‘Let us Meet on this Blasted Heath’…Braves 10 Cubs 14

Sam has written the best recap on all this while I was fussing with my Headline.

One game, let it go.

In appalling cold with a 40 plus MPH gale we had ‘breezed’ to a 10 to 2 lead after 4. Ossie, Dansby, Freddie and Kurt did the damage. Newk pitched ok for 5 plus innings but his iffy control after Coors gave the first sign of cold, numb fingers in the field.

Sadly, as this condition worsened our offense pretty much shut down and failed to take further advantage of it. We were to score no more. They came to life -1 in the sixth, 2 in the 7th, 9 in the incredible 8th. They didn’t have to bother to bat in the 9th, they had already won by 4.

So, where we had condescendingly suggested the game be called after 5 we found ourselves in a steadily worsening debacle of bullpen pitching and poor defense. Is there any point in naming the individuals who could not pitch effectively in these 4 innings? All of them. Who walked 6 and hit 2 during that time.

The other problem was the Cubs rose up and mastered these worsening conditions, with the bat and on the rubber. They gave us no hope of relief. Would it be fair to our guys to say they’ve had a lot more experience of playing these conditions than we have? To some extent, of course. It was awful. But so were we, throwing away such a pad.

One game. Call/write Sam.  Enough already.


Just had a crazy thought. Thank the good lord this wasn’t Acuna’s debut game.



91 thoughts on “‘Let us Meet on this Blasted Heath’…Braves 10 Cubs 14”

  1. Agree with @4. If your worry is that the bullpen will be the main (or even the only) thing wrong with this team and AA just won’t do anything about it, that seems like something not worth stressing too much about.

  2. Wisler had his second good start going 7 IP, 1 R, 8K, 1 BB for AAA. Would think he’s the first man up if a SP is injured.

  3. Both Minter and Vizzy had only appeared one day in a row since the day before was an off-day. I do wonder if Snit should have brought in one of them, but when the game got closed, obviously they’d have brought in Vizzy to close it. I guess, at the end of the day, someone had to get a freaking out.

  4. Braves are receiving an early season gift with that PPD. Teheran was scheduled to go today, and he’s presently the #5 in my mind.

    I wouldn’t mind us flipping Teheran for a decent reliever. Would that be a terrible outcome? Yes. At this point, I’ve lost whatever expectations I once had for the guy, though. Someone will buy in on his away splits, I’m sure.

  5. It looks like Teheran isn’t going to be what we were hoping for but I still see him as a 3rd or 4th starter. I think he’s better than anyone we have in the minors at this point. I sure wouldn’t sell low on him for a nondescript reliever or even a good one. We’re still only talking about 50 to 70 innings max for a reliever at this point in the season.

  6. Td, I just don’t know that it’s better for the team to hold out on this guy any longer. He’s 27, and his 1.5 WAR last season in 32 starts was barely more than a rookie (Newcomb, 1.0 WAR) in 19 starts. Even knowing that Sanchez or McCarthy are likely to go down at some point in the season, both are showing a lot more value per start than Teheran has in his past 35 starts.

    I mean it when I say I hope the Braves skip his spot in the order and I’m ready to shop the guy to any sucker willing to pay something for him. I’m ready to see more young arms and tired of watching Teheran’s value swirl and descend down the toilet.

  7. Anybody seen that Teheran-for-Kyle-Barraclough trade rumor? (You haven’t…because I’m starting it right now.)

    I actually don’t have a strong opinion right now on whether or not to trade Teheran for a quality reliever. It depends on whether we need a dependable innings-eater more than a bridge to Minter et al. The answer may change as the season wears on, but it’s more the former right now.

    In Teheran’s last good season, Coppy dangled him to the Red Sox, and they almost outright mocked us for it through national reporters, saying he’d never cut it in the AL East. In retrospect, Coppy should’ve taken what he could get at that point. Perhaps he felt wary of bad PR from another underwhelming return.

  8. Tomorrow would be a good day to skip Teheran in the rotation. With his history, I’d rather see him pitching in bad conditions at Wrigley than good conditions at STP.

    @2 Chief, what in the hell is your problem with Biddle. He was lights out last year at MS after recovering from TJS and he’s been lights out this year so far at GW. Damn near all the other relievers in the minors (except maybe Burrows) has been horrible this year – blown games all over at GW, MS, FL, and Rome.

    @8 Rob, what if Snit had brought in Moylan during the mound visit before Baez hit? Maybe he throws a WP and an error gets two runs in but Baez gets out leaving a one run lead. Freeman could then come in for the lefties in the ninth with no one on base.

  9. Teheran isn’t going to be skipped, guys, regardless of him looking terrible his first two starts. He started Opening Day and is the Proven Veteran.

  10. AJC ran a bit on them being patient with Camargo and Acuna at AAA. They both need to break out befor getting promoted.

  11. @16

    To answer for Chief, I think there’s an overall dissatisfaction with expecting incredible results from 8 pitchers collectively making around $5.5M when one proven setup man is making that nowadays. At this point, you really can’t expect to see elite results from:

    -Moylan – A $1M investment
    -Freeman – Signed as minor league FA
    -Winkler – Rule 5
    -Minter – Only real legitimate mechanism of acquisition (third round pick?)
    -Vizzy – Makes $3M
    -Ramirez – Minor league FA
    -Jackson – Acquired for a former prospect who has since not pitched a single ML inning since.
    -Carle – Minor league FA

    So as for Biddle, there’s the sentiment that if he should be here, he probably would be. With that said, we really don’t know why he didn’t see a lot of innings in ST, and we also don’t know why he never got the call last year when other less deserving relievers got the call. But I think there’s an overall acknowledgement that until we get more proven relievers, we’re just not deep enough to go 12 rounds with some of these teams. And frankly, we’ve gotten what we’ve paid for accordingly.

    I’m not saying we should go out and trade for someone even as valuable as Vizcaino, but we are where we are for a reason.

  12. Are we really in that bad of shape with Teheran? Forget the expectations, the prospect pedigrees, the contracts, the personalities, and the years of experience. Who are our SPs? Amongst starters who pitched a minimum of 100 IPs last year, this is how value broke down as you go down the league:

    31-60th SPs in WAR: 2.3 to 3.1
    61-90th SPs in WAR: 1.2 to 2.3
    91-120th SPs in WAR: .2 to 1.2

    Do you know why I picked 100 minimum IP? Because no one freaking qualifies! 56 whole SPs qualified all last year. I fear most people say a “5th starter” is what Teheran put up last year. But that would put him within the top 90 of SPs with 100 IP. That says a lot about the nature of the game, but it also says a lot about the fact that Teheran toes the rubber, throws 150+ innings, and can be just not-terrible enough to contribute 1.5 WAR. The problem is not so much with any individual starter is the fact that we have about $25M tied up in our rotation. Like with my previous post, realize that our entire pitching staff is making less than Clayton Kershaw. Scott Kazmir and Adrian Gonzalez are making more than our pitching staff. Let that sink in.

  13. It goes without saying that I despise any plan that keeps Acuna at AAA longer. I don’t understand why this org hates its fans so much.

  14. I think Acuna and Camargo have everything to do with really trying to see what they have with Tucker, Bourjos, Adams, Flaherty, and Culberson. And since it ain’t broke, they are probably really hoping they’re not forced to fix it. I wonder why they don’t give Kakes, Dansby, and Ozzie more days off (off-days and Dansby/Ozzie’s performance probably answers those last two).

    Let’s be honest; knowing what you have on the bench potentially for the rest of the season can be really valuable if our team is maybe a little better than originally thought.

  15. @21, I want to see Acuna up as much as anybody, and even I don’t believe that. With his slow start and Tucker OPSing .916, Acuna’s not coming up until he heats up, or Tucker comes back down to earth, or an outfield injury occurs. Maybe if Ender continues to suck and they want to slot Acuna in CF, but I doubt it. If they brought him up now, it would be be publicly admitting he was only down for service time. Even though we all *know* that’s the reason, they have plausible deniability at present.

  16. At some point they have to consider who the fans want to watch. He’s the best outfielder in the organization. Play him. We’ll win more games with him. I don’t care whose place he takes. He pushes a decent player to the bench and makes our team that much deeper.

    We’re a 70-win team because we’re in a perpetual state of having to find out what we have in “Tucker, Bourjos, Adams, Flaherty, and Culberson”. We know what we have. 70-wins. Let’s do better. I don’t see why this is so hard.

  17. @19 @20 Rob, you just contradicted yourself within the span of two posts. What we’re paying and how they were acquired has absolutely nothing to do with whether they’re valuable bullpen assets. If so, AGon would be starting at 1B and Kazmir would be our #1 SP. Actually, AGon is currently starting at 1B for a team that’s doing better than us.

    No one is claiming that any of our relievers are “veteran prime relievers”. Sometimes those kinds of talents are developed not bought. The guys we are ready to trust are ones we have some knowledge and statistical history to believe we can trust. We need to develop more.

    Don’t undersell our core bullpen because they are too young to make a lot of money or have developed into something no one thought they could be. As you and everyone knows, our “core” is small and not yet as solid as we would like. What I heard about Biddle is that they were careful with him last year after completing recovery from TJS. He is supposed to have a longer leash and more likelihood to be in the bullpen this year. And he is already on the 40-man. That is farther than Akeel got before he was released. Not really much different path than they took with Minter who was lights out from his first pitch.

  18. @20 Tossing 150 innings and being just not-terrible doesn’t sound like a value proposition no matter how you judge the guy or the contract. Based on your filter criteria, I imagine there is rotation disparity from the top of the league to the bottom (ie. the teams in contention keep at least 3-4 guys in the top 60 while the rest of the league has patchwork rotations and relievers that do a ton of work — huh, boy that sounds familiar).

    Your selling point on Teheran does nothing to dissuade me from preferring to roll the dice on some other arm that isn’t strongly trending downward. IOW, I feel the only reason to ride this storm out with the guy is to forfeit this season and hope to trade him at the deadline. Are we already buckling in for another long season of THAT? I really hope not since the offense is showing good potential.

  19. Chief, I’d even settle for scraping bubble gum off the sidewalk and giving it look at this point. I understand one or both of McCarthy and Sanchez won’t last the season, but we really shouldn’t take their SSS work for granted so far. They’ve been very solid such that I’m convinced I’d rather micro manage the rotation with a lot of plug-in arms than buckle in for a lot of suck from Mr. Consistency (Teheran).

  20. Roger, the comparison to AGon and Kazmir’s salaries was simply a “fun with numbers” idea. At the end of the day, You. Get. What. You. Pay. For. Would it be awesome to have an above average pitching staff for 35 million bucks? Absolutely. But it’s simple mathematics that the vast majority of your staff will be either at league minimum or well below the league average. And yes, if you have 7-8 highly talented rookies or second year players, then that may work. But there’s a reason with it doesn’t. Young pitchers are fungible, risky, and the greener grass mentality of which prospect in AAA has a good ERA will continue to bite you. We made the decision how the season would go when we shoe-horned Kemp’s ’19 money into this season. That made this season.

  21. I swear, if we rush Soroka or Wright because we can’t do any better than Teheran/McCarthy/Newcomb/Folty/Whomever, then we deserve to keep losing. What a horribly short-sighted thing to do at this exact moment*.

    *Literally 6-7 AAA starts can absolutely change that. But I’d still like to leave Soroka down well into the second half of this year.

  22. @34

    Well, Teheran has been the weak link so far. The rest of the starters have been okay to pretty good.

  23. As much as it beyond frustrating to see Bartolo pitching so well after last year, it’s really cool to see MLB leveraging its stars. That’s good for ball.

  24. Rob, you continue to say “You get what you pay for” but that doesn’t mean we gotta ride a dying horse, and neither do we need to try to ride a baby one that’s not ready to carry the load yet. If anything, your 100 IP value ranking demonstrates a potentially fatal flaw for the game, which is that it is currently enabling an unhealthy hitter vs pitcher environment that is breaking just about all of the game’s top pitching talent in a pursuit to overcome juiced hitters and juiced baseballs. Similarly, I think we all knew that assigning value to players was going to place even more burden on pitchers to pump up their K totals even at the cost of insanely high pitch counts and more hard throwing. All of this is to say that pitching is such an incredible crap shoot now that we should absolutely consider a couple of possible strategies that involve plug-n-play starting pitchers (sign and stash AAAA pitchers and go with the hot hands) or just jettison the notion of the starting pitcher in favor of an all-relief staff who take their turns pitching 1-2 innings with regularity.

    Frankly, I’ve had the notion that our guys are even struggling to cruise through 5 innings before getting the hook, and we don’t even bother letting anyone go over 105 pitches it seems.

  25. I think the point is that I’m ok with Teheran performing like a 5th starter for $8.1M precisely for the reasons you cite: it’s really hard to find guys who can make 30+ league average+ starts year-in and year-out. And, because of Teheran’s track record, I’d like to see if he can come out of this vs. take a gamble on whatever we happen to have in the system. The problem is not Teheran. The problem is the roster. The problem is the allocation of resources. The problem is having 3+ prospects in the rotation. Jettisoning Teheran would leave a huge void in the rotation whether it seems that way or not.

    He’s not a dying horse. He’s a 27-year old pitcher who’s had 202 bad innings since a 4.8 WAR season. This is ALL about expectations, and what the fans expect of him.

  26. It’s ludicrous to leave Acuna down like this. AA seems like a smart, competent GM – just call the kid up and let him play!

  27. @38 Yeah, you’re right. We don’t expect him to average like 6 walks/9 innings.

    Maybe he’ll be alright. I kinda have my doubts based on his velocity so far this year. He’s walking batters at an unbelievable clip through 3 games. To some degree, I feel like I’m demonstrating impatience, but then I look at just how bad he has been. It’s hard to look past it when your team presently has a winning record.

  28. Is 41 sarcasm? Because Ronald Acuna is slashing 152/222/182 at Gwinnett this year. I mean, 5 for 33 with 12 K’s and a 404 OPS isn’t quite demanding a playing spot in the bigs, right? He’s settling in a little of late, but let’s not be silly. He has more strikeouts (12) than he has walks (3) and hits (5) combined. He has one (1) extra base hit, a double. He’s stolen a single base and been caught once.

    Until he hits a little, there’s zero reason to call him up. Right now, he’d just sit on the bench behind the far more productive bats of Preston Tucker and Nick Markakis, unless you’re going to start him in CF over Inciarte (who, in his putrid start to 2018, is still out hitting Acuna’s AAA stats.)

    The only player Acuna would be an upgrade over right now would be Bourjos, and you don’t want you 19 year old wunderkind rotting as the fifth OF/defensive replacement in the bigs when he could be getting regular at bats in the minors.

  29. If you would honestly rather see Nick Markakis and Preston Tucker out there this week than Acuna, I don’t know what to tell you.

    I’m enjoying Tucker as much as anybody. But Acuna is clearly the best outfielder we have. Let him play!

  30. I would honestly like to see our premiere super-star-in-waiting prospect actually develop his skills rather than getting rushed to Atlanta simply because the fan base has the attention span of an ADHD mosquito.

  31. To be clear, what Sean is suggesting is that he’d rather have the MLB team be WORSE (by calling up a prospect who is not hitting at all, to replace players who are) because it’s “more exciting” that way.

  32. Again, if you think adding Acuna makes our team worse right now because of 30 AAA at-bats, that’s insane.

    I don’t even see how this is an argument. Acuna is better than any outfielder on our roster right now. Now that the service time machinations have been performed, he should be in the majors, period.

  33. There’s no rationale for it, other than keeping up the appearances that this was all about baseball things and not about service time.

    10 more games in AAA means fsck-all as far as his development goes. Either call him up now, or leave him in AAA for half the year. Anything else is nonsensical.

  34. Ronald Acuna is a 19 year old kid who has played 62 games at AAA. Sixty. Two.

    Two hundred and seventy-nine AT BATS.

    His entire career experience above AA amounts to fewer plate appearances that Tommy La Stella had as a mid-season call up for Atlanta in 2014.

    He did very well in 50 some odd games in AAA last year. He’s been horrid in his start this year.

    The idea that he is “better than any outfielder on our roster right now” is abjectly, unquestionably, irrevocably batshit insane. It’s the absolute peak of letting the hype and emotion of a new name-brand prospect overpower the rational thinking centers of the primate brain.

    Ronald Acuna will be called up when he is ready. By his performance to date, he’s not. Stop being a child.

  35. Yeah, I don’t get all the angst about not calling up a guy who is mired in a huge slump. I want him to be hitting when he comes up.

  36. If history is any guide, Acuna will heat up and hit his way to the majors within a few weeks. Until then, there’s bound to be a lot of whining.

  37. If you thought Acuna wasn’t MLB-ready at the end of spring training, fine. I don’t think anyone here took that position though. Now that we’ve locked up an extra year of control, he belongs in the bigs.

    30 AAA at-bats shouldn’t factor into the decision to call him up, is all I’m saying.

  38. There has been a unique set of circumstances since the season started that has put the Braves in an unenviable position. I genuinely empathize with the difficulty of the decision. They probably really want to call up Acuna, but he hasn’t played well, and we have some guys that are really playing well. I’m 100% OK with holding him down for a couple more weeks. I mean, seriously, it’s about a 1% he will outperform Tucker, and another 2 weeks of good performance out of Tucker will make it much easier for Markakis to see his playing time diminish. This is a no brainer for me, and I really don’t get the gnashing of teeth other than a generic (but legitimate) frustration that the Braves continue to not put the best players on the field.

  39. Line up all the factors:

    -Acuna hasn’t played well
    -Tucker has played really well
    -Adams has played, eh, good enough to warrant a further look.
    -Bourjos has been very bad, but has a good track record.
    -Markakis is on the last year of a deal and could potentially have a palpable performance relative to his contract for other teams.

    If any of those things were different, I think the decision gets a lot easier. If I’m in AA, I’m thinking, “Ehhhhh, can I just have, like, two more weeks to figure this mess out? I might have my entire outfield figured out for the next few seasons if I could just get a liiiittttllle more time.”

  40. I wrote a post on this very site arguing that Acuna should be sent down for baseball reasons (i.e. to get experience), so it’s not “noone.”

  41. 55, fair enough. I think that’s probably very close to AA’s thought process. But would two more weeks of The Preston Tucker Experience convince you he’s actually, sustainably good?

    With Markakis, the only two options are to play him every day or trade him, which doesn’t seem feasible (yet).

    I guess it’s partially just impatience on my part to see him play. But I don’t think waiting a couple weeks changes your outfield calculus at all.

  42. I feel like this whole Acuna conversation is just Jason Heyward 2010-11 vs “the hot hand” all over again. It’s depressing.

  43. Let Acuna get a look at something other than fastballs before he gets promoted again (cf. #56). Let him make adjustments. He’ll perform better at the major league level if he gets that experience under his belt.

  44. @56 Credit where it is due. When I read your baseball reasons post combined with how I saw that he hit .250 against basically good pitchers last year and Ozzie hit almost .350 it gave me some pause and some ability to agree with your post.

    I believe that too much has been made of Spring stats and that he may actually not be ‘ready’. I think people that thought he’d come up as a rookie and hit .300 with 35 HRs were delusional.

    Just like I don’t expect Soroka or Wright to come up and be Kershaw. I do expect that its possible that they could be better than Teheran IS pitching RIGHT NOW.

  45. You guys are suffering from battered-prospect syndrome. Relax and have some fun. Acuna put up numbers at age 19 that pretty much NOBODY puts up. A whole season’s worth. Worrying about 30 ABs where he’s just out there trying not to get hurt is *c*r*a*z*y*.

    Preston Tucker has sucked ass his last 8 games…should we make plans to release him? Inciarte has sucked all season so far…send him down? Trade him to Korea?

    Lighten up and embrace winning for once. Don’t be afraid…it’ll be ok…

  46. I’m glad krussell is making the point that some of you are way on the wrong side of sample size fallacy. Doesn’t mean Acuna doesn’t need some work, just means a coach or scout is in a better position to tell us that (or whether Tucker is for real) than the numbers, until we get more of them.

  47. Julio’s fastball is topping out at 88mph today. But he’s got a devastating slider going. 5K after two.

  48. @63 Yeah, but I’d rather he have 2 K on 1 hit and no walks as opposed to 5 K and 3 hits and 2 walks after 3 IP.

  49. @64- Albies’ middle name (one of them anyway) is Jurdy. What about “Hurdy Jurdy Man?”

  50. Love Bourjos in LF and Adams in RF. We finally have 2 legit backup OFs, and not Danny Santana or Jace Peterson or Jonny Gomes or some other goon or toon.

  51. I think most prospect writeups and other writings elevated AJ Minter to the role of Relief God before he ever threw a major league pitch. With all other relief prospects really being Guys We’re Waiting to Flame Out As SPs, there wasn’t much else to talk about. It’s interesting to see in real life that he’s not just going to come in every night, strike out the side, blow the smoke off his finger guns like he’s Kenny Powers or something, and walk back to the dugout. He’s still pretty awesome though and I love him, like, a lot.

  52. Love Julio tonight at STP, too. Seems like he decided to get serious. And it looks like the Mets just pulled a “Braves flop” tonight against the gNats with a 6-run 8th to yank defeat from the jaws of victory.

    @76 @79 Rob, agree. Only we may have three legitimate bench OFs if you include Tucker. Makes for a nice dilemma to have for once.

  53. I need help with a fantasy conundrum. I have Nick Pivetta on my roster (Phils starter tomorrow). I also have several Braves position players. So should I a) start Pivetta and the Braves players as kind of a hedge strategy; or b) bench Pivetta so I have no conflicts of interest? What say you?

  54. Who are the Braves? I have Ender and Freddie, so if it’s our league, can’t be them.

  55. @86, it doesn’t matter who they are, it’s not really a strategy question. What do you do when you have players on your fantasy team who if they perform well in a game will directly hurt the team in which you having a real life rooting interest? Do you bench them so your rooting interests remain pure? Or do you start them anyway so that even if they hurt your team, you get some benefit out of it?

  56. Hmmm… Jurdy (Judy?) is his middle name? Maybe we should call him Dorothy because he might be better than the Wizard of Oz.

  57. @88 I used to really be into fantasy baseball, Kirk. From my experience, you’re usually better off going ahead and starting your best players no matter who they’re facing, including your personal favorite team. I used to get into these internal conflicts about starting guys versus the Braves or even versus my own fantasy pitchers, etc. While I didn’t keep a ledger on points gained/lossed based on my decisions, it seemed like over half the time I was leaving points on the bench if I made decisions based primarily on my biases.

    View the splits and stats based on previous match ups and make the best and most informed decision you can, that’s my advice. :)

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