Braves 8, Dodgers 1

Win, win, win. It gets old after awhile.

For those bothering to do things like look at wins and loses and the season record, that is four Ws in a row. Count ’em. Don’t look now, but if this team keeps this up, they may have to settle for the #2 draft pick.

The Dodgers took some pity on the hapless Fish and, to make them feel better about getting swept by the Worst Team in Baseball, allowed that WTiB to beat them in convincing fashion. They also committed three errors, so it was an all around less than stellar performance from the boys in blue. On the other side of the field, the Braves, led by The Florist and The Frenchman, picked up 10 hits and plated a pair of runs in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 7th innings. For good measure, the Dodgers pushed a run across in the 5th and avoided the shutout, but that was all the offense they could muster.

Frenchy got the scoring started in the 1st with a sacrifice fly that plated Daniel Castro. Flowers followed with a two-out single to score Freddie Freeman, whose 1st inning single has his average all the way up to .175.

In the 3rd, Flowers picked up his second RBI and Mallex Smith got his first of the evening with a bases loaded walk.

It was at this point I fully realized the absurdity of this season, because I found myself wincing at the damage the Braves were doing against our old pal, Alex Wood, rather than enjoying the lead. He’s been gone for nine months, and it is still more natural to me to root for Wood than almost anyone currently wearing the tomahawk across their chest. C’est la vie.

Wood lasted four innings, gave up 6 of the Braves runs (3 earned), and just didn’t look right in Dodger blue. His Atlanta counterpart, The Bills, batted in the bottom of the 3rd before being yanked after giving up back-to-back singles with one out in the top of the 4th. Ryan Weber relieved him and looked pretty good. He went 3.2 innings and gave up 1 run on 3 hits, picking up 4 strikeouts in the process.

In the 4th, Frenchy and Flowers again picked up RBI singles, and a 2-run Mallex double in the 7th rounded out the scoring. The 8th and 9th innings were largely uneventful, and that was that. A final score of 8-1, a few handshakes on the field by the home team, and both sides come back tomorrow night to do it all over again.

Win, win, win. It gets old after awhile.

104 thoughts on “Braves 8, Dodgers 1”

  1. I might guess there was wincing all round these parts..

    the ‘mother-in-the stands’ shot was separately evocative – clear recall of her excitement back when loyalties were singular.

    you wonder what he made of it all, can’t have been easy.

  2. I was able to watch the game last night so of course we won. I still haven’t watched a Braves loss this year. Unfortunately I will definitely miss tonight and tomorrow and Friday through Sunday are very iffy.

  3. It’s always important not to get too caught up in recency bias. With that said, WE ARE THE GREATEST TEAM IN THE HISTORY OF SPORT!!!

  4. Alex, Unfortunately I will not even be near a TV for most of the next 5 days. I am traveling in search of a job so when I’m not riding in a car I will likely be engaged in some sort of interview/business dinner/lunch. Not to worry though, I will be back on task starting next week.

  5. Great. Just great. Hap can’t watch games. A Twins loss yesterday ended my parallel universe. Aaron Blair is WASTING in AAA throwing no-hitters. This season is such a total waste.

  6. Looking more and more like there were no winners in the Olivera trade. Congrats to Tyler Flowers on a fantastic game last night.

  7. What if Paco Rodriguez comes back strong as a late-inning relief ace? What if the Braves get a good player with the 40th pick? Still too early to say who won. (Peraza could be good.)

    Wood’s (and Johnson’s and Avilan’s) suckiness sure does make the Olivera aspect easier to bear, though.

  8. Thanks Rissa for the great write up.

    Blair count, over / under: I am picking this Sunday. Replaces Williams who is optioned back to AAA.

  9. The Dodgers could designate Wood if they want. They also used Peraza to help them build depth where they want it. We OTOH could end up on the hook for Olivera. They win, thus far.

  10. I dunno, I like that 40th pick a lot. That bonus pool money provides some real flexibility.

    Since many of the top draft prospects are pitchers, I’d like to see the Braves reach a little for a bat with the 3rd pick, get a mid-first-round guy signed under slot, and convince another mid 1st-round bat to hold out for an over-slot payment at 40.

    Just going by MLB.com’s rankings, say we got Rutherford (7) or Lewis (8) with the 3 pick, and could spread word that Benson (18) was holding out for our 40th pick. The Astros did something similar last year.

  11. jjschiller is onto exactly the reason that 40th pick is so potentially valuable. The Astros had a bit more flexibility last year than we do this year, given that they had the 2nd and 5th picks, but that financial wiggle room can be a big benefit.

    Let’s just hope we don’t do what Arizona did — save big ($2 million) on their first pick and then spend the savings…nowhere. (And then trade that first pick for Shelby Miller.)

  12. Atlanta seems to value young talent more then Arizona does. I’m not worried about that scenario.

    Coppy had said they still had a “best player available” mentality with the picks. Perhaps they plan on trading some of the starting pitching depth for more major league-ready hitters and then just take one of the great lefties in the draft. We’re still light on lefties in the system, especially if Newcomb never consistently finds the strike zone.

  13. I think we will take a pitcher at 3. Adding to our strengths seems like a slightly safer route than betting on a young bat.

  14. If the Braves are serious about taking a bat, Senzel or Ray seem like the picks, depending on what the Reds do. (I assume the Phils take Groome.) I suppose they could be trying to throw other teams off the scent, but I honestly wince every time I see a mock draft that has the Braves taking another pitcher at 3. It seems a massive waste to pass up on the chance to get a fast-moving bat given the state of the system at present.

    40 and beyond, they could do anything. Last year Allard was a known quantity aside from his injury (and Swanson, if you count him) but their other picks were generally perceived as reaches. Those picks are looking good now, but it proves that the Braves aren’t necessarily married to the industry consensus once you get past the top talents.

  15. Olivera trade notwithstanding, we’ve been doing well in our trades. Why not send 3 SP prospects for a bat and then take Puk? Why settle when we can get the asset somewhere else?

  16. Because if the market values the price of a bat to be 3 starting pitchers, wouldn’t you be better of drafting a whole bat instead of 1/3 of one?

  17. Drafting for need in the MLB draft is a good way to ensure intractable losing. It’s not like the NFL where 90% of top 10 picks become at least functional starters–the bust rate is frightening in the MLB. That said, bats, particularly college bats do tend to project better than pitching.

    There have been several good articles on this that I can’t currently find, but here’s a decent look from a dated piece:

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=5152

  18. And really, the idea of “settling” only applies if you believe these guys have an absolute value, and they don’t. That MLB.Com ranks a guy 7th doesn’t mean he’ll have the 7th best career in the draft, and 6 will be better and 10 will be worse.

    If the Braves love a guy who’s a pitcher, they should draft him. If they love a guy who’s a hitter, they should draft him. If they don’t love anybody who’s left on the board, they should be practical. In my opinion, practical is signing a guy to knock the ball around the yard. This whole conversation is predicated by “all things being equal,” and they very rarely are.

  19. The last time we drafted in the top-3, the entire top-10 were more or less busts:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/draft/?query_type=year_round&year_ID=1991&draft_round=1&draft_type=junreg&

    …unless Dmitri Young could be considered a success (is it fitting his career year came for the 2003 Tigers?). The 3 big hits in this first round were, of course, high school bats. So, you know…exception to every rule.

    I also was just reminded that Aaron Sele won 148 games

  20. I don’t think drafting “for need” and taking a pitcher at 3 are conflicting ideas. In my mind pitching remains our biggest need. The surplus/glut that everyone thinks we have is mostly still in the high-risk/bust zone.

  21. “I don’t think drafting “for need” and taking a pitcher at 3 are conflicting ideas”

    But the majority of our top-30 prospects are pitchers, including our #1 pick last year, and our offense is the absolute worst in baseball. The help that is on the way is low-power middle infield. Sure, our pitchers might bust, but at least we have guys who have the ceiling of #1 or #2 starter (Allard, Newcomb, Sims). We don’t have anyone who has the ceiling of a first-division power bat (ok, maybe Riley)

    I think we’d all agree we need more good players including starting and relief pitching, but power bat (or catcher) has to be the clearest need.

  22. Our offense is bad because our management wants it to be. Promote a few guys and spend a bit of money and that could be a different story, quickly. If the best player at 3 is a pitcher, then I want him.

  23. I agree that we don’t have much power help on the way, and I want to fix that, but the college bats in this draft don’t scream can’t-miss.

    If you put Swanson and Albies in our current starting lineup, you replace two of our worst hitters with guys that look like they’ll have high OBPs. That may not be enough by itself, but it would certainly make a noticeable difference.

  24. It’s way early, but as of this date, I really think Kyle Lewis will be the pick at #3, and there will be some savings there, and they’ll have money to spend above slot on the next couple of picks (or on the 11th-rounder).

    I like Ray, too, so I’d be happy with that. Not a believer in Senzel.

    25—My guess is they’re trying to see what they have, super-utility-wise, with Jace. They know what they have in KJ.

  25. As long as Jace is getting ABs, they can have him stand on his head behind the pitchers mound. I want to know this year whether he belongs in the big leagues.

  26. Kevin McAlpin ‏@KevinMcAlpin 58m58 minutes ago

    With Perez optioned to Gwinnett, Aaron Blair or Mike Foltynewicz could start on Sunday against the Mets. #Braves

    Having watched Blair’s last start, I’m excited to see him against some better competition. He’s the best looking pitching prospect I’ve had a chance to watch so far this year. Lots of movement on his pitches, great command.

  27. @32,

    I called it at 11. I am astounded that I called something correctly. All except they COULD bring up Folty, but I don’t see that.

  28. Oh, and I don’t see it anywhere, but today Casey Kelly is recalled. So, one more will have to go down by Sunday unless Weber or Kelly or a piggy back starts Sunday. The Bills must stay down for at least 10 days, but why would we want bring the back barring nuclear catastrophe or a bus wreck?

  29. @29, krussell, I’m not arguing we should draft for need. I think that’s a horrible strategy, which I said above, unless all things are equal.

  30. In this draft it could be that all things are equal at the top (e.g. there’s not anything that really stands out).

    Many are thinking that the Braves will try to game the draft by reaching on some hard-to-sign high school guys with their later picks and paying them way above slot.

  31. Kelly was recalled because Weber can’t be the long man for a couple of days. I imagine on that Sunday, Weber is back to long duty, Kelly goes back down and Folty comes up. Blair would have to be added to the 40 man, expire an option year (which is likely to happen this year anyway) and begin his arb clock.

    Folty, meanwhile, is already on the 40-man, is already expiring options and already has his clock ticking, and needs, at minimum, to begin to establish some trade value before his salary begins rising.

    Which is to say, even if you don’t believe in Footy as a long term answer for the Braves, if behooves them to figure him out and get him out of Blair’s way before you start Blair’s clock, or else you end up non-tendering or waiving Folty in a year or two, and never knowing what you have.

  32. Also Folty gives up lots of homers, which leads to losses, in which we are trying to lead the league this year. And if he figures out how to stop doing that, then we have something.

  33. Guess it makes sense to bench a guy right after he goes 4-4. Especially when the player you bench him for is worse offensively and defensively.

  34. @41 I’d say it’s because he’s had too many Hollywood Nights, but they’re on the road. Maybe his glove is just like a rock.

  35. It should be said that Erick aybar has looked competent tonight. Still don’t think he’s better than Castro.

    Fredi you idiot.

  36. What’s so stupid is that the two guys who swung the bat this inning have crushed this guy. Then everyone goes picking and poking at him and louse the whole thing up.

  37. I remember Simmons(?) doing something similarly stupid once and then dodging the media post-game, and Fredi covering for him, and then forcing Simmons(?) to own it publicly the next afternoon.

  38. I guess because Cervenka pitched on the 16th, 17th and 19th and EOF is the other lefty.

  39. And here comes Cervenka, so my guess is that Fredi doesn’t know who the first lefty and second lefty should be.

  40. That low left field angle looks like they got him, but Aybar took that throw lazily, from behind the bag. Make him respond to your position.

  41. Let’s get Mallex on to lead it off, let him do zoom zoom things, and then walk off a winner here.

  42. It’s just sad to watch Grilli. He can’t plant on and drive off the left foot like he needs to, and the control breaks down from there.

  43. The problem is Grilli has more walks than IP. You deserve what you get when you can’t throw strikes

  44. His fastball is also down over 2 mph from last year. I like the guy, but he looks like a replacement level reliever at this point.

  45. Man, I remember in 2010 or 2011 being at a close game in the 7th inning at Citizens Bank and watching O’Flaherty mow down the heart of the Phillies order in like 11 pitches. Sucked the life out of that obnoxious crowd.

    Thanks for the memories, Eric. You have my undying respect; I’m sorry you’re not any longer the pitcher you once were.

  46. This is, unfortunately, the exact replica of Mike Remlinger in 2006 — a formerly absurdly dominant lefty reliever reduced to a pale, ineffective imitation of his former self. The sad thing is, O’Flaherty is only 31.

    I hope to heaven that he figures it out, gets healthy, and has a lot more years in the majors. But right now, he’s flailing and it’s miserable to watch.

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