Seattle 4, Captippers 2

Alright, who didn’t see THAT coming? Alex Wood pitched well, as he generally does, but got hung with the unfortunate loss. He went six innings, gave up five hits and four walks, struck out five, and got hung with four runs but only one of them earned.

It was one of the times when the concept of the “unearned” run was completely fair, as the four runs that inning scored on:
1) a bleeder that kicked between Simmons and Johnson, in a play that Andrelton Simmons sprained his ankle while accidentally stepping on third base wrong
2) a pop-up that kicked the heel of La Stella’s glove and then squirted out.

I’d have to guess that part of the reason that he gave up four walks is that, when facing Felix Hernandez, the optimal strategy is that you’d rather throw a ball than a hittable strike. (This was Tom Glavine’s strategy with men on base his entire career: with bases empty, batters hit .256/.304/.384, while with bases full, they hit .260/340/.369. He was happy to give up the extra on-base percentage in order to give up less slugging.) In all events, they didn’t have much success hitting safely against him. But the Braves had even less success hitting safely against Felix. Of course, we saw that coming.

Tonight we’ll face Chris Young, the 35-year old 6’10” soft-tossing southpaw northpaw Princeton grad who I had no idea was still in the league. On our side, we’ve got Julio Teheran, who is probably the best player on the team right now. This is the game to win. Julio, be our stopper.

73 thoughts on “Seattle 4, Captippers 2”

  1. Average of 2.73 run support for Alex Wood this year. I think he just needs to learn how to win…sigh.

    If we had any kind of offense we’d be running away with the division given how good we’ve pitched this year.

  2. Bonifacio 7, La Stella 4, Freeman 3, JUpton DH, Heyward 9, Johnson 5, Gattis 2, BUpton 8, Pena 6 (Teheran)

    3:40 EST start time today. The energy here is palpable.

  3. I think Young is a soft-tossing righty.
    Unless you were using “soft-tossing southpaw” as a metaphor for Braves kryptonite, in which case… well, yeah.

  4. Sometimes a sprained ankle can be worse than a break and when Simmons fell it didn’t look good. I wouldn’t be surprised if Simmons has a short DL stint.

  5. It’s MVPena all the way.

    Edit: I get the DOB quote and everything, I really do…but one of my peeves is the unwritten rule about how you have to have experience to be successful in a baseball game. You have to have TALENT. If Peraza can play then call him up.

  6. @14, there’s nothing magical about age. Does the oven thermometer pop up when he’s “ready”. How do you know when that exact moment of readiness occurs? If he’s ripping up the minors then he might be successful in the bigs too. And he might not. It’s a risk. You’ll get laughed at if it doesn’t work out. But Pena can’t hit and I’m not sure Bonifacio can even still play SS…so the bar isn’t set all that high. Of course Simmons can’t hit either, so there’s that.

    I do get it. It’s not something a risk-averse org would do.

  7. Announcers talking about us playing from behind again as if it’s our pitchers fault. You always are playing from behind when you can’t score.

  8. A debate question: Would Evan Gattis get thrown out at the plate if he was at third on a line drive single right at an outfielder?

  9. @17,

    That’s not true. If the pitchers never, ever gave up a run, you would never be behind.

  10. @19, bases loaded…no he makes it. Base open behind him…he would think about tagging up, get confused, and then maybe just stay on 3rd.

  11. @16, he isn’t ripping up the minors. He’s hitting for a high average, but in that few plate appearances you could reasonably conclude that he’s getting BABIP-lucky. There’s nothing magical about age, but you can reasonably conclude from the past century and a half of professional baseball that most 20-year olds in Double-A need more time in the minors. That’s a pretty good rule of thumb, and you’d want some serious evidence to ignore it — and a .794 OPS in 39 games isn’t enough evidence for me.

  12. @20/21- I didn’t see the play, but it must have been blatantly obvious that Tommy wasn’t going to score for us to complain about Dascenzo’s decision there. As bad as our offense has been, unless the catcher was already holding the ball when TLS got to 3rd, I’d have sent him too.

  13. @26, you don’t call him up in the normal course of events…but when you don’t have a SS you might at least consider it. I’m not in love with the idea. Just food for thought.

  14. @28

    I would label it as a risky move, but not outright stupid. The fact that a bad throw still got him does say to me they probably shouldn’t have sent him. If it was a good throw and he was out by that amount, I wouldn’t have any complaints.

  15. @29, I don’t disagree with you in principle. But I don’t think it’s the right move, because a) I don’t think that Peraza is likely to be better than Pena/Bonifacio in 2014, and b) it would not be beneficial for Peraza, who would be better served to continue developing on the farm at his own pace.

  16. This team is now the Cubs. Absolutely pathetic In every facet. It isn’t a pennant race when one team is absolutely stagnant. My one hope is this futility will eventually cost Fredi his job

  17. Could Teheran not have sucked during the Kershaw game and pitched like he did in that game today? If he had, we already would’ve won, ostensibly. Jeez…

  18. Get the plane in the air now. Let this entire sorry lot make its own travel arrangements to get home.

  19. That was a routine fly ball to the track. BJ hit it well, but we weren’t robbed of anything.

    It would have been nice to have scored, even if the leftfielder lost the ball in the sun.

  20. The ace of the staff simply cannot do things like this. It would be one thing if this was Detroit or Oakland but to give it up to Seattle? It seems as if the Braves have a lot of NL-type players-they wilt when they play in the big boy league.

    Of course, BJ went the opposite way.

  21. We have sucked against everyone lately. Equal-opportunity all-inclusive suckage. Jason Lane. Eric Stultz. Felix Hernandez. Quality of opponent makes no difference. The quality of Barves is the problem.

  22. Julio, we love you, man. But here’s the thing: Aces stop losing streaks.

  23. That ended better than I’d feared, but it was probably too late to shut the barn door.

  24. So we need at least seven to win? Nope. I’m down with making everyone drive back to Atlanta.

  25. I really have no idea why I ever hold out any hope that we may win a non weekend day game. Combine that with the horrible way we’ve been playing lately and it was jsut stupid for me to expect anything but a loss today.

  26. You could build a team of 25 guys from bravesjournal and they’d do no worse than lose every game. Plus they’d be a ton more fun to watch.

  27. I could throw a knuckler in high school, and I just watched “Knuckleball!” last week. I’ll grind out a few innings.

  28. If you’re Frank Wren, what do you even do at this point about 2015? You have a bad team, your reinforcements are Beachy and Medlen coming off second TJs, you don’t have the prospects to land a decent piece by trade, and you don’t have the payroll to add a decent piece in free agency. (I mean, they’ll add a backup catcher, a bench bat, and a veteran reliever, but they can’t go out and buy Max Scherzer.) You’re losing Santana, one of your best arms this year. The Nationals figure to be about the same team next year, but the Mets and Marlins are looming as legitimate contenders. Do you just try to extend Heyward or Justin, hunker down, and hope your farm is looking a lot better heading into 2016?

  29. @61

    You figure out your most valuable assets. You assess their trade possibilities, and act accordingly. You build toward contending in 2016 and beyond. This team, as constructed, looks like a good bet for fourth place next year. Even with trading some assets of value, it will be a fourth-place team. Get Heyward locked up from 2016 onward, and work around the core of Heyward, Freeman and Simmons (despite the brain farts, he does have a unique skill set). The Braves don’t need to go Full Astros, but after the last three-plus months, I’m okay with punting 2015 to build around a core for 2016 and onward.

  30. @61, I have no idea what they do with the product on the field. Paying Uggla and BJ to do nothing makes it really tough to make changes. All I can think of is something like make Pendleton the manager and convince Chipper to come coach the hitters. At least that’d go over well with the fans (what’s left of them).

    I’m convinced Gattis will be traded to the AL. They’ll do everything and then some to sign Heyward. Probably try to do a deal with Santana…

    But we’re losing with these guys already. Is it truly that important to keep everyone around and locked in to multi-year contracts…seemed like a good idea this time last year…crazy how fast it can change.

  31. 64: I am frankly not that worried about the multiyear deals, even though it’s looking increasingly like 2014 and 2015 will be lost years. The nice thing is that all of these guys are young, such that they will presumably still be good when you assemble the additional pieces to create a contender. Same goes for Heyward–even if you signed him to a 10-year deal this offseason, you are not signing up for the danger zone for age-related decline.

  32. Even though I’m on vacation, here is my question for you fellow bravesjounalers, but is this the Fredi Gonzales farewell tour?

  33. I don’t think Fredi is gone. Too many injuries to key players this year. Definitely think we make a hitting coach change.

    What a tough decision for Wren on many fronts. Something needs to be done with Chris Johnson, BJ Upton, the bench, and bullpen. The rotation will look a lot different also. You can’t keep the same bunch next year. It’s just not a good collection of players. No leadership either.

  34. @68

    The leadership thing is something I’ve pondered, and there’s not much in the way of solutions. Assume Gattis is traded. Our old friend David Ross is on the market, but his offense has fallen over the cliff. Russell Martin is having a great year and has the qualities, but someone’s going to overpay for him after his best offensive season in seven years. There’s not a lot of leader types out there. This may be a situation where leadership is needed from the manager. Obviously, you can be laid-back and player-friendly and be a leader in the dugout; we had that for 25 seasons between 1978 and 2010. But Fredi doesn’t have that gravitas, and Joe Maddon is not walking through the clubhouse door.

    As @64 noted, the rotation is an issue.

    You can’t count on Beachy, Medlen (or Minor, for that matter, unless he gets straightened out between now and October). Harang will get an above-value deal from somebody, but might not be able to find pixie dust at Costco next year; let someone else make that mistake (see Wright, Jaret). Bringing Big Erv back is almost a necessity, unless the decision is to punt the season (and as logical as that may be, I doubt it happens; the organization is trying to build a buzz toward the Cobb County move, not squash it).

    Among pitchers in our price range, I’d be intrigued by Jorge De La Rosa, who makes the best of a horrible situation at Coors Field, but the Rockies will probably give him a qualifying offer because they overvalue their own players more than anyone outside of Philadelphia, and, as seen in March, pitching injuries happen and force a team to bite the bullet. (Brett Anderson, who’s been bit by injuries, might have some reclamation project value, is 26, and his WHIP away from Coors is just over 1.00, but it’s via a four-game sample size for ’14. We’re going to be in the scratch-and-dent pile, and Anderson is the type of pitcher on which we often take a chance — and get results.)

  35. @61, The team seems to believe in Peraza, and I keep reading that Peraza will push TLS to a platoon or a bench role before too long. Despite how crazy that all sounds to me, maybe they deal La Stella to patch a hole somewhere.

    Or they could be hyping up Peraza for the same purpose.

    Like others are suggesting, they could also sell high on Gattis and roll with Bethancourt.

  36. Julio, Wood, Hale, Minor are a solid, and young, front 4. I believe Minor will be better next year and Hale can replicate Harang, probably.
    Bullpen will be good with Kimbrel as the anchor and the other dudes we have and create.

    If we can get TLS into the leadoff spot next season and he does a 280/340 thing witl J-Hey, Jupton, Gattis, Freeman then the other guys 6-8 we should be fine.

    This is a strange season, we should be better, things are just not bouncing right at all.
    This team can be help with low cost moves to solidify the bench.

    Okay, so maybe I am dreaming a bit….

  37. @71

    I actually think everything you said makes sense. Our starting rotation should be solid.

    Julio and Wood will be 15 game winners if the team can supply them with an average of 3.5 to 4 runs a game.

    Hale will be much more solid as a starter than a reliever. He has showed he knows how to pace himself and pitch himself out of tough situations when starting.

    Minor can be a viable number 5 starter. He is having a horrible season, but it should turn back around. As for the 4th starter, there is always the possibility of getting either Medlen or Beachy back. There is, also, the possibility of picking someone up in the offseason.

    The bullpen has the anchor in Kimbrel with talent like Simmons and Shreve getting big league time this year should solidify the 8th and 9th innings. Honestly, I think we have a solid group of arms, and I think it more likely that Kimbrel returns to be the long guy out of the bullpen. I think this would be the best situation for him and the team.

    As for the lineup, I agree with you on this just being a weird season. One of the downfalls of big contract extensions, especially in young players, is their tendency to press themselves which could explain a lot about Simmons and Johnsons woes. Freeman’s struggles at times might be him pressing due to feeling the need to try and carry the team. All and all, this season might be a loss unless things turn around, but the future looks bright for the Braves.

    I will say the only downfall I truly see is the fact that we are stuck with B.J. Upton on this team for a few more years. We should really package B.J. this offseason with a player we might not want to give up but could live without. Namely, B.J. and either J. Upton or Gattis to an American League team with something interesting in the return of a nice starting pitcher or everyday outfielder. It doesn’t have to be a CF in that we can always move Heyward to CF. The loss of J. Upton would probably hurt us worse, but do we really want a disgruntled J. Upton on our team after getting rid of his brother? Hopefully, J. Upton would understand that is a business and deal with it. The better option is packaging Gattis with B.J. Gattis is a great power bat, but he would probably be the least missed. Yes, I know he has been one of our offensive guys, but he only plays 3-4 guys out of 5 games and can be quite streaky. If we can get a good return and dump B.J. salary, losing Gattis is a viable option.

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