123 thoughts on “A night with Derek Lowe game thread: May 6, Braves at Phillies”

  1. Marek receiving Tommy John and Moylan receiving back surgery. This is not a good day for the right-handed relief pitchers.

  2. Owch. Looks like Medlen’s almost certainly destined for middle relief when he gets back.

    And actually we really need him now.

  3. Just saying that Jair Jurrjens is an “outlier,” and leaving the analysis there, is intellectually void. If Jair Jurrjens doesn’t conform to one type, the groundball type, and he doesn’t conform to another type, the flamethrower type, then we have to figure out the model that does fit him best.

    Well, no, we don’t. We don’t actually *have* to shove him into a “model” at all. Models are used for predictive purposes. At some point you stop running the models and start assessing actual performance.

    Jurrjens has moderately good “stuff,” good-to-excellent command, a K rate good enough to keep hitters honest and an approach intelligent enough to maximize effectiveness when healthy. His performance to date suggest that his “model” is “a right handed Tom Glavine.” Is he likely to be a HOF calibre pitcher for his entire career? No, of course not. But the fact that he consistently gets major league hitters out, over and over again, and has (when healthy) for five years now, suggests that the need for a “model” to assign him to is overthinking the problem.

  4. You’re not going to like this one, guys:

    1. Prado LF, 2. Gonzo SS 3 Jones 3B, 4. McCann C 5. Uggla 2B, 6. Freeman 1B, 7. Mather RF, 8. McLouth CF, 9 Lowe P

  5. If someone told Fredo that McLouth would be better batting 2nd than AAG, I’m sure he would have a smart ass response about how everyone wanted Heyward to bat 2nd instead of McLouth.

    Heyward needs a day off, against LHP Cliff Lee I’m fine with that.

  6. Nate McLouth is comfortable and producing in the 8-spot. Absolutely no reason to move him and screw with his head. Neither Hinske or Prado can play RF so Mather is the only option to give Heyward the day off (as long as Lee is in the game, at least.)

  7. With our starting depth, Medlen was probably destined for middle relief upon his return from TJ Surgery, regardless of what happened to our bullpen. The more interesting question to me is: where will he be next year and beyond. I feel like there could be room for him as a starter in 2012 and certainly in 2013. Lowe could be dealt within the season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hanson or JJ dealt before, or during the 2012 season, with the other being moved a year later.

  8. Hinske has actually played more games in his career in RF than in LF, though granted I wouldn’t start him against a LHP.

  9. Why would you start Tehran’s service clock for a single spot start? Barring injury there isn’t going to be room for him as a starter this year and he’s probably not ready to start consistently even if you did open up a slot for him by trading another starter. This seems dumb.

  10. I guess the spot start fit Teheran’s days of rest more than Minor. I wonder who will get demoted to make room for him tomorrow.

  11. Gearrin, I’m sure. I wonder who gets called up on Sunday. Hopefully not Proctor.

    I’d rather they sent Hicks down and called up Diory on Sunday.

  12. what did I miss? Are we losing someone from the rotation? Why are we calling up Teheran?

  13. I’d rather they sent Hicks down and called up Diory on Sunday.

    That’s like choosing which way one would like to be executed.

  14. A debut against the Philies in their bandbox is a challenging way to break in to the bigs.

  15. 16 — The doubleheader threw the rotation off and nobody wants Hudson or Hanson to go on 3 days rest.

  16. Christmas comes early on Saturday then, but Philly is an awfully tough place to debut. Hopefully things will go better for him than they did for Hanson against Milwaukee a couple of years ago.

  17. Sam, first you say that models are irrelevent, and then you suggest that Jurrjens is a right-handed Tom Glavine, which is a kind of nonsensical comparison, especially since you don’t even pretend to justify it. What are you basing that on? Aside from handedness, they’re very different pitchers with very different stuff. Jair’s fastball is much faster than Glavine’s — like, 6 or 7 miles an hour faster — but his changeup isn’t nearly as good. He gets a lot more strikeouts and groundballs than Tom did. Jurrjens was a lot stockier than Tom. They weren’t built similarly, they didn’t throw from the same side, they didn’t have the same stuff, they didn’t get the same results. Other than being good Atlanta Braves starting pitchers who weren’t big strikeout guys, I don’t really see a lot of resemblance.

    I really don’t understand why you’re complaining about statistical analysis. I’m saying that I’d like to better understand Jair’s success. Wouldn’t you?

  18. “#21 – I really don’t understand why you’re complaining”

    Its Sam you are talking too.

  19. I guess the spot start fit Teheran’s days of rest more than Minor. I wonder who will get demoted to make room for him tomorrow.

    Might fit the days better than Minor, and it might just be a better idea to put a strikeout guy out there instead of Mike Minor in that tiny yard in Philly.

    @19 has it right on the reason for the call up. No trade looming (I’d be shocked), just a way of bridging the gap from the doubleheader without having Hudson and Hanson go on three days rest.

  20. I really don’t understand why you’re complaining about statistical analysis. I’m saying that I’d like to better understand Jair’s success. Wouldn’t you?

    I don’t think I’m complaining, so much as pointing out that Jurrjens has accumulated enough success that it’s questionable to assume he will “revert to the standard model” as predicted by K rate. To your second question, yeah, that’s an interesting thing to ask. What is Jurrjens doing to be successful. But that’s different from the previous thread (where I joined the conversation) and the implication that Jurrjens K/9 makes him a good trade candidate and/or easily replaceable by Mike Minor.

  21. Isn’t it possible that JJ has good enough stuff and a strong enough mental game to be effective without being a groundball or flyball or strikeout pitcher? He probably saves several runs per season just with his own defensive ability, which could be good for .5 or .75 off of his ERA. I understand that he’s not a flame throwing power guy, but we have seen him hit 96 on the gun in the 7th inning when he needs a K because there are no outs and runners on third, we’ve also seen him draw countless double play balls to get himself out of a jam….

  22. It’s a hard call as to who will be sent down for Teheran, but I’m sure we’ll find out soon. I would like to see Hicks go down, but I don’t think Fredi will go without a backup shortstop. Gearrin is probably most likely, but it would leave us short in the bullpen. I think our most expendable player is Conrad. There is no position he plays that others can’t play. Of course, it is embarrassing that Hicks is still on the roster at this point.

  23. Linebrink is the most expendable IMO. He cant get righties or lefties out and just needs to be released.

  24. Well apparently we already gave away the wrong guy….

    After Morton started throwing three-quarters in the spring, [Ray] Searage and [Jim] Benedict compiled a video of Halladay circa 2005-06, when he began to truly shine. Their deliveries and sinkers have a striking resemblance, but the point was to illustrate how Halladay’s head barely moves. “Roy’s head is extremely quiet,” Benedict said. “Everything rotates around it.” So, what the Pirates have in Morton is a pitcher with an arsenal a video game simulation might reject as unrealistic.

    His fastball still is clocked regularly at 95 mph. Only now, it comes with less stress. His cut fastballs remain effective. His curveball, maintaining its “rotation like a buzz saw,” according to Searage, now arrives diagonally. He has two changeups, a circle change and split change, although Searage wants Morton to pick one soon.

    But it is the sinker, the one pitch Morton was forbidden to throw last year because it was so ineffective, that has benefited the most from going three-quarters.


  25. Maybe we’re going to send Mather down. Perhaps that’s why he’s getting the start tonight. Wouldn’t it be great to have Mauro or one of the Wilkins on the bench?

  26. So it’s true? Julio Teheran debuts on saturday?

    Heyward, Medlen, Venters, Freeman, Minor, Kimbrel, Beachy, Teheran. Damn!! The stars are aligning.

  27. @33
    Vizcaino only went one inning the other night. Teheran pitched last on April 30th and pitched 6 innings. He’s on regular rest.

  28. @21 There are two sources of statistical analysis for JJ. The model and his actual performance. Why would you prefer the model?

  29. Spike @ 31:

    I read that over at BTF and my first thought was “first Braves fan I see who starts complaining about ‘losing Morton’ I’m gonna clock upside the head.”

    Even if the Pirates have torn Morton down and rebuilt him into a useful player, he was crap when we gave him up.

  30. The Morton thing is a joke. He’s using Halladay’s motion but he isn’t getting the results and soon enough people are going to start hitting him hard.

  31. @39, I am sure you realize I’m not complaining. Still, good for Charlie if he has figured something out. He seems like someone I should root for.

  32. I agree. Morton seems like a good guy, and if the Pirates have rebuilt him into a useful player, good on them. Like Mac, I have my doubts. He’s certainly going to have to do something better than a month of 3.5ish ERAs before I buy into the “he’s the new Halladay” schtick. Right now the only thing he has in common with Halladay is that he was so bad previously that they decided to tear him apart completely and try to rebuild him.

  33. To say nothing of Morton’s 4.5 k/9 and 5.4 BB/9. The results will catch up with him.

  34. Paul, right now, there is no good model for Jurrjens. I’d like to see one built, using the data we have. We know the past, but without a workable model, we’ll have no idea of the future.

    And you can’t say that the future is likely to be just like the past — because that’s a model too, just not a particularly convincing one, absent further argument.

  35. I just looked at Nick Swisher’s stats because I’m slightly obsessed with the guy and, man, he’s stinking up the joint this year. Anyone watched him and know what’s going on?

  36. #46
    Aside from a couple big, game-winning hits or sac flies, it’s just a really slow start from the left side of the plate for Swisher.

    His spot in the order has been moved around a bit. He still walks enough, still plays his shaky-looking-but-usually-acceptable RF, but he’s just not hitting righties and definitely not for power.

    Of course, he’s not the only one. In YankeeLand, it’s certainly not Nick Swisher’s offense that’s the main topic of conversation these days. With #2’s struggles, Swisher’s pretty much flying under the radar.

  37. @43, “try to rebuild him”, in Halliday’s image. Made me get out of my hammock, think of how we wish rebuilding were easy, spending months, years to try to bring raw talent into what we deem professionally competent, only to be disappointed. Not just the fans but those attempting the rebuilding. If we start with Morton-rebuilt-to-Halliday and had a Braves wish list, past or present, do we wish for a Kotay to Galarraga, Claudell Washington to Dale Murphy,(see “Theatre of the Absurd), McLouth to Andrew, etc., what players would and for what reasons would you rebuild whom to whom? Impact-wise.(OMG, I just thought of Frenchy to Aaron!)

  38. @45

    I would submit Dave Stieb and Kevin Appier as similar. Roy Halladay, if you average out his first five years, actually has startlingly similar peripherals (though he was all over the place in those years).

    There are more guys like JJ who haven’t sustained early success with similar peripherals than those who have, but it’s hardly unheard of.

  39. Here are the Braves’ SP rankings according to Yahoo’s fantasy points (Major League):
    11. Tommy Hanson
    18. Tim Hudson
    20. Jair Jurrjens
    24. Brandon Beachy
    (ranked 6th, 8th,10th, and 14th in NL only)
    Yup…we got 4 aces.

  40. Sam, I’d love you to be right. Stieb and Appier are two of the least-appreciated aces of the past 30 years. If Jurrjens could do that — or if he could just have a single season like Appier’s 1993 — I’d be ecstatic.

  41. Charlie Morton would still be in Gwinett for Atlanta. Pittsburg can afford someone going 2-12 in 2010. He will leave Pirates if he continues to improve.

  42. Stieb is an example of a pitcher who sustained excellence after his first JJish years without ever increasing his K rate. Appier managed to jack his K rate up a notch and stayed successful that way. Halladay, of course, increased his K rate AND stopped walking anybody.

    An example of someone whose similar peripherals “caught up” with him is Mike Boddicker, who settled in as a slightly better than league average starter after more significant early success. Not that his career is anything to sneeze at, either.

  43. Halladay/Hamels/Lee/Oswalt/Blanton:
    28 GS, 14-6, 3.26 ERA, .90 H/IP

    32 GS, 14-9, 2.81 ERA, .82 H/IP

  44. @56

    To that point, I think “somewhere between Mike Boddicker and Dave Stieb” is a good prediction for JJ. And to Alex’s point, I’d love to see someone do some work on figuring out how pitchers like Stieb succeed. It’s true that noting that he and JJ are outliers is not particularly enlightening, just true. I do think too many people too easily fall back on K/9 and assume players like Jurrjens “aren’t as good as their numbers.” I think that’s backwards. If you have a subset of players who break the model – even a small subset – that doesn’t mean they’re “not as good as their numbers.” That means there’s a subset of skills that the current model does not accurately predict.

  45. I should note that, within the parameters I selected, Mike Boddicker is the closest thing to a cautionary tale as I could find that didn’t involve injury. That is to say, lots of pitchers have had similar peripherals, but those relatively few who’ve had them and managed to be successful early in their careers have tended to remain so (although not always for the same reasons).

  46. Can somebody enlighten me on what a spot start does to somebody’s arbitration clock ? If Teheran gets sent down right after, it’s just one service day, right ? I thought for sure Rodrigo Lopez would get the call, but happy to get a look at Teheran on something other than MiLBTV.

  47. Despite getting squeezed, Lee escapes the first. That’s what I would say if I were a Phillies fan. However, since I’m a Braves fan, I’ll say that those were piss-poor ABs by McCann and Uggla.


  48. Wait, Uggla just doubled in a clutch situation against a lefty. Let me check… No, the sky is NOT falling or turning to blood or anything. Weird.

  49. #57 – Id love to compare the two payrolls also. The Braves dont get the same recognition, but thats fine by me.

  50. I just realized that Johnny Damon has more hits than Chipper. Seems weird to me.

  51. The Braves have struck out 10 times, and 7 of them have been looking.

    May not need more than 3 the way Lowe is pitching tonight, though.

  52. I would say ANY of us have as good of a chance of hitting Lee as Mather…he is such a waste of a roster spot

  53. Philly announcers on MLB are bad big time. Talking about pitcher who has given up 7 hits is unhittable.

  54. Looked like a hip (as in connected to the leg bone) thing to me. Gotta keep a short leash here…

  55. Unbelievably retarded decision there. He should have been gone after the first hit given up, it is obvious that he is hurt.

  56. Looked like a swinging strike and not a foul tip by Polanco, at least to me. I mostly wanted Lowe to get off the mound though.

  57. Fredi adherers to the leave the pitcher in the game until he gives up a run rule (or gets bailed out by a Ground Rule double). This is not the first time he just watches as a pitcher implodes in a close game. Granted Lowe wasn’t imploding, just injured

  58. Historically speaking, you just can’t ever get your hopes up with the Hawks, kinda like the Falcons.

    Nice pick, Freeman.

    Bullpen doing its Cliff Lee impression—5 hitters, 5 Ks.

  59. If Fredi really really wanted this game he should probably have brought in Jonny in the seventh with those guys up, but the flowchart said EOF.

    Can’t complain about the outcome though, jolly good show, Eric.

  60. Yes. Being a life-long Atlanta sports fan is not a life filled with happiness. But Pape Sy is in the game, so you never know.

  61. Prado….finally helping my fantasy squad. Now if Hanley Ramierez would start hitting his weight.

  62. Woo-Hoo! We’re on a roll! Suck it, Phillies!

    Tomorrow’s Kentucky Derby
    1, Animal Kingdom
    2, Nehro
    3, Dialed In
    4, Archarcharch
    5, Midnight Interlude

  63. Since Kimbrel didn’t get the save tonight, can we go ahead and give it to EOF?

  64. Here is a recap for Mac.

    Braves dominate. The end.

    Suck my giant AuburnTiger/Atlanta Brave balls philly.

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