Badda-Bing Badda-Boom: Braves 6 – Reds 7

Going into GABP, I thought that we were in for it with our pitching staff and the Reds hitters. But I looked at the Reds hitting numbers and thought that maybe we could get’m while they’re down. Then I looked at Sonny Gray’s pitching stats and thought… why, again, didn’t we trade for this guy???

So the game starts and I can’t watch cuz I’m not home yet. But I look up the stats and Sonny has gone to war. And, badda-bing badda-boom, Sonny KO’d 9 Braves by the fifth inning. The only ray of hope was a Dansby triple that got the Braves a run in the fifth.

Meanwhile, Kevin Gausman did his dead level best to make the Reds look like world beaters. 2 HRs later the Reds had a 3-1 lead going into the sixth. But Sonny should never get on the causeway because the Braves were waiting for him at the tollbooth.  In the sixth, Ozzie looked really good as a lefty on a single to CF.  Donaldson hit a perfectly placed pop fly double.  Freddie whacked a single and the Reds defense fell apart with a bobble by Suarez and a PB. And the Braves led 4-3.

Generally, one thanks the other guy when they give gifts so generously, but the Braves had to go one step further and give them all back. The bottom of the sixth was a traditional, wretched, gut-wrenching pitching performance. Four walks, an error, PB, and sac fly later, the Reds batted around and scored 4 runs meaning they led by more at the end of the sixth than before the Braves’ rally – 7-4.

The Braves didn’t give up.  First Fake Dansby (TM) in the 7th and then Real Dansby in the 8th hit RBI doubles that got the Braves within one.  The Real Dansby Swanson (TM) then stole 3rd with one out and I could feel the tie score.  Tyler Flowers, he of the 3/3 against Phil Hughes, could not hit Hughes and struck out.

OMG, why in the hell did the Braves put Sobotka out there?  Somehow, after 2 walks and a hit, Sobotka survived the 8th.  The Matt Joyce wonder doubled on the first pitch of the ninth and, again, I can taste it.  Unfortunately, after a popped-up bunt by Ozzie, a near 2-run HR (5 freakin’ feet more….GEEZ) by Josh, and an easy grounder to 1B by Freddie later, the Braves lost.

Of course, I have to note that JD (and Freddie, too) struck out three more times.  Sometime last week, the Braves had one of the lowest K totals in the league and now, all of a sudden, they have middling numbers.

93 thoughts on “Badda-Bing Badda-Boom: Braves 6 – Reds 7”

  1. As upset as I am with Biddle, this loss is on Snit. The intentional walk was inexcusable and leaving Biddle to face a righty with the bases loaded was inexcusable.

    On another note, I’ve been a Donaldson fan until tonight. Errors happen though this was a pretty costly one, but to twice hit balls in the field of play and stand in the batters box watching was again, inexcusable. It certainly cost him a base on the pop up double. And if that ball in the 9th somehow dropped in, he could’ve been on third with 1 out in a tie game. If your gonna stand and watch you better be right that the ball is not in the field of play.

  2. @1 I agree with you completely, however, I can’t help but think a decent bunt or grounder to the right side by Ozzie and the game would have been tied. A pop-up bunt from your leadoff hitter is inexcusable. For all the talk about Outciarte, I’d rather have Ender bunting in that spot (i.e. a bunting situation) than anyone else.

    Another game we probably should have won or at least gone into extra innings.

  3. There were a few plays that cost us in the field, but this was the 3-4 game this season where not making any moves to upgrade the bullpen cost the Braves.

  4. I’m still fuming about last night. You’ve got a guy in Biddle who is clearly struggling and especially struggling with walks. So you bring him in to a 1-run game and have him face the Da Vinci of walks, Joey Votto. That’s bad enough, but to then intentionally walk the bases loaded and allow this pitcher who can’t find the strike zone to continue to pitch is baffling.

    I get wanting to help Biddle regain his confidence, it’s admirable to have that kind of faith in your player, but that ship sailed after the guarantee last Tuesday night and subsequent failure on Wednesday. If Biddle was still in the bigs he should have been relegated to the Tomlin role of low leverage only, not the first guy out of the pen in a 1-run game after an off-day. I’ve never been a fire the manager guy, but I’m moving that way now.

  5. Yeah, I think I’m counting 4 games we’ve lost because of below average bullpen. And even an above average bullpen probably loses one of those games — no bullpen is perfect — so I’d say we’ve lost 3 games net because of the pen. So if you change those, you’re looking at being 14-8 and ahead of the division. Instead, we’re 11-11 and a game and a half back in 3rd place.

    But there’s definitely been plenty of hyperbole in the offseason inflation of the teams (and our deflation). We’re a little over 1/8 through the season, still early, but not that early, and the division leader is on pace for 91 1/2 wins. Second place is on pace for 84 1/2 wins, and third place (us) is on pace for 82 wins. So it’s not like losing those 3 games have buried us. We can still win the division just fine, and I’m happy if we do since my money in Vegas was on simply exceeding 86 wins. If we win the division, we’ll do that.

    Plus, these teams are pretty much out of money and pretty much out of prospects. We are neither of those. How would you feel if you’re a Mets fan right now? Phils? You spent all this money, made all these changes, traded all these prospects, and you’re not running away with it. You’re looking at flawed rosters, just like yours, but you don’t have the resources to go fix it. You can be mad that we didn’t do what we should have done in the offseason, but there’s nothing keeping the team — resource-wise, at least — from doing it now. Those other teams have shot their bullets, for the most part.

  6. Biddle should absolutely not be in high leverage situations right now. I think Snit thought he had turned the corner with his most recent outing. But he needs to hang out for a week in low leverage.

    But seriously, what is Snit to do? You had Sobotka in in the 8th. Probably should be throwing Winkler more. But who else? He already went to Parsons. Jackson? Tomlin? Webb? Just run through Minter first? Go ahead and start throwing Wilson two innings? That’s your entire pen, plus an extra arm (Wilson makes 9). He just doesn’t have enough good options.

  7. 8-Almost every Braves manager I can recall (it’s not exclusive to the Braves I know) has managed games out of fear. No I can’t use McCann to pinch hit here, what if he gets hurt? No I can’t use Tomlin or Wilson here, what if the game goes to 25 innings?

    Hindsight makes it easy to second guess. But Biddle coming in and walking Votto seemed like about a 80% probability to probably most of us and it happened. Were it me, and if I had no plans to start Wilson, I would’ve used him, or I could’ve gone Tomlin or Parsons. I could’ve been tempted to use Minter or Winkler or Webb. There is no chance I put in Biddle there. But furthermore when the bases are loaded and you have a righty hitting and a righty warm in the pen and I guy in Biddle who keeps showing you he doesn’t have it now, you call for Parsons.

    Also, the 6th and 7th runs scored because of the intentional walk.

  8. I think you’re assuming Snit genuinely thinks Tomlin is a better option but is managing for the future. I think Snit genuinely thinks Biddle was the better option. Same with Wilson.

    Biddle vs. Tomlin vs. Wilson, in that situation is shot or stabbed or burned. That should be Darren O’Day. That should be Jonny Venters (especially on Votto). That should be Minter with Vizzy pitching the 9th or something. 87% of their bullpen financial commitments are on the shelf. I don’t know how Snit fixes that.

    Is there not a freaking LOOGY on the waiver wire we can pick up? What is even going on at this point? 5 days ago AA says they’ll improve the pen. They do nothing. Absolutely freaking nothing.

  9. If I’m not mistaken, the entire bullpen is making the league minimum. The whole thing makes minimum wage. You can’t run a Chick-fil-A on minimum wage employees, and they’re trying to run Ruth’s Chris.

  10. @10 Is there not a freaking LOOGY on the waiver wire we can pick up? What is even going on at this point? 5 days ago AA says they’ll improve the pen. They do nothing. Absolutely freaking nothing.

    This month reminds me of last July when the team was struggling and AA did nothing for the longest time. There were smaller deals getting done. There were rentals on the cheap. It took a really long time for this team to finally do anything. They finished the month 10-13 (only after they won 3 in a row to conclude the month) and now we can only wonder how July would have turned out if we hadn’t waited so patiently to do “anything at all.”

    Be prepared to wait a long time. That’s the AA I’ve come to know.

  11. On another note, Sinclair Broadcasting is the current highest bidder for the Fox Sports networks, but Liberty Media may choose to up their bid. Disney is said to be waiting for a response from LM before declaring a winner.

  12. Literally every recap should just be “Until ownership changes expect more of same”.

  13. Winkler and Webb have earned chances to work in higher leverage spots. Jackson and Parsons are already there.

    Sobotka is probably the only reliever I trust less in a high leverage situation than Biddle.

  14. So what are the Lerner’s (Nationals owner) doing wrong? They have the same record as us. Are they not trying enough?

  15. @Rob

    Braves VP & GM Alex Anthopoulos says he has explored arms outside of the organization but nothing is close and it’s tough to make a trade in April. Need better performance internally. @SiriusXMFantasy0

  16. Explored arms outside the organization? There are literally relievers available right now in FA that are not Craig Kimbrel that can be had for just money and a signature. You don’t need to another team. The motivated parties are all ready to go. That’s bullsh*t.

  17. @18

    That’s why they should have made a move in the winter. He never has been held accountable.

    We could have made a move on relievers and not spent a tone of money or prospects. This isn’t all on Liberty. Wonder Boy is on the hook here too.

  18. We’re not throwing even a little bit of money at any external options, and I can’t help wondering why.

  19. Even if we had a loogy, Snit would still leave him in to face 3 righties in a row or some other dumb shit. The bullpen isn’t good but our manager doesn’t do anything to put them in optimal situations.

  20. @16

    at the park last night…

    I worry about Freddie more when viewed with the naked eye as opposed to TV. There seems to be almost an indifference about him on occasions.And a lack of hard contact currently. Of course that’s ridiculous isn’t it but that last out seemed to come too quickly and easily, a tap almost, and very early in the count, the tying run at third. As i said, ridiculous.

    Our best player on the field, to look at them live, was Dansby. The speed necessary to get to third was awesome as is his contact. Ender had a thoroughly good game and a productive one, JD’s contact still sounds great but his defense not so. 11 strikeouts got the home fans free pizza while our bullpen guys reduced me to virtual tears.

    Onward though, tonight!

  21. @26 If we had a loogy, his splits vs RH wouldn’t depart enough from the rest of the bullpen to excuse him from facing RH’ers.

    So yes, he can stay in and pitch against them. ;-)

  22. @28 I’ve had the same thought watching The Freeman on TV this year. I’ve already arrived at the point where I don’t look forward to his at bats. He’s still putting up the numbers, but I’d rather have Acuna up in that situation. I’d rather see Dansby, Camargo, and even Markakis.

    Freddie is still good, but I don’t feel great about any one of his at bats more than another.

  23. 30 – I really wish Freddie would just work on his bunting and force teams to not shift against him. If you are successful 3 out of 4 times that’s a 1.500 OPS.

    We should give Snitker some credit for the pinch hitting last night as Culby and Joyce played big roles in getting us close.

    Unpopular opinion, but I don’t really hold AA accountable for not upgrading the bullpen, I wouldn’t have done anything either. With the overabundance of pitchers in our system, we should be able to make it work internally, or at the very least, we shouldn’t be devoting any real resources to it, given how volatile relief pitching is.

  24. @31 Why? Just because you have 30 pitching “prospects” it doesn’t mean that 28 of them aren’t any good.

    There is a reason why 150 years of baseball have believed in proven MLB level players’ track records.

    The reality is that about 2-3 of those prospects will ever be worth a damn in the MLB.

  25. I submit that being more excited for several other guys’ ABs than Freddie’s is one of those ‘good problems.’

  26. Let me demonstrate what I mean on the pen. I know WHIP is a bit of a flawed statistic but for what the pen is struggling with, it captures what we are talking about. Here is last year vs. this year for our pen:

    Minter from 1.29 WHIP in 2018 to 1.80 in 2019
    Biddle 1.27 last year to 1.77 in 2019
    Jackson 1.53 to 1.55
    Sobotka 0.98 to 2.00!!!
    Carle 1.22 to 1.68
    Vizzy 1.17 to 1.50
    Venters 1.23 to 4.13!!!
    Winkler 1.19 to 1.50

    Looking at last year’s numbers, not to mention adding O’Day and Dayton potentially along with a Wright or Touki or Wilson perhaps, you would think this was a good unit. Everyone has underperformed to this point, save for Tomlin and maybe Parsons.

    Would you love to add a piece? Maybe. But at what cost and who would you be taking an opportunity/innings from?

  27. I also wanted to note, that I am a big fan of the 6:40 start times in Cincinnati. They appear to be the only team doing that.

  28. @31 Anthopolous should be held 100% accountable for not upgrading the pen. Even now, when it’s so apparent that it’s a dumpster fire, he does nothing. He’s trying to give this BS excuse that it’s hard to make a trade in April, as if he has no other options. One of the best closers in the history of the game is available, for only money. Tons of other ML guys with track records would probably come in for the ML minimum and a shot; and none could be worse than the Biddle, Parson and Jackson. Anthopolous either needs to be honest, admit he lied, and say they’re not looking to make any financial commitments right now; or just own the fact that the alternative is he’s a terrible GM. It’s one or the other.

    Having all the young starters really can’t be an excuse for inaction. Some guys aren’t meant for relief roles, and it takes time to adjust. I mean imagine had they not signed a catcher because they said we have all these other IF in the system? It’s not apples to apples, but not entirely dissimilar either.

  29. Relivers are fungible and inconsistent, and the greatest sin isn’t that they expected Chad Sobotka to be a shutdown reliever all year — it’s that they don’t seem to have a plan B.

    Sobotka, Carle, and Biddle aren’t exactly O’Ventbrel. If they suck, sit them down and replace them. It ain’t rocket science.

  30. Elite relievers are neither fungible nor inconsistent. The Sobotkas and Carles of the world? Sure.

  31. How many elite relievers were available and at what cost? Kimbrel sure, but all reports indicated he was looking for 6 years/$100 million. You’ll forgive many of us if we pass on that. Diaz in a trade? Well he cost the Mets two of their top prospects and they had to eat a bad salary to boot. Am I missing someone?

  32. The recent reports are that Kimbrell has dropped his asking price to the 3 yr/ $50 million dollar range.

  33. @35

    Because the kids are still in school. They start earlier so they can stay up to watch the whole game. Nice

  34. I feel much more confident going into the late innings down a few runs than I do being up a few runs. It’s a real emotional roller-coaster.

  35. 40 – I have seen that, and while I was more speaking to why nothing was done in the offseason as so many tend to complain about, I think at this point Kimbrel and Keuchel won’t sign until after the draft in 5 weeks, so you don’t lose a draft pick (for the Braves pick #60 and it’s $1.157 mill slot value).

  36. Luke Jackson is the answer to all our prayers. Reborn, resurrected, his recent numbers, as opposed to everyone elses, reflect real courage in the face of disdain. Root for him tonight. Will him on. I will be there to do just that.

    Luke Jackson
    we simply don’t have enough facts on
    his wondrous strike to ball ratio
    is now being credited to minimal pre-game fellatio.

  37. @39 Diaz cost the Mets two of their top prospects, in a weaker farm system. I’m not sure where the two guys they traded would rank if they had been in the Braves system. For the right prospect package however, I’m sure a deal could’ve been done without taking Cano.

    How about Adam Ottavino though in the offseason, for only cash?

    Now, as we type, Kimbrel’s asking price has reportedly dropped. Are we really going to give another 4-5 games away, based on present pace, because of the bullpen, for a little over 1 million dollars in slot money?

  38. Premonition: I doubt AA is the Braves GM for much longer than a year or so.

    A hunch.

  39. Heading to the game to see M-M-M-Mike Soroka tonight. If the past hour is any indication, My Sharona is going to be in my head all night.

  40. I’m higher on Soroka than any of the young guns. We know he’s not going to be walking guys, something we all can appreciate.

    I do worry about the shoulder, but so long as that’s not an issue he is a star.

  41. Just as I said Soroka wouldn’t be walking guys, he promptly walked the leadoff guy. It was Votto, so that’s understandable. And each pitch was very close.

  42. Ooh, my little Albertan, Canadian
    When you gonna run through the lines, Soroka?
    Ooh, you make my Gameday run, my Gameday run
    Got it coming up online, Sharona
    Never gonna stop, spinning slop, such a filthy mind
    I always check f/X, for the gun, of his fastball fine
    My, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!
    M-m-m-mike Soroka

  43. @48 cph. Hoipe you’re having fun. Great game by Soroka so far. He’s most fun to watch. Now let’s get him some runs.

  44. Wow, Swanson had some bad luck his last two at-bats.
    Damn, gotta get that run in from third. 1-15 with RISP in this series?

  45. @59 No doubt. Swanson also fouled off a lot of good sliders too. He is being a real hitter.

    Donaldson is having another one of “those” nights. 2Ks and a popup with the bases loaded.

  46. Dang, He almost got it done. If he just had one more strike in him. Shoot.

    Alright, I’m gonna say it. Soroka, Fried, Folty may soon equal Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz. Sorry all you doubters but we have a new big 3.

  47. I know it got hit hard but at least it wasn’t a walk. Tomlin deserves a lot more exposure in the 5th, 6th, 7th.

  48. The consternation over who pitches and when, to me, is just deck chairs on the Titanic. I just can’t bring myself to have a strong opinion over who they should bring in over another. They’re all about as volatile outing-to-outing as it gets.

  49. @70 Except that Tomlin hasn’t gotten much of a chance to show whether he can be a more reliable guy.

    And look at that….. a real decent inning from our man Luke.

  50. I’m more excited about Ozzie’s two walks tonight than his first inning homer. That’s what they need out of the leadoff guy, and what he needs to do to be a better hitter..

    And I’m not concerned about Donaldson. He may not be the 2015 MVP version, but he’s a great bat to have in the lineup.

  51. Worst pop time in baseball, per Statcast: Tyler Flowers. Best? You don’t wanna know. JT Realmuto.

  52. Braves leader in hard-hit balls (over 95 MPH exit velocity)? Nick Markakis. 15th in all of ball. Freddie not far behind at 18. Donaldson is third on the team, 58th overall. Acuna 4th and 98th overall.

  53. Nope! I was wrong! Dansby is 4th in hard-hit balls, 79th overall. Acuna needs to step his game up.

  54. Oooooh. Second in all of MLB in hard-hit balls last year, right behind Manny Machado and ahead of Lindor, JD Martinez, and Yelich? Your boy Nicholas Markakis.

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