Braves 11, Rox 3

The last time I recapped a game, we lost 4-1 to the Mets. Kris Medlen was meh. The offense was shut down by Carlos Torres. It was the type of game I was glad to not have actually watched live. Tonight? Tonight was a completely different sort of thing.

The evening started off a little roughly. Dexter Fowler led off with a walk. DJ LeMahieu roped a single to right. Carlos Gonzalez lifted a fly ball to center and the Rox were up 0-1. Alex Wood looked like the same guy that had been intimidated and bum rushed in his previous two starts, nibbling, pitching backwards, and generally behaving as if he didn’t believe he belonged on a big league mound. He wriggled out of the first by picking off LeMahieu and then striking out Troy Tulowitzki, but the atmosphere for his start was unpromising.

With two out in the bottom half, Freddie Freeman got them back even with his 12th bomb of the year. But Wood, nibbling again, gave it right back with a two out, two run jack surrendered to Nolan Arenado (9). He managed to K the pitcher, striking out the side, but you still had the feeling that this was going to be one of those “4 innings pitched, 6 earned runs” outings for the youngster. To add injury to insult, the same hangnail issue that required him to exit his first start early was back with a vengeance; the television feed did a good job of showing the blood streaks on his pants leg every time he wiped his hand across them between pitches. The Braves went relatively meekly in the bottom of two, and things seemed to be shaping up as another one of those nights. Then something unexpected and wonderful happened.

I don’t really know what the training staff did to Wood’s throwing hand in the second. There are a few things baseball teams do for that sort of thing, including superglue over bloody bits. Whatever the Braves medical team went with, it worked like a charm. Wood came out for the third with new pants – seriously, he changed out of the blood streaked bottoms between innings – and a non-bleeding throwing hand. And suddenly, he was a completely different pitcher. New Alex Wood – let’s call him Superglue Alex – sat them down in order in the third. He sat them down in order again in the fourth. He allowed a leadoff single to Todd Helton in the fifth but immediately induced a GIDP from Arenado to clear the bags. A weak ground from Charlie Culberson, pinch hitting for the pitcher, and Wood had his third straight clean frame. Three up, three down again in the sixth. He ran into a little trouble in the seventh, giving up a one out single followed by a ringing double to left center, but then Andrelton Simmons broke out the “what amazing shit will Andrelton Simmons do tonight” get out of jail free card and Wood was through seven with the same 3 spot he had after two on the board.

In the meantime the offense was pounding holy hell out of the Rockies pitching staff for the second night in a row. Justin Upton doubled in Jason Heyward to cut the lead to 2-3 in the third. Then the entire team broke out the whoopin’ sticks in the fourth. 10 batters took hacks. Six of them scored. JUpton had another double – ground rule variety, or it would have been another RBI double. Evan Gattis ripped a two run single. Brian McCann topped it all off with a three run jack, his fourteenth. There’s a reason Walt Weiss chose to pinch hit for his starter in the fifth. It was an inning too late.

The Braves tacked on three more in the seventh, Freeman going deep again for his thirteenth of the year. Anthony Varvaro came on in the eighth and closed things easily. The “double” he allowed to Charlie Blackmon was a single that Heyward played into an extra base by aggressively trying to end the game on the looping fly ball in front of him. No harm done there; you love to see that sort of effort in an 11-3 game, even if you cringe at the thought of Jason Heyward breaking something by moving against air.

All things told, tonight’s game was a near perfect result for Atlanta. There’s a lot of good story lines, all of them in favor of the Braves. Alex Wood found himself at the major league level tonight. As one of the primary voices running him down as a potential starter, I’m happy to say that his turn through the order – specifically his work from innings 3 through 7 – was a godsend. None of the primary relievers so much as warmed up, a much needed rest after last night’s all-hands-on-deck affair.

Equally promising, Justin Upton looked right again. His two doubles were his first extra base hits at home in months. He controlled the plate, and his swing was that compact terror that destroyed the league in April. Heyward continued to get on base in the leadoff spot, Chris Johnson continued to not regress one little bit, Freddie continued to be an All-Star caliber player, and Andrelton continued on his merry way to challenging Ozzie Smith for the title of “best defensive season ever recorded by a shortstop.”

You like recapping games where everything goes right, even if it does make you ramble on a bit. The lead in the east is 10. The Braves have winning records against every other National League playoff contender. Good things are afoot at the Circle K, dudes.

EDIT: updated with links, etc

240 thoughts on “Braves 11, Rox 3”

  1. It’s a final, Pirates beat the Cards 6-0 to sweep the DH. Just like that, the Birdies are 1 1/2 games back and have a record only one game better than the Braves.

  2. First off good recap, but…

    I guess this is real nitpicky, but could you please list the high score first, ie “Rox were up 1-0” and “cut lead to 3-2,” it’s the correct way to list scores and it drives me crazy to see it the other way.

  3. Home team is listed second, regardless of who is winning. That’s the correct way.

  4. I guess Peavy won’t ever play for the Braves. Probably for the best considering his health. I do remember that in the past I would have been willing (on this board) to trade the entire Rome roster for him. ha.

  5. If Alex Wood becomes a rotation staple, then he can have a fan club out in the RF pavilion, and they can call it “Woodland,” and all the college kids can dress up as squirrels and deer and raccoons.

  6. I generally default to the “Braves are always the second score listed” nomenclature. It’s a Braves blog. Home team is listed second.

  7. The Braves have winning records against every other National League playoff contender.

    Pretty amazing considering how all you ever hear from media and analysts (and some fans) is how vulnerable this team is.

  8. Just keeps getting better for the Cards: They’re worried Molina might have blown out his knee. MRI tomorrow, 15-day DL with a sprain at least.

  9. I don’t ever rejoice in a player being injured.

    But if he’s a Cardinal, I do rejoice in his unavailability!

  10. You try to stay on the side of positive karma, but damn, it’s hard to work up even pseudo-sympathy for Molina and the Cards.

  11. I’ve hated the Cardinals since 1992, when I was 8 years old, and from a hotel room in Orlando, on one of my sister’s lousy, boring soccer trips, I watched on TBS as Ray Lankford dismantled the Braves, winning three in a row, and two of them in the last at bat.

    When I was 8, I guess I thought the Braves were just entitled to win or something.

    But, still. Stuck with me. Hate the Cardinals. Hate Tim McCarver. Hate Joe Buck. Hate Jack Buck for making Joe Buck. Hate their smug, sanctimonious, fans.

    I even went to a game a couple years ago in Tampa Bay with a Ray’s-fan friend of mine, because the Cardinals were the opposing team. I find it hard to work up a routing interest in anybody but the Braves, but, having the god damned Cardinals on the field, I found it to be easy.

    I think Wade Davis or Jeff Nieman was pitching for the Rays, one of the guys my friend wasn’t excited about. The place was full of blowhard Cardinal fans.

    In one of the middle innings, when the game was still in doubt, the Cards got two men on for Matt Holiday and the whole place was chanting “Let’s-Go Card-Nals! (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)” The Cardinal-fan clown in front of me was telling his girlfriend that Matt Holiday was just bound to come through, because he’s a Cardinal and we always get what we want. I loudly told my friend “This is the guy you want up there, he leads the universe in grounding in to double plays.”

    So my friend and I started chanting “G-I-D-P! (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)” and all the Rays fans in the left field stands started chanting it with us. And when, sure-as-shit, Matt Holiday grounded into a rally-killing, inning-ending double play, all the Rays fans in the building chanted “G-I-D-P!” right through until the Rays were up to hit.

    Anyway. God, I love hating the Cardinals.

  12. @13

    That is a freaking awesome story, and more passion than I usually saw with St. Pete’s faithful. Usually Rays fans are more interested in the ray tank in right center than the game on the field. At least the away teams’ fans are paying attention, as evident by the Red Sox tweet yesterday.

  13. Excellent recap, dude! WYLD STALLYNS!!! (Beedly beedly bweew!)

    You do like recapping such games, and you will get no complaints about rambling on from me. ;-)

  14. 13 — Today was another good day then when Holliday upped his ML leading GIDP total to 24 with runners on the corners in the top of the 10th of the first game.

    Edit: Oh, and good recap. I’m all for rambling ones.

  15. Does anybody know if there was a specific play on which Molina hurt his knee, that I can watch over and over again?

  16. I haven’t felt this good about the team since the first two weeks of the season, which means that I’m probably going to go back to feeling incredibly nervous in a few days, but damn, it sure is fun watching this team firing on all cylinders.

    Alex Wood. My goodness.

  17. I think Joe and Dale were on to something (I know it’s a sin around here to acknowledge that Joe has seen a baseball game before) when they were supposing that perhaps Wood’s hangnail might bring him back around to his fastball.

    I was practically shouting at my TV for him to stop nibbling. And around the time his finger exploded, he seemed to stop nibbling and start going after guys.

    For those who weren’t watching on TV, Dale addressed the notion that sometimes young pitchers give the hitters too much credit, and think they have to trick them to get them out, when in reality they should be pitching off their fastball like they always have.

    And Joe noted that, if it’s the breaking ball that’s causing the damage to his finger, perhaps that will cause him to rely on that fastball.

    I thought that was pretty good analysis, and reminded me of Mike Minor, when he finally relegated his change-up to being a secondary-offering, rather than a featured-offering. He was so stubborn about it, because it was a pitch that had been raved about coming up, but big leaguers were just waiting for it and creaming it. Eventually he realized that that pitch will work a lot better when he proves he’s willing to throw fastballs for strikes.

    Lets hope Alex Wood just took the crash-course in that particular discipline.

  18. This analogy invokes terrible memories, but it’s nevertheless pretty accurate.

    If Mlb.tv's DVR functionality were a baseball player it would be Jo Jo Reyes.— Dayton from Nebraska (@BravesAmerica) July 31, 2013

  19. @17

    Hate to disappoint, but I don’t think so. Seems to be something that he tweaked a couple weeks ago that hasn’t gotten better like they thought it would. He had to come out of the second game tonight, and they sent him home to get the MRI.

  20. @23 – because the struggling Cards were in Pittsburgh facing a team nipping at their heels, and they needed their best player on the field (even though that wasn’t enough and they still lost two, and the lead in the division.)

  21. The opposing pitcher for tonight, Chatwood, has been pretty darn good this season. Should be an interesting one tonight.

  22. Nice Bill and Ted reference.

    Alex Wood surprised the crap out of me last night. He might actually stick on the roster when we get to October.

    Anyone else notice Reds have lost 5 straight, Cards 6 in a row? Pirates now have control of the Central division. Crazy.

  23. Excellent recap. Here is to the Braves causing Sam to ramble some more.

    As one of the few Alex Wood believers here I am happy for the kid. I know rookie pitchers are about as unpredictable as the weather but last night was a terrific performance.

    The lineup looks like it has jelled. So do you sit your 75 million dollar CF after he comes off the DL?

  24. @29

    I am wonder what he does on his rehab assignment.

    I think you have to give him every chance to take the job.

  25. I doubt they sit BJ. Gattis hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire, and the defense is much better with BJ on the field and Gattis and Terdo on the bench.

  26. Nate Schierholtz wouldn’t be a bad LH bench bat. He is under contract for next year and make $4 million.

    I think we would be better off waiting until August for another bench bat.

  27. @27 – The very first words on that page: Rockies 3 Braves 11.

    My interpretation would be that it’s acceptable, but improper, to shorthand to high-score-first when not listing the teams.

    If you were to phrase it as “and that brought the score to Braves 11, Rockies 3,” I have no doubt that you would be incorrect. With that being so, I’d contend the shorthand should be consistent with the long form. The opposite being acceptable, but improper.

  28. I list the team with the higher run total first in the text, but I list the final score according to the “home team last” convention. That runs counter to tradition around here, and I could easily be convinced to always putting the Braves second, but I like being able to immediately identify whether it was a home or away game just by looking at the score.

    @14-
    My experience has generally been that the Rays fans are pretty passionate about their team. There just generally aren’t too many of them at the ball park. And I’m sure they get sick of all the visiting team fans that show up to games. Whenever I’d go to games, I’d always sit third deck behind home plate (great view and cheap). Unfortunately, this is where the folks with the cow bells sat (do they still do this? I’m talking like 6+ years ago now), so whenever the Devil (at the time…) Rays did anything good, you’d hear annoying cowbells.

    But hey, I caught an Andrew Jones foul ball up there one time! So all in all, a really good experience. :-)

  29. If they didn’t use superglue to stop the bleeding then they are fools. Best way to stop bleeding on a finger unobtrusively.

  30. I doubt they sit BJ. Gattis hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire, and the defense is much better with BJ on the field and Gattis and Terdo on the bench.

  31. They will surely play BJ when he comes back. However if we get year-to-date BJ then there’s no way he starts in the playoffs.

  32. Let’s make trades with our enemies to get Cliff Lee and Danny Murphy and call it a day.

    37—Depends on which Gattis and which Schafer we’ve got, going into the playoffs, I’d say.

  33. @38, a struggling Gattis or a regressing Schafer are still better than the worst player in baseball. Fredi sat Uggla towards the end of last year…I think he’ll do the same to BJ if the situation calls for it. Let’s just hope that BJ makes this a moot point and figures everything out.

  34. @18 – I agree.

    @38 – Cliff Lee is the only piece I would really want, but I’m sure the Phils ask (contract + prospects) is absurdly high. And we’ve got the whole “in the same division and hate each other” thing going against us.

  35. I am all for whatever they did to Wood. However, if they but super glue on his finger, how is that not a foreign substance?

  36. I know BJ is a popular whipping boy, and Gattis has custom designed Mizuno “White Bear” spikes and everything, but:

    Evan Gattis since June 01: 197/253/329 (582)

    That’s not a player you sacrifice defense for to get into LF.

  37. @41 – on the top of the finger, not on the ball. As long as it’s not transferred to the ball, it’s fine.

  38. 39—Offensively. But BJ is a better defensive option than both, and he’s in the first year of a $75.25 million contract; if it’s anywhere in the neighborhood of close, BJ will be starting in the playoffs.

    Agreed about hoping for it to become moot.

  39. @17 If my memory is correct, Molina got hit with foul ball on the inside of his left knee against the Barves.

  40. @34 – I personally prefer the traditional convention. I do kind of wish we could standardize it, as you and Hotspur do it that way, and some others do it winner-first. But I’m not losing sleep about it, just running my mouth.

    Also, thats been my experience with Rays fans, too. Plenty of passion, just lacking in numbers.

    @35 – I’ve used super glue on my fingers when just dealing with it isn’t an option, but I find it slows actual healing.

  41. Should Alex declare a style guideline I shall gladly abide by it going forward.

  42. I know, well-tread territory, but I like how ESPN is still rolling with Nationals highlights before ours. Bryce Harper! Nationals! Strasburg! mumblemumblelostsecondplacetengamesbehind

  43. @47

    Now that we are beating the crap out of teams, the complaining has moved from the manager to the players ,to the announcers, to the recap style. LOL

  44. @33 –
    I’m thoroughly confused as to what rule you think you’re applying. It looks like you’ve listed the home team first in every instance.
    “The last time I recapped a game, we lost 4-1 to the Mets.”
    “Carlos Gonzalez lifted a fly ball to center and the Rox were up 0-1.”
    “you love to see that sort of effort in an 11-3 game”

  45. Given the number of different voices recapping around here, I’m pretty sure the official styleguide is “do it however the hell you want.”

    Next time up I’m going to go all ESPN soccer ticker on y’all and make the headline Braves 11-3 Rockies.

  46. @51 – Don’t worry, join us here next week for the latest edition of: “DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!”

  47. Very high highs (thumping Wash, StL, etc.) & disappointing lows (dropping 2/3 to CWS & Mia, getting swept in SD), that’s what this bunch does. But this lil’ ride sure is fun.

    FWIW, AP Stylebook is always my guide, but this is a blog with its own personality, so I’m fine with leaving it all up to whatever the author brings.

  48. @52- I’m thoroughly confused as to who you’re speaking to.

    @47, @51- Now that we’re beating the crap out of teams, all that’s left is to take every innocuous comment or conversation, take it out of context, blow it out if proportion, and act as though people are bitching when they’re just talking.

  49. Ya’ll keep this up and I’ma gonna record game scores in Roman numerals going forward.

  50. @51 – The shit folks worry about. It is funny and its what makes this blog so damn good.

    Hell yeah. I’ll take Braves XI Rockies III every day.

  51. @56, AP Stylebook is dead to me for insisting on “RBIs” as a plural. Runs batted in-s. Uh huh.

  52. There’s just something about Dale Murphy’s presence on a broadcast that elevates the tone.

  53. I am starting to think we should offer McCann more than just a “token deal to get a pick.”

  54. If anyone’s interested, there’s a nice piece on Fangraphs today in which former Cards pitcher Bob Tewksbury reviews the contents of his scouting notebook on the 1992 Braves, specifically covering Sanders, Gant, Pendleton, Justice, Glavine and others. It’s a fun trip down memory lane.

  55. Rank Player(age) dWAR Games dW/game dW162
    1 Terry Turner (25) 5.4 147 0.036734694 5.951
    2 Art Fletcher (32) 5.1 151 0.033774834 5.472
    3 Mark Belanger (31) 4.9 152 0.032236842 5.222
    4 Ozzie Smith+ (34) 4.7 155 0.030322581 4.912
    5 Brooks Robinson+ (31) 4.5 162 0.027777778 4.500

    Andrelton Simmons (23) 3.7 102 0.03627451 5.876

  56. @65 – I hate Bob Tewksbury.

    @52, 57 – I get it now.. I wrote @33. I did not write the recap. Sam wrote the recap.

  57. Sam, tabs don’t format well, so I turned that data into a table:

    RankPlayer(age)dWARGamesdW/gamedW162
    1Terry Turner (25)5.41470.0367346945.951
    2Art Fletcher (32)5.11510.0337748345.472
    3Mark Belanger (31)4.91520.0322368425.222
    4Ozzie Smith+ (34)4.71550.0303225814.912
    5Brooks Robinson+ (31)4.51620.0277777784.500
     
    Andrelton Simmons (23)3.71020.036274515.876
  58. Thanks! Formatting tables is an ongoing issue with me.

    For the record, the top two seasons in that list (b-ref) are from 1906 and 1917 respectively. It’s not until Belanger that we get to the “modern era” per se.

    We are seeing something extraordinary out of Andrelton Simmons.

  59. @60

    Yes, RsBI is more grammatically correct, but it looks stupid. RBI would work, but then there’s the issue of whether it’s one RBI or multiple. That Onion article @71 is a pretty good corrolary. You are William Safire, ordering two “Whoppers Jr.” and then loudly explaining to everyone that you’re doing it right, and everyone else is dumb.

  60. game recap scores should always be in verse…

    ‘what an awful how de do
    Braves one and Marlins two’

    ‘better loved they cannot be
    Marlins two but Bravos three’.

  61. @66, 71, 73 – RsBI is the silly reductio ad absurdum that my old opponents on this issue would offer, but I’ve always held that “RBI” is a perfectly fine plural because “runs” is the word being abbreviated.

    You’d never say Mike Minor has 137 IPs, for instance. (RBI is just a weird case because usually AP style doesn’t permit the baseball-card abbreviations, but they made an exception I guess because “runs batted in” in its longer written form is awkward. Or something. I dunno.) AP style is strange and full of exceptions to what you’d think are the rules, is what I’m really saying.

  62. @73 – You’re putting words in his mouth and then criticizing him for them. He never said he’d prefer RsBI.

    EDIT – Oops, should have refreshed. WCG’s got his own back.

  63. I prefer to replace RBI/RsBI/RBIs with the preferred modern saber “random events of chance that will inevitably regress to BABIP mean and should be ignored.”

  64. Well, except if you were on radio (where so much of the lexicon of baseball matured), you wouldn’t say, “Minor has only given up 20 homeruns in 150 IP”.

    You’d say, “innings pitched”.

    “RBIs” are not plural in statistical columns, but usually are so in conversation or as part of a paragraph.

  65. Why wouldn’t you say “runs batted in?” When I talk baseball outloud, I say “at-bats,” “plate appearances” and “walks.” I don’t say “ABs” “PAs” or “BBs”

  66. @77 – That should actually read “teammate dependent tally marks that really do little in evaluating the aforementioned player.”

    @80 – Exactly. I write HR and say “Ding-dongs.”

  67. @79 Because sometimes spoken language doesn’t evolve perfectly consistent. People commonly use RBI conversationally, but not those other acronyms.

  68. I just want to be clear that I don’t actually say “ding-dongs.”

    Also, we’re apparently back in on Norris.

    EDIT: Okay, Rosenthal says we’re not.

    This is fun, huh!

  69. The Braves both definitely are and definitely are not in on Norris, according to reports.

  70. OOoh, and now Mark Bowman adds to the intrigue in his overly verbose way:

    The #Braves have not changed their stance on Bud Norris. They have never targeted him as an option for their rotation.

    But Mark, what IS there stance on Norris? And what do you mean “for their ROTATION…”? Hmm? Hmmmmm?

  71. The Twitter slap fight between Bowman/Rosenthal/Passan over whether the Braves are in on Norris is both hilarious, and one of the seven seals of the apocalypse.

  72. Yeah God’s thinking “I’m gonna let them go on, right until the point where they give a damn about whether or not they acquire a guy named Bud Norris, and then I’m turning on the hose.”

  73. 88- Remember, God did say he wasn’t gonna flood the world again. I’m thinking either fire or a plague this time. (Or possibly a tornado full of sharks… wait, that doesn’t even make sense.)

  74. When Freeman hits two in a game we can say “he dropped two F-bombs” and the plural/singular thing isn’t even an issue. I really enjoy the plural version actually.

    @69, how did you table-ify your post? I hate it when I go to the trouble to post nerdy stats only to have the whitespace completely jacked up. Can you enable us plebes to at least use the ‘pre’ html tag?

  75. @91 – I think it’s as much the new CBA. There’s no draft pick compensation for players acquired in the last year of their contract. So you can’t trade a live-arm and a garbage first baseman for Mark Teixeira and then draft Mike Trout anymore.

    And by the way, now that I think about it… How can you trade Casey Krotchman for a half-year of useful-era Mark Teixeira, and then use the Teixeira pick to get Mike Trout and STILL be as lousy as the Angels are? Maybe I just talked myself into my AL hate-watch team.

  76. @90 – he didn’t say what the hose was full of. The hose could very well be full of fire-sharks. It’s g*d.

  77. The hose is actually filled with Bud Norris.

    “YOU WANT BUD NORRIS!?!??! YOOOOOUUUU GOOOOOOOTT BUUUUUUD NOOOOOOORRRIIIIISSS!!!!”

  78. I like how some sites are referring to it as the “Bud Norris Sweepstakes.” Kind of a lame prize for a sweepstakes.

  79. Buster Olney is maybe exposing what bet Mark Bowman was hedging there:

    “A wide range of opinion on what Bud Norris is worth. Some teams peg him as No. 4-type starter, some clubs think better suited as a reliever.”

  80. The Braves are undefeated since Waffle House opened up shop at Turner Field, aren’t they? 5-0.

  81. @100 – I’m glad someone besides me did, or else I’d feel bad that I’m still laughing.

  82. The Ranger rumors are the best. For example:

    – They may trade Garza for a hitter
    – They called about Brian McCann
    – They call once a week on Stanton
    – They may trade for Bud Norris and move him for a hitter.

    It’s almost comical

  83. @104 – not almost, it is comical. Someone just makes shit up and it ends up all over the internet.

    edit: Tigers got a SS for when Jhonny Peralta gets suspended.

    Have I been spelling my name wrong all these years?

  84. I echo @100. This group of posts may be the funniest I’ve seen since I showed up. This is a placidly comedic bunch when our team is on a five-game winning streak. At this rate, if we win nine or ten in a row we’re gonna get our own late-night talk show on the MLB Network.

  85. Thanks Selig, his second wild card has killed the trade deadline. Even MetsBlog is saying they’re only eight under .500, and only seven back in the wild card in the loss column. Every team is deluding themselves that they’re contenders now.

  86. At the risk of sounding obtuse (I’m not trying to be) what is it about deadline trades that is “good?” Why should we bemoan the number of teams who just won’t sell?

    I honestly don’t have a position on the matter, but it at first blush, it seems to me that the guy who built his team to be good all year SHOULD be rewarded over the guy who muddled along all year, and then sold the farm to get back in it.

  87. The second wildcard probably does lead to less activity, but there’s also the Moneyball-ification of the entire sport that makes the Smoltz for Alexander deals extremely unlikely to happen. Veteran talent is worth less than ever, and prospects and budding stars under team control are solid gold.

  88. Assuming the Tigers’ lead holds up, if the Braves win tonight I get to open my Bell’s “This One Goes To 11” celebratory ale!

  89. Just as a point on how stupidly boring this trade deadline is, I’m currently wondering why the Padres are pursuing Ian Kennedy at all, let along actually giving up a prospect (I have no clue of which calibre) and a draft pick.

  90. @116 – “Magic number” = 163 – Braves wins (62) – Nats losses (55) = 46

    I suggest we wait until it’s less than 25.

  91. 119—I think he’s going to thrive in a big park like that. San Diego is the perfect place for a homer-prone pitcher to get a lot more valuable.

  92. Yeah, if you start looking at the m—- n—– now, you start working your way toward absurd conversations like: “Wait, mathematically we could actually clinch this thing in August.” I’m not joking, that is a conversation I actually heard on the radio driving to work this morning. Right before they said that if the postseason started today, we’d be playing the Cardinals in the NLDS because two Central teams can’t face each other.

    I’ll pause for a minute to let everything wrong with that statement wash over you.

    It might have been the stupidest two minutes of radio I’ve ever heard, and that’s saying something IMO.

  93. Not saying I agree or disagree with the decision but I still think Bonifacio is a Brave in a few hours. The FO has always liked him and he’d be more valuable than Janish.

  94. 121 — I don’t disagree that he might thrive/rebound in San Diego, I’m just wondering, why go after him now, the Padres aren’t going anywhere this season.

  95. To think, only two days ago the Nationals had won three straight against the lowly Mets and it was time to start planning the World Series Parade again.

  96. 128—Because he was being shopped to other teams and they like him, I’d guess. If he’d been shipped to the Angels, the Pads probably couldn’t have gotten him this offseason.

  97. It’s funny – and terrifying – that Verlander is like the 4th-best starting pitcher on the Tigers right now.

  98. Re Kennedy, it is strange. The team that’s in it is shedding veteran payroll, and the team that’s out of it is giving up prospects.

    Not a move usually see at the deadline. More like a December move.

  99. Washington is being handed their lunch AGAIN by the Tigers.

    To be fair, didn’t the Braves allow themselves to be bent over by the Tigers this year as well?

  100. An interesting test of the causes of the lame trade deadline season would be the post-deadline trades. The two differences are waivers and eligibility for the postseason. If the effect is compensation-driven by the CBA, you would expect to see fewer deals in August and September as well, while if it is a pure “we’re still in it” effect, those deals should start to pick up, perhaps even acceleratng as a team tries to get that extra piece which gets them in, even understanding that that piece would be unavailable once they got in. (The waiver issue works both ways — cutting off trades, but opening up new avenues of interest.)

  101. If I’m not mistaken, all you have to do to get a guy eligible is to DL somebody.

  102. Thanks, blazon. Delightful story.
    =====================

    Does anyone happen to know how much money it would cost each team if they shortened the season to 154 games? Has anyone published that research?

    Thanks!

  103. ~5%? Probably a bit less because stuff like the playoffs are uneffected. It would matter how it was done, too. Losing a full weekend would be worse (for revenue) than just adding days off in the middle of the week.

    After factoring in that you’d probably get some but not all of the attendance/merchandise sales from the reduced games back in the form of higher attendance/purchasing at the remaining games, and that stuff like the playoffs wouldn’t be effected, I’d ballpark it at about 3% less overall revenue.

  104. Look at this rain! It’s the end of July and it’s raining like the end of March. In Seattle.

    The attached (I hope) kinda fits the mood. It’s a YouTube of pianist Keith Jarrett performing an improvisational piece on a beat-up Bosendorfer at midnight. It became the highest-selling solo album in jazz history.

    It’s kinda long (over 20 minutes) and I recommend listening to it while accomplishing something mindlessly productive.

    Hope you enjoy it as much as I have over the years.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJB8MPAr4e4

  105. @Ken_Rosenthal: Sources: #Orioles agree to acquire Norris from #Astros for Hoes and another piece. Finalizing now.

  106. 139, 141- Baseball (as a whole) could recoup the losses by expanding the Wild-Card Game to best of three or five, and/or the Division Series to best of seven. Of course, that depends on whether the schedule was compressed by a week or more off days scattered throughout the current-length schedule. If it were more off-days, they’d have trouble pushing the regular season into March or the playoffs into November.

    Not that this will ever happen, of course.

    144- So the deal is Hoes before throws?

  107. @145-

    There’s just no way that would recoup the revenue. An extra 4 or 16 playoff games do not equal 120 regular season games.

  108. 148- You did say (and I tend to agree) that the lost revenue from the diminished number of games would be mitigated by higher prices for the games that are played. Similarly, it seems likely to me that rights fees would increase for a greater number of playoff games. Add in the higher prices of playoff tickets, and I think that would make up for most if not all of the revenue loss. Again, not that it’ll happen.

    And the Gnats finish getting swatted again, 11-1. 10 1/2 games up.

  109. Clubs don’t want to lose the gate revenues, but they really don’t want to lose any TV revenues.

    Almost every club has a regional TV deal & some of them make mega-bucks there. It’s not something they’ll give up just to make the post-season “more fair.”

  110. Ok, which of these GMs would you least want to have: Ruben Amaro Jr., Jack Zduriencik, or Dayton Moore?

  111. First, it’s a shock that Z has worked his way down into that company, given the amount of buildup he’s gotten from BP and the like.

    I’d say Moore. He may or may not be the most incompetent, but he whines more than the others about plans and processes that never turn into anything.

  112. @145

    One thing I’ve been wondering: my memory of last year’s announcement of the second Wild Card was that the single play-in game last year was an artifact of the late decision, and that moving forward it would in fact be a best 2 of 3. But all I’ve heard this year is that it’s still one game, win or go home. Am I misremembering?

  113. @154

    He may not actually be in that company, though those Seattle fans who watched him assemble a roster full of DHs last offseason may disagree. But it struck me that all three of those teams should be selling, yet aren’t. And the Royals, apparently, are buying.

    I guess I’d least want to have RAJ, because at least DM can draft hitting. JZ meanwhile has been pretty good with pitcher development. I guess.

  114. @156 – I know what you’re remembering, but it wasn’t it becoming a 2 out or 3. It was that it was the day after the season ended with no off-day, or something like that, that they were going to fix going forward.

  115. @159

    Nutty. Man, memory loss is the worst part of getting older.

    RE Jack Z, I’ve certainly been disappointed. When he was hired I fully expected a Mariners team worth watching within 3-4 years. This is the fifth year, and they’re still mostly unwatchable, the recent eight game winning streak notwithstanding. And Jesus Montero is about to get Biogenesized out of baseball after an ignominious and brief career.

    EDIT: @160, you’re exactly right. Thanks for clarifying it for me.

  116. I think it’s that the higher seeds were forced to open on the road in the Division Series, but they now want to return to the 2-2-1 format (as opposed to last year’s 2-3).

  117. @162 – Yeah it was something like that. Some detail that they couldn’t fix because it was a last minute idea.

    Which is how you want a multi-billion dollar industry run, after all.

  118. I’ll go as far to say that Wren has done better than Schuerholz as he has always had less money to work with. A look at the home grown talent ratio says a lot about the Braves organization

  119. @155, I have absolutely no doubt that he is.

    Who in baseball is clearly better?

    I like what Huntington’s doing in Pittsburgh, though it’s certainly taken him long enough. I like Antonetti in Cleveland though I think Wren’s done a better job. I think Terry Ryan has been brilliant in Minnesota but he may be past his prime. I like what Jeff Luhnow’s done so far but we’ll see if he actually can build a major league roster. I liked Mike Rizzo a lot, though this year is a major dent in his armor. Theo is fine if he can outspend the world, but I’m not sure he’s better than Wren. Jim Duquette has done a great job in Baltimore so far. Dipoto’s done some interesting things but I’m not sure he can win. Kenny Williams won a World Series but that team is horrible now; similarly, Dave Dombrowski built the Tigers into a powerhouse by spending a ton of cash, but their minor leagues are bare and the major league roster always seems very thin and top-heavy in October. Ben Cherington, who knows?

    Mozeliak has done a brilliant job in St. Louis, and Jocketty did a fine job before him. Jon Daniels has done a lot of good work in Texas. Andrew Friedman’s work speaks for itself. Billy Beane is clearly still very good.

    But I don’t think Wren is obviously worse than any of those guys.

  120. @165 The guys at the end are are the really great ones: Beane, Friedman, Daniels, and seemingly anyone in charge in St. Louis. I also think Huntington is fantastic, and frankly, always have. Happy to see him getting the results now.

    I may prefer any those five guys to Wren, but if so, not by much. I’m just too close to the Braves to be able to step back and compare fairly, though. There are some small things Wren does that I dislike, but who’s to say that such things wouldn’t similarly drive me crazy if I was a fan of the Rangers or the Cardinals? Ultimately, it’s all academic: Wren is very, very good, and that’s all that really matters.

  121. I don’t know that we can say Wren is on a par with Beane, Jocketty, or Pat Gillick (my personal gold standard), who have all won consistently either with multiple teams or with consistently limited resources. But without question he’s at least just beneath them. I actually might like him better than Schuerholtz. Certainly I like that he’s not afraid to pull the trigger, and I accept the misfires as the concomitant penalty worth paying.

  122. Wren has assembled a young, cost controlled team that has few long term contracts capable of contending for the short and medium term. Freeman panning out really seals it, and Gattis is icing. I don’t know how to do comparisons, but he’s achieved everything you’d want out of a GM for this market.

  123. “We play the Braves nine more time. This sh*t ain’t over.” – Bryce Harper after today’s ass-hammering in Detroit

  124. Few things are more satisfying than hearing a conceited jerk try to rationalize failure. The desperate need to believe in one’s own invincibility is so unbecoming at a time like this.

  125. @165

    I love the analysis. So if you had to determine who the top-5 GMs are, what do you use for the criteria? We tend to dismiss GMs who are successful when they have a high payroll, so could you do a win/dollar spent ratio? Does it simply go by the banners and rings?

    I think any list has to have Andrew Friedman at the top or very close to the top, but after that, I’m really not sure. I suppose you could make it into tiers:

    ::Division Winners with bottom-third payroll::

    ::LCS or WS participants with mid-level payroll::

    ::Any playoff team with top-third payroll::

    ::Bad teams with high payrolls::

    I suppose only 5 or 6 teams don’t fall into those tiers. Or if a team like the Cubs transition their GMs while in a season of losing. I don’t think you can hang the Cubs’ ineptitude on Theo.

  126. @169

    I thought that was a joke because I didn’t think Harper would talk like that, but dang, the whole quote sounds like a lot of passion and frustration. I… like it. Harper. Weird.

  127. @172, I tried that about four years ago: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-remington/ranking-baseballs-general_b_160456.html

    My basic criteria then:

    I place a fairly high premium on having won a World Series; the series-winners are all in the first two tiers. Other than that, protracted success, and an ability to make good moves while not making bad moves.

    I stand by a lot of what I wrote then, although placing Sabean in the worst tier of GMs looks foolish since he won two World Series after I wrote that, and Jon Daniels deserves to have been placed higher, too. But I think that the criteria were basically right, even if I didn’t always nail the results.

  128. (However, in the comments, I wrote one of the stupidest things I’ve ever said: “Cashman handed out a lot of bad contracts. But Alex Rodriguez hardly counts as one of them. A-Rod’s opt-out dated to his Texas Rangers contract, and Cashman was widely credited for having won that confrontation, paying A-Rod little more than he was already owed, despite the fact that he was essentially a free agent.”)

    D’oh.

  129. 173- The spirit is fine, but the math skills are slightly lacking. Nine is less than 10.5, last I checked.

  130. Is it a coincidence that the April Braves are returning simultaneously with Justin taking better swings and looking better at the plate?

    Freddie is amazing. So much fun to root for!

  131. I’m not sure there’s any players that look like they care less when they get plunked than Uggla.

  132. Bad call by Snitker. Worse call behind the plate, based on the angle we were shown on the Colorado broadcast. Even their homer announcers think Uggs was never tagged.

    F—ing sick of seeing umpires de-legitimize this sport.

  133. It’s rather stupid that a disputed home run can be reviewed, but not a disputed run.

  134. I’m no fan of A-Rod, and having to live up here in Yankeeland is its own version of baseball media hell. But I find MLBs tactics here (probably aided by the Yankees) about as disgusting as anything I’ve ever seen in private industry anywhere.
    (a) They file a suit against a destitute guy that they couldn’t possibly win in order to get him to roll over and give dubious testimony.
    (b) They leak like sieves to their lackeys
    (c) They have no authority to suspend a guy who has never failed a drug test, so they threaten to suspend him for life for lying (an unprecedented penalty) in order to get him to acquiesce to a lesser penalty.

    Disgusting.

    Don’t get me wrong. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. But it shouldn’t happen at all.

  135. This team is really starting to feel it.

    EDIT: Did the organist just play “the lunatics are on the grass” off the back side of Dark Side of the Moon?

    2ND EDIT: I’m sorry, but I’m putting my foot down. We HAVE to find a way to keep McCann. HAVE TO.

  136. I’m choosing to enjoy as many McCann homers as I can this year, while he still has a tomahawk across his chest. I don’t really want to think about the future, other than to dream about him winning a ring in his hometown uniform.

  137. Remember when we were saying “watch out when everyone gets hot at the same time.” This is what that looks like.

  138. Seems the Nationals won’t be letting Strasburg pitch in October for the second straight year.

  139. #189
    In this incredibly tedious episode, everyone has used the media to tell “their side,” including A-Rod with that doctor doing the rounds last week with his dubious story.

    Nobody, not A-Rod, MLB or NYY, is going to come out of this smelling good.

    While I remain curious to see the extent to which A-Rod “impeded the investigation,” the fact remains: If A-Rod hadn’t gotten involved with this clown in Miami, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  140. I am officially a CJ fan. Six multi-hit games in a row, playing good defense, and being a great presence near the bottom of the lineup? Yep, I’m convinced.

  141. We went 12-1 to start the season and jump out to a division lead. I vote we ride this little streak out to 12-1 to put the division out of reach. Then we can go back to being a .500 team for the rest of the season, just as long as we hit another streak at the end, and go 12-1 in the last thirteen games we play this year. I would be just fine with a season like that.

  142. 217- Agreed. I wouldn’t even mind that last stretch being only 11-2. I’m not greedy.

  143. @215: I don’t disagree, but the ends here simply don’t justify the means…. and it ain’t particularly close.

    @218: I’d take 11-anything.

  144. We must resign Brian McCann. We simply must. It doesn’t have to be a long contract, but without him we will be significantly diminished next year.

  145. @219

    I don’t disagree, and that’s one reason I have a problem with Bud Selig’s conduct as commissioner (although I seem to be the only one).

  146. I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that we’re not going to resign McCann, just the conventional wisdom. We’ve got Gattis and Laird was signed to a two-year deal for a reason. Bethancourt is on his way up through the system. All signs point to us spending money elsewhere. But that doesn’t mean there’s no reason to think we couldn’t find a way to keep McCann. A World Series title might nudge us in that direction, maybe?

    One thing I’d like to note is how great it is that our starters have been going deep into games. That was a serious problem the last few years that doesn’t seem to be one now. Minor through 6 has thrown 81 pitches. Pretty good.

  147. @223: I feel like immediately after a World Series title is the worst time to make a decision like bringing back a beloved veteran on a long-term deal. Colors what has to be a business judgment with sentiment. My opinion: assuming limited revenue, the priority should be signing Heyward, Simmons, and Freeman (in that order).

  148. The are 9 outs after 6 innings. Each third inning pitched after that reduces the load on bullpen by 11%, (ignoring extra innings).

  149. I would love to re-sign McCann but I think Wren would be best suited to save the money for 2014 arbitration for Kimbrel, Freeman.. and C. Johnson and Beachy as well, depending on their 2014 numbers.

    oh and that Heyward guy

  150. 11 games lead by the end of July…this is just fantastic. Let’s get the best NL record so that we do not need to deal with the Dodgers in the first round.

  151. Braves win 2013 NLCS in seven games against the Pirates on Freeman’s slide into home. Pirates fail to make postseason again until 2034.

  152. @230 I would hope it doesn’t come down to that. I certainly don’t want them to discover another Tim Wakefield.

  153. But who’s our Cabrera analog? Gattis (catcher/ outfielder)? Laird (third catcher)? Cunningham (guy with least playing time)?

  154. I swear the Rockies are fundamentally incapable of making it through a baseball game without at least one really weird thing happening.

  155. Giants 9, Phillies 2. The Mets have the second-best record in this division since the ASB… and the Marlins are third.

  156. @227: I’m quasi-indifferent between Simmons or Heyward as top priority, particularly since Simmons ought to cost less. Freddie definitely last priority, though: good bat, but unless the power takes a bit step forward he’s no kind of MVP, given the bad defense and brutal baserunning.

    Hell, let’s lock ’em all up. What do you say, Frank?

  157. It takes two to tango as far as the whole “locking up” thing goes. Very unlikely that we can sign all of them to long-term deals, but I hope we make it happen. Simmons and Minor would be my priorities. The others play more easier-to-replace positions.

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