Thursday, March 21, 2013

Training Games 25-26: Phillies and Pirates

35 runs. Thirty. Five. Runs.

Not in a week. Not in a series. In two games. The only thing that could have been more offensively explosive in these games would be if Justin Upton yelled out, "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?" after his second bomb against the Phillies.

Do you enjoy bad pitching? There was plenty on both sides. Do you enjoy watching guys hit dingers? You're in luck; there were tons. The Phillies made the mistake of throwing Rodrigo Lopez's old ass out on the mound in game 1, and they didn't come to rescue him until after two innings of a beatdown that would have been stopped by a UFC ref as a submission. Here's a recap of how the first inning went:

Pastornicky doubles
Heyward grounds out
Justin Upton goes yard - 2 runs in
Freeman walks
BJ Upton doubles
Uggla strikes out (of course)
Francisco singles - 2 runs in
Pagnozzi singles
MEDLEN singles - 1 run in
Pastornicky singles - 1 run in
Heyward flies out

So besides proving that Medlen is a better hitter than Dan Uggla, the reverse rally monkey, we managed to plate 6 runs in the first inning. But wait, there's more! Philly gets up in the next inning and proceeds to take Medlen all over the park for 5 runs. However, the Braves weren't done. They put up 2 more, then 3 more, and it kept going. In fact, the only inning they didn't score a run in was the 6th. I think it was because they were bored of scoring at that point. Lopez has almost no shot of playing in the majors this year for the Phillies, so it's not like you can look at these runs and think they are off MLB talent. Also don't worry about Medlen, since he was trying to throw a curve as a workout pitch, and it wasn't working. He would go change or straight fastball in those scenarios in the regular season instead of hanging curves.

Atlanta goes 8-14 with RISP, only 5 Ks, 10 2-out RBIs, 4 homers, 2 doubles, a triple, and a freaking partridge in a pear tree. To game 2!

The Pirates are terrible. People keep telling you they are on the rise, and that they could post a winning season! I don't buy it. They had a nice story last year where they sort of competed in the NL Central before they realized they were the Pirates. As you all know, we own them. Some of our greatest moments in Braves history left Pirates fans waking up in a cold sweat screaming SID BREAM before they rock themselves back to sleep weeping. Last year was last year. This year, they will be an unchecked dumpster fire only outpaced by the Cubs, and it will be because their pitching will flounder. I don't trust Burnett or Wandy at all, and Karstens hasn't pitched a game all spring. McDonald is a 4.00+ career guy, and his command in spring hasn't been there. I guess we'll see, but if I'm taking bets, I'm putting them down for another disappointment.

That being said, it's not a wonder the Braves up 18 on them in training against Kyle McPherson, who if he is in the starter plan for the Pirates, good luck! You know what the best part of this game was? Dan Uggla went 2/3 with no strikeouts. Huzzah! Player of the day award goes to Freddie Freeman who went 4/4 with 4 RBIs, 2 homers, and a double. Is he seeing the ball well? I think yes, duh. Downside of the day? Minor got smoked for 10 hits, 5 runs, a homer, and 3 walks in 4 IPs. The offense outplayed the defense in both games, but where Medlen is not a concern in my mind, Minor is.

Minor's been scuffling in training. He's gone 18 innings now, which is around 3 starts total in a regular season, and he's sporting a 5.50 ERA. That in and of itself doesn't bother me, but his command numbers scare the crap out of me. Right now his K/BB rate is 15/12. That's BAD. Like you shouldn't be starting, bad. By comparison, Teheran is at 25/6, Medlen is 14/1, Huddy is 5/5, and Maholm is 13/8. Huddy's number doesn't bother me as much because he's a ground ball guy, not a K guy. Minor isn't. Also, Minor's WHIP is approaching a 2.00 (a good number is between 1-1.2), and that gets you benched in the long run. If you're letting 2 on base an inning? We'll never outscore that.

But for the time being, let's bask in the warming glow of the awesome power of our bats. HATS FOR BATS! Keep bats warm. Gracias.

Go Braves!

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