Pirates 5 Braves 1 (Split Squad)

Much as I understand the situation, and am excited for the playoffs, playing out the string is a dull affair. The B team just didn’t have it tonight, up to and including Tommy “XBH” Hanson. He gave up five runs through 6, although JC Boscan turning singles into doubles didn’t make his job any easier. The “offense” repaid the kindness, with a pair of doubles from Overbay and Francisco plating the Braves’s only run. Hinske doubled into a fielder’s choice at home to end the only other threat. Looking on the very marginally plus side, three guys looking for playoff AB’s doubled. Constanza was 2-4. On the negative, Bourn took an ohfer in his return, as did Simmons. Martinez and Durbin were good for an inning of scoreless ball each. Hopefully no one will get hurt, and Simmons and Bourn can get some good reps in for the remainder.

(recapped by Spike)

123 thoughts on “Pirates 5 Braves 1 (Split Squad)”

  1. This is totally irrational, but I believe that anyone who wins the Triple Crown should be MVP. I know a third of it is the RBI crown, which is mostly a team award, but it’s so rare and special that it has inherent value. It has enough value that the player who earns it is the most valuable player in his league.

  2. Well, I should point out that, having just looked it up, there is much more precedent for this sort of thing than I thought. Of the 10 Triple Crowns that have been won in leagues and years where an MVP was awarded, only six resulted in MVP awards. Ted Williams won the Triple Crown twice and didn’t get the MVP either time. Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees (you might have heard of them…and him) won a Triple Crown and didn’t win the MVP, either. The last three have resulted in MVPs, but that was preceded by a stretch where only one of five Triple Crown winners won the MVP.

    I still think that anyone who wins the Triple Crown should win the MVP, especially in this day and age where no one has won it in 45 years, but I do acknowledge that it’s not a totally unprecedented catastrophe.

  3. Worst Red Sox season since a decade before I was born. Bobby V’s done a truly historic job!

  4. After tying up the game, the Yankees couldn’t follow through on a bases loaded, one out, bottom of the ninth. Nifty.

  5. I’m conflicted: It is the Yankees, but if they win, I can probably attend the wild card game on Friday (can’t make it at 4:30). Plus, they’re playing the Red Sox.

  6. From what I’ve read, the two times Ted Williams won the Triple Crown but failed to win the MVP were attributable to his relationship with the writers who voted on the award. Losing to DiMaggio in ’41 was one thing — at least that vote could be argued on similar lines as Trout/Cabrera. But the ’47 vote (which he also lost to DiMaggio) was a complete travesty.


    Joe Page got 4 more 1st place votes than Williams. Joe Page!

  7. Great job by Hanson in increasing his trade value. He may not be even on the playoff roster if we manage to win the play-in game.

  8. 15- May not? There’s not the slightest excuse for his presence on any postseason roster; we’ve got four superior starters and at least seven better relievers.

  9. Re: good third catchers.

    I don’t know if the rest of you would consider him a good third catcher, but the only World Series game I’ve ever attended in person was won by a Jerry Willard sac fly.

    He’s #1 on my list of great all-time third catchers. It’s a very personal list and I’ll brook no criticism of it.

  10. Ellsbury robs A-Rod to extend the game again.

    Kimbrel’s Cuban substitute is on to preserve the Reds’ lead over the Cards.

  11. The Yankees win. Thhhhhhhhhe Yankees probably just gave Atlanta a prime-time slot on Friday.

  12. What’s so odd about the Cabrera and Trout argument is that most people–not here, granted, but elsewhere–are assuming that Cabrera has had a better season with the bat but divide over whether Trout’s “other” stuff should outweigh the hitting. But Trout has actually been as good as, if not better than, Cabrera.

    Trout: .423 wOBA
    Cabrera: .417 wOBA

    Also, Yankees win.

  13. Trout: .423 wOBA
    Cabrera: .417 wOBA

    Is such a small difference really enough reason to deny the (possibly) first Triple Crown winner in forty-something years?

  14. Is such a small difference really enough reason to deny the (possibly) first Triple Crown winner in forty-something years?

    No. But the fact that Mike Trout is several wins better than Cabrera, because he’s an awesome center fielder and Cabrera is a bad infielder, is.

  15. @ 12,
    Please bring some of that reverse mojo to Columbia this weekend. I promise I’ll get you back by rooting for Auburn at some point in some game. If it’s against Florida. Maybe.

  16. Derek Lowe is a WINNER!!!! Take away the money that he is making, I always believe he can still be somewhat useful if he goes back to the bullpen.

  17. Edwin Encarnacion has 42 homers? What are they feeding up in Toronto? That means Yunel and KJ suck more than we think.

  18. Trout led the league in my favorite MVP stat for offense – WPA. What better way to assess value in the games just played than assessing how each play affected the chance the team would win the game that day? It’s not a be-all-and-end-all, but at least it’s contextualized. A leadoff walk and steal of second in a tie game in the ninth inning, while not as “excellent” as a three-run HR in a 10-0 game, was certainly more valuable to the team that day, just to choose an extreme example.

    Now, that said, the WPA difference is small, and when I look at their performance in “late and close” and “2 outs w/RISP” situations, Cabrera has made somewhat more of these opportunities. I should add here that I don’t dislike RBI as an element of value, despite its dependence on opportunity — Cabrera drove in 21.1% of his runners on base, while Trout drove in 17.6%. That’s a difference that I doubt can be fully attributed to park effect — I assume that Trout’s immense advantage in stolen bases and overall baserunning are the factors that make up the difference in WPA. Still, judging solely on offensive contributions, I might even tilt slightly in favor of Cabrera.

    But then you have to add in the tremendous difference in their defensive contributions (and here I add my standard disclaimer that I’m leery of defensive WAR numbers for outfielders, but the difference between Trout’s and Cabrera’s defense is plain to see). You can’t ignore it. You just can’t. It’s huge, and it tips the scale the other way for me. I don’t think Cabrera winning MVP would be a travesty in any sense, but it’s not how I would vote.

  19. Is such a small difference really enough reason to deny the (possibly) first Triple Crown winner in forty-something years?

    Of course not, but the point is that Trout is an amazing CF while Cabrera is a very bad 3B. Both baseball-reference and fangraphs WAR have Trout as at least three wins better, which is huge. WAR isn’t the end-all, be-all stat, sure, but shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand either.

    sansho1 – I’m not sure where anyone is getting there stats, but Dave Cameron had this to say about the context of RBI:

    f you’d rather actually adjust for those opportunity differences, however, we should probably note that Cabrera has had 415 baserunners when he’s batted this year, compared to just 274 for Trout. Cabrera has driven in 52 additional runs while having an extra 141 guys on base because of where he hits in the line-up. If we look at runs driven in as a percentage of total men on base when both men hit, we see that Cabrera has driven in 31% of his total baserunners, while Trout is at 28% – both way above the league average of 15%, and a difference much smaller than raw RBI totals would lead you to believe.

  20. @42 sansho1
    good post!

    I hate to think it will come down to who’s team made the playoffs in the MVP vote, but it often does.

    Maybe Cabrera has silenced his critics.
    Clearly, he can rake, but grudges are held for his coming up drunk and small back in 2009.

    I loathe him and wouldn’t want him anywhere near the Braves, but even I admit he put the Tigers on his back and carried them to the postseason.

    Here’s a good link:


    Miggy Smalls-MVP.

  21. Wonderful, Spike, I mean. It would have been wonderful today also, Smitty.

    Senility is so much fun.

  22. @43

    I added up their baserunners myself (insomnia…note time stamp), and came up with 301 for Trout and 441 for Cabrera, so it looks like Cameron’s numbers are from several days ago (mine don’t count yesterday’s games).

    Also, he appears to have counted Trout and Cabrera driving themselves in on HRs, which is an error that explains why his percentage numbers are so out of whack with the league norm. Trout has driven in 53/301 baserunners (17.6%) and Cabrera has driven in 93/441 baserunners (21.1%). Put in terms of Cameron’s 15% league average, Trout was successful 17% more often than league, and Cabrera was successful 41% more often than league.

    In fact, I also did the experiment where you flip them — make Cabrera the leadoff hitter for the Angels and Trout the #3 hitter for the Tigers. Both would have ended up with 108 RBI (obviously an advantage for Cabrera).

  23. @48 Georgia will crush them. Their offense is insane and USC’s offense isn’t good enough to take advantage of UGA’s spotty defense.

  24. I think it’s really cool that Cabrera is going to win the Triple Crown and the tradition behind those stats-however misleading-is part of the appeal of baseball. Having said that, simply leading the league in three arbitrary categories doesn’t, by itself, make Cabrera the MVP any more than simply leading the league in wins should make a pitcher the Cy Young winner.

    BTW, here is an interesting comment from an ESPN article about the Red Sox:

    “There was a definite carryover effect from last September’s collapse, one that would have ended had the Sox gotten off to a good start. The opposite occurred, and the cohesiveness that the Atlanta Braves showed in recovering from a similar collapse last September never developed. ”

    I think Fredi deserves some credit for this.

  25. I still think WAR overrates speed. Corner IF will never lead the league in WAR because they won’t steal bases and they get a significant positional correction factor that works against them (e.g. 1B and 3B are “easy” to play … which is funny to me … try playing 3B at a high level and get back to me on how easy it is). I guess I just have a hard time reconciling the fact that the predominant sabr opinion has always been that stolen bases aren’t worth all that much, and yet it’s a rather large component of the all-in-one player value calculation.

    I’d rather have Trout on my team and agree that he’s the best player, but I would say that they are nearly equivalent offensively players and giving it to Cabrera would be just fine too. Whoever wins, the other guy will have a good argument.

  26. I don’t know what’s a bigger accomplishment: The AL Triple Crown or leading the NL in RBI playing half your games in PETCO. This has to be one of the great RBI+ performances in history.*

    *RBI+ does not exist.

  27. Now that we have some time before the next meaningful game, let’s talk about the only thing that actually matters: the Florida Gators!

  28. @51

    If people say a manager has little impact on in-game strategy, then what does he have impact on? I think what that comment illustrates is the impact a manager can or cannot have. In contrast, consider Valentine…

  29. 54- The Gators only matter in that they are destined to lose to other, less repugnant teams. Especially, the ever-distinguished Bulldogs of the University of Georgia.

    As for managers, I’ll admit that Fredi’s in-game strategy has improved, but you can’t really argue that he deserves credit for the team’s failure to collapse- the offense has certainly given it their best shot. The guy this season really reflects well upon is Roger McDowell. How long until he becomes regarded as the new Mazzone?

  30. The manager has a lot of impact. The marginal impact of a specific manager is small because they all do a lot of the same things.

    Fredi’s been pretty good this year. He’s gotten better at pretty much everything. I’m comfortable with him going forward, which is something I never thought I’d say after last season.

    This isn’t just in-game strategy, but things like pitcher use and putting guys in lineups. In a pinch, he’s used Heyward in CF and Prado at SS, and I don’t think he did either of those things last year. Kimbrel had about 25% more IP last year. I think those kinds of things are more important than game decisions, though I’m not complaining about going from 5th to 13th in the league in bunts.

  31. Krussell – Well in the last 20 years WAR has been led by Pujols and ARod 5 times and Helton and Giambi once so saying a corner IF con never win is not quite accurate.

    Also I read yesterday that all the other Triple Crown winners also led the league in WAR usually by a wide margin. This year Cabrera trails Trout by 3.8 in like 20 fewer games. For me it’s a no brainer, Trout and it’s really not close.

  32. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that the organization deserves credit for not overreacting and tearing things up like the Red Sox did. Yes, the offense improved but largely by standing pat and expecting improvements from current players. Of course, the offense has pretty much regressed in the last six weeks so now the improvement is the pitching.

  33. @51

    I don’t have a problem with the stats. Are they the most important? No. But they are relevant? Yes.

    This is a game of ghosts. You are always chasing bench marks guys set when your grandfather was a kid. RBIs, HR and BA are something he can relate. So when you go to tell him Mike Trout had a better season than Mickey Mantle did in 1957, he will understand.

    When you talk about WAR, he will have a crazy flash back and may shoot at you.

    Who knows, three years from now we may have a better stat than WAR. So AVE, HR and RBI will always have a place in the game.

  34. #50
    I tend to doubt anybody’s gonna do any crushing this weekend.

    This is probably the best defense UGA’s gonna see this regular season. Pass protection will be the key here. Last year, a failure to protect Murray essentially cost UGA the game, and Jadeveon Clowney is still on the USC squad. Make no mistake, Clowney is a great player.

    If USC can run the ball, hit a couple 3rd & longs, put game-long pressure on Murray, I think they win. If, offensively, UGA can open up the field with relative impunity, they win. UGA offensive coordinator Mike Bobo better dial up some quick-hitting schemes to deal with that pass rush.

    I’ll go UGA 24-20.

  35. How much, if any, do you pitch O’Ventbrel today? Give them each an inning, even if we’re up/down big?

    I mean, I would hate to go into a tight game on Friday with the back of the bullpen not having ANY work in 5 days or more.

  36. Plus, if the Kraken struck out 2 of 3 batters without a hit or walk, he’d have struck out 50% of everybody he faced this year – which is kinda cool if you think about it. Very Little League-ish.

  37. Bourn cf
    Prado lf
    Heyward rf
    Freeman 1b
    Uggla 2b
    McCann c
    Francisco 3b
    Simmons ss
    Sheets p

    We like you, Ben, so we’re giving you (most of) our actual ineup!

  38. Not watching, but looking at the game on Yahoo:

    Bourn: 0-1
    Prado: 0-1
    Heyward: 0-1
    Freeman: 0-1
    Uggla: 0-1
    McCann: 1-1
    Francisco: 0-1
    Simmons: 0-1
    Baker: 0-1

  39. Uggla’s our best offensive weapon over the last three weeks, scoring and driving in more than a fifth of our runs.

    Yep, we’re DOOOOOOOMED.

  40. I’m hoping this was our Ryan…

    Comment From Ryan
    If you were the Braves, you’d really start Kimbrel over Medlen? What if there’s a bases loaded situation tie game in the 7th?

    Dave Cameron:
    More important to get maximum amount of outs from bullpen rather than holding on to best pitchers hoping to get a specific situation that may or may not ever arise.

  41. What if there’s a bases loaded situation tie game in the 7th?

    Fredi will use Durbin/Gearrin/Venters.

  42. We potentially have two cy young candidates. One’s a starter, the other is a closer. This is tough, but I would let the starter “start” our play in game.

  43. I really just wanted to see if it was Ryan, not to hash this out again. At least I should be happy the idea is not beneath the very dignity of Braves Journal this time?

  44. Do we really want him to not have pitched in almost a week when we get to Friday? Yeah, you throw him.

  45. I’m looking forward to Teheran’s “comeback” season next year. (unless they trade him in a package that brings back Chase Headley, in which case I don’t care)

  46. #108
    Yep, pointless.

    As was once reported in Mad magazine, “The following will give you 5 laughs, 4 chuckles, 3 guffaws, 2 giggles and one embarrassing snort.”

  47. I hope Adam is on to something. Headley is exactly who we need next year.

    Speaking of UT: you know it’s a bad day when you have to hold a press conference to deny that you were butt-chugging.

  48. It really is impressive that everyone behind them was able to make it through that press conference without laughing.

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