Mets 7, Braves 5

New York Mets vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – September 18, 2011 – ESPN.

The Braves were able to strand even more runners than the Mets, and the Mets won the game long after both starters were gone.

After a couple of uneventful innings, the Braves took the lead in the third when Chipper Jones doubled home Michael Bourn. But Brandon Beachy then had a catastrophe inning in which he walked the bases loaded, then walked the pitcher to tie it, then gave up a three-run double to make it 4-1. And then the Braves tied it up in the bottom of the fourth. Alex Gonzalez homered leading off, Jason Heyward walked, Beachy bunted, Bourn drove Heyward in, Prado singled, Chipper loaded the bases on a walk, and Dan Uggla drove in the tying run with the bases loaded on a groundout. After Brian McCann was walked intentionally, the Braves left the bases loaded. They left fifteen men on for the game.

The Braves took the lead in the bottom of the seventh; AAG doubled with one out and came home on a Freddie Freeman single. But Jonny Venters lost the strike zone — it’s hard to blame him, the thing was hiding all day — and eventually loaded the bases and walked in a run before the Mets got the lead on a single; the last out came on a play at the plate.

The Braves got two walks in the eighth, but couldn’t get a hit. Craig Kimbrel allowed a two-out solo homer to make it 7-5, and the Braves, after getting the first two on in the ninth, again couldn’t get a run. Against Manny Acosta. I feel sick.

277 thoughts on “Mets 7, Braves 5”

  1. Got two on after the first out in the ninth.

    Another loss due to walks (like Kimbrel in St. Louis). At least make the other teams earn it if this meltdown is going to continue.

  2. Venters earned his walks, for the most part. One of his ball 4s was probably a strike, but he wasn’t close on most of them. He looks horrible right now.

  3. Beachy walking the pitcher with 2 outs & the bases loaded was really huge.

    Tough loss. Gotta shake it off & come back tomorrow. BTW, we’re playing in a park where we’re 6-0 this year.

  4. Tim McKlellen should burn in hell with Eric Gregg. He sucks so bad I should not even be held accountable for the spelling of his cursed name.

  5. we have 9 games left. a 3.5 game lead when the Cards win tonight. We have 2 more Lowe starts, a bad Hanson start we have to face Strasburg and probably the Phils big 3. YOU TELL ME how we get into the playoffs

  6. Tim McClelland was calling a tough zone all day. But the story of the day isn’t the pitchers getting squeezed, it’s the continued slumps of Prado (5 LOB), McCann (3 LOB), and Heyward (1 LOB, but as mraver pointed out in the game thread, most of his success today was infield hits on slow rollers to second).

  7. 5: Emma, what you are describing are “tough odds”, not “no odds.” While I am in no way condoning the way we’re ending this season, the odds put in play by our lead in the Loss column make it well more than even we’re making the playoffs.

  8. The rotation sucks, hitting stinks and now the bullpen is melting down. What’s left? I don’t see it getting better.

  9. Was nobody else screaming at the television when Fredi left the clearly struggling Venters in to face a steady stream of right-handed hitters? I mean, I know JV has been probably the best reliever in baseball this year, but he didn’t have any control today and it was foolish to have no backup plan in place. If you’re going to have Moylan warmed up in the pen, why not use him? Even if the Mets put in a left-handed pinch hitter, you’ve bought enough time for Kimbrel to warm up and finish things off.

  10. @12 No Nick. NOBODY else was complaining at all. Nobody in the whole world. You were the only one. It’s not like there was a thread previous that had people complaining. Nope. You’ve found the frontier.

  11. Adam Lawson has been saying we were DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED from the All Star Break. He also said Jordan Schafer was the next Hank Aaron.

  12. @13 I was too busy screaming at the TV to read the game thread. Also, I meant to write “everybody” in the first sentence rather than “nobody”; I was attempting to commiserate with my fellow fan regarding the Venters inning.

    Also, EmmaStone, given you long and inglorious history on this website, you’re the last person entitled to cast the first stone. Frankly, you should consider yourself lucky that you’re still allowed to post here at all, and given that fact, maybe work on ingratiating yourself to the people here.

  13. Adam Laswson is now calling it Armageddon DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMEDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDd

  14. I deleted a comment at your request, and requested that you leave the blog. You didn’t do so, and instead got yourself suspended by continuing to attack other commenters. Since being reinstated you have done nothing but complain about other commenters and complain about the Braves.

    Is that a vendetta, or is that just the truth?

  15. Beltran, LaRussa, Berkman and The Beard are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse of Adam Lawson’s Predicted DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

  16. We’re all ten steps ahead of your, Adam Lawson. I’ve called Mac and the FBI about this issue. If AAR isn’t banned by the end of the day for all the sexist, racist, and profane comments he’s been making, there is no Internet God.

    Your reign of terror is over, sir. Good day!

    I said ‘good day!!’

  17. This used to be a great place to come for insightful, intelligent comments about the Braves. Now, it’s just nastiness and silliness among the posters. What happened?

  18. The Devil Rays (yes, I still call them the Devil Rays) have pulled within 2 of the Red Sox in the AL Wild Card. I’m hoping they can pull it out, but man do they have a tough schedule ahead of them.

  19. 22—Good luck with that, Adam.

    So, I don’t understand why everyone is so upset about sports. The Commodores are 3-0, and they just dominated an SEC team for the first time I can remember!

    Granted, @SC and @Bama are not likely to go as well, but James Franklin is the man, and good times appear to be ahead!

  20. You’re right, Doug. My insight on the game: In spite of not being able to get the big hit, the offense looked much better. There’s not going to be many games where a team gets 12 hits and 9 walks and loses. With the way Venters has looked lately, Fredi probably should have had a quick hook on him, but I don’t really fault him for leaving Jonny in there.

    We’re 3 1/2 up, sinking like the Titanic and could really use a sweep of the Marlins. We’re 6-0 on the year when we play them at their place and we’ll be facing 3 RHP that aren’t knuckleballers. We should be ok.

  21. 22 – Also wish you good luck with that Emma. Please go away.

    I feel dirty asking for help from the Phillies, but Go Phillies, or something like that.

  22. The odds were 95.5% at the beginning of the day, will probably go down to 90 with a Cards win. Please go away, you add nothing of value to this site, and if you noticed, nobody likes you.

  23. according to who? Baseballprospectus??? BP doesn’t gauge how I feel with my inner calculator

  24. I had a bad sports day too. The Braves lost and the Raiders lost within a few minutes of each other. Nice!

  25. NickH,
    Yes, I was cursing the TV. Fredi has rode his best horse (Venters) so hard that he’s breaking down before the finish line. Instead of trying to keep him from falling on his face, Fredi is jumping up and down on the saddle, spurs in the ribs and whipping him as hard as he can. Venters clearly didn’t have it when he walked a couple, up and away over and over, unable to stay on top of the ball. He didn’t pitch like that when he was right.

  26. Come on guys, look on the bright side – Heyward has found a way to turn his grounders to 2nd into hits! He’ll be unstoppable now.

  27. Man, it’d be helpful if the Phillies didn’t imitate AAG by rolling into double plays whenever they mount a threat.

  28. I’m fine with rooting for the Phillies under very strict circumstances: Hamels has to have a lousy outing, and no positive offensive output can come from Victorino, Utley or Ibanez. It would also be nice if their closer coughed up a lead and they had to win it in extras, like maybe the 16th or 17th, but I’m not gonna be picky.

    Otherwise, I’m just not gonna care tonight. It’s the frikkin’ Phillies! I hate it that the Braves have put us in this position.

  29. Adam Lawson has a mathematical formula to predict cloudy skies and a 63% chance of…wait for it…

    DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!

  30. Worst case we are 3.5 up, with a little help from the Phils tonight it’ll still be 4.5.

    Actually, if the Phils win, the Giants will still only be 4 games back in the standings. Either way, today we’ve at minimum lost half a game.

  31. we just suck so much.. and it’s only going to get worse. The Nats are going to be significantly good next year. the phils will be good. we will be lucky to finish in third. we may be looking at a pirates like existence

  32. @45 – Let’s hope Venters’ wildness is a result of being ‘rusty’ rather than his arm being in the process of flying apart. He’s had a few episodes earlier this season and, so far, has pushed through it.

    Also, it’s hard to keep an even keel, especially if your screen name involves the words ‘Emma’ and ‘Stone’, but taking a step back, the Braves are still in good position to make it to the playoffs (and in fact, are heavy favorites to make it). Most of the Braves are struggling right now, but the Braves should be into the playoffs with nearly all of their major weapons on the active roster.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m really frustrated and pissed with how poorly the Braves have played recently, but this could just be one of those low points in the season… I’ve got my fingers crossed.

  33. @51

    This is what you want, isn’t it? Response to your thoughts.

    Just relax, you can be a part of this site and contribute ideas and to conversation. You have chosen to consistently stir the pot for attention, in a negative way. Like being a shock jock. No one really cares for this attitude.

    I may be in the minority, but I think you probably have some intelligent things to say. However, the tact you are using is just pissing everyone off. I think you want to post here and probably could get along, if you made an effort.

    Look, we get it. You like to push the envelope. That is probably cool at the AJC blog. It really isn’t here. I have been posting here for seven years and I have never seen someone on here as divisive as you have shown to be.

    So make a choice, stay here and contribute and try to add something, or go to the AJC Blog and call DOB a douche bag for liking the Avett Brothers. Make a choice. The ball is in your court.

    I will now get off my soap box.

  34. Emma: What Smitty says. I like you like a cat toy, but the others here wanna treat you like a dog’s chew toy what with all your shenanigans. I can’t really blame them, either. Perhaps you’re ADD or have Asperger’s, in which case nothing anyone can say will be sinking in. But if you’re a garden variety misfit, maybe you’ll listen and learn how to socialize better in big groups of people. Sometimes it takes submitting your more envelope-pushing personality traits, but if so, that’s what it takes.

    and call DOB a douche bag for liking the Avett Brothers.

    But he is, isn’t he? :p

  35. Well guys, I tried. I can’t even get a response. He is a troll. Maybe he will go away if we don’t pay attention to him.

  36. 69- It looks like Vick responded to his Atlanta return by going back to his old bad habits. The fumble just before halftime looked like a dozen plays from 2005-06- just run around like a headless chicken until you get wrapped up or lose the football.

  37. why aren’t we doing anything to get fredi fired?

    Frankly, anything less than you picketing Turner Field with a hand-drawn “Fire Fredi” sign isn’t going to work. However, if you carry a sign around the stadium wearing a Francouer jersey and Braves boxer shorts, I think you’d get the requisite media attention to improve the odds of success to something like 12 percent.

    Possible chant: “Hey, ho! Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has got to go!”

  38. @77

    He should be doing that instead of posting on here. He is letting the team down by trolling and not picketing

  39. ok let me ask you guys tho… with only a 12 percent chance (when the schedule is factored into things) of making the postseason and us not playign well, how do you think we’ll possibly get in?

  40. Mac, why oh why won’t you ban this guy? Why can’t you see that he’s very close to ruining your entire site? He’s done more than enough to get banned based on the rules. You’ve got valuable contributors like AAR and Stu basically not posting on here anymore. AAR just kind of implied it, but I can’t help but think it’s not a coincidence. Please do something!

  41. In the real world, CoolStandings has the Braves at 88.8% to win the wild card (Cardinals 8.1, Giants 2.6, Diamondbacks 0.5, Brewers <0.1).

    And I agree with Nick and the others- drop the banhammer on Mr. Lawson.

  42. does coolstandings factor schedule into things?

    They’d better be! Otherwise their probabilities are simply not going to be reliable.

    They should also be factoring in the weather, park dimensions, and projected attendance figures. Another subtle predictor of future performance is whether players wives or girlfriends are in the park when they’re playing. Some players’ performance improves if their wife is in the park, some if their girlfriends are in the park. But their performance really falls off a cliff when their wives AND their girlfriends are in the park at the same time. (Perhaps that’s what’s been happening to J-Hey?)

    Anyway, I’m sure you’re up on all these extra factors and whatnot, Emma.

    Do you need more possible chants? How about “1, 2, 3, 4! Braves fans want Wren to show manager Fredi Gonzalez the door!”

  43. Yes. 3.5 games is a lot to make up in 10 days, and our schedule isn’t much different from theirs. The Braves and Cards each play three games against the Mets. We have three games in Florida, they have three hosting the Cubs, which about evens out. They have three games at a Houston team with nothing to play for (and one more at Philly tomorrow), and we have three at a Philly team with nothing to play for.

  44. I’ve become convinced that Emma is actually not for real and deserves the boot, but I think all the comments about him “ruining the site” are a little overblown. If nothing else, I equate reading his posts to driving by a traffic accident. Only in his case, there’s really no one to feel bad for so just revel in the destruction.

  45. Brian J.: Our remaining games are three in Miami, three in Washington (including one against Strasburg), and three against Philly at home. No more LOLMets. Although I can’t bear to lose any more games to them this year…

    I vote we roll over the Soon-To-Be-Miami Marlins. Sound good? Now, we do have Strasburg coming up in Game 1 of the Nats series. However, he may be on a pitch count, so unless we’re being “aggressive”, he might not last through the 5th no matter how well he’s pitching.

    And the Phils may indeed have nothing to play for, but if we’re still scratching and clawing for the Wild Card and they have a shot at taking us out, I would think they’ll be playing a little harder than they normally would.

  46. For the record, I’m not going anywhere. Just been busy elsewhere lately, and the Braves haven’t exactly inspired me to say much, lately. Nothing I’d want recorded in a public forum, anyway…

    Which doesn’t mean I don’t want this clown banned. But it ain’t my call — especially not this time.

  47. oh and look at the rotation the mets have in store for the cards… capuano, schwinden and some other scrub…

  48. 86- You’re right about the Mets; how’d I make that mistake? But the Nats and Mets are both eight games under .500, so six of one, half a dozen of the other.

    As for Strasburg, we beat him last year. We can do it again.

  49. You’re right about the Mets; how’d I make that mistake?

    You’re traumatized from losing 2 out of 3 to the Mets and your subconscious mind can’t deal with it so it wants to relive the moment and try again?

    As for Strasburg, we’ve beaten him before. We can do it again.

    We have a 12% chance of beating him.

  50. Bizarre game tonight. It obviously helped the Falcons that Vick was out down the stretch, but in the first half it helped the Falcons that he was in.

    But Vick or no Vick, the Falcons needed this one worse & it’s amazing how often that notion seems to work out in the NFL.

  51. I’ll give this guy credit. He certainly takes his trolling seriously. Now he’s trolling us on the Falcons.

  52. Okay, folks, I’ve been away for a while. I see some Falcons talk and some trolling (maybe I repeat myself?). I can’t really pay attention to football until after the Braves are done. I’m not crazy about how they’re playing now but here we go. These games mean something now. Let’s turn it up, Braves.

  53. Can’t complain about the Phillies not taking care of what should be the Braves’ business. It’s not their job to get the Braves in the playoffs.

    Emma wants to get a rise out of people and he has succeeded.

    I’m trying to adopt the attitude about the Braves expressed by an officer in the show “Band of Brothers” where he advises the soldiers during the Battle of the Bulge to just assume you are dead and you will be able to function better. So, I’m just assuming the Braves are dead and, if not, I will be pleasantly surprised.

    By the way, how would you like to be a KC Chiefs’ fan? Did Francouer sign with the Chiefs?

  54. 101- Well, he was a cornerback in high school, and the Chiefs have allowed eight TD passes to Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matthew Stafford. So I honestly wouldn’t be shocked if the Chiefs do sign him as a stunt later this year. After all, the Braves had Deion Sanders once.

  55. FFS, Strasburg is only going like 5 innings, MAYBE 6. Even if he’s the best pitcher ever and pitches a perfecto for that long, there’s still plenty of time to do damage. The Braves are 3.5 up with, what, 10? left to play. They’re still the favorites, and it’s not close.

  56. As for Strasburg, the Braves struggle up here whoever pitches for the Nats. You can make fun of the Nats all you want, but they are a tough out at home generally and, especially for the Braves. Even more so because, aside from Strasburg, they might be seeing rookie pitchers they have never seen before.

    Some of the stars have to step up. If McCann is really “the best catcher in baseball” he needs to start showing it. Maybe he needs to talk to his father again.

  57. Who was the dude from Portland State? Emma Stone reminds me of that dude. Gadfly?

    It gets easy to skip those posts….

    No one worried about San Fran coming on? STL isn’t the only threat anymore.

  58. SFG have three left with the Dbacks, so if they keep coming on they’ll probably just take over the West and leave the WC for us over AZ. I’d much rather not have to play the Giants in the playoffs again though.

    This late season collapse is just the kind of thing that I find tough to worry about, because there’s really nothing that can be done about it. Either the pitching staff returns to form or it doesn’t. There’s nobody that’s really being underutilized right now who could change everything. Fredi sucks and is a Frediot, but he’s hardly to blame in any sort of immediately fixable way (say what you want about his overuse of the bullpen greats earlier in the year, but it’s too late to do anything about that now) for the recent struggles. The breakup will be hard, but after a few cold, lonely months, there will be more seasons – pretty ones without personality disorders even – and we can all be happy again for a little while.

  59. Umm @107, Fredi cost us the game just YESTERDAY!!! Not having Kimbrel ready for when Venters inevitably sucked was stupid. Then leaving Venters in to give up the lead??? Dumb

  60. Right now the Braves are not playing like they deserve to be in the playoffs. Obviously, if they had played like this all year, we would not even be talking playoffs. So, just as obviously, they are capable of playing better, and have played better, for much of the year prior to this.

    A 3 1/2 game lead at this point in the season is difficult to overcome. The team trying to catch up has to play extremely well, and there is much more margin for error for the team ahead. I know people have posted lots of specific records that the teams could go for different outcomes – but if the Cards go 10-0 in their remaining games (not likely, obviously), the Braves tie them by going 6-3. If the Cards go 7-3 (much more likely), Braves still win by going only 4-5 the rest of the way.

    I’d much rather go into the playoffs strong than to back in, the way the Braves have been playing. But I like the comments made by Marc Schneider @ 102 and PeteOrr @ 107. Things are pretty much set at this point in the game, and it’s basically time to sit back & see how it unfolds. Either offense rounds into form or it doesn’t; pitching holds up or not. Players have to step up – need Heyward, McCann, Prado, & Lowe, especially, to make positive contributions. Should be fun (for someone at least).

    And honestly – from a national stage – the Red Sox potential meltdown is getting a lot more attention anyway. Not that is necessarily a good or bad thing in itself, just saying we are not the only ones in consternation over our team…

  61. ryan c.,

    The main point of “confluence” raised in the post seemed to be a new approach on free agents. I think that probably was a necessity forced by the Time Warner payroll reductions of the early 00’s, rather than being influenced by Money Ball.

    A more likely change in strategy that COULD have been picked up off Money Ball (the “concept” before the book) is drafting more college players. In the 1990’s the Braves almost always took high school kids and a few JUCO players (particularly playing the “draft and follow” quite adeptly). That really lasted somewhat until the late 00’s and may be attributable to the Wren hire. Draft and follow was eliminated around 2008 (Hanson was in the last draft that could be done that way).

    Part of the A’s philosophy was to get more college players, particularly pitchers (better stats to confirm talent level, pitchers would have either (a) a better injury profile, or (b) would have already had the first TJ surgery or (c) would have damaged the shoulder and dropped off the list). Voila: Minor, Gilmartin, Masters, Richard Sullivan, etc .

    I think part of the college emphasis is that the pre free agency years line up better to the “peak age” years and that is a reason for the Braves transition.

    Take a mediocre middle infielder like Brandon Hicks. The Braves can option him to AAA at least 1 more time. He is about 26. So, then if he is the back up shortstop / middle infielder he only costs $400,000 for 3 more years. But, if he had been signed out of high school, he would have already used up all of his options last year (or maybe 1 before). So, college players drafted as Juniors with one less minor league year before rule 5 still are still 2 years older in their option and pre arb and pre FA years.

  62. @108 – You miss the point, which is that while yes, Fredi is dumb and inflexible, that’s been the case all year, even while we were regularly winning. The difference now is that Venters can’t throw strikes anymore. Even Kimbrel gave up a HR yesterday, so what exactly do you gain by bringing him in earlier? You can’t expect Fredi to be something he’s never been before (smart) to such a degree that it totally makes up for the suddenly disappeared former strength of the team. If you live by the thrown ball, then you die by the poorly thrown ball.

  63. @115
    Good point about drafting college players. It does infuriate me a bit when I think someone other than the Braves will probably have Heyward during his peak.

  64. Mac has written similar things before, but John Schuerholz almost never used the free agent market to improve the team, Greg Maddux notwithstanding. His general SOP was to draft a ton of pitchers, trade for hitters, and at contract time he tried to force everyone to accept a hometown discount.

    That was in place in the ’90s, before the A’s started doing their thing.

  65. @119

    Don’t forget Brian Jordan, TP, Belliard, Bream, Big Cat, Weiss, and Boone.

    But it really doesn’t change what you said. The biggest changes came when AOL and the suits started running the show.

  66. We traded for Boone — that was the Denny Neagle trade. Pendleton, Belliard and Bream were all signed in December 1990, shortly after Schuerholz started with the team. You’re right about Weiss, Jordan, and Galarraga, though I would argue that Weiss supports my point: he’s a supporting piece, not a star player. Other than Maddux and Galarraga, JS hardly ever signed a star player as a free agent. The free agents he signed were nearly always also-rans.

  67. The braves magic number to win the Wild Card sits at seven with nine games to play. We are on the road in Flordia and this just might be what the doctor ordered. Atlanta has won their last six games there and look to make it seven tonight. As for yesterdays game Venters has logged a ton of innings for us this season and put up video game stats. I am not giving him a pass on this one but we cant expect perfection every outing. Its time for the Braves to rise up because it theirs for the taking.

  68. “with all due respect, the cardinals and giants have more room for error than we do”

    I hate myself for doing this, but can you explain just how you come to this conclusion? How can a team that is behind have more room for error than a team that is ahead?

    With respect to Moneyball, the Braves have certainly adopted the philosophy that free agency is inefficient. What they haven’t adopted, it seems to me, is the philsophy about the importance of OBP. Even though they did will with this last year, it does not seem to be a particular priority.

  69. I’m still trying to figure out how the Falcons beat the Eagles. I suspect sorcery.

    Emma, please read my email again and consider. I’m trying to be fair here to everyone.

  70. Oh hell, let Emma stay. I suspect the problem would take care of itself if folks would confine their responses to just non-stupid comments (slim pickings though they may be). The Pavlovian effect might take a few days to set in, but it would eventually, one way or the other.

  71. Orioles lead the Sawx 6*-2 in the first game of their doubleheader. At least we don’t have to deal with media attention; we still have Boston’s collapse as cover. *-Updated.

  72. My favorite player on the team is still Martin Prado. At the first of the year, Chipper said that he knew Martin wouldn’t have trouble being a capable, even good left fielder, but he thought that Martin might have a mental adjustment to make. From my understanding, Martin has a lot of energy and at 2b, was involved in almost every defensive play (somehow). Anyone think that this mental adjustment might have made it’s way over to the plate?

    I have a different theory…
    Martin is a perfectionist and he has taken the role of a #2 hitter and has simply put “productive outs” as his main goal instead of actual production (as I’m sure this was the advice given to him in the #2 spot). His HR and BB rates are about the same, but his singles and doubles are down about 25%. More striking is his strikeout rate. Martin has always been a hard guy to K but this year he’s only striking out 9% of his plate appearances compared to 13% last year.

    His numbers in the 2-hole this year match the theory:
    261 plate appearances .243 BA and only 4HR, but, get this…only 12 strikeouts (striking out only 4 1/2% of the time)

    Compared to his leadoff numbers:
    245 plate appearances .283 batting average 7HR and 28 strikeouts(11 1/2%)

    His walk rates in both spots are about the same, but Martin Prado has done exactly what he was told to do in the #2 spot: put the ball in play (231 times out of 243 chances {95%})

    I ask you this…Which Prado do you want in your lineup?

  73. O’s 6, Red Sox 5. If Boston loses the nightcap, there will be a suicide watch issued for the entire Boston metropolitan area.

  74. I’m still trying to figure out how the Falcons beat the Eagles.

    Me too. When the game ended, I just felt confused. I had already given up on the team by the middle of the 3rd quarter, and was in the process of working through my fury at their coordinators, my dismay at Ryan’s lack of further development, and my disappointment that they traded way so many picks, including next year’s #1, for a wide receiver. Then they won. I feel happy, I suppose, but mainly deflated.

  75. Matt Ryan made a bunch of 3rd & long conversions. He was really shaky for 2 1/2 quarters, but (with the help of a long Michael Turner run) was pretty lights-out at the end.

  76. Oh, I never did a top ten this week.

    1. LSU
    2. Alabama
    3. Oklahoma
    4. Boise
    5. Stanford
    6. Wisconsin
    7. Nebraska
    8. South Carolina
    9. Virginia Tech
    10. Arkansas

    The last five are basically grabbed out of a hat.

  77. @133,

    Ryan, I don’t mean to single you out but every time a player–especially a hitter struggles–there seems to be a tendency on the blog to blame either the hitting coach or the FO. Assuming that your theory about Prado is true–and it seems plausible–maybe he decide to do this himself. These are pretty strong-willed guys to make it to the majors–it seems to me the most difficult part of coaching is to make the players do something different from what they think.

    I’m not saying you are necessarily wrong, but I wouldn’t immediately blame the team. Of course, if I’m correct, then the team should be blamed for not saying to Prado “what the hell are you doing?”

  78. @133 & 140 – I like it (the idea, and the response). Obviously we don’t have the insider’s view of the clubhouse or Martin’s brain, but it seems to fit the facts fairly well.

  79. Here’s tonight’s “No Margin For Error” lineup:

    1. Bourn CF
    2. Prado LF
    3. Jones 3B
    4. Uggla 2B
    5. McCann C
    6. Freeman 1B
    7. Gonzalez SS
    8. Heyward RF
    9. Minor SP

  80. @139
    I don’t think that’s singling me out. I’m cool with your response. However, Chipper’s comment over at the AJC the other day (concerning not being a #2 hitter because he’s not a “table-setter”) kind of solidified my opinion as to why Prado’s numbers are down

  81. Hanson threw 2 innings today and is planned to start on Friday in Instructional League with a limit of 65 pitches.

    Medlen expects to pitch in the Philly series next week.

    This is all getting a little close for comfort.

  82. This is all getting a little close for comfort.

    Agreed. Entertaining the possibility is one thing. Getting fans revved up about it, okay. Heck, even if it only motivates the starters that are on the bubble, then good. But to actually pull the trigger on a postseason roster that includes one or more of these guys based on some rounds of batting practice, IL scrub lineups, and an inning or two on the last day of the season…not so sure.

    I’d be less freaked out if Hanson meant kicking Lowe off the postseason roster. :-)

  83. I have a bit more respect than I previously did for DOB. The guy deals with probably the most ignorant baseball “fans” in the country. He’s gotten tweets pretty much everyday for the last two weeks from people that are completely stupefied about the magic number concept. Someone asked him today if the Braves would clinch tonight if they won.

    To be honest, I’d probably be kind of a jaded asshole too if I had to interact with the AJC crowd.

  84. I understand the “hype” surrounding Hanson’s return: he’s a good pitcher and it might mean no Lowe if the Braves make the playoffs.

    But why are the AJC and Bowman talking up Medlen so much? He has been a somewhat mediocre starter; just back from Tommy John surgery, and with no major league innings yet this year with only nine games remaining before the playoffs. Fans are supposed to get excited by the possibility of him pitching meaningful innings during the postseason?

  85. Soo…my guys on campus are telling me Mizzou to the SEC is looking more and more likely as the Big XII continues to crumble. The Big East is begging, and there’s been dialogue w/the Big 10, but apparently Mizzou and the SEC like what each other bring to the table.

    Though conference rankings continue to scream out the underlying absurdity of it all.

    On a brighter note, I guess if it works out, we’ll get to be included on Mac’s weekly football predictions

  86. @150 – By a lot of different metrics, Medlen has been an average to a little above average pitcher so far in his career. It’s not like Walter Johnson has a chance to come back and pitch for us in the playoffs or something, but as an upgrade over Lowe or even Linebrink, I’d be mildly excited to have Medlen back. I agree that it seems like a long shot though. Hanson seems like a better bet.

  87. 159—Those in the know have been extremely dismissive about WVU’s chances over the past couple of days.

  88. #148
    Ever hear Skip Caray’s radio call-in show from back in the day?

    As a forum for the challenged, that was almost performance art.

    The dumber the question, the madder he’d get. After awhile, it became hysterical.

  89. Yeah, I think so too. Not enough of a TV market. But with the way this is all going down, who can tell

  90. And I think we’ve got the pitchers we need. Minor’s doing alright. Teheran, Beachy, Delgado should all be above-average at least, if injuries spare them. But we need more than two or three contributors on offense at any given time.

    And we need a lot less Mike Stanton.

  91. Yes, that’s right folks: 37 pitches through 4 innings. I actually think the Braves’ hitters are getting worse, if that’s possible.

  92. Would you guys please stop swinging at everything? You’re going to make our trolls sound like they make sense!

  93. About ready for Fredi to pull the fabled “Ocho-switch”. Let’s see what everyone on the bench and possibly a pitcher or two can do against Nolasco.

  94. @177

    It’s painful being a dues-paying member of SABR and watching Larry Parrish-coached hitters on a nightly basis. Of course Fredi is, as well, but I think that’s like Michael Moore owning shares of General Motors in “Roger and Me.”

  95. 163: Man, “Ask Skip” was Must Hear Radio. Skip would get so angry and frustrated! My buddy and I used to fantasize about calling him just to get him to blow a gasket…but we loved Skip, so we never did.

  96. If the Braves are really going to collapse down the stretch here, the least they could do would be to give the fans some kind of sign to soften the blow. Say, if we’re still down two runs and Fredi attempts to bunt someone over to third. Then we’ll understand.

  97. Way to pitch around the double, Mike. Now can we pretty please with sugar on top have a run or two or (preferably) three?

    181- You mean the way Cicotte hit the first batter in the 1919 WS to assure the gamblers that the fix was in?

  98. 8 percent

    It can’t be 8 percent! Heyward just closed the gap in this game by a run, thus increasing our chances of winning it. No, by my calculations it’s now 9 percent!

    UPDATE: Okay, it’s 8 percent.

  99. @162- Fascinating, Stu. If the SEC did end up adding A&M and Mizzou, what would be the optimal division setup? North and South maybe instead of East and West? You guys obviously would have a much better feel for what needs to be taken into consideration.

    Atta boy J-Hey

    EDIT: DAMNIT

  100. At least all those rally-killing homers are keeping Minor’s pitch count down. Not sure if that’s an at least, but pretty sure it’s a moot point with this offense.

  101. We left Minor in too long. Bet Joe Simpson won’t critique Fredi’s judgement like he does Heyward’s poor swinging home run.

  102. Fun fact: Conrad has played in 14 games in the last month, but has just 12 PAs. Twice he was pinch-hit for by another pinch-hitter.

  103. Now this goes to show, once again, how dumb Fredi is for not putting Chipper second. We could have Chipper batting to possibly give us the lead, but no… we get sucky Prado

  104. Ben Ingram was repeating the tale about how the June series in Houston was when he turned around his season. It would seem to me this is mythology.

    Coming into that 4-game series on June 9th, his line was .170/.235/.304. His first game in the series, he went 1 for 5 with a double and 3 Ks. Not exactly an impressive display of offensive prowess.

    It’s the next two games that are memorable, as Uggla found the proverbial canteen of water after a long march through the desert. He went 4 for 6 with 3 walks and a homer. Only struck out once. Not a bad pair of games for anyone.

    But in game 4, he went 0 for 4 with a walk and a strikeout. With the lousy opening and closing game of the four-game stand, those middle two games hardly look amazing in the aggregate.

    Now, remember that line going into the Houston series. Because over the next 20 games, including that last one in Houston, Uggla’s line was .143/.205/.325. Those numbers, except for slugging, were significantly worse than what he’d been doing before – which was horrid to begin with. In 83 PAs, Uggla only walked 5 times. He did hit 4 homers, but hitting homers is about the only thing Uggla’s done consistently all year.

    On July 5, Uggla started his hitting streak that salvaged his season. But the broadcast booth mythology would have us think that the Houston series a month previous was the real wellspring of his success, that he started to make adjustments that paid off. I’m perfectly willing to accept that a hitter can be making positive longterm adjustments that don’t necessarily show up in the stat line, but in my mind it’s a stretch to say those positive adjustments took place during a 20-game stretch in which his composite numbers were worse than the period that came when he was hitting bad.

    Anyway, I decided I was going to focus on this question rather than listening to the game and I see now that we’ve tied the score, so you can thank me not only for probing, insightful analysis but helping the Braves mojo.

    Any thoughts on what I’ve discussed above?

  105. Uh oh. “Chipper might be hurt.”

    Apparently he’s staying in the game, but I don’t like the word “gimpy” applied to his running. But hooray for taking the lead!

  106. Trader jack should have gotten Rickey after the Uggla homer. McCann and Freeman hit two bullets. AAG laced his through.

  107. 216- Only that announcers don’t do a good job of checking whether their memories line up with reality, and that’s hardly news.

    Now, who pitches the 8th? Venters, or someone who isn’t walking the park?

  108. 226: I do believe the announcers are, in part, parroting stuff they’ve heard from the clubhouse. I think Ben Ingram mentioned that Uggla agreed that “something started to click” in that Houston series.

    If that’s true, I’d love someone to help me correlate such a reality with the actual numbers.

  109. 230- I don’t mean to say that your work wasn’t valuable. It is. The sad fact is that announcers often don’t get their stories straight or just make things up; it’s up to us to determine if what they say is probably valid. I appreciate your research. (I’m following the game via GameDay rather than listerning or watching it, so I didn’t hear the story myself.)

    It’d be nice if we found out that the story was true, as the Braves are on the hook for Dan for the next four years.

  110. Uggla agreed that “something started to click” in that Houston series.

    That’s interesting, though this type of thing happens all the time. A received narrative about someone can actually shape that person’s memory. That is: just because Uggla remembers it that way doesn’t make it so. Of course, as you say, perhaps something did click in Houston and we didn’t see it. But in all likelihood–considering the numbers–Uggla himself has begun to remember Houston as a turning point because for some reason (perhaps in dugout, perhaps in the booth, mostly likely through some symbiosis between the two) the narrative has taken hold and taken on the life of Truth.

    Historians conducting oral interviews have to deal with this stuff all the time (see: WPA records).

  111. 231: Oh, I’m perfectly open to the possibility that what they’re saying is total nonsense. The numbers kinda indicate that it is. The gist of it is that nobody really knows but they have a nice narrative to neat and tidy up history.

  112. And Pence grounds out. We’ve gotta do our own dirty work? Fine.

    Here, MLB Network is carrying O’s-Red Sox. They just started the sixth inning… mostly because neither team can pitch tonight. (It’s 11-8 Boston, if you care.)

  113. You know what? I think I might be coming around to this whole “they’re not going to make it” line of thinking. This just seems comical at this point.

  114. At this point it would almost be worth missing the playoffs if it resulted in the dismissal of Frediot (not that that was his fault, but still)

  115. Cardinals and La Russa’s hateable face back only two in loss column. Their fans are probably going nuts, even though they’re still two behind with eight to play.

  116. It’s gonna be tough to win without good hitting, or pitching, or defense. Perhaps the Braves can make it work.

  117. @DG

    Could be this game … could be Venters’ struggles yesterday … could be Frediot walking Ty Wigginton to face Carlos Gonzalez in the bottom of the 9th at Coors Field in July … there’s a lot of “one games” we can point to if this thing continues to disintegrate.

  118. @275: Pundits lean towards recentism and will look at the one game in the immediate past that tipped the scales in a way to suggest some sort of “destiny” for the Cards. Cardinals fans need to start thanking Infante. I’m starting to think maybe the Braves should have kept him.

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