135 thoughts on “Oh no, Lowe game thread: Aug.”

  1. Losing 2 out of 3 to the Cubs during Braves History Is Awesome weekend still sticks in the craw. Beating the Giants 3 out of 4 comes close to making up for it, but now come the Diamondbacks and what I feel is a true test of this team’s mettle. We’ve got our lineup in place, let’s see what we can do.

    Go get ’em, D-Lo!

    PS: You know what we need right about now? A good, long winning streak. We haven’t had one longer than six all year. Maybe we won’t sweep the Diamondbacks, but looking past them we’ve got 7 games against the Cubs and Mets, and then 3 against the Nationals who it’s about time we start slapping around with some authority. Let’s rip off 7 or more in a row here, Bravos!

    And one more thing, can’t we get a complete game or two? We’ve only had 16 games this season in which the starter has gone longer than 7 innings. Make it happen!

  2. The little brother in this commercial is apparently child actor turned best relief pitcher in the game, Jonny Venters.

  3. A fun lineup!
    1. Bourn CF, 2. Constanza LF, 3. McCann C, 4. Uggla 2B, 5. Freeman 1B, 6. Jones 3B, 7. Heyward RF, 8. Gonzalez SS, 9. Lowe P

  4. Sitting Prado against a righty? Ok, I’ll grudgingly admit that there’s a method to this madness.

  5. I know Bourn is “leadoff” guy but based on what I’ve seen of Georgie, wouldn’t you rather have him batting in front of Bourn than behind? Perhaps Fredi’s planning on doing a lot of hit and run…

  6. To resume the JHey discussion from last thread/AAR’s piece:

    I maintain that the reason (or at least a major contributing factor) why Heyward’s been sitting is that the shoulder isn’t healthy. It was hurt and giving him trouble. Heyward said so. Then Chipper said, “Get over it, kid. I played through nagging injuries my whole career and it never bit me in the ass,” so Heyward shut up and came off the DL and started playing every day. He never healed fully.

    So it shouldn’t be a problem that he’s given extra time off. And for all of them, “Well he’s not hitting better now!!!”, he’s had like 30 ABs in August. So whatever. He’ll get plenty of starts down the stretch.

    It’s also worth noting that Constanza is, in some sense, real. He won’t ever be a .300 hitter in the majors, but as a defensive replacement/PR/lead-off PH instead of Lugo or whatever, he definitely has value. He’s like a rich man’s Willie Harris.

  7. I think Constanza is capable of hitting .300 at this level. He may not slug over .250 though.

  8. I think we can all agree that if Constanza can keep a good batting average, he’ll be a great piece to have on the team. We all want Jason to return to form, but I also hope Constanza can keep finding ways to get on base and be a 4th outfielder for us.

  9. He’s like a rich man’s Willie Harris.

    Remember in 2007 when Harris was batting in the .370s for the Braves as late as July, and how some delusional people acted like it was for real and sustainable? Who says history doesn’t repeat itself?

  10. Oy, the D-Backs. Every year, even when they suck, they come to Atlanta and embarrass us at least once, usually at a game I’ve paid to attend. I loathe them.

  11. Come to think of it, I have no idea why I didn’t feel the same antipathy toward Willie Harris that I do towards Constanza. Matt Diaz is probably the only player I’ve liked more than Heyward in the last 5 years (non Pete Orr division) and Harris stole about 1/3rd of the PA from Diaz in ’07. I was actually a big fan of both. Maybe I was just a happier person then.

  12. @1 I’m betting we’ll get to see Strasburg in that Washington series, so the Nats might be quite formidable by then.

  13. I thought he was really great the few times I saw him in ’05 and ’06 (tells you how deeply my baseball knowledge ran at that point, though if you squint hard enough, he was actually half decent in ’05), plus I remember he seemed extremely fast, which I enjoyed, and there was a bunch of stories about how he was big card-playing buddies with Chipper or somebody like that, as I remember it anyway. I guess I kind of view those as simpler times, and I remember him fondly as their representative, sub-replacement-level player though he may have actually been.

    Edit: Oh, the Canadian thing didn’t hurt either.

  14. “No Lowe” (or Nolo) would be an inspired nickname choice – as in nolo contendere (“I do not wish to contend”) which is the message sent when he starts.

  15. @8- I don’t doubt that Constanza can maintain a decent batting average. Something like .280 is easily sustainable for him. In the minors, he’s demonstrated a more than competent batting eye, and he’s cut his K-rate a bit in the past two years. As long as he puts the ball in play consistently, he’ll do alright. The reason he never got a real chance before is the complete lack of power in his game, which is still true and why he’ll still never be an every-day player on a good team.

    Maybe a poor man’s Juan Pierre is a better analogy than Harris.

    @7- I think that’s literally impossible.

  16. A more clever somebody than I could compute a .300 BA based just on singles and derive the slg to test that theory, or do a query on B-R and see if it’s been done.

  17. I think Constanza is capable of hitting .300 at this level. He may not slug over .250 though.

    Is this meant to be a joke?

    A player’s slugging percentage can never be lower than their batting average.

  18. Or perhaps those are two separate scenarios: a .300 AVG if we’re lucky, a .250 SLG if we’re not.

  19. Sorry for being AWOL the last few days, guys, and thanks so much for the compliments on the article. After all the discussion on here the last couple weeks — including a long comment that I made and then liberally plagiarized myself — I felt that I had to write about it in a bigger forum. I think it’s really fascinating.

    Also, call me crazy, but I’m happy DOB liked the piece. If he saw it, I have to assume the Braves did too. That’s really cool. I totally missed that DOB commented on it till Stu mentioned that. Thanks.

  20. As to this question in the last thread — AR’s piece is very good. So how do you balance a ‘future cornerstone’s’ development against the need to put your best 9 out there in a playoff race? — what race?

    Also, how about that Minor guy, eh? ‘Dores.

  21. @ 19 Sacrifice fly lower slugging average, not sure about sacrifice bunts. Braves do not think sacrifice flys are manly.

  22. Good point, Stu. I know it was just the Giants, but it was really nice to see Minor have a strong start. I kinda doubt he’ll have a role on the Braves’ playoff team, but it’s looking good for next year. His changeup was filthy against the RH batters, and Minor showed good composure, not allowing a run in the first.

  23. Minor, Beachy, Delgado and Teheran.

    Ya know what? We could probably trade Hanson, JJ and (certainly) Lowe and be just fine.

  24. Stu,

    I was at the game last night, and we got everyone to start calling him “The Commodore”

  25. @24 – Tough to get a sac fly from a 30 foot roller anyway, so those won’t really be an issue for Constanza.

  26. RE: the lineup, you’re probably going to start seeing a lot of this 4-man shuffle between Georgie, Jason, Prado and Chipper. A nice luxury to have, resting players down the stretch. If one of them falters dramatically and stops performing, then the other three become the regulars.

  27. AA Akron (Indians) as a 25 y/o: .282/.378/.342
    AAA Columbus (Indians) as a 26 y/o: .319/.373/.394
    AAA Gwinnett (Braves) as a 27 y/o: .312/.361/.351

    Constanza seems to have found his game at AA two years ago. I see no reason a 300/360/350 isn’t possible in the majors. If you value OBP over SLG, he’s a valuable player in the leadoff spot. Basically a LH Michael Bourn.

  28. Sam, sincerely, why do you suppose old for your level splits at AA/AAA will directly translate to MLB?

    /edited for clarity

  29. I actually think he’s better than Blanco, mostly because of the slightly better SB rates.

  30. Lowe gets through the first inning in good shape.

    Cards lost today, so that’s good. Phillies/Nationals are delayed with two outs in the top of the first, unfortunately before Oswalt could take the mound.

  31. I mean, the throw was as good as you can do it. Otherwise it’s an easy steal. I don’t mind the call (though with McCann and Uggla coming up, it’s somewhat questionable).

  32. So what would happen if another player who made a deal with the devil fielded a Constanza dribbler? Would the devil have to recuse himself due to conflict of interest? Would they just be on their own at that point?

  33. 54- They’d be on their own, I think. That’s the thing about deals with Old Scratch; they aren’t exclusive and he’s not real receptive to complaints.

  34. KJ’s BABIP is somewhere around 250. Truly unbelievable that he could have a second season as profoundly unlucky as 2009. Lowe’ll cure what ails ya, though.

  35. What are the odds that Kelly Johnson is extremely prone to low BABIP because of his swing mechanics?

  36. Speaking of BABIP, I saw earlier that Freddie’s is .360. Not that he isn’t good, but he’s been more than just a little bit lucky this year as well.

    @64 His career BABIP is a bit above average, so probably not much. Last year it was .339

  37. I don’t think Constanza will hold his AAA numbers (315/370/360) in the majors. But I see little reason to think he won’t maintain the same skill set to some degree. Thus 300/360/350. He’s not an All-Star. But he’s a useful player.

    More to the point, he’s Bourn insurance in CF.

  38. @64 – Career baBIPs of .295, .328, .340, .247, .339, .255. KJ is a case study in why it’s a good idea to regress individual season stats to an average baBIP. Unless you’re of the opinion that he was really doing something different in those down years, which is a valid opinion to hold I suppose.

  39. See Pete, @67, this is a great example of how two people can see the same thing and still see completely different things.

    I see KJ’s stats there and think “that’s a guy who has a swing that can get really screwed up really fast. He’s either on or he’s off.” Regression to aggregation hides the most brutal, important fact about the player – that he’s an all or nothing guy. You can’t say Kelly Johnson is a player who hits whatever his aggregate stat line says. He *never* hits that. He either hits WAY above it or WAY below it. And when you’re filling out the lineup card any given night, you have to know which Kelly Johnson you’re going to get (and it’s never the regressed-to-mean version.)

  40. Whoever this guy pitching really is, we need to keep him instead of the actual Derek Lowe.

  41. KJ has compounded his low BABIP this season by striking out more than ever — almost 28% of the time. It’s an alarming increase that IMO points to either the danger of the DBacks seemingly all-or-nothing organizational approach to hitting, or else the beginning of the end for KJ as an effective player.

  42. why are pitchers scared to pitch to George

    Remember Blanco had over seventy walks one season. Makes no sense. If you’re a pitcher, why not just groove one to Constanza or Blanco instead of throw ball four? The likely worst thing they’ll do is the same end result as the walk.

  43. @76 I think it was pretty common knowledge around here during KJ’s days with the Braves that he is prone to steaks. Whether or not they are mechanically caused is a good question. Personally, I find that timing is more typically the cause of such things than mechanics, though the two are often correlated.

  44. @76 – I certainly get your argument, and I occasionally lean towards your way of thinking about it myself. But I do believe that a “slump” can be entirely (or mostly) bad luck and that observers, including managers, being humans and needing an explanation for everything, will invent a story about swing problems, health, or whatever else to satisfy their needs. That’s not always the case, but unless it’s just really obvious that something real is wrong, or unless you’re a scout who’s trained to focus only on process and not results, or if you have access to hit- and field-f/x and know how to interpret the data, then I don’t believe anyone can really tell the difference between the two kinds of slumps. So when in doubt, regress.

  45. It’s odd that there is a “no politics” rule here, but the large ad banner at the top keeps bringing up political stuff.

  46. @83 – My point isn’t to create a narrative. My point is to ask “should this guy be in my starting lineup.” If he’s bad KJ that year, he shouldn’t be.

  47. @86, But we don’t know if he’s more “bad KJ” or “unlucky KJ.” Even if there had been such a thing as “bad KJ” in the past, that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what applies today.

  48. @ 85 Most likely Skynet has chosen you for the ad. Mac can use money as much as the rest of us.
    edit-I do not get that ad

  49. @88 – That’s a level of skepticism that leads people arguing that it’s okay to step in front of buses because we don’t really *know* that the bus would really kill us.

  50. I think that’s all the good Lowe there’s going to be today. Fortunately, it’s also all the bad Lowe we’re going to see.

  51. Have to applaud Fredi for having Lowe on a short leash. That looked liked an episode in the making.

  52. Im following on my phone; is Chip calling the game? Has he yet uttered “Viz Kid?” He has to soon. That’s so him.

  53. In related news, DOB confirms that Chipper will play in ’12.

    In unrelated news, Brent Grimes is trending on Twitter….

  54. Chipper will play in 2012. When healthy, Chipper will be the second or third best hitter on the team in 2012.

  55. Shouldn’t have let O’Flaherty face Upton there with runners on. The dude is not an average to mediocre pitcher versus righties, and Upton is one of the best-hitting right-handed hitters in the league.

  56. Maybe it’s just his hideous high red sox, but this Ziegler guy pitching for AZ appears to have cankles.

  57. @115 Indeed. One of the great things about getting Moylan back in a couple weeks will be greater flexibility for match-ups with our setup pitchers.

  58. Also, can I just say that bringing in a sidewinding righty to dispatch Alex Gonzalez is needlessly cruel? Dude has enough trouble with normal pitchers, and you send in a guy guaranteed to make him swing at a pitch two feet off the plate. What did Alex ever do to you, Kirk Gibson?

  59. In addition to be a stupendous defensive asset, Alex Gonzalez also translates Brian McCann to Arodys Vizcaino, and vice versa, on mound visits.

  60. This twee little ditty that plays behind the georgia power commercial makes me want to put a fist through the tv.

  61. @121 – That explains a lot. Brian probably tried to tell Arodys to quit walking people, but Alex didn’t know what that was.

  62. I thought the home plate ump was squeezing the zone all night, but all’s well that ends well.

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