Rockies 3, Braves 2

I was in Cuba last week with the expectation that I’d have internet and be able to participate in our little community. Instead, we had internet for about 5 minutes in our Airbnb and spent the week hunting for it about town. Worth it.

I learned a lot about what it takes to get to the United States from Cuba. It’s a more open discussion than you might expect, especially for an extrovert with interest in geopolitics like me. I thought about all of the Cuban baseball players to play in MLB: Yunel Escobar, Jorge Soler, Aroldis Chapman, Yasiel Puig, and Yuli Gurriel. If you thought that was an interesting list chosen, it was for a purpose. Except for Soler, all of those guys, to some extent, have been involved in some varying degree of controversy while players. Mac had made a good point in discussion Escobar some years back that appropriateness is probably something really hard for Cuban players to develop coming from Cuba to the US, and after seeing the culture for a week and how foreign it really is, it created a compassion for these Cuban players that I don’t think I had fully developed before. And they do love our game down there, which is great to see.

Anyway, a third straight loss for the boys. This time, they were 2-13 with runners in scoring position, and Gold Glover winner Max Fried made a key error to allow the go ahead run to score in the 5th. Max was 4th in the NL in ERA coming in to last night’s game, so I’m simply not going to get worked up about anything that happened yesterday or over the last 3 games. The bullpen, to its credit, pitched 4 shutout innings.

But some guys are ice cold right now. Vaughn Grissom is 2-21 in the last week, his first real slump since getting here. After many declared him “fixed” by Seitzer, Robbie Grossman is 5-21 with no extra base hits. Dansby Swanson has struck out in 33% of his ABs. A team that lives on the long ball has hit 4 home runs in 5 games. We’ll have a few 3-game skids when that happens.

Oh well. Mike Soroka will probably come back soon. Ozzie Albies indeed will be back. Marcell Ozuna is firmly at the back of the bench, and rosters will expand soon, which hurts our roster less. Roster reinforcements are on the way.

One arrived yesterday. Jesse Chavez gave up 26 ER in 33.1 IP in the last 2 years for the Rangers, Cubs, and Angels. After each stint, Atlanta has picked him up, and he’s given up 17 ER in 72 IP while also being reliable and rubber-armed in the process. This game will show you something new all the time.

I’ll end this with one highlight from yesterday:

That was an amazing relay throw by Dansby. I’ve always thought the hook slide is so interesting. Half of his body is already past the plate, but the catcher can still get the tag in before he scores. Most odd.

22 thoughts on “Rockies 3, Braves 2”

  1. On the radio, Joe was specifically calling out Hampson’s poor choice in the hook slide, saying that with a normal slide he probably would have made it — after all, his body clearly made it the distance of the plate before the ball, and by sliding past the bag he gave d’Arnaud the necessary extra time to apply the tag.

    Then, the next inning, Hampson failed to haul in Riley’s fly ball. Joe thought he could have been running a little harder to haul it in, although right fielder Randal Grichuk was really loafing. Riley wound up with a double; as Jeff Francoeur said, “That ball’s gotta be caught by someone.”

  2. When Jesse Chavez makes his next appearance with the Braves he will become one of only 6 players to have 4 or more different stints (with at least one appearance) with one team. How many can you name?

    Super extra credit if you can name the only player who ever had five separate stints with one team.

  3. If you liked that relay, look on YouTube for some of the Heyward-to-Simmons-to home putouts from 2012-2014. I seem to remember Simmons going into short right field (in the pre-shift era, so he had started in his normal position) to take throws from the RF. Makes sense given how good his arm was, but I don’t think that’s common practice with other SSs.

    @2, Rickey Henderson had four with Oakland, but that’s probably the easiest one. I think Edwin Jackson has the record for most different teams played for, and he bounced around enough that he might have hit some team four times. Chavez seems like the anti-Kenny Lofton – not all that good but the team likes him, while Lofton was very good but no team (except maybe Cleveland?) that had him ever wanted him back.

  4. My first thought was Billy Martin, but obviously he doesn’t count. Interested to hear the answers. Great trivia question, JonathanF.

  5. Rickey is indeed the easiest, as he’s the only one in the HOF.

    Some hints: there is another former Brave, although his four stints came with the Padres.

    I just checked one of the others and I realized I’d made a mistake in interpretation. There are actually only 5 players. Luis Polonia was listed as the 6th, but he really isn’t. He had a (credited) one game stint with the Braves in 1995, but what really happened is that he played in a suspended game which gets backdated to when he was still a Yankee. So he was only really with the Yankees three times.

    The other stints were with the Washington Senators and the Toronto Blue Jays.

  6. The Brave/Padre has gotta be Rudy Seanez. Always liked him as a Brave middle-inning guy. Before he got hurt, he was really effective on the ’98 team.

    Pretty sure Billy Martin had 5 stints with the Pinstripes. Completely ridiculous… but, his boss, of course, was exactly that.

  7. Rudy Seanez is indeed #2, playing with the Padres in 1993, 2001, 2005 and (sandwiched around a half season with Red Sox) 2006

    Rudy is the clear analogy with Chavez. The other two were a pitcher and an infielder, both multi-appearance All Stars

  8. OK, I just looked it up.

    Shoulda got the kinda-obvious, more-modern guy, but… Washington Senators trivia? Never easy.

    My answer is usually one of 3: Walter Johnson, Heinie Manush or Albie Pearson. It def ain’t any of those guys.

    The actual answer, though, is a pretty interesting fellow w/ a great nickname. He had 17 different MLB stops, including 4 w/ Washington, 2 w/ Brooklyn, 2 w/ the Pha A’s & 2 w/ the StL Browns. Had a career record of 211-222, which will probably never happen again.

  9. Just to note: that’s five stops in DC: 1935-37, 1942, 1943 (after stints with the Dodgers and Browns), 1946-47, and 1952. He had more stints in DC than Donald Rumsfeld.

  10. There are only two players with over 200 wins, over 200 losses and more losses than wins: this guy and Jack Powell, whose career ended in 1912. (Charlie Hough finished 216-216).

  11. Bobo Newsom?

    On Cubans, another one who, while he hasn’t ever been involved in controversy as far as I know, certainly seems to have an unusual personality is Guillermo Heredia.

    A similar sort of trivia question to JonathanF’s, though maybe harder to research, would be what player was traded for (or with) the most talent during his career. Framing the question might be difficult, because if you go by WAR, the person traded for a young Christy Mathewson or Dave May who was traded for an old Hank Aaron might be the one, and that’s not really what I mean. Maybe who was traded in trades involving the most players who were All-Stars at some point in their career. I thought of this when looking at the BRef page of Willie Montanez, who was included in trades involving Tim McCarver, Dick Allen, Cookie Rojas, Curt Flood (sort of – he replaced Flood in the trade involving the previous three), Garry Maddox, Darrell Evans, Bert Blyleven, Al Oliver, Jon Matlack, Ken Henderson (the last four were in a four-team trade that involved lots of other players), Mike Jorgensen, Gaylord Perry, and Tony Phillips. I doubt too many players can top that list. Or you could replace All-Stars with Hall of Famers.

  12. That’s both hilarious, and is the answer to the question: What was Richard Nixon doing when plotting to cover up the Watergate burglary had a down hour or two?

    Since it’s just ububba and I back-and-forthing, the other two are Bobo Newsom (Nixon’s favorite) and the late Tony Fernandez of the Jays, with stints in 1983-1990, 1993, 1998-9, and 2001.

    JamesD84: Unfortunately, I don’t have a trade database. I started to do a similar thing last year, looking at teams that lost the best years of their players (it was a Pirates vs Marlins study) but I never really finished it.

  13. I’ll tell you one thing about last night’s game. With the Mets losing, a loss to the Rockies significantly dims my hopes that we really can win the division. Especially with so many chances with runners at second and/or third. That was way too good an opportunity to gain ground to waste.

  14. What a great piece! I knew of Nixon as a rabid football fan, but I didn’t know that he was a passionate baseball fan, too.

    Still, some strange selections. (Red Rolfe? I had to look him up; he had four All-Star selections, but as far as I can figure his biggest accomplishment was playing on the 1936-1939 World Series-winners alongside a lot of better players: Dickey, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Joe Gordon, Lefty Gomez, and Red Ruffing.)

    And the Mace Brown/Roy Face slip-up was pretty hilarious. Who in the world was Mace Brown? I’m looking at his Wikipedia page as I type this and I couldn’t tell you. He’s an interwar-era Pirate who made the All-Star team in 1938 as a rubber-armed reliever, despite posting a 3.80 ERA on the year; in all, he twirled 1075 1/3 innings, mostly out of the bullpen, and is credited with having recorded 48 saves. He was a proto-relief specialist, which apparently appears to have made him somewhat significant in retrospect, but the back of his baseball card is astonishingly unmemorable.

  15. I’m just now catching up on this thread, but I would not have guessed the answers to JonathanF’s quiz in any event. But lots of memorable and not so memorable players discussed in this thread. The piece about Nixon is priceless. The all time teams he chose were not particularly inspired or inspiring, but I’ve got to disagree with Red Smith: he would have been a better sportswriter than President (but of course that’s a very low bar).

  16. In the middle of that particular weekend, it’s completely incomprehensible (yet comedy gold) to hear Ron Zeigler & H.R. Haldeman scrambling to compile a good group of pre-war middle-relievers for The President’s best-of list, while Nixon himself grumbles in the background, “Who’s Doc Crandall?”

    #17
    I can tell you from playing years of APBA (a table baseball game like Strat-O-Matic), Red Rolfe was an underrated player.

    As was the case with a lot of those dynastic Yankee teams (late ‘20s/late ‘30s/’50s, etc.), Rolfe was one of those top-of-the-order guys (like Earle Combs or Gene Woodling) who’d get on base at a good clip for the bigger boppers.

    In his prime, he was the #2 hitter on a team whose 3, 4 & 5 hitters were often DiMaggio, Gehrig & Dickey. He scored at least 100 runs each year between 1935 & 1941. In 1937, he scored 143.

  17. I’m sure he was good — everyone in that lineup was good! — but… I think Guillermo Heredia could’ve scored a hundred runs each year hitting in front of DiMaggio, Gehrig, and Rickey, you know?

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