Cardinals 6, Braves 4 (14)

I got ya, Pham.

One of the coolest traditions in baseball is singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 14th inning stretch.  Tommy Pham took a lot of the glory out of it for the Braves, as his 2nd home run of the game came in the top of that inning, and it proved decisive.

The Cardinals jumped out to a 4-0 lead, led by Pham and a home run by Matt Carpenter.  The third time through the order was one too many for Michael Wacha however, as the Braves scratched back 2 runs in the top of the 6th after being shut out for 5.  A Dansby Swanson RBI in the 7th and a Freddie Freeman home run in the 8th tied it.

Seven different Atlanta relievers threw 7 1-hit innings in back of R.A. Dickey, until Josh Collmenter came on in the 14th.  The Braves managed enough baserunners to hit into 5 double plays.  Dansby went 1-6 to raise his batting average to .151.  (Sorry. Had to.)  The highlights really dropped off fast.

Dansby now has a career batting average of .234 in 235 Major League at-bats, which is about what one would project for a .261 hitter in AA (333 at-bats.)  Neither the Major League not the Minor League sample size is satisfactorily large, but they are what we have.  If Dansby can get his 2017 batting average up to .234, then we’ll have some good hitting ahead.

Off Monday, then at Houston Tuesday.

Funniest thing I ever heard about St. Louis:  “St. Louis has the best fans in baseball.” – St. Louis fans

Author: Rusty S.

Rusty S. is a Braves Journal reader since 2005 and an occasional innings-eater. It was my understanding that there would be no expectations.

111 thoughts on “Cardinals 6, Braves 4 (14)”

  1. 40+ if healthy all year. A bright spot for me this season will be tuning in to see if he can hit one on the roof of the new Chop House.

    5 GIDPs today…what’s the team record for a season?

  2. Really hard to see how the manager doesn’t have an effect on streakiness.

  3. By the way the season has been going, surely we’re due a winning week next week, right?

    Put me down for 40+ HR as well and 8+ WAR

  4. @3 It’s the eternal tautology of baseball. Positive managerial impact, like clubhouse chemistry seems to be far more apparent after the fact than before. If you win then you must’ve had it, and if you didn’t, then obviously you didn’t.

  5. Freddie will hit his 39th on September 15th and stall out just to frustrate us.

    There aren’t really many heartbreakers in a 70-win season, but this one really stung.

    Inciarte was safe and could’ve easily been so called. Dansby was up with a chance to really turn things around but swung at a ball and then took two strikes.

    The one triumph of a lost weekend is that I got Rob Cope and krussell to agree on something. Don’t mention it, guys.

  6. I’m really liking the “funniest thing I ever heard about” series. Thanks, Coop.

    Adding: And thanks to everyone writing the recaps and commenting. This team blows, but this place is where it’s at. Blazon, the bit about the lazy rooster trying to get out of the pot…why was the rooster in the pot? Is all of Matt Adams the rooster or only his backside?

  7. One good thing about this season is our organist. Loved the choice of Pinball Wizard for Tommy Pham’s walkup music.

  8. I cant recall any Braves team over the past 15 years or so where the pitching has been this bad. Outside of Jose Ramirez everyone is struggling.

  9. @9 Agree! I don’t think I’ve ever noticed the organist’s walk up songs until this season. My favorite was the Beverly Hillbillies theme song when Jed Gyorko would come to the plate!

  10. The best was when I was at the game this weekend and the guy named Fryer on the Cards came up and he played the Chicken Dance. Couldn’t figure out why then my brother was like “Chicken Fryer”.

    That’s some next level shit there, well done.

  11. I thought “The Odd Couple” for Randal Grichuk was a bit of a stretch (Tony Randall?)

  12. Our organist is pretty great. My favorite “deep track” reference was for Jay Bruce of the Mets: “Don’t Bring Me Down” by ELO. I mean, that’s clever.

  13. Had login troubles so all I could do was lurk. (“You need login troubles more often!”)

    Catching up on a prior conversation thread: I was one of those who was skeptical about rushing Dansby last year to cover up for the epically inept Erick Aybar. He did pretty good in limited action last year but I always cringe when I see “Face of the Franchise” marketing spotlights applied to raw talents who haven’t earned it yet. That kinda outside the lines stuff corrupts the mind in ways that often affect play inside; it is easily avoidable and not necessary.

    That said, he has really hit the ball hard and been robbed more than a lot of guys on the team, so it’s not as bad as it looks. But it’s still bad and maybe he’ll turn it around but maybe not. We’ll see.

  14. He was definitely called up because Aybar was terrible. Why else would they trade him at the same time? They wouldn’t even keep him as a backup/caddy. He was hitting .242/.293/.313 and after Coppy built a supremely awful roster, he was desperate to squeeze some wins out of the season to avoid looking like a complete embarrassment. They clearly have tried to avoid going “all in” on tanking, and I bet they have a couple unspoken goals like not losing 100 games, or perhaps not allowing attendance to fall below a certain point. If not, then why not use Garcia/Dickey/Colon money to make more Touki Toussaint trades, and just sign the Bud Norris’ and Jhoulys Chacin’s of the world? It’s because you can’t be egregious in your marketing double-speak. You can’t open a new stadium and win 65 games. You can’t be “not tanking” and win 55 games.

    Orrrrrr… Coppy just can’t build a roster. We have the worst pitching staff in baseball, and they felt so good about it (and apparently still do?), that they’re carrying an EXTRA pitcher. Is this so much fun they need even more of it? Teheran has 3 pinch-hit appearances this year. When the “what have you done for me lately?” sets in amongst Braves fans, and Coppy hasn’t pulled off one of his “heists” in a long time (starting to get kinda long now, actually), then people will start turning on him. Heaven forbid Newcomb, Sims, Weigel, Fried, or whomever that’s AA or higher doesn’t impact the major league squad this year, I think you’ll see the sentiment change.

  15. On pace for 61 wins, your Atlanta Braves! Which manager will Coppy fire next? Stay tuned!

  16. @8
    Edward, hi…the rooster in question, according to tradition, was being chased across the yard, the decision having been taken over the breakfast table it would be him in the pot for Sunday lunch. No eggs, short leash.

    Dansby…a suggestion…remember the Milwaukee series where we were told he’d been watching his old college videos with our hitting coach the night before and was ‘excited’ by what it had recalled for him…he was talking openly about it in the the plate that day, and a little beyond, he looked a different player. Not necessarily in terms of contact only, but, crucially, in his decision making. Swing or take.

    It’s only a slight exaggeration to say that this is what it’s all about for him. His awful decision making in extra innings Sunday were, sadly, classics of their kind. When his fragile confidence has gone over a poor period he looks almost childlike in his vulnerability in this area. The No. 2 status, the ROY stuff add to all this of course.

    I definitely would not want to see him sent down. He likely needs the sort of professional counseling Alex suggested yesterday, on the side. But, as important, his coaches. It’s not that complicated. Refresh his mind and keep telling him his only problem is pitch identification and let’s work on it. You are a good hitter, your contact power numbers show it, that’s a plus not a minus.

    Don’t let’s make this more difficult than it is. Swing or take.

  17. This Dansby thing reminds me of 1991 when John Wehner of the Pirates started hot, comparisons were made to the Waner brothers, and he later came back down to earth.

  18. @16, most of the fanbase doesn’t even know who Coppy is. They’ve already turned on the team. You can’t shit in a bucket and feed it to fans for 3 years. You have to demonstrate some of the promise that’s in the farm system. There’s no reason why Sims and Newcomb shouldn’t be called up later this year – except for the fact that we’re paying guys that are my age millions to “eat innings”. Anyone can “eat innings”. I don’t get the Colon/Dickey signings at all. Garcia is worth a shot, the other two are just going to be dead weights and sunk costs that reduce my enjoyment (which, in the end, is what matters).

  19. Let’s not forget that the reason Colon, Dickey, and Garcia were brought in was because we didn’t have any guys in the upper minors that appeared ready except Wisler and Blair, who have shown they’re not good enough. Sims and Newcomb looked like they needed some more time, especially Sims. Those guys look pretty close to ready, now, but this offseason nobody thought they were.

  20. To be fair, Dickey has been a 1 WAR pitcher, which is how we’re paying him. The fact that Bartolo’s ERA has nearly doubled is surprising. What’s even more surprising is, with the rash of pitching injuries across baseball, how no one has missed a start with our rotation compiled the way it is.

  21. @24

    Exactly. They really have only had about one month of appearing “ready”, and Newcomb still has his crap-the-bed starts.

  22. @25, I’m figuring that the first couple months of the year are Albies playing his way back into shape, because he didn’t have the chance to play during the offseason. I’m not concerned as long as he’s healthy.

  23. Man, the Braves are pretty depressing right now… anyone feel like talking about something baseball-related but more fun?

    My wife and I are driving from Georgia to Rhode Island at the end of June and back again about a week later – and in order to make the traveling more enjoyable, we’re talking about going to a baseball game on the way up and/or the way back.

    I’ve perused the MLB schedules and it appears the following parks would be options to see a game: Nationals Park (outbound or return trip), Yankee Stadium (return trip only) and Citizens Bank Park (return trip only). Sadly, the Orioles have no home games during the travel days in question – I’d dearly love to see a game at Camden Yards some day.

    Anyone have any wisdom/opinions/tips for me regarding these parks (and in particular, info pertinent to someone who’d be driving and parking)?

  24. I would do Citizens Bank and Yankee Stadium, unless you really wanted to break up the trips by doing one on the way up and one on the way down. Nationals Park is stupid, and the team that plays there is stupid. Never been to either, so no relevant help.

  25. I’ve been to Citizen’s Bank one time – in 2013. Sat in section 303 but don’t really remember much else except feeling that it was a “meh” park. At least it’s outdoors.

  26. @32, I agree with your gripes – they are legit concerns for sure. I can’t comment on the parking because we used Uber and came in on the first base side after walking through the Battery. Coming in was fine. Leaving is pretty much every man for himself – thousands of people trying to get cars all at once – seems impossible to make that smooth. Next time we’re gonna drive and park north of 285 near the Weather Channel.

    The concession fiasco should get better over time. I hope. These are likely brand new employees and brand new managers.

    The team on the field makes or breaks the experience (if you care about the baseball side of things). Going to watch us get trounced by the Cards in the rain is not going to be fun, no matter where you see it.

  27. Couple of other organist choices I heard:

    “Sanctuary” for Fryer (get it? friar)
    “Like a Virgin” for the A-ball player debuting, Sierra
    “Adams Family” theme for Matt Adams

  28. @35 Nice, I missed those.

    Another good one from the organist: The Carpenters’ “Close to You” for Matt Carpenter

  29. Really, I don’t think this team’s problems, like any team that is on pace to win 60-something games, can be pinpointed. The SP is certainly terrible right now, but one would assume that Teheran, Folty, and Colon, to varying degrees, are better than they’ve shown. Garcia and Dickey have been about as expected. Dansby will be better, but Kemp and Freeman will probably be worse. I think the key problem is that we’ve assembled a roster with about 17 major league baseball players, and the remaining 8 have found ways of screwing up games with more frequency than they typically would or could. Garcia, one of Adams/Bonifacio, and about 6 guys in the pen should not be on a major league roster, or at the very least in the role they are (Garcia could be a cromulent bench bat or LH platoon partner, for instance).

    We don’t have a good lefty, even though we’ve had up to 3 on the roster at any one time. We don’t have a high leverage setup man. Our mop up man, while a perfectly fine mop up man, is being used in higher leverage situations due to aforementioned issues. And the shortstop badly needs some time off, but we literally DO NOT have a backup shortstop who is also not the backup at several other positions and the first bat off the bench. That’s on Coppy all day and twice on Sunday. 2+ years into this, we really should have more depth at the big league level.

  30. Coppy may be as horrible at building a team as you think, Rob, but in his defense, he’s spent 2.5 years building farm system depth, not major league depth. His major league strategy has been to either acquire young, controllable players (Inciarte, Vizzy, Ramirez, Jace), cast-offs (Cahill, Kemp), or cheap one-year rentals (numerous, including JJ, Dickey, and Colon).

    The sum total of this is to tread water presently while also trying to find rebounds (Kemp, JJ) and trade chips (Norris, KJ), while building the farm to produce a team that can win for years. To think Coppy is shrewd enough to acquire some of the minor leaguers he has but stupid enough to not be able to tell Adonis Garcia is a shitty major league starter doesn’t pass the smell test.

    I’m not just trying to be argumentative here–I genuinely think you’re making yourself miserable believing this bunch was built to contend this year. It’s frustrating to watch them, and about $30 million more could’ve made us a more watchable, 80-win team, but Coppy has a plan that culminates in about 2019. If it’s any consolation, that theoretical 80-win team wouldn’t have won any more playoff games than this squad.

  31. The Braves traded Triple A LHP Kevin Chapman to the Twins for utility player Danny Santana. Unbelievably, they sent down Lane Adams and Bonifacio is still here. Bonifacio has some really nasty pictures.

  32. Adonis Garcia is the starter at third because Rio Ruiz hasn’t really hit very well at Triple A, and they apparently don’t think Jace Peterson is a big enough upgrade as a platoon partner against RHPs.

    If I were Snitker, I would be platooning Jace and Adonis at third. If Ruiz hits better, he could come up and be the left handed part of the platoon, allowing Jace to spell other guys more as the utility man.

    Guys who should not be on the roster: Bonifacio, EOF. Collmenter is getting close to that territory too. Krol throws hard and was a good reliever last year, but has sucked this year and can be on that list too.

    Another reason we suck right now: Teheran’s walk rate has risen from about 2 men to 5 men per 9 innings. And Colon has been little more than a batting practice pitcher lately.

    Dickey and Garcia were expected to be back of the rotation guys and that’s about what they have been. Colon has been a big disappointment so far.

  33. Interesting mailbag from Bowman today.

    1. He thinks that it was strange that the Braves hired Hernandez as pitching coach, a guy who is better working with young pitchers, after bringing in 3 veterans in the rotation.
    2. If Swanson struggles for another month or so, the Braves may have to send him down for developmental reasons. No idea who would play shortstop then.
    3. The Braves are more than willing to move veterans to make room for Sims, Newcomb, and others. (My own guess is this happens in June or July.)
    4. If Colon continues to struggle it will be hard to find a trade partner because of his salary and age.

    Also, he says via Twitter that the Braves are reluctant to DFA Bonifacio because of his salary.

  34. I can’t decide if I am madder about Bonifacio being signed for a high enough salary to worry about, or depressed about how low of a salary it is that they worry about. I’m sick of this penny pinching BS.

  35. From high A ball: A. Jackson with long ball #10, 2-4 so far with 5 rbi. Acura 2-3 with a triple and a walk.

  36. @45. The absolute worst part of the Braves is ownership.

    Honestly, until it changes, or something changes, the team isn’t really going to get much better.

  37. Feels like this season hinges on Colon, Dickey, and Garcia pitching well enough to get auctioned off for some high-upside pieces at the deadline. Then we can see some of the young guns called up. We are basically treading water unless / until that happens.

  38. Oh, the team WILL be “much better”–even under its present owners–and probably (I believe, anyhow) sooner than feels likely at this low particularly low point. The question for me is how long and how well they’ll be able to maintain what they will have built.

  39. The Padres got him?! What the heck? What is with this team and Emilio Bonifacio? It’s Keith Lockhart Part Two! Seriously, what does this guy have to do to get released?

    Dustin Peterson being healthy? Oh, well, I guess that makes sense.

  40. It’s only 6 starts, but Sims looks like a completely different pitcher. WHIP below 1, K rate is strong. I think he gets first call.

  41. I do get a chuckle when we occasionally get in a tizzy about the 40 man roster crunch. They could jettison 20 guys off the roster and it wouldn’t matter at all, except for making us better.

  42. Acuna up to AA. He, Soroka and Allard are the three youngest players in all of AA.

  43. @55, 56 It would definitely make sense for Sims to get called up ahead of Newcomb – aside from the 40 man roster issue, Newk is still running a 4.5 BB / 9 IP rate (nearly identical to what he did in 2015-16) and it’s incredibly hard to succeed as a starter in the major league with that many free passes. For reference, highly-regarded pitching prospect Tyler Glasnow with the Pirates dominated AAA last year for 20 starts with a lot of Ks and a lot of BBs (5 per 9 IP) but has struggled to the tune of a 5.36 ERA over a combined 50 major league IP.

    Frankly, the fact that Newcomb has held his own thus far in AAA is super encouraging. Presumably if he continues to do well at AAA he’ll at least get a few starts once rosters expand in September.

  44. The encouraging thing about the farm is that the aggressive promotions should have us ready to field a completely different team opening day 2018 and you would imagine we will see many exciting prospects in ATL in the latter half of this year.

  45. Now if only at least *one* of our three expensive veteran rental arms would pitch well enough to be a decent trade chip…

  46. Rob Cope at 60,

    My feeling is the Braves priority on Jackson right now is confirming his upside as a catcher. They have confirmed that his upside as a hitter was better than Seattle thought. He may need to work on drawing walks, but if his SLG remains over 600 and OBP in mid 300’s, then that is not nearly as big of a problem as the critics say. So, if they can move him to AA and get him 40%of the games for catcher starts, then they might do it.

  47. Touki has been such an anomaly this year. He has increased his K-rate to 11.35K/9, lowered his walk rate to 2.45BB/9, and his ERA sits at 8.28. He’s given up 34 hits in 29.1 innings of work.

  48. I think a lot of the anxiety about this year’s team and the last couple year’s as well goes away when you close your eyes, take a deep breath, and accept that which you cannot change: That the front office’s promises of being competitive this year has been a snow job. At best wishful thinking, but still a totally manufactured optimism.

    I don’t hold that against them. I probably would have done the same thing since it’s important to keep fan morale up and coming to the ballpark. When your team sucks it’s still possible to follow them. Pick some of the smaller narratives and just focus on that. Like watching Freddie Freeman absolutely destroy. Jace Peterson’s one of my personal faves so when he gets a start I like watching him play. And by all means make the minor league box scores a daily habit. It beats the alternative, which is beating one’s head into one’s computer monitor.

  49. @62, Garcia’s pitched decent enough. ERA under 4, WHIP of 1.33. If he can sustain that he’ll bring value in late June. And as that guy who netted us Travis Demeritte proved (what was his name?) all you need is one or two solid starts in a row around the trade deadline and you can get *something* in return so maybe Dickey and Colon can hang in there and stabilize their performance.

  50. Decreased velocity and control would suggest that Colon is nearing the end of his career, but I think he still gets through the end of May. It’s an expensive lottery ticket, for sure, but if Bart makes 10 starts in a Braves uni and then rides off into the sunset, then whatever. It’d be nice if they could let Collmenter chew up some innings, get his ERA down a tick, trade him for a flyer, and then let Colon be the long man for a little while. Colon’s periphs haven’t been as terrible as his doubled ERA suggests.

    I think it goes Sims, then back to Wisler, then to Newcomb, if I had to predict promotions. Wisler’s peripherals and efficiency has been strong in AAA, so giving up 7-8 starts to hopefully improve his confidence could have an impact. Newcomb, while still being dominant, does not look like he can handle a major league lineup. Can’t pitch deep into games, way too many walks. He’s not ready. Blair… sucks. On the relief side, I’d say Luke Jackson, then Akeel Morris, then Caleb Dirks. I’m interested to see how this holds up even a month from now.

  51. Interested that Peanut railed the decision to replace McDowell with Hernandez. That hasn’t been discussed much here. Perhaps the Braves are intent on having 5 guys younger than 26 in the rotation by the end of the year, hence they don’t care.

  52. @67 Garcia is getting by on BABIP luck right now – his K/BB rate has collapsed to 1.31 (half of last year’s K/BB of 2.63), FIP and xFIP agree that he’s been pitching like a 5 ERA guy thus far. His velocity and pitch mix is basically unchanged from last year, but he’s fooling fewer hitters right now (more swings against pitches in the strike zone, fewer swings on pitches out of the zone). Fingers crossed Garcia improves soon, otherwise I fear the Regression Police will come for him.

  53. @78 Good for Alex. Always really liked that guy. I hated when we gave him away and I don’t even want to think about O.

  54. That’s great news. And it’s good to see Seymour advance through the minors without the bat completely getting knocked out of his hands. If he could make it to the majors as a pinch runner/defensive specialist, his legs could keep him in the Show.

  55. A belt-high 87-mph fastball on the inner half to one of the strongest hitters in baseball.

  56. Third blowout in a week. Well, it’s not a blowout—not yet—but at this pace, it soon will be.

  57. Watching Charlie Morton pitch reminds me how much better his stuff is than Matt Wisler’s. That’s depressing. Morton has had a long, replacement level career.

  58. @90, Apropos of your post, anyone notice that Trevor Cahill’s been pitching pretty alright since we cut him a couple years back? And that Bud Norris (!!!) is the Angels closer (?!?!?)?

  59. Cut Bartolo and let Simms get a few starts. Also, Lane Adams went deep Tonight for Gwinnett. Just wanted everyone to think about why he was sent down and Bonifacio is still here.

  60. Starting to think this is the year our playoff streak ends. Nah–Bobby will pull us thru

  61. Pretty sure I saw Charlie Morton pitch a 1-hitter in Durham a decade ago. At the time, he was the best Braves pitching prospect I had seen since Millwood, a decade before that. I feel old suddenly. Anyhoo, he was tall and strong, and the fastball popped and ran, and the breaking stuff broke and he could throw it for strikes.

    I hated to see him traded even though he was lousy in the bigs for us. I haven’t followed his career that closely because we traded him, but I wondered how the total package never came together for him. In short, injuries. This article on the Astros value-signing details it pretty well:

  62. Scary thought: if ownership/FO won’t let us out of Bonifacio’s $1.25 million dollar contract, how much of Colon are we going to have to endure because of his $12.5 million dollar contract?

  63. 2 months ago, if you told me we would have a better record than the Giants and Blue Jays after 30 games I would be feeling pretty good…

  64. I was hoping that Howard had something left, but I’m still glad we gave him a shot. Bonifacio isn’t good but he’s only getting 4 or 5 chances a week. The new guy, Santana, was a huge disappointment last night. Bases loaded with the count 2 and 0 and he swings at a pitch outside the strike zone then goes on to strike out. How dumb can you get?

  65. Hot take – Bartolo Colon has sucked thus far!

    Hotter take – he is going to figure out what he’s doing wrong, turn things around and be much better (sub-4 ERA) the remainder of the season.

  66. My Braves need to pay attention. The umpires said, “Play ball.” Astros did. Atlanta did not.

    Meanwhile down on the farm, the kids show promise.

  67. Allard’s ER in 7 starts: 2, 0, 1, 0, 2, 0, 1.

    31/9 K/BB in 39 IP. He had 11 K’s two starts ago, so that has skewed his K/9 as he’s had less K’s than IP in 4 of those 7 starts. He only pitched 87 IP last year, so I doubt he gets to Atlanta, but I may buy so that I can watch him a little bit. AA now has the 3 youngest players at that level (Acuna, Allard, and Soroka). I count 8 players on that team that I would expect to play MLB in some capacity and AAA has 13, and that does not include Blair. The minor league teams are starting to have as many major league quality players as the big league club!

  68. I flip houses on the side, and the house always looks terrible until a couple weeks before it’s done. People think I’m really far away until you stick in the house appliances, cabinets, floors, whatever had been slowing you down and then the house looks like I always knew it would at that juncture and people are pleasantly surprised at “how quick it all came together”. And, really, it is indeed the way it’s supposed to go. So much would have to come together with AAA player development and injuries for us to have a shot in 2018, but Colon, Dickey, and journeymen relievers aren’t key cogs in the rebuild (or cogs at all), and things could definitely change with 5-6 prospects hitting the big leagues over the next few months.

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