In the land of hanging Chads: Braves 3, Annoying Regional Insects 6

Thanks to the marvel that is ESPN National Game for Monday, I was able to participate in watching a good bit of this debacle. I didn’t see the first Nationals run score because I was outside removing a shutter for my wife who wants to take it to the paint store and let them put a paint on the shutter, then bring it to the house for match. But I actually saw some key moments.

In the top of the first, the Braves flied out in the outfield 3 times, but two of those were after Ozzie reached on what was originally scored a hit but later changed to an error (hard hit ball up the middle that Dozier had to go to his right, dropped it, picked it up, and threw late to first). This set one trend for the night. Both Freeman and Donaldson gave theirs somewhat of a drive, but deep in the outfield corner doesn’t mean much if it hangs up.

So, gNats come back and get 1, but threaten for lots more in the bottom half. This also showed what would be a trend. Braves pitchers giving up bases via the walk. Keuchel ended up giving up 4 in 6 innings and the “relief” corps added 6 more in the last 3 innings. That last ratio isn’t too good.

The Braves got one back in the 4th. Adam Duvall has stayed on a tear so far, and it is most welcome and needed. Austin Riley needs to go down to AAA and hit everyday. He needs Chipper to Bat Whisperer in his ear. Why can’t Matt Joyce platoon in against righthanders a lot of days? I don’t get where the “need an outfielder” came from.

In top of 6, Braves almost flipped the script. The tie came on an Adam Duvall fly ball that Juan Soto probably stole from home run territory, but which certainly would have been a home run if it was 1 foot higher or 4 feet longer. It ended up as a sacrifice fly instead of an Earl Weaver special.

The wheels came off the bus in the 6th. With Keuchel having run up his pitch count, he left with 2 on and 1 out and the top of the order coming on. Chad the Destroyer of White House Dreams came in and struck out Turner (who I recommend for replacement of “The Dark Lord Utley” with a name like maybe “The Third Dark Knight”). But, he walked Eaton and gave up the Double Grybo PLUS 2 of his own when Rendon went deep.

It ended 6 to 3 instead of 6 to 2 because Charlie Clutch hit a home run in top of 9.

This is a talented Braves team. Panic is not appropriate or necessary. I will give my “one thing they need to fix.” TAKING walks. When pitchers don’t want to pitch to you or are having trouble hitting the strike zone, TAKE YOUR DAMN WALKS. This “oh, a 3 – 0 count means I can hit a ball hard” is taken WAY to extreme with this team. The point to a deep lineup with lots of power sources is to make sure people are on base when the ball goes out.

And, AA, a reliever or 2 really doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

Also, I have put in a request to the psychic friends network. They are to realign based on today so that the “losing day” will be Monday from here on out and Tuesday will be a winning day. That gets the burden off of Roger. I can handle the burden. But since there are so many “no play Mondays” it will sure help things if Tuesday can get turned around. Somebody sacrifice a chicken, okay?

158 thoughts on “In the land of hanging Chads: Braves 3, Annoying Regional Insects 6”

  1. Interesting note on team walks. Atlanta is actually in 9th place in MLB in taking walks (and only 6 walks out of 5th). But what is interesting is they are 3rd in the league in night game walks, but dead last in day game walks. I didn’t look at walk rate just totals and ATL has played the fewest day games in the league (though not but a lot). It certainly matches what I’ve seen that ATL is very swing happy in day games.

  2. 1. Start Culberson a few times a week at SS, and maybe once a week in the OF, until Dansby returns.

    2. Only start Flowers against LHP, and no more than 2X per week. Give Jackson a look in September.

    3. Get at least one and maybe two relievers (including one LHP) by the deadline.

    4. Riley to AAA until Sept. 1st. OF is Acuna/ Ender/ Duvall with Culberson or Camargo replacing Ender vs some (most?) LHPs.

    We’re fine, really. Our problems other than needing a “true ace” are fixable. Riley will turn it around but needs regular ABs. 5th spot in the rotation is a dumpster fire but that’s true of most teams, and we have more bodies than most to throw at it.

  3. Well that was mean (unintentionally I am sure)… I only got to see up to the point where the score was tied 2-2. So I see the recap has Braves 6, Gnats 3 and I think “sweet we won!” but then I read the recap and it turns out we lost.

  4. I went last night. There were a lot of Braves fans, but the Braves just didn’t threaten much. Corbin had our number and it’s just one of those things where the offense is pretty much slumping together. Other than Freddie, who had three singles but couldn’t sequence them with his buddies all scuffling.

  5. Beautifully written cliff, I had no idea attorneys could be so empathetic, particularly those in the family pecan business. The idyll you described with your wife and the shutter paint match rang so true for us harried but grateful males. The juxtaposed score line was the perfect finale. Seriously, thank you.

  6. I dunno, from that chart it looks like the ump giveth more than taketh away…

    Not super-impressed with Keuchel so far. He’s a lefty Julio. Zero margin for error. We need an ace, but at what price? Only AA knows.

  7. Flowers didn’t help out any either.

    The point on walks is well observed. And maybe it was a one night aberration based on season long stats, but when you have the ability to run up pitch counts and get into the worst bullpen in baseball, you take it.

  8. cliff, great recap, man, and thanks for the suggested mojo change. Going to try and take a personal interest in changing the mojo tonight.

    @5 AAR thanks for being there last night. I’m going tonight and, hopefully, seeing me there will scare the gNats into “doggie submission” by using my “praying hands”.

    Expect my recap very late tonight.

  9. Braves State Media is pissing on the ground to help their masters with a soft landing:

    The Mets are continuing to evaluate the Braves’ top prospects. Edwin Diaz appears to be a more likely target than Syndergaard. Wheeler is also in play at a lesser cost. Our @mike_petriello analyzed Diaz in this story yesterday
    Mike Petriello@mike_petriello
    Edwin Díaz has a 4.95 ERA. Ignore it.

    This is a story of an elite RP getting hurt by a slider he isn’t commanding, a historically high BABIP, a defense that isn’t helping him, a catcher that might not be, and plenty of appeal for contenders:

  10. You know with all the talk about needing a backup outfielder after Kakes’ injury, I think you can make a stronger case for needing a backup catcher. Flowers seems to be wilting as the season progresses.

  11. I don’t get all the “how will this team respond to the absence of Neck Markakis?” I think they’ll respond pretty good considering his bat doesn’t do much. Duvall has so far been like a breath of surging power compared to Neck. It’s not like Neck can’t stay in contact while recovering. :)

  12. Two or three notes. First, what a bone head move putting in Sobotka and then not taking him out when the outcome became obvious to all. It was sickening. Second, why not pinch hit for Riley when he came up with runners on and it was plain that he would strike out again (as he will next time he bats as well-it is clear). NO reason except laack of wantto that the Braves lost the game.

  13. Another thing: Why is albies hitting second? Why is Riley still in Atlanta?

    This is the lineup issue! Go back to what was working. Acuna, Swanson or replacement- Camargo/Culberson, Freeman, Donaldson, Markakis replacement- Inciarte, McCann/Flowers, Albies, Dunn/Joyce

    (Riley to Gwinnett for Jackson, Florimon, Blanco or Demeritte).

    Put Acuna back in left. Play Inciarte in Center. Platoon Dunn with Joyce or other in right.

    For goodness sake find a catcher.

  14. I still prefer a reliever to a starter. No Luke Jackson attempting to close out the Dodgers in the 9th, please.

  15. @20 Comments like yours are still a head scratcher to me. There might not be a Luke Jackson attempting to close out the Dodgers in the 9th if your rotation includes both Gausman and Folty in it down the stretch…

  16. There are at least four starters ahead of Gausman and Foltynewicz right now. How many do you think the team would need in, say, the NLDS?

  17. Can you imagine being in the NLDS and in trots Sobotka to face Bellinger with the bases loaded?

  18. I don’t understand why we have to choose reliever(s) over starter. We need both. We can get both without giving up the entire farm system.

    The goal isn’t to have the Baseball America Top Farm System. The goal is to beat the Nats/Cubs/Dodgers/(Astros, Yankees,Twins)

  19. @22 The question is how much does Max Fried have left in the gas tank? He is one blister or tired arm away from another IL stint. Then the question is who else can we plug into the rotation? There’s Touki, Wilson, presumably Folty? And just like that, you will have Gausman and Folty in the rotation together again.

    If it were me, I’d probably turn to Sean Newcomb before season’s end, but they’re not doing that so far. The rest of the rotation is Keuchel, Soroka, and Teheran — none of these guys are lighting the world on fire of late. Three shaky but sorta dependable starters and the rest are definitely not dependable.

    What does this team need? Of course it needs a good reliever, but what does it need most? I accept that they may not be able to fill their biggest need right now, though.

  20. I like to second-guess Sniker’s bullpen choices as much as anyone, and I really do hate that Swarzak seems to be an 8th inning only guy, however, Sobotka had a 1.65 ERA dating back to 4-20 over 16 appearances and had looked pretty good before last night. He had allowed 4 of 15 inherited runners to score before last night. I don’t know the average for that stat and not all inherited runners are created equal, but that seems average to slightly above average.

  21. If Keuchel is worth a damn then you leave him in and let him escape his mess. Nobody coming out of the pen is better than him, theoretically at least. Certainly not Sobotka.

    Snitker does some weird stuff. None of it matters when we’re scoring 9 runs. In close games I think he’s a big negative.

  22. @28

    Braves are 18-12 (.600 win%) in 1-run games. 8-3 in extra innings, which I can only assume are close games.

    I don’t see how someone can come away with that impression when the team wins in these situations. Dusty also pointed out that Sabotka had been very good over his last 16 appearances (1.65 ERA).

    Wat nau?

  23. Just got my haircut! My barber says AA has been by three times this week and he feels the following deal is about to go down:

    ATL Gets: Zach Greinke, Carson Kelly, Alex Colome, Jace Fry Ketel Marte and Cash

    CHI Gets: Kevin Cron, Ynoa, Inciarte and Sobatka

    ARI Gets: Flowers, Waters, Wright and Davidson

  24. Cubs got Phelps for basically nothing. Jays not getting much for their players.

  25. Is that surprising, though? Phelps didn’t pitch last year and currently owns a 4.79 FIP. Only 17 IP this year.

    Could have figured the Braves might be in on someone like that, but you know Toronto and stuff.

  26. Austin Riley in July (69 plate appearances).159/.217/.270, 2 XBH (2 HR, 1 2B)Has struck out in 30 of 63 ABsThe Braves face just one more LH starter (Alex Wood on Friday) before Swanson returns Saturday. So Riley won't get many opportunities before possibly being sent down.— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) July 30, 2019

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  27. @30 I know these are supposed to be insane but this is over the top. No way AZ trades Marte or Kelly. Marte has like 5 years of control and leads the league in hits – a current 5 WAR player through this part of the season. The equivalent of trading Acuna. On the other hand, if it were to be true, I’m all for it.

    Also, Jace Fry = 6+ walks per 9. I think our current relievers can beat that.

  28. Sobotka walks way too many guys to come in during a jam. He does okay starting the inning where he has room to walk a guy or 2 before getting out of it. Last night, he came in with 2 men on base, walked another, and was forced to throw a fastball down the pipe to Rendon. Sobotka should have started the 6th. Keuchel had been laboring. Bringing him back out was a head scratcher.

  29. The Mets don’t appear to really intend on trading Thor.

  30. @38 That’s easy for us. We have plenty of that. We’ll let Folty AND Wright be the centerpieces, plus some more major league fodder for their club. GIT’ER DUN!

  31. Folty pitches tonight. So he will not be available to start in Gausman’s place. It looks like Gausman will get at least one more start barring an acquisition. I don’t know why he didn’t come back as a reliever, TBH.

    I find it unlikely we trade for a starter. AA won’t overpay.

  32. I’d rather not bankrupt the farm, but I’d swap Folty and Gaus plus a second tier prospect for Bauer, Thor or Vazquez. If we can’t get a difference maker, I don’t want anybody. A competent platoon catcher would be nice too.

    Nice recap, cliff. I’m late but thank you.

  33. Unless Flowers plays much better down the stretch, I’m guessing they let him go this offseason and give his job to Jackson. And bring back Mac.

  34. @42 You guys forget that Flowers is signed for two years and BMac one. BMac will likely retire. I would’ve traded Fowers out in a Realmuto deal. I don’t think the Braves will change course at catcher. Much as we would want them to.

  35. @38 @39 I agree. I think the Braves are uniquely positioned to actually meet the Mets requirements. Folty or Gaus and Wright for Thor. Add in Inciarte, Ortega, Lamarre, Demeritte, or Jackson (or two of that list – or even three – Inciarte, Jackson, and Demeritte) for Diaz. You get at least two current major leaguers who could accumulate at least 2 WAR per year (Folty/Gaus and Inciarte) maybe more and at least two-three highly rated prospects – one in the top 30 in MLB. How could that not be enough? Isn’t that the kind of overpay we’re talking about? It’s one the Braves can easily withstand and not break the farm.

  36. Flowers has a team option, Roger. I didn’t forget anything.

    And it’s a good thing they didn’t trade for Realmuto.

  37. @47 Agreed on not trading for Realmuto having been a good non-move. McCann hasn’t produced that much less than Realmuto, and we kept the prospects.

    Look at Philly/Miami. Alfaro’s line for Miami isn’t that far off of Realmuto’s either, and they gave up a valuable young pitcher to boot.

  38. What do you guys think about Aaron Bummer with the White Sox? He’s an extreme ground ball pitcher, which should fit well with our infield. He’s been pretty lucky and is due some regression, but you have to like a .895 WHIP.

  39. @47 @48 Good gracious. You guys realize the Realmuto has more WAR accumulated than Flowers and McCann combined and grades out as the best player the Phillies have. You keep complaining about Flowers’ defense and Realmuto is the best defensive catcher in the league. Get real. I would have traded out Flowers for him anyway and kept BMac as the backup. And has one more year of control and the Braves would have had every reason to extend him.

    Water under the bridge but don’t tell me he wouldn’t have been a great pickup.

  40. It was reported that the Braves would have had to give up something like Acuña or Albies or Soroka to get Realmuto.

    Also, it would have been a bad look to trade a guy they had just signed to a new contract in Flowers (and I’m not sure that’s even allowed by the rules).

  41. I watch too much mlb.com. Hey, I’m old, the kids are grown, old themse!ves, with teenagers of their own that make me smile at payback karma. Life ‘s a lot of fun and full of laughs.

    After a few years, old men, at least this one, fill their hours in predictable ways. Four tomato plants and the same of peppers can steal a couple of hours, and napping maybe a couple more. Books get the rest, with time out to sustain this fabulous body with norishishment provided by the world’s greatest woman. You don’t look this good without southern cooking And corn squeezin’s.

    And while I hide in the wisdom of the written word, mlb.com runs muted in the background; and I keep current through the crawl.

    No good may be good news. It’s boring.

    At least the grandboys are keeping me entertained and their parents worried. Give ’em heck, boys. No pity.

  42. Whew, could’ve sworn Ender didn’t touch the plate at all until the very end after he was tagged.

  43. Fedde doesn’t appear to be very good.

    Duvall is trying to argue that we don’t need to go get someone like Puig.

  44. @75 – Absolutely! Who, would have guessed, a week ago, that Ender and Adam would currently be our hottest hitters? Baseball is a funny game.

  45. Boy, it’s fun to see an outfield with the defensive ability of these three when they are all also hitting

  46. I was looking at pitching splits. This season Julio has been quite good the first 2 times through the order. The 3rd time not so much.

  47. Keuchel has been great the first time through the order, mediocre the 2nd time, and awful after that.

  48. Soroka has been great the first time through the order and still good after that regardless of how many times he has faced a batter.

  49. I approve of this deal. This gives some context as to Stroman: AA felt relief was the priority, he wanted to be able to deal from the entirety of his logjam of AAA pitchers to get it.

  50. It was obvious that Allard wasn’t in the team’s plans.

    Martin is a 33 year old reliever who is having a breakout year stat wise. He does not walk guys. Only 4 walks in 38 innings.

  51. Don’t even have to make a 40-man move, though we will have to make a 25-man move, obviously.

  52. He also screws up the market for others looking for relief by “overpaying” from a surplus strength.

  53. After studying the splits that I posted above, I think the best way to navigate a given game would be use the starter through 5 innings, have a couple of different set up men rotate who pitches the next 2 full innings if possible (Newcomb could be one guy one night then someone else the next night), then go to your 8th inning guy (Swarzak) and 9th inning guy (Jackson).

  54. I don’t think Allard, at this point, has a ceiling that much higher than his age/AAA performance suggests.

  55. I am seeing some back and forth about if Martin is a rental or not. If he’s just a rental, that dampens my opinion a little, but I still think it’s a good move.

  56. Apparently there is conflicting info about how much control Martin has. And that really influences how I now feel about this trade.

  57. @107 Rob, how dare you.

    It seems like his service time in Japan is what is making it unclear how much control he has.

  58. Good trade. I never saw it with Allard and neither did the Braves. If he turns it around with Texas (a reverse Luke Jackson), good on him and good on them.

  59. Every time I see “Fedde,” it looks like someone was trying to type “Freddie” but their keyboard froze up.

  60. Yeah, I think this trade is good for Allard’s career as well. He deserves a chance and the Braves haven’t given him one.

  61. Good to see Minter warming up in the bullpen. I think 9 runs short be enough Minter Margin.

  62. Look at Danny Santana’s line this year. Where was that the last couple of years?

  63. 120 — Me too. He’s not a guy I want in high leverage situations or on a playoff roster.

    Though in his defense, Snitker has mishandled him. He has faced more RHB than LHB but has these splits:

  64. I’ll be glad to get this game in the win column. With Soroka going at noon tomorrow, I like our chances for a winning road trip. Be good, Matt.

  65. Basically, he should never face a right handed batter. But yet he has 81 PAs against by RHB but only 54 by LHB.

  66. The Braves gave Allard a small chance, but he didn’t succeed the first time around and then a whole lot of people jumped his place in line. The bigger question was his velo — where’d it go, and without it, would he ever be able to succeed at the ML level?

  67. Big 3 way trade between Indians, Reds, Padres. Apparently Bauer to Reds, Puig, Franmil Reyes and Logan Allen to Indians…not sure who the Padres are getting yet

  68. 127 — appearing in 3 games last season and not a single one this season is not what I would call getting a chance

    Nobody knows for sure if he can get major league hitters out until he gets to be in a normal rotation, which the Rangers have room to do.

  69. It sounded from the way Joe said it that Snitker wanted to give Swarzak more low-leverage work. But to me, it feels like the kid gloves treatment would suggest they don’t believe Swarzak is fully healthy. If you’re not willing to throw him into the fray, do you really have room for him in the pen?

  70. 139 — This. If he’s not healthy then he should still be on the IL.

    Apparently Amir Garrett charged the Pirates dugout and wanted to fight the whole team by himself.

  71. I haven’t seen the full details of the trade yet, but the Reds trading for Trevor Bauer may be dumber than the Mets trading for Stroman.

  72. 14 of the 24 pitches are sliders… maybe, just maybe, teams are looking slider and adjusting to his flat fastball

  73. Luke, as Byrd just said, will probably be unavailable tomorrow due to throwing 27 pitches.

  74. At least with the pitch count Luke is probably out of the mix tomorrow…so we have that going for us, which is nice…

  75. The 1979 uniforms are worth 15 runs a game, as we know. Didn’t need that big of a cushion tonight, though, so good call.

  76. I just read that Martin was unavailable due to back stiffness. He is a rental because the contract he signed after coming back from Japan said he would be a FA when the contract ended. This is an awful deal even if Martin is decent. We should be getting a LeClerc (or a Minor) not a Martin. Just crazy. He has very little track record and his FIP is out of whack from his ERA (likely because of high HR rate). He’s never pitched more than 41 innings in a year.

    I hope we can at least get one of the Reds rentals (Roark/Wood) and Iglesias. This is insane when only the teams out of contention can get the best assets. Although it sure says a lot about CLE’s ability to make hay while the sun shines.

  77. Re. Allard, there are probably eight guys ahead of him. He would have never been a part of the Braves rotation. Great to get someone for the pen who throws strikes at the very least.
    I don’t like Coldplay.

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