It Pours, Man it Pours…

For the sixth game in a row…it rained. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

Seems it never rains in Southern California
Seems I’ve often heard that kind of talk before
It never rains in California, but girl, don’t they warn ya
It pours, man, it pours.

 

99 thoughts on “It Pours, Man it Pours…”

  1. 0-9 in our last nine one-run games. Now we get to start a stretch of 19 games in a row against teams with winning records. King Felix doesn’t seem like a good guy to get healthy against, but it is what it is. This coming weekend against the Nationals will be with the season hanging in the balance.

  2. Bonifacio and I got off on the wrong foot.

    My hope that BJ would put it in play came true (yay). Harang fought through it and Jaime was getting hosed (BJ wasn’t informed that the strikezone would be different the next inning).

    I feel like I mixed some hopeful thoughts in there.

  3. It’s times like this I miss Chipper, McCann or a clubhouse leader calling a players only meeting and getting things fixed.

    Time for Freeman, Heyward or anyone to step up. The next 10 days could be the season.

  4. jj, your constant antagonizing of numerous bloggers here should be brought to light, so now it is. As for the guys I’ve pushed for….
    Hale, he’s been very good as a starter.
    Jaime, I never pushed for because his walks were high in the minors.
    Shae Simmons- pushed for him and he’s done well
    Phil Gosselin- was hesitant because of his BABIP and lack of results that matched with his ’14 numbers but pushed for him over Pastornicky and only time will tell if that’s the right call.
    So, I’ll ask? What the hell is your grand point?

    If you like, I have blogs that back up all of what was said. However, this game was lost by Gattis and the ineptitude of BJ. Why bring this up? Oh… to antagonize. Right…

  5. I really think that this past series *was* the season. We’re 5 out in the loss column and have a really tough schedule. We needed that series to give us some leeway against the Dodgers and A’s and the like.

    It’s still doable, but we’re not taking the path of least resistance, that’s for sure.

  6. If you don’t like our internal options (and it seems that jj doesn’t…at least that’s the impression I get…call me crazy…lol) then wouldn’t you want us to make more of a splash in the trade market? We reorganized some deck chairs with the Bonifacio/Russell move. We didn’t make the team better. Making the team better starts with finding a new CF or a front line starting pitcher. If it’s impossible to make the team better, then that’s fine. But don’t act like rearranging deck chairs is going to take us anywhere.

    We’re all very very frustrated because management is not going to replace BJ. At least not while Wren is here. It all flows from there…

  7. I don’t bring up La Stella, because I wanted La Stella, too. And pushed for him.

    And settle down, I was just poking fun. I don’t really care what your track-record is, I’m poking fun at your wacky explanations about the big leagues being not that big a step from Double-A because all the good pitchers skip Triple-A and whatever. Also, you said “Replacing Shreve with Russell is counter-productive,” which is ridiculous on it’s face, but you said it because you saw Russell’s .295 batting average against lefties and reflexively assumed he was worse than Shreve, because minor leagues, or something, but you ignored the fact that lefties were hitting .560 off Shreve. Also, you keep calling me egotistical, and then keep saying ridiculous things, so, yeah, I’ll just poke fun until it isn’t fun anymore.

  8. @8 – Russell is better than Shreve and Bonifacio is better than Schafer. That improved the team. Rearranging would be, oh, swapping Shreve out for Ian Thomas and swapping Schafer out for Cunningham. Bigger improvements cost the kinds of players we just don’t have. We don’t have any La Stella quality players to spare, and that’s what a starting caliber player was going to cost.

  9. Upgrading the 24th and 25th guys on the roster doesn’t help. They just don’t play enough. Is it better to have better players there? Yes. Does it result in more than one extra win? I don’t see it.

    If you think that there’s just not any way we could get a quality starting player, then that’s totally fine. But you aren’t allowed to complain about using internal guys in that case. It’s either internal guys, or a risky trade. There’s no other options.

  10. Shreve and Schafer were the 24th and 25th guys on the roster. That doesn’t mean Bonifacio and Russell are, and you understand that. Russell slots in behind Kimbrel and Walden on the depth chart, and possibly behind one of Carpenter or Varvaro, depending on how they are pitching. That pushes Varvaro, Carpenter and Jaime all down a peg.

    Bonifacio will be an even bigger improvement, because while the same is true of him, Schafer being behind Doumit, Gosselin and Pena, Bonifacio pushes Gosselin and Pena back, but also, he stands a chance at some playing time. I guarantee you he takes more AB’s from BJ than Schafer did.

    But, for the record, I’m allowed to complain about anything I want, I think you basically illustrate that yourself when you complain that Wren didn’t trade Justin Upton for Jon Lester. The fact that the trade deadline is behind us and minor leaguers are now all we’ve got (except for waiver claims, which I’m in favor of, over playing Gwinnett Roulette) doesn’t mean that sitting out the trade market and trying out the Chasen Shreve’s of the system was the right tack to take BEFORE the deadline passed, which is the philosophy I’m poking fun at.

    And let me reiterate, I don’t really care the specifics of the players we’re talking about. I’m referring to the flawed intuition that you can assume what minor leaguers, with no big league experience, are going to do when they get to the big leaguers. You don’t have to have a high walk rate in the International League to wet your pants on the big league mound. Anybody remember Joey Devine?

  11. @13 – I did make it up, but I used it first 2 or 3 months ago. Thank you.

    (March 17 of this year, actually, speaking about 5th starter options.)

  12. Wren’s inane contracts have effectively made the Braves a lower-division team next year.

    For ease of math, let’s assume Liberty budgets $108 for players’ salaries in 2015. That means that paying for Uggla (who’s not even on the team) and BJ (who can’t play a lick and is the most frustrating Brave I can ever remember) leaves us with $80 million – the definition of a lower-tiered team.

    Kinda hard to keep hope alive.

  13. The talk of upgrading the 24th and 25th player on the team is not really that important does make sense. The thing about the acquisition of Russel and Bonafacio is that they are not upgrades of the 24th and 25th player.

    Bonifacio is not wonderful, but he would be an upgrade as our leadoff hitter on an everyday day basis. Even though his splits against right handers are not great, he still is a better option than B.J. If not, we need to at least give him a shot to see if he can be better.

    Russel might not be blowing it away this year against left handers, but the guy is killing right handers which is fine by me. Basically, he is a guy that can give us a full inning instead of one batter which is way more value in my opinion.

    So far, Russel has performed okay, and we haven’t given Bonifacio a real chance. Bonifacio has 6 plate appearances, and he has been on base 3 out of 6 times. I just hope we get an actual chance to see what he can do for the team.

    Basically, Russel might well be our 3rd or 4th best relief pitcher now and Bonifacio should be one of our everyday players. He probably wouldn’t be on a lot of teams, but on this team, he should be just based on what we have batting lead off every game.

  14. jj, I do still think that replacing Russell with Shreve is counter-productive. That doesn’t mean that I thought acquiring Russell was a bad move, merely that Russell is a LOOGY and Shreve shouldn’t have been replaced by a guy like Jaime who has a very difficult time throwing strikes. You can assume that I said whatever you like about Russell because I saw Russell’s splits, but the truth is I pushed for Russell (not as much as Andrew Miller or Tony Sipp) and was glad to see he was acquired, just not to put Shreve back at AAA. I like the idea of having multiple LHP in the bullpen.(If you’d like evidence, you can read my articles but I can’t expect rationality, can I?)

    And your generalities about my viewpoints are nauseating.

  15. Need to start Bonifacio in CF no matter what his numbers. He probably won’t cause me to wish another human being harm as I inevitably due watching BJ.

    Repentance about the same damn thing gets old.

  16. I’ve never said that we shouldn’t try better options than BJ. Literally everyone that you can think of might be a better option than BJ. But that’s just not going to happen. It hasn’t happened in most of 2 years. It might happen in September but that’s way too late.

    If Bonifacio (or whoever else) is just going to play as Jordan Schafer 2.0 then we haven’t upgraded anything. Bonifacio isn’t a great pinch hitting option. He needs to play a full game a few times a week and we can hope his OBP and speed pay off. But if we need a pinch hit…we’re still fooked. It’s Doumit time baby.

  17. With a waiver claim you can 1.) work out a trade with the claiming team, 2.) pull him back – once – and keep him, or 3.) let the claiming team have him and all his salary.

  18. Thanks, krussell.

    jj, then it’s settled. I’ll politely decline to respond to your comments here if you’ll do the same.

  19. @24 – No, this wasn’t revocable waivers. Revocable waivers, for the purpose of post-deadline trades, don’t clear space on your roster. He was placed on irrevocable waivers, and he’s gone.

  20. And for whatever it’s worth, the Braves did start sitting BJ in September of last season. He was injured in July, but in April, May, June and August, he averaged 84.25 PA’s. In September, he was given 55. But if you remember, Schafer was completely ineffective at the end of the year, too, so BJ was in there as often as not, but still, Schafer had 54 PA’s in September, so they basically split time.

    I bring this up only to illustrate that there is a leash on every player, even a guy making as much as BJ. At a certain point, if Bonifacio plays like he deserves it, he’ll take AB’s away from BJ.

  21. If Schafer had cleared waivers then we’d have had 10 days to trade him, send him to the minors, or give him is outright release. Since the Twins claimed him he’s their problem now.

  22. September is too late when you’re on the outside looking in for the playoffs. I do remember how last year played out (unfortunately) and I thought there was no way in hell we’d start the season with Uggla on the team after going through that shit show. Now I’m thinking I can’t believe BJ isn’t at least in a platoon situation. What are we waiting for exactly?

    What do we think the odds are of BJ sitting a bunch during this coming homestand?

  23. Well obviously September would be too late THIS year. But last year we won the division by 10 games, and they still made him a platoon player. And the option they had LAST year hit .188/.278/.208 with the opportunity, so he didn’t exactly demand the chance.

    I’m just saying, I have reason to believe Upton will lose time because we picked up Bonifacio.

  24. Haha. I think he’ll play some RF, I don’t think he’ll cause any significant harm to Heyward’s playing time. Heyward will have to sit sometimes, and Bonifacio will probably play his position.

  25. Didn’t Fredi G. say BJ was his guy and he was gonna have his guy leading off? So it seems to me even when Bonifacio plays (unless he’s playing CF), we still won’t get to have him hitting lead off. So all this talk of Bonifacio being able to replace BJ at lead off and that being an improvement is somewhat watered down by Fredi’s attitude on the subject (at least I think so).

  26. I am SO glad that my Monday recap stint is off because of no game.

    This team has become very un fun to write about.

  27. What bothers me a lot about Fredi is he goes through these phases of trying things out, but now he’s essentially run the same lineup out there every day during a terrible stretch of baseball, and is absolutely bull-headed on Bupton. Remember when BJ was performing better out of the leadoff spot? That is not happening anymore and his numbers from the leadoff spot reflect his other piss-poor numbers.

  28. Probably more oddities than anything but the Braves are 5-10 since Bethancourt was sent down.

    Also, David Hale has pitched in 4 extra inning games and lost all 4. Maybe don’t let him pitch there?

  29. @34 Most hated Brave ever? Off the top of my head, Craig Robinson, Eddie Miller, Ken Oberkfell, Bruce Sutter, Dan Kolb, Dan Uggla, B.J.Upton—-tough call, but I guess I’ll go with Eddie Haas—–just the thought of him, makes me queasy.

  30. It’s a tough stretch for a team that’s hard to root for on occasion, but just to reel in the need for multiple fainting couches…

    1. Bonafacio isn’t “stealing” at bats from Jason Heyward. Jason Heyward is injured.

    2. The best scenario going forward would be a straight platoon of Bonifacio and BJ Upton in CF, assuming health from Heyward and Justin. BJ should never play against a LH starter now that we have a real option there (i.e. much better than Jordan Schafer) but there’s no reason to play Bonifacio against RHP. He’s as bad or worse as BJ there.

    3. A team with the Braves payroll have to take calculated risks on mid-level free agent signings. They have gotten burned on both of there last two. The Uggla extension was foreseeably bad. Very, very few people complained about the Upton signing at the time.

  31. Well, they say that it always rains in Seattle, so perhaps we can effect some climate change there as well.

  32. Wickman, Lockhart, and Rocker are all good candidates. I never really understood the hate on here for Reitsma, other than his trolling wife. Corky Miller was just too inept to hate.

  33. BJ as our lead off hitter the last 33 games:
    .235/.302/.331/.633
    He has improved from worst starting player in baseball to merely horrible.
    Bonafacio 2014 Cubs:
    .279/.318/.373/.692
    You gotta play this guy some in CF. Whether its a platoon or whatever.

    I think it is safe to say that California has put us into a team wide slump.

  34. @49,

    I just wonder whether 63 points of OPS is really significant at that level of performance. It’s like making a 720 or a 780 on the SAT. Does it really make a difference?

  35. Emilio Bonifacio’s splits:
    vs RHP 2014: .233/.279/.296
    vs LHP 2014: .403/.442/.583

    vs RHP career: .253/.314/.332
    vs LHP career: .292/.341/.375

    BJ Upton splits:
    vs RHP 2014: .227/.272/.371
    vs LHP 2014: .176/.318/.198

    I think the best play here is a straight platoon of BJ vs RHP and Bonifacio vs LHP.

  36. Clearly BJ should never start against LH’d pitching. It’s close enough against RH’d pitching that we should just sit BJ everyday.

  37. Pre-rogatives for Frank Wren.

    1.) This team has got to get rid of BJ Upton in the off-season. Eat half the deal and give someone an outfielder for 3 yrs at 8 million per if anyone’ll do it.
    2.) Trade Craig Kimbrel in the off-season. Kimbrel is wonderful, but he’s the icing and we still need the cake. He ought to bring back a nice return.
    3.) Listen to any legitimate offers for Chris Johnson, but be willing to keep him if nothing too good comes along.
    4.) Sign Jason Heyward to a long-term contract. Easier said than done, of course. But when you’re sitting on one of the best ten players in baseball, and you’re not giving up on competing for a title, you’ve got to keep him.
    5.) Find real middle management. Real ones. Not fake ones with a degree in B.S.

  38. I don’t think it serves any worthwhile purpose to essentially reduce the roster to 24 men again. There’s no possible good to be had by benching BJ entirely. And there’s more useful ways to deploy Bonifacio than as a full time CF. For example, compare these two batting lines:

    227/272/371 (643 OPS)
    246/264/344 (608 OPS)

    The top line is, once again, BJ Upton. The bottom line is Chris Johnson. Both are against RHP in 2014. Tommy LaStella also shows a large platoon split, but his bad side line against RHP is still much better than any of these three.

    And while it’s almost certainly not worth the defensive hit you’d take at SS, Andrelton is also horrific vs RHP (244/294/324, 618 OPS).

    I think it’s smartest to play start Bonifacio in CF against LHP, and get him spot starts at 3B against RHP.

  39. I should amend my comment to say that those are MY pre-rogatives for Frank Wren, whether that’s what the team will do or not. I think it’s what the team should do.

  40. @61 Oh, man, I had succcessfully killed off enough brain cells to forget about Fick. You’re right, a very strong candidate for worst Brave ever!

  41. Heyward is the biggest platoon candidate on the team. You could argue that Bonifacio (or someone) should take his ABs against LHP. *But*, longer term it’s better for everyone if Jason plays everyday and gets tons of reps against lefties.

  42. @65

    True for this year so far, but for his career Heyward has a .221/.300/.357 line against them, which I find more credible. Boy he has been dreadful against them this year, though.

  43. Yeah I don’t envy our management’s position in a couple of tough situations. It’s always a balance between win-now versus setting up for the future. Platooning Heyward would surely piss him off and make him less likely to stay long-term. But it seems like it would make us a better offense in 2014. I don’t think we’ll ever do anything to upset Heyward, nor should we, so that’s not going to happen. Platooning BJ is more palatable to everyone, except the Uptons. But it’s been said before (I think it was Sam) that there’s no way that we can win the World Series, or even make the playoffs, without a positive contribution from BJ. This team is not constructed to be able to cover for the current level of performance we’re seeing, and there’s no way to realistically swap in better pieces.

  44. Per Braves Journal Gloss:

    Kolb, Dan: AKA DANNY, Damn Kolb, Dan “No K” Olb, Dank Lob, Klobber D, Milwaukee’s Worst, The Hurler That Made Milwaukee Shame Us, Dan Dan The Blown Save Man, Reardon II: Electric Walkaloo, Doom Doom Danny, Dan KolBB, Dank Hole, The Can Opener, Suzy Kolb, D*n K*lb, Kolby Cheese, Kolb Pizza, The Nameless One, and That Fat F*ck. (Added July 24, 2006)

  45. Y’all have covered most of the front-runners already…for some reason I really didn’t like Bret Boone, so I’ll throw him out there as well.

  46. He was a lot less likable the year after he left us, when he put up MVP numbers in Seattle despite being miserable and funny looking as a Brave.

  47. Oh, by the way: MELKY CABRERA. Easily my least favorite. I’m 28, so my memory only goes back to 1991-2, and even there it’s hazy. So Melky. Easy call.

  48. Part of the problem this year is the loss of Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy and Gavin Floyd. Had the Braves not lost all three – say they only lose Beachy – then they don’t have to sign Santana and probably not Harang. That’s another 15 million they could have played with during the trading deadline, which is a lot like the cost of BJ Upton. I’m not saying they would have eaten both Uggla and Upton had they not already spent that cash on Santana, but it’s a factor. Pretty much everything that could go wrong for the Braves this year has gone wrong. Neither of the “maybe they’ll put something back together” candidates did. They lost THREE starters plus a setup man to surgery. And they had to spend all of their “emergency fund” cash to fill out the rotation in March.

    On top of all that Heyward still hasn’t put together “the year” we all expect out of his bat, and Mike Minor imploded mechanically (never let them cut on your dick, man.)

  49. @76, end of August.

    @75, I think a lot of our optimism last winter was predicated on at least one of Uggla/BJ returning to ‘serviceable’ levels. At the time it seemed totally plausible.

  50. How could nobody have mentioned Francoeur for most hated Brave? Did you guys just wipe him completely from memory?

  51. Also, @75 is absolutely right. There is basically no team in baseball that can survive season-ending injuries to three starting pitchers within the first two months of the season. The fact that we’re still in contention is a credit to all of the people that we’ve been complaining about all year.

  52. @76, et al.

    I believe the waiver period actually lasts until the end of the regular season. It’s just that nobody placed on the roster after August 31 is allowed to be on a playoff roster, so August 31 is more or less the de facto cutoff.

  53. Garrett Anderson never seemed real happy to be here, to me. I didn’t care for that impression.

  54. My former supervisor is a big Twins fan. I was going to give him the low down on Schafer by linking to the glossary entry for “f-ing success.” Alas, there is no glossary entry for f-ing success.

    Fare thee well, success; they probably need you to play a lot more than you would have in ATL.

  55. DOB calling out Fredi?

    @DOBrienAJC: Got a new leadoff guy now, if they’ll just play him RT @SouthernSports6: @DOBrienAJC @JeffSchultzAJC let’s take him back and bat him leadoff

    @DOBrienAJC: At leadoff, #Braves B.J. Upton batting .227 w/ .292 OBP, 47 K in 141 ABs. Since AS break, .188 (12-for-64) w/ 23 K, .288 OBP, .234 slugging

  56. I am trying to be positive, but come on.

    1. Except for some iffy relief stints and MIKE MINOR, the pitching HAS NOT been the problem.

    2. if BOTH Beach and Medlen DON’T go down, we don’t get Santana.

    3. Floyd was never intended for anything other than a back up plan if Hale, Wood, etc. flopped.

    4. The problems is THE DAMN OFFENSE.

    5. We successfully transitioned Uggla out and LaStella up and the impact there is probably 2 games at the first of the year.

    6. I am now to the point that I am sure that BJ Upton will never be a productive every day major league player again. I do not know why. I genuinely thought he would be more likely to carry his weight over a 5 year contract than Bourn. I saw some potential for slippage. But this?

    7. Since April, Chris Johnson has basically been historical Chris Johnson except for 1 unbelievable change. Before 2013, he was significant reverse platoon split over lots of PA’s (like 1500).

    8. Like Lord Keynes said, “in the long run, we are all dead.” I don’t mean manage pitch by pitch, but the players in the whole system need to know that when there is a better way to get wins that their feelings can kiss our collective asses. If Heyward can’t hit a lefty and we have somebody that net of defense can play better, play them.

    9. This team COULD go on a roll. However, it looks lifeless.

    10. The offense improved so much 2012 to 2013. However, this crap may mean change hitting coaches again.

  57. @75 and 80 – Wow, the truth puts this season into perspective. I agree, we are lucky to still be in contention.

    Heyward last 36 games
    .297/.400/.414/.814
    Hope I haven’t jinxed him.

    As good as our good hitters are, I guess they simply aren’t good enough to carry Simmons, BUpton and Johnson. Or maybe the aforementioned 3 are terrible enough to drag down the whole team. Add a totally ineffectual bench and this is what we get.

  58. Cliff @88: more precisely, the problem is “we have no room to maneuver to fix THE DAMN OFFENSE.” And we have no room to maneuver, because we were backed into a corner both roster-wise and money-wise before we ever broke spring training.

    Gavin Floyd was not a “fail safe” so much as he was depth. And because we lost Medlen and Beachy from the start, he was depth that had to play. (No one, and I mean absolutely no one, was projecting David Hale (or Pickles Schlosser) as a rotation candidate before the other two injuries.)

    Let’s play what-if for a sec:

    IF we only lose Beachy we go into the season with Medlen/Teheran/Minor/Wood/Hale with Gavin Floyd in the wings.

    We may or may not have signed Harang in that scenario, but we DEFINITELY wouldn’t have signed Ervin Santana. So we are now operating with +14 mil in payroll come the trade deadline.

    IF Floyd doesn’t randomly break his arm, we also have a stronger case to throw in Alex Wood into a potential deal. (Try not to freak out, peanut gallery. Alex Wood hasn’t actually been traded.) Or we could have used Floyd there instead. Let’s say we use Floyd, who was pitching lights out prior to the elbow break.

    Now, instead of having $0 in payroll flexibility and 0 assets to include in a trade offer, we could say “hey, Detroit, we’ll give you Gavin Floyd and BJ Upton for Austin Jackson.” Do they bite? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s an offer to compete with. Maybe Oakland takes a flyer on Floyd instead of Lester?

    The point is, the team started hamstrung. Any depth and payroll flexibility they had planned to have at the trade deadline was used in March to buy a rotational tourniquet.

  59. Since David Hale has pitched in 4 extra inning games and lost all 4, can we nickname him The Closure (TM)?

  60. The picture isn’t quite complete without mentioning the baffling CJ extension.

    Even on here, the most enthusiasm people could muster was, “We don’t have anybody in our system, so might as well…”

  61. I don’t normally care about being privy to what goes on in our front-office’s conversations with our manager…but man I gotta admit I’m curious as to how the conversations between Wren and Fredi go on the “what should we do with BJ” topic.

  62. Sam’s correct, but it’s sort of irrelelant now. The payroll situation is what it is. I’m not giving up on this season but I really am wondering, if the Braves don’t make it, what Wren does for next season. I don’t see a lot of options. I suspect that they are being careful with BJ because they don’t want to piss off his brother. In any event, they certainly aren’t going to eat three years of BJ’s contract so he’s here, even if not leading off.

    How do they upgrade at 3B when they have already extended a mediocre player? What about Freddie Freeman? With all the talk about Heyward-some of it from me-Freddie seems to have struggled for significant portions since the beginning of the season. Are his eyes ok? Is he someone to build around or just another slightly above average guy? People complain about Andrelton offensively but he was not supposed to be someone whose bat you depended on.

    The point is, where do you upgrade this team? It appears they have three guys they could realistically expect significant offensive improvement over this year: Heyward, Freeman, and, maybe Gattis. I don’t count the Uptons because (1) it looks like that ship has sailed for BJ, (2) I think Justin is about as good as he is going to get, although that’s pretty good.

    Where else do you go? The Braves seem to be in a rather bizarre situation, where they have a young but not overly talented team with a bunch of guys in the middle of extensions.

  63. A disastrous stretch of baseball … made worse by the seemingly “meh” attitude that starts with the manager and festers downward.

    I don’t think everyone needs to go on a Chris Johnson bat-shattering pogrom but tossing a helmet might work.

    These are dead-men walking (or in BJ’s case, caught looking.)

  64. “I really am wondering, if the Braves don’t make it, what Wren does for next season.”

    I don’t care as long as it’s somewhere else.

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