Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

Thanks to Mac's family, bravesjournal.com is back.

28 Apr

WHY I HATE THE NATS (fifth in a continuing series, by Bledsoe) Game Thread

So, you’re begging for something else to hate about the Nats? Okay.

Unfortunately, I find it impossible to hate all of the current Nats players.

For example, Ian Desmond is impossible to dislike. He may be one of the nicest guys ever to play the game. I won’t go into his charity works and general all-round good guy stuff, but it’s incredible, and he does very little to publicize it. He’s a prince of a guy, for real.

I didn’t like Adam LaRoche when he was in a Tomahawk, but that was more about what I perceived as his lackadaisical approach to the game. He’s universally liked in the baseball world, from what I hear, so I guess I am willing to accept the collective wisdom of the horsehide fraternity.

Ryan Zimmerman is another guy that I think is just difficult to say anything bad about. He keeps his mouth shut, hardworking, plays the game the right way, and does some charity work offseason. He’s managed to stay poised through his tortured descent into Knoblauch’s Disease, and that is not always easy. But Boswell, F.P. and every beat writer for the Nats have hyped him up to Brooks Robinson stature. And as a result of this tripe, you won’t find a Nats fan who doesn’t believe he’s the top third baseman in the league, so it’s fun watching them try to explain why he just fielded a one hopper and beaned some 10 year old behind the Nats dugout with his throw.

(Aside: He’s done at third. Seriously – he can’t play there anymore. Some of it is a weak arm, but most of it is between his ears. We’re one short step away from getting the hypnotist from The Natural.)

Stephen Strasburg is another guy I can’t dislike. I’ve heard him speak at some Nats fan events, and he comes across as really sincere, really hardworking, and (maybe overly) brainy. Seems very grounded and not at all stuck up.

Anthony Rendon again is just likeable. He’s just a goofy kid having a good time.

Enough, you say! Enough of these gentlemenly Nationals — where are the scoundrels and poltroons, so that I may feed the ever-ravening maw of my Nats hatred?

I hear and obey:

  1. The Kid
  2. Okay, let’s get him out of the way. A lightning rod for sure. And just as I am about to cut him some slack, he gets benched for lack of hustle by his skipper.

    You’ve all seen the incidents: beating the bat that decides to beat back, the umpbaiting, helmetthrowing, the eyeblack, the idiotic baserunning, the arrogant, Puigish airing out the arm and missing the cutoff man, etc. One scout cited him as having the worst character makeup he had ever seen in all his years in the game.

    I hate hubris. It’s easy to hate. After the signing of first Strasburg and then Harper, the hubris reached truly mythological levels around here. Strasburg was the best pitcher ever to touch a baseball. Harper was a 17 year old Babe Ruth who didn’t drink. Their Satanic snake oil salesman, Scott Boras, called them “50 year players.” That is, the kind of player that comes around only every fifty years. And the entire DC area, including the stingiest owners in baseball, lapped it up like honey.

    Harper and Strasburg were a) completely and scarily dominant at the levels they had played at and b) completely unproven at any higher stage. Did they have the tools to excel for years in the majors? Absolutely. Would they? Anybody’s guess. That’s baseball. There’s injury, there’s burnout, there’s washout, there’s just plain being overhyped.

    I guess I am divided on Harper. It’s not his fault that Skip or Woody or Tony thinks he’s the best player ever to play the game or whatever. It’s if Harper thinks he’s that player that would make him hateable in my book.

    Does he? Really not sure that he does, and even if he once did, I think he’s maturing in this regard. (.275 with 59 RBIs in a full season might do that to you.) Still a ways to go, no doubt. I recall Ken Griffey Jr. had some immaturity to work through as well when he came up as a teenager.

    I’ve seen him at some events and he doesn’t come off as arrogant or snotty. The on-field mistakes seem to be fewer and farther between. As I said elsewhere on Braves Journal, he strikes me as a good teammate, and the kind of litmus test player you love (or at least excuse) if he’s on your team and hate if he’s not.

    So the question for me becomes: when you’ve got a player whose fans think he is the real life Roy Hobbs, Willie/Mickey/Roberto all in one fauxhawked package, is it fun to watch that guy strike out, get picked off base in silly ways, or misplay a routine bloop single into extra bases?

    Yeah, it is. Since he’s not on the Braves, hate away.

  3. Danny Espinosa
  4. A big swellheaded baby. He’s a decent defender who insists he’s a switch hitter, and he’s not. .220 lefty, .265 righty. Refuses all suggestions that he give it up and hit from the right side of the plate. Why? Cause he’s a switch hitter, dummy!

    Last year, he was hitting .158 (his OPS+ was 27!) midseason and the Nats sent him down to Syracuse. In fairness, he was playing with a hairline fracture in his wrist for part of it. But he refused any suggestion that he go on the DL or take some time off. Why? Cause he’s a big leaguer!

    They finally DLed him. Rendon came up and played very well, so they sent Danny down to Syracuse to rehab. How did he respond? Why, he trashed his locker like a two year old. Why? Cause he’s a big leaguer, dummy! He’d been in the big leagues three whole years: you don’t treat a vet like that!! And then in Syracuse, they moved him back to short (his real position) in hopes of getting some trade interest. But he hit .216 down there. So, nope.

    He’s back in the bigs and is now making the most of Zimmerman’s DL stint. Not a terrible player, just mediocre, except in the ego department, where he’s an All-Star. If I were a career .232 hitter with 4 tenuous years under my belt, I think I’d maybe keep my mouth shut and go where I’m told.

  5. Jayson Werth
  6. Now, this is the guy. Hubris? Oh, baby.

    This guy was signed to maybe the worst contract in baseball. 7/125, for lifetime .274/.366/.470 –another Boras special. His first year with the Nats he hit .236. The second year he broke his arm. If you hate BJ’s contract, (and I do, and did when it was announced) imagine this: in 2017, BJ is going to be 32 and making 17 million. Werth is going to be 37 and making 21.5 million.

    You may recall that after the Nats were awarded the World Series in spring training last year, the NL actually decided to play out the schedule anyway for fun. And the Braves beat them like a rented mule. Up 16 in August, coasted to ten games ahead, beat them head to head like the Nats owed ‘em money.

    And Jayson Werth thinks that the Nats actually did win the World Series, in the alternate Played on Paper Universe. He’s been quoted as saying that they were the best team in baseball going into October, and the team to beat. But for that little tiny flaw of, you know, not actually making the playoffs. Hey, the Nats win most of their games on paper.

    Being the most overpaid player in the game has not in any way made Jayson humble. Jayson said last month that hitting a baseball was the hardest job in the world – meaning that he could do a job that no one else could and therefore we should adore him, and pay him $125 million. Stupid pediatric neurosurgeons – can you hit a major league slider? Didn’t think so.

    My best Jayson Werth story: I was at Natsfest, their winter fan event, and he was on a panel. Every question he was asked, he gave a grumpy, sarcastic answer to. (I believe he thinks he is the clubhouse raconteur, at least from his attitude, and the way Harper laughed at his every word, like he was Ed McMahon.) At the end, a nice woman in a Nats jersey raised her hand and said “Thanks for coming.” And Jayson says, “We didn’t have a choice.”

    That’s right, Jayson. In exchange for the 20 million dollars you are receiving to play a child’s game, you are required to spend exactly one four-hour day appearing for the great unwashed fools who actually pay for your salary. Life sucks, huh? So why not let the hoi polloi know that they’re trash, and that he’d rather be anywhere else than here, mingling with the rubes.

    He’s a jerk.

FINIS. That’s about all the hate I got. I didn’t want to do it — honestly, sincerely. I wanted to support my hometown team, in a city that lost its team not once but twice, a city that ought to have a team if any does, if I possibly could.

But they made me this way. It’s not my fault.

165 Responses to “WHY I HATE THE NATS (fifth in a continuing series, by Bledsoe) Game Thread”

  1. 1
    Stu Says:

    Hmm.

    FWIW(erth), I saw a Spring Training tilt between the Braves and #Natitude last year, and Jayson spent about 20 times as much time as everyone else on either team, combined, signing autographs for kids before and after the game. So, I had been under the impression that he was a pretty decent fellow.

  2. 2
    ryan c Says:

    JC’d
    @45 from last thread

    According to DRS, our entire OF is saving runs this year and Heyward is at an other-worldly +13 DRS. Interestingly enough, Andrelton is only at +2. In fact, DRS currently looks at the Braves defense very favorably with Uggla the only player with a 0 DRS and every other regular at least saving 1 run. The Braves as a whole have saved 28 runs through defense this year and that ranks first in the Majors by 7 runs. That 1.12 runs/game.
    Conclusion: Maybe it’s not the pitching that’s not sustainable, but it’s the defense.

  3. 3
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    The defense is why the pitching has been so ridiculously good. Here’s another way of looking at our staff:

    Pitcher: LOB %

    Alex Wood: 94%
    Aaron Harang: 89.3%
    Julio Teheran 84.2%
    Ervin Santana: 82.0%
    Jordan Walden: 81.8%
    Ian Thomas: 80.0%
    Anthony Varvaro: 80.0%
    LEAGUE AVERAGE: 79.9%
    David Hale: 72.4%
    Craig Kimbrel: 71.4%
    David Carpenter: 68.8%
    Luis Avilan: 68.5%
    Gus Schlosser: 52.1%

  4. 4
    Adam R Says:

    I’m glad to see Alex Wood leads the team in sheer will to succeed under adverse circumstances.

  5. 5
    Seat Painter Says:

    Off days sucked last Thursday, and they suck today.

  6. 6
    mavery Says:

    Nice to give the bullpen a rest. :-)

  7. 7
    spike Says:

    But if I sit on the porch and sink a twelve pack with no game on the neighbors will think I am weird.

  8. 8
    spike Says:

    er

  9. 9
    jjschiller Says:

    I am particularly annoyed with this off-day, because I usually spend off-day evenings rooting for a Nats loss.

    Tonight there are NO NL east teams playing. The best I’ve got is rooting against the Cardinals. But even the Cardinals are playing the Brewers, who stand between us and the best record in baseball. SO I’VE GOT NOTHING.

  10. 10
    Adam R Says:

    My suggestion is to take care of that twelve pack while watching Yu Darvish take on Sonny Gray. I don’t know if your wifi reaches your porch…

  11. 11
    krussell Says:

    There’s always Hawks/Pacers if you are a masochist.

  12. 12
    slugworth Says:

    Great post, Bledsoe. You even touched on my #1 reason for hating the Nats – their superiority complex.

    Is it wrong to find cosmos-balancing comfort that B.Harper gets injured?

  13. 13
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    @9, do what I do: root for it to go 28 innings so that they burn their entire bullpen. And then go watch Bloodsport and pretend that a Braves game is on a rain delay on TBS.

  14. 14
    DWonder Says:

    To help get you through the off day, AwfulAnnouncing.com released their local broadcast team rankings, based on reader polls.
    Chip & Joe came in 21st.
    Nats (Carpenter & Santangelo) were 27th.
    The worst? Hawk Harrelson and the White Sox crew.

    here’s the link if interested.
    http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/your-mlb-local-tv-announcer-rankings.html

  15. 15
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I’m not gleeful about this, but Bryce Harper is getting surgery on his thumb, and he’ll be out until July.

  16. 16
    JonathanF Says:

    Thanks, DWonder. Surprisingly, I think these ratings (from the ones I’ve seen with any regularity) are about right. I would rank the Mets higher and Vin Scully (now) a lot lower, but I wasn’t horrified by any rating, once you account for the historic overhang for Scully.

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

    I understand why you’d say that Scully’s overrated now, but even while he’s undoubtedly slowed down and mucks many more calls than he used to, I’m still often impressed by his style, just because he simply avoids the failings of nearly every other announcer. He doesn’t detract from the action. He tells you what happened but doesn’t work on trying to invent new catchphrases or in-jokes. He isn’t an excessive homer. He isn’t perfect, but he’s still better than most, and I wish more announcers would, or could, call the game the way he does.

  18. 18
    F Says:

    @15 The ESPN.com headline is “Say it ain’t so”

  19. 19
    iceberg584 Says:

    @15. And I’m sure in five moths, this will be cited as the reason why the Braves won the division instead of the Nats.

    Loved the miniseries on hating the Nationals, though I’m surprised you didn’t mention Espinosa’s insistence last April that the Nats were the better team, even after getting stomped by the Braves, or their GM’s similar comments this year. Those sentiments set me off more than anything the Nats have done, as if Atlanta’s success is only a product of their mistakes.

    Also, I’d love to see similar series of posts for the other NL East rivals (cough…Phillies), and perhaps an inter-divisional foe, such as the Cardinals or Dodgers.

  20. 20
    JonathanF Says:

    I largely agree, Alex, and even now I’d have Scully well in the top half. It’s the prepared anecdotes (and the obviousness with which they’re delivered) and the idiosyncratic unwillingness to be joined in the booth that lower his rating, IMO. But I bow to no one in my admiration for his announcing in the ’70s and ’80s.

  21. 21
    spike Says:

    “And heeere come the pretzels!”

  22. 22
    krussell Says:

    Vin Scully bores me to tears.

  23. 23
    John R. Says:

    I have been able to get a little baseball watching time in with my 10-year-old niece. We had occasion one day to catch a Braves/Nationals game and I’ve never been prouder of her than when she came up with the nickname for Jayson Werth – all on her own – of “Worthless”. Never been prouder.

  24. 24
    Nathan Says:

    @22: I am concerned that you and me must now fight.

  25. 25
    Zac Says:

    I’m still pissed the Nationals get to play the Astros. I miss the balanced schedule.

  26. 26
    kc Says:

    @22 I agree. I guess we are all spoiled by Skip and Pete.

    In case if you are bored and this link has not been shared: Ervin and his new found changeup.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/how-ervin-santana-made-himself-complete/

  27. 27
    Anon21 Says:

    25: The Braves play the Astros too, June 24–26. (In fact, they get the ‘stros for three games, and the Nationals only get two.)

  28. 28
    coop Says:

    Thanks, Bledsoe. I enjoyed the series.

  29. 29
    Remy Says:

    #108 from previous thread

    “Sweetwater IPA is a nice substitute for a milkjug full of Michelob.”

    Could this be a reference to The Outpost in the ’70s? We’d stop by there before the game, fill up our jugs, and sit in the outfield seats, passing the jug among the locals. The way the Braves played back then, the milk jugs made the games tolerable.

  30. 30
    krussell Says:

    @24, I definitely see why people like Scully’s professionalism, but he just doesn’t do it for me. It’s a game and it’s supposed to be fun. I guess I like a little bit of excitement mixed in with some blind homerism every now and then. Scully is baseball valium to me.

  31. 31
    jjschiller Says:

    EDIT: I read you wrong. You were saying you didn’t mind some homerism, not that Scully was a homer. Withdrawn. Carry on.

  32. 32
    JonathanF Says:

    Don’t know the Outpost, Remy. We bought our beer in cold sixes for the milkjug transfer. Our place for underage drinking, when called for, was The Beer Mug on Peachtree at Brookwood Station. The Michelob reference was intended to invoke Lum’s, which I always remember as having the coldest draft beer in town — for some reason I drank Michelob there. #OffDayBabbling

  33. 33
    spike Says:

    Lums – hot dogs steamed in beer!

  34. 34
    Zac Says:

    @27 missed it. Still miss the balanced schedule

  35. 35
    kc Says:

    @34 I am happy that we don’t need to go to Colorado more than once a year, and we always tend to someone getting hurt playing at SF. Of course, we all hate the Dodgers and the Dbacks. So, I am ok with playing less against the west coast teams.

  36. 36
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    I’m not gleeful about this, but Bryce Harper is getting surgery on his thumb, and he’ll be out until July.

    The primary competition for the division will be starting Nate McLouth in CF for two months. How can you not be gleeful about that? There are no grays in war.

    Sweetwater is so passe. For local brew you should be drinking Monday Night, Red Hare or Burnt Hickory.

  37. 37
    spike Says:

    The Sweetwater Happy Ending Stout is my crack, whatever I may think of the rest of their line.

  38. 38
    Tomas Says:

    16 — The Mets team is probably my favorite. I’m not a super Scully fan and I rarely ever listen to the Giants broadcast (they are usually too late for me), so I’d likely rank Cohen et al first.

    And thanks for the entertaining series, Bledsoe.

  39. 39
    krussell Says:

    So we’re set up for a clinching game 6 in the ATL on Thursday. Who’da thunk it.

  40. 40
    BMan Says:

    Loved this series on hating the Natinals. Only player I would add to the list is Gio Gonzalez. He seems like a jerk, but admittedly I only see him when he’s frustrated in a game against the Braves.

  41. 41
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    By the way, in the latest edition of Jonah Keri’s weekly power rankings, he has the Braves as the top team in baseball.

  42. 42
    timo Says:

    I don’t like off days either but I think that off day threats are usually very entertaining to read on Braves Journal. Thank you!

  43. 43
    kc Says:

    @41 Finally there is some objective view.

    I wonder what is the Hawks’ record against the Bullets/Wizards.

  44. 44
    Dan Says:

    SI also has the Braves now at the top of their weekly power rankings.

    ESPN put the Braves at #2, behind the Brewers.

  45. 45
    sansho1 Says:

    @32

    The Beer Mug! Hadn’t thought about them in a while — they bought Sons of Italy in Athens when I worked there in the late ’80s and tried to run it like they were still in Atlanta. We went from townie servers and local music festivals in the parking lot to blond sorority girl servers and 96 Rock broadcasting from the deck (the cooks, of course, were drawn from the same pool of reprobates that they always had been and always would be). Football players were hired as drivers, and the band flyers were replaced with gigantic beer banners. The new owners were hilariously misplaced in a college town, but they were good to me. The Greek crowd, however, is a fickle one, and after some initial success they ended up selling a couple of years later and headed back to the big A.

  46. 46
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    There are three games today where both starting pitchers have an ERA under 2.00.

  47. 47
    Rob Cope Says:

    @46

    This is truly the dead ball era.

  48. 48
    Adam R Says:

    Seems like La Stella would fit in great, then. He has just two XBH on the season (both doubles).

  49. 49
    ububba Says:

    #43
    Hawks went 1-3 vs the Wizards. Only win in ATL. Hard to imagine they’ll be favored if it’s a WAS-ATL conference semi.

    The Hawks, even with some really good teams in the past, have never won 2 consecutive playoff rounds in its Atlanta history. And what’s really bizarre is that this is one of the very worst Hawks teams to ever make the post-season & they may have a genuine opportunity to do it.

  50. 50
    Stu Says:

    Too bad they can’t magically plug in a healthy Horford and Jenkins for the next round.

    Gah, I love the Ferry-Budenholzer Hawks.

  51. 51
    Nick Says:

    The Hawks are just a bad matchup for the Pacers. If the Pacers were at the top of their game, they would’ve lost a game or two in this series but still won without too many problems. However, since they were kind of in meltdown mode coming into this series, it’s gone very badly for them.

  52. 52
    Nick Says:

    I will say that I agree with Stu, though. It’s very refreshing to see a Hawks team look like they actually have a plan of action in these playoffs. We’ve completely taken Roy Hibbert out of this series from Game 1, for instance.

  53. 53
    W.C.G. Says:

    When I was in Vegas in September, I put $10 on the Pacers to win the NBA title at 11:1.

    I felt really smart for about five months.

  54. 54
    D.N. Nation Says:

    Hawks provide matchup issues for the Pacers- especially in neutralizing Hibbert on defense (not that he hasn’t neutralized himself entirely in every aspect of the game)- but to see the Hawks actually *execute* against mismatches….well, it’s a wee bit better than Joe Johnson dribbling for 24 seconds, we’ll say.

    I still wouldn’t be surprised if the Pacers took the next two, but getting down 30 in a crucial Game 5 at home says much about where they are right now. And thus it wouldn’t surprise if they got blown off the court in Game 6.

  55. 55
    bledsoe Says:

    Stu: Hey, we are each products of our experience. Yours was clearly different.

    Iceberg: I think GMS are supposed to/have to say stuff like that, especially where he’s defending HIS personnel decisions and also trying to explain why the crowned WS champs are getting beat like a redheaded child. So I give Rizzo a pass. The players who are the ones getting pummelled between the lines should keep their mouths shut. Espinosa, Werth,etc. clearly don’t agree.

    Slugworth: Yeah, hubris, superiority complex, whatever, they got it. Part of the issue is that they started to believe their press, which was locally over the top but grew to nationally over the top. A lot of that is the Harper/Strasburg hype, which we greybeards recognize as absurd, but the whole ESPN youth crowd goes wild over. Then everybody drinks the Koolaid and you’ve got their manager saying they’ve got to win the Series or its a failure. Stupid to overpromise and underperform, in this game. But it was somewhat understandable how they got there, given the stuff people in the press were saying about how good they were, based on, as far as I could tell, no real data at all.

    Bman: Gio missed the cut, but I thought about him. He’s basically just really extroverted, class clown, sort of guy. But not really a dbag. Saw him apologize right away to Freddy Free for HBP after Freddy hit one about 45 feet up the pole. Looked like maybe on purpose, but he immediately sorried up. His amped up schtick is a little tiresome, but its an act.

    Scully haters: Leave Vin alone. He’s a god. You’re seeing a shadow of the real guy. Seriously, he’s special.

    Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting. I read almost all, and appreciate the praise. It was fun to write, and cathartic.

    Don’t know if I am imagining things, but maybe the Nats announcers read this? Last two games, they’ve actually dialed down the ump criticism by a factor of ten. Actually said the umps got one right that hurt the Nats.

  56. 56
    D.N. Nation Says:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/IND/2014.html

    The “Game Results” meter for this team looks ridiculous. Cruising along, and then all of a sudden can’t stop getting stomped.

  57. 57
    Stu Says:

    bledsoe, I guess my thought is that Werth must be like most of us: Not awful, but not great, subject to differing outside opinions, depending on what those outsiders see or know of us. Again, though, I have a complex — I reflexively root for pretty much anyone whom pretty much everyone hates, and so I bring that bias into reading a list like this.

  58. 58
    sansho1 Says:

    This is my favorite Hawks team in a long time. Not as talented as the JJ/Josh teams, but they play smart (although I’m not sold on Lou Williams). I always thought of Korver as one-dimensional, but his outlet passes are beauties. Seems like every rebound he gets turns into a layup on the other end.

  59. 59
    Stu Says:

    Korver is a pretty solid team defender, too. Makes good help decisions, gets his hands in passing lanes, etc. (Maybe my favorite thing about Korver is that his contract is front-loaded — he’ll be making less as he becomes less effective — imagine that.)

    Williams lost something when he blew out his knee. Just not the same player. It’s a shame, because I was really excited about that signing at the time.

    Very interested to see what they do in the draft and offseason. They have a bunch of good contracts and no gaping holes.

  60. 60
    Dan Says:

    Don’t follow basketball at all, but just noticed the Hawks were 38-44 during the regular season, and they’re in the playoffs. I’ve heard the NBA regular season is a joke, but wow.

  61. 61
    Johnny Says:

    NHL and NBA have a ‘regular season’ that apparently doesn’t mean anything.

  62. 62
    W.C.G. Says:

    @60 – the NBA’s an odd place in that way.

    It’s a really top-heavy league in which a lot of teams nominally make the playoffs. The 8 seed is usually cannon fodder in a series like this, but the Pacers’ implosion of the past six weeks makes this a special case.

    A lot of teams actively seek to avoid being a lower-rung playoff team for this reason. Seven-game NBA series have a bit less variance than seven-game MLB series because the pitching changes every day in the MLB series, whereas you have basically the same matchup in games 1-7 in the NBA. Thus there’s generally less chance of “pulling a Cardinals” in the NBA playoffs.

    So they let everyone in, but hardly anyone gets through. There was a stretch between 1999 and 2010 where the Western champion was the Lakers or Spurs 11 of those 12 years. With rare exception you need a superstar to even make a conference finals, and they don’t hand those out very often in the league.

    So some mid-tier teams (the Sixers, Celtics, and Bucks this year) try to be as bad as possible to find that next ticket up, and others (the Hawks fit this category) just try to stay flexible while mediocre, and make some noise if the stars align. That seems to be oddly working for them right now. It’s not a common occurrence though.

  63. 63
    W.C.G. Says:

    to continue on that point, I’d actually disagree strongly with the idea that the NBA’s regular season is meaningless. It’s actually probably the most meaningful in all the major sports in terms of predicting which teams will play for a championship, because the postseason structure is rigorous and tends to minimize “big upsets”. (Contrast college basketball, which does have a meaningless regular season due to the high variance/small sample size postseason format.) That’s an intuitive hypothesis at the moment, but I’ll run the numbers at some point and report back.

  64. 64
    mavery Says:

    It’s worth noting that in both 1-8 matchups this year, the 8-seed is either ahead or tied. Indeed, with the exception of the Miami series, there’s no nominal “favorite” team that’s got a substantial lead this year. Aside from Miami, the most lop-sided series is the 6-seed Wizards beating up on the 3-seed Bulls.

    If you want to make a case that the NBA’s regular season isn’t “meaningful”, you’d probably want to do it in that many teams have “playoff gear” or enjoy the extra rest the playoffs afford to ride their stars more than they can during the regular season.

    In this way, it is not dissimilar from MLB’s regular season.

  65. 65
    krussell Says:

    The Hawks are not a “great” team but they also aren’t a true 8 seed. They had injury problems throughout the second half of the season, even after Horford was out. The current starting 5 has a really good record when all are healthy and playing together, and I’ll take our bench against most anyone’s. We would’ve been in the top 4 seeds had the injury bug not happened.

    I also truly think we were tanking it in the last month, and then realized that maybe the overhyped class of college freshman just isn’t all that, and it’d be better to get our group some playoff experience.

  66. 66
    D.N. Nation Says:

    You can’t really use the NHL as any model in the regular season vs. playoffs debate because of the nature of the sport. A hot goalie can carry a flawed team far.

  67. 67
    D.N. Nation Says:

    Also, this NBA postseason seems to be a huge outlier early on.

  68. 68
    krussell Says:

    This is the best NBA first round in a long while. One thing I’ve noticed is that the home teams don’t seem to be always getting the huge free-throw advantages that used to be so ubiquitous. The road upsets have definitely made things more exciting.

  69. 69
    ububba Says:

    #66
    Yup, that’s why the 3-round MLB tournament is very much like the NHL playoffs — unpredictable. A couple great (or hot) pitchers & a couple clutch hits can win you one series at a time. Just look at the SF Giants.

  70. 70
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    It’s actually probably the most meaningful in all the major sports in terms of predicting which teams will play for a championship

    This isn’t what I want for a regular season. I don’t want it to be a prediction, I want it to be a selection. After all, if the only purpose that the regular season serves is to predict who will go far in the playoffs, then you could shrink the regular season even further and just try to play the fewest number of games to get a reasonably accurate playoff seeding.

    Whereas what I want from a regular season is a grind. I want the regular season to stand on its own merits, with the playoffs as a privilege that only the winners of the regular season have the right to participate in.

  71. 71
    W.C.G. Says:

    @64, this year is being weird (the West is ridiculously deep, the East is a two-team conference in which one of its supposed titans is in some weird psychological free-fall) and there are always outliers, but if you look back 15 or so years and studied the broader sample, I think the trend that would emerge is high seeds advancing more often in the NBA than in other sports. There’s no NBA comparison to the ’06 St. Louis Cardinals or the ’11 New York Giants, teams that snuck in to their respective tournaments around .500 and went on a hot run to win a title.

  72. 72
    jjschiller Says:

    Basketball games could be 12 minutes long, the seasons could be 12 games long, and they could remove 12 teams from the playoffs, and you’d get the same champion.

    They could also remove about 12 teams from the league, for that matter.

  73. 73
    Smitty Says:

    @51

    If the Pacers didn’t fall apart, they would have beat the Hawks in 5 games.

  74. 74
    Dusty Says:

    #Braves lineup: Heyward RF, 2. Pena 3B 3. Freeman 1B, 4. Gattis C 5. Doumit LF 6. Simmons SS 7. Schafer CF 8. Pastornicky 2B 9 Wood P.

    Fun lineup tonight. I like it although BJ Upton didn’t strike out against Jose last time. Uggla and Justin looked particularly helpless against him last time (both 0-3 with 3Ks).

  75. 75
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Yeah, it’s not like Pena and Pastornicky are much of a dropoff from Uggla and Johnson right now, either. No matter what, it’ll be a hell of a ballgame.

  76. 76
    iceberg584 Says:

    @74. Credit to Fredi for at least trying something outside of the box tonight.

  77. 77
    Zac Says:

    @74 BJ looked relatively good (both relative to past performance and relative to the rest of the team) that day.

    Still, like the look. Better infield D worse outfield D, might be a wash.

  78. 78
    Putter Says:

    @76 I think a unified “tip of the cap” to Fredi may be in order for trying something different indeed

  79. 79
    Remy Says:

    That’s a big outfield down in Miami.

  80. 80
    krussell Says:

    I don’t think Uggla and JUpton are particularly upset about dodging Fernandez. Hell I bet three or four other guys also volunteered for a day off.

  81. 81
    D.N. Nation Says:

    Not to go down too far in the NBA Playoffs rabbit hole, but just for a thought exercise during the Hawks’ recent run…

    2013 NBA Playoffs
    Worst seed in conference finals: 5
    Finals: 1 vs. 2 (1 wins)

    2014
    Worst seed in conference finals: 4
    Finals: 2 vs. 2 (2 wins)

    2011
    Worst seed in conference finals: 4
    Finals: 2 vs. 3 (3 wins)

    2010
    Worst seed in conference finals: 4
    Finals: 1 vs. 4 (1 wins)

    2009
    Worst seed in conference finals: 3
    Finals: 1 vs. 3 (1 wins)

    2008
    Worst seed in conference finals: 3
    Finals: 1 vs. 1 (1 wins)

    Carry on. A couple runs tonight would be nice.

  82. 82
    sansho1 Says:

    “Gee, thanks.” -Tyler Pastornicky

  83. 83
    ububba Says:

    #74
    Hey, why not? The “regular lineup” didn’t really work too well last time.

  84. 84
    Edward Says:

    @79

    Yep. Too big for Doumit I think. I guess we’ll see.

  85. 85
    ububba Says:

    Biggest recipient of the Pacers’ recent failures: Miami Heat.

    I’m afraid the rest of the Eastern Conference playoffs is just window dressing at this point. Hard to imagine another EC champ right now.

    I believe the Nets could actually give Miami some trouble–they swept the season 4-0 vs. Mia (and FWIW, even won the 2 pre-season games). But, 3 of those regular-season games were decided by one point, and at this point there’s certainly no guarantee they’re even getting out of the first round with Toronto.

  86. 86
    coop Says:

    Play ball, boys. A few runs in the first inning would be sweet.

  87. 87
    jjschiller Says:

    So I’m assuming Fredi swapped out Johnson and both Uptons for Doumit, Schafer and Pena just to get some left-handed bats in there against Fernandez. Maybe trying to take that big slider away from him a bit? Grasping at straws a little, but, they weren’t going to play 162 and this guys pretty tough. Worth a shot.

    Uggla swapped out for Pastornicky is a bit more puzzling.

  88. 88
    JonathanF Says:

    So let me see if I have this, Chip. You like changing up the lineup, but “the hardest thing to do a pitcher is to make him face the same lineup twice in in a row.” Which is it?

  89. 89
    coop Says:

    Right fielder’s ball.

  90. 90
    Tomas Says:

    I’m fine with Schafer grabbing all the balls he can get to in right center with Doumit out there.

  91. 91
    jjschiller Says:

    I’m assuming coop was referring to Pastornicky just getting the hell out of Heyward’s way.

  92. 92
    Tomas Says:

    Oh of course, I got pretty much *every* thing wrong there.

    Edit: I’d be fine with maybe making Fernandez throw some pitches.

  93. 93
    coop Says:

    Yep. Suicide is not a good career move.

  94. 94
    jjschiller Says:

    Yeah at 8 pitches per inning, we’re gonna have to keep it scoreless until the 16th or 17th before we get a crack at their bullpen.

  95. 95
    coop Says:

    Whatever else he is not, Jason is an outstanding defensive outfielder.

  96. 96
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Long as they keep hitting it to our old glovers, we’ll be ok.

  97. 97
    jjschiller Says:

    I would just as soon have seen Pastornicky strike out. I don’t want to ever have to watch Alex Wood do whatever he calls what he’s doing here again.

  98. 98
    ububba Says:

    Everything about Wood’s bunting approach is wrong.

    EDIT: Sure could’ve used a sac there…

  99. 99
    Tomas Says:

    Fernandez probably isn’t the easiest to bunt on, but there’s really no reason for Wood to make it harder by faking to swing.

  100. 100
    jjschiller Says:

    Oh for christ sakes. Fucking Alex Wood.

  101. 101
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Goddamn, Alex. The second straight game he screws himself.

  102. 102
    jjschiller Says:

    So stupid.

  103. 103
    Tomas Says:

    Sheesh.

    Also, MLB needs to fix it so we don’t have to watch managers stand out there stalling until they get a yes or no to challenge. It’s infuriatingly stupid.

  104. 104
    MaverickJB Says:

    Pastornicky should have just went on the Heyward Single. Alex needs to get down that bunt. Fundamentals come on guys!.

  105. 105
    jjschiller Says:

    What was the rush there, why did he have to take off the instant he “released” the throw to first? Does Pastornicky think the throw to first and back to the plate will take less time than it takes him to run 40 feet?

    There just isn’t enough good on the team to overcome the stupid sometimes.

  106. 106
    coop Says:

    Good play, pitcher. Not so good, Rev.

  107. 107
    krussell Says:

    That was a pretty heads up play by Jose Fernandez. Kid is an athlete.

  108. 108
    krussell Says:

    Good thing Matt Williams isn’t the Marlins manager. We’d probably be in their bullpen after that lack of gritty hustle.

  109. 109
    Tomas Says:

    Rev was so far down the line I think they could even have gotten him in a run down, just not good baserunning.

  110. 110
    krussell Says:

    And…ballgame? That ball in LF could’ve been caught imo.

  111. 111
    coop Says:

    Hope this isn’t another first team to one wins game.

    Never mind. Tomorrow is another day.

  112. 112
    DowneasterJC Says:

    Wood is getting nailed out there.

  113. 113
    jjschiller Says:

    With two outs, you gotta dive for that ball in left field.

    Sticking a catcher in LF lost the game in the 3rd inning.

  114. 114
    Our New Insect Overlords Says:

    Pickles might be served for multiple innings later. Oh, well. Can’t win or get “quality starts” in them all.

  115. 115
    krussell Says:

    We forfeited this game when the lineup cards were exchanged. Only reason to watch now is to marvel at Fernandez.

  116. 116
    ububba Says:

    So far, it looks like a showcase for the 2 future ex-Marlins.

  117. 117
    coop Says:

    Evan’s getting ‘em high enough, but he needs to add a little depth.

  118. 118
    Putter Says:

    Well, at least they aren’t making him throw any pitches…

  119. 119
    jjschiller Says:

    The Braves are tipping their hand up at the plate. You can tell right away whether they’re going to swing. The key is, if Fernandez throws something, they swing. Being so predictable can’t be helping, can it?

  120. 120
    jjschiller Says:

    And by the way, we were talking about a nickname for Alex Wood before… It isn’t related to his name at all, but in my house, he’s Gumby.

  121. 121
    sansho1 Says:

    Gumby is better than any of the others IMO.

  122. 122
    jjschiller Says:

    He moves a little like a claymation character. Seems uncoordinated, right on the edge of being out control.. Something about him reminds me of Gumby.

  123. 123
    Remy Says:

    Gumby! Perfect!

  124. 124
    beege Says:

    I like Wood a lot because he synergizes my Braves and Dawgs fandoms. While attending UGA I worked for a while at Gumby’s Pizza. I approve.

  125. 125
    coop Says:

    Gumby’s not bad.

  126. 126
    John R. Says:

    I like Gumby. He is Gumby-like indeed.

  127. 127
    krussell Says:

    Gumby is definitely a good fit. You just know that the Braves-unimaginative-school-of-nicknames has no other choice but to go with Woody.

    I’m actually getting a bit pissed at Fredi for throwing this game. I want our regulars to see this guy as much as possible.

  128. 128
    jjschiller Says:

    I’m pretty confident that if we had our starters out there, either the triple or the single that drove him in would have been caught. Either of which would have kept Stanton from coming up that inning.

  129. 129
    coop Says:

    Gumby’s pitched better than the scoreboard.

    But so has Fernandez.

  130. 130
    MaverickJB Says:

    “Tip my hat and call Jose Fernandez my Daddy”.-…

  131. 131
    Putter Says:

    Chip, the game was broken wide open at 1-0 and Fernandez on the hill

  132. 132
    jjschiller Says:

    Gumby definitely doesn’t have it tonight. They’re hitting him hard.

  133. 133
    coop Says:

    I lied about Gumby. Night, y’all.

  134. 134
    jjschiller Says:

    Go get him. It’s batting practice at this point.

  135. 135
    Putter Says:

    Throwing batting practice right now

  136. 136
    krussell Says:

    Eventually we’re going to have to score runs to win games.

  137. 137
    jjschiller Says:

    Oughta send Pickles in there. That or ask if we can just quit and try again tomorrow.

  138. 138
    krussell Says:

    This is the part where Skip would give everyone permission to walk the dog.

  139. 139
    Our New Insect Overlords Says:

    Go ‘Stros, go Phils.

    My confidence in Varvaro had been slightly growing in recent weeks, but it’s back to zero.

  140. 140
    ububba Says:

    Most runs we’ve given up in a game all year.

  141. 141
    jjschiller Says:

    I’m going to go to either tomorrow’s game or Thursdays. Leaning toward Thursday because I think Santana is more likely to keep it going than Harang is.

    I didn’t go to this one because I want to go home happy. I don’t get a kick out of watching opposing players who are “special.” I’m not paying to see a game I expect to lose.

  142. 142
    krussell Says:

    Everyone in the Braves dugout expected to lose too. Not sure that needs to be part of our DNA. Anyway, just one game, etc, etc…

    When I was a kid I saw a young J.R. Richard pitch from pretty good seats at Fulton Co. We had absolutely no shot. He struck out damn near everyone. The score got ugly quick, but I stayed to watch that guy pitch. He was throwing absolute bullets. I found that pretty entertaining. But back then most Braves games were losses and you had to find your joy somewhere.

  143. 143
    kc Says:

    Any way we can get Fernandez? If we can’t beat him, own him. I am sure they would love to have Uggla back.

  144. 144
    Jeff K Says:

    Hilarious that Cano is heckled as a sell out by Yankees fans.

    http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/10858797/new-york-yankees-fans-boo-taunt-robinson-cano-seattle-mariners-return-yankee-stadium

    (Virtually?) every player to sign a FA contract with the Yankees in the last 30 years is a sell out. (Though I guess home grown players aren’t technically selling out another team if they re-sign.)

  145. 145
    Adam R Says:

    Tonight, his nickname should’ve been Deadwood.

  146. 146
    beege Says:

    @145

    Blockhead.

  147. 147
    ryan c Says:

    Weather is crazy here today. Flooded everywhere and lightning strikes are constant.

  148. 148
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Thank God they can only give us one loss for that abomination.

  149. 149
    Kyle B. Says:

    I don’t think we need a game recap, do we? Move along everyone.

  150. 150
    jjschiller Says:

    “There was apparently a game last night, but no one seems to have informed the Braves. Jose Fernandez showed up though.

    Here’s a new thread!”

  151. 151
    Smitty Says:

    It looks like all of the NBA playoff games would have not taken place last night if the NBA didn’t act. There was going to be a walkout after player introductions.

  152. 152
    Adam R Says:

    I’m less demoralized by this loss and more demoralized by listening to Dave Cameron podcast where he says Wood likely won’t last as a starter due to mechanics.

  153. 153
    Stu Says:

    Does Dave Cameron know anything about mechanics?

    (EDIT: Not snark — serious question. Does he have scouting chops?)

  154. 154
    jjschiller Says:

    I’d stick him in the bullpen just to never have to see him bunt again.

    Okay, not really. But for heaven’s sake.. Teach the guys to bunt!

  155. 155
    Seat Painter Says:

    @150

    I was coming on here to suggest a short, snarky recap for AAR to post, but you beat me to it, and did it better than I probably would have anyway.

  156. 156
    Adam R Says:

    @153, He doesn’t have scouting chops, I’m pretty sure — Alex? — but he’s parroting what he says he hears/reads from scouts. He did describe Wood as Chris Sale 2.0, but it wasn’t meant to be a compliment…pointing out that Sale is currently on the DL with elbow issues.

  157. 157
    Kevin Says:

    excuse me, but there’s only one playing related to the current Nationals franchise who can be called the Kid, and that’s Gary Carter.

  158. 158
    krussell Says:

    The Marlins would be a nightmare in a short playoff series.

  159. 159
    sdp Says:

    Cream Soda was a little… flat… last night.

  160. 160
    Adam R Says:

    @157, I don’t know how you quantify what that is, exactly…

    Maybe it’s a CG per season or batters faced thing, or a K rate or swinging strikes per batters faced thing, or some combo…

    And maybe Teheran/Santana/Minor already is or will soon be whatever that is…

    But I don’t know how anyone can argue that a team doesn’t need that — however you want to describe or quantify what Jose Fernandez does or is capable of doing to us — during the playoffs.

    Not to guarantee success. But as a prerequisite to get into the “crapshoot” conversation. To provide the sheer-innings/domination-per-innings mix to match up against Wainwright and Kershaw, which gives us at least a chance to succeed.

  161. 161
    ububba Says:

    Alex Wood: Cream Soda

    Jose Fernandez: Old Scratch

  162. 162
    krussell Says:

    @159, yeah it’s definitely hard to quantify. Maybe it’s as simple as saying that Teheran/Santana/Minor are capable of shutting a team down…but I *expect* Fernandez/Kershaw/etc to shut a team down.

  163. 163
    Johnny Says:

    I thought Wood = Gumby.

  164. 164
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Barely recapped.

  165. 165
    ububba Says:

    #162
    Check that, but I’ll maintain the Fernandez’s handle.

Leave a Reply

© 2014 Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built | Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)

GPS Reviews and news from GPS Gazettewordpress logo