Monarchs 4, Black Crackers 2 (by coop)

The Kansas City Monarchs defeated the Atlanta Black Crackers 4-2 in thirteen innings.

The Monarchs got a leadoff double by Alcides Escobar in the first, and Eric Hosmer chased him home with a single. Kansas City led 1-0 after one. Then Matt Wisler shut Kansas City down through the seventh. Meanwhile, old friend Ned Yost used a bajillion pitchers, all he had.

Matt pitched well but yielded another run in the eighth. At that juncture, I bet the farm that the game was over. I lost. Who knew the Black Crackers could possibly score two in the ninth against KC’s all star closer? It never entered my mind. Mallex Smith singled home a run. Alas, he broke his leg trying to take second and had to be put down.

Baseball is a funny game. Here’s proof: Erick Aybar singled in the tying run. Go figure. Wisler didn’t get the loss, and Atlanta forced Kansas City to play much longer than expected.

Both offenses went into hibernation until the thirteenth. Atlanta slept still, but Kansas City finally awoke and put us out of our misery. By this time, I was rooting for somebody just to end the agony. Kendrys Morales did, finally, thankfully. He blasted a Jason Grilli pitch over the centerfield fence. Game over. Woo-hoo.

We need a couple of hitters, preferably a third baseman who can both hit and field and a corner outfielder with consistent pop. I’d trade Neck and Julio plus a couple of prospects to get it done, but I’m not Coppy.

110 thoughts on “Monarchs 4, Black Crackers 2 (by coop)”

  1. Things have definitely changed on this team. Fredi shaved his moustache and goatee. I’m not sure if Fredi has done that his entire tenure.

  2. I wonder if Adonis playing left in AAA hints that the Braves want Mallex in CF, Adonis in LF, and trade Inciarte. Inciarte has been terrible so far, so that’s obviously not going to work, but it could be hinting at their strategy. Or, trade Markakis and plug Mallex/Inciarte in RF.

  3. Heyward’s wrist is hurt, and the Cubs’ lack of depth had been keeping him in the lineup.

    Alex Wood has resumed pitching well in his last few starts, in case anyone didn’t notice.

  4. @8

    That piece is hilarious. Apparently part of winning the trade was not having to pay a disappointing Justin Upton, which the Braves didn’t do either… and Arizona wouldn’t have, otherwise why would they trade him

    As for the rest, clutching at straws best sums it up

  5. DOB, the lead anchor of Braves State Media, has an article up about how the Braves schedule has been so hard and we should give everyone a pass.

    Lame

  6. Ozzie at 5

    Minor league errors
    will tend to produce rather more terrors
    in those that o’erwatch them
    than in the kids who actually botch them.

    Hey!

    my ISO
    it’s important that you know
    in a singles bar
    still has the capacity to take me far.

  7. 8 — WAR the Braves have gotten from players received in both JUpton trades: 10.7

    WAR the DBacks have gotten from players in the Prado trades: 3.2

  8. Can someone explain to me Mallex getting picked off/thrown out 3 times in a game?

  9. Braves should jump at the chance of moving Markakis if possible. Not sure his value can get higher. I expect it to happen before the break and they will call up Adonis for LF. I also expect Burnett to replace EOF in the bullpen

  10. @16 Markakis’ value could and would certainly get higher if he could push his average back up to .300 and hit a few HRs…

    Obviously, the timing of selling an asset is an art, not a science – with the benefit of hindsight, the Braves waited too long to sell Grilli and Maybin last year. Markakis, though… the Braves have him under contract through 2018 and he’s not exactly setting the world on fire right now. I’d wait until the right opportunity presents itself. It’s not as if the Braves have a good replacement waiting in the wings… Dustin Peterson may be a playable option someday, but likely that day isn’t going to come before the 2016 roster expansion at earliest.

  11. Thanks for the recap Alex.

    It was unfair to play the Monarchs because they had Satchel Paige.

  12. Teams know what they’re getting with Markakis, so it’s just a matter of if there’s a market for his services (probably) and if we’re willing to trade him (maybe?).

    I admit to some level of morbid curiosity as to how a high OBP/low SLG can do. So I kind of hope we keep Neck.

  13. I like that we’ve given this opportunity for Mallex and Inciarte to play at the big league level and Adonis to learn LF in AAA. Hopefully this means he can focus on the stick when he gets back. As we saw in extra innings yesterday, just having a guy who can run into a couple every now and again would steer the outcome of quite a few games. It wouldn’t just help the team; it would turn losses to wins.

    It’s just so frustrating that we’re in just about every game we’re playing. I’d be inclined to think that a team on pace to win about 40 or 50 games would be getting bombed out of the stadium every day, but that’s just not the case.

    I listened to about half of the Coppy interview, and I can definitely see why the guy is the perfect guy to be doing this. He seems to be in the Theo Epstein mold of being extremely analytical. I just hope the John’s can keep him from turning into Paul DePodesta.

  14. @19, a whole team of high OBP / low SLG would be a fascinating case study. I think that’s sorta the direction we’re headed in short-term.

  15. Right this very moment we’re doing low OBP / low SLG, which doesn’t seem nearly as fascinating.

  16. I wish WAR could take into account Mallex getting thrown out on the bases in non-steal situations. I also wish there could be a study on what impact a .450 SLG outfielder on this team would have. I swear a power-hitting outfielder would essentially operate as a 15 WAR player on this team. I know that’s not a thing, but it’s a thing with this crew.

  17. Whoa, so did you realize Mallex leads the NL in total zone runs and OF range factor?

  18. He does seem very bright. He would be a very marketable player if he stayed with the Braves long-term. Inciarte, in more ways than one, is interfering with that.

  19. @28, This can’t be. Fox Sports South has all kinds of promos with him bragging about stealing bases.

  20. @30, I can predict people being hard on me for post #31, but I’m not being hard on “him”. I agree, he “would be” a very marketable player…down the line. When he’s proved himself. But right now, “he” doesn’t know who “he” is in a major league respect, and I resent that Braves marketing people would have him out there on the front lines before he’s done anything yet.

    He does seem to be doing fine of late, but I just get grousy about this kind of stuff. Braves should be marketing Freddie Freeman and the last year of Turner Field and let the rookies grow into themselves before turning the star spotlight on them.

  21. I mean, yeah, ditto, but we’ve already got Dansby Swanson commercials, and I’m still not sure if his ceiling is Derek Jeter or Tommy LaStella.

    Braves marketing dept. might be the toughest job out there. Timothy Miller and “Chipper rescues Fredi with his ATV”…

  22. …I’m still not sure if his ceiling is Derek Jeter or Tommy LaStella. (emphasis added)

    Sir…

  23. Yes, and I have no idea what we have in Swanson. Everyone’s ceiling is HallOfFame if you want to be pedantic about it.

  24. Yeah, it doesn’t appear you know what “ceiling” means, as it relates to prospects.

    I can help: “Realistic best-case scenario” is what it means. And yes, I’m “really really sure” his ceiling is higher than Tommy La Stella.

  25. Jones also believes he might be able to give the Braves some better production on the field right now. When asked whether he thinks he could match current Braves’ third baseman, who have just one home run on the season, the 44-year-old expressed confidence in his abilities.

    “I would like to think yes, but I’ve been away from the game for four years,” he says. “The ball still jumps off the bat pretty good.”

    Start the campaign.

  26. @39, the best-case scenario for a #1 pick is obviously high-ceiling. I’m not sure why he was a #1 pick and I’m not sure those expectations are even fair.

  27. I commend krussell for not getting his hopes up. I believed the FO this past offseason about this season, and I got my hopes up. Krussell is taking a conservative strategy to fanhood that I admire. I don’t have the strength to do that.

    With that said…

    You’re freaking crazy.

  28. I don’t know if anyone has noticed, or cares, but 24 year old first baseman Joey Meneses has been tearing it up in his second year at high A Carolina. Granted he’s 24 and still in the low minors, but the fact that he’s hit 4 hr and 9 doubles suggests he may have found some power that wasn’t expected to be part of his game. In looking for scouting reports about him I came across a bleacher report slideshow that ranked our best players on the farm at every position…..from 2014. Here’s what it looked like:

    C: Christian Bethancort
    1B: Joey Meneses
    2B: Jose Peraza
    3B: Kyle Kubitza
    SS: Ozzie Albies
    OF: Kyle Wren
    OF: Edward Salcedo
    OF:Braxton Davidson
    P: Lucas Sims
    RP: Chasen Shreive

    I think maybe the firesale and front office shuffling did need to happen.

  29. You can suck for 5 years and rebuild the farm via the draft with or without a fire sale. The fire sale just saved a bunch of cash. What we do with that saved cash will ultimately determine how this process is judged.

  30. “The fire sale just saved a bunch of cash.”

    This is just plain wrong, and I suspect that you actually know it’s a bunch of bunk. The sell off netted us Inciarte, Swanson, Blair, Newcomb, Riley, Jenkins, Fried, Ellis, Rio Ruiz, Gant, and more. Like, several years worth of draft material. It both accelerated our talent acquisition AND provided us financial flexibility.

  31. We lost a year of possible contention. I don’t think it’s worth it. I’ve never said that we weren’t going to have to start over. All I wanted was to wait a year.

  32. Don’t forget about Folty and Wisler; two guys who are looking like long term rotation pieces. What would the rotation look like right now, had we stayed the course? Julio, Wood, Bills….then what….Weber….the guy we sent to the Rockies? We also got an everyday CF.

  33. It seems easier to try to fill 2 or 3 spots rather than damn near all of them. Maybe you’re in contention in July and you spend some money and go for it. Maybe instead it all goes to crap and you end up with comp picks from the FA walk guys and you are behind a year on the rebuild. I’d rather try to win. Losing on purpose disgusts me.

  34. @48

    1) You’ve now moved the goal post. Your original claim was that the fire sale only saved money, now it’s that it wasn’t worth the gain.

    2) Wait a year? Are you serious – you realize we traded Heyward and Upton before their walk years, right?

    I’m sure your next post will reveal the final, ultimate, actual reason the rebuild is evil and we are doooomed!

  35. You have to factor in that the fire sale threw away multiple seasons, fan goodwill, and real revenue. It has a price tag. Having Wisler and Folty on the team right this very minute does nothing (yet) in the net balance. If it takes 5 years to surround them with position players that can make the team competitive, then you are kind of back to square one.

    Ultimately the money not spent on the past two seasons will need to be spent on position players. If that happens, my criticisms are invalid.

  36. Arguing with krussell is like pinning jello to the wall. Krussell, we all know you were against the firesale. Your preference is that we would be at the exact same spot this year, that is, one of the worst teams in the league, except without Blair, Jenkins, Swanson, Inciarte, Mallex, Fried, Folty, Ruiz, Peterson, Thurman. In other words, you would’ve traded all those players to win maybe 80 games in 2015 but set back the rebuild several years (not just one–don’t kid yourself) by not having those prospects and drafting 15 spots lower in 2016. Also, the comp picks we would’ve gotten for Heyward and Upton were more or less picked up in other trades, like the competitive balance pick we got in the Upton trade itself.

    Hey–that’s your preference. Most everyone else here disagrees.

  37. I don’t know how many games we would’ve won in 2015. Nobody does. Maybe 80, maybe 75, maybe 92. It would have been a year with a bunch of players that I enjoyed watching.

    If some set of players out of Blair, Jenkins, Swanson, Inciarte, Mallex, Fried, Folty, Ruiz, Peterson, Thurman, Wisler, Gant, Newcomb, (or derivations of), etc helps us win the division in the next 5 years then the acceleration aspect of the firesale cannot be discounted.

    In case you missed it, I don’t think these guys are that good. If I thought they were that good, I wouldn’t be complaining.

  38. I don’t think anybody is trying to say that those guys are all going to hit. I think the idea is that the influx of talent will fill out our roster and provide enough overflow that we can turn spare pieces into some front line players and still have enough organizational depth to be able to sustain a few TJ surgeries and DL stints to key pieces of the 25 man roster without having to sign Ervin Santana a day or two before the season or need to give ABs to guys like ACHE, Frenchy and Louth.

  39. I kinda liked signing Ervin Santana. We don’t compete at all in 2015 without a couple of starting pitching pickups. Spending money like that is pretty much the anti-firesale universe that I want to live in.

    The guys on that long list from the firesale return are mostly someone else’s spare pieces (except for Swanson). It’s not likely that everyone was wrong about them. Some of them sure, but not all of them.

    Look, if we spin all this into gold then I’m not going to be upset. Being wrong about sucking is better than being right.

  40. On a somewhat related note, Folty’s recent success has done wonders to increase my optimism. More than anything, it gives me some faith in the ability of this organization to turn the raw stuff of guys like Sims, Newcomb and Touki into something special.

  41. Folty and Wisler are both promising. Hell, Teheran is still pretty good most of the time. How long is it going to take to field a major league offense and defense behind them? I can’t get past the idea of having to replace virtually every position player on the team. Quite a task ahead.

  42. We don’t need to replace every position. We have a 1B and CF. We have replacement 2B and SS in the minors. That’s half the positions. We may have a 3B at AAA. We’ll see. We really need 2 strong corner OF and a catcher. 3 major acquisitions.

  43. 2 strong corner OF and I’m all-in. I’d also be ok with replacing Freeman, if we can ever get to a sell-high point.

  44. @61
    Exactly. And assuming Mallex is going to stick and be an everyday player, that leaves us with a second true CF, one who was worth 5 wins last year who has 4 years of service left. If Inciarte heats up a little and looks like the guy from last year, perhaps he’ll net (possibly as part of a package) a guy that can play corner outfield and hit homeruns. Teheran should also net us at least on the horizon big league starting position player. There’s tons of money leaving the books after this season, sure it’s a crappy free agent class, but maybe we’ll get the catcher we need.

  45. I have difficulty understanding why Jeffy plays, let alone hits cleanup. Weren’t we delendaing him and Aybar?

  46. @65 Didn’t want four straight lefties?

    Getting ground balls going to the wrong spots, also, Aybar.

    @67 Three grounders, a strikeout, and a walk. Really not looking that bad

  47. I would assume they want to put him in a position to succeed, but it still doesn’t make me happy

  48. Staring the team’s worst possible defensive infield with a groundball pitcher on the mound makes perfect sense.

  49. Why can’t I bench Francouer, just on general principles?

    Seems like Mallex needs to hit against lefties, and play every day. If we can’t afford that on this juggenaut of a roster, then he should be in AAA.

  50. @76, Just bench him and not release him?

    In addition to Inciarte and Arab Singles, Fredi saw fit to start KJ at second and Freddie at first, so this is a lefty-heavy lineup. Mallex is apparently the one to sit.

  51. Maybe Mallex doesn’t factor heavy into their long term plans. I dunno. You can watch each game so far and encounter several head-scratchers per night. The answers to “why?” don’t make much sense, except for “well, because we want to lose”.

  52. Fredi sac-bunted in the first inning. Didn’t even phase me. The numbing is complete.

  53. @79, Looked to me like Inciarte was bunting for a hit.

    I think Mallex not playing is a problem with personnel. You’ve got Markakis, who unless he needs a night off isn’t going to sit. He’s been one of our steadiest hitters. You’ve got Inciarte, who needs to play after all that time off, plus he’s a legit player and we need to, if anything, up his trade profile. And you’ve got Mallex, the rookie who needs to play because he needs to play. And they’re all left-handers. And on a team where our franchise player at 1B is also a lefty.

    We’re just not balanced enough to be able to let Mallex play with any consistency. And that’s why I think he probably oughta be in the minors.

  54. This is a thorough beat down. We never could hit Niese, but he sure has hit us.

  55. Szymborski is a kindred spirit:

    “Dan Szymborski: WHY are some of you guys so obsessed with spending money and prospects to make the Braves better in 2016/2017? The Braves have essentially no chance at an improvement for 2016/2017 that has any kind of value to the present or future of the team.”

    He responded similarly elsewhere when someone suggested trading for Braun (lol). Could’ve easily been one of you guys.

    There are also tons of questions about getting a “solid” (lol) prospect for Markakis in that chat.

  56. @61

    I’d argue that even with all the finagling, we still are short some horses in the pen. Let’s see how Rodriguez, Simmons, Winkler, and Withrow shake out as we add in Vizcaino and some rotation rejects. Coppy specifically mentioned adding two relievers through FA in that interview.

    And somewhere in all this is Olivera, and I doubt they’ve completely given up on him.

  57. I think Olivera playing for the Braves is almost as likely as an Odor/Bautista marriage ceremony in Canada this fall.

  58. Has anyone been listening to Joe and chip talking about frenchy saying he had focused on hitting to the off field so much in batting practice that he forgot how to lift the ball?

    Maybe Rob is right and Seitzer really is poisoning these guys. I thought they were just bad.

  59. KELLY?

    Is that how it works? I’ve almost forgotten. Seems a shame to finally start hitting home runs on a night when our pitchers have a bad game.

  60. @88

    Not a chance, homes. He was the centerpiece of the biggest trade they’ve made in the rebuild. They’re not going to give up this easy. Some articles I’ve read speculate that as long as the case doesn’t go to trial, his experience may be similar to Jose Reyes’, and he could be back in mid-June.

    At some point, Olivera will be back and Adonis will justify a recall. You’ll then have 5 OFs, no 3B, no SS, no 2B, and no C. And like 3 relievers… maybe. I’d imagine something will happen at that point.

  61. @90

    You don’t get on a dead ball era power pace through no conscious effort…

  62. I admire the optimism, but that guy is radioactive at this point. The best thing they can do is cut their losses (this bunch has a hard time with that, yes).

  63. Oh, I’m not saying he has trade value. He may very well force the Braves to trade a better player like Markakis or Inciarte and run the string with him. I’m just saying he’s not a goner… yet.

    Listen, he’s not proven that he’s a bad baseball player. He just hasn’t proved he is a good baseball player, and the only way that will happen is with an “A” on his cap.

  64. August 11, 2007, was the last time KJ and Frenchy homered in the same game for the Braves. It’s been a while, but the magic is still there…

  65. They are eating all $28M unless he goes to jail or gets deported or whatever it would take to void his contract. He’s our problem otherwise. Markakis has zero trade value. Inciarte might have some, we’ll see.

    They swung for the fences with Olivera, and they missed, and the bat came around and hit them in the ear, and they pulled an oblique. Time to own up to the mistake and move on. Doubling down on it isn’t the hill that Coppy wants to die on. He’s got plenty of others.

  66. I’ve actually enjoyed Chip and Joe more this year than any other season. They have been less homerish. You know it has to be hard to find stuff to talk about.

  67. @98

    Eh, you’re wrong. You don’t give up that easily, and you know it. I do appreciate the single-handed symmetry you bring to this board. You’re the Joker to everyone’s Batman.

  68. Ok then, file it away as yet another thing I’m wrong about, even before we know what the outcome is.

  69. krussell, I’m with you on the essence of the thing. Even if you do everything right according to your process, there are too many variables in every future to trash the good of the present when it’s good enough. It was not clear to me that we could not have competed, and there is no such thing as ‘ahead’ or ‘behind’ in a rebuild–although I agree that it would have been far from easy to continue any success afterwards with the shape the organization was in. This endeavor really could take 10 years; and I like what we’re starting with.

    Or: those taking the long-view are sometimes also pretty short-sighted.

  70. How bad was Aybar tonight? Do the braves really think he can build value at this point? Bench him and play Castro

  71. DOB…

    #Braves KJ and Francoeur focused on hitting homers in BP today. Frenchy said Chipper used to say you couldn’t hit ’em w/out practicing ’em.

    #Braves Fredi G on Aybar: Yeah, we got spoiled watching Simmons… He’s not Simmons, but he’s better than what we’re seeing.”

  72. If it were possible to be worth less than -1.0 WAR in one game, Aybar would have come close tonight. Running him out there is just a giant FU to the fans, the pitching staff, impressionable little leaguers, and ‘murica.

  73. @104

    The BP thing is so concerning. Uhh, yeah, it needs to be a part of your mechanics to lift the ball when you don’t have the bat speed to create line drive extra base hits consistently. Very bizarre and enlightening.

    The Braves had 4 pitchers pitch tonight in Gwinnett that could be improvements over the big league staff as Shae Simmons threw a rehab inning, Casey Kelly had another excellent start, and Matt Marksberry and Chris Withrow both pitched well in relief. I wonder if Marksberry should be given another shot over a clearly done O’Flaherty. Marksberry at least has potential.

  74. A clearly done O’Flaherty? I haven’t seen that. He has seemed to pitch pretty well recently IMO. He seems to be a victim of bad luck or bad defense (join the club) most of the time. I was extremely impressed tonight when he had the bases loaded with no outs and struck out McCutcheon, Polanco popped up, and Freese struck out. Otoh, Ogando seems to be doing worse every outing and gives up Grybos consistently.

  75. @105…
    total agreement…
    …it has reached the point where it insults our intelligence, our love of the game even. For God’s sake. We are a laughing stock with him out there.

    @106/7…not sure myself any more after those three outs, caught me off guard. Classic SSS of course but he’s surprised us once before when others dumped him.

    Shae Simmons…welcome back! what sticks in the mind – ice, veins, cool.

    @102..did enjoy ‘long term view/short sighted’!

    @101…you know the old saw, a prophet in his time etc…hang in there.

    Grybos…you could look it up except, apparently, you can’t…best slang dictionary please?

    in the other league..

    Roughned O’Dor
    had started by saying the neighborhood play is no more
    recalling just then the notorious flip
    he landed a beauty somewhat full flush on the lip.

  76. @108, “Grybo” is in the Braves Journal Glossary:

    Grybo: An inherited run. Named after former reliever Kevin Gryboski, who specialized in coming in, allowing one or two runners to score, then getting the needed outs to prevent one of his own men from scoring, thus preserving his ERA while at the same time making other pitchers look worse in comparison. See Triple Grybo (Added July 24, 2006)

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