Melky Cabrera: batting fifth in a playoff game. Mercy.

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People wonder why I’m emotionally checked-out from the Braves. Why I’m sleeping on their chances. Why I’m totally content to play the “happy to be here” card and to spend more time thinking about what, if any team I’ll pick up as a temporary rooting interest in the next round of the playoffs after the Braves bow out.

Here’s a good reason: Melky Cabrera is batting fifth in the Braves’ lineup tonight.  Fifth! As in, the guy behind the cleanup hitter. The place you usually want to put a guy with a little pop, seeing as though there’s a good chance that the team’s two best hitters — third and cleanup — could reasonably be expected to be on base. Melky.

Depending on how you measure it, Melky Cabrera is probably the worst player in the league. At least among those who received any significant playing time. He’s five-tools bad: he doesn’t hit for average. He doesn’t hit for power. He isn’t fast. He doesn’t have a good glove. He doesn’t have a good arm.

Did Eric Hinske die and no one’s telling us? Is Nate McLouth battling a case of shingles? Is there anything sadder than the fact that both of those are questions that Braves fans legitimately deserve answers to as they wish for something approaching a quality lineup? Melky. Really. Fifth.

As I was trying to think of a way to end this post, I vented about Melky to Gleeman.  His response: “If Matt Cain throws a no-hitter tonight, I would rank it slightly behind James Shields’ start.”  And he’s right. Melky.

Know what I’m going to think about all winter? About what the 2010 Braves could have accomplished had they had even a single average outfielder beyond Jason Heyward.

Melky!

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

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“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.