Healthy Heyward sits for second straight day and what that means

(Staff writer Carroll Rogers is filling in for David O’Brien this series.)

WASHINGTON – By now, most of you have already seen the Braves lineup, and already deduced that Jason Heyward is out of the lineup today against the Nationals, even with a right-hander going in Chien-Ming Wang.

It’s the first time this season Heyward will sit for consecutive games this season for reasons not relating to his health. The way Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez put it Wednesday morning, he’s going with the hot hand.

Jose Constanza has given the Braves a spark since his arrival on Friday, and gone 8-for-20 with a double and two RBIs in his first five major league starts.

Gonzalez put Eric Hinske in left field because Hinske has a great history against Wang – going 13-for-30 (.433) against him with five doubles, two homers and four RBIs.

“Just because he hasn’t been in the lineup two days in a row has got nothing to do with giving up on him or anything like that, absolutely not,” Gonzalez said. “It was just a matter of Constanza swinging it, and Hinske having decent numbers against Wang.”

Heyward has hit only .233 (34-for-146) since he came off the disabled list in mid-June. He’s not hitting the ball with the same authority he did in his standout rookie season. The Braves are believed to have at least mulled over the possibility of sending him to the minors to work on his swing.

What this seems like now going forward is Gonzalez showing more of a willingness to play the matchups and the hot hand, which could mean more time sitting for Heyward.

Gonzalez said he sat down with Heyward one-on-one and prepared him for that possibility when the team was in Colorado the week before the trade deadline.

“We spoke, along with some of the other guys just before the trade deadline,” Gonzalez said. “I told them we were planning to maybe pick somebody up at the trade deadline not knowing who we were going to pick up but we were looking at the outfield position. We owe it to the team and the organization if that does happen, we’re going to play the guys who help us these next 60 games and win. He was good with it.”

That didn’t make it any easier for Heyward on a morning like Wednesday to walk into the clubhouse and look at the posted lineup and not find his name.

“I want to play every day that I can,” Heyward said. “But I know that he’s going to put the lineup up and whatever he feels is best for us individually and as a team.”

In the meantime, Heyward said he’ll try to take advantage of having three days of rest, including Thursday’s off day, to rest his body and refocus.

Heyward battled through a shoulder injury. While he’s not going to blame that injury for his struggles this season, Gonzalez wonders if it might be affecting him to some extent. And Heyward acknowledges that the injury got him into some bad habits.

“You’re never going to be 100 percent at this point in the season, especially when you’ve had injuries throughout the season,” Heyward said. “But I would say more than anything probably the aftermath of it – whether it’s from bad habits – that’s probably the biggest effect that anything’s had. Other than that, I’m not in anywhere near the kind of pain I was in (in late May and early June).”

Heyward said his relationship with Gonzalez is good. I’m sure Gonzalez’s openness with him in Colorado helped that. So it’s not like he was walking around angry and upset this morning. But it’ll be interesting to see what happens Friday in New York, if Chipper Jones returns like he hopes and Martin Prado is back in left field.

Other things to come out this morning, which I’ll delve into more deeply in notes, but Jones felt better yesterday fielding groundballs and is now hopeful with the day off Thursday he can return to the lineup Friday against the Mets.

Brian McCann is close to the point where he’ll start playing some catch, but he’s not swinging a bat yet and that’s where the big rub lies – how his oblique will hold up.

Gonzalez doesn’t sound like a manager who’s about to pull the struggling veteran Derek Lowe from the rotation. When I asked about that this morning, he said: “Like any athlete that goes though some tough stretches, hitters go through it, pitchers go through it, bullpen guys go through it, and closers. I think we’re going through that a little bit like that.”

And when specifically asked if he considered making a change there, Gonzalez said: “To get him out of the rotation, no, no, no. you ride it out.”

OK got to get this up before the game starts.

Braves lineup:

1. Michael Bourn CF

2. Martin Prado 3B

3. Freddie Freeman 1B

4. Dan Uggla 2B

5. Eric Hinkse LF

6. Alex Gonzalez SS

7. David Ross C

8. Brandon Beachy P

9. Jose Constanza RF

2,845 comments Add your comment

Fish Bisch

August 3rd, 2011
1:07 pm

Wang owns us :(

BravesQueen

August 3rd, 2011
1:09 pm

YAY~! GAME ON!! GO BRAVES!!

BravesQueen

August 3rd, 2011
1:09 pm

Way to go, speedster Bourn! :D

obo

August 3rd, 2011
1:10 pm

Les get it together Bravos!

JRW

August 3rd, 2011
1:11 pm

HuffBraves (from previous blog) – The Braves wisely drove up the price on Pence,

*****************************************************************************

Do you think the Phillies value prospects as much as other clubs when they have the money to fill in with out calling someone up? Plus how depleted is their system when they have Worley, Stutes, Bastardo, Perez, Mayberry, Jr., and Brown all making major contributions out of their system? I think everyone underestimates how strong that farm system is. And also to only give up (3) single “A” players and (1) “AA” pitcher with a +5 ERA is not really overpaying for a proven All-Star .300 hitter who is under control for 2+ years and fills the only glaring hole you had.

Efrim

August 3rd, 2011
1:11 pm

Good to hear Heyward taking it well. Good kid. Fredi? A buffon.

BravesQueen

August 3rd, 2011
1:11 pm

You know, Fish, it probably isn’t great luck to start a blog with such despair in the very first post. ;)

jabuck

August 3rd, 2011
1:12 pm

“Healthy Heyward sits for second straight day and what that means” I think it means that we have a manager that has no idea what he is doing.

Kramer

August 3rd, 2011
1:12 pm

Luv a leadoff hitter …that is comfortable… ‘taking” a 3-1 pitch…

Shaun

August 3rd, 2011
1:14 pm

Constanza batting 9th again. why the heck just not let him lead off.

Because they want to increase the likelihood that Bourn, Prado, Freeman, Uggla… get more plate appearances than Constanza but they still want Constanza coming up in front of the top of the order and they want increase the chances that the top of the order comes up with one fewer out and one more baserunner.

cabravesfan

August 3rd, 2011
1:14 pm

I love it- if Fredi plays Jason, it’s “why is Fredi playing that bum? He’s an idiot!” And if Fredi sits Jason it’s “why is Fredi sitting a healthy Jason? He’s an idiot!” :roll:

Fish Bisch

August 3rd, 2011
1:14 pm

faninva

August 3rd, 2011
1:15 pm

cabravesfan – exactly.

timthebrave

August 3rd, 2011
1:15 pm

that’s what speed can do

Shaun

August 3rd, 2011
1:15 pm

The game is NOT about statistics. It’s not about your Fantasy team. Statistics are part of the game.

Straw man alert.

It’s an easy concept. You can count the things a player does well and count the things a player does poorly. You can compare those numbers to other players. If you’re counting the right things, that can tell you a lot about a player’s performance. I’m not sure what you mean by “the game is not about statistics.” What does that mean? Does that mean that no one should try to figure out how often a player does something that helps his team win and how often he does something that hurts his team in terms of winning and losing? Okay, the game is not about statistics. What does that mean? Perhaps baseball should stop keeping score, standings, anything, since those are essentially statistics, in at least a broad sense. Maybe a baseball game should just be more like some sort of performance where the players just play for no apparent reason, end-of-game or end-of-season goals. Like a ballet or a play or a concert. Everyone goes home happy and entertained and statistics are kept out. That’s what you want if that is what you mean by “the game isn’t about statistics” because if it’s just a performance like a ballet or a play, statistics can be kept out of the game.

Shaun, run value? that’s funny. Prado has produced more RBI’s and Runs than Heyward is less games and seeing how those 2 things win games.. I’d say Prado has more run value.

Arkansas Transplant, too bad RBI and Runs are extremely context-dependent and have little to do with an individual hitter creating run value for his team. Too bad RBI and Run totals don’t tell you anything about outs and the run value of a walk versus a single versus a double, etc. If so, your point might be a valid one. But try digging a little deeper than RBI, Runs, pitcher wins, batting average and ERA to evaluate players’ values.

Shaun – What you;re missing is that Prado’s career splits are better against RHP than LHP.

I didn’t miss that. Heyward and Prado should be playing against righties, unless they are hurt or need rest or something.

Sophee

August 3rd, 2011
1:15 pm

Fish Bisch

August 3rd, 2011
1:15 pm

ncscoots

August 3rd, 2011
1:15 pm

Maybe someone should ask Chipper if he thinks “Heyward at 80%” is equal to Constanza.

BFChris26

August 3rd, 2011
1:16 pm

Lets go Braves!!!!!!!!!!!!

25 game hitting streak 8-)

Efrim

August 3rd, 2011
1:16 pm

Efrim – Maybe if you waited to see what happens WHEN (IF) Chipper returns to the lineup, you’re angst over the situation might mean something?

Sure thing, Lew. I’ll wait and see. Fredi has my support until then.

faninva

August 3rd, 2011
1:17 pm

audio link –

http://www.freebaseballradio.com/AtlantaAug.html

then click WGNS (third station down)

Efrim

August 3rd, 2011
1:17 pm

Maybe someone should ask Chipper if he thinks “Heyward at 80%” is equal to Constanza.

Good point.

Mark's for the Braves

August 3rd, 2011
1:18 pm

Is Heyward trade bait for a RH outfielder?

BravesQueen

August 3rd, 2011
1:18 pm

Soph

Did you get my ‘membership request’ on the end of the previous blog? Heehee. ;)

Tick Tock

August 3rd, 2011
1:18 pm

“Healthy Heyward sits for second straight day and what that means” I think it means that we have a manager that has no idea what he is doing.”

No that means Bobby isn’t the manager any more. If Bobby was the manager, he would put Heyward’s name on the lineup card if he was 0 fer 180!

obo

August 3rd, 2011
1:18 pm

wow a run in the 1st inning;)

Fish Bisch

August 3rd, 2011
1:18 pm

Bravofan

August 3rd, 2011
1:18 pm

Fish Bisch

August 3rd, 2011
1:19 pm

BravesQueen

August 3rd, 2011
1:19 pm

Mark’s –

Umm, no.

faninva

August 3rd, 2011
1:19 pm

nice! attababy

BFChris26

August 3rd, 2011
1:19 pm

Efrim

August 3rd, 2011
1:19 pm

I think you have to be very concerned as a Braves fan when things like this happen. It’s an indication that the organization just isn’t intelligent. I know Fredi isn’t, but I thought Wren could be counted on. Apparently not.

JoshTown

August 3rd, 2011
1:20 pm

The team we’ve seen the last few days isn’t the team the braves know they are. I really do think a turn around is in store, and riding the wave of acquiring Bourn will no doubt help that. He’s injected new blood at the top of the order, Uggla is on a tear, and even Gonzalez seems to have figured things out of late. Go Braves. All the way to October.

Kramer

August 3rd, 2011
1:20 pm

Suddenly…outta tha blue….A Gon….with a great job… goin’ to right

It's Teheran Time!

August 3rd, 2011
1:20 pm

Fredi’s insane.
He sits heyward because of “hot hand”. but he want to rides D-lowe out??

WTF Fredi???

brian

August 3rd, 2011
1:20 pm

nailed it cabravesfan

O.J.

August 3rd, 2011
1:20 pm

Pure definition of “Get em on, get em over, get em in”

TNScott

August 3rd, 2011
1:20 pm

Unbelievable!!! An RBI hit with 2 out and RISP for Agon.

Bravofan

August 3rd, 2011
1:20 pm

If we don’t have Bourn we don’t score there

tony austin

August 3rd, 2011
1:21 pm

Some good old fashion ABC baseball that inning, nice job Braves.

Efrim

August 3rd, 2011
1:21 pm

Is Heyward trade bait for a RH outfielder?

Wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see him traded this winter. Not anymore at least. They want gutty, gritty speedsters in the outfield like Bourn, Constanza, and Prado……wait, what?

Jay Dubu

August 3rd, 2011
1:21 pm

Braves can hit against below average pitchers, or at least pitchers that are still trying to work the rust off after a 1.5+ year injury recovery.

Sophee

August 3rd, 2011
1:22 pm

BQ – saw it. Welcome aboard. : – )

Efrim

August 3rd, 2011
1:22 pm

He sits heyward because of “hot hand”. but he want to rides D-lowe out??

Excellent point.

N Nine

August 3rd, 2011
1:22 pm

As far as Japanese pitchers go, hate those hitches in their slow wind-ups. It’s like watching KK pitch today. Slow and painful!

VaBravesfan

August 3rd, 2011
1:22 pm

anyone have a radio feed?

kwajbraves

August 3rd, 2011
1:22 pm

I hope that Beachy gets an easy 1st inning.

Rowsdower

August 3rd, 2011
1:25 pm

This just proves that Fredi will not tolerate loafing. Remember how much heat he took in Florida for benching Hanley? The reason that got out to the media is because Hanley is a petulant little biotch. Heyward is a man and he understands he screwed up and he’s taking his medicine.

pinkygonzales

August 3rd, 2011
1:25 pm

this is why fredi has not been that successful as a manager and why his tenure in Florida was so short and contentious. he plays to win individual games, and not to win divisions or wild cards. all due respect to hinske and constanza, but they are not starting outfielders on a playoff team. hey ward is, and we need him. this, he needs to play. we need Jason this year, and going forward, and playing guys who have no future with this organization is both short-sighted and silly. let’s just say this now. Jason heyward is going to be this teams right fielder for the foreseeable future. constanza will be in triple a as soon as mclouth is healthy. fredi needs to see the big picture.

Phiilistein

August 3rd, 2011
1:26 pm

Shaun

August 3rd, 2011
1:15 pm
The game is NOT about statistics. It’s not about your Fantasy team. Statistics are part of the game.

Straw man alert.

*********************************************************************************************************

As I said earlier, I am done with this conversation. Rather then trying to teach you about baseball I’ll try something that has a better chance of success; perhaps proving the theory of relativity to a brick

unbelievable

August 3rd, 2011
1:26 pm

Has Heyward been loafing?

Furman Bitcher

August 3rd, 2011
1:26 pm

What if Constanza goes 3-4 today. Does Heyward sit Friday??

Gary

August 3rd, 2011
1:26 pm

The difference Teheran is that Heyward is an everyday player that has struggled all season long. No one can say Fredi didnt give him every chance to pull out of his slump, just like he gave Uggla. Uglla has now hit in 20+ games in a row and shows no signs of his earlier slump, can’t say that about Heyward. Lowe only has an opportunity every 5 games to show what he can do and is a proven veteran and winner down the stretch. Apples to apples, Tehera,n if you want to critique Fredi’s decisions. btw Fish, what happened to Wang owning us??? Go Braves

Shaun

August 3rd, 2011
1:26 pm

Freddie Freeman grounded out for an RBI. I guess he was much more productive that inning than Michael Bourn. Obviously, since he has more RBI.

kwajbraves

August 3rd, 2011
1:26 pm

Beachy fastball is alive today. 94 MPH

Arkansas Transplant

August 3rd, 2011
1:26 pm

And now the pitcher gets to lead off next inning.

ncscoots

August 3rd, 2011
1:26 pm

think you have to be very concerned as a Braves fan when things like this happen. It’s an indication that the organization just isn’t intelligent. I know Fredi isn’t, but I thought Wren could be counted on.

Efrim, come on, Wren isn’t going to go down to Fredo’s office and tell him what to put on the lineup card. That’s out of line. If the GM doesn’t like what’s happening in the dugout, then he can make a change. But you don’t hold the manager accountable and then not let him BE accountable.

Now, if you mean Wren’s hiring decision was faulty, that’a a different thing.

dcp

August 3rd, 2011
1:27 pm

If they can’t defeat Wang, there are more serious issues in play here. What’s he pitched – like twice in 3 years?

Furman Bitcher

August 3rd, 2011
1:27 pm

Exacty Arkansas

Rey

August 3rd, 2011
1:27 pm

No offense, but my playoff rotation, assuming we make it would be:

1. Hudson
2. Beachy
3. Hanson/Jurjens – tossup here as I really don’t trust either pitcher

It's Teheran Time!

August 3rd, 2011
1:27 pm

Riding D-Lowe out worries me a lot.
Is D-lowe a hot hand?

Let a hot hand play.

Free Teheran!

kwajbraves

August 3rd, 2011
1:28 pm

Wake up call for Heyward. I sure hope that he raises to the challange.

Furman Bitcher

August 3rd, 2011
1:28 pm

David Justice was traded. Go to a new board Terrence Moore.

Arkansas Transplant

August 3rd, 2011
1:28 pm

And the Chatty Cathy goes on, and on, and on.

Kramer

August 3rd, 2011
1:28 pm

Shaun…you’re sounding more and more…like someone I know…

Rowsdower

August 3rd, 2011
1:28 pm

@unbelievable – Monday night he almost got Uggla hurt loafing in on a flyball to right. Then he failed to run out yet another grounder to 2nd.

kwajbraves

August 3rd, 2011
1:28 pm

Don’t give up the long ball, Beachy. Keep it in the park.

Furman Bitcher

August 3rd, 2011
1:29 pm

Rey ate you Crazy??

Will

August 3rd, 2011
1:29 pm

Good. Sit him for a week. Or send him to aaa where he can learn how to hit the ball.

dcp

August 3rd, 2011
1:29 pm

Shaun – the statistic that matters is winning. It is a team game. If Freeman knocks in Bourn who got on base, they both did their respective jobs.

Chauncy the Stat Troll

August 3rd, 2011
1:29 pm

100% of Major League Baseball organizations use some type of performance metric system to evaluate players and performance.

Only half of those organizations actually use the statistics garnered by their systems effectively.

Only 10% of baseball fans who embrace Sabremetrics and other statistical analysis tools are capable of deciphering performance numbers accurately.

Tom Verducci contributed a great article on SI.com about this and how many organizations are over valuing their own prospects, sometimes costing themselves chances to better their team.

Rowsdower

August 3rd, 2011
1:30 pm

Damnit Fredi, if you’re gonna play the hot hand card for the outfield, why the hell wouldn’t you for your damn rotation? Teheran is absolutely crushing Triple A hitters and nothing left to prove down there. GIVE HIM A CHANCE!

Rowsdower

August 3rd, 2011
1:30 pm

Good inning Beach!

kwajbraves

August 3rd, 2011
1:30 pm

Beachy is getting squeeze by the ump.

Furman Bitcher

August 3rd, 2011
1:30 pm

All organizations over value their prospects

BFChris26

August 3rd, 2011
1:30 pm

gcs

August 3rd, 2011
1:30 pm

“Going with the hot hand” is a move Bobby would NEVER do.

.

Shaun

August 3rd, 2011
1:30 pm

Oh, and I guess Prado’s out that got Bourn to third with less than two outs was vastly less productive than Freeman’s groundout. After all, Prado didn’t pick up an RBI so his groundout was completely different than Freeman’s.

And I guess Hinske’s walk with two outs that put Uggla on second and allowed him to come home on Gonzalez’s single was about as unproductive as an out, since he didn’t receive a Run or an RBI that inning. Poor, worthless Hinske. His walk didn’t do anything except extend the inning and allow a guy to get into scoring position.

N Nine

August 3rd, 2011
1:31 pm

Soooo glad we didn’t trade Beachy! Fastball looking good today.

unbelievable

August 3rd, 2011
1:32 pm

Runs, average, rbi’s, and fldg %’s are the only stats that matter to folks here. Good luck convincing them otherwise.

Shaun

August 3rd, 2011
1:32 pm

Shaun – the statistic that matters is winning. It is a team game. If Freeman knocks in Bourn who got on base, they both did their respective jobs.

dcp, it is? I though all that matters was production, i.e., RBI and Runs…especially RBI.

timthebrave

August 3rd, 2011
1:32 pm

nice job beachy, 3 strikeouts already

ncscoots

August 3rd, 2011
1:32 pm

“Going with the hot hand” is a move Bobby would NEVER do.

Remind me again: which of those two guys is going to the HOF? I forget.

Fish Bisch

August 3rd, 2011
1:33 pm

Furman Bitcher

August 3rd, 2011
1:33 pm

Why not just hit Constanza lead off???

Harry

August 3rd, 2011
1:33 pm

WHat is with this stupid batting the pitcher 8th? There is no bunt over when they lead off. You basically kill an inning

Bravofan

August 3rd, 2011
1:33 pm

I love the idea there Bourn

brian

August 3rd, 2011
1:34 pm

nice start by Beachy

Efrim

August 3rd, 2011
1:34 pm

Now, if you mean Wren’s hiring decision was faulty, that’a a different thing

Wren’s hiring decision was faulty, and I believe he feels the same way as Fredi does, scoots.. You don’t think Wren has anything to do with “considering” sending Heyward down to Triple-A? He absolutely does. So I believe that Wren is right there with Fredi, agreeing with him on the way to handle Heyward. And I disagree with the way they are both handling the situation.

Bravofan

August 3rd, 2011
1:35 pm

faninva

August 3rd, 2011
1:35 pm

VaBravesfan – see my 1:17

Rowsdower

August 3rd, 2011
1:35 pm

The only stat that matters offensively is runs. You don’t need an RBI to score a run. You have to have good situational hitting to put runners in a position to score. The 1st inning was a great illustration of situational hitting and it was great to see from this team.

Spuds McKenzie

August 3rd, 2011
1:35 pm

Curse, you are a moron. They just acquired Michael Bourn, and I’m not sure if you’ve looked at him yet or not, but he is black too! If you wanna scream racism, go over to the political blogs. No place for that nonsense here. We have games to win!

Fish Bisch

August 3rd, 2011
1:36 pm

Bourne should’ve ran that one out.

Arkansas Transplant

August 3rd, 2011
1:36 pm

Oh, and I guess Prado’s out that got Bourn to third with less than two outs was vastly less productive than Freeman’s groundout. After all, Prado didn’t pick up an RBI so his groundout was completely different than Freeman’s. – Shuan

No they were equally important..as was the steal. You do realize they call that the fundamentals of baseball, right? If your going to make an out… make it productive.

Bravofan

August 3rd, 2011
1:36 pm

Did Bourn grimace or was he upset?

MikeR

August 3rd, 2011
1:36 pm

Look back in baseball history. In 1952 Casey Stengel benched Mickey Mantle because he wasn’t hitting. It didn’t seem to harm his self esteem. I’m pretty sure Stengel and Fredi know more baseball than any of us on this blog.

tdc

August 3rd, 2011
1:37 pm

It’s Teheran Time!

August 3rd, 2011
1:20 pm
Fredi’s insane.
He sits heyward because of “hot hand”. but he want to rides D-lowe out??

WTF Fredi???

Exactly, with all those minor league pitching prospects.

LAND OF THE HYPOCRITES!

Stizz

August 3rd, 2011
1:37 pm

I fully expect Lowe to be placed on waivers if he isn’t already. Only problem is getting another team to bite.

Add your comment