Barves 12, Phils 2

The boys are on a roll. The Phillies are no great shakes, but after a big comeback win, it’s really nice to beat the snot out of them. The Phillies are in a similar spot with us, and knocking around their starting pitchers makes me feel bad about our plight.

Mike Foltynewicz did ok. He went 5, gave up a run on a wild pitch, and but only allowed 5 base runners and got himself 5 K’s in his first start back and last start of the season. He should be penciled into any 2017 rotation. Jose De La Cruz and John Gant provided some long relief, and Chaz Roe closed it out. I’m sure we’d have seen Folty go more than 81 pitches if he didn’t have so much time off, but it was good to get some guys some work in a blowout.

The offense, of course, beat them like a drum. Daniel Castro got a rare start and made the best of it with 3 hits. Mallex got another start in the outfield, this time for Nick Markakis, and while he didn’t get a hit, he worked a walk and scored a run. He did have a call overturned on a ball that he almost beat out. Dansby freakin’ Swanson got another two XBHs with a double and a triple, and he’s pretty dreamy. Matt Kemp went yack city again. Ya know, pretty much everyone did something positive offensively.

Rio Ruiz got his first career hit on a triple that was misplayed in center. This was my first good look at his athleticism. He runs pretty well for a third basemen, and he appears to be in such good shape that it’s hard to believe that there was a time where John Hart had to tell him to shed a few.

That makes it 15-9 in September. Go Barves.

29 thoughts on “Barves 12, Phils 2”

  1. Right now, we would draft 3rd. But what do you do about it? Tell Dansby to stop getting hits? Tell Folty to give up a few dingers? We’re giving regulars days off, they’re letting young people like Mallex play, Daniel Castro even got a start, and guys like De La Cruz, Cunniff, Gant, etc. are getting innings. We’re starting a guy throwing 85MPH tonight. It is what it is. There’s really nothing wrong with winning, and the alternative is much worse. I think some fans are being ridiculous about this.

  2. Thank you for the recap, Rob. I’d just as soon see the team win the rest of them. We’ll still get good draft slots, albeit with less bucks to bang with.

  3. In the category of stuff only I care about, placed a bet on the over for the Braves at the start of the season on 67.5 wins. Looked impossible a few weeks ago but here we stand just needing to go 3-1 to make it. The MIA cancellation took away one opportunity for a win but what are you gonna do?

    Been hard to know how to root given draft position vs the bet and just enjoying winning baseball, but I’ve come around to feel like we have strengthened the farm enough to where I’m not as worried about draft position even given the substantial advantage the slotting system gives to the top few picks.

  4. @3, who is being ridiculous? I haven’t seen anyone suggest losing on purpose. People were hoping this season of suffering would be rewarded with a #1 or #2 pick. Having that turn into the 7th pick in the very last week of the season is bittersweet at best.

    I would rather win than lose, but if we’re going to lose 90+ games, I’d rather get the first pick.

  5. @5 Before the season began, I took the over on 61.5 wins on a bet with a particularly pessimistic friend. I believe his point at the time was that the Vegas line (68-ish wins?) appeared a bit high considering the Braves were rolling into the season with an alarming lack of on-field talent.

    I wonder what the Vegas line will be on the Braves for next season – 78 wins? 80? I’d probably project this current Braves roster for about 80 wins next year, but if we go out and get some more talent I’d bump up the expected win total accordingly.

  6. With the crew we have right now, 78-ish might be a reasonable guess. But, there is a whole off-season for Coppy and Crew to upset the apple cart. Trade for Chris Sale, find a power bat at third or behind the dish, and who knows?

  7. With our pitching, I wouldn’t bet on 80 wins, and don’t be surprised if Vegas isn’t quite so sanguine on our chances as our fans. We basically will have won 67 games 2 seasons in a row, and how exactly that happened isn’t as important as the fact that it did. We are obviously better than we were to start the season, and we’ve been on a 32-26 run over the last 68. I figure the line to be 75 wins right now, but that could move up considerably with an acquisition or two.

  8. My take is that we clearly lost on purpose for like 60% of the season. Why reverse course now? If you want to win, how about fielding a lineup out of the gate that wasn’t provably horrible?

    It’s not worth making a big fuss about, but it’s just weird.

    (I’ll admit that there’s always a chance that they really thought that the lineup we broke camp with was going to win … but that way leads to madness … )

  9. I think the FO knew this would not be a good team but I don’t think they expected the total dumpster fire that was April and May.

  10. Nobody expected Aybar to be the worst player in baseball or for Markakis, Inciarte, and Freeman to be replacement level for 6-8 weeks. Those players were all playing far worse than they’re capable and we lost.

  11. I like Snitker’s approach to give Mallex starts at all OF positions. It gives an opportunity to rest Kemp and Markakis. I’d also like to see him replace Kemp defensively in late innings.

  12. how exactly that happened isn’t as important as the fact that it did.

    Are we watching the same team? It’s absolutely more important how it happened. If that’s the case, then where would you rather be: in the Braves’ shoes, or the Twins/Rays/A’s/Phillies. Those teams are moving in the wrong direction, whereas the Braves have:

    1) Replaced their stopgap shortstop with a top-5 prospect in baseball and potential cornerstone player.
    2) We didn’t liquidate at the deadline, and held onto valuable pieces like Teheran.
    3) Several pitchers got healthy, got called up, or took a huge step forward in the second half.
    4) We added the most powerful bat in our lineup who is under contract.
    5) A prospect emerge into being an every day player, even at multiple positions (Jace).
    6) A 25 year old making nothing turn into a top-4 or 5 center fielder in baseball.
    7) Aging veteran under contract for two more seasons rebounded to his career average OPS.

    When you’re rebuilding, it absolutely matters how you win 67 games. When you’re otherworldly awful due to several players playing worse than they’re capable then play like a contender for the last 2 months of the season, then you definitely need to take that into account.

    With that said, I’m good with 80 wins next year. :)

  13. The team was never trying to tank in order to get to 1-1. That’s like thinking they won’t be competitive again until 2024.

  14. @13, calm down. I’m talking about Vegas odds. Teams that won 67 games two years in a row are not generally projected to be .500 teams without a bunch of acquisitions. We look pretty good over the last 68 games, or even last 90 games, but we are still a 67 win team with 2 major league quality starting pitchers.

    For my part, I think we will be a .500 team next year–I didn’t think so as recently as 5 weeks ago, but I’m on board. I think Vegas will underrate us and make us a pretty good over bet.

    P.S.: I do wonder who you’re talking about here: “3) Several pitchers got healthy, got called up, or took a huge step forward in the second half.”

  15. Folty, Cabrera, Simmons, Withrow, and Whalen. For Simmons, it’s simply getting back on the mound after TJ, even if his current injury leaves a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of the season. Whalen (and to a lesser extent Jenkins) made it to the major leagues, which is certainly a step forward.


    Some folks are a little too disappointed that we didn’t lock up the #1 pick. I do wonder if the improved play of many players over the last 2 months will allow us to parlay them into a prospect much more valuable than anything the additional slot money could get us. If someone who faked it over the last couple months gets us another Travis Demeritte, then I think it’s worth it.

  16. @10 Perhaps this is picking nits, but my impression is the Braves entered this season with a focus on rebuilding rather than winning games in 2016 – basically, they weren’t trying to lose on purpose but they weren’t actively trying to win either. It feels like we came into 2016 with a .350 – .400 win % type team, and that team played *even worse than that* for a while… then the 2nd half of the season rolled around; numerous players started playing better and the Braves upgraded at several spots too.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t honestly believe the current Braves roster would be a .500 team next season – for one, the starting rotation would be woefully exposed before long. That said, my expectation is the 2017 Braves will get some sizeable contributions from pitchers who didn’t throw any 2016 innings for the Braves (via FA acquisition and minor league promotion). There are so many different guys who might step up, it’s hard to really narrow it down to any 1 or 2 players.

    All in all, I could see the Vegas line for the Braves in the mid-70’s for next year, but I’d take the over on that due to all the maturing talent in the minor league pipeline.

  17. In general, I tend to think that tanking is a counterproductive strategy in baseball. I believe that the amount that you need to gut your team in order to be assured of the worst record in baseball is likely to hurt your long-term success more than you are likely to lose by falling from first overall to, say, fifth overall in draft position.

    Plus, Stu’s right — the importance of being first overall is usually more about slot money than it is about getting the one generational talent who will turn your franchise around, the Strasburg / Harper kind of guy who was the obvious 1-1 going into the draft and who lived up to the hype after making it to the pros. There usually isn’t a guy like that in the draft.

  18. I think most would agree that we weren’t trying real hard to win at the beginning of 2016. To me that’s the same as tanking…if you aren’t trying to win, then wtf are you doing?

    If you are going to finish 20+ games out of first, then doesn’t it make sense to get the highest pick possible? There may not be a huge difference between pick 1 and pick 5, but the slot money is quite different, and there’s zero downside to picking higher. We’ve already paid the price in lost attendance and fan disenchantment, so if you ever wanted to finish last then this would be the year to do it.

  19. Just because we might have the first pick doesn’t mean we will make a good selection. Is it next years draft supposed to be loaded with talent?

  20. You are what your record says you are, as the man says, and the most accurate way to describe this team is that it is a ~67 win team. A team’s record is an accumulation of both its positives and its negatives, regardless of what I want to emphasize.

    However, I am willing to buy the case that the Braves are a little better than a 67 win team at this moment, due to the additions and to the fact that the season start was so terrible it would be difficult for anyone to duplicate.

    Having said all that, I would rather add a 5 pick to a low 70’s win team’s system than to add a 1 to a high 50’s win team’s system. It just means you’re that much closer to contending. (Yes, I understand that there is more than one round affected.)

    So, I choose to look at it as adding a really good pick to a not so terrible team. Besides, the winter’s long enough without giving away the summer too.

  21. I think there’s a serious difference between these two things:

    1) The traditional rebuild: A GM selling off a lot of players for prospects and handing the manager a team of jokers, slaps him on the butt, and says go get ’em.

    2) The plot of the film Major League: Management instructs the team to lose, because being the worst team in baseball will be good for business.

    The first sucks to watch but may make sense in baseball terms. The second is bush league and has no place in baseball. I have only the strongest condemnation for any team that is not trying to win with the players it has on the field. If Snitker and the Braves manage to make chicken salad out of Coppy’s roster, good for them. There’s no better place for Dansby Swanson and Mauricio Cabrera and Mallex Smith to learn their trade than playing spoiler and trying to steal wins from better teams.

    But in addition to viewing the “try to lose” strategy as morally abhorrent, I also view it as strategically short-sighted. I genuinely think there’s such a thing as digging a hole for yourself that is too hard to get out of.

  22. I wasn’t necessarily promoting NBA-style tanking as a front office strategy. Just disappointed from a fan’s point of biew that this godawful year might not yield a better reward – draft position and slot money.

    As for the offseason, I cross my fingers that they stay the rebuild course and don’t do anything rash. This is a crappy free agent class and the talk that the braves have money to burn scares me a bit. Too many people left over from the regime that not too long ago brought you Derek Lowe “Ace”, Raul Mondesi and BJ Upton.

    The next Braves team to contend for the playoffs likely doesn’t have Matt Kemp in the lineup, will employ a real 3rd baseman and hopefully will feature Julio Teheran as the 4th starter. In my opinion that team is still 2-3 years away. At least they’ve hit the nadir and will be interesting to follow in 2017-2018.

  23. 21—The top of the draft is considered much better, yes. Several legit 1-1 types.

    I was hoping the Braves would be in position to take Jeren Kendall, and now, sadly, that’s just not going to happen.

  24. If it’s any consolation, we probably would’ve taken a high school pitcher at #2 that will still be around at #5-7.

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