A different kind of Braves-Nats series: it’s for first place

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

Remember when these Nationals-Braves series used to be the ones I just filled in for DOB in and ho hum, just a getcha through until the next interesting match-up? Them days are over.

Bryce Harper makes first visit to Turner Field

Bryce Harper makes first visit to Turner Field

The Braves welcome to town the 26-18 Washington Nationals, in first place in the NL East by one game and the team the Braves have chased and swapped the first-place lead with off and on for the past three weeks.

Yes, the Braves are ailing. They’re limping home from Cincinnati having lost four in a row and five out of six, while hitting only .167 and scoring two runs a game along the way, as DOB aptly pointed out.

They’re playing without Chipper Jones (nasty bruise), Brian McCann (flu) and Freddie Freeman (dry eye problems), but they’d best find a way to get things together somehow or they could find themselves with a bigger hole than they want to be digging out of this early in the division race.

Nothing like a late-night plane flight to help those ailing, and thanks to a night game last night in Cincinnati on getaway day, Fredi Gonzalez was planning to give the team an extra hour or two to report today to catch up on sleep. So we’ll see, perhaps at least one of those guys can get back in there. My guess is the most likely would be Freeman, if he has a pair of sport glasses waiting on him. I knew the ones he wore briefly May 17 vs. the Marlins weren’t what he was going for.

But let’s talk about the Nationals. And what’s going to make this holiday weekend interesting. I think the Braves knew better than anybody the potential this team has had the past few years – the Braves are 44-46 against the Nationals over the past five seasons.

2007 11-7

2008 6-12

2009 10-8

2010 8-10

2011 9-9

Need I remind anyone about their last meeting either? Sept. 23-25 in Washington, the Braves beat Stephen Strasburg on Friday night in Game 1, only to drop the next two games to Chein-Ming Wang and Ross Detwiler, scoring a combined one run. I remember one particular situation where the Braves had runners second and third nobody out – actually I just looked it up and the bases were loaded with nobody out – and they couldn’t score on that Sunday. It was the third inning. That to me was when the wildcard was lost. The Braves had three more games against the Phillies and you know what happened there, but that Sunday game in Washington, a winnable game, spelled doom.

And funny how things go, Detwiler would be your first Nationals pitcher this weekend. He pitched six shutout innings on four hits that day in Washington. And he’s 1-0 with a 3.26 ERA in six career games (three starts) against the Braves.

Of any of the Nationals starters he might be the one showing a little vulnerability of late – and that’s only relative because these guys have been tough. He gave up six runs in five innings in his last outing against Baltimore, and gave up five runs (four earned) in five innings against the Padres the start before that.

Hudson's had a lot to high-five about lately

Hudson's had a lot to high-five about lately

But if the Braves could handpick a guy to start the series and get them off on the right foot, this would be the one – Tim Hudson is 14-3 with a 2.05 ERA in 23 career starts against the Nationals, including 4-1 with a 2.64 ERA against them last season.

He’s had three dominant outings in a row, seven innings allowing one run against the Cubs, seven innings allowing two run in a win over the Reds, and beating the Rays his last time out with 7 2/3 shutout innings (remember Luke Scott’s groundball that hit the runner).

Then Saturday you have Mike Minor vs. Strasburg and on Sunday night for the ESPN game you get the glamour match-up of Brandon Beachy (1.77) vs. Gio Gonzalez (1.98), two of your top four ERA guys in baseball.

But I digressed a bit.

The point I meant to get to earlier was this: these Nationals are better than the Nationals that have already been a thorn in the Braves side for years, and it starts with their pitching. The Nats lead the majors with a 2.90 ERA. Their starting rotation leads the majors with a 2.71 ERA.

It breaks down like this: Detwiler (3-3, 3.65 ERA), Strasburg (4-1, 2.21 ERA), Gonzalez (6-1, 1.98 ERA), Jordan Zimmermann (3-4, 2.47 ERA) and Edwin Jackson (1-2, 3.38 ERA). They have 254 strikeouts, second in the majors to the Phillies’ 269.

And they have the most exciting young player in baseball with the call-up of outfielder Bryce Harper. (He’s hitting .267 with six doubles, three triples, two home runs and nine RBIs.)

Yes, the Nationals have a long list of players on the disabled list, including right fielder Jayson Werth (broken wrist) and catcher Wilson Ramos (torn ACL), but they’re still hanging in there. They’re coming off a series win against the Phillies, a team they’ve beat four out of six times this season. The Nats are 8-3 against the NL East this season, having won all four of their division series.

Getting the idea?

And in case I’m too straight-forward and jaded after all these years as a baseball writer, let me share a snippet of writing from Charles

Krauthammer gives the view of a Nats fan

Krauthammer gives the view of a Nats fan

Krauthammer, of Fox News fame, who also writes opinions for the Washington Post. This is from a column sent to me this morning by my better half and it’s fun to see some old-fashioned romanticism (no and I don’t get that a ton on the blog. Ha ha ha).

They’ve got an electric 19-year-old, the aforementioned Harper, who runs the bases like Pete Rose on steroids (so to speak) — with joy and abandon. After being deliberately drilled in the back by an opposing pitcher, how does the kid retaliate? By stealing home. Nobody does that anymore. Not since Jackie Robinson, anyway. This kid does it on national TV in the first inning of Game Eight of his career against a former World Series MVP.

The Nats also have the best starting pitching in the game. They not only throw harder and faster than any rotation on record; they throw with purpose and precision. They lead the world in ERA and strikeouts. Better still, four of the five are 26 or younger. The grizzled veteran is 28….

Young, brash and dangerous — how can you not like these guys? True, they could very well go south tomorrow. But what a ride. Even the omens are good. When the wizened [Davey] Johnson, asked about a recent epidemic of injuries to key players, suggested that perhaps a chicken be sacrificed, a bunch of fans promptly showed up at the park for the exorcism.

As charmingly reported by The Post’s Dan Steinberg, the beheading was clean; the chicken, rubber; and the results, pleasing: no major Nats injuries in a week! No entrails were read, but I’d say: The outlook is quite brilliant for the Mudville Nine this day.

OK perhaps a little cliché in the last line but you get what I’m saying, right?

Bases-loaded approach

One more thing I wanted to share, from a conversation I had earlier this week with Tom Glavine for a story on Mike Minor and the struggles young pitchers face. One of the things I asked him about that didn’t make the story was the approach he had with the bases loaded.

One thing about Glavine that stood apart from almost any other pitcher I’ve ever seen is his refusal to let even a bases-loaded jam goad him into grooving somebody a fastball.

Devin Mesoraco celebrates a slam off Medlen

Devin Mesoraco celebrates a slam off Medlen

And I’m bringing this up because it’s been an issue for the Braves of late – Randall Delgado has given up two grand slams already this season, including one last Saturday in Tampa. Then Kris Medlen gives up another one last night in Cincinnati.

Granted the three runners were Delgado’s, and the walks to load the bases are a big part of the problem, but for those three games, as soon as the ball was hit out of the yard, the game was over. It just was.

If a pitcher gives up one run and still gets the next guy, how awful is it? Adam Wainwright walked two Braves with the bases loaded in St. Louis on May 12 but gave up only two runs in the inning and kept his team in the game. Remember how deflating that felt to Braves fans to only get two runs out of that bases loaded, nobody out situation?

Glavine always had the mindset that he’s rather walk in one run than give up four, and while it may be counterintuitive, he made it work. He was confident enough to get the next guy, if need be. Glavine gave up only two grand slams in his entire career, and he walked 22 batters with the bases loaded. It was gutsy, but smart, to me, and listen to this thinking he gave when asked about it this week.

“It takes a while to trust yourself to be able to do that,” Glavine said. “We’re told all our life as pitchers ‘Hey you can’t walk guys,’ and particularly ‘You can’t walk a guy with the bases loaded. You have to throw a strike.’ Well, at that level, you’ve still got to be careful. I know the odds are probably still in the pitcher’s favor that even if he did groove one down the middle, it’s still tough for that hitter to get a hit but at the same time, it’s the kind of thing where if you don’t have to take that chance, why take it?”

“But it’s tougher for a kid to have that mentality because if you do end up walking a guy with the bases loaded, that’s all you hear about. We all tend to do what the ‘book’ says we’re supposed to do and in that situation it’s… ‘Well I gave up a grand slam but I didn’t walk him.’ And that’s almost the thought process.”

I could hear that last night in Medlen’s comments after the game. “I fell behind and had to go at him,” he said, after falling behind Devin Mesoraco 2-0 and leaving him a fastball over the plate. It made me think of Glavine.

Braves lineup:

1. Michael Bourn CF

2. Martin Prado 3B

3. Freddie Freeman 1B

4. Dan Uggla 2B

5. Matt Diaz LF

6. Jason Heyward RF

7. David Ross C

8. Jack Wilson SS

9. Tim Hudson P

1,697 comments Add your comment

Gustopher

May 25th, 2012
12:58 pm

[...] series against the Washington Nationals beginning at 7:35 May 25. It’s an important series as the two teams battle for first place in the National League East. In addition to the game there will be fireworks Friday night, a post-game performance by [...]

Matt

May 25th, 2012
1:02 pm

Great column Carroll. I agree with Glavine, but he is speaking with the benefit of hindsight. Delgado and Minor and Medlen are kids, so it’s hard for them to have the mindset that a guy like Glavine has after a HOF career.

TheOnlyBravesFan

May 25th, 2012
1:02 pm

3rd… can’t wait for the real DOB blog story…(no offense)

GO BRAVES!!!!

Carroll Rogers

May 25th, 2012
1:04 pm

no doubt, Matt.

Veer

May 25th, 2012
1:04 pm

Its funny to see how denial sports writers of Atlanta are comparing Mike Minor to Tom Glavine. This isn’t the first time these writers have done that. Few years back Chuck James was being compared to Glavine and Kyle Davies was compared to the early Smoltz.
Jurrjens numbers were put along side early days of Maddux and Smoltz and stating how great Jurrjens is.

The writers should get real. Get in touch with reality. Stop misleading the vulnerable fans into thinking Mike Minor is on a similar path as Glavine.
I will bet you 2 yrs from now Gilmartin will be compared to Glavine

ChattTownBrian (CTB)

May 25th, 2012
1:05 pm

Heyward got rushed to the bigs. A lot of us during that offseason were saying when it was getting clearer and clearer that he’d be starting in ATL to start ‘10 that it could be a mistake. It is turning out that way. Ass his injuries to the list that have slowed his progress in the fast paced world of the majors AND the pressures of being the next big star and you should almost be expecting what we’re seeing right now and the past year and a half, really.

Carroll Rogers

May 25th, 2012
1:05 pm

Veer, one of the points of comparing Minor to Glavine isn’t to say Minor’s going to be a hall of Famer but that going through such a period doesn’t make him a chump, it makes his normal. that even the absolute best go through it. apologize if that’s not what came across but i didn’t write that Mike Minor was going to be the next Tom Glavine.

TheOnlyBravesFan

May 25th, 2012
1:10 pm

oh gawd… bad brain moment… this is the new blog… i’m such an effin idiot..

repost from old blog:

Interesting story… though the writers of it say David Ross wouldn’t be a rental, under control for next year… however, according to baseball-reference his contract is up this year. hmmm…

http://rayscoloredglasses.com/2012/05/22/could-the-rays-swing-a-david-ross-trade/

The Truth....

May 25th, 2012
1:11 pm

I guess we gotta tip our caps to the REDS…They kicked our tails. When will this team wake up again? Who knows….maybe never. Better get it together before they get swept this weekend too!

TheOnlyBravesFan

May 25th, 2012
1:11 pm

*ass his injuries*

SMH LOL

Brave Decisions

May 25th, 2012
1:13 pm

Starting pitching so far http://wp.me/p2lqJ1-7n

Thanks to all readers, glad you like it.

richbrave

May 25th, 2012
1:15 pm

Gustopher

May 25th, 2012
1:16 pm

Great blog Carroll and a great quote from Krauthammer

Thanks

Veer

May 25th, 2012
1:21 pm

The Reds wouldn’t have swept us if we had Jones Freeman and Mac playing in all 4 games. Wonder what our record is with our regular lineup that includes the trio mentioned above. We are hard to beat when all 3 are playing. The thing is we can’t afford to get swept again because we have to worry about Marlins and the Phillies as well. This is a tough stretch for us and this is a time when we needed to be at full strength. Gonzalez played Chipper at 3B while he had the DH option avaliable to him. That move has cost us several wins. Why would you start an ailing old 3B on turf when you got the DH option?

Jack T

May 25th, 2012
1:24 pm

Just a thought…but do FF’s eye problems have anything to do with the poke from Bourne in celebration of a home run?

TheOnlyBravesFan

May 25th, 2012
1:25 pm

maybe because chipper didn’t want to DH?

NORRIS CHUCK

May 25th, 2012
1:26 pm

I love Chipper, but im also happy he’s hanging em up after this season so they can free up the loot and get someone in there that can play 130-140 games.

Fols

May 25th, 2012
1:27 pm

Last summer when Chip and Mac were both out of the line-up it brought on the Uggla/Freeman duo. They basically carried this team on their back into summer and we could do no wrong.

I’m guessing we’ll need a similar effort. We can talk Chipper till the cows come home…he’s going to miss a lot of baseball and we’re far worse for it. Guy can still play…when he’s actually playing.

Brian from SC

May 25th, 2012
1:27 pm

Didn’t Bourn poke McCann in the eye?

Fols

May 25th, 2012
1:28 pm

While we’re at it…I think Bourn poked Venters in the eye too…

Bat Masterson

May 25th, 2012
1:29 pm

Yep, it was McCann that got poked in the eye.

Good read, Carroll. Thanks

Fredi

May 25th, 2012
1:31 pm

jack t do FF’s eye problems have anything to do with the poke from Bourne in celebration of a home run?

yeah probably. bourn poked mccann so hard freeman felt it.

TheOnlyBravesFan

May 25th, 2012
1:34 pm

When Evan Gattis pokes someone, the whole world feels it.

ChattTownBrian (CTB)

May 25th, 2012
1:34 pm

TheOnlyBravesFan, a well thought out post by me and you pick out the spelling error. Don’t I feel important.

DAP

May 25th, 2012
1:35 pm

really hoping for a rebound tonight. last time the braves lost 4 in a row they went on a tear! no better time to do that than this weekend against the nats.

StevoDeg

May 25th, 2012
1:36 pm

Yeah, Jack T, Bourn poked McCann in the eye after his grand slam against Philly in that 15-13 slugfest. Freddie wasn’t affected unless he and McCann are really close

Fols

May 25th, 2012
1:37 pm

Freddie is a hugger….

Brian from SC

May 25th, 2012
1:38 pm

Good to be home, the Braves have played 17 home games, fewest in MLB, compared to their 29 road games, most in MLB.

TheOnlyBravesFan

May 25th, 2012
1:38 pm

CTB: It was a well thought out post, I did find it quite interesting, and I do agree with it. I also found the typo quite amusing as well.

wxwax

May 25th, 2012
1:39 pm

Nice job making a bases-loaded walk sound good. For the first time, I see the sense of it.

Brian from SC

May 25th, 2012
1:39 pm

The Nats are 12-14 since their 14-4 start.

The Truth....

May 25th, 2012
1:40 pm

Didn’t these guys ever watch the 3 stooges? You’re supposed to put your hand up on your nose to prevent a poke in the eye! Geezzz…

Venice Jim

May 25th, 2012
1:42 pm

Why would you start an ailing old 3B on turf when you got the DH option?

And if Francisco had made a key error you would have blamed Fredi for making Chipper DH…

Brian from SC

May 25th, 2012
1:44 pm

Tonight’s an important one to try to get. The Nats are 15-3 when Strasburg or Gonzalez start this year (the Sat. and Sun. starters this weekend). They are 11-15 when anyone else starts, including 2-7 in Edwin Jackson’s stars, who the Braves will obviously not see this weekend.

raleighbravefan

May 25th, 2012
1:45 pm

nyak, nyak, nyak….

Brian from SC

May 25th, 2012
1:45 pm

What did Chipper’s age, injury history, or artificial turf have to do with getting a 100 mph baseball to the ankle?

Brian from SC

May 25th, 2012
1:46 pm

We should keep an eye on Strasburg tomorrow…there are those out there who think he’s hurt. He left his last start after five innings, shaking his arm.

ncscoots

May 25th, 2012
1:49 pm

The Nats are 12-14 since their 14-4 start.

And for all the whining done here, the Braves are exactly a half-game worse off in the standings than they were on May 1, even with the bats going cold, pitchers getting lit up, bruises and flu and tearducts on a rampage, and all that. One…half…game.

In other words, while the Braves have been going bad, the Nats didn’t run away with the division (a popular flavor of the well-known drink), the Phillies haven’t come busting over the top of the Braves’ rotting corpse (also a popular flavor), and Marlins and Mets are still in the rear-view. The team has managed to play just about as badly as they are capable, and lost no ground. Zip. Nada.

I know that makes no difference to the folks who think they’re gonna hit .165 for the rest of the season, but I thought the folks with a functioning synapse left might be interested.

Brooklyn Braves Brawler

May 25th, 2012
1:49 pm

I’m of the the opinion that the Bravos did not pitch that badly overall. They had bad spots surely, in giving up 2 Grand slams in the series and 10 Hr’s total but, the majority of them were solo shots and our lack of scoring made good pitching outings much worse then what they really were.

I thought Minor’s and Delgado’s efforts were solid and Beachy’s and Hanson’s were good enough to win on any other night. When the Bravos don’t hit with runners in scoring position and fail to get anybody to 2nd with less than 2 out then it turns good outings into so-so ones.

The Truth....

May 25th, 2012
1:49 pm

The GM should realize that injuries are a part of the game and sign bench players that you can win with….Good to see Melky playing well….haha..gotta love those former Braves who leave and have great years…..haha…hows that Andrus trade looking now?? Goodness this organization…who does player evaluations anyway??? Booby Cox?

Venice Jim

May 25th, 2012
1:52 pm

Hard to argue with something so coherent…

Larry

May 25th, 2012
1:53 pm

Davey Johnson vs Fredi Gonzalez?

We are in deep doo doo!

Fols

May 25th, 2012
1:53 pm

I’m guessing Strasburg struggles tomorrow…..then next week we will be reading about another surgery and he’s going to continue to have health issues for the rest of his career.

Brooklyn Braves Brawler

May 25th, 2012
1:56 pm

That is truth, former Bravos leave and find renewed life in vigor in their careers. Frenchy is hitting well, Betemit is hlping the Orioles, Lowe is 6-2, Andrus is always playing well, Kelly johhnson is a big part of what of what Toronto is doing.

Brayan Pena is my favorite active forme Bravo. A with hitting catcher that could hit. I’m just saying!

AZBravoFan

May 25th, 2012
1:56 pm

Veer, you must not watch many games. Chipper has said repeatedly in the past that he hates to DH, he doesn’t feel engaged in the game. And I can recall a few of those games in the recent past where he was DH and didn’t really do anything. I don’t have the raw numbers, but I bet they’re not so good.

Brian from SC

May 25th, 2012
1:58 pm

We should note that Strasburg and the Nats reported a good bullpen session on Wednesday. So if he’s having any kind of problems, they’re not letting on about it. We’ll see.

AZBravoFan

May 25th, 2012
2:01 pm

Carroll those are good points by Glav. I was thinking the same thing last night as I read Medlen’s comments. Especially right after the Braves announcers had mentioned that Medlen was just starting to feel like he had command of all his pitches. He’s got to realize that his stuff is deceptive enough that he should be able to induce an out from the backup catcher. Even if he gives up a sac fly or even a 2 run single there, that game is still in reach. Hopefully someone explained that to him. I think he’ll figure it out though. I’m more worried about Venters’ “mechanical problem”

Hugo Z Hackenbush

May 25th, 2012
2:02 pm

Yep, that Frenchy and his .703 OPS would be a welcome addition right about now…

Brian from SC

May 25th, 2012
2:06 pm

Venters has given up as many hits (21) in 19 games so far than he did in his first 38 games last year. He has given up as many home runs (2) as he did the entire season in 2011.

Bat Masterson

May 25th, 2012
2:06 pm

Heyward got rushed to the bigs. A lot of us during that offseason were saying when it was getting clearer and clearer that he’d be starting in ATL to start ‘10 that it could be a mistake _ CBT

That’s your opinion and you are entitled to it but I don’t see what evidence you have for it. Heyward had a good spring and took the job. He got off to a hot start, then had a little slump. Cox sat him down for a game, or two, and said Heyward needed to be more aggressive. Pitchers were getting ahead of him because he was doing what he had always done, taking a lot of pitches. He made one of those adjustments people are always claiming he can’t make by swininging early and went on a tear.

Then he hurt his thumb. They said he would not get any worse playing with it, but none the less in stunk on ice for a month. Then he went on the DL. When he came back the hit .301 for the rest of the season, over half of his at bats for the year. He did not have the power he had shown earlier but he clearly not over matched.

He started out fine last year, then hurt his shoulder. Regardless of what people like to claim here he had no decernible holes in his swing before that. That said he sure as hell had them after.

He screwed his swing up last year trying to compensate. So as he and the team have said he’s just trying to get back to the swing he had before. Up until about three weeks ago he was looking pretty good. He was putting up good PAs almost every time up but not getting great results.

Right now, from what I see, it’s not about making adjustments to the way he’s being pitched. It’s about his timing, his hands, his confidence and basically not being able to hit period.

So who knows, maybe it takes more that 174 PAs to straighten out that mess. Maybe all year, maybe never. Regardless of all that he could just as easily been injured in the minor leagues. IMO

Disgusted

May 25th, 2012
2:06 pm

This weekend, a good weekend puts us in first place, a bad one just might put us in 4th. Close to 5th.

Must win weekend, either the ship gets straightened out or the big ship crashes into the iceberg.

There is NO middle ground. Winners get the glory, losers get the boot, what do we get this weekend?

bravesgrl4life

May 25th, 2012
2:07 pm

Going to watch the Big Boys play tomorrow evening and then on Sunday go watch some future stars. An old friend from my high school days has a son playing in a tournament in Marietta this weekend. He and my husband actually worked together when this guy was in school (a couple of years ahead of me, but we were in Latin Club together, so I knew and really liked him; all before I met my hubby). So, I’m going to drag the non-baseball loving other half up to Marietta Sunday afternoon to meet up with our friend and see his 12 year old play. Apparently this kid is really good and has had his fastball clocked in the upper 80s. He has been getting some pitching instruction from the Detroit Tigers pitching coach (this family lives in Lakeland, FL where the Tigers ST camp is). Maybe one day we’ll see Riley’s name on the back of a big league uni. That would be ultimately cool!

Brian from SC

May 25th, 2012
2:09 pm

Nothing wrong (compared to last year) with Venters’ strikeout or walk rates…they’re actually both a little better. But his ground ball/fly ball ratio is just 1.05, alarmingly low compared to 2.71 last year. And they are hitting him hard…line drive percentage of 26% (10% last year) and HR/FB of 10.5% (3.8% last year). Sinker ain’t sinkin’?

Disgusted

May 25th, 2012
2:09 pm

Minor is no Glavine but he should be better than recent busts like Chuck James, Kyle Davies and the big bust of em all, Jo Jo Reyes.

Minor has more stuff, look at the 14 SO game he had a couple yrs ago.

I hope he is not the mental noodle that Jo Jo was. Jo Jo was the worst pitcher I ever saw as far as a meltdown approach to the game, and he did not have a bad delivery or stuff. Should have been a decent midle rotation pitcher.

Minor still has time and opportunity and hope he siezes it, this org has given him plenty of opportunity.

Sweet Old Buck

May 25th, 2012
2:09 pm

Minor needs to find himself, or the pitching staff is in real trouble. Delgado is questionable each time out. Medlen may need the rest of the year to fully recover. Teheran apparently is not impressing anyone. Jurrgens is through. Pitching was supposed to be the strength of the team. No more!

Disgusted

May 25th, 2012
2:11 pm

I have not seen the top 25 posters on the last few blogs. Bring it back someone. Got to see how Prophet Disgusted ranks on the next one.

Must win tonight—MUST WIN.

Murph

May 25th, 2012
2:12 pm

I’m not very excited about the weekend’s games. Think I’ll put my “true fan” card in my dresser drawer for a few days, skip the torment, and just check the box scores/read the wrapups the next day.

cricket

May 25th, 2012
2:12 pm

This weekend, a good weekend puts us in first place, a bad one just might put us in 4th.

if things are so close, doesn’t it imply that we won’t be running away with the division with a good weekend nor would we be in abyss with a bad weekend? i’m off course hoping for good results but winners are not going to reserve their glory this weekend and losers are not going to get the boot tattooed on their a**.

off course i’m always game for a must-win statement series..

ncscoots

May 25th, 2012
2:15 pm

Must win weekend, either the ship gets straightened out or the big ship crashes into the iceberg. There is NO middle ground.

You can’t get this kind of humor just anywhere. I love this blog.

Disgusted

May 25th, 2012
2:16 pm

Heyward was called up at age 20 because he showed well and deserrved to be here based on performance and projected talent.

And he was doggone good for one yr.

His game has fallen off due to inability to respond to the adjustments that young players have to make to MLB pitchers to maintain success.

Its not that Heyward was brought up too soon, his game has not grown from his rookie yr due to the reasons above and of course injury could have something to do with it.

To stay good, a young player has to grow in knowledge and ability to handle situations. You think a guy like Chipper got as good as he got by now growing and learning the league and the game?

Even veterans work on and grow their game.

ncscoots

May 25th, 2012
2:17 pm

course i’m always game for a must-win statement series..

…the most important series of the year, not counting the series that comes right after it. Or the one after that, maybe. One of those.

Venice Jim

May 25th, 2012
2:18 pm

Think I’ll put my “true fan” card in my dresser drawer for a few days, skip the torment, and just check the box scores/read the wrapups the next day

If you are serious (and I am never sure with you), then there is no need to put the card away as it is obviously a forgery…

Disgusted

May 25th, 2012
2:18 pm

There is nothing better in life than a W for ur hometown MLB team.

And there is nothing worse than a L.

September of 2011 was the worst month of my life, worst thing that happened in the hsitory of the universe.

CrαZy

May 25th, 2012
2:18 pm

Is that Krauthammer in that picture?? Are you sure that’s not a young Frankenstein???

Anders

May 25th, 2012
2:21 pm

Disgusted – The Mr Myagi of the Braves blog there at 2:16.

CrαZy

May 25th, 2012
2:21 pm

Wait… I thought the Reds series was must win?? Are you telling me i flushed my season tickets down the crapper too soon?? Stop saying its must win unless it’s must win!! It can’t be a must win if we lose and then the next series is a must win again!!!!

Anders

May 25th, 2012
2:22 pm

And Mr. Myagi on mushrooms at 2:18.

bravesgrl4life

May 25th, 2012
2:23 pm

Hey, an Anders siting :)

CrαZy

May 25th, 2012
2:25 pm

I’m not very excited about the weekend’s games. Think I’ll put my “true fan” card in my dresser drawer for a few days, skip the torment, and just check the box scores/read the wrapups the next day.

Not me I’ve already got the cliff picked out and everything!!
We lose I jump!!

Brian from SC

May 25th, 2012
2:25 pm

Nate McLouth has been DFA’d by the Pirates.

Murph

May 25th, 2012
2:25 pm

If you are serious (and I am never sure with you), then there is no need to put the card away as it is obviously a forgery…

You can’t tell when I’m being serious yet?

I’d never put my true fan card away… I have way too much time, money, tears, headaches, etc invested in the Braves.

That being said, I will not be partaking in any of the games this weekend. My 5 year old is turning 6 today, so we’re going to party party party… and then tomorrow afternoon party party party with 30 or so more 5 & 6 year olds.

I’m going to need to take Sunday off as I’m sure the 2 days of birthday partying will leave me completely gassed.

bravesgirlnc

May 25th, 2012
2:26 pm

Thank CR! Great quotes from Glavine. Reminds me of Mad Dog’s refusal to worry about the guy that might steal vs focusing on the hitter in the box. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Anders

May 25th, 2012
2:26 pm

What’s up Braves girl? Sounds like you’re taking you husband out with the old crush from high school this weekend based on some bogus “supporting the kids dream” scam.

Nicely played. Does he have any idea or is he just gonna get some action wondering what the heck got into you? {:

DAP

May 25th, 2012
2:27 pm

krauthamer is not what you would call a handsome man. one of the ugliest guys on tv, and my spell check want to change his name to sauerkraut.

Murph

May 25th, 2012
2:27 pm

Nate McLouth has been DFA’d by the Pirates.

Anyone want to take bets on how long it’ll be before he’s wearing a Braves uni again?

Dawg Haus

May 25th, 2012
2:28 pm

The Braves’ inability to manufacture runs in Cincy has me pretty worried about this series. The Nats, though still pretty impressive, have cooled off a good bit since that torrid start, so who knows what could happen?

CrαZy

May 25th, 2012
2:28 pm

party party party with 30 or so more 5 & 6 year olds.

Bless your heart!!! I’d rather watch a Braves game with .don, Shaun, Mitchell and Robert than be you this weekend!!

ncscoots

May 25th, 2012
2:29 pm

Is that Krauthammer in that picture?? Are you sure that’s not a young Frankenstein???

Proximity to Fox News is known to make one ugly up, somewhat.

Anders

May 25th, 2012
2:30 pm

Nate McLouth has been DFA’d by the Pirates. (Brian)

Wow, and to think the Braves gave up on that other local can’t miss prospect Jordan Schaefer for McLouth. Personally I knew when he couldn’t see the signs for Michigan driving home after that first season he was done. But nobody would listen to me.{:

CrαZy

May 25th, 2012
2:30 pm

Anyone want to take bets on how long it’ll be before he’s wearing a Braves uni again?

I’m being serious with this…. He’d be a better option to call up in case of injury than we currently have in AAA!!

CrαZy

May 25th, 2012
2:31 pm

On second thought No he wouldn’t!! He’s turrible!!

Carroll Rogers

May 25th, 2012
2:31 pm

Brian from SC, yep….Strasburg threw a bullpen since then and said his elbow was fine, but it’s something to pay attention to.

Murph

May 25th, 2012
2:31 pm

CraZy… it’s a pool party… with lifeguards. I should be able to find a quiet corner with a cooler full of beer and… yeah, who am I kidding? I’ll be the one with the net trying to fish the doodie out of the water.

AZBravoFan

May 25th, 2012
2:32 pm

Thanks ncscoots for providing some perspective. There are no “must win” series in May. Especially when we’re sitting near the top of the division. I’ve been caught up in my Coyotes out here the past month. I just saw them lose a REAL must win game to the Kings. Now they’re playing golf. The Bravos could easily get swept this weekend and it would mean NOTHING. Other than the fact that they need to get everyone healthy.

Shaun

May 25th, 2012
2:32 pm

If someone told us prior to the 2010 season that Heyward would be a .253/.358/.425 hitter with a 114 OPS+ in 1,253 career PA through May 24, 2012, I think most of us would say that seems about right. If the Braves were expecting more, he probably should have spent more time in the minors.

Carroll Rogers

May 25th, 2012
2:33 pm

Anders i think mclouth was hit-less as a pinch hitter this year too. not good.

bravesgirlnc

May 25th, 2012
2:33 pm

That makes me sad for Nate. Always liked him. Took his demotion without complaining (*cough* Frenchy) and just seemed like a good guy. Hope he can figure it out somehow.

Carroll Rogers

May 25th, 2012
2:34 pm

that’s a good point bravesgirlnc….they pick their poison, don’t they?

CrαZy

May 25th, 2012
2:34 pm

Murph… I love MY kids and even a few of his friends, but 30 good lord!! Hope parents plan on staying and not using you for a daycare!!!

Murph

May 25th, 2012
2:34 pm

If someone told us prior to the 2010 season that Heyward would be a .253/.358/.425 hitter with a 114 OPS+ in 1,253 career PA through May 24, 2012, I think most of us would say that seems about right.

Nice that he built up such a buffer that first season… makes his horrible play over the last 2 not seem so bad when looking at his career totals.

Venice Jim

May 25th, 2012
2:35 pm

Murph – have fun! I’ll be working through at least an hour of each of the Nats’ games, but I’m usually able to keep up with Gameday on the phone while subtly ignoring the students…

Arkansas Transplant

May 25th, 2012
2:35 pm

Heyward has been in the league long enough now that we should be seeing some improvements, not regression.

Shaun

May 25th, 2012
2:36 pm

Jordan Schafer was a “can’t-miss” prospect?

Brian from SC

May 25th, 2012
2:36 pm

Some people are still waiting for Heyward to be what he was his first month or two in the big leagues again. That’s an impossible standard to live up to.

TennesseePaul

May 25th, 2012
2:37 pm

Thanks for the work CR. That Krauthammer article was a blast. Really enjoyed the opening bit:

It was our much-anticipated quarterly lunch with Tim Kurkjian, baseball analyst extraordinaire, wherein George Will and I bathe in a constant flow of obscure statistics, Kurkjian oddities, and ribald anecdotes, like the one about the Red Sox beat writer who accidentally walked in on a players’ prayer meeting and was greeted by the burly right fielder, newly born-again and not yet practiced in the language of Christian fellowship, bellowing “Hey! Can’t you see we’re having f—— chapel here?”

After which, Kurkjian asked us about our daily reading habits. I confessed that during baseball season I give the front page of the morning paper about 90 seconds before going right to the box scores.

To which Will deadpanned, “Why waste the 90 seconds?”

True story.

GO BRAVES!!

Hillbilly

May 25th, 2012
2:37 pm

But nobody would listen to me.{:

Don’t try and take all of the credit, my man. There were PLENTY of us riding aboard that stagecoach.

Murph

May 25th, 2012
2:37 pm

VJ, I did buy a waterproof iPhone case, so I might take that and have the game on during the party tomorrow.

Then again, I think subjecting little kids to Minor vs Strasburg could be considered child abuse.

Shaun

May 25th, 2012
2:38 pm

Murph, 97 OPS+ in 2011 and 2012 I would also say isn’t all that far outside of the realm of expectations for Heyward before he turns 23.

bravesgirlnc

May 25th, 2012
2:38 pm

Thanks Carroll. The guys today (and media sometimes) seem too focused on the outlier stuff like velocity and k/9 vs just locating and focusing on a hitter at a time. It seems Beachy is doing that this year and that seems to be showing in his results.

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