Worst Team in Baseball 1, Not Quite the Worst Team 8

A funny thing happens when you pair the two worst teams in MLB against each other: one of them has to win each night. When two blind squirrels are in a cage searching for three nuts and aren’t released until all of the nuts are collected, one of them is going to end up with at least two. The Braves were the lucky winner to emerge from The Battle of the Bottom Dwellers, taking advantage of a rare strong road start by Julio Teheran to prove that, per the rules, one team has to win each game.

To put the icing on the cake the Braves finally lived up to the billing of “spoiler”, as they were able to piece enough wins together in this series to officially eliminate the Phillies from playoff contention.

Oh, wait a minute. That sentence would have been a lot more fun to write in, say, 2008, but I’ll take what I can get. The Braves also used the victory to stave off their own official elimination (it ain’t over ’til it’s over!), and their elimination number remains at 1. They now find themselves in an enthralling battle with Colorado to see who will become the next team to have their season become officially meaningless.

While it’s hard to complain about your team scoring 8 runs on any given evening, the Braves did it on 18 hits and 6 walks, which takes a bit of the shine off of the accomplishment. They recorded 10 of those hits against the Phillies embattled starter, who only last 3.1 innings and sounds like he just lost his starting job. Three Braves double plays in the first four innings made his line look a lot better than it otherwise could have been.

Nick Markakis, Hector Olivera, Freddie Freeman, Christian Bethancourt, and Michael Bourn all had multiple hits, and each starter picked up at least one hit. Bethancourt’s 3-for-5 night included an opposite field home run in the 4th to break a 1-1 tie. Bourn’s night allowed him to double the number of hits he has recorded in his second stint with the Braves (okay, I kid, but his 4-for-5 night sure felt that way). Playing games at Great American Ballpark is fun.

Road Julio limited the Phillies to 4 hits and 2 walks over 7 innings to pick up his 10th win on the season. The Braves scored two more runs in the top of the 8th to take a 7-run lead, and the bullpen was actually able to nail down the victory.

On that note, Fredi completely threw his bullpen under the bus after the game when asked if he had considered pulling Teheran in the 7th with the bases were loaded. His response? “Have you seen our bullpen?” While that probably didn’t do anything for team chemistry or inspire a bunch of guys who really aren’t big league relievers to suddenly become effective big league relievers, in total fairness to Fredi…have you seen the Braves bullpen? I’m not pulling Teheran there, either, if I’m him, and fortunately* for the Braves it worked out.

As fun as an 8-1 win is, the real entertainment of the evening occurred in D.C., where our old pal Kelly Johnson hit a pinch hit homer in the 8th inning to break a 2-2 tie and help the Mets complete the sweep over our favorite World Champs. Even the much beloved Bryce Harper‘s two homers and one double could not keep the Nats from being reminded that when they play real teams (i.e. not Atlanta), their true colors show.

The Braves don’t have long to celebrate their first series win in a month, as they head home to face those division leading Mets in a four-game set starting Thursday. Hopefully, though, they will have just long enough to celebrate that it will whet their appetites to want to do that once more before the season ends. How about Sept. 29-Oct. 1, guys? Pretty please?

*Being a fan forces me to say “fortunately” here, because no matter how bad things get, it’s still ridiculously more fun to root for a win than to root for a #1 draft pick. Despite The Johns seemingly doing their best to flush this season down the john by blowing up the Braves for the nth time following their .500 start, they are publicly denying their desire to be the worst team in baseball, which makes things so much better. Thanks, Johns! All of those years I looked at the perennial MLB bottom feeders—Royals, Cubs, Rays, Pirates—and felt some pity for them, I never until now really understood just how embarrassing it is to wear the label “worst MLB team.” Best draft pick or not, let’s not be in this race again for a very long time.

56 thoughts on “Worst Team in Baseball 1, Not Quite the Worst Team 8”

  1. Thank you, ‘Rissa.

    Winning is pleasant. The Natinals losing: priceless. (But I’d still let Brycie play on my team.)

    Shall we pull for the Mets over the next four games?

  2. A Double Dactyl for our Natspos:

    Higgledy piggledy
    Washington Nationals
    Major League Champions
    Twenty-Fifteen

    Dominant roster on
    Paper was beautiful
    But when they played the games
    It was obscene

  3. ‘Rissa, thanks…

    four games against the Miracle Mets? over/under for the total number of runs they will score? 25/30? 55/60?

    the Metropolitan
    he’s from New York so a tad cosmopolitan
    Bernie M urges them on
    he still owes a few bucks to the family Wilpon.

    Cespedes has apparently waived his 5 day ‘make up your f’ing mind’ clause…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/09/sports/baseball/the-window-for-the-mets-to-keep-yoenis-cespedes-is-opened-wide.html?ref=baseball&_r=0

    …sounds fun for all concerned, us included, theoretically…might it just be though his way of saying gracias to the Met fandom? I live in hope that it is, the romantic flame still flickers – even in the National League East.

  4. blazon, make sure you check out the DD @3. I finally managed to write one that has the correct meter, and I thought you’d like the subject matter.

  5. @5

    John, more power to you for that…and for keeping it warm..I have a good feeling that the Double D’s(always liked ’em)will become a regular feature here over and above the Clerihews…they’re obviously a lot more difficult to write so there’ll be fewer of them but that just makes them special.

    I am not even off square one with them but will try soon…if i remember correctly it was Jonathan from his IL days (Ivy League not International League) who started us on these in the original Clerihew thread…we must hope he reappears to keep us straight. As i said i am no expert on them but yours this morning reads very well, great job.

    Meanwhile, an ‘easy’ Clerihew – 5 minutes – they are so much fun to write

    Yoenis Cespedes
    be afraid when he flexes his knees
    but he overruns balls
    so would you, they keep on moving the walls.

  6. @3

    John, the next step is to get the rhyme scheme.

    Stanza 1: A-A-A-B
    Stanza 2: C-C-C-B

    Edit: A la this one of mine, from the Clerihew thread

    Little Peraza was
    Sent to the Dodgers cuz
    That’s all that John Hart does:
    Trade folks away.
    BUT
    C-prospect Peterson,
    Not quite two meters, done
    turned on a heater one
    fine August day.

    Yours scans pretty well, though.

  7. If a painful, miserable, meaningless rebuilding season for the Braves means the Nationals all getting massive amounts of egg on their faces and Bryce Harper possibly losing out on his otherwise-deserved MVP, then sign me up for more rebuild!

  8. @7, I remember that one–good rhymes. The trade off is the meter ends up being forced, even though it’s the correct number of syllables. To get both the meter and the rhyme would be a feat.

  9. In memory of our glorious ’80s, and in hopes the Nats are as futile:

    In keeping with MLB’s desire to expand internationally, the Washington Nationals have announced they are moving to the Philippines and will be renamed the Manila Folders.

    Huddy for our hall!

  10. Edward..

    DD’s

    so higgledy piggledy is not mandatory?!

    and BUT? has there always to be a single word joining the two stanzas and are there any rules governing it? what’s the score on line length? thanks..

    Reuben Amaro
    disasters galore beyond any comparo
    but it’s only the Phillies
    where fails not just the heel but the whole of Achilles.

  11. Higgledy piggledy is not mandatory at all; the BUT was my own insertion and in no way representative of the form; I prefer when the second stanza somehow rebuts the first, or at least turns it in an interesting way; the line length is strictly a function of the dactylic rhythm, so it can’t be more than 6 words, but it can be as few as 1 (“Psychopathology”, for example).

    Edit: Although, higgledy piggledy can work great as a touchstone in the same way that so many rap verses begin “once upon a time not long ago”

  12. to tank or not to tank
    that is the question

    slings and arrows/outrageous fortune/ etc.

    aren’t we running out of time to decide to do either?

  13. Higgledy Piggledy
    Blazon and Edward be
    Discussing poetry
    On a thursdee

    I prefer reading this
    Rather than reminisce
    Whether this rebuild is
    Necessary

  14. Rissa, I’m with you regarding the draft pick. But,Since we’ve earned it, let’s hope we get a darned good player with it.

  15. @11

    I agree, too. I wouldn’t go as far as to retire his number (not that DOB said they should, just giving a gauge on how far I’d take this) but he definitely belongs in the Braves Hall of Fame.

  16. @24

    yes yes and yes…out of your head or digitally provoked? n.b., i need all the help i can get.

    @21…i tried to use the 5 minute ‘cooling off’ period to withdraw this post in toto giving as a reason it was ‘superfluous’ which it was…so ‘they’ published it anyway and took it under advisement… so you cannot cleanly remove a post within that period? the corrections/additions part of it all work perfectly.

    and while a game is underway is the 5 minute delay still in force? some comments seem up quicker than that.

  17. I don’t know if I’m on board for Hudson for either honor (well, definitely not the retired number). He had only two sure-fire All-Star seasons for us, and was mediocre as often as that. He was a better pitcher with another team. And while he pitched well in two of three postseason starts, it wasn’t towards any particular extra credit glory.

    He’d be the new floor for pitchers in the Braves HOF (Sain gets extra credit for his long tenure as pitching coach in the organization, and Burdette would deserve it if the ’57 WS was the only time he ever pitched). He’d be a better inductee than Ralph Garr, I suppose. Johnny Logan should go in before anybody else, anyway. He’s the Ron Santo of this situation — they had plenty of chances to put him in while he was still alive and blew it.

  18. I guess we have given up on Bethancourt. He went 3 for 5 last night and Fredi still refuses to play him on back to back days.

  19. Fredi Gonzalez, tipper of caps
    Took exception to Betty’s catching mishaps
    Three-of-five yesterday in a performance divine
    Merely means tonight he’ll be riding the pine

  20. Here’s the Braves HOF: http://atlanta.braves.mlb.com/atl/ballpark/information/index.jsp?content=museum

    The players are Javy Lopez, Rabbit Maranville, Chipper Jones, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Dave Justice, Ralph Garr, Herman Long, Tommy Holmes, Kid Nichols, Del Crandall, Johnny Sain, Lew Burdette, Dale Murphy, Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Phil Niekro, and Warren Spahn.

    I think Hudson had a better career than more than half of them.

  21. There’s just no way that’s true, especially for the purpose of this discussion — that being Braves-only contributions.

  22. This doesn’t really relate to the Braves, but I stumbled upon a pretty neat youtube channel called Dodgerfilms. This guy likes to film himself and his friends catching home run balls/ having a big time at Dodger games. My favorite is Steve- reminds me of Stevie from Eastbound and Down. Looks like a pretty dedicated fanbase. Do games at the Ted ever have this type of atmosphere?

    Opening day
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGEXA_5XENQ&list=PL3PCqxG-YU7z4pGnovLBk7_KbqHVrDY94&index=1&feature=iv&src_vid=Xr9wkvsBAtw&annotation_id=annotation_142117317

    Vs Braves on day Uribe was traded.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEdRaA5aE38

  23. Hudson is essentially Lew Burdette with slightly less Braves longevity, and absent Burdette’s signature achievement.

  24. @31/32

    Am i allowed to thumbs down Hudson purely on his interviewee history? He was/is appalling..every cliche known to man with a hundred you knows mixed in…I have left the room on occasions, yes, really.

    @30
    John…just for the heck of it try starting with just the name for the first line, a significantly longer second, VERY short third, long as you like fourth…see if you like it…for whatever reason once they’re in that format they come easier and scan better.The contrast in length between the third and fourth line is at the heart of it.See if you agree..Cheers.

  25. @31/33, I’m sorry, but I can’t agree with that. Hudson was an appreciably better regular season pitcher than Burdette. Obviously, Burdette was sensational in the ’57 World Series, but he was pretty wretched in the ’58 Series, and in the regular season he alternated great seasons with extremely mediocre ones with a lot more regularity than Hudson did. In all, Burdette graded out as a league-average pitcher and Hudson was significantly better than league average.

    I think Hudson was a better pitcher than Burdette even if you ignore the rest of their respective careers, and even if you give Burdette full credit for destroying the Yankees and getting the Braves 1/3 of their total World Championships.

    If you go by WAR, Hudson’s Braves career was roughly just as good as that of Crandall, Justice, Lopez, Maranville, and Sain, and I’d argue that his pre-Braves career was better than the non-Braves career of any of them. Holmes and Long didn’t really have a non-Braves career, but Hudson’s overall career was better than theirs, too.

    In my view, the Braves HOF should be open both to players who were great for the Braves and not great anywhere else — like Wally Berger, who should certainly be in the Braves Hall — and also to players who were very good as Braves and very good elsewhere. Like Hudson. I understand if you disagree, but even on your more restrictive criteria, he certainly is at least as deserving as Ralph Garr.

  26. I just saw a fascinating piece of trivia while watching the Cards-Reds game: here is the list of the MLB teams with the most consecutive seasons without finishing last in their divisions: Reds – 31 (1984 – present); Royals – 27 (1969 – 1995); Braves – 24 (1991 – 2014); Yankees – 24 (1991 – 2014); Cardinals – 24 (1991 – 2014).

    Weird to think that in 1990, the Yankees, Cardinals and Braves were all in last place…

  27. When I moved to NYC in 1990, the Yanks were in the midst of the Stump Merrill Era & I remember that they lost every single game that year to Oakland, the ’90 AL champ — 0-12, I think.

  28. Unprecedented(?) flooding at Turner Field tonight. There was some heavy rain today, but nothing we haven’t seen before. What’s up with the drainage?

  29. DOB said that Miller’s feet were sinking in the outfield when walking towards the bullpen. Managers and umps are in the outfield now discussing playing conditions.

  30. @ 27 I think this is exactly right.

    Off the top of my head, I can think of at least seven or eight individuals who should be in the hall before Hudson.

    I loved Ralph Garr, but I’d like to know how he got in.

  31. Clearly we should do a Keltner list article for Tim Hudson in regards to a Braves Hall of Fame candidacy.

    For those wondering about the flooded field, I think what happened was that there was a localized storm that just sat over the field. A weatherman on one of the local Atlanta TV stations said that Turner Field got four inches of rain in an hour and a half. Up in Chamblee (just north of town) where I live, we had not much rain at all. So I think they just happened to get the bad part of the storm.

  32. Had tix for Jays/Yanks tonight in The Bronx, but got rained out. Going tomorrow as well. Price vs. Severino — not bad.

    Instead, tonight I watched the Braves game in a Mets bar in Sunnyside, Queens (I must be nuts), but it wasn’t too bad. Why? No matter what baseball is going on in almost any city, the NFL always wins out.

  33. I played at the Clermont lounge 50th anniversary party tonight. There was a dude that hung bricks off his eyelids. Good times.

  34. Should’ve pitched Winkler last night. This has to be the worst bullpen in the history of baseball. Vizcaino is the only decent arm down there.

  35. Got in a heated debate with Chip Caray on Twitter regarding advanced statistics. He went on about how he thinks the stat “Wins” are a huge measure in Cy Young voting. I replied that wins are inconsistent and there are better tools to measure performance. He then goes on to say that advanced stat followers completely dismiss wins and regard only the advanced metrics, then replies this…

    “@baldheaded1der everyone here has said wins are an innacurate way to measure performance. I’d suggest otherwise. I’ll ask an expert tonight”

    Then he ends the argument, says that he’s going to talk to Glavine about how useless his 305 wins were over the course of his career.

    Of course, Chip and Joe discuss the conversation on air last night and Joe goes on to say that he thinks people who study the advanced metrics just “make things up” so they can have a job.

    If the Braves are going to start firing people this offseason, I pray that they begin with our TV broadcast team.

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