Braves 6, Marlins 2 (recapped by ububba)

In 1932, FDR gave a radio speech called “The Forgotten Man.” In it, he highlighted the suffering of those bearing the brunt of The Great Depression.

Fast-forward 80 years to BravesLand, and our “Forgotten Man” has become Tommy Hanson, a former #2 starter suffering through his worst season, someone who probably won’t see another meaningful start this year.

But tonight, he gained a small measure of redemption by beating the Dade County Dysfunctionals (aka Miami Marlins) to boost his record to 13-9.

“Happy Days Are Here Again”? Hard to say, if we’re talking about Tommy Hanson, but it was good to see him complete the sweep—even if the opponents seemed to have the bus idling outside the clubhouse the whole game.

Hanson started out spotting his heater at the knees and spinning a repertoire of sharp breaking balls that cut or swept impressively through the strike zone. The dipping slider he dropped on Donovan Solano for strike 3 in the 2nd inning made you wonder if we were going to see something special.

But, as he does, Hanson began to run some deep counts. He survived two walks and line-drive single in that 2nd, leaving the bases-loaded.

Of course, there have been many a contest where Hanson fell in love with his hook and left one hovering in hitsville a little too long—and that’s what happened in the 3rd when Carlos Lee laced one into the LF corner for an RBI double. Suddenly, after 3 IP, Hanson had racked up 64 pitches. We’ve seen this movie before.

As has been noted several times, Hanson’s fielding remains more than a little questionable. In the 3rd, Freeman saved him an error by dangerously reaching in front of Jose Reyes to snag Hanson’s throw into the speedy runner. But in the 4th, Hanson threw away a pickoff attempt on Scott Cousins, sending him to 2nd. Gil Velazquez immediately made him pay by turning on an inside heater for an RBI double—2-0 Fish.

Meltdown? Nope, that’s all they got and our movie got a different ending this go-round.

After snoozing through their first 2 offensive frames, the Braves threatened right away. Simmons smacked a single up the middle, Hanson bunted him to 2nd, Constanza walked and Prado advanced them on a cue-shot grounder to Solano. But Heyward whiffed in the big spot, stranding two.

In the 4th, Atlanta finally got to Marlins starter Jacob Turner, who was confounding the Braves with his hard stuff. With one out, Freddie blooped a single, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Uggla’s 2-base smash down the LF line. Ross dropped a gorgeous bunt single that died in the grass, sending Uggla to third. Simmons slashed a run-scoring double to the RCF gap to make it 2-2. But Ross, running gingerly, stayed at third. After a Hanson K, Constanza walked (again) to load ’em up.

Then something weird happened, the kind of thing that always happens to lousy teams—an unconscionable mistake that essentially gift-wraps the game to the other club.

With 2 outs and the bases full, Prado lined one straight to Petersen, the Miami LF, who promptly dropped and kicked the ball like he was playing in a beer-league softball game—4-2 Braves. Unfortunately, Heyward added 2 more LOB to the boxscore with a weak 1-3 groundout.

But that’s where the game turned, and it wasn’t hard to imagine the Marlins feeling like they were running late for their charter out of Hartsfield.

Hanson (5.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R/1 ER, 4 K, 2 BB in 92 pitches) showed resolve by burning through the 5th and getting into the 6th before Avilan shut that door. Venters worked 2 IP, showing some real bite on his sinker. After Uggla dunked in a based-loaded, 2-RBI single, giving the Braves a 4-run lead—3 RBI for Uggla tonight, BTW—the Lisp was enlisted for successful 9th-inning mop-up duty. The Kraken remained chained.

A couple random thoughts, to be shoved way down the priority ladder: Reed Johnson, welcome to the 21st Century. He’s let his beard grow, eschewing the bushy grunge-era soul patch—so he no longer looks like a bass player in a Panama City cover band. Good move.

It’s been another lousy week in MarlinLand. They get swept, yes. But before that, the ever-expanding, money-stealing Miami reliever Heath Bell publicly slagged manager Ozzie Guillen. Then the Marlins owner got huffy with ex-manager Fredi Gonzalez. If anybody cared down there, TMZ would be knocking on the clubhouse door.

Overdue Memo to Ozzie Guillen: Working for Jeffrey Loria is like having someone put a lit cigarette in your ass—time is not on your side.

Where We Stand: With 7 games to go, the Braves remain 4 GB of Washington. Just another week to go until the Wild Card Bowl.

Bring on the Mets and let the Chipper Party continue.

112 thoughts on “Braves 6, Marlins 2 (recapped by ububba)”

  1. Ububba…wow. It’d take me a week to write something that good. We have an amazing collection of writers here at BJ. Go Braves…

    By the way, I’ve been teaching 5th and 6th Grade Math through baseball stats. This month, my students picked a Braves (or Mets) player to follow, have learned how to create an excel spreadsheet and how to hand calculate average, OBP, and slugging%. Also, they have manipulated their players weekly by their rankings amongst the 13 chosen players. It’s been an amazing learning experience. We’ve also played daily wiffle ball games and kept individual stats. Students in our high school have been checking their spreadsheets and giving them brief tutorials on how to put formulas into excel to “tell it what you want it to do”. And the payoff? These little beach bums are going to get to see live baseball Friday and Saturday at the TED! We’ve got great seats for the Chipper show and I’m looking forward to seeing the Braves live for the first time this year!

    There’s a chance that I will have 2 extra seats for Saturday’s game if anyone is interested. Email me at cothrjr at hotmail dot com. Later! Go Braves!

  2. Excellent recap, and terrific indoctrination technique by ryan c! Although I do worry he may be inadvertently creating Mets fans…. :)

  3. Considering the way they looked this weekend (and most of the year for that matter), can we change IWOTM so it can apply to either the Mets or the Marlins. The Marlins are an absolutely awful major league team right now (if you can call them that).

  4. The National League has some truly awful teams. Mets/Marlins/Astros/Rockies. The Braves have definitely benefited from playing in the same division as the Mets/Marlins. I still don’t feel like we have *that* good of a club. 90 wins this year is not the same as 90 wins in years past when the NL East was a bit stronger.

  5. I think Hanson gets picked on a little too much. People are upset because he isn’t what they expected him to be but it’s not as if he has contributed nothing to the team. He is a decent fifth starter, nothing great but he has pitched pretty well at times. Don’t let him close to the playoffs though.

  6. Hanson’s a fine #4. Problem is, he was a #2 with a bullet as recently as two years ago, and that’s the standard we hold him up against now. Rather than improving (going deeper into games, getting better at putting guys away, etc.), he’s gone the other way, and that’s frustrating. But ya, right now he’s a fine #4.

  7. I agree with all those who praise this recap.

    It was probably unrealistic to expect Philly to beat the Nats when it counted for the Braves, because they couldn’t beat the Braves when it counted for themselves. They are just not a very good team this year.

  8. The Cardinals share a division with the Cubs and Astros, and still have only 84 wins. Whose bright idea was it to give them a playoff spot?

  9. Well, until the last series, the Braves couldn’t beat the Nats either. The Phillies still have a better record against them than the Braves. When you put yourself in a position to have to rely on other teams, this is what you get.

  10. #3
    Thanks.

    School sure has changed since I was taking remedial math–fun application definitely beats rote memorization.

    Something tells me Sr. Immaculata never would’ve gone for that.

  11. @18 Right. We didn’t perform against good teams throughout most of the year, so we’re paying for it now. We played like clowns against the Nationals.

  12. At present, we have a slightly better record than the Yankees, a much better record than the Tigers, the same record as the Giants and quite nearly the same as the Rangers.

    That and $7.50 will get you a beer at the play-in game.

    Have I told you how much I hate the idea of a one-game play-in game? It’s hard to imagine ANY worse solution than a one-game play-in game.

    Grrrr.

  13. The non-stop Lewinski for the regular officials is making me ill.

    There were a number of calls last night that could have been questioned if the story line had called for it. Just not in the talking points, I guess.

  14. The media can make the gullible masses believe anything. Remember that one slow news summer in which they created a panic about shark attacks, even when shark attacks were down that year? That’s kind of how they handled the replacement referee story. Every single, solitary missed offsides penalty resulted in announcers and the media bemoaning: “oh, those lousy replacement refs are at it again.” Completely ignoring the fact that the supposed “real” and “good” regular referees do the same thing a dozen times each game.

  15. We’ve got a good shot at winning 95 games this year. Who would have thought that Frank Wren’s do-nothing offseason after the worst collapse in baseball history — it’s 1 and 1A with the 2012 Red Sox — would have resulted in a 90-95 win team?

  16. @22: the Cardinals sure are smug for a team that wouldn’t be in the playoffs in any MLB season prior to this one. A World Series champion that needed Selig to change the rules to get them in.

  17. I agree, Alex, but it’s a good example of another phenomenon — sometimes doing nothing is a lot better than doing something…. but it’s really hard to explain to people that you think were jeust unlucky the year before. We see in Boston what the DO SOMETHING impulse gets you. If you can attribute the braves problems last year to overuse of the pen (and that’s a respectable, if not necessarily total explanation) then (a) you resolve not to do that again and (b) you note that a fair part of it was the occurrence of lots of close and extra-innings games which are unlikey to recur by chance. Note that merely expecting players to return to form is probably not quite enough, since for every Heyward you get a McCann, on average, but if you liked your team, do nothing (and that’s not to say Wren did nothing… he just didn’t do anything massive) can be the answer.

    Of course, if the Braves had won 70 this year, a bunch of people would have probably been fired, so you have to have the courage of your do-nothing convictions.

  18. @22

    Speaking of that, who was being called out by Chipper and the TV booth the day after clinching for criticizing their clubhouse celebration? They made it seem like it was the Braves pregame radio guys, but I couldn’t tell for sure. Anyone know what was said by who?

  19. @29 and 31

    I agree. This has been a pretty good team.

    Had Wren made a bunch of panic moves, we probably wouldn’t be where we are today.

    93-95 wins is great. I will take that every year.

  20. AAR makes a great point. I’d much rather be in our position than our Red Sox brothers in collapse.

    Also if you looked at the batting lines of McCann and Uggla before the year (not to mention Hinske and Pastornicky) and knew that we’d lose Beachy for the year and JJ would be demoted and Tommy and Jonny would put up their worst seasons, would you expect a win total in the mid 90s?

  21. 33- We did make a few panic moves right at the end of spring training (Durbin, Hernandez, Francisco), but Durbin worked out and we’ve minimized the harm the others could do.

    Wren’s done a fine job with his midseason moves. In particular, he’s traded for a guy similar to and 90% as good as the player most in demand at the trade deadline for a much lower price for two straight years (Bourn vs. Pence last year, Maholm vs. Dempster this year).

  22. JonathanF, you’re absolutely right, of course — but I think that the Braves’ success this year isn’t merely because Wren did almost nothing in the offseason and the Braves regressed upward to their true talent performance. Really, what did Wren do in the offseason other than get rid of Derek Lowe and trade J.J. Hoover for Juan Francisco?

    Instead, I think that a large element of the Braves’ success was Frank Wren’s in-season moves. To my eye, he was a great deal more active once the season began. In particular, I think his handling of shortstop was masterful, handing the job to Pastornicky for a few weeks, taking it away from him when it was clear he couldn’t handle it, then obtaining Janish for peanuts when Simmons went down so that our pitchers would continue to have good infield defense.

    And when our starting rotation was clearly struggling, he got Ben Sheets, who gave us a terrific month for free, and traded Vizcaino for Maholm, a win-now move that considerably shored up out bench and back end of our rotation for the price of an injured top talent who will probably wind up in the back of the bullpen.

    Wren has rarely been the kind of GM who wanted to make a big splash on the free agent market — of course, that may also speak to Schuerholz’s continuing influence on the team. But he’s had a terrific year of tinkering.

  23. I suspect Wainwright did not mean what it sounded like. I think he was just saying we won’t celebrate until (and if) we beat Atlanta. I don’t think any baseball player is so ignorant as to take winning a single game for granted.

    Since the 8-game losing streat in May, the Braves are 65-41, a 99 win pace. Of course, this hides enormous ups and downs. A few weeks ago, it looked like the Braves were folding again. Now, with a 17-7 record in September, they look dangerous. But, it’s hard for me to get excited at the prospect of a one-game playoff to decide the entire season.

    @33,

    I agree, Smitty, but there was a time when 93-95 wins for the Braves would have been a down year.

  24. Sure, but they tinkered last year as well…. and made a bunch of similar moves. They just didn’t really work out. Little moves areindeed a Schuerholz legacy. Scout around and find guys nobody likes very much. Julio Lugo was 2011’s Paul Janish. He just didn’t work out. You may not much like Durbin, but he sure worked a hell of a lot better than Scott Proctor. Remember Matt Young? These are the kinds of moves that the Braves always make. Yes, Janish turned out to be amazingly right for the situation he was put into, but so might have Diory Hernandez from 2011, who had a similar reputation.

  25. In the 137-season history of the Braves franchise, the Braves have won 91 games a total of 24 times, including 2012. Four of those seasons were Kid Nichols’s 1890’s Boston Beaneaters, four were Eddie Mathews’s 1950’s Milwaukee Braves, and then there was the 1914 Miracle Braves, the the 1948 Braves who lost the World Series to the Indians, and the 1969 Braves who lost the NLCS to the Mets.

    The other 13, of course, have been the 1991-2012 Braves dynasty.

    For a century, the Braves would’ve been happy with 93 wins. For the past 20 years, we’ve gotten used to a whole lot more. Hard to remember when our franchise was a laughingstock, but that’s exactly what it was for the vast majority of its existence, both in Boston and in Atlanta.

  26. Diory and Matt Young were internal options — they were basically the equivalents of Pastornicky. What I appreciated was that Wren kept looking outside the organization for help when it was apparent that there was none inside the organization.

    I mean, hell, Jose Constanza has started six of the past eight ballgames for us. But for one thing, Constanza is actually a more useful ballplayer than Matt Young, and for another thing, I agree with his usage a lot more this year — as an injury replacement for Michael Bourn — than last year, as a replacement for a slumping Jason Heyward. (Of course, Heyward probably just should have been DL’ed, in which case I wouldn’t have had a problem with it. But letting him rot on the bench when he was cleared to play was a terrible decision.)

  27. @38 – Ah the halcyon years.

    I also think Wren got lucky. For the long run the team may be better off with Delgado than having rented Dempster for 3 months. Maholm and Reed were great pickups. Also agree with Alex. Being decisive when it was clear that Pastornicky wasn’t up to the task was crucial. Its pretty ballsy to bring up a AA guy to a team in contention. The normal knee jerk reaction is to trade a top prospect for a veteran.

  28. This is a great argument, AAR, because I don’t think we disagree at all. My only point is that Wren didn’t become a genius tinkerer this year after one year as an idiotic tinkerer. He’s the same guy with better results this year.

  29. @43

    I think the one thing Wren should have done last year was pick up an arm or two for the pen. If he had done that, things probably turn out differen.t

  30. Sure, Smitty, but he did… Proctor, Sherrill, Linebrink, He brought up Gearrin, Vizcaino, Varvaro, Ascencio. it’s just that most of the moves came from Gwinnett. Now if he didn’t really like those players, you’ve got a point… but I don’t see the evidence for that.

  31. Jonathan, you’re right — we totally agree. Wren has really always been a tinkerer, it’s one of his hallmarks. And obviously his tinkering worked out this year. The real question is, did his process get better? Or did the results improve regardless of process?

    I’m willing to say that I think both Wren and Fredi have gotten slightly better at pulling the trigger in a timely fashion. But that may be subjective.

  32. Re: NFL Refs

    I know people like to be contrarian, but the real refs really are better than the fake refs. Sometimes the conventional wisdom is dead-on–this is one of those times.

    The first 3 weeks had games that were just un-watch-able. They were not managed well. The replacement refs didn’t know what they were doing & got zero respect from the players & coaches. You cannot have that kind of chaos on the field. It about more than a missed call here or there.

    #22
    Good. More juice for the Wild Card Bowl.

  33. I agree with ububba. At least the regular refs know the rules and that has been a big part of the problem. Sure, they miss calls too but saying the complaints about the replacements refs is just a narrative misses the point. The players were concerned because they are able to get away with stuff they can’t with the regular refs.

    AAR,

    My point re the 93 wins being a down year was to show just how extraordinary the 91-05 run was.

  34. Avilan came up through our system.

    Generally, I think we have had better middle relief arms on our farm than those readily available from other teams.

  35. @32, John Kincaid and John Chadwick of 680 The Fan. And while I’m not much of a football fan so I didn’t hear the nonstop Lewinski for the refs, the endless Santorum over celebration-gate over at the AJC blog comments and on the radio today has been vastly entertaining.

  36. @35 While I appreciate Chad Durbin’s work so far this season, he’s been the beneficiary of tons of luck (extremely low BABIP / high LOB %). Basically, he’s a 5 ERA guy masquerading as a 3 ERA guy. Best-case scenario, he continues to pitch well for us for the remainder of the season, then goes to another team and resumes his ~5 ERA ways.

    Also, I think it’s fair to say that Bourn has produced far more than 90% of the value that Hunter Pence has, post-trade. Going by Fangraphs WAR, Bourn has been as valuable this season as Pence has over his last two seasons combined.

  37. @56, I am more Admiral Ackbared about Durbins’ success. I have a dreadful feeling about him in postseason play.

  38. Every year there seems to be one closer who comes out of nowhere to have an unbelievable season, who then regresses or gets injured immediately afterward. As long as we don’t trade Jose Capellan for them, I don’t really feel one way or the other about it.

  39. 55- I completely agree. I don’t trust Durbin, and nothing about his career indicated that he had a season like this in him. We got lucky, and I don’t want to see him on a postseason roster.

    We certainly have gotten more from Bourn than Pence has delivered since the trade; my point was that Pence was seen as the more enticing trade target. Wren has done a great job of finding players who provide similar skill sets to the hot trade targets on much more reasonable terms.

  40. 60- Capellan flamed out too after basically one season, y’know, so we didn’t lose much. (His last line in Baseball-Reference: in 2010, he went 0-11 with a 9.15 ERA. In Korea.)

  41. Well, Kolb was good in 2003 and 2004, before that trade. The former of those years he struck out almost a batter per inning, which seems like one of the biggest flukes in MLB history.

  42. Stockdaled? Hah!

    Makes me think of Phil Hartman playing Stockdale on SNL to Dana Carvey’s H. Ross Perot. Hilarious!

    Hartman was not appreciated enough on that cast.

  43. “…so he no longer looks like a bass player in a Panama City cover band.”

    At one time, I was a bass player in a Panama City cover band and I was clean shaven, SO I DO NOT APPRECIATE YOUR STEREOTYPING!!!!

  44. From ESPN:

    The Braves are working on a 22-game win streak in Medlen’s starts, and his command has been so reminiscent of Maddux’s that adoring Atlanta fans now refer to him as “Med-Dog.”

    Wasn’t that name coined here?

  45. Who was the speaker after Gov. Deal and before Bobby Cox? Bud Selig? (I’m listening on the radio and they didn’t identify who it was.)

    Also hoping Todd Van Poppel makes an appearance to laud Chipper…

  46. I don’t know how y’all feel about David Spade’s bit about Chipper on SNL all those years ago, but I still sing “Me and Chipper Jones” whenever he does something awesome. Man, I’m gonna miss singing that stupid song.

  47. Watching the Mets broadcast. Gary Cohen speculating that the predominance of Atlanta’s left handing hitting means the Cards ought to give serious consideration to starting Jaime Garcia. Personally, I think he’s too good. If the Cards had a weak-tossing lefthander nobody ever heard of, on the other hand….

  48. Chip just called Andrelton a “modern day Shawon Dunston”. Dunston did have an unbelievable arm. And yet I don’t remember him being a great shortstop.

  49. The advanced fielding metrics agree with you, Joe: Dunston’s at a shocking -91 fielding runs for his career. Feel free to take some air out of that if you like, as fielding stats ain’t exactly an exact science, but the upshot is that he clearly was not an elite fielding shortstop despite the cannon arm, much as he was not an elite hitter despite the above-average power.

  50. I keep being amazed at how hard and far Freeman hits balls with that crazy short swing of his and him even choking up a bit on the bat naturally.

  51. Is anyone else listening to the NY broadcast right now? They keep going on comparing Wright to Chipper and how if you double his numbers he would be ahead of Chipper etc. LMAO Are all New York sportcasters this delusional?

  52. @77 -91?! Wow, I admit I didn’t remember him being that bad either. Even averaged over 17 seasons that is pretty bad. On the other hand, it looks like more than half of his (negative) total is from a three year span from 95-97. In most years years he was just slightly below average.

  53. Edwin Jackson looks terrible. I’m starting to think the Nats are the team we want to play first if we survive the wildcard game.

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