So, rather than recap today’s game, I’m going to recap yesterday’s game. I am aware that sort of ineffectual gesture will not take this game off the books â€”Â running the Ferrari in reverse didn’t take off all the miles the parking attendant put on Cameron’s dad’s car, either â€”Â but I’m going to go ahead and do it anyway.
At this point in their careers, Ryan Howard is not a good hitter and Kyle Kendrick is not a good pitcher. But they have reliably destroyed us throughout their careers: Howard’s hitting .291/.370/.605 against the Braves, with 45 homers and 124 RBI in 597 PA, and we probably should never allow a righty to pitch to him. Kendrick is 7-2 with a 3.28 ERA in 96 innings, a full run lower than his pedestrian 4.35 career ERA.
So you probably could have guessed that these two legends would singlehandedly destroy the struggling Braves, and you’d have been right. Howard hit a two-run jack in the first inning and the Phillies never trailed after that, as Kendrick went seven innings for the win. A day after the Braves converted 12 hits and three walks into one run, the Braves scored a whopping two runs on six hits and a walk. To add insult to injury, Andrelton Simmons made two errors in the 9th inning, leading to the 5th Philadelphia run.
Here is a song sung by a sociopathic falsetto clown, which is completely apropos for this team.
From the last thread, Fredi has a sub-par bullpen and a sub-par bench, and he probably has a sub-par offense and the best you can say is under-performing. I don’t see what else Fredi could be doing. When I turned on the TV and noticed Harang was still in the game in the 4th, I was angry for a second. Then I realized that there was no one else in the freaking bullpen to go to, and even if everyone was rested, this bullpen is not going to throw 7 shut out innings. It is what it is.
Let me add on to that.
This can happen even when you have a good team with a good bullpen. On April 6th, 2002, John Smoltz was left in to give up 8 runs in 2/3 of an inning in the 9th against the Mets. Why? Because Albie Lopez and Jason Marquis had both been shelled in the previous two games and… there was no one else. Smoltz clearly didn’t have it, but our HoF manager left him in.
The real question is: why do I remember that? I was 16 then. I dunno. The details were helped by B-Ref.
What are people’s thoughts on La Stella being 1 for his last 14 with 2 strikeouts and a walk? Is him batting lead off while he makes the adjustments to what the big league pitchers are doing to him best for him or the team? I am not huge on Heyward at lead off, but I would prefer it over putting too much on a young player at this time and hurting his development. Thoughts?
@2, In a way, that is the beauty of Harang. He’s his own mop-up guy.
It won’t be too long before Wood’s return to the rotation. And if there’s anything that Wren really excels at, it’s finding the kinds of small pieces we currently need.
Its a cold streak, nothing more to read into it. Some of those were hit right at people. Were the k’s swinging or looking? Id bet they were strikeouts on close pitches that he didn’t swing at.
@4 – Major small sample size theater, though it should be noted that Tommy LaStella is almost certainly not a true talent .350 batter and the hot streak preceding the cold streak was just as much the product of a tiny sample size.
I cannot find the stat but the 4 strikeouts I have seen of his 6 total have all been swinging. 3 were far of the plate, and one was a nasty slider. I am not sure of the other two. I would like to think this is a cold streak, too, but he has hit that spot in the ABs where scouts and big league pictures spot little holes in players game. He will have to work on them which seems to be low and outside from the way he is getting pitched. I just worry that it is not prime for a young kid to be working that out from a lead off spot.
I agree with you totally there. In the end, I think La Stella is a .275 to .300 pro hitter. Only time will tell. I really do not think any of the people on this blog expect him to keep on the pace he started on. I would love .275 to .300 from 2nd base though. This is, also, why I think he belongs in the 8-hole. He has had more walks than strikeouts at each level he has played in. 8-hole guy has got to be able to jump on a pitch but be willing to walk. This sounds perfect for La Stella. Sadly, our current roster dictates we bat him at the top of the line up.
He might would only hit .275, but I bet his OBP would be around .350 easy from walks.
I have a hard time staying positive on this team. Please help.
Well, as I recall no one was suggesting that LaStella would be Joe Morgan. He is an improvement over what we have seen but a hot start doesn’t make him a star.
Hopefully, he will be a nice player but I think it’s unrealistic to expect much more.
@11 Would be awesome if La Stella would turn out to be another Prado in terms of offense production.
I don’t know if La Stella will have Prado’s pop at the major league level or his glove, but he will probably give us the same if not better average with a higher OBP.
@13 Prado never showed much pop when he was in the minor. So there is hope I guess.
Prado has a completely different swing. He uses his entire body. La Stella is all wrist with almost no use of his lower body. At this junction, he does not have the upper body strength to make up for not generating any power from his lower body.
@10 We’re getting ready to play the Nationals, and we’ve owned them over the past couple of seasons, regardless of how poorly we’ve been playing going into the series with them. So, there’s that. Now that I’ve said it, though, watch us get swept.
@15. Good observation
I think a good comp for La Stella is Daniel Murphy of the Mets.
As long as the comp isn’t Dan Uggla.
If we do better than 1-3 this weekend I’ll consider that a victory.
We can only hope the Daniel Murphy comparison comes true. If we get Daniel Murphy numbers from La Stella, we have a solid second baseman. Plus, we would probably get more walks and less strike outs from La Stella if he stays anywhere near his minor league percentages with those two categories.
Today I got the day off work, was ninja enough with page refresh to get OutKast tickets for my friends and me in the 15-second window before they sold out, went to that sorry game but got some sun in the Chop House, came back and ran 5K straight for the first time, made steak tacos, and finished the day off with some Great Divide Yeti Stout which somehow my corner gas station carries. This team may be a miserable mess, but @139 from last thread, take that good day, Ice Cube.
Great work, man. The Yeti is such a good beer.
La Stella is a rookie inside his first 100 AB. He shows great promise to be a 3 war 2b one day. He’s not Matt carpenter yet and time will tell if he can approach that ceiling. I’m not concerned about swinging Ks. If you wait back on the ball you will get swinging Ks. Players who decide early to swing or not get looking Ks.
@23, last year I had it in the brewery in Denver before a Rockies game and holy crap. Great Divide is about five blocks from Coors Field and the Rockies will forevermore be my second-favorite team on the strength of that day.
Great post. You are correct about swinging K’s. Especially, justified swinging K’s which is what the last two of La Stella’s have been. The two strike in each at bat was on the very outside corner of the strike zone. One was actually a ball called a strike. He ended up swinging and missing on an outside pitch each time. He was doing what any good hitter does by expanding his strikezone. I really am anxious to see where he is at come All Star break. I think we will have a nice sample size by then.
Didn’t expect to come across this on uncrate.com
Oh god. I just realized, I’m in DC this weekend. Do I want to go to these games? Do I really?
RE: the sample size discussion and TLS,
My favorite thing to repost from Fangraphs…when stats stabilize:
50 PA: Swing %
100 PA: Contact Rate
150 PA: Strikeout Rate, Line Drive Rate, Pitches/PA
200 PA: Walk Rate, Groundball Rate, GB/FB
250 PA: Flyball Rate
300 PA: Home Run Rate, HR/FB
500 PA: OBP, SLG, OPS, 1B Rate, Popup Rate
550 PA: ISO
Do you know what Clayton Kershaw’s FIP was from last night’s game?
That is INSANE.
Uggla for Kershaw?
Yeti Stout…great beer! Know what isn’t? The crap I had to drink last night because the only good beer store within 15 minutes of my house was too stupid to check Spring Breakers’ IDs and lost their liquor license. Yup…I was sipping on Sam Adams’ Summer Shandy and I should probably turn in my man card. I will say, on a hot day, it’s pretty refreshing but it doesn’t taste like beer. Summer beer really sucks…LOVE me some fall beers, though. A new discovery for me in the beer world: Old Mecklenburg Brewery’s Copper Ale. Delicious! They’re out of Charlotte but I can’t seem to find it in beer stores ’round here. Anyone know more about them?
On the trade front…the fake trade articles that I’ve been doing over at TT are getting quite a few hits. Any not far-fetched trade ideas (well, no further than mine) that any of you want to contribute?
Alright, enough beer talk. It is 8:11 AM and I am ready for a drink.
That is a lie. Lets talk about beer and not this team for a little while.
Uggla for Kershaw?
I don’t know-who would we have to sit on the bench and look menacing?
I know everyone loves reading about others fantasy leagues but I have to share that I pulled off a trade of Meija and Papelbon for Kershaw on Monday (I originally asked for Felix and he preferred to give Clayton). Little background, the league is ultra competitive, hoards closers like you’ve never seen and has a very small innings cap (1300 compared to a more normal 1650 or so). The guy I traded with is also first in every pitching category by a mile except saves and is on pace to meet his innings cap by August. So yesterday wasn’t a total bust baseball wise for me.
Nice. The injury he suffered in the Australia series (the week before most drafts) caused him to fall to me at #14 (in an NL-only league!). And yes, I am reminding everyone of that fact this AM….
Although the methodological discussion is beyond me, here is an interesting article about offense from The Hardball Times. Based on this, maybe Heyward’s defense is as valuable as WAR suggests.
@35, that’s an odd conclusion to draw from an article about the exponential nature of offense. Unless you mean “isn’t” as valuable.
The last 6 nights I’ve been in the same city the Braves were in, they won. I’m in DC tonight, so I’ll take care of tonight. You guys will have to do the next three, though.
I just polished off a sandwich with week old turkey and stale bread that felt about as close to a Dan Uggla comp as any player I’ve ever seen on the bottom his b-ref page.
Now if only a complete stranger could break into my house, kick me in the balls, and steal my wallet.. Well, then we’d have a near perfect match.
@36: Well, the article was making the point that a run saved and a run scored was equally valuable. One of the takeaways was that if you double up on your strength, so that if you have a really good offense, rather trying to balance out with pitching, focus on improving the offense and the same with defense. I’m not sure I necessarily buy that-that’s what the Braves tried to do in 2007-but how can I question the sabermetric gurus?
@37: I will be there tonight too and the Braves have won the last couple times I’ve gone.
Great post. Those numbers make a ton of sense, too. I mean Francoeur looked crazy good until he started hitting some of those number plateaus. I guess we will not really know what we have with La Stella until the end of the season and into the beginning of next season.
Any idea what his plate appearance total might be around by the end of the season if he continues to start?
@39, the main point of the article is that good offensive players provide a positive feedback loop – basically the lineup turns over faster and the good hitters get more ABs – such that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. He is arguing that the linear models, which try to isolate a player’s contribution, are not taking this feedback loop into account.
I think that’s a very good point about the offense. I’m not sure if the same is true on defense? It doesn’t seem like adding another great fielder to an already good defense is going to increase the number of plays the other fielders make. I guess in a way that would be true – extending the range of one player helps the guys around him too – but I’m not sure if the effect would be as pronounced as it would in the offensive/lineup context.
I thought it was a cool article though, even if I’m not understanding all of it… – thanks for posting it.
I thought his point was, not so much defense, but pitching, ie, if you have a strong pitching staff, it would still make sense to go after another pitcher. This isn’t exactly applicable since the Braves’ staff isn’t really that good, but it would make sense to go after Samardjia (no idea how to spell it) even though the primary problem now seems to be offense. At least that’s what I took away from it with my limited understanding.
It’s a little like some advice I saw regarding tennis where this tennis pro suggested that, rather than trying to improve your weaker shot, you focus on making your strongest shot even stronger.
In regards to the numbers you posted, does this mean that most people are putting too much into what Freeman is capable of? The reason I ask is all you ever hear is that Freeman has the swing to compete for a batting title every year, but this is fourth season in the majors and his career averages would disagree with those assumptions. Don’t get me wrong, nothing is bad about a .280 BA with an above .350 OBP to go along with 20+ HRs and 85+ RBIs. I think if he keeps that up we will have gotten him at a steal in the long run. The question is is there just to much expectation for a guy who seems to be doing what his career numbers would expect him to do this year. Was last year just one of those great years players have on occasion throughout their careers or should we really expect that yearly?
I do realize Freeman is still not at the age where most people consider the prime years. I just wonder this because it seems to me that those numbers posted in @28 make sense on really knowing what to expect from a player.
Did you realize the Braves’ run differential is worse than the Mets and the Cubs? Yikes!
Did we ever talk about this fangraphs piece on Freeman?
Wow, the Mets and the Cubs. Why did you have to bring that to my attention? Now, I am going to fixate on that, LOL.
Peraza promoted to AA and James Hoyt to AAA. There’s an outside chance we see both for cups of coffee, Hoyt sooner than Peraza who’d likely be a September callup if anything.
Thanks for the great article. It was so true of what Freddie Freeman does as a player. He takes the first strike he sees and goes after it. The one downfall of this as the article mentions is that he does not work the count and wait for his pitch. One has to wonder if this is due to his desire to get the job done because he feels that the guys behind him will fail. As stated in the article, he does have a decent walk rate, and it has only gotten better. This is due to his low swing rate to pitches out of the strike zone. The problem is not all strikes are created equal, and he still finds himself swinging at pitchers pitches a lot on first strikes. One has to wonder how high that walk rate would be if he did not feel the need to be the RBI guy for the team. We could see 80-100 walks per year thus bumping his runs scored and OBP up a good bit. Or maybe this is just who he is. In the end, Freeman will be just fine as long as his number stay consistently where they have been for his career.
Game thread is up.
Right now, Daniel Murphy is probably the Mets’ best hitter. (David Wright is having a really lousy year so far.)
But if you watched Daniel Murphy play every day, he’d make you crazy. For starters, he’ll never be confused with Joe Morgan or Roberto Alomar at 2B. And when it comes to mental errors & base-running follies, he is one of the most boneheaded players you’ll ever see.
I’m talking strictly plate production. I was not referencing baserunning or fielding. I know the fielding issues with him. He is a second baseman because they tried him everywhere else and that just happened to be where he was less bad at.