Nate McLouth Whipping Boy FAQ and game thread: July 25, Braves at Marlins

So, Nate McLouth has been named the Official Braves Journal Whipping Boy, the first permanent BJWB since the trade of Jeff Francoeur. Here to answer the questions you might have about this position is me. Take it away, me:

Q: Who else has been the BJWB?

A: Previous Whipping Boys, before Francoeur, have included secret Canadian Chris Reitsma, human implosion grenade “Kim Jong-il”, the oft-injured Mike Hampton, beer aficionado Dan Kolb, pointless shortstop acquisition Rey Sanchez, the strangely immortal Keith Lockhart, and future insane manager Ozzie Guillen.

Q: How does Whipping Boy status relate to the Lockhart Line?

A: While previous Lockhart Line violators have always been BJWBs, it is not a requirement for the position. Reitsma never crossed the Lockhart Line. Until the Line is crossed, all criticism of the BJWB will be fair. That is, we will point out that McLouth sucks, and will make fun of his play, but will not attack him as a human being.

Q: Wait, Hampton never crossed the line either and you were super mean to him.

A: Yeah, sorry about that. I was a bit frustrated.

Q: What about the Doghouse?

A: The Doghouse is more of a revolving door sort of thing. Anybody who screws up a lot or goes into intractable slumps can go in the Doghouse, but will probably remove himself fairly quickly. Yunel Escobar, before he was traded, was in and out of the Doghouse a lot.

Q: How is BJWB status achieved?

A: While continued poor play is a must, it also requires that the player be given a key role on the team and continue to not thrive in it. This isn’t really the player’s call, of course, though they could always retire. Anyway, just being a terrible bench player, ala Greg Norton, does not qualify for BJWB status. Nor does someone who, like Kenshin Kawakami pitches so little that he may have been kidnapped by aliens.

Q: What about Jo-Jo?

A: Reyes’ appearances were too sporadic for full-time BJWB status.

Q: Is BJWB status permanent?

A: Not necessarily. Nobody has actually removed themselves from the BJWB post due to their play, but it’s always possible. All Whipping Boys have been players who had accomplished something prior to achieving the title — okay, maybe not Francoeur, but even Lockhart had — and returning to that level would, theoretically, remove BJWB status. But don’t count on it.

Q: Can only a player be the Whipping Boy?

A: Only a player can be the permanent Whipping Boy. However, interim BJWB status has been granted to non-players Chip Caray and Brian Snitker at times.

286 thoughts on “Nate McLouth Whipping Boy FAQ and game thread: July 25, Braves at Marlins”

  1. “[F]uture insane manager Ozzie Guillen”

    Does this mean that Ozzie is not insane now? Or do you think that he will be the Braves’ manager in the future?

    I’m not sure I would mind Ozzie being the Braves’ manager.

  2. I’m glad you posted the FAQ to clarify stuff :) Entertaining as always.

    Hopefully they can hit Volstad hard and get back into that tired bullpen for a win.

  3. Braves lineup: 1 Prado 2B, 2. Heyward RF, 3. Hinske LF, 4. McCann C, 5. Glaus 1B, 6. Gonzalez SS, 7. Conrad 3B 8. Cabrera CF 9. Jurrjens P

    Folk hero rewarded with a start. Hinske batting third presumably because nobody else remotely fits the profile, except the guy batting second.

  4. Not that batting order matters too much, but I would just move McCann up to 3rd and everyone else up a spot.

  5. By the way, Mac, you should repost the Whipping Boy FAQ as a special page like the Glossary, so we can revisit it and you can update it when McOut relinquishes the crown.

  6. Bill James or Rob Neyer once said that optimizing the batting order doesn’t make much difference — maybe one or two games in the standings. That always struck me as an odd statement. If you were a manager, and you knew that this one thing could make a one- or two-game difference in the standings, wouldn’t you do everything you could to get it right?

  7. I’m sure most managers set up the best batting order they can, some just have different opinions on what works best and some probably take other things into considerations than the game at hand.

  8. My understanding is that the difference between a good batting order, like the ones normally made by managers, and the optimal batting order is just a few runs a year, less than a game.

  9. Best thing about the line-up is that Bobby seems to be not throwing in the towel on a Sunday game. I have a funny feeling The Kid is going deep today, as he looks to be locked in right now. Just seems time for him to elevate one of those wicked line drive singles a bit.

  10. I think managers try to construct a “second best” betting order that may not be optimal but allows players to feel comfortable in particular roles and makes sure no one’s ego gets too bruised. As we saw with Escobar, unhappy players don’t tend to perform as well as they might. Keeping the clubhouse happy and everyone working hard probably gets back most (if not more) of the runs you lose by having a suboptimal lineup.

  11. I don’t like all them lefties back to back to back… but I guess the Fish only have the one loogy, and Diaz will pinch for Hinske then.

  12. As I watch pregame…I have to think Ron Gant could suit up today and outperform the OF on the Braves roster that is pretending to be Nate McClouth.

  13. Did anyone see that story about Louth is the cleanest Brave and how McCann is so messy that it takes up Louth’s space. Even McCann thinks he is a waste of space.

  14. Sosa seems like a reach. He went 13-3, 2.55 one season, crapped out the next (3-10, 5.46). He has since become a Braves double agent making horrific stops with our division mates (NYM, FLA, WSH). If he can somehow find is way on to the Phillies for a 15 G, 8.50 ERA stint, I vote to take him off the list.

    Anyway, at the beginning of the season the odds had to be pretty long that there would be an official whipping boy not named Melky.

  15. If anyone missed the Kyle Davies era in Atlanta, Volstad is doing a first rate impression right now.

  16. Hate the call but let’s be honest, Conrad was going down. The Braves strand so many base-runners.

  17. The real key at-bat was Alex Gonzalez. The guy couldn’t find the strike zone with a map, and he swung on the first pitch at a ball outside the zone, and couldn’t even push it to the outfield for a sac fly.

    I love his defense, dislike his offense, but obviously he’s been exactly as advertised.

  18. I’ve been getting the old, pre-blogging software, work on Braves Journal together in order to eventually copy it over, and there’s no question that Ozzie Guillen was my first whipping boy. There’s a lot less volume but in most of my entries there’s something about how he couldn’t play, and a mini-celebration when he was cut.

  19. The Marlins’ announcers, by the way, are beyond stupid. It’s almost shocking–and it would be if I didn’t have to endure Chip Carey.

  20. I am going to say something heretic.

    The marlins announcers (both of them) are worst than Chip.

    I did not think it was even possible.

  21. Let’s not forget that Bobby occasionally brings Melky Cabrera into the game late as a “defensive” sub.

  22. #48 I agree. One of them said a bit earlier that the Braves really improved their defense with the addition of Gonzalez!

  23. “If the Braves have to hit in the rain then isn’t it only fair that the Marlins do too?”

    Chip, isn’t it harder to pitch in the rain, because of gripping the ball? I guess it would be “fair” that way too, but still…

  24. @58 I was thinking the same thing. In my experience, pitching and fielding is likely harder in the rain than hitting.

  25. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Are you serious? Two seeing eye singles and a walk, aided by some awful home plate umpiring, and then a bases-clearing triple? Awful.

  26. And a stoppage of play to fix the mound after all the rain. Seriously, what a joke of an organization. I don’t even feel like we’re playing baseball when we play down there. It just sucks. I really, really dislike the Marlins.

  27. And Volstad couldn’t find the plate at all. He did nothing to deserve any of his calls.

    Hanley should have been out, no questions asked, based on the ump consistently calling that pitch (including to Brooks with the bases loaded).

  28. If the ump was calling it both ways, Jurrjens would have like 8 balls and 50 strikes.

    Maybe just 30 strikes, since the inning would have been over 15 minutes ago.

  29. Did the home plate umpire change? I stepped out after Conrad was called out on 2 marginal pitches. When I came back Jurrjens is getting squeezed.

    Also, is there a more unlikable team than the Marlins? Cody Ross, Wes Smelms, Dan Uggla, Chris Coglan….yuck!

  30. Nah. Screwing the Braves in the 1st, screwing the Braves in the 4th… seems like the same guy to me.

  31. Everything about Sun Life Stadium and the Marlins is detestable. But if you want a margarita with flies and mosquitoes mixed in with tequila, there’s no better place.

  32. Reason 4565098 I hate Chip: when he thinks some inane thing is funny, but tries to keep it together, he gets this stupid warble in his voice that makes me wish his vocal cords would spontaneously combust.

    Stupid crap teal baseball in a football stadium

  33. Bobby needs to tell Jurrjens when he’s lifting him, likely after this inning. Then, after JJ gets the third out, he needs to bust out the wrestling taunts. The more disrespectful, the better.

  34. Yes, provocation! OK, let’s go after Uggla, Coghlan, Sanchez, Helms, and for the grand finale, fastball down the middle while McCann dives out of the way. Surprise!

  35. Mistake not to pinch-hit, unless Bobby knows it’s going to stop raining. If Jurrjens hits, the game gets delayed, and he can’t go back out…

  36. Bobby thinks he’s saving the ‘pen by leaving him in, and thinks we can score later off of the relievers.

  37. 2.82 Leverage index at Jair’s at bat. Second biggest at-bat at that point in the game, so far.

  38. Can anyone tell me what happened to Kawakami? I think he’s only pitched once in the last month. Was he traded?

  39. Must be a terrible feeling to be a manager w/an awful bullpen in a high leverage situation.

    EDIT: Damnit

  40. Glaus has a double and a lineout to third. I think that would be a better argument most other days, but he’s been good today without necessarily getting the results.

  41. Although I do think we should try to give Glaus either a short DL stint or several days off. He can’t really move at this point.

  42. Looked pretty sharp K-wise. I think Moylan looks better now than he did in June. Still a little concerned about last year’s workload rearing its head, though.

  43. Peter, we know *someone* on the Marlins is just going to kill the Braves every series, it’s just a question of who.

  44. Sorry, Adam, but Nunez and Cederstrom combined couldn’t outweigh the sheer awfulness that is Louth.

  45. Louth’s swing is so fucked up that I wonder how it ever worked. I mean, what a stupid, stupid way to try to hit a baseball.

  46. Sanchez needs to be made less comfortable. Surprised Moylan didn’t show him something inside the way he was diving.

  47. Bobby Cox managed to waste the Braves best hitter and best right-handed bat in 20 awful seconds.

  48. Nate McMakesmewanttokillmyself

    You know I had a dream last night that the Braves got Bautista and I felt so good.

  49. I don’t think bringing in Saito is a bad decision, but he seems to pick up his losses in situations like this.

  50. McLouth is forcing Wren’s hand here. Wouldn’t be surprised if something was percolating despite the lack of chatter from the writers. I wouldn’t be surprised if McLouth didn’t go back the other way with some money in hand in a “change of scenery/fresh start” move. The Royals are probably salivating for him and KK.

  51. Right now Louth and Melky are both in the game, while Diaz and Hinke are both out. This is a worst-case scenario. It didn’t have to be this way.

  52. If we can just get through this inning…

    Hensley and Nunez are both done for the Marlins. Pretty much everyone else sucks in their bullpen.

  53. I feel like Gary Cedarstrom going to get a flaming bag of poop left on his doorstop signed jointly by the Braves and Marlins.

  54. Even the Marlins’ announcers, who seem to be only mildly interested in the game or any of the details that make baseball cool, think the ump is bad. That’s saying something.

  55. I would love to challenge trade McLouth. I just don’t know who would be a realistic trading partner.

    Cederstrom earning the callout from Joe. Nice.

  56. Nice job Chip…telling us how the Marlins have had no hits since the fourth inning just before they get a hit. Typical….

  57. Well, he’s on the other side of Prado and Heyward. If they can’t get it done, we deserve a Louth at bat.

  58. There are scars on my knuckles from when I punched a cabinet after a Sosa meltdown in ’06. There will be more permanent scars if McLouth GIDPs here.

  59. I’ve been out all day following the game on my iPhone. Seriously, why was that piece of crap McCout hitting after Heyward?

    God I fucking hate his guts.

  60. Is Omar Infante unavailable today? How much better would that situation have JUST gone if Infante was hitting there?

  61. The worst part was, McLouth hit that ball hard, it was just bad luck (as opposed to every other at-bat he’s had since returning from the DL).

    This has seriously been one of the most frustrating games of the season. I blame it on the Marlins. And Cedarstrom.

  62. That should do it for that piece of garbage McLousy….2-0, bases loaded, you are hitting less than your weight and you ground into a double play. Bobby should have taken away his bat before the 2-0 pitch.

  63. This beats any of Francouer’s suckitude for that three week stretch he had. At least he was mainly making only one out at a time.

  64. Mac, That appears to have worked out great for us. Good lord I want to bitch slap Cox in the face for that.

  65. Well, it’s looking more and more like he will be the whipping boy for only 6 more days at most.

  66. Seriously. I never want to see him on the field again for the Braves. That was the last straw.

  67. Mc#$@ just cant be sent out on the field anymore.
    He needs to be traded for a piece of meat or designated for assignment, sent to the minors and get 100 at bats down there and maybe get a september call up.

  68. And now Chavez is in the game. I’m in shock.

    Seriously, though: both McLouth and Chavez are in the game for high leverage situations. This is awful managing.

  69. Seriously, could Bobby not have seen who was about to walk to the plate and had the freaking guts to have yanked that piece of crap out of the game & instead put the reliable bat of Infante in?

    And nowof course the Marlins, who I hate hate hate with a fiery passion, hate every single speck of their franchise, city, people, lack of fans, stadium, announcers…are about to take 2 of 3 from us.

  70. McLouth and now Jesse Chavez. Boy, Bobby really wants to get on that plane already. We’re in first place DESPITE Bobby’s managing.

  71. McLouth-Trade him for a full spittoon? A bag of used balls? A moldy glove? He must have pictures of Cox in a compromising position.

  72. Wren, I love you and I think you’re a pretty good GM. There’s not many I would rather have up there than you.

    But if you don’t fix this shit I will burn Turner Field to the ground and throw rocks at your dog.

  73. Alex,

    I think Bobby has done a good job this year, but there have been a couple of games of late he has blown it. Of course, this one is on the ump and Lousy

  74. The last Braves with more PAs and a lower OPS than Louth this year appears to be Terry Blocker, 1988.

    And I see Louth caused this team to give up hope.

  75. With all the arms we have in Gwinnett, there is literally NO EXCUSE that Chavez wears an Atlanta uni.

  76. Chavez with three consecutive appearances. Bobby left his brain in Georgia.

  77. Could that loss have been any MORE predictable? Burn in hell, Cox, McOUT, Chavez and the Marlins franchise. I fucking hate you all. What a shit loss.

  78. No, I’m sorry. For as bad as the ump was, and as frustrating the Marlins are to play, this one is on the Braves. McLouth should never have been in the game. Diaz should never have pinch run for McCann. Chavez should have been the last option.

    This was a self-inflicted loss. The third since the AS Break.

  79. i don’t know why the Marlins waited until now to celebrate. We had already conceded the win when we threw Chavez out there.

  80. Kimbrel and Blanco up; Chavez and McLouth out. Frank, Bobby — it’s not that hard.

  81. Something has to be done about McLouth. I don’t think I hated Francoeur this much.

    …well maybe Francoeur, but really, I fucking hate this tool. All those stupid grimaces and head shakes he does before, during, and after all of his epic fails….STOP MAKING THOSE STUPID FACES YOU LIMPWRISTED LOSER.

  82. So much for Bobby preaching winning the series……unbelievable. Now get ready for Strasburg on Tues.

  83. I’ve never been too much of a blame Bobby kind of guy, but today was just terrible managing. His loyalty reminds me of the last era of Bobby Bowden. Loyalty to the detriment of their teams.

  84. And Kawakami, meanwhile, is still on the roster. WTF? My little sister, who knows nothing about baseball, could have accidentally managed this game better than Bobby Cox.

  85. In the two highest-leverage spots today, Bobby sent up a pitcher and a guy batting .169. I’ll forgive the Jurrjens decision, since he got through seven, but not the McLouth call.

  86. Might have gotten lost in the Chavez whirlwind tour, but McLouth was removed for Infante after his GIDP, which would seem to be a weaker defensive setup.

    Either he pulled something trying to beat the throw (at least he was hustling?), he punched a wall (heartfelt thanks from Braves Nation), or Bobby finally got sick of him (again, thanks).

    Wait, I think it was a double switch. Yep, pitcher in the cleanup spot.

  87. 2 stupid decisions and others .. all these pinch runner changes only accomplish one thing getting your best hitters out of lineup .. ex mccann .. the stupid decisions .1st you leave a 327 hitter an ALL StarInfante on bench when you got a 168 hitter who is struggling hit .. then that 168 struggling hitter swings at a 2-0 pitch with bases loaded .. STUPID STUPID

  88. Thank goodness we brought in McClouth. It would suck to have to blame someone else for a loss.

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