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22 Aug

Thoughts on a stretch run without Jason Heyward

Forget the 2013 season for a minute. That’s the sort of thing that impacts careers. Oftentimes, multiple careers. A fastball to the head ended Tony Conigliaro’s budding superstardom before it really got off the ground. It did essentially the same for Jack Hamilton, the guy that threw it. Neither player was the same afterwards. Of course we all hope for better results for both Heyward and Niese. Jeff Francoeur, god love him, took a fastball to the eye socket in the minors, and came back more or less intact a year later. So here’s to good hope and cheer. That said, the immediate question is how do you move forward in 2013.

The first option is obviously BJ Upton. Upton is by far the most talented OF on the roster outside of his brother and Heyward. He’s more talented than Jordan Schafer by factors. He’s more talented than Reed Johnson or Joey Terdoslavich. He’s a legitimate star caliber player at the Major League level who has had a terrible, terrible season this year. The first option for replacing Heyward is to reinsert BJ Upton into the lineup every night.

With BJ starting in CF regularly, you can swing your corner outfielders around by need and according to the starting pitcher. Obviously Justin Upton, the best offensive threat on the team outside of Brian McCann at this point, is going to start as long as his back isn’t bothering him. JUpton can play either LF or RF (though with nowhere near the defensive value of Heyward), so the only remaining question is “who plays the other corner?” For that, you should be looking at a platoon of two quad-A types; Jordan Schafer and Joey Terdoslavich.

Schafer fits most naturally into the suddenly vacated leadoff role, but he should only play against right handed starters. His 2013 splits:

v RHP: 313/405/461 (866 OPS)
v LHP: 105/150/105 (255 OPS)

There is no way Success! should ever see a meaningful PA against a southpaw. He simply can’t hit them.

Terdoslavich, on the other hand, has shown the opposite tendencies in his (very short) stint in the ML. Though he’s a switch hitter, he really has no business facing RHP. His splits 2013 ML splits:

v RHP: 216/293/297 (590 OPS)
v LHP: 357/526/429 (955 OPS)

There are obviously sample size issues involved with Terdoslavich’s ML numbers, and it bears noting that his 2013 minor league splits are completely the opposite.

v RHP: 319/360/573 (933 OPS)
v LHP: 256/347/390 (737 OPS)

There’s always the Evan Gattis option as the RH half of a platoon, should Terdoslavich falter. But Gattis has seriously struggled at the plate after a hot opening month or two, and he’s a much weaker defender in the OF than either of the other two. The OF defense is already taking a hit by replacing Heyward, a gold glover in RF, with Justin Upton, who is…not. I’d personally go with the better defense and keep Gattis on the bench as a backup catcher. This would also give the team a chance to see if Terdoslavich has any business on the post-season roster, or if he gets cut when Reed Johnson returns. I suspect, however, that Fredi runs the Bear out there more often than not.

At the end of the day, the question doesn’t really hinge on Heyward’s technical replacement in the OF, so much as it does on BJ Upton and Dan Uggla putting together something akin to a major league swing for the first time all year.

147 Responses to “Thoughts on a stretch run without Jason Heyward”

  1. 1
    Smitty Says:

    BJ Upton and Dan Uggla putting together something akin to a major league swing for the first time all year.

    This is what it’s going to take to win.

  2. 2
    krussell Says:

    There is nothing at all that suggests that BJ Upton will do anything more than what he’s shown so far. I agree that he has more upside that Schafer, but the odds of him being better than Schafer for the rest of the year seem really low (to me at least). I think you’ll see a nearly straight platoon in CF, and Gattis and Justin are your corners. Terds suddenly becomes the only bench bat.

    Our season basically ended yesterday. Our only hope is for Uggla and his 20/10 vision to come back totally raking.

  3. 3
    krussell Says:

    What we’ll have is a situation in CF similar to the infamous Heyward/Constanza debate. The “hot-hand” to-date is clearly Schafer (maybe “luke-warm hand” is a better fit). BJ is the worst player in baseball. So do you ride the luke-warm hand or roll the dice and place a hard-way bet on BJ figuring something out? Both options totally suck, imo. If you told me last summer that Schafer was likely to start our first playoff game I would have lost my mind.

  4. 4
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    You’re being overly dramatic, KR. It’s a big blow to the team down the stretch. It’s not the end of the world. They played 3 of the previous 4 months of the 2013 season without Jason Heyward – or at least without him hitting for crap – and still managed to win more than they lost.

  5. 5
    braves14 Says:

    You may see Gattis, Bupton, and Jupton against LHPs, and Terds, Success, and Jupton vs RHPs.

  6. 6
    Ryan C Says:

    I still disagree with the idea that BJ should be given the starting CF job. The job needs to be an open competition, not a blind gift. 4 guys for 2 spots, match them up accordingly and see who gets hot. The season/postseason does not lie on BJ’s or Uggla’s success but the usage of the skills that are present on the team and how those skills develop over the course of the next 1.5 months. Giving BJ full-time ABs in hopes that he becomes the player he hasn’t been this entire year seems foolish. If he turns the corner through part-time play, give him what he’s earned.

  7. 7
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    The odds of BJ Upton being worse than Jordan Schafer going forward are incredibly small. I’d reconsider if Schafer were still “the hot hand,” but he hasn’t hit for crap since coming off the DL. Basically, he was really hot against RHP for two months, then got hurt, and he’s come back looking a lot like the guy Houston cut after 2012. I take my chances on BJ.

  8. 8
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Our season basically ended when we opened up a 16-game lead. I don’t believe in resting your regulars for the last three weeks of the season, but our strategic goal right now is to get all of our guys going. You always play to win, but these games should be more like exhibitions than stretch run dogfights.

    We have a very strong bench. But if we are going to have a chance to win, we need an offense, and it was awfully inconsistent even with Heyward in it. We’re going to have to figure out what we have in Uggla, B.J., and Gattis, and figure out whether they deserve a spot on the postseason roster.

  9. 9
    krussell Says:

    @4, I’m upset for sure. We muddled through when Hewyard was scuffling because Gattis was literally on fire during most of the first few months. Second-half Jason was putting up MVP numbers and we were like 19-4 or something with him producing in the lead-off spot. Now we’re likely going to go back to being a .500 team. Can we win playoff series without Heyward, sure. But we’re not likely to.

  10. 10
    Nick Says:

    @4

    And all of that is still based on the assumption that the timetable given is wrong. If all that’s gonna happen around here for the next month is that everybody is constantly wailing about how our season is over, I’ll see you guys in October.

  11. 11
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    We muddled through when Heyward was scuffling because the Nats have sucked all year. The Braves are a good team, but the rest of our division has been terrible, and that has allowed the Braves to skate through a number of shaky offensive performances.

  12. 12
    krussell Says:

    @7, Schafer hasn’t hit for crap since coming of the DL, and BJ hasn’t hit for crap for all of 2013. BJ is 0 for his last 24 with 12 K’s and 1 BB. He has no business being anywhere near a MLB ball park. Betting on him is a lottery ticket. Both options are terrible. I’d rather Reed Johnson play CF.

  13. 13
    John R. Says:

    @4, We won more than we lost when Heyward was scuffling indeed, but regular season is different than the playoffs, where we’ll be facing only the elite teams and their best pitchers. The season certainly isn’t over, but losing Heyward, who had finally given our starting nine a sense of inherent logic with his leadoff productivity, will hurt.

    @6, Totally agree.

    I think there’s some underestimation of Success at play here. Granted, he’s only shown his talent in the first half of a season four years after his debut. But this is not a straight comparison with Jose “Pressure on the Defense” Constanza. There’s actually major league talent here. He’s also got something to play for, since he’s fully aware this year could be a great turning point in his career after so much disappointment.

    I think his poor hitting since his return from the DL should be seen as simply getting back into game shape. That injury to his ankle was pretty bad. He should be given a chance to prove the first three months of the season were or weren’t a mirage.

  14. 14
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    @12 “regular season is different than the playoffs”

    Totally true. In the playoffs Mark Lemke or Mike Devereaux can carry your team.

  15. 15
    krussell Says:

    The stars may be aligning for the “Joey Terds WS MVP” scenario.

  16. 16
    kc Says:

    @12. Well, there is a reason why he has a five year contract. If we are not going to play him now, there will never be a better time to do so.

  17. 17
    krussell Says:

    @16, I have no idea why he has a five year contract. That’s Frank Wren’s problem. I think he’s likely to get more AB’s than Schafer in the last 6 weeks, because of the contract, because of his brother, because of Wren, etc etc. None of those are compelling enough for me though. He’s like a full second late on fastballs. Thinking that’s going to get fixed just because Heyward got hurt and it’s time to “step up” is wishcasting.

  18. 18
    Ryan C Says:

    That reason is the start of the next four years of his contract, not when the Braves are in a World Series run.

  19. 19
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    That reason is the start of the next four years of his contract, not when the Braves are in a World Series run.

    The Braves are not currently in a World Series run. They’re currently in cruise control with a gigantic divisional lead, four weeks prior to any potential World Series run. A fixed BJ Upton would be a fantastic thing to have FOR that potential World Series run.

  20. 20
    Ryan C Says:

    @19
    We can argue this all day, but a broken BJ taking ABs away from players finding success that could actually contribute during a World Series run would be equally disastrous as your scenario is fantastic.

  21. 21
    kc Says:

    @17 and 18. If the Braves have only a five game lead, them i would agree with you. But we have a 15 game lead now. You want BJ to get his stroke back and he can’t do that sitting on the bench.

    Yes, we care about the home field advantage, but a good BJ Upton will just be as critical in achieving that. It’s not like our other options are that much more superior.

  22. 22
    Adam M Says:

    Agree with Sam. Playing BUpton has more upside and, judging by Schafer’s recent regression, little downside. He probably won’t figure it all out, but he may.

  23. 23
    krussell Says:

    And if BJ continues to suck then you just pencil in Schafer for the playoffs even though he’s only had a few at bats in the last six weeks? Or do you just keep wishing and hope that BJ gets hot in the playoffs? Does BJ’s actual production ever actually matter?

  24. 24
    Rob Cope Says:

    Yeah, gotta let BJ work through the funk. A decent BJ is better than who Jordan might be.

    Or just banish him to an island. That works too.

  25. 25
    krussell Says:

    Home-field advantage doesn’t mean jack. I’ve personally witnessed more teams celebrating on our home field than anyone should rightfully have to endure. I’m fine with giving BJ one more audition, but he gets 2 weeks, not 6.

  26. 26
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Of passing interest: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=lukas/080724

  27. 27
    Adam M Says:

    We can argue this all day, but a broken BJ taking ABs away from players finding success that could actually contribute during a World Series run would be equally disastrous as your scenario is fantastic.

    Since June 1st:

    Jordan Schafer (69 PAs): .254/.309/.349
    Evan Gattis: (123 PAs): .196/.260/.304
    B.J. Upton (187 PAs): .221/.299/.344

    From whom would BUpton be taking at bats? Who else is “finding success”? Sure, if there was someone who was absolutely deserving of the spot, then it would make some sense to sit B.J. Upton. But when you consider this context – one wherein nobody else is giving Fredi a reason to sit him – B.J. Upton should be starting. He provides the potential that the others don’t. He’s also a much better outfielder than either Gattis or Schafer.

  28. 28
    D.N. Nation Says:

    Kate Upton sent a happy birthday tweet to BJ Upton, so maybe that’ll help.

  29. 29
    krussell Says:

    @27, the only slight caveat to those numbers is that the other two guys have at least shown they are capable of a successful month or two. BJ has been consistently bad. I also don’t agree that he’s a good OF. He’s fast, but very awkward.

  30. 30
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    @27

    Precisely. I think a lot of people are working on the assumption that Schafer and Gattis are still actively making cases to start ahead of Upton. They’re not. They’re hitting as badly or worse than he is. They’re worse defenders than he is. Neither has anything near the track record of success Upton has in the majors. You play Upton. Sure, you get everyone rest and rotate people through a bit, but BJ Upton is your starting CF down the stretch.

  31. 31
    Ryan C Says:

    My posts seem like they’re being looked at as though I’m suggesting BJ ride the pine. Far from it. However, giving him ABs while not realizing that others such as Gattis and Schafer have been incredibly valuable to this team when right, is a weird way to look at the last 40 games. Why not give them all a chance to win the spots outright while letting them start 2/3 of the games, dependent upon matchups? If BJ gets right, it’s not like it won’t be noticed over the course of the next 40 games.

  32. 32
    krussell Says:

    @26, that was awesome. It’s hard to get much better than a helmet/mask equipped beast trying to kill Joe Morgan.

  33. 33
    Game, Blauser Says:

    @26 Thanks for the link, Sam! I didn’t realize Dave Parker recovered from a broken jaw and cheekbone in the midst of his ’78 MVP season, much less that he did so while wearing a frightening hockey mask (part of the time).

  34. 34
    Stu Says:

    Does anyone think the Braves are the team that claimed DeJesus? He’d sure help, now.

  35. 35
    Ryan C Says:

    @Sam and Adam…

    See @6. My post is being taken out of context.

  36. 36
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    DeJesus would make a lot of sense for ATL right now. I doubt the Nats are in the mood to give him up to us, though.

  37. 37
    Dusty Says:

    Being reported it was the Rays that claimed DeJesus FWIW.

  38. 38
    Stu Says:

    Huh. Surprised we passed on him.

  39. 39
    Smitty Says:

    @36

    I bet they would.

  40. 40
    Smitty Says:

    @38

    I agree. He would be a good fit.

  41. 41
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Depends on when the waiver wire claims were required. If the Nats put DDJ on waivers Tuesday, teams have 24 hours to make a claim. So the Braves had Wednesday to make that decision. As of Wednesday, they needed infielders, not another platoon oriented OF. Thursday changed that calculus a bit, but the 24 hour window was likely closed.

  42. 42
    Duvall Says:

    Could the Braves have claimed DeJesus even if they wanted to? Wouldn’t the Rays’ claim have taken precedence?

  43. 43
    Stu Says:

    41—Yeah, I thought I had read that the window closed this afternoon. I may have confused it with the Nats’ window to pull him back, post-claim.

    42—The Braves had priority over the Rays. It goes worst-to-best record in NL, then worst-to-best record in AL.

  44. 44
    Smitty Says:

    There may be a few other guys that fall to us via waivers. We have a little over a week.

  45. 45
    MikeM Says:

    I hated BJ before it was cool. Didn’t like the signing last fall. Given his performance since 2009, even the “normal” BJ is a .240/.320/.425 hitter with average defense. What was Wren so impressed with again?

  46. 46
    Adam M Says:

    the only slight caveat to those numbers is that the other two guys have at least shown they are capable of a successful month or two. BJ has been consistently bad. I also don’t agree that he’s a good OF. He’s fast, but very awkward.

    Well, there is the larger context of BJ Upton’s career as well. He may not have been worth the contract – I agree with @45 on the broader point, and wasn’t a big fan of the deal at the time – but it’s also true that BJ Upton was a 3-4 win player for the six years before he arrived. Jordan Schafer wasn’t even deserving of a roster spot.

    Sometimes guys just lose it, and it may be that BUpton is one of those guys.* But we may as well see if BUpton can be a 3-4 win guy again. Schafer almost certainly can’t be, considering his bat, and it’s highly likely that Gattis needs to hit as he did in April/May for him to be that good, considering his other shortcomings.

    *And sometimes they get it back. I’m looking at you, Louth.

  47. 47
    John R. Says:

    BJ reminds me of 2000 Reggie Sanders. He played like crap all year, had a tantalizing September that made you think putting up with him would be worth it, then went 0-fer in the playoffs.

    Again, Success is playing himself back into shape after his injury. I see no reason to think he can’t get back to the numbers he posted in April, May and June. Three solid months of production off the bench that was only abridged by a foul tip off his ankle. He should get some playing time.

  48. 48
    krussell Says:

    The larger context of his career should matter some (one would think), but it certainly hasn’t mattered in 2013 yet. He’s approaching -2 WAR. That’s somewhat incredible actually. There’s really no reason to worry about who we could/should replace him with – the answer is “anyone”.

  49. 49
    MikeM Says:

    Wow Adam you’re right. I didn’t realize that BJ’s last few years were still 3+ WAR seasons. I would have guessed lower.

    I’m sure it has everything to do with the current “offensive environment” that WAR takes into account. I still haven’t adjusted to the poor hitting (good pitching?) of today. I became baseball-cognizant in the 90’s and I guess I will never completely be able to shake that era as my frame of reference and be wowed with less.*

    Andruw slashed .275/.365/.483 in 1999 and barely cracked the top ten centerfielders in hitting. Carlos Gomez does that now and makes the All-Star team for it.

    *Conversely, I will forever be easy to wow on the music charts. My high school years (arguably the 4 years of anyone’s life when music means most emotionally/culturally/socially) were 1999-2003, when nu-metal trash and MOR post-grunge were at their peak and everyone around me lost their minds and though Fred Durst was cool. Scared me for life it did.

  50. 50
    se1915 Says:

    I feel like those making a case for “anyone” playing over BJ Upton have no idea what Evan Gattis and Jordan Schafer have been up to for the last two months. Unless I’m missing something and they’re actually talking about Joey Terds.

  51. 51
    spike Says:

    There is no hate quite like BJ Upton hate.

  52. 52
    Smitty Says:

    The word was BJ would carry the team for a month. I have a feeling it is going to start soon.

    He was great down the stretch last year.

  53. 53
    krussell Says:

    Well if it’s just one month then I’m gonna cast my vote for October. Please carry us through October BJ. Thanks in advance.

  54. 54
    W.C.G. Says:

    This Heyward thing totally sucks, but I do think you use the rest of the season as a lab to see if BJ can give you anything in the playoffs. Then hope Heyward can make it back for the playoffs.

  55. 55
    Game, Blauser Says:

    If BJ totally bosses it up and carries the Braves for the rest of the regular season, he might even finish with a positive WAR!

  56. 56
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    There is no hate quite like BJ Upton hate.

    We have a new, official Whipping Boy.

  57. 57
    John R. Says:

    @50, “I feel like those making a case for “anyone” playing over BJ Upton have no idea what Evan Gattis and Jordan Schafer have been up to for the last two months.”

    Okay, last two months:

    BJ UPTON
    113 PA, 21 H, 0 HR, 9 BB, 42 K, .210/.265/.260/.525

    GATTIS
    93 PA, 20 H, 1 HR, 4 BB, 15 K, .227/.269/.295/.564

    SUCCESS
    44 PA, 10 H, 1 HR, 4 BB, 10 K, .250/.318/.375/.693

    The only thing the last two months proves is that BJ has really sucked, and that Schafer has outplayed him in fewer PAs. It’s strange seeing many using such a small sample size compiled after a significant injury to dismiss the success of Success.

  58. 58
    spike Says:

    @56, “new”?

  59. 59
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I’m sure it has everything to do with the current “offensive environment” that WAR takes into account. I still haven’t adjusted to the poor hitting (good pitching?) of today. I became baseball-cognizant in the 90′s and I guess I will never completely be able to shake that era as my frame of reference and be wowed with less.*

    I have this problem too. It’s funny; they changed the ball in 1993 and the “steroid era” magically began. They changed the bat in 2008 and the “post-steroid era” began. Amazing what equipment will do.

  60. 60
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    It’s strange seeing many using such a small sample size compiled after a significant injury to dismiss the success of Success.

    The problem with this argument is that Success!’s success* is itself a massively small sample size, dwarfed by the much larger samples size of Success!’s lack of success. It’s not like he’s been tearing up the minors and came on board this year. He’s been a negative value player for four years in the majors. He got cut by the bloody Astros. In that same time frame, BJ Upton contributed +3 WAR to Major League, championship caliber teams.

    *the correct spelling of Success! nickname includes the exclamation point.

  61. 61
    Ryan C Says:

    I’d like it be known that I’m straddling the BJ and co. fence and in no way suggested that one should start more than the other. Thank you…drive thru.

  62. 62
    John R. Says:

    Sure, the first three months of the season might be a mirage for Schafer, but they might not be. I’m certainly willing to see a platoon with BJ and Success* (with Gattis and Terdo mixed in) through and find out which of them is most worthy of getting more playing time. That’s been my only theme in my comments. I don’t think BJ should be permanently benched, and I do hope that whatever playing time he gets he does indeed break through to be the kind of player we’re paying for.

    * I’ve spelled it without the exclamation point without being corrected since the nickname’s inception, quite a sample size! I’ll not feel compelled to slavishly include the exclamation point every time.

  63. 63
    Smitty Says:

    I’m pulling for BJ.

  64. 64
    John R. Says:

    I’m pulling for BJ, too. Except for his tantrums at the plate, he seems like a good guy to me. I want the whole “Upton Brothers” outfield to work, especially since we have so much money invested in it.

  65. 65
    krussell Says:

    I’m pulling for everyone on the team. I like Barves.

  66. 66
    spike Says:

    Didn’t see this coming….

    http://metsblog.com/metsblog/heyman-mets-sign-daisuke-matsuzaka/

  67. 67
    Anon21 Says:

    @12: It’s pretty hilarious that you say playing B.J. Upton, an All-Star-caliber player until this year, over Jordan Schafer, a fringe DFA candidate prior to this year, is a “lottery ticket.” B.J. Upton is the percentage play. The world did not begin on April 1, 2013.

  68. 68
    ububba Says:

    For the next month, I believe that anyone who carries a glove to the Braves outfield will get plenty of opportunities to contribute. BJ certainly will. Beyond JUpton, treat it like spring training—let the slumpers try to get sorted.

    Good thing we’re a mile ahead of the 2nd-place club. (And who’s that? I quit paying attention to their scores.)

    Still, as we go into Game 1 of the NLDS (perhaps without Heyward), it would be hard not to lean towards the hot hitters.

  69. 69
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    If there are hot hitters and other hitters are still struggling come playoff time, I’m all for running with the hot hand. We’ve had that conversation before. I think the odds are far more likely that the hot hand will be BJ Upton than the three month wonder.

  70. 70
    Adam M Says:

    I made the mistake of looking at DOB’s twitter feed (to see if there were any Heyward surgery updates) and saw him denying the possibility that Schafer is a bad defensive outfielder. I hate that guy (DOB, not Schafer).

    Anyway. Well said @60 and @67. The percentage play is to go with BJ Upton. He provides the highest ceiling. Jordan Schafer, meanwhile, has a career .571 OPS in AAA and .635 OPS in the majors. And he’ll be 27 in two weeks.

  71. 71
    PaulV Says:

    Gattis has hit better catching and as DH/PH. Playing a position like LF is disconcerting and hurt his hitting. Neither SUCCESS! or Gattis have gotten all the way back from their injuries. Much depends on how Uggla hits when he comes back.

  72. 72
    hpotter Says:

    With the amount of $ tied up, got to bet on BJ for rest of season and is he’s still terrible, go with the hot hand-

    BJ Upton
    2012 – .246/.298/.454/.752 OPS
    Sept 2012 – .250/.302/.639/.941 OPS

    2011- .243/.331/.429/.759 OPS
    Sept/Oct 2011 – .333/.432/.606/1.038 OPS

  73. 73
    Nick Says:

    Eliot Johnson in the starting lineup right off the bat. Schafer leading off playing center, Gattis playing left.

  74. 74
    braves14 Says:

    Jupton is back.

  75. 75
    John R. Says:

    1. Schafer 8
    2. J. Upton 9
    3. Freeman 3
    4. C. Johnson 5
    5. McCann 2
    6. Gattis 7
    7. Simmons 6
    8. E. Johnson 4
    9. Maholm 1

    So…I guess Fredi really has benched BJ? Because even I wouldn’t put Success in against the lefty. Hmm….

  76. 76
    Nick Says:

    @74

    You’re right. With all this fuss about Heyward, I’d forgotten Justin was out for the Mets series.

    @75

    What we may be seeing here is Fredi hoping Schafer becomes a prototypical leadoff hitter.

  77. 77
    braves14 Says:

    75 — Joe Kelly is a RHP.

  78. 78
    John R. Says:

    @77, Oops! My bad. I thought someone in a previous comment had said we were facing a lefty tonight. Shoulda verified myself.

  79. 79
    braves14 Says:

    That is a very shitty outfield defense.

  80. 80
    spike Says:

    Some of those shiny relief ERAs are gonna pay.

  81. 81
    csg Says:

    Ok, it’s sad but I miss Uggla. Elliot and Janish will do that to you.

  82. 82
    krussell Says:

    Upton/Schafer is the new Heyward/Constanza. I contend that Upton is the lottery ticket because if you give him all the playing time then you can’t really expect for Schafer to perform in October if he hasn’t played a lot in September. You are all-in on BJ Upton if you do it that way. I’m expecting BJ to continue to struggle because he has done nothing but struggle this year. Other are expecting him to catch fire at some point because “he’s due” and he was a good hitter in 2007.

  83. 83
    Anon21 Says:

    I’ve just realized that with the addition of Elliot Johnson, the 2013 Atlanta Braves officially have Too Much Johnson.

  84. 84
    Anon21 Says:

    @82: Nah, these are strawmen you’re kicking. First, Schafer should get regular playing time—at a corner. B.J. should be starting in center all the time, is the point. Second, B.J. has been an above-average hitter every full year of his MLB career except 2009. Obviously he won’t finish this year anywhere near average, but to dismissively imply that he’s been lousy since ’07 is just mendacious bullshit.

  85. 85
    Trace Says:

    Beachy going to see Dr. James Andrews. I picked the wrong time to stop sniffing glue.

  86. 86
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Braves Twitter feed:

    “LHP Mike Minor will start on Sunday in place of RHP Brandon Beachy. Beachy will see Dr. James Andrews on Monday.”

  87. 87
    John R. Says:

    When it rains it really, really sucks.

  88. 88
    D.N. Nation Says:

    Put the team on bubble wrap and forfeit the rest of the regular season. The Nats will lose enough games anyway.

  89. 89
    td Says:

    The thing that has killed me about BJ this year is that he’ll have one game where he appears to have figured it out and get 2 to 4 hits and every at bat is a good at bat. Unfortunately, it seems like he’ll go 0-4 the next day with 3 Ks and a popup.

    Btw, theoretically we could have a lineup with 1 Johnson and two Uptons in the OF and two Johnsons in the IF. I would have recommended that we pick up Josh Johnson from the Blue Jays, but with a 1.66 WHIP and a 6.20 ERA, I’m glad we passed. Actually, I wish we would have passed on Elliot Johnson!

  90. 90
    ububba Says:

    NLDS Game 1: Julio Teheran
    NLDS Game 2: Kris Medlen
    NLDS Game 3: Alex Wood
    NLDS Game 4: TBA

  91. 91
    Smitty Says:

    I hope Malholm is better. I assume McCann and Freeman will blow out their knees now.

  92. 92
    Grst Says:

    FFS.

  93. 93
    oldtimer? Says:

    Good lord, what next.

  94. 94
    Remy Says:

    A plague of locusts.

  95. 95
    DowneasterJC Says:

    Anyone just get covered in boils all of a sudden?

  96. 96
    Adam M Says:

    This is why I was concerned about the velocity. He was sitting 85-88 mph on too many pitches. That’s not right.

  97. 97
    Smitty Says:

    Dr Andrews sucks

  98. 98
    Smitty Says:

    Heyward’s jaw was not wired shut. That helps

  99. 99
    Adam M Says:

    Losing Heyward would be huge. Losing Beachy would suck but it wouldn’t hurt as much – in 2013, anyway. It would be a bigger deal for 2014. And it would of course be tragic for Beachy personally, which shouldn’t be overlooked.

  100. 100
    justhank Says:

    How much Wren has foolishly decided to pay BJ Upton is totally beside the point.

    He’s 0 for his last 24 with TWELVE strikeouts.

    If that ain’t broke, I don’t know what is.

    It was probably wishful thinking on my part, but he looked like he’d disciplined his approach somewhat after returning from the minors. If it was real, it sure didn’t last long.

    Let’s face it, losing Heyward for the year (and, yes, it’s at least the de facto year) ends any hope we had of making it to the WS. We’re going to have to listen to All-Puig All-the-Time.

    Think I’m going to be sick.

    I’m so distraught, I can’t even make fun of Sugarpova.

  101. 101
    Rob Cope Says:

    @100

    Wish you would step back from that ledge, my friend
    You could capsize for all the lies that you’ve been living in.

  102. 102
    ububba Says:

    Oh, c’mon, the relatively punchless SF Giants won 2 of the last 3 WS.

    If we get good starting pitching, take a lead & our ‘pen holds up in enough games, any series can be had.

    Despite the recent troubles, there’s really no post-season result that would shock me.

  103. 103
    tylerdysart Says:

    The prognosis on Heyward is 4-6 weeks. If 4, then he has two weeks to get ready for the postseason, if 6, he’ll return right at the start of postseason play.

  104. 104
    oldtimer? Says:

    Watch this is the season we win it all.
    Blind 2B
    Useless CF free agent acquisition
    RF will be wearing a hockey helmet
    one of our better pitchers our with a broken ankle
    2 stud relievers out with elbow injuries.
    Another young stud with an ailing arm.

    That will be a hell of a story.

  105. 105
    Ryan C Says:

    Brian McCann’s ear was just bitten off by Yadier Molina in Pre-game warm ups. Adam Wainwright bought a real polar bear and released it into the guest clubhouse where it proceeded to rip Evan Gattis’ right arm right off. Also, where Chris Johnson’s eyes used to be, there’s just bloody cavities. The polar bear then lunged at Freddie Freeman and beat him with Evan’s bloody arm. Freddie has been scratched from the lineup with a sudden case of death. He’s day to day.

    Bad day to be a Brave.

  106. 106
    Rob Cope Says:

    Well, as long as Andrelton’s ok…

  107. 107
    John R. Says:

    During a road trip to St. Louis in August, Andrelton grew disillusioned with his life in Major League Baseball, and abandoned the team for a new life with the Children of God.

  108. 108
    Rusty S. Says:

    @104 – You had me up to the point where you said Evan Gattis could be defeated by a polar bear.

  109. 109
    justhank Says:

    @101 – lies? Do tell.

  110. 110
    Grst Says:

    Whoosh.

  111. 111
    td Says:

    @103 – If we win it all, it will be very hard to argue against Freddi as manager of the year. I know many still struggle with game day decisions (me included), but whatever happens (barring a complete collapse), he’s done a heck of a job.

  112. 112
    braves14 Says:

    I’m having a really shitty day, and this Heyward and Beachy business is not helping.

  113. 113
    W.C.G. Says:

    Well we have an early leader for “What Miserable Braves Collapse Is This Year Like?”

    2010, The One Where Everybody Gets Hurt

  114. 114
    justhank Says:

    @109 – I don’t care if he’s quoting Scripture, I wouldn’t throw that word at someone on this board.

  115. 115
    rkw2 Says:

    The mlb.tv app on Roku finally allows the radio feed overlay. I may never have to listen to Chip again.

  116. 116
    jjschiller Says:

    For fellow furniture nerds, apropos of Chip and Joe’s marveling over the engineering of the Gateway Arch: the architect, Eero Saarinen, was also responsible for these:

    http://a248.e.akamai.net/origin-cdn.volusion.com/hrsvd.wltgq/v/vspfiles/photos/2020-48-1139-2.jpg

    http://www.chairblog.eu/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Womb-Chair-by-Eero-Saarinen.jpg

    http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/thehumansolution/saarinen-wood-arms-options.jpg

  117. 117
    jjschiller Says:

    Also, anybody else notice that our second baseman looks like the older brother of our first base coach?

  118. 118
    Bethany Says:

    Oh thank goodness.

  119. 119
    justhank Says:

    OMG, did we need that!

  120. 120
    Tomas Says:

    Juptopalooza!

  121. 121
    Grst Says:

    @113 Oh Jesus Christ. Get a hold of yourself.

  122. 122
    Adam R Says:

    This is the most worked up anyone’s ever gotten about a Third Eye Blind lyric, ever.

  123. 123
    John R. Says:

    @120, I’m just gonna go on record as saying the worst sin is quoting Third Eye Blind in the first place.

  124. 124
    Trace Says:

    Don’t ever walk Pete Kozma. Just don’t do it.

  125. 125
    John R. Says:

    Time to yank Maholm, Fredi. The left field wall needs a break.

  126. 126
    Grst Says:

    This feels like a playoff game.

  127. 127
    Anon21 Says:

    Fortunately, you don’t really need a fifth starter in the playoffs.

  128. 128
    krussell Says:

    Have to admit I wasn’t really missing Maholm.

  129. 129
    Game, Blauser Says:

    @126 In my mind, Maholm is already effectively no longer a Brave… he won’t be on the team in the playoffs, he’s not getting re-signed for 2014, and he hasn’t been relevant to the 2013 team’s success in many months.

  130. 130
    carl Says:

    well goodbye compensation pick….no way we offer him 13M now.

    I thought that was a certainty at the start of the year.

  131. 131
    Our New Insect Overlords Says:

    Oso needs a device that provides him an electric shock when he swings at the high fastball.

  132. 132
    krussell Says:

    @127, agree. I’m ready for September callups to take his spot.

    Gattis still looks terrible. This dude has a good arm though. The Cards are built for the post-season. Power arms in the starting rotation.

  133. 133
    krussell Says:

    *Now* it looks like a playoff game. Had to check “infield error from sure-handed fielder” off the list.

  134. 134
    csg Says:

    Brian’s arm and glove are a liability. Good grief.

  135. 135
    Ryan C Says:

    Isn’t it weird to feel this hopeless when the Braves have the best record in baseball?

  136. 136
    krussell Says:

    I’m coming around. Hit no-hope rock bottom today but I think Heyward will maybe have a chance to play in the first round after hearing the details today. I’m also irrationally putting my eggs in the “just wait til Uggla gets back” basket.

  137. 137
    krussell Says:

    In the meantime we’re going to lose a lot. Acceptance makes it easier.

  138. 138
    Trace Says:

    Ben Affleck as Batman is the cherry on top of the crap sundae of bad things to happen to my favorite things this week.

  139. 139
    John R. Says:

    I hate it when these jerks have their way with us.

  140. 140
    krussell Says:

    Simmons has killed the ball tonight and has zip to show for it. BAPIP is a cruel mistress.

  141. 141
    Adam M Says:

    Even with the Heyward injury, we shouldn’t be giving Schafer and Gattis so many at bats. But hey, they had good Mays, so I guess we owe it to them.

  142. 142
    Grst Says:

    @138 You mean other than his two hits? I mean, point taken, but not a great example.

    @139 If that’s your logic, who should be getting them? Not like anyone is hitting better.

  143. 143
    kc Says:

    @133 That’s the Braves Journal way!!!

  144. 144
    Rob Cope Says:

    Semi charmed kind of life, baby, baby!

  145. 145
    braves14 Says:

    At least we can find out if Gattis can make an adjustment, to see if he is really an answer for next season.

  146. 146
    Grst Says:

    I think Gattis needs to just go up and guess off speed for a while. He might be late on fastballs, but if he can hit enough breaking stuff that way he might force them to change the book again. Couldn’t hurt at this point, I think.

  147. 147
    Hotspur Says:

    Joyously recapped.

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