Cardinals 7, Braves 1

This offense. Oh man, this offense.

Is there anything more 2014 Braves than the bottom of the sixth inning tonight? Freddie Freeman started the inning with a double, but the immediate chatter around the ballpark was “how are we going to strand him?” Per usual convention Freeman actually got to third on a Chris Johnson single, but since that single was sandwiched between a popout, a lineout, and a fielder’s choice, the threat ended harmlessly.

The Braves did manage one run on back-to-back doubles in the third, but every other Atlanta baserunner was left hanging. Then again, there were only eight total. The Cardinals also stranded seven baserunners, but by virtue of having 13 hits and two walks, they were bound to scratch a few runs out.

Mike Minor wasn’t sharp in his second start back from the DL. Had he been able to retire his counterpart Adam Wainwright early in the game it might have been closer; Wainwright led off the third with a double and then scored, then kept what could have been an uneventful fourth alive with a two-out single. The latter hit led to a three-run, two-out rally by the Cardinals that effectively put the game away at 5-1. The Braves are scoring at the pace of a soccer team, just not Crystal Palace.

But you’d expect Minor to have some hiccups has he works his way back from being injured. At some point, the offense has to pick up the team for a few games, and that doesn’t seem to be forthcoming right now. The starting pitching has been superhuman to keep the team in games to this point, but that’s not really sustainable across a season. During the current 8-games-of-9 slide, the Braves are averaging 1.8 runs per game.

It’s not as simple as removing Dan Uggla from the lineup, which is a thing that happened tonight. That’s what you call a “necessary but not sufficient” condition. A lot of streaky power hitters are cold at the same time, and that’s a recipe for some quick half-innings. Such is the tiger you ride when built around streaky power hitters, I suppose. Cross your fingers and play some Phil Collins that they get back on a hot streak soon.

33 thoughts on “Cardinals 7, Braves 1”

  1. It’s just a sit and wait game right now. This team is made to hit, and they just aren’t. Wake me up when we erupt.

  2. Sparse crowd at the Ted last night was aggressively disinterested. These guys hurt to watch. Hate it for em.

  3. I’m not sure what this offense is made to hit, obviously not the baseball. There’s 2 good hitters on this team and the rest are streaky at best.

  4. “Streaky at best” can still be good. People confuse “streaky” with “bad” all the time. If most everybody in the lineup is productive in the aggregate and yet streaky, that’s Wren’s problem, not any one hitter’s, necessarily.

    I wish the Red Sox would trade us Garin Cecchini. He’s a better version of La Stella, but at 3B.

  5. Streaky implies that there will be a good stretch or two mixed in every now and then. Right now I’d say this offense is very consistent.

  6. Not even sure there are two. Freeman may be the only one that seems to avoid the month long droughts. The other good hitters, Heyward and JUpton disappear for weeks at a time. BJ has never even appeared much less disappeared. I’m not convinced that Evan Gattis is any good. Simmons,like Heyward, tantalizes you for a while but in the end he is a good glove no hit SS. CJ is continuing the regression he started late last season. Uggla.

    Hopefully, since they all went to crap together they’ll all figure it out together. Maybe we’ll run into some weak pitching here soon. Its frustrating.

  7. I think the Cubs have usually been just what the doctor ordered for the Braves in a slump. Hopefully it will be this time too.

  8. Thanks, W.C.G. Some scheduled off days are not terrible. Today is a good day not to have a game.

  9. The cubs might be just what the doctor ordered since we have a chance to win some 1-0 type games. This team needs to go back to the patient approach and try to get themselves into good counts and actually be willing to draw a couple of walks. Remember when Pendleton preached OBP? We left some guys on base but at least they got there.

  10. I am happy but perplexed. Why would the holder(s) of the TV contracts negotiate to pay more money to the Braves? Do the new contracts extend to the year 3000?

  11. I bet there is an extension of the TV contract, perhaps with a dollop of blackmail (“We’re so poor we’re thinking of pulling an Astros on you.”) involved in that renegotiation.

    Edit: I’ve got the recap tomorrow night. I’m thinking of counting up the times Chip slurps the Cubbies, but I’m not sure I can count that high.

  12. I just dropped Wade Miley and picked up La Stella on my fantasy team. Foreshadowing?

  13. Johnny at 13,

    I think the Braves could have taken the 45 games and set up their own captive regional. Then, they would be a competitor for rights of other entities (Hawks, preseason nfl, college football, etc.). So, the agreed to pay more than they had to, to get rid of the conflict.

    So, 500 divided by 13 remaining years (maybe none of this adds to “future”) means about 35 extra per year. A nice uptick.

  14. @ajcbraves: #Braves hitters are 27th in the majors in OBP (.273), ahead of only the Cubs, Astros and Padres.

  15. @16, You might want to cut La Stella and add Rougned Odor, if you’re looking for a short-term fix. I never would’ve thought he’d make the show first, but here we are.

  16. Not quite pork chops, but Fogo de Chao in Buckhead is meat paradise. They serve a parmesan encrusted pork that is awesome

  17. They seem to understand just how bad Uggla is. What that article suggests to me is that the Braves aren’t exactly confident in their other options either, so the strategy is to keep them all around until somebody heats up.

  18. Yeah I don’t understand why you wouldn’t just release Uggla. You are eating the contract either way. However, I wouldn’t mind seeing Pastor playing second to see what he can provide.

    A LaStella/Pastor platoon could provide decent offensive production.

  19. At the very least Pastornicky and Pena theoretically provide better defense. I don’t get holding on to Uggla either.

  20. The FO doesn’t think LaStella is ready or they think he isn’t the answer.

    This is something the Braves are historically very good at doing. So I will trust their judgment here.

  21. @29,

    Agreed on that platoon being workable. I think it would ops near 800 and be slight plus defense v. significant minus defense. Over the course of the rest of the season as compared to Uggla, 2 wins. And, I don’t think LaStella is good enough to beat that platoon, overall, though he probably can make “decent ML regular.”

    And playing Rev and Pena each a little will help on the days you need to spell CJ or Simba or when you need a pinch hitter.

  22. If you are going to end up not playing Uggla anyway, I don’t see what difference it makes if you release him. It’s sunk cost anyway. Why is the salary more palatable if Uggla is sitting on the bench? It only makes sense to keep him if they are going to keep running him out there.

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