Braves 5, Nats 2

Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – September 01, 2011 – ESPN.

The Braves actually won a series against the Nats! Okay, it doesn’t seem like much but those guys have tortured us.

The Braves broke on top in the first with a solo homer by Brian McCann. (This after Jose Constanza, hitting second, grounded into a fielder’s choice to erase Michael Bourn, then was caught stealing. I won’t say that Constanza has turned into a pumpkin, but he is seemingly turning rounder and more orange. Maybe he’s turning into Phil Fulmer.) Chipper Jones hit an opposite-field homer in the second ot make it 2-0, and in the fourth Eric Hinske, getting the start at first, singled in Dan Uggla.

Jayson Werth cut it to 3-1 with a monster shot in the sixth, but that was the only run Tim Hudson allowed; he gave up five hits and two walks and struck out five. Fredi hit for him in the bottom of the inning, despite Tim having thrown only 86 pitches. Whatever. Anyway, the Braves did get the run back that inning when Alex Gonzalez singled in Uggla with two out, though Matt Diaz, hitting for Hudson, didn’t get another hit to extend the lead.

Eric O’Flaherty cruised through the seventh. Jonny Venters had a weird eighth that almost turned the game around. He gave up a leadoff infield single (it looked like Uggla double-clutched when AAG was briefly in his way; he still might have actually made the play). The runner advanced on a groundout then stole third, and Venters completely lost the strike zone, walking the next two and then going 3-0 on Michael Morse. Morse then obliged on a 3-1 pitch with a ground ball to Chipper to end the inning… only Chipper just out and dropped the ball, 4-2 all hands safe, go-ahead runs on base. Venters then went into Hero Mode and struck out the next two, easily. Like I said, weird.

In the bottom of the inning, the Braves got the run back, again. Jason Heyward tripled down the line with one out, and scored on an AAG sac fly. Craig Kimbrel allowed a single up the middle — a rare hard line-drive off of him — but otherwise struck out the side.

134 thoughts on “Braves 5, Nats 2”

  1. Hudson always seems to give up homers to the big names, guys like Werth, Pujols, Howard, seems like he never gets burned by the nobodies.

  2. JC’d from previous thread:

    DG- “Quick, someone get Todd Coffey an emergency hamburger. That guy is a disgraceful blob. Maybe some of these “athletes” like Coffey need to set a better example.”

    “I understand that parenting plays a large role, but these guys get lots of media time to show kids an example, positive or negative.”

    If you think kids are eating McDonalds because Todd Coffey is fat, you’re an idiot.

    Todd Coffey is nobody’s role model.

    But if I had a kid who was overweight, I’d show him that players like Heath Bell, Todd Coffey, and Eric Hinske are able to play baseball at the highest level, even though they struggle to control their weight. Maybe it would make him feel better about getting beat up at school.

  3. Kimbrel now has 110 strikeouts for the season, including tonight. That’s more than Livan Hernandez (98) or John Lannan (93), the Nats’ starters the last two nights. Come to think of it, Kimbrel and Venters (85) combine for more strikeouts this year than those two guys.

  4. Also, I’m all for hitting for Hudson where he did. A chance for runs is more important than one extra reliever appearing in the game. If Conrad (or Diaz) had been able to bust it open with a double there, you’d be able to spare Venters AND Kimbrel.

  5. It was nice seeing Kimbrel set the all time record for saves by a rookie with 42, besting the mark of 41 set by Kimbrel.

    Can we start with the “best closer in baseball” talk?

    Setting aside my snarky snarkicisms, in two days Kimbrel has gone from well rested to overused, all for the sake of “getting some work in” in Tuesday’s 9-2 loss debacle. I thought it was dumb then primarily for the risk involved in potentially putting him on the sidelines in close games. Well, we’re there. Our team, for whatever reason, seems incapable of winning 2 games in a row without leaning heavily on our bullpen. As long as that’s the case, it’s dumb to think your guys will “need work” even after a four day layoff when a close game is always just around the corner. If tomorrow’s another 4-2 nailbiter, can we go to Kimbrel? I dunno. At least he got some work in, though. [/done ranting]

    So magic # is now 18?

  6. Heyward’s back, even Bowman says so. I for one couldn’t be more thrilled. Hopefully Fredi realizes this.

  7. 7- Because Roy Halladay exists, the Phillies are really good, and there is such a thing as East Coast bias.

  8. 3 – Exactly. You aren’t going to combat obesity in this country by vilifying fat people.

    9 – Also, because Roy Halladay legitimately deserves to win the Cy Young Award. East Coast Bias didn’t stop Lincecum from winning twice–it won’t be the reason Halladay wins.

  9. Jjschiller, you win the Internet. I apparently struck a nerve suggesting that baseball players like Coffey not be morbidly obese. I hope we can feel good about ourselves that we don’t offend him or anyone else who has trouble controlling his weight…all the while having mystifying conversations with our children about how great he is in spite of this challenge. Maybe he’ll make it to 300 pounds so I can drive home that point even more.

  10. I can’t believe such a fat tub of lard was ever allowed to play the game. They should strike Babe Ruth from the record books. For the children.

  11. A week or so ago, I made an appraisal on our chances to win the NL East based in part on the relatively tougher schedule the Phillies face down the stretch. I saw 4 games against the Reds as potentially tough ones for the Phils against a credible opponent.

    Well, they swept that “credible opponent” all 4 games – and they did so after facing similar inconveniences in their Irene-induced schedule as we did, which was used as an excuse by some for why we lost that last game to the Mets and that first game to the Nats.

    Anyway, the Phillies are tough.

  12. Grst, I was actually hoping that folks started naming every single good baseball player who happened to be obese. That definitely obliterates my point. You win. I can’t compete with that. I’m starting to see why Sam H has a hard time withdrawing himself from certain threads.

  13. 10- You’re right, of course, but I can’t see Kimbrel beating Halladay even if they were close in terms of value (which they’re not). There was just too much hype about the Phillies, and their performance has mostly justified it.

  14. Sumo is the third most popular sport in Japan, and they’re not having the same level of childhood obesity problem as America.

  15. Dan: Comparing Japan to the USA is like comparing, well, Japan to the USA…completely different cultures, diets, genes, etc.

  16. Hey DG, pipe down! I’m glad we live in such an accepting society that fat people still get mocked and turned down for dates, etc, because of their appearance. And when one happens to be good enough at their craft to reach the highest level, you’re trying to tear him down for… being who he is???

    Talk about glass houses.

  17. Good luck in your campaign to see all fat people discredited and unable to conduct their lives as they see fit.

    I don’t even feel the same way about smokers as you apparently do about fat people, and smoking at least has a directly negative effect on the people around you…particularly me, since I have asthma. Maybe you should just teach your kid to not be fat and save the searing hatred. There’s a whole lot of stuff Major League Baseball should eradicate, if they’re gonna go down that road, before getting to obesity.

  18. Does it ever occur to you, DG, with your smug self-righteousness, that physiology is a complicated thing? That perhaps, in a sport where people play sometimes into their 40’s, perfect fitness might simply be something their body is not capable of, no matter how many trainers they hire? Or, perhaps if you knew a damn thing about baseball, you might realize that, for some guys, having a little more weight to throw off the mound can be beneficial. But really, what it comes down to, is who the hell are you to judge what is or is not needed for others to do jobs that you know nothing about?

  19. DG’s ridiculous argument would at least have more sympathy toward it if Melky were still here.

    Just had to get a Melky crack in there.

  20. 1. It’s not a crime to point out that Todd Coffey is friggin’ huge. Because, ya know, Todd Coffey is friggin’ huge. He’s gigantic, and while it’s silly to pretend today’s kids are fat tubs of goo because of Todd Coffey, there’s no real reason not to call it as it is. Todd Coffey is one of the 300 best baseball pitchers in the world. Todd Coffey is also fat and out of shape.

    2. Babe Ruth was a physical specimen for most of his career. The “fat Babe Ruth” was only the old Babe Ruth. During his prime the Babe was more Chipper Jones than Prince Fielder. (He played all three OF positions well, so it’s not like he was Todd Coffey or something.)

    3. The reason today’s kids are fat tubs of goo is because you people are friggin’ horrific parents. I would weep for the future, but you sad sacks of gut don’t deserve my pity.

  21. He may also know the definition of ad hominem, which you apparently don’t. I get it, though. You guys win. Or, you can continue to pile on. I’m not changing your mind and you aren’t changing mine. Back to baseball.

  22. Not me, I’m not a dad.

    Seriously, must there always be an argument here? For the love of God be happy!

  23. who are you referring too with your #3 there?

    Chipper Jones, maybe? He’s getting a little doughy around the edges. And he has kids. I dunno…

    UPDATE: I got it! Sam’s referring to Dale Murphy! Have you seen him lately? He’s not the solid centerfielder who used to roam the outfield of the Launching Pad. And he’s got a TON of kids. Perhaps that’s who Sam is referring to.

  24. Ruth was pretty fat by 1921 if ” rel=”nofollow”>this picture is anything to go by, and he played another 14 years after that. So, no, it wasn’t just old Ruth that was fat.

    And I don’t care if he points out that Coffey is fat. Of course he’s fat. I just take issue with nosy busy-bodies thinking they should be telling other people what to do in what is strictly their personal business, especially when it’s based on specious “for the children” nonsense.

  25. Go to Dale’s blog or and tell him that the “for the children” pushes are crap.

    Ok, a baseball question: why did the Braves pick up Helms and then drop him like a hot potato? Why even pick him up at all?

  26. I don’t think “for the children pushes” involve slandering groups of people and removing them.

    Helms was released because he’s got a bad foot and won’t be able to play again this season according to DOB.

  27. Yeah, Wes’s foot was toast for the year and he felt bad he was clogging up the 40-man roster so he told them it was cool to let him go. Pretty honorable dude…

  28. Hey DG, pipe down! I’m glad we live in such an accepting society that fat people still get mocked and turned down for dates, etc, because of their appearance. And when one happens to be good enough at their craft to reach the highest level, you’re trying to tear him down for… being who he is???
    Talk about glass houses.

    By the way, I’m willing to bet that Coffey gets laid a helluva lot more than you do

  29. Fredi on Jack Wilson: “You can do some stuff with him offensively, bunt, hit and run. He’s one of those baseball players.”

    It’s all in the way you say it. I mean, because I’d emphasize the word “those” with a knowing sardonic quality, whereas Fredi says the same word with upbeat enthusiasm. Same arrangement of words, two totally different meanings!

  30. For slander, the claim has to be false. As Sam stated, the claims aren’t false. I also never said they should be removed from the game. I have said that they need to set a better example and be in better playing shape. EmmaStone, do you feel the need to repost comments? I’m not sure why I’m asking a teenager who measures success in terms of “getting laid.”

  31. I, personally, would suggest that being on of the 300 best pitchers on the planet is a good measurement of success.

  32. Changing the subject, I’ve watched pretty much all of this Kentucky-Western Kentucky game, for some reason, and it has sucked out loud…with a capital S. Though it seems Wisconsin and Miss. State have managed to play at least OK this evening, I feel there should be a preseason game or two in college football. Hell, you could have FBS and FCS teams play each other in those and then outlaw such matchups in the regular season. In any case, the level of play in the first week of the college football season is always really godawful and though no one else seems to be all that concerned about it, wouldn’t it be great if Week 1 games were actually watchable?

  33. I just got to the all star break on The Show ’11 and McCann is hitting .402 with 21 homers, 32 doubles, and an OPS of 1.111. He’s also got 86 RBI which is still only 2nd to Price Fielder.

    Derek Lowe leads the league with 15 wins and an ERA of 1.38. Medlen leads the league in strikeouts with 146.

  34. Look, I was fat for most of my life — the only reason I’m around my ideal body weight now is that my system has been messed with by surgeries and chemotherapy that it’s reset — I don’t have the same appetite I used to. Losing weight without something like that — and I don’t recommend my weight loss regimen to anyone — is hard. And for a lot of people, basiecally impossible. Coffey isn’t that fat; given his height and frame, he’s certainly less overweight than I was.

    There may be a tendency for pitchers to be overweight. They get less physical activity than position players, and less negative feedback for being overweight (they can still do their job) while they have the same lifestyle.

    And yes, a lot of great baseball players have been at least stocky. And a whole lot of them have gotten overweight after their careers. I have a kind of Greg Maddux body type now, but Maddux as a player. He’s starting to resemble my old body type a little in retirement.

  35. Hall of Fame post with a Hall of Fame analogy. Much love, Mac. Keeping this blog tight and your figure tight is no laughing matter. Keep up the good work.

  36. On another note, Frenchy just got his 1,000th career hit. If he plays another 14 years at the same clip he played his first 7, he will reach 3,000 hits. Yes, what I said has about a 1 in 1 kajillion chance of happening.

    Mac, I have great respect for you. Keep up the great work. I even donated to your cause. I will say that the difference in you and Coffey is that he is a professional athlete. I expect more from him while he plays. As to him not being that fat for his size, we will have to agree to disagree. The guy has an enormous and sloppy gut, something that even a pitcher should be able to control. And I admit to being biased, as in my line of work I have to judge people by their appearance in uniform and on what kind of example they set.

  37. You expect more of him, huh?

    He’s a complete stranger, and you will sit there and presume to have a right to have expectations about his BODY.

    And that doesn’t sound even a little ridiculous in your own ears?

  38. I find it absurd that anyone, even professional athletes, are judged on criterion besides how well they do their job. If Coffey is an effective pitcher when fat, then he’s an effective pitcher. If he’s a crappy pitcher when fat, then he’s a crappy pitcher. If he was skinny and effective and then became fat an ineffective, I could see home-town fans complaining. But otherwise, it’s just stupid.

  39. @31

    If Dale Murphy wants to climb to the top of Turner Field and start shooting poeple, we have to not only allow it, but support it with gusto.

    Nothing Dale Murphy does is crap.

  40. I think it’s hilarious how much crap someone is getting for pointing out that Todd Coffey’s a bit of a whale on the same blog that makes Prince Fielder jokes like nobodies’ business.

  41. Wow, aren’t we all a little defensive?

    Oh, and getting laid is most certainly not a measure of success, ESPECIALLY if you’re 22. Everyone does it, AND you can pay for it. What, do you want a medal?

  42. Again, nobody was giving DG crap because of him pointing out Todd Coffey was fat.

    It was because of his argument about him having to lose weight in order to be a role model.

    Anyway, how about those Braves?

  43. @56 – Awesome. And to paraphrase Homer Simpson, Coffey is an obese man trapped in a fat man’s body.

  44. Sam, I dont think you know anyone well enough here to determine how thew are as individuals or parents. But keeping being a complete douche bag, it fits you.

  45. “Again, nobody was giving DG crap because of him pointing out Todd Coffey was fat.”

    Again, Sam doesn’t care what anyone actually argued. If he sees an opportunity to disagree with his wrongly-defined “groupthink,” he will twist a consensus into a dismissible strawman and, well, dismiss it. Ignore him. Until he argues in an intellectually honest manner, he deserves no further attention.

  46. Here’s to a Happy Labor Day in America, where you can:

    Enjoy the weekend with a healthy stroll through a park, kayak down a river, or take a bike ride with close friends.


    Tailgate before a game, scarfing down chicken wings, swilling Keystone Light, and diggin’ some heavy metal tunes (to paraphase a famous post here).

    Go Braves!

  47. What was the John Kruk quote when a reporter asked him how he felt about being a professional athlete in terrible shape?

    “I ain’t an athlete, lady”

    I reckon Todd Coffey’s response would be about the same.

  48. Todd Coffey is a physical specimen compared to the people I see. There is a man I see on the subway that literally takes up two seats. When I would go back home to Chattanooga, I would blanch at the portions that lots of people would take. Todd Coffey is the least of the problems. And it’s not as if Todd Coffey is Michael Jordan; how many people, even here in DC, even know who the hell Todd Coffey is?

    As for getting laid, I understand that Lavrenti Beria used to get laid a lot. He would simply have his minions kidnap women off the street and bring them back for him. Of course, as head of the KGB under Stalin, Beria was quite successful as a henchman and all-around evil guy. Her certainly was a top-20 evil guy at least and was usually favored against out-of-conference dictators.

  49. Actually, Marc, that’s a great point. I think Beria was probably underrated in the annals of 20th-century evil, because he wasn’t a head of state, he was just head of maybe the most vicious secret police of all time. (The STASI certainly is up there, though.) You could get a real gambling bargain on him, as opposed to Hitler and Stalin at #1 and #2.

  50. I also find it hilarious that people take internet discussions so seriously that they can’t see obvious sarcasm when it’s plain and clear and hardly subtle.

  51. Most of the time its easy to spot sarcastic comments, with you though its not possible. My apologies for not picking up on it.

  52. @72 – Sam, problem is you’ve cried wolf too many times for us to discern when you’re joking from those times when you’re just being yourself.

    And on a more positive note: the Braves have gotten to where they are in the season without a whole lot of contributions from the offense – I think it’s fair to say that the only full time players who have met/exceeded expectations are Freeman, Chipper and McCann, with Uggla’s awful + awesome averaging out decent (.762 OPS). On the other hand, AAG’s offense is living up to the word, and our entire OF has underperformed too (even Bourn has a .673 OPS for the Braves). I guess what I’m saying is, the Braves are on pace to win 95-96 games, and they haven’t even totally hit their stride. While I won’t argue that the Braves are a superior team to, say, the Phillies or the Red Sox, we have a very talented squad. We’ll be in the playoffs again this year and the Braves could certainly make some noise, especially when you think about having a bullpen of Moylan/Vizcaino/O’Flaherty/Venters/Kimbrel.

    Also, it’s almost Labor Day weekend, it’s a great time to be alive and a Braves fan.

  53. So if Tim Hudson’s our number 1 starter right now, who would you want to start games 2 and 3 of a short must-win series? (I’m avoiding the P word…)

    Beachy and Minor? Beachy and Delgado? I don’t trust Hanson or Jurrjens, and obviously I don’t trust Lowe.

  54. @75 – there’s a decent chance that Jurrjens and/or Hanson might be out of commission for the rest of the season – though if Hanson’s shoulder makes a miracle recovery, I’m slotting him in at #2 behind Hudson, then Beachy #3. That said I would be very surprised if the Braves leave Lowe off the postseason rotation, what with his Proven Veteran status and all.

  55. Wouldn’t it be cool if some team experimented with turning every pitcher into relievers during postseason. Something like this…
    Game 1
    O’Ventbrel time!

    Repeat pattern for Game 2, then..

    Game 3:
    Jurrjens: 2IP
    Minor: 2IP
    Hanson: 2IP
    O’Ventbrel time

    Repeat pattern for Game 4…Start over

  56. I think Beria certainly would upset the highly overrated Heinrich Himmler in a head to head hench-off. Likewise, Molotov would mop the floor with von Ribbentrop. Those 40’s Soviets were loaded with underrated talent.

  57. @77

    I would split up Huddy and Lowe, as they are very similiar in terms of pitching style.

    Something like this however, might be awesome.

    Hudson-One time through the line-up. (2.1-ish)
    Vizcaino-One time through.(2-ish)
    Minor-One time through.

    Then to O’Venbrel.

    Give the line-up three different looks.

    Then you could do a Lowe/Beachy/Moylan-Sherrill-Gearrin-Varvaro to O’Ventbrel look.

    So, mix and match the sinkerballers with the power guys to constantly change the look a batter would face.

  58. In my mind, Hudson, Hanson, and Jurrjens are the clear top, and Beachy’s clearly next in line. I don’t know if you lose a whole lot going from Minor to Lowe. If Hanson and Jurrjens are out, I’d probably choose #3 based on the handedness of the players in the opponent’s lineup.

  59. @77 – That’s eventually going to totally happen. Pitching for 1 or 2 innings at a time is demonstrably easier than starting and going 6-7. Scoring would drop dramatically if everyone only used relievers in every game. They’d probably have to change to strike zone or something to compensate. So it certainly makes sense to be the first team to do it so you could have the advantage of allowing 100 fewer runs than the next best team for a few seasons before everyone else catches on. That’s the definition of a market inefficiency, but getting your current starters to buy in would be tough.

  60. @81, all of your pitchers would have like 80 appearances. We complain about Kimbrel and Venters being overworked. Under a pitch-for-two-innings system, every reliever on the team would be worked even more. Also, you’d have to rely on the bottom of your pen more if you don’t have people pitching over 200 innings, and most teams can’t go that route.

  61. It all depends on what Lowe does for the rest of the month. If he repeats his 2010 numbers, he goes into October with confidence and as a clear #2 behind Huddy. If he sucks in September, Fredi will still give him two starts in the NLDS, and he will sink the ship in both of them.

  62. @77 is talking about playoffs where there are more off days. That’s a more interesting question. No way it works for a whole season.

  63. My obligatory “I support Sam and his obvious sarcasm” post. I really don’t get why there is so much Sam-hate in the world (or at least here).

  64. @83 – You’d need more pitchers on the roster to lower innings counts, and you’d have to be kind of strict about not using guys for more than two days in a row or something. I think it would be worth it to have game changing run prevention for a couple of years though.

  65. [Sam]The reason you don’t get the hate is because you had friggin’ horrific parents who didn’t bother to teach you the basics of civility. I would weep for the future, but a sad sack of intolerance like you doesn’t deserve my pity.[/Sam]

    //And when it comes to Sam-hate, I assure you that this group is composed of complete pikers judging by what I have read elsewhere.

  66. @82
    I have a feeling that Andruw would love to come back to Atlanta, but like Jeter, would demand a lot more money from the Braves than other teams. Swallowing pride is tough sometimes.

  67. If the Giants could win the World Series last year with that team, it’s certainly not out of the question for the Braves to win it if things fall right. They certainly aren’t the best team in baseball but that isn’t really the criterion for the post-season. Of course, the Braves have such a history of failure that it’s hard to be optimistic-and they also don’t have the rotation the Giants had–but it’s not like it would be the upset of the century.

    AAG @ 69,

    If you are looking at evil guys who weren’t heads of state, Beria would probably fall behind Himmler because he wasn’t as directly involved in mass killings. I would say Hitler, Stalin, and Mao (another guy who is underrated as far as mass killings because he did it through famine)would be the top three. Also, as nasty as he was, Beria actually advocated loosening things in Eastern Europe after Stalin’s death.

    The point is, getting laid is not the criteria for being successful. :)

  68. And when it comes to Sam-hate, I assure you that this group is composed of complete pikers judging by what I have read elsewhere.

    Oh yeah, you guys *love* me comparatively speaking. Most of you haven’t had the decades of time to foment true, adversarial spite. That will only come with experience, my dear boys. Only time can build that sort of love.

  69. I think you have to make a timeline adjustment for the monsters who came before it modern technology. Someone like Tamerlane, for example, whose 15th century body count is off the charts.

    And in modern times, don’t forget Pol Pot.

  70. 1.) AAG might be the worst thing that ever happened to AAR (I know it was an innocent mistake.. but I would HATE to be confused with Alex Gonzalez, even through a typo.)

    2.) Maybe I’m another dunce, but I don’t see anything posted by Sam that could be construed as sarcastic. I see several intellectually dishonest statements to the effect of “how much crap someone is getting for pointing out that Todd Coffey’s a bit of a whale” when he knows perfectly that’s not what the argument was about. Then I see hyperbole about breeders and parenting, but I don’t think that qualifies as sarcasm. You have to believe that Sam has contempt for people who actually believe the things he said, and that he is mocking those people. But that would be irrelevant, because no one stated that opinion. I’d say Sam is more overstating his own cynicism, but trying to soften it through hyperbole, in an attempt to be “Funny.”

    Just my two cents, really.

  71. Is Meta Bullshit the next option for Ron Artest’s name change if the World Peace thing doesn’t work out?

  72. ;It’s meta bullshit day again!

    Meta bullshit is the best signifier of a healthy virtual community. Forums that remain religiously on topic are fundamentally unhealthy.

  73. If Todd Coffey is not contributing to the overall obesity rate of society in more of a significant manner than an average obese individual, then life is a little better for the world.

    If Todd Coffey is contributing to the overall obesity rate of society in more of a significant manner than an average obese individual, then I’m happy because it make me look better to both mating candidates and prospective employers.

    Either way, I’m happy with it.


    That’s funny in more than one way.

  74. Not when the meta consists of a debate on the merits of a single poster, over and over again.

    I have no control over the hyper-sensitivity of other posters.

  75. Colin, who is wise in most things, points out of Andruw:

    “As late as July 22 he was hitting .204 with an OPS below 700. Since then he’s hit 356/508(!)/733 in 59 PA. He has a 1014 OPS at Yankee Stadium, and a 752 OPS (with a .197 BA) on the road.”

  76. Leading the league in HR in 1991 is only slightly more impressive than sleeping with Alyssa Milano. I’m not impressed.

  77. Sam, that doesn’t even make sense. Leading the league in homers is leading the league in homers, whether it’s 1991 or 1998 or 2011, and Johnson was one of the more feared hitters in baseball for a few years.

  78. As for the wackiness of @77, I’m already on board with weird starter/reliever patterns. That said, I’d probably go a little more like this:

    Game 1
    Hudson – starter, stays in until he gets into trouble*
    Hanson (ready to go any time after the 3rd or 4th)

    Game 2
    Beachy – starter, stays in until he gets into trouble*
    Lowe – ready to go any time after the 2nd

    Game 3:
    Jurrjens: starter, stays until he gets into trouble
    Minor: 2IP
    Hanson: 2IP

    Game 4:
    Back to Huddy, et al, as needed.

    The way Vizcaino has pitched of late, you really only need to get through 5 with your “starters.”

    *”trouble* in the playoffs is the first time you get multiple runners on with nobody out.

  79. Sam, that doesn’t even make sense

    That has hardly been a problem previously. HoJo had 3 top ten MVP finishes, and a 5 year stretch as a durable 3B with decent defense who averaged 30+Hr and 30+ doubles every year, to go with 30+SB at a 75% success rate and a ~.350 OBP. He was not only a slugger, but a fine all around player.

  80. Yeah, but it’s better than not sleeping with Alyssa Milano.

    Give Huddy a few runs and light the cigar. What a truly great comeback he has made from Tommy John.

    I was really excited about college football returning until I watched my Wildcats. Oy. We won’t win a single conference game. It’s really that bad.

  81. I’m not sure the unconventional pitching deployment discussed above is sustainable, but …

    If any team was ever set up to make it work, it’s the 2011 Braves.

    Lead with your strength. Let’s do it.

  82. We’ve enjoyed the best switch hitting third baseman in history for so long, even really good switch hitting third basemen with a 117 OPS+ seem meh, I guess. In a couple of years, we’ll wish we had a guy like that.

  83. I understand the argument to context, and the Gant example is almost slightly persuasive, but you’re doing no one any favors by the “best player on the Mets” bit.

  84. Well he is third all time in Mets history in home runs, RBI, stolen bases and doubles. 30-30 three times.

    I would say HoJo was one of the better Mets EVER. Top ten, maybe top five.

  85. Top ten batters, maybe. I don’t think he makes top ten overall. Top of my head:

    1 Seaver
    2 Piazza
    3 Gooden

    4 Strawberry
    5 David Wright
    6 David Cone
    7 Keith Hernandez (so good that even his later Mets years are awesome)
    8 Al Leiter
    9 Jose Reyes
    10 Sid Fernandez
    11 John Franco

    That’s not an order of quality (clearly Franco is too low), just the order they came to mind. I’d put all of them above Howard Johnson.

  86. I can’t believe we’re getting this much mileage out of “Was Howard Johnson a slugger?”. What’s next, “Was Sid Fernandez an ace?”?

  87. Did anyone else notice an adjusted stance from Heyward last night? His arms were higher and his body was more squat.

  88. @127 – I noticed his monstrous triple and fear-of-god-inducing comeback linedrive, but the nuances of swing mechanics are usually lost on me, sad to say. Awesome if that’s what he’s doing and last night was the result though.

  89. @126
    I’m even more concerened by the dismissive attitude about sleeping with Alyssa Milano.

    Talented, cute gal and a baseball fanatic–sounds like Heaven to to me.

    Sounds a bit like Bethany, now that I think about it!

  90. In case someone is looking for help with weight, I strongly recommend “Why We Get Fat, and what to do about it” by Gary Taubes. I lost over 30 lbs after reading his earlier and good book “Good Calories, Bad Calories”. Also improved my blood pressure, cholesterol counts, energy level, and mood. Both books are also very interesting as investigatory science books, looking at the backstory to today’s “conventional wisdom” on diet and obesity. And it provides a great explanation (indirectly) for why vegetarian Prince Fielder is notoriously hefty.
    I also recommend the blog and publications from Mark’s Daily Apple, though I must admit I don’t follow all the advice there.
    I’ve struggled with weight all my life, the ideas coming from this direction made the most sense and have worked better than anything else I’ve tried.

  91. From 1986 to 1991 (Howard Johnson’s prime), the leaders in ISO:

    1. Darryl Strawberry (.256)
    2. Jose Canseco (.250)
    3. Mark McGwire (.245)
    4. Kevin Mitchell (.243)
    5. Howard Johnson (.232)
    5. Jack Clark (.232)
    7. Danny Tartabull (.227)
    8. Andre Dawson (.225)
    9. Glenn Davis (.224)
    10. Dave Kingman (.221)

    Johnson was a slugger, folks.

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