Against Nats, Braves scuffle and Phillies make hay

WASHINGTON – Stopped by Chipper Jones’ locker this morning to ask the sleepy-eyed veteran (he’s not much of a morning person) about the Braves’ ongoing struggles against the Nationals.

I mean, it’s one thing for a team such as the often pitching-rich Marlins to have your number for a few recent seasons, but quite another for a division cellar-dweller to play you even year after year.

So I asked Chipper, “If I told you that you guys have played the Nationals 74 times since the beginning of the 2007 season, what you would guess is your record in those games?”

“I’d say within a game or two of .500,” he answered.

Dan Uggla helped the Marlins enjoy success against the Nationals; Braves hope he can help them do the same. He hit his first homer for Atlanta on Saturday.

Dan Uggla helped the Marlins enjoy success against the Nationals; Braves hope he can help them do the same. He hit his first homer for Atlanta on Saturday.

And he was correct. The Braves are 36-38 against the Nationals since the beginning of the ’07 season, including 11-18 at Nationals Park, which opened in 2008.

Hang on for one moment before I share with you the Phillies’ record against the Nationals in that same period, and what Chipper’s reaction was when I told him.

First, let’s ask the most-tenured Brave what he believes is behind the Nationals’ record against the Braves.

“You’ve just got some starters out there that give some guys in the lineup trouble,” Chipper said. “When I was first coming up, we couldn’t beat Denny Neagle. Couldn’t beat him. He gave our left-handed lineup fits. And a guy like [John] Lannan gives our lefties fits.

“Livan [Hernandez] has pitched a lot better against us in the recent past. When Scott Olsen was in Florida, we wouldn’t let him get out of the third inning. And he came here and we never beat him. It’s weird out it works.”

OK, are you all ready to hear Philly’s record against Washington? Hang onto your seats. Since the beginning of the 2007 season, the Phillies are 51-21 against them. That’s right, 30 games over .500. Even Chipper was surprised by that number.

“See, that’s mental,” he said. “It’s mental with them. Philly has over a couple of teams in this division what we had over everybody in our division back in the ‘90s — just absolute dominance mentally over other teams.

“And until teams get the confidence that they’re going to walk out on the field and beat the Phillies, the Phillies are going to have that swagger throughout.”

Toss out the two games the Braves and Nationals have played in this current season-opening series (before Sunday), and it’s 35-37 for the Braves against the Nationals over the past four seasons, compared to 51-21 for the Phillies against the Nationals.

Or think about it in these terms: The Phillies have won, on average, 6.5 more games per season against the Nationals than the Braves have over the past four seasons, which, of course, coincides with the Phillies’ run of four consecutive division titles.

“That’s a lot of games in the standings,” Chipper said.

Caller from Atlanta, hello! Fredi G. chats with Larry K. before Saturday's game. King threw out the ceremonial first pitch (and did it quite well, we might add).

Caller from Atlanta, hello! Fredi G. chats with Larry K. before Saturday's game. King threw out the ceremonial first pitch (and did it quite well, we might add).

Indeed, in three of those four seasons, the Braves finished six, seven and five games behind the Phillies in the NL East standings.

The Nationals had a losing record against the other three teams in the division over the past four seasons, and really weren’t even close to .500 against anyone except New York. They were 32-40 against the Mets.

Against the Marlins, the Nationals are 24-46 over the past four seasons. Fredi Gonzalez was the manager of those Marlins teams for 3-1/2 seasons in that period, before getting fired in June.

“Not knowing the numbers or anything, when I was in Florida we couldn’t beat the Reds. Or Pittsburgh,” Gonzalez said this morning, when I asked him about one team struggling against another over a period of years.

“I think for the 3-1/2 years I was in Florida, I bet that against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, at their places, I bet we didn’t win three games. No rhyme or reason. And then against these guys [the Nationals], one year we were like 14-2, something crazy.”

He added, “And we used to match up good against the Phillies. Who knows? One of those things.”

Florida was 33-39 against Philadelphia during the 2007-2010 seasons, two games better than the Braves’ record against the Phillies (31-41) during that period, and one game better than the Mets’ record against the Phillies (32-40).

In other words, the Phillies had winning records against everyone, but really took advantage of the fledgling Nationals in that period. As really good teams are supposed to.

The Braves’ record against all division opponents since the beginning of the 2007 season: 44-28 against the Mets, 39-33 against the Marlins, 36-38 against the Nationals, and 31-41 against the Phillies.

That works out to 10 games over .500 against the entire division over that period.

The Phillies? They were 54 games over .500 against NL East teams in that period.

Uggla in the lineup: Someone mentioned something on the blog last night about Dan Uggla’s having mediocre stats from the cleanup spot, and said that probably played into Fredi G’s decision to bat him fifth when Brian McCann’s in the lineup, rather than bat Uggla fourth against lefties.

Well, I’m not sure which stats the person was referring to – maybe they know how he hit with runners in scoring position from the cleanup spot, for example — but the fact is, Uggla’s  stats hitting fourth are his best overall numbers at any spot in the lineup.

He’s a .263 career hitter with an .837 OPS, but in 284 at-bats from the cleanup spot Uggla has .292 with a .373 OBP and .919 OPS, his highest average, OBP and OPS at any of the four positions where he’s had at least 200 at-bats in his career.

The vast majority of his at-bats have been at two other spots in the lineup, the 2-hole and the 5-hole.

Batting second, Uggla has a .266 career average, .335 OBP and .827 OPS in 1,239 at-bats. Batting fifth, he has a .250 average, .352 OBP and .897 OPS in 1,005 at-bats. He’s had 2,244 of his .2,935 career at-bats at those two batting-order spots, No. 2 and No. 5.

The only other position where he’s had even 100 at-bats is the No. 6 spot, where he has a .251 average, .349 OBP and .854 OPS in 311 at-bats.

From the No. 3 position, Uggla has scorched with a .338 average, .410 OBP and 1.072 OPS. But he’s had a mere 71 at-bats from that spot (and hit six homers in those ABs).

By the way, we’re all probably aware of Uggla’s history of poor spring-training statistics, but some might not have seen the note I did on his regular-season statistics.

His worst full months are traditionally the first and last, April and September. He has a .248 career average and .786 OPS in April, and Saturday’s homer was his 22nd in 456 career at-bats in April.

Uggla's defense hasn't been bad so far, but the Braves got him for his bat. He homered on Saturday (and made this defensive play).

Uggla's defense hasn't been bad so far, but the Braves got him for his bat. He homered on Saturday (and made this defensive play).

May has been his best overall hitting month in his career, with full-month personal-best numbers in average (.294), doubles (38), homers (33), RBIs (94), walks (71), OBP (.381), slugging (.576) … well, let’s just say in everything.

So know that whatever he does this month, there’s a good chance he’ll do more in May.

McCann in cleanup spot: That person from the blog, the person referenced in the Uggla note above, might have been thinking of McCann’s numbers in the cleanup spot. Then again, maybe not, because if they were then saying it influenced Fredi’s decision wouldn’t make a lot of sense, because McCann has actually hit less from the 4-hole than he has in a few other positions.

Not that he’s been bat at the cleanup spot. Not at all.

He’s just been a little better elsewhere in the lineup.

The five-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger award winner is a .289 career hitter with a .360 OBP and .849 OPS. McCann has had more than 200 at-bats from four different spots in the lineup, the bulk of them coming from the fourth and fifth positions.

He’s hit cleanup more than anywhere else, and has a .284 career average, .362 OBP and .839 OPS in 1,012 at-bats from that spot in the order, with 43 homers and 190 RBIs.

From the fifth spot, he’s h it .292 with a .362 OBP and .877 OPS in 927 at-bats. That’s eight points higher with an identical OBP than in the fourth spot, but with a .515 slugging percentage compared to .477 at cleanup.

McCann has 1,939 at-bats from those two spots, and 671 at-bats from all the others combined. His next-highest total is 233 at-bats from the No. 6 spot, where he’s hit a blistering .330 with a .384 OBP and .932 OPS.

Braves lineup

  1. Prado LF
  2. McLouth CF
  3. Jones 3B
  4. McCann C
  5. Uggla 2B
  6. Heyward RF
  7. Gonzalez SS
  8. Freeman 1B
  9. Hudson RH

Today’s rubber game: Entering today’s start, Tim Hudson is 10-2 with 1.91 ERA in 18 starts Nationals, his best against any team in at least 10 starts (he’s 5-0 with 1.54 ERA in seven starts vs. Arizona).

Hudson's numbers against the Nationals are his best against any team he's faced more than seven times.

Hudson's numbers against the Nationals are his best against any team he's faced more than seven times.

Hudson is 2-1 with a 2.80 ERA in five games at Nationals Park, including four good-to-great ones and one stinker, which happened to be his most-recent start against them.

The right-hander allowed seven hits, six runs, six walks and two homers in 5-2/3 innings last Sept. 24 in D.C. Before that loss, Hudson had allowed more than two earned only once in his previous 17 starts against the Nationals.

♣ OK, let’s close with a cut off the solid self-titled recent release by Middle Brother, an alt-country/rock group formed by members of bands Deer Tick, Dawes and Delta Spirit. I’m digging the CD. You can hear the song (and see them play it live) by clicking on this link. This is actually a cover of a song by the mighty Replacements, off of their 1997 All For Nothing 2-CD complilation that everyone who loves rock ‘n’ roll should own.

middle-brother

Middle Brother

“PORTLAND” by Paul Westerberg

Shared a cigarette for breakfast*
Shared an airplane ride for lunch
Sitting in between a ghost and a walking bowl of punch

Can you play a little hun
Predicting…
I’ll predict we’ll have a drink

Lost my money on a first hand
Got burned on a big fat king

And your ears just wanna ring
And your eyes just wanna close
Nothing changing I suppose

It’s too late to turn back
Here we go
Portland, oh no

It’s too late to turn back
Here we go
Portland, oh no

Look out for you’ll catch cold
Serving…???

But at least he’s going home
Sittin’ like a back woods junky
Cut down…???

Look at that funny monkey
Puttin silver in his cup

And your silver turns to rust
And your second hand close
Trust no one I suppose

It’s too late to turn back
Here we go
Portland, oh no

It’s too late to turn back
Here we go
Portland, oh no

Shared a cigarette for breakfast
Shared a pack of lies for lunch

Credit card almighty
Bringing in the next little bunch

When you owe me on a hunch
Visit http://www.xtralyrics.com

And your eyes just wanna close
There’s nothing changing I suppose

Well it’s too late to turn back
Here we go
Portland, oh no

Well it’s too late to turn back
Here we go
Portland, oh no

It’s too late to turn
It’s too late I know
Portland
Portland

1,515 comments Add your comment

David from Athens, AL

April 3rd, 2011
1:40 pm

Let’s GO Braves!!

PTBNL

April 3rd, 2011
1:40 pm

Not to worry. Braves are on their way!

BravesQueen

April 3rd, 2011
1:40 pm

Come on, Braves. Start this off getting ahead.

Brava

April 3rd, 2011
1:41 pm

The Nationals have gotten a whole lot better than I remember.

BravesQueen

April 3rd, 2011
1:41 pm

Nats defense is looking a little shaky to begin. Hope it lasts.

BamaDude @ #1CowCollege AL

April 3rd, 2011
1:41 pm

new blogage thanks !! DOB !!!

Chipper almost beat it out !

BamaDude @ #1CowCollege AL

April 3rd, 2011
1:42 pm

McCann !!!!!!!!

bravofan

April 3rd, 2011
1:42 pm

I knew DOB would give us another blog.
Glad nate beat that out Chipper needs to do the same just a little more hustle and he’s got it.

BravesQueen

April 3rd, 2011
1:42 pm

YES!! Mac gets an RBI!!! :D

Billy Jack's Barbecue & Shrimp Co.

April 3rd, 2011
1:42 pm

Go Braves. Burn some rubber in DC.

Score first!!

BamaDude @ #1CowCollege AL

April 3rd, 2011
1:42 pm

make ‘em pay …yup !!!

Tomahawkin

April 3rd, 2011
1:43 pm

B-Macc Hell yeah, We needed that one Bad!

Billy Jack's Barbecue & Shrimp Co.

April 3rd, 2011
1:43 pm

BravesQueen

April 3rd, 2011
1:43 pm

Braves strike early. That’s what you have to do….early and fast.

DiamondbackMac

April 3rd, 2011
1:43 pm

McFann

The crap stained glasses are figurative also. At least, I hope they are. ;)

VaBravesFan

April 3rd, 2011
1:43 pm

Billy Jack's Barbecue & Shrimp Co.

April 3rd, 2011
1:44 pm

GAME is on #48 for those in ATL with Comcrank.

BravesQueen

April 3rd, 2011
1:44 pm

Come on Dan the Man!! :D

BravesQueen

April 3rd, 2011
1:44 pm

HA ha HA!! Mac with a stolen base. :D

Tomahawkin

April 3rd, 2011
1:44 pm

Hell Yeah! B-Macc Thats what I wanna See

Billy Jack's Barbecue & Shrimp Co.

April 3rd, 2011
1:44 pm

SB for the speedster catcher McCann.

Bravefaninok

April 3rd, 2011
1:44 pm

Mac steals second……ohh my

BamaDude @ #1CowCollege AL

April 3rd, 2011
1:44 pm

Brian with da Steal !!!

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

April 3rd, 2011
1:44 pm

OH YEAH! You go, BMAC!

Venice Jim

April 3rd, 2011
1:44 pm

Remarkable speed!

bravesgrl4life

April 3rd, 2011
1:45 pm

It’s gonna be Mac’s day today!

BamaDude @ #1CowCollege AL

April 3rd, 2011
1:45 pm

Let’s Go Huddy …1-0 …Go Bravos !!!!!!!

DiamondbackMac

April 3rd, 2011
1:45 pm

I’m sitting here saying, “steal one Mac.” And, low and behold, what happens?

cabravesfan

April 3rd, 2011
1:45 pm

Brava

April 3rd, 2011
1:46 pm

McCann looked adorable stealing that base. :D

baxter my little gentleman

April 3rd, 2011
1:46 pm

finally got one of those quails to drop for us

Chris from the Rock

April 3rd, 2011
1:46 pm

That was a clever promo with Chipper.

BravesQueen

April 3rd, 2011
1:46 pm

THAT was a cool commercial! :D The one with Chipper hitting balls off a tee, hitting those clay whatever-their-called in the air. :D

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

April 3rd, 2011
1:46 pm

Thanks for the new Blog, Chief! And thanks for those BMac stats—nobody “listens” when I post them. :P

DBackMac

Ah! I getcha—sorry! :P

Brava

April 3rd, 2011
1:46 pm

I love that commercial, BravesQueen.

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

April 3rd, 2011
1:47 pm

I for some reason knew BMac was gonna steal that, too. :lol:

Brava

He sure did! :D

cabravesfan

April 3rd, 2011
1:47 pm

McCann looked adorable stealing that base

When does he not look adorable? :D (sorry, but I am a girl ;) )

Soph

April 3rd, 2011
1:47 pm

I can’t wait to see that Marteeeeen commercial that DOB told us about during ST.

Tomahawkin

April 3rd, 2011
1:48 pm

Ho Sit Down!

Jerry

April 3rd, 2011
1:48 pm

Nasty pitch for strike 3

BravesQueen

April 3rd, 2011
1:48 pm

3 pitches= 1 out for Huddy. Great start!

Billy Jack's Barbecue & Shrimp Co.

April 3rd, 2011
1:48 pm

I am not surprised that he stole 2nd, I am shocked that he went in standing.

bravesgrl4life

April 3rd, 2011
1:48 pm

BravesQueen> Here is link to DOB on FB: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/profile.php?id=1191710064

Brava

April 3rd, 2011
1:48 pm

He is a cutie, cab! :)

VaBravesFan

April 3rd, 2011
1:49 pm

He Gone… lol

BravesQueen

April 3rd, 2011
1:49 pm

Mac got a HUGE jump. That’s why he was able to go in standing.

David O'Brien

April 3rd, 2011
1:49 pm

Brian McCann (SB in 1st inn) had 4 steals in 2010. Jason Heyward (11) was the only Brave with more than 7.

Tomahawkin

April 3rd, 2011
1:50 pm

C’mon Huddy…Walks are not good, Big Red had to find that out the hard way

bravesgrl4life

April 3rd, 2011
1:51 pm

Can we keep Cave Man off base? Didn’t he have something like 3 hits yesterday?

BravesQueen

April 3rd, 2011
1:51 pm

bravesgrl4life — That link just takes me to my home page.

OzzieVirgilsBeard

April 3rd, 2011
1:52 pm

Can we ever get Teen Wolf out?

Tomahawkin

April 3rd, 2011
1:52 pm

D.O.B.

That last stat is depressing!

BravesQueen

April 3rd, 2011
1:53 pm

Tomahawkin — No kidding!

Braves Paisan

April 3rd, 2011
1:53 pm

Good afternoon, Braves Beat Blog denizens. Nice day for a ballgame, no?

Tomahawkin

April 3rd, 2011
1:53 pm

Good Grief…A wild and A WP, Not Good!

bravesgrl4life

April 3rd, 2011
1:53 pm

BravesQueen

April 3rd, 2011
1:53 pm

Oooo, I just hate that Werthless guy. :evil:

Jerry

April 3rd, 2011
1:54 pm

Ryan Howard with a 3 run shot

The Grinch

April 3rd, 2011
1:54 pm

I guarantee we’ll see more stolen bases under Freddie. And this is a good thing.

BravesQueen

April 3rd, 2011
1:54 pm

Nice! You stay there at 2nd Mr Werthless.

Roman Gal

April 3rd, 2011
1:54 pm

BravesQueen, I think it’s called Braves Fans of DOB’s blog or something along those lines.

BamaDude @ #1CowCollege AL

April 3rd, 2011
1:55 pm

nice grounder for 2nd out …wtg Huddy !!

Braves Paisan

April 3rd, 2011
1:55 pm

Did Chipper go down to the Crossroads and make a deal to turn 25 years old again?

bravesgrl4life

April 3rd, 2011
1:55 pm

BQ, try copying the non-linked part into your search line after your home page. Or search David N. O’Brien.

OzzieVirgilsBeard

April 3rd, 2011
1:56 pm

I summon the great Clusters.

The Grinch

April 3rd, 2011
1:56 pm

Anyone who thinks the Phillies won’t miss Werth is delusional.

Tomahawkin

April 3rd, 2011
1:56 pm

Damn Interference Call!!!

Trey

April 3rd, 2011
1:56 pm

That is bull s***.

bravesgrl4life

April 3rd, 2011
1:57 pm

Oh, no way!!!

baxter my little gentleman

April 3rd, 2011
1:57 pm

BravesQueen

April 3rd, 2011
1:57 pm

CRAP!! Interference lets the run score even though he was BEAT!!!!!

cabravesfan

April 3rd, 2011
1:57 pm

Braves Paisan-

I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a portrait hidden in his attic…

BamaDude @ #1CowCollege AL

April 3rd, 2011
1:57 pm

tuff break …

Braves Paisan

April 3rd, 2011
1:57 pm

Chipper would have made a good fullback with that block.

bigdave

April 3rd, 2011
1:57 pm

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

April 3rd, 2011
1:57 pm

Ah, man! That was a great throw and play at the plate, too… :x

LAG

April 3rd, 2011
1:57 pm

PERFECT throw by Prado. That allays any questions about his arm in LF.

Shame about that interference…

bravesgrl4life

April 3rd, 2011
1:57 pm

Oh, that sucks! :evil:

Tomahawkin

April 3rd, 2011
1:57 pm

That Effing Werthless!!!

The Grinch

April 3rd, 2011
1:57 pm

baxter my little gentleman

April 3rd, 2011
1:58 pm

i hate the nationals

BamaDude @ #1CowCollege AL

April 3rd, 2011
1:58 pm

Jerry

April 3rd, 2011
1:58 pm

The demise of the Phillies offense this year appears to have been greatly exaggerated. I know it’s the Astros, but the good teams do what they are doing. Hudson struggling early here.

bravesgrl4life

April 3rd, 2011
1:58 pm

Okay, Huddy, get this next guy and stop this bleeding now!

Tomahawkin

April 3rd, 2011
1:58 pm

Good Stab nate dawg…Whew!!!

Brava

April 3rd, 2011
1:59 pm

Great catch by Nate!

Braves Paisan

April 3rd, 2011
1:59 pm

cabravesfan — earliest Oscar Wilde refrence in BBB history!

bravesgrl4life

April 3rd, 2011
1:59 pm

Well, at least Nate got that one! Now lets hit some balls away from a Nat, okay?

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

April 3rd, 2011
1:59 pm

cabravesfan When does he not look adorable?

NEVER!! :P Well, it’s not so pretty when he cusses, but, ya know…

LAG

April 3rd, 2011
1:59 pm

Nate about overran that one… but he caught it and prevented the big inning. All I care about right now with Heyward-Gonzo-Freeman coming up.

Jerry

April 3rd, 2011
1:59 pm

I had to hold my breath on that fly to center. I could see Nate missing that one just like yesterday.

BravesQueen

April 3rd, 2011
1:59 pm

Whew! Good catch by Nate there.

BamaDude @ #1CowCollege AL

April 3rd, 2011
1:59 pm

Nate w/ da catch to get us out of further damage …

Bravos2249

April 3rd, 2011
2:00 pm

Werth only ran home cause he knew regardless he would be safe. There’s no way he scores without the interference cause the ball wasn’t too deep, no way the 3rd base coach would’ve sent him…oh well.

Tomahawkin

April 3rd, 2011
2:00 pm

RG

D.O.B.’s Facebook group is Braves Fans of D.O.B.’s blog, u are correct!

BravesQueen

April 3rd, 2011
2:00 pm

bravesgrl4life —–

I finally found DOB’s FB page. I sent you a request. :) Thanks!

David O'Brien

April 3rd, 2011
2:00 pm

Vazquez down 4-0 early, about to be pulled in Marlins’ game against Mets. Ike Davis just took him deep

Heyna

April 3rd, 2011
2:01 pm

Anyone know how the interference call works? One free base past what the runner was headed towards? Why not just stick Werth at 3rd?

Braves Paisan

April 3rd, 2011
2:01 pm

Can’t cite a stat, but isn’t Huddy’s worst two innings the first and second?

bravesgrl4life

April 3rd, 2011
2:01 pm

Got the request and accepted, BQ

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