Tag: B.J. Upton

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 10.31.22 AM

The Braves are considering calling up Christian Bethancourt


Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that the Braves are considering making an interesting though potentially dangerous move: calling up catching prospect Christian Bethancourt. Calling him up is not the dangerous part. The move they’d make to give him playing time is:

Though a decision does not necessarily seem imminent, the Braves have discussed the possibility of promoting Bethancourt to serve as Atlanta’s starting catcher. If this decision were to be made, Gattis would move to left field and Justin Upton would transition to right field. To complete this equation, Jason Heyward would replace B.J. Upton in center field.

Upton can handle right. Heyward can handle center. Evan Gattis, as we all saw down the stretch last year, is a hot mess in the outfield. I mean, the effort is there and the brains are there, but he is truly a catcher and just can’t get to the balls he needs to get to.

Of course, the Braves’ biggest problem this year has been its offense. It has shown some signs of life in recent days, particularly at second base, where Tommy La Stella has taken over for the corpse of Dan Uggla. But B.J. Upton is still a drag on the offense despite some recent improvement. Bethancourt is no offensive powerhouse, but he has improved of late. He doesn’t need to be better than Gattis at the plate. He just needs to be better than Upton.

Interesting, and maybe a good move for the middle of the regular season. But I do worry about Gattis roaming left field if the race is close in September. And if he’s out there in the playoffs I may need to get heart medication.

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 11.31.30 PM

Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 2: Eight wins for Mark Buehrle, seven straight losses for the Boston Red Sox and, get this, the Toronto Blue Jays are in first place in the American League East as we enter Memorial Day weekend. Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista each had homers.

Rangers 9, Tigers 2: The Rangers season is collapsing in injury but they still have Yu Darvish and the Tigers are still suffering from the Curse of the Zubaz. Darvish allowed two runs over seven innings and Rangers hitters beat the snot out of Robbie Ray.

Marlins 4, Phillies 3: Christian Yelich hit a two-out, bases-loaded RBI single to walk the Marlins off with a win. Or, I think it walked the Phillies off. That’s what Dennis Eckersley was referring to when he coined the term, I believe. The losing team walking off the field in defeat as opposed to running back to the dugout like they would following any but the final innings. Then again, usage can often change words and phrases from their original or intended meaning, so maybe it doesn’t matter?

Rays 5, Athletics 2: Grant Balfour couldn’t hold a 1-0 lead in the ninth, but then Dan Otero and Luke Gregerson couldn’t hold a 2-1 lead in the 11th, so that canceled out. Sorta. Kinda. I don’t know. All I know is that it set the stage for a three-run walkoff jack for Sean Rodriguez in the bottom of the 11th. That ended a four-game losing streak for the Rays and a five-game winning streak for the A’s.

Cardinals 4, Diamondbacks 2: The sweep. Shane Robinson was was called up yesterday and went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and a run scored. And his “just got called up from the minors” cliches are as sharp as a tack:

“It was a good feeling to be able to get in there and help out the club and get a win tonight,” Robinson said. “I’m just feeling blessed to be up here.”

Crash Davis couldn’t have instructed him any better.

Mets 5, Dodgers 3: The Mets do what very few teams have been able to do this year, and that’s get to Zack Greinke. Well, to the extent he really can be got to anyway. Three runs — one earned — and four hits. But the key was that they made him work, chasing him after 101 pitches in five innings. Jonathon Niese hit an RBI double to [altogether now] help his own cause. He also pitched seven sharp innings. Yasiel Puig made an amazing catch. He also got doubled off second on an infield fly. The Puig giveth, the Puig taketh away.

White Sox 3, Yankees 2: Chris Sale came back from the DL and took a no-hitter into the sixth. He left the game after six having allowed only one hit, no runs, no walks and striking out 10. Yeah, I think he’s gonna be just fine.

Braves 5, Brewers 4: The Braves rallied after being down 4-1 in the sixth thanks to two improbable things: (1) a B.J. Upton home run; and (2) Brewers manager Ron Roenicke screwing up and calling Will Smith in to the game when he hadn’t been warming up in the bullpen. He got his eight warmup pitches on the field but then gave up a two-run RBI single to Ryan Doumit. I feel like some savvy telecom company could make a decent add involving bullpen phones out of this if they wanted to.

Pirates 3, Nationals 1: Mark Melancon put two runners on in the ninth and then allowed a sinking liner by Anthony Rendon. Thankfully Andrew McCutchen was there to make a sliding grab to end the game. The MVP had two RBI too.

Indians 8, Orioles 6: The third extra innings game in four games for the Indians. Third win in those four extra innings game too, and a four-game winning streak overall. Carlos Santana played the hero here with a two-run double in the 13th. It was a big hole for Terry Francona’s group to dig out of, but they’ve moved a lot of dirt in the past four days.

Cubs 5, Padres 1: A homer and a double for former Padre Anthony Rizzo. Jake Arrieta allowed only one run and four hits, striking out seven and walking only one. The Padres have played 48 games. In 15 of them they have scored one or zero runs.

Mariners 3, Astros 1: Michael Saunders legged out an infield single with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, driving in two runs in what was then a 1-1 game. The play was reviewed on replay but upheld.

Giants 2, Rockies 2: SUSPENDED: At some point later this year they’ll complete this one, picking up where they left off: tied up in the sixth with two outs and Michael Cuddyer on first. Unless Cuddyer dies in a zeppelin accident or something before the game resumes, in which case they’ll use someone else. Which will make that the most somber pinch running experience ever, even if it makes for one of the more interesting Jayson Stark factoid columns ever written.

Reds manager Bryan Price was ejected after umpires upheld incorrect call with replay review

Bryan Price

In Sunday’s series finale in Atlanta, Braves center fielder B.J. Upton drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the fourth inning against Reds starter Johnny Cueto. After striking out Freddie Freeman, Cueto tried to pick off Upton at first base before throwing his first pitch to Justin Upton. It was a close play, but first base umpire Greg Gibson ruled Upton safe. Reds manager Bryan Price jogged out of the dugout and conversed with Gibson before asking for a review.

Slow-motion replays clearly showed first baseman Joey Votto’s glove on top of Upton’s hand before getting back to the first base bag. But after reviewing the play for several minutes, the umpires upheld their ruling that Upton was safe. Price came back out of the dugout. He was warned that if he continued to pursue the matter, that he would be ejected. Price continued walking back out onto the field and was promptly thrown out.

Price wasn’t angry, didn’t raise his voice or show up the umpires. One simply isn’t allowed to continue arguing once a decision has been made after replay review, and that’s why Price was ejected.

You can watch how everything transpired here:

This incident showed the imperfections of Major League Baseball’s implementation of replay review. First, the umpires had the necessary technology and still got the call wrong. Second, their incorrect ruling left the Reds without any challenges for the rest of the game. If it’s the sixth inning, it’s not a huge deal, but this was the first inning — plenty of time for the umpires to make another questionable call. Third, Price was ejected for correctly wanting to hear exactly why the umpires ruled Upton safe. Had Price been belligerent, his ejection would have been justified, but I’m sure he was as curious as the rest of us watching at home.

Thankfully for the Reds, Upton didn’t come around to score. The game remained in a scoreless tie until Freddie Freeman delivered a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the tenth inning.

B.J. Upton got glasses

B.J. Upton

B.J. Upton has been an atrocious hitter since signing with the Braves. Last year he hit .184/.268/.289 with 151 strikeouts in 446 plate appearances. So far this season he’s hitting .205/.287/.295 with 24 strikeouts in 87 plate appearances. Today, this happened:

You’d think that, after so much suckage, someone with the Braves would have raised the issue of Upton’s eyesight with him before now. As such, I’m a tad skeptical that this is his problem. Or at least his only problem. But hey, at this point anything would be an improvement.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

Trout and Harper

Angels 4, Nationals 2: All day I read stuff about “Trout vs. Harper!” I was really excited until I remember that baseball is not the NBA and at no time was it really likely that the two would actually compete against one another directly. I mean, I suppose one could try to throw out the other as the one tried to take an extra base, but the odds were against that. On a granular level baseball is technically about one-on-one matchups. Only those matchups are between a hitter and a pitcher. More broadly, baseball is a team sport and Mike Trout’s team beat Bryce Harper’s. Trout was 2 for 5. Harper was 0 for 3. And Raul Ibanez’s three-run double mattered more than what either of them did.

Braves 4, Marlins 2: Evan Gattis with a walkoff homer in the 10th. Kudos to Fredi Gonzalez here. In the ninth, following a leadoff double, Gonzalez ordered Jason Heyward to bunt, despite the fact that he’s a lefty with power and the pitcher was a right hander. A right hander, by the way, named Carlos Marmol, who is not exactly good. in essence, he was more confident in Heyward — a guy who rarely if ever is asked to bunt — laying one down than being able to pull something off a crappy righty, which would have moved the runner over. And of course, had he done it, it means he’s depending on B.J. Upton to drive in the run. Now, you may think that’s deranged and I might think that’s deranged, but Fredi certainly knew that this unsuccessful sac bunt attempt would optimize the chances of Evan Gattis coming up to hit that walkoff homer. You mad genius, Freddi! You mad genius.

Phillies 7, Dodgers 0: Cliff Lee struck out double digits for the second straight start. This time he actually won. In his first five starts Lee has struck out 38 batters and has walked two.

Rockies 8, Giants 2: Five homers for the Rockies. And none of them were hit by Carlos Gonzalez or Troy Tulowitzki. Charlie Blackmon hit two. Ryan Vogelsong gave up three of them. Hard to see him lasting the year in the rotation. His ERA is now 7.71.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $55,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s just $25 to join and first prize is $7,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Brewers 4, Padres 3: Milwaukee keeps chugging along. Aramis Ramirez homered and Ryan Braun drove in two. K-Rod saved his fourth game in four days. If you had been wagering on Rodriguez being lights out to start the season you would’ve gotten pretty awesome odds. Same with the Brewers starting off 15-5.

Cubs 5, Diamondbacks 1: Travis Wood: wrecking ball. He drove in four runs, including a three-run homer, and allowed one run while striking out nine over seven innings.

Astros 7, Mariners 2: Seattle has lost seven in a row. Matt Dominguez homered and drove in three. And that was with Felix Hernandez on the mound. Houston scored six off of him, though only two were earned. With teams this bad I’m afraid to go look at highlights before I eat breakfast, but I’m gonna assume some sloppy defense. [looks] ah, only one bad defensive play. Yep, the noodle-bat Astros actually beat King Felix around a bit. Go figure.

Mets 2, Cardinals 0: Jenrry Meija shut out the Cards for six and two-thirds while striking out seven. And he had some nifty defense behind him too. The only thing that looked bad for the Mets yesterday was their camouflage uniforms.

Rangers 4, Athletics 3: Yu Darvish was not at his best, but the Rangers gritted one out over the defending two-time division champs. Donnie Murphy lined a go-ahead single up the middle with one out in the eighth inning as Texas came from behind.

White Sox 3, Tigers 1: Anibal Sanchez was solid for six but the Sox broke through in the seventh. Of course, the words “broke through” imply a lot of kinetic energy. Here the seventh inning was like watching paint dry thanks to two replay reviews which stopped the game in its tracks.

Indians 4, Royals 3: Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley hit two-run homers and Zach McAllister overcame some shaky defense behind him. Oh, and there was a squirrel on the field at one point, which I thought you all should know about.

Pirates 6, Reds 5: Ike Davis is making himself right at home in Pittsburgh. He hit a grand slam. This not too long after hitting that big walkoff grand slam for the Mets. According to STATS, Inc., Davis is the first player to hit grand slams for different teams in the same April. Neat.

Orioles 7, Red Sox 6: These teams were likely dragging after a Sunday night game gave way to this 11AM start, but that’s Patriot’s Day for you. Baltimore jumped out to a 6-0 lead and then held on to win 7-6. The Red Sox had loads of chances — they left runners on base in each of the innings in which they scored — but they let them slip away.