Game Recap… RubberMets 6 NutlessBraves 4… Oh Dear!

…although  this is the rubber match of a 3 game series the intro tonight is still somewhat of a stretch, just a little bit outside – in almost my first week working in the U.S. in a typically mixed bag Florida real estate office i was in the crowded bullpen work area writing up some schedule or another, in pencil, and made a mistake -‘anyone got a rubber i can use, please’, i said to the room in general-male/female, young/old…a few days later i was showing a sweet old lady some oceanfront condos and we ran out of time..’not to worry’, i said, ‘ i’ll come by your hotel at nine tomorrow morning  and knock you up’…around the same time, there was an ice cream soda shop next door and some kind soul going to get his sundae offered to bring me one…’no nuts please’ i said(can you guess what’s coming?) of course the sundae came back in toto so naturally i said, ‘anyone want to eat my nuts?’   such are the under-appreciated perils of emigration within the English speaking world…

BASEBALL!!  forgive me… Mejia/Hale…sounds good  but last Thursday i said Zimmerman/Hale did not sound good so what do i know…  Senor Mejia though is 1 and 0 with a 1.5 ERA- he can likely lob a ball or two…he’s 24,  interesting first name, Jenrry…(Febrry?)   Best first name on the Braves definitely Andrelton, it just flows, like his throws – according to an unnamed Curacoan source though, in one of the many native tongues used there it translates ‘ famous ass hurler’… or should.  Fredi with the quote of the week on AS – “he doesn’t strike out” – really?  he’s going to hit .300 this year BTW and you read it here first…some folks also here think .200 more likely – amazin’, just like the Throneberry Mets.


Tennyson will see us through tonight… Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams?’


1   Braves give up stupid run on Young walk, Doumit throwing error on steal, ground out…silly…Hale control poor

Heyward walks, steals second, BJ and Freddy fly out, CJ K’s                MUTS  1   BRAVES  0

2.  Better for Hale…1,2,3…Big highlight was BJ shouting go away to JuP while catching 3rd out…did you miss that?  i was all ears.

Justin lead off Homer to RF!  Chip excited, gets the score wrong..Dan walks, goes to 2nd on WP, gets to 3rd on Doumit ground out……1 out     Pena fails to get him in…Hale nearly gets it past the infield…still, big chance wasted by my man Pena  ..              BRAVES  1    MUTS   1

3    Young bunts for l/off single, steals second…C’MON!…Murphy walks…Wright singles to center, scores Young, Murphy to 3rd..still no outs..Hale gets Granderson, K…Davis taps back, scores Murphy… Chipper in the booth tho’, all is well with the world…                      MUTS  3   BRAVES   1

Jason K’s…BJ triples over right fielder’s head…FF singles him in, he’s amazing..BJ clearly metamorphosing to Chipper clone, more exclusives later.. CJ K, his second…WOW!!  Justin, 2nd homer, 2 run blast…Dan K’s…apparently Dan now also on the Chiptrain…                      BRAVES  4  MUTS  3

4   Hale gets the bottom of the order 1,2,3…

Doumit walks, Pena K’s…again, Hale pathetic bunting…WTF Fredi?? inexcusable…Jason walks, 2 on 2 out..BJ grounds out, BUT HE HIT IT HARD…

5    Young again, triple off BJ’s glove, dear me…infield in…  Murphy ties game with single..Wright walks…still no outs…Wright forced, 1st and 3rd, 1 out…Davis up, Granderson steals, infield in…walk…Hale yanked with bases full, poor control all evening, pitching from behind…down to earth? Vavaro in with the bases loaded, 1 out, game tied,,,FABULOUS  JOB, STRIKE OUT AND GROUND OUT…      BRAVES  4   MUTS   4

Freddy has 2nd hit, lead off single…CK 3 K’s, somethings wrong…Jup, down 2 strikes, singles to right..Dan grounds out, so does Doumit who continues a horrid night leaving runners on 2nd and 3rd…go away please, you can’t throw, you can’t frame and you can’t hit…

6   still Vavaro…1 out, Satin pinch hits, strikes out, 2 down…HERE’S YOUNG!!   great job Anthony, k’s him…sitdown..

new pitcher for Mets, Torres…    Pena breaks his duck with l/off single…Schafer pinch hits..if you thought Hale was a bad bunter, and he is,   Schafer was pathetic, 2 outs, both bunts appalling…Heyward grounds out…jeez, can’t believe Schafer, that’s one way he makes his living…

7  Avilan on…Murphy singles, Wright K’s…wild pitch, Murphy to 2nd..Murphy steals 3rd, they are humiliating us on the bases…Davis pops out, big second out..Avilan gone for Pickles…Lagares singles in go ahead run on a pitch that was up…clever, effortless stroke to the opposite field just like last night when he drove in 2 in the ninth…Pickles made it easier though..
BJ strikes out,  so does Freddy, so does CJ for a golden sombrero…well, well, what an innings for Torres.          MUTS  5   BRAVES  4

8   THE GAME IN A CAPSULE..Pena can’t make an inning ending DP throw…Young steals his third base of the night, Murphy doubles him in with his third hit of the night on another pitch from Pickles that was up…they are leading to this point and deservedly so… MUTS  6  BRAVES  4

Farnsworth, surely we can get to him…no we can’t, JuP, Dan, Doumit all ground out…made bearable by Chip, great reminiscing on the famous Farnsworth/Wilson body slam saga at Wrigley years material for me was Wanstead taping it and making all his linebackers watch it..and Steve Stone saying Wilson’s nose looked as though a falcon had landed on it…miss him

9   Ian Thomas pitching, k’s Granderson…k’s Davis…k’s Lagares…he and Vavaro our only 2 exceptions to some poor bullpen pitching these last two nights…

now, base runner plus Gattis please… no such luck…Pena and Gattis pop up to Valverde who closes out the game striking out Jason…

FINAL                   MUTS  6   BRAVES  4


no complaints from this observer, we were outplayed tonight, in some areas embarrassingly so…the score did not flatter them…i had wanted to end with some fun stuff about Chipper and his fascinating BJ tutorial which was immediately followed by a triple…the guy can coach, can’t we formalize something with him even if it’s only at home, no travel…seems absurd not to…the bad stuff tonight is best forgotten, let’s end with the Chipper thought and have Lord Alfred urge us on to better things…


for us…

‘If I make dark my countenance, I shut my life from happier chance.’
for the Muts..
‘and men whose reason long was blind
from cells of madness unconfined
oft lose whole years of darker mind.’



As i am quite unable to make it disappear this space available to the Braves to advertise their need for a BUNTING COACH!!




135 thoughts on “Game Recap… RubberMets 6 NutlessBraves 4… Oh Dear!”

  1. Way too many holes in this lineup. Too many places that pitchers can go when they need outs.

  2. I miss Omar Infante, if only because when he would walk to the plate my brother and I would say “Omar comin’.”

    Uggla looks like a better version of his 2013 self in some ways, but the results are horrid and I’m guessing we see La Stella by May if/when this keeps up. He’s got that hit tool:

    BJ, should he keep being the BJ we’ve known here, will probably be reduced to his late-2013 status, playing part time with Schafer and Doumit picking up what were his PAs.

    Those moves, plus Heyward getting out of his funk, seem like the most likely ways this offense improves. But they’ll probably give the above two a month or so to either figure it out or not.

  3. Despite Justin’s two home runs last night, I’d trade both Uptons for a bad contract centerfielder with on base skills. Probably can’t find a taker though.

  4. Justin doesn’t bother me as much as BJ I guess because at least he shows some life. A 3 hit night is not a flukey event.
    One triple can be.

    I think both BJ and Dan get about 100 PA’s before anything drastic happens.
    Im more worried about the 3 catchers that can’t hit or play good defense.

  5. Sounds like this was an awful game to watch all around. Made the right choice going to catch Grand Budapest.

    -Didn’t we hear over the off-season that Doumit did not expect to catch? I don’t understand. We have two other catchers on the 25-man roster capable of catching.

    -The Schafer pinch-bunt attempt reminds me of the Heyward/Fredi saga in 2012: Heyward benched for Georgie–late innings the game is close, righty reliever on the mound, Fredi does not pinch-hit with Heyward, can’t remember who he called instead–then, after the guy gets on, he pinch-runs Heyward for him. Why do we burn through players when we’re staring a potential extra-inning game in the face?

    -With the Braves down only one in the eighth–or with a tie game in the seventh, for that matter–why are we turning to Pickles to get us out of a jam? Either Fredi has misjudged Pickles’ talent or (what I think is more likely) he has once again misjudged the importance of late-game situations.

    Performance has been spotty from our players, but damn if Fredi isn’t the worst thing about the Braves right now.

    edit: @7
    Two of our catchers are fine on defense.

  6. @8-Agreed. As bad as Uggla and BJ are, our biggest hole is still at manager. Avilan was pissed when Fredi came to get him last night, as well he should have been.

  7. @8, the “does not expect to catch” report was refuted. Who knows what the truth is, but the Braves camp quashed that pretty quickly.

    @9, disagree. Our biggest hole is not at manager. We won 96 games last year. Our biggest holes are the same as they were last year, the guys below the Mendoza Line.

    I liked Grand Budapest Hotel. What’d you think?

  8. @10-Right, because winning 96 games last year would not have been possible with a hole at manager? Even though the logic of your argument presumes that we did so with holes at 2B and CF?

  9. More importantly, the hole at 2B can pretty easily be plugged. Pena+Pastronicky as a bridge to La Stella will give us pretty close to replacement level. CF is a bit trickier but there are ways to give better hitters more at-bats. But manager is a problem precisely because the only way to fix it is to lose close to 80 games or more. He can’t be benched or moved down in the lineup.

  10. Look, the holes at 2B and CF are the easiest to measure and they are the most obvious places where this team fails. The amount that Fredi costs this team has been talked to death on this site and elsewhere, but I am deeply unconvinced that the number of wins that Fredi costs the team over a replacement-level manager is greater than the number of wins that our under-Mendoza hitters are costing the team right now.

  11. @10

    I am starting to wonder about Greg Walker’s future in Atlanta. The Braves are paying a lot of money to two guys that were much better hitters before he started working with them.

    Then the Braves bring in Chipper Jones to work with them. I think Walker may be done before the All Star break if things don’t improve.

  12. It’s mind boggling to me that people still think the manager makes a difference. Frankly, more annoying than Fredi’s decisions to me is the massive freak-out everytime he does something, as if every decision is black and white. (Side note: I will fully admit to being a part of the problem the other night when he took Santana out.) If you think Fredi is a bigger problem than B.J. Upton, you’re nuts.

  13. Managers do make a difference. Multiple managerial studies, including a recent one at Fivethirtyeight that people here linked to, have found that Bobby Cox had a measurably, extraordinarily positive effect on his players. He’s one of the greatest ever, and both anecdotal evidence and empirical data back that up.

    But most managers aren’t Bobby Cox. Managerial in-game decisions just don’t move the needle a lot. The worst managers in baseball might cost you a couple of wins, the best managers in baseball might be worth a couple of wins, but generally speaking, the games are won by the players.

    Even if Fredi were terrible, nearly none of the team’s performance would reflect that. But as it is, I don’t think he’s terrible. As I’ve written before, I think he’s average-to-above average. He’s almost certainly one of the top 15 managers in baseball. He is not the problem. The players are.

  14. @15

    I’m nuts. I think Fredi has been the team’s biggest problem so far this year. Perhaps another way of putting it: I think his mistakes, which are easy to correct, have significantly contributed to two of our four losses so far. I don’t think that’s even acceptable over 162 games, but in a 9 game span it’s infuriating. No, I can’t isolate his effect from other poor performances on the team. But I can see the poor performance plenty clearly.


    I adored the Grand Budapest. Bravo to Mr. Anderson and his set and property departments.

  15. Some people recoil from steroid discussion, but I tend to glaze over at the-manager-is-a-moron talk.

    But I did love “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” (It definitely makes me want to seek out the works of Stefan Zweig.)

  16. Besides a bunting coach, Chip might like a coach that can teach the Braves how to “fist one through the hole”.

  17. #20
    That may be the ticket to break me out of my music-bio binge.

    Hopefully, will get to it after finishing “The Mayor of MacDougal Street” (Dave Van Ronk memoir/basis for latest Cohen Bros. flick), which is actually terrific.

  18. I’ll probably go see Grand Budapest, but I have to say that I really don’t like Wes Anderson’s style. Like, I actively abhor it. There’ve been a couple movies of his where I’ve been able to look past it, but if the movie isn’t basically perfect in every other way, I’m drowned in my hatred of his style (We get it, Wes. You like worlds full of happy bright colors where all the characters are super quirky and want to kill themselves.) and the constant left/right, straight in/straight out camera movements.

  19. Have you seen Bottle Rocket? I think it’s less aggressive in that style than some of his other movies.

    But, I mean, I get it. I generally like his movies and I still find his style really annoying. There are some directors — Alexander Schmidt, say, or Noah Baumbach as a writer — whom I simply cannot get into no matter how I try.

  20. #24
    Then you’ll really hate “Grand Budapest.” On this one, he even fiddles with the film’s aspect ratios.

    FWIW, this is easily my fave Anderson flick.

  21. @ 26

    any connection to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel? 2011

    that was how to throw a baserunner out.

  22. Man. Gotta tip your hat to Joe and Chip who were talking about the “pop” in Ramiro Pena’s bat. Good timing.

  23. Not to be too choosy here.. but I’d love to knock this guy out in 3 innings and thin their bullpen just a bit for the next two games.

  24. Nick, you’ll find a lot to hate if you already don’t like it. Don’t spend money on it; you’ll only be angry.

    Alex, do you mean Alexander Payne? I never watched Nebraska.

  25. Regression’s double hit off a big JF on the left field wall. Anybody knows what that stands for? (Surely not Jane Fonda.) If I don’t get an answer, I’m going to assume it honors my upcoming first-ever trip to Turner Field in a couple of weeks.

  26. Thx Edward — I should have thought of that. I like the Jane Fonda idea, though, especially since she’s still alive.

  27. Call up La Stella NOW. Or play the Pena & Pastornicky platoon every day. After three-plus years, I’m fed up with this crap and can’t wait until June.

  28. You can live with the occasional error on a 20 foot throw when your slugging second baseman is putting up an OPS+ of … 18.

  29. Radio guys said he was “watching the bat and Zimmerman”. Love you forever, Skinny J.

  30. Yeah, he was watching the bat and Zimmerman. The slo-mo made it even more excruciatingly slow.

  31. Yeah BJ stood there and watched it for a moment.

    But what I want to know is why, exactly, didn’t Jason Heyward split Anthony Rendon into about 3 distinct pieces?

  32. Stupid BJ totally loused up an opportunity to get thrown out at the plate on that double.

  33. BJ and Uggla are killing this team. I have defended Uggla long enough. Those two are holding the team back and it is time to move forward with other options. Bring up La Stella, play some combo of Doumit and Success in the outfield, it doesn’t matter.

  34. I don’t care who the manager is; Joe McCarthy would have trouble winning if he had two of the worst players in baseball playing regularly.

  35. I understand and believe the math behind the theory that batting order only really means a few runs over the course of a year. I believe that it holds true for most teams and their 1-8 hitters.

    However, I really do wonder if the model fails once you stick a couple atrocious hitters like Uggla and BJ and sprinkle them throughout a line-up. It’s got to be better to just punt an inning with them and the pitcher together, right?

  36. @71
    Having two awful hitters doesn’t give a manager license to make terrible decisions.

  37. No, Chip, it’s not “an amazing acrobatic play.” It’s a routine play for anyone else, a sad display of a guy with an arthritic shoulder for Zimmerman.

  38. The bright side is that it is going to be sweet to watch Pena and Simmons turn the double play together for the next couple months.

  39. I would bunt at Zimmerman a lot.

    Can the talk about how good Uggla’s swing looks be put on pause until he proves he’s any closer than BJ?

  40. Sutton: “[Detwiler] sports what looks like one of those glue-on mustaches…can see him walking into a novelty shop and asking, ‘Have you got one that doesn’t come off when I sweat?'”

  41. Needless to say, Pastornicky should get all the ABs against lefthanded starters.

  42. #48
    Was on a recent flight from ATL to LGA with Jane Fonda. Got a pretty good look at baggage claim & she’s the most amazing-looking 76-year-old I’ve ever seen.

    If course, now I’m sounding like Gustave from “Grand Budapest Hotel”…

  43. Who cares if they get it right, really? Over the course of a whole season these 50-50 calls all average out, and you have a game with a pace that isn’t constantly interrupted by fat managers waddling out to second or home to pick their noses.

    And, for fuck’s sake, if “getting it right” is so damn important, then how about challenging ball and strike calls? Because in baseball that is where the rubber meets the road. The rest is window dressing.

  44. Who cares if they get it right, really?

    Well, seeing as how many blown calls in the past have cost teams ballgames, I’m sure a lot of people want them to get it right.

    Over the course of a whole season these 50-50 calls all average out

    Do you have evidence to support this?

  45. Angel Hernandez, now and forevermore, you suck at everything. But you have company in Uggla.

  46. This feels like a Friday night game against Philly in ’08 that started the death march to 90 losses. Everything’s just … off.

  47. If this was 1919, I’d swear that Uggla was on the fix because he couldn’t play much worse if he was trying to throw the game.

  48. @104

    1. This is 2014, not 1920. We have a bit more technology than we did a century ago.
    2. If you really think it doesn’t matter if an umpire gets a call right or wrong, I don’t know what to tell you.

  49. Well not everything’s off…if my math’s right Kimbrel’s got 11 strikeouts through 17 batters faced so far

  50. @107- Whether an umpire gets a call right or wrong matters intensely to fans in that moment, but that has nothing to do with the integrity of the game nor does it in any way imply that any single missed call has any meaningful effect when balanced against the thousands of other close calls that occur over the course of a season. I would argue that baseball has for well over a century thrived not in spite of but in part because of that human margin of error. Missed calls adds to the drama of the game and the felt emotion that makes it meaningful. While “getting it right” does nothing but subtract from the game’s beauty, which is the smell and the sound and, yes, the PACE. The fact that after a bang-bang play called out at the plate to end an inning the fielders all sprint for the dugout.

    Now we are just a bunch of dumb monkeys with “a bit more technology”, standing around with our thumbs up our asses waiting for some drone operators in a big hanger somewhere to tell us whether we are safe or out or fair or foul. Fuck it, just the play the goddamn game.

  51. Or how about we just eliminate everything else that needlessly delays the game and still get all the calls right. Missed calls don’t add a single freaking thing to the game except a black eye. For the life of me, I can’t understand this “but missed calls are cute” BS. It’s complete hogwash. Every single missed call is a minor travesty, frankly, and eliminating as many as possible is worth displeasing you aesthetically.

    For the record, I think computers should be calling balls and strikes right now, rather than human umpires, so you won’t get an argument from me on that one.

  52. @112 — You are entitled to your opinion. If the Braves have an out called against them on a bad call in Game 7 of the World Series, I want a chance to review it.

  53. @113

    50 or 75 years from now, kids will be saying to their parents, “They actually had people refereeing games? The idiots!”

  54. As far as I’m concerned replay has been working great so far. The delays are minor, but the improvements to the quality of umpiring are noticeable. You also see far less time spent with managers ranting and raving like they did when the power was so lopsided. Now that they have actual recourse when umpires blow it, and want umpires to be willing to do reviews later when they have discretion for it, you don’t see so much time wasted on theatrics.

  55. @116

    Excellent point. I was telling a friend today that in the age of replay, Bobby Cox’s ejection record will never be challenged.

  56. @117 Agreed. Though I can’t help but feel like at least a bit of entertainment value is lost for that fact.

  57. That was the best bit of baserunning we’ve had all year. Scored from first on a single to right. Thy name is still Success.

  58. Good call there by Fredi, indeed. I really liked that it meant if we didn’t score, Johnson was coming out of the game, which means Pena scoots over and Simmons gets to do what he does best.

  59. The counterpoint to Fredi’s call working is that Williams was really dumb not to pitch around JUpton there, with Dan Uggla on deck. Christ, I think I’d have walked JUpton even if the bases had been empty.

  60. @128

    Great point. JUpton had to walk off there or else we were going to extras.

    First game I’d watched this season beginning-to-end, every pitch. This is developing into a big rivalry with these guys. As Joe said earlier in the broadcast, they seem to bring out the best in us.

    I liked BUpton’s first at-bat, and then trying to steal. If BJ could just be a better defensive version of Denard Span, we’d be set with Heyward and him at the top.


  61. Great point. JUpton had to walk off there or else we were going to extras.

    It was already extras.

  62. I was at the game and I thought last night, this new replay rule is going to end up with more in shape managers because they all have to pop out of the dugout and run to the umpire on any close play. Of course once they get to the umpire they just stand around casually chit-chatting while waiting for the first review (the unofficial one done by their review coach to determine whether an official review should be called for next). Watching the games on TV the delays for the “double-reviews” are different and tolerable. While I am physically at the game it just feels like everything has ground to a mind numbing halt and I just want them to get on with the game. By the time Fredi popped out of the dugout for the third time I thought, good grief this game is going to take all night. I think many of the fans sitting around me felt the same way. It is not a fun or fan engaging process, it is a pain in the ass. I am in favor of some kind of review process but this current attempt is sucking the life out of live attendance (at least for me).

  63. Why should you get to see the replay first. Give the managers two challenges for the first 7 innings and they have until the next pitch is thrown to challenge.

    The head umpire decides any challenge after the 7th.

    Or have the umpires have buzzers and someone in NY decided what is reviewed.

    I like the idea of replay, but the way they are doing it sucks.

  64. Yeah, I think once the manager comes out of the dugout it needs to be decided whether they’re challenging or not. You can’t have a 10 minute conversation about it like in the NFL when there’s a 40s break between plays and the coach can be on the sidelines yammering with the linesman.

    I mean, if they have this bunker, shouldn’t the person in charge of a particular game already be looking the call over immediately? I’m sure it’s tougher in practice than in theory, but yeesh….

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