Posted: 2:43 pm Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Late nights, rough stretch for Braves 

By David O'Brien

 

Since I left the ballpark at 2 a.m. after the second 13-inning, nearly five-hour game in a span of three days, and did this Scribble Live online Q&A this morning for an hour with Braves fans, we’re going to do a short blog and give you a link to the chat in case you missed it. It went well, lot of participation from fans, many of them understandably frustrated by the team’s recent performance.

Andrelton Simmons' RBI single in the 9th tied it for the Braves on Monday, but they lost  in 13 innings for the second time in three days.

Andrelton Simmons’ RBI single in the 9th tied it for the Braves on Monday, but they lost in 13 innings for the second time in three days.

If you’re of the ilk who likes to insist that some ATL reporters, i.e. me, won’t question any moves made by the manager or GM, you probably don’t want to read this Q&A. Because then you’ll have to ignore it in order to continue that straw man argument.

Anyway, please use this link below, and you can go back back and look at previous week’s sessions (we’ve had them each Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. for a while now) by clicking the “oldest” scroll button. Today’s should start with the page this link goes to, but if not you can hit the “newest” button to get it to.

Thank ya, and the rest of the blow is below the link.

http://livesports.ajc.com/Event/AJC_Live360_Braves_Mailbag_brought_to_you_by_Verizon?Page=15

 

• Tonight’s matchup: It’s Ervin Santana (5-3, 4.09 ERA) against Phillies righty Kyle Kendrick (2-6, 4.09).

So if form holds, this should start the new chapter of six strong Santana starts, right? I mean, he has gone 1-3 with a 6.44 ERA and .312 opponents’ average in his past six starts, after going 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA and .221 opponents’ average in his first six.

Santana pitched eight scoreless innings of three-hit ball against the Mets in his Braves debut April 9, with no walks and six strikeouts in 88 pitches. This after missing a month of spring training before signing with the Braves in mid-March.

And he hasn’t matched that debut performance in 11 starts since then, either in terms of innings pitched or hits allowed. His best since then was seven scoreless innings (five hits) against the Cubs on May 10 in his sixth start.

The only time he’s given up fewer than three earned runs in his past six starts was June 7 at Arizona, when he allowed six hits and one unearned run with two walks and one strikeout.

Santana has been dominant in two career starts against the Phillies, going 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA, .140 opponents’ average, and 20 strikeouts with four walks in 13 innings. The first game was in 2008, the second on April 14 in his second start this season, when he allowed four hits and one run on a homer (by Ryan Howard, of course) in six innings, with a season-high 11 strikeouts and two walks.

Santana’s next-highest strikeout total was eight in 6 1/3 innings in his last start Thursday at Colorado, where he gave up six runs and seven hits (two homers) in 6 1/3 innings and took the loss.

Of note: he’s 4-2 with a 3.02 ERA and four homers allowed in nine night games, compared to 1-1 with a 7.79 ERA and three homers allowed in three day games.

Kendrick is 2-1 with a 3.16 ERA in hi s past four starts, but three of those came at home, where he’s pitched far better despite the fact that Citizens Bank Park is one of the most hitter-friendly in the majors.

The right-hander is  0-3 with a 4.78 ERA in six road games, compared to 2-3 with a 3.50 ERA in seven home starts. And in his past three road starts he’s 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA and and as many walks (nine) as strikeouts in 18 innings.

Of note: Left-handed batters have a .333 average, .396 OBP and .522 slugging percentage in 138 at-bats against Kendrick, compared to .217/.273/.339 in 180 at-bats by right-handers.

Against Kendrick, Justin Upton is  5-for-14 with two homers, Chris Johnson is 5-for-13, Andreltons Simmons is 3-for-9 with a homer, and Jason Heyward is 3-for-22.

• Two runs, 30 innings: The Braves have scored two runs in 30 innings in their past three games against the Phillies, which explains how Atlanta is 1-2 despite having a 1.20 ERA in those games. The Braves won 1-0 and lost the past two by scores of 1-0 and 6-1.

Monday was another rough night for David Hale, who gave up 5 runs in the 13th inning for the second time in three days. (AP photo)

Monday was another rough night for David Hale, who gave up 5 runs in the 13th inning for the second time in three days. (AP photo)

• Hale’s hellish week: Rookie David Hale was 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA in 21 career games (six starts) before Saturday, when things went awry in relief against the Angels, then stayed awry Monday against the Phillies.

Hale gave up five runs in the 13th inning of each of his two appearances Saturday and Tuesday, taking the loss in each of those 13-inning games. He had allowed 12 runs (10 earned) in 54 career innings before being charged with 10 runs (seven earned) in 3 1/3 innings over those past two outings.

The Marietta right-hander pitched five times in nine days through Tuesday night, including two appearances of 2 1/3 innings apiece. He gave up 11 hits and 13 runs (10 earned) in  7 1/3 innings over those five games (12.27 ERA), after allowing nine runs (seven earned) in 50 innings (1.26 ERA) over his first 18 games including six starts.

His career ERA went from 1.26 to 2.67 in that nine-day span.

Hale pitched five times in nine days through Tuesday night, including two appearances of 2 1/3 innings apiece. He gave up 11 hits and 13 runs (10 earned) in  7 1/3 innings over those five games (12.27 ERA), after allowing nine runs (seven earned) in 50 innings (1.26 ERA) over his first 18 games including six starts.

His career ERA went from 1.26 to 2.67 in that nine-day span.

• Rough times for Carp: Reliever David Carpenter was placed on the 15-day DL today with a strained right biceps, adding injury to what has been a brutally ineffective stretch for the veteran setup man who was a Braves stalwart in 2013.

Read these stats and cringe: Carpenter has an 11.81 ERA and .563 opponents’ average in his past 10 appearances, with 18 hits, seven runs, three walks and eight strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.

The Braves brought up righty Pedro Beato from Triple-A to take his spot in the ‘pen. Beato had a 3.49 ERA  in 24 relief appearances at Gwinnett.

• Turner Howard? It’s official: Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard needs to have a son he can name Turner.

Howard’s home run (off Julio Teheran) and sac fly on Monday raised his career-best totals against the Braves to 45 homers and 124 RBIs in 142 games, with a .291 average, .370 OBP and .605 slugging slugging percentage. Yes, .605.

That includes 19 homers and 67 RBIs in in 70 games at Turner Field, the most homers he’s hit outside Philadelphia.

You may recall, Chipper Jones named a son Shea in reference to the retired Braves third baseman’s stellar performances against the Mets  at their old ballpark, Shea Stadium. Chipper hit .309 with 49 homers and 152 RBis in 245 career games against the Mets, with a .406 OBP and .543 slugging percentage. At Shea, the future Hall of Famer hit .313 with 19 homers and 55 RBIs in 88 games, his most homers at any ballpark outside Atlanta.

Let’s close with this classic from late, great George Gones. The Possum will always be with us in song.

“HE STOPPED LOVING HER TODAY” by George Jones

He said I’ll love you ’til I die
She told him you’ll forget in time
As the years went slowly by
She still preyed upon his mind

He kept her picture on his wall
Went half crazy now and then
He still loved her through it all
Hoping she’d come back again

George Jones

George Jones

Kept some letters by his bed
Dated 1962
He had underlined in red
Every single I love you

I went to see him just today
Oh but I didn’t see no tears
All dressed up to go away
First time I’d seen him smile in years

He stopped loving her today
They placed a wreath upon his door
And soon they’ll carry him away
He stopped loving her today

You know she came to see him one last time
Oh and we all wondered if she would
And it kept running through my mind
This time he’s over her for good

He stopped loving her today
They placed a wreath upon his door
And soon they’ll carry him away
He stopped loving her today

 

2164 comments
CouchTater
CouchTater

“I’m going to plead the Fifth,” Denard Span said last night with a laugh. “I’m not going to give them bulletin-board material. If we go out there and play like we played tonight, play like we played the last two nights — playing aggressive, pitching the ball well, hitting with runners in scoring position — then there’s no question we should win.” - Mark Zuckerman, Nat Insider

"The cameras off?"

"Yeah D'

"Man, Gavin Floyd. He's gone be my girlfriend. You seen those raccoon..."

Efrim
Efrim

This is the time the Braves need to go for a #1 starter in trade. They have the pieces necessary(believe it or not, but Wood is that guy) and have the need for it in the rotation. Wood and Bethancourt as the centerpiece in a Price trade. I wouldn't give up nearly as much for Jeff S. But I'd do Wood, Bethancourt, and either Hursh or Graham for Price and a reliever.

Rick_C
Rick_C

Keith Law (Delaware)

So, how's that Evan Gattis "non-prospect" thing going, genius?

Klaw (1:07 PM)

Yes, I'm trolling myself here. (I really did post this question.) He's probably been the most valuable position player in baseball over the last two weeks, but I don't think this is the player he is or will be going forward. I won't pretend he hasn't been a huge part of their offense of late, though. He's been huge.

Rick_C
Rick_C

Remember all the talk a month or so ago about the Braves issues with runners on and RISP?

244/306/383 overall

241/305/382 empty

248/308/385 runners on

247/324/395 RISP


Efrim
Efrim

Really hoping Wren gets involved on the David Price talks. I truly believe he'll get traded to a National League team - and I think it'll be either San Fran, L.A. or Atlanta. All three teams can put together solid packages for him, with L.A. holding the cards as they can offer the best prospect of the bunch in Corey Seager. I would push a package around Alex Wood, J.R. Graham and Christian Bethancourt. Hopefully that would be enough for a year and a half of Price.

ncscoots
ncscoots

Beat their best pitcher tonight with Gavin bleepin' Floyd, and who knows what might happen the rest of the series? I tend to think the "in their heads" stuff is a little overrated, but it's hard to dismiss the absolute existence of such a thing, sometimes.

VeniceJim
VeniceJim

Smoltz doing the game on MLB, for those of you (like us) who would otherwise be stuck with Bob and F.P. ...

MFin04
MFin04

Those predictions just take the current winning % and multiply by 162. ;). Fancy...system....

That predicts 83 wins!

ncscoots
ncscoots

@Rick_C I have to give Law credit for a sense of humor I little suspected.

Rick_C
Rick_C

Tom (L.A.)

Have an idea for your next blog. You need to create the "Evan Gattis All-Stars." Basically players who are pretty good but no matter what their fans will defend them to death and can't be happy about anything they do unless some national sportswriter agrees. Because if all I read were the questions to your chats/Twitter I would assume this Gattis fellow is the Johnny Bench or Mickey Cochrane of our time.

Klaw (1:20 PM)

I like it. Asked a reader on Twitter yesterday why he cared so much about my opinion of a player. He didn't really have an answer (or I didn't see it). My opinion has yet to affect so much as a single at bat in a game, ever.

ncscoots
ncscoots

@Rick_C

Sorry, I won't believe it until O'Brien writes a blog on it. :-)

Birdhair
Birdhair

Bethancourt doesn't have much promise at the plate so he prob doesn't have that much value. Wood and Graham would be a strong package but why do that? We'd only have price for 1.5 seasons and acquiring him would be a waste since we have no hitters. Would rather keep wood and graham on the cheap and long term. If you think david price puts this team over the top you're delusional like our clown gm.

Tumbledown
Tumbledown

I am hoping for the same.  The long range future looks brighter for the Braves with increased revenues, so maybe they can take a chance now by going after Price.

noleee
noleee

@ncscoots Beat their best pitcher tonight with Gavin bleepin' Floyd,

shirley you jest

MFin04
MFin04

Impossible to dismiss being in their heads if the Braves win three.

The Braves just played differently against the Nats earlier this year...like they owned them...and knew it.

ncscoots
ncscoots

@VeniceJim I actually tune in Carp and F.P. on purpose, sometimes, LOL. I mean, you have to take them in small doses, but they're often hilarious in their homerism.

Tumbledown
Tumbledown

I predicted 89 wins at the start of the season.  If I remember correctly, Shaun predicted the same.  Looks like my tarot cards and Magic 8-ball were on the same wavelength as those fancy saber systems. 

Mixxo
Mixxo

@MFin04 

I said 82 wins and I'm sticking to it.

ShaunATL
ShaunATL

@MFin04 Which ones are you looking at?  If you are looking at a system that does that, we are looking at different systems.  

Tumbledown
Tumbledown

Maybe Shaun will see that and start to develop one. 

noleee
noleee

@Rick_C

who is this guy, and what did he do with KLaw's body?????

Efrim
Efrim

@ncscoots @Efrim Hursh is fine with me too. Either or, doesn't really matter to me. Graham has lost some sizzle with the shoulder injury and I think he just won't have the ability to hold up as a starter. He's a set-up man to me.

Birdhair
Birdhair

How would zobrist be a "throw-in" ?

noleee
noleee

@Birdhair

I'm not seeing Graham as strong trade value at all right now, you want Price it is gonna cost Wood, Sims and more

Tumbledown
Tumbledown

Ok, now I am really on board with this trade idea.

ncscoots
ncscoots

@MFin04

I don't doubt that the Braves are confident in their ability to beat those guys, at all. But I doubt the Nats are all curled up in fetal balls prior to first pitch, too. 

VeniceJim
VeniceJim

@ncscoots On Tony Kornheiser's radio show, they have started playing True or False on F.P.'s homeric quotes....

noleee
noleee

@Tumbledown yup you both chose 89

can two such different approaches really come up with the same result?

noleee
noleee

@Mixxo @MFin04

I ain't got nothing under yer Mixxo name, but Birdbrain did say 82

maybe you got confused???

MFin04
MFin04

Its basically the same thing. Sometimes simple is better.

Predicting a season with 100 games left with an offense which currently can't score runs is pretty pointless. Starters suck currently and bullpen sucks.

So a range is more realistic. Probably 82 to 94 wins. Doesn't say much.

ncscoots
ncscoots

@Efrim @ncscoots

In any event, Rays would want Sims and I can't imagine they would back off from that.

LumanHarris
LumanHarris

@Birdhair The same way Chris Johnson was? 

I get what you're saying – "include Zobrist in the deal" would have been more accurate. 

MFin04
MFin04

Are those based on WAR?

MFin04
MFin04

Oh I don't think so...either. A good start could create fetal positions for either team...

Tumbledown
Tumbledown

I must check the fine print of the Magic 8-ball instructions.  It could be that saberanalysis is built into its decisionmaking.  Maybe our approaches really did utilize the same methodology.

ShaunATL
ShaunATL

@MFin04 Basically what projection systems do is take into account lots of data and info on players, tries to get at who they are and what they are likely to do going forward and gives a projection.


This is better than just looking at the past 2 1/2 months or the past couple of weeks or whatever recent end-point confirms what you want to believe about your team.  

Birdhair
Birdhair

Zobrist is no chris Johnson throw In type, lummy

ncscoots
ncscoots

@MFin04 There, I disagree. A loss to Zimmerman with Floyd on the bump, you can rationalize as just getting out-pitched by a guy who is going thermal, and Braves can roll on to the next game.

MFin04
MFin04

You do realize every stat, WAR, value, etc...is already included in the 36-35 record, right?

Rick_C
Rick_C

@ncscoots @MFin04 Over Zimmermann's last three starts, he's allowed only 1 R, went 8 IP twice and 9 IP once.  So, I'd say he's due for a bad one ;) (though for my fantasy team's sake, hopefully not too bad).

ShaunATL
ShaunATL

@MFin04 The issue is if we only look at 36-35, we are only taking into account those 71 games and there is so much else we should consider if we are trying to project.

noleee
noleee

@MFin04

but what already actually happened is meaningless mf, it is all about what should have happened and what should happen in the future

c'mon dude, everybody knows that

Birdhair
Birdhair

How short sighted is your analysis gonna be ? Based on Chris Johnson's output this season he's a $505k league min throw in type player like he was before 2013

ncscoots
ncscoots

@Rick_C @ncscoots @MFin04

Your fantasy team is going DOWN, brother! :-)

Seriously, I watched part of his game two starts ago, and he was pretty dang awesome. Guy is a good pitcher, flat out.

ShaunATL
ShaunATL

@noleee @MFin04 I completely agree.  That's why you take into account as much info as possible (including lots of past performance data) to get a projection of what is likely to happen.  

MFin04
MFin04

I see. I'm not smart people though. ;) It's about value....I see.

ShaunATL
ShaunATL

@noleee @MFin04 Obviously the goal is to use past performance and other info to get you to who a player is currently and who he's likely to be from this point forward.  It's isn't about assuming the past is going to continue so much as using the past as info (along with other info) to help determine who a player is currently and who he's likely to be going forward.  

noleee
noleee

@MFin04

well i didn't say that, but a fella should know his own  limitations I guess......

MFin04
MFin04

Well unless you've dun studys you ain't smart peeple either! ;)

noleee
noleee

@MFin04

i been studying it for 60 years,  but I keep my conclusions private so I win most of the bets

y'all should be super appreciative that I let a little loose here once in a while....