Pirates 3, Braves 1

Refusing to recap that.

Let’s hope Mac returns tomorrow.

Author: Stu

Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I've been married since July 17, 2004 to my beautiful wife, who also doubles as my best friend. We have an almost-three-years-old Boston Terrier named Lucy who's also pretty awesome. My wife and I both graduated from Vanderbilt University in May of 2004. I graduated from Law School at the University of Georgia in May of 2007 and am now practicing in Nashville, Tennessee. I really, really love the Atlanta Braves.

107 thoughts on “Pirates 3, Braves 1”

  1. When McDonald issued 52 walks in 104 innings coming into tonight’s game, the Braves managed to get zero walk in five innings. It’s time to cut Parrish.

  2. Strained right quad for Chipper, according to Fredi postgame. Re-evaluating in the morning (well, later in the morning).

  3. Lugo could have hit in Chipper’s spot, but Fredi chose to have him come up second (pitcher’s spot) instead of using Hinske. Apparently in addition to not using your closer in a tie game at home before extras, you can’t use your best PH (non-catcher division) when trailing either.

  4. Having Hinske hit when he wasn’t representing the tying run would have been very pointless.

  5. Fredi doesn’t understand the double switch at all. Sometimes he forgets you can do that, and when he remembers he just does it without thinking it through.

  6. @6- sarcasm? Or do you think the fact Hinske hits more homeruns than Lugo makes the fact that he also hits more singles, more doubles and works more walks than Lugo irrelevant?

  7. Agree that ideally you’d want guys on base for Hinske. Several opportunities for that with McLouth and AAG getting the most important AB’s instead.

  8. I wanted to see BMac or Hinske up for McLouth or Gonzalez with the bases loaded in the 6th.

    Bobby/Fredi are the worlds worst at not taking their shot. They hold their bullets back too long.

  9. @9 isn’t that always the way

    @11 or hit for AAG with Lowe, JJ or the batboy

    Wren needs to get off his ass and make a move before the comfortable wild card lead is gone and the division is beyond winnable

  10. I was afraid of this. Our record did not seem to match what I was seeing. Really hope I’m paranoid.

    My bad, Stu. I thought you had mentioned your were a Harrison grad.

    From the “It’s Never Too Early” Department, Dick Vitale has his PreSeason Top Ten:

    1. UNC
    2. UK
    3. Ohio State
    4. Syracuse
    5. Vanderbilt
    6. Duke
    7. Memphis
    8. UConn
    9. Louisville
    10. Florida

  11. The fact that Fredi pinch hit McCann for Ross only underscores his lack of creativity.

    In any event, having so many black holes in the lineup – McLouth, Gonzalez, and Heyward – and so many left handed bats, will lead to nights like this one. The Braves are predictable. They’re also nowhere near as good as the Phillies, which isn’t surprising considering the discrepancy in payrolls.

  12. 15 – Seems about right. No way UConn is in the top 10 at the end of the year without Kemba. I wonder how Vandy will respond to their recent success. Heavy is the crown.

  13. Really regretting the decision to stay til the end of that one this morning. What a pathetic thing that was to watch.

    In brighter news, Brandon Drury has been a monster at 3B for Danville so far, and he’s only 18. Obviously there’s plenty of time for things to go wrong with him, but hitting as he has at such a young age is very encouraging. Between Prado, Salcedo, and Drury we might actually be set at 3rd in both the short and long term, post-Chipper. Drury and Salcedo are only a year apart, so we could even pick the best defender for 3rd and move the other one to LF. If Pastornicky proves serviceable at SS, that would pretty much just leave 2B and CF as positions to fill through free agency past 2015. /Dreaming.

  14. On throwing to third on the flyball in second inning, instead of throwing to second to set up runners on corners

    “I’m not 100 percent sure it was the wrong play. Because it was just one of those in-between things where I was throwing to – it’s one of the fastest runners in the league going to third base – and I was throwing to – because you don’t want to just make a lollipop throw to second base – I was trying to make a strong throw to the cutoff man. Whether or not he could have cut it off, I’m not sure. I’ll have to watch it.” – Nate McLouth

  15. @19

    It was a terrible play. Let’s consult anyone who played baseball past the age of 8.

    This is reason 47 why we need to get a CF.

  16. We have a CF, a really, really good one. He’s just painful to watch at the plate.

    There’s a guy named Melvin who’s pretty good in the field, too, and he can hit the ball okay. Maybe we should think about making an offer for him.

    Some guys are worth giving up top prospects.

  17. Schafer has a 71OPS+. Zips has these projections for the rest of the season.

    Nate – .242/.341/.401
    Schafer – .217/.283/.330
    Heyward – .263/.370/.473

    Are these a by product of their original projections to start the season or true projections moving forward? No way Heyward sniffs those numbers at his current pace.

  18. I understand that there’s just not a SS available who could really help us, but between Schafer and AGony, Schafer is the much more defensible player. They both justify their existence with defense (just barely in AAG’s case) but adding 30 points of BA to Schafer’s game would make him pretty darn average with the bat. AAG needs 40 points of BA just to get his OBP above .300. He is atrocious with the bat. Just absolutely terrible. He has a .266 wOBA.

    I’m not suggesting that Wren should do anything about it, but the degree of AAG’s ineptitude should be appreciated by all. He’s a slick-fielding Corky Miller at this point.

  19. @22 – That’s what Zips projects him to hit from here on out. Fangraphs shows Zips(R) (which is rest of season) and Zips(U) (which is zips(R) added to what he’s actually done so far).

  20. Schafer 71OPS+ .286wOBA
    AAG 65OPS+ .266wOBA

    Whats sad is that the Braves need these two guys in the field, but on the other hand almost everyday at their respective positions are upgrades at the plate. Both guys need to hit 8th. AAG, Pitcher, Schafer in that order is just flat out painful.

  21. Of course Corky was far, far worse than 2011 AAG in 2008 as our backup. He had a .138 wOBA good for a -28 (!!) wRC+. He broke wRC+. His career numbers are pretty close to AAG this year though.

  22. I like that AAG sort of functions as Marley’s Ghost to Wren/Cox/”The Veteran Clubhouse Guys”. He will never let them forget why emotional trades are bad ideas, four times a day.

  23. @29 – That’s very true. The worse he performs, the less likely they’ll be to give away value in trades out of anger in the future, which should hypothetically add wins to future teams. So AAG is actually least valuable to the organization if he’s performing around average. Bring on the suck!

  24. “BUSINESS? Hitting was my business! Walking was my business! And it is at this time of the rolling year that I suffer most!”

  25. “He held up his batting helmet at arm’s length, as if that were the cause of all his unavailing grief, and flung it heavily upon the ground again.”

  26. You realize of course, I am now recasting this in my mind starring Jones as the Ghost Of Christmas Past, Freeman as Christmas Present, Teheran as Christmas Yet To Be. Cox gets a cameo as Fezziwig, and I guess Liberty Media would make a more proper Scrooge than Wren, but it wouldn’t play as well. Escobar gets in as Scrooge’s former fiance that he forsakes.

    /Schafer gets the Tiny Tim role – he can’t walk either.

  27. csg at 22,

    I didn’t really see this in what was posted.

    ZIPS is a purely mechanical projection based on comparing the likelihood of what you have done in the past as a projection of what you will do in the future. It is heavier weighted to more recent results. However, with Heyward, last year is still relatively highly rated.

    The whole damn team needs to take their damn walks and that would resolve 80% of the offensive problems.

    AAG needs a doggie type shock collar working off a pitch f/x interface to shock him every time he swings at something more than 4 inches out of the zone.

  28. Francouer would’ve made a perfect Tiny Tim too. Maybe he can platoon with Schafer and perform in front of left-handed audiences.

  29. Of Course Fredi OWNS the role of slightly henpecked company man Bob Cratchit, constantly propping up little Jor…Tim. I smell Oscar!

    Actually, I had Frenchy in mind for the prize Christmas turkey, and Delgado as the half-crown coin used to overpay for it.

  30. And yet. I’m somehow unconvinced that the brass sees Gonzalez as a reminder of their own mistake. At best, they see his suckitude as the unfortunate but necessary cost of having dealt Escobar; at worst they still think he’s a good baseball player.

  31. @39, well, yeah. This is not an organization that ever admits failure. The enduring legacy of JS is risk-aversion. That’s the true “Braves Way”.

  32. Trading for Gonzalez wasn’t risk aversion. If anything, they assumed risk (Gonzalez’ unsustainable HR binge, paying for a SS after 2011, a couple of unproven prospects, etc.).

  33. @41, it was classic proven veteran with misleading stat (hrs in this case) risk aversion. “What do you want me to do? I got a veteran SS who was killing the ball! No one could know he was actually really bad – Chipper loved him!”.

  34. Someone must have looked at Escobar’s current slash line if we are re hashing the trade again. I did and it made my stomach hurt.

    The solution to the Schafer+AGon quandary is play McLouth. I simply don’t believe that Schafer’s defense off sets his ‘offense’. Nate is only doing one thing right these days on offense but getting on base is at least one thing.

  35. Two “of the Week’s” on MiLB.com.

    Evan Gattis hitter of the week in the Sally.

    Brett Oberholtzer pitcher of the week in the Southern.

  36. Johnny, I think we are just watching AAG’s continued suckiness everyday. I didnt look at Yunel’s slash line, but there is no way that Yunel isnt an upgrade over this guy.

  37. @49 – Same for me. Yunel could be completely ruled out of the discussion and AAG would still look bad. He’s context-independent, stands-on-his-own bad.

  38. At least the Braves are playing like this for the two weeks prior, not after, the trade deadline.

    .676, .715, .526, .456 – AAG’s OPS by month

  39. We all know that clubhouse chemistry is what wins championships. That’s why baseball is the gentleman’s sport.

    Also, I love MLBTR, but it’s a little irritating when your team is one of the ones involved in the big rumors. Every Beltran update in the past week has been some variation of “[Sportswriter] thinks that [Team A] is now a favorite for Beltran, while [Team B] is no longer as interested.”

  40. We did trade Yunel for emotional reasons — Yunel’s emotions. There’s a narrative that’s been constructed that Cox and Wren were in a fit of impetuous rage themselves, but that’s just guesswork. Have fun with that, by all means. We do know Yunel was a trainwreck head case, because it was right there to see. We put up with him right up until his performance no longer compensated.

  41. We’re talking about a guy who, when one of our guys tried to speak to him in ST, refused to even acknowledge the guy was even standing there.

    Good riddance.

  42. @55

    It was obvious the Braves had tired of his attitude, which is fine. The bigger issue for me was trading him for Alex Gonzalez. Rather replacing him with Alex Gonzalez.

  43. Aagh. I don’t care that Yunel was traded, for the hundredth time. It was for whom that was a bummer, and being unable to manage to deal with the guy for a few more days until they had better options. Send him down, suspend him, whatever, but yes, it WAS rash and stupid to handle it as it was done, and that’s no “narrative”.

  44. well its always been the Braves thinking that you have to trade a player for his replacement instead of the best available deal. Hence, Yunel for AAG. Tex for Kotchman. Now we see why we have so much trouble putting a decent OF together.

  45. That has not worked out very well. But what is a narrative is that they did not try other solutions with Yunel. They benched him. They mentored him. His response was to continue to be a prick.

  46. No one is arguing any of that, as usual. The get put of town by sundown part is what was retarded.

  47. If the asking price for Beltran really is dropping, wouldn’t it be amazing to get Beltran and a real CF? We could release McLouth/demote Schafer and put Prado at SS when Chipper is healthy (and 3rd when he’s not). Having an AAG-less lineup is an upgrade in itself.

  48. We also can’t rule out the possibility that other teams had got wind of Yunel’s “attitude” problems and may not have wanted the guy.

    Totonto may have been one of the only choices. And if you’re Toronto, why give up more than you had to?

  49. #63,

    There were rumors that the Rays were very interested in Yunel, but the fact that we just had to trade him for a SS is probably why a deal never materialized.

  50. Not sure Prado could play SS. I think we’d end up with him as ashore utility guy playing the corners and 2nd, essentially giving guys days off and providing an extra bat off the bench.

  51. I ain’t mad at Alex Gonzalez. I’ve accepted him for what he is which is a Sea Bass version of Raphael Belliard. (I am sure that someone has told Alex that his pencil side burns to beard combo give the impression of gills) What is frustrating is that it seems like he always seems to be the batter in a high leverage situation. (given Alex’s inability to produce base hits he is a batter, certainly not a hitter) The team simply cannot carry Schafer and AGon’s gloves. Especially if Heyward continues to suck.

  52. I’m just reiterating the viewpoint that something had to be done in response to the reiteration of the viewpoint that it was a mistake. I’d also make the point that we’re having this discussion in the midst of a horrendous slump by AAG and a hot streak by Yunel, and so while I don’t think even those who were okay with the trade would have contended that AAG would have a BETTER career going forward, this is the point in time when their fortunes have diverged to just about the greatest possible extent.

  53. Apparently nobody is willing to pay top dollar for Beltran in terms of prospects, and the Cardinals are now openly shopping for Beltran.

    I don’t know if this is feasible, but would it not be amazing if we got Beltran for, say, a Hoover or an Oberholtzer, and then turned around and got Rasmus for someone like Minor or Vizcaino?*

    We could upgrade CF now and for the future, and have Beltran’s bat in the lineup on a regular basis for the remainder of the year.

  54. @68, My hope exactly.

    My friend is a big Cardinals fan and he’s soured on Rausmus somewhat. He says he takes really bad routes to the ball in CF, which has cost them games FWIW. Couldn’t be any worse than Louth.

  55. @67 Good point. By the end of last year, the two had performed about equally well with their new clubs.

    Really, it’s shocking to think of how bad Heyward and Uggla have been this year. Uggla is showing signs of life but I’m genuinely concerned about Jason, and he doesn’t have a guru like McCann or Chipper’s father to lean on to fix his issues. Parrish isn’t helping anyone.

  56. I just know that, given what’s out there at the trade deadline this year, if the Braves end up with a Gomes and a RHRP as their big acquisitions, I will have trouble taking Wren and the team seriously as far as their desire to win goes.

  57. I am baffled at how many people have already judged the Yunel trade without seeing what Pastornicky does. If he provides similar (or less) team controlled production to a guy like Elvis Andrus over the next 5-6 years, that provides tremendous value, and certainly affects how the trade is viewed to me.

    I know that Andrus is a year older right now, which is important, I will grant you, but:
    Andrus’ lifetime minor league slashline in 1789 PA .275/.343/.361/.704.
    Pastornicky in 1625 PA .274/.342/.372/.714.

    Andrus, as we know skipped AAA and Pastornicky has only been there for 6 games so far, so I think it’s a far comparison. If Pastornicky can average 2-2.5 WAR (less than Andrus has averaged thusfar) during his cost controlled years, that certainly changes my point of view of the trade. Pastornicky does have a higher lifetime minor league wRC+, but from what I’ve read, Andrus has the superior glove.

  58. @70 Heyward has only been bad compared to himself. He’s been exactly league average with the bat. Obviously we expect more, but Uggla was on a completely different planet for a while there.

  59. @74 – Defense seems like it will be the big difference between the two. Andrus is a wizard in training with the glove, while Pastornicky has a solid-but-unspectacular rep. He could still be pretty useful though, I agree.

  60. I don’t disagree with anything said here, but we should realize that teams go through down periods throughout the season. Three game losing streaks happen all the time. The Braves are still in pretty good shape.

    I’m not sure why AAG is the big villain here. (Arguing over the trade is pretty much spilled milk.) Obviously, he isn’t much of a hitter but we pretty much knew that and he is a very good shortstop. The problem is that the guys that were supposed to hit (ie, Uggla and Heyward) have not, at least until recently for Uggla. That and the fact that the top of the batting order is a black hole.

  61. It’s difficult to wrap one’s head around just how far offense has declined, and to judge individual players accordingly. Since ’05, average OBP has gone from .334 to .318 and SLG has gone from .427 to .386. There’s been a 6-point drop in OBP and a 13-point drop in SLG just since last year.

  62. this is the point in time when their fortunes have diverged to just about the greatest possible extent.

    AAG was a 33yo SS with a lifetime OPS+ of 80 when we got him, and SLG heavy at that. EIGHT-ZERO. Just where did anyone think his career was going to go? This isn’t divergence, it’s expected result. Yunel was a 27yo with an OPS+ of 103. Even if they had stayed right on their career averages with no expected improvement or decrease, there was plenty of divergence.

    Look, I’ve done mitigation planning as part of my job for many years, and I guaran-damn-tee you their is someone in the Braves organization that gets paid to evaluate, monetarily quantify and compare competing options for this sort of thing. Either that person really blows, or their analysis was rejected. Which do you find more likely?

  63. @74
    I agree. And judging by how the organization has handled TP since bringing him over(installing him at AA to start and promoting him to AAA within a year), it looks as though he’s being fast tracked to the bigs. If we traded the last few years of an attitude problem for a sound defensive veteran at a bargain price for two years plus the first 6 years of a decent major league shortstop who’s ready to be slotted into the lineup when AGON leaves, then I think we may have done alright in the deal.

  64. “Heyward has only been bad compared to himself. He’s been exactly league average with the bat. ”

    If Heyward is league average, what does that say about the league? His OPS is .714. Francouer’s is .767. I would certainly rather have Heyward (obviously you have to take into account the relative ages and experience), but still . . .

  65. I think it bothers spike a lot more when the team is made worse through poor decisions than through ownership greed and low payroll. If we had the GM of almost any other team, spike would have had three or four heart attacks by now.

  66. #78 – Wow! Thats eye opening. Did you find that info on BRef? If so where?

    makes this slash line look decent even.
    .268 .316 .451 .767

  67. I didn’t claim it was divergence from an expectation of equal production — in fact, I said it was likely stipulated that their production, post-trade, would not be equal. I’m saying that, in the ebb and flow of this particular season, the topic is being broached when AAG is playing his worst and Yunel is playing his best.

    Johnny — BBRef annual league stats. Link to current year is just above the league standings, then you can click through to prior years.

  68. With regard to mitigation planning, wouldn’t you have to account for the percentage likelihood that Yunel was tanking (consciously or not), and thus the player the Blue Jays received would be materially different than the one the Braves traded away?

  69. MLBTR

    The Braves “will continue to evaluate the possibility of acquiring either Jon Rauch or Jason Frasor from the Blue Jays,” writes MLB.com’s Mark Bowman.

  70. I can live with failure because of betting the wrong pony, catastrophic injury, lack of development, crappy attitude, boils, athlete’s foot or any of the numerous unforeseen or unimaginable turns of kismet that can befall an athlete or an organization. I even understand greed and payroll – at least their is a goal in mind and a plan to get there. We could easily have gotten Todd Van Poppel and perhaps the success of the mid/late-90’s never occurs. That’s all part of the game. But to go out of your way to acquire an aging player who has sucked offensively in the past, by every possible measure, and then tell me it was the best baseball move and just bad luck that this guy still sucks – well, don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

  71. @86, yeah, well if that’s the case, I still don’t make a crap move based on a weekend’s exceptionally idiotic play. Stash him in the minors to rebuild value, suspend him, DL him, bench him for your AAA guy – there were a pile of options that didn’t include trading for an all-time poor hitting SS your starter for the next 18 months.

  72. Oh and for you GA folks, State Rep. Bobby Franklin has been found dead in his home. No details yet.

  73. Frasor and Rauch huh? Is it me or do neither of these guys really offer much of an upgrade from Linebrink?

  74. Rauch doesn’t seem to, but I think Frasor — who’s gotten ground balls out of 7.1% more of the batters he’s faced than Linebrink has, historically — does.

    Either would be a drastic improvement over Proctor, of course,

  75. I guess if I look at it as Frasor/Moylan/Linebrunk replacing Linebrink/Proctor/Martinez, then it seems like a substantial upgrade.

  76. @94, I do like both because they function as closed systems, although music and baseball do remind me of the Matrix – “some rules may be bent, others broken.” I can live with the bad and the good or I wouldn’t have stuck this long with either.

  77. Obviously they are just the foundation of a deal that will send Alex back to Toronto and reclaim Yunel from the Blue Jays.

  78. Yeah, I wouldn’t feel confident giving the ball to Rauch with the game on the line. He makes me nervous.

  79. I am getting itchy. Will the Braves ever make a trade? Can`t be that hard to acquire a RHP who`s better than Proctor.

  80. @100 – I like that idea – a Yunel-deferment plan that gives the Jays two years of a good SS and lets us weather Bobby’s last days as manager knowing that Fredi was on his way and that he’d be more confused than upset by Yunel’s antics, as he’s just confused by most stimuli.

  81. We waited until the last minute last season, so I’m going to stop holding my breath for a trade until the 31st.

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