Natspos 15, Braves 1

Metal Machine Music is famously unlistenable. It has its defenders — maybe some of you like it, too — but it’s an hour of guitar feedback, and even Rorschach blots only take a few seconds to look at. He supposedly released it either as a joke or as an aggressive flipping of the bird to his record company, as a way of fulfilling an album deal.

The only difference between that and the 2015 Braves is that we definitely know that Lou Reed had talent.

94 thoughts on “Natspos 15, Braves 1”

  1. Woah, Fredie:
    “They’ll figure it out sooner or later, but the stuff we’ve been seeing is really unacceptable,” Gonzalez said. “These guys are professionals. They’re Major Leaguers. Some of these guys have a lot of years playing in the Minor Leagues. For them to get hit around like that is unacceptable.”

  2. These Braves-Nationals games are a no-lose scenario. Braves lose, they get a better draft pick; Nationals lose, it crushes their fading playoff hopes.

    Is Gonzalez going to be fired? I haven’t been paying any attention, I wonder if there are any rumblings of that happening.

  3. from previous thread…

    last 16 games, outscored 125/40…

    first reaction? surprise that we averaged more than 2 runs of offense a game..

    sansho 1 says the 1899 Cleveland Spiders were marginally better,149/38, but you couldn’t get them to show up.

    Thinking through this stuff it seems a calendar month/30 days might be the appropriate minimum measure…and in addition to run differential there should be separate awards for team batting average, team ERA, team slugging, team WAR and god knows what else.

    the Atlanta Braves
    it was never a question of saves
    to save, be ahead
    but it’s so much easier to lose instead.

  4. Our starting rotation projections are BLEAK barring a significant free agent signing. Good thing we traded Alex Wood!

    Yes, traded a good young left-handed pitched whom the team controlled for four more years after the end of 2015, for an over-30 rookie outfielder. Smart.

    Lately it seems like it’s finally starting to dawn on the Wren-blamers that The Johns are the true culprits.

  5. Bryce Harper…

    ububba, hi!…

    you were in the MGM Sports Book last night trying not to look…I was home, didn’t watch a pitch, just checked the score mid-game and at the end on the Times’ evolving box score service..we have agreed to disagree in the past on the Harper douchebag question, i wondered what you made of his four AB’s last night?

    i’d like to posit they were actions the polar opposite to douchebag…he was embarrassed, likely angry even to have to face that pitching last night..if you were to ask him he might say it disgraced the game and why should he even bother to swing at it in a contest that was over almost before it had started.

    i say this knowing it’s perfectly possible he or others may have said something since that could put a different interpretation on why he walked 4 times, hardly swung – i haven’t yet read any post game stuff this morning.

    IF i’m right that was not douchebag, that was pure class. He cared enough about the game, the fraudulent spectacle. It’s the Braves organization who should be ashamed of themselves putting such a product on the field. That’s douchebag.

    Shoot me down!


  6. Hey, if they can’t throw strikes, you’re not obligated to swing.

    Fact is, I didn’t exactly consider each Harper AB & didn’t really remember much after AB #1. After all, I had an SEC football game to watch. However…

    If Harper had hit 4 grand-slam homers, my opinion of him wouldn’t have changed: Supremely talented player with heavy heel tendencies… tonight facing a club that was doing its best to achieve a generational nadir.

  7. I am now convinced that The University of Georgia may be primed for a National Championship.

    The last one came when the Braves were bleak with a glimmer of hope in the young players.

    Since 1991, almost every year with 3 different head coaches it has always seemed as if the Dawgs have underachieved.

    So, maybe we are returning to 1980?

  8. The 1980 Braves finished 81-80. Last time the Braves had a win pct this bad was 1990, when the Dogs finished 4-7 (2-5 Sec)

  9. The USC-UNC game played out in disconcertingly similar fashion to many USC-UGA games over the years.

  10. Anybody seen much of Hector yet? Everytime I flip over I catch a Nick Swisher or Jace Peterson AB, and that’s not fun for anybody. I caught one Olivera at bat a couple days ago, and he looked pretty weak up there.

    I have seen him make a couple nice place in the field–he seems like he might be able to hold his own at third.

    Who’s got a read on his work at the plate so far? Has he actually hit a ball hard yet? He has a hit, but it’s not like he drove it with any authority.

    Edit: I can’t tell y’all how much I hate having Nick Swisher on this team. He pains me.

  11. Anyone still think the team hasn’t quit? Before you answer, ask yourself if it’s even possible for a team that hasn’t quit to play this badly.

    And as far as Fredi goes, if there isn’t some sort of at least minor uptick between now and the end of the season, he very well could be in trouble. You simply can’t end a season like this and then go into the next one as if nothing happened. They surely knew the season was bound to fall apart in some form, but this has gotten unconscionably ugly. They’ll need to do something to show they realize it’s unacceptable. That leaves two choices: sign or trade for some actual Major League talent or axe Fredi. One of those is considerably cheaper than the other one.

  12. We are now 12-38 since our 42-42 start, which I’m pretty sure is the worst 50 game stretch in Atlanta Braves history. We need to go 9-19 to avoid losing 100 games. Ain’t gonna happen. We need to go 6-22 to win 60 games. This is possible but unlikely.

  13. 2nd Half offensive splits for our regulars, from best to worst:

    Pierzynski: .319/.373/.397
    Cakes: .307/.342/.409
    Adonis: .265/.272/.492
    FF#5 y’all: .224/.333/.353
    Jace: .222/.293/.323
    Maaaaayyyybin: .230/.291/.321

    Pretty rough stuff once you get past Old Nick.

  14. @13-15

    I’m inclined to believe you’re right. This is bad. I’m not watching right now, thank goodness, but this just looks unbearable. It’s one thing to be losing, and it’s another to be humiliated at home almost nightly.

  15. If I recap a game that no one watched, does it still count in the standings? Guess we’ll find out tonight.

  16. My questions:

    1. Why didn’t we trade AJ to someone for these final few months.
    2. Why did we move CJ for Swisher and Bourn? Id rather have CJ on the bench as a backup.
    3. Can we fire Fredi less than a month after giving him an extension?
    4. Why didn’t we move Markakis when teams were calling?

    This might be the worst bullpen in the history of baseball. Outside of Vizcaino we don’t have a single person who can get outs down there. We cant keep people who throw 88-89 down there. Hart has his hands full this offseason rebuilding this offense (need LF, C, 2B upgrades) rotation, and bullpen.

  17. This sums it up

    @Buster_ESPN: Bryce Harper saw 20 pitches last night w/o swinging, 2nd-most in any game last 10 yrs. The most (incredibly, improbably):Juan Uribe 21, 2010

  18. I laugh out loud everytime I read that we need to upgrade a two or three positions offensively. We need to upgrade pretty much ALL OF THEM.

  19. @11 I’ve only seen a handful of Hector at-bats, because I’m trying not to watch this debacle but for some reason can’t help but give them a chance most nights. For the past couple of weeks I’ve turned the game off by the 2nd inning, but the Hector at-bats I’ve seen I’m not terribly impressed. He looks a little overmatched, but I’m wondering if that’s a combination of him pressing to try to make a good impression combined with his timing still being off. He has a few RBIs, but those have been on pretty weak contact. I haven’t seen him hit anything with authority, out or hit. But, again, we’re talking a SSS of an already SSS.

  20. @21,
    1) I am similarly confused about this

    2) Bc we got a ton of cash back and we get 2 guys who have a chance to rebound instead of one guy who has no chance to rebound. If Swisher keeps OPS’ing .800, he can be flipped next year for a prospect

    3) I’m inclined to agree with the people who say that extending Fredi until 2016 is a clear sign we don’t plan to contend in 2016. Firing Fredi now just to eat his contract and saddle another manager with a 90-loss team doesn’t make much sense. I bet he gets 2 months of 2016 to show that he can inspire a slightly better team to look better than the currently putrid roster.

    4) Bc loyalty and how it would look to other prospective FA’s. I think there’s some merit to this argument, and we can always move him next year when his contract will be a year shorter (unless he has a catastrophic decline and becomes an albatross)

    @23, It’s fine to have a 2 WAR player (roughly average) at any given position, so we are actually OK at 1B, SS, probably 3B, probably 2B if Jace improves a little, and RF. Maybin is also passable in CF or LF, so that leaves 2 positions sorely in need of improvement (C and OF). We don’t have to be world beaters offensively if we’re building around pitching. We’re actually a lot closer to fielding a competitive roster offensively than we are with pitching. Giving up 15 or more runs 3 times in a week should make that clear.

  21. @24, Hector seems to have plenty of power but looks like he is coming around the ball trying to hit it out. This may reflect that he is trying too hard or it may represent a terrible flaw in his approach. He actually looks like Betty at the plate to me–someone who is big, strong, and athletic, who occasionally crushes the ball and looks like he should be able to hit but actually can’t. Oh well.

  22. #23 – I wont disagree with you at all. However, we both know Freeman, Simmons, Olivera, Markakis, and Maybin will have their positions next year.

  23. We’re trying to lose, so none of these games should really bother anyone. The only bothersome point is that immediate help isn’t on the way. Most of our help can’t legally buy alcohol yet.

  24. @27, exactly – we are terrible, but we have a lot of guys locked into place. Freeman and Simmons are not good enough to put so-so players around them and expect to win. We need several more really great players.

  25. Baseball’s next generation of managers

    There is also the dynamic of understanding today’s player. Things change generation to generation and what may have worked 15-20 years ago does not necessarily work today. Because of this, managers, like executives, are trending younger.

    Teams have not been afraid to stray from the old mentality of managerial field experience as a pre-requisite to a big-league job. Mike Matheny, Robin Ventura, Walt Weiss, Craig Counsell and Brad Ausmus are all recent examples of new-hire managers taking over teams with no previous experience.

    As many as eight teams could be looking for managers this offseason. Here’s a list of names you’ll be hearing this winter that fit the new mold:

  26. 1. Why didn’t we trade AJ to someone for these final few months.
    2. Why did we move CJ for Swisher and Bourn? Id rather have CJ on the bench as a backup.
    3. Can we fire Fredi less than a month after giving him an extension?
    4. Why didn’t we move Markakis when teams were calling?

    1. I can only assume that either someone internally likes AJ more than is plausible, or that we simply did not receive an offer for a old catcher with a reputation as a redass in the clubhouse. Not sure who of the playoff contenders would have been looking for a catcher, too.

    2. Because they’re off the books in 2016, where CJ was on the books through 2017. I also suspect that there was some clubhouse “chemistry” thing going on with that trade as well. CJ was well known to be an Angry Man, and I don’t find it hard to believe that he was griping openly in the clubhouse about not playing. (This is all speculation, obviously.)

    3. Yes. They might not, but of course they could.

    4. People in the franchise obviously like Markakis more than you do. Who was calling. What were they offering?

  27. The success of no-experience managers is mixed, but I think guys like Kevin Cash and Mike Matheny have done really well, and I could see a similar guy having success in Atlanta.

    Interested. I’m started to think I wouldn’t be surprised if they canned Fredi within the next 8-10 months.

  28. Yeah, I think mid-season next year would be more likely than any time before. Who would want the stink of a full season of what the ’16 team is bound to look like on his resume?

  29. @31, AJP and Hart are neighbors and have known each other for a long time. That may not be why we didn’t move him, but it’s why we got him in the first place. I assume we’ll have him next year as well. Don’t see Bethancourt being a Brave in 2016.

  30. Well if attendance is any meaningful revenue stream, then some material change will have to be made, not just for ’16 numbers but ’17 presales. Two years of this will certainly be a massive drag on sales, new stadium or no.

  31. Hart has already contributed enough.

    More like “Make it happen, Teheran.” I think Julio’s up to the challenge.

  32. If the Braves end up with the top draft pick, which they will, we can only expect it to be squandered by inept management.

  33. I remember when we drafted Jeff Francouer #23, JS said we would’ve taken him first overall. It really struck me that some of the Braves mgt/scouting thinks they’re the smartest guys in the league. The way they overdrafted guys this last season reminded me of that.

  34. Our latest 140 pound infielder hit another HR at Rome last night and now has an OPS of .893 on the year.

  35. @38, thanks Edward–the comments section was hilarious (I’m a comment reader). There were Phils fans mingeing about the possibility the Phils would pass the Braves and end up with something like the 5th pick.

  36. @45, that’s nice but he’s not an actual prospect. And he’s got some PED history. But what do you expect for a month of Gomes?

  37. If this skid continues, they can’t afford to NOT fire Fredi. Not if they want to avoid having Turner Field being even more of a ghost town than it already is. Whether he is actually at fault or not doesn’t matter, but if this team completes its worst half-season in Atlanta — a legitimate possibility — heads must, and will, roll.

    What we know from his nearly five seasons on the job is that he doesn’t have the ability to stop a skid before it gets out of control. He’s an autopilot manager. When the plane is at cruising altitude, everything is fine. When birds strike the engines, he’s not exactly Sully up there.

    You can do worse, but you can certainly do better, too, and as we all know, in professional sports, if you’re average — and that’s your ceiling — you’re as replaceable as a roll of toilet paper.

  38. Not that anyone cares or should, I think this is what I think:

    1, Fredi’s here at least to start 2016.

    2. The rest of this year our baby pitchers are going to get to make their own messes and suffer having to clean them up. Starters and relievers are auditioning for next year’s staff or, perhaps, another year with this franchise.

    3. There will be more offense. Could there be less? I know not wither come the bats or how our offense could be worse.

    4. God bless the 2016 Braves. They’ll need all the help they can get.

    5. It might be time to invest in alcohol.

  39. When I think about 2016 Turner Field it’s mostly images of 5-foot weeds in the outfield, concrete crumbling in the stands, toilets overflowing, concession stands closed, missing lightbulbs in the scoreboard…no reason to fix anything cuz WFF opens real soon.

  40. If you’re over the age of 30 and haven’t invested in a well stocked bar already, you’re doing it wrong.

  41. Let’s just see if we can get an inning or two in where we’re not actually behind. That would be a tremendous moral victory

  42. It’s not for gandering at, Spike. You stock it to drink it. You drink it to forget. Or to pretend like you’re forgetting for a night or two. If that’s your gig. Flow wit it, mane.

    Current fave for nightly drinking: F.E.W. Rye. Red Hare Cotton Tail Pale. Red Brick Casual.

  43. Last night Bryce Harper reached base four times without swinging the bat once. That’s fine, but if we do that again, he should bleed out of an orifice at least once instead.

  44. @48

    I think that is the fairest assessment of Fredi that anyone has written on Braves Journal. Well done.

  45. This game has only served to strengthen my opinion that, contrary to what all of the reporters and announcers are trying to get me to think, Adonis Garcia is not a player I need to be overly concerned about not having a position to play.

  46. Well, it seems unlikely that we’re going to win this, but that was a heartening performance from Julio.

  47. Terrific play by Garcia, the definition of a web gem.

    Fredi will be here wel into 2016, because once you get rid of him, the blame will shift to the Johns. You keep Fredi around as the piñata for fans to blame for why things suck, instead of questioning our suspect front office.

  48. Hell, let Vizcaino throw the eighth and ninth. If he’s our closer next year, it would be best if he had experience doing that.

  49. Holy crap, maybe he is! At the very least, he’s throwing Vizcaino against the heart of the order in the eighth.

  50. @64, it took me a long time to reach that point of clarity. Not being caught up in the daily wins and losses and looking at the big picture brought me there. I’m no longer angry with his decisions, I’m just at the final stage — acceptance. Fredi is who he is, interchangeable with the Walt Weisses and Lloyd McClendons of his profession.

  51. Two-thirds of a month tomorrow, one win. Also, it’s Shelby Miller. So, yeah, two-thirds of a month tomorrow, one win.

  52. @77, I was hoping we’d win tonight bc it’s the Nats and I hope we win tomorrow for Shelby. After that, I’d like to see Shelby win at least once before the year is out. Otherwise, I don’t see the advantage in winning just enough to pick 2nd or 3rd, so yeah–let’s just lose the rest.

  53. Sigh… I’m an elevator, I see we’re one out away from a victory, I flip on the MLB app and… foiled again!

    In the space of 50 games, we’ve morphed into the ’62 Mets.

  54. First pick in the draft, the highest draft bonus pool, the highest international bonus pool in a season deep season where the biggest spenders are barred from spending…. Hell yes I want them to lose them all.

    It seems to me that the absolute worst place to be is in the middle. Of course you want to make the playoffs, but if you aren’t one of those 10 teams, you are either getting a high *protected* draft pick, or you’re just watching your players get more expensive for next year.

    * lines up for a Top 10 pick, ! lines up to make the postseason. The White Sox are in the absolute worst place you can be.

    Team Win %
    *PHI 0.393
    *ATL 0.400
    *COL 0.414
    *MIA 0.415
    *CIN 0.417
    *OAK 0.433
    *MIL 0.436
    *DET 0.455
    *BOS 0.463
    *SEA 0.470
    CWS 0.474
    ARI 0.481
    BAL 0.485
    SDP 0.485
    CLE 0.489
    TBR 0.493
    LAA 0.504
    WAS 0.515
    SFG 0.515
    MIN 0.515
    !TEX 0.530
    !HOU 0.548
    !NYM 0.552
    !NYY 0.564
    !LAD 0.564
    !TOR 0.567
    !CHC 0.571
    !PIT 0.602
    !KCR 0.612
    !STL 0.642

    EDIT: Marlins just beat the Mets on a Prado walk-off double. They just dropped a spot.

  55. Winning the #1 draft spot is such a minuscule thing to want in the grand scheme, but whatever. An extra 0.4 expected wins per year, and the only cost is your dignity for the next couple of seasons. Sell the glorious unknown future and pretend what’s happening now doesn’t matter?

  56. It means more now than ever, because of the spending limits imposed on both the draft and on international signing, aswell as because of the change in free agent compensation.

    Going to the playoffs is clearly ideal. If you’re going to miss the playoffs, you might aswell finish low enough to have a protected pick, so you can sign a quality big leaguer and still build for the future.

    If you’re already going to finish low enough to collect a protected pick, you might aswell finish as low as possible, to get a better pick, a higher budget in the draft, and a higher budget for international signing.

    I’m not saying that they WILL do this, but coming in last place this season gives the Braves the option to:

    A) Go hog wild internationally; sign Kevin Maitan, who is the first kid I’ve ever heard of being compared to Miguel Cabrera, and whoever else they want. The biggest players are barred from spending more than $300k this year, because they spent huge on Cubans last season. In deep class with the biggest spenders blocked out, the Braves could go over budget this year, lose the right to sign players the next year, and instead trade their budget away for minor leaguers who are already projectable.

    B) If a consensus number one pick emerges, that player will be theirs. If no consensus pick emerges, the Braves can draft whoever emerges as the best college outfielder (High school pitchers and college outfielders are the two depth positions this year) and save a little money so they can reach for some guys later they would otherwise ignore for “signability” reasons.

    All of which wouldn’t prevent them from C) Spending real actual dollars on a big league free-agent. With big dollars off the payroll, and more ready to expire or be traded away with Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, they can sign players to improve the team immediately.

    David Price, Johnny Cueto, Yoenis Cespedes will all be popular as they won’t cost anyone a pick, but the Braves will have an advantage over other teams in pursuing Matt Weiters, Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmerman, because they won’t have to factor the loss of their pick in to the cost of doing business.

    Not saying they WILL do that, but the Johns have really been hugging every turn pretty tight through this rebuild so far, taking every opportunity to gain ground. I think they’ll make a splash. I’m betting that we’ll add the best amateur player, the best international free agent, and a top 10 free agent all in one offseason.

  57. I wonder if 3 of the 4 worst teams in baseball have ever been in the same division (since 6 division format)

  58. I just kind of draw a line at rooting for my team to lose. I feel like its extremely anti-competitive and antithetical to everything sports are supposed to be about. And the difference between a couple of draft picks is pretty much negligible over the long haul, especially in baseball. You say that if there’s a non-doubt No. 1 pick, that means we can have him. Just as often, though (and this is across sports BTW), there seems to be a consensus guy that’s not the right fit for a team but they take him at No. 1 because they feel like they have to and it doesn’t work out. I would feel unworthy of being a fan if I didn’t.

  59. Nick, tell me this. If it were the last game of the season and we would get the #3 pick with a win and the #1 pick with a loss, part of you wouldn’t hope that we’d go ahead and lose?

    I don’t think anything is wrong with your perspective, but the longer I’m a sports fan, and the more I’m around these tanking conversations, the more I grow to believe this is a fundamental issue that fans will always be divided on. Some think it’s antithetical to fandom to hope for losses, others think it’s selfish to hope for immediate gratification of a cheap win in lieu of long-term success.

    I’ll tell you, the tankers were out in force the year dwight Howard was available in the draft. The same conversations over who was a true fan took place then. The Hawks played the most entertaining brand of street ball that season to win some meaningless but fun games under interim-manager terry stotts. Bobby sura almost got 3 straight triple doubles. In the end, they won something like 26 games and picked 6th–Josh Childress. The magic tanked hard and got Howard. I don’t need to tell you who was happier with that arrangement for the next 7 years.

  60. I would root for us to win and would take the No. 3 pick, yes.

    The NBA situation is even more ridiculous because there’s a lottery and yet it’s still the worst tanking league, by far. Probably need to come up with a more equitable lottery.

    By the same token, though, the pro-tanking people would’ve had the Hawks tank last year, a year in which they wound up as the No. 1 seed in the East and made the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time. If you don’t try to win, you won’t.

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