Dodgers 2, Braves 5

ESPN Box Score

It was a weird game. If the rain didn’t make it long enough, Don Mattingly tried to with his constant pitching changes in the latter innings. I have some sympathy for him, since it’s not like any of his pitchers actually work.

Well, I guess you could say Matt Magill was, but it constantly seemed like he was about to give up the goose over his five innings of work. He didn’t, and so on the back of another strong outing by Mike Minor, the Braves found themselves down 2-1 going into a half-hour rain delay in the bottom of the 6th. When the rain abated, Mattingly went to work, using four different pitchers get his team through the next two innings with the lead.

That was as far as they’d get, though. The Braves managed 4 runs in the 8th on only three hits, helped out by a couple walks and a timely error on an attempted sacrifice bunt by Andrelton Simmons. The Braves did managed to get a sacrifice bunt down in the inning when Jordan Schafer executed a suicide squeeze two pitches after swinging away (and luckily it off) on a pitch where Gerald Laird had broken from third. Craig Kimbrel came on to pitch the 9th against the heart of the Dodger lineup and was absolutely filthy.

Things of note:
-Fredi managed to pinch hit not once but TWICE today with his catchers. Now granted, when Laird pinch hit (and singled! WTF!) Brian McCann had already been pinch-run for, but still. Fredi used his whole bench, and it was effective.
-I still have complete confidence in Jason Heyward. He’s still walking and hitting baseballs hard. He just hasn’t had much to show from it lately.
-I really enjoyed the crowd there. They stuck it out despite the rain delay and were up for all of Kimbrel’s two-strike, 2-out pitches. Good intensity, and I’m glad they were rewarded with the win.

197 thoughts on “Dodgers 2, Braves 5”

  1. Great job by Laird and CJ, but damn! do the Dodger relievers put it on a tee.

    I mean, ya know, you just gotta play Schafer in place of BJ – at least against righties.

    That play that Andrellton made on the short hop late in the game probably won’t make SC but it should. And Freddie’s scoop tells you all you need to know if some stat-head tells you he’s not good defensively.

    Who knows what making that play prevented.

  2. Heyward will be fine. I have no doubt on him. BJ and Uggla…that’s another matter…

    …The Dodgers do have some good relievers…until they arrived at Atlanta. Great series. Gotta complete the sweep when the chance presents itself.

  3. Man, how bad do Dodgers fans hate the Braves right now? Three straight gut punches!

  4. Enjoyed the game greatly – glad we stuck it out for the 6+ hours we were there. I don’t see how Mattingly survives much longer. You can’t blame him for everything, but this is a highly paid team that is really not good right now. I do think the JUpton game you can hang on him and last night I don’t know how you pump 6 fastballs in to Gattis and expect to come out OK.

    Agree about the Simmons play – nice send and receive.

    Did anyone else see Success miss the squeeze sign the first time. Thank goodness he fouled the pitch because Fredi Jr was halfway down the line.

    Anytime you sweep the Dodgers is a good time.

  5. I’ve never FF’d so much on a DVR’d game, but gotta love the result.

    Hope this bullpen can maintain today’s effort. We’re gonna need it.

  6. I am in total agreement about Heyward. I only saw bits and pieces of the game today because of all of the weather coverage in our area. From the few at-bats I saw, his patience is still tremendous and he even tried to go the other way but was stopped by a good play by the Dodger shortstop.

    Hopefully, BJ can get his head on straight because after all like Yogi said “half of the game is 90% mental.”

    Uggla…I’d be satisfied with .260 and 25 HRs. He still walks a lot and can at least get on base if he doesn’t swing.

  7. Re: Heyward, he fit in one horribly atrocious at-bat in the midst of all the other ABs everyone seems to think were successful. I’m pulling for him, don’t get me wrong, but consigning all the 0-fers to bad luck can get pathological.

    So I was looking at the schedule and is this for real? May 27-28, two games in Toronto, May 29-30, two games in Atlanta vs. Toronto?

  8. @9

    It’s because Toronto is our interleague rival, don’t you know?

    Also, as usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle on Heyward. He has been pretty unlucky this year, no doubt, but on the other hand, it is perfectly OK to wonder if he’ll ever turn into what he’s projected to be. I do think there’s enough evidence to start to create a career narrative on him.

  9. Heyward .139/.289/.265
    Uggla .182/.294/.380
    BJ .145/.237/.239

    Not sure why Uggla and BJ get the majority of the heat, but I’ve got nothing good to say about any of them right now. They are all paid to do a job, none are meeting expectations.

  10. Heyward’s OPS is .554 – keep telling yourselves that he’s somehow any different than BJ. If you think Jason is going to come around then you have to have the same patience-of-a-saint for the other guys too.

  11. @11, 12 – I think most of the difference is in eye-test things like how they look at the plate, the type of contact they’re making, etc. BJ’s swing mechanics are such an obvious hot mess and Uggla goes through long stretches where he looks like 2007 Andruw, screwing himself into the ground to hit every swing to hit an occasional ball over the left-field foul pole.

    Jason OTOH seems to be having relatively good ABs and just keeps running into situations like Kemp’s play last night. At some point the hits will start falling for someone like that. BJ and Uggla, it’s harder to make that case absent some mechanical change.

    I have every confidence that all three of those guys are too good of hitters to keep on like this all season, but I think the turnaround probably happens first for Jason.

  12. Heyward is 23, BJ is 28, which makes a world of difference if you’re looking at the long run. Heyward is also the better defender, and his 6.3 WAR last year was a point and half higher than BJ’s career best.

    Are we really going to do to Heyward what Arizona did to Justin? Good lord. Of all teams, you’d think Braves fans would have better perspective than that now.

  13. Uh the difference is Heyward actually hits the damn ball. Unfortunately they’re getting caught. But Heyward looks nothing like BJ.

  14. Also, the depleted bullpen thing kind of snuck up on me, but here we are. If Kimbrel goes down, the closer is Avilan? With the Corys and Varvaro behind him? Yikes.

    Bullpen 2013 = rotation 2012. I wonder who gets the Ben Sheets role.

  15. Heyward has a career high in LD% and an insanely low BABIP. Meanwhile, unlike BJ and Uggla, he’s not striking out that much or even hitting an unusual number of pop ups. If Kemp doesn’t bring back his homer, everyone here would be saying “Heyward’s back!”

  16. Heyward had a bad day today but looked great the two games before, just had some bad luck. I’m hopeful that he’s going to pull back towards 2012 Jason.

    I do think his LD% is inflated, though. I’ve seen basically all of his ABs this year and I don’t think his luck’s been THAT poor. I don’t consider warning track fly balls to be line drives. He did not hit the ball with his usual authority pre DL and I don’t care what the LD% stat says.

  17. Heyward has a career high in LD% and an insanely low BABIP. Meanwhile, unlike BJ and Uggla, he’s not striking out that much or even hitting an unusual number of pop ups.

    Thank you. I had to scroll down way too far to see this. Check under the hood, and it’s easy to see why it wouldn’t be surprising if Heyward turned it around, results-wise, tomorrow.

  18. Of course, numbers don’t lie. Neither one of the three are doing a good job at the plate in terms of results. I think we can all agree on that, but I guess we can also agree that Jason’s chance of a fast recovery is the highest among them; BJ is in the process of changing his approach (i guess he has the luxury to do that now with a long term contract, we just hope it will work out instead of turning him into another Uggla); and we may just have to accept that the current state of Uggla is possibly his norm.

  19. I have looked at no numbers. When I see BJ up there, he hits a lot of pop-ups. When I see Uggla up there, he hits a lot of weak grounders. When I see Heyward up there, he hits a lot of really, really hard foul balls and HRs that Matt Kemp catches.

    To be clear, I don’t think he’s going to be an MVP candidate any time soon. But I’ll take the “over” on an .800 OPS for the season, thank you very much. (And if that’s not “good enough” you need to adjust expectations….)

  20. I think the comparisons between the 2013 bullpen and 2012 rotation miss one thing: it will be much easier to fix the bullpen than starting rotation. The Braves are notoriously successful at picking up bullpen arms on the cheap; the same can’t be said for any organization regarding starting pitchers (except for, maybe, the Rays in developing them). As much as I’m concerned about Venters and O’Flaherty being out, I know it’s easily solved. If anything, just stick a starter in the bullpen to chew up some middle/setup innings. Shoot, put Beachy in the bullpen. You can’t say the same for a starting pitching problem; relievers can’t just move to the rotation.

  21. The one thing that I wish Heyward could do is improve his contact rate. He swings through too many fastballs. Other than that, he runs well, plays beautiful defense, has a good eye, hits line drives, hits for power, and he’s only 23 and has already played two of his three major league seasons at an All-Star caliber. Seriously, criticizing Jason Heyward is picking nits. He’s a very good ballplayer who has had success at the major league level and every single one of the other 29 teams would sell their grandmothers to put him in their outfield.

  22. @24

    Nicely put. Still, some folks freak out after 7 weeks. It is what it is. The funny thing is that Heyward has been making many of the adjustments people have been hoping he’d make, at least in terms of batted ball profile. The results should start to reflect it soon enough.

    If I was worried about any of the kids, it’d be with Freddie Freeman, whose batting average is relatively empty. It’s starting to look like a step backwards for him, though I’m hopeful he’ll explode in June.

  23. @29 Amen to that. Heyward (barring another injury) will be fine. Looking specifically at Freeman, I see a lot of really encouraging trends: he’s improving his K/BB rate every year, his LD% is still incredibly high, and his low ISO so far in 2013 is just the result of an uncharacteristically low HR/FB%, which was 14% and 14.8% in 2011 and 2012, respectively, and is 6.3% in 2013. He’s got a ton of power and once that starts showing up, Freddie’s slash line should bump back up to around .280/.360/.460+.

  24. I am just thinking, the braves’ most marketable piece in the coming trading deadline will be Schafer.

  25. @32 That would be amazing. Numbers are a problem, but BJ needs to start hitting for Success! to be expendable. Success gets his share of crappy hits, but he makes contact.

  26. Schafer has succeeded so far this season due to newfound plate discipline (he’s not swinging at nearly as many bad pitches this year) combined with some excellent BABIP luck. For some reason, pitchers aren’t throwing as many first-pitch strikes against him this season, nor as many pitches in the strike zone at all; if opposing pitchers adjust by pounding the strike zone, we’ll just have to if Jordan can make enough contact to remain productive with the bat.

  27. So…what could the Braves do with the approximate 8 million they have to spend at the deadline? With Beachy aiming to make a return in a month, there will tentatively be a SP surplus to go along with the position player surplus, catching surplus, and the bullpen shortage. Aside from a LH bullpen piece, there doesn’t seem to be a real need anywhere. The farm is paper-thin on hitters and it’d be lovely to try to acquire one or 2 by selling high on Schafer or Laird, but I’m not sure they’d provide much of a return. Other than that, I don’t see what we could realistically expect as a return unless we were to put McCann on the chopping block. Thoughts?

  28. I think we can get some decent in return for a cheap and young center fielder who can hit and run and defense well. His trade value is probably the highest right now. We are not going to get anything decent in return for laird or reed Johnson.

  29. No matter their half-season numbers, Schafer & Laird will be viewed as spare parts. I’m gonna guess that our mid-season acquisition(s) will be for the bullpen.

    We’re not trading McCann.

  30. Heyward has been absolutely terrible so far. Yes small sample size. Yes he’s hit some balls hard. Yes he’s been excellent in the past. BJ has also been a somewhat decent offensive player in the past as well. I’m just asking for the same treatment. Uggla is more valuable than both right now, yet he’s perpetual whipping boy…

  31. @36 Perhaps things will be different at the trade deadline, but I don’t see how the Braves are going to be able to markedly improve the major league club at the trade deadline – we can’t trade or (permanently) bench B.J. or Uggs, so we’ll just have to hope they get going. It would be great to have a legit full-time 3B, but that would require us to also find a taker for Johnson and/or Francisco in addition to the deal which brings in this theoretical 3B improvement (I’m not even sure who that would be). If we’re going to spend our $5-$8M surplus, I’m guessing it goes to 1-2 expensive veteran relievers we acquire in trade.

    The starting rotation is already fully staffed; I’m not sure what kind of move we could potentially make there. I suppose we could potentially trade away a starter (Maholm?) to make room for Beachy, but it’s extremely rare that a team in playoff contention trades away a legitimate starter mid-season, with the possible exception of the Rays. Anyway, odds are that Beachy won’t be ready to start full-time until later this year, or we’ll have an injury to the SP staff; it’s unlikely that we have a true SP surplus.

    In an environment like this where it’s extremely difficult to acquire high-quality position players (and too costly for the Braves’ budget to pay full price), it would behoove the Braves to make smart trades to pick up prospects, and focus on shoring up the team’s cost-controlled base of young players. The Braves badly need more position player prospects, particularly 2B/3B/OF.

  32. The only problem I can see trading for prospects is that the teams who’d want someone like Schafer and/or Maholm are the teams that we’d be fighting for a post-season berth.

    So, I really don’t expect the Braves to make a big acquisition this year. Maybe sniffing around a veteran bullpen rental for the rest of the season.

  33. @41: No, we’re not going to treat players equally who are displaying different underlying performance. Part of modern baseball analysis is getting past results-mania and not getting fooled by surface-level trends.

    @2: Here are a couple good pieces on first basemen scoops:

    Long story short, there are real differences in performance among major-league first basemen in scooping ability; according to the second piece, Freeman grades out well; but scooping ability is only a small part (the first piece suggests 25%) of a first baseman’s defensive value, and Freeman’s poor range in fielding ground balls swamps his scooping prowess and makes him a below-average fielder.

  34. @41, Uggla is whipping boy because his current level of performance looks to be what we can expect for the rest of his contract.

    Heyward has been vacillating between terrible and great since his career began. Grousing about him is based in frustration, not resignation.

    BJ gets people rankled because we just signed him to the biggest deal in Braves history and none of us knows what he looks like as a top performer. Hell, none of us knows what he looks like as a mediocre performer. He has been absolutely wretched his whole tenure with the team, looking baffled and confused the whole time, and most of us (including me) have no other reference point to go by in judging him than what we’ve seen. But we know he’s good, and we know this can’t possibly be the future for him, so there’s a little bit of hope buried in our apoplexy.

    But Uggla? Come on. Except for that 30-game hitting streak he’s been a liability. Whipping boy he is and deserves to be.

  35. The Braves have a couple decent prospects at 2B and OF already, with Terdoslavich, La Stella and Elander, all three of whom are off to excellent starts this season. And Salcedo is finally showing signs of making real progress, putting up an OPS of .769 as a 21 year old in his first season of AA ball. He still needs to clean up the careless errors, but as a hitter the guy is getting it together and could be one of our top-five prospects by the end of the year. If that happens four of our top five or six position prospects will be 2B/3B/OF.

    Bethancourt’s start has to be considered equally encouraging. He is OPSing .780, although unlike Salcedo it is heavily batting average dependent. Nevertheless, he doesn’t have to make much more progress be an above average catcher at the big league level.

    Perhaps the most impressive start for a prospect other than Alex Wood is Lucas Sims. To start the year he was struggling with his control, but over the last five or six appearances he has been pounding the zone while remaining virtually unhittable. In his last 8 IP, e.g., he’s given up three hits with 11 Ks and 0 BBs. The Braves are going to bring him along very slowly, but he’s basically ready for high A, which is impressive given that he only turned 19 last week.

  36. @47 You’re missing the point, Coop – we’re all interested in trying to determine what the projected future performance of Braves players are. The best way to do that (especially when you’re looking at a relatively small sample size like 2013 stats) is by looking at underlying performance metrics.

  37. Heyward’s last couple of months of 2012 also sucked. Why is he more likely to snap out of it than BJ? FWIW I think they will both hit a lot better this summer…I’m just wondering why you think BABIP or LD% is so predictive. LD% especially is massively subjective and prone to the same human errors as the defensive stats. Unless you have access to the proprietary data sets (and you don’t) then it’s just GIGO.

    My eye test says that Heyward looks unprepared at the plate due to lots of extraneous movements, and will thus will be late on fastballs. Same with BJ. Both can be corrected.

    I don’t like BJ’s contract either, but he’s not *this* bad…

  38. @47 Being deliberately obtuse is not trying to understand. You know damn well that’s not what he said.

  39. The bottom line is that there’s a heaping helping of bias toward Heyward because Heyward’s our guy, came up in the system, has all our hopes hung around his neck, etc. Is it more likely that Heyward will snap out of it than Uggla or B.J. based on his peripherals so far? Yes. Is it a fait accompli that Heyward will snap out of it? No, it’s not. His luck could never even out. More likely than that, he could become so frustrated with not getting any results that he could start pressing and have it tank his entire season. That is something that could very easily happen.

    And I have nothing against Heyward…I hope he succeeds as much as the next guy. But everyone kissing his ass no matter what he does is, frankly, becoming a bit tiresome. If it was Chris Johnson who had Heyward’s exact season thus far instead of Heyward, for instance, everyone would be attempting to ride him out of town on a rail right now. To suggest otherwise is just being delusional.

  40. @53, Next time we face Arizona, let’s have Dan fall into the dugout chasing a foul ball. Couldn’t hurt.

  41. Rich, desperate folk are good trading partners.

    I think with Ramos, Pastornicky, Janish and Terdoslavich we could approach the Dodgers with the argument that we have a backlog at 2B and would be willing to trade them Uggla for a Dodger Dog if they’ll take the contract. (One down, one to go.)

  42. @52: I guarantee you, Heyward cannot sustain a BABIP of .135 over a full season. Pitchers BABIP .220. So assume a league-average or career-average line-drive rate* and he is still due for a lot of positive regression.

    *Your point about the subjectivity of batted-ball classification is well-taken. But I think bias is more likely to classify a struggling player’s line drives as fly balls or pops because they’re caught than to over-attribute line drives to a guy for whom the hits aren’t falling.

  43. Look, it’s perfectly fine (and accurate!) to say that Heyward’s performance at the plate this year has been bad. It has been. His specific outcomes at the plate thus far are history. They are fact. And it has been neither pretty nor helpful to the Braves.

    My point above was that going forward, I think he’ll be fine. In fact, I think it’s more likely that he’ll perform well over the next 75% of the season than that he’ll replicate his current numbers. With BJ and Uggla have less compelling cases that they’ll rebound and do better the rest of the way.

    As to why people are more willing to bitch about BJ and Uggla than Heyward, well, 1) BJ and Uggla are getting paid a hellva lot more than Heyward and 2) Heyward’s not a guy brought into to be a difference maker. He’s a guy the Braves developed and we’ve watched and rooted for from day 1 of his career. So of course we’re going to give him a bit more slack.

  44. Jason also provides a ton of value in RF defensively. I don’t remember his defense being much his first few years, but last year and this year he’s been incredible.

  45. @55 There’s a huge difference between acknowledging that Heyward’s future is unknown and saying that he is exactly the same as older, less talented players with longer track records of mediocrity, and then demanding that they all be treated exactly the same by fans despite these glaringly obvious differences.

  46. My point is more about giving BJ some slack rather than disparaging Heyward. 25% of the season gone, another 75% to play. If BJ hits .140 and strikes out in half of his PA’s then he’ll go down as the worst FA signing of all time. I’m not ready to go there just yet – maybe by July I will be ;-)

  47. BJ’s age 22 season was pretty good BTW…wouldn’t have been too crazy to suggest back then that he was on the can’t-miss superstar track.

  48. “Part of modern baseball analysis is getting past results-mania and not getting fooled by surface-level trends.”

    I think Heyward will be fine, maybe even great. However, I’d maniacally like to see more results to alter my misperception of his current surface-level offensive trends.

  49. …I kind of do want to ride Chris Johnson out of town on a rail, provided that we got something useful back for him. His trade value is unlikely to be higher anytime soon.

  50. Coop – I think we can all agree on that.

    Here’s to altering Coop’s misperception!

  51. I am ecstatic that Jason plays for the Braves, but I don’t think he’s yet provided cause to enshrine him in Cooperstown.

    Thanks, Parish.

  52. @59, my problem with batted-ball classification is that there’s too few buckets that they put things in. I would like to see less about trajectory, and more about how hard the ball was hit. A broken-bat or end-of-bat “line out” is not a positive thing and shouldn’t be rewarded. A really hard grounder should be rewarded. Would like to see a better attempt to measure quality of contact (but maybe we already have one already – SLG).

  53. Well, they do measure the speed with which the ball leaves the bat. Not sure if they do it for every batted ball, but it’s possible and might be a very useful metric (which may be readily available for all I know and, if it is, would love to view that table).

  54. @75: I see it reported for home runs frequently (not totally sure where it’s coming from, though). Presumably the technology exists to measure it, but I don’t know of any site keeping track of it in an easily searchable and sortable way.

  55. I was thinking that too, but then wavered about due to the speed that a mile-high popup might leave the bat – I bet it’s going pretty fast. Still, that data would probably be nice to mix-in with the current classifications buckets.

    The more I think about it the more I think SLG (or better yet isolated-power) is really what we’re talking about. On the whole I think most doubles, triples, and homers result from good contact. There’s the occasional bloop double or misplayed triple, but not enough to matter much. There’s very few mis-hit homers (unless your name ends with Gattis).

  56. @78 – interesting discussion. Thanks for posting.

    Serious question: is that what is meant by “affirming the consequent”?

  57. What would be the most useful way to arrange muzzle velocity values ? Just average all the values? Separate them into the batted ball results (fb, gb, ld) and then average? Count the number of times a player produces velocities in a certain range? (eg, a particular player produces 105+ velocity in 18% of his batted balls?

  58. @74 I’m with you on that one.

    Another issue I have with the whole “well Player X won’t keep up his .230 BABIP” answers to player struggles are when the player hits a ton of pop-ups. I get liners right at people and grounders that find the hole averaging out, but I think pop-ups are much more the results of a crappy swing.

  59. Reed Johnson sure gets a lot of flack around here for someone who is hitting .304/360/413.

  60. @82: Agreed that a lot of infield pops can signal a structurally low BABIP. But Jason’s at 7.7% IFFB, a career low. The man is just getting mortally unlucky.

  61. @86, I’m starting to come around to this guy as high quality performance art.

  62. @86 – Interesting article, but not very insightful. Funny line: “The 27 percent of action he was seeing with McCann out of the lineup has slid to just 23 percent since the six-time All-Star returned.” Isn’t starting 23% of the time pretty good for a backup catcher? A 4% drop in starting over a small number of games is a useless stat – especially when you conisder that Laird is starting tonight.

    If we can get a decent return for Laird, great, but I don’t see a need for a big rush. It’s nice to have two backup catchers – especially if they can both hit and 1 can also play 1st and LF. Only the Braves know their plans for McCann, but holding on to Laird and playing Gattis at other positions seems like a good plan if the Braves plan to let McCann go either by the AS break (not likely) or before the start of next year. The question is between Reed Johnson, Schafer, and Laird, which two do you keep? My guess is Reed Johnson may be the odd man out.

  63. @88, “Interesting article, but not very insightful.” Perhaps the inside joke is a little too inside. Any mention of this writer on the board has been making fun of him. This Laird article is pretty amazing. There’s something wrong with nearly every sentence in the piece – either sloppy writing, ill-fitting analogies, or factual errors.

  64. “Fredi Gonzalez could be in danger of being cast for the next season of ‘Hoarders.'”

    See it’s funny because it’s a pop culture reference like the kids are doing

  65. @90, He then goes on to unwittingly undermine his pop culture reference with evidence to the contrary. This is high-grade incompetent writing and it’s amazing!

    If I was his editor, I’d strike the “could be”. Just put “is” in there. Stand by your freakin’ analogy if it’s so damned hot. It’s the first sentence in your piece and you’re hobbling it with a “could be”? Weak ass punk internet writer.

    If I was his editor, I’d also suggest, “Okay, this is your analogy. In other words, this is the theme of your piece: That Fredi is holding onto Laird as if he was a ‘hoarder’.” Now make sure that all your supporting points don’t contradict your theme. If, by the end of the piece, you see where every single supporting piece you’ve written contradicts your theme, then you’re going to need to start over.

    I’m not sure he has an editor, though. Didn’t Yahoo just buy tumblr? I’m guessing their priorities are a little off kilter right now…

  66. Not to belabor the obvious, but holding onto Laird is the best guarantor of playing time for Gattis on this club. Without a 3rd catcher, he’d be glued to the bench if he wasn’t starting, and it allows Gonzalez to start him in LF as well, instead of just C. If you think of him as a 4th/5th OF who can spot start at C and 1B, and allows McCann to DH in interleague the whole thing becomes a lot more understandable.

  67. I guess I didn’t get the inside joke there. I was trying to be kind, but I have to agree it’s a horrible article.

  68. @92, “Not to belabor the obvious, but holding onto Laird is the best guarantor of playing time for Gattis on this club.”

    Well, it’s obvious to you and me, but not to Mr. Schreiber.

    @93, The inside joke was Dan at 86 saying “everyone’s favorite writer”. We’ve had a bit of sport with him that perhaps you have missed. Perhaps you were misled by that when you followed the link, thinking we endorsed this guy. Well, some around here might, but certainly not me! :)

  69. If Laird is insuring Gattis playing time, then why the hell is Gattis never playing? Has Gattis started a game at catcher since McCann came back?

  70. The point is, he wouldn’t even be allowed to PH otherwise. In the 13 games since McCann has been back, Gattis has appeared in 10 and started 5 in LF. No way he does that without Laird.

  71. Indeed, the team is not better if McCann replaces Gattis and Gattis never ever plays. Better is defined as Gattis AND McCann. I want ice cream and cake. Don’t make me choose.

  72. But he also would have started at catcher in several of those games, a position where he actually has defensive value, unlike LF, where he’s a liability.

    I get that having laird allows Gattis to be used in more ways, but it hasn’t really resulted in much playing time, and it’s pissing me off.

  73. @100, Since Bmacs return, Gattis is .200/.259/.440 (27 PA). Mac is .229/.349/.486 (43PA).

  74. Fredi has a fear of never using the backup catcher in fear of an injury to the starter and being left with no catcher.. If Laird was gone, then you would never even see Gattis pinch hit.

  75. @103 And? The numbers aren’t that different and Gattis has had no opportunities to get into any kind of groove.

  76. .699 to .835 is a wee bit of a difference to me, and Gattis had been tailing off for some time. And Laird, the forgotten man in all this, is sporting a .372 OBP.

  77. Stringing together three singles to score a run is basically “medium ball,” right? Bigger than small ball, smaller than the long ball.

    Edit: Ah, well. I guess they couldn’t stick to medium ball for too long.

  78. I really like freeman. I mean every time the camera comes to him, whether on the field, at bat or on the bench he it doing something good.

  79. Julio and Tim are in a heated battle for best hitting pitcher.

    Also, that was a bit of a waste, Andrelton…

  80. @106 McCann is hitting .176 with one extra base hit over the past 7 games, and my point that Gattis isn’t getting enough consistent time to develop still stands. He’s a rookie and he’s putting up comparable numbers to the all star catcher and he’s doing it with much less playing time.

  81. The fact that they made a bobblehead of Kent Hrbek cheating in the World Series is more shameful than the original incident.

  82. Brian mcCann is the starting catcher for this team, and I agree with that decision. It really comes down to that. I probably would have started him tonight, but it’s not that big a deal over a 2 week stretch. Let’s give it a month or so before deciding it’s a persistent pattern.

  83. I don’t know if they mentioned it on air, but the radio guys said Uggla switched to a heavier bat tonight, with the theory being he wouldn’t feel like he had to swing as hard with it and would focus on his hands more. Certainly worked the first AB.

  84. No, they didn’t mention it on air. They’re too ignorant to even know I’m sure. nChip and Joe never mention anything worth hearing.

  85. @115. My thought as well. It makes one wonder if the always classy cardinals would make an Infield fly bobble head. Maybe McClellan bobbling his head as aluminum Bud Light bottles rain among him…

  86. Laird just bellyflopped into first base. Please tell me an Arizona scout is in the stands!

  87. TV in the other room just teased that a Braves fan was shot at a game – anybody know what that’s about?

  88. Joe would prefer that runners slide right into the tag, rather than attempt to avoid it.

  89. @141 Which is a fine point if you can see the future. But since the exact arrival of the ball is unknown to the runner, it’s generally best to avoid sliding right into where the catcher indicates the ball is going.

  90. This game isn’t helping in our quest to set the most strikeouts on offense record.

  91. After surrendering his wallet. Atlanta can be a very soul-trying place to live, in many ways.

  92. The performance of Teheran in the early going of this season has been tremendously gratifying.

  93. 2.22 ERA over his last 5. Hefty BA against though.

    He’s at 110p – do you let him go for it?

  94. Justhank, @79,

    Affirming the consequent is a common logical error. It takes the following form:

    If A, then B.
    Therefore, A.

  95. Off day before his next start – I’d let him try if he wanted to. Be nice to give the pen a day off.

  96. I guess surgery was the only way to keep EOF from pitching the 8th tonight. Kinda hoping Fredi lets the kid try for the shutout.

  97. Bleh. Our starter tries for a complete game, and we’re still going to use two relievers.

  98. At least the odds are good that no other team but us will get to use our relievers.

  99. Good win, beating the bad teams is important.

    I don’t get that last pitching change though, was Fredi really that worried about Jamey Carroll pinch hitting against Avilan?

  100. Gotta like your chances against Pelfrey and Worley right? Great chance to put a tidy little run together.

  101. We have been babying him in minor for years and suddenly you let him having a 123-pitch start. I know there is no way he would have a start over 110 pitches when he was in the minor.

  102. There’s no way your are going to be able to correlate a single high pitch count game to a significantly increased risk of injury. They weren’t particularly high leverage innings. He’s got an extra day of rest coming. I wouldn’t make a habit of it, but I don’t find it a reckless decision.

  103. @195 I don’t think it’s terribly wrong either. However, this is such a contrast to how we used to babied him through the years in the minor, then we suddenly let him go for the distance. The progression is a bit too much tonight. Hopefully it will not become a habit as you say.

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