Braves 1, Giants 5

ESPN Box Score

You could’ve written the recap for this game before it was over.

In fact, I did. By the end of five innings, the Braves had shown nothing but futility at the plate, and Kris Medlen has managed to give up three homeruns, including a water shot from Juan Francisco Mk. 1. (The new version was not an upgrade.)

The Braves had baserunners (two on in the first and third each) but did nothing, Justin Upton not managing to get anything done. Medlen gave up solo home runs and had you thinking, “If he’d just stop making mistakes, he’d probably be fine.” But then he started giving up lots of hits, too, and it all added up to 5 runs in 5+ innings.

At this point, you could basically write the script in your head. The Giants eventually add something between 0 and three runs while the Braves do nothing while the game is in anything vaguely resembling doubt.

And this was basically the case with the exception of a horrible blown call by the umpires. On a long fly ball to left, Upton neared the wall and reached up to attempt to catch the ball. Whether he’d he was going to catch it we’ll never know, because a fan reached out and tried (and failed) to make the catch over the railing. It was ruled a double with fan interference, but they went in to review the play. Presumably, the only thing they were looking for was whether it was a HR or not, because any cursory glance would’ve concluded that Upton maybe had a play on the ball, and therefore the batter should’ve been ruled out. But nope. Runner stays on second.

In the scheme of things, this was irrelevant because (1) no one scored as a result and (2) as I’ve noted above, I was already sold on the result of the game. For completeness, the Braves got a run on the 9th on a double by Evan Gattis, and while they allowed plenty of base runners, the Braves’ bullpen threw 2.2 shutout innings.

The most enjoyable part of the game was when they threw up an old scouting report on Hunter Pence that stated, among other things that he “runs like a rotary telephone thrown into a running clothes dryer”.

73 thoughts on “Braves 1, Giants 5”

  1. The thing is, Medlen walked five guys and got one strikeout. He hasn’t consistently been able to command his fastball all year. It goes in fits and starts. Of course, the same is true for Stephen Strasburg, but then, Strasburg’s heater goes 5 mph faster. I keep hoping that Medlen will remember how to find the strike zone, but today he just wasn’t doing it.

  2. I know Gattis doesn’t have a lot of results lately, and when he fails it looks awful, but I feel like he’s been making good contact and if things go a little different he’s got a few more homers over the past week and a half. I hope he gets some playing time in Arizona.

  3. Heyward can’t come back soon enough. Our starting pitching continues to worry me.

  4. Agreed, Bethany.

    When he lookes bad, he has looked BAD.
    But I’ve noticed him making some adjustments and getting slightly better. Him and maybe Uggla are the only ones in an uptrend right now, sadly.

    Crazily, the lineup seemed better when Freeman was on the DL and Gattis at first or catching….(Having chris Johnson batting .400 didn’t hurt).

    It will be good to have Heyward back if only for the defense, I don’t know what’s up with JUp out there. Sure would be nice to see him reach the Mendoza line, though.

  5. @1, Yes. He kept trying to paint the outside corner to lefties with the fastball, but it sailed into the right-hand batter’s box over and over and over. He couldn’t run it over the inside corner either.

    I’m trying to convince myself that he didn’t have great command to start the year last year, eventually really settled in (like he never will be able to again), and we just didn’t notice the adjustment as much because he was in the ‘pen/stretching out in the minors.

    It just doesn’t sound very convincing.

  6. @6 Javy was the first person on my mind when I saw Gattis batting for the first time.

    @5 You are right and I am hoping he will eventually find his commend again later this year. He had problem getting his Ks early last season too. At least it is not a health issue like what Venters is going through. So there is still some hope. This team needs to go home. They have been on the road for a long long time.

  7. “Chalk it up to one of those days I literally had nothing. Nothing but my metaphorical, you know, cajones. I had to sit and battle every pitch. You go to throw a pitch in and it’s away. You go to throw a pitch away and it’s in. Everything felt flat…Yeah, I’m just having trouble repeating (delivery). I felt like my delivery was awesome the previoius game in Cincinnati. I came in (today) and it felt completely the opposite. I had no leg drive. I wasn’t driving toward the target. Just a bad day overall.”

  8. One thing that strikes me is our guys aren’t striking anybody out, with the exception of Minor, who is currently the ace of the staff. Our hitters strike out constantly, but our pitchers don’t strike anybody out. Interesting contrast.

  9. Stu,

    Did you see that article in last week’s SI about Vandy pitching? I thought it was pretty good.

  10. Take 2 of 3 from the Diamondbacks (very doable) and it’s a 5-5 trip, which is acceptable to any sane person.

  11. Considering who we have played so far this road trip, 3-4 is a record you would have taken without batting an eye.

    Yeah, Maholm, Hudson, and Medlen looked bad in SF, but two of them looked terrific in Cincy. And the third just won his 200th ML game recently. So, don’t let the small sample size get your panties in a twist.

  12. I wouldn’t say we’re doomed, but I’m definitely lowering my expectations. It will be a pleasant surprise if this pitching staff can take us to the playoffs. I think we need one or two power arms. Beachy could be one. The other candidates are currently dominating minor league hitters and may or may not contribute this year. Whether they should contribute or not is up to Wren – tough call.

  13. @23

    I agree. I think we will be looking for a front-line starter. I don’t know who will be out there, but the price tag will be high.

    I also wonder if Heyward would be on the market. It sounds like he turned down an extension. He has pretty good value to small market team.

    I’m not saying I would move him, but…

  14. @23, 24 – I think you guys are overreacting to a bad stretch from the Braves starters. I’m hopeful/expecting that Medlen and Hudson will pitch better, and Teheran will continue to refine his game. The thing is, absent injury, there isn’t really room in the rotation to add another starter via trade, especially once Beachy comes back.

  15. @25

    I would agree that Brandon Beachy WAS a front line starter, and may well still be a front line starter. But until he gets back out there, he’s just another dude coming off Tommy John surgery (JADCOTJS).

    And while I admit that TJ surgery isn’t nearly as bad as it used to be, you still have to admit he could be a completely different pitcher than before the injury.

  16. @27, if I were GM I wouldn’t want most of my rotation to consist of guys that throw 88 and need to paint corners with movement in order to win. Hudson is a tremendous pitcher – but I don’t want him starting a must-win game for me. Basically I want John Smoltz rather than Greg Maddux. A young Steve Avery rather than Tom Glavine.

    When the games “really count” (e.g. late season and post-season) I think that hitters can adjust to the control specialists and put the ball in play enough to scratch out runs. Most hitters are selfish and get themselves out quite often against guys like Hudson or Maholm, but when everything is on the line I think that you see a different approach, and you also tend to see some smaller strike zones (Eric Gregg notwithstanding). Anyway, I think this is mostly confirmation bias from watching this Braves franchise my whole life, but I would rather go to battle against the good teams with guys that throw hard.

  17. For a batter, or even an inning, sure Smoltz. For a whole game. I like the guy with fewer HR allowed, better ERA, and a better SO/BB ratio.

  18. @29

    I see what you are saying and agree to a point.

    Don’t forget, Tom Glavine won the biggest game in Braves history.

    Maddux did strikeout a lot of guys

  19. @30 What, you prefer the better pitcher in a must-win game? That’s crazy talk!

  20. I realize this is cherry picking-and the games were all on the road-but the Braves have been outscored by Detroit/San Francisco 51-17.

  21. Maddux and Glavine had losing postseason records. As does Hudson. Probably as do most all pitchers, so maybe that’s not really a valid argument, but it’s just my personal preference. I would rather hit off of the control artist than the guy throwing 95.

    Also, given that the guy that throws 95 won’t likely be able to throw that hard over a long career, then I think it’s best to use those innings when they are 20/21/22 years old rather than have them dominate in the minors.

  22. I’d be careful about counting on too much from Beachy this year. It’s seems to take a year or so for guys to get their feel back after TJ. Like Hudson in 2009 or Adam Wainwright last year, I think the control takes longest to return.

    I think it’s also very important to remember that Maddux was one of the most unique pitchers ever. It’s not fair to compare any pitcher to him. It’s really not fair to expect any Braves starter who lacks a plus fastball to become Maddux-like by developing superhuman command and pitch sequencing. Kinda like when every Braves lefty from Bruce Chen to Chuck James gets compared to Glavine.

  23. Moving Heyward is the kind of thing that losing teams do. You don’t mortgage your present if you think you have a chance of contending. Our window is 2013-2015. We need Heyward, Upton, and Upton, on the chance they all have good years at the same time.

  24. I think it depends on what you get in return. There surely exists a deal where moving Heyward for pitching makes sense. Whether such a deal is remotely possible or not is another story.

  25. Braves pitchers are 6th in runs allowed. Perhaps let’s hold off on mortgaging our future and selling off a franchise player for a starter….

  26. No one gets moved. Gattis gets 400-500 ABs split between various positions in the majors and maybe some time in AAA. (I actually wouldn’t mind seeing him sent down for a spell to work on hitting the curvy stuff. Maybe. I dunno. I’m not going to advocate it, I just wouldn’t mind it.) McCann leaves after the season, position player logjam resolved. If the question is, “Who do you want over the next 5 years, Brian McCann or Jason Heyward?” then it’s clearly Heyward.

    Worth noting about Gattis: He’s clearly better behind the plate than in LF. The arm plays wherever, but he’s just not mobile enough to play the outfield very well.

  27. @40, I’d be thinking about rushing Alex Wood to the majors. I don’t think we will, but it’s got to at least be tempting…

  28. Watching Baseball Tonight last night was an exercise in self-mutilation. All of my darkest fears expressed. Getting laughed at by Kruk. Oy.

    They put up a staggering statistic that I meant to remember but didn’t. Something like we had 42 strikeouts in the series and they had 17? Oy again.

    Make it stop.

  29. Were all just frustrated that all four wheels came off at once. We kind of knew that the offense was going to be streaky but the pitching recently has been scary.

  30. I care about the strikeouts. A team has to put pressure on a defense from time to time. I would rather see weak grounders with 2 strike counts. You have to get the bat on the ball.

  31. I’m alarmed with the amount of runs that we gave up in San Fran. That really isn’t a good offensive lineup outside of Pence, Pablo, and Buster. However, I’ll chalk it up to our brutal schedule so far. Two crazy road trips so it has to even out.

  32. “Our pitching is a bit noodle-armed, so let’s trade our best all-around position player so we can win this year” is not a proposition to take seriously.

  33. “Maddux and Glavine had losing postseason records”

    I think that’s misleading. How many times did they pitch well but lose because the Braves failed to hit or made miscues in the field? I suspect it was a lot. Plus, given the number of playoff games they started as the number 1 or 2, they were generally matched up against (1) the other team’s best starter; and (2) in many cases, a stronger lineup. Moreover, I wonder how many of the losses came in their later years (after 1999) when they had started to slip from the peak.

    I agree, in general, with the notion that power pitchers have an advantage in the playoffs but it’s not absolute and I really think the Braves most often lost because of their bullpen or offense rather than the starting pitching.

  34. If you look at postseasons from 1997 forward, Maddux gave up a prodigious number of unearned runs, so you’re right that the defense let him down repeatedly. Glavine, I recall thinking, just wore down at the ends of seasons where he was starting 38-40 games annually into his mid-30s.

  35. A team has to put pressure on a defense from time to time.

    I know a certain outfielder in Gwinnett who knows how to do just that :D

  36. @45 That is an interesting way to think about our strikeout-heavy lineup. We don’t get to exploit teams with crappy defense as effectively as other teams that put the ball in play.

  37. Regardless of mitigating factors, Smoltz was clearly better than Maddux & Glavine in the post-season. That’s not really debatable.

    In this era, Schilling is the only other starting pitcher who was as good or better. Beckett seemed to be approaching that level of excellence (in, say, 50+ IP), but he got really lit up in his last few post-season starts with Boston.

  38. I’m not saying that we suck because we don’t have Schilling or Clemens or Nolan Ryan as our #1 starter, but I’m saying that maybe we might want to at least try a JR Graham or Alex Wood in the rotation just so the other team has to adjust their timing a bit from game to game.

    Why make a dumb trade when you have guys that throw the hell out of the ball in the org already? Every 95mph fastball they throw in AA is one that you might would have rather had on the big club before the inevitable arm trouble starts.

  39. Why make a dumb trade when you have guys that throw the hell out of the ball in the org already? Every 95mph fastball they throw in AA is one that you might would have rather had on the big club before the inevitable arm trouble starts.

    A 95 MPH fastball in AA is a jack to dead center in the bigs. Alex Wood is not ready.

  40. How the hell do you know if he’s ready or not? Nobody is touching him right now. Will they in the bigs? Maybe. I say let’s find out. He’s got a plus fastball and a plus changeup – that’s enough to win.

  41. @ 47 Please explain the calculus that makes Jason the Braves best all-around position player. I understand his potential is off the charts, but what has he produced that is so otherworldly that he is better overall than Freeman, Simmons, JUpton, or BMac?

    After a while potential is just a synonym for hype.

  42. I hope the suggestion that we trade Heyward – or even put him on the market – is a joke. Fran Wren wouldn’t consider it, and he’d deserve the termination and derision he’d get if he did.

  43. If you don’t think you can sign Heyward long-term then maybe you have the obligation to consider trading him. It’s not that crazy/stupid of an idea. If we’re a mid-market mid-payscale type of team then you have to get accustomed to the strategy where you try to extract the most out of the pre-arb years from young players and then try to turn them into younger versions of themselves before they hit free-agency and get offers from the Yankees for double what you can pay.

  44. @58, Last year, by the best value measurement we have, Heyward put up a better season than that of any of the players you named, including Upton’s 2011, which says something. Why do people act like Heyward’s 2012 never happened?

    Freeman, honestly, isn’t even in the conversation.

  45. Trade Heyward? And at a time when his value is at an all-time low?

    Hate to join the peanut gallery, but I’m not really feeling that one, for a variety of reasons already mentioned.

  46. I’m not saying we should trade Heyward. I am saying that so far he’s not yet another Henry Aaron.

    2012 happened, and so did 2011 and 2013 to date.

    Also, WAR’s wonderful, except maybe for the defensive evaluation portion, which isn’t.

  47. No fair moving the yardsticks from current Braves to the greatest Brave ever…but those are the tactics I expect the anti-Heyward contingent to use for the duration of his time with the team. Part of me hopes we do trade him, just so as not to have to suffer hearing it.

    Also, WAR’s wonderful, except maybe for the defensive evaluation portion, which isn’t.

    Do you prefer Gold Gloves? Because he won that.

  48. I may be wrong but I thought the context of the trade-Heyward conversation was that we might not be able to extend him, not about his production or ability.

  49. I’m more hopeful that some in the anti-Heyward crowd work their way into the corporate offices of other teams. There are the this-year’s-Giancarlo-Stantons-and-David-Prices and last-year’s-Justin-Uptons of the world to be had, as we know, for Martin-Prado-like prices.

  50. @65

    The two contexts can’t be separated — anyone pleased with Heyward’s production and trajectory isn’t focused on whether or not we can extend him. We assume, at this early juncture, that the team will try to do so.

  51. Trading Heyward now because we can’t extend him might literally kill me.

    We’re trying to win now. Who cares about 2016? If we win the World Series this year, I wouldn’t give a shit if we couldn’t afford to field a team in 2016.

    Cliff Lee, Wren. David Price. You can do it, Wren. Swing for the fences.

  52. Price has been eminently hittable this year, and Lee is owned by a division rival that likely won’t cut us a deal, and is owed a pile of money that Liberty isn’t willing to spend.

  53. This is a stupid conversation and I feel dumber for having read it. I’m going to go look at my fantasy team, where at least dumb trade ideas are to be expected.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.