Toronto 9 Braves 3 Fashion 0

Growing up watching the Braves in the late 80s and early 90s, there were two teams you really hated: The Los Angeles Dodgers and our geographic rivals the Toronto Blue Jays.

That’s right! Screw you Darryl Strawberry! You too Kelly Gruber and George Bell!

I am sure most of you spent your Memorial Day like I did; shooting Blue Jays in your backyard with a BB gun in preparation for this wisely planned out two and two series.

You could tell how much this rivalry means to the Braves. First, they snuck into Canada around 4:00 am. Then, in order to not be detected by the Jays, the Braves then dressed in uniforms that looked like they were about to liberate Baghdad. The Braves were so well hidden; it looked like the Jays were just taking BP until the 7th inning when El Oso Blanco hit a baseball to Up State New York. He is now in the top five in the league with 11(!) homeruns.

All in all, this rivalry has shown a few things so far: 1) It has turned brother against brother; 2) The Braves have the sucky Rasmus brother; 3) BJ may be benched; 4) Tim Hudson isn’t right, 5) Gattis needs to play every day and most importantly…

…6) Melky is still fat

218 thoughts on “Toronto 9 Braves 3 Fashion 0”

  1. It’s Memorial Day, and Huddy has a 5.37 ERA. And he’s working it UP, not down.

    He’s the BJ Upton of the pitching staff. And if BJ was in the LAST year of his deal, instead of the first, would you keep running HIM out there?

  2. Gotta think some serious roster juggling will be coming soon. 6 relief pitchers with a Roogy, one lefty, and no long relief sounds disastrous. If Walden and Ayala can stay healthy, and a LH bullpen arm shows up from somewhere, the 6-man bullpen will be no more and that will force the FO to deal with the overcrowded bench.

  3. Smitty, your recap made this loss tolerable. You should do this for a living, but this lightning can’t strike daily.

  4. Still think Juan needs to go.

    Bmac returned on May 6th. Huddy’s ERA after his May 5th start was 3.86. He’s sitting at 5.37 today. May not be a bad idea to let Gattis catch his next start just to change up something.

  5. #5 – I think it’s very likely that Walden and Ayala replace Rasmus and Carpenter. We drop a bench player, probably Reed but should be Juan, to add back Lisp or another reliever.

  6. What’s with this new phenomenon on here of changing the catcher when the pitcher struggles? What’s next, change the clubhouse masseuse?

  7. Just got back from the game. Seats were just a few rows from the field right behind first base. Have to say that perspective changed my view of Freddie’s defense. He is really, really immobile. On Bonifacio’s double he couldn’t get down to cover the line even while practically standing on the bag holding the runner. He still made some nice picks and shows great footwork around the bag, but I can definitely see why the defensive metrics don’t love him.

    Otherwise I was surrounded by Braves fans but Huddy gave us little to cheer about. My theory is that the sinker puts a lot of strain on the elbow and Huddy’s is tender. Either that or he flat out stinks and can no longer throw the pitch he’s lived off of for more than a decade.

    JUpton is a mystery. He’s still controlling the zone and doing everything right at the plate except crushing the 85 MPH fastball that is right down the middle. For some reason he’s just off. Strange.

    Overall a crap game but I learned that El Oso Blanco is always worth the price of admission.

  8. @11

    I was supposed to be at that game… sadly, I am now actually in Maryland. I don’t want to talk about it. But I would have loved to get some eating done in Toronto… hmm.

    Also, outstanding recap.

  9. I asked a question last thread that got lost in the shuffle: Can anyone remember a team that carried three catchers where each got regular playing time?

    When I think of a 25-man roster carrying a third catcher, it’s a Francisco Cabrera type who is just an emergency guy but plays other positions and is a pinch hitter, or a Jerry Willard-type who is a left-handed hitter, pinch hits, is just kinda there, but otherwise rots on the bench. I can’t recall a situation we’ve got where there are three catchers all getting regular starts behind the plate. It’s just a very odd thing to me. It surely can’t be unprecedented, can it?

    PS: Gattis needs to play more. Duh.

  10. totally off-topic, but I work for a community radio station and as we always need new playlists for midnight-6am, I just put on a broadcast of the June 4, 1957 game between the Dodgers & Cubs (one of a few old games you can hear on archive.org). It was a pretty neat feeling to have 1957 Vin Scully tuned in on the car radio on the way home. Scully said he spilled coffee on a just dry-cleaned suit just before they cut to him, and Roy Campanella just hit a double. In BravesMatters, I haven’t seen Hudson’s past few starts.. what’s been happening? Reading #11, has the sinker just been flat?

  11. Greetings from Motown…

    Missed the Braves game tonight, but I did knock off a sports Bucket List item: Caught a Red Wings playoff game in Hockeytown.

    Yes, at least one octopus has hurled onto the ice.

  12. let sabermetricians decide
    you just have to pitch him outside
    but Lord when they do
    at plus ninety two
    it’s parked second deck, bona fide!

  13. Evan
    i’m in ‘eaven
    and his bat beats so exactly twice a week
    and i always find that happiness i seek
    watching opposition pitchers up the creek.

  14. disparage not the wand of God
    propelled by that outrageous bod
    Achilles, Hector too
    both froze at three and two
    now beg to join his awesome squad.

  15. intrinsic to our happiness
    another making more from less
    now to the manner born
    allow us to throw scorn
    at those who muttered SSS.

  16. @6 Thanks!

    I agree, doing this once a week and coming up with something is hard. Doing it every game would be Mac-tastic.

    I know we all miss Mac, but when you do a few recaps, you really find out how great he was.
    A big Fredi Gonzalez hat tip to everyone who is coming up with content. Great work by everyone. Alex especially.

    Braves Journal keeps chugging along. It only took like 12 people to fill in for Mac.

  17. @14 – Gattis is Cabrera, except not just an emergency guy.

    @22 – Yes, what Mac did was insane.

    And, ain’t nothing doesn’t go with camouflage.

  18. @25 – My understanding is that that’s not uncommon, but that it isn’t permanent.

  19. Another managerial milestone was reached last nite.
    Fredi tied Eddie Matthews for 7th on the Braves list with losses ( a function of longevity and team aptitude) with 161.

    It took Fredi 63 more games than Matthews managed to tie his loss mark.

    Mathews managed parts of ’72 and ’74 and all of ’73. The Braves of that era were homer happy with Aaron chasing the Babe, and Evans, Johnson & Aaron crashing 40 homers each. Pitching was Neikro and whomever as the Braves were making that final mediocre stand with the residue of the Milwaukee franchise before plummeting into a really bad team!

  20. Jupton or Bupton isnt in the lineup today. Jupton had a really awkward swing yesterday then winced. I wonder if he pulled something.

  21. 33- A Jackass Genie somewhere must have heard us complaining about Gattis’ playing time.

  22. Justin also looked a little lost last night in the field. Reed played there for a few year. I don’t mind him getting the start.

  23. Two starts in a row also for Reed Johnson. I’m pretty sure one of them will be leaving us soon – most likely Johnson unless we can get some value for Schafer.

  24. 13-Toronto has good eats, but just don’t expect to find any at the game. And the only beers you can buy are Bud, Bud Light, Bud Lime and Alexander Keith’s, the last of which is to IPAs what my screen name was to a Hall of Fame pitcher. It’s a damn disgrace.

    On the other hand the service staff at the dome are really fantastic. Last night I brought my 4-year old to the game and the usher casually asked if it was his first game and later in the game they tracked us down to present my son with some Blue Jays stuff…even though we were decked out in Braves gear. Or maybe he it was because we were in Braves gear: the kid is now definitely enamored of the Blue Jays mascot.

  25. Schafer and Pena are out of options and will not be leaving. We won’t trade Laird since that will keep Gattis stuck on the bench. Plus Laird and Teheran seem to be working well together. That last position is either Reed or Juan.

  26. DOB reporting that the Braves will be back to a 7-man pen in the next day or 2. A trade or DFA must be coming. I got a feeling that the Bluejays are interested in reacquainting themselves with Reed Johnson.

  27. Interesting. This Brett Cecil fellow seems to have thrived in his recent conversion to the bullpen. Could be something there, although it would surely take more than old Reed Johnson.

  28. I don’t see how you could move Schafer at this point – a young, cheap CF/4th OF who may have figured something out is something you look to trade for, not away.

  29. I don’t think we’re ready to pull the fake DL stunt just yet. My guess is that Reed Johnson gets invited to “Suffer in Gwinnett.”

  30. You guys do know it’s still illegal to send someone to the DL for a non-injury reason, right? I think we might be overstating the occurrence of this a little bit. It does happen, but there’s normally some type of injury involved. The “fake DL” generally happens when there’s an injury that could probably be played through but they just go ahead and DL them, more because of the slump than the injury. But there’s still an injury. I don’t know if BJ has any nagging injuries or not, but if he doesn’t, he can’t go on the “fake DL”, because that would risk an MLBPA inquiry which could get the Braves in big trouble, as the “fake DL” is, in fact, illegal.

  31. He’s a lock for the LD% wing. Also notice how he’s keeping that BAPIP up by maintaining a small denominator.

  32. I think they discovered that BJ has a slight oblique pull, wink, wink, nod, nod. No wonder he is late on all those 82 mph hanging sliders.

    The AJC article that outlines in great technical detail the travails of Mr. Melvin Upton is terrific. Pretty much sums up what all of us have been seeing.

  33. Hell BJ was hit in the back with a fastball like a week ago. That’s got to have caused some type of injury. I also don’t think the doctors performed the appendectomy correctly on Heyward. Maybe it’s time for another injury to just appear for him again.

    Not sure how these two guys can look so awful at the plate.

  34. See, this is why you can’t say things like “we’ll we took 2 of 3 on the road, I’ll take that everytime” You can’t let the easy ones ass you by because then your shakeup staff gets shelled by a crummy team.

  35. Toronto is not a crummy team. They have a better lineup than we do. They have just underachieved so far.

    We cannot roll out Hudson and Maholm back to back. We desperately need Beachy back so we can inject a hard thrower in between our junkballers.

  36. Toronto is also a tough offense for left-handed pitchers. And Maholm is pretty mediocre against right-handed hitters. So… this shouldn’t be a surprise.

  37. The Blue Jays were, coming into this series, eight games under .500 with a -41 run differential.

  38. ^^^ I know I’m 17 minutes late to the conversation, but Success breeds Success!

  39. It’s a shame that of the three fielding foul-ups, only Simmons emerges with an actual error.

  40. So does everyone else assume (as I do) that Ramon Ortiz is going to pitch 4+ innings and allow the Braves 1 run, at most?

  41. Anyone but me scared our coming 7-man bullpen has something in common with Justin Upton surprise day off?

  42. I like how Toronto realized their starter had nothing, and promptly pulled him after he gave up four runs in two innings.

    Meanwhile, Maholm just keeps on pitching, with predictable results.

  43. I was thinking more of a scrappy performance. As in resembling scrap.

    84- And put in whom? No long relievers, remember?

  44. @84 But Toronto brought in Ramon Ortiz, who is a terrible pitcher (4.87 ERA last year, 4.93 career) which ordinarily would be an invitation for the Braves to tee off even more… if it weren’t for Hibernation Mode.

  45. I’ve been a Braves fan for decades. I see a pitcher with something like a 2-8 record and an ERA of 5.62 and I start getting nervous.

  46. I’m more frustrated with Heyward than any other player. He gets himself into good hitting counts and then can’t do anything. Very frustrating.

  47. 33 pitches in 11 ABs since Ortiz came in. The Braves must have been told the team is paying for the charter by the hour, so speed it up.

  48. LE OURS BLANC! (Yeah, I know this isn’t Montreal, but it’s as close as we’ll get this year.)

  49. I want to enjoy this inning, but I wonder whether it will be a bad throw, a one-handed attempt at a catch or a batting-practice quality meatball that will spur the next exchange of the lead.

  50. @103

    I’ve been opposed to the DH in the NL, but if the league were ever to institute it, sometime between now and the start of free agency would be just a bit helpful.

  51. i just got home in time to see the back to back HRs. Why isn’t Jupton in the lineup? Just a day off?

  52. Reed Johnson’s OPS has dropped by 99 points the last two days. A spot of foul luck down the line in the sixth, but he’s doing his damndest to play his way off the roster.

  53. So – I know the bullpen is stretched and all, but it would be fantastic if Fredi could bring in a reliever to pitch in the 7th. I don’t foresee things going well for Maholm if he has to face Joey Bats and Encarnacion a 4th time.

    EDIT: Simmons on base to lead off – can Heyward find a new and exciting way to fail?

  54. Scout: “Brett Cecil may prefer to go after Jason Heyward, whose OPS is .561 this season, with the changeup rather than facing Jordan Schafer, whose OPS is .784.”

    I don’t know whether to laugh or start drinking heavily.

  55. Jason Heyward – Braves Journal Whipping Boy.

    /not that I’m opposed to the idea, just never thought I’d see it.

  56. We’re gonna need two whipping boys, because BJ Upton doesn’t deserve to be excluded.

  57. What’s left of the bullpen, save for Kimbrel, might end up as whipping boys, although it isn’t really their fault that they’ve been forced into high-leverage situations for which they aren’t equipped.

    We’re going to need to build “Reitsma Room” leads to have a chance. One-run leads might as well be deficits.

  58. The three-man relief tandem of Avilan-Gearrin-Varvaro is just not good enough to be in these situations. We desperately need another solution, and quickly.

  59. The Braves are in a lot of trouble if they don’t add one or two good relievers asap.

  60. A bit lucky, but Avilan needs three pitches to get out of it.

    If I see Gearrin on the mound to start the bottom of the eighth, something in my office will get destroyed.

  61. Luis and I both crossed ourselves after that escape.

    Edit: This in no way was intended as religious commentary.

  62. @131

    Well, the next two guys due up for Toronto are switch-hitters, and the guy after that is a lefty (who will admittedly probably be pinch-hit for), and Fredi won’t want to use Kimbrel without a Braves’ lead, so there’s precisely no reason to change to Gearrin, especially if we don’t take the lead this inning.

    NOTE: I am aware this doesn’t preclude Fredi from doing it anyway.

  63. If Dan is gonna post Branyan- and Deer-like BAs and K rates, I wish he’d hit home runs at their rates as well…

  64. @137 I’d learned never to underestimate Fredi. Although Avilan is starting this AB as though he’s trying to prove that it doesn’t matter who pitches, either way we are doooooooomed.

  65. Avilan just walked a guy with a 573 OPS to lead off the inning. I’m gonna assume he doesn’t know where his pitches are going.

  66. You go to Gearrin if this gets to Bautista with the game still in doubt.

    EDIT: Nice, Luis! Now hopefully we’ll take the lead this inning and Kimbrel can face the right-handed middle of the order instead of Gearrin.

  67. Melky’s stats this season make it look like the performance-enhancing drugs have worn off.

  68. Lou Brown would have Simmons doing push-ups after that swing.

  69. Great pitch. Gattis’ duels are something special to watch. Nevertheless … ballgame.

  70. Fun fact: coming into today’s game, Gearrin has allowed a higher OPS (.662) to RH batters than LH batters (.469).

  71. Cory has had many great innings. He’s just had a few poor innings recently that’s caused them to disappear in the mind’s eye.

    Ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem and that’s 2 great hitting catchers.

    PUT A SHIFT ON THAT!

  72. Ok, I’ll admit it, I’ll miss BMac even with him being the slowest human being on earth, and getting lazy sometimes behind the plate.

  73. Gattis .271/.322/.624
    Bmac .281/.354/.614

    First time I’ve ever wanted the DH. We could keep BMac around for a long time.

  74. @177

    Not the 2012 script, at least. Unfortunately 2013 appears a bit less predictable.

  75. “You’re making trouble for yourself trying to pitch behind in the count to these guys”.

    ~Joe Simpson

  76. So the Good Kimbrel arrived in the nick of time and the Braves left the Land of Cold triumphant. And they all lived happily ever after, except BJ, because he sucks. The End.

  77. It’s getting time to sit Heyward and move Justin to RF. Can’t keep Gattis on the bench.

  78. @194

    Kimbrel walked the first guy, got a strikeout but the pinch-runner stole second on it, then Reed Johnson made two running catches, one in very shallow left-center and the other down the left-field line, to end the game.

  79. Thanks Nick.

    Walden and Ayala should be back within a week shouldn’t they. Serious question – where is Lisp?

  80. Walden and Ayala will definitely help. I would argue that we’ll still need to pickup some bullpen help either via trade or off waivers even with them, but we’d probably be only one reliable reliever away from stabilizing it rather than the two that we seemingly are now.

  81. I think the panic was at its high pitch because he walked the leadoff man, and went 3-1 on the next batter. Coming back to get that K was crucial.

  82. I think we need another arm that can strike guys out. I’m not really all that worried.

  83. The Braves’ relief ERA coming into today’s game was 3.07, tied for 5th in baseball. We Braves fans feel like the bullpen is extremely shaky, but it’s not really the case – the pen is actually quite good, if obviously not as dominant as it was back when we had O’VentBrel all together.

  84. 205: No, it really is terrible. Just as one prominent, terrifying example, Luis Avilan’s shiny 2.67 ERA is masking an upside-down K/BB ratio and a HR/FB rate screaming for regression. Cory Gearrin is fine unless you ask him to get out a lefty. Carpenter and Rasmus are pure garbage time. Throw all these guys together and you’ve got about one-third of a high-leverage reliever.

    But if Walden and Ayala can come back and be competent, things will start looking up. So: hurry back, boys!

  85. I know that the FO doesn’t want to, but doesn’t it make sense to bring up Wood and let him pitch out of the pen for a few weeks? Wood is probably going to be near his inings count at the end of August anyway. And he has two more options after this year, so that doesn’t affect anythng.

    Also, why not bring Beachy up and let him pitch two inning and three inning stints for a while?

    There are lots of good arms in this organization, but they might need to be used a little more differently.

    One thing on Gattis, it does seem that the relievers don’t pay attention to the scouting report. he kept getting 97 mph fastballs just above the belt during his at bat in the 8th (per Gameday).

  86. So we gave up 15 runs in two games and got a split. File than under “we’ll take it” and move on.

  87. @208 Relievers rely on their best pitch and think no one can catch up. That’s why they are not starters.

  88. @207, I really think you should look at Avilan’s game logs. He hasn’t walked multiple batters in a game this year, and only 3 in his last 8 appearances. The K/BB seems distorted by the small sample size (18ip)rather than Avilan having some identifiable control problem. He hasn’t walked multiple batters all year. He’s not allowed any inherited runners to score in 11 straight appearances, and allowed any at all in just 2 games in that span. Sure I’d love for him to strike out more guys, but I am not seeing a ton of luck that is going to somehow evaporate.

  89. @208
    This is along the lines of what I’ve been thinking too. Why do we have to demote Teheran when he’s pitching so well? Beachy was a RP in the minors and he’ll likely be on an innings limit early. Why can’t we use him in the pen? He’s definitely needed.

  90. I would say the two plausible options (assuming no trade) are to start Beachy back in the bullpen or send Medlen down to the bullpen. Of the current starters, Medlen is the one who has worked out of the bullpen before. Though Hudson has been pitching poorly, I don’t see them forcing him down to the bullpen, and optioning Teheran back to Gwinnett doesn’t make any sense at all.

    I suppose Fredi could also dust off the six-man rotation, but I don’t think that worked particularly well last year.

  91. Yeah, I don’t know what you do with all these starters. Unfortunately, the obvious choice (Hudson) is not going anywhere, though I do think that if someone would volunteer themselves due to poor performance, it would be a guy like Hudson.

    It does seem logical to let Beachy get work in the bullpen, and that would also mean my wife would see him more often, so that’s a win too. And if he’s a starter, she’s guaranteed to only watch a fifth of the games with me. If he’s a reliever, she’s forced to watch out for when he comes.

  92. If Hudson doesn’t improve I wouldn’t be surprised to see a DL stint for him. I also would be surprised to see us call up Alex Wood to start in Huddy’s place a few games until Beachy is ready.

  93. 212 etc.-Beachy is not going to have to worry about an innings limit. Unlike Medlen, who started the year in the bullpen, he has missed an entire third of the season. By the midway point he will have thrown fewer than fifty innings.

    More importantly there is the small matter that insofar as this team has an ace Beachy is in fact it. He doesn’t belong in the bullpen.

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