Braves 6, Nationals 2 (by coop)

The Atlanta Braves defeated the Washington Nationals 6-2 on this soggy Sunday to win the final Turner Field Series against their hated rivals.

The Braves scored first in the second on an RBI single by Jace Peterson, then extended their lead to 3-0 in the fourth. Jace walked, then scored on Dansby Swanson’s double over Bryce Harper’s head. Dansby then scored on Adonis Garcia’s single, the first of three runs Adonis drove in on the day.

Matt Wisler pitched five and two-thirds shutout innings before Trea Turner’s triple and Jayson Werth’s double ended his scoreless streak. Then the rains came. After a one hour, seven minute delay, Werth scored the second run, which was also charged to Wisler. That cut the Braves margin to 3-2 afterfive and a half.

The Braves bats boomed in the sixth. Dansby walked, Emilio Bonifacio singled, and both moved up on Ender Inciarte’s sacrifice bunt. Adonis singled in both runners, then scored himself on Freddie Freeman’s 40th double of the season. After six complete, Braves led 6-2.

Shae Simmons had a 1-2-3 seventh; and with Rio Ruiz due to debut as a pinch hitter for Simmons, the rains came again. The field was a quagmire, both teams had flights to catch, but Cowboy Joe West decided the game should continue. What an anal sphincter that crew chief is.

Even assholes relent. The game was called. Braves win.

66 thoughts on “Braves 6, Nationals 2 (by coop)”

  1. So Adonis is now at a positive 0.7 WAR. Right around the break I think he was at -1. Nice second half for him.

    .290/.339/.468 after the break. He’s probably done enough to stay at 3B next season

  2. Really good for Adonis. A .800 OPS out of 3B for the league minimum goes a long way.

    Shae Simmons is looking pretty good too.

  3. Garcia has had a very respectable season and I really like the way he plays the game. That being said, I think we need a significant upgrade at 1 to 2 positions to have a good hitting team next year.

    I see us needing a major upgrade in at least one of 3 positions: RF, 3B, or catcher. Right field is a possibility, but what do we do with Mallex Smith and Markakis? Obviously we trade Markakis if possible, but it may not be possible. There just aren’t many affordable catchers with huge offensive potential out there that I see. I still see 3B as our easiest target for an upgrade, but if we can upgrade offensively while keeping Adonis at 3rd I’m all for it.

  4. Affordable seems to be different this upcoming offseason than it’s been in the recent past. Wilson Ramos is not Johnny Bench, but he’s probably better than Tyler Flowers. That bat plus a couple of placeholder starting pitchers would be an upgrade, td. Whether it puts us in playoff contention is a different story.

    IF Albies is ready AND Swanson’s not an illusion, we will be better. Like Ryan C wrote, an Ender, Kemp and Mallex outfield won’t be the worst in the bigs.

  5. @4 Markakis has finally recovered his power stroke, and it should not be hard to trade him this offseason (if that’s what the Braves want to do). Since the All-Star break, Neck has slashed .301/.375/.465, and his remaining contract is 2 years, $21M. That’s a perfectly reasonable (perhaps even a *bargain*) contract if the acquiring team thinks they’re getting an .800 – .850 OPS right fielder. Trading Neck would also allow the Braves to move Kemp back to RF, where he’s apparently more comfortable (and would have fewer baseballs hit at him than in LF).

    My guess is the Braves hold onto Kemp going into next season for a number of reasons – 1) he’s a badly-needed righty power bat to pair with FF5; 2) he’s still a pretty big name guy and may help draw fans; 3) given an offseason to train, he might get back into playing shape, which would considerably increase his potential trade value.

    So anyway, that’s my guess for the 2017 OF: Mallex in LF, Ender in CF (shaded over to RF), Kemp in RF, Neck traded, Dustin Peterson to AAA with a chance to be the Braves’ 4th OF or split time with Mallex in LF as the year progresses.

  6. I’m not really sure swapping Markakis for Mallex is a major upgrade, at least not immediately. Markakis has been pretty good this year and Mallex is a work in progress. Long-term Mallex may be better but I dunno that 2017 Mallex > 2017 Markakis.

    I think the offensive upgrade comes from Dansby/ Albies in the middle IF with Jace strengthening the bench as a multi-position sub. Expecting Flowers to repeat his 2016 performance seems like a stretch so maybe we sign another C. Honestly, Adonis is fine at 3B, esp. if Ruiz or Jace become credible platoon or semi-platoon partners. My guess is the Braves go hard after Prado this offseason but I dunno that he’s really a huge upgrade on some combo of Garcia/ Jace/ Ruiz. The offense has really been quite good since the ASB. Our big problem right now is the rotation.

  7. Markakis’ OPS of .751 is the highest it has been since 2012 and isn’t far removed from his career OPS of .785. A team believing that Markakis will have an .800-.850 OPS for his age 33 and 34 seasons would be pretty surprising. I like Markakis, but also wouldn’t mind seeing him traded. At this point though, I couldn’t see a trade being much more than a salary dump.

  8. @7 I’m not arguing that swapping Mallex for Markakis is an immediate upgrade – though it might be if you’re considering offense + baserunning + defensive contributions. A Mallex/Inciarte/Kemp OF would be better on the base paths and far better on defense than Kemp/Inciarte/Markakis one. The logic for trading Markakis comes down to the fact that the Braves have 4 guys for 3 OF spots, two of which (Kemp and Markakis) who are really only suited defensively for RF.

    Markakis is a good hitter and I’d be sorry to see him traded, but for that same reason I feel like the Braves should be able to package him with some other talent and get back a decent return – perhaps a mid-rotation starter or a catcher. It would be wise for the Braves to trade Markakis while he’s hitting if they can find a taker.

  9. I don’t think you’re getting a major offensive upgrade going from Adonis Garcia to a Justin Turner or Martin Prado. It’s just a big payroll upgrade. Now, if you can get the Rockies to part with Arenado…

    @9, “It would be wise for the Braves to trade Markakis while he’s hitting if they can find a taker.”

    Seconded. I don’t think we want Markakis on the payroll in 2018.

  10. I’ll be the first to say – I don’t understand Justin Turner at all. From 2009 – 2013 he was a fringy utility infielder who hit around league-average with substandard defense (0.4 fWAR *total* in those seasons). Then he turns 29, joins the Dodgers and promptly turns into one of the most productive hitters in baseball. In the last 3 seasons, he’s put up 12+ fWAR total, with increasing power each year (up to 27 HRs, .231 ISO in 2016). I really have no idea what is his ‘norm’ going forward.

    By contrast, Prado is extremely consistent and predictable – his offensive value lives and dies with his BABIP. He would be a fine addition to the Braves, but I feel like the cost to acquire him as a free agent would be too great relative to the amount he’d improve the team over the in-house options.

    I feel like the ultimately we’re all holding out hope that the Braves are going to pull a deal for a cornerstone-level talent going into 2017 – and we’re all going to be disappointed when our unrealistic expectations are shot down by Coppy signing/trading for a good but not great upgrade for next season.

  11. There’s no doubt that Adonis has improved in the second half — he had a .636 OPS in the first half and has a .818 OPS in the second half. But even with the improvement he has an OPS+ of 100 for the year, to Prado’s 115.

    But given that they need upgrades at SP and C, maybe 3B isn’t the spot to put resources, especially if you think that Adonis is more the second half guy going forward.

  12. When do we get out of the ‘Small Sample Size’ territory over the post-Kemp trade offensive explosion into the ‘Potential Big League Lineup’ territory? 50 games? 75?

  13. You get 6 years of Longoria (not including a 2023 $5 million buy out). The first 2-3 years (age 31-33 seasons at $41 million) should be great value. The last 3 should be a heckuva albatross (age 34-36 seasons at $53 million).

    P.S.: Longoria OPS’d .724 and .764 in 2014 and 2015 respectively. His .857 this season is the highest since 2012.

  14. I don’t see why we’re so hot to trot about trading an outfielder. Having two actual CFs is a fairly smart strategy/insurance policy as is having four big leaguers for 3 spots when two of your guys are in their 30s. Can’t we bring Mallex in late with a leaad to replace Kemp? The Giants won a world series with Morse in left field to start games and a speedy defensive specialist like Greg Blanco or Schierholtz replacing him late…

  15. I think the concern is that a prospect like Mallex needs to be getting regular ABs for the sake of his development, and neither Markakis nor Kemp really projects as a backup.

  16. Being local here, I’ve wondered many times if Longoria would be dealt in the offseason. People would think I was crazy, so I don’t think I’ve mentioned it on here. I do think Longoria gets sold off ala Justin Upton or Jason Heyward to kick off the Rays’ rebuild. That team is pitiful, and they need to rebuild.

  17. They’d be crazy not to trade Longoria. He’s probably not going to repeat this 35 HR season, and if 2017 looks more like 2014-5, it will be harder to move that big contract

  18. I don’t care about Longoria’s down years in ’14 and ’15. The guy is a leader, he’s a right-handed power bat, he plays a good third base, and I could see him maintaining his 2016 production (still a little less than 2010-2013). Plus, his age-34 through 36 dollars won’t seem that bad once we get to that point in the current market appreciation. I would give up Dustin Peterson, Max Fried, Adonis Garcia, Tyrell Jenkins and Patrick Weigel to get him. They can replace him at third, and get three (probably) top-100s for him.

  19. Plus, if you did it quickly in the offseason, you then might be able to convince the right FAs that you aren’t a dumpster fire, and they should sign with you.

  20. @18
    I understand that, but Inciarte hasn’t looked like the most durable of players and certainly Matt Kemp is likely to miss some time. Markakis is something of an iron man, but I think both 30 something corner guys would benefit from sitting once a week for freshness. I guess I just don’t see having four actual outfielders as that much of a surplus.

  21. Players of Longoria’s caliber often play well through their 30s. I think it’s just as likely his salary looks like a good deal for his 34-37 seasons.

  22. Longoria would be a great get.

    Inciarte
    Swanson
    Longoria
    Freeman
    Kemp
    Mallex/Cakes
    Catcher
    Albies/Jace
    Pitcher

    That is not a bad starting 9.

  23. @23 If the Braves were set up to be a title contender in 2017, I’d agree with you that Kemp/Inciarte/Markakis with Mallex as 4th OF would be a fine setup – basically, the three best bats the team can muster for the OF plus a speedy bench OF with a decent bat and excellent wheels. However, more realistically the Braves should be looking at 2017 as a consolidation year where they maneuver the pieces for long term contention into place. It seems to me that the Braves will have a lot more flexibility to strike deals to upgrade the lineup (if and when those opportunities present themselves) if both corner OF spots aren’t locked down by aging veterans.

    @25 I like that lineup! Unfortunately, the Rays would ask a ton for Longo.

  24. They’d ask for a good bit, but I suspect the Braves could meet their price relatively comfortably.

    My thinking:

    * The Braves keep touting all this money they have to spend
    * The free agent class is trash, so I’m expecting at least one trade for someone making some money
    * He’s a great community guy (Braves Way!)
    * Even his most expensive years aren’t all that expensive
    * He’s not so superstar-ish (Machado) that the cost (Swanson and a lot more) would be prohibitive
    * He’s in line for 10-5 rights after 2018, so the Rays have two years to trade him before locking themselves into the most expensive years of his deal

  25. I’m pulling for a 5-8 finish to the season – which puts us at 63-99. San Diego would have to lose out to ‘pass’ us in the draft order, as would Cincy. I think the Twins are going to lock up the first pick in the 2017 draft, and I can live with that.

  26. I don’t think we’re the only team that values depth in the farm system. I could live with a 5-for-1 swap where we gave up 5 pretty good prospects but not an elite one, and I think other teams would value that swap as well. I agree with Stu’s 5th point that Longoria is just good enough at his position to help us, but not so good that he would command elite talent. If you got someone like Longoria for prospects and a $13M price tag, then we could pump the rest into starting pitching and really field a winner.

    I keep looking at what we traded for Tim Hudson, and I drool. It is literally the modern day equivalent of Adonis Garcia, Chris Withrow, and Lucas Sims. I wonder how different the 2004 pitching market is vs. the 2016 one.

  27. Braves Journal is heavily skewed toward fans who like the idea of a rebuilding team trading lots of young prospects for expensive 30-something declining players. @29 hurts my soul. What an amazing deal for TB though. Great way to start their rebuild.

    @30, I don’t think we gave up anyone so good as Sims for Huddy. It’s more like Mallex, Ellis, and Withrow.

  28. And just so I’m clear, I’m not advocating for a Longoria trade, only foolishly trying to read the tea leaves. He just seems to fit the profile.

    In my mind, a package for Longoria would be something like Wisler, Riley, Weigel, and Ellis — and I’d probably be fine with that.

  29. @32, good call–Meyer was ranked more highly. I remember thinking he was a mediocre, low-ceiling soft tosser at the time, so I mentally put him below Sims.

  30. Also, from that same BBA ranking, ayos mio…

    11. Andy Marte 3b, Braves

    Following the Miguel Cabrera path�and Marte is more advanced at the same stage of his career. ETA: 2005

  31. Anybody making the trip to Flushing this week?

    FWIW, I might try to make the Teheran game tomorrow night.

    Of course, if it keeps raining here, they’ll have to play a DH tomorrow or Wednesday.

  32. @31 I don’t want to trade away the farm to get veteran talent either, but the Braves’ management would certainly be willing to consider trading some of our minor league talent to get a player of Longoria’s caliber. I’d be happy to part with any number of guys who project to be mid-rotation (Blair, Jenkins, Gant, Ellis, Whalen, Sims, Toussaint, Povse, even Wisler) and position players who lack star upside (Smith, Ruiz) but I’d draw the line at including Albies or Riley. I’m guessing the Rays wouldn’t make the deal without at least one upper-level pitching prospect coming back (Newcomb, Fried, Allard, Anderson et al.).

    Also – hard to draw up a more uneven pitching matchup than Blair v. Syndergaard tonight… yeesh. The ERA gap is nearly 6 runs!

  33. @38 – This is one of those games where you would put the odds of Atlanta winning at about 30 to 1. Watch us pound Syndergaard and Blair take a no-hitter into the 7th. I’m not predicting it, but stranger things have happened.

  34. I don’t see how Mallex isn’t traded in the offseason as part of a bigger package to get an impact player (likely a starting pitcher).

  35. @31

    I agree, and it makes me wonder to what extent people are truly down for what a teardown/rebuild was always going to entail, or if they were just frustrated at the previous cast of characters.

  36. @38, yeah I would trade any of those guys. Only Touki would make me flinch. Guys like Fried, Weigel, and Albies are high ceiling guys who could help us for a long time for cheap.

    I’m not opposed to trading for guys like Braun and Longoria, but they don’t have the greatest contracts on the back end. To some degree, their teams are looking to move them while they’re still valuable. I don’t think we should be giving up the farm for them.

  37. I will cut Garcia some slack since he’s been playing so well lately, but that was a horrible at bat. Bases loaded, 2 and 0 and he swings at 2 straight balls.

  38. @31, 41

    I think you guys are pushing it to an extreme. I don’t think you’re trading Ozzie Albies. That’s a little crazy, but I think you trade the most unknown of your 4 potential starting outfielders, and I think you make some selective decisions on trading within the tiers of pitching prospects you have. I think we’re at the stage of the rebuild where they always intended on trading some of the pitching received back in the initial Heyward/JUpton/Gattis/Kimbrel deals. After all, Hart has said at multiple points that the reason why they took back so much pitching was so they could use it as a “universal currency” by which to trade for who they needed. To get to the 2017 offseason and think that it’s short-sighted to do what was always the long-term view is, most likely, being too committed to fledgling prospects. There’s a list of 8-10 prospects that, in my view, are untouchable, but there are definitely a few that could be used for better things at this stage of the rebuild.

  39. Well, I was wrong about the no hitter through 8, but I’ll still take a no hitter through 3 and 2/3 and a 5 to 2 lead.

  40. 4 hits tonight for Frederick. He’s right at the cusp of being one of the best 5 hitters in baseball this year. (Trout, Ortiz/Bryant/Donaldson). It’s really something to behold.

  41. I like Longoria, if the price is right. My worry with him is more about his health than anything else. He’s played a ton of games and gotten dinged up, and at some point he may have to move across the diamond. But I like the potential risk/reward.

  42. I remember always loving Chipper but don’t always feel the same way about Freddie. Was Chipper’s personality more endearing than Freddie’s? Was it all of the winning? Freddie is indeed something to behold, and we’re wasting some of his best years.

  43. The Braves were so right in their assessment to offer FF a long term contract and also right it appears with Heyward to refuse to go higher in negotiations. FF has so far proven to only get better at making adjustments and become an offensive cornerstone while JHey has been unable to

  44. I’m extremely happy about the Braves doing well this month. I know it’s a low bar, but after their start to the season, I will consider anything less than 100 losses a huge accomplishment.

  45. #61 – yep, and like I mentioned on twitter that’s with a garbage rotation. Add two starters this offseason and we could compete next season

    I think there is about an 80% chance that BMac is back in Atl next year

  46. Hey, if the Braves can sweep ’em again in Flushing, they’ll actually win the season series vs. the Mets.

    And, although the Mets’ remaining schedule is pretty easy, it would be downright heartwarming to help knock them out of a post-season berth.

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