Tigers 8, Braves Disappointing

ESPN Box Score

An appropriate way to cap the weekend.

In yet another case where the absurdities of the unbalanced schedule necessitated play despite weather that couldn’t charitably be described as “bad for baseball”, the Braves secured the sweep for the Tigers. And frankly, the weather might’ve helped the Braves score their third and last run when Omar Infante threw away a potential double play ball during what passed for a Braves rally in the 4th inning. Don’t get me wrong, the Braves had their chances throughout the game. But but they mostly spent them flailing at off-speed junk from Doug Fister and later Al Albuquerque, who against all odds managed to have the funniest name in a game started by Fister. Not only were they throwing lots of curvy stuff, they were throwing it wildly, hitting three batters over 9 innings. Turns out this wildness was a good thing, because no umpire wants to stand outside in a monsoon and call a lot of balls. That and the Braves hitters didn’t seem too interested in taking pitches, either. Or frankly, making contact with the ones they swung at. The 11 strikesouts recorded by Tigers pitching actually represents a below-average performance for this series in which Atlanta made 39 of 72 outs (that’s 54%) via the strikeout. And remember this is a series where they had a DH.

But it didn’t seem to matter much, since the pitching was also pretty bad. Mike Minor actually looked pretty good, except for when he was giving up HRs and ground-rule doubles. Look, the Tigers have a stacked lineup. But that means you have to get your outs your facing Austin Jackson and the guy behind the Te’o hoax rather than give up homers. The bullpen didn’t make anyone feel better, either.

All in all, a pretty miserable weekend for the Braves. But they’re still 15-9 and in 1st in the East. Time to find somewhere dry and resume hitting home runs.

283 thoughts on “Tigers 8, Braves Disappointing”

  1. And they’ve played 16 of the last 18 on the road? That’s a recipe for a bad 3rd week….

  2. The Braves sure went from run-away the best record in baseball to essentially bunched up with a lot of other teams in record time.

  3. Great recap to a shitty game.
    Gattis seemed over matched.
    I guess its up to Chris Johnson and JUpton to carry the team.
    Maybe we arent a wet weather team.

  4. Well, there has to be a reasonable expectation that BJ, Heyward and Freeman will pick it back up. McCann probably as well. Not so sure about Uggla and Simmons. At some point Chris Johnson will revert back to being Chris Johnson so one hopes that one of the above will start hitting by then.

  5. THere will be some people panic about this, but we really need McCann. El Oso Blanco is getting worked at the moment.

  6. I’m not worried. (No point this early in the year with this good of a record.) But that was a rough weekend. Let’s hope some home cookin’ gets things going again in the right direction. I really don’t think the “supporting cast” of this offense will continue to be as bad as they’ve been thus far. And the pitching will look a lot better when they’re not facing the Tiger’s lineup.

  7. @10 – the way our leadoff hitters have been hitting, getting on base has not been a big concern.

  8. @1 And after this week at home, another 10-game road trip is looming. I’m looking forward to later in the season when this scheduling evens out, because this has been ridiculous so far.

  9. Perhaps the most disappointing part of the season thus far has been the starting pitching. After yesterday, the starters are 9-8 and the bullpen 5-1. While the bullpen has been stellar (and not helped by Jupton’s left field mis-play), the starters have thus far failed much to frequently.

    Fredi has now passed Russ Nixon and holds 5th place in the annals of games managed in Atlanta Braves uniforms. He also moves into 19th place in the all-time Braves list. Chuck Tanner is next on both lists, 13 games away.

  10. Tim Tebow.

    A… B… C-ya!

    I fully expect the national press to remain on his jock, but at least I won’t have to hear any more from the local crew. Never has so much been written or said about a guy who played so little.

  11. @16

    I agree. Our starters have been pretty ugh of late.

    I would skip Tehran and put Hudson out there tonight.

  12. @Smitty – you want to skip Teheran? He last start, 6 days ago, was the best of his entire major league career. 7 IP, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks, at Colorado no less. Huddy pitched well last time around, but since then Maholm, Medlen and Minor (3M?) all failed to varying degrees in their starts. Why would you deprive Teheran of a chance to keep the good starts going, especially when you’re not exactly talking about replacing his start with something superior?

  13. @20

    I would. Hudson is you “Ace” and he is on regular rest. We need to stop this slide and he has the best best chance of giving us a solid outing.

  14. I really don’t like Teheran facing the Nats. He’s got to learn though and we need to see these matchups for when Beachy is ready.

  15. Smitty – if you skip Teheran, in effect that just swaps out his start in the WAS series for one from Minor, who gave up 6 ER yesterday.

    Also, the “ace” concept is silly and fairly meaningless. Strasburg may be considered the “ace” of the Nats but Gio pitched better last season, and Zimmermann has (very arguably) pitched better this season. All the Braves can do is send out their best pitchers, and at this point, Teheran is a good bet to be one of those pitchers.

  16. To be fair, Tebow wasn’t given much of an opportunity to succeed in NY. The Jets created that mess and never did themselves any favors with that situation. I hope Jacksonville gives him an opportunity. Everyone knows they need to fill some seats. I just feel bad for MJD. He’s the new Steven Jackson of the NFL

  17. Tebow is in all likelihood done as a QB, and probably as a player. In January, the Jacksonville GM said “I can’t imagine a scenario in which he’ll be a Jacksonville Jaguar — even if he’s released.”

  18. Tim Tebow became a Jet because the owner thought he could sell some PSLs to people who don’t know very much about professional football. That didn’t work either.

  19. Losing streaks suck, but it’s still April. A little extra rest for Hudson and more MLB reps for Teheran will both be good things come the stretch run. We’ll never see Teheran’s true talent level until they give him regular starts, so we might just have to grow with him a bit.

    I put this team on 93 wins in preseason and I’m sticking to that. A winning streak here, a losing streak there, but I think this team is fine playing the long game.

  20. While consistently entertaining, Bill Simmons isn’t always spot-on when prognosticating. One thing he nailed, though, was that an active professional athlete would come out soon. I didn’t expect it to be this soon, but it’s about time. I don’t doubt he’ll suffer repercussions, and I do wonder whether he’ll be playing again next year. But good for him regardless.

  21. People have been predicting that a major athlete would come out “soon” for about a decade, now. (Remember, Mike Piazza’s “I’m not gay” press conference happened because there were numerous rumors that a player on the Mets was gay and was about to come out.)

    I’m glad that Jason Collins was the first and I admire his courage in doing so. I’ll be interested to see if other athletes follow him. I hope they do.

  22. @33, I remember when that happened I was listening to the Braves’ radio broadcast, pregame or postgame or something, and Skip announced it by saying “Mike Piazza is not gay. But he is a Met.” For some reason that still cracks me up.

  23. @33-

    But they were wrong. Simmons said it like 1-2 years ago and gave it a time frame that included today. I figured he’d be wrong just like the other folks you’re referring to. Turns out, he was right.

  24. @32, 33

    I applaud anyone whose gay coming out and just being themselves. Having said that, allow me some cynicism: You look at a player profile like Jason Collins’ and you say, “this is a guy winding up his career”. In fact, his announcement comes at a time when he has no contract with an NBA team. He is a free agent. It wouldn’t have been shocking yesterday if Jason Collins was not resigned and never played in the NBA again. But tomorrow, it will be shocking and also possibly used against the NBA if he isn’t resigned. And the Collins piece was larded with a heaping helping of “I can still play and deserve to play, teams should still want me” opining from Collins that, when you’re as cynical as I am about mass media events like this, stands apart from any discussion about his gayness. So “courage”? Perhaps. But there’s a healthy amount of self-interest in here, too.

  25. Heyward said he’ll likely be back by end of May? End of May? 1.5 months for an appendectomy? Really? End of May? Really?

  26. I had my gall bladder taken out last year and I was “out” for about a week, but I’m not a highly-condition athlete. 1.5 months does sound pretty extreme, though.

  27. @39 I use the Gillette mach 3 razer, any shaving cream will do, but don’t forget to moisturize afterward.

  28. 32, etc.- Oh, hogwash. The media have been looking for a homosexual athlete for years and years to burnish the credentials of sportswriters who fancy themselves real writers. All that Collins has done is earn himself a footnote that his undistinguished play would never have earned him. There is no “courage” involved, and while I’m not averse to players doing what they can to make a buck, it means nada in the greater scheme.

  29. Seriously, what are we going to do about all these strikeouts?

    If they’d let us play the Marlins in the playoffs, we’d be fine but that’s probably not going to happen.

  30. Heyward said no later than the end of May, so presumably that’s considered the worst case timeline, not necessarily what’s most likely.

  31. 45-Ten years from now there will be numerous openly gay athletes in every major sport. And lots of them will acknowledge and thank Jason Collins.

  32. FWIW, I’ll take Jason Collins at his word and be happy for him that he no longer “has to live a lie.”

    I can’t really be cynical about it.

  33. The real big news is that these guys are gonna shell Strasburg:

    Schafer rf, Simmons ss, JUpton lf, Freeman 1b, CJohnson 3b, Uggla 2b, BUpton cf, Laird c, Teheran p.

  34. There is no “courage” involved, and while I’m not averse to players doing what they can to make a buck, it means nada in the greater scheme.

    You can’t possibly be serious. And like Alex, I’ll leave it there.

  35. Guys like Jason Collins don’t get resigned every off season. They retire, or shovel off to Europe or elsewhere, in the hopes of returning to the NBA.

    I hope that fact does not get lost in all the hubbub if he doesn’t get resigned.

    As far as Heyward’s worst case scenario, that’ll probably happen unless Chipper takes his disappointment to the media.

  36. Really would like to see Gattis against Strasburg again, but looks like Laird will keep catching his starts.

  37. @58 and 59. I am not going to say much on both topics but I absolutely agree with you stu (and spike).

  38. 57- That was, of course, the point of this little PR exercise. Any GM who doesn’t offer this guy a contract gets picketers outside his office. That’s why I find the talk about “courage” so irksome.

  39. I think this openly gay stuff is just media pushing it down our throats. I don’t have to accept it, but I do acknowledge it. There is a huge difference. I also agree that the media is begging for these athletes to come out. I don’t buy the “I’m living a lie stories.”

    However, if he’s happy then good luck to him.

  40. @62, The ability to determine a persons true motivations so clearly is a rare one. It must be quite a burden knowing for sure what drives other’s actions, and seeing people falling for their lame cover stories.

  41. Spike, you’ll find that, miraculously, men’s and women’s actions can usually be explained by what’s good for the wallet. “True motivations” are mostly (self-)justification for what we want to do.

  42. Over or under 12k’s tonight??? Let’s hope we have a good performance as it’s National Television tonight.

  43. @64 I agree with you on applauding Carroll for coming out, but let’s be clear: this IS a cover story, i.e., the cover of Sports Illustrated. This is a media event, and it’s not happening incidentally or accidentally. If Carroll and his agents and advisors haven’t figured and anticipated every angle of this thing, they’re idiots. I don’t hold that against him, but I’m sure not going to go so far as to anoint him “this century’s Jackie Robinson”, which I’ve seen some folks already doing.

    I just don’t want this to be a big stink bomb in the case that Carroll doesn’t get resigned in the offseason. I don’t want to endure that kind of a media environment. I don’t think any of us want to. Yet that seems to me one potential outcome of this.

  44. Jason Collins is and was never a good player. In all reality he shouldn’t be signed next season but if he doesn’t get a contract you know the whole backlash it will create.

  45. @65, I have had the good fortune to find, miraculously, the exact opposite to be true far more frequently. I regret that your experience with humanity has not been so.

  46. 65-You really believe that Collins, his agent, or anyone else with any sense whatsoever would believe that coming out would increase his leverage as a free agent? Are you fricking serious? No one is going to picket anything and plenty of GMs are going to run away from any potential controversy.

  47. Circumstances have helped keep gay athletes in the closet for as long as we’ve had team sports, so if Jason Collins can find a set of circumstances that make it advantageous to come out, then good for him. It diminishes nothing — we all take circumstances into account every day. Duh.

  48. 71- Yep. If nothing else, everyone will know his name from that of a hundred other fringe guys. And there will be picketers and protesters against any team that makes the mistake of not showing proper obeisance to the newest “hero.” You think that lavish praise from ex-presidents and every media organ in the country won’t have some effect?

    And our right fielder tonight is an example of someone who did a stupid thing for one more grab at a $400,000+ brass ring.

  49. Watch how Laird throws the ball back after every pitch… It’s oh so bad. He looks really insecure, like he’s afraid to make a bad throw back to the pitcher. A lot of double pumping and awkward releases off the wrong foot, etc

  50. There is no “courage” involved, and while I’m not averse to players doing what they can to make a buck, it means nada in the greater scheme.

    Good God. How awful.

  51. Laird is doing that lolipop throw back to the pitcher from his knees again. Harper should steal 3rd here.

  52. Laird is one of those old school catchers that thinks you only use your fastball the first time through the lineup.

  53. @81
    see 75

    It’s ridiculous. I caught high school and college and I’m a catcher’s coach now at a high school. I’m not an expert by far but Laird is very sloppy and insecure back there. I’m big into advanced metrics and I cringe whenever I hear “body language” in regards to quality of a player… but every time Laird throws it back, his body is saying “Please, please, pleeeeease hit him in the chest …. Yes! …”

  54. 85- As opposed to BUpton or Simmons? Schafer really is the best choice, but that’s not saying much.

    And there’s YET ANOTHER IDIOTIC HIT AND RUN! For once, it didn’t wipe out the baserunner.

  55. Looked like Simmons gave himself up there when he saw Schafer’s jump.


  56. Wow, Fredi tried another stolen base with two strikes? Those have grown tiresome, even though it worked here.

  57. I really don’t think he tagged him until Freeman had already touched the base….oh well, probably would’ve been a DP next with the way things are going for the braves.

    There’s your lead, Teheran, don’t blow it.

  58. MLB’s refusal to enforce umpiring competence through common sense replay rules strikes again.

  59. @95 He was preparing to follow the lead runner if the throw went to third, as he should.

  60. Can’t believe I’m saying this, but thank you joe Simpson for calling out the braves pitch calling. The high fastball ain’t working. Last time I checked nobody on the Atlanta staff dials it up 94+ anyway. Julio needs an out pitch but I think a change and a refine slider are the way to go, not belt high gas.

  61. 113-I saw that too. No outs and Fredi had CJ playing in. That’s just reckless gambling. Right now Fredi is the guy at the poker table on tilt.

  62. If I did not make it clear earlier, please refrain from criticizing Collins’s decision to come out. We are not getting into that on this blog. If you have an opinion on the matter, keep it to yourself.

    So we’re only allowed to praise it, as you did in #33?

  63. Teheran has to be able to locate the breaking ball. If you can go up there and just sit dead fastball you have a huge advantage as a hitter.

  64. Teheran didn’t do much wrong in that inning, except falling behind Rendon. A bunch of ground balls just found holes. Good job on damage control, and a 1-run deficit doesn’t look so scary while facing Wild Strasburg.

  65. I can’t wait to see McCann catch Teheran and Medlen.

    Edit: Uggla got a hit. I’ll be damned.

  66. I thought that inning was going to get away. The strike-’em-out, throw-’em-out double-play turned it around.

  67. Well guys, you have to respect that Nats guy for trying to do what any player would do, even though he made a dumb error.

  68. @130 My sentiments exactly!! Every single game I’ve watched his approach seems to be hit a weak fly ball.

  69. Yeah the Collins conversation should end, but if its going to be talked about then both sides should be able to express opinions.

    As for the game, at least we ended up with the good Upton. It would be pretty disappointing with the current Martin and no Jupton/Johnson

  70. I wonder if Laird needs to memorize Playboy. He doesn’t appear to be as bad as Mackey Sasser, but he definitely has a case of SAR–Something Ain’t Right.

  71. @143 In the “Major League 2” vein, I’m sick of Simmons swinging like Willie Mays Hayes going for the fences at the start of the movie.

  72. That .363 BABIP average against Teheran for the season has got to drop at some point.

  73. Some of the hits have been pretty hard, but the majority haven’t been. But he’s been stranding most of them, so two runs is probably a pretty fair result for how well he’s pitched.

  74. Is it possible this is the worst base-running team the Braves have ever put on the field?

  75. I think we can live with a fifth starter that throws 95 while mixing in a nasty curveball.

    163-It’s a horrible thing to even contemplate.

  76. Teheran is surviving all those seeing eye ground balls. Good for him. MLB announcers are so harperist.

  77. On the other hand, it must be hard to frame pitches when a guy who throws that hard is wild in the zone. But he seems to stab at everything.

  78. I agree and also wanted the bunt there, but it still would have produced a doughnut after the K and the line out

  79. The bullpen’s recent misadventures don’t spur much confidence there, either.

  80. Horrible BABIP luck and he limited the damage. Teheran definitely deserves that ovation.

  81. Yeah. A lot of the hits against Julio were not particularly hard hit. (A hell of a lot of them bounced right to Dan’s left.) It was interesting to see that a lot of guys were taking Teheran the other way. But he was at 95 quite often with his fastball, and if he’s got a 95-mph fastball instead of the 92 that we’ve been seeing most of the year, then I’m going to be a happy guy.

  82. I’d love to see Walden for a second inning. I am not loving Avilan at the moment.

  83. Not good when Johnson and Gattis are turning back into pumpkins and BJ and Uggla are still in a season long funk. At least we have Laird and Schafer to bail us out )-:

  84. The good news is that an Evan Gattis pinch hit game winner is still in play.

  85. These guys need to get the Special K off their training tables.

    In fairness, at least it’s Strasburg doing the pitching tonight. He’s supposed to strike guys out.

  86. 204- There’s nothing special about them. This is the supermarket-brand equivalent, Mediocre K.

  87. 211-Can you see the way his changeup dives away from lefties? It’s a thing of beauty. Like Gerald Laird drawing a walk.

  88. @212 That’s what Greg McMichael and Paul Byrd used to throw, right? Changeup diving away from lefties…

  89. @212 Sure, I’m willing to believe he’s got stuff. I just hate his delivery. I feel a seizure coming on every time I see it.

  90. You know, I have to admit, Schafer has been effective so far this year. He’s running the bases well, and his approach at the plate is much better than it used to be. I don’t know if he’s matured or what, but he’s been working the pitchers today, and that’s simply remarkable, compared to the little snot he used to be.

  91. Throw was up the first base side several feet. Would have been 50/50 if accurate.

    Schafer looked out at 3rd.

  92. Tag and hand looked the same on replay, actually (throw beat Schafer by a fair amount). I’m good with the safe call.

  93. @238 Looks like Justin has been over-swinging a bit today, which is crazy because he’s got massive power without taking 100% effort swings.

  94. 213-It doesn’t look quite like either, but is similarly effective. I remember McMichael’s moving a lot more left to right. But I just spent five minutes looking for some video and can’t find any of McMichael pitching anywhere on the internet, which seems an egregious oversight. Walden’s only moves a little left to right but dives down.

  95. “You can only be placed on the bereavement list for a death in the immediate family, they expect him…”


    “… to return for his next scheduled start.”


  96. Has enough been made of that Seattle waiver claim in 2009? I think not.

    Oh, I see everyone at Braves Journal beat me to the sentiment.

  97. I’d say even .350 is a mite optimistic.

    A wounded Kraken is hopefully the most dangerous Kraken.

  98. The play by play only says “I. Desmond grounded out to shortstop”. I wish I can see the play…

  99. Baseball Tonight didn’t show the Andrelton play. SMHing like I’ve never S’d MH before.

  100. Did have a sweet montage of Braves getting thrown out on the basepaths though. That seemed useful.

  101. Nice win. But a little assist from the umps tonight.

    edit agree on Success! he is playing well.

  102. Forearm tightness and uncharacteristic wildness seem to often go together with damaged elbow ligaments.

  103. Speaking of elbow ligaments, I am kind of surprised the Mets let Matt Harvey throw 121 pitches tonight.

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