Well, That’s Over

The good news about today’s game is that the Braves don’t have to play in San Diego any more this season. Apparently it’s in the rule book somewhere that Atlanta is not allowed to win at Petco Park. Maybe we should circulate a petition for the commissioner’s office requesting that rule be changed. Anyone willing to head that up?

This game was a much more respectable 3-2 loss, which shows some progression from the whuppin’ they took last night. If they can learn to lose with dignity like this for the rest of the season, it will be a much more respectable way to go.

Julio Teheran started on the road today, which meant psychologically the Braves started the game down a few runs. Amazingly, following a 35+ pitch first inning in which he got Mudge to ground out to short with the bases loaded to end the inning, Julio looked very Jome Julio-ish and shut the Padres down until the sixth, when Yangervis Solarte homered to tie the game at one.

(To file away in your perfectly-useless-knowledge portion of your brain, for some strange reason, Baseball Reference has a picture of Justin as a Padre, but Melvin is still shown with an “A” on his cap. Does the pain never stop?)

Matt Marksberry inherited a tie game in the seventh and very quickly made sure it would become untied. He gave up two runs in 2/3 of an inning before Peter Moylan came on and put out the fire. Having Mo-lo back in the big leagues with the Braves is almost enough to motivate me to keep watching these guys once the games get into the later innings. His story never gets old.

The Braves pulled back to within one run in the eighth, when Nick Markakis picked up his second RBI of the day by bringing Cameron Maybin home for the second time of the day. Freddie Freeman was sandwiched between those two in his return the lineup, and he picked up a hit and drew a walk. Even though the top four hitters in the Braves lineup recorded seven hits and three walks (with the 8th hit coming from Julio), all they could translate that into was two runs. That wasn’t enough.

Down one run in the ninth, the almost-worse offense in baseball faced the best closer in baseball and no imagination is required to guess how that turned out.

Like lambs to the slaughter, the Braves now head to Chicago to continue their road trip. Reasons to watch this series:
—You get to hear all the inside knowledge Chip Caray retains from his days as a Cubs broadcas…

Okay, I got nothing. Except that, on the bright side, it would be a major feat of ineptness—or downright atrociousness—for the Braves to lose all of their remaining games, so you may want to keep tuning in on the off chance you catch one of their remaining wins. They’re so rare it would be a shame to miss one.

44 thoughts on “Well, That’s Over”

  1. Thanks for another great recap, ‘Rissa.
    I am flying to Chicago today to see the Braves on Friday and Saturday. Never been to Wrigley, really looking forward to it. My main objective is to be the reason for the first Shelby win in, what, seventeen games.

  2. I haven’t seen Matt Marksberry pitch, but judging from the results he does not seem to have major league ability.

  3. Thanks for the great (sad) recap, ‘Rissa.

    Have a blast, Timo. Shelby thanks you for your service.

    I still can’t believe how much fun this team is.

  4. At least we’re not striking out. The added aesthetic value of not striking out as much is worth at least one more spot in the watchability rankings. So we’d only be the 29th least watchable team, at worst. They really go out there and come in dead last in offense the right way.

  5. Also, lol lol lol at the four lowest OPS+ in the league coming from the NL East. So not only has our offense been wretched, but the majority of the games we’ve played have been against teams with wretched offenses too.

  6. Well done, ‘Rissa.

    Listening to Chip may require fortification o’er the coming series. Recommendations in keeping with the solemnity of the occasion are invited and appreciated.

  7. @7 – Given our current trends, #5 or #6 is what we could be looking at. Our run scoring pace has been better than last year, but again with current trends, it’s going to be close.

  8. @8 my recommendation for fortification is yoohoo with some kind of tasty dark rum added (Myers, Capt Morgan Black, etc.).

  9. Minor league mehs

    John Gant pitched 5.2 innings yesterday allowing 0 ER, 1 unearned run on 3 hits and 2 BB with 6 K. Now in 4 starts with Miss, he has logged 25 innings with a 1.17 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 25K:8BB, opponents hitting .158.

    Rob Whalen, the other prospect acquired in the Mets deal, is on the DL. He was pulled after 1 inning in his start on 8/6 and went on the DL a few days later.

    Hector Olivera went 1-6 with a double in a Rome DH, his first hit as a Brave. He is now 1-17 for us between GCL and Rome.

    Dustin Peterson hit a grand slam for the Carolina Mudskippers on the way to a 3-5. He’s had a little flourish this week after a long period of tepid play. This might’ve been a good season for him if not for the bus accident.

  10. So right now would you guys and gals agree that the current roster would have a chance to lose 95 to 100 games if we played all 162 with them?

    If the answer is yes, then that means we have to add about 25 to 30 wins to the roster between now and the magical 2017 opener in order to be a playoff team. I’m very curious how anyone thinks this is going to happen. Note that we are financially constrained in 2016 by the CJ deal. I’m literally baffled that anyone thinks this is even remotely possible. What am I missing?

  11. @16

    1) Olivera should help.
    2) I think we’ll find stability in the starting rotation in 2016.
    3) We’ll make the right trades or free agent signings to shore up the bullpen. Remember, we’ve traded 8 or 9 bullpen pieces in the last 9 months. The bullpen has blown 7-9 games single-handedly.
    4) A healthy Freeman improves us immediately.
    5) Swisher is a better bat off the bench than anyone we’ve had this year.
    6) Whether through trade, development of Mallex, or improvement by Bourn, we should have left field at least serviceable next year.
    7) Jace should improve.

    A lot of things have to go right, but this isn’t a 95-100 loss club. Plus, if we’re 42-42 on July 7th like we were this year, I can guarantee we’re not selling off every useful part the way we did this year. It was part of the strategy this year, but not next year. Remember, a month ago we as close as 4 games back of the division lead. Since 7/7, we’ve gone 11-25. The season’s completely derailed, but we traded our entire freaking bullpen, lost our closer to injury, and we traded a strong starting pitcher and both sides of a working 3B platoon. What do you expect? I expect different things after this offseason.

  12. Well the huge, gaping, yawning holes are catcher, basically all three outfield spots, and the entire bullpen. That’s assuming (huge assumptions) that Jace Peterson doesn’t fall apart and Olivera is as good at 32 as he is at 30 (we have close to zero clue as to how good he even is at 30).

    The plan must be to trade some pitching for an outfielder , hope Mallex Smith or someone turns into a CF, pay a FA for another outfield spot, sign some absolute scrub of a catcher and hope, and then pray that the pitching you didn’t trade away is both the healthy and good variety of lottery ticket and plentiful enough to fill 3/5ths of a rotation plus a bullpen. The big gambles are the 3rd base situation and pitching. The whole thing seems like an extreme long shot to me, but maybe revenues from the great suburban oasis will be larger than expected and we can just pay the next BJ Upton to come in and clean up the mess?

  13. @16 The 2015 Braves’ run differential extrapolates to a Pythag Win % of .410, or 66 wins / 96 losses over a full year, and keep in mind that number includes one player producing over his head (Shelby Miller) and a roughly infinite number of awful (or at least disappointing) performances.

    It’s eminently possible that the Braves could be a playoff contender by 2017, though it will take things breaking right with the farm system and trades/signings of position players for that to happen. As I see it, the odds are that the Braves will have a very good pitching staff by 2017 to go along with an offense that could be anywhere from mediocre to good – if the offense doesn’t come through, the Braves are just so-so (think 2014 Mets) and if the bats develop, we’ll be in the hunt (think 2015 Mets).

    The other thing you’re missing? The Braves’ payroll is about $69M for 2016 right now; the team can easily take on some pretty decent talent. For instance, what if the Braves sent a B-level pitching prospect to Boston in exchange for Hanley Ramirez and some salary relief money, and plugged HanRam in at 3B?

  14. Right. The money situation is the uncertain but big piece. If you’re in Atlanta, GA, and you open a brand-new stadium, you should be able to handle a $100M payroll. That would buy some really good pieces for our team. If not, then at what point do you question your fandom of a Liberty Media-owned baseball team? The folks down here in St. Pete are running out of reasons to root for the Rays.

    Plus, the huge narrative after Wren’s firing was “we’re getting the scouting and development band back together”. The Braves then traded most useful pieces for lottery tickets and international pool money. If all of these changes don’t produce some strong, homegrown talent, then once again, you have to question the direction of the franchise.

  15. We’re way worse than a 66 win team right this very moment. Our earlier wins with the guys that aren’t on the team anymore don’t help us next year. Juan Uribe was still in our top-5 most valuable offensive players last time I looked (how sad is that!?). But that does mean that we could add a few Kelly Johnson or Juan Uribe types, and get back to close to where the offense was in the first half…that’s not impossible.

    Fixing the bullpen might add 10 wins. Maybe more? Fixing the offense is what I’m stumped on. I don’t see how it’s possible. 20 wins on the FA market is too rich for our blood.

    Basically it comes down to 1.) Olivera has to be an absolute stud and exceed all expectations, and 2.) the young pitching has to go from potentially-good to really-actually-good. 3.) we get one good outfield bat on the FA market.

    Keep trying to convince me…it’s getting better…lol

  16. Right now I don’t see much reason to think the team will be appreciably better next year short of an orgy of free agent spending.

    @17-Olivera might help the team next year, but he could as easily struggle and remain injury prone. If he only manages to play, say, a third of the games, we my have even worse production at 3B than we had this year. Jace could improve, but there is not much reason to think that he will improve very much. Given that Swisher only has a position to play, even as a sub, if Freeman is injured, we probably are screwed if he gets a meaningful number of at-bats. Adding either Bourn or Smith to the left field mix next year does nothing for the offense. We would probably be better off resigning KJ, and back to square one. The starting rotation could be more stable but it is hard to see how that is likely to happen unless Banuelos comes back 100% healthy. He’s the only one of the new guys we’ve trotted out there that has looked like a legitimate front line starting pitcher. Three spots going to Wisler, Folty, the Perezes and a rehabbed Mike Minor doesn’t sound like stability to me. Jenkins may well end up being a better option than all four of them, but who really knows at this point. The bullpen will definitely be a lot better, but even if it is five or six wins better, that pretty much just gets us to a pythagorean equal to our current lucky win-loss percentage. A healthy Freeman could add two or three wins on top of that, but we could just as easily lose production in RF and at C. At this point I just don’t see how this team can possibly project as anything better than a 75 win team.

    @19-Hanley Ramirez is 31 years old and putting up a -.6 WAR season. He might be a decent backup option for Olivera next year, but only if he were pretty much free. And it is hard to imagine the Sox eating all of the 65 million he is still owed through 2018.

  17. @18
    The gaping holes of this year aren’t the gaping holes of the future. The ‘pen should very much be back to it’s former glory very soon when the likes of Simmons, Winkler, Withrow, Vizzy and Minter are back there. There’s promise in some of the guys from this year even thought the results have not been there consistently.

    Markakis in RF is only a problem if he’s asked to be a run-producer. His .370 OBP should suffice when complimented with Freeman, Olivera, and hopefully some power from LF.

    Mallex, at this point in time, should be considered a legit prospect and an answer to the leadoff question that’s been posed for quite a while.

    Both left field and catcher are questions, and hopefully 1 of the 2 will be acquired via trade and the other via free agency.

    My main concern is the SP. There are legit candidates for mid-rotation, but none of these guys have top of the rotation ceilings, outside of Folty who’s 2ndary pitches should be questioned at this point.

    Overall, I can drink from the 2017 Kool-Aid with the right additions.

  18. Krussell – there’s no way to know exactly how the Braves will go about trying to build a playable offense by 2017, but at this stage they’ve compiled a ton of trade chips, a decent amount of cap space, and a handful of promising position player prospects. Improvement can and very likely will come from some combination of (a) increased production on aggregate by Freeman, Simmons, Peterson, Bethancourt, Maybin etc. as they move towards their offensive peak ages; (b) trading arms for bats; (c) spending $$ on FAs and (d) minor league reinforcements.

    It’s frustrating to see the offense so bad and no apparent saviors of the Heyward/Freeman/Gattis mold waiting in the wings… but things will improve in due time.

  19. I’ll definitely buy in to the expect-better-drafts-going-forward meme. I’m not drinking the 2017 koolaid though. Shiny new shopping-mall-park will be fun, but the team is going to suck unless several miracles happen.

  20. @22 It’s waaaaaaay too soon to write off Hanley, IMO. It was a terrible idea for the Red Sox to stick him in LF, but he can still hit, and I bet he can still play 3B a good bit better than Chris Johnson. I don’t know if I’d actually want him as a Brave – he’s fairly fragile now and plays some of the lowest-effort defense I’ve ever seen – but that said, I brought up that hypothetical transaction to illustrate how easy it would be to construct scenarios where the Braves use their financial flexibility to improve the team’s offense.

    @26 I assume the open seats on the Nats’ bandwagon were vacated by “fans” jumping over to the Mets bandwagon?

  21. The Cubs are -290 tonight which is about as absurdly prohibitive a favorite as you’ll see in baseball. For those unfamiliar with moneyline betting, you’d have to wager $290 on the Cubs to win $100 if they win.

    P.S. Don’t bet on sports unless you can afford to lose your money, and never bet on baseball under any circumstances

  22. Bobby getting ejected used to bring out the best in the Braves. Fredi’s ejection seemed to have had the opposite effect.

  23. Having extra cable channels is handy in that I have a number of options for nights like this. Frankenstein is looking pretty good right now.

  24. Folty may be able to get through a lineup the first time around but after guys see him they seem to just tee off on anything he throws. It’s time to put him in the pen and give someone else a look at some of these starts.

    I agree with Ryanc that our biggest concern should be the rotation next year. We need a frontline guy (price?) in front of Miller and Teheran. Then let Wisler, Manny, Perez, maybe Minor and others fight for those last spots.

  25. Folty just gets clobbered in a way a guy with his stuff should not. He’s way worse than David Hale despite having way better stuff.

  26. His fastball can be very straight, the location can be very bad, and there’s not much deception.

  27. @37 I hate to burst your bubble, but the odds of the Braves signing David Price are vanishingly small. 1) he’ll cost way more than the Braves can/should pay; 2) the entire idea of the Braves’ rebuild was to stock up on high-ceiling arms and develop a cheap, young, deep corps of pitchers. It sucks to see Folty and Wisler and Banuelos struggle right now but that’s just how it (typically) goes with young players. Those guys, plus Jenkins I’d think, will get a real chance to establish themselves next season. I’d suspect that the Braves will take stock of their position after letting things play out next year and will make moves accordingly… which may include trading/signing pitching if the right opportunity presents itself.

  28. The media false spin of “he looked good” from last night’s game is just dumb. He gave up 2 HR, a 3b, a 2b, and 2 walks in 4.2 IP. I guess he looked good when he wasn’t getting pounded, and who doesn’t?

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