Giants 0, Braves 3

ESPN Box Score

So I’ve been on the road lately. I got home from the West coast Friday night and hadtime to do laundry and get some sleep before checking in (24 hrs ahead of time) for
my next flight. A wedding and a metro ride later, on back on the way to LA. All this is to say, I didn’t get checked into my hotel until the bottom of the 5th, just in time to
hear that I should be disappointed with a 2-0 lead. Weird, but that’s where our recap begins!

Turns out, Julio Teheran had something of a bounce-back game after a mediocre performance last week. When you go six and give up none and striking out 8, it’s easy
to forgive the last go-round. All I got to see was him load the bases after getting ahead of a couple of guys, then get out of it with some more nice pitches. I liked that Fredi stuck with him in that situation. I remain very optimistic about this kid. One the hitting side, there were already two runs on the board, and a third was added in the sixth when Jordan Schafer executed a suicide squeeze on a tough pitch. This after Ramiro Pena singled and took third on a horribly lazy error on SF’s left fielder. He just let the ball go right through the wickets. Maybe it’s just because I watch the Braves every day and therefore have some understanding of the way Fredi thinks, but I thought the squeeze was an incredibly obvious call there. The broadcasters were like “WOW OMG SO SURPRISING NEVER SAW IT COMING!”, but literally right after they announced Schafer, I thought, “Squeeze play incoming” and I imagine most of you folks did, too. Looking over the game thread, I guess I could’ve just quoted Nick.Wait, I guess I will:

“I continue to be flummoxed at how opposing managers don’t seem to know that Fredi loves the suicide squeeze.”

But anyhow… The Braves would threaten a couple more times (Chris Johnson’s still hitting well above .300? What? It feels like I’ve seen him make a ton of outs lately, but he’s right up near .330. Good on you, NotTheRealCJ!) but get nothing. Lucikly, Luis Avilan and Jordan Walden did their best Venters/EOF impersonations, and Craig Kimbrel was vintage Kimbrel, taking 10 pitches to get two strikeouts and a flyball. It was a pleasure to watch.

And there you have it! A series won against the Giants.

287 thoughts on “Giants 0, Braves 3”

  1. Julio Teheran is 22.
    Andrelton Simmons, Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, and Luis Avilan are 23.
    Justin Upton, Craig Kimbrel, and Jordan Walden are 25.
    Jordan Schafer is 26.
    Ramiro Pena is 27.
    B.J. Upton and Chris Johnson are 28.
    Brian McCann is 29.

    Every single player the Braves used tonight is under 30 years old.

  2. With the Braves playing the Royals next Tuesday and Wednesday, Gattis might be in the starting lineup 5 times over the next 9 days.

  3. The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
    Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

    The Swerving Slider bites; and, having bit,
    Moves down: but if despite our Prayers it Sit
    Slow hanging for bold batters to Suborn,
    Not all our Tears can they preclude a Hit.

    The Moving Head rotates; and, having turned,
    Distorts: stability so sure is spurned
    What line of vision doth the Krukster see
    That mighty Jason hath not since Discerned?

  4. @7, I was going to bring this up last night but didn’t. I’m glad the ghost of Edward Fitzgerald picked up my slack. I hate to say it, but John Kruk of all people had a keen observation on Jason Heyward’s mechanics that I never noticed, having been transfixed otherwise by all the movement in his knees and hands.

    That would be the “Moving Head” phenomenon, in which Jason changes his line of sight to the ball just as it’s pitched in an almost imperceptible turn (or more like a jerk) of his head to the right. Has this been discussed here before? Like the incredulous Kruk, I just can’t see how that movement produces ANYTHING positive in his mechanics.

  5. Yeah, for a cartoon, Kruk is slowly turning himself into a real analyst. Truly enjoy this Sunday Night trio.
    ———————-

    I can’t express how little sympathy I have for someone turning 30.

  6. Fredi said his favorite part of the game was Pena’s hustle to get to 3B so Schafer would have the opportunity to execute the squeeze. That just exemplifies the way he thinks about the game: He wants opportunities to “manage” a win, instead of appreciating when the players win it themselves.

  7. A more gracious interpretation would be that he just likes seeing guys bust their butts to get extra bases.

  8. @11 – Maybe, but it happens too often that the “butt busting” he appreciates sets up an opportunity for him to call for a sacrifice, or a pinch run, or the like. How about appreciating Julio busting his butt for a shutout?

  9. I’m not sure that Fredi really has the LaRussa/Mauch DNA.

    The squeeze didn’t bother me much. The fact that it worked bothered me less.

    #9
    Thirty? I remember 30…

  10. from previous thread, Cappolella said prior to the game Saturday that Maholm very likely won’t be moved to the pen once Beachy returns. It’s between Medlen, Beachy, and Teheran.

    I guess I could see Beachy starting there and swapping with Teheran if he’s on an innings limit. It would really suck to move Medlen back and I think we risk alienating him if that’s what happens.

  11. @13 – Fair enough, but hindsight doesn’t change Fredi’s motivation. I’m not complaining about the squeeze — I agree that giving up an out is less offensive if it also happens that the out directly results in a run being scored. I just don’t like all the signs that Fredi’s favorite part of a game is when he gets to meddle in it.

  12. @14 I suppose the reasons for keeping Maholm in the rotation could include 1) desire to have a second lefty starter; 2) he’s a “proven veteran”, at least in the sense that he has made more MLB starts than Beachy/Medlen/Teheran; 3) maintain his trade value (not that I think there’s any chance the Braves do trade him).

    It’s fair to say that Maholm has probably the lowest ceiling of any Braves starter, but it’s not like he’s bad – he’s just a soft-tossing middle-to-back-of-rotation starter. His ERAs from 2011-13: 3.66, 3.67, 3.65. Frankly, that’s perfectly acceptable.

  13. Beachy’s return is still in doubt, imo. Plus I don’t think we want him back if he’s getting shelled in AAA. When the decision finally does have to be made, I’m gonna cast my vote for Beachy going to the pen and getting a spot start every now and then when needed.

    I actually didn’t mind the squeeze all that much. A big inning with the bottom of our order is next to impossible due to Simmons batting leadoff. I think eventually Heyward will bat first, but it will take Fredi a long time to make the change.

  14. I’d rather see BJ in the leadoff spot, but that’ll require a long stretch of good hitting to happen. But Andrelton ought to be in the 8-hole.

  15. @16, whatever Maholm figured out in 2011 is going to make him a very wealthy man this offseason, assuming he finishes the year on that track. Mid-rotation starters are nearly as valuable (and scarce) as front line guys. There is hardly a team in baseball that couldn’t use a durable lefty starter with a sub 4 ERA.

  16. I agree that giving up an out is less offensive if it also happens that the out directly results in a run being scored.

    If it nets you a run, you “give up an an out” every single time. Runs are far, far more valuable than outs. If you could squeeze bunt in a run on every out, you’d score 27 runs. You’d win a lot of games scoring 27 runs per 9.

    Outs are only useful in the aggregation of runs, which lead to wins. If you have a chance to use an out in exchange for a run, that’s a good call. EVERY SINGLE TIME.

  17. This is one of those things you some of the regulars (and a lot of statty types) go overboard on. Bunting a guy from 1st to 2nd is rarely a top-end tactical move. Bunting from 2nd to 3rd is even worse. (Most MLB players can score from 2nd on a single. If your runner can’t and it’s late enough for that run to be “big” then PR rather than bunt.)

    But if you can bunt in a run, you do it every time.

  18. A lot was made about the dubious “element of surprise” factor when squeezing with Schafer, but I thought it was a pretty good time to do it. The ESPN crew did a good job of talking about how the best time to squeeze was right after a crazy play or an argument or something that disrupts the game. That boot and lack of hustle by the Giants LF certainly set things up nicely. All the coaches in the Giants dugout were cursing the LF’er and worrying about who to get up in the bullpen. A pitch-out probably was the last thing on their minds (even though it looked kinda obvious in hindsight).

  19. In the non-squeeze scenario you’d maybe pinch-hit Gattis instead of Schafer. Gattis would’ve been walked, and then inning totally hinges on Simmons. Lately I don’t like those odds.

  20. Sandwiched between all those bunts would be quite a few triples though…I’d think we’d score a lot of runs with or without the bunts ;-)

  21. Observations:

    1. This game was pretty good evidence of how important XBHs are. Teheran allowed seven hits in six innings (including three in the sixth), and managed to surrender zero runs because all of the hits were singles. And this was without the benefit of any double plays or outs on the basepaths by the Giants.

    2. Agree with others that this broadcast team was actually fairly tolerable for an ESPN crew, but it was very obvious that the only narrative they wanted to pursue for the first half of the game was “the decline of Tim Lincecum.” Every stat, graphic, or anecdote centered on that.

    3. The Braves seem to be wearing their throwback, off-white uniforms more and more. It used to just be a ‘Sunday thing’, but now it’s more like a ‘weekend thing’.

    4. Is Avildenbrel the new bullpen paradigm?

    5. Re: Beachy. I think it’s becoming more obvious that when he is ready, the bullpen is the answer for him. It avoids upsetting the balance of what is an above average rotation, gives the team a long man in the bullpen, and follows the Medlen model of return from Tommy John-bullpen-return to rotation (which would presumably happen in 2014).

  22. Pena would be in lineup every other day speeling Uggla, Simmons and C Johnson if it was me … Gattis has to get some more at bats ….

  23. Two consecutive batters swinging away with a guy at 3rd isn’t an automatic run, either. That’s where a good manager knows his players’ skills and weaknesses, knows if they’ve been driving balls in the cages this week or if they’re in a funk and trying to get jump started. If, for example, Jordan Schafer has been scuffling this month and has cooled off considerably from his torrid start, but is still one of the best bunters on the team.

    There are no sure things in baseball. Sometimes Justin Upton takes a borderline call and it’s Ks looking for a week on end. Sometimes he takes that same pitch and walks to drive in the game tying run.

    Up 2-0 in the late innings with Schafer batting, Pena on 3B, and the defense distracted by a cluster’d play on the previous hitter is a perfect time to call for the suicide squeeze. And lo, it worked perfectly.

    There are times you don’t want to bunt. Sometimes Fredi bunts in those situations and you want to sit him down and say “no Fredi, bad Fredi, no biscuit.” Last night’s play was not one of those times. It was a good call at the right time and the players executed it perfectly. A run scored because of it. That’s a good bunt.

    My point, of course, is that there exists such things as “good bunts.” Sometimes, bunting is not only acceptable, it’s a good idea. Like last night’s game. The knee-jerk reaction here is always to complain about bunts, as if bunts were that creepy guy living down the block who watches the young kids on the playground way too closely. That’s wrong and people should learn from there mistakes.

  24. Well that’s just it. There really is no defense against a properly executed squeeze bunt, even if you are looking for it. Schafer hits well enough that the defense can’t completely sell out on the bunt, so if you think he can successfully get it down, it’s a better percentage play than swinging.

  25. @28 – This, exactly this.

    Yes, a squeeze that works = run, so you do it everytime.

    But it’s the hardest bunt to pull off, and it’s the bunt that costs you the most when you fail.

    You fail to get a guy to second with no outs, well, now your bunter is on first with one out.

    You fail to bunt a guy home from third, now you had an almost dead lock to score at least one run, and you replace it with a man on first with one out.

    I will say, up 2-0 in the 7th or whatever the inning was, that’s a good time to do it. You’re already winning, the run is nice but not essential. That’s a good risk to take there.

    I wouldn’t have done it on the first pitch, though, because I thought Bruce Bochy was smarter than that and woulda pitched out at least once.

  26. @32 – If you’re looking for it, you pitch out. That’s the defense for it. It’s the only hit-and-run bunt, and it’s the one you do when you already have the highest possible odds of scoring one run.

    And it’s the only one where you hit-and run because it’s the hardest to execute. Well, the safety-squeeze (read: normal sacrifice bunt, where the runner just happens to be on third) is the hardest to execute. That’s why you even HAVE a suicide squeeze. No one bunt-and-runs from first or second.

  27. Fredi is slow-playing everyone and has now set things up perfectly for a late-inning Gattis squeeze play.

  28. I’m not sure when exactly it happened, but the Giants are finally listing Lincecum at a weight that isn’t ridiculous. I recall them having him at 190 pounds, which- no.

  29. I think Fredi (like Bobby before him) goes to the squeeze bunt too often, but I can’t complain about last night’s because it was so well executed, it worked, and we were ahead in late innings.

    But I don’t know about the “if you can squeeze a run home you do it every time” logic. Surely in a situation with one out, 2nd and 3rd, and down 5 runs in the 6th, you don’t squeeze, even if you think there’s a high probability it will score a run. Especially if your hitter, though he might be a good bunter, is a high average hitter who could extend an inning in a game where multiple runs are a requisite for winning, or at the very least drive in a run with a sac fly or grounder.

  30. It’s all about context. Bunting isn’t always sub-optimal – but it usually is. I thought the squeeze was good because there was a more than decent chance that we come away with nothing if you manage the inning in a way where Simmons hits with 1st and 3rd one out.

    If the squeeze had failed I’d have been bitching about it some for sure. Fredi maximized the chances of that play working, since Schafer is the best bunter on the team, and it was in the middle of a bunch of chaos in the other dugout.

    In the end we still didn’t know how many runs it would take to win. Generally if you score 3 you are probably going to lose. But going from 2-0 to 3-0 with the other team only having 6 outs left is arguably a very good strategy.

  31. What percentage of squeeze bunts succeed in producing a run?
    How does that compare to the alternative of not squeezing, and getting a hit, fly ball, or slow infield grounder that scores a run?
    I’ll bet you that people smarter than Freddi know the odds on that stuff. And knowing that, they don’t squeeze as much as he does.
    My view is that if I’m up by 2 late, I’d like to have the chance for a multi-run inning so I don’t have to use my “closer”.

  32. I just want to clarify (as I think some might think I’m all-Fredi, all-the-time) that I liked the squeeze. If there’s a time to squeeze, 2-0 in the bottom of the 7th is it, as a failed squeeze doesn’t kill you, and a successful squeeze more or less ices the game.

    I just wanted to voice that I think squeezes are a lot riskier than some make them out to be, as those people are currently defending a SUCCESSFUL squeeze, and maybe their perception is a bit colored by it.

    If it was 1-0, I wouldn’t like it. If we were down 1, I wouldn’t like it. Either of those situations, I’d actually have sent Uggla up there, then pinch hit for Simmons with Gattis, leaving Uggla to play 2B and shifting Pena to shortstop. Give Uggla a chance to hit a flyball, leaving Simmons on deck, and if they decide to walk Uggla to set up a double play, I’d surprise them with Gattis. I think Simmons hasn’t yet accumulated enough veterany goodness, that Fredi would be willing to hurt his wittle feewings by pinch hitting for him.

  33. I actually think it was a relatively decent time for a squeeze bunt. And, by the way, it was a bad time to use Gattis. He would’ve been walked, and it wasn’t a particularly high-leverage situation, anyway. You needed to either save him for a situation where he could’ve completely put the game out of reach or save him in case San Francisco got back into the game. So in a vacuum, it was a good call.

    My point was that Fredi tries the squeeze way too damn much, so if I’m the opposing manager and there’s a situation that comes up that’s a good time for the squeeze, I’m pitching out. And the fact that managers haven’t caught onto this is perplexing to me. It’s clear that managers don’t scout each other at all, which is an essential part of coaching in other sports. I just find it kind of odd that that’s the case.

  34. I always point out the times that other managers out-fox Fredi, so I guess I criticize Bochy (who I always count as a guy I’d rather have) for two things I’d rail against Fredi doing: In addition to sleeping on a perfect chance to foil the squeeze, that looked pretty obvious, he also over extended Lincecum because he had a chance to pinch hit for him the next inning. With Lincecum do to lead off, we got one more shot at Lincecum than we should have, and we scored a run that basically put the game away.

  35. If I’m managing SF I would’ve walked the bases loaded and taken my chances. Down two runs to our late-inning pen is not an awesome spot to be in. Fredi might have squeezed with Heyward up so I guess there’s that.

  36. I can’t imagine anybody bunting with a force at home. But Fredi might be the guy.

  37. @37 Are the percentage of winning improve much with a 5-0 lead late in the game compared to 3-0? Saving Gattis to PH in the 9th was a good decision.

  38. @46, Dunno. My hypothetical was based on the positive outcomes of squeezing when you’re down, not up.

  39. @45. Back in April 2011, Fredi tried a squeeze with Hanson (a notoriously terrible hunter) with the bases loaded, one out and Hinske (the slowest guy on the team) at third. On top of all that, it was only the second inning. Hanson struck out, and Hinske was gunned down in no-man’s land – inning over. The Braves lost that game 3-2.

  40. @49. Yup, they were loaded. I remember Fredi saying afterwards that he thought he could catch them by surprise, but when the deck is stacked against you so thoroughly, what’s the point of surprise? I could “surprise” an MMA fighter and throw a punch at him, but it still will most likely not end well..

    Also “hunter” = “hitter”

  41. @48 Aha!!!! I knew the Braves had done it at some point. Frankly, when you do something that dumb, it’s hard for me to give kudos when the dice fall in your favor.

  42. Because one decision made two years ago is the metric to judge a man by in perpetuity.

  43. I’m watching last nights game, because I don’t have cable and it was blocked on MLB.tv.

    I think Dan Schulman might be the worst play-by-play guy in the history of whatever.

    All game it’s “Flyball…. caught!” “Well hit…. Caught!” “Little looper… Drops!”

    He’s terrible. It’s like he’s just taken by surprise that there’s a game going on down there, he doesn’t have any time to prepare. They never covered “high fastball pulled to left field, Blanco going back, will he get there? A terrific catch right at the base of the wall!” in the pre-game meeting.

  44. Kinda surprising there’s only been two reactions today to what Kruk said late in last night’s game about Jason’s head movement immediately prior to the pitch leaving the hand…

    if he’s right, and perhaps he is, it’s potentially profound…i’ve never heard anyone else say this so it seems at least he’s original…Jason’s power slugging inconsistencies and numbers have never made any sense to me and a lot of others…his hurky jerkyness starts with his manic assault on his batting gloves, then the bouncing up and down in his stance…and now we’re told to look at his head…adds up for me…

    or is Kruk full of it IYO and that’s why you didn’t bother to comment?

  45. @58 I think it’s a valid observation, but I also think if it was such an obvious fix that Walker would have pointed it out.

  46. @58, I think he’s always hit this way and at every level he was pretty much just better than everyone athletically. Way too late to rebuild his swing. It’s all about timing. You can do whatever you want before the ball is thrown, but at the point of release you better be ready. I don’t think he’s been ready for most of the year. But it’s coming around lately.

  47. @57, So much about baseball telecasts these days is “hey, how about that off field drama?”, “let’s go to the model-pretty sideline reporter”, “let’s talk to the guys in the dugout”, “let’s go to the studio”, “let’s talk to the visitor in the booth”, “let’s have our analyst(s) drone on about the narrative established pre-game by the producers”, that he might be delivering exactly the kind of announcing they want. On the field? Secondary, and only relevant in hindsight after they’ve packaged it into what they need it to be for their other programming.

    @58, I’ve never taken Kruk seriously, which is why I second-guessed my initial reaction to be gobsmacked by what he was highlighting. Heyward’s head jerk looks so dramatically counterproductive to me I can’t believe it apparently hasn’t been discussed as a source of his inconsistency at the plate.

  48. @58 – He may well have a point about it, but it doesn’t seem like something new, and with it thoroughly entrenched as part of his game, Heyward has proven to be a perfectly capable and occasionally really really good hitter. Kruk talked like it was going to knock him out of the majors or something, completely ignoring the success he’s currently having (other than last night, which is about as far in the past as I’m guessing the typical ESPN analyst cares to look). It was like he saw that low .200s BA and immediately jumped to the conclusion that something must be terribly amiss, completely ignoring what’s actually gone into that average and how it’s trending.

  49. I see Sam’s arguing with ghosts and generalities again. Is there anyone on this board that (1) denies the squeeze was an ok call at the time or (2) believes there is no such thing as a “good bunt”? I just read through the whole thread, but maybe I missed it. The only criticism I saw was this, by Jeff K:

    Fredi said his favorite part of the game was Pena’s hustle to get to 3B so Schafer would have the opportunity to execute the squeeze. That just exemplifies the way he thinks about the game: He wants opportunities to “manage” a win, instead of appreciating when the players win it themselves.

    That’s a criticism not of the bunt, per se, but of the ethos underlying its call. And I think it’s a fair criticism, especially considering the overemphasis on scrappy “effort” and small-ball tactics that permeates our mainstream baseball discourse.

    If we lived in a world in which most announcers, commentators, and managers universally subscribed to the axioms “bunts are always to stupid” and “small ball is for losers” and “playing for one run always fails” – then it would make sense to defend those concepts. But since we live in a world in which the opposite is true, whole-hearted defenses of those concepts are more myopic than illuminating. Received wisdom remains stuck in the 20th century, like it or not.

  50. @57

    I disagree completely. A TV announcer shouldn’t have to say all that stuff you just said, because we’re watching the game. This is why I actually, God help me, kind of like Joe Buck, because he operates this way, as well. You shouldn’t really have to describe any of the on-field action, unless it needs explaining. I always have respect for minimalist TV announcers like Buck and Schulman who realize it’s not about them and that you don’t really have to say anything.

  51. A television play by play guy should be very judicious with his descriptions. He doesn’t need to tell the audience that the ball is hit hard to center. They can *see* the ball hit hard to center right there on the television. Radio play by play guys should be far more descriptive. (The worst radio guys are TV guys that just do the same call without the pictures.)

    A proper television play by play doesn’t even need talking for most of the game.

  52. @63, Thanks for the link! It’s got a beat and you can dance to it!

    His business is a lot less busy, that’s for sure. I do think I detect that subtle head jerk, though. I could be wrong because with the side angle it’s harder to pick that up.

  53. Kinda surprising there’s only been two reactions today to what Kruk said late in last night’s game about Jason’s head movement immediately prior to the pitch leaving the hand…

    if he’s right, and perhaps he is, it’s potentially profound

    Eh, I thought this was a silly observation at the time, and still do. It’s “analysis” for a crew that does as little research as Joe Morgan ever did. Greg Walker of course has noticed Heyward’s busy-ness at the plate, as have many others, including on this board. But nobody ever questions the approach when that same approach made Heyward a very good hitter in 2010 and 2012. It would have been far more interesting for Kruk to discuss Heyward’s recent increased luck on balls in play, but that would have taken – again – research. And by “research,” I mean a 30-second scan of his profile on fangraphs.

    Over the past two weeks, Heyward has posted a .352/.407/.574 triple slash. And he has been bobbing the whole way. He has been somewhat “lucky” over these past two weeks, but no more lucky than he was unlucky beforehand.

  54. I think any suggestions on why Heyward’s so inconsistent are valid at this point. To act like there’s nothing wrong and no reason to think so is silly. That weird head turn may not knock him out of the league, but it could very well keep him from ever becoming what he could be.

  55. That’s a criticism not of the bunt, per se, but of the ethos underlying its call. And I think it’s a fair criticism, especially considering the overemphasis on scrappy “effort” and small-ball tactics that permeates our mainstream baseball discourse.

    Speaking of arguing with ghosts and vapors. The idea that the manager was at fault for praising the guy that hustled around three bags when the defender lollygagged the ball is problematic is absurd. The idea that “mainstream baseball discourse” is slanted toward small-ball tactics is simply false on its face.

  56. That’s funny.. If I had asked you guys what you thought of Vin Scully, you’d probably have waxed poetic about him being a dying breed…

    The guy broadcasts solo, and his TV broadcast was simulcast as the radio broadcast for years (as far as I know, the first 3 innings of every game are still simulcasts of Scully’s TV broadcast.)

    “There’s a drive. Deep right-center field, Nixon goes as far as he can gooo… he caught the ball! He caught the ball! I can’t believe it! What a catch by Otis Nixon!”

    Maybe it should have been: “A flyball…. caught! Two outs!”

  57. @69, not that your observation isn’t without merit, but it must be most useful to be able to ascribe any data that isn’t in line with the forecast as luck or lack of luck.

  58. @70, I very much agree that all his wasted extra motion might prevent him from being what we want him to be. I just think it’s hard to change deeply ingrained habits. It would be shocking if a hitting coach or two haven’t told him to quiet his stance and keep his head level.

  59. I don’t think you can make a systematic, hard-and-fast rule on bunting. The example of 2011 and Hanson/Hinkse suicide squeeze is an example of a bad time, and there are plenty of other examples.

    If there ever was a time to bunt, last night was it. The tactical side, the talent side, the psychological side were all present there. I’m watching the game thinking about the debates that happen on Braves Journal as scenarios come up (and bunting is definitely a topic on here), and I didn’t see it coming. I was thinking about Torres and his whimsical perusal through the outfield, and I’m confident that just about every person in the stadium was too. Except Fredi (or someone on the bench)! That’s why Bochy, Lincecum, and everyone else didn’t pitch-out. It was perfect, I tells ya!

    I think sometimes people want to be considered intelligent, and there are a lot of unintelligent people who disregard statistics in their entirety (“well, if OPS was important, why isn’t it on the scoreboard?”). As a result, people tend to default too heavily to the sabermetric side of thinking, so that they’re in the “smart” crowd. But there are times where the “NO BUNTING” mantra of the sabermetrical crowd is dead wrong, and it’s usually because it fails to account for intangible aspects (like all eyes being on the left fielder).

  60. Heyward is missing a lot of fastballs still. I still believe he needs to cut down on all the movement. That was before I saw how much his head is moving. He has issues that need to be addressed. No one can deny that.

  61. @70
    Nick, well said, i’m with you…there is something wrong…it’s the power numbers…compare his posture/tension at the plate to the calmness of Freeman/Posey to name two… you can’t hit for power with their consistency with your head first bobbing, then a jerk at the crucial moment…and they showed us the jerk!

    compare it to your golf swing…as you start down jerk your head…do it a hundred times and have one of those new machines measure the quality of the contact you made…compare it to a Mickelson or a Rose…yes, they are them and the ball is not moving (haha)but the principle holds…

    i’m a huge Jason fan, just convinced we’re seeing half of him, even at his present numbers…what went before that was just too awful to consider…i remember watching him in 2011 at GABP hitting three near identical low screaming line drives to the base of the left center field wall, in the same game…i want them back…

    Bethany, can we absolutely assume Walker wasn’t as surprised as we were by what Kruk said?

  62. Keeping your head still is important, but I was less impressed by Kruk’s observation than he seemed to be. It looked to me like Jason got his head and hands set before the ball was released, whereas Kruk seemed certain he was moving it while the ball was in the air. I’d have to see a better video comparison to be sure, but I don’t think that’s the case.

  63. I think Kruk’s opservation is stupid. It looks to me like a timing sort of thing, snapping himself in to his final position as the pitch is about the be delivered.

    Every single hitter’s head moves while the ball is in the air.

    Anybody notice Freddie Freeman moves his head about a foot while the ball is being delivered? That’s probably why he’s only hitting .320 or whatever he’s hitting.

  64. Simmons and his .249 OBP from the leadoff spot is leading it off for us again tonight.

    Simmons
    Heyward
    Upton
    Freeman
    Gattis
    Upton
    Uggla
    Johnson
    Hudson

  65. @29 Actually, since the beginning of the 2012 season (the first year the cream-colored alternate uniforms were introduced), the Braves have worn the red jerseys for all Friday home games and the cream alts for all Saturday and Sunday home games, without fail. (Previous to last season they had worn the red jerseys on Sundays at home ever since their introduction.)

  66. Some very boomy and black weather right now. I just bailed on a radio appearance up in Buford. It’s going to be wet for the next couple of hours I think.

  67. @84, I wish they’d just acknowledge the obvious and make the cream ones the regular jersey.

  68. @86 As much as I love the traditional white home uni, I think I agree with you. That cream set is beyond gorgeous.

  69. Agreed on the cream (ivory? off-white?) uniforms: they’re really sharp. Now if we could just get them to dump the solid reds and road navies entirely…

  70. Kinda like the road navies.

    Wondering if the cream will maintain its’ appeal long-term. Does have a classical feel though, doesn’t it?

    Still, I’ve thought our home unis were the best in baseball for awhile now. (And to think we came from having quite nearly the worst.)

  71. Agree as well: Make the cream unis the home uni.

    @78 I don’t think we can prove walker’s noticed the head movement, but he’s certainly picked up on a lot more subtle things in other players swings.

  72. We are ranked #1 in the Majors for Team ERA. I guess that’s the reason why we can carry so many Mendozas.

  73. Pena needs to be playing ss tonight and 3b tommorrow night and 2b on Wed .. rotate him around .. he is on of our better players. IMO

  74. @93: I would say his whole career up to this season’s 107 PA suggests that he is not one of our better players. Hell, he might not be one of the Mets’ better players if he played for them.

    Now, Chris Johnson isn’t exactly hot stuff himself, and he’s got a lead glove. So I don’t really have any problem with Pena taking time from CJ at third, while continuing to hope that Wren will somehow find a way to steal Aramis Ramirez from the Brewers.

    Weather report looks bad. Real bad. Two doubleheaders in three days would be pretty terrible, so let’s hope the weather report is wrong.

  75. If the game gets rained out, I tend to doubt we’d play 2 doubleheaders this week.

    We host the Mets again Sept 2-4 with Sept 5 being an off-day for both clubs. We’d probably make it up then.

  76. Heyward’s head-bobbing thing bugs the crap out of me, and just because he’s capable of putting a good string of games together while doing it doesn’t make it not a problem. Jalen Rose said something interesting about a related issue the other day — in taking exception to how Chris Bosh can over-exult in front of the home crowd at times, he said his problem with it was not that he was showing off, but that you can make yourself physically dizzy to the point where it takes some time for your body to return to equilibrium. And during that time he’s unlikely to be a very good ballplayer.

    Well, on a much finer scale, isn’t it plausible that someone who hadn’t spent five seconds bobbing up and down before the pitch is delivered see the ball better than someone who had? Even if Heyward stops the head movement just before the pitch, has he still lost maybe a half-inch (or whatever the correct unit of measure would be) of equilibrium?

  77. We’re roughly tied for 4th in R/G – the 91 (T-1st, and by 21 over #3) homers have been just as good at helping mitigate some early poor performances.

  78. To be clear, I wasn’t criticizing the decision to squeeze in the recap. I just thought it was a very obvious call and was therefore confused when the broadcasters seemed shocked, SHOCKED! that Fredi might call for it in that situation.

    Then again, whenever there’s a runner on third with less than 2 outs, I kinda assume the squeeze is on.

  79. #96
    I haven’t been this involved in an NBA Final in years. I’ve DVR’d & watched every game.

    Of course, that’s what happens when you’re a Hawks fan and your hockey team misses the post-season.

  80. @96 Absolutely it’s plausible. I just don’t think it is self-evidently The Problem.

  81. Looks like the rain hangs around for a couple of more hours. I wonder how long they’ll wait given tomorrow is a double header. We may end up playing until well after midnight if they feel like the really want to get this one in. We’re gonna see some pretty creative lineups this week.

  82. 101- Does anyone ask about how to figure slugging percentage, or have even talk show listeners smartened up?

  83. I have to think that even in those pre-internet days, some folks were trolling. But the questions today are more or less a predictable array of conventional wisdom complaints and praise for players and management – the audio AJC comments section

  84. Anything we can do about the pornographic cartoon that pops up on the side of the site?

  85. Do we want the Phillies to be beating up the Nats? I don’t think the Phillies are that good, but it’s hard to believe the Nats are worse, nearly a replacement-level team.

  86. @112

    I’ve definitely never done searches for insurance, yet I’m getting an ad for AllState.

  87. I tend to get gold and silver coins.

    I’d like them to get into a few 23-inning games. Barring that, I’ll settle for whatever outside gives the weakest second-place team. That’d be splitting the rest of this series if the Phils hold on tonight.

  88. I assure you I’m not researching pornographic cartoons or anything of that nature on a work computer used to teach elementary school…

    Refreshing the page…
    1. Zwinky, create your own wedding look. Refresh…
    2. Google drive. Refresh…
    3. Female Vietnamese chat room. Refresh…
    4. RG, learn how to hit longer and straighter. Refresh..:
    5. Nair for men. Eh…

    My search history…
    Florida Dept of Ed, FedEx, sports.yahoo, bravesjournal, talkingchop, mlbtraderumors, rottentomatoes, comingsoon.net

    Not sure how that translates to “show this guy some pornographic cartoons!” Or any of that other stuff for that matter.

  89. @108, I see an ad for “easy walk-in tubs and showers” for senior citizens. I’m 22.

  90. The ad I’m receiving is for an online game called “Tynon”. I guess that kind of makes sense as I did watch half naked men battling almost fully naked men in the new 300 trailer, which looks horrendous.

  91. Don’t think we’re gonna play tonight, although they could’ve started the game at 8 but for whatever reason chose not to. Wonder if they scratch Alex Wood’s start tomorrow. I vote we skip Huddy and pick him up next go around.

  92. Juan Jaime with another great relief performance tonight…2.1 IP 5K. He’s up to 32K in 18.2 innings.

  93. Radar looks bad for 10:05 – but we’ll see. I can’t watch any more Braves tribute replays and there’s nothing else on. Gimme some rainy baseball. Hopefully we’ll go 18 innings.

  94. @119 It’s possible the school has a single external IP address if they are using any sort of network filter. So there’s likely a perv somewhere on the network somewhere and his or her (but most likely his) search history is mixing with everyone else’s to determine the ads.

    Edit: Though I realize you were probably referring to a laptop at home, given I doubt you are at work at this time. In which case, nevermind.

  95. Papelbon coughs up the Phillies’ lead on a homer by Chad Tracy. Who had been hitting .138. On an 0-2 pitch with two outs. Even the MLB Network crew couldn’t believe it.

  96. Hahahaha. I don’t care who wins between the Phils and Nats, but I hate Jonathan Papelbon and I love when bad things happen to him.

    I hope they have to play 18, now.

  97. All the maps I’ve looked at show it raining pretty good until at least midnight. Dunno what the Braves are looking at…maybe this was all a ploy so Hudson would warm up.

  98. @128
    Yes, I’m at home and there are no pervs in this 1800 square feet of space, unless my dogs are the culprits. They can do some crazy schtuff when I’m gone.

  99. Someone on Twitter suggested moving the game from the Ted over to Coolray Field. Had this happened earlier, would it at all be a plausible option? Apparently skies are clear over in Gwinett.

  100. @137, Novel idea but I can’t fathom how that would be logistically or legally possible.

  101. Whatever happens here, you’re not getting a recap tonight. That’s all I know. See you in the morning.

  102. As a night owl in the Mountain Time Zone, a game tonight would be great. But I know I’m just about the only one who feels this way.

  103. It is highly asinine that this hasn’t been postponed yet. The Mets’ll be back in town later in the year. Yeah, they could probably start the game now or soon, but do you really wanna be playing at 2 a.m. when you have a doubleheader the next day? If they do, they’d better change it to a twi-night doubleheader. I have a feeling they’re not gonna be doing that, though.

  104. wanted to ask…
    why the 5 minute delay to have a post appear?
    obviously inconvenient a lot of the time…
    surely there’s not someone tucked away moderating at this hour is there?

  105. @141 – I’m all the way over in Olympia, WA for the next couple months, so I certainly won’t mind. Although we’re approaching tripleheader territory at this point.

  106. @141 Even though I’m on the east cost, I’m fine with it. Being a night-owl who works from home has its benefits. Plus with the second half already in bed, I get to watch in peace…

  107. There’s a strikeout when we needed it. Last thing we need is a special late-night Episode.

  108. Funny how we thought we were through with the west coast start times. Let’s put up an 8 spot here so I can go to bed.

  109. Well it’s a nice night to play guitar and drink beer on the porch. I’m enjoying it. You’d better be hacking though boys – the umps want to go home.

  110. MLB.tv had three hours, forty-three minutes to prepare, and it is currently delivering about the lowest-quality viewing experience I’ve had the displeasure of enduring.

  111. With his glove, I don’t give a damn what Simmons does at the plate. But running him out there at the top of the order every day is inexcusable at this point.

  112. Tonight I expect very few walks, a wide strike zone, and craptacular defense.

    If you blinked you probably missed it, but I think Heyward might have had one of the worst at bats I’ve ever seen right there.

  113. Thoroughly enjoying the torrent of fan expletives clearly coming through the radio mikes

  114. Justin is really killing us right now.
    Last 25 games: 1HR 4RBI .528 OPS…3 total XBH

    That’s bad.

  115. 164- 215/ 330/ 315, to be exact. He’s drawn 26 walks from May 1 on… say, maybe he could be the leadoff hitter!

  116. This has kind of been Hudson’s MO of late; really fighting with his command early on, lots of non-competitive pitches and other pitches floating back over the middle. Lately, he’s really settled in after those 2 or 3 innings. Let’s hope so tonight.

  117. He squared up a couple balls last night, I thought. But maybe I’m just projecting at this point.

  118. Been a while since I’ve seen Gattis hit. I’m gonna assume he thrives in late night conditions.

  119. 27 scheduled innings within 24 hours is a little too much baseball, even for me.

    Also, Freddie is ridiculous right now. In a really great way.

  120. Non-productive out. Gattis just made Joe Simpson’s list.

    Tom Glavine sounds like he’d rather be anywhere but calling this baseball game. Surely they can find someone else that has at least a tiny bit of passion.

  121. @175 After a nearly 4-hour rain delay, I am willing to cut him some slack tonight. But, you’re right, he can be fairly dry in the booth.

  122. I guess Gee will throw 8 or 9 innings tonight, one way or another. Nice approach the Braves have shown so far.

  123. The forecast for tomorrow sucks BTW, so the thought occurs that maybe they’re playing now because they’re worried about tomorrow. But if they were in such a damn hurry to play tonight, there was a 90-minute window they could’ve used and refused to because they thought they knew what the weather was going to do, which is always a mistake. Frankly, the umpires should always be in charge of when the game is played, which would cut down on that type of silliness. If it’s not raining, they should be playing, and if the pitchers get burned, that’s just too damn bad IMO.

  124. Well at least no matter what happens, we’ll clear the 10 hole this inning.

    Four pitches, 3 swings for Andrelton.

  125. There’s a slight chance that Matt Harvey will strike out 27 guys on 81 pitches tomorrow.

  126. That last popup was a hanging curve that was screaming to be crushed. Can’t blame Simmons for swinging at it. Can blame him for not being a very good hitter right now I guess.

  127. @183 – Yeah, I have it drawn up as 2 pitches – 2 swings, 2 pitches – 1 swing, 1 pitch – 1 swing, 2 pitches – 1 swing.

  128. I really hope Hudson can hang on- it could set up a bad chain of events if he doesn’t.

    Thanks Evan!

  129. So, in summary, the first base umpire wants to get back to the hotel as quick as humanly possible.

  130. You just saw why there are no shifts on right handed hitters. A second baseman fielding the ball on the third base side of second won’t have the arm to throw him out anyway.

    Luckily, the ump seems to have missed that one.

  131. I could be hallucinating, but Evan seems less patient when he’s starting and knows he will get 4 ABs…

  132. We’ve had 6 at bats where the batter swung at every pitch he saw. Four times, it was the only pitch he saw.

    That’s out of 14 batters.

    If they aren’t going to play baseball, they should give all these fans their money back.

  133. This is still too early for Gattis. I’m looking for big things in his next AB.

    Is it me or has it seemed like Gee has owned us for a couple of years. His stats say he’s a borderline starter, but I swear I’ve seen him shut us down at least 3 times.

  134. Some of those were hittable pitches right down the middle, like Justin’s last at-bat. I’m more concerned that they aren’t squaring those up. Execution is just as important, if not more so, than approach.

  135. @198

    They shouldn’t be playing baseball anyway. If you can honestly say you wouldn’t be doing the same thing if you were in their shoes…well, I wouldn’t believe you.

  136. @175 How about this gem: “It would be in (Gee’s) best interest to get strike one as often as he can.” Loved him as a pitcher, but Tommy is not exactly a marvel behind the mic.

  137. We also learned that Gee is pitching with a purpose. With more conviction. And instead of pitching not-to-lose he’s pitching to win.

  138. That is why we endure Simmons’ hitting disability.

    Edit: At least Simmons has now exceeded jjschiller’s pitch total.

  139. For $450,000, I’d take the first pitch, foul off as many as I could, and then after the game I’d crash on a couch in a luxury suite so I didn’t have to commute home and back again, thus maximizing the amount of sleep I could get between games.

  140. Well there’s 7 and 5. Maybe he’ll get pinch hit for in the 8th or something and I’ll be spot on.

  141. Glavine just suggested bunting to get a runner at second, 1 out for the 8th place hitter and the pitcher…

  142. I give up. This is not entertaining. Not without huge amounts of liquor anyway. These poor overworked players have to report to work at like 11 am, but the rest of us slackers have to actually work tomorrow. With any luck this game will still be in progress at 6 am.

  143. Pitches/PA so far tonight:

    Simmons 2.67
    Heyward 3.33
    J. Upton 2.33
    Freeman 3.5
    Gattis 1.5
    B.J. Upton 3.0
    Uggla 3.0
    C. Johnson 6.0
    Hudson 2.5

  144. It is rather unfortunate to face Gee when he’s rolling. 0.893 WHIP in his last four starts (including tonight); 1.875 in his previous five (including one against the Braves).

  145. These Upton gentlemen are going to drive me crazy by the third year. Sheesh. If BJ keeps chewing his bubble gum like an idiot, it’ll just be a matter of weeks.

  146. Duda? Seriously? He’s like Posey; he’s got to be hitting .850 against us.

  147. Even tired, don’t count this team out, oh ye of little faith. Yes…you, jj. 20 come from behind wins and you’re calling ballgame? C’mon!

  148. Yeah, as long as we can pinch-hit- oh, wait… McCann, how good is your El Oso impression?

    Edit: Not Success!, really?

  149. Andrelton Simmons has advanced from my Least Favorite Brave, to my Least Favorite Living Human.

  150. You’ve got serious issues if Andrelton is your least favorite brave. It’s not his fault he’s being put into a spot in the order he can’t handle.

  151. Only eight eligible players in MLB (out of 161) have seen fewer pitches per plate appearance than Simmons. Just 19 walk less often. A leadoff man, he is not.

  152. @242 – Who’s fault is it he swings before he leaves the on deck circle, including at pickoffs attempts and scuffed balls being thrown out of play?

  153. Can somebody explain to me what the deal is with the coyote whoops in the stadium?

    EDIT: (Yes, I’m a West Coaster. That’s what they remind me of.)

  154. They’re the new “Let’s go Pirates” girl, but with whatever endearing qualities she had traded in for obnoxiousness.

  155. Oh…that’s most definitely his but he’s always been a free swinger. Expecting him to change his first full year in the big leagues, especially batting leadoff, is asking too much. He’s a defensive first player.

  156. I won’t tell you all who is up 4th this inning but his last name begins with Gattis.

  157. It will be up to Freeman to get on, and Gattis to get him home. No chance of J. Upton doing anything.

    EDIT: Reverse jinx worked once. Anything bad I can say about Freddie?

  158. There was a time when Heyward used to use the whole field. I remember it…I swear I do.

  159. I STAYED UP LATE AND ALL I GOT WAS A WALK OFF HOME RUN IN THE BOTTOM OF THE NINTH INNING!!!! WOO HOO!!!

  160. I’m developing a serious, borderline unhealthy man-crush on Freddie Freeman.

  161. DAMNIT

    I CLOSE MY EYES FOR 2 SECONDS AND WHAT HAPPENS?!

    Oh well. Better than the other thing, I guess. :-)

  162. Just how they had it drawn up, I guess. Just go up and make quick, easy outs for 8 innings, don’t waste any time. Wait til the 9th when you know how many runs you’ll need, and then get that many.

  163. Well, score one for us against the annoying Dillon Gee. He’s going for a three-hit shutout and gets a loss. Ha! We only owe that bastard about five more of those.

  164. Just came to work into my office to watch the bottom of the 9th. Wooooh. What a way to start the day!

  165. In the 8th I decided I would go to bed after that inning and let you guys win this one without me. When Simmons made the final out and I realized Freddie would get one final AB I decided I couldn’t turn it off then. Best decision ever. He is absolutely amazing.

  166. I still say they should change tomorrow’s doubleheader to a back-to-back doubleheader starting at 4:30 or whenever. They’re not gonna do it because they’d be punting the revenue they might get from the 15,000 fans at Game 1, but it certainly makes more sense in this specific instance. Admittedly 4-7 p.m. is probably going to be the peak of the rain tomorrow, so maybe the split DH is the best chance of getting both in, anyway. Oh well, at least we won’t be groggy coming back from a loss now.

  167. Thought the Mets would bring in a lefty to face Freddie there,since he had already gotten 2 hits off Gee earlier. What do I know though?

    (Yeah, I know I said I was going to bed. Couldn’t help myself though when I checked on the game and saw we had Heyward-Upton-Freeman coming up.)

  168. In the words of Blondie’s Deborah Harry, “Fab Five Freddie told me everybody’s fly.” Truer words were never poorly rapped. (Cause the Man from Mars stopped eatin’ bars and eatin’ cars, and now he only eats guitars.)

  169. INTERVIEWER: Good Morning!

    FF(no hesitation) Good Morning.

    Classic, one for the ages…

  170. Reading the thread, I missed a great game; but all you 30-somethings made me feel my age. So, after tucking in my two, five, and eight-year-old grandkids, bidding my two 13-year-old grandsons good night while entreating them to be quiet, and telling my 27 and 17-year old granddaughters to let me know when they got home, I bailed.

    Thanks to all who helped Freddie and the Braves bring the W home.

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