I wasnâ€™t able to see much of tonightâ€™s game. I did see Tuesdayâ€™s game. Turns out they were the same game, making the recap simple:
The Braves starter struggled, allowing the Red Sox an early big lead.Â But the Braves offense clawed back to draw even.Â Then the bullpen gave up a big two out home run to give the Sox a three run lead.Â The Braves went to the bottom of the 9th trailing 10-7, scored once, and lost the game 10-8.
Actually, a slight difference from last night: the Braves took the lead in this one, 7-6, rather than tying it up. And the big home run by the Bosox was a grand slam, rather than a three run shot. That only served to make tonightâ€™s loss even more dispiriting. Speaking of dispiriting, Ronald drove in the 8th run with a double in the 9th, but senselessly got thrown out at third, when Freddie would have been the tying run at the plate with one out.
Thereâ€™s a lot more that I could tell you about tonightâ€™s game. Lots of guys on offense had big nights; several pitchers pitched poorly. Itâ€™s all in the box score.
Whatâ€™s not fully captured in the box score is how frustrating this Braves team is. In my 56 years of following the Braves, I donâ€™t remember a team that got me down the way this one does.
* * *
Today is the birthday of Ernie Johnson, Sr. He was born June 16, 1924, in Brattleboro, VT. He pitched for the Braves throughout the 1950â€™s, and then from 1961 until he fully retired in 1999, he was one of the voices of the Braves in the broadcast booth. When Pete Van Wieren joined the broadcast team in 1976, he referred to Ernie on air as â€œthe voice of the Braves.â€ Ernie leaned over during the next inning and told Pete, â€œYou donâ€™t have to do that. Weâ€™re all the voices of the Braves.â€
By all accounts, Ernie was one of the nicest and most humble guys in the game. And from 1976 to 1989, Ernie, Pete, and Skip Caray were the voices of the Braves as Ted Turner put the team on the satellite and they became Americaâ€™s Team. The team was pretty good in 1982 and 1983; other than that, those were lean years on the field (to put it mildly). And yet, I derived enormous pleasure from watching the team and listening to those guys during that time.
There is a great bio of ole Ernie on the SABR website Ernie Johnson â€“ Society for American Baseball Research (sabr.org) , which says in part:
“Over his 32 years in broadcasting, Johnson worked more than 4,100 games, and through it all maintained his grace and gentle humor. For all of the home runs hit by Hank Aaron and knuckleballs thrown byÂ Phil Niekro, nobody spread more goodwill for the Braves than Johnson. â€œI love baseball,â€ he once said, â€œand I think it shows.â€
â€¦.While going through the many passages from the online tributes Braves fans had posted about his father, Ernie Jr. read one that buckled his knees. It said, ‘When you heard Ernie Johnson do a game, it was like summertime would never end.'”
* * *
Like Ernie, I love baseballâ€”and he is one of the reasons why. But unlike Ernie, my love of baseball is not showing much right now. If you watched me watching the Braves, youâ€™d see a scowl on my face and hear a lot of cursing and moaning. I had to leave and missed the Braves comeback in the 5th and 6th innings. But I was back in front of my TV for the top of the 7th when Greene loaded the bases and Minter came on to surrender the grand slam to (checking notesâ€”was it Martinez, or Bogaerts, or Devers?) No, it was pinch hitter Christian Arroyo, and he got ahead of him 0-2 before surrendering the fatal blow. Be glad you werenâ€™t in the same room with me when that happened.
I canâ€™t give up on the Braves. At the same time, I can barely stand to watch them.
Four game series with the Cardinals starts tomorrow. The bullpen canâ€™t get any worse, can it?
From the inept bullpen to Acuna’s truly idiotic baserunning, tonight’s game is a bit of the whole season on repeat. I’ve seen this movie before.
Gotta get better than this… hopefully, by next week when they visit Flushing. Only “good” thing: Doesn’t look like deGrom will pitch in the Monday DH.
But… how ’bout those Hawks? Unbelievable .
These are sad times indeed. But they wonâ€™t last forever.
Totally kidding about the 104 win line last night.
My wife treated Christian Arroyoâ€™s sister in her NP clinicals on Monday. I blame her.
Great stuff tfloyd.
And for those who think my criticism of Chip is nepotism-based, I should point out that Ernie Jr does a fine job, even though I guarantee it’s a job he wouldn’t have gotten without his father.
It will come with no solace, but Guerrero strayed off third against the Yankees in a one-run game in the 9th and got caught. When you let the kids play, they sometimes do bonehead things.
Tonight is my anniversary, so my recap will be late, if not tomorrow. It is a statement of my profound disappointment with the season that that is an easy call….
We havenâ€™t won since Smyly pitched. Need our stopper back on the mound, stat.
@3, I know, but it was a much-needed laugh.
Shane Greene has been a godsend. /s
Anyone thinking this franchise should be ‘buyers’ at the deadline are delusional. Sell anything not bolted down or named Acuna.
Waiver claims would probably be better than this bullpen right now.
Is it time for “doomed”?
Boston is 8th in MLB in offensive fWAR, so they’re a good hitting team. And when the entire staff gets drubbed, including our hot prospect who had only given up 3 ER in 17.2 IP coming in to that game and our best pitcher, then I give the bullpen a little bit of a pass. Plus, I’m a big believer that the more relievers you use is like Russian Roulette, and Atlanta used 7 relievers yesterday and 6 relievers the night before. You’re just asking for it at that point.
I just want to play some bad teams. The collective winning percentage of our opponents this month has been .530. Now we have the Cardinals, who are above .500, then we go @Mets. Then we play the Reds, and even they are above .500. The worst team we’ve faced this month is the Marlins, and their three good starting pitchers — the only thing they have going for them — lined up perfectly with us. We’re not good right now, and the lack of scheduling luck is making it even worse.
I’m not making excuses for the team; they need to play better. Almost the entire team is worse than last year. When you can’t pinpoint a particular player or unit that is underperforming, and really it’s the entire roster, then I start looking at the manager.
GAME, BLAUSER has decided for the sake of his sanity not to watch any BRAVES games until they have a .500+ record. In what MONTH will GAME, BLAUSER watch his next BRAVES game?
(f) April 2022
(g) NONE OF THE ABOVE
(b) wow that’s very optimistic, Rob Copenhaver
(c) not unless D’Arnaud, Soroka and Ynoa all come back healthy in August! (lol)
(d) acceptable answer, but GAME, BLAUSER will probably have stopped paying attention to baseball if it takes until September for the Braves to crack .500
(e) Whoo, a late season run to mediocrity! Achievements: generates material for team mouthpieces to claim “momentum” heading into 2022, harms draft pick slot
(f) Maybe the 2021 team is just cursed, and 2022 will be better. Sounds totally plausible.
I have been in the camp that the bullpen will be okay, we just need some outfielders. However, Heredia and especially Almonte have been performing well above their ability. My guess is the bullpen will get better but the outfield will get a lot worse if nothing is done. If the bullpen doesn’t get a whole lot better without major changes, we are toast. The outfield will get at least 1 major upgrade.
Haha. That was great. If it’s going to be anything, it would have to be (C), August. Ryan is more optimistic than me, so I think only Ryan could choose July. For the Braves to be .500 on even the last day of July, they would have to go 23-18 through June and July. I’m not sure about that. There are also two doubleheaders against NYM, so you know that’s not going to be an advantage for this squad. But if it’s not August, then I see this team collapsing in September and finishing the year under .500.
I’m in my own June Swoon with watching this frustrating team as well. Plus, the wife and I have been binging… Boston Legal. Of all shows. But it’s hilarious, even though I’m 17 years late to the party. I’d rather watch Boston Legal than this team.
It is always darkest before the dawn.
The Phil Collins must continue until morale improves.
I’ll go with April 2022 because I don’t see any help on the way (what suspects are we going to trade for established MLBers, most of them outside of Waters have already failed/diminished their value) and the team as currently constituted is either underperforming in the case of Freeman and Albies, or just plain bad.
I’ll grant that I was wrong about Riley and any efforts to move him off of 3B are misplaced. He’s our 3B until he’s not.
Look at the comments from 5-19 on Swanson getting thrown out at third and look at the comments from last night on Acuna getting thrown out at third. Itâ€™s time to move on from Snitker.
I will say that my patience with Snitker is wearing thin. I believe that teams often take a certain personality that can be attributed to their manager. With Bobby Cox it was steady, never getting too high and never too low. This was incredible for the regular season and was why the Braves won so many division titles, but it didn’t serve them well in the playoffs. Unfortunately, this year’s team has been the most inconsistent in baseball.
@17 While I’ve liked Snit, he was saved by Coppygate and two division titles for which he deserved some but not a significant amount of credit for. I would take Wash, and I’ve felt that way for a while. For the first time I can remember for a coach, I was on proverbial pens-and-needles when he was rumored for manager jobs two years ago.
What really endeared Snit to Braves fans, I think, was not only the unexpected winning in 2018 but also the moments where he was fatherly over the young players. I think his shining moment as manager was when he was teary-eyed talking about Acuna when Acuna was getting plunked. One, I don’t think that’s quite as relevant anymore, but also that it hasn’t occurred. Sometimes those moments have to be created (he could really use someone head-hunting Acuna again, for example), but you’re not seeing those moments from him. He could just go batsh*t crazy on an umpire one day. Why not?
We’re now in a very subjective part of team evaluation where the whole is not the sum of its parts, and you don’t know why, and words like “funk” or “slump” or “bad breaks” don’t do it justice.
The fact is that Liberty Media prefers stasis over action. It’s maddening.
I like action. I like doing. I like movement.
Staying the course isn’t always bad. But its not always good either.
WHAT would it hurt to s-can the pitching coach, right now? Or make some trade even to rearrange deck chairs? It could HELP. It’s doubtful it would hurt.
The Braves as an organization are BORING. Acuna is exciting. The organization is woefully boring. They have no flair, no flights of fancy. It’s just drudgery.
Liberty Media doesn’t fire pitching coaches, Chief.
Dispiriting is the right word. I just looked back over the last seven games. The Braves have gone 1-6, including four losses to divisional rivals. During those seven games they have had 55 LOBs, the pen has surrendered 17 ERs, and the hitters are 13 for 68 with RISP for a fat .191. That’s how you lose! It’s the same story again and again. The starters are just okay, the hitters don’t hit in key situations, they K too often, and the bullpen is god-awful. I realize there are no replacements, but some of these guys in the pen need to be let go. Just look at their ERAs: Newcomb 5.40, Minter 5.04, Smith 4.39, Martin 4.61, Tomlin 4.85, — these are not winning numbers. There’s been a lot of excuse-making and rationalization for the team’s performance so far this season, but we’re closing in on July 1st and the Braves look fit to be a last place team.
Same ol’, same ol’ with this Braves team. It’s maddening – – whomever said that earlier.
But like ububba points out – – HOW ‘BOUT THEM HAWKS?
I haven’t watched this much basketball since ‘Nique was windmill jammin’ each night at the Highlight Factory.
File this under “the worst of both worlds”: as a Philly-area resident for the last 22 years, I have cultivated a certain level of fandom for the Iggles and Sixers, while remaining steadfast in my love of the Braves and concomitant hatred of the Phillies. (I detest hockey as a game, so no allegiances to any team there.)
For me, then, last night was a special kind of hell.
@20 Really? No way! /s
@21–those numbers sum it up well. It’s hard to imagine it could get worse! But there is no guarantee it will get better. But it could, you know. I’m not making any predictions, but as bad as it is right now, the season is not lost. The 7 games against the Mets over the next couple of weeks will go a long way determine whether there is hope to be in the hunt at the trade deadline.
There’s too much talent on this team to give up. This has been an awful season thus far, but I still have hope…it might be a fool’s hope.
@26- If we don’t do anything major about our pitching (except can Santana) I think it will improve to slightly above league average and be good enough to get us to the playoffs if our hitting gets to the level it was last year. Unfortunately I don’t know how even the best trade can replace Ozuna’s near MVP level production from last year and D’Arnaud’s career year. I’m also concerned about Riley going forward, although I think Freeman and Acuna will be better. I haven’t lost hope, but there is very little margin for error.
@25, 26, and 27: I think we’re all going to be put out of our misery by July 1st.
@24 Happy to help. ðŸ˜Š
@tfloyd – only 52 years for me and I have to agree about the frustration. It’s all about expectations. I never EXPECTED many of those 70s/80s teams to win. Or ’15-’17 either. The closest I came to this kind of frustration was in the playoffs in ’69 and ’82 (both sweeps). Especially, ’82 because I think we were screwed by the weather.
Oh, and I fell asleep during Greene and woke up in time for Minter. OY.
@5 Can we trade Chip for Ernie Jr? If nothing else, I like Ernie’s voice better.
Did anyone see the look on Wash’s face after Acuna got thrown out? Ooh, boy, I wouldn’t wanna be in that clubhouse later.
Mark Graybill – man, I can feel that pain from here! Still got game left though. That Sixers team is special – – and is certainly capable of taking the next 2.
Great series thus far.
They’ll turn it around. I don’t want to believe that they are as bad as they’ve been playing so far this season. Sweep of the Cardinals and five of seven against the Mets and we’re back in competition. Go Braves.
This Hawks/Sixers series has been wildly entertaining, but itâ€™s also been one of the weirdest Iâ€™ve ever seen: Except for Game 3 (when the Sixers rolled in ATL), the team with the double-digit, 2nd-half lead has tried to blow every game.
Lucky for the Hawks, the Sixers actually managed to cough up the last 2. And those were 18- and 26-point 2nd-half deficits in consecutive games, first time thatâ€™s ever happened in the NBA playoffs. Big credit to the Hawks, of course, for those exhilarating comebacks.
That said, yeahâ€¦ the Sixers could still definitely win the next two. Starting 5, theyâ€™re the scarier team, and if Embiidâ€™s 100%, we may not be watching this series now.
Being a Hawks fan going back to the Hudson/Maravich/Bellamy Era, Iâ€™m acutely aware of worst-case scenarios. (I was at The Omni for that Celtics/Game 6 in ’88 â€“ Cliff Levingston clanked his running-lefty-brick right in front of me.) But if these Hawks closed â€˜em out Friday or won a crazy Game 7, few would be shocked at this point either.
And, as been pointed out, these bizarre NBA playoffs have been riddled by attrition. The winning team could simply be a case of â€œLast Star Standing.â€ Letâ€™s hope itâ€™s #11 in red.
If this team is still sputtering in July then they need to sell the upcoming free agents. Sadly, that includes Freddie.
I wonder if Soroka’s Canadian body rejected the sutures because they’re American sutures.
Let him in?