Reds 6, Braves 4

Nick Senzel killed the Reds first rally in the top of the 10th with a double play ball; Tucker Barnhart‘s 3 run homer killed the second one. Barnhart’s blast off Shane Greene mooted a game tying 2 run homer in the 9th by Ronald Acuna Jr.

Greene’s last 2 innings haven’t gone as well as the first 39, a reminder of the volatility of relievers and the limited data we have to assess them (as was Luke Jackson in the other direction on Saturday.) Still, the need to add the likes of Greene, Chris Martin, and Mark Melancon is well documented, and too early to judge.

The Reds opened by scratching out a run each in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings off Julio Teheran, aided by his 6 walks and a hit batter as much as by the 3 hits he allowed. Sonny Gray‘s contribution to the series split was 7 innings of 4 hit, 0 run ball, walking 4 and striking out 7.

The Braves fared better when Gray left, beginning when Josh Donaldson led off the 8th with a home run off Lucas Sims. That, along with 4 shutout innings from the bullpen (2 hitless from Sean Newcomb,) set the stage for Acuna. Amir Garrett was attempting to close, but walked pinch hitter Freddie Freeman with 1 out. Demonstrably angry after a called strike 2, Acuna then lined his homer into the right field seats.

The Braves had a chance to end it when Ozzie Albies followed with a single, then went to 3rd on an errant pickoff throw from Robert Stephenson. But after a Josh Donaldson intentional walk, Adam Duvall struck out, and pinch-hitter Brian McCann grounded out. Tyler Flowers homered with 2 out in the 10th to conclude the scoring.

The Braves remain 7 games in front of the Nationals and Phillies, and travel to Minnesota to play Monday at 8:10 Eastern. Mike Soroka and Jake Odorizzi scheduled.

Author: Rusty S.

Rusty S. is a Braves Journal reader since 2005 and an occasional innings-eater. It was my understanding that there would be no expectations.

69 thoughts on “Reds 6, Braves 4”

  1. Is it possible that Greene will do better with McCann catching? I’m really curious about that. Some guys really need a good target and good pitch calling. Anyone have a feel for Greene’s pitch splits the last two games compared with at DET? Maybe someone should call the DET catchers and have a little chat.

  2. Thanks for the recap, RustyS. Not much eloquent to say about a game like that.

    There is no doubt we should have walked that off in the 9th. After all the prior frustration and later failure, that was the key moment when we had the highest probability of winning.

  3. It feels strange being so disappointed in a split. It’s just that it was so close to being a win.

  4. “The Cheers of Braves Blogs”. Love it.

    Regression for Greene. It’s only been a couple of games. Progession is ahead. Or the doghouse.
    Go Braves.

  5. It’s fortunate for Greene he no sooner cratered here than off we go to Minnesota and beyond and the wrath of Georgia Khan is avoided for now and likely softened at our returning by time itself.

    He will be naked on that home mound. It will be hard on his return. But memories can grow short by a display of first competence then excellence. The opportunities will be freshly offered -he is here for a reason – hope as it always must be just around the proverbial corner.

    Easy to write, hard to do. Rusty S thank you.

  6. After you!
    that’s what, by now, you should have learned to do
    inculcate and learn that special Ozzie stare
    be a million miles away, really anywhere but there.

  7. How curious that a very rare display of anger by
    Acuna should immediately produce what many might have felt his most dazzling home run.

    there’s something ’bout oppo
    when you can give it that special boppo
    as it screams,low, t’ward the fences
    excites our animalistic senses.

  8. @1 It probably is a hard adjustment for a pitcher to get used to the way Flowers moves his glove like that. I’m sure other catchers do it too, but it can’t be that common the way Flowers is so known for it.

  9. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Camargo go to AAA when Dansby returns. He’s been given daily starts and a chance to solidify his roster spot yet wet the bed, producing a .416 OPS during that span.

  10. @9 I was thinking that as well, but what about Riley? Doesn’t he need to play everyday or close to it? Seems like Johan would be a logical move but Riley is kinda just sitting here quite a bit.

  11. Riley is the more valuable long-term asset, so I’d send him down before Camargo just for the sake of regular at-bats.

    I don’t think Camargo responds well to his current role. It’s hard to fault him in a sense, but he has to be better or risk falling out of favor. He played well enough to earn the starting 3B job last year but the team went and signed Donaldson instead. That had to sting a little.

  12. Thank you, Rusty S, for the even keeled recap. All is not lost. Even The Great Smoltz was occasionally a frail mortal. It’s early yet. October wins are the prize.

    Go Braves.

  13. @11 That had to bother him for sure, especially with the way the super utility role never developed the way most of us thought it would. Snit just doesn’t give many days off to the regulars, in spite of our good bench.

  14. While spectacular, last years numbers was unsustainable according to just about every metric. Upgrading to Donaldson was the correct decision as Camargo is pretty much the next Marwin Gonzalez

  15. @16 I had thought the same, and since you said it I decided to go to FanGraphs to see it. I don’t see it. His BABIP of .315 immediately stood out, but it’s actually in line with his minor league numbers and much less than his SSS-fueled .364 in 2017–that was unsustainable! Then I thought possibly his power surge would be the give away (ISO .185 playing with the bouncy baseball, pssshaw!)–nope, that too is actually in line with his minor league progression. So there’s two metrics that, if anything, proves Camargo is the player we saw last year.

    It’s also worth noting that ZiPS 3-year projections also thinks he’s a ~.760 OPS player–these almost always notoriously undersell players. For example, I don’t believe ZiPS has ever projected Freddie to hit .300 or hit 30+ homers. It views him as a fringe .900 OPS player. So, if ZiPS thinks Johan is a .760 OPS player, then it’s certainly within a margin of variance for him to OPS .800, especially if many players perform beyond those projections with regularity.

    PS. I do think Donaldson was the right decision, though!

  16. Regarding Camargo, I was really hoping last year wasn’t an aberration, but it’s looking more and more like it was. Even if it wasn’t, it’s very hard to argue that we would be a better team if Camargo began the year as our starting 3rd baseman.

  17. Camargo has a BABIP of .252, and his HR/FB % is down from 15.0 to 7.0. His GB is up a percent and his LD is down a percent. He’s clearly not getting good wood on the ball this year, and he’s been unlucky with where the ball is going.

    These are not normal trends for him, including his time in the minors.

  18. I’m sorry, but the Braves are to blame for Camargo’s struggles.

    WARNING: Unscientific information upcoming

    You can’t just jerk a player around for two years. Last year, at the beginning of the year, he couldn’t get full-time PAs. But when he did, all he did was hit .285/.342/.466 from June 1st onward. He finishes with a 3 fWAR season, plays great 3B defense, and he can play all over the field too. The Braves reward that with signing Josh Donaldson — a significant upgrade, I agree — and say that Camargo will be playing regularly all over the field. But what they meant by that is that he would only get 115 PAs in the first two months of this season. He would only get 21 whole starts in the first 43 games of the year, the majority of which were in LF only because Ender was struggling so bad.

    Remember at the beginning of the year when he was pretty much only getting starts against tough righties? And as I said, he was only getting starts because Ender was terrible? How would you feel? You had a great year last year that you had to fight for just to be able to get, then you’re told you’ll still get into the lineup every day and then you don’t, and you’re only getting consistent playing time because of Ender’s ineffectiveness and Dansby’s injury? What happened to being a super utility player?

    Personally, I think Snit has ruined Camargo. But with that said, he can still get hot and turn his season around just fine. It will just be in spite of Snit’s usage.

  19. Snit manages like he’s playing Baseball Mogul. In Baseball Mogul, you can sim by the week or the day. But it’s really buggy with how it hands days off when you play by the week, so you have to set the slider button to basically never give guys days off. So you play the week, everybody is tired at that point, but no one has a bench that can give wholesale days off, so then you end up simming by the day for a few days, putting your best couple bench guys into spots as you sim each day until your regulars are finally rested. And you might say, “Why don’t you just sim by the day the entire season?” Well, that takes too much time.

    That’s Snit.

  20. I referred to advanced batted ball measure which told us that last year Johan was expected to be slightly below average offensively while getting much better than average results (wOBA of .340 with and expected OBA of .310).

    Really, I like Claude and hope he prospers and agree that Snitger has misused him all season. I doubt he is broken so much as out of sorts. I send him, rather than Reilly, down in hopes of fixing him for the playoffs.

  21. I actually don’t think this is about Camargo. Culberson has also seen his starts disappear this year (from >50 GS to 3 GS this year!!), which just reinforces to me that when Snitker said publicly that there’s no platoon players in this lineup, he was stating that as an open fact. This year’s team is giving as many starts to the starters as health permits, which is even a stark contrast to last season when we saw Culberson making starts in the OF, a few at SS and 2B, etc.

    Some will sneer at Snitker for that, but could the real culprit actually be Alex Anthopolous?

  22. No, it’s totally on Snit, IMO. AA has given no indication that he’s having that much influence on the lineup. And Snit’s said multiple times that he’s pretty much going to play the every day guys every day. Dave Roberts, he is not.

  23. In general, the GM’s job is to make 25-man roster, and the manager’s job is to make the lineup. Unless AA was giving direct orders — the kind of thing that Billy Beane used to have to fire managers till he found a guy who’d do as he was told — you’d have to assume that the no-platoons policy was Snit’s idea.

  24. @ 20 Rob,

    Agreed that you were very unscientific.

    I think there is an 80% chance that last year was “peak Camargo.” I think that went into the thinking of the FO in getting Donaldson. Also, I think the FO on Donaldson was also AA seeing enough in that late season surge for Cleveland to think that something close to the “AA’s Jays” version of Donaldson was a probability.

    Snitker has specifically made statements to the effect that we don’t have platoon players. But 99.9% of lefthanded hitters and probably 90% of righthanded hitters do have traditional platoon split differentials. “Any fool” (the protagonist in all “any fool can …” stories), can see that Markakis is a slightly above average rightfielder when batting against righthanders and a significantly below average rightfielder when batting against lefthanders. His entire career shows this. Not working Culberson and Camargo there is dumb.

    The manager needs to get the egos in line to what it takes to win the division pennant (and in our case this year, in at least 2nd place overall). The manager doesn’t need to coddle the egos.

  25. Yes, Camargo should’ve gotten more starts, but I think Rob is overlooking the fact that he just hasn’t been that good. He’s had over a week of starts to get it together here and hasn’t shown any sign at all of doing so. If it were just rust and all he needed was time to get back on track, you’d think we’d certainly have seen some improvement over the course of this week.

    This is something Rob seems to do a fair amount, I’ll also point out. If a player he likes is terrible and doesn’t get any playing time, it’s always the manager’s fault for not playing him. But to blame Snit for Camargo being terrible seems a bit much, especially since it was certainly questionable if he was actually good enough to hand an everyday starting role to coming into the season (though perhaps not in Rob’s eyes).

    I think Snit gave Camargo enough rope to either climb out of the hole or hang himself this week with Dansby being out, and Johan has emphatically done the latter.

    If the Braves still ascribe to Kevin Seitzer’s thinking that going back to Triple A isn’t going to help Austin Riley (and I do think the line that everyday at-bats in Triple A are better than bench at-bats in the majors is way overplayed), Johan is the obvious choice to send down.

  26. Also, who have I said has struggled due to a lack of playing time? If anything, I’ve said that players struggle when they get too much playing time.

    Is this about Sean Rodriguez???? :)

  27. It’s interesting to see the perception of Snit shift from last year to this year. Last year, we didn’t have much depth, so it seemed like between that and the Braves surprising everyone by being ahead of schedule, Snit got a pass for a lot of decisions.

    This year, AA made a concerted effort to make the team deeper, and Snit hasn’t really done much to leverage it (I blame Neck’s consecutive games played streak on a lot of this).

    For all the talk about Snit being a player’s manager, he really shot himself in the foot with Camargo. It’s been common sentiment around Johan that he hits better when he is in situations where he’s getting regular playing time, and that when he was a spot starter, his line suffered. Then the Braves tell him to work at playing the OF over the winter, but when the season starts and they rarely gave him any opportunity to play. All of that is on Snit. He had a known quantity who showed good faith by making an effort to be useful for the team in a new role, and Snit didn’t reward him with playing time.

    Would Camargo be repeating last year’s numbers if he was playing most days? I don’t know. But anyone who had been paying attention should have known that we’d be in this spot with him if he wasn’t getting on the field.

  28. Ian Anderson and Tucker Davidson are also headed to Gwinnett.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing what Pache and Waters can do with the MLB baseballs that AAA is using.

  29. @33: yep.

    I love Claude. I love Snit. Johan needs more playing time and to not be discarded if he goes oh for twenty. Snit needs to be praised for the team’s success, not excoriated for not giving my favorites what I consider their due.

    Baseball is hard. That’s why we love it.

  30. Between Donaldson’s signing and Markakis’s returning on a huge discount, there’s just no way for us to know what handshake agreements are in place. They announced in the offseason that Donaldson would be hitting second in the order. That wasn’t Snitker, so why should we assume Neck’s playing time is Snitker? He had a consecutive game streak, and he has always been ~160 games even in BAL. Does anyone think he would sign at a huge discount without a promise to not be platooned? Injury is the only thing eating into his starts during his career.

    It kind of looks like Camargo took Culberson’s job after Donaldson took his. Snit isn’t going to take much playtime away from Swanson or Albies unless injury. LF has been Acuna, then Riley, and more recently Duvall. It’s just tough to take starts from anybody on this roster.

    Simply put, Camargo doesn’t play much 2B, so it was going to have to be SS that he was getting playing time at, because it wasn’t coming from Donaldson or Markakis.

  31. Yikes.

  32. And Folty’s start was pushed back. Am I right to assume that was to lineup with Gaus’ spot?

  33. @24 um, yeah, OK. Culby got a bunch of starts in LF before some guy named Acuna was brought up to the majors and, likely, while Acuna was on the IL last year. If you’d imagined that every regular would hit the IL this year for at least 10 days then Camargo would have gotten a lot more starts. Camargo’s situation is beginning to feel very very similar to Duvall’s.

    Duvall had two very good years in the majors and a down one last year. Then he flamed out in ATL. The Braves started him in AAA and he turned things around, but it took him over a half year and a big injury to Nick Markakis to get another chance. Camargo may or may not go down this year, but, even if he did, he’d be back by Sept 1st. If things don’t change, he’ll start next year at Gwinnett and won’t see the majors until something weird happens.

    Using the Marwin example, last year may have been Camargo’s big “Marwin year”. Marwin’s only been better than replacement level for one year. And it took him two years in the majors before he even hit replacement level as opposed to Camargo who did it coming out of the gate.

    I do have to agree with everyone who has said that Camargo’s swing itself is 100% awful. He is not swinging on a plane; he is swinging on a diagonal. He is giving the bat very little opportunity to hit the ball. He needs to be totally broken down and built up again, probably over the winter.

  34. I hope the Reds at least had the courtesy to have Gausman on the team flight yesterday afternoon. :-D

  35. @38 I think you and I are about on the same page, really. What’s even more interesting is Camargo has seen more starts in LF (7) this year than Culberson (2). They’ve tried to find Camargo some starts (9 at 3B, now 17 at SS with Dansby on IL).

    And like you said, Camargo’s swing is bad. I’ve always thought he looked completely out of rhythm when standing in at the plate. I don’t know how he gets his timing down. He’s just always done it somehow, and in his entire pro career he’s had a knack for getting good wood on the ball to a very positive BABIP and LD + FB %. I don’t think they should tear down his swing but rather get him back to where he was.

  36. They must have seen something they could fix. Gausman is owed $3M thereabouts for the remainder of the year.

    Snit is most definitely aware that Camargo’s OPS is down 202 points from last year. Whether or not he can match last year’s performance, to me, is irrelevant. He’s definitely not a .600 OPS guy. He has not had a hitting performance this poor since 2016 in AA. Since then, he hit in the Dominican league, AAA, the major leagues in 2017 and in 2018. There’s no reason to think Camargo all of a sudden is a .600 OPS guy with offense around the league also being up.

  37. I said so during Gausman’s last start that he was on track to end his season early, and I had a feeling that would be his last major league start with the Braves this season. Didn’t know it was his last start as a Brave, though.

    Next man (Folty) up.

    If Foltynewicz isn’t the answer down the stretch here, it may well be his last season with the team as well. Put me on record if you like.

  38. @36 I guess the Giants must not have wanted him. This counts as a pure salary move against Melancon’s salary both this year AND next. Same effect as moving Gausman to the bullpen, except that we just freed up a 40-man spot for Folty.

    Interesting that it happened the day after we finished our season series with the Reds. That’s one heckuva favor the Reds are doing for us. Of course, we did a favor to them by pitching Gaus against them…..LOL

    I wonder how the Reds are going to use him. Their starting five are solid. He may relieve this year and step into Wood’s spot next year.

  39. @43 I agree with you about Folty. He’s getting into the meat of his arb years, and he could be a non-tender candidate. Plus, lots of other guys will start getting expensive, and he could be choked out the way Gausman has.

    Sucks for Gausman. We probably don’t win the division last year without his 10 excellent starts.

    At least we still have Darren O’Day.

  40. Well, Monday is off to quite the start. Best of luck to Kevin, I doubt he was going to be able to work it out in Atlanta.

  41. @ 44,

    Folty is on the 40 man roster. The waiver allows Folty to take Gausman’s 25 man roster spot.

    So, hopefully AA holds on to that 40 man spot preciously. LA Swift, Ian Anderson, Tucker Davidson, maybe one of them is a key piece in September.

  42. Folty would have to be *really* bad the rest of the way to be a legit non-tender candidate. He’s one year removed from being one of the best SPs in the league and starting 2 of our 4 playoff games.

    I’m talking, like, can’t get out of the first inning bad.

  43. Teaching so don’t have time to update live but lots of MiLB promotions today including Pache and Waters.

  44. @48 Right, of course…. doh! So that may be Pache’s spot since he’s going to be Rule 5 eligible. It could be for Davidson, though, he’s Rule 5 eligible too (along with Burrows, Clouse, Contreras, de la Cruz). They might throw a couple of starts at Folty and then give Davidson a chance while he could still be playoff eligible. They may play roster games with Pache early next year.

    Anderson and Waters have at least another year before they are Rule 5 eligible.

  45. As a side thought to Gausman’s departure, I wonder if the Braves still consider themselves “over budget” now that they’ve shed Gaus’s remaining $3 million…

    I think their total payroll now sits at around $135.5M.

  46. I give it until June of next year before one of Pache and Waters hitting the mess out of the MLB baseball is warranting a call-up.

    I would think Cincy will use Gausman out of the pen and then non-tender him in the offseason. I would assume that resets your arbitration schedule and you’re just a free agent, right? I could see him signing a one-year deal as a reliever for a few million a year at that point. What a fall.

  47. Tucker Davidson and Ian Anderson also promoted.

    IMO, any of the 4 promoted have a shot at being a September call-up if they catch fire in August.

  48. If you look at FIP and Guasman’s other peripherals, he’s not pitching any different, maybe a smidge better than his last full year in Balto , 2017. He was 11-12 with a 4.68 ERA and tied for the league lead in starts. His FIP was 4.58 in 2017 and 4.20 this year. Everything else was the same except he had more Ks/9 this year.

    I think the Braves’ defense saved him last year (ERA one run below FIP) and screwed him this year (ERA two runs above FIP). I’m sure this is what the Reds saw; he pitched much better than his ERA showed.

  49. @54 That’s ridiculous. That’s paying $12M for a guy to pitch a little in relief on a team not heading toward the playoffs? No way, they would give us that much money relief for that. They will either try to flip him over the winter or hand him the 5th SP slot. I’m sure they will let Wood walk considering his injury history.

  50. He’s owed $3M for the remainder of the year. I would be interested to see if they see something different with him as a starter to keep running him out there on the mound. Is this any different than signing a $3M reliever in the offseason who could potentially struggle and you release him in June, paying him the entire $3M? I don’t really think so. Maybe they give him 3-5 starts in August and then let him try his hand in relief in September? They admittedly have the time to do both.

  51. It’s a bit of a mess, to me, that fWAR likes Kevin Gausman 1.5 wins better than Foltynewicz, despite both of them pitching to effectively the same result. In fact, Mike’s done less damage by pitching less. Somehow Gaus has a positive 1.2 fWAR…

    bWAR has both at -1.0 (Gausman) and -0.8 (Folty).

    bWAR actually GETS IT!!

  52. What’s cool now about Tucker Davidson is that AAA will probably confirm whether he’s for real or not. Amongst others, I know I was taking Davidson’s torrid run in AA with a grain of salt. But if he does in AAA with the MLB ball, then you have to take him seriously.

    But good gosh, stop walking people, Braves prospects. Davidson’s striking out almost 10 per 9 (a 2.5 K/9 jump from last year), keeping the hits down (lowered his BAA 50 points), but still walking almost 4 guys per nine. The net result is a much lower FIP from his A+ season last year, but still not good enough if you want to succeed in MLB.

    Same with Anderson. Strike out machine (12 per 9), but walk rate has actually increased (almost 4). Soroka’s walk rate has remained microscopic at the big league level, Max Fried’s actually decreased, Bryse Wilson’s (so far) has doubled. Wright’s has more than doubled. Trust your stuff and attack, fellas.

  53. I would send Riley and Camargo down and let them play everyday for a few weeks. Let them get some ABs then call them back up.

  54. During the 4 game series with the Reds i was blacked out so had to settle for AtBat…ugh. For the last game my wife (i/c IT, you choose more carefully the third time around) said she had an idea she was going to pursue. Within 15 minutes there was the game, such excitement.

    AVG provides our basic internet security. She downloaded from them a VPN (Video Personal Network), rented @ $79 a year, usable for up to 5 devices. You tell this gadget you are in North Dakota or anywhere that is outside your blackout area. And off you go, no more blackouts.

    Knowing the nerd ratio on this blog (94.7%) I have little doubt i will now be swamped with smartass missives saying tell me something new, I did this in ’08, my one is free, yours will only work for a week or two before they nail you, etc.etc.

    My point is no one told me, yet i’m telling you. Aint I nice. Say thank you.

  55. @64 lol

    That’s nice, though. You won’t get any quips from me. I’m actually paying Charter to watch the games. If I was in your position, I would also want to go down the easiest path to getting the game back on the TV, and I’m pretty sure I live in MLB.TV’s Braves’ blackout zone, so… it’s either do what you did, something similar to it, or just not watch (or pay for it anymore).

  56. @63 I’d send Camargo down, but I’d keep Riley up.

    Snit’s catching a lot of blame for his handling of Camargo, but that’s not really fair. Camargo has been awful this year as a bench player.

    On the other hand, Camargo probably isn’t an awful player. He has talent. He just seems to be one of those guys that needs every day reps, and if he gets them he’ll be quite capable of being a league average regular.

    Signing Donaldson this past off-season for 3B was 100% the correct move, however. Donaldson is a special player who has made the entire Atlanta order deeper, and better. He’s better at hitting than Camargo ever will be.

    It’s a situation that’s really no one’s fault. There’s no path forward for Camargo to get regular time in Atlanta, though. I still believe the best thing for all parties would be for the Braves to trade Camargo this off-season. That’s why I say send him down, see if he gets going, and try to increase his value. If a team sees him as a SS that can hit, he’ll net a nice return. Everyone wins in that situation.

  57. As it relates to Gausman, Cincy did Atlanta a solid there. I believe he picks up some starts for Cincy down the stretch too in an audition of sorts for next season. It’s an expensive look, but if there’s got to be an almost zero chance he gets any type of substantial arb raise, right? If he at least looks meh, they essentially signed a 4th starter for next season on a 1 year 10 million dollar deal. They’d have likely had to go more years or more dollars to do that in FA.

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