Braves 6, Dodgers 13

The Texans started out this game the same way they ended the last one, with a pick-6 by Matt Schaub. It was pretty well-timed, too. Chris Collinsworth had just made a joke about Schaub having tied the record for consecutive games with a pick-six with John Elway and Peyton Manning. From there, the game–

Wait, there’s another game I’m supposed to be recapping? Are you sure? I think I’d rather recap Sunday Night Football….

Fine. Whatever. Here ya go. I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY.

The Braves started out the game doing what they needed to to put themselves in a position to win. They scored two runs on singles from Evan Gattis and Chris Johnson. Andrelton left two on, but you felt pretty good. Then Julio Teheran had a rough first inning, not locating anything very well at all and giving up fly ball outs where the batter makes faces like, “Damn, I just missed smashing that!” But still, he made it through unscathed and you thought if he just settles down a bit and locates the FB better, we’ll be in great shape. The Braves did nothing in the top of the second, however, and Teheran in fact was not okay.

It’s just one of those things. He wasn’t facing sluggers, and he was getting strikeouts, but… it was always on the edge of a knife. And after allowing one run on an sacrifice fly to the pitcher (this after walking AJ Ellis who I’m sure calls a great game but isn’t supposed to be an offensive threat despite all evidence in this series to the contrary), the game tipped as Carl Crawford lined one out over the right-center field fence. Lead gone, 4-2 Trolly Folk.

Now, let’s be real. The offense didn’t just turn over and play dead after Teheran gave up this lead. In the top of the 3rd, they rallied back, plating two more on a Brian McCann groundout and a Chris Johnson should’ve-been-a-groundout. These were defensive botches by the Dodgers. They should’ve recorded three total outs on these two plays but instead got just one. So while the Braves tied it, it’s not like they were mashing it or anything.

So, with his early jitters worked out and the score equalized, Teheran went back to work… and promptly gave up two more runs before being pulled for Alex Wood. Wood did great to get out a 2nd-and-3rd, two out situation, but the next inning, he gave up four more in the 4th. This put the score at 10-4 Dodgers, and since Chris Capuano had come into the game, everyone decided it was basically over. And it was. The Dodgers tacked on two more meaningless runs off various bullpen denizens in the 8th, and Jason Heyward homered (he’s now 3 for like 13 or something) in the top of the 9th also plating ReEd Johnson to give us the final. This 9th inning ralley (which Heyward preemptively killed) actually got Mattingly to bring in his closer with a 7 run lead and two outs. So I guess there’s that.

I want to chalk the shitty pitching up to two rookies having their first appearance i the playoffs. But that doesn’t make it any less disappointing. I was actually anticipating a really good show from Teheran. He’s been on quite a roll of late, and I thought he’d be really into it for these playoffs. Turns out, all that excitement/energy just turned into losing his delivery, not locating the FB well, and a completely ineffective slider. We’ll call it a learning experience, and hope he’s better next time.

Speaking of “hoping” and “next time”, if the Braves want to take the series back to Atlanta, they’ll have to win tomorrow with Freddy Garcia on the mound. Hey, stranger things have happened. In the meantime, Hanley Ramirez has clearly been the best player in the series and it hasn’t been close. If there is to be hope, Atlanta will need to find a way to keep him from hitting extra-base hits each time he comes to the plate. I’m not sure if Garcia will be able to do that, but at least we know that if he doesn’t it’ll be because he sucks and not first time rookie jitters or whatever.

Now let’s get it done tomorrow, Braves!

699 thoughts on “Braves 6, Dodgers 13”

  1. Who would have thought Medlen and Teheran would be this bad?

    Can we just stop pitching to Hanley?

    We need an ace to our pitching staff. I know it’s easier to say than be done, but it’s pretty obvious in this series that we need one.

  2. Half a league, half a league,
    Half a league onward,
    All in the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.
    “Forward, the Light Brigade!
    Charge for the guns!” he said.
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

    “Forward, the Light Brigade!”
    Was there a man dismayed?
    Not though the soldier knew
    Someone had blundered.
    Theirs not to make reply,
    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to do and die.
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

  3. I really do think Teheran will be good in his next start (if he gets a next start) this postseason. He’s a rookie; we saw how well LA’s rookie did, too. I’m still very bullish on him going forward.

  4. Braves in the playoffs are like a friend with a drug problem. I love them, support them, lose sleep worrying about their problems; but, also wonder if I wouldn’t be better off just writing them off.

  5. Teheran looked like he was pitching uphill sometimes. Dropped his arm down too much, led to pitches up in the zone.
    Wood too, but maybe that’s how he always delivers the ball.

  6. Listened to the game on the radio. Sadly, I knew it was over when we couldn’t get the big hit with the bases loaded and then Teheran was left out there in the third. I understand Fredi’s hesitation but if there is any doubt at all you’ve got to pull him. The season is on the brink!

    I’m a bit surprised BJ didn’t get the start last night considering a lefty was on the mound. It might have helped us in the early going but in the end it didn’t matter.

    Not as optimistic about tonight but they’ll probably win so I can go back for game 5 and pay the price as I drag my butt to work early the next day.

  7. Even if the Dodgers take this series, let’s not forget: Mattingly pitched around Constanza and Reed Johnson to load the bases for Jason Heyward.

    That happened.

  8. This team succeeded this year with home runs, good enough starting pitching and a very good bullpen.

    So far in the postseason they have zero home runs, two of three starters have pooped the bed, and they have only handed the bullpen one lead.

  9. The Chief has been in this spot before, in ’05 when he won a WS ring with the White Sox. He changes speeds. He throws a mean forkball, plus just about everything else. There will be a lot more swings and misses tonight. The Braves have their backs to the wall, but a win tonight is all they need to bring the series back to Atlanta.

    I’m as frustrated as I’ve ever been with this team, but I’m not ready to give up yet.

  10. The Braves need to win a playoff game started by Freddy Garcia, followed by a playoff game started by Clayton Kershaw, in order to make it to the NLCS. Well, stranger things have happened, I suppose…

  11. If the Braves lose tonight Fredi G should be held accountable for his decisions. DOB just posted that Janish has a broken nose and he’s our only backup infielder. Schafer has had the flu for over a week and he’s traveling with the team. He chose Constanza over Terdo and Uggla. He’s got a chance to use Medlen tonight and is choosing to stick with minor leaguer Garcia. And there’s Elliot Johnson.

  12. Considering the Braves only used five starters this year until Alex Wood’s first start (which I believe came as a part of a doubleheader, and he was the 26th man added to the roster that day) and that they were the last team in MLB to use a sixth starter, it feels awfully weird to have our season come down to Freddy Garcia.

  13. Is talking yourself into Freddy Garcia the fourth stage or the fifth? I forget.

    (I agree with @4 that he’s the best option tonight.)

  14. 18 – I can see the narrative written as look at what the team accomplished despite all of the injuries and “anomalous” suckitude.

  15. @18 The Braves lost Game 1 because we were facing Kershaw and we lost Game 3 because Teheran and Wood were awful too. Frankly, Medlen looked really bad in Game 1 also, so I don’t know why you’d be so eager to throw him back out there on short rest.

  16. Johnson nor any of the bats haven’t been the difference. It hasn’t had anything to do with the current roster. Starting pitching has been the difference.

    If Medlen had pitched better in game one, we would have had a chance against their pen. Minor was great and Julio was terrible.

    This team is missing a big shutdown ace. We have a couple of very good #2 starters. Only Hudson has shown to be a #1 for a stretch of time longer than a few weeks. Maybe one of Beachy, Minor, Julio and Medlen turn into that guy, but they are not there yet.

    I know a lot of people want the young guys to be the anchor, but this time of year experience is a big deal. I feel that cost us last night.

    Garcia may get lit up tonight, but it probably wouldn’t be any different if Medlen started.

    This winter I would like for us to get another starter. A big time front of the rotation guy. I would even trade one of our younger starters to make it happen.

    We won’t advance very far into the postseason without one.

  17. LAD 2013: $216,753,286
    ATL 2013: $ 90,039,583

    List of players in the Braves-Dodgers series by annual salary:

    Adrian Gonzalez – 21m
    Zach Greinke – 21m
    Carl Crawford – 20m
    *Matt Kemp – 20m
    Michael Young – 16m
    Andre Either – 16m
    Josh Beckett – 15.75m
    Hanley Ramirez – 15.5m
    **BJ Upton – 15m

    Players on the above list developed by the Dodgers: Matt Kemp

    *not on the LDS roster
    **the Braves highest paid player

    The Dodgers are paying more for Josh Beckett to not pitch than the Braves are paying Tim Hudson.

  18. @25 – Smitty speaks the truth. This team needs an ace and a hitter or two who are more of the “pure hitter” vein.

  19. We hold Fredi accountable for the poor pitching performances of Medlen and Teheran? We aren’t hitting homers but doesn’t that have to do more with the quality of the Dodgers’ pitching staff than the bench construction?

    I guess i fail to see the connection.

  20. I’m still at a loss as to what Fredi has done wrong so far. Maybe he should have pulled Teheran after the third last night. Otherwise? He’s playing against a stacked deck, man.

  21. I remember most of us liking the Uggla deal at the time, although most agreed that it might get ugly at the end. The ugly just came quicker than we thought it would.

    The BJ deal I didn’t like from day 1. Not going to claim I knew he’d be this bad, but he didn’t seem like the kind of player you outbid the rest of MLB for.

    Atlanta doesn’t have the payroll to really absorb bad contracts and succeed. When you look at the string of Hampton to Lowe to Uggla to BJ it makes you wonder if something is lacking in their player assessments.

    Now I did just cherry-pick the 4 signings from the last decade that are most easily derided in hindsight, but there were big question marks with each at the time the Braves made the move.

  22. Other than the inning Fredi was outstupided by Mattingly, I don’t see how he could have done too much different than he’s done. I refuse to see Elliot Johnson as anything but the least bad choice of multiple bad choices. I do believe he’ll own starting Freddy Garcia tonight, though, so for better or worse this is on him.

  23. I have no doubt that BJ could possibly be this bad over the next 4 years. However, I also had faith in Uggla last offseason after he shed some muscle and worked on his flexibility, and I couldn’t have been more misguided in my faith.

    7 OF, 1 of which hasn’t been used at all and another only to pinch run. Seems silly to leave Uggla off of the roster, especially considering there’s a need for power off the bench in the postseason. Furthermore, E. Johnson at his best is still worse than Uggla at his worst.

  24. This whole discussion has made me realize how many low-payroll teams are in the playoffs this year. Of the five lowest payroll teams, three are still in the mix. (The Pirates, Rays, and A’s only spend more than the Marlins and Astros.) The whole thing looks more like an even distribution this year than top-heavy. I know there are going to be years like this every once in a while, but it’s still neat when it happens.

    I’m getting slightly different numbers from Spotrac than @26, but his point still holds.

    Dodgers – 244,023,735
    Braves – 96,148,083

    Also, they have Michael Young at a much lower salary, making only seven Dodger players with a higher salary than our highest paid player.

    Edit: Oh, I see. The Dodgers only pay him $6m. The Rangers still pay him $10m. So, in terms of comparing the team payroll, he’s costing $6m. His bank account reflects $16m, though.

  25. @31 – not only did he not pull Teheran, but he failed to get an expendable righty (of which he has six zillion this series) up in the bullpen, meaning when he did, finally, way too late, take Teheran out, he brought his long-man lefty (Wood) in to face Michael Young, a righty PH.

    The wrong-handedness of the matchup wound up not mattering, but because he had already put the long man into the game, he had him hit for himself in the top of the next inning (and bunt, natch – in the fourth inning, down two, when you need a big inning, not one single run) after EJ worked a walk. Capuano was like hey free out! and got the next two after that.

    It’s shit like that, just every day, that drives you nuts about the guy. In fairness Mattingly is actually worse, but Mattingly’s job is pretty much to roll the ball out given what he’s working with, as you detailed upthread. We need an edge from the staff to be competitive in these situations, and we don’t get one.

  26. @26

    I ran the numbers of our starting lineup the other day and we’re at something like $32 million and most of that is McCann and JUpton. Having about half of our payroll sit on the bench because they’re bad at baseball (BJ/Uggla/Maholm) or be injured (Hudson) makes things rather difficult.

  27. #40

    A commenter opined that BJ should start in center, and, the poster implied, save Gattis for a PH situation. What does everyone think about that?

  28. @31, blaming Fredi for most everything allows me to retain hope that if we can just find a better replacement for him then we’ll be even more competitive than we already are. Otherwise I’m stuck in fan purgatory where nearly half our payroll is sunk-costs on guys that can’t play, our budget probably won’t ever be increased much, and our GM’s hands are completely tied.

  29. @41, that sounds like a terrible idea to me. Gattis is one of the few guys swinging the bat. Will BJ playing CF somehow magically keep the Dodgers from peppering the ball all over (and out of) the park?

  30. @38 I agree everything he said except I would also throw Medlen in the bullpen and plan to start Minor for game 5.

  31. @42 – That sounds like astute self-awareness, krussell. Sometimes the truth hurts.

    Although if Wren’s hands are tied, he may have provided the rope. Nobody forced him to sign Uggla and BJ.

  32. @41 – Briliant strategy to let the better player sit and save him for pinch hitting. Why don’t we let Andrelton Simmons sit and bring him in when the bases are loaded so he can make a great play and save the day? Also, if BJ bats 4 times, maybe he’ll actually put the ball in play (probably not a hit) one of those times. (hopefully the sarcasm here is obvious enough).

  33. No one was complaining about the BJ Upton signing this winter. A few people complained about the Uggla extension, particularly the fifth year (which we have not reached yet) but no one was complaining about bringing Upton in from Tampa.

  34. I thought the BJ Upton signing this off-season was a good one, and I still think it was a good one, given the information we had at the time. He just got a lot worse in his age 29 season, which doesn’t usually happen and I don’t know how we could’ve known it was going to happen.

  35. Exactly. The Uggla collapse you could see coming and just hope he held out reasonably useful until the end of the contract. No one saw the Upton collapse coming.

  36. I think a few people complained about the length of BJ’s contract too, but overall I agree that everyone (self included) thought that he’d be an adequate replacement for Bourn this year, and definitely better than some of our past CF attempts.

    I don’t know who is responsible for our playoff roster construction. Fredi / Wren … who has the final say? Probably Wren I’d guess. I feel like it’s not anywhere near optimal, but even if it was we’re still not as good as the Dodgers. Our best shot was to avoid this entirely and hope to beat them in a 7-game series where our pitching depth might matter more. But looking at things realistically right now, I’m not sure we have a pitching-depth edge either.

  37. @45, a list of guys the Dodgers are paying to not play for them this series:

    Matt Kemp (injured) – $20MM
    Chad Billingsley (injured) – $11MM
    Josh Beckett (injured, ineffective) – $16MM
    Ted Lilly (injured, ineffective, DFA’d) – $12MM
    Brandon League (ineffective, left off NLDS roster) – $4MM
    Carlos Marmol (acquired for contractual reasons without any intention of using him as a baseball player) – $4MM
    Jerry Hairston (old as dirt) – $4MM
    Ramon Hernandez (ineffective, DFA’d) – $3MM

    That’s about $75MM in dead money off the top. And they don’t feel it because they have infinite cash.

    Meanwhile, we commit to four eight-figure players (McCann, JUpton, BUpton, Uggla), two of them don’t work out, and our roster is a shambles as a result. Is it BJ’s fault that Gattis is trying to hoof down liners in left? Yes. Is it to Wren’s discredit that he signed him? No. The budgetary restrictions mean he has to gamble on his “big ticket” players. BJ was a high risk/high reward signing, but our only path to a championship contender is just cross our fingers and hope we hit a lucky streak when signing such guys.

    Long term, the only thing that will save us is Mikhail Prokhorov, is the moral of the story. Even the best GM will have a few high-priced flops, you just have to have the wiggle room to deal with that and we don’t.

  38. I don’t know who is responsible for our playoff roster construction. Fredi / Wren … who has the final say? Probably Wren I’d guess

    No. No front office is going to dictate who goes onto a playoff roster. The roster is constructed by the manager and his coaches.

  39. I haven’t agreed with all of his decisions, but I don’t think Fredi Gonzalez was a difference maker either way this postseason. Young pitches in their first playoff games didn’t perform. Maybe someone else makes them feel more relaxed and comfortable, I dunno. I don’t put it on Fredi.

    Besides, we’re not done yet!

  40. @53, highly doubtful that it was solely Fredi. I want a new manager so I’m willing to blame him for everything that goes wrong, but I think the GM definitely has the most say in playoff roster construction.

    Regardless of who came up with this roster – the fact that Schafer has been sick and Janish broke his nose lifting weights (srsly?) kinda makes one really scratch their heads. We only have one backup infielder and he’s not at full strength. We are carrying an extra OF who isn’t gonna play…and still Uggla is left off? WTF is really going on with that relationship. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in that clubhouse.

  41. The lineups Fredi’s run out there can get the job done, it’s just that the players have failed to execute. Game #1 would have been a lot closer if our guys hadn’t thrown the ball around and given away bases, not to mention giving away outs by making baserunning errors. That’s not Fredi’s fault. The Braves are playing tight. They need more hugs.

  42. That would be Carlos Tosca’s fault.

    Please don’t confuse being out of position with throwing to the wrong base, etc. Has the OF been burned? I can’t recall. Gattis should have backed up Heyward on a ball that caromed off the wall in LC, and Gattis has taken some odd routes to the ball, but I wouldn’t say he was caught playing out of position. Heyward’s been good about cutting off balls in the gap.

  43. @47 – Go back and look at this blog on the day they signed BJ (11/29/2012). There were those of us who were not exactly excited.

  44. Gattis’ defense has hurt us multiple times in this series. The ball that went off his glove for a double in game one would’ve been a cruise control situation for Jupton, and I think anyone else would’ve had a shot at that early bloop single he let drop last night. The offense is nice, but it’s not free.

  45. @60 – I’m on the record as opposed from the beginning. Not that I expected this, of course, but money and the draft pick were a high price to pay for a guy with BJ’s record.

  46. The bloop single last night would’ve fallen in front of Justin too, assuming he would have been camped near the warning track as Gattis was. All our guys are playing as deep as I’ve ever seen an OF play. There’s acres in front of Jason in CF, and the Dodgers have been able to go first-to-third on soft liners to CF several times in this series because of it.

  47. @60 – I realized that my comment may have come off as an arrogant “I told you so”. Didn’t mean that at all. Nobody, myself included, saw the BJ Upton collapse that was 2013 coming.

  48. We’re going to have all offseason to talk about Uggla and BJ. I’m just hoping we can delay that discussion for a few more weeks.

    We’ve won two games in a row before. Even against good teams. Even against good pitchers. It’s possible.

  49. Tosca is Fredi’s coach. Our defensive positioning has been extremely conservative and/or flat out weird. Playing the outfield deep is a good idea when protecting a one run lead late in the game. It’s a terrible idea with a two run lead in the second inning. The worst part is that it tells the team that you are scared, and surely then it can’t be any surprise when they play that way. How else do you explain a quote like this from Heyward after our win in game two:

    “I know our manager has got a different mindset sometimes than the players, but we all agreed on one thing — every night in the postseason is a must-win.”

  50. #66

    It looks like Fredi and Tosca have abandoned the defensive shifts that seemed like such an anomaly in the first game. Consequently, the Braves seem to be turning more double plays?

  51. @66, yeah that’s the quote that tells me that we definitely need someone else managing this team. Would someone else mean that we’d win a playoff series? Probably not if we don’t pitch or hit…but tactically Fredi is mostly terrible. It’ll be much easier and cheaper to get someone that’s not tactically terrible than it will be to fix the Uggla/BJ stuff.

  52. I am guessing that our OF is playing deep because we have a catcher in LF, a RF in Center and a left fielder in RF. The TBS guys kept harping on how deep the 3 of them were playing but never once acknowledged that we are playing our best offensive outfield with 3 guys playing out of position.

  53. The main issue with Gonzalez is that he waits too long to bring in a reliever, and in a more general sense doesn’t change the way he manages in the playoffs from the way he does in the regular season. But it must be said: few managers changes enough for the postseason. Jim Leyland, for instance, just waited way too long to pull Anibal Sanchez, and it cost him at least 2 runs.

    I know players like their routines, but they also recognize that the postseason is different. I’d pull Garcia at the first hint of trouble the second time through the order. I’d also tell Kimbrel he was getting 2 innings tonight regardless – at some point – and prepare Carpenter for the same. Oh, and I’d seriously think about using Medlen to bridge the innings between Garcia and the late-inning guys. Only Minor and Teheran should be unavailable.

    As the Heyward quote indicates, everyone understands that the playoffs are different. If only managers were more flexible, they’d recognize that players are too.

  54. Here’s the context:

    “Tonight was a lot of fun,” said Heyward, who ranked the moment [his go-ahead single] at the top in his baseball career. “I know our manager has got a different mindset sometimes than the players, but we all agreed on one thing — every night in the postseason is a must-win.”

    So I guess the worst you can pin on Fredi from this is that Heyward thinks Fredi’s being too uptight?

  55. I think Heyward’s quote could be taken a lot of different ways. I thought it was a reference to leaving Uggla off the roster and benching BJ (maybe mostly the latter). It was a backhanded way of saying that “we all have the same goals here, but we’re not in agreement on exactly how to get there”.

    We won’t know the real context until we hear all the players’ take on Fredi – assuming we ever do.

  56. Bowman just tweeted the Dodgers might start Kershaw tonight. That certainly changes. things.

    Edit: Dodgers confirmed it. Kershaw on short rest tonight.

  57. It doesn’t matter exactly how one chooses to take it–the very fact that such a statement slipped out is telling. Also important, I would argue, is the fact that Heyward, probably unconsciously, constructed a pretty clear dichotomy between manager and players. He didn’t just say, “I don’t always agree with everything he does,” he spoke for the rest of the team.

    I don’t ever remember a player making reference to Bobby Cox’s or Tony La Russa’s mindset under any circumstances, and especially not in a situation like this.

  58. Here we go:

    David O’Brien ‏@ajcbraves 1m
    #Braves will face Kershaw tonight, not Nolasco. Late change by the Dodgers. He’ll go on short rest for 1st time, and after 124 pitches

  59. Mixed feelings. We’re going to have to beat him to win anyway so I’d rather see him today and I think it greatly increases our shot at winning a game 5 at home, however our shot to win game 4 just took a hit so we may not see a game 5.

    All in all I think it’s a bad decision by Mattingly. It wouldn’t have been as bad if Kershaw hadn’t been left in too long in Game 1 though.

  60. I don’t know. With the start of the quote, I interpret it as, “Fredi’s gravely serious about winning, but I’m just out there having a good time. One thing’s for sure, every game’s important.” Which is pretty harmless.

    For the record, I used to be really critical of Fredi. But I think he has improved enough to where he’s not any better or worse than most non-Maddon managers (see: Don Mattingly). Early on, I had been concerned he’d be worse than the norm. That’s not to say he’s been faultless this series — far from it — but I think the starting pitchers are wearing this one, at the end of the day.

  61. Mattingly is stepping on our necks while he can. Odds are low that we’ll scratch more than 3 across against Kershaw.

  62. Maybe the short rest hurts him. They should’ve beaten Milwaukee at home so we didn’t have this scenario. Unfortunately we probably are the weakest team in the NL

  63. If this decision backfires on the Dodgers and they have to turn to Greinke or Nolasco in Game 5 in Atlanta, I really like our chances. Also, if we win this series, it will be because Mattingly handed it to us. With his questionable moves in our Game 2 victory and now this, he has made some real head-scratcher decisions.

  64. I think it’s a pretty big risk by the Dodgers. Not only does it not give them more of an advantage, it also means Kershaw definitely won’t be starting Game 1 of the NLCS. This series has been a ferocious game of checkers so far.

  65. Yeah it’s definitely an odd decision. They have all the momentum right now and have a home clinching game against Garcia. Seems like he’d want to take his chances tonight and leave kershaw for game 1

  66. I think this is a crazy move by the Dodgers. It is basically Kershaw on short rest vs. our bull pen.

  67. I like this. It shortens the list of impossible things we have to do to win this series by one. Before, it was “win a Freddy Garcia start, and then, if you are so lucky, win a Clayton Kershaw start.” Now the two tasks are merged, and Game 5 would be a rematch of Game 2.

    Basically the Dodgers increased their odds of winning tonight but decreased their odds of winning the series*, I think.

    *Which are still prohibitively high either way, let’s be real.

  68. They win with Kershaw here and Kershaw still gets 2 starts in a 7-game series. Not sure I understand why this is bad for anyone but us.

  69. This is a really stupid decision by Mattingly. We were likely never gonna beat Kershaw on full rest in Game 5. Now, we get him on short rest instead of full, and if we beat him (which we should have a better chance of doing on short rest than on full), we get a pitching matchup that we already won in Game 5. Mattingly just reduced his chances of winning this series because he doesn’t want a cross-country flight tonight, seemingly. Doesn’t make any sense. If we somehow come back and win this series, he’s gonna be hearing about this decision for awhile.

  70. Not sure I understand why this is bad for anyone but us.

    Because there is concrete statistical evidence that a pitcher, no matter the true talent level, pitches worse on short rest than full. And so by pitching Kershaw on short rest Mattingly has effectively nullified the advantage Kershaw gives him in this series. Put another way: not all “Kershaws” are created equal.

  71. Which decision was worse? Starting Kershaw on short rest after throwing 125 pitches or letting him throw 125 pitches in that first game blowout.

    Let’s get a couple early and manage this game with our bullpen. Garcia shouldnt last more than 2IP. He shouldn’t hit.

  72. Pretty sure Fredi said Medlen is going in game 5 by the way, so it wouldn’t be a rematch of game 2 in game 5.

  73. I’ve always liked Charlie Morton’s curve. When he’s got 4 pitches, he’s a monster. Problem is, he’s so inconsistent he’s often lucky to have 2 going.

  74. 95: Is there? The evidence I’ve seen about pitchers on short rest is kind of fragmentary and inconclusive.

  75. @97, if that’s true Fredi is dumber than we’ve ever known. Minor has been our one effective starter this series and he’d be on full rest for game 5.

  76. This is a legitimately awful decision by Mattingly. Sorry if I’m repeating what others have said.

    First off, this gets rid of their best-case scenario in the NLCS, and if he’s willing to start Kershaw on short rest after 124 pitches here, he was gonna be willing to give Kershaw 3 starts in the NLCS. So this costs them a Kershaw start if they advance.

    Second, we had to beat Kershaw anyway. Why not make it the Kershaw who won the ERA title, who nearly won the pitching triple crown (second in IP), the Kershaw on normal rest instead of a Kershaw we’ve never seen?

    I think we legitimately have a shot tonight. There’s a reasonable chance Kershaw just can’t summon it on short rest 245 innings into the season, and we’re a favorite in game 5 against Greinke at home.

  77. 101: Yeah, but… when you say “this series,” you’re talking about sample sizes of one game for each pitcher. Frankly, if Fredi changed his game plan based on what happened in Games 1 and 2 (so long as “what happened” was not an injury), it would be stupider than simply sticking to the game plan.

    I think Medlen and Minor are roughly equivalent pitchers. I’m pretty much indifferent to who starts Wednesday. I also have a strong feeling there won’t be a Wednesday anyway.

  78. @101, 103

    I would think very seriously about starting Minor in Game 5 if we get there (even assuming that we start Garcia tonight, which I wouldn’t be doing), but I don’t think it’s a stupid decision to start Medlen.

  79. I still think we should start Medlen tonight since he threw less than 80 pitches. Start him tonight, have Garcia as the long man, and Minor on normal rest if we get a game 5.

  80. I would like to see Medlen out of the pen tonight or tomorrow. He has expereince coming out of the pen. Minor does not.

    I am not sure we win tonight. I think Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball. But this doesn’t hurt our chances to make it to the next round.

  81. I think it’s pretty obvious what we need to do tonight. We need to be patient with Kershaw, and work the count, but be aggressive when he throws strikes. We need to focus on stringing together long innings and scoring runs and make sure to shut down the Dodger offense. At the end of the day, if we score more runs than they do, we’ll be in a really good position for Game 5.

  82. @102,

    Exactly why would the Braves be a favorite against Greinke in a Game 5? He gave up two runs and four hits in Game 2. He could easily have won the game. If you are counting on his so-called anxiety in big games, it didn’t seem to bother him in Game 2. I’d take Greinke over any of the Braves pitchers.

  83. I believe the rest day question has been tackled a number of times, and every analysis I’ve read contends that there’s almost no difference between three and four days of rest.

    For example, the question was, in fact, JC’d


    If Kershaw is less effective, it’s because of the high workload in his first start, not the number of days of rest.

  84. @103, I’d make Medlen available out of the pen tonight. Pitch no one more than two innings, Garcia included. Give Kimbrel two innings. Basically make it an All-Star Game where only Teheran and Minor are unavailable. Allow no pitchers to hit.

    Then you’ve got the best Game 4 pitching monster (and offense) you could cobble together, and you’ve got Minor on full rest if you are so lucky as to get to Game 5. Not starting Minor probably means we just waste him the rest of the series when we need to win two in a row to save our asses.

  85. Not for nothing, but I wonder if there’s any thought to DLing Janish with the broken nose and activating Uggla. You’d still have E Johnson to back up SS.

    Janish would be unavailable in the NLCS but may be worth it, even just as a morale boost.

  86. @114. Balfour is being a major tool… talking to Martinez during the at-bat “Fck you, btch” and back and forth…

  87. @109,

    that’s reasonable; I was not including any of Greinke’s anxiety stuff in my assessment. I just think the difference between Greinke and Medlen/Minor is pretty small, all things considered, and our offensive performance in this series notwithstanding, I still think we have the better lineup. And homefield is worth 5% or so.

    EDIT: I also prefer our bullpen.

  88. If the Kershaw move backfires, it’s the kind of thing that could get Mattingly fired-even if the Dodgers utlimately win. Apparently, the Dodgers’ pitching coach was quoted as saying earlier that they would not pitch Kershaw on short rest because “he is our future.” Perhaps Mattingly thinks he is going to be fired regardless so he wants to go out with all guns blazing.

  89. @Ken_Rosenthal: Smaller sample than some being tweeted but post-season starters since 2007 have a 6.34 ERA in 17 starts on 3 days rest, per @STATS_MLB.

  90. I think the fire Mattingly meme is there no matter what unless the Dodgers make the WS. He seemed closed to being fired when they were in last place and all their players were hurt early in the year. $200M payroll means you better win right now.

    This is exactly the move I’d expect them to do. End this series right now and don’t give the Braves any feeling of hope. Also I think that Kershaw pitching tonight maximizes the chances that he’ll pitch twice in the NLCS.

  91. Fredi should start Medlen tonight. If we’re going to lose I want to lose with my best guy out there. and if we win Minor is ready for Game 5. I think everyone agrees with me except Fredi Gonzalez, unfortunately.

  92. I remember Josh Beckett, on 3-days rest, throwing a shutout in Game 6 to clinch the 2003 WS in Yankee Stadium.

    I think Mattingly’s gamble is fine. If Kershaw loses, he gets Greinke in Game 5. If Kershaw wins, he gets Greinke & Kershaw to begin the NLCS.

    And, of course, if we win both games, I’m certainly not going to lose any sleep about it. Tonight, keep it close & beat their bullpen, I hope. Go Braves.

    BTW, Cardinals’ Wacha is tossing a no-no in Pittsburgh in the 7th. In his final season start, he came within one out of getting a no-no vs the Nats. Guess the guy’s hot.

  93. Cards start a rookie on the road facing elimination and he’s throwing a f’ing no hitter. That’s the kind of stuff that happens when you are a Cardinal fan.

    Braves are faced with the same situation and they decide to start a 57 year old journeyman.

  94. I think it would make sense for Fredi to do two things.

    1. DL Schafer (flu) or Janish (nose) and activate Uggla
    2. Start Medlen over Garcia

    However we know Fredi won’t do either.

  95. So with Kershaw starting do you bench McCann and try to put our regular defensive OF out there? I don’t know if I would or not, but it’s gotta be a discussion in the clubhouse right now.

  96. That means you start BJ and Janish too then. So no.

    Is Brian losing money on the FA market with this post season performance?

  97. @130, I was just thinking of putting BJ in the lineup and Gattis behind the plate … no way would I want Janish in there in any scenario.

  98. McCann didn’t have anything to show for it, but he hit some balls hard off of Kershaw in Game 1. In his potentially last game for his hometown team, I’d let him play.

  99. @Ken_Rosenthal: Forgive me @MrBrianKenny: Tweeps want pitcher and team record for post-season starters on 3 days rest since ’95. Pitcher: 20-31, team 29-48.

  100. Kershaw vs. Garcia? Yeah, it’s McCann’s last day as a Brave unless Liberty Media decides to pony up.

  101. Start BJ over McCann? What are their splits against lefthanders; especially over the second half of the season? BJ’s can’t be very good; he’s been pretty awful against everyone.

  102. What’s special about 1995?

    Edit: Oh, expanded playoffs. Heh, that might be a clue to why the record is what it is.

  103. I would just assume that BJ will strike out looking four times. Is the improvement in the OF defense worth it?

    I’m leaning towards no. You roll the dice and hope nobody hits it to Gattis and McCann has a good day at the plate.

  104. @136, vs LH pitching (for the season):

    .231/.279/.337 for McCann
    .157/.227/.222 for BJ

    BJ has actually been a fair bit worse against LHP, but he’s been so bad overall that looking at his stats seems like a complete waste of time to begin with.

    I think you have to play McCann just because he’s still one of your better hitters (this series notwithstanding) and having Gattis catch an elimination game seems kinda scary (though not any scarier than pitching F. Garcia).

    If you go the all-defense route then you are probably benching Gattis for BJ. Gattis has reached base 7 times in the series and has generally looked pretty good at the plate.

    I think you can defend either lineup decision though. Gattis playing LF isn’t Fredi’s fault, it’s BJ’s.

  105. @141

    Deck chairs on the Titanic. Our good hitters need to hit, and our good pitchers need to pitch well. Uggla/Gattis/BJ/Johnson/McCann strategics doesn’t really matter when two of your three SPs get bombed.

    If it ends tonight (which it won’t!), the story is not about BJ/Uggla, it’s about Medlen and Teheran crapping the bed. It’s that simple, I think.

    Sadly, the narrative of the season is that we had to play a Royals retread at second and a catcher in left field because our two highest paid players didn’t come to play this year, and our Game 1 starter got bombed because Beachy wasn’t ready, and our game 4 starter got bombed because Hudson broke his ankle.

    I’m at peace if this is the end. You can’t win when the top 5% of your payroll plays like the bottom 5% of the league. You can’t win when you lose 2/5 of your starting rotation, and 60% of the inning pitched in the bullpen. We’re lucky to be where we are right now.

  106. @143, don’t disagree with any of that. My only complaint is that this narrative brings Fredi back for umpteen more years, because look at what we overcame….

  107. Per DOB, Minor available in the pen tonight. Medlen being held in reserve for Game 5.

    Needless to say that’s the opposite of how I’d want to do it.

  108. The opposite starts and ends with Garcia. Our best two starters are available for what could be the last few games of our series. You absolutely start them.

    Fredi does realize that Garcia has pitched almost 50% of his innings against the Marlins right?

  109. I’m not completely sure what Fredi Gonzalez realizes. For example, does he realize this is a 5 game series?

  110. More DOB tweetage:

    Last time Freddy Garcia pitched at Dodger Stadium was 2001, when #Braves McCann had just finished his junior year in HS and Teheran was 10.

  111. Writers are already calling for Leyland to be fired if he doesn’t let Scherzer pitch game 4 on short rest over Doug Fister. They are down 1-2, so why not go to your best 2 staters? Makes sense to me.

  112. What’s the plan for us starting to time? Do we have to wait until the Bos game is over? They are in the 5th inning

  113. #151

    Tbey’ll probably air the game on TNT then switch over to TBS once the Red Sox-Rays game is finished.

  114. Fredi does realize that Garcia has pitched almost 50% of his innings against the Marlins right?

    I’d like to know what Wren “realized” when he thought “the Braves need some of that” and signed Johnson and Garcia after they were booted from their respective teams in 2013 for gross incompetence.

  115. @ 153

    To be fair, that’s essentially how we acquired David Carpenter and Jordan Schafer (and probably a few others I can’t think of) who have contributed pretty significantly to our success this year. Sometimes those guys work out.

  116. Looks like I was wrong about the game being broadcast on TNT. Anyone know where to find the game?

    Sorry, guys. Looks like I’m an hour early.

    Go, Braves!

  117. @155, the game doesn’t start for another hour

    To pass the time…over/under on runs allowed by Freddie Garcia?

    I’ll go with 2

  118. 156- Sounds way too low. I’ll say 4 1/2 on the over/under. Someone dim enough to start Freddy is also dim enough not to have a quick hook.

  119. That chick who was just singing? Zobrist’s wife? Totally met her during a rain delay at a Bulls game. It was totally weird. There was just this random hot blond chick sitting by herself at the game, so naturally I was all like, “Hey baby. Need someone to keep you warm?” (Not really.) And then she was all like, “Hahahaha. You’re so cute. I’m married, but you can chat with me for a while if you’d like.” (Again, I may be deviating from the truth slightly.) So we exchanged pleasantries, I found out who she was (wife of the new guy, newly back from the show, etc.), and after I explained how I can’t be tied down, we went our separate ways. She was really nice.

    Wish those two nothing but the best.

  120. I’m getting tired of the NLDS ‘lose, win, lose, lose’ pattern that has happened in every full playoff series that Braves have appeared in since 2005. Now they’re a loss tonight away from it again.

    Please win.

  121. This was a “Dead Man Walking” team with all the injuries and the 2 other guys who may as well have been out for the year.

    But, go Braves!

  122. Let’s get this baseball game started. Like @161 said…please win. Please. And Wednesday too. Please.

  123. Brian McCann is indicative of the reason I wish the Braves had Dodger money. I don’t want the team to buy stars as much as I want the team to keep the ones they have. I’ll miss McCann.

  124. Maybe Justin did it on his own, knowing that everyone would blame Fredi in an attempt to get him fired.

    Perhaps the chemistry is not as great as we imagined.

    Or maybe Fredi is a moron and wouldn’t understand context if it hit him in his moony face.

  125. I hate Fredi, but Justin did that on his own.

    Again we actually got a break with a defensive mistake, and we do absolutely nothing with it. Can’t say that we haven’t had opportunities. That’s our Braves in October I guess.

  126. I think Justin just wanted to make sure he got the runner over against a great pitcher. It’s incredibly frustrating, but he’s done it before.

  127. Why do we keep hanging pitches to Crawford? Ridiculous. They deserve to lose. We aren’t scoring tonight anyway, so it won’t matter much. Kershaw could have gone on 0 days rest.

  128. Falcons being booed off the field in the Ga Dome. This is setting up to be one of those special Atlanta sports nights.

  129. Oh for god’s sake. Has a manager ever been fired in the middle of a game before? Can we pull a Lane Kiffin here?

  130. The decision to put Minor instead of Medlen in the pen for this game is one of the most inexplicably stupid things Fredi has ever done. Minor is on TWO days rest. Guy is a fucking idiot.

  131. Crawford and Ramirez will both have three hits tonight. And somehow the Braves managed to win 96 games this year.

  132. This is going to be one of those ass-kicking nightmares like the Cardinals endured in Game 7 or the 1985 World Series (or we put on the Cardinals in Game 7 of the 1996 NLCS).

  133. Elliot Johnson, Jose Constanza, and Freddy Garcia on our postseason roster when 2 of the 3 weren’t good enough to be on other teams’ regular season roster. Good grief…

  134. 205- No chance. Fredi will figure that home run and that near-home run were just bad luck. Or nerves. Or possibly swamp gas.

  135. Wasn’t it just last night they tried to get Crawford to chase a high fastball only to have home sitting on the breaking ball for a HR?

  136. No Braves pitcher should bat for himself today.

    (I’m sure we’ll see Freddy Garcia bunting at some point tonight.)

  137. Dodgers lead series 2-1, start their ace.

    Braves’ season on the line, they start Freddie frickin’ Garcia.

    Something is seriously wrong with this picture.

  138. Which poster and in what inning should I expect to see our opening day roster for 2014? I’ll say 6th inning and not sure on who posts it.

  139. Seriously, Elliot, you are better off keeping the damn bat on your shoulder and forcing Kershaw to throw three pitches.

  140. I know the Uggla thing is tired and it’s time to move on and all that, but everyone on Braves Journal could’ve gone 0-12 without hitting the ball out of the infield.

  141. @230, that would be the one and only semi-plausible reason to start Freddie Garcia…though I doubt he’d be able to actually locate enough to hit him.

  142. Garcia says “I make pitch”

    Wait the Dodgers didn’t bat long enough. Was that a 1-2-3 inning? Will Garcia bat? Who am I kidding of course he will.

  143. Not sure I can make myself watch. I’ll follow on gametracker, but I’m just not sure I can make my eyes witness the events of this game.

  144. 233- I had that problem from about the fifth inning on yesterday. I must have changed channels literally a thousand times.

  145. I know the Uggla thing is tired and it’s time to move on and all that, but everyone on Braves Journal could’ve gone 0-12 without hitting the ball out of the infield.

    How the hell this .590 OPS lifer managed to go from getting booted off the Royals to making the postseason roster for the Braves this year will always be one of the great mysteries of the universe to me.

  146. And THAT is how you pitch to fking Skip Schumaker and AJ Ellis. Why no one else in the rotation was capable of that is beyond me.

  147. 226 was a crap job:

    La Stella

    BJ wins comeback player of the year, Simmons hits 20 homers and adds forty points to his OBP, and La Stella gets on base atop the lineup at a .370 clip. Braves win a 100 games.

  148. I haven’t watched an inning of the playoffs in four years. A little radio. Some online scorekeeping. I can’t stand the playoffs. I can’t stand the atmosphere. The noise. The crowd. (Even home crowds.) It ruins the game. Turns it into football. Baseball is a quiet afternoon in the sun on a warm summer’s day, not this crap.

  149. 237- Because the alternative had a .529 OPS in the second half. Or was Tommy La Stella.

    And if that had gone out, I’d know we’d all fallen into the Matrix.

  150. If the rest of the team would make Kershaw work the way Gattis did, he’d be out of the game by the fifth.

  151. Heyward


    Johnson regresses.
    Gattis is hurt a lot and only plays 100 games.
    Simmons is better but still not a polished hitter.
    Justin kills Fredi in the dugout during a game due to feud over BJ’s treatment.
    Our pitching is meh and we end the season 83-79 and don’t have to watch this postseason shit at all.

  152. Forever we’ll have to hear about how Kershaw hit legend status by pitching a complete-game shutout on three days’ rest. Like my alma mater, Missouri, we again are the doormat of history.

  153. If Fredi and Freddy were really dumb enough to keep putting it on a tee for Crawford, I don’t know how they’d remember to breathe.

  154. I don’t know if there has been a more useless player in the recent history of playoff baseball than Elliot Johnson.

  155. Wren should fire Fredi, then fire himself, with the announcement made at a press conference by Elliot Johnson.

    Edit: if any reporters raise their hands to ask a question, Elliot should just say, “Are questions really necessary?”

  156. Gotta at least let Freddie Garcia go 5 to be eligible for the win. He’s earned the right.

    The only way Wren & Co. keep me on board is if they fire Fredi during this game.

  157. Dead Man Walking. This team just does not have the horses at this point.

    Those of you who are 2014 rosterbating on the cheap already, keep in mind this team has $10MM in unused budget this year, $25MM coming in from national TV money, and $29MM in Hudson/McCann/Maholm money expiring. You should be dreaming about impact players we can get to get this team to the next level, not wishcasting Tommy La Stella and Evan Gattis.

  158. 267- The only impact our two most expensive players have made is the crater that they’ve created for our offense and defense.

  159. Freddy pitched around the error. So far, with the exception of Crawford–and, yes, that’s a big exception–he’s handled the Dodgers fairly well.

  160. @267

    I don’t trust Liberty Media to put extra funds back into the team. The payroll hasn’t risen appreciably under their watch and they have to prove it before I believe they will invest the extra money in player salary.

  161. Puig hit a ball that fell a foot short of a two run homer. Hanley Ramirez missed a hanging breaking ball by the tiniest fraction and four outs to 3B, SS and 2B were smoked. Freddy’s sporting an ERA of 6.00 and he’s been lucky as hell.

  162. Yeah to be fair he’s already done better than Teheran and Medlen. I still can’t figure out how we can win without scoring though. There must be a way.

    @267, some of that money will surely be earmarked for reclamation projects from the O’s and Royal’s system. The rest will be spent on Liberty Media bonuses and our general manager’s office improvements.

  163. For all the LA noise, two solo home runs aren’t exactly insurmountable, especially given a Kershaw who will likely tire at some point tonight.

  164. @286

    I don’t want to speak for everyone, but I suspect most of us are right there with you.

  165. Regression!

    And please, Andrelton — no GIDP this time. I’m begging you. (Of course, if you’re Kershaw, why give him a hittable pitch with Elliot up next?)

  166. It’s a fight between their stone-gloved defense and our weak-hitting offense. We’ve won this skirmish. (Of course, that should have been a GIDP- our second of the inning.)

  167. Dodgers: Here braves, we feel greedy with all these runs. Please have some on us.

    Braves: No thanks.

    Dodgers: No, we insist.

  168. I don’t know how I can criticize the Elliot Johnson choice any more than I already have. At least Brooks Conrad could hit HRs

  169. Tie game and we cleared Elliot. Things are looking up. This is usually the part of the script where we give up a bushel of runs in the home half.

  170. Elliot has probably 12-13 ABs so far. Garcia has one and probably hit it further than all of EJ’s combined.

  171. Fredi, get that damn headset off and get Garcia out of the game before he does real damage, you dip****.

  172. How many times have the Dodgers had their lead off batter on base this series? It has to be half the time.

  173. Freddie would have to–I forget the term–“release” the ball. He has to remove the ball from the glove for it to be a catch.

  174. It’s 7:58. Garcia’s fallen asleep in the Barcalounger after eating dinner at 4:30 p.m.

  175. In all fairness, Garcia’s thinking extra bases every time the hitters make contact, just out of habit.

  176. BRAVES: Why didn’t you just… kill me?

    BANE: You don’t fear death. You welcome it. Your punishment must be more severe.

    BRAVES: Torture?

    BANE: Yes. Not of your body, but of your soul.

    BRAVES: Where are we?

    BANE: Playoffs, where I learned the truth about despair, as will you. There’s a reason why this prison is the worst hell on earth. Hope. Every Braves team who has ventured here over the years has looked up to the lights and imagined a World Series. So easy. So simple. And like shipwrecked men turning to seawater from uncontrollable thirst, many have died trying.

    I have learned there can be no true despair without hope. So, as I terrorize Atlanta, I will feed its people hope to poison their souls. I will let them believe they can advance so that you can watch them clamoring over each other to “stay in the series.”

    You can watch me torture an entire city, and when you have truly understood the depth of your failure, we will fulfill Jim Leyritz’s destiny.

    We will destroy Atlanta and then, when it is done and Atlanta is ashes, you have my permission to die.

  177. Fuck it, I say put Kimbrel in next inning and let him throw 40 pitches. Then give the ball to Medlen with Carpenter ready in the pen.

  178. It’s beyond all comprehension that Garcia will lead off the 5th and be allowed to face Crawford for the 3rd time in the bottom of the inning.

  179. I don’t have a problem sending Garcia out there again. He’s probably hit the ball harder than any other Brave tonight.

  180. And he bats for himself to lead off. Of course, he had a better swing than the guys in the 7- and 8-holes, so there’s that.

  181. bravo for #340. Of course, in the end the Braves come back and save the city of Atlanta; that’s the difference between fiction and reality.

  182. Garcia hitting in the 5th inning of a tie game so he can stay in to pitch to a guy who has already hit 2 homeruns off of him? Are you f-ing kidding me??

  183. 350- In the words of the late Tom Clancy, the difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to make sense.

    By that standard, these are the two realest managers in baseball.

  184. I’m so glad Chip Caray isn’t calling this game. I wouldn’t have a flat-screen anymore if I’d heard him on Heyward’s shot to CF.

  185. Clip and save. Fredi apologists, this is why he drives us batshit nuts. Every. Damn. Game. Some nonsense like this.

  186. A friend in Atlanta wants to listen to the game on the Internet, but she doesn’t have MLB. Local radio devoted to the Falcons. Any suggestions?


  187. The high and low on pitch track have to be wrong most of the time. The box is static, but the top and bottom of the zone change with each batter.

  188. 365-And the degree of error when attempting to calculate the flight path of breaking pitches is much larger than otherwise.

  189. It’s not like Ayala, Wood, Avilan, Carpenter, and Kimbrel can’t combine for (at least) the next 5 innings. If it goes extras, you have Hale. Or an on-2-days-rest Minor if you really want. Garcia did his job. Why tempt fate and let him go a third time through the order for no reason?

  190. I’m not going to watch Garcia’s third time through their order. Maybe just watch the Falcons lose for a bit and come back here hoping for the best.

  191. FYI, Falcons somehow come back and finally convert in red zone to take lead. Maybe this won’t be a double disaster night for the city of Atlanta. Now it’s time for El Oso Blanco.

  192. I really don’t feel like seeing Ayala for the fourth game in a row. Couldn’t we at least get Avilan…you know considering the season is on the line and all…

  193. 395- It finally is, but that just reminds me of the old saying about barn doors.

    Pweeg trying to bunt on 2-0? Mattingly really is a moron.

  194. So much joy so far in this inning. Kershaw done, Puig grounding into a DP. Don’t let me down now, Freddy.

  195. Wasn’t a bad route by Gattis, it was a trick carom off the wall. He has to go to the corner.

  196. God protects kids, drunks, and Fredis/ Freddies… so that this game can be blamed on someone, anyone else.

  197. my god


    Bullpen and offense, you have been given the gift of a chance by Freddie Garcia. Make the most of it.

  198. Watching Fredi manage and escape unscathed is like watching Sterling Archer complete an ISIS mission. Jesus.

  199. I guess we have to give Fredi credit for not panicking this series. His refusal to start Medlen on short rest, his refusal to take out Garcia yet (and Meds and Teheran earlier in the series when they were struggling)… I don’t know if it’s skill on his part, or just dumb luck that we made it to a Game 4 and we’re in this game.

  200. I gotta say regardless of the outcome, it’s the dodgers who look panicked in this game. Starting kershaw on short rest, all the errors, Braves seem to be the more composed team and unlike our chances in a battle of the pens. Let’s do this.

  201. After all the years of playoff disappointment – and getting screwed by the wild card, etc. – it would be poetic justice for the Braves to luck their way into the LCS.

  202. You can say what you want to about Fredi as a manager, but he is definitely managing better than Mattingly this series.

  203. If this game is won by Freddy Garcia and Constanza, I will question everything I have ever known about baseball.

  204. Constanza delivers the RBI single! Belisario is thinking “Shoot me now.”

    461- No, this is just fantasy.

  205. No doubt this is who should be PH right now after Garcia comes through and Elliot triples. It’s a big ol bitch slap to the balls for us on braves journal.

  206. Just want everyone expected at the beginning of the year. Freddie Garcia with the win and Elliot Johnson and Jose Constanza as co-MVPs for game 4 of the LDS

  207. OK, so Costanza is short, limber, and can wiggle his fingers. What else does that extreme closeup tell us? Anything about baseball? Anything?

  208. Howell pitching to Upton? Surprised by that; guess Mattingly is more worried about pitching to Freeman next.

  209. I’m glad I’m not scoring this. I put little dots down for each throw to first. My score sheet would have measles by now.

  210. WTF are the Dodgers doing? Did they just walk Upton to get to Freddie so they could bring in Brian Wilson?

  211. This is the guy we want up there. Although in the alternate universe that this game is being played in we might be better off with BJ up.

  212. And Freeman with the chance to become the third Freddy/Fredi/Freddie hero of the night for the Braves. Let’s do this!

    Edit: Or not.

  213. Stalling for Wilson only makes sense if you think Howell can’t get Freeman out. As we see, that wasn’t the case. Maybe Wilson leaves a bit in the bullpen when he comes out in the 8th.

  214. I’ve felt all year that a strong Freddie Garcia outing and an Elliott Johnson / Jose Constanza rally would be the keys to our season.

  215. @514 I like the way you think. Abandon all hope! This is October and the Braves we’re talking about. We know better than this! (Who do EJ and Constanza think they are, anyway?)

  216. Don’t like this. Would rather have seen one of the mostly scrub Dodger bench hitting in front of Crawford.

  217. @518. It does really feel like the Dodgers are going to win this on some sort of walk-off.

    More optimistically…8 more outs to get…

  218. So we’re walking the go-ahead run on base because Fredi won’t tolerate a major league manager dumber than him, by God!

  219. Bench is Andre Ethier, Nick Punto, Tim Federowicz, Dee Gordon, Scott Van Slyke and Young, and Ethier can’t run.

  220. Aww, common guys. He got fooled on that one. It was a good job by Avilan. Nice sharp breaking pitch for a strike with a 3-2 count. Not as nasty as that first one to Crawford, but it got the job done.

  221. Ok sports gods, please listen. The Braves have tortured us for decades. The Falcons season ended already tonight. The Hawks may as well not even exist. All we ask is that you let the Braves win this game and the next. Then we’ll take it from there. Just a small, humble request. Please. Just this once.

  222. Looked like McCann got wrung up on ball 5. Oh well. Golden sombrero in what could be his last game. That kinda sucks.

  223. Regression is a hittin’ fool. If we can somehow get Andrelton on base then the dangerous part of our lineup can do some damage.

  224. IF Bad Johnson keeps this alive, does BJ pinch-hit and sub for Gattis? Or even better, sub for McCann and move Gattis to C?

    OK, nevermind

  225. How the hell did EJ hit that triple. He might have the worst swing I’ve ever seen in a non-pitcher.

  226. I love how Simmons stood behind Puig for a moment with the ball, just in case Puig stepped off in his celebratory excitement. I wish Puig had done just that.

  227. I won’t miss McCann’s love affair with the slider from our power pitchers. In fact I won’t miss McCann much at all.

  228. Why the hell did McCann call for a breaking ball from Carpenter. The guy throws 98. It’s exactly what he did with Hanley Ramirez in game 2. Jesus fuck.

  229. This is what sucks when your team MVP is a closer: you have no idea how the heck to use him. What if we cough up the lead next inning after Kimbrel is spent. Ugh. I hate baseball sometimes.

  230. I don’t know what we did to piss off the sporting universe, but for fuck’s sake we’re sorry. Three decades of this shit is punishment enough already.

  231. If you’re consistently throwing 96-97MPH, why do you even think about slowing it down to 85 for broken old Uribe?

  232. 1 HR the entire series, and that one was when the game was out of hand. You can’t win when your home run-hitting team doesn’t hit home runs.

  233. Get rid of the closer position next year. If the game’s in doubt in the 8th in April, bring in Kimbrel. I hate that our greatest asset has to pitch the 9th inning because, ya know, closer. Bullcrap.

  234. We knew this team would live and die by the homers and strikeouts. It’s not even ironic that we had our last three guys strike out to end the season.

  235. 659

    But the 9th inning are the hardest outs to get, don’t ya know?

    Bot 8th, runner on 2nd, elimination game? PFFT!

  236. Well, at least the celebration isn’t taking place at Turner Field. I can’t stomach another one of those.

    Go, Bucs!

  237. The Braves have to find more hitters like Johnson and Freeman. Otherwise they will not be taken seriously.

  238. What pains me the most is that baseball is my favorite sport and for 12 consecutive years now, I have no interest whatsoever in watching the World Series.

  239. I’d love to harp on Fredi but you use Carpenter there he just didn’t get it done. If I have a problem with the coaching in this series it’s the weird defensive positioning that we didn’t do all season. Cost is time and time again in this series.

    Juan freakin Uribe. Just another chapter in miserable Braves October lore. Maybe next year.

    Team really needed Hudson venters oflaherty and a healthy walden. Pena and Beachy would’ve been nice too.

  240. Hopefully, Gattis will be able to make up for whatever he did that convinced Fredi that he can’t catch anymore. Or that Fredi might figure out, as has been said elsewhere, that a shutdown closer is worth nothing if you can’t give him a lead!

  241. Honestly, the offense has/had too many holes. W/o the Dodgers defense, Kershaw might have shut them down for 7 to 8 innings.

  242. We’re the Braves. We bring in Kimbrel for a six out save and he probably gacks up the tying run with two outs in the ninth on a wild pitch. Then we’d lose in the 17th on a walkoff by some fucker you’ve never even heard of. It doesn’t matter what moves we make or don’t make. It doesn’t matter how good we are in the regular season. It doesn’t matter what strategies we deploy or pitches we call. It all just turns to shit and we lose. We’re the Braves.

  243. The season ends in frustration for 29 out of 30 teams every year. Get used to it. I knew what was going to happen right after they lost home field advantage. The Braves are always, always JUST good enough to lose.

    The only question that remains is, which type of miserable postseason loss was this, exactly?

  244. Uribe was giving up an out. At this point, you’re having Fredi choose between

    1) Making Kimbrel come in for six outs
    2) Making Kimbrel come in to face Uribe with an 0-2 count
    3) Trusting Carpenter to make one pitch to get an out

    Fredi chose Door #3. It was a reasonable call. I’m assuming he brings in Kimbrel after Uribe gets out, but we will never know.

  245. The fact is the team’s best player was on the field for 4 outs in the series. This is an inefficient use of talent.

  246. Fredi just said post-game that he was only going to use Kimbrel for 4 outs at most. Why 4 and not 5 or 6? Nobody will ever know. I really truly hope we have another manager next year, but I know we won’t because our ownership could honestly care less.

    The best thing that can happen is for us to only win 82 games or so next year, attendance go to absolute shit, and have Liberty sell the team to some Russian billionaire egomaniac that wants to win at all costs.

  247. Games 1 and 3 were blowouts. We used Kimbrel for four outs in Game 2. (And he was lucky to survive it frankly.)

    Maybe you use Kimbrel after Puig’s 2B, but again- Uribe was giving you an out. Somehow him failing at that worked. Sports.

  248. (Fredi staying with Freddy about two innings too long was the real bad decision of the night, except it worked perfectly because who knows.)

  249. @680, if Kimbrel is only going to pitch one inning max (because it’s just a law of nature that must be obeyed), then he should have started the 8th and gotten through Puig and Uribe. The 9th would’ve been the bottom of their order and probably nobody that can take you deep. It was the most logical thing to do. It was the thing that gave us the best chance to win a 3-2 game. And we didn’t do it. I can honestly say that there’s no guarantee than any 8th/9th inning pitching strategy would’ve worked, but I won’t be convinced that Kimbrel starting the 8th wasn’t the best strategy from a game-theory point of view.

    One day I’d like us to have a manager that thinks that way too.

  250. @685

    It will take many years of losing and an ownership change before the organization is gutted enough to where it would hire an outside-the-box thinker as manager who isn’t wedded to the “save stat” and instead understands that the highest-leverage AB can be in the seventh or eighth. And while Carpenter has been effective, his last appearance with one man on would have been enough to scare me into a pitching change. I know why Fredi used him in the first place; I know why he kept him in. I simply disagree with his entire line of reasoning, which has been the case way too often in his three years in the dugout. He seems to be of above-average skill at keeping a fairly harmonious clubhouse; there may be issues, but every team has them. But tactically, we’ve seen enough to know who he is. Fredi gonna Fredi.

  251. The McCann era didn’t really provide much in the way of postseason success. Maybe the Gattis era will be better. We’ll let this one settle for a while and then start up the rosterbation soon enough.

  252. Off topic, but i came on to this site ealy last year and found out mac had cancer. wrote him an email and wished him well and for a quick recovery…i came here to see how the braves fans were taking tonights loss because missery loves company and found out mac had passes away……..such a shame……..i am deeply saddend to find out about his passing away………it seems this blog is in good hand though and while i hope the braves never win a game ever again……iwish macs blog succsess

    Yes this is the same ny mets that was talking crap and thinking my mets were gonna be a dynesty….2 choke jobs latter and a scum bag owner who is dead broke but wont sell the time has stripped me of any crap talking any time soon as there is not mush to feel good about these days as a mets fan…….ps……i still really hate your team..lo

  253. I just got an email from the Braves website telling me to buy tickets for Game 5.

    This organization really pisses me off sometimes.

  254. I don’t see any other way around it: Kimbrel has to come in after the double by persona non grata. Your season is on the line. Carpenter was great this year, but there is no margin in this game. You have to go down with Kimbrel on the mound.

  255. If there’s one kind of disappointment I’m accustomed to, it’s this.

    But let me say, this needs to be Wren’s Maddux offseason (or Bonds — I’m not picky, Wren). Our team is right there. There’s nothing to hold him back from swinging for the fences, so I expect big, bold things. I want to see something.

    Preferably a new, legit Opening Day starter.

    The bumper crop from the farm is here, another one’s not coming for a while. Time to make this thing a surefire winner, Wren.

  256. Maybe Kimbrel honkin’ sucks if he has to pitch more than one inning? Again, we brought him on for four outs in G2 and it took a blown call for him to get out of it. I recall during that long winning streak Kimbrel laboring mightily at the end and the general consensus being that Fredi had overworked him. Just by pitching him for three outs on back-to-back games. Which…would be six outs.

    Also, that SHUTDOWN EIGHTH, BABY was against Puig/Uribe/Schumaker. The EASY AS SH*T NINTH would be against Eithier/Crawford/Ellis. Six of one.

  257. BMac seems to be a helluva guy, but he was a letdown this series and the last couple of weeks of the season. He looks at a lot of strikes, and in his last AB struck out without ever swinging. Defensive positioning was way, way, overthought this series and cost several hits that would have been fairly routine defensive plays. And for the record, a dark part of my soul was hoping that Chris Johnson told Terry Pendleton “f you” every time he got to first base with a hit. Just because.

  258. No complaints about the way Fredi chose to use Kimberl. Heck, I was against bringing him in in the 8th in Game 2.

    If you want your closer to pitch 2 innings, you need to have him pitch two innings regularly. Like, mulitple times in the regular season. And I’d love to see that. I wish Kimbrel had plenty of two-inning outings in the regular season. I wish that was a thing we’d seen him do and he had confidence he could do. But that’s not how he’s been used, and you certainly don’t start doing it in the NLDS. Carpenter should’ve been fine. He hung one, and like every other huge Dodger hit this series, it stayed just fair.

  259. @693 BMac did fade down the stretch as he usually seems to do (although in the past he has played okay in the postseason, the few times he’s gotten there). In his defense for last night, though, two of his strikeouts were looking, but the pitches were balls. I thought the home plate ump did a good job overall, but BMac did get the short end of two calls. The fact that last night was probably his last in a Braves uniform and it went the way it did is a pity.

  260. “We’re arguing about Uggla over Elliot, and when Freddy Garcia should have been taken out.”

    Talk about re-arranging deck chairs….

    krussell @661 had the right stat: the 1, 2, and 5 hitters went a combined 5-45 this series. I was really optimistic about Heyward and Justin, but neither had it going right.

  261. This game might be the game that goes down as the one that broke my super-fandom. For me, this team and their constant temper tantrums and pimping of HRs made it really difficult to like them personally, which may not be a big deal for many, but it is for me. I really respect Heyward and Simmons’ approach to the game, but the Uptons, Chris Johnson, and occasionally, Freddie Freeman, bother me. And while I love Gattis, his humble demeanor and his story, he does pimp every HR and that also gets to me.

    In a world where I educate kids and pull baseball statistics and Braves baseball into that world, I was overall disappointed with this Braves’ team and their lack of emotional control. It’s such a learning experience for the kids to see percentages, decimals, and fractions in a real-life setting, and a bonding experience to end the unit with a trip to see a few games. I might have to rethink my teaching strategy next year.

    With that being said, if they would have at least won the NLDS, I could have probably looked over these personal hiccups, but right now, it seems to be the only real thing that’s getting to me.

    Maybe I’m overreacting, maybe I’m not, but f-bombs on national tv and the constant slamming of bats and helmets have me very jaded and missing the days of a Bobby Cox ran team where the majority of temper tantrums came from the manager, not the players.

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