Cardinals 12, Braves 7 (by coop)

Sunday, April 10, 2016 — St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves

Today at Turner Field, the kids ran the bases.

Not our highly touted Braves kids, mind you. Not today. Today they’re toiling down on the farm, sowing seeds that on other days on other fields shall yield the fruits on victory.

So we’re told.

But today’s our day, our here and our now; and in this instance that we are, Williams Perez and his slapstick comedy revue are live at the Ted for our entertainment. The Bills has a formidable task. Small sample size notwithstanding, the Braves 2016 season has sucked. Big time. Our guys have been out pitched, out fielded, out hit and outclassed. There’s a reason the Bills is gunning for our first win today. We are inept, and we haven’t deserved to win.

The opener was close. We could have won, perhaps should have won; but we didn’t. We haven’t come close since.

Baseball’s a funny game: you win some, maybe; you lose most if not all; but you suit up for them all, and that makes a season. We’re suited up. The season continues. Now let’s get that W.

The Braves grab the lead on Erick Aybar’s leadoff single and Nick Markakis’ booming double to straightaway center. Freddie Freeman fans again, and Adonis Garcia walks again, setting up Hector Olivera’s inning ending 4-6-3.

Perez gives up a leadoff walk in the second but escapes. Adam Wainwright walks a couple of his own, but Atlanta can’t add to their lead. Then comes the third.

The Bills walks everybody except Wainwright, who sacrifices, and Matt Carpenter, who fans. Aybar flashes his glove, makes us forget Andrelton, lets the Cards tie and brings Brandon Moss to the plate.

Home run. I despair. Cards 4, Braves lose.

But the game’s not over till the last man’s out.

Bottom 4: Hector doubles. Tyler Flowers walks for the second time in this game. Jace Peterson moves Hector to third with a long fly to the villain Brandon Moss, and then…

Drew Stubbs! HOME RUN. The game is tied. the Braves un-lose.

That’s all for the fourth, but the Bills are still in the game, for a little while. Fredi lets Perez get two of the three he faces in, then chooses to let Eric O’Flaherty face the villain. O’Failurety does not, getting Moss on one pitch.

Quit mourning the Wainwright trade. Adam’s not the same pitcher he was. Bless his heart, he was good, and he might be again; but right now we need to find someone else to wish we still had. I nominate Andrelton, because Aybar makes my stomach hurt.

Neck leads off the fifth with his second double of the day. Freddie doesn’t strike out and moves the Greek mortal to third with a fly to left. The Greek demigod walks again, intentionally this time. Olivera hectors Markakis in with a sacrifice fly. Braves lead. Tyler Flowers continues his good work with a solid single, but the Bravos are done in the fifth.

Chris Withrow takes the sixth with the lead. He walks the067 hitting Randall Grichuk on four pitches. Aybar muffs a bad throw but manages to keep Grichuk at second. Kolton Wong moves Grichuk to third with a ground out, and Greg Garcia singles him home. The leadoff walk ties the game.

Withrow walks that jerk Jedd Gyorko. Matt Carpenter gets whacked. The lead and Withrow’s gone but not yet the game. Cards are on every base, and they belong to Chris.

Daniel Winkler’s got the game. He almost hits Jeremy Hazelbaker, then fans his bad ass. Game’s tied at five, and the Braves have hope.

Never hope, Mac said. Disappointment that way lies. With one out, Gordon Beckham doubles, but Erick fans. Nick the Greek bears the lead run gift with his third double of the day, and fanning Freddie walks to bring up Adonis, who strikes out. Braves lead 6-5 going into the seventh.

Ah, hope. Dan Winkler’s good. He’s gone. Bless him. Who’s next?

Jim Johnson’s the next Brave up. He inherits a 2-2 count and records a walk, with which Danny’s credited, then strikes out the platinum catcher. Braves still lead, but Winkler’s probably toast. Timothy Miller’s still got it going on, though.

Ah, woe. Tempus fugit; “the moving finger writes; and having writ, moves on. Do. Not. Hope.

Top of the eighth: it’s the nature of things. Things. Fall. Apart. Cards grab the lead. Don’t sweat the details. They’re nada, zilch, zip. Nothing.

If hope is abandoned… Dare we hope? Dare we not?

The Braves are not good in this here-now. Things fall apart; but, sorry Mac, we gotta hope. What else is a fan to do? Fanaticism is obsessive love, maybe sometimes hate; and I do so love those lousy Braves.

So, I’ll hope. Ain’t quitting. Not me. I’ll take another sip of that kool aid, sigh, and — shut up, Mac. I love you. I miss you; but, please, just shut up — hope.

Hope springs eternal. All things work to the good of those that love the Braves. We lost today, so what? It’ll be fine. We will win again. Someday — I HOPE it’s someday soon — it’s going to be great. We’ll hoist flags again, many a toast. We will rejoice and bask in glory. But today…

Braves lose. So what?

We are. Be glad. Hope tomorrow will be better. Be thankful — rejoice — for what we have today. Love the here-now. Things will get better. Or worse. That’s what things do, but everything will be okay. Life is good right here right now.

117 thoughts on “Cardinals 12, Braves 7 (by coop)”

  1. Just checking in on the Barves. 0-5, no surprise there. Francoeur on the roster? WTFLMAO.

  2. Well, if anyone wants to feel better, Andrelton has a sub-.600 OPS and Shelby has an ERA north of 8. Not making you feel any better? Me neither.

    We have a team ERA of 6.65. Bullpen’s ERA is 11.05. We’re also hitting .198. We… suck.

  3. I gained respect for Winkler after his injury. He was interviewed on the radio and while still in pain he was able to talk coherently and managed to present a relatively optimistic outlook. I would have told the press to get lost.

  4. Were we 5-0 at this point last year? I think I’ve blocked most of it out, classic coping mechanism…but…yeah, maybe the first week doesn’t mean much. We’re bad, but we should win at least once a week.

  5. Sad thing about the 0-5 start is that the losses have all been at home. Even if we make a limited recovery, it may be a while before our fan base recovers. If I was a casual fan considering watching the Braves more, I would stay away from the excuse for a major league team (especially defensively) that has been on the field so far.

  6. Mallex Smith
    has previously been deemed the core not the pith
    will lead our revival
    well beyond some other mode we cynics term survival.

    the service clock
    faux accounting run amok
    gate receipts
    reality with few repeats.

  7. This start was worst case scenario for the front office. All the talk about how this team would be much improved coming off the disaster of a 2nd half last year. The bullpen is a total disaster and our defense outside of 1B, CF, and RF is atrocious. Going to be hard selling some tickets and I don’t see how we have a competitive product come 2017.

  8. Tommy John
    we’ve called him up and signed him on
    who better than the source
    with Andrews now insisting he offers no recourse.

  9. @19
    I think if he is on the DL, it is the same as if we have him on the roster.

    @20

    I agree. I don’t see how we contend in 2017 at all (maybe even 2018.) Unless there is some grand plan to bring these guys up mid year and make trades for guys with multi year contracts at the deadline.

    This went from a two year process to a five year process really quick. It really didn’t have to either.

    RF- Endrew
    CF- Smith
    1B- Freeman
    3b- Garcia
    LF- Cakes
    C- AJ
    SS- Simmons
    2B- Jace

    That is a young team with some potential. Plus it would allow us to have Albies or Swanson in place to play second and one would be a big trade piece.

    Now, I don’t know if we make the same deal with Arizona without having moved Simmons. But are we a better team now/future if we don’t move him and pull the Olivera deal? So far, no. Those two deals look like they may have set us back some.

  10. I really hate that stupid rebuild. Even if the team was only mediocre, at least they’d be watchable until August or so.

  11. It was always a 10 year process. You don’t blow up the entire roster and start over from zero and magically make the playoffs in 4 years. The farm system has to be teeming with talent for that scenario to work. Ours wasn’t. And still isn’t, don’t care what Keith Law says. Albies and Swanson just aren’t the kind of pieces that are good enough to make a huge difference. Our position player situation is just intractable.

  12. They are going to have to break the bank and buy us two corner OF, a 3B, and a catcher for 2018. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  13. There has to be an inverse relationship with money if attendance plummets. If we start out 0-10, 2-15, 4-20 or whatever, it’s going to kill any momentum the FO and marketing were trying to create. At one point do you make one or two short-term decisions and use prospects/money to essentially “buy” a player? If you’re confronted with significantly declining attendance, do you not wash the situation by buying some improvements?

  14. I also think they could jolt the team by firing the manager. Risky, but it’s not a terrible decision.

  15. @24

    I agree about Swanson and Albies. We need some pop.

    @25-26

    I just hope they don’t come out and say, “Well, no one showed up for the games. We don’t have the money to spend. It’s the fans fault.”

    I’m very pro firing Fredi, but he is a big part of the tanking process.

  16. @24, you’re hilarious. We’ve talked about this ad nauseum last season, and when we’re 0-5 after 1 year and 1 week of rebuild, you’re saying “see, I told you this was going to be a 10-year process”

    Don’t get me wrong–we may go 10 years without making the playoffs, but that would be because a lot of things went very, very wrong. We have a top-3 farm, a #3 pick coming, a likely top international class, and the capacity for a mid-market payroll. 2017 was always wishful thinking, but 2019 is very reasonable.

  17. @30

    Players seem to like him. After watching the FO dismantle the team, tying the noose around the manager could seem like a low blow to the team. An already lackadaisical team could, somehow, get even worse.

  18. None of the players that would complain would be here in 2018 anyways. The question to ask is whether Fredi is the guy to shepherd the wave of young players that will start hitting the bigs later this year and ongoing for the next couple seasons.

    I dunno. He may be fine in that role. He’s not sound tactically though. Seems like we could do better in that regard. Letting the pitcher hit and then pulling him one batter into the next inning drives me crazy, and that alone is worth a change.

  19. BTW, krussell, I totally agree that our position talent is pitiful, but that picture can change in ways we didn’t anticipate. Some of the low-minors talent can surprise us, we could draft a college bat that’s a year or two away, players could become available in trade (Justin Upton), or you could sign someone. We do project to be very strong up the middle with Albies, Swanson, and Inciarte/Smith (other than catcher).

  20. Well, we had Justin Upton and couldn’t pay him. I’m not sure I believe that tanking 4 seasons gets us back to the point where we can go sign the next Justin Upton.

    Plus, we need about three of them to have a viable offense. Can it happen? Sure. But why couldn’t they just borrow against the future revenue streams from WFF and make it happen last year? I still won’t get over that part.

  21. The problem I am running into with respect to the Braves’ position player talent (and pitching talent, for that matter) is that basically none of the players we’ve acquired in this rebuild thus far have exceeded expectations, while a large number have been somewhere in the mildly to completely disappointing range. I realize we’re still early in the process of creating the Next Great Barves Team ™ but it sure would help if somebody stepped up here.

    In contrast to the Braves, both the Phillies and Reds have acquired and/or developed some promising young players who are already contributing at the MLB level. Neither of those teams is going to sniff .500 this year, but they’re certainly further along that path than the Braves.

  22. I very much understand the “win curve” concept and our position on it. But that can be used as a perpetual excuse for not spending money. Fast forward a couple years, and say our pitching is still looking shakey…why go buy expensive bats for a 70-win team? Let’s wait until the guys in low-A are ready and then make our move, etc etc.

    At some point you have to entertain the fan base. We’ve all written this year off, but this better be the bottom. And even this year, we deserve to see the younger guys play. I think the front-office realizes that they have to build momentum for next year.

  23. Long story short…I understand we’re tanking one more season, but we can tank and still let the kids play. The dreck they ran out onto the field for our opening homestand is an insult.

  24. I’m not against firing Fredi, but the other thing against doing this is that the new manager would be in a bad situation. I don’t think the best manager in the history of the game could make this team a winning team. Maybe we take a chance on a totally unproven manager with great upside and see what he does. Pendelton may be the best option as an interim manager auditioning for the job – although I don’t know if I would say he has a great upside at this point.

    I think us not having a division winning team for 10 years is a joke. We went from worst to first in 1991 and although we were improving, I don’t think many people saw it coming. Even if the first few phases of the rebuild are not successful, we will eventually pull it together in less than 10 years. My hope is that we show some life this year so that we can build on it for next year.

  25. @36

    I’ve been impressed with the play of some of the talent we got back. Endrew, Mallex Smith, Gant, Tyrell Jenkins, Wisler (even Ruiz and Folty at points)have all been better than I thought. Plus they are young.

  26. @39, The worst-to-first was built on the foundation of nearly a decade of suffering. Eventually we’ll draft our new aces. Hard to even know what we’ve got right now. Doesn’t look too impressive so far.

  27. What I’ve not been impressed with is the new food items at The Ted.

    Who in the world wants to eat a huge hamburger with pizzas as its bun?

    And are the people coming up with these food ideas the same folks constructing our roster & rebuild strategy?

  28. @41 – I don’t think the 10 or so years of suffering was planned for or necessary (or the suffering in the 70s before that). Assuming we have a better front office (I know some are not convinced of this), I don’t see us repeating this.

  29. @44, can’t argue with that. I’m not saying that the current regime is *planning* on ten years either. It’s just that it’s been a pretty consistent timeframe for the midmarket success stories.

    This made me go back and look at our 1991 season. Steve Avery was an absolute monster at age 21. Who’s gonna play that role in the next playoff run? Yeah Glavine and Smoltz got beat around for a few years…but Avery…damn. I’m hoping somewhere down in the low minors (or even this year’s draft) that we get a guy that makes that kind of triumphant debut.

  30. @42
    whatever LuLu wants…

    from the farm…

    Ray-Patrick Didder
    for whom we were, strangely, the high bidder
    has dazzling speed
    but not much else of anything that fits our present need.

  31. Remember when the rebuild was sold as a short-term thing, and the team would be good in its new stadium in 2017?

  32. @47, yes!…that’s what caused me to lose my mind and rant about it for 2 years. Eventually I’ll get tired of it and move to the acceptance phase…you know, the part where we argue for two threads about lineup construction and whether Beckham should bat 2nd or 7th.

  33. Well, what I’d really want is a good ball club to watch 5x a week.

    But I’d settle with a normal bun-length hot dog – – with slaw, mustard, onions and sweet relish.

    And an ice cold Coca-Cola, with peanuts in the bottle.

  34. @40 “I’ve been impressed with the play of some of the talent we got back. Endrew, Mallex Smith, Gant, Tyrell Jenkins, Wisler (even Ruiz and Folty at points) have all been better than I thought. Plus they are young.”

    First off, you can’t lump Inciarte in with those prospects – he hit .300+ and played a very good CF for the Diamondbacks last year; he’s clearly a valuable commodity. Just because the DBacks were stupid to throw in Inciarte along with Swanson doesn’t mean we should be surprised he’s good.

    As to all of the prospects we’ve compiled since the start of the 2015 season: a few have done well in the minors for us (Smith, Gant) and you could say Wisler and Folty and Peterson have looked good for short stretches in the bigs last year (en route to compiling bad stat lines for the full season). That said – if Mallex comes up and plays well for the 2016 Braves, he’ll be the first part of the rebuild to yield wins at the MLB level.

  35. @36

    none of the players we’ve acquired in this rebuild thus far have exceeded expectations, while a large number have been somewhere in the mildly to completely disappointing range.

    @45

    Steve Avery was an absolute monster at age 21.

    You need someone to exceed expectations. Someone needs to step up. We have a team ERA of 6.65 and a team OPS of .595. One would hope that’s low-hanging fruit. In 45 extremely short innings, every single player has disappointed.

  36. @53 It’s already happened twice! Oh, you mean when will the Braves sweep another team? That’s a tough one. I’ll say June.

  37. I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t have a 3+ game sweep all year. You need three consecutive strong starting pitching performances, and while I think we could string a couple together, I don’t think we’ll put three consecutive.

  38. Watch us sweep the Marlins this weekend. Other than that, we play two 3-game series with the Phillies and another with the Marlins before June. If we don’t get it done by then, my money is on the 2-game series with the Fish in late June.

  39. @50

    If the line of success is yielding wins at the big league level, then they wouldn’t really be prospects, they would be MLBers.

    But as just prospects, then there really haven’t been any busts or major disappointments. Jenkins has shot up to AAA and been a surprise. Gant and Smith too. Fried hasn’t even pitched yet. Folty and Wisler have shown some promise and have exceeded my expectations so far.

    Toussaint has been okay, but still a ways out. Man Ban has been hurt, but looked okay as well last year. It’s too early to tell about the guys we got over the winter, but Swanson has hit well.

    Granted, none of these guys have shown they will be starts or future all-stars. Many of them are too far away or are still learning (Wisler)

  40. We haven’t won a game in DC since 2014. I think we end that streak in this series. Maybe not tonight. Maybe not tomorrow. But Wednesday…definitely Wednesday.

  41. Jose Ramirez DFA’d. RHP Joel De La Cruz up from Gwinnett and LHP Hunter Cervanka up from Mississippi.

  42. I would assume he’s back in Gwinnett no matter what, once Inciarte is off the DL. They aren’t benching Olivera even if he’s BJ-esque.

  43. I hope he hits .300 with a .350 OBP and plays a solid centerfield. That may not be dominant, but I’d be delighted.

  44. You bench Mallex to avoid his regression, perform serial temperature tests on his hands, and plug him back in the next time he has the hot hand.

  45. 6 games in and the rostered relief pitcher count is already at 11. Total since Opening Day ’15 comes to…..38. And yes, I’m counting Jonny Gomes.

    And it just occurred to me to wonder what number will be greater this year, Francoeur home runs or Francoeur batters faced…..

  46. I’m pretty damn excited to see Mallex but I certainly wouldn’t expect him to “excel” in his first cup of coffee. I think at the very least he needs reps defensively, and more likely he’ll need to adjust to big league pitching (and defenses.) But he’d have to start that process sooner or later and it’s exciting to get a look at him.

  47. Same guy caught 4 foul balls in the Tigers/Pirates game this afternoon. Unreal. Wonder how many people were actually there?

  48. Bud Norris is our #2 starter. It’s like it just hit me all of the sudden. I require scotch.

  49. You can only blame the front office when you cut payroll, trade a starter for a 30yr old rookie, and then have Bud Norris as your #2 starter

  50. The bullpen is already up? LOLFredi. Does he know we play 7 straight games this week?

    I guess a few of these guys are going back down as soon as tomorrow, so might as well use them.

  51. Guys, I’m not sure Bud Norris is the answer to the problem here.

    Good thing this front office pegged him as a solid #2 starter this year.

  52. Adonis just leveled off on a 97 mph fastball at the letters and lined it straight to center for a hard out.

  53. @88

    Of course. Because why would you want Mallex to develop into an everyday player regardless of pitching matchups?

  54. Oh, and speaking of Avery’s 1991 season, 25 years since the worst to first Braves-Twins series, both teams are winless.

  55. I think they meant Victor Olivera…prolly just a typo in some of the memos. I bet it was somehow Wrens fault.

  56. Seriously, this is the kind of defense you expect when watching the SEC East. I’m not sure they can allow this to go on for much longer before big moves are made. This is demoralizing. I don’t think it’s good for the young guys to be around it.

  57. No way you can keep the left side like it is with Adonis, Aybar, and Olivera. Especially with a young pitching staff

  58. Well, I went to the ol’ ballyard tonight. It used to be that games against Washington were like home games — Braves fans were loud and plentiful. Now we’re subdued, badly outnumbered, and meek as churchmice.

    I’m going to Wednesday’s game, too. At this point I can’t think of a single reason not to fire Fredi Gonzalez. Or, for that reason, John Schuerholz.

  59. I think it’s worth asking how many consecutive losses at the start of the season it will take to pull the plug on Fredi. (I’d guess 12; a sweep to the Nationals won’t do it, but a subsequent sweep in Miami might be the last straw, especially if the lackadaisical fundamental play continues.)

    Nevertheless, even with the odd win here or there, I feel extremely confident in my 10-31 predicted start, and given that it would take the Braves to 35-84 since being .500 last July — a tidy 48-114 pace — I would expect that even this organization’s disinterested ownership would have to place Fredi’s head on the guillotine.

    In the meantime, I will continue to find hilarity in Coppy’s claim that “We feel there is an argument to be made that we may be better in 2016 with Erick Aybar.”

  60. I think Fredi could stop and take a dump on the first base line on his way to the mound and wouldn’t get canned. 0-10 won’t do it. 0-50 wouldn’t do it. Part of that is ownership not willing to eat 2 manager salaries, but part of it is ownership’s recognition of the crap hand ownership has dealt him.

    Fredi is terrible. Atrocious. But John Mcgraw couldn’t get this team to .500. No pitching no defense . Juggling the lineup isn’t deck chairs on the Titanic, it’s deck chairs on the Hindenburg.

    Yes, there is “an argument to be made” that we’re better with Aybar. We just haven’t found anyone willing to make it who doesn’t burst into ROFL.

  61. “We feel there is an argument to be made that we may be better in 2016 with Erick Aybar.”

    A master class in undercutting one’s own assertion.

  62. Firing Fredi will not change the trajectory of this team. We knew we were getting a tire fire, and that’s what we got. As someone old enough to remember Ted Turner’s ownership, I’m far more incensed by the Liberty Media article. If you want to know where your true hatred belongs, it’s with the people that view your beloved baseball team as nothing more than a real estate asset worthy of a tracking stock.

    Make sure you watch Ken Burns Jackie Robinson doc on PBS. It’s fantastic.

  63. Last year I watched a lot of Nats games.I saw Ian Desmond lose, easily, 6-8 games with his inability to make routine plays. I opined, in these pages, that he was the worst starting shortstop in the National League.

    Well, about that: Erick Aybar wasn’t in the National League when I wrote that.

    At this point, Ian Desmond is looking pretty good to me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *