Archive for June, 2009

81: C’mon, kid!

Comments and articles herein are the intellectual property and opinions of the writers and may not be copied without permission of the writers.

by Savannah Guy

Watched the first two innings last night. A pretty exciting evening it was, but not because of the listless, hapless Braves. About the time the Braves game was called, a powerful storm rolled into Savannah like a freight train with massive lightning, driving pea-sized hail, rain, water spouts and micro-bursts. Pretty exciting stuff. Not so much the Braves.

It’s gotten to the point that Jeff Francoeur is more productive striking out than making contact. If it were not for killing rallies and hitting into double plays he’d get no action at all. Last night’s double-play with the bases loaded was not even a surprise.

As Gil said, it’s not Francoeur’s fault the Braves lost and it’s not Bobby’s fault that French can’t hit. However, Jeff has become the living, breathing metaphor for the entire team, with the exception of Chipper and Mac and our three starting pitchers ….. who are beginning to show their inevitable frustration for the lack of run support. The team looks listless when they take the field. They are a rudderless team. They looked as though they’d rather be somewhere else. Kelly is lost and confused. I’ve never seen this Atlanta team look so bad… ever.

So, what is the problem? Who should take the blame for French taking the field every day? Who is to be blamed for the 250 “slugger” taking a pouting 2-day, truncated stint in Mississippi? Who should answer for 233 hitting (missing) Kelly Johnson being cemented into second base when Prado or someone else could fill the spot?

Who takes the rap for Schafer struggling way too long before finally, appropriately, mercifully being sent back to the minors where he belongs this year? Who is responsible for using Peter Moylan until his TJ-recovering arm falls off? Who is responsible when the entire team goes into a funk and stays in that funk for two months? Who is ultimately responsible when a professional ball club appears listless, lost, confused and befuddled for so long? Who should be called on the carpet?

Who will call those in responsible management positions onto the carpet? With Liberty and the current regime, there will be no response to this miserable, hapless play, other than the usual spin.

For this Braves team, the GM, Cox and his buddies (otherwise known as coaches), there is no accountability for results outside of the accounting department and the dugout where some derrieres rest way too comfortably on their country club, media guarded, bullet-proof, faded and tattered laurels.

BobbyCox
C’mon kid.

~SG~

BravesAndStuff@hotmail.com

80: The Case Against Terry Pendleton

Comments and articles herein are the intellectual property and opinions of the writers and may not be copied without permission of the writers.

by Berigan

Well, that is a strong sounding title for a new lead, blog, whathaveyou, isn’t it???

Yet, I do think anyone who reads here would defend TP both as a former player and as a man. He was a great player, the kind of player we need today – and I bet he will someday make a fine manager.

But, as a hitting coach??? Not so much.

TerryPendleton
He became the hitting coach in November of 2001. Next year, Javy Lopez hit .233, the lowest BA of his Braves career.

In 2001, team B.A. was .260.
In 2002, the team B.A shot all the way up to…. .260.
In 2003, the team average did improve to .284.Marcus Giles, Chipper, Andruw and Garry Sheffield all hit above .300.

Credit to TP, God given skill, or a little help from steroids???

As I mentioned before, can anyone remember a hitter saying Terry really helped them??? Or even complimenting him in general??? Someone that wasn’t Bobby Cox??? It must have happened somewhere, but I sure don’t remember it….
TPandCox

Sports south ran that “David Justice in his own words” a few weeks ago…I guess I always caught the last part, but watched it from the beginning. It was interesting on several levels. One, to see Justice realize he made some mistakes, how he would do things differently now…wishes he knew then what he knows now…Also how hitting coach Clarence Jones told him basically that he could continue to hit 20 homers a year, or start hitting the ball the other way, and how he could hit 40 in a year, which he did in 1993.

Again, the sort of thing I don’t hear mentioned with TP. Does he try to get Frenchy to not only hit the ball the other way, but with power??? Does he or the Batting practice guy throw him dozens of pitches outside to show him if it ain’t a strike, you CANNOT hit it??? He may…I don’t know.

How often do you see him interviewed??? I may have missed it, but you would think a few times a year he would talk about his hitting philosophy, what he always wants guys to remember. In fact, I rarely see any coach ever interviewed! I saw McDowell the other day and it made me think how DOB had even said how he wasn’t a good interview, and after being such a character as a player, how disappointed he was in McDowell the serious coach of few words.

Anyway, back to T.P. A recent article relayed the point of how hurt T.P. was with Frenchy seeking outside help with his hitting. Doesn’t that speak volumes???? Wouldn’t you think the greatest desire of a hitting coach would have, is to see a player be successful??? Especially one you had worked with all year and had no success with??? You can’t get inside someone else’s head, but I would wish the best to a player that I clearly hadn’t been able to help, and if another teacher came along(And TP has to know Rudy Jaramillo is considered the best hitting coach around) and helped him, I’d do my level best to find out what were the keys to the success, and help him stick with that plan.

The Frenchy we saw in Spring training and the first week or so of the season, looked like a new man, a man with a plan..a man with a smooth swing. Now look at him. He has a strange, powerless swing. Stance is more closed up. Even the home run hit the other day looked like total luck, not a good swing at all. Friday night he worked the count full and couldn’t hit a 93 MPH pitch right down the middle. If he was 35, they would say his bat had slowed down.

Does TP ever talk to him about percentages??? Me, I am just a nobody…a just a longtime fan of the game. But it’s plain as nose on your face that when a hitter has a weakness, word gets out, pitchers exploit those weaknesses. It’s not enough to say, don’t swing at balls out of the strike zone. Back that up with some stats. I bet TP could in 5 minutes find out how many pitches were strikes that Jeff gets with 2 strikes. As with Andruw the last few years, wouldn’t you think 80% of 2 strike pitches were outside??? Ok, one in 5 times you will look silly with the bat resting on your shoulder for strike 3, but the other 4 times, you will make the pitchers work. You might get a walk, or a pitch down the middle if the count goes from 1-2 to 3-2.

Hasn’t TP ever watched a Yankees-Red Sox game??? Every time I see them play each other, or other teams in the league, you see guys down 0-2, or 1-2 end up getting walked. Then the next guy works a 3-2 count, and the pitcher, not wanting to walk back to back hitters, will grove a pitch that is a double or a homer. Even a dope like me can recognize patterns in the way the game is played today. What works best today.

TP was a great player, a team leader. An agressive hitter that rarely walked. Probably not the best guy in the world to be a hitting coach. Like any hitter, he must have figured out some things he can pass on to hitters, but it sure doesn’t seem like enough to help those who can’t hit balls low and outside for a double….

After all this pounding on Terry Pendleton, hitting coach, I could still see him making a fine manager. His weaknesses as a hitting coach would be strengths with this team. It needs to be more aggressive on the base paths, to have more guys play with a chip on their shoulders….I think Terry wouldn’t coddle guys that were hitting .200, he’d bench them….

Meanwhile, Bobby is likely to manage the team for at least the next year or two, so I guess we will have Terry to kick around for awhile yet.

~Ber~

BravesAndStuff@hotmail.com


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