After a hot streak to begin the month of August, Braves outfielder B.J. Upton had fallen into another slump again, hitting just .100 in his last 44 plate appearances entering tonight’s game against the Marlins. Upton was on fire all night against Marlins starter Jacob Turner and the bullpen, though, knocking four hits including a game-tying two-run home run in the sixth inning and a walk-off RBI single off of reliever Ryan Webb in the 11th.
Because of the clutch hitting, FanGraphs credited him with .758 Win Percent Added, a Sabermetric statistic that tells you how much a player’s contributed to a team’s chance of winning. In this case, Upton was responsible for about 76 percent. Per Baseball Reference, Upton’s performance is the 11th-most valuable of the season.
Upton also boosted his batting average to .195, the highest it has been since August 9. He hasn’t been over the Mendoza line at any point during the season.
Chris Johnson also went 4-for-6 on the night, increasing his batting average from .326 to .331, retaking the batting title lead from Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.
The Rays have acquired shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from the Marlins, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. The Marlins will receive minor league outfielder Braxton Lee and pitcher Ethan Clark. The Rays are expected to assume the remainder of Hechavarria’s $4.35 million salary for the 2017 season.
Hechavarria, 28, has only played in 20 games this season due to an oblique injury. He has mustered a meager .277/.288/.385 triple-slash line with four extra-base hits and six RBI across 67 plate appearances. He still plays decent defense, though, so that may be enough for him to take the everyday shortstop job in Tampa.
Lee, 23, was selected by the Rays in the 12th round of the 2014 draft. This season with Double-A Montgomery, his second stint there, Lee hit .318/.387/.391 over 296 PA.
Clark, 22, was taken in the 15th round of the 2015 draft by the Rays. In his first stint at Single-A in Bowling Green, Clark has a 3.11 ERA with a 50/18 K/BB ratio in 55 innings of work.
Tom Boswell of the Washington Post does frequent Q&As with readers and today he had quite the A to one of their Qs.
The question was about the Nats’ bullpen, which is obviously a glaring weakness on an otherwise excellent team. Following a long answer talking about the approach to bullpen construction, he dropped this:
On Friday, yet ANOTHER National simply walked up to me and said, “When the hell are they going to get this done? What are they waiting for? Waiting is just doing more damage.”
He didn’t even have to say what subject he was talking about or whom “they” were but it’s the bullpen and the Lerners.
A team has a problem when all a reporter has to do is say, “How’s it going?” and an established part of the team blasts the owners for not understanding what’s happening in their own dugout/clubhouse.
The Nats have a bit of a history venting to the Post’s reporters in ways a lot of players don’t vent, but that’s usually when things are going bad overall. These days, things are going pretty good for the Nats, the bum bullpen notwithstanding. I guess one weakness on an otherwise good team is annoying as hell.
But I guess now that they’re getting K-Rod, all of that will end.