Braves 4, Fish 3

The Braves won! Guess there wasn’t a recap, because it’s September and the Marlins and who cares. But the Braves still have the best record in the NL and are getting largely ignored by the national media (I mean, have you HEARD of those Red Sox?!) so you know that means the playoffs are almost here.


Let this be tonight’s game thread, and let me start it off by asking what you think is the most important thing for the Braves over the remainder of the regular season. Actually, it’s obviously Jason Heyward’s healthy return to the lineup. So most important besides that.

74 thoughts on “Braves 4, Fish 3”

  1. It would be nice to have BJ or Uggla (or both) figure things out but I think the Braves have figured out how to work around their deficiencies by now. It would also be nice for all the position and bench players (Success! I’m looking at you) to figure out how to remain healthy for the rest of the year but again, I think the Braves have figured out by now how to roll with any number of seemingly catastrophic injuries. On the other hand, I think the pitching is getting close to be tapped out so for me the most important thing is for all of the pitchers, starting and bullpen, to remain healthy and functional until we are done.

  2. In descending order of importance:

    (1) Heyward return, both physically and in his batting timing.
    (2) No new injuries.
    (3) Picking a playoff lineup, whether that means going with hot hands or trying to turn cold hands hot. Other than perhaps some rest, you shouldn’t be playing Elliot Johnson at second regularly unless you intend to use Elliot Johnson at second in the playoffs.
    (4) Getting the pitching lined up in the order you want for the Division Series
    (5) Home field advantage
    (6) Making sure the Waffle House has a sufficient supply of potatoes.

  3. 1 Heyward
    2 The pitching to be lights out and someone become a true ace
    3 No more injuries
    4 Get home field
    5 One of BJ or Uggla to be the BJ or Uggla we signed to massive contracts

  4. I confess that I’ve never understood Fredi’s positioning of players in the #2 hole, at least this year. Unlike Prado, neither Heyward nor J. Upton are what I would call a prototypical #2 hitter (work the count, hit behind the runner, etc.). Why hasn’t Fredi tried C. Johnson, an excellent contact hitter, in that role? Too many strikeouts?

  5. After Heyward’s healthy return, the most important thing is for Minor, Teheran, and Medlen to be 2013’s version of Glavine, Smoltz, and Avery.

  6. Over the rest of the regular season, in addition to getting Heyward healed and back at the top of the lineup, the Braves should:
    1. Pitch post season starters only enough to keep them ready and little enough to get them rested;
    2. Do the same for back end of bullpen (Kimbrel, Avilan, Carpenter & Walden).
    3. Let Downs heal.
    4. Keep Gattis in the lineup getting regular at bats.

  7. Lineup:

    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 Minor P

    “Day to day” for Justin means “he’ll be back in tomorrow night”. Hope he’s feeling all right!

  8. @4 Heyward seems to fit your prototype quite well. He’s a lefty, so anything he pulls will generally be “behind the runner.” And he sees on average more than 4 pitches per AB, with league average being ~3.8. The only Braves that see more pitchers per AB are Uggla, JUpton, McCann and Schafer (And Terdo so far, but SSS). CJ is below league average.

  9. Justin must be alright if he’s playing tonight. It’s kind of hard to bench Elliot while he’s hitting .280 with us. It’s empty, but he plays good D and can run the bases well.

  10. @4, it might be simpler: maybe Fredi isn’t moving Chris radically high up in the lineup because he doesn’t want to rock the boat on Johnson’s best season ever. He might be worried that Johnson would change his approach if he was moved that high in the lineup.

  11. #11
    Yep, for the season, E. Johnson is 18/18 in SBs, including 4/4 with ATL. A good pinch-runner in a big post-season spot can be valuable.

  12. Freddy Garcia is starting tomorrow in place of Wood and Hale is starting Friday in place of Maholm who’s getting an MRI on the elbow.

  13. The sabermetric approach is to put your best hitter in the #2 spot. Fredi has been putting first Heyward then Jupton in that spot. I don’t think Freddie has hit there, though. But it appears that Fredi is taking the sabermetric approach in that regard for the most part.

  14. Hale is starting Friday in place of Maholm who’s getting an MRI on the elbow.

    Say hello to your #5 starter for the remainder of the season: Freddy Garcia.

  15. I believe Fredi uses the 1 and 2-spots in the lineup to cause struggling players to change their approach a bit. It was like a final resort with Heyward when he went to the top of the lineup. Is it a coincidence that when Jason went down, he was finally producing an OPS over 1.000? J.Upton moved to the 2-spot and seemed to finally awaken after a looong slumber at the plate.

    I won’t be surprised if Heyward is back at the lead off spot in October. In fact, I want him leading off, and I want J. Upton hitting in the 2-spot. Let’s pound some ace pitching from the get-go.

  16. Yep.

    @ajcbraves: Maholm has felt some elbow soreness so #Braves have flown him back to ATL for a dye contrast MRI. Hale will start in his place Friday.

  17. Milestone last night: Julio Teheran’s 13th career victory last night ties him for the winningest all-time pitcher from Colombia. His 11 career hits put him in the Top 10 for Colombian hitters as well.

  18. We UVA grads are upset that UNC-CHeat got off so easy. Now NC wants to go after an agent who gave a Heel player money. The Statute of Limitations has run on UNC-CH.

  19. 1) Justin needs to heat up. When he’s on fire, we don’t lose.
    2) Win home field advantage
    3) I say go with Elliot Johnson. We won in ’95 with the Lemmer

  20. Re: Jeter going on the DL. At this point in the season, what is the purpose of doing that? Just to prevent the temptation of putting him in the lineup?

  21. #29 Sure. But normally you do that to free up a roster spot, which is not a consideration at the moment, right? So is there some technical reason to do it?

  22. I think this is the Yankee’s way of saying that they don’t want Jeter playing short anymore.

    Seriously, who cares about the Yankees, ESPN? Irrelevant.

  23. @26, Depends. The seething hatred Fredi has for those two players shows no sign of abating. But maybe he’ll come to his senses.

  24. #30
    Beats me. He can’t play, so why not the DL?

    I listened to Jeter’s press conference today & it seems that he’ll do his best to heal in the off-season, probably exercise his $9M player option for 2014, come back for one more season, then ride off into the sunset. (If he ever wanted, I’m sure he could be a Yankee manager.)

    If he can play next year, he’ll play SS & DH some. Will he go out bitterly like Posada? We’ll see, but I’m not sure there’s really that much intrigue at this point. There’s a lotta rehab in front of him & he’s gotta put himself in a position to actually play before there’s any final-year controversy.

    Whatever happens next, it’s been quite a run.

  25. SportsCenter does it so much, they should name a segment for it. I call it: “Extreme Close-up Of An Irritated Joe Girardi Answering Questions For Ten Minutes.”

  26. We really need to work counts so we get into the Marlins’ pen. With starts by Garcia and Hale coming up, winning this game would be nice.

  27. Fernandez was angry going back to the dugout, but the Braves had equal reason to be frustrated. Holbrook’s strike zone is fluid. The man is a joke and a crime against baseball for reasons we know.

  28. I don’t get why the Marlins don’t like Stanton. I may feel differently if he were on my team, but I’d take him if they want to get rid of him.

  29. he came on like a wrecking ball
    he never hit so hard till fall
    all he wanted was to break them balls
    smash them off the outfield walls.
    all he ever did was make us
    we, we’ll go where he takes us.

  30. Wow. There’s actual excitement in the Miami stadium. Sucks.

    PS: I was just referring to the excitement of the fans, not the benches clearing. Yikes. CJ, you gotta settle things down, son.

  31. Okay, somebody got right in the middle of the pack at the plate and started jawing at Fernandez but I can’t tell if it was Laird or Fredi.

  32. Classless player, bush-league organization, from Loria on down. He’ll fit right in.

  33. Okay, guys, let’s channel some of that aggression into hitting the baseball, and preferably not hitting them at people.

  34. Fredi arguing the phantom tag at second. I have to think those are going to be a thing of the past once replay gets instituted.

  35. There’s a difference between the neighborhood play and a throw pulling the middle infielder off the bag. Rob Drake apparently doesn’t understand that difference.

  36. @58

    The umpires have proven time and again that as a collective, they don’t understand baseball, period. Fire them all.

  37. According to the Fox Florida broadcasters, the 1B umpire just evoked the infield fly rule on the ball E. Johnson caught.

  38. Chris Johnson was kind of being a jerk, as well. I have no idea what happened to instigate the whole thing (whatever it was was during the top half of the inning), but it devolved quickly into everyone acting like a bunch of assholes.

    I will say that while I’m not generally one to complain about home-run trots (I didn’t see anything wrong in Harper’s the night that unpleasantness started), Fernandez’s trot was absurd, and he obviously had whatever happened the previous half-inning in mind when he did it.

  39. @58, Do you think managers are going to go after the neighborhood variant of the phantom tag when they have replay to overturn it? I don’t see how it can be avoided.

    @62, He also spit on the ground while rounding third. And I don’t think McCann was being an ass. He looked like he was giving some straight truth to Fernandez in a big brotherly kind of way. Hey, isn’t that better than drilling him in the rump?

  40. Personally, I don’t understand why everyone gets so upset about slow trots. Moreover, the slowest I’ve ever seen was Tim Hudson – literally the slowest in baseball two years ago, against the Jays I think? – but nobody from the Braves complained. Funny how that happens.

  41. @63

    I think it’s possible that we’ll see some form of gentleman’s agreement where managers don’t really challenge neighborhood plays. I think it’s equally likely (perhaps slightly more likely) that replay will essentially eliminate the play.

    He stood at the plate (not just walked…stood), he emphatically unfastened his batting gloves while rounding second, and then he spat on third base as he was rounding the bag there. So yeah…a little much. It wasn’t really the speed of the trot, it was all the foolishness he engaged in during it.

  42. There’s talk on twitter that Jose spit in Johnson’s direction when rounding third. I haven’t seen any of it, but a lot of folks are discussing it and saying that’s why Johnson blew up.

  43. Why bring Uggla in to face a deceptive righty like Cishek? Uggla simply can’t see. He let two strikes hit the catcher’s mitt, then flailed wildly at a ball a foot off the plate. It’s sad watching him. Of all our hitters, I’d have brought in Georgie, there. Try for a bunt hit, anything’s better than Uggla’s blind flailing.

  44. @66—something had already gone on between Johnson and Fernandez the previous inning. I don’t know who started it, but Fernandez did spit when he rounded third and that obviously didn’t help matters. Johnson did appear to learn something from his last ejection, though. He ran down to get up in Fernandez’s face, but he got behind the umpire to do so.

    I’ll be curious to hear what the players have to say about the incident.

  45. @66

    He spat on third base as he was passing Johnson and rounding third. What originally started the whole thing, however, was something between Johnson and Fernandez in the top half of the inning. It appeared that Johnson was suggesting that Fernandez couldn’t get his fastball by him or something of the like. It’s still not exactly clear what happened. But whatever it was, what is clear is that Fernandez’s histrionics after the home run were in response to that, and then McCann getting in his face and the bench-clearing thing were in response to the histrionics.

  46. It appears that Fernandez took exception to Gattis’ home run trot or bat flip or whatever, and that’s what started the whole mess. This is according to both Fredi and McCann’s postgame comments afterward. If that’s the case, Chris Johnson being a jerk didn’t really have much to do with it.

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