How Do the Braves Treat Their Pitchers? Part Three, Game Thread, June 1 (by Sansho1)

Thanks to this rather amazing database, we’re able to see all professional baseball players (majors and minors) who have had elbow ligament replacement surgery, all the way back to 1974 and Thomas Edward John himself. To see if any recent trends could be sussed out of the data, we looked at all TJ cases beginning in 2007 (or one year after Roger McDowell became Braves pitching coach) among pitchers who were in the majors when diagnosed with a torn elbow ligament.

Here are the results, with the numbers representing the number of such pitchers per team:

0 — none (!)
1 — COL, TBR
6 — TOR
7 — OAK
8 — none
9 — ATL

That’s 116 total cases among 30 teams, an average of just under 4 per team, with a nicely symmetric distribution. The Braves’ figure of 9 is three standard deviations above the mean, and meets the definition of a statistical outlier, meaning it’s very unlikely that this result is due to chance alone.

Just to refresh your memory, here are the unfortunate nine:

2007 — Mike Gonzalez, Anthony Lerew
2008 — Peter Moylan, Tim Hudson
2010 — Kris Medlen
2012 — Arodys Vizcaino, Brandon Beachy
2013 — Jonny Venters, Eric O’Flaherty

So what’s going on? We’ll take a look at each of the nine cases, paying particular attention to workloads prior to injury, reports of initial diagnoses, and comparisons of Braves staff usage patterns with overall league trends. Any other suggestions for avenues of inquiry are most welcome.

199 thoughts on “How Do the Braves Treat Their Pitchers? Part Three, Game Thread, June 1 (by Sansho1)”

  1. There’s not a lot to work with right now, but man, look at all the outs in this lineup:

    Heyward GROUNDOUT TO 2B
    JUpton K
    Uggla K LOOKING
    BUpton 3 PITCH K

  2. Gators. Really? Valpo?

    Dawgs hire Kent State’s baseball coach. Good hire, imo.

    Hudson has been one of my favorite Braves. Tonight would be a good time to end all concern about THIS BEING THE END. (Cue Jim Morrison.)

  3. Justhank, what should your Hawks do in the draft? They’ve got a lot of picks.

    Nice (?) summary, Bethany.

  4. I feel like every time I see an Orioles highlight, Nate McLouth is standing on 2nd after hitting a 2 run double.

  5. Might as well crack open a sour beer to match the taste left in my mouth.

  6. Wow, Simmons popped out on the infield…who saw that coming? He might be coming close to some kind of record

  7. Our hitter have become rather predictable of late, which I wouldn’t mind so much except that most of them predictably suck.

  8. Our first baserunner, as Dan does what he does… not best, but halfway decently. An improvement on several teammates.

    Edit: GameDay’s broken down again. It said that BJ singled. That can’t be right, can it?

  9. Uggla walked and BJ gets a hit. Checking Weather Channel to see if hell has indeed frozen over.

  10. My kingdom for a sacrifice fly.

    EDIT: Or that little thing. I’ll take it.

  11. When (I don’t think it’s an if anymore) BJ is sent to Gwinnett, Jason needs to be in the car. Or maybe have it run over his foot.

  12. Made Gio throw 25 pitches that inning… Need to keep that up and get into their pen

  13. I’m starting to think Jason doesn’t belong in Gwinnett.

    He might belong in Flushing..

  14. @34 Fredi tossed for arguing a strike three that should have been called given what Gio Gonzalez has received, but wasn’t.

  15. Ah. Wow.

    Now how did Lombardozi get from first to third on a ground out to short?

  16. Chris Johnson and Dan Uggla behind a fading Tim Hudson is a frightening concept.

  17. 46- Problem is that Pena can’t play both 2b and 3b, and Dan’s no Gold Glover or Silver Slugger. He’s more like Shameful Bronze.

  18. Chris and BJ are both making up for their deficiencies. Now let’s get CJ in.

  19. Dan Uggla is such a bad hitter these days that it almost makes sense to have him bunt here. And I hate bunting.

  20. That’s the kind of deep fly ball from Uggla that we could have used last night. C’mon, B.J., make this your single best inning to date as a Brave.

  21. Now, can BJ forget that he sucks for one plate appearance?

    Edit: The answer, quite logically, is No.

  22. Dick Stockton doesn’t seem to understand why B.J. is being booed. Dick, please peruse your stat sheet.

  23. Well Huddy is due an episode in this inning anyway, so, one run likely wouldn’t help.

  24. I would have tried to bunt with BJ at bat there. You know he wasn’t going to get a hit so why not try to bunt the runner home.

  25. A few boos for Heyward. Maybe that will awaken him. Last year he OPS’d over 1.000 for the five weeks after getting booed for loafing in the field.

  26. @85 He’s just old and has long since lost it. Why Fox keeps wheeling him out on MLB & NFL broadcasts, I haven’t a clue.

  27. There may be something to this road-home split issue Hudson has. Unfortunate that his next two starts will be in Los Angeles and San Diego.

  28. @92

    Dick Enberg does. He’s aged much better, although he has a few more malaprops than he used to. Bob Uecker and Vin Scully have aged best of all. I listened to Uecker call Brewers-Phillies this afternoon while running errands and loved it. You can hear Uecker’s influence on Jim Powell, which is one reason Powell is such an enjoyable listen.

  29. Can we see the stats for Kimbrel pitching to Gattis, Laird, and McCann? Seems like he’s only really been dominant throwing to McCann this year.

  30. I know there is a 4.5 game lead, but this feels like we are in real trouble moving forward unless they make some changes with BJ and Heyward. At least Uggla hits balls hard sometimes

  31. Love how the Bear put the ball back in Kimbrel’s glove. As if “here ya go, get one more”

  32. Reed, you’re here for one reason and one reason only: this sort of situation.

  33. @116

    Game one of the Dodgers series. But that’s because their bullpen is a dumpster fire.

  34. Justin is officially broken. Time to swap Gattis and Upton in the batting order.

  35. The last time Walden pitched a 10th inning with rain falling, it did not end well.

  36. Gattis is about to show Fredi why you don’t pinch run for him with BJ in the 7th inning.

  37. @129

    I’ve got a 10-month old daughter who has contentedly and patiently played with her toys the last hour since awakening from her nap. Having just come back from the West Coast, she is wide awake. I want this over with, so I can give her my full attention, instead of my explanations as to why Daddy just smashed his head against his keyboard.

  38. For anyone watching, what was wrong with that 1st pitch to Pena? GD has it in the middle of the strike zone.

  39. That is why you don’t give away outs. Just steal the fucking base and let Pena hit.

  40. Can Teheran pinch-hit for B.J. here? I’m serious.

    EDIT: Seriously wrong, as it turned out. But even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

  41. @134 I have a 4 week old daughter. At what point do they stop being a shitting, crying, sleeping, eating, mess?

  42. @ 127, right you are. I’m ‘watching’ on Gamecast and making assumptions, which is two kinds of shitty ways to take in a baseball game.


  43. @148

    It depends. Mine is great, and has even handled teething like a pro. Once she passed the four-month mark, she rarely woke up in the middle of the night. But I’ve had friends whose babies were a wreck 12 to 18 months in.

  44. @158 I’d forgotten about teething. I love her to death but I’m waiting for her to get to the stage where I can actually start interacting with her. Is that normal?

  45. @161

    That is. I felt the same way. For the first three months, I just wanted some sign that she recognized me. Words would come later — I just needed a little validation. It was at about that point that she began smiling when I came to pick her up in the morning. Once this happens, you will never be the same.

  46. Lets not overlook the contribution of Schafer’s skill set there either. His steal gave us a reprieve from the bunt pop out, and very few on this team beat that throw to the plate.

  47. Ok. Now bench Heyward and let Schafer start in LF. Heyward looks completely lost. All that hand movement needs to stop. His hands are dropping also.

  48. Shorter Braves Journal game thread: Hooray, this group of worthless players whose character I constantly impugn won the game!

  49. 161-That’s completely normal. Facebook seems to exist primarily for people to lie about how cute and lovable their newborns are, but the fact is that the first few months are hard and utterly thankless. Then like Insect Overlord says, a switch flips and they recognize you and everything changes.

  50. Honestly the first month with a new born is living hell. I’m sure of it. However, if you can make it throught that then everyday after it gets better and better. Both of mine had reflux as little ones and that was a disaster.

  51. But Sam, it’s not over-managing when it works! If you pinch-run for Gattis and he doesn’t score, it was a bad decision; if he does score, he’s the best manager ever!

  52. You guys are making me want to wait as long as possible to have children. Tough stuff.

  53. In the 10th inning, you have no idea if he’ll hit again. And if the run scores, the game ends.

    Are either of those true in the 7th?

  54. If you pull Gattis in the 7th then he doesn’t get the opportunity to hit in the 10th. I think that’s where most were upset with the managing yesterday. That and you shouldn’t pinch run for someone with a slow runner ahead of them.

  55. I’m not trolling. I think pinch running with Gattis as the go-ahead run in the 7th is the right call. Down 2-3 with Gattis on second, a single ties the game. Down 2-3 with Upton on second, a single gives you the lead and your bullpen the opportunity to close out the win. I like playing to win.

  56. See @178, Reread until understood*.

    * Except it was the 9th when BJ Upton flailed at strike three in place of Gattis, not the 10th.

  57. The slow runner ahead of them had nothing to do with it. Here’s the play by play of that inning:

    Pitching Change: Tyler Clippard replaces Craig Stammen, batting 9th, replacing Chad Tracy.

    1.Ramiro Pena singles on a ground ball to first baseman Adam LaRoche.

    2.Justin Upton strikes out swinging.

    With Freddie Freeman batting, wild pitch by Tyler Clippard, Ramiro Pena to 2nd.

    3.Freddie Freeman singles on a ground ball to right fielder Roger Bernadina. Ramiro Pena scores.

    4.Evan Gattis hit by pitch. Freddie Freeman to 2nd.

    Coaching visit to mound.

    Offensive Substitution: Pinch-runner B. J. Upton replaces Evan Gattis.

    5.Brian McCann hit by pitch. Freddie Freeman to 3rd. B. J. Upton to 2nd.

    6.Dan Uggla strikes out swinging.

    7.Chris Johnson strikes out swinging.

    Gattis is put in as a pinch runner with 2 out, on 1B, with Brian McCann at the plate. He’s the difference between taking the lead on a gapper/double by McCann, vs being tied with two out and second and third, with Uggla up. Gattis doesn’t score on a double. Upton does. Then McCann gets HBP and Upton moves to 2B. At that point, he scores on a single where Gattis doesn’t.

    Again, you’re playing to win, rather than playing to tie and hope to swing again. I like playing to win. You guys are far too conservative. Play for the win in the 7th, not for the hope of a HR in the 9th.

  58. And John R, cut the smarmy “until understood” bullshit. I assure you you don’t know more about the game of baseball than me.

  59. Today’s pinch runner was a no-brainer. Yesterday’s was arguable, perhaps, but certainly defensible. Nothing, in other words, to get worked up about.

  60. @190, Oh, you cut it out. You may know more about “the game of baseball” than I do, but you’re wrong about this. And I don’t mind telling you forcefully. No apologizing, thank you very much.

  61. I would say wrong decision last night, right decision tonight. But you’re right that it’s hardly the slam dunk people on here are saying. Also, Gattis still would’ve been 70 percent likely to make an out in the ninth, so there’s that.

    I’m a big believer in the go for the tie at home, go for the win on the road principle (I’m like this in all sports BTW. For instance, in football, if my team is down by three with the ball on the two-yard line and two seconds left, I’d go for the touchdown on the road and kick the field goal at home. If my team has just scored a TD to pull within one with under a minute left, I’m going for two on the road and kicking the PAT at home.), which would mean I would be thinking about Gattis coming up in the bottom of the ninth and therefore wouldn’t have pulled the trigger on it. On the road, I probably would pull the trigger on it. At home, you have the advantage of the crowd (whatever that’s worth) and the advantage of batting last. You lessen the latter advantage if you pinch-run for Gattis there in the seventh, and make the inning pretty much all-or-nothing, and I just wouldn’t go all-or-nothing at home. But that’s me. When you already have the tie, there’s no such thing as all-or-nothing, so you go for it, plus scoring that run immediately won the game tonight, as previously pointed out, where it would not have last night.

  62. Whatever I may think of Fredi’s tactical skill, his team is succeeding despite serious challenges in his starting OF, relief corps, and some bumps in the rotation. I don’t think John McGraw could have wrung more wins out of this group, and there are too many to list who would have done far worse. Count your managerial blessings folks.

  63. This guy let his pitcher bat in the 6th, down 1, with one out, then pulled him in the next half, punting his offensive half inning to save 2/3 an inning on the bullpen.

    Then he pinch runs for one of his only legitimate bats, as the trail runner, with a slow runner in front of him the very. next. inning.

    If it isn’t stupid, it’s pretty inconsistent.

  64. @195, That’s mainly my beef is the weird inconsistencies. He pinch runs for (one of) our best hitters in Gattis, to put arguably our worst hitter in to run behind one of our slowest baserunners. And of course not only does nobody score but BJ later strikes out when Gattis could have and should have been hitting again, so the whole thing exploded spectacularly in Fredi’s face.

    Meanwhile, a few games previous, he leaves Laird in to run in the 8th, nobody out and with the full extent of our bench untapped. Laird gets forced out by a Pena bunt, and of course nobody scores in that inning. We lose the game in late innings and neither Gattis nor McCann get to hit, nor does Success get to pinch run. But Laird finishes the game behind the dish.

    Inconsistency is maddening.

  65. I’m so glad you guys don’t have access to my job performance. Unsurprisingly, it’s not perfect, and thus, you’d have a field day picking it apart.

    Upton pinch-running:

    1) Had anyone singled, BJ may have scored when Gattis would not have. Imagine Upton sliding in right before the tag like Schafer today and Gattis being out by a mile.

    2) Had anyone brought home the tying and winning run, Gattis’ spot would not have been up in the 9th because the Braves would have already won.

    3) You don’t like it because it didn’t work. If Upton had hit a bloop single last night the way he did today, Fredi would have looked smart.

    I mean, get off it. There are certainly enough defensible scenarios that were likely to happen that at least you can agree it wasn’t a bad decision.

  66. You Fredi apologists are all so obviously in the right. After all, you can point to the empirical success he’s had in reaching and getting deep into the playoffs during his tenure. You can remind us that the Braves bullpen is in full flower this year due to his conscientious management. And for every tactical error us know-nothings gin up out of thin air, you’re on record the last few years highlighting double – no, triple – the amount of displays of tactical genius we’re willfully ignoring, where Fredi’s amazing skills have actually won the day. “Way to go, Fredi,” you’ve said so often during game threads. “Damn, what a move he made there! It really made a difference! The Braves are lucky to have such a shrewd, canny thinker in the dugout.”

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