Cardinals 4, Braves 1 (by chasT)

With 44,981 in the seats at St. Louis today, the Braves fall 4-1 to the Cards.
They did almost nothing well today.
In fact they played like horsecrap! Some distressing facts:
* The Braves have scored 2 runs or less in 19 of 41 games this season.
* When trailing after the 7th inning, the braves are 0-16.
* The Braves are one of only four National League teams with more strikeouts than hits.

So: we started strong by hitting Shelby Miller early and
scoring in the second on a single to left by Harang. Andrelton crossed the plate due largely to two poor Cardinal throws rather than Braves offensive production.

In the 4th Tyler Pastornicky misplayed a pop fly by ranging out to take a ball Jason Heyward should have. Instead of keeping the runner at third, Rev stops to have a nice chat with Jason Heyward, seemingly unaware that Wong tagged and scored.

In the 5th, Harang bunted, decided not to run and Molina turned that into a double play. Fredi gets thrown out in protest.

In the 6th, Wong again bunts his way on, Gattis chokes the ball and throws over 20 ft over second base.

In the 7th, Justin misplays an Adams single turning it into a triple. Varvaro misplays a bunt allowing Adams to score.

The Cardinals had four bunts for hits today. Clearly they’ve gotten the memo.

100 thoughts on “Cardinals 4, Braves 1 (by chasT)”

  1. Walker sucks so bad. While I agree that most of the responsibilities still belong to the players themselves, I honestly can’t think of an example which he has helped improving anyone during his tenure.

  2. It’s frustrating particularly because he and Scott Fletcher arrived as the anti-Larry Parrish, who was unqualified for the position.

  3. It is literally painful to watch BUp bat. He appears to be in recovery of a stroke or some other malady that could cause someone to forget how to hit/bat. At least with Uggla the problem is only with the results not the procedure itself.

    Is Walker the blame for that?.. Could he have screwed BUp’s mechanics so far up that there is no recovery?

  4. Walker will catch heat but I’m not blaming him for the sucky hitters he’s working with.

  5. What sucky hitters are Walker and Fletcher working with? I’m not seeing anyone in the lineup who does not have the potential to be a good major league hitter, except for Uggla.

    Perhaps someone who is smarter and has more time should do an extensive evaluation on this (I’m looking at you, Remington), but it certainly seems like the offense has significantly regressed. Ultimately, the hitting coach, manager, and/or general manager deserve responsibility. Is it an organization approach issue, does Fredi not do a good job of managing hitters, or is Walker and Fletcher’s philosophy or leadership not making an impact?

    The way it seems, Heyward, Simmons, BUpton, and Gattis have the tools to be better than they are right now. I’m not totally sure about Johnson, and Uggla just sucks. Freeman and JUpton are performing about what we expected. But when half of your lineup is underachieving, there’s gotta be a reason for that. I’d love to know because my MLB.TV subscription is not getting any use due to this Before June Swoon.

  6. Gattis is a questionable talent over the long term, Heyward is like Francoeur Deluxe, Justin Upton seems to be either off or on, Uggla is Uggla, and who really even knows about BUpton. Factor in the pitcher and that’s 2/3 of your lineup. I could envision Walker being hopelessly cynical about this group.

  7. Whoever is screwing that chicken, they need to stop.

    More punk rock might be in order, also, too.

  8. If Heyward is Francoeur Deluxe, then he shouldn’t be hitting leadoff and he’s vastly overpaid. Sure you can’t think he’s that bad. Justin Upton has a 144 OPS+, so he’s hardly a problem. Gattis still has a 112 OPS+ as a catcher.

    There’s no reason why this collection of hitters is producing such abysmal numbers. My record speaks for itself that I rarely criticize coaches and umpires and tend to place responsibility on the players, but there’s simply not a good explanation for this widespread ineptitude on the hitting side, especially when you consider the success the pitching side is having.

  9. Not trying to be antagonistic, but not placing blame on the hitting coach when you’ve got basically the worst hitting team in MLB seems tantamount to saying he’s immune to any criticism, ever.

  10. Watching BJ’ s ” at bats”, he has an exagerated open stance. Personally I don’t like it, but can’t say it stops him from hitting. But if you look at his hands, he is wagging the bat while waiting for the pitch. His hands are moving constantly. A number of Braves hitters do this. However BJ doesn’t stop when the pitcher releases the ball. The bat keeps moving back and forth. If he takes a pitch it is still moving going into the catcher’s glove. I don’t think he can make a proper swing with this approach.

  11. And this is what Walker has to say (from ajc.com):

    “Braves hitting coach Greg Walker has been frustrated by hitters’ pitch selection and impatience, and says he’s never seen a team swing at more bad pitches. Walker says they must, can and will improve.”

  12. Comparing Heyward to Francoeur makes no sense. Heyward plays better defense, is a much better baserunner, has more power, and takes walks. The only thing they have in common is Jason sucks at hitting right now.

    A better comparison is old Andruw Jones – mid-2000s. No, he isn’t THAT good a fielder, but he has holes in his swing, strikes out a lot, has a low average with homers, and is generally underappreciated because although he’s a very flawed hitter he’s a productive player thanks to the defense and homers.

  13. Heyward – this guys was supposed to be Hank Aaron. OK fine, Dave Winfield. Now I’m wondering if we would settle for Mike Cameron.

    Justin – Very good. The on/off switch is frustrating though.

    Freddie – Best we got. Damn fine human being.

    Gattis – who realistically expected more than what we’re getting? He’s doing his thing and it’s fine. Cheap power at a scarce position is a luxury. If he’s you’re 3rd best hitter you have problems, however.

    Chris Johnson – We knew 2013 Johnson wasn’t walking through that door. If you play a corner position and don’t have much power, you’ve got to be a hell of a singles hitter to get by. If he ain’t hitting .300 he’s a bench player.

    BJ – So bad. Took the downward momentum from his last Tampa year and built on it in Atlanta. If he managed to hit .250/.300/.400 we’d throw him a parade at this point, right?

    Simmons – No problems for me here. Play defense young man. You would be an excellent source of power in the 8th/9th spot of a real offense.

    2nd Base Black Hole – Just release Uggla already. Pena is a bench player. You have to really be be a Braves homer to see the Pastor as a real starter. La Stella, I guess? How can I laugh at the Yankees roster if Brian Roberts would be our starter too?

  14. This team needs a true leadoff hitter that will get on base.

    There is no way BJ should be this bad. His failure at the plate will be Walker’s undoing.

    Walker does seem to see the problem. These guys do swing at terrible pitches.

    The next few weeks are important. If one of these teams in the east gets hot, we are in trouble. If we can get to the mid wat point, maybe we can get a second baseman who can lead off.

  15. Time to call Chipper or Chipper’s Dad for help. Even though the main issue lies with the hitters, they obviously need somebody to start listening to.

  16. Heyward’s career numbers (.256/.349/.434), while not the numbers we envisioned, make him a very productive player when you consider his baserunning and defense. If he could duplicate his age-22 season (in 2012 when he hit .269/.335.479 with 21 SBs), we’d be in great shape, and he’s only 24. But he’s truly been awful so far this year, and it stands to reason that he won’t continue a .633 OPS for the rest of the season.

    The challenge is players are either regressing, not improving, or slumping all at the same time, and it’s obviously destroying the offense. When it’s a team-wide deal, you have to look at the leaders. Fredi and Wren seem to get a pass in my book (especially considering how well the pitching staff has performed despite the injuries) that this has to come back on the hitting coach.

  17. At some point we have to start blaming the hitters don’t we? We wanted Pendleton gone, Parish gone, now it Walker and Fletcher. We even still have Pendleton on the staff and Chipper even makes his appearance every once in a while. Some guys know how to hit and adjust. Seems like our team is just built to hit homers and not be here to play small ball. Too many non competitive AB’s in this lineup. Some of it is on Walker, but most lies on the players hands. They are professional ball players. These 1 and 2 run games are just depressing.

  18. It’s hard to give Wren a complete pass. It’s hard to imagine that he didn’t at some point consciously decide to take on the risk of having a lineup of hitters who swing a ton, can’t make contact regularly, and half the guys won’t take a walk.

    And maybe it’s fair to say that perhaps the Braves organization understands pitching better than hitting.

    How much more money do you think this season is putting in Chipper’s bank account, for when he inevitably accepts the hitting coach position?

  19. @ajcbraves: #Braves Venters had his first live BP session Wednesday cut short due to elbow soreness from increased activity

    He’s done.

  20. BJ and Uggla cancel out all of the good moves that Wren has made. Besides 2B there’s really no positions that can be upgraded (though there are plenty that are in need of an upgrade). We’re stuck with this same team for multiple years. Let’s hope it somehow gets better.

    Teams are already pitching around Freeman because nobody else in the lineup scares them. It’s going to be hard for him to remain patient.

  21. I wasn’t around here when TP was the hitting coach–did y’all want him out? I thought he did a great job. Maybe I’m just wrong on that one, though.

  22. You know, I’m quite frustrated with this offense, but my frustration is at least somewhat offset by the realization that we are scoring almost exactly pi runs per game.

  23. @22 & 24 – Agree completely with both assessments. It’s the sobering truth that isn’t fun to hear, but it’s the bed the Braves org has made. At least we’re not Twins fans, right? Sit back, enjoy the pitching and hope for some clutch hits.

  24. We won’t see the Nationals again until June 19th. At this point, a series with them is the only thing that will restore our mojo.

  25. It is difficult to mention this team without an expletive or two.

  26. I dont blame Wren for BJ or Uggla’s issues. There is no way these guys should be hitting this bad. Our team hitting philosophy is terrible.

  27. BJ was in decline before the signing so I do blame Wren for that one. However, I think it’s fair to say that nobody predicted the decline would be more like a cliff than a slow fall-off.

    I don’t know if a new hitting instructor will help. I do think that our pitchers’ complete ineptitude with sacrifice bunts reflects very poorly on all of our coaches. We are not a fundamentally sound team.

  28. Freddie obviously lost the script, because he’s actually producing in critical situations.

  29. The Braves thought they were going to get 8+ years of Dos Uptons to build not just an offense and an outfield around, but a marketing campaign. All those good intentions and the machinations required to make that happen must make some folks in the Braves organization just want to punch a wall every now and then.

  30. No one thought BJ would be this bad. Someone should be fired for it. My guess is Walker is gone if thing don’t improve.

  31. I wonder if Chip knows the Cardinals fired his grandfather and Jack Buck was behind it.

  32. @54 Success and Lack There Of combining for yet a new and worse way of giving away the lead

  33. The super-slow motion shot of Success! lost and clueless about the location of the ball neatly encapsulates the month of May for this sad lot.

  34. Bunt and run? Maybe we got bought by an evil owner that wants us to lose on purpose so she can move the team.

  35. @60 starting to feel pretty happy Wren didn’t sign Jason to a huge extension like the other guys. His game has so many holes in it

  36. Freeman hit the other way against the shift. Joe no doubt exploded in his pants.

  37. If Ryan Doumit is the answer, do I want to know the question?

    Edit: Just as I ask, he succeeds in that Braves-in-May sort of way.

  38. Wait a second: the Braves entered the 9th losing and now have the lead? What madness is this?

  39. Pitching Rosenthal 4 straight days….even 2012 Fredi wouldn’t have pulled that. 5 out of 6 maybe, but I can’t remember 4 straight

  40. Hopefully, the Cardinals were better at giving this game away. Now we’ll see if Kimbrel’s interested in playing.

  41. Well, Jason put a pretty good swing on the ball. But what an inning. Good, old-fashioned ABE baseball.

    (Coined by smitty, that’s like A.B.C. baseball, but instead of getting them on, getting them over, and getting them in, you get them on and over and then wait for an error to score them.)

  42. The Cards’ pitchers gifted the Braves the two runs that inning, but the Braves’ defense gifted the Cards all 5 of their runs today, so it’s all fair.

  43. I’m sure the smartest fans in baseball won’t have much trouble recovering from that loss.

  44. I’m the reason the Braves won. I was about to post how embarrassing it was to be 2-10 against the Giants and Cardinals. I didn’t actually send it but I had written it down. I take credit for the baseball karma. 3-9 seems a lot better now.

  45. I think it’s pretty obvious that Uggla’s return to the lineup sparked this win.

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