Phillies 7, Braves 1

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – September 27, 2011 – ESPN.

I hope the Cardinals vote Derek Lowe a playoff share. He’s the MVP of their stretch run, for sure. Lowe failed to make it out of the fifth inning as the Braves have now completely blown a seemingly insurmountable lead in the wildcard.

Lowe started off with a homer to Chase Utley in the first. He got through the second without giving up a run, somehow, but in the third he gave up a leadoff double to Carlos Ruiz, refused to just take the out on the succeeding bunt, allowing Roy Oswalt to reach, and eventually gave up two runs. Two hits and a sac fly in the fourth scored Shane “Burn In Hell” Victorino.

After Lowe allowed the leadoff man to reach in the fifth, Fredi finally relieved him, only for Arodys Vizcaino to allowe a two-run homer to Hunter Pence to make it 6-0. Jimmy Rollins hit a solo homer off of Julio Teheran in the seventh to make it 7-0; Martin Prado hit a meaningless homer in the ninth to make it 7-1.

727 thoughts on “Phillies 7, Braves 1”

  1. Hudson has to pitch a shutout and we need to find a way to win 0 to -1. Seems like a tall order.

    This was the last post in the last thread, and I wanted to point out that there is no such thing as negative runs, so that’s not even remotely possible in helping us win.

    What is possible, however, would be for one of our clubhouse guys to release some sort of virus, perhaps the plague, into the Phillies clubhouse. We’d need something that would act fast, so maybe Fredi could head over to the CDC to find what would work best; I’m sure there are some Braves fans over there. So this virus takes hold in the Phillies clubhouse and by gametime, they’ve already had to replace their starting pitcher and maybe Utley and “Burn in Hell” can’t make their starts. As the game goes on, Phillies start dropping like fly balls out of Brooks Conrad’s mitt. By the time of the 9th inning, it’s 0-0 but the Phillies are forced to forfeit because they don’t have enough players to take the field.

    Of course, for this to work, the Braves players will have to wear surgical masks so they don’t come into contact with the virus themselves. That’ll look kinda ridiculous, and possibly tip their hats (or caps) to their culpability in this diabolical plan. The key is to get into the playoffs despite not being able to score any runs – not to get caught and have the franchise expunged from Major League Baseball. So it will need to be a very delicate operation from the get go.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts on the subject.

  2. Last night, I was trying to point out that it’s beyond ridiculous to think that these guys don’t care. However, after last night’s loss, I think I know what feeling is circulating through their bodies and minds because it’s also going through mine:

    helplessly numb.

  3. Wow, what a disappointing end to the season. I can’t even see a bright spot in what has to be one of the worst months of Braves baseball that I’ve ever experienced. I followed the team in the 80’s but expectations were low back then as was the talent level.

    I have high hopes for the Braves going forward because the team has potential but dang this one hurts. We were built to win this year and frittering it away like this is just awful.

  4. Hey, look at it this way:

    Wohlers’s hanging slider
    Eric Gregg’s 5-foot wide zone
    Chris Burke’s homer
    Conrad’s 3-error game
    Epic Wild Card collapse

    If the Braves were a team like the Red Sox or Cubs, they would make documentaries devoted to these horrible things and replay them on ESPN for years to come.

    At least for us we only have to deal with our own memories. (Removes bandage to check on emotional scar from Eric Gregg Game – “Owwwww! It still hurts!”)

    But hey, no longer need to worry about blowing the lead, already did that. Now it’s time to get it back and roll into October! GO BRAVES!

  5. @4 – The flaw in your plan is expecting Fredi to make it back to Turner from the CDC without unleashing the plague on all of Atlanta. He’ll almost certainly be on his Harley and the vial will shatter in his saddle bag after he hits a few potholes. This will never work, and it will probably kill us all.

  6. #8 – any chance the Braves do the Kenshin Kawakami route with Derek Lowe? If not, just make him the $15 mil long man out of the pen. No chance that he’ll get traded.

  7. They can’t send him to the minors though, can they? Too much service time I thought. They’d have to just cut him if they wanted him away from the team. Maybe he could handle a demotion to the bullpen. Hopefully.

  8. Ryan, you did a fine job arguing your case, and I respect that, but it was continuously undermined by what we saw on the field. And it will be again tonight, unless Huddy pitches a perfect game and hits a homer.

    Mike, you’re just scratching the surface. Think of all the movies that could be written about…

    The John Rocker Experience
    Leyritz’ home run
    Nixon’s failed bunt in the ’92 WS
    Nixon’s cocaine use in ’91
    The Eighties. Period. (Except for 1982)
    The Seventies. Exclamation Point.

  9. 8, 11: I brought up this notion in a prior thread. With Hudson, Beachy, Delgado, Teheran, Minor and Arodys, there is absolutely no room for Derek Lowe in next year’s rotation. None. He either gets traded to the Royals for a bag of balls and we eat his $15 million, or he gets the Kawakami treatment.

    Or we demote him to the bullpen where he takes the “long man” role. He might actually flourish in that role, and we’d get something out of him. Perhaps even enough to tease a team into trading for him at the deadline under delusions that he can start for them.

  10. I think Lowe would be pretty good out of the pen, and if the people that run this team have a lick of sense, that’s where he’ll be from now until the end of his contract.

  11. @4,

    The Braves would still lose.

    BTW, how is the weather in Atlanta. Will the Braves be able to hit the links tomorrow?

    “I accept that Fredi’s a different human being than Bobby Cox, but he also appears to be a worse manager. ”

    Is he really that much worse, Alex? What does Fredi do that Bobby wouldn’t? Maybe Bobby would have not gone as long with Lowe. It seems to me they are basically clones; Bobby had better players for most of his career. They both practice the same idiotic, “see no evil, hear no evil” approach but, at the same time, players (other than Hanley Ramirez) seem to like playing for them.

    Let’s face it, you can scream at Fredi all you want (and probably jump in line with fans of most of the other 29 teams that hate their managers), but he is not the reason the Braves are collapsing. I certainly don’t think he is a good manager, but do you really think this wouldn’t be happening if Bobby was managing? Or Charlie Manual? Do you think the Phillies would be losing if Fredi was their manager? I’m sorry, I think it’s the players; perhaps some of his moves or non-moves contributed, but Fredi isn’t the reason the “best catcher in baseball” hasn’t hit is weight the second half of the season or why Dan Uggla can’t get a runner in from third with less than two outs, etc, etc.

    Frankly, the team was playing with little margine for error all season because the offense was so awful. How many games did the Braves win despite leaving a zillion runners on base because the bullpen bailed them out? How many extra-inning games did they win? The Braves were probably lucky to be where they were in the first place. I know I kept thinking every time they hit a skid, here it comes. They were awfully resillient most of the year. But it caught up to them in September; the overuse (by necessity in may cases) of the bullpen, the inability to get cushions, the shutdowns by mediocre pitchers.

    What really frustrates me more is that I think the FO will do nothing this offseason except talk about how the injuries derailed the team. IMO, they need a complete change in philosophy on offense and look for players that can get on base. I can’t imagine that Venters and Kimbrel will be as good next year as they were for most of this year, so the Braves are going to need more out of their starters and more production from their hitters.

    And, does anyone envision Derek Lowe not coming back? I think he will because he ain’t walking away from $15 million and no one else is going to take him off the Braves hands, and Liberty certainly isn’t going to eat the salary.

  12. You play Hinske (last start September 11 in St. Louis). You play Ross. You mix things up.

    But you aren’t Fredlot, who will play the guys who got us here… never mind where “here” is, compared to the end of August.

  13. More than likely the Braves will try to resign AAG Im afraid.

    Rollins wants 4-5/$13 per
    Reyes wants 5-6/$15 per

    Welcome to the offseason. Its less than 13 hours away.

  14. Today’s AJC:

    Braves Have Been Here Before
    Mark Bradley: Atlanta knows how to win 162nd game to make playoffs because it happened in 2010.

    I know the hometown paper has a vested interest in helping sell tickets to the Braves games, but come on. There is no “knows how to win” that’s any different from today’s game than the one we blew in Chicago when Fredi brought Rusty Linebrink into a key situation fresh off the DL. If we “knew how to win” that game, we wouldn’t have to “know how to win” today’s game.

    Part of my embarrassment as a Braves fan is that my favorite team isn’t shielding me from this kind of crap.

  15. Nominations for today’s video:
    You Gotta Beleive-The Rocket Summer
    You Gotta Believe-Mary J, Blige
    You Gotta Believe-Markie Mark and the Funky Bunch.

    If the baseball gods will grant us this one victory, I will pledge a significant (for me)donation to Tug’s “Ya Gotta Believe” fund and charity.
    (Still looking for a copy of “Scroogie”, by the way)

    Our favorite team can win today and be in the playoffs.
    Might be a one game playoff, but you compete to keep playing at this time of year.

    Go Braves!

  16. @13
    Brian, what do you want this team to do to show that they care?

    Curse after strikeouts? Done. See McCann and Hinske

    Throw bats/helmets after poor ABs? Done. See Freeman, McCann, and many others.

    Play through injuries? Done. See half of the team.

    If you want a team that’s going to call each other out through the media, you should probably look elsewhere. If you want a team that’s going to ride emotion, then go root for a team that consistently sells out games.

    How is it that you think they dont care about winning?

  17. Too bad a guy like JJ Hardy slipped through the cracks.

    I’d say that Delgado, Vizcaino, and Pastornicky all need more time in the minors. Maybe Teheran too, who still lacks a major league out pitch. I’d guess Jurrjens or Lowe will be gone to make room for Minor, but I have no idea how they’ll upgrade the offense. In all likelihood, they’ll hope for Heyward, Prado, and Uggla to return to form, though it’d be nice to see some more creativity on the trade market to upgrade SS or LF.

    /offseason mode

  18. @13,

    Totally agree Ryan. For better or worse, this is not a team that throws tantrums. That doesn’t mean they don’t care.

  19. Because they do the same things over and over. Heyward rolls one weak grounder to the right side after another, making no attempt to adjust to a league that has adjusted to him. McCann lunges at pitches, won’t (or more likely can’t) block pitches, and won’t admit that he’s hurt. Every hitter on the team swings at worse and worse pitches that they know they can’t do anything with.

    “Caring” is about making your best effort, not about histrionics. And yes, I expect people to be called out when they fail the same way over and over again. This team isn’t the Cubs, where failure is a way of life, and shouldn’t be. There’s no reason for it to be. But it is because the team has had players’ managers for too long. This is why Bill James and other believe that players’ managers and taskmasters need to alternate so that teams don’t get too complacent or too divided.

  20. @21

    No way you sit McCann. I would start Hinske in left and bat him second. Hell, I might even start TBone and bat him second. But our lineup, will once again, stay the same.

    The Ghost of Brian McCann
    Former Pirate Jack Wilson

  21. @26 – Teheran looked pretty good last night sans the meatball to Rollins. I think he has a couple of ML out pitches. He made Ibanez look stupid on the third strike. He just needs to pitch more often than every ten days, especially when Derek Lowe is one of your starting pitchers.

  22. If I’m Fredi, I start Hinske over Prado.

    If I’m Manuel, I rest all of the starters I can, and I only use scrub relievers who won’t be on the playoff roster.

    I like our chances.

  23. Eric Hinske is hitting .176/.322/.338 since the break. The entire offense is atrocious.

    Fire Larry Parrish.

  24. 32: Manuel’s got to start his best, doesn’t he? The playoffs for the Cardinals and Braves start pretty much today. Manuel can’t be accused of taking the day off. He could start his A-list lineup and start pulling them once the game got out of hand either way, but I don’t think he can shrug his duties to the character of the game.

    Still, I like our chances today. I think of all pitchers we can beat up, Blanton’s the one. I don’t think we beat St. Louis in a playoff game, though.

  25. Ross should be starting behind the plate. He and Hudson have worked well together, and Ross can do a better job of keeping Rollins in check.

  26. I’ve got nothing left. I hope we make the playoffs because I’m a Braves fan, but find that I am at peace with the possibility (probability?) that St. Louis overtakes us at the wire.

    So, whatever happens, I’d like to take the time to say thanks for:

    Chipper – gutting it out on two knees that you’d see in a med school exhibit on bad joints.

    Dan U. – for not quitting on the season back in July and still hustling.

    Freddie and Kimbrel – for showing how god they’ll be in the future.

    Hudson – for being the anchor.

    Venters Who Is Clearly Not Right – for that circus sinker that makes me laugh in disbelief every time he throws it.

    BMac – for being until recently The Best Catcher In Baseball.

    TBone – for a fun three weeks in August.

    EOF – for being awesome.

    Beachy/Minor/Delgado – for taking the ball and giving us a chance to win, even when we couldn’t score with a porn star if we had to.

    AAG – for some really great glove work up the middle, and, surprisingly, a few clutch hits this month.

    Anyway, here’s hoping for best tonight.

  27. Well, Blanton is suppose to start and Hamels/Worley are suppose to get a couple of innings each. Id probably start with the same lineup that Manuel has been putting out there and give these guys a couple of at bats each.

  28. In Huddy we trust. Go Braves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ps – Noggin’ fuzzy from too much Gentleman Jack sorrow drowning.

  29. The fact that we’re having a discussion about whether or not the team cares is more depressing to me than the actual collapse.

    The problem isn’t a lack of caring. It’s a combination of managerial incompetence, injury, and plain old choking, some of which is likely due to not being able to channel caring into something productive.

  30. per mlbtr….Royals lefty Bruce Chen is among Boston’s trade targets as they consider acquiring a starter for a potential Thursday play-in game, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Chen is scheduled to start tonight in Minnesota as he seeks to tie his career-high of 13 wins.

  31. I don’t think we’re that far apart, really. The “Caring” dispute boils down to whether the Braves will continue to do things that obviously don’t work. The front office will, the manager will, and the players will, based on all available evidence. When you do things that yoou know will fail, you’ve made it clear that success isn’t a priority.

  32. Brian,
    How do you know Heyward’s not making adjustments, or at least trying? Is it covered in the media? No. Does that mean it’s not happening? No.

    Do you really want McCann to sit out of games and “admit” that he’s injured? That, to me, sounds like he cares too much, not that he doesn’t care.

    They’re pressing and they’re sucking. That’s it. Bullpen’s overworked and pitching poorly. SP is 2/5 injured, 1/5 great, 1/5 average, and 1/5 the worst in baseball. The hitting is awful and has been all year.

  33. Whatever adjustments Heyward has made aren’t showing in the results. He’s been hitting the same way virtually all season, with lots of strikeouts, lots of weak grounders, and the occasional Baltimore chop single. He’s not even failing in different ways, which would be evidence of a new approach (even if not necessarily one that works). There’s nothing that suggests that Heyward has adjusted to the league in 2011, and if that continues, he really shouldn’t be in the majors in 2012. He needs to learn the craft of hitting in the minors.

    As for McCann, his staying in the lineup isn’t caring about the team. It’s machismo, abiding by a “code” that’s ruined hunders of careers over the years through aggravated and cascade injuries. And it’s from a guy who shouldn’t have to prove his toughness; the last six seasons give testament to that.

    You’re right about the pitching staff. O’Ventbrel is only human, and will fail every so often.

    But it all goes back to the question- do you care about the team’s results, or about making yourself look good? I don’t get the impression that the former applies to the Braves. And September pressure has exposed it brutally.

  34. McCann was 2 for 3 last night with a double. I didn’t see much evidence of a career threatening injury that he’s playing through (as implied). Prado and Bourn were the only other guys with a hit last night. Not much you can do when the whole team including backups and pinch hitters (0 for 6 last night) are stinking up the joint.

  35. Regarding this lack of caring nonsense: Jason Heyward is a kid; he doesn’t know what’s wrong with his approach and he certainly doesn’t know how to fix it himself. That’s the role of a batting coach and the Braves do not seem to have a good one, or at least one that can help Heyward. Chipper is obviously playing injured and McCann probably is also, since he hasn’t been the same since he returned (earlier than he should have?) from the DL. Bourne and Uggla are trying to do too much and poor Prado seems to be psyched out by hitting behind a real base stealer for the first time. AAG played well in September until he re-injured himself. With the exception of Lowe, the pitching has held up fairly well during this horrid stretch. Sadly, Venters might have hit the proverbial “wall” or they’re just hitting some of the pitches they were missing earlier in the season. So, who on this team are we accusing of “not caring”?

    I’ve been a Braves fan since 1954 (yes, since Boston! Imagine if the Braves had not moved and both they and the Red Sox were going through the same collapse together. That baseball-crazy town would have a complete mental breakdown!) and, aside from the 1996 World Series loss, this is the most disheartened I’ve been about the team. But, I do not believe that it’s caused by anything other than squeezing thebat a little too tight.

  36. Every time I see Heyward, he has a slightly different stance — he’s standing a bit straighter or bending his knees more, for example. Andruw Jones used to change his stance obsessively too, and he was often slagged for “not caring.” Look, I believe that Heyward is trying really hard, and I’m sure he’s working to try to figure out what’s going wrong. I have no beef with Heyward, or with Martin, who is clearly a baseball rat and kills himself every time he struggles.

    I just wish that it LOOKED like the team was fighting. Every game makes it look like they rolled over and died two weeks ago.

    EDIT: Doug, my hat’s off to you. That’s awesome.

  37. I hesitate to bring this up again (well, not really) but it’s nothing a good brawl couldn’t fix. The male psychology is a strange thing. If Fredi had been bounced a few times for arguing calls, maybe it wouldn’t be necessary, but he’s shown he’s a pretty docile guy. But that just means it falls on the players to distract themselves (and their opponents and their fans) from their inability to produce in bed. Er, I mean on the field… (Sorry, don’t know how that slipped in there…)

    Like the other night, I noted that the Phillies were totally crowding the plate all game against Delgado. He pitched through it pretty well all things considered, but those hitters were just towering over home plate. Brush one of those suckers back. Wait until two outs and bases cleared and get Victorino or Ruiz up there and just hit the bastard. Let Victorino glare at you on his way to first base. He knows what you’re doing. Now let him know that you know that he knows what you’re doing and tell him, “I don’t give a f&$*.” Get a buzz going on the field. Change the subject from how shitty we’re playing to how much of a big bunch of meatheads the Phillies are. And if a brawl breaks out? So much the better.

    Now, of course the opening game of the last series of the season is the wrong time to try and manufacture something like this, but it could have been done against the Mets. Maybe Fredi runs a feminized clubhouse, I dunno. (“Guys, as long as I’m here, we play clean baseball. I don’t want to see any brushbacks or calling out player’s mothers.”)

    Anyway, just a thought. Can’t wait to see Cody Ross next year…

  38. If these guys aren’t getting necessary sleep, then whores might be the problem!

    Sad: AJC poll indicates that only 37% of Braves fans think we’re going to win today’s game.

  39. @47 – Well said sir. The Boston Braves? Dang.
    @36 – My sentiments exactly.

    Folks the manager matters so little when it comes to actual game results that I simply cannot get worked up over whether Fredi Gonzalez is a bad manager or not. As for the perception that the team isn’t trying, get real. I believe that there are 25 guys right now that are way more perplexed, sad and angry than we are.

    Go Braves!

  40. It seems to me that baseball is a game that is played better when you are relaxed. No one has gotten to the major leagues by not caring; these are typically Type A personalities who, if anything, care too much. Everybody makes a big deal out of managers getting thrown out, but it sure didn’t make a difference to the Cubs when Lou Pinella would throw his tantrums. The Braves have had problems with their offense all year; it’s caught up in September because of the issues with the rotation and the bullpen not being perfect. Also, let’s not forget the Cardinals got hot at the right time. I don’t see any evidence that they don’t care or are not trying. It’s just not as easy as fans seem to think.

  41. … it sure didn’t make a difference to the Cubs when Lou Pinella would throw his tantrums.

    The difference is the Cubs suck. The Braves offense is actually supposed to be a group of quality players. They’re just mired in a season long…who the hell knows what it is, but it’s been season long!

    The fact is they’ve been better than they are now. And now is what matters. Do whatever necessary to rejigger those brainwaves into something productive in the batter’s box.

  42. a few interesting stats from

    Plate appearances with less than two out, runner on third: Braves 278, worst in majors. Number of times that runner then scored? Braves 119, worst in the majors. As a percentage, only 43 percent of the time did the Braves runner on third with less than two outs score. Again, worst in MLB.

    Plate appearances with no outs, runner on second: Braves 198, third worst in MLB. Number of times that runner on second with no outs then advanced? Braves 97, worst in the majors. As a percentage, only 49 percent of the time did a Braves runner on second with no outs advance: tied with White Sox and Cubs for worst in the majors.

    Finally, “productive outs percentage” (combines successful sac for a pitcher with one out, advancing any runner with none out, and driving in a baserunner with the second out of the inning. Braves, 26%, worst in the majors.

  43. @50
    Great post. One approach that might be lacking that Cox had: Stand up for your players, even though they might be in the wrong.

    Also, I like the idea of a fight. The best timing might have been when Big Z brushed back Ol’ Man Chipper twice. That was August 12th. We lost the next 2 to the Cubs.

  44. I don’t post too much on here…I follow along as much as possible though. Kudos to Mac for making this an enjoyable place for Braves fans to gather.

    Anyways, I have a confession to make fellas…and I think I might have to go into counseling because of this.

    My wife and I have moved around a handful times (work related) since we’ve been married. Twice, our move has occurred during the baseball season.

    June 4, 2006
    Sept 5, 2011 (a few weeks ago)

    I’m sure most of us Braves fans remember June 2006 and we undoubtedly are aware the past few weeks.

    I’ve learned my lesson and will try to reserve my nomadic tendencies for the winter. Sorry folks!

  45. #50 – Thats what good hitters do. Almost all of the Phillies hitters love getting pitched inside. They crowd the plate and want you to try and throw an inside fastball by them. They’re geared up for that pitch and when you try throwing something low and away, they are good enough to adjust and hit the ball the other way. Every one of them, outside of Howard, crowds the plate.

    Not to pick on him, but they are the complete opposite of what Heyward looks like at the plate right now. He’s got the same swing for every pitch.

  46. A feminized clubhouse. Wow. You just can’t make this shit up.

    Good thing I didn’t “make it up”, so you can save your “Wow.” for some other post. I chose the words “Maybe” and “I dunno.” It’s a theory, Sam, for why the Braves have shown little virility down the stretch. A theory.

  47. It’s horseshit, John. Unadulterated horseshit. You can couch it in as many “maybes” and “dunnos” as possible and it won’t change the fact that it’s a big, steaming pile of made-up crazy.

  48. @59 The trouble with starting a fight in that game is that none of the Cubs would fight for Zambrano. The Cubs won the next 2 games as a relief rally. Z was no longer with them.

  49. 66: How do you know? I clearly label something as conjecture, so you’ve got the goods that I’m talking horseshit, so where’s your facts?

    All I’m deducing is why a team whose manager won’t argue with the umps, a team who won’t hit Cody Ross in the ribs, a team who is content to let a young kid let a bunch of Phillies crowd the plate on him, a team who – when their pitcher was imploding in a key game the other night – has a manager who stares dead-eyed and emotionless with his arms flopped across his big fat belly as his third base coach cranes his neck back at him looking for some kind of response, a team that when they have their big fan outreach on the internet shows Jason Heyward reclining on a couch playing video games…. all I’m deducing is that maybe the typical norms of rough and tumble, hyper-masculine baseball isn’t a priority in the clubhouse.

    As someone previously mentioned earlier, we couldn’t even get goaded into a fight with Carlos Freakin’ Zambrano who threw at our future Hall of Famer not once but twice!

    So what’s your evidence that my conjecture is horseshit?

  50. Your conjecture is horseshit because you’re running an internet psychotherapy session about a baseball team’s collective “feminized” psyche. When one begins with such a horseshit project, horseshit is inevitably the result.

    You might as well be reading their bloody astrological signs.

  51. I’m sorry if this has been posted or discussed already, but in response to calls to give Lowe the Kawikami treatment I thought of this article from CAC the other day. I don’t care for the self-righteous tone of the piece and I think he fails to take into consideration how much worse Lowe has been in the last month versus his season averages, but he makes some good points:

  52. 67: What you do is rush the mound, push the bastard down on the ground, and then look back at the Cubs dugout and tell them to get this sorry sack of classless shit off the field, and if you don’t then we will.

  53. Thank you for your horseshit conjecture about my horseshit conjecture, Sam!

    It’s interesting that you’ve not offered a counterargument, substantive or otherwise, as to why the Braves look so listless. Or why Fredi is the way Fredi does.

  54. I try to grasp the saber ideas and agree they have a place. However, as for a fan who has seen Derek Lowe pitch this season…he’s just awful. These arent little flares and dribbles finding holes. Using FIP to tell me why Lowe has actually been good makes me want to discredit the whole idea.

  55. “Feminized” doesn’t seem look a good word to use to describe the Braves clubhouse or Fredlot. “Apathetic” is much better.

    This is what happens when you have “players’ managers” for too long. Players see that there are no consequences for failure, no negative effects for bad technique and approach. Well done, boys, tip your cap, give them credit, tomorrow will be different- except that nobody does anything to MAKE tomorrow different. Actually, perhaps you could call it an “insane” clubhouse, using the famous definition that it’s insane to expect the same things done the same way with the same (lack of} effort to yield different results.

    As for Fredlot, does this man actually pay attention to his roster, the calendar, or the game on the field? It’s not appropriate to keep batting players second when they can’t hit (AAG early, Prado now), to keep writing in McCann’s name when he can’t run or cover the plate, to ignore the bench players who can hit and use those who can’t. But he never puts any pressure on players to improve or change their approach or inconvenience themselves in any way, so he’s thought of as having continuity with Cox. And thus he’s a sacred bull. (Not a cow- he’s not feminine.)

  56. I guess I’ve gotten conditioned to this ongoing failure, but it’s hard to imagine this team scoring enough runs to win a game tonight.

    Still, I’ve been watching baseball a long time & have seen a lotta inexplicable things. Maybe Hudson shuts ’em down 2-1 or something—anything to avoid the ignominy of joining that ’64 Phillies list.

    FWIW, I don’t think throwing tantrums at the umpire makes much difference one way or the other.

    Of course, that doesn’t stop Red Sox fans from calling out Terry Francona for his “docile” approach to the umps. Hell, Yankee fans gave Torre grief for not doing it. When your team is losing, even for short periods, fans want to maintain the perception of a fight, I guess.

    Piniella won big & lost big with the same approach. But funny how he won when he had players (Cincy, Seattle, Cubs) & usually lost when he didn’t (Tampa).

    Players win or lose the games. We’re not hitting worth a damn right now & that’s the biggest reason why we’re in this fix.

    You occasionally have to account for the flares & dribbles of contrarianism in the saber community, too.

  57. Frankly, I’m more willing to believe that the entire Braves clubhouse is “feminized” — or, for that matter, that Abner Doubleday invented baseball — than that Derek Lowe has actually been a good starter this year. Sometimes, I have to believe my lyin’ eyes.

  58. @70
    That was from September 12th. Since that article was posted, Lowe has given up 14 runs in 13 innings on 21 hits and 3 walks (including a HR in each start). The author of that article has been catching it (and for good reason) ever since he hit “submit”. Sometimes you have to scrap the stats and use your frickin’ eyes. Watching a game on MLB gameday doesnt suffice.

    Derek Lowe, outside of his first 4 outings and maybe 1 outing per month, has been an atrocious pitcher. He’s even been crappy at eating innings. Maybe his appetite is down (happens if your on ADHD meds). He has not pitched in the 8th inning this whole year.

  59. Look at the bright side, we finally found a way to get more airtime on ESPN than the Yankees or the Red Sox with the most epic fail of all time.

    I’m still not watching or listening. I just want it to be over.

    BTW, I caught Fredi on ESPN saying the dreaded phrase: “It is what it is”. This is NOT the time to use quotes from Mark Richt’s losing press conferences.

  60. So, if you could choose, who would be managing the Braves next year?

    No limitations. (Other than he/she must actually be currently alive.)

  61. Lowe’s decent FIP is for the whole season. If he gets credit for coming through in September last year, he should get credit for tanking in August and September of this year.

    Also, check out his leverage splits from Fangraphs:

    Low: 3.12 FIP
    Medium: 4.04 FIP
    High: 5.81 FIP

    I don’t think Lowe is an especially bad pitcher, but he’s pitched progressively worse as the season has progressed. It’s gotten to the point that I pretty much knew yesterday would be a bad start before it happened.

    He pitched better than his ERA for, say, June and July. Now, however, he’s about what his ERA says he is.

  62. @76 – ‘Piniella won big & lost big with the same approach. But funny how he won when he had players (Cincy, Seattle, Cubs) & usually lost when he didn’t (Tampa).’


  63. The framming people called and my autographed Dale Murphy jersey is ready for me to pick up.

    May the Spirit of the Murph guide us…

  64. Regarding my earlier post (@47), I misspoke. I actually became a fan of the Braves in 1952, not 1954. My father took me to my first game–Braves vs. Dodgers at Ebbets Field. A Saturday afternoon, June 28, 1952. I was 6 years old. As a little kid, I couldn’t understand why nobody liked the Braves; they had nicer hats, after all. So (this according to my Dad), from then on, I rooted for the team with the nicer hats.

    In typical Braves fashion, the Braves(Warren Spahn) lost 4-2 to Brooklyn–blowing a 2-1 lead–on a two-run homer by Gil Hodges in thebottom of the 9th. (I had to look the box score up. All I actually remember about the game is that the team with the good hats lost.)

    Hope that you all enjoyed this nice memory in the midst of all this misery.

  65. I’m with Smitty. If “no limitations” means somehow hiring a guy out of a great situation, then there’s really no question.

  66. 91. I’d agree with Joey and Smitty, but I still think McDowell’s the best choice known to be available.

    As long as we’re fantasizing, though, a year of LaRussa would do this team a world of good.

  67. Really would’ve changed my mind before clicking submit on stubhub if i’d seen that lineup first. Eff Fredi.

  68. @88,


    That’s really cool. I’m sure Fredi blew that game by leaving Spahn in too long.

    As far as a new manager, you might as well be asking what supermodel you are going to date next. IMO, there is not a snowball’s chance in hell of the Braves firing Fredi–and I’m not sure there should be. If you fire the manager, it seems to me you are absolving the players from responsibility. No matter how bad a manager he is, he isn’t responsible for those pathetic numbers that farmboy posted. I would have preferred that the Braves go away from the Bobby Cox model when he retired–but, predictably, they did not.

  69. Yes, that is correct as I understand it. Maybe Fredi knows that Blanton is only going 2 innings, so he’ll be gone for a lefty by the time Diaz comes up in the third. Gotta get that Diaz defense in there early to shut ’em down!

  70. Blanton is right-handed, yes.

    It’s basically a bullpen game though. Hamels is supposed to get an inning or two in an attempt to vulture a W.

  71. @93,

    Wow, a manager that actually has an independent thought. What a radical idea. Maybe someone like that would work for the Braves, maybe they should look for someone that doesn’t follow convention slavishly and has a reason for what he does . .. Nah!

  72. Generally, Diaz and Prado over Heyward and Hinske is more of a LHP lineup. I guess he’s thinking Hamels will come in early. Someone should ask him about it. Maybe one of those journalists?

  73. 88: That’s awesome, man. I’m gonna go check out that box score.

    What say we all reconvene here at 7:10, turn the TV and radio off, shut the MLB feed down, and just talk about fun moments in Braves history, let Doug take the lead with his reminiscing? We can have a great time until midnight, then wake up in the morning to yell at the newspaper. Sound good?

  74. 103: What a clip that was. He is plainspoken, articulate and decisive. I don’t think I heard a single cliche come out of his mouth, while at the same time he didn’t have a lot of high-falutin’ big wordery going on.

    Man crush is on.

  75. @105 – Yes, that actually sounds much better than going to the game. I really don’t know what came over me that led to buying a ticket. Now regret can mix with sadness and frustration. It was just going to be sadness and frustration otherwise.

    @93 – I just fell in love with Joe Maddon. I’d been considering adopting Tampa as a second team for a while anyway. That might’ve done it.

  76. 109- Every time I see Heyward ground out to second or strike out, I trust Diaz more. Of course, every time I see Diaz ground out or strike out, I trust Heyward more. Sadly, I’ve now summarized 90% of the plate appearances of both men.

  77. Yesterday I read MLB (Mark Bowman) quote from Chipper below:
    Before Monday night’s game, Jones said it was time for him and his teammates to ignore the aches and pains they have been feeling as the season has neared its end.

    “I don’t want to hear, ‘I’m hurting,’ or ‘I’m tired,'” Jones said. “It’s all hands on deck from now until the end of the season. There’s no excuses. Go out and do your job.”

    Then he went out and hit a homerun off Lee. In yesterday’s game thread someone quoted Chipper as saying “You go through injuries” but I got the feeling the thread reference meant Chipper was making excuses. If I misunderstood, my bad.

    If, however, that was indeed the implication, I have to disagree. Chipper’s quote from Bowman sums Chipper up. Plus, if saying the above, then leading by example by homering and playing through the current injury isn’t veteran leadership (I think we all agree that observation was an ESPN “PSing-in-the-wind”) then what is? My wish would be for Chipper to hobble to the plate (a la Kirk Gibson which I witnessed) and hit a walk-off homer! Then a miracle playoff series! Go Braves!

    FWIW, I can’t help, when I think of injuries and the opposite to Chipper, remember Mac’s hilarious video impersonation of Mike Hampton, conducting a class, and fainting from a papercut! Still LOL 3 or 4 years later!

  78. #88
    Great stuff, Doug.

    And that’s one of the many terrific things about—you can go back and actually look up the games you attended as a kid.

    My first: 6/17/73, Braves/Cubs doubleheader at AFCS (a split, but Carmen Fanzone hit HRs in both games).

    BTW, the Braves played 17 DHs that year.

    And almost entirely recorded live in the studio—in one take. All four sides were recorded & mixed in less than 4 days. One of my favorite records ever.

  79. Re: NL Batting Title

    In today’s game, Jose Reyes got a bunt single in the first inning, then took himself out of the game—he ends at .3370577. (Ted Williams he ain’t.)

    That means Ryan Braun must go at least 3 for 4 to win—he’d be .3374777.

  80. Also, I’m in Finland at the moment, where the game doesn’t start until 2:00 a.m., so I’m sure I’ll wake up around 5:00 a.m. not able to sleep. Plus, I need one win to win my fantasy league, and I have, unbelievably, both Tim Hudson AND Brett Myers pitching today, as well as Ryan Dempster.

    I’m drunk as a skunk, if you can’t tell, and although I’m not prepared to debate the veracity of my analogies regarding the stereotypical imbibing habits of smelly rodents, that’s something I’ve heard, and I’m sticking to it.

    In conclusion, I guess my central theme is: Let’s go, Dempster.

  81. Rusty, of course you’re drunk – you’re in Finland. Easy with the sauna…

    Since I am in a similar time zone, the past three nights I have been dreaming the results of those respective games (no kidding – EVERY freakin night). Needless to say, they were never correct but I am glad once this is all over so I can get back to normal sleep.

  82. “(Ted Williams he ain’t.)”

    Yeah, but Ted Williams wasn’t “aggressive early in the count” so he must have sucked.

  83. It’s only fitting that a guy with a 547 OPS and 48 wRC+ against right-handers gets a start against a largely rights-handed group of pitchers tonight. Fredi just being Fredi, I guess.

  84. Yes, very appropriate way to end the season. Fredi has been going light on the headscratch-inducing boners lately, so he had to reassert himself.

  85. It’s only fitting that a guy with a 547 OPS and 48 wRC+ against right-handers gets a start against a largely rights-handed group of pitchers tonight. Fredi just being Fredi, I guess.

    After his year: Fredi should take a bow by doing all the insane things he did throughout the entire season, one last time.

    Start Diaz, leave out Heyward, call for a few bunts, use Venters and Kimbrel even if the game is a blow out, let the starting pitcher hit in a big spot in a close game when he is not pitching well, send some runners in odd spots for a few rally-crushing caught stealings, etc. Then say “you just gotta tip your cap” during the post-game interview about the loss.

    Why not?

  86. The Boston Spaceships, Bob Pollard’s post-Guided By Voices band, has a new double-LP Let It Beard…best album in years…

  87. This…

    Really, just something that’s real. No overproduced bullshit. This band is Dread Clampitt. They play every Sunday at the Red Bar in Grayton Beach. A hell of a show if you’ve never heard ’em.

  88. @135
    A bit of Dropkick Murphy’s meets folk rock. Dig it…

    Liked the one song but others werent consistent to the first’s sound.

  89. It’s a brand new season tonight. Forget the past. Go Huddy, let’s win tonight and see what tomorrow brings. Let’s get it on!!

  90. Blanton, Hamels and Worley will each pitch a couple of innings at least tonight. 2 of them are right handed, which means Fredi has given up the platoon advantage at least once merely for the potential of Hamels pitching to that spot in the order.

  91. 15 minutes until game time, I’m heading out from work, time for the boys to sac up and get this done.

  92. In my experience the best folk, or anti-folk as they used to call it I suppose, is made by former punk rockers. Bragg, John K. Samson, Mike Ness, and of late Frank Turner.

  93. 143- No, but it’s like complaining about dogs licking their privates or Fredlot saying stupid things- it’s what he does.

  94. Hope Hudson doesn’t pitch like Glavine did on the last regular season game of 2007, completing that collapse.

  95. The Braves are going to win tonight, and tomorrow if need be, and if all you Chicken Littles can’t see that then maybe you should all go put on your favorite showtune record, crawl into your closet and pull a blanket over your head.

  96. This is where that new league rule about us not being allowed to score any runs when the other team is ahead becomes mighty inconvenient.

    155/Dan: Agreed! The Braves have worn me out with their awfulness.

  97. It’s possible the Astros take one from the Cards and we get one more day of humiliation.

    I hope that’s what happens. All this suffering is good for scouring the soul clean.

  98. 159- They’ll be collectors’ items someday, just like people who bought tickets for the 1978 ALCS in Boston.

  99. Also, delightfully, my is ludicrously stally, meaning I don’t even get the privilege of watching this crap.

  100. A run! More than I was expecting. It’s good to see Chipper still producing, even if no one else is.

  101. At this point, I just want to go to the playoffs to avoid the sting of having one of the most epic choke jobs ever.

  102. Amen. You just know that we’ll be hearing about it all next year from everywhere.

    Edit: And I am just now noticing the D’backs 6 run 10th inning comeback last night. Wow.

  103. Is Fredi smarter than what we give him credit for?

    Blanton splits
    vs LH – .281/.297/.406 3HR
    vs RH – .341/.343/.461 6HR


  104. That first pitch to Wilson was not even close to a strike.

    And then he goes down swinging, of course, because he can’t take anything without it being called a strike.

  105. Well he was signaling the foul tip but usually that’s only a single clap; I choose to interpret it as him having money on the Phils and/or a deep-seated hatred of the Braves.

  106. By the way, if New York eliminates the Rays and then loses to Boston in the playoffs… that, that would be awesome.

  107. Bourne read Hamels’ move brilliantly there. I do think Bourne made the right move by staying at second; the cost of him out on the bases is immense.

  108. 254- Depends on how well he does, and whether the offense gets to his spot in the bottom of the 6th.

  109. If I were picky, I’d say that was a fairly egregious “neighborhood” play by Wilson on the turn. But I’m not.

  110. 264: Why? Pitchers lose effectiveness each time through the batting order, our bullpen is an asset, not a liability, and we may want Hudson to come back on short rest if we make the playoffs. Pull him.

  111. I truly hope we never get to the point with Hudson that we’re at with Lowe. I really do love that guy.

    Having said that, I agree with #259, time to get EOF up, in at the first sign of trouble.

  112. It looks like if we somehow manage to hang on tonight and win tomorrow in St. Louis that Minor and Delgado will start the first 2 LDS games. Talk about baptism by fire.

  113. At this point, unless his spot comes up to bat this inning, I would let Hudson pitch the 7th, go to EOF for the 8th, and Kimbrel in the 9th. Doubt Fredi would, though. I just hope Venters can get back on track.

  114. 275: On the contrary, I think that’s exactly what Fredi will do. I don’t agree with it, but it’s his formula, and Hudson hasn’t really given him a reason to change it.

  115. Diaz….sorry, man, but I think you’ve lost just a touch, and that’s enough to move you from a productive player I’m glad to have to a guy from whom I’m grateful to get anything at all.

  116. Yeah, saw that coming. Pence has a great arm. ETA: Still don’t mind sending him, since I doubt Fredi PHs for Hudson regardless.

  117. Even for Fredi, this is dumb. Don’t pinch-hit with Heyward, but use him as a defensive replacement?

  118. Y’know, the replay really kinda makes it look like Uggla wasn’t going full speed until about 1/4 of the way between third and home, which, if so…poor show, old chap.

  119. Are you fucking kidding me? Leave Diaz in to hit and then run Heyward out as a defensive replacement? That is mind-boggling to me.

    EDIT: Oops, sorry to everyone else- guess I type slowly.

  120. I’m sure everyone on here thinks I’m a “Fredi apologist” (which really means that I don’t automatically think everything he does is stupid without stopping to think about it) and I officially think that was stupid.

  121. What is Nomar talking about with all this “fake catch” crap? God he sucks. And Huddy’s reaction was priceless- I am laughing right now to keep from crying.

  122. Fredi, it’s nothing against Tim. He’s great. It’s just, they’ve all seen him, what, 3 times now? Eric is a better option right now. Bring him in.

  123. Thank God for that. Be right, Jonny. Get it done, Craig. All we need is for the best thing about this team to work like it should.

  124. And the arms heat up. Need the bullpen to do what they do here. I’ll take a head-to-head with the Cards.

  125. The last two guys who had hit were Wilson, who there is no replacement for, and Diaz, who had already been replaced by Heyward. He couldn’t double switch.

  126. WTF are these guys talking about? I mean, you gotta be careful, Howard’s got pop, but man, I will take Venters vs Howard with the game on the line whenever you offer it to me.

  127. As Mac says, Venters is clearly not well…overuse?

    Edit: Now it’s up to Kimbrel to make it interesting. I’d almost guarantee he allows two baserunners.

  128. That Jonny Venters is a canny lad. Getting through the top and middle of the order so Kimbrel can face the bottom.

  129. You know, I used to love the nickname “Everyday Johnny.” It just has that classic baseball feel to it that was lost completely somewhere around Chris Berman’s 1000th stupid pun.

    But I don’t like it anymore. It promotes an aspect of his usage that’s destructive. Might as well call Jason “Headfirst Heyward.”

  130. weird symmetry in the games right now… braves up 3-2, cardinals up 7-0; in the AL, sox up 3-2, yankees up 7-0. I guess it would really only be symmetrical if the rays were up by that score, but whatever.

  131. I did like it when Joe said “if you ask Ryan Howard, there’s a whole lotta pitchers he would rather be facing than Jonny Venters!”

    Joe has a credible sincerity based on being a veteran as opposed to Chip’s grandstanding, baseless opinions.

  132. There’s one.

    Dan, you misspelled “Brooks Conrad,” although I know that’s what the boxscore says.

  133. Pete! I thought you were just a fellow Braves Journal Blogger. No wonder you aren’t blogging in right now. I do not wish you well!

  134. Edit: Now it’s up to Kimbrel to make it interesting. I’d almost guarantee he allows two baserunners.


  135. Amazing to see what a team with good bat control can do to a talented but wild pitcher. I hope Fredi is learning. (For next year, of course.)

  136. Dan: I don’t like being right. We will lose the WC tonight because of Kimbrel. First, giving up the home run to Infante and now tonight.

  137. This is why I’m glad I chose track over baseball at age 16. I’m sure I would have had a heart attack if I were in the park.

  138. 404: Blaming Kimbrel is ludicrous. He’s been dominating all year, and is now apparently paying the price for overuse. Isolating two moments where he wasn’t perfect is unfair.

    406: At least Kimbrel got some work in after Hurricane Irene.

    Wow, Medlen. Our season comes down to Medlen. Pa-the-tic.

  139. The Braves always have a way of twisting the sword slowly on themselves when they get eliminated.

    Even if Medlen can get the next guy out, the Braves aren’t scoring again tonight.

  140. Kimbrel and Venters: still not overused, no matter how many times people repeat it. Just a heartbreaking dip in performance at the exact wrong time.

  141. @410

    I had a message already typed in the eighth about how Medlen being the only arm warming up in the pen just one appearance off a 14-month DL stint was another example of Frediocy, but then Venters got out of it, so I control-x’ed it — but it applies now.

    EDIT: Happy to be wrong. Still say Venters and Kimbrel have been overworked. You don’t have three of the top six pitchers in appearances by accident.

  142. John R: That may be true, but they are pretty big moments that really stand out in this crappy season. And the 8 blown saves is a LOT for a “closer.”

  143. If we lose this game, it’ll have just about everything that went wrong both this year and last. Bad baserunning/coaching decisions. Overworked relievers. Costly infield errors. Missed opportunities. We just need Chipper to tear another ligament to make this game complete!

  144. Fredi should have gone with Medlen for the 9th. This “I’m gonna go with my 8th inning guy” or “I’m gonna go with my closer” is for the birds when they are clearly not right (yes, from overuse, but not right nonetheless).

  145. I remember a game like this a few years back, and I decided to wait until it was resolved to go get dinner.

    It was resolved by Chris Burke nine innings later, by which time I’d lost my appetite.

  146. If the Braves are going to lose this, can they at least punish the Phillies for tying it and make this go twenty innings?

  147. @420
    absurd. kimbrel has basically been the best closer in the MAJORS. what else do you want? farnsworth? reitsma? kolb?

    find a real complaint…

  148. 415: I’ll pay heed to your contrarian view if we make the playoffs and they start dominating again.

    418: I’m glad Medlen got the final out but it just shows what we’ve been reduced to. Our offense can only score three runs, and Medlen is apparently our only option in the 9th with the bases loaded. If that’s not emblematic of a team running out of gas inches in front of the finish line, I don’t know what is.

  149. Maybe J-Wi can go all Buddy Biancalana on the Phils here.

    I have no idea what I meant by that, btw. I think I’m running out of gas, too.

  150. The mental image of what Fredi must sound like talking to the media and defending this play comes off like a Sheen-style rant.

    Reporter: “Why are you addicted to bunting so much?”
    Fredi: “The only thing I’m addicted to is winning.”

  151. Well, Chip, I would have it another way. My way would be a 3-2 Braves win followed by a 11-7 Cards loss.

  152. @439

    I owe ESPN2 a thank-you for picking up this game, and empathize with y’all in the blackout territory.

  153. Paraphrasing Chip (through a Gentelman Jack haze):

    “Well, now we’re going to free baseball. Who would have wanted it any other way!”

  154. 443- Something along the lines of “We go to extra innings, and would fans want to have it any other way?”

  155. Ron:

    “An hour ago an entire fireball consumed my entire face and it was far preferable to spending another second with you, the Atlanta Braves!”

    (Some editing.):)

  156. 451 – didn’t he also point out that this is the beautiful thing about ‘our game’?

  157. @451

    Even without his other transgressions, that would be enough to hope for Chip’s head to be one of those that roll after this collapse.

  158. Axford better than Kimbrel? Kimbrel’s numbers are the same or far better all the way down the line in comparison. If he leads in blown saves, my guess is (without looking) that Kimbrel’s been handed more 1-run leads than Axford, due to our snappy crappy offense’s inability to score large numbers of runs.

  159. Can somebody share exactly what Chip said so I can hate him too?

    Have you missed all Braves games on television this year?

  160. We’re going to pinch hit for Medlen next inning (unless I missed a double switch). If we don’t win here, we’re looking at Linebrink time.

  161. 458: Yes, pretty much. I’ve lived without TV the last six years and listen on Braves Radio. Although right now I’m enjoying ESPN-2’s pretty solid coverage of the game.

    No Chip for me!

  162. Ok, I’m gonna watch the rest of this inning then it’s lights out.I refuse to subject myself to more of this…until tomorrow.

  163. 454- You mean the man who viciously assaults Chip Caray? Or the man who convinces Fredlot to manage in Korea next year? Because it damn sure won’t be anyone on the field.

  164. It’s kinda embarassing to be playing all of our best players/pitchers while the Phillies pull their starters one by one. They just want it to be over, and the Braves are desperately trying to win….

  165. Don’t look now, but the Rays are making a game of it. Probably because some idiot on NESN said. “The one thing we know is that the Red Sox are going to play at least one more game.”

  166. John, with a 5.84 ERA, his pitching stats are handsome in an ugly sort of way. And yes, it’s officially over in Houston, 8-0.

  167. John R: A closer is supposed to close the game, 1-run lead or 3. I’m not too keen on ALL the super-duper stats that are out there, but aside from K’s, the normal lines seem pretty darn close between Kimbrel and Valverde. Today and the loss to the Marlins may cost Kimbrel ROY with the voters.

  168. DG, I know this season’s been hard on us all. But I don’t think Kimbrel’s gonna lose ROY because of his last couple games. And I also think the Brewers would trade us Axford for Kimbrel within seconds of Wren placing the call.

  169. ESPN2 cameras are fixating on Kimbrel in the dugout. How about zeroing in on Jack Wilson, who’s at least as culpable tonight?

  170. John R: Voters are stupid and recentism clouds their judgment. If the Cards win the WC, some voters will remember the BS against the Cards on September 9, the home run to Infante 10 days later, and tonight’s meltdown. However, in their minds, Freddie Freeman has been consistent and solid. And we know that the hypothetical trade would never happen. But that has no bearing on who has had the most solid season (heck, future considering the overuse factor). I notice you keep talking about Axford, but ignoring Valverde, who had save number 49 tonight in a 1-run game.

    Personally, I think Kimbrel will need TJ surgery in a couple of years if he keeps it up. And then where will we be?

  171. Tied in St. Pete. (EDIT — and I’m the last to know because I’ve got Rays-Yankees on the MLB.TV iPad app, which is about 40 seconds behind the actual live feed.)

    @490 — well put.

  172. 496: I ignore Valverde because I’m not up on my AL. But he’s old and ugly. Kimbrel is young and good looking. There’s not a GM in MLB that wouldn’t give up his left nutsac for Kimbrel, and blown saves (BS) ain’t a factor in that…

  173. Bobby Valentine’s been sinking his teeth into the Braves and their shitty play all day long and he’s still at it into the late night. It’s not like we don’t deserve it, though.

  174. Well, sitting on my ass in front of the TV hasn’t worked since the 3rd. I think I’ll try sitting on my ass in front of the computer.

  175. oh, your friend called and offered me a ticket to tonight’s game Jim, it was much appreciated although I had to decline

  176. Great hit for JHey!

    EDIT: Damn, Phillies just got incredibly lucky on Wilson’s bunt. Man, Braves, could use a break.

  177. Milwaukee just won, so that’s where the Braves go on Saturday, in the unlikely event that they win this one and tomorrow night.

  178. 521: He’s the late drummer of Echo & the Bunnymen. Even he can get Braves hitters out!

    Oops! Spoke too soon. Nice smack, J-Hey! Good bunt, J-Wi!

    And here’s Folk Hero.

  179. If Wilson had laid down that bunt as a squeeze earlier in the game, the Braves are on a plane to St. Louis right now.

  180. To switch the luck, the channel has been changed from Chip and SportSouth to ESPN2 and whomever the hell is talking.

  181. And they’re giving the only guy who is hitting the IBB. OK, Martin – time for you to Silence Your Critics.

  182. Pitching out to get to Prado? What are the chances this backfires on the Phils? 5%? 10%? It just hasn’t been his year – so far.

  183. Can’t be surprised…he is a utility player at best…need to upgrade that position. Yet another weak ground ball from that clown

  184. If it was the Phillies hitting there, alternate-universe Phillies Prado would’ve taken 5 straight pitches.

  185. Is it too late to do something productive with this night? Like self-directed exploratory dental surgery?

  186. What is this team trying to do to me?

    Haven’t we been through enough, as Braves fans? Oh my. I hope they aren’t still doing this when i’m old and frail.

  187. NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    Not Linebrink! Can’t Ross throw?

  188. I really can’t believe my eyes but I’m watching Scott Proctor pitch for the Yankees with the Devil Rays rallying in the bottom of the 10th. The mind boggles…

  189. I can’t watch this anymore. If the Braves end up in the playoffs, I’ll be incredibly surprised. Best of luck to everyone sticking around on the 2011 Braves Failboat, keep an eye out for the hat-tipping credit iceberg.

  190. I have to be at work at 7 AM for one of the longest and busiest days I’ll ever have, and yet something is keeping me here on this couch.

  191. It’s amazing how well this game encapsulates the season. Not a bad Braves team at the end of the day, but a thoroughly unenjoyable one.

  192. Linebrink. My God. Please do not throw a 94 mph FB right down Broadway to Chase Utley again, with our season on the line.

  193. I am typing two posts. Since for whatever reason (and I don’t know because this is the only blog of any type I have ever contibuted to, therefore making my posts even more irelevant than they deserve, if possible ), my blogs aren’t posted for 5 minutes, I want to be ready to hit submit, because I am sleepy.

    First AND PREFERRED POST: Braves win! Braves win!!

    2nd post: Not preferred: Wait until next year!!

    (OMG! Linebrink vs Utley!)

  194. Fuck Fredi and this team. This asshole keeps rolling Linebrink out there and they got exactly what they deserved…a loss of the wildcard.

  195. I turn on the game and see Atl infielders out of position, and as a result the Braves give up the lead on a bloop prayer.

  196. good screaming christmas. Melky last year, Linebrink this year. but what makes me angriest is picturing LaRussa right now.

  197. Mac, all the best in the offseason. this one feels like it’s going to be a little longer than most. Thanks for everything you do here, giving guys like me a place to lurk.

    good luck and good health

  198. I am signing off, Braves need to upgrade offense, Duh. Have a great off-season Braves Journal Brethren! I have learned a great deal from all of you. Thanks, Mac!!

  199. The worst thing about this epic collapse is that it would take a second consecutive one for the front office to even consider firing Fredi.

  200. Our next manager should really do some soul-searching about this franchise’s issue beating the Nationals.

  201. Barring a miracle, 2-8 in the last 10, 5-12 in the last 15, 8-18 in the last 26. Heads must roll.

  202. BJ regulars – Fun spending some time with you again this year. Sorry to leave you so soon. Looking forward to the winter meetings. Let’s try to eake into October next year. – Jeff

    ps – Here’s hoping that Chipper makes one more.

  203. Fitting. Goddamn the lot of them. If only this team had one iota of professionalism, one shred of pride.

  204. I know we’ve been expecting it the past few days but it is still absolutely unbelievable for me. This was such epic collapse it’s still tough for me to grasp. This hurts so bad.

  205. I don’t. They damn well quit, humiliated themselves on national television while getting paid 10-500 times my salary. I’m going to have to think long and hard about whether I should root for them ever again.

    I’m sure Fredlot’s already telling reporters that they’ll go get ’em tomorrow… but thanks to him, there IS no tomorrow for this team.

  206. The Phils getting swept by St. Louis in the NLDS would pay them back for this series. And then St. Louis losing in the NLCS would make me happy, because I can’t stand them. That’s all I got left to root for this year.

  207. I feel sorry for Hudson and Chipper. Those guys deserve better.

    I hope we’ve seen the last of Lowe. If Kawakami gets banished to Mississippi, he should be shot.

  208. This collapse could have been avoided in dozens of ways this past month and in each instance, these guys fell short. They choked, ran out of gas, and had awful leadership. The trifecta of doom.

    Parrish will be gone, Fredi will be back.

  209. They had some bad breaks but when you can’t beat a team starting mostly scrubs and can’t score for 10 innings, it’s time for the GM to take some accountability. This is Frank’s team and they failed. The Braves are damn lucky they don’t play in the NE or they would have been booed off the field. What a disgrace.

    The Braves need better players, simple as that.

    I wonder what this will do for 2012 ticket sales.

  210. 648- I think a lot of fans will follow my lead and find something else to do with their time. This is why Atlanta’s a “bad sports town,” because except for the Braves in the 1990s, every pro team in the city has been run by indifferent to awful management.

  211. Well I can finally go get something to eat but I think maybe I will just get a bottle…this Hurts

  212. @648

    It’ll destroy them, except for the Yankees and Phillies series. If the organization stands pat after this embarrassment, attendance might dip under 2 million. Heads must roll.

  213. It just occurred to me that the Braves had Linebrink pitch to Pence with a base open and a weaker hitter in deck.

  214. Well, I’m going on a pre-planned but now very well-timed vacation this weekend. I’ll be back on here whenever thinking about baseball doesn’t make me want to kill myself. Maybe next week, maybe in a couple more. As always, I greatly enjoyed talking Braves baseball with you all this season. I was really grateful to see you come through your health problems a couple months ago, Mac, and I hope you are on the other side of that for good. See you guys around.

  215. Does it help that Papelbon just blew the lead with 2 outs in the 9th? At least if the Red Sox lose, we’ll be a footnote on SportsCenter.

  216. “We don’t have another game tommorrow, that’s the only sad thing”

    How about the whole choking away the wild card?

  217. @650,

    That’s sort of my point. Attendence was mediocre when they were one of the best teams in the league. After this, it’s going to be hard to draw flies. And they had big crowds for the last three games. So much for the emotion of playing at home. I imagine the stadium will be even emptier than ususal next season. It’s similar to when they were winning divisions and losing in the playoffs. It’s hard to work up much excitement for next season. You can always hope for Heyward to break out and so forth, but I doubt there will be any big acquisitions. It’s also sort of interesting that McCann went from being grossly underrated to being possibly overrated in the same season.

  218. If we didn’t double steal with Chipper at the plate, we win this game. Would coulda shoulda.

    I’ve never been so happy to see my favorite team booed. They deserve it big time.

    @657, Then we’d sign Ken Griffey Jr.

  219. I will always support the Braves!

    That said, this one is tough because it became virtually inevitable.

    We are now in elite company of great chokers: the 1951 Dodgers 1964 Phillies, the 1978 Red Sox, the 2007 Mets, the 2008 Mets and the 2011 Braves, will all be remembered together.

    Going forward, with the exception of the Dodgers most of these teams did not go on to win the league or their divisions. My guess is that these experiences are destructive for a team, with the impact felt for mmany years afterwards. This may all be fun to debate in the newly arrived offseason, but my point is that the Braves should not be conservative with either management or the team…..

  220. Well, at the absolute least I get my $120 back from the playoff tickets I bought when we were 9 games ahead. But I sure wish I wasn’t getting it back.

  221. Two collapses are complete.

    The losing pitchers for the two teams that finished their collapses: Proctor and Linebrink.

  222. If you told me right now that the Braves could have one of Longoria or Maddon, but not both, I’d actually think about it for a moment before choosing Longoria. Congrats to the Rays, my hope for 2011 WS Champs.

  223. Do you think Wren and Theo are texting right now?

    This would be the second straight year that the great Adrian Gonzalez has missed the postseason on the season’s final day.

    Imagine if this year happened under Bud’s new WC regime…I think I’d throw myself off a building.

  224. @684

    I’d trade a substantial player for Maddon, straight up. One of the four young pitching studs. Three playoff appearances in four years with that budget and community apathy … and coming back this month as they did (even though it took a Sox collapse to help)? Maddon’s the best manager in the sport.

  225. I still feel like crap, but knowing the Red Sox blew the pennant and Carl Crawford and his megabucks didn’t come up with the last line drive of the season, and paved the way for his former team to win the spot—that is sweet. Now hoping for A Tampa/Milwaukee World Series.

  226. Well, at least no one will notice our epic collapse now. Thank God for East Coast bias!

    See all y’all in the spring for another round of masochism.

  227. Let’s look at the positives. At least Beachy and Minor are rested and available for the playoff game tomorrow.

    Wait, what?

  228. Oh, by the way, screw adding another Wild Card team. The 2011 Braves are reason #1 why that’s a crummy idea in concept.

  229. 694- Not me.

    Unless there’s quick evidence that Braves management sees a problem, we are done.

    The Rangers are the closest team to me, owned by Nolan Ryan, a man I have a lot of respect for, and have strong management at every level. They have everything the Braves don’t to ensure their fans’ happiness.

    I’ll keep a weather eye out, but unless a neuron fires that I don’t expect, so long and good luck.

  230. I just can’t get excited about the Rays comeback right now. Yea, it’s awesome but I’m not over what happened to us.

  231. #687, exactly. losing like this, you can blame any two losses that could have been wins. Proctor comes to mind.

  232. @696

    After this month, CoolStandings and BP (at least, their playoff projections) are no longer relevant.

  233. Parrish and Fredi came together and can leave together. How about Pendleton and somebody?
    One big issue for next year, besides health, is who can help turn around Heyward. He’s worth more to the org than Fredi. Fredi decided to burn out his arms and play for one game at a time, threw Heyward under the bus way too early. This is partly to blame for the end of season collapse. Did he really think Constanza bunt hits and 120 innings from Venters would ge the team into the world series?

  234. Proctor!! This is so funny that it kills the pain of the last month.

    The Braves were indeed wise to invest in Proctor and make sure that he get mack to the majors…..

    Go Rays!!

  235. @701-

    The problem is those models (AFAIK) treat games as independent events, and they’re simply not. There’s clearly serial correlation that exists in baseball, it’s just really hard to model, so often times the best way to go is to just ignore it. I think where it really hurts is underestimating the likelihood of crazy runs like the ones the Braves/Cardinals/Rays/Red Sox went on.

  236. Sitting in a gas station parking lot in austell and thinking that I absolutely hate Fredi Gonzales. He is a ruiner. He make baseball less fun to watch and baseball games less easy to win. This sucked.

  237. Mravery,
    Yes, it is like the bank risk models that assumed home prices couldn’t all fall nationwide, or weaken more than 5pct in a period.
    I hope the front office realizes that a serious shake up has to happen, both to signal to fans that the reign of failure has ended, and also because the players need a different atmosphere. Lots of young players that could be traumatized by this.

  238. @707

    It can also be argued that the collapse is bigger than Fredi, since last year’s team fell apart late, as well, with similar injury woes (position players last year, pitchers this year). Bullpen overuse has also been a common thread. Only San Diego’s swan dive prevented two choke jobs in succession. Hopefully this leads the Braves to understand that something is amiss with their general baseball philosophy.

    And I won’t even get into how this is now five non-playoff years out of six, with no playoff series wins in a decade. That, too, can find some of its genesis in general philosophy (with ownership also culpable), but that’s a discussion for another day.

    Moments like this are when I wish Ted was still around and not tending to his bison. He wouldn’t stand for this. (I know it’s simplistic, but sometimes in simplicity lies truth.)

  239. The headline should read ‘October free’ instead of proctor-free. Sure I feel bad and I am disappointed and really mad at Parrish, Fredi and 6/8th of the regular offense but seriously this saves me from suffering through another three losses in October. They just weren’t good enough this year.

  240. #709–I agree: the Braves were not going anywhere had they made the playoffs.

    However, looking back on the season, it is incredibly disappointing.

    We can only Thank Scott Proctor for the memories…..

  241. Probably nobody will see this, but seeing as how Varvaro doesn’t have a nickname (as far as I know, anyway) can we start calling him “Unheralded reliever?” It seems like it is contractually obligated that any mention of the poor guy has to begin with that disclaimer.

    Man I am bummed. Despite the desultory nature of this entire month’s worth of Braves baseball, I held out hope that maybe, somehow, their shit would work in the playoffs. They were up by 10.5 games with 32 games left! How the hell did this happen? I look forward to Mac’s dispassionate assessment of what went wrong because right now I just don’t want to think about this anymore.

  242. just now realized that proctor surrendered rays’ walkoff. geez, fail from braves and ex-braves alike.

  243. Hate that I missed the inevitable collapse of this hapless club.
    Frank, please get this thing turned around.

  244. This was what I expected for many days now, but I do feel a bit of awe over the parallelism with the Red Sox.

    You just know that franchise will act decisively. I’m expecting to feel very angry when we don’t. Prove me wrong, Wren.

  245. 23 days. That’s how long it took for the Braves to go from being 8.5 game ahead of the Cardinals to being one game behind. Stunning. I remain in a bit of shock–I feel like I have watched this horror show unfold in slow motion.

  246. Really the blame should go much deeper.
    It should be on the organizations lack of ability in regards to developing young hitters.

    The philosophy about hitting in this organization has always been poor. They are not teaching these guys to work counts and have productive ABs.

    The most productive hitters we have go outside of the organization to get hitting advice.

    Think about it. Every year in September and October , the average hitting team goes cold. They can’t produce runs. They let struggling pitchers off the deck. The Phillies are teaching their guys how to work count and manufacture runs. Make pitcher get them out, not the other way around.

    While Parish should be gone. It goes deeper and until they fix it, we will see this team fall apart at the end of the year like they have every year since 1996.

  247. Smitty–I like with your analysis. Let me add that it is possible that the organization is beginning to understand the problem. A number of the position players that were drafted this year Ahmed, Kubitza, La Stella De Santiago and Larsson all had impressive walk to strikeout ratios. I am hoping that this was more than an accident–but an attempt to move away from the free swinging, strikeout machines which have featured on the farm in recent years.

    To be sure, they are a long way off and until Liberty Media puts some money into the draft, I would not expect the Braves to produced a large number of good hitters, but it may well be indicative of a change (finally!)in organization’s philosophy, regarding the development of hitters….

  248. With a modest budget, I guess this is what you do. You set up the team to get into the post season and see what happens. That plan was working until an incredibly awful month of baseball.

    Of course, to win that way, lots of things have to be going right. Instead, everything went wrong at the worst time.

    What will the FO do? I hope they’ll find a new hitting a taker for Lowe in order to improve LF and SS. A new hitting coach would be grand. But I don’t really expect too much will change.

    There will be talk of injuries, of having Bourne for a full season, of Prado and Heyward having better years…

  249. Dont think we can take chances on both Prado and Heyward in the corner OF spots again next year. One of those needs to be upgraded and the other needs to make some adjustments.

    However, Prado is Chipper insurance. That age 40 season is going to need some insurance.

  250. Well, regression to the mean should help Prado and Heyward. And no other player really had an outstanding year at the plate.

    I just hope Kimbrel doesn’t get too down on himself.

  251. Well this seems even worse in the morning. Ugh.

    Should be a really good team next year, by subtraction if nothing else. No more McLouth, Linebrink, Scott Proctor (though I suppose we should wait to see the list of non-roster invitees to camp next year before declaring that), or Lowe (please, dear god please). The additions of a bounceback from Heyward, a full year of normal Uggla, and a full year of Bourn should allow us to clinch right before the September collapse happens.

  252. Joe Sheehan has an article up on where he criticizes Fredi’s player management.

    Seeing Fredi hated in national media somehow does a lot to alleviate the misery.

  253. @721
    and you know Lowe is gonna bounce back next year. this is how you stay in the league forever, take every other year off…or 4-6 if you’re Hampton

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