Braves 6, Mets 0

ESPN Box Score

Alright, this Aaron Harang thing beats the hell out of me. First, let’s talk about the game, and then let’s talk about him, because he’s basically the single biggest reason that this injury-ravaged team is in first place.

I know the score says 6-0, but it was a nailbiter for the first two hours until the offense woke up against the LOLMets bullpen. Jon Niese was on the bump, and he’s one of those semi-anonymous Mets pitchers who have a knack for keeping us off-balance. He’s got a career 3.48 ERA against us and Dillon Gee has a career 2.95 ERA against us. I hate those guys. Anyway, he killed us last night; 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K. The Braves got two of those hits in the second inning, when a Jupton single and Gattis walk set up an RBI double by Chris Johnson. And then the offense took a power nap.

But in the end, Aaron Harang didn’t need the help. He currently leads the major leagues in ERA at 0.70 and is tied for the lead in wins with 3. His one loss of the year came on April 8, when he gave up two hits and one run in six innings to the Mets while the Mets shut out the Braves behind Bartolo Colon. Harang hasn’t pitched anything close to a bad start all year; he’s given up just nine hits in 25 2/3 innings, seven of singles and two doubles. Basically, he’s got a big box of smoke, mirrors, and 89-mile an hour fastballs, and he hasn’t given up much of anything even resembling hard contact all year. For example, last night was the second time in four starts, along with his first start on April 2, that he took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning.

That said, it probably shouldn’t have been a no-hit bid. In the second-inning, with two outs already on the board, Travis d’Arnaud was called out at first on a bang-bang play; the replays showed that he looked safe, but Lucas Duda foolishly tried to make it to third on the play and was tagged out on the attempt. Terry Collins decided not to challenge the call at first because the inning would have ended anyway, but as JJSchiller pointed out last night, that could have altered a lot of Fredi’s subsequent strategy with Harang.

In particular, the sixth inning. He needed just 72 pitches to get through the first five innings, with three strikeouts and two walks. Then, in the sixth inning, he threw 26 pitches and walked two men before striking out Curtis Granderson to preserve the one-run lead. He was at 98 pitches. The Braves had an extremely slim one-run lead and an apparently tiring starter who had just walked two men in the inning and four overall in the game. But he was credited with having allowed zero hits.

So in the very next half-inning, when the dreaded Niese was finally lifted for Carlos Torres, Chris Johnson immediately hit a double, Ryan Doumit productive-outed him to third, and the pitcher’s spot was up with a man on third and one out. And Fredi left Harang in to bat for himself. Harang feebly struck out, and Simmons grounded out, and the inning was over. Had D’Arnaud been credited with a single in the second, there’s almost no way that Harang bats for himself in the seventh, and the Braves likely would have ended the inning with a 2-0 lead instead of a 1-0 lead.

The bottom of the seventh was even more nervewracking, after Harang got two quick outs on his first three pitches. Then he walked D’Arnaud, and after that he managed to walk Ruben Tejada, a hitter so bad that the Mets spent most of the offseason trying to figure out who could play shortstop for the team other than him, and I had dread visions of Alex Wood walking Ryan Howard. Thankfully IWOTM, and Harang managed to strike out the next batter, and he departed with a corpulent line of 7 innings, no hits, 5 K, 6 BB, 121 pitches, only 70 of them for strikes.

Then the Braves scored five runs off the Mets pen in the 8th and 9th and Avilan and Walden struck out three guys in the next two innings and came within an 8th-inning David Wright single of a combined no-hitter and everything was pretty much moot.

Okay, so what the hell is going on here? He’s basically a three-pitch pitcher, throwing a ton of four-seamers and two-seamers and a lot of sliders, with the occasional show-me curveball or changeup. As Ryan noted, Harang has cut back on the curveballs and changes in favor of more fastballs — and pitch mix is one place where a pitching coach can have a definite effect on a pitcher. The stats suggest it was a good idea to junk the change, because the win value has been hugely negative. And it’s also very possible that he’ll do a better job of repeating his mechanics by focusing on three pitches than he did in previous years when he threw four or five pitches frequently.

The two fastballs have virtually the same velocity and release point, but a different break. He also pitches inside, but then again, he did that last year too.

I think that a lot of his success boils down to this: 1) he repeats his mechanics very well, as shown by the consistency in release point; 2) his mix of four-seamers and two- seamers, with similar velocity but different movement, keeps hitters off balance; and 3) he does a good job of hiding the ball until delivery, making it harder for the hitters to pick up his pitches. He also is playing in front of a better team than he has in a while.

That said, he also has a .143 BABIP and a 0.0 HR/FB% and a 90.5% strand rate, and those things typically won’t last. (Especially the home run rate: Harang has a 25.4% groundball rate this year, and a 37.9% groundball rate for his career. He’s an extreme fly ball pitcher, second in baseball so far this year. Fly ball pitchers give up the occasional tater.) Obviously, screaming “Regression” is neither all that fun nor all that interesting — nor, as we learned with Chris Johnson last year, necessarily all that accurate. Still, it is unlikely that Aaron Harang will end the season with Mariano Rivera’s career postseason ERA.

THAT SAID, Harang was signed to give us a bridge to the three rostered starters who weren’t ready for Opening Day, Ervin Santana, Mike Minor, and Gavin Floyd, and all he’s done is be the best pitcher in baseball. Aaron Harang’s 2014 season is the whole damn reason to be a baseball fan. Absolutely unbelievable.

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165 thoughts on “Braves 6, Mets 0”

  1. Great recap. I love what Harang’s been doing, and love even more that he isn’t doing it in Cleveland.

    He threw a lot of balls last night, but in his defense Tom Hallion was basically guessing back there. He couldn’t get a call on anything back-door, even though they were coming back to the zone.

    What he reminds me of so far is Tom Glavine, ignoring the pitching hand. But he’d rather walk a guy by making his pitch than give in and hope a play is made behind him. If you choose to put his pitch in play, well, you won’t hit it hard. But if you’re waiting for YOUR pitch, well, you’re leaving your fate in the umpire’s hands.

    It seems to be working so far. He’s had just enough stuff or just enough command to get out of jams.

    But even if the stuff and command don’t recede, he can’t continue to escape EVERY jam like he has. And if the stuff or command falter even a little, he’ll be in for some long days.

  2. Great writeup on the game and great analysis (although you lost the plot on your numbering sequence in the third to last paragraph, maybe due for a tidy edit there).

    I’d say #4 reason for his 2014 success is he’s so darned good looking it’s distracting to the hitters.

  3. The price of the stadium has gone up 18M already, and it hasn’t even started yet.

    “The previously undisclosed costs raise the specter of other unknown expenses that may await taxpayers, including unknown amounts for legal bills, additional public safety costs, road work or additional costs that may come from operating and development agreements the county still must finalize with the Braves.”

    Ya think? Cobb County should invest in lube futures.

    http://www.ajc.com/news/news/cost-of-braves-stadium-rises-another-18-million/nfZxW/?icmp=ajc_internallink_textlink_homepage

  4. After going 1 for 16 in the season’s first four games, BJ Upton’s line is .261/.333/.391 (.725). We can live with something like that going forward. I’d still kind of prefer to live with it in the 7th spot, but either way, I’ll live with it.

  5. @5, shocking!

    I think this is the part of the thread where Sam and D.N. and various other intowners and I laugh and say if the new stadium is a pain in the ass for us to get to, at least we don’t have to pay for it.

    And I’m looking forward to Aaron Harang’s droopy mug starting the All-Star Game!

  6. EDIT: If you’d like to skip this post, you probably won’t miss anything if you’re aware of my thoughts on BJ Upton. Water is wet, the sky is blue, and I am BJ’s biggest critic.

    Why is .261/.333/.391 for BJ ok? We signed this guy for his age-28 season, assuming that he was entering the peak of his career. A .725 OPS would equal the 6th best offensive season of his career, and even 20 SBs (something that seems unattainable) would be the 7th best total for his career. His defense would have to be Gold Glove-quality for his contract to make sense. If the expectations are that lowly managed, then this is going to be a long half-decade.

    On the other hand, if he matures as a center fielder (bringing his defense up to Gold Glove-quality), then a .750 OPS and 25-30 SBs could at least allow him to approach his value. That is still, though, not what we envisioned when we signed him.

  7. 10: I’d say expectations have to be adjusted in light of 2013. He’s not going to be worth his contract, but it would be nice if he were at least playable.

  8. @7, can’t speak to that, but it does give the lie to the idea that the Braves left because Atlanta is a crime ridden hellhole with a stooge for a mayor. The total taxpayer liability is around 600M including interest, or about 2700 per Cobb household. The free money is what really drove this from the start

  9. OK…. you inspired me Alex. Just bought tickets for the game tonight. The last time I went to Citifield Tim Hudson left an ankle there. At least I know he won’t get hurt there again tonight.

    Trying out the Pat LaFrieda Chop House before the game… Did you know that Citifield had a Chop House as well? Couldn’t they think up another name? lolmets.

  10. I was at the game last night, behind the Braves’ dugout. Had a blast, obviously—I was disappointed that they didn’t get the no-hitter, but it’s not such a bitter pill to swallow when they shut ’em out 6-0 anyway.

  11. B.J. Upton, 2013: .184/.268/.289 (557); .266 BABIP
    B.J. Upton, 2014, prior to Chipper’s visit: .138/.138/.172 (310); .250 BABIP
    B.J. Upton, 2014, since Chipper’s visit: .273/.368/.424 (793); .296 BABIP

    Of note, whatever he’s doing differently now is resulting in far more contact. He K’d 13 times in 29 plate appearances BCE (Before Chipper’s Era); he’s K’d 4 times in 29 plate appearances CE (Chipper’ Era.)

  12. The price of the stadium has gone up 18M already, and it hasn’t even started yet.

    I’ll take “Shit Cobb County’s Paying For” for 1000, Alex.

  13. I don’t have a lot of advanced metrics opinions, but Holliday’s OPS+ was really misleading last year. 15 extra gdp’s is not like adding an 0-15, it’s like turning 15 singles into outs.
    It is one of my firmest held opinions that double-plays are terrible, and I don’t miss fearing one every time a leadoff man got on in front of Prado. (And I miss most things Prado-related)

    PS Sorry for the tangent

  14. As a long term beard wearer, I am unfriendly toward the recent hipster binge bearding, and I think Adam LaRoche needs to groom that damned thing like a civilized man would. But that said, I existentially oppose porn-staches in all forms, and Ross Detwiler needs to get rid of that dead ferret on his upper lip.

  15. Nats can’t beat the Cards even when the Cards try to give them the game. That was awful stuff by both teams, but I’ll take it.

  16. Obviously early going, but early games count; as of this minute the Braves are 2.0 up on the Nats, 3.0 up on the Mets. Beat Colon tonight and the lead in the division goes to 2.5 and 4.0, respectively.

  17. #14
    JonF,
    Went to the chophouse last night. My advice: Get there as early as possible.

    We got there at 5:45 & didn’t get our main course until 6:50, 20 minutes before first pitch. Kinda ridiculous. I saw a few other people grumbling about the very same thing.

    Food was good, a nice atmosphere & all, but… c’mon, y’all.

    Going tonight as well. Go Braves

    #19
    Funny, was in a club in Williamsburg last night and, after a couple adult beverages, had to strongly resist yanking a couple overdone ‘staches off hipster faces. I’m thinking (rather soggily), “Y’know, that curlicue Rollie Fingers action you got going on sorta looks like a dynamite fuse. Probably needs a light…”

  18. Fashion/style rule: If a baseball player is doing it, it has probably jumped the shark.

    It strikes me that today’s hipster is what millennials think gen xers were like.

  19. @24, related – I turned down a comp tattoo from a first rate shop the other day. That’s an indictment

  20. @1, Who even cares what the dude looks like?

    Seriously. I am embarassed for this site that post #1 under Harang’s gem is that nonsensical crap.

  21. Why would we not note that Harang looks like an extra from The Addams Family? He does. It’s funny. Yunel Escobar looked like Sloth from Goonies.

  22. Freaking millennials.

    Dude, Harang’s pretty dang ugly, and while it is completely irrelevant, it’s still funny.

    RE: BUpton

    I agree that expectations must be lowered based on the abomination that was his 2013, but I still feel like we should expect some better numbers and be spitting angry when they are inevitably not met. Spitting.

  23. @31, I believe that it is every man’s God-given right to be mad about his team, so I won’t say that you’re wrong to be ticked off at how bad B.J. has been for the past 13 months. But in my opinion, life’s too short. You gotta cut emotional bait on what he was supposed to be and see what you can salvage from what he is. That’s what the Braves have to do, anyway.

    @28, I was at the game, and I couldn’t tell why Bryce was yanked until I read about it afterwards. Matt Williams very likely cost his team the game by taking out one of his best players and replacing him with Kevin Frandsen. I mean, I understand the purpose of benching a guy to make an example of him, like Bobby Cox did with Andruw Jones, and I won’t deny that in certain circumstances it’s warranted. But Harper has a gimpy quad, and — remember, this is runs-into-walls Bryce Harper — his hustle isn’t the problem. The problem for this team is that they lead the Major Leagues in errors. And my pop-psych analysis is that they appear to be getting tight and choking in big moments. That’s definitely what it looked like when Rendon threw the ball away today. Being screamed at and told to hustle more is not going to cure a team that’s making mistakes because they’re rushing. If anything, it will make it worse.

    They are kicking the ball all over the field. And in the middle of a winnable game — a game their inconsistent offense nearly came back and tied — their manager decided to replace Bryce Harper with Kevin Frandsen. Losing winnable games is what killed their playoff hopes in 2013, and 2014 is looking like much of the same. And, ultimately, when a team keeps losing winnable games, that’s on the manager. He has to look long and hard at himself and ask why his team keeps crapping its pants in big games against good teams, and try to think if anything he is doing is contributing to that. Today, he helped lose the game. Simple as that.

    It’s nice to have him working for the other guys.

  24. If BJ falls off the “sorta kinda useful train” he’s been on for the last 10 days, fine, go back to being angry. But at this point, he’s putting together good at bats multiple times in a game, he’s contributing offensively, on the bases, and defensively. To be spitting angry about him right now is…counterproductive.

  25. @10 – The short answer is because he hit .184/.268/.289 (.557) last year and .261/.333/.391 (.725) is better than that.

    Ancillary reasons include:

    1.) He’s here and he’ll be here and they’re going to play him, so if he plays better that’s better. I want things to be better than bad, so I’m going to be glad when they are. Getting spitting mad makes me hate watching baseball, and I’m trying to start enjoying it instead.

    2.) I don’t blame him for not doing things he’s never shown he’s capable of doing, and I will gladly settle for him actually doing the things he is capable of doing. If he goes out and hits .184, I blame him for that. If the team signed him and expected him to play better than he’s ever played before, I blame the team for that.

    The player they signed had a career line of .255/.336/.422 (.758) and stole 39 bases per 162 played. To repeat that tiny sample above, since going 1 for 16 to start the year, he’s hitting .261/.333/.391 (.725). He’s also stolen 4 bases already, a pace, such as it is, that would have him steal 40.

    So after the 1 for 16 start, he’s been almost exactly the player the Braves signed. Why would I be spitting mad at him for that?

    3.) Also, he never peed in my Cheerios, so there’s that.

    EDIT: To be fair, I’ve never let him get close to my Cheerios.

  26. Matt Williams does seem uptight, always has. For all Fredi’s faults, you can’t accuse him of that!

  27. Is Justin standing too far from the plate or something? He keeps taking obvious strike threes and then getting mad about it.

  28. Eric Young, Jr. might be a nice guy, but between being the second coming of Rickey Henderson against us and his role in Huddy’s injury, I’m starting to hate him with the fire of a thousand suns.

  29. He needs a smaller helmet. Or a bigger one, I don’t know. But something’s wrong with that guy’s helmet.

  30. You know… If they DIDN’T screw up that relay, putting Duda on 3rd, and he stayed at 2nd instead… There’s a CHANCE, albeit a slight one, that instead of being out at home on the grounder to Simmons, he instead goes to third, and then scores on the ball Heyward had to dive for.

    Not likely that Duda goes to 3rd on the grounder to Simmons, but, ya know.

  31. Also, whoever is in charge of our pitchers and bunting and all that, needs to be drawn and quartered. This team is inexcusably bad at bunting, every year.

  32. 58 — Ron Darling on the Mets broadcast thought it was pure spin on the ball for that same reason.

  33. I dunno, he might have gotten himself thrown out, and then it’d be Fredi who came out and argued.

    I don’t know that Freddie is acutely smart, either on this or the play last night, I just think he was properly coached, and his initial reaction is to always be the player and let the umpires do the umpiring.

  34. @60 – I’d ask Ron Darling why Freddie almost fell over on his first step, then, if he wasn’t hit in the foot.

  35. People use the term “flashing leather,” in reference to making good plays, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anybody “flash leather,” the way David Wright does…. he is so completely terrified of putting his body in front of the baseball, that he moves to the side, waits til the last moment, and slings his glove at the ball.

    EDIT: Also, did we just make 3 outs on 5 pitches?

  36. Freddy (and Heyward for that matter) with great looking swings this inning. Hands so high!

  37. don’t forget bj, if he keeps this up he might stop being a joke.

    dang, gattis just missed after Jup failed

  38. Two offseasons ago, I wrote for Freeman’s entry that he could be anywhere from Jack Clark to Jason Thompson. Well, a season-plus later, he could very well be Todd Helton!

  39. Only one baserunner. Infield fly is to protect from a double play, because two or more baserunners have to return to their bases on popup. The batter-runner is on his own, his responsibility to hustle, because unlike a baserunner, he isn’t tied to his previous base until it’s dropped.

    EDIT: Which is why the infamous “Infield Fly” in the wildcard game was so ridiculous. The throw was going to be WAAAAY too long to get two baserunners out, so who was it supposed to protect?

  40. One of those productive outs that get results… which guarantees we’ll keep hearing about it for weeks.

  41. Daisuke started the inning from the windup, and now the bases are empty but he’s staying in the stretch.

    EDIT: And now judging by his results from the stretch, maybe he should try pitching from the windup even with men on..

  42. There’s three levels of disaster: grease fire, dumpster fire, Hindenburg. The ‘pen is getting close to zeppelin territory.

  43. Our bullpen needs a ragtag bunch of misfits like our rotation, apparently.

    And only after the second RBI single and fourth hit does the little light go on in Fredi’s head.

  44. A little insurance is right… I fully expect Kimbrel to be a little over-amped and make his half-inning interesting.

  45. The Braves are going to need to get another good reliever at some point, because Avalin and Carpenter are not cutting it at all.

  46. Juan Jaime has struck out 11 batters in his first six appearances for Gwinnett (6 IP) while only allowing three hits and no runs. Unfortunately he has also walked five guys. If he could just tame that wildness he’d be a huge piece for the pen.

  47. Duda’s the last guy he gets. Once he hits 20 pitches he’s a 50-50 proposition.

    @115 – Yes, hanging them right over the plate. Almost as if he’s over-throwing it, causing his stuff to flatten out..

  48. Go get him. He’s done.

    Kimbrel to Fredi there: “Are you kidding me?”

    All Braves fans to Kimbrel: “Are YOU kidding ME?”

  49. Dammit, Craig. You can’t have forgotten everything you knew about how to pitch in a week, can you?

  50. Pitching is muscle memory. You have to pitch to remember how to pitch. It’s not the SAT. That’s why he needed work.

  51. For my next prediction, I will predict Kimbrel passive-aggressively throws Fredi under the bus in post-game quotes. Something along the lines of “It’s not my decision,” or “He’s the manager.”

  52. 125- I know, very strange. The good starting pitchers are pitching to their level, and the “bad” ones are emulating and matching them. In the bullpen, it’s the other way around.

  53. Kimbrel should say “I didn’t get it done tonight. Lucky to have Walden there to bail me out.”

  54. @127 – I agree with you. But he was pissed when Fredi came and got him. You have to be a bit of a magical-thinker to be a closer, especially a good one, so I don’t begrudge him his frustration. But I foresee him throwing a meatball to the press post-game.

  55. How common is it for the home plate umpire to throw new baseballs to the pitcher? I saw Gattis reach up for it a couple times and get left hanging. At one point the ump almost threw one over Erv’s head.

    And: late to this, but nice Big Handsome write-up.

  56. Another four runs given up by the blowpen. When the starting staff regresses, it’s going to get ugly.

  57. I think the catcher and ump work that out. They both like to keep their arm warm. If the ump is throwing too many in, the catcher will ask for a chance to throw.

    I’ve only seen it become an issue once: Russell Martin actually got in to it with an umpire a year or two ago who wouldn’t let him throw the ball back to the pitcher.

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/05/31/umpire-tells-russell-martin-he-has-to-earn-the-privilege-to-throw-new-balls-back-to-the-pitcher/

  58. I saw Benito Santiago get ejected by an umpire once when he refused to throw a new ball back to the pitcher when the umpire physically couldn’t.

  59. I don’t know how Alex formats tweets to read as something other than nonsense, but:

    “Mark Bowman ‏@mlbbowman 4m
    Kimbrel said he apologized to Fredi after the game.”

    Good boy.

  60. Hernandez threw the ball out of play and asked for another, and Fletcher tried handing a new ball to Santiago, but Santiago refused, even when Fletcher held the ball in front of the crouching catcher. That’s when Fletcher spiked it. Even then, Santiago wouldn’t take the ball.

    “That’s his job, to throw the (new) ball back to the pitcher,” Santiago said. “Sometimes I like to do it, but sometimes I don’t. This ain’t no Little League game here. There’s got to be respect.”

    Baker said Fletcher told him during the argument that he couldn’t throw the ball because his hand was hurting. When Santiago heard of Fletcher’s physical condition, he wondered why Fletcher hadn’t said anything before the game.

    http://www.sfgate.com/sports/shea/article/No-disputing-Giants-success-S-F-dusts-Phils-2893471.php

  61. Reporter just asked Fredi a question about a Schafer injury. It caught Fredi off guard. Apparently Schafer is having a finger X-ray’d.

  62. Mark Bowman ‏@mlbbowman 3m
    Schafer’s X-Ray was negative. He says he his finger is “just sore” now

  63. I was watching the game with my girlfriend and as soon as Fredi popped out I said Kimbrel was gonna be pissed. A manager should know better than to take it personally in that situation, but good for Kimbrel to go ahead and offer an apology.

  64. @ajcbraves: #Braves Kimbrel said it was disrespectful to act like he did when came out of game, went in and apologized to Fredi G afterward.

  65. Back from Citifield. I’ll take s Schaefer sore finger over a Hudson crushed ankle, so I’m getting less destructive in the games I attend: ububba: got to chophouse at 6, food at 6:35. not too bad…

  66. 145- Down, but not by much. The starters came in with a combined ERA of 1.47, and 1 ER in 7 innings would be an ERA of 1.29. So probably down by about .01.

  67. I would bet money to odds that Schafer went in head first on his stolen base, and that’s where the finger injury occurred.

  68. On the post game show they specifically said that Schafer’s injury wasn’t from a head first slide,but they wouldn’t say what caused it.

  69. Guys, we complain a lot about Chip Caray, and rightly so. But apparently the Angels let a librarian or science teacher or somebody call their games, or something. Listen to the call on this home run:

    http://m.mlb.com/video/v32203069/laadet-shuck-leads-off-the-game-with-a-solo-shot

    “Shuck with a, ball that he, hits, out on the, right side… and, that ball’s, hit well out there, and it’s going to, get over the wall, down the right field corner! It’s a lead-off home run, for Shuck. Boy, who would have ever thought that!”

  70. I just watched Kimbrel being taken out by Fredi. I was convinced the Braves had the game in the bag and turned it off in the 9th earlier. Bad move.

    I know that players shouldn’t disrespect their manager (and Kimbrel’s behavior would not normally be acceptable in other industries), but I didn’t have nearly as much of a problem with that as I thought I was going to. Kimbrel just signed a HUGE contract, and I’m very relieved that failure frustrates him so much. You can tell that he really wanted to finish that game, and that makes me appreciate him even more (if that’s even possible). I love competitors.

  71. JOHN FOSTER! That’s the pitcher who used to watch the games on TV in the bullpen, and run in and open the bullpen door to get himself on TV whenever the telecast would show who was warming up.

    Sorry. That’s been bugging me for almost a year now, and it JUST came to me. John Foster. That was the guy.

  72. -153

    Yes, yes … That sort of thing happens to me all the time of course. “John Foster” makes a nice, concise term for it. I can just say I’m having a “John Foster moment”. But I’ll never remember the name–and then I’ll have two things I can’t remember, not just one.

    But that’s pretty frickin’ funny. Talk about craving those 15 seconds of fame.

  73. @153:

    Should have asked! I could have named him easily. 2005 was the first year I got back into the Braves, after years of no longer caring or paying any attention to them, and I watched just about every game that year and remember that season particularly well.

    Foster kept popping out every time they would show a pitcher warming up. Eventually I started to wonder what was up with, and finally the announcers caught on. They would then point the camera there, show him coming out, cut away, then point it back again about thirty seconds later and out he’d come again. It was pretty funny.

    Ah, 2005: 14 straight, discovering Mac’s writings, Dan Kolb, Joey Devine, Farnsworth at the trading deadline, 90 wins, Francoeur’s debut, Andruw Jones’ MVP-caliber season and MLB-leading home run total, cringing at Jay Powell’s career-ending injury, Powell’s weird balk move being throwing a pitch, Kyle Davies being called up and dominating the World Series champions in Boston and winning seven straight to start his MLB career, Andy Marte…(all this is off the top of my head, seriously.)

  74. @155 – Great idea!

    @156 – I remember it because my dad noticed it and thought it was the funniest thing. He told me in the sixth inning of some game, “Now when the bullpen starts moving around, just watch.”

    And then we watched for it every game. It was so perfect, that door was right dead-center between the two mounds, so it was center-screen. And sometimes, presumably when the broadcasters talked up the bullpen action for a little bit, before the director switched to that shot, he’d be ready behind that door, wait for the shot to come on the TV, wait a single beat, and come through and stand, arms crossed like he was supervising whoever was warming up. But sometimes he’d be late and the door would fly open and he’d just stick his head through. And you knew that was because he was stretching or riding the exercise bike, or otherwise getting ready to come in the game himself, but he didn’t want to screw up his streak.

    I just couldn’t remember which guy it was. And suddenly, it just clicked.

  75. @159.

    Or that Schuerholz can convince Liberty Media to keep the budget expanded by $15m going forward?

  76. I’m sure after all he’s been through, Santana’s going to want a market-value deal. Or extension.

  77. So… attributable to Kimbrel’s shoulder soreness or what? That game was way more interesting than it should’ve been. I don’t think JUpton liked seeing Freeman get IBBed in front of him.

    Also, helluva play by Andrelton to seal it. There was a similar play earlier in the game where the Mets SS had to range over and try to get a throw back to 1st against a quick-ish runner. He tried one of those dumb Jeter jump-throws with predictable results. It’s so easy to see that and think, “Andrelton would’ve just stopped, gather, and gunned him out by a step”. It was nice to see exactly that happen later. Man I love watching that guy!

    Edit: Also, hell yeah, Jason Heyward’s defense. Even when he’s struggling at the plate, he still brings it in the outfield.

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