The posterior upon us: Braves 1, gNats 8

I guess the theme for this year will be quotes and statements from the famous, the infamous, and, occasionally, the barely known.

Today’s quote to summarize our game last night comes from a noted American philosopher of the late 20th century. He rose from humble beginnings to be known and loved by millions. His name is Richard Pryor.

In one of his famous comedy routines (NONE are so famous or so oft repeated by those near my age than “Little Tiny Feet” in which Richard appears as Mudbones and describes an encounter with a voodoo priestess, but I digress), Richard describes the process of Vietnamese refugees being trained to be “good Americans.” They are being led in how to state a most famous racial epithet. Eventually their “drill sergeant” says “If you get your ass kicked, you know you made it.” Such was Monday April 2, 2018 for the Atlanta Braves.

For 3 years we have known that command and control would be the issue for Sean Newcomb. This spring, he seemed to cut down the walks and place the pitches a little closer to ideal spots. Well, at this point in the season, he hasn’t done that so well in the games that count. I definitely am heartened that this is the first bad start the Braves have had this year. But 4 and a third with 4 walks won’t cut it. Down 6 to 1 after 5 doesn’t often turn into a win (unless Gabe Kapler is the opposing manager).

Meanwhile, another barely tolerable Major League starter once again showed his dominance of the Braves lineup. Tanner Roark pitched 7 innings (really. Is that possible?) He got 6 strikeouts and gave up 1 walk and 4 hits. You reckon that might be enough to win a game? Obviously there were no offensive stars in such a game.

After Newcomb the pen did fairly well until Jose Ramirez poured napalm upon the mound and began striking matches to see what would happen. Sam Freeman closed the door to keep it at 8 to 1.

78 thoughts on “The posterior upon us: Braves 1, gNats 8”

  1. thanks, cliff…those first two batters, two errors, we were doomed by what could be perceived as Newk’s introversion. He needs to go out every Saturday after the game with some buddies and just let go.

  2. I know this is unpopular, but I love Bryce Harper. I’d be perfectly fine if he ended up in a Braves uni next year.

  3. Finally got around to watching that MLB Network special on the 90’s Braves. I think I just forgot to watch it after I had to DVR it. Few observations:

    -Dave Justice is a prick. Just is. They had so many players to interview from a run like that, and Justice is just plastered all over the thing.
    -Some like to downplay the moves the Braves made between 1990-1991 (Bream, Belliard, and Pendleton), but Pendleton was a big addition. He wasn’t just someone to shore up the defense. He was an MVP.
    -To think that by 1991-1992, the pitching had solidified, and the position player core was solid, and then they get McGriff and Maddux. Will we be able to do/willing to as we get better? Maddux would be something like Kershaw, for sure, but who are the modern-day equivalents of Pendleton and McGriff? Pendleton was a 6 WAR guy in ’91, and McGriff was a 4.5 WAR player.

  4. I don’t know, I haven’t looked at the stats, but I thought before we got him that Pendleton would have been comparable to Brandon Philips. When he got to Atlanta his OPS went from 600/700 to 800/900. That is a huge difference.

  5. Terry Pendleton’s career OPS+ in STL:

    120*, 66, 62, 103, 86, 98, 65

    Terry Pendleton’s OPS+ in ATL:

    139, 124, 91, 73

    That first 120 OPS+ in STL is as a 23 year old rookie in only 67 games. Outside of that rookie season (1984) his best year in every slash stat category was 1987: 286/360/412

    His first season in ATL (1991) he put up career numbers in every category, by a mile: 319/363/517.

    He would maintain the BA and most of the OBP in 1992, but he would never break .500 slugging again.

    He was a well respected defensive 3B with unrealized talent. He was not acquired with any expectation of winning the MVP.

    Also, Barry Bonds (292/410/514) was the real MVP in 1991.

  6. It’s been about a week now…

    can we vote by poll on this new layout, say after a full month, or is it now considered de facto, done?

  7. Tanner Roark doesn’t suck. He’s basically peak Jair Jurrjens — throws hard, gets a ton of grounders, gets constantly overlooked because of the stars surrounding him and the fact that, at as a groundballer, his components don’t look as impressive as a big-time strikeout artist. But he’s quite good.

  8. David Justice was an amazing ball player who should have never been traded. They should have sent McGriff to Tampa and shifted Justice or Klesko to 1B.

  9. Re: 90s Braves special on MLB network

    I enjoyed watching that tremendously… however, I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t mention Steve Avery a single time. I still love him to this day, and while he of course will not go down in history the same way Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz will, he was very important to the 1991-1993 teams, and had quite a huge win in the 1995 WS

  10. Terry was John Schuerholz’s first player acquisition with the Braves. Schuerholz was criticized for this, bringing in a subpar hitter coming off a bad year and suffering hamstring problems. In retrospect, it’s clear that JS made upgrading the defense his highest priority, and Pendleton was the key component in that. What maybe couldn’t have been predicted was that Pendleton would blossom into a star for the first two seasons of his contract.

    The pitching immediately got better when TP arrived. Funny how putting the best defensive third baseman in the game behind a rotation largely made up of lefthanders had that effect. He was also the offensive driving force, leading the league in batting average and hitting 22 homers, a career high. And there is no question that he stepped in to fill a leadership void. From the beginning he was a coach on the field, directing the other infielders and counseling the pitchers. Unless you are the sort of person who wants to give the MVP to the guy who has the best offensive stats — in which case, we don’t actually need to vote — Pendleton’s MVP award was more than justified.

    #34: Terry Pendleton

  11. How did we go from ‘Harper is fun and cool’ to ‘Justice is an arrogant jerk’ in less than 10 comments? Y’all do know the reason folks don’t like Harper is the whole arrogance thing, right?

  12. I, as well, grow a bit tired of the “Until Terry Pendleton mails his MVP trophy to Barry Bonds with an apology letter enclosed, there is no justice in the world” thing. To the point where even some Braves fans can’t mention the 1991 MVP without apologizing for it.

    Even if you ignore everything unlikable about Barry Bonds for a second (a tall order, I would add), Bonds already has so many MVP awards that he could dive into a vault of them a la Scrooge McDuck. I find myself unable to summon much outrage that there’s one that he might’ve deserved and didn’t get.

    If you did a blind statistical comparison, would I choose the resume that belonged to Barry Bonds? Yes. But it’s not like Terry Pendleton was completely undeserving, and I think you could make an argument that he was more valuable to the Braves than Bonds was to the Pirates, as outlined @14.

  13. It would be nice to have a comment count appear on the posts before you expand them. That way when I check back in semi regularly I can know quickly if there are new comments since the last time I was here.

  14. Terry Pendleton 1991: 5.3 oWAR, 1.1 dWAR, -3 Rbaser, for a total of 6.1 WAR

    Barry Bonds 1991: 5.8 oWAR, 1.5 dWAR, 4Rbaser, for a total of 8.0 WAR

    Pendleton’s career year was very good. Barry was the MVP.

  15. Comparing Harper and Justice’s personalities should tell you something right off the bat. Harper is emerging as one of the top 2-3 players in the game, and Justice well… never was that.

    Plus, with Harper, I don’t think he’s arrogant, and especially any moreso than his talent level would suggest he could be. He’s just unlikeable and edgy. Justice seemed to think that he was better than he was. This is all subjective, and everyone will have their own opinions, but I don’t think there’s a comparison between the two.

  16. Newcomb gave up more than a hit per inning in only 6 of his 19 starts last year. But in 12 of those 19 starts, he walked more than a batter per 2 innings (around a 5 per 9 walk rate). At some point, I hope he just decides to attack the strike zone with his plus stuff knowing that he’s an elite pitcher as long as he doesn’t give up too many free passes. His K/9, HR/9, H/9, all solid. FIP likes him. If he fixes his approach a little bit, he’s elite.

  17. David Justice is certainly not a HOFer, but he was very good. Let us never forget who hit the home run in Game 6. He can be as arrogant as he wants.

  18. @23 – I’m sure that Morris is the first piece we move so we can get Trout. Since AA puts such an emphasis on defense, maybe we’ll get Andrelton back.

  19. Great job by Teheran to successfully avoid giving Harper a pitch to hit. 6 straight pitches low and away. He grounded to first. You can’t change that you put runners on the corner, but you can avoid grooving a meatball.

  20. Nothing at all. Not helping out the bullpen yet again. He might need to take one for the team tonight

  21. Teheran’s fastball is topping out at 89 and he’s missing his spots with most pitches. That ain’t gonna get it done ever.

    Unless Julio can get back the lost 2-3 MPH, he’s not going to be anything other than a back-end starter.

  22. Teheran averaged 91.4 MPH on his fastball last season.

    His last start, he averaged 89.2 and tonight is probably worse.

  23. I really don’t have a problem with Teheran being a back-end starter. 2 WAR guy for $8.1M this year? Ok, fine. That he’s considered to be your best starter is the problem. At the end of the day, we made our choices. We can’t change that the previous guy traded for Kemp. But you can change frontloading the deal and punting on a season. We could have spent the $25M in 2018 payroll on someone who could have slid into the rotation a little better than McCarthy. We made our choice.

  24. It’s only been 5 games but the Spring Training performance feels forever ago.

  25. Hap, your mastery of WordPress is greatly appreciated. I got Bowman’s Twitter feed on the sidebar today, and I felt like I had successfully wrote another version of Windows.

  26. Nice to see that Cole has nothing also. Let’s hold off on declaring Atlanta a 100 loss team for at least a few more weeks.

  27. Preston Tucker is not exactly Charles Thomas, so he could make things interested in RF in a couple weeks.

  28. Outside of the homerun, the Nats really helped Teheran out that inning. After a lot of pitches in the first inning, they swung early and flied out in the 2nd inning.


    What is so hard about this? The man’s hit 4 HRs in 2 1/2 games.

  30. We’re gonna have to win this game 12-11. We look good if we can get to the 5th or 6th. Winkler, Moylan, Freeman, Minter, and Vizzy are all available.

  31. So… who’s the Braves’ “best” starter now, anyway? McCarthy? Folty?? Jeeeeeebus.

  32. I wonder when was the last time a reliever had AB’s in his first two appearances of the season.

  33. Dansby was trying to steal third. Something’s gotten into that boy. The fear of coop, that’s what!

  34. Wait…any so called Braves fan who apologizes for TP winning the 1991 MVP isn’t a Braves fan.

  35. Let’s see if AA follows Coppy’s tradition of rewarding good long relief performances with a trip to Gwinnett.

  36. Julio’s velo drop is very worrying. Why would a guy at his age with no injuries to speak of just start throwing slower?

    Shane Carle is basically our staff ace at this point.

  37. Very small sample size, but if Carle turns out to be effective, I really like our bullpen. Breaking into the majors in Colorado should not count for any pitchers career stats.

  38. The more I see Minter the more he reminds me of Kimbrell. I don’t just mean stuff (although his is very Kimbrell-like); his stance, his stature, and his motion all look familiar.

  39. Well, that was fun. If we just score 13 every time Julio starts we’ll be fine.

    On the recap thread I think we said Jonathan and I would alternate Wednesday recaps. Jonathan do you want to take tomorrow’s game or should I?

  40. It’s only been 5 games but the Spring Training performance feels forever ago.

    To celebrate this comment, I added Shohei Ohtani as a hitter to my fantasy team.

  41. We are 3-2 pretty much without our 2 catchers, Gohara, Camargo, and Acuna. Nationals are a little short-handed too, to be fair. But this is definitely a hard part of the schedule, so just treading water would be impressive.

  42. I can feel the JC’ed coming, but…

    Re: Julio:
    – it’s normal for pitchers to gain some velocity in the early part of the season
    – it’s also normal for pitchers to lose a little velocity year by year
    – he could be hiding an injury
    – still, probably a little early to worry

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