Braves 3, Pittsburgh Alleghenys 1

Preston Hanna — the JT Brubaker of 1978

Pittsburgh is an underperforming franchise, certainly since those three straight NLCS losses 1990-1992, the last two of which bring a smile to every Braves fan’s face. Sure, they made the playoffs three years in the mid 2010’s, but still.

And it’s not like they haven’t had any good players. They just haven’t had them at the right time. I took every Pirate from 1993 to today and looked at their WAR for the Pirates and their overall WAR. The top 50 such players in overall WAR start with Kenny Lofton (68.4) (starting in 1993 takes Bonds out of the equation) and go down to Dan Plesac (16.9). Of those 50 players, only 11 earned over half their WAR for the Bucs: Brian Giles, Andrew McCutchen, Jason Kendall, Andy van Slyke, Jay Bell, Starling Marte, Jason Bay, Jack Wilson, Zane Smith (!), Neil Walker, Don Slaught. That’s 11 players in a 30 year period. And when you look at the players they got only a part of: they lost Jose Bautista, Tim Wakefield, Gerrit Cole, Jason Schmidt, Jon Lieber, Bronson Arroyo, Esteban Loaiza, Denny Neagle and Neil Walker in their 20’s. Anyone worried about the Braves performance this year, picture yourself as a Pirates fan and tell me how you keep it together.

It is unlikely, though not impossible, that JT Brubaker will one day be Esteban Loaiza. No. Who am I kidding? JT Brubaker will, like his namesake in the Robert Redford movie, find himself frustrated and ousted owing to sinister forces beyond his control. It is also possible that the Pirates team will be stranded in the Andes and Daniel Vogelbach will eat JT Brubaker.

In any case, there is no way that JT Brubaker vs. Max Fried is not a mismatch. I am normally loath to quote Vegas odds, but to win $100 on the Braves tonight, you had to risk $270 After their first three (KeBryan Hayes, Bryan Reynolds and Vogelbach) they are not talented, no matter what Chip tells you about Jack Suwinski.)

Back when I was a fan of terrible Braves teams, this was the sort of game in which you could say: “Sure, we lost, but Preston Hanna matched up well with Dave Roberts.”  I do not relish remembering those days.  In any case, JT Brubaker matched up well with Max Fried.  But when all was said and done, and for all that Brubaker did well, this was not a particularly exciting game, even if was the 8th in a row. On the other hand, I have a urologist appointment tomorrow. This was much better than that will be.

Chipwatch

“The Pirates are in a difficult division…” No, Chip.  They aren’t.      

Daniel Vogelbach looks as much like Babe Ruth as Daniel Day-Lewis does. (If you dodn’t watch the game, I’m not going to waste your time and mine explaining this one.)

Jordanwatch

There is no one with sufficient alcohol capacity to take a shot every tme Brian Jordan says “Aggressive.” Please, Brian. At least find a synonym. I hate the word “proactive,” but a couple of them substituting for “aggressive” would be better. How about a Chip cliche: “ambush mode?” (This is entirely separate from the question of whether Braves hitters should be more aggressive. Looking at you, Ozzie.)

Author: JonathanF

Alive since 1956. Braves fan since 1966. The first ten years were pretty much wasted. Exiled to Yankees/Mets territory in 1974 --- bearable only with TBS followed by MLB.TV.

39 thoughts on “Braves 3, Pittsburgh Alleghenys 1”

  1. Well, the recap is more interesting than the game was, but boring is good when you’re winning.

    This winning streak has reminded us what this lineup can do. I honestly think the primary weak link (now that Duvall is hitting some) is Ozuna. If getting Duvall out of CF makes him a hitter again then Harris is doing doubly well. I’m not even sure where Benintendi would play if we got him. Acuna/Harris/Duvall is a great fielding OF. And getting Rosario back to platoon with Ozuna could really put us over the top. With Strider anchoring the 5th rotation spot, we’re only left with shoring up the bullpen which Matzek and Yates will do. It’s gonna be a helluva (good) problem if Soroka comes back.

  2. Not that I am talking about anyone specific, but there are certain people on this blog who are extremely negative. It’s funny that we haven’t heard from them for about 8 games.

  3. Thanks, JonathanF. You’re right about BJ and the vocabulary aspect of “aggressive”–get that man a thesaurus! But I will complain about the substance. Jordan is an amazing athlete; playing both pro football and major league baseball is almost incomprehensibly difficult, and only the rarest of athletes, who also possess incredible discipline and smarts, could possibly do it. He did things I could never do, but even so I can assert with confidence that he is simply wrong in his prescription that every Braves hitter needs to be more aggressive. Being aggressive is a good thing for a batter, but only against the right pitches. Swinging at balls out of the zone, even if you make contact, is rarely helpful. It’s much better to take a walk than to swing at pitches out of the zone. You know, bases on balls are good things for an offense! Jordan is one of those folks who seems to think walking is sort of a failure. Moreover, even when you make contact on pitches out of the zone, they are rarely hit hard. This is pretty basic, but Jordan never learned this lesson. Look at his career walk rates–they approach Francouer territory. And even Frenchy now will ruefully acknowledge that he was too “aggressive” as a hitter.

    The key is pitch recognition, being able to swing hard (aggressively, if you like) at pitches that are hittable, but laying off bad pitches. Of course that is far easier said than done. Only a tiny percentage of humans have the ability to do that. The problem with Jordan’s prescription to always be “aggressive” is that such an approach leads hitters to make a lot of weak contact or swing and miss badly. His constant advice to be aggressive has become highly annoying. There was a segment on the broadcast a few games ago in which BJ was saying both that Olson had been too anxious and not sufficiently aggressive. Moylan (or maybe it was Byrd) subtly tried to point out how silly that was.

    Having said all that, I otherwise enjoy Jordan on the broadcast. He is personable, funny, and offers some good insights into clubhouse culture. But don’t hire him as a hitting coach!

  4. @3: I didn’t want to write all that out, tfloyd, but I’m glad you did. Cos you’re right.

    On another note, your reminiscence of Kim King and Lenny Snow brought my memories of not only that team (I went with my grandfather, but Tennessee games were not wasted on me… I got to see Tulane and Duke and the like) but the subsequent team which had an important childhood lesson for me. My football idol at Westminster, Tommy Chapman, had gone to Tech where, inexplicably to my preadolescent self was punting and playing a little flanker instead of starring. The notion that the best players at one level were not automatically the best players at the next was a revelation.

  5. @1 Ozuna is certainly the weak link right now and hopefully Rosario will be ably to sufficiently platoon with him to give us a boost. With the defense Harris is throwing out there and the fact that he doesn’t look remotely overmatched at the plate is like found money at this point. Like Roger mentioned his insertion into the lineup seems to have helped Duvall as much as anything and has certainly lengthened the lineup the way we had hoped when the season started. We are finally taking advantage of the bad teams on our schedule which is what we had to to and suddenly only chasing 6.5 games…what a difference 10 days makes

  6. I think it may be possible to formulate a concept of aggressiveness that is congruent with selectiveness. In this sense, aggressiveness could be cognate to hyperpreparedness, a fast-twitch readiness to jump all over a pitch in the zone while retaining the awareness to spit on a pitch outside it. This kind of aggressiveness is the opposite of passiveness, and it’s also closely related to confidence.

    Anyway, I don’t think BJ is as nuanced a thinker as me, a rando blog commenter.

  7. Preston Hanna, the other #49.

    #7
    It would’ve been nice if we could’ve fattened up on the crap teams we played earlier, but… it’s a long season & there’s still plenty of time to make up more ground.

    Looking ahead, while we play 2 bottom-feeders (Bucs & Nats), the Mets’ next 2 series are against talented teams (Halos & Brew Crew) that are suffering thru very cold streaks. Maybe we win 4 or 5 & they break even — that’ll pick up another 1 or 2 games by next Thursday.

    #2
    Living thru the Yankee/Torre years here in NYC, I learned that no matter how well your team does, there will always be Negative Nancys for whom no amount of wins or titles will ever satisfy.

    If that bunch had whiners in its fanbase — and trust me, they did — then any team can & will.

  8. 3 — I agree. BJ seems to be a likable guy but we need less of that “swing at everything” philosophy that Ozzie and Ozuna in particular are struggling with.

  9. Y’all, that ain’t 45 degrees. That’s a damn balk if there’s ever been a balk. Why would Peanut post that?

  10. Man – I love Brian Jordan in the booth. I’ve never met him in person and don’t know a lot about his personality – – but it seems that he is who he is. And seems very authentic and genuinely excited about different moments in a game.

    Makes for some really cool moments – – even in some boring games.

  11. Idk. I think the deceptive part is how he turns his torso. Looked like a balk at first for sure.

  12. Some teams enjoy making moves that are meaningful, some that are meaningless.
    Justification for your job title.
    Than we have those who know not a thing about what makes a productive player and use mostly worthless numbers to reach a meaningless conclusion.
    Wins and loses baby. Ask the World Champion Braves. They won because many players played way beyond their season numbers.
    Bobby Cox’s team won all those divisions, only one W S even though always favorited. Team performed below the numbers.
    Last years team in the playoffs was not the favorite by far, but performance was great.
    Could the Atlanta Braves beat the Oklahoma Sooners in softball?
    No. Atlanta does not have a softball pitcher. And as proved in the past could not hit a softball pitcher.
    What a joy to watch. Great hitting, running, fielding and pitching.
    Plus coaching.

  13. I think that might be right on the line. I’m not sure that it’s a balk. We would need an overhead view to see where he stepped, you can’t really tell if it’s 45 degrees or not from that angle. If he didn’t step toward the plate, I would say that there’s nothing else there that would make it a balk.

    On Brian Jordan, I’m just not seeing it in terms of the praise. He frequently advocates for being “aggressive,” but then there are times when a hitter is hyper-aggressive and he complains about him not being selective enough. It kind of has a feel of just being overly critical, to be honest with you. It borderline works as part of the studio crew, but I don’t think it works at all as a game analyst. On a semi-related note, how did Francoeur manage to beg out of seemingly all road trips? It’s been sub-optimal to put it mildly IMO.

  14. Well, I stopped by the Braves Executive Offices today to drop off a check for tickets to a group event and in walks Luke Jackson in a t-shirt, shorts, and his hat on backwards. Really nice guy and down to earth. He doesn’t look 6’2”. I’m right at 5’11” and we were eye to eye.

  15. @18 I imagine Frenchy got an awesome contract because he’s now getting national gigs and could’ve just peaced out if they didn’t.

  16. @19 that’s awesome, DG. Luke strikes me as that kind of guy. I remember a game I watched at the ballpark before the pandemic and he came out after the game to watch Steve Aoki who performed on the field. I did not get to talk to him of course. One of my favorite Braves.

  17. @16, that reminds me of the old Firesign Theatre gag.

    ANNOUNCER:   Out of the fog … into the smog … relentlessly … ruthlessly …
    NICK:   (OFF) I wonder where Ruth is?
    ANNOUNCER:   … doggedly … toward his weekly meeting with The Unknown. At 4th and Drucker he turns left. At Drucker and 4th he turns right. He crosses MacArthur Park and walks into a great sandstone building.
    SOUND:   NICK WALKING INTO SIDE OF BUILDING.
    NICK:   Oh! My nose!
    ANNOUNCER:   Groping for the door, he steps inside, climbs the thirteen steps to his office…
    SOUND:   TELEPHONE RINGING OFF. RUNS UP STEPS. OPENS DOOR.
    ANNOUNCER:   He walks in! He’s ready for mystery … he’s ready for excitement … he’s ready for anything … he’s…
    SOUND:   TELEPHONE PICKED UP.
    NICK:   Nick Danger, Third Eye!

  18. @22

    Couple of questions:

    1) Do they, like, bake the cakes themselves or buy them from local bakeries or what?

    2) Regardless, what’s his cake budget for a tour?

  19. It’s in his tour rider that the venue or festival supply the cakes. Presumably, they’re from local bakeries.

    From my experience, he has 2 or 3 cakes a show & they’re kinda big, so… whatever that costs… but he makes a ton from his gigs (esp. the festivals), so it’s really just another part of the production, to be honest.

    He also does this thing where he rides a raft on the audience in front of the DJ booth. He calls it “White Raver Rafting.”

  20. Just got home, and I’m blacked out from Pirates home games. I don’t even live in PA.

    Has Strider looked as good as his line?

  21. “What’s the adjustment now for Strider with two outs?”

    Apparently, Chip, the adjustment is to hit the showers.

  22. Acuña just scared the hell out of me on that catch. Very similar to the one he got hurt on.

  23. 27 — I just saw the last inning, and he struck out a guy on the black with 97, so he still had gas in the 6th inning.

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