Bears 2, Religious people need not apply

A Monday afternoon affair. Well not really as torrid as one of those, not that I would really know, I just know they are always called torrid. I saw a snippet here and there on GameDay. Otherwise, like Sergeant Schulz, “I know nothing.” I can’t tell you if they “looked good” or if the pitch “looked like a strike.” So, this is much like a term paper. Relying on other sources for info and stringing it together.

Ervin Santana took the hill again for our side. He is now in “good Ervin” mode. Maybe we won’t see “bad Ervin” again. If we don’t, we might play postseason ball. If we do see “bad Ervin” again, we probably won’t play postseason ball this year. This team should be renamed “Apollo 13” as in “no remaining margin for error.”

The Braves once again faced that towering giant of legend, Jason Lane. When last we faced Mr. Lane he looked like and up and coming outfielder for the Astros in 2005. He was up, but he was going, rather than coming. Which means he did not have the more pleasurable experience. Now, he returned from AAA as a starting pitcher for his first major league start. And, as all are seemingly wont to do since the mid 90’s, he obviously held the Braves lineup in check.

But, Ervin was smelling. 8 IP, 102 pitches, 11 K’s. Yes, “good Ervin” showed up.

And finally, after 7 innings of predominant offensive futility and no runs, Evan Gattis stepped up to the plate again. El Oso Blanco Grande, el Salvador por los Bravos (my Spanish isn’t too good, but you get the gist). Line drive home run. That’s one.

A lot of hub bub behind that leading to one out and LaStella pinch hitting for Gosselin with the bases loaded (it worked, but why do you walk Jordan Schafer intentionally to load the bases). Yes, it worked for the other guys. 1 to 0 after 7.

Bottom of 8, Justin Upton walks. And again, with Upton now on second, the mighty bear steps up. single, 2 to 0.

Craig Kimbrel finished it strong.

It is on to Los Angeles (also Spanish, I get that). So does El Oso Blanco devour the denizens of Chavez Ravine? Tune in next time.

190 thoughts on “Bears 2, Religious people need not apply”

  1. I meant to say “count em, that’s two” I had it in my mind and I muffed it. Played it like a Padre.

  2. Technically the walk to Schafer was not intentional. It may or may not have been the un-intentional intentional walk (which, cliche be damned, should really be called the intentional un-intentional walk.) But the pitcher actually appeared a bit miffed when the 2-0 pitch was called ball-three. So who can really tell.

  3. Note that that walk to Schafer wasn’t technically intentional. Though it certainly had the feel of an “intentional unintentional” walk, I’m not fully convinced simply because I have no idea who would be stupid enough to want to walk Schafer in that situation. Maybe I’m giving Black too much credit. It did work, after all, if that was the intention.

    EDIT: Or what JJ said. Also, I agree with JJ’s pet peeve about putting the two words in the wrong order. Drives me nuts, too!

  4. Yeah, “un-intentional intentional” sounds like you accidentally called for an intentional walk. “Oops, I thought holding up 4 fingers meant screwball.. Turns out my pitcher threw four wide ones!”

    “Intentional un-intentional walk” sounds like you intended to walk him without giving him an “intentional” pass.

  5. Like I said, it was GameDay and how could I figure that out when all 4 pitches were outside and the closest one was about 6 inches off the plate (per GameDay). Then surely, unless you were pitching to Roy Hobbs or Ted Williams, that was an intentional walk.

  6. The Braves just finished a 31-game stretch where they played nothing but losing clubs, going 20-11. Although it’s hard not to look back at that stretch & wince at losing 3 of 4 to both the Mets & Marlins, that’s still .645 ball, which is terrific.

    Now they’re about to embark on a 25-game stretch, with 22 games vs. winning clubs, 15 on the road altogether. If the Bravos can get out of that with their heads above water—-i.e., a winning record—-it would be very hard to complain.

    As noted in previous thread, this could be the biggest segment of the regular season.

  7. “This team should be renamed “Apollo 13″ as in “no remaining margin for error.”

    Will this be our finest hour? Is failure not an option? Or does the heat shield fail and the Braves disintegrate in the atmosphere?

  8. Uggla’s performance with the Giants has done more to help the Braves than any three games this season.

  9. “San Diego” is also a Spanish term I believe, but I learned all my Spanish from “Anchorman.”

  10. Adapted from Apollo 13, italics are my lines.

    Retro/ Us: “Frank, the offense still sucks.” “Do you want to tell them?”

    Frank Wren/ Gene Kranz: “Is there anything we can do about it?”

    Retro/ Us: “Not now.”

    Frank Wren/ Gene Kranz: “Then they don’t need to know, do they?”

  11. Wow, that was nice of the Marlins.

    It may get lost in all of the doom and gloom, but the team we are chasing does in fact suck as much as we do.

  12. I thought for a second that Dan Uggla had a new nickname, but no — the Giants’ starting second baseman tonight is actually named Joe Panik.

  13. Based on the teams that have come to Atlanta, the best team I’ve seen up close and personal is the Miami Marlins. (If the Dodgers have visited, I don’t remember at the moment.)

    I keep waiting for the Nationals to flex their muscles and leave us in the dust, but it’s damn near August and they either don’t have what it takes physically and mentally or their various lineup inconsistencies (due to injuries) really seems to handicap them.

    If they ever get completely healthy …

    Guess they don’t believe in “next man up” in DC.

  14. Mac would have allowed some college football discussion at this point, so I thought I’d indulge.

    Tell me if I’m remembering this correctly:

    Spurrier tolerated very little off-the-field nonsense on his Florida teams. Once he left, Urban Meyer’s bunch challenged yearly for the Fulmer Cup.

    Is that accurate?

  15. I still have trouble believing that the Nats are actually a good team.

    They’ve had one good season in their short history… One.

  16. @kevin
    Lackey rumors are only speculation. The real Braves tidbits leaked thus far are Chris Denorfia, Andrew Miller, and the lefties from the Cubs.

  17. Chris Denorfia is BJ Upton without the steals. Both are right handed, and Denorfia’s got a .617 OPS to BJ’s .623. What do we want with him?

  18. #21
    Don’t really remember much about Spurrier’s players getting in any trouble that we ever heard about. But Meyer’s legacy in that department is pretty much set in stone, especially as it relates to this one tight end.

  19. @24- Bench depth, I would guess. While he’s been awful this year I’d trust him a whole lot more than Success! at the plate and in the field, and more than Doumit in the field definitely and arguably at the dish. Seems to me he’d be a significant bench upgrade.

  20. The Nats are obviously a good team; they are well above .500. But, are they a championship-caliber team? I have some real questions there.

    I watch them almost every night. Stephen Strasburg is, to me, one of the most overrated pitchers in baseball. I hate sound like Joe Morgan (ie, he knows how to win) but Strasburg, despite possessing supposedly electrifying stuff, just seems to find ways to give up runs. I think he’s a good 2 or 3 but certainly not an ace. Jordan Zimmermann is good but seems to melt down against good teams; Gio Gonzalez is hard to figure from one start to the next. Doug Fister and Tanner Roark have actually been the Nats’ most consistent pitchers.

    I think the Nats have problems like this in a lot of places. Harper is just not that good at this point. Ian Desmond has power but rarely walks. Without Ryan Zimmerman, they are going to have trouble scoring runs.

    I would say both the Braves and the Nats are talented but highly flawed teams and I think the winner will likely have less than 90 wins.

  21. And another couple of nice plays from Simmons in this game. He’s been on fire post-break.

    We’re going to have to see about getting him into an All-Star game at some point.

  22. Strasburg has a good curveball and a good changeup and a really flat fastball that he basically should not try to throw for strikes. I know that the Nats know this, but he really can’t work off his fastball — his fastball gets killed. In my view, he should work off his offspeed stuff and use the fastball to keep hitters honest.

    The Nationals just keep being less than the sum of their parts. Part of the problem is that they seem to be as attached to Danny Espinosa as we were to Dan Uggla. Espinosa is simply not a major league starter, and every day that they go without attempting to acquire a major league starter is basically a wasted day. Denard Span can’t really hit and Wilson Ramos is injured half the time. So their lineup looks like this, in no particular order:

    CF: Span, who is not very good
    RF: Werth, who is good
    2B: Rendon, who is good, and Espinosa, who is appallingly bad
    3B: Zimmerman, who is injured a lot but good, and Rendon, who is good
    1B: LaRoche, who is okay
    SS: Desmond, who is okay
    LF: Harper, who is injured a lot and is okay, and Nate McLouth/Kevin Frandsen/Scott Hairston, who are not good
    C: Ramos, who is good but injured a lot, and hideously terrible backup catchers
    P: obviously cannot hit

    They’ve had a decent number of lineup injuries, but on any given night they tend to give away a lot of free outs in their lineup.

  23. 2 back in the loss column. We need to find a way to get through August without falling out of contention.

  24. @31 Well, Span has been hitting well so, at least at the moment, I would not say he is not good-although that could, and probably will, change. He does not take walks and is an appallingly bad baserunner.

    I agree with everything else you said. Strasburg gets most of his strikeouts off his curve and change-up, but, as you say, his fastball is flat and he doesn’t have the kind of command to get away with it when he is behind in the count.

  25. Denard Span is basically Juan Pierre with less batting average: he hits singles, but he has no power and he doesn’t take many walks any more, though he did when he first came into the league. If he isn’t hitting .280 he’s a drag on the offense. Right now, he’s at .288/.344/.394, which doesn’t leave much margin for error. Just for comparison, last year he hit .279/.327/.380 — basically, if he loses 10 points of batting average then he goes from a decent hitter to a bad one.

    It’s better than B.J., but he’s still not very good.

  26. Agree re Span. I’m shocked, though, at how bad a baserunner he is, although I wonder how much of that is a result of Matt Williams encouraging hyper-aggressiveness on the bases. Span has made several base-running blunders that would embarrass Little Leaguers.

    It’s amusing, though, how the Nats announcers are just swooning over Span right now. But, with Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo, there isn’t much difference between the 2014 Nats and the 1927 Yankees.

  27. If you go by record alone, there really isn’t a dominating team in the NL. All division leaders are hovering around 10 to 12 over .500 with a .550 to .560 winning percentage. As a matter of fact, there are only two teams in all of baseball with a realistic shot at winning 100 games (unless someone catches fire). Those two teams are in the AL West – the A’s and the Angels.

    Strange year, but as bad as the Braves have looked this year, they have as good of a chance as just about anyone of winning it all in the postseason – if they make it that far.

  28. The problem is that, per 6, the Braves are not in a position to take advantage of the Zimmerman injury or Harper’s continued struggles. They are about to play probably the toughest part of their schedule. If they can hang in there and go, say, 4-6 against the Dodgers and A’s plus win the home series against the Nationals, we should be set up for a really classic division dogfight down the stretch, but… I’m not optimistic they can hang in there against those teams. Against the two best teams they’ve faced so far, they went 1-5 against SF and 2-4 against St. Louis. I would be surprised to see them do better than 3-7, and I wouldn’t rule out a 1-9 flameout that would effectively knock them out of the division and imperil their chances of reaching the wild card game.

  29. @39

    How are the best teams we’ve faced so far not been the Angels, Nationals, and Brewers? They have better records than the Cardinals and the Giants.

    We are 11-5 against the Brewers, Nationals, and Angels.

    Edit: Better run differentials, too, for those who believe in run differentials.

    So your point, as you have it there, doesn’t stand, at least not about our performance so far, as uninspiring as it has been.

    Your other point, about how we’ve got to get through LA, Oakland, and Seattle without getting completely trounced, is dead-on.

  30. If the Dodgers don’t knock us out, the A’s will. I’m not optimistic #dooooooomed

  31. @28 For his career, Strasburg has allowed substantially more runs than his component stats indicate he should have… 3.13 ERA, but with an xFIP of 2.74. The gap is substantially wider this year: 3.67 ERA / 2.52 xFIP. It appears his fastball – which as recently as last year was a major asset – is getting punished this year. Velocity is slightly down, but still averaging 94.5 MPH, which is plenty fast. It’s got to be very frustrating for Nats fans, watching Strasburg post a dominant K/BB rate but manage middling results.

    @36 Do you have any idea how much of a boost it would be to the Braves if B.J. could hit .279/.327/.380 like Span instead of his actual .217/.284/.339? It’s hard to say with certainty, but I will note that Span’s offensive production has been worth 2 fWAR more than B.J.’s “hitting” so far this year. That’s a pretty large gap.

  32. We ought to be able to take the Mariners. They can pitch but they cannot hit and their GM is incompetent. As long as we don’t let Cano or Seager beat us, and as long as we don’t mind losing to Felix, I think we stand a good chance against them.

    @42, I agree, but that’s more a comment on B.J.’s terribility than Span’s non-suckitude.

  33. 40: Well, I don’t believe in the Brewers; by BaseRuns ( ), they’re clearly inferior to the Cardinals, and I still think the Cardinals are the better team.

    Fair point about the Angels: they’re probably the single best team the Braves have faced this year and the Braves took the series.

    Anyway, hope for the best and expect the worst. If the Braves were to actually manage a winning record in those 10 games (or 12, if you want to throw in the Seattle series), all the pressure would be on the Nationals. Facing Kershaw and Greinke twice, that will be an extremely tall order, but that’s why they play the games…

  34. At least we get to play the Padres on this trip. I feel like we pretty much have to sweep there, and that buys us some cushion for the sure losses to Kershaw and Felix.

  35. We stand a decent chance against Kershaw with Teheran on the mound. It’s not even odds, but it’s far from hopeless.

  36. 44: ‘Clearly’ is too strong a word for how much better the Cardinals are than the Brewers. When you have to project runs that weren’t scored in order to change the results of games so that the Cardinals are 1.5 games ahead (having played three fewer games) instead of 1.5 games behind (having played three fewer games), you’re splitting hairs.

    And that’s just the season so far. How many more games are the Cardinals going to have to play with AJ Pierzynski instead of Yadier Molina?

    I’m not sure if I believe in the Brewers either, but I sure don’t believe in the Cardinals, at least not in non-Wainwright games.

    That said, by BaseRuns (which is cool! I hadn’t heard about it before) the best team we’ve played is the Angels and the 2nd best team we’ve played is the Nationals. We are 9-4 against the Angels and Nationals. Point being: the Braves are pretty good, at least as pretty good as the rest of the pretty good teams. And we’re not starting Dan Uggla anymore!!!

  37. If Gattis stays healthy and catches 3 out of 4 days and with LaStella at second, this is a better offensive team than its overall numbers.

    As to what could happen the rest of the way to move it up (a) a better bench bat or two (can be by call up), (b) a quality left handed reliever, (c) Minor being more toward his good side. Those might do it and they aren’t that unlikely.

  38. Long story short: the National League basically sucks in 2014. All we have to do is not take a nosedive and we’ll be in good shape for the September stretch run, which means that we’ll control our fate and play meaningful games up until the end.

    If Wren doesn’t upgrade our bench, it’s gonna be a real long winter, but we’re as well positioned as anyone else in the league. I think we’re all bozos on this bus.

  39. @50: Way too much to pay for a rental in a season that could be on life support by mid-August (as we’ve been discussing). This is not the Braves’ go-for-it year. Next year, with Justin and Jason’s departures looming, may be.

  40. At 50 and 51,

    Lester is for this year only. He covers, at a higher level, the “protection value’ for Hale on our club for this year. But Hale has 2 or maybe 3 more mL minimum years and 3 to 4 arb years. Peraza is far enough off to be more of a wild card. Sounds like a lot to give.

  41. It is a lot to give. But Lester’s an ace, and we’re trading a fifth starter and a good-glove iffy-bat prospect who’s outside the top 50 prospects in baseball.

    I’d definitely prefer not to do it, but that’s a low price for a trade deadline guy like him.

  42. I’d give a lot to stay out of that play-in game. My thinking is more in line with Alex’s: is a package like that enough?

    If I’m Frank Wren I’m ready to gamble part of the future now. (I am not Frank Wren.)

    Edit: One reason the Red Sox might do it is because we’d be so unlikely (compared to, say, the Dodgers or Mariners) to retain Lester after this season, giving them a much better shot to bring him back. And he’d certainly net us a draft pick.

  43. Yeah, the draft pick is certainly one thing that’ll drive his trade price up. That’s why Hale and Peraza won’t be enough.

    The thing about Peraza is, he’s our best prospect because we have a pretty thin system right now after graduating a bunch of guys. He probably isn’t one of the 50 best prospects in baseball.

  44. FWIW there’s this from Bowden: According to a source here are the teams that are “in” on Jon Lester at this hour: Tor,Sea,Milw,StL,LAD,Balt & Miami

  45. I don’t think we have enough to “give” to be in serious contention for any high-impact player. I would advocate standing pat and upgrading our bench using in-house options.

  46. I don’t think we have enough in-house options for the bench — I mean, I don’t think Phil Gosselin or Elmer Reyes are better than what we have now. That’s the one thing we really can’t do internally. It remains to be seen whether Chasen Shreve and Ian Thomas can be our LHP, but I’m a little more sanguine about that possibility. The things we really need to upgrade are our fourth outfielder and sixth infielder.

  47. @55: Nope, you can only extend a qualifying offer to a player who began and ended the year on your team.

  48. Lester and a bench bat would put us over the top in the East, IMO.

    It would also put us in a great possiiton for the playoffs.

  49. I’m nearly positive that a team acquiring a player midseason can’t make a qualifying offer to that player. In other words, the Red Sox could make a QO to Lester if they retain him through the remainder of the year, but no team acquiring Lester in a trade could give him a QO and be assured they would at least recoup a comp pick.

  50. @59, Gosselin has done nothing but hit all year. I’m not gonna guarantee that he’s the best option over what we might find in the trade market, but I feel good about saying that he’s better than what we have. He’s your sixth infielder, imo.

    The problem with getting a good 4th OF is that then Wren and Fredi have to listen to nothing but constant grief about why he isn’t playing ahead of BJ. That’s the main reason we’ve run with Schafer so long. ;-)

  51. @65, I do miss him. And I think he has a serious case. But it is silly to call him a “no doubt” Hall of Famer. There’s plenty of doubt. He has a lot more in common with Ken Boyer — another good-hit, great-glove guy whose career just wasn’t long enough for most voters — and Kenny Lofton, another guy who was an also-ran in the Steroid Era who was good but never the best in the league, than he has with Ken Griffey Jr. There’s an argument for Andruw Jones, but he has to get in line.

  52. I don’t think he should queue up for the Braves HOF though, Alex; and I do think number 25 has as much to be on the wall as that of another Braves centerfielder I love.

  53. Alex @ 68,

    Andruw’s case is what is exceptional center field defense and what is it worth?

    Except for Mays, there has never been a single player who played centerfield that well or close to that well for that long. And, arguably (on some things I have seen) his peak was better than Mays.

    If the best closer (and several lesser ones) of all time deserves a place, and the best shortstop of all time (despite being average as an offensive player) deserves a place, then the best centerfielder of the modern defensive metrics era deserves a place with his moderately above average offense (and better than that during peak).

  54. @65

    Andruw Jones will be in the Braves Hall of Fame, he just has to retire first. After he does that, he’ll be in there in three years tops (depending on what else they have lined up) and probably sooner than that. If David Justice and Javy Lopez are in (and both deserve to be), Andruw will be, too. People wringing their hands over him not being in the Braves Hall of Fame yet as if there’s a chance it might not happen is silly.

    As far as the number retirement goes, we’re now getting a little more borderline. If we had a more strict number retirement policy pretty much tying number retirement to likely Hall of Fame admission, I’d say no, but Dale Murphy’s number is a definite outlier there. As such, I think that if Dale Murphy’s number is retired, Andruw’s shold be, too. Not to put too fine a point on it, but they pretty much played the same position and Andruw was at least as good, probably better. However, Dale Murphy was the face of the Braves in the 1980s and, as such, is beloved by fans. The average fan’s opinion of Andruw Jones is much more complicated than that. Pretty much everybody recognizes him as the best defensive outfielder in the game for about a 10-year period (though at the time, there were a lot of people who thought Jim Edmonds was just as good, if not better, for whatever reason), but there’s the never quite living up to his potential offensively, there’s the showing up overweight to spring training, there’s the Gold Club thing, etc. I agree with the author that them giving out Andruw’s number to chumps is probably a decent sign that they’re not planning on retiring it, even though they should.

    As far as the Hall of Fame goes, the author can quote defensive stats and complain about Ozzie Smith all he wants, but the fact is that shortstop is a position where you can get into the Hall of Fame with an all-defense reputation. Outfield is not. Andruw was just not good enough offensively to merit serious consideration for the Hall of Fame, even if you take out all steroids speculation. The Cardinals never relied on Ozzie Smith to give them any offense at all. The Braves did rely on Andruw to be one of their main offensive threats, and therefore, his failure to completely live up to his potential offensively looms large. He might be able to get away with his rapid decline if not for that, but not in combination with it.

    Andruw does have a way better case than Bobby Abreu, who we were talking about a week or so ago, and people of that ilk. He still strikes me as one of the banner members of the “Hall of Very Good”, though. And though it doesn’t necessarily cinch it, the fact that, if you asked the average Braves fan (or perhaps even employee) which member of the “Hall of Very Good” they would elevate to the Hall of Fame, they would say Dale Murphy instead of Andruw Jones (when Murphy is likely the inferior player)…well, that certainly doesn’t help Andruw’s cause.

  55. I agree that A. Jones should be retired by the Braves just as much as C. Jones should be.

    Don’t get me wrong, Andruw Jones has a serious Hall of Fame case. He is just as good as many Hall of Famers and inducting him would not lower the standards of the Hall. But his case isn’t bulletproof, and he isn’t necessarily a worse candidate than Kenny Lofton, who had very good defense (albeit not as good) but was also a more effective hitter over a longer career. They have similar numbers of career WAR.

    I think that he deserves to be in there with Ozzie and Mazeroski and all the rest, but he may have to wait a while. I hope he gets in, though.

  56. To me the only thing that puts Andruw below some of the others is the rather severe decline in his later seasons. His peak was as good or better than most anyone that has ever played CF. He’ll get docked for the later part of his career. Whether that’s fair or not is pretty subjective.

  57. #65
    I appreciate his sentiment & would argue for Andruw in the HoF, but…

    Andruw Jones was never as good as Henry Aaron in his Atlanta years. “Never as valuable”? Please…

    You can go for WAR comparison, you can go OPS+, or can trust your eyes. And as great as those 2 HRs in the ’96 WS were, go look up Henry Aaron’s post-season history before you try to convince anyone that #44 wasn’t as good on that score either.

    His Murphy comparison is a little more interesting. It’s essentially comparing a consistently excellent defensive guy who hit HRs & played every day vs. a peak-value guy who declined rapidly. Andruw made it to MLB earlier, of course, but was never the best player in baseball, while Murphy (a 2-time MVP) was at or near the top for 6/7 years.

  58. I never understood the ‘best player in baseball’ argument. What good is it to punish a generation of played for the existence of Barry Bonds?

    So a couple of years Dale was better than… Mike Schmidt? Andre Dawson?

    If Barry Bonds had been around those years, those guys wouldn’t have won MVP’s either.

  59. And if Babe Ruth had been able to ingest PEDs in the Jazz Age, instead just of gin & hot dogs…

    In his famous Keltner Test for weighing HoF candidacies, Bill James asked: Was this guy ever the best player in baseball? That’s why I mentioned it.

    And at his 1980-87 peak, Dale Murphy was a tick or two better than Andre Dawson—higher WAR, better OPS+.

  60. Not sure Dale was a tick or two better than Schmidt, who bests him in both those categories in 6 of those 8 years and 13 of 16 total. In fact, Murph was only ahead in both categories in a single season once (87). Dawson may not have been the best player in the game in that span, but Schmidt sure was.

  61. Yeah it’s a common argument made, I wasn’t jumping on you personally. I’m just saying it’s never rung true with me.

    And yeah I’m not saying Dale wasn’t better than those guys. In a given year, he may or may not have been. I’m saying, the guys he beat out for “best in baseball,” weren’t Barry Bonds.

    “Best in baseball” may be a reasonable measure in certain years. But not in the years that Ruth and Bonds were doing Ruthian and Bondsian things.

    And I acknowledge Andruw wasn’t the offensive performer that Dale was. Andruw had really only one season that would fit in with Dale’s top 6 or 7. But Dale was no Andruw in CF, and neither was anyone else who we’ve seen yet.

  62. What James meant by “Best” was not necessarily best of his era — it was just, did he ever have a year that was better than anyone else in the league that year? In other words, was he good enough to have a spike that high? Murphy certainly did. Andruw never did, though he was awfully good in 2000 and 2005.

  63. In my mind Dale Murphy is the perfect guy you retire in a teams hall of fame. He was a great player and did everything right and is a person the organization, and baseball, can be proud of.

  64. I semi-regret to inform everybody that I just shared a flight to Atlanta with Derek Lowe. Let the rumor mill churn!

  65. Andruw is the classic under appreciated star player that Bill James used to write about. A damn good player that never met the lofty expectations of the fans and press but was at least a championship caliber player for many years.

    Seems that now that the advent of advanced defensive metrics has replaced eyeballs and memory Andruw is getting his due. I dont know about the HOF but I appreciate him a lot.

    I’ll get there with Heyward too at some point. I will admit a little Andruw syndrome when it comes to him. I guess its because this team needs him so much to be a better hitter.

  66. Derek Lowe’s performance as a Brave was particularly sad to me, because he was the coolest baseball player I’ve ever encountered.

    When he was a Red Sox he started living in my town in the off season, as the Red Sox spring training is here… And the winter he left the Red Sox for the Dodgers, apparently the Red Sox stopped allowing him to use their Spring Training facility for his off season training, which is pretty typically Red Sox. The Braves, for example, let players like Dexter Fowler use Turner Field in the offseason, and they’ve never been Braves.

    So anyway, the Twins train in my town, too, and they were reasonable enough to let Lowe workout there during the offseason.

    So, my brother happens to have a kind of running stand-in gig as an extra player in Red Sox and Twins fantasy camp every year. All these guys show up from up north, work out with the old-timers, and then they split in to 4 teams, with some ex-big leaguers on each team, and the oldest old-timers coach the teams. Well often, they don’t have enough paying customers to make 4 teams, so my brother and a friend of his have gotten to do 2 Red Sox camps and 4 or 5 Twins camps.

    ANYWAY, hoo this is a long story… So my brother and I are hanging out in the batting cages during fantasy camp, I’m wearing Fort Myers Miracle catching gear, and my brother is throwing a bullpen… and Derek Lowe comes in and starts throwing to some teenager who came with him. He’s throwing 20 or so pitches at a time and then taking a rest. And during his rests he starts shooting the shit with my brother. And when he was done, he came over and watched my brother throw, and starts giving him instruction, reach back further, keep your shoulders back. He showed us both how he throws his sinker.

    And then he seriously came back behind me and stoods like an umpire, and was telling my brother ‘No that’s flat, you gotta get more on top of it,” and stuff like that. Totally crazy experience. Really awesome guy. Just hung out for like an extra 20 minutes because baseball is fun.

  67. “Sean McAdam of adds some new teams to the Lester mix, as he reports that the Athletics, Blue Jays and Braves have all called to inquire on the BoSox ace.”

  68. His speeding video sold me. He stayed pretty cool the whole time the cop was trying to rile him up.

  69. Yeah I seem to recall them trying to get him to tell them he was a player.

    I think the cop said “I don’t know who YOU work for, but I’M just trying to do my job,” or something lousy and transparent like that.

  70. Maybe someone’s mentioned this on here, but I haven’t seen it yet. Shae Simmons has been disabled with a strained right shoulder; Juan Jaime has been recalled.

  71. Cishek trying to give back Marlins three run lead.

    Edit: Thanks, Nate. One out.

    Werth’s out on a fly to Stanton. Two down.

  72. Bases loaded, 2 outs, top of the 9th. Nats down 3, Rendon at the plate against Cishek

    Edit: And the Nats sleep with the .500 Fish

  73. The Marlins are surging!

    By “surging”, I mean they are now .500, which in this cruddy division means that they’re close.

  74. BJ beating out Puig’s arm just makes me smile. I like BJ more at this moment than I ever have since he became a Brave, I think.

  75. It’s one thing that the national media drools over Puig, but I could do without the Braves’ team announcers fawning over him.

  76. Thankful to not be in the South and have the option of watching the Scully broadcast tonight.

  77. That was kind of cool. I don’t know if you guys saw that on the Braves feed… But the Dodgers just did a kinda tacky fake press conference thing on the scoreboard, where they had players announce that Vin Scully’s coming back for next year. And the crowd is going nuts.

  78. Not even the Costco-sized tub of pixie dust will get Harang through tonight.

  79. “Last time the Braves scored against this guy was June of 2006.”

    — Chip, having yet to consult the scoreboard

  80. @109

    I just can’t. The time delay is too annoying. Way more annoying than Chip IMO.

    Chip is annoying, no doubt, but I feel like the degree to which people are complaining about him now has gone a little overboard. Dealing with seven-second delays to listen to Don Sutton describe anything but the game? Claiming that you’ve more or less abandoned following the Braves because you can’t stand Chip? (Haven’t really seen this here, but definitely have elsewhere.) I mean, come on… Seems like a little much. It could be worse…we could have Hawk Harrelson.

    EDIT: Freddie!!!

  81. You can take Sutton or leave him — he lays it on way too thick — but Jim Powell is really quite good. Frankly, I find the upgrade from Caray to Powell to be well worth the time delay, but obviously YMMV.

    I’d just rather watch on mute than listen to Chip.

  82. Now would be a great time for Doumit to act like he’s still a big league hitter.

  83. Yeah but if there’d been a man on first, Uribe might not have kicked Gattis’s knock. You field the ball deeper to throw to 2B, and he’d have had a bigger hop.

  84. @128

    If I had a “stadium noise” option, I’d definitely choose that over Chip. If I get exceptionally sick of him (the other day when he insisted on spending half the game making ballet jokes as an example), I’ll mute him.

  85. Chip trying to do the Scully voice was the worst. It was like listening to Nickelback playing Mozart.

  86. Harang performing a reenactment of last fall’s Freddy Garcia start. Hopefully, the ending’s different.

  87. Gorgeous swing, Andrelton.

    And making a pitching change mid-inning in advance of a Harang AB? That’s a first.

  88. I hate to agree with Joe and Chip, but it really does seem the pitchers are working at a much slower pace lately. The games have just been dragging because of it.

  89. Yeah, Mattingly just pulled a Fredi there. Let Beckett hit with an RISP for no reason, then watched him not get through the next half-inning, giving up at least another run.

    Also, Jamey Wright is still playing???

  90. Jason Heyward needs to hurry up and get back on the field. At this point, we miss his bat for sure the way he’s been hitting lately, but we really miss his glove after watching that last double.

  91. A Mendoza-like bat and useless defense. I fail to see why Doumit has a jersey.

  92. I do not understand why they do not at least have Gosselin out in RF. From what I understand, he had started playing a little OF before being called up. We might as well see if he can handle the super sub role. I mean we called the guy up. Might as well use him.

  93. Because you can’t take a starting pitcher out of the game unless he’s got men in scoring position, or you’re pinch hitting for him. I’m pretty sure it’s in the rules.

  94. I have this image of Harang four years from now, still somehow muddling through, having adopted every Eddie Harris trick from “Major League,” right down to the jalapeno in the nostrils.

  95. Any Harang start against a good team where we still are in position to win late in the game is pretty much all you can ask for.

    And maybe we should just walk Puig.

  96. Setting up a double play with Andrelton coming to the plate…

    Please stay hot, Andrelton.

    EDIT: Nevermind. Just stay Andrelton.

  97. There was no reason to use Schafer to pinch run for Doumit at first. You bring a new pitcher in this inning and let Schafer pinch hit in the top of the 8th for the pitcher to lead off the inning. I am happy that Schafer will be in the OF from her on, but it was a waste of a bench player in that situation. Oh well, I am probably wrong. It is just what I thought made more sense.

  98. You could have double switched him in, and let Doumit run for himself. Then Varvaro would be in Doumit’s spot, and Schafer would lead off next inning in the pitcher’s spot.

  99. Well, yeah, Schafer isn’t going to get a hit or anything. But it’s a tie game (at least at the time I type this) and it’s late, and you’re already presumably playing with 24, since Heyward’s hurt… So you might consider conserving some players.

  100. And Varvaro removes all doubt. Still never the guy you want in high-leverage situations.

  101. Nice fucking outing, Varvaro. Who was it that just recently reluctantly gave him the seal of approval? I hope the ink isn’t dry yet.

  102. Oh well, good night. Don’t think we would want to see LA in the post season. Going to be a long series. At least Miami did their part tonight.

  103. Well that escalated rather quickly. Pretty good odds we get swept now. Hopefully the Nats will keep sucking.

  104. Juan Uribe, on his Turner Field scoreboard picture, looks like he is in mid-bowel-movement and enjoying it greatly. This was a source of endless amusement until it turned irreparably tragic last fall. I hope Juan Uribe suffers from terrible constipation during such times as this.

  105. @177

    He can play through constipation. I’d prefer he get the runs and be stuck in the clubhouse.

  106. Seeing 30 pitches in a game. Now that is a nice accomplishment. Great game La Stella. I can go to bed now since I do not see you getting another at bat tonight.

  107. Nick: If you have a DVR, pause the TV long enough for the delay and then press “play” again to align the TV and radio. I’ve done the same thing in order to avoid Lundquist and listen to Eli Gold instead.

  108. Dejavu. Go to bed with the Braves winning on the west coast. Wake up and they lost (badly)…

  109. @186 My problem with synching the TV and radio broadcasts is that the radio comes in several seconds ahead of the TV. Unless you’re able to delay the radio playback somehow, you’ll always have the radio broadcast a few seconds ahead of the TV.

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