NSA Surveillance Special BRAVES 3 NATS 2

surveillance of our lives and themes
has now become the stuff of dreams
if they read all our tweets
then life between the sheets
is more exciting than it seems.
No need to add to the excitement tonight – the Nats and Harper in town.  But what do they know about us and where did they learn it?  Clearly Baseball has not been exempt from the pernicious problem of spooky oversight…phone calls/texts/emails between GM’s leading up to the trade deadline, for example, are an obvious target for the Snoopers as are some of the (encoded) tweets emanating from the Braves clubhouse…who knows what they make of them but the fact they are trapped and stored is worry enough for we fans – there could be another whistleblower showing their content to rivals in the East – all in the interests of transparency of course.
And tonight’s visitors pose a particular threat – their Park only a few miles from the HQ of these Governmental behemoths…how easy it would be…
Separately, injury report…
if a fly ball you are chasin’
better you avoid big Jasin’
Nate and Tyler both
wiser now and loath
further contact, bigger spacin’.
THE GAME        67degrees!
Wood(2-2) v Jordan (1-3)   Janish at 2nd, Schafer CF – no Gattis, BJ…
Nats won 5 of last 6, Werth and Desmond hot..
1st.  Wood pitches round Harper double.
        Heyward singles, steals, scores on FF dbl play grounder..Freddie manifestly mad.          BRAVES 1/0
2nd  Wood 1,2,3
          CJ lead off single, Success lashes line drive to third, double play, again!
3rd   Good for Chip – pushes JS on showing replays that are being reviewed in new system – evasive answer. the Wimbledon parallel is indisputable.  1,2,3,4.
          Janish l/off single, Wood cannot bunt him over…JHey 2nd single..busts up dbl play, error, Janish scores. BMac still out of sorts.      BRAVES 2/0
4th   Wood hits Harper! by mistake..Freddie ever the diplomat at 1st.. Werth singles, Harper 3rd, no outs.. Dbl Play but Harper’s base running creates a run..  BRAVES 2/1
          1 out, Schafer walks, Andrelton singles..Janish hits into our 3rd DP..
5th    Ramos l/off single, great defense JuP..2 0n, no outs..sac, 1 out, 2nd and 3rd..Span s/out..out of it!  Zimmerman grounds out.
           JuP two out single..error, 1st and 3rd, BMac up…i said he was out of sorts, way out…memories of that horrid night in Philly? Gattis time, some chance.
6th    Wood strikes out Harper…7 so far..good pick CJ on Werth..8 now for Wood!
          Schafer robbed earlier on a screamer reaches on a 1 out bloop..their man at/around 100 pitches.
7th    Wood at 94 pitches.. K’s La Roche, taken out, standing O!…Carpenter pitching, gets Ramos first pitch…Rendon is good, Carpenter K’s him..
          Joey T p/hits, Stammen pitching..Jason deep fly ball left field, foul..1,2,3..    Wood 5 hits, 1 run, 9 strike outs
8th    Avilan pitching…lovely play AS, 1 out…Span pop bunts out, what a bust! Zimm 2 out double, Harper up..big moment..WOW!! Harper hit again! First base was open,      ya think?  Avilan out, Ayala in…2 on, 2 out, Werth up…game on the line..game tied, Werth single, poor throw by Jason…nice pick CJ for 3rd out..             TIED 2/2
           FF ground out, BMac mess, CJ ground out..Stammen’s retired 6 in a row..
9th      Kimbrel pitching… lead off single ALR..  Fab play by Janish, one out..GK getting hit hard..Tracy singles, 1st and 2nd 1 out.. Lombardouzi ground ball,we try for dbl play, no…thank you Span! still tied..
             bottom of the order up..Storren pitching, just back from minors..Success strikes out,Simmons trying to win it, settles for a 1 out single…HERE’S GATTIS!! Strike
             out after a wild at bat..    Laird flies out, extra innings…Storren seemed very good in that innings…started Gattis with 2 lovely breaking balls inside…thereafter
              it was a struggle for pitcher and hitter till the strike out..
10th     Gosselin debuts at 2nd..Downs pitching..1 out, Harper up and walks…no way will he not steal…Werth up, 1 out..Harper does not steal, told you, Werth hits into DP..
             Here we go Heyward/Upton/FF..JHey, so different when he rolls over, 1 out..


239 thoughts on “NSA Surveillance Special BRAVES 3 NATS 2”

  1. Apropos to my comment that got JCed, not only are we 2-0 in games we hit Bryce Harper, but he’s only been hit four times this year – three by the Braves.

  2. 28 games over. Starting to look like LA will finish better than the Central too, so that’s good as well.

  3. So will Fredi run out the Sunday lineup tomorrow so that we don’t lose a key player in a beanball war? You know it’s coming…

  4. Gotta figure it’ll be Heyward or Jupton

    Hopefully they’ll do it early and we can get into that bullpen in the second or third inning.

  5. LOL the Snowden pic made me laugh out loud. Great recap, Blazon, and thanks to you and everyone for the birthday wishes. You gave me a glorious present!

  6. IWOTN but that was another good game by Alex Wood. I keep being a little afraid that there’s a Josh Collmenter-type thing with his delivery and that he might get hit a little more once hitters have seen him, his pitches look better than that though so it’s probably unfounded.

    Though it was only his fifth career start and SSS applies he looks to have been a very good second round pick, and considering that in the last twenty (20!) years, the Braves have only twice picked in the top 20 of the draft (14, Heyward and 7, Minor) you really have to commend (and possibly even tip a cap to) the scouting department on the job they have done and continue to do.

  7. Butch, please!

    All VOL fans (and all SEC fans, actually) need to watch all four minutes of this:

  8. Glad to have found the new URL! I wanted to check what everyone’s thoughts were with us continuing to hit Harper, but thought the site was down for good after the old URL expired. But a google search brought me back to the new address.

    (I don’t post much, but I’ve been lurking for years on this site).

  9. Harper and Freddie/Freddie and Harper…

    There is much to admire in Bryce Harper. Yes, he has painted himself into a corner but so has Elon Musk. The contrarian has to exist at all levels of society else we die of boredom. It is not an easy path to plow. Why he ran into that wall I cannot tell you and doubt that he can – it comes with the package. And last night he came close to being a game winner for his team all the while apparently unaffected by the derision hurled at him. For 20(twenty!) that’s not bad – if he were my son I’d take it.

    Freddie’s at the other end of the social spectrum. Beloved, popular, hugs all round – a huge asset to our team at many levels. Last night he played one of his lesser roles to the full, he clearly felt he should – in the circumstances – and he had to do it twice. Freddie the diplomat, the PR guy. Nobody tells him or makes him do this, obviously. You say almost all first baseman do it, to a degree? Yes, but not like FF, watch him.

    After the first ‘hit’ you could see even then he went beyond what was rote, using that great smile to effect. The second was extraordinary – the crowd howling, Harper fighting himself to stand still and keep his mouth shut. Freddie went on and on to him – you could see the sense of the words, they were conciliatory, clearly. He was ignored, Harper wouldn’t look at him. He went back and tried again, same result. But by his effort it could have been him that ensured there was no escalation. It was also empathy, baseball player to baseball player. I love Freddie Freeman.

    And Bryce Harper we will never ignore.

  10. my other vice starts today, the English Premier League

    hardly the SEC!

    just curious, any others in this august body so inclined?

  11. august a body we may be
    but we support the SEC
    you soccer guys desist
    so happy that we missed
    the silly, stupid penalty.

    OK then…but why have NBC just paid a King’s ransom just for the U.S. rights for the next three years, tripling Fox, for their new 24 hour sports channel?

    Don’t tell me changes is afoot!

  12. MLB is almost all
    The SEC OK
    Ivy hockey and gridiron feats
    Make me shout hooray

    Soccer? man I’ve really tried
    I watched old Woosnam’s Chiefs
    I’ll watch Chelsea for a half
    Then I need relief.

    2013 is the year:
    An Eli hockey win
    Follow with Braves gonfalon
    And grok my stupid grin

  13. Does anyone remember that Gosselin homered against Strasburg in his 5-1 loss against UVA in Strasburg’s final college game?

  14. Sweeping these guys would make it that much better though.

    You have to think this was due to Harper’s comments about burning someone 6 feet in the ground. They will go after someone before this series is over you have to think. I’m sure our scouting report says to keep it inside.

  15. But at the same time, I really don’t think Wood’s curve, Avilan’s fastball, or Down’s fastballs were intentional. Not when we are leading the division by such a small margin. :)

  16. Figured I would put this out there

    @chadsgoodwin: @ajcbraves @Buster_ESPN Maybe ESPN could fit the Braves into their schedule whenever they stop talking about Boston, NY, and LAD #joke

  17. I find it silly that fangraphs rates Greg Holland 0.8 WAR higher than Craig Kimbrel. I also find it silly that 11 relievers in the majors have a better WAR than Kimbrel including Addison Reed whose ERA is 2.5 runs/9 higher than Kimbrel’s.

  18. Blazon, my wife and I watch soccer a good bit. My main interest is the USMNT, but I also follow other leagues, and I agree that the EPL’s start is a nice herald to cooler months. Of course, when it’s mid-60s in ATL in August, one wonders if England up and moved to the SE US.

    I was at last night’s game, and I was struck by a few things. For one, Harper seems to stand really close to the plate. I’m not sure I appreciated that before. Two, I agree with the poster above that we’re trying to bust him inside. Three, I’m wondering if there’s a lot more than meets the eye going on here. It just doesn’t make sense to bean the kid on purpose so many times. We’re getting the ultimate revenge – we’re beating his blessed, hallowed, anointed team into the ground on a regular basis. So why hit him? Well, the ones yesterday *could* have been mistakes, especially given how close to the plate he sits. However, I wonder if Harper really said some things to get a lot of people upset. He’s certainly made an impression on Atlanta fans.

    By the way, I hope that we don’t soon see a developing convention wisdom that Atlanta fans are bloodthirsty savages. I’ve already read some of the WaPo write-up on last night’s game, and they were shocked (shocked I say!) at the cheering of Harper’s beanings. My response is that you can’t have it both ways. We can’t be both lazy, disinterested baseball neophytes and overzealous knuckle-dragging redneck brutes. Choose one and we’ll play to your confirmation bias.

  19. I was at the game last night so I am not sure if this was shown on TV or not but at one point in the game someone (Upton?) hit a foul ball down the left field line. Harper retrieved the ball and then instead of throwing it into the stands (where many people were yelling and waving for him to do so) he threw it into the National’s bullpen. Lots of folks started booing him and he just looked around at everyone as if to say “so what?”. Someone in the bullpen eventually tossed the ball into the crowd. It’s things like this that keep adding to the impression of douche-iness Harper has. He might be a great guy in person but stuff like that is what everyone sees and remembers. What a douche.

  20. @32, I think Atlanta pitchers take a hit to their WAR due to our above average team defense. Kinda crazy to me that the two teams with the fewest runs allowed per game (PIT and ATL) aren’t at the top of the WAR list.

    The one area where ATL leads by a mile is in (pitching WAR / pitching salary).

  21. I vote we hit Harper again.

    And then show it again and again in slow motion, from multiple angles.

  22. WAR for pitchers is kinda funky – I am not sure how much stock I put in it yet, especially in-season.

  23. If someone is able to successfully pin the label of “bloodthirsty” on the Atlanta fan base it will be a huge step up from the “don’t give a damn” one they usually get.

    //And the Washington announcers sounded like total whiners for framing it like that, and this from someone who loathes beanings.

  24. I didn’t like Justin jumping on home plate. I’ll never forget what happened to Kendry Morales.

  25. @20

    I, too, watch soccer. The only team I’m actually a fan of at the moment is the U.S. national team, but I enjoy watching other games, as well. People tell me I should just pick a random club to follow, but I’m incapable of picking a team for absolutely no reason. If Atlanta ever gets an MLS team, I’d probably be pretty into it.

  26. I know what the Nats think, but I still find it hard to believe either of those HBPs was on purpose. The Braves’ book on Harper is clearly to pound him inside, for one thing. For another, BMac’s target was low and away on the pitch from Feliz Navidad. For a third, the game was tight the whole way through; you don’t intentionally put a man on in a one-run game, especially late. For a fourth, if Good Wood hit Bryce on purpose, he gave an Oscar-worthy performance; his body language immediately screamed annoyance with himself for making his job harder.

    Doesn’t mean they didn’t do it on purpose. But since retaliation already happened last week, why dredge it back up? Doesn’t make sense and it’s not the way this team historically operates.

  27. If I was the Nats or their fans, I wouldn’t care one way or another if the pitches were intentional. I mean, sure, intentional head-hunting is technically worse than incompetent pitching (in the case of Avilan), but it wouldn’t really matter to me in the end. I’d be pissed either way.

  28. I’m a somewhat typical American sports fan in the sense that I feel as if “I only have to pay attention to soccer once every 4 years.”

    Some of my friends are hardcore Chelsea & Arsenal supporters, though. Know a couple of Tottenham types, too, but they’re not so loud about it.

  29. Not a fan of plunking Harper. I don’t think either of yesterday’s were deliberate, but at the same time, I’d rather just beat the snot out of the Nats rather than bruise Harper’s back.

    And it should be emphasized that the reason this game went 10 is the HBP on Harper in the 8th.

    Edit: Well, sorta. I just assume Avilan would’ve struck Harper out if he hadn’t hit him. :-)

  30. @44 I agree, and it also doesn’t make sense to plunk Harper if the other team doesn’t know why. If Avilan and Wood were making it seem like they didn’t want to plunk him, then that really defeats the purpose. If you’re going to do something like that, there needs to be a stare-down or benches clearing or something.

    At the same time, Harper does stand right on top of the plate, and he’s going to continue to get hit as a result. His stance is not that dissimilar from Bonds’, and Bonds had to use that body armor thing to protect himself.

  31. We’ve hit him 3 times in the last few games. They will surely throw at one of our best guys tonight and/or tomorrow. If they don’t then it means their manager/clubhouse doesn’t much care for the guy either.

  32. Harper has only been hit 4 times this year and we’ve done it 3 times. So I doubt that it’s anything he’s doing that’s causing it. Could be that other teams are afraid to throw him inside.

  33. @45, There’s a case to be made that this is a passive aggressive, psy-ops method of getting under his skin. Plunking him in odd situations, looking upset or anguished when it happens, feigning sympathy in post-game interviews, all the while chuckling behind the scenes. Gaslighting him in public view might be pretty fun, especially when the little twerp is somewhat untouchable thanks to the marketing done on his behalf by MLB. Kinda hard to righteously go after him under those circumstances.

    I’m not saying that’s what’s happening, just finding a way that last night could make sense if they were intentional.

    Also, I remind that he’s only been hit four times this year – three times by us and one other time by Pittsburgh. If he’s standing on top of the plate, nobody else has made him pay a price for it outside of the Braves.

    Edit: I see krussel and Bethany have brought up his few HBPs. Krussel, re #46, I’m kind of astonished that there was only a modest move onto the field by the Notionals after the second plunking. It just seemed such an obvious time for a team to go out there in support of their fellow teammate whose had the screws put onto him by a division rival the last two series.

  34. @48, It’s not that surprising to me. I bet half his team wants him to get plunked on any given AB.

  35. Bowman seems pretty critical of BJ’s platooning. Interesting. I agree with him wholeheartedly.

  36. @49, I think you are waaay projecting. The Nats and their fans are solidly behind Harper. They despise the Braves and the chop far more than folks around here realize.

  37. I was just reading Bowman’s tweets and thinking the same thing. He came back like gangbusters for 5 games, had I think 2 O’fers, and straight to the platoon.

    Two things, in my mind: he must not be showing the changes in his form and approach that they want, and a.) they aren’t going to watch him fail any longer or b.) they feel game situations are detrimental to his efforts to adjust, ie, he’s improving in drills, but reverting under the lights.

    Either way, he must still not LOOK right to them, because he’s PRODUCED better lately than he has all year.

    I think if the opposite were the case, he LOOKED better, but the hits weren’t coming, they’d let him play through it.

  38. BJ is lucky he’s still on a major league roster given his body of work in 2013. I’m not going to complain at all if he’s platooned.

  39. First of all, I don’t think there’s any doubt that Teheran intentionally hit Harper last week, given the situation. Everybody on the field knew it, too. The only people who don’t think it was intentional are a small minority of Braves fans who aren’t thinking the situation through rationally…and perhaps Teheran’s mother. Harper was upset about it, but I’m pretty sure he feigned some outrage, given he was in the middle of his rah-rah act to try and get the Nats back into the playoff race at the time. I’m pretty sure none of the Nats were too upset about it, either, given their lack of enthusiasm for the bench-clearing incident itself and their lack of a reprisal in the following night’s game.

    Now, fast-forwarding to last night, I don’t believe that anyone thinks the Wood HBP was intentional, including Harper (at least at the time it happened). It was a curve ball, and Harper and Freeman were laughing about it down at 1B afterward.

    As far as the second beaning goes, I can see how the Nationals would be upset and think that it was intentional. I probably would, too, if I were them. The only reason that I don’t think it was is that it would be ridiculous and totally unnecessary to hit him again at that point. We’d already hit him in Washington last week, and intentional or not, we’d already hit him earlier in last night’s game. What possible reason would there be to hit him intentionally again? I just don’t get it, and therefore, I don’t think that it was intentional.

    Having said that, Strasburg basically has to hit somebody tonight. Even if the Nationals aren’t fond of Harper’s act, this has gotten to be too much, and they can’t pretend this isn’t happening anymore. I would be shocked if Heyward doesn’t get hit on the first pitch tonight. We can only hope it’s in the back and not in the head.

  40. I don’t know about bloodthirstiness, but deciding that the most recent stretch of play is the most important thing when comparing players is a real Atlanta tradition.

  41. Hitting Teheran is probably the most “just” thing to do (in a mob justice sense, anyway). He’s the only one who everyone’s sure has done anything intentionally in this whole thing.

    Also, everyone’s in the lineup tonight, so Strasburg can have his pick, if he wants. Well, unless he had his heart set on beaning B.J. Upton. He’ll be sadly disappointed if that’s the case.

  42. If the Braves don’t charge the field if someone gets hit, can we assume they secretly wanted whoever it is to get plunked?

  43. I wish they’d bean BJ. Just kidding.

    I’m interested to see how their handling of BJ plays out while he struggles. It seems that they’ll give Schafer every opportunity to get at bats. I love it.

  44. If Heyward or Upton get hit three times in the span of a couple games by the same team, with one of those being clearly intentional, I guarantee that you’d see a brawl.

  45. So the Nats are pussies for not brawling or are we dicks for hitting the guy? Or both?

    And now if they decide to plunk someone, and the Braves don’t brawl, are they just a bunch of women now too? I need to keep all this straight.

  46. @59


    However, if that hadn’t happened right after Harper had implied that he was the only person on the team who cared and right before he got chewed out by multiple people in the dugout for doing something that almost every other member of that team also would’ve done, then I wouldn’t be assuming that his team is sick of his act.

  47. If all that happens is that Heyward/Upton/Freeman/McCann/Teheran gets hit in the back with a fastball, and whoever it is just turns and goes to first without a fuss, I honestly think that’ll be it. It would obviously be way better if that’s the way it went. If we start a brawl because one of our guys gets hit after Harper got hit three times, then yeah, we’re kind of being dicks.

  48. I tend to think they’ll throw at Teheran tomorrow. He’s the one that started this mess and it’s hard for me to be sympathetic for his rationale. I despise the thought process that says that you have to drill a guy if he watches a home run for a second too long. Pitch better.

  49. @67, We all have our different levels of tolerance, but would you despise it if the offending party had done the electric slide around the basepaths, did a Puig-like slide into home, and then then aimed finger pistols at the pitcher before doing cartwheels back to the dugout? You know, NFL-style showboating?

  50. @69, personally I’d kinda like to see that level of sheer awesomeness, but to answer your question I think that would irritate me more than a guy admiring his homer for 3 seconds. Our guys do what Harper did all the time, and I don’t think anyone should be thrown at for that.

  51. @70 Our guys do what Harper did all the time, and I don’t think anyone should be thrown at for that.

    I’m not convinced anyone was. So far the only fact in evidence to suggest Teheran’s beaning was intentional is that came in an at-bat after a homerun, and its an extremely circumstantial one at that. Yet he didn’t react at all at the time to the HR, or even watch Harper from what I can tell. The rest is all media speculation. Maybe someone said something to him about it that got him worked up after the fact, but that’s just not enough proof for me to feel strongly one way or another about someone else’s intentions, no matter how dismissive @55 is toward that view.

  52. 1. I think the “unwritten” rule about hitting batters for any reason is testosteroney crap. This ain’t boxing or MMA; you beat people on the damn field. Anything else is baby stuff.

    2. MLB Network is showing Eight Men Out. What a great movie.

    3. As noted previously, I root for the Tottenham Hotspur, for obvious reasons.

  53. I do think Teheran hit him on purpose. Whether it was for the HR or not I’m not sure. I think there was lingering resentment over a HR that Harper admired in spring training off of Teheran. Regardless, it’s safe to say that Harper doesn’t have many admirers in our dugout.

  54. In any event, the bottom line is that we are now in a spot where even Braves fans agree that the Nats have to throw at one of our best players, and we all just have to hope like hell nobody gets hurt and a fight doesn’t break out. Suboptimal, to me.

  55. Sort-of aside: why did Fredi take Avilan out after the Harper HBP? Was he annoyed at Avilan for almost hitting Harper in the head – and wanted to avoid a brawl today? Did he simply plan to take Avilan out after Harper because he finally has realized Avilan’s shiny results v. righties are smoke and mirrors? Or is it just that Werth obliterates lefties?

    It was only recently that Fredi was deploying Avilan as a 7th-inning man, ala EOF in years past. So it seems odd that he’d relieve him, even against a lefty-masher like Werth, and especially with no Walden available. He also looked annoyed. Just curious whether the HBP played a role in his decision.

  56. Blake Dewitt released and Tyler Greene signed to a minor league deal. At this point it looks like Greene is a quad-a type so not much excitement in the signing.

  57. @77, taking him out was self-ejection, I think, and meant to mollify the umps and the Nats.

  58. Rain has stopped here – we appear to be right on the edge of the moisture track, so I think they could try and start the game and see where it goes. Stays east and we’re dry all night. Moves a tick west, and it’ll be obvious soon enough.

  59. I think he probably yanked him for all of the above. I imagine the thought process was “If it gets to Werth, there’s either two men on, or we’re already tied, and Werth’s not seeing a lefty in a situation like that.”

    But with Avilan nearly beaning him, and with the way Nats dugout reacted, I think he would have yanked him there regardless of who was up next.

  60. If the Minor of his past three starts shows up in October, we may be hurting. Hopefully he gets over this bump and returns to form long before then.

  61. 90 mph batting practice from Minor tonight. He’ll need perfect command and some luck to get through this game.

  62. I can’t really tell what Mike’s “Stuff” looks like, because he won’t throw any of it anywhere near the plate.

  63. Okay Mike, I think we can agree that pitching to them isn’t going to get them out.

    How are your powers of persuasion? Perhaps it’s time to try to negotiate. See what it will take to make them agree to make outs.

  64. @73, Hotspur, #1 is where you lose me on the argument. I don’t expect anyone to endorse purpose pitching. Feel free to think it’s a bad thing, if you wish. But to label it as “testosteroney crap” sidesteps the fact that strutting and preening is also “testosteroney crap”. Purpose pitching (as opposed to headhunting, which should be condemned by all) is simply an action/reaction response to the kinds of behaviors that historically aren’t well received on the baseball field. (I’ll also add that a plunk on the rear end like Teheran delivered to Harper, and like Strasburg did to Upton just now, are relatively harmless.)

    In my mind, it’s a civilizing thing. Don Sutton talked about it the other night in regards to Yasiel Puig’s showboating, that he wishes Bob Gibson was around to acquaint Puig with some of baseball’s better virtues. Leo Mazzone was talking on the pre-game show the other night about Maddux delivering some purpose pitching to someone that was showboating at his expense. Players do this because players feel the need to do this. It has its place in the game. Purpose pitching reminds players that just because they are using the opposing team and thousands of fans in the stands as a vanity mirror, doesn’t mean it’s not noticed and looked down upon.

    You say, “just win on the field”, but this kind of thing stands outside the actual winning and losing on the field, and has more to do with traditions of civility on the field. This kind of stuff has been around forever and will remain. Notice that unlike the NFL there aren’t pages and pages of rules against preening and showboating, and that’s because the players themselves have done such a good job of keeping it out.

    Lastly, what *isn’t* “testosteroney” on a baseball field? Why condemn men pursuing manly things in sports? I don’t grok that.

  65. This is absolutely unbearable.

    Coincidentally, this outing is why I want to carry Alex Wood in the bullpen for the playoffs. If this was a playoff game, you’d have to yank him.

  66. If this were little league our outfielders would be sitting on the ground picking dandelions. Holy long inning…

  67. @104, Alex Wood needs to start a playoff game. He and Teheran have the best “stuff”. Minor scares the crap out of me and it looks like he’s losing velocity as the season goes on.

  68. Yeah, I think Mike would have to struggle for more than 3 starts and Wood would have to, ya know, HAVE more than 3 starts before I’m dumping Minor for him.

  69. I want the guy throwing 94-95 with a deceptive motion over the guy throwing 90 with no absolutely no command. Things can change, but if the playoffs started tomorrow I’d not pitch Minor at all.

  70. If Strasburg is trying to hit Andrelton to set up a double play he’s not doing a good job.

  71. If this is Rick Ankiel all over again, well…I’ll just be! I don’t think so, though. Unless he got a command from the dugout to hit Andrelton and his brain just locked up on him.

  72. Is an ejection like an injury—will the Nats’ new pitcher get as much time as he needs to warm up?

  73. That was weird. Can’t imagine he was doing that on purpose. Total Ankiel, I’d say.

    @117 That’s just so ridiculous I really don’t know what to say.

  74. @124, yeah I wonder if that’s what happened…dugout says to plunk Simmons and Strasburg doesn’t really want to. It gets in his head, he gets all shook up about it, and then all of a sudden he can’t come within 10 feet of home plate. That was nuts.

  75. @128, Strasburg threw three straight wild pitches nowhere near. The last one was like 2 feet behind Simmons, and got him thrown out.

  76. @130, The part that wouldn’t make sense with that is the first pitch, which dusted up the left-handed hitter’s batter’s box, nowhere near Andrelton.

  77. That was the strangest series of pitches I’ve ever seen. Strasburg didn’t argue with the ejection, but it just seemed like he got really wild.

  78. What sucks is those three wild pitches killed our rally. Bases clear now.

    Oh, not anymore! Good eye, Andrelton!

  79. Man, did Janish get lucky. He fell on his ass and swung through at the same time. Okay, maybe not now that I see the replay.

  80. Strasburg just went totally Ankiel. Threw one to the backstop OUTSIDE to Simmons, then threw TWO MORE waaaaaaaaaaay behind him. On each pitch, Schafer advanced another base, scoring on the final one. And then the umpire threw Strasburg out, I guess, thinking he was throwing at Simmons. But he pretty clearly wasn’t, as evidenced by the first pitch he threw about 8 feet outside.

    Like, if it had been an intentional walk, and the catcher was standing to receive them, these STILL would have gone to the backstop.

    It was a total Rick Ankiel thing, and I kind of wish he was still in there to keep doing it.

  81. In Varvaro’s defense, it was his first ML at bat, and I’m not sure how much the team works with relievers on hitting. I know they take pride in working with the starters.

  82. They take pride in working with the starters?

    I know Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine took pride in working on their hitting.

    But I have seen absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the team even SUGGESTS that the starting pitchers should maybe work on their bunting.

  83. @138, We’re all just speculating, but there’s a few elements that might add more intrigue to the story. After the first pitch, which was in the batter’s box opposite Andrelton, the Nats pitching coach came out and, as described by Joe Simpson, “yelled at Strasburg”. I also noticed that Ramos gave him a pat to the stomach as if to say “don’t worry, bro, you can do this”.

    Then Strasburg launched one to Stone Mountain with his second pitch. But the third pitch wasn’t that far behind Andrelton. It was pretty close, all things considered. Naturally, the ump wasn’t going to wait for a fourth pitch.

    It’s possible the dugout wanted Strasburgh to poke Andrelton, and he had a little trouble actually following through on it.

    Of course it’s possible he went Ankiel, but to do that at the crossroads of so much intrigue between these two teams is highly coincidental.

  84. Joe and Chip brought up that the Braves are most vulnerable at the middle infield positions right now, and so hitting Simmons could really potentially cause some big problems for the team. If that was what the Nats were trying to do, then that is low. Really low.

  85. @ 142
    I think you’re on the right track because Strasburg didn’t even give a second look as he was tossed. He accepted it without so much as an eyebrow twitch and was already thinking about his postgame steak.

  86. Chip, thanks for the reverse jinx there! He said “Of all the Braves, the Nats have really handled McCann.” Bam. Single.

  87. @146—Yes, low like that, if we put similar thoughts into doing that. And maybe we did—who knows.

  88. @146, Low like they’d settled accounts in the first inning and any more is taking things into territory nobody is justified in going. Also, nobody’s been doing any headhunting, unless you think Bryce keeps his head in his posterior region, which some have suggested may be the case. But going after Andrelton, with 95-mph Strasburg fastballs, would qualify in that regard. That’s taking things to another level, as the kids used to like to say.

  89. from our Senior Analyst…

    Strasburg located all 3 pitches exactly where he meant to…

    he had been told to hit Simmons and this was his way of saying no…

  90. He didn’t go Ankiel, those were his best/hardest fastballs at what should’ve been Simmons thigh. Thankfully they weren’t close and he got tossed.

  91. @153, yeah I think there might have been a bit of mutiny there with Strasburg. Davey Johnson has lost his team and this was pretty obviously a big “FU” from Strasburg towards whoever called for him to hit Simmons.

  92. @103 You’re welcome to your thoughts on the subject, but I think your contention that everything that happens on a field of athletic competition is by definition testosteroney stuff might come as news to the legions of female athletes who have participated in such contests on both amateur and professional levels. Bethany might back me up there.

    Bottom line: macho posturing is stupid. A plunk for a plunk escalates to someone getting their clavicle broken before long. Ask Zach Greinke if he thinks that was worth it. I honestly don’t give a damn what a great but pig-headed pitcher like Gibby says about it; I’m not Timmy and I don’t have to worship his ethos. Play the game on the field, beat the other team on the field, take all the money and the trophy and the bragging rights and the history and let the other jerks sit in left field like Andy Van Slyke, wondering what went wrong. As a great man once said, winning isn’t the best thing; it’s the only thing. Wasting mental and physical energy on playground grudges distracts from the task at hand, for which one is getting paid enormous sums of money. Being a man isn’t throwing a purpose pitch; being a man is throwing the strikeout or hitting the three-run homer that wins the game, series, championship. Everything else is noise and posturing, and, honestly, you should be ashamed of yourself for mouthing such indefensible nonsense.


  93. @157, I should be ashamed of myself? I really don’t get it. I didn’t invent the nonsense. I’m explaining it to you, at least how most of the players look at it. Bob Gibson may be pigheaded for throwing purpose pitches, Don Sutton may be shameful for admiring it, Maddux and Mazzone and Bobby Cox, too. But that’s what they do. Obviously it’s not simply about waiting for the moment Van Slyke is sitting on the field with his jaw on the grass.

    Your rules about what is and isn’t manly has no bearing on what we’re actually looking at on the field. It only has a bearing on your response to it. But others feel differently, more relevantly the people whose moves you’re following in the sport.

    And, yes, women play professional sports, but we’re talking about baseball. That’s what we’re discussing. It’s full of men playing against other men. They’re not thinking “What would women do?” They’re doing what’s a longstanding tradition in baseball. You have a right to think that it’s a bad thing, but it’s still a thing. It’s a part of the game whether you like it or not. But you seem to be taking this very emotionally and personally so I’ll let this be my last word on the subject for now.

  94. It may come as a surprise to some here, but there are many smart people who deconstruct gender roles all the time. And yes, in case this was somehow being debated: there are many problems in our society directly linked to “men doing manly things.”

  95. Already in the top of the 5th…moving right along.

    Anyone know how Uggla’s new eyes are doing?

  96. @152 – Your argument here has very little in common with reality.

    Number one, we started it. Julio Teheran threw a temper tantrum and hit a guy for running too slowly after he hit a homer. Which, by the way, he ran the bases faster than Justin Upton did the previous night.

    Number two, they never hit anybody. THEY WERE THE BIGGER TEAM.

    Number three, we followed their non-move by HITTING HARPER TWO MORE TIMES.

    Number four, WE DIDN’T HIT HIM IN THE POSTERIOR. This is just a complete fantasy. Julio hit him just above his knee, Wood hit him in the shoulder, and Avilan came INCHES from beaning him. INCHES from hitting him in the head.

    We really have no room for indignation here.

  97. @161 – They said he was tested before the surgery at 20-30. He was tested today at 20-15. So, success, so far.

  98. 20-30? That’s better than most people…sheesh. I thought he was nearly blind or something.

  99. Doesn’t 20-30 by definition mean he’s worse than average? 20-20 would mean you see from 20 feet what an average person can see from 20, thus 20-30 would mean you’re 10 feet worse than average.

  100. @166, what I meant was that most people probably wouldn’t have elective eye surgery with 20/30 vision. His talk about not seeing the ball and not even being able to pick up grounders at times made me think that he was more like 20/100 or something. Maybe he has an astigmatism or other issue that makes things more complicated.

  101. I would venture to guess that any professional baseball player with worse than 20-20 vision wears contacts, or else they wouldn’t be able to play baseball professionally. If contacts don’t agree with you, I totally understand having the surgery.

  102. @162, I don’t know, I’ve watched the replay several times and it appears clear to me that Teheran sent a fastball riding in on Harper and it hit him in the rear end.

    Harper also jawboned his way all the way to first, and described wanting to put Teheran “six feet under” after the game, so it’s not as pat as you describe, but we can I hope agree to disagree about this amicably. I’m not sure the all caps and turning on each other is called for, and it’s pretty ironic given the subject matter.


  103. Ok I did find the ajc interview with Uggla. They did say it was 20/15 post-surgery. He said he’s ready to play right now, and that he hopes they fixed his swing while he was under.

  104. I’m certainly sorry if the capital letters caused an injury. I used them in lieu of coding italics for emphasis. I certainly hope no one was hurt.

  105. @185, Ha ha, no. I’m not the least bit upset. I didn’t mind, though, pointing out the irony in a discussion about escalating things unnecessarily. ;-)

    JJ, if you wouldn’t mind instructing me in how to italicize, I’d appreciate it. I’ve not yet figured that out.

  106. Calling that ironic is either a complete misunderstanding of the word “irony,” or a gross misrepresentation of the use of capital letters.

  107. If you had told me before the game that we would get 7+ innings against the Nats’ bullpen, I would have guessed we would absolutely clobber them. Two gift strikes in key spots this inning is not helping our cause.

  108. The fourth pitch to Terdo was 6 inches off the plate and called a strike. The one he wrung up Jason on was at least a bit closer, but still a ball and never had any part of the plate. This ump has been pretty bad tonight – including the missed call at home that went our way.

    Oh well, our bullpen is doing a bit of regression tonight.

  109. @189, I thought that as well. That 3-0 strike to Terdo was clearly off the plate, fading away. Of course, it perfectly set up that fastball riding in on him that he feebly swung at.

  110. Extra innings is just what this game needed. It wasn’t nearly long enough on its own, and neither bullpen had gotten enough work with how long the two starting pitchers stayed in.

  111. Wow. How demoralizing for the Nats and their fans. The Braves played like zombies tonight, yet here we are in extras again.

  112. Game’s on the line and we have Avilan followed by the Saved By The Bell guy batting. What a weird game.

  113. Our reward for watching this whole thing should be an inning on the mound from Simmons or Freeman.

  114. If Andrelton had walked for the fourth time, that’s all tomorrow’s headlines would be talking about.

  115. Simmons is ridiculously good. Wasn’t sure he beat him at second, but we’ll take it.

    Edit: On second look, yea he did. Great play, regardless. Is this how people felt watching Ozzie Smith?

  116. That wasn’t terribly surprising. Medlen struggles to put hitters away and Laroche was on him on a few of those foul balls

  117. If we lose, I’m blaming that fastball Justin took right down the middle from Soriano immediately after Heyward’s homerun.

  118. I wish Heyward hadn’t homered to tie it. It was depressing watching the offense stink for six innings afterward.

    Edit: And that is one of the worst home plate umping performances I’ve seen since Eric Gregg in 1997.

  119. Three times Marvin Hudson took the bat out of one of our guys hands with a terrible strike-2 call.

  120. Yeah, well, if Minor had been bad instead of terrible, we’d have won it. Also if we’d have one fewer reliever cough up a run. We allowed too many insurance runs in that game.

    EDIT: Hard to blame the offense when they scored 7 runs, but after Heyward hit that homer, everyone threw their approach out the window and tried to walk it off themself.

    I’ve thought about this before. In extra innings, you almost never see a pitcher come inside to anybody, except for effect. And Tom Glavine talks about it constantly: Make him beat you away.

    But if that’s so effective, why don’t you ALWAYS pitch that way? Why EVER pitch inside?

    Because big league hitters will get a lot of singles and doubles if you keep throwing it to the same place.

    But it works in extra innings, because everybody STILL wants to hit that pitch out of the park.

  121. Well, that was certainly an entertaining game. Not too terribly worried about the attrition effect, as we have an off day on Monday anyway.

  122. Medlen’s curve ball always gets him in trouble. No idea why he threw it to a lefty. Only he and McCann can answer that one.

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