Braves 5, IWOTP 2

The Phillies aren’t good. They’re 70-88 this year, and over the last five years — the five years since they traded for Cliff Lee and won 102 games in 2011 — they’re 360-467. They are bad. They’re ahead of us in the standings this year, but they’re closing out the year by getting swept by us, and that’s a very gratifying way to close out the year. Our boys may be bums, but as long as they’re better than Philly, there’s at least a bit of pride salvaged.

So tonight, Josh Collmenter had another remarkably effective night. He’s had three starts in a Braves uniform, and they’ve all been good: 5 IP, 2 ER; 7 IP, 2 ER; 7 IP, 1 ER, with a combined 16 strikeouts and 5 walks. I don’t get it — he’s 30, has an 85-mile an hour fastball, and was literally released outright by the Diamondbacks in August after spending his entire pro career in that organization. Then he spent a month in the minors with the Cubs, who then released him, and then he came here.

TD may be right: he’s the second or third best starter we have right now. And as welcome as the second-half offensive resurgence has been, that’s clearly the biggest concern for the Johns in the front office.

But the offense has been legitimately nice. Dansby Swanson hit a homer; he’s now hitting .300/.353/.442. And then there was the eighth inning. Dansby got a leadoff walk. Kemp doubled him home. Nick Markakis got an intentional walk, Anthony Recker got himself hit by a pitch, Jace Peterson hit an RBI single, and Rio Ruiz got a two-run single. That four-run inning broke the Phillies’ backs.

By the way, Kemp before the trade: .262/.285/.489
After the trade: .289/.343/.525

Getting out of Petco really helps.

Mauricio Cabrera came on in the top of the eighth with Freddy Galvis on first, a 1-1 tie score, and two outs, and I wouldn’t have thought that would have been the situation for a rookie with a massive control problem. He came on, threw two straight balls to Caleb Joseph, and Galvis stole second. At that point, he threw a slider for a strike, buried another slider in the dirt and got his man to swing and miss, and then he threw a high 99-mile an hour fastball that Joseph fouled straight back.

Finally, he threw a 99-mile an hour fastball more or less down the middle, and Joseph hit it pretty well, but right to Mallex Smith in left, and the inning was over. He didn’t blow him away on three straight pitches, but if anything, he did something even more gratifying to see: he got into a tricky situation, threw strikes, and something good happened. I like this kid a lot.

46 thoughts on “Braves 5, IWOTP 2”

  1. The Gordon Beckham Era is underway in San Francisco. He served as a ninth-inning defensive replacement for starting third baseman Conor Gillaspie and logged zero plate appearances. The Giants are 1-0 with Beckham at their service.

  2. Relative to the discussion on the last thread, it’s probably more important to the Braves that the season end on a positive, hopeful note (especially given late-season performance in the past few seasons) than it is to “win” the second pick. There is no question that the lineup is better than what we started the season with, and if the starting pitching gets bolstered it’s at least a decent team to watch.

  3. I know it’s a small sample size and probably unsustainable, but I would be happy for us to invite Collmenter to spring training and give him starts until he blows up or Newcomb or one of our other starters are ready. Obviously though, I’m looking for us to go after at one number 1, 2 type starter.

  4. THIS IS EGREGIOUS! Who saw that Cincy/St. Louis game last night? That could have HEAVILY impacted a tight, important race. Every game is crucial right now, and that could really be a franchise-altering bad call. Don’t they understand that was an extremely high stakes game? We’re fighting for a pick here!

    Wait, there’s a Wild Card race too…?

  5. @6

    I think that’s behind a pay wall.

    RE: Tanking

    When you need 30-35 really solid major league players to field a playoff team, I don’t think it makes sense to completely tank. When you need 7 in the NBA, then it makes sense. You cut payroll and bottom out, hope you hit it big with a high pick and a strong second round pick for a couple years, build your payroll back up, and you’re in business. It’s just too risky to do that in MLB.

    RE: Finishing Strong

    I do wonder if the example I mentioned yesterday is Josh Collmenter. If his strong performance, which has led to three important wins, can get us a high minors prospect at some point next year, then this was probably worth it. He might be a guy that the Braves would have signed in the offseason anyway, so it’ll be nice to have a larger resume to work off of when they want to trade him.

  6. This is kind of academic because we were never really tanking. If we had been tanking, we would’ve traded Julio Teheran and Freddie Freeman, because it’s hard to lose the most games with 2 really good players like that. We also wouldn’t have traded for Olivera (whether or not it actually helped us, it was intended to help immediately) or Kemp.

    The conspiracy theory tanking argument has us only pretending to be interested in Justin Upton to send confusing signals to the fan base so they wouldn’t know we were tanking. That’s hard to swallow and it doesn’t jibe with the above.

  7. I guess you have three options for the vision of a team: contending, rebuilding, and tanking. We’re clearly rebuilding, but who has actually gone more into rebuilding more than us, and thus be tanking?

  8. There’s an equilibrium between trying to lose and not trying to win that I think the Braves were going for in 2016. Keeping Fredi Gonzalez on as manager was my first cue that management was pretty certain things were going to get ugly at some point and they needed someone who would prove useful to cut loose.

    After getting used to the horrors of the first couple months of the season, one of the things that made it more palatable was that there would be rewards attached, such as the 1-1 pick, that would help make sense of the travails.

  9. @11, I would say that the Phillies are currently tanking into the finish. Look at some of their scores this month. Holy cow.

  10. The Phillies are marching out some of the worst relievers I’ve ever heard of. I think there was a graphic last night that said their bullpen ERA for September was 7.99. Or maybe that was for the 2nd half. That’s obscene. Having a dumpster fire bullpen is the surest way to lose all your games, a la 2nd half 2015 Braves.

  11. I like having half of the top prospects in the league, even if it’s just the SALLY league. No wonder they won the championship.

  12. TRIVIA: The Rangers have won 94 games so far but their run differential is just +11. What is the best record in history for a team with a negative run differential?

  13. Back when, the White Sox Hitless Wonders might be a contender, but it would disrupt inertia to google it.

  14. Per B-R, the Hitless Wonders scored 570 runs, but only allowed 460, in 151 games.

    But yeah, this is a great question. It looks like back in 2005, the Padres went 82-80 and won their division (!) with a -42 differential. But there must be a team with even more wins lurking out there.

  15. ’69 or ’73 Mets?

    Edit: Nope.

    Related (and a good bit easier), what World Series winning team had the worst run differential in the series itself?

  16. Justin Upton in a hot streak should be referred to as “God mode”

    If he ever gets hot in the playoffs, it will be epic

    Also, he disproves the saber myth that there’s no such thing as hot streaks all by himself.

  17. Correct, coop! A Pythagorean nightmare, the ’60 Series. Scores by game (PIT-NYY): 6-4, 3-16, 0-10, 3-2, 5-2, 0-10, 10-9 = 27-53, which if my math is correct would ordinarily yield a record of 8 wins for the Yankees and negative one win for the Pirates….

  18. 32, I almost want to fake righteous indignation at that comment, but the sarcasm would be lost online

  19. I’d like to think we’d pick up on it, but righteous indignation never looks out of place on the internet.

  20. Greetings from San Diego…

    Went to Dodgers/Padres last night. A sample of bathroom banter between Dodgers & Padres fans, early in the game, Pads up 2-0…

    Pads fan: Hey, how’s it feel to lose to a team as bad as the Padres?

    LA fan: At least we’re going to the playoffs, bro…

    Pads fan: Yeah, but you’re losing to us.

    LA fan: Padres suck, bro…

    Pads fan: Dodgers suck, bro…

    LA fan: You suck, bro…

    It was all delivered in that detached SoCal way, so I left the washroom completely confused.

    As I always say, in America, there’s more cultural difference between the East & West than the North & South.

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