Royals 4, Braves 3

Atlanta Braves vs. Kansas City Royals – Box Score – June 26, 2013 – ESPN

That sucked.

Mike Minor was sort of meh, giving up another homer and leaving more pitches up in the zone. (He did manage a quality start, striking out four and walking no one, but still.) Meanwhile, for six innings, the Braves were getting absolutely dominated by Doris Murphy. The offense finally woke up and tied the game against the Kansas City ‘pen in the seventh, but a Jason Heyward baserunning gaffe ended the rally there. Fredi then did his best to out-mismanage Ned Yost in subsequent high-leverage moments, and the Braves wound up losing in ten.

(How in the world is Bruce Chen only 36 years old??)

This concludes the Braves’ two-game road trip, one so demanding that they got a day off before it and will get another one after it. On Friday, they’ll retire Chipper’s number, and maybe they’ll also get back to winning most of their games again.

Author: Stu

Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I've been married since July 17, 2004 to my beautiful wife, who also doubles as my best friend. We have an almost-three-years-old Boston Terrier named Lucy who's also pretty awesome. My wife and I both graduated from Vanderbilt University in May of 2004. I graduated from Law School at the University of Georgia in May of 2007 and am now practicing in Nashville, Tennessee. I really, really love the Atlanta Braves.

98 thoughts on “Royals 4, Braves 3”

  1. Wow. That sucks. He was a big reason we had one of the best benches, if not the best, in the game the first 2 plus months. Really gonna miss his bat from the left side and actually be a defensive upgrade at 2nd and 3rd as well as spell Andrelton. Tyler P needs to step up.

  2. Cant believe he pitched to Gordon with a base open .. wait a min ..I can too .. we are talking about the worst late inning mgr in baseball …

  3. Mendoza’s game, Joe got it right…

    my pitches derive from my hair
    it’s long and it’s greasy, beware
    from here on the mound
    my options compound
    the sinker that just isn’t there.

  4. Fredi is eventually going to change the minds of even his most ardent supporters.

  5. @4, “My pitches derive from my hair”… Love it!

    I can’t believe we pitched to Gordon with first base open, either. Hey, these terrible tactics can’t all be Fredi’s fault. Let’s start placing accountability with his bench coach!

    Even if the winning run is at second with one out and nobody on first, I can understand the desire to want to keep the lefty-lefty matchup in play, what with Wood pitching and Gordon a lefty. Unfortunately, Gordon is not only one of the Royals’ best hitters, his season numbers stack up far better against lefties than they do righties; like, a batting average in the high-.300s coming into the game.

    And those aren’t just numbers on paper. I’m assuming that Fredi witnessed along with the rest of us Gordon go 2-for-3 against our lefty starter Minor, arguably the best pitcher on our staff right now not named Kimbrel.

    Not only that, but the next batter, though a righty with solid numbers against lefties, leads the Royals by far in GIDPs. Wouldn’t it have been better to set up a DP to increase the odds we’d reach the 11th?

    Or you could walk Gordon and then bring in Kimbrel to mow the next two batters down. That could have worked.

    There seemed like at least a couple of superior options available other than the one chosen.

  6. I didn’t watch the game last night after Heyward screwed up on the base paths. Upon seeing in the box score that Fredi didn’t use Gearrin, I assumed he didn’t make any glaring tactical errors. Apparently I was wrong.

  7. Ryan: Most surgeons will recommend avoiding impact activities for 6 months, as that is typically the full recovery time. There’s really not a good time for him to get it and return “full bore” for spring training unless their playoff chances are shot.

  8. @7
    I’m not a pro-athlete, but I had Lasik done on a Friday afternoon and was back to work (desk job) on Monday. My eyes were very sensitive to light for a couple weeks and they kind of felt like they had sand in them. After a couple weeks my eyes were fine as long as I kept some eye drops nearby. Vision was unbelievably better though.

    Edit: FYI, I was 26 years old when I had Lasik and had terrible vision with thick nerdy glasses.

  9. I had Lasik at 67 and wish I’d had it sooner. For the first time since I was in the fifth grade, I have 20/20 vision. The only side effect I suffer is that I occasionally push my non-existent glasses up the bridge of my nose.

  10. Just thinking out loud here, but it’d be nice for the FO to ask Dan to take care of his vision problem, with the prime motivation being to test Pastornicky out at as a full-time 2-bagger.

  11. Ryan, 15 day DL would be the max I would think.

    Edit: Nevermind, I didn’t know that impact sports would cause a 6 month recovery as noted above.

  12. I had Lasik on a Friday at age 42. Eyes felt perfectly normal by Monday and had 20/15 vision in both. That was over 10 yrs ago and still have no problems and 20/15 vision. I was told to stay away from hard contact activities/sports for awhile but I am very active and went back immediately to a very active life as a Marine to include deployment to combat tour only 3 months after surgery. Just share that merely to show this surgery should not mean Uggla has to miss more than a minimum stint on the DL

  13. It’s a real bummer than Heyward got thrown out trying to advance to 3B on JUp’s game-tying single; JHey’s usually an excellent baserunner. I didn’t get the impression that he did it for the purpose of drawing KC’s throw to 3B instead of home plate (especially since Reed Johnson baaaaaarely made it to home before Heyward was tagged out), he was just being aggressive.

    In any event, this was not a good game for Minor or the Braves’ offense, and yet we still almost pulled out a victory on the road. Frustrating outcome, but whatever. It’s a long season.

  14. Not scoring with 2nd and 3rd with no outs is what did us in. Out of curiosity does anyone know where we rank as far as getting runners in from 3rd with less than 2 outs?

  15. We’ve been a .500 team (more or less) since our hot start, and I’m not sure whether that’s a good sign or a bad sign, or a sign that we’re a .500 team.

    On the bad side – The Braves have one of the best defensive teams out there, a lights out bullpen despite losing two All-Star caliber lefties, and a rotation that has exceeded expectations. If our pitching stumbles…we could be looking at a long slog through the summer.

    On the good side – Our team’s offense with RISP has been atrocious, and many of the batters that were supposed to help carry us have shown only lately some spark at the plate. If regression occurs here, then the summer could be glorious.

    Or both (or neither) could regress and we’d still play .500 ball from here on out and win about 88-92 games by the end of the year, with a Play-In date looming if Philly or the Natspos catch fire.

    I guess that’s why the baseball season should never be viewed in less than 40 game chunks. It just causes too much nail biting otherwise.

  16. What you just said is exactly what I’m talking about. “Take our best stretch of the year out of the mix arbitrarily, include our worst stretch of the year in the mix while you’re doing that, and we’re a .500 team.” Why does our best stretch of the year not count while our worst stretch does? Why does the last week count but the first two don’t? We’re not a .500 team, we’re a team whose well over .500. And according to Pythagorean, we should even be slightly better than we have been. You can take a stretch of games away from the Cardinals and the remainder would show they’re a .500 team, too. Does anyone here think they’re a .500 team? Once again, we are not a .500 team.

  17. Man, poor Tommy Hanson – on the DL with forearm soreness now to go with his bum shoulder. He was a favorite of mine, and it’s pretty sad that, after looking like an ascendant ace for several years running, he could conceivably never make it to a life-changing payday before his body gives out on him. But maybe a year off for Tommy John would give his shoulder the rest it needs to heal up.

  18. “Why does our best stretch of the year not count while our worst stretch does?”

    I wouldn’t say that the best stretch doesn’t count, but you do see a difference between comparing one 13-game stretch that was a long time ago, and a 66-game stretch that is more recent?

  19. Not really. Arbitrary end points are arbitrary. The only end point that counts is the end of the season.

  20. I feel confident that if we play .500 for the remainder then we’ll be left out of the playoffs. We have to play better than we have for the past two months. As many have pointed out, there’s lots of reason to expect positive regression to the mean for some of our guys. I still think Fredi is about -5 WAR though.

  21. @23 “The only end point that counts is the end of the season” …and sadly, those end points have been coming several weeks too early over most of the last two decades.

  22. I feel confident that if we play .500 for the remainder then we’ll be left out of the playoffs.

    They’ll have at least one more run of fantastic play. I assume you’re terrified of the monster Bryce Harpers back there lurking at .500 for the entire season (not just the last couple of months?)

  23. When I see the name “Kevin Gregg” linked to us, it conjures up this sense of Farnsworthian can’t-be-this-good, playoff-implosion-waiting-to-happen déjà vu. But he is pitching awfully well this year.

  24. @27 Umm… I wasn’t stating or even implying that the failures of past Braves teams have any bearing on the 2013 Braves, but is sure as shit has had a bearing upon my experience as a Braves fan. My comment has zero to do with this discussion over how good the 2013 Braves team really is, and arbitrary endpoints and what have you.

    @28 I, too, am strongly against us picking up Gregg. He reeks of fluke.

  25. @26, Bryce Harper will make a difference in their record when he comes back…assuming he stays healthy. To think otherwise is kinda silly. They’ve got multiple problems with their pitching, and their bullpen is iffy, so we’ve still got that going for us. But they’ve played like shit all year and are just 4 out in the loss column. Terror? No. Concern? Yes.

  26. I’m flummoxed. Win/loss streaks can’t be used to show trends in how a team is playing? We say our hitters are streaky, and if a player is in a bad streak we can say “he’s not hitting well”. But we can’t look at a team’s poor play and point to a series of wins and losses to say “they’re not playing well”?

    Surely if we muddle along to the end of the season at a .500 clip, that colors how we can describe the quality of our team, right? Sure, we’re 11 games over .500 at the end of the year, but when evaluating a team can’t you say, “yeah, but those 11 games were won so long ago they don’t really tell the full story”?

  27. Don’t you wish, sometimes, that MLB was like college football (especially the SEC) where each game is equally important? Over the course of the season, we’re going to lose 60 games, and that’s if you’re the best team in baseball. It’s really hard to be sweating every game in college football, then just throw your hands up on 60-70 games a year in baseball. At the end of the day, we could lose ten straight and it could tell you nothing about the team you cheer for. Then you could win ten straight and it would tell you the same thing: nothing.

    Long season and weird sport.

  28. Also, I wonder if the Rays are laughing at the Braves after taking BJ Upton and they kept Desmond Jennings. After all, they’re pretty similar players, but Jennings, at this point, probably has more upside than Upton (and is much cheaper). I also think that Jennings has a better understanding of what he’s capable of and what he’s not. If he starts trying to lead the Rays in homers, they’re in trouble.

  29. Don’t you wish, sometimes, that MLB was like college football

    No. In no way whatsoever.

  30. @32, we can say “we’re not playing well” or “so and so isn’t hitting well” … that’s different than saying “we’re not a good team” or “so and so isn’t a good hitter”.

    I still think we’re a good team. But we’re not playing like one lately.

  31. @23, true, arbitrary end points are indeed arbitrary. but the sample size is drastically different so it is a concern. i think the point is that a 66 game sample size has oh..say…5x the significance of a 13 game sample size in the same season regardless of end points.

  32. i believe Medlen currently has hitters averaging in the .220’s against him with the exception of 2 strike counts when it’s in the .290’s…

    could someone explain? it appears not to be a one start wonder, it’s been noticeable his last three starts i believe…

    can a pitcher choke? or rather, reverse choke? throw crap when he has the batter at a serious disadvantage…yuk!

  33. Medlen seems to like the idea of being mini-Maddux and attacking the hitter when they’re down in the count, rather than wasting pitches for no reason. Unfortunately he’s been doing that and leaving meatball changeups in the zone a bit too often.

  34. @33

    I would say the stranger sport of the two is college football, which is the only sport in the world where the vast majority of the teams wouldn’t have a shot at the championship even if they never lost a game and where one loss, even in what should be a borderline exhibition game, can totally ruin a season. I agree, though, that a lot of the freakout around town after Braves and Falcons losses is due to so many people not knowing how to follow the sport because the only sport they know how to follow is college football.
    Not saying that this applies to anyone on here, though. I’m assuming that if you’re on here, you probably realize you’re not watching college football.

    And I agree with Sam. I love watching college football, but it’s such a bass-ackwards sport in so many ways that I can’t help but be infuriated by it by the end of every season.

  35. With all of the testing that kids are subject to these days, I find it odd that at some point some counselor doesn’t get all the kids that test below a certain point together in a room and explain that they are simply too fucking dumb to get away with murder.

  36. Re: relevance of the first 13 games vs. the last 66.

    These games aren’t played in a vacuum though. The winning percentage of the teams we played in the first 13 games was .443 with 7 of the games at home. The winning percentage of the next 66 was .495 with only 29 at home vs. 37 on the road. For the rest of the season we have 45 at home and 38 on the road against opponents with a winning percentage of .466. FYI by record this next series with Arizona is the third toughest for the rest of the season. I know the games against teams under .500 are no gimmies but the Braves did well to beat up on the lesser teams for a hot start and I have faith they can do the same for a hot finish.

  37. 16 left against Philly.
    16 left against Miami.
    9 left against Washington.
    12(?) left against NYM?

  38. brave marine: the significance of a stretch goes up by the square root of the length of the stretch. So a 66 game stretch is only about 2.25 as significant as a 13 game stretch. But that’s not the important part: in a 66 game stretch in which you go .500, what can you really know about your (assumed constant) underlying capability? The variance of wins is 16.4, so the standard deviation is about 4 wins. The 95 percent confidence interval for how well you’re playing is then about 25-41 wins, for a winning percentage of between 38 percent and 62 percent, which is about the difference between a great team and a terrible team. What this tells you (and what Bill James has said better than I could) is that a 66 game stretch of .500 ball tells you almost nothing about your team. You could be good, bad or average and produce a 66 game stretch of .500 ball. Now playing really well for 66 games tells you something, as does playing really badly for 66 games, but playing .500 over a 66 game stretch is just flat-out uninformative.

  39. @46, Can’t a .500 record over 66 games inform one that you’re looking at a .500 team? Why does a W/L record tell something about a .400 or a .600 team, but not a .500 team?

  40. @47: because .400 teams (almost) never go .600 over a 66 game stretch, and .600 teams almost never go .400 over a 66 game stretch, but both of them can pretty easily go .500 over a 66 game stretch.

    Now .500 teams can easily go either .600 or .400 over a 66 game stretch — that’s why .500 is maximally uninfomative.

  41. OTOH the guy that just shut us down for 2 hits over 7 (Wily Peralta) is getting shelled by the Cubs today with a lineup boasting Ryan Sweeney as the cleanup hitter.

  42. We’ve got tons and tons of talent on this team. Brian McCann, Justin Upton, Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, BJ Upton, Dan Uggla. All of those are guys that can carry a team for a stretch.

    So far, every one of them but Freeman has endured an extended slump (McCann not so extended, but still) And so far only Justin and Freeman has had that stretch where they carry the club.

    That’s got to even out a bit. Walker better hope it does, anyway.

    Here’s something to consider: instead of “With all this talent, we’re still a .500 team,” it might be more accurate to say “In spite of all these offensive struggles, this huge collection of talent has prevented us from suffering any prolonged losing streaks.”

    And with the schedule stuff, another silver lining is, all things being equal, I’d rather face the contenders early, before they stock up at the deadline, and face the also-rans late, after they’ve sold off. And that’s about what we’ve got here.

  43. @50 Gattis won’t get rookie of the year or make the all star team or home run derby at this point. All superficial things, but still a bummer.

  44. @ajcbraves: Available Cubs lefty James Russell (2.15 ERA, 1.057 WHIP, 26 K in 29-1/3 IP) would’ve been nice for #Braves to have in 10th last night.

    That’s a pretty crappy thing for DOB to put out there, Alex Wood had been doing a very good job for this team. Gordon didn’t even make solid contact.

  45. Kimbrel would’ve been nice in the 10th as well, and he’s even better than James Russell…plus he’s even on our team right this very moment.

  46. Craig Stammen has The Pictures. It has to be. I’ve never seen him throw more strikes than balls this season. It’s like we’ve got an inside guy.

  47. Nationals lose at home to Arizona. I really thought they were a better than .500 team, but they’re convincing me otherwise.

  48. I have no issues with any Natspo except Espinosa, for that obnoxious “we know we’re better than them” comment amidst, what was it, seven straight losses to ATL? Nine?

  49. No, Alex, I don’t seem to recall Andrelton saying anything horrible, awful, or indefensible. I also don’t recall that being the conditional proposition of what he did say.

    What I recall was “if they don’t believe (that we’re better than them), we’ll just have to keep beating them, until they do.”

    And I seem to recall the quote being characterized as “not even that big a deal,” and “just showing immaturity to have taken the bait,” by the person who broached that particular subject..

    Bearing virtually no resemblance at all to the events you’ve alluded to, I’m certain we’re remembering different quotes. What exactly is it you were referring to?

  50. The Hawks apparently had a really good draft. I have no way of processing this fact.

  51. So I actually tried to read about the Hawks’ draft, but they don’t even exist in ESPN’s eyes, and the AJC article doesn’t even know who we drafted. I had to inform myself via the comments section…yeah. We drafted a 100 lb Brazilian center that will probably never play in the league, and a 6′ point guard from Germany. Look out Heat!

  52. Braves fans should absolutely despise Bryce Harper. As a point of principle. Put away the spreadsheets and 12 sided die, close out Yahoo! fantasy sports and get your hate on properly.

  53. Bryce Harper is a douche canoe. But he’s good. I’m rooting for chronic bursitis.

  54. It was a really good draft, in that we got two projectable players (who will both likely be stashed overseas, thus keeping their costs off of the Hawks’ books for 2013-14), a quality big in the second round (which the Hawks never do, by the way) to help Al Horford out, and maintain cap room to sign players as they’re available.

    The Hawks aren’t the Nets. They can’t dump 100 mil into a starting five that’s 1000 years old. What they are – what Danny Ferry is in the process of doing with them – is turning them into the Spurs-East. And that is very interesting to watch.

    Also, Peachtree Hoops is far better than the AJC for Hawks talk.

  55. It was a draft to build a franchise. Bebe Nogueira is 20 years old and 7 foot plus. He’s already a quality defender, and he’s got a hell of a frame. In 2-3 years, he quite likely will *be* Dwight Howard. It’s been forever since the Hawks had a real center (which is why they drafted two this year.)

    Yes, they’re still pushing for Dwight Howard (and Chris Paul) but the odds are pretty low for either. The proper way to think about what Ferry and company are doing is to compare it to the Braves from 1986-1990, or to what the Falcons did when ownership finally admitted that they sucked and brought in Dmitrov and Smith.

  56. I’m pretty excited about the draft, too, especially Schroeder. And Muscala is better than I expected in round two — thought he might go at the end of the first. He’ll play minutes immediately.

    And yes, Peachtree Hoops is a pretty solid blog.

  57. At this point the higher-level international leagues are better than college ball here, so I think they did the right thing by concentrating there. This was one of the lowest quality college bball seasons that I can remember. Still, the center is definitely a “project”, and the guard might be more ready to contribute. I hate Jeff Teague so hopefully Schroeder pans out.

  58. Yeah, the college talent in this year’s draft was mediocre to crap. There’s a reason Atlanta opted for Bebe instead of Dieng and Shroeder over any of the PGs out of the NCAA.

  59. @77 Yes! I was just about to say that exact thing. I badly want the Braves to roll to an easy victory tonight, not because I have anything against Delgado, but rather because in my mind it will further validate the Braves’ decision to keep Teheran and trade Delgado. That said, there’s no question that Teheran looks to be a far superior pitcher at this point in time.

  60. Hefflinger promoted to M-Braves and Elander up to Lynchburg. I think I have an outfielder fetish. I seem to take more time than is healthy following the Braves OF prospects. Maybe, upon performing some self analysis, its because the team, outside of Jason Heyward, couldn’t seem to develop one.

    Here is hoping that Todd, Joey, Robbie and Josh continue to flourish. Here is hoping that Justin, BJ and Jason start playing good more consistently.

  61. Torrential rain all of a sudden in midtown. Hopefully it won’t hang around long enough to bother the game tonight.

    Harvey goes against the Nats tonight. I hope he throws a perfect game. I think this is the one time it’s kinda ok to root for the Mets.

  62. The Braves just tweeted a story about Chipper (one of many to come today, I’m sure). I read it before I thought to check who wrote it (warning: it was by Terence Moore. I’m pleading ignorance.) Toward the end, this interesting tidbit surfaced:

    Braves batting coach Greg Walker has called Jones to discuss the perplexing hitting issues of B.J. Upton, who only recently has flashed signs of moving up to a .200 average.

    Upton’s improvement at the plate began about the time Walker called for Jones’ advice.

    Coincidence? Hardly.


    If this is true, then it’s intriguing. How good is Walker really at his job? How much of our offensive woes this year are the result of Chipper not being on the team any longer and therefore not being around every day?

    A few weeks ago Chipper was in the TV booth for an inning during the game, and Joe asked him if he saw himself following George Brett’s path with Brett’s recent employment as a hitting coach. I scoffed at the question, because I feel like Chipper had always said he’d like to coach one day. But then his response surprised me. He sounded really unsure about ever wanting to get back into the game. He basically said maybe but unlikely.

    What do the Braves need to do to convince him to get back into uniform as a full-time coach? Or is a part-time adviser all we’ll ever get from him?

  63. Kyle Wren .440/.517/.720

    a cool four forty might imply
    you’ll have your daddy asking why
    you’re not in Missisip
    get ready for the trip
    Gwinnet awaits and he’ll say hi.

  64. I’d been mulling a suspicion that Chipper has been advertising himself as available for some sort of coaching position with the Braves. I’ve never seen an ex-player so soon after retirement hanging out so much in the stands or appearing in the broadcast booth or whatnot, yet having no official capacity with the team. Plus, all his aforementioned desire to coach, his freelancing at coaching as a player, not to mention by feeling that he shows all the traits of being a future manager or coach.

    I’m not sure this theory holds up, though. He just sold his house in Atlanta, and now his comments that seem to indicate waffling, not to mention if the Braves make the playoffs this year I’m thinking the current coaching staff isn’t going anywhere.

    Also, re: Walker, he drew raves around here last year, much deserved, I thought. I’m still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  65. Maybe Wren just needs to ask Chipper tonight (my wife and I will also be there in section 106 if anyone cares, ha ha) what it would take to have him as the hitting coach. A guy can dream…

  66. Re: the Hawks draft, it’s also a good idea to stash guys overseas for a year, and maintain cap room, even if Howard/Paul return to LA… And that’s because next year’s draft is gonna be great. If you’re gonna suck, suck in 2013-14. It’s not as if Atlanta will be able to compete in the top-heavy east anyway.

    On the other hand, Philly’s trade was amazing. They look better primed than anyone (all of a sudden) to make noise in 2-3 years.

  67. @85: His mansion is for sale, but he bought a 4,500 sq. ft. home in Roswell, not far from his old mansion. That house is for him and his new girlfriend. He doesn’t appear to be leaving the ATL.

  68. It seems reasonable that even generally good hitting coaches could be flummoxed by a particular player. Beyond that, though, it’s all a mystery to me.

  69. @83 – I think part of being really good at anything is recognizing when you’re stuck, and recognizing and utilizing resources that can get you where you need to be.

  70. I would love to see a study that shows whether hitting coaches have a demonstrable effect on player performance.

  71. Simmons 6
    Heyward 9
    JUpton 7
    Freeman 3
    McCann 2
    Uggla 4
    BUpton 8
    C Johnson 5
    Teheran 1

    Weather still looking spotty here.

  72. I am at the stadium. There is one little rain cloud around us but it shouldn’t cause any issues.

  73. On my way to the game now. Looking forward to the Chipper ceremony, and… Finally getting to use my Eephus scorebook!

  74. @83 As I recall, Chipper was pretty convincing last season when he said he felt he now owed his kids some serious dad time for a while. He seemed sincerely to want to spend the next five+ years focusing on them and not working in baseball. We’ll see if it sticks, but I think he really meant it.

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