Pirates 6, Braves 5 (by Rusty S.)

Apparently, the maximum theoretical number of caught stealings that can be recorded in a game is infinite. Thankfully, the possible number of blown saves in a game is constrained by the number of players on the roster. The Braves tested the latter boundary Sunday in Pittsburgh.

Julio Teheran turned a 4–2 lead over to the bullpen, after going 7 innings, allowing 6 hits and a walk, with 4 strikeouts and 0 earned runs. However, Arodys Vizcaino, Jim Johnson and Jose Ramirez barved it up, leading to a 6 – 5 Braves loss in 10 innings. In the 4th, Teheran picked off Starling Marte AND Freddie Freeman; Freddie was somehow handcuffed, or back on his heels, and dropped the throw. Freeman was charged with an error, and Marte was safe at 2nd, but charged with a caught stealing. This led to 2 unearned Pirate runs. In the 6th, Teheran picked off only Marte, his league-leading 23rd pickoff since 2013.

Vizcaino and Johnson gave up a run apiece in the 8th and 9th respectively, and Ramirez gave up a 2 run walk off homer to Marte in the bottom of the 10th, after the Braves scored a 5th run in the top of that inning. Vizcaino’s run was also unearned, but he was saved from further damage in the 8th by a nice double play; Johnson could not get the same help in the 9th as David Freese broke up Brandon Phillips’ turn on a slowly hit grounder. (It’s not clear to me that Phillips had a chance had he gotten a throw off.)

Aside from wasting a nice start from Teheran, the Braves wasted a 4 for 5, 2 home run, 1 stolen base effort from Freeman who (like millions of people before him) came up a triple short of the cycle. Dansby Swanson also went deep for the Braves. Marte went 4 for 5 for the Pirates.

The Braves are now 1 and 5 on the season as their planned exile post the SunTrust Park shakedown continues (in this context, “SunTrust Park shakedown” refers to the exhibition game played March 31st against the Yankees.) An off day Monday, then on to Miami for two.

Funniest thing I ever heard about Pittsburgh: (I swear I saw this on an ‘80’s Jeopardy episode.)
Alex Trebek: “This Pittsburgh sporting team acquired its nickname due to its habit of signing players away from other teams.”
Overly enthusiastic contestant: “WHO ARE THE PITTSBURGH STEALERS?!”

81 thoughts on “Pirates 6, Braves 5 (by Rusty S.)”

  1. Stealers! That’s funny!

    The bullpen sucks. I wonder if Braves State Media has sat down with Chip and Joe to work out on air verbiage about the relievers.

    “Chip, have you noticed Chaz Roe really has made progress in his side sessions?”

    “I sure have Joe! I think everyone should come out to Sun Trust Park early to see! In fact, if you come early enough, you can get a patty melt at the Waffle House and see the beauty of monument cavern behind the third base dugout. I imagine Chaz will have a plaque out there one day, now that he has figured it out.”

  2. Jace is the only useful bench option. Go ahead and call up Rio, Albies, and Ryan Howard. Move Phillips and Adonis to the bench.

  3. They won’t move Phillips to the bench. If he sucks bad enough to lose his job they will just release him.

  4. I’m still mad we were told at the start of the rebuild that 2017 was the year this team would be good again.

    Instead, the team is stuck in Forever Two Years Away mode. Check the comments at the end of the 2015 or 2016 seasons, and you’ll see people say the Braves are two years away from a legitimate contending team. Check them here at the end of this season, they’ll be two years away. After another abysmal season in 2018, you guessed it, two years away. A perpetual two years away, just like seemingly every other bad team.

  5. @8

    That is true. They said moving into SunTrust we would contend. No one really believed them. I actually think we may be good next year.


    That’s great.

  6. Sloppiness is no excuse. They’ve had days in NYC and Miami to sightsee, eat a steak dinner, and get to bed early.

  7. I thought the FO said we would be “competitive” in 2017.

    If we’re .500 or in that ballpark by year’s end I think that would be “competitive”.

    YMMV as to whether that’s realistic possibility.

  8. It’s only six games into the season, and despite the first six games largely sucking let’s maintain our composure. The back end of the back end of our bullpen looks really lousy but I imagine those roster spots will see an improvement of some kind soon. Let’s get at least one home stand in before throwing in the towel!

  9. To the people who think the Braves will be competitive in 2018… how? Who are they bringing up/signing that is making a difference? The roster is full of spare parts you would have rather had in 2007 than 2017, the talent in the minors is playing in Rome and Mississippi and they have no realistic aspirations of contending for top free agents. By my count there are 4 keepers on this team and the rest is a question mark, especially given how they’ve built around young pitching, none of which so far has materialized into consistent major league contributors.

    There’s nothing this collection of players does well as a group. There are 2-3 quality hitters, 1 quality starter, a group of ass on the bench and in the bullpen, and a sloppy group of defenders in general. So what’s the path here really?

  10. @8, I always thought 2017 was too optimistic because we didn’t have the minor league talent in the pipeline to project success that quickly. We have come a long way in 2 years, but yes, we are probably still 2 years away.

    @16, you’re probably right, but there is a little hope. Albies might come up and be a difference-maker, but the other guys who could/should be up by then aren’t likely to be stars, at least not so soon: Weigel, Newcomb, Ruiz, Minter, Peterson, Sims.

  11. 1-5 to start 2017, assuming we don’t go on a pace similar to the start of ’16, is a bad start considering the expectations the team has. I’d imagine it’s similar to how Seattle fans have been hearing their team is much improved, only to start their own season 1-5.

    The problem currently is that we haven’t tapped into the vault of pitching prospects with any success, unless you count Folty. When your rebuild is predicated on young pitching, and there’s very little of it at the major league level, then you’re not going to have much success. That could change significantly by June or July, but it just sucks after the first week of the season and there’s not much hope. If 3 or 4 guys hit this year, then you can take that money dedicated to aged pitching and use that to upgrade 3B, C, RF, wherever. Much different club.

    And things will probably get worse before they get better. 17 of our first 24 games are on the road against mostly decent teams.

  12. @18, I don’t really have expectations for this team. Does anyone else? I don’t recall seeing many people predict more than 80 wins this season. I’m in the low to mid-’70s, myself. That would mark “improvement”, but it’s not “success” in the broader definition of the term.

    I don’t think we’re a .200 team, though. We just got out of the gate bad. We’ll be better than this.

  13. The length of the Markakis contract set the first floor for how long it’d take to be competitive again. I’d say the new floor is the length of the Kemp contract.

    Next year we might be a bit easier to watch. This year they still aren’t trying. Watch the minor leagues for now.

  14. Everyone: step back from the ledge. We’ve had one week of regular season. A few bad breaks are why this team is 1-5 instead of 3-3. There’s 162 games. We still have 156 of them remaining. There’s a lot of baseball left. I would bet money we finish within 5-6 games of .500 one way or another.

  15. On one hand, we’re a rebuilding team with 5 starting position players over 30. On the other hand, Kemp has been out 3 games, Cabrera’s out, and we haven’t set foot at home. Yesterday was a gut punch, and I think the mood would be different if the bullpen had done its job; there was a lot to like Sunday otherwise. I like to be an optimist until I have to be a realist.

  16. Can someone who has paid $160 for MLB Extra Innings through Dish as I have tell me how to access MiLBtv broadcasts and if it is included in what we have already paid? Thanks.

  17. Today on the farm:

    Touki: 5ip, 0 runs, 2 hits, 6k, 2bb

    Soroka: 5ip, 0 runs, 2 hits, 7k, 0 bb

  18. @16
    I think we will make a few moves with trading some young guys and filling a few gaps in free agency.

    We have big holes at 3b and C. We will also add an arm in the rotation

  19. Anybody see the Cubs new bullpen location? Very weird. Under the bleachers with glass windows and a door. Weird.

  20. I’m still under the impression that we’ve put together an average team and our record will eventually reflect that. However, we don’t look prepared to start the year and Snitker has to take some responsibility for that. We have a killer road schedule to start the year but I think we’ll edge close to 500 by the end of April. Snitker will show us by mid year if he’s a long term solution or a stopgap.

  21. I’ve had the MLB package for several years, and there is no MiLB access with it. Two separate deals, I’m sure. FWIW, the MLB price actually went down a few bucks for this season.

  22. @29

    thanks Bob.

    Alex Wood, 94/95 starting against Cubs. One unearned run so far after Puig error. Bottom 4th.

  23. “Kept calling himself Duke. Organization had to knock him down a peg.”

    Ah! Well I’m siding with the Organization on this one…

  24. Prospect chat with Eric Longenhagen live now on BA. Of interest so far…When asked where Gohara would slot on the new Mariners prospect list, “Gohara would have been #2”..

  25. @36 Gohara would have been #2 on the Mariners prospect list, behind only Mercer grad Kyle Lewis (whom the Braves passed on in the first round of the 2016 draft, selecting Ian Anderson instead). For what it’s worth, Longerhagen gave both Lewis and Anderson the same overall 55 grade in his team reports this spring.

    As an organization, the Braves are still woefully short on high-ceiling position player talent… I wonder if we’ll ever get a real idea as to whether the Braves’ choice to pass over Lewis in favor of Anderson came down to financial considerations (Anderson may have been willing to sign for less than Lewis, so Braves were then able to grab Muller/Wentz at the later picks), scouting judgment or some combination of the two.

  26. @37

    I think there is some high ceiling hitting talent, a big chunk is below AA.

    Albies, Maitan, Jackson, Riley, Acuna, Pache. I am a big fan of Demeritte. I’ll throw Dansby in for fun.

    I get what you are saying though. I think the hope is one of five pitchers will pan out and you can trade a few guys for hitters at some point.

    When that point is, we don’t know.

  27. @37

    Signability did seem to fuel the Anderson pick over Lewis/Puk/Pint/Ray. I was particularly disappointed at the time that we didn’t take Ray.

    I find myself forgetting to check the box scores of the minor league games for hitters and instead just looking at the pitching lines. Almost every night has someone at 3-4 levels that is a legitimate prospect. That part has been nice. But to your point, there aren’t a lot of high-ceiling position players to catch your eye.

  28. Half way through Chipper’s new book. Very easy reading and evokes a lot of nostalgia. I give it two thumbs up so far. You’ll really love it if you grew up playing the game and had a baseball dad.

  29. Kemp officially to 10-day DL, Bonifacio starting in LF, and Camargo called up. How can an intelligent GM like Coppy look so unprepared on the back end of this roster?

  30. I will say, it’s one thing for a guy like Coppy who’s been in scouting for 10+ years to be able to take the highest bid for when you sell off your players. It’s another thing to build a major league roster, and he’s demonstrating that he’s very good at accumulating prospects by dealing players to contending teams, but he hasn’t demonstrated that he can build a roster. And this is the second year where he’s said “we’ve expected to be better”, and while I’m not magnifying the 1-5 start, I am magnifying the fact that Emilio Bonifacio is in a major league lineup because of John Coppolella.

    My fear is that because he’s been accessible to fans, and he’s made silly jokes on Twitter, and he talks about hot dogs not being sandwiches, it’s clouding the fact that he sucks at roster composition.

  31. On the cusp of a new stadium opening, I’m watching the final game played in Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. One of the most amazing pitching matchups in World Series history.

    Pettitte: 8.1, 5, 0, 0, 3, 4
    Smoltz: 8, 4, 1, 0, 3, 10

    That ’96 team.

  32. 39—Lewis signed for $713,300 less than Anderson did. Puk signed for $69,200 more. Don’t think signability was a factor for either of those guys. No idea what they thought of Pint, but they simply liked Anderson better than Ray.

    Wonder how different the front office’s master plan would seem to folks if Senzel had fallen to them at #3 (as they hoped) or if Rutherford had fallen to them at #40 (as they tried to engineer).

  33. Do you think drafting Senzel instead of Anderson would have changed the perception that much?

    I had not seen that Lewis signed for that much less. Lewis had a .915 OPS in limited action at low-A last year, and that’d be an incredible high-A outfield with Lewis and Acuna.

  34. A great way for a team to improve its WAR totals would be to measure their players versus Braves “replacement-level.” Boom, extra WAR right there.

    Anyway, my take at this point in the process is that they’d still rather put resources into high-end prospects than bench players. They signaled this with the Mallex for Gohara trade. There’s an opportunity cost to improving the MLB depth, and they don’t want to pay it.

  35. Is there someone better than Bonifacio in the organization capable of playing LF for a week while Kemp is out? If yes, then why isn’t he playing? If no, then I guess we can’t complain.

  36. Why can’t we complain? Jace is better than Bonifacio. We could call up Rio and put Adonis out there. We could have signed better bench players. Pagan and KJ are still available.

  37. 44—Definitely. There wouldn’t be nearly as much talk about the focus on pitching to the exclusion of hitting, etc. Bottom line is, they took the best available guys on their board when they picked; there were hitters they really liked, but those guys weren’t there when they were picking.

  38. @48

    Right. That’s really what’s frustrating. And we had 2 corner OFs who were over the age of 30, and a CF who missed 31 games last year, and we traded a OF starting for another team for an A-ball prospect, regardless of how good he is (admittedly, very good). And sure enough, a week into the season, we already have a OF on the DL. It didn’t take a genius to see this could easily happen. I guess I understand that you didn’t want Mallex sitting on the bench if you didn’t have a spot, but a spot will always come up! And it’s really more of an indictment of where we are that we’re rebuilding, 5 of 8 position players are over the age of 30, and we have NO ONE to call up to play the second-least important defensive position. Like, really? No one to throw out there?

    At the end of the day, there is absolutely no reason why any team claiming to be respectable would have Emilio Jose Bonifacio Del Rosario in the lineup. And Peanut’s defense of him in the lineup is because you don’t want him to rot on the bench. Uhhh, yeah you do. No, trust me, if he’s the 25th best member of your team, and you have two off days this week, then it’s really ok for him to never see the light of day. Don’t worry; he’s getting paid too. We’re all good here.

  39. Yeah I’m not saying we can’t complain, it’s just that if the question is Jace vs Emilio then we’re already in a deep dark place.

    I think about 18 of the 25 man roster need to be the best at their positions in the organization before I’d say we are really trying to win. To be so far away from that is super frustrating to me.

  40. Jace Peterson is a major league caliber player. Emilio Bonifacio should not be on a major league roster.

  41. tonight:
    Gohara 4ip 5h 2er 0bb 2k (70 pitches, 47 strikes)
    Minter 1ip 0h 0er 0bb 2k (17 pitches, 11 strikes)

    so there’s that

  42. Those Terrapin guys are pretty good so I’m sure it won’t be awful, but yeah the concept sounds horrifying – Mmmm sawdust beer!

  43. Stepping from the ledge, there are 10 players I could see in Atlanta, which could create some enjoyment/excitement: Albies, Ruiz, D Peterson, Minter, Fried, Newcomb, Sims, Morris, Dirks, and L Jackson. Until then, this is beyond boring. 3rd year of the rebuild and 15 of the 25 players on the roster are over 30. Sweet.

  44. DOB says Dustin Peterson might have gotten the call for Kemp had he not been injured. That makes me feel better at least.

  45. If Markakis can hit a few more homers he might net us an A-ball prospect with arm problems.

  46. If Foltynewicz can give up a few more homers he might net us an A-ball prospect with arm problems.

  47. Johan Camargo’s first career at bat he reaches first base on a strikeout. Wonder how common that is?

  48. A-, A+ and AAA affiliates all won.

    Blair: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6K
    Chapman: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K
    Motte: 1 IP, 1 H
    Albies: 1-6, 3 K
    Ruiz: 2-5, 2 2B, 1 K


    Gohara: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 K
    Minter: 1 IP, 2 K
    Acuna: 2-2, 1 BB
    Riley: 1-4, 2 K
    A Jackson: 1-4, 2 K

    Burrows (22 YRs old, Mallex trade): 2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 K
    Cruz: 1-5
    Pache: 2-4, 3B

    Overall, a decent day for the farm, but most of our talent, IMO, is at AA.

  49. The strike zone has been 6 inches outside all night. Not that it matters but that was ball 4 on Bonifacio

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