Fredi 6 Braves 5

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No matter what Chipper Jones and David O’Brien say, the current Braves manager is league average, at best. Today was not one of his better performances.

Don’t get me wrong, a baseball manager can win/lose you six to ten games a year. Their main job is to manage the bullpen and keep the clubhouse calm. I assume he also hires the coaching staff, or at least has a very strong say.

Today’s loss is 100% on the manager.

Aaron Harang was not sharp at all today. He gave up four hits and six walks through six. However, he managed to get out of a jam almost every inning.  After six innings and a two run lead, it seemed like Harang was done.

It really looked like Harang was done when Gerald Laird doubled with two outs in the top of the seventh. For some reason Fredi decided he didn’t care about getting an insurance run and let Harang “hit.” He struck out and that was that.

In the bottom of the seventh, Harang gave up a solid single to the first batter and gave up a home run. So Fredi goes to the pen and brings in the worst player on the team. No not Dan Uggla. Luis Avilan, who promptly walked a guy. Then Fredi decided to bring in David Hale, who for some reason hasn’t pitched in a week. He gave up two monster shots and when the inning was over, Arizona had scored a touchdown and missed the PAT.

Don’t worry, it gets better.

With two out in the eighth, Freddie Freeman went downtown. Then Justin Upton walked and Chris Johnson singled. With the tying run coming up to the plate and Evan Gattis on the bench, Fredi let Tommy LaStella hit. LaStella actually had a great AB and drove in JUp. Then Andrelton Simmons walked to load the bases.

I can only assume Fredi sent Gattis to the airport to make sure the charter was ready, because Laird was sent to the plate with the winning run at second. I can only assume Ryan Doumit went with Gattis. THERE IS NO WAY GERALD LAIRD SHOULD BE HITTING WITH THE GAME ON THE LINE AND EVAN GATTIS IN ATTENDANCE!

Of course, Laird struck out, swinging at five pitches off the plate. Even Atlanta Braves Diplomat Brian Jordan questioned this on Braves Post Game LIVE.

Ramiro Pena hit one in the pool to lead off the ninth, but it was too little too late.

Evan Gattis has the charter ready and the Braves will fly to Colorado to face a guy making his big league debut. I hope his parents are there to watch. Maybe Gattis will get to bat. Who knows?

 

82 thoughts on “Fredi 6 Braves 5”

  1. I didn’t want Gattis to catch today, but if the tying run was on first I’d have thrown him in there.

    I’d be more upset with leaving Harang in if the bullpen hadn’t done the same thing as yesterday.

    Luis Avilan is not the worst pitcher on the team.

    K, I’m good now

  2. I wonder how Wood would do as a starter ready for him to take Harang’s place. We really need Walden back in top form.

  3. Wren needs to do everyone a favor and release Uggla. Frodo is still going to use him until he does. Really need a bench bat that can PH and play some 3b.

  4. It’s not like it’s some big mystery. Wood isn’t suited to pitch in the bullpen, and he’s clearly a better starter than Harang. I get wanting to protect his health, but whatever time he’s spending in the ‘pen to limit his innings needs to come to an end quickly.

  5. I have to wonder, is being used out of the bullpen really a more effective way to limit pitchers’ innings than skipping starts or something? I would think it would be harder on the arm to switch back and forth from being stretched out to start and pitching on a controlled schedule to getting up multiple days in a row and warming up potentially multiple times and maybe not getting into the game at all (and thus a lot of less structured pitching without any official innings pitched)? Then if the bullpen pitcher has to make a start or two in AAA to stretch his arm back out to be a starter again—those are all innings, but they don’t go into the official innings count. Those innings are also being wasted in the minors.

    I get the Braves don’t want to use Wood for 200+ innings this year, but this just seems like a really ineffective way to go about keeping his innings down, especially consider he is not very effective as a reliever. If Wood pitches 25 innings out of the bullpen and 140 as a starter, is that really less taxing on his arm than 200 innings as a starter? I just don’t see how going back and forth like this is considered less stress on the arm.

  6. The fact that Carpenter and Avilan suck so far is really demoralizing. We’ve been spoiled on having excellent bullpens.

    Remember 2010?

    Wagner, Saito, Venters, Moylan, Medlen, Kimbrel, Dunn, O’Flaherty…all w/bullpen ERA’s under 3.00

    Granted, that team had its own issues (SEE: Smelky/Louth), but the bullpen was really special.

  7. The problem with Avilan is he has no idea where the ball is going, and he couldn’t tell you even if you gave him a 50/50, an ask the audience, and the option to phone a friend. This makes him remarkably unsuitable to a situation with a man on base and a tie ballgame.

  8. Since the start of the Boston series, the bullpen WHIP is 1.91. Kimbrel’s is 1.15; Simmons’ is 1.20. For the rest of the bunch, it’s 2.15 (Carpenter 3.60, Avilan 2.50, I.Thomas 2.40, Varvaro 2.10, Hale 1.80, Wood 1.44). (And Wood, FWIW, has been used four more innings in that span than anyone else in the ‘pen.)

    Pickles, anyone?

    So … um … good luck in Colorado, guys.

    Hope the bats can find something — anything — to win a couple of Coors Canaveral, four-and-a-half-hour, 12-10 specials.

  9. Great recap Smitty. I’ve never been a Fredi basher but you are correct that loss is on Fredi. Its hard to believe that Gattis and Doumit were hurt, so yeah having Laird up there in that make or break situation is perplexing.

  10. I still think the solution relies in the roster reconstruction that will come when Uggla is traded/DFA’d and the Braves trade one of Harang, Floyd, or Santana. Moving Wood back to the rotation and trading for a bench bat and LOOGY would really do wonders for this team. I’m also a little upset that the Braves didn’t let Ian Thomas work through some things at the Major League level.

  11. Why not blame Wren? He put the team together. Teams have overcome bad managers in the past. This team simply lacks offensive talent. CJ is an average player-giving him the benefit of the doubt; what else can you say about BJ? Simmons is a great shortstop but not someone to rely on offensively. Second base has improved some but is hardly a strength. And Freddie Freeman may be having trouble with his eyes (obviously not Wren’s fault). Wren’s done a lot of good stuff but the problems with the team are on his plate. And really, the difference between this year’s team and last year’s is the bullpen isn’t as good. The hitting was a problem last year-hidden, in part, by the fact they hit a lot more home runs and had some big run games. The whole Uggla thing is ridiculous; I guess Wren is constrained by ownership but doesn’t anyone at Liberty understand the concept of sunk cost? It’s not that difficult.

    It’s easy to blame the manager, but when the bullpen is lousy, he’s between a rock and a hard place.

  12. Between a rock and last place, Marc. Thanks for saying what I think: relief pitchers who provide no relief, a centerfielder who can’t hit and chooses not to field on occasion, a regressed third baseman, and Ugliest. What are Fredi’s options?

    It’s Wren’s (and Liberty’s) job to give Fredi choices. If he makes bad game decisions, when all he has to choose from is what he currently has, maybe he deserves a little slack.

    Not using Gattis for Little Fredi still befuddles old folks’ minds though.

  13. @Marc
    I have some issues with blaming Wren…

    1. The bullpen was other-worldly last year and aside from Avilan, there wasn’t any reason to believe that there would be a significant dropoff. Heck, every analyst out there had the Braves as the best or 2nd best bullpen preseason.

    2. The Chris Johnson contract: It only buys out one year of his FA years and only at 9 million. If he records an average of 2 WAR/season, he’ll be well worth that. While it was foolish to think that he’ll repeat last year’s success, thinking he’ll average 2 WAR/season isn’t.

    3. BJ’s contract- a .700 OPS from an above average defensive CF that can steal 30 or so bases year is well worth a 15 million dollar contract. The deal at the time seemed fair and the dropoff that we’re seeing is just flat out bizarre and utterly unpredictable. Signing a guy like BJ to a 5-year deal through his age 32 season wasn’t, on paper, a bad deal. It’s asking him to be a 2.5 WAR player/year over the course of that contract.

    On a side note: La Stella has been worth 0.3 WAR in 9 games and has graded out as average defensively. I’d say that’s a strength and should be used as such. La Stella either needs to be leading off or batting 2nd. I’d prefer his OBP skills leading off with Heyward batting 2nd.

    It was easy to blame Fredi last night, however I think he’s done a pretty solid job over the course of the season. Last night, there were too many situations for an armchair manager to 2nd guess…decision to leave Harang in to bat instead of going for the lead with a runner on 2nd, bringing in Avilan with a runner on, bringing in a non-strikeout pitcher such as Hale (whom hadn’t pitched in a week) in with runners on 2nd and 3rd and 1 out, not pinch-hitting with Gattis at ANY POINT!

    If it was just 1/2 questionable decisions, it’s easy to get over it the next day. However, yesterday was inexcusable.

  14. Fredi tries to be a “player’s manager,” so of course he would go with Laird, who already had two hits in the game. I was okay with the decision until I saw Laird swing at that slider (strike #2?) in the left-handed batter’s box. He put himself in the hole, not Fredi.

    Fredi’s doing well enough as a manager. The players are pressing, not working counts, etc. I don’t know if their pitch recognition has ever been so poor. Are they all up there guessing?

    Go, Braves!

  15. @15 – I didn’t know that Laird had two hits. Makes at least one of the bad decisions defensible. Not pinch hitting for Harang, not so much, but you could at least defend that decision with a justifiable lack of confidence in the bullpen.

    The team is a mess now.

  16. @14 – Chris Johnson’s ability to be a league average player has been demonstrated exactly once and that was driven by a remarkable run of good luck. He sucks in a major way. Zero patience, statuesque defense, and he seemingly has rage issues that can’t be much help when trying to make changes to his game. The problem is that his contract effectively guaranteed two FA years since just about any team short of the Astros would probably DFA him before 2015. I think Wren has done a great job given his limitations, but the CJ contract is baffling.

  17. I think Uggla may be done as soon as they recall Walden. Avilan is totally useless but they won’t get rid of him so they may need to add an extra arm for a while.

  18. @14,

    I wasn’t really “blaming” Wren; he has done a hell of a job in most cases. I’m just saying, as coop suggests, that, while Fredi may well have screwed up last night, it’s the players first. I’m not arguing that Gonzalez is a great manager; he may be an incompetent boob, but the problem right now is far more with the talent on the field. Wren isn’t entirely to blame; he has obvious constraints. But, really, it was pretty clear that the team had holes that had not been addressed. They were hoping that BJ would improve (and he has to some extent) and the Chris Johnson would be, if not as good as last year, some facsimile, that Uggla would be better, and, obviously, that the bullpen would be as good as last year. None of those have happened; it’s not all Wren’s fault but if you are going to blame the manager, I think you need to look at what he’s working with.

  19. I think Fredi should take some of the blame for the bad ABs some guys are taking. I know he is not the one with the stick in his hand, but when 2/3rds of the team is giving away 2-3 ABs a game it is more than the players fault.

  20. Wren is a mixed bag. A lot of good signings up and down the pitching staff over the last few years. Especially good/lucky at finding cheap guys that nobody else wanted and getting production from them. All that is canceled out by Uggla / BJ / CJ. Our farm system is also a barren wasteland.

    The magic dust we’ve sprinkled on the bullpen for several years is suddenly not working this year. Can’t exactly blame Fredi for that, but I definitely blame him for putting our guys in bad positions consistently. Avilan shouldn’t pitch to righties, yet he does all the time. Fredi constantly let’s a pitcher bat in the 5th or 6th inning and then pulls him next inning. That trait alone drives me absolutely crazy. He saves our best pinch hitters for the 9th inning even if we have something brewing in the 7th or 8th. Little things add up. Maybe 4 or 5 wins with this team are really going to matter. We don’t have the talent to run away with the division this year.

  21. Yes. Thank you, Smitty for an excellent recap of a horrible game. Spot on in my opinion.

  22. In a sense, I’m trying to justify the Chris Johnson extension by saying that he’ll be worth his contract if he averages 1.5 WAR over the course of the next 3 seasons. I don’t like the extension per se as I don’t find rooting for Chris Johnson to be very enjoyable (same as BJ), merely justifying the extension that Wren signed him to by using WAR worth. Same as BJ.

  23. I can’t criticize the Johnson extension until CJ sucks for a whole season or more. The dearth of 3b talent in the system and the cost of even a league average 3b in the market makes the signing justifiable.

    So, who is the Braves Journal Whipping Boy now, CJ? Avilan?

  24. The Whipping Boys are O’Flaherty, Venters, and Walden, in my book, for getting injured and getting paid. We need big crap out of the pen so bad I want to put Andrelton Simmons in relief.

  25. And in the midst of all this, Buck Showalter and Manny Machado have ####ing ruined the team I grew up with after the Senators left. Hitting the catcher with a backswing TWICE during one at-bat and grinning about it after knocking him out of the game? If someone headhunts this ass out of baseball, I won’t cry.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITwRXxMapZ4

  26. #29
    Machado throwing the bat at the A’s 3B was pretty scuzzy, too.

    The AL really should suspend Machado & Buck’s gotta set him straight somehow. For the moment, I’ll assume that he’s already sat him down behind closed doors.

  27. @29-30

    I think he’s looking at an expensive fine and suspension. He’s only 21, and we all had growing up to do at 21, but he’s really making an idiot of himself. I think what will really get him in trouble in this league is the passive-aggressive, cowardly angle that he takes on all of this. “Whaaaat, I hit the catcher twice? I didn’t mean to. ::snicker::” “Whaaaaaat, I didn’t mean to throw my bat after the ball was already in the glove of the catcher and I knew when it left the pitcher’s hand that it wasn’t a strike. ::snicker::” That’s the stuff that’s going to get him a terrible reputation.

    By comparison, Carlos Gomez’ antics are, in my opinion, pretty consistent with some of the characters across sports. Machado is in his own territory on this junk.

  28. Car-go, whatever I think of him (and it’s not much) hasn’t crossed the line into bat-wielding. That’s a distinctly different class of action

  29. I see that the glass isn’t half full today, but, like politics, it’s always easier to criticise when things go wrong. We won’t have the pressure/exposure to “put it right”

    My apologies to whoever recently suggested the 1/3 clear wins, 1/3 clear losses and 1/3 go either way split recently – the past two games are prime examples of the final category

    I will take the road less travelled, quote small sample size and look for a rebound, in the belief that the team is fundamentally sound, even if the sum of the parts is less than the whole for the moment

    And R.I.P. Rik Mayall. Such a sad loss

  30. Machado seemed to think that Donaldson had tagged him too hard during Friday’s game. You can tell from replay that Donaldson didn’t mean it and was surprised/bemused when Machado got in his face about it.

    I was at the Sunday game. Machado was clearly out of line. It was stupid of Showalter to keep Machado in there after Ubaldo pooped his pants; it was obvious that Machado would try something, given the opportunity.

  31. @29

    Ruined the Orioles? I think Peter Angelos took care of that a long time ago.

  32. @29 Machado’s behavior the other day was rather ridiculous, but there’s no way to tell in that video what he’s smirking at. Also, what has any of this to do with Showalter? Have not the O’s done a lot better under his watch? I don’t get the complaints.

  33. @36

    I think the concern is that Showalter hasn’t changed Machado’s behavior, but there’s only so much a manager can do to altar the behavior of the Harper/Puig/Gomez/Machado’s of the world.

  34. Puig has actually been close to a model citizen this year, especially compared to Machado’s recent antics. He hasn’t been annoying nearly as many people — and, what’s more, it’s a lot easier to pull off a bat flip when you’re OPSing 1.021 than when you’re OPSing .636.

  35. Anyone have any thoughts on whether OF Cedric Hunter at Miss could be anything more than a Quad A piece? At 26 he has an unimpressive resume, but .309 with a .930 OPS in 48 games at Miss is interesting. If Kyle Kubitza could cut down on the Ks (53 in 58 games) he could also be an interesting option at 3rd (12 errors at 3rd so far is also concerning). Of course we have the Chris Johnson albatross contract as it looks now.

  36. I am holding out hope that B.J. will hit enough to bat eighth, but I’ve seen enough to give up hope on him hitting enough to bat second.

  37. In the bastardized American League version, would it be acceptable to have the DH hit for the centerfielder rather than the pitcher?

  38. If you get your first big league strikeout against BJ Upton, does it even count?

  39. Finally, a hard hit ball. We’ve had one solid hit and have scored two runs. What ballpark are we playing in, again?

  40. No, but it does keep cutting out and getting behind. You know, standard MLB.tv behavior.

  41. Yeah, it’s down for my mom two time zones away. Thinking of buying her Extra Innings for her birthday.

  42. Long time, first time (in a while) here. I’m emerging from my daily lurking spot to ask you folks a question, because you seem like a wildly knowledgable bunch: what percentage of batters reach 1B after an uncaught third strike? Thanks in advance; I’ll hang up and listen.

  43. @41 – Looks like the DH is pitcher-only. BJ might be better at pitching than playing CF at this point, however, so maybe we could still DH for him.

  44. Me too, Remy. I doubt I renew. Is Extra Innings affordable, Overlord, and does it do what MLB.com purports to do?

  45. Dear Fredi, just because Avilan is on the team does not mean you have to use him in a close situation. This is not 2013.

  46. @54

    For a half-season, it’s $130, I believe. And it includes MLB.TV, for what that’s worth.

  47. I went all-streaming a little while ago and of all the sports streams, MLB.tv is the most stable for me. Could be any of a million things and I’m not going to try to play tech support here, but I think the opportunity exists to tweak your network and get better MLB.tv.

    Also you might have better luck using this older interface version of the player to watch the games. My Chromebook was not having the newer player:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mediacenter/?nexdef=true

  48. Jesus, Chip is obsessed with getting a win for Gavin Floyd. Is he under the impression that the guy is some beloved fan favorite, rather than a gun-for-hire veteran on a pillow contract?

  49. Wait just a second—the Braves are allowed to add on runs late in the game when they already scored a couple at the beginning? When did this rule change?

  50. Gattis is shaking off Simmons. Somehow there is a “Most Interesting Man in the World” commercial in there.

  51. @71 When the catcher shakes it means for the pitcher to do so, fyi. Done to fool hitters.

  52. Lots of rumors about the Rockies stealing signs. Gattis has gone to the sign sequences with nobody on base a fair amount tonight. I feel like we should do that every pitch no matter what the situation.

  53. @73

    The best part of that deal was when Matt Kaminski, on the organ at Turner Field, played “The Sign” by Ace of Base every time Tulowitzki came to bat.

  54. @62

    Thanks, W.C.G. I’m trying to get the specs on what my mother is using so we can figure out a solution. She doesn’t want to be tethered to the TV, so I keep telling her “iPad,” because other than the occasional app crash — which has been rare this year for me — the problems I’ve had watching MLB.TV on my iPad are exceptionally rare, maybe once a month.

  55. At the game tonight, and I’ve never seen Coors Field so dead. Usually there’s a laid-back buzz to the place, and occasionally it gets raucous. But tonight I felt like I was watching the game in a library, except when some fans tried starting the chop a few times and got shouted down. Rockies fans appear to be beaten down.

    I don’t think the Rockies brass has given up on the season — nor should they. If they can find a way to tread water through their wave of injuries, the wild card is still in play. The lineup still has plenty of pop to it. But after a day on which Michael Cuddyer and expected rotation linchpin of 2015 Eddie Butler went on the DL — joining Carlos Gonzalez, Nolan Arenado, Brett Anderson, Tyler Chatwood and our old friend Boone Logan — their fans, already pessimistic after missing the postseason 16 of the last 18 years, raised the white flag.

    They’ll still come to games this summer because the weather is perfect, the stadium is a breeze to get to (you can take the train, and not have to walk through a mall that’s seen better days to get to a shuttle bus), the neighborhood around Coors is the model of ballpark development that everyone wants to mimic, and the Rockies have the ’27 Yankees of marketing and sales departments, who have successfully made the enjoyment of a game independent of the result. There is ample reason why this place is called “Wrigley West.” But when the Rockies retire Todd Helton’s jersey on Aug. 17, most of the fans will be watching the Broncos’ preseason game on their smartphones and only pondering baseball in passing.

    The general mood here is, “Good thing the World Cup is starting, because that gives us something to watch until the Broncos open training camp.” From my seat behind home plate, I overheard more chatter about that than baseball.

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