Braves 5 Fish 2

No matter what happens over the next two months, this is one of my all time favorite Braves teams. If you blink, you will totally miss something. If you give this team a chance to do something, they usually make you pay. Monday’s game over the Marlins was no exception.

The Braves had five runs on five hits, all coming in the fourth inning. El Oso Blanco (2), Regression and Elliot Johnson all drove in runs.  If the playoffs started today, I think Johnson should be the starting second baseman.

Kris Medlen went six and a third walking two and striking out six. The Kraken was released in the ninth and lowered his ERA to 0.92.

Good news all around as the magic number is eight and Jason Heyward will take BP on Friday.  It looks like the earliest the Braves could clinch would be Friday as well.

106 thoughts on “Braves 5 Fish 2”

  1. I agree with that opening sentence sentiment. Between Andrelton and Gattis and Kimbrel and Teheran, it’s been a really fun team to watch the whole season. Plenty of frustration there, too, but I’ll take it. I’m looking forward to rooting for these guys in the post-season. I hope the hot bats show up. :-)

  2. I agree as well that it has been a fun season so far. Also a weird one. Back in March when I thought of this team being success!ful I had visions of Heyward & Justin Upton battling for league MVP, a dominant bullpen led by Kimbrel AND Venters and EOF, and a bounce-back season for Uggla.

    Sure didn’t follow that recipe, but wins are wins and it has been fun. I’ll be the first to admit that Shafer, Johnson and Minor have silenced this critic with their play through 5.5 months.

  3. Agreed. And add to that the tremendous pleasant surprise that C Johnson, Alex Wood, Avilan, Carpenter, Schafer, Laird etc have been. A team full of unexpected contributors that still has the best record in the game. It’s been a fun season.

  4. Only complaint: I hate how this team now throws its bats and helmets and barks at umpires. Quit acting like dicks, guys.

  5. I like these Barves too!

    My previous favorite Braves team of my living-in-Atlanta years (2005 – ) was the ’10 team, but in retrospect they were all duck tape and chewing gum. Live by the Brooks Conrad, etc.

    This team is really well constructed and has a shocking amount of depth. They hit for power. They pitch well. Andrelton Simmons covers the whole field by himself. They’re fun to watch. I like you, 2013 Braves. I know you’ll disappoint me in the playoffs, but I like you anyway!

  6. This is a great team but there is the caveat that our division rivals have totally sucked this year. I love that so much of the unexpected good, like Johnson, Gattis, Success!, Pena, etc has happened. It really has offset the unexpected bad like BJ, Uggla (well it was sort of unexpected), Heyward’s first half and then his injury, McCann out a month. Other teams couldn’t have survived the injury and poor performance that this team has had this season. Well done Mr. Wren. (and you are one lucky bastard as well)

  7. Braves expected to “carry” the lineup this year:

    Heyward – Sucked for half the year, missed a month+
    Upton – Very streaky. Overall an important contributer
    Freeman – Missed a month
    McCann – Missed a month+
    BJ – Sucked
    Uggla – Sucked

    And yet, still in 1st place.

  8. Oh, man. I totally forgot about Pena and how much I was enjoying having him around. He turned out to be a real nice piece. I hope he can pick up where he left off next April!

  9. I don’t know if I really believed Simmons would hit 15+ home runs this season, but I am proud to say I voted for that option in the poll.

    I would think the window to lock him up long term at any kind of a discount is now until spring training. After he wins the NL MVP next year we are pretty much screwed.

  10. Simmons has been a pleasant surprise. I know some were predicting him to emerge as a good bat, but the power is really an interesting quality I was not expecting of him. I think the hope was for him to hit closer to .280 with a decent OBP this year.

    Regardless, Simmons is probably our MVP. I like Gordon Freeman and Justin Upton, but Simmons is every day value with the glove.

  11. @14- To be fair, it’s hard to weigh defensive contributions. I don’t even follow the progress with defensive metrics, but I know enough to understand Fangraphs and appreciate the stats that highlight good defenders contributions. The problem for defensive value is probably a mixture of ignorance and disinterest among fans to prioritize defensive contributions and refine the accuracy of those stats. A guy like Simmons routinely takes base hits away from opposing hitters, but that is likely to never be an easy stat to count without some subjectivity. It should be easy to show his value, but not everyone will agree with the process that quantifies it.

  12. Biggest surprise this year?

    Chris Johnson
    BJ Upton sucking SO bad.
    Evan Gattis
    Success! – I can’t even remember this guys real name. ;)
    Bullpen – Venters and O’Flaherty (remember him?)
    Uggla’s full on transformation to Gorman Thomas?
    Minor becoming our ace.
    Elliot Johnson
    David Carpenter
    Jordan Walden

  13. Nice group. The middling guys pick up for the high-priced guys. And Chris Johnson’s year has been like finding a $100 bill in a taxi cab.

    The 2014 schedule is out. We open in Milwaukee, close in Philadelphia.

    Our road AL games are Boston (May 28-29), Houston (June 24-26), Seattle (Aug 5-6) & Texas (Sept 12-14). Travel Notice: Only the Rangers series happens on a weekend.

  14. Looks like I’ll be taking some vacation time for the Seattle games! Been waiting for the Bravos to return.

    @17- You were surprised by Mike Minor? I would easily consider him one of the 10 best starting pitchers in baseball since the midway point of last season.

  15. @19 – I see what you mean. But I thought, that while he couldn’t sustain the run he had in 2012, Medlen would be the stopper.

    Does Teheran count as a surprise?

  16. Man Wren is just brilliant, right?

    Chris Johnson – a throw in.
    Jordan Walden – a body for a salary dump
    Elliot Johnson – really?????
    Schafer – I mean, REALLY!? The guy was CUT BY THE HOUSTON ASTROS!
    Carpenter – the guy had an 8.07 ERA in 2012

  17. I’m more willing to ignore the “…..but the NL East sucked” argument because this team has been a great cause of suckage for the other teams. Especially the Nats. But not the Mets for whatever reason.

  18. I caught Jim and Don talking about the game just before I got home last night, and heard them talking about Fredi, who said he’s putting “the best team on the field” from now until October. Shortly after that, lineups were published, with E. Johnson and Success! playing, while Uggs and BJ sat the bench. I may be reading too much into that, but it may be a message.

  19. We should do a poll of the biggest surprise of the year. I think the candidates should be Teheran, Johnson, Gattis, Walden, and Carpenter.

    My vote is for Johnson.

  20. Wait, do people think that Elliot Johnson doesn’t suck? Because he sucks. Being better than Uggla right now doesn’t make him not suck.

  21. Has to be Johnson, right? Teheran, Gattis, and Walden were all to some degree projectable based on what we knew about them. They’ve all been on the high side of their projection, but within range.

    Carpenter has been way above anything you’d have projected for him but we’ve seen the “live bullpen arm comes to Atlanta and figures some things out” story a few times. In that sense, it’s not as surprising.

    But Johnson figured to be a warm body to platoon at third and instead turned into the NL batting average leader and an effective replacement for Chipper freakin’ Jones. Has to be him.

  22. Fredi’s seething hatred for Uggla and BJ continues:

    1. Schafer CF
    2. J Upton RF
    3. Freeman 1B
    4. Gattis LF
    5. McCann C
    6. C. Johnson 3B
    7. Simmons SS
    8. E. Johnson 2B
    9. Teheran p

  23. @29- Isn’t he basically doing in Atlanta what he did last season?? I don’t understand the love for E. Johnson and hope that this is meant to light a fire under Dan Uggla and get his bat producing.

    I’m no fan of seeing suckage in the playoffs (see also: Don doesn’t want Masuckem (Maholm…) in the playoff rotation), but Uggla could be the exception if he can get some timely hits to go along with his walks and homeruns…

  24. Jerry Crasnick and Keith Law each wrote pieces analyzing exactly what’s been good about the Braves.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/9655198/postseason-not-fun-braves
    http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/keith-law/post/_/id/1273/a-secret-to-atlantas-success

    Crasnick’s point: Don’t count the Braves out just because their offense is inconsistent. They’ve been a really good team and the playoffs are a crapshoot.

    Law’s point: the Braves have gotten a ton of value from players that they essentially got for nothing, which is something they’ve been good at for a while. (He also gets in a nice dig at the Mariners, who gave up on both Eric O’Flaherty and Anthony Varvaro.)

  25. At least Elliot Johnson is a good defensive player. Guess if we can’t hit at second base at least we will catch it.

  26. @35- It’s hard to say whether E. Johnson is more productive than Dan Uggla. A glance at Fangraphs suggests Uggla is 0.9 WAR to E. Johnson’s 0.1, but playing time could be the difference there.

    The question is: Are the Braves better off with E. Johnson starting in the playoffs or Dan Uggla when he can at least get some base hits?

  27. I was talking about strictly defense. If the guy who is supposed to hit is ice cold you might as well play the superior defensive option.

  28. E. Johnson seems like he can catch the ball & turn the DP just fine, and he’s gotten a couple of big hits along the way. At this point, we may be getting the best-case scenario from him.

    Just Offensive: Since returning on Aug. 28, Uggla is 4 for 30 with 9 BBs and 0 XBHs.

    For the year, he has 21 HRs & 71 BBs, but (including his time off for LASIK) he hasn’t hit a HR since July 25, hasn’t gotten an XBH since July 30.

    Tough time for Uggnutz.

    #39
    Yeah, I think Girardi reached a little breaking point last night. That Sawx series really gutted them.

    And don’t forget that Buck hates the Yankees. He’s taken a few shots at them the last couple years. I’m not sure that whole thing escalates if the O’s are playing Tampa.

  29. I think B.J. gets to that ball. Jordan’s not even an average corner outfielder, so running him in out there in center in one of the most cavernous outfields in the majors is a really awful idea.

  30. Ouch.

    So much easier when you can just pitch around Stanton.

    #53
    Only one really hard-hit ball that inning. I think he’s OK. It’s just the number of pitches.

  31. If any of you guys have not seen Elliot Johnson’s interview on Intentional Talk yesterday, it’s pretty funny. He cracks himself up at times, which is rather amusing. They played some footage of him tearing his face up with a slide into home last year, as well as some of him and BJ singing together when they were on the Rays. This is also what prompted him to post that picture on Twitter of Laird and Uggla that Freeman photobombed.

    http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?content_id=30468981

  32. 64- Well, Gattis drove in runs in two different innings on Sunday, so why not tonight? (It’s now been three days and five scoring innings since anyone but Gattis drove in the first run of an inning for us.)

  33. Sorry, Paul. You shoulda predicted that they’d strike out and pop out… since that’s what they usually do and that way you can only be pleasantly surprised.

  34. Ayala vs. Giancarlo? Forgive me for not being filled with optimism.

    EDIT: Reverse jinx. It’s a beautiful thing.

  35. Schafer being walked to face BJ. What a world we live in.

    Also, clearly, Schafer is the most surprising Brave this season. Regression always had his LD%/BABIP skills going for him. Minor began his transformation last season. Carpenter’s story is one we’ve seen before.

  36. BJ is the biggest surprise in 2013 and it’s not even close. Lots of people first-guessed the 5 year deal and saw the declining trends in his stats, but absolutely nobody could’ve predicted *this*. I’m tired of talking about him and really am rooting for him to figure it out, but … just damn.

  37. Why is Uggla being used as a defensive replacement with Janish on the bench? Elliot Johnson has been moved to LF to replace Gattis. The Marlins crew just expressed mock amazement that Uggla would be in on defense late.

  38. How could anyone be more surprising than BJ Upton? Schafer has been okay, but he has regressed since June. He’ll be OPS-ing around .650 by the playoffs.

  39. This is the playoff time, and I like how Fredi decides to play the hot bats in September rather then overplaying loyalty. I guess 2011 is really a good learning experience for him. Let’s wrap up the divisional title asap.

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