139 thoughts on “Chicago Comes to Town Game Thread, April 5”

  1. Well, to be fair, if not for an injury, the Cubs would be starting the defensively-apt Darwin Barney at 2B… *Giggles*

  2. Well, they have some spectacular OF prospects. The current starting outfield consists of two decent stopgaps and Soriano, who was actually pretty good last season. I imagine the Cubs will be very good in a couple seasons, and surprisingly competitive this one. I like their pitching.

  3. Re the prior threaad — HR by LH catcher ought to include Ted Simmons, who was left-handed whenever he needed to be. Switchhitters should generally count in both handedness lists, IMO

  4. A lot of their guys are really far away, though. Vogelbach’s in A-ball, Baez and Soler are in High-A, and Albert Almora would probably be in A-ball except he broke his hamate a couple weeks ago. The guy who’s closest is Brett Jackson in Triple-A, but he strikes out all the time and struck out in more than 40% of his at-bats in his cup of coffee last year. Theo’s strategy has been pretty clear: tread water and don’t spend a lot on the major league team until the prospects are ready. But it could be a couple of years, and the Cubs have been badly burned by prospects in the past, with flameouts or disappointments like Angel Guzman, Juan Cruz, Felix Pie, Corey Patterson, and Roosevelt Brown, all of whom were expected to be starters and who wound up as role players or worse.

    As to the pitching, I like Samardzija, and Jackson is a known quantity, but it’s pretty thin without Garza.

  5. MLBTR says we released Dimasther Delgado. First Jesus Sucre, now this…I guess Terdoslavich has the best name in our system now.

  6. How is a guy named Roosevelt Brown not good at whatever he sets his mind to?

  7. Cool song. Sounds to me like what the Strokes would have sounded like if they were pissed off.

  8. Lineup:

    Simmons ss
    Heyward rf
    JUpton lf
    Freeman 1b
    Bupkis cf
    Uggla 2b
    Francisco 3b
    GATTIS c
    Minor p

  9. The Phillies might have some trouble getting from the starter to Papelbon. Color me amused.

  10. Okay, tonight’s game has already gotten weird:

    The Braves were taking batting practice and wanted to do some outfield drills, but Cubs players were playing catch in left field. Wren could be seen trying to wave them off the field and yelling at them, but the Cubs didn’t budge. That’s when Wren stormed into the Cubs’ clubhouse.
    “Some people need to read the rules,” he yelled.
    Slowly the Cubs started to come in from the outfield.
    “He came in and asked me a favor if I could keep the guys off the field so they could do some defensive work,” Sveum said. “Realistically, two teams can’t be on the field at the same time.”

  11. I didn’t really see Bupton much in spring training where he did get a few hits, but he seems to have a really, really long swing.

    Edit: Nice play, Freddie.

  12. Add a major league opponent to the equation and the loathsome Nats aren’t so intimidating.

  13. And thanks to MLB for showing THAT PLAY. My blood pressure has been too low lately.

  14. For some reason Gattis brings to mind an angry gorilla swatting ping pong balls.

  15. I did not know he could work an at-bat like that. That was fantastic hitting.

  16. Bad call on the 1-1 to Gattis, forcing him to reach on the 1-2. As it is, he’s just lulling them into a false sense of security.

  17. @57 But he stole his first base and scored his first run tonight!

    Also, I love seeing that the Reds are taking it to the Nats tonight… currently 14-0. Yikes.

  18. The NL is stacked this year. There’s going to be a couple of very good teams that get left out of the postseason.

  19. Hey folks…first 2013 post. Great start by Minor tonight. Love this ATL team after such a small sample set.

  20. Nice outing for Minor.

    Naturally, I am very pleased with that 2-rbi AB by Juan-Fran tonight, but from what I have seen of his defense, he’s contributing all around.

  21. Perfect throw from Gattis. What did the scouts not like about his catching? Footwork?

  22. One thing is that Gattis is too fidgety behind the plate and doesn’t frame pitches well. He also doesn’t seem to have a rapport with the umps knowing when they throw in balls or have the catcher throw in balls. Both are experience things.

  23. @79 Yes, I’m sure the Braves will overlook his massive offensive potential and rocket arm because he doesn’t have a rapport with the umps.

  24. Jeff K – Where are you getting this on Gattis’ throws. I really don’t think there was much credibility behind the knocks on his defense, and I do not recall that anyone thought his arm was a problem.

  25. Don’t be silly. Gattis is playing great. But stop being the silly fan and recognize that his time behind the plate has been limited. Did you notice how many times the ump chewed him out his last start behind the plate? Gattis reached for the ball 5-6 times when the ump was throwing in.

  26. I wonder what Fredi will do if Simmons struggles in the lead off spot. Maybe he’ll put Uggla there. Maybe Heyward. Maybe his head will explode.

  27. Maybe this has been said before and if so I apologize for plagiarizing, but Gattis at the plate reminds me so much of Jeff Bagwell. Not that I am predicting that level of success for him, but that wide stance and tiny lift of the front leg- I love it.

    Also, I like that he has already gotten better at setting up nice and low to receive the pitch. When I saw him catching in ST, with nobody on base he was still up on the balls of his feet and as large as he is, he really had to reach for the low pitches. I obviously don’t have MLB experience but at lower levels, umpires almost always call pitches at least partly based on how the catcher moves his glove. If you could set a nice low target and not have to stab downwards to catch a pitch at the bottom of the strike zone, you could steal a strike or two down there. If you notice Gattis now, his feet are flat with nobody on and the weight is on the inside of his foot- and he sets a great low target. He wasn’t doing that in ST, so on this very small sample size (and biased opinion, because damn I want him to succeed) he’s coachable and he can get better. As I type this he just stole a strike for Kimbrel against DeJesus! I have got a huge catcher crush on Gattis, I believe there is defensive upside there…

  28. This is the kind of argument I like- it means that the team is doing the big things right.

  29. Just noticed Jeff K saying Gattis doesn’t frame pitches well. I didn’t see the whole game and haven’t seen him play much, but I would be curious to know where he is failing in that regard.

  30. Gattis looks fine to me. He and Minor were on the same page all night. Maholm didn’t shake him off in his first start either. I think we’ll see El Oso Blanco play quite a bit. With that bat you have to find a place for him. Maybe he can play CF occasionally ;-)

  31. @83 And it’s impossible that he improves? You’re pointing out ridiculously, niggly little things he’s not doing and THAT’S silly. The guy is raw but there’s no reason he can’t learn minor things like when to throw the ball back and to wait on pitches a beat longer.

  32. @90 – garbage in, garbage out, smart ass. I am a huge Gattis fan and hope he’s able to improve behind the plate. But I’ve watched every pitch of his starts and he clearly has inexperience issues to work through. Hope he’s able, but he’s far from polished.

    Ps – bethany, calm down. I can tell you’re a fan from the breathy posts. Sure he can improve. But he needs to. Developing credibility with umpires is one of the most important skills good catchers develop.

  33. I think it’s perfectly fair to say that Gattis is very inexperienced behind the plate and that there’s some things he needs to work on and improve.

    I’m just very happy that he’s not a lost cause at catcher and at least some people (edit: didn’t mean you, Jeff, just in general) see potential and/or the possibility that he can stick there. Just 6 months ago there were a *lot* more doubt that that would be the case.

  34. He’s a rookie catcher who got rushed to the big leagues because of his advanced age.

    Why would we be surprised that he doesn’t have “new ball in play throw-back” etiquette down?

    Further, why on earth would we care?

    And as an aside, weird things go on behind the plate, even when the catcher is not a rookie. Veteran Major League Catcher Russell Martin had an altercation with an umpire last season because, in cold weather, Martin wanted to keep his arm warm by throwing the new balls back to the pitcher. For some reason, the umpire wouldn’t allow him to.

  35. @93 Yeah and you’re the one who’s trolling. I guess we should determine if he looks like a ballplayer and has a hot girlfriend before you’ll approve.

  36. Right, I’ve been a Braves fan since 1980 and posting on this site for 10+ years and I’m trolling. Bethany, time to wake up that when someone disagrees with you, you’re not entitled to insult them.

  37. @98 You’re the one who came at me with the “breathy” comment, dude. You need to learn that you can’t brush off my rebuttals just because I’m a woman and younger than you.

  38. I think we need to calm down a little. Nice 4-1 win. I’ll be at the game tomorrow, so we got this!

    Go Bravos!

  39. Bethany, that’s about the most classless post I’ve ever seen from you. I don’t know how old you are nor do I care. And I don’t know if you’re a woman nor do I care. We have an etiquette here and you need to follow it whether you claim to be young, female, or anything else.

  40. Jeff K – being a veteran Bravesjournaler doesn’t grant your opinions merit any more than being a veteran catcher makes Laird worthy of starting ahead of Gattis.

    Frankly, it seems like you’re missing the forest for the trees with Gattis – to this point, everything we’ve seen indicates that he can handle the important parts of being a major league catcher, which is incredibly heartening. He can get a few pointers from Laird about how to deal with umpires, and then maybe in exchange Gattis can show Laird how to pay attention to runners so they don’t steal third when he’s throwing the ball back to the pitcher.

    PS – Also, can we all put down our knives and enjoy a good victory?

  41. Man I’ve really liked watching Gattis so far. It’s a shame his “umpire etiquette above replacement” is so low.

  42. @102 Don’t lecture me. Once again, you’re the one with the ad hominem crack at me, not the other way around. I know what “breathy” and “calm down” are keywords for, as I’ve spent a lot of years here too.

    You are the one with the burden of proof when it comes to Gattis, because you’re the one who’s decided he’s not going to get a lot of playing time because he’s not magically friends with every ump in his first season.

  43. We should all come down a little here. In September, maybe we’ll all have a laugh about that time Jeff K told us about how important it is to know whether or not the umpire is going to hand you a ball.

  44. Yeah, arguing about the back up catcher is kind of silly. Plus, this argument is getting personal in nature. There are rules here. Keep it civil.

  45. @105 – sad. I hope Gattis gets lots of playing time if he improves as a catcher. I used to give some weight to your posts, reading in some insight. Obviously that was wrong.

  46. @103 Tell it as it is. Gattis can move and throw well. He has the ability needed and he will improve with playing time.

  47. You notice some small things here and there that give away Gattis’ inexperience behind the plate, but personally (and as a former collegiate pitcher), I haven’t seen anything with his framing that has particularly bothered me. Though can’t say I’ve been specifically looking at the issue, either.

  48. Jeff K – You never commented on Gattis’ arm. If you tell us not to get used to a throw like that, you strike a cord with me. I follow our minor leagues pretty closely, and I read all the prospect gurus. I believe from the outset, Gattis has been falsely accused of bad defense, but I do not think the arm has really been the stated issue, even in those reports.

  49. @103 “He can get a few pointers from Laird about how to deal with umpires, and then maybe in exchange Gattis can show Laird how to pay attention to runners so they don’t steal third when he’s throwing the ball back to the pitcher.”

    That wins the thread, right there.

  50. Bethany, I am reminded of a first date poorly explaining baseball to a woman who grew up going to baseball games with her family. She is expected to smile and tell the guy how smart he is. But I am so much older and a Neanderthal.

  51. Does Gattis posses the power of a million spirit animals? Does an oso shit in the woods?

  52. @115

    It really needs to stop. It is one thing to disagree. It is another to insult one another.

  53. Gattis has shown a very good arm. And that laser tonight was great. My point is that his setup hasn’t been consistent so he’s often moving his glove and sometimes his feet when receiving the ball. That’s what my coach called fidgety. It influences the call. it’s an experience thing, but ignoring it (or denying it as some would) doesn’t help.

  54. @121

    I agree that he has some small things to work on. But two starts in and he just caught a five hitter. So far so good.

  55. @114 – so I need to agree with you because you claim to be a woman? And ignore your trolling insults because you claim to be a woman?

  56. Also, we won tonight *confetti*

    Bravo to Minor for a brilliant start. I was a little worried about him early on because the Cubs hit some deep balls, but from the homer and the single on he was lights out.

  57. The Braves have given up 3 runs with Gattis catching 2 games. Trend or small sample size? Wind was not blowing in tonight.

  58. I understand the relationship clique here. Sad that it has overtaken this thread, and maybe the character of BJ.

  59. Jeff K.

    1) Thanks for the reply; I guess we will see if the experience catches up to the tools.

    2) Do o need to state the obvious? Bethany seems to have dropped the attacks and you have not. You might need to stop claiming the moral high ground.

  60. @129
    I hope so. But I love Martin Prado and will always miss what he gave our Braves on the field and off. Nevertheless, I hope it is a trade that gets us back in the WS.

  61. When’s the appropriate time over-reaction post about how terrible BJ has been offensively so far?

  62. @129. The chance of getting premium, young, and affordable talent is few if not rare. The fact that JUpton was available and Wren was able to get him is already a huge win. I don’t care how well the other four players play for the Dbacks, but we are essentially getting a right handed version of Heyward but only entering his prime years. Look at what we gave up for Tex and what the Ms offered, what we gave up for Justin is nothing considering his talent and upside and contract status.

  63. I would like to point out that only 3 NL teams have allowed fewer runs than the Braves.

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