Braves 3, Marlins 0 (recapped by Smitty)

In 1993, Major League Baseball expanded by adding the Colorado Rockies and the Florida Marlins. On September 11 of the same year, Larry Wayne Jones made his major league debut.

Tonight, Chipper Jones has played his last game in Miami. While Chipper will be most famous for holding a minority ownership of the Mets, he was also Mr. Marlin. Going into Wednesday’s game Chipper was the all-time leader home runs, RBI, hits, doubles, runs, walks and at bats against the Fish. Fittingly, the Marlins gave Chipper a fishing pole. Speaking of dominating the Marlins, Kris Medlen was amazing again tonight. He went eight innings giving up four hits, walking one and striking out six. He also had a hit and a walk. He probably could have finished the deal (he was at 99 pitches), but Fredi decided to release the Kraken.

The Braves scored all of their runs in the first three innings. It was around that point that Medlen asked the offense to save the runs for Friday, as three was more than enough. Everyone agreed and hibernation mode began.

Craig Kimbrel came in for the ninth and wasn’t sharp. He gave up a hit, plunked a guy and didn’t strike anyone out. He settled down and got his 38th save. With the Braves win tonight, Medlen moves one behind Carl Hubbell and Whitey Ford for Longest Winning Streak in Pitcher Starts. I know that is kind of a wild record, but anytime you come close to Whitey Ford or Carl Hubbell for something it is impressive, even if it is the number of Boilermakers drunk in an hour. The Braves are off tomorrow and will head to Philadelphia and they will hopefully finish the Phillies off.

Smitty’s SEC Picks. Home teams to the right

LSU 45 Auburn 6
Rutgers 24 Arkansas 28
Kentucky 3 Florida 58
Vanderbilt 10 Georgia 42
Missouri 13 South Carolina 21
Florida Atlantic 0 Alabama 54
Ole Miss 24 Tulane 10
South Alabama 10 Mississippi State 28
Akron 24 Tennessee -32
South Carolina State 10 Texas A&M 31

255 thoughts on “Braves 3, Marlins 0 (recapped by Smitty)”

  1. Well, at least if the Dodgers lose, our magic number will be reduced to 4. Five is probably low enough for tonight, though. Would much rather take the extra game in the NL East race, obviously.

  2. Yeah with the Nat’s playing the Dodgers, Brewers, Phillies and Cardinals to finish the year, they will either roll over the teams chasing us and pave the way for us to win the 1st wildcard, or they will completely collapse and risk missing the playoffs altogether (after all, if its the Cards and Dodgers who roll over them, those are the teams that would be chasing them.)

    But we have to win our games for it to matter.

  3. Brandon League restores order for the Dodgers, and they beat the Nats 7-6. So we end the night five games back with 12 to play; I can deal with that.

  4. Well that 8.5 game lead over the Dodgers makes it a little more difficult to blow it this time around, but point taken.

  5. It’s been 20 appearances since the last time Kimbrel had an appearance without a strikeout. In those 20 appearances, Kimbrel has pitched 20 1/3 innings, walked four guys, given up 9 hits and two runs, both on home runs, and struck out 43 batters. Seven of those appearances, every batter retired was retired by strikeout, including a 1 1/3 inning appearance with four Ks, but he struck out every batter he faced only three times. (he walked a guy in the 1 1/3 inning appearance)

  6. Our September record is now standing at 12-6. What a difference a year can make.

    Why are we ending the season with three games AT Pittsburgh?

  7. That’s 15 consecutive extra-inning wins for the O’s. They’re on some magic-carpet ride.

    Meanwhile, the Astros are on pace to lose 110 games. Yikes.

  8. Medlen is unbelievable.

    Anyone interested in a free pass to watch a game tonight on mlb.tv?
    If anyone is, let me know.

    “We are offering a free pass to today’s games on MLB.TV Premium that you can share with one of your friends.”

  9. The Phillies are four games out with not many left to play, and BP gives them a 0.4% chance of making the postseason. Here’s hoping the Braves can finish them off.

  10. The Nats magic number for clinching the playoffs is 1, I believe. They aren’t going to collapse that badly. They could clinch the WC tonight.

    The Mets are idiots. Their left-handed pitcher threw Ryan Howard a high fastball, the only possible pitch he could hit off a lefty. Haven’t the Mets scouts heard-Howard cannot hit breaking balls from left-handers if his life depended on it?

  11. Minor’s ERA is down to like 4.31. This is quite remarkable considering it was at 6.something as recently as July.

  12. @25,

    Then Minor was an idiot too. No left-handed pitcher should give up a home run to Ryan Howard. (Obviously, some do.) Why would a lefty ever throw something straight to a guy that has shown he is generally helpless against breaking pitches from lefties? If Minor did that, then the same criticism goes to him. Howard is a good but perhaps the most overrated (and certainly overpaid)player in baseball.

  13. I think I might be leaning against re-signing Bourn.

    It’s not so much his recent (extended) slump, but the realization that I would rather keep these young guys long term. More guaranteed years with Prado, Heyward, Medlen and Kimbrel might be better investments than extending a speed dependent center fielder.

  14. Interesting question to ponder: how many more starts would Medlen need to have made this year to be considered a serious Cy Young candidate?

    To be honest, I see a strong case for giving him votes right now, but I also know I am a homer.

  15. With his 9th win of the season Medlen not only doubles his career wins ( now 18), but he also moves into a tie for 50th on the Atlanta career victory list with such luminaries as: relievers Tom House & Greg McMichael, starter Milt Pappas — remember him — and swingman Mike Stanton).

  16. @12

    Alex, sometimes you post something that reminds me that you and I are the same age and grew up in the same place (not that one would need to be from Atlanta to have seen that commercial, I guess). This is one of those times.

  17. Parish, that is exactly my thinking. Before we even think about signing Bourn we should lock up Prado, Heyward and Medlen, and start exploring deals that at least buy out the arb. years for Freeman and Kimbrel. And if Simmons wants to sign a Brian McCann type deal, I am absolutely happy to lock him up too. Only after we do that should we look at spending what surplus remains on Bourn. And if we can get Angel Pagan for fewer years at half the price, I wouldn’t even bother trying to get Bourn.

  18. @34

    I agree with the Prado, Heyward, Freeman and Medlen.

    It is too early to do that with Simmons. He needs another year (on the cheap)

    Would you all be okay with moving Heyward to CF?

  19. Heyward to CF? No, because look what happened to The Murph as he fell off the cliff, and Jason is built very similarly to Dale for comfort to run him out there for 150+ games a year in CF.

    Get someone like Pagan (Constanza? Durango?) to play center until (if) Redmond is ready, and leave The Jason in right.

  20. @36, given how hard it seems to be for the Braves to find slugging OF’s, and the need to find a LF for next year with Prado going to 3rd, I think Heyward’s value is maximized in RF. You can live with a defensive minded CF if you are getting corner offense.

  21. @36
    No. Heyward, Prado, and Bourn make up the best OF in the majors, and maybe the best defensive OF the Braves have ever had. Moving Heyward to CF would have a rippling effect on the defense because I’m fairly certain Heyward wouldn’t be as highly rated a CF as he is a RF, and the person taking Heyward’s place in RF wouldn’t be as good as Heyward. If the Braves can’t re-sign Bourn, I’d personally like to shop Hanson for a CF.

    The only way I could see the Braves moving Heyward to CF for a year would be if they trade for, or sign, a serious RF bat.

    It’d be really nice if the Angels would sell low on Bourjous. Some interesting trade targets that are FA in 2014 would be Franklin Gutierrez, Chris Young, and Rajai Davis. With his injured 2012, would the Yankees be willing to trade us Gardner for Hanson? They both have 2 years of arb left.

  22. Trading for a cheap CF and LF could be possible with the pitching depth we have. I mean, as of right now, we have 7 legit SP candidates to start the season in 2013: Hudson, Hanson, Medlen, Maholm, Minor, Delgado, Teheran. Trading Hanson still leaves us with an insurance guy and Beachy in August.

  23. From Elias: Kris Medlen in his last 10 starts is 8-0 with a 0.76 ERA and a 9.2 K/9. Medlen is the first pitcher since earned runs became official in 1912 to have at least 8 wins, an ERA of 0.76 or lower, and average at least 1 strikeout per inning over a 10-start span.

  24. Speaking of slugging outfielders, I just noticed something interesting about Evan Gattis. His production obviously fell off at AA, but if you break down the R/L splits, he continued to mash lefthanders at the same ridiculous rate as at Lynchburg, to the tune of a 1.300 OPS. Obviously its a small sample size (only 45 PAs) but combined with his splits at A+ I think it extremely likely that he is ready right now to hit major league lefties with power and on-base skills. Reed Johnson makes that need less pressing, unless we had a lefthanded CF platoon partner for Johnson. As it happens, Todd Cunningham is a switch-hitter but his OPS is 100 points higher from the left side. Alas, it is still just shy of .800, so he probably needs at least another year. Pagan also hits righties better than lefties, but probably not by enough to justify using a platoon.

  25. Conceivably, Juan Francisco could be as good defensively at third next year as Chipper has been this year, and he might be a better offensive player than any left field Prado replacement.

    There’s also the unlikely possibility that Uggla streaks positively now through the Braves World Series championship and restores his trade value. Would a trade value-enhanced Uggla plus Hanson plus whatever’s left of Jurggens obtain a leftfield bat strong enough to allow the Braves to re-sign Bourn, move Prado to second and play Franciso at third?

  26. Murph is on record saying he believes playing CF (and playing every single game) wore him down and shortened his career.

  27. A couple of things on Medlen

    (a) his recent performance has caused me to completely back down from my earlier calculations. he’s so much better than Hudson (right now) and the off-days make even a Game 5 start on short rest a possibility that it would be foolish not to use him in the WC game. I realize I still owe you an example, sansho, and I’ll do it, but it won’t be realistic in this particular situation.

    (b) He now has 125 innings. Much has been made of Wren’s decision to hold him out early, since it was acknowledged that he has the same innings limit that Strasburg did. But that only gives him 35 innings left, or about 4.5 starts at his current productivity level. One could easily see him out of innings well before the WS starts. Surely they realize that the 160 doesn’t mean 160, don’t they? Don’t they?

  28. No matter how hard I squint, I can’t see Francisco as a starter. And if they can’t find a LF who can beat an OPS+ of 93 then shame on Wren – although in all fairness, it’s been something of a Braves tradition.

  29. Francisco will be a nice platoon/bench guy next year. Don’t forget, we will have to use the DH more next year. He will be perfect in that spot.

  30. Don’t forget, we will have to use the DH more next year. He will be perfect in that spot.

    The Braves played eighteen interleague games this season. They’ll play twenty in 2013.

  31. It’s cute how you guys think Wren is going to be able to find a competent outfielder

    Diaz will be a free agent.

  32. We might as well keep Francisco for another year. He’s here, he’s cheap, he doesn’t totally suck, and there’s nobody in the minors pushing for the slot.

    By the way, did you know we’ve acquired Ruben Gotay for the third time, from the third different team and in the third different manner? We claimed him off waivers from the Mets in ’08, signed him as a free agent after the Marlins released him in ’11 (okay, technically we didn’t obtain him from the Marlins, but just go with it), and purchased his rights from the Blue Jays in June of this year.

  33. All this talk about innings limits has made me wonder… wouldn’t counting pitches (and also maybe # of appearances to account for relievers warming up) instead of innings be a much more telling stat? I mean, someone could throw 20 pitches and not get anyone out in a relief appearance and it wouldn’t show up at all on an innings count, and Kris could go 8 and throw 100 pitches just as easily as Tommy could go 5 and throw 100; the same number of pitches were thrown but the 8 go toward the innings count instead of 5. Maybe there’s something obvious I’m not seeing, but I’ve wondered a lot about this during the recent Strasburgmania.

  34. I’d be tempted to start the year by letting Francisco play 3B against all righthanders, with Prado playing in left. Against lefthanders Prado can play 3B with either Reed Johnson in left or Gattis after a June call-up.

  35. @62-

    I’d be shocked if the Nationals (and others) were counting innings and not counting pitches. All of the innings cap stuff comes from media folks. One plausible reason they gave a range of innings around which they’d shut down Strasburg was that they were really counting pitches.

  36. I noticed Florida is only a 24-point favorite.

    Run, sprint, push people out of the way to bet on the Gators this weekend.

  37. Seems to me that you also have to look at how stressful the pitches are. As el gato said, it’s a lot different breezing and throwing 100 pitches in 8 innings than struggling and throwing 100 in 5. Plus, if you have a substantial lead, that seems as if it would make a difference as opposed to being in a scoreless tie in the late innings.

  38. I told my 17-y-o pitcher to study Medlen. He doesn’t remember too much of Maddux. I said this is close enough.

    Never throws his 90-mpg four-seam for a strike. His 87-mph two-seam darts like a snake.

    His curve ball comes out of his hand just like his fastball and his cutter IS his fastball but moves opposite his two-seam.

    Medlen is the Sorcerer’s Apprentice to the Wizard Maddux.

  39. OK, sansho1. I made a spreadsheet which actually calculates the probabilities and gives an example where it is better to start your #2 guy in the WC game. You can play with the probabilities and come up with almost any conclusion you like, as you’d expect, but it simply isn’t generically truwe that you want to start your best pitcher in an elimination game if it sufficient lowers your probabilities for future rounds. Also critical is how quickly you think you can bring back guys on short rest, but you need to adjust the probabilities appropriately. https://dl.dropbox.com/u/5755704/wcchoices.xlsx

  40. I went to the game last night. Not exactly an edge-of-your-seat kinda game despite Kimbrel’s last inning, but it was nice to see Chipper one last time. The crowd gave him a really nice ovation and there was a short video before the game showing some highlights from the 2012 season. It would’ve been nice to see highlights from his whole career, but it was still a nice gesture.

  41. Oh, and how many balls are players going to hit into that 418 ft. gap in left center before they decide to bring the fence in? Chipper hit a bomb in his first at bat and the LFer barely had to go on the warning track.

  42. Despite the claim of AL superiority in Medlin article comments, McLouth thinks AL is soft. It is amazing what he has done for Orioles recently. He had almost played himself out of baseball.

  43. @80

    Given that both are in response to me, and that I understand neither, I feel I should recuse myself from the voting. A vague sense of unease creeps into my consciousness, as I feel my time may be passing….

  44. The Mets just gave up eight runs in the first inning to the Phillies, and the starter gave up seven of them (all earned) without recording a single out.

    I’m not sure whether that’s more funny or sad.

  45. Our old friend Barbaro Canizares is playing for Spain in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers. He just singled home a run to give them a 4-0 lead over France.

  46. Jonathan, did you pull those matchup probabilities from somewhere? I’m wondering why an AA matchup would yield a 55% chance of winning, a BB matchup yields 48%, and DD yields 40%. I realize none of those specific examples are included in your series matchup scenarios, but it makes me curious as to the source of the numbers.

  47. All right, I think I’ll drop this discussion. Only one thing has been made clearer to me — in a vacuum, the decision has maybe a one in 200 chance of impacting the chance of winning the World Series, if that. So I’ll root for the option that maximizes the chance I’ll get to see more Braves baseball afterwards.

  48. Doesn’t this also assume that failing to win the world series, regardless of round, is equally bad? I ask because it’s entirely possible that it’s in Fredi’s interest–and in the Braves’s financial interest–to advance past the wild card play-in game. In other words: winning the WS is most optimal, true, but the cost of losing the play-in game outweighs the cost of not advancing past the NLCS or even NLDS.

  49. @97,

    I think that’s correct. It’s clearly better to lose in subsequent rounds than a play-in game. On the other hand, given that a single game is essentially a coin flip, perhaps it is more efficient to prepare for the future round.

  50. Right, the Braves should lose the playoff game with an inferior pitcher on the mound.

    Here’s a statistic for you: if the Braves lose that game, they have a 0% chance of winning the World Series. If they win it with their current best pitcher (Medlen), the odds have to be higher than that.

  51. Do managers handle a playoff series with consideration to who would start the next series? I’m not sure I can think of an example. The mindset always seems to be to pay Peter even if it means Paul is getting shortchanged in the next series. I can’t imagine the one game would be treated any differently.

  52. @98-

    If you’re supposing that one game is a coin flip, then five games are essentially five coin flips. The question is whether you want a marginal improvement in a single coin flip (start you top guy in the play-in game) or a marginal improvement in one of your divisional playoff games (your top guy gets two starts instead of just one in that round). It seems clear to me that starting your best guy in the WC game gives you both the best chance of getting to the divisional round AND getting to the LCS and beyond.

  53. @101

    One game would be treated differently because you know it’s just one game, whereas you don’t know how long it will take a series to play out (yours or your next opponent’s).

    The off-days are the determinative factor. Jonathan’s example (my quibbles about his win likelihoods aside) fails to take into account that the play-in game starter would be able to start Game 3 of the next series on regular rest, thus guaranteeing that he will be participating, and giving his team a sufficiently significant advantage in at least that game to flip the overall win expectancy in our favor. I suspect that’s true even with his numbers, but I don’t know how to do the calculation.

  54. Too much could happen in one game to take a chance starting an inferior pitcher. That’s why it’s critically important to give your best pitchers, the ones most likely to secure outs — ahemKIMBRELahem — the earliest shot to deliver those outs.

    For the next month or so, I’m going to get time to make one post per day if I’m lucky, so here goes…responding to sansho from a couple days ago:
    In Medlen’s last 70.2 innings, he’s given up runs in only 7 of them (all single runs).

    In Kimbrel’s 56.1 innings this season, he’s given up runs in 7 of them (all single runs).

    Small sample with an inferior metric. No matter how you slice it, Kimbrel is the best pitcher on the staff. Maybe in all of baseball.

    The chance you’re taking in not starting Kimbrel (and therefore running the risk of not getting him into the game) is counteracted by the fact that the Braves’ own batting order may determine when the starter gets pulled, rather than it being a matter solely of how well the starter is pitching.

    Say you start Kimbrel and he gets the first four or five outs, then you bring in Medlen. If it’s a close game and we have a chance to push a run across in, say, the sixth inning, you’re going to pinch-hit for Medlen, right? Then you’ve burned both of them when it was only necessary to burn one of them.

    Two things. One is, after Kimbrel is done humiliating their hitters, I doubt I’d put in Medlen right away. I’d likely do bullpen matchups if I could. Because it may be more likely that, say, EOF can shut down the next few hitters even more effectively than Medlen can, based on splits. I’d save Medlen for later innings if the game remains tied or if we have a slim lead and we already exhausted the best in our bullpen. As good as Medlen has been, in a game with stakes like this, I’ll take whatever slight platoon advantage I can get from the bullpen vs sending Medlen out there, presuming that there is a slight advantage (I haven’t checked). Whatever is most likely to get outs is what I’d do, and if the stats say a certain reliever would be more likely to get the job done over Medlen, that’s what would guide my decision.

    The other thing is, playing ‘what if such-and-such happens in the sixth inning’ just seems like the wrong approach. It sounds like setting us up for the ‘not using Kimbrel in a late-inning tie on the road’ or the ‘why won’t Fredi pinch hit with Ross?’ stuff we always complain about. This is winner-take-all. There is no future instance to save these guys for. Just do what’s most likely to get outs. If you happen to burn both of them in the sixth, you did what was necessary to ensure that we gave up as few runs as possible, hopefully.

  55. @105

    I agree that Kimbrel is the better pitcher, which is why saving him for a high-leverage situation is a better option IMO than starting him. The importance of the game does not change the leverage dynamics within that game. Close and late — highest leverage. Runners on base in a close game — very high leverage. Nobody on, nobody out in the top of the first inning — comparatively low leverage. My sixth-inning example is just to point out that you have to gameplan for a close game, and the fact that game situations dictate your moves above and beyond the clever plan you’ve concocted going in.

    At no point did I say Kimbrel must only be used in a save situation — but he must be employed in a high-leverage situation. If that’s in the sixth or seventh inning, and the tying run is in scoring position with the heart of the order coming up, do it then, absolutely.

    (Also, those sample sizes aren’t that small — they represent almost 80% of their combined innings pitched this year. And the point wasn’t to say who’s better — it’s to show they’ve both been extraordinary at run prevention)

  56. @108-

    Rules about leverage are fine and dandy over a season or a series, but when you’re playing an elimination game, a lot of those guidelines become irrelevant. It doesn’t matter which inning you prevent runs from being scored in just so long as the runs are prevented. In an elimination game, situations do not become more “low leverage” because one team has a big lead. There’s no reason to save a pitcher for the next day.

    The only reason you’d want to save your best pitcher is if you wanted to bring him in later in a situation where there were (say) runners on base or the best hitters in the lineup coming up. Having your closer start ensures that he’ll face the other team’s best hitters the most (or at least the top of their lineup, which should theoretically have their best hitters in it), but it doesn’t allow you to bring him in to get out of a jam (say, two runners on, one or no outs).

    All of this is of course ignores the ways players would react to their usage patterns being radically altered in a high-pressure game, which I think is pretty silly.

  57. The name of the game is to get them out. Kimbrel is better at that than Medlen, or anybody. End of story. I just don’t want to wait until it’s high leverage to use our best pitcher. I want to plan it so that there is no high leverage situation for our pitchers if at all possible. I really, really don’t want to mess around with this game.

    Just get them out early on, and let our hitters try to exploit the fact that the other manager likely won’t be able to deploy their pitchers as effectively as we can.

    We can’t hit them any better than our best hitters (who are already in the starting lineup, presumably) can already hit, so let’s pitch them better. And let our lesser pitchers do the easier job of hopefully maintaining a late lead (more margin for error than maintaining a tie)…hopefully.

    Or let them do the sad job of mopping up our season.

  58. I agree that they have to pitch their best pitcher in a play-in game. It makes no sense not to. In a longer series, more things can happen to even things out. It’s no different than the seventh game of the World Series; you do whatever you take to improve your odds even if the improvement is only marginal. Plus, assuming you get into the next round,there is no reason to simply assume the other pitchers will necessarily lose just because they are lesser pitchers than Medlen.

  59. Nobody’s ignoring anything.

    I would hope and pray that Kimbrel would crave the responsibility of being the Guy Who Is Most Likely to Get Them Out, and Thus Should Start the Most Important Game of the Season.

    But that’s really Fredi’s job to determine.

    In my envisioning of the scenario, Fredi has already talked to Kimbrel about starting the game, laying out why it makes sense for the team and buying Kimbrel in and giving him time to mentally prepare.

    If Kimbrel shows signs of weakness when (or after) Fredi lays out the plan, IMO, Fredi has already diplomatically let Kimbrel know that it’s also perfectly fine to keep a more normal role that he’s more comfortable with that.

    And then Fredi moves on to the next best guy to get their hitters out. Which maybe is Medlen or maybe is a reliever with a .160 wOBA against LHP like EOF.

  60. I don’t see the sense of starting a pitcher who can pitch at most two innings and then bringing in someone else. If you start Kimbrel, you effectively mandate that you will use multiple pitchers. The more pitchers you use, the greater the likelihood that someone will give up runs. Even Kimbrel. This is not necessarily the case with Medlen. It’s possible, albeit not likely, Medlen could pitch a complete game two-hit shutout, thereby eliminating the need to use anyone else. We know Kimbrel could not do that. The fact that Medlen could probably get more outs than Kimbrel could, to me, says he should start the game. That doesn’t mean you have to save Kimbrel for the 9th inning but I would rather start someone who can give me more outs. If you were being forced to start Tommy Hanson, that might be a different story.

  61. All of this is of course ignores the ways players would react to their usage patterns being radically altered in a high-pressure game, which I think is pretty silly.

    I’ve ignored it for the purpose of this discussion because I’ve hoped to show that the strategy of starting Kimbrel is suboptimal from a purely strategic standpoint. I do happen to think that such a radical departure can be interpreted by the team as managerial sphincter-tightening, and they do often claim to benefit from a routine they can at least somewhat predict.

  62. I agree with Sansho. I think it would be a distraction for players to start wondering “what the hell is going on here?” YOu can say it’s silly but these are still human beings. If I saw my boss come in to watch me take a deposition, I’m sure it would make me wonder what’s going on.

  63. Why is the ‘Kimbrel to start the one-game playoff’ still being bandied about here, as if there was any chance in hell of it happening?

  64. We should start Kimbrel and let Chipper lead off. Maybe it will confuse the other team.

    Or we could start the best starter in baseball right now and let the best closer in baseball finish it off for us. If we are then lucky enough, Medlen can start game 3 in the playoff round and clinch the series for us.

  65. The more pitchers you use, the greater the likelihood that someone will give up runs.

    Says who? Even if this were somehow true, who says it’d be true about our pitchers?

    I do happen to think that such a radical departure can be interpreted by the team as managerial sphincter-tightening, and they do often claim to benefit from a routine they can at least somewhat predict.

    This ain’t a routine situation. The players all know that. You can speculate as to how the players would react, and so can I. I happen to think that players are not stupid and are capable of listening to reason. And that all that shit that broadcasters spew about roles is exactly that…bullshit.

    All Fredi can do is make the best case he can for what he thinks is the best decision for the team. And if his players can’t handle it, he can just go with biz as usual. It’s not like normalcy is bad. It’s just not as good as it could be.

    Why is the ‘Kimbrel to start the one-game playoff’ still being bandied about here, as if there was any chance in hell of it happening?

    Because that’s what blogs are for.

    How often does the closer come into a game in a non save situation and not pitch well? Pretty often. This isn’t a video game.

    Thanks, Don.

    We should start Kimbrel and let Chipper lead off. Maybe it will confuse the other team.

    And we’d be more likely to win.

    Or we could start the best starter in baseball right now and let the best closer in baseball finish it off for us.

    Abstracting from the issue at hand isn’t going to help you. What makes Kimbrel better at closing than Medlen is at starting is that Kimbrel is better at getting outs than Medlen is. Every out in this game is crucial. The best pitcher on the team should be given the first opportunity to get outs in order to maximize our chances to win — as long as said pitcher can be deemed to handle it.

    Kimbrel starting? C’mon, Braves Journal is better than this.

    Don’t flatter yourselves.

  66. @123 I think ballplayers and INCREDIBLY stupid and the few who aren’t are guys like Medlen and Chipper. Baseball players might be the dumbest subset of athletes there is, and that’s saying something.

  67. C’mon, Braves Journal is better than this.

    More to say here…

    I seem to recall certain people here wanted us to trade for Hunter Pence THIS year. Others memorably clamored for Manny Ramirez at the trade deadline the year he was dealt to the White Sox and subsequently bombed. Some people here let their perspective on the team be determined by what happens in the most recent game or inning — and are annoyingly shrill about it. Some people here question whether players like Tommy Hanson want it enough. We have to re-litigate things like ‘using Kimbrel on the road in a late-inning tie’ over and over and over…

    I include myself in my criticism of strident contentions on this blog. I personally stumped for a trade for a certain shortstop who ended up leading baseball in fWAR at his position for a time, but then spent half the season on the DL, like he always seems to. Given Andrelton, it wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world if that injury had happened to us, but we’re in good shape right now and maybe you could argue it wouldn’t have been the best use of scant resources. Or maybe you might argue that the difference between Jed Lowrie and Pastornicky would’ve been enough to make us more competitive with the Nats.

    We’ve spent a lot of time recently talking about how great this place is. And it is. But don’t act like your collective shit don’t stink, folks.

  68. Sansho1. if you want to change the matchups on the spreadsheet, just change them. The formulas are linked (I hope) to whatever two letter code you put in for the matchups in Case 1 and Case 2. Change away! The only point I was making before is that if you want to start a player on short rest, it probably behooves you to lower his probability of winning somewhat.

  69. Or rather, the people who argue that using Maholm or Minor in the wild card game would be best because it allows you to be on the best footing for the next series. JonathanF was the biggest proponent of that, I believe.

  70. @133

    OK, gotcha.

    @130

    No, no. That’s not what I meant. I love everybody.

    Look, I think wisdom requires a flexible mind, and so I see the attraction in the notion of starting Kimbrel. I understand the logic — really, I do.

  71. Medlin as a starter has been about as good as Kraken for season. Much better than rest of pen. Medlin worse appearances as a RP have been on no rest or 1 day rest. Look it up.

  72. Carpenter isn’t looking terribly sharp. I kinda thought we’d have a chance of seeing him in the play-in game. It’s looking like Lohse or Wainright, though, unless Carpenter pitches a shutout or something.

  73. Now that Smoltz agrees with me, I want to change my mind. (Actually, careful readers will note that never actually committed one way or another, arguing that it was close, and have am now leaning towards the Medlenites against the Hudsonians and the Kimbrelistas.) Frankly, I think it depends on who we play in the WC game and in the next series and in what shape the other WC team has had to fix their rotation.

  74. Beltran, Holliday, and Jay are a combined 0 for 11 against Medlen. Add Molina, you get 1 for 15. Small sample size, but promising.

    Beltran has a 1.016 OPS vs Hudson in 83 PA. That’s a decent sample size of total ownership by Beltran. Holliday has a .881 OPS vs Hudson in 28 PA. Molina has a 1.012 OPS in 20 PA. Jay has a .929 OPS in not many PA.

    If we play in against the Cardinals, I don’t let Hudson near that game.

  75. I don’t know if it matters much when you pitch your relievers. Play them late, and you get to pick your situations. Play them early, and you know they’re hitting the top/middle of the lineup. If you end up not pitching them at all, it probably means your starter’s pitching well enough that it doesn’t really matter.

    So, I propose Fredi coin flips. Really, it doesn’t much matter. Unless the starter CGs, Kimbrel’s going to pitch an inning.

  76. Just to clarify my clarification, we’re each here speaking for ourselves. I respect anybody who is willing to take a point of view and argue the hell out of it, even if I don’t agree.

  77. @148 Nothing wrong with ranting, better than hitting wife/girlfriend. Don’t mess with Bethany. She got Valrntine fired and Auburn coach is next, She could get rid of any of us quickly.

  78. By Smoltz’s logic, if you were tied 3-3 in the NLCS, you wouldn’t use your best pitcher because you would rather save him for the World Series. After all, what’s the point of winning the pennant if you lose the World Series?

  79. 1. Medlen

    2. Hudson

    3. Minor

    4. Maholm

    5. Hanson

    That’s the order I’d rank our starter as they are pitching right now, 9-21-2012.

    (And I could be persuaded that Minor and Hudson should be flipped. Or at least ranked 2 and 2A).

  80. I might go Medlen, Hudson, Sheets, Minor. They need to get Sheets a couple of looks before the end of the season.

  81. @152: And his logic is fine, but in the application it might not be correct. It would depend on the time until the next series, the position of the offdays, the shape of the other pitching staff and the matchups. And that’s a case where I know we’ve seen different managers do different things, although usually under the guise of eschewing short rest.

  82. @ A girlfriend in a previous life was big O’s fan when they were good and lived to go to their games. 25 years seems like a previous life.

  83. If we are looking at how they are pitching right now (september starts) it would be like this.

    Medlen 0.90ERA 0.73WHIP
    Minor 0.48ERA 0.86WHIP
    Hanson 3.31ERA 1.10WHIP
    Hudson 4.94ERA 1.61WHIP
    Maholm 7.36ERA 1.80WHIP

  84. Has anyone noticed that Houston is 43 games out of first place? The ’88 Braves were only 39 and a half out.

  85. This mid-level poster just doesn’t see the point in spending days on an argument that almost certainly has never occurred to Fredlot or Kimbrel.

    It’s a nice thought experiment, but we’ve conditioned Kimbrel to the closer’s role so well- he’s had only one outing all year which lasted more OR less than one inning- that a sudden-death playoff game seems like a really bad time to try something radically different. Any gain from having a Kimbrelian three-strikeout first inning is lost by not having a chance of a three-strikeout ninth if/ when we need it.

  86. Well, he didn’t pitch badly in his game against the Mets (although he gave up back-to-back doubles to blow the lead before being yanked), and he only gave up two runs to the Rockies (although he was pulled after loading the bases), and… Sorry, that’s all I got. He really hasn’t pitched well since July. Time to take his suitcase out to the mound, along with him tickets to someplace nice where he can lie on the beach.

  87. Though it might be too dangerous to warrant around here, a slight defense of Hanson: his fastball is hitting 92 tonight! Obviously the results are bad right now, but if he had a full year of his 92 fastball along with the awesome curve, he could have a pretty good year again.

    *ducks*

  88. 186- No need to duck. Hanson has the track record and tools, and he could have a good year again. Just not this year.

  89. To be fair, Hanson doesn’t look pleased with himself. To be fair to the Braves dwindling division chances, he shouldn’t start another game this year until we’ve clinched and the division is lost.

  90. So, this Melky thing. Can a player excuse himself from a batting title? It’s not something that’s put to a vote — it just is or isn’t, right?

  91. **TOMMY HANSON

    On whether couple of those homers would’ve gone out at other ballparks

    “I don’t know. I mean, I pitched here and they went out. I stink. Both those pitches caught too much of the plate. And they didn’t just hit it in the gap or hit it hard for a single, they put it in the seats for the most part.”

    Do you think things are any better than they were right after All-Star break?

    “I don’t know. I feel like I’m battling my ass off to help my teammates out and to help my team win, and as of right now I’m not doing a very good job. It was a horse[bleep] day. I’m not pulling my weight around here right now.”

  92. I hope Hanson is not in the Braves’ plan for next season. This is so sad, we had so much expectation on him when he came through the minor. Ending up his buddy is a much better pitcher.

  93. I defended Hanson after a similar albeit less extensive quote earlier in the season. I’ll do it again, but with some clarification of my opinion. First I’ll agree (with y’all and Tommy Hanson himself) that he sucks right now. His performance is, indeed, frustrating. I never meant to suggest he should be our go to guy or anything, only what @205 said first: its damn sad.

    Also, I get the whole “I Hate Tommy Hanson” thing is just hyperbole and ‘sports hate’. But personally I prefer to assign such hate to players who sucked and obviously didn’t give a shit or were legitimate assholes, at least when dealing with my own team.

  94. The Braves are probably going to get swept by the Phillies, and then talk about how “hungry” they are as the excuse.

  95. I’m glad i was too busy to watch last night’s game – then again, seems like every Hanson starts is a “must-miss” event for Braves fans. I do like that Tommy is taking himself to task for sucking – I seem to recall Jurrjens being a lot more dismissive/defensive regarding his own awfulness.

    On the topic of Bourn: his slump really hurts the Braves now, but I’d rather he slump now than immediately after we sign him to a huge new FA deal. If you’d like a compact illustration of why the Braves’ offense has struggled lately, here’s a list of the WAR compiled by the Braves’ position players over the last 30 days: http://tinyurl.com/8jgposd

    Bourn checks in with a cool .177/.286/.198 line, good(bad) for a 39 wRC+; only his willingness to take walks and good defense keeps him from being worth less than 0 wins over the last month. Some of that is bad BABIP luck (.250 versus career/season BABIP of .340+) but he’s also struck out the most on the team over that stretch, so he’s earned a lot of his suck. While it’s true that Bourn’s defense and speed won’t slump, his hitting sure can.

  96. I also appreciate Hanson taking responsible. That’s really big of him.

    However, he still sucks and needs to stop.

  97. I told y’all to bet the house on the Gators. And that was BEFORE I knew our coach was going to start the worst quarterback in the history of college football.

  98. DOB reporting that Medlen is going to switch with Maholm and start on Tuesday, which would put him on schedule to start the play-in game.

  99. This is certainly a welcome offensive outburst.

    One has to wonder if this is the beginning of the end for Roy Halladay. He hasn’t been very good this year at all.

  100. Despite Minor’s tendency to give up at least a homer in each start he’s very close to overtaking Huddy in how much I trust them.

  101. #208
    beege,
    Thanks, I’m out here for a wedding, but heading back Monday.

    Crazy weekend out here. Broncos & Rockies are at home, a film festival going on, plus a marathon. Hope I can avoid that Mile High Hangover myself.

  102. @238
    Minor did well.
    Relivers did well except Durbin who got bailed out by Avilan (sp?.
    Top of order hit.
    Phils sucked.

  103. @241

    Can we make a recap based solely on comments in the form of haikus?

    Freeman hit 3 home
    Halladay became human
    The Phillies are done

  104. Random question – what’s our starting rotation going to be next year? Looks like we’ve got 9 guys for 5 spots. Still can’t figure why we traded Vizcaino for Reed/Paul.

    Hudson
    Medlen
    Minor
    Hanson
    Maholm
    Beachy
    Teheran
    Delgado
    Gilmartin

    Assume the two are gone:
    Jurrjens
    Sheets

  105. Do you guys remember when Medlen was called up before Hanson and a lot of people were upset? Wow, how times have changed!

  106. Ah, yes, the good old days of 2009.

    I think it’s fair to say Kris Medlen has surprised me as much as Tommy Hanson has disappointed me.

  107. I’m not sure if the Dawgs are that much better than last year or the Dores are that much worse.
    ————–

    Nice effort by Auburn. Didn’t think they had it in them.
    ————–

    Would you all laugh at us (UK) if we hired Petrino? What? You’re laughing now? Oh, yeah, I guess you are.
    —————

    Chipper’s double off the wall was the most effortless power swing I’ve ever seen. Talk about sweet spot.

  108. Yesterday was a great day: Braves won, Tide rolled, and the big dawgs ate.

    Beat the Phillies today and all’s right with the world.

  109. Need help, guys: I’d like to analyze Chipper’s swing and footwork on yesterday’s double from the right side.

    I Googled it, but found nothing.

    Any ideas? Thanks!

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