East St. Louis Toodle-oo: Braves 2, Cardinals 6

And so the (hopefully temporary) post-J-Hey era begins. Oh, and Brandon Beachy’s not looking so hot, either.

Oh, heck, let’s do the good first. Top of the 2nd, The Reason guided a grounder through the hole in left and new waiver-wire acquisition Elliot “I got waived by the freakin’ Royals” Johnson followed with the first of two hits on the night, defying for the moment his reputation as an all-glove guy. After Matt “Roman” Holliday doubled and scored in the bottom of the 4th to put the Redbirds up by one, Paul “Alex Wood who?” Maholm helped his own meager cause with a single and Justin Upton took the opportunity to remind everyone that it’s still August and months starting with an A are the months in which he hits home runs. Or anything, really. To wit: a majestic two-run moon shot that would represent the first and last of the Atlanta offensive effort.

Maholm, of course, was making his first start since coming off the disabled list, and for three innings he looked tanned, rested and ready in the best Nixonian tradition. Sadly, much like Tricky Dick himself, he eventually succumbed. Bottom 5, he walked Pete “Daily” Kozma and, with two outs, proceeded to give up three consecutive doubles to Matt “Don’t call me David” Carpenter, Carlos “I would have looked so good in a Braves uni” Beltran, and the aforementioned Holliday, to put St. Louis up 4-2, a lead which they would not relinquish.

The Braves, sadly, resembled the Braves of mid-May through June: lost on the road, punchless, unable to muster any real threat beyond the occasional long ball. Could be a one night thing, or, with Kris “The kids wear their brims flat nowadays, yo” Medlen facing Adam “I would have looked even better in a Braves uni, and did” Wainwright tomorrow night, it could be a harbinger of things to come in the series. And the Nationals and Dodgers both won, the first of those events likely being of little consequence, but the second falling softly in the background with a faint ripple in your water cup like the footfalls of the T. Rex in Jurassic Park. Atlanta’s lead in the best-record sweepstakes is now a game and a half, and the team gaining on them is winning at an historic clip since the All-Star break.

Let’s just say this was not the perfect moment to lose your suddenly dynamic leadoff hitter and Gold-Glove right fielder. Nor for your returning co-ace to have suddenly lost ten MPH off his fastball in his last start, necessitating an MRI and a visit to Dr. James Andrews. (Are there any words more ominous in the English language?)

To be fair, the Braves responded to the loss of their most veteran starting pitcher with a 14-game winning streak, and absolutely no one knows better than they the value of giving the wild card play-in game a wide berth. (Something in the neighborhood of two AUs should do it.) But there are times when the spirit is willing but the roster is weak. Jason didn’t need his jaw wired shut — instead he received two metal plates to hold his lantern-mandible together — so there’s a ray of hope: he won’t have to make do with a liquid diet and thus hopefully won’t lose too much weight or strength. But he will almost certainly miss the rest of the regular season, and when he does return there’s no guarantee he’ll be much help. He is the sixth Brave to suffer a season-ending injury this year, and what looked like a serious shot at post-season glory is now highly in doubt. (Success!, replacing Heyward in the leadoff spot, went a less-than-successful 0-for-5 with two Ks in his first night back up top, and El Oso Perdido a rough-looking 0-for-4.) It ain’t fair, but no one said it would be.

Cross your fingers, folks, and fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

80 thoughts on “East St. Louis Toodle-oo: Braves 2, Cardinals 6”

  1. Thank goodness Alex Wood is doing well as a starting pitcher. I am more concerned about the offense as it is not a consistent one to begin with. I don’t care who, someone needs to step up or we will have plenty of nights like this.

  2. Thanks, Grst. It wasn’t easy to muster the energy given the circumstances, but I owed it to you guys. Being drunker would have helped.

    Also, please note the proper use of the exclamation point in Jordan Schafer’s nickname. ;-)

  3. back to back to back…

    when was the last time we saw three 2 out doubles?

    but that’s their thing – RISP

    what’s our thing, at this moment?

  4. I’m hoping that rather than being months that start with “A”s that Justin hits much of anything, it’s actually months that start with vowels. If he goes cold in September and on a tear again in October, I will not complain.

  5. The Cardinals just have good hitters across the board. Five guys that are OPS’ing above 800 … that’s a pretty good offense for this day and age.

  6. Isn’t it 7 Braves that have been injured and lost for the season? CMart, Venters, O’Flaherty, Hudson, Pena, Pastornicky, Heyward. Pretty amazing this team has the record it does when you consider that and also the time on the DL for McCann, BJ, Gattis, Laird, Freeman, Uggla, Schafer, Walden, Beachy, Ayala, R Johnson, etc. What a testament to Wren and organizational depth.

  7. The unthinkable question: Who gets a start or four if another of the five men standing (Minor, Teheran, Medlen, Wood, Maholm) goes down?

    A 25-year-old journeyman named Omar Poveda leads Gwinnett in games started this year. He hasn’t been too bad, rocking a 1.28 WHIP and a 7.4 K/9 rate.

    A 26-year-old in AA, Ian Thomas, is striking people out (117 Ks in 93 IP). But this is his first year starting any games and he’s only started 11. Ever.

    Aaron Northcraft was a 10th round pick a few years back and leads Mississippi in starts this year. The numbers look serviceable: 1.28 WHIP, 7.6 K/9, still about 25 innings under what he threw last year so no concern of immediately hitting an innings limit. Maybe him? Or Poveda if they just want to run a replacement-level arm out there to run the clock out on the regular season?

    Sean Gilmartin’s still getting lit up and J.R. Graham’s been on the DL since May. So they’re out.

    I’m just playing with baseball-reference stats here. People who are avid minor league fans, I’m interested to know who you think the next man up would be.

  8. Poveda would probably be the guy. I imagine we are in the market for an arm though.

    Of course, maybe Beachy is fine.

  9. I would not count on Beachy being fine. I’m hoping he won’t need another surgery, but I would at least expect extended rest. I know that players have to be on the roster on Sept 1 to make the post-season. Can we claim players off waivers up until that date? We could use another outfielder and a utility guy that can actually hit also.

  10. @15, I’m not sure it would matter much, but Northcraft or Martin would be my bets. Or maybe someone that’s been in AAA the longest regardless of stats. They wouldn’t hurry any of the lower level prospects.

  11. Text of Jason Heyward’s TwitLong this morning:

    “- Morning. Blessed to see another day.

    “Before I’m asked to do any interviews regarding my most recent injury, I’d like to personally..

    “Thank EVERYONE for their well wishes, positive thoughts and prayers. I’m overwhelmed by the amount of people that have reached out. That love, appreciation and respect makes it hard not to shed a tear. My friends, family and I are grateful. While baseball isn’t life I love this game to death. It’s also hard not to be frustrated and hurt for my teammates, coaches and fans that I have battled with and recieved support from all season. My heart goes out to them as I know there’s never a right time to be injured but at this point in the season it hits home the most. As a group the Braves still have high expectations for the rest of the season and I will participte in whichever way time and healing allows me to do so. On or off the field my teammates always have my love and support. Good, bad or indifferent. Our common goal is to make the playoffs and excel in October. My personal goal is to heal in time to be ready to join my teammates and coaches on the field for the postseason with the mindset to finish what we’ve started. Looking forward to joining my team asap and showing them support until I can be on the field again with them. In the mean time I’ll be doing my best to stay in shape. Putting my best foot forward for an opportunity to play in October.

    “I don’t like taking up your time by talking about myself much. I hate to bring the attention to myself alone, while it’s never all about me. It’s about all of us involved in the game of baseball. But at the end of the day I wanted EVERYONE to recieve the “THANK YOU” and appreciation from me and only me because it’s most genuine. Again thank you, and take care. Talk to u/ see u soon,

    “Jason”

    That kid is one class act.

  12. DOB has a story up that some members of the Braves wonder if the Mets were throwing at Heyward and the pitch got away form him.

  13. The mix of shaving cream and whipped cream up one’s nose might be one of the most nauseating smells of all time.

  14. Well I guess there’s your answer of who gets the nod if someone else in the rotation goes down. So nobody else get hurt!

  15. @31 Very true, he’s been good before. But allowing 16 homeruns in just 50 innings this year is…highly concerning. I don’t mind having him for depth at all, just hope it doesn’t come to that.

  16. @ajcbraves: #Braves lineup: Schafer 7, JUpton 9, Freeman 3, CJohnson 5, McCann 2, Simmons 6, BUpton 8, EJohnson 4, Medlen 1

  17. Gattis gets a day off to think about his sucktitude. Here’s where BJ gets hot…right? Right?! Yeah probably not.

  18. By the way, although Fred Johnson was known as Cactus Johnson, Pretzles Getzien is still the best name. (Though Cactus Johnson does sound somewhat painful for the ladies.)

  19. They used to call me Cactus Johnson.. back before the surgery..

    EDIT: Of course, now you can just take penicillin for that.

  20. Ben Sheets used to be good, then sucked for a long, long time and then, ya know, didn’t.

  21. Actually, upon further inspection, Sheets never really sucked. He just couldn’t stay in the field.

  22. Beachy DL’d with right elbow inflammation. Meeting with Andrews on Monday. Cunningham recalled.

  23. I wouldn’t say he takes up the plate but more that he dives in and across it. Helps him get extended on the outside pitches. It’s also why he’s had a hard time adjusting to the inside pitches.

  24. Yeah it’s why the book has been to pitch him hard inside. And it’s why he’s less likely to be able to react and get out of the way. Not that getting out of the way of a 90mph fastball at your head is ever easy. Sometimes the best you can hope to do is just turn your head and hope it hits the helmet.

  25. It’s hard to describe how fast a 90+ mph looks to someone that’s never stood in the box and tried to hit it. The ball gets to home plate somewhere between 0.4 and 0.5 seconds after release. The edge of human reaction time is around 0.2 seconds – limited by the time it takes signals to traverse the nervous system. So you have between 0.2 and 0.3 seconds to process what type of pitch it is, where it’s headed, and whether you want to swing. Try doing all that and also being ready to get out of the way if the pitch is headed right at your face. The whole thing is pretty scary.

  26. Unlike most nights, when we can take it or leave it. ;-)

    EDIT: This just in: Edgmer Escalona has been released by the Rockies. Which presumably means he is now available to trim my lawn. #winning

  27. All moping aside, we are just not the same without the Big Man in right field.

    EDIT: Although Andrelton Simmons cures a lot of ills.

  28. How ridiculous is it that I knew he was going to catch that the entire time? He’s that good.

  29. In the late 90s I always preferred to miss the Braves batting if I had to miss a half inning because I hated to miss watching Andruw play center. Simmons has revived that for me. I’m a sucker for good defense.

  30. @53, Totally with you, ‘Rissa. I love watching our pitchers and defense, especially when we’re holding a lead. That can be the most exciting points in the game. And, yes, Andrelton gives a similar buzz to Andruw. May “The Reason” stay that way as long as Andruw did!

  31. What happened there with Fredi? Was he tossed? These St. Louis announcers are absolutely no help.

  32. @59 Justin yelled “Fuck me” after contact. Apparently that’s now a tossable offense.

    Fucking umpshows. So ridiculous.

  33. Shoot. Really wish that ball had dropped. Good defense is a lot more fun to watch when we’re the ones doing it.

  34. Justin had questioned two strike calls pretty vocally, once his last at-bat and on the pitch previous to his groundout. When he hit that ball he was yelling at himself, but the ump must have thought it was directed at him. Really bizarre play.

  35. I was out of the room when that happened, just saw the replay. That ump was way out of line.

  36. Doesn’t matter what he said…you can’t eject our best hitter in that situation. That ump should be fired.

  37. That’s all on Upton. He’s lucky he didn’t get run in the first inning for throwing his equipment like a big baby.

    And it’s not like he just yelled the f-word. He yelled “F— you,” as he ran to first.

    Heyward being injured is Upton’s problem, not Nauert’s. So, after his temper tantrum in the first, it’s up to Upton to keep himself in the game, not Nauert.

  38. Bleh. That extra run really hurts. I vote we score some runs over the next few days and NOT get swept by the Cardinals.

  39. It sounded like “you” when I heard it.

    But the point still stands. He should have been tossed in the 3rd. It’s up to him to keep himself in the ball game after that.

  40. I may prefer the Braves face the Dodgers to the Cardinals this October. For some reason, it feels as if the Cardinals will always come up with the random hit, or get the freak call, or just get lucky in general this late in the season. They freak me out.

  41. @74

    It’s been that way for years. The only reason I don’t root for a massive sinkhole to swallow them and their insufferable fans tonight is that for the next two days, it would claim the Braves, as well.

  42. “The Braves fell 3-1, but this game was never as close as the final score would indicate.”

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