175 thoughts on “No it isn’t game thread: Giants at Braves, Aug. 15”

  1. Re the “calls a great game notion” from the previous – I’ve never understood it. When the guy on the mound has veto power, or some significant number of pitches get called from the bench, I don’t really think this exists.

  2. Depends on the pitcher.

    Smoltz, Glavine, Maddux in their prime? Probably doesn’t matter as much. (Although Maddux certainly banished Javey for a reason.)

    A rookie making his, what, tenth major league start? Yeah, I think it matters.

  3. @1
    Really? Oh my. CERA is a weird stat but McCann’s CERA in the Minor Leauges was almost a full run less than Salty’s and they caught virtually the same pitchers. Call it bogus but a whole run over thousands of Minor League innings is a huge difference.

    Also, framing the pitches to get a called strike is a very valuable skill (the ability to get the mitt outside of the ball/zone and have the mitt moving toward the zone instead of away). McCann is probably the best in the league at framing pitches that are not strikes to look like strikes.

    And the “veto” power thing. McCann is known to be a studier of film. Calling a good game means that the said pitcher doesn’t have to veto the catcher because the catcher knows what the hell he’s doing. We take it for granted but how many times is McCann actually vetoed. I can’t imagine anything more frustrating for a pitcher than a catcher that doesn’t understand the pitcher’s mentality. McCann has always seemed in sync with his staff.

  4. McCann has made a lot of improvements on blocking the plate. I would say yesterday was a combination of rust and a fear of hurting himself again.

  5. Vizcanio’s stuff could be so good that it is as hard to catch as it is to hit.

    (I am all about the silver linings)

  6. I’m calling a 1-3 night from Heyward with a HR and a walk, followed by a return to the bench tomorrow when Chipper’s back in.

  7. @3, One, wouldn’t CERA also be a function of, you know, catching the ball and throwing out base stealers and stuff? Two, why would a minor league comparison against Salty be particularly instructive? I mean so what if he’s better than Salty? That’s not an affirmative Mcann Is Good argument, let alone McCann Calls A Good Game.

  8. @11
    The pitchers McCann has caught have always raved about him behind the plate calling a good game, and really this above anything else must’ve separated McCann and Salty (it most definitely wasn’t Minor Leauge offensive stats, arm, or the ability to block baseballs).

    The reason I pointed to the stat is simply for the fact of taking one major league catcher who caught pitchers and comparing him to another major league catcher that caught the same pitchers. CERA is probably a bogus stat for the most part, but if two catchers catch the same players and one allows 1 run less a game on an average for over 2500 innings, there’s probably something to it.

    So, a run better than Salty for his Minor League career, his pitchers rave about his ability to call a good game, and the fact that, thanks to Mac, he’s the best in the league at framing pitches, I’d have to say that McCann calls a purty good game.

  9. The pitchers McCann has caught have always raved about him behind the plate calling a good game, and really this above anything else must’ve separated McCann and Salty

    It was more that McCann was already established as a star when Salty reached the majors.

  10. @18
    I disagree. In 2005, Salty was only one level below McCann and only a year younger. With superior skills (on paper) in every physical regards to the game (running, catching, throwing, hitting), there must’ve been something the Braves liked about McCann that Salty lacked to give him an opportunity to catch a veteran staff at age 21.

  11. @11. pitchers rave about lots and lots of catchers. You’ll forgive me if I don’t find this particularly compelling. Also, Salty and McCann never caught at the same level in the same year – so perhaps some commonality of pitchers, but differnt stages of development and opposition. I don’t really see it as an apples to apples comparison. Framing pitches also has nothing to do with “calling a good game”. And what about guys who call a good game to crappy pitchers? Do they get raved about? “Jimmy called for the slider away, which was perfect, but I hung it and we lost again”.

  12. @18 What? You seriously think Salty would have gotten the call in 2005 if he “called as good a game” as McCann? You are joking.

  13. “Asked Fredi G about starters and he said for first time that #Braves are considering using 6-man rotation to give everyone extra rest.”

    I guess more time between Lowe starts are a good thing…

  14. @20
    I would think it would be more along the line of knowing the opposition and from everything I’ve read, McCann really studies batters. Here’s what Eddie Perez said about McCann…

    “Everybody was talking about Saltalamacchia,” Perez said. “When I saw Mac, I said, ‘Well, he’s O.K.’ But when I started to know him and talk to him, I said, ‘This kid’s going to be good, because he wants to get better, he wants to learn.’ He was 21 or 22, but he was ready to go and he was asking questions: ‘What do I need to do to get better?’ Something the other guy never had. I never saw that from anybody, especially another catcher.”

    It could be as simple as that. It could be that McCann calls a better game because he wants to learn. I most definitely believe it. It seems like our coaches and pitchers believe it.

  15. 1. I don’t much like CERA as a stat.

    2. I think McCann is a fine defensive catcher.

    3. Yesterday, McCann was not a fine defensive catcher.

    4. McCann is on record saying his balky back is a lot more problematic behind the plate than swinging.

    5. Time’s up.

  16. When is that quote from? Look I love the guy as much as anyone, but finding praiseworthy quotes of McCann just isn’t very hard, especially after the fact ones. He’s a great baseball player, I can live with that – being or not being the greatest game caller doesn’t change that

  17. @21
    Didn’t mean to imply that. McCann was at AA at the time and was only 21. McCann, Salty, and Brayan Pena were all in the organization. Estrada was the starting catcher (injured) and Eddie Perez was the backup. To call McCann up from AA at 21 when there were many other options out there, including Salty at High A (the Braves did call up Furcal straight from High A) shows me that the organization knew something about McCann that we didn’t, and it wasn’t his advantage offensively.

  18. I don’t know if this is true, but a friend told me they heard a quote from McCann that is one of his all-time favorites. He claims McCann said, “I pride myself in being humble.” If true, that is an all-time classic.

  19. @24

    Sorry for not following the outline of Sam’s journal. I will try to keep my posts directed toward you from now on…

  20. I have been saying for a whole that a 6 man rotation in September would be a good idea if we had a decent lead.

    This is an important week for our Bravos

  21. To call McCann up from AA at 21 when there were many other options out there, including Salty at High A (the Braves did call up Furcal straight from High A) shows me that the organization knew something about McCann that we didn’t, and it wasn’t his advantage offensively.

    Gosh I would argue that it was exactly that – that they saw something in his game that would be more successful at the ML level, and to date, that’s been borne out, and he was a year older and had already shown success at the level Salty was just starting.

  22. @30
    Ok. We’ve got a difference in opinion. Unfortunately there’s not much statistically that can prove/disprove this argument. CERA is obviously weak, but that, the frame jobs, my eyes, pitchers seemingly shaking off McCann less than other catchers, and coaches’ and players’ praise are all that my opinion is based on.

  23. McCann is fine. He has gotten better behind the plate. There is also a fair chance he has never caught Vizcanio

  24. Well, technically, if you are going to claim McCann game calling is both superior and material, it’s incumbent on you to substantiate it, and there just doesn’t look to be much data to hang your hat on here.

  25. @33
    Oh, and one more thing, McCann’s ability to frame pitches outside the strike zone to “look” like strikes would most definitely be a plus to his “ability to call a good game”. It means he can call more balls outside the K zone to expose hitters’ weaknesses without it costing his pitcher a ball.

    There is data but it’s obviously not enough for you, which is fine.

  26. Prado better make up for this crap. He has been barely replacement level since returning from his injury–and now he cost Hudson 10 pitches or so.

  27. I just learned that AAG came over last season to “shore up the defense.”

    Well, at least nobody from the national crew has said “fisted” yet.

  28. There is data but it’s obviously not enough for you, which is fine.
    erm, who exactly is it enough for, besides yourself?

  29. Spike, what do you want from me? I put stock into a catcher calling a good game and the few statements and stats that back it up. I’m sure others do as well. I’m sure there are people that don’t, such as yourself.

  30. C’mon guys, I don’t get a chance to see y’all very often on the teevee. Why you gotta do this to me?

  31. @50, nothing, that came across far more snarky than I intended. I should have framed it as “Point me to some other sources, I am genuinely interested in other opinions on this.”

    My sincere apologies.

  32. Seriously, Heyward looks lost.

    It’s all good, my man. It did come across a bit snarky which I thought was uncharacteristic of you. I should’ve known better. So. The mets suck, right?

  33. Ok, so I don’t know what’s going on but speed is trying to pimpslap this blog right now.

  34. That would have extended the hitting streak to thirty-five if it weren’t for Darwin Barney. (Honestly, what a stupid name.)

  35. Really sad when I have more faith in AAG than Heyward to make something happen.

  36. Last two hitters have crushed the ball.

    Which means it’s time for Joe West to reassert himself. Douche.

  37. This isn’t smart, but I think on SAMs journal, criticizing Fredis decision making is illegal.


  38. Bravo to Sean McDonough for questioning Fredi’s bunting predilection and Hudson’s turn at the plate.

  39. Even if Hudson pitches three more innings, that’s a terrible decision. More likely, he gets in trouble and has to come out soon anyway. It’s not like he’s been mowing ’em down.

  40. Ok, so assuming (it’s pretty safe, given the Giants’ pen) that the Bravos don’t come back, how much of a loss to you assign to Fredi from that one fucking indefensible decision? It’s not a whole loss, because Chipper or Conrad (or Ross ha ha ha) could make an out there, too. Also, they could have ended the inning tied even so. Maybe a solid 2/5ths of a loss? That’s gotta get his season total down near 10 now.

  41. The old book, the new book, it doesn’t matter. Fredi Gonzalez has no clue what he’s doing.

  42. Not pinch hitting for Huddy at this point of the game is completely insane. I have given up. No more hope on Fredi.

  43. Bourn has now made the final out of an inning three times, each time with men on base. And yes, Prado has led off the subsequent inning with a worthless at bat.

  44. Fredi went way down in my book when he pitched around Ty Wigginton to get to Carlos Gonzalez last month. And as we’ve seen the last two days, he doesn’t understand the concept of the “high-leverage situation.” He shows all the traits of a manager who doesn’t have confidence to be flexible given the game situation and instead sticks stubbornly to his game plan. This franchise can do better — the problem is, I don’t believe it wants to.

  45. Did someone rip the arms off of our bullpen guys? There can’t be any other rational explanation for Hudson’s presence.

  46. Per Bowman, Bumgarner had a 6 pitch 7th inning after starting off at 106 pitches. High fives all around.

  47. Boys boys boys. Everything has to be Fredi’s fault, right? Bourn’s 6 men LOB is the manager’s fault too, I suppose. And Prado’s horrible game–all of that is on Fredi now, undoubtedly. But let’s assume that you boys don’t have all of the answers for a moment and return to reality. I suppose none of you can recognize the importance of saving the bullpen after Beachy couldn’t get through 6 yesterday, and before Delgado pitches tomorrow? I suppose you have all managed a 162-game season? It must be nice to sit on your high horses and judge professionals who work hard at their jobs all the while none of you have ever even smelled the inside of a locker room.

    Let’s try to reign in the cattiness, eh boys?

  48. If Fredi after the game says, “Look, Hudson is our only pitcher who can go deep into games right now. I’m managing for the rest of the week here, resting the ‘pen cause they’ll be needed, and counting on our hitters to create more opportunities” then I’ll still think it was a bad idea, but I’ll understand. But he won’t–he’ll blab about how Huddy is a great bunter and that was just bad luck blah blah blah.

  49. @98, Well in all fairness, Fredi would have to say the latter even if he was operating under the former – but he has done little to date to make me believe that that was his strategy.

  50. @97

    Makes a lot of sense in a world in which Fredi is ambivalent to bunting. This is not that world.

  51. @97

    Hows the view from your high horse? And yes, saving the bullpen at the cost of run(s) is not a sound strategy, especially when playing your wild card competition in a close game. You never know what happens tomorrow, you have to take your shot at the win in a winnable game (which tonight was).

  52. @97 Adam, we have a game to win here. What if Delgado gave up 5 runs in the first inning? Then EOF, Venters and Kimbrel will not even be needed. There is a game to be won tonight.

    Fredi can’t control Bourn’s at-bat or Prado’s terrible game, but he could pinch hit for huddy.

  53. You know, if you don’t have faith in Heyward against lefties, wouldn’t that have been a good spot to pinch-hit?

  54. The Braves are going to make things interesting this season. Their starting pitching has abandoned them, they still have some major holes in the lineup, and their manager is quite possibly mentally handicapped. Buckle up, folks. The season will come down once again to a race between the Braves and two NL West teams.

  55. Yes, one does hope the team and management fully understands how important this series is!

    Has someone already said this? i’d like to see Heyward get a shot at batting second again. Prado’s not really doing anything now, and wasn’t that where Heyward did the best last year?

    He’d probably get some better pitches with McCann/Uggla/Freeman behind him, yeah?

  56. @97

    There are certain things a manager can’t control. A reliable center fielder’s error, Prado’s hacking, Uggla’s earlier slump … the manager’s impact on these is minimal. I accept that Fredi has as much impact on these circumstances as I do, so I judge him on the moments within his control.

    At those — game decisions like the one in the sixth and others we’ve seen this year — he ignores tactical flexibility and adheres to his “book” way too often, perhaps so he doesn’t have to make a decision. That’s easy, borderline lazy tactical management. Advanced managing is making a call based on the situation at hand that goes against the “book” but incorporates more variables. At this, he has failed the last two days and at other moments this year.

    When a manager makes choices as Fredi has, he becomes nothing more than a Billy Beane interchangeable part, and a pitching-reliant team that plays a high ratio of close games needs something more than that in the dugout.

    @113 — My bad. Sarcasm doesn’t always come across well via the written word. Still felt cathartic to type, though.

  57. @103

    Thanks for pointing that out. This game made me a little testy


    Your comment is now hilarious

  58. My apologies everyone – just trying to have some fun. Thought it would be more obvious.

    The Braves are insistent upon breaking our hearts tonight. Bastards.

  59. I fail to see why giving away an out to a wild pitcher, down by 2, is a necessity.

    Oh look, Prado is up.

  60. Sorry, Smitty, but Bourn isn’t Schafer, with no other realistic chance of getting a hit.

  61. Following online — did we just give up one of our three remaining outs down two runs and a .300 hitter at the plate? We did? Oh. I see. Thank you. *shoots self*

  62. He couldn’t score with Rowand out there?

    So here we go. Man on 3rd, less than 2 outs, gotta get him in.

  63. Ok Uggla… no ground balls at infielders, no strikeouts, no popups. Just hit the ball in the air, as you do.

    Gotta think Affeldt is coming to face Freeman and Heyward, right?

  64. 132: With Bourne, a really good hitter who also doesn’t get doubled up? A lot of risks for swinging away are mitigated with a hitter like that at bat.

  65. LOL.

    We totally deserved that one and didn’t deserve it at all, all at once.

    Quality managing job by Fredi to get us a backbreaking walkoff win instead of a run-of-the-mill win. He’s obviously highly in tune with the psychological side of the game.

  66. Agreed, Adam. The Braves fear no facial hair!

    “… And a crushing defeat for the Giants,” says Sean McDonough.

  67. We beat the beard dude. Nice! This is a game we should have lost, so I guess it goes a little ways to making up for yesterday’s debacle.

    Nice clutch there, Freddie!

  68. Yeah, 155. That was some playoff-type shit there, in mid-august. love it!

    and he was down to 1-2. so dramatic. great stuff. see you tomorrow.

  69. Also, St. Louis just lost and the D-bags and Phils (am I being redundant?) have an off day.

  70. (Paraphrasing) Don just sent it back to the Atlanta with, “Hey guys, 42 years ago today they had the concert at Woodstock. One of the bands that played there was the Grateful Dead, who came from the Bay Area in San Francisco, where the Giants play. But now maybe the Giants are going to go by The Who.”

    I have no idea what that really means but I thought it should be recorded for posterity.

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