Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

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02 Apr

Braves 1 Brewers 0

ESPN Box Score

For 6.2 innings this afternoon, the Braves embarrassed themselves by getting no hit by Matt Garza. Perhaps more humiliatingly, however, the Brewers spent the first six innings getting no hit by Aaron Harang. Fortunately, misery loves company, so the afternoon offered plenty of bonding time for rival fans in the stands. Both pitchers were making their debuts with their new ball clubs, and both succeeded in making their first innings memorable.

Chris Johnson continues to show no interest in regressing. Will we have to soon start referring to it as the Johnson trade in which we also got Justin Upton? He got the game’s first hit in the 7th inning, and it was a long one. His homer to left center field proved to be the game’s only run, which is exactly what you would (not) have predicted from a Harang/Garza matchup.

Harang finally stumbled in the bottom of the 7th and gave up a couple of hits, but Luis Avilan got the final out of the inning with runners on the corners to end the threat. Harang’s outing was enough to make anyone still upset over the release of Freddy Garcia (please tell me this is no one) have to think twice that maybe Wren and company do, in fact, know what they are doing. It also provides a glimmer of hope that the Braves may have just enough pitching to bridge the gap until our real guys get healthy.

David Carpenter and Craig Kimbrel worked the 8th and 9th without incident. Kraken was nice to his teammates and only recorded one strikeout, giving them the chance to play some defense behind him. Jason Heyward delivered, making a spectacular diving catch in shallow right to rob Carlos Gomez of a hit.

To add to the unpredictability of this game, B.J. Upton and Gerald Laird recorded the other two Braves’ hits, and the Braves won 1-0 in Milwaukee, which, according to ESPN, is a feat they last accomplished in 1964 as the home team.

A series win to start the season is always nice, and a series win at a ballpark where the Braves have been particularly horrible for the past few seasons is even nicer. The guys can enjoy Thursday’s off-day now and head to Washington on a high note.

65 Responses to “Braves 1 Brewers 0”

  1. 1
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Aaron Harang is our 2014 Ben Sheets. God bless Frank Wren, he found a guy who wasn’t Kameron Loe.

    Now, if Harang makes more than 5 starts for us this year, we’ll have much bigger problems.

  2. 2
    td Says:

    Maybe Pedro Beato will be our new David Carpenter.

  3. 3
    John R. Says:

    I’d like to know how many trades there were in which a throw-in excelled far beyond the primary target of the trade.

  4. 4
    Anon21 Says:

    Eh… I’d still like to see Freddy Garcia in the fold. He was a quality arm, and the Braves will probably need quality arms when one of their rehabbing pitchers suffers a setback or another pitcher gets injured.

  5. 5
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    The Braves are HOSED in being able to spend money on prospects.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/draft/2014-draft-and-international-team-spending-allowances/

  6. 6
    kc Says:

    @5. How does that work? How come th Cards can spend more than us?

    Garza is not a bad pitcher by any means. Getting this kind of performance from Harang is unbelievable. What else can we say about Wren? He may not be very good in free agent signings, but the guy has been absolutely brilliant outside of that.

  7. 7
    jjschiller Says:

    Has Chris Johnson excelled far beyond Justin Upton?

  8. 8
    coop Says:

    Thank you, ‘Rissa, for the recap.

  9. 9
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Harang was a free agent signing!

    Wren hasn’t been very good at blockbuster signings, but he’s been pretty stellar at everything else.

  10. 10
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    http://m.braves.mlb.com/news/2014/04/02/70700288/braves-want-prospect-graham-to-remain-starter

  11. 11
    kc Says:

    @9 You are right. That’s a good one.

    Thanks ‘Rissa!!!

  12. 12
    krussell Says:

    @10, assuming there’s not injury set-backs, what would you guess the odds are of Graham pitching meaningful innnings for the big club in 2014. I’d say right now they are pretty high.

  13. 13
    'Rissa Says:

    @7 I think it depends on what you are comparing them in. If it’s expectations, then definitely. And it’s amazing how much expectations can shape perception.

  14. 14
    'Rissa Says:

    Also, I guess someone should point out that Pedro Beato is now on our team. Corresponding roster move won’t be made until Friday, so someone (Varvaro?) gets to think he’s in the big leagues for one more day until cruel reality sets in.

  15. 15
    jjschiller Says:

    @13 – My thoughts exactly. Both guys put up exactly 2.4 bWar last season. But Johnson was perceived as a “throw-in” and Justin a “Future MVP.” And then they go out and have equally valuable seasons (even though Johnson got a +2.5 run adjustment for playing 3B badly, and Justin got a -7.5 for playing a bad LF.) But suddenly Johnson has “excelled far beyond” Justin.

  16. 16
    John R. Says:

    Since my words are being used in scare quotes, please note I didn’t say Johnson has “excelled far beyond” Upton. I was asking which if any trades in baseball history fit that bill, since the thought was suggested by the game recap that the Johnson/Upton trade may soon meet that criteria.

  17. 17
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    @10, I hope he succeeds. He seems like a good kid and he’s clearly got the stuff.

  18. 18
    kc Says:

    I hate the Giants but Huddy is just too cool to hate. Glad to see him pitching again.

  19. 19
    csg Says:

    I would say that CJ has been the better piece in that trade.

  20. 20
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    @12 – if he performs at AAA I think he gets 3-4 starts in the bigs this year, between emergency starter and call-up in September.

    RE: CJohnson vs JUpton

    Upton has given the Braves a return of $6.04 million per point of WAR.
    Johnson has given the Braves a return of $0.95 million per point of WAR.

    Advantage Regression.

  21. 21
    Smitty Says:

    @14

    Someone will probably go on the fake DL.

  22. 22
    mavery Says:

    @20-

    Do you mean they’ve COST the Braves $6M/0.95M per WAR?

  23. 23
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    @22 – yes. They’ve both contributed 2.4 WAR in 2013. JUpton cost 14.25mil for those 2.4 WAR. Regression just over 2mil for the same contribution. Johnson has clearly been the more “valuable” player based on cost to contribution. Now, I think Johnson is probably at the top of his potential value, and JUpton still has the ability to drop a 6.something WAR on the league like he did a few years ago. But from the Braves’ POV, Johnson is clearly the more valuable player so far.

  24. 24
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    By the way, I just noticed this from ESPN Stats & Info:

    The last time the Braves won a 1-0 game IN Milwaukee… they were the home team. It was September 11, 1964, when the then-Milwaukee Braves rode Denny Lemaster’s one-hitter to a win over Cincinnati. Felipe Alou drove in the lone run with a sacrifice fly.

    http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=340402108

  25. 25
    Marc Schneider Says:

    @24,

    Eddie Mathews went out and got drunk after the game. The Braves total payroll was a fraction of BJ Upton’s salary. The date September 11 had no special meaning. And there was this place called Viet Nam . . .

  26. 26
    Rob Cope Says:

    Our favorite former backup catcher recreating Major League:

    http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/17160334/v31760357/?partnerId=th_pr

  27. 27
    Nick Says:

    @21

    Who would go on the fake DL this early in the season? You do know it’s technically not allowed, right? So there has to be somebody who’s at least fatigued or sore or whatever who can be convinced that 15 days on the DL might be a good idea, otherwise we get a union grievance filed against us. Also, if it’s Varvaro, why would you want Varvaro on the DL instead of in AAA?

  28. 28
    csg Says:

    Varvaro is out of options isn’t he? Thought I remembered that from last year.

  29. 29
    W.C.G. Says:

    @5, I’m so confused why the Cardinals, Dodgers, Red Sox, etc. get to spend more money on prospects this summer than the Braves do. Seems counterintuitive given the normal rules of reverse-order drafting. How does that work?

  30. 30
    Smitty Says:

    @27

    Sure it’s not technically allowed, but it happens all the time.

  31. 31
    Nick Says:

    @30

    Yeah, but you don’t just do it for the hell of it. Somebody’s going down to Gwinnett. If Varvaro’s out of options, it’ll be Buchter, probably.

  32. 32
    iceberg584 Says:

    @26. Wow, his Lou Brown is virtually indistinguishable from the guy who actually played him.

  33. 33
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I’ll ask again. What does Beato bring that Varvaro doesn’t?

  34. 34
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Worse H/9. Worse K/99. Worse BB/9. Beato gives up more base runners and strikes out fewer batters. I mean, he was in the AL East I guess, but I just don’t see the big upgrade here.

  35. 35
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Our owner is getting out of Barnes & Noble.

    Anthony Varvaro was never able to throw strikes or get people out on a consistent basis for the team. I think at this point they’re about ready to give up trying and go try someone else, even if the someone else isn’t very good.

  36. 36
    jjschiller Says:

    Re Beato/Varvaro: I feel like the Braves are signing Beato to increase their depth. Since Varvaro can’t be stashed at Gwinnett, adding Beato at the expense of Varvaro would be a wash. Someone with options will have to go down. (This is, unless Walden is hurt. I say this because it seems that Jordan Walden’s natural state is “hurt” and it just never gets reported.)

    Re Johnson/Upton: Johnson certainly out-valued Upton, there’s no arguing that. He got paid much, much less and put up nearly identical numbers. That’s different from out-performing him, or out-excelling him, or whatever. Their OBPs: .358/.354. Their SLG: .457/.464. Even RBI: 68/70, and doubles 34/27. Johnson got there by hitting 30 extra singles, and Upton by hitting 15 extra homers. But they got, almost literally, to the exact same place.

    Re Braves 1-0 win, in Milwaukee, first time since being the home team: Well. The Brewers didn’t exist until 1970, and then played in the AL until 1997. So it isn’t like we exactly had 50 years worth of opportunities.

  37. 37
    jjschiller Says:

    OH! And also:

    Did anybody hear about Bud Black’s replay request in San Diego last night? A throw to first was ruled to have pulled his 1B off the bag, but replay showed he held the bag. Black waited in the dugout until his replay guys had a decision, came out on the field, before the next pitch was delivered, and asked the umps to review it.

    But they wouldn’t, because he didn’t come out immediately. He didn’t come out and delay the game while his guy upstairs decided whether he should delay the game, so he didn’t get to avail himself of the replay system.

    So the system not only incentivises being a red-ass, it REQUIRES that you be one. That, or only challenge plays that were so obviously blown that you don’t need to see the replay to know it.. Which.. why have replay at all then?

  38. 38
    AtlCrackersFan Says:

    Anyone think to mention that Kimbrel’s save yesterday moves him into a tie with Gene Garber for 2nd on the all-time Braves career save list? That leaves him 13 behind Smoltz (or 14 to become the Braves career leader).

  39. 39
    Rob Cope Says:

    It also took Garber 8 years to reach his total; Kimbrel 3+

  40. 40
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    That’s cool, but since the modern closer was basically only invented with Eckersley 25 years ago or so, franchise save total records don’t mean a lot to me. The bigger deal is that Craig Kimbrel is literally the first closer since Mariano Rivera — i.e., the first in nearly two decades — to be considered the consensus best closer in baseball for multiple years in a row.

    Here’s hoping he keeps it up, because I’m already regretting having drafted Papelbon.

  41. 41
    krussell Says:

    Pretty nice to be 2-1 on the year after scoring 0 and 1 runs in two of the games.

  42. 42
    ububba Says:

    And between Garber & Kimbrel, you couldn’t find 2 more different types of closers.

    If they were TV/film characters, Kimbrel might be Rambo, while Garber certainly would be Fred Sanford.

  43. 43
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Kimbrel might be Jason Bourne. Not a big guy, genial enough as he goes about his day, but when he gets on the mound he is absolute death.

  44. 44
    ryan c Says:

    Buchter down to AAA as corresponding move for Beato. Well, if that don’t beato all.

  45. 45
    Nick Says:

    See? Now we can have both Beato and Varvaro. Clearly, that’s better.

  46. 46
    ububba Says:

    Mets playing doormat again today for the Nats.

    If you want something done right…

  47. 47
    jjschiller Says:

    …you send David Hale!

  48. 48
    spike Says:

    http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2014/04/03/fuqua-led-development-group-now-the-lone-contender-to-build-braves-entertainment-district

    “It’ll be the perfect ending to the perfect day….”

  49. 49
    Rob Cope Says:

    Kimbrel would be Daniel Craig’s James Bond. Gene Garber would be Roger Moore.

  50. 50
    spike Says:

    So, Dank Lob is George Lazenby then?

  51. 51
    Seat Painter Says:

    Smoltz is definitely the Sean Connery of this set.

  52. 52
    Dan Says:

    I realize it’s likely better at the end of the season for the Mets to be beating the Nationals now, but I just love when the Mets lose, especially in the first half of the season when their fans still have hope.

  53. 53
    Rob Cope Says:

    Greg McMichael is Timothy Dalton: under-appreciated but did the job well.

  54. 54
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    And Gregg Olson is David Niven.

  55. 55
    ububba Says:

    #52
    Hope left town with Bernie Madoff.

    Especially this week, I’ve never heard so many Mets fans discussing NY Rangers’ playoff chances.

  56. 56
    Kevin Lee Says:

    Leo is Q; with Roger doing a good job in the series reboot.

  57. 57
    kc Says:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mlb/news/20140403/chipper-jones-atlanta-braves-washington-nationals-retirement/

    Why would he write for SI?

  58. 58
    kc Says:

    @55 I am sure the Braves will somehow find the Mets to be difficult to beat this year.

  59. 59
    ryan c Says:

    Well, the minor league season could’ve started a bit better. 0-4…yikes!

  60. 60
    td Says:

    @57 – He needs to make money some way. He took such a pay cut for staying with the Braves all those years. I’m sure he’s looking for every way possible to make money.

  61. 61
    kc Says:

    @60 Poor guy. I feel so sorry for him.

  62. 62
    fm Says:

    Is Calcaterra’s insufferable bitchiness inborn or acquired?

  63. 63
    ryan c Says:

    Hey all! Don’t forget today is a day game.

  64. 64
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Game thread.

  65. 65
    Edward Says:

    I hate to say the “BJ” word around here–actually, I love saying it.

    Today in response to a question asked by someone else, Bill James elaborated on why he believes it’s currently impossible to get at the root of pitcher injuries through a study:

    “Well. . . I’ve tried to explain this before, but we’re trying to do something that I just don’t believe it is possible to do. There would be hundreds of elements to the equation that predicts injuries. You’d have to take workloads into account in about 40 different ways. ..how many innings did he throw, but it’s not the innings, it’s the pitches, and it’s not the total pitches, it’s the number of pitches in a game, and it’s not the total number of pitches in a game, it’s the number of high-stress pitches in a game. 1950 is different from 1970 is different from 1990. Starting is different from relief. Pitches at age 22 are different from pitches at age 25 are different from pitches at 28. A slider is different from a curveball is different from a fastball. A sidearm delivery is different from an overhand delivery; an overhand fastball is different from an overhand curve. Good mechanics are different from bad mechanics. Throwing a 100-MPH fastball is different from throwing a 90-MPH fastball. “Mechanics”, which I stated as one factor, is really 20; there’s a follow-through, and timing, and arm slot. Pitching in Fenway Park is different from pitching in Seattle; pitching in hot weather is different from pitching in cold weather. Pitching on a regular work schedule is different from pitching on an irregular schedule. A pitcher with an injury history is different than a pitcher with a good health record. xxxxxxxx If you have three or four different factors that are interacting to cause an effect, you can separate the factors and back the causes out of the effects; it’s treacherous, difficult and unreliable, but it can be done. If you have six or seven variables, it’s generally impossible. If you have hundreds of variables. . .forget it. It can’t be done. Ever. This is not to say that you can’t occasionally see something, and be entirely right about it. But there’s just no way to generalize reliably about cause and effect within the data that we have.”

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