Braves 4 Fish 2

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While it is only June, that was a big weekend for the Braves. Sweeping the team that is tied with you for first is always a good thing.

Even though the Braves have an off day on Monday, Fredi really needed to rest most of the bullpen. Aaron Harang gave up two runs and five hits over six and two-thirds. He was really sharp after the second inning. You can rip Wren for BJ Upton and Dan Uggla, but no one knew they would be this bad. Harang has been an incredible pick up and Wren should get a ton of credit for it. He might make the All Star Team.

With the game tied 2-2 in the ninth, Freddie Freeman singled to center and El Oso Blanco bounced one off of that stupid statue in left center.

Shae Simmons came on and made it interesting in the ninth, but got out of it with no damage for his first save. I wonder if Fredi was really trying to rest the pen or if they might be show casing Simmons to be apart of a trade down the road. For now, he is a welcome addition to the pen.

Over our last ten games we have gone 5-5 and picked up two games on the Nats, so there’s that. I am not really sure Miami is for real. Right now the division appears to be the Braves to lose and the schedule is about to get a little easier. It would probably be a good time to put some distance between us and Washington. Though they have done little to show they are for real either.

The Braves are at home for two against the Mariners starting Tuesday.

41 thoughts on “Braves 4 Fish 2”

  1. Washington fans think they will come back strong in the second half after they get some injured players back on the field.

  2. With respect to our divisional rivals:

    I don’t buy the Marlins as legit. Their offense was putrid last year and, despite featuring mostly the same players this year, has scored the second-most runs in the NL after the Rockies. They just don’t have much depth – Stanton is awesome and Yelich is a good table-setter, but beyond that their offense is a bunch of meh talent playing over their heads. Pitching-wise, their starting rotation is Eovaldi followed by a bunch of guys who can’t strike anyone out. My guess is they finish the year comfortably below .500.

    I do think the Nats will make some noise at some point. They’ve got a better run differential than the Braves despite a lot of injuries (Zimmerman, Harper, Laroche) and some bad BABIP luck on the pitching side (Stras, Zimmermann and Gio’s ERAs are all .5 – 1 run higher than they would be with average luck on balls in play). If any NL East team is going to give the Braves a run this season, it’s the Nats.

  3. The Natspos did have a strong second half last year, but the idea is still to win as many game as we can so we don’t need to worry too much about them.

  4. @2 I rate Miami higher, but without Fernandez I think they’ll fade and finish around .500. I agree on the second part; the Nats are better than their record thus far. I’m hoping we go on a tear and put some distance between us before they come around.

  5. The Nats were a joke last year. They only finished above .500 because they played the Marlins, Mets, and Phillies on repeat basically all of September. Yank September and they’ve been sub-.500 over their last 162.

  6. Well, remember that the Washington Nationals are the Montreal Expos, an often-talented club that could never quite break through.

  7. It’s a bad idea to assume that the Marlins’ roster will stay as it is, if they can manage to remain close. And thus, it’s a bad idea to write off the Marlins completely. They have lots of pieces to trade and plenty of places to improve. That’s the benefit of playing over your head early in the season.

    The Nationals could do some things to boost their infield as well, and are obviously already built to be more competitive.

  8. @5 “[The Nationals] only finished above .500 because they played the Marlins, Mets, and Phillies on repeat basically all of September”

    So… what you’re saying is that the Nats’ 2013 schedule had the tougher opponents front-loaded and ended with a month against the soft underbelly that was the non-Braves NL East (2013). The Nats and Braves still face the Marlins, Mets, and Phillies the same number of times each season.

    As AAR says, the Nats are a talented team, and it’d be unwise to write them off simply because they’ve found ways to fail in the past.

  9. @8 when was the last time the Marlins actually moved to acquire win-now talent in-season?

    I have a very hard time picturing Loria ponying up to get Samardzija, Hammel et al. for the stretch run, and I have a very easy time picturing the Marlins offloading Cishek (and potentially Stanton) for prospects after finishing the 2014 season as an also-ran. The Marlins’ window for success is when they have lined up the primes of Fernandez, Eovaldi, Yelich, Ozuna, Hechevarria with whatever good talent they’ve got lurking in the minors – Jake Marisnick and Andrew Heaney come to mind.

  10. I think Matt Williams is a terrible manager and that will keep the Nats down. They also have a couple of holes. How long can Zimmerman run around in left field? I assume Harper will play more center when Zimmerman is back. How long can he do that? No way LaRoche hits .321 all year. They have issues staying healthy. Lots of questions here. They do have a bunch of talent, when healthy.

    The Marlins need three relievers , a starter and two bats (IMO)

    We need to add some depth on our bench, possibly a middle innings reliever and maybe a second baseman (if LaStella can’t cut it.)
    I like our position a lot more than those other two teams.

  11. They won’t put Zimmerman in left field. They’ll put him back at third, and they’ll probably move Rendon back to second — until they finally decide to put Zimmerman at first base full time, at which point they’ll need to jettison LaRoche. Their center fielder is Denard Span, and he isn’t going anywhere, so Harper will slot back in left field when he returns over the summer.

  12. I’m not sure the Braves are for real. We’re very fortunate the NL East is so weak. But come playoff time, I see another first round elimination, without improvement in a number of areas.

  13. Perhaps Fredi rested Kimbrell yesterday because they’re worried about him and want to see what Simmons really has.

    Speaking of Fredi, yesterday was his 310th victory as Braves manager, tying him with Bobby Bragan on the All-Time list. Bragan managed in Milwaukee and was the 1966 opening day manager for the first game in Atlanta.
    Bragan’s last game was Aug. 8 1966, a 10-9 victory over the Dodgers where the Braves bullpen gave up 3 runs in the top of the 9th only to score 4 in the bottom of the 9th. Phil Neikro got the victory (the 5th of his career) in relief.

  14. @10, I agree, they may not go get Samardzija, but Ozuna or Marisnick for a similarly young/highish-upside unproven player, like Nick Franklin? If Loria can put together a winner that’s also cheap, he’d recognize that that means more revenue for him.

  15. No one is ever sure if the Braves are for real. They are never good enough, apparently, but they still manage to win a few. Odd, that.

  16. Small sample size still, but anybody notice that Fat Juan finally seems to be putting it all together in Toronto? That big breakthrough could finally be happening. Funny how often that seems to happen with players like him in their age-27 season.

  17. 16 — Kimbrel rested yesterday because he’d pitched 3 days in a row. Fredi learned from his past experience of running down relievers in 2011.

  18. 19 — And now I wish we had him.

    I think that there is little doubt that when LaRoche’s contract is up in Washington that Zimmerman will move to first.

  19. FatJuan has a sweet swing and much more power upside than CJ, but his platoon splits are still pretty horrid. I always liked him though. I guess I have a soft spot for guys that hit 500 ft bombs every now and then.

  20. @20
    True, but relievers not named Kimbrell already have more saves 4, than all of last season 3.

  21. 23 — Carpenter and Avilan were also not available yesterday (along with Walden, obviously).

  22. Jonah Keri over on Grantland has an intersting item today. Giancarlo Stanton has more 450 ft home runs this year than every other TEAM in the Bigs.

    Woof.

  23. I will feel so much better about this bullpen once we get Walden back. And replacing Uggla/Pena with La Stella makes me feel a lot better about the bench. Ramiro Pena simply is not a starter, but he’s a cromulent bench player. Given the way he’s hitting, La Stella might actually be a league average hitter, which means that our team just got about a win or two better overnight. That’s pretty good.

  24. Where’s Glenn Hubbard, second base fielding mentor? I recall he was also a good bunter. Is he available to give some seminar training on both fronts?

  25. La Stella just needs to be “adequate” defensively as long as he can be an OBP machine. So far he looks somewhat lacking defensively but we need a lot more sample size here.

    I’m always in the camp that values offense over defense…but at middle-infield you can’t have someone terrible out there, they just handle the ball way too much.

  26. He looks at lot worse than Uggla to me. If he can just match Uggla defensively then we should be ok. Like you say, the bar isn’t exactly set too high.

  27. Actually, the one thing Uggla is good at is taking the throw from short and turning the double play. He stays in there and is quick to release the ball accurately toward first. Lots of arm strength required to do that, as the second baseman has no forward momentum.

  28. http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=lastel000tho

    The only interesting defensive statistic provided on B-R minor league pages is range factor/game, and La Stella seems to be getting to more balls as he progresses up the levels. (And isn’t about 80% of defense just being able to get your ass in front of a ball before it goes trickling past you? I remember this being the key front in the old Is Derek Jeter Good At Defense Wars.)

    TLS’s 2013-14 MiLB combined 4.75ish is better than Uggla’s 4.3-and-trending-downward. Pastornicky is almost literally a potted plant on D and gets to 2.9 balls per game at second this year. (It’s an imperfect measure, but it’s the only one I can cross-compare from minor league data.)

    TL;DR he’ll probably be fine defensively, or at least slightly better than what we’re used to, once he gets over the jitters

  29. The Pastor’s lack of defensive range is what dooms him as a useful part, when combined with his corresponding lack of any other major league talent. He’s basically Roberto Alomar, except everything.

  30. If Pastor could pick it at all, his upside might be Tony Graffanino, a Braves washout who ended up having a surprisingly long (at 265/335/394) career as a utility IF, mostly in the AL.

    But, so far, he hasn’t really shown anything that he does well, including pinch-hitting.

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