Gonna Fly Now, gNats 4, Braves 3

[This year I am going to try recaps based on movie quotes, scenes or themes. Let’s see how this goes.]

Mickey: You’re a bum, Rock. You’re a bum.

Rocky: I ain’t no bum, Mick. I ain’t no bum.

For the Loser against the Arrogant Champion (well, NEAR Champion), there is nothing like “Rocky.” So, I choose “Rocky” as our symbolic movie for the night. A titanic (wrong movie) struggle that seemed always as if it HAD to be destined to go against the underdog, and then it did.

Julio Teheran deserved a better fate. Continuing his disastery of lefthanded hitters, Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy both launched solo shots. But Freddie Freeman countered Harper and Adonis “the Beautiful” Garcia countered Murphy. Then, like Rocky with the late knockdown, the Braves actually went up 3 to 2 when Adonis DREW A WALK, with the bases loaded.

But alas, our struggling bums could not get the win.

Jason Grilli let them tie it in the 9th. So, we went to extras. As in 2014 and 2015, we are reminded of what that means.

in the 10th, O’Flaherty came on to face 2 lefties out of 3. He got Harper (yay!). Then, Zimmerman grounded to Beckham and Beckham threw it away (boo!). Then the second lefty, Murphy, doubled. Obviously the Braves would not come back.

But remember, we can take Creed the next time.

122 thoughts on “Gonna Fly Now, gNats 4, Braves 3”

  1. If Winkler (nickname suggestion: “The Fonz”) is half as good as he looks and O’Flaherty returns to being a solid pitcher, I think our bullpen will keep us in some games. If our bullpen implodes, 100 losses here we come!

  2. I was not in attendance last night, but if the Braves didn’t find some way to put Francoeur’s walk on the scoreboard in a BIG way, that’s a serious missed opportunity.

  3. The game was won. All that had to happen was for Pierzynski to catch an on-target throw which, admittedly, took an unfortunate short hop and the game was over. Catch the ball, AJ. You had lots of time and the runner’s not allowed to hurt you any more.

  4. Really had this one won. When it’s July 2nd, and we get eliminated from playoff contention, we’ll point back to this game as the reason we didn’t make it to July 3rd.

  5. As silly as it sounds, yesterday’s win would have been yuge. Not because we’re in a pennant race, but because in a dismal, dismal year, beating the Nats and their ace on Opening Day is one of those brief moments of joy (take that you bast@rds!) that can keep you going through the next seven game losing streak. I speak from experience.

    Also speaking from experience: when the Braves were very, very bad, the primary thing that made them very very bad was that the already overmatched pitching staff was required to record 4 outs every inning due to Keystone Kops fielding behind them. 2 different shortstops’ inability to merely throw the ball to first base? Yeah, this looks very scary and very familiar to me.

  6. Also: 2016 Braves Journal Recaps 1, 2016 Braves 0.

    The Braves may not go 162-0, but we sure can.

  7. #11 – That’s what I gathered from hearing it live and not seeing it. It was a 2 hopper from shallow center. Either way, Grilli shouldn’t have walked the leadoff and AJ should have handled that throw.

  8. Beckham, Gordon
    Made certain EOF got scored on
    Free baseball on opening day
    Made costly by erratic infield play

  9. #11, wasn’t great, but certainly didn’t suck. as JohnathanF says @#7, catcher isn’t as dangerous as it used to be, makes the play a must make.

    Will enjoy not seeing beckham play like that too many times.

  10. I can’t blame AJ there. A two hopper from very shallow center is a bad throw. Bodily risk aside, it’s very hard to catch an in-between bad hop and apply the tag when the runner is barrelling down on you.

    I’m sure there will be more to blame AJ for later.

  11. Really should have had a better throw. You have to throw them out from that distance every time. That would have been an exciting way to log a W. Big letdown.

  12. The throw wasn’t that bad. It did take a short hop but it was online and beat the runner. An MLB catcher has to make that play IMO. AJP would probably admit he should have made the play.

  13. Do you unlearn a (in AJP’s case) 25-year learned response (bracing for contact on a play at the plate) in the first moment the situation presents itself, just because the rule changed?

  14. I didn’t see the play. Just wondering if it’s that easy to dismiss what you’ve trained so long to expect to happen. Anyway, on a play that can decide a game, who’s to say the runner isn’t going to take the chance on forcing a judgment call on the rule?

  15. I didn’t see it either, honestly. Interestingly, in Tom Boswell’s chat today, he suggested that the team wasn’t necessarily all that happy to see old, fragile Jayson Werth forcing the issue on a play like that — they don’t want to see that guy play so recklessly that he runs into another injury. Obviously, he helped to win the game, so you can’t really fault the guy for making the Braves have to make a play. But if AJP had held onto the ball, there would be a whole lot of recrimination in Natsland right now.

  16. Its not like the ball was knocked out by Werth, he barely got a glove on it before the “collision”. He had been dropping pitches all day too.

  17. @23, oh no–there will be 10-20 of our 100 losses that we just know we should have won

  18. Inciarte’s throw was exceptionally weak to have come from shallow center–he never should have two hopped it. It was a pretty bad throw. It was also one of the easier bad throws to corral; I think AJ should have had it.

  19. I want to somehow blame Fredi, but I feel like he managed a decent game. Screw it. I’m blaming Fredi.

  20. Inciarte reputedly has a good arm, I believe it accounts for a good chunk of his defensive value. I wonder if some ballparks inflate defensive value and and the metrics makers haven’t figured that out yet. Does altitude inflate throwing ability like it does power? Justin Upton also had solid defensive ratings as a diamondback, and he reminded me of ACHE in the Ted.

    I looked over the minor league rosters. Is anyone else alarmed that Kolby Allard is not going to be pitching for Rome to start the season?

  21. I really think Fredi has gotten better as a manager over the last few years even though it appears just the opposite. His biggest problem has been the team collapse at the end of the year. I don’t blame him so much for last year’s collapse since we sold off most of the team, but I expect us to at least improve at the end of this year as we audition some of our top prospects for next year. Hopefully Gordon Beckham will be long gone by then.

  22. The kid has six professional innings and is coming off an injury. I’m not surprised they’re not throwing him into the deep end.

  23. With the team being so bad the last 2 seasons I’ve barely noticed Fredi. When you’re probably going to lose no matter what, and when all the relief options are horrible, it doesn’t matter how you juggle the equally bad players.

    What’s hilarious (as Rob observed) is he pitched Vizzy, our best reliever, in the highest leverage situation possible yesterday. When the team is bad, he will appear, at times to have done the best one could do just from dumb luck.

  24. This thread is most positive on our most negative team. Who are you optimists, and what have you done with the regular posters?

  25. I’m guessing it has to do with no expectations from this year’s team, as opposed to the last quarter century.

  26. riff raff
    were they having a laff?
    the Yankees pretension
    so very worthy of mention.

  27. i didn’t know
    Hangovers is apparently the place to go
    to express a post match opinion
    then bodyguards will instinctively exercise their dominion.

  28. Jason Hursh
    was a rule 5 pick up from SMERSH
    his word was his Bond
    but he was powerless to deny our well preserved blond.

    Sugar Ray Marimon
    we all felt would be unlikely to tarry long
    his curve simply bites better
    in the Northern Caucasus where it tends to be wetter.

  29. y’all
    so where will you be in the fall?
    stub hub?
    or give Aladdin’s lamp yet another rub?

  30. @33: Chip and Joe (I know, I know… but I just can’t listen to FP Santangelo) said using Vizcaino in higher-leverage situations (well, they didn’t exactly say high leverage, which would imply some sabermetric knowledge) was one of Fredi’s bullpen goals this year.

  31. @34
    Here’s some negative for ya! Grilli and JJ both topped out at 92 Opening Day. That will not keep them in meaningful innings very long.

  32. @42

    I caught that too. Said that Fredi wanted his power strikeout arm to face the most dangerous part of the order, even if that meant Vizcaino would not be used in the same spot every time he entered.

  33. When is Simmons returning? Might not be long before Simmons, Winkler, and Viz finish up the last 3 innings.

    I recall Grilli hitting 94 with one pitch. Maybe Im wrong

  34. I also don’t understand why the Braves think Beckham is a good platoon partner w/ Jace. Neither one can hit LH pitching. Id rather see KJ starting at 2B full time. Or call up Castro to platoon with Jace.

  35. @44. Wow. Just wow. Actual using of brain, rather than going with The Closer (TM).

    Wow.

  36. Well, Winkler K’ed all three of his guys on 92MPH fastballs, so I wouldn’t get too lost in that. I’m confident Grilli can get outs on craftiness, guile, and spit.

    I don’t think the Beckham experiment will last long, but I don’t know why it even started. He brings no value to the team.

    Does anyone have anything on Dion Toscano? Does that guy even exist?

  37. Also, even though the bullpen accounted for a blown save AND a loss, they still have a lower ERA than last year. Let that sink in.

  38. @ 49 on Toscano,

    Talking Chop reports that he was assigned to the roster of AA Mississippi.

    Our 1.8 mill per year AA outfielder.

    But he has the same buscone as Maitan (as I understand). So we might just be very appreciative to Mr. Toscano come July.

  39. Arizona opened with Greinke and Shelby Miller, and has given up like 300 runs already.

  40. Miller got bombed. 6IP, 6ER.

    I know this conversation is loathesome for some, but here’s how many our farm’s top 30 are at which level:

    Extended: 1 (Allard recovering from injury)
    Low-A: 7 (4 are in the rotation)
    High-A: 5 including Dansby
    Double-A: 10, including 3 of the top 10, including 4 SPs again
    Triple-A: 4, but 2 of the top 8, both SPs
    MLB: 2, both relievers in the bottom third
    DL: 1 (Man Ban)

    Pretty good disbursement. Not too many in the low minors, and 8 of the top 15 are in double-A or higher. With 10 of 30 in AA, a few steps forward could create some strong value at the deadline.

  41. Apparently, Ruiz impressed with his work in ST, which coupled with a good finish last year led the Braves to try him out at AAA.

  42. @51
    is that buscone as in phone, or buscone as in phony?

    Greinke and Miller
    all hands to the tiller. wow

    @54 not me, most helpful.

  43. @58,

    AS I understand it, it is Boos KONE! ee. The e should probably have the accent mark, but I do not know how to do that.

  44. It would be a huge boon if Ruiz could turn himself into something useful. I don’t think it’s particularly likely, but stranger things have happened, and an in-house 3B solution would accelerate the rebuild by leaps and bounds — even if it was just to keep the seat warm for Riley for two or three years.

  45. I’m a little higher on Ruiz than most. 2 of his final 3 months at AA-Miss were outstanding, despite being 3 years younger than average for his level. I feel pretty good about his chances to be a passable big league third baseman.

  46. @37, someone actually asked Scott Stapp about that song two months ago:

    I asked him if he was disappointed in the reaction to “Marlins Will Soar,” the anthem he wrote for the Florida Marlins in 2010; Deadspin accused it of ruining baseball. “I didn’t write it for anyone else,” Stapp says. “I wrote it for the Marlins. I can take my boys to any game I want. So I don’t care if someone doesn’t like it.”

    http://www.dallasobserver.com/music/reconsidering-scott-stapp-rocks-most-misunderstood-star-8015924

  47. @61

    I agree. He actually has pretty decent upside and may work his way to the big club this year.

  48. I wonder what it says about Pierzynski that he annoys me on an RBI hit into the gap.

  49. Chip: “Jose Fernandez lost his first game at home today because the Braves almost beat him last September and softened him up.”

  50. I don’t really mind Ender’s caught stealing, as having Freeman lead off the next inning was the worst that could’ve happened. How Pierzynski gets caught by that much trying to turn a single into a double, though, I just don’t know.

    EDIT: And we’re now gonna have Joe Simpson defend A.J. for getting thrown out by 20 feet.

  51. Let’s talk about whether AJ should’ve caught that.

    And it was painful to watch aybar try to make that play

  52. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Pierzynski playing “catcher” was a subversive joke of some sort.

  53. This is going to be a long season, and my 68 wins are starting too look awfully optimistic.

  54. Does Joe think that a failed attempt to call time is supposed to make this turn of events somehow less shitty?

  55. I can’t even blame Fredi…Aybar made (another) shitty throw, and AJ couldn’t field his position (again).

  56. i thought aybar was an average defender. He looks old, pudgy and slow–like Callaspo. That play would’ve been routine for simmons, and he had no shot on it.

  57. Fredi having the bullpen ready wouldn’t have been an issue if either Aybar hadn’t made that stupid throw or if A.J. could fulfill the titular duties of his freaking job.

  58. Well, let’s not go nuts. If we have any other catcher in baseball, we’re 1-0 with at least a 1-0 lead through seven in the second game.

  59. They apparently gave Freeman the error on that play, too, so the official scorer is also in midseason form.

  60. With aybar and Markakis we have two of the most undeserving gold glovers in the league.

  61. @112

    They must’ve ruled that the error only allowed the subsequent runners to advance and didn’t affect that play at the plate. So everything else he gave up in that inning meant everything was earned. They are generally pretty reluctant to assume a tag would’ve been laid down in time on a non-force play like that.

  62. AJ could make up for some costly errors here

    Scratch that. He can swing at some crap pitches

  63. @115: Of course he didn’t. That wouldn’t be in keeping with this team’s motif of having lots of wastes of space on the roster.

  64. @91, no, put a fork in him. You do realize I’ve got this year’s team as the worst in franchise history, right? I just thought they played a decent first game.

    Any game we win this year will be a pleasant surprise. This team is freaking awful.

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