Mets 7

You might be tempted to blame last night’s game on Phil Gosselin, whose butcher job on a potential double-play ball opened the floodgates for the Mets’ four-run fifth inning, knocking the wind out of Trevor Cahill’s sails and transforming him from a guy who was cruising into the bag of slop that got the snot kicked out of him last week.

But you shouldn’t. You should blame the stinking offense, which managed four whole hits against Jon Niese, and which — despite four walks and an error by the Other Eric Campbell — couldn’t push anything across the plate other than a Cameron Maybin solo homer. If Trevor Cahill had continued pitching the way he had been before the error, we would have lost 2-1.

Tonight, we’ll face Dillon Gee, who would probably win the Cy Young Award if he faced the Braves 30 times a year, so it’s just as well that we’re throwing Eric Stults to the slaughter.

88 thoughts on “Mets 7”

  1. Seriously, what was different about Cahill’s 5th inning than the first 4? When you only strike out one guy, you’re going to have innings like that, especially when the defense lets you down.

    The ball’s either going to go at somebody or it’s not. In the 5th, it didn’t, and when it did we didn’t make all the plays.

  2. His arm angle lowered in the 5th and his pitches flattened out. Maybe he was tired, maybe he was flustered and lost his concentration. But he stopped repeating the same delivery he’d had for the first 4 innings, and went back to being the guy in his first start, with the same results.

  3. His location was much worse in the 5th and a few balls were hit more sharply. He walked the leadoff man (his only BB) and fell behind 3-0 to Niese before the Gosselin error.

    You are correct that when you don’t strike out anyone, eventually, a few bleeders will string together. But the 5th inning wasn’t just bad luck for Cahill. It was bad pitching with some bad luck sprinkled in to make matters worse.

  4. Do you love Fredi? did you ever?

    what about Cox? was love ever a component in your feelings towards him?

    No?

    and here’s another thing…winning

    how important is that for you? we all like it, obviously, but at what cost?
    any cost? substance over style? turgid, defensive attempts at risk free competition? what about the manager who eschews caution, the incurable romantic?

    when he loses, are you mad at him? for how long?

    and money, even? your manager says, you know, fuckit, we’re all in agreement to build our grand new Stadium with NO public money…we’ll get a mortgage, the whole amount…it will hurt cash flow the first few years, we won’t win anything, but then it will kick in as a huge asset and one we paid for ourselves, unlike our cheesy competitors…

    would that please you? inspire love, even? like an AS double play but more lasting…

    I’ve gotten to the point, yes! There is such a manager, across the water, and he does inspire sentient feelings in many of his fans…just how many tends to depend of course on how the W/L quotient is going at any particular moment…but there is a hard core who never waver…they may curse the loss, but they love the manager. The beautiful game, any game,how it’s played must always be paramount.

    and here it is, a paean, at some length, written by three guys out of Brooklyn..who knew!

    http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/apr/21/arsene-wenger-arsenal-the-martyr-of-islington

    love from blazon :)

  5. I don’t think any manager would do much with the current roster. I feel sorry for Fredi in that respect.

  6. Yeah, I loved Bobby Cox. I’ve defended Fredi a decent amount, and I stand by what I’ve said before: I think he’s probably above-average overall, but he has some serious weaknesses, and after the two miserable catastrophes in 2011 and 2014, the captain should have gone down with the ship.

  7. The ends of the 2012 and 2013 seasons weren’t great either, although they were less catastrophes than curious misfortunes.

    Edit: And yeah, I love Bobby Cox. Favorite Brave of all time.

  8. Bobby Cox is up there at the top as an all time Brave. Yeah, I loved Bobby Cox. I don’t love Fredi but I think he does his primary job, keeping a harmonious club house, well. I simply cannot understand those that continuously bash him for lost games, blown leads and such. But then I come from the school of thought that the manager has very little to do with wins and losses.

  9. @8

    I don’t know how one can blame the 2012 season on Fredi, though. The team played very well down the stretch and lost a single game in large part because of a bogus umpire’s call. Even if you blame the rest of the performance and not the call, it’s one game and there weren’t really any questionable managerial decisions that I can remember.

    There were decisions in 2013 that he could’ve made differently, so if you wanna lay that one at his feet, I guess I won’t stop you, but I don’t see any way that Fredi has extra culpability for 2012.

  10. Fredi is terrible. I look forward to the Bo Porter, or whomever they hire after this year.

  11. Most of the complaints against Fredi seem to involve in-game player substitutions, because those are the easiest decisions to see. Many of those complaints are valid, but they often fail to take into consideration 1) prior workload, 2) incomplete information regarding availability, 3) how a particular choice forecloses on later in-game options, and 3) the fact that Cox, as well as any manager one chose to pay attention to for any length of time, would come in for the exact same criticism.

    So I ignore all that — but, as Alex said, the proof is in the pudding. And the team has grossly underperformed at moments when merely performing at a level already established would have meant flying another pennant or two.

  12. @12, I criticized Cox heaviliy for his in-game decisions. Just like Fredi, he didn’t know that a LH pitcher with a reverse split isn’t a LOOGY. I remember watching him run Remlinger mid inning cuz lefty. He never learned.

    I didn’t know as much about baseball for much of Cox tenure, though, so it seems to me that Fredi makes worse decisions. The decision to leave a pitcher in for the top half of a frame just to bunt when you’re going to pull the pitcher in the bottom half is so unconscionably stupid that I’ve never found the words to articulate it. Then again, is anything as stupid as Cox’s use of Charlie Liebrandt in the World Series?

    Anyhow, let’s say they’re equally dumb with in-game stuff for the sake of arguments. Cox was one of the all-time greats as a players’ manager, and the feeling was that he was so good at that, that it outweighed his shoddy strategery. Fredi, on the other hand, is probably below average in that area.

    So what makes him a good manager or even an average manager?

  13. @10

    It makes sense to look at 2012 in the context of the other three years. The team played terribly, played as if they were prepared terribly. Because it’s one game, that’s not a certain damnation on its own, but its of a piece.

  14. I honestly don’t know if he’s good or not, just that firing him would he been reasonable.

  15. I’m not sure Fredi is a good overall manager, not just in game stuff.

    In reality, a manager’s in-game strategy may win/lose 5-10 games a year. Their biggest job is to manage the everyday operations of the team (set the lineup, control the clubhouse, have they guys ready to play/keep them cool and focused)

    So here is my report card on Fredi, based on those scenarios.

    In Game: D+ He leaves pitchers in the game too long. Mostly because he doesn’t have the bullpen ready. Leaving Kimbrel in the pen in the playoffs a few years ago was totally stupid. Leaving Wood in the game the other day in Toronto cost us the game.

    Set the Line Up: B- He had enough sense to put Heyward at the top. He has done a pretty good job this year with what he has. But he also sent BJ and Uggla out there every day. That may have been a front office order though.

    Control the Clubhouse: A You never hear of any clubhouse issues with the Braves.

    Have they guys ready to play/keep them cool and focused: F We have witnessed the club fall apart down the stretch every year he has been here. He panics and the club reflects it. He manages that way in tight spots. Of all the collapses over the past few years, he is the constant. Bobby never panicked. I’m not saying Fredi has to be Bobby or that Bobby was perfect.

    Overall: C-

    The Braves can do way better than Fredi. He is totally replaceable. This organization needs an on field leader who can develop this young talent. Where has Fredi developed talent? Heyward never came close to his potential and actually was worse under Fredi. Upton and Uggla were terrible. Simmons hasn’t really developed with the bat. The only true argument he has is Freeman.

    Players would come to Atlanta to play for Bobby. They would run through walls for him. I have never heard a player say, “Fredi Gonzalez is like my second dad.” He is not getting the most out of his players.

    This guy may be the second worst manager in the division. Collins is an above average manager and get the most out of his guys. Same with Redmod. Matt Williams isn’t that great, but he got that team over the hump last year. Ryan Sandberg is worse than Fredi.

    We should have canned him two years ago, but that’s not the Braves way. He was all but gone last year, but Wren was thrown under the bus for him. I think it is a telling sign they didn’t extend his contract. He will be gone by seasons end.

  16. Bill Simmons had a joke in his NFL columns based on sabermetrics, and the concept of WAR. He called it WARM, or Wins Above Raheem Morris, with Raheem being the hapless Tampa HC who ‘presided’ over the Josh Freeman discovery and subsequent train wreck.

    I think it’s a shame Fredi doesn’t have the initials to do it, because, much like Smitty, I think he is the Ultimate Replacement Level manager.

  17. @17 – Heyward never became a super star because of Fredi? Wow. Blaming Fredi for Uggla and Upton? Unreasonable. So managers in MLB develop talent? Like college football coaches do? I beg to differ.

    But we do have a fundamental difference of opinion on how much actual influence a manager has on the performance of the team. Bobby pretty much summed it up when he was asked about his success with the Braves: paraphrasing ‘Well, we’ve had some pretty good players come through here.’

  18. @17

    I can’t imagine how Fredi bears responsibility for so many things in your summary. Fredi has nothing to do with Heyward, Uggla, and Upton.

    Bobby looks like a genius in-game manager when he’s got Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz providing 7 consistent innings in 3/5 of the games he managed in the ’90s. Bobby also won 1 WS in 5 tries, so I can’t imagine how he doesn’t suffer a little bit on the in-game side with those numbers.

  19. Fredi’s overuse of the pen is my biggest complaint. If the same 3 guys pitch the 7th, 8th, 9th of every close game, then by the end of the season they will be run into the ground. Early winning streaks where the same dudes close out every game will set us up for late-season fail.

    And yeah the letting the pitcher hit only to pull him when we take the field…he does that all the damn time and it should be a fire-able offense.

  20. ‘And yeah the letting the pitcher hit only to pull him when we take the field…he does that all the damn time and it should be a fire-able offense.’

    I’ve always seen this as he is trying to get one more inning out of a guy, ironically, so that he doesn’t overuse his pen. So you hate that he over uses the pen, but you don’t want him to leave a pitcher in the game? Hmmmmm.

    edit: Your point is that the pitcher does not start the inning. ok. I get that. But I can defend that by saying that he doesn’t want to burn a bench player for a meaningless PA.

    Here is the thing that everyone forgets. Fredi goes to the pitcher and says ‘Can you go longer.’ Because of the culture of baseball, the pitcher invariably says ‘Sure skip, I can get this guy or go one more inning.’ Then he can’t. This just isn’t Fredi, its every manager in baseball. They have to trust their professionals until they can’t.

  21. Sure a manager has some responsibility when it comes to developing talent. Anyone in a leadership role in any profession does. This guys is not getting the most out of his players.

    Bobby wasn’t the greatest in game manager either, but he wasn’t terrible. In comparison to Fredi, he looks like Sparky Anderson and John McGraw combined.

    I don’t understand how people keep giving this guy a pass. He has had some very talented teams and done nothing with them. He is terrible.

  22. @25

    My problem with him and pitching changes is this. A guy is in the sixth or seventh. He is getting full counts and gives up a couple of hard hits. No one is up in the pen. By the time 3-4 runs come home, he waddles out there to make a change.

  23. Look, if they had fired him at the end of last year, I wouldn’t have really had a problem with it. The team had utterly collapsed when it was in prime playoff position in two of his four years, and the signature moment of one of the two years when they did make the playoffs is a bad decision that he made in the season-ending loss (and to make it all the more infuriating, he still doesn’t understand that it was a bad decision). That’s enough reason to go another direction if you really want to, especially given that the role of a baseball manager is somewhat ethereal, anyway. Who knows how much of it was his fault, but he was the captain of the ship (to borrow an analogy from above) and so forth.

    That’s fine, but when we get into “this is Fredi’s fault, and that is Fredi’s fault” that’s where you lose me. It’s not a Major League manager’s job to develop talent, you have no idea what’s going on in the clubhouse or what’s going with pitcher availability and so on, and the constant damnation of in-game calls makes my eyes roll into the back of my head. Only the calls that don’t work out or are “stupid” and worked anyway come in for any kind of analysis (this goes for any manager BTW), nobody mentions any calls he’s made that have worked out or that are good calls but don’t work out. It’s pointless. Name a manager that you think is the best in the game and I guarantee you that if you watched them for 162 games, you’d start thinking they’re an idiot.

  24. I lose my mind when Fredi leaves a pitcher in to bunt and then sends out a reliever. But I’ll concede this trait is probably common among all the lower 1/3 of managers.

    But the team had an HISTORIC collapse is 2011. Historic. The collapse in 2014 wasn’t historic, only because IT HAD JUST HAPPENED TO THE SAME TEAM THREE YEARS BEFORE.

    Giving him credit for his work in the clubhouse is just ludicrous. Even tempered, well managed clubhouses don’t collapse, and if they do, they don’t make it a HABIT, for chistsakes.

    If the Braves had fired him in the offseason, he’d be coaching third base for somebody. No one would be lining up to interview Fredi Gonzalez.

    He’s here in the first place because Bobby liked him. He’s STILL here because we don’t expect to win, and a cheapskate decision was made to not pay him AND his replacement at the same time.

  25. My issue with Fredi is that he was evidently expected to be Bobby Cox 2.0, but Bobby Cox was a singular talent. Bobby’s greatest skill as a manager was being able to walk the tightrope between being a hardass and a player’s manager every season without going too far to one side or the other, not letting losing streaks get into the team’s head, not allowing distractions. Very few managers display that ability; eventually they lose the clubhouse and have to be replaced. This is just based on outside observation, of course, but it has never seemed like the front office has adapted to the fact that they don’t have a Hall of Fame manager at the helm anymore.

    When things are going well, Fredi is fine. There are never any clubhouse conflicts and the players seem to like him. But when things start to go sour (as they inevitably will, every season, for even the best teams), he doesn’t seem to have any idea how to deal with it except to cross his fingers and hope things fix themselves. It seems like the Braves under his tenure have alternated periods of hot play with weeks of listless losing, and that latter quality has lost them the playoffs twice and nearly did so once more. It seems like someone should be held accountable for that, and it seems disingenuous to blame it all on Wren.

    As for tactics, I don’t think Fredi is appreciably worse than most of his peers. Probably 25 of the 30 major league managers at any given time are tactically inept, and the odds of getting a better one once Fredi is gone aren’t too good. I mean, are we really supposed to get excited about Bo Porter? If he was a genius, the Astros wouldn’t have fired him.

  26. Why wouldn’t the manager of a baseball team have some responsibility when it comes to talent development?

    Like I said above, his in game decisions win/lose 5-10 games a year.

  27. Smitty, I respectfully disagree with you on the degree a manager has when it comes to developing an MLB player. The best that a manager can do by the time a player reaches the show is to put the player in the best position to succeed. Platooning, getting some bench time against a particular pitcher, skipping a turn for a pitcher who can’t seem to be effective against a certain team etc. etc.

    ‘No one is up in the pen. By the time 3-4 runs come home, he waddles out there to make a change.’

    A manager’s main job is to be a psychologist. No one is up in the pen because of the trust factor. Remember Fredi was told ‘Skip I can go one more inning.’ Gonzalez has to trust that kid. If he was told that he could go one more inning then Fredi has to believe it. Plus, remember that relief pitchers are blown up as much by constantly warming up than by the actual pitching that they do.

  28. @29 – ‘I lose my mind when Fredi leaves a pitcher in to bunt and then sends out a reliever.’
    You’d probably also lose your mind if we went to extra innings and the only pinch hitter available was a pitcher, right?

  29. See, there’s two different ideas upthread that 1) he leaves pitchers in the game too long, and 2) he overuses the bullpen. Since both things can’t be true without some serious back-bending, let’s just go to the tape:

    Starter Innings/Total Innings

    2011 NL .6689 ATL .6471
    2012 NL .6621 ATL .6637
    2013 NL .6569 ATL .6821
    2014 NL .6689 ATL .6974

    Holy crap, both things ARE true! Just kidding — the relative usage rate of SPs has steadily increased relative to league. He used to have a quick hook, now not so much.

    Braves pitching league rank, R/G:

    2011 4th
    2012 3rd
    2013 1st
    2014 2nd

    Somebody’s doing something right. We must have had staffs chock full of HOFers to so convincingly overwhelm the manager’s lack of acumen.

  30. @31, that’s a big assertion with no proof. Most of what I’ve read on the topic during my various bouts of Fredi frustration estimates the manager moves the needle +/- 2 to 3 games/year, max.

    That’s still a huge number for a team that lives on the margins like the Braves do (two extra wins would have come in handy during that 2011 collapse…) but it seems implausible that hiring the right guy to come in and write down the lineup and change pitchers at reasonable intervals would have a similar impact on your season as Mike Trout. I’m guessing, based on intuition and what I’ve read on the topic, that it’s more like the impact of an okay player.

    The case for firing Fredi is and has been that if we’re to think of the manager as a team’s spiritual guide, two collapses in four years is a bad reflection on his ability to inspire an atmosphere of harmony. If we’re to analyze his tactics, Kimbrel standing in the pen in Game 4 is a microcosm of everything we’ve watched in four-plus years.

    And if it’s neither of those things, the position ought to be put up for charity auctions so that fans can win the experience for a day, because it doesn’t matter what they do.

  31. @33 – Yes, of course, because I’m an unreasonable person. I think you should use the pinch hitter in order to WIN the game, not tie it and send it to extras. If you only tie it and send it to extras, then I will ABSOLUTELY LOSE MY MIND!

  32. An addendum to @35 — this usage rate dovetails with something else I looked at either last year or during the 2013 season. I won’t replicate the research here, but what I found was that Fredi’s use of the sac bunt among non-pitchers fell dramatically from his first season. IIRC, he was above average in 2011, but by at least 2013 he was near the bottom of the league in terms of sac bunts called. This interests me in light of his increased reliance on his starters. To cast it in the pejorative terms so in favor here, Fredi seems to have gone from being an Overmanager to an Undermanager….

  33. 35 — Fredi got hammered for running O’Ventbrel in the ground in 2011. I think it’s fair to say that he has over adjusted and now is trying to get every last bit out of his starters and occasionally getting burned for it (i.e Wood being left in during the 8th at Toronto despite clearly being done).

  34. Johnny, you don’t follow:

    @25:
    “I’ve always seen this as he is trying to get one more inning out of a guy, ironically, so that he doesn’t overuse his pen. ”

    Allowing a pitcher to HIT for himself, then removing said pitcher before he takes the mound DOES NOT “get one more inning out of a guy”. It gets an at bat out of a guy who shouldn’t be allowed to hit unless you need him to pitch another inning.

    FOR EXAMPLE, let’s say Cahill had lasted through the 5th last night. Let’s say Fredi let him come to the plate in the top of the 6th to BUNT a runner over to second (and of course, he’d fail at this half the time bc pitchers aren’t good bunters, they just bunt because they can’t hit). Now, when the bottom of the 6th came around, Cahill would be lifted for a reliever. Do you understand now?

    @33:
    “You’d probably also lose your mind if we went to extra innings and the only pinch hitter available was a pitcher, right?”

    This is really dumb. You don’t save your pinch hitters IN CASE you’d need them in extras.

  35. @16, AAR, I realize Remlinger was a great Brave. He was a great setup man. He just had reverse splits. His best pitch was a change that bit back in to lefties, and they raked it.

  36. Fredi seems ok to me, relative to other choices, but I am of the opinion that a manager has little effect on W’s and L’s.

    Also, as far as I know, Fredi has never hit his wife or any other woman.

  37. I don’t want to minimize the impact of managerial tactics like the ones we’re discussing, of course. Whether they count for 5-10 games or 2-3 (I’ve also usually heard the latter, but then an actual idiot manager could lose every single game with tactics…just tell Phil Gosselin he’s the permanent pitcher and cleanup hitter), they definitely count. I’m reminded of when it was determined that lineup construction matters far less to expected run totals than was thought, that it was on the order of maybe 1-2 games per year. Which just made me think, damn, get it right then.

  38. I have no idea if managers matter or not. Most of them make decisions by-the-book and stay pretty true to playing the odds. There’s very few difficult decisions during a game. It’s mostly just common-sense.

    Letting the pitcher hit and then pulling him immediately violates common-sense. Sac-bunting early in the game with a non-pitcher violates common-sense. Fredi isn’t the only one that does this stuff, but that doesn’t mean I have to like him.

    If the manager doesn’t matter at all then why bother paying up for one? Just let Braves Journal manage from the game-thread.

  39. We need a figure head that the players respect. Then we could feed the decisions to him from a Braves Journal panel.

  40. History has shown that panels of experts make the best decisions in all things. Just look at Soviet Russia.

  41. The Hawks just got sold to a billionaire of some sort. Early word appears to be that he wants to keep Koonin and Budenholzer around, which, duh. And no indication he wants to move the team to Seattle or anything – yet. So far, so good, although we have a lot to learn about this dude still.

    If this guy works out doing the “human being owning a sports team” thing, maybe we can interest him in a baseball team?

  42. @41, I wasn’t really criticizing you, just taking the chance to link to an old post of Mac’s that I loved.

    However, apart from some hit-unluckiness in 2001, when lefties tuned him up to a .913 OPS in 95 PA, he barely had a platoon split during his time in Atlanta from 1999-2002. (For his career, his platoon split is almost a rounding error; .715 OPS against righties, .730 OPS against lefties, with barely any difference in OBP or SLG. When he was in Atlanta, both numbers were about a hundred points lower.)

    He was just about equally devastating against lefties and righties. It’s certainly reasonable to criticize Bobby for not bringing him in to face righties, but hard to complain about using him to carve up lefties. He was just about the best option in the pen.

  43. the thing I dont understand with freddie is this .. he has all these RH and LH platoons to start game .. then in late innings in crucial situations he lets a RH hitter hit against a RH pitcher when he has a LH pinch hitter he could plug in .. if he thinks its very important for 7 innings of games to get as many at bats for a RH hitter against LH pitcher then why not late in games too ???

  44. @48, hearing that the “Spanks” gal is involved in the purchasing group. Grant Hill too. Looks like another ownership-by-committee thing.

  45. Dreary, drizzly & blustery night here, probably perfect for 2 bottom-of-the-barrel rotation guys, but… off to Citi Field. Hope we get some hits tonight. Go Braves.

  46. The Braves seriously underperformed last year and it’s common to hold managers accountable when that happens. Given the blow up of the team this year, a new manager would be in a very difficult position to start. I think it was reasonable to give Fredi another year under the circumstances, but if the wheels fall off at the end of the year it will be a very common occurrence for Frecoached teams. I don’t care how much we exceed expectations, a bad end to the season should be grounds for dismissal.

  47. Inauspicious start.

    Edit: Okay, I’ll admit it. Stults completely shocked me there. Wasn’t expecting him to wiggle out of that unscathed.

  48. This vacillation between auspicious and inauspicious leaves me suspicious. Whole things just spicious.

  49. The Braves defense this series has been bad enough I feel like it needed to come with a NSFW warning.

  50. So it kinda seems like Maybin should be starting every game. Is EYJ Fredi’s new Constanza or is Maybin out of commission?

  51. Maybin, who bats RH, has had quite a few strikeouts lately. Fredi probably wanted to put a LHH in there and give Maybin a rest.

  52. ubbuba – as the resident hockey guy, are you able to check out any of the nhl playoffs from Winnipeg (ex-thrashers)? it is just maniac here this whole week, a shame that it probably ends tonight or Friday.

  53. #72
    Yup, seen every game. That place was nuts, but you’ve blown 3 3rd period leads. Tough series so far.

    I’m no Islander fan, but these last games at Nassau Coliseum have been crazyhouses as well.

    But, at this point… anybody but the Rangers.

  54. yup, giving up late leads sucks!

    still, braves and the jets are kind of eerily similar, young teams with a couple of old guys who may or may not fit, but seem to be moving in the right direction.

    I will probably adopt the Isles, but hopefully not for a few nights yet.

  55. The sight of Jim Johnson provides a peculiar kind of indigestion I haven’t felt since the salad days of Kolb.

  56. Is there a reason we couldn’t have just brought Cody Martin back in to pitch the 8th? I know he gave up the lead in the 7th, but he is supposed to be sort of a long man, and why not, at least, get one more inning out of him to see how he handles it all?

  57. Had false hopes the first 7 games .. reality has set in .. JJ is not the the guy who pitched the first couple games .. we see what happens when guys dont chase the sinker … he gets ball up and then gets hit … oh well maybe we can save some money to get some relief guys next year .. adios

  58. @84—The “order” of the bullpen right now with a lead is Martin in the 7th, Johnson in the 8th, and Grilli in the 9th. You can’t go messing around with the “order.” That’s why Martin can’t pitch the 8th, too.

    Recapped.

  59. @84, @87, last time I questioned not using Cody longer, Sam H. flew into a psychotic rage

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