Chipper heals sooner than the Braves offense

From first to worst in a span of four games that the Braves can only
hope mark one of the ugliest mini-stretches they will experience this
season.

As I search for the positives heading into tonight’s
series finale against the Mets, I’m forced to simply draw upon the fact
that the Braves could have easily entered this game riding the
frustration of a seven-game losing streak.

Remember the only
thing separating them from this was the two-walk off victories they
claimed in games where they were behind with two outs in the ninth
inning. 

Or maybe, we can look at the fact that Chipper Jones is
back in tonight’s lineup, less than 24 hours after telling reporters
that he felt his sore right hip would keep him sidelined for more than a
couple of days.

Jones took a few dry swings in his hotel room
this morning and immediately felt his right hip was strong enough for
him to at least bat from the left side of the plate tonight against Mets
right-handed starter Mike Pelfrey.

“The action of pushing off is
what aggravated it yesterday,” Jones said.  “I don’t do that
left-handed.  I just have to get my foot down and pivot from the
left-handed side.  So the left-handed swing should offer a minimal
amount of pain.  When it’s going to come in play is if they turn me
around.”  <p>

Jones said that he will be able to deal with
the pain if the Mets turn him around during an at-bat during the latter
portion of the game.

Yunel update:
The Yunel Escobar
saga continued on Saturday when he chose not to tag from third on the
routine sacrifice fly that Troy Glaus drilled to the right-center field
gap.  The fact that he traveled more than halfway to the plate before
returning to third base indicates he simply thought there were two
outs. 

Escobar hasn’t provided us an explanation and Cox hasn’t
revealed what the shortstop told him or his coaches.  The Braves manager
simply said before Sunday’s game that his coaches have talked to
Escobar “a lot.”

In other words, this wasn’t the first time that
Escobar has made a glaring mental mistake.  The Braves have benched and
yelled at him in the past to no avail.  Of course, I’m not sure Cox has
ever taken the approach that he did yesterday when he unleashed during
his postgame address to the team. 

The point is that the Braves
have made numerous attempts to connect with Escobar and proven
unsuccessful most of the time.   The fact that he played his best
baseball and provided the fewest problems during the second half of last
year wasn’t a fluke.   The influence that Javier Vazquez had on him was
immeasurable. 

Vote of confidence for TP:
  Before
tonight’s game, Cox said there isn’t any reason to blame hitting coach
Terry Pendleton for the club’s offensive struggles. 

“The worst
person in the world you ought to blame for a team not hitting is the
hitting coach,” Cox said. “We all feel bad.  We’re not hitting that bad.
It’s just that when we’re not hitting, we’re not getting them in.”

About
90 minutes after Cox said this, the Braves loaded the bases in the
first inning and then saw Pelfrey escape the jam by getting Jason
Heyward to hit a harmless pop fly to Mets shortstop Jose Reyes. 
 
Entering
Sunday, the Braves  ranked last in the NL with a .216 batting average
with nobody on base and 14th with the .242 mark they had posted with
runners on base.   With runners in scoring position, they ranked 13th
with a .248 mark.  

“That’s the hardest job in the world being
the hitting coach,” Cox said. “They always get fired and re-hired
somewhere.  Why blame them?  Terry is a very good hitting coach.”  

I’m
not making the trip to St. Louis.  But I’ll check in on Tuesday with a
new entry.

Follow me on Twitter @mlbbowman

56 Comments

This is seriously crazy. Hanson is dealing, Jurrjens was on fire yesterday… and we give them errors and no runs. Come on..

The game is official now… but please be just a delay…

The team is obviously not playing well, but what I find most interesting is that we have all run out of energy to keep posting about it.

Seems like everyone on the blog has gone into hibernation… just like the bats and defense. Good pitching, no runs. Not much fun to watch.

Go Braves!

Anything at all on whether they are expecting the weather to go away? Can the Mets just call it at will if they want?

I just looked up the radar on weather.com and it’s not looking promising.

hanson deserves a better outcome in this game – he has only given up one run….what more can you expect from your starting pitcher.

It was unearned, too.

The weather is pretty bad her in the nyc area.. nothing going right. Has anyone ever looked into psychiatric evaluation? maybe the guy has adhd? lets get him some adderall. it worked for laroche! speaking of rochey, why did we not resign him!??

…adderal for escobar that is

The radar looks bad. With the score 1-0, they might wait a little longer than usual. But I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the way this one ends tonight.

So I guess Chipper will get home a little early so he can get over another case of opposing pitcher flu.

now 3 games back and last in the division…what is so different from the 2010 braves to the 2009 braves? they have great pitching but, no run support….sound familiar?!?

They called the game. Bleh. Worst way to get shut out in my opinion.

I remember last year, during spring training, Mark posted an article about a team that has too many “if’s” going into a season, is probably not going to do very well. (I may not have it verbatim, but the idea is correct). Well guess what. This team has a lot of “if’s” and some of them are still the same “if’s” from last year. I think the excitement of what Heyward has the potential to do has kind of covered up all those “if’s”. Here we are on April 26 and all those “if’s” are glaring in big bright lights, that would put the Vegas strip to shame.

I agree with wanderingbravesfan. Get Escobar on Adderal ASAP. That guy has ADD like you read about.

anyone seen what the ex-braves are doing, for thier respective clubs? Kotchman is tearing it up and kelly already has 7 home runs…and we all know how frenchy is doing. seems like players come to atlanta and commit career suicide. at what point do you start pointing fingers at the coaching staff since, this seems to be the trend for the past 4 to 5 years?

set Larry (wounded) wayne jones on bench, trade escobar as soon as you can.

Come on guys-behind the Nats? This is Bobby’s last year.Chipper used to be a warrior-now instead of tatoos and hunting videos he needs a skirt and a chiropractor.Leaders lead in adversity-and a lead off hitter wouldn’t hurt either before the All-Star break.

dylanjoker.. should i go down the list of players who have left Atlanta and did not equal their success or played much worse?

So… did anyone else see Stephen Hawking’s new show? I was watching it last night (with the Braves on my other TV, on mute because I can’t stand Jon Miller or Joe Morgan), and it hit me that… all joking aside… Hawking is more enthusiastic about his work than any of these lethargic and emotionless Braves players. Its ok, though. I’m sure they at least get real excited when they pick up their paychecks.

the braves need someone to either step up bc the offense sucks it just plain sucks that we couldnt score one run in yesterday game. the braves to either bring up someone from the minors like freeman or mitch jones or blanco or go after a leadoff hitter and cut ties with glaus and maybe sign millar or delagdo

plain and simple chipper needs to retired and the braves need to make a move for a leadoff hitter like tony gynn jr or joey gathright or maybe go after nyjer morgan i mean someone anyone that can be a decent leadoff hitter and hit for average bunt to get on base ohh yea there were players like that in free agency does curtis granderson or chone figgins mean anything.

I get sick to my stomach watching this team…vivabeta, don’t you get sick of defending a team that goes out and is continually mediocre?

Hudson got a hit, a Braves pitcher got a hit. I guess that’s our 1 pitcher hit for April, means we will have 6 at years end?

Wow, Hudson tagged and scored from third. I guess Snitker was awake for that half an inning.

The St. Louis announcers were pointing out that Prado was backing up the return throw from McCann to Hudson while Pujols was at 3rd.. They said they hadn’t seen that in a while. Boy it’s nice to see some Braves playing fundamental baseball. Maybe it will be infectious. Maybe our coaches can rip a page out of Martin’s playbook.

Have been away from the blog for a week. Seeing Billreef’s comment about Snitker reminded me of a comment I wanted to make about Yunel’s failure to tag play. I am not trying to dismiss Yunel’s mistake. I have coached 3rd base through the high school level. At ALL of those levels, one of the 3rd base coach’s jobs was to remind the runner at third base what the situation is. I would do it on EVERY pitch. Less than two outs- “we’re tagging on anything in the air to the outfield, make sure the line drive goes through… etc.”

Has anyone asked Snitker what he was doing in that regard?

You got my point exactly barry

I wonder how the base coaches actually communicate with him. I assume just basic signals, but… I do wonder if it makes it hard.

With the runner, you go up to him and you say, “There is one out. Tagging on any fly ball to the outfield. Make sure the line drive goes through.” I know that Yunel speaks limited English, and that Snitker likely doesn’t speak spanish. Neither do I. But if I were coaching third for the Braves, I would certainly learn those basic phrases in Spanish and Japanese. Certainly holding up one finger for one out – that was all that was needed. At the major league level, the third base runner should certainly know their responsibility if reminded of the situation. Of course, I would have never dreamed that a player with McCann’s baseball knowledge would not know the infield fly rule. It is interesting. Does a major league club just assume these players know the rules?

I was mostly speaking about the language issues.

I assume that they know the rules, but we are time and again proven wrong. Infield fly mistakes, base running gaffes, even throwing to the wrong bases sometimes.

I’m sure it would happen to anyone, but some more than others…

Ok, why are we playing off the lines in the 8th inning to protect against doubles? This stuff is really getting on my last nerve.

I like how when we bring in subs, we don’t downgrade defensively. That was a good play by Conrad in the 8th that was tougher than it looked.

Wow, obviously, the Braves are playing some of the worst ball i’ve seen them play for some time. Is it just me, or do our guys foul off a great deal of low 90s fastballs. I know hitting MLB pitching is a tough task, but I can definately see how we make every pitcher look like Cy Young when all we can do is foul off a 91mph fastball in the strike zone. Pitchers don’t fear our hitters and thus can pitch aggressively. Until the Braves change their approach and pound fastballs left over the plate, i can’t see us breaking out of our slump anytime soon. Any thoughts?

This is gonna be a very long season I think. The Braves have a lot of holes.

No leadoff hitter
No team leaders
No assistant coaches
No power hitters
Can’t hit for average
No speed
Basic lack of understanding of baseball fundamentals
No plate discipline
Team “Ace” walks 6-7 per 9
Front office is clueless
This is a team that signs Bobby to a five year front office contract and is talking about promoting Terry Pendleton to Manager. They need to get someone in there to reorganize their farm system. Nobody coming up even knows the rules to the game.
This is a team in disarray.

Speedybream, I notice that too. It’s like instead of going up and attacking the ball, most of the team is just trying not to strike out most of the time.
Either that or looking for a walk instead of a hit. I understand patience and plate discipline, but the bat’s in your hands for a reason!
Though I am glad McLouth is coming out of something. I kinda like him batting 8th for a while.

why not let chipper sit out a few games and let infante play third? since, chipper does not look good at the plate. i am getting tired of chipper playing and blaming his injuries for his short comings. i understand that his presence is needed in the line up but, he just is not swinging the bat well.. and do i need to mention is poor defense? sooner or later the team needs to learn how to play without him, in the lineup, why not start now? not like the team could be doing any worse.

I said it last year and will say it again. It is time for Bobby Cox to retire and get someone in that will light a fire in this club. Thank goodness this is his last year.

This club, on paper, looked a lot better than what they are showing right now.

It is getting pretty hard to wear the rose colored glasses when it comes to Chipper’s defense these days. He has a lot more “was” than “is” in his game at this point defensively. I can’t imagine what it will deteriorate to by 2012. If my team was down one run late in the game against the Braves, I would have to bunt one towards third. It’s a freebe at this point, like we give Ryan Howard every time we play the Phils, and then pitch him away at the same time we put the BIG SHIFT on.

You know rother, I was thinking the same thing. Why in the name of all that is holy do they put a gigantic shift on the infield and pitch Ryan Howard OUTSIDE! Why would you EVER pitch Ryan Howard outside?! Every home run he hits is on… you guessed it… an outside pitch! I have never seen him prove that he can hit an inside pitch with the same authority, unless the catcher set up inside and the pitch backed up over the heart of the plate.

Maybe we got a bit of a ESPN fairy, they mention our pitchers are horrible hitters, and now they have hits in the last three games. . . . .

The last time i was this depressed about a Braves April was 1987-90 when we finished 6th out of 6 for four years in a row. This team looks horrible right now. My biggest concern is that they really lack fundamental skills, like defense and baserunning. You just can’t overcome that stuff. The hitting slump is bad but doesn’t spell doom, teams sometimes turn that around, the fundamental stuff, not so much. I guess the good thing about being this bad is that it provides a real contrast when you turn it all around.

While I’m not crying the end of the season, obviously, as it is still april, this losing streak is ******* frustrating.

A bona fide slump is what this is. That’s all I can say right now.
I’m hoping, as much as I can, that the Braves are getting all their futility out of the way in April so they can wreck shop during the rest of the season.Hey, someone has to be positive around here… may as well be me…

what do you all think about heyward so far? he has had some great moments but, he is taking way too many pitches with his bat on his shoulders. almost seems like he is waiting to get 2 strikes so he would be forced to swing. at the same time, he is striking out too frequently without even swinging. any thoughts?

Boooo!!! I have suddenly realized my hatred for their mediocrity

This is becoming a bit scary. They have only won 2 games in the past 9 and they were both walk offs. Now that Glaus, Melky and McClouth (that was a horrible call on the strike out) are looking better, it is time for some of those incumbents to perform. Has anybody noticed how bad Mac, Chipper, Prado, Esky and even Heyward have been lately with runners in scoring position. Glaus is what he is – 240 avg with a lot of walks and strike outs and no speed or defense. He will be over 25 hrs by year end. I just hope they are not all in lopsided games. He seems to draw a ton of walks in key situations and the guys behind him are not coming through. Be careful not to fall too far behind. Blaming Sniker for Esky’s mental lapse is riduculus. Was it Hubbard’s fault that Esky got doubled off on the line drive to third? It is Esky’s job to make sure he knows how many outs they have, regardless of whether he is reminded. That being said, I would venture a guess that Sniker did remind him since he knows Esky loses focus at time. I could be wrong. The last two days remind me of 2008 when they lost a ton of one run games. Last night, they were not even facing a top pitcher in the ninth – ridiculus. Let’s win tonight and then sweep the hapless Astros.

Go Braves.

I’m not used to watching this happen… When is it time to panic? I keep trying to tell myself it’s only April. But – when do you get to a point where you realize this team just sucks?
We’re going to either have to throw in the towel… or trade off some of our pitching to get some bats in this lineup.

speedybream – you hit the nail on the head! These guys can NOT catch up to a major league fastball!!! They are being toyed around with by these pitchers. Other than Prado, I can’t think of a single hitter on this lineup who can turn on a fastball inside. Glaus is the worst of them all!!! He fouls off or pops up every fastball 90 mph or over. He just can’t catch up… NONE of them can.

Well put, speedy.

I think at this point, we are all just probably venting frustration because we are all emotionally invested in this team and we can’t do anything to change their misfortunes. Obviously, this team knows how to play the game, the only rookie is Heyward and he has a good head on his shoulders. Obviously our guys can hit a 90-92 mph fastball, because they all have in the past (Chipper is my only concern there because its been a while since he has really turned on the ball consistently). It seems at this point, mentally, the Braves are completely out of sync. The worst thing we can do right now is overmold the clay. The guys need to forget about looking for a certain pitch, and forget about “making stuff happen” and just play the game the way it needs to be played. You can see and feel our hitters pressing, because we don’t have a lot of trouble getting guys on 1st and 2nd, we are just not driving them in. Even Melky, and McLouth are showing signs of life lately. This team will be fine as long as they don’t overthink the game and just let their talent shine through. I think the pressure of returning to the playoffs in Bobby’s last year has put the guys in a bad mindset to start the season. They just need to relax and play ball. As for Escobar, he is prone to mental mistake, what you see is what you get. With Heyward, I agree he takes a lot of pitches, but to be honest, taking pitches will do nothing but make him more comfortable at the plate as his career progresses. Let’s not forget out last phenom OF swung at every pitch that crossed the plate and swung himself into a slump that he couldn’t hit out of in Atlanta.

I am demanding that the Braves let go Glaus put prado at firstbase put ofante or conrad at second bring up freeman and eric duncan and trade schafer for someone maybe a switch hitting platoon guy. then with the lineup place Conrad at the leadoff spot prado in the 2 hole mccann at the third hole heyward 4th escobar 5th chipper 6th melky 7th and mcclouth 8th

Braves need a new owner, new GM. Take a lesson from the Marlins, get rid of everyone over age 25 and stick with the farm. I’m afraid we have seen the end of an era and the Braves may become the worst team in baseball.

This is getting so embarrassing that Mark doesn’t even want to update his own blog!

Is Bowman still with us? Maybe this streak put him over the edge and he ran to the hills.Oh well, glad to see Hinske get some playing time today. With the struggles in the of, surprised he hasn’t played a little lf by now.

yes Bill, I noticed Mark didn’t make the trip. I also noticed he was going to post an entry on tuesday. I assume computers still work in Atlanta. Although, what do you say about this stretch? Only in the 2nd and this game looks like more of the same. And JJ’s out of the game. Sheesh!

If you were paying attention you would know that Mark didn’t travel to St. Louis. I’ll bet you guys get a day off every once in a while from your job, too.
It appears as if Chipper came down with the Adam Wainright flu today. It’s a strange variant of the regular form in that it only affects veterans with softy managers who are trying to keep their lifetime average over .300. You can’t be too careful if you are as fragile as Daisy Jones is. You know he is delicate like a freshly grown flower.

Hey, Mark’s back-just noticed the new entry. Bill, I was aware he didn’t make the trip, and I also noticed he planned to add a new entry on tuesday. Although what do you say about this streak. Already down 3-0 and JJ’s out. Sheesh!

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