Nats 3 (by Rob Cope)

Today was a big day for the Barves. As you might expect during this portion of The Great Rebuild, the biggest of news is often… not good. This morning, Hector Olivera was arrested for alleged assault and battery. Not only is this extremely unfortunate and awful of any human being to do, this will undoubtedly help shape the fans’ opinion of him. He already wasn’t doing himself any favors, considering the high price that was paid for him and the slow start to his Atlanta Braves career.

But wait, there’s more! Mark Bradley of the AJC chose today to pen the first article from an Atlanta-based journalist calling for the dismissal of Fredi. Something tells me it won’t be the last.

But the production must go on! They still had to play a baseball game today, and you may as well get it done as quickly as possible. It’s very considerate of the Braves to quickly navigate through this losing streak. Today’s game, clocked at brisk 2:12, was pretty light on action. The Braves were limited to five hits, none of which went for extra bases. Matt Wisler was once again affected by the
gopher ball, giving up 2 HR and finishing with 6IP, 3ER. Mallex Smith has stumbled out of the gate to a .091 BA, but did register his first stolen base.

8 straight losses and nothing really to look forward to.

84 thoughts on “Nats 3 (by Rob Cope)”

  1. And Freddie Freeman is batting .080 on the season. He’s had 1 hit since Opening Day (although he has walked 7 times, for a .303 OBP). When your best (only?) hitter is slumping like this, there’s going to be a lot of nothing in the score column.

  2. Melvin Upton is slashing .367/.444/.811 right now. Good thing we got that contract off the books and used the money for better purposes!

  3. You will just not believe the marble countertops in The Battery bathrooms that were paid for with the BJ money.

    EDIT: Come to think of it, those were probably paid for with Cobb money. You will just not believe the private jet John Malone paid for with the BJ money!

  4. 1988 update:

    Game eight: April 13, 1988, Houston Astros at Atlanta Braves
    ASTROS 300 100 000 4-7-3
    BRAVES 000 000 000 0-2-0
    W: Jim Deshaies
    L: Pete Smith

    1988 Braves now 0-8, 6.5 GB of first in their division.

  5. .297/.367/.444 is certainly a step in the right direction for Melvin, but I don’t miss him. He actually had a half-way decent year last year by his standards: .259/.327/.429 in 228 ABs. Interestingly, the majority of the ABs were against righties and he had reverse splits. I miss JUpton, except for the F bombs that were picked up so well on the field mics, but I would love to forget Melvin ever wore a Braves uni.

  6. The problem with Wisler is that his pitches rely completely on location as he doesn’t have a true plus-plus pitch. His fastball graded out at “plus” but that was when it was clocked between 92-95. However, he’s not reaching that this year and a 92 MPH fastball missing up is going to be HUGE in a batter’s eye.

  7. Melvin being a somewhat useful major league player makes the Kimbrel trade look so much worse given the fact that none of the money saved from him is going to be used. We traded Kimbrel for Wisler and saved about $50 million in the process. So… good for Liberty?

  8. Wisler is a solid #5 starter to help eat innings. Our problem is we need him to be more than that.

  9. @11

    I painstakingly agree, gaz. By the way, do you ever go by “Gadfly”?

    Anyway, if they make a splash in the international market, then that helps, but if not, you really have to start wondering if we honestly, truly have Jeffrey Loria-level thievery in the ownership. I know some are already convinced, but this would be pretty conclusive, IMO.

  10. I’m unfamiliar with how much money is involved in the international market but my guess is it doesn’t take $50 million to sign 16 year olds. If they wanted to spend they could have already.

  11. When I watched Wisler’s first start on tv he was sitting at 91-93, and with a decent slider, but those were the only 2 pitches he used. Did he use a change yesterday?

  12. Yes, he did use the change-up some. The announcers were talking about Glavine’s influence on that pitch in the off season.

  13. The truth is a more complicated combination of penny-pinching and incompetence. We could’ve decided to make a competitive bid for JUpton this offseaon, but our prior idiocy hamstrung us as much as our stinginess. Look at our outfield. They go hand in hand.

    I sure am glad Markakis is around to provide a floor / prevent a losing culture from taking hold in the clubhouse.

  14. It’s not a knock on him. I hope for his sake that he can replicate his 2008 season, which he’s on pace to do. Unless we trade him, though — which we appear unwilling to do — his performance this season has no bearing on anything; our plan is incoherent because we’re both dumb and close-fisted, one example of which is his presence on our roster.

  15. “A few guys in the Braves organization told me this spring, this guy cannot hit and whoever recommended we trade for him should be fired.”

    – Bob Nightengale on the Buster Olney podcast about Olivera

  16. All of us who watched Olivera “hit”, and from our years of experience watching baseball concluded that he couldn’t were told, quite condescendingly, that we were wrong and “baseball people” knew better than unqualified sports fans.

  17. Long Island Watercooler Conversation:

    Mets fan: Is your team ever going to win?

    Me: Well, we’re not trying to, so we’re actually succeeding.

    Mets fan: Huh?

  18. I’ll never understand the logic behind trading for a 30-something unproven hitter, and giving up a younger, decent left-handed pitcher who the team would control for like four more years, to acquire him.

  19. @25…

    the other thing he couldn’t do was to approach a slow rolling ball, look comfortable doing it, position himself appropriately to it and then pick it up at the first attempt.

  20. Farm Verse

    Patrick Weigel
    a walk per innings, scarcely viagle
    his modus operandi
    they can’t hit walks,he finds that very handi.

  21. @27, Or if you were set on trading your younger, decent left-handed pitcher who the team would control for several more years, that you couldn’t get something better for him than an oft-injured, unknown quantity of a 30-year-old.

  22. Most of the moves Coppy and company have made are yet to be judged, but the Olivera trade is looking like a resounding loss for us, regardless of what Wood and Jose Peraza are able to do. We’re stuck with a bad contract that we just can’t move. We still owe around 30 million to an Ike Turner with the swing of Andrelton Simmons and the defensive prowess of ACHE.

  23. @ryan c, That’s where the development comes in with Wisler–you think these guys don’t get better with more major league starts? Maybe he won’t have that plus-plus pitch we’d drool over, but even if mixing pitch location is a bit of a lost art, it isn’t an ineffective one.

    Last night was a good outing, and it was more than that: another step on his path. He looks like a major league pitcher now. I think he’ll turn into a pretty good one. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

    @JohnWDB, you know Adonis can hit; I know Adonis can hit. We both know the big question about him is: will his command of the strikezone be good enough to keep him out of major slumps? He’s a hitter with a question mark who could break either way. So people are being a little jerky about it. Meh. Haterade is a cheap drink.

  24. WRT to Wisler, I saw the Glavine Early Years, and those years were much worse than what Matt W. is doing now. That’s not to say Wisler will win 300 games and make it to Cooperstown, but it’s not out of the question that he continues to improve and becomes a competent, valuable major league starting pitcher.

  25. @32, Isn’t it funny how we know Adonis can hit. If only it were easier to assess the hitting talent of other 30-year-old, right-handed, Cuban third-basemen and/or left fielders before, you know, trading high value for them.

  26. @32
    I’m not saying it wasn’t a good outing. Aside from 2 pitches that were destroyed, it was a good outing. However, what good pitcher can one not say that about? My point was more along the lines of his fastball velocity. When it was graded as a plus pitch, it had the ability to be thrown between 92&96. He hasn’t shown that in the bigs, therefore his biggest strength, the ability to control the corners, has to be near flawless to be successful.

    Look, Wisler has a 1.02 WHIP this year in 2 starts and has a near 5 ERA with FIP to match. That means that when people hit him, they’re squaring it up pretty doggone good. If his FB had 2-3 more MPH on it, it creates the ability to make mistakes and get away with them more than at 92.

    Everybody can pitch 92 these days. In my opinion, until he recovers some velocity, or becomes Maddux-esque with his control, we’ll continue to see the same problem.

  27. This needs to be said to all that saw Glavine, Maddux, and Smoltz (including myself): the strike zone was ENORMOUS! Not just for those 3 as some might have us believe, but it was bigger. We might not want to admit it, but it’s true. Wisler doesn’t have that luxury.

  28. It looks like the Phillies got the real deal in Velasquez. A complete game shutout today, 16 K’s. Dominant performance. Eickhof is pitching well also. With Nola, they may have the basis for a rotation for a long time.

  29. I’m really interested to see why so many people reduce it down to Olivera, Wood, and Peraza. There were 12 players, a 1st round pick, and cash that moved around in that trade. While it’s certainly not immaterial what happens with Wood and Peraza, those aren’t the only determining factors. This was the trade:

    “As part of a 3-team trade, traded Bronson Arroyo, Luis Avilan, Jim Johnson, Jose Peraza and Alex Wood to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Received Zachary Bird (minors), Hector Olivera and Paco Rodriguez from the Los Angeles Dodgers and 2016 competitive balance round A pick from the Miami Marlins. In addition, the Los Angeles Dodgers sent Victor Araujo (minors), Jeff Brigham (minors) and Kevin Guzman (minors) to the Miami Marlins; and the Miami Marlins sent Mat Latos and Mike Morse to the Los Angeles Dodgers.”

    What happens with Bird? What happens with Rodriguez? What do we do with the draft pick? How much value did Avilan and Johnson have? How much of Arroyo’s contract did we eat? There’s really a lot going on there, and while you could make the argument that such a complicated trade shouldn’t have been made, there are more things that can move the trade in different directions outside of Olivera/Wood/Peraza.

    The silver lining of looking back at the trade is that it reminds me that we have 5 of the first 75 picks in the draft. Doesn’t put Andrelton Simmons back at short, but… it kinda helps

  30. @41 The Braves traded away two quality relievers in Avilan and Johnson; in return they got Rodriguez, who’s had some success relieving a few years ago but was (and is) injured, and Bird, a raw prospect who’s a very long way away from maybe, someday, playing in the majors.

    You can judge this deal based upon 1) what was (or should have) been known at the moment the trade was made, or 2) the hindsight method, taking into account the eventual outcome for all of the changes that took place because of the trade. It’s far too early to make a hindsight judgment on the full deal. That said, Olivera appeared to be a dud from the second he showed up in Atlanta – meaning that Braves staff had the same opportunity to see him looking just that crappy before making this trade. The Braves traded away a ton of value in that deal, and the centerpiece was Olivera. It sure looks like the Braves massively misjudged him.

    EDIT: Braves lead, Braves lead… BRAVES LEAD! (1-0 in the 3rd inning).

  31. This is a fun sport.

    Ya know, the only reason you don’t like Bryce Harper is because he doesn’t play for your team. Aren’t you a little jealous of those fans when he connected? They knew it.

  32. Looks like we will get the #1 pick in the 2017 draft quite easily. Let’s draft another Chipper.

  33. mlb.tv spared me all scoring. I don’t know whether to mourn not seeing us lead or rejoice at not seeing us lose it. What happened?

  34. Was it Livan Hernandez who said ‘If you walk him, it’s only one run’?

    Edit: At this rate, they might throw in the number two pick as well.

  35. I KNEW those pre-season projections for us were WAY off. The Phillies are totally better than us!

  36. “I don’t think we’re Pollyana, where we look up and we’re going to immediately be a 100-win club. No, that’s not going to happen in ’16. We feel we’re going to be significantly better going into 2016 than we were going into 2015.”

  37. Went to the MLB site to watch the in-game highlights. Not sure what’s worse — seeing the Harper GSHR or having to sit thru the 30-second Papa John’s ad beforehand.

  38. 1st Pick Sweepstakes:

    We do play the Twins 4 times this year — 2 in ATL, 2 in Mpls.

    So somebody’s going to lose this thing fair & square.

  39. There is a number of games under .500 where there would be a mutiny if Fredi is not fired. What is that number? If you end up, say, 2-20, does Fredi get canned? 0-15, 2-20, 5-35? Or do you want to go winning percentage after a certain amount of games? .200 winning percentage after 50 games? .100 after 20 games? .250 after 70 games? Surely one of these scenarios gets Fredi canned.

  40. A manager has to get 2 months, and if not 2 months, 40 games. And usually it matters not just how bad the record is but how badly the team is playing in the prior 2 weeks. But if I had to pick a number from your list, it would be 5-35. 8-32 might be sufficient, assuming the team hasn’t come off a 5-7 run in the prior 2 weeks.

  41. Someone must’ve already said, it’d be fun to pretend we’re in a bizarro ’91 scenario with the Twins.

    I’m not sure I’d rather be the Twins. They’re straight up rushing Buxton because their fans have had enough and they didn’t plan for an alternative. That could be Swanson’s fate if things don’t change. OTOH, I think Jose Berrios is better than any of our pitching prospects.

  42. Also, Target Field is legitimately gorgeous and super fun for baseball watching. It’s also a baseball park in Minneapolis, not a shopping mall somewhere outside of Atlanta.

  43. If I’m management, I’m keeping Fredi through this whole debacle, because the moment they replace him and the losing continues, is when the fans start pointing fingers at Coppy, Hart and our real estate loving owners. I’d bet a lot of money that it was always the plan to replace him with the opening of WFF next year.

  44. @74

    That could be a lot of players. If we had a 90+ win team right now, I think Swanson, Albies, Newcomb, Jenkins, Mallex, and Blair all get their MLB appearance delayed at least one year. I think Alex had talked about how some of the rebuilds like the Pirates’ had taken so much longer because they rushed their prospects and kept having to stair step the development cycle. Rushing their arrivals stunted their development, so A players became B players, B’s became C’s, etc.

  45. Gwinnett:

    Aaron Blair tonight: 6 IP, 0 ER, 6K, 5H, 3BB. 2.25 ERA in 2 starts

    Bonifacio has a .853 OPS

    Ruiz has a .971 OPS

    Mississippi:

    No one can hit

    Chris Ellis: 11IP, 11K, 1.24 WHIP, 1.59 ERA

    Lucas Sims: 9IP, 16K(!), 7BB, 1.33 WHIP, 3.00 ERA

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