Morton Against the Noob
For the second week in a row I recap a game in which Charlie Morton starts against an unknown commodity. This week it was Gavin Stone making his second career start. Wasn’t Gavin Stone the first prosecutor on Law and Order? Gavin walked into the first inning meat grinder: four runs which included a three run homer by Dodger-killer Eddie Rosario. There followed three patented hibernation innings, giving the Dodgers time to take a 6-4 lead on a 3 run homer by some guy named Freeman. He looks pretty good, if a little Canadian.
The Braves then scored a run in the bottom of the fifth which should have been two runs: Sean Murphy made a baserunning blunder which cost the Braves a sacrifice fly run off the bat of the aforementioned Dodger killer. So, 6-5 with four innings to play. Just a battle of the bullpens, right?
Our Bullpen Against Their Bullpen
Unfortunately, right. Turning a game over to the Braves bullpen these days is a little like turning over your teenage daughter to Jeffrey Epstein. (OK… that’s more than a little hyperbolic, but I’m losing a bit of patience here.) Joe Jimenez gave up a Minter-assisted run in 2/3 of an inning. A.J. Minter gave up 1 of his own in an inning and a third. Kirby Yates and Lucas Luetge (nobody asked me, but that sounds like a Superman villain to me) pitched unclean and scary but scoreless innings. Meanwhile, the Braves scratched one more across, but that was it. It didn’t help that they hit into three double plays.
With the Result…
Our starters lost 6-5, and our relievers lost 2-1. Hard to win that way. This is the 6th game this year in which the Braves scored 6 runs. They were 5-0 before today. This is the second game the Braves have given up 8. They were 1-0 before today. Get ’em tomorrow.
Stuff that Happened
Ronald Acuna Jr. stole third base after he was walked to second and didn’t stop going. It is a testament to the video coverage of games today that a camera caught it. Marcell Ozuna hit what seemed to be about his 10th catcher in the head this season with an exaggerated followthrough. This time it was Will Smith, who was rightfully pissed off. Watch for this to potentially escalate before the series ends.
Statistical Investigation of the Day
Since 2000, the Braves have faced 391 pitchers making one or more of the first 15 starts of their career. Against the Braves, those pitchers have a FIP of 4.18 and a WHIP of 1.25. Against everyone else, they have a FIP of 4.35 and a WHIP of 1.26. So while it might seem that new guys fool the Braves far more than they fool other teams, it ain’t true.
I realize that I skew negative… but if the Braves don’t get healthy, this team smacks of a pretender eliminated very early in the playoffs. I realize you could say that about any good team with injury issues, but I’m not really a true believer in this version of the Braves. They destroy bad teams and struggle with the good ones.
I do not disagree with you. We still have a lot of talent, even with injuries, but we don’t seem to have a lot of leadership offensively or defensively. Maybe it will develop when our injured pitchers get back, maybe we’ll make some key deadline trades, or maybe we’ll peak at the right time. Otherwise, the lack of leadership seems to show most glaringly when we play good teams.
The Braves are 13-12 against teams with a .500 or higher record. While that’s not great, it seems really good considering they’ve lost 2 key starting pitchers.
.500 against the good teams and dominating the bad teams is a tried and true way to make the post-season.
I hear you, but I agree – I think you could say that about every team. If we’re not healthy, we’re not as good, but that’s always true. The lack of minor league depth is pretty obvious, and that will make it harder for us to restock in the middle of the year, but in general, when I look at the standings, I like what I see.
If Kyle Wright and Max Fried are able to return for the stretch run, I think the roster has enough offensive depth to feel okay about. I think there’s plenty of reason to worry about Wright’s shoulder, but for now, I think we just have to sort of watch and wait. In the meantime, we’ll see what Shuster, Dodd, and Elder can do for the next few weeks, until the draft is behind us and trade season starts to ramp up in earnest. AA has earned plenty of trust in his ability to retool on the fly. I’m willing to put my faith in him right now, particularly given the current standings.
When Charlie Morton had been on his most recent little hot streak, I’d been asking myself: What level of poor performance would it take for me to complain about him?
Ngl, there probably is no bottom. I’d just be sad, while remaining cognizant that most baseball fans would kill to have the chance to root for someone with a story half as good as his, rain or shine.
Dude is the Braves’ prodigal son–except purely in sports terms, without the moral baggage that our other prodigal son, Marcell Ozuna, carries.
It’s May 23 & there are holes. Luckily, we’re winning enough to hang onto first.
But yeah… the current version of the Braves probably isn’t the version we’re gonna see at season’s end. Either thru trades or hurt guys getting healthy, the roster will be different. Just keep racking up the wins & see where we land…
As demonstrated by the Phillies — MLB’s first 3rd place team to win a pennant — just get in the tournament & roll the dice. With a max of 4 rounds, post-season baseball now resembles the Stanley Cup playoffs, which will see an 8 seed in its finals this year.
Now that he has been publicly called out, Ozuna is on league-wide notice and whether it’s in this series or down the road, I’d bet good $ we are going to see a bench-clearing brawl. If I were a catcher and a bat is conking my noggin’ regularly, I’d be pissed too.
I said it on the game thread last night, but Julio Teheran has opted out of his Padres deal. Gotta wonder if the Braves bring him back on a MiLB deal and see what he’s got left.
Welp, he’s a Brewer. Got an MLB deal too.
I love him for everything he’s done for us, but he’s nearly a half-decade out from his last major league success. I’d love to see him thrive at lower velocity but that just seems hard to feel confident about.
Chief coming in with the sage wisdom that injuries hurt your team.