Unconscionably Belated Game Thread, May 8

So, last night’s game wasn’t recapped. I’d apologize for that, but then, last night is not a game that any of us would particularly want to relive any time soon. So here’s a game thread for today’s game, which has already started. Again, I’m sorry about the lateness.

137 thoughts on “Unconscionably Belated Game Thread, May 8”

  1. Man, gambling on the left arm of Mike Minor by throwing out an All Scrub lineup is really looking like a brilliant decision so far.

  2. From the last thread, in re: Kimbrel:

    I thought the same thing about location, but it turns out he’s actually getting more called strikes on the curve than at any other point in his career (27.3% vs. 24.1% in 2012 and 21.8% career).

    He also appears to be shying away from using the curve as a put away pitch, as he threw it with two strikes 47% of the time last year, but only 32% this year, which may have something to do with the dip in strikeouts.

    But yeah, it sure does feel like hitters are sitting fastball and taking the curve for strikes.

    Edit: Holy cow, Gattis.

  3. Gattis!! I didn’t even think that would be close with Phillips running. That’s a potential momentum shifter.

  4. Oh my. I know I’m in bitter sarcasm mode, but I have to say, that Gattis kid can throw a bit.

  5. Can’t watch today, but judging by the boxscore we’re probably gonna hit double digit strikeouts without even breaking a sweat.

  6. @8: I don’t know why I’m bothering to defend Jeffy, but his arm is legit. All the advanced defensive stats absolutely love it. It’s the one part of his defensive game that’s actually good.

  7. Some fairly offensive baserunning going on in this inning, although I can’t blame Mike Minor for not wanting to pull a Phillips with Freeman coming up.

  8. @9:

    The difference in movement is largely negligible:
    2012: 6.31″ horizontal, -6.87″ vertical
    2013: 6.79″ horizontal, -6.28″ vertical

    Slightly more horizontal movement, slightly less vertical.

  9. Oh, Francoeur has a powerful arm, but it isn’t always accurate. That Gattis throw was better than a lot of the Frenchy throws I’ve personally endured. It was a bit up the line, but it was on the third base side, the good part of the line.

  10. In all seriousness, why is Reed Johnson starting against a righty? I understand that Fredi wanted to give J Upton a day off, but why does it have to be today? If Fredi doesn’t care who wins, then neither should I.

  11. Fredi’s MO (which comes from Bobby’s) is to let the bench players all start together on the quick turnaround day-game-after-night-game situations. To “keep them fresh” and all that. I don’t want Reed Johnson to get *any* at bats, so I don’t care how fresh he is. I would be a terrible manager I guess. My starters would play every day unless they couldn’t.

  12. Too bad.

    Alex – He should get work against left-handed pitchers. Pretty simple.

  13. @21: I don’t blame him for trying, even though it is annoying to stop the game when we already know what happened.

  14. Better if Gattis did it on the very next pitch, but still… good work, Dan.

    Now how about we keep the good times ruling with a Juan Gordo 502-foot GABP special?

  15. Okay, Chip’s “Review that!” was kinda funny. Not that I’m going soft on him or anything.

  16. I’m constitutionally unable to laugh at anything Chip says – unless I’m laughing at him.

  17. I was watching the game at a restaurant and when Gattis threw that guy out I totally lost it. I’m wearing my El Oso Blanco shirt today!

  18. @36 I don’t laugh. I’m not even annoyed at Chip anymore, for the most part; I just accept him as our Cliff Clavin, a know-it-all know-nothing who I’ve learned to live with as annoying background noise. He is who he is, and doesn’t know any better. Except whenever he and Joe start making what they believe to be smart-assed comments while reading a promo for a soccer game as they did last night. Then I want to toss a brick through my flat screen. But I’m also British by birth, so I take the soccer cracks a tad more personally than one should..

  19. how has anybody who has watched any amount of baseball not know that every umpire sets up on the inside of the plate?

  20. Kruger, they didn’t always. I actually interviewed Joe West and asked about that:

    West also told me that new research has even changed where umpires stand behind the plate. The end of the bat moves more quickly than the handle, and therefore a batted ball comes slower off the handle off the handle of the bat than off the end. So West instructs his umpires to stand on the inside corner, and if any of them are hit in the head, they undergo imPACT testing, as well. “That doesn’t mean we’re not going to be hurt, but it means we’re going to be safe,” he said. West also argued that accuracy of strike calls wouldn’t be affected. “You’re looking out into the strike zone instead of down through it, so I think it helps your accuracy,” he said.” You have to adjust… but you’re able to look down to the low pitch.” According to West, umpire head injuries have markedly decreased since umpires began working the inside corner more frequently.

  21. @44

    Oh sure…couch it in the terms of head injuries and now no one can complain that they’re not actually in the right position. Skillfully done, Mr. West.

  22. Having just arrived, I have to say that Fredi is normally better than this when it comes to the crappy getaway day lineups. He normally doesn’t give everybody a day off at once. Certainly not today, though. This is a Bobby Cox Getaway Day Special for sure.

  23. Uggla??

    Can we trade Uggla for Brandon Phillips, Uggla is perfect for this sandbox.

  24. Aaaaand Chip has to ruin his one good line today with “On further review!” Know when to stop, Chip.

    (As I’ve said before, I suffer him because I still miss his dad. “Suffer” being the operative word there.)

  25. If I’d have known all I had to do was drop Uggla from my fantasy team, I would have done it weeks ago.

  26. I’m not going to feel better about Uggla until that contact rate rises and k% falls back to acceptable levels. The one thing that’s heartening, though, is that he’s back to hitting for real power.

  27. This is a personal foible so feel free to ignore my nitpicking, but it bugs me that our announcers think it was “too obvious” that Chase Utley has scored the most runs among second basemen since 2008. I mean, we play the damn Phillies 19 times a year or whatever, couldn’t they be bothered to recollect that Utley is always freaking hurt?

  28. Chip: “Who knows, maybe in our lifetimes we’ll have baseball teams in Europe.”

    This is not even a remotely credible proposition.

  29. @44 good work AAR, the explanation I got from a friend who has umpired was that they set up on the inside corner to protect the batter and pitcher from guessing at inside pitches. Your explanation makes very good sense.

    Don and Chip seem to be implying that West is out of position and therefore unable to make accurate calls

  30. @53 – Dusty while you are at it drop Dan’s brother BJ from your fantasy team as well.

  31. The pitcher is up with two on, two out.
    The pitcher is also 2 for 5 with a homer against Minor.

  32. @65-Ironically I’m in that league with my brother Dan and he just dropped BJ this week, brighter days are ahead.

    Edit-I know John R beat me to it, but letting your pitcher hit right before you’re about to yank him is horrible, don’t care if he’s a decent hitter. Fredi sure let Minor battle there, but I like it. He takes Minor out, Dusty PHs for Leake.

  33. @66: A poster child for “small sample size.” Don’t you have to pinch hit in that situation?

  34. @62

    It is perhaps credible that there could one day be a European baseball league that acts as a AAA league (a la the Mexican League), but no, it’s very unlikely from a logistical standpoint that Major League Baseball would have European teams.

  35. Why was the SS covering there? That is wrong based on everything I ever learned; even if we called for a pitch outside the hope was a RH batter would roll over and ground it to the left side. I feel certain that I can learn something here.

  36. Success(!). Huh. He’s making my brain hurt by forcing it to contemplate a hypothetical it knows is patently impossible.

  37. Well, it’s tough to imagine the hit-and-run ever working better than it did there.

  38. Anytime I’m tempted to complain about our manager, I think of the Reds situation and think it could be much worse.

  39. Jordan Schafer is 3-4 batting leadoff today. On the year, he’s batting .270/.438/.378 in 49 PA, with 11 walks against just 9 strikeouts.

    Look, yeah, small sample size, and he hasn’t shown much of any power — just two XBH, one double and one homer — but he has more walks than strikeouts.

  40. @70: If he had gone by the book, he’d be over 900.

    Of course, every time I see him I think of Jerry Royster. Boy, we used to be bad at trading people.

  41. I think Dusty is a bit like a parallel-universe version of Bobby Cox. He has a more ruinous history of destroying pitchers’ arms, and he’s no better an in-game manager, but he seems to have a real talent for pulling a clubhouse together and getting his players to play to the height of their abilities.

  42. PaulV, sorry about that! I just pulled the season stats off b-ref and obviously didn’t think to add in today’s numbers. But the point about his walk/strikeout ratio stands. It’s absolutely unbelievable.

  43. Alex, those numbers tell the story I see. Schafer has looked good. Patient at the plate, using his speed, and making good contact. I know that most will disagree but I also think that he has looked good in the field. It’s effing amazing.

  44. Even saying all that, I do not want to see his goofy looking ass out there every day. Mr. Walker has to get BJ fixed. (his swing of course)

  45. Not to question Dusty’s gut, but don’t you need a lefty against FatJuan?

  46. It’s got to be humbling to be released by the worst team in baseball. Schafer was cut by the Astros. If that doesn’t wake you up then nothing will. His approach at the plate is exactly how it should be. Now I just wish we could take back our $75million dollar BJ Upton deal.

  47. @67, 68: I wasn’t saying he should or shouldn’t hit. (Actually, he shouldn’t have.) I was just saying it was still a tense moment despite it being the pitcher hitting.

    @69: For their to be any possibility of major league baseball (whether MLB or a genuine, self-sufficient professional league), there has to be fandom to support it. Europe doesn’t have that.


  48. Weird seeing Fredi head out onto the field for hugs and chest bumps.

    Oh, wait. That’s our catcher.

  49. So can we change “grand slam” to “roll up a FatJuan”? (As in, “C’mon, Freddie, roll up a FatJuan”)

  50. @108 109 – I didn’t know, thanks. I agree it would be nice if he could come back and finish standing up. But isn’t he in his late 30’s?

  51. Juan’s definitely a better fielder than Chris Johnson at 3B, which is why it was so mind-boggling that Fredi willingly put CJ at 3B multiple times instead of Juan when he had both players in the lineup (Juan DH’ed) and other times when he had CJ start at 3B against a righty. My guess is that Fredi’s thought process went as follows: “Oh wow, Chris Johnson has the highest batting average in the NL! Welcome to the starting lineup, Chris!”

  52. Hmmm DirecTV Extra Innings seems to have forgotten you get to see another half-inning when the home team is behind in the bottom of the 9th.

    Off to watch the Giants.

  53. @114: He floated a knuckler over the head of the first baseman and it rolled out towards right on the line. Andrelton poured it on hard to stretch it into a double, took a very hard slide and came up looking very uncomfortable. No apparent harm done, but still.

    @115: I disagree but I certainly hope you’re not proven right!

  54. Good win today, too bad Kimbrel messed up the sweep.

    Success! keepin’ on keepin’ on.

  55. Roy Halladay is actually only 35. That’s why it’s shocking that he got so bad so quickly.

    I’m really glad Varvaro’s been pitching so well. He and Avilan need to shoulder more of the burden from O’Flaherty and Walden.

  56. Arthroscopy for a bone spur. I have no idea how serious that is but its better than having his shoulder taken apart and put back together.

  57. @121 Halladay is saying he can come back and pitch this year assuming they don’t find more than they expect when they go in. So could definitely be worse.

  58. Jay Howell just siad on the radio “I guess you cna’t bitch about Uggla anymore”

    I have a feeling Jeff Blauser is about to get a call…

  59. I think Kimbrel needs to stay up with his fastball and down with his slider.

    If you’re sitting dead red, low is actually more hittable (imho) – unless you’re Evan Gattis.

  60. Nothing about the Braves’ media presence baffles me more than the continued employment of Jay Howell. Sure, Ron Gant, Brian Jordan, and Mark Lemke are all lousy at their jobs, but they were at least well-known, well-liked contributors to great Braves teams. Jay Howell is worse than all of them at his job, and a nobody in Braves lore.

    I was at the game where Jay Powell’s arm exploded mid-pitch. Jay Howell was butchering the post-game show for a solid year and a half before I realized they were two different former Braves pitchers.

  61. @112 – I’m not sure if Juan is significantly better than CJ defensively. CJ has made some decent plays this year, but has shown limited range and an inability to open or close his glove on some very easy plays.

    Juan flashed all the same traits last year that CJ has this year. The only difference is that Juan hasn’t missed too many easy ones this year. Give it time, it may come.

  62. Juan has a better arm.

    In fact, Juan and Simmons probably have the strongest arms on the left side of any team in baseball.

  63. Okay, you guys have me convinced. I never thought that I would be on the losing side of an argument about how good of a fielder Juan Francisco is.

  64. @126 While both CJ and Juan are somewhat error-prone at 3B, Juan has far superior range and a better arm. Overall, the fielding metrics actually think that Juan is slightly above-average as a third baseman, while they consider Chris to be somewhere in the bad to awful range (notably worse than late-career Chipper Jones, for one).

    EDIT: Beat to the punch. That’s what happens when I take the time to research the numbers.

  65. It does raise some interesting questions about Fredi, though, that he sees C Johnson as a better fielder. It’s just so odd – or at least interesting – how in baseball there’s such an ideological gulf between those who run front offices and the men who work on the field.

  66. Does it necessarily mean that, though? Maybe Fredi was rewarding Johnson for his early good play and wagering that the slight defensive hit was worth the message it sent to the clubhouse: play well, and your good play will be recognized. I think he did the same thing when he gave Constanza starts over Heyward in 2011.

  67. With 66 votes recorded, Wren is at 0% in the poll that’s running on this website now.

  68. @135: I’m proud of Braves Journalistas for keeping their hate focused where it truly belongs.

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