Marlins 3, Braves 2 (By Kyle B.)

On Thursday evening, the Braves turned the ball over to Aaron Harang in an effort to even the series against the Marlins ahead of next week’s significant West Coast road trip. Despite their inconsistent play since the All-Star Break, the Braves entered the contest only one game back of Washington (two in the loss column) for the lead in the NL East.

Winless against the Marlins since 2011, Harang was sharp early. For the Fish, Henderson Alvarez entered play with a sparkling 2.63 ERA, but was tagged for two runs in the second off Chris Johnson’s eighth home run of the year. (Spoiler: Hibernation Mode).
Harang escaped trouble in the fourth, but the tightrope act fell apart in the fifth as the Marlins tied the game at 2-2 on a RBI single by Adeiny Hechavarria and a RBI fielder’s choice by Christian Yelich.

Aaron Harang would go seven innings and give up two earned runs, with five strikeouts against two walks to cap a terrific July. Jordan Walden chipped in a scoreless eighth inning. The contest remained 2-2 until the ninth, when Craig Kimbrel took the mound.

Things got weird. After striking out Garrett Jones for the first out of the inning, Kimbrel notched another strike out against Marcell Ozuna. The strikeout resulted in a wild pitch, and Ozuna took first. With Jarrod Saltalamacchia batting, Kimbrel threw another wild pitch to allow Ozuna to take second. Salty followed up with a single that scored Ozuna, and the ballgame ended 3-2 Marlins. That’s a terrible way to lose a baseball game.

Following Johnson’s homer in the second, the offense went full Hibernation Mode and never again reached home plate. The Braves ended the game with six hits, including three by Justin Upton.

With the Nationals idle, the Braves sit 1.5 games back in the East. Next, it’s a four game wrap-around series with the Padres (the Island of Misfit Braves) before the trip out West. Let’s win a few.

98 thoughts on “Marlins 3, Braves 2 (By Kyle B.)”

  1. Frenchy w/ 2 BBs in 6 PAs so far….

    Actually, he could be a passable platoon partner for Seth Smith, who can’t hit LHPs and isn’t much of a defensive LF (I’d put Francoeur in LF at this point).

  2. A week away from the trade deadline and the Braves are uber quiet. I think the Braves have to be…brave. Brave enough to sit some regulars, cut some veterans, and maybe even make a bold trade. It’s got to start with the bench, but needs to end with a replacement for BJ. It’s just not working.

  3. I’m just not sure we have enough in the minors to make a bold move. This team is so mediocre that I’m not sure even a big splash at the deadline would put us over the top.

  4. @2

    I agree we have to improve the bench. I don’t think we are going to cut anyone lose though. Nor do I think we move BJ. We might find a platoon partner for him, at best.

    If the Braves were to be really bold, they would look for a second baseman that will get on base and package La Stella in the deal. I am not sure who this will be, but I will go see my barber this week.

  5. Can’t see the Mets letting Murphy go in-division, when they are probably looking to contend next year when Harvey comes back from TJ.

  6. @4
    They have a 2nd baseman that gets on base and will likely continue to get on base at a .350+ clip and add some power over the next 2-3 years. Not following the logic behind it.

  7. Murphy can hit, but if you watch him every day, he’ll make you crazy.

    He’s one of the worst baserunners you’ll ever see and turning the DP is never a given with him. Fact is, there’s no good position for him on the field.

  8. interesting one today on The Hardball Times. It in turn links back to another article.

    Basically, POST PED era, the aging curve for position players looks different not only from 1990 to 2005, but also different to pre 1990.

    It seems teams are doing a better job of getting guys fully ready before bringing them up. Thus the position player tend to enter the league, be relatively flat to age 26 or 27, then start a decline. There is no “up” before the decline.

    This HAS been the long term “curve” with pitchers.

    That is a big impact on this team, but an even bigger impact on others. In other words, Heyward and Freeman AREN’T supposed to get better. But if decline starts 26 or 26 or 27 and average team age is the lowest in MLB at 27, then everybody else may be in a severe pickle.

  9. Everytime we watch the Mets I wish we had Murphy.

    But, if La Stella hits for a little more power, we might already have him.

    Murphy career: .289/.333/.420
    Murphy this year: .284/.332/.402
    La Stella: .282/.351/.354

    I don’t see the upgrade there anymore.

  10. Murphy will be thirty next season, is a step down defensively, is more expensive, comes with less team control. Pass.

    If we trade La Stella, it’ll be because the team is convinced Peraza is the real deal. I don’t know how we could possibly know that yet, but La Stella could fetch us something nice, should the time come.

  11. @2 – I concur with Smitty, we simply don’t have enough material to trade for anyone significant. We will have to hope that we get a block of games where several players suck less on offense and hope that is enough to push us into the post season. Last night was brutal. I watched the game, catching it after Johnson’s homer. Hibernation mode is tough to watch. The 9th was even harder. The 2014 Braves are an experiment. Does pitching and defense win championships? I guess we’ll see.

  12. #13
    The problem is Murphy’s judgment.

    It’s his very aggressiveness at inopportune times that has cost the Mets games over the years. Getting tagged out at 3B with 2 outs is never good. Getting tagged out at home on a short wild-pitch with no outs in a late, tie game is terrible judgment. Bluffing a dash home on an F7 & trying to draw an errant throw only to get picked off third when the ball was cut off (again in a late, tight game) is unconscionable. Some of it is Yunel Escobar stuff.

    This best summation:
    http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/mets/mets-haven-t-been-the-aces-of-bases-this-season-1.8557855

    Other examples:
    http://www.amazinavenue.com/2014/5/31/5768016/mets-phillies-win-jacob-degrom-buddy-carlyle-david-wright-ruben-tejada

    http://www.nj.com/mets/index.ssf/2014/05/mets_make_defensive_and_base-running_mistakes_in_loss_to_washington_nationals.html

    http://risingapple.com/2014/06/27/murphy-mets-whats-next/

    http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/mets/post/_/id/26225/baserunning-trips-up-mets-in-series-split

    http://www.nj.com/mets/index.ssf/2009/09/jerry_manuel_admonishes_daniel.html

    http://metsblog.com/metsblog/blue-jays-want-a-2b-but-not-daniel-murphy/

  13. @17

    At least they’ve somewhat come off their annoying “His BABIP is really high and his peripherals are the same, which means there’s no difference and he’s just unlucky” stance they were peddling for most of the season.

  14. I’d have guessed his BABIP was like, .180, since everything they hit seems to leave the field of play…

  15. So, if Minor’s issue is his mechanics and release point, is it time to send him down until he figures it out? I mean, david Hale is sitting there in the bullpen fighting off the cobwebs…

  16. I coulda got more out of it if I’d said “I’d have guessed his BABIP was much lower, since most of the hits leave the field of play,” or “since I can’t recall any of the hits landing in play.”

  17. It’s hard to send Minor down unless they find that there’s something wrong with him. Of course, they could always try and “find” something wrong with him. The likely explanation is that the shoulder soreness led him to change his mechanics, which has affected his command and feel. Ideally, the Braves will be able to come up with a good reason to put him on the DL.

  18. @29, actually, I’m not sure. Are you seeing that anywhere? I only see two seasons, 2010 and 2011, in which he pitched in both the minors and the big leagues, so I think it’s possible that he has an option left. But I still don’t think that they should do it without a DL stint.

  19. Fascinating stuff from Buster Olney. The independent Atlantic League is enforcing some radical new rules to speed up the pace of a baseball game. I don’t think that you could get all of them into the major leagues, but I bet that you might see some of them in modified form in the coming years:

    • The defensive team will be limited to three “timeouts” per game, in which mound visits or on-field conferences take place with the current pitcher. Pitching changes will not be counted as timeouts, and in the case of extra innings, one additional timeout will be permitted at the start of the 10th inning and every three innings thereafter. Umpires will enforce a strict 45-second time limit on said timeouts. If the umpire’s warning is disregarded by the defensive team and play continues to be delayed, the umpire shall declare a “ball” for the batter at the plate. This will limit the number of times play is interrupted by on-field conferences.

    • Pinch runners will be used for catchers as soon as the catchers reach base. This ensures that catchers are suited up quickly to start the next half-inning.

    • The number of warm-up pitches for each pitcher will be reduced from eight to six.

    • When a manager or catcher on the defensive team indicates to the home plate umpire they wish to issue an intentional base on balls, the batter is to be automatically awarded first base without the need for the pitcher to deliver four balls.

    • Umpires will be directed to enforce Rule 6.02 and Rule 8.04, related to hitters stepping out of the box and pitchers delivering the ball within 12 seconds when the bases are unoccupied.

    • Umpires will be directed to control the pace of play. The umpires shall adhere to the entire strike zone as defined in Rule 2.00 and observe that definition when calling pitches balls or strikes.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/buster-olney/post?id=7316

  20. That is fascinating, and hard to argue with anything except the pinch running for catchers bit.

  21. 27 — I agree. There is nobody at AAA with more potential than Minor, and David Hale is what he is.

  22. @31

    Totally down with everything except the catcher’s caddy runner. Also maybe include a caveat that, if the previous half-inning went longer than 20 minutes (or a half-hour…whatever), that a pitcher may request eight warm-up tosses. Other than that, I like all of it.

  23. Yeah, I think that the pinch-running for catchers is a complete no-go, and intentional walks without throwing a pitch would require a completely new rule — it would require creating the equivalent of a balk rule for batters.

    Almost everything else is a refinement of an existing rule and either within the existing authority of umps to enforce or would be relatively doable for MLB to implement. Even the warmup pitches rule — after all, the normal number of warmup pitches is enforced in emergencies, as when you’re bringing in a pitcher who hadn’t warmed up before, and you could keep that kind of exception in place while still shrinking the number of regular warmup pitches.

  24. I have a REALLY hard time with reforms like those in 31, when the problem (if it in fact is one) is easily solved within the existing rules of the game. Keep the batters in the box, make the pitcher throw the ball.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/official_rules/batter_6.jsp

    Umpires may grant a hitter’s request for “Time” once he is in the batter’s box, but the umpire should eliminate hitters walking out of the batter’s box without reason. If umpires are not lenient, batters will understand that they are in the batter’s box and they must remain there until the ball is pitched.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delay_of_game#Baseball

    MLB rule 8.04 requires that, “when the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.” The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball.”

  25. I have a REALLY hard time with reforms like those in 31, when the problem (if it in fact is one) is easily solved within the existing rules of the game. Keep the batters in the box, make the pitcher throw the ball.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/official_rules/batter_6.jsp

    Umpires may grant a hitter’s request for “Time” once he is in the batter’s box, but the umpire should eliminate hitters walking out of the batter’s box without reason. If umpires are not lenient, batters will understand that they are in the batter’s box and they must remain there until the ball is pitched.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delay_of_game#Baseball

    MLB rule 8.04 requires that, “when the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.” The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball.”

  26. 38 — The Braves aren’t going to sell while currently holding a playoff spot. That is silliness. They didn’t even sell in 2006 when it was obvious they were out of it.

  27. Silliness? Really? As currently constructed, are you telling me the Braves are a lock for the postseason? How silly of you!

  28. We’re in a pennant race, and in fact lead for a Wild Card spot, so we should trade our good players, let the other teams win, and build for the future with players who may or may not make it to the majors. Got it.

  29. You mean to say that any team that, despite having a lead for a playoff spot, does not have a lead so insurmountable as to make them a “lock,” would best serve their franchise by selling off assets at the deadline? Why, THAT’S SILLY!!!1!!1

  30. I didn’t author the article. Neither did I dismiss the reasoning out of hand. Have it your way, 14 and jj. God bless you both.

  31. He said “when currently holding a playoff spot,” you said “are you telling me the Braves are a lock for the postseason?”

    What did I miss?

  32. Jason Heyward and/or Justin Upton, who have just the rest of this season and next left on their contract, would fetch a lot. As well as several pitchers. But we’re not selling, so that’s irrelevant.

  33. @38

    LOLOLOLOLOLOL

    That is the perfect tone-deaf blog article with no idea what it’s talking about! Seriously, can we go ahead and throw that on the Yahoo! Contributor Network, assuming that still exists, so that everybody can assume it’s a real article and lose their collective minds?

    You seriously don’t have enough imagination to see how a team that, despite all that’s happened so far, currently holds a playoff spot might be able to finish the season in a playoff spot? Really? REALLY?!?!?! In fact, if you go look at the infamous playoff odds, we have a slightly better chance of making the playoffs than we have of missing them. But clearly we should just give up! That makes perfect sense! I APPROVE!!!

  34. “You seriously don’t have enough imagination to see how a team that, despite all that’s happened so far, currently holds a playoff spot might be able to finish the season in a playoff spot? Really? REALLY?!?!?!”

    I am renowned for my lack of imagination, good sense and insensitivity.

  35. Well, this is an inauspicious start against the light hitting Padres.

    Edit: Much better. Wood’s lucky he only gave up one there.

  36. @9 Clearly someone at FSS read that article. Also, Chip and Joe clearly don’t read Braves Journal, or else they would know Kotsay is the answer to the trivia question.

  37. Steve Karsay was the guy who gave up the game-winning HR to Piazza in the first MLB game in New York after 9/11.

  38. Bupton and Johnson have to go. and I have no idea what Wren can do about it. They are so bad at what they do it is disgusting we have them both locked up for the next few years.

    I wold think if this team falls out of contention Frank could be put under some pressure for these crappy signings.

  39. I have to keep reminding myself that this isn’t the late 80s. However, it is really hard to believe lately.

  40. The idea of tearing down a team that won 96 games last year and is in contention this year is utterly risible. You tear down if you are the Cubs or Astros. If you are mediocre, as the Braves appear to be, you keep your base intact and try to find better players, either internally or externally. The author is a nitwit IMO.

  41. @50

    If the Braves do stumble into the playoffs, you believe this team will be able to do any damage?

    This team is not built to win in the playoffs. It’ll be lucky to win down the stretch and make it in. In my humble opinion.

    I’d rather trade some pieces that we can get good return for, play some of our young guys, and make a long-term play. This team has a few exceptional players, but I think we’re kidding ourselves to think we hold on for a World Series win this year.

    On the other hand – I’m not sure if I trust Frank Wren’s judgment to conduct the horse trading. So maybe I’ve lost my mind.

  42. @67

    Marc, what do you need to find better players “internally or externally”?

    Either a talent-rich farm system or a $$$ and young talent (to trade for external pieces).

    Not sure the Braves have either. Check that: they don’t.

    I think us Braves fans have been stuck in “we are a winner and better than that” mode for a LONG time. It’s time for a purge (which, in my view, would be best if it went well past the 25-man roster).

  43. @50
    Please don’t group the entire blog into your opinion based solely on one article as it’s not fair to all the writers of the blog (ahem).

  44. This is the kind of flaccid team that needs good broadcasters to make watching it tolerable. Instead, we have Chip.

  45. @70

    Sorry. I would’ve been a bit more tactful had I stopped for two seconds to realize it was the one that you write for. Needless to say, the original article is dumb, but you do a pretty good job of rebutting. Though I don’t 100 percent agree with your entire plan, it’s certainly better than selling at the trade deadline.

  46. Well well well, two runs on the board and now we’re only losing 5-2 to one of the worst teams in baseball.

  47. Chris Johnson should kindly throw himself into a lake and bereave us of his stupidity! Swinging at the first pitch after all that???

  48. Jesse Hahn’s performance “was unexpected, because we haven’t seen him,” says Joe, who apparently has never watched the Braves.

  49. Ryan C. is totally right about the bench, though. Release the lot of them (minus Laird, I guess) and build a whole new one. It could be done within a week.

  50. The thing that just drives me over the edge with this team is, I just KNOW that Walker and/or Fletcher won’t be back next year, but the team is too… something… to just fire them now. They’re going to keep them through the year, and then they’ll just “go in another direction” in the offseason, because they want to be… something… and not give the impression that they’re… some, other thing.

    Who knows.

  51. I’m convinced that we’re either going to finish 14 games back or we’re going to win the World Series with BJ Upton taking home MVP honors.

  52. @Nick
    Thanks. And no worries. I don’t expect for many to agree with my opinion on everything as I don’t agree with others’ full opinions. There is, however, some common ground that can be found.

  53. On Pastornicky’s demotion: It’s highly likely Gosselin will be with the team tomorrow as Gosselin’s 15 days to stay down expired tonight (I think). That’s one move, now only a few more!

  54. Uggla went 0 for 2 in his Giants debut, and was double-switched out of the game in the 5th, when that game was still a manageable 4-0.

  55. The team is showing you who they are. They’re three under since April 27. Thus far, they’re average. I don’t really see any one move that Wren could make in the next few days that will change that. I suppose you just ride it out and see what shakes out.

  56. If the season were to end today, we’d be facing the Dodgers in the Wild Card playoff. We know how that’d end.

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