Fill-in shortstop has given Braves what they needed

The Braves traded for shortstop Paul Janish strictly because of his strong defense, so they wouldn’t lose much in that area while rookie standout Andrelton Simmons recovered from a broken hand.

The Braves traded for Janish for his defense while Andrelton Simmons was on the DL, and the fill-in has been everything they'd hoped for and more.

The Braves traded for Janish for his defense while Andrelton Simmons was on the DL, and the fill-in has been everything they'd hoped for and more.

Janish has given them what they anticipated in the field, but provided more than expected lately with his bat. He had three hits in Friday’s 4-3 win against the Dodgers, including a pair of key singles when the Braves tied the score in the eighth inning and won in the 11th.

The night before, he had two hits, two RBIs and a flashy defensive play in the ninth that helped Kris Medlen finish off a shutout against the Padres.

“I appreciate him,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “The hits, those are great … but I appreciate the hell out of him defensively. The stuff he can do. The relay to cut the runner out at the plate with two outs [in the fourth inning Friday]. Nice game on his part, and I know him and Walk [hitting coach Greg Walker] have worked hard to get a swing where he’s not an out. And he’s not by any means. And like we always say, he’s not here to win a batting title, he’s here to help us win on defense. And he’s done that. Whatever we get offensively out of him is a plus.”

He’s only hit .227 with a .303 on-base percentage and six RBIs in 32 games for the Braves, but Janish has a .273 average with 12 hits in his past 12 games.

“I haven’t been swinging the bat as bad as maybe it looks like,” said Janish, 29, who was playing for the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate before coming to Atlanta in a July 14 trade for minor league pitcher Todd Redmond. “I’ve been hitting the ball hard at people and whatnot, and having decent at-bats and just not getting the results.

“On a night like [Friday], when we really couldn’t get much going offensively, to be able to come up with some key hits at key times, that’s obviously a good thing.”

After going 18-for-95 (.189) in his first 28 games with the Braves, he’s 7-for-15 (.467) in the past four, including three multi-hit games.

“He was humongous [Friday],” said Braves catcher David Ross, who singled with two out in the 11th, before Janish singled to put runners on the corners and set up Juan Francisco’s game-ending pinch-hit single.

“You know [Janish] hits the ball good if I can go from first to third,” Ross cracked. “He made some great plays defensively. And I feel like Janish is in every at-bat. I know the numbers don’t show it, but he makes a lot of contact. He rarely strikes out and he hits the ball hard. Early on he had a lot of tough luck, and [his hits Friday] found some grass.”

Gonzalez said Saturday that a mid-September return for Simmons is more likely than early September. The rookie will stay behind when the Braves go on their 10-game trip that starts Monday, and continue to work with a Braves physical therapist and hand specialist to regain the strength and flexibility before he can begin a rehab assignment.

In the meantime, the Braves are pleased with the work Janish has done as a fill-in. He’s not the hitting threat that Simmons was proving to be, nor is he going to make as many spectacular plays as the kid from Curacao. But he’s been more than adequate for a team that has the majors’ best record (29-11) going back to July 3.

“I know he’s been swinging it pretty good,” Gonzalez said. “And not just getting hits, but big hits in important moments. When you look back, those are the type of players that are winners, championship-type players…. And he makes every play defensively. He helps make our pitchers pitch counts [stay lower]. He makes all the routine plays.

“And I’ve come to appreciate him. When you talk baseball with him, he’s sharp. He knows the game. In some situatiuons where we have to pinch-hit for him, it’s a one-run game and we have Hinske and Francisco to double pinch-hit for him and the pitcher’s spot, and he knows the game, he’s not going to be [upset]. Soon as that situation comes up, I look at him and he [nods]. You don’t have to explain it to him.”

• For the home folks: He said this week would play as many of the remaining home games as he could, but Chipper Jones is doing more than just being in the lineup. Talk about giving the home fans something to remember, check out these numbers: In his past 26 games at Turner Field (since June 26), Chipper has hit .389 (37-for-95) with 13 doubles, seven homers, 21 RBIs, .454 OBP and a .747 slugging percentage (1.201 OPS).

Chipper says he'll play as many of the remaining home games as he can in what remains of his farewell season.

Chipper says he'll play as many of the remaining home games as he can in what remains of his farewell season.

That stretch includes 11 multi-hit games, a two-homer game (on Friday, when he got his 2,700th hit) and a five-hit, four-RBI game.

• Tonight’s matchup: It’s Ben Sheets, making the seventh start of his comeback, against Dodgers righty Aaron Harang.

Sheets went 3-0 with a 0.50 ERA and .200 opponents’ average in his first three starts, with 13 hits, 15 strikeouts and five walks in 18 innings. In three starts since then he’s 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA and .325 opponents’ average, with 26 hits, 13 strikeouts and three walks in 20 innings.

Harang is 1-3 with a 4.53 ERA in 10 career starts against the Braves, including 0-1 with a 6.38 ERA and five homers allowed in four starts against them since the beginning of the 2010 season. He got no decision and allowed six hits, three runs and four walks in six innings of a Dodgers loss to the Braves on April 24.

Harang is 3-2 with 3.95 ERA and solid .208 opp average in seven starts since July 4.

Brian McCann is 12-for-23 with two homers against Harang, but McCann is not in the lineup tonight. Check the story I’ll be filing separately in just a bit for more on that situation. Fortunately for the Braves, Mac’s backup, David Ross, is 4-for-9 with three homers against Harang (yes, that’s a combined 16-for-32 with five homers by the Braves catchers against Harang).

Also, Chipper is 7-for-18 with two homers against him, and Dan Uggla is 9-for-26 with two homers.

BRAVES LINEUP

  1. Bourn CF
  2. Prado LF
  3. Heyward RF
  4. Jones 3B
  5. Freeman 1B
  6. Uggla 2B
  7. Ross C
  8. Janish SS
  9. Sheets P

• Let’s close this with a tune from one of the most underrated songwriters alive, with a great voice to boot. William Elliott Whitmore’s got the goods. Here’s ’s “Field Song,” which you should hear by clicking here.

william-elliott-whitmore

“FIELD SONG” by William Elliott Whitmore

Write this down, and don’t forget
That the best of times aint happened yet
The gilded age has long been done
And so many lost when the west was won

Let’s go to the field were gonna do some work
Spend our day digging in the dirt
We’ll hope for rain to follow the plow
And this piece of ground is a homestead now
This little piece of ground is a homestead now

Three square meals and a living wage
Reminds me of the good ol’ days
Before the manifest destiny of the factory farms
When those cut throats came and burned down the barn

Underneath the black locust tree
There’s a shady place that waits for me
To rest my bones and to rest my mind
I’m gonna rest right here when I die

Write this down and don’t forget
That the best of times aint happened yet……

– by David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

938 comments Add your comment

rbg420

August 18th, 2012
5:47 pm

jani has been great and has helped so we do not have to rush simmons back!

Weaseal

August 18th, 2012
5:49 pm

All aboard the A-train…

Animus

August 18th, 2012
5:49 pm

Why sit BMac? How about a .063/.211/.063/273 over the past seven days? It’s almost as bad for the past 2 weeks.

He may feel like he can play, but at some point, Mac has to ask himself if playing is going to help or hurt the team.

Rather see him sit, rest and HELP the team.

Ward

August 18th, 2012
5:51 pm

DOB – Thanks for the good article……..All, it’s been good, and I’ll talk tonight after the game……..Peace my friends, and “Go!!!!!Braves!!!!!”

Trey

August 18th, 2012
5:51 pm

Wonderful article, DOB. Thank you.

ACE

August 18th, 2012
5:57 pm

Whoever it was that said Fredi was a great players manager should listen to some of the comments by the players in the media.

ACE

August 18th, 2012
6:02 pm

Maybe DOB could ask Hanley Ramirez what he thinks about Fredi.

Trey

August 18th, 2012
6:03 pm

Get ‘em, Ward!

Powderfinger

August 18th, 2012
6:06 pm

I really think you folks are making much ado about nothing regarding Mac, his shoulder and his manager. Fredi made his call (remember that when a player says he’s ready, many – including Bobby – will hold ‘em out another day). If Brian wasn’t upset about sitting at this point in the season, I’d really be worried. The players are not revolting against the skipper. I’m not FG’s biggest fan, but good grief…

Capt.Mudd

August 18th, 2012
6:06 pm

Shutting down Strasburg is the topic of discussion today between the FOX MLB team currently during NYY/BOS…..broadcast, seems McCarver is in a twist big-time about it–saying “even Tommy John himself was not ’shut-down!” Oh by the way sco….3-1 Sawx.

brian

August 18th, 2012
6:07 pm

ACE – you know the answer. With the recent antics Fredi is not looking to bad to have stood up to Hanley

njbraves

August 18th, 2012
6:08 pm

What is wrong with Ward?? Serious question…that boy isn’t right in the brain.

Enee, Meenee, Minee, Jim

August 18th, 2012
6:11 pm

Count me as one who believes that you need to be strong at short even if you have to sacrifice offense to do so. I was not a fan of the Pastornicky experiment believing that his defense was too suspect to count on every day at short. I, along with some others here, was right. Not trying to sound cocky, just a fact.

When Simmons got the call I was ecstatic! I loved his glove and was surprised by this bat. When he was injured, I felt the Braves chances at post season were damaged. When the Braves acquired Janish, I was like “who?” Within a few games, I was a fan. Any offensive contribution would be gravy.

I agree with what Janish says about his batting average. The guy seems like he’s hitting better that that. He makes solid contact, unlike some speedster who just slaps the ball.

Janish has been MORE than I could have ever expected when he came to ATL. Although I believe Simmons has more upside, I would be comfortable with Janish at SS for the rest of the season if Simmons had problems coming back this year.

Count me as a Janish fan.

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô:

August 18th, 2012
6:12 pm

Thanks for the new Blog, Chief.

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô:

August 18th, 2012
6:14 pm

Mark Bowmen The decision [to rest BMac] seemed to have more to do with the recent struggles of McCann and the fact that Ross entered the game with four hits, including three home runs, in nine at-bats against Dodgers scheduled starter Aaron Harang.

Has anyone other than DOB taken a look at BMac’s numbers against Harang? Sheesh!…If that’s seriously the main reason he’s sitting, that really annoys me. I mean really really annoys me…

Animus

August 18th, 2012
6:18 pm

I like Mac, but he’s only had one hit in the past week, and it was a single. He is not helping the team by playing. An extra days rest can only help him (and the team going forward). He’ll play tomorrow according to Fredi.

Powderfinger

August 18th, 2012
6:18 pm

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô: I promise you it will be better for him to sit one more day (certainly can’t be harmful). Anyway, who’s to say he doesn’t get in the game later? We are in a long stretch of consecutive games, and we absolutely need him the rest of the way.

alanfalcon

August 18th, 2012
6:20 pm

I would like to know how many future HOF’s finished out their last season the way Chipper is doing, tone it down, really ! Raise the volume and cheer him on, he is the heart beat of this Brave’s team–

GO CHIPPER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô:

August 18th, 2012
6:21 pm

Sure! Let’s put him back in tomorrow against Billingsley! 4-16 with a homer and 6 K’s. THAT’LL get him going…

Ross is 3-5 against Billingsley.

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô:

August 18th, 2012
6:23 pm

Powderfinger

Yeah, but later in the game, Harang most likely won’t be pitching…

I promise you it will be better for him to sit one more day (certainly can’t be harmful).

Hope you’re right. That’s what everyone tried to tell me about his DL stint last year…

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô:

August 18th, 2012
6:24 pm

I shouldn’t have read Bowman’s post—that paragraph put me in a sour mood.

Powderfinger

August 18th, 2012
6:25 pm

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô: I’m not a real doctor. I only play one on the blog :)

Kat

August 18th, 2012
6:25 pm

Thanks for the new blog. And for those not in the Atlanta area MLB Network will be carrying the Braves game tonight (or the Mets/Nats).

toast

August 18th, 2012
6:25 pm

really anxious to see who Sheets does tonight. come 6 weeks if could continue to be a huge asset or become a total question mark. tough call seeing if he holds up

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô:

August 18th, 2012
6:26 pm

Powderfinger

Ha! That’s OK… :P Didn’t mean to come off like I was snapping at you…

ACE

August 18th, 2012
6:26 pm

Fredi was a catcher for six years in the minors. He knows what he’s doing.

toast

August 18th, 2012
6:27 pm

be a braves fan first and foremost. who gives a ratz azz if somebody is playing or not, as long as they win. enough of the childish talk

Trey

August 18th, 2012
6:27 pm

njbravesfan, why do you say that?

Powderfinger

August 18th, 2012
6:28 pm

toast—”really anxious to see who Sheets does tonight.”

That’s his own business. I just hope he pitches well…

ACE

August 18th, 2012
6:28 pm

Bmac said I can play and I can do all the things I need to do to play.

Couch Tater

August 18th, 2012
6:31 pm

Mac has obviously struggled of late. Banged up. Dinged up. I’d rather he sit now, than in October.

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô:

August 18th, 2012
6:33 pm

Jimmy

Yeah, yeah. I know, I know. I’m just kind of exasperated by the whole thing—I guess he and I were cut outta the same mold in that regard…

Why is it that when DOB post a new blog, these idiots suddenly appear?

Sorry! I was just about to leave for a bit…

ACE

August 18th, 2012
6:33 pm

If Bmac sits too much the braves won’t have to worry about him playing in October.

SNEAKY PETE

August 18th, 2012
6:35 pm

the difference between a roughly 400 OBP hitter like Chipper and a 300 OBP hitter like Francisco has so far shown himself to be over an entire season could easily by 30 runs scored. Plus OBP includes the homers a guy hits, so most of the time when Francisco is not hitting homers he will be making a lot of outs.
I’m afraid though that he might start at third next year, but if he does so there will be a noticeable fall off, and if we lose Bourn too( almost a forgone conclusion it seems) we are going to be a lot worse hitting team. It would behoove them to win this season

SNEAKY PETE

August 18th, 2012
6:37 pm

I agree that Fredi seems to pick some pretty unusual times to sit players. McCann playing today and off tomorrow makes more sense to me

SNEAKY PETE

August 18th, 2012
6:40 pm

maybe Fredi was one of the few not-smart ones ACE.

ACE

August 18th, 2012
6:44 pm

You are right Sneaky Pete.

Disgusted

August 18th, 2012
6:45 pm

The way Francisco has improved his game since he has been here who says he cannot improve his OBP to .320 and take a few more walks.

He seems like a coachable young guy & there is room for improvement. I don;t know what he will do over a full season but he deserves a chance.

We are not signing a David Wright type, so Juan has worked his way to getting a chance.

Of course there will be a fall off from a healthy Chipper, how do you really replace a guy of his caliber anyway.

If we get .240 to .250 BA/.310 to .320 OBP/22-25 HR85- 90 RBI and high 20’s of doubles from Juan, no way we can complain. And note the value given that we will not pay him that much.

Don’t give up on retaining Bourn, they will try though it won;t be easy.

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô:

August 18th, 2012
6:45 pm

SNEAKY PETE

Makes more sense to me, too, but I’m not a doctor…

ACE

August 18th, 2012
6:46 pm

Nor is Fredi

VaBravesFan

August 18th, 2012
6:48 pm

Francisco will be making around 500k next season.

Couch Tater

August 18th, 2012
6:49 pm

be a braves fan first and foremost. who gives a ratz azz if somebody is playing or not, as long as they win. enough of the childish talk

Braveheart – Good to see you. Oh..wait. Wrong.

BravesWin

August 18th, 2012
6:53 pm

@ Jimmy…I’m a BARVES fan, too…jk, couldn’t resist. Agree with your post.

ACE

August 18th, 2012
6:55 pm

Jimmy only comes out when DOB posts a new blog.

ACE

August 18th, 2012
6:58 pm

Time for some Dancing in the Sheets.

ACE

August 18th, 2012
6:59 pm

Fredi does play a manager on TV.

Disgusted

August 18th, 2012
7:00 pm

Janish can play for a heavy offense team even if he hist .220 or so.

Was he this good defensively with the Reds????? I don’t know.

He did have one yr when he hit .260 and had a respectable OBP, think it was in 09 or 10.

Janish would have been a regular SS for half of the teams in MLB back in those late 60’s and through the 70’s, before it because such an offensive position.

Najeh Davenpoop

August 18th, 2012
7:00 pm

Could have used Janish the last two years. He isn’t that much worse at the plate than Alex Gonzalez, if at all, and unlike Alex he actually lives up to the hype defensively.

ACE

August 18th, 2012
7:02 pm

Trey Hillman running the Dodgers tonight and Tomorrow.

JC Brave

August 18th, 2012
7:02 pm

Let’s put McCann in the lineup!!

Maybe his arm detaches from the shoulder during a swing and it goes flying past first base!!

Capt.Mudd

August 18th, 2012
7:03 pm

@McFann…..I am sorry you are in a sour mood and, if you will, IMO the blog is a better place when you are here and happy–I wish you an uplifted mood tonight….MAC had been doing so much better and many of us saw that as a positive in catching the Nats. So yea, creeper/bummer right now–but he’ll be ok soon and my advice to you is just know there are more Mac fans out here than not.

ACE

August 18th, 2012
7:03 pm

Why didn’t Misty May come with the Dodgers?

Big Country

August 18th, 2012
7:04 pm

Najeh stick a sock in it.

VaBravesFan

August 18th, 2012
7:05 pm

Just imagine how many more wins we would have if Uggla and McCann produced near expectations, hell throw in Simmons not getting hurt.

Tomahawkin

August 18th, 2012
7:07 pm

Vabravesfan

CoSign on that 705 post

VaBravesFan

August 18th, 2012
7:08 pm

Simmons provided more offense than most of us expected, 296 AVG, 788 OPS plus his amazing defense, I bet we would have 2 or 3 more wins if he never gets injured.

We might have really hit the jackpot with Simmons, just hope this injury doesn’t set him back offensively. Keith Law already has said Simmons is the best defense shortstop in the majors already.

Capt.Mudd

August 18th, 2012
7:08 pm

Ace, let me ask: are you in a bad place tonight yourself?

JC Brave

August 18th, 2012
7:09 pm

Just imagine how many more wins we would have if Uggla and McCann produced near expectations, hell throw in Simmons not getting hurt.

I would go as far as saying the Braves could easily have around 10 more wins right now…

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô:

August 18th, 2012
7:09 pm

Thanks, Capt.Mudd. Appreciate it…:)

phil

August 18th, 2012
7:09 pm

Mindless gibberish….

My turn now.

njbraves

August 18th, 2012
7:09 pm

Trey…you’re kidding, right? Have you read the guys posts? I’m pretty sure he’s not playing with a full deck.

SNEAKY PETE

August 18th, 2012
7:10 pm

Simmons was off the charts while he was starting as far as defensive metrics are concerned too. awesome debut

Disgusted

August 18th, 2012
7:11 pm

Last look at Juan’s OBP is now stands at .311.

Little more improvement & he can get to that benchmark of the .330 to .340 which is thought of as being a “good” OBP.

Don;t bet aganst that he can raise the OBP over the course of a season.

Don’t look now but Janish is up to .227/.303, pitchers beware. Jack Wilson won’t be back next yr for sure. Gonna have real shortstop depth next yr once Andy is right.

bravesgrl4life

August 18th, 2012
7:12 pm

Cheer up, McFann, and let our boy heal up. He’ll be better for it in the long run and in the Series :) Hugs to you, friend.

ACE

August 18th, 2012
7:12 pm

@Capt. All is good here. Just watching the wheels go round.

Capt.Mudd

August 18th, 2012
7:13 pm

……Calling out around the World, are you ready for a brand new beat….summers here and the time is right….for dancin’ in the Sheets–Philadelphia,PA…Baltimore and D.C. now………….

VaBravesFan

August 18th, 2012
7:14 pm

Good thing Chipper is still getting it done at 40, and Heyward and Freeman are going in the right direction or we’d be screwed. Were pretty lucky if you ask me when 2 of our expected producers are having terrible season’s and were playing great still.

McCann has produced a 229/306/422/729 slash line…. No where near his norms.

Uggla has produced a 213/344/378/721 slash line…. Also no where near his norms.

BFChris27

August 18th, 2012
7:14 pm

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

ACE

August 18th, 2012
7:15 pm

I’ll take the Van Halen version.

Disgusted

August 18th, 2012
7:15 pm

Simmons might have some adjustments at the plate when he first gets back, but next yr this kid is going to be a stud.

Could have similar numbers to what Jeter had his first season along with the glove. We got a winner.

Still have to keep Janish in reserve.

Capt.Mudd

August 18th, 2012
7:16 pm

A fan from Montezuma, Ga caught that last one

VaBravesFan

August 18th, 2012
7:16 pm

Dodgers are making Sheets work

ACE

August 18th, 2012
7:16 pm

Or maybe Mick and David Bowie

ACE

August 18th, 2012
7:17 pm

Great call Capt. Been a long time since we have heard that one.

phil

August 18th, 2012
7:17 pm

Yanish has been key to our success….

Key.

ACE

August 18th, 2012
7:18 pm

Time to get an early lead.

BF54

August 18th, 2012
7:18 pm

smooth Sheets

bravesgrl4life

August 18th, 2012
7:18 pm

Beautiful inning for Sheets.

abeeewright

August 18th, 2012
7:18 pm

Nice 1-2-3 inning for Sheets.

MIBravesFan

August 18th, 2012
7:18 pm

Good start, Ben!

ACE

August 18th, 2012
7:18 pm

that was like Nights in White Satin

Preston

August 18th, 2012
7:19 pm

Great article DON!

Tomahawkin

August 18th, 2012
7:19 pm

S/O’s To

Bravesgrl4life

Trey

Ace

Capt Mudd

McFann

JCBrave

Disgusted

Phil

And VaBravesFan

ACE

August 18th, 2012
7:19 pm

Now all we need are some Choppers to Chipper.

Tomahawk Mafia

August 18th, 2012
7:20 pm

Nice inning from Sheets. If he gets through the first inning, he is usually golden.

Disgusted

August 18th, 2012
7:20 pm

Va Brave — The Braves got disappointing yrs from Mac and Uggla but got some help in other areas.

Mac was starting to slug again till the latest setback. Uggla does have a decent OBP and power numbers but that long slump was grotesque.

Like improvement from both Heyward and Freeman, better yr from Marteen and a real good yr from Bourn.

And the pitching got better after a slow start.

Also have to add that the Braves overcame JJ not being any kind of a factor at all. And overcame Venter’s first half slump though he is better as of late.

Great yrs from Kimbrell and EOF.

ACE

August 18th, 2012
7:20 pm

Tomahawk Mafia

August 18th, 2012
7:21 pm

I love it when Bourn walks. Good way to start the game.

Bama Braves

August 18th, 2012
7:21 pm

phil

August 18th, 2012
7:21 pm

Nice piece, David….thx

Disgusted

August 18th, 2012
7:21 pm

Hello Tomahawkin. Got to get another W tonight.

cricket

August 18th, 2012
7:21 pm

VaBravesFan

August 18th, 2012
7:21 pm

Good start, lets see if Bourn is running.

ACE

August 18th, 2012
7:22 pm

Pradooooooooooooooooooooo

Disgusted

August 18th, 2012
7:22 pm

Good to see Johnny Lester beat the NYY.

He is comming around, has to be better next time around. Hope he finishes the yr on a good note.

MIBravesFan

August 18th, 2012
7:22 pm

Way to go, Marteeen!!

BF54

August 18th, 2012
7:22 pm

Marteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!!!

abeeewright

August 18th, 2012
7:22 pm

On his way back to the dugout, the interim Dodger manager asked Kemp, “What was up with that swing?” and Kemp replied, “Sheets happened.”

Bama Braves

August 18th, 2012
7:22 pm

MARTEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DiamondbackMac

August 18th, 2012
7:22 pm

teeeeeeeeeeen

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