Hanson needs something more than another thrillng finish

Welcome back to Wrigley Field, the second-best stop on the National League circuit.  San Diego still ranks as the best stop on the Senior Circuit.  But it’s hard to beat a trip to Chicago in the summer the months.   

There were a number of Braves fans present to see Rick Ankiel deliver his two-out game-winning triple on Carlos Marmol’s two-strike delivery yesterday.  With this clutch delivery, Ankiel became the 14th different Braves player to collect a game-winning RBI this year. 

As you already know, Bobby Cox said he told assistant trainer Jim Lovell before Friday’s game that he expected Ankiel was going to have a big series.  <p>

“He was due,” Cox said after Friday’s 5-3 win. 

Since being acquired from the Royals, Ankiel has proven to be a superb defender, who benefits from what Cox described as “the best outfield arm” that he’s seen during his years in professional baseball. 

At the plate, Ankiel recorded just five hits in his first 36 at-bats for the Braves.  But the former pitcher entered this afternoon’s game having hit .421 (8-for-19) over his past six games. 

Ankiel was due to deliver at the plate and also due to become the latest to deliver the decisive hit in one of the Major League-high 22 last at-bat wins recorded by the Braves this year.  This is the highest total posted by the Braves since they notched 31 such victories in 1999. 

Jason Heyward has accounted for five of the decisive hits in these last at-bat wins and Brooks Conrad has tallied three others.  Ten other Braves have accounted for the hits that have proven to be the difference in these thrilling victories.

“It’s like there’s something in the water around here,” Ankiel said.  “It’s fun.  It’s like no matter what, we’re never out of it.  It’s fun to be a part of it.”   <p>     

Tommy Hanson enters this afternoon’s start as the only pitcher since 1913, when earned runs were deemed an official stat in the National and American Leagues, to go winless over a span of five consecutive starts in which he’s allowed one earned run or fewer.  

The Braves have scored two runs or fewer when Hanson has still been the pitcher of record over the course of his past five starts.   He would have still won one of these games had Billy Wagner not erased a one-run, ninth-inning advantage against the Astros on Aug. 11. 

When Wagner was told that he has one fewer win (7) than Hanson (8), he said, “Yeah, that’s partly my fault.” 

Three of the four save opportunities that Wagner has blown since July 21 have cost Hanson wins.   Thus the 23-year-old hurler enters this start having gone 0-2 with a 1.33 ERA over his past six starts. 

TODAY’S LINEUP
Infante 4
Heyward 9
Prado 5
Lee 3
Diaz 7
Gonzalez 6
Ross 2
Ankiel 8
Hanson 1
   

60 Comments

I heard DLEE came in early today to work on his swing with Pendleton.

D Lee’s first opportunity to show that defense can make I difference in the first inning – wiff. We want Glaus/Hinske!!!

Not a good start, bottom of the first.

Not a good start either with these daggone timestamps.

I have got to know what Tommy Hanson has on Bobby Cox. He must know something bad for Bobby to leave him in the game after the poor start that he is having. I wish that the braves would get their heads on straight and get rid of the trash that we have so that we can have more than a 1 game win streak. Tommy Hanson is the worst starting pitcher in baseball now. Rid our team of the losers and maybe we can stand a chance of getting further into the playoffs than the first round. Tommy Hanson is bad news for the Braves and their fans.

The worst starting pitcher in baseball now? Compared to who? Would you rather we have Kevin Millwood back during his current Cy Young-caliber season?

kdaddy, you are either a Troll, or an idiot. Yes, I called him an idiot. Not in a condescending way, but more of a “You better look at a stat book” way.

D Lee has just missed a couple of hits. He has looked bad on a couple of ABS and good on a couple of others. They just need to get a few and get a little closer. Then D Lee can win it in the ninth. Game is in the 5th now.

Ross just made an error. The Braves D has not been championship caliber lately – Gonzo, Prado, Ross now. Need to tighten up. IF I am right about D Lee,maybe Mark can give me the attention I seek and deserve..

kdaddy, did you just wake up from a LONG nap? Go back and read Mark’s post (I almost said again) for the first time. 97 years is A LOT of baseball history. Your comment stands in the running for the most ignorant post of the year.

Hey, Prado made 2 errors at 3rd today. Does that mean he isn’t an everyday player?

Brandon, I’d go with the latter. Trolls tend to have more intelligence.

Ziffer, I really don’t think you want what you “deserve” . Man, Diaz looks hurt running the bases.

This year, we hit and pitch worse on the road… can’t find any splits to show if we field worse on the road too. In any event, we better find a way to take our Turner Field mentality with us if we’re gonna finish the season strong. Nineteen road games left, twelve of which are divisional games.

Brooksie does it again.

I guess Brooks is just an everday player who only needs 1 at bat to triple the offensive production of the rest of the team. Hmmm. Wonder what he could do with a few more at bats.

We get it, Bill. No need to reinforce your point ad nauseam.

Well, that one got away from us early, and we never recovered. Go Stephen Strasburg tonight!

Somebody shoot Eric Hinske. Lee walks on 4 straight from a guy who can’t throw strikes. What does he do? Swing at the 1st pitch of course.

And papi. You haven’t begun to hear the ad nauseam, yet.

Bill – all your doing is confirming everything I’ve been arguing with you about. Brooksie is NOT an every day player. He is a pinch hitter who comes up big in late inning situations. When he starts outhitting Nate McClouth in innings 1-6, then you can start making your point. Until then, if Brooks comes up in a big pinch hit situation and delivers…. he’s doing EXACTLY what Barry and I are asking… as well as Bobby Cox.

So where do you put him? Do you displace the team MVP or the potential batting champion (if he gets enough PA for the rest of the season)? Or shuffle things around and displace the guy who has (across the whole season) more HR than anyone else on the team?
Not arguing, just asking.

Bravo- your argument is ridiculous. Your basing your inning 1-6 analysis on about 50 AB’s. That would be equivalent of saying he doesn’t hit at all because he didn’t hit well in the 1st week of April. That’s equivalent to saying Jason Heyward is gonna be a .183 hitter because that what he is batting in his 60 AB’s in August. You laughed when I projected Conrad’s Power numbers across an entire season, but what you don’t realize is that I did it to point out the absurdity of the 1-6 vs 7-9 stats. They are based on an even smaller sample size than I used to project Conrad’s 138 RBI season.The fact is, neither one holds water. In 10 minor league seasons, Brooks played everyday and had great power numbers and a .261 BA with a high OPS(.810). The only thing Brooks has shown since he has come up is that he can hit major league pitching as well as how he hit minor league pitching and lately that he is the hottest run producer on the Braves.He certainly isn’t a defensive liability on a team which has already committed 94 errors, and is only surpassed by Chicago and Washington. I mean we are taking a gamble? After we spent 2 1/2 months trying to resurrect a ham fisted half crippled first baseman?
With the kind of struggle we are having to score runs in the earlier innings, why not play the hot hand? Thank god for Washington today or this conversation might have had an even more ominous tone. This is a pennant race. I guess your argument now is reduced to “Well since he’s great at being a pinch hitter(obvious) why would we want to have him bat 4 times a day instead of once”. Why, because he’s not an “everyday” player. Well you might want to check the game logs, because he’s playing everyday.

I think the organizational argument for not starting Conrad has more to do with his glove than his bat. Last year at Gwinnett he led the team in errors, and not as a short stop. He was kind of known for his stone hands there. I think the concern has more to do with him getting more balls hit to him than getting more pitches thrown to him. I know he has made some really nice plays in the field in Atlanta, but that is most likely where he comes up a little short. Gwinnett has been a strange place for that. Diory was all hit no glove in Gwinnett. He gets to Atlanta and it has been the opposite in the small sample size. Brooks has been sort of the same. Maybe they weren’t getting the perfect hops you get in Major League fields, who knows. Brooks didn’t arrive on the scene in the Braves organization until last year, so I can’t speak to what kept him in the minors for Houston and Oakland.

Now that Lee is here it has become a mute point, as the infield of Lee, Infante, Gonzalez, Prado is pretty locked in. I’m not in favor of Brooks starting in place of any of them on an every day basis. That being said, count me on the list of Brooks’ biggest fans. He is exactly the kind of guy the Braves need doing what he is doing. Thurston would have been significantly less likely to embrace that role, and I doubt anybody would have had a larger impact than Brooks has had.

And KDaddy, Hanson just went through a stretch of success only Maddox and Hudson have duplicated for the Braves. If you feel the need, go ahead and trade him from your fantasy team, but we’re going to keep him here with the Atlanta Braves. Bob Gibson in 1968 must have been an “Average” pitcher given your keen evaluation skills. A little decaf might help you in the long run buddy…just sayin…

Me too. Apparently he want’s to replace an MVP candidate or the best leadoff hitter we have for a guy hitting near the Mendoza line. I like Brooksie too, but saying he deserves to play in front of the 2 leading hitters on our team is complete lunacy. And the “sample size” argument is so flip a coin it’s not even funny. Maybe he will produce, maybe he won’t? That was the same reaction we got when we signed Glaus, and now bill wants to ship him to the gates of Hell. Some players need to get into a rhythm, some players(examples: Francoeur, Glaus, Alex Gonzalez, Kelly Johnson) can’t control their rhythm. They hit for a month, ice cold for another. Both Infante and Prado have done nothing but hit ALL YEAR. And the Prado to first statement is now over seeing as we have Lee. I also remember bill saying Prado is a great defensive first basemen, to which I say, IN A SAMPLE SIZE. Not saying he’s worse than Glaus, but no one is going to be a tremendous defender at a position they don’t play regularly.

Rother, just for comparison’s sake. Throughout his major league career Chipper averaged about 22 errors per 300 Chances. Brooks averages about 12. It’s ok, Brooks will get his chance again(likely with a new manager) and I will be gleefully ready to remind the naysayers.

Still waiting on an answer, Bill… who do you displace in favor of Conrad?

Today’s (8/22) lineup… not many surprises save for Cabrera in front of Gonzalez:
Infante 4Heyward 9Prado 5Lee 3McCann 2Cabrera 7Gonzalez 6Ankiel 8Minor 1

I dunno. I’m in agreement with the others who like the role he has here. He’s flourished there… and seems to like being The Late-Inning Hero. If we trade him, and then we have no one else who comes up big in late-inning clutch situations like him, we’ll wish we had him back.

Eleven Ks for Minor. It would be a sin to take him out of the rotation.

There isn’t any room for him Papi. Maybe we should trade him to a team that will let him play?

I just did the math and my worse fears have come through. Omar Infante will have to average 5.03 plate appearances the remainde of the season to qualify for the batting title – very disappointing. Bill check my math please. This is very disappointing as I think he really deserves it. He has been fantastic and has 2 HRs today. I guess he rode pine too much in the first half and won’t be able to make up the ABs. I wonder if people are still complaining about him being an all star selection. Seems like a no brainer. Next year, I foresee him playing everyday somewhere. He deserves it. Meanwhile, Minor has 10ks through 5?? Maybe they can trade KK for a box of crackers.

D Lee has still not gotten a hit, but I still have more confidence in him than the Glaus Hinske combo.

Make that 11 ks.

Ziff, I come up with 4.48 PA/g which is doable. He needs 175 PA in the last 39 games to get to 502 which is 3.1 PA/g(qualifying rate) x 162 total games. I didn’t count today’s game. He’ll get at least 5 and maybe 6 today.

Bill’s numbers are more consistent with what I’ve seen elsewhere. Didn’t hurt that he had a 4-for-6 day either.

Multi-HR game by Heyward, nice! Would like to see him in 3 hole by playoffs. Infante has been insanely good. Better than any bat we could have realistically added. If Lee can start hitting, Braves will easily have the most formidable lineup in the NL

Maybe our road woes are starting to come around with series wins at Houston and Chicago. It’s nice having Hudson start off at the Rockies and we miss Jimeniz this time around.

I’ve never said Brooks isn’t capable of playing a full time role, but he certainly doesn’t rate one in the current Braves infield. It is very nice to have enough depth to have that kind of quality on the bench.

Today was an example of why I didn’t want the Braves to trade Minor for a bat. The kid is going to be big for us. A rotation next year of Hudson, Hanson, Jurrjens, Minor, and Lowe will be pretty sick. I love having a LHP in the rotation. It will get even better when Medlen comes back, but that probably won’t be until August (such as Hudson 09). This leaves absolutely no room for KK, I hope we can find someone to take him off our hands next year.
By the way, I think that D Lee will have a great impact on Heyward’s development (even if he is only his teammate for 6+ weeks), Lee reminds me of Jason with this demeanor and physical presence.

Just think, speedy, if ncbravesfan was the GM in real life, the Brewers would have Minor and we’d have a disabled Corey Hart.

Omar needs 4.45 PAs/gm for the remaining 38 games of the season to quality for the batting title. I doubt he will get there with all the September call ups. It’s a shame if he doesn’t.

No papi i would have made a deal for either Kemp, Morgan or Willingham and as much as i love Dlee i would have gone after a third baseman like Aramis Ramirez Edwin Encarnacion Brandon Inge Casey Blake or Jose Baustia. See i wouldnt have sent Minor any deal I would have used Dunn or maybe Marek. But i would have kept Blanco and used him in any of those trades like to get kemp or morgan for willingham i would have sent Melky. But if we could have gone after Fielder I would gave up freeman minor and venters and make and i know this is not gonna be a popular pick but make KK Kimbrel Marek or Christian martinez the closer.

Trade Venters and make Kawakami the closer while we still have Wagner? Now I know you’re on the stuff.

NO i am talking bout next year there papi bc Wags said he is going to call it quits next year. Well if he cant make it as a starting pithcer why not as a starter the D-backs had success with Byung yung kim and making him a closer so why not and try it if it dont work ship him off to someone else or if it works keep him. Just remeber Smotlz was a closer for 2 years i know KK doesnt have Smotlz stuff but i think he has it in him to be a successful closer.

Byung-Hyun Kim was better than Kawakami. Smoltz was better than Kawakami. A prototypical closer is dominant either by velocity (Wagner), guile (Hoffman), a nearly unhittable repertoire (Rivera), or just plain intimidation (Eckersley). If Kawakami ever had any of that, he must have left it on the plane from Japan.
I won’t say it’s impossible. I just don’t see it ever working out for him like it did the other guys.

Brilliant point. Martinez as a candidate for closer next year? What? Why are we still discussing deals? It’s a little past that point. And I’m getting a little tired of reading The Chronicles of a Brooks Conrad Man-Crush.

Papi. Corey Hart is not on the disabled has played 18 days in August. Sat out 2 with tweaked hammy.

And for you Viva- BROOKS, BROOKS, BROOKS. Did you know Conrad has a plus 22 UZR150. That basically means he saves 22 Runs over the average 3B over the course of a 150 season. He is worth 22 runs of DEFENSE!!!!!! This is brought to you as a public service from the All Brooks All the time broadcasting network.

I still don’t really know what UZR is. Never attempted to look it up… ok just looked it up. “Ultimate Zone Rating”? That’s really what it stands for? Gimme a break..

I don’t put much stock in the value of that particular stat either, but it is at least a bit more empirical than rother’s “he was known for his stone hands there”. He was known by who, the peanut vender, the ball boy? It’s a bit like the “he’s not an everyday player” mantra that is being chanted here. Saying it don’t make it so. To Rother’s credit though, he goes on to say that Brook’s hasn’t had the purported defensive issues in ATL, where we do have documentation to record these issues. The year before in Sacramento he had a low error rate as well although he played 5 different position, like he did last year in Gwinnett.

And to silence(hopefully) those who have now misrepresented my emphasis on Brooks, I have NEVER SAID that he should replace Martin, Omar or DLee. My argument was that he should play third while Martin protected his hand at 1st. Turns out that that argument seems to have found it’s truth. Martin is complaining about the pain in his hand and we sent Glaus to the DL where he belonged a long time ago. I supported the trade for DLee because of his defense, leadership and the fervent hope that he can get his swing going in ATL. I realize that many didn’t understand this given my support for Brooks, but their just not following the conversation. Brooks will get his chance, he has been playing too well, not to. It will probably take a management change in ATL or a trade to get it, but they are probably both imminent. What I would really like to get is new ownership. When you look at the DLee trade it becomes apparent that we are now shipping extra prospects to avoid paying relatively small sums of money. I wonder if Ted would take us back, please Ted, please.

Billreef, I wasn’t aware that Liberty was shopping the team currently. That would be a good thing indeed. Corporate owned teams are frustrating, and aside from the Falcons, are the standard in Atlanta these days.

I think Blank would be a great fit, too. Does he like baseball?

I think he made some rumblings when Liberty bought the Braves. He may have entered too late into the process. I also think he would be a good fit for the Braves now that he is established with the Falcons.

Liberty is attempting to completely reorganize as an operating company as opposed to a holding company, but will hit some SEC snags trying to do it. I think it would be safe to say everything they own is for sale at the right price. The problem is that the Braves have become a cash cow for them given the fact they have reduced salaries so much lately. Now if no one went to the ballpark for a week in April……….

You know Liberty kinda stumbled into owning the Braves. They bought Time Warner Cable and the Braves were part of that operating group of time warner. The Braves really don’t fit with their other interests, all cable and media related(Sirius XM, Starz Cable, QVC, etc….). That’s why I assume they would likely be open to divestiture in a reorganization. They certainly wouldn’t announce it, unless they were desperate, though.

I will be posting a new entry later tonight about how Infante could still win the batting title. It would have been posted now if my computer had cooperated. I’ll start over and have something up in a couple of hours.

Cody Ross claimed by SF… It would have been nice to see the braves claim him and pull off the trade.

At the current run rate, the Braves will win slightly over 95 games. Will that win the NL East? If we play at the rate that we have since May 1st , we will win 97 games. If we play at the rate that we have in the 2nd half, we again win 95 games. And last and certainly least. If we play like we did in April, we will win only 84 games, let’s just toss that one out before it even get’s rolling. Another note. Philadelphia hasn’t won more than 93 games since 1993 when the Braves were still in the NL West(we won 104 that year). Oh and if the Phillies play at the same rate they have in the 2nd half, they will win 95 games, Yikes.

Nc just straight cracks me up, thinking we can afford Fielder hahaha. We couldn’t even afford to keep Smoltz in the same uniform he was in for 21 years.

Barry, I’m sure it’s just rhetorical, but who is exactly pushing to see Glaus at 3B? I think the only reason that he is going to get a look at the hot corner is to increase our versatality in late inning situations and because he is atrocious at 1B.
IMO, its all going to come down to head to head. And honestly, I like our chances. We just need to take care of our business and take it to the Phils when we finally get a chance to take them on.
Also, D Lee seems to be struggling at the plate. . . . but not mightyly. I think he could easily break out of this slump and help make our offense very scary. Heyward is swinging a good bat lately, and I think Lee will have a great influence on the kid (I see a lot of similarities between the two).
Let’s not forget that we have MVPrado and Infante swinging good bats. Although Prado will be even better in a few weeks as long as he doesn’t develop any bad habits along the way.
The only thing that bothers me if 1. our fielding and 2. our ability to bunt. We play in the NL, we’ve got to be good in both….

39 games remaining. 20 home games, 19 road games. Braves need to finish 12-7 and 10 – 9. That will give us 95. It was good to see Jason driving the ball yesterday. Infante has sent a message to those pushing for a Glaus stint at 3b. Everybody buckle in. It’s going to be quite a ride!

meant 12 – 8 and 10 – 9.

barry, they only have 38 left. The 1st try was right.

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