To be corny, I think the answer to which team is the Braves is “both.” For now. At some point in the season, they’ll find their identity. The bullpen is in flux. The young starters are finding themselves. The jury is out on Heyward and perhaps on Freeman, too, in some ways. Our best 3rd baseman is in left field.
Fredi, the moron, doesn’t know for sure what he has in Livan, Durbin, EOF, and Venters. Even in his moronic brain, there’ll be some settling into a rhythm for his BP use when their tendencies shake out more. Simmons just got here. And Medlen is about to be – or is he? – a starter, which could be a savior or a disaster. We won’t know who we are till 2nd half.
One highlight from last week that I forgot to mention.
It was game 1 or 2 against the Jays with Prado at 3rd. He charges what looks like a routine ground ball, about to field it with his glove, it takes a funny hop but without missing a beat, contorting his body, he bare hands it and makes the play. It was an amazing play.
ABT overload this morning – listened to the last two episodes back to back. Smoltz memory: the entrance music for his closings and him just stomping to the mound. I had all the confidence that he’d do his job.
GREAT story about the impostor – I hope they never find him.
Stupid girl question re the All Star game. So, I get nearly daily Braves e-mails asking me to vote for Chipper for the All Star team. Not because he’s not an All Star – he certainly is – but there’s NO way he’d play because he’s so fragile, right?
So, my question is: does this fall into the “it’s an honor to be nominated” pile, in that being voted to the All Star team, whether you do or not, is resume fodder/fodder for the HoF?
How many times does Venters have to wet the bed before the Braves figure out he needs to work out the kinks at Gwinnett? And given his performance this year, why would you not have someone warming up in the bullpen when you bring him in in the 8th with a guy on base and the game on the line? It’s just dumb.
Where the hell is EOF?????? Why even bring Venters in there? Because he has to be the 8th inning guy? He’s been awful this year. And to just again let him be in the position where it seems like failure is the only outcome we are getting. And then to let Swisher bat lefty? Are you kidding me? So terrible.
I was at the game and once again Fredi doesn’t make the right decision that costs us a win. I’m not Monday morning quarterbacking. I was baffled by him not letting Minor at least face Granderson with a 4 run lead. Who knows what would have happened. Also, with our bullpen struggling , Fredi has got to find some way to incorporate Kimbrel more. Having the sidearm righthanded Gaerrin face Swisher’s power side was crazy.He’s a complete joke. I never ever had to complain about Bobby Cox on a daily basis like this.
You have one of the best closers in baseball, you’re facing the Yankees, 5 outs left, game on the line, you’re going through the heart of their order, when is there a better opportunity to use Craig Kimbrel? Instead you elect to use Venters, who was absolutely terrible for pretty much the last month and a half, if not more, and then after he blows it, you bring in a Gerrain to face Robinson Cano and Swisher.
I guess Fredi was hoping to save Kimbrel for the “save” in the bottom of the ninth facing the bottom half of their order. Why not bring him in for their 4 best hitters? I’m not a MLB manager, but it seems like that would have been the better choice.
Fredi said he was giving Minor a baserunner in the 8th (before taking him out). Why? That was due to be the fourth time through the Yankees’ order (not just any other team’s order). And Minor is a young pitcher and was approaching 100 pitches. He’s not a veteran like Sabathia that the Braves should be trying to stretch to get a complete game. If there is even a chance that you might take him out, why let him pitch until he gets a baserunner? This is the Yankees, not the Pirates.
Top of the order due up for the fourth time in the game with the starter nearing 100 pitches. That was the game there. Why not use Kimbrel there and use Durbin or someone to get three outs with hopefully a 3-run lead in the 9th? Oh, that’s right: THE SAVE RULE! God forbid anyone other than Kimbrel get a save.
This is how I read Fredi”s response, “I wanted to take him out after someone got on, in spite of the fact that he had retired 10 straight, and I wanted to replace him with someone who hasn’t had command of any of his pitches since August of 2011.”
I like how folks seem to be interpreting Fredi criticism as Kimbrel should have pitched two innings or that Minor should not have come out.
What about just throwing Kimbrel in that key inning (top of the Yankees’ order due up (emphasis on Yankees) in a fairly close game and, if he doesn’t work a quick, low-pitch inning, just take him out and put someone else in for the save.
There is no rule that Kimbrel has to get all the saves. You need to get to save situations before you can worry about which pitcher should be in there. It does no good to worry about who is closing if the game is blown before there is a save opportunity. Why is this so hard for many major league managers to understand?
Finally coming out of my anger coma from last night’s game.
Headed to the ballpark for tonight’s game. Not too pumped, I have to admit. After last night + all the Yankees fans already has me a bit deflated. Let’s get a lead and keep it tonight to shut the Yankee fans up. I can’t bear the thought of all the cheering if the good guys are losing.
I would have kept Minor in a little longer. Shaun, you make good points, but he was cruising. And it’s not like Jeter’s hit was some mammoth bomb.
No EOF certainly limited Fredi’s options and Kimbrel is just not an option in the 8th. It’s ridiculous, but true right now. I would have gone with Durbin despite having pitched the last 2 games. He’s been rock solid and Venters is a mess. I know he had a clean week last week, but I no longer trust him. But, if you’re Fredi, you’re probably thinking this is part of getting him healthy again.
I don’t agree with it, but I don’t think bringing in Venters was egregious. Now, after letting the first two guys on, I would not have let him face A-Rod, however.
How many wins has Fredi cost us this year because he sure hasn’t helped us win any. Good decision starting Diaz and then he blows the game. I was ready to give him credit too. Oh well, a bad manager will eventually show you why he’s bad. I wonder what dumb decision he makes tonight.
Steve @41, I actually agree that Venters wasn’t a horrible option in that spot. For all of Venters struggles, there is no indication that he will sustain such a poor performance. Ben Duronio over at Capitol Avenue Club has a solid post about Venters’ peripherals, which are not bad, not quite matching up with his results and how that is bound to change at some point even if he’s not quite as dominant as he’s been in the past.
My biggest gripe is that if they are thinking about taking Minor out that inning anyway, as soon as he gives up a baserunner, why not just let Venters (or whomever) come in with a fresh inning, with nobody on base?
And saving Kimbrel for a save is the kind of thing all managers are going to do. That’s a baseball problem, not a Fredi problem.
I’m about to throw up. What a horrible series but not a surprise. I’ve been watching the Braves since 1998 and I swear can only remember 2 times where we beat the Yankees. I know we’ve won more but I can’t remember.
#46, we beat them 3 out of 4 in interleague in ’97. That’s the last time I can remember us doing anything against them. The first 2 games of the ’96 Series went great, but then we came back to Atlanta…
Can’t a ‘save’ come in the 8th inning? If the whole purpose is to ‘save’ the game, why not have the best guy in there to pitch. Nothing says Kimbrel has to pitch 5 outs. Let him get you out of the 8th and then hand it over to Venters, Durbin, et al. But save the game when it is on the line.
And all of a sudden you are 5 back too. This up and down stuff is driving me crazy.
“Every game was real close,” McCann said. “It just seemed like we didn’t get that big hit to break open a close game. But (they’re) one of the best teams in the game, and we know we can hang with them.”
Pardon me, but who cares? Are your aspirations to “hang with them?” Or are they to beat them? What I know is that you just got swept and outplayed for 3 games in your home building by a team, that if you have any championship aspirations, you might have to go through. I could care less that you hung with them. This isn’t high school basketball. Show some freaking disappointment.
Mike makes a good point in his blog post: Those games against the Yankees were all close. Losses are never good and can’t be undone, of course. But the Braves didn’t play particularly horrible in those games against probably one of the top two teams in the majors (the Rangers being the other). Plus, it’s only three games so it’s not like we should read too much into those games anyway. But I’d say the Braves are in decent shape.
If there is a weakness on a team, I’d rather it be in the bullpen than glaring holes in the offense or starting pitching.
Gonzalez, who was working with a bullpen without the services of Eric O’Flaherty (elbow) and Chad Durbin (rest), said he did not consider bringing in closer Craig Kimbrel in the eighth. He said he didn’t want Kimbrel to pitch more than an inning, a situation he has rarely been in during his young career.
“Not five outs,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t know if he’s even done it in the major leagues. I know he’s done it in the minor leagues. Could he do it? I’m not sure. It’s not about the pitch count. It’s not about the stressful innings. [John Smoltz] could do it all the time, but he was a starter. He knew how to come out, sit down and then go back out there. There is an unknown when you are dealing with a young pitcher.
I’m dumbfounded. A 24 year old MLB pitcher can’t pitch more than 1 inning. Well Fredi, what the hell are we going to do in the playoffs( If we even get there). Your reasoning that he can’t pitch more than 1 inning because he has to sit in between is asinine.
Walker @66, I’m just not sure why the 9th inning is always more vital than the 8th or some earlier inning. Okay, so Fredi only wants Kimbrel to go one inning. Well, what if the game is on the line in the 8th or the 7th or even the 6th? What if the Braves need to get through the 6th, 7th or 8th inning or there will be no 9th inning save chance? Relief roles shouldn’t be assigned by inning or the save rule. It should be assigned by whenever it’s going to be toughest to prevent runs and when you most need to prevent runs. The save rule has ruined bullpen usage all around the game.
Not that I don’t think Kimbrel can handle two innings every now and then. But even if Fredi only wants him in there for one, why does it always have to be the 9th inning or last inning or whenever there is a save situation?
#70, I don’t want LeBron to fail. I would just rather see the Thunder win. I’ve never thought LeBron has lost with the best team, and I think he’s lost to better teams every time he has been in the postseason. I hated The Decision, but that was 2 years ago, and it did raise money for the Boy’s and Girl’s Club. I think the comparisons to Peyton, when it comes to not winning, are fair. I hope LeBron, like Peyton FINALLY did, gets to win it all one day.
LeBron is unfairly vilified.
BTW, did anyone watch the Dream Team doc on the NBA channel last night. It was great. They showed the MJ flu game right before it, too.
The 4th Quarter is still why LeBron will never be close to Jordan, imo.
I want my athletes, especially in basketball, to be ass-kickers who want to win it all by themselves when the game is on the line. LBJ is not that guy. Furthermore, he decided to go to a team with an alpha dog (Wade) already in place. That’s just not fun to root for. LBJ is too good to not want to be the man. He should have gone to NY or CHI to put those cities on his back to win a championship. The over manipulated creation of the Heat is just off putting to me. All that PLUS the Decision and I can’t back him.
@73, leave it to the ABT Dr to drop the key knowledge. Through my work I spend a lot of time in bars talking to complete strangers (believe, it’s not as shady as it sounds- keep in mind I have a Southern Baptist Mother and Grandmother, both of whom still love me), and comment 73 is how most people feel about the Heat. There is no Everyman, blue collar, elbow grease side of that team, and that makes them hard to root for with most people. And almost every 80-90s vet you hear from-whether it be MJ, Magic, Bird, Dominique- they all say, doing what the big 3 with the Heat did, in their time, that was unthinkable. You have to promote competitive balance, that’s the way it should be. Jordan would have never joined the Bad Boys. Bird and Magic wanted to play together, but they kept their rivalry for the integrity of the game. It keeps things balance.
I agree, it would have been nice to see Lebron go somewhere else. I wouldn’t mind for him to at least win one before he retires, for his sanity. Then again, he is a multi-millionaire and his sanity should be fine either way.
Steve, I disagree about LBJ going to CHI. LBJ and Rose can’t both have the ball. That’s Rose’s team. These playoffs are entirely different if he doesn’t blow-out his knee. Nobody on the Heat can guard Rose. I think the 4th quarter of playoff games has proven you can make the King disappear.
LeBron should have gone to NYC and let the money build a team around him. He doesn’t need a smaller guy like Wade, he needs a big guy who can shoot, like Bosh, and a bunch of role players who can play D and rebound. Plus, it would have been great for the sport to have a dominant team in NY again. Too bad they have to settle for Melo and his bong.
How would you feel if Mac or Heyward went to the Phillies? Probably the way I felt when Glavine signed with the Mets. That’s why I agree with Cleveland still hating LeBron. Good for them. Being unreasonably passionate is what being a fan is all about. We’re nowhere near European soccer fans so don’t worry about it.
When you look at it from LeBron’s side, your supporting cast in CLE consisted of Illgauskas, Williams, and De. West, one of whom slept with LeBron’s Mom. Not exactly what you’re looking for to win a Title.
In that link, which is awesome, imo, is a little bit on the Lebronmenon (I just made that up, I swear it). I actually have an easy time rooting against the Heat, but I have a hard time rooting against Lebron. He seems like a pretty good natured guy, and by all accounts is a good teammate and an okay dude. Sure the Decision sucked and was contrived and immature and all that, but if you had spent 3 years hearing how you were going to be the biggest free agent EVER and how everyone in the world was waiting to see where you were going, might you be tempted to make a show of it? Especially if you have 1,000,000 people telling you what is best for you. And he was, what, 24 years old? 24!!!! I can’t even tell you what I was doing at 24 because I was either drunk or doing laundry at my parents house.
And all the arguments that “Magic, Bird, and Jordan” would have never done it “that way” sort of fly in the face of the logic that “all that matters is winning championships” which seems to be a common refrain from a LOT of players. Maybe Lebron looked around at NY/CHI and thought that if he chose those paths, he might just be joining another CLE situation in a bigger city.
Did he break every Ohioans heart? Absolutely. Did he do it without tact? It’s well documented. Is he a perfect human being? Is anyone?
(Having said that, for some reason I have come to hate Dwayne Wade, a player who I really liked when the Heat won their championship.)
Final thought (and this is covered in the Simmons/Gladwell article) – Jordan never EVER had the expectations on him that Lebron has had.
I don’t know why people act like Magic, Bird and Jordan played with scrubs. They all had Hall of Fame teammates. Worthy, McHale, Dennis Johnson, Parrish,Pippen, Jabbar. Scottie Pippen was one of the greatest defenders of all time. You can’t win alone.
And I hope I’m not offending anyone here, but wouldn’t you rather live in Miami instead of dusty Ohio.
To be clear, I have zero problem with Lebron leaving Cleveland. He did his time. It’s all in the way he did it. Not only the Decision, but not having a heart to heart with the front office who, by all accounts, made every concession to him that he asked for over the years AND offered him a ton of money to stay. Letting them and the city of Cleveland know about it on TV was the crime, not the leaving itself.
That sucks about JJ. 4 ER, 7 hits, 2 BBs and 3 SOs over 6.2. On the other hand, you could say without the one bad pitch (the homerun) he pitched a pretty good game. Who knows. I saw none of it, obviously.
@84, great point on the supporting casts for each player. MJ also played on the best or one of the best defensive teams in the league a lot of the times he won. I’m not that old, so I don’t really have any recollection of Magic or Bird’s teams, but judging by the starting lineups they both played with their share of HOFers. LeBron hasn’t had anywhere near the same talent around him.
Hey guys, reposting this from last week’s show. Please, if you get a chance, vote and share with others. Voting ends on Sunday. Thanks.:
The band The K’s, who’s music is featured in the intro and outro of the podcast (and whose singer/songwriter is also my oldest friend on the planet) are finalists in a battle of the bands in NYC. They are one of 5 finalists for Manhattan. If they win Manhattan, they battle the other 4 Borough winners for the NYC crown. It could really help them out. And that’s where you come in. Please go to the following link to vote for The K’s to get to the finals. Here’s the link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Manhattantop5. If you get a chance to share with friends, that would be great, too! Thanks.
Of the suggested moves, what do you like/not like and why?
1. Trade for Carlos Quentin
2. Call Up Julio Teheran and Send Down Mike Minor
3. Trade for Joe Saunders (Ari)
4. Deal for K-Rod (Mil)
5. Get Seth Smith and Grant Balfour from Oakland
6. Trade for Brandon League (Sea)
7. Acquire Shawn Camp (ChiC)
8. Trade for Chase Headley (SD)
9. Get Marlon Byrd (Designated for assignment by Bos)
10. Fire Fredi Gonzalez (I am sure this one will be popular )
Was it just me or was it that Livan, with a few exceptions, always seemed to have the Braves’ number when he played for the Nats. I had high hopes as well but knew that some how whatever magic he did have was only against the Bravos. Now give me my “Meds!”
“It’s a little disheartening I guess because I went down there to be a starter,” Medlen said. “But things happen and they make plans and they don’t always work out. My entire career has been based on doing what I can for the team to help us win. Winning makes everything a lot better. I’ll do anything. I’m back in the bullpen and I’m going to make the most out of that.”
Glad he’s got such a good attitude, but they jerked him around. Starters get more money. He was good starter for Atlanta and they took it away from him, then demoted him to get him ready for it again, then took it away from him before he got to start a game. Clowns.
Medlen, my love grows every day. Need to work on a haiku.
And I will say it again, he is completely wasted in the bullpen. If he had started from the beginning of his career in Atlanta, showing the brilliance he has shown when he has been given the opportunity to start, it would be outrageous that he is in the bullpen. Our team would be so much better of he was starting every 5th day instead of Minor or Delgado or Hanson. He’s better than all those guys. And it’s not even close.
The Medlen thing is really crazy. I’m guessing we’ll talk it about it Sunday night…
Hell of a 6th inning tonight. That inning, more than just being a streak buster, had the look of sending the team back in the right direction. This team is crazy streaky and I bet this just started a good one.
It’s good to see Meds handle the situation like a professional. Maybe the people behind his mistreatment can start to be professionals, too. I’m sorry, that’s disgraceful treatment of an asset from a management standpoint.
If you had to give a number to what percentage of your daily mood depends on the Atlanta Braves, what would it be?
That seems like way too much. I’m curious, because I wonder sometimes if my monthly attempts to break away from the sport, which seem fickle and weird to my fellow fans, might be rooted in the fact that I take it way more seriously than they do. So tell me honestly, how much does the team affect (effect?) your mood, even when there’s not a game on?
Bub – I find that the good stuff that happens with the team affects my mood positively much more than the bad stuff affects it negatively. Although the game 2 loss to the Yankees got me more mad and out of sorts than the team has in years.
Doing the show, for me, also skews my fandom in some way. I think that over the years the show has actually given me a little more perspective, day to day, about the team. Don’t know if that makes sense.