Tag: B.J. Upton

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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

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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.