Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

Scarred, but smarter.

16 May

El Guettar: Braves 10, Blue Jays 6

Why El Guettar? A Battle fairly early in the war. It was a victory coming after a few other small victories which in turn followed the major disheartening disaster known as the Battle of Kasserine Pass (kind of like the woeful Pre Marlins stretch, followed by 2 out of 3 against a woeful team). Also, it occurred on foreign soil. The soil was also strange to many (turf versus desert rock and sand). An oversized character who some thought was out of his element and past his time was in charge (Patton v. Colon). The victory played out according to a sound plan and was substantial. And, even though this is not reporting, but prediction, “Our U. S. Forces” (the Braves) probably won’t be able to follow up on this victory effectively (like U. S. II Corps) because they have not yet become a well oiled machine. Maybe a Breakout can happen next year?

The best initial thing in a sound baseball plan is to get runs on the board early. Ender Inciarte struck out, Brandon Phillips was plunked (one of 4 in the game), and Freddie Freeman reached first on a fielder’s choice. Then Matt Kemp singled and when the throw tried to get aggressive Freddie at third, aggressive Matt took second. Kemp has answered his critics with his much better conditioning. Then, Nick Markakis steps up with 2 outs and singles home 2. There’s your early lead Bartolo Colon.

Bartolo was much better this time out. Generally looked fairly good. Almost like Bartolo in recent years. Is he turning a corner? Who knows. made it through 5 and 2 outs in the sixth having given up 3. One out away from a minimal quality start.

And, the Braves kept piling on the runs, hits, walks, and the amazing system wide attribute, the plunk. 2 more in the 4th from a Dansby Swanson single. 13 hits in total, 3 BB’s, and the 4 HBP’s. Kind of like the Tank Destroyers at El Guettar. Lay down a lot of solid but not spectacular fire (mostly 75 mm stuff) and it can get results.

It stretched out as far as 10 to 3 before a little bullpen gasoline was ignited as Molotov cocktails for an effective rear guard by the Blue Jays. They got one in the 7th after a “gassed” Ian Krol walked 2 after 2 outs and Jason Motte fanned the flames by giving up a double, but only 1 scored. In the 9th, Josh Collmenter gave up a 2 run HR before then striking out 2.

78 Responses to “El Guettar: Braves 10, Blue Jays 6”

  1. 1
    timo Says:

    Headliner at SBNation newsletter this morning (sorry, somehow could not link it but it’s worth appreciating FF):

    “Freddie Freeman has been great for a while now, but in 2016, he ascended to new levels in his career. The season certainly didn’t begin that way, with the Braves’ first baseman batting a solid — but not great — .248/.343/.432 through his first 63 games. That all changed on June 15, when Freeman hit for the cycle, and he hasn’t slowed down since. He would finish the 2016 season batting .302/.400/.569, good for a career-high OPS+ of 157, and has hit even better to start his 2017.

    Over his last 130 games dating back to that cycle, Freeman has hit .338/.440/.680 with 37 homers and 86 extra-base hits overall. That 1121 OPS even beats out what Mike Trout has done over the same stretch, and by 51 points. It’s better than what Bryce Harper produced in 2015, when he led the NL in basically everything en route to a 198 OPS+. Freeman is leading the NL with 13 homers this season, putting him on pace for 60 over 162 games. He’s not quite at the levels of Harper and Trout this year, but only because those two are doing ungodly things to baseballs that somehow surpass Freeman’s own work.

    Freeman has very quietly been one of the top hitters in baseball, if not the best hitter, since the start of last summer. No one has noticed because he’s on the rebuilding Braves, who were carried out of last year’s awful start by climbing on Freeman’s back, and have struggled this year in spite of what he’s accomplishing. Freeman is 27, hitting as well as anyone in the game, and also happens to be under contract over the next five years at just $106.5 million. He never gets the attention that other sluggers do, but maybe we should all make a point of changing that.”

  2. 2
    Edward Says:

    Raising my eyebrow at the word “just” in the last paragraph, but other than that I’m on board.

  3. 3
    Edward Says:

    Re: Heyward, last thread.

    No question, a great hitter beats a poor hitter every day. It was a different story before Heyward tricked himself into not knowing how to hit–it’ll be a forgotten story unless he remembers how to hit again. Anyway, Freddie’s great.

    No sense sneering at Heyward’s defense, though, which remains exceptional. Despite having spent the last 10 days on the DL, he leads all other players in baseball in Runs Saved. And even though it doesn’t actually matter where on the diamond fielders are finding extra outs, some of you who think it does should note that he has started 9 games in center field for the Cubs, grading out well, as usual.

  4. 4
    Game, Blauser Says:

    @3 You want to see some defense??? Feast your eyes on this clip of Kemp’s diving/falling catch from last night!

    http://m.mlb.com/video/v1391159683/atltor-kemp-makes-tumbling-catch-on-a-sinking-liner/?game_pk=490669

    (Seriously, it looks like Kemp’s route to the ball could accurately be described as “wobbly semicircle”). Chip praised the catch, but keep in mind that he’s a total imbecile.

  5. 5
    John R. Says:

    How is it that Matt Kemp won two Gold Gloves? Was there really a time he was among the three elite outfielders in the National League?

  6. 6
    Seat Painter Says:

    Chipper, you magnificent bastard, I READ YOUR BOOK!

  7. 7
    cliff Says:

    touche Seat Painter.

  8. 8
    Tfloyd Says:

    @5, Kemp won a gold glove because he was the best hitting and most famous center fielder in the league. Those are the criteria, aren’t they?

  9. 9
    Tfloyd Says:

    Derek Jeter has five gold gloves.

  10. 10
    Rob Cope Says:

    Interesting things at AAA yesterday:

    -Wisler had a good outing. 7 IP, 2 ER, 4 K
    -Luke Jackson, who was a reliever for Texas and acquired for Tyrell Jenkins, was originally converted to a SP, but has since been moved back to the pen. He had 4 starts, but has had 2 1.2 IP relief appearances since then. I guess they see him getting to Atlanta through the pen, much like the person he was traded for.
    -Rio Ruiz is following his historical career path of being cold in April and then heating up in May/June. He’s OPS’ing around 1000 in the past couple weeks. Adonis’ ineptitude and another year of Ruiz’s performance spiking should be interesting this go ’round.

    At AA, another pitching is stepping up. Matt Withrow is a 23 year old, 6’5, 235 LB righty from Texas who was taken in the 6th round in 2015. He’s having an extended run of success at AA, and while I think he’d be a top-30 if our farm wasn’t so deep, I’m not sure what we’d do with him in the current incarnation of the franchise. Could you package a guy like this up with a few other prospects with lesser pedigrees to get something of significance to the major league team?

  11. 11
    Edward Says:

    @4, See that’s a catch where I’d love to see one of those Statcast replays.

  12. 12
    Jonathan Says:

    Ok, so I have been away for a couple days. But I had to tip my cap to Sunday’s recapper (Rusty?), I had not heard that Skip gem, and it was worth every one of the 70 seconds it took to listen to it. I really miss Skip…

    Thanks Rusty!

  13. 13
    Tfloyd Says:

    Yes, thanks Rusty. Skip truly was a treasure.

  14. 14
    JohnWDB Says:

    “even though it doesn’t actually matter where on the diamond fielders are finding extra outs, some of you who think it does should note that he has started 9 games in center field for the Cubs, grading out well, as usual.”

    This is why Edward is one of the best guys here.

  15. 15
    braves14 Says:

    Rafael Palmeiro won a Gold Glove once when he only played like 25 games in the field.

  16. 16
    braves14 Says:

    10 — Or they could package him like they did with Whalen and Mallex to get a prospect at a lower classification like they did with Jackson.

  17. 17
    Rob Cope Says:

    Jason Heyward needs to commission Edward to write his biography. Edward is to Jason Heyward as I am to Mallex Smith. Those players could not have bigger fans!

  18. 18
    JohnWDB Says:

    Coppy is a master at turning marginal assets into higher ceiling assets. He did it with trades and he did it with the international signings, by selling marginal players for pool bonuses. I hope it all works out to a championship because it will make a good story one day.

  19. 19
    Edward Says:

    @17, My agent is standing by.

  20. 20
    Tfloyd Says:

    I was convinced when they extended Freeman but not Heyward that they had made a mistake. I thought they would turn out to have similar offensive value for their careers but that Jason’s superior defensive value gave him significantly greater value over the next 8 years.
    Although I’m second only to Edward in my regard for Heyward, we all know the FO was absolutely right on that one. Did they realize then that Freeman would become one of the top five hitters in the game, and that Jason would completely forget how to hit a baseball?

  21. 21
    Adam R Says:

    Heyward wasn’t going to take our money anyway so it’s a moot point.

  22. 22
    Adam R Says:

    I look at the Alex Wood debacle and can’t make myself give management much credit for any of its ML roster decisions.

  23. 23
    krussell Says:

    Someone explain Bonifacio to me. I’m willing to listen. “We’re totally tanking the sh!t out of this season” is a valid explanation. I’m looking for something else that doesn’t defy logic.

  24. 24
    Rob Cope Says:

    If the Alex Wood trade (I’ve now renamed it) was an isolated incident, then sure, but there have been so many head-scratching ML personnel decisions (even with the current GM) that I, too, don’t think the upper level people (pre-Coppy) deserve much credit for Freeman vs. Heyward. This was also the same top leadership that signed Melvin Upton and extended Dan Uggla and Chris Johnson. I think Coppy will end up looking pretty smart by as early as the end of this year, but until then, not winning a playoff series since 2001 seems to be the best way of explaining how this front office makes decisions.

  25. 25
    braves14 Says:

    23 — Bowman said the other day on Twitter that the Braves were relunctant to eat his $1.25 million salary.

    Seems like a sunk cost to me.

  26. 26
    John R. Says:

    The thing about the Alex Wood trade was that I just don’t know upon what basis our front office thought Olivera was the player they thought he was. What evidence was there to send over that kind of haul and to take on that kind of payroll?

    A more conservative one-for-one trade of Alex Wood could have netted something of great longterm use to this team.

  27. 27
    tfloyd Says:

    My point @20 wasn’t so much that the front office was brilliant in the Heyward/Freeman decision. It’s hard to believe anyone could foresee that Heyward’s offense would fall off the table (Epstein didn’t, and he’s no dummy) or really that Freddie would take it to the next level as he has since last June (as per timo @1). It was a reasonable decision to favor Freeman over Heyward, but they also got lucky in the magnitude of the subsequent difference in the two players.
    It may also be as Adam R says that they could not have signed Jason no matter what, but they also put a priority on Freddie over Jason.
    As to the Alex Wood trade, that one never made any sense–and has only gotten worse since.

  28. 28
    Sean Q. Says:

    Out of all of our bad pitchers Jaime is the most infuriating. Colon and Dickey, while bad, each have their charms. Garcia just does not look like he’s enjoying himself.

  29. 29
    John R. Says:

    Freddie Freeman: BHITNL (Best Hitter In The NL)

  30. 30
    Edward Says:

    @25, Well I don’t exactly disagree, but to play devil’s advocate: it’s a little easier to call these contracts ‘sunk costs’ when it isn’t our money that’s sinking.

    @26, “…upon what basis…” I think it’s because Fredi knew Olivera once and vouched for him, isn’t it? What a swell guy, that Fredi Gonzalez. It was a real privilege to watch him squander so much talent in so many different ways.

  31. 31
    John R. Says:

    @30, I don’t think it was that simple. If it was then it doesn’t reflect directly on Fredi as much as it does the people who’s job it is to build a trade like that.

  32. 32
    John R. Says:

    Time to call on that 8-man bullpen, Snit.

  33. 33
    John R. Says:

    Nice dinger, Dansby. Makes up for when you double clutched the relay throw and allowed a run to score.

  34. 34
    John R. Says:

    Kemp just smacked it hard to the right field wall driving in two. Gotta love the late inning lead padding…

  35. 35
    Tfloyd Says:

    As much as I hate the sacrifice bunt, that was an ideal spot for it: Phillips up with two on and no out and Freeman and Kemp to follow, Braves with one run lead in the ninth.
    But Kemp came through anyway so all is good.

  36. 36
    sdp Says:

    This is the weirdest team.

  37. 37
    Marspr Says:

    @34, Especially after they intentionally walked Freddie to get to him.

  38. 38
    Rusty S. Says:

    @12, 13 – Thanks, it’s hard to go wrong with Skip. My understanding is that it was a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnng rain delay.

  39. 39
    Edward Says:

    @38, LOL! What was his line about needing a double?

  40. 40
    Rob Cope Says:

    This team can pound bad pitching with the best of them.

    Between prospects and salary, you probably should have expected about 4.5-5 WAR from the veteran SPs. Therefore, you probably should have had around 1 WAR so far from those guys. So far, they’ve accumulated exactly 0 WAR. But I’d argue that Bart has been uniquely troubling considering 4 of his 8 starts produced results that would cause a team to lose a significant majority of the time. So you could make the case that that “unit”, if you will, have cost the Braves a few games that they had planned on winning. Krol, EOF and Collmenter combine for -.9 WAR. If the pitching was just league average, we’d probably be competing for playoff spot. Crazy.

  41. 41
    Rusty S. Says:

    @39 – Man, I wish I could remember. I feel like the mention of “doubles” was kind of a running joke.

  42. 42
    braves14 Says:

    I think it was “he’s leading the league in doubles, and so am I.”

    Also, one I remember Skip saying was “the bases are loaded, and I wish I was too.”

  43. 43
    braves14 Says:

    Adonis Garcia to the DL with Achilles tendonitis. Rio Ruiz might be getting his chance tomorrow.

  44. 44
    Td Says:

    If our 3, 4, 5, and 6 hitiers can continue to hit between 319 and 350, we will surprise some people. If our 1, 2, and 8 hitters get hot we can absorb Garcia and Colon being crappy. Of course I don’t expect the former but it’s fun to watch for now.

  45. 45
    Smitty Says:

    Ruiz!

  46. 46
    braves14 Says:

    Bowman says it’s probably Camargo.

  47. 47
    spike Says:

    At 39, 41 – “Welcome back to Braves baseball, where it’s always the bottom of the fifth and we’re leading the league in doubles”

  48. 48
    Yaramah Z Says:

    Amazing, we’re tied for 2nd with the Mets loss. What a rubbish division the NL East is.

  49. 49
    braves14 Says:

    If the Braves don’t promote Ruiz this time it makes me think that they don’t see him as a future candidate.

  50. 50
    Rob Cope Says:

    Camargo is a switch-hitter, so he’d take ABs against lefties while Jace plays against righties, a scenario with which I am cool. Let Ruiz have more time.

  51. 51
    Game, Blauser Says:

    @50 agreed, it makes a lot more sense to call up Camargo than Ruiz at this stage. Camargo can platoon with Jace at 3B, and it appears he’s a shortstop by trade so he can also serve as a better-than-Bonifacio utility infield bench asset.

    Now – if Ruiz was really raking at AAA and Garcia was going to be out for a while, I could see calling up Rio. However, neither of those things are the case as of today. Ideally, Garcia will come back from the DL and start hitting (as he did in the 2nd half of last season) and Ruiz will continue to put it together at AAA, giving the Braves the option to see what they can get for Garcia in trade.

  52. 52
    coop Says:

    None of the three is that Jones boy. Whoever plays third is filler.

  53. 53
    Smitty Says:

    @51

    Ruiz has been on fire of late.

  54. 54
    Stu Says:

    51—Nailed it. Not calling up Ruiz at this juncture is no absolutely indication that the organization is down on him.

  55. 55
    JohnWDB Says:

    We went 4-6 over a ten game stretch, and that torrid run vaulted us from 5th to 2nd in the division. Unreal.

  56. 56
    sdp Says:

    Freddie is on pace for 63 HR. Obviously won’t reach that, but dang, 40 would be amazing.

  57. 57
    Rusty S. Says:

    @55 – Hoooooooooooooooooooooooope!

  58. 58
    Rob Cope Says:

    @56

    I wonder what would be some concerns as to why he wouldn’t keep his pace. Health, obviously. I’ve seen the data that suggests that lineup protection is not a real thing, but this is way past a sample size that Freddie and Kemp have mutually benefited from each other’s presence. The Chop Cast speculated that Kemp doesn’t like being “the guy”, and he is benefited by other boppers in the lineup, and perhaps Freeman is the same guy. Lost in being second to last in team ERA, there is so much to be excited about with this lineup. If Dansby is coming out of his slump, and a Camargo/Jace can simply exceed Adonis’ performance as the worst 3B in baseball (encouraging the team to put Adonis on the bench), then this is an extremely deep lineup.

  59. 59
    blazon Says:

    This may be old news for some but…

    Somewhere on Netflix now is a pretty amazing ‘dockumentary’ on Doc Ellis with much participation from the man himself and many of the early seventies Pirates/Yankees – they all loved him, warts and all.

    The famous no-hitter i had always believed was on weed. No, it was acid. Couple of details from it- he never saw a hitter he pitched to, just a multi colored blur. He was able to tell if the batter was right or left handed but couldn’t make out their face, had no idea who he was pitching to. Walked about 8, hit 2.

    He hit rock bottom- major booze and drugs- when his ML career ended, rehabbed successfully with one 2 week stay, ended up on a natural high helping young ballplayers stay straight. His IQ was mile high. A walking contradiction, he said he never pitched one game when he was not high.

    1 hour 45 minutes…titled No No Dockumentary. Amazing stuff, stretches the mind. Yes, i believed it, so might you. It is detailed and with much corroboration from those who were there.

  60. 60
    coop Says:

    @58: perhaps the wunderkind is not irreparably broken after all. My fingers are crossed. Wouldn’t it be great if Braves management got this one right?

  61. 61
    blazon Says:

    The Toronto Blue Jays
    may have seen somewhat better days
    but over the next 48 hours
    expect a major exchanging of powers.

    Combined over/under total runs scored in these next 2 games?

    23

  62. 62
    Rob Cope Says:

    I think it’s obvious Dansby will be fine, but I’d love it if they would quit with the Jeter comparisons. Jeter had a strong, compact swing with almost no holes that produced an extremely high BA and a lot of power. Dansby does not seem to have that compact of a stroke and accordingly, not that much power either.

  63. 63
    blazon Says:

    at Sun Trust Park
    we are still entirely in the dark
    no bilateral slugfest yet recorded
    to be spoken of in awe by all who sawed it.

  64. 64
    blazon Says:

    @60

    coop, o ye of little faith! Actually i am equally guilty.

    What the last 2 nights finally persuaded me about was this, maybe you agree.

    He has reached a stage where he’s now shown himself ML capable on both fronts, defense/offense. But not at the same time. Any one skill apparently requiring total concentration to the exclusion of the other. For now.

    His fielding on this road trip has been awful, just as his bat significantly improves.

  65. 65
    Rob Cope Says:

    From Twitter:

    Freeman: 36G, 162PA, 46H, 26XBH, 26BB, 31K, .343/.457/.754, 204wRC+
    Ronald Acuña: 36G, 162PA, 49H, 16XBH, 13BB, 44K, .336/.391/.555, 172wRC+

    In… sane.

  66. 66
    One Eye Says:

    #59 My buddy worked on the Doc Ellis documentary. It’s pretty great.

  67. 67
    Game, Blauser Says:

    In minor league news, Luiz Gohara was pulled in the third inning on his start yesterday with biceps discomfort. Hopefully it’s nothing too bad…

  68. 68
    coop Says:

    Blazon, he’s not Andrelton with the glove. Hopefully he becomes consistently adequate. His bat has come around in his recent small sample. I am optimistic.

  69. 69
    blazon Says:

    @66…

    yes, well spotted..

    (what was with Joe and Chip last night each inserting an extra syllable into his name, Acunia?)

    Rob, give us your guess re @61.

  70. 70
    blazon Says:

    Acunia
    look at his bonus, how pecunia

  71. 71
    Rob Cope Says:

    @67

    Read somewhere that they determined it was just a strain and nothing structural.

  72. 72
    blazon Says:

    @68

    coop, we’re not talking Andrelton like here, wish we were. His defense was sophomoric this trip just ended.

    Remember the game he had to go to his right and tried to throw a lollipop to first, falling backwards! Twice! No planter he.

    The first game in Toronto, again to his right, not far, got there with time to spare, it went under his glove. Then he double clutched on a relay throw to the plate which was up the line. Run scored.

    Love the guy, root for him. Have just begun to believe, at the moment, he can’t do both at once.

    Terrific home run last night though, no wall scraper. Stirred the soul.

  73. 73
    blazon Says:

    @66

    Was he of the opinion that most of the opinions his contemporaries gave about him were real, not BS? They all seemed to love the guy.

  74. 74
    Sean Q. Says:

    Not news to any of us on here, but nice to see Freddie getting some recognition from national press: http://www.espn.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/79547/real-or-not-freddie-freeman-is-the-best-hitter-in-baseball

  75. 75
    csg Says:

    Adams and Ruiz are both playing for Gwinnett. I assume Camargo will get the call later today. I still don’t understand what Santana offered over Adams.

  76. 76
    Dusty Says:

    Camargo is official. Probably the right call temporarily over Ruiz, but you are right Santana and Bonifacio really have no reason to be here especially with Rojas, Adams, Ruiz, Xavier Avery and Camargo.

  77. 77
    cliff Says:

    FanGraphs KATOH projection for prospect pitchers was updated and they list today the “biggest risers.” This is a statistically driven projection of likely probably career WAR.

    By that Gohara has had the biggest jump, and also on the list as significant risers are Newcomb and Toussaint. So, if you think our pitching is really going this year, that may be right.

  78. 78
    'Rissa Says:

    Recap up. Sorry for the delay.

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