I Can’t Even – Braves 0 – Dodgers 9

I have been lucky to have the opportunity to recap Fried’s outings because I love watching him pitch so well. I just realized Fried has not actually won any of the games I recapped. That made me sad. The situation became that much worse when he came out of the gate giving up a HR, a walk, two wild pitches, and a comebacker off the pitching hand. And that was that. My evening was pretty much ruined with the Dodgers up 4-0 after two innings.  The Braves had not even scratched out a baserunner. And Fried was out of the game. Of course, the Braves said X-Rays were negative which was good but that sure doesn’t help us win this particular game.  And it doesn’t make me feel much better.

I have to believe that Fried would have recovered and pitched, ultimately, OK, but we’re never gonna know. I don’t what was wrong with him before the comebacker and I don’t know if Dansby’s bobble should have been an error. It sure seems like another example of the Braves defense being short of perfect. And depth or not, the Braves should not need a Newk near no-hitter or a grand slam by Acuna to beat the Dodgers. The Braves are not that bad and the Dodgers are not that good; the Braves are just snakebit.  This trip is beginning to look like the annual West Coast swoon.

I really had something clever planned to lead off this recap but I don’t think this game deserves it. I guess I’ll save it for another post later in the year.  After five perfect innings, TFlow finally broke up the perfect game with a single to LF in the 6th.  Not that it mattered as the runner was eventually doubled up and Ryu still faced only the minimum.  The Dodgers and Ryu were so “perfect” that, in the 7th, after Freddie got two strikes on him, they unshifted.  Justin Turner moved back to 3rd and on the next pitch, Freddie hit a squib right to him.  Naturally, Cody Bellinger followed with a running stab at an Acuna sinking liner.  Had he not made that 5-star catch, the Braves likely would have scored their first run and Acuna might have even circled the bases.

The Braves’ relievers pitched well except for the “Blevins experience”, which included Turner’s 3rd HR of the game including his 6th RBI.  But, in the end, again, their performance didn’t matter as this game was lost in the 1st inning.  The only real reason to watch until the end was to see if Ryu was going to pitch a solid “Maddux”.  He did.  I may throw up.

55 thoughts on “I Can’t Even – Braves 0 – Dodgers 9”

  1. It sure seems like that Dodgers have the keys to our cars in their pockets and our wife’s photos in their wallets.

  2. There is only 1 bright side I can see to last night’s game. It counts as only 1 loss and not 3.

  3. Hmm, I was wrong about not recapping one of Fried’s wins. I did the April 9th CO win. I guess I’m 1-2 in Fried games…… sigh.

  4. Saving good material for later in the year, Roger? Let’s hope the Braves are as well.

  5. I’m not sure what roster upgrades would reasonably allow us to be competitive against the Dodgers? At some point 3B will need to be productive – but I think AA is going to give JD all kinds of benefit-of-the-doubt. Other than that what other positions can we improve? We can’t hit their pitching. We gonna replace the whole roster?

  6. I don’t get why the shot at Donaldson either? He’s on pace for 25-30 homeruns this season. That’s production, in my book.

  7. If you’re going by fWAR, Donaldson has been a little disappointing. He’s 15th amongst 3B at the moment. They don’t like his defense, but he’s got a 125 wRC+, so he’s definitely giving us the offense we expected. So the question is whether or not his defense has been as bad (-1.9) as Fangraphs is saying. B-Ref likes him a lot more on defense, and he’s on pace for a 5 bWAR season. So I don’t know who to believe.

    Until proven otherwise, if Donaldson does not end up being 90% of what he was in his prime, I think some of the criticism should fall on Snit. Why is Donaldson playing every single day outside of his 3-day injury stint? Is that necessary? Sure, Camargo is struggling, but Camargo has a little over half the PAs of our LF, RF, SS, 2B, and 3B, all positions he can play. This Bobby Coxian “play the guys every day so they can stay in a rhythm” routine, IMO, is not going to work when your RF is 35 years old, your 3B is 33 and coming off a tough injury. Same goes for Culberson, who can play all of those positions as well.

  8. Anyone else see the Braves are considering using Newcomb in a relief role moving forward?

  9. The Dodgers are just a really good team that, for whatever reason, seems to have our number. As for being able to hit their pitchers, who is? Ryu has a 2.03 ERA and is actually staying on the mound. Buehler was completely on Monday night. You’re not going to hit anyone when they’re painting the black with 97 MPH heat. And they’re throwing Kershaw tonight. What do you expect? That’s a gauntlet. But Ryu hasn’t made 30 starts since 2013, so it’s almost just bad luck we’re actually catching him when he’s on the mound.

  10. Newcomb in a relief role seems like at least some sort of hybrid in the short-term of the “piggybacking” idea that people have advocated with our million pitchers. If someone threw 5 innings, and then he came in and pitched 2, and they could do that a few times a week, then that would really reduce the strain on the pen. And it’s not like he’d have to be that effective to be helpful. The other options are trying to get more than 5 innings out of your starter or throwing the 6th or 7th best arm in the pen to get through those innings. Might as well throw Newcomb in short stints to see if he can improve while being effective.

  11. @9 Bobby Cox at least rested the guys who needed it most. This year, Snitker is on a pace to get almost everyone in the starting lineup into all 162 games.

    But I guess when your “only” off-season move is to sign a 33 year old 3B, you’ve got to keep your best on the field or risk being too far behind by June to be considered “buyers.”

  12. But I guess when your “only” off-season move is to sign a 33 year old 3B, you’ve got to keep your best on the field or risk being too far behind by June to be considered “buyers.”

    That’s bullcrap. Camargo was a 3.3 fWAR player last year, and he’s rotting on the bench. Culberson is a 2.5 fWAR player across 600 PAs. There’s plenty of talent on the roster to give these guys a day off. And you can criticize the lack of big, splashy moves, but at the end of the day, the RF we all didn’t want back (myself included other than a simple fan appreciation for what he does) is 11th in fWAR. He’s hardly the problem either. But he can fall hard if he doesn’t get time off, just like last year. There’s just no reason to keep these guys in the lineup every day.

  13. @6 – Roster moves to make this team more competitive?

    For starters, a frontline starter. Someone who can toe the rubber against the Kershaws of the league and make those games competitive. The Dodgers have 4-5 pitchers in their rotation who would be the Game 1 starter for the Braves. Not targeting James Paxton will forever baffle me.

    Bullpen, duh. The whole pen needs to be moved down 2-3 innings.

  14. The Braves aren’t winning, and so unsurprisingly we’re going with the best combination of players we’ve got.

    All I’m doing here is countering your “Blame Snit” remark. It should be “Blame Alex” and rightfully so. The pitching is letting us down. Maybe we could have improved that by now.

  15. Hoping to see Folty have better stuff tonight. If he doesn’t, I am officially concerned about him and his elbow.

  16. My point @6 is that we’re basically only scoring 2 runs a game against the Dodgers going back the last couple years of games. I don’t see how you can “fix” that.

    My shot at JD was just because he’s my whipping boy for this year, and he had some of the worst AB’s in the history of AB’s last night. I’m scarred/jaded for having watched that nonsense.

  17. In some ways, JD is kind of like Andruw. An elite player but absolute cringeworthy sometimes at the plate. It’s weirder with JD because we knew Andruw wasn’t a great hitter. JD is; his wRC+ right now is higher than Andruw’s career high, and we’re disappointed.

  18. I have been one of the more vocal critics of JD’s effort at times.

    His first at bat (which is the only one I saw) last night, ump called the first pitch 6 inches out of the zone a strike. 1-0 becomes 0-1. JD battled to a full count and swung at ball 4 which was about a foot high. I wished he had layed off that pitch, but he was put in a bad spot by the ump and didn’t complain.

  19. Forgive me if I leave someone out, but here is my ranking of the “Ace potential” or upside of all the pitchers in the organization:

    1. Soroka
    2. Folty
    3. Fried
    4. Anderson
    5. Touki
    6. Gohara
    7. Muller
    8. Wright
    9. Newcomb
    10. Weigel
    11. Gausman
    12. Teheran
    13. Wentz
    14. B. Wilson
    15. Tarnok
    16. Ynoa
    17. Allard
    18. T. Davidson
    19. Beck
    20. Riley

    I would not be heartbroken if we traded Wright in the right deal.

    Really liked this list from Dusty with some minor squabbles. Maddux’s skill set is going to be really hard to replicate. For his entire career, he had a 1.8 BB/9. Only briefly at certain levels did Soroka match that in the minor leagues. Short of having incredible control, I just don’t see how Soroka exceeds the upside of some of the more unhittable prospects. But man, he has not disappointed one bit since his arrival.

    I think it’s interesting you have Gohara and Muller ahead of Wright, but I can see why. I love lefties with big fastballs and potentially devastating offspeed, so based on upside, I can see that. And you would have probably had Newcomb ahead of Wright if not for the fact that it seems clear his upside is much, much lower now that he’s all but demonstrated he will probably not have above average control in the big leagues.

    But I would probably say my only real disagreement is Gausman. He’s currently sporting a career-worst walk rate (though a career-high strike out rate), and his FIP is still a full run lower than his ERA. He looks like he’s been a little unlucky, and if it were to correct to the typical relationship of ERA being lower than FIP, then he’s going to look like he looked before his last 2 starts: a top of the rotation starter. That’s what he’s been since he’s come to Atlanta. I’m a big Gausman fan.

  20. Thanks Rob, I think I struggled the most with where to put Gausman. Recency bias may be impacting my opinion a bit, though I could argue that he has had years in the majors to show what he is so there may not be much more upside to tap into.

  21. Kyle Wright is coming up to help in long relief tonight. Dayton is probably going back to Gwinnett per Bowman.

    I think it is likely Newcomb starts in place of Fried on Saturday.

    Side note: I don’t know how Gwinnett finds enough pitchers for 9 innings considering we are calling up the day’s scheduled starter frequently (and sending down guys unavailable to pitch).

  22. @22 One thing to remember just like our complaints about Markakis in reverse – Gaus has always been a second half pitcher. We hoped that putting him on a better team would be an improvement (especially defensively), but, as our defense has not been as good and Gaus did play on Orioles teams with great IF defense, I think our expectations may have been a little high.

    The word is the Gaus could be a TOR if he could improve his 1st half performance.

  23. Another thing no one seems to be mentioning is that the Braves have become toads on the basepaths. We have some of the fastest players in baseball and only 11 stolen bases. How about hit and runs? We are playing purely station-to-station baseball. The hitting statistics are great but our runs scored is lower than our offensive stats suggest. This was supposed to be an exciting, dynamic team and no one is being dynamic.

    That’s one thing adding Donaldson and McCann to the lineup may have done – slowed this whole team down.

  24. @24 Andres Santiago, baby. The 29-year old journey and fireman of the Braves minor leaguers, and the stealer of my nachos. It seems he makes 30 starts a year but is never the scheduled starter.

  25. Irony for the day

    The NL East was supposed to be the most improved division in baseball. Not only is it not improved, but it is also still the worst division in baseball. Definitely worse performance than last year through May 8th. And it’s not even close…..

  26. I know I post a lot of crap every now and again to get a rise out of people or be funny, but I swear this happened to me yesterday. I was next to Austin Riley’s uncle-in-law, and I overheard him asking his buddy what “the three sets of numbers next to Austin’s name mean”. He’s a business man; not a stat nerd. His friend said the first one was batting average and the second one was on base something, but he didn’t know what the third one was. Being a know-it-all tool, I chimed in that it was called slugging percentage. And in so doing, I exposed the Braves t-shirt I was wearing. So he asked me if 1.000 was good, and I said, “Well, Babe Ruth’s for his career was around .700, so yeah, that’s pretty good.” And then he said his nephew-in-law was Austin Riley.

    So I proceeded to tell him how good I thought Austin Riley was, and how I thought he was going to be an above average big leaguer, maybe an All-Star, and at minimum, he was probably going to have a multi-millionaire in his family pretty soon. Seeing that I knew ball and also knew and liked Riley, he asked me if I thought Riley would get called up this year. “Well, with Donaldson and Camargo both locking third base down pretty good, I don’t know if he’ll be manning third base until Opening Day next year. His best bet is to grab an outfielder’s mitt, and maybe the Braves will look at plugging him in LF and Acuna in center.”

    So there is one person in this world that has had limited access to my brain (thankfully), and he probably thinks I’m a genius. He’s wrong, and he’s the only person in the world who would think that, and it’s Austin Riley’s uncle-in-law.

  27. Wow, Rob. You know a lot about baseball! So I’m getting ready to summarize tonight’s game. Is this Kershaw guy any good? Hard to keep up with the West Coast teams…

  28. To be honest, I prefer station-to-station baseball. I get some of those other elements are exciting, and pressure a defense. It drives me crazy when guys get caught stealing, or a “strike’em out, throw’em out” ends the inning though.

  29. I don’t know that much, but I know enough about baseball that it wouldn’t be surprising to see us jump on Kershaw even when we shouldn’t.

  30. Is it just me, or have the Braves been on national television more already this year than all last year?

  31. Venters has now had seven straight scoreless outings in AAA. At some point they will need to go ahead and call him up.

  32. Seems that Mr. Riley doesn’t mind playing left field. He hit two homers to go along with a single and a walk.

  33. You have two 1.000+ OPS “outfielders” (at some point Austin Riley will be deemed “hey, at least he’s not Evan Gattis” in the outfield) in AAA, and we are employing Ender Inciarte and his .641 OPS that’s cherry-picked for handedness. Oh, and Johan Camargo is on the bench. Oh, and we actually have a corner outfielder who is more than equipped to play CF.

    At some point, you have to sit Ender down. THEY’RE SHIFTING HIM. He has a 80 MPH exit velo, and they’re shifting him because he refuses to make an adjustment. Unless you’re hitting the ball so hard the shift doesn’t matter, you need to learn to use that whole other side of the field.

  34. And he has lost considerable speed in his range in CF. Acuña hasn’t been particularly impressive as a CF, but Inciarte brings nothing to the table right now.

  35. Ender 2018 sprint speed: 27.9
    Ender 2019 sprint speed: 26.6

    As Mallory from Skyfall said, “There’s no shame in saying you’ve lost a step. The only shame would be not admitting it until it’s too late.”

    He’s going to have to reinvent himself as a player, and he’s not going to be able to do that playing every day. Same with Newcomb but in a different way.

  36. That’s really cool, Rob. The Braves have been fairly aggressive bringing kids up the last couple of years. I’ll bet we do see Riley in the bigs sooner rather than later.

  37. Been a while since Ronald had gone deep. Hopefully this is the start of another hot streak.

  38. folty is pretty bad this year :(
    the speed was there tonight, but release point wasn’t. flat sliders and curves too.

  39. I’ve thought it since spring training but will say it and go on record. I don’t think Folty will ever have a year better than last. Maybe not even as good again. We’ve seen his peak. Between age related decline, or injury, or not able to really command his repertoire, or his mental approach or whatever. I just don’t think he will ever be any better or be the true #1 guy we need to lead a playoff caliber team. I hope I’m wrong. He is going to start getting expensive next year, especially if he can’t make 30 starts. With all the young starters in the high minors needing an opportunity, I expect to see him traded this off season.

  40. 0-3 against Diamondbacks
    0-3 against Phillies
    0-3 against Dodgers

    Every time they play a real team, they just get bent over.

  41. Alabama-Duke in August is going to look a hell of a lot like this series.

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