The good: Spencer Strider tossed innings 2 through 5 of this bullpen game, and he was terrific.Â He held them scoreless, striking out 8.Â He gave up 4 hits, but he didnâ€™t walk anyone. Â I think we will see him in the rotation sooner rather than later.
The bad: Jesse Chavez pitched the first inning as the â€œopener.â€Â He didnâ€™t walk anyone; the guy is a strike throwing machine.Â But as is sometimes the case, he wasnâ€™t fooling anyone.Â He allowed 3 hits, including a 2 run double by Rowdy Tellez.Â (Extra credit for the oldsters out there: why did “Rowdy” make me think of the theme for this recap?) Even the outs he got were hard hit balls.Â So thanks to Jesse, the Braves started out in a 2 run hole they never recovered from.
The ugly: Actually, the Braves did get out of that 2 run hole, scoring 2 of their own in the 4th to tie it up.Â So thanks to Aragorn, it was a tight 2-2 game heading to the 6th.Â In the 6th, Colin McHugh allowed a couple of baserunners, so Snit turned to Matzek with the lefty Tellez coming to the plate.Â Tyler threw 23 pitches in the 6th, and only 9 of them were strikes.Â The Brewers scored 4 runs in that inning without the ball ever leaving the infield; 4 walks, 2 infield hits, and a throwing error made it one of the ugliest innings you will see.
The good: Ronald AcuÃ±a hit his first home run of the seasonâ€”a 450 foot bomb. The kid is back. (And although not good, exactly, youâ€™ve got to watch the replay of Ronald coming out of the batterâ€™s box on that hit.)
The bad: That 4th inning homer was the only Braves hit off Brewers starter Eric Lauer through the first six innings. (They did manage a second 4th inning run on 2 walks, sloppy defense by the Brewers, and a sac fly ribbie by Ozzie.)
The ugly: Our Braves only managed 3 hits total on the night.Â The offense continues to suck.
The good: the Braves finally got their second hit off Lauer in the 7th.Â When Ozzie singled following an Ozuna walk, they had 2 on with 1 out.Â (Ozzie looked good at the plate; in addition to the rbi sac fly in the 4th, in his first AB he hit a rocket off the pitcherâ€™s foot but got thrown out thanks to a lucky bounce.)
The bad: Travis hit into an inning ending double play to end the 7th inning threat.
The ugly: The Braves offense sucks.
The good: Dansby hit a line drive home run to right in the 8th
The bad: It was a solo shot so it only cut the lead to 6-3.
The ugly: The Braves are second in the league in homers, but the overwhelming majority of them have been solo shots. Thatâ€™s what happens when you are 12th in the league in OBP.Â Despite all the long balls, our guys are just 10th in the league in runs scored.
The good: Letâ€™s talk some more about Strider. He was far and away the bright spot on the night. Itâ€™s not just that he reaches 100 mph with his heater. He has a pretty wicked slider, and he throws strikes! (pay attention, Muller, Elder, et al).
The bad: The bullpen overall is not the strength it was projected to be. The sample size is still small, and relievers can be volatile, so no need to get overly concerned. McHughâ€™s ERA is now over 6, but you can blame Matzek for the 2 runs Colin gave up last night. I canâ€™t help but worry a little about Tyler. Heâ€™s had several poor outings in a row–heâ€™s lost commandâ€”sure hope itâ€™s nothing physical.
The ugly: The Braves went with the bullpen game because none of the projected 5th and 6th starters have gotten the job done. The starters other than Fried, Wright, and (mostly) Anderson have been terrible. Chavezâ€™s 2 1st inning runs didnâ€™t help the starting staff ERA. Ynoa, Davidson, and Muller have been awful when given the chance. Elder showed some promise, but heâ€™s not big league ready. Any of those guys may turn it around, but it will have to be in Gwinnett. Itâ€™s time to go back to regular rest for the top 4 starters. Morton is going to get on track, but right now itâ€™s hard to see who to turn to after the top 4
The good: If you squint, you can see signs of hopeâ€”Ronald is working his way back into being Ronald, Dansby has heated up, Olson and Riley have been solid, TDA is healthy and good, Ozzie is coming around (I think).
The bad: The offense still struggles nightly to put together anything other than solo home runs.
The ugly: Meanwhile, the deficit to the Mets is now 7 gamesâ€”and unlike previous years, this Mets team may not be LOLMets. Unlike last year in particular, the Mets may actually have what it takes to stay good all year, so that the Braves canâ€™t wait another couple of months to figure it out.
But as I keep reminding yâ€™all (and especially myself), itâ€™s still very early.Â There is plenty of time to turn it around, but Iâ€™ll start to feel better when they can reel off 4 in a row, or 8 out of 10, or 16 out of 20.Â Tonightâ€™s a good night to start thatâ€”Varsity is on the hill, itâ€™s Hank Aaron weekend.Â Iâ€™ll be in the crowd, wearing my 1974 #44 jersey.Â Letâ€™s win a few for the Hammer.
That ball hit by Tellez in the first should have been caught. The game goes a lot differently if that ball is caught, IMO.
McHugh does not need to be pitching in high leverage. I’d rather throw the kids the league hasn’t seen over a seemingly recovering McHugh and hung over from last year Matzek.
We’re going to need Olson, Riley, Ozuna, Ozzie, and Dansby to hit. They can’t all be ice cold at the same time.
What sucks about the beginning of the year is that last year is largely meaningless, and you have to spend so much time just figuring out what you have, both in determining who from last year is still good and if an unproven guy on a good run like Strider has the long-term viability. Just a tough time right now.
It’s early yes it is. The Braves look like a 4AAA team, yes they do. Hopefully soon they will look like what is considered to be a major league team. Which is not really major league but is called that. We are viewing baseball at it’s worse. An embarrassment.
Acuna does not look healthy …or he is scared of knee .. falling down in box and chasing a ball down the line he hobbled like he was giving into it .. I understand as I had same surgery a few years ago …its hard to just let it go …so it may take a few months for his confidence … but he looks like he is giving in to it .. whether it hurts or not .. who knows .. but he acts like it could some.
I think it’s time to downgrade Matzek out of the fireman role for a bit. He frequently can’t even get through his own innings right now, throwing him into somebody else’s semi-mess is just asking for trouble. And on that topic, I’d have just left McHugh in. I think he’d have been fine. He allowed a walk and ground-ball infield single. Maybe when Matzek is at his peak, you bring him in there…but he’s not right now. At the very least, McHugh would’ve been able to find the strike zone.
Also, the Mets are always the LOLMets.
I’m presuming I’m ineligible to make the connection from the show with music from Enrico Morricone to the one with music by Dmitri Tiomkin. Move ’em up, move ’em out!
I won’t sugarcoat the Braves’ woeful start, but it’s not baseball at it’s worst. That would be Cincinnati
Why not Strider?
Why not Strider? 50 unhittable strikes in 69 pitches is about as good as it gets.
If you went by strict sample size and “hot hand” mentality, then you’d have a pretty good bullpen. Thornburg is 7th on the team in appearances, for example. Sooner rather than later, you’ll have to see if he can handle high leverage. Stephens has now had 5 appearances across 9 innings, striking out more than a hitter an inning. The problem is that you wouldn’t give the ball to McHugh or Matzek if you were riding the hot hand, so they probably can’t do that. But there’s plenty of good performances throughout the bullpen that nights like last night shouldn’t happen too often.
The offense, however, is pretty light on answers. The only hope for a “hot hand” would be Contreras DHing, and that’s wishful thinking. Maybe A-Dick finds his stroke (see what I did there?) in AAA. In two months, if Waters is red hot, maybe you do something there. But that’s about it.
@5–keep them dogies movin!
@1–that’s a great point about the Tellez double in the first, Rob. Duvall is a very good corner outfielder–he runs good routes, never seems to misjudge, has a strong arm. But as a CF his range is not what you’d prefer. That ball in the first could have been caught.
Problem is, unless they use Ronald there, which they won’t, there are no good options. Heredia doesn’t hit enough to play every day. I’d love to think Harris is the centerfielder of the future, that that future doesn’t start this year.
Yeah, when it comes down to it, we just need the guys who are supposed to hit to hit.
Fried and Wright are the only reasons to watch right now, sadly.
@12 also Acuna, at least? for me also Riley as well
How ABOUT that Varsity!!!
One chance in 10 million Ozuna makes that catch.
Good thing Demeritte is in LF and not Ozuna.
Wow, what a great way to end it!
More like that, please…
The best offense is a Coke and an oil change. Have a night, Varsity!
@13, yes Ronald as well, but I am cringing like heck every time he runs hard.
Sharp first inning by Charlie.
Chip and Frenchy create a new rule in which a ball not touched cannot be an error. I guess they’ve never seen a shortstop whiff on a ball… or a ball go beneath an outfielder’s glove.
I think it’s time to move Ozuna down in the order.
Chip’s dullardity is contagious, sadly. Among his partners with various teams lo these many years, only Steve Stone is immune to it.
And now they follow it up with a question of whether to give a double to a player who takes second when a ball is thrown in from the outfield to third. The only question on such a play is whether, had the ball been thrown to second, the runner would have retreated. He would have, or been out by 20 feet.
Charlie isn’t right. He can’t command the curveball at all
All of a sudden Ronald’s BA is better than Olson’s and the OPS is the same.
OK, so Olson gets a doink but how ABOUT that Ronald. He can run just fine.
Yeah, Ronald claims he is faster than before. Might actually be true. Great inning.
Four isn’t going to be enough with Charlie having the control and command of an 18-month-old who was fed Taco Bell.
Timo,right on. Put your stopwatches away, Ronald is faster. He now delights the eye as much with his feet as his hands.
Riley, qui vive? Such a strong start, suddenly looks quite lacking in confidence.. Extra domestic duties we might guess.
I don’t know whether 4 runs would be enough, but I’m cautiously optimistic about 9. Contreras! His bat belongs in the big leagues.
@33 Contreras looks great out there. So does Ronny.
Ronald now has the best OPS on the team. I expect he will stay there going forward.
There was a deal last night about the response to Demeritte’s catch. I sure can understand guys like Acuna, Dansby, Riley being happy to see Demeritte and Contreras succeeding as they have all been teammates going up through the minors years ago. Demeritte and Contreras just didn’t get there as fast as the others. I really hope Demeritte becomes a solid ML OF for us long term. A future OF of Acuna, Harris, Waters, Demeritte would be a much better defensive OF and potentially better offensive one too.
I think Duvall may go all “uggla” on us and Rosario may be very up and down.
Booth tattle…our two seers were spectacularly on the ball earlier this afternoon choosing their moment to boost Contreras, the all round improvement he was showing.
As one who called for his head after the post season – ‘he’s had far too many chances with us’- humble pie tastes sweet for him and what we now see. Real power from his bat is a surprise, as is its frequency now, see today.
What was even more pleasant to see is his huge improvement defensively. I can’t remember a pass ball which goes quite against his old grain. Great stuff, give the man a new contract.
How in the heck are the Brewers 19 and 9? They have made 7 errors this series
Riley’s in a skid. 0-5 today.
How smart was it signing O’Day, McHugh, and Jansen? Matzek is in mop up duty now and he’s just not right. Jackson is injured. That long postseason run came at a price, although obviously worth it.
Interesting note that with Pina and Rosario on the IL, Waters is the only non-pitcher on the 40-man roster not in the majors. By the end of May we’ll need to have 13 non-pitchers on the roster. Either Contreras stays when Pina comes back or Waters comes up. Unless Rosario is available by the end of May.
Rowdy Yates was pretty good, back when he had a name.
.224 team batting average. Have no fear sports fans it has to get better. Early prediction Braves win division by 5 games.