The Bourn Inferiority: Indians 1, Braves 3

Immediately following tonight’s game I had to go to my daughter’s school ice cream social, where we found out who her 2nd grade teacher will be (school starts a lot later in the Pacific Northwest than in the South, where memories of an agrarian past still subconsciously rule the schedule), so apologies for getting this up latish. I’ll be brief and to the point, because the Braves certainly were.

Any memories of the 2010 no-no pitched at Turner Field by Ubaldo “Weirdest Given Name Since Edgmer” Jimenez were flushed away by Brian “Please Re-Sign Me” McCann’s nineteenth long ball of the season, which ushered Kris “Aaron Paul Understudy” Medlen and Justin “In the OED Next to the Word ‘Enigmatic’ There’s a Picture of My Rookie Card” Upton across the plate before him. That was all Jesse Pinkman, Jr. (“Aerodynamics, bitch!”) would need, as he was firing on all cylinders: seven innings of six-hit ball on 96 pitches (65 of them strikes; he had six Ks on the night). It was perhaps his best-looking performance of the season, and, as the Atlanta nine coast toward the postseason, it brings a smile to the face. That’s precisely the sort of thing we need to see out of our remaining starters right now, because anything Beachy adds must be considered a bonus at this point.

Success! followed up the solid leadoff hitting of the last two nights with, well, uno sombrero de oro (Failure!), but The Reason picked him up by hitting two doubles (and BMac was 2-for-4). JUp managed two bloopy-looking, lucky-rather-than-good singles before the contract hit the other 29 Major League teams have put out on Braves players came due once again, in the guise of a Jimenez fastball off Upton’s left hand. X-rays were negative and the (“he’s just a”) JUpster (“for your love”) (what, nobody remembers Marc Bolan and T-Rex?) is day-to-day with a contusion, which is lucky for Ubaldo because there’s gonna be some serious Jets-Sharks action all up in somebody’s face if one more of our guys goes down to the DL because yet another adrenaline-filled pitcher “loses” one of his pitches and, like, literally cracks some poor Brave’s skull open. I mean, for crying out loud. “Tonight, tonight/I’ll break your jaw tonight…”

Other events of note: Dan “Running Out of Excuses” Uggla continued his torrid return from LASIK surgery by going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Cleveland had some scattered chances, but they didn’t come close to cashing most of them in; only David Carpenter ruined what would have been Atlanta’s second shutout of the Tribe in three nights by coming in in the 8th and promptly serving up a gopher ball to Lonnie Chisenhall, who is apparently no relation to Lonnie Smith. On the other end of the ‘awesome” scale, Craig Kimbrel notched his 43rd save while lowering his ERA to a blistering 0.97.  I said God-damn.

Sweeps are good for the soul. Now let’s break out the chum and go fishing.

(Magic number: 17)

66 thoughts on “The Bourn Inferiority: Indians 1, Braves 3”

  1. To continue the discussion from the previous thread, I’ve come to the rationalization that a tomahawk symbol is similar to a team named “Knights” or “Crusaders” using a sword.

    That being said, if the upper management awoke tomorrow, said, “This must change now,” dropped the Native American iconography and the plural from their name and just decided to be the “Atlanta Brave,” I wouldn’t be bothered — even though there’d be plenty of mocking of MLB’s only singular nickname, which despite its surface cheesiness, I would argue is still a better moniker than “Metropolitans,” “Nationals,” “Athletics,” or either color of “Sox.” At least “Brave” wound stand for a strong and noble sentiment, rather than something as trite as clothing.

    All that matters to me is that the primary home hat remains the same. There is nothing better than the blue cap, red bill and white “A,” and I am fortunate to be in a job where I can wear it daily, win, lose or day off.

  2. I pretty much agree, but the relevant argument is that ours isn’t the perspective that counts. Which I can see the merits of.

  3. Funny, I was listening to the sounds of old T. Rex just the other day—“Electric Warrior.”

    BTW, that was one crazy SEC opener tonight…

  4. I really don’t want to belabor the point, because we’ve gone here plenty of times before, and the subject is pretty tired. But, using a tomahawk is not much akin to a Crusaders team using a sword. I mean, they were people who fought, and those are weapons they may have used, sure. But unless those Crusaders went to play in Palestine or something, I think you’re only looking at half of the issue. Maybe more akin to a team being called the Mississippi Captives or something.

    We have a cultural mythology that surrounds Native Americans that has little to nothing to do with reality. A mythology that first cast them in the role of savage, as it was necessary for them to be so if we, as civilized people, were to accept our collective course in exterminating them. And as they were properly vanquished “savage” slowly evolved to “noble savage,” by where we remember them as brave and worthy opponents, now that they pose no threat and we have what we came for.

    You are standing on Indian land. Our nation’s standing in the world was built on the abundance of this land. To this very day, we’re taught in school about “manifest destiny,” and we learn about Native Americans mostly in terms of the danger they posed to white settlers. Maybe we touch on the “Trail of Tears,” but I don’t think its properly explained that the ones who were “removed” were the exceptions; the ones who weren’t just killed on the spot. Our national heroes, the people we celebrate on our money participated in a veritable genocide. I guess Thomas Jefferson proposed that we “cause them to become so indebted as to encourage them to sell” the land. But we all should know what Jackson did, and Lincoln personally signed off on the extermination of women and children in the Dakotas in 1862.

    But I digress. My point is, we got this land through the organized extermination of the peoples who already lived on it. If you don’t feel guilty about that, that is PERFECTLY fine. I get that, I don’t expect anyone to. But if we aren’t going to look honestly at our own quest for “liebensraum” can we at least stop trotting out the mythology we developed to accompany it?

    We aren’t the “Redskins,” and we dropped our own Chief Wahoo type imagery, so I don’t think we’re prime offenders here. But the tomahawk, the chop, the chant.. it’s from a John Wayne version of history. Its embarrassing, and if it isn’t offensive to Native Americans, a poll to which effect always gets trotted out, it’s in part because they’ve come to expect no better.

    Keep the name. But stop acting like it’s a tribute and treating it like a cartoon.

  5. @5 – Sorry but I disagree. I respect and understand your opinion, but I just can’t get too worked up about it one way or the other – I think we are way too sensitive in this area and as someone has said about marriage, a pancake generally has two sides. This is the closest I’ll delve into politics and I won’t discuss it anymore. More importantly, it’s okay to disagree and we can still agree to root for the Braves. Go Barves!

  6. To follow up on jjschiller’s excellent post @5, I’d suggest folks take a look at Phil Deloria’s excellent study Playing Indian. There is in fact a very long history of Americans dressing up and performing “Indianness,” from the anti-British days of regulators and Tea Partiers to early 20th century summer camps to more modern day concerts and sporting events. It’s deeply eye opening, and as the best history is, remarkably disconcerting.

    check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Playing-Indian-Historical-Publications-Series/dp/0300080670/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377871093&sr=8-1&keywords=playing+indian

  7. Please let’s just agree to disagree and get off politics. Will the Braves win 100 this year? They will have to go 19-10 in their remaining games to do it – not a terribly high bar.

  8. 19-10 is a .655 wpct. That’s actually a fairly high bar.

    On changing the subject – how about that Tebow guy?

  9. So, news is that the Indians have worked out a deal to take Jason Kubel off the Dbacks’ hands – Indians will get Kubel in exchange for a yet-to-be-identified minor leaguer.

  10. I made the mistake of listening to the TV announcers on the broadcast last night. They honestly were trying to say that Kimbrell was a better Cy Young and MVP candidate than Kershaw. It basically boiled down to Kershaw’s W-L record not being good enough. Both Simpson and Glavine were on board, Chip just said nothing…

    I mean, I can’t stand the Dodgers, but when a pitcher is leading the league in innings pitched, with an ERA just above 1, his W-L record is not the important thing.

  11. @15
    I was hoping to land Kubel, but after diving a bit deeper into his stats this year, it might be good we didn’t…

    1. His .308 babip suggest he hasn’t been unlucky.
    2. His 30% K rate is downright Uggla-esque
    3. His LF defense is worse than anything we’ve put out there since Garret Anderson.
    4. He’s not even hitting lefties well.

    I’m not sure there’s a real upgrade out there for the bench currently on roster unless Ben Zobrist all of a sudden comes available (of which I know he’s not…).

    @16
    2 words…radio overlay.

  12. @16

    That was painful to listen to. One of these days I’d like to see someone try to explain FIP or WAR to these guys and just see if their heads explode.

  13. @17
    I usually listen to music while I watch the game. But I was working on my son’s costume for DragonCon, so I left the sound on.

    Kershaw right now is in peak-Pedro/peak-Maddux territory. It’s crazy how much better he is than everyone else.

  14. My favorite thing was the other day when they were talking about Simmons and the Gold Glove and Dale mentioned that they were introducing new stats into the equation, and Joe’s immediate reaction was the flip out and say that it was crap because coaches could see with their own eyes who was the best. Joe clearly doesn’t know that those new stats make it even more clear that Andrelton is having a historically good season.

  15. @20: It was worse than that. Joe argues that even *telling* the voters dWAR numbers corrupted the process.

    My method still has the Braves at 100 wins (give or take) given the home games remaining and who they’re against.

  16. @5 – I do think it’s of paramount importance whether or not the cultural group in question is actually offended. When I come across this topic, it’s usually (actually) people of European heritage who are taking up the banner for this fight. A more frequent encounter with this topic centered on the Redskins who I think are an interesting case. As far as the Braves are concerned, I don’t hear too much about their name these days.

    How do you feel about all the sports teams that use the Cherokees for a team name?

  17. @25 Yep, it’s just another ridiculous expression of white guilt. Stop treating everyone not like you with kid gloves. It’s not any less insulting to them than treating everyone not like you poorly.

    The day I take this crap seriously is the day the same people bringing it up are equally vehement about “Fighting Irish.”

  18. @5, There’s a lot to like and agree with in your post (and some to quibble and disagree with, but as you said, this topic has been beaten to death previously). One thing I feel the need to clarify is the following:

    “We have a cultural mythology that surrounds Native Americans that has little to nothing to do with reality. A mythology that first cast them in the role of savage, as it was necessary for them to be so if we, as civilized people, were to accept our collective course in exterminating them.”

    It’s certainly true that there later manifested a compulsion to push Indians off their native lands and even, in many cases, exterminate them through genocide. But the original colonists of the Virginia Colony and the Mayflower Pilgrims did not come here with any notion of “exterminating” the native populace. Though the first 75+ years after Englishmen stepped foot on the shores of North America was marked with random bouts of violence and aggression (from both sides), it was also full of countless more examples of working together, friendship and shared humanity.

    It was the policy of both Sir Walter Raleigh and the Pilgrims to treat the Indians well and work with them (and I’ll add that there was no “so we can later exterminate them and steal their lands” written in code in those early documents and letters). They knew that as European pioneers in a new world completely alien to them, they’d have to have the help and good favor of the Indians, and they set about trying in their own clunky and sometimes counterproductive ways to do just that.

    The word “coexist” is offered up as a virtue on many a car’s bumper, and the original colonists and the Indians did just that for an exceedingly long period of time. The achievements of particularly the Pilgrims to hold down a sustained period of amity – for decades until the outbreak of King Philip’s War – with the Indians shouldn’t be overlooked, and it’s a slander against them to describe them as imperialists bent on genocide.

  19. I’m quite tempted to quote some of John Smith’s comments about/descriptions of the Powhatan, but will refrain, for a variety of sound reasons.

    Instead, I’d like to point out that Fangraphs gives every other team currently in first place in its division better odds of winning the World Series than the Braves.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/coolstandings.aspx?type=2&lg=div

  20. It’s pretty understandable that most folks wouldn’t find the notion of a foreign people coming into their land to “coexist” with them a particular virtue.

  21. @28 I’ve been looking over Fangraphs’ Playoff odds as well – their system credits the Braves with a 99.9% chance of winning the division, but assesses our odds of winning the NLDS, NLCS and WS at 48.3%, 20.0% and 6.9%, respectively. That means Fangraphs sees us as a slight underdog in the NLDS, a substantial underdog in the NLCS (41.4% chance of winning that series) and if we reach the WS, an even longer shot there (34.5%). Overall, Fangraphs thinks the top AL teams (Boston, Detroit) are heavy favorites to win it all.

    I can’t tell exactly what’s going on with Fangraphs’ system but it appears they are 1) down on the Braves’ offense relative to its performance to date b/c it’s missing Heyward, and 2) expect the team’s runs allowed to rise too b/c we’ve outperformed our FIP so far. As to 1) I expect our odds would jump back up if JHey returned for the playoffs, and as to 2), have they met Andrelton Simmons?

  22. @28 Can’t say I really disagree with their WS%. Jason Heyward went down. Brandon Beachy has suffered a set back. The Braves play in the weakest division in baseball.

    Let’s face it, whichever team manages to click on more cylinders than the others is going to the World Series. That fact never changes, and Atlanta is rolling a lot of dice in the form of players who could pick it up several notches.

  23. @5, etc, etc, etc –

    Yeah, it was like 5 AM and I couldn’t sleep. I probably shouldn’t have even gone here. I appreciate those that say they agree with me. I appreciate and respect the opinions and the people that disagree with me.

    I’m not going to chase this one down the rabbit hole. But I will respond to Grst, who can’t seem to understand that anyone could possibly think differently from him and NOT be of questionable intelligence, seriousness, or morality.

    I’m not suggesting we handle anyone with “kid gloves.” The exact opposite, actually. I’m suggesting that we stop “handling” people altogether. Where “stop trotting out our atrocities on football helmets” becomes “coddling” is where your argument lost me. (Was there an argument in there?)

    I’m just stating my preference. I’m fine with the name. I’d prefer we stop trotting out the cartoon stuff. I loved it when I was 8 in 1992. But I gave a lot of things up for better taste since I was 8, and I can walk away from this one, too. I’m not boycotting the team over it or anything. It came up, so I thought I’d express, and explain the reason for, my personal opinion.

    And at the expense of being accused of “Everyone after me: Stop talking politics” with this, I’d really like to just back away from it.

  24. @31 Seriously? I mean…seriously? Wow. /massivehistoryfail

    @32 I’ve just come to accept the fact that, from Spring Training onward, no one outside the Braves’ fanbase has given the Braves a chance. No one. They were dazzled by Strasburg and Harper, and then Kershaw and Puig, and then Molina and Shelby Miller and McCutcheon, on and on. No matter how many homers we hit or games we won, they’ve assumed we’re going to fold when it counts.

    And you know what? I’m okay with that, most of the time. I don’t really blame them. Ever since ’96, this team has a habit of failing at points earlier and earlier in the postseason. Even the Infield Fly fiasco last year seemed somehow to justify our bad luck. If I weren’t a Braves fan, I don’t know that I’d give us a great shot either, especially without Hudson, Beachy or Heyward.

    But I am a Braves fan. And so I will cling to the possibility. Because if there’s one thing we in Braves Country (and Braves World) have learned, it is the wisdom of Billy Beane’s comment, “My shit doesn’t work in the playoffs.” It’s a crapshoot. And if the 83-win Cardinals could stumble in (with zero momentum) and win it all, then nobody can tell me we can’t.

    (Also, with ten teams in the tournament, each team only starts with a 10% chance on average of winning it all anyway — irrespective of other data, which of course do matter — so 6.9% doesn’t sound so bad to me. I’ll take it.)

  25. @37-
    Well, a priori, it’s more that 6 teams start out with a 12.5% chance to win and the other 4 (which play an extra round) have half that.

    I do think it’s clear that the AL is the stronger league this year. They have fewer absolutely awful teams. And the NL East is probably the weakest division in the game pending the recent Nationals revival. (I’ve got an office mate who legitimately think they’ve got a chance to make the playoffs. I mean, weirder things have happened, and a lot of their guys are playing a lot better now…. And all they really need is a collapse out of one of the NL Central clubs and then they’re right in the mix. But I remain pretty skeptical.)

    IMO, I don’t think 6% is too far off. I can’t wait to root for the Braves in the playoffs, but I have no faith in Uggla, BJ, or Andrelton to hit a lick. Maybe I’ll feel differently if Uggla crushes a few HRs, but otherwise, it just looks like a weak lineup, especially with the way Regression has been regressing lately. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll go to war with Heyward, Freeman, McCann, and JUpton any day of the week. But someone else is going to need to be there in the playoffs, and right now, we’re not even sure if Hewyard’s gonna be able to go. Lots question marks, and that’s before we even get to the two rookies (who I’m actually not that worried about) who will be starting meaningful playoff games for us. TBH, I think we’ll just lean heavily on the bullpen and trust in the frequent off-days afforded by the playoff schedule to get us through on the pitching side.

  26. @38 & @39 Good points. I forgot about the home field thing (although that’s in no way wrapped up). I’m feeling more optimistic already. ;-)

  27. @37, Seriously. You know, this is a hot button topic as proven by previous attempts to discuss it, which devolved into unpleasantness. It’s been very gracious of the mods to give latitude for the current discussion to occur. One way to keep the dialogue open is not to resort to over excitement and disrespect to your fellow posters, if not because you want to coexist peacefully with them, but at least as a kindness for the folks who run this place and don’t want any undue headaches. In other words, why can’t you adopt a nicer tone?

    My comments refer explicitly to the line I highlighted from jjschiller, and mostly is in reference to the Mayflower Pilgrims than the Virginia Colony, I’m pretty well-read on the subject, but also understand that different people look at history in different ways for different reasons, and thus don’t get indignant just because others might not look at things as I do. Try it! It leads to better discussions and lower blood pressure!

  28. I’m not sure the playoff AL teams are demonstrably better than their NL counterparts. There isn’t really a juggernaut out there this year.

  29. I was looking around for stats to support my toungue in cheek ‘Is Andrelton the Second Coming of Ozzie Smith?’ post.

    I went to Fangraphs, and disvoered that A.S. is T342 with 7.5 Career dWAR.

    That’s the *ALL TIME* dWAR list.

    In 177 games played after last night.

    177.

    For reference, Ozzie is #1 with 43.4 dWAR in 2573 games. If you take the rate in which A.S. is racking up the dWAR (yeah, yeah, I know that’s probably not the way to project it, but I’m just spitballing here…), and multiply it by 2573, you get…ready?…

    109.02 dWAR.

    Holy shit.

  30. Really sorry for bringing up the topic in the first place. My dislike for the chop/chant is not political. I think it’s just tired and lame.

    Vandy / Ole Miss was pretty exciting last night. Can’t wait for the weekend.

  31. Simmons is surrounded on the list by players who have played for a decade or more. They have Andrelton listed at 2 years, and I suppose that’s probably right, but he’s got 177 games which is barely into his second season.

    Looking down the list, the next closest person I saw with 5 or less than years service time was Darwin Barney at 6.0 dWAR and 4 years and matt Weiters at 5 seasons (also a 6.0). I wonder if we can get Wren to trade for Barney and see if we could set a record for ground outs recorded?

  32. I’m about to write a longish, nerdy piece on WS odds, but I want to wait until the participants are a little more clear. Suffice it to say that the Braves are fairly well positioned, if not as the favorite at the moment (that would be the Tigers) well above the average.

  33. Can Simeon explain to me how “POFF” is calculated? I look at it as a joke stat, but am curious what the basis for the number is

  34. It seems like with all of the interleague play, there could at least be a strong hint on the relative quality of the top AL teams.

    In raw W-L, it’s 143-130, which is hardly dominant. If the AL were more lopsided, that should show up in each team’s W-L record. If anything, it looks like the NL is less balanced with a big gap after the top five teams, so I don’t see why the Braves aren’t a favorite in any potential WS.

    Maybe it’s the division thing. I guess that could skew the numbers some.

    Anyway, my point is having more awful teams means your top teams should be better unless there’s a huge difference in interleague wins, which there isn’t.

  35. #42
    I’m perfectly thrilled to roll the dice against almost any club in the post-season, in either league. But I think the Tigers might be the Keyser Söze of the AL, the one team I’d prefer never to see again.

    I’m not saying that I’m completely cowed from our early-season Motown rubout—-a 3-game sweep that saw ATL outscored 25-7. That was back in April. But Detroit is still only club that has completely blown us off the field, and they’re still really good.

    They’re #1 in the AL in runs, average, OPB, SLG & OPS. They’re #2 in HRs. They have the 3rd-fewest strikeouts. That lineup is brutal.

    Pitching, they’re #2 in the AL, including #1 for starters. They’ve given up the least amount of HRs. They’re #1 in Ks. Sanchez & Scherzer are having phenomenal years, while (a suddenly unpredictable) Verlander may still be MLB’s most-feared Game 3 starter.

    The glaring possible weakness? They’re #13 in the AL in relief.

  36. I think we’re underdogs because we lack the flashy hard-throwing/nasty starters that some of the other contenders can roll out there for games 1 and 2. People view our guys (not sure who would even be in my “top 2”) as a notch below Verlander/Scherzer and Kershaw/Greinke and Wainwright/whoever …

    We’ve all heard the arguments before – having a deep rotation and bullpen is great for the regular season and doesn’t matter nearly as much in the playoffs. The 4 and 5 starters probably shouldn’t even pitch in the postseason except in long relief. The bullpen doesn’t matter if you can’t get a lead.

    I think it always come down to whether we can get lucky and get some timely hits. Usually we don’t. Maybe this year we can.

  37. I’ve been around this team enough seasons to buy into the idea that the playoff odds should include an automatic Braves discount. Seems accurate based on experience.

    This regular season, injuries aside, has been great fun and I’ll remember this team no matter what comes up in the crapshoot. I like these guys. I’m just cynical about playoffs vis-a-vis Braves.

  38. @54, Verlander has been fading. Miggy is hurting. They do look great statistically, and they are without a doubt the team I’d least like to see – but they certainly haven’t run away from the AL, and have a terrible 1 run/extra inning record. A tall order, but not unpossible

  39. Tonight’s game is must-see-tv (even if ItWasOnlyTheFish) – first look at the electric Jose Fernandez. I’ll set the over/under on K’s at 11.

  40. @56: I hear this a lot, but why? Go back to the odds before. A really dominant team has no more than about a 20 percent chance of winning the WS. And that’s a really dominant team. Again 10-13 percent is going to be fair odds for a randomly selected pretty good team. that means that if you win 14 divisions in a row, you really shouldn’t be expected to win more than 2 WS. So we’ve underpeformed. By 1. That’s just flat out random. If Mark Wohlers blows one by Leyritz, we’re at 2. If Lonnie Smith knows how to run bases or Charlie Liebrandt has a little more control, we’re at 3. Billy Beane is right — It’s a crap shoot.

  41. If it’s really a crap shoot, all the more reason to make sure only the most worthy teams are in the postseason.

  42. @55 I think #1 is probably pretty easy. It’s Minor. By a pretty good margin. He has irrefutably handed in the best season of any of our starters.

    The next guy is a little more questionable, but I feel Julio Teheran has definitely been our second best starter. I like his big game potential, too. I could see him blanking any playoff team through 7 IP and racking up the K’s. He has an aggressive mentality, but it’s also that same mentality that could be his undoing if his game isn’t on. It’s a risk.

    Kris Medlen is a shoe in. It’s the fourth guy that I believe is a bigger debate. Maholm or Wood? Or possibly… Beachy?… Eh…

  43. @63, I would start Wood game 3. I feel like he has a slight advantage over the others in that he’s got a funky delivery and most teams haven’t seem him pitch much. His stuff is as good as anyone on the team. I know it’s not the safest thing to do, and it would leave Fredi/Wren open to criticism if it blows up, but that’s what I’d do.

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