111 thoughts on “Lowedown game thread: June 29, Nats at Braves”

    NATIONALS (33-44)
    CF Nyjer Morgan
    RF Roger Bernadina
    3B Ryan Zimmerman
    1B Adam Dunn
    LF Josh Willingham
    C Ivan Rodriguez
    2B Cristian Guzman
    SS Alberto Gonzalez
    P Craig Stammen

    BRAVES (45-32)
    2B Martin Prado
    RF Melky Cabrera
    3B Chipper Jones
    C Brian McCann
    1B Troy Glaus
    LF Eric Hinske
    SS Yunel Escobar
    CF Gregor Blanco
    P Derek Lowe

  2. @98 in last thread:

    2006-2009: McLouth >>> Blanco without a doubt

    2010 not so clear. Small sample for Blanco but so far he has about 200 OPS pts on McLouth (ops .577 and ops+ of 58).

    @1–Maybe coincidence, but interesting to see Desmond out of the Nats lineup after he was a butcher last night. He starts the DP in the 7th and that inning goes much differently.

  3. Braves have played the fewest home games, but are second (27) in home wins only to the Mets (28)

  4. @2

    The incredibly small sample is the point, though. McLouth has had a horrible year, and then got concussed to boot. But barring long-term effects of the concussion (which Ryan Church will tell you are not impossible to imagine) McLouth is a better player than Blanco.

  5. Is Nate McLouth vs. Gregor Blanco even a debate? What’s next: Kelly Johnson vs. Pete Orr?

  6. @10 – thanks for the correction. Kid can’t field or hit. The reincarnation of Andres Thomas?

    Dang, gonna have to choose a kid not to feed to get mlb.tv or the cable package. Last night’s ESPN2 game whetted my appetite for Braves baseball.

  7. Unless McLouth needs greenies to catch up to fastballs…

    Would it be wrong to speculate? It would be wrong to not!

    Do you have any reason whatsoever to believe that McLouth 1) uses uppers or 2) uses uppers more frequently than any other major leaguer of his era?

    McLouth has a couple of major concerns as far as I can tell. First, his game is not suited well to his home park. He’s a LH hitter with moderate power at best. Those players die in Turner Field. Secondly, he’s recovering from a concussion. The anecdotal experiences of Marcus Giles and Ryan Church are hardly conclusive, but they do suggest to me a reason for concern.

  8. @7–Not so fast. If Desmond starts the DP, the Braves might not have gotten anything in the 7th b/c Hinske’s SF would have been the third out and Chipper would have been stranded at third. Would the Braves have then scored in the 8th or 9th or would the game have gone extras with a chance for the Nats to score before the Braves? No way to know.

  9. Not so fast. If Desmond starts the DP…

    And if Rafeal Belliard turns the DP in Game 4 the Braves win the ’96 WS for back to back championships.

  10. @13–fair point about the greenies (though I’m not the one who raised the issue). McLouth has sucked this year but it isn’t fair for folks to take cheap drug shots at him without some sort of evidence.

    @15–Sure errors are part of the game, but sdp’s claim about Desmond’s error not mattering to the outcome of the game may not be correct. It’s not clear which team would have scored first if Desmond made the play.

  11. Would it be wrong to speculate? It would be wrong to not!

    Eh, I don’t buy ink by the barrel, so who cares what I choose to speculate on? I have a reasonable perspective on the degree of my cultural influence.

    I know that greenies were recently prevalent and quite plausibly performance-enhancing. And so, much like the steroid debate, I’m leery of dramatic drops in post-greenie era performance by players in their putative prime.

    (BTW< I think Chipper was roiding in '03 along with the rest of our mesomorph lineup.)

  12. The Phillies need infield depth. First Rollins, now Utley AND Polanco. Let’s hope they don’t get any until after July 7th.

  13. Mac, I was looking over the 44 Greatest Atlanta Braves list. Couple of quick questions for you. Has Chipper overtaken Niekro for the 3rd spot or does he have more to have to do? Is it possible to overtake Phil?

    Second now that McCann’s got four complete seasons and part of two others (first and current) where would you put him on the list?

    Anybody else that you would think you would need to add (I saw were you said you’d put Hudson in the high 30’s two years ago) or move up?

  14. Joe Johnson is this generation’s Jon Koncak.

    For once, the Spirit Group has a good reason to not spend money.

  15. So the Orlando Sentinel thinks the BullDawgs are a Pre-Season #64?



    Sic ’em!

  16. The official site has the probable pitchers for the next few days as:

    Stammen v. Lowe
    Martin v. Jurrjens in his return
    and Josh Johnson v. Kenshin.

    I thought Jurrjens was taking Kenshin’s spot or is it after this turn in the rotation. Or does the official site just have it wrong?

  17. I think of Joe Johnson more as John Drew — a talented player who puts up numbers, but who doesn’t quite measure up as a centerpiece.

  18. Odds are the official site just has the website wrong. Kawakami has been announced to the pen.

  19. The Koncak analogy has more to do with what Jon’s contract did to the Hawks.

    Like Joe, Koncak was a valuable player, but his outsized contract hamstrung the Hawks for nearly a decade.

    I’m not a Joe-hater. He’s just not good enough for a max contract that will keep the Hawks from bringing in the true star the team needs.

    Just say no.

    (Amazingly, I’m actually excited to see what Larry Drew can do for this club.)

    And for those of you who didn’t see John Drew play – he was amazing.

    If cocaine hadn’t been invented, he and Chuck Muncie (and Len Bias, of course) would be in their respective Halls of Fame.

  20. Apparently, Boz is touring with a group that includes Donald Fagin and Michael McDonald.

  21. 28—Johnson’s contract didn’t hamstring the Hawks at all, in my opinion. (A future max deal would hamstring the Hawks. I don’t think that’s happening, though.) Remember, when they pulled that sign-and-trade, it was at a time when no good free agents had any desire to come to Atlanta. I don’t think they could have done any more with that money.

    What hamstrung the Hawks was taking Marvin Williams instead of Chris Paul or Deron Williams. You add an elite PG to the Johnson-Smith-Horford nucleus…

  22. Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I’m at a loss as to what the alternative is, and thus why you remain “skeptical” of the established narrative. Please explain?

    The alternative narrative is that he (Wren) blew it.
    Maybe he just wanted to eat 10% of the contract, maybe 20%, etc. Maybe the info got leaked and the other GM’s knew his hand. Maybe he went to the reliever market too quickly and other GM’s knew he overextended (Budgetwise). Maybe, bla bla bla.

    No single negotiation happens in a vacuum. Every decision is influenced by another.

    The fact is he didn’t sell. He was 10 mil over the budget (Saito and Wagner), which left him exposed for a Soriano/Gonzalez arbitration. In turn, giving away KJ and Church.

    The other fact is that the team is winning. And this fact trumps all others.

  23. ‘Course, now that I think about it, if they’d drafted Paul or Williams, they likely wouldn’t have been in a position to draft Horford the following year. Still, I’d probably take my chances.

  24. Stu – my bad for not being clearer.

    I meant Joe’s upcoming contract would be this generation’s Koncak equivalent. Need to get out of my own head more.

    And, yes, the failure to take Chris Paul and the subsequent decision to take the Forehead at #6 (?) have probably guaranteed that this pretty good Hawks team will miss its’ chance at greatness.

    I’d trade the guy we took ahead of Chris Paul AND our TWO point guards for CP3 right now.

  25. The Forehead? Are you talking about Childress? He was in the NBA prior to the Paul draft, drafted the same year they also got Smith in the first round.

    As for the Dawgs barb, I, for one, am hoping that Alex is the first to respond.

  26. I think “The Forehead” refers to Shelden Williams, who we took instead of Brandon Roy the year after taking Marvin Williams.

    That was actually a worse pick than the Marvin one, as you could tell that would be an awful pick even at the time. The Marvin pick didn’t really address our needs at all, but there was at least a chance that Marvin Williams would have turned into a superstar.

  27. Oh, right. (IIRC, we picked him 5th.) Lord, I had already (mercifully) forgotten about him. What an obvious-from-the-outset disaster.

  28. @36 – That means Auburn has the preseason #63,64 AND 85 on the schedule, along with LSU and Alabama. It’s going to be a tough year.

  29. Re: John Drew
    There were times when John Drew was unstoppable. His game was very unlike most approaches you see today.

    Drew was in his Hawks prime just before the NBA’s adoption of the 3-point line, so he was the king of medium-range jumpers (foul-line extended mostly), always leaning toward the hoop. Of course, he got fouled a lot and racked up plenty of points at the line.

    Though they had their offensive flaws—PG Armond Hill couldn’t shoot & C Tree Rollins couldn’t score at all—those Hubie Brown Era teams in Atlanta were a blast. They could break out some lockdown D and, with Drew, Eddie Johnson & Dan Roundfield, they could be pretty exciting to watch.

    With Rollins & Roundfield, especially, they were tough and had some personality. Unfortunately, they ran into some loaded veteran teams from Philly & Washington in the post-season.

  30. Hey, Shelden Williams was the twelfth man for the Eastern Conference Champions this year! Eleventh when Scalabrine was hurt!

    Yeah, that was a bad pick, especially considering that the next pick was Brandon Roy, not that it’s really easy to see where Roy fits on the Hawks. I guess you could have him play the point. I guess.

  31. I fear McLouth won’t be right the rest of the season. Does this team live with Melky and Blanco in CF for the remainder of the season?

  32. 45—Yeah, she’s quite attractive. He is…less so. They’re like the Stu & Mrs. Stu of professional basketball.

  33. Re: Ian Desmond… Don’t laugh too hard, but advanced metrics show he’s actually a good defender. I hear tell he makes lots of errors (19, not quite 23, but still appallingly high) because his range is so great. He’s apparently a bit like Furcal was in the beginning: capable of succeeding at what’s probably impossible, but failing improbably at the possible.

    He also actually sits out routinely, pissing off Nats fans who want to see him develop at the plate and in the field, in favor of Cristian Guzman because…well, nobody knows why.

  34. Which reminds me that a couple of years ago I noted that you can play pretty much any Queen song at pretty much any sporting event, with the exception of “Fat Bottomed Girls” at a WNBA game.

  35. I love that the camera crew got an Emmy. They do such a great job of telling the story of the game.

    And bear in mind, they got the Emmy with Chip in the booth for many of those broadcasts.

    Yet another reason why we’re the best!!

  36. It’s good that we can bunt the fastest man on the team to second. Hooray. Seriously, while Blanco is playing we really should consider the LaRussa-bat-the-pitcher-eighth strategy.

  37. Yeah Melky’s improving but I really don’t get the Melky hitting second thing. I guess its a who else issue. Put Yunel there and he could go into double play mode like he did earlier. Obviously Hinske, McCann and Glaus are the RBI guys that you want lower.

    Other than the days Omar draws a start I’d guess the other option is moving everyone up including Chipper a spot. (I.e. Chipper 2nd, McCann/Glaus 3/4, Hinske 5 etc.)

  38. Ernie, Jr. is such a freaking pro. A pleasure to listen to, especially compared to….

  39. Bethany, you remind me of my mother: female, a die-hard fan, and seemingly eternally pessimistic.

    But, seriously, guys — Craig Stammen?

  40. If Blanco makes it on here do you send up a pinch hitter this early?

    I’m not advocating for it. Just curious.

    I hope that doesn’t jinx Greg White.

  41. Way to go, Melky! He walks two guys and you swing at the first freaking pitch.

    We’re going to lose.

  42. That was gross even by Melky standards. First pitch swinging ground out after the pitcher just walked the bases loaded. And according to Gametracker it was way low.

    Melky’s gross.

  43. I really hate it when a guy swings at the first pitch following a four-pitch walk to the previous batter.

  44. What? Being aggressive and swinging is great. Don’t y’all listen to Joe Simpson and Chip Caray?

  45. #77 -exactly what I was coming to say. Told my wife after the walk, he’d swing at the 1st pitch. She asks “why did he do that.” I responded “he’s a moron, thats why”

  46. Look, if Melky worked the count, that would extend the game. And if hit a single, that would probably tie the game, and risk sending it to extras. There are clubs to get to.

  47. Another fat face I hate? Derek Lowe. Ugh. He’s bringing the Nationals to life. And so is fat, stupid, Melky.

  48. Whats even worse than losing at the moment is how happy Rob Dibble is. I guess I forgot when he played for the Nationals and was in line for a ring if they win one.

  49. They haven’t made the pitcher work at all either, so no shot at the soft bullpen.

  50. It could be worse. The Braves could have gotten A.J. Burnett and his 5.25 ERA for 18 million a year for five year.

  51. Anyone have theories why the Braves, more than other teams, seem to have a problem every year when facing rookie pitchers? I know the whole “They’ve never seen him before” argument, but they’ve seen Livan 1000’s of times and still have trouble with him.

  52. This seems like one of those games you’re just inexplicably destined to lose, like if it were a video game you could reset it fifty times and you’d lose every one.

  53. 3-6 hitters combined to go 0-14 with 0 walks. that’s not going to win very many games.

  54. @99,

    Stammen is not a rookie I believe. But I don’t think the Braves have any more trouble with new pitchers than anyone else. All teams have trouble with pitchers they have never seen which is why rookie pitchers often dominate the first time around the league. I doubt the Braves are any worse than any other team in this regard.

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