Optimism for the Braves, Optimism for the Mets

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In the interests of equal time, I report good news relating to both my own team, the Braves, and my team’s quasi-nemesis, the Mets.

For the Braves, it’s FanGraph’s David Cameron opining that one of the team’s putative weaknesses — Melky Cabrera in leftfield — will actually be a positive:

He may not look like a classic corner outfielder, but Cabrera can play,
and I think Braves fans will be pleasantly surprised with what he
offers. His defense is going to be a solid plus in a corner, and he’s
not far from being a quintessential #2 hitter. Given his physical
skills and age, don’t be surprised if he locks down an outfield spot in
Atlanta for the next several years.

I’ll admit I’m worried, so it’s nice to hear one of the smartest baseball analysts in the business rocking the Melky optimism.

The Mets don’t have a smart analyst in their corner, but they do have an off-brand t-shirt shop showing an even greater optimism, and that’s not too bad seeing what they have to work with this year.

Masahiro Tanaka throws a Maddux

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You do know what a Maddux is, right? In case you forgot, it’s a complete game shutout in which the starter throws fewer than 100 pitches. Friend of HBT Jason Lukehart invented that little metric and, because Greg Maddux is my favorite player ever, it’s pretty much my favorite stat ever.

In the Yankees-Red Sox game tonight it was Masahiro Tanaka doing the honors, tossing 97-pitch three-hitter in which he only allowed one runner to reach second base to beat Boston 3-0. He only struck out three but he didn’t walk anyone. He retired the last 14 batters he faced.

Chris Sale was no slouch himself, striking out ten in eight innings. He’s pitched great this year but he’s not getting any help. The Sox have only scored four runs in his five starts. Boston has scored only 13 runs in their last seven games. They’ve been shut out three times in the past seven. They scored more runs than anyone last year, by the way.

The game only took two hours and twenty-one minutes. Or, like, half the time of a Yankees-Red Sox game in the early 2000s. Progress, people. We’re making progress.

Shelby Miller has a tear in his UCL, considering Tommy John surgery

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Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller has a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament and is considering undergoing Tommy John surgery. Surgery would end Miller’s 2017 season and would cut into a significant portion — if not all — of his 2018 season as well.

Miller sent his MRI results to Dr. Neal ElAttrache and Dr. James Andrews for second and third opinions, respectively. He could choose to rehab his elbow rather than undergo surgery, but that comes with its own set of positives and negatives.

Miller lasted only four-plus innings in his most recent start on Sunday and carries a 4.09 ERA on the season, his second with the Diamondbacks. His time in Arizona has not gone well.