Braves 9, Phillies 6 (by JonathanF)

Citizens Bank Park giveth and Citizens Bank Park taketh away.

Santana was, again, great. Six solid innings of work. 11 Ks with 2 walks. He made one bad pitch to Ryan Howard. These things happen. But he left after 6 innings with a one run lead, courtesy of an Evan Gattis CitiBank special… A 2 run homer to the first row in right field. (ESPN lists it at 362 feet… that’s an infield fly in the playoffs.) Before that, the Braves played as if they were trying to recapitulate my high school experience… they kept getting to third base where they were abruptly stopped. One of those excursions ended in a Nats-esque baserunning play which saw Heyward caught in a rundown between third and home followed by Freddy thrown out trying to get to second during the rundown. I blame Dascenzo even though he had nothing to do with it. He was in the neighborhood… good enough for me.

So it’s 2-1 in the seventh, time to settle down to see a bullpen battle, waiting for the inevitable pop fly home run that makes this park so irritating.

The Braves struck first in the eighth, courtesy of BJ Rosenberg, who skipped his Passover seder last night with disastrous consequences. Three batters faced… three dingers: Oso-Owlo-Gloveo (Gattis-Uggla-Simmons). All of them were homers in the Polo Grounds, so the stupid dimensions of the field were not implicated.

At this point, Rosenberg departed, unfortunately. One might think that a 5-1 lead would be good enough, but we got the bad Avilanche. A Gwynn-ette walk, a Rollins single, and a Dark Lord single loaded the bases with no one out for Howard. Briefly recovering his poise, Avilan strikes out Howard. Then came a killer blow: Ruiz Byrd hit a ball six inches outside the strike zone to right for a two run single. This brought up Domonic Brown, who Avilan faced because, unbeknownst to anybody, Kimbrel was unavailable (shoulder trouble?!?) — it was pretty much down to Pickles and letting Avilan do to Brown what he did to Howard. Fredi went with Avilan, and the three-run homer gave the Phillies the lead.

But we still had the top of the ninth, and Pimplebon was unavailable, too. So we saw the first save attempt by one Jacob Diekman. Diekman should also have attended a seder. BJ walked and was safe at second on a poor choice by the Dark Lord on a weak grounder from Freddy. A Jupton walk loaded the bases with no outs. Gattis struck out, but Uggla, realizing that a second home run in this game would raise his OPS ahead of Heyward, made a 4 run deposit in the Citizens Bank.

Carpenter was good enough to finish off the ninth with his first Braves save. Avilan pitched one inning, gave up 5 runs, and got the win. Just another day at the Bank.

104 thoughts on “Braves 9, Phillies 6 (by JonathanF)”

  1. Fastball hitting 95 with a cool slider and changeup…so much fun watching Santana pitching last night.

  2. Great recap–just the right mixture of humor and gravitas. I might have said Citizen’s bank giveth, and taketh away, and giveth again. At least on this night.

    One correction: I believe it was Marlon Byrd, not Ruiz, who hit the two-run single.

  3. Yeah, man. Santana has looked great. My hope is that Fredi’s not afraid to ride him a bit this year, since he’s only one a 1-year deal, and I don’t expect we’ll be able to resign him afterwards.

    Has there been any further word on Kimbrel? I know it was something about a shoulder, but I’ll just go ahead and say “TJ” before anyone else because we’re all secretly fearing it.

  4. If you had told me that the most publicity The Lucksmiths would get, prior to their rumored reunion, would be via Deadspin, on a baseball highlight YouTube…

  5. According to B.J. Rosenberg’s college bio on gocards.com he was a Braves fan growing up.

  6. Having your lights-out starter leave after 6 might not be the best strategy when your bullpen is a grease fire. I get that Santana didn’t have a full spring training and they don’t want to rush things, but damn he was dealing.

    The law of averages is going to catch up with us at some point and we probably can’t expect to cobble together the best bullpen in the game year after year using minor league spare parts and castoffs from other teams. I figure it will take Fredi at least 5 months to adapt to the new normal.

  7. JCM: I’ve taken the day off to do my taxes, but when I get them done that’s a good Retrosheet exercise. Why do you want to know? No time lately: I’ll guarantee that.

  8. I was just wondering how long Simmons needs to keep this up (40+ PAs now and counting) before he starts approaching records. Joe Sewell’s MLB record (115 games!!) is one of those very few that will almost certainly never be broken, but I figure the Braves might have an approachable mark.

  9. Oh… I thought you meant the record for consecutive team batters… not an individual batter. Still a good exercise and I’ll try to get to it after the IRS is done raping me.

  10. Another Simmons-releated Retrosheet query from last night’s thread – how many times has anyone hit a HR and a triple in two consecutive games?

  11. 19-That’s an interesting one too–I’m guessing twice has happened a couple dozen times, but three times perhaps never.

  12. It’s been raining in Philly all day. Forecasts say about 1.5 inches of rain today and it’s not supposed to quit until about midnight. I highly doubt they get this one in, especially when it’s a divisional matchup that can easily be rescheduled.

  13. Before that, the Braves played as if they were trying to recapitulate my high school experience… they kept getting to third base where they were abruptly stopped.

    HAHAHAHA!!!

  14. @23-It almost doesn’t even look like a slider. It seems to have no run to either side, it just dives straight down almost like a splitter. I wonder if he uses an unorthodox grip or if it is just his arm angle is so good–he comes right over the top.

  15. So, I’m going to place this link here, with the proviso that I think it best that we not engage in discussion about it.

    Hank Aaron is getting racist hate mail again, and it has happened since an interview around the time of the celebration of his 715th home run in which he asserted that there is a lot of racism remaining in society.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2014/04/14/jackie-robinson-day-mlb-hank-aaron-racism-still-exists/7723045/

    Talking about race definitely violates the no-politics zone on this blog, so let’s not do it. But Hank Aaron is getting racist hate mail again, and that is a piece of tragic Braves news that’s worth mentioning.

  16. But Hank Aaron is getting racist hate mail again, and that is a piece of tragic Braves news that’s worth mentioning.

    I will not copy the link to it here, but a good deal of the racist hate mail is probably being submitted by the folks reading John Rocker’s recent “rebuttal” to Aaron. It’s on the internets if people want to look at it. I will not copy, paste or link to the host site.

  17. Back to baseball, my most frequently visited baseball sites are this one and Baseball Think Factory. Jimmy just migrated BTF to new servers because his old host providers were crooks and liars. The regulars are taking a moment to donate to the site maintenance kitty, and have come up with a cute way to decide “how much to give.” Basically, people are donating what they can aligned with the numbers of their favorite players. In that vein, I made two different donations. One for pitching and one for hitting. Thus did Jimmy get PayPal donations this morning in the amount of $31.47 and $44.10.

  18. Well Hank made some pretty ridiculous statements. If he doesn’t say anything he doesn’t receive letters, pretty simple. With that said, who cares. And who wastes there time writing a letter and mailing it?

  19. I’m going to try to stay on the good side of the no-politics zone, so I’ll just say….

    @30-

    “Well Hank made some pretty ridiculous statements.”

    Hank is old, and lived through an experience I certainly will never deal with, and me not being a professional athlete isn’t the half of it. I think the man is entitled to a modicum of bitterness and reflection.

  20. “With that said, who cares.”

    Who cares that Aaron’s receiving letters with stuff like “My old man instilled in my mind from a young age, the only good (racial slur) is a dead (racial slur)”? I think most decent people care. At least, I hope so.

  21. @30 – CSG, I’m going to disagree with you here, and I’m going to do my very best not to cross the no-politics-line, and I’m going to try very hard not to be accusatory, inflammatory or internet-snarky. These are really sensitive issues and I’m tip-toeing here a bit, not only because of Alex’s rules, but because we’re all friends here.

    First, I’ll just note that it isn’t an uncommon opinion to believe that some of the opposition to the President has been race based. You can think it’s ridiculous to believe that, but Mr. Aaron doesn’t, and he has the right to his opinion as much as you do.

    But the larger issue I’d like to raise with what you just said, and like I said above, I’m REALLY not trying to be disrespectful here, is that you and no one else have any right to tell Mr. Aaron what he can or cannot, should or should not say.

    For the first 40 years of his life, Hank and people who looked like him, made their way through the world with the EXPLICIT understanding that they didn’t have the right to voice their opinions, and that there’d be consequences if they did. And he’s lived the next 40 years with that fact merely implicit, as evidenced by the letters he received, and, (Please understand that I’m really not trying to be accusatory here, just trying to give you something to think about) by reactions such as yours.

    The opinion that “he shouldn’t say that stuff, he knows what he’ll get,” is obviously not as inflammatory as the terrible things that terrible people say, and it feels just like common sense, but it is in fact the apathetic response of good people, and by weight of numbers, is just as damaging.

    He should say what he thinks, whatever he thinks, and people should be free to think he’s wrong. They should be free to SAY that he’s wrong. But what has to stop, in my opinion, is that good people accept the kinds of responses he’s getting as “par for the course.” He doesn’t deserve that. No human being does. He gets that response because he’s black, and if we say he shouldn’t say things like that, we’re saying it because he’s black. That’s got to stop.

    EDIT: I’m sorry Alex, I was typing this as you were Nixing the conversation. I’ll leave it at your discretion to delete it, and I’ll have no hard feelings if you do.

  22. So, let’s hope we get rained out tonight so the Kraken can rest his shoulder another day.

    Krakens like wetness don’t they? So, a win-win?

  23. Id like the opportunity to clarify.

    #35- No offense taken and I agree. Hank has experienced things that none of us can even comprehend. All of it to me is unimaginable. There should be some pain and hurtful aspects still there for him. My “who cares” comment wasn’t towards Hank receiving hate mail. Whoever writes that crap and sends it to others is a coward and there is a special place waiting for them.

    I was trying to state that Hank has the right to his viewpoint just like everyone here. If you disagree then fine, but why do people care enough or become so offended that they send out racial mail or other things. Maybe I didn’t state that correctly.

  24. Perhaps bringing up a subject only to immediate declare no one can talk about it is not the wisest approach.

  25. @39 – We understand each other. I was miffed at the “if he doesn’t say anything, he doesn’t receive letters, pretty simple” thing, not the “who cares,” thing. But I think we understand each other. Glad neither of us was offended.

    @41 – It’s a big internet. Go start a blog.

  26. @42 Missing the point. I wasn’t commenting because of my own desires to engage on the topic (I not only have a blog, but can publish on any number of editorial outlets should I desire), but simply observing the results.

  27. @36 – If the game gets rained out tonight, and isn’t made up immediately, that’s one fewer Hale start we’ll have to get through.

  28. @41, I agree. All due respect, I’ve seen this pattern here before. It’s either none at all or open the door for full and fair discussion because we’re adults. But having one person putting things out there with a clear cast of opinion attached to it, then saying no further discussion will be allowed, is asking for people here to be resentful.

    @43, I agree with that, too.

    For the record, I noticed Hank’s comments a week ago when he first made them. I thought of mentioning them then, not to make an opinion one way or the other about them, but merely to note them. I didn’t, mindful of the “no politics” rule, which I feel is a good one. But I can only feel it’s a good rule if it’s observed by those with the keys to the palace, so to speak.

  29. @49, It’s very interesting to see his stock diminish so rapidly. From cleanup hitter to benched a couple days and 7th. Wonder what the story is behind that.

  30. @48, I appreciate the critique, and I apologize if you feel that I am being unfair. I felt that the news was big enough — the greatest player in the history of the Atlanta Braves is getting hate mail — that it merited mentioning. But there is no way to talk about race on the internet without things getting really, really heated. I don’t think there’s any good way for us to debate the merits of Henry’s comments without a lot of bad feelings resulting.

  31. @50, the radio guys said it was mostly about his mental approach – which I would assume means his temper. He’ll be fine. Shouldn’t ever be hitting cleanup though. That was Fredi just being Fredi.

  32. @48 – Well. Yeah. See. Alex posted the link, to be read by people who hadn’t seen it yet. In that VERY POST he stated he didn’t want to start a conversation about it, that he just wanted people to read it.

    The only “clear cast of opinion” I see in Alex’s post is this: “Hank Aaron is getting racist hate mail again, and that is a piece of tragic Braves news that’s worth mentioning.” Literally, that’s the only piece of his post that is opinion. Go read what Alex said, I’m not kidding. That’s the only opinion he posted. “Hank Aaron… getting racist hate mail again… is a piece of tragic Braves News.”

    So, I dunno, it’s his opinion that the N-word is racist? That racism is bad? That racism directed at Hank Aaron is bad?

    I csg offered an opinion, a couple people offered contradictory opinions. I’m really the only one who went on and on, and Alex politely asked that I can it.

    So I apologize for not obeying Alex’s rule. But Alex was clear from the get-go. Some of us just didn’t listen to him.

  33. @50, I totally agree. And I understand the position you’re in, as I run a fairly high-traffic message board elsewhere on the internet. I tried to have a zone where people could talk about political, non-topical discussion of the day and the net result of it became people who had no problem (for literally three years before I started the new forum) breaking bread and finding common ground about our main topic of discussion, hating each other and wanting each other dead within a matter of months. It was an experiment that I felt had to be ended, but stuffing the genie back in the bottle and expecting the community to reconstitute itself hasn’t really worked out all that well. Something was definitely lost, and it sucks.

    If I may further the critique with hopes I don’t look like a presumptuous ass for doing so, I think whenever a topic like this comes up that is so obviously going to be a part of Braves and/or baseball discussion outside of this blog, or even in the general civilian population (like I fear will become the case if this John Rocker piece blows up), the best thing to do as an admin is note your awareness of it, make a clear statement that no discussion will occur about it, but be very cautious not to attach any emotional or opinion content to it. “Hey, guys, there’s some Hank Aaron/John Rocker controversy erupting beyond these walls. Google it if you’re not aware, but we’re not going to abide any discussion about this here. Thank you for cooperating.”

    Muted, boring, but appropriate.

    Also, don’t feel bad about mercilessly deleting people’s comments who break the rule, whether you agree with them or not. In fact, ESPECIALLY those who you might agree with so there’s no appearance that you’re passively allowing statements to stand that you agree with, but clamping down hard on people who dissent.

  34. @52 – They’ve definitely had talks with him about his temper tantrums. Remember last season when he slammed his helmet and it nearly hit TP in the face, and TP blew up on him, right on the field? I have to imagine that TP’s explosion had to have been AFTER CJ was already spoken to about that kind of stuff.

    After his second 4 k game, he must have been slamming things around pretty good and they are sending him a message.

  35. When something obviously inflammatory or otherwise horrendous racist is posted, I will delete, as Mac did in the past. I use that power very sparingly, and likewise the ban-hammer. I prefer keeping all of that aboveboard.

    And, with all that… here’s Fredi and Greg Walker telling you what’s up with Chris Johnson, and it’s not very read-between-the-lines.

    Manager Fredi Gonzalez said the third baseman would play the rest of the four-game series, and hitting coach Greg Walker was confident Johnson would be fine once he redirects his intensity and recent frustrations.

    “He’s just fighting himself a little bit right now,” Walker said. “We’re trying to get him to get the fight back between him and the pitcher.”

    “Just a blip,” Walker said. “He had one terrible game and then he had a great game, then turned around and had a bad one again. You kind of see his body language and all right now.”

    http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/baseball/chris-johnson-out-of-braves-lineup-a-second-day/nfZdg/

  36. I wonder if the clean-up spot might be putting added pressure on Johnson.

    Edit: Eh, probably not. He’s always seemed like a hothead.

  37. I didn’t hear the broadcast, but Spike mentioned that the radio guys offered a bit of ‘read-between-the-lines.’ Strangely, I figure those guys less likely to keep a locker-room secret than our independent, intrepid reporter DOB.

    When they benched him, he was hitting .244 and had taken two 0’fers sandwiched around a 3 hit game. And they didn’t give him a day to get his head on right, they sat him for 2.

    I have no way to prove it, but I’m going to go right on believing he smashed up the tunnel or said something stupid to someone.

  38. Aah, I’m glad. Too bad for him, but good for the team. I think he’s got one more start before Minor takes his job.

  39. His ERA was 14.40 after giving up 8 earned runs on Opening Day. He’s put up a 2.08 since then. Allowing lots of hits though.

  40. Giancarlo just crushed a 3-run shot off of Strasburg in the 1st inning. Sure would be nice to get some help from the rotten fish.

  41. Probably not news to anyone here, but Strasburg is never going to win the Cy Young. To be honest he doesn’t even look like an ace to me anymore. His fastball is straight and it’s only mid-90s. The Marlins are roping it every time he throws it over the plate. Even their outs are squared up. Guys are all laying off his curveball. And his slider is nowhere close to a plus pitch.

    Edit: if he’s locating the fastball, the curve and the changeup, he can obviously still dominate, but I don’t see him doing that consistently.

  42. He’s still young, so I wouldn’t say never. He has the potential, but I agree he’s not polished enough yet for consistently dominating performances.

  43. Strasburg starts the second by giving up a lead-off triple to the eight hitter then three more runs. 6-0 Marlins after two. Strasburg has given up 7 hits and 2 walks and is throwing 75% off-speed pitches. He’s like a totally different pitcher.

  44. @72. I don’t think the problem is polish, it’s that he’s lost four or five MPH on his fastball. And without that weapon none of his other pitches are nearly as effective.

  45. Amazing what our crap shoot rotation has done so far compared to say, the Nationals for example. It will be nice getting Minor and Floyd up and going also.

  46. Boston marathon finish line is being evacuated due to two backpacks being left unattended.

    Baseball news: Josh Johnson has just scheduled his visit with Dr Andrews.

  47. The Nationals are the biggest bunch of primadonnas. Ian Desmond gets a pitch slightly inside and starts jawing at the pitcher to “throw it over the plate” and then the benches have to clear. I hope Salty told Desmond, “Listen buddy, we’ve seen YOUR throws.”

  48. I don’t think the problem is polish, it’s that he’s lost four or five MPH on his fastball. And without that weapon none of his other pitches are nearly as effective.

    Interesting the theory. Off to FanGraphs!

    (later)

    The data seem to agree with you.

  49. When it comes to ESPN and the “experts” picking the Nationals, I’ve realized it’s not them not picking the Braves that bothers me, but rather them choosing the Nationals. So tired of the media love affair with this team and its star position player.

    Speaking of the Nationals, they’re currently losing 11-0 to the Marlins.

  50. @81, I could not agree with you more. My pet name for them is the Notionals. The word “notional” is defined as “existing only in theory, or in the imagination”. Is there a more perfect description for the supposed relevance of this team?

    They’ve won the NL East exactly once, in 2012. They had a great year that year, winning 98 games but they didn’t advance in the playoffs. Other than that they’ve only had one other .500+ season since 2005 when they came to Washington, and that was last year’s total embarrassment season when they won 86 big games and didn’t make the playoffs. Big whip. Bryce Harper is foisted upon the world as The Future Of Baseball, a role that’s been usurped by another malcontent named Yasiel Puig. I don’t think even Mike Trout gets the ink, digital or otherwise, those two do. And Strasburg has been a paper tiger confined mostly to his cage. And yet the media persists that this is a “team to watch”, to really care about, and of course the Braves have to take a back seat to their adulation and admiration.

    Honestly, I don’t care about that part, but I also sure don’t mind calling the media out on their transparent preferences. The Nationals ain’t nothin’ and there’s no reason to act like they are until they’re worthy of the attention.

  51. And to pile on ESPN, they actually dropped the Braves from 4 to 7 in the power rankings they published yesterday. Where were the Nationals ranked? Ahead of the Braves at 6, hours after the Braves had just swept them (and taken 5 of 6 on the season).

  52. I don’t root against him particularly, but I’d put the over/under on Puig’s major league career at about six years. He has a lot to overcome.

  53. Not sure how I feel about publicizing that about Puig. Sounds like it could put his personal safety in jeopardy. If MLB wanted to step in and kick him out of the league for dragging drug cartels into the game, fine, but let’s hear about it after the fact. I don’t know what it’s like to try to escape from a prison state but I’m willing to cut him slack on the means by which he, as a teenager, did so. I doubt the way it allegedly played out was any way his preference.

  54. @19,20: I took a look at all the games since 2000. At least 5 players have back-to-back games with a triple and homer. There may be a few more since there are some two day gaps and I’d have to check by hand to see if there was an off day in between. No one has come close to three in a row. Brian Giles had 11 such games, once separated by only a day: 6/10/2002 and 6/12/2002.

  55. Phew, do the Diamondbacks stink this year. Maybe ‘grit’ isn’t the way in which to build a winning team.

  56. No doubt. I appreciate Le Batard’s take on Puig, and he cites many examples of players who overcame severe deprivation. He picked the wrong cautionary tale, though. Ted Williams (the golden voiced homeless man) had a lot of problems, but he was a Brooklyn-born Army vet who became an addict. Puig’s lack of cultural savvy reminds me more of Toe Nash:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toe_Nash

  57. @91 I am just surprised their agents didn’t take care of this transition better for their clients. After all, their responsibilities are not just limited to contract negotiation, right? Look at all the non-baseball related support Japanese players have been getting….

  58. I was campaigning for the Braves to sign Josh Johnson this past offseason. Man, I’m glad they’re smarter than me.

  59. Go back and watch that video of the El Paso Padres pranking Jeff Francoeur for a month. Think deeply about how dense and disengaged with the world around him a man has to be to believe, contrary to the evidence plainly in front of him, that one of his teammates, with whom he eats and travels and lives every day, is deaf. Now consider that Jeff Franceour is an American kid from the relatively posh Atlanta suburbs.

    Baseball players aren’t necessarily smart people. A few of them are. Your Dougie Glanville here, your R.A. Dickey there. Maybe a Curt Schilling every now and again. But those guys are outliers, really. Most baseball players are smart enough to swing a baseball bat and hit a round ball in flight, or alternately smart enough to throw a baseball 90+ MPH. Yasiel Puig seems to be of the former sort. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that he’s about as bright outside of his baseball skills, as Jeff Francoeur.

    Take Jeff Francoeur and drop him, without coaching or guidance, in the middle of a whirling society 100 times more complex than the one he grew up in, with a completely different language, and then give him ass-loads of cash to boot.

  60. Johnson could still be a good signing for next year if we can get him for peanuts. With a new ligament he might have another month or two of 2010-like numbers in him. The Padres’ big mistake was that they paid him 8 million dollars–way too much risk for reward.

  61. Boone Logan gets paid $3.5 mil per year. Gavin Floyd will get 4 mil for half a season. An 8 million dollar flyer on Josh Johnson was not a bad risk.

  62. @100-If you use Boone Logan’s salary as a measuring stick, no one is a bad risk. But Gavin Floyd with a new elbow ligament is far, far, far less of a health risk than Josh Johnson. I watched him pitch last year (when he could actually get on the mound) and it was obvious that he wasn’t right–and we weren’t just talking a few bone chips in the elbow. I’d say there was a better than 50% chance that the Padres would get fewer than 10 starts out of him, and no way that kind of risk is worth 8 million dollars.

    I’d be happy to sign him this offseason for 2-3 mil, however.

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