From Mark Bowman, the latest news from FantasyLand:
- Before this season started, Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said that Jeff Francoeur would be a key to the team's success. While there's plenty of time for this to prove to be true, Francoeur is in the midst of a three-week slide that has kept him from contributing.
Targeted to serve a reliable run producer, Francoeur has gone 15 games without a multi-RBI performance. This coincides with the fact that he's hit just .206 (13-for-63) with three extra-base hits and six RBIs this month.
"I'm not worried," Francoeur said. "At this point of the season, you're just two or three good games away from getting your average where you want it to be."
But there's also some reason to believe that Francoeur might be pressing to avoid a repeat of the 2008 season, when he produced career-low marks in batting average (.239), homers (11) and on-base percentage plus slugging (.653).
Through his first 18 games this year, Francoeur was hitting .292 with 12 RBIs. Over the course of the past 19 games, he's hit .203 and tallied seven RBIs.
"I think a lot of the guys are trying to do too much right now, instead of just allowing themselves to do what they know they're capable of doing," hitting coach Terry Pendleton said. "That happens when you're not scoring a lot of runs."
There's something touchingly human about stories like this. Francoeur and the people around him think he's going to hit, even though he hasn't ever hit, really, except for three magical months four years ago. Eric Chavez and the people around him seem surprised by the latest awful news, even though the last four seasons have been punctuated by bad news again and again. Livan Hernandez and an assortment of baseball executives continue to behave as if Hernandez is better than dozens of Triple-A pitchers, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Nobody wants to take the humanity out of the game. That said, if you're a fan of the Braves or the A's or the Mets or a dozen other clubs behaving similarly, you might wish your general manager was just a tiny bit less human.