Braves 2, Mets 0 (recapped by Adam M.)

For the Fredi Gonzalez-era Atlanta Braves, it has been a tale of two Septembers. In some respects, to be sure, not much has changed: the 2011 Braves scored 87 runs in 27 September games, while the 2012 Braves have now scored 90 runs in 26 games; and whereas the 2011 Braves posted a measly .291 wOBA during that span, the 2012 Braves have mustered a shocking .279 wOBA. They couldn’t hit last year, and they sure as hell aren’t hitting to finish up this year. And yet what a difference a year makes. In 2011, the Braves famously collapsed after posting a 9-18 record down the stretch. This year? 18-8.

The difference has been pitching. Unlike last season, the 2012 Braves have saved their best pitching for last, as the pitchers have surrendered only 73 runs during the entire month–best in the majors. Both the starters and relievers are placing within the top-5 in the league in both ERA and FIP, and that, in turn, has allowed the hitters to continue their month-long hibernation mode without a peep of “collapse.” We have witnessed more than one evening when all the Braves have needed were a couple well-timed hits–or errors, as the case may be–while the pitchers took care of the rest.

Tonight was another of those nights. The Braves scored a single run in the bottom of the 1st after Prado doubled, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a Heyward groundout. And that, despite a welcome RBI-double by Prado in the 5th, would be enough. Mike Minor pitched 6.1 scoreless innings, striking out four and walking none. In relief, a combination of Durbin, Avilan, Venters, and Kimbrel retired the final 8 outs without too much difficulty. The only real danger came in the 9th, of all times. Uggla misplayed a Ruben Tejada-grounder, and then Kimbrel, perhaps jacked up on Chipper-inspired adrenaline, threw both a wild pitch and a ball that managed simultaneously to injure both David Wright and the home plate umpire. But then Kimbrel remembered that he was Craig Kimbrel, and that IWOTM, and proceeded to strike out Ike Davis and Lucas Duda to end the game. Another win, another shutout.

The Nationals defeated the Cardinals in extras tonight, which pushed their magic number down to one. Still, there’s more baseball to be played, and the Braves will call upon Kris Medlen tomorrow to win the series, keep the team afloat in the hunt for the division, and run the Braves’ winning streak with him on the mound up to 23 games: that, it turns out, would be the highest tally for any pitcher on any team in history. And so we plough into game No. 159.

149 thoughts on “Braves 2, Mets 0 (recapped by Adam M.)”

  1. Holding the fact that Kimbrel is a reliever against him is like refusing to vote DHs into the hall of fame. Kimbrel has been assigned a role on his team, and he’s done that job better than any other pitcher has done their respective job this season. That’s my argument. He’s done a number of things better than any pitcher has EVER done them in baseball history.

  2. @64 from the previous, Gagne did win it in ’03 so it can be done – with a level of domination I respectfully submit was comparable, and with quite a few more IP

  3. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be belligerent. And I have no intrinsic problem with relievers being considered for the Cy Young, or with pitchers being considered for the MVP — I just tend to give a heavy weight to playing time, so I prefer an everyday player to a pitcher for the MVP, and I prefer a starting pitcher to a reliever for the Cy. That’s my preference.

    There’s no question that Kimbrel is having an awesome season, easily one of the best by a modern closer if not the absolute best of all. Certainly better than Gagne’s 2003 Cy Young season — but as per my bias, I’d have preferred for Jason Schmidt or Mark Prior to have won that year, because I just didn’t believe that Gagne’s terrific performance could overcome the large innings gap between them.

    Maybe we should just agree to disagree.

  4. Okay, I’ll admit it: Within our understanding of the game today, modern relievers cannot be as valuable as starting pitchers. They just can’t. However, somebody has to do it. Somebody has to trudge out 50-90 times a season to finish games. That’s why we have two categories: starting pitcher and relief pitcher.

    Craig Kimbrel has a specific role on his ballclub as a relief pitcher. Medlen has switcher roles between being a reliever and a starting pitcher.

    In his defined role, Kimbrel has been the best there ever was, historically. Given historical standards, he could not contribute anymore than he already has to his team’s success within the confines of his role.

    Medlen has had an incredible season. However, he has not had a historically great season in his role as a relief pitcher. He was above-average, but certainly not historically elite. He has been an incredible starting pitcher, and if had done what he’s done for the last 77.2 innings for 170 innings, he’d be the runaway Cy Young favorite. However, he hasn’t done that. He hasn’t even matched his starting pitching dominance in his earlier relief innings.

    I guess, to me, I can’t expect relief pitchers to match starting pitchers in terms of innings thrown or WAR value. However, somebody has to be a relief pitcher. Within the confines of his role (and fully understanding that Kimbrel cannot have the counting stats of starting pitchers), Kimbrel has been much, much better at doing his job than Medlen has at doing his own job. Kimbrel can’t change what he’s going to do on a daily basis. He’s going to be relief pitcher. And he’s been better at it than Medlen has been in his two roles.

    Or, here, an actually good analogy: the runner that sets the 400m world record is more impressive to me than the runner who finishes a marathon in under 2:30, even though running a marathon is harder than running a 400m.

  5. (That said, Kimbrel’s season isn’t as good as Gagne’s on overall WAR — largely due to innings and league context, since it was the height of the steroid era and ERAs were inflated, though of course he was inflated too. But Kimbrel’s rate stats are better, and since it’s a closer-to-closer comparison I’m more willing to give Kimbrel the edge due to his superior rate stats, whereas I don’t think that his rate stats should trump the innings difference between himself and a starter, because that innings difference is so much greater.)

  6. I think that you’re saying that you give Kimbrel credit for succeeding within the context of his given position, whereas I’d prefer that Kimbrel excel within the context of all pitchers. I think an analogy could be, for the MVP, to vote for Miguel Cabrera because he’s an amazing-hitting third baseman — when I’d give the edge to Mike Trout, because center field is more defensively important and good-hitting offensive center fielders are so much harder to find.

  7. 2,

    Good point. And in 2003, Roy Halladay had a respectable 8.0 WAR to lead the American League. If there was a pitcher in the NL this year that was as good as Halladay, I think it would be understandable to give it to him, even with Kimbrel’s dominance. However, with Gio Gonzalez leading the weakest class of pitchers in 55 year with 5.4 WAR, I think it’s a perfect season to give it to the best relief pitcher, Kimbrel.


    Deal. I feel like we do this a lot.

  8. I keep hearing the words historic, best relief season by Kimbrel – I’m sorry, that’s just not computing for me. He has struck out a ton of guys. He has a low ERA. He still has only pitched 60 innings and won’t break 65 in all likelihood. That’s just not a lot even by recent standards. Gagne pitched 25% more in ’03. That’s a non-trivial amount, and they were all high leverage innings. Kimbrel can’t control his usage , I agree, but I can’t just presume his rate stats would stay the same under a bigger workload, or forget that those other innings did in fact get pitched by Gagne and had tremendous value

  9. 6,

    Yes, that’s (wrongly or rightly) exactly what I’m saying. Given how many times Fredi has called his name, I can’t expect Craig Kimbrel to do better, because nobody in the game ever has before him. I guess that analogy works in that just as Craig Kimbrel doesn’t have the God or Spaghetti Monster or Darwinian/Mendelian given talent to last as a SP, Cabrera doesn’t have the talent to be a CF’er. But I’d also contend that since historically (in the modern game) CF’ers have been such lousy hitters compared to Third Basemen, Trout’s Value over historical league-leading CF’er is akin to Kimbrel’s Value over historical league-leading Relief Pitcher, in that they’re both better than Cabrera’s Value over historical league-leading Third Baseman and Gio Gonzalez’s Value over historical league-leading Starting Pitcher.

    If that makes sense.

  10. 8,

    The idea is that for the amount of times Fredi has called his name, Kimbrel has pitched better than for the amount of times Jim Tracy called Gagne’s name. I wouldn’t deduct points from Kimbrel’s performance because Fredi seemed to specifically call on him less this year, but I think it’s perfectly reasonable for somebody else to not share that view.

    So, to answer your question, per rate stats Kimbrel has had the best season ever for a relief pitcher. For what’s he’s been asked to do, he couldn’t do any better. For overall value, maybe he’s not the best relief pitcher ever.

  11. Fernando Rodney has a 0.62 ERA in 72 innings with a 615 ERA+ right now. Sounds like that might give Craig some competition right there.

  12. Fernando Rodney is in the American League, and in my opinion, has been eating nothing but dead leprechauns garnished with rabbit tails on a horseshoe plate this year for every meal.

  13. Would take Kimbrel to repeat this year’s performance in 2013 over Rodney repeating what he has done this season.

  14. per rate stats Kimbrel has had the best season ever for a relief pitcher

    Kimbrel’s rate stats in 2010 are better in K/9 and dramatically better in ERA and ERA+. Wouldn’t that make it “better” than this year?

  15. spike,

    he also walked 7 per 9 rather than 2, and in (as I remember) just over 20 innings. Harder to take that whole package as seriously.

  16. I think there’s a huge difference in pitching just 20 innings vs. an entire season in relief when it comes to ‘better’.

    Strikeout rate has been shown to take 150 batters faced to stabilize, so I’m not sure a 17.4 K/9 across a smaller sample size than that is demonstrably better than a 16.6 K/9 much over that threshold.

    And yeah, if ERA is your stat of choice, then it was a better season ‘rate wise’ than this year.


    Yeah, flukes do count. But considering what FIP is designed to do, the rather extremely large difference between Kimbrel’s and Rodney’s years and their respective individual contributions to their team would show that Kimbrel has been more valuable.

  17. @18, 19, – that was my point – you dismiss Kimbrel’s 2010 because of low ip, but somehow don’t apply that criteria globally to all reliever seasons. And regards 2010, yes his walk rate was higher – but his ERA/ERA+/AVG/OBP/SLG were all lower rates. You’d gladly take that walk rate with those numbers – Kimbrel was MUCH better at preventing runs that year, no way around it, but had less value because he didn’t pitch as much. QED, by your own statements, Reliever X may put up amazing relief rate stats but isn’t as valuable as Reliever Reliever Y because he pitched more. Now replace X and Y Kimbrel and Gagne or Kimbrel and Quisenberry, for example

  18. Desert, the difference between Kimbrel’s 20.2 innings in 2010 and 61.1 innings in 2012 is smaller than the difference between Kimbrel’s 61.1 innings in 2012 and Medlen’s 132 innings in 2012. It’s a weaker performance, but achieved over many more innings.

  19. 20,

    No. His OBP against was .284 in 2010 and is .186 this year. With tonight’s performance, his AVG against is lower than it was in 2010. And no again, Kimbrel was not better at preventing runs in 2010 than in 2012, as his FIP and xFIP are remarkably better this year than in 2012. Sorry, but that statement you’re making regarding Kimbrel being better in 2010 than in 2012, even if you believe it, is not supported by what we know about pitching in the game today.


    That 61.1 innings this year is a full season, and his performance this year has been remarkably better than the performance he put up in 20 innings last year. Look, I understand that you don’t think a pitcher who has only pitched 65 innings shouldn’t win Cy Young over somebody who may have put up a slightly weaker performance over 200 innings. I agree with you regarding this belief in 99% of the cases. I happen to disagree with it this year, as there isn’t a strong starting pitcher candidate, and the relief candidate has been historically great (and even if you don’t agree he’s been the best ever, you can say he’s been in the top-5). Neither of us can be right or wrong in this, as either way, it’s a belief and not a statement of fact.

    But come on, don’t use the informal fallacy of a slippery slope argument to try to say that by my logic, a 20 inning relief pitcher should win Cy Young. Given all that I have posted in these last couple of threads regarding the general facets of relief pitchers, Kimbrel’s opportunities, and his relative dominance in those opportunities, you know that’s not what I’m attempting to show.

    You (and Spike) can disagree with me and my logic (and by all means, go ahead; these discussions are what I love about this blog), but do it by asserting your opinion rather than twisting my words into something that I absolutely don’t mean and am not trying to prove.

  20. 20,

    One more thing: Kimbrel will probably end up with something like 63 or 64 innings pitched over this full regular. In Gagne’s 2003 relief season, he pitched 83 innings over a full season. Please don’t try to tell me that comparing Kimbrel’s 20-inning partial 2010 season to his 2012 season is like comparing Kimbrel’s 2012 to Gagne’s 2003. I understand the basis of your argument, and I’ll happily demote Kimbrel’s 2012 to a top-3 relief pitcher season, but that specific argument is a bad example.

  21. 1,

    Completely 100% agree- this is what the arguments come down to:

    Argument 1:

    Fact: League-leading relief pitchers will never be as valuable as league-leading starting pitchers, given what we know about the game today.
    Opinion: Given this fact, we should never recognize a relief pitcher as being the best pitcher in the league in the form of the Cy Young award.

    Argument 2:

    Fact: League-leading relief pitchers will never be as valuable as league-leading starting pitchers, given what we know about the game today.
    Opinion: Given this fact, we should only recognize relief pitchers in very rare instances (where not only the relief pitcher is remarkably good, but the starting pitchers are remarkably bad) as being the best pitchers in the league in the form of the Cy Young Award.

    If you believe argument 1, you can choose between Cueto/Dickey/Gonzalez/etc. If you believe argument 2, you can take an additional step:

    Argument 2a: This year does not qualify as a rare instance year.
    Argument 2b: This year qualifies as a rare instance year.

    If you believe argument 2a, go back to Cueto/Dickey/Gonzalez/etc. If you believe argument 2b, then Craig Kimbrel is a legitimate candidate. The disagreements just hedge around these two argumentative points.

  22. Amazing, I thought Hanson at least gave us a league average performance as a fourth starter, but he has a negative WAR for this season….

  23. @25 I submit a third argument: that value doesn’t or shouldn’t matter to the Cy Young.

    The Cy Young award is not the pitcher equivalent of the MVP (and since the MVP includes pitchers that wouldn’t really make sense anyway). In other words, the MVP measures overall value (it is in the name, after all), but that doesn’t mean the Cy Young must do the same. I think the Cy Young is for the best pitcher, even if they contribute less overall value because of usage.

    There’s a strong case to be made that Kimbrel was the best pitcher this season. Whether it’s strong enough should be the debate.

  24. Well, this discussion certainly advanced, but I want to get back to something Alex said. Peripherals tell me that Kimbrel is the better pitcher, in that they are historic. Leverage tells me I’d vote for Kimbrel over Medlen for the Cy, because of how Kimbrel’s usage has translated to team wins. So I was answering two different questions, and muddled my response in the attempt.

    Win Probability Added

    3.75, Kimbrel
    3.15, Cueto
    3.15, Lohse
    2.87, Medlen
    2.75, Kershaw

    Wins Above Replacement

    5.4, Gonzalez
    5.2, Kershaw
    4.9, Lee
    4.8, Dickey
    4.7, Cueto

    Medlen and Kimbrel are 10th and 14th, respectively.

  25. Great recap, Adam. A reminder of how the rotation really nosedived last September. A 4.55 ERA from the starters last Sept/Oct vs. 3.38 so far this time around.

  26. Fascinating Cy Young debate. Not sure where I stand, really. If not for sansho’s work, I think I’d have fully moved over into Alex-and-spike territory already, but…

    Nicely done on the recap, Adam!

  27. You don’t give the Cy to a pitcher with less than 70 innings unless the rest of the league’s pitching is completely unremarkable.

    If the debate for CYA was between Craig Kimbrel’s 60 innings vs say, Tommy Hanson, well, welcome to the Cy club Craig! If it were between Kimbrel and Paul Maholm or Mike Minor, you’d have a conversation there.

    Between Cueto, Dickey and Gonzalez, there are three starting pitchers who deserve the CYA this year on merit, and 60 innings of even historic relief doesn’t get you in that game.

  28. But, again, I’m a playing time hawk. For example, I thought Jason Heyward should have been the 2010 rookie of the year, because he played 142 games while Posey — who was out — only played 108, but Posey won the hardware. I acknowledge that I may be in the minority, but I think I’m consistent.

  29. Recap:

    Kimbrel 2010 – 20ip 0.44 ERA/912ERA+ = He didn’t pitch enough
    Kimbrel 2012 – 61ip 1.03ERA/393ERA+ = Best reliever year evar
    Gagne 2003 – 83ip 1.20ERA/337 ERA+ = He wasn’t as dominating
    Rodney 2012 – 72ip 0.62ERA/615ERA+ = He’s just lucky.

  30. Great recap!

    It’s been a blast this season to play with the image of “Release The Kraken.”
    The Dodgers did something similar, even accentuated, by posting “Game Over” when Gagne came in during his great season. And it usually was over.

    I look forward to how the HOF voting views Mo Rivera when his chance comes. For me, Mo is as rare as 49er Jerry Rice.
    In that league, you can argue who the all-time best QB or RB or even DB might be, but when you say receiver, you say Jerry Rice.
    I think that way about Rivera.

    So, this season, the Kraken can alter how an opponent thinks about their chances. He’s walked the walk, two seasons now.

    Maybe that and a buck will get you a cup of coffee at McDonald’s.

    But I suspect it has a value more than I can understand.
    That’s my case for Kimbrel’s CY Young chances.

  31. I’m only addressing Alex’s contention that Medlen is more deserving than Kimbrel, not whether Kimbrel deserves it over the field. I agree that WPA shouldn’t be the sole measure with which we award hardware, but I find it useful to measure something that ordinary raw stats, along with some advanced metrics, tend to leave out — clutch performance. Anyone who can hear the phrase “clutch performance” and not get the vapors as though I said “clutch ability”, feel free to respond.

  32. Amazing, I thought Hanson at least gave us a league average performance as a fourth starter, but he has a negative WAR for this season….

    When it comes to Hanson, just take it from the man himself:

  33. I’d say that since WPA is cumulative it does already penalize low inning pitchers in a way. I’m not saying it’s the perfect descriptor of a season or anything like that, and I doubt Sansho is either, but merely another way to look at pitcher impact.

    Overall I’d personally probably choose Dickey for this season, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable for people to have Kimbrel as their pick.

  34. Starting at the end, Spike, Rodney’s allowed 4 unearned runs this season as well as the 5 earned runs; include them and his RA+ is 371. Kimbrel? No unearned runs, RA+ of 429. (Kimbrel’s domination has the advantage of not giving the fielders behind him the chance to make errors.) Rodney’s peripherals are also much worse. He’s not “lucky,” but the ERA+ stat overstates his value.

    Rodney’s clearly inferior to Kimbrel. But Gagne? Taking the absolute difference between Gagne ’03 and Kimbrel ’12 gives us 11 hits, 6 walks, 5 runs (4 earned) and 24 Ks in 22 innings. That’s clearly positive value. Granted, LA’s an easier place to pitch, but other indicators favor Gagne as well. Gagne blew no saves, Kimbrel 3. Gagne average leverage was higher and he stranded 8 more inherited runners (Kimbrel’s only had inherited runners once this year).

    So Gagne ’03 > Kimbrel ’12. But is Kimbrel ’12 good enough for the Cy Young? The league RA is 4.33, and no starting pitcher has been good for more than 1 1/2 runs per 9 innings. Clayton and Kershaw saved more than about 35 runs above average, while Kimbrel’s saved 21 in more important situations.

    If any starter this year had an ERA closer to 2.00 (or RA under 2.50), then he’d be a clear CYA choice. But as it is, I think Kimbrel’s done enough to get my vote.

  35. Here’s an interesting thought: Has any pitcher’s ERA ever been reduced in sixteen consecutive starts towards the end of the season or ever? Minor’s has.

  36. @40. Yes, he sucks, but he sucks in a sense that we expect much more from him. Despite his “poor” season, I think he has some trade value in him. I didn’t realize he is only entering his first year of arbitration in this offseason. That’s good value itself for teams which don’t know Hanson that well. If Wren can find a taker for Lowe, I am sure he can find a taker for Hanson. besides Hanson will not be too expensive to keep, and we have close to $40m coming off the book, Wren should have good leverage in negotiation.

  37. @42, just out of curiosity, why should RA+ be the uber stat – if your trying to take defense out of the equation, why not use FIP?

    Gagne 03 – .86 (4.51 fWAR)
    Kimbrel 12 – .84 (3.4 fWAR)

    My point, which has somehow gotten lost in all this, as while Kimbrel has certainly been a dominating pitcher, but at a level that has been repeated before, and over more innings by others. He simply hasn’t provided enough value, regardless of how spectacularly he’s done it, to warrant either a Cy Young or Reliever Season of All Time. Saying that it’s management’s fault for usage or that it’s a bum year for starters is a red herring. Between the white lines, he just hasn’t done enough.

  38. Thanks, everyone.

    Not to change the subject–and I’m sure this actually won’t–but I’m wondering if anyone has gotten concerned about Hudson’s k-rate during the second half this year? It may just be statistical noise, but he really has stopped striking out enough guys to be effective consistently, even for an extreme ground ball pitcher. I noted the fantastic run prevention this month, but that has been more the product of Medlen, Minor, and an elite bullpen than, say, consistently great starting pitching from all involved. Hudson has actually been pretty average since the end of June–and probably the 4th best starter on the staff since then.

  39. Between the white lines, he just hasn’t done enough.

    And f-ing Gio Gonzalez has? Kimbrel is closer to the top of elite relief seasons than Gonzalez is to starters. As someone has already mentioned earlier with the WAR stat, Gonzalez (or Dickey) would be one of the sorriest NL Cy Young winners in a long time.

  40. Being the tallest pygmy does not qualify you for the worlds tallest man, even if you are a lot taller than the next pygmy. There are 17 starters with more fWAR than Kimbrel.

  41. 46- I used RA because, for all the utility we get from advanced statistics, it’s important to note what actually DID happen, not what “should have” happened. Did runs score or not? Were games saved or lost? (And I agree with you in that Gagne’s 2003 was a better season than Kimbrel’s 2012.)

    That’s also why I think WPA is a better statistic than WAR for single-season awards- because it rewards situational success and punishes failure. Did he do what he was assigned to do and help the team win? That’s the question.

  42. Two years ago, the Mets took Mejia, their top starting pitcher prospect, who was a 20-year old in Double-A, and put him in the major league bullpen. He wasn’t very good, and he was back to the minors for all of next year. Now he’s back in the majors as a starter. They pretty much screwed up his development for a year and spent a fair amount of his service time. They’re lucky he’s still a top prospect; jerking 20-year old pitchers around is rarely a good way to make them better.

    That’s why they’re the Mets.

  43. I have understood the Bourn love and Uggla hate this year. However, how do I explain this to someone who looks at the stats and doesn’t see many differences? Yes, Bourn has more hits and SB and Uggla has more HRs and RBI, but their OBP and OPS are pretty close (Uggla does get more walks and may break the NL record for lowest OBP while leading in walks) and they strikeout at about the same rate. Bourn leads in WAR, but they do play different positions. Please help. I need to articulate “all the money” in better ways than “he steals a lot of bases and plays good defense.”

  44. The reason that Bourn is better than Uggla is that he plays much better defense at a more important position. You can ignore offense for now — they’ve sort of been comparable hitters this year, thanks to Uggla leading the league in walks.

  45. Another story in the Denver Post today about the Rockies shopping Fowler for pitching. We’re going to get him for Delgado and Gilmartin.

  46. 64- Those are the two main reasons that Bourn’s WAR is better, but Bourn is also a better general baserunner, avoids double plays, and isn’t already owed another $39 million for the next three years.

  47. I’m not saying he will replace all or even most of Bourn’s production, but the splits haven’t been as awful this year as over his career. Plus a good percentage of his away stats are in SF, SD and LA. And, unlike Bourn, we can expect that his production may actually continue to improve

  48. Bethany @66: Yeah, I do remember that meme beginning when he was still hot.

    Alex @67: That’s a good point, but a tough one to make to folks who don’t value defense over hitting.

    Brian J @69: Good points, but I’m torn over paying Bourn more money than we’re giving already giving Uggla to do a pretty similar job (again, similar being a relative term depending on what one values).

  49. I don’t think defense or hitting is intrinsically more valuable. They’ve actually been roughly comparable hitters this year. But Bourn’s been a vastly better defender. If your friend values defense then he’ll accept that a great defender deserves more money than a crappy defender.

  50. Bethany @78: Very good point. But what can we do to get rid of Uggla to upgrade at defense? That play he botched last night in the 9th seemed to rattle Kimbrel a little. He’s just terrible out there.

  51. Article on claims that if we win the wildcard game Fredi is undecided on whether to start Maholm or Minor in Game 2. Yeah, Fredi is still an idiot.

    In other news, Detwiler has given up 5 ERs in the first inning at St. Louis. Their pitching is completely imploding. They’ve got Gio and Zimmerman and a bunch of question marks.

  52. If, that is, the Nats play the Giants. But as a Braves fan I think we should be rooting for the Nats to finish with the best record.

  53. The Giants are going to be going all out, I would imagine. The Nats will see some backups at crucial points.

  54. Simmons seems to have gotten his stroke back–which means he’s back to playing like a 7-win player.

  55. @80 – I’m less concerned that Fredi isn’t tipping his hand in public who his game 2 starter might be, and more concerned that someone who presumably is going to be on the playoff roster hasn’t had an at bat in 15 days.

  56. Good job Avilan. We don’t want to lose this game. Medlen has a chance of setting a record that will last a long, long time.

  57. In St. Louis Lance Lynn is looking reassuringly hittable. I’m almost rooting for the Nats to come back and win. I

  58. Chipper’s 5,304th regular-season plate appearance at home… and in all likelihood his last. It really is winding down.

  59. Yes, Avilan has been good today; BIWOTM. I think he’s worth carrying on the postseason roster too, Alex.

  60. There’s room for both of them in the bullpen. Kimbrel, O’Flaherty, Venters, Avilan, Martinez, and someone else (Gearrin? Moylan? Ugh… Durbin?)

  61. I’d be tempted to bring all those guys plus Gearrin and Durbin. What we don’t need on the roster is Hanson. For any reason.

  62. Agreed on Hanson. And Eric Hinske should also have a clear calendar on Friday. Sadly, he probably won’t.

  63. Oh, for pete’s sake, now they’re bringing in Kimbrel.

    Look, Fredi, Gearrin shouldn’t ever face lefties. He just shouldn’t. And there is no reason that Kimbrel should need to come into a game that the Braves are winning 6-2 with 2 outs in the 9th. Let the boy rest.

  64. Fredi understands situational matchups with everyone except Gearrin. He sees Durbin as a ROOGY and Gearrin as a mop-up one inning guy. I’d rather he just see Durbin as crap and Gearrin as a ROOGY.

  65. @131 Yep. But then they punted, which was mindlessly stupid. Like, insanely stupid. Falcons couldn’t stop Newton with 22 guys on the field.

  66. That’ll help with Kimbrel’s save total for his Cy Young candidacy. Fredi, Cory, they’re all heart.

  67. See? That wasn’t so hard.

    Has Kimbrel hit 98+ in a while? 95 is still nice, but it seems like he’s losing a little something on his fastball. Normal fatigue?

  68. #134
    Well, if the Panthers don’t get the 1st down on the 4th & one, they hand the game to the Falcons. Instead, they punt Atlanta down to the one. I do the same thing, if I’m Carolina.

    You just can’t give up a 60-yard bomb there. Falcons pulled one out of a hat there.

    But let’s face it: If Newton hangs onto the ball after he got the game-clinching first-down, game over.

  69. @143, I must’ve seen the wrong Kimbrel saves in recent weeks. Glad it’s my imagination.

    Got a little dusty in here.

  70. Bourn getting a few days off may have been a really good thing.

    I look forward to Chipper Jones taking Brian Jordan’s job on Braves Live.

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