I’ve really enjoyed Alan’s weekend recaps, especially his cataloging of the positives and negatives. I’ll try that format, with my own modification.*
Negative: The Braves lost 9-5 to the BoSox after jumping out to a 3-0 lead.
Negative: Drew Smyly went 5 and a third, surrendering 7 runs; as a result his ERA climbed to 5.90.
Negative: Both Luke Jackson and Grant Dayton failed to get the job done in relief. You aren’t going to win many games when you give up 9 runs.
Negative: The Braves failed once again to climb over the .500 mark. Who would have predicted that as of May 26 the Braves would at no point have a winning record?
Positive: And yet the vaunted NL East has been so mediocre overall that our Braves are only one and a half games out of first as they head to NY for a three game series with the first place Metropolitans.
Positive: The offense does seem to have come around. Austin Riley hit his 7th home run in the last 17 games; his OPS is now .940.
Positive: William Contreras went 2 for 3 with a homer and a sac fly and 2 rbi’s. He’s slugging .485 on the season, softening the blow of losing d’Arnaud.
Positive: Ozzie had an rbi triple and Dansby an rbi double. And Ronald had a couple of singles on the night.
Negative: After jumping on Nick Pivetta for 3 runs in the first two innings, he ended up going 6 giving up only 4 runs. The Braves wasted chances to score a knockout blow against Pivetta, leaving 3 runners in scoring position in the first 2 innings.
Negative: Before the game, we learned that the Mime has two broken fingers and is likely to miss at least six weeks.
Negative: There doesn’t appear to be any outfielder on the roster, big league or minor league, who can provide much offense in Ozuna’s absence.
Negative: Ozuna’s absence may mean more playing time for Inciarte. He was 0 for 4 on the night.
Positive: Despite Smyly’s problems, the rotation has been stellar for the past 3 weeks.
Positive: Smyly limited the Res Sox to two hits through the first 5 innings.
Negative: But both of those hits were homers, one following a walk, so he had surrendered 3 runs through 5. Left in the game to face the third time through the order in the 6th, the wheels fell off, as the Red Sox scored 4 more off Smyly.
Positive: Luke Jackson pitched two thirds of an inning, striking out two and yielding no runs. He lowered his ERA to 1.47.
Negative: Of course that doesn’t come close to telling the real story, as Sliderman had a double Grybo, allowing two runners he inherited from Smyly to score.
Positive: Newcomb pitched a 1-2-3 inning.
Positive: The better pitchers in the bullpen were rested on Wednesday, so everyone should be available for the big series against the Mets.
Negative: This team just cannot sustain a roll. They had a chance to win 5 in a row for the first time this season but could not do it.
Negative: Although it’s good that no one else in the division is doing very well, it’s an ominous sign that the Mets are leading given the horrific run of injuries they’ve sustained.
Positive: I still believe the Braves will get over .500 and stay there. The rotation is pitching very well.
Positive: Ian Anderson has been excellent. Ditto for Max Fried in his last 4 starts.
Positive: And Charlie Morton after a slow start appears to be worth what they paid to bring him aboard.
Negative: But the loss of Ozuna places huge question marks about the offense going forward. I know he has not done well, but I’ve been assuming all along that he was going to turn it on at some point.
Negative: Arcia, Adrianza, and Heredia have looked good so far, but none of them have a history of being productive big league hitters.
Negative: Travis Demeritte and especially Drew Waters may have potential, but both have real difficulty making consistent contact.
Negative: Michael Harris is an exciting prospect and may one day be a good big league outfielder, but there is no chance he is ready this year.
Positive: But with Riley’s great production lately, he may just be a big middle of the order bat that they need.
Positive: Acuña has been hitting into terrible luck lately. But his approach at the plate and his penchant for hitting the ball very hard still have him on track for an MVP type season.
Positive: Freeman has been a disappointment so far. But he has also had some bad BABIP luck; his numbers by the end of the year will be right in line with his career norms.
Negative: Still, it’s clear that the team offensive numbers this year won’t match the historic stats of last year’s shortened season.
Positive: But as noted, after dreadful starts, Albies and Swanson are now hitting more in line with what we should expect.
Positive: And the unexpected production of Heredia, Adrianza, and Panda helped ameliorate the poor starts by so many regulars.
Negative: This team has been outscored from the 7th inning on all season (including last night). After all the late inning exploits of the last three campaigns, this is a real bummer.
Negative: Unless the bullpen is strengthened, or certain guys they are counting on become more consistent, I fear they will continue to lose too many games that are close late.
Negative: Snit’s bullpen decisions can be head scratchers at times.
Positive: Brian Snitker may not make the bullpen decisions we would make, but he has the right personality to keep the team focused on moving forward and not letting the bad breaks get them down.
Positive: Although Anthopoulos may not have made decisions about free agents and trades that we would all agree with, I like his track record for being active to address team needs during the season (see the bullpen improvements in 2019).
Negative: But Alex, not signing Adam Duval in the offseason looms even larger with Marcel’s injury.
Negative: And wouldn’t we like to have Melancon to turn to in the 9th with a lead?
Negative: The setback to Soroka really hurt.
Positive: But a late season return for Maple Maddux is not out of the question.
Negative: The investment in Drew Smyly certainly looks like money that could have been better spent elsewhere.
Positive: Pablo Sandoval has been a delight, both for his pinch hitting exploits and also the energy and enthusiasm he brings to the dugout.
Positive: Bryse Wilson may have finally figured it out. He has looked very good in his last couple of starts. Consistent command of the changeup seems to be the big difference.
Positive: I like what we’ve seen of Tucker Davidson; he may be a valuable contributor the rest of the way.
Positive: This ain’t football; we play every day. There are over 100 games left.
Negative: When I add up all the positives and negatives, I have them at about 24-25. That’s not good, but it could be worse.
Big series in the Big Apple this weekend. Sweep and we are likely in first place. We’ve got our best three starters lined up: Anderson, Fried, and Morton. But of course the positive is always balanced by the negative: deGrom starts for the Mets on Sunday. Still, I like our chances in this series and for the season.
*First one to figure out why I ordered them the way I did wins the grand prize.