Odds and ends: Heyward staying positive; Freeman and Kimbrel approaching records

The Braves widened their lead in the National League Wild Card standings to 9 1/2 games  last night.   If their advantage remains about the same, there is a chance they could be celebrating their second consecutive postseason berth while playing the Marlins in Florida.

Just wondering how some members of the Marlins’ brass would feel if the manager (Fredi Gonzalez) they fired a year ago finds himself taking a champagne bath in their stadium next month?

While winning the first two games of this week’s series at Wrigley Field, the Braves have lived dangerous.  The Cubs have gone just 3-for-27 with runners in scoring position and stranded 24 runners.

As for Jason Heyward, he took full advantage of the opportunity that was presented after Cubs starter Casey Coleman allowed four straight Braves to reach base with two outs in Tuesday’s fourth inning.   The 22-year-old outfielder stayed on Coleman’s 1-2 curveball and drove it the other way over the left-centerfield fence for his first career grand slam.

While Heyward’s playing time has been significantly reduced this month because of Jose Constanza, he has recorded a number of promising at-bats over the past week or so and maintained a positive approach.  But he did admit after last night’s game that these past couple weeks have not been easy.

“There’s no way of getting around it, it’s not easy when you’re not playing every day,” Heyward said. “I understand the situation we have at hand.  I want to win games. I want to go to the playoffs and experience that again.  We want to go as far as possible.   I definitely understand I’m not going to be in there every day.”

Kimbrel and Freeman posting impressive numbers: There is still plenty of time to debate which Brave should be named the National League’s Rookie of the Year Award?  But over the past couple weeks it has remained clear that the award will go to either Freddie Freeman or Craig Kimbrel, who matched a Major League rookie record with his 40th save last night.

Kimbrel endured some minor growing pains during the season’s first couple months and has since proven to be simply dominant.   In his past 32 appearances, the 23-year-old right-hander has worked 31 2/3 scoreless innings, limited opponents to a .114 batting average, recorded 55 strikeouts and issued just 10 walks.  In the process he has converted each of his 22 save opportunities.   <p>

Some other interesting Kimbrel notes:

He is averaging 14.56 strikeouts per nine innings this season. Among pitchers that have logged at least 50 innings, only five — Carlos Marmol (15.99), Eric Gagne (14.98), Billy Wagner (14.95), Brad Lidge (14.93) and Armando Benitez (14.77)– in the history of the game have finished a season with a strikeout per nine average of at least 14.56.

Kimbrel has had 18 one-run save opportunities this year.  He blew three of the first seven and has successfully converted each of his past 11.   Three of his past four opportunities have been of the one-run variety.

With the 32 games remaining, Kimbrel has a shot to reach 50 saves.  But it might be a stretch for him to match the franchise and National League record of 55 saves that Smoltz set in 2002.   Eric Gagne matched the NL record in 2003.

Kimbrel has obviously racked up some credentials that will certainly influence many of the ROY voters.  But Freeman is also in the midst of producing some numbers that will rank among the best recorded by an Braves rookie in the Atlanta era (since 1966).

Freeman will likely set a new Atlanta rookie record for hits and doubles. He entered Wednesday ranking fifth with 135 hits.  Sitting in front of him are Ron Gant (146),  Heyward (144) Dusty Baker (143), Chipper Jones (139). 

Freeman’s 28 doubles leave him one shy of the Atlanta rookie record Heyward posted last year.

Earl Williams owns the Atlanta rookie record with 33 homers.  While that record seems safe for at least another year, Freeman could certainly pass Chipper Jones and Bob Horner, who both hit 23 homers in their rookie season.  David Justice ranks second with 28. 

Freeman’s .293 batting average ranks as the third-best mark posted by an Atlanta rookie.  Baker owns the record with a .321 mark and Rafael Furcal ranks second with a .295 average.

Heyward set the franchise rookie record with 128 strikeouts last year.  Freeman currently has 116 strikeouts and should take ownership of that record as well over the course of the next couple weeks. 

Jurrjens’ oddity:  Jair Jurrjens joined some rare company as he kept the Cubs scoreless while allowing eight hits and issuing five walks in 6 1/3 innings Monday night.  According to STATS, he became just the 31st Major League pitcher and third Braves’ pitcher since 1946 to throw at least six scoreless innings while allowing at least eight hits and issuing at least five walks.

Expos’ pitcher Woodie Fryman  was the only member of this group who qualified while throwing just six innings during a July 28, 1976 game against the Cardinals.  Mike Hampton (1998) and Shane Rawley (1987) were the only other members of this group who qualified while throwing fewer than nine innings.

The other Braves pitcher who qualified for this list were Vern Bickford (9 IP, 8 hits, 6 BB on Oct. 1, 1949) and Ed Wright (9 IP, 9 hits, 5 BBs on Sept. 16, 1946).







I think baring injury, Freeman certainly will break the franchise rookie records for hits, doubles and strikeouts. I know he has to have a day off sometimes, and I know that Hinske is a fine fielder – but the defensive difference was striking last night.

I think two of those errors last night are prevented with Freeman on first. The errant Uggla throw – Freddie comes of the bag and catches that ball. and the Gonzo throw – Freddie comes up with those at least 85% of the time. Kimbrel might win ROY, but Freddie may one day win an MVP or batting title. (Maybe a gold glove or a dozen along the way).

I think because of the rookie record and his alarming strikeout rate, Kimbrel will win. Man, I hope the voters plan ahead and make it a tie. By the way, didn’t Pherris mention Danny Espinosa as the ROY? Whatever is the .240 hitter up to these days?

If heyward gets hot and starts to fulfill his massive potential in the last month of the season then we are going to be hard to beat in the playoffs

Phils lost – let’s close the gap!

Well there’s the drunk we all love so well.

It’s going down to 68 in Chicago tonite, there’s 40% humidity and a 16 mph breeze. Lowe has a flop sweat going in the 2nd inning. Great.

Alex Gonzalez is becoming a little more clutch each day…

That was a top web gem tonight, great play Chip.

I can’t believe we actually lost this game.

For what it’s worth: during the Cubs’ broadcast last night they announced that with Sunday’s 1-0 Braves win over AZ, Alex Gonzalez became the 1st SS in ML history to hit a solo homer in a game which his team won 1-0. I get as tired of the tortured “making history” feats that broadcasters like to pepper their discussions with as anyone, but…Al-Gon did indeed win that game for Los Bravos. He’s still aggravating as hell at the plate sometimes, but I’ll take the aggravation and the Gold Glove defense over youthful headcases like Starlin Castro, Yunel Escobar, and all their “high-upside” ilk any day. At least you know what you’re getting, and some days you get a nice surprise.

We got 3 hits in 6.1 against a guy who had an ERA near 6 coming into the game. That after the Frillies lost early today. This team has no fire in its belly. This is a repeating stageplay.Its got a bunch of guys going to the plate and trying to hit a HR. Hicks, your defense of Gonzo is inexcusable. He could care less whether the team wins, it’s all about being on SC for him. Escobar isn’t “high upside” his BA is 70 points higher than AG and his OBP 100 points better. He is consistent, “high current” and 10 years younger than the Rallykiller.
This team is an absurd example of “professional” which has become the misnomer of a team that only exhibits emotion after a walk off victory. This team, if it continues this way is headed for a wild card and an early exit from the playoffs. Every one else will be playing at one level and we will be headed home after another playoff debacle. I mean, where’s the urgency? We are leaving Delgado in the minors while we pitch Sherill and Linebrink. Give me a break. The stated reason was so Gwinnett won’t have enough players. What a crock of shit. Are we following a team that cares more about the seasons of its minor league affiliates, or are we a team that wants to win it all? Nobody else headed for the playoffs suffers from that angst. We better get our shit together.

Easy Chicken Little… we just won 6 straight. We were bound to lay an egg. Yes it is frustrating that we knew the Phils lost and still played a terrible game – but such is baseball. On the bright side, Lowe only gave up 3 runs and pitched pretty good. Following his last performance, we may be seeing a finish from him like we did last season. Plus, Chipper is showing more power. All is not lost.
However, in keeping up with my stellar prediction rate, I am predicting Beachy gives up 5 runs and Garza throws a shutout.
You’re welcome.

C’mon, be fair Bravo. If Jordan Schafer was still with us, we would have won that game last night,

Yeah and McRagarm prolly would have had to throw the ball to Martin to get it back to the infield.

Yeah and Schafer had 2 hits last night, Braves got 3 total, that means he had a .400 avg last night, another absurd stat that the Monkey Twins didn’t quote. I like the position McLouth is playing now, “Left Out”.

Alex Gonzalez has more walks in August than Schafer does.

Count on Monkey II for another meaningless stat. Schafer has been on the DL all of August.

A) No shit dumbass, obvious sarcasm is obvious. B) By my count, Jordan Schafer came in to today tallying 14 plate appearances in 3 games in August. Your statement is false. C) “HUR DUR SCHAFER GOT 2 HITS IN A GAME, HE HIT .400 LAST NIGHT.” I ironically deliver a useless statistic, but this one here is full of credibility. Just give up Bill. Do it for Jordan.

I mean, all hail King Schafer…. future MVP/AS/GG/SS/God…

What about when you called brandon a prick for hoping jordan failed? Even though he never even came close to saying that and in fact said he is pulling for him? I am amazed you havent been banned from this blog bill. I am not surprised that Peter banned you. It wasnt because you won the arguement (as you like to think), or because you always prove him wrong (which again, this is your view). Its because you are either an internet troll or an asshole.

Oh, oh, oh, you stupidhead. ROTFL. Monkey I, you are just too easy. The disagreement Peter and I had was over whether it was best to start Martin or Kelly Johnson at 2nd. Yes, that KJ, the one with the .209 BA. He was ignorant enough to believe that some stat supported his argument. From what I hear he still believes that crap. Now, it is apparent that you share that same kind of ignorance. Of course you are ignorant on so many other levels one would be wrong to chide you for this inanity alone. Oh and BTW Monkey II has been hoping for JS to fail ever since he began believing McGoneaway was the 2nd coming of Ken Griffey Jr.

I know he just got caught stealing second, but I love what Bourn brings to the team. I love not wondering who’s going to hit leadoff every day, and I love that he’s a true leadoff man who is consistently productive (my apologies to camp Schafer. Camp McClouth, I have nothing to say to you).

Prado has now been caught stealing 8 times. Has an OBP of .317. Only has scored 55 runs this year(roughly 4/5ths of a year) after 100 last year. He has grounded into more double plays (13) than anyone but Mr. Rally Killer himself(17). The mighty has sadly fallen(but no one tell Bill, remember, he doesn’t respond well to reality).

I wouldnt bother. I got abuse for saying Prado was as bad as Heyward this year and all I got from about 5 posters (mainly the ones who like to suck up to bill? who knows why) that he was our mvp and to question him is retarded.

His OPS is .727 vs heywards .701. He is very slow, and has ran into alot of outs, whilst heyward has good speed on the base paths. He also doesnt play as good D as Jason. However, his versitility is crucial to this team. If chipper returns next year then I can see us signing a quality left fielder and moving prado back to his versitility role where he can fill in for chipper on his off days.

Monkey GM work at it’s finest. Monkeys 1 and 2 have decided to move Prado to a “versitilty” role, whatever that is. It’s so good to know we have such informed commentary right here for our enlightenment.You guys kill me.

Good to know it’s us killing you instead of Prado’s mediocrity. How’s Schafer doing tonight Bill? Is he batting .300 for the night? Might raise his average to the .250s. I’m starting to wonder when you’re gonna parade Georgie Constanza as the next Jay Buhner… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUwSxqnRW-8

No Monkey 2 he hit .500 with a walk, scored 3 runs, hit a HR. and stole a base. He scored all 3 runs for Houston to win over the Giants(who are chasing us) 3-1. According to you, with that kind of night he’s good for another 2 months like Nate was after his only good night as a Brave. And yeah we should just get rid of Martin because he has hit a little skid. The hardest working guy in baseball, who does everything right and the Monkeys are ready to dump him after a little bad spell, I guess you can’t shit on Uggla anymore so it must be Martin’s fault.Martin has to come back from life threatening staph and some little amaretto drinking 19 yr old weasel calls him “mediocre”. Well we have seen how little you know about the game now. Quote me some stat about alcohol consumption in 19 year olds, ok? I mean Jesus Christ couldn’t you at least drink a beer like all the normal kids?

Lets start a list of all the words Bill has tried to put in my mouth: “According to you, with that kind of night he’s good for another 2 months like Nate was after his only good night as a Brave.” “And yeah we should just get rid of Martin because he has hit a little skid” “…the Monkeys are ready to dump him after a little bad spell, I guess you can’t shit on Uggla anymore so it must be Martin’s fault.” Bill likes to act tough, but he always needs to create arguments comprised of things I never said to get his bully look on. And if you call him out on it, he won’t do one of his famous archive scans to quote me so he can prove me wrong, like he has done to countless others times before.

Bill, you are a troll. And I am 100% sure that is why peter banned you. Seriously, its amazing that bowman hasnt shown you the door on these comments. I doubt Peter wants a troll like you ruining his site with your lameness. From all account Peter has moved on to bigger and better things than arguing with you bill.

Remember when this blog used to be fun and filled with civilized and meaningful baseball discussion? Rother? Viva?

I remember a time when a player was struggling and people could admit to that because his numbers weren’t that good. Now it seems if you propose that a player is under-performing, you have no idea what you’re talking about and are subject to ridicule by someone with the mentality of a 7th grader.

And also, Zidanes point from a week or so ago is true; if Heyward was hitting the way he can, Prado would be benched for Constanza. It’s no secret Heyward has been struggling, but what is constantly overlooked is the fact that Prado is being a pretty average player with a below average on base capability this year. Martin Prado is not an average player, but in 2011, completely average.

Glad I am on the west side of Irene with all this rain and wind here on the coast of SC. East side is always the worst. They may be lucky to get Saturdays game played. Yea, Bravo I just look at the name of the poster before I read the posts. Zidane and Brandon allow Bill to get them to be just like him.

I just get a kick out of playing Bills game better than he does.

Maybe you should try it when everytime you make any comment on the braves someone comes in and tells you to shut up, and tells you that you are an idiot. And then basically mocks you. You would get annoyed by it in the end and retaliate. I know I shouldnt retaliate but his rudeness is just off the charts and it gets to me. And yes, I know thats what he wants. He wants a reaction out of people. But I cant help it.

Shut Up Zippy, you are an idiot. I crack myself up.

Man, I haven’t heard this much squealing since my friend backed over a pig at his farm.

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