Braves 7, Cardinals 1

Perhaps this Ian Anderson will do. Ian struggled incredibly for about a month and a half. From May 22 to June 30th, Ian had a 6.69 ERA in 8 starts. That ain’t going to get it done. To his credit, his 4.50 FIP looks much better.

Ian Anderson, very similar to Will Smith, is going to get a huge pass because of last season’s postseason performances. Ian’s 1.59 ERA in 4 October starts last year is simply going to get him a long leash.

Last night’s start is obviously a step in the right direction, but I’m really worried about Ian. It took him 99 pitches to get through 5 innings, giving up 8 hits and one walk. He could only get 3 strikeouts in 5 innings. His stuff is just not good enough right now to be a consistently reliable option, and a start like last night is about all that I’m hoping for from him right now. I’m sure they’ll want to ease Spencer Strider’s innings total, so if and when Mike Soroka comes back, that might not create the log jam in the rotation that 6 pitchers for 5 spots could create for Ian, the worst performer in the last 2 months.

But now the positive: this offense, even without Ozzie Albies, is a force. The Braves put up a 5-spot in the first, another 2 in the 4th, though they went into hibernation mode from there. But even with LF, DH, and 2B being disappointments more often than not, the top of the order and William Contreras are really carrying the offense

Tyler Matzek has returned. He pitched a scoreless inning, and provided this dazzling play:

Jackson Stephens, who got buried in the bullpen throughout the second half of June, pitched the 9th.

Team’s loaded. If we actually added anything other than a power righty in the pen or a lefty platoon bat at the deadline, I don’t know where they’d stick that player. There’s no room in the lineup, and there’s no room in the rotation. Great problems.

48 thoughts on “Braves 7, Cardinals 1”

  1. Ian’s clearly fighting it right now; he’s slumping like Charlie was slumping at the beginning of the year. Ububba’s right that he’s clearly at his absolute best when the chips are down, so I have confidence that he’ll right the ship. The real questions for me, looking towards the deadline, are: will Ozuna, Duvall, or Rosario ever actually produce? Can Arcia really hold down second base? (Our infield depth feels particularly thin right now, since Arcia is both our starting second baseman and our backup shortstop.)

    In the meantime, our catcher tandem is just unreal.

  2. I suspect that Soroka will not see the majors this year unless there is a major injury. I’m betting he does a rehab, gets activated, and optioned to AAA just like Jay Jackson. Soroka will replace Morton next year.

    That being said both Yates and Stephens could be considered hard throwing rightys. If either one steps up then no addition should be necessary. Stephens is still earning trust. But Matzek doesn’t really have splits so he can be used against either handed hitters if he’s up to snuff.

    I’d still like to see a bench upgrade but maybe having Rosario and Albies back might be enough (platoon-Duvall and Arcia would be bench upgrades). Contreras/Duvall/Arcia/Heredia is not a terrible bench.

    When Jansen comes back, Lee will go down (only pitcher with options). The big question is what happens when Yates comes back. The bottom of the totem pole is O’Day, Chavez, and Stephens.

  3. Roger,

    If Soroka is throwing zeroes in AAA for more than 5-6 starts, then it’s going to be really tough to not bring him up.

    Let’s say he begins that 30-day rehab assignment in the next 2 weeks. That’s around mid-August. I just don’t see how they’re going to let him throw in the minor leagues for up to two months.

    I agree that bench is probably good enough. If Heredia could just run into a fastball here or there, he’d be a perfectly fine bench bat with his defense.

    Stephens is definitely the guy that is gone when Jansen returns.

  4. How was Matzek’s velocity? The two readings I noticed were 94 (I think; I was sneaking glances while trying to appear interested in a conversation), which is a good bit lower than I had expected.

  5. @4: Matzek was sitting 93-94. Brian Jordan and (to a lesser extent) Paul Byrd expressed concern about the velo being down a few ticks during the telecast.

  6. I can’t imagine that Soroka or Yates is ready until September when the rosters conveniently expand to 28.

  7. Matzek didnt really look good, but I wouldnt be shocked if he needs more time to ramp up.

  8. @8 The problem remains not with the active roster but with the 40-man roster. Jansen can come back with no adjustment to the 40-man (why Lee will be sent down). But either or both of Soroka and Yates need 40-man spots. If all of O’Day, Chavez, and Stephens stay until Sept roster expansion then someone like Woods, Wilson, Cruz, Jackson, Rangel will have to be DFA’d. But I’d say that’s a pretty good bet that Soroka and Yates won’t be in the majors until rosters expand.

  9. I think someone will likely get injured and it won’t become a problem. If Soroka and Yates are ready and pitching well by August, they’ll bring them up as they should. They will help the team win more than any of O’Day or Stephens. I like Chavez. Both him and McHugh can go multiple innings if necessary.

  10. Keep in mind that AA will likely trade for additional relief help as well (probably a RHP)

  11. It’s clear that Strider ought to be and is a starting pitcher–that role is the best use of his talent this year and in the future. But as many have pointed out, they will keep a pretty tight limit on his innings over the next couple of months, so he will be moved to the pen at some point. Most likely he will be pitching in relief in the playoffs.
    As to Soroka, my guess is if he shows he ready to pitch effectively in the bigs, we will see him in ATL before rosters expand. Same for Yates. I also expect to see Muller in the bigs sooner rather than later, probably when they decide they need to limit Strider’s starts, and there are a couple of double headers in early August. OTOH, keeping Wright at AAA all year last year worked out, so they may follow that script for Muller. Anyway, I’ll be surprised if AA trades for a starter. He may need to save his chips for a starting second baseman if it doesn’t look like Ozzie will be ready in August. Arcia and Goose are currently the one weak link in the lineup.

  12. Soroka is probably mid-August at the earliest by now. I imagine they’ll give him an extensive rehab assignment, not just the freshen-up type.

  13. I’m going to go with mid-to-late August. They’re just not going to stash him in AAA for long if he’s dealing for 5-6 starts. But more importantly, I’m cheering for that young man to accomplish something that few could even dream of. And once again, I’m also very interested in this as some sort of new medical feat. “Well, it hasn’t been done before…” is just not an acceptable reason to count a good kid with the right doctors out.

  14. Apparently Soroka was hit in the knee with a comebacker a few days ago. Nothing big, just a bruise. But still. Dude could use some good luck.

  15. I love watching my Max pitch at this point in his career. He commands five quality pitches, any of which can come at any point. The batter cannot guess.

  16. I didn’t mean to call him “my Max” but I guess I’ll claim it. I feel about Fried kind of like Bethany does. 😀

  17. My love of the Braves is being severely tested by having to listen to A-roid on ESPN

  18. @20 – my mute button gets more work during ESPN baseball telecasts than just about any other time of year.

    Well, maybe except for election season.

  19. I have given up on TV announcers and let the radio play — their feed is usually on a 15 second delay but I rarely feel the need to start barking at the moon

  20. @23. Can’t stand his incessant narcissistic blabber. Diarrhea of the mouth on an Exlax binge

  21. I didn’t know what everyone was talking about related to the ESPN announcers, but now I do. ARod talks too much and then suddenly stops at awkward moments. He seems to want to do more commentary between pitches and routine plays than during the times that could actually use commentary.

  22. The nibbling of Chavez is biting him in the ass. Can’t go right at them and it’s a problem

    What a break we got on that swing

  23. ARod: “Anthopoulos went out and traded for Joc Peterson, Adam Duvall and George Solar.”

  24. How much worse we could have it: Cinti brings in Hunter Strickland and his 5.14 era to close out the Mets

  25. @36 And naturally, he blows it. Tie game headed to bottom 9. Maybe the Reds can walk them off again…

  26. @37 Oh well,maybe the reds will walk them off again and it will sting them more.

    Edit: Big D beat me to it.

  27. I have to say the tieing hit was pretty questionable. It was a ball down the third place line called fair by an ump who had his back turned to the ball when it crossed (or didn’t cross) the bag.

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