Natspos 8, Barves -1,000

Last night was embarrassing. It was basically a classic April game, one where the score appears deceptively close for much of it despite the fact that you know in your bones — and the lollygagging stiffs with the A across their chest are frantically attempting to demonstrate with every shruggingly botched attempt — that are no more likely to win this game than to be cast in a remake of Damn Yankees.

I’m sure that someone somewhere has made an equally embarrassing drop of a fly ball than Matt Kemp did in left field last night — it may not even have been his worst play ever — but he basically overran the ball, put out his hand, looked away, and the ball literally clanked off his palm with two outs in the first inning. That was how the first two runs of the game scored.

And that was pretty much how Reynaldo Lopez won his second game in a week against Rob Whalen. Lopez isn’t a complete nobody, like the Phillies used to trot out every other week to dominate us (I still shudder when I think of the name “David Coggin“), he’s a top-100 pitching prospect. Ever since the Braves greeted him last weekend with a near-homer by Erick Aybar and an actual homer by Freddie Freeman in the first inning, Lopez has faced 53 Braves, given up eight hits, four walks, and two runs, and struck out 13. Lopez seems to have been able to make adjustments. Our bums couldn’t catch a cold.

And then there was the 8th inning. To wit:

(A. Vizcaino in to pitch)
J. Werth: Single to C (Ground Ball to Front of Home)
D. Murphy: Walk
B. Harper: Walk
A. Rendon: Hit by pitch; Werth Scores
(M. Cabrera replaces Vizcaino)
C. Robinson: Single; Murphy Scores
D. Espinosa: Walk; Harper Scores
(While Severino is batting): Passed ball; R. Scores
P. Severino: Reached on E4
W. Difo: Flyout
T. Turner: Sacrifice fly; Robinson scores
C. Heisey: Foul popfly

That’s five runs on three walks, a hit by pitch, a passed ball, and exactly one hit that cleared the infield. Since going 10-4 in a nice little mini-run of good play from July 26 to August 9, during which the Braves outscored their opponents 66-49, the Braves have now gone 1-7 over their last eight games, including their current five-game skid, and they have been outscored 28 to 53. It’s awfully hard to win when your opponents are doubling your tally every night.

Now, I didn’t want to do this. But the Braves leave me no choice.

41 thoughts on “Natspos 8, Barves -1,000”

  1. I think even the pessimists concede that the plan will eventually work, in that players are being procured and developed who will eventually contribute to a playoff contending team. It’s just…there’s a natural competitive balance built into the sport of baseball, and a third of the teams make the postseason, so any plan not undertaken by incompetents is likely to “work”. The current plan is the best way to build a dynasty, but dynasties don’t happen very often, and never without a core of transcendent players.

  2. Just curious – if we leave Matt Kemp off the 40 man roster at the end of the season, what is the downside?

  3. Seat Painter,

    I think we have to waive or release him to get him off the 40 man. Meaning, Braves pay Kemp’s salary, and whoever might sign him for next to nothing offsets that by next to nothing (not less than major league minimum).

  4. We win 7 of 8: “Hey, we might not be half bad!”

    Then we lose 5 of 6: “Burn Kemp at the stake!”

  5. If it were me, I’d limp to September trying to get as many players back from injury as possible, and in September, call up Gant, Wisler, Newcomb, Minter, Dirks, Albies, and Sims and throw some spaghetti against the wall. Hope for the best. I’m sick of watching guys dominate at AA and then turning on the tube to see Joel De La Cruz and Madison Younginer in Atlanta. If we’re going to be awful, be awful with the young kids.

  6. Newcomb and Sims should be made to earn their callups.

    I’m disappointed in Sims. 82 walks in 121 innings isn’t going to cut it.

  7. @5, next year will be the “be awful with young kids (and a smattering of washed up vets)” year. I wanted that to be this year. But I have no patience.

  8. So, krussell, is it your prediction that the braves won’t add any good players for next year? (Say, at 3B or C or SP?)

  9. This year was “be close to .500 with young kids for about two and a half months and be terrible for the rest of the year with a smattering of washed up vets”. Good word though, “smattering”. I like that one.

  10. I would hope we could add a starting pitcher that meets the criteria. 3B and C will be difficult.

  11. Anyone know why Flowers left the game last night? The timing certainly made it seem like a probable injury.

  12. @14, Snit said he was just easing him back since he’s been out for so long. He’s starting again tonight.

  13. Somebody on here was pulling for Jason Castro as catcher.

    I am about to come around to that. We have a good (for a catcher) right handed hitting catcher in Flowers. Castro as a left handed hitter is fairly good and he is a good catcher. And, he almost surely comes for half the years and half the AAV of Ramos and I am really scared to take Weiters. And We have Flowers for 1 plus an option and can probably get Castro for not more than 3. That way, the minor league catchers have time to bubble up.

    Weird one about Flowers. I saw on FanGraphs that he has one of the highest exit velocities but also one of the highest ground ball rates. If he can just lower his “plane” 1/4 inch, then he might be a late career Frank Thomas. Thomas had a 1 to 1 ratio of fly balls to ground balls almost his whole career until about 12 or so years in it became (in one season) .5 to 1. I guess one answer to that is great hitters are the hitters that can make adjustments.

    For next year at third, I would go cheap unless a good deal drops in my pocket (which would probably be a trade). I think Adonis / Jace (replace in Ruiz if he is ready) would be very workable.

    So, in FA, one 3 or better starting pitcher, somebody like Castro, and one hitter. If that ends up being 3rd, or left field, or right field, fine.

  14. I can think of at least two good FA who would be significant (3-4 win) upgrades at 3B.

    The other question, of course, is what the opening day budget will be. If you think it will be back in the neighborhood of $100M, then the team will certainly be adding somewhere.

  15. We’ll add without a doubt. The question is will the adds be enough to not lose 90 games. I’m setting 70 wins as a realistic target.

  16. WARNING: DRASTIC STATEMENT

    If the Braves do not have a gross payroll of $100 million, then we would have far and away the lowest payroll of any major-league team. I say gross because there is still the potential for the Trevor Cahill and Bronson Arroyo type contracts, but if we do not get there, then I am done until they do. There’s no international draft, you can only spend so much on the amateur draft, and it would show so much of a choking of resources that it tells you all you need to know about their pursuit of competitiveness.

  17. Trade Kemp, trade Markakis, Trade for Braun, Find a 3B, call up Albies, find 3 starters, get Paco and Simmons in the bullpen

  18. For baseball, a late 20s to early 30s free agent at the height of his production and good future growth potential is going to sign with Atlanta just why now?. Why under the sun would he ever want to do that?

    Money? Atlanta’s not top of the food chain, at best a medium size fish in the big MLB pond. Big bucks are just about any place else.

    A chance for a kid from the sticks to come home to anchor a blossoming franchise that probably won’t compete for the playoffs for another couple of years? Be the icon for a new generation?

    Us southerners don’t do icons real well. Closest we’ve got around here is Mr. Aaron, Chipper, Bobby and Murph, whenever he’s in town. Our royalty is more just plain folks than icons. They just good old boys.

    If we really want to spend free agent money, at least buy somebody that just wants to come home and make his mama proud. Buying to say you bought makes little sense to me.

    Please, for me, if you gotta buy, at least buy something good enough to make even me say thank you.

  19. @19, 21 – In my opinion, simply returning to 2014 payroll levels means the last 2 years have been wasted. Otherwise, what has happened to these great savings we are supposed to be so proud of?

  20. Braves really ought to see if they can pick up Oswaldo Arcia now that he’s been released again- at this point isn’t he basically exactly the same player as Matt Kemp except substantially cheaper, and with some (very slight) hope he might improve?

  21. Another deke! Look at that!

    For those not watching, on a fly ball to left, Swanson, Beckham, and Inciarte all convinced Trea Turner that there was a ground ball single to center. Inciarte even fielded a phantom ground ball. Kemp took the catch, and threw a strike back to first to double off Turner.

  22. @20 Braun would be my breaking point. I get that people cheat, but his actions around the cheating were unforgivable.

  23. For a pitcher’s duel, this game has been pretty exciting. A deke and two home runs robbed through 5 innings.

  24. @33 Had a good game yesterday. Nothing spectacular but 3 highlights on MLB. Two nice plays and an RBI single.

  25. I’m excited about our bullpen with our in-house options. I like 5 of our 8 potential position players for 2017 (FF5, Albies, Swanson, Mallex, Ender), and I like 2 of our SPs (Teheran, Folty) with Whalen coming in as a back-end piece that I think could be a really good option. From there, it’s going to be a lot work on Coppy. Hopefully we see guys like Newcomb get a chance in September.

  26. Winless without Aybar. Hopefully this curse won’t last too long.

    I encourage yall to watch the video of the Indians inside the park walk off hr from last night.

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