Braves 7, Reds 2 (recapped by W.C.G.)

ESPN Box Score

You want a small sample size? I’ve got your small sample size right here. Dan Uggla is now hitting .333/.379/.815 in May. Two possible conclusions:

(1) Dan Uggla is back, baby!
(2) Frank Wren should get on the phone right now and trade him to the Dodgers.

I try to be optimistic, so I’m going to go with (1) for now. Uggla hit two solo homers, Juan Francisco iced the game with a grand slam, and the Braves got out of Great American Ballpark winning two out of three.

Atlanta won this one starting Mike Minor and an empty-the-bench lineup in which Brian McCann, Chris Johnson, and both Uptons all got (most of) the day off. Minor was great, pitching seven innings of seven-baserunner, one-run ball. He got a defensive boost from Evan Gattis, who, from left field in the second inning, hosed Brandon Phillips on an attempt to score tagging up from third. Gattis also barely missed a home run in the fourth, but Uggla followed him with a solo shot of his own and the Braves Homer Parade was on.

Uggla hit another in the sixth. Juan took the guy he was traded for, J.J. Hoover, deep in the eighth, after the Braves chased Mike Leake and Sean Marshall earlier in the inning with three singles, a walk, and a fielder’s choice groundout prior to Juan’s at- bat. From there, Anthony Varvaro got to give the rest of the bullpen the day off, as there are flights to catch.

The Braves fly out to San Francisco for four in Pac Bell followed by three in Arizona. That will conclude the “On The Road All The Damn Time” section of the schedule (seriously, 26 of 34 games on the road, wtf), and there will be home games again, by like mid-next-week.

Atlanta hitters struck out seven times, which continues not to matter, really. Batting in the 1-2 spots in the order, Jordan Schafer had a three-hit game and Andrelton Simmons a four-hit game. There was a game last night too, but this one was more fun to recap, so we’re skipping that one.

70 thoughts on “Braves 7, Reds 2 (recapped by W.C.G.)”

  1. Small Sample Size. The eye test says Success! is the guy we hoped he was when he was a rookie. His approach looks excellent. Doubts says he may become a pumpkin again.

  2. Watching replays of Uggla’s HRs. Freddie’s hugs are getting out of control.

  3. One big point in Success! favour currently over when he just came up, I think is that he has gotten away from trying to hit everything out of the park. Now, he just needs to teach Bupkis that particular mindset.

  4. While this game looks like an easy win, it was helped immensely by two horrible choices by Dusty Baker. Is there any manager who lets his pitcher hit down 2-1 in the 7th with two men on? Anyone? OK. So you don’t trust your bullpen so you try to get more time out of the starter even though you greatly reduce your chances of tying the game. But then, in the next inning, when one of the relievers you don’t trust finds himself throwing with his right hand and the bases loaded to a fat left handed third baseman you let him go ahead and pitch to him because:
    (a) 6 runs down, 1 run down… Is there really any difference?
    (b) You got rid of the fat 3rd baseman, so he can’t be good
    (c) You were in the bathroom when the pitching sequence started
    (d) Big ballpark… no chance of a homerun

    There are people out there who make Fredi occasionally look like a genius…

  5. 6- I’m pretty sure that was just my nightmare from too many Sonic burgers. Funny thing- all the sports sites have the Braves with an extra loss for some reason; I’m sure it’s just a glitch.

  6. Dusty was waiting to see if Fredi would replace Minor with a lefty or righty. He assumed Minor was out of pitches. He would rather pitch to Road Runner than Chris Johnson? Give Baker a life time contract, he can coach.

  7. I am shamed. Sorry about missing yesterday’s recap.

    Yesterday’s game was awesome. Until it sucked.

  8. @1

    Along with “doubt”, I would also include “career to date.”

  9. @10 – Yesterday’s recap: Sometimes, I guess, there just aren’t enough beers.

  10. Simmons all star SS, Jupton all star LF, RoadRunner/Johnson all star level platoon at 3B, Freeman likely all star at 1B. Gattis, rookie of year, Success!, comeback player of year (except he never made it) McCann healthy and Uggla hot. I seem excited.

  11. After his second HR, Uggla made like Freddie and gave Walker a big ol’ hug in the dugout.

  12. Well… whoever it was who set the over/under for Braves homers in the Cincy series at 5.5 – that was an excellent line to set, considering the actual outcome of 6. So, congrats.

  13. @20: I’d rather see him than Cain or Bumgarner. Always trust the career over the five-week-old season.

  14. Greetings from LA…

    Glad we got a well-pitched start with a big offensive output. If it had been a close game in the 9th, Braves fans would’ve been losing their minds. Last night sucked like most games never do, but, hey, 2/3 in that joint’s never bad.

    And now that we’re going from one extreme park to another, let’s just see what kinda power we really have.

    Guilty. Figured 2 per game wouldn’t be unreasonable.

  15. Why is Angel Hernandez still employed? Better yet, why are we still using umpires at all? I find it odd that after every controversial pitch we then show a replay, with a box, and look to see whether the ump got it right or not. Why not, I dunno, just get it right every time?

    Also, why is Angel Hernandez still employed?

  16. @26

    Angel Hernandez is one of the worst umpires in baseball. This has been the case for years.

    Last year he was on a crew with Joe West. I imagine they threw more people out of games than any crew in baseball. I bet CB Bucknor was sad he wasn’t on that crew, as was Sam Holbrook.

  17. Buster Olney has been hinting MLB may step in and make them replay the inning, post homerun.

  18. Bud has already fined one umpire this year. I think there is a sentiment growing at the ownership level that finally, “something has to be done”.

  19. I did not know than Minor was in same draft as Strasberg. I though he was older.

  20. @ 23, exactly. If my memory serves me right, we struggled against Zito even when he sucked.

  21. The Braves have lost a couple of games they should have won but have won a couple of games they should have lost. It doesn’t necessarily all even out, but that’s baseball. Every team has bad losses. But you can’t have too many.

  22. @31 8 months July 20, 1988 and December 26, 1987 for Minor. Minor has pitch more innings in ML and has been better since 2012 All Star break. Minor has less stuff, but more of a pitcher and less of a thrower.

  23. @32 – Zito has indeed owned the Braves. His career line vs. Atlanta: 7 GS, 48 IP, 5-1 W/L, 2.06 ERA, 1.04 WHIP.

  24. @35: I mean, good for him, but I don’t particularly care what Nate McLouth was doing against him in 2010. I always want to see the Braves face the worst available pitcher, and between Cain, Bumgarner, and Zito it’s pretty obvious who’s the worst.

  25. @7, Fredi’s record as Braves manager puts him in the upper echelon of the franchise’s managers in just his 3rd season. (That in itself says more about the Braves than Fredi perhaps).
    Yesterday’s victory gave Fredi 203 with the Braves, moving him into 15th on the all-time Braves (BOS/MIL/ATL) manager victory list.
    Fredi replaced Fred Tenney, who took 4 complete seasons as player-manager for 1905-07 and 1911. While the seasons were shorter, approx. 140 games, Tenney’s teams won only 33% of the time and never won more than 58 games. (Tenney was a much better player than manager, playing 1b regularly from 1897-1911, he compiled a career .294 BA, a .371 OBP and an OPS of .730. This in the Deadball Era while averaging over 600 AB / season.

    Tenney may also hold the record, for managing the franchise through the most nicknames as Boston was referred to as the Beaneaters, Rustler and Doves during his tenure.

    BTW, Fredi is only 4 games from equalling Chuck Tanner for 4th place on games managed in Atlanta, and only 7 games from equalling Eddie Matthews 7th place for losses in Atlanta.

  26. @37 I agree with you! As they say in the investment world, “past performance is no guarantee of future results”, and there’s nothing about Zito that makes it likely that he’ll continue to be successful against the Braves.

    Also, everyone should go read this great article on ESPN by Mark Simon on Andrelton’s defensive mastery. The data shows that since entering the league in 2012, he’s been in a class by himself at shortstop – saving runs at twice the rate of the next-best (Brendan Ryan) and roughly four times the rate of the next tier of defensive SS (Elvis Andrus et al.). What makes Simmons’ greatness all the more important to the Braves? While Andrelton was by far the best defensive shortstop, Tyler Pastornicky was easily the worst, so the upgrade at SS (as we all saw) was massive.

  27. Nice article – thanks for posting.

    And the gravy – since a slow start in his first 5 games, Simmons is .305/.352/.484 .837/~120OPS+

  28. Meanwhile, in Arizona:

    .227/.281/.348, .629 OPS and 69 OPS+.

    Though you know he’ll probably bring those stats up against the Braves.

  29. @43:

    What good is instant replay if u don’t have umpires who interpret it correctly? Some course of action has to be taken w/ umps. #enuffisenuff

    “Enuffisenuff”? Chipper’s tweets read like Mac’s old Dan Kolb Bolg.

  30. @43 Good. So tired of MLB helping the umpires union circle the wagons by muzzling players and fining them for daring to criticize the precious umps. It’s probably not wise for players to do so anyway, given that the egomaniacs in blue are given all the power on the field and have proven time and again they will abuse it, but they shouldn’t be fined for it.

  31. Andrelton Simmons – a rangier, taller Ozzie Smith? We can surely hope so….

  32. This is apropos of nothing, but a former classmate of mine put this together, and I think it’s really great. It generates heat maps showing how similar different regions of the country are to the particular city you choose in terms of the use of “coke” vs. “soda” vs. “pop”.

    Check it out!

  33. Andrelton has a great chance to be Ozzie in the field and Prado at the plate.

  34. @50 – very cool and personal vindication for me as all my friends here in the Buckeye state tease me for my use of Coke as a generic term for a soft drink.
    My usual defense has been to ask:
    cotton swab or Q-tip?
    facial tissue or Kleenex?
    bleach or Clorox?
    etc etc.

  35. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: watching Andrelton Simmons play defense reminds me of watching Andruw Jones play defense.

    Their offensive games are very different, but if Andrelton can keep his high contact rate while slightly increasing his walk rate and his power, then his offensive game could be similarly valuable to Andruw’s middling OBP/high-strikeout/high-power offense.

  36. @50 That’s an interesting new way to look at the data. I’ve seen lots of maps showing what’s dominate where, but never one highlighting similarities to a specific city.

    Can’t say I’m surprised to learn that DC is similar to…exactly no one. ‘Round here I guess we call it booze.

  37. @54-

    That’s a great way of putting it. Andrelton makes so many tough-to-very-tough plays look easy out there the same way Andruw seemed to. Sure, he’ll do crazy-awesome-looking stuff, too, but I feel like it’s sometimes easy to take what Andrelton does for granted.

    I guess they teach nonchalance in Curacao. :-)

  38. @53: To me, the analogy to those three products doesn’t work, because none of them are meaningfully distinct from others in their class. That is, Clorox is the same thing as… whatever another brand of bleach is. Q-tips are the same thing as Kroger-brand cotton swabs. Facial tissues are all the same. There’s no variety, so the product name works fine to refer to the whole class.

    A Coke is different from a root beer, is different from an orange soda, is different from Dr Pepper. Using the name of one specific product with a specific flavor to describe a wide variety of carbonated beverages is confusing.

  39. @57 I’ve never heard someone ask if a place of business had “coke” without wanting a coca cola. People only call soda “coke” in causal conversation, such as “yeah, I went and got snacks and cokes for the party.”

  40. @58: I guess that makes sense. The whole concept just seems weird to me because I never hear it used that way and thought for a while that it was a Southern stereotype without basis in fact. But I can see how it would work fine in situations where specificity doesn’t matter.

  41. I know I personally sound ridiculous when I try to say the word “soda.” Must be something about southern accents. Coke is much easier to say for me personally. When I was up north the past few years I would always ask if restaurants served soda and I had to repeat myself every single time.

  42. When the Tigers stomped the Braves, I got mad at the Braves. Now that the Tigers are rolling over for the Nationals, I say: raze Detroit. (But who would notice?)

  43. Yeah, that “Yahoo Contributor Network” stuff is uneven, to say the least. Their actual writers, like Jeff Passan and Tim Brown, are really good, and I’m a fan of bloggers like Kevin Kaduk (my former editor) and Dave Brown, too.

  44. I like what I’ve read from Brown, but I personally can’t stand Passan. That’s just me, though. No real opinion either way on the other guys.

  45. Actually – and I mean this – you lot do a pretty good job of presenting an informed range of opinion on the home team. I don’t really bother with much on the Braves outside of this site.

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