Ironclad: Braves 5, Giants 3

Yesterday’s afternoon encounter was reminiscent of the ancient turmoil in Old England. My ancestors the Barons de Clare (Gilbert and his son Richard) and a whole bunch of their friends had gotten the “acting King”, John, to sign a declaration of rights (fitting to connect to Memorial Day, as the de Clares would say: n’est-ce pas). Consider this prelude to our movie to be the early part of the game. The upstart starting pitcher (Mike Foltynewicz playing the part of the upstart barons) going against the powerful World Champions of 2010, 2012, and 2014, also on a current roll of success, the Giants.

Just as at Runymede, our Braves pushed the Prince Regent into a corner. Folty pitched very well (like, he really looks like he will probably make it as a Major League starter). Our upstart baron suffered a minor initial indignity when Brandon Belt hit a solo home run in the second before the Braves barons were able to corner the Prince Regent at Runymede (Turner Field). Baron Adonis Garcia singled, Baron Nick Markakis doubled (but Baron Garcia couldn’t take the extra castle), Baron Kelly Johnson struck out, and then, out of respect, Baron A. J. Pierzinski was walked. Baron Foltynewicz did the honorable thing and struck out (rather than hitting into the potential inning ending double play). So, the mace was passed to Baron Mallex Smith. His mighty blow is called a triple in the American English baseball speech and suddenly, the Prince Regent was reeling.

But the attack on the Prince Regent did not abate. In the next inning Baron Gordon Beckham and Baron Freddie Freeman both singled (and Baron Beckham could not take the extra castle). Baron Garcia grounded to first, moving both knights forward. Then, Baron Nick Markakis put a funny spin on the ball causing one of the Prince Regent’s henchmen (Brandon Belt) to commit something called an “error” which allowed Baron Beckham to come “home” (like, he is from Metro Atlanta). Baron Johnson atoned for his earlier poor work with the mace by attacking in such a way as to make a sacrifice of himself in order that Baron Freeman could further distress the Prince Regent (score a run).

Then the kingdom settled into a short period of peaceful prosperity. Several prominent men from among the knights stepped up to continue Baron Foltynewicz’ excellence. But the Prince Regent tried to come back and reassert power. The Duke of Albany (Brian Snitker) sent in a true and good knight (Arodys Vizcaino) to try and hold Rochester Castle. Prince John’s men fought all of the way to the castle keep, before finally the battle ended. They scored two runs in the 9th and threatened more.

So, by this victory was the struggle for human rights and justice preserved. Kind of like this whole “Memorial Day” thing.

80 thoughts on “Ironclad: Braves 5, Giants 3”

  1. I see Chacin pitched a complete game 4 hitter with 10k’s. Not sure why we rushed to trade him.

  2. I thought I saw a glimmer of a baseball team this weekend. Putting the ball in play, 2 out RBIs, less atrocious defense (although that throw from Inciarte in the 9th — don’t even get me started about how many different things were wrong on that play), some starting pitching. This is sort of the team I thought we had on opening day. Like someone said, Snitker has them (?) playing almost .500.

    Folty looked like a keeper. Blair battled and might be as well.

    Not losing 100 games would feel like a huge moral victory to me.

  3. Why does everything appear brighter for the Braves after Aybar is out of the lineup? Take your pick, D’Arnaud, Beckham, Castro, 12 year old batboy, … have all looked better than Aybar in limited playing time. If anyone should be delanda ested, Aybar is the man. Put your foot down Snitker!

  4. Getting Aybar and Pierzynski the hell out of the lineup would make for a major improvement. If Foltynewicz, Wisler, and Blair can all consolidate the progress they’ve all been displaying, then starting pitching could start to be a strength for this team. They’ll never be a good-hitting or good-fielding team, but there’s certainly nowhere to go but up.

    I still don’t believe that we can avoid losing 100 games unless a miracle happens.

  5. We have 112 games left in the season, and we’re at 15-35. That means we have to go 48-64 to finish at 63-99. I think the team we’ve seen since Fredi was fired can play at that pace. Whether we will or not is another story, but to say we need a miracle and only a miracle to avoid a 100 loss season is just silly.

  6. @8

    I think it depends on what we move in July. Do we call the kids up? How do the play?

  7. If we keep pitching like this, we will do it. I think we’re destined to finished 3rd worst, behind Cincy and Mincy. Too bad–I want that franchise catcher.

  8. @9

    I agree smitty, nothing is guaranteed. But, with the way the starters have pitched the last month, if we drop Aybar for Dansby or Albies and they give us anything at all, then we should be close to a .500 team.

  9. We’re not going to score enough runs to be a close to .500 team. We do have a good shot at avoiding worst-team-in-history status.

  10. Nice, cliff. But could we beat the Birmingham Barons 2 out of 3? Not certain.

  11. Jonathan F.

    The AA team now? yes we could beat them.

    The Birmingham Black Barons of the late 40’s? probably not.

  12. I do think we’re out of the woods on the “worst team in history” racket. I do think, like Smitty said, it largely depends on what happens via trade. What if we see an opportunity to trade for a long-term player? There are no rules for our rebuild on when we start trading prospects for major league ready players. Coppy all but said that if Teheran gets dealt, we’d get back ML talent. I think Coppy has bottomed out on the rebuild and is trying to move up from there.

    If Albies over the next 45 days can get his bat going at AAA, he probably earns a call. If Swanson continues to do what he’s doing, he could be up in the next 60 days. We could have a lineup free of “the worst players in major league baseball” by August, and who knows how we finish the season.

    Is the Simmons trade a loss, regardless of what Newcomb or Ellis does, if Aybar does nothing of value going forward? I’d say no.

  13. I think the Braves would beat the Birmingham Baron 25-0 four games in a row.

    But not the Birmingham Black Barons of the late 40’s.

    I also recommend everyone read Southern League by Larry Colton. It’s a good baseball book.

  14. I think if they were to call up either of them before September roster expansion, it would be in the next couple of weeks once the super-2 cutoff is safely behind us. I *so* want that to happen…but I can see the other side of the coin as well.

    Swanson is more “ready” imho. But both should be better than Aybar…right?

  15. @17

    I think it will be July at the earliest. Albies has to continue to hit and his glove needs some work. I think they will send Swanson to Gwinnett first.

  16. If we’re keeping it internal, I’d like to see the following players replace the following players:

    Shae Simmons replace Jim Johnson
    Dario Alvarez replace Eric O’Flaherty
    Anthony Recker replace A.J. Pierzynski
    Brandon Snyder replace Erick Aybar

    That’s a start…

  17. 10—Whom are you pegging as the franchise catcher? Schwarz? Skoug?

    It’s way early, but I don’t think either of those guys will go in the top two next year. So, finishing only third-worst will not eliminate taking the best catcher in the class, if that’s what the Braves are wanting to do.

    To me, the main reason you’d rather finish with the worst record instead of the third-worst record is for the extra several million in slot money you have to allocate across your draft. The difference in the first- and third-best player isn’t very big, IMO, in a non-Bryce-Harper year.

  18. I’d rather pick first during our tank seasons. Still don’t understand why we tried to win games late September last year.

  19. 22, yes Schwarz, but you’re right–it almost surely will change by then. It’s astounding we may do this total rebuild and not get a #1 pick, what with the worst offense in modern history.

  20. The Braves somehow found a taker for Grilli sending him to the BlueJays. Don’t know return yet.

  21. I could see this team with a winning record, plus or minus 5 games after the all star break. To do this our pitchers have to keep pitching well, our veterans need to play at their career averages, and we need a few young hitters to establish themselves. IMO we don’t have to rely on Swanson or Albies. I also think that young players establishing themselves and us not finishing last is much more important than a 1st or 2nd pick for next draft.

  22. Ha!
    There has to be more here correct?
    So we gave him away for a 21 year old low a ball dude and are still paying most if his salary?

  23. Looks like we’re saving about 600K over two years. 10 more of these and we’ve got it!

  24. 30—Cleared a bit of salary, cleared a 40-man roster spot, cleared a 25-man roster spot, got someone who has a 0.01% chance of helping the next good Braves teams (as opposed to keeping the guy who had a 0.00% chance of helping the next good Braves teams)…

  25. We basically just DFA’d him, except we’re getting a tiny bit of money back. Frees up a roster spot for the revolving door of open tryouts we’ll be holding all summer.

    Why was he on the roster in the first place? Because he got hurt last year and we couldn’t trade him.

  26. Perhaps the Grilli trade is a sign that Shae Simmons’ recovery is progressing well – he is rehabbing in AAA and was apparently set to return to Atlanta in early June before triceps soreness a few days ago forced him to back off a little bit.

  27. It is interesting that those who exceeded expectations last year – Grilli, JJ, AJ and KJ have done just the opposite this year. Grilli wasn’t well liked before coming to the Braves. He’s seemed to be a good teammate though and I hope he does well in Toronto.

  28. Of course, all four of those guys are well into their 30s and each is likely to play his last major league game at some point in their 30s. Old guys who have good years often fall off a cliff.

    The problem is that none of the young guys was particularly good last year, which is why all of the surprising performances came from veterans who couldn’t have been expected to repeat it. Fortunately, Wisler and Folty are looking much better right now, and Mallex Smith truly couldn’t have been better. But there’s a long, long way still to go.

  29. @38, When you list them all out like that, Grilli to the J’s doesn’t even seem like much of a change.

  30. Glass half full, Alex?

    It’s time to audition the wannabees, as krussell says. If we stumble on to a could maybe be, keep him. Otherwise, throw him back and try a different flavor.

    Damn. That’s cold.

  31. Trading Grilli for anything of microscopic value is a good trade. Chacin’s trade was hasty because he was pitching well. It is a wonder anyone wanted Grilli

  32. Ditto @34, 35, 43.

    Getting rid of deadwood = progress toward competitiveness.

    Keeping deadwood = suck it up fans, we’ve paid for this guy who used to be good many years ago and you need to get used to seeing him.

    Or so I recall from the past.

  33. I was seeing him as a lotto ticket. If he turns it around he could be worth something. Maybe there’s a 1/4 chance of it happening, but that seems like a decent bargain to me.

    Obviously, this barely matters either way.

  34. Well done, Braves. We look like a team.

    Deadwood is apt, and I agree. I hope we can shuck AJP, KJ, Frenchy, Jim Johnson when/if he gets back and Markakis. I’d hope to get more than a three year vet of the rookie league for Neck, and I don’t want to eat his entire salary save prorated league minimum.

    Play the kids.

    Edit: Still can’t hit though.

  35. Our starting rotation looks pretty good. Wisler, Folty, and twin Bills seem to be figuring it out, and Teheran is making last year (which really wasn’t that bad) look like an outlier.

    The team needs to find hitting. Rio Ruiz doesn’t look like the answer at third. Who is the best outfield prospect in the upper minors? Dustin Peterson?

  36. Can someone confirm this: 95% certain Joe just said that the money saved in the Grilli trade could be used to increase our draft pool….

  37. Remember when Gregor Blanco and Tim Collins were traded for Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth?

  38. @48, yes Dustin is easily the best Of prospect above A ball. No, it is too early to say anything about Ruiz. My concern with him is more ceiling. If he’s not going to give you a plus glove, he needs to be more than a doubles hitter.

  39. Gotta root for the Dodgers vs. the Cubs tonight. If the Cubs win, Arrieta passes Medlen for the most consecutive starts won by his team (23).

  40. What was the point of bringing Cervenka in if he’s just going to intentionally walk one batter then exit?

  41. Through yesterday’s games:

    Justin Upton, 193 PA, 20 R, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 11 BB, 71 K, .568 OPS
    Mallex Smith, 120 PA, 17 R, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 9 BB, 35 K, .723 OPS

    That’s some slump J-Up is in.

  42. Seen on a comment feed: “I went to a Chris Stapleton concert the other night, and they had a free Braves game beforehand.”

  43. Yeah, I was at the Chris Stapleton game. A sellout, and I’d say half the crowd showed up after the sixth.

  44. With all the excitement about the international signing period, I have not seen mentioned that a) the current CBA expires on Dec 1 of this year, and depending on how the rules change, there’s a chance the Braves might not incur the full punishment of 2 years of no signings above 300k or b) even if the rules stay exactly as they are, we will have primo slot money next year that we will be barred from spending, and can trade to other teams. Remember when we moved Garrett Fulenchek to gain slot money last year, to remain eligible for this year’s signing period? If the CBA doesn’t change, we’ll be dangling those international slots for prospects.

  45. The next CBA will be very interesting. I bet they take up the topic of intentional tanking.

  46. @75
    If they’re going to go after mid-to-small market teams about tanking then mid-to-small market teams should talk salary cap.

  47. If I ran MLBPA, I think my priority would be to raise rookie-to-prearb3 wages to the highest extent I could. As the cost per win continues to rise on the free agent market over the next decade, it’s easy to see more teams (ahem) adopt a Rays model in which whenever you get a player about to approach that $20-25MM/year zone you flip him for entry level salary prospects and hope you can get 75% of the production for 3% of the cost.

    Raising rookie wages wouldn’t necessarily completely undo this strategy but it would make it marginally less attractive, perhaps limiting the number of teams who volunteer themselves out of the FA market. Most importantly for MLBPA, by eliminating ownership’s easy out for staffing a team on the cheap, it would help them reverse their huge slide in payroll as a percentage of league revenue.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-mlbpa-has-a-problem/

    tl;dr all those $500,000 roster spots across the league are a huge problem and MLBPA has fallen behind the salary-capped leagues in terms of the percentage of league revenue that flows to its membership

  48. Yes. Hoard all of the prospects. Go ahead and sign all the top-25 international guys.

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