The Lucky Ones 5, IWOTM 3

We left the city where Santa Claus was booed on a high note. Where did Santa go upon being rejected? He moved to Flushing where he gives baseball cheer to MOST baseball fans.

Alex Wood gave up a leadoff homerun to Curtis Granderson. Really? He of the sub-.700 career ops against lefties? Then another run in the second, another in the third and you can’t help but say “ooh.” Our neighbor Zack Wheeler had it going pretty good except he kept walking everybody. We got one back in the 5th.

John Smoltz was working TV and said Wood being tough and hanging in and posting the goose eggs in 4, 5, and 6 could be just the thing to help him and maybe just help the team. Well, Smoltzie was right.

My son came in late from work as the home half of the 8th inning was unfolding. I described it thusly (paraphrasing). “Nobody but the Mets could do this. First and second nobody out, hit back to the pitcher and he bounces it to the shortstop and everybody is safe. Next hitter Tommy La Stella gets a single, and they stop Jason Heyward at 3rd, but the centerfielder kicks it once and then kicks it backward. Tie game.”

Well, after the tie, Jeurys Familia settled down to get 2 outs and Doumit was brought in to pinch hit. He walked to load them again. Then Andrelton Simmons, a/k/a “I swing hard in case I hit it”, hit a high chopper to third. Eric Campbell jumped, got his glove on it, and dropped it. One more in and everybody safe.

They brought in lefty Dana Eveland to face Freddie Freeman. Freeman walked to get #5 home.

Craig Kimbrel krakenized the 9th, waiting until the last batter before lowering our anticipation of possible seeing consecutive Kraken saves without a K. That is too impossible. Almost as impossible as 3 errors in one inning bringing 4 in.

110 thoughts on “The Lucky Ones 5, IWOTM 3”

  1. Alex Wood giving up a HR to the first batter he faced seemed familiar so I headed to bRef and found that the 20 first hitters he faced have this line for the season: .471/.550/1.059 (3 HR). Seems to be a problem of his and may help explain why he struggled so much in relief.

    Edit: Also has a reverse platoon split FYI RH .246/.288/.374 LH .286/.333/.417

  2. @ 6,

    Another interesting note in that article is that our former farmhand Yohan Flande was pitching last night (for the Rockies).

  3. Matt Williams should bench Harper for a few games.

    I have a feeling there will be a Williams-Harper show down at some point. Williams will be the loser.

  4. I defended Harper when he first came up and I thought (and still think) that some of the issues with him were overblown. But, at this point, he seems very unhappy generally with the Nats and has become a petulant child. The problem is, they are building their marketing around Harper.

    But, I think Harper is right about the lineup. Putting Zimmerman back at third will hurt the defense a lot and I think, ultimately, will hurt Zimmerman’s offense as he worries about his defense. Rendon is a very good third baseman but a less good second baseman and I think that playing second takes away from his offense. Espinosa can’t hit but is a very good fielder at second. The real issue is Denard Span; he’s a good centerfielder and has been hitting well recently but his OBP has deteriorated since he came over to Washington. But Harper can’t be making out the lineup.

  5. I think Rendon is good defensively at both second and third — at the very least, defensive stats seem to suggest that he is at least roughly league-average at first. He is someone who can be slotted in basically anywhere, and he is also the best player on the team.

    Danny Espinosa used to be a pretty good defender at second, but the defensive stats seem to suggest that he is no longer a superstar-level defender, he is merely a league-average defender who cannot hit his weight. He is basically a younger Dan Uggla. He should not be a starting player in the major leagues, and whatever they do with Zimmerman, they need to bench Espinosa.

    My advice would be for them to trade LaRoche, bench Espinosa, move Zim to first, and keep Harper in left, Span in center, and Rendon at third.

    But no matter what, they cannot keep starting Danny Espinosa. He is terrible.

  6. I would try to move Span and find a second baseman. I think LaRoche is more valuable to them than to others.

    They could also find a third baseman and move Rendon to second. You can probably find more pop out of third base. There are also probably a few more guys on the market that play third than there are second basemen.

  7. I’ve held this one back for a while considering the subject matter of fantasy baseball, but given recent events and previous comments, now seems as good a time as any, given that it involves one of our favourite players we love to hate and one of those players we’d love to have…

    In a 6×6 20 team all keeper Dynasty league (25 man rosters, 10 man minor league/college/HS etc farm team) which side would you prefer?

    A – Bryce “Toychucker” Harper

    B – Wil Myers
    Danny Duffy
    Rougned “Braves Journal Love Child” Odor

    For reference, side A’s remaining OF merely consists of a certain J Upton, G Stanton, A McCutchen, B Hamilton to fill 4 OF spots

    Your thoughts appreciated

  8. I have a question for those of you that go to Turner Field or other MLB parks. Do they only show highlights that favor the home team? At Nats Park, they will not show even the greatest play or longest home run if it goes against the Nats. The apotheosis of this was last year when, with a runner on second, the opposing player hit a line drive in which the Nats’ pitcher made a nice catch, but then, trying to catch the baserunner off second, threw the ball into centerfield. The video replay at the park showed the pitcher making the catch and then stopped.

    I find this kind of homerism insulting and condescending – even if you are a Nats’ fan wouldn’t you like to see a replay of a great catch?-but I was wondering if it’s the practice at other parks. It’s been a long time since I went to a game anywhere but Nats’ Park so I don’t remember.

  9. I see my IT guy, a Mets fan, in the office today.

    Me: Hey, how’s it going?

    Him: Fuck you.

    Me: Well, I wasn’t going to bring it up.

    Him: Yes, you were.

    Me: OK, now that the cat’s out of the bag. Did the Corona Little Leaguers put on Mets uniforms last night? I mean, that was very ’62 vintage baseball. Is Choo Choo Coleman in the lineup tonight? Marv Throneberry?

    Him: Fuck you.

  10. Been a while since I’ve been at a park other than Nats Field myself, but their replay policy is by far the worst I’ve ever seen. This year, they basically don’t replay anything — even though part of the new video replay rules was that stadiums were officially allowed to replay close plays. It is infuriating.

  11. Back problems for a catcher does not sound good.

    I have a friend who is a Mets fan and he mentioned one day to a fellow Mets fan that he had a friend from Tennessee who was a Braves fan. My friend’s friend responded “tell you friend from Hee Haw land the Braves suck.” I thought it was hilarious.

  12. I don’t recall there being too much homerism in replays at the Ted but I have to say I am much more likely to watch an awesome replay of one of *our* guys than *their* guys. Usually when the other team does something replay worthy I am busy hanging my head in disgust and not looking for a replay to help pour salt in the wound (unless it is just a super humanly awesome play).

  13. Bryce Harper told me that Espinosa is one of the best second basemen in the league, but even so I’d be perfectly fine with Washington playing him every day.

  14. The lack of replay at Nats games bugs me, but not as much as the insanely over-the-top video montages for the likes of BLAKE TREINEN!!!

  15. Gattis is a first baseman if not a catcher. His work in LF clearly communicates his athleticism.

  16. So if Team USA loses, does this mean I won’t have to hear so much about soccer for another four years?

  17. If there is a soccer equivalent to a low OBP lineup with pitching that keeps the team in the game it is the USMNT.

  18. @35

    We are set at first base. Third base would be interesting for Gattis. Like you said, LF last year showed us his athleticism. I think both a first and third venture would be interesting, but in the end, a failure. We will have to live with only having 4 of 5 games for his career. If he is smart and has a good agent, he will head to an American League team as soon as he can. It would definitely be best for him in the long run.

  19. I’m no expert, but it looked like we had a bunch of guys who couldn’t play offense or defense, and a world-class goalie who kept bailing their asses out because they couldn’t hold onto the ball and couldn’t keep the other team from taking it deep into US territory. And that’s pretty much what happened in the Ghana game. Our team deserved to lose. Howard deserved better teammates.

  20. Question:

    What if Bethancourt tears it up while Gattis is out on the DL? Do we send him back to Triple AAA or try and move Laird to a team that needs a veteran catcher? There is just no way we would keep Gattis, Laird, Bethancourt, and Doumit on the roster for extended time.

  21. I think Bethancourt is trade bait, but I don’t know if he’d bring what we really need in return.

  22. I think Bethancourt was very much trade bait, much like Gavin Floyd and Aaron Harang, until the latest injury.

    And that was a pathetic display in the bottom 1st.

    Edit: @48 He won’t. He’s never torn anything up in the minors. Why would he in the majors?

  23. @46 Lets give Belgium credit. They were clearly the better team. And you’re right, Tim Howard is amazing. Until US players can learn the posession skills that every player, it seems, have on the other national teams, we will always be lucky to get out of the group stage. I’m thinking that fantastic ball skills are like hitting, you have them or you don’t.

  24. @51, I know you’re trying to bait a fellow Braves Journaler, which is kinda dickish, but based on that last hit Bethancourt looks pretty good in the 8-hole.

  25. La Stella looked like he was running okay, which is a good sign. We know from experience that we have no answer at 2nd base if he goes down for any time.

  26. @55, Reminds me of the injuries to the shin/ankle area that Chipper and Success both received that put them out for some time. I think those were both bad enough that they came out of the game right away.

  27. 48 — If Betancourt looks like he can at least hold his own with the bat, I’d be fine with shopping Laird around (if they could get anything interesting in return).

    I doubt Laird will be brought back next season as he said last season that he wasn’t looking to be a backup and it’s not like he’s hitting the cover off the ball nor is he anything special defensively.

  28. @53

    LOL, I saw the bait. I did not take. I will reserve any opinion on Bethancourt for when he has had consistent big league at bats. I did get a good little laugh out of @jjschiller’s post at @51 though.

  29. Regression scoring two runs and Minor helping himself—this is shaping up into a nice game!

  30. Beating the Mets, and watching the Mets beat themselves, are two things that are great about baseball.

  31. The end of June/July Braves so far have been so much more enjoyable to watch than the May/early June Braves were.

  32. Christ, Mike. Everything after going 0-2 on Tejada. Fuck your episodes, this is one of the worst lineups in the league.

  33. I have never bought in on Minor and never will. He just seems to make bad pitches all of the time and doesn’t always get away with it

  34. Let’s face it, at this point, the Braves have 1, maybe 2 pitchers if you count Wood that they can count on. Harang apparently has made a deal with Satan that might end any time and who knows what Santana will do from inning to inning much less game to game.

    I would say this team has a couple of deficiencies.

    Meanwhile, watching how wretched the Rockies are, I am thinking at least the Mets have young pitching. The Rockies are just awful.

  35. Wren said Uggla would stay as long as he remained productive in his current role.

  36. I rarely find things to compliment on Fredi, so when I do I want to make a point of noticing. Bringing in Shae Simmons to put out the fire was brilliant. In years past, he would’ve gone with his 6th best pitcher cuz only the 5th

  37. @88, I was thinking the same thing. Pretty good bullpen usage tonight, pretty courageous to pull Minor when he did as well.

  38. I was worried Pena’s entrance was more than a late inning defensive replacement. La Stella is day-to-day with that bruised foot. Just as he was heating back up, too.

  39. Nice work by the bullpen, turning it up a notch with the starters scuffling a bit lately.

  40. The Mets need to go 53-25 over the remainder of the season to reach Alderson’s 90-win prediction.

  41. I have really enjoyed how aggressive the Braves have been on the base paths the last week. Steals and hit and runs have really been working for us.

  42. Last 9 games, the Braves are 8-1. Check these bullpen stats out:
    25 innings pitched 0.72 ERA averaging 11k/9 innings!

  43. What was the talk from the broadcasters at the end of the game about Uggla possibly drawing some interest from teams needing a 2nd baseman? Is there really a team so desperate that they would seek a guy making over $10 million a year who doesn’t field well and can no longer hit?

    I think they need to find better material to fill dead spots during the game or just not talk at all.

  44. @100, Yeah, I kinda rolled my eyes at that one. I’d prefer Smoltz to tell more funny stories.

  45. @102

    I believe they were forced into doing it. There is no way any average baseball mind would go after Uggla at this point. I would have refused to have said anything like that in fear of it harming my own reputation, LOL.

  46. Watching the replay, the pitch that hit LaStella in the right angle really caught him flush. Wouldn’t be surprised if he got tomorrow night off.

    Always nice to attempt the sweep with Teheran on the mound. Mets starter Jacob deGrom has actually been OK for them so far—and his last 2 starts have been very good—but he’s certainly no Julio.

  47. We criticize BJ a lot, but good to see him put a little bit of a hitting streak going.

  48. @106

    It is not just the hitting streak that has been nice. B.J.’s plate appearances have been looking so much better. I know he has still struck out some, but he has, actually, been taking the at bats into deep counts. I just hope the guy can keep up and build on this recent success.

  49. An 8 game hitting streak for a guy like BJ is a big deal. If he could end the year batting 230 and ops of the high 600’s it would be a success.
    Still lame, but a success.

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