Braves 13, Nationals Bullpen Stinks

There are two things we definitely learned about the Nationals and Braves: the Braves can score runs with the best of them, and the Nationals bullpen is completely terrible. The Braves have not much room to talk as there have been glaring weaknesses with even some of the best Braves teams of the last two decades, but how does a contending team give this little care to its bullpen? But I’m not crying; the Braves took 2 of 3 in Washington from the division leaders.

But what is even more impressive is that the Braves produced 13 runs with only one long ball. Kurt Suzuki accounted for the lone home run, but 5 lineup regulars each had multi-hit games. Brandon Phillips had the first 4-hit game since Ender’s 5-hit game a week and a half ago. We were starting to get worried. Kevin Seitzer really deserves a lot of credit.

Good Julio showed up again, this time limiting his Nationals Park home run allowance to one. But a big point is that Julio got 9 groundball outs to just 3 fly outs, and when he can finally keep the ball down, he could get back on track. All told, he pitched 7 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 2 ER, and 3 K. 4 out of 5 and 5 out of 7 of his previous starts have been of the quality variety (though the other starts were real clunkers), so maybe he’s getting back on track as we speak.

On pace for 72 wins… your Atlanta Braves!

62 thoughts on “Braves 13, Nationals Bullpen Stinks”

  1. Today marks the day that you can trade one year vets. Let the games begin!

    Also, unrelated but still appropriate:

    Ozzie Albies
    First 28 games
    .244/.276/.370, 1 HR, 9-9 SB, 23.4% K, 4.7% BB
    Last 28 games
    .304/.370/.470, 2 HR, 8-8 SB, 17.8% K, 7.8% BB

    Ozzie is showing he’s healthy, and he now has more high minors PAs (and success) than Dansby. Dansby had 377 PAs at just AA, and Albies now has 371 PAs at AA and 504 PAs at AA. If he’s healthy, then you’d have to think he’s looking at a call up at some point this year.

  2. Wrote a long post and got JC’d!

    I’m sorry, but Chip’s just not a very good broadcaster. Nepotism is sometimes misapplied to very talented people who follow in their family’s footsteps, but in this case I seriously doubt Chip would be employed by a major league team if it wasn’t for his last name. I used to like Joe Simpson a lot, especially his zany sense of humor, but after years of not having anyone to work with I think it’s rubbed off on him and made him worse. He’s not as funny as he used to be; as straight as Chip is, he isn’t a very good straight man. As for Chip, his negatives are legion: He doesn’t have good instincts about baseball, notice whenever it’s a trivia question his answers make me suspicious if he even follows the sport with any seriousness; he’s got a nice voice but he overuses it and that halting laugh thing makes it excruciating to listen to him…you know it’s coming and *damn* there it was and just wait a little bit and *damn* there it is again! I could go on.

    Everything negative that’s been said about Don’s play calling abilities is absolutely spot on. They should just do away with the switching places thing and let Jim Powell handle calling the whole game. I don’t know why they don’t. But Don’s got a lovable quality that makes him endearing, and of the four broadcasters Jim Powell is the only one you could say has any professional polish to him and I appreciate that about him. But, yeah, they could announce the score of the game more often. That kind of thing seems easy to fix. Write a letter?

  3. Rob/ryan c from previous thread

    For a newbie could you please offer a fuller definition of a ‘one year senior/veteran’ and whatever implications follow them around? Thanks.

  4. Ozzie’s problem may be that he doesn’t have fabulous hair.

    Had Erick Aybar been as competent as Brandon Phillips has been, Swanson wouldn’t have been called up when he was, either.

    6—I have no doubt that they’re close to a deal (because everything was agreed on quite a while ago), but Heyman has been consistently wrong in his tweeting/reporting on the Braves and Wright, for what it’s worth.

  5. Delendaed those Natspos, we did. I’m ready to deal Brandon and bring up Ozzie, but I don’t have a vote.

    Thanks for the recap, Rob.

  6. I would think we could get a really strong return for Phillips at this point. And he’s dirt, dirt cheap.

    I wonder if Atlanta will buy prospects with 2017 payroll by eating a lot of Garcia’s salary. You can widen the buyer pool to cash-strapped teams. We don’t need it this year, assuming the long-held belief that we don’t have rollover payroll.

    We are all of Grilli’s salary to get a player we ended up releasing, so if that’s a comp, then I fear there is nothing out there for Colon and Dickey.

    Jim Johnson would look good in a Nats uni. Haha.

    And in response to people saying that a team like Cleveland wouldn’t give up a big prospect for Adams, I think that any team with a struggling incumbent at 1B who thinks Adams is a legitimate .900 OPS 1B nowadays will give up something significant.

  7. 6/26

    Kevin Maitan
    would like to remind you since all this began
    your day of redemption approaches
    suggesting you hire all appropriate coaches.

  8. Who would want Phillips? Here is a list my barber sent me:


  9. AAR @ 10,

    Once Phillips was traded, 10 and 5 went out the door. His contract has a no trade list I think, but he agreed at time of trade that he could be traded anywhere for something like a $1 mill bonus. So acquiring team at mid point pays 1.5 mill for a decent 2B for the rest of the year and no obligation beyond that.

    A contender with a real need at 2B would make a deal.

  10. I wonder if Cincy is on that no-trade list…

    But seriously, the only significance to today’s date is that you can technically trade Colon and Dickey, but that doesn’t help us much. I’m thinking that it might open up some of the trade market because other recently signed FAs could be dealt. After all, Bud Norris, who was in the same situation, was traded on 6/30.

  11. I read on Twitter that Kevin Maitan will start at Danville next week.

    By the way, I wish “I read on Twiter” could be known as IROT to stand as both an acronym for taking something with a grain of salt, and to also tell you what happens when you are on Twitter.

  12. @7, I’m growing weary of the myth that Dansby was called up because Aybar was incompetent. I showed elsewhere that Aybar had been about +2 WAR over the 3 months prior to his being traded. If anything, the fact that he was that competent is what made him trade bait for the Tigers, who gave us a pretty nice organizational piece in Scivicque. You had to jump at the chance to trade an expensive and declining player in Aybar, and the rest was history.

  13. Yeah, it wasn’t like we were gonna keep Aybar for another year. Dansby was called up for a few non-baseball reasons, and a lot of actual baseball reasons (I mean he did play well for the most part at Mississippi). If we had another guy to be his caddy for a while then it’s possible we wouldn’t have seen Swanson until this month. But I’m not sure how that extra time at AAA would’ve made a huge difference. All you do is push back his can’t-hit-sliders learning curve a bit longer.

  14. BP’s 10/5 rights are gone but no-trade clause to 12 select teams is still intact, no exceptions unless Brandon makes them. If he gets traded to any of the other 18 teams, he’d get a re-assignment bonus of 500K, or even to any of the 12 teams on his “no-trade” list if he okays it.

  15. 19—You’re growing weary of truth. Had Aybar been Phillips, Dans wouldn’t have debuted until 2017.

  16. @26, you’re getting further mired in myth. If Aybar had been Phillips, he would’ve been traded for twice as much and Dans would’ve debuted even sooner.

  17. I know you guys will think I’m crazy, but I think the Braves will get within 5 games of the wildcard this year. I think the Braves may be better after getting Freeman back and if two of Medlin, Newcomb or Sims, etc. pitch well in the 2nd half. Feel free to laugh, but you heard it here first. The NL is just underwhelming after the top 5 or 6 teams and I think a few of those may falter.

  18. @28, that is a reasonably optimistic prediction and I don’t think you’re crazy. Our offense is good enough to make the playoffs. It’s our pitching that’s holding us back. Now, replace Colonostomy and Dickesode with competent pitchers and we have a competitive team.

  19. Pretty cool. You have to get all the way down to A+ before you find a SP who’s not a prospect, former prospect but still in the team’s plans, or Kris Medlen:

    AAA: Medlen, Weigel, Sims, Blair, Wisler
    AA: Allard, Soroka, Gohara, Fried, Pike

    And 3 of the 5 MLB SPs are 26 or younger.

    And 3 of the 5 in both A- and A+ are legitimate prospects too. And even more impressive, only one pitcher is missing due to injury (Muller).

  20. @28 The NL really is top-heavy this year – Fangraphs, for one, projects only the following teams to finish above .500: Nationals, Dodgers, Rockies, DBacks, Cubs. I could certainly see the DBacks and Rockies stumble a bit as the long season catches up to their young pitching staffs, and the WC contenders could end up in a 85-87 wins cluster.

    Even with Free Hugs returning to the Braves before too long, I don’t see us making it to 80 wins this season – but I suppose my personal prediction (74 wins) isn’t so far off. The Braves won’t be suffering through a bunch of bad Colon and Dickey starts in the 2nd half, and Newcomb/Meds/Sims/Weigel et al. could really give the team a boost.

  21. @31 – from BA:
    Soroka has not allowed a run in his past 25 innings after throwing seven shutout frames Thursday in Double-A Mississippi’s 4-1 win over Montgomery (Rays). Soroka, just 19, was jumped from low Class A to Double-A with no ill effects. He leads the Southern League with eight wins and is in the top five in ERA (2.23) and WHIP (0.94).

  22. Did you see the Coppy interview at AJC on the draft. Interesting read:

    On current pitching prospects:
    “Not all of these arms are going to pitch for the Braves. Some are going to get traded. Some are going to get hurt. Some are not going to perform. Right or wrong, we spent $30 million to bring in Bartolo Colon, Jaime Garcia and R. A. Dickey. My hope is that a couple of years from now, we’ll never have to bring in free agent pitching.”

  23. Acuna has been getting looks in RF. Wonder if we could see a Peterson, Inciarte, Acuna OF in September.

  24. @34

    The Braves will have some hard decisions to make by even as soon as next month. If Medlen’s healthy, he deserves starts. If the Braves want to rehab any value out of Dickey and Colon, they may deserve starts. Hey, they’re making a lot of money. If you want to see if Wisler and Blair have anything before Sims deserves his shot, then you’d have to find starts for them. Weigel is 22 and pitching very well in AAA. If Fried goes on a run of 10-11 good starts, then he’s a 23-year old on the 40-man who then could deserve an opportunity. And then you need to have had enough starts in which to evaluate these pitchers because Gohara, Allard, and Soroka could easily challenge for spots within the next calendar year. So by the early part of 2018, you’ll have not only a 40-man crunch (and not the made up ones sometimes I misinterpret), but also 9-10 guys that need to be evaluated before the “real” wave of pitching prospects (the ones taken in the 2015-2017 drafts & Gohara) become ready. And while you’re doing all of this, there’s a fanbase that expects to compete and any young SP faltering could trigger cries of “Call up Allard! Call up Soroka! Call up Fried! Call up Wright (who could easily be in AA by then)!” while we’re a .500 ballclub. I really don’t envy their position.

    I wonder if the FO has elaborate flow charts mapping out every major league start for the rest of the year.

    The offense is a little easier. As long as our offense is performing well enough to win games, then no one is going to want to tinker too much. Are you going to switch out Markakis’ .750 OPS and mediocre defense for Acuna’s maybe .750 OPS with potentially inexperienced defense? Are you going to trade Kemp, who has a .922 OPS, for Dustin Peterson, who may never have a .800 OPS? Is Albies going to out-hit Phillips? These are easier decisions.

  25. I think you’re spot on, Rob. And I think that’s exactly how Coppy & Co want it. It is actually a great position to be in.

  26. I don’t think there’s anyone in our system that’s going to replace the current level of offense that Kemp’s been giving us. Acuna, maybe? But not in the next 2-3 years. Or maybe someone will surprise. But I think you go out and acquire someone to play LF to replace what we’re getting from Kemp.

    By the by, the 1991 Braves were 39-40 on July 7. The following day they started on the road to Glory.

  27. @39 I’d feel a lot more comfortable calling the Braves’ position “great” if they had another 1-2 young, quality position players beyond Albies and Acuna who looked ready to contribute by 2018. Right now, there are a lot of holes to fill on the offensive side – likely too many for the Braves to put together a contention-ready offense next season.

    I would love it if the Braves could find some way to pry Eloy Jimenez away from the Cubs. 20 years old, massive power *and* he’s managing a good K/BB rate at A+ ball. He’s the sort of big bat the Braves need.

  28. Dan Winkler starts a rehab assignment at Rome. He was the Rule 5 guy that broke his elbow pitching early last year.

  29. Dont know Josh Donaldson contract situation but him playing college at Auburn he might be interested in joining the Bravos at 3B .. thoughts ??? Would Like Freeman, Albies, Swanson and Donaldson with Kemp, Inciarte and Acuna or another FA outfielder JD Martinex from Detriot or Jay Bruce ?????

    Inciarte -cf
    Albies – 2b
    Freeman – 1b
    Donaldson – 3b
    Kemp – LF
    JD Martinez – RF
    T Flowers -c
    Swanson- ss

    You like that lineup ????

  30. Two things I read about Sean Newcomb in the minors: he was missing alot, but just barely, and he would seem to lose focus in games.

    I wondered if somehow, those might both actually improve by pitching in the big leagues; because minor league umps might be giving up on that big curveball, and how can you get bored pitching to the best hitters on the planet?

  31. The gun is juiced. Newcomb may have been mid 90s, even touching the high 90s, but he wasn’t 100-101. Sam Freeman is at 101 according to the gun.

  32. Organist plays “King of Pain” by The Police for Dee Gordon, ostensibly because the lead singer of the police, Sting, has a given name of Gordon Sumner

  33. @52, he also played “King of Pain” for Jose Reyes when the Mets were in town, ostensibly because the Mets shortstop is a broken down shell of his former self.

  34. @52, 53 Matt does jazz gigs in town fairly often. Sometimes my old bandmate Mike Geier a.k.a. puddles pity party sits in. Well worth checking out.

  35. @blazon
    Any player in his first year of a new contract with another team cannot be traded without their consent until June 15th.

    I say another team because I’m not 100% sure how it works if a player ends the season with a team, files for free agency, then signs with same team.

  36. Didn’t get to watch but I heard Newk hit 100 MPH on the gun. Brooks Baseball has max velo of last night as 96.2. Gun was on PEDs.

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