$*#%! Atlanta 8, Philadelphia 4

The Atlanta Braves’ September Swoon continues last night in Philadelphia, as the Bravos lost
another game in the standings to the Minnesota Twins. After firing Fredi Gonzalez, there was hope
that the local nine would stop their late season slides, but, Brian Snitker has shown he just Does Not
Get It, as the Braves continue to play hard.

The game started off well, with Joel DeLaCruz doing his usual Joel DeLaCruz stuff. Ryan Howard,
who by this time MUST be getting tired of raking Braves pitching, doubling in Cesar Hernandez in
the bottom of the first for a quick 1-0 Phils lead, and things were looking up. Things looked even
better in the second, when Darin Ruf led off with a single, went to third on a Freddie Galvis double,
and scored on A.J. Ellis’ three run homer. DeLaCruz was cruzin’ at this point.

Unfortunately for our draft chances, DeLaCruz settled down, and refused to give up any more runs.
The offense was doing its part until the fifth, when the usual Old Reliable, Gordon Beckham, instead
of popping out, or striking out, or hitting a weak grounder to the pitcher, inexplicably doubled to
left. No to worry, as Snitker sent DeLaCruz up to bunt, Snitker Gets It! But, Snitker Did Not Get It,
letting Ender Inciarte hit for himself, instead of pinch hitting John Gant or somebody, and Inciarte’s
infield hit scored Beckham. No worries, we’re still trailing 4-1.

Adonis Garcia tried to ground into a DP, but stupidly hustled and was safe at first. Freddie Freeman,
walked, and that brought up The Worst Trade Since Fred McGriff, Matt Kemp. Kemp proceeded to hit
a no doubter, and just like that it was 4-4 and things were looking down in our race with the Twins.

Neither team could muster any offense in the next two innings, although the Braves did manage to
rescue themselves from a 2 out, men on 2nd and 3rd situation in the 7th, when Kemp showed a
sign he MIGHT be getting this whole tanking experience when he struck out on a slider that was a
foot off the plate. Good job Matty!

In the 8th, the Braves threatened to throw it all away, when Nick Markakis opened with a single.
But, Snitker ordered him to run on a 3-2 count to Tyler Flowers, and..Yes! Saved by Blue! Flowers
was rung up on what was clearly Ball 4, and Markakis was out by two steps! Good Call Snit! But
Jace Peterson walked and stole second, and Beckham continued to be stuck in his own Inexplicability
Zone, and walked. That brought up A.J. Pierzynski, who scared all of us Draftniks, by ripping a liner
to right, but Aaron Altherr hauled it in for out three. Phew that was close.

Mauricio Cabrera came on to pitch the bottom of the 8th, and he started off like he meant business,
allowing Maikel Franco and Howard consecutive singles to put runners on first and second with no
outs. But, for some reason, he struck out Altherr and Ruf on nasty pitches – 103 just off the plate to
Altherr, and a nasty slider at 84 that Ruf couldn’t check his swing on. That brought up Galvis.
Cabrera immediately went to 3-0 on him (Yes!), but Galvis took the 100 MPH “Cripple” for a 3-1
count. Then, on a 3-1 pitch our hopes spiked when Galvis crushed one down the right field line, but
it drifted foul, for just another loud strike. Cabrera then flubbed the full count pitch, striking out
Galvis. hasn’t Snit told the ‘pen the importance on not losing ground to the Twinkies????

After the bottom of the eighth, every Braves fan knew what was gonna happen. Just like the Sweep
of San Diego, the bats took over. Inciarte singled for his third hit of the night. Garcia singled him to
second, Freeman fisted a double down the left field line scoring Ender, Kemp singled home Garcia, Markakis
doubled home Freeman, and Flowers hit a sac fly plating Cakes, and just like that it was 8-4 Braves.

Jim Johnson came on, and gave us a brief ray of hope, surrendering a lead off double to Ellis, but
then showed why he’s recently been Death To Our Hopes – retiring the next three Phillies without any
trouble.

How are we ever supposed to Win The Top Pick playing like this???

55 thoughts on “$*#%! Atlanta 8, Philadelphia 4”

  1. “The Atlanta Braves have definite interest in Tim Tebow and are looking into signing him to a minor league deal, a baseball source told ESPN’s Pedro Gomez.”

  2. I know you are just joking and it doesn’t upset me, but the whole idea of tanking to get a better draft pick is repulsive to me. It goes against everything that is right in baseball. I wish there was some way to incentivize teams playing their best at the end of the year a little more.

    I’m really glad that the Braves are doing well now and hopefully won’t lose 100. 11 and 16 over the next 27 games seems fairly probable. Btw, the bad news is we are mathematically eliminated from winning the division. I still had hope, but even though we’ve won 4 in a row, so has Washington. We still have a shot at the wildcard, but we will still have a losing record if we go 27-0. I guess I’m officially ready to say “we’ll get ’em next year.” :-)

  3. @7

    I agree with you Td. I’d rather watch the Braves of the last three weeks – hustling, playing hard, never giving up until the 27th out, and winning enough so they pick 3rd or 4th, than having them tank their way to the first pick.

  4. Great recap, Seat Painter. I too enjoy seeing the Braves playing for 27 outs. Brian Snitker may not be John McGraw, but he ain’t Fredi either.

    Win out, Braves, and go Dawgs.

  5. Does anyone have ideas on incentivizing bad teams playing their best at the end of the year? I guess the difference in baseball between the 1-1 and 1-3 pick is so small that there’s not much reason to tank. I can understand the lottery in basketball since sometimes there is a clear #1 pick, but I’m not sure how effective it is. What is your incentive if you’re tied for 7th worst with a few games left?

  6. I like the Tebow thing, of course. He probably goes to the GCL then goes to Rome. Rome is 6 hours from Jacksonville, where he has a huge following. I think you see Braves fans, SEC football fans, (of course) Gator fan, the casual sports fan, and Christian that doesn’t know the first thing about baseball flocking to Rome.

  7. @10

    The idea is that there is so much more slot money if you’re picking 1-1 vs. 1-3 that teams would want to tank. I don’t know how much more, but does it really make a big difference vs. winning 6-7 more games? I’d rather have 5 young starting pitchers playing their best baseball of the year and going 17-10 to end the year vs. going 10-17 and getting some slightly incremental draft prospects. If it’s a big difference, then I’d love to know, but I’d kinda rather see Folty, Wisler, Blair, and Jenkins pitching well vs. getting some better 18-year olds.

  8. @10 I would hope honor and pride would suffice. There is nothing but shame being in the cellar of any division. It’s a travesty.

    The economics of the game do, unfortunately, give some incentive to blowing up a roster and rebuilding. For a GM, it’s a particularly attractive plan. For the fans, though, it’s a horrible thing to sit through, but it tends to be necessary. Even the Braves dynasty rode a few waves of young talent that were fueled by some truly awful seasons.

    Still agree with you, though. Play hard. Win. Winning should equal increased revenue. Should.

  9. If it were up to me, I’d play Kemp at SS. His power would be more valuable there and defense doesn’t matter anyway. I’d also bat him lead off since OBP doesn’t matter.

  10. An interesting concept for MLB would be a salary cap. I know it’s likely not a possibility, but if such a thing could be put in place, it could be used to provide incentive for mediocre teams to win. How, you ask? By assigning individual caps to teams based on where they finished last season. Are you the best team in all of baseball? Well, you likely require a higher payroll ceiling to attempt to keep your team together. Did your team drive off a cliff in September ala Fredi’s Braves? Well, your cap may see a serious reduction as a result of that poor finish.

    Every win suddenly has value. The only way to have a top 5 payroll in the league is to play like a top team in baseball.

    Like I said, I know it’s not a possibility, but it’d be some incentive.

  11. @16

    Oh c’mon man, take off your burnt orange glasses for two seconds. We’re putting a guy with some potential in A-ball and not paying him any money. Big deal. If he can hit .250/.310/.400 in the major leagues with a good arm in LF, would you let him be the 25th man on the ML roster?

    It’s ok, Eric Berry forgives Tebow for what he did to him.

  12. I think Eric Berry is in Tebow’s nightmares.

    Tebow is a joke and a total sideshow act. He shouldn’t take a roster spot at any level from any player.

  13. I don’t think anyone has to worry about Tebow going straight to the majors. I would give him about a 5% chance of ever making it to the Braves or any other ML team. If you see enough in him right now, there is almost no risk in sending him to A ball. If he works his tail off and somehow makes it to the majors, it will be one of the greatest sports stories in many years.

  14. If Tebow gets one AB over someone is is more deserving, it’s shows this is a ploy to sell tickets. He will be a distraction and a sideshow.

    It also shows Liberty Media and the front office isn’t about winning and we’ve all been duped.

    I don’t care where he played college football or if they signed Peyton Manning or Hershel Walker. It’s just a marketing scheme and hurts the organization.

  15. Orange fight!

    Sign him. Let him show whether he can play. It does not affect the product on the field in Atlanta, but what if he really can play? There are plenty of guys who made it to the bigs in their 30s. Give him a chance.

  16. @10…

    …re ideas to incentivize dead in the water teams…RELEGATION! I wrote a piece about it a while back, it is 100 per cent effective, every team, every year. It never has to be brought up/discussed, it’s a given. It adds a different level of drama to the last few weeks of the regular season, more than there is now building up to be about the wild cards etc…but it will never happen here for structural reasons.

    @7/13…

    totally agree, it’s embarrassing.

  17. @30 – I’m not in favor of relegation for baseball, but I had been thinking about a way it could work. Create an 8 team AAAA league consisting of the last 6 MLB teams, plus 2 expansion teams. This leaves 24 teams in MLB, in four 6 team divisions, the way Abner Doubleday meant it to be.

    Teams would relegate or promote between MLB and the AAAA league annually, keeping their lower minor league structures intact. There would be no relegation or promotion at the lower levels, i.e. AAAA to AAA and vice versa.

    There would be some penalty for dropping to AAAA; lower TV revenue for example.

  18. Hey, Tim Tebow’s the longest of longshots, but he’s going to be coachable, he’ll outwork everybody and he won’t embarrass you away from the diamond. If he doesn’t make it, so what? I think he’s worth a shot at a minimal investment.

  19. I have no problem with anyone giving Tebow a shot. I doubt any team will bring him up if he can’t play.

  20. Not exactly sure who wrote the recap, but I gotta tip my hat to you. I woulda wrote something like that.

    About Tebow: I don’t really care, but I don’t see why not. He’s an athlete, presumably in peak condition. Sure he hasn’t played baseball in a while, but he has played baseball. Take a flyer on him. Give him a year. If he flames out, so what. Send him to the GCL, nobody watches those games anyway. If he shows some skill, send him up to Rome.

  21. @28, 31 – I would have said the same things about Michael Jordan and probably did. If you look at what Jordan did in the minors, I think he may have gotten a shot and been decent for a year or two if it wasn’t for the strike. I’m not saying that Tebow will turn out to be just like Jordan, but I don’t think it is outlandish speculation to give Tebow a 5 to 10% chance of being a decent player in the majors eventually. This is about the same odds I would have given Jordan.

  22. @ 19

    Sounds about like Jeff Francouer, right down to the undeserved popularity and association with an orange school I hate. I’ll pass.

  23. Ron Acuna seems to have done really well with what season he’s had to play with… smacked a homer today.

    So did Austin Riley. Man, that kid will wind up posting the best numbers for a hitter in our minor league system by far. What a hot second half he’s had. Albies is his only competition, I think.

  24. Regarding Tebow: He’s a long shot, first of all because *everybody* is a long shot. But, beyond that, he’s an undrafted high school player, on the wrong side of the age curve, who’s been out of the game 10+ years, who purportedly cannot run, throw, or field sufficiently, and who angries up the blood of a portion of the fanbase.

    On the plus side, he purportedly hit a batting practice fastball 450 feet, he’s on the upside of the experience curve, we’ve TRADED for guys who have about as much chance as he does, he’s younger than Hector Olivera, there are a fair number of major league players who have only one ML skill, and he’s adored by a portion of the fan base.

    Assessing these pluses and minuses, I’d say his chances of being a major league contributor are close enough to zero to round to zero, but unless we’re going to have 2 corner outfielders in the GCL next year who can hit even a batting practice pitch 450 feet, it doesn’t bother me to send him down there, as long as he doesn’t cost any more than those guys.

    Besides, hell, he might buy Rome a bus.

  25. John Gant isn’t all that good, but I do think he’s better than just about every other “prospect” we’ve run out there after the Teheran-Folty-Wisler trio. Not that there’s great competition from the likes of Jenkins, Blair, and Whalen.

    Also Adonis Garcia is making a good case to be our third baseman in 2017.

  26. wRC+ of 61 over 222 PA’s in April/May/June
    wRC+ of 119 over 226 PA’s in July/August/September

    I have no idea how to find fielding splits, but he certainly looks better on that end.

  27. If Howard had let that ball go (chopper down the 1st base line, (could have kicked foul–or not) I think it might have wound up a 2- run double…. Can’t really blame Howard there IMO.

  28. @42 is well said. Anybody with 70-80 power gets a few hacks in the low minors.

    @51, he made the right play. The ball likely would’ve stayed fair, and he thought he had a shot at the plate

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