Lose the Nattitude(TM): Game Thread, Birthday Edition

So today is my birthday, and I’ll be spending most of it on a 22-foot runabout on Lake Washington with my family. Weather’s supposed to be 72 degrees and mostly sunny. Seattle in the summer will spoil you for everyplace else.

But a part of my heart will be at Turner Field, where Alex “Good” Wood will take on Taylor Jordan and the sinking Washington Nationals, who come in having won 6 of their last 7, resulting in the shaving of a whole half-game off their deficit to your Boss Tweed Tammany Hall Braves. (If you don’t know what I’m referring to, Google the origin of the team’s name. It’s one of my favorite aspects of Braves lore, as ours is the only North American major league sports franchise I’m aware of whose nickname derived from politics.)

Other than that, I don’t have much to write about. Dan “Seeing Is Overrated” Uggla has still not, as of this writing, undergone the LASIK surgery that it’s clear by now the team is basically demanding he get (and with pretty good reason). Tommy “Streetcar” LaStella still hasn’t been called up, nor have we claimed anybody on waivers. There’s literally no news to report from Thursday’s off-day. So let’s hope the Atlanta monsoon season breaks long enough for our side to put another nail in the Nationals’ coffin.

Go get ’em, boys. Daddy wants a birthday present.

177 thoughts on “Lose the Nattitude(TM): Game Thread, Birthday Edition”

  1. Happy birthday, Hotspur! Get some water-proof sunscreen!

    And thank you for the game thread! I miss the time when we would have separate game threads and recaps. I’m not grousing about it, mind you. I fully appreciate that you recap cats take time out of busy schedules just to provide us with a single thread each day. I’m just welcoming with open arms the recent reemergence of the game thread!

  2. I am going to the season ticket holder’s “State of the Team” meeting today before the game. Does anyone have any questions for Wren and Co.?

  3. From the article posted by kc in previous thread in re: Roger McDowell:

    I know it’s Peanut, but I noticed that he carefully avoided mentioning the gestures/slurs incident in San Francisco that got McDowell suspended and sent to sensitivity training. Unless, of course, this is his way of mentioning it:

    “While he still has the ability to keep things loose with his witty tongue, he is now more of an analytical soul.”

  4. Reminiscing about McDowell, he was also one of the prime combatants in the infamous game against the Phillies in ’91 where he threw at Otis Nixon, which forced Bobby to order Glavine to throw at Dale Murphy of all people. Classic game. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

  5. happy birthday in Seattle
    day of fun and family prattle
    check the boat out well
    helpful breezes swell
    getaway is half the battle.

  6. Sunscreen? Did you say sunscreen? There’s no sunscreen in Seattle!

    Happy Birthday, old sod.
    —————-

    Questions for Wren:

    ~ What the hell did you see in BJ Upton? What can be done about it now?
    ~ Why wasn’t LASIK performed on Uggla BEFORE the season? What’s the hold up now?
    ~ Does he have any regrets about giving away FatJuan for nothing? (You know, the guy who has one fewer homer – in 200 less PAs – than Prince Fielder?)
    ~ Has the waste of scarce resources on BJ Upton and Dan Uggla made it impossible to re-sign Brian McCann?

    Other than that, no, nothing. Have a good time.

  7. @3 Yeah, that whole thing kind of stuck out like a sore thumb in its absence.

    This is the part that really got my attention:

    Dating back to 2006 — McDowell’s first season in Atlanta — the Braves have compiled the second-best ERA (3.82) in the Majors. That is remarkable when you consider the club ranked 12th and 10th in ERA among National League clubs in 2006 and ’08, a stretch during which Smoltz and Tim Hudson were the only Atlanta pitchers to make more starts than Chuck James, Jo-Jo Reyes and Kyle Davies.

  8. Yeah, the fact that we’re occasionally discussing a six-man rotation AFTER Huddy went down is pretty great – and a testament to McDowell, Wren and the Braves organization.

  9. Yeah, really.

    I went to a couple games back in April/May, which might’ve been the coldest I’ve ever been at a Braves game.

  10. Mildly jealous. I’ve wanted to do some Lake Washington smallmouth fishing for a while. I hear it’s a great all around fishery. Guess I’ll settle for the other really great Washington smallmouth lakes (Potholes, Banks, Roosevelt, etc).

    Happy B-day Hotspur!

  11. If you haven’t seen this collection of Simmons’ defensive gems, you must stop what you are doing and watch it now. He is amazing.

    m.imgur.com/a/l7E4p

    (Edit: Hmm, that came through as a non-hyperlink. I’m posting from a mobile device, so if someone would like to repost from a computer to see if that helps, please do.)

  12. I might be having a total brainfart, but has someone been fired for homophobic or just plain insensitive comments? Admittedly, Roger’s were really bad, but does that get one fired? Perhaps it came down to performance and Roger’s success gets him a pass.

  13. @15, he threatened a man and his two children with a bat. That gets you in jail in most places.

  14. Bowman now tweeting that it might make more sense to bring up…Phil Gosselin! If there’s not a waiver deal, of which the Braves are apparently working on. Lets hope there’s a waiver deal.

  15. So the Braves just announced through Twitter that the Rev has a torn ACL. Is it just me, or have they been officially announcing more things through Twitter recently?

  16. Darn kids and their Twitter. I’ll be the last to know then.

    Yeah, forgot about Jimmy the Greek. And those guys that made fun of the guy with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. At the end of the day, radio and TV personalities are pretty fungible, and elite pitching coaches get a little longer of a leash.

    RE: Rev

    The person replacing Pastornicky will ultimately be replacing Dan Uggla. Unfortunately, that’s not a real difficult task, and if he can put up a .650 OPS and better defense than Dan (not a Herculean feat), then you’ve replaced Dan Uggla. I wish Dan was a lefty and the Yanks would pick him up as their DH. Dan could hit 40 at Yankee Stadium from the left side and actually make a little sense for somebody.

  17. Not to distract from the tragic loss of Tyler Pastornicky, but the Phillies have ousted Manuel for Sandberg. You know, because he did such a shit job putting their roster together. I mean, that Howard contract alone…oh wait.

    What a low class organization.

  18. Everyone who thought Uggla was a drag on the offense will get to see what a real one looks like.

  19. What? Why would they can Manuel now? If you’re going to fire him, at least wait until the end of the year. I agree, completely classless.

  20. I only think Uggla was a drag the last month or so, when he was truly atrocious. And even then it was easy not to notice thanks to what everyone else was doing. Before that I thought he was fine for what he was, a big power, low contact guy. I, for one, hope the eye surgery helps and he can come back and contribute.

  21. Dan Uggla has an OPS of about .696. Ryan Roberts has an OPS of .676, and the Rays just DFA’d him.

    I’d be on the horn with Tampa Bay about now.

  22. The thing with Manuel is, his contract was up after this year anyway. Just don’t resign him. It’s not like a new guy this year is going to change the Phillies’ playoff chances at this point. Dumb move all around.

  23. Not to keep pounding the drum for Ryan Roberts, here because I know he isn’t good (just the best you’re going to get in August.)

    But if I understand the rules, a player who is DFA’d is removed from the 40 man roster immediately (with his team owning him for 10 days to decide whether to trade, release or waive him for the purpose of assigning him to a minor league team.) Being off the 40 man would mean he doesn’t have to clear waivers to be traded.

    A pretty steely move, if that’s the case. You can free yourself to trade to any team, by trading in leverage, and taking on a 10 day limitation on the process.

  24. Hopefully Uggla will be back within 10 days, and it won’t matter at all who the fill-in is.

  25. @36

    Well, not exactly. Everybody who is designated for assignment must go through waivers. However, it removes the possibility of being able to pull him back if somebody claims him. So it actually severely dampens the trade market for him, as the team that claims him knows that if a deal can’t be worked out, they’ll just get him for the waiver fee, anyway. Now, if he clears waivers, they can trade him to anybody they wish, but after those 10 days, they have to either have traded him, released him, or outrighted him to the minor leagues. And Roberts can refuse a minor league assignment and demand that they trade or release him, if he wishes, and they have to accomodate that request.

  26. @36, I think he still would if you intended to put him on your postseason roster as it’s past the deadline. A moot point though, in all probability, but something to consider

  27. @41

    They probably don’t want to start his arbitration clock for two weeks of play, and they might be trying to complete a waiver deal for another middle infielder, anyway.

  28. Great piece of trivia there, Hotspur – I did not know about the Tammany Hall origins of the nickname. If you’ve never read about former President Chester Arthur’s association with, and subsequent “nose-thumbing” of Tammany Hall, it’s an entertaining study as well.

  29. La Stella is a pure hitter in the low minors. He’s almost certainly not ready to translate the bat to the bigs, and he’s poor defensively playing in the minors, where the game is slow enough for Tyler Pastornicky to be “decent.”

  30. If Uggla comes back and can’t see, and it’s after Sept 1, can we use the injury hardship excuse and get someone else onto the playoff roster? Would they have to come from our system or could it be via trade/waiver-claim?

  31. I don’t think the Braves are afraid of starting La Stella’s clock — like Alex said yesterday, he is already 24. Maybe they just want another glove sitting on the bench until they acquire whoever it is they’re acquiring. La Stella is more bat than glove.

  32. @45

    I believe we can use the injury excuse as long as we place Uggla on the DL again, but the replacement would have to be on the 40-man roster before September 1 no matter what. I am certain that he would have to be in the organization by September 1 no matter what.

  33. “If an eligible player is injured and unable to play a club can call up any player in the organization regardless of their roster status* provided that the replacement player plays the same position (position player for position player and pitcher for pitcher), the replacement player was in the organization as of the August 31st deadline and they finished the season in the organization, and they receive approval from the commissioner.”

    http://www.detroittigersweblog.com/2009/08/playoff-roster-eligibility-rules/

    Now, in order to get someone on your roster after July 31 and before August 31 via trade I believe they have to pass through waivers.

  34. @44. La Stella has put up an 889 OPS in 265 PAs in AA. That’s outstanding for a MI and it’s not the low minors. There have been many Braves over the yrs to be called up in season from AA due to injuries/ineffectiveness on the big league roster and done very well. Francoeur, McCann and even Alex Wood this yr come to mind.

  35. My guess with LaStella off the 40-man. After all of the injuries in the bullpen and such, it’s getting pretty crowded. I mean, they could put Pastornicky on the 60-day DL, but there are already 3 guys on the 60-day, which means they’re 3 over capacity on the 40-man already and will necessarily need to cut some people when that happens. If you bring up LaStella now, he’s got to stay on the 40-man through the off-season and such, which means less places to stow guys and less overall flexibility. Since this is presumably a temporary problem, the Braves will just try to fake it for the near term. This probably means Janish will get a lot of play up the middle in the next few weeks. Not ideal, but I only care insofar as it makes it less likely that Simba will ever actually get a day off.

  36. Janish can fill in fine for 2 weeks. My fear is that we absolutely can’t roll into the playoffs with Janish in the lineup. They have to do something if Uggla can’t go – the problem is the timing. They won’t really know if Uggla can go until late August, and if the timing doesn’t work out then their hands are going to be tied as far as potential moves they can make.

  37. @55

    Uggla will be fine. They wouldn’t have done this if they didn’t think he would be.

    I wouldn’t feel any better with Pastornicky at second that I do with Gosselin or Janish in the playoffs.

    Plus, we still have a few weeks to make a move if need be.

  38. I’d say they should just go ahead and make a move. If that means Janish has to be cut from the postseason roster in the end, I’m not sure that’s all that tragic of a situation. He’ll be first alternate if Uggla’s eyes still don’t work when he gets back. I’d gladly give up Janish’s glove for a guy who can actually start in the postseason in a worst-case scenario.

  39. @57, agree – but there’s always a slight chance that the procedure doesn’t go smoothly. McCann definitely struggled with it if I recall correctly. There’s literally nobody available that would be much of an upgrade over Janish. At least Janish probably won’t make errors in a tight game. He won’t hit, but hell neither has Uggla for the most part.

  40. @53:

    1. AA is the low minors. It’s not rookie league, but it’s not MLB ready by any means.

    2. The examples of players called up directly form AA is instructive; they were all the last options available and at least one of them (Francoeur) clearly should have spent more time in the minors learning his craft.

    3. If the Braves scouts and management don’t think La Stella is ready to make that jump, I trust them on that. It’s the kind of decision that they have better information than we do on.

  41. AA has never been considered the low minors in anything I’ve read in over 40 yrs and you are smart enough to know that. And my point about Francoeur was that he did have great success the yr he was called up. He clearly needed more seasoning to polish his plate approach as he could be exploited by big league pitchers once they learned his tendencies and adjusted. Other than that Frenchy clearly could contribute at the big league level. So comparing apples to apples plate approach is clearly one of La Stella’s strengths if you look at his numbers. He is unlikely to be easily exploited in the way Francoeur was ultimately. I am not saying La Stella has Francoeur’s tools and am not advocating that La Stella, or most anyone, wouldn’t need additional seasoning in the minors before he is a finished product, but that he could very possibly contribute for the rest of this yr if called up. But we do agree on trusting the Braves organization to know.

  42. @61: There’s a shortstop who only played AA who I think has definitely proved himself to be major league ready.

  43. I think almost every quote I’ve ever read about AA was that if you could make it there, you had big league ready talent. AAA/MLB were more about handling pressure and maturity.

    Oh and Jolly Cholly sez “I never quit nothing and I didn’t resign.”

  44. I’m sure the Braves didn’t want to start His clock for two weeks, esp when He will be blocked for two more years.

  45. Early in his Philly tenure, Manuel had a testy exchange with a local writer. In the middle of it, he was told, “Grow up, Charlie.”

    To which he offered my all-time-favorite Charlie Manuel quote: “I already done growed up!”

    I’ll miss him, actually.

  46. By most accounts, Charlie Manuel was a hell of a hitting coach. I’d hire him in a New York minute to work with some of our guys.

    Typically, the “low minors” is defined as anything below Double-A. Here’s how John Sickels distinguished Double-A and Triple-A:

    Double-A, you tend to see a greater number of prospects and more raw talent per team, but you also see more mental mistakes.
    Triple-A, you see fewer prospects and more fringe veterans with mediocre tools, but you also see fewer stupid plays and quite a few players with experience and polish.

    I think most players benefit from time at both levels, and with rare exceptions I don’t think the levels should be skipped. Some hitters do fine against Double-A pitching but struggle when they face guys with big-league quality breaking stuff or sharper command.

  47. AA is not the low minors, and virtually by definition, any player who is below AAA cannot be considered the “last option,” unless the AAA team is playing with 7 position players, and anything to right is an automatic out.

  48. @61
    Your 2nd point I don’t understand. There have been many players from the Braves that have made the jump from AA or lower to the Majors and weren’t last options (see McCann, Heyward, Furcal, Simmons). Of the 4, there were many options above those guys.

  49. @mlbbowman: Janish will be the primary 2B until Uggla returns or the #Braves acquire another option. Gosselin could pinch hit for Janish in late innings

  50. Tonight’s lineup:

    1. Heyward 9
    2. JUpton 7
    3. Freeman 3
    4. McCann 2
    5. CJohnson 5
    6. Schafer 8
    7. Simmons 6
    8. Janish 4
    9. Wood 1

    Success in the 6-hole. Interesting.

  51. There hasn’t been much fanfare about it, but it seems like BJ and Success are going to split time from here on out.

  52. No announcement that I’m aware of, but lots of talk and speculation about a straight platoon.

  53. The BJ/Success platoon question was asked at the State of the Team meeting and Wren confirmed: platoon. Also said Uggla’s surgery went well and they expect him back in 10 days.

  54. This is the first time all season I’ve been able to watch the Braves on a Friday night all season long.

    And I’m already tired of the strike zone.

  55. I agree with ryan c about @61. I watched Andy Benes pitch his last start in AA Wichita before being called straight up to the Padres back in the early 1990s if memory serves me right. Of course I was only about 16-17 at the time and could be wrong, but I want to say the PA announcer was saying Benes was on his way to San Diego.

    And he was MLB ready in AA.

  56. When discussing lineup construction, wasn’t Heyward as leadoff hitter the general consensus around here (before Fredi moved him there)? Every announcer I’ve heard talk about it and every article I’ve read about it has expressed surprise that Fredi thought to put him there and that it’s working. I kind of thought it was a no-brainer and wondered what took Fredi so long to do it.

  57. @81, I think everyone here agreed that he was the best overall solution at #1, though there were nominations for Success when he’s in the lineup, or Chris Johnson.

    I think Schuerholz just coined the term diminimous, as in “one day baseball will have bad calls down to a diminimous number.”

  58. Chip just claimed that only people who have it “affect their deadline” is annoyed at slow games… what the hell does that even mean.

  59. Well hey, the terrible bunting won’t matter as long as we can count on a throwing error after each attempt.

  60. And to go with the above, I will agree. As smart as me is smart enough. Smarter than that: Pretentious jerk.

  61. @102, Ahhh, well I fell into Schuerholz’s stupid snarky people trap. Well done, Jon S!

    As he was saying the word, I was preparing to hear him say “diminished”.

  62. There once was a lawyer named Rex
    Who had very small organs of sex.
    When charged with exposure
    He replied with composure
    In de minimis Lex.

  63. I am astonished that Span continues to lead off for the Nats.

    Wait, less astonished. More par for the course for the team that has thought all year that they remain the best team in the division.

  64. I wish Chip would shut up with this “They made converted Carpenter from catcher to pitcher because they had Yadier Molina!” nonsense.

  65. That wasn’t even a close play. You just aren’t suppose to get a fast runner from deep in the hole by 2 steps.

  66. Well the first one that hit him was definitely unintentional, and with a 71 mile per hour curveball.

    That one, I really don’t know. Avilan sure acted like it got away from him. I really don’t know.

  67. That one got away from Avilan, even if they wanted to plunk him he wouldn’t throw it head high.

  68. That was the worst 7-pitch AB I’ve ever seen.

    Take one down the middle, swing a a 58 footer, miss another pitch down the middle, and then strike out looking.

    EDIT: To be fair (Or not) I don’t think I’ve ever SEEN a bad 7-pitch AB.

  69. Keep letting them think they have a chance…. And we are in the no hope part of our order

    Edit- dude can’t hit a lick, but Janish can play some D

  70. Hard to think of 2 better active defenders to put up the middle at the same time than Simmons and Janish.

  71. Schafer, Simmons and Janish. Sounds like walkoff material to me!

    Walking off what, I don’t know..

  72. Wow, that was a stressful inning. And man, Kimbrel threw a heater to Freeman for that last out. That could have been bad.

  73. I don’t get that many opportunities to watch close and late ball games, but I’m hoping the Braves walk off tonight. Nothing better than a Braves walk off, unless Skip is calling it:

  74. This feels like the kind of night, and the kind of spot, where Jordan Schafer would hit a leadoff double, and get thrown out trying to stretch it in to a triple.

    Just feels like that kind of night, and that kind of spot.

  75. Wasn’t a chance in hell he was gonna get a fastball over the plate. But @151 is right, he missed the hanger. Good battle, though.

  76. Hey, there’s something wrong with Yahoo. It’s saying Laird PH for Kimbrel. Can someone tell me what is /really/ happening?

  77. Yeah, that’s weird. It’s a sad state of affairs, though, when your third catcher is a better option than the guy signed to the biggest deal in franchise history.

  78. Fredi, who has shown he will let relief pitchers hit for themselves before burning his last catcher, just used his last catcher with two outs and a man on first.

  79. That ball had to do a magic trick to find the guy making his big league debut. But find him, it did.

  80. Think Harper’s going to try to steal, here? After being nailed with a runner on ahead of him last time, I’d guess so.

  81. Scott Downs has been a nice pickup, hasn’t he? Seven outings, as yet unscored upon, and he makes that a pretty deep bullpen.

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