The Most 2015 Moment of 2015: The Third-Worst Pitcher of the Night

Ed. note: For those of you with heart conditions, or who are with young and impressionable children, we ask that you turn around in your seats.

August 28th, versus the Yankees.
The Best Pitcher of the Night
He didn’t do much this season—in fact, he may have pitched his way off the continent for a few years—but on August 28th, Sugar Ray Marimon played like a real big leaguer when the club needed somebody to step up. Inheriting an ugly game in the 6th inning, his mission was two-fold: keep the big deficit from getting embarrassing, and stay effective enough to eat up a couple of innings on a bullpen-heavy night. Sugar Ray more than delivered, erasing a lead-off walk with a double-play, and retiring the next 4 batters he faced without incident. He might have thrown a third frame, but our Dear, Departed Andrelton Simmons roped a 2-out double in the bottom of the seventh to bring on a pinch hitter. Michael Bourn struck out looking at three pitches, prompting Sugar Ray to mutter, “Hey, I could’ve done that,” softly into his Korean-Spanish dictionary.

The Worst Pitcher of the Night
A tie between William Perez and William Perez. Whatever it is they have when the game is working for them, they didn’t have it tonight. Two hard-hit outs augured ill for the twins. Shaken despite the favorable outcomes, they pitched around the strike-zone until they absolutely had to throw something to hit, at which point they surrendered a ground-rule double to Chase Headley and a 3-run Didi Gregorius home run. They tried to pull themselves together, but the 2nd inning slipped as quickly as the first. Fredi yanked the chain after they walked the bases loaded. A New York reporter looking for a couple of quotes to add to her game story found one of the Williams lingering in the clubhouse. She asked him how it felt to be out there knowing he didn’t have his best stuff. “I was beside myself,” Perez answered.

The Second-Best Pitcher of the Night
Matt Marksberry was that rare creature in 2015: the reliever who kept his job. Frankly, I’m not sure what they see in the kid. The Big Club called him up in late July, and he pitched 31 times in the last two months, and he wasn’t much good for any of it. While he never saw his ERA balloon over 7, it was only rarely under 5. He struck out a good-enough 8 batters per 9 innings, but walked a ghastly 6 per. It was probably a case of good timing: no one on the Never-Say-Live Braves really cared at that point, and it’s not like he really stood out much from his peers. Well, in the 5th inning he walked New York’s pitcher right off the bat, but he didn’t let the Yankees cash it in, thereby lowering his season ERA to 5.14.

The Second-Worst Pitcher of the Night
The outlook was, if anything, worse entering the 8th inning than it was at the end of the 2nd. No one can deny, however, that the bullpen had performed admirably, keeping the Yanks off the board in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th innings. The game wasn’t really in play anymore, but a bit of dignity was, and dignity is no small thing to come by in a long, losing season. Having the last hopes of the team on his shoulders proved just too much for poor Andrew McKirahan to bear. The Yankees were on him from the word go as Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Headley, and Gregorius hit him hard. He didn’t walk anybody, and he got three outs like he was supposed to, but four more Yankees crossed the plate. None of the runs were cheapies. I don’t think it’s entirely a coincidence that the team would go on to lose its next 9 games.

The Third-Best Pitcher of the Night
Ross Detwiler couldn’t stick the landing in the 2nd, but he came awfully close. Pressed into emergency mop-up duty with the bases juiced and two away, he threw like he needed another warm-up pitch or two. He walked Gregory Bird to score a run. He walked Chase Headley to score a run. Next Didi Gregorius dribbled a seeing-eye single between Adonis and Andrelton to score McCann from third and set up Detwiler for the—honestly, if there were only one out, I think he’d have done it. But with 2 outs, Bird out at second was moving with the pitch, and he beat Swisher’s throw easily. The elusive Triple Grybo thus slipped away from our man Detwiler. He followed this nonsense up with 2 scoreless innings, so on the whole he was only half bad. Give ‘im a butt slap, fellas. Good work.

The Third-Worst Pitcher of the Night
By late August, it was no longer unusual to see a Braves pitcher make his major league debut. The established protocol was for the young man in question to shuffle up to the mound like it was his 9th-grade homecoming date, throw some strikes for the span of a batter or three, and thank his maker when Fredi came out for him before things got too real. All of that was turned on its head in the ninth inning when the aforementioned ‘young man in question’ proved to be the snarling, wild-eyed, fearless, punchless, gritty mascot of the Braves, Jonny Gomes, who spent the inning making a travesty of his reputation as a guy who always plays the game the right way. I’€™m not sure to this day what he was doing out there. The Braves didn’t play on the 27th. Peter Moylan, Edwin Jackson, and Arodys Vizcaino were all technically available. I think what we saw was either a badly thought through attempt to raise team morale or a subtle protest aimed at the front office. Whatever moved Fredi’s hand, Gomes looked like a cartoon up there hemming and hawing and snorting and generally throwing a fit while he threw batting practice. He didn’t get away with any pitches, but he got three outs to end the game as the undisputed Third-Worst Pitcher of the Night, which says a lot less about Jonny Gomes than it says about his teammates. If any of you need to stay up really late tonight, click “Play.” You will not sleep.

115 thoughts on “The Most 2015 Moment of 2015: The Third-Worst Pitcher of the Night”

  1. I can’t believe any major league free agent not being held at gunpoint would willingly want to be a part of the 2016 Atlanta Braves.

  2. If we can all just get through this without anyone putting the phrases “platoon partner for Jace” and “league average at 2B” anywhere near each other, I’ll count that as a moral victory.

    Same goes for “maybe he’ll bounce back and we can flip him at the deadline.” Bounce back to what?

  3. Not sure what this signing is supposed to accomplish, other than getting a “proven major leaguer” warm body to fill out this miserable roster.

  4. Wow, Gordon Beckham really sucks. At least he’s an improvement over Ciriaco, but barely. I even thought that maybe he hit lefties well, therefore we might have to get used to “platoon partner for Jace”. Nope. Can’t hit lefties.

  5. .209/.275/.332 gets you a MILLION and half dollars? MLB, where you can suck at your job and still be a millionaire.

    I’m so conflicted. Trading Miller makes sense, but it doesn’t make sense, you know what I mean? At some point in time the Braves have to keep someone, right?

  6. I guess Peterson would serve as the backup shortstop? At least we have a durable spring chicken at the position. Uhh…

  7. Gordon Beckham costs nothing and isn’t good enough or bad enough to even warranr comment, let alone consternation.

  8. An ATL native, a UGA grad, a guy whose name sounds like every Milledge Avenue fratboy I ever met. Once saw him make a great game-saving catch at Yankee Stadium. After that, I got nothing…

    Gordon, welcome the tenuous MLB tether known as the Atlanta Braves.

  9. @12 – You are correct in the MLB scheme of things, I guess. I will refrain from the usual ‘There has to be some scrub playing in the minors that can play as ‘well’ as Gordon Beckham.’ statement.

  10. Somehow, I totally didn’t know that Beckham went to Westminster. They’ve produced a grand total of two major leaguers, and the other’s a pitcher named Frank Lankford who got a cup of coffee in 1998. But Pace Academy has a much better track record: they produced Michael Barrett. Woodward Academy has Delino Deshields Jr., who some day may resemble a major league hitter, but that day has not yet come.

    Remarkably, incredibly expensive Atlanta private high schools don’t have a ton of major league graduates.

  11. I don’t think very much of Gordon Beckham, but according to BREF, he has never had a season in which he was worth less than 0.7 WAR, and he’s never had a season in which he was worth more than 2.1 WAR. There isn’t any upside here, but neither is there a downside. He can be cut or he can play slightly above replacement level infield. We had lots of guys playing below replacement last year, so it’s not like he’s gonna hurt us.

  12. We did pay $4 million to Jonny Gomes to play sub-replacement ball for us last season, and people were sad to see him go.

  13. From last thread:

    Agreed, but [Mallex Smith]’s an asset without a home. Flip him now or flip him later?

    Neither, unless the return is very good. You either play him a full year in AAA or call him up when you can dump one or both of Bourn/Swisher.

  14. Ciriaco lost me when he selfishly took that walk when he could’ve set a record. Late in the year, that was the only thing I had to root for anymore.

  15. Right. Castro. Forgot about him. If we carry 13, Swisher would be the first bat off the bench, I’d imagine. If Opening Day were today, we’re looking at a AJP/Beth/Freeman/Peterson/Aybar/Garcia/Castro/Beckham/Olivera/Bourn/Markakis/Swisher/Toscano position player set.

    Ugh. We need to make some trades and sign some FAs…

  16. Daniel Castro is easily forgotten. His only redeeming qualities are reasonable defense at both middle infield positions and an uncanny resemblance to young Ralph Machio in the original “Karate Kid.”

  17. I still think a Peterson / Castro platoon at second for next year makes lots of sense. Both hit fair on their platoon side (Castro around 800 and Jace around 750).
    Then, Castro can pick up some late innings / blowouts / days off for Aybar.

  18. Five minutes of research (okay, fifteen…) indicates Etchebarren was the second-best MLB player of known Basque descent, barely trailing Ted Williams. The Basque migration to Mexico mostly settled in the northeast region, whereas Castro is from Sonora in the northwest, but who knows. Other Basques include J.P. Arencibia and Frenchy Bordagaray, so…good names, the Basques!

  19. When I was a kid, like 6-years-old, I started collecting Tops baseball cards. The 1970 edition, which wrapped up the ’69 season, had some really unflattering images of major-league catchers.

    I remember thinking that Andy Etchebarren looked scary, like Frankenstein’s monster. Ray Fosse (all squinty with big buck teeth) looked like someone who had a big floodlight shined in his face. Pilots backstop Jerry McNertney looked frighteningly annoyed, like he was yelling at someone while trying to get dressed. O’s backup Clayton Dalrymple looked sick to me, like he was about to upchuck.

    As for the big names of the day, I remember Clemente looked cool & regal, Yaz looked determined, McCovey a relaxed star, Reggie a powerful presence in mid-swing. Oddly, Henry Aaron seemed like he was about to sign a baseball in the dugout and had this “WTF?” look on his face-—like he got busted doing something wrong. As for managers, Pirates skipper Danny Murtaugh kinda looked like a Bowery Bum who just woke up on a subway grating. Funny, what you remember…

    Anyway, I recall thinking (a 6-year-old’s thought) that catchers become catchers because they’re the scary/ugly ones and they should wear the masks. That was somehow the vetting process & that’s why Andy Etchebarren & Ray Fosse were routed behind the plate, better off with masks like Lon Chaney in “Phantom of the Opera.”

    Of course, that theory was quickly blown to hell when I found out that Wally Moon was an OF/1B & Don Mossi was a relief pitcher.

  20. So, Richt takes the Miami job. It’ll be very interesting to see how the narrative surrounding him will change if he takes a commit or two with him cough Eason cough.

  21. Eason’s visiting Florida next, so… yeah, could get really interesting.

    And supposedly, Pruitt’s going back to Bama (if he doesn’t get the USC job) & Muschamp to UGA.

  22. Gordon Beckham? I’d rather have David Beckham…or a canned ham.

    As a side note: has anyone seen Jon Gruden’s IMDB profile photo?

  23. Whenever I hear “third best” I think about this scene, and I think that it fits pretty well here for Sugar Ray, Marksberry, and Detwiler.

  24. Beckham was in Athens for two of the three years I was, so he’s always been a sentimental favorite. And he’s probably better than Pedro Ciriaco!

  25. Middlebrooks non-tendered. Seems like just the sort of low risk, decent upside pickup we should be making.

  26. Tyler Flowers non tendered.

    I wondered, “what about a platoon with Flowers and Pierzynski?”

    So, I looked at ESPN’s stats. Flowers OPS the past 3 years against righthanders: 656. Against lefthanders: 656. What are the odds on that. A VERY (2 points) lower batting average, same obp (made up with walks / hbp’s) and the same slg. Same hitter against each side.

    Like if maybe he was 600 against righthanders and 750 against lefties this would make sense.

  27. Flowers was rated the best framer in the AL last year. Braves need to go get him to make these pitchers better.

  28. Agreed that Flowers is a no-brainer. He’s basically Bethancourt’s ceiling, right now already. Get him, extend him for 5 years, and just forget the Bethancourt era ever happened.

  29. Well Gordon’s mom and grandmother are family friends so there’s that. Hoping he can get my daughter a chance to meet Freddie before he gets traded for 3 pitching prospects in James Andrews’ waiting room. Guys a good glove and could be a good bench piece, but am biased…

  30. Extending Tyler Flowers for five years is not a good idea. He was non-tendered because he is not very good.

  31. @43, I thought about the five moles too, but figured the reference would be too obscure. Earthbound is the GOAT. And somewhat baseball-related too because of Ness’ weapon of choice.

    Agree with everyone on Flowers. There will be some competition for his services, but he may still come at bargain prices.

  32. Eury Perez was nontendered even though he wasn’t arb eligible.

    Alvarez, Flowers, and Middlebrooks all make sense for this terrible team

  33. Dang. Too bad for Mike Minor. I had high hopes for him. The team did the right thing, there is no sense committing 5 or 6 million to a guy that will most likely be pitching for the minimum next season if he pitches at all.

  34. @45

    Jaff Decker
    not tendered, to save the exchequer.

    Note…this new creation, above, hereafter the mini Clerihew, may be used in instances where the poet’s first couplet has consummately achieved the necessary standard of whimsical pithiness but he has been quite unable to maintain that standard in what follows despite many attempts.

  35. Can we aspire to achieve such pithiness as to not even require outward expression, and instead keep the clerihew in our own heads?

  36. It’s looking more and more like #Braves will hang onto Shelby Miller. They’ve received a ton of hits, but are not shopping him.

    Sorry Shelby

  37. Oh and this is just laughable

    #Cubs are interested in Miller. But #Braves have Hector Olivera in LF and Nick Markakis in RF, so Jorge Soler may not fit.

  38. I’m reading that the Braves want to give Minor a more incentive-laden deal similar to what the Royals gave Medlen. The Braves had to offer $4.48M base to Minor, but would rather offer less guaranteed and more in incentives.

    I doubt Markakkis is inhibiting the Braves from getting Soler.

  39. Guys – just wanted to stop by and say hello. I was clicking through the barren wasteland that is Baseball Think Factory (f/k/a Baseball Primer) today and realized I hadn’t been by this place in forever. Heartened to see there is still so much life here.

    Also, feel really bad for Mike Minor. Not his fault his shoulder couldn’t stay attached.

    Cheers all.

    Kyle

  40. Tyler Flowers
    Discussed on Braves Journal for hours
    His mediocre play
    Of a piece with The New Braves Way (TM)

    Gordon Beckham
    Tried to bend it, but it nearly wrecked him
    David he is not
    He fits right in with the rest of our sorry lot

  41. @ 60

    …now that would be selfish, wouldn’t it? share the wealth

    @ 58

    Painter…inspired!

    @ 61/70

    mini or maxi, you can nail it.

  42. sansho one
    has not even begun
    to explain his conundrum
    which so many, clearly, find somewhat humdrum.

  43. I shall try my hand at this pithy poetry thing:

    Tyler Flowers
    Did not develop power(s)

    Jessica Jones is really depressing.

  44. a welcome to Kyle
    who’s been away for a rather long while
    might he self introduce?
    else assume he’s Australian and likely called Bruce.

  45. Eury Perez was so bad as a defender that they didn’t tender him a contract even though he wasn’t arb-eligible.

  46. John, the absurd
    or haven’t you heard?

    …can we agree anyone posting a minihew leaves it open and unprotected to be picked up and finished by any cuckoo type poet who having added his lines three and four may repost the whole under his name but only if he has also effected a change, however small, to the original first two lines by doing which he is implying he has made them better. Some may disagree. Baseball only.

  47. @ 79

    Eury Perez
    the jury now sez
    he never could
    tho’ his mother said so often that he should.

  48. @ 76

    Sam, this is a great moment in the storied history of this board, one frankly i feared might never come. Sam in verse. Welcome.

    Jessica Jones.
    Read some great reviews, told my wife, we watched the first episode together, that was enough for me, she now can’t be dragged away.

    Jessica Jones
    some suggest she might better fly drones
    at least there’d be buzz
    and not this apathetic semblance of the fuzz.

  49. Heyman….Cliff Lee has been throwing and he’s received medical clearance. If he finds the right fit, he will pitch in 2016.

    Why not

  50. Cliff Lee
    and a party of three
    seat them at the bar
    unlikely then he’ll have to throw so far.

  51. I don’t adore the cleri-hewsss,
    On a baseball blog, I have no use
    But I ask this one to all of yous,
    Who are you, f***ing Doctor Suess?

  52. @87 – Bravo!

    Don’t get me wrong. Do all the clerihews you want. I can page down just as well as the next guy. I get it that most here like them.

    I am disappointed that there isn’t a fresh Shelby Miller rumor today.

  53. Payroll here is at $93.4 million, subtract Minor and Ciraco, add Beckham you’re at $88.3 million. Heading into the offseason with a payroll of $97.5 million the front office claimed to have $20-30 million to spend so presumably there is now $30-40 million to spend (not true) unless they were lying about that (there’s the one).

    The plan seems to leak stories about being interested in actual good players like O’Day or Zobrist but really just load up on enough mediocre veterans on one year contracts to ensure a major league like substance of a ball club but not much more. The Braves will make money regardless though, they just slashed payroll by almost $10 million and no one really noticed.

  54. Minnie Minoso
    his defense so soso
    he offered pro bono
    they still said no nono.

    *The Cuban Comet…he died in Chicago this year age 89 after a MLB career that spanned 31 years.

  55. @89

    Don’t worry. They are going to move Miller. The market will peak once Grienke and Cueto signs. Someone will call and want to overpay for him. I bet he is moved at the winter meetings.

  56. Sorry Alex. I’m just playing anyway. I thought putting it in verse would show it was in good fun.

    Seriously, I just page past the poetry and it’s no big deal. But I thought I couldn’t be the only one; figured no one wanted to say anything.

  57. I’m pro-clerihew. It’s like we have our own fool, and I mean that in the Shakespearean sense. They won’t let the organist play what he wants anymore. The damned organist. We need the clerihew right now.

  58. The damned organist
    whom for so long the corporate Gorgons missed
    is now but stone,
    and Blazon fools alone.

  59. _______
    Julio Teheran
    Likely to be gone
    For limited return
    Players we shall spurn
    But we will always have that one at bat in 2013 when he plunked Harper in the ass
    _______

  60. ———————-
    AJ Pierzynski
    Does not rhyme with orange
    Or anything else, really
    He’s also more or less a jackass
    Jesus
    I have to root for AJ Pierzyski?!
    ———————-

  61. AJ Pierzynski
    never caught Scott Radinsky
    Both played for Chicago’s South Side
    But AJ’s mouth made him infamous far and wide

  62. Frazier’s more established, but he’s a FA at the end of the year. I can’t imagine him getting the return that Olivera got.

  63. That’s true, but he is arb eligible in 2017. He didn’t qualify in his first season, so he only has 4 seasons of service.

  64. It’s late but we would be remiss not to recognize this:

    “I was beside myself,” Perez answered.

  65. http://atlantabraves.blog.ajc.com/2015/12/01/lucas-sims-excited-about-his-and-braves-future/

    Nice little article about Sims and Winkler.

    It’s really hard to be optimistic about where the Braves are now. They’re not the team they were in 2013, which you could visually see in the standings. And you hope they’re not the team from 2015, where they used 7,436 players on the big league roster. But what do you have to go off of right now? The national articles just immediately dismiss the team because they’re rebuilding and there are way better teams to commit words to.

    But we’re kind of in this in-between stage where the good players that we know are good are gone, and we understand in abstract that some of this glut of prospects we got back will be good, most likely resulting in a healthy franchise going forward, but you don’t know how, or when, or who is going to be a part of it. Is Sims going to be a star, is Newcomb going to be the guy, is Jenkins going to have a Rookie of the Year type season, or will Foltynewicz, Banuelos, Wisler, Jenkins, Winkler, and any other young pitcher that gets meaningful innings going to be completely terrible and we’ll lose 100 games? Will Neck’s Neck show a second year’s worth of healing, can Swisher and/or Bourn rebound, is Hector Olivera a major league baseball player, is Bethancourt ready to take the next step? If a third of those things happen positively, do we have a good team? You just don’t know, and that’s what’s tough.

    They better spend some of that money to bring some certainty, and Turner Field will be empty.

  66. We can have a big conversation about scouting and projections and how often and to what degree they’re wrong, and what that means for our likelihood of success in 2016. The short of it is, if you *want* to be optimistic, as @110 certainly does, then do yourself a favor and don’t look any closer.

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