Will anyone who wants to win the NL East please stand up? Anyone? Anyone? While the Braves have gone 0-8 on a (mostly) tough west coast trip, the Nationals haven’t exactly lit up the scoreboard against the dregs of the NL East. While they should have sealed up the division by this point, since the Braves have forgotten that the point of playing baseball is to try to win, the Nationals have gone 4-6 over their past ten games and are only 4 games up. Seriously, it’s as though the NL East title is poisonous and everyone is doing their best to try to stay well away from it.
The Braves finished up a winless eight-game road trip this afternoon (the only other Braves team to reach that level of futility was the 1949 Boston squad, so we got to witness history this week). Because the Nationals do not appear to be interested in the division title, the Braves will probably hang within striking distance for the rest of the season, winning just enough to fill us with false hope; however, I do not think any team can fully recover from an 0-8 road trip in August, unless they go into it with a double digit division lead. That trip hurt.
The offense managed to actually get three runs today, an anomaly for the past week. Freddie Freeman has been struggling mightily since the All-Star Game, but he went 3-for-4 today with two of the team’s three RBIs. The Braves actually took a 3-1 lead and with Julio Teheran on the mound it looked for one brief moment that the team might pull one game out on this trip. But Julio wasn’t very Julio-like today, and he gave the lead right back, ultimately giving up six runs over six innings. Very few offenses can overcome a performance like that from the starting pitcher, and for the Braves offense, with the way it has been operating, the task was impossible. A 7-3 final score brought this trip to a merciful end.
The Braves return home to lick their wounds and take on the Nationals this weekend. A sweep and we’re right back in it—did I mention how terrible this division is?—but then the Dodgers and A’s come to town, so it’s not exactly like this homestand offers much promise of relief. An off day on Thursday will feel very familiar, since it seems as though the Braves have taken the past nine days off, as well. I hope to be able to watch some real baseball again soon.
Natspo(s) delenda est.
25 thoughts on “One Does Not Simply…Recover from an 0-8 Road Trip”
Is it just my perception or do the metrics back up Andrelton Simmons being just awful at the plate this year?
Not just you. He has been very near the bottom 10 worst qualified hitters this year.
It is perfectly fine for a team to have an all glove, no stick player at a key defensive position. You just can’t have that player AND two other black hole offensive positions in your lineup.
He’s been pretty bad by any measure. Nothing really sticks out other than a pretty big drop off in power from last year. His BABIP will always be low because he swings at everything and hits most of the bad balls (usually weakly).
I heard on one of the broadcasts that he’s been battling a shoulder injury all year, which would certainly help explain the power outage. They can’t really ever give him a day off, which would make it harder for an injury to heal.
I really couldn’t believe we hadn’t had a worse road trip in our history, because I remember the 1982 August West Coast Road Trip like it was yesterday. But Rissa is right, we actually won a game on that trip (lost 9 in a row, beat San Diego 6-5 then promptly dropped the last game of the road trip to the Padres, before returning home and losing our first three games of a four-game series to the Expos—-which saw us go 2-19 and blow a 9 game lead to the Dodgers, and find ourselves 3 games back with just 43 to play. BUT AMAZINGLY, the Braves won the division going a strong, but not earth-shattering 26-17 the rest of the way, that same percentage would give us 86 wins this year, that’s going to be tough for this team to do, and frankly might not be enough.
Personally, I prefer not to see this team make the playoffs and lose in the first round. Wren, or his replacement, should understand this is a very flawed team, and start making the necessary changes. I prefer a high draft pick to a playoff slot.
Anyone my age, attempting to find a filtered ray of sunshine about now, was probably thinking about that 2-19 stretch in 1982. Yes, that team won the division & it was a kinda similar situation—nobody in the division was really very good. (Once again, thank you, Joe Morgan.)
Was at Tigers/Yanks in The Bronx tonight & it occurred to me how much of a bummer it was to be on such a shit-skid. A week ago, we were 10 games over .500—a flawed club, but creaking forward somehow—and it was great to be at Yankee Stadium most of the season, knowing my team was outpacing the Pinstripers. After today, however, we’re 2 over & they’re now 5 over.
Maybe tomorrow’s dreaded off-day’s a good thing. Maybe playing Washington is the tonic. Looking for that ray of sunshine.
Cool. The Cubs need fans.
Wren isn’t going anywhere.
I still think we make the playoffs.
Ah, the 82 team.
I remember the first playoff game was during Fall Quarter my 2nd year of Law School. Professor and Assistant Dean Paul Kurtz brought a portable TV to Domestic Relations Class so we all could watch the game. I think that is the one that Niekro was in command off with a rain out. After that, a team flame out.
Kurtz was a great guy in many ways. He finally retired in the last year and I do wish him lots of happiness.
@6 – really? This team is hard to like but golly.
Like Alex said, I love this team; but I hate this team. I’m glad the Braves are off today. Wait, is that redundant?
Re the 82 team,
I won’t forget the Jerry Royster game in LA as long as I live. Oy, what a way to lose. I think the analogy to that team and this team is apt in some ways but not others. It wasn’t a great team and the division was weak, but, unlike 2014, they had played extremely well for most of the season until the Dodgers came to town (61-37). (And, for that matter, played well after the slump.) As I recall, they had a big lead in the first game,lost and got swept in the four games and things started snowballing. This year, the Braves really haven’t played well for any extended length of time; even the strong April start was because of ridiculously good pitching rather than good overall play. Frankly, I don’t think Phil Niekro would have spit the bit in a big game like Teheran did yesterday.
Going back even farther, the 1969 team started strong and then slumped (albeit not like the ’82 team) and came on strong at the end, winning 10 straight in September. Of couse, it helped to have Hank Aaron and Rico Carty in the middle of the order.
Update: 5-13 since Bethancourt went down #bringbackbeth
Can’t put my finger on it, but for some reason Teheran and Oso don’t click.
Not blaming either guy, but I wouldn’t pair them again.
@14 The Braves lost five extra inning games on the ’82 road trip including three straight to the Dodgers. The shock of Royster’s error has stayed with me for 32 years. Sometimes, I wonder what I’ve done with my life.
Looking back on the 26-17 finish for the ’82 season, I was surprised to see we actually had TWO 4-game losing streaks. (Sept 4-7, and Sept 13-17), It’s amazing my marriage survived.
I won’t ever forget the Game 1 rainout in the ’82 NLCS. Niekro was in command, Claudell Washington had an early triple to get us the lead, and I had skipped school to watch my team in the postseason for the first time. Game was called with 3 outs before it went official, we got blown out in the next game, and from then on it was heartbreak city. A fitting early indoctrination to Braves fandom…
That ’82 season was a magical ride. It was the first year we had cable, and for the Braves to open with 13 straight and then hang on to win the division, it was quite a year. That’s the season our family adopted the Braves as our team, and we’ve been with them for 32 years now.
The ’82 team was also easy to like, even with their flaws. I can’t say the same about this year’s team. While I like some of the players, most in fact, I just don’t see this group as very “rootable”, though I’d speculate there are some leadership and chemistry issues among the ranks. The manager also lacks charisma, and I’d theorize he let’s his anxiety rub off on the team.
Hopefully they turn things around this weekend. As I’ve said before, the Nationals seem to bring out the best in them.
When the going gets tough, the tough get Schadenfreude:
Bryce Harper has only played 53 games this season, so his WAR figures are partially a function of his limited playing time, but when you extrapolate, it’s a 159-game pace of 0.3 WAR according to Baseball Reference, and -0.3 WAR according to Fangraphs.
That’s lovely enough on its own, but it’s even lovelier when you compare it to Jason Heyward. Lovelier still when you read that awful racist opinion piece from a couple years ago (http://dailycaller.com/2012/06/15/bryce-harper-conservative-hero/). But here’s my favorite way to look at it: Even if you pretend he was never injured, he’s a worse player this season than
Andrelton Simmons or Chris Johnson.
You’re welcome, Bravesjournal.
I can say with certainty that the pain of an 8 game losing streak is nothing compared to hearing the Atlanta media dust off and run into the ground every awful sports cliche about chemistry etc. ever conceived. All the goddamn closed door meetings in the world isn’t going to change the fact that only having three legitimate threats in a low offense environment is not going to win a ton of games.
I think it’ll probably be best if we never link to ideological blogs on this site, but I am incredibly glad that I don’t have to try to root for Bryce Harper, who has managed to be both unpleasant and crappy.
Sorry for the link, Alex. I thought that one was topical, but I’ll think twice before doing it again.