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22 Apr

Dbacks 6, Braves 4

Atlanta Braves vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – Box Score – April 22, 2012 – ESPN.

You can’t win them all. This particularly holds true when you allow five runs in about a minute.

The Braves took a 1-0 lead in the first, with Michael Bourn (who had a super day, 3-3 with a walk and two runs scored) doubled, went to third on a Martin Prado grounder, and scoring on a Freddie Freeman sac fly.

Randall Delgado retired the first five men he faced, then allowed five straight to reach and the D-Backs control of the game. First it was a single, then a double to make it second and third. For some reason, Fredi ordered an intentional walk of the weak-hitting John McDonald, which backfired when Delgado walked the opposing pitcher, Ian Kennedy. And then Braves-killer Gerardo Parra hit a grand slam and suddenly it was 5-1.

The Braves whittled it to 5-3, with Prado doubling home Bourn in the third and Freeman singling in Deldago in the fifth. But they couldn’t get closer, and Cristhian Martinez allowed a run in the seventh. Juan Francisco hit a homer in the ninth, but that was all they got… The Braves outhit the D-Backs 10-7. That’ll happen.

224 Responses to “Dbacks 6, Braves 4”

  1. 1
    Rob Cope Says:

    Gotta get it done against the opposing pitcher. I’m all about IBBs to the 8 hole when a bad hitting pitcher is up next with two outs, even if it’s bases loaded. Gotta get it done against the pitcher. That’s on Delgado, not Fredi.

    I’m sure the Fredi-haters will have something to say about that, but if Delgado gets Kennedy, this is a different ball game. If McDonald got a hit, they’d be saying, “Why didn’t he walk him to to get the pitcher?!”

  2. 2
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    The good thing about this game is that we didn’t have a 9-0 lead before we lost.

  3. 3
    Scump Says:

    Just got back from the game and I don’t have all that much to add, but for the hell of it:

    - Delgado didn’t really seem to pitch all that badly, but he was deep in the count a lot even early. I thought the IBB was sketchy for that reason alone.
    - Parra crushed that ball- it had to go 420 feet. While I can’t exactly blame McCann, it seems clear in retrospect that Parra was just sitting dead red especially since Delgado was struggling with control and had no margin for error. Frustrating though as Delgado’s offspeed stuff looked effective, would have liked to see it there.
    - Pretty decent Braves contingent there and Chipper got two huge ovations- one for a video tribute to his last AZ appearance, after which he came out and tipped his cap, and another when he came out to pinch hit. I give Fredi credit for sending him to hit- not like that was weird, to send one of your best hitters up in that situation, but it felt like he did it for the crowd as well and that was much appreciated.
    - Huge applause for Heyward too- and that fly ball he hit went higher than any ball I’ve ever seen live. I would swear it was up in the girders and if you’ve ever been to Chase Field, those things are way the hell up there. If he had squared that one up…

  4. 4
    Mailman Says:

    At #1 I couldn’t agree more.

  5. 5
    AA Says:

    So at the end of the season will Francisco have more homers or walks? I’m thinking homers…

  6. 6
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Since 2005, HR > 20 and HR > BB…

    Player HR BB Year
    1. Alfonso Soriano 36 33 2005
    2. Ryan Braun 34 29 2007
    3. Alfonso Soriano 33 31 2007
    4. Adrian Beltre 32 25 2011
    5. Joe Crede 30 28 2006
    6. Mark Trumbo 29 25 2011
    7. Jeff Francoeur 29 23 2006
    8. Jorge Cantu 28 19 2005
    9. Vernon Wells 25 20 2011
    10. Jose Lopez 25 24 2009
    11. Marcus Thames 25 24 2008
    12. Miguel Olivo 23 19 2009
    13. Alexei Ramirez 21 18 2008
    14. Juan Uribe 21 13 2006
    15. John Buck 20 16 2010
    16. Bengie Molina 20 13 2009
  7. 7
    kc Says:

    Well, this is part of the growing pain with Delgado. Won the four-game series. While we would love to sweep the D’backs, this is not the end of the world.

  8. 8
    Bethany Says:

    The Dodgers will be a big test. I hope we play them tough and the offense continues rolling. It’s great to see Bourn on fire like he is.

  9. 9
    stupup74 Says:

    If the braves can contain kemp and especially either (the guy who seems to do the most damage against us) I think the braves can take the series.

    As much as we have enjoyed the recent offensive fireworks, this team will live and die with its starting pitching. Today, the bad inning killed our SP.

  10. 10
    Trace Says:

    I’m kind of afraid to see what Kemp does to Jurrjens tomorrow.

  11. 11
    sdp Says:

    Jurrjens is gonna need Scott Proctor to hold his hand before going to bed tonight.

  12. 12
    csg Says:

    A couple of things that are somewhat bothering me. David Ross only has 8 AB’s. Chad Durbin has pitched more than Eric Oflaherty.

  13. 13
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    If memory serves, Matt Diaz is supposed to be the “emergency” catcher. I know that Bobby Cox was always paranoid about burning his second catcher for fear that the starting catcher might get injured. But I never understood why he wasn’t willing to be willing to use the emergency catcher. That’s why you have one.

  14. 14
    NickH Says:

    @12 Durbin sucks, but all things equal, I’m happy that O’Ventbrel haven’t been overused to this point in this season. I’m sure the Braves will go through stretches where they’re struggling to score runs, and O’Flaherty will certainly come in handy then.

  15. 15
    Gus Says:

    Why are we acting like JJ is the worst pitcher of all time? Be patient. He’s been great for us.

  16. 16
    braves14 Says:

    Some good old days.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Gsy9L2AhGY&feature=related

  17. 17
    csg Says:

    What are the actual odds that the starting catcher would get injured after using the backup catcher to PH late in the ball game. Probably like 1 in 10,000,000. How many games has BMac left due to injury in his career? Ross is probably the best bench bat that we have. Fransisco looks pretty good right now also.

  18. 18
    James Says:

    The not wanting to burn the backup catcher would make more sense if Fredi wasn’t so willing to use BMac in games where Ross is starting.

  19. 19
    John R. Says:

    Thanks for the link, braves14. Good old days indeed!

  20. 20
    John R. Says:

    Here’s another one:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_f0rqVrkvc&feature=related

  21. 21
    RobBroad4th Says:

    @17, Very very good point. I’ve always wondered that myself.

  22. 22
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    God, I miss Skip Caray.

  23. 23
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    By the way, here’s the box score for the Pirates game in that first link braves14 posted:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PIT/PIT199307230.shtml

  24. 24
    courtneyc Says:

    I agree. it’s a simple argument… not using a good pinch hitter will cost you more games than than the obscure chance of having to put a non catcher behind the plate for a few innings.

    if only baseball were ruled by simple arguments …

  25. 25
    John R. Says:

    #22: Random thoughts of a Braves fan looking at that box score:

    Justice, TP and the Lemmer sure did tear it up that day. I loved watching those latter two play defense. Dave, not so much.

    Avery was at the apex of his career that game.

    Al Martin sure was a serviceable player for the Pirates after we cast him off. I wish we had that kind of talent out in leftfield right now, we’d be a whole lot better team.

    Lonnie Smith out in left for the Pirates? Tears flow. Skates was one of my favorite Braves. Strange to think that he played a long career with several teams, but his longest tenure was his 5 years with Atlanta.

    We sure did embarrass Belinda again in that game. I remember that game, and Blauser making that motion for time out and then getting denied, and feeling bad for ol’ Stan.

    I’d forgotten how blindingly fast Deion Sanders was. Damn.

  26. 26
    PeteOrr Says:

    Not enough has been made of Fredi bringing in Durbin with two on, down by two in the 6th yesterday. The outcome was somehow not terrible, but the decision was mind-numbing. This should have led Sportscenter.

  27. 27
    Mr.Swings@Everything Says:

    To post three, point two: McCann pretty obviously said or mouthed the word fastball to Delgado just before he headed back to the plate. I wondered if Parra noticed that. Hitters do tend to have great vision.

  28. 28
    MikeM Says:

    The Dodgers’ record is misleading. All but one of their 12 wins have come playing the Padres, Pirates and Astros.

    I think the gameplan should be to not walk Dee Gordan, ever, and to Pitch around Kemp and Ethier.

  29. 29
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Wow, I had no idea we drafted Martin. I always hated him — seemed like he just killed us.

    Looking at his career stats against us, it was a little better than his overall career average though not nearly as much as I would have thought: .292/.363/.416 against us, as opposed to .276/.339/.444 overall.

  30. 30
    sansho1 Says:

    @23

    Well and succinctly put.

    @24

    Al Martin sure was a serviceable player for the Pirates after we cast him off. I wish we had that kind of talent out in leftfield right now, we’d be a whole lot better team.

    Was that intended as satire?

    Al Martin .276/.339/.444, 103 OPS+, 6.0 career WAR
    Martin Prado .293/.340/.434 108 OPS+, 7.5 career WAR

  31. 31
    cliff Says:

    pete orr @ 25

    Agreed, mostly.

    Pitcher was due up in the next inning. Before I realized that, I thought it was a perfect Medlen spot.

    Since Medlen and Martinez were warmed up, I would have used one of them anyway. Neither had pitched live in about 4 days.

  32. 32
    PeteOrr Says:

    @30 – If Durbin had pulled his usual crap, it would’ve been Livan time anyway, so who cares when the pitcher is coming up? That was just a blatant attempt to punt on the game by Fredi. Medlen definitely would’ve been the better choice there.

  33. 33
    Smitty Says:

    @1

    I actually thought the IBB was the right call there too. Can’t walk the pitcher

    I don’t think Delgado fields his possition well. If he squared up to the hitter a little bit after he throws, there are acouple of balls he at least keeps in the in field that inning.

    Overall, three great wins this weekend. We were really a pitch or two away from a four game sweep of the NL West Champs from last year. Great start to the trip. Let’s get two from our old school hated rival!

  34. 34
    Marc Schneider Says:

    What is it with the Braves? They never get any 4 game sweeps. They obviously don’t care if the win or not. They need to focus more and win every game. They are on pace to win 101 games but until this unacceptable loss, they were on pace to win 108. Now, I bet they will choke and not win more than 99. Fire Wren and Fredi immediately. The Braves need Bobby Valentine to pump some life into the team.

  35. 35
    Seat Painter Says:

    “Too bad Chipper doesn’t seem to be as mentally or emotionally invested in these games as he used to be.”

    B. Valentine, June 1 press conference announcing he’s replacing Fredi.

  36. 36
    Remy Says:

    Delgado may finish his delivery in a poor position to field, but it’s much better in comparison to C. Martinez, who looks like he’s hang gliding toward first. I’m surprised more teams don’t bunt against him more.

  37. 37
    Marc Schneider Says:

    @35,

    I think generally teams don’t take advantage of things like that as they used to. It used to be if you saw a pitcher who, say, had an injury hampering his movement, the other team would bunt. You rarely see that now. In general, I think players are pretty much conditioned to do what they do regardless of the tactical situation. For example, how often have you seen players swinging on 2-0 or 3-1 counts late in games with their teams well behind rather than trying to get on base?

  38. 38
    spike Says:

    Because usually when the Lithp comes in, bunting time is long past.

  39. 39
    joesteve Says:

    @32 true, but Smitty, name me a pitcher who does not get taken out of fielding position by his follow through . . . another reason for missing Greg Maddox.

  40. 40
    Adam R Says:

    MLBTR has an article up suggesting the Braves should extend Beachy.

    We’ve got so many young and talented players. You’ve gotta wonder, what are we waiting for?

  41. 41
    Smitty Says:

    @38

    I think Husdon does. I know it was a bit ticky-tack for me to say, but he almost lost his man hood on one ball.

  42. 42
    kc Says:

    The good old days…without Chip Carey…

  43. 43
    sdp Says:

    I’d want a little more time on Beachy and Minor before extending them.

    Beachy and Minor combined have thrown less innings than Madison Bumgarner in their young careers. So it’s a good idea, but perhaps towards the end of this season.

  44. 44
    kc Says:

    Who cares what MLBTR has to say…

  45. 45
    kc Says:

    @40. I am sure Mike Hampton stole a gold glove from Maddux for a reason….

  46. 46
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Who do you extend and for how much?

  47. 47
    kc Says:

    I would worry about Mac, Freeman, and Heyward first before I start thinking about extending Minor and Beachy.

  48. 48
    Trace Says:

    Agreed. We have a lot of pitching depth and are great at developing it. Macs, Heywards, and Freemans don’t come around too often, as evidenced by the massive black holes we’ve had at 1st and RF for the past 10 years.

  49. 49
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Exactly. If the Braves had a $120 mil operating budget they could start locking up all of these young players long term. As it stands right now, they don’t have that budget so they can’t. When Chipper comes off the books next year, they can either 1) extend McCann or 2) invest in one of the younger arms (or Freeman or Heyward.) They can use the returned $10 mil claw back from Derek Lowe being truly dead (rather than simply undead and taking payment in Cleveland) to maybe work another deal.

    Otherwise, they’re not in a financial position to extend all of the players. So you have to make decisions. Do you extend Beachy and thus assure yourself that Hanson walks? Or do you wait until Hudson rolls off the books in 2014 and try for both? What about Teheran or Minor?

    It’s not as simple as it seems.

  50. 50
    MikeM Says:

    It seems that many teams are predicting that player salaries are going increase at a faster rate in the coming years and as a result are locking up their players now (see Reds, Rangers). If the Braves really are going to have limited resources in the coming two decades (ugh) then I would lock them all up soon.

  51. 51
    csg Says:

    Teheran has to prove something at the MLB level before he enters the discussion.

    Its tough using Chippers salary to lock up younger players when the Braves will need to add offense to replace him also. If Bourn and Chipper are gone next year, they will need that free’d up salary to be able to compete and bring in other guys. Very tough situation with stagnant payrolls and increasing salaries.

  52. 52
    spike Says:

    Good veteran players cost money. You get three choices – Buy them as free agents – most expensive, least risk, extend your your pre-FA players – expensive, but not as bad, greater risk, or let them play out their arb years and hope you can trade them or draft replacements, least expensive, greatest risk.

    Given the state of ownership, I would imagine the first choice is off the table, and the second will only be applied to a very select few, with the third option being the most likely for the majority of players on the current roster.

  53. 53
    Stu Says:

    My priorities would be Heyward and Freeman. I’d put Prado third, above McCann and above any pitchers.

    Non-catching position players just seem like the safest bets for long-term extensions.

  54. 54
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Hanson’s gonna walk anyway. He’s a Boras client and his arm may be breaking down. I’d rather have Beachy for the next six years at $20 million than Hanson for the next five years at $30 or $40.

  55. 55
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Also, I’m with Stu — Heyward and Freeman HAVE to be the top priorities. The last few years, we have been much better at drafting and developing pitchers than hitters. We need these guys. I’d love to extend Prado cheaply, too, but then, I felt the same way about Kelly Johnson and Yunel Escobar.

  56. 56
    sdp Says:

    Also, let’s give Fredi Gonzalez a Sciosca deal.

  57. 57
    Smitty Says:

    @53

    I also agree with Stu. In fact, when Hudson gets back, I would call Boston to see if they would overpay for Hanson or JJ.

  58. 58
    csg Says:

    #52/#53 – I agree. Heyward and Freeman definitely should be top priority over any pitchers/McCann.

  59. 59
    csg Says:

    No one would offer anything for JJ at this moment. I’d almost be willing to bet that he’ll be on the DL before June.

  60. 60
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Who killed the header on the main page?

  61. 61
    csg Says:

    I think we are going to be seeing a lot of Jack Wilson moving forward. Pastornicky is struggling more than even I thought he would. .175/.214/.325

  62. 62
    Stu Says:

    If we’re going to see a lot of Wilson, they ought to send Pastornicky down and let him play regularly.

  63. 63
    Marc Schneider Says:

    Also agree with Stu. I like Brian but if you extend him, not only do you take up a lot of payroll but you will hit him as he gets in his thirties when he is likely to decline. Given the limited budget, the Braves can’t afford to be paying guys during their decline phase. And they do seem to have options at catcher.

  64. 64
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Brian McCann is now the face of the franchise, post-Chipper. Sitting around putting together the best theoretical WAR-generation spreadsheet for the money, it might make “sense” to let him go. But when you are selling a product, that product needs a face the consumer base identifies with, and if you let Brian McCann walk without trying to keep him, tickets will go unsold.

  65. 65
    John R. Says:

    #29: Not satire at all. I wish Al Martin or someone like him was on our team and starting in left field every game Prado was spelling Chipper at third – and some of the games in which he isn’t. The Al Martin we cut loose was young, athletic, a well-rounded (just shy of star-level talent), and played good defense. He was a natural outfielder, unlike Prado who is a converted infielder. And a negative comparison with Diaz, our other left-fielder, would be truly satirical.

    If Chipper goes down for any length of time, which isn’t an unlikely scenario, we’ll have Diaz out there with Pressure On The Defense up from Gwinnett and backing him up.

    Give me the days when we had a guy like Al Martin languishing in the minor leagues waiting for his shot. By my lights we’re completely devoid of such a serviceable talent now, much to our detriment.

  66. 66
    John R. Says:

    #63: The deleterious TV deal our ownership sleepwalked into that will seemingly hobble our team’s payroll well into the 2020s makes me think they’re not very good caretakers of their “product” in general.

  67. 67
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    The TV deal was actually cut by previous ownership, John.

  68. 68
    John R. Says:

    #66: Cut by previous ownership. Ahh, okay. In other words, it was bought and paid for by new ownership. At least they knew what they were buying! Or maybe not?

  69. 69
    PeteOrr Says:

    @63 – Faces of Franchises are pretty much de facto entities though. You’ll always have one as long as you have a relatively good, relatively likable player on the team that’s either home-grown or has been around for a while. If you let Mac walk (very sad thought, I admit) then Heyward or Freeman would just step into the role of FOF, and either one would be a better bet to produce for the next ten years than Mac would.

  70. 70
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    But when you are selling a product, that product needs a face the consumer base identifies with, and if you let Brian McCann walk without trying to keep him, tickets will go unsold.

    I’ll play the skeptical Sam role here. I’m not saying I necessarily disbelieve you, but I haven’t seen much credible information on how much a given player increases attendance — everything I’ve seen indicates that the bump tends to be modest at best. Is there anything you can cite that might indicate just how many tickets would go unsold if they let Heap walk?

  71. 71
    sansho1 Says:

    I guess I just watched enough of Al Martin while I was a Mariners fan. Prado, despite being a converted outfielder, is a much better defensive outfielder than Al Martin from what I remember.

  72. 72
    csg Says:

    I think more people are coming to watch Freeman/Heyward over Bmac already, probably cant prove that. Id still say winning, not players, has more to do with ticket sales.

  73. 73
    Dan Says:

    But when you are selling a product, that product needs a face the consumer base identifies with, and if you let Brian McCann walk without trying to keep him, tickets will go unsold.

    Let McCann walk; sign the cheaper Francoeur?

  74. 74
    Parish Says:

    Based on position scarcity within the organization, Heyward would have to be the first long-term deal. The question is “how much for how long?” Maybe, that’s what the Braves are waiting to figure out.

  75. 75
    ryan c Says:

    Assuming the Braves pick up Hudson’s option, the Braves exercise McCann’s option (and he, once again, maxes out his bonuses), and the Braves offer arb to Prado, Heyward, Hanson, Venters, O’Flaherty, Medlen, and the Lisp, 2013′s payroll will already sit at 70-73 million (without factoring in pre-arb players).

    It’s going to be tough to sign anyone long term for the foreseeable future when half the team is arb-eligible and essential to staying competitive.

    I can tell you all one thing. 2014 is going to be an arbitrational nightmare.

  76. 76
    Marc Schneider Says:

    The Liberty Media solution will be for the Braves to play without any reserves. Why do you need 25 players? I mean, you only need 9 position players-10 for interleague games-and why can’t the starters complete every game? If someone gets hurt, cut him and bring up someone else. In my synogogue softball league, we are allowed to play with as few as 8 players in a game-major leaguers are better so they should need fewer players.

  77. 77
    Nick Says:

    Looking back through the thread, yesterday’s Fredi complaints were really ridiculous. Some of you guys are either losing your minds or there was, in fact, very little worthwhile to complain about yesterday so you had to invent something. I’ll give you guys the benefit of the doubt and assume that you’re not losing your minds.

    The one worthwhile complaint I can think of from yesterday was putting Durbin in. It kind of loses some zip when you look at the fact that Durbin worked out and Martinez, the guy who would’ve gone in if Durbin hadn’t, gave up a run, but I’ll still buy that as a questionable move.

    The intentional walk thing is absurd. You have a guy who’s paid to hit (who albeit does it poorly) with a 2-0 count, two outs in the inning, first base open, and the pitcher on deck, and you’re telling me that you’d rather throw a batting-practice fastball to the guy who can hit but does so poorly than get a fresh count with the guy who can’t hit at all? I could see the argument if we didn’t try to pitch to MacDonald at all, but we did, and he got into an extreme hitter’s count. Not walking him is what would’ve been stupid!

    But that pales in comparison to the idiotic argument that goes like this: Fredi Gonzalez doesn’t care about his players because, on a play where he can’t see what happened and his player is not in danger of getting ejected and there is zero chance whatsoever that arguing is going to do any good, he doesn’t waddle out there and waste five minutes of everyone’s life making a complete ass of himself. This has nothing whatsoever to do with strategy. That’s just not his freaking style! And I loved Bobby Cox, but I propose we look at this another way, just for fun. How many calls did Bobby Cox cost us over the years by showing up the umpires at every possible opportunity? Imagine you’re an umpire. If Bobby Cox has been yelling at you all game for no apparent reason and a borderline call comes up late, which team are you more likely to give the benefit of the doubt to: Bobby Cox’s team or the team that hasn’t been showing you up all night long?

  78. 78
    Stu Says:

    Are you aware that it’s possible to pitch aggressively (read: not “throw a batting-practice fastball”) even after falling behind 2-0? Because it is. And that would’ve been the smart thing to do, rather than giving up against an EXTREMELY CRAPPY HITTER after two pitches.

    This is not complicated stuff.

  79. 79
    Nick Says:

    Yes, it is possible to do that, obviously, but the goal, as I’ve so often heard, is “to put your players in the best possible position to succeed.” Now in which situation is it more likely for Delgado to succeed? Having to nibble against a poor hitter in an extreme hitter’s count or getting a fresh count against the pitcher, who can’t hit at all, needing only one out?

    And, just to clarify, in this instance, to succeed is to get out of the inning without giving up a run. With a young pitcher who almost got hit in the groin with a lined smash back up the middle and is currently all over the place, I’m not so worried about keeping the opponent from clearing the pitcher and all that. That would be optimal, but at some point you throw optimal out the window in favor of just getting out of there unscathed. I’m guessing that’s where we differ.

    But again, assuming Delgado, who was clearly flustered, wouldn’t hang a breaking ball or something is probably assuming a little too much. If I’ve got Tim Hudson out there, I might try and pitch to MacDonald, or more accurately, I send McDowell to the mound and see what Hudson wants to do. But not with the rookie.

  80. 80
    jjschiller Says:

    Perhaps its worth noting, that hitting 8th in the NL, with the pitcher behind you, two men on and two outs, McDonald’s job is not to walk there. They’d call that “leaving it up to the pitcher.” Once working himself a hitters count, he should have swung at the first fastball that sniffed the plate. By making the walk intentional, you lose the great possibility of him getting himself out.

    Also, he sucks.

  81. 81
    csg Says:

    8th hole hitters are typically going to be over aggressive when there are runners on base with 2 outs. Randall shouldve challenged McDonald to see if he would chase a bad pitch. He also shouldve been able to throw a strike to the pitcher.

    It was a bad decision to walk McDonald and it was poor pitching to fall behind him early and to walk Kennedy.

    edit: Durbin also was saved by a very good play by Bourn in CF. He still sucks.

  82. 82
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I don’t have any sort of hard numbers on who shows up for McCann or not, but I do know the local area billboards feature Brian McCann and Chipper Jones more than any other player, and that the marketing campaigns pretty clearly focus on Mac over Heyward (who is damaged goods for promotional purposes, at least until he rebounds a little this year) or Freeman (who is new, not local like Mac, and sort of butt-ugly to boot.)

    My point is that there are more considerations at play for an actual team with real world marketing goals and concerns than just cutting the McCann column from the layout and replacing it with “Gattis.”

  83. 83
    csg Says:

    Question – Is Lynchburg suppose to be a hitters paradise? Braves have 7 guys with an OPS over .850.

    Evan Gattis, C – 1.363
    Matt Weaver, 2B – 1.255
    Tommy La Stella, 2B – 1.016
    Robby Hefflinger, FL – .947
    Kyle Rose, CF – .939
    Edward Salcedo, 3B – .906
    Nick Ahmed, SS – .864

    Some small samples there of course, but its encouraging.

  84. 84
    csg Says:

    Yohan Flande – 15.2IP 5H 0ER 7BB 16K

  85. 85
    krussell Says:

    The fans will show up if we win (for the most part), and won’t if we don’t. It doesn’t matter who plays catcher. Nobody goes to the park for the sole purpose of seeing McCann play. Also there’s very little Braves marketing to begin with, and the little that does exist would feature Heyward/Freeman in a post-Chipper/post-McCann era. I would certainly trade down for a league-average catcher if it meant we could lock up 1B and RF for a decent number of years.

    But since it’s other-people’s-money I would vote for keeping all of them.

  86. 86
    spike Says:

    St Louis has 5 over 900 and 6 over 830 with no DH.

  87. 87
    Smitty Says:

    The Braves should approach Freeman, Heyward and McCann in the offseason (if they have the solid years we hope they will have) and try and lock all three up. Freeman and Heyward would be higher on my list.

  88. 88
    Stu Says:

    By making the walk intentional, you lose the great possibility of him getting himself out.

    This is the succinct point which I’ve been unsuccinctly trying to make.

    …and will continue trying to make!

    Yeah, maybe McDonald gets a hit — but probably not. Because he’s terrible. Even when ahead in the count.

    And it’s not about trying to prevent them from clearing the pitcher. (Where do you come up with some of these straw men?) It’s about not giving away a baserunner and taking away all margin for error by loading the bases. You know, the margin for error that’s helpful to “a young pitcher who almost got hit in the groin with a lined smash back up the middle and is currently all over the place.”

  89. 89
    Stu Says:

    I just looked it up, and it’s even better than I thought: He’s hitting .198 in 240 career post-2-0 PAs.

  90. 90
    John R. Says:

    Count me among those who don’t want to lock up our big money in a catcher, even The Best Catcher In Baseball Brian McCann.

    If Heyward puts his sophomore slump definitively behind him, and Freeman proves he’s for real, and Prado firms up his status as a flexible and stabilizing force in our lineup, those are the guys I’d pour money into. At his best, McCann plays only 4 out of every 5 games. Catchers aren’t everyday players and if I was in charge of payroll, I wouldn’t pay them everyday money once we started getting into the eight-figure annual salary zone.

  91. 91
    sansho1 Says:

    Bill James recently took on the topic of bat speed, saying that it has gotten too much emphasis in recent years — and that the concept of keeping the bat in the strike zone longer (by leveling off their swing and slowing the bat down) is a valid one which many players would benefit from adopting. This made me think of McCann. His swing appears slow to me, but it seems to be on the same plane as the pitch flight, and so he makes solid contact a lot of the time.

  92. 92
    urlhix Says:

    @87, That about sums it up.

    It was pretty obvious to me that after almost getting hit in the junk Delgado was rattled.

    Understandable.

    Let the man work through it. Hell, you have 1st base open. All that IBB did was make it worse.

  93. 93
    Nick Says:

    @88

    Yes, but Kennedy is hitting .156 for his career. We can argue all day about the value of the extra baserunner, but Delgado was inarguably more likely to get Kennedy out than McDonald. With two outs in the inning, that’s really all that matters IMO. Yes, there was a good possibility that he’d have gotten McDonald out. There was an even greater possibility that he would get Kennedy out.

    In any event, if you’d have picked McDonald, fine. It’s hardly a stupid move to walk him and face Kennedy, though.

  94. 94
    urlhix Says:

    It’s a stupid move because it was unnecessary. Why remove the 80% chance of an out? Especially considering how hot our offense has been.

    Sure, they may score two runs, but so what? I’d bet that our bats can handle it better this year.

    /Fraidycatball

  95. 95
    sdp Says:

    Josh Hamilton is on pace for 80 homers.

  96. 96
    Bethany Says:

    Jesus, guys, it was a defensible move and if you haven’t noticed, we are awesome. We have two five game winning streaks. Life goes on. There have to be more interesting things to discuss other than McDonald’s BA vs. Kennedy’s.

  97. 97
    Stu Says:

    Uh-oh, looks like someone else’s PgDn key broke.

  98. 98
    Bethany Says:

    Discussing the shape of Fredi’s goatee would be a more interesting conversation.

  99. 99
    urlhix Says:

    Like how much Bostonians suck?

  100. 100
    urlhix Says:

    Chip looks like even more of an idiot with that bowtie.

  101. 101
    justhank Says:

    @33 – y’all need to reread #33. This is Gospel Truth (and the reason we didn’t make the playoffs last year).
    ————-

    UK atop SEC Baseball standings. My, what well-rounded excellence (you “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” fans know what I’m talking about) we are.

  102. 102
    urlhix Says:

    I thought @33 was sarcasm since we swept the Brewers and Rockies for 4 games each last year.

  103. 103
    csg Says:

    Pastornicky sitting for the 3rd straight game.

  104. 104
    urlhix Says:

    p.s. where did edit go?

  105. 105
    csg Says:

    Where is Brooks Conrad?

  106. 106
    Bethany Says:

    @103 The broken header has to do with the edit function.

  107. 107
    Adam R Says:

    I’m sorry I missed the whole extension discussion, after more or less provoking it. I agree with the consensus…maybe I might be an outlier to suggest we should do Freeman now if there’s only room for one and wait on Heyward until at least midseason, no matter what.

    Also, these late games suck.

  108. 108
    Rusty S. Says:

    I will pitch around a page, and hope it gets itself out, but an intentional PgDn is sheer lunacy.

  109. 109
    Bethany Says:

    Way to go, Freddie!

  110. 110
    Bethany Says:

    Come on Jason, make them pay.

  111. 111
    csg Says:

    Good AB from Diaz there

  112. 112
    mravery Says:

    Weak.

  113. 113
    urlhix Says:

    Swung at ball four there.

  114. 114
    Bethany Says:

    Rats.

  115. 115
    csg Says:

    Thats what a good changeup will do. Gotta look opposite field and sit on that pitch.

  116. 116
    Bethany Says:

    Ump has a tiny zone tonight, not good news for JJ.

  117. 117
    urlhix Says:

    Now this is someone you pitch around.

  118. 118
    Stu Says:

    Jurrjens is just so, so awful.

  119. 119
    csg Says:

    I really havent enjoyed watching JJ pitch so far this season. They need to fix that knee.

  120. 120
    ububba Says:

    Sure coulda been worse. Freddie saved a run there.

  121. 121
    Bethany Says:

    That could have been worse… Yes, JJ needs to just get the knee fixed because he’s clearly not right.

  122. 122
    urlhix Says:

    He doesn’t look right, for sure. Definitely a touch heavier this year. You can see it in his face.

  123. 123
    RobBroad4th Says:

    Freeman is the man.

  124. 124
    csg Says:

    I do love David Ross though

  125. 125
    urlhix Says:

    BOOM!!!

  126. 126
    ububba Says:

    You give, you get…

  127. 127
    Adam R Says:

    Ross and Hinske both aren’t yet under contract for next year. Both easy decisions.

  128. 128
    Trace Says:

    Free David Ross! (as a pinch hitter).

  129. 129
    RobBroad4th Says:

    How is Jack Wilson starting for a Major League team?

  130. 130
    Bethany Says:

    Well, thank goodness for David Ross.

    Also, more knee swelling for Chipper. Whoever suggested a Madden Bus for Chipper was a wise man.

  131. 131
    csg Says:

    There is ZERO movement to JJ’s pitches.

  132. 132
    csg Says:

    #128 – Because someone thought Pastornicky was ready even though every scout said otherwise.

  133. 133
    Putter Says:

    JJ is a heck of a batting practice pitcher right now…

  134. 134
    Stu Says:

    130—They move pretty quickly in the other direction, off the bat.

  135. 135
    Tomas Says:

    Damn, JJ, this is going to be a long night.

  136. 136
    csg Says:

    #133 – Very true.

  137. 137
    ububba Says:

    Bonehead play by Heyward there, too…

  138. 138
    csg Says:

    DL him

  139. 139
    Stu Says:

    I said this last time, but I dread every single one of his starts.

  140. 140
    urlhix Says:

    JJ doesn’t have it tonight.

  141. 141
    joelk Says:

    Vin Scully keeps calling David Ross, McCann.

  142. 142
    ububba Says:

    Enter the Cuban fatman?

  143. 143
    Parish Says:

    Jurrjens is just not good right now. DL when Hudson returns?

  144. 144
    Trace Says:

    Why did the pitcher bunt?

  145. 145
    Putter Says:

    This sad part is I don’t think any of us are surprised by JJ and his hit-ability, except for the fact no one has gone yard off him yet

  146. 146
    Tomas Says:

    Right now I have more faith in Livan than JJ, sad as that is.

  147. 147
    PeteOrr Says:

    This is making the decision about whether to stay up or not very easy. Maybe Scully on the radio while falling asleep. Definitely no desire to watch this though.

  148. 148
    John R. Says:

    We’ll never see Ross, arguably our best bat on the bench most nights, pinch hit because it would require management to overturn decades of conventional wisdom. It would require them to admit that hoarding your backup catcher for the rare-to-the-point-of-it’ll-never-happen event of needing to go to your emergency catcher has kind of always been silly.

  149. 149
    csg Says:

    Let Medlen start and call up Flande

  150. 150
    Parish Says:

    Two outs in this inning and neither were due to Jurrjens’ pitching.

  151. 151
    Jeremy Says:

    Thank you Dee Gordon.

  152. 152
    csg Says:

    #147 – But how can they explain using Bmac to PH on every one of his off nights?

  153. 153
    John R. Says:

    In non-”JJ is sucking right now” discussion:

    I was watching replays just now on MLB Network. Cody Ross hits a homerun and does that dickish little bat flip he’s famous for. Both Harold Reynolds and Ron Gant snickered that he’d deserve some kind of retribution for it.

    Little shrimp would deserve it.

  154. 154
    Parish Says:

    C’mon Struggla.

  155. 155
    RobBroad4th Says:

    According to Vin Scully, the kids use such hip terms as “yucky.” Gotta love the guy.

  156. 156
    John R. Says:

    Joe Mather delivers the game-winning, bottom of the ninth, two-run single, ladies and gentlemen.

  157. 157
    Stu Says:

    Is there any chance Jurrjens makes it out of this inning?

  158. 158
    Stu Says:

    Jurrjens BABIP’d his way through Kemp and Ethier rather nicely.

  159. 159
    ububba Says:

    Well, that was one of the shakier 1-2-3 innings you’ll ever see.

  160. 160
    Stu Says:

    I would absolutely pinch-hit for Jurrjens here.

  161. 161
    NickH Says:

    Gee, sure would be nice to have a shortstop who could OPS .600…

  162. 162
    Putter Says:

    IF we could only get some kind of production from our shortstops…..Any chance they give Simmons a shot sooner rather than later?

  163. 163
    bonitis Says:

    Sutton and Powell are discussing one of our favorite topics–reluctance of MLB managers to use backup catchers as PH.

    They mentioned MIL’s Ron Roenicke and his regular usage of Kottaras in that role. I got to thinking, and I can’t even remember the last time a manager was forced to use his emergency catcher. It’s like withholding relievers because you are afraid to send Adam Laroche to the mound as number 13. Despite what we all want to see, it’s not going to happen!

  164. 164
    Jeremy Says:

    This is officially frustrating.

  165. 165
    Adam M Says:

    Not pinch hitting for Jurrjens there effectively sacrificed the opportunity. What are the odds Jurrjens even makes it through the 5th?

  166. 166
    david Says:

    kinda getting tired seeing Heyward in the 6-hole, btw…

  167. 167
    NickH Says:

    @161 I think Simmons needs more time to develop – he’s barely putting up a .600 OPS in the minors right now. However, I think he’s got a chance to be really valuable, especially if he can learn to walk / improve his OBP… he could be, dare I say it, Elvis Andrus.

  168. 168
    NickH Says:

    JJ, I hate you. Please invent a time machine, go back to 2011 and trade yourself for something of value.

    G’night, all.

  169. 169
    Jeremy Says:

    When’s the last time Jurrjens has had a swinging strike?

  170. 170
    Stu Says:

    Good thing you left Jurrjens in to bunt last inning, Fredi.

    And the shape of your goatee is terrible.

  171. 171
    RobBroad4th Says:

    Woof.

  172. 172
    Big D Says:

    I really want to stop watching, but I also really want to keep listening to Vin Scully….Scully wins out (for now).

  173. 173
    Nick Says:

    Why disable Jurrjens when Hudson comes back? Why not just option him to the minors?

  174. 174
    Tomas Says:

    Slop time!

  175. 175
    Jeremy Says:

    Per Scully, Jurrjens had 2 swinging strikes.

  176. 176
    Nick Says:

    For those of you not watching on TV, Jurrjens’ fastball was straight as a string, and he couldn’t get any of his other stuff down.

  177. 177
    Scump Says:

    Looks like the last game against the Braves woke AZ’s bats up. Suck it, Phillies.

  178. 178
    RobBroad4th Says:

    I felt bad about dropping JJ on my fantasy team. Past tense.

  179. 179
    Tad Says:

    Gonzalex the worst Mgr I have ever seen .. cant make a decision ot the right one .. JJ struggling and you dont pinch hit for him there with a rested bullpen .. wow .. Gonzalex is bad !!!

  180. 180
    Tad Says:

    Also .. kelly Johnson cant catch a pop fly while in Atl and he makes a spectacular play for Jays on sprtscenter .. figures !!!!

  181. 181
    Tomas Says:

    Somehow Jurrjens was better than Kyle Kendrick tonight, 11 hits 1 walk 7 runs in 3 innings of “work”.

  182. 182
    PeteOrr Says:

    I feel really awful for agreeing with Tad about Gonzalex. Love you Chipper.

  183. 183
    bonitis Says:

    We have too many options to give Jair another start.

  184. 184
    Scump Says:

    Recently someone complained about the Gameday app giving Venters’ slider a “Nasty Factor” of 17, I think it was. Capuano’s first pitch to Heyward got a 100. Are they using some sort of inverse log scale?

  185. 185
    jjschiller Says:

    Why option him to the minors when you can release him, and guarantee I never have to watch him again?

  186. 186
    david Says:

    well that was interesting

  187. 187
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Seems like the only way for Livan to get a double play is to allow a single to the outfield. I hope he doesn’t try to learn from that experience.

  188. 188
    RobBroad4th Says:

    That was the worst baserunning ever! Thank God!

  189. 189
    ububba Says:

    Talk about running yourself out of an inning. Weirdest doubleplay I’ve seen in a while…

  190. 190
    Tomas Says:

    183 — That was me, though I wasn’t so much complaining as more getting a chuckle out of it. I have no idea what they use to compute their “nasty factor” but going by that one Livan’s slider is like miles nastier than Jonny’s. Which is another chuckler.

  191. 191
    Nick Says:

    Unless I’m missing something, Jurrjens should have all three of his option years left. He was called up to Detroit from Toledo and added to the 40-man roster in August of ’07, which would’ve activated the use of his options if he were ever sent back to the minors, but he hasn’t been. He was on Detroit’s roster for the rest of the year, we traded for him that offseason, he was immediately added to our 25-man roster, and he hasn’t been sent down for anything other than a rehab start (which doesn’t count) since.

    So we would not have to disable him and send him to extended spring training or whatever. We could option him to Gwinnett and he could work out his issues down there in actual competitive games. Seems kind of like a no-brainer to me. I don’t think I would’ve been in favor of it until tonight, but watching him tonight, he’s got serious issues which I’m not sure we want him working through in Atlanta.

    Incidentally, what the hell kind of baserunning was that? Thanks for keeping us in the game, LA.

  192. 192
    RobBroad4th Says:

    Is Pastornicky really any worse than Wilson?

  193. 193
    PeteOrr Says:

    Oh god, I’m going to vomit watching Livan hit. I hope they call something 3ft outside a strike on him.

  194. 194
    jjschiller Says:

    How did we suck so much so fast?

  195. 195
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Tony Gwynn Jr. needs to stop having a beard right now. It’s like a mini-Brian Wilson beard.

  196. 196
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Sluggla!

  197. 197
    Parish Says:

    We just needed a few more dink hits in front of our homers.

  198. 198
    RobBroad4th Says:

    Juan Uribe’s walk-up song is Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People” apparently. Who would’ve thought.

  199. 199
    RobBroad4th Says:

    That looked like a strike to me.

  200. 200
    Big D Says:

    Weeeeelllll that’s it for me.

  201. 201
    kc Says:

    @190 That’s exactly what they just did. Hope JJ will work things out in AAA.

  202. 202
    Timo Says:

    Yes, yes, yes!

  203. 203
    Bethany Says:

    Well, all things considered, JJ getting sent down is the best possible solution, outside of fixing the knee.

  204. 204
    Bethany Says:

    Sorry for the double post, but has anyone heard from Mac? How is he feeling?

  205. 205
    Marc Schneider Says:

    What is it with the talking heads on MLB Network? Larry Bowa’s comment about JJ was “he needs to start pitching with some urgency.” What the hell does that mean? Oh, you mean he is actually supposed to get people out? He forgot that the season actually has started? That’s some insight. How do these guys get paid for such idiocy? And knowing that an increasing portion of hardcore baseball fans are into advanced statistics, how can MLB (and ESPN) keep running these nitwit ex-jocks out who contribute nothing? Especially Bowa and Mitch Williams. MLB did a show about the World Series where Joe Carter took Mitch deep to win the Series and they had both Carter and Williams in the studio and Williams is talking about how he knew how to pitch to Carter and had his number, blah, blah, blah. And, then, of course, bam! What a moron.

    Game sucked, JJ sucks,Fredi sucks, Wren sucks, call off season.

  206. 206
    sdp Says:

    @204: one fo the worst things about baseball. If you don’t have any kind of baseball pedigree, good luck ever getting a job in baseball–no matter how skilled you may be. Meanwhile, asses like Bowa and Williams clog up the airwaves with their nonsense.

  207. 207
    csg Says:

    Why disable Jurrjens when Hudson comes back? Why not just option him to the minors? – Nick

    JJ couldnt get minor league hitters out right now. Also, his orthopaedic shoes and that knee brace isnt fixing anything. They need to go in and fix that knee. DL him, fix that knee, and recoup some of those cost from insurance and hope he comes back healthy.

  208. 208
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    In fairness, that’s Bowa’s answer to everything. That’s how he alienated the entire Phillies clubhouse. If you don’t succeed, it means you weren’t trying hard enough. Simple cause and effect.

    Mac’s last tweet was 17 hours ago. He often updates his twitter (@bravesjournal) more often than the blog.

  209. 209
    Smitty Says:

    JJ’s knee has been an issue since the Reagan administration. I think it is time to get it fixed.

  210. 210
    Adam M Says:

    @207 So you’re saying he’s an idiot. Which is the point, and raises, again, the original question: why is MLB Network putting him on the air? I suppose their viewership isn’t into any kind of statistics, or logic for that matter, of any kind.

    @206 I’m not convinced this is all just injury. His fastball velocity has declined steadily over the past four years, and so too, for that matter, has its sink. David Lee over at CAC posted this fascinating nugget today:

    In 2008, Jurrjens’ fastball had enough sinking movement that Brooks Baseball classified it as a sinker. He received 57% ground balls per balls in play on what you could say were his best-moving fastballs, and he threw them at a speed of almost 93 miles per hour. In 2009, his best-moving fastballs maintained a 48% GB/BIP rate at almost 92 miles per hour, a slight decrease in both but still pretty solid.

    Fast forward to 2012 after a combined 268.1 innings between 2010 and 2011 due to injuries. Brooks Baseball’s classification has Jurrjens’ fastballs basically grouped together because the movement isn’t there. Either way, it all comes out to a GB/BIP rate in the 30-40% range with a line drive per ball in play rate at 33%, while throwing at a speed of less than 90 miles per hour.

    This is a serious problem, not only for the Braves–who expected to get something out of Jurrjens this year, either in the form of a trade return or production–but also for Jurrjens himself. His future ain’t looking so bright right now.

  211. 211
    csg Says:

    Frank and Fredi need to get on the same page.

    DOB – “He comes back in, what, six days, something like that?” Gonzalez said of Hudson. “There’s a lot of stuff that we could do from here. We just talked; the game was over 15 minutes ago. We’re not going to make any crazy decisions right now.”

    Twenty-five minutes later, the Braves announced Jurrjens was optioned to Triple-A.

  212. 212
    csg Says:

    #209 – You may be 100% right. Id still like to see them try and get him where he doesnt need orthopaedic shoes and a kneebrace to be able to go out there and throw. I believe he’s lost his velocity and movement because he cant push off the rubber. He’s throwing all upper body it looks like.

    So what happens if he sucks it up at Gwinnett? Braves just release him?

  213. 213
    Stu Says:

    You wish they were on the same page, but at least it’s not the completely-worthless one calling the shots.

  214. 214
    Bethany Says:

    @210 DOB addressed this on twitter. Fredi spoke to the press before he spoke to JJ and after he spoke to Wren. He wasn’t going to announce the demotion through the press.

    More allegations against the Saints

    http://deadspin.com/5904424/saints-gm-mickey-loomis-accused-of-eavesdropping-on-visiting-coaches

  215. 215
    Stu Says:

    211—If he sucks for the rest of the year and the doctors don’t think anything’s wrong with him, yeah, he’ll be non-tendered before next season.

  216. 216
    John R. Says:

    #210: Sending JJ to AAA isn’t a crazy decision under the circumstances.

  217. 217
    sdp Says:

    Fredi knew–he hadn’t had a chance to talk to Jurrjens when the media came to the office for their post-game. He wasn’t going to tell DOB and Bowman before Jurrjens.

  218. 218
    Bethany Says:

    If any of you have iPads or iPhones, this animated graphic novel about baseball looks REALLY cool.

    http://www.bottom-of-the-ninth.com

  219. 219
    Dan Says:

    Pity Boras. Just as with Andruw Jones, another Brave playing poorly is going to cost him a lot of money.

  220. 220
    Marc Schneider Says:

    JJ was not a dominant pitcher even when he was pitching well. He was always on the edge. With the injuries and, possibly, just a drop off in stuff, he may have slipped over the edge.

    @209,

    Adam,

    Maybe you are right but it’s hard to believe that people watching the MLB Network are not statistically-oriented. It seems to me the hardcore fan is exactly who MLB is reaching and those are the ones most likely to be into the advanced statistics. But I guess they know their audience better than I do. I just find watching MLB Network a waste most of the time, although I do like it when they have players talking about how to actually play the game. Last night, Harold Reynolds was discussing how the Royals terrible start would likely affect their attendence. Wow, stop the presses, there is a real scoop.

    They throw a small bone to the sabermetric community with “Clubhouse Confidential” but they don’t integrate it into the rest of the network so you end up with utterly insipid fare like “Intentional Talk” which is just the worst show ever; it’s too horrible to even be campy, which I sometimes like. Is this really what MLB Network thinks their fans want? Is it true that this is what they want?

  221. 221
    Seat Painter Says:

    I wonder if Boras will reconsider his ironclad policy of no pre-Free Agency extensions in light of JJ’s decline? Will he tell Hanson to consider a fair extension due to the unherent riskiness of pitching? Probably not, because for every JJ, there’s a Verlander or Price who makes a killing.

    BUT, if Hanson would be willing to sign a reasonable extension, would Wren piss off Bethany and Sam and sign Hanson?

  222. 222
    sdp Says:

    Mark Bradley thinks Jurrjens is a head case.

  223. 223
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Jurrjens clearly has no idea what the hell is wrong. Hey, maybe he isn’t hurt, maybe he has just lost velocity and command. Either way, off the major league roster is where he needs to be, and Gwinnett might be a good place for him to rediscover the strike zone. When I’ve watched him this year, his pitches have still had movement, they just haven’t found the corners like they used to.

  224. 224
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Recapped.

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