Returning to work on regular rest

Like Jair Jurrjens, I am returning to work tonight on regular rest.   Over the past four days, I’ve drained both a bank account (down payment) and countless calories (moving boxes, furniture and whatever else Tammy wanted) while moving into our new house.  

Still I wouldn’t say this past weekend was as draining as the experience Jurrjens had last Wednesday, when he squandered a 10-1 lead and played the central role in what had to be the worst meltdown I’ve witnessed during my 10 seasons on the Braves beat.

What?  You guys have all moved past that Coors Field disaster.  Sorry to rekindle a nightmare, less than 24 hours after Matt Diaz and Brian McCann gave the Braves their Major League-high 23rd last at-bat (11th walk-off) win of the season.   

But to once again show why I believe this Braves team is a team of destiny, I had to remind you of the short time span that elapsed between this demoralizing loss and yet another thrilling victory.   

During a radio interview with 790 The Zone Friday afternoon, I was asked if the loss to the Rockies would create a debilitating hangover effect.  It might have seemed like it a few hours later when Tommy Hanson endured a second straight rough outing.   But in all honesty, this was a question that didn’t elicit a quick and clear response.  

The question was certainly justifiable.  But while watching this team score a Major League-high 240 runs after the seventh inning this year,  I guess I’ve forgotten the fact that they might at times be prone to the mental pitfalls that exist in both life and the athletic world.  
There’s no doubt that the flight from Denver back to Atlanta was a little more somber than the many others the Braves have experienced this year.  But this isn’t a bunch that was going to replay Wednesday’s events in their heads too long.
 
Instead, this never-say-die bunch was unknowingly positioning itself to fittingly become the first team to ever win a game that ended with an instant replay review.   OK.  The review obviously wasn’t instant.  But the 86-second review process proved to be shorter than the added argument that would have ensued.  

Infante Watch:  Omar Infante went hitless during the opener and finale of this past weekend’s series against the Marlins.   The last time he went  hitless twice in a span of three consecutive starts was July July 17 (vs. Brewers) and July 20 (vs. Padres).

Infante’s .341 batting average would lead the National League if he had enough plate appearances to qualify to be listed among the league leaders.   The versatile Venezuelan has collected 360 plate appearances and would need to average 4.4 plate per game to reach the 502 plate appearances necessary to qualify for the batting title without penalty.   

Infante has averaged 4.6 plate appearances per game since moving into the leadoff role on a permanent basis on Aug. 2.  If he continues to produce like he has over the past couple of months, there’s certainly reason to believe he could win the batting title after his batting average is adjusted to show him hitless over the number of plate appearances that separate his season total and the 502 needed to qualify without this penalty being assessed.   

Using the assumption that Infante could be given three days to rest down the stretch, his current average would drop from .341 to .327 if you were to account for him going hitless over 15 at-bats.   The red-hot Carlos Gonzalez enters this week leading the National League with a .326 batting average.
 
As Infante continues to compile plate appearances, there will be a less significant effect on his adjusted average.  

Cox’s last ejection?  You have to wonder if yesterday marked the last time that we will see Braves manager Bobby Cox ejected.  With 32 regular season games remaining, Cox has been tossed four times this year (once every 32.5 games).  When you account for the fact that one of these ejections (Jonny Venters’  hitting Prince Fielder) didn’t even include a heated exchange with umpires, there’s certainly a chance that the beloved manager will head into retirement with his all-time ejections record total sitting at 157.  

NOTES:  Jurrjens is 5-0 with a 1.81 ERA in seven home starts and 0-4 with a 6.62 ERA in nine road starts this year.   He has notched each of those five wins while posting a 1.71 ERA in the five starts he’s made at Turner Field since returning from the disabled list…Freddie Freeman has hit .352 with 13 homers since June arrived.   The highly-regarded first base prospect might be too young to fill an everyday role in the midst of a pennant race.  But you’d have to think he could certainly help the Braves in September and maybe even October.  

42 Comments

Welcome back and hope you are not a waiver wire claim after moving into your home. Thanks also for addressing some of the questions that have been up on this blog. At least Bill agrees with your PA #’s. Any word if Glaus has cleared waviers and will he go somewhere (NC hopes to make a trade).

Congrats on the new home, Mark!
I think Omar has a realistic shot at a batting title. I hope he stays healthy and Bobby keeps him in.
I was having a discussion with someone today about call-ups and post-season rosters. Does anyone else hope that Farnsworth is left off and Kimbrel takes his place??? Anyone think that has a snowball’s chance?

Martinez has almost made it worth releasing Farnsworth outright to get the 40 man spot for Freddie. He was a throw in in the deal for Ankiel anyway. We couldn’t take one without the other. Kimbrel has just as much command of the strike zone (very little) but is harder to hit. Farnsworth is probably the easiest guy to hit of any guy who can throw 99 MPH in the history of baseball.

Congrats on the new digs Mark. Have you gotten the new house painted “Old Gold and Blue” yet? It’s gonna be fun, watching foosball and baseball at the same time in October for a change. I’m not sure my fingers will make it. Too much Bull Blogging to go along with Bowman’s Blog.

Congrats on the new home Mark and I was just curious about something. I was sitting close enough to the press box in order to recognize you sitting in the front row of what I interpreted to be the area that writers sit with their laptops and I have a question. Are you at all worried that a foul ball is gonna shoot back there and knock your computer off? Or the computer simply slipping and falling into the crowd? Just curious. Anyway, I’m all for Freddie Freeman coming up in September. The thing keeping him down there now is to make sure he gets regular at-bats but if there’s no AAA games anymore then of course bring him up. But I am against taking a gamble on him being mentally ready for the playoffs. Ao I feel that his fall/winter training program should commense after the regular season is over, whether we make the playoffs or not.

NO trade for Glaus bc i dont see anyone wanting him but if he is traded I will be shocked.

NC this is a site you need to visit http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/atlanta_braves

Congrats, Mark.

Hope all the Dodgers new acquisitions and loss of a headache can let them focus fully on sweeping the Phils. I still don’t see L.A. in the playoffs, though.

Mark, welcome “home”. How is it that you feel Freddy Freeman might help us in October? Doesn’t he have to be on roster BEFORE August 31 to be eligible for postseason?

I agree with Bravo. Farnsworth must go.

I am looking forward to the call-ups. Can’t wait to see who gets rewarded and who gets shown the door. Will be interesting.

Martinez sent back down to Gwinnett today. Kawakami was recalled. I was at KK’s last start in Gwinnett on Friday. He left the game early with some sort of physical discomfort. The team survived the 5 runs he gave up in 5 innings to come from behind and win the game.

I understand that the reason was that the Braves needed a fresh long relief man for tonight, and tomorrow night’s game. Let’s hope it is not needed.

Mr. Bowman! I love your blog and follow it everyday! I designed a T-shirt and website for my father who is a huge Braves fan. It is called ww.skipperandchipper.com. I hope the tag line becomes huge and helps the Braves make September one to remember!
This tee has been designed and is being offered by myself, Joseph Hicks III, in order to help pay my fathers medical bills. My father, Joe Hicks, who is one of the biggest Atlanta Braves fans ever, was involved a major car accident in April and spent several weeks in the Intensive Care Unit with major injuries including a broken femur in 8 places, a broken shoulder that has to be replaced, a collapsed lung and several broken ribs. Unfortunately, his insurance did not cover the full amount of his injuries, and he may be left with almost a million dollars in debt!

I pledge that the every dime of the proceeds from the sale of this shirt will go towards paying his medical bills in-full, so he and my mother may live a somewhat normal life again! He has been bed ridden since the accident and he and I have witnessed every Atlanta Braves game of the 2010 season together, in hopes that Bobby’s and Chipper’s great careers will be celebrated with a World Series Victory in 2010.

The Braves bring hope into our living room on a nightly basis, and we as a family are proud to be a part of Braves country!

If you could mention this in your blog I would be forever greatful! Win it for Skipper and Chipper!

Everyone in Braves Country is glad to see Heyward hitting the ball like a non-number-2 hitter. I have a feeling that a switch-hitting, World Series-winning, MVP, one-time batting champion third baseman has been working with him on that.
Also, good to see Medlen in the dugout.

Scott Diamond has a no-no through 5.

At what point, can we get Heyward hitting 3rd and Prado second. Prado is obviously not the same player since his return. He may be hurt still. Heyward is on fire. If Posey can bat clean-up, why can’t he bat third. How great would it be to have Heyward batting behind to 320 hitters. Not sure if you remember, but Chipper batted third his rookie year and Heywards numbers may be even better than chippers that year. JJ needs to shut them down the \rest of the way.

Is this lead Farnsworth proof?

Is this lead Farnsworth proof?

Is this lead Farnsworth proof?

It is good to see Heyward turn it around. Mike Stantons a joke, Ike Davis doesn’t get on base or hit for a high average, Strasburg’s gone, David Freese isn’t coming back, Buster Posey(Who’s from my part of “the sticks”, bill) is at an at-bats disadvantage(even though he will still probably rake in votes), and Starlin Castro is decent. If Heyward can hit .275/20/75/.380, he should be a runaway ROY winner. But I can’t forget to give Johnny Venters a shout-out. I personally think he should get more votes that Stanton and as many as Davis.

again, heyward hits the ball too hard. i thought he had a single to center, but it just kept going to pagans glove.

I remember when Oliver Perez used to be tough. Now, coming in the way he has, he appears to have become the Mets’ version of Jesse Chavez.

Ziff- Yeah Martin isn’t nearly the guy he was since he came back, he’s only hitting .320 with a .903 OPS. Do you even watch the games? What are you even talking about. Martin is still this teams MVP. There isn’t anyone in that dugout who would disagree. I can’t even fathom what you are talking about.

I’m with ya bill, Prado is fine. Just because he looked bad vs Josh Johnson doesn’t mean he’s slumping. I mean the kid only had 5 RBI’s in one game on Saturday and 3 more tonight. What else do you want from the guy…ziff, i think you may be sniffing something.

Also, it’s not a great concern to me if Heyward hits 3. At this point, all three are driving themselves in. Heyward it the #3 of the future (maybe even 4), but let’s not change what “ain’t broke”. We should be more concerned about getting some offensive production from LF/CF and D Lee. At least D Lee had a “couple” of hits tonight. Even though one was a blooper. My guess is that they are keeping Heyward at 2 to stay away from lefties back to back in the lineup. However, if Lee begins to swing the bat better, we could see Infante, Prado, Heyward, Lee, McCann…etc

Glad to see Martinez was rewarded with an awesome game vs the Fish with a demotion. Sorry, Christhian, life isn’t fair. Hopefully, KK can bring something to the mound in his role, but I doubt it.

Also, I don’t see the Braves taking a kid who has barely any regular season experience (Kimbrel) over Farnsworth on the post season roster. Even though I believe Kimbrel is the better pitcher at this point. This is assuming Kimbrel doesn’t extremely impress in September call ups.

Nah, Prado’s actually not the same guy since he came back, but in a good way. He’s gone from being just one of the most productive players who was happy for the opportunity to now being one of the team leaders. I dare say he’s taken Chipper’s place as far as being an on-the-field leader.

Amazing, we are all in sync on Prado, cept for you Ziff, sorry. I just came back from the Fillies website where they are talking about hugs in the dugout and facebook pages. To those who think I shouldn’t harass them, are we 3 games up or what? Oh has anyone noticed , we are only 1/2 game back of SD for homefield advantage for the entire postseason. For anyone who knows what our splits are, this is a Big Deal.

I remember when the Braves and Dodgers used to be division rivals. Now I find myself cheering for them. For a particular purpose, of course, nothing more.

I think Ziff was referring to the way Prado is swinging, not his results. He is such a good hitter his results mask what is going on. He is still feeling the effects of his injury from time to time and will for the rest of the year. You can see that some of his swings are free and others not. Also, he takes a lot more pitches than he used to and doesn’t get as many barreled up in the air. If Lee gets hot and our SP gets right again, we will be ok. Otherwise, we will need some performances from others and lineup changes.

Heyward needs to bat third…. yesterday. Either Omar or Prado will be on base… if not BOTH of them. You need ducks on the pond to drive in runs. Nobody is doing that better than Mr. Heyward at the moment. Prado and Infante are “on base specialists”. It just makes too much baseball sense. DO IT BOBBY!

Mike Stanton is “a joke”? That’s a pretty dumb@ss statement if I’ve ever heard one. I mean, he doesn’t have Heyward numbers but the guy is doing pretty well for a 20 YEAR OLD despite his low batting average.
Heyward is hitting really well right now, so obv everyone wants him to hit third, but what are his numbers in the third spot? I don’t think they’re probably all that good so far this year. So let the guy relax in the comfort of hitting in between two guys-one who is going for most hits and the other for the batting title-it’s the ultimate protection. Also, with the lineup like this every night we can go R-L-R-L-R at the top of the order, or against lefties R-L-R-R-L.

I didn’t say he wasn’t going to be a good hitter, I was saying he’s a joke for the ROY race.

Well obviously he’s a non-issue for ROY, when he’s hitting .225 and has struck out almost 90 times already.

does anyone have an idea who will come up when they expand the rosters?

He has good power numbers, of course, but that is not everything. By that logic, Carlos Pena will win the AL MVP.

I have a feeling that Mclouth may be shown the door along with Schafer but thats my feelings. Maybe a miracle will happen and Mclouth will be traded for a decent Cf or someone but i really dont see that happen unless Boston is really deperate for OF help.

No the AL MVP is going to Hamliton of the Rangers who is a local boy here in eastern NC. Along with Millwood Trot Nixon and others i cant think of right now.

NC, I’d bet on Mike Dunn, Nate McLouth, Troy Glaus, Freddie Freeman, and Clint Sammons. Also Craig Kimbrel when he is eligible to come up.

I know, Nc, it was a joke. Sarcasm.

Can computer viruses recognize sarcasm?

And still talking trades, i see. The deadline is far behind us and the waiver wires have long been silent.. but still talking trades…

Why not make a move for Pods at the waiver wire for only 300k? Imagine what his speed and bat could do to help us. Just move the lineup around a bit and it works for me. Lots of lineup possibilities but I like this one: Pods, Infante, Prado, Heyward, Lee, McCann, Gonzo, Cabrera/Ankiel.

Heyward is the #3 (or 4) hitter of the future. Maybe. For the here and now, the reason I like him at #2 is that he ain’t too shabby on the bases either. Heads up – smart, always taking the extra base when they give it to him (although there was that one time….) Also, the 2 slot gives him an extra at bat perhaps.

The key to this team as it is is Derek Lee. If he is able to get going – this line up will score a TON of runs.

I am a bit concerned with the future of all of our “power” eggs being in the left handed basket. When Freeman arrives FOR GOOD we will have most of our power coming from the left side of the plate McCann, Heyard and Freeman) and our “hitters” Gonzalez, Diaz, Prado and Infante from the right side. We are still just a center fielder away from a completely formidable lineup.

If that unknown CF player were an “on base” lefty?

Infante 5 (4)
??????? 8
Prado 4 (5)
Heyward 9
Diaz 7
McCann 2
Gonzalez 6
Freeman 3

too bad Schafer didn’t prove to be the real deal.

I’d be more than a little surprised if Diaz hit above McCann in the order more than once in a blue moon. Also, because we have Infante and Prado already, I’m not bent on going after a “speed” type guy for CF. I’m actually pretty good with Ankiel once he gets calmed down and re acclimated to the NL. His defense and arm are significant, and hitting at the bottom of the order is fine. The top of the order is pretty full now. I would really like to see Derrek Lee back next season as well. There is absolutely nobody behind Freeman that is close yet, and Freddie has shown to take a little time adjusting at each of the levels so far. It makes sense to have a quality right handed 1B to go with him if at all possible. And, if we get to the World Series, can we really afford to give away Hinske afterward? None of the teams he “singlehandedly” took to the WS made it back the next season, and the Yankees aren’t going this season either.

This quote from James Hall is too funny:

“Apart from two rocky starts in August — seven runs allowed against both the D-backs and Marlins — Niese has been more than serviceable for the Mets. Discounting the two hiccups, Niese has spotted a 1.38 ERA over his other four performances, boasting a respectable 3.63 ERA on the year”

Niese must mean Mulligan in another language.

Thats funny Rother. Next he will say, Aside from his mediocre curve, a fastball he can’t get over and his lack of a sinker or changeup, all of his pitches are really good.

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