The Future Has Arrived

With the major league debuts of Lucas Sims and Ozzie Albies, the Braves stepped into the future on a beautiful evening at SunTrust Park Tuesday night. They fell just short, though, of leading the Atlanta club to victory over the best team in the majors, which confirms failure of the whole rebuild and dooooom for the next decade or two in Atlanta baseball. It has now been proven that Albies will bat .000 for his major league career and score 162 runs a year on average. His walk-to-strikeout ratio will be amazing (162 walks to 0 strikeouts), but sadly that won’t be enough to get him into the Hall of Fame. Apparently that place requires a few hits and a home run or two. Equally sure is that Sims’s career will be average, with a not-quite respectable, yet not not-respectable 4.50 ERA and a textbook definition of a quality start every time out. His walk-to-strikeout ratio will also be impressive (around 90 strikeouts each year and no walks), and he will allow around a hit an inning. His major league record will be 0-for-however many games he starts.

So much for hype.


In reality, the Braves did on Tuesday exactly what they did on Monday—got themselves down before the offense finally woke up a bit to claw back to within one run in the late innings to allow the team to only lose by one run. This time, though, the performance was against the team with the best record in baseball, instead of against the team with the worst. So, it was slightly more impressive.

Sims went six innings and looked composed on the mound. He allowed single runs in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings, but never let the Dodgers’ bats break out a big inning. He pitched well enough to keep his team in the game, but the Braves’ bats were stymied by Kenta Maeda, and only managed to collect two hits against him in his seven innings of work. The Braves did not get a runner to second base until the 8th inning, when the now-positionless Brandon Phillips got there on a sacrifice bunt after he registered a pinch hit to follow Camargo’s two-run homerun. Camargo scored the wunderkid Albies, who had coaxed a walk to lead off the inning. Phillips’s hit went for naught, though, after a ground out and soft pop-up ended the inning with his tying run stranded on third. The Braves went weakly in the 9th, with three strikeouts against one of the best closers in the league. I’d forgotten what it felt like to watch someone dominate on the mound in the 9th inning. What memories it brought back.

The Braves have dropped into 4th place in the NL East, behind one in the loss column to the Mets and two to the Marlins. It will be a dogfight to the end between those three teams to see who ends up on top, and whose name will be listed just above the Phillies in the standings.

Of note: Sean Rodriguez really should have gotten an extended rehab/Spring Training assignment before he was put back on the major league roster. Eleven games across four levels just did not cut it, especially when he collected all of three hits in those eleven games—two singles and one double—while he had twelve strikeouts. His presence on the major league roster makes no sense. There were literally zero reasons to rush him up with the number of infielders (and even infielder/outfielders) the Braves have on the roster. I have gotten to the point where I turn the game off whenever he comes up to bat. I just cannot watch him anymore. He makes me yearn for Jace Peterson. Also, Jim Johnson pitched the 7th inning last night and did a good job. For Braves’ fans collective blood pressure, may he stay pitching that early in the game and not see another close/late situation again this season.

Natspos delenda est. This season has gone down the drain over the last two weeks, so all the other teams can be delenda-ed too. Actually, I’d be happy now if the Braves could win a couple in a row. That would be fun. But the Nationals should lose, too. Always. Because that is fun too. So, yeah, Natspos delenda est.

66 thoughts on “The Future Has Arrived”

  1. I’d say you should write for the AJC but they don’t let anyone as colorful and witty as you write for the AJC.

    Yeah, I guess they were going for a “feel good story of the year” with S-Rod. His bat speed looks terrible, which is to be expected after that type of injury and how long he’s been on the shelf. I look forward to his improvement in the offseason but for now I just don’t expect him to do anything at all when he steps up to the plate.

  2. ‘Rissa, thank you.

    We lost, but it was enjoyable watching Lucas and the Oz do not much of anything.

  3. Great job as always, Rissa. I especially appreciate your putting into perspective a lot of the overreaction that we’ve been seeing here.

    It’s exciting to see that they have committed to Albies going forward. Let’s hope they stick with him through the inevitable slumps and adjustments. I certainly don’t intend to start a new round of the “rushing” debate, but in Ozzie’s case it seems to me he’s done all he needs to at AAA.

    I feel just the same way about Sims. He and Newcomb will struggle occasionally, but they both have the potential to be very good big league starters. No need to keep them at AAA.

    The rushing debate will begin again as to Soroka, Allard, Gohara, and Wright. Each will likely be at AAA next year, but if one or more has a great spring or great first month at AAA, the FO will be tempted to call him up. Those are tough calls to make. Acquiring a new reliable big league starter or two for next year will relieve that pressure, but on the other hand, if one or more of these young guys is ready, I hate to have them held down.

    BTW, you are exactly right about S-Rod. He just isn’t ready. He may be a productive utility guy for us next year, but this year is lost. I hope he doesn’t take away opportunities from any of the young guys, including Swanson and Ruiz in September callups.

  4. it’s a curious team that is constructed with 2 first basemen, 4 second basemen, a CF catcher and no corner outfielders.

    The new shift is here!

  5. #1 – The Sean Rodriguez thing might be the most baffling move this FO has made. Guy is coming off shoulder surgery, got limited and non successful minor league starts, and was immediately called up. Im not mad at the guy for struggling, but you cant get spring training AB’s during July. Not that one has to do with the other, but whats our record since they wasted a roster spot and activated himn

    #2 – It was late and I figured that may have been the case

  6. Interestingly, Rodriguez has an interesting sample size triple slash of .129/.308/.323. The overall performance is not as bad as his batting average suggests since he has 7 BB in 40 PAs, and he’s run into 2 HR. Last year, he was a slightly BABIP-lucky three outcome guy, and that seems to be what’s happening right now. He had 102 K’s in 300 ABs last year (career high K rate), but he had a .344 BABIP (also a career high), but his walk rate, you guessed it, was a career high too. I think he’ll be fine, but he definitely shouldn’t have been on the roster so quickly. Perhaps they had been trying to deal Phillips for weeks, and they needed him to get going ASAP?

  7. Yeah, and once you end his rehab, and with him being out of options, you’re stuck with him on the roster. Unless you find a way to DL him again. He didn’t even get close to maxing out his rehab time.

  8. It’s clear now that one of the most important parts of the rebuild was to see if SRod’s 42% strike-out rate is sustainable.

    That lineup was so crazy last night it almost makes one wonder if Snit has gone all passive aggressive.

    I think a team made up of mostly utility bench players would probably lose 120 games. We are suddenly hell-bent on testing out that hypothesis, I guess. Engage full-on tank mode. There’s plenty of time to catch the Phillies.

  9. It was a slick move to bring up your 2B of the future the day after the trading deadline without trading your old rental 2B. Well played…

  10. You don’t play your best players out of position in order to accommodate lesser players or guys who won’t be there long-term. Or at least you don’t do it for very long. It was cool of Freddie to volunteer to play 3B but that was never a long-term solution to anything.

  11. @12 Teams try to put lots of players on their roster through waivers after the trade deadline even if they have no immediate intent to trade them – if no team makes a waiver claim within 2 days then those players “pass through” waivers and can be freely traded the remainder of the season (if they are claimed, the offering team can negotiate with the claiming team(s) and either reach a trade deal or pull the player back from waivers).

    For that reason, I’d be very surprised if the Braves didn’t put a lot of their players through waivers, especially guys they’d like to be able to trade – eg, Kemp, Cakes and BP.

  12. I think everyone gets put on revocable waivers, even the very best players that you’d never think about trading.

  13. @12

    The obligatory reminder: Pretty much everyone and their mothers are put on waivers at this time of the year. There’s no penalty for putting somebody on waivers and then pulling them back if claimed, other than that you can’t trade them for the rest of the season. It would actually be more newsworthy if they weren’t put on waivers. Not to impugn your post, but just as a reminder in case we hear that Freeman or someone gets put on waivers and everyone goes bonkers.

    I don’t know what happened with the whole Albies/Phillips thing, but the theory that Phillips nixed a trade does make a lot of sense. As for why Freeman was playing first and Adams left, I’m guessing it had to do with Freeman’s shoulder and that they’ve decided they’re not gonna mess with that anymore. So once you’ve decided that, your only choices are Adams in left or Adams at third. (Or I suppose Adams glued to the bench.)

    Anyway, I’m amused by the hand-wringing over the defensive positioning contortions, because we’ve obviously entered full not-giving-a-crap mode for this year. Given that, it doesn’t really matter, does it? I had to laugh at the whole “We’re not giving Sims a chance to succeed! We absolutely must have our best defensive squad out there at all times for him!” line of thinking. I mean, give me a break! Clearly the fact that he gave up a double on that play that Santana could’ve/should’ve had will change the trajectory of Sims’ entire career.

  14. Yes I assume Phillips, Kakes, Kemp and even Adams will also be put on waivers.

    Of course you can put guys like Vizcaino, Albies and Inciarte on waivers but one or all of the other 29 teams would claim them and you would just pull them back so I’d say it’s less than everyone and their mothers but also more than we will even hear about.

    Admittedly the news means nothing and we all could’ve assumed it was the case with Johnson and Dickey, but I suppose at least the timing is newsworthy as we could find out soon whether anyone claimed our guys on waivers a la the White Sox claiming Rios a few years back and taking on a terrible contract.

  15. Matt Kemp has been on virtual waivers since day one of his Braves tenure. Maybe someone will hit the wrong button…

  16. Nobody wants to complain about the Inciarte sac-bunt ahead of Babe Santana? I guess we really are in dont-give-a-crap territory.

    (I’m gonna complain though)

  17. I think Snit knows there could be some things going on with the lineup. SRod, Camargo, Adams, Freeman, Markakis, and Flowers have all struggled recently to varying degrees and for various reasons. I didn’t get all et up about the bunt (said in Alec Baldwin’s voice from Fun with Dick and Jane) because our offense has really struggled and he probably felt compelled to play for the one run. Inciarte is a good hitter, but he still fails 7 out of 10 times, but it was a 1 in 10 chance of failure in trying to put the runner on second. Play the odds.

  18. I didn’t get to watch the game but by the comments this bunt came late when we were down 1 run. I can’t explain how much I hate giving away outs late in a ball game. It’s stupid game management and the odds of scoring don’t increase by doing it

  19. We had 6 outs left. Inciarte is unlikely to hit into a DP. He’s also one of the more likely guys in the lineup to get on base and advance the lead runner w/o making an out. Santana isn’t good. Freeman has been trash for two weeks. I feel like we gave up our best opportunity there.

    Still might have lost, and yeah the losses don’t matter, but I hate bad strategy. Making outs on purpose is bad strategy. You don’t take a knee in football and run clock when you are trailing late in the 4th quarter. Why do the same in baseball? Outs are the clock.

  20. I think I’m souring on Coppolella. I had hope for what he was building, but anymore he strikes me as the kind of GM who makes roster changes and then informs the manager of what he expects to see on the field ala “Lineup changes are coming. So-and-so has been traded, and S. Rod has been promoted. I want him in the starting lineup at least 3 out of 5 games as a starter. Make it happen.”

    Well… f$#@ that if that’s the case. I want my manager telling my GM what the major league team needs as opposed to the rest of the organization letting the ML squad know what needs to happen to make the minors better.

    And I say these things while reflecting on the fact that I still do have hope in Snitker as a manager, because TBQH I think he gets handcuffed into making game-time decisions towards organizational goals as opposed to actually just trying to win (ex: trying to put a certain player into games with the hope that he will succeed and increase in trade value). Because I just don’t think that Brian Snitker is an idiot when it comes to baseball. He could be, but I think he deserves to have that verdict postponed.

  21. There was a moment in the game that hasn’t been mentioned, when Phillips had a clean steal of third but had to go back to second when Santana foul tipped a ball. The next pitch was a hard grounder to deep first that would have easily scored Phillips who was the tying run. Whatever and all that.

  22. @25

    Yeah, that stood out more than the bunt to me. I minor amount of baseball IQ on Santana’s part there and we tie the game.

    I’m not in love with the bunt there given that it was Inciarte. There are several guys on the team I would’ve bunted with there, though. It is true that, if every thing else is equal, the only time you should bunt in that situation is if it’s a tie game in the bottom of the ninth (or beyond). Everything else is not equal, though, and this team hasn’t been able to score a run for a week. But as I said, Inciarte’s probably too good a hitter to give away an out there.

    EDIT: Now, if Inciarte gets on and there are runners at first and second with nobody out, I’m absolutely using Santana to bunt them to second and third to put them in scoring position for Freeman.

  23. Now hitting cleanup for your Atlanta Braves… Kurtis… Kiyoshi…. SUUUUUUZUUUUUUKIIIII.

    And the crowd goes wild. Wild with grief.

  24. The team has clearly stopped caring about this year and is using the final 2 months for player evaluations and development.

    I’m ok with that, but I don’t want to see stupid things like Danny Santana playing third when it is becoming clear he is strictly an OF now. It isn’t like we are trying to get his bat in the lineup. I’d rather them move Camargo to third and recall Swanson to play everyday, but I guess they have to wait 10 days.

  25. Well, Snitker just said that Brandon Phillips is going to play everyday at third. With his declining range that is probably a good thing for both parties involved.

  26. @24 Coppy reminds me a lot of millenials. They are GREAT at telling you how great they are, in 17 forms of social media, and are a bastion of openness and transparency.

    But the very transparency and openness that they offer also shows you if you look hard enough that they haven’t really done anything except talk a good game and they can’t actually do anything.

  27. Julio Teheran pitching against the best team in baseball in a hitter’s park. What’s the worst that can happen?

  28. @28

    If Dansby doesn’t stay down until September, there was no point whatsoever to this exercise.

  29. 33 — True. I remember when the Braves sent Frenchy to Mississippi for one weekend then someone got hurt and he came right back.

  30. Is it “Acuna” or “Acuña”?

    A Wiki page includes the tilde, but other sites omit the accent mark, as they do when listing his middle name, José.

    This is driving me nuts.

  31. Acuña. And Albies still sux. It’s been over 24 hours and I’m running out of patience.

  32. For the fact checkers and Chip Carey fans amongst us, Ollie Pickering never played in the Texas League.

    Edit: Mea culpa. I didnt think to look at 3 years before he reached the majors. Pickering played for Houston 3 years before appearing in the majors, so the “texas league” hit is unlikely to be as a result of his play.

  33. Pitching the 8th inning in relief for AAA tonight? Matt Wisler. Interesting.

    Also, Jason Motte looks pretty healthy pitching in rehab at AAA.

  34. These Braves catchers are something else–but how about Camargo with the base on balls before the Flowers dinger.

  35. This is nice and all, but I still think we need another piece to get past the Astros.

  36. @55 By the transitive property of baseball victories, the Braves went from the worst team (which we can conclude based upon getting swept by the Phillies) to, now, the best team (by defeating the Dodgers). Seems to me there’s nowhere for the Braves to go from here but down, so they should just refuse to play any more games so as to preserve their spot at the top of the mountain.

  37. Ozzie Albies
    may we now see his first right handed at bats, please?
    it’s a matter of percentages
    which very likely will reduce our ventingges.

    John Hart
    you know, you know, platitudes apart
    you condescended to him so
    Acuna is bored, misses Ozzie, you know.

  38. Ye Pen is mightier than ye sword.

    We few, we happy few
    we band of Brothers
    you know we’ve tried so many awful others
    you hold our hopes
    our prayers for swift redemption
    and then, there’s a couple more we’d like to mention.

  39. Ozhaino Albies
    Making Braves fans weak in the knees
    A reputation straight from Curacao
    The hits will come any day now

  40. I prefer to think of tonight as Game 7 of our NLCS with the Dodgers. We shocked the world by taking the first two only to see LA reel off three straight. Flowers had the dramatic decisive blow to send us to a game 7 tonight where it’s former Brave Alex Wood against newcomer Newcomb. Should be a fun watch.

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