Mets 4, Braves [close to being] Swept Out of Town

ESPN Box Score

Last Wednesday the Braves were celebrating a sweep of the Mets at Turner Field. This Wednesday the Mets are close to completing a sweep of their own at Citi Field. If the Nationals/Orioles score holds, the Mets, of all people, will have pushed us to second place in the division, which is nothing short of embarrassing.

The only thing worse than losing to the Mets is being swept by them. We have one more shot tomorrow to keep that from happening.

Ervin Santana gave up one run on two hits in the first, then settled down until the bottom of the 7th, when he gave up another run after Justin Upton decided to let David Wright take second on a single to left after Upton appeared to be in no hurry to return the ball to the infield. Wright scored on a Kirk Nieuwenhuis sacrifice fly and Travis D’Arnaud followed that up with a two-run home run that sealed the deal.

Santana picked up a two-out single in the sixth and scored the Braves’ only run when BJ doubled him home. The Braves did bring the tying run to the plate in the 8th and 9th innings, but in typical Barves fashion, they managed to have nothing to show for either attempt, and that was that.

Miserable game, miserable series.

Voting to send Justin to the All-Star game ends tomorrow at 4:00, and he currently sits in third place. I think that’s where he’ll probably end up in the final tally for several reasons. The Braves are mired in a four-game losing streak, which doesn’t build excitement for a fan base to want to spend their time texting/tweeting/voting away. Also, Justin Upton is no Freddie Freeman. Justin is a good player (okay, probably more of a great player, until he pulls a boneheaded play like he pulled in the 7th tonight), but Freddie is a fan favorite and he had several things going for him last year. ESPN had already named Puig the winner before voting even started, which I think did more to motivate Braves fans to vote for Freddie than anything else. Additionally, Freddie’s hugs were kind of the symbol of the team last year, and who can forget the picture that surfaced of Freddie holding the sign that said “Hey, ‘Merica, Vote Freeman 4 ASG”? The pictures of Justin blowing a bubble just do not carry the same charm.

votefreemanphoto 1photo 2

The last factor to consider here is a rather unfortunate one, and I think it’s one of the key reasons Braves fans do not have a higher opinion of Justin. It all boils down to one simple truth: he’s brothers with BJ. I know he can’t help that, but I wonder if BJ wasn’t around stinking up the joint for the past two seasons and we had just Justin if we wouldn’t all think a little more highly of him. I just kind of wince when I hear “Upton”, and immediately think of how awful BJ has been and how much money we’re putting into a guy who hits .200 and sometimes forgets how to catch (or run after) the ball. For me, Justin is usually an afterthought, in a “oh, yeah, we do have a good Upton, too” kind of way.

All that being said, I’ll probably cast a few more votes for him before voting ends. He’d be a sub, so he won’t see much playing time at the ASG anyway. I have more concern about our pitchers pitching in that game than I do about any position players playing. Also, I like seeing Braves at the ASG, and I hated the years we only had one guy there (wasn’t McCann a lone representative one year, and he didn’t even get into the game?) While I hope Justin wins this vote, I can say with some confidence that I’ll be shocked if he does.

Natspo(s) delenda est.

114 thoughts on “Mets 4, Braves [close to being] Swept Out of Town”

  1. Oops, I just realized this is a four-game series. I thought we were headed to Chicago tonight. I’ll edit the recap.

  2. @mlbbowman: The #Braves have totaled two runs against the starting pitchers they’ve faced during their four-game losing streak.

    Miley, Matsuzaka, DeGrom, Gee….that’s not exactly Pedro, Randy, Clemens, and Maddux

  3. Has anybody looked at Kyle Wren’s minor league numbers at this point in his career. I cannot believe our GM’s son is tearing through our minor league system like he is. He appears to be able to handle himself at the plate. I would never expect much power out of him, but he is a fast left handed bat that can play all the OF spots.

  4. Thank you, ‘Rissa. The quality of this recap made me feel better somehow.

    I can think of another reason people might be more down on Justin Upton than they should be. I’ll just leave it at that.

  5. Freddie, I think, was also the beneficiary of the anti-Puig vote. Whereas Justin is the victim of the home-cooking Morneau story.

  6. They should replace the HR derby with a RF defense contest. Hit a 100 balls to RF and then do a quick calculation of Defensive Runs Saved to determine the winner.

  7. Smitty, I didn’t know your barber did Brazilians! Went in for the ol’ buttcheek wax and was dropped this piece of candy:
    Cubs get: David Hale, Juan Jaime, and Daniel Castro
    Braves get: Luis Valbuena, Chris Coghlan, and Wesley Wright

    For anyone not following the MS Braves closely, check these offensive numbers out in a seriously suppressed offensive environment. There’s a handful of guys there that I’d like to see in the Majors soon.

    http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?t=t_ibp&cid=430&stn=true&sid=t430

  8. Wow…lots of credibility lost when can’t even keep track of schedule and how many games in a series…not even going to read…

  9. @10

    Ryan C,

    I understand you want to have some of these Double AA guys up in the majors, but as many people have told you on here, pitchers skip Triple AAA much more often than hitters. I cannot remember who it was the other day telling you that Triple AAA pitchers are craftier than Double AA pitchers due to many of them not possessing the rocket arm of the young guys these days. Basically, they know how to pitch which is what a majority of successful starters do in the majors. These young guns skipping Triple AAA most of the time are destined to be career relievers. Unless you have a true talent for hitting like Mike Trout or Albert Pujols, there is a real struggle once they hit the majors without a good number of Triple AAA at bats because they did not get to see the craftier pitchers at that level. Examples for the Braves being, Simmons and Heyward who started off with okay numbers but have struggled since.

    The Double AA guys you speak of so often would be better served to be bumped up to Triple AAA and get called up in September to get a few big league at bats.

  10. @11
    And there’s a reason they have to stay up in the Majors after a callup? No. In regards to the only player that I’ve pushed for at MS, Kubitza, I don’t expect him to be the starting 3b in 2015. All I’d like to see happen is something other than the monotony of playing a team with a 25-man roster, of which 3 of the 25 are useless.

    I understand that these guys need time in the Minors. I’ve never not said that. I did provide examples of players that have essentially skipped AAA and have been fine, and Alex provided some that could have used the time at AAA. However, these guys cannot help the team this year unless they’re given a chance, and right now, we need some serious help on a useless bench. Obviously, I’d rather see a trade, but that hasn’t happened yet.

    I’m sticking to my guns. Bring Kubitza up, let him ride his hot streak in the Majors until someone figures him out. If he sucks, send him down. However, I will say that that wasnt what my post was concerning, if you’ll read closely. “Soon” doesn’t mean now. Kubitza would be the only one I’d like to see now.

    Every person on this board can provide examples that back up or defy the logic behind bringing up a player from AA, and likely could do both, as most people on this blog are debaters who can debate either side, depending on how they feel that morning. I stubbornly stick to my points.

    I was terribly wrong on Brian Jordan a long time ago.
    I was terribly wrong on Matt Young a few years back.
    I was terribly wrong about Cory Gearrin.
    I called Brandon Beachy, La Stella and Evan Gattis right.

    I could be terribly wrong about Kyle Kubitza, but I’m still beating that drum.

  11. There may be some subtle differences to suss out in the style and caliber of pitching between AA and AAA, but I would hesitate to overstate them or make them determinative. It’s overwhelmingly the same game being played. The difference between them is swamped by the difference between either and the majors, I believe.

  12. @13
    The resurgence of the young power arm in Major League baseball, and the near-extinction of the crafty veteran would help make that case as well. If the trend turns due to the TJ epidemic, AAA could become much more relevant than AA. Right now, I don’t think that’s what we’re seeing.

  13. I think hitting in the majors might be easier than the minors – at least at first. At AA you get the pleasure of hitting of the guy throwing 95 with very little command. Major league at bats have to be a lot more comfortable in comparison.

    It’s very true that eventually in pitchers in the majors will exploit your weaknesses and will be harder to hit just because they make fewer mistakes. But I would say that the raw “stuff” seen at A and AA has to be nearly the same, if not better/scarier in some cases.

  14. You want to act like all good pitchers skip AAA (they don’t) and therefor AA pitching is close to ML pitching.

    Except that you don’t advance past the major leagues. Good, young power arms get to the big leagues, and then get better.

    Young guns become Felix Hernandez and Clayton Kershaw. If they don’t, they become Jeff Samardzija or Julio Teheran or Stephen Strasburg.

    So the aces get better, but the big difference is who you face in between. Chris Capuano isn’t the reason the big leagues are a jump. Yovani Gallardo is.

    You face an ace-in-waiting once a week in AA. Maybe you face one a little more often in the big leagues. But the difference is who you’re facing in between. The league average in major league baseball is between Yovani Gallardo (109 era+) and Dillon Gee (98 era+). The guys who can’t keep up with them, cycle in and out of AAA.

    Sure, there are “crafty veterans,” like Chris Capuano in AAA. But it’s also the home of the Noah Snydergaards of the world, the Trevor Bauers of the world. The guys who blew threw AA on stuff but couldn’t immediately set up big league hitters. They go to AAA to learn craft.

    AAA isn’t just a holding pen for guys who haven’t hung it up yet. It is Chris Capuano, but its also the big prospects with one kink to iron out. And in between, its David Hale, Scott Diamond and Vance Worley. You don’t see those guys in AA.

    If you absolutely abuse AA like Evan Gattis, maybe you can hack it in the big leagues. But AAA is tge first place where night in and night out, guys know how to set you up, instead of just trying to beat you.

  15. @15,

    That might be true to an extent but I suspect most guys are overwhelmed when they first get to the majors, not so much by the speed but by the pitchers’ ability to located sliders and off-speed. It may be more “comfortable” in the sense that you don’t have to worry about getting hit as much, but I can’t believe it’s ever easier to hit in the majors. Some guys do come up and immediately start hitting or have a brief hot streak but I think more struggle until (or if) they can adjust. And, generally, if the pitcher and hitter have not seen each other, the pitcher has the advantage.

    As JJschiller notes, the quality of pitching you see night after night at the major league level dwarfs what you see in the minors. Mike Minor might be sucking right now in the majors but I bet he is far better than the vast majority of pitchers in the minors, most of whom will never sniff the majors.

  16. Lost in the New York fiasco this is that Fredi passed Fred Haney on the All-Time Braves list of games managed. Haney managed Milwaukee for 3.7 seasons, guiding Aaron, Mathews, Spahn and Co. to 2 World Series and 2 2nd place finishes.

    Prior to becoming the Braves manager early in 1956, his career record as a Major League manager was a woeful 288-526. Leads one to believe talent makes the manager more than the other way round.

  17. @12

    Kubitza would be hindered if he was brought up anytime soon. He is not even on the same talent level of La Stella who has always showed that he knows how to make contact, or Evan Gattis had a better contact rate in the minors that Kubitza and more power. He has 80 K’s this season already. 15 of those have come in the last 10 games. He does walk a good bit. I will give him that, but those walks would diminish when he got to the pros as pitchers know how to locate their pitches better than Double AA guys, and none of the pros would be even remotely worried about this guys offensive power. Why would we need more strikeouts on our major league roster than we already do?

  18. Typically, prospecters say that the hardest jumps occur in the following places:

    1) Amateur ball to professional ball, from metal bat to wood bat.
    2) A-ball to Double-A. This is really where the men get separated from the boys.
    3) Minor leagues to major leagues.

    So, the leap from Low-A to High-A is not seen as a particularly difficult jump. Nor is the jump from AA to AAA. The reason that AAA can be so useful is that it’s like a finishing school: it’s the first time that players ever get to face players who have been in the majors, players with major league skills. It can be a wake-up call.

    However, the bigger issue for me is that I also worry that elevating an unready prospect will permanently damage his likelihood of reaching his potential, through a mixture of the fact that it’s really hard to learn new skills when you’re a) in the spotlight and b) struggling, and c) losing confidence because you’re struggling. We all obviously know that most people do not succeed immediately in the majors, even if they were brilliant prospects, and these factors can make it harder for them to regain their footing. And we don’t have any brilliant hitting prospects, only flawed ones who might turn into something.

    (I am not taking into consideration the fact that teams often like to keep players on the farm longer in order to prevent them from becoming Super Twos and costing more in arbitration. I’m only focused on baseball arguments, not salary arguments.)

  19. Generally you wouldn’t promote a prospect mid-season to fill a bench role, unless you have already determined that his ceiling is such that you’re ok with him not playing every day and developing more.

    I feel pretty strongly that the last few spots on the bench absolutely don’t matter. Has Schafer even gotten more than a couple AB’s this month? Uggla never plays. Pena rarely plays. None of these guys matter. If we have an injury to a starter the gap won’t be filled by someone from the current bench. That’s when you’d see a prospect promoted, or a trade made.

    For the most part I want the starters to play every day and the bench guys to give them a spot rest once every couple of weeks. That’s exactly what Fredi has been doing, and I have to give credit where it’s due. Our bench isn’t the problem. The everyday eight position players are the problem.

  20. JUpton isn’t a great player. He has the ability, and the opportunity, but he hasn’t translated it into sustained performance.

  21. @16
    JJ, you’re assumptions about what I think, once again, are egotistical. Never once did I say good players skip AAA. I simply stated the case for one player and told of my viewpoints on AA and Major League pitching, at this stage, being very similar.

    I’m pining for Kyle Kubitza to be a bench piece, much like I did with Shae Simmons in the bullpen. However, I’m not suggesting the same for Jose Peraza, Kyle Wren, Daniel Castro, Williams Perez, or any of the other players that are finding success at AA. And of note, Kubitza, at a younger age, is outperforming Evan Gattis’ numbers at AA.

    I would like to make a case for Chasen Shreve as a LOOGY, but I might find my head detached from my body if I did so.

    @Alex
    There’s no doubt that I agree with you about AAA being a finishing school. I get that. My want for Kyle to come up as a part-time platoon/part-time bench player is merely out of desperation to get something going with this bench.

    It’s now been stated twice by krussel that benches aren’t very important. If we had a good bench, Chris Johnson would be sitting more against RHP, BJ would be sitting more, and pitchers wouldn’t be hitting in the 7th inning when the game is on the line. Instead, these things are happening because, truly, there aren’t better options. The bench thus far this year has been worth -1 WAR. Last year, +2 WAR (and could be 3 depending upon how you want to look at El Oso’s numbers). That’s serious value, difference in making playoffs value.

    And I don’t believe the “damaging prospects” theory for a man of Kubitza’s age or maturity. He’ll be 24 in a few days and I think he could handle a promotion. If he doesn’t perform, I think he could handle a demotion as well.

    Neither proving or disproving any of this, I found this article interesting!
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=13018

  22. @24, improving the bench so that they take more AB’s from regulars is a slightly different discussion. You’re advocating less playing time for CJ (one of the worst regular players in the league) and I can’t argue with that. My point is that if you replace Schafer, Uggla, Pena with three new guys that also never play, then you haven’t really accomplished anything.

  23. @25
    That’s what good bench players do, right? Force the manager into giving them PT? That’s what happened with both Pena and Schafer last year. If Schafer would’ve made do with the few days that Justin was hurt, surely he’d have received more playing time. Same goes for Pena when he was platooning with Pastornicky. However, it didn’t happen and they’ve been banished to defensive subs and pinch running duties.

  24. @26, I’d say that if the bench player is taking significant time from your regular player then you probably have the wrong regular player.

  25. krussell – If your 8 guys stink, that’s when you need a strong bench. Try telling the Nationals that the bench doesn’t matter.

    To give a quick and dirty estimate, I’ve ranked all the position players we’ve used by PA’s, and ignored the top 8. We’ll call them starters. Sure, we have some conflict there because of injuries, and Dan Uggla, but every team has that.

    The Braves have used 7 players, totaling 602 PA’s.

    Let’s look at some teams that either lead, or are tied for the lead in their divisions. This selection skews toward success, and can’t be said to skew toward injury decimated teams, as injury decimated teams may be successful, but it isn’t exactly a known-indicator.

    Again, The Braves, 7 players, 602 PA’s.

    The Nationals, 10 players, 817 PA’s.
    The Brewers, 8 players, 717 PA’s.
    The Giants, 8 players, 763 PA’s.
    The Dodgers, 14 players, 891 PA’s.

    (For AL teams, because of 9 non-pitchers in the lineup every night, I’ve started with their 10th most used player.)

    The Orioles, 8 players, 724 PA’s
    The Tigers, 7 players, 618 PA’s
    The Atletics, 9 players, 815 PA’s.

    You can see, the only team that utilizes their bench the way we do, and is in first place, is the Tigers. And the Tigers are 4th in baseball in scoring. We’re 29th.

    If we had a better bench, we’d either use them, or Fredi would be fired for gross incompetence.

  26. All I’m saying is that I’d rather replace some sucky regulars than make them part-time players. But my solution is impossible due to contracts, so I guess all we’re left with is improving the bench.

  27. Another problem is this: a lot of his success this year is batting average-dependent, and Kyle Kubitza’s BABIP this year is .413, 57 points higher than his career minor league BABIP of .356. His OPS this year, .879, is also 67 points higher than his career minor league OPS, .812, and those two facts are related.

  28. Weren’t we going to trade Rob Cope to Boston? I figure he’s at least worth a Holt.

  29. Rob, you’ll need to prove you can fit in. How prepared are you to lose miserably for a season while taking unwarranted public criticism from your detestable manager and then follow it up with a World Series the next season like it was all a bad dream?

    And can you grow a really ugly beard?

  30. And whenever Rob leaves to go somewhere else, there will be a huge story in the local media about how horrible he is and how much everyone hated him.

    It was barely hours after Pierzynski was released before they did that to him: http://www.weei.com/sports/boston/baseball/red-sox/rob-bradford/2014/07/10/aj-pierzynski-problem-was-worse-anybody-could

    Obviously, they did that to Terry Francona, Kevin Youkilis, Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon… they even did it to Ted Williams when he was actually playing there.

  31. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with your theory, krussell. And it’s apparent that the Braves were trying to build their team the same way the Tigers were, with star players with recognizable names from 1-8. The Braves have vastly underperformed their reputations, and the Tigers haven’t.

    But what you said at 29 is kind of indicative of why the Braves and the Tigers are outliers here. It’s hard to get first-division regulars, and its easier to get bench players. A lot of first place teams are building their team with 2 or 3 first division stars, and 9 or 10 guys who’d start, but not star, for second-division teams. And then they swap those guys in and out according to their performance. The Braves and Tigers thought they had the opportunity to run 7 or 8 first-division starters out there every night, and in the case of the Braves, that meant the remainder of the position players would be bench players anywhere they went (Seriously Gerald Laird, Ramiro Pena and Jordan Schafer would ride the pine in even in Houston.) That’s been a problem for Atlanta, as their stars have grossly underperformed, and all they have left are replacement level performers.

  32. @34 – To be fair, in this case, Pierzynski is a known-bastard. That’s not to excuse the Red Sox continued unprofessional treatment of their former players. But when I read he’d been DFA’d, my very first thought was “God, is there any player you’d want LESS on a disappointing, underperforming team than AJ Pierzynski?”

  33. @24

    Your remark that Kubitza is outperforming Gattis in Double AA at a younger age is skewed. Gattis was out of baseball for a number of years which makes that comment void. Let’s look at Kubitza compared to two players who have seen some success recently for the Braves with few Triple AAA at bats.

    Gattis is a powerful free swinger. He walked far less that Kubitza in the minors, but also, struck out at a lower percentage that Kubitza. Gattis has produced way more power on every level compared to Kubitza. Also, Gattis’ career minor league average was .305 compared to Kubitza’s .270. Both of them have a minor league career OBP of .374. Want to guess which one has a better slugging percentage? Point being, you can’t look at just Kubitza’s Double AA numbers this year.

    La Stella is a patient player at the plate just like Kubitza appears to be. The difference is La Stella doesn’t strike out. La Stella’s minor league numbers across the board crush those of Kubitza. Kubitza does win the homerun battle between the two but not by much. Kubitza has walked more, but La Stella off set that with hits.

    I have no idea why you think this kid would be a huge bump to our bench. He would not be getting regular at bats which would mean very little consistent time to learn to hit major league pitching. If he is ready, he should be moved up to triple AAA and see how he handles it there. If he does well, he can take over third next year and we can figure out something to do with Johnson. That or let Kubitza be sub player off the bench or 2nd, 3rd, and OF. Either way, he shouldn’t be in the pros until the September call ups at best.

    At the extent of agreeing with you on some level, he would outperform Dan Uggla for sure, but is that really worth not seeing how he would do at Triple AAA. We could find out if he is starter material or just a role player for his career.

  34. @36, absolutely true. But they’ve done it so often, to so many people, that it’s hard not just to sit on the sidelines and laugh.

    (I also like Pierzynski, in a perverse kind of way. He is a PERFECT heel. Baseball needs more villains who enjoy playing the role. That’s why I like Bryce Harper so much.)

  35. Hey now. A wheel of cheese doesn’t have a thigh that a baseball might hit by coincidence.

    It has to be one of the great mysteries. Why are the Braves keeping Dan Uggla? Could it be that he and OFG were close in Florida and that Fredi wants to give Uggla a chance to get some value back with a couple of pinch hit homers? I realize that’s conspiracy theory taken to the max but …..

  36. @39

    You cannot forget about the nutritional aspects of having a wheel of cheese on the bench, too. You should pitch that idea to the front office.

  37. I do like the wheel of cheese idea. Get on it Wren. I posited a similar solution last year where we would replace BJ with a potted fern and play with two outfielders (thus better utilizing Jason’s otherworldly UZR). I think we could leave that on the table for 2014 as well.

    It does occur to me that Fredi would still get the wheel of cheese (WoC?) a fair share of plate appearances just to keep it fresh. But maybe freshness isn’t as much of a concern here…

  38. All this joking about how bad our bench is does make me feel sorry for Fredi. It is getting far easier to understand some of his irrational moves late in games. He really does not have anything to work with. I will say this for Wren, he has had a knack for getting okay bench players in years past which gives me a little hope leading up to the trade deadline.

  39. @37
    JJ’s comment @16: “If you absolutely abuse AA like Evan Gattis, maybe you can hack it in the big leagues”

    My rebuttal @24 directed to JJ: “And of note, Kubitza, at a younger age, is outperforming Evan Gattis’ numbers at AA”

    My intent of that one sentence wasn’t to say that Kubitza is the ballplayer that Gattis is, but to prove it was a bit of a contradictory statement when Kubitza’s AA numbers are slightly better than what Gattis did at AA.

    Let’s move on, shall we? By the way, this is the 2nd thread in the last 3 thread in which I’ve been roped in to discussing Kyle Kubitza, even when I don’t mention him. People like to argue here! hehe

  40. The way the bench was put together beginning the season had promise. Both Schafer and Pena had career years in ’13 and Pena looked really good in Spring Training. Acquiring Doumit was supposed to give the flexibility of using Gattis as a PH when not starting, and Laird or Doumit otherwise, depending on matchups. Also, most people here thought Pastornicky would be a solid utility guy that could put up a low .700 OPS off the bench. Talk about 0 for 5!

  41. I’ll admit, I didn’t look at Evan’s AA numbers specifically.

    But Evan Gattis hit all minor league pitching to the tune of .308/.374/.549. Kyle Kubitza .271/.377/.435. Bringing up that point is pedantic, as you know full-well that Kyle Kubitza has not succeeded like Evan Gattis did, but you raised that point anyway.

  42. And also, you did bring it up. You pasted a link to Double-A Mississippi’s offensive stats and said “check these offensive numbers out in a seriously suppressed offensive environment. There’s a handful of guys there that I’d like to see in the Majors soon.”

    That’s what sparked the debate about jumping from AA to the big leagues that we’ve had over and over this week. You said “I wasn’t talking about Kubitza, and I wasn’t talking about now.”

    But you can’t say you were “roped in to it,” when you again brought up promoting AA players to the big leagues.

  43. Is it possible that BJ may be coming out of his 1.5 season funk? Did I just jinx him?

  44. In line with post 36, the following is respectfully submitted:

    Four Prominent Bastards
    (Ogden Nash)

    I’m an autocratic figure in these democratic states
    A dandy demonstration of hereditary traits.
    As the children of the baker make the most delicious breads
    And the sons of Casanova fill the most exclusive beds,
    And the Barrymores and Roosevelts and others I could name
    Inherited the features that perpetuate their fame,
    My position in the structure of society I owe
    To the qualities my parents bequeathed me long ago.

    Now, my father was a gentleman, and musical, to boot;
    He used to play piano in a house of ill repute.
    My mother was the madam, and a credit to her cult
    She liked my daddy’s playing, and I was the result.
    So my mammy and my daddy are the ones I’ve got to thank,
    I’m the chairman of the board of the National City Bank.

    Our parents forgot to get married
    Our parents forgot to get wed;
    Did a wedding bell chime, that was always a time
    They were somewhere off in bed.
    So it’s thanks to our kind-hearted parents
    We’re kings in this land of the free
    The banker, the broker, the Washington joker
    Three prominent bastards are we.

    In a cozy little cottage, in a cozy little dell
    A dear old-fashioned farmer and his daughter used to dwell.
    She was pretty, she was charming, she was tender, she was mild
    And her sympathies were such that she was frequently with child.
    The year her hospitality attained a record high
    She found herself the mother of an infant, which was I.
    And whenever she was gloomy I could always make her grin
    By childishly inquiring who my daddy might have been.
    Now the hired man was favored by the gals of mammy’s set
    And the traveling man from Scranton was an even-money bet,
    But such were mammy motives, and such was her allure
    That even Roger Babson wasn’t altogether sure.
    So I took my mammy’s morals and I took my daddy’s crust
    And I grew to be the founder of a big investment trust.

    On a dusty southern chain-gang, on a dusty southern road
    My late-lamented pappy made his permanent abode,
    Now while some was there for stealing, my pappy’s only fault
    Was an overwhelming weakness for criminal assault.
    His philosophy was simple, and free of moral tape,
    “Seduction is for sissies; a he-man wants his rape!”
    Pappy’s total list of victims was embarrassingly rich
    And though one of them was mammy, still he could not tell me which.
    Well I never went to college, but I got me a degree,
    I guess I am the model of a perfect S.O.B,
    I’m a debit to my country, but a credit to my dad,
    The most expensive senator this country ever had.
    I remember pappy’s telling me, “Boy, rapin’ is a crime
    Unless you rape the voters, a million at a time.”

    I’m an ordinary figure in these democratic states,
    A pathetic demonstration of hereditary traits.
    As the children of the cops possess the flattest kind of feet
    And the daughter of the floozie has a waggle to seat,
    My position in the basement of society I owe
    To the qualities my parents bequeathed me long ago.
    Now, my father was a married man, and what is even more
    He was married to my mother, a fact that I deplore
    I was born in holy wedlock, consequently bye and bye
    I got rooked by every bastard with plunder in his eye.
    I invested, I deposited, I voted every fall
    Did I ever get a penny saved, those bastards took it all.
    Well, at last I’ve learned my lesson, and I’m on the proper track
    I’m a self-appointed bastard, and I’m gonna get it back.

  45. Well he’s .281/.313/.422 (.735) over his last 15.. But he’s done this more than once already this season; a 14 game stretch of .217/.288/.457 (.745) followed immediately by 7 games of .125/.222/.125 (.347). And then a 13 game streak of .280/.339/.460 (.799) followed immediately by 17 games of .151/.205/.247 (.452).

    I’m not too hopeful just yet.

  46. It’s funny, actually, looking at BJ’s game-logs. It feels like he’s been consistently terrible. But in reality, you can cut his season in to 6 distinct streaks. None of them what you’d call “hot,” at least not “carry-the-team hot.” But he pretty clearly alternates between being “Original BJ” and “Worst Player in Baseball.”

    First 9 games: .427 OPS
    Next 22 games: .707 OPS
    Next 11 games: .481 OPS
    Next 12 games: .848 OPS
    Next 17 games: .452 OPS
    Next 15 games: .735 OPS

    This is probably mostly true for any player you’d care to look closely at. But it’s counter to how I’ve felt about BJ so far. For 49 games, in three stretches, he’s been BJ Upton. For 37 games, in three stretches, he’s been terrible.

  47. It’s easy to pull that stuff too far — my least favorite splits are comparing a team’s performance in wins versus losses — but yeah, B.J. is really streaky. His brother is, too, but his brother is a way better hitter.

  48. Seriously, I wonder what it would take to get Nick Franklin from the Seattle Mariners. Do we have anything they need outside of a power bat? I know they would love Gattis, but that just is not going to happen right now. They are in the thick of the AL West and AL Wildcard race just as we are in the NL East and NL Wildcard. It possibly could be a we help you and you help us situation.

    Possibly, we give them Gattis, and they give us Nick Franklin and Dustin Ackley kind of deal. They have control over Gattis for a few years just like we would control Franklin for a few. The catch in the deal is that they have to take Uggla and all money owed to him or at least 2/3’s of it. This is not a deal that I say go through with now, but we get to see Bethancourt for a couple more weeks from my understanding. If he shows he can continue what he is doing now, I think it might be a viable trade option.

    Franklin can play 2nd, SS, 3rd, and OF and switch hits. Ackley can play 1st, 2nd, and OF and bats lefty. We lose Gattis’ power but gain two players who could play everyday in our lineup or at least serve as platoon players while strengthening the bench. To be honest, we could possibly even net a third player in the deal if we sell high enough on Gattis. Maybe the Mariners view Gattis as their catcher and Uggla as a possible DH or just put Gattis at DH and let go Uggla. Either way, both teams come out even in the deal.

    Another note on Gattis. This is his second season with the Braves in the majors. Both seasons he has had an injury around this time that has cost him serious playing time. Last season, his production after the injury was not great. He isn’t getting any younger. We should sell high while we can. Does anybody know the Braves record this season when Gattis is not starting?

    This is all just thoughts. I know it won’t happen. It is just interesting to ponder on.

  49. Yeah for sure. I’m not offering it for any predicative value, and without any real reason to point to, the fluctuations are meaningless. I was just interested to see that he roughly oscillates from .450 to .750 OPS in about a 15 game cycle. It’s just not how I remember his season playing out. It felt like he was bad until his recent hot streak.

    It does make me wonder if there is a cause. Does he get over-confident after he starts succeeding? Stop preparing the same way, lose focus or something? Judging by his outfield play, I can see him taking his foot off the gas once he thinks he’s got a handle on things. That’s a pretty big reach, though. I just haven’t seen any adjustments in his approach, mechanics, or in the way he’s been pitched.

    It’s probably just one of those things..

  50. @55, It’d be interesting to check his BABIP, evaluate his swing, and/or look at some heat-maps for each of those streaks.

  51. @57

    It doesn’t sound like a horrible thing to look into. I never have liked the idea of having one of your premier batters as a catcher just because you are only going to get them in 75% of the games in a season barring injury, but Gattis has the potential to hit a HR at any given time although it doesn’t look like he will even get 110 games this year after this injury.

    Given that Gattis currently suffered an injury, I really doubt we could sell high on him at this point to anybody anyways. The Braves are being awfully cryptic about his timetable right now. I know a bulging disk is tricky to say anything for sure on, but it is not a good injury to have. This is especially true for a catcher.

  52. In principle, I like the idea of going after prospect busts, classic change-of-scenery guys. (Similarly: Brett Lawrie.) There’s no question in my mind that Franklin and Ackley need to get out of Seattle. Brad Miller probably does, too. The problem is that they’re relatively high-risk, low-reward, and the Mariners probably wouldn’t be willing to sell low, because doing so would basically be an admission that they have screwed up every single one of their best hitting prospects other than Kyle Seager.

  53. I like the idea of failed prospects too, but only in flea market deals (my junk for yours) or for lottery tickets, far from the big leagues. I wouldn’t trade a guy who is what you hoped he’d be, for 2 guys who “still might find it.”

  54. @59 – Agreed. If I knew how to do those things, I’d do it! Baseball-Reference is a difficult enough tool for me..

  55. Like ChopChop said @60, the chance of selling Gattis high at this point probably isn’t going to happen. I was just a pondering.

    60

    I think Seattle would be willing to admit defeat if they got a healthy Gattis dropping bombs in return. I think most of Seattle would be happy with that scenario. I just like the versatility of both Franklin and Ackley. Plus, we could probably sign Ackley long term for cheap after this season as a 4th OF and 2nd base guy if he worked out for us the rest of the season. He is a NC native. With Franklin, we would control him for the next few years, and I think the guy would do wonders for us. He would get pretty much regular playing time between all the positions he plays and come 2016 after we lose J. Upton or Heyward or both, we have him to truly step into a full time role.

    61

    The significant Gattis injury two years in a row just has me worrying about the guy long term. I love him as a player. Very fun to watch in that he can pound the ball. I’m just not sure if he will hold up if he continues to catch. Plus, I think we lose him to an American League team eventually anyways. Might as well be while we can get something for him.

    As stated though, I do not look for it to happen. It would just be a nice return. This would all be contingent on Bethancourt being able to handle the pros. So far, he is doing okay. I figure we will know more in the next couple of weeks while Gattis is out.

  56. how can a pitcher strike out all 3 batters in the innings, all called strike 3, WITH THE SAME PITCH?

    Don’t they talk in that dugout?

  57. The Braves complete inability to lay down a bunt gives them the feel of an AL team. No NL team should be so incompetent at that.

  58. Andrelton’s hitting them where they ain’t tonight. Freddie’s just hitting them period.

  59. More of this from Andrelton at the plate would cover at least a few of this team’s sins. And EY Jr. on base to lead off. There’s a guaranteed run.

  60. @77 Is that a new nickname for Harang and/or BJ? “The Abyss” has a nice ring to it.

  61. “Embarrassment of riches behind home plate” and “Ryan Doumit” do not belong in the same sentence, Chip.

  62. Meanwhile, the Mets announcers were discussing what it’s like to see Leonard Cohen live.

  63. The Mets broadcasters make an interesting point: Bobby Abreu has a pretty good HoF case.

  64. Harang in the 7th in a close game? For the love of God, Fredi, no.

  65. You gotta give Aaron credit for Haranging in there! (ba-dum-tish! Thank you, I’ll be here all week.)

  66. Harang must have bought the Costco-sized tub of pixie dust. He should share a bit of it with Mike Minor.

  67. I’m ready to turn eighth innings over to Shae and his 0.94 WHIP.

  68. Agreed. I’ve been ready to turn the 8th inning over to Shae. He did great there when Walden was on the DL.

  69. I don’t know why Fredi thinks Craig can only get four outs and not five, but at least he’s been willing to put him in in the eighth some this year.

  70. Came in from mowing the lawn and turned on the game. Saw Walden give up two hits and promptly turned the game off again. Sorry guys–that drama’s on me.

  71. @101, I dunno…Abreu is right at the 60 WAR mark.

    I doubt he’ll get serious consideration right away, but he’s got a real compelling argument.

  72. Trade Walden for a bench bat while he’s healthy and give Shae the 8th inning duties.

  73. @103

    A Keltner list on him would be interesting. In the current climate where Craig Biggio can’t get in, I seriously doubt Abreu has a snowball’s chance in hell, and I don’t think I’d vote for him. But I’m pretty stingy about it.

  74. Totally agree. Abreu has a very serious case – frankly a much better case than Jim Rice – but he’ll be ignored unless and until a campaign builds up behind him. I predict he’ll be the next Bobby Grich. And Scott Rolen will will be the next Ron Santo.

    I am pretty sure I will never understand this Aaron Harang thing, but I am dearly grateful.

  75. You know, when Kimbrel is on, the game is pretty boring. A good boring, but boring nevertheless.

    I like boring more than I like suspense.

  76. @107

    I think it’s a big mistake to use Jim Rice as a frame of reference for Hall of Fame debates. It’s like using Derek Lowe as a frame of reference for Braves free agent signings.

    Can you imagine Wren & co. saying, “Well, he has the potential to provide as much value as Derek Lowe, who we signed, so we should do this too.”

    Rice has his plaque on the wall, good for him–but he does not represent a standard for the Hall of Fame.

    As for Abreu? There are bigger fish to fry with similarly tough cases. Let’s get Kenny Lofton and Andruw Jones into the Hall of Fame, then it’s worth talking about Abreu’s case.

  77. Y’all.

    Mike Trout has gone 4-4 so far in tonight’s game against the Rangers and hit his 21st home run of the year. That’s going to push his on-base percentage over .400 and his slugging over .600, unless this game goes 17 innings and he goes 0-6 the rest of the way. He plays a mean center field. He’s ten for ten stealing bases.

    I want nice things. I want Trouty things.

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