Red Sox 4, Braves 3 (By Kyle B.)

The Braves shipped up to Boston and managed to get swept out of town in a four game home-and-home series. After getting blanked on Wednesday at Fenway, the Braves took the field against Jake Peavy looking to snap their losing streak. Entering play only a half-game up on the idle Marlins, the Braves countered with Mike Minor on the hill.

Minor was sharp in the early innings. Apart from a Xander Bogaerts double in the first, Minor worked ahead of hitters and stayed out of trouble. The Braves’ bats stayed quiet until Jason Heyward crushed a belt-high pitch deep to right field in the top of the third to make it 1-0. The Braves added a run in the fourth after a Freddie Freeman walk, a Jake Peavy balk (with the assist from Bob Davidson, of course), and a solid single by Evan Gattis.

The Red Sox broke through in the fifth to make the game 2-1 on Green Monster Doubles from former Brave David Ross and Brock Holt. Minor would exit the game after seven solid innings and 113 pitches, surrendering one earned run, striking out three and walking no one.

The Braves added to their lead in the eighth thanks to a booming double by The Offense off Peavy which scored B.J. Upton. In the bottom half, things fell apart. Quickly. With Minor out of the game, Holt lead off the inning against David Carpenter with a single and went to second on a poor defensive play by Justin Upton. Bogaerts followed with a sharp single to right, tightening the game to 3-2 before an out was recorded. In the next at-bat, Dustin Pedroia grounded a ball up the middle which was booted Tommy La Stella. It appeared La Stella wasn’t sure if Simmons would field the ball, and just collapsed in a heap on top of the baseball. Following a mound visit by McDowell, A.J. Pierzynski singled up the middle and the ball was promptly booted by B.J. Upton. Tie game. You’re killing me, Smalls.

After getting a strikeout of Jonny Gomes, Carpenter was pulled for Luis Avilan who retired Grady Sizemore with a strong off-speed pitch. Avilan was taken down after intentionally walking David Ortiz, and Kimbrel came in for the eighth (!). Dogs and cats. Living together. Mass hysteria. Actually, Kimbrel retired David Ross, and the game proceeded to the ninth deadlocked at 3-3.
Unable to take the lead in the top of the ninth, Kimbrel climbed the hill again. Jackie Bradley, Jr., and Holt lead off the bottom of the ninth with back-to-back walks. The game ended without an out being recorded. Bogaerts drove a sharp ball to the left side and Johnson made a terrific stop, but what happened next was the ball game. Johnson fed the ball to La Stella at second in an attempt to turn two, and although the ball looked catchable, it kicked off La Stella’s glove away from the bag allowing Bradley to score. Walk-off defensive failure. I don’t think we’ll be seeing Kimbrel in the eighth ever again.

Overall, the series played out like a mixtape of the worst parts of the 2014 Atlanta Braves: stranded runners, lackadaisical defense, the inability to hold a lead, and inconsistent middle relief. Throw in a Santana Episode (see: Glossary), and the Braves were swept out of town by a last place team coming off a ten game losing streak. With Atlanta blowing leads in three of the four games, the series was full of missed opportunities. The Braves will enter the weekend series against the Marlins tied with the Fish atop the NL East.

To end the post on a positive note, Justin Upton had a terrific series and extended his hitting streak to twelve games. He needs some help though. Now go back to pretending the American League doesn’t exist.

106 thoughts on “Red Sox 4, Braves 3 (By Kyle B.)”

  1. Thanks Timo. The last two innings were unreal. Definitely spoiled a good start by Minor.

  2. Great recap. When I read the wrap up on the MLB app last night I thought I was reading the description of a clown show. Wow. I can understand hitting slumps but for God sake, catching and throwing should be second nature to ‘professionals’ playing at the highest level.

    I see Judy hit a home run last night. I hope that this is the start of one of his torrid streaks that I hope goes uninterrupted by a bad organ or a ball to the face. The dude has to step up. He cannot be satisfied with being a complimentary player.

  3. What really needs to happen on this team is one of the everyday regulars needs to become the calming force. This was something TP, Justice, Chipper and McCann were.

    Freeman or Heyward need to set some of these guys strait off the field (poor defensive effort/ bad ABs) I am not saying it has or has not happened, but it doesn’t seem like it. Those two also need to stop having bad ABs in big situations as well.

    It seems to me there might be a lack of player leadership on this team. I know that is an arbitrary point, but there is no way BJ misplays 3-4 balls in center field like he has this year with Chipper on the team.

  4. Over the last two seasons, the Braves have lost their three most senior players (Chipper, Huddy, and McCann). I agree there is a deficiency in leadership, but you know, catch the ball guys.

  5. I know it’s not Red Sox or Yankees, so the media will pretty much ignore it, but what rookie phenom Russ Springer is doing in Houston this month is pretty amazing. Almost unprecedented.

  6. This series felt like a Braves playoff series to me. This could very well have been the 2013 World Series in an alternate timeline (Braves of Future Past?). Inconsistent, lack of clutch hitting, errors, not holding slim leads, bullpen failure including the ace relievers. That has pretty much been the Braves playoff failure recipe for the last decade and a half.

  7. @12, I made a similar observation in last night’s game thread. It even had the extra ingredient of simulating a seven-game series with the Braves holding HFA. We suck in the postseason…we even suck in postseason simulations!

  8. Every team, even very good ones (which this team is not), have low points in a season. Let’s hope this is the lowest one for the 2014 Braves, since this week has been pretty awful.

  9. We didn’t have a month this bad last year. I’d be curious to see what the worst monthly record is for any playoff team in the last 10 years or so. I’m thinking that a losing month probably isn’t unheard of, but I’d like to get an idea of exactly how rare it is for a team to lose 16 or 17 games in a month and still make the playoffs.

  10. @15. Off the top of my head, I know Sep 1996 and Jun 2000 were losing months for Braves playoff teams, including one that nearly won a world championship.

  11. I was just looking through the 2000-present Braves results and we did have a few 1st place finishes where we had a losing month, but usually offset with one or two completely “on-fire” months (like 21-7 or something). You forget how good some of those early 2000’s teams were…

  12. George Spriner would crush those Russ Springer knucklers.

    HOWEVER, in Ken Griffey Jr.’s Slugfest for N64, you could not TOUCH that knucksie. You wanna win a head-to-head? Bring in Springer until the game forces you to take him out. Ballgame.

  13. @19, his inner circle calls him Russ. 7 HRs in 7 games is so good that I can’t even get his name right.

  14. Someone in my fantasy league got impatient and dropped Springer right before he went off. I didn’t waste any time gobbling him up, and am now riding him right up the rankings.

  15. Really frustrating watching the Brock Holt 295 foot flyout that hit off the wall for a double and the Freddie Freeman 430-foot drive that hit off the wall for a double. Stupid green hellhole.

    Two doubles in the book, but neither of them should have been.

  16. @15: You might want to look at all months but September. I remember going to quite a few September Braves games where the starters either didn’t play or were gone by the 4th inning.

  17. @24, I thought the same thing. Surprisingly the only really terrible September is the epic collapse from a few years ago. Most of the losing months during our good seasons were April or May.

  18. #23
    It’s not always “fair” & that’s what makes that place interesting, IMO.

    Bucky Dent’s pop-fly is a HR in ’78 & Joe Morgan’s blast to deep RF in the ’75 WS gets caught & becomes a DP. Them’s the breaks. Both teams gotta play there.

    The more regulation parks, like the old AFC-Stadium, Riverfront, 3 Rivers, etc., were the boring ones, not Fenway.

  19. #Braves lineup: Heyward 9 B.J. 8 Freeman 3 J. Upton 7 Gattis C C. Johnson 5 Simmons 6 La Stella 4 Teheran 1

    Not a big fan of hitting La Stella 8th. The 2 best PH’s, Doumit and Pena, are better at hitting from the left side, and then Heyward bats after that.

  20. @31

    Good point. But you know the newly-arrived banjo-hitting 2B is gonna be in the 8 spot for a while. #tradition

  21. 20 — Dennis Springer was the knuckleballer. Russ Springer was a hard thrower. George Springer is the Astros’ rookie. And Jerry Springer has a TV show.

  22. 25 — I also loved the Griffey SNES games, particularly the original. I miss that game, I let a friend borrow it and never got it back.

  23. @26 – My all-time favorite baseball video game, and one of my all-time favorite video games, period. I still play it when I visit my dad’s house.

  24. I have Ken Griffey Jr.’s Slugfest for N64, and I’ve played it a LOT over the years. There are two hitting modes in that game. The first is “Arcade,” where you move the bat to the ball, and the game shows a shadow for where the ball’s going, and the knuckleball is really easy to hit there, because it always hits that spot. The second is “Classic,” where all you do is move the hitter left and right in the batter’s box and try to time your swing. I’ve always found Classic mode a lot harder. And I’d imagine the knuckleball is damn near impossible to hit in that mode.

  25. @26, @36 – My favorite part about Ken Griffey Jr. Presents is that the announcer refers to exactly one player (that I know of) by his nickname.

    “Now batting, Gerald “Ice” Williams”.

  26. Well I’ll be damned, Jerry Springer does still have a TV show. I would not have figured that to be still ongoing at this point. I salute anyone who can carve that type of niche for that long.

  27. The Braves are 11-15 in the month of May. If they win the last 2 games of the month, they’ll be 13-15, hardly good baseball, but not worth committing fandom suicide.

    And La Stella needs more than 2 days playing to be deemed the doomer. Give him a break…

  28. Thank you, Kyle B.

    BJ has played a less than spectacular centerfield since his arrival in Atlanta. CJ is almost average at times. As a leftfielder, Justin is a good but streaky hitter. Freddie’s better than okay with glove or bat; Jason is great defensively in a position that his streaky bat is a detriment, and Andrelton’s glove makes whatever his bat provides a bonus. Gattis is okay with both glove and bat, and La Stella’s a work in progress.

    If the Js catch the ball, we’re better. If they hit also, we’re pretty damn good.

    Thank God for pitching.

  29. Two on, none out. Time to spin the wheel of misfortune. Will it land on “strikeout, GIDP”? Or perhaps “baserunning blunder”? Or maybe “swing at ball 4 in the opposite batter’s box for strike three in three consecutive PA’s”?

    EDIT: We have a winner: “strikeout, GIDP.”

  30. Glad to see being swept by the Red Sox hasn’t changed the way the Braves play baseball. That K and GIPD show they are in mid-game form.

  31. Turning off the TV, taking the rest of the night off. I can’t watch this right now.

  32. So that is how you do it? Stanton is the player we hoped Justin would be, but then again Walker isn’t his hitting coach

  33. Gahhhh, I thought Andrelton had a double off the RF wall for sure.

    Also, CJ hit the ball hard, sometimes you just get unlucky and hit the ball at the fielder.

  34. Maybe I’m the eternal optimist…but at least we don’t have the Royals coaching staff in place here.

    just sayin’

  35. Dear Joe, please don’t tell any Braves’ hitter to expand his strike zone. Ever. I don’t care who it is. These guys swing at pitches out of the zone way too much, and the last thing we need is TLS to be like that. He’s doing a fine job making this a good AB on his own.

  36. Freddie’s regretting his surprising outburst a month ago…

    ‘There’s nowhere they can go to get me out on a consistent basis’ (paraphrase)

    Hubris…and you pay the usual price. You look like an idiot for a week or three.

  37. Regression is 0-2 tonight when going to right field, and 1-1 with an RBI when going to left. Joe doesn’t know what to do with himself.

  38. Three outs on two pitches. Guys, could you have given us hope for at least another minute?

  39. @59 Weren’t the words “right now” in Freddie’s quote somewhere?

    Terrible luck with Simmons and Gattis right there. We just can’t catch a break.

  40. Well at least we finally found a couple of holes. This team is just ate up with the bad luck lately. At’em balls everywhere.

  41. Have yourself a night at the plate, Julio. Too bad neither of those hits came in the 2nd, when he was up with men on base. Maybe he should play 2nd and be our leadoff hitter?

  42. Heyward is becoming less of a problem and more of a solution. I like the way this is trending.

  43. Hope Teheran can go at least 8 tonight. I have no faith in the bullpen right now.

  44. I’m watching with the sound off tonight (it’s the recommended way to best enjoy Chip and Joe)…have they talked about the fact that Gattis is giving about 3 sets of signs – plus maybe other subtle ones that are harder to notice – on every single pitch, even with the bases empty?

    Fredi is taking that sign-stealing theory pretty seriously. Good for him.

  45. Not sure, but they are talking about the TRAVESTY of Stanton being fourth in the NL OF ASG voting.

  46. Any other subscribers having serious problems with their service tonight?

  47. I can’t access the audio or video feeds right now. It’s been flaky all night, but now I’m stuck with GameDay. I wish there was a better way I could watch the Braves, because I hate paying so much for such poor service.

  48. This world would be a much better place if we can just get rid of the American League.

  49. Forget getting rid of AL teams, let’s get rid of AL rules. If we play with a DH tonight we lose our best hitter (Teheran) and probably lose the game.

  50. ‘Rissa, I was having problems with the app on Samsung smart TVs. I didn’t check it on a PC/tablet to see if I was having the same problem. I tend to have problems on the TV more than any other medium, so it might not have been itself.

  51. Couldn’t get to work on any platform tonight. Was having issues the other day as well.

  52. Thanks, he will be a welcomed addition then. It would be nice to see Walden stay healthy for longer than 2 weeks at a time. Peanut also mentioned that the Braves are close to being ready for stretching out Alex Wood again

  53. @00 Thanks Rissa. Very interesting read. Like this one:

    “A couple of Sundays ago in St. Louis, the Braves’ Freddie Freeman hit a home run against Jaime Garcia in the first inning. In Freeman’s next at-bat, in the fourth inning, Garcia hit him on the shoulder blade with a pitch. In the bottom of that inning, Braves starter Gavin Floyd plunked Garcia in turn.

    “I went up to [Floyd], hugged him and said ‘I love you,'” Freeman said after the game. “He said, ‘I’ve always got your back.'””

  54. So last night Freeman goes 0 – 4 with 3 Ks and looks totally lost at the plate; meanwhile BJ goes 1 – 2 with a walk, and the only two outs he made were line drives (one of which turned into a sac fly). Did Freddie and BJ pull a Freaky Friday on the plane flight from Boston to Atlanta?

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