Nats 3, Braves 6

ESPN Box  Score

What’s the opposite of a “murderer’s row”? “Murdered row”? “Traffic violator’s row”? By example, I would simply go with, “the group of pitchers the Nat’s used in today’s game”. Nate Karns, Zach Duke, Eric Davis, and Fernando Abad combined to look pretty mediocre in surrendering six runs to the Braves over 8 innings. Paul Maholm, meanwhile, looked like he could be in for a pretty poor outing. He wasn’t hitting his spots very well, and he was having trouble retiring anyone. But after surrendering two in the second (good defense holds it to one), he seemed to get it together and coasted the rest of the way, allowing only a solo HR. Anthony Varvaro and Luis Avilan cleaned up before Craig Kimbrel pitched a K-less 9th. All in all, a pretty good experience for Braves fans.

Atlanta’s first two runs came on a Ramiro Pena HR, and that was because he was in the lineup playing 3B for Chris Johnson against a righty. I like this move. Pena does most of his damage against RHP, so giving him some spot starts against righties in a not-quite-a-platoon-but-kinda-a-platoon arrangement is a good way to maximize offensive and defensive output while keeping all your bench guys engaged.

The other interesting thing today was BJ Upton‘s solo shot, coming on the heels of a 2-4 Saturday. If BJ hadn’t followed it up with three straight outs, I’d be more excited, but at this point, anything that looks like it might be progress is encouraging. And speaking of Uptons, Justin Upton had three hits today, which was really nice to see. He’s been struggling an awful lot lately (a sympathy slump for solidarity with his brother?), and I don’t think I’m out too far on a limb to say that if all three of Atlanta’s starting OFs are struggling, this team probably won’t go far.

So after the strum and drangsturm und drang of Friday’s loss, Atlanta wins the series and has a 6.5 game lead. Not a bad way to start June.

275 thoughts on “Nats 3, Braves 6”

  1. Now to cool off the Bucs. Can we send that ‘Let’s go, Pirates!’ girl some complimentary tickets?

  2. Picked up a game on division rival, their top pitcher may be injured, we have signs of life from BJ. Been a good weekend.

  3. After traveling a week without internet access, it’s a downright pleasure to return to a full list of recaps and analysis on Braves Journal. Fine work.

  4. And his thousand mile stare after he gets plunked. I guess it’s better to look tough than be tough.

  5. It’s awesome to send the Natspos below .500. While their pitching is pretty good, their offense is a lot worse than ours (by one run per game to be precise). They can say all they want about Span and Werth, but they are decent at best. Their top three offensive weapons are Harper, Zimmerman and Desmond, and that is not particularly impressive. If Harper and Stratsburg are out, the Natpos are not even a .500 team.

  6. @6

    I’m not gonna impugn his toughness, as he’s playing with a bone chip in his wrist. However, I will impugn his intelligence, as he’s been playing terribly with that injury, and had he just had his wrist scoped when it happened, he’d have probably been back by now and wouldn’t be an automatic out. And perhaps if he’d had the injury taken care of, he wouldn’t have been all pissed off at Maholm for hitting him again.

  7. And really – even though it was the second time Mississippi Hawaiian hit him, does getting plunked with an 82 mph slider in the shin warrant that?

    (That’s a rhetorical question, btw.)

  8. Last year when he basically slumped the entire second half Espinosa was cut a bunch of slack because of his shoulder injury, but he struck out 189 times and personally I don’t think the wrist has as much to do with his sucking as his awful pitch recognition. If the pitcher sticks to the scouting report he is going to get himself out, banged up or healthy doesn’t much matter. Regression from Espinosa, Desmond and their bench players like Bernadina is part of why I was so hopeful the Nats could be caught this year.

  9. @9 I’d forgotten what I used to call him. I think it was Huckleberry Hound or Droopy.

  10. Espinosa is, basically, Dan Uggla with better defense. But Uggla is seven years older. If Espinosa can’t figure out how to make more contact, he’s going to be finished as a major leaguer before too terribly long.

  11. LaRoche was Landogarner’s favorite whipping boy, by far. It was Huckleberry, definitely.

  12. He definitely proved me wrong. He has turned into a pretty good first baseman.

  13. I’m not usually one to comment on Internet typos (since I make plenty myself) but I really like “strum and drang.” I think that’s what Nirvana specialized in.

  14. I love how after the Mets swept the Yankees, they got swept by the Marlins. That’s so hilariously Mets-like.

  15. Terdo stayed hot, hit a HR tonight, and is now up to a .926 OPS. He’ll get a callup at some point this season.

  16. You know, it is very interesting that the Jays decided to bat Bautista second in the order. Putting your best hitter in the second spot of the order has been mentioned many times before but rarely anyone would go against the convention.

  17. I knew the pen was doing well, I was not aware they were doing that well (from ajc):

    “Despite being without injured setup men Eric O’Flaherty and Jonny Venters, who are out for the season, Braves relievers are riding a streak of 20-2/3 consecutive scoreless innings.”

  18. @23 Does the DH make a difference? “Second leadoff” man bats 9th rather than pitcher. Heyward is not hitting well enough to bat second but Pena does.

  19. The Pirates have the same record as the Reds, and are only 2.5 back of the Cardinals. But the Pirates’ run differential is +22, while the Reds are +68 and the Cardinals +84.

    The regression starts tonight, hopefully.

  20. Just saw that Talking Chop and Capitol Avenue Club are merging. You know, the other Braves Blogs.

  21. @27:

    Interesting. CAC is a good idea with poor execution. The best writer of the bunch was the founder, a college student who proved entirely incapable of handling even minor, glancing criticism and extinguished the site’s comments (and community) to insulate himself from the same. The current staff’s posts suffer from poor editing and clunky sentences.

    But the major problem this year has been the content. Aside from spotty game previews, the site’s actual sabermetric analysis of the team — its primary focus — has been mostly limited to a few posts grousing about making hay of small sample sizes, and lazy explanations of defensive metrics. Though I started religiously reading Braves blogs because of and at CAC, its shortcomings have driven me into the arms of Braves Journal, where the community is informed and engaged.

  22. Not sure if this idea has been floated, but I’d like to see a Braves Journal Facebook page. One could then setup notifications for all activity. This would let the user know whenever a new thread is up (as long as the FB admin shared the links accordingly).

  23. @27 – Boy is that going to be a cluster.

    I wonder how the CAC guys will mix with the LOLcats sect.

  24. So, what sort of mezzanaine financing would it take for us to do a leveraged buyout of the CAC/TC blogs? Maybe Bethany could be our angel, since she’s already quite the entrepeneur with her wonderful Eephus League line.

    Make it happen, Bethany.

  25. Do you really want the unwashed masses flooding in here?

    I want to do a facelift for Bravesjournal but I haven’t been able to get the time for it.

  26. @31 – I dunno. Time will tell. I never posted on TC but I did like the minor league summaries, which I think are not going to be continued. But there is one and only one Braves blog on the internet. The legacy of Mac Thomason is alive and well and I want to once again thank all of you.

  27. Nominal Braves bench OWar
    Gattis 1.6
    Pena 1.0
    Success! 1.0
    R Johnson 0.1
    Laird 0.2
    TOTAL 3.9
    TOTAL DWAR 0.8

  28. Sustainable? Not really. Having a 3-win season as a bench guy (Success! and Pena) let along a 4.8 win season (Gattis) is really, really hard.

    But I do expect the unit to be decent throughout. And if the starters continue to struggle so much, these guys may continue to play larger roles.

    Any word on what we’re doing with Francisco yet?

  29. The assignment of “bench player” status seems a bit arbitrary in that list. Evan Gattis is sixth on the team with 161 plate appearances. That puts him ahead of starters Chris Johnson (147), Jason Heyward (128) and Brian McCann (83.) Since WAR is a simple value counting system, playing time is going to drive the numbers there (assuming you’re not contributing negative value with your playing time, natch.)

    Jordan Schafer has nearly as many PAs (102) as Heyward (128.)

    Which is merely to say our “bench” WAR is high because the players designated as “bench players” there have played more often than a few of our “starters.”

  30. Heyward and McCann were on DL. BJ, JH are underperforming more than nominal bench players are over performing. Even with additional playing time did anyone expect this much from Success! and Pena. Some expected it from El Oso Blanco.

  31. @36

    I imagine we will field trade requests up to the ten day mark. At that time we will pick the best offer.

  32. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with CALLING them bench players, as none of them would be at the top of the depth chart at any position. That doesn’t seem arbitrary to me.

    But you’re right, if they’ve got a high WAR, it’s largely a function of ample opportunity (and the fact that they are succeeding with it.)

    But they’re getting their opportunities because so many starters have been so atrocious.

    Double edged sword, that one.

  33. I don’t mean to be pedantic about it. It’s not a big argument or anything. It’s not like, bunting or pinch running or something…

    My only real point was that they have big aggregate WAR totals because they’ve played a lot, and they’ve played a lot because the “starters” have been either hurting, or sucked. The exception there is Gattis, who I don’t think we can call a bench player at this point, as he plays somewhere 4 out of every 5 games. That’s the same playing time as a starting catcher. Gattis just happens to play LF half the time.

  34. @40 – I agree. Its great that the ‘bench’ is having a great year. But it sucks that Uggla, Heyward and Upton continue to play so badly. Can Pena, Schafer, Gattis continue to play at this level?

    edit: lost in the noise is that Freeman is having a heck of a year.

  35. We go from {0} outfield prospects to many (yes I know the caveat, tnstaofp) Elander A, Hefflinger High A, Terdoslavich AAA all having fine seasons.

    So I forgot the fact that McCann is having a good year too. If he keeps it up he is going to be a rich(er) dude. Like combined GDP of most of Central America rich.

  36. It’ll be interesting to see how the CAC guys deal not only with the many anti-saber commenters at TC, but also the generally lower level of discourse (which includes racism but mostly sexism and homophobia). TC looked to me to be far more like the AJC boards in recent years than not.

  37. TC is kinda unreadable, but there’s some humor there at times. I think it has its place, but it’s definitely a worlds-collide situation. I really don’t like CAC – I actually enjoy the stat-heavy content, but the delivery is horrible.

  38. Did Peter graduate out of CAC? He ran it as a GT student, right?

    Also, does this mean CAC is no longer associated with the ESPN blogger network?

  39. @45 Yeah, CAC/TC might be an awkward marriage – CAC tries (and IMO largely fails) to present Fangraphs-level analysis, while TC more or less serves the unwashed masses. Frankly, I’m happy that Braves Journal isn’t hugely popular; there are enough members to sustain lively, intelligent and (largely) collegial discussions on a wide variety of topics, and it’s not being dragged down by a bunch of idiot commenters.

  40. @48

    The occasional iloveemmastone or coach excepted.

    Not that coach was an idiot in the baseball sense, but more of one in an ‘unable to play nicely with others’ sense.

    emma, on the other hand….

  41. I wouldn’t complain if Braves Journal got a facelift and a better mobile-friendly format, but please don’t ever allow the posting of inline images like they do at TC (even though I’m sure this group would keep me laughing, in the long run that would kill the site).

  42. That’s all we could get for Francisco? a 25 year old in AA with bad numbers and a live arm?

  43. @41, Apropos of Sam not being a pedant, here are the numbers behind Evan Gattis’ playing time since Brian McCann came back against the Reds at game #31. Just numbers here, friends, no passive-aggressive trolling:

    31: LF
    32: LF
    33: LF
    34: DNP
    35: DNP
    36: LF
    37: PH
    38: LF
    39: LF
    40: PH
    41: DNP
    42: PH
    43: PH
    44: DNP
    45: PH
    46: C
    47: PH
    48: LF
    49: DNP
    50: DH
    51: C
    52: DNP
    53: LF
    54: LF
    55: C
    56: LF

    The breakdown of 26 games total:
    10 starts in LF
    6 games he did not play at all
    6 games he was a pinch-hitter
    3 starts at C
    1 start at DH

    The catchphrases:
    • Gattis has started in about half the games since B-Mac came back.
    • Gattis hasn’t played at all in almost a quarter of the games since B-Mac came back.

  44. I would think that Gattis is going to take more and more of Heyward’s PA’s if things don’t turn around.

  45. @48: Why do you say CAC fails to present Fangraphs-level analysis? I think they’ve done a very good job of smoothing out the ups and downs of a long season by, e.g., pointing to underlying performance rather than small-sample results as a reason to not panic/not buy into what’s going on this week or this month. Not much original research, but then, it’s a fan blog about a specific team, so that doesn’t seem like a reasonable expectation. Some of their heatmap-centered posts were really excellent (and I’m sorry to hear the heatmaps won’t be following them to TC).

    @52: Sounds about right. I’d rather have seen them dump R. Johnson, but Francisco is realistically not a very valuable commodity unless he develops passable contact skills.

  46. @52

    You don’t get much for a player you’re ostensibly trying to send to the minors. We certainly couldn’t have expected to get any better than a AAA player in return, and we really didn’t have that much leverage, as we didn’t have the option of keeping him…not before the entire league had their chance at him for minimum salary, anyway.

  47. @50, and in a moment of interesting coincidence, the Brewers released Sea Bass to make room for Francisco.

  48. SSS Pena looks like a keeper. C Johnson is hitting LH pitchers almost as well as Pena hits RH pitchers.

  49. That merger will certainly be interesting. We’ll see what happens when a bunch of elitist jackasses are thrown into the same room with a bunch of people whose specialties are split-second, knee-jerk reactions and ridiculous meme images. Should at least be entertaining, and could in fact wind up being the most colossal blog train wreck of all-time. Could be worse, I guess. CAC could be taking over the AJC blog.

  50. This is kinda fun. As part of their draft preview, Baseball Reference has a list of the best players drafted at particular slots. Here’s a list of notable players that were either taken by the Braves in the draft or logged notable playing time:

    1: Chipper Jones
    3: Lonnie Smith
    5: Dale Murphy
    6: Gary Sheffield
    9: Duane Ward
    11: Walt Weiss
    12: Billy Wagner
    29: Adam Wainwright
    30: Brian Jordan
    31: Greg Maddux

  51. @60, not only employed, but on the 2nd year of a 2 yr/5.7M contract – that he made ~200 PAs to earn.

  52. Crazily I couldn’t remember who Sea Bass was.

    I admittedly only visited CAC a few times, but the experience reminded me a lot of reading Straussians: if they are not smart enough to pull it off it fails to be at all enlightening and as often as not comes across as silly and cultish.

    Probably too much to hope for considering how close a lid the Braves tend to keep on their draft plans, but anyone found any good leads on what we might do in the draft?

    Stu, what is your take on Ziomek? I have a feeling some team is going to hope he’s another Mike Minor and take him in the top-30 but he is projected to be available. My guess is we take a RH HS flamethrower.

  53. I too enjoyed CAC when Peter was the guy there. I think that I inferred from CAC that he has finished med school. I am guessing residency doesn’t give him much time to blog about the Braves.

  54. @57 CAC’s in-season statistical analysis doesn’t seem to reveal anything really surprising or insightful – it’s more along the lines of “so and so should experience regression to the mean” – that might be helpful for some people to read, but personally it isn’t educational to me the way Fangraphs is. I liked their off-season long form pieces on various players and transactions a lot more.

  55. I liked Peter. He did good work while not being that guy going on about the stats. CAC hasn’t been very enjoyable for a long time, for the reasons stated @70. There’s never anything I can recall reading over there and thinking “man, I did not know that!” Mostly it just comes across as sabernerds lecturing each other on how stupid everyone else is.

  56. I think the high totals of WAR for our bench players is precisely why I think Fredi is a good manager. WAR is a counting stat, and if these players are playing well, their manager would need to let them play enough to accumulate WAR. With the injuries and ineptitude, these players, who deserve to play, have been given opportunities that other organizations may not give because they’re sticking with their struggling, highly-paid players.

    You can argue Fredi should be impacting the performance of the “stars” that are struggling, but I would argue that those players should be supporting themselves at this point in their career, and Fredi’s time should be spent with players who have unrealized potential.

  57. Here’s your typical CAC insight: look for Gattis to experience regression to the mean once the book on how to pitch him is passed around. Initially all pitchers will throw him meatballs on the inner half, then a few months and many linear regressions later, they’ll attack him with breaking balls and hard stuff low and away.

  58. his batting average, balls in play
    will vary little, day to day
    and that’s because when struck
    they tend to run amok
    they’re not in play the usual way.

  59. @71: Again, if you mean “man, I didn’t know that!” in the sense of new theories about the game, then I would agree CAC didn’t provide that. But if you just mean information that you won’t see presented at TC,, or AJC that is interesting and helpful, posts like this recent one: told me something new about how amazing Andrelton Simmons is. I wouldn’t have known how to get the information about the Braves’ defensive results on the left side of the infield, nor would I have thought about that as a sort of crude but holistic way of measuring Simmons’ impact on the defense. The rest—discussing the types of error that can enter into defensive metrics—may or may not be your cup of tea, but I thought it performed a valuable public service, since many people make the mistake of thinking UZR, etc. are subject only to sampling error, not measurement error.

    I feel like that’s a pretty good, representative example of the kind of work post-Peter CAC has done. Not sabernerds lecturing, but Braves fans with a statistical bent looking at different ways to evaluate and appreciate players’ performance.

  60. You can argue Fredi should be impacting the performance of the “stars” that are struggling, but I would argue that those players should be supporting themselves at this point in their career, and Fredi’s time should be spent with players who have unrealized potential.

    To that end, Fredi is responsible for his coaching staff. The Braves have three really bad starters. BJ Upton, who Greg Walker is trying to fix. Dan Uggla, who is an old slugger with a big contract and isn’t going to get fixed. And Jason Heyward, who is a damned enigma wrapped up inside a riddle at this point.

  61. @72 – We should also be giving Frank Wren a lot of credit for handing Fredi a cheap and effective bench to utilize this season. I expect we’ll see some regression from Pena, Schafer and Chris Johnson (all have high BABIPs) as well as Minor, but with any luck the drop-off there will be more than offset by improvements by Heyward, BJ, Simmons, Uggla and Huddy, as well as Beachy’s return.

  62. @77

    I completely agree, Sam. I would then ask, in regards to Heyward, what does an “elite” manager do about Jason Heyward? What do the top-tier managers do to develop young, talented players that, for whatever reason, can’t fully put it together.

    As for Uggla, I think there has to be accountability to force him to adjust his approach to the plate, and BJ Upton is probably working with the right people to adjust his approach.

    So, the team is performing well, our bench players are given opportunities to produce while the more “talented” players are not playing as much, and players are happy. What more does Fredi need to do to earn people’s respect? I think it just boils down to the principles that some people always need something to complain about because they are not happy themselves. Not trying to psycho-analyze it, but it’s pretty obvious.

  63. On Heyward:

    He is working the count well, but is missing 93 MPH fastballs. It just seems like his timing is off. The only way to get timming is to play.

  64. I’ve enjoyed some of CAC’s stuff, but I just couldn’t live in a mindspace where debating whether or not “Andrelton’s arm is an 80” passes for baseball talk.

  65. @80, I agree with your high-level analysis of Fredi – I think he should get high marks as a people-manager and for how he’s generally divided up playing time. I think there’s still room to criticize some of his in-game tactics. It’s not inconsistent to like some of his qualities and dislike others.

    A perfect example was the game Friday against the Nats where he let Teheran hit for himself even though we were down 2, and then pulled him the next inning anyways. That move was first-guessed by multiple people in the game thread. I feel like that’s justifiable bitching.

  66. “I think it just boils down to the principles that some people always need something to complain about because they are not happy themselves. Not trying to psycho-analyze it, but it’s pretty obvious.”


    And in a thread where discussion is being made about how mean-spirited another group’s elite can be.

  67. @81, yes Heyward is chronically late on fastballs, same as BJ. And he’s got lots of extraneous movements in his setup, same as BJ but BJ seems to be fixing some of that. The thing that the Braves braintrust has to figure out is how long to wait for that timing to come back – this is why they are paid the big bucks. If you hit .140 for some period of time X, then you will not be allowed to play baseball for the baseball team any more. X is probably somewhere greater than half a season but less than…a whole season?

  68. I would then ask, in regards to Heyward, what does an “elite” manager do about Jason Heyward? What do the top-tier managers do to develop young, talented players that, for whatever reason, can’t fully put it together.

    He is working the count well, but is missing 93 MPH fastballs. It just seems like his timing is off. The only way to get timming is to play.

    They play baseball games pretty much every night in Gwinnett. If Heyward doesn’t turn something around very soon, you have to think about sending him down to figure it out.

  69. @83, Ironically, I agree with his analysis of Fredi, too, up to the point where he drops the “I’m not suggesting people that disagree with me have psychological issues, but…” card. (Is that more sad an internet rhetorical gambit than the “I know more about (insert subject) than you do!” card?)

    I think Fredi deserves credit for all those things mentioned inasmuch as we can neither prove nor disprove how they affect our place in the standings. We don’t hear much about stuff inside the clubhouse, ergo we can safely assume that all the players are “happy” and tip our caps to Fredi for that assumption. I’m fine with that. Give him full credit.

    But, again, it’s the tactical, in-game decisions that we see unfolding before us that many of us take vocal issue with.

    And if you read back in early game threads, I was pretty vocal about praising Fredi for his sensible approach to bullpen management in the early going. Unfortunately, the sins of the past have hit us full force with the loss of EOF and Venters, which in my mind can be laid directly at Fredi’s feet.

    Could you guys please find a context for characterizing us Fredi-criticizers other than being dumb or psychologically unbalanced? I don’t mind being called wrong, especially when it’s done in an amicable and friendly manner.

  70. People are allowed to disagree with you. And speaking as a person who (I hesitate to say agrees with you) happens to think some of the same things that you do.. I’m starting to think you might BE psychologically unbalanced.

    At the risk of being accused of a personal attack, I find you insufferable. And I.. happen to think some of the same things that you do.

  71. And if you read back in early game threads, I was pretty vocal about praising Fredi for his sensible approach to bullpen management in the early going. Unfortunately, the sins of the past have hit us full force with the loss of EOF and Venters, which in my mind can be laid directly at Fredi’s feet.

    Could you guys please find a context for characterizing us Fredi-criticizers other than being dumb or psychologically unbalanced? I don’t mind being called wrong, especially when it’s done in an amicable and friendly manner.

    Sure. You answer your final paragraph with the preceding paragraph. You want to blame Fredi Gonzalez for relief pitchers getting hurt. That’s absurd. Relief pitchers are frail, fickle, unpredictable, impossible monsters. No rational person could assign their ups and downs, health or injury, to *anything.* But you want to throw it at Fredi, because if it comes down to blaming Fredi for random chance or not getting a good swing in, you’ll take the blame for random chance gambit every time. You’re just too bought in to the “bad Fredi, no biscuit” narrative to not do it.

  72. Keys to getting along here: Ignore Sam’s passive-aggresive trolling. Allow Rob Cope to characterize Fredi-criticizers as somehow “unhappy” and psychologically-unbalanced. Got it! :-)

  73. There’s rarely anything passive about my aggression, John. I’m simply trying to talk sense to you.

    There is no evidence whatsoever that injuries to pitchers, much less relief pitchers, is driven by usage patterns. You’re just making up a narrative to suit your assumptions.

  74. @91, There was no discussion in 2011-2012 that his over-reliance of O’Ventbrel risked breaking them? I recall that being a huge topic of discussion. And now two of them are broken, and Kimbrel has been erratic? To suggest a correlation is “absurd”?

  75. @93, it’s been pretty well established that all disagreements about things put forth on a baseball forum are due to one or more of a.) one party being less intelligent than the other, b.) one party having never played the game, c.) one or both parties being mentally unstable.

  76. @95, It is when you haven’t looked at similarly used relievers and their injury rates.

  77. Hold on folks – I’d say the vast majority of Braves Journalistas posting on here have, on various occasions, harped on Fredi for questionable in-game tactical decisions… some of those decisions fall under the category of “accepted baseball wisdom that appears counter-productive when examined statistically” and frankly, sometimes Fredi (as is the case with all managers) simply does something that is manifestly suboptimal from any rational viewpoint. The right to second-guess (and pre-guess) a manager’s tactical decisions is a cherished and well nigh sacred part of being a sports fan. If doing so means you’re unbalanced, then guess what – we’re all crazy.

    On a side note: it’s certainly arguable that Fredi’s bullpen management had a negative effect on the arms of Venters and O’Flaherty, but 1) it’s not something we can prove per se; and 2) it’s very easy to make an argument as to why riding your best bullpen guys is the right thing to do, even considering the potential injury risk.

  78. @95, it was indeed a topic of discussion – but I think the prevailing opinion has always been that relievers are fickle and somewhat fungible, and the Braves have a pretty decent track record of getting good performance from scrap-heap guys you’ve never heard of, so why worry too much about it?

    If you buy into the theory that using the same 3 guys to pitch the 7th/8th/9th of every close game is going to lead to trouble down the line (and I admit I do buy into that) then the question about what should be done differently must be raised. You can keep starters in longer, or you can have relievers pitch more than one inning, so as to keep them from throwing hard nearly every day. I don’t want our starters going much longer than 6 or 7 since I think an “episode” is more apt to happen the 3rd and 4th times through the order. I would focus on having our relievers throw multiple innings so that we only use one or two a game rather than three or four. Again, my “gut” feeling is that the injuries (to the extent that they are ever predictable) are from prolonged every-day use rather than any kind of inning count or pitch count. I think having proper time to recover after an outing is important. This isn’t something that can be proven using thought-experiments though. You’d need a decent sample of teams that managed the bullpen in that way in order to compare/contrast. That’s not going to happen, so all you can do is speculate.

  79. As spike notes, yes, even if you assume heavy usage will cause injuries, an injury is not proof of that case even if it happens. Or to be precise, it’s evidence, but only anecdotal evidence. The injuries to O’Flaherty and Venters is not proof that you were right to complain, for the same reason that 50 games isn’t reason to assume Chris Johnson’s going to challenge for the league batting title going forward. It’s too small of a sample size to render any useful takeaways.

    But what you say there at @95 is actually the fundamental issue at hand with you and Fredi. You assumed from the start that Fredi would fail and then when any failure occurs, you back date that failure onto Fredi. You “first guessing” usage patterns of relievers doesn’t mean you’re right and Fredi’s wrong. It means random shit happened in a manner convenient for you to double down on your preferred narrative assumption.

    There are people in the world who have actually done the math. There are people in the world who have looked very hard at large samples to try to tease out the vagaries of correlation vs. causation vs. pure random chance with regard to “pitcher abuse” and usage patterns. And most of them were looking very hard to prove what you want to be true.

    And none of them have. The data is noise. Two and a half bullet points from recent Braves bullpen usage isn’t going to change the noise into signal.

    You believe that heavy usage causes injury. You see “evidence” to support your belief. The belief comes first. There is no strong correlation between usage and injury. Just you wanting to be able to tell Fredi “I told you so, dummy!”

  80. Do any of the data services track how many times a reliever warms up in the bullpen? Without that then I’d think any studies on the injury topic are probably pretty flawed.

  81. Up and down warm ups, warming up and not need to pitch, all of that is really difficult data to track. It’s not a discrete event of an actual game scenario, so none of the stat services record it to my knowledge.

    On top of that, some guys just get hurt. Not because of heavy usage. Just because. There’s a pitcher for the Nationals we occasionally discuss in this regard.

    If you tweak the data you can get very weak “trends” either way you want to trend it. But there’s no true signal there that I’ve ever seen.

  82. And even if you can divine some trends in the data, how much of a part do external factors (like the rise in TJ surgeries due to medical advancements and outcomes being better) play? This might be one of those where you spend a few thousand man hours doing the research and come up with bombshells like “instances of TJ surgery seems to be on the rise, but we’re not sure why”.

  83. And that is the only point I’m really deeply embedded toward making. I’m not arguing that heavy usage patterns don’t contribute to injuries. I’m arguing that we simply don’t know. And anyone who claims to know, is making a specious claim to knowledge they don’t actually possess.

  84. While it may be true that the statistical community hasn’t sussed out a strong statistical connection between appearances/IP for starters or relievers, it’s also axiomatically true that certain pitch thresholds that result in pitcher injury may exist. Now, this threshold probably varies from pitcher to pitcher, but there’s some chance (if no certainty) that putting a reliever through a huge number of appearances will increase their chances of injury.

    How might a manager mitigate against this risk of unknown likelihood or magnitude? There’s no single answer or easy formula for this, but it probably boils down to making a conscious effort to avoid using your high-quality bullpen arms in low-leverage situations if those good bullpen arms have been used a lot recently. In practice, that means Fredi could have chosen not to go Venters, O’Flaherty and Kimbrel every single time the Braves entered the 7th inning with a 3-run lead (depending on game circumstances such as opponent quality). At best, though, this would only affect pitcher use on the margins, maybe a reduction of 1-2 appearances per month per pitcher. Would that have saved Venters/EOF? Who knows.

  85. Fredi’s best-case scenario is that he becomes baseball’s Andy Reid – leads some good teams and players generally like playing for him so he sticks around for a while, but as a fan of his team you’re resigned to him farting up the clock management at a crucial moment several times a season.

    Simmons once upon a time came up with the idea of giving Andy Reid a 13-year-old who plays too much “Madden” as an “assistant coach” in charge of timeouts and clock management. In baseball you’d need that “assistant coach” to be more of a grown-up stats guy/Vice President of Bunt Prevention, but same basic idea.

  86. @107: A crucial point. Logic suggests that increasing usage will increase injuries; you couldn’t have a modern pitcher Ol’ Hoss it up for more than a few weeks without snapping his arm. (It’s not clear how Ol’ Hoss himself went about Ol’ Hossing it up for most of a season, except that his fastball might have topped out at 60mph against lineups that would have been cut from any decent high-school team in 2013.) But we know that in the very recent past, relievers were being used much more, both in terms of innings pitched and in terms of frequency of appearance, than they are today. And yet the modern 60-70 relief IP regime hasn’t had any discernible effect on reliever injury rates.

    So, what’s going on? Hard to say! And would a manager be justified in saying, in the face of this uncertainty, “Aw, to hell with it, let’s throw some of those Venters innings to Scott Proctor!”? I would say: no, definitely not. The possibility of saving your reliever from major surgery down the line will almost never be worth the substantial single-game win-expectancy loss from substituting a bad, rested reliever for a good, possibly tired one.

  87. So the conventional wisdom that Dusty Baker was a terror on his pitchers is character assassination? Looking back, we should have used O’Ventbrel MORE, not less, especially since we’ve now lost two of them to injuries.

    Since pitcher injuries have no proven relation to the act of throwing a baseball more often, then we should assume that since we could lose our best pitchers to injury at some point, we should use them a lot more than we currently do. Right?

    Where does the insipid idea that Kimbrel might need rest after pitching 3 games in a row come from? Fatigue, I presume. I guess it’s absurd to correlate fatigue with injury. In the former, the body just wears down from too much usage. In the latter, the body just wears down from too much usage…but in a different way.

    Can someone point me to the catalogue of relief pitchers who had long, sustainable careers being used a shit ton like O’Ventbrel? We can start with Mariano Rivera, but who else?

  88. @111 – unfortunately, ours is the guy who called for Ramiro Pena to bunt against a guy throwing 139 mph nowhere near the strike zone on Saturday night. He was acting manager after Fredi got run, so I can only assume he’s not really the strategic influence we need.

  89. @112: As to your last: Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Dan Quisenberry, the list goes on. Pretty much every reliever before the modern era of rigid one-inning roles had seasons where he threw over 100 innings, and again, there is just little evidence that those guys were getting hurt more often than relievers do today.

    Re: Baker, yeah, I think he probably got a bad rap. He’s a sabermetric whipping boy, so it’s less likely that people familiar with the relevant research are going to step in to defend him.

  90. @112, you also have to accept that even if there is evidence that says that riding relievers day after day increases the chance of injury, it might still be fine from an overall game-theory perspective if the supply chain of disposable relievers is endless. What if the new normal is to grab a good but not great hard-throwing minor league pitching prospect, put him in the pen, and have him pitch as many high-leverage late innings as possible, until he inevitably gets hurt? Wash, rinse, repeat.

    I would argue that we probably have 20 extra pitchers in the organization that *could* pitch quality innings for us at the MLB level. Some might only be 19 or 20 years old, but still…if you brought them in with a 3 run lead odds are good they’d hold it. Especially if you managed platoon splits properly.

  91. @115: That raises what Johnny Caspar would refer to as a question of ettics. Is it right for teams to pay a guy major-league minimum (good money; generally not enough to make you set for life) and then basically run him into the ground, potentially ending his career? (Not, again, that I think that’s what Fredi did.) Every player accepts a risk of injury, but I think there’s a general understanding that the team will attempt to protect the player. When the team’s interest really diverges from the player’s, that understanding inevitably breaks down.

  92. Something I don’t get. I understand there are times in a game when you should bunt. Every bunt is not a bad one.

    But why PH for a guy with another possition player to bunt? If you are in a spot where you need a bunt, why not send Hudson up there to do it? He bunts more than anyone on the team and if he gets two strikes, he isn’t terrible with the bat.

  93. @108:

    “It is axiomatically true…”

    “…it probably boils down to…”

    Assumption and guess. Again, this is not evidence. It’s the pitching load equivalent of arguing that Jeff Francoeur has a great clubhouse presence.


    “So the conventional wisdom that Dusty Baker was a terror on his pitchers is character assassination?”

    As much as anything else, yes. There’s no data to back up the argument that Dusty Baker kills pitchers. Just a bunch of people who assumed Pitcher Abuse Points “axiomatically” and then argued from their axioms to hating on Baker. Sure, Mark Prior and Kerry Wood broke while Dusty was in Chicago. But then again, Tommy Hanson broke. Stephen Strasburg broke. Arodys Vizcaino is about to take his second trip under the knife (just like Johnny Venters.) Was he “abused?” Or do pitchers just break?

    You do not know what you claim to know. You assume it blindly, because that is the conventional wisdom and received wisdom from your preferred sources.

  94. @113 Pena has a .118 batting average batting right handed and a .329 OPS.
    Bunting was a good option.

  95. John, I clearly struck a nerve saying that the people that incessantly criticize the manager have some breakdown internally somewhere. I didn’t mean it personally; I just mean that, in general, people who are constantly complaining have issues. That’s really it.

    What I’m trying to say is 1) it’s easy to arm-chair and Monday-morning quarterback leaders when you’re not in their shoes and 2) many of things managers are criticized for don’t have an objective “right-or-wrong” or “yes-or-no” answer to. So at best, it’s speculation on that person’s part, but it’s being passed off as fact that they know better than the person making the decisions. Fundamentally, I have a huge issue with people spotting problems with leaders but not providing a solution. For instance, what should Fredi have done if he was riding O’Ventbrel too hard? After all, I don’t think he had a lot of other options, and he was trying to win baseball games (his job).

  96. A couple of threads back it seemed the board was unanimously lauding Fredi’s winning game decisions in the 2-1 win over the Nats. Didn’t he get ejected in the 4th inning of that game?

  97. Sam, I wish you wouldn’t misrepresent others’ positions to create strawman positions you can then attack. I said “it’s also axiomatically true that certain pitch thresholds that result in pitcher injury MAY exist”, and as we have all agreed, there MAY be some connection between pitcher over-use and injury (we just don’t know what that connection is, exactly). My point was that because there is potential future harm resulting from pitcher use, it’s sensible to manage reliever workload if at all possible. Of course it’s not “evidence”, I never pretended otherwise.

  98. @118

    You pinch hit with your best bunter, if you want the bunt. I’ve seen people pinch bunt with a really good bunting pitcher, but a lot of managers prefer to use their best every day player to bunt instead. Carlos Tosca obviously went with Pena over Johnson, and over a pitcher, because he thought Pena had the best chance of getting the bunt down. We don’t have enough information about the Braves’ “best bunters” to say.

    We can say that Chris Johnson has been pretty bad against RHP this year. (287/311/379) Ramiro Pena has been very good against RHP (381/429/619). You can argue that they should have let Pena swing away, but it’s certainly not indefensible to play for one run, to win it in the bottom of the 10th at home, and try to bunt the guy over.

    And of course, they did win that game.

  99. @117 – I don’t see an ethical problem personally. Jonny Venters went from “no one you’ve ever heard of,” failing as a starter in the minors, to “filthy nasty reliever making $300K a year in MLB” for 2 and a half years. The manager’s job is to win games, not extend careers by playing with kid gloves and hoping they don’t get hurt.

  100. @119, You ask “was he abused or do pitchers just break?”

    Well, it could be one or the other, and it could also be a little or a lot of both. It could also be dumb luck. Who knows?

    But you drive a hard hard bargain, to the point of insufferability, when you demand scientific evidence before anyone can mount an argument as to why something “is” in baseball. Yes, there is a lot we do not know about how pitcher injuries occur, but there are also the things we fear to be true, and those are worthy of consideration. After all, that is the first step in creating a hypothesis.

    Overuse that leads to malfunction is proven everywhere around us in nature. To say that it’s absurd to suggest the same could be true for pitcher’s arms and shoulders, because the “I fucking love science” crowd doesn’t have any studies to prove it a bit absurd, I think.

  101. If you can’t quantify what constitutes overuse, then how exactly is one to know when they are doing it? 1 pitch or 100? 1 appearance or 45?

  102. @120, Pena was specifically sent to pinch-bunt in that situation, he wasn’t a starter on Saturday. Also, the pitcher that inning was a righty and you’re reading Pena’s platoon split backward.

    @122, I was at the ballpark, but a) yes, the bench coach was managing post-ejection, and b) that sequence was just ridiculous.

    Gattis walks, in comes Schafer to pinch-run. So far, so good. But now we’re at the #6 spot in the order and down to two hitters on the bench: Pena and Laird (the latter of whom will have to PH for the pitcher in what would have been a double-switch had the #9 spot come up, now that we’ve run for Gattis.)

    So Pena was the last position player available in a time game, and Tosca burned him to bunt. Not only was the bunt a bad choice because Fireball McGee couldn’t find the strike zone and you generally shouldn’t give a pitcher like that a free out, there were pitchers available to do the job should you just have to bunt. This game might go 19 innings for all we know at this point and you’re about to empty the bench for a bunt?

    So the bunt turns into a popup (it’s a wild fastball we’re trying to push here, so yeah…) and there’s one out. So now they send Schafer on a straight steal, which if you’re going to do that, why not do it in the first place? Dude still can’t find the zone so Uggla walks. #8 spot (BJ) is up now.

    So instead of the guy (Pena) hitting .381/.429/.619 against righties available to take this at-bat, we’re stuck with BJ, who is hitting .144/.232/.270 vs. RHP.

    And BJ soft-serves a single into right field and somehow this works and everyone’s a genius and you should always hit on 18 with the dealer showing 5 because there’s a three in that deck somewhere…

  103. Overuse that leads to malfunction is proven everywhere around us in nature. To say that it’s absurd to suggest the same could be true for pitcher’s arms and shoulders, because the “I fucking love science” crowd doesn’t have any studies to prove it a bit absurd, I think.

    So we’re just going to have to go with gut instinct on this one? Is pitcher “abuse” like porn – you just know it when you see it? Because here’s the thing about arguing to “things we fear to be true” and your gut instinct; we have absolutely zero reason to trust your gut instinct over Fredi Gonzalez’ gut instinct. None. If it is simply a matter of instinct, without some sort of evidenced based argument behind it, you have absolutely no argument to be taken more seriously than Gonzalez. At that point it’s a matter of preferences and whose ouija board has the niftier graphics.

  104. Vice President of Bunt Prevention?!?


    WCG, you might have to change your screen name.

  105. So instead of the guy (Pena) hitting .381/.429/.619 against righties available to take this at-bat, we’re stuck with BJ, who is hitting .144/.232/.270 vs. RHP.

    And BJ soft-serves a single into right field and somehow this works and everyone’s a genius and you should always hit on 18 with the dealer showing 5 because there’s a three in that deck somewhere…

    Two thoughts here.

    First, maybe there’s a reason Carlos Tosca is not a major league manager every day.

    Second, the need to undercut Upton’s successful, game winning at bat is just really, really odd. He hit a 101 MPH fastball and singled the opposite field. It was a solid at bat. I can understand questioning the bunt and bench usage tactics, but why the need to shit on a good at bat from a guy that’s working his ass off to get it back together?

  106. @131, no disrespect intended to B.J. on a human/professional level. I relate to him and I’m happy for him if that at-bat happened to be the trigger for his resurgence.

    But viewing him as a chess piece, having him take that at-bat doesn’t make any sense a priori. And since one important duty of a field manager is to shift the chess pieces optimally during the close-and-late innings, I’m saying maybe we need someone, somewhere, in this dugout with a better grasp of strategy than what’s currently hanging out on the bench.

  107. Smitty

    I’m headed to the game, already was planning on it and then learned Beachy was pitching.

    Pretty pumped.

  108. “If you can’t quantify what constitutes overuse, then how exactly is one to know when they are doing it? 1 pitch or 100? 1 appearance or 45?”

    I think the major problem here is getting you to concede that there IS such a thing as overuse. Correct me if I’m wrong, but has anything you or Sam written conceded that there is such a thing? That would be a good starting point, I think.

    Do you or do you not think there’s such a thing as pitcher overuse? If not, then why not run Kimbrel out there every day? If you don’t think that’s a good idea, could you explain why?

  109. I concede that it’s probably a bad idea to throw a pitcher younger than 24-25 for more than 120 pitches per game. Even so, I think “big innings” are probably more dangerous than “big game totals.”

    I don’t think there’s enough data on relievers to state when and where “heavy usage” turns into “abuse.” I think the pitchers are themselves too functionally distinct to generalize. Some guys can’t pitch back to back nights and might break after 40 games. Some guys can pitch in 100 games a year.

  110. Hey, I’m not the one claiming a causal relationship between overuse and injury, and specifically in the case of O’Ventbrel that this was in fact the case and that Fredi was responsible, and a different usage pattern would have prevented it. Show your work.

    I think Sam was pretty clear upthread that the point is either pro or con on the position is an assertion, given the available data.

  111. If not, then why not run Kimbrel out there every day? If you don’t think that’s a good idea, could you explain why?

    It’s very unlikely that we’ll go “every day” with situation to need any particular reliever. That said, if Kimbrel is the key guy to get wins four days in a row, go with him.

  112. Who was it (Colorado maybe?) that was tinkering around with the idea of not having a starting rotation per-se, but rather just a bunch of pitchers that each pitch 2 or 3 innings, and then try to spread the load out evenly each week?

  113. Man… how did we go from dismissing CAC as joyless nerd-chatter, and then immediately launch into an hours-long fight over the finer points of historical Braves reliever usage?

    Personally, I’m ready for tonight’s Braves game to start – that should bring things back into focus. Tonight’s lineup: 1. Simmons SS 2. Heyward RF 3. J. Upton LF 4. Freeman 1B 5. McCann C 6. C. Johnson 3B 7. Uggla 2B 8. B Upton CF 9. Medlen P

  114. @121, You struck a nerve not because I felt personally offended by the remark. I just think it’s a very ill-considered thing to say to one of your mates here, ironically so when part of the earlier discussion up page is how well-mannered and great things are around here compared to the neanderthals at other discussion groups. I mean, reread what you wrote and ask yourself how someone’s supposed to respond to that? Or to “I know more about baseball than you do!” I was accused by someone else of having a problem with disagreement. That’s the furthest thing from the truth about me, but setting that aside, why doesn’t the same person lodge that accusation at those statements that are so clearly not about discussing baseball but about shutting down other people from having their say. But I appreciate that you said you didn’t mean anything personal, because it does show that you do prioritize being civil rather than winning an argument.

    Now, about your standards about arm-chairing what happens between the lines. Well, I rationally understand that, but this is a discussion forum on the internet. Do you really insist that there’s to be no analysis of Fredi’s moves and non-moves?

    As to what Fredi should have done instead of riding O’Ventbrel too hard? Well, I do believe I’m on record of doing that in the past, so it’s hard to make a case against me being one of your pet peeves. Part of Fredi’s problem was not using quality pitchers like C-Mart, who was pitching lights out for a while there, more often, instead pigeon-holing him as a “long innings guy” in low-leverage situations. He should have been trusted with more higher-leverage innings.

    Meanwhile, the guys Fredi DID try to use to balance out his O’Ventbrel usage were the likes of Scott “Rusty” Linebrink and Scott Proctor.

    I concede that part of this is on Wren. Fredi only has available to him the players Wren provides, and a cavalcade of Linebrink, Proctor, Livan, and Chad Durbin isn’t all that inspiring. (Only Durbin pitched decently.) But to push C-Mart to the bottom of the pecking order in place of crappy “veteran” pitchers was maddening to me.

  115. @128, thank you

    @131, I agree with post 133.

    It’s awesome that BJ rose to the occasion, but the managing choices were highly suspect, and IMHO it’s quite ridiculous that the recap for that game AND virtually the entire post-recap thread was spend lauding Fredi’s (?!?) excellent managing, when he A) actually managed less than half the game, and B) Tosca got really, really lucky that he didn’t paint himself into an extra-innings corner. What if that game had gone longer than 10 innings?

  116. #139

    The Rockies had their pitchers on a maximum count of 75 pitches last year, but they may have decided to abandon the experiment before Tracy left, I’m not sure.

  117. @136, So you’re going to sidestep the question of whether or not there is such a thing as pitcher overuse? How charitable of you.

    @135, At least Sam is willing to concede that there is such a thing as pitcher overuse. Thank you, Sam. In his mind, he “thinks” that running young pitchers out there for 120+ pitches per game is a bad idea, as are “big innings” with high pitch count totals. I tend to agree with that, for that is what I also “think”.

    And if some guys can’t pitch back to back nights and might break after 40 games, whereas some guys can pitch in 100 games a year, then I suppose it’s something we can hold a manager accountable for? He should know which guys can and which guys can’t, right?

    Anyway, Mr. Blauser is right. Let’s go Braves! I have to mow the lawn now, then game time.

  118. Agreed with Sam @125. Near-nightly O’Ventbrel gave the Braves the best chance to win.

    Not all doors remain open.

  119. So you’re going to sidestep the question of whether or not there is such a thing as pitcher overuse? How charitable of you.

    Cut-rate snark cannot conceal your making a bald faced assertion and crawfishing when called on support it. “Prove me wrong, bro!” is non-responsive.

  120. @147, I’m not side-stepping the fact that I do not have the statistical studies and scientific proof you need for me to dare the “bald-faced assertion” that overuse of a pitcher might lead to injury. You are absolutely correct, and though I believe I’ve already said this before, if you must have it highlighted in order to have a fair and friendly discussion, then there it is.

    What I’m asking you again is if you think there IS such a thing as pitcher overuse. Because if you do, it would imply that you, too, agree that overuse of a pitcher can lead to bad outcomes. I’m interested to see what you think those bad outcomes are, and if you think that baseball management should try to mitigate against those outcomes, and how then you can treat someone like a jerk for operating under the presumption that it does.

  121. What I “think” is not particularly germane to the discussion other than to create a false equivalency between saying something IS so and saying something MIGHT BE so.

    The statement “Unfortunately, the sins of the past have hit us full force with the loss of EOF and Venters, which in my mind can be laid directly at Fredi’s feet” is completely subjective. Whatever I “think” doesn’t change that. I have no doubt that it is possible to use a pitcher to the extent of injury. I suspect it varies wildly by individual and can’t be quantified with any degree of precision, and certainly not to the point where you can look at a couple of seasons usage and say AHA! at the top of your voice. And in any event, even if I did, I certainly wouldn’t look around at those who never said any such thing and hide behind “well you all were thinking something kinda close!” Have some courage of conviction man, and own your argument.

  122. @149, Spike, I’m only trying to figure out the threshold at which you and Sam will treat someone like a stupid jerk, that’s all. Not seeking to change your mind. I only speak to articulate how I feel, not to persuade the unpersuadable.

    That’s why when I made my “bald-faced assertion” about Fredi, I included the phrase “in my mind”. In doing that, I am leaving a door open for people to disagree with me. In the end, I’m not stating a fact, just an opinion. If you and Sam want to walk through that door to bash me, okay. Fine. But I don’t have to meekly accept that those are the one-way rules of decorum around here.

    As far as “owning it”, I will continue to believe that overuse of pitching can lead to bad outcomes, including injury, and that a manager should try to stave off that threat with smart bullpen maintenance. I will express that opinion when the situation arises. If Fredi uses Kimbrel four days in a row, Sam may be comfortable with that, which is fine, but I may express discomfort with that. If he’s used five, or six, or seven days in a row, same thing. If you insist that I supply science and statistics to prove my opinion that this usage would be bad, I am telling you now I won’t be able to do that, so the ball is in your court as to how you are then going to treat me. I’d prefer to not be called ignorant or absurd, but if that is what you want to go with, and the mods are willing to let it slide, then go for it.

  123. For the record, I’ve never heard “crawfishing” used in that manner. This thread is worthwhile simply for that.

    Blauser, @123, your request to not rely heavily on strawmen is noted and will be taken into account going forward.

  124. Do you think that they’ll just start doing Tommy John’s in-between innings someday? Like a “TJ Kit” that guys will just put in a new ligament and go back out there? I don’t think we’re far off.

  125. I’ve had enough problems with 2-D printers that I don’t think I’d count on anything printed being attached directly to my body.

    153- Ah yes, we’re the only team in MLB that depresses its fans by not emptying the bench.

    And congrats to El Oso Blanco for his second RotM award.

  126. Are we SURE Gattis is a worse defensive outfielder than Upton? I mean.. really SURE?

  127. Two things: Andrelton has a lot of range, and Justin doesn’t have as much. Also, way to go, Meds.

  128. So Justin Upton can’t hit a fastball to save his life. Who’da thunk it?

  129. That looked like a pretty clear strike three to McCann. Would be nice to cash this in.

  130. So we all agree that it’s going to take a homerun to score McCann from second, right?

  131. Tonight’s is a lineup full of outs. Going to take a homer to score at all today, unless AJ wants to walk in a run.

  132. Dear Bud Selig,

    There are too many bad calls nowadays. Please stop letting these umpires fail at their jobs. Thank you.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

  133. Unfortunately, as we were reminded last year, it does no good to play the game under protest for reasons of gross umpiring incompetence. Cripes. I wish I could get paid six figures to suck at my job.

  134. Must Kris Medlen throw one right down the middle to each and every batter? Is this a game he’s trying to play?

  135. @183 you’re right! Let’s make it easy and nominate 3.
    Angel Hernandez, Joe West, Sam Holbrooke, come on down!

  136. And BJ soft-serves a single into right field and somehow this works and everyone’s a genius and you should always hit on 18 with the dealer showing 5 because there’s a three in that deck somewhere…

    I wrote the recap and “lauded” the manager – I knew Tosca was managing, but figured Fredi was in the tunnel – and meant to mock, gently, those who blame the manager when things go wrong and laud him when things go well. I was probably too subtle. It came off simply as lauding the manager, not mocking the larger problem of results-based analysis.

    And yes, the pinch bunt with Pena, whomever called it, was ridiculously stupid.

    Also: BMAC.

  137. Dan, Dan, he’s our man… who strikes out like nobody can.

    Edit: And BJ’s consistent, ya gotta give him that.

  138. I’m kind of amazed Johnson is so slow that he couldn’t get to third on that hit.

  139. Making up for a bad call in the field with bad calls at the plate. I hope Hurdle’s muttering something about accountability to these idiots.

  140. I gotta admit: I agree with Martin and Burnett here. This ump, like so many others, is awful.

  141. Neither pitcher has gotten that call on lefties at any point, even though they all clearly are on the corner of the strikezone.

  142. I think Chip and Joe are completely wrong here. I don’t think the catcher HAS to turn around in order to get ejected in this instance, because Burnett just did that.

    Your pitcher just showed up the ump and the previous pitch. The next pitch, you stand up and say “Horse shit,” on your way to the mound, you’re outta here. I don’t think that’s really a reach.

    EDIT: Also, Russell Martin is a little peckerhead, so, that might play in to it, too.

  143. I actually thought the last pitch was clearly a strike – that it was even more of a strike than the pitch which has been called a ball all night against lefties – and the ump called it a ball simply to make a point to the battery. What that point was, I don’t know.

  144. Wow Chip and Joe, way to place all the blame on Burnett while failing to once question the crappiness of the umpire’s dancing zone.

    Have some stones guys.

  145. I think Chip and Joe are completely wrong here. I don’t think the catcher HAS to turn around in order to get ejected in this instance, because Burnett just did that.

    Wow Chip and Joe, way to place all the blame on Burnett while failing to once question the crappiness of the umpire’s dancing zone.

    Hmmm, interesting.

  146. This ump needs to take a few weeks off to meditate upon the meaning of the strike zone. Unpaid, of course.

  147. It’s funny how people can watch the same event and see such drastically different things.

    The umpire is wrong about that being a ball. I think Chip and Joe said so. But he’s been consistent. Chip and Joe said so, again. Burnett was out of line by yelling “Come on man. That ball’s not high.” The umpire gave him fair warning, took his mask off and said “That’s three,” referencing how many times he’s complained. Chip and Joe addressed that, too.

    I think they’re wrong when they say the catcher should get more leeway, because he didn’t turn around to say anything. First, there are magic words that get you tossed FROM THE BENCH, forget about on the field. Further, your pitcher JUST showed him up. You don’t use any magic words on the next pitch.

  148. Haha. If hatin’ on those two knuckleheads is wrong I don’t want to be right.

    I refer to chip and joe of course.

  149. Woah, Jason. Silence your critics!

    I’m sensing we might see this exact statement as a headline from Bowman tonight.

  150. I don’t disagree with anything jj said. The point I was trying to make was that the announcers just took for granted that the sketchy strike zone was something that should be accepted since it was the 4th inning and had been called that way all game.

    Personally, if I were in the booth I would have used the opportunity to rail against umpires being allowed to revise the rule book as they see fit as long as they are ‘consistent’. Whether or not Martin said a curse word or Burnett was showing up the umpire were less interesting topics to me.

  151. I wasn’t aware that the 3rd baseman was allowed to make a tag. When did they change that rule?

  152. Still catching up on the DVR, but damn this home plate ump had been dreadful. I violently disagree with Chip and Joe about how it’s Burnett/Martin’s job to adjust to the ump’s zone. The strike zone is not a moving target, and Burnett got squeezed at least 3 times in that one inning. Please bring on robo-umps, at least for balls and strikes.

  153. @238 – I don’t disagree with the your sentiment. But just like using Kimbrel in the 7th or 8th, it should be, but it ain’t, and everybody knows it.

    I will welcome the robots with open arms. But, until then, you game plan according to what calls you’re getting, and the more vociferously you disagree, the smaller the zone gets. And you knew it coming in, because it’s been that way since you stopped getting a participation trophy.

  154. On a lighter note…today I will call him JHey. Haven’t seen him turn on one in months. That was sweet. And holy crap Freeman is locked in.

  155. And he rings up Alvarez on a pitch that was called a ball all day for Burnett. Go braves and medlen, who’s on my fantasy team, but if those calls had gone the other way we’d all be pissed.

  156. I’d think that authentication process was pretty neat, if I didn’t suspect Brian will have to buy his own bat from MLB Game Used Merchandise and Money Grubbing, Inc. in order to keep it.

  157. My bet: Brian will get the ball. The bat might go to some museum or other. The bases will be sold.

  158. Wood has a good change up. First time I have seen him. 94-95 fastball. 86 change up.

  159. For those that may care…South Carolina and Vandy advanced to the super-regionals.

  160. From the very little I’ve seen I’d say that Wood should not throw his curve ball much if at all. His two feature pitches are good enough to get him through the order.

  161. Curve looks good to me. He’s gonna want it for something tailing away from lefties.

  162. One more baserunner and it would have been a save situation. Fortunately, that won’t happen and our lead is 7 games.

  163. @269 I know the rules. Just because it’s a save situation doesn’t mean you should use the closer.

  164. A Braves win, a Heyward homer, and the arrival of my Kickstarter buttons from Bethany. #GoodDay

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