Red Legs 5 Braves 3

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At the start of every baseball season you figure you will win 54, lose 54 and the other 54 will decide your fate. Today was one of those 54 loses. The Reds put three on the board in the fourth and never looked back. The Braves tried to make it interesting in the ninth, but couldn’t get the tying run in.

Every starter minus Tommy LaStella struck out at least once (Regression twice.)

Don’t worry, the Braves have Monday off and will make their way to Flushing to play the Mets.

College football starts this week, so we have that going for us. I say the Vols go 6-6.

 

57 thoughts on “Red Legs 5 Braves 3”

  1. There are a lot of reasons to get frustrated with this team, but nothing drives me crazy quite like B.J. Upton constantly arguing balls and strikes. Prove to me you have a concept of the strike zone first. Please.

  2. Prove to me you have a concept of the strike zone first. Please.

    There’s nothing to suggest BJ doesn’t have a good concept of the zone. He begs for calls inside that he can’t hit, but that’s not the same as not knowing the zone.

  3. Yeah, the number of times B.J. argues a called third strike and the ball turns out to have passed entirely through the strike zone when they show it on K-Zone or whatever the thing is…well, it’s absurd. Here’s an idea: How about protecting with two strikes, B.J.?

  4. He takes third strikes that he can’t hit. BJ Upton’s problem isn’t that he can’t identify balls and strikes. It’s that he can’t hit a large subset of strikes. He can either swing through them and K swinging, or take them and hope the ump gives him the call. He’s not up there failing to identify pitches like Francoeur. He simply can’t hit strikes that have placement. He’s particularly incapable of hitting a strike on the inside corner.

  5. I’m all for Bonafacio for starting in the OF, but the guy is plain scary in CF. He misjudges balls left and right. We would be better off rotating Heyward to CF and putting Bonifacio in RF.

  6. To illustrate how little RF Bonifacio has played, and how little CF Heyward has played:

    Bonifacio: 1203 innings in CF, 206 in RF.
    Heyward: 5309 innings in RF, 182 in CF.
    BJ Upton: 515 innings at 3B, 416 at 2B.

  7. BJ Upton doesn’t suck because of his attitude or mindset. He sucks because he can’t get his hands through the zone in time to hit a moderately decent fastball. It’s not a moral failing. It’s a failure of physical skills and physical mechanics.

  8. Rough night at the plate for Freddie and Justin. 10 plate appearances: 0-9 with a walk. We had about 5 games this month where those two and Heyward were all in gear at the same time. It was really nice. Can’t we just have the rest of the team slump while those three are playing up to their fullest potential?

    Like line up your terrible nights for 40 games so that you’re all terrible together, and then just crush it for the 110 or so when all three are in the line-up. It only takes a bit of coordination.

  9. @12 – I think Rob was being sarcastic.

    But to your point its appalling how late BJ’s bat is through the zone on just about every fastball. I’ve watched him swing and miss on fastballs thigh high right down the middle. And you are right. He is totally helpless against anything on the low inside corner.

    I think y’all have to cut BJ some slack on his propensity to argue balls and strikes. The dude has lost his super powers. Frustration is normal.

    Where I’m frustrated is that Fredi continues to play him. I am pretty sure that anyone would say that 123 games and 513 PAs is enough of a sample size to show he just can’t hit anymore. Throw in the mental mistakes in the field and you have a guy that is a huge drag on the team’s ability to win. Sure Bonafacio is probably a lesser defender but at least he could provide minimum positive value out there. Fredi benched him last year. He should do it this year too.

  10. My personal frustration is watching B.J. swing at two pitches which bounce in the dirt and then watch a grooved down the middle strike three… and then complain to the umpire about that called third strike. I think if he would watch those bounced pitches instead of swinging at them then I could stomach the complaining about the good pitch a little more. But when he swings at crap and watches good pitches it says to me B.J. has no pitch recognition. Even if he somehow *is* recognizing a good pitch which he cannot hit and therefore isn’t swinging, it shouldn’t give him the right to complain about the call given that he swung at crap pitches before that called strike.

  11. The only reason people have a problem with BJ Upton’s personality or his actions at the plate is because he’s a bad player. If he were hitting and behaving exactly the same, you’d look past it. This is nothing but projection of fan frustration onto the player. It’s pointless, childish emotivism.

  12. I’m more pissed at Fredi for keeping him at leadoff or in the 2 hole for most of the season. 459 Ab’s and a .605OPS. By comparison Justin has 460 AB’s

  13. If he was having a good year, he probably wouldn’t be behaving like that. Chicken-egg kind of thing. But I think you are being unfair saying no one would be on BJ for the same behavior if he was having a good year. That’s probably true of a lot of fans but I think a lot of people would find his behaviour troubling even if he was hitting. To call it “childish emotivism” whatever the hell that means about people that you dialogue with on a daily basis is, I think, sort of childish itself.

  14. Isn’t that what being a fan is all about ;-)

    I acknowledge your point, but with the notable caveat that roster construction issues of the magnitude of BJ Upton don’t get solved by clapping louder.

  15. I know there’s a contingent of folks here who want to fire everyone and, I don’t know, maybe ask a select group of Fangraphs commenters what to do next, but that Talking Chop link is just a recycling of a Bob Nightengale “rumor” which was itself utterly unsourced. Bob Nightengale, somewhat infamously, once reported that the Cubs were going to retain the services of Jim Hendry two days after the Cubs had met with Hendry himself and told him they were letting him go. Caveat emptor.

  16. @25

    I read the interview and that is the boldest statement I have heard come out of the front office since Ted Turner was here.

    Heads may roll. Look at our schedule from this point on, it is a cake walk. If we miss the playoffs, I expect we will see big changes.

  17. I think his brother actually reacts pretty well for the circumstances. The other week JUpton popped a ball up in the infield and yelled a pretty loud obscenity for all the children to hear. I’m not a big fan of that, but he’s “showing emotion”. When he hits a home run, he’s got a little swagger (and really, the same swagger that makes people infuriated with Big Papi). And when he takes a pitch down the pipe, he walks back to the dugout.

    I would still be infuriated with BJ if he was having a good year based on some of the examples people have used, specifically the awful plate discipline and then arguing with the umpire. No one likes to cheer for that, regardless of the performance. And while Johnny thought I was being sarcastic, I actually wasn’t. I think BJ’s problems are 100% psychological based on an inability to think rationally under pressure. His mindset and attitude are completely off, just like our minds affect how we perform in our job. Simple as that.

  18. Well Rob, buy him some healing aura crystals, send him one of those magnet bracelets that gets your vapors into proper alignment, and maybe send him a box of chicken (bones in.) I’m sure that will help.

  19. I wouldn’t be infuriated if he were having a good year. Truth be told, I feel bad for the guy. But he is no longer a good major league baseball player, and while I once believed that he was simply off and could be fixed, I no longer believe that. The best we can hope for is to salvage a platoon with him. The money’s gone.

  20. @31 – Totally agree. I really feel bad for BJ Upton. As an old guy I can relate just a little. I can’t do some of the things I used to be able to do 5 years ago.

    It must be even tougher when you suddenly lose an elite athletic gift.

    It’s unconscionable that Fredi continues to start him. The team is in contention, he must start his best 8. I seriously doubt that the FO is ordering him to start BJ. And I don’t buy the theories that BJ starts to make Justin happy either.

  21. If you don’t think frustration and defeatism can negatively impact physical performance, please explain to me the erectile dysfunction industry. I would be surprised if BJ’s problems are solely the result of physical decline — I believe there’s a negative feedback loop occurring, in which neither his performance nor his attitude can be labeled one as purely cause and the other purely effect. I believe this. I don’t know if it’s true.

  22. I know I have lost a step as I’m aging out. There are days where puppies just have to go unkicked.

  23. And god, the number of kittens that get by these days. Puppies will at least run up to you with their doggie “I love people” faces. You have to chase kittens. I just don’t have the energy to chase kittens any more.

  24. So BJ barking at umpires over fastballs down the middle being called strikes…that’s a recent phenomenon? He wasn’t doing that in his golden days in Tampa?

  25. So BJ barking at umpires over fastballs down the middle being called strikes…that’s a recent phenomenon? He wasn’t doing that in his golden days in Tampa?

    Alas, we can never know. No one ever actually watched him play in Tampa.

  26. BJ and Schroedinger’s At Bat?

    Since no one was observing him in Tampa, was he simultaneously arguing balls and strikes and not arguing balls and strikes? And did he simultaneously rake and suck?

    And when he signed with Atlanta and was obseved playing ball, the waveform collapsed into a state of sucking/arguing? And what could we do to reintroduce some quantum uncertainty into his game?

  27. I’m pretty sure that @43 is the first time in the history of the internet that someone has indicated that Atlanta sports fans were paying too much attention to something.

  28. Well, you know it only takes one to collapse the waveform. I blame Joe Simpson, who probably woke up one afternoon after another tedious Chip Caray impression of his Dad, saw BJ at the plate and said he needed to hit to right more often and …BAM! Instant suckiness.

    The same thing probably happened to Dan Uggla, who collapsed so far that he became a singularity of suckage.

  29. By the way, I saw this over the weekend: http://bigstarthird.com

    Chris Stamey from the dB’s got together a bunch of people to play Big Star’s #1 Record and Third/Sister Lovers with strings and horns. It was a pretty overstuffed stage, with people constantly coming and going, but Big Star’s Jody Stephens played drums and Let’s Active’s Mitch Easter played guitar pretty much the whole time. For most but not all of the songs, Mike Mills and Chris Stamey either played bass or guitar or sang. Then there were a bunch of other younger people who probably were born after the record come out.

    It was a nice concert, in this recent vein of playing classic albums on stage. And one of the better tribute bands I’ll probably see. It was very respectful — probably too respectful — but it helped me appreciate Big Star more, a band I’ve never totally gotten into (partly because of the thin production on the albums).

  30. More physics on Braves Journal. I think I now know BJ’s problem. He has so precisely measured the velocity of incoming pitches that, by the uncertainty principle, he has no idea where they are.

  31. I feel like “singularity of suck” needs its own wing in the glossary. Well done @43. Maybe BJ is more of a neutron star of suck. Close, but not quite at Uggla levels just yet. There’s still time though.

  32. I feel it is my duty to advise you youngins that the moniker “The Vortex of Suck” (aka TVoS) will forever belong to Vinny Castilla. So sayeth alt.sport.baseball.atlanta-braves circa 1999. So say we all.

  33. I’m sure BJ and Edwin Jackson have both cleared waivers, so what’s the downside to revisiting that trade at this point? I’ve got far more faith in Roger working with Edwin.

  34. TVoS / chest-high throws – probably the best Braves net nickname of all time. And to think it all happened before any of us even knew what a meme was.

  35. @52 – The Cubs will want something else and nothing in our farm will do it. I’d like to think that Minor is off the table since we are (cough cough) still in contention. No way the Cubs or anyone else for that matter simply acquires BJ straight up for anything.

  36. ‘[Minor] credited fellow Braves starter Ervin Santana with helping him change the grip on his sinker and slider, adjustments that Minor said gave his pitches more depth. ‘

    I wonder if Ervin has some hitting tips for the collapsed waveform, singularity, black hole of suck. Who knew that Santana was the Latin Maddux.

  37. I just want to point out that I was not trying to start a B.J. Upton flame war. Of course I want him to succeed. I’ve just reached my limit on watching him take strike three and act like a war crime was committed.

    Actually, I’ve pretty much reached my limit on watching him play baseball. Let’s talk about Big Star some more.

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