Cubs 9, Braves 3 (by coop)

Chicago beat Atlanta 9-3. The game was over before it began.

Matt Wisler got smacked around. In less than three innings, Wisler gave up seven runs. Of the six hits he allowed, three left the unfriendly confines. Matt also walked three and plunked one.

The Braves did score. Ryan Lavarnway homered
and singled, and Nick Swisher had three singles and knocked in two runs.

The Cubs enjoyed their first four-game sweep of the Braves since 1968. The Braves and Braves fans did not.

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85 thoughts on “Cubs 9, Braves 3 (by coop)”

  1. Hard to believe this team was .500 not that long ago.

    The patented Fredi late-year meltdown didn’t even wait until September to commence this year.

  2. I can’t see how one can conclude Fredi is responsible for this. The offense is terrible, the bullpen is terrible, the starting rotation is way too young and undeveloped, and there’s nothing to play for. There’s not a manager in baseball that could help this horrible bunch win baseball games. This team is just flat out horrible.

  3. I predict a cavalcade of comments saying you can’t blame this one on fredi. I preemptively agree.

  4. Our pitching outside of Miller and sometimes Teheran is atrocious. Need a few posts reminding everyone that most young pitchers struggle, and then eventually rebound and make the hall of fame…

    Alex Wood was decent. Maybe not destined for super stardom, but definitely decent. Hector Olivera better damn well be better than decent.

  5. Aw heck, just let Fredi manage until he no longer wants to do it. Meltdown with a good team? Managers don’t have much of an effect anyway. Meltdown with a bad team? No one else could have done any better. He can’t lose.

  6. I will clarify that I don’t necessarily think that Fredi is a very good manager, and at this point, because he hasn’t shown that he’s very good, I wouldn’t be upset if he’s replaced. I don’t, however, think this is his fault by any stretch.

  7. I will note that the score was 7-0 when I turned this game on, so with me watching the Braves outscored the Cubs 3-2. In my book, then, today was a win.

  8. None of this is Chris Johnson’s fault either. That doesn’t mean he isn’t a horrible third baseman. His horribleness was only one factor of our being a horrible team. The thing is, when he was criticized, nobody came rushing to his defense, saying “hey now, we woulda lost this game even if we’d had 1999 Chipper Jones at third”.

    @6 said this in a much pithier way

    One pleasant aspect of our being so horrible is that it’s been months since I thought about how horrible a manager Fredi Gonzalez is. And I think we’re all clear that Fredi isn’t making us horrible, but he certainly hasn’t helped. At this point, It’s just as well we maximize our losses.

  9. I mean, at this point, they’re basically where we thought they’d be heading into the season. Just a course-correction.

  10. Well, we’d better get him up here before September 1, otherwise we can’t put him on our playoff roster.

  11. For those of you young’uns who missed the gory years of the late 80s – now you know the pain we braves fans felt when we ran Glavine and Smoltz out there to their dooms once a week.

  12. If the Cubs play .500 ball the rest of the way, and we go undefeated (38-0), we would tie them for the 2nd wild card (assuming the Giants didn’t catch fire).

    Actually, we’d almost certainly win the division with a 91-71 record.

    But I don’t like our chances to go undefeated for this series against the miserable Rockies.

  13. Fredi G is the right man for two tank seasons. I’ve moved on to the acceptance stage.

    Olivera wasn’t in the lineup yesterday. I assume he’s still hurt.

  14. I just looked at this site’s favorite thing ever: THE BASEBALL PROSPECTUS PLAYOFF ODDS!!! Remember those??? Whatever our chances are (and they’re obviously mathematically greater than zero), they round to 0.0%. So I figure based on us not making the playoffs the year we had 99% odds in our favor that we probably have it in the bag.

    Also I think we’d be looking at catching the Mets as more likely than catching the Cubs.

    And yes, I am joking about all of this, lest you think me totally out of my mind.

  15. Our pythagorean W-L is 50-74, which is three games worse than our actual record. Anyone want to credit that difference to Fredi? Lol.

  16. One of the worst theories ever proffered is that one can evaluate a manager’s effect by comparing the actual record to the Pythagorean record. There’s just too much noise for that difference to be meaningful in most cases.

    Not that you were actually serious, krussell, but many people would do just that and be quite serious about it.

  17. I’ve always felt like the biggest play in the Pythag record is the quality of your bullpen and bench, which the GM should get credit for. I don’t feel like there’s that much button-pushing to pin the blue ribbon on the manager’s chest. When you have O’Ventbrel to go to 2 out of 3 wins or a strong pinch hitter to run out there 4 out of 5 times, then your Pythag will probably be misleading.

  18. That guy’s pricey.

    The 2002 Braves seem to be a very good example. You had Smoltz/Remlinger/Holmes/Hammond in the pen and DeRosa/One side of the Franco platoon/Giles/Bragg off the bench. That team overperformed its Pythag by 5 games. I don’t see any recent Braves team that out-performed their Pythag better than that other than the 1995 season’s 6 wins above the Pythag.

    Fredi’s teams have “outperformed” their Pythag 4 out of 5 seasons. Bobby’s teams actually “outperformed” its Pythags in only 3 out of his last 10 seasons.

    Slow day in real estate, as you can see…

  19. People complained about Bobby all the time. He did a lot of the same stuff we hate Fredi for. It’s only in retrospect that he’s become the ‘bestest-manager-evah!!!’. During the run he wasn’t universally adored, and he has to at least shoulder some of the blame for losing that many short-series.

    I think the Pythag stuff isn’t just about winning close games and having a good pen, it’s also influenced by blowouts. The good Braves teams won lots of laughers. This current bunch is on the other side of them pretty often. That has to skew things a bit.

  20. Hey, at least he doesn’t call for a bunt as often as he used to. Then again, nobody is — the league leader is on pace for about 66 sac bunts, which is 5 less than the NL average in 2011, Fredi’s first year.

  21. Get ’em on,
    Get ’em over,
    Get ’em in.
    That’s the proven way to win.

    Especially the get ’em in part.

  22. Most educated fans see Bobby as a stabilizing clubhouse presence and motivator who was a below-average tactician. Bobby used to say things like “I don’t believe in statistics” that drove SABR savvy fans crazy.

    This is an interesting but flawed analysis that places Bobby very high on a WAW (wins above WAR) scale:

    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2012/3/28/2908044/manager-wins-above-expectancy

    Bruce Bochy tends to do very well in these kind of analyses…

  23. @37, Lucas Sims is an interesting case. He was perhaps our single most disappointing prospect in the first half (tip o’ the cap to you, Rio Ruiz). Not only was he getting hammered, but it was happening in a year he was repeating a level (high-A) where he had already shown some competence.

    Then, they said “what the hey–let’s just promote him to AA!” He got hammered there too at first, but he’s been pretty good the last 3 starts and kinda dominated yesterday with 3 hits and 10K’s in 6 innings.

  24. Fredi has noticeably stopped most of the outlandishly stupid and nonsensical stuff he did the first year or two related to bunting, such as bunting early in midseason games, running a suicide squeeze every time there was a runner on third (including when the bases were freaking loaded a couple of times!), etc. Outside of letting the pitcher hit and then immediately pulling him, I think most of the “dumb” things Fredi does are pretty standard to most managers at this point (bad bullpen management, suboptimal lineup construction, etc.).

    Frankly, there are times now when I wish he’d actually roll the dice a little bit more, particularly with sending a runner for a hit-and-run or a straight steal. Though at this point, obviously, that would be rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic for this year.

    As far as the extension, I still say the fact that it was a one-year extension is telling. They’re not really expecting to compete next year (though they hope they get closer to it than this one) and this year can hardly be blamed on Fredi, so why not kick the can down the road another year and re-evaluate going into 2017? If they decide they want to give him 2017, too, they can exercise the second-year option and still make a final decision on him after 2017.

    I think that it’s true that they don’t really want to fire Fredi. They like him as a person, Bobby Cox has some sort of say (though how much is still unclear), etc. Make of that what you will. However, they have not painted themselves into a corner with his contract extension. They could very easily not pick up his option after next year.

  25. To be fair to Lucas Sims, he doesn’t ever really get hit that hard. He just walks everyone. He’s struck out 88 in 79.1 innings this season and has only given up 3 HR. He’s just walked a Juan Jaime-esque 51 batters in that time.

  26. In my head, I always called O’Ventbrel “O’Flemberty.” Not as clean a combination, but funnier in my opinion.

  27. Fan A: The Braves need to rebuild.

    -Braves begin rebuild-

    Fan A: This team sucks, I have no faith in this rebuild!

  28. I don’t know if most casual fans would have agreed that we needed to rebuild. They just see us getting rid of all of our good players in the same calendar year. That does suck.

  29. @36, I don’t think that anyone disagrees that Fredi is bad at a lot of the things that Bobby was bad at. What is at issue is that I do not believe that Fredi is good at a lot of the things that Bobby was good at.

    On balance, I think he’s roughly average — probably among the twelve to eighteen best managers in baseball. But I still want him out of Atlanta.

  30. “I don’t think that anyone disagrees that Fredi is bad at a lot of the things that Bobby was bad at. What is at issue is that I do not believe that Fredi is good at a lot of the things that Bobby was good at.”

    Mmm. Pithy. Lots of pithy journalistas today.

  31. I don’t know if most casual fans would have agreed that we needed to rebuild. They just see us getting rid of all of our good players in the same calendar year.

    Here’s the thing though… if teams ran themselves in accordance with the expressed wishes of the casual fan (aka AJC.com / ESPN article commenters) they would swiftly and surely run themselves into the ground. It’s no doubt important for teams to find a way to market/appeal to casual fans, but the best way to do that is to build a quality product and then create a marketing angle suited to sell the product you’ve got. Hell, winning pretty much sells itself anyway.

  32. The disconnect between most fans and the “rebuild” is nobody (including myself actually) can comprehend why we couldn’t just cut or bench BJ and Uggla, while keeping the rest of the good players we’d assembled.

    Eating those two bad contracts was the cheaper option in the long run. 5 to 10 years of bad baseball is going to be way more costly.

  33. “…the best way to do that is to build a quality product and then create a marketing angle suited to sell the product you’ve got.”

    A la Peggy Olsen’s “Rejuvenator”!

  34. 5 to 10 years of bad baseball? Geez… we’re on year 1. As obnoxious as it is to predict Braves will win the WS in ’17, is the guy who blindly states the Braves will be bad at baseball for 5-10 years.

    Unless you can predict the exact value of every player the Braves acquired this offseason, the players drafted, and the international prospects they signed. Oh, and the free agents they’ll sign and the international prospects that’s rumored to be on the Braves radar in 2016, both Major League ready and elite prospects, and the players the Braves will acquire.

    If not, then why are you poisoning our ears babbling the same stuff over and over? Let’s see that crystal ball in action.

  35. I don’t think sdp was referring to the casual fan. The casual fan will never understand rebuilding. The casual fan doesn’t recognize that financials are limited (whether justified or not), and doesn’t understand that signing the 5 best FAs every season doesn’t guarantee a championship.

    But many fans understand the rebuild was necessary, but aren’t interested in enduring the rebuilding process. My wife and I have been able to watch more Braves games this year than in recent years (what a year to receive this opportunity…), and we were talking this morning about the rebuild. I said, “Yeah, Braves Journal is having some challenges with it at this point of the year.” She said, “What do you expect? You guys got rid of every good player you had, and you traded the decent ones at the trading deadline thing.” Well… yeah. Well put, honey. The Braves decided they would rebuild, and we’re either going to suffer through the Folty and Wisler gopher balls and the constant re-stiching of the 25 man roster’s jerseys, or we’re not. This portion of the season was intended to be the low point of the rebuild. The deadline marked the last real interval to trade anything of value, but we haven’t had the benefit of any development from the returns we’ve gotten in the trade. It makes sense.

  36. And now, finally, we’re at a pace that falls short of 70 wins — the pace says 69-93. (Even going 19-19 puts us at 90 losses.)

    It appears we’re going to finish worse than 2008 (90 losses) with a very real possibility of being the worst Atlanta club since 1990 (97 losses).

    Can they lose 100? Never say never, but I doubt it. They’d have to go 9-29. Even this sad-sack bunch will certainly win 10 games the rest of the way.

  37. Aardsma DFA’d, Eury sent down. Bethancourt, Sugar Ray called up.

    Bethancourt in the lineup batting 5th.

  38. @53, five years is totally realistic. Our system has no bats above age 19. Our only assets are pitching prospects that other people gave up on, with most of them having injury concerns in one way or another. The current MLB team is horrible, easily the worst roster in the majors. We’re basically not much better off than an expansion team’s first year or two.

    This gets fixed through the draft. That takes time.

  39. An expansion team that starts with Shelby Miller, Julio Teheran, Andrelton simmons, freddie Freeman, and a top-2 farm system. Yup, that’s where we are.

  40. Top-2 farm system. Puh-leaze. I’ll change my tune when we bring in someone that can play a position and actually hit. There’s no such thing as a pitching prospect.

  41. Between trades and FAs, the lack of position players in the upper levels doesn’t concern me much. We have a good core of Freeman/Simmons/Markakis/Peterson/Olivera, and we’re really only a C, CF, and LF away from being where we need to be. And since many are voting that we have a top-2 system, we probably have the pieces to be very competitive in 2017. 5 years? That’s kinda overkill.

  42. Lol, it’s not like I don’t want us to contend. I’m just trying to dial expectations back a bit. The best way for us to get back to the top is to lose 100 games for three or four years and hope to get at least a couple of stars out of those drafts. I don’t see how it’s possible to duct-tape this thing back together with a quick turnaround. I’ll be very happy to be wrong. I’ve seen enough 100-loss seasons with this damn team.

  43. So obviously the Phillies would clobber Degrom for his worst outing of the year

    Speaking of which, I predict the Phillies will catch us by the first weekend in September

  44. In other evidence that the team, as a collective, is just playing out the string and doesn’t care anymore, nobody bothered to greet Freeman in the dugout after he’d gotten the runner over with a ground ball to the right side of the infield. He looked kind of pissed about it, too. Hopefully that’s an interesting clubhouse conversation.

  45. This team reminds me of the great line from John McKay. Asked about his team’s execution. McKay said he was in favor of it.

  46. I was half-joking about the clubhouse reaming in the Freeman situation (though it was BS that they didn’t greet him), but after watching this half-inning and it’s series of inexcusable defensive brain farts, I’m no longer half-joking. Be professionals, for God’s sake!

  47. Thought for sure that (with apologies to Buck Farmer) the best name in the Tigers’ bullpen would belong to Al Albuquerque, but now I see they employ someone named Guido Knudson.

  48. None of this is anyone’s fault but Frank Wren.

    Frank Wren did not blow this team up. He was the winningest GM in all of baseball during his Braves tenure.

    The Johns are the real culprits, and they’re essentially trying to sell everybody on the idea that everything bad that happens for the foreseeable future is that gosh darn Wren’s fault.

  49. Eight homers is pretty weird, but not as weird as “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.”

    Only good thing about the Braves’ suckitude is that I’m catching up on old movies.

  50. @78..

    xcpt Bethany…MEDLEN GO TO HELL…still my call for post of the Millennium on here , measured by impact/shock value..just those four words rushed to print as a second inning gopher ball was dispatched..

    never mind the good, blaspheme the bad…do it now, allow no perspective, no affection…hate, hate- i’d forgotten how pure it can be…ALL CAPS of course.

    @80/82

    lighter fare…on record here, tout seul, predicting the Mets to go all the way this Fall…very surprised there has been no stampede of acolytes to my cause…David Wright was what was missing, no more, nice first AB…no need to feel guilt here, purely pragmatic phorcasting …fait vos jeux.

  51. your ’85 Braves…

    Albert Hall
    with his back to the wall
    hitting one forty nine
    there was minimal consensus to enshrine.

    Steven Bedrosian
    as far as is knowsian
    was called on reflection
    the bedrock of much misdirection.

    of Richard Cerone
    so little is known
    a Yankee we think
    and sadly his throwing was never in sync.

    Terry Zuvella
    a hell of a fella
    but did not steal a base
    a fucking disgrace.

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