Nats 9, Braves 3

Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals – Box Score – August 02, 2011 – ESPN.

Let me get this straight — we had a taker for Derek Lowe and we decided not to do the deal? Was alcohol involved? On either side?

Lowe gave up a run in the second on a sac fly. In the third, he blew a first-and-second bunt attempt, but it worked out, as Michael Bourn doubled in one run and Lowe scored on a Martin Prado groundout. In the fourth, Jose Constanza singled in a run, and it was 3-1. I’d kind of like to skip the rest of the game, beginning with the Braves leaving the bases loaded.

Fifth inning, one out. Walk, single, single, groundout to first on which Freddie Freeman threw high to the plate, everyone safe, 3-2 Braves. Rick Ankiel then hit a grand slam, his third homer in two days and fourth of the season against the Braves (he has two against everyone else combined) to make it 6-3.

Stinky Lowe allowed a triple and a homer to make it 8-3 before finally being replaced in the fifth; there’s little point in going on from there. Cristhian Martinez allowed one run in long relief, on a homer that at least wasn’t to Ankiel. Uggla and Freeman maintained their hit streaks.

207 thoughts on “Nats 9, Braves 3”

  1. Bad news: the Nats have refused to sink into the fiery hell that is their just punishment. Seriously, fuck the fucking Nats.

    Good news: no more need to tax our attention with the Phillies score each night.

  2. Too bad Lowe is struggling like this. If ONLY we had some talented pitching in the minor leagues that could replace him.

  3. We had a taker for Lowe? How did I miss that?

    Yeah, we can stop watching the Phils and pay attention to the D’backs now. Yippee.

  4. I went to a movie, and when I turned off my phone it was 3 – 1 Braves. I was pretty surprised when I just looked at the final score. Alas.

    And yes, Lowe gas been awful since the start of May. Like, really awful.

  5. @6

    Since Lowe was arrested for his role in the Peachtree Road Race:

    ERA: 5.42
    WHIP: 1.63

  6. May – 33 innings, 46 H/BB
    June – 34.2 innings, 47 H/BB
    July – 27 innings, 47 H/BB
    August – 4 innings, 12 H/BB

  7. I watched a ton of MLB Network when I was visiting my parents. There was a show dedicated to Fantasy Baseball the other day and they had a segment called “Pitch or Ditch” where the guys were asked if fantasy players should keep certain veteran pitchers with bad numbers in the first half or dump them. Surprisingly, Lowe was considered a keeper.

  8. Fun fact: In 9 out of 10 outings, Derek Lowe has allowed at least 3 runs. The one was against Seattle, and 1 run to them is like 3 normal runs.

  9. I didn’t believe (though it was so very tempting–because it was too good to be true) and don’t believe that there was ever a taker for Lowe….

    Lowe should be removed from the rotation, but that might cost Proctor his job–something too terrible for the Braves to contemplate…..

  10. @13 This team is better than the one we have last year.

    @15 Yes, Lowe can take Procter’s spot. Two birds one stone.

  11. Chipper and McCann need to grow balls and realize that the team can’t afford to have them hurt right now. Especially McCann. His stubbornness led to us having to go 15 days without him

  12. This team has two major weakness: SS and Lowe. This team is good enough to overcome both and we have AAA solutions for both if we want to go there. I wonder if Dayton Moore would take Lowe if we kicked in half of the cash or more…

  13. @20 – See, they teach catchers to throw underhand down to second, but McCann just keeps insisting on throwing overhand. He never strains the oblique if he’s throwing the right way, the stubborn bastard. Really put himself above the team.

  14. I’m really starting to worry about our rotation. This isn’t a reaction to Lowe’s awful stretch either. JJ and Hanson don’t seem right and the league is starting to catch up to Beachy, whose role will diminish down the stretch regardless. Outside of Hudson, none of these guys are inspiring much confidence over the last month. Perhaps I’m overreacting. Perhaps JJ and Hanson will put together stretches like they did in the first half, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one or both of them are actually hurt.
    l
    ast 30 days
    ERA FIP XFIP
    Hanson 4.58/3.48/3.06
    Hudson 2.55/2.72/3.28
    Beachy 3.72/5.41/4.55
    Jurrjens 5.28/5.62/4.43
    Lowe* 5.86/3.25/4.01

    *does not include the debacle of 8/2/2012

  15. Hmm, Sam did stop posting right around the time emma came back. Has anyone ever seen Sam and emma in the same room?!?

  16. I just keep telling myself that everything going wrong in late July/August means that things should cycle back upward for September/October. I mean, June/early July was great, so, it’s cyclical. Right?

    Really, I’m mostly just jealous of Robert. Remember at the beginning of the season he posted and basically said ‘See ya next year?’ He said there was no way he could root for a team led by Fredi and constructed by Wren.

    I’m jealous. I wish I could make myself stop watching this team sometimes.

  17. @26- If anyone saw Sam, in any room, they’d turn around and leave.

    That or concuss him.

  18. 29,

    That’s fine. Why do you come here to talk about this crappy team then? You should never do anything related to the Braves again; your life will be easier and more fulfilling.

    (On a serious note, that approach worked very well with politics).

  19. @29 Realisticaly last year’s team was worse. Basic Bobby rule, don’t be too down when we are down. Last year, everything was going very well until August when injury bug hit us. Hopefully, we can get rid of the bug earlier this year and the team will be roaring into the playoff rather than stumbling in.

  20. I thought I am a bad person when I have Rollins, Victorino, and Hamels on my fantasy team. I just realized I also have Montero, J Upton, Kennedy and Daniel Hudson. Boy, I am evil.

  21. Has there been a more selfish everyday player in baseball history than Brian McCann?? I mean, Roberto Celemente MAYBE…

    And also, DOOOOOOMED!!!!! (The more exclamation points, the more serious I seem!!)

  22. @35 Perhaps baseball god is trying to give Kimbrel, Venters and EOF some rest.

    @36 We are forever doomed and we are used to it!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. This team was already awesome, and it just got better, probably about a win better, a couple of days ago. We have nine awesome position players and four awesome starting pitchers. Most teams would love to have a fifth starter of Lowe’s caliber. It’s only because the minors are so stacked that we’re even talking about dropping him from the rotation. That’s not even mentioning the destructive bullpen. Hanson doesn’t really need to go seven innings in the playoffs if he has the big three ready to close the door.

    The final starting pitcher problem can be solved by calling up Minor. The final RH relief pitcher problem can be solved by moving Lowe to the pen. The only problem that can’t be solved internally is shortstop. I don’t really know where to get one of those.

  24. @38 Mac has been with the team the whole team as far as I can tell.

    JoeyT, I would replace Lowe with Teheran, and then replace Procter with Lowe. Then call up Arodys to see what he can do. But we are stuck with AAG. I don’t think the management think it’s an issue at all.

  25. Technically we could try Pastornicky. Offensively, he’s probably already an upgrade. Defensively he would be a downgrade, but probably not too much. It won’t happen, but it is something that might work.

  26. I really think part of Lowe’s problem is a heat problem. He seems to really struggle in hot weather.

    Can anybody run career starting performance by Lowe with monthly splits? i think you would see a bowl shaped curve.

    Not that it would do any good on the way the team performed because Fredi wouldn’t say “Lowe, you’re a 2 inning in the bullpen guy until September.”

  27. reaganman at 42 (and others),

    Even though this year he hasn’t performed offensively at the Major League level, why is everyone overlooking Hicks and praising Pastornicky?

    At AAA this year, Hicks has quietly raised his offensive profile continuously. Early year he was around 800 ops. then 820, then 840. Then a couple of days ago, 860. Something like 260 / 360 / 500. Best MLE equivalent of an International League 860 is about 780.

    Then, defensively, if they weren’t “prospect puffing”, Cox and the beat reporters and a lot of scouting people all said Hicks was the best defensive shortstop in the system, he just needed to hit.

    Pastornicky has gotten lots of singles in AAA, but almost nothing else. Bring up Hicks first, and then see where to go from there.

  28. Agon’s ‘offense’ isn’t the problem. #25 has identified the cause of our recent struggles. Figures, we get a real CF, Uggla is hitting, Bmac figures to be back soon and suddenly our pitchers look hittable. I kind of agree that with Minor at AAA Lowe should be on a short leash. I am sure that the Braves don’t feel that way as they have 15 million reasons for wanting him to get his head out of his arse.

  29. @44
    Sure it’s a small sample size but Hicks has fallen completely on his face in 2 years of call-up and part-time work: 11k 1 hit 2bb in 28 plate appearances.

    If Pastornicky is really the guy that has the ability to be the starting SS of 2012 then he’s the one that needs to get the callup. Thus far in his career, he’s shown the ability to take a walk/make contact, paired with above-average speed. In my opinion that makes him more valuable than Hicks.

    Alex Gonzalez since June 1st:
    .194/.225/.284 9 doubles 3HR 8bb in 210 plate appearances

    That, my friends, is a problem no matter how good he is defensively.

  30. If only Smoltz was still around to call out Chipper for not starting when the team needs him.

  31. Agree with Smitty. Pointless to respond.

    I think the rotation was pitching a bit over their heads the first half of the season. We are seeing some regression. These guys aren’t Halladay, Lee, and Hamels. It’s a good rotation-except for Lowe-not a great rotation. In the long run, the pitching will be ok, but they can’t expect to keep winning games scoring 2 or 3 runs a game.

    It’s interesting watching the Nats play the Braves. You can just see from the body language that the Nats feel comfortable against the Braves and the Braves don’t feel comfortable against the Nats. I noticed it Monday night being at the game. Just one of those weird things about baseball.

    It’s disappointing because I thought the Braves had a shot to beat the Phillies. But the Phillies are like the Braves were in the 90s. Oh well, the Marlins finished 9 games behind and beat us in the NLCS.

  32. You can have issues offensively and still win. You can slug the ball and be mediocre in the pitching department and still win, but when you have mediocre offense and mediocre pitching, then you are just plan mediocre.

    It think Hanson and Jurgens will be fine. Everybody hits a rough patch during the year. Even if their 1st half numbers are not duplicated, their track record lends me to believe they will be okay. Lowe on the other hand is just plain old. He looks bad out there, almost sad.

    The one thing I have taken from the memebers of this board is to look beyond the traditional numbers. The braves ran the following OBP (as of today out there last night .400,.363,.363,.344,.333,.316,.282,.262. I will let you guys guess who is who, but the braves make a TON of outs. It is hard to sustain rallys when only three guys in your lineup make outs less than 65% of the time.

    The Agon thing has got to be addressed. He is killing the whole lineup. Pitchers can pitch around the guys in front of him to attack him, which means the guys in front of him need to be patient, but Mr. Parrish’s AGGRESSIVE approach he preaches to the players works against that. His mere presence in the lineup kills rallys.

  33. WC Battle – Schedule Analysis – Not good for Atlanta

    The D-Backs next 10 games are all at home vs. the dodgers (3), Lastros (4), Mets (3). They may be the west leaders after that cupcake binge. Counting that homestand, they get to play the Dodgers, Padres and Astros 23 times until the end of the season. They also have 4 on the road vs. the Nats who never play as well against anyone as they do us. They have 13 with the Rockies and Giants left.

    After a 4 game series vs. the Braves (8/15-8/18), check out this cupcake schedule for the Giants. 3 in Houston, then Home vs. the Padres(2), Astros (4), and 3 vs. the Cubs and then 3 vs. the D-Backs, then a quick Roadie to SD for 3, then back home for 3 against the Dodgers and 3 against the Padres. The Giants get 22 games against the Dodgers, Padres, Astros and Cubs, 10 of which are against the Cubs and Astros.

    The 3 weeks beginning August 12 are huge for Atlanta, home for 3 vs. the Cubs, home for 4 vs. the Giants and 3 vs. the D-Backs, then 4 in Wrigley vs. the Cubs, and 3 at Citi vs. the Mets. It gets tough for Atlanta after the Cubs series, starting with the afore mentioned Mets series, the Braves go home and home in the division TWICE, with only a 3 game home series vs. the Dodgers and a 3 game road trip to St. Louis being the only division breaks for Atlanta.

    I don’t fell so good after that.

  34. ‘The Agon thing has got to be addressed. He is killing the whole lineup.’

    I agree. He kills last nights lineup. We were playing the B-team last night.

    I may be the only one but I think that once McCann and Chipper return we can carry Agon’s glove. Pastornicky has played all of what 10 games in AAA? He is the answer? Y’all tend to get very carried away by very short samples of success.

    If y’all are wondering why I expend so much energy defending Alex Gonzalez its because I have seen the guy make some terrific plays with the glove. At SS that adds real value. On top of that I think that thats the way the Braves are thinking too.

  35. #52–I tend to agree–I doubt that the Braves are as worried about AGG and posters on this site. Maybe they should be, but I don’t think they will really consider replacing a proven player for a AAA player–especially at this point in the season.

    I would hope they might consider bringing up Pastornicky to allow AGG to take some rest, but that is as far as I see them going.

    With respect to the schedule, I think that we play almost all of our games in our time zone, which should be a huge asset.

    I just hope that we don’t have to face Lannan again….

  36. @53 I have my doubt with Pastornicky. He has never been a five-stars prospect and he is just getting a good start at AAA. Give him at least 200 at-bats there before thinking about promoting him.

  37. Teams go through bad stretches throughout the season-except apparently, the Phillies. If the Phillies weren’t playing like the 1927 Yankees, this wouldn’t be such a disaster. But, obviously, the Braves are not a lock for the playoffs.

    I think the pitching is starting to get worn down because of the constant pressure they are under from the weak offense. Halladay/Lee/Hamels or Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz could handle that but this rotations isn’t them and it’s unfair and unrealistic to expect them to. The inability to score early and get a cushion is just becoming too much.

  38. @55 Absolutely…every inning they throw is seemingly a stressful one as the game is always tied or the Braves are hanging on by a run. Tough to pitch on the edge every time out without eventually falling off. In Lowe’s case, however, he hasn’t been good for such an extended period that he needs to be demoted to the pen and someone else needs to be called up to take his place before this gets any more out of hand

  39. I think this whole Alex Gonzalez glove argument is overblown.

    According to fan graphs, his UZR ranks him 11th among SS at 2.3, and his UZR/150 is only 3.0.

    Alex’s RngR (a measure of what he should get to, I think, I am a newbie at this) is -2.1, only slightly higher than Derek Jeter’s -2.3, who is always crushed for his lack of range.

    Alex has great hands, some of the best I have ever seen, but his lack of range seems to force him to make some of the spectacular plays.

    His glove does not carry his .262 OBP in my humble opinion.

  40. Pop quiz: What shortstop has the most strikeouts in all of baseball?

    Hint: It’s Alex Gonzalez.

  41. #51
    Hey, if we’re gonna be any good, we gotta win, no matter who’s on the schedule. But, yeah, those series vs SF & Ariz are gonna be big.

    And as it always seems to happen, the Mets will have a lot to say about how the WC race goes.

    Oddly, the Mets have been pretty good on the road (6 games over .500) & pretty bad at home (6 games under). They don’t have a lotta power, but they can hit—the lineup includes good-average guys like Murphy, Paulino & Turner (who’s cooled off some), plus there’s that shortstop & Wright’s been blazing since his return.

    Of course, they just don’t always pitch & they’ve found tough ways to lose recently (late-inning bullpen & defensive breakdowns).

    Let’s get out of DC with a win & turn things around in Flushing.

  42. #54–Pastornicky has been both good and consistent at AA. He will not sustain his current AAA performance, but going forward he projects to be a major league regular.

    There is also something to be said with building on his current developmental momentum….

  43. @57 Points well taken although I have to admit that I am less than sanguine on the accuracy of the new age defensive metrics. But there is no alternative to Gonzalez in my humble opinion.

    I think that the Braves think that Alex is a good defensive player. That thought aside, I also think that they are stressing pitching and defense up the middle. They are willing to live with Uggla because of his bat but I truly believe that had the Bourne trade not been made, Schafer would have gotten the majority of the playing time over Nate. There is a perception that Jordan is an above average defender in CF.

    Welcome to the new world of baseball where catching a baseball is becoming almost as valued as hitting one. I am having a tough time making this mental transformation myself when I start making judgements about how good a player is. Offense is just so much easier to quantify.

  44. 59 – I agree. It is on the Braves. They have the WC lead, just win baby.

    I thought looking at the schedule was interesting, and suddenly the week of August 18 is HUGE for Atlanta.

  45. Right, so hate me all you want, but don’t accuse me of sock-puppetry. I’ve been arguing about baseball and various other shit on the internet since before Kurt Cobain offed himself, and in that time I have never used a sock puppet.

    Say what you will, but I own my positions.

    I agree a DL/bullpen stint for Lowe, with Minor being the fifth starter, would be useful.

  46. Welcome to the new world of baseball where catching a baseball is becoming almost as valued as hitting one. I am having a tough time making this mental transformation myself when I start making judgements about how good a player is. Offense is just so much easier to quantify.

    I agree with this post.

  47. Gonzalez blows. It’s hard to believe anyone thought otherwise. Who here voted for McLouth as the ‘whipping boy’ over Gonzalez at the beginning over the year?

    Yunel Escobar: .305/.384/.447

    Where would the Braves be with that production from short stop?

  48. But Yunel was not likely to do anything as likely in Atlanta.

    Remember his .238/.334/.284 from last season?

  49. @65
    We’ve been over this so many times. Any good baseball fan realized that Escobar was a far superior player to A-Gon. The trade was all about getting rid of Escobar’s baggage, I don’t think the front office was giving up on Escobar as a player, but as a person. I doubt that Frank Wren or anyone else in the front office is surprised that Escobar has gone back to his 2008-09 levels of production while AGON has struggled.

  50. I doubt that Frank Wren or anyone else in the front office is surprised that Escobar has gone back to his 2008-09 levels of production while AGON has struggled.

    Which certainly begs the question of why you’d do such a boneheaded trade in the first place, seeing as the results were pretty much preordained. The expression “cutting your nose off to spite your face” leaps to mind.

    That he performed before, and afterwards, but could not be tolerated in the interim in any capacity while a solution was found is as much a failure of management as employee, if not more.

    But as you say, spilled milk.

  51. The trade was all about getting rid of Escobar’s baggage

    Right. The trade was made because Cox and the good ol’ boy crew in the club house did not like Escobar. No one has really even tried to keep that a secret.

    But that’s not how a General Manager (Wren) should run a ball club. Thank God McCann doesn’t have an attitude problem or he might be with the A’s now or something.

  52. Why the eff is fredi playing constanza over heyward AGAIN?! Some ‘hot hand’ bullshit according to DOB.

  53. Why the eff is fredi playing constanza over heyward AGAIN?! Some ‘hot hand’ bullshit according to DOB.

    F. Gonzalez is becoming ‘Can’t-stand-ya.’

  54. I imagine the Escobar trade will come up so long as they keep running Mr. “.265 wOBA” out there.

  55. Are we really doing Escobar again? What hasn’t been said a hundred times?

    I’ve long suspected the current defensive stats are being overvalued. At the very least, their proper priority is still being hashed out. At least one team, the Mariners, has already paid a severe price for taking the medicine before it was sufficiently product-tested. There was no face validity to their expectation that bringing Jack Wilson, Casey Kotchman, et al, aboard would improve the team record via their superior defensive skills.

  56. The Braves will make the playoffs. History shows they make it every year in which Francoeur does not start the season with them.

    1991-2005: Francoeur was not with the Atlanta Braves to start the year; made playoffs.
    2006-2009: Francoeur started the season with the Atlanta Braves; playoffs missed.
    2010-Present: Francoeur was not with the Atlanta Braves to start the year; made playoffs.

  57. The Braves might have put up with Yunel had he been productive: maybe his .618 OPS was a cry for help….

  58. 73 – While I don’t disagree that defensive metrics are a bit uncertain, and should be viewed with some skepticism, the Mariners are not a great example. You neglect to mention that they had an above-average offense in 2009, and that in addition to adding Kotchman they also brought in Figgins, who was coming off a great season. They clearly did not expect to have a historically bad offense in 2010. They did not expect Gutierrez, Figgins, Lopez, and even Ichiro to fall off so dramatically. Every single regular showed a drop in production from 2009 to 2010–it was bizarre.

    What’s more, the WAR tallies that include defensive metrics rank the Mariners as dead last in 2010 anyway. In order for the defensive numbers to be “proven” faulty–by which I mean overvalued–metrics like WAR, which take defense into account, would have to interpret the Mariners’ woes in a more positive light. They don’t. fWAR hates the 2010 Mariners.

  59. So, if Pastornicky becomes the starting SS next year and puts up this average statline over the course of 6 years: .275/.350/.390 with 25-30 SBs per year…will that make everyone forget the Yunel trade?

  60. I think Bethany is right about Heyward.
    ———–

    Speaking of Auburn – I stumbled across the 1984 Sugar Bowl replay. (Auburn won 9-7.)

    I watched the last quarter. If anyone wants to see Spurrier’s impact on the SEC, just watch this game.

    Between Schembechler and Dye, there was enough stubborness to clot every artery in the SuperDome. Third and eight? Tommy Agee up the middle.

    Can you imagine what Malzahn would have done with Bo Jackson, Tommy Agee and Lionel James? They’d have set scoring records that would never have been broken.

    Also, there was a classic instance where it’s obvious that replay (with all its’ mind-numbing faults) was necessary:

    Third down – Auburn runs for a first down. Except the ref moves the ball back AFTER IT WAS SPOTTED.

    Fourth down – Auburn goes for it. It’s close but they clearly make it. Once again, the same ref moves the ball back AFTER IT WAS SPOTTED. Measurement is two inches short. Frank Broyles and Keith Jackson (a great combo, btw) are appalled.

    I swear if anyone ever really investigated college officiating before replay, it would make the NBA officiating scandal look like petty theft.

    Ain’t insomnia great?

  61. Why the eff is fredi playing constanza over heyward AGAIN?! Some ‘hot hand’ bullshit according to DOB

    Yesterday people were trotting out Alex Gonzalez’ struggles over the last month as proof that he shouldn’t be hitting fifth (or even playing.)

    If the “cold hand” theory applies to Gonzalez then the “hot hand” theory would equally apply to Constanza. Either/or, boys. Either/or.

    I doubt Heyward’s “pissed someone off.” I suspect he has a hurt shoulder and the manager thinks he has a player who can play great defense and is swinging a hot bat to get Heyward some rest and time to heal.”

  62. The Mariners were 14th in the AL in runs scored with 640 in 2009, and had a 92 team OPS+. That’s not above average. But they won because they had good pitching and very good defense, and got a little lucky. Then they replaced Branyan and Beltre with Kotchman and Figgins (and Betancourt with Wilson, but they both suck), and the usual press utterances about “pitching and defense” were given a sabermetric overlay, as they were one of the teams who employed staff analysts. You don’t recall the exuberance with which some objective analysts greeted this development?

  63. Occasionally I like to amuse myself by heading to FanGraphs and looking at the “reverse leaderboard” in wOBA. Alex Gonzalez is tied for 3rd, by the way.

    Not sure resting Heyward’s shoulder jives with Chipper’s comments earlier in the year or with rumors of Heyward being sent to AAA if the Braves acquired a corner outfielder rather than Bourn. I know that’s not concrete, but I think there’s a fair chance that Fredi and co. are handling the situation poorly.

  64. @81, that’s a bit of an unfair comparison. Batting an old guy fifth who has never been good offensively and mired in a massive slump is hardly a reverse analogue to not giving reps to a young guy who has produced at EVERY level and is critical to the short and longterm success of the club.

    I think both can fairly be evaluated as decisions that on their face, are demonstrably not helpful, to say the least. Obviously, if there is some injury to Heyward that would explain it, but it certainly bears questioning.

  65. Heyward was rested because Lannon is a lefty and Heyward is clueless against lefties right now. I think that’s fairly obvious.

  66. Heyward, he must be hurting alot more than we all know.
    That is my only guess why he is not playing again today with Righty throwing.

    Bourn is good.
    Bourn is really good.

  67. Anyone know of a list of Braves who are out of options after this year or who must be added to the 40 man roster to be shielded from the Rule 5 draft? For example, I think Redmond falls in the latter category.

  68. Batting an old guy fifth who has never been good offensively and mired in a massive slump is hardly a reverse analogue to not giving reps to a young guy who has produced at EVERY level and is critical to the short and longterm success of the club.

    As I said, I think Heyward’s shoulder is still hurting him pretty badly. I think the clubhouse knows that and is taking the opportunity to play the hot hand (Constanza) and let Heyward rest a bit.

    That all being said, let’s assume for the sake of argument that Heyward isn’t hurting any more than everyone else is hurting at this stage of the season. Let’s only address the fact that Heyward’s season to date has been *atrocious.*

    If Jason Heyward was named Jeff Francoeur instead, and he was putting up the putrid stats out of RF that he’s currently putting up, and someone in the clubhouse said “we’re thinking about sending him to AAA so he can sort out his swing in a less pressurized environment,” what would the general reaction here be?

  69. Maybe Heyward isn’t playing because he’s having a terrible season? For whatever reason most of this board refuses to acknowledge that he might just might not be that good. All I know is that without McCann and Chipper this team is stinky bad. Doomed even.

  70. So, Sam, you’re now asking hypothetical questions in order to solicit opinions you can then insult? Is it too hot where you are to go run around the block?

  71. write up on Heyward sitting…Really hope this doesnt turn into a Rasmus situation.

    The Blue Jays, with Escobar and Rasmus, are already licking their lips.

    Maybe they can become the first World Series champion team built entirely on good players that were thrown away by their previous teams for perceived attitude problems.

  72. #92 – Maybe he is still hurting. If so, they shouldnt get their mouthpieces to put out stories about “healthy Heyward, sitting again.”

  73. Krussell, Heyward has a .772OPS vs RH’rs. No chance Constanza could match that number or not. Heyward, struggling, is still better than the alternative playing today.

  74. Fredi, from the DOB article on Heyward (who says he’s not hurting notably):

    “Just because he hasn’t been in the lineup two days in a row has got nothing to do with giving up on him or anything like that, absolutely not,” Gonzalez said. “It was just a matter of Constanza swinging it, and Hinske having decent numbers against Wang.”

    I’m sure someone will find reason to go apoplectic over this, but it’s 100% defensible if your goal is to make the playoffs in 2011.

  75. To the end that noting your own blind spots is the first step into shrinking those blind spots, if not eliminating them outright. That is particularly true of a social network that has a series of commonly held blindspots that tend to reinforce themselves through echo-chamber acoustics.

  76. The point is not a one-to-one comparison of Heyward and Francoeur. The point is that a 21 year old is struggling mightily in his sophomore season, and for some reason everyone here seems to want to close their eyes, clap louder and swear on their mothers’ graves that Tinkerbell is really alive.

    If this were not a favorite son, you’d have no problem with sitting him. If you don’t like the Francoeur analogy, call him “The Other Nate McLouth.”

  77. “It was just a matter of Constanza swinging it”

    Heyward is 3 for his last 7 also with most of his hits to LF and CF. He’s showing signs of breaking out. Tough to do that on the bench. Doesnt bode well.

  78. McLouth: .228/.344/.333
    Heyward: .224/.315/.399

    Would we be equally appalled if Constanza played ahead of McLouth?

  79. #109 – Against LH’rs no, but against RH’rs yes. It would be equally insane.

    I dont think anyone here would have a problem with Heyward getting platooned against LF’rs. Sitting him against RH’rs for Constanza is poor judgement.

  80. Yes, Jeremy, but those are the terms of this engagement I’m afraid.

    But you’re right to note that statistical analysis is completely and utterly useless with regard to individual in-game decisions such as this.

  81. It bears noting that Ankiel is locked in right. He was the hottest hitter on the Nats last week too.

  82. Sam has this, I don’t know, call it a “blind-spot” when it comes to the standards of behavior he holds strangers on the internet to, when compared to the standards of behavior he holds himself to.

    Sam also seems to have this “blind-spot” in the ‘Just who the fuck ARE YOU?’ department, when it comes to his need to advance us all to his enlightened status. He thinks ‘I must help others to overcome their blind-spots,’ but never seems to ask himself ‘Who the fuck do I think I am?’

    Really he’s a fucking hypocrite and blowhard.

  83. Struggling only relative to his own exceptional standards? He’s been roughly league average (of course that’s not ideal out of RF). Obviously he’s been a disappointment this year, but results-wise, it’s not anything like what some are making it out to be.

    For instance, Heyward and Prado are having roughly the same season offensively. The treatment by the organization and fans, for whatever the reason, has been quite different. I wouldn’t sit either for a minor-league journeyman, for what it’s worth.

    The minor league rumors were repeated in that AJC post. I hope the FO knows what it’s doing here.

  84. @111, I thought he said micro managing was bad yesterday, but using the hot hand is good today. But I can’t really keep up any more. In any event, the point he was making (at some juncture) was that people were criticizing Fredi for both benching Heyward and playing AAG. I wasn’t commenting on the Heyward bit so much as pointing out that it’s not necessarily inconsistent to criticize both, and further, why do you suppose there is some internal consistency to his decisions? The man has an awful tendency to do stuff just to be “managery”, as Mac put it, apparently.

  85. @110,

    Platooning Heyward vs. lefties is defensible, but it would have been a better idea if we’d picked up a righty corner outfielder (still time I guess). Not sure it’s worth hurting his development as an everyday player as it stands.

  86. And when specifically asked if he considered making a change there, Gonzalez said: “To get him out of the rotation, no, no, no. you ride it out.”

    By it, I’m assuming he means Derek Lowe. And by out, I’m assuming out of the wild card race.

  87. I’m beginning to like Fredi more as a manager. I see a willingness to not be constrained by convention and an ability to learn from mistakes (e.g. high leverage Proctor).

    There are still some sketchy pinch hitting decisions and reliever choices, but I think he’s getting better as the season progresses.

    I’m not sure the enhanced emphasis on matchups is a bad thing. Obviously, the samples are small enough that in any individual case, you can’t trust the matchup data. A more interesting question is whether it’s beneficial to the ballclub to use the matchup data consistently. Even if it doesn’t say much for a particular batter/pitcher, does it help in the aggregate to use that information in selecting players for a lineup?

    I think that’s an interesting question.

  88. It is insane bullshit to call Heyward’s stats “putrid.” He’s league average right now. That’s only putrid in comparison to what we all expect him to be doing, but to somehow equate Heyward to Francouer, possessor of legitimately putrid stats, is beyond all reason. Francouer SUCKED when he was bad, Heyward has been average while being “bad.” That’s a huge, huge difference.

  89. Defend those ramparts of your own presumptions, boys. God knows, you’d hate to actually think about the problem with any degree of humility or uncertainty. It’s probably best just to quote wOBA and pretend like you know what the component parts of that acronym mean.

    And I’m the blowhard. Funny.

  90. Its pretty comical that this “batting the pitcher 8th” idea has had Beachy leading off two innings today. Random poor luck.

  91. Like let’s say non-regular X hits pitcher A well in 40 PA. 40 PA isn’t much, and, in isolation, it’s probably not a good idea to base decisions on it. However, if X hits A, B, C, D, well, and non-regular Y hits E, F, G, H, and I well, all in 40 PA samples, does it help the team to play those matchups consistently?

    It’s similar with hot/cold streaks. A single hot/cold streak isn’t telling, but if you consistently play the hot hand and bench the cold hand, does it help your team in the long run?

    @127, the acronym for wOBA isn’t particularly descriptive, so I don’t care if people know it. wLinearWeightsDividedByPA is just too long.

  92. OK, here’s why Costanza is really batting ninth. To bunt the pitcher to third.

    Failed miserably, for what it’s worth. I think a single is only worth 2/3 of a bunt to Fredi.

  93. Sam, a lot of the people go to boards on the internet to vent their frustrations. A lot of times, people do that here. The anonymity and the spontaneity of the internet can bring them to say things they don’t mean ALL OF THE TIME. But maybe the fact that they say it all annoys you.

    I don’t know what else you do on the internet, but you come HERE to correct people, to lecture people, and apparently, in your opinion, lead them to somehow better themselves through their interactions with you.

    This is infinitely more obnoxious than whatever bitching and moaning goes on here.

    Above, you said that it was okay for you to use small sample sizes (11 AB’s for Constanza), even though yesterday you laughed at people using small sample sizes. Also, yesterday you used 16 PA’s by Conrad, but whatever.

    It’s okay for you to do that because that’s apparenntly ‘the terms of engagement’ here.

    Talk about the fucking terms of engagement! People here don’t yell and curse at each other! You show up, and curse at them, and they curse at you! Everyone here speaks to eachother, mostly, respectfully. Except you.

    You know that saying about “If you meet three assholes in a day?” The asshole is you, Sam. Sam, you’re the asshole. EARTH TO ASSHOLE-SAM, THE ASSHOLE IS YOU.

  94. Really? This garbage again?

    EDIT: Saved by Bourn’s speed and Freddie. Urge to kill … fading.

  95. @142

    Intentional, sorry to disappoint. Selfishly hoping it catches on.

    And there it is.

  96. Uggla’s season-long numbers don’t look that terrible anymore. They look downright decent for a second baseman.

  97. @109 (sam) – Yes, it would be ludicrous to play Constanza over McLouth, the only difference being that McLouth has no part in the next 4 years of baseball in Atlanta while the future depends heavily on Heyward getting himself right, which as other have noted is going to be exceptionally difficult to do from the bench. Playing Constanza over Nate is stupid for the present, while playing Constanza over Heyward is stupid for the present and the future, hence the additional outrage.

    Constanza is Fungible Jackrabbit X from the minor leagues. There is NO reason to think that he’s more capable of hitting a right-handed major league pitcher than McLouth or Heyward. Playing him over Heyward is, I think understandably, infuriating.

  98. At least Freeman is swinging it like a champ right now. Sure hope he doesn’t struggle himself back down to league average next year and become Scott Thorman’s backup.

  99. The Alex Gonzalez thing is getting ridiculous. He can’t hit anymore. There are pitchers on this team, that if they started everyday and took regular batting practice, could probably outhit him. What’s it take to make a switch?

    Not even Francoeur reached this level of dread. Have not even the slightest hope or faith in Gonzalez whatsoever to get a hit or do anything productive when he comes up. The last time I felt this way about a position player was with Corky Miller.

  100. Can we seriously just kill the current members of the Washington Nationals roster? It’s gone beyond all reason. A shit club like this has no business playing the Braves so hard.

  101. I imagine two possible responses from Sam.

    1) Something about he only acts the way he does because it’s how you deal with a bunch of ignorant group-think plebeians,

    or

    2) Something about how he’d rather be an asshole than to ever be associated with the likes of us ignorant group-think plebeians.

    Also, I’d say “you’ve got to be kidding me”, but I expect this more than I expect the Braves to be up 6-0.

  102. @158 – Greg Norton in ’09. He got some starts at 1B as I recall. That was the first year I followed almost every game. He was hopeless.

  103. End it! Game over. It’s official.

    And Lord: Chip Caray thinks every team is a playoff contender.

  104. I don’t think so. It didn’t really start raining hard until they took Beachy out.

  105. Maybe they were hoping to finish the inning, so it wouldn’t matter if they weren’t able to resume after the delay. But instead we gave up 4, and have to wait for the rain to stop.

  106. Can’t argue that Heyward is Francouer-bad, just saying that the way our team is constructed we need big production from RF and instead we’re getting production that’s below league average.

    I’ve said in the past that having your best hitter playing catcher is not ideal from an overall roster-construction perspective, because it’s a demanding position and you are lucky to get 140 games from one player there. McCann is extremely valuable but if he’s our best hitter then I think our lineup will remain sub-par. We have simply got to find a corner outfielder that can hit (and stay healthy) and perform at an all-star level. This is the team’s biggest need and it hasn’t been addressed again for the umpteenth year in a row.

    On the positive side – Freddie Freeman appears to be the real deal. I love his swing. Heyward should watch Freeman videos ;-)

  107. @172, getting to pick what position your best hitter plays is really reserved for the Yankees. Having a great hitting catcher is really, really handy for lineup construction, since the marginal improvement is probably higher there than anywhere else. Assuming you have a competent outfield there should be a net positive…but there’s that old “assuming” thing again. The problem is not McCann or his position, it’s not getting close to league average production from the typical slugger spots that has been the club’s recent undoing.

  108. 175 – yeah I didn’t quite phrase that correctly…McCann is a massive luxury, the least of our worries. The problem is that he’s our best hitter (you could argue Freeman might have caught up to him I guess) and he’s not going to play anywhere close to 162 games. If he was like our 3rd or 4th best hitter then his marginal improvement over the average catcher really shines. Instead he’s going to be compared to the best corner IF/OF sluggers on other teams (since those positions for us are pretty lacking in the SLG department).

    Prado is a nice player but he’s not who I want playing LF or 3B every day for us. He’s more valuable as a super-sub. Heyward might be our long-term answer to the corner OF problem, but it’s too early to say at this point. Right now we’re under-powered out there.

  109. Unfortunately, when McCann’s team-friendly deal runs out, paying market value for the marginal improvement of having a catcher like McCann is also reserved for the Yankees.

    Having the ability to pencil McCann in at C is CERTAINLY an advantage, because you still have those slugger positions to add, well, more sluggers.

    The problem is that the Braves haven’t treated it as a competitive advantage, they’ve treated it as a cost-advantage. Having a cleanup hitter in the catching position means they can try to catch lightning in those slugger positions on the cheap.

    Having had McCann for 5+ years at this low price, I really wish we’d taken advantage. Now that his time with us (barring an extension, that WON’T be this kind of deal) is nearing an end, we finally develop a 1B and RF that we can honestly expect to slug.

  110. Watching on At Bat Iphone app. Please tell me they are bringing in a lefty to pitch to Ankiel.

  111. Let me just say that the bottom of the 6th started with Chip Caray pointing out “Beachy is hurling a 4 hit shutout thus far.”

  112. I love our Trinity of Terror at the end of the pen. After Varvaro got through the 6th, I had this rush of confidence that the chance of losing was really, really small.

  113. Jim Powell and Don Sutton try, fail, to justify Frediot’s asinine decision to start Constanza over Heyward. “I have a feeling that if Constanza had gone 0-for-5 yesterday, Heyward would be out there today.” As if this is a rational basis for making decisions, and not on the level of, say, reading bird entrails.

  114. Edwin Jackson has surrendered 3 HRs this afternoon. I suppose he will now be to Cardinals fans what AAG is to us.

  115. Good grief, as if the Braves’ need for a lefty masher was not obvious enough. Burnett had a 5.08 ERA and 5.17 FIP coming into this game.

  116. Any day I get to see Venters pitch, watching him pitch becomes the highlight of that day.

  117. I call the pitch he threw for the two strikeouts the Snitkerball. The player seems to have no choice but to go for it, even if it means an out.

  118. Would DOB or Bowman please ask the team’s genius manager why Heyward is benched but how long he’ll put up with Gonzalez at short stop?

  119. Heyward was benched because of the hot hand at one corner and the matchup at the other corner. Apparently, it had nothing to do with Heyward.

    He’ll put up with Gonzalez at shortstop because the team has no viable replacement on the active roster. Lugo’s the backup, and I would assume he feels that Gonzalez is a better option.

  120. Constanza was 8 for 12, Heyward was 3 for his last 7 and then benched for two days. Saying Im playing the hot hand dont justify the action. It should be, who is more likely to succeed today? That answer is simple.

  121. I was watching the pitch locations against Heyward on MLB At Bat. I’m sure the Braves and Heyward already know this, but if he is going to develop into a player that consistently takes full advantage of his talents, he has to come up with a better defense for those inside pitches. It seems like every at bat is the same, pitch-location-wise. Inside, inside, inside.

  122. Well, we’re guaranteed of being 2 1/2 games up in the wild card after today, and no worse than two up entering Friday.

  123. Thank you, bullpen.

    #80
    hank,
    I love watching those old games.

    That ’83 Auburn team was ridiculous and their defense (led by Ben Thomas) was pretty hardcore as well. Back in that era, you’d better be tough up the middle.

    But they were never going to be a passing team or a “trick-’em” team, mainly because of their rather untalented QB (Randy Campbell). But he didn’t make mistakes & that backfield was an all-timer.

    And go look up their schedule that year—one of the toughest you’ll ever see. It included the regular annual SEC foes (Bama, UGA, Tennessee, Florida), but also Maryland (with Boomer Esiason), FSU and Texas (their only loss).

    I went to the UGA/Auburn game that year. It was a nasty 13-7 affair, the first SEC home loss for UGA since 1979 & its only loss that year, and I remember leaving that game, walking back up Baxter Hill & thinking, “Nobody’s gonna beat this Auburn team the rest of the year.”

  124. A bit annoyed the one game in the series I didn’t go to is where O’Ventbrel made an appearance to lock up the win.

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