cliff remains a jinx. Braves 4, Smelly Fish Urine 5

This is the second time I have been assigned a Monday Holiday game that played early. The last time, I went to my office and did some things and waited to file my report instead of waiting until the next morning. It went to extra innings. When the Braves failed to score in the 11th, I left. I remember it going 14 and us losing.

Nevertheless, I had the same plan today. And lo and behold counting one extra inning ( the new rule makes it hard to get to 14), it was a 4 hour game. But I stayed to the bitter end and it and most of the game was bitter.

I had to listen to an idiot on YouTube say that Jose Urena wasn’t throwing at anybody. Either he should be banned from Major League baseball as a menace or he should be expelled for throwing at good Braves players. You hit Freeman and Acuna (for the 3rd career time) in one game and you aren’t trying to throw at people? Huh?

There were two main negative themes. Ian Anderson had walk problems and 90% of the luck went the Marlins way. Also, Snit still needs an upper management approved bullpen flow chart. He ended up using 4 of his 6 best and most consistent bullpen pitchers (and the other 2 pitched yesterday). However, that was AFTER he put in Erlin who gave up 2 runs of his own.

So Duvall saves us by tying it in the 9th, and then we let them get the gift runner in and we can’t get our gift in.

Urine stinks. Add it to rotten fish, and the smell is worse. Add cuttlefish to the smell and you can’t get that off with clorox. But you can get blue or purple, depending on whether you leave your cuttlefish vat in the sun or in the shade.

36 thoughts on “cliff remains a jinx. Braves 4, Smelly Fish Urine 5”

  1. cliff, not your fault, collective, thank you.

    No Mintees today, he never looked authoritative.


    No Mintees today. At no time did he look authoritative.

    Nick Markakis, clearly now at the end of his rope after a long, distinguished Braves career, deserves a lot better than you telling him to piss off. I for one take exception to that.others I hope, would like to see your apology, here.

  2. Not exactly sure if that is sarcasm, blazon, but if it helps, I meant for Markakis to piss off (to the bench).

    Snitker can join his BFF there, give his job to Ron Washington.

  3. The most frustrating game of the year. Lots of two out luck for the Marlins, terrible luck by the Braves with runners on third. And yes, I use the word luck advisedly. Snit is not the reason they couldn’t bring those runners home. I’ve been critical of Snit’s bullpen strategy but I think he made all the right moves today (would have helped tremendously to get more than 3 innings out of Anderson). He used his best relievers even though he was behind, and he did pinch hit for Ender with Duval in the ninth.
    The best thing about today is Cliff’s valiant effort in a losing cause.

  4. Number one, considering Snitker has about 1.5 starting pitchers to work with, maybe we’re firing the wrong guy. Number two, nobody is getting fired.

  5. Rants are fine and they’ve been part of Braves Journal for decades (Alex R. was the OG ranter!) While we occasionally give Chief a hard time, sometimes people need to vent without feeling judged. Carl, your words would not offend Mac and they do not offend me. Thanks for being here!

  6. I don’t have all that much of a problem with anything Snit did today.

    I’d have sent Anderson out for the fourth, but I would almost always have our starter go at least an inning past where they wind up. I’ve long past realized that I’m shouting into the wind on that front, but I’ll probably keep doing it.

    I probably would’ve cut bait on Erlin after his first inning was so bad, but that’s a move that worked.

    I’d have pinch-hit Camargo for Hech in the eighth, thereby giving both of those potential game-changing at-bats to Camargo (assuming he’s not low-key injured or something…he has kinda disappeared the last couple of days). But it’s still Camargo, so I’m sure he’d have swung over the top of a sinker that was clearly not a strike for strike three both times.

    I probably would’ve gone with Martin in the 10th instead of Minter, but it would’ve been Minter in the 11th had Martin gotten through the 10th, so that’s pretty much a wash.

    There’s nothing here that even remotely approaches the mind-numbing catastrophe that was the two Washington losses.

  7. @7
    I think Mac would’ve gotten tired of me if I had found this site since the start of the braves run of division titles. I really blew up over everything back in those days.

    Luckily it was the early 2000s when I came upon the journal, and I had started to get desensitized to the Bobby Cox tactical blunder or the head scratching trade by the front office.

    Like you say, I (and others) sometimes need to vent a bit and I apologize in advance for those times where my lack of wit causes my crude side to make an appearance.

    Regarding Snit, I have no complaints for todays game except for the lineup composition and perhaps bringing Erlin at that particular point in the game.

    Regarding the “luck” factor eluding the braves, I don’t think it is entirely dependant on chance when there is a bit of a worrying pattern emerging regarding situational hitting. Somebody has to tell these guys to choke up and do what is expected from professional hitters. They are obviously trying, but no team can be that hated by lady luck, right? There has to be something that can be done, right?

    What do you mean the braves haven’t won a playoff series in 18 years? Oh crud, maybe we are cursed.

    Oh and if someone here is seriously part of the Nick Markakis Defense Force, please tell broadcasters to stop using the word “professional” 8.4 times per at bat and maybe I wont be as irritated when he struggles.

  8. I will say it again, but Nick is following the same pattern he’s had for at least three years now. I’m not sure why the guys calling the shots can’t see it.

    Did anyone notice that they put Nick in RF after Duvall pinch hit for Ender? And then that hit that might have been catchable fell between Acuna and Nick? Would Duvall have made that catch if he were in RF? We’ve talked about how Nick has been grading out better in LF. Have the guys calling the shots not noticed this?

    At any rate, intelligent people are supposed to have reversible thought. Players establish patterns. Learn from their patterns. Maybe if Nick got strictly platooned, the additional rest might have him playing better and, at least, he’d have fewer ABs to screw up.

    Is there anyone that thinks Acuna/Ender/Nick is a better outfield on any day of the week than Acuna/Pache/Duvall? If Acuna was in RF and Pache in CF, does anyone think that last hit might have been caught?

  9. @10 I can’t understand the reluctance to play Pache. He really couldn’t be worse offensively than Ender and would most likely show improvement as he gained more experience. This is the biggest head scratcher for me

  10. Charlie Culberson DFA as well.

    But yeah, Fried to the IL is the big news; diminishing velocity those last 3 starts was a clear indicator that something was wrong.

  11. Fried is probably just skipping a start and starting as soon as he is activated.

    Culberson really should have gotten some more PAs. Like others said, it’s not like Camargo and Hech are lighting it up.

  12. This screams “phony injury”, IMO. Fried is spent and needs rest. This will force the issue. I hate that activating Jacob Webb had to mean a DFA for Culberson, and not because of Culberson but because Camargo will become the new Culberson and will become as stale as 40 day old bread on the bench. Jacob Webb getting the call before others is very intriguing but it also probably means Luke Jackson’s role has decreased again…and rightfully so.

  13. Fondly do I hope and fervently do I pray that this injury really is just a ploy to get Max some rest. But if he does have an injury that keeps him from pitching at his best the rest of this year, then this could be the worst rotation I’ve ever seen on the Braves. And I’ve seen some godawful ones!

  14. I’m not surprised Fried’s back is sore; he’s been carrying the whole damn pitching staff for a month.

  15. According to DOB, the plan is basically for him to miss a start. Miss a start and then potentially push his position back in the rotation by a day or three when he comes back.

    I have to say that I don’t really understand the “Max just has to be spent” narrative, and do believe the back spasms narrative. Yeah, I guess there’s the mental aspect of knowing you’re the only competent starter on the team (or were for awhile, anyway), but how could he be completely exhausted after nine starts in which he’s averaged roughly 5.2 innings a start?

    This gets me to an adjacent point which I’ve kind of been harping on the last week or so, and which now’s as good a time as any to flesh out, if you’ll indulge me.

    I know it’s mentally incongruous to think of early September like this…we’re used to everybody having been going for almost seven straight months by now. But the fact is that they haven’t this year. It’s better to think of it as mid-May, at worst, taking all factors into consideration.

    Again, I don’t personally think it’s that he’s tired. The back spasms thing makes more sense to me.

    But if it is that he’s tired and he can’t go more than seven starts (because we started seeing signs of him struggling two starts ago) without getting so exhausted that he has to skip a start-and-a-half and go on the “fake injured list”? All while never throwing more than 103 pitches in any start and never completing seven innings in any start? Well, then one would have to ask the question how valuable Max Fried really is.

    This is what I’m talking about when I’m constantly saying, “He should go at least one more inning,” while everyone else is, “Oh, our best pitcher by far has thrown 85 pitches and gotten us through five innings…that’s enough for tonight.”

    No, it’s not enough. If he’s your best starting pitcher, you need more from him than that. He has more, and you need to be willing to get more. If all we’re gonna ask from our best starters is five innings and 85-90 pitches, well then AA probably was right not to trade for one. You might as well just have a rotation with five innings-eaters, because it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference, at that point. You’re not maximizing the value of your starters in the slightest.

    And while we don’t have a whole lot of valuable starters this year, we’re certainly not maximizing the value that we do have there.

  16. Yeah, Fried has been carrying the team, but it’s not like he’s been throwing 120 pitches and pitching 8 or 9 innings every start. He’s averaging a little over 5.5 innings and has pitched a total of 50 innings so far. If he’s burned out at this point, I would be very concerned about his career. Sounds like a little back soreness – not a big issue – I hope!

  17. @18 – Yes, we’ve seen some bad starters before.

    Let’s try a game:
    Pick 5 starters from Braves history that you think would give a team the best chance to LOSE 5 games in a row. They have to be starters who were officially in the rotation at some point, not just an emergency spot start.

    My guaranteed 5-game losing streak:
    1. Buddy Carlyle
    2. Mark Redman
    3. Kyle Davies
    4. Jo-Jo Reyes
    5. Aaron Blair

  18. My personal least favorite was Albie Lopez, though I don’t know if he could crack that list.

  19. If the rumors about Folty putting on weight are true and his velocity ticked up, why aren’t they giving him a start?

  20. Whoooaaa, whoooaa, Nick, Matty Dub had a 4.59 ERA as a starter. There’s gotta be worse options than Cy Wisler. It was only when he was jettisoned to the bullpen that his ERA ballooned to an absurd level (6.21 ERA as a reliever in his career, which includes his recent success). But as starter, Wisler was not that bad, especially as you account for the fact that he was rushed and still quite young when we gave up on him. We also gave up on him at age 25 during a year where we gave over half our starts to guys that are barely better than him like RA Dickey, Jaime Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Lucas Sims, Folty (who was just as bad through age 25 as Wisler), and Newcomb.

    In other news, if the manager puts Nick in RF and Acuna in CF, we can expect more coachable balls like that “double” to RCF in 10th to drop. That ball needs to get caught. All day. We probably win that game if not for that defensive substitution decision.

  21. @22–that’s an interesting exercise, and I will try to come up with my own five loser starters.
    But I had in mind a group of five that constituted the rotation at any one time. I’m not even sure who that five would be right now without Fried, but it is five undistinguished pitchers (albeit Anderson at least shows promise).
    The terrible teams of the late seventies had some awful rotations, but they at least had Niekro every fourth or fifth day. The terrible teams of the late 80’s were just as bad without any stars. Look at 1988: only one starter had an ERA+ of 100, and that was Pete Smith at exactly 100. That group includes Glavine and Smoltz before they were good.

    Whichever starters we run out there the next ten days will rival that. Wright, Erlin, Touki, Folty, Newk, Milone—each has an ERA+ below 70.

  22. The Marlins had runners at the corners with one out when that ball was hit to deep right-center, so even if it’s caught, they score a run. And Minter got out of the inning without further damage, so not catching it had no bearing on the outcome of the game.

    I see what you guys are saying generally, and if the numbers say that it’s better to put Markakis in left when anybody except Ozuna (or Riley, I guess, if we’re even doing that anymore) is the other corner outfielder, fair enough. But just to play devil’s advocate, does the fact that there’s more territory to cover in left field than right at Truist Park play a part in the decision-making there? They had Nick playing left at Fenway Park, where the opposite is true. Possibly that had more to do with his experience playing in front of the Green Monster with Baltimore versus Duvall’s probably non-existent experience with that, but it’s just a thought.

  23. @29 That’s right, my mistake. I thought the courtesy runner was the only runner on. Forgot that the runner had moved to third.

  24. Trigger Warning: For those who remember this ’70s era of Braves baseball – when the rotation regularly consisted of: Hall of Famer Phil Niekro; a tick-below-league-average dude (like Rick Matula or Buddy J Solomon) or a short-lived surprise (like Buzz Capra or Larry McWilliams); and 2 or 3 very marginal guys – this faux rotation (or the mere mention of some of these players) may induce a reaction similar to a shot of ipecac.

    Stats are for their Atlanta stints only. And note that last year’s MLB ERA was 4.51. For the entire 1970s, it was 3.69. So, relatively speaking, these ERAs are Haystacks-Calhoun fat.

    Frank LaCorte (1975-79), 28 starts, 179 IP, 4-24, 6.23 ERA, ERA+64

    Jamie Easterly (1974-79), 28 starts, 232 IP, 8-20, 5.72 ERA, ERA+72

    Mickey “Not Rick” Mahler (1977-79), 44 starts, 252 IP, 10-24, 5.27 ERA, ERA+78

    Tony Brizzolara (1979, 1983-84), 23 starts, 156 IP, 8-11, 5.06 ERA, ERA+78

    Mike Thompson (1974-75), 11 starts, 55 IP, 0-6, 4.69 ERA, ERA+82 (Career record: 1-16)

    Rogelio Moret (1976), 12 starts, 77 IP, 5.00 ERA, ERA+76
    (I hate to mention this guy, really, because he was an effective pitcher for Boston before he came to the Braves & he apparently suffered from some severe mental-health issues. But there’s no getting around it – his one season in ATL, for a 92-loss team, was disastrous.)

    Not sure how these guys fully stack up compared to some of the later-era pitchers mentioned, but this was a rough time trying to tame scary offenses like the Reds, Dodgers and Pirates and this cannon-fodder bunch did us no favors. In hindsight, it’s kind of amazing that some of these guys got so many starts… but, as they say, the cupboard was bare.

  25. I was in, let’s see here, fifth grade when Easterly lost his rotation spot with the Braves, and if you’d told me then that he’d still be pitching in the majors during one of my senior years of college I would not have believed you. He was the bete noire (h/t Mac) of my childhood fandom.

  26. The Braves are last in scoring a runner from 3rd with less than 2 outs (37.3%), 2nd-to-last in scoring a runner from 3rd via an out (6.2%), and 3rd-to-last in productive outs (18.4%).

    That seems like it is more than an issue with bad luck.

    I would add Manny Banuelos to the bad starter list, but I’m not sure how much of a chance he got.
    I thought Buddy Carlyle gave us a chance to win once in a while.
    Don’t think Wisler deserves to be on the list.

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