Falcons 11, Steelers 3

No, I don’t believe it either, but for one, brief, shining, moment, the laws of physics ceased to apply, cats and dogs started living together, and B.J. Upton went 2-5. The rest of the Braves offense was so incredulous that they collected 14 hits — including an RBI single by the master of the bunt double play, Aaron Harang — and solved Fermat’s Last Theorem, probably.

It was only the seventh time all year that the Braves ran their score into the double digits, and the 17th time that B.J. had a multihit game. (Three of the seven double-digit outbursts occurred during a Bupton multihit game, which implies that there is some kind of correlation between his specific horribleness and the offense’s general horribleness. But you probably didn’t need me to tell you that.)

Aaron Harang gave the bullpen a breather, as he pitched into the ninth inning and allowed three runs on nine hits. And he didn’t walk anybody, which is the right strategy when your team scores eleven runs for you.

Justin Upton is in one of those hot streaks of his. He hit a majestic three-run homer, his third dinger in his last five games. Meanwhile his former team, the Diamondbacks, is 20 games below .500 and just lost 8-1 to the Nationals last night, while Randall Delgado has a 6.00 ERA and Martin Prado was salary dumped to the Yankees at the trade deadline. It’s a good thing they’re dumb. Because if they hadn’t traded us their best player, we wouldn’t have a prayer this year.

153 thoughts on “Falcons 11, Steelers 3”

  1. Justin’s already had a great year, but if he closes 2014 the way he began 2013, we’ll be watching meaningful baseball the rest of the year. Here’s to finding his inner-Chipper (’99-vintage).

  2. You forgot that a Yeti was sighted buying an Iron City at the concession stand.

    Who are these guys? When I watched the highlight video it did say ‘Braves’ on the uniform or was I hallucinating?

    If, for some reason, pressure from Native Americans causes The Atlanta Braves Baseball Club to change its mascot, then Sybils is ok with me. Alas, I am sure that folks with multiple personality disorders would sue. Or whichever personality that is actually offended would sue. This team, I swear.

    The Gattis homerun would have triggered a DEFCON 1 alert in Russia had it not hit that walkway. I can’t recall a guy with that much power coming off that short and compact a swing.

  3. Johnny,

    Are you that much younger than me, or did you forget Bob Horner?

    When Horner swung, the whole mechanism was half as long as Chipper’s or Barry Bonds’, or Gary Sheffield’s. Yet, 450 feet later, the ball came down.

  4. Edward,

    Is this Dave Fleming the same as Dave “Rain Man” Fleming. (arguably the 4th or 5th most successful University of Georgia Major League pitcher. Spurgeon Chandler being a clear #1, with Derek Lilliquist maybe a notch or two below, Mitchell Boggs in there somewhere, and Alex Wood around 5 or 6 “with a bullet”)

  5. @9 – Nope, I am an old guy. I can’t remember Horner’s swing. I do recall the announcers always discussing how compact and short it was. Opponents used to do the extreme shift on him, putting the second baseman on the SS side of the bag. I remember one game with him just punching a weak grounder through the right side. I think it was Skip that said something like ‘Well he is a .290 hitter, if you’re going to give him a hole like that he’ll certainly take it.’ Different times.

  6. @10

    Doubtful? The one who wrote the article lives in New Zealand, which is a far piece from the tree.

    Goodness knows none of the best pitchers in UGA history are there right now. I live a couple miles from Foley Field. The three games I went to this season were not impressive. Guys gassing it out in the bullpen and then crumbling once they face a live batter. Then again, I don’t have a whole lot of perspective on the college game.

  7. I remember getting an early edition of the Rotisserie League baseball book back around 1983 by Daniel Okrent et al. In it, they rated each player and included a short commentary. Horner’s comment, and I quote: “Million dollar swing, ten cent wrist.”

  8. Cliff, I just took a look at Horner on YouTube. Hands held low no back movement at all when the ball was pitched. It seems impossible that he could hit the ball as hard as he did.

  9. The Royals are “lucky” by traditional sabermetric accounting. But that accounting almost universally boils down to run differential, and a team with a super defense and a strong bullpen will often out perform its run diff, and that applies to KC this year. I don’t know that KC has found something new or special so much as they’re having a good year, but the blowback from the saber crowd reeks of “this doesn’t align with our assumptions about how baseball works, so we’re going to call it luck and pretend it’s not happening.” Which is, at the heart of the matter, the exact opposite of what sabermetrics is supposed to be about.

    I find this bit from Rany’s piece interesting:

    The Royals’ philosophy is decidedly retro, more suited for baseball in 1914 than 2014. Put the ball in play. Run fast. Play good defense.

    It’s sort of a throwaway line, and then he goes on for a few more pages about how nothing makes any sense and it’s really illogical and no one can figure out how this is happening. But I would suggest, perhaps, just maybe, that in a league that has harshly corrected away from “Sillyball” and looks more and more like “Deadball Revisited, Only With Way More Strikeouts,” adopting the traditional tenets of deadball/early 60s era baseball – put the ball in play, run hard, play good defense – might be the vanguard. And I think it’s quite possible that sabermetrics is so mentally embedded in the conditions of its own birth – high offensive era, big slugging baseball – that it fails to grasp fully how another era might be best served with other tactics and strategies.

  10. No telling how many theorems Fermat would have come up with if he hadn’t got stuck on that last one.

  11. I bet KC would sell the farm for Heyward if he cut down on his Ks. He certainly fits the run fast, play great D mold.

  12. @15, I think you’re right. Pitching and defense is literally the oldest team development strategy in baseball, and it is especially correct in a low-offense context. I.e., when no one else is hitting, you can survive if you can’t hit, so long as you pitch and catch the ball better than anyone else.

    It was true in the aughts, it was true in the ’60s, it was true in the ’80s, and it’s true today.

    That said, a complete inability to hit is still severely debilitating, and the Royals have been winning because they’ve been hitting a bit better than they were at the beginning of the year. Same with the Braves. A strong bullpen and defense can paper over a hell of a lot of flaws, as we learned over 96 wins last year. But you can’t win a 0-0 game.

  13. Right. Joe Simpson’s analysis isn’t bad because he’s stupid and dumb and doesn’t understand baseball. It’s bad because he couldn’t grasp that changing offensive conditions for the league changed the best strategies to employ day to day. In his playing days, from 1975-83, making contact, sacrificing power to hit to the off field, and moving the runner along by hitting behind them was actually much more useful than it was in the 1990s.

  14. @17

    Heyward’s K-rate this year is better than more than half of KC’s hitters (min. 50 plate appearances). Johnny is more on target: his walk rate is significantly higher than anyone they’ve got. He’d be their second-best hitter and their best defender.

    I wonder if Dayton has asked. I wonder how hard Wren laughed.

  15. Also, the Tigers haven’t been great. The rest of the AL central blows. That has a lot to do with the Royals.

  16. Simmons would be the perfect Royal. Almost never strikes out. Defender par excellence. With his contact rate, I am sure that he would produce a ton of ‘productive’ dribblers, soft grounders and infield popups. I’m not sure how fast he is though.

  17. One does occasionally forget what a different era it was not so long ago. Sorting by wRC+ and excluding pitchers, the Pirates have the best offense this season, with a .265/.340/.409 line, translating into a .332 wOBA. In 1999, the height of the whatever era, that same line would have put them in about 25th place, offense-wise.

  18. They already have an excellent defensive shortstop, except he’s getting on base at a .315 clip, rather than .299. They bat him 9th.

  19. Well, can the Royals SS swing, miss, go into a full twisting layout, triple somersault, pirouette and then stick the landing in the opposing team’s on deck circle?

  20. Speaking of Bob Horner, I am still trying to find those late ’80s commercials he did in Japan. Anyone got a lead on those? They were linked here a long time ago and I regret not bookmarking them.

  21. As much as I can’t stand BJ, he is 3rd on the team in runs scored. Only Freeman and his brother have scored more. I don’t see how it is possible with all the strikeouts, etc. But there is value in that.

  22. @33 – I don’t know how BJ shakes out as a baserunner, but I’d allow that he’s probably a pretty good one. But even if he’s good at running the bases, we’d be better off with a guy who has less skill at running the bases, but more skill at getting on base in the first place. You’ll note a bad baserunner, Freeman, leads the team. That tells you about all you need to know about “runs scored” and their value.

  23. I’m just confused by that stat, because watching him play I think he is the worst player on the team by far, but then I see that he has scored a lot of runs and maybe I am missing something.

  24. 36: What you’re missing is that “runs scored” has more to do with the players hitting behind you than with your own talent. Same thing with RBIs, but in reverse. BJ has mostly hit leadoff in front of a fairly good group of hitters (some Simmons, but more La Stella, plus Freeman and Justin).

  25. Not really. Scoring runs and driving in runs is about your talent + the talent of the guy ahead/behind you, in combination, inclusive of “sequencing of hits” type of “luck.” BJ Upton is bad enough at plenty of baseball related activities that it’s not necessary to ignore the one or two things he’s good at. When he gets on base, he’s a very good base runner, and he’s fast. So he scores from first on a double and from second a single. Things that Freeman or Gattis, both much better at hitting the baseball hard, do.

  26. I can’t explain it. Maybe he’s grounding in to alot of fielder’s choices? That’s a way to get on base without it showing in your BA or OBP. His BABIP is .295, so when he’s not striking out, he’s getting on. Maybe we don’t notice that because he strikes out so damn much.

    But above all, I’d say it’s because he’s had 417 PA’s hitting 1st or 2nd, and only 81 PA’s in other places in the lineup. So however rarely he gets on base, he’s done the majority of it in front of Freeman, J. Upton and Gattis.

  27. Those numbers at 39 also result in 117 times on base (via hit, walk, or HBP) as 1st or 2nd hitter, and only 25 times on base at all other batting order positions. That’s 54 runs hitting 1st or 2nd, and 8 from other positions in the lineup. Just for context.

  28. Freeman and Jupton have 110 XBH this season. BJ scores on pretty much any of those any time he’s on base.

  29. 38: Saying it’s “a combination” does not tell us whether it has “more to do” with the hitters behind him than with his own contributions. Obviously, no one is saying that you or I would score a bunch of runs “hitting” in front of Freddie Freeman and Justin Upton. I still contend that this is more about having hitters who hit for high averages and slugging percentages driving him in than it is about B.J.’s on-base abilities (poor) or baserunning (good, but hardly elite at this point in his career).

  30. It’s helpful once in a while to go look at league stats and league leaders in order to affix a player’s (or team’s) performance among his peers. I would say the consensus opinion (straw man alert!) of Freeman’s and JUpton’s 2014 batting performance is “good to very good but streaky”. And yet:

    2014 NL XBH:

    Goldschmidt, Stanton – 59
    Lucroy – 57
    Freeman – 56
    Jupton, Puig, McCutchen, Davis – 54

  31. A note on the Royals and the league in 2014, cherry picked from the Factory:

    “The top five AL teams in Total Zone fielding runs above average are Baltimore, Seattle, Oakland, Kansas City and the Angels. That’s even more correlated to a team’s winning percentage than FIP or OPS+.”

  32. Looking at the B.J. stat of Runs scored from 1st or 2nd in the lineup is quite annoying as a fan if you ask me.

    B.J. has been on base 117 times between Hits, BBs, and HBPs and scored 54 runs with a .283 OBP with 414 ABs while batting 1st or 2nd this year.

    This means that B.J. scores almost every other time he gets on. Yes, I know the amount he scores deals directly on how those do behind him, but Imagine what he could be doing for this team if he could just get his OBP above .300.

    How many of those 154 strikeouts could have been potential walks? To tell u the truth I could care less about his BA. I just want to see the guy get on more because it obviously leads to good results half the time.

  33. @46 – actually, I don’t see a lot of BJ’s strikeouts that could have been walks. He’s actually shown a pretty good eye for not swinging at pitches off the plate. His K’s more often come from swinging through pitches in the zone, or taking pitches in the zone for called strikes. Those aren’t the types of K’s that become walks if you’re just more patient. He doesn’t strikeout like Jeff Francoeur did, by swinging at crap in the dirt. He strikes out by missing fastballs down the middle, or taking fastballs on the inner half that he can’t do anything with and hopes the ump will give him if he complains enough.

    Also, I think the “he’s scored pretty much every time he’s been on” is misleading, in that it’s not unlikely that he’s gotten on in the first place because the pitcher is either 1) bad or 2) having a bad night. A good rule of thumb might be “if BJ gets on the good hitters are probably going to do damage behind him too.”

    Tonight’s lineup against Gerrit Cole (RHP):

    Heyward
    Simmons
    Freeman
    Upton, J
    Johnson
    Gattis
    La Stella
    Upton, B
    Wood

  34. Apparently Fredi said before the game that Andrelton’s “Bambi on skates” in every part of his game other than playing shortstop. He said everything else he does is so “violent”. I’d love to know what question sparked that response. Is that really something you say about your player?

  35. I never said he pretty much scores every time he gets on. I made the assumption that he scores almost every other time he gets on the @46 post.

  36. When I see that a total clown in the 1 and 2 hole scores a bunch of runs in front of the 4th and 5th hitters in the league in extra-base hits, I don’t think “That clown should get on base more!” I think “What kind of nincompoop is running this clown out there in the 1 and 2 hole in front of the guys who are 4th and 5th in the league in extra base hits?!”

    I mean, duh, he should get on base more. But the problem is, BJ Upton and Andrelton Simmons suck at hitting, and they are always in the 1 or 2 hole, so all these XBH that Freeman and J Upton hit are being wasted. That’s something that can be solved by not being an idiot, instead of solved by hoping a player stops playing the way he’s played for 2 years and starts playing like some different guy.

  37. There is just no place you can hide Chris Johnson. Getting guys on base is supposed to be a good thing. Except when you have Chris Johnson on your team.

  38. @46

    Currently, B.J. scores 46% of the time he gets on when batting 1st or 2nd this year which has led to 54 Runs scored with just a .283 OBP in those 414 ABs. Now, what if he did have a .300 OBP in those 414 ABs with the same percentage of 46% with the higher OBP.

    Basically, he would have had to have gotten on base 124 times to get his OBP up to .300 in 414 ABs. This would have led to 57 Runs scored, so as you see, the slight improvement in OBP doesn’t really help that much.

  39. Instant replay usually annoys me, but the more Angel Hernandez calls that can be overturned, the better.

  40. @51

    I agree with most of what you say there man. But, to agree with @salty about one thing this year that he has repeatedly posted on. If you look at our team’s splits. Andrelton Simmons is our most productive 2-hole hitter out of the guys who have seen significant at bats there. Granted Gosselin has made a nice little home there lately, and I’d like to see more of him there.

  41. This Giants-Cubs tarp failure thing is a little irksome to me.

    If you don’t know, the Giants-Cubs game was called last night after only 5 innings, and the Cubs declared the winner, when the Cubs own grounds crew was unable to get the field covered. Just 15 minutes of rain caused a 4 hour delay, and ultimately caused the game to be called, because the field took on so much water they couldn’t get it right again.

    So the Cubs won. And the Giants protested. And the Giants won. Which is fine, on it’s own. There’s a rule about games being suspended, rather than called, if the cause is related to equipment under the control of the home team. This, obviously, is designed to keep the hometeam from delaying placing the tarp, or screwing up their tarp, to cause a game to be called in their favor.

    So all of that is fine. The Braves had gained a game, and now it’s been taken back, but, whatever, get it right, play the game, determine a true champion.

    Except that on July 23rd the same thing happened in New York, with the Yankees and Rangers. The Yankees were the HOME team, were facing Yu Darvish, and got a 2-1 win after only 5 innings, when their grounds crew was unable to get the tarp down.

    So the Yankees benefited from their own failure to get the tarp down, the very reason there’s a rule, and MLB declines to correct it. The Giants get hurt and MLB steps in.

    So is this because they don’t want to directly screw a playoff contender? The Giants and Yankees are contenders, the Cubs and Rangers aren’t, so the contender gets the help? That’s a bit unfair, isn’t it? And what about the contenders that aren’t directly involved and get screwed?

    This is what MLB does. There’s just no uniformity to the rules, they apply them as they see fit.

  42. Well, did the Rangers protest? (I don’t know the answer.)

    Perhaps that’s beside the point–you’re right, they should just get the call right, especially when it’s not some sort of on the field call.

    But the Giants protested the initial decision, which is why there was a chance to overturn it.

  43. @66 – 67 – I don’t know the answer to that. But it’s not in the rules that “You may protest when…” it’s in the rules “A game shall be suspended when…”

    EDIT: Reading the game recap from the Ranger’s website, I don’t find anything only this quote from Rangers GM Jon Daniels:

    “I am watching from a time zone away, but I wasn’t real pleased,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “I don’t think there was any intent on anybody’s part. But for the way it played out, I don’t think that should happen. We lost a four-inning game because of the ground situation, that shouldn’t happen.”

    I have to imagine he made a phone call. These games are pretty important, I don’t think any ML GM just takes it on the chin in a situation like that. But like I said, I don’t know the answer.

  44. Gaby Sanchez is the current front-runner for dorkiest looking player in the game, taking the title over from his one-time sparring partner Nyjer Morgan.

  45. Justin, don’t let stupid win. You can never let stupid win. Drive in this run. Or drive in 3, that’d work too.

  46. The situation is desperate–we’ve got Johnson on deck.

    Edit: Bases loaded, one out, Johnson up. Cole is sitting pretty.

  47. Wow. Two tough takes.

    Unfortunately, that’s the one outcome that leaves Chris Johnson in a position to ground in to a double play, and score 0 runs.

  48. Well, actually Freddie is the best at runs. So, who knows what BJ woulda done? I just don’t know what to think there.

  49. cuz the last thing you want is gattis up with the bases loaded and 1 out. doh!

  50. Takes a special pair of announcers to take an exciting tag play, agree unequivocally that they would have liked it better if it had been a 250lb guy trying to crush a guy trying to do five things at once, and then cite examples that don’t support their position.

  51. Poor Garrett Richards. I think he could be done for the year. Stepped funny running over to cover first and just crumpled. Hadn’t even made it to the bag.

  52. Terrible sequence there from Wood/Gattis/McDowell. That 0-2 count should have been a fastball in the eyes.

  53. Yeah, it wasn’t as though he had showed he couldn’t hit the breaking ball. He just hadn’t swung at it.

    The fact that he hung it didn’t help.

  54. Yes , but fredi likes to leave in his starter one inning too long. We have a rested bullpen and the best closer in baseball. Alex wood on inning 8 is not better than walden. With a 4 run lead, yeah stretch him out. In a close game, go to the pen. Baffles me managers don’t think this way. To them “he’s still got an inning left in him” is the analysis

  55. Walden jumps off the mound to pitch. There should be no surprise that he is occasionally wild. He should’ve started this inning. Fredi will learn nothing from this.

  56. Yes, the pitches from Walden sucked there. It doesn’t disregard the fact that it was a 2-0 lead to start the inning which meant it was time for a bullpen arm in the beginning.

    All this talk these days about specialty pitchers like setup men and closers and we don’t even use them properly.

    What the heck?

  57. I’m beginning to think the reason Gattis calls so many high fastballs on 0-2 is because he knows he doesn’t block very well. But nobody would’ve blocked that wild pitch.

  58. Fredi has cost wood at least 3 wins by leaving him in an inning too long. Fredi is just as likely to run him out for the 8th with a 1 run lead as he is with a 5 run lead

  59. Bad at bat by Gattis too. 2-0 count and you chase a fastball a foot outside for a weak groundout

  60. This team has that unique kind of perseverance. They don’t break. You put the pressure on, and they bend. Put more pressure on, they keep bending. They bend, and bend, until they’re bent over backwards and you can just carry on walking right over them.

  61. Yeah,

    I truly feel that all could have been avoided by starting a different pitcher at the top of the 8th inning.

    Way to go Fredi. Not!!!

  62. Fredi giving an interview saying “you gotta go with Woodsy there” because that was the depth of his reasoning.

  63. Yeah, Alex walked a guy and gave up a ground rule double on an 0-2 pitch, and then Jordan Walden threw two 50 foot breaking balls, and then Justin Upton wiffed on an easy flyball.

    There’s plenty of guys who actually play the game who totally choked tonight.

  64. #123
    Yeah, the players are actually allowed to make routine plays & execute good pitches in late-game situations. Laying this one on the manager, I’m sorry, doesn’t work.

  65. @122

    Heyward is a much more aggressive presence in the OF than any of our other guys, He understands his range and would have been yelling for that from the get go instead of right when he got there.

  66. And we’ll just ignore all the plays that Jason makes in RF that Justin wouldn’t make, and pretend those wouldn’t have led to runs.

    Or. We would have Jason play RF all the time, except for on that play, and we could have had him move to CF because we knew that was going to happen, and then move him right back over to RF.

  67. @125 Like he does all of those times La Stella has run out to make (and miss) a catch and Jason has pulled up rather than take charge? A lot of people on here complain about that when that happens. It’s funny how players get praised for the same thing they’re vilified for in a different situation…

  68. Ugh, the Nationals are about to complete another walk off. That’s just great.

    Edit: And they have. What a bad night of baseball.

  69. @130 – Then carry on. Hate Fredi all you want. I hate Fredi, too. But right now I choose to hate the players on the team who piss all over themselves and completely forget how to play baseball whenever they’re under any kind of pressure.

  70. What is the negativity about someone saying they would rather Heyward be in CF. It is a move that a lot of people talk about happening on these threads. To be honest, his offensive skills and range on defense make more sense in CF so that a bigger bat can be put in the corner outfield spot.

    For one, I sure would like to have Heyward in CF over B.J. or Bonifacio on a daily basis.

  71. @131 – That’s because the Nationals aren’t a bunch of Sissy-Marys and the Braves are.

  72. I think the negative is compensating by moving Justin to RF, when he is already “Bambi on skates” in LF.

  73. Yeah,

    I’d rather see Bonifacio in RF possibly platooning with Gosselin if he can hold his own out there. If he can’t, I’m sure we could figure out something. Either way, we get Heyward in CF and B.J. out of the lineup.

  74. @133 – Personally, I think they should move Alex Wood to the bullpen so there’s room in the rotation for Christie Mathewson. And the offensive troubles would all be solved if they just bench BJ and stick Mickey Mantle in there.

    By that I mean.. WHAT BIGGER BAT? Are we going to do this Heyward to CF, Jupton to RF, Gattis to LF and Bethancourt to C nonsense again? We’re going to do that following a game where our flipping defense lost the game? We’re going to talk about how we should weaken our defense on a night when our weak defense cost us the game? We want Justin Upton, who just lost the game with his bad outfield play, to move UP the offensive spectrum, and make way for an even worse defender at his position? Come on.

  75. @132, It’s hard to imagine that the coach isn’t remotely responsible for poor mental preparation, poor execution, and lackadaisical play. I guess you could make the argument that the coach isn’t responsible for anything, but then why pay a coach at all? Just hire a local high school coach.

  76. Aah, it’s Bonifacio and Gosselin that we want to run out there. Because that’s not stupid.

  77. The Natspos won a very similar game that we lost (ie blowing a two-run lead in the eighth but scored in the ninth to win rather than allowed a run to lose). I guess that the difference between a team is a division winner or not.

  78. @139

    Actually, if you look at our team, bigger bat would be Bonifacio over B.J., but Bonifacio does not belong in CF at all judging from his performances there so far. So, you improve the team by rotation. Heyward to CF and Bonifacio in RF. It isn’t a huge bat like you are thinking, but it is still an improvement.

  79. @140 – You’ve just hit the nail on the head for why I DO blame Fredi for our team being lousy. I blame Fredi for the team being poorly coached, having a bad approach at the plate, and getting tight when the going gets tough.

    What I’m saying is, I do not blame him for Alex Wood walking the leadoff man, hanging a breaking ball (his third breaking ball in a row) in an 0-2 count and giving up a double, or for Jordan Walden’s inability to throw a breaking ball that reaches the plate in the air, or for Justin Upton playing LF like Justin Upton. For those things, I blame Alex Wood, Evan Gattis, Jordan Walden and Justin Upton. Guys who actually have control over how they perform in those situations.

    To go to nonsensical extremes like you did, I’d say you can find a way to blame the manager for everything. Andrelton Simmons and Tommy La Stella each took 0’fers tonight. You can blame Fredi Gonzalez for not sitting one of them in favor of Bonifacio.

    My point is, when acute mistakes are made, you can blame the manager for not preparing the players. But the blame for performance really ought to fall on the performers. Or, un-performers.

  80. The whole nats winning streak is walk offs and squeakers. Our team is too easy to shut down in late innings due to black holes and poor situational hitting. When it’s tied in the 8th I just assume we’ll lose. For the nats I assume the opposite

  81. @143 – Jupton – Heyward – Gosselin or Jupton – Heyward – Bonifacio are both defensively worse that Jupton – Bupton – Heyward. And we just lost the game due to poor outfield play. I don’t understand your complaint at this time.

    I’d run Bonifacio out there ahead of BJ, sure. At least for a while, see if he hits at all. But I’d run him out there in CF. I don’t want to weaken multiple defensive positions unless it’s for a bigger upgrade than Bonifacio over BJ.

    If, say, we acquired a corner OFer through waivers, a Marlon Byrd or Alex Rios type, then I’m on your side. Stick Heyward in CF and try to score some runs.

    But it’s not as simple as “The league’s best RF would also be a good CF.” He might be an average CF, maybe a tick above average. But CF is more demanding on the body than RF is, and Jason is pretty famously fragile. This would be like when we ran Martin Prado out there at shortstop for awhile. He didn’t kill us out there, because he wasn’t there long enough to kill us. Same thing for Heyward’s time in CF last year.

    I’m just not reshuffling the outfield assignments to keep Emilio Bonifacio out of CF, when Bonifacio himself has more experience in CF than Heyward does, and when I see no reason to believe Bonifacio would be any better in RF (where he’s played 200 innings) than he is in CF (where he’s played 1200 innings.)

  82. “To go to nonsensical extremes like you did, I’d say you can find a way to blame the manager for everything. Andrelton Simmons and Tommy La Stella each took 0′fers tonight. You can blame Fredi Gonzalez for not sitting one of them in favor of Bonifacio.”

    That’s ridiculous. That would require clairvoyance. Knowing wood is more likely to get hit tired than walden is fresh requires logic and knowledge of statistics. To state it differently, leaving wood in wasn’t bad because he gave up runs. It was bad because it had a worse expectancy than bringing in walden or varvaro. If the pen had been exhausted you could make a case for it, but that wasn’t the care. Also he should’ve brought in kimbrel in the 8th and if not then the 9th, but I have come to realize that’s a total lost cause so I don’t even bring it up generally.

  83. P.S., I do blame fredi for hitting Johnson 5th and playing bj over bonifacio and never starting gosselin at third, not because of results but because of expectancy.

  84. I was referring to your statement: “you could make the argument that the coach isn’t responsible for anything.”

    That’s a straw man, that’s not at all what I’m arguing. I was countering with a straw man, that you were arguing you should blame the coach for everything.

    I think Fredi should be fired, and I’ve argued that here. I think that, regardless of their recent stretch of good play, the 3-12 run, or whatever it was, has already tanked us out of the post season. And when that comes to fruition, that’ll make two out of four seasons he’s been at the helm, that the team had a playoff spot in their grasp, and choked for two weeks or more and blew it.

    I think, in the aggregate, play like that can be hung on the manager. I don’t think, with tonight’s confluence of garbage-play by our actual players, that this acute game can be laid at Fredi’s feet.

    Obviously it was a mistake to run Wood out there. But people here discussed it beforehand, and no one dissented then, only after the fact.

    But that didn’t lose the game. Wood walked the leadoff man. He and Gattis threw three straight breaking balls to the next guy and he hit a ground rule double. And that didn’t lose the game.

    Walden came in and threw a 58 foot slider, and Gattis barely blocked it, and the two of them decided they should double up on that, and he threw a 56 foot slider that Gattis wasn’t able to block. Frankly, the fact that he blocked the first one was a minor miracle. And even that didn’t lose the game.

    No, we still had to go down 1-2-3 against the same bullpen that the Nationals dismantled over the weekend. And then go out and drop a fly ball in left field.

    That’s too much to hang on the manager. If Chris Johnson doesn’t ground in to a DP earlier in the game, we win. If Dascenzo doesn’t get Freeman thrown out at the plate, we win. If Evan Gattis doesn’t back that up with a sad looking strikeout, we win. That was bases loaded, 1-out and these bed wetters scored one run. All of that before we get to the part where they puked all over their collective shirts in the 8th and 9th.

    The fact that it keeps happening, that they keep losing games because they play stupid, bad baseball, yes, I’ll hang some of that on Fredi, and for it I want to see him relieved of his duties. But I’m not going to come away from this discrete game and say “That’s on the manager!” Well, no, it’s not. It’s on Chris Johnson, and Evan Gattis, and Alex Wood, and Jordan Walden, and Justin Upton.

    That may seem like a narrow distinction, but it’s a distinction worth making. They lost tonight because they suddenly remembered that they are losers. They remain losers for a number of reasons, one of them being the manager.

  85. If you only score 2 you will most likely lose. Alex Wood has pitched well enough in most of his starts, but he just gets absolutely no run support. Why does it always seem like there’s one guy in the rotation that just never gets any help? Baseball is such a weird game.

    I only listened to the game on radio tonight so I have no idea if Dascenzo’s decision to send Freddie was defensible or not, but in general we seem to be getting worse at the 3B coach as the years go by. If the play it going to be even remotely close you gotta just hold Freeman up and hope we can get him in with two outs to play with.

  86. Yes, there were copious f ups. I just think all of the horribleness is due to organizational philosophy and mindset and I blame wren every bit as much as fredi. Wren just doesn’t figure in to the individual games

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