Hello again everyone from perrenially sunny southeast Michigan! (man is it hard to say that with a straight face).
As the Braves get ready to face off with the Phillies, it’s once again time for me to face off with Justin Klugh, Lead Writer for our sister site, “That Balls Outta Here”. Once again, we sling snark at each other, a six pack at a time. I’ll start first with the six pack of questions I sent his way.
OK Justin, here they come (Justin’s answers are in black):
1) Do you guys just concede the game when the other team gets into your bullpen? I know it doesn’t happen a lot, as you guys have like 71 complete games at this point in the season.
Yes. I’ll concede a game for almost no reason at all. One time, Chase was batting with runners on second and third with one out in a tie game, and I missed the next three innings because I saw a weird-looking bird outside my window. Turns out it was a kite and I’m cut off from day drinking.
2) Do you even want Halladay to start the All-Star game? Given how many times he’s been there, wouldn’t you rather he just watch the game like the rest of us?
Do….I? Hmm. Can’t he just throw one inning? Why does he have to throw two just for being the starter? I can see Bochy throwing any of our starters in harm’s way just to try and potentially make it easier on himself on the future. God, I have such an irrational problem with him. But Doc doesn’t deserve to do anything like the rest of us.
3) Who do you see as the Phillies team MVP at the halfway point in the season?
I think I told Blaine it was Cole Hamels, and I see no reason to pretend I’ve never said that. He didn’t have to be as good as he is. And, being a product of our own farm system, we have this bizarre parent-child fandom dynamic with him, in that we feel we have every right to be as heavily critical or affectionate to him as we want, just because we’ve known him for so long and we have set the bar so high.
4) What kind of specialized equipment do you have to possess to determine which team has been impacted the most by injuries, the Braves or the Phillies?
I call them “my eyeballs.” I use them to see that no matter how grotesquely high the number of combined injuries we may have, one of us is in first and the other is in second with half a season left to play.
5) Which pitcher would you rather see strike out the middle of your order in late innings, Venters or Kimbrel?
I’m sorry, I don’t think Roy Halladay lets other teams’ pitchers have strikeouts.
6) How important is this series for the Phillies going into the All-Star break, given that the Braves are starting to hit?
Well, I feel like it would have been important whether you guys decided to hit or not. I’m not sure why you wouldn’t. It makes baseball so much cooler. But their importance stems from the fact that they are the games we’re playing next, not because they’re with the Braves. The momentum to be gained from winning the series and heading into the All-Star Break heightens the tension a tad. Also the game is in Philadelphia, and playing baseball in a city where games materialize, savagely kick people, and then disappear, has got to makes things a little more intense.
Now, returning the favor, it’s “Snark vs. Snark” as I respond to the insults thrown my way by Justin:
1. Is Craig Kimbrel’s Rookie of the Month award a good consolation prize for being a solid runner-up team during the first half of the season?
Not particularly. As you know, they don’t give out halfway trophies. That noise you hear is the sound of the Braves’ offensive engine starting up. Get to know it well, as it’s about to power the Braves to the top of the NL East standings.
Not in this case. Chipper has earned the right to speak his mind, especially when it comes to an atrocious job being done by an ump on balls and strikes. There aren’t many guys who have over 440 HR’s who have more walks than strikeouts; Chipper does.
I think Chipper only backed off what he realized was something said in the heat of battle about the overall state of umpiring. Since Fredi has sworn off arguing with the umpires, someone has to inherit Bobby Cox’s arguing mantle J.
As of right now, Chipper Jones, Jair Jurrjens, Brian McCann, and Jonny Venters made the team. I think there’s a reasonable chance that Craig Kimbrel will be added this weekend to replace a pitcher who starts on Sunday. He should be on the team anyway, as he leads the league in strikeouts by a reliever and saves, whilst setting the all-time record for saves by a rookie. And his stuff is so far beyond electric that it’s nuclear.
I’m really glad that you took this opportunity to rag on Uggla. It seems that someone hit his “on” switch this week, just in time for the series. I’m thinking he’ll hit at least three dingers in that bandbox you guys call home (in your defense, it is a pretty bandbox, though).
I think this is just smoke and mirrors. For a whole bunch of reasons, mostly the offense coming out of hibernation and Jordan Schafer finally getting the hang of hitting leadoff while adding over 40 points to his batting average, I think the only trades the Braves will make will be for the bench. Lucky for you guys…
OK, I’ll see your trite question and raise you one trite answer. The key is to use 20/20 hindsight. If the Braves win the series, then it will have been critical to the team’s momentum and confidence.
If they don’t, then these games are no more important than any others and there’s still nearly half a season ahead of us. See how easy this is? Feel free to use this same answer any time someone asks you this question, too!
OK, that’s it everyone. What’s your take?