Natinals 5, Braves 4

Today was a little bit like yesterday. Alex Wood had a really bad first inning, giving up three runs — he might have gotten away with less if he had just walked Bryce Harper, who came to the plate with two outs and first base open — but he ended the day with a line of 6 2/3 innings, seven strikeouts against one walk, and he was 3-3 with an RBI single at the dish. (I don’t really get it either, but it was cool.)

The Braves scratched out three runs in the first three innings on Jordan Zimmermann, and just like Friday night, the bats went cold after that. They finally got another one in the 7th and might have gotten more than that, but Dan Uggla dove to stab a line drive and doubled a man off second, which killed a rally.

Jace Peterson (2-4) is heating up, and Freddie Freeman (2-4) remains hot. Christian Bethancourt went 0-4 while only seeing 11 pitches, which is just awful. Wood was able to hold the Nationals scoreless after the first, but Fredi pulled him in the 7th, and while Brandon Cunniff was able to get us out of the inning, Cody Martin came on in the 8th and gave up the tying run and winning run. That was your ballgame, of course. Fredi has been using Martin about as frequently as he used to use Venters and O’Flaherty, and I’m worried that his arm will shortly be just as dead.

In the near term, it’s aggravating to get swept by the Nationals, but hardly shameful, since they’re supposed to win the World Series this year anyway. Tomorrow they’ll be in Cincinnati, and hopefully they’ll make a better showing.

91 thoughts on “Natinals 5, Braves 4”

  1. These Washington teams (Wizards, Caps & Nats) are just not cooperating.

    And it’s true that, no matter how low the expectations are, few things are more frustrating than having a bullpen that routinely coughs up late leads.

    Can’t get too worked up about it, of course, but it would be nice to be at or above .500.

  2. Damn, this year’s relievers are going to give 2006’s bullpen a run for their money in terms of pure suck, aren’t they?

  3. One of the things Wren did really well was find cheap and good arms for the bullpen. I know low expectations and all, but I thought that Wood was really good after the 1st yesterday. He seems to have the 1st-inning-Glavine-syndrome though.

  4. Random observation: In case anyone thinks Jace Peterson hasn’t hit the big time yet, a memorabilia dealer located in the Marietta Square has JP’s autographed baseballs selling for $55.00 (“and will be going up”). Heck, Timothy Miller, the guy who sings on Sundays, is selling for $45.00. Oh, and did you know that official baseballs are not called “baseballs,” but are actually referred to as “unsigned balls” and worth $20.00? I’m in the wrong business.

  5. Just because: Julio Franco is currently a PLAYER-manager in Japan…and he has a .333 batting average.

  6. @6 If that were anybody else, I’d say it’s a good indicator of league quality over there. But not with our trusty Dominican cyborg.

  7. @8, An MLB managing position seems to be what he’s angling for. And with more and more high-profile players stepping right in, why not him?

  8. First Craig Counsell, then maybe Julio Franco–is there any hope Bagwell can manage? It’s about time we open the management game up to the Batting Stance All-Stars.

    Other candidates?

    @10, That was wonderful.

  9. I wouldn’t mind having Julio “The Juice of Jesus Christ Makes Me Spray Liners All Over The Yard” Franco in our system.

  10. @6, Julio was the last active professional older than me. I am happy to hear he is still going.

  11. I feel sorry for Cody, his career may soone be ruined from overuse. This weekend was a combo of bludgeoning and Nat’s ownership…the tables have been turned, and really poor decisions, like pitching to Harper and Howard (Phils)…see a pattern here? (HHHHH)

  12. A couple of observations:

    Two very winnable games here (last 2), frittered away. Yesterday, Zimmerman is on the ropes , can’t find the zone, and we let him off the hook. Simmons twice swung at first pitches, both resulting in outs, one after Markakis walked on four pitches. Stupid.

    The bullpen is 1) not what we’re used to in terms of quality and 2) severely overtaxed. Other than Miller’s CG, we struggle to complete the sixth inning. Until the starters start to go 7 or 8, we are going to get torched when we go to the pen.

    Oddly, the thing that was supposed to stink, the offense, is not that bad.

  13. If Julio would pay attention to the games, he would be an instant upgrade over what we have now.

  14. We let Gio Gonzalez off the hook, too — Friday night was relatively winnable until the bullpen gave up homers to the entire Nat lineup. Gio couldn’t find the plate with a map in the early going, but eventually he settled in and the hitters went to sleep.

    This team isn’t bad, and it wouldn’t be hard to turn this team into an 82-game winner. Hopefully they’ll remain aggressive on the waiver wire to improve the bullpen, because it has been a miserable showing thus far. The biggest question for the team right now is what to do with Trevor Cahill. He isn’t a reliever, he’s making $6 million, and he’s occupying a roster spot that could be given to another reliever. If he can’t outpitch Stults, I’m really not sure what role he has on the team.

  15. I’m not convinced the offensive output is going to stay at this level, despite being on the AJ bandwagon. Unless the relief pitching is fixed, I think the roof is really about to cave in here.

  16. I agree, and I’m completely OK with that. I’d rather miss the playoffs and get a top-five pick than miss the playoffs and get a pick in the teens.

  17. @20, good point. Since our 5-0 start, we are 9-17, which is about a 60 win pace if extrapolated to the whole season. And this is with the offense overachieving and Shelby Miller pitching like a bona fide ace.

    Of course, we also don’t expect Julio Teheran (or to a lesser extent Alex Wood) to be nearly as bad as he’s been. So maybe the collective regressions will balance out.

  18. @20, I think you’re probably mostly right, though I do believe that there’s a decent chance that Maybin will be better than we’d thought — like, a league-average player — and I think that it’s also decently likely that the Gomes/Johnson/Johnson/Callaspo platoon in 3B/LF will result in nearly league-average production at those positions as well (or, at least, below-average but well above replacement). Finally, Jace Peterson appears to be capable of being league-average himself, particularly if his glove is as good as it looks to the eyes.

    We’re not a good team, by any means. But I think that it’s quite possible that we are less bad than we were last year at several of our worst positions.

  19. Of course, we also don’t expect Julio Teheran (or to a lesser extent Alex Wood) to be nearly as bad as he’s been.

    Hey now…

  20. Julio Franco is currently a PLAYER-manager in Japan…and he has a .333 batting average.

    Kind of puts things in perspective when people cite Japanese stats as indicative of anything.

  21. @27, IMHO, a 56 year-old having even a SSS .333 batting average in any professional baseball context at all is more fun to read about than your whining about Chip Caray or the Kimbrel trade.

  22. @26, Alex Wood has been bad to a much lesser extent than Julio Teheran has, but both have been worse than we expected.

  23. @28 He’s playing semi-pro ball in Japan so take the professional aspect of it how you will. Still a funny story though.

  24. What other fun and frivolous things would you all like to pick apart today? :(

  25. Nothing sadder than seeing a guy like Franco hang on. Everybody knows he was done at 46.

  26. So this will be the last time the Braves see the Reds in 2015? Weird to be completely done with a team in early May.

  27. @40

    If you’ve never had a few too many drinks and called up the rain delay show doing your own impersonation of what the typical caller sounds like, well… You’re missing out on one of the simple joys in life.

  28. Ok, wrong sport, but what on earth is Schroeder doing running the point with the game on the line? JEFF TEAGUE IS ON THE FLOOR.

  29. Not good enough: Schröder Schröder Schröder
    Now see if the Braves can pick up Ronny Cedeño

    Sorry, Edward: I don’t mean to be so diacritical.

  30. AJ was safe and they blocked the plate. Not sure how calls can still be missed during a slow motion replay.

  31. It was a force – but he didn’t touch the plate for whatever reason and opted to tag

  32. The catcher was surprised by the throw. It happened fast and he had to block the plate and go for the tag.

    I cannot believe we couldn’t put the knockout on Leake.

  33. And that’s why Goose is on the roster! Fun way to take the lead. Too bad our closer is hurt…

  34. We’ve had 25 men on base and we take the lead on a 3b steal and a wild pitch? By Phil Gosselin? Bizarre.

  35. One of the NL’s worst pitching staffs coming into Great American Ballpark, and we’re treated to a 4-hitter, just like we all expected.

  36. Yeah, 11 hits should give us a little margin, but… a little scrappiness, a gift & a lotta pitching = a win. Will take what we can get these days. Thanks, Mr. Chapman.

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