Houston—16, Braves—Not Quite That Much

News flash: The Houston Astros are a pretty good team. There just might be something to that 57-win mark they have posted this season. The Braves came into this game on a good roll. They had gone 7-3 in their previous ten games, a span that included a west coast trip where you’d normally be pretty happy with a .500 mark. A quick perusal of the standings yesterday showed that a few teams were also 7-3 over that span, but no team was any better than that. Basically, the Braves aren’t a great team, but recently they’ve been no slouch either.

And the Astros came in and dominated them in every aspect of the game. Actually, demolished might be a better descriptor of the night’s events. They had five multi-run innings, and scored in all but three frames. Brian McCann was the only regular to not record a hit, and Carlos Correa was the only one to not record multiple hits, but he doesn’t really count because he left in the 4th inning with an injury. The Houston pitcher got four at-bats, and he only pitched six innings. How can you compete with that?

Sean Newcomb really couldn’t. His run of quality starts came to an abrupt end, after he had given up 10 hits and 2 walks while recording only 10 outs. He left with the bases loaded after 3.1 innings. Luke Jackson relieved him and allowed two of those inherited runners to score, to bring Newcomb’s total runs allowed for the evening up to 7. He nearly pulled off the Triple Grybo, but a rare 3-1-2 double play, confirmed upon review, kept him from achieving that feat.

Something must have gotten into the water the Braves pitchers were drinking, because all of them struggled with a deplorable lack of control all night. Jackson gave up three runs of his own in the 5th, and our Chief Sibling allowed two in his two innings of work. Ian Krol pitched a clean inning for the home team in the 8th, but Jason Motte gave up a grand slam in the 9th to ensure the bullpen did not end the night on a high note. When the dust had settled Houston had crossed the plate 16 times, knocked out 19 hits, and drawn 5 walks. To say it was an impressive evening would be an understatement.

The Braves finally got on the board with three runs in the 7th and another in the 8th, showcasing their refreshing ability to score in the late innings. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to make the final score go from utter annihilation to mere humiliation. I mean, 16-4 is better than 16-0, right?

Freddie returned to the lineup, playing 3rd for the first time in his major league career. He collected a hit in his first at-bat, and Adams had two hits of his own on the evening. Their combined batting average will have to make up for the limited range the Braves will have on the infield for the duration of this little experiment. That the move to third wasn’t just talk really does cement Freddie as the new Chipper, especially if the move was truly his idea as everyone claims it was. Chipper worked out in left field because Andruw played next to him, and even as Andruw’s range started to diminish, he could still help make up for Chipper’s presence in the outfield. That makes me wonder—what if this Freddie move had taken place while Andrelton was still at short for the Braves? The thought is a tantalizing one (or maybe it’s just I still haven’t gotten over that trade. I miss watching Andrelton’s defense on a nightly basis.)

The Braves just need to weather the last game of this two-game set against the Astros and head into D.C for the weekend series playing like they have over the past few weeks. Wouldn’t it be fun to wreak a little havoc on the Nationals’ home turf to close out the (unofficial) first half of the season?

Natspos delenda est.

103 thoughts on “Houston—16, Braves—Not Quite That Much”

  1. You’re not the only one — I miss Andrelton’s defense (and often his offense) on a daily basis myself. I also miss Evan’s moon shots and Kimbrel’s nine-pitch 3Ks outings. But of course I also remember the good stuff we got back in return: Jenkins, Ellis, Blair, etc.

  2. From last thread:

    The no politics rule is Mac’s, not mine. It’s up to you, Sam, whether you honor it, and it’s up to admins whether they enforce it.

    1. Mac’s no politics rules was an outgrowth of the many off-topic tangents the old *.sport.baseball groups took on Usenet. While he occasionally participated in some of those political OT threads, he was never a regular combatant by any means, and he explicitly stated he didn’t want to bring those types of discussions to his site. As such, I have always abided by his wishes, both when he was with us and afterwards.

    2. No one who knows me in the slightest would ever suggest that I’m unwilling to throw punches in political debates, in many forums and styles. But that being true, no one with the slightest clue on that subject would ever think someone could see/read me in those exchanges and not know explicitly that I was engaging in outright political debate. Or mud slinging. Or both. Nothing I post here crosses into that territory. Occasionally a Braves related issue will creep into a marginally political context – for example the tax burden and kickback games of Cobb County surrounding the new stadium build. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to discuss those things in context of the Braves – that’s what this site is about, after all – without devolving into more standard bore national political arguments. Outside of those margins, I avoid politics here, in keeping with Mac’s original rules of engagement.

    3. I will, however, continue to make occasional reference to “WFF” and such, because it’s funny. And because even casual, utterly benign side-eye on the issue seems to give John R. the vapors, and now I know that too. I mean, how delicate must one be to whinge about “WFF?”

    4. My reference on the last thread as to John R, not JohnDBW.

    5. Seriously; if I were to start “discussing politics” you people would know it. Fast.

  3. I think you’re reminiscing a little too hard over Andrelton’s .666 career OPS with Atlanta. Andrelton had his strong cup of coffee (.751 OPS in 182 PAs) just like Dansby, but Andrelton’s sophomore slump lasted 4 seasons. His defense was wizardry, but I doubt you’d be missing his offense often.

    Man, good for Freddie. Chipper is my all-time favorite Brave, perhaps may always will be, and while this move is being compared to Chipper-to-LF, Freeman’s position got harder. Within James’s defensive spectrum, Freeman’s move to 3B is 3 moves (1B-LF-RF-3B), and if you assign equal distance between the difficulties of the positions, it would be akin to a LF moving to CF (rarely happens) or a 3B moving to SS (happens even less often, I would think). Chipper-to-LF was 2 moves down the spectrum if you’re keeping score, like a CF moving to RF or a RF moving to 1B. Like I said, this assumes equal spacing between the positions in terms of difficulty.

  4. RE: Freddie, he got beat on a couple of smashed balls down the line. I’d say 30-40% of “real third basemen” get the gloves up for those balls, but they both got past FreFre into the corners for doubles. The half empty glass says he’s too slow to man the position. The half full glass says he needs to get comfortable and get his instincts ramped up a little more with regular play. He’s never going to be a grade A defender at the position, and all things considered I think I’d still look platooning Adams and Carmago by bouncing Freddie back and forth from 1B to 3B, but he faked it as well as could be expected I think.

  5. @3

    I didn’t get the impression that anyone, including JohnWDB, had that big of a problem with what you said. It was you who decided to single out JohnWDB, who then told you it was a board rule. You’re now doing a 5 point essay on why it’s ok for you to say what you said. So, essentially, you created a controversy to specifically single out one person and make rebuttals to objections that didn’t even exist in the first place.

    Be more subtle next time.

  6. Well, technically I was mocking John R and WDB took it as a poke at him. It’s apparently a target rich environment.

  7. A friend of mine got us tickets to last night’s game in the Delta Sky 360 Club (or whatever it’s called). Prior to purchasing the tickets my friend had asked me if I could find some information online about the seats to help him determine if they were worth the cost. At the time I could not find much of anything; the official Braves site is woefully bereft of any details about the section. I did manage to find one reddit discussion with a tiny bit of info but that was it. So my friend said I needed to post a review for others. I guess this is going to be it. In no particular order, these are my observations. Parking was included with the tickets and it was in the Delta lot which is *right* next to the stadium entrance (I bet it wasn’t 100 feet from where we parked to the gate). The signage to get to the section is not very good. On one side there is a sign which indicates sections 130 through 128, on the other side the sign indicates sections 120 through 122. Our seats were section 127 so we wandered around a bit looking for an entrance to the section. Finally (being guys we couldn’t just ask for directions right away) we asked the attendants at section 130-128 and they assured us we were in the right place and the sign was just horrible. After getting our tickets scanned we were stamped on the wrist with a UV stamp. The stamped wrist gives access to the club area. Apparently not all of the seats in the section include club area access. The club area is accessed through a tunnel which takes you under the seats (kind of like Philips Arena Club Level if you’ve ever been there). The space is large and filled with lots of seating options (high tops, bar space, normal tables, sofas, etc.). There is an all-you-can-eat buffet but the buffet is actually several buffet “stations” scattered around the space. I really liked this because it tended to create several shorter lines for the buffet(s) instead of one single long line. Several of the buffet stations had duplication of items so if one line was long you could probably go to a different buffet and find the same item with a shorter line. We got in the club area about an hour before game time and this seemed to be about the right time; there was still plenty of seating available and the lines were non-existent for the most part. By the time it was almost game time most of the seating was gone and the lines were getting log (5-10 minutes I estimate to get to the actual food). The food items were, for the most part, tasty and well prepared/served. A few of the items which were available: a nacho station with decent queso cheese and chili along with the other usual topings, hot dogs with the usual toppings, chicken wings with ranch and blue cheese available (this was an upgrade from previous experiences at Turner Field where they looked at you like you had a third eye if you asked for blue cheese), ribs, shrimp cocktail, lots of salad bar type stuff, pulled pork, brats (which were really tasty), meat and cheese cold cuts, lots of desert options: brownies, lemon squares, carrot cake, cookies, etc. There were plenty of other things beyond that including several cooked to order items if you were willing to wait (that buffet station inevitably had the longest line because of the preparation time). Within the club area there are several bars. Most of them have a few beers on tap but one of them has about 20 taps. Unfortunately the beer selection was mostly IPAs and IPA-ish beers. They seem to carry almost every Terrapin brew which is high in hop content but none of their other tasty batches (no Liquid Bliss). So the choices were hoppy beers, light beers or Coors Banquet beer. Beer and Wine are included in the all you can eat. The bars have the hard stuff as well but it is not included in the cost of the tickets. Speaking of the bars we were informed last call at those bars was the 8th inning instead of the normal 7th. So after we ate we went to our seats to enjoy the opening ceremonies. The seats are very comfortable: cushioned seat and back and wide enough for my big butt (and my friend who is even wider than me). One thing that annoyed me a little is the netting. I understand it’s a good idea for safety but it’s like switching the game on TV from HD to SD. The viewing angle was good and I didn’t feel like it was difficult to see anything going on (note: I had season tickets in Club Level front row at Turner Field for 19 of the 20 years so I was used to the really excellent viewing angle there. This is not as good as that but still serviceable). While in the seats there is waitstaff which will bring you whatever you might want. When we sat down each cup holder had a single page menu stuck in it. The menu appeared to be a subset of the items from inside the club area (including only listing two beers, both light, and two wines to select from). You will need to identify a good server because we asked one server dude about getting other items not on the printed menu (like Coors Banquet instead of Coors Light) and he said no but then we asked another server and she (Yasmine) said sure, no problem. So once we identified Yasmine as the server for the night everything was great. Besides all the usual stuff we were also able to get pretzels with the good queso cheese and an assortment of ice cream choices (brown cow, ice cream sandwich, nutty buddy, etc.). All in all, the experience was good, the food was good, the service was good. I think my only complaint was the beer selection. I understand IPAs and hoppy beers are all the rage these days but really they could have cut that selection in half and the hop heads would still be happy and then they could put in some other selections. There was nothing approaching an amber or brown ale at all. Leaving was as easy (maybe easier) than getting in; out of the section and the exit gate is right in front of us then 100 feet to the car. Traffic and crowd management getting out of the area was very smooth (I would say way better than it ever was at Turner Field). I originally thought parking so close to the gate would mean we would be forever leaving the area but we were out of the post game traffic and pedestrian traffic in a very short time. Was it worth the cost? Since I didn’t pay it was for sure worth it for me. My friend seemed to think, even with the poor beer selection, it was worth it.

  8. On the umpire thing, it seems that Angel Hernandez finally has a boss that recognizes how crappy of an umpire he is and is not appreciative of it. If Torre is not just rubber-stamping crappy umpires with seniority into crew chief and World Series assignments, my opinion of him has gone up a couple notches. Hernandez would very much like the two issues (number of minority umpires and his drain-circling career) to be the same, but they’re not…he just sucks. I welcome a full conversation about the lack of minority umpires that is free of Angel Hernandez acting like he deserves World Series assignments.

  9. #10

    Didn’t Torre recently hire an umpire from the Dominican Republic?

    Hernandez and Bucknor are the worst, with Joe West right behind them.

  10. @10 I agree 100%. An honest conversation regarding the lack of minority umpires is one thing, but including possibly the worst umpire in the league as a case in point is not going to move the needle at all

  11. My personal bottom 5 for umps:

    1 Bill Hohn (I know he’s retired)
    2 CB Bucknor
    3 Sam Holbrook
    4 Angel Hernandez
    5 Joe West

    In memoriam section

    Eric Gregg

  12. CB Bucknor is the worst umpire, in my opinion, and I don’t think it’s particularly close. With most of the situations Angel Hernandez gets into, you can at least go back and trace how they happened, even if the call was incorrect. (It normally involves Hernandez being a pompous ass and refusing to ask for help.) CB Bucknor has found himself in some situations that are so incompetent that I don’t even know how they occurred. That foul tip situation in our game against the Nats earlier this year was so mind-boggling that I don’t even know where to begin.

  13. @9 Cliff notes (or Sam) version: food good, service good, beer meh, everything else ok mostly.

  14. Everything in moderation, including moderation. Everyone here has been on the Internet long enough to recognize when someone is making a passing reference to their politics/religion/what have you. You just roll your eyes (or internally agree) and scroll on. To me the rule is intended to forestall nonbaseball debate, not to excise the existence of these things at all. But as noted earlier, it’s not mine to interpret, and I don’t really post enough to even consider myself a stakeholder any more.

  15. For the record, yes, WFF is funny. And humor is ephemeral, elusive and to be treasured. In good taste, preferably. And if it’s true, and gently applied, taste as a problem disappears.

    spike…still a stakeholder? If we were a corporatiom you’d be put up for the Board.

  16. Could someone so qualified analyze Newcombe’s pitching last night as it would relate to a middle of the table contest?

    IOW, if he pitched as he did to an ‘average’ offensive team what would have been his likely numbers?

    And where he was lacking please identify. And in other areas what did he do that impressed you?

  17. Same lineup as last night except Dansby has the night off and Camargo is at SS.

  18. Good, though I’d rather see dat dude on the pines. Johan is becoming one of my favorites.

    Re Newk: the ‘Stros aren’t your average team. What he had last night may have sufficed against the Mets or Phils. I’m not sure whether Bob Gibson could have slowed Houston last night. I think Newcomb just got hammered. There will be games like that.

  19. ‘target rich environment’ is funny too…

    Camargo at SS? A different kind of fun, looking forward to it.

  20. Hernadez is clearly a terrible big league ump. But the fact that Holbrook and West are crew chiefs who have officiated World Series since Torre took over lends some credence to the complaint that promotions are not strictly merit based, whatever the underlying motives are.

  21. Ever since October 2012 Sam Holbrook tops my list of terrible umpires. Any umpire would have to do something unimaginably horrrible to the Braves in the postseason to displace him.

    So for at least a couple of years all the other umpires are safe.

  22. Soroka having a rough time of it in the first at Mobile. Stuff looks electric but victimized by a two run bomb.

  23. Garcia throwing his 2 strike belt high pitches against the Astros is going to get ugly quickly

  24. I haven’t looked at the stats but the Astros are loaded. No easy outs and that’s with Correa and BMac on the bench tonight.

  25. @33

    Yeah, but that ball has to get caught. All these people talking about extending Brandon Phillips. Guy has the emptiest .775 OPS you could have. Doesn’t steal bags and doesn’t play defense. Same thing with Markakis. We have the 5th most errors in baseball, and then there’s all of the range issues that Markakis, Phillips, and Kemp have. You just can’t win with that many statues. Phillips’ hitting line, which Albies will certainly match, plus Albies’ speed and defense is a 4-5 WAR player, and that needs to get to Atlanta ASAP.

  26. Lord, who is talking about extending Phillips??? We need to trade him before he regresses to replacement level. People don’t appreciate found money.

  27. Mentions of Camargo above. The kid is a winner. He’s going to be one of those guys that just is better than the sum of his parts. He’s not great at any one thing but he’s pretty damn good at a few things. Frankly, I’d like to just put him at 3rd, tell Garcia it’s been nice and see what we can pry from some team for Matt Adams.

    Camargo hits the ball hard. A lot.

  28. @35 what would you like to bet that Albies hits even an empty .300 with 7 HRs in half a season? I’ll take that bet.

  29. @38

    Your little hillbilly schtick of “homers are good and everything else ain’t good” is laughable, so yes, I would bet. All day. You’re sitting here so obtuse to this argument that you’re watching Jose Altuve and still saying it. Yes, in this elevated offensive and specifically home run environment, Albies will absolutely hit .300 w/ 7 HRs in several half-seasons. But since your bet is one half-season, then show your cajones and do that bet. I’d be glad to take your house if you’d bet it because you’re so simple-minded. Let’s get a brokerage account going, Nocahoma.

    And regardless of all that, Albies will probably also steal 25-30+ bases with a high success rate, play above average defense, and be helpful in situational hitting. Durability may be a concern, absolutely, but your bet is just one half-season, so that’s ok with me! Let’s do it, Chief.

  30. For real, let’s do it right now. I’ll put $100 in a betting account. C’mon, you can do $100, right? Easiest money I’d ever make. Or you make, right?

  31. I thought that was a really tough play. Phillips actually has a positive dWAR for the year and is on pace for a solid 2 WAR season. The Braves could sell high on him or keep him and let Albies develop a little more. I would be fine either way.

  32. The prospect they receive in a trade may not be as valuable as giving 20-year old Albies, whose body is still maturing ::cough cough:: Chief, another half-season of development.

  33. Chip and Joe’s “in my day baseball was played this way; and we liked it. We loved it!” act is really tired.

  34. Snitker confirmed that Kemp is still dealing with a hamstring problem. If he is going to hit like this, then he needs to go on the DL and get it well.

  35. Soroka pulled after three innings – 4 runs on 6 hits. Just my luck to be here on what is undoubtedly one of his worst outings of 2017. A boot by Acuna in the 4th leads to two more runs; currently 1-6 in the 5th.

  36. Getting shutout by a guy I’ve never heard of, and who came in with an ERA above 6, is no good.

  37. Welp, 40-41 may be the highpoint we talk about in this season’s postmortem. We have looked pathetically overmatched against a world class team.

  38. ugh, way to ruin any trade value, JGarcia…..hate that trade, even if gant and ellis never amount to anything.

    Offense has sucked for the last couple of weeks as well

  39. You don’t let Garcia hit here for himself. Unreal. Snitker will pull him next half inning anyways.

  40. White flag is up with Garcia hitting for himself. You just know he gets shelled in the 6th because of this

  41. Game’s been punted. Goodnight.

    EDIT: Eh, maybe not. Blind squirrel finds acorn. I like being wrong.

  42. We started two lefties against the best RH hitting lineup in baseball. Strategery.

    Not hitting for Garcia here was…interesting. Worked out, but wasn’t a good percentage move.

  43. Nice to see the big club making a game of it. Just watched Demeritte fail to run out a foul tip 3rd strike. Really would like to see our best prospects play the game the right way.

  44. Garcia’s poke down the 3B line was hit hard, but let’s be honest: Freddie would have had that.

  45. Saying that no player can have a positive contribution without hitting an arbitrarily-defined amount of home runs is harsh. But seriously, I’m sorry for being harsh, and I enjoy reading your comments. For real.

  46. Motte is a trade chip? If he doesn’t allow a run for the rest of the year he may be able to get a 25 year old non prospect who has had two Tommy John surgeries.

  47. I’m not going to lie, the 2017 Astros may be one of the best hitting teams that I have seen in a very long time.

    They are also 30-9 ON THE ROAD this season…

  48. @82&84 – I still hate them for Chris Burke

    Kemp needs to go on the DL. It’s sad watching him move.

    You could do worse than Phillips, but Albies is up to .294 and is scorching hot. If the expectation is he’ll be your starting 2B next year, at some point you need to bring him up.

  49. @51: wonderful post, Remy. I wish I’d said that.

    Do we have to let Garcia start again? Wisler can get hammered just as well as Jaime.

  50. Someone deserves a beating over the Alex Wood trade. He’s 10-0, 97 K, 22 BB, 17 R in 80.2 IP, 2.04 FIP, 2 HR.

  51. @89

    Alex Wood
    we wood if we cood
    unravel that trade
    have all of them filleted.

    Ronald Acuna
    not later but sooner.

  52. It was 4-4 when I quit following. They both get 1 point in my standings.

  53. Sobering to realize we gave up 26 runs to them in 18 innings only four of which their best player was able to take part in.

    Alex Correa
    we thought Andrelton was superiea
    your advantage we now realize
    simply, you are twice his size.

    it is better you should now feah
    Tyler Flowers
    he’ll pinch hard on your fingers, if need be, for hours.

  54. How much leeway do we give Wisler for having pitched 7 decent innings on Sunday??

  55. Consider our current starting pitching options. Will Matt be worse than Jaime’s last four starts? Is someone who might be better at hand?

  56. Agreed, I’ve held out hope for Wisler for a while as he has shown flashes, but he needs to toil in AAA until he really puts it all together.

  57. I always like to check the box score on my phone on mlb.com. It’s pretty funny to check the reserves. It shows Rodriguez and Johnson at 2nd base being on the bench. I’m assuming it means Kelly Johnson. Umm, I don’t think he’s been on our roster all year and don’t think we’ll see him anytime soon.

  58. Also, wouldn’t now be the perfect time to DL Kemp for 10 days? With the break he’d only miss 6 games.

  59. @95..fatigue was my point.

    @98 yes…and Albies and Acuna should be in Washington now.

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