Real Team: Win, Braves: Lose

The Braves scored early, late, and often, but their efforts could not overcome an Anthony Rendon grand slam and a key late error by Tyler Flowers, and they lost their second consecutive game to the Nationals. Playing bad teams last week en route to the six game winning streak was enjoyable, but the last two games against the division leader have brought reality back with a slap. It may not be enough to overcome the Twins for the top draft pick, though, unless the Braves can pull off another of their patented September swoons to give Minnesota a run for it.

The Braves scored in each of the first four innings, highlighted by Dansby Swanson‘s first career home run, one of the inside-the-park variety. The offense was enough to keep the Braves toe-to-toe with the Gnats, even after the Williamses gave up a grand slam and solo home run in a 5-run 3rd inning and were knocked out of the game.

The teams battled into the late innings, locked in a 6-6 tie. The Gnats were finally able to break through in the 8th, scoring three with some help from the Flowers’ error. Flowers led off the 9th with a double and came around to score on Swanson’s 3rd RBI of the game, but that was the only run the Braves were able to pick up in the inning. They fell to a final score of 9-7 to the Mighty Gnats.

Let’s go back to playing some second division teams. That was more fun.

77 thoughts on “Real Team: Win, Braves: Lose”

  1. LF is at the far right of the defensive spectrum not because LF defense matters less, but because the typical plays a LF has to make are the easiest of any position. A play not made in left field matters every bit as much as a play not made at any other position (a “duh” statement if ever there was one, you’d think…). The position may have the lowest standard of acceptable ability, but a low bar still has to be cleared.

  2. Very well said, sansho.

    RE: Extend Inciarte

    Yes. I can’t imagine he would handcuff the Braves financially, and his defense will be really good for a long time.

  3. Trivia!*

    How many players on the current Braves roster (44 guys) have earned the maximum amount of ML service time through this point in the season? Can you name them?

    Don’t cheat by looking at my spreadsheet.

    *Note: This trivia is much more boring and generally worse than anything sansho1 ever provides.

  4. To compete next year, Braves are depending on a lot of things:
    1. Kemp gets in shape, plays an adequate LF and continues to his 30HR/season with an .800ish OPS
    2. Swanson and Albies can be an average to slightly above average tandem up the middle.
    3. That young bullpen arms in the MLB and MILB can continue to show their dominance of ’16.
    4. That 2-3 above average free agents can be had to fill in SP/3B/C holes
    5. That at least 2 young SP put it together, provide innings and a mid-3ish ERA.

    That’s a lot that has to go well, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. I’m excited.

  5. On June 5, Inciarte was hitting an injury-aided .202/.278/.246 through 127 PA’s, and he was being called “Incifarte”. At that point, nobody would’ve predicted he would end up hitting .300 this season.

    Since then, in 350 PA’s, he has hit .328/.382/.435, and he’s at .295 with over 20 games to play.

  6. Did anyone else hear Joe say last night that Flowers has thrown out only 1 of 35 attempted base stealers this season? Baseball ref says 2 CS against 49 SB. 4%. I didn’t realize his SB numbers were that bad. I still like him as a player but damn.

  7. If Adonis is the second half guy, the money apportioned to obtaining a “slightly above average” third baseman would be better spent on the catcher/starting pitcher needs. SSS aside, Adonis Garcia has been acceptable on both sides of the ball.

    P.S. Nice recap, ‘rissa, as always.

  8. Given his second half, it’s hard to call Inciarte a streaky hitter, unless you call batting .328 over 350 PAs a streak. If he can get off to a strong start, I can see him contending for a batting title. I’ll take a .310 to .330 BA and close to a .400 OBP from a leadoff hitter ever day of the week. Combine that with stellar defense in CF and we may have an all star on our hands for years to come.

  9. @11
    Looking at it that way, both Recker and Flowers have been good as well. In fact, theyve combined for a 1.8 WAR while Adonis on both b-ref and fangraphs is still hovering around 0.

  10. I’ll look back on my life at the end with regret that “Incifarte” never took off as a nickname, but I’ll be grateful that his performance rendered it irrelevant.

  11. @13: I’m satisfied with Flowers and Recker, not so much with either corner outfielder.

    I like Markakis but think/feel Mallex could easily fill his role. With Kemp, I fear the die is cast until he demonstrates weight discipline and improves his OBP and fielding.

    Would an AL team want him and all his salary? Not sure I would, and I would not give up anything to get him.

  12. @12 Pump the brakes a bit there TD… Inciarte looks like he’s a .300/.350/.400 guy going forward which is plenty nice, but there’s no evidence he could sustain a .400 OBP for a whole season.

    On a side note – very few players OBP .400 for a full year. Last season, there were only 6 guys (Harper, Votto, MCab, Goldschmidt, Trout, Cutch). It’s pretty rarefied territory.

  13. I think expecting more than one above-average free-agent to sign this off-season is probably not going to pan out. Those run in the high-teens these days. I’d expect them to zero in on one guy or get priced out. I wouldn’t be too happy with a big splurge anyway.

  14. @ 10

    I heard 1 in 45..whatever, awful, had no idea…and i’m a big Flowers/Drecker fan too, Drecker being the significantly better thrower, right?

    Flowers’ numbers had me thinking about the off season…lots of players work out, some get special coaching to get through an injury or work on a perceived shortcoming. Would it be fanciful to think that someone as valuable as Flowers is to us in a thin catcher’s market would want/agree to do this and is such specialized coaching available, simply on his throwing?

  15. I don’t think he can be anything more than a .750 OPS and near-Gold Glove defense, but if you extended him now, you’d probably catch him below market based on that production. He’s a really good player, but I still wonder if Mallex and Inciarte can be in the same outfield.

  16. On the question of catcher’s throwing success…was just watching the conclusion of last nights Astros/Cleveland game and lo and behold there was El Oso in full gear behind the plate. More remarkably, in the bottom of the ninth they mentioned his success rate at throwing out base stealers, 50%, 12/24.

    To restore reality the base runner then broke for 2nd and Gattis threw the ball into centerfield scoring the runner on third and bringing the Indians within one. Ha! How can that vast disparity exist between two very similar characters? Conclusion – there’s something wrong with his arm.

  17. @24, along those lines, Christian Bethancourt is now -0.1 fWAR or -0.3 bWAR after starting out the season pretty well.

  18. 23—Someone actually tried to answer my question! Hooray!

    Markakis is one. Krol began the year in the minors, though.

  19. @24 I was just happy to find some way to quantify his second half; I picked a nice round number. Just making the point that he isn’t “still hanging around 0 WAR,” he’s really turned it around. He’s had a couple good long tears in his short big-league career and not everybody has that ability.

  20. On June 10th, Adonis Garcia was slashing a tepid .231/.270/.324

    Since then, he has slashed .315/.362/.512 (.874) with 8 HR in 230 PA’s.

    Give him a full year or platoon him with Ruiz. There’s no need to commit long-term dollars here with Riley, Maitan, and Demeritte all in the wings.

  21. @13

    It’s easy to say that we have help on the way, but if Ruiz is nothing more than .750 OPS and mediocre defense in AAA, then you’re left waiting a few years for the others. That’s my only issue with handing a position to a guy as unproven and unheralded as Garcia and Ruiz.

  22. @27…

    you are blessed…it can be difficult here to get a response. For all the data you provide we should come running.

    I asked two questions on this thread today, neither replied to. True they were not the analytical kind and somewhat naive i’m sure but they were original. Where i come from, in this type of context, questions draw a response.

  23. 31—Three more correct names! There are still six (6) more. So, 15 in total — that’s the answer to the first part of the (terrible) trivia question.

  24. Jace has really cooled off. I think he’s struggling to play a full season. He’s tailed off in the second half twice now.

  25. Sean Newcomb, in probably his last start of the year, pitched 5, 2 H, 6 K…but 6 BB!! Yeesh. Mississippi lost the game 6-5.

  26. Vote Making an Effort to Win 2017. Not saying that can’t involve Garcia or Ruiz, but if there’s a chance to upgrade, you take it. None of those people JohnWDB mentioned will be ready anytime soon.

  27. MLB.com says that Ruiz will get called up after Gwinnett ends their playoff run.

    After Dansby’s big day, we are back to having all regulars with an OPS above .700. You’d have to go back to 2012 to find a team where the season-ending regulars had about a .700 OPS. Simmons had one less PA than Paul Janish that year or else he would have been the “regular” at SS. McCann just missed it with a .698 OPS. After that year, we began our string of having at least one complete offensive zero in the lineup. We hit our “peak” in 2014 when 2B, SS, 3B, and CF all had OPSes below .650.

  28. @50, I’m all for trying to win in 2017. I think Garcia can hold his own at third, and I think we might like to see what we have in Ruiz. It goes without saying if we can upgrade the position – any position – you do it. I just don’t see it happening at third, and I’m comfortable with what we’ve got to at least kick off next season.

  29. I wouldn’t mind getting Prado this offseason but I think it’s a bad idea giving him 3-4 years. I don’t think he’s that much of an upgrade over Adonis.

  30. 43—Nope, he spent about a month in the minors to start the year.

    Obviously, few care to participate, so I’ll end the suspense. The other six guys who’ve earned every possible day of ML service so far this year are:

    1. Matt Kemp
    2. Eric O’Flaherty
    3. Daniel Winkler
    4. Andrew McKirahan
    5. Paco Rodriguez
    6. Jesse Biddle

  31. Tebow is where he belongs. Now I can focus my hate all in one place.

    I like an Garcia/Ruiz platoon at third.

  32. Well, this Gator fan is disappointed.

    Now we definitely need to sign Kelly Johnson again so we can trade him for Tebow.

  33. Yeah, I was hoping for Tebow, too.

    Albies apparently left last night’s game with a serious-looking elbow injury…

  34. Jose Peraza had 4 hits last night and he’s hitting .347 in 150 AB with 14 steals. I wish we had him on our team.

  35. Peraza has an OPS 50 points higher than Kemp this season, but we’re only paying Kemp like 55 million more the next three years so I think that move is really gonna pay off.

  36. @64, lol

    If I were Martin Prado, I’d want a 4-year deal as I turned 33 years old. If I were the Braves I’d love to go 2 years. Not sure if that can be reconciled, but who knows–there’s always a player or two that doesn’t garner much interest. I’d also expect him to get a QO, but it’s borderline in his case.

    Justin Turner should get 4-5 years and get QO’d.

    In either case, you might be unhappy with your expensive, aging 3B blocking Riley and Demeritte in 2019.

  37. @65

    I’m not really concerned about 2019 right now, is the point. If I’ve signed someone that blocks one of those two in three years, I’ll deal with it then.

    If it makes more sense to upgrade at another position, that’s fine. Do what you can to sign somebody to a 2-year deal, that’s fine, too, but starting next year, winning has to be more important than clearing a path for a minor leaguer who currently plays in Rome to take over the job in three years. If there’s a year overlap, then there’s a year overlap. I guess Riley and Demeritte will just have to spend a year coming off the bench or a year at Triple-A (God forbid). I just really couldn’t care less about making sure Riley and Demeritte have Opening Day starting spots in 2019 right now.

  38. I’m disappointed we didn’t land Tebow. I can only think it’s because the Braves aren’t gonna be “winners” for a while, and he wants the chance to play for a championship. At 30, he’s not getting any younger. You can’t take that for granted.

  39. I do wonder if it was the UGA/UF connection. It was pretty poorly received by some because he was a Gator. I also wonder if they didn’t want to embarrass themselves, and a “winning” team like the Mets could take the gamble and save face a little better. Coppy had to proactively address that it wasn’t a PR move when so many people felt it was a shameless money grab. When your org doesn’t have the best public image, it’s probably a good move.

  40. Albies has a right elbow injury and will be out for the rest of the year. He probably could use a rest anyway.

  41. It was on a swing though. I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s going down to TJ. That’d be a little odd, right?

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