runners in scoring position.  

21 Comments

Putting Escobar in the fifth spot has already paid off…Smoltz had a rough four-run first inning. Wait, are there any four-run innings that aren’t rough? Anyow, the Nats batted around against him with four hits, a walk and a hit batter.

Medlen threw 45 pitches last night and he’s warming up in the pen now…Teixeira has accounted for four of the nine outs Lowe has notched…When Lowe’s sinker is working, he’s got a chance to dominate…when it’s not, by the time the second inning arrives you start looking forward to tomorrow.

Cox may have put out the best lineup of the season, too bad the pitching didn’t show up.

It is time for the Braves to start exploring the possibility for getting rid of Bobby Cox.

The team has grown complacent on where there are at year in and year out for the last 4 years. The Braves are missing the fire they had back in the 90’s and Bobby being the manager should have already done something by now. The players have totally no respect for Bobby because if they did, we would be seeing a totally different team out on the field. All the players are at fault for the lack of effort shown on the field. Here are just a few names and the probelms they have.

Jeff Francour – Absolutely no patience at the plate. Is this not covered 1st in Little League? Work the counts. He is better than this.

Chipper Jones – He should be making a big step up to be the team leader. This truly became his team in the 2000’s after most the veterans left. 2006 thru 2009 I guess Chipper is comfortable with the way the team is playing?

Kelly Johnson – Bobby Cox has shown the most patience with him and the return on investment is a very sub-par performer. One would think this guy would be breaking his neck to perform.

Yunel Escobar – This guy has loads of fire. To bad he cannot take 50% of it and pass it around to the rest of the team. If he could do that then he would become an even better ball player because it would not look like he is so cocky and stubborn ball player. He can make some great plays and has a rifle for an arm but the mental mistakes he has made this year have cost some real meaningful games for the Braves

Jeff Bennett – absolutely sucks. Always have and always will.

Bobby Cox – Has no problems of going out to argue calls by the umpire and getting thrown out. He has shown to much patience with this team for the past 4 years.

Injuries are going to happen, there is no stopping that. Last year was a nightmare due to them and it was very understandable on how the year finally ended but come on now! The team has no fire and has been missing it since 2005.

The time is now for Bobby Cox to take his players to the mat and tell them it is time to s*** or get off the pot.

Chipper has turned into thast gut Dron from Major League at third just waives at them as he’s backing up. He should retire now if thats all he’s got. He says he leads by example and the way the Braves play I would agree. Fact is Frank Wren is the worst general manager in base ball who follwed one of the worst. They mortgaged the future and gave big contracts to A hag named Derrick Lowe 20 million a year and now they will have to trade a quality arm like Vasquez because they have no money Look into your future
by the time Lowes done he will have made the Hampton deal look good.We are in grave trouble and we are only a season away from replacing the National in last. Somebody please get Ted to buy this crap and turn it around before he leaves this world the demise of this team is discusting

And the award for “The two worst comments made on Mark’s blog by a couple of fans who have no idea what they are talking about and are not even worth responding to” goes to…
(drum roll)………………….

tazz1971, and jclvbraves!!!

Way to go guys

I’m not a Frank Wren fan. But he takes way too much crap. By August our starting staff will include Hudson, Hanson, Lowe, Jurrjens, Vazquez and Kawakami. Sure, our hitting looks like crap right now, but let’s at least give the man the credit for overhauling our pitching into something respectable. Each of our starters has pitched well enough to deserve a winning record. I’ve been mad about some of the decisions he’s made, yes. But cut the guy some slack, we’re actually a team with future potential again, even if we’re not winning the division today.

And as for Bobby, he may have made some questionable decisions as of late, but he’s made enough good ones to earn the right to have us trust him. At least a little bit anyway.

and as for Bennett… well, sorry pal, I can’t really defend you…

Hey bravomania, you can’t handle the truth???

The Rockies have been to a world series since we have. The team was expected to do more from that point on and did not live up to the expectations. Did they just let go of the manager a couple of weeks ago???? How are they playing now???? I believe they had a worst record than the Braves when this all went down and now have a better one. What is the difference??? Same team, different manager.
I do not want to see Cox leave but the team is no longer responding to him. There is an old saying, “Attitude reflects leadership”.
I work in management and have for 16 years. It is up to me to set the tone for my team. If we are working and getting less than sub-par numbers, it is up to me to fix things quick or else.

Well, everyone, it seems that “tazz” has everything worked out. It’s that simple. Problem solved.

Tazz, i just read an article the other day where they surveyed current and past mlb players asking them the mangaer they had the most respect for and would want to play for the most….Top 3 answers. Joe Torree, Bobby Cox, Tony Larussa! HMM not bad huh! I just wish you take your ” management experience ” probably for Mcdonalds and stick it cuz you have absolutly no idea what you are talking about! with that being said anyone who has intelligent well thought out blogs keep them coming……and oh yeah 1 more thing LETS GO BRAVES!

Saying get rid of Bobby Cox. Bobby has always been laid back like that.. ITs not his fault people swing at stuff in the dirt or drop fly balls.. In a poll done by ESPN (i believe) Bobby Cox was voted as the one Manager the most players would like to play for of all time, 2nd was Joe Torre and 3rd was Mike Scossica.. SO im sure the respect is there

And bobby won that poll to, so that should say alot for our manager that “needs to be fired bc no1 respects him anymore”

Although on a funny note… I was on an MLB blog and there was actually someone trying to say that Bengie Molina and his Brother Yadia Molina is a better offensvie catcher than Brian Mccann, so i posted the stats of all 3 of them and the only thing he Yadier beat Mccann at is Strikeouts but most of those was from his bad eye sight…. THe ideas of people are funny

A point. Every football player at Georgia Tech loved Chan Gailey. Because he babied them. Didn’t make them go to class, work hard, etc. But the Athletic Department, Boosters, and Fans got sick of losing, especially to Georgia, and decided it was time for a change of leadership no matter what the players said. So they brought in Paul Johnson And at first all the players hated Paul Johnson because he was a hard ***. But what happened? We beat Georgia. And now the football team is a lot happier. My point is, it isn’t the manager’s job to make the players like him, it is the manager’s job to make them successful. I don’t have an opinion on whether or not Bobby Cox is getting the most out of his players, I simply don’t know if he’s doing a good job or not. But judging how good of a manager is by how many players want to play for him is silly.

were not judging how he wants to by that were talking about respect for him, or at least i am

Bobby Cox IS a players manager. His only rule is no music in the clubhouse except with earplugs. No wonder they love to play for him. I have said on here before that the time for change is NOW! If you can’t get results then go home! I don’t care who it is. This is not a one year problem. Bobby has the fire but he can no longer get the team to play with any desire. That is a BIG part of his job. Motivate, encourage, cajole and discipline. These are all necessary qualities and they are lacking and have been for three years. Adios Bobby!!!!!!!!!! GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Food for thought, Jo Pa was once one of the hardest disciplinarians in college football. Now his teams have as many “issues” as Bobby Bowden and the chaos that is Tallahassee, way more trouble than the average NCAA BCS programs. Somewhere along the way the message was lost.
There is something to be said for treating the guys as professionals who go about their jobs “Professionally”, however there is also something to be said for teaching them to BE professionals. What worked for the vets the Braves had throughout the 14 years of success doesn’t seem to be getting through to the guys in 2009.

Look at how much I stirred up by saying maybe it is time Bobby Cox was let go. Now think what could happen if he got a little fired up towards his team!
Does anyone think the Braves are playing to they best of their ability?
Yes Bobby is viewed as one of the best managers to play for but a lot more players were willing to come to the Braves when they were winning. Not as many now since they have been losing. How lang did it take during this off season to finally get some free agents signed? Furcal decided against it. So did the pitcher that signed with the Yankees. Name slips me at this time. Yes they made more money where they went but there have been players to take less to come to the Braves but a lot of it was due to their winning ways at the time. Greg Maddux is one that comes to mind real quick.

I know Bobby Cox is a good manager but it is time for him to get fired up and at his players. The meaning of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a differnet out come and it never comes. If plan A is not working, time for plan B. An A has not been working for 4 years.

I love the Braves and have since 1981. I see them going back to the ways of old.

but you know what, u maybe right, but why has no1 said fire the players?? there the ones playing, should someone have to tell them u need to go out there and play ur hardest and act like you give a darn.. NO, the way to fix that is u put there salary on a performance basis, then i can assure you they would play there hardest every single game

Liked the way MB tracked the result of the blown call in Boston thru a weeks play. Only problem is that if the Braves think that call cost them a game, they must have beeen watching a different game than I was. Losing 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth when your opponent puts 4 unearned on the board renders just about any umpire’s call irrelevant. oz123wiz

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