Braves 2, Pirates 1 (by coop)

The Braves did not lose all six games of this road trip. Today they beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1.

Big Dawg Alex Wood was dominant. He had to be. Wood went 7.1 shutout innings. He allowed five hits, hit one Pirate, walked none and struck out eight.

Offensively, the Braves EXPLODED for two runs.

After swapping goose eggs through the first four innings, the Braves waited until two out in the fifth to A-B-E their first run. Cameron Maybin singled, took second on a Francisco Cervelli passed ball and scored on Nick Markakis’ single. Chris Johnson followed Neck with another single, but A.J. Pierzynski’s cued liner was gracelessly snared by Sean Rodriguez to forestall further damage.

Jace Peterson greeted Vance Worley with a home run to lead off the seventh to increase the Braves’ lead to 2-zip. Thanks to Wood’s dominance and despite ninth inning drama, today two runs sufficed.

Wood was good until he allowed an almost home run two-bagger off the left field wall to Neil Walker with one out in the eighth. Fredi, bless his little heart, brought in Jim Johnson in relief. Johnson ended the threat, striking out Always Trouble Josh Harrison and getting pinch hitter Pedro Alvarez to fly out to center.

In the Pirates’ eighth, Eury Perez replaced Jonny Gomes in left field for defensive purposes. What this simple declarative sentence implies about The Grit’s remaining baseball skills I do not know. I have opinions on this subject which I will share if you ask.

Jason “Full Pack” Grilli retired the first two Pirates in the ninth without trouble. Then Grilli breathed life into the Buccos by walking Cervelli. Braves Killer Jordy Mercer hit a long but playable fly ball to deep left center, and Braves fans everywhere learned that Perez and Maybin skipped physics class the day they covered the laws of motion. Otherwise, they would have learned that every object in a state of (Braves) uniform(ed) motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.

Perez and Maybin both ran at full speed chasing Mercer’s blast. Both called for the ball, neither heard the other and…

Ouch.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

At Eddie Perez’s urging, Maybin hustled the ball back to the infield, holding Mercer at second. Perez didn’t hustle anywhere or anything. For the second time this series, a Brave lay damaged on the Pirates’ field.

After quite a while, Perez walked under his own power off the field. Joey Terdoslavich took his place in left.

Gregory Polanco pinch hit for Sean Rodriguez. After a lengthy at bat, Rodriguez struck out. Pierzynski kept the bounced third strike in front of him and threw Rodriguez out at first.

Ho-hum. Braves win. Let’s go home.

63 thoughts on “Braves 2, Pirates 1 (by coop)”

  1. After the outfield collision & seeing the ball pop out of Maybin’s glove, it was hard not to imagine for an instant a game-tying inside-the-parker right there. If we’re going to tread any water in Freddie’s absence, it’ll probably have to take a few more 2-1 wins.

    We miss you, Mr. Freeman.

  2. Looks like Uggla’s eyes may be a little better. He’s hitting .235 with a .704 OPS. Of course, take away his ABs against Atlanta, and he’s probably down to normal Ugglaesque numbers. Melvin Jr’s name change may not be helping him much .156 BA with a .546 OPS – ouch!

    Comparing Kimbrel’s 3.41 ERA and 19 saves to Grilli’s 3.14 ERA and 21 saves makes the trade with San Diego look pretty darn good short term – I know Grilli wasn’t part of the trade, but he made it possible. Throw in Maybin’s numbers compared to Melvin’s, a load of money in salary relief, and possibly most importantly Wisler, this could be one of the best deals the Braves have ever made.

  3. @5 Some of the salary relief has been used already. The acquisition of Touki and Arroyo is the prime example.

  4. @7 – I agree with the assessment of the rebuild and understand we have spent some of the salary relief. Does anyone know how much salary relief is yet to be spent?

  5. Days off aren’t always bad. Freddie’s one day closer to coming back without us losing.

  6. Has someone compiled RS/GM with and without Freddie? It feels like 1,000,0000 and 0.

  7. Greetings from Tokyo. Watching the swallows play the Tigers. I will do some scouting for a hitter.. Matt Murton anyone?

  8. I wonder if Julio would have much trade value if he finishes the season as he’s started it.

  9. Yeah, it seems to me that trading a young, cost-controlled pitcher who you thought was a central building block of your team at the nadir of his value is probably not the best use of internal resources.

    There are basically two questions. 1) Are his struggles related to an undiagnosed injury? 2) Based on the answer to #1, what is the best way to get him back in a position to succeed?

    I haven’t felt a whole lot like Fredi has been putting Teheran in a position to succeed this year. There have been a couple of heartbreaking games where he had six good innings and one bad one, and whether it was tough love or a battle of egos, both Julio and the team lost. The fact that Mark Bowman is even speculating about trading Julio means that not only is the team considering it, they actually want other teams to know that they’re considering it. Again, I don’t know if this is a crazy motivational tool or if they’re just annoyed that he’s having a bad year, but I find it hard to believe that this is the best way to get the guy to pitch well again.

  10. @17

    I agree. The only way I would move him is if we were blown away by the offer.

    I think we will trade someone in our current rotation after the season, but I think he and Miller are the least likely to be moved.

  11. I don’t think its a motivational tool. I think that the Braves are truly gauging his value on the market. Teheran has a lot of value despite his struggles this year. His past performance + potential + team friendly contract could get a decent return. All that being said I’d rather keep him and fix him. A Teheran, Wood, Miller big 3 would be nice for a few years.

    @17 – So are you saying that Fredi should pull his number 1 pitcher at every sign of trouble?

  12. That’s not actually true. The whole point of acquiring so much pitching is so that you’re not boned if one of them goes all Tommy Hanson or Jair Jurrjens on you.

  13. We don’t have so much pitching. We have a few prospects that may or may not pan out. Teheran is being counted on as an almost sure thing. If he’s not then we are in big trouble.

  14. @19- Yep. On board with everything, although I’d like to retire the phrase “Big 3” from all sports.

  15. If there’s even a glimmer of a possibility that Teheran would perform better with a different manager, then give Fredi a pink slip. What’s the point of having a manager in a rebuilding period who can’t get the best out of a developing ace?

  16. There’s no better way to maximize value for a trade piece than to tell everyone that’s listening that you are unhappy with their performance.

  17. It’s pretty clear this is not a Teheran vs. Fredi thing. The front office is also expressing displeasure with Teheran. I’m really not sure why. I know he’s having a terrible year, but they must know something we don’t to be operating like this. Is he injured, does he have a bad attitude, etc.? I doubt they’d be throwing Teheran under the bus if they felt like Fredi was doing something to hurt the situation.

    At the end of the day, the pitcher’s got to pitch.

  18. And the manager’s got to protect the team’s assets. Under Bobby, according to David Justice, when the Braves won, it was because of the players; and when the Braves lost, it was because of Bobby.

    I have never seen or heard one of Fredi’s former or current players say that about Gonzalez. That, I submit, is the difference between the last two Braves managers.

    Fire Fredi, and keep the rebuild/restock/retool process moving.

    You may now have the soapbox.

  19. There’s plenty of positive feedback from players about Fredi. And literally no player has ever spoken negatively publicly about Fredi. Let’s not let whatever frustrations about his in-game management cause you to conclude that because Teheran is struggling, it’s Fredi’s fault. That’s a horribly slippery slope that would lead you to probably fire most managers in the league.

  20. maybe Fredi was calling pitches from the dugout and he kept signaling for waist high meatballs from teheran

  21. More than once this season, Fredi has voiced displeasure with his players in the press. In his defense, these comments were probably always in response to questions in post-loss interviews, if that can be construed as a defense.

    I’m old and have outlived most of my brain cells, but I don’t remember Bobby doing that, EVER. I do remember him yanking Andruw in mid-inning; but even then, he did not announce his displeasure to the press.

    Fredi may be McCarthy, Boche, Madden and Showalter all wrapped up in one. He may not have lost his team. He lost me. I have no respect for a manager who throws his players under the bus or airs team disciplinary issues publicly.

    Fire him or not, I don’t really care; but I was taught that successful managers protected their team.

    That ends my diatribe. Please believe whatever you chose.

  22. It’s not really about Fredi, though it’s clear there’s some friction there. The front office is sending this signal, as has been mentioned several times already. I don’t think I like that. Teheran isn’t having a good year, but that’s a pretty severe reaction. Hell maybe Teheran is a total punk and we’re better off without him. I have no idea. I just think this is a somewhat bizarre way to go about things.

  23. Julio is barely 24 and signed for FIVE more seasons to a cheap contract. There’s a pretty solid bit of data that pitchers mature later. Leave it to the clown posse of Braves writers to flog the idea of trading him now.

  24. @40

    Smitty, you’re a notorious Fredi basher. Kimbrel was pissed that he wasn’t brought in to pitch the 8th, not because he felt Fredi was a bad people manager or organization leader. Completely different.

    I think some of you guys idolize Bobby a bit too much. Yes, the guy had some great division winners, but he’s not without blemish. He had a HoF trio of starting pitching and one of the most heralded pitching coaches in history and won 1 WS in 15 years. We act like Bobby could do no wrong, but he did plenty wrong, and he was known by many to have some in-game management flaws. Bobby was never handed a roster like this. JS never hauled off and traded the equivalent of Fred McGriff, Chipper Jones, Tom Glavine, and, say, Ryan Klesko at once.

    To Spike’s point, Teheran is 24 and will probably right the ship. Until Atlanta deals him, I don’t think there’s much to make of some writers writing.

  25. The Braves may be afraid he is losing velocity off his FB that he can’t gain back.

  26. I know the lineup isn’t exactly full of guys one would want to bat cleanup, but I’m not sure why Fredi insists on batting AJP cleanup so much. I think the top 3 is good, but why not separate the 2 LHBs Markakis and AJP in the middle of the lineup by putting Uribe between them?

  27. Bobby was never a great in game manager. Tony LaRussa for one was better. I’d still have chosen Bobby. I think that a manager’s worth is less his strategic brilliance than his ability to protect and get the most from his players.

    Fredi’s team is not loaded with all star talent this year, and his won-loss record is better than I would have guessed. Last year’s goat rope was Fredi’s second epic collapse with better talent than this year’s squad. Neither collapse — again, my opinion — would or could have happened on Cox’s watch.

  28. 44 — I don’t know then. Maybe they just want to get a sense of his market value.

  29. Teheran had a bad year in 2012 and bounced back, so there is precedent to him figuring it out again.

  30. I think I might switch to watching ladies soccer…

    edit: I am actually watching it here at Tokyo airport. Guys, your US goalkeeper is seriously pretty.

  31. Back home all excited to watch a ballgame again for the first time in over a week, but I think I may go back into my self-imposed baseball exile until tomorrow. Or until Freddie comes back. I’ll have to see what my level of optimism is tomorrow before I make that call.

  32. Go back to soccer. We are playing great.

    Timo team USA is why they call it the beautiful game.

  33. @57 – yes yes, I see that now however for all the wrong reasons because the game is …not good.

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