Braves 4, Angels 3

I didn’t watch this one, but the recap is pretty simple: in the first inning, Evan Gattis and Chris Johnson went back-to-back with a three-run homer and a solo shot, and the Braves spent the rest of the game hanging on for dear life. Then the Kraken came in and it was over.

Aaron Harang’s got a bit more smoke and mirrors left, but he’s relying more on trickery than ever. When this is going well, the announcers call it “guile”; when it isn’t going well, they call it dead meat.

Just for comparison, in Harang’s first six starts, he threw a 2.97 ERA over 36 1/3 innings and struck out 37 men while walking 14 — that included a preposterous 11-strikeout night against Miami on April 23. But he’s walked more men than he’s struck out in each of his most recent three starts; over those starts, he’s managed a 2.89 ERA in 18 2/3 innings with just eight strikeouts against 13 walks. One of those things is bound to change: either he’ll start striking out a whole lot more men than he walks, or he’ll start giving up runs in bunches again.

Anyhow, the Upton brothers went 0-8 with no walks, and The Offense went 0-2 with two walks. As many have noted, Freeman has really cooled down: after batting .320/.395/.570 in April, he’s hitting just .242/.351/.416 since May 1. That’s better than B.J., obviously, but it isn’t great for a slow-footed first baseman. In short, the Offense is a microcosm for the offense: if Freddie isn’t hitting, the rest of his teammates aren’t hitting much either.

Except, of course, for Gattis. The White Bear now has 14 homers, and is tied with Justin Upton for third in the NL in that mark. He’s striking out four times as many times as he’s walking, but — unlike Jason Heyward and Andrelton Simmons — when he makes contact with the ball, he cranks it.

Thanks to the Braves’ one-run win and the Nats’ one-run loss, we’re in a dead heat for the division lead once more, and both of us are four wins above .500. Neither of us has played particularly well to this point. It’s time to show what we’re made of.

118 thoughts on “Braves 4, Angels 3”

  1. Not a single pitch to Freeman in that sequence was in the strike zone, and I’m not sure there was one to Justin either.

  2. Just unwatchable. I may actually learn something about futbol this month. Braves sure aren’t worth watching.

    Not sure what happened to Freeman. He’s killing us at the plate and his defense isn’t what it was last year. Hope they snap out of it soon.

    We don’t have a hitting coach, we have a strikeout coach. Sheesh.

  3. At least we have El Oso.

    And at least the Cards won 4-1, so this is just a wasted day.

  4. Freeman hasn’t hit since he went off telling Chipper how “there was no where for pitchers to go to get him out.” This offense sucks, something has to change.

  5. @Buster_ESPN: It makes no on-field sense for ATL to keep Dan Uggla. This situation doesn’t help them, doesn’t help him. They should waive him, move on.

  6. My computer’s picked up a virus; how else can it show a 2-run triple by BJ Upton and the Braves coming back to within one?

  7. I want to apologize to everyone…. I just turned on the game as BJ came to the plate. Has the whole game not looked this way?

  8. This team just swings at some crap pitches. Chris Johnson probably hasn’t ever seen this guy and he swings at a first pitch slider that’s 2 feet off the plate

  9. Mac always used to say that the worst losses where the ones where you came back late from a big deficit, just to lose eventually anyway.

  10. Fox: “Chris Johnson leads the league in double plays hit into.”

    Fox, one minute later: “And…Chris Johnson hits into a double play.”

  11. What’s frustrating about this loss is that I’ve largely taken a break from watching games for the past couple weeks, partly because I’ve been really busy but also because this team is just going through a rough stretch. Following the game tonight throughout the night, it was clear that they were going to have another poor offensive performance. I get alerted that they tied the game, so I turned it on just to see Mr. Automatic once again struggle. That’s just a bait-and-switch that I prefer not to experience.

  12. Alright so Bedrosian hasn’t thrown strikes this year. Maybe our guys can take a few pitches.

  13. That’s funny, csg. Basing our hitters’ behavior on what pitchers have done against other hitters, since they either don’t get scouting reports or don’t read them.

  14. Is cam bedrosian the son of Steve who had leukemia? I read about that when he was a brave

  15. 44- He is indeed Steve’s son, but his brother Cody was the one who had leukemia.

    Oh, and thank you, Jason, for delivering this team from some of its mistakes!

  16. Csg, that requires Simmons to know what his job is. Walker teaches this: you wait for your pitch and “put your A-swing on the ball”

  17. IBB to get to our cleanup hitter. Well, it’s deserved, but I hope it makes JUpton mad anyway.

  18. Why on God’s green Earth would you swing at that pitch, JUpton? If it misses the plate, game over, we win. If it catches the plate, 3-2, you get another pitch.

  19. 49-because braves hitters are not taught to think at the plate. These are really all the same type of question. Braves hitters show no semblance of an “approach” at the plate–or at least not one that is adaptable to the situation.

  20. I know, guys, but this is something that JUpton learned in Little League or before, not something Walker should be able to make him forget.

  21. Gattis is now 3rd in the National League in home runs, despite having only 196 PAs before this one.

  22. 53-if it is such a clear cut strategic advantage to take there (and I’m with you-I think it is), then fredi should call take from the dugout. You can’t leave it to a hitter’s impulse. The problem is an organizational stupidity about offense–and one that lacks the ability of self-appraisal. The problems persist year after year, and nobody seems to really ask why.

    Look at what has happened to the walk rates of heyward relative to his rookie year. Look at Simmons. Look at Chris Johnson who walking at insanely low rates relative to his substantial prior sample. Read the chisox thread I posted above about walker

  23. Cj should bunt with a force possibility just to stay out of the dp. He is so unlikely to reach anyway

  24. Uggla is cyanide in the water supply.

    Get out. Get him out of here now.

  25. If Laird goes in Gattis’ spot, we have no one to hit for Hale. (Assuming Hale comes back out.)

  26. Is Uggla actually faster than Gattis? Not that it matters for tonight, but is this a case of desperately trying to find justification for Uggla’s continued professional existence?

  27. Uggla is cyanide in the water supply. Get out. Get him out of here now.

    Wait, what did Uggla do?

  28. Congrats to Andrelton! Now we have the 1st and 2nd spots on the NL GIDP leader board!!!

  29. I would’ve traded an Uggla pickoff and subsequent loss for his outright release… But that’s just me

  30. Uggla did nothing wrong. Simmons smoked a ball to 3rd and Uggla broke. DP. Nothing to do there.

  31. Uggla takes a roster spot and creates opportunities for Fredi to stupidly put him in games. The last game he started he was basically responsible for the loss

  32. Uggla is doing something wrong as long as he is on the roster.

    No, Wren or Gonzalez is doing something wrong there.

  33. Uggla isn’t doing it wrong. That’s frank wrens decision and Fredi’s for putting him in.

  34. @71 correct. Following this one on gamecast. We still have 3 of the top 6 in the NL though with Freddie

  35. Sure, but doesn’t it feel better to just lay all of that blame on Uggla? If we’re being honest with ourselves, he has probably been less productive than Fredi.

  36. @73 exactly. Lets not hate uggla. He’s actually a fantastic guy–a great attitude, a family man and a Christian (if u care about that kind of thing). The problem is signing him to the contract wren did. I would have to say, though, that I would respect uggla a lot more if he would take a buyout. To demand payment for services you can’t deliver is shameless, but then I’m not sure it’s dawned on him he’s washed up yet. It’s hard for a competitor like him to admit that to himself.

  37. BJ reminds us of what a formidable amount of blame he deserves, triple notwithstanding. But at least Gattis can bail us out… oh, wait.

  38. 77- ugglas 40 is .1 faster than gattis’ so obviously that advantage merited taking our best hitter out of the lineup. Also it allows fredi to MANAGE. That makes him feel smartz

  39. It’s that when Uggla is in, you know something bad will happen, even if it’s not something logged to him on the stat sheet. And of course, we’d have Gattis coming up in the 13th, except Fredi felt compelled to use him in some capacity when it’s not like he’s Rickey Henderson, circa 1982, out there. We’ve been playing with a 24-man roster for weeks now.

  40. @76

    I don’t care about that sort of thing, and yes, for fucks sake, let’s hate Uggla.

  41. For sure, I have more than a little bit of hate delegated for all-star Fredi Gonzalez.

  42. 80- I thought that went without saying, but I guess we should make that clearer every so often.

    And Hale is reminding us that blame, like fertilizer, should be spread widely.

  43. How much can you blame hale for pitching badly in his third inning of work after being used erratically and for short appearances?

  44. 89- That’s one thing, but he had a pinch-hitting pitcher 0-2 and lost him. There is no excuse for that.

  45. @89

    Entirely and completely! Are you nuts??? Throw a goddamned strike to the pinch-hitting pitcher!

  46. So you guys like the idea of trying to pitch hale 3 innings when he hasn’t done that since April 26th even though you have shae Simmons in the pen? Nah go ahead and let him give up 3 runs before u go to Shea

  47. If you were going to go to shae you do that after the walk to cj Wilson. If not, you let hale finish and let shae rest. This ain’t rocket science. We have the most oafish mouth-breather of a manager in the dugout and Atlanta is too nice to talk about it

  48. I wouldn’t have let hale come back out to pitch the 13th, but it really doest matter at this point in the game. Seriously , are mangers really responsible for anything after the 10th inning?

  49. Can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic 101 but yes, Fredi made horrific decisions in this game. Burning laird and uggla to pinch run for gattis was ludicrous.

  50. @103

    …and likely had zero effect on the outcome of the game. Also, you throw Simmons for one or two innings and then what? You wanna have a starter pitch in this game? Extending Hale one extra inning and avoiding that for as long as possible is the exact correct thing to do.

  51. Not being sarcastic. And that was a waste of an opportunity to see Uggla catch.


    Agreed.. Out of all the games this year, this is definitely not one worth arguing over.

  52. @106 I see your point but in that case you pitch Simmons earlier and save the long reliever for last Fredi is horrific. Please don’t apologize for him

  53. Fredi is no worse than 90% of MLB managers. Just about all fan bases hate their managers. The easiest thing in the world is for people with no responsibility to sit around picking at the manager’s decisions. Why not just acknowledge that the team just isn’t that good? I understand that the blog exists for people to vent but it’s the players that are losing these games. Same with Greg Walker; no one here has any idea what the hell Greg Walker is telling these guys. It’s just bullshit to assume that Greg Walker is the reason these guys don’t hit. And before Greg Walker, it was [fill in the blank’s] fault because the Braves have had a thousand different hitting coaches. Does a major league hitter really need a hitting coach to tell him not to swing at bad pitches?

  54. 111-I do have an idea what Greg Walker tells the guys because I have seen multiple interviews with him and read others. Why do you simply assume I’m speculating? Also the chisox fan base had the exact same criticisms of him. Obviously a hitting coach can’t teach a guy to hit the ball, but he can coach him on his approach.

  55. 110-for fredi to bat bj upton lower than 2nd would be for him to admit he’s had no clue what he’s doing for the first half season. People don’t like to admit they’re wrong about things, and the more time invested in an idea, the more difficult it is to let it go. It’s called cognitive dissonance. La Stella is obviously the best #1 hitter we have and bj upton is obviously the worst #2, but fredi’s subconscious can’t let his conscious know he’s been wrong about things this far

  56. @110…

    be bloody bold and resolute…

    if it were done when ’tis done then ’twere well it were done quickly (approx)

    we cannot introduce a new lead off man who can’t run…

    here’s the fix, NOW..


    please don’t talk about Minor League progression…in this instance we have so little to lose..

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