Big hits are cause for hugs with Freeman and Braves

MIAMI – If you’re a Braves fan who’s watched them play recently on TV, you’ve surely noticed the hugging. A whole lot of hugging in the dugout after big hits and particularly after home runs.

So much hugging, one might wonder if the the team hired a New Age spiritual advisor.

Freeman (right) has always been a hugger. Hugs instead of high-fives he said, because "they're more fun."

Freeman (right) has always been a hugger. Hugs instead of high-fives he said, because "they're more fun."

No, it’s just the improbable influence of one Freddie Freeman.

The big rookie first baseman from California is a hugger. And it’s caught on with other Braves during hitting surges by Freeman and Dan Uggla, whose 29-game hitting streak is two from matching the Atlanta Braves record.

“I just hug everybody,” said Freeman, 21, who is nearly 6 feet 5, weighs over 240 pounds, and has a disarmingly goofy demeanor and rather odd haircut. “I don’t know why. It’s just what I do. I give hugs instead of high-fives. Hugs are more fun.”

For someone who gives hugs instead of high-fives, there has been plenty of reason to embrace – and be embraced — since mid-May.

After hitting just .220 in his first 39 games with six doubles, four homers, 12 RBIs and a .320 on-base percentage and .362 slugging percentage, Freeman has hit .332 in 73 games since May 14, totaling 22 doubles, 11 homers, 45 RBIs and a .385 OBP and .524 slugging percentage in that nearly three-month span.

In his past 23 games, he’s raked at a .389 clip with a .440 OBP and .544 slugging.

Freeman and Braves closer Craig Kimbrel, who leads the majors with 35 saves and 14.14 strikeouts per nine innings, could end up the top two finishers for NL Rookie of the Year.

Without question, Freeman leads all major league rookies in hugs, including extended hugs with Uggla. And now, you also see Uggla hugging Chipper Jones and all other other willing huggers in the dugout after any of them get a big hit.

When TV cameras show the Braves dugout after a home run, there is so much hugging going on, it looks like a family reunion or wedding.

“Gotta give ‘em as much love as you can,” said Freeman, who is refreshingly, utterly devoid of any concern over how this might appear to someone on the outside looking in.

And so are most others in the dugout, apparently.

In a matter of seconds, Uggla will go from macho forearm-bashing of teammates at home plate and at the dugout steps, to a warm embrace of one teammate after another.

Built like a fire hydrant, Uggla has become as proficient a hugger as hitter during his hitting streak, which is one shy of matching the majors’ longest streak this season, Andre Ethier’s 30-gamer.

Players being a superstitious lot in general, don’t expect the hugs to stop, at least not as long as Uggla and/or Freeman keep hitting like they are now.

Freeman was not in a mood to hug after being ejected in the eighth inning Monday, following a strikeout. It was his first ejection at any level of baseball, Freeman said.

Freeman was not in a mood to hug after being ejected in the eighth inning Monday, following a strikeout. It was his first ejection at any level of baseball, Freeman said.

Call them the Huggable Braves, who hope to embrace deep into the postseason.

Kimbrel’s scoreless streak: He’s been overshadowed lately by Uggla’s hitting streak, but Kimbrel is doing things that we just don’t see 23-year-old rookies do.

The flamethrower from Huntsville leads the majors with 35 saves, strikeouts by relievers (89 in 56-2/3 innings) and strikeouts per nine innings (14.14). In his past 25 games, he has a microscopic .088 opponents’ batting average in 24-2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just seven hits and seven walks with 41 strikeouts in that stretch.

That’s absurdly dominant, folks.

After much-maligned reliever Scott Proctor gave up two walks and a two-run homer in the ninth inning Monday, Kimbrel came in with a runner on and one out and squelched the Marlins’ rally hopes by striking out the next two batters to end an 8-5 win.

For the season, Kimbrel has held left-handed hitters – yes, left-handers – a .131 average (13-for-99) and .378 OPS with only one extra-base hit (double). Right-handers have hit .212 with a .571 OPS against him.

He has 44 strikeouts in 99 at-bats by lefty hitters, and 45 strikeouts in 99 at-bats (yes, same number of at-bats) by righty hitters. He is an equal-opportunity strikeout machine.

Kimbrel is only five from matching and six from surpassing the major league rookie saves record of 40 set last season by the Rangers’ Neftali Feliz, a former Brave prospect who was part of the package sent to Texas for Mark Teixeira.

Kimbrel should break that rookie record easily, barring injury. But the overall single-season saves records are still a good ways away: The major league record is a jaw-dropping 62 saves by then-Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez in 2008, while the NL mark of 55 saves is shared by the Braves’ own John Smoltz (2002) and the Eric Gagne of the ’03 Dodgers.

Kimbrel has averaged one save every 3.3 Braves games so far, and would need just one every 7.6 games in the remaining 46 to set the rookie record. But he’d have to average a save every 2.3 games the rest of the way to match the Smoltz/Gagne NL record.

BRAVES LINEUP

  1. Bourn CF
  2. Prado LF
  3. Freeman 1B
  4. Uggla 2B
  5. Jones 3B
  6. Gonzalez SS
  7. Ross C
  8. Constanza RF
  9. Beachy RH

Inside Uggla’s streak: His only hit Monday was an infield single to short, but it was a clean hit with Uggla busting tail out of the batter’s box to beat the throw.

Uggla has had 21 one-hit games in his 29-game hitting streak, along with five two-hit games and a trio of three-hit games.

He has hit .354 (40-for-113) during the streak with five doubles, 12 homers, 27 RBIs, a .413 OBP and .717 slugging percentage (1.130 OPS). He has scored 25 runs and totaled 25 strikeouts, along with 11 walks, one hit-by-pitch and one sacrifice fly.

Lowe snapped three-start losing skid Monday, said he's drawn inspiration from Uggla's determination and perseverance.

Lowe snapped three-start losing skid Monday, said he's drawn inspiration from Uggla's determination and perseverance.

“I’m going to continue to have fun and continue to get my work in and continue to try to do everything I can to help this team win,” Uggla said after Monday’s game. “We’re getting back on track as a team, I feel like. Just keep it going.”

Braves pitcher Derek Lowe, who snapped a rough three-start losing skid with six innings of six-hit, two-run ball Monday, said Uggla has had his teammates’ admiration all season. Even when the second baseman was hitting .173 through July 4.

Racing head-down to first base to beat out the single Monday was a perfect example of why, Lowe said.

“If you look at a lot of his hits throughout this streak, he’s been hustling like this all year long, but to get those hustle hits is very impressive,” the pitcher said. “I said from Day 1 that I think everyone in here has so much respect for him because he never made excuses and never wanted out of the lineup.

“Having played this game, there’s a lot of people who’d struggle as much as he did early and start saying, ‘Hey, can you get my back,’ or, ‘I need a day.’ He wanted to be out there every single day.

“I actually looked to him for motivation, because I’m in the same spot myself, struggling. He never hung his head and kept grinding, finding a way. I’m trying to do the same thing myself.”

Uggla went 10 games without a walk before drawing one in his first plate appearance Monday. Uggla hit a pair of three-run homers to beat the Marlins, his former team, in consecutive games less than two weeks ago in Atlanta.

“We’re going to have to find a way to do something different than we’ve been doing,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said of facing Uggla before Monday’s series opener. “Hopefully our pitchers realize that this guy is a guy who can beat you just like Pujols, Holliday and Berkman.

“You knew you couldn’t hold him down long. He’s like Hanley – somewhere along the line you know you’re not going to hold them down long. They’re going to be in a little rut but they’re going to find their way out of it.

♣ Etc.: Today is Jason Heyward’s 22nd birthday. On his 21st birthday, he went 1-for-3 with a solo home run in a game at Houston….

Scott Proctor’s 6.44 ERA would be the majors’ worst for relievers if he had enough innings to qualify (he has 29-1/3 innings, would need 35). Proctor has a 9.18 ERA in his past 18 appearances, with 25 hits, 19 earned runs, five homrs and 13 walks allowed in 18-2/3 innings….

Tonight’s Braves starter, Brandon Beachy, held the Marlins two hits in 7-1/3 scoreless innings to beat them on July 29, after giving up five runs in 5-1/3 innings of his first start against them in April…

Tonight’s Marlins starter, right-hander Clay Hensley, is 1-2 with a 5.12 ERA and .186 OA in four starts since moving from the bullpen to the rotation. He’s allowed 13 hits and nine walks with nine strikeouts in 19-1/3 innings as a starter. In his most recent start Thursday against St. Louis, he lasted just 2-1/3 innings and was charged with six runs, three hits, three walks, a homer and two hit batters in just 2-1/3 innings….

Braves OF Jose Constanza is 15-for-30 with double, triple, homer, four RBIs and six runs in eight-game hitting streak, with six multi-hit games. He’s hit .421 (16-for-38) in his first 10 major league games, with one walk, three strikeouts and a 1.015 OPS. He’s in the lineup over Heyward again tonight in right field, this time against a right-hander.

♣ OK, let’s close with a beauty from the stunner, Neko Case, whom we’ll be seeing perform on same bill with My Morning Jacket later this month in Atlanta. You can hear (and see) her do the song by clicking here. (You owe it to yourself to do so.)

images

“HOLD ON, HOLD ON” by Neko Case

The most tender place in my heart is for strangers
I know it’s unkind, but my own blood is much too dangerous
Hanging around the ceiling half the time
Hanging around the ceiling half the time

Compared to some I’ve been around
But I really tried so hard
That echo chorus lied to me with its:
“Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on”

In the end I was the mean girl
Or somebody’s in-between girl
Now it’s the devil I love
And that’s as funny as real love

I leave the party at 3 AM
Alone, thank God
With a valium from the bride
It’s the devil I love
And that’s as funny as real love
And that’s as real as true love

That echo chorus lied to me with its:
“Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on”
That echo chorus lied to me with its:
“Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on”

– David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

2,355 comments Add your comment

TennesseePaul

August 9th, 2011
2:53 pm

Thanks for the work DOB.

GO BRAVES!

BFChris26

August 9th, 2011
2:53 pm

JoshTown

August 9th, 2011
2:55 pm

Great bloggage as always, DOB. Go Braves!

reno

August 9th, 2011
2:56 pm

Jesus

August 9th, 2011
2:57 pm

GTI in Chicago

August 9th, 2011
2:57 pm

Thanks, DOB. I’m still in love with Neko Case.

TennesseePaul

August 9th, 2011
2:59 pm

The big rookie first baseman from California is a hugger.

This doesn’t surprise me. Moving all around the country like I have, the most peculiar part of the SoCal culture shock was the man-hugs. East of the mighty Mississippi men shake hands. Hit SoCal and guys give hugs.

CrαZy

August 9th, 2011
2:59 pm

It’s much more arrogant to think your perceptions are always right than it is to point to let the evidence and reason along with perception point you to the truth.-Shaun

Shaun’s as confused as a hungry baby in a topless bar. You never use perception! why start now?

phil

August 9th, 2011
3:00 pm

Nicely done, DOB…

I see Wayward will ride the pine on his 22nd birthday….it’s where he belongs for now. I guess the “he’s only 21″ excuse will now become “he’s only 22″…

Snotboogie

August 9th, 2011
3:00 pm

The big rookie first baseman from California is a hugger.

What… he couldnt any trees nearby and started hugging Heyward?

Nice offbeat blog, DOB. Thanks. :-)

Random

August 9th, 2011
3:01 pm

Bobbys’ Chauffeur (August 9th, 2011 2:42 pm): “some of us 86 year olds have trouble remembering everything but thanks anyway”

Yeah, right. :roll: As if.

I call bullsiht on you being a year over 20.

garblicks

August 9th, 2011
3:02 pm

I just love this lineup. When mac comes back I’d move him 3rd freddie 5th and chipper 6th no way I move constanza unless he has a major slump. Speed kills. This new braves lineup just amazes me. I’m in awe

phil

August 9th, 2011
3:04 pm

Philippians 2:14 instructs, “Do everything without complaining.”

There go most of my posts down the drain….should make plenty of you happy!

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
3:04 pm

If Fredi is going with the hot hand, why not bat Costanza second?

PMC

August 9th, 2011
3:04 pm

Does Kimbrell have a splitter?

Jimmy

August 9th, 2011
3:05 pm

Thanks DOB. Great work.
Uggla – “Built like a fire hydrant..”
:-)

Bobbys' Chauffeur

August 9th, 2011
3:06 pm

Looking forward to another good game. Got to keep, it close until Mac gets back.

TennesseePaul

August 9th, 2011
3:07 pm

Last 9 starts of the starting 9:

_________AVG__OPB__SLG___OPS
Bourn .289 .317 .316 0.633
Prado .237 .310 .316 0.625
Freeman .324 .359 .405 0.764
Uggla__ .378 .385 .784 1.168
Chipper .351 .385 .595 0.979
Seabass .308 .308 .487 0.795
Ross___ .121 .194 .242 0.437
Biff___ .441 .457 .618 1.075
Beachy_ .067 .067 .067 0.133

Nova Scotia Steve

August 9th, 2011
3:09 pm

HUGS DOB

Thanks for the new blog man.

JT Grace

August 9th, 2011
3:10 pm

I guess in Fredi’s idiotic mind Jose Constanza is now the starting RF. Even though Jason finally looked to be coming out of his slump, and even hit a towering home run in his last game, Fredo thinks it’s a good idea to drop him back on the bench for a couple of games. And just how does the brilliant Fredi Gonzalez expect Jason to figure out what is wrong with his swing if he is sitting on the bench?????? Either send him to AAA or play him but he should NOT be used as a fourth outfielder.

Murph

August 9th, 2011
3:12 pm

Either send him to AAA or play him but he should NOT be used as a fourth outfielder.

Agreed, JHey won’t fix his swing taking naps on the bench.

Random

August 9th, 2011
3:12 pm

George Stein (August 8th, 2011 5:12 pm): “Nevermind, Random. You don’t effing get it.

“I’m done with you, too, Phil. Keep clinging to clutch as a skill. Let me know how it works out for you.”

Okay.

We are sorry to have so soon exhausted your limited capacity for intelligent discourse.

ATL Fan

August 9th, 2011
3:12 pm

Freddie Freeman…Hugger Slugger.

Chi Town

August 9th, 2011
3:14 pm

Heyward sucks

Summer of George

August 9th, 2011
3:14 pm

As Jerry would say, “we got a hugger”.
We got a lot of huggers on this team and I’m good with that.

O.J.

August 9th, 2011
3:14 pm

I agree that Jason needs to be shaking the rust off in AAA, not gathering more rust by riding the pine.

Jimmy

August 9th, 2011
3:15 pm

Murph – “Agreed, JHey won’t fix his swing taking naps on the bench.”

Send him down now to work it out. Then when Biff cools, maybe Jason will be back to speed.

Summer of George

August 9th, 2011
3:16 pm

“she didn’t hug me, why Jerry, why didn’t she hug me?” “I went to do the hug and she left me hanging!”

Eric

August 9th, 2011
3:16 pm

Still trying to figure out why Proctor has a roster spot…?

Hug It Out

August 9th, 2011
3:17 pm

O.J.

August 9th, 2011
3:18 pm

Why are we calling Constanza ‘Biff’?

Jimmy

August 9th, 2011
3:19 pm

I really can’t see a situation, in any game, where I would be comfortable seeing Proctor come into the game.

PJ

August 9th, 2011
3:19 pm

Heyward needs to go to AAA or AA. He does not need to be in the lineup the was Constanza is playing. Constanza wants to be in the Big League and has worked very hard to get there. I think Heyward bein gon the cover of SI this spring has ginxed him….look what happened to Frenchy the season he was on the cover.

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
3:19 pm

You already posted that yesterday, Random. My capacity gets easily worn down by people with IQs that start with a 7.

I didn’t respond yesterday, but as to you saying BS about requiring 1,000 PA to judge a player, as an example, look at Austin Jackson. Last year he hit almost .300, largely ob the strength of a nearly. 400 BABIP. This year he is hitting .247 with a (still high) .347 BABIP. But of course, Random is able to make conclusions about performance after one season.

Jimmy

August 9th, 2011
3:19 pm

O.J. – just a nickname.

garblicks

August 9th, 2011
3:20 pm

From what I gather some guys are more heyward fans than braves fans and thats fine. I will disagree. You dont sit wwwa guy that causes as much chaos on the bases thats hitting at a pretty great clip for a guy thats not even hitting .240. I prefer constanza and I how he stays at the bottom of the order unless bourn is getting a day off

Summer of George

August 9th, 2011
3:20 pm

I’m not going in the water in while in Miami….you know, that whole shrinkage thing…

SB75

August 9th, 2011
3:20 pm

When Costanza comes back down to earth ( and he will), F-Gon will regret benching Heyward. As stated a million times before, if this was his mind set from the start and he benched Uggla when he was horrible, no one would have a problem with it. But since it just seems to be Jason that gets benched because of a slump, I’m pissed!!!!!!!

JT Grace

August 9th, 2011
3:10 pm
I guess in Fredi’s idiotic mind Jose Constanza is now the starting RF. Even though Jason finally looked to be coming out of his slump, and even hit a towering home run in his last game, Fredo thinks it’s a good idea to drop him back on the bench for a couple of games. And just how does the brilliant Fredi Gonzalez expect Jason to figure out what is wrong with his swing if he is sitting on the bench?????? Either send him to AAA or play him but he should NOT be used as a fourth outfielder.

+1!

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
3:21 pm

Very good question, Eric.

Snotboogie

August 9th, 2011
3:22 pm

You already posted that yesterday, Random. My capacity gets easily worn down by people with IQs that start with a 7.

Random – you have an IQ in the 700s? However did you manage that man!

poop

August 9th, 2011
3:22 pm

I’m a fan of sending Heyward down until September call ups. He’s not getting any better sitting on the bench. I think triple-A would be a good place for him to work on his swing right now. Then, he can hopefully be productive for the stretch run if Constanza cools off.

VaBravesFan

August 9th, 2011
3:22 pm

At this point asking Proctor to give us 2 innings with a 10 run lead would be insane. I do not know how we hold the wild card lead when we have 2 players in Proctor and Lugo on this roster… Terrible teams have better 24th/25th spots than us.

Tomas

August 9th, 2011
3:23 pm

Bobby V called Uggla, Dan Huggla

Summer of George

August 9th, 2011
3:23 pm

Expect big things for Georgie while he’s in Miami….A New Yorker in Florida, like a fish in his own pond….who woulda thunk it?!

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
3:24 pm

Agreed, SB75. Heyward is being completely mismanaged (unless he’s hurt, and they day he isn’t).

Hugging Harold Reynolds

August 9th, 2011
3:24 pm

Harold Reynolds was a notorious hugger as well. Got him fired by ESPN. Freddie needs to quit the moobs on moobs action

ncscoots

August 9th, 2011
3:24 pm

Agreed, JHey won’t fix his swing taking naps on the bench.

Do you guys think there’s some magic potion at Gwinnett or something? If they thought two weeks at AAA would fix this guy, he’d have been down long ago, don’t you think? Whether he can fix his swing this year or not, I don’t know, but I seriously doubt that there’s anything at AAA that’s going to do it.

Might be worth it just to get him out of Atlanta for a while, but that’s something else altogether.

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
3:24 pm

Warhead

August 9th, 2011
3:24 pm

Freddie Freeman is Lots-O-Hugging Bear. If you’ve got kids, you’ve probably seen Toy Story 3 and understand. His nickname should be Lots-O.

Shaun

August 9th, 2011
3:25 pm

Over the last 7 days, Casey Kotchman has the second-highest OPS in the majors. He’s the hot hand over Albert Pujols.

O.J.

August 9th, 2011
3:26 pm

Jimmy, ok, didnt know if there was a certain reason as to why he was nicknamed that, lol

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
3:26 pm

That made me laugh, Harold. Good blog, BTW.

cabravesfan

August 9th, 2011
3:26 pm

Hit SoCal and guys give hugs.

Real men are not afraid to hug ;)

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
3:27 pm

Nicely done, Shaun.

O.J.

August 9th, 2011
3:27 pm

Is there an Android app that I can download to listen to all the Braves games? I was able to listen to a game the other day, but it doesnt play every game.

Jimmy

August 9th, 2011
3:29 pm

ncscoots -” I don’t know, but I seriously doubt that there’s anything at AAA that’s going to do it.”

Just getting the AB’s while not hurting the Braves. I haven’t given up on JHey, and he needs to be playing. We’ll probably need him badly during the September stretch.

Jbailz

August 9th, 2011
3:29 pm

OJ – MLB at Bat will let you listen to all the games. I have it on my iPod and would put it on my phone but you have to pay for each device I think.

DAP

August 9th, 2011
3:29 pm

shaun Over the last 7 days, Casey Kotchman has the second-highest OPS in the majors. He’s the hot hand over Albert Pujols.

did the cardinals trade for kotchman?

Snotboogie

August 9th, 2011
3:30 pm

Freddie needs to quit the moobs on moobs action

Dude is probably manly enough to shave his face with Paul Bunyan’s axe.
Instead be glad he is from CA and not France!! ;-)

Summer of George

August 9th, 2011
3:31 pm

Keep Hugging away….sign of good times!
Dan “the hustlin’” Man. Freeman’s boyish enthusiasm. Georgie the spark plug. Chipper just being Chipper…….This is fun…{ } <hugs!

Hillbilly

August 9th, 2011
3:33 pm

Watch any of the Buck Commander Videos if you want to see men hugging. Chipper, LaRoche, Matt Duff,…hug after hug after hug. Now don’t get me wrong,…I get amped up when I pop a good buck, but that degree of man-hugging is a bit out of my league.

Noholdsbarred

August 9th, 2011
3:33 pm

Proctor’s numbers are FANTASTIC . . . NOT! Someone check and see if he has a pulse.

phil

August 9th, 2011
3:33 pm

Murph

August 9th, 2011
3:12 pm
Either send him to AAA or play him but he should NOT be used as a fourth outfielder.

Agreed, JHey won’t fix his swing taking naps on the bench.
**********************
I know it hasn’t escaped notice that the guy wasn’t fixing his swing while actually playing every day either….come on.

Shaun

August 9th, 2011
3:34 pm

George Stein, even if he’s hurt, he should be on the DL and his roster spot should be utilized.

This season is the strangest I can remember. The team is being run like that 1980’s Braves. Thank goodness they have better players than they did back then.

Schafer consistently leads off while he’s up. Fredi over-utilizes the sac bunt. Fredi refuses to use his closer late in tie games on the road. Fredi refuses to use Ross as a pinch-hitter. Fredi refuses to play one of the more skilled players on the team in favor of a 27-year-old minor league journeyman because said journeyman is hot for all of 10 games.

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
3:36 pm

I think he’s still with Tampa, DAP. He was probably just making a point about the absurdity of “playing the hot hand.”

DAP

August 9th, 2011
3:37 pm

george stein He was probably just making a point about the absurdity of “playing the hot hand.”

oh…well the example seems absurd…why not just let both players start for their respective teams?

VaBravesFan

August 9th, 2011
3:37 pm

Right now I just dont know how Fredi can bench Constanza. I wanna see Heyward play for sure but he isnt producing and we need to win, Constanza is the better option right now.

Murph

August 9th, 2011
3:38 pm

Do you guys think there’s some magic potion at Gwinnett or something?

I do. It’s called “regular plate appearances”. He’s not getting them in Atlanta right now, so he might as well go down to AAA and get them there.

TDub

August 9th, 2011
3:38 pm

Loves me some Neko. Thanks DOB.

Bobbys' Chauffeur

August 9th, 2011
3:39 pm

statistically Georgie is PLAYING better the Jason the last 10 games

DAP

August 9th, 2011
3:39 pm

not to mention, george…pujols is hit right now too. just another terrible example from shaun. perhaps he doesnt know that the “go with the hot hand” concept also requires someone to be relatively cold….

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
3:39 pm

Agreed, Shaun.

Thing with Freddi is that what he says and what he does are divergent. I mean, we agree that playing the hot hand is a ridiculous way to manage, but OK. The problem is that he then takes that hot player and sticks him 8th in the order. My head hurts trying to understand the reasoning skills there.

Bobbys' Chauffeur

August 9th, 2011
3:40 pm

but are we not just interested in this game?

phil

August 9th, 2011
3:40 pm

Shaun

August 9th, 2011
3:34 pm
George Stein, even if he’s hurt, he should be on the DL and his roster spot should be utilized.

This season is the strangest I can remember. The team is being run like that 1980’s Braves. Thank goodness they have better players than they did back then.

Schafer consistently leads off while he’s up. Fredi over-utilizes the sac bunt. Fredi refuses to use his closer late in tie games on the road. Fredi refuses to use Ross as a pinch-hitter. Fredi refuses to play one of the more skilled players on the team in favor of a 27-year-old minor league journeyman because said journeyman is hot for all of 10 games.
********************
It’s no wonder we’re in last place with all this terrible managing….

The part about a more skilled player is a good one….maybe on paper but paper doesn’t win ballgames.

Snotboogie

August 9th, 2011
3:40 pm

I think he’s still with Tampa, DAP. He was probably just making a point about the absurdity of “playing the hot hand.”

And you couldnt see how absurd Shaun’s point was? No one here is supporting the idea of replacing an .850 OPS hitter with the “hot hand” hitting .950. The gap between Constanza and Heyward right now is so huge as to not make the substitution as much of an egregious error as Shaun’s making it out to be. So by all means, dole out your “nicely done”s if you please. But the bottom line is that he has blinders on.

DAP

August 9th, 2011
3:40 pm

pujols is hit right now too

actually, he is HOT right now.

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
3:41 pm

Pujols is always hot, DAP. It’s why he’s the one of the three or four best hitters in the game.

ncscoots

August 9th, 2011
3:41 pm

We’ll probably need [Heyward] badly during the September stretch.

Best hope not.

Bobbys' Chauffeur

August 9th, 2011
3:42 pm

Could be that Georgie is hungrier than Jason?

EnoughStrains

August 9th, 2011
3:42 pm

Just don’t hug Chipper, he’ll be out the rest of the year

Summer of George

August 9th, 2011
3:42 pm

Prado and A Gonzo back in their element in miami….should be able to produce

Jbailz

August 9th, 2011
3:43 pm

Why not play the hot hand? Heyward is a professional and when Constanza cools off he’ll jump in and be himself again. I’ve been hearing they are working with Heyward on his swing (ya they do coach in the MLB too, not just Gwinnett) so maybe when he comes back he’ll be Heyward circa opening day last year…

N8

August 9th, 2011
3:43 pm

“Over the last 7 days, Casey Kotchman has the second-highest OPS in the majors. He’s the hot hand over Albert Pujols.”

When did the Cardinals trade for Kotchman? Good for them.

ncscoots

August 9th, 2011
3:44 pm

so he might as well go down to AAA and get them there.

Against late-season AA move-ups and AAA journeymen. You bet. That’s a fixer, for sure.

Brother John

August 9th, 2011
3:44 pm

I thought Dan Huggla started all this hugging stuff!! Didn’t know the Free Man got it all ‘a going! I’m glad to see it. Keep it up through the World Series, fellows! As a fan, I feel a fire beginning to burn here. Players trusting each other. Keep the hugs ‘a coming Freddie! Hugga Slugga for sure! Even an old war horse like Chipper is getting in on the act! Can’t help but LOVE IT!! This team needed an identity. Maybe we now have one. The lovable, huggable Braves!! Thanks Freddie for bringing some California culture to the bench of our Bravos! I was born in Georgia, but went to school at UCLA. Never got used to — at a simple dinner party — the young women who came in would never fail to kiss you on the cheek! That California love might take us over the top!! My hat is off to the Free Man and Mr. Huggla! Hope it spreads like a wild fire through out this team!!!!

Tommy T

August 9th, 2011
3:44 pm

“Over the last 7 days, Casey Kotchman has the second-highest OPS in the majors. He’s the hot hand over Albert Pujols.” – Shaun

When Heyward puts up numbers anywhere even close to Pujols, I’ll agree with you.

phil

August 9th, 2011
3:44 pm

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
3:41 pm
Pujols is always hot, DAP. It’s why he’s the one of the three or four best hitters in the game.
****************
Thank you.

poop

August 9th, 2011
3:45 pm

What position does Kotchman play on the Cardinals?

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
3:45 pm

Any other straw men you have for us, Phil?

The record isn’t bad now. In fact, it’s pretty good. The question is what it might be with competent management. It may be a game or two, but I can’t promise that. The process is remarkably poor, though.

It also raises the issue of how absurd it is to judge a manager by his record.

Summer of George

August 9th, 2011
3:45 pm

@ Enough Strains….Chipper gets attacked on field after game winning hits…Eventually he’s gonna find a new muscle to strain running away from the celebrations!

JT Grace

August 9th, 2011
3:47 pm

I think Heyward bein gon the cover of SI this spring has ginxed him….look what happened to Frenchy the season he was on the cover.

You do know that Freddie Freeman was on the cover with Heyward? Was he jinxed too?

phil

August 9th, 2011
3:47 pm

Bench Pujols….start Kotchman.

Great comparison of situations….both guys playing well with Pujols and Krotch versus Biff and Wayward where Wayward has done next to nothing for an entire season…..brilliant.

Shaun

August 9th, 2011
3:47 pm

phil, he wasn’t?

In August Heyward has the 3rd highest OPS on the team, minimum 10 AB’s. Prado is 8th.

If they are looking at small sample sizes and the “hot hand,” why are they giving Prado a pass?

Ernie Johnson

August 9th, 2011
3:47 pm

Dave – It’s about time somebody began to compare Constanza to Bob ‘Hurricane’ Hazle of the ‘57 Braves. Hazle was a similar mid/late-20’s minor league journeyman w/ very little MLB experience who was called up when the Braves’ starting CF, Billy Bruton, was injured. Hazle hit .400 w/ 7 HR over the final third of the season. His contribution to the pennant was so significant that he was 4th in the rookie of the year voting.

Bobbys' Chauffeur

August 9th, 2011
3:48 pm

Chipper seems to put the ball in play and has been getting on base. True hitter..Doesn’t seem to be getting much on the ball. Still favoring that injury. Hope his power-0-meter gets up to full speed by Sept

Shaun

August 9th, 2011
3:49 pm

phil, Heyward is playing well in a recent small sample and he has a hotter hand than Prado. The hot hand rule and looking at recent small samples only applies to Constanza, not Heyward or Prado.

phil

August 9th, 2011
3:49 pm

Prado gets a free pass because his English isn’t very good….

Summer of George

August 9th, 2011
3:50 pm

Uggla’s hustle is the best….pure enjoyment watching a player actually running a ball out to first.

Snotboogie

August 9th, 2011
3:50 pm

The hot hand rule and looking at recent small samples only applies to Constanza, not Heyward or Prado.

Ummm.. I think 10Paul already proved this wrong.

JT Grace

August 9th, 2011
3:50 pm

Since the break: Prado .257/.302/.349 2 HRs. Heyward .206/.324/.397 3 HRs (per Mark Bowman). So why is Jason being benched and not Prado?

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