Natinals 2 (by W.C.G.)

So the night after Tim Hudson’s 200th win, Paul Maholm came out and reminded us why pitcher wins are stupid. Maholm pitched eight innings of two-run, five-baserunner baseball, but the offense took the night off and Jordan Zimmerman, who was even better, got the win instead.

It was really more of a soccer match than a baseball game, in that only one scoring play happened (Ian Desmond took a hanging Maholm breaking ball deep in the top of the fourth after Bryce Harper’s walk) but the result totally makes sense because you never got the sense the Braves even got a shot on goal. Maholm himself was the furthest-advanced baserunner Atlanta had all night, doubling in the third. After that, the next 20 Braves to hit all made outs. As things looked against Zimmerman for eight innings and then Rafael Soriano in the ninth, the next 20 after that might also have done the same. Fortunately the rules are such that they stopped the game before it came to that.

A team constructed as the Braves are will have nights like this, so in all honesty don’t worry about it. They swing hard, and if it’s last night it’s eight runs, and if it’s tonight, it’s nine strikeouts. Overall they’ll win more than they lose this way, but the stinkers will stink to high hell. Such was tonight.

Justin Upton got a hit too, and he was the only Braves regular to do so, so he will be noted in this recap.

The game took about 45 minutes to complete, but as the banner flying above the ballpark most nights reminds us, your ticket to the game is your free admission to the Cheetah, and it’s a work night for most folks, so there was a silver lining for some subset of the Braves fanbase tonight.

I’d like to personally thank the good folks at Jailhouse Brewing in Henry County for helping me get through this game and recap with a tall bottle of Breakout Stout. If you live in Atlanta, I recommend you drop what you’re doing, head to a bar, a liquor store, or a higher-end gas station, and get yourself one right now. I don’t care if you’re at work. It’s worth it.

53 thoughts on “Natinals 2 (by W.C.G.)”

  1. Well, I just got home & cracked a Leffe, so I’m in the ballpark, so to speak.

    But yeah, this team’s gonna have some very high highs & some nights where really good pitchers make ’em look hopeless. As long as the pitching holds up, IMO, we should be a post-season club.

  2. Now that’s some perspective. I apologize for this here Corona Light, but I have a busy day tomorrow….

  3. I wasn’t able to turn the game on until 9:30. It was way over. The Yankees are usually just making a game official around then, unless they’re behind, in which case it’s closer to 10.

  4. @6: I agree. I literally opened my browser and that was what flowed out of my hands and onto the keyboard. Zero thought involved.

  5. So, we’ve lost three home games all year, and I’ve now been to two of them. Those would also be the only two games I’ve been to all year.

  6. So it sounds like the upshot of this thread is that Nick is banned from attending Braves home games.

  7. Speaking of “Big Fish” (sorta) – it’s one of my favorite movies ever.

    I’m glad the Falcons weren’t playing tonight. Grrrr.

    Took my son up to UGA for his visit today. You forget.

  8. So what is the team record for shutouts in a season? Fredi needs to bunt more.

  9. FWIW Billy Wagner is coaching baseball at Miller School in Charlottesville, VA. Howie Long’s sons went there. Chris plays for the Rams and Kyle has a scholarship at FSU as a pitcher and ended up at Oregon as an offensive lineman and was the #20 pick by the Bears.

  10. 15 – but what about his alpaca farm in Crozet?!

    That’s cool. Thanks for the update.

  11. Matt Diaz back in the majors with the Marlins. What an easy guy to root for. I wish him the best, except against the braves.

  12. Jordan Zimmermann is really good right now. Just chalk that one up as one of the 60 you’re going to lose.

  13. I’m thinking (hoping) that this team will be less prone to getting beaten by journeyman lefties like our teams in the recent past. The soccer analogy is spot on. We didn’t generate a single run on goal.

    Maholm did a great job last night. That’s the glass half full I’m taking away.

  14. Double +1 on @19. Jordan Zimmerman is, now, what Kris Medlen was in the second half of 2013. He’s just on. Last night was ugly and frustrating, but when a top tier pitcher* who has command of everything goes out against this team, that’s the sort of result that can happen.**

    *a real top-tier guy, like Cliff Lee or Jordan Zimmerman, not a pretend guy like Strasburg

    **the nagging worry about this being that, should the Braves make the playoffs, they’ll see these top tier guys more often than not, and they can be shut down by them.

  15. But really, that can happen to any playoff team, no matter the lineup.

    It happened to the Yankees in the 2001 WS. Happened to the Rangers in 2010. Happened to the Tigers last year.

    Let’s just get there, roll the dice & hope our staff is better.

  16. 22- Hopefully come playoff time, with two more quality lefthanders (McCann and a healthy and productive Heyward), plus a BJ that’s not a total black hole, and someone other than Uggla at 2B we are going to be able to scratch out runs even against guys like Jordan Zimmerman.

  17. Dan Uggla 2b
    5 years/$62M (2011-15)

    5 years/$62M (2011-15)
    signed extension with Atlanta 1/5/11
    $1M signing bonus
    11:$9M, 12:13M, 13:$13M, 14:$13M, 15:$13M

    They’re not sitting that guy down any time soon, kids.

  18. At some point, it becomes a production based decision. The Mariners sat Chone Figgins, Boston sat Carl Crawford. When you are winning games it doesn’t become as glaring of an issue. However, Fredi can’t let it ride all season. He’ll have to look at Pena/Pastornicky at some point.

  19. Yeah, the concept of sunk cost is going to have to occur to them if Uggla’s strUgglas continue. Obviously he can play better than this, but I’d bet on a Bupton hot streak before an Uggla one.

  20. Wren is not an idiot. He understands the concepts of age-related decline and sunk costs.

    If Uggla’s “slump” drags on into July, he’ll be benched for the rest of the season, only getting occasional starts against lefthanders, and then he’ll be dumped in the offseason.

  21. I type too slowly, obviously. But it has occurred to me that Fredi is playing Uggla so much right now on the premise that he needs enough rope to hang himself.

  22. It will be well into the season before they sit Uggla. He has earned the chance to right the ship. I know that Uggla and BJ will probably not be this bad all season but I sure hope that they don’t revert to their present form in September.

    edit – @28 you’re assuming that someone would take that contract.

  23. @11

    Oh no…it’s up to them to figure it out, not me. Next time I get the opportunity to go, I’m damn well going. On the plus side, I have a busy May coming up, so it’s doubtful I’ll be able to go again until June, so they have time to figure out how to deal with my hex.

  24. @22, I think we’re more likely to win in the playoffs with a homer-happy lineup. If we’re up against a Zimmerman or Wainwright or whoever then I think I like the odds of someone running into a mistake and taking it out of the park over the odds of us scratching together three hits in an inning. Either way you’re looking at trying to win a 3-2 or 2-1 type of game. I’m more worried about our ability to shut down the other team.

  25. @25 Uggla’s contract shows that under the right combination of cosmic convergences even a black hole can be a millionaire.

  26. Dan Uggla, 2013 Month-By-Month:

    April: .169/.296/.325/.621
    May: .000/.000/.000/.000

    Steep downward trend detected. This cannot stand much longer.

  27. Hope you’re right, krussell.

    My fear is that it will be just the opposite in that we’ll likely be facing the best pitching out there and our inability to manufacture runs will leave us desperate early – and desperate hitters are bad hitters.

    I keep referring to the Giants’ recent success as instructive for what it takes to win in the playoffs. I don’t particularly like them or that style, but it sure has produced results.

    (I think it’s the fact that they have Gregor Blanco in their lineup.)

  28. I’m actually more worried about BJ than Uggla. At least Uggla is drawing walks and plays a middle infield position.

    @38- good point. The Braves started a new team trend by paying Lowe not to pitch for them, but they had other pitchers Lowe was blocking. Who is Uggla blocking? Do y’all think Pastornicky or Pena can be a full time player?

  29. @38, exactly. There’s a price for everything, and plus the Dodgers still exist.

    Speaking of, Uggla to LA for Mark Ellis. Who says no?

  30. 39-Uggla plays a middle infield position far more poorly than BJ plays center field. Uggla’s current production can easily be replaced by Pastornicky, Pena or Janish, which is why I am less sanguine on the likelihood than any team will be willing to eat much of his salary.

  31. Just for fun:

    Players Under Contract In 2014
    Justin Upton – $14.25m
    B.J. Upton – $13.45m
    Dan Uggla – $13m
    Gerald Laird – $1.5m

    Players Under Contract In 2015
    Justin Upton – $14.5m
    B.J. Upton – $14.45m
    Dan Uggla – $13m

    Players Under Contract In 2016
    B.J. Upton – $15.45m

    Players Under Contract In 2017
    B.J. Upton – $16.45m

  32. Do y’all think Pastornicky or Pena can be a full time player?

    No, but they could replace Uggla’s production for league minimum.

  33. I think that the Original Fredi Gonzalez gives Uggla until the All Star Break to turn it around. BJ has all season.

  34. Sounds about right on Uggla. BJ, I think, gets two full seasons. Here’s hoping they both figure it out today and we forget we ever had this conversation *fingers crossed*.

  35. I’m with you. The last thing I want is a regular dose of Penanicky at 2nd base and for BJ to be the most expensive defense first CF ever.

  36. @49 Though only with MLB also fining players for daring to call out an umpire’s bullshit in public. Typical.

  37. The player fines were $1000. That’s parody, not discipline, and I don’t think that will be lost on any of the principals.

  38. Well Price was quoted as saying that’s fine, we’ll see what happens the next time MLB wants something from me.

  39. I liked Hellickson’s* quote – “$1,000 is a lot of money, I wish I hadn’t done it now”

    *current salary 500k, Scott Boras client, and certain multimillionaire

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