Braves 3 Natspos 2

With ESPN in the house and the greatest pitcher and left fielder ever on hand, there was no chance the Braves could take down the undefeated defending World Series champion Washtreal Natspos.

All the stats and hype the ESPN crew was throwing around they forgot to mention that the Braves have beaten the Natspos seven times in a row.

Both Steven Strasburg and Julio Teheran pitched in and out of jams all night, but both were bailed out by some great defense, poor base running and toss up calls from the umps.  In the end it came down to a battle of the pens, which of course, isn’t close.

Justin Upton came to bat in the first and was amazed to see a runner on base.  He immediately corrected that abnormality by driving in Jordan Schafer. The Natspos answered with two in the top of the second.

In the bottom of the fourth Gerald Laird plated Freddie Freeman, but Dan Uggla was thrown out at third. ESPN claims Uggla was out before Freeman scored and the run shouldn’t count. Of course, they were openly pulling for the Natspos.

With the game tied in the seventh Andrelton Simmons hit a sac fly and scored Laird. That is all the Braves would need. Simmons also threw a guy out from his butt in the ninth.

Walden, O’Flaherty and Kimbrel were dominate over the final three and a third, not allowing a base runner and punching out six.

Nothing cures a losing streak like the Washtreal Natspos! Make that eight strait!

104 thoughts on “Braves 3 Natspos 2”

  1. Fred on Teherani: “People think I’m crazy for catching Laird with him…”

    Well, I wouldn’t say “crazy”.

  2. Don mentioned that this is the first game that the Braves have won this year without the benefit of a home run.

  3. Fredi does some little things that drive me nuts, but bringing Walden in the sixth, probably won the game.

  4. For all the years that the Braves self-sabotaged by losing to terrible Nationals teams, perhaps now we shift into a dynamic where the Nats are good but the Braves can actually beat them.

    We’ll see. They play each other like 94 more times this year so we’ll get a decent sample! Yay unbalanced schedule!

  5. I agree, Walden’s two innings were absolutely crucial. The real question is, can he step into the 7th-inning role that Venters and O’Flaherty have swapped over the last few years? Because if he can be the third head in the O’Flahbrel monster, then we’re going to be playing a lot of 6-inning games.

    Speaking of O’Flaherty, he’s only one of many many guys that the Mariners threw away for nothing. He was drafted in the 6th round in 2003; their first pick that year (37th overall) was Adam Jones, whom they shipped off in the Bedard trade, along with Chris Tillman, their second-rounder in 2006. Their 7th-rounder in 2006 was Doug Fister, whom they gave away for little more than a funny headline.

    Among their international free agent signings, they traded Shin-Soo Choo away for Ben Broussard, and later traded Asdrubal Cabrera to the Indians for Eduardo Perez. They traded Rafael Soriano to us for Horacio Ramirez. And on, and on, and on. That organization is preposterously crappy. Amazingly, even after they got rid of Bill Bavasi, they didn’t stop being terrible.

  6. 2- Actually, I think Fredi’s crazy for a whole lot of reasons, and pairing Laird with Teheran is pretty low on my list.

  7. Freddie is a wonderful first baseman.

    @8 I thought bringing in Walden to pitch the 7th has always been the idea when Wren made that trade. Btw, Hanson’s velocity continues to drop according to fangraphs.

  8. I’d really rather Walden not get slotted into any rigid role. The way he was used tonight was perfect, but if he had been “the seventh inning guy,” good chance Fredi dispatches Varvaro or Ayala to get those two crucial outs in the sixth, with perhaps worse results.

  9. I’m repeating what a lot of far more learned people are saying, but does anyone here know why Teheran is not throwing his changeup? There is speculation that Laird refuses to call it but that doesn’t make sense to me; many was the time I thought I knew the right pitch for a situation but the pitcher shook me off. I’m really curious because it seems to me that Teheran could really use another pitch.

  10. That’s a really good question, especially because Teheran’s changeup was always supposed to be his best- or second-best pitch. I choose to blame Laird, because I imagine that a lot of rookie pitchers would be hesitant to shake off a veteran catcher. For some reason, Laird has seemed to call a lot more breaking balls than changeups.

  11. @18- If that truly is the case, it really militates for either getting Gattis behind the plate for Teheran’s starts, or more appropriately Fredi or whomever sitting down with Laird and getting his head squared away. Hopefully McCann getting back will render this concern obsolete.

    However, to be fair I suppose it is possible, maybe even likely, that Laird saw his changeup wasn’t working when he was warming Julio up, so maybe this is much ado about nothing.

  12. The Mets are the one team I really just hate. Even when they’re awful, and it’s late in the season and they’re playing a team that the Braves could benefit from seeing get beat, I still sort of root for the Mets to lose.

  13. By the way, I totally didn’t know that Huddy is working on finishing college:

    Tim Hudson reported that he got a B in the government course he is taking at Auburn as he works to finish his college degree. Hudson has about 35 hours remaining and intends to continue picking away, partly because of his kids: He wants to set an example for them. And he has joked with his 12-year-old daughter that they could graduate at the same time.

  14. @23- That was an impressive scouting report. Wish someone with access could look into this further. If Teheran has lost confidence in the pitch, that’s one thing, although the only way to get it back is to use the damn thing against MLB competition. But if this is Laird’s doing then it makes no sense to me.

  15. Thanks, Smitty.

    Sometimes you win with your 5th starter going on the night that your main rival pitches its ace.

    And, just back from Hou @ NYY in The Bronx, sometimes the club that spends $18M on players beats the club that spends $233M—by 9-1.

    Gotta love this game sometimes.

  16. At various points in the Angels-A’s game that has now wound into the 15th, we’ve seen Hanson and Poser. It’s too bad Jo-Jo Reyes is in the Korean League, otherwise I could have the worst flashback you can endure without drugs.

  17. @7

    Lots of people seem to not like the unbalanced schedule. But why shouldn’t we face our division rivals more often than other NL teams? We’re supposed to dislike our rivals more, and that’s what drives interest. The more you play ’em, the more you get to beat ’em. Nobody seems to mind the NFL scheduling two games against each division opponent.

  18. Just imagine how many times the Braves could strikeout in a nineteen inning game..

    This is what a 19-inn game does to you:

    Game Notes

    ATHLETICS CENTERFIELDER COCO CRISP LEFT THE GAME IN THE TOP OF THE FOURTEENTH INNING WITH AN INJURED LEFT HAMSTRING.

    ANGELS CENTERFIELDER PETER BOURJOS LEFT THE GAME IN THE TOP OF THE ELEVENTH INNING WITH AN INJURED LEFT HAMSTRING.

    ATHLETICS OUTFIELDER CHRIS YOUNG LEFT THE GAME IN THE TOP OF THE SIXTEENTH INNING WITH AN INJURED LEG.

    ATHLETICS PITCHER BRETT ANDERSON LEFT THE GAME IN THE TOP OF THE EIGHTEENTH INNING WITH AN ANKLE INJURY.

  19. The worst thing about last night’s game was watching BJ flail. His bat is slower than Uggla’s right now.

  20. BJ saw a total of eight pitches in three ABs. Teheran saw seven in two ABs.

    Right now, I would rather have Teheran’s bat in the line up.

  21. BJ’s not hitting, he’s wishing.

    He really needs a trip to Gwinnett to rebuild his confidence, but it will never happen.
    ——-

    Speaking of changeups – Walden’s was the best I’ve seen in some time. Just freaking disappears.
    ——–

    Pastornicky continues to do his job when called upon. Deserves a start at 2B tonight.

  22. BJ’s game plan right now seems to be see white sphere miss white sphere. There was one pitch around the thighs, outside half that he didn’t even come close to.

  23. With Gio pitching will Reed play right? Uggla got 2 hits, let him see if he can keep it up.

  24. Uggla only has one hit in 14 PAs against Gio, but he has walked 5 times. I wouldn’t mind Pastornicky getting a start, but I suspect Fredi sticks with Uggla.

    I’m guessing: RJ, Simmons, JUpton, Freeman, CJ, Gattis, Uggla, BJ, Hudson.

  25. Of BJ’s eight pitches- Two strikeouts (6 pitches) One pop up to deep second base. One ball.

    His approach has to change.

  26. @29 I think the major distinction between the NFL and MLB is games played. The NFL at only 16 games is a shot through the league, whereas a 162-game marathon means you can truly have a good accounting of the strengths and weaknesses of all the teams, which I suggest is really the whole purpose of a regular season. Balancing the schedule means at the end of the year that there is no question that teams have had their fair shot at proving how good they are.

  27. @44

    I think they should get him to stop hitting right handed. Hey, it couldn’t get much worse.

  28. Justin. “I can’t put my thumb on it for why I’ve hit the way I have, but I’ve just got to continue to work and keep it up.”
    His thumb was injured last year. He is able to put his thumb on bat this year.

  29. 47-That article is disgraceful. They are still attacking Justin’s character, just to hoodwink their pissed off fans. What a classless organization.

  30. Hey, everyone, tonight Tim Hudson is going for his 200th win. Perhaps whoever writes up the game thread can highlight this fact.

  31. Balancing the schedule means at the end of the year that there is no question that teams have had their fair shot at proving how good they are.

    That’s true, but unbalancing the schedule means you have a better chance of taking your division rivals down yourself. And since they’re the teams you have to beat (or at least keep up with) in order to move on to the playoffs, they’re who you should want to play. I strongly dislike Chase Utley, Bryce Harper, David Wright (well, not really Wright) et al, but not in a way that I want them gone from my TV screen. I dislike them in a way that makes me want to see us beat them as often as possible.

  32. If I were making tonight’s lineup…
    Pastornicky-3b
    Simmons
    Jupton
    Gattis
    CJohnson-1b
    Uggla
    Bupton
    RJohnson

  33. With a night to think it over, Jason Heyward has surely realized the error of his late May timetable. That timetable is just way too hasty. I mean who knows what could happen when you take a month to rehab from a two-week injury. That’s just cutting it way too close. I think Jason will agree that mid-August is a much more realistic timetable. Wouldn’t want to rush anything, after all.

  34. 55: If Pastornicky has logged any time at the hot corner over the past two years, it doesn’t show up on BR. I’m not sure he’s played the position as a professional at all. I know we did the Evan Gattis First Base Experience and that worked out okay, but generally you don’t just want to stick guys at positions they haven’t played.

  35. @57 I actually missed that bit until you linked it. He seems off and it’s not hard to imagine that he’s hurt again. If he’s being fondled to this degree and is still hurt, I’m not sure what that says about his long term prospects in baseball.

  36. I’m sure this has been proposed before, but I would prefer this schedule:

    13 games against division opponents (52 games)
    20 interleague games
    90 games against 10 league opponents (9 games each)

    You still play more against your division, but not absurdly so. Also as you have an extra series against other league opponents, you have a chance to have more make-up games if early ones are washed/snowed out.

    Thoughts?

  37. If Strasburg is really headed to the knife again, it says he’s on the Kerry Wood track and is probably going to be a hard throwing reliever rather than a dominant starter.

  38. I think Strasberg decline may be traced to El Oso Blanco tomahawk blast. Maybe he tried to throw too hard rather than pitch? Gattis is getting mainly off speed pitches now, but he should adjust shortly.

  39. I played SS in slow pitch softball one day on muddy infield when we were up 10 runs. Went after pop up in short left field and slipped on grass and fell on my ass. So AS’s play was amazing.

  40. #68

    As my Greek stepfather says, “Different, not the same.” Didn’t mean to sound so prim.

  41. @64 JH has a history of playing through pain to excess. He needs to get well and do a rehab assignment before coming back.

  42. Strasberg has, to steal and modify a phase used to describe Bob Horner, million dollar stuff and a 10 cent elbow.

  43. @71 I laughed out loud at the “I thought it was a tumor!” bit at the end. I was reminded of when he ran into a wall in the 2010 playoffs and had to be seen by the trainer because he apparently thought he was going to fall into a hundred pieces because he bumped the wall.

  44. @73, another fan base/organization’s mocking the injured RF’s injuries like we know what’s actually going on in his body and developing a “this guy’s a wuss” meme is exactly how we got J. Upton for cheap…

  45. Heyward is fragile. It does no one any good to pretend otherwise. He’s fragile and he is not the king of guy who is going to mentally tough it out over taking a few extra days to recover. That simply is the case.

    It’s no reason to trade him for Martin Prado or anything, but it is the case nonetheless.

  46. @76 I like to think JH has learned it is ok to play with pain but not with an injury. I hope Success! knows that by now.

  47. Didn’t Heyward play a game or two with a rapidly swelling appendix before getting the surgery?

  48. My appendix has never come close to exploding, so I have no idea what it’s like to recover from that kind of emergency surgery.

  49. 76- I was holding out the hope that at least this was a learned behavior from the Braves’ treatment of him in the farm system, and that he’d realize that when your paychecks have lots of digits in them, you’ll have to give your best when you aren’t feeling 100%.

    That’s definitely taken a hit.

  50. I played with a guy in high school that had an appendectomy mid-season. He was out about 2 or 3 weeks. I’m sure a month to recover isn’t out of the question. I say take your time…we have plenty of guys that can hit .121 to fill in.

  51. I don’t know where all this talk of “behavior” comes from, along with the speculation about Heyward’s mental robustness. If he is more “fragile” than the typical baseball player (which–he’s averaged 142 games in his three full seasons, which works out to a single minimum DL stint over the course of the season and one off day every month), that’s a product of his body, not any lack of drive, competitiveness, or desire to play.

  52. I didn’t say he lacked drive, competitiveness or a desire to play. I said he’s fragile, and that he isn’t the kind of guy who toughs it out. I think the track record shows this to be the case.

    Some guys have high pain tolerances. Other guys don’t. Heyward doesn’t seem to be one of the ‘eat the pain and play anyway’ types, at least not when he’s been diagnosed.

    Having recently had some groin/abdomen area surgery, I can empathize with the “it feels like it will pull if I do anything” feelings. Some guys would play anyway and take the chance. Some guys won’t. That’s not a judgement either way, but Heyward is pretty clearly the type of guy to take an extra day off to make sure he’s 100% than to try to get back out there a day before the doctors tell him he can play.

  53. It may be premature to conclude Strasburg is going under the knife again. More likely it’s exactly what Rizzo said it was: forearm tightness, which will pass, and nothing more.

  54. 81 and 73 said or heavily implied that he lacks drive, mental toughness, and/or the desire to play.

    And I don’t even agree with your version. He attempted to play through that hand injury for weeks in 2011, only to be forced onto the DL by the team when it was clear that it was making him ineffective. Perhaps the lesson he’s taken from that (or the instructions he’s been given after that) are that he should not risk aggravating a minor injury by “toughing it out.” If so, it doesn’t have anything to do with his personal pain tolerance.

  55. I think the fact that Jason has not only released an official statement but also done this interview with DOB about what is a pretty standard surgery says that at the very least he’s aware that he could be perceived as fragile.

  56. My wife was calling him a glass house before the season started.

    He does have a bit of a reputation.

  57. Here’s the thing, Anon21. Admitting the facts of the world is not an attack on Jason Heyward. He’s a great talent who we all want to see back, healthy and raking in RF.

    He’s also a fragile body type who doesn’t play through injuries particularly well.

  58. Pretty standard surgery is by definition surgery for a stranger. Major surgery is surgery on you or someone close to you. The whole body torsion needed for pitching or hitting is not done well soon after your body has been cut.

  59. @89: So, are you conceding that you don’t know anything about Heyward’s pain tolerance, or what? I can’t tell at all from what you wrote.

  60. When I was in college, our best WR/RB had an emergency appendectomy on Monday and played in the rivalry game on Saturday (and was effective — almost 100 receiving yards and a TD). Pretty sure that wasn’t ketchup all over his jersey. Insane.

    They put Freddie on the DL to avoid further injury. I’d prefer that Jason be healthy when he plays. Take an extra couple of days.

  61. @92 Cox always told player to take an extra day when they said they were ready to come back. Success! and Reed are doing well as RF replacements. 162 games make a long season.
    Freeman did not want to go on DL. I think that it was best that he did.

  62. Remember when Chipper publicly called out Jason for not playing unless he was 100%? That alone has me a little worried about Jason’s comments about his injury now. Hopefully he learned from that, though, and will come back when he’s ready now but without being overly cautious.

    Here’s what Jason posted on Twitter yesterday explaining his comments to DOB:

    Word is I’m not ALLOWED to do anything physically until 2weeks after this surgery (Today being 1week). And after 2weeks (being next Monday May 6th) the pace I decide to comeback is up to my body and me. I will have to test and make sure I won’t cause any further injuries, such as oblique or hernia. That being said, 1week after surgery I don’t know when exactly I will be able to return. My words to the media were that I’m not able to give a timetable for when I’ll be back without being cleared by Doctors to test my body and gain feedback. As far as “late May” I stated that I would be disappointed if I had to wait any longer than that. And that I hope to be back BEFORE then. Fact that I’m not cleared by the medical staff to try ANYTHING physical until at least next Monday MAY 6 means that it would take at least that week to start working and get back in game action and to rehab. Which means by the end of that week it would then be MAY11. At that point considering and hoping all things go well that could put me back with the team sometime as soon as the week of MAY 12-18. But again, the medical staff nor myself have a set timetable at the moment while I’m not able to do anything. And I would be disappointed if I had to wait as long as “Late May.” Therefore the medical staff and I will have a better idea of a timetable for return next week. I’m hoping to be back on the field with my teammates much sooner than later than “late May.”

  63. If this were the stretch drive I might have a different attitude, but I’m fine with Heyward taking as long as it takes for him to come back with NO EXCUSES.

    The one I don’t understand is Derrick Rose. Surely there’s more going on than I know, but how can you not come back for the NBA Playoffs if you’re even 80%?

    I’m having to admit to a grudging respect for (can’t. make. myself. type.) Joakim Noah.

  64. Didn’t Adam Dunn have an appendectomy a couple of years ago and played a week later? I seem to remember that there was talk he came back too early and that was why he was sucking afterwards. But then again, he has proven enough the last couple of years that he can’t hit anymore. So take from that what you want to.

  65. Just watched last night’s condensed game. Almost all of the ten hits Teheran gave up were ground balls that found small holes…

  66. I’m going to cast my lot with Sam and agree that generally speaking, JHey just doesn’t seem to have the ‘health’ tool. I honestly don’t believe that he’s a malingerer or a wimp – rather, it’s likely that his body is just fragile (relative to the average MLB player), and pushing it harder would just result in further injury.

  67. @95- Rose believes that without the confidence to drive to the basket, he isn’t a positive for his team. If he were to be out there at 80%, they’d still get their ass kicked by the Heat, and there’d be a chance (in his mind) of re-injury. I don’t think he’s making a wrong decision.

    On Heyward- Heyward is fragile in that he’s long and lean and doesn’t have a lot of bulk. It’s just who he is. It’s not a moral failing. Nor is his mental response to the body that momma gave him, IMO.

    On the D-Backs- Gawd, what an annoying organization. They’ve been that way their entire existence, too. Just go ahead and clone Eric Byrnes already.

  68. @94
    That’s a very long and detailed tweet. I thought they had some sort of limit on # of words…

  69. @100 He used twitlonger.com, so only the first line was visible in his tweet until you clicked on it. I, too, was surprised to see such a long post when I clicked on it.

  70. @98 – Some may blame Heyward’s fragility on playing so many games from a very young age. I’m not sure if this is the case, but if you read the SI article from several years back, it’s clear Heyward has played a huge number of games already.

  71. It’s a 2-3 week injury. The end of May is 6 weeks. He needs 3 weeks of rehab when he’s only been sitting 2 weeks? Really? I don’t think so. And this doesn’t have much to do with playing through injury or playing through pain. He can’t play yet because his surgery wound hasn’t healed. When it heals, he can play. There isn’t anything to aggravate. Adam Dunn and Matt Holliday came back from this injury in less than 10 days, and while I’m not suggesting that Jason do that (I was in favor of him going on the DL), 6 weeks is absurd. But it’s alright, everyone continue to kiss Jason Heyward’s ass, I’m sure the timetable can’t be helped. After all, what do precedent and medical professionals know? Clearly Heyward is the only one who really knows how long it takes to come back from an injury.

  72. You guys cannot imagine the bootlicking commentary of the Nats’ broadcast team. Especially F. P. Santangelo. Every Nats player is a Gold Glover. Opponents will remember this game as the time they got to face the greatest hitter in the history of baseball. Strasburg is a hall of famer. Every ball the Nats throw is actually a strike. Every strike the opponents throw was actually a ball.

    I’m old enough to remember Johnny Most and this is the worst homerism I’ve ever seen. It’s a tonguebath like not other. So it was a pleasure to watch it on ESPn and not MASN.

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