Morning Chop: Summary of Atlanta Braves News
Braves coach Terry Pendleton grabs and shoves Chris Johnson after helmet tossing incident
[Editorial Note: There's a lot of conjecture about why Pendleton grabbed Johnson, and I've read headlines about why - everything from Chris sliding into first, to a lack of hustle, to throwing the helmet. Those most in the know, such as Mark Bowman, David O'Brien, etc. say it was simply Chris throwing the helmet and hitting Pendleton, and while that may be true, certainly there must be more to this. Perhaps it was just pure frustration. I don't think it's a big deal though. ]
The Atlanta Braves are a feisty bunch, aren’t they?
They won’t hesitate to confront an opponent when they feel they’ve been disrespected. We’ve witnessed several examples of that this season, most recently when Brian McCann took exception to Carlos Gomez‘s hot-dogging on Wednesday. And apparently they won’t hesitate to confront one of their own if they feel he needs to be put in his place.
Hey, at least they don’t play any favorites, right?
On Saturday, we saw the latter happen immediately following their 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. A quick postgame camera shot in the Braves dugout saw a calm scene quickly escalate into after a heated Terry Pendleton stood up and grabbed third baseman Chris Johnson forcefully by the jersey. The shot stayed on long enough to see Pendleton give Johnson an earful, and then the Braves first base coach capped the exchange by shoving Johnson and adding a few more words.
Without Home-Field Advantage, Atlanta Braves Have No Shot of Beating Los Angeles Dodgers in NLDS
Like so many other teams, the Atlanta Braves have been much better at home than on the road. What is surprising, however, is the fact that as a playoff team, the Braves actually have a losing record when away from Turner Field. In fact, of the nine other playoff teams, only the Braves have a losing record on the road. And for this very reason, it is crucial that Atlanta secures home-field advantage.
The Braves have been completely dominant at home, winning 55 of 80 games played there. The Braves also have a much better slash line at home, batting .256/330/.415 as opposed to on the road where those numbers drop to .238/.309/.385. That is a significant drop-off for sure.
The one saving grace for Atlanta is the fact that of their NL-leading 179 home runs, 91 have come on the road, and only 88 at home. Of course, this is a result of the sheer dimensions of Turner Field, but what it also means is that Atlanta can and does hit home runs no matter where they play.
In the postseason, the Braves are going to need these home runs, especially since their offense leads all playoff teams in strikeouts and is woefully inconsistent.
Recap: Atlanta vs. Philadelphia
Cesar Hernandez tallied four hits and two runs scored in the Philadelphia Phillies’ 5-4 win over the Atlanta Braves in the third test of a four-game set.
Trailing 5-1 after eight innings of play, the Braves got within one after Justin Upton smacked a three-run homer in the ninth off Jonathan Papelbon. Freddie Freeman then singled and was put into scoring position when Evan Gattis walked, but Chris Johnson grounded out to shortstop to end the game.
With the loss, the Braves are one game behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the best record in the National League. Atlanta holds the head-to-head tiebreaker after winning the season series.
Like Fisk, McCann is enforcer of professionalism
Braves catcher confronts players who do not show respect to game
[Editorial Note: Said I wouldn't say more about this, but I cannot resist. McCann, right or wrong, was not trying to be the ambassador for professionalism! That is ridiculous. All he was doing was attempting to protect his pitcher, and express an opinion to another ball player. To assume there were loftier notions on BMac's mind is ascribing actions that BMac never attributed to himself even in interviews. ]
We need more players like Braves catcher Brian McCann. Suddenly, during his ninth Major League season, he is evolving into the 21st-century version of Carlton Fisk, the Hall of Fame icon of the Red Sox and the White Sox who often terrorized opponents with his ability to field a little and to hit a lot, especially in the clutch.
Just like McCann.
Mostly, McCann resembles Fisk in his quest to have as many of his peers as possible (OK, all of them) respect a game that has been around professionally since the end of the Civil War. The key word here is “professionally.” Or, if you prefer, “professional” or “professionalism.”