Phillies 4

You would think that the Braves would have hit rock bottom when they got no-hit by the Phillies, but no — the Braves, like a Rob Schneider movie, acknowledge no lower limit to their degradation.

I’m not going to recap the game. After loading the bases in the first inning against Kyle Kendrick, who has a 9.64 ERA in the first inning this year, they obviously failed to score and failed to even mount much of a threat. Mike Minor pitched well until hitting a wall in the 8th inning — it was, for what it’s worth, his fifth consecutive quality start — but the fact that he was out there in the eighth inning indicates just how little Fredi Gonzalez trusts his bullpen. And with good reason.

But complaining about the bench or the bullpen is a bit like complaining that Phil Collins sang annoying songs in Genesis: it is true, but it misses the point entirely, because we have one of the worst offenses in baseball, and Phil Collins has a solo career.

A few facts, in no particular order. Out of 15 teams in the National League, the Braves are:

6th in walks (that’s good!)
6th in GIDPs (that’s bad.)
6th in men left on base (that’s bad.)

All of those double plays and men left on base might explain why they’re 14th in runs scored, behind only the Padres.

And we have a specific knack for coming up short when the chips are down. The Braves are:

15th in nearly every conceivable pinch-hitting metric (R, H, OBP/SLG/OPS, etc.)
15th in sacrifice flies
11th in OPS with runners in scoring position
15th in OPS with runners in scoring position and two outs
14th in OPS in high-leverage situations

And yet they’re only 7th in OPS in medium-leverage situations, and 13th in OPS in low-leverage situations.

It ain’t just your lying eyes. When times get tough, the Braves offense spits out the bit.

96 thoughts on “Phillies 4”

  1. @1

    Alright, since we’re doing this and since you guys all seem to insist on slitting your wrists, I predict right here and now that we go to the wild-card game. That’s right, I said it. We’re going to the wild-card game…where we’re probably eliminated by the Giants.

  2. @2

    I think we get knocked out against the Dodgers, myself.

    I don’t believe in St. Louis. Milwaukee is sinking. I think Pittsburgh takes that division and the other two play their way out of the Wild Card.

  3. Re: @63 from last thread:

    I thought several things on Twitter last night were interesting. Bowman publically questioned Fredi’s decision to replace Justin with Doumit (even saying that Bobby Dews would have been a better choice). Minor’s quote was funny in its lack of basis in reality, but, really, what else could he have said? Getting remotely close to the truth would have meant he would have had to throw his entire offense under the bus. That’s probably not the best idea for clubhouse relations.

    Most interesting to me, though, was the fact that Chris Johnson was the only position player willing to talk to reporters. It seems like that is always the case. He doesn’t shrink from questions, even when he or the team are playing poorly (or when he throws a temper tantrum. He always faces the media.) Honestly, I admire him for that. No one else really seems willing to talk when times get tough. I don’t think I’ve read a single quote from B.J. this year (which is the main reason I tend to give Regression a much longer leash than B.J. before getting frustrated with him), but even quotes from Freeman, Heyward, or Upton the Younger are sparse. I understand that some people are shyer than others, but talking to the media is part of the job, and it would be nice if someone besides CJ would step up sometimes and shoulder the blame.

  4. Rissa (or anybody) can we get some copy/pasted quotes from Minor and Bowman for those of us who are blocked from Twitter and streaming videos at work?

    I have noticed that Chris Johnson always wants to talk, too. I wonder whether the rest of them aren’t talking because of some latent discontent with each other that no one wants to publicize.

  5. I think Chris Johnson is just the “team leader.” I’m pretty sure if you went back and looked during the 2011 collapse, Chipper was probably the only guy who talked for much of that. It’s just nobody thought anything of it becuase it was Chipper. It appears Chris Johnson has emerged as the “captain” of a team that doesn’t really have a true captain.

    EDIT: Someone’s also going to have to explain to me just what’s so ridiculous about what Minor said. “Great” is obviously overstating it a bit, but replace it with “good” and there’s absolutely nothing off about it at all. We’re a game and a half out of a freaking playoff spot, competing against two very flawed teams, with a favorable schedule down the stretch. Why would we panic, exactly?

  6. Apparently La Stella said in an interview last week that Harang and Heyward are the leaders of the team. I was surprised at that since I would have guessed Johnson based solely on who talks to the media. (Starting pitchers really only talk on nights they start, though, so I guess I can cut Harang some slack.)

    @5 I’ll go find the quotes and post them.

  7. @6, I generally agree with you: the team should avoid panicking — there is not a single problem that panic cannot make worse — and it’s a sign that the team hasn’t completely turned against Fredi that they’re still willing to blandly lie to the media and say that they’re not worried.

  8. Is there some reason Gattis sits today? He already sat on Monday and we have an off day tomorrow. This is the guy responsible for our only offense in the last 4 games.

    I get Bethancourt getting a start, but can’t we let Gattis fake it in LF for a game, not like Doumit is an all-world defender out there.

  9. #Braves Minor on level of concern: “Very low…. We are concerned with winning, but I don’t think anybody’s panicking. We’re a great team."— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) September 3, 2014

    #Braves Minor, off. woes weighing on pitchers? “I don’t really think that affects our job. We’re still going to try to get everybody out.”— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) September 3, 2014

    #Braves shut out again by #Phillies, have scored 1 run in 4 games. "Not fun at all," Johnson says. GAME STORY http://t.co/x7jmGlLKw1— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) September 3, 2014

    #Braves Johnson: "Itstinks. It’s not fun at all. For me, it’s hard to look (Brave pitchers) in the face. What are you going to say? Sorry?"— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) September 3, 2014

    #Braves Johnson on mood and offense: "Frustrated. t stinks right now."— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) September 3, 2014

    #Braves FrediG on continued terrible offense: "It's mind-boggling."— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) September 3, 2014

  10. Alex, I tried to put multiple Twitter posts in one comment, so it is awaiting moderation. Can you approve it, please?

  11. @10

    I’m still miffed he sat against Hamels. Fredi ought to have arranged that a little differently, giving him a breather on Saturday or Sunday.

  12. Not only is Don’thit in the lineup, he is bating clean up.

    Fredi should be fire before the line up cards are exchanged.

    Wow.

  13. What a line-up! 5 out of 9 guys have on-base percentages below .300

    Edit: Didn’t see Bethancourt! That makes 6!

  14. I would appreciate a randomized lineup.

    If you wanna shake it up, shake it up.

    Also, CJ shouldn’t hit against righties or with guys on first and less than two outs.

  15. Because this is baseball, and baseball defies common sense, there’s no way they don’t win today with this lineup.

  16. @26… I was just thinking that the Phillies are going to take all the suspense out of this one by scoring a run in the first.

    Sad when the game seems to be over and you haven’t even batted yet.

  17. The Braves are doing just fine striking out on their own. They don’t need Bob Davidson to help them with that.

  18. So we only broke up the no-hitter because of home scoring? Should Doumit’s hit have been an error? It WOULD make more sense… I’ve only got Gamecast and your posts to keep me informed.

  19. “There’s a big man playing shortstop between second and third base; if he grounds one there we can dance in the streets.”

  20. Leave it to Peanut to light a fire under Doumit’s ass.

    “I’ll show you, you stupid reporter. I’ll…I’ll ground a ball right under an infielder’s glove, that’s what I’ll do!”

  21. Well Boston released Sizemore.

    BJ Upton, with 1 swing, provides more offense than the whole team over the past 4 games. World is ending.

  22. Clean Up Hitter…plate appearance #2…

    Oh! Tough luck, Clean Up Hitter! He tried to sneak that one past the catcher’s mitt, but it found leather.

  23. I was actually having to do my job a few minutes ago, and missed Sizemore’s homer. I’ve decided that if I didn’t see it, it didn’t happen, so in my dream world the Braves are still winning. It’s really nice in this alternate reality. Anyone who wants to is welcomed to join me.

  24. This would be a good time for Santana to pitch like the early season/recent Santana, and not the mid-season Santana.

  25. Ah, looks like the Phillies are going to play September baseball today. September baseball is the worst sport ever invented.

  26. Someone hacked mlb.com. it says that BJ Upton hit a 2 run homer and that the Braves have scored 5 runs. Russians? Canadians? who could it be?

  27. BJ is on base all three times up today. Andrelton Simmons still can’t hit. Fredi should PH Gosselin for Chris Johnson here.

  28. Doumit’s motto is if you can’t put the ball in the catcher’s mitt, put it on the ground. Good things will happen.

  29. Having so many runs on the board is making me feel a little uncomfortable, as if I am cheating on the Braves by rooting for a different team. That being said, if a B lineup like this is what it takes to win, then so be it. Start one every day.

    Now, to get through the 7th inning that has proven to be a challenge all year…

  30. If we are ok with Doumit in the outfield then We should have an everyday place for Gattis the rest of the year.

  31. #78
    Maybe so. With this bunch, any answer could make sense.

    I’ll say this: Today’s lineup couldn’t have done any worse than what we’ve seen the last few days. Why not try something different? Tomorrow’s an off-day. If people (like the 2 regular catchers) are tired, let ’em rest.

  32. I’ll have to recap this one once I get home, since my shift at work is about to end. Until then, enjoy basking in the glow of this thing we call a “win”.

  33. Was this really a “B lineup?” Doumit in for the injured JUpton, and Bethancourt getting the day start in front of Laird. Otherwise, that’s just “the lineup.”

  34. Ahead of Chris Johnson (against a RHP), Bethancourt and BJ. It wasn’t a good lineup, but Doumit’s the only guy “out of place” there really, and he was hitting where Justin would have been.

  35. A long standing Coxian theory of one-day injury subs. Put the sub in at the same place in the lineup as the guy being subbed for, to maintain the rest of the lineup. I’m not condemning or condoning the move, but it’s been Braves-standard procedure for injury subs like Doumit’s appearance today since roughly 1990.

  36. Bobby didn’t do that much his last several years. The last time I remember him doing that was Darren Bragg batting 3rd in Sheffield’s place.

  37. Analogy fail :

    Phil Collins retired a few years ago due to poor health. His career now consists of having accountants deposit large checks every month for fees and royalties.

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