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Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Has Frenchy finally lost his job?

As Mark Bradley reports, it looks like Jeff Francoeur has finally, mercifully, lost his job: For too much of this season, the Braves had five holes in the lineup: Casey Kotchman, Kelly Johnson, and the entire outfield: Garret Anderson, Jordan Schafer, and Francoeur.

Schafer's now back in the minors (and struggling), having been replaced by Nate McLouth. Johnson's been replaced at second base by Martin Prado, who's a superior player. And now Francoeur seems to have been replaced by Matt Diaz, also a superior player. So now, somewhat suddenly, the Braves have only two holes in the lineup, and there's at least some reason to believe that Anderson and Kotchman will play better in the second half of the season.

I wouldn't give up on the Braves yet. They're only five games out of first place. They have five good starting pitchers and a solid bullpen. They're just 11th in the National League in scoring, but they're going to move up in that category with just reasonable health and luck. It's a shame that it took them so long to get Schafer ouf of the lineup, and to give regular work to Prado and Diaz. But it might not be too late.