Brewers 3, Braves 2

(I started typing this recap before the game ended. At the conclusion of this writing, the game was tied 2-2 after 8 innings. I attest under penalty of perjury that the only thing I changed was the inning in which Milwaukee took the lead.)

The Braves received another solid pitching performance from a young pitcher, this time from Mike Foltynewicz. He struggled with the walks, but he pitched 5 2/3 giving up one run and recording seven strikeouts. After going through 937 relievers, mostly getting one out at a time, the Braves coughed up their 2-1 lead.

Erick Aybar, miraculously, recorded two hits, and Gordon Beckham hit his first home run. The Nard Dog continues his ways and grabbed a couple more hits tonight. Inciarte had an encouraging night, getting a hit and collecting three walks.

After Arodys Vizcaino recorded a scoreless ninth, the Braves would not score again. In the 13th inning, Casey Kelly gave up the lead, and that was all she wrote.

The Braves are now 2-19 at home, and I hate this team.

85 thoughts on “Brewers 3, Braves 2”

  1. Not sure – – as I lost count

    Was Freddie oh-for-17

    or

    oh-for-17 hundred?

    felt like the latter tonight

  2. Did Fredi sneak in tonight and manage the game? I can’t think of one thing Snitker did tonight that Fredi wouldn’t have done. One day, games like this will fall our way. It doesn’t look like it will be any time soon.

  3. Often the criticism of Fredi’s in-game strategy centered on his not making an available move. You certainly can’t level that particular criticism at Snitker — if anything, this is what a game managed by a message board would look like.

  4. I find it inconceivable that this F.O. cannot find more, better bats SOMEWHERE!

    Most of these games could’ve been won, not from clutch hitting, not from timely hitting, but from ANY G)*&)%)%)*m hitting.

  5. Bud Norris has cost us the last two games. At this point I think stu could come and in start a late inning rally off the man.

  6. @11

    And Freeman is looking as bad with the bat as I’ve ever seen him. That swing in the 7th (8th?) with Inciarte and d’Arnaud on base and two outs was a hopeless a swing as possible – an eye-high fastball with a check swing that looked like it tied FF up in knots.

  7. We criticize the manager for the moves he makes or doesn’t make because it feels good. But most of managing is just getting your players to play to the height of their abilities. Fredi’s patented late-year collapses — they happened so frequently that it is literally the most memorable thing about his management style — indicated his inability to do that.

    Snitker’s just keeping the seat warm; criticizing him is very nearly beside the point. But we’ll still probably do it, because in a long, hopeless, pointless season, what else is there?

  8. @13 – This gets at the thing I’ve never understood about Fredi: his reputation for being “good in the clubhouse.” What does that mean if not keeping the team on an even keel so it doesn’t nosedive; keeping guys loose so they don’t press and turn losing streaks into utter collapses?

    Does it mean he handles the caterers expertly? Really makes sure the laundry is done before the players arrive? Just that he’s really, really nice to everybody?

    More pointedly, if actually being good in the clubhouse, whatever it is, does NOT translate to the avoidance of long losing streaks, what is it even doing on the list of qualifications for a major league manager?

  9. @14

    I’m not sure he was great in the clubhouse. I think we have played better since he was let go. Not a ton better, but still.

    I saw a token interview with Freeman prior to the firing and he was supportive, but not over the top.

    I know Chipper was cool with him on a radio program, but he also didn’t go on a massive Twitter rant either.

    I haven’t seen any former Braves come out and say “Really? Fredi was great!”

  10. What are the attributes that describe a good manager, aside from having good players? Casey Stengel, Billy Martin, Earl Weaver, Bob the Cox and Tony LaRussa won. Is having good players all they shared?

    P.S. Thank you for the thought-provoking recap, Rob Cope.

    P.P.S. Joe Torre too had all the players money could buy.

  11. Torre didn’t have all the players money could buy in Atlanta or St. Louis, and he was pretty good there, too. He also did a whole lot better in Los Angeles than any of the guys before or after him have.

    There’s no one way to be a good manager, but I recommend Chris Jaffe’s book Evaluating Baseball’s Managers for a framework on how to assess what makes a manager good. Billy Martin went to one extreme: he was very good at short-term turnarounds and improving a team’s win total greatly over what it had been before he got there, but he burned his players out, particularly his pitchers, and inevitably got himself run out of town after a few years.

    Cox’s strength was pitching, and though it’s hard to separate how much was him from how much was Mazzone, it is inarguably the case that his pitchers — not just the Big Three but almost all of them — were both better and healthier when they played for him than when they played for anyone else.

    The best manager ever was Joe McCarthy. He gets points not just for his famous Yankees teams, but also for his far-less-famous Red Sox teams.

    The mark of a good manager, beyond everything else, is the ability to get his boys to win more than they would’ve won without him. Styles and tactics vary markedly, but the necessary outcome is always the same.

  12. @14

    Just that he’s really, really nice to everybody?

    Not to be trite, but I do think that’s his big calling card as a manager. He’s super nice, and I hate it. Bobby Cox was a “player’s manager”, but he was not nice. That guy had a red ass, and I think you need a little bit (not Kirk Gibsonian levels) to be successful. Fredi was a fluffy kitten, and I don’t know why that has been considered a strength.

  13. Previous thread, someone said “I swear it feels like we’ve had the worst player in MLB for, like, 6 years in a row. I think that’s almost true.”

    It sure does feel true, and I think it’s one of the major reason, if not the major reason, we “had to” implode the team.

  14. Great recap, though I do take issue with your last phrase.

    I do not hate this team, I don’t think I can hate this team. Yes, expectations were low and are still not being met. But the glimpses of brilliance we’ve seen from some of the young guys and most of the starting pitching gives me hope.

    Anything done (or not done) by Aybar merely generates a shrug from me, since the only thing he can do of value is leave, same with AJP, though he at least was of some value at one point in earlier seasons.

    So I’ll continue to change the way I watch braves games, looking for nuggets, but expecting to bleed L’s for the remainder of the year.

  15. I was perusing the league stats on espn, and in 2013, we had 2 of the 20 most negative WAR players in the league in MUJ and DUGGLA. We have since gotten rid of them, but we’ve managed to replace them with 2 other players from that same list: Jeff Francouer and Reid Brignac. Actually being one of the 20 worst players in the league has a pretty good positive predictive value for the Braves acquiring you.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting/_/year/2013/sort/WARBR/qualified/false/order/false

  16. @20

    That was me. Sadly, it appears our reign of dominance started in 2013:

    2013: Melvin Upton/Dan Uggla
    2014: Melvin
    2015: Chris Johnson
    2016: Erick Aybar

    Paul Janish was pretty awful in 2012, which is pretty ironic considering he had the highest OPS in the International League this year. But I think you’re right that when you’ve had so much terrible money tied up in Uggla/Upton/CJ, you really have to start thinking about how to get yourself out of it once Kimbrel/Teheran/Freeman/Simmons started having their contracts escalate. You really can’t rely on an Aaron Harang or Ervin Santana to ride in to save the day every year.

  17. I really hate this team right now because we’re consistently getting good starting pitching, and yet we have one of the worst offenses in the history of baseball. The Chopcast podcast joked that we may be evolving from “worst in history” to “worst this century”, so we got that going for us… which is nice. These are a few things running through my mind:

    -I’m very encouraged with Folty, Teheran, Wisler, and Perez, to an extent. I also feel pretty good about Blair, regardless of the struggles.
    -I’m very encouraged with a few guys on the farm: Ellis, Sims while at AA, Swanson, and now Albies in AAA.
    -I’m very concerned about Newcomb and Jenkins. I think everyone’s right that Jenkins peripherals are just not good, and I hate seeing this rolodex of retreads in the 5th starter spot in Atlanta while Jenkins and Sims aren’t earning a spot.
    -I’m extremely concerned that Coppy did so poorly with the veteran crop this year. I know that you can’t reasonably expect the money to be well-spent while spread across so many players, but we’ve committed about $15M to terrible players on our roster, and while it shouldn’t matter with a higher payroll, it concerns me that we could have done much better with that money. This will all work itself out when your rotation and up-the-middle position players will ultimately account for less than 10% (hopefully) of the payroll, but it does make me concerned a little bit about Coppy’s decision-making on veterans.

    Just my two cents.

  18. @25, The important thing to remember about 2014 is that we were still paying Uggla to suck for other teams except for when he was playing us when he was worth every penny we were paying him.

    (Oh, sorry…that was 2015. The premise of my snark-slathered point still stands.)

  19. I don’t think Coppy made any particular effort to sign good vets, just vets that were reasonably competent who would sign with the worst team in baseball for 1-3 million for a single season. That is a limited pool of players to draw from. Aybar has been the biggest disaster but who expected him to totally collapse in his contract year? AJP has been a disappointment, but I can’t fault anyone for spending $3 mil on a catcher who just had a pretty good season for you. Beckham and Flowers have been fine. KJ and Francouer were known quantities. Chacin pitched better than expected; Norris was a calculated risk.

  20. @26, it’s funny: one of Frank Wren’s greatest strengths was rounding out a roster with veteran role players (Eric Hinske, David Ross, even Brooks Conrad), while one of his biggest weaknesses was drafting. Coppolella appears to have completely inverted those strengths and weaknesses.

    The sign of a healthy organization is the ability to balance strengths and weaknesses by putting the right people in the right roles. Wren was able to fail because there was no one above him who was able to address any of his failings. If Coppolella fails, it will likely be for the same reason.

  21. @29 I was going to mention that Wren did a pretty good job of signing veterans. I’m not ready to contend that Coppy isn’t since the Braves, most likely through Coppy’s specific navigation, put some good veterans on the roster last year. Grilli, JJ, AJ, KJ, Garcia, and trade for Uribe all worked out pretty good for us, so I’m not sure I’m ready to say Coppy can’t fill the roster.

  22. @29 I think Coppy was essentially buying $1 scratch-offs instead of the $3 cards. Chacin, Norris, Jim Johnson, Beckham, etc. Getting a tier better player than those would’ve cost more and probably wouldn’t have hit for much more at the trade than we received last year for Johnson and Uribe. I think it’s pretty clear the organization would rather pay 3M for a draft pick than sign a shitty platoon outfielder and hope they rebound and we can get a reliever prospect in return. Based on the competitive timeline I think that’s the smart play too.

    Aybar and Olivera determinations are problematic.

  23. Yeah the problem is the opportunity cost the front office has lost in their pursuit of mediocrity. Trading real pieces for Olivera, insisting Aybar comes back in the Simmons deal (not because he sucks but because it probably cost getting another piece), flat out refusing to listen to offers for Freddie Freeman… just don’t make much sense if you’re actually real about what the Braves are.

    I think this all would be have been fine if they weren’t so hellbent on telling people everything is fine and the team will be more competitive. Think back to November 2014 when they started this and claimed it wasn’t a rebuild and that they could trade everyone and still kinda try to contend. Then once that all blew up they said 2015 was unacceptable and they’d turn it around to respectability this year. Now that’s blown up and the narrative is just to wait til all these great minor leaguers come up it’s so exciting! It’s really hard to trust they know what they’re talking about at this point.

  24. I don’t know if you can blame Coppy for Francouer since he was a non roster invitee that made the team – I’m sure on Fredi’s recommendation.

    The head scratcher for me is Bonifacio. He was terrible the last time he signed with the Braves and he’s gotten worse since then. As noted, Chacin, Beckham, and Flowers have all exceeded expectations. The dumpster fires (Aybar and Olivera) can’t be considered rounding out the roster – they are more like key pieces that have been total failures.

    All in all, I think the jury is still out on Coppy and rounding out the roster.

  25. I can’t get over Olivera and Markakis. Those moves are so bizarre. Negates the shrewdness of the Swanson deal, in my mind at least.

    If you think the turnaround depends on the drafts, then you have to give Coppy a really long leash. I just think we need to be done with the intentional losing after this year. Watching a team purposely built to lose makes it very hard to rate anyone’s performance.

  26. The worst offensive team in recent history was the 2010 Seattle Mariners who scored 513 runs. We are on pace to score 504. Anybody know the last team to score under 500 runs? Gotta have something to shoot for in this lost season.

  27. So, I found no team that scored under 500 runs in a full-length season since 1971, when the San Diego Padres scored 486 runs. In 1972, the California Angels were on pace to score even fewer runs, but that was a season shortened by 8 games due to strike.

  28. Land-of-the-Living Dept.

    Have you seen what the Red Sox are doing?

    They’re averaging 6 runs a game and, as a team, they’re .298/.362/.489.

    In 27 games at Fenway, they’re .312/.381/.511. Crazy.

  29. I’m in favor of stiff domestic violence penalties, but I hope there are just and objective reasons why Olivera’s suspension is more than double Aroldis Chapman’s.

  30. We absolutely have to try to recover some value for Olivera’s financial obligation.

  31. The Braves owe Olivera the following:

    $4 million in 2016
    $6 million in 2017
    $6.5 million in 2018
    $7.5 million in 2019
    $8.5 million in 2020
    ———————
    32.5 million total

    Clayton Kershaw makes 32.8 million THIS YEAR. We are paying Hector Olivera chump change.

  32. As I see it, Olivera’s suspension doesn’t take into account possible conviction on sexual abuse or rape charges. Does anyone know if the lady involved has dropped the charges? My guess is that if he’s convicted, the Braves would drop him on violating his morals clause quickly. I’m not totally sure that they won’t try to drop him even if there is not a conviction. Does anyone have additional insight?

  33. @50, based on what? I would be thrilled to never see him again, but I’m thinking we will.

  34. Based on the way DOB talks about it. Of course he could be wrong too. The “Braves Way” might be more malleable than before.

  35. Can’t wait for all the Bobby Cox comparisons this will dredge up if Olivera takes the field later this year.

  36. @47

    You’re absolutely right. The idea around here that he is this financial encumbrance is overstated. He’ll be back.

    We’re not paying him much this year, but if it means we can put that money towards collecting more young talent, then ok. Hopefully he will be held accountable for whatever he has done, and that’ll be that. The financial penalty he has already earned himself is a pretty significant punishment, and that is truly not meant to lessen the severity of his acts. As Ed Killifer said, “2 mill is a hell of a chunk of dough.”

    I still think that he can play a decent LF and put in a .750-.800 OPS. I wish he could provide that to give us more of an incentive to do something with Markakis.

  37. I want to hear more about how spending 30 million bucks on someone that won’t play for us is no big deal.

  38. I want to hear more about the availability of the crystal ball that allows you to know that we will 1) actually pay Hector Olivera $30M (which is already proven to be inaccurate) and 2) not allow him to play through 2020.

    Tell me more.

  39. He’s not a major league baseball player. He hasn’t played organized baseball hardly at all in the past 4 years. He’s old. He’s NOT GOOD.

    We owe him 30 million unless we get out of it via legal actions. That’s a non-trivial amount for this budget.

  40. “He’s not a major league baseball player. He hasn’t played organized baseball hardly at all in the past 4 years. He’s old. He’s NOT GOOD.”

    -those are reasons (though some are the same reason rephrased) as to why we will not see him in a braves uni

    “We owe him 30 million unless we get out of it via legal actions. That’s a non-trivial amount for this budget.”

    -that is a very significant reason why we SHOULD see him in a braves uni

    I’m not sure if the second quotation was meant to play devil’s advocate or not.

  41. He’ll be below replacement level if you play him. Why hurt the team even more? Unless we’re still tanking it for the next few years…if so, suit him up.

  42. I’ve been a consistent critic of the trade since it was made and of Olivera’s ability level since I saw him swing a bat, but it is too much to say he’s a replacement level player (or below). We don’t know that. We can be pretty sure he will never be the “impact bat” management thought he could be, but there’s a lot between that and replacement level.

  43. I just don’t see the dogma of the conclusion. He has a career 87 OPS+ and very little mileage on his body. He’ll probably develop into a half-way decent LF defensively. I mean, for what he’s owed, is it really that big of a deal? Alex Wood is a good pitcher, I get that, but it’s not this absolute fleecing that it’s being made out to be.

  44. Nothing I’ve seen makes me think he can play. If Coppy wants to cut his tenure short he should go ahead and triple down on this bad bet. Since this whole op is a giant clown show, that’s probably what will happen.

  45. @63, I don’t disagree that he’s awful. But it costs nothing to let him play a few months to be sure he’s awful.

  46. I’m trying to think of anyone who’s had the shape of Olivera’s career, who has played so little and so poorly at such an advanced age and subpar physical condition, and gone on to do anything of note. Eisenreich is the closest I can come up with, but the differences between them far outweigh the similarities (and Eisenreich’s inactive period came at a younger age anyway). Ibanez wasn’t much until his thirties, but both he and Eisenreich stayed in good shape.

    (But Coppy sees something!)

  47. It’s not just that he sucks, it’s that every time he takes the field the Braves FO will have to listen to “Alex Wood!” and “Bobby Cox also hits women!” and whatnot.

  48. That part would be good actually. Something needs to entertain us this year.

  49. I know Snitker is a benchwarmer, but being swept at home by the Brewers is a disgrace.

  50. Maybe we can be on our third manager by June. Has the interim ever been fired mid-season? We are due since we only had two managers for about 25 years.

  51. I don’t know why this team even needs a manager or coaches. That would save a few bucks for the Olivera fund.

  52. Just tuning in but is there a reason why Snitker chose Brignac to hit for Castro? I’m pretty sure Markakis was available.

  53. I believe he pinch-hit immediately after Castro. I have no idea why they went that direction.

  54. Firing the interim for a team with the worst offense in 45 years would reflect an obscene misunderstanding of our personnel.

  55. The schedule’s been brutal. The Brewers are one of the best teams in baseball.

  56. @78

    Right idea, wrong John.

    John Malone needs to manage this team.

    This mess, with cheap solutions and deals like the Kimbrel trade that returned than fair value just to clear bad contracts from the books, is ultimately on Liberty Media.

    Attitude reflects leadership, and Liberty doesn’t care about baseball.

  57. Freddie Freeman does not have much protection, but neither is he providing any for anyone else. Aybar’s ineptness no longer amuses, but our kid pitchers have been just fine, thank you.

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