Gattis 1, Phillies Teheraned

ESPN Box Score

In a classic pitchers’ duel on a cold, windy night in Philadelphia, Julio Teheran had himself a ballgame. He threw a 3-hit shutout, did not walk anyone, and pitched like he was trying to make you forget the Braves don’t have an “Ace”. For some strange reason, the native Colombian excels in cold weather.

For the first seven innings Teheran was in complete command, giving up only an infield hit in the 5th to, of all people, the speedster Ryan Howard. He was not quite as dominant in the 8th and 9th, allowing a hit in each frame, but he managed to outduel Cliff Lee, who in very Cliff Lee-like form also went the distance. Anyone who can do that is very impressive. The ninth got downright tense, when it looked like Chase Utley might draw a walk with Jimmy Rollins already on base and Ryan Howard on deck, but Teheran wiggled out of it, retiring Utley on a groundout to preserve the win. What may be even more impressive is that Teheran shutout the Phillies despite a tight strike zone that seemed to get even tighter in the last innings.

Unfortunately for Evan Gattis, he chose to have his best game of the season on a night that his pitcher overshadowed him. He went 4-for-4, including a 4th inning homer he muscled out of the park over a strong wind that had been killing fly balls all night. He accounted for the only run of the evening. I think El Oso really likes hitting in Philly.

Although Lee went the distance, he was not very dominant. The Braves managed 11 hits against him, but could not do anything with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base for the evening. I know they were facing Cliff Lee tonight, but they really need to get better at cashing in on some of these scoring opportunities. They struck out 13 times tonight, but that is what they do against Lee.

Regression was back from his mysterious benching, demoted to seventh in the lineup. He went 3-for-4 with a couple of quintessential Regression-like hits to right field. Dan Uggla picked up another hit tonight and a couple of his outs were hit hard, and BJ Upton hit a single and miraculously drew a walk off of Lee, a rare feat indeed for a Brave. Positive signs continue for both of our resident Mendoza Line dodgers.

The Phillies conducted a Nationals-esque play in the third inning, when BJ attempted to swipe second. Lee had him picked off, but inexplicably no one covered second base. Howard threw to Jimmy Rollins, who was standing six feet away from the bag, while BJ slid in safely. The play had no bearing on the final score, but it was still odd to see a NL East rival botch yet another fundamental play.

The series wraps up tomorrow afternoon when Alex Wood takes on A. J. Burnett in a 1:05 pm start.

In honor of the previous post by Bledsoe, which was both brilliant and convincing, I may take a page out of Cato the Elder’s book and end all of my recaps this year with this, regardless of our opponent:

Natspo(s) delenda est.

145 thoughts on “Gattis 1, Phillies Teheraned”

  1. My only problem with all the Natspos disdain is that I don’t see a rivalry yet.

    A hammer and a nail do not have a rivalry!

  2. Perhaps the best recap title ever, or at least in recent memory. Very nice, thanks for posting.

  3. #3
    Well, the Nats did stomp our guts out 2 years ago (when they won the division), but we’ve been stomping ever since.

  4. Great recap – lively, fun, informative, opinionated, knowledgeable, better than the AP.

    As far as the Braves go, there have been an awful lot of us waiting for these guys to get serious and care intensely about winning. Dare we hope, that time has come.

  5. This game was a delight to watch/listen to. I’m glad Fredi gave him the opportunity to go the distance even with a runner in scoring position in the 9th.

    I think the White Bear is out of hibernation. It seems he was born to play in that ballpark. Amaro is probably calling up the Braves right now to try and trade for him.

  6. Great game by Julio, Gattis, and CJ. Uggla made some nice plays in the 9th also. Maybe it’s time we sit Heyward for about a week. This is as bad as I’ve ever seen him at the plate.

  7. Thanks, ‘Rissa.

    Heyward may as well not take a bat to the plate right now, but the kid plays a mean right field.

  8. So, is there something wrong with Walden? I was surprised to see Carpenter and Avilan warming in the ninth.

  9. If I were a pitcher, I wouldn’t throw Gattis anything near the zone until he proves he can take a walk.

  10. @10:

    Tony Gwynn, Jr (RH) – out
    Ben Revere (LH) – out
    Jimmy Rollins (RH) – single
    —————————
    Chase Utley (LH)
    Ryan Howard (LH)
    Domonic Brown (LH)

    You have the LHP up in case you need to bring him in for Howard, who can’t hit LHP, and you have your closer of the day up in Carpenter in case you need him. You win or lose the game with Teheran and those two. No need to get a secondary RHP up there.

  11. Somehow, Jason Heyward has a 0.5 WAR which means he’s on pace for a 5-6 WAR year. Remarkable, considering how terrible he’s been offensively. Here’s our leaders according to Fangraphs:

    Hitters:
    Jupton- 1.1
    Gattis- 0.7
    Freeman- 0.7
    Simmons- 0.5

    Pitching:
    Harang- 0.7
    Kimbrel- 0.5
    Santana-0.5
    Teheran- 0.4

    Impressive numbers thus far!

  12. Gattis isn’t drawing walks but he is laying off a lot more pitches than he was last year. He is making guys throw it where he can hit it. He is such a huge part of the lineup right now. I’d be tempted to give him a start in left today and give Heyward a day off.

    The best play of the 9th inning last night was not Uggla’s but Simmons’ ridiculous between hops pickup and throw on that high chopper for the second out. You see a shortstop make a pick like that once in a blue moon.

    According to DOB the only other Brave to hit a HR and triple in consecutive games was Wilber Marshall in 1951.

  13. 15—Yes. I had assumed Carpenter got the save opportunity in the previous game because Walden had pitched three in a row and was unavailable.

    I actually understand how bullpens work.

    EDIT: Maybe Fredi’s just sticking with Carpenter because he performed admirably on Monday, but . . . Carpenter has looked pretty shaky so far this season, so I’d rather Walden have the interim — I sure hope it’s only interim — job.

  14. Tonight we are all Cardinals fans. It feels dirty and wrong.

    (I think Carpenter’s ahead of Walden in the bullpen pecking order, because Walden is still pretty wild on occasion.)

  15. I think with Gattis being the #1 catcher, his days in left field are over. Or at least on hold, until such time that he is no longer the #1 catcher.

    With all the work they ask the first catcher to do, a day off needs to really be a day off.

  16. I have more faith that Heyward will put it together offensively tonight than I do that Gattis will suddenly learn how to play the OF effectively tonight. I’m still letting Jason hit himself out of the funk at this point. I would give him swings against the RHP (Burnett.)

  17. @4 Thanks! Just posting the score in the title did not seem to do this game justice. However, I am pretty sure Stu’s “Mets LOL” will never be dethroned as Braves Journal’s best.

  18. @19
    Elaborate? Why is the amount of error in the early going any more or less than later? Too many outliers? Players that far exceed expectations? Vice-versa? I understand that, but not when it comes to WAR accumulated by defense, such as Heyward.

  19. Burnett lives off high fastballs. Gattis feasts on high fastballs. Burnett is pitching at the Bank. Gattis drags pitchers through holes in the ice at the Bank and spreads their innards on the snow.

    He’s had two off days in the past four. If you aren’t going to start him at catcher due to the day game following a night game rule, then get him in the lineup some other way. I think we are exaggerating how bad his OF defense was last year…once he got the hang of it and started figuring out the angles he wasn’t much worse than JUpton out there.

    Edit: Keep Jason in against the righty and give BJ the day off.

  20. @24: Think of it this way. WAR is a game-by-game number and any one game is highly likely to be misleading — offense or, especially, defense. 162 of them allow the pure error to cancel out. The error should decline by the square root of the number of games, so that the season WAR number ought to be about three times more accurate than a 16 game number.

  21. To follow Alex point about noise in WAR, it’s really not a stat you should look at for any sort of in-season measurement. WAR is really only useful as a season-to-season and career totals metric.

  22. @26: Edit: Keep Jason in against the righty and give BJ the day off.

    Vehemently disagree. This is BJ Upton’s line since his April 10 batting cage chat with Chipper Jones.

    .240/.345/.440 (785)

    Compared to where he was, he’s putting something good together. You let a quality defensive CF with Upton’s speed on the bases play when he’s putting up 345/440.

  23. So far this season Gattis has been worth about 3 bases per 4 plate appearances, and BJ about half of that (quick & dirty measure — TB+BB+SB-CS/PA). So, removing all other considerations wrt roster management for the sake of discussion, you could ask whether the Gattis/Heyward/Jupton defensive alignment is likely to cost 1.5 bases more than the Jupton/Bupton/Heyward alignment. My guess is no, thus favoring playing Gattis, but not by as large a margin as I would have supposed.

  24. The .95 ISO is the most encouraging. If he’s going to hit in the 2 hole, he needs to get on base and use his speed. He’s working more counts, and he’s not getting behind 0-2 nearly as often as he used to. Encouraging, but he’s still my least favorite player.

  25. re: WAR after 14 games –
    Heyward has converted 28 chances in 14 games. Or, one less than Marlon Byrd so far. Yes, I’ve seen him make great plays in the outfield this year, but I’m under the impression that’s not what sabermetric defensive stats are there to tell me.

    The same Fangraphs metric that boosting Heyward’s WAR by trying to tell me that he’s saved a quarter of a run per game thus far is also dinging Freddie’s WAR for giving back over three runs on defense already. That’s absolute crap, and I hope no one at fangraphs would try to tell me any different.

  26. Greetings from somewhere over the Atlantic (thanks Lufthansa, FlyNet is awesome). On my way to NYC for my wedding. I did manage to convince my fiancee to go watch the Braves on Sunday. How cool is she?!

  27. Colby Rasmus is apparently hurt, so Toronto is playing something called “Moises Sierra” tonight. I didn’t even know Ruben Sierra and Moises Alou were a couple, much less had a kid.

  28. According to MLB, Teheran last night became the first pitcher to throw a complete game shut out against the Phils since they moved in to Citizen’s Bank.

    That sounds unbelievable to me.

    EDIT: I originally said ESPN Stats. That’s from the MLB “Stat of the Day” twitter feed.

  29. I love Gattis, but he strikes out all the damn time, he hasn’t walked once, and while I love the raw power I think that the likelihood that he posts an OBP above .300 this year is slim. As an offensive player, he has his uses, but he’s going to have a lot of down streaks.

  30. @36…

    Alex, how could you?!

    ‘as an offensive player he has his uses’…

    jeez…they’re sending him to Ukraine next week.

  31. @36-Six of Gattis’ eight K’s this year came in the first three games of the season. He’s struck out twice in his past 25 at-bats. He’s not swinging at bad pitches. The walks are going to come, no doubt about that.

  32. Their bullpen is hot garbage and Burnett’s having control problems. Maybe, Jason, just maybe, you ought to not swing at the first pitch.

  33. @33

    I convinced my wife to do the same thing the day after we were married. She’s a keeper.

  34. So we can call Heyward’s last 14 games a slump. But I don’t mind a slump so much when it includes 10 walks, 2 homers, 4 stolen bases, 0 caught stealing, 0 ground into double plays, and superb defense.

    If that’s the worst he can do, then he deserves to keep playing. Maybe move him around the line-up. Push it to 20+ games where every third game he looks totally lost? Re-evaluate then.

    @44

    For real. That’s what I want him to talk to Chipper about.

  35. I’m shaking my head in disbelief as Don and Jim commend Marlon Byrd for his honesty and playing-the-game-the-right-wayitude. I mean, I’m not a steroids scold, but they certainly are… what gives?

  36. I met my wife at a Braves game and we almost always go to the game on our anniversary (having season tickets helps in that respect).

  37. @46- zero double plays because there’s been no one on base or two outs; all he does is ground out to the right side or strike out.

    He’s too high maintenance; even when he does get the swing fixed, it barely last a few weeks before he falls into another funk.

    To me it’s crazy seeing people here saying Heyward deserves more than what Freeman got, when the former is basically a 4th OF or defensive replacement at this moment.

    Sorry if I sound harsh, he’s close to finishing his time with the braves and he hasn’t even come close to the potential he showed during his first year, defensive metrics be damned.

  38. @46 – Chipper hit .361/.360/.593, and put the first pitch in play more often than he did in any other specific count.

  39. I should have been more specific–I want Heyward to share Chipper’s mentality that you’re looking for a particular first pitch to swing at, and if it isn’t that pitch, you take it.

    Chipper didn’t put the first pitch in play for any of his 1500-odd walks.

  40. @53 – But he did hit 78 of his home runs on that count… 18 more than the next closest total on a specific count.

  41. good ab for BJ, and I’m slightly worried about Freddie, he doesn’t seem right after he got hit on the hand (only one bloop hit since then, I think).

  42. And hell, while we’re at it, Jason seems to have no problem knowing when to swing at the first pitch, as he’s hitting .368/.382/.622 on the first pitch for his career. In all at-bats that start 0-1, he’s .218/.277/.367.

  43. Heyward’s in a bit of a funk to start the year, yes. But all of this talk about benching him assumes that Jordan Schafer is a better option. Which is stupid.

  44. What’s his slash line in all at-bats that start 1-0?

    @54

    Right…because he was looking for a particular pitch. Isn’t that what we want?

  45. Anyone with video feed know if those last to “balls” to Burnett were as good as Gamecast says they were?

  46. @55

    Also had a double in the 8th on Sunday, 2 PA after HBP. .182/.308/.307 since HBP, but only 13 PA, so take that as you will.

  47. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying bench Heyward, this is not his first funk, he’ll get out of it. I’m more surprised about the willingness to offer him a huge extension when most of his value is defense.

    that being said, yeah there are no good options to replace him internally.

    edit: thanks @60

  48. There are very, very few players in the league who don’t go through funks offensively. Every year. Hell, Freddie Freeman’s in a mini-funk right now.

  49. That’s pretty darn good, jj.

    Since you’re on the numbers, what’s he doing on the first pitch this season when he swings?

    (Actually asking.)

  50. @63 indeed, even the good Upton hasn’t had a hit since being named player of the week ( I think).

  51. @65 – It is pretty good. But .273/.414/.475. isn’t as good as .368/.382/.622.

    This year on the first pitch he’s at .250/.250/.500, vs. .143/.273/.393 after a first pitch ball, and .105/.320/.105 after a first pitch strike.

    And as shocked as I am to find that in a season in which his numbers are bad, his numbers are bad, I’d have to say his numbers this year, even irrespective of sample size issues, are not germane to the question. If it’s a teachable approach issue, regarding knowing what pitch to swing at or take, I don’t think he’d get worse at it with time.

    But that point is moot, as he does better on the first pitch than he does in all other at-bats combined, and better than that sample split in to at-bats that begin with either 1-0 or 0-1.

    And if it were a teachable moment, maybe Chipper isn’t the best guy to teach it, as I’ve illustrated that Chipper put in play more first-pitches than any other individual count, but also that as successful as Chipper was when putting the first pitch in play, you might note that Heyward’s .368/.382/.622 is actually better than Chipper’s .361/.360/.593.

  52. There are few things more beautiful on a baseball field than Andrelton Simmons turning a double play.

  53. That was just stupid-city right there, because Laird took strike three right down the middle., possibly because he saw what a good jump Andrelton got and he didn’t want to screw anything up.

  54. @72 – Thanks! Ever since you showed me Baseball-Reference, you can hardly keep me off’a that thing.

    Next I think I’m going to check out the Billy James guy you’re always talking about.

  55. All of this Heyward concern is interesting, because when you adjust for era, offensively he’s on track to be a sort of David Justice clone…

  56. Also, I strongly suspect the Braves scouting report on this rotation and these umpires instructs their players to go up there looking for something early in the count.

  57. @75 – I think there’d actually be a lot of disappointed people if Jason turned out to be David Justice. Such is the curse of expectations.

    @76 – Personally, I think Jason might be reducing his approach for a few days to “See ball, hit ball” in hopes it might straighten him out a bit.

  58. @73 – Salty much?

    I mean, I get it. I definitely hated that you bothered to investigate Heyward’s and Chipper’s count splits. Pretty rude of you. You got me!

  59. I just thought I’d inject a few facts in to the conversation, and maybe lighten the load for you “experts.”

  60. In addition to the Andruw problem (i.e. expectations of Willy Mays means people fail to appreciate the HOF caliber play they actually got), I think a lot of people haven’t really adjusted their idea of what “good numbers” look like in the post-2008 MLB world.

  61. The director didn’t get us the best angle on that pickoff. I wonder if Alex picked Freddie off too?

    EDIT: No I guess he played it just right, Wood’s throw was just off line.

  62. Keep injecting. Stay salty if you need to. The conversation’s much better since you got pissed off.

  63. I find fewer things on a baseball field as obnoxious as the superfluous dive.

    Jump through the air to catch a ball that was coming straight at you at waist height.

  64. Funny thing about Burnett being upset with Andrelton is… Besides obviously being a better hitter and better shortstop, Andrelton just might be a better pitcher than him, too.

  65. Are you talking about Revere’s catch? Because he doesn’t make that catch if he doesn’t dive.

  66. @88 – He caught the ball 26 inches off the ground. Looked to me like he catches it if he just runs in.

  67. He caught the ball at knee-height and falling, two feet in front of his knees. That’s a dying quail hit right at him. You have to dive to get that ball.

  68. Well at least Heyward hit the ball well there and off a lefty; not sure if Laird would’ve made it home though.

    edit: true, ububba (103)

  69. @98 Wood or anyone else aside from Julio. We only have 3 SAC bunts so far this year, and Julio has 2 of them

  70. #101
    You might have seen a pinch-runner if Laird ever got to third with one out.

    EDIT: Whenever BJ gets a big hit, it’ll be as unexpected as finding a $20 bill in the back of a taxi cab.

  71. Even after the pathetic bunt attempt, I’d be tempted to pinch run Schafer for Laird and hit Gattis for BJ.

  72. This game is what last night’s would have been if Gattis had not been in the lineup. Amazing we can’t hit in a ballpark like Philly’s.

  73. The wind was blowing in last night, it was freezing cold and Lee was pitching. Nobody was going to tee off last night.

  74. It’d be about right if we lost because they can bunt and we can’t. I know that was a position player, but still.

  75. 8 MPH out to LF today. Not warm, and they’ve adjusted that park a little from its inception so it’s not as laughably easy to jack one any more, but today is a better day for it than last night.

  76. If he gets Howard here, I might pull him. I’d not have him face Chase Utley again.

  77. This is interesting, using Howard even though we already have a lefty in the game. It’s not like they don’t have any other spots in the lineup that they could hit him in the 9th.

    EDIT: I didn’t even consider that 1st is open, and the next hitter is Ben Revere. I downgrade my judgement from “Interesting,” to “Questionable.”

  78. I wonder when was the last time there were two complete-game losing pitchers in a series.

  79. There’s plenty of bad luck re: run support for Wood this year, but, kid, you’ve gotta learn how to bunt and help yourself.

  80. I remember the old “If somebody gets on base does Fredi have the balls to pinch-hit Gattis for Uggla?” scenario from last year.

  81. I don’t think that there’s anything particularly wrong with walking Howard with first base open and the winning run already in scoring position. I know Howard struggles against lefties, but it’s not like Wood pitched around him. He gave him a chance to get himself out, and he didn’t, so he went after the next guy, who was also a leftie.

    Hanging the breaking ball to Revere was the problem. If he hangs that same breaking ball to Howard, it’s 2-0, struggles-against-lefties and all.

  82. Not related to anything: We’ve allowed 40 runs now this season. The Diamondbacks have allowed 115. They’ve played 3 more games than we have, so if we give up an average of 25 runs per game over our next three we’ll catch them.

    And I thought the Cubbies were bad.

  83. 127-Howard doesn’t just “struggle” against lefties. He’s woeful. And he hadn’t faced Wood yet. Revere had already faced him three times, and in a zero-zero game defending against the minute possibility of a two-run jack by greatly increasing the odds of a game-losing single is pretty damn dumb.

    Edit: To be clear, I don’t think Wood walked Howard on purpose. But Joe acted like he had.

  84. damn, justin sucks again
    as does regression

    yeah the offennse is broken; at least the bullpen has gotten a lot of rest

  85. On the brink of losing a game 1-0 without Gattis getting even one at bat

    Regression sucks again too

  86. @130 – You’re treating it like an Intentional Walk, which it wasn’t.

    EDIT: I see your edit, so I’ll retract that. But you can’t talk about it as ‘strategy,’ or on it’s merits as a decision, as he almost struck him out on the 2-2 pitch where Howard checked his swing. The only decision he made was to not give in, and I say that was the right decision. Give yourself a fresh count against another lefty.

  87. We lost the game 1-0, but also of consequence, Wood lost whatever leeway he might have had later in the year to hit for himself one-more-time in hopes of getting a decision. He didn’t fail to get the bunt down, he looked like me up there. Except that I would have actually squared all the way around and looked pretty good until the part where the pitch was actually in the air. He looked more like my sister.

  88. @139 LOL

    @140 Absolutely. He looks lost up there and is missing really hittable pitches again. BJ is really out hitting him right now, as sad as that may be

  89. not sure if this violates the message board policy, i know that others have shared personal news at times and I am a little lost right now and am hoping that this can be somewhat therapeutic.

    My son has been diagnosed with something called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which basically results in a thickening of the heart walls and can lead to, well, sudden death. Especially troubling is that he has exhibited some of the external signs of having the disease go active, though we cannot know for sure until all the tests come in. Needless to say, my wife and I are quite unsettled and have to tell him this evening. Not looking for sympathy or therapy, but if you have someone you love, go home and give them a hug tonight and tell them you love them. thanks.

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