Braves 4, Marlins 2 (by spike)

N.B. – I watched the first five innings in a bar and listened to the rest on the radio while blind drunk.

A thoroughly uninteresting affair to 99% of the baseball fans in the world and thoroughly annoying to the rest. Nominal ex-Braves Reed Johnson, Mike Dunn, Jeff Baker (Gar-field high represent!) made appearances. Baker has somehow cobbled together a fairly lengthy major league career — go figure.

A remarkably Bravesian affair, played under perfect spring skies. Outstanding pitching in which Teheran found a Sunday hop on his curveball in the mid-second, and both he and Walden turned a Tommy Lee Jones stare at some questionable defense. Simmons brought his hitting shoes (despite a most un-Andrelton-like error), with a homer and scoring a tie-breaking run after a broken bat Heyward single in the 7th, and things looked agreeable for a minute.

But Kimbrel was undone by a tight strike zone and a catcher’s interference and on we went. Fredi played for one and got none after Heyward bunted out in the ninth and Varvarro escaped the tenth. Gattis stroked a two run shot in the bottom half, so we win.

Hooray, but this is not a particularly inspiring offense at the moment. Division foe beaten, all is well, but it’s hard to believe this is a winning recipe long term. Still, another day off the calendar. Another data point in the transfer rule needs to be tweaked case from Uggla, but a good play would have made it moot. Braves survive, and get another intra-division win.

127 thoughts on “Braves 4, Marlins 2 (by spike)”

  1. Kimbrel’s undoing wasn’t really as much the strike zone as his inability to spot the fastball in the vicinity of home plate more than a third of the time.

    I’ll take the win, but *no one* is allowed to bunt for at least five games. Pitchers included.

  2. Strange that Jason wouldn’t be confident in his ability to hit a weak grounder to the second baseman.

  3. Oh, we should note (a few times) for future generations that Melvin Emanuel walked three (3!) times tonight.

  4. Well, to be fair, one of those walks was by Carlos Marmol.. You’d basically have to, like, bunt or swing at the first pitch or something to NOT reach base against him.

  5. A win is a win. It wouldn’t look pretty every game, but I agree this is not an offense we can rely on.

    At the same time, we somehow managed to get by last year.

  6. Thing about the Simmons error (which WAS uncharacteristic) is that he made a BRILLIANT play to field the ball cleanly. It had him ranging all the way up the middle and playing a WICKED short-hop, all of which he did flawlessly, only to flub the transfer to his throwing hand. (He never had a good grip on the ball, which is why the throw sailed into the dugout.)

    I was disappointed, because I’m used to seeing brilliant plays by Simmons every day, so each missed opportunity is a small tragedy.

    But he made up for it with the stick.

  7. Yeah Julio picked him up, too.

    As Walden did Uggla, for that matter. Our pitchers wore their big boy pants today.

  8. #10
    Correct.

    Our bullpen, even & especially Kimbrel, wriggled out of some tight spots.

    Some scary moments for sure, but… just win, baby.

  9. @12- Somebody- may have been Keith Law- wrote on twitter that he halfway thought the umpires were passive-aggressively enforcing the transfer rule as retaliation for MLB implementing instant replay. It’s probably not true, but it doesn’t feel out of the realm of possibility, either.

  10. 538 put out a study showing managers have a hard time affecting a W-L record too much. Tonight seems like an object lesson in why. Of course Fredi gets the W. Keep bunting.

  11. Uggla sucks defensively as is, there’s no need to punish him further by implementing a rule where he actually catches a ball but doesn’t get an out because one of his hands can’t communicate with the other. I guess it’s worked for the Braves once (McLouth’s transfer in RF) and worked against them once.

  12. Greatest opening line in Braves Journal recap history? Greatest opening line in Braves Journal recap history.

  13. Per the Twitter, Heyward has one (1) sac bunt in his entire time in Atlanta. If it was his idea, it was a big dumb stupid wrong idea and he was big and dumb and wrong and stupid for doing it, and Fredi was big and dumb and wrong and stupid for allowing him to do it. And the beat guys are big and dumb and wrong and stupid for not going all NY Post on the Braves clubhouse for allowing such nonsense to happen with nothing but a shrug.

    If we have to be Lords of Bunts, at least look like we practice it maybe once a spring training?

    This enrages me more than it should, but there you go.

  14. I think that the Braves should get two of those big posters of Saddam Hussein that they used to sell at gun ranges and put them about ten feet down the first and third base lines, and tell each and every single pitcher on the Braves to bunt the ball till they can lay it at Saddam’s feet.

  15. For as much as they are asked to do it, I don’t quite understand why our pitchers aren’t prepared sufficiently to lay down a bunt. (Most position players too.) Bunting the ball into play is something that should happen with a pretty high success rate.

  16. So I’m not a big fan of buntitis as far as strategy goes, but if you’re going to do it (and it certainly appears that Fredi’s going to bunt) then you better practice it. A lot. Required skill for the profession.

  17. D.N. @23: If it was his idea, it was a big dumb stupid wrong idea and he was big and dumb and wrong and stupid for doing it, and Fredi was big and dumb and wrong and stupid for allowing him to do it. And the beat guys are big and dumb and wrong and stupid for not going all NY Post on the Braves clubhouse for allowing such nonsense to happen with nothing but a shrug.

    Let me suggest another theory. Instead of this, perhaps Fredi should mention privately to Jason that even with his struggles at the plate this year, he’s one of this teams’ primary offensive cogs and the team would prefer to see him swinging in that situation next time, and the ATL press should let clubhouse confidential remain confidential rather than turning Atlanta into a knock-off parody of the shithouse that is the NYC tabloids, and perhaps this is tendency is one of the small things that makes the Braves organization fundamentally superior to that of the Mets and Yankees, year in and year out.

  18. Harper apparently had a bit of a ‘tude when reporters asked him what it’d be like to play against Trout, whereas Trout was all class.

  19. I heard Harper punched a kitten outside the clubhouse, too. Actually, I think I heard it was two kittens, and an orphan was watching.

  20. Fredi may love the bunt too much, but in point of fact only three NL teams had fewer than the Braves’ 21 sac bunts by non-pitchers last year, and we’re the only NL team without a single one so far in ’14. It’s possible we’re so bad at it that this doesn’t reflect the relative number of sac bunt attempts, but still. Could be worse.

  21. @30-

    I refer you to the line in my post: “This enrages me more than it should”

    I don’t *really* wish what I said, just Internet Venting.

  22. How about let’s have a manager who says “do” or “don’t” and not “Hey, uh, have you, given any thought to, uh, bunting, when you get up there, huh?”

    Also, there’s a space between manufacturing controversies, and being state media. Let’s not pretend our only options are NY Post or Pravda. That DOB and Bowman keep secrets that Don Sutton and Jim Powell wink and nod at, is a bit troubling.

    And as for bunting, we shouldn’t be surprised that our pitchers can’t bunt. Rookie ball and all of Single A is DH-Ball, in AA and AAA, if one of the two teams, home OR away, is an AL team, the DH is mandated, and in the PCL, even if both teams are NL, they both have to AGREE to let the pitchers hit; if one team refuses, it’s DH-ball.

    They haven’t hit since whatever age they stopped being the kid who played SS, pitched, and hit cleanup.

    They COULD play all of minor league baseball the way they run interleague play and the World Series, ie, the league rules of the home team, and then the pitchers would all have 50-100 bunt attempts by the time they really needed the skill. But the NL teams have decided pitcher’s don’t need the practice, at least not as much as their affiliates need the extra AB’s for the Ernesto Mejia’s of the world. After all, bunting is easy, right? Isn’t it just automatic?

  23. How about let’s have a manager who says “do” or “don’t” and not “Hey, uh, have you, given any thought to, uh, bunting, when you get up there, huh?

    Again, respectfully disagree. You coach the players to be smart, not to be automatons. Players play. It was a bad decision by Jason, and he should be coached to avoid it going forward. But you don’t treat grown men like pre-K students with a list of “do’s” and “don’ts” and their recess privs at stake.

  24. RE: bunting, if they aren’t getting practice in the minors, I’d have them bunt *every at bat* on the non-DH games.

  25. I don’t mean to say have a list of guys who are allowed to bunt and those who aren’t, and post it on the wall. I mean to use that small man wearing the helmet next to third base to communicate your intentions to the hitter. Bunt, show bunt and pull it back, bunt’s off so swing away.

    Lots of managers ask good hitters to bunt. I think it’s usually stupid, but I see the advantage of moving the walk-off winner to third with only 1 out.

    In this case it’d be particularly stupid with a lefty pull hitter up, like Heyward. But I think the quote after the game was stupid. “I left it up to him, whatever he wanted to do, whatever he felt comfortable doing there.” That’s dumb to me. You can put the bunt on for the first pitch and decide for yourself if he’s comfortable, and then take it back off.

    Or, alternately, if you think the combined likelihood of a ground out to the right side, plus that of a fly ball to right, plus that of him driving the run in himself, is greater than the likelihood of him managing to lay down a bunt, then you can just give the swing sign, tell him you don’t want him to bunt.

    All of those are reasonable and are within the realm of the manager’s authority. No player would feel he was being treated as an unthinking-automaton if he was told what the manager wanted done with the walk-off winner standing on second and no outs.

  26. On a completely different note.. I think the Evan Gattis bio-pic should be in the mold of a screwball sports movie parody, with the part of Evan Gattis played by John C. Reilly, regardless of the age difference.

  27. From the promos I’ve seen for the Evan Gattis story on FSN, particularly the close where Evan Gattis says “I’m Evan Gattis, and this is my story,” I strongly suggest to Evan Gattis that Evan Gattis continue to play baseball and not speak in public.

  28. Gattis had a really good interview last night on MLB Network after the game.

    In response to being asked about transitioning back to catching every game and handling these pitchers, he praised the staff and said, he’d do pretty much “anything to get me out of left field.”

  29. I am hoping that B.J.’s walks are a sign that pitchers are beginning to feel the need to pitch to him more carefully again.

  30. Why would Francoeur even be in a Gattis movie? He was a Royal, and a Giant last year. He’s a AAA-Padre this year.

  31. @50 – I think it’s more a fact that he’s just not swinging at those terrible pitches any more. Last year he was, and MLB pitchers are nothing if not practical. If you’re going to swing at that crap, they’ll throw it to you. I think the league hasn’t adjusted the “book” on Melvin and are still throwing him slop on the assumption that he’ll get himself out.

  32. Evan just seems like that earnest, nervous guy that John C Reilly plays alot.

    And Evan’s story is almost already a parody of the “out of nowhere to the big leagues,” kind of story. You could play his REAL story, with real events, but with funny people in it, and you’d have a baseball Talledega Nights.

  33. I love Fredi Gonzalez as Gerald Laird. The guy who played Jack Parkman can play Ryan Doumit… and they can even call him Jack Parkman, instead of Ryan Doumit, I don’t care.

  34. Minor is going to have one more rehab start. He was going to start Saturday against the Reds last I checked, guess they’re just being cautious and kicking the can a little on deciding what to do with Hale.

  35. @66 – That and his last scheduled start (Friday) was rained out and he pitched a day later and threw 80 pitches. Normal rest would put him pitching again on Thursday, which is an open day. Hale is doing okay, no need to rush him.

  36. My, this game has just been a pitching delight so far. Two young guns at the tops of their games.

  37. damn, where was uggla there? stupid shifts….

    well it probably would have gone through his legs anyway.

  38. He’s got Kimbrel’s stuff, but he can pitch the whole game. He’s pretty fun to watch (when he’s not pitching against us).

  39. Wood losing consecutive 1-0 games?

    sad, but at least some of it can be attributed to the other starter

  40. When is the last time Freeman hit a ball square? He has hit a ton of weak flyballs over the last 3 or 4 games

  41. I’m telling ya, I think that HBP to Freemans hand hurt him; sure he’s hit 1 HR and a couple doubles since then, but his complete domination stopped after the HBP.

    That or a cold streak.

  42. no, freddie was going to bat .500 until the HBP

    pathetic last inning there by the bats

    tough luck wood

  43. If the Marlins ever make the playoffs they’ll win the WS with that dude throwing 3 times in a series.

  44. Just ran out of innings. If that game went another 11, 12 innings, you feel like we might have scratched out a run.

  45. wow .. wea re so weak hitting … time for some Pena, Pasternicky .. what has happened to Freeman ?? He looks very tired and late on swings .. and Uptons and Uggla .. same ole at bats … if this teams pitching was midle of the road ..we would be 5-15 probably

  46. Running into pitching that good and not doing anything against it only hurts when I’m reminded of the times we faced crappy pitchers and performed equally poorly.

  47. Yep. To summarize:
    – Freddie’s slash of .442/.519/.814 as of April 13 wasn’t going to last
    – Alex Wood is basically as good as his entire professional track record suggests. People who say he belongs in the bullpen do not know what they’re talking about.
    – Jose Fernandez, it turns out, is also quite good

  48. Unlike Tommy Hanson and Jordan Walden, whose deliveries I hate, Alex Wood’s funky delivery I love. It looks natural, uncontrived, and deceptive. I hope he can maintain it without hurting himself.

  49. It’s never seem more apparent that this team could really use Tommy La Stella right now. I hope they don’t wait too long to pull the plUggla.

  50. Question for you older folks: was a Southern accent prevalent in Atlanta in the early 90s? I was watching a broadcast of Game 5 of the 1991 World Series, and the pre-game segment features several fans speaking in noticeable drawls. But I’ve never met anyone in the city with a clear Southern accent, other than a few light “y’alls” here and there. If the answer to the first question is yes, when did things start to change?

  51. I seem to recall John Tudor back in the early mid-80s leading the NL with something like a 2.15 ERA and he went 5-12. I hope Alex Wood doesn’t have to deal with that issue.

    And yes, Fernandez from Pure Evil is good. I can’t even hate him, despite his unfortunate team affiliation.

  52. Was at the game tonight. Fernandez did an incredible job changing speeds and mixing up his pitches. Kid is an amazing talent.

    Wood was almost as dominant and pitched the best game of his career tonight. Too bad that he’s 2-3 so far in spite of his 1.54 ERA.

  53. If Fredi doesn’t do it, I will. That was a hat-tippin’ good night by Jose Fernandez. But yes, Alex Wood is a dandy.

  54. @99 I lived in Marietta during early 1990s and I honestly didn’t notice any obvious Southern accent from people around the metro Atlanta area. Similar to your experience, maybe a few light “y’alls” here and there but that’s about it. Maybe it’s a different story once we are talking about areas outside of metro Atlanta.

  55. #99
    Depends on what kind of Southern accent you mean. They’re all quite different. Hell, Georgia accents are different (Eg. – a North Georgia mountain accent, like Zell Miller, is the farthest thing from a South Georgia accent, like Ray Goff or Dan Reeves.)

    If you’re talking about white folks, people who grew up in the Atlanta area (& especially if their parents are from the area) have a particular accent, but it’s definitely not country (if you get the difference).

    There’s an older upper-crust Atlanta accent you might hear near the Emory Village/Druid Hills area that’s a little snooty (they kinda don’t pronounce their Rs) and there’s a more working-class Atlanta accent that’s harsher (kinda like Lester Maddox, to be honest).

    But, because so many people in Atlanta didn’t grow up in the area, you’re bound to hear a mosh of accents, but nothing so particular. When did it change? I moved away from Georgia in 1990 & it had definitely begun to change by then.

  56. @99

    It probably depends at least a little bit on the circles you travel in. I work in courthouses all day, and the buttery southern accents are still flying around among the attorneys I encounter. Who knows, though, that could be a matter of the accent choosing the profession….

  57. fm @ 99,

    Another issue is that national media have a desire to explore the “Honey Boo Boo” element of the South. So, if they interviewed 30 people, the 3 with the most extreme accents and bad grammar would definitely be run on the broadcast.

  58. Happy birthday, Blazon! Thanks for what you do to help keep this place humming!

    Did I read that todays game is one of those nutty 12:10 starts?

  59. Dang it, blazon. I just thought I was old. You have me by half a decade. Keep having ’em, old feller.

  60. have a happy one, Blazon!

    111 – I’m confused. I thought BJ had been working really hard last year and working on his mechanics all off season. Which is it?

  61. Happy birthday, blazon!

    #115

    I was surprised by his attitude. Maybe he’s just downplaying things?

  62. Lineup: Jason, Simba, Freddie, Johnson (yuck), Doumit, Uggla, Schafer, Laird, Harang

    That is one terrible lineup. And what the hell does Ramiro Pena need to do to get a start at second base against a righthander? Day game after a night game and we still can’t give Dan and his .616 OPS a day off?

  63. Reminds me a bit of a (much better) ESPN piece on Justin Upton.

    The upshot, as far as I can tell, is this: the Upton brothers care. A lot. They just don’t show it in the visible ways that some people would like to see. They don’t break the bat over their knee. They radiate calm. And so they keep getting criticized.

  64. I don’t think many are criticizing BJ for not caring…I think it mostly has to do with hitting .180

  65. I haven’t heard one time, at least not here, that neither Justin nor BJ “cares”.

    As krussell says, in BJ’s case it goes directly to his inability to sustain a batting average over .180.

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