Nationals 1, Braves 4 (!)

With Thursday’s forecast looking even more ominous than Wednesday’s, the Braves waited out a rain delay that was over two hours before, like lambs to the slaughter, they took the field.

In a shocking turn of events, playing baseball tonight was actually not an exercise of futility for the home nine. June—and the June swoon—is over!

Chipper’s favorite ump, CB Bucknor, was behind the plate tonight, so the strike zone moved from inning to inning, batter to batter, and often pitch to pitch. As a result, the game felt very uncertain until the last out was recorded, and even then the results may be negotiable. It’s Bucknor, you never know.

Doug Fister held the Braves hitless for the first three innings, and it looked like Matt Wisler might have to figure out a way to win without any offense. Then the 4th inning happened. Cameron Maybin singled to ensure Fister would not record a no-hitter tonight, and A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-run home run to get the team on the board. Not content with two runs, even though that is par for the Freddie-less course, Juan Uribe followed with a shot to center to make the game 3-0. Kelly Johnson singled and went to second on a groundball off Simmons’ bat on an attempted hit-and-run. An intentional walk to Eury Perez brought Wisler up with two-outs and two men on. Wisler made contact and guided a hanger into right field to pick up his first major league hit and first RBI. Suddenly it was 4-0, and Braves fans started thinking that maybe, just maybe, the Braves might be able to snap Washington’s 9-game winning streak against them.

Wisler, on the other hand, looked really sharp. He went 5 1/3 innings of shutout, 1-hit baseball, struck out six but gave up five walks. Fredi was ready with his hook, and rather than letting a guy making his third big-league start begin to falter after a strong start, he pulled him after he allowed a walk followed by a deep fly ball off of Yunel Escobar’s bat that Maybin caught with his back to the center field wall. Luis Avilan relieved him and promptly gave up a single to Bryce Harper, but the double-play combo of Andrelton Simmons and Jace Peterson pulled off a beautiful play to end the Nationals threat and get the Braves out of the inning.

In the 7th inning, Dan Uggla came within a foot of hitting a 3-run home run on a hanging slider, but this time the ballpark held the ball and Dan Uggla, Braves killer and most expensive player this year, ended up with just a noisy out. Denard Span followed that with an RBI single to put the Nationals on the board, but David Aardsma came on in relief of Nick Masset and struck out Danny Espinosa to end the inning.

To remind you of how far this team has come, Andrelton Simmons was the only player in the starting lineup tonight who was even on the team a year ago. In fact, the Braves have now had 46 different players on the 25-man roster this year, which is pretty amazing considering the All-Star Break is still over a week away. For comparison’s sake, on July 1 last year, the starting lineup was:

Upton Jr.
Johnson, C
La Stella

On top of that, Ramiro Pena and Dan Uggla got plate appearances, Shae Simmons, Avilan, Walden, and Kimbrel relieved Minor, and the Braves beat the Mets 5-4. Times have changed.

Barring more rain, the series against the Nationals will wrap up Thursday when Manny Banuelos takes the hill for his major league debut against Max Scherzer at 7:10. With the win tonight the Braves have a chance to win the series against a team that has owned them this year. It’s baseball. Anything can happen.

Banuelos vs. Scherzer. The Braves could win. Ha. Ha, ha. Hahahahahahaha. I crack myself up. And I yield the floor.

Natspos delenda est.

97 thoughts on “Nationals 1, Braves 4 (!)”

  1. I’m sorry. He’s been in the bigs for years, but I still snicker when I read Doug Fister’s name. I know, I know–can’t help it.

  2. Thank you for the winning recap, ‘Rissa. It’s good to have you back where you belong.

    I chose bed over the rain delay and was thrice rewarded: a good night’s sleep, a ‘Rissa recap and a Braves win. This is as good as it gets.

  3. No. Any nut-punching of Bryce Harper is both justified and true. The end. Kick him again.

  4. – Top international prospects signing breakdown

    1. Eddy Julio Martinez, OF, Cuba – TBA
    10. Cristian Pache, OF, Dominican Republic – Braves ($1,400,000)
    24. Derian Cruz, SS, Dominican Republic – Braves ($2,000,000)

    It is unrealistic that the Braves sign Martinez as they have spent their bonus pool on the other two. Though I think they can, but would incur a penalty.

  5. I don’t see anything that’s annoying about Bryce Harper other than the fact that he’s not on the Braves. People need to get over this.

  6. @3 — Yeah, somewhat. But they take their cue from the whiniest announcers in the world, as I described in Chapters Two and Three of Why I Hate the Nats. The Nats’ announcers take on, for example, the Simba slide and spike play, was absolutely hysterical. Not hysterical as in funny, hysterical as in they went bananas. Tom Boswell’s recounting in his column of what actually happened on that play and later in the game, if sworn, would be perjury.

    @8. Yeah, somewhat. I also covered my thoughts on this in Chapter 5, ibid. He’s sort of a litmus test player that you like or excuse if he’s yours and hate if he’s not….

  7. @6 — Rumor has it the Braves are going to make a run on international players next year, when spending penalties push a lot of the other big-spending teams out of the market, so I wouldn’t expect much out of them this year.

  8. Yeah, they’re apparently mostly done after those two and are trying to acquire another $1 million in slot funds via trade to prevent any penalties this year.

    Nice to add some interesting position players after what seemed like an all-pitching Rule 4 draft.

  9. @13 It’s not just the Nats though. Redskins fans are just as bad.

    @8 Really? You don’t find the non-stop media blitzkrieg around him annoying?

  10. It’s also worth noting that the two players the Braves signed both fit the mold of the position players they’ve been favoring since the regime change — fast, good athletes, play in the middle of the diamond, hit for average, don’t strike out much, power questionable.

  11. You don’t have to agree, but if you don’t even understand the basis behind the rest of us hating Bryce Harper, well…you’re really not paying attention at all. Or you are and are willfully ignoring a large chunk of what you’re seeing. He plays for the team that’s currently our biggest rival and he’s a massive tool. Do I have to draw you a diagram?

    And Washington’s media can shove it up their nether regions as far as it will go. Between Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo, who make listening to Chip and Joe seem like listening to Red freaking Barber (Like seriously, if you haven’t heard these guys yet, please look them up the next time the Nats are on MLB Network or whatever. They are an absolute joke!), and the fact that the Washington Post seems to have a writer whose sole assignment is to watch the opposing team’s broadcast of the game to make sure they’re not being meanies and pointing out every time Bryce Harper acts like a douche, one has to wonder how the city of Washington even functions under the weight of such a massive inferiority complex.

  12. I disagree with the necessity to hate Harper, but that was an excellent rant by Nick. Well done, sir.

  13. @19,Washington has an even longer championship drought than Atlanta (Redskins ’92) and is a higher profile town. Inferiority doesn’t even begin to describe the sports psyche of my hometown.

  14. It’s also a football town with fairweather fans for the other three sports. They didn’t care about the Nats before they started winning, and they won’t care about them when they start losing. Same with the Wizards.

  15. Oh man it killed me when Senators II left. The Orioles were in the middle of their heyday, so there was still baseball to watch, but it sorta made it worse.

  16. I like having a Designated Villain, especially a guy who’s both super-talented & super-douchey. Works perfectly. He’s kinda like Isiah Thomas.

  17. Isiah would never copy Macklemore’s haircut tho. Key difference. Although the comparison is great because as a Bullets fan I haaated Detroit.

  18. @1
    I probably could’ve let it go by now if he hadn’t been traded for Furbush that one time.

  19. Cody Martin traded to the A’s for international money.

    That guy’s decline was precipitous. He went from nobody to eighth-inning guy to traded for books balancing in about three months.

    The Dodgers also signed Cahill; I wish them joy in their companionship. It seems like all the Braves’ washed-up fifth starters end up wearing Dodger blue these days.

  20. @26, fair point. But most everybody who grew up rooting for the Senators gradually drifted either to the O’s or the Skins. By the time the Natspos showed up in 2005, baseball was probably the number-three sport behind football and Gilbert Arenas.

  21. #28
    We Hawks fans certainly detested that bunch as well.

    When the Pistons had Mahorn & Laimbeer, they were Isiah’s personal goon squad. Great team, but classless & properly hated.

  22. And then he repeated it at the end of the inning. Just when you think Chip can’t sound any more stupid…

  23. Yes he was excited. Then Joe chimed in “well he’s hitting .300 so he had a 1 in 3 chance of getting a hit”.

    I’m not sure where to start

  24. 39- Gotta hand it to Fredlot. He must have figured that since the Braves can’t handle starters in their major league debuts, then the Nationals can’t. And so far, he’s right.

  25. Simmons breaks up Scherzer’s shutout bid! Why hasn’t Chip pointed this out yet?

  26. Manny Bananas has been outstanding! I just hope this run’s enough and the kid’s not managed into a loss.

  27. @Dodgers: #Dodgers have acquired minor league RHP Caleb Dirks & OF Jordan Paroubeck from the Braves in exchange for international signing slot No. 87.

  28. @mlbbowman: The Braves added $249,000 to their bonus pool with the deal they struck with the Dodgers

    @mlbbowman: Via today’s trades (A’s and Dodgers), the #Braves have expanded their int’l bonus pool to $3.1M. Pache & Cruz’s bonuses = $3.4M

  29. At least Fredi learned from his previous mistake and didn’t let him continue.

  30. Maybin has trouble keeping the ball in his glove. I think he is in defensive decline.

  31. Hmmm… even bananas can get cramps.

    I bet Manny got himself pretty ratcheted up for his first outing. I’d imagine if you’re more nervous than normal, you sweat more. Sounds like he out-sweated his body.

  32. Because The Delicate Genius must be given the benefit of all scorekeeping doubt.

  33. They don’t often call it an error if it’s more than ordinary effort. He still should have caught it.

  34. As if it wasn’t inane enough to say someone broke up a no hitter in the 3rd, it’s even more so to repeat it in the 8th. Chip must be genuinely shocked this Braves offense has managed to get a hit off of Scherzer.

  35. Why in the name of God is Chip still obsessing about the “no-hitter” we broke up before Scherzer even got through the batting order once?

    EDIT: …or what ‘Rissa said.

  36. So, if this goes to extras Avilan, Eveland, and Brigham are all that’s left. Brigham threw 3 IP Monday and probably isn’t available.

    Meanwhile, Scherzer is still out there.

  37. It’s been very nice of the greatest baseball player of all-time, who just so happens to totally not be a douche (I mean honestly, why does everyone think he’s a douche? It’s really time for you guys to move past this!), to make sure the Atlanta fans have been frequently air-conditioned this evening.

  38. Maybin redeemed himself quite nicely, I’d say. I did not see this win coming.

  39. I suspect that ball was fair. I am certain Bucknor was in no position to tell one way or another.

  40. I really, really like Maybin. He did just say “tip your cap”, so he’ll probably be an ineffective manager.

  41. I look forward to the DC newspaper blog takedown of all the mean things the various Braves fan sites had to say about Bryce Harper tonight. For the next home series, that guy will be in the stadium stalking Braves fans hoping they say something unflattering about poor Bryce.

    Also, we came up a winner on the spin of the wheel that is the unreviewable C.B. Bucknor call.

  42. I’m a little surprised the Braves gave up on Paroubeck so quickly. He never played a game in the Braves organization, and his tools were interesting, if raw.

    Banuelos looked great tonight until he cramped up.

  43. I wish I knew exactly what the Braves were doing with the wheeling-and-dealing with the international pool money and slots. I wish someone could explain it to me with Michael Scott-level simplicity. This is so unorthodox for a team to re-build this way.

  44. I never would have imagined the Braves winning this series and predicted a Nationals sweep. However, I WILL NOT EAT MY HOUSE.

  45. According to Bowman, the Braves have already overspent their pool money, spending $3.4m. These moves brought their money to $3.1m. The moves are directed at not paying a penalty.

  46. @80 — If the Braves spend too much money on international players, they will be fined and have their ability to sign players in the future curtailed by the league. They don’t want that to happen (at least not this year), so they’re trading forgettable players for other teams’ international money in order to sign the players they want without going over their allotment.

    Word is they want to blow the lid off their spending limit in 2016, when the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, and Dodgers will all be forced to sit out the expensive signs, so they’re being conscientious about not going over this year.

  47. With Fulenchek, they’ve got 200k to play with.

    Do you end up with a bunch of small bonuses too? I’m not sure I understand the system that well

  48. The money is already spent. They aren’t raising funds to sign more players, they are raising their allotment to match what they already spent on Cruz and Pache.

    Fulenchek is quite a steep price to pay.

  49. Yes. He will give up no earned runs and walk zero batters for the rest of his career.

  50. But we’ll take it. Really wish something like that would happen for us in the deciding game of a playoff series against the Cardinals.

  51. I’d like to see Lavarnway being used to catch Teheran. Don’t have any solid reasons, but it may give Julio a different approach.

  52. @89. I’m pretty sure Hank Aaron had no earned runs or walks allowed in his career; plus, he hit really well.

  53. Yeah, this whole thing is annoyingly close to NBA front office wrangling for my tastes. Giving up tangible players for intangible things like cap space or slot money or mid-level exceptions or whatever. I don’t know anything about the low-level minor league players we traded or the international players we signed, but I guess the international players are better than the minor league players we traded? I certainly hope so, anyway.

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