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Monday, May 28, 2012

WaPo: Nationals humiliate Braves in three-game sweep of collapsing club

Paging Sam Hutcheson, Sam Hutcheson to the white courtesy phone….

ATLANTA — Sunday night, when the Washington Nationals needed runs to break a tied score, a relic from their past lumbered in from left field. Livan Hernandez, the man who threw the first pitch in Nationals history, the soft-tosser who started opening day last year and became obsolete this year, emerged from the Atlanta Braves’ bullpen. The carnage that followed felt like a rally wrapped inside some kind of ritual, the Nationals at once pounding the Braves and further smashing their own history into dust.

The Nationals’ lambasting of Hernandez lifted them to a 7-2 victory at Turner Field and a resounding sweep of the Braves, their first this season after nine chances. Gio Gonzalez silenced the Braves with seven electric innings, striking out 10 while allowing one lonely hit. Gonzalez bettered Brandon Beachy, the major league ERA leader, who received little help from the collapsing team around him. [...]

[Gio] Gonzalez has staked an early claim to the top tier of the National League. He has a 2.04 ERA, a 7-1 record and leads the National League with 79 strikeouts. Gonzalez has allowed five or fewer hits in each of his last nine starts. In 612 / 3 innings, Gonzalez has yielded only 33 hits.

“Hopefully,” Harper said, “he can get a Cy Young this year.

Depressoteric Posted: May 28, 2012 at 11:05 AM | 270 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: atlanta, washington

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   1. Depressoteric Posted: May 28, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4141595)
He has a 2.04 ERA, a 7-1 record and leads the National League with 79 strikeouts. Gonzalez has allowed five or fewer hits in each of his last nine starts. In 61 & 2/3 innings, Gonzalez has yielded only 33 hits.
Hey, remember when people were saying that Gio Gonzalez was nothing more than a product of Oakland's stadium?

Perhaps not.

EDIT: The Nationals are likely going to end up with the NL Pitcher of the Month for two consecutive months now (Strasburg in April, Gonzalez in May). Here's to hoping Jordan Zimmemann really steps it up in June.
   2. Depressoteric Posted: May 28, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4141598)
Oh, and for those who didn't watch the game, you really ought to see Bryce Harper's two at-bats against Livan Hernandez late in the game. The first AB was hilarious: Livan embarrassed the kid by throwing big, looping 65 MPH curves and inducing him to swing out of his shoes and miss. (I'm pretty sure Harper actually swung at strike three TWICE, in fact...) Hernandez schooled him for his overeagerness.

However, Harper learned his lesson the second time around.
   3. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: May 28, 2012 at 11:30 AM (#4141601)
The ESPN color guy said that Harper looked like Ichiro without the contact in the first AB against Livan, which struck me as a fine description.

And yes, Harper adjusted. In a major way.
   4. Sweatpants Posted: May 28, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4141606)
The Braves aren't playing well right now, but I'm not sure that they're "collapsing." Freddie Freeman is having eye problems, and they were down to their third-string catcher.
   5. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 28, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4141609)
Harper's the best rookie I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of them. He's just ####### amazing. He's the only player I can think of right now who makes me stop everything just to watch him hit.

Historical note: When the Orioles had their best season in Camden Yards (1997), they also showed they were serious by going to Atlanta and sweeping the Braves in a weekend series.
   6. Depressoteric Posted: May 28, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4141611)
The Braves aren't playing well right now, but I'm not sure that they're "collapsing."
According to Buster Olney, that's exactly what the mood is like in their clubhouse.

(Unfortunately the key stuff is Insider-only, but basically the quotes are all grim-sounding stuff from Braves players saying that they don't know what's going wrong, that they have to try harder, that yeah injuries suck but every team has them, etc. etc.)
   7. Toolsy McClutch Posted: May 28, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4141621)
The link in the headline goes back to btf, is this the link?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals-vs-braves-bryce-harper-homers-again-washington-completes-sweep/2012/05/27/gJQAyxLYvU_story.html
   8. Depressoteric Posted: May 28, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4141624)
Toolsy --

Crap, that is totally my fault. I forgot to drop the correct URL into the box when I submitted the article. If there's any way for one of the mods to correct it, I'd be grateful.
   9. Chris Needham Posted: May 28, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4141628)
[5] what amazes me is that every other team thinks of him in the same way. He constantly gets pitched around. Teams view him as the biggest threat. Which he probably is.
   10. PreservedFish Posted: May 28, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4141633)
Harper's the best rookie I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of them. He's just ####### amazing.


Really? I mean, I think he's a ####### phenomenon, but this is a serious comment.
   11. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: May 28, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4141635)
The Braves aren't playing well right now, but I'm not sure that they're "collapsing." Freddie Freeman is having eye problems, and they were down to their third-string catcher.

Perhaps "collapsing" is too strong, but they did drop 3 to the Reds in Cinci and got swept at home by the resurgent Nationals for 7 in a row. Their sparklines look like a parabola heading down. You gotta beat the good teams to prove that your own team is good.

Speaking of injuries to catchers, let's examine the Nationals' situation:
Wilson Ramos - done for the year, perhaps a blessing considering his "defense"
Jesus Flores - left yesterday's game with hamstring tightness
Sandy Leon - wrecked in home plate collision
Carlos Maldonado - career minor leaguer

Anybody know where the Nats can find Wiki Gonzalez???

p.s. It's a been a while since Nats fans have felt this good about The Large Tub of Goo taking the mound, and he delivered.
   12. TerpNats Posted: May 28, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4141639)
A pennant-contending baseball team? Yes, Washington, this is what it's like.
   13. Depressoteric Posted: May 28, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4141643)
Anybody know where the Nats can find Wiki Gonzalez???
Screw that, we need to call Ivan Rodriguez out of retirement.
   14. Jim Wisinski Posted: May 28, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4141647)
I didn't know that Joey B. was writing headlines for WaPo now.
   15. Jim Wisinski Posted: May 28, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4141650)
Perhaps "collapsing" is too strong, but they did drop 3 to the Reds in Cinci and got swept at home by the resurgent Nationals for 7 in a row. Their sparklines look like a parabola heading down. You gotta beat the good teams to prove that your own team is good.


Though sometimes a good team can drop seven in a row even to teams that aren't that good and still be just fine in the end. The seven game losing streak for the Braves isn't that important, what will matter is what they will do after their excellent start was interrupted like this.
   16. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 28, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4141651)
This Bryce Harper is a once in a generation talent. Not since Jason Heyward or possibly even Stephen Strasburg has there been this sort of NL East rookie phenomenon.
   17. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: May 28, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4141656)
I can't believe some here would question how a Frank Wren/Fredi Gonzalez team will handle adversity. I'm sure they will pull out of it, just like they did at the end of last season. No worries, these guys are pros.
   18. Bob from Indiana Posted: May 28, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4141659)
Harper's the best rookie I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of them. He's just ####### amazing.


Except for say Mike Trout who is better RIGHT NOW.
   19. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 28, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4141663)
Harper's the best rookie I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of them.


I can understand believing that Harper has the most promising future of any rookie you've seen, based on his age. But I can't see any argument at this point that he's actually a better player than Fred Lynn or Albert Pujols were during their respective rookie seasons, to name just two.

   20. base ball chick Posted: May 28, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4141670)
andy

you obviously didn't watch albert EFF pujols real too much his rookie year. mostly because he was some nobody who was a 13th rounder and hadn't been pimped to high heaven for 3 straight years like harper. but pujols was beyond incredible from his first PA.

and this year, there is no barry lamar bonds quality player in the NL so he won't be overshadowed neither, like pujols was.
   21. PreservedFish Posted: May 28, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4141671)
Dwight Gooden has to be something of a gold standard. He was just about the best pitcher in the majors from day one.
   22. Lassus Posted: May 28, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4141681)
Speaking of the NL East, Turner just went down pretty hard in a rundown and David Wright has moved to SS in the top of the fourth inning.
   23. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: May 28, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4141687)
Dwight Gooden has to be something of a gold standard. He was just about the best pitcher in the majors from day one.

notttt really..I mean, he showed flashes through the year, but on August 6th, he was sitting at 9-8 with a 3.42 ERA. Certainly promising for a rook. But from then on he was lights-#######-out. His last 9 starts he was 8-1 with a 1.07 ERA*. I was living in NY at the time, and EVERYBODY stopped to watch his games during that stretch.

*EDIT: and with 105 K's in 76 IP
   24. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 28, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4141693)
Harper's the best rookie I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of them. He's just ####### amazing.

Really? I mean, I think he's a ####### phenomenon, but this is a serious comment.


Okay, I should have qualified it by saying that Harper's the best 8-tool position player rookie** I've ever seen, with the 6th tool being an amazing baseball intelligence for someone his age, the 7th tool being hustle, and the 8th tool being position versatility. He won't likely be surpassing Lynn's or Pujols' rookie years in terms of stats, but I honestly see more overall upside in him than in either of those other two.

And then there's this: Harper is only 19, which makes him two years (at least) younger than Pujols and four years younger than Lynn at the time they made their ML debuts.

There are few other phenoms that come to mind:

Mantle: More raw power and speed, but nowhere near the plate discipline, and a far less polished sense of baseball awareness. Mantle didn't really "grow up" until he'd been playing for several years.

Mays: Probably the closest to Harper at the same age, but at this point Harper seems like a more developed player. Mays wasn't really "Mays" until he came back from the Army, and by then he was just turning 23.

Griffey: Very close, but he didn't really start to show his stuff until his second year.

Frank Robinson: A stronger purely offensive force, but his arm was weak.

Update: Once again, Harper's great read of a hit into the gap just got the Nats another run. He seems to do something like this almost every ####### day. It's his almost uncanny peripheral vision (or field awareness) that really sets him apart from any other rookie I've seen, certainly any other 19-year old.

**Point taken about Dwight Gooden, who was an equally phenomenal 19-year old rookie.
   25. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: May 28, 2012 at 02:46 PM (#4141700)
There are few other phenoms that come to mind:


What about the 20 YO SS who led the league in batting, runs, and had 91 XBH?
   26. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 28, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4141713)
What about the 20 YO SS who led the league in batting, runs, and had 91 XBH?

Obviously he didn't come to mind. Clue me in.
   27. Dan The Mediocre Posted: May 28, 2012 at 03:19 PM (#4141716)
What about the 20 YO SS who led the league in batting, runs, and had 91 XBH?


He wasn't a rookie. His rookie season was technically 2 years before. But it was his first full season in the majors.
   28. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: May 28, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4141719)
He wasn't a rookie. His rookie season was technically 2 years before. But it was his first full season in the majors.


You're right. He had more playing time the year before than I thought. Though I should have known, because I knew he didn't win ROY.
   29. zonk Posted: May 28, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4141722)
What the Braves really need is some OF veteran presence.

What would Soriano fetch? It looks like there's this Iranian kid blocked in the Gwinnett rotation.
   30. Rants Mulliniks Posted: May 28, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4141724)
Purely in terms of how he looks on the field, Harper is probably the best player in baseball right now. Fans EAT UP those hustle plays that make other players looked like amateurs (i.e. the extra base against Heyward on a very minor bobble, the extra base against the Cubs(?) on the bloop over the SS's head.

That, and his swing reminds me of a catapult uncoiling. Its like he was a long drive champ in a former life.
   31. Dan Posted: May 28, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4141726)
Except for say Mike Trout who is better RIGHT NOW.


They are one point off in wRC+ at the moment, and Trout's line is being propped up by a .368 BABIP. I'll take Harper, who is also 14 months younger.
   32. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: May 28, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4141733)
However, Harper learned his lesson the second time around.


Nice adjustment, but the second one wasn't nearly as good a pitch, as Hershiser noted.
   33. PreservedFish Posted: May 28, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4141736)
Harper's hustle really is something to behold. The way he busts his ass would be impressive in a scrappy backup infielder. For someone with such overtly superior athletic ability, it's astonishing.
   34. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4141749)
What the Braves really need is some OF veteran presence.


What the Braves need is to not have their top three hitters out of the lineup with various ailments, and a fifth starter.
   35. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 04:10 PM (#4141750)
Paging Sam Hutcheson, Sam Hutcheson to the white courtesy phone….


If the Nats are the best the league has to offer, the league is pretty bad.
   36. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 04:11 PM (#4141752)
Harper's hustle really is something to behold. The way he busts his ass would be impressive in a scrappy backup infielder. For someone with such overtly superior athletic ability, it's astonishing.


Good lord, it's like you boys haven't seen a baseball player before. Do you squirt one out every time you watch the boy run or something?
   37. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 28, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4141763)
Good lord, it's like you boys haven't seen a baseball player before. Do you squirt one out every time you watch the boy run or something?


The next decade is looking pretty grim for the Braves, eh Sam?
   38. zachtoma Posted: May 28, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4141765)
If the Nats are the best the league has to offer, the league is pretty bad.


Truth. With the Phillies old and beat-up, it's an underwhelming NL field. I still think the Cardinals are the most likely pennant-winner, but the Nats could do it too.
   39. Swedish Chef Posted: May 28, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4141767)
The Marlins are due, they haven't won anything for a long time now.
   40. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: May 28, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4141771)
It would be pretty appropriate for Miami to win the WS this year as the first-ever NL 2nd WC, no?
   41. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 28, 2012 at 05:03 PM (#4141775)
and this year, there is no barry lamar bonds quality player in the NL so he won't be overshadowed neither, like pujols was.


Of course, given the circumference of Bonds' steroid-swollen head, he overshadowed entire zip codes when the sun was just right.
   42. flournoy Posted: May 28, 2012 at 05:11 PM (#4141777)
ZIP codes don't work like that.
   43. BDC Posted: May 28, 2012 at 05:18 PM (#4141781)
Two of the best all-round very-young rookies I ever saw were Garry Templeton and Ruben Sierra – so I am always a bit gunshy of saying that some kid is headed for greatness ...

I haven't seen Harper play, and when will I? I don't have cable TV, so I will have to wait & see if the Nationals make it far into the postseason on a broadcast channel. Or to Arlington for the World Series IRL, which would suit me fine ...
   44. Greg K Posted: May 28, 2012 at 05:31 PM (#4141784)
I haven't seen Harper play, and when will I?

Tomorrow the Nats-Marlins game is the free game of the day on mlb.tv if you're free in the evening.
   45. TerpNats Posted: May 28, 2012 at 05:34 PM (#4141789)
I haven't seen Harper play, and when will I? I don't have cable TV, so I will have to wait & see if the Nationals make it far into the postseason on a broadcast channel. Or to Arlington for the World Series IRL, which would suit me fine ...
The current curly "W" against its one-time wearers this October? That would be fine with me.
   46. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 05:35 PM (#4141791)
The next decade is looking pretty grim for the Braves, eh Sam?


Quite possibly, but if so, it's due to the horrendous TV deal they're locked into, not due to the talent of the Nationals. I repeat, for those of you who may be too young to know what good baseball teams look like, but the Nationals aren't that good. If this is the best the league has to offer, the league is weak.
   47. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 28, 2012 at 05:50 PM (#4141793)
Harper's the best rookie I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of them.

When an "experienced" observer like Andy suggests that Harper is better than DiMaggio, I'm impressed.
   48. BDC Posted: May 28, 2012 at 05:52 PM (#4141794)
Tomorrow the Nats-Marlins game is the free game of the day on mlb.tv

Thanks! – I didn't know anything was free on mlb.tv :)
   49. Greg K Posted: May 28, 2012 at 05:55 PM (#4141796)
Thanks! – I didn't know anything was free on mlb.tv :)

It's actually quite a great system they've implemented this year (I think). One free game every day. Or it would be great if I didn't already have an account.
   50. Walt Davis Posted: May 28, 2012 at 05:56 PM (#4141797)
While there are arguments that it's now better than it looks, the Nats offense is nothing to get worked up about. But the pitching has been phenomenal and, as far as the rotation goes, that's a damn good-looking bunch. No, not as good as they've pitched but that's a very solid 1-5 and they've got Gorz and Lannan as #6 and #7. Anyway, that's not weak.
   51. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 06:00 PM (#4141798)
While there are arguments that it's now better than it looks, the Nats offense is nothing to get worked up about. But the pitching has been phenomenal and, as far as the rotation goes, that's a damn good-looking bunch. No, not as good as they've pitched but that's a very solid 1-5 and they've got Gorz and Lannan as #6 and #7. Anyway, that's not weak.


A moderately talented rotation, a hum-drum pen, and an offense that might be best described as pedestrian. Someone fire up the wurlitzers and get the harpers singing. These praises won't write themselves!
   52. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 28, 2012 at 06:02 PM (#4141799)
I repeat, for those of you who may be too young to know what good baseball teams look like, but the Nationals aren't that good.

And you wouldn't expect them to be, what with several of their key players on the DL, including their best hitter.

But if it's any consolation, the Braves can't possibly be that bad. They'll snap out of it and win a game sometime soon, I can almost guarantee it.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Harper's the best rookie I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of them.

When an "experienced" observer like Andy suggests that Harper is better than DiMaggio, I'm impressed.


I'm flattered, but I'm not quite that experienced, since Dimaggio came up eight years before I was born. I actually never saw him play at all---missed him by a year.
   53. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 28, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4141801)
No, not as good as they've pitched but that's a very solid 1-5 and they've got Gorz and Lannan as #6 and #7. Anyway, that's not weak.

I think Detwiler is probably still #6 even though Wang is taking his slot in the rotation. Which is pretty good depth wise.
   54. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: May 28, 2012 at 06:09 PM (#4141803)
I think Detwiler is probably still #6 even though Wang is taking his slot in the rotation. Which is pretty good depth wise.


Detwiler has 9 starts. How is not at least #5?
   55. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 06:14 PM (#4141806)
But if it's any consolation, the Braves can't possibly be that bad. They'll snap out of it and win a game sometime soon, I can almost guarantee it.


The Nationals' mediocrity has little to do with the Braves' struggles. The problem with the Braves is that Tommy Hanson is a glorified #4 at best, Jair Jurrjens is just now starting to get hitters out at AAA, and Mike Minor has shown no inclination that he could do any better down there. The Braves aren't as bad as they are playing right now. They're hurt and eventually their starters will stabalize a bit - assuming they find someone to take Minor's spot and demote him. But again, that has little to do with the Nats.

The Nationals, even when healthy, simply aren't that good of a team. The fact that they beat up a Braves team that was missing Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman doesn't change that fact.
   56. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 28, 2012 at 06:22 PM (#4141811)
I repeat, for those of you who may be too young to know what good baseball teams look like, but the Nationals aren't that good....A moderately talented rotation, a hum-drum pen, and an offense that might be best described as pedestrian.....The Nationals, even when healthy, simply aren't that good of a team. The fact that they beat up a Braves team that was missing Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman doesn't change that fact.

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

----Proverbs 16:18; William Tecumseh Sherman, 1864
   57. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 28, 2012 at 06:23 PM (#4141812)
Detwiler has 9 starts. How is not at least #5?

He was in the rotation, and on many teams would still be, but he was so-so of late, leading the Nationals to announce that a now healthy Wang would take his spot.
   58. dlf Posted: May 28, 2012 at 06:28 PM (#4141814)
The fact that they beat up a Braves team that was missing Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman ...


That the Braves offense collapses when it is missing a fragile 40 year old, a catcher, and a 1B who had a 116 OPS+ last season is a very damning statement on the quality of the team Frank Wren has put together. All spring the talk in Atlanta was about the overabundance of pitching. The solution was to pay the Indians to take Derek Lowe away and watch as the trade value of Minor (an overreach when he was drafted) and Jurrgens dissipate like the fog off the Chattahooche. Nothing meaningful was done to help the lineup that must rely on Chipper somehow being held together with duct tape and bailing wire and McCann not wearing down catching 135+ games.
   59. Depressoteric Posted: May 28, 2012 at 06:32 PM (#4141815)
A moderately talented rotation, a hum-drum pen, and an offense that might be best described as pedestrian. Someone fire up the wurlitzers and get the harpers singing. These praises won't write themselves!
Strasburg, Gonzalez, Zimmermann, Jackson, Wang, and Detwiler as a #6. That's two NL pitchers of the month so far this season (Strasburg in April, Gonzalez all but certain to win it in May), plus four other guys who would be at least a #2 or #3 in the Braves rotation.

"Moderately talented," eh? Sure, Sam. Whatever you say. How's Jair Jurrjens doing in AAA these days?
   60. Depressoteric Posted: May 28, 2012 at 06:34 PM (#4141816)
I'm actually glad William Tecumseh Sherman kept some stuff intact in Atlanta back in 1864; otherwise Washington wouldn't have had anything left to burn to the ground this weekend.
   61. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 28, 2012 at 06:40 PM (#4141818)
The fact that they beat up a Braves team that was missing Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman doesn't change that fact.

The Nationals were missing Morse, Werth, Storen, Lidge & a bushel of catchers - which seems like a greater loss. Since none of those Atlanta injuries are pitchers, they wouldn't seem to be much of an excuse for the Braves giving up at least 7 runs a game, as they did in all 3 against the Nationals and again today against the Cardinals.
   62. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 06:42 PM (#4141819)
The solution was to pay the Indians to take Derek Lowe away and watch as the trade value of Minor (an overreach when he was drafted) and Jurrgens dissipate like the fog off the Chattahooche. Nothing meaningful was done to help the lineup that must rely on Chipper somehow being held together with duct tape and bailing wire and McCann not wearing down catching 135+ games.


Perhaps true, but I find it hard to take criticism of any team's roster construction seriously when you can't spell the players' names correctly.
   63. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 06:46 PM (#4141820)
"Moderately talented," eh? Sure, Sam. Whatever you say.


One true top tier starter, a couple of 2-3 possibilities, and rotation filler. But by all means, buy high like any fan-boy would. More the fool you.

How's Jair Jurrjens doing in AAA these days?


Poorly, as I've noted already. As I've also noted previously, this has nothing to do with the true talent level of the Nationals. The Phillies mini-dynasty that is aging out of competitiveness these days was a truly talented team. The Nats of 2012 are not. But lie to yourself if it makes you feel better. Hell, throw in a few jokes about war criminals and crimes against humanity too, if it makes you feel all gushy inside. You're still wrong and showing your stupidity to the world.
   64. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 06:48 PM (#4141822)
Since none of those Atlanta injuries are pitchers, they wouldn't seem to be much of an excuse for the Braves giving up at least 7 runs a game, as they did in all 3 against the Nationals and again today against the Cardinals.


As I've noted already, the lack of pitching behind Hudson and Beachy is notable, and the flameout of Tommy Hanson continues apace. There's no such thing as a pitching prospect, a fact you lot with Gio Gonzalez' member down your throats might consider in some depth while deciding whether to spit or swallow.
   65. DKDC Posted: May 28, 2012 at 06:54 PM (#4141823)
I only have a very small sample of warching Harper from the Os Nats series. It was an up-and-down series for him - he homered and came up with some other big hits but he also looked lost at the plate at times and made a bad error in the field and ran into at least one out on the bases. All-in-all, he was very impressive for a teenager in the bigs, but I never had a religious moment like Andy where I felt like I was watching a future hall of famer.

What I remember most is the way the Nats announcers were heaping praise on Harper, and it came off as pretty over-the-top. At one point Harper tagged up from second and advanced to third on a moderately deep fly ball (like most players do) and Santengelo spent the next 15 minutes waxing about Harper's baseball intellect that "CANNOT BE TAUGHT".

Now, through no fault of his own, I'm always going to think of Harper as that "CANNOT BE TAUGHT" guy.
   66. Depressoteric Posted: May 28, 2012 at 06:59 PM (#4141825)
From Chris Needham's Twitter feed: EXCLUSIVE: BRAVES CLUBHOUSE PICTURES LEAKED.
   67. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 28, 2012 at 06:59 PM (#4141827)
Quite possibly, but if so, it's due to the horrendous TV deal they're locked into, not due to the talent of the Nationals. I repeat, for those of you who may be too young to know what good baseball teams look like, but the Nationals aren't that good. If this is the best the league has to offer, the league is weak.


I was referring to all the young talent they have, not this years team so much. It's not unreasonable for you to assume the Nats will find a way to screw it up, but it looks like there is a good chance they'll have both the best starting pitcher and best position player in the league for the next 5-10 years, and that's a heck of an advantage.
   68. Depressoteric Posted: May 28, 2012 at 07:01 PM (#4141828)
One true top tier starter
Which one is that? Strasburg or Gonzalez? Would be interest in hearing your logic for excluding one or the other.
Hell, throw in a few jokes about war criminals and crimes against humanity too, if it makes you feel all gushy inside.
Let's not kid ourselves, Sam: both you and I know that the only possible 'war crime' Sherman committed was in leaving any of those secesh bastards alive. Union!
   69. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 07:03 PM (#4141829)
I was referring to all the young talent they have, not this years team so much. It's not unreasonable for you to assume the Nats will find a way to screw it up, but it looks like there is a good chance they'll have both the best starting pitcher and best position player in the league for the next 5-10 years, and that's a heck of an advantage.


Strasburg may become the best pitcher in the league. Any assumption that Harper will be the "best position player" is so comically premature as to be sort of pathetic. I mean, sure, the only players in the league who could possibly out perform the God Child Harper are probably Jason Heyward or Matt Weiters, right? Maybe Buster Posey?
   70. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 07:04 PM (#4141830)
Which one is that? Strasburg or Gonzalez?


Strasburg. Gonzelez and Zimmerman are second tier candidates at best.
   71. PreservedFish Posted: May 28, 2012 at 07:05 PM (#4141831)
You're cute when you're upset, Sam.
   72. Depressoteric Posted: May 28, 2012 at 07:06 PM (#4141832)
Strasburg. Gonzelez and Zimmerman are second tier candidates at best.
At best? Are you simply using loose rhetoric as a healing balm to salve your wounded pride, or do you ACTUALLY think that Gio Gonzalez is, AT BEST, only a "second tier" pitcher? "Tier," mind you...look at your word choice carefully, o Son of the South.
   73. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 07:07 PM (#4141833)
Let's not kid ourselves, Sam: both you and I know that the only possible 'war crime' Sherman committed was in leaving any of those secesh bastards alive. Union!


Yeah, the only thing funnier than Sherman's march to the sea was 9/11 and gassing Jews.
   74. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 07:08 PM (#4141834)
At best? Are you simply using loose rhetoric as a healing balm to salve your wounded pride, or do you ACTUALLY think that Gio Gonzalez is, AT BEST, only a 'second tier' pitcher? "Tier," mind you...look at your word choice carefully, o Son of the South.


Say what you mean. I'm not interested in attempting to read your mind.
   75. Depressoteric Posted: May 28, 2012 at 07:13 PM (#4141837)
Say what you mean. I'm not interested in attempting to read your mind.
Wait, what? This response is a non-sequitur. I'm asking whether you really think that Gio Gonzalez, based on his prior performance and his performance so far this year, is "AT BEST" -- as in, 'only if you generously grant the benefit of doubt to a pitcher who is topping out at the limits of his true talent' -- a "second tier" pitcher. What is your definition of "tier?"

And I'm sorry, it's still funny to joke about Sherman's March to the Sea. Don't even waste our time attempting to analogize it to 9/11 or the Holocaust (!!). The Confederacy was waging a brutal war of secession in order to uphold their right to enslave human beings on the basis of their skin color, FFS. If anything, they got less than what they deserved, frankly.
   76. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: May 28, 2012 at 07:14 PM (#4141839)
Man, there are a lot of Hitler references on BBTF today.
   77. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 28, 2012 at 07:33 PM (#4141845)
There's no such thing as a pitching prospect, a fact you lot with Gio Gonzalez' member down your throats might consider in some depth while deciding whether to spit or swallow.

Is it surprising that an enlightened fellow like Sam Hutchenson so casually attributes homosexual behavior toward those that have a different view of the relative strengths of the teams in the NL East? Remind me why he is here and Kevin is gone?
   78. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: May 28, 2012 at 07:43 PM (#4141848)
There's no such thing as a pitching prospect, a fact you lot with Gio Gonzalez'...


I won't repeat the rest.

At what point does a pitcher move beyond prospect? Gonzalez has had 2+ years of solid to outstanding performance. In a list of pitchers with at least 400 IP since 2010, he is 11th in ERA+, just behind Felix Hernandez. Second tier at best? The guy would be an ace on 2/3 of the teams out there, more, considering that 5 of the 10 guys ahead of him are bunched on 2 teams.
   79. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 08:19 PM (#4141858)
I'm asking whether you really think that Gio Gonzalez, based on his prior performance and his performance so far this year, is "AT BEST" -- as in, 'only if you generously grant the benefit of doubt to a pitcher who is topping out at the limits of his true talent' -- a "second tier" pitcher. What is your definition of "tier?"


Roy Halladay is a top tier starter. Adam Wainwright is a top tier starter. Matt Cain. Justin Verlander. Gio Gonzalez is not.
   80. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 08:21 PM (#4141859)
And I'm sorry, it's still funny to joke about Sherman's March to the Sea. Don't even waste our time attempting to analogize it to 9/11 or the Holocaust (!!). The Confederacy was waging a brutal war of secession in order to uphold their right to enslave human beings on the basis of their skin color, FFS. If anything, they got less than what they deserved, frankly.


The Nazis were pretty much evil incarnate. Dresden was still a crime against humanity. al Qeada are a bunch of evil #####. Torturing them is still a war crime. You don't get to be evil just because the other guys are.
   81. zonk Posted: May 28, 2012 at 08:27 PM (#4141861)
A moderately talented rotation, a hum-drum pen, and an offense that might be best described as pedestrian. Someone fire up the wurlitzers and get the harpers singing. These praises won't write themselves!


This, I don't get.

There are probably three, maybe four Braves SPs I'd trade Matt Garza for straight up. I know Garza isn't Sabathia, but I'd easily go straight up for Teheran, Delgado, Beachey, or Minor. Heyward still looks like he's going to be at least a Jason Bay back when Bay when was good. Freddie Freeman looks like a legit plus 1B. McCann isn't that old yet. Francisco is a perfectly cromulent replacement for Chipper.

All things consider, I'd pretty much let the Braves take any 10 Cubs not named Castro for just 3 Braves.

There are some maybes, yes, but I don't think there's an organization's top to bottom pitching I'd take over the Braves. The Nats might be a smidge better at the moment at the major league level, but I don't think that will be true this time next season.
   82. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 08:29 PM (#4141862)
Fix it, Zonk.
   83. zonk Posted: May 28, 2012 at 08:42 PM (#4141864)
XHTML nazi
   84. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 08:50 PM (#4141867)
Now you are off ignore again!
   85. Walt Davis Posted: May 28, 2012 at 08:59 PM (#4141870)
Heyward still looks like he's going to be at least a Jason Bay back when Bay when was good.

The clock is ticking on this one. His OPS+ this year is down to 105. His career OPS+ is now 114. He's still only 22 of course but the good Bay (ages 25-30) put up a 131 OPS+ and was a 3-3.5 WAR player. Heyward's main asset at this point is his defense (which bWAR loves) so he's looking more early Luis Gonzalez right now.
   86. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 09:18 PM (#4141875)
The clock is ticking on this one.


Quickly. He had a good opening two weeks or so, and then started hitting like 2011 again. Not good.
   87. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 28, 2012 at 09:23 PM (#4141878)
Heyward still looks like he's going to be at least a Jason Bay back when Bay when was good.


The clock is ticking on this one. His OPS+ this year is down to 105. His career OPS+ is now 114. He's still only 22 of course but the good Bay (ages 25-30) put up a 131 OPS+ and was a 3-3.5 WAR player. Heyward's main asset at this point is his defense (which bWAR loves) so he's looking more early Luis Gonzalez right now

Aw, don't be too hard on Heyward. At least he fesses up when he gets caught sleeping in the middle of a play and Harper steals his jersey.
   88. zonk Posted: May 28, 2012 at 09:26 PM (#4141880)
Good lord, Heyward is 22.

If his stock has fallen that far, I would gladly salvage.
   89. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 09:31 PM (#4141882)
If his stock has fallen that far, I would gladly salvage.


I don't think anyone is suggesting they trade him away for a bag of beans. Simply that the shine is off the star a bit.
   90. PreservedFish Posted: May 28, 2012 at 09:34 PM (#4141886)
Are you simply using loose rhetoric as a healing balm to salve your wounded pride, or do you ACTUALLY think that Gio Gonzalez is, AT BEST, only a "second tier" pitcher?


I passed over this the first time, not understanding what to make of it, but Sam also dismissed Tommy Hanson, he of the career .600 winning percentage and 121 ERA+, as a "glorified #4 at best." Is he nuts, or does he just use hyperbole in indecipherable ways?
   91. zonk Posted: May 28, 2012 at 09:42 PM (#4141890)
I don't think anyone is suggesting they trade him away for a bag of beans. Simply that the shine is off the star a bit.


He's 22 and has a career OPS+ of 114 over 1200 major league PA's. I realize that's heavily weighted toward his freshman year, but I still think he's -- next to Trout and Harper and probably Castro -- the position player under 25 I'd most want. I might flip a coin between him and Montero, but I can't see him any lower than 5.
   92. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 28, 2012 at 09:58 PM (#4141895)
what's interesting and exciting is there is a rash of good young players who all hustle. real hustle.

trout
harper
mccutchen
lawrie
adam jones
that seager kid in seattle

contrast that with a guy like nyjer morgan and his fake hustle where when it counts he's staring at first while half running to first and so doesn't beat out the catchers throw on a short to catcher to first double play that shouldn't have happened.

i like the future. and am eager to shed some of the past.
   93. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 10:02 PM (#4141897)
How on earth does Adam Jones get in that conversation?
   94. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 28, 2012 at 10:05 PM (#4141899)
sam

you don't think adam jones is fun to watch?
   95. zonk Posted: May 28, 2012 at 10:10 PM (#4141901)
How does Jason Heyward not?

Good lord people, Heyward spent April moonlighting as Vince Coleman because he didn't quite have his stroke yet. Contract, age, and performance, are they're 5 players around 25 you'd rather have than Heyward?
   96. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 28, 2012 at 10:11 PM (#4141902)
whoa. i was just talking about hustle

if you guys want to rant about value go ahead

i was just appreciating that a recent batch of young players in both leagues are not doing the lollygagging bs that was endemic in the league ten years ago when everyone was desperate to look cool by not trying or running unless absolutely necessary.
   97. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 28, 2012 at 10:17 PM (#4141904)
I've never really seen much of Jones play. I don't watch AL baseball.
   98. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 28, 2012 at 10:19 PM (#4141905)
I realize that's heavily weighted toward his freshman year, but I still think he's -- next to Trout and Harper and probably Castro -- the position player under 25 I'd most want.


Giancarlo "Mike" Stanton has to be ahead of Heyward at this point as well.
   99. zonk Posted: May 28, 2012 at 10:19 PM (#4141906)
whoa. i was just talking about hustle


I know, granted, I've probably watched him at most a dozen times, but Heyward strikes me as a ballplayer. If he's timid, it sometimes seems to me it's more a manchild unsure if it's OK for him to excel. I just think when it's all said and done, Heyward really is going to be a star - maybe not quite inner circle, but a sort of Griffey without the baggage... or clubhouse recliner.
   100. Depressoteric Posted: May 28, 2012 at 10:57 PM (#4141922)
I just think when it's all said and done, Heyward really is going to be a star - maybe not quite inner circle, but a sort of Griffey without the baggage.
Umm...isn't a "Griffey without the baggage" an inner-circle Hall of Famer?

And I have to say, that's one heck of a prediction given Heyward's continuing downward slide. I only wish the best to him, but it seems a bit premature.
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