The Darkest Timeline? Braves 4, Los Mets 7

There are certain moments that can feel like turning points: frozen instants like Jeff Winger tossing a six-sided die into the air to see which of the Community study group is going to go downstairs to get the pizza from the delivery guy, nodes from which a multiplicity of possible fates branch off and can be realized. These moments can be found on the microscopic level (like, say, a ground-rule double incorrectly ruled a run-scoring triple, at least partly facilitating a 6th inning Braves pitching meltdown). Or they can be found on the macroscopic level (like, say, whether the season-ending injury to a team’s most veteran leader demoralizes said team or inspires them to go out and beat the Toros for Timmy Lupus [yes, I will never tire of that reference]).

Whether last night’s possibly even career-ending injury to Tim Hudson will have functioned as such a decision point on either level remains to be seen with the benefit of hindsight. Early returns are mixed. The Braves were well ahead when Hudson went down and went on to win that game easily, despite their demoralized mood; today’s getaway tilt, however, went the other direction. Significance? Uncertain.

What is certain is this: Alex Wood, making his second start with the big club and facing, as in his first, the Metropolitans of New York (who hopefully burned their garish orange “Los Mets” jerseys after last night’s game in a good-faith effort to rid the world of the evil curse clearly woven into their polyester), didn’t pitch particularly well. On the other hand, by the end of the day he could take some solace in the fact that he was far from the worst pitcher in an Atlanta uniform. Small comfort, I’m guessing.

Wood was staked to a 1st-inning, one-run lead on what should have been a routine strikeout of Evan Gattis but quickly devolved into an IWOTM-style defensive meltdown allowing ReEd Johnson (not Ed Johnson) to score on throwing errors from both John Buck and pitcher Zack Wheeler. In his sage wisdom, Wood spit on that lead and, in the bottom of the 3rd, allowed four Mets runs on four singles and an Evan Gattis error. To be fair, he got pecked to death, but when death is the result the cause matters little.

A two-run blast from Dan Uggla in the 4th and a solo shot by Fab 5 Freddie Freeman leading off the 6th suggested the Braves might be up to the challenge of bailing the rookie out. But such hopes would be dashed by the misadventures of the bottom half of that frame.

Kameron Loe, a terrible pitcher by any measure who had already been released by two other teams this season before being signed to the Braves by Frank Wren (who really needs to ask his GP for a Xanax prescription because that was a totally unnecessary panic move), had been brought in to relieve Wood mid-5. Apparently Fredi Gonzalez figured Loe’s ability to get two outs in that inning meant he should be left in to pitch the 6th, even after he started it by giving up a double to Andrew Brown, sending Brown to 3rd on a wild pitch, and serving a single to Daniel Murphy that allowEd Brown (not Ed Brown) to score the go-ahead run. At this point, you would think, an astute manager would want to cut his losses, try to preserve a good feeling about the guy’s first appearance as a Brave, and bring in a more trustworthy reliever to see about setting up a double-play or something. Apparently you would be wrong (or maybe Fredi wasn’t astute; discuss), because Fredi left Loe in and David Wright proceeded to hit the aforementioned ground-rule double that wasn’t.

Now I think we can all understand that umpires make mistakes, and young Chad Fairchild made a doozy (or a Duesy, for you fans of early-20th century art deco automobile design). That he mistook what was, on replay, a clear bounce off the black above the new fair stripe on the outfield wall is merely human. That he refused to ask for help from his fellow umpires was anything but divine, especially after Fredi asked him to do so and then got tossed by the kid for quite justifiably criticizing his obstinacy. But let’s be fair: the real crime committed in this comedy of errors (aside from leaving Loe in that long) was that, as the ball bounced back over his head, Reed raised his arms to signal the ground-rule double – and Evan Gattis, apparently forgetting that Reed is not in fact an umpire, just let the ball roll away instead of hustling it back into the infield. Murphy adroitly kept running because he was quick enough to know the difference between an official and a member of the other team and because, incredibly, no one belonging to the former group was doing a damn thing to stop him. Because, I guess, fraternal solidarity. Or something. (I’ve never understood the tendency of too many umpires to value immovability over accuracy; they seem to have their own version of omerta.)

Nonetheless, Loe looked like he might get out of it with just the two-spot, by striking out first Marlon Byrd and then Justin Turner. But John Buck hit a run-scoring double and that ended that dream. The Braves played the last three frames with a palpable sense of wanting to just get the hell out of Dodge; if the Mets had had Matthew Kaminski (@bravesorganist) on the organ, he probably would have played the sad Charlie Brown music they use on Arrested Development when depressed characters walk away with their heads down.

Anyway, there are worse outcomes in a four-game road series than a split. But the trip overall went 3-4, and of course the Huddy injury casts a pall over everything. Will Wren go after the few decent starters available (Jake Peavy, Ervin Santana)? Word is he’s no longer interested in bidding with the rich folk on impressive Cuban defector Miguel Gonzalez, and surely he’d never pry Cliff Lee away from the Phillies, even if Ruben Amaro, Jr. (not Ruben Amaro) were in a selling mood, which he says he’s not. Or does Wren have another trick up his sleeve, especially as the Braves were already rumored to be in the market for left-handed relief help and maybe another bat?

Toss the die into the air and see what happens.  (And then go check yourself in the bathroom mirror to see if you’ve suddenly grown an Evil Spock goatee.)

Now is the summer of our discontent made furious winter by this son of Young. Plots may Wren lay, inductions dangerous. Dive, thoughts, down to my soul – here the deadline comes…

147 thoughts on “The Darkest Timeline? Braves 4, Los Mets 7”

  1. Good job, Hotspur

    Anything that ends with Shakespeare (sort of) is good with me.

    This is the time of year that managers earn their money. While Hudddy’s injury shines a glaring light on them, both Fredi and Wren make dozens of decisions each day that affect the ballclub in equally important ways.

    This year, I’m gonna trust them to get the job done.

    Go Braves!

  2. Sounds like the Braves aren’t really happy with the outside starting pitching options and are just going to roll with what they have.

    “You don’t know what is going to happen in the future, but yeah, you feel good,” Gonzalez said. “You’ve got six starters and you feel good about the guys. Yeah, you’ve got young pitchers. But you’ve got to grow up sooner or later.”

    I guess Wren will continue looking for a reliever and a utility infielder.

  3. Oh, goody. It’s the time of year where I can ctrl+v “It’s just posturing” for every post.

  4. @3

    Maybe, but based on past experience I wouldn’t assume stuff Fredi says to necessarily accurately reflect what Wren is thinking. Fredi’s post-game interviews are usually conducted within earshot of his players, and he doesn’t want any of them to think they have anything less than the organization’s full support. Wren may or may not ultimately go get another starter, but I wouldn’t depend on Fredi’s quotes as a guide.

  5. Fredi is the manager. His job is to deal with the pieces he has, not acquire new ones. Of course he would say that. Means nothing.

    That said, I agree with @5. I don’t expect them to acquire a SP.

  6. Fredi was probably pissed when he heard that we signed Kameron Loe, so he figured he would just show Wren how bad he truly is before the deadline.

  7. Hotspur…

    ” if it were done when ’tis done then ’twere well it were done quickly.”

    good and quick – She would have approved.

  8. Me too. I’m introducing my daughter to the show now. We watched the foosball episode and the anti-Glee Christmas ep today. I’m working her up to Remedial Chaos Theory. :-)

  9. @12

    Sadly, yes, although I thought Jim Rash’s body-switching episode was the one among that season that can stand with anything done under Dan Harmon. Not shocking, really. And Harmon is coming back for next season (although Donald Glover will only appear in five eps, so as to concentrate on the rapping career of his alter ego, Childish Gambino. Boooooo.).

  10. Bud Norris reminds me a lot of Malholm. Average pitcher who may benefit from playing on a contending team, but still not great. I don’t really see him as a huge upgrade over in house options.

  11. “The Ballad Of Kam’ron Loe ”
    (I’ll apologize to Lynyrd Skynyrd when Frank Wren apologizes to us)

    Well I used to watch the ballgames and sometimes even go
    Searching for pitching arms who could stop another score
    Brought ’em in with men on base, one or two or more
    Brought ’em in and gave the ball to a guy named Kam’ron Loe

    Old Kam was a tall man without a fancy flair
    When he came in in the fifth he gave us all a scare
    He used to throw a slow fastball, threw a curve that didn’t bite
    We’d put old Kam in harm’s way, the game is blown tonight

    [Chorus]
    Don’t throw your curve Kam’ron Loe, Kam’roe Loe
    Line drives come flying back, Mets run up the score
    People said he was useless, them people were quite right
    ‘Cause Kam’ron was the worstest pitcher that Fredi used tonight

    He threw maybe sixty, with movement like in zen
    The Mets would just whip him but in he’d go again
    I’d clap my hands, stomp my feets, hope to stay alive
    He’d face a man or two
    Then give up another run or five

    [Chorus]

    Yes sir

    On the day old Kam was cut nobody wondered why
    Ol’ Frank Wren said some words, and they got some other guy
    But he pitched a week or so, Givin’ Atlanta blues
    And once the fin’ly lost his job, the Braves would never lose

    Don’t come in Kam’ron Loe, Hey Kam’ron Loe
    I wish that you weren’t here so hope would start to flow
    People said he was useless, them people have a beef
    ‘Cause Kam’ron you’re the worstest pitcher to throw in Braves relief

  12. I would like to point out Loe is just Lowe without any “W”. Just what we need a Lowe with no wins in him…

  13. @16 oh my! One of my favorite songs turned into a Kameron Loe spoof ballad! More please!

    Got a feeling that Wren is going to go get Josh Johnson and Bomifacio from the Blue Jays. The Braves have always liked Bonifacio according to Joe Simpson. Not sure what use he’ll have other than emergency SS and pinch runner, but he’d be better than Janish.

  14. I am not sure if we will get a starting pitcher or not, but Frank Wren should be fired if he isn’t at least serioulsy looking for one.

  15. @22 respectfully disagree, this team can win as assembled. Mortgaging the future to attempt to influence the now has not worked in the past, there is no reason to believe it will work now. There comes a time when the players need to play, that time is now.

  16. Andrelton has a .773 OPS for July. That’ll do…just not in the leadoff spot. His BABIP for the year is a putrid .239 so look for July to be a better measurement of his offensive potential than that of the earlier months.

    Dan Uggla, dating all the way back to May 1st, has an .806 OPS. That’s 3 months of production so he should officially be out of everyone’s doghouse. In that same span of time, Jupton has a .653 OPS and should be moved from the 3rd spot.

    Heyward has a .787 OPS over the last 2 months.

    If both Uptons can rebound, this team is primed to do some serious damage at the plate considering that everyone else around the horn is hitting the ball well.

  17. I have no doubt that Wren is looking for a starter. I’m just wondering if there’s one that’s a) an upgrade over what we have, and 2) worth the price we’d pay.

  18. 16 — well played.

    Someone on here did the same for Derek Lowe too a few years back.

  19. @26

    That’s the big question. I don’t think there is a big time ace out there.

    Prospects come and go, flags fly forever.

  20. Bud Norris sounds like the name of a bartender in a 1950s sitcom set in the fictional town of Pawtucket, Nebraska.

  21. spike – I believe that is your cue to post a version of “The Ballad of Kameron Loe”.

  22. @33

    I love it

    @31

    I wouldn’t give up a lot to get him.

    I would give up Alex Wood and/or another top prospect for a staff ace, especially if we have him under control for next season.

  23. If we are looking at Norris then I’m sure it would be a package including Wesley Wright also. Norris is underrated in my opinion. He’s not an ace but he’s definitely an upgrade over Maholm and Wood at this time.

  24. @36

    I agree he would be an upgrade.

    I think Peavy’s contract will keep us away. There just are’t a lot of great options out there.

  25. Co-sign on Smitty’s tagline. We’re trying to win a World Series here, people. I feel like that’s forgotten in all the talk about how, statistically, Beachy and Wood should replace Hudson and Maholm just fine.

    Yeah, maybe in theory that works, but the problem is that Beachy’s coming off of elbow surgery. Assuming he’ll do anything is not a particularly safe thing to do. Then Wood has been up in the majors for two months, and has made two starts. Assuming he’s gonna do anything may be an even less safe thing to do. And that brings me to the fact that neither has any postseason experience. In fact, the only starter on the staff that now does is Medlen, and that’s only if we count last year’s one-off as postseason experience.

    We need something more, and it’s just become more important than getting a left-handed reliever IMO.

  26. Ballad of Kameron Loe.
    More like “The Saga of Rodney Toady” a much more hateful collection of songs.

  27. I like Norris fine. He strikes people out and if he played on a major league team he’d look a lot better than he does — and Andrelton can make any pitcher look better. As long as the price is right, I’d be happy to grab him. Our last trade with Houston certainly worked out.

  28. @28 – Thanks to my unbelievably great wife, we’ll be in the Ted Turner box seats this evening!!!! Hoping to strike up conversation/become best friends with Gattis. My biggest dilemma is H&F, Rathbuns, or hash browns all the way.

  29. @38: …”maybe in theory that works.”

    The problem is that your suggestions only work in theory as well. In fact, there aren’t any suggestions that work in anything other than theory, because when the playoffs start, theory ends, and reality intrudes. So you’re operating under a few theories as well — Theory 1 – Experience matters in the postseason, for which I think there is roughly zero evidence. Theory 2 – Guys who are risky won’t perform. Sure. But the guys you replace them with are risky as well… it’s just a different set of risks, including the risk inherent in what you give up to get this hypothetical playoff-experienced starter.

  30. @40 – True, true, Andrelton can make any pitcher look better — both in the field and at the plate.

  31. 47—Boy, that word, “legit”…that’s the one that really adds fuel to the fire, isn’t it?

    Trying to replace one Alabama boy with another. I see you, Frank Wren.

  32. I’m not a Loshe believer. Even after what he did to the Braves last year, I just don’t think he’s very good. Trading for him would reek of signing Russ Ortiz the year after Braves hitters made him look like Koufax in the playoffs.

    Here’s a question: Who were your most/least favorite trade deadline acquisitions for the Braves?

    My favorites: Fred McGriff (duh), Michael Bourn, Adam LaRoche.

    My least favorites: Kyle Farnsworth (both times), Andy Ashby, Matt Diaz.

  33. I third the co-sign of the tag line.

    I respect those who think we should just move on with what we’ve got, and I certainly know those who think there may just not be a procurable upgrade out there may well be right. But I think if you’re Wren you have to try. One of your top SPs just went down for the season and the guy about to come off the DL and TJ surgery may or may not have recovery-related injury problems as he starts to pitch ML games again. You’ve got another SP on the DL who hasn’t been very good this year, a rookie who seems to have put it all together, another rookie who is still struggling to do so, and Mike Minor. That’s maybe two guys out of five you think you can count on. For Wren to leave it at that and just hope for the best would be professional malpractice, and I don’t think he will.

  34. @51-

    The Tex deal comes to mind. I was floored at the time. Never thought they’d give up both Salty AND Elvis. I figured it’d be one of them plus Feliz and others. (Harrison I thought might go, though I was convinced he wouldn’t ever be useful.) Though I was staggered by the number of guys sent, I was also pretty pumped at the time. So I guess it doesn’t fit into either category too well…..

  35. I’ll be honest with y’all, I didn’t even know there was a linkifyer. I’ve been hand-linking those every time out. It at least saves me Ed Johnson’s page coming up…

    I’m really tempted to get on the “make a big play for Peavy” bandwagon but he’s had one healthy season since 2008 and has had DL issues just within the last month. Seems like a really high risk/reward move. Then again, my basic approach to roster construction is #YOLO, so… I’m thinking about it.

  36. Least favorites: McLouth and Teixeira (both coming and going). (Was the Butler/Barker trade a deadline deal? If so, then that’s my #1.)

    EDIT: Ooh, Wickman. I had repressed that one. Thanks.

  37. @54

    Plus he is owed $14 million next year. Norris costs less, has been pitching better.

    I wish there was an even bigger name out there.

  38. @58

    I think it is possible, but the odds are small.

    Boy, Ervin Santana gives up a lot of home runs

  39. The thing about all of those trades – Tex coming, Tex going, Wickman, Farnsworth, Ashby – is that you could see the logic of making the deal going into the deal. 2007 Tex: we’re one big bat away from a WS contender lineup. 2008 Tex: don’t want to lose him for nothing (impossible to predict that the supplemental pick would be Mike Trout). Farnsworth and Wickman were to put a band-aid on some absolutely putrid bullpens.

    The one that drives me up a wall to this day is trading Yunel Escobar two weeks before the deadline for Alex Gonzalez. There was this ridiculous PR campaign to pretend that we were trading for AGon’s fluke 17 first half homers and not his decade-plus record of being a .680-OPS shortstop who strikes out a ton. And of course we got the guy who was a .680-OPS shortstop who strikes out a ton. And had to keep him for another year after that. It’s the only one of all these trades that made me yell at anyone who would listen “STOP YOU ARE BEING DUMB”.

  40. Not that anybody asked, but I’m skipping the series with the Cardinals. It’s going to be ugly.

    I’m tired of the word “if”: if the Uptons play to their potential, if Heyward reverts back to last year’s form, if Andrelton is moved from the lead-off spot . . .

    Dooooooooomed!

  41. Are we talking about recent-ish annoying trades?

    Hey, anyone remember the ’06 last gasp of Betemit for (Not in baseball anymore) and (Not in baseball anymore)?

  42. @25 – I’m sorry, but who could see Andrelton’s .239 BABIP and think that he’s due for some kind of regression?

    His .239 BABIP is as much a product of luck as Joey Votto’s .381, which is to say, it ain’t.

    When all you do at the plate is pop out to infielders, they aren’t going to suddenly start falling for you.

    And also, go back as far as you need to to feel good about him, but Jason Heyward in July: .184/.310/.306

  43. @63, but at the time he was a .301/.375/.426 shortstop from 2007-2009, riding out a first-half slump.

    They could even have got value from someone who thought they could fix his swing in the offseason, but by trading him in season they committed to taking back an MLB shortstop and the market was much more limited. Asset-management wise, AGon was 50 cents on Escobar’s dollar at the time.

    The very next year, Escobar posted a 4.7 WAR season and AGon had a 1.7. Two more wins that year would have clinched the wild card…

    EDIT: @64 knows me too well and called this rant as I was typing it up. Good show.

  44. @62 – Willy Aybar and Danys Baez, a.k.a. the “Turn out the lights, the division title streak is over” trade. I was kind of peeved because I was growing attached to Betemit at the time.

    Also, the entire 2010 reinforcement corps (Farnsworth, Rick Ankiel, Derrrrrrrrrrrek Lee) was kind of underwhelming, in a “this is all we can afford, Wren?” kind of way.

  45. @66, that’s well and good, but it goes in the other direction, too. Yunel was already acquiring a reputation around baseball as a clubhouse cancer, which depressed his value. Even in retrospect, it was curious how little interest the Braves were able to draw for a 27-year old Gold Glove-caliber shortstop who hit well enough to be a dark horse All-Star candidate. Other teams shied away at the same time that the Braves became convinced that they couldn’t live with him for another second.

    The team that traded for him, the Blue Jays, is maybe the biggest reclamation project club in baseball, other than perhaps Yunel’s current club in Tampa Bay — and just as the Jays struggled to fix Yunel’s swing, they have struggled to fix Colby Rasmus’s, and Brett Lawrie’s, and Melky Cabrera’s, not to mention homegrown enigmas like Travis Snider and Adam Lind. (Of course, this year, Lind has been doing great, as have Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, the two players that probably give the Jays the greatest hope that they can fix others.) The Braves traded Yunel to the single club that most fit your criteria.

    Yes, trading Yunel midseason hurt the Braves, because they needed to get a shortstop back. But if the Braves had kept Yunel all year, and given the Braves the performance that he gave to the Jays, then he would have hurt his own trade value even more and the Braves would have gotten even less.

    If you’re going to talk about Yunel’s positive value in retrospect, you have to acknowledge his negative value in retrospect.

  46. Ankiel did hit that game winning home run in San Fran. That was one of my favorte baseball games ever.

  47. Kris Medlen – 3.78 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 3.99 xFIP
    Paul Maholm – 4.41 ERA, 4.21 FIP, 3.85 xFIP
    Bud Norris – 3.93 ERA, 3.87 FIP, 4.50 xFIP

    Flags may fly forever, but Bud Norris won’t be winning anyone any flags – especially if Medlen goes to the bullpen.

  48. Am I wrong to be most concerned about the Mets at this point? Up 3-0 on WAS today in the 5th only 2 games out of 2nd and they have Matt Harvey. Of course IWOTM so there’s that.

  49. 72—As I was discussing with a couple of guys offline, there’s enough injury/performance uncertainty surrounding Medlen, Maholm, and Beachy that I think adding another solid option — Norris averages 6 IP per start — just to eat innings would be a shrewd move.

  50. @73, I wouldn’t be concerned about the Mets till 2015.

    Also, Jayson Stark just wrote this, so the Braves are clearly sending some slightly mixed messages:

    Are the Braves suddenly more interested in the starting pitcher market than they were before Tim Hudson’s injury? No doubt. But are they more likely to pay the going rates for Jake Peavy, Ervin Santana, Yovani Gallardo or Kyle Lohse? Don’t bet your Chipper Jones jersey on it. According to an official of one team who spoke with the Braves, they’d be open to a modest deal similar to their trade for Paul Maholm last July, but they’re “not going to trade Alex Wood for any of the guys on this market.”

  51. Tonight’s lineup vs. STL (7:35, FSS/MLBN/680AM/BRN): Simmons 6 Heyward 9 Freeman 3 Gattis 7 McCann 2 Uggla 4 CJohnson 5 Constanza 8 Minor 1

    No J Upton tonight.

  52. @76, me too. But he’s not going to have much value till he shows that he can succeed in the bigs. Triple-A soft-tossing lefties don’t get many GMs excited. But if he comes up and demonstrates that he can be a league minimum innings eater, he’ll have actual value.

  53. Adam, honest question. Does xFIP take into consideration the defense behind the pitcher? Houston is worse than Gwinnett.. I’m all for trading for Norris/Wright

  54. @70, 71 – actually it’s on me, but I don’t apologize. It’s the worst trade of the Wren era by a mile.

    I found this in the MLBTR archive, from a week before the trade:
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2010/07/teams-inquiring-on-yunel-escobar.html

    It does not say “clubhouse cancer” anywhere in it, interestingly. The entire tenor of the pre-trade coverage, from Bowman to MLBTR, was “teams are knocking on the door about Escobar, but the Braves are hesitant to move him.” See also: http://markbowman.mlblogs.com/2010/06/25/braves-not-actively-looking-to-trade-escobar/

    The idea that “the Braves became convinced that they couldn’t live with him for another second” was exactly what was wrong with the trade. If they panic-dumped a guy a market was starting to develop for because Bobby Cox blew up and wanted him gone yesterday, that’s bad asset management.

    Yunel hit slightly better in the second half of 2010 than the first and had a .340 OBP for the Jays that year, so I doubt he could have done worse on the trade market in the offseason. And if Alex Gonzalez is what you’re getting back in trade offers, you can always just non-tender and sign a FA.

    Since this was originally a discussion about deadline trades, my overall point is that all the other ones, even the ones that didn’t work out, you can see the baseball rationale for. I don’t hate either of the Tex trades because the logic behind making each of those moves was sound. This one was all personal animus and politics, and it was indefensible from the start.

  55. @74 – an innings eater would not be a bad thing for this team to have around. Depending on how you squint at it, the Braves have between two and six starting pitchers for the stretch run. It’s a weird staff. So many talented pitchers, yet so many whose innings they’re hoping to limit. (And perhaps, in the case of Medlen, for good reason.) I’d do the Terds-and-turds for Norris/Wright idea all day.

  56. I don’t consider any of the target guys mentioned in the trade rumors to be “front-line starters”. I bet we pick up a waiver claim guy or two and stash them in Gwinnett for depth/insurance. I’m fairly convinced that any pitcher that I’d actually want would cost us Simmons or Gattis or something.

  57. We need at most 4 starter for post season. Some are too expensive in players or cash and most would be little help in post season. By October Beachy would have 16 months to recover. Can we afford someone better than Minor, Teheran and Medlin?

  58. I like Cashner, but he should have higher K numbers. He’s had some injuries too. No on Stultz. He’s another soft tossing lefty.

  59. How much is Gallardo owed? Besides the velocity dip and lack of control, he could also be expensive.

  60. 1. Minor
    2. Teheran
    3. Medlen
    4. Beachy
    5. Maholm

    You can certainly do much worse.

  61. Jordan Zimmerman gives up 5 runs and NatsPros loses 11-0 to Mets behind Mejia. IWOTM win

  62. Soriano with a .673 OPS away from Wrigley may not help NYY much. But Cubs ate most of the contract.

  63. @295 The Natspros have been awful this month. They were shut out by someone who needs surgery in his first game of the year.

  64. Adam, honest question. Does xFIP take into consideration the defense behind the pitcher? Houston is worse than Gwinnett.. I’m all for trading for Norris/Wright

    Others can explain this better than me, but I believe xFIP, like FIP, is defensive independent. FIP, after all, stands for fielding independent pitching. The main difference between the two is that FIP measures performance (it calculates Ks, BBs, and HRs) whereas xFIP “normalizes” the home run rate.

    There are obviously strengths and weaknesses to all those metrics, and I probably should have also listed SIERA (Norris’s is 4.50), but that’s why I listed several – including ERA. Ultimately, I’d be fine with Norris provided nobody higher than a a B-/C+ prospect goes to Houston. There is definitely value in a league average innings eater.

    My point is simply that the whole “flags fly forever, prospects come and go” thing doesn’t make as much sense if you’re mortgaging the future for an average player. It especially doesn’t make sense if you send Medlen to the bullpen and bring in Norris as a replacement. In that case you’d be sending a prospect for a guy who doesn’t necessarily improve the team in a marked way. Of course, in this hypothetical, Norris may be displacing Maholm or Wood, but even then it is uncertain the team has improved.

    I’ll ultimately be fine with whatever Wren does provided there isn’t a huge haul going the other way. I don’t love any of the options, and still have faith in our guys.

  65. Does xFIP correct for defense? Well, it mostly does but it somewhat doesn’t.

    As Adam explains, FIP and xFIP are both based on walks, strikeouts, and homers, and xFIP normalizes the home run rate. There is nothing in xFIP that is explicitly touched by defense.

    However, bad defenses extend innings, just as good defenses shorten them, and it’s a lot easier to pitch — not to mention easier to strike guys out — with the bases empty than with men on base. Put Norris in front of Andrelton Simmons, and he’s not going to give up as many hits, pitch in the stretch as frequently, throw as many pitches, or get as fatigued.

    Because of all of that, it’s very likely that Norris would be a better pitcher — and have a lower xFIP — on the Braves than he currently does in Houston.

  66. First and third with one out? Chances of scoring at least one run — about 4.7 percent.

    EDIT: Maybe a bit higher than that.

  67. Interesting that the MLB network team (Smoltz and somebody) is saying Uggla has gone through four different contact lens prescriptions this year and seems finally to have found the right scrip. Wonder how much of an improvement one might expect from him over the last two months?

  68. First walk of the game comes leading off the bottom of the 6th. Wow. Well-pitched game thus far.

  69. @115 Yeah, the quality of play all around would suggest a postseason game.

    Well, excepting our defense from the 2010, 2012 postseasons…

  70. Yeah, Wainwright’s strikeout to walk ratio is a thing of beauty. Hope he’s done for the night…

  71. Kim Hudson just tweeted this:

    Watching/listening to Tim watch the Braves game and cheer for his teammates, heavily under the influence of pain meds, is entertaining. ❤

    With the competitor that Tim is, I bet this would be highly amusing. I wish I could be a fly on that wall!

  72. Yeah, well, when they do that in a World Series game, the Cardinal’s slate will be even.

  73. Fredi… One out, and Andrelton for all his faults at hitting rarely strikes out. Just let him hit the ball and hope it’s not a popup. Granted that’s not a sure thing, but neither is a bunt with this group.

  74. Fredi, meet Andrelton. You’ve been writing his name first on your lineup card everyday this season. You’re apparently not familiar with his work.

  75. J Constanza .182/.182/.182 – apparently we *can’t* do better than BJ.

    C’mon Kraken. Let’s do this.

  76. Good deal. We need a little confidence builder. Now let’s see if we can break the pattern and win two in a row.

    Also, I hope all the Cardinals get food poisoning tonight. Did I mention that I hate these f’ers?

  77. Headlines:

    “Braves Seeking Front-Line Starting Pitcher”
    “Braves a possibility to join fray for White Sox righty Jake Peavy”

    Wasn’t aware it was still 2008 and we’re still calling Peavy a “front-line starter.”

  78. We have 4 starters superior to Peavy now
    Minor
    Teheran
    Medlin
    Beachy
    He may be equal to Maholm and better than Wood.
    Not worth it.

  79. Braves win and I just saw this good news.

    @kimberlybhudson: Tim is out of surgery. Dr. Royster did an amazing job, and everything went well. He’ll be back and better than ever! #thankful

  80. Here is what concerns me about Peavy.

    IP
    2009 – 101
    2010 – 107
    2011 – 111
    2012 – 219

    He will make $14+ next year and he just can’t stay healthy.

  81. @139 – Then drive some screws in it, and give him the ball. Let’s get back at it.

  82. @mlbdepthcharts: #Phillies agree to 6 yr, $48M deal with Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. Mid-rotation potential but big league ready now.

    #141 – Not quite. @ajcbraves: #Braves announce Hudson’s surgery was to repiar fractured fibula and deltoid ligament. Recovery time expected to be four months.

  83. Well, there are some things to like about Jake Peavy, too:

    Career/2013

    WHIP – 1.177/1.138
    K/9 – 8.7/8.6
    BB/9 – 2.7/1.9
    H/9 – 7.9/8.3
    HR/9 – 1.0/1.6

    So he’s allowing fewer total baserunners than his career average, while allowing more hits. That’s because his walk rate is at a career low, while his K/9 sits right where it always has.

    I don’t know how the White Sox defense ranks, but he’s a flyball pitcher and we’ve got a pretty good outfield. He’s also pitching his home games in one of the most hitter friendly and homer-friendly parks in the game. So maybe those H/9 and HR/9 will come back down to his averages (his xFIP is a tidy 3.69.)

    So, health, sure. But when he’s on the field, I think Peavy is the same guy he’s always been.

  84. @142 – 4 months is great news, in my mind. That looked like he could have crunched his fibula AND tibia.

  85. So apparently Drew Storen has the flu, and Davey Johnson said this morning that he was going to be unavailable to pitch.

    Two hours later he’s out there pitching, and gives up 3 runs.

    Then they send him to AAA. And apparently it isn’t sitting well with some of their players.

    Oh, and Mike Rizzo won’t talk about it.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2013/07/26/tyler-clippard-sounds-off-after-nationals-demote-drew-storen/

    I, for one, love it.

    EDIT: Also, Randall Delgado threw a 3-hit complete game shutout tonight, lowering his ERA to 2.85. Let this stand as the first (please, last?) time someone asks “Could we have possibly lost this trade?!?!??!”)

  86. @145, I wish Delgado and Prado all the best. Given everything we knew in the 2012-2013 offseason, that trade is one that I would want Wren to make every time.

    Tonight, Mike Minor pitched one hell of a game. My goodness. I don’t mind the Phillies getting Gonzalez — I’m sure he’ll be fine, but that team is already struggling under a lot of huge contracts, and they just added another one. They still don’t really have an offense.

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