Braves 6, Marlins 2

Atlanta Braves vs. Florida Marlins – Box Score – August 10, 2011 – ESPN.

Well, no triumph over PURE EVIL can ever be too easy.

Should have been easy; the Braves led 6-0 after three and had chased the opposing starter in the second. In the first, Michael Bourn and Martin Prado singled leading off, and Dan Uggla got things out of the way early with a two-run single. In the second, Tim Hudson singled in Jose Constanza, and then Eric Hinske, starting at first base, doubled in two. David Ross scored on a wild pitch in the third, but the Braves were unable to get a run-scoring hit against the Marlins pen, despite several chances.

However, Hudson was dealing. Through seven, he’d allowed just three hits and hadn’t walked anyone, while striking out seven. Then in the eighth, he suddenly tired. Logan Morrison led off the inning with a homer. Wes Smelms popped up, but then Hudson allowed a single, a walk, and a single to load the bases. George Sherrill entered and did a pretty good job, getting a groundout and a strikeout (of Greg Dobbs, who is hapless against lefties; I was surprised he hit in that situation) to get out of it with just one additional run scoring.

Fredi went with Arodys Vizcaino in the Atlanta Save situation, and it almost worked. He walked Giancarlo Stanton, but got the next two to pop up and strike out. But then he hit Smelms (supposedly, the contact was minimal at best) and then walked the bases loaded. Jonny Venters had to come in and get a strikeout to save the game for real.

The attendance report claims that the stadium was 57.3 percent full tonight. BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

225 thoughts on “Braves 6, Marlins 2”

  1. Please don’t bring any of the conversation from the last blog entry over to this nice, clean, new entry. Thx for the writeup, Mac Daddy!

  2. a sweep of PURE EVIL. That’s just the kind of team we have this year. The usual suspects aren’t getting us (see also: Rockies). There are new nemeses, to be sure (nats), but the team is rolling. And through injuries and everything.

    I will also add that the result wasn’t great (process!), but i love Fredi bringing in Vizcaino for the Atlanta Save. That’s a Good Bobby move. The always putting the new guy in the game in a prime spot the night he arrives. Very classy.

  3. FWIW: “You hate to see a guy like that hit a ball in the air.” – Fredi Gonzalez on Georgie, post-game interview

    So the Cards lose and the Giants lose, which is good. Phils win, which is normal. Seems the Astros are rallying against the D’Backs, so let’s hope they take that game eventually.

  4. So, apparently lots of people buy tickets to Marlins games but don’t bother going.

    The Braves have gained basically no ground on the Phillies despite a 4 game winning streak.

    Lead the Wild Card by 5 games.

  5. Peeking in on that Arizona game is weird. Houston plays Carlos Lee, Clint Barmes, and whomever decided to show up for open tryouts. Who are these people?

    Arizona’s lineup looks like a classic Atlanta lineup with great hitters at premium defensive spots but ??? at first base and left field.

  6. @11-

    Arizona’s 1b is a recent callup who was absolutely tearing the cover off the ball in AA (1061 OPS at age 23); he’s not off to a hot start but he has some serious upside. Not contradicting your point, mind you- just noting that it’s possible they’ll be getting solid production from him by the end of the year…

    Houston’s lineup was a who’s who of who in the hell is that.

  7. With Bourn at the top, Freddie putting up ROY numbers, Prado and Uggla producing, gimpy Chipper still worth something, and BMac coming back…I actually feel pretty good about this line-up.

  8. I feel like every time we start to feel good about the lineup, most of them decide to forget how to hit and we all start complaining again.

  9. Isn’t there a surgeon general’s warning about attending Marlins games while pregnant? Something about the overwhelming levels of apathy being inconducive to a happy, healthy childhood.

    At least as bad as smoking.

  10. What do you guys think the lineup will look like when McCann returns? Will Chipper continue his descend?

  11. @21


    L/R/L/R from start to finish. When Ross spots Mac Chipper would move up to the five hole. Against tough LHP you might see a more unbalanced lineup.

    Although when Constanza plays you’d be more likely to see him and AAG switch spots and have him “lead off again” in front of the pitcher.

  12. Gibson and Manual appear to be frontrunners, but Fredi is in the mix I’m afraid. He’d deserve it as much as Jeter deserves his Gold Gloves.

  13. what better way to cool a hot streak, than have a day off then a HOF ceremony for Bobby?
    Doom is in the air.

  14. Pre-1994, we would be talking about next year at this point.

    Just think of this–Uggla’s streak is 31; he isn’t even really close to DiMaggio. He would have to get a hit in every game the rest of this month and about half of September just to tie the record. And DiMaggio hit in another 16 straight after the streak was broken.

  15. Does everybody hate batting the pitcher eighth and Constanza ninth to get Jose and Bourn back to back?

  16. @26 – I’m not that old and even I remember 91-93 post-August being pretty damn exciting. I seem to remember something about a man named Bream…no maybe it was Brown….Martha where’s my geritol?

  17. Everbody knows this, but I looked it up anyway:

    1941 was unique. DiMaggio hit in 56 straight, then 16 more after “the streak” was broken for one game. He was voted the AL MVP. Certainly his statistics bear out that he was a worthy choice.

    In 139 games that year, DiMaggio hit .357 with a .440 OBP and slugged .643. He hit 30 home runs, scored 122 runs, drove in 125, walked 76 times and struck out only 13 times all year. Joe D. was 26.

    Ted Williams hit .406 with 37 home runs, a .553 OBP and a .735 slugging percentage while scoring 135 runs and knocking in 120. He walked 147 times and struck out 27 times in 143 games. The Kid was 22.

    Jeez, Louise.

  18. Marc’s point @ 26, I think, was that we’re 8.5 out, so under pre-1994 rules (i.e., pre-wildcard), there wouldn’t be much hope left for this year. Which is why the wildcard is great – without it, the likely second best team in the league would be effectively out of the playoff chase with 8 weeks to play.

    And @34, T-Bone was George Costanza’s self-styled nickname.

  19. Man, its tough. Hurdle has done a great job, but they more than likely will finish under .500 again this season. However, they’ve lost 94+ games 6 years in a row. Manuel has done a great job, but he was expected to be successful.

  20. Five games up in the WC looks comfortable, but comparing schedules, the DBacks, Giants and Cards appear to have a much, much softer schedule than the Braves. Cubs, Pirates, Astros, Dodgers and Rockies all over. Things are going to remain interesting until the very end I assume.

  21. @27,

    Well, I meant that, without the wildcard the Braves would pretty much be out of it even with the second best record in the league. If this was the pre-1969 system, the Phillies would be printing World Series tickets (although that didn’t work out so well in 1964).

    Even though this system obviously helps the Braves now(and makes the season more interesting generally), there was something about the purity of the non-division set up that is appealing. (With that system, the Braves would have been in the World Series in 1993, 1997, 1998
    2002, 2003, and 2004, in addition to 1992, 1995, 1996, and 1999, but not in 1991.) You knew the best teams were going to be in the World Series; now it’s often just the teams that get hot at the right time. Think about, for example, a 106 game winning Braves team playing a 114 win Yankee team in 1998. Granted, the Yankees swept the Braves in 1999 but the 1998 team was a lot better and it would certainly have been a better match-up than Yankees-Padres and would probably have generated a lot more interest.

    1941 was unique in a lot of ways.

  22. Fredi did the “pitcher batting 8th” thing only three times – 8/1, 8/3 and 8/5. Since 8/6, for the last five games, he has had Constanza hitting 8th and the pitcher hitting 9th, excepting the game Boscan caught (Constanza 7th, Boscan 8th, pitcher 9th.)

    It looks like the pitcher hitting 8th idea was something they tried out, the pitchers didn’t like it, so they went back to the more traditional lineup.

  23. @33, except the MVP in ’41 was Williams.

    .406/.553/.735 234OPS+ 37HR

    Dimaggio –
    .357/.440/.643 184OPS+ 30HR

    /sorry, pet peeve of mine

  24. For all the Selig-bashing, the Braves would not have made the playoffs last season and we would not be thinking about playoffs this season without him and his wild card.

  25. And of course the ’41 streak was not DiMaggio’s longest — he had a 61-game hitting streak for the SF Seals in 1933.

  26. Pastornicky is up to 100 PA in AAA. He’s hitting .416. That’s a pretty prolonged hot streak to start out a level in the high minors.

  27. @41 – That’s right. We would have had to win something to make the playoffs instead.

  28. I’m assuming McCann will take the cleanup spot when he returns. He’s a better hitter than Uggla and he has seniority (which matters, whether or not it should). Also, I think Chipper will go back to batting third should he ever get healthy enough to start every day.

  29. This team is pretty well constructed. Let’s imagine for a moment that Pastornicky keeps up his surreal AAA hitting. Suddenly, Wren can take a really long vacation after the season ends. What’s left? With Moylan and Medlen coming back, he has five months to get a lefty specialist and a backup shortstop. That’s it. As well as the team’s playing this year, it’s equally set up for 2012.

  30. Pastornicky’s AAA streak is pretty much the equivalent of Constanza’s ML streak, no?

  31. I have no idea. We don’t have the same level of batted ball data, and I haven’t seen any of his games.

  32. I beg to differ re the 1941 MVP:

    Rank Name Team Points 1st Place Votes Vote Share
    1 Joe DiMaggio NYY 291 15 87%
    2 Ted Williams BOS 254 8 76%
    3 Bob Feller CLE 174 0 52%
    4 Thornton Lee CHW 144 1 43%
    5 Charlie Keller NYY 126 0 38%
    6 Cecil Travis WSH 101 0 30%

  33. Pastornicky’s AAA streak is pretty much the equivalent of Constanza’s ML streak, no?

    Not when the latter hasn’t had even half as many PAs as the former.

  34. Pastornicky is hitting .416/.448/.472 over 100 plate appearances. Over that time he has 2 doubles and 1 HR. Every other hit has been a single. He’s managed 6 walks in that time.

    I think it’s pretty safe to assume that he’s locked in at the plate and hitting line drives for singles, or legging out infield hits. He’s not driving the ball that much at all (as attested by only three extra base hits total.)

    He’s basically having a sustained streak virtually identical to Constanza’s ‘hot hand’ in the Majors.

  35. Not when the latter hasn’t had even half as many PAs as the former.

    The lengths people will go to avoid questioning their own assumptions always stuns me, even now.

  36. The lengths people will go to avoid questioning their own assumptions always stuns me, even now.

    Really? So sample size is irrelevant to you?

  37. Really? So sample size is irrelevant to you?

    The difference between 49 PA and 100 PA is irrelevant to me and statistics.

  38. @46/JoeyT: I’d say there’s a decent chance that Chipper retires after the season. You’ve got some positional flexibility in terms of filling that hole, since Prado can play third or left field, but the 3B free agent class looks really thin, OF isn’t too much better (at least in the Braves’ price range), and knowing the way Wren operates I think he’s much more likely to make an acquisition via trade to fill that potential hole.

  39. To invoke Voros’ Law, “Anyone can hit just about anything over 60 at bats.” 100 isn’t sufficiently removed from 60 to make the point any less relevant to Pastonicky’s start in AAA.

  40. The difference between 49 PA and 100 PA is irrelevant to me and statistics.

    Nonsense. Constanza has convinced a lot of gullible people that watch the Braves into thinking he’s something he is not all in the course of only those 49 PAs. In another 49, while on his way to matching Pastornicky’s current PA total, Constanza could just as easily convince them he sucks.

  41. I grudgingly agree with Sam. 100 PA really isn’t sufficient to say Pastornicky is ready to face MLB pitching. That said, if Pastornicky does turn out to be a high-contact, low power, slap-hitting type, that’s much easier to tolerate in a shortstop than in a corner outfielder. That’s especially true because the Braves have basically no better option for 2012, with a truly lousy shortstop FA class and all the good trade options out of their price range.

  42. Of course back in 1941 Ted Williams was such a jerk to the press that two or three writers left him completely off their MVP ballot. If even one of them had voted him 2nd, he would beaten DiMaggio out for the MVP.

    Classic case of reaping what you sow.

  43. Yes, the sample size is too small. But yes, the results are enough to get a little excited about his prospects. Good grief, does every post have to contain a handbook of all the statistical principles previously internalized by the poster in order to avoid these banal pronouncements on what is and is not meaningful? So begins another increasingly boring daily slog through the Braves Journal comment section….

  44. Classic case of reaping what you sow.

    Seems more like a classic case of allowing petty personality issues to to trump your responsibilities to the game.

    plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  45. #36: Manuel of course was expected to be successful, but many preseason picks had the Braves winning the NL East. The Phillies look like they’re not only going to win the East, but they’re dusting the Braves in doing it. I kept hearing during spring training how we had the better starting pitching, but their #4 and 5 guys are complementing their Big 3 very well. Manuel’s done a great job and there should be no question he ought to win Manager of the Year should things maintain the way they are.

  46. Nonsense. Constanza has convinced a lot of gullible people that watch the Braves into thinking he’s something he is not all in the course of only those 49 PAs. In another 49, while on his way to matching Pastornicky’s current PA total, Constanza could just as easily convince them he sucks.

    No. What is happening here is you like Pastornicky, so you take his streak at AAA as meaningful (because you don’t like AAG.) You dislike Constanza (because he’s displaced your favorite player or something) so you discount his streak. I honestly don’t care which side of the fence you fall on, but at least have the good grace to pick a side and stick with it.

    If small sample streaks are meaningless, they are meaningless. Thus, Pastornicky’s AAA numbers are meaningless. If small sample streaks are meaningful, Constanza’s ML numbers are meaningful. Either/or, kiddo. Pick or choose. Just maintain some sort of intellectually honest position, please.

    My position is that neither of them are going to continue at their current levels, but each of them should be played until they cool off. (Obviously Pastornicky should be played at AAA even beyond that, as the point is to get him reps and try to advance him beyond that level. When Constanza cools off, you want to play a player who helps the ML team win games in his place.)

    You’re spinning in circles to keep from admitting your dizzy headed at this point.

    Anon21, @61, makes a good point about positional adjustments, and if next year’s roster comes down to “Jose Constanza who plays the OF” and “Someone very much like Jose Constanza who plays the IF” you go with the IF option.

  47. Two more hits and Chipper passes Manny Ramirez and Richie Ashburn for 83rd on the all-time hits list with 2575. I will take pleasure in Chipper moving past Manny.

    I had hopes he would eventually move into the Top 50 all time, but he’d have to return next year to do that.

  48. Pre wild card Atlanta was in the West, so would have a five game lead. If the Boston sport writers had not left TW on their ballots he would have been MVP.

  49. Im a huge Heyward fan, but he looks lost out there right now. Might as well play Constanza. He’s playing well and producing. You gotta ride that out. Heyward has been awful since April.

  50. @65, etc.,

    A lot of writers didn’t like Williams, but DiMaggio had his issues too. A lot of people held it against him that he dared to hold out in 1937. Plus, there was still plenty of anti-Italian sentiment in the country so it all may have balanced out.

    I think it was the Yankees winning the pennant that gave DiMaggio the MVP, although there is no doubt that some writers were looking for reasons not to vote for Williams.

  51. @67:

    In case you failed to notice, never said anything about calling up Pastornicky or his streak being meaningful or anything of that sort. Maybe others did. But 100 PAs is a trifling amount, so why would anyone respect 49?

    That said, it’s hard to imagine Pastornicky being worse than the current .260-something OBP everyday starting short stop.

  52. Looking at Constanza’s AA and AAA stats, I believe he’s capable of a 290/340/340 line in the major leagues. This is not good enough IMO for an everyday player, but with his speed I would be okay with him as a 4th outfielder. I also have no problem with him getting playing time while he’s still hot. He will cool off eventually, but I don’t think it will be an immediate dropoff.

  53. Constanza’s speed and defense would seem to make him an ideal pinch-runner, defensive replacement and spot starter. I hope he keeps on hitting and sticks in the majors.

  54. His last three years in the minors suggest that 300/360/340 is not out of line. And a BA heavy 360 OBP is always useful.

  55. Regardless of the legitimacy of what he’s doing, I think Constanza basically has job security at this point. DOB, Bowman, and Joe Simpson have all been effusive in their praise for his particular skill set, and I think when the Great Organizational Mouthpiece Triumverate emphatically shares an opinion almost to the point of simultaneous orgasm, then you can pretty much count the decision as consummated. #roman orgies.

    If that’s the case, Heyward really, really needs to be in AAA. It’s almost criminal waste to have his service clock running up while he’s doing the 4th outfielder/pinch runner thing, not to mention the benefit that facing live pitching would offer to his development (please note that the previous opinion contains no value judgement on either Constanza’s or Heyward’s current relative skills).

  56. Regardless of the legitimacy of what he’s doing, I think Constanza basically has job security at this point. DOB, Bowman, and Joe Simpson have all been effusive in their praise for his particular skill set, and I think when the Great Organizational Mouthpiece Triumverate emphatically shares an opinion almost to the point of simultaneous orgasm, then you can pretty much count the decision as consummated. #roman orgies.

    Caray and Simpson have sure done a fine job of opiating the Braves fan masses with their nightly “speedy players are so great” orating.

  57. I think Constanza basically has job security at this point.

    A year of 130 OPS+, plus a sterling minor league pedigree trumped by 49PAs that look nothing like his track record. I don’t want to argue this any more, but that’s the fact.

  58. @78
    Until Chipper Jones retires, the Braves are going to be a team dependent on the spot starter/utility infielder with the ability to contribute offensively. Heyward, due to Prado’s flexibility, is that person right now. It sucks, but it is what it is. Hopefully he has a monstrous game soon and the Braves start giving equal rest to all players.

  59. Oh I’m right there with you Spike, I’m just saying that the rumblings from the various Braves outlets are giving me the feeling that we might end up on the wrong side of history, at least in the short term, in this case. If so, Heyward needs to be in the minors.

  60. If the D-Backs get into the post-season (or even play meaningful ball down the stretch), I think you have to give the Manager of the Year Award to Kirk Gibson.

    That team lost 97 games last year.

    Everyone’s Secret Fantasy: Watch the Phils continue to smoke the competition, win over 100 games, roll into the NLCS, then turn into the ’93 Braves, courtesy the ’11 Braves.

    I’m here in PhillieLand (south Jersey) this week & I wake up and see Phillies gear of all sorts, including Phillies tattoos, Chase Utley jerseys worn by cigarette-smoking, scowl-wearing locals, and lotsa sweaty folks filling out XXXL Phils T-shirts. Seems that the baseball team has finally assumed the Eagles’ place at the top of the Philly sports food chain, and good for them. If this team can’t bring these generally miserable people some joy, it can’t be had.

    I don’t especially hate this Phils team, to be honest, but I can’t help wanting to break their fans’ hearts in a very memorable way. Call it an evil sociology experiment.


  61. I’ve got a recommendation for the Glossary:

    Kid (alternately, Kiddo): (n.) Anyone Sam disagrees with. (A member of the unwashed masses.)

  62. #74 – “I believe he’s capable of a 290/340/340 line in the major leagues. This is not good enough IMO for an everyday player – td”

    Career –
    Juan Pierre .296/.346/.364
    Michael Bourn .271/.338/.359

    Baseball is changing and with his speed thats very useful. Bourn and Pierre are able to stick around and be everyday players. Constanza, if capable, could post a .300/.340/.340 line and play everyday for almost every team.

  63. Nate McLouth will be left off of the playoff roster (assuming we make it). Sucks for him. At this point, if he rehabbed and was ready by early September, would the Braves even carry him? I think he might get the boot…

    He’ll be a Pirate again next year.

  64. @87 – Will we go with a Michael Bourn and a Michael Bourn lite on an indefinite basis? I just don’t see it, although the outfield speed would be pretty impressive for next year.

  65. @90: I’m positive DOB has a post-it note on his fridge reminding him to use “Bourn ultimatum” come contract time.

  66. Constanza, if capable, could post a .300/.340/.340 line and play everyday for almost every team.

    At a corner OF spot? I seriously doubt it. At CF, sure.

  67. #94- yeah probably shouldnt have said every team. It would definitely be fine in CF. According to fangraphs, the qualified league average LF’r has put up
    .246/.335/.391 line. RF has far better OPS numbers, but check out the bottom 7 qualified RF’rs in OPS.

    Werth, Hunter, Heyward, Choo, Jackson, DeJesus, Ichiro.

  68. @95 I only got to see his first AB last night, but that’s definitely what he did. Standing straight up and moving towards first as he swung.

  69. Sure does suck to see Tiger have a share for the lead and then end up +7 all in the same day…(not)

  70. The third time he did it the pitcher more or less grimaced as if he’d roped a single through the hole at SS, because he knew there was no way the 2B was going to field cleanly and throw him out.

    When Joe and company are waxing poetic about “putting pressure on the defense” this is what they mean. One of the reasons they’re so roman_orgy about Bourn and Constanza is that they finally have two players who really *do* that, rather than a player they think *should* do that.

  71. @97 Wondering if my multi-tasking led me to the wrong impression yesterday, I went back and watched his three infield hits in the condensed game. The first one was indeed that play, the other two, on the other hand, were quite clearly not – on those he took his normal in-place swing. Still, that’s one more than I caught previously, so he might be putting more effort into getting infield hits than I first thought.

  72. I usually root for Braves players because 1) I want them to succeed as a Braves fan, and 2) I enjoy how it pisses off my Mets fan friends when they do well.

    These days I root for Braves players because 1) I want them to succeed as a Braves fan, and 2) I sort of enjoy how it pisses off my Braves fan ‘friends’ here when they do well.

  73. I sort of enjoy how it pisses off my Braves fan ‘friends’

    “Sort of”? Don’t sell yourself short.

  74. Sam,
    Lest you think all of us on here are against you, you are not alone in many of your opinions. My feeling on you is you are a person who appreciates the use of stats but realizes they are not the only thing there is to this baseball thing. Keep on keepin on my friend.

  75. I’ll make no bones about it, it really does kind of piss me off when Constanza does something well these days, as my roommate could attest after the vehement cursing that followed each of his singles last night. It’s a strange, strange feeling, and I admit that it might be grounds for questioning my fanhood, but I think it might have something to do with rooting for players that I’m attached to more than the team. It’s why Lowe starts hold next to no appeal for me, while Beachy starts are an event. Every Constanza hit is a win for him and the Braves, but a loss for my chances to see Heyward on a regular basis. Eventually I’ll resign myself to Heyward’s new fate as 4th OF. I’ll drink some victory gin and be happy as Constanza legs out another single.

  76. “Sort of”? Don’t sell yourself short.

    *Counts the number of times he’s gone to CAC just to see if Peter’s had a heart attack yet*


  77. I agree with a fair amount of what Sam says but, as is often the case on the internet, he says it in a way that alienates most people.

  78. @108
    pete i’m right there with you…at least Proctor is gone and Nate is almost out the door.

  79. I definitely don’t root against T-Bone. He’s a great story and fun to watch, and I was the world’s biggest Greg White fan. I just want Jase to stay in there. Constanza reminds me of Josh Anderson, right down to the fact that he would have been a much better fit on that team, which had too many dreadful outfielders. This team has too many mediocre to average ones.

  80. I agree with a fair amount of what Sam says but, as is often the case on the internet, he says it in a way that alienates most people.

    Oh, I do that off the internet too.

  81. @113 – They exploited my primal fear of [rug] rats until I said “Do it to Jason!” All I really care about is myself.

  82. I think I need to start a band with that name, or at least write a country song with that title.

  83. Considering Heyward’s prolonged slump, and his now-apparent relegation to 4th-outfielder status, I’d rather he be getting regular at bats in Gwinnett than a pinch runner in Atlanta.

  84. Oh, good grief – an off day.

    Can we talk about football or the Hawks’ new owner or the dearth of drawn humor since Calvin and Hobbes disappeared?

    Anything but more “Heyward v. Constanza”. (Fascinating admission by PeteOrr, however …)

    I know, scroll down. But you can only scroll down so far.

  85. I’m sitting in a bookstore trying to study Japanese, and the in-house music just started playing an orchestral version of “Smooth Criminal” that may just be one of the most amazing things I’ve ever heard.

  86. Hey, have you noticed how this AAA callup has been starting recently, and Jason Heyward hasn’t been playing as much? What’s that all about?

  87. Anything that gets the Spirit out of the ownership racquet for local teams is good by me.

  88. Re: drawn humor, I’m a big fan of Pictures for Sad Children. It’s only updated about once a month and it’s certainly not for everybody, but I enjoy it even more than XKCD.

    For the crass and vulgar there is also Cyanide and Happiness, but it takes a fairly dark and warped sense of juvenile humor to enjoy. Like mine.

  89. I’m contemplating just how far I’d be willing to drive to see Tune-Yards live, because I’m obsessed. Chapel Hill? New Orleans? Dunno, but maybe….

    And once I get there, will I be able to admit that it was all just to hear her hit this note:

  90. i still have slim hopes that mclouth returns to form enough to capture that 4th OF spot from constanza by playoff roster time.

    It’s great what t-bone’s doing for the team’s sake (and for victory gin sales) but i really can’t see him still doing that a month and a half from now. i bet mclouth gets a fair shot at winning his spot back. especially now that we have a real center fielder.

  91. I meant to say:

    Braves on pace for 95 wins


    Phillies on pace for 107 wins.


  92. Perry Bible Fellowship. Not sure if he’s still drawing them, but they are the pinnacle of morbidly hilarious comics.

  93. Dangit, I used to read Dinosaur Comics religiously, but I stopped when I got my new laptop a couple of years ago and completely forgot about them. I knew something had been missing in life, I just couldn’t put a finger on what.

  94. Everyone eventually loves Fredi.

    Resistance is futile. When the Braves win the World Series, with Constanza holding up the World Series MVP award after hitting .500/.500/.500 during the contest, you’ll all love future NL Manager of the Year: Gonzalez.

  95. Man, Beltran is apparently might go on the DL now. Count me among the thankful that Wren didn’t give away Minor for significantly less than half of a season of Beltran (I already was among them, but this emphasizes it).

  96. Part of what’s fun about baseball is hoping. I’m pretty sure Constanza can’t keep it up, but I love watching and hoping, “Maybe this guy’s for real. Maybe he’s the new Ichiro.”

  97. Looking at the Braves stats for all players with at least one plate appearance, there are only two players with OBP over .400, and they are T-Bone and the Lisp.

    Brian McCann is tied for third on the team with J.C. Boscan at a .375 OBP.

    Okay, but seriously: Our team is 12th in OBP in the NL. Better than it was during the first half, but still: 12th?

  98. I want every pitcher he faces to drill Bryce Harper – not so much a beaning as a stoning.

    Makes a young Jordan Schafer look like Dale Murphy.

  99. Texas A&M looks like they might be coming to the SEC. This would also mean that AT LEAST one more team would be joining them.

    Oklahoma, Clemson, Va Tech, Missouri. Come one down.

  100. @153 They could be set up to play each other every year with a chance of playing for conference title at end of season. How are the oaks BTW?

  101. @155 They look really bad, but they keep saying there’s a chance they can recover. They are going to let people roll them this fall and remove the paper by hand.

  102. @156 My brother has a couple of graduate degrees from Auburn and teaches at Calhoun CC in Huntsville. He would say War Eagle.

  103. Maybe it’s the precious memories I have of mobs of students running around the tech campus and screaming ‘ to hell with georgia’ after dramatically beating *clemson* in ’04, but I’d be sad to lose the tigers to the sec. The SEC already has a Clemson clone in auburn anyway. Can’t you successful football conferences leave a beautiful, tree-lined campus for someone else to enjoy?!

  104. @157 War Eagle! That’s really cool.

    I moved to Baltimore today. I can’t wait to visit Camden Yards, but I’m not looking forward to having to actually watch the home team play.

  105. @160 Thanks, I have received the same advice before, and from what I’ve seen of this area… well. I’ll be lucky to make it out alive.

  106. Or Homicide: Life on the streets for that matter.

    I love Baltimore though – pretty earthy place for a city. Fell’s Point is awesome, used to have a great music scene – it has a Pittsburgh sort of blue collarness that seems a bit odd 60 miles from DC. Enjoy your time there.

  107. Or most of John Waters…in fact, just watch Diner.

    In all seriousness — I’ve never been there, but so much great stuff comes out of Baltimore in all cultural arenas that it must have a lot of character (not even being sarcastic).

  108. Auburn moving to the east may make the most sense, for Auburn, since UGA is their ‘natural rival’. I assume they would keep the Iron Bowl as the yearly rivalry game.

    Of course that screws up Alabama and Tennessee since Auburn would be Alabama’s protected rival in this scenario.

    I wonder if the SEC doesn’t go big and go for Oklahoma and A&M in the West and Clemson and GA Tech in the east. Maybe the SEC goes after FSU and Miami, which was the original plan when the SEC expanded to twelve teams.

  109. 159 – Camden Yards is awesome. The home team sucks, but you can watch a lot of good visiting teams go through there.

    It is kind of weird when Boston and the Yanks come there, it is almost cheaper for their fans to make a weekend of those games in Baltimore than buying really good seats for a series at Fenway or new Yankee.

    Really fun place, a real step back in time.

  110. I stayed in downtown Baltimore for about a week while my band rehearsed for a tour. We all were put up at a friend’s loft, which was actually one floor of an industrial warehouse. They had pet ducks they let fly throughout the massive level. A small area was curtained off for living space, where they had a vintage Scopitone machine and all kinds of old Scopitone videos. It was a wonderfully surreal few days in my life and it gives me the warm fuzzies when I think of Baltimore.

  111. @165 I’m dying to go see a game there, I’ll just have to pick one with a decent visiting club.

    @166 Yeah, not excited about the cold, but I do have an extensive outerwear collection that doesn’t get fully utilized in Auburn.

    @167 Wow, that is incredibly weird and awesome.

  112. I don’t think Oklahoma would care too much for what an SEC schedule would do for their national standing, but maybe the money is too good. Is this a real possibility?

  113. Before we’re off the subject of web comics, I’ll put in a word for three very good, very different strips:

    1) Axe Cop. Written by a 5-year-old (now 7-year-old) kid and drawn by his older brother. Totally liberated from any idea of story logic other than maximum hilarity and awesomeness.

    2) Hark! A Vagrant. Quick shot comics on everything from saucy Elizabethans to the Bronte sisters, and Nikola Tesla to Nancy Drew.

    3) Oglaf. It’s, uh, comedy fantasy porn. i.e., a comic that makes fun of fantasy cliches. With porn. (NWS. Duh.)

  114. Wait, if you take OU, do you have to take Oklahoma State? This could get out of hand in a hurry.

    Poaching a team from the ACC like Florida State or Virginia Tech seems much more likely. Then you add A&M to the West and the ACC team to the East. Florida State already has a natural rival in Florida.

  115. @164

    Ga Tech will never be allowed back in the SEC.
    Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech and Texas A&M are the teams to watch.

    Bama and Auburn would move to the East

  116. @171

    I agree. OSU and OU would be a package. I think Florida would protest FSU in the SEC. VA Tech or Clemson would be a more natural fit. Tech would give you the DC TV market.

  117. USC and UGA would never approve Clemson.

    I would think the SEC would want to add a TV market that it doesn’t already have.

  118. The claim is that the club didn’t know, and if they had they would not have done so to avoid a grievance. For whatever that’s worth.

  119. @175 – You gotta feel for the guy, injury problems, bad year, and probably has seen his last major league baseball game.

  120. Bad feelings for davies are tempered by the fact that he got by far the most chances of any pitcher in baseball history with an era as bad as his. He had the highest era of any starter who threw more than 700 innings. I’m thinking jojo reyes might challenge this record eventually, but for now, davies did less with more to an historic degree.

  121. My dissertation is about 19th century Baltimore, and I’ve spent a fair amount of time there in recent years. I feel a strange kinship with the city now. I also get defensive about it when people from the DC suburbs (or wherever) crack jokes. It’s a deeply troubled city, but there is a lot of good there too–a lot of community and life amidst the blight.

  122. I don’t know, spike, it was pretty much over for him five years ago when he went to KC. He’s had good looking stuff, except when injured, but only one modestly successful year. I’d say he’s done.

  123. I have some friends in Baltimore. I’ve never been terribly impressed with the city. You should check out the aquarium in Inner Harbor, though, if you’re into such things. It’s worth a trip.

  124. I guarantee you he will be at least an NRI at the very least next season. And I’d say his odds of getting a gig due to injury or emergency are pretty good.

  125. Like any larger city, Baltimore has some really grim areas — maybe more than its fair share. Fells Point is still cool, and JoeyT is right about the aquarium. The old rail/shipping baron Victorian neighborhood near Johns Hopkins is kinda nice. Otherwise, I strongly recommend you come down to DC. The baseball’s better here too, especially when the Braves are in town.

  126. @189 I’ll definitely be coming down for the next Braves series there, I can’t wait. I’ve been to DC before and it wasn’t as rough as it is here.

  127. Governor Warner twisted arms to keep UVA from approving Invitation for Syracuse to ACC. As a UVA grad I would not regret VipySue leaving but state appoints Board of Visitors. VippySue plays so many dogs teams out of conference and would suffer in SEC as their record against top teams shows.

  128. Jeff, didn’t know you were in DC. Too bad – I just left, moving to Boston Monday. Any Braves Journalers in the Hub?

    Bethany, I concur with others: Baltimore has some beautiful parts. Fells Point, the Waterfront, and the Aquarium, of course, but also Charles Village (around Hopkins) and the Monument District.

    And, yeah, watch The Wire. It’s amazing, it’s horrific, don’t go to those neighborhoods, but it’s the best show ever. You gotta see it.

  129. #190
    Baltimore definitely has some charm. And if you’re ever down for a beverage, try Club Charles, a little north of Camden Yards & the art college, just on the other side of I-83.

    It’s not really a club, just a bar with a good jukebox. It’s the watering hole for a lotta art students (and John Waters himself). If you go, you’ll see why. Lotta interesting folks.

  130. looked it up. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. VPI. I guess that’s never used anymore.

  131. AAR – Sorry we never connected here, but enjoy Boston. I went to college in Mass. and have always enjoyed Boston, except for the all the Red Sox fans.

  132. I was an intern in the Senate one summer and some of us drove up to Baltimore, sat in the front row in CF and heckled Melvin Mora after his third or fourth error of the day, got burned to a crisp, saw Cal Ripken in his final season. That was a good day in a beautiful place for baseball.

  133. So apparently it’s the San Francisco Giants chasing us in the Wild Card.

    Houston didn’t seem to have much trouble building up commanding leads on the Diamondbacks this series. Maybe they ought to take a look at the Proctologist? Couldn’t hurt. Well, on second thought…

    We’re 5 games up on the Giants. I really hope we poke a few eyes and kick a few shins these next 10 games against the Cubs and the Giants. That’ll set us up well for our visit with Arizona, who looks like they might be playoff caliber after all.

    Does anyone think the Giants will win their division?

  134. I still think the Giants are likely to win. Their pitching is still better than Arizona; it’s hard for me to believe that Arizona can keep playing like they have.

    The other thing, though, is, I was assuming that, if the Braves made the playoffs, they would play SF because they would likely have a better record than the Central winner. Now, that seems problematic. Assuming that Milwaukee wins the Central, we might be faced with playing them. Is that good or bad? Milwaukee has been incredibly tough at home but, until this most recent trip, really bad on the road.

  135. I think it’s more likely the Central winner will have the better record. There’s a whole lot of intra-division to close the season, and the bottom of the Central is ridiculous.

  136. “I’d rather face a guy like Barry Bonds than someone like [Constanza],” Braves pitcher Tim Hudson said.

    Oh, come on. This is getting silly.

  137. Your gonna get this type of ‘reporting’ when a career minor leaguer gets a chance. Brooksie got a lot of storys written about him. The quote from Hudson is silly. Really Tim?

    There seems to be a universal fascination with slap and run guys.

  138. Like Johnny said, the press loves these “Rudy” stories. I remember Kevin Ray getting quite a few articles and heavy praise from the Braves’ mouthpieces a few years back.

  139. 202: Maybe Huddy meant he’d rather face the disgraced, out of shape, 47-year-old Barry Bonds that hasn’t swung at major league pitching in four years?

  140. 202: Maybe Huddy meant he’d rather face the disgraced, out of shape, 47-year-old Barry Bonds that hasn’t swung at major league pitching in four years?

    Probably still a better hitter, frankly. Shame Bonds was colluded out of the game a few years back.

    Who is “Kevin Ray”?

  141. After some thought, it seems #205 meant Ken Ray: the cruddy relief pitcher with the Braves in 2006 that had a good couple of months in the first half of the season.

    Ray is now with the Lamigo Monkeys baseball team in Taiwan.

  142. @209, Yes, KEN Ray. When someone uses the term “journeyman” I think of him and how we heard about his whole life story every time he pitched.

    Can someone please tell me how to use italics on this blog? I’ve tried a few different things but to no avail.

  143. The tag for italics is either i or em or both will work.

    So put i or em between less than and greater than signs and around what you want to italicize.

    edit: oh, and close the tag in the second one with a slash /

    2nd edit: what an awful explanation. Sorry.

  144. Ken Ray? You must mean “Death” Ray. And by cruddy, perhaps you mean “earth-shattering”?

    Italics – use the alligator brackets (lesser than/greater than symbols) around i and /i. So: italicized phrase without the spaces. Make sure to close the tag.

    Nice, it auto-removes the spaces.

    Here – remove the ?s.

    Another fail, looks like we’re good though.

  145. Test.

    EDIT: Thanks, guys! Or should I say thanks, guys to make it sound like I’m being sarcastic? :)

  146. Even when Ray was going good, you could read between the lines of some Cox quotes that basically said Ray would be buried as soon as his hot streak ended, which Cox expected to happen at any moment. He knew what he had in old Death Ray….

  147. Dwight Eisenhower: I would rather face that Wehrmacht anytime rather than that pesky Italian army.

  148. Hudson’s quote is silly if taken literally, though as a former pitcher I understand what he’s getting at.

    Costanza can be useful – not as much as he’s been, but useful nonetheless – if he stays within his game, which is slapping the ball and running like crazy. If he tries to do much more he’ll get in trouble. I’m pretty sure I’d rather have him as a possible 4th outfielder type instead of Louth.

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