Somebody other than Chipper will have to solve Halladay

Now that the Braves have squandered the chance to steal a series-opening victory with Brandon Beachy on the mound, they will return to Citizens Bank Park tonight hoping to take advantage of the recently most-vulnerable member of the Phillies Big Three.

Roy Halladay enters tonight’s start 3-2 with a 4.41 ERA over his past five starts.  It’s safe to say he hasn’t enjoyed the same recent success encountered by Monday night’s victor Cole Hamels  (5-0, 0.49 ERA in his past five starts) or Wednesday’s scheduled starter Roy Oswalt (5-0, 1.25 in his past six starts).

So there is some reason for optimism if you choose to overlook the fact that, well Halladay will be facing the Braves. 

In four career appearances (three starts) against the Braves, Halladay has gone 3-0 with an 0.63 ERA.  The two runs he surrendered in these games were compiled over the course of 11 years and both came courtesy of the solo home runs hit by Chipper Jones  –  July 20, 1999 @ Toronto, July 5, 2010 @ Philadelphia.

Jones’ first-inning homer during that post-Independence Day game played two months ago accounted for the one of the 10 hits Halladay has surrendered while posting complete-game victories in both of the two starts made against the Braves this year.

While pitching for the Blue Jays at Turner Field last year, Halladay fell victim to the National League game and had to be pinch hit for after limiting the Braves to five hits over seven scoreless innings. 

So over the course of the three starts Halladay has made against the Braves within these past two seasons, he has completed 25 innings, surrendered 15 hits and allowed just the one run.

Forget what I said about vulnerable.  The Braves can only hope that the big right-hander is due to prove mortal against them tonight, while opposing the latest Atlanta rookie to be thrown into the thick of a postseason chase. 

When Mike Minor takes the mound tonight to make his eighth career start, he’ll look like a grizzled veteran in comparison to Beachy, who made his 22nd career professional start while experiencing his Major League debut last night.

This is what prompted me to greet Tommy Hanson yesterday with, “What’s up old man?”

Hanson will be making the 53rd Major League start of his career during Wednesday’s series finale.  Beachy and Minor have combined for 55 starts at the professional level. 

Entering this series, the Braves
projected starters had totaled 174 professional starts.
Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels had totaled 376 Major League wins.

It seems like an obvious mismatch on paper.  But as we witnessed yet again last night, anything can happen on any given night. 

If Jason Heyward secures Shane Victorino’s slicing and knuckling fifth-inning fly ball, Beachy might have allowed just one run in an effective five-inning effort that might have set the stage for these teams to battle beyond the ninth inning.

But Heyward’s three-base error opened the door for the Phillies to tally a pair of unearned runs in the fifth and preserve Hamels’ strong eight-inning effort, which was aided by three double-play groundouts. 

Martin Prado accounted for two of those twin-killings while once again providing the appearance that his body is pretty well beat up as we near the end of the season.  There’s no doubt that his right pinky finger (fractured on July 30) is still bothering him.

But the All-Star second baseman has also provided reason to believe that his legs are fatiguing down the stretch.  He has recorded just eight hits in his past 33 at-bats and been held hitless in five of his past seven games.

Still you can never question the determination and attitude shown by Prado, who still stands as the club’s most valuable player this year. 

Now let’s get back to those double plays.  The most costly was undoubtedly the one that killed the second-inning that started so promising, with the Braves collecting three of the six hits that Hamels would allow. 

Matt Diaz followed Brian McCann’s RBI double with a single that put runners at the corners with nobody out.  Alex Gonzalez struck out before Melky Cabrera grounded into a double play.

Before going any further, I have to ask, was Melky even in the view of the television cameras when Diaz raced into left center-field to rob Placido Polanco with a sliding catch in the first inning?

Maybe the better question would be, “Why was Melky even back in the starting lineup for last night’s game?” 

Dating back to the start of the Cardinals series, I’ve felt the Braves would be best served to have Nate McLouth in the lineup on a daily basis. My thought is that he should play center against left-handed starters and move to left, while Rick Ankiel starts in center when the opponent starts a right-handed pitcher. 

We’ll likely see Ankiel and McLouth in the same lineup tonight.  But when the Braves have faced a left-handed pitcher Cabrera has managed to keep finding his name in the lineup.

McLouth has hit just .135 against left-handers this year.  He’s been hitless in the four at-bats he’s totaled against them this month.  But hasn’t the rejuvenated success he has experienced this month (.324 batting average and three homers) at least earned him more of an opportunity to prove that he can also hit left-handers now?

Cabrera has batted .190 over the course of his past 20 games.  The switch-hitting outfielder  hit .268 against left-handers through the end of July, but has since batted just .152 (7-for-46) against them.

There are no guarantees that McLouth will suddenly prove successful against left-handers.  But it seems pretty safe to assume that he would provide better defense and prove to be at least as productive as Cabrera has been against southpaws. 

 

 

 

 
 

43 Comments

Great post! good info! Thanks Mark – GO BRAVES!

What happened to Brian McCann’s face. Did I miss a collision at home plate. The sports announcers have not mentioned it on air so we fans were wondering. I know he hurt his face before the bat against his head the other night. Thanks and keep up the great writing!

I know this would never happen, but was thinking that with Martin so beat up right now if Bobby might take some pressure off of him temporarily by juggling the line up a bit tonight.

McClouth
Infante
Heyward
McCann
Lee
Prado
Diaz
Gonzalez

I know this would never happen, but was thinking that with Martin so beat up right now if Bobby might take some pressure off of him temporarily by juggling the line up a bit tonight.

McClouth
Infante
Heyward
McCann
Lee
Prado
Diaz
Gonzalez

McCann had an accident (he fell) on his pool deck before the team left on this trip.

BTW, Mark, first of all I agree with you. But, didn’t Melky have a 4 for 10 .400 BA against Hamels going into last night’s game?

Cox’s consistency is a double-edged sword. Even though we have a losing record since the all-star break, there have not been any lineup changes of any consequence. Heyward should have moved to the 3 hole so Prado could scoot more grounder thru the right side if he is hurting, instead of being in an rbi position. And Heyward would have more rbi opportunities. Manuel changed his whole rotation to match up best against the Braves in the final two series. Bobby did not think it was important and we end up with two rookies facing their top 3 guys. I’d like to see more creativity and willingness to be more aggressive. We just always look and play the same. We can’t steal. We can’t hit and run. We can’t bunt.

Good grief. I am really concerned about Minor’s baseball IQ. Did he go to the Yunel Escobar school of baseball? You really need a sign to know you are bunting there?

This is painful to watch…

Someone remind me why we didn’t trade Mike Minor for a big RH bat like Corey Hart or Jayson Werth when we had the chance? This kid has mediocre stuff at best. All the hype about him was overplayed. He may be a good “pitcher” someday but it’s probably years down the road. I can’t wait for Liberty to sell, this cost cutting crap is ridiculous, especially when you are solidly in 1st place. Between Liberty execs and FW I don’t know which one I would like to tar and feather first.

Oh come on, Bill. The kid has been out of college for less than a year. He was thrown into fire and expected to match up against one of the best pitchers in the game. Phils wouldn’t have traded us Werth and Hart hasn’t done a whole lot since the break. We should’ve pitched Hudson and Hanson on 4 days rest.
On a better note.. nice job Martinez.

Barry, the absolute last thing Bobby should do is put McLouth in the leadoff spot. He has gained some comfort where he is. If we were to have Heyward hitting 3rd it should go Infante, Prado, Heyward.

No way would the Phils have traded Werth before the deadline. They might not sign him, but they’ll ride out the contract with one of the best RF in the game. They could wind up getting compensatory draft picks which might be better than any trade they could have made, when you factor in Domonic Brown as the replacement.
I’m surprised that the Braves didn’t re-structure their staff to allow Hudson and Lowe to pitch in this series. Somebody wake up Bobby.

LOL Muleman, we wanted to see how well you handled our Gwinnett staff. You’ll see the A team.

I am about ready to nominate Alex Gonzalez for the Garrett Anderson Base Running Hustle Award.

Viva, thanks. My intent was to take pressure off of Prado. Batting him 2nd would hardly do that. Otherwise, with Prado at 100% I agree with you 100%.

Well DonkeyBoy everyone and their dog knew Werth was on the market before the trade deadline with your young wunderkind in waiting. It wasn’t until Victorino got hurt that Werth got pulled back. Pay attention, son.

Yeah Barry, he is usually so caught up in watching his ball not quite go over the wall, or being so ********** he’s hit into another double play that he just trots to first. Not exactly the example we were looking for when we traded Esky.

And now Bobby is out to close the Barn door after the horse(or mule) is out.

Well DonkeyBoy everyone and their dog knew Werth was on the market before the trade deadline with your young wunderkind in waiting. It wasn’t until Victorino got hurt that Werth got pulled back. Pay attention, son.

Yeah Barry, he is usually so caught up in watching his ball not quite go over the wall, or being so ********** he’s hit into another double play that he just trots to first. Not exactly the example we were looking for when we traded Esky.

And now Bobby is out to close the Barn door after the horse(or mule) is out.

guess you can’t say po’d on MLB.com. But you can be an hour and twenty minutes ahead.

The Braves are not going to win with that weak lineup and less than adequate rotation. Their bullpen is the only strength they have. They have some promising young players, but they aren’t nearly up to the level of the Phils in terms of talent or postseason experience. Maybe in a couple years when the Phils core is aged and/or gone they can get in the mix for real.

lol. Maybe, phillyscott, just maybe.

I like a few Braves players, they definitely have some talent. I think if they add a couple bats and 1 more quality starter they could be a real threat.

Viva, You kind of make my point. As difficult as it is to part with young talent sometimes it’s what you have to do to get that high level talent which closes the deal in a pennant race. God knows FW isn’t gonna pull the wool over any other GMs eyes. We had a pennant there for the taking and we didn’t take it, we played for an affordable, cheap future nebulous possibility. We are turning into FL or Pittsburgh. We have dumped so much salary, even when in the midst of a pennant race we frankly, look ridiculous.

Well look at what we have here, a POLITE Phillie phan. For that sir, I thank you. Well, the Braves have an excellent rotation that has diminished this year. You guys just saw 2 players that now have a combined 9 MaL starts under their belts. We have Hudson, Lowe, Hanson, Jurrjens, and Minor usually, but it should have been Medlen. That would have been as solid a rotation as any in the league. And our offense is suffering from the Terry Pendelton Syndrome. Get an 08 McLouth, Lee, and Chipper in there, and we’d be unstoppable. Imagine this:

08 McLouth
Prado
08 Chipper
McCann
08 Lee
Infante/Diaz(mix and match
Gonzalez

One can dream…

Forgot all about Heyward.

Reefer: You’re telling me to pay attention? Loser. You have no idea. Victorino’s injury had nothing to do with any potential Werth trade. Keep to your stupid ballclub.

Braves fans = pack of losers.
Magic number = 6. Don’t worry about the final series in ATL. It won’t matter. Phils will be starting Sweeney, Schneider, Brown and Worley. Make your golf tee times today.

Oh, Donkey Boy- You really are a rung short of a ladder. What I really want to see is how you are gonna be starting 4 guys in a 3 game matchup, but I don’t suppose facts really enter in to a discussion with you. I guess it’s why you are regarded so fondly(lol) on the Frillies Blog. All you can cleverly do is name call and try to come up with some argument that someone won’t challenge. Kind of tough here doing that, huh?

why Bobby. McClouth is 0-fer against Lidge. Conrad has proven to be clutch. Why not pitch hit him in the 9th. Instead Conrad is on deck when game ends. Why the love affair with McClouth and Ankiel. Mcclouth’s D in leftfield is no where near his centerfield play.

I am a huge baseball fan, and while I live and die with the Phils, I can appreciate good players. I think the Braves look tight this series. Making too many fundamental errors that the Phils are capitalizing on. Good luck in the wild card chase, Braves fans. I’d prefer to see you guys again in the postseason then the Giants or Rockies.

Ouch! How is that wildcard race going? It’s not going to any easier considering the Braves still have to play the #1 team in MLB four more times.

I think it’s pretty clear who the best team on the field is. Also, it’s pretty clear to see who wants it more. We don’t deserve the division. Just think… if we went merely 4 and 5 in April, instead of 0-9 during that terrible stretch, and If we win 2 out of three against the Pirates/Nationals (which good teams do in pennant races), We would be 2 games ahead of the Phillies right now.
Kind of makes you sick to your stomach.
Also – the mental mistakes and errors are really nauseating. In the last two games especially. We’ve really shot ourselves in the foot. All the GDP’s, Prado looking lost at 3rd last night and missing McCann’s throw at second two nights ago. McClouth not catching that ball in LF (the one against the wall). Heyward dropping the ball in RF. McCann trying to tag up on Victorino with the NL’s leading hitter on deck (who ended up with as base hit), Minor NOT sacrificing and grounding into the dp…
It’s all inexcusable and what separates division champions from pretenders. I’m afraid we’re the pretenders. Here’s hoping we can get our act together and win the wild card.

I think it’s pretty clear who the best team on the field is. Also, it’s pretty clear to see who wants it more. We don’t deserve the division. Just think… if we went merely 4 and 5 in April, instead of 0-9 during that terrible stretch, and If we win 2 out of three against the Pirates/Nationals (which good teams do in pennant races), We would be 2 games ahead of the Phillies right now.

Kind of makes you sick to your stomach.

Also – the mental mistakes and errors are really nauseating. In the last two games especially. We’ve really shot ourselves in the foot. All the GDP’s, Prado looking lost at 3rd last night and missing McCann’s throw at second two nights ago. McClouth not catching that ball in LF (the one against the wall). Heyward dropping the ball in RF. McCann trying to tag up on Victorino with the NL’s leading hitter on deck (who ended up with as base hit), Minor NOT sacrificing and grounding into the dp…

It’s all inexcusable and what separates division champions from pretenders. I’m afraid we’re the pretenders. Here’s hoping we can get our act together and win the wild card.

That sound you hear is the casual Braves fan billreef whining with excuses on the Phillies blog about his decidedly weaker team. The Braves had a deer-in-the-headlights quality about them last night that will not serve them very well down the stretch. If the Phillies took advantage of the sloppy defense they would have scored 8-9 runs. As it is they just buried the Braves with some clutch hitting and defense, since that’s all that was needed. And the Phillies are depleting the Braves bullpen every night and it’s got to wear on them.
The Braves aren’t going anywhere with that starting pitching and defense. They have to worry about even making the postseason now. BTW billreef, the players muleman mentioned aren’t pitchers. Three of them are the bench players who will be playing in the last series in Atlanta while the regulars rest. But I shouldn’t expect a casual fan to know that.

Great post…but man i could use some help…Here is my dilemma…My Grandmother is 77 years old and she is the most die hard braves fan i know …i have literally seen her jump around watching the braves play my entire life…she loves Billy Wagner for many reasons but one in particular is she grew up in a little town called swords creek VA which is very close to his hometown …I am taking her to her first live MLB game EVER on Oct. 1 against the Phillies…I need help Braves fans …How can i get her to meet him?????

I wish an insult over the level of a 4th grader could be thrown by a Phillie phan. And keep to your own team? What are you doing here then mulefag? You sound like a 15 year old kid who just found out how to use the internet to voice his opinion that no one could give two ***** about.

And wow, they don’t teach you guys **** in Philly. Last time I checked, .599 less than .609, which is what the Yankee’s have. You guys can’t even distinguish between numbers that are not even close to similar. Maybe the decimal threw you off?

And mule, you idiot(see what I did there?), thats EXACTLY what it was. The reason they didn’t trade him was because they would have had an outfield of a rookie, Raul Ibanez, and… who exactly until Victorino got back? Exactly.

i blame bobby for this series loss to the phillies. for not having the foresight to match the braves best pitchers against phillies best. way to throw the series and ultimately the division. bobby did not give his team a chance to win. at the same time, if the rotation stays the same as now, why would the outcome, in the last series against the phillies, be any different? more than likely the phillies will clinch the division before then, but the braves will be playing for the wild card in a must win situation.
not going to lie – i will be glad to see him go. hopefully they can get freddie as the new manager next year.

McCann: GIDP, passed ball, baserunning error tagging up to go to third.
This team is physically and mentally exhausted and its showing.
It’s time to forget about the division and try to hold onto the wildcard. As for Minor and Beachy, I have no problem with either one. Both were in AA when the season started, you can’t expect them to outduel Hamels and Halladay. Heck, those past two games would have been a big task for our normal starting rotation.
We need to get Jurrjens back in the rotation and start playing smart baseball. Also, for heavens sake, stop hitting into double plays.
At least our bullpen has been more than solid. They are playoff ready, and so is Derrek Lee (so get off his back haters)…. let’s hope the rest of the team can pick up the pieces NOW.

As good as Martin has been all year, he has really tapered off lately. We’ve got to have him now. No excuses here. He has lead the team all year, we’ve got to have him now to keep the wild card alive. Heyward is getting on base, we need Martin, BMac, and Lee to start driving them in. Lee has come around, and now everyone in front of him has gone cold, what a crazy inconsistent offense we’ve had all year.

Tammcal – write the braves, and write to Wags personally in care of the Braves, and tell them she would like to meet him. Ask if he will come up BEFORE the game and see you by the first base dugout. Players come and sign autographs there before the game. Get there early – 1 1/2 hours before the game and see. Also, when you get there, if you see a Brave’s employee on the field, pull them over and tell them. They might be able to set it up for you on the spot. No promises, but there is a better than average chance she will get to meet Wags.

I hate to even suggest it, but with Prado looking so worn out lately, why not start Brooks for a game and give him a rest? Am I the only crazy one thinking this makes sense?

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