The Cardinal Way 4, the “used to be Brave”s 3 (by Cliff)

When I took on this task, it was only over the weekend. As the losses continued to mount, I felt a great burden to provide the push to get this team back to the winning column. But, fortunately for me, the losing streak isn’t my fault. But, the loss is, nonetheless.

My wife does not agree with the doctrine of physics which provides that listening on radio or watching on TV positively affects a team. Last night was Band Banquet for my daughter. So, I got on the radio at just about the time Harang had first and second in the 6th. It was 4 to nothing. It ended 4 to 3. So, in my part of the game, the Braves won. The rest of you know it is your fault for the first part.

I am an interpreter of the Enneagram. As such, I think of individuals and corporate bodies as both reflecting the dynamics of this system. To me, “The Cardinal Way” is a belief in and a need for moral perfection. Think like if the Pharisees or Paul / Saul of Tarsus, or the early Jesuit leaders, or modern Christian Fundamentalist leaders set out to run a Major League Baseball organization. (so, right off the bat I have obliterated rule 1, huh?). The fundamental urge to be right and force the system to be right produces tension in a person or institution unable to get rid of its root sin of anger. Well, the tension didn’t quite get to the red guys last night.

Aaron Harang was once again pretty good. 6 k’s, 1 bb. And an Andrelton Simmons error led to 2 of the 4 runs for the enemy. Our guys charged back late. Anthony Varvaro looked dominant.

Frank and Fredi, right the ship. Dan Uggla needs to be on the bench or off the roster, now. It is only 1/9th of the batting order, but when you lose by 1 several times in a week, maybe you could have gotten at least one of those.

132 thoughts on “The Cardinal Way 4, the “used to be Brave”s 3 (by Cliff)”

  1. Thanks Cliff. It’s official — the number of consecutive losses that begets inquiry into the metaphysical realm is shown to be seven.

  2. BJ and Freddie both hit it on the screws a couple times and had little to show for it. It felt less like an “offensive ineptitude” game and more like a “defensive clown show” miserable loss. That bodes well.

    Now, watch us get shut down by Tyler Lyons.

  3. Thank you, Cliff. You sent me to the web to research the enneagram. I continue to be amazed at how much I do not know.

  4. If the Cardinals fans haven’t been calling Tyler Lyons “Pride” then I don’t believe in humanity anymore.

  5. coop,

    For me, the best treatments of the subject are:

    Helen Palmer’s “The Enneagram in Love & at Work” (I am using it in teaching “Couples Communication Strategies”). Written from a spiritual, yet somewhat secular somewhat universal, basis.

    Father Richard Rohr’s: “The Enneagram: a Christian Perspective”. I use this in my introductory class.

    Also, anything by Don Richard Riso (but Riso on the enneagram is a little like Stephen Hawking on physics. I read “A Brief History of Time” by reading each paragraph 3 times before moving on. And I have better than half ass knowledge of physics. That books sold millions of copies just so people could put it on their shelf or coffee table to look smart.)

    And, for many of you, a tidbit. It is likely that Gene Roddenberry studied the Gurdjieff method of the enneagram. His characters in the first television show plainly show the characteristics. Type 1, Mr. Scott, Type 2, Lt. Uhuru, Type 3, Capt. James T. Kirk, Type 5, Mr. Spock, Type 6 Mr. Checkov, Type 7, Dr. “Bones” McCoy, Type 8, Khan. And his “outer space Greek morality play” scripts show this. The episode where the people on the planet have a computer simulated war game shows the spiritual downfall for my type, 5.

  6. I was sitting in the 300 level and the bad luck was pretty noticeable – Freddie had two hard hits caught, Bupton had one, and Heyward scorched a liner to second that was just low enough to catch to end an inning with at least one man on base. Jupton was the only hitter who really frustrated me – he seems extremely passive at the moment. Principled stands on the precise definition of the strike zone will lead to way too many called third strikes, some of which will even quench 9th inning rallies such as last night’s.

  7. A shocking stat that describes the ineptitude of the offense.

    Team RISP w/2 outs: .121

    Ranks dead last in the Majors. Freeman is 5 for 10 in those situations and other Braves are 8 for 97 with 30 strikeouts. Holy buckets.

  8. The good news is that team batting average with RISP and 2 outs is pretty much up to the luck dragon, and basically no one stays that bad forever. Last year, the best OPS with 2 outs/RISP in baseball, of course, was the Cardinals at .821. The worst were the Marlins at .569. This year, the Cards are at .635 and the Marlins are at .747.

    Last year, the Braves were at .704; this year, it’s .518. We definitely won’t stay that bad forever. Hopefully we’re just getting our June swoon out of the way early.

  9. @9, RISP or not, we’re not hitting period. Our situational hitting is bad because our hitting in all situations is bad. The Cards were good in 2013 with RISP because they had a bunch of good hitters (or guys having good years at least).

    Here’s our 8 guys with the most AB’s so far:

    Heyward — .223/.312/.331 — that’s bad, borderline terrible
    BJ ——– .207/.294/.315 — that’s even worse
    Justin —- .288/.370/.559 — carrying the team, when he slumps we lose
    Freeman — .300/.375/.517 — ditto
    CJ ——– .236/.267/.318 — even worse than BJ, which is hard to do
    Simmons — .279/.300/.452 — kinda what we expected
    Uggla —– .190/.248/.280 — OPS approaching the 4’s … wow
    Gattis —- .267/.290/.533 — about what we expected, maybe a little better

    We have 4 of the worst hitters in baseball (in 2014) in the same lineup most nights. Not sure what you can do about that. Hopefully it self-corrects. If it doesn’t we have no room to do anything about it anyways.

  10. @11

    1. Trust Jason Heyward to right the ship. He has skills and has shown them in the recent past, notably OBP skills.

    2. BJ Upton is looking better as he goes.

    3. Justin Upton is good.

    4. Freddie Freeman is good.

    5. Chris Johnson is the new Dan Uggla contract.

    6. Simmons is good.

    7. Dan Uggla should not play going forward. He is done. D-U-N done.

    8. What we expected, but that OBP is bad.

  11. We have a bunch of very streaky hitters that seem to streak together. Hopefully they’ll get on a hot streak together too before its too late.

    Good lord I hope that Chris Johnson isn’t the new Uggla contract. I don’t know if the team is going to survive the original Uggla contract.

    Justin is totally binary. Hot or Not. 1 or 0.

    I am thinking that the Braves will have to start trying to catch lightening in a bottle like they did with Pena and Schafer last year. Maybe give Doumit and LaStella the chance.

  12. Heyward is starting to remind me of Frenchy. A good first year followed by hope and excuses for missed expectations. His hole is up and in rather than low and away, but it seems fully exploitable by good pitchers. I’ve given up dreaming that Heyward is an all star dragged down by injury or bad luck, but rather is a batter with a persistent weakness.

  13. And Heyward already is righting the ship.

    The sample size is tiny, but maybe we need to go back to finding a platoon partner for CJ. He’s still a line drive machine, so maybe he’ll figure it out to some degree.

  14. CJ’s spray chart for this season surprised me a little. A ton of ground balls to the left side. I’ve been under the impression that he’s taken the inside-out approach a bit too far this year – especially when he takes inside-corner pitches softly to right field. But maybe he’s actually been a bit too pull happy.

    I dunno. The lack of power is concerning too. Hoping as the weather warms up our overall SLG will too.

  15. Unlike Joe Simpson, I don’t really care whether a hitter is pull-happy or opposite-field happy. The only thing that really matters is whether the hitter is able to barrel the ball consistently. As long as his swing mechanics are working for him to hit the ball hard, he can spray it wherever he likes.

  16. I really think they should take batting practice with RISP so they can get used to the situation. It seems something about RISP must be getting to them so maybe practicing with that situation might help.

  17. Blech. Slumps suck. We just need the guys who can hit to hit. What’s so frustrating about all this is that, besides Uggla, there’s no real scapegoat. Heyward, JUpton, Freeman, Johnson (probably), Gattis and Simmons are going to hit, and BUpton is even starting to turn it around.

    We just need to hit. Whatever.

  18. Whoa. Sounds like Uggla’s benched to me!

    Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez did not want to use the term “benched” in reference to Dan Uggla, who was out of the starting lineup for the third time in less than a week on Monday. But at the same time, he was not willing to specify his plans for the second base position.

    “I don’t even want to address that situation there,” Gonzalez said. “We’ll just go with whatever we think gives us our best chance and go from there.”

    Also interesting…

    While some of Atlanta’s players have privately suggested that they believe Pastornicky would be a productive replacement for Uggla…

  19. I still can’t believe they extended Johnson during an obvious downward trend. Seems like something Ruben Amaro would do.

  20. “Hopefully they’ll get on a hot streak together too before its too late.”

    Well, it’s May and the team is still in first place.

  21. @24, Even if it’s not his best decision, it’s at least understandable to go the extension route. Every time someone says “big free-agent signing” around Wren, he probably curls up into the fetal position at this point.

  22. So, if the biggest hole in the lineup is Dan Uggla, and the only reason he is playing is the manager, doesn’t that support the contention that the biggest hole on the team is, in fact, at manager?

  23. He has $24 million reasons he is playing, until the Braves cut their sunk costs. That’s not Fredi’s fault.

  24. JUPTON! Better make it stand up, Gavin.

    35- This isn’t Jeopardy, it doesn’t have to be in the form of a question.

  25. Have as anybody ever seen an easier part of a lineup with BJ Upton , Uggla and the pitcher hiiting 6,7 and 8 .. talk about a breeze for the opposing pitcher !!

  26. Oh, I don’t know, Gavin could be a pretty dangerous guy in the 8 hole.

  27. I don’t mind the whole Pitcher batting 8th gimmick, but 6.BJ-7.Uggla-8.P is disgustingly bad

  28. I thought they might work their way out of this slump but Im more of the thinking that something is gonna have to be done ..either a hitting coach change, or a release of a player or something to kinda shakes things up ..nothing seems to work .. the worst part is the Braves lineup is turning out like alot of experts thought ..too many strikeouts , not enough contact hitters to use the field … you cant have that many free swingers Uggla, BJ Upton, J Upton , Gaddis , Heyward .. Simmons makes contact alot but swings hard, C Johnson has been bad since the contract .. still dont understand that one !!

  29. Well done, Gavin Floyd. You deserve a W. But you play for the Braves, so 1 run over 7 innings is no guarantee of that.

    Let’s get BJ in.

  30. 54- Blind hogs still find acorns every so often. Now we’ve gotta make it count.

  31. It takes a special kind of moron to let Dan Uggla swing away against a righthander.

  32. No Uggla shouldnt bunt … Freddie should have had Pena in ther to bunt in place of Uggla .. Freddie is a moron

  33. Doumit rhymes with what we keep saying after he fails at the plate. The polite version, anyway.

  34. Good baseball there .. lead off double, hit it to the left side dont advance , strike out .. nuff said .. these guys do not know how the game is played.

  35. We love wasting leadoff doubles. I think we’ve pretty much perfected that skill.

  36. We didn’t need that run anyways. I’m sure whatshisname will close this out.

  37. Suicide squeezing with Gerald Laird is what you do when you have Dan Uggla on deck and you are afraid to pinch hit for either.

  38. Wow this team is the worst fundamental team … why would you let Laird hit there .. PENA !!!!!

  39. He’s that guy who used to come into those games when we actually had more runs. I think. My memory’s getting hazy.

  40. So, it must be difficult to tell Harang or Floyd that they will be in the bullpen now.

  41. Not quite the offensive explosion we’ve been waiting for, but at this point beggars can’t be choosers. Now let’s win 6 more in a row.

  42. If the Dodgers don’t blow their lead, which they’re trying very hard to do… it was 8-0 LA going into the bottom of the 8th. It’s now 8-3, and the Nats have the bases loaded.

  43. Jamey Wright got Span to ground out and end the 8th inning. Now we need from the Dodgers is for them to hold a 5-run lead for one inning. How hard could it be? (Dodgers, please don’t answer that.)

  44. @97 Indeed. I wonder if Santana will go on the DL to give his thumb a couple of weeks to recover (but to really let this starting pitching problem work itself out).

  45. Oh, no—I just realized the losing streak was entirely my fault. At the beginning of the season I had written all of the Braves April game times into my planner, so I wouldn’t have to worry about looking them up every day. April 27th was the last game I entered since the next week was a new month (that I have to flip a few pages to get to). I had not had a chance to enter any more until this evening, when before the game I went in and entered all of the May and June games. We did not win a single game during the stretch the games were not in my planner, but our record is excellent when they are in there. My bad. I promise I will be more conscientious in the future and never let this happen again.

  46. So I went back in time and killed Jack the Ripper with a foam tomahawk and all is now fixed, except for Dan Uggla. You’re welcome.

  47. @108 and 109 We are all doing everything we can to help the team. They have to appreciate it!

  48. So I went back in time and killed Jack the Ripper…

    So who was it? Druitt, right?

  49. @109, To fix Uggla you’ll have to go back in time and kill the entire cast and crew of Deep Throat.

  50. 108
    I’m convinced I stopped the losing streak myself :)
    When the Braves play a night game, I’m usually asleep (being in Europe). First thing in the morning, I check the scores on mlb.com. But this morning I decided to try something different and opened Braves Journal first. I guess it worked!

  51. If he went to the Marlins he would hit .330 with 30 homers, 24 of them against the Braves…

  52. @115

    You should always check here first.

    @116

    He is the number one Brave killer.

    It looks like they are platooning Uggla now.

  53. I just can’t understand why the Braves still think Uggla has anything left. My fear is that he’ll have a good game and that will just extend the agony.

  54. It doesn’t seem to me like the Braves believe in Uggla at all. This team-wide hitting slump seems to have forced their hand somewhat earlier than they’d hoped on La Stella, but if you can take what beat reporters are parroting at face value, the team apparently feels La Stella could use time to make some minor adjustments. It’s hard to imagine, given the team’s needs and La Stella’s age, that they really want to hold him back to save money long-term, so maybe there’s some truth to that.

  55. @121

    I agree. I think the FO may feel La Stella will get the bat knocked out of his hands after pitchers adjust to him.

    He is in a possition where you don’t need a lot of pop, but if the pitchers don’t have some fear of your power, they are going to be difficult to hit.

  56. I think La Stella is just going to be a left-handed version of Chris Johnson except he plays 2b.

  57. Apparently Pena isn’t the option according to Fredi.
    http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/baseball/uggla-back-in-lineup-pena-back-on-bench-after-hr-d/nfqY9/

    Makes sense. Pena is more valuable as a utility guy than as a starter.

    @123 – I don’t see the similarities. CJ is a BABIP dependent singles hitter that never takes a walk. La Stella walks a lot and hits singles. Personally I’d rather have the latter. I’m not sure how you translate La Stella’s minor league career .408 OBP to the majors but its got to be better than Johnson’s current .267.

  58. CJ has a ton more power than La Stella. I would at least like to see what Pastornicky or La Stella could do full time at second.

  59. @124-Damn that article makes Fredi sound dumb–Vinnie effing Johnson usually came off the bench but he always played at least 20 minutes a game. And he wasn’t sitting on the bench for Dan fucking Uggla, but because the Pistons had guys like, I don’t know, Joe Dumars and Isiah Thomas starting at guard. Jesus, Fredi.

  60. I just voted for Simmons, Freeman, JUp and El Oso Blanco 35 times for the All Star Game

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