For the last few seasons the Braves have had a group of very good starting pitchers. Most talking heads said it was a rotation of Â “twos and threes.” It’s starting to appear that the Braves have, not just a number one, but one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Julio Teheran was dominate again today, throwing eight innings of three hit shutout ball. In fact, he has only given up one run in his last three starts. That’s Madduxesq.Too bad for the BravesÂ Johnny Cueto was just as dominate, also going eight and scattering three hits.
The Braves bats didn’t get going until there were two outs in the tenth when Jason Heyward singled to center. BJ Upton followed up with a Baltimore Chopper off of JJ Hoover’s glove. The Reds went with Manny Parra to face Freddie Freeman. Freeman proceeded to blast a ball to deep center that not even Billy Hamilton could catch up to. Heyward scored with ease and the sweep was complete.
Julio has dueled with some of the best pitchers in the National League and has gone pitch for pitch with them all. Frank Wren’s best move so far may have been refusing to include Teheran in any trade.
The Bravos are off tomorrow and will go fishing in Miami on Tuesday.
I swear. Three guys not hitting. 2/5 ths of our projected starters out for the season. Our star lefty on the DL. AARON Eâ€™FFING Harang????? First Place? Its preposterous! Iâ€™m starting to wonder if the best deal Wren made was with the devil.
Cueto’s full delivery reminds me of Luis Tiant.
Regression is starting to regress. We really have four guys not hitting.
We were brimming with confidence when we heard the PA announcer say that Manny Parra was coming in to pitch to Freeman. Brimming!
We’re 4-4 when scoring 2 runs or less, and 3-1 when scoring only one run. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that is not even remotely sustainable.
I’m still upset that Teheran fell on his face in his NLDS start last fall. I was hoping that would be a nationally-televised breakout of sorts for hi,. Hopefully he’ll get a chance at redemption in five months.
League average r/G is 4. It may not be sustainable, but I think you have to concede the offensive environment ain’t what it used to be. OPS+ of 100 is roughly .720 so far.
Dominant or dominating, please. Sorry, but that one in particular hurts my brain.
Good pitching again today and this was a very nice sweep of a team who had been scoring a lot of runs lately.
I’m certainly not gonna complain about us allowing just over 2 runs per game…but that’s not going to be the case for the whole year. We’d win 120+ games if that happened.
Today was another entry for the “uptight rival manager” file — Price was given every opportunity not to get thrown out of the game. He started out onto the field after the challenge was denied, and the first- and second-base umps both gesticulated profusely for him not to come out and argue. He stood there for several seconds, then made up his mind to continue marching forward. All in the service of protesting a (probably botched, but still) call on a pickoff throw to first base with two outs in the first inning. A less important situation would be difficult to concoct. I continue to respect Fredi’s dugout demeanor relative to that of many of our opponents.
I was just checking out ESPN’s Braves page and saw that they were highlighting the Braves in the lower half of the league in three out of four offensive categories:
24th in Runs, 18th in BA, 23rd in OBP, 10th in SLG.
Meanwhile, the Braves are in the top 1 of 30 in the league in three out of four pitching categories:
1st in ERA, 1st in quality starts, 2nd in WHIP, 1st in BAA.
Nice run so far. Even though offense is down across the league, I’d at least like to inch our placement closer to the top half of the league in those categories.
Notes from the outfield today:
-Love how much the crowd got into the Gattis and Freddie at bats in the tenth. There were like three different style Freddie chants going at the same time.
-Couldn’t believe Bruce didn’t catch the ball Andrelton doubled on. I think I’m too used to watching Heyward run them down.
-Dan Uggla made a fine play up the middle that didn’t get much love around here. He’s still pretty silly.
-So on board with firing Avilan.
-Organist was playing Beethoven for Ryan Ludwick and Mozart (as well as “Rock Me Amadeus” once) for Zack Cozart.
-The drummer on the big drum wears a custom jersey that reads “Stagger Lee” on the back
-Hamilton looked safe from 200+ feet away.
Also heard the theme from Frasier for Todd Frazier, as well as King of Pain and the Pina Colada Song for Brayan Pena…
And the Friends theme for *Joey* Votto.
Nice recap, Smitty. Thanks.
@10 I agree. Comparing to the other managers’ behavior, I think Fredi has been quite smart in handling this.
@1 and 11 Whether it’s sustainable or not is a different story, but we are 10 games over .500 before the end of April. We can’t complain about that!
THIS IS A GOOD BASEBAW TEAM.
@16, Dude, make no mistake: I am enjoying the hell out f this run! I also don’t see it ending all of a sudden. I really do want to get our offense rounded out in the meantime, though.
I’d settle for getting Heyward going.
Uggla is still living off the 2 homer game. BJ looks better for 1 PA then ……. CJ (sigh) is regressing.
I was watching again the Game 1 of the 1995 World Series. I can’t believe how much I have forgotten. That second inning Crime Dog homerun was awesome. I kept thinking why Heyward can’t hit like the Crime Dog. Heyward has so many moving parts while Crime Dog “sat” so still in the batting box and his swing was so smooth and simple.
And watching Maddux pitching at his prime is such a treat. For couple years after we have gotten Maddux, I honestly couldn’t figure out whether he was throwing this slider or his cutter / backdoor fastball or changeup. Nothing coming out of his hand was straight. It’s crazy.
The New York Mets are in 2nd place in the NL East.
For only scoring a total of 89 runs through 24 games, it just staggers me that the Braves run differential is +31.
@22 Yes, can Roger win the Manager of the Year award? That guy deserves something man.
Now, that is interesting.
@7 – New dead ball era? I kind of like less offense in the game. How about y’all?
We’ve scored more runs than the Cardinals so far…so at least our sleepy offense has some company.
I like pitching duels. And we’ll need more of them, to make up for all the delays as managers argue to buy time while deciding whether to use their replay challenge. The next thing baseball needs to do is establish specific timing for how long a manager has to challenge after the conclusion of a play. Right now, everyone’s arguing first, and it’s taking too long.
Every out is important enough to argue over, I think. It’s good that Not Dusty Baker had a problem with the call.
Bryan Price had every right to argue that call. BJ was clearly out. All you had to do is go frame by frame with the replay. There’s a still photo that’s been posted all over the Reds blogs that shows without a doubt that he was out.
I’ll agree that maybe he should have picked a more important battle to fight…weren’t there two outs already? But I can’t blame the guy for arguing a blown call that was blown *again* during the replay review.
I’m one of those guys that very rarely gets to watch the Braves. But, I do follow Gamecast, and listen to the radio feed. And so, my question is this, how does the “stuff” of Teheran, Wood, and Hale look? All three of them are pitching out of their heads. Are any of them as GUIs as their numbers? Thanks…
They have been very good a locating their pitches.
The two kids, Teheran and Wood, have been absolutely dominant. Locating pitches and being explosive in and out of the zone, with control. Hale has gotten a little luckier with ERA outpacing FIP results, but when he does get into a groove he too can dominate hitters. It’s kind of shocking to see, actually.
The offense is going to be fine. I don’t envision a guy like Uggla sticking around for much longer, and I also can’t imagine Evan Gattis splitting time with Laird for more than one day out of the week. That business just has to stop. Chris Johnson should be alright. His hits will come, and BJ Upton is also showing some promise.
Jason Heyward, on the other hand, just isn’t a hitter. I’m starting to give up on his offensive potential, but hey, at least Jay-Hey is worth 5 wins on defense, right?? Totally an all-star! I kid… Actually, I’m not sure I’m kidding.
I agree with Sam on Hale. He was about 5 inches from being down 3-0 in the first inning Saturday. That would’ve changed the game tremendously. However, every Braves starter, aside from Santana, is outpacing their FIP by a wide margin.
ERA vs FIP
Teheran- 1.47 vs. 3.48
Wood- 1.54 vs. 2.80
Harang- 0.85 vs. 2.83
Hale- 2.31 vs. 3.21
Santana- 1.95 vs. 1.85
However, on the opposite side, the relievers FIPs are much lower than their ERAs. So, common sense says that our starters’ numbers will get worse, but our relief will get better!
An interesting piece from Jeff Sullivan on the new-and-improved Big Erv.
@28, 29 – The umpires on the field don’t make the replay call. He might as well have gone and yelled at a beer vendor, excepting of course the fact that a beer vendor couldn’t throw him out of the game.
If he felt that getting himself thrown out was a tactical decision, then whatever. But I’d argue that, as far as giving his team the best chance to win, I’d say managing from the tunnel is not helpful.
And why in the world would Reds blogs be posting still photos of the play, like it meant anything? He never scored, and it forced Cueto to throw a whopping 5 additional pitches.
First inning, two-outs, on a pick-off throw at first: that’s about the stupidest time possible to risk your challenge-rights, as the benefits would be hard-pressed to outweigh the risks. And it was even stupider to argue with powerless people when he knew full-well he’d get ejected for doing it.
I have no sympathy for him. If Fredi did it, and people around here were bitching the next day that the team got screwed, I’d be blaming Fredi for putting our fate, such as it was, in the hands of the umpires on such a stupid play.
@36, it did have a non-trivial impact in that if the Reds hadn’t lost that challenge then they’d have been able to challenge the bad call at 2B on Hamilton’s steal attempt.
Which is why he shouldn’t have challenged the pick off call.
Of course he’s right to be upset about the call, and to argue it. He got to do those things. The process took forever, and the umps huddled in front of the Reds dugout.
Maybe he shouldn’t have made the stupid decision to risk losing his challenge over a pick-off throw in the first inning, with two outs and only one runner aboard, on first.
When I watch games I root for a dumb challenge from each manager in the first inning, so that afterwards I can just watch in peace knowing that the worst that can happen is my team is the victim of a bad call just like in a regular baseball game.
@41 – perfect.
It is becoming clear that one of the unintended (but predictable) consequences of the replay system is that every close play is going to result in time-wasting/stalling tactics while the team waits for their guy in the booth to say whether or not it’s worth a challenge.
34 — The thing is, I don’t think anyone would be complaining at the end of the season if those FIPs turned into the ERAs.
Am I understanding FIP correctly that it can be misleading if your defense is significantly above average? If so, I would imagine the defense that Heyward and Simmons provide would affect the stat considerably. Everybody else is either average to above average as we really don’t have any butchers out there, except for Gattis’ throwing game.
Well, CJ & Uggla have their moments.
Gattis has thrown out 12 of 26 baserunners in his career. Not sure how good or bad he really is, but I think we can say he’s not a butcher as long as he’s behind the plate where he ought to be.
Should he have challenged there? Dunno, I can see both sides of it. Should he have argued after they upheld the call? Absolutely. They got it wrong. Every out in this game is monumentally important, so you should pitch a fit when one gets taken away from you, procedure be damned. Maybe someone notices and it goes your way the next time. Managing from the tunnel is not a problem. Well, maybe the Reds don’t have a Carlos Tosca, but I’d bet they do.
I think Gattis has been pretty decent back there. McCann was a terrible thrower.
@39, 47: Huh? jjschiller has it right. When you argue, you ought to argue with someone who has the ability to do something about it. Throwing a fit to get future calls? Ha! At that point, even if every ump agreed with him, they can’t overrule NY, can they? FWIW, everyone in the stands looking at the replay they showed thought BJ was out, so I know he thought he got jobbed. So write a letter to the commissioner…
According to DRS, our entire OF is saving runs this year and Heyward is at an other-worldly +13 DRS. Interestingly enough, Andrelton is only at +2. In fact, DRS currently looks at the Braves defense very favorably with Uggla the only player with a 0 DRS and every other regular at least saving 1 run. The Braves as a whole have saved 28 runs through defense this year and that ranks first in the Majors by 7 runs. That 1.12 runs/game.
Conclusion: Maybe it’s not the pitching that’s not sustainable, but it’s the defense.
Do you think that after someone notices you pitching a fit,, it’s more likely that the next one goes your way, because someone feels bad about it, or that the next one goes against you too, because you were a prick, and now there’s nothing you can do about it?
I’d guess that neither outcome is particularly likely, as the umpires’ performances are reviewed. But in the case of the first, make-up calls are probably a thing of the past in the age of replay. The ump can go ahead and give you the next close one, but Fredi didn’t lose his right to challenge it. You did.. In the case of the second.. well, we’re still in the age of Angel Hernandez, and why would you try to embarrass a small person by putting him in a position where he can hurt you but you can’t hurt him?
And if managers didn’t have a strong preference to put their own eyes on the plays and the players when they make their judgements, they wouldn’t all spend the entire game on the top step of the dugout. It may not be the end of the world, but you’ve put yourself at a distinct disadvantage when you’ve caused yourself to have to manage by proxy.
Do I think that any of this cost the Reds the game? Of course not. I think this entire argument is a bit absurd. But I find the argument that any of this did anything to HELP the Reds to be particular absurd.
If you want to make a martyr of yourself to damn the procedure, bitch to the media after the game and take your fine. If you hand it to the reporters, you KNOW it will get noticed. And it has the bonus advantage of not hurting your team on the field.
He was arguing because the call and the subsequent non-overrule were horseshit, nothing more. Have you ever seen a manager argue and actually get a call reversed? Maybe like 1 or 2 times out of tens of thousands of arguments…that doesn’t stop them from arguing.
If he didn’t get thrown out he would have lost respect from his players and Reds fans. I would expect Fredi to also go apeshit and get tossed if and when something similar happens to us.
But this was different from all those other arguments, krussell, because he got the right to appeal. He’d already argued once. Admittedly, it was this new sort of perfunctory, apologetic argument while someone looks at the film, which is ridiculously stupid looking. But it was still an argument. In baseball, you get to come out on the field and argue once… nobody has ever gotten twice. If he wants to pitch a fit, pitch it the first time he comes out.
In football or hockey, have you ever seen a coach say anything to the officials after losing a replay? Ever? of course not, because he’s not arguing with the people who made the call.
I just don’t see what the problem is with him arguing…they blew the call twice. Of course he’s going to be unhappy. I’d be pissed if my manager *didn’t* give them a piece of his mind. No they aren’t going to change the ruling, but that doesn’t mean you just grin and bear it. A bad call is a bad call and I’m going to want everyone in shouting distance to know it.
But the people who blew the call the second time were 800 miles away. Maybe every team should station a guy in NY to argue with the replay team… If someone at work yells at me for something I had nothing to do with, in fact or theory, it’s hard to take him seriously.
I’m sure he contacted the NY guys too after the game. The umpires are the authority on the field, and they aren’t 800 miles away, so they naturally are going to take the verbal lashing.
I would blame the entire fraternity of umpires for creating this weird dynamic where all calls are upheld unless there’s egregiously obvious evidence to the contrary. This one was admittedly one step removed from blatantly obvious — you have to go frame-by-frame to see it. Still, that’s not exactly asking for too much.