Commies 8, Braves 4

ESPN Box Score

So this is, as they say, a good time for a break. In football, I hear people talk about “injury cascades” sapping your depth at a position, and that’s what’s happened to the Braves in the OF. Now, as a team, they’ve got pretty good depth. Jose Constanza was almost our 5th OF this year, and he’s done passable work in the past to the point where some liked him more than Jason Heyward. But ReEd Johnson is only supposed to face lefties, and Joey Terdoslavich is supposed to play 1B. So yeah, there was some spotty defense in the outfield (a great play by Constanza being the exception.) And the Braves had a lot of important at-bats where someone was up who you really didn’t want up.

But ultimately this one was on the pitching. The Reds have a really good lineup, but Julio Teheran gave up 5 runs in 5.1 innings, and Anthony Varvaro administered the coup de grace in the top of the 9th after Dan Uggla had continued his… well, not quite “reemergence” but maybe he continued his “not falling over the cliff into oblivion” and brought the lead down to 2 with an emphatic home run off Sam Lecure, one of the better (in a parade of many) the Reds brought out today. (Andrelton Simmons hit a “moral victory” homer off Arolidis Chapman in the 9th to give us our final score. Maybe the Braves should’ve asked Dusty Baker to only use really, really good relievers in today’s game.) It’s weird about Teheran. Even when he’s struggling (and he struggled today), he’s still pretty efficient. 7 hits, 2 walks and 5.1 innings and he’d still only thrown 96 pitches.

Whatever. Tomorrow’s the All-Star Break. Maybe we’ll have some folks healthy by Friday. At this point, even Jordan Schafer’s return would be a godsend.

PS, sorry about the late recap; I was flying today.

56 thoughts on “Commies 8, Braves 4”

  1. Speaking of flying & Aroldis Chapman…

    Flew into LaGuardia tonight & saw Chapman with some Reds people (they were wearing Reds golf shirts & carrying Reds tags on their luggage) getting into their car service. Big fellow.

  2. 1st and 3rd 1(?) out. Gattis lines out to SS, throwback to 1B to try to double off Chris Johnson. Throw goes bad, past Votto, Andrelton scores from 3rd.

    This what you’re referring to? Pastornicky didn’t score in this game.

  3. It’s just 22 IP in the majors, but Alex Wood has a higher groundball rate than Tim Hudson and a higher K/9 than Jordan Walden.

    This message has been brought to you by the Alex Wood Fanclub.

  4. Thanks, mavery.

    Any rumors out there worth repeating?


    Dear Alex Wood Fan Boy,

    And he’s left-handed too. Woo!

  5. Did you see Moylans twitter post?

    Peter Moylan‏@PeterMoylan2m
    Back in the ATL.

    Maybe he just talking about Hartfield.

  6. P.S. The Alex Wood Fanclub will grant membership to anyone who can come up with a better name for The Alex Wood Fanclub.

  7. I called my barber today. He said there weren’t any specifics, but he heard we are looking at a bench bat (possibly a caddy for Johnson that can play short or a LH bomber) and a possibly two relievers (one being a lefty)

  8. Sorry I can’t come up with a better name than The Alex Wood Fanclub but can I join anyway? That kid pitched well against a pretty dang good Reds lineup.

  9. It appears that if a player is ever placed on the All-Star Team and then subsequently replaced due to injury, he is still considered an All-Star. Technically speaking, of a manager knew a player was injured and wouldn’t play anyway, he could name that player to the team and then replace him just to get him All-Star status.

  10. This is really the first time moving towards the trading deadline, I don’t feel we HAVE to do anything.

    If Wood really is coming up to start (not a given I’m sure) then we could be talking about adding one of the current starters (Medlen?) and possibly Beachy to an already solid bullpen. Could we use another bench bat? I suppose but people coming back from injury should solve most of the problems right?

  11. After the break do we put Heyward in CF, Jupton in RF and the Bear in LF, assuming that JHey and Jupton are healed? Or do you go with Reed in CF as the starter?

    I am also assuming that Freeman is back too.

  12. @22

    I think the tweet sums up the melt-down nicely. Makes me stomach BJ Upton much more.

  13. @23 is the hypothetical only until BJ returns? Because when BJ returns, he goes back in CF for the defense.

  14. @25

    I’m assuming he meant until BJ returns.

    Here’s a real possibility: BJ and Schafer continue to hit as they’ve been. Schafer’s at .312/.399/.464 and BJ is at .177/.266/.300. Both, IMO, are giving comparable defense. Who starts in the playoffs?

  15. Against RHP: Schafer; against LHP either Upton or Gattis (with Upton in for defense early if you get the lead, Hyward in CF.)

  16. Yeah, I meant until BJ returns. I go with Gattis, Heyward, JUpton. Reed defense at LF in late/close situations. There is a real possibility that Schafer gets Pipped. They say 6 weeks which usually translates to 8. He may not get back in time to prove that his good play is for real.

    edit: Shuffle Reed in at CF and Terdo in LF every now and then. Of course BJ may not miss many games at all considering the all star break comes over a good part of his convalescence.

  17. What do the defensive metrics say about these guys? I see range factor says that Schafer gets to about a half ball more a game than Upton, and that’s what my eyes tell me as well.

  18. Our outfield is the definition of “replacement level” (or worse). I don’t think we’re going to notice a big difference there. I’m still worried about our great pitching remaining great for the back end of the season.

  19. @22 – thx for the link. Jordanny’s reaction to his demotion make’s the one Jeffy had look down right professional. Geez is that kid good enough to be acting that way/

  20. #34
    Not really. He’s Yunel Escobar without the everyday talent, probably worse.

    He’s been an uncanny pinch-hitter, but he doesn’t really have a position, and when the Mets have started him, he hasn’t hit & he hasn’t demonstrated an in-game focus that made the Mets feel like they could trot him out there every day.

    The bigger issue with the Mets is that he’s ridiculously immature. An Example: Earlier in the season in a game where the Mets were losing by 5 or 6 runs, he hit a solo 9th inning PH HR vs. the Pirates & acted like he hit a WS game winner, annoying the opposition, his teammates & the Mets TV announcers.

    Ronnie Darling tore him up on the air & after the game Terry Collins intimated that he hoped Valdespin’s actions wouldn’t cost his team any retribution because nobody on the Mets wanted to stick up for him.

    According to the Mets beat reporters, he’s been talked to numerous times by coaching staff & veterans, but he just “doesn’t get it.”

    My favorite part of the story is that, after tearing up the clubhouse & calling his manager nasty names in front of people, he went to the trainer & asked to be DL’d (for an invented injury) so that he wouldn’t have to be sent to the minors.

  21. He’s going to wash out of the league and wonder what the hell happened. Of course, if he’s smart, he could still have a nice long career in Japan, as have many other toolsy players who just couldn’t put it together in America. But he’ll have to get over himself, first.

  22. Yeah, I read that. Wow, what a dumbass. Not that he is all that good but there are guys that parlay his talent level into a couple of million dollars.

  23. PG – Teague / Mack
    SG – Jenkins / L. Williams
    SF – Korver / ?
    PF – Millsaps / Brand
    C – Horford / Brazilian kid

    Not turrible. Not gonna scare anyone, either.

  24. @38 – you just summed up the last 20 years of Hawks basketball.

    For the record I think this team *is* pretty terrible, but it’s got a lot of competition in the race for the bottom. The cool thing is that those two foreign kids might get some playing time next season – that intrigues me enough to watch.

    I do like that DF seems to be filling out the roster with high-character guys that play hard and don’t whine. Good foundation being built so that if/when we do get that one missing-piece star then this thing might take off.

  25. 1 – Teague/Schroeder/Mack
    2 – Jenkins/Williams
    3 – Carroll/Korver[/Stevenson]
    4 – Millsap/Scott/Muscala
    5 – Horford/Brand[/Nogueira]

    39—This roster is a lot better than you seem to think it is. IMO.

  26. I’m not a Teague fan and wish we hadn’t matched the offer sheet. He’s ok but doesn’t do anything exceptionally well. Jenkins and Korver can shoot but are defensive liabilities. Small-forward is a huge step back. Like him or not but Josh was a really good player by almost any measure. Horford is nice but no clue about the rest of our bigs.

    This is a roster that can maybe compete for the 6/7/8 spots. Why keep doing that? We need a top 5 draft pick. I’m hoping we play the young kids *a lot* next season so that our record is a bit worse than it looks on paper.

  27. @41. Horford, Lou Williams and three replacement level players would have a better ’14 W/L record than Charlotte, Washington, Orlando, Cleveland and Phoenix. And even if they secured a top five draft spot, who’s your game changer at #5? has Willie Cauley-Stein slotted there.

    The following are restricted FAs in ’14: Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors and John Wall. Zach Randolph is an unrestricted FA. The Hawks will be flush with cash again and ready to deal. Let’s give Danny Ferry three offseasons before we tank.

  28. 42—Agree with the general point, but two things: 1) Cleveland could be really good, and 2) You should use Draft Express or even ESPN — is awful.

  29. I actually think Carroll is a big step up at SF. I also don’t think Josh Smith was a SF – in that he rarely guarded them and couldn’t shoot – so that’s why I say that. I actually think the Hawks are gonna win 45 games or so next season. They’re not gonna scare anyone, but they’ll be fun and have a lot of cap flexibility moving forward. If you’re DF and are not tanking, that’s as good as you can hope to be.

    Plus, I like all three draft picks this year.

    p.s. Teague is only 24, and has only played two seasons as a starter. He has the potential to be a very good offensive player, especially with the right coaching. The defense, on the other hand… well, hopefully he stops selling out.

  30. Here’s hoping Bryce Harper puts himself in a two-month slump by participating in the Home Run Derby tonight.

    Also, I think this Hawks team will probably make the playoffs as a low seed and get tossed in the Eastern quarters. I abhor tanking, and think it generally doesn’t work anyway (though admittedly the NBA is the place where it’s most likely to work), so I’m OK not doing that. If the draft were that easy, the Hawks wouldn’t have screwed it up so many times.

  31. In addition, I’m not a huge Teague fan, but failing to match his offer sheet would’ve been pretty dumb. He’s a relatively solid point guard, and still has the potential to be borderline great.

    His little temper tantrum was beyond pointless, though. A basic understanding of how things work would tell you that it’s asinine for the incumbent team (if you will) to not just wait and match the offer sheet of a restricted free agent. If the Hawks had offered him and the Bucks had come in and offered higher, Teague would still have been pissed. If the Hawks had offered more than anyone else had been willing to pay, they’d have been paying extra money for absolutely zero reason. Teague needs to grow up. Just because the Hawks didn’t bother to take him to dinner doesn’t mean they don’t want him.

  32. Tanking doesn’t guarantee a good draft pick, but drafting in the middle of the first round year after year after year doesn’t make any sense to me. Basketball is the one team sport where one guy can make a huge difference. We have very little chance of getting “that guy” if we’re always picking 17th.

    San Antionio had two #1 overall picks in 10 years. That’s why they won. It’s not because they run some magical “coach-em-up” system that makes them smarter than everyone. You put a 21 year old Tim Duncan on the Hawks and things change in a hurry.

    Just because the Hawks have been historically terrible at the draft doesn’t mean that we should undervalue high picks. We just need to do better. Al Horford was a #3 overall pick. That’s way way higher than we’ve historically drafted. I don’t see how it’s even possible to be a championship caliber team when you are picking in the late teens and twenties year after year. (Unless you are a free-agent destination city like Miami/Boston/LA – which we’re obviously not)

  33. @44 – but then you’d have missed this:

    @49 – everyone’s zigging (tanking), Ferry’s trying to zag (the Houston Rockets model of stockpiling random assets and hoping a star comes available via trade).

    It’s not necessarily guaranteed success, or even a guaranteed shot at glory, but few things are in the NBA. It’s just not a league where you can employ the “put a slightly above-average team together and hope you get hot at the right time” strategy. (Which I’m totally good with, as the beneficiary of that strategy is invariably the Cardinals.)

  34. As is probably evident, I’m a sucker for narratives. That was a fantastic, classic baseball narrative. I especially like the bittersweet ending. Like that of Bull Durham. I feel like those are always the truest; rare is the baseball career that doesn’t have its share of hardship, or an ending in twilight rather than limelight.

    Thanks, Spike.

  35. Was taking the LIRR home kinda late tonight & at the Citi Field stop, a slew of people got on the train wearing All-Star Weekend laminates. Everyone was sweating profusely.

    I asked a guy: “Oh, is the HR Derby over? Who won?”

    He looked at me, huffing & puffing, with sweat drops in his eyes, “It’s still going on, but it’s just too freakin’ hot to watch the rest of it.”

    The other fans just nodded & sucked in the train’s AC. Truly, for 10 pm, it was damn humid.

    Really fun read. Thanks.

    (FWIW, Dave Winfield didn’t win the 1979 NL MVP. He finished 3rd in the voting behind Stargell/Hernandez.)

    I saw that 1978 Padres team. CYA-winner Gaylord Perry get bombed in AFC Stadium. Gave up a HR to the immortal Rowland Office. ROY Bob Horner also belted one. It was a big Atlanta weekend that included seeing “Saturday Night Fever” & a Ted Nugent concert at The Omni.

    But after all that relative excitement, it’s those horrific Padres road unis that I remember most.

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