Braves 8 Phillies 2

ESPN BOX

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains. – Crash Davis

Boy, the Phillies are terrible. I am sure their fans are ready to start football season so they can get arrested at Eagles games and boo Santa Claus. 

The Phillies actually jumped out to an early lead when John Mayberry took Alex Wood deep in the second. However, that is the only negative take away from Wood’s start today. Wood went six gave up three hits and struck out eight. He may have had another inning in him, but Mother Nature wanted to watch a couple of episodes of Driven: The Overly Sappy Story of (Fill in a Brave/Former Brave Here.) 

The Braves brought out the walking sticks today. Twice in the game the Phillies walked a batter with the bases loaded. They probably wish they had walked Tommy La Stella in the third with the bases loaded, because he ripped a two out bases clearing double. Chris “Progression” Johnson continued his hot hitting with a 2-4 day, including a two run homer.

The Braves take the series and will host the Fish starting tomorrow. It looks like El Oso Blanco will be back too. He was 2-6 over at Coolray today.

118 thoughts on “Braves 8 Phillies 2”

  1. Is there any idea of what the roster move will be with Gattis returning tomorrow? I assume it will be Bethancourt headed back down, but I guess it could be someone else considering the Braves do pull some strange moves at times.

  2. One thing to look at as the trade deadline approaches is the evaluation on Bethancourt. Has he performed well enough to maybe draw more attention from teams at this point? Do we part ways with him and make the decision that Gattis is our catcher for the next 3-5 years?

    Another possibility is to factor in Gerald Laird. Veteran catchers behind the plate are always valuable to playoff teams if they are lacking in that position. Laird has not performed great offensively, but he calls a good game. Would we be willing to let Laird go for the right price and put Bethancourt on the major league roster as our backup.

    I know the consensus is that Bethancourt is the catcher of the future, but is he really? Maybe his ceiling is as a really solid backup or a way of getting the bench bat we need or lefty reliever that we so want as we move forward in the season. His value to us may never be higher than it is now. We should make the decision to either trade him while we might be able to get something for him or take the risk of him maybe just being a career backup.

    I’m not saying his bat couldn’t evolve, but the guy has not impressed me with his minor league numbers or what he showed with his bat with his little time in the pros. His defense was not what I had thought it would be either.

  3. If they can get something useful for Bethancourt they need to do it. I think his future is as a backup C.

  4. Admit that more than a few of Bethancourt’s at-bats have been disappointing. But I’m not sure that it might just be a question of getting him to stop swinging at pitches out of the strike zone. (Hard to teach, I know.)

    Really think he’s going to be a starter for many years on somebody’s team.

    While I’d certainly entertain offers, I would demand a higher price than most would be willing to pay. Lot of value there, I believe.

  5. Going to be staying close to UAB this week. Does anyone have any recommendations for nearby dining?

    Thanks!

  6. Nothing I’ve seen from Bethancort leads me to conclude anything other than what I thought he would be before he was called up – good defense and below average offense. I will say that I’ve been a little disappointed with his defense, but I guess the tools are all there. Offensively I just don’t see anything more than backup catcher – I hope I’m wrong.

  7. Isn’t Laird a free agent after this season? If so, why not have Bethancourt fill the backup role next year?

  8. @8
    I think Gattis still needs a mentor. Bringing David Ross back would be my solution, or re-sign Laird.

  9. #8
    My thoughts as well, however, the Braves are a club that always seems to like having that vet back-up guy.

    If a deal with Bethancourt comes along, pretty sure Wren will listen.

  10. I know we all kind of dismiss the Gammons tweet about BJ, but if there is any truth to it I think most are missing the point. Yes our defense would suffer but they would be moving BJ to clear payroll to add an ace I believe (Hamels, Lee or Price maybe). I’m sure there is nothing to it though.

  11. I don’t know if a universe exists where you can offload B.J. Upton AND consequently acquire a Hamels/Lee/Price.

  12. Our package could be Minor/Hale, Bethancourt, and BJ. It would be hard to acquire an ace with our prospects though.

  13. I didn’t mean in the same trade obviously.

    Bowden (another great source I know) speculated a Sims, Peraza, Hale for Hamels deal, though Hamels is owed 22.5 through 2018.

  14. Oh, I know… just saying, God would have to shine on us to rid ourselves of B.J. and also acquire a number one starter.

  15. non sequitur…

    …as these pages quite often include the exchange of spirited commentary on the contemporary music scene, a subject on which i am entirely ignorant, allow me to do the same for an art form on which i was raised, social satire…last night saw a breakthrough in this arena and we should pay it heed…it was brilliant..

    Jon Stewart begat John Oliver and as is sometimes the case the pupil has now carved his own niche … he’s created something not just funnier but more importantly, profound… MA 17/Gaza/Prison Privatization – funny, eh, what a great idea for a 30 minute comedy show – but he did it and somehow he managed at the same time to make manifest his passionate outrage at the news content…

    this was about his eighth show and you could see him trying to arrive at this balance from the beginning, with mixed success… there were misses, some contrivance was obvious,the pace at times was too manic…he nailed it last night, broke entirely new ground, watershed…

    no?? at least, watch it!

    John Oliver, Last Week Tonight, HBO, Sundays 11pm…

  16. Thanks to smitty and csg.

    While I’d love to jump nekkid into teeming vats of Dreamland or Saw’s Soul Kitchen BBQ, I’ll be at the UAB Heart Clinic for three days, so they might kinda frown on that. Fortunately not restricted to only rabbit food yet so anything this side of instant heart attack is fine.

    Any suggestions in that area would be appreciated.

    Thanks again!

  17. Without approaching the no-politics line, I will say that I have been extremely impressed by the way that The Daily Show has become a comedy factory, serving as a platform either to launch or grow numerous comedy careers. In many ways, it has become a better training ground than SNL.

    Along with Colbert and John Oliver, both of whom have their own news satire shows, Daily Show alums include Steve Carell, Ed Helms, Rob Corddry, and a wide list of special correspondents: Kristen Schaal, Demetri Martin, Eugene Mirman, and more.

    They have an impressive eye for talent.

  18. alex…

    agreed but i wrote what i did because last night’s show was special, at another level…a breakthrough hopefully, his own DNA…no one has ever tried to do this before on subjects of this topical sensitivity, the mix is too volatile..

    and check out the Sesame Sreet ending, perfect antidote…

    Yes, glad you noticed the author’s apolitical sensitivity – as per your mandate!

  19. Stewart may be this generations Johnny Carson. But you are right Alex, probably more like SNL used to be, an incubator of star talent.

  20. @24

    I really like the Johnny Carson comparison. He took a show that already existed and had some success prior success and made it his own. Carson also spawned Letterman, Leno and to a degree Joan Rivers.

    I don’t think Stewart wields the power that Johnny did, but he does have his hands in a lot of stuff. Don’t forget he produces Tosh.0.

  21. #21 – I’m assuming you are asking for good lunch places. If so, on a healthier response here…

    Pita Stop, Brick & Tin, Surin, Fish Market, Johns City Diner

    Or drive 5 minutes to homewood and go to Dodiyos, Jacksons, Little Donkey, or urban cookhouse

  22. 21—Bottega, Hot and Hot Fish Club, and Highlands Bar & Grill — three of the best places to eat in Birmingham — are all right there in the Five Points South area, if you wanna do it right. Bottega would be the most affordable of the three.

  23. I hope he rediscovers his mojo in San Fran – except for the six games a year vs. the Braves.

  24. All this talk of trading B.J. is such wishful thinking. No one is going to take B.J. if it involves taking on the full worth of his contract no matter what we include in the package. Also, the speculation that the Atlanta Braves will be going after a front line starter in the likes of Hamels or Price is even more wishful thinking. I am not saying that I would not like it, but history just does not say it is going to happen.

    The Braves, to my recollection, have never come close to paying a player $20 million a year. This is what would have to be done to get one of those front line starters. Now, why would the Braves do this when they have had so much success with developing their own pitchers and filling out the rest of the staff with journeyman type pitchers? If there is one thing the Braves scouts can do, it is find pitching for less money whether it be young talent or seasoned veterans. Also, why decimate our minor league system for a pitcher like Price who we will not be able to afford in a year when he becomes a free agent?

    Also, quit trying to include David Hale in trade packages. Everything points to this guy being a mid to end of the rotation starter that is dependable. We might as well assume that we will not get both Medlen or Beachy back. One is bound to not return due to having 2 surgeries. Worst case scenario, neither one of them works their way back to previous potential. As long as we keep Hale, we have Tehran, Wood, and Hale as three guys in our rotation for the next few years. I did not include Minor because I have no clue what to make of him or his future at the moment.

    At best, we are looking at bullpen help and a bench bat at the trade deadline. The Braves will not be one of the teams that gets a special update from Sportcenter about a huge trade for two reasons. First, Wren, contrary to popular belief, is smart enough to know that losing valuable young players is not worth getting that big name this year. Second, we have been burned in the past by trying to be that team that makes the move.

  25. They will pay him league minimum, but that might only be the case if he makes the roster. It’s an AAA deal with an 8/1 release clause

  26. So if Uggla *does* get his mojo back do we start pointing fingers at a hitting coach? Or maybe something else fundamentally flawed about Atlanta’s approach to hitters? Or do we just chalk it up to change of scenery or some other non-answer?

  27. @DOBrienAJC: As expected, #Braves activated Gattis from 15-day DL and optioned Bethancourt to Triple-A.

  28. Personally, I would love to see Uggla succeed, but I think his days are behind him. His swings have just gotten progressively worse over the last couple of years. I do not think a coach can be blamed for it. Some players just hit a wall when their time has come.

  29. If Uggla does magically regain his abilities I would chalk it up to hitting rock bottom and finally changing his plate approach to match his current physical abilities. I don’t think our hitting coaches were telling him to try to put every pitch into the upper deck in LF…but you never know…all we know is that they certainly weren’t able to get through to him.

  30. Good protection for Gattis

    @DOBrienAJC: #Braves lineup vs #Marlins: CF BJ Upton, SS Simmons, 1B Freeman, LF JUpton, RF Heyward, 3B Johnson, 2B La Stella, C Gattis, P Teheran.

  31. Yeah Bowman’s lineup disagrees, I’m sure Bowman is right.

    #Braves lineup: B.J. 8 La Stella 4 Freeman 3 J. Upton 7 Heyward 9 Gattis 2 Johnson 5 Simmons 6 Teheran 1

  32. I hate to say this, but they should have left Simmons at the 2-hole. I like the idea of La Stella getting more at bats up top, but he is such a force lower in the lineup. Plus, he has such a good batter’s eye which would be beneficial for the 8-hole. Also, why mess with what has been working?

    Optimal lineup in my opinion:

    B.J., Simmons, Freeman, Gattis, J. Upton, Heyward, Johnson, La Stella, Pitcher

    Another reason to want La Stella low in the lineup is that it gives me hope when we have guys on and we are headed to the bottom third of our lineup. Between him and Johnson lately, they have been doing a good job of getting guys in.

  33. Here’s mine:

    LaStella
    Freeman
    Gattis
    Heyward
    JUpton
    Regression
    Simmons
    BUpton

    There’s actually a lot of acceptable ways to do this with Uggla gone and Heyward and Chris Johnson hitting well.

  34. @42

    I agree. Let people bat where they have been productive. Simmons has not been amazing, but he has been productive in the 2-hole this year. La Stella is a force when he is lower in the lineup. Eventually, La Stella will claim the 2-hole because he is simply a hitter, but we should have just left well enough alone right now. We have actually been scoring runs with B.J. and Simmons at the top of the lineup this month. We have gone 9-6 with those two at the top of our lineup in July. A .600 Win% is pretty nice.

    Now, I know I am about to get hit up with all sorts of Sabermetric stats here shortly. All that matters is the “W” people. Obviously, we probably still have the worst top 2 hitters in baseball with B.J. and Simmons, but at least they produce up there marginally instead of becoming nonexistent in other spots in the order like they have this year. It is all about getting what you can out of players. The Braves have been doing that lately. I just do not agree with the change at the top of the order while its been working. I hope that I am proven wrong and things go right along rolling though.

  35. @43

    I tend to want to drop B.J. to 8th, too, but he has been doing okay for him up top in July. Also, he does push the envelope when he gets on with the prime of our lineup coming up. I always feel like he has a chance to score with that following him in the lineup with his speed. Also, his strikeouts don’t seem as much of a rally killer following the pitcher getting out ahead of him or when he leads off the game.

  36. The best way to get a win is to maximize your chances of winning. It is possible to quantify the decisions that face a baseball team, and to analyze ways in which those decisions can be improved. In most situations, bunting is bad. Some hitters can’t hit a good slider. Some guys always pull the ball. If you take these things into account, you are more likely to win than if you ignore them.

    “Sabermetrics” doesn’t really mean anything; it’s just a word that Bill James came up with when he was trying to name the idea of applying rigorous analysis to the game of baseball. He wasn’t the first baseball analyst to use statistical methods; he was preceded by Allan Stein, Pete Palmer, and Earnshaw Cook. But he popularized the notion that baseball stats are accessible and he is more responsible than anyone else for bringing advanced stats into the fan experience of baseball.

    The point of the game is winning. So every team ought to do everything they can to put themselves in a better position to win.

  37. The reason the announcers gave about why La Stella is batting 2nd instead of 8th is just stupid. Obviously, Simmons doesn’t know how to approach the 8-hole if you look at his numbers from there. We would have been better off with Simmons in the 2-hole and La Stella at 8. Or, we could have left La Stella at 7 and put Johnson at 8. He has had some success over the past couple of years batting 8th.

  38. A prototypical 8-hole hitter is one who is willing to walk but, also, has the ability to jump on a strike when it is thrown to him. This team has three guys that could pull that off. Freeman, Heyward, and La Stella are those three. Obviously, you are not going to put Freeman or Heyward down there, so La Stella is the obvious choice. Personally, I hate Simmons down there. I find the 8-hole to be a very important spot in the lineup, and Simmons does not have the mindset to be an 8-hole hitter.

  39. @51

    Because, I am not an idiot. Freeman and Heyward belong somewhere in the middle due to power potential they have showed in their careers. La Stella is not a middle of the order bat. He is a bottom of the order bat at this point in his career who will eventually become a top of the order bat more than likely.

    I would have much rather La Stella been batting there with that guy on third than Simmons. I think most everyone would have.

  40. So you’re saying that some places in the batting order are more important than others, and you want to have good hitters in those spots.

  41. How about we just wait and see how both Simmons and La Stella do in their respected spot in the order tonight before making to many judgements? So far, each one is 0 for 1.

  42. Certain spots in the batting order call for certain types of hitters. Even you know that. Every analyst even talks about that.

    @47 Alex covered that earlier. Sabermetrics are just stats. You have to look at how players approach their at bats as well as what their overall tendencies are.

    So yes, certain spots in the order are more important just as certain players are better suited for certain spots in the order.

  43. Example:

    8-hole hitters have a lot on them. They are not going to get many pitches to hit, so you would need patience to not swing at junk, but also, be able to put the bat on the ball when you do get a pitch. Walking is not a bad thing because it allows the team to turn over the order if the pitcher gets the last out of the inning. If it is not the last out. The pitcher has the opportunity to move the 8-hole guy over with a bunt and set up runners in scoring position with the top of the lineup coming up. So, there is why 8-hole is a much more important spot that some people give it credit for.

  44. So you think with 2 outs and a fast man on 3rd, Tommy La Stella would get a chance to drive the run home, there?

  45. @56

    Yes, I know the few plate appearances they have this game will allow us to really know, but we have a whole season of Simmons batting 8th to know he doesn’t handle the bat well there. He has, however, done well batting 2nd the month of July.

    La Stella is now 0 for 11 on the season whole batting 2nd. Personally, I would hope that he can take over that spot by the end of the season, so we are set up for next year. Right now, he seems to look more comfortable lower in the order.

  46. @59

    I think La Stella would be a better fit than Simmons there. For one, La Stella is more apt to swing at a good pitch where as Simmons swings at everything which puts him hitting junk on the ground a lot by swinging out of the strike zone. Also, La Stella is more likely to walk there, too. Yes, the runner doesn’t score from third if the pitcher gets out which is likely, but at least, we start off the next inning with the top of our lineup.

  47. So your postulation is that it was the 2 hole that got Simmons going, instead of some other factor?

    What about Simmons going 1 for his last 14 from the 2-hole? It sounds like that could be a reason to move him out of there.

  48. Guys, Guys

    Let’s just see what happens over the next few games. You two are forgetting that we have the addition of Gattis back in the lineup, so things were bound to be moved around. I am sure Fredi plans on trying a number of things to see what works best. The only thing we know for sure right now is that La Stella has had limited at bats from the 2-hole and that Simmons has not had much success so far the season from the 8 spot. This is the second half of the season. Let’s see what happens.

  49. @61 – Would you rather have a good hitter hit 8th, where the pitcher lurks behind him, or second, where the two best hitters on the team usually hit behind him?

    Do you want a guy with on-base skills in a position to be driven in, or in position to turn the lineup over?

    I agree that turning the lineup over is an under-valued accomplishment. I just don’t think it’s as valuable as, say, getting on in front of your 3 hitter, or getting your 4 hitter to the plate in an inning he otherwise might not.

    But what about the value of having a lefty who can pull the ball to the hole when your leadoff man is on base? Or who stands in the correct batter’s box to obstruct a throw to second if your leadoff man attempts a steal?

    Those are all things that “every analyst talks about.” I think you’re taking the lip service they are given by guys who have to talk for a living, and confusing that with actual importance.

    Sure, in a perfect world, you’d have an 8-hole hitter who won’t swing at junk but will put the ball in play when he can. But what you really want is a guy with the baseball acumen to know when he’s being pitched around, or know when he’s being attacked. And you want a guy with contact skills who is not a big enough threat that he’s always pitched around. That’s one of my problems with your La Stella argument. La Stella wouldn’t get a chance to hit if I could possibly avoid him.

    But my bigger problem with it is, in that perfect world, you’d already have a good hitter hitting second, and with Simmons at 2, you don’t.

    If someone tells you that you’d make a good 8th place hitter, they are telling you you’re not a good hitter.

  50. “Yeah, I gotta tip my hat to the 2-hole tonight. What I do, like, three, four trips to the toilet?”

    Edit: I read “Fredi” but you wrote “Freud.”

  51. @68

    Better question is what Freud would think the 8-hole stood for.

    As far as the discussion goes about batting order, the Braves have obviously had something working this month in the fact that they led the NL in runs scored for the month of July so far.

  52. Salty, guy’s abilities don’t magically change by what place in the order they are hitting in. It’s still the same guy no matter where they are hitting.

    In fact, studies have shown that batting order has little effect on the amount of runs scored.

  53. I think 2-hole discussion (baseball version at least) can be greatly simplified…let’s put the better hitters higher in the order than the worse hitters, because they will get a non-trivial number of extra at bats over the course of a long season.

    I don’t want BJ and Simmons getting 4 or 5 ABs a game. I’d rather it be 3 or 4. And if they are as good as you really think they can be when they are at the top of the lineup, then it’ll be a nice luxury to have them hit lower down and help turn things over and “keep the line moving”.

  54. We deserved that. If you pinch bunt, you should bunt in to a double play every single time.

  55. @72

    First, I want to read one of these studies you speak of because it completely contradicts what you said @65. Second, I know it doesn’t change their abilities. I have never once said that. Anybody who watches baseball knows pitchers pitch to certain spots in the lineup differently depending on what they have to worry about next. Certain players are better suited for different spots because they see different type pitching. It is not because they suddenly get better. They just face pitching better suited for their abilities.

    Example, Simmons is a free swinger. He sees more strikes batting second. His career numbers are much better batting second because he sees more strikes and isn’t hitting junk.

    Obviously, Simmons is a bottom of the order bat on most teams, but for the Braves this year, he has produced more from 2nd in the lineup than anybody on the team this year. Actually, his numbers are just plain solid this year from that spot. La Stella is now 0 for 14 batting 2nd. He is 2 for 20 when leading off. He is 41 for 110 batting 7th and 6 for 25 every where else in the lineup. Obviously, he feels better batting lower in the lineup at this current time. I’m not saying it will always be this way, but it is that way right now.

  56. There’s lots of articles on fangraphs that talk about a 5 to 15 run differential between your typical lineup and an “optimal” lineup. Most of these studies don’t bother to simulate truly terrible lineups (batting the pitcher 3rd…or maybe batting your worst two hitters 1st and 2nd…ahem). The difference between the worst possible lineups and an optimal lineup is more like 50 or 60 runs over a season. That’s 5 or 6 extra wins. Not insignificant.

  57. Somehow I’m completely serene about Kimbrel in this situation, like he just got one and I kind of expect he’ll get two more just like that. Because Kimbrel. I might be wrong, but he’s the only guy I’d feel this way about.

  58. @82

    The two articles you have posted have both contradicted the notion that batting order doesn’t matter. Both of the authors have basically stated that they do not buy into the notion that it doesn’t matter and have presented reasons on why batting order does matter.

  59. I am sorry to have ever gotten this board on the topic of batting order tonight. Sorry guys. Judging from the fact that only 3 of the 10 different batters we have had tonight actually have hits, who really cares where they are batting so far.

  60. Huh? “As long as you generally have your best hitters near the top of the order, the order doesn’t matter.” Direct quote.

  61. @87

    LOL, do not apologize man. This is a common argument on this site. It is on any baseball blog anywhere. Lineups are just fun to debate about. Everybody knows that.

  62. And there’s three. Good thing when Kimbrel lets some guys on base, the Braves can bring in Kimbrel to get three straight outs. He is his own fireman. This team is hard to love sometimes, but that’s definitely one of the most lovable aspects.

  63. I don’t even care about the “top of the order” thing. I care about bunching hitters, and bunching outs.

    8 Simmons, 9 Pitcher, 1 BJ bunches outs in a way preferable to 9 Pitcher, 1 BJ, 2 Simmons, because it gets one of those outs out of the 1st inning.

  64. @88

    The statement you just quoted is exactly why batting order matters. If it didn’t matter, you could say I can bat my best batters anywhere and it not matter. The fact that the guy said bat you best players at the top of the order in itself proves that batting order does matter.

  65. LOL, whatever man. You just turned the sentence around to change its meaning. It’s obvious there’s no convincing you on this subject, you’re going to believe what you want.

  66. Simba doing work in the 8-hole!!! I don’t think I’ve seen too many routine ground balls to LF wind up as stand-up doubles. That’s some gutty/gritty hustle right there.

  67. @95

    I like the bunching outs on teams that have a lot of firepower.

    The only problem with the bunching outs scenario is it can basically leaves you with 2 to 3 times a game where you have no hope of getting anything started. In a 9 inning game, this can be pretty significant when you are a team that needs to manufacture runs.

  68. You can make a really good case for batting the pitcher 7th or 8th in an NL game. The argument is based on the fact that in most games the pitcher will only get 1 or 2 ABs and the rest will be decently capable pinch hitters (Braves bench notwithstanding). I kinda liked Fredi trying that stuff earlier this year…maybe he’ll go back to it at some point.

  69. @braves14

    I’m inclined to think the quote you used @88 can be interpreted either way. I hate to agree with @salty, but it is not a very definitive quote. It says to bat your best batters at the top of the order, but then, it says that it doesn’t matter. You cannot really have it both ways. Batting order either matters, or it doesn’t. It just seems like the person you quoted cancelled himself out there.

    I agree with what he said about batting your best players at the top of the lineup. I have no issue with that. I just like arguing lineups. In saying that though, he actually does mean lineups matter.

    I would ask everybody else look at the quote used @88. What do y’all take from this? I just do not see how that statement says that lineups don’t matter with the way it is worded about batting your best players higher up in the lineup.

  70. @101 – so spread them out so one of them hits every inning… Then if your good hitters can manage to hit .600, you’ll really be on to something.

  71. Man, Simmons is getting squeezed this inning. Hard to pitch effectively when strikes are being called balls. No way we can wiggle out of another bases loaded deal, is there?

    Edit: no, there’s not. Bleh.

  72. @96 – Whatever that statement says, it can’t be read to say “give more at bats to Andrelton Simmons at the expense of Tommy La Stella”

  73. It doesn’t matter if the Rockies rally; they will give it away in the next half-inning. There’s a reason why they’re 20-44 over their last 64 games.

  74. well Tom Koehler came in with a 4.00 ERA and we made him look pretty unhittable, so, there’s no telling. The team makes a lot of guys look completely unhittable.

  75. Tonight, he was throwing 95 with a nasty breaking ball. Most of the time I’m not the sort to “tip your cap” but I think this time it’s legit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *