Nats 5, Braves 4

I hate the Nationals. Every time we get on a good run, we run into the Nationals and lose our momentum.

We saw another strong performance by Mike Foltynewicz, who is slowly improving his peripherals and making a huge stride on his ERA. His 5.71 ERA last year left many wondering if he was going to figure it out as a starter, but this year has seen a huge improvement on his H/9, BB/9, and HR/9. He’s lowered his ERA to a respectable 4.16, and you have to start wondering if he’s an answer in the future rotation. Of all of the AAA and pitching prospects, he has the highest ceiling by far.

And then Lieutenant Dans hit his first over-the-fence home run, giving him home runs in consecutive nights. The defense is already there, so if his bat comes around this quickly, it’s going to get really fun really quickly. Nick Markakis and Matt Kemp both had three hits, and Jace Peterson had a go-ahead single in the 10th.

But other than that, the game pretty much stunk. The bullpen blew three different leads and eventually lost it in the 11th. I’m not sure I’m understanding why Jim Johnson and Mauricio Cabrera are pitching multiple innings late in the game, but Johnson blew the save in his second inning of duty.

Whatever. Let’s just get away from the Nats.

70 thoughts on “Nats 5, Braves 4”

  1. Dansby has a slash line of .270/.317/.413 through 69 PA’s. How does that translate to a -0.8 Offensive rating?

    Meanwhile, Adonis is hitting .270/.314/.414 in 473 AB’s with a -5.9 Offensive rating.

    Just trying to understand.

  2. That game…was not fun. I can’t believe I watched all of it.

    That Albies injury is kind of bizarre. How do you acutely injure your elbow like that fouling a ball off? If some weird thing was gonna happen, you’d think it would be in the wrist or shoulder, or an oblique or some other core-type muscle pull. Very strange.

  3. On Tebow:

    Ten years out of the business and you want time off to pursue other interests. Heck of an applicant.

  4. @3 I ducked out early because I wasn’t sure how late the metro would run. I may have made a good decision there.

  5. @3, pretty sure he was trying to not get hit in the face…the swing was self defense and awkward? Or did it actually hit him? Not sure.

  6. @4

    And that should be the end of any whining about us not signing Tim Tebow. That is a joke! This is a baseball organization, not an after-school program!

  7. I’m in full lamentation mode, and I will reserve judgment on his scheduling issues. It may be as simple as he asked to finish SEC Network for the fall.

  8. Also, I do want to reaffirm Nick’s sentiments that 2019 can be worried about later. You really can’t not commit to improving a position for 2 years because a guy in A-ball, even Austin Riley, could be a rookie that year. Either a Martin Prado is productive and you can trade him, or he’s not productive and need to be replaced. Either way, you’re not blocking Austin Riley. Plus, could you not make a compelling argument that Ruiz could use another year in AAA instead of platooning against righties? At some point, you can fall into prospect worship too much.

    And you can follow that line of thought into letting Albies play most of his age-20 season in AA and AAA, and letting some of our pitching prospects marinade in the minors for a little longer. If it’s just money, then get creative and find some short-term couple-few-WAR players. It’s the GM’s job, after all.

  9. Perhaps a better way of saying it is that, while I like the job that Coppy has done, I don’t think it’s fair to let a GM have a third year of not having to field a winner especially when he gets a huge revenue increase to field a winner that other GMs rarely get. Anybody can double-down on prospects to build up nest eggs, but you have to win too, and two years of tearing down has proved to be enough.

  10. @1, 2, the “offensive rating” is runs above or below average. Average is pretty good in the majors, and we should hope to get average offensive production out of third base. The most important component is on base percentage (so if your OBP is going to be .315 or so, you’re going to need to get a lot of extra base hits to be an average offensive player. Needless to say, you can be below average offensively and defensively (have a negative number there) and still have a positive WAR because average is well above replacement level. Hope this was helpful and not pedantic.

  11. I’m not aware of too many instances of a veteran on a moderate contract blocking a prospect, especially in the case of someone like Prado who can play multiple positions (as could, presumably, the guy he’s blocking). The most blatant player block I can remember is Jim Thome blocking Ryan Howard, but that was a case of a player on a franchise cornerstone contract blocking another guy who had no other avenue of getting on the field besides 1B.

    Anyway, if it happens it wouldn’t be for long, and these things have a tendency to work themselves out. In a world where Jeff Francoeur can be traded, what’s the worry?

  12. regarding blocking our prospects at third…

    I’m not arguing to just leave a hole there BC “one day Riley might be good and don’t want to block him”.

    That in itself is not a reason to fail to improve 3B in 2017. But that’s not the only consideration. The point is you guys are suggesting obligating lots of money for multiple years to 3B and we have a finite budget. In 2019, if you have a replacement level Prado making $16 mil, sure you can cut him when you know Riley/Demeritte could do as well or better, but you still owe him that money that can’t be used elsewhere. You’d be kicking yourself (I promise, even if you can’t imagine it now).

    The point is that we have something between Ruiz and Garcia at 3B that is decent. Who you pay a lot to acquire might not be any better, and you’re probably going to be stuck paying him longer than you want because he’ll be 35 in a couple of years and 3B is our greatest organizational strength aside from pitcher.

  13. Well, the budget stuff I just have to concede, because it isn’t important to me. Prado’s positional flexibility adds value (and he remains an effective defensive player) above and beyond his relationship to replacement level. You can cut his time without his acting entitled to it, you can move him around on defense, you can trade him.

  14. For me, it depends on two things:
    – What else Coppy can do in this offseason to make also adding Prado matter next season
    – How much Prado costs in dollars/years

    I’m not opposed to it, but I don’t see the point right now.

  15. On the one hand, budget constraints don’t matter at all to me, either. On the other hand, our team operates on them, therefore it’s one of the variables one must weight. Heck, if it was up to me, our budget would be unlimited and we’d be signing Derek Lowes, Dan Ugglas and Melvin Uptons all winter long!

  16. I hear you — it just varies so greatly season to season (and often within season) that I can’t use it to say what I want to say, so I just leave it alone.

  17. Free-agents are almost all on the wrong side of their prime. That’s fine if the team is almost competitive, but, if you have to wait a couple years, most contracts won’t look so hot. That’s how it should be; good players are more valuable to teams that expect to compete every year of their contract.

    If there is some bargain out there, more power to Coppy. I just hope he’s patient.

  18. I also love Martin Prado–one of my all time favorites–and I would be glad to have him back, not considering long-term consequences. He played about the best left field I’ve ever seen.

    Regarding the budget issue, there’s a strong chance we’ll have Kemp’s dead $15 million on the payroll in 2019.

  19. We hear from our local voices all the time how competitive big leaguers are, but we also hear from our scribes and criers how somebody won’t go to a contender because that team won’t “guarantee” they’ll pick up the option or make them their starter for the length of the contract.

    In the end, we all want pretty much the same things: security, respect and a little cash to piss away. Prado wants to take care of his family. Does the respect, even honor, he’d receive in Bravesland outweigh the financial security he’d get elsewhere?

    Martin’s call: I wish him well either way. I just don’t want us signing him for four at $15M per, even if we can afford it. Third base is acceptable now, and the future looks rosy through these new glasses. That money would be better spent on upgrades at other positions. Corner outfield, catcher and starting rotation come to mind.

    We have resources. We can make trades. Trades need not always make the dollars even for us right now. We don’t have to balance salaries. A Mike Trout for a prospect haul works for me. Can’t say about the Angels.

    All this was said above. This too: it’s going to be an interesting offseason.

  20. I’m surprised more players don’t have elbow fractures. Guys are getting bigger, faster, stronger. They’re throwing harder, generating more bad speed, and their forearms and arms are huge. I’m surprised more wiry guys like Dan Winkler and Ozzie Albies aren’t breaking elbows. It just seems like so much torque and pressure on bones that aren’t keeping pace.

  21. @33, I may have misunderstood a conversation from a month or so ago about Olivera’s contract being able to be voided in the event of a successful prosecution.

  22. I believe I heard something about the Padres possibly being able to void the contract if he was found guilty and sentenced. That was at the time of the Kemp trade. I doubt they would be able to void that contract.

  23. Albies injury is very similar to Floyd’s and full-strength recovery is likely 6 months, which likely means full-baseball strength recovery is more or less 9 months to a year. Looks like Braves will control him longer than originally planned.

  24. An oft-repeated discussion I have, usually with Europeans, is: Which game is rougher/more dangerous, NFL football or the highest-level international rugby?

    My latest bit of evidence on the pro-gridiron side: What the Broncos put Cam Newton thru in the 2nd half of last night’s game.

    Cam is plenty tough, but I would imagine that he’s seen enough of that team. They crunched him like a tin can last night.

  25. Did we ever find out what actually went down with Olivera? We seem to get security cam footage, eyewitness accounts, and tons of speculation when an athlete gets arrested for domestic assault, but we have very little on Olivera.

  26. @41. I tweeted last night that the biggest difference in CFB and the NFL is the violence. I watched every snap Cam ever took at Auburn. I saw him hobbled from a play a grand total of ONE time and that was in his last game against Oregon, he got hit in the kidney area HARD. He never missed a play.

    Last night in ONE game, he was hurt/hobbled 3-4 TIMES.

    The NFL is brutal. You’ve got 270 lb guys running 4.65 40s with very bad intentions.

  27. I’d say football wins there. You bleed less with helmets, but your brain gets knocked around a lot more.

    Curious to see the fallout from last night’s game. Pretty sure the Denver side would think it was worth it barring something staggering.

  28. JS can say Albies will be ready by ST all he wants, but it doesn’t make it a reality. Full range of motion doesn’t come back for 6 months, then it’s back to baseball. Look at Winkler as he’s had very similar injury. 6 months before being cleared to throw.

    And DOB did report that the elbow will be surgically repaired.

  29. Gotta feel bad for Albies. This reminds me of losing Chipper in spring training 1994 to an ACL. Lost a whole year…but I think he did a good job healing up.

  30. I think Braves should go shopping in Houston this offseason for a 3B. They have Gurriel and Bregman at the MLB level, Tyler White, Matt Duffy, and Colin Moran at AAA. Tyler White, if he can handle 3B defensively, would be a great buy-low candidate.

  31. 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.

    I would not describe myself as an optimist about the Braves by any means, but I do find it amazing that it took all of one thread for something in this list to go wrong.

  32. There could be different degrees in severity between Albies and Winkler, and you probably shouldn’t compare their recovery timelines because they play for the same baseball team. If Albies can recover from a fractured elbow in 9 months, that puts him back in May. That’s really not a big deal. But we have a guy who can play second base, so it didn’t take one thread for something on the list to go wrong.

  33. @50
    I didn’t compare their timelines because they play for the same team, rather did the research on the injury and recovery and had a subject that backed up the research.

  34. Winkler is a useful subject since we all know about him and his injury. The last thing that should’ve occurred to you was that Ryan assumes recovery times are team dependent.

  35. But we have a guy who can play second base, so it didn’t take one thread for something on the list to go wrong.

    Whether Jace can substitute for Albies, if that’s what you’re suggesting, seems like a trick question to me. I suppose the Braves think Albies will be back, so fair enough.

  36. I would guess (though I’m not a doctor…nor do I play one on TV…nor have I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express in like the last five years) that the recovery/rehab from this injury for a position player is less extensive than for a pitcher. That having been said, if he’s not resuming baseball activities until January (which is what DOB said), he’ll be at spring training, but it doesn’t seem too likely he’ll be ready to have a normal spring training. And if that’s the case, that would push his full recovery back into the season a bit, I would think.

  37. Gavin Floyd, same injury, same surgery, next in-game baseball activity: 1 year, 3 months.
    Daniel Winkler, same injury, 6 months before throwing.

    These are pitchers, yes. It doesn’t negate that there will either be wires, pin, screws, or all of the above in Albies arm and from the research I’ve done, athletes that put force on their elbow will be held out of causing stress on the elbow for 6 months. I mean, he did break it fouling a ball, so I’m guessing this likely qualifies.

    Braves saying resuming baseball activity in January and there’s just no way I believe that. We also know Braves have been very wrong about recovery timetables in the past.

  38. @57
    For a serious injury, I cannot recall that happening in the last half decade. And if it does, it was rushed and a return trip to the DL occurs. I think this was reason they’ve been extra cautious with both Mallex and Shae this year because too many rushed back and were re-injured.

  39. What constitutes a serious injury? I’m guessing it wouldn’t be too difficult to come up with one, depending on your parameters.

    Anyway, I would be very interested to see how often the Braves are on target with the return-from-injury projections as compared to other teams’ and their such projections, your recollections notwithstanding.

    Either way, I’m probably going to go by what the doctors and folks with specific information on Ozzie’s injury (and specific information on the prior injuries to which you’re comparing this one) are saying. They’re being pretty vague, so I’m not getting my hopes up about his being ready by ST, but it’s clear that they think such a timeline is possible, so I won’t rule it out.

  40. It seems pretty likely they’d have waited to super 2 cutoff next year anyways. This just removes all doubt.

  41. @62
    One problem I have with the reported date Braves think he will resume activities is that it’s well before what doctors report and also well before what Winkler and Floyd had, unless the term “baseball activities” is loose meaning he can start fielding grounders again. Because anything that he’s putting torque on that elbow should take around 6 months to re-start which is mid-March.

  42. @41 Having a fair bit of experience with both, I think that football is more likely to give you a career ending injury, but the constant pounding of rugby is a different kind of animal. Not having pads and a helmet adds up in a hurry when you start banging around.

  43. @7, I’m a little surprised, he seemed like the ultimate high risk reward prospect what with a ceiling of rapture and a floor of brimstone.

  44. 64—I always interpret “baseball activities” very loosely. And I just don’t think pitchers are all that comparable to second basemen when it comes to arm torque. And, again, without having access to the medical information or expertise the Braves’ doctors do, it’s just impossible for me to call them wrong with any confidence and pinpoint any sort of specific date like “mid-March.”

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