Just Ignore the One Inning…

Ouch.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Bartolo Colon, Master of the Unearned Run, and his troupe of Merry Defenders, starring in a Comedy of Errors that culminates in one delicious, suspenseful mystery: What, if any, role will Colon have on this team when his bobblehead night rolls around next week? Stay tuned to find out more!

This show is better than Ripley’s Believe It or Not, because with this cast, you can really never believe what you see. Truth is definitely stranger than fiction.

As evidence, I give you Exhibit A: the third frame of last night’s performance. To build up to a bigger twist in the plot line, Matt Kemp hit a two-run home run to start the scoring in the top of the frame, twisting the viewers’ fantasies toward something quite tantalizing—the possibility of the team finishing the game with the lead. Ah, yes, but at the exact moment the thought danced across the viewers’ minds, the ensemble played the biggest joke on them yet, pulling the rug out from under all that is good and true about baseball.

It started with our esteemed star, Mr. Colon, giving up a single to start the inning. It was a rather odd play on Dansby‘s part, as he slid and the ball kind of went under his glove, close enough that you get the feeling he probably should have made some sort of play, but far enough away that no official scoring can do anything about it. But, all in all, an innocent enough gesture, not really anything to attract attention, and definitely not anything that would allow you to guess what would happen in the very next stanza. Ah, yes, but that is the brilliance of the performance, you see. You simply can’t guess what comes next. Colon coaxed a double play ball to get out of the unthreatening situation. It’s true. He did. Quite a boring turn of events, actually. Of course, his defense up the middle only managed to get the lead runner for the first out, but, no mind, he simply did it again with the next guy, and this time two outs would end the inning. Only this time his defense on-upped themselves, with a full-fledged error by Jace Peterson, who just looks overwhelmed out there, no matter where he is standing on the field. He didn’t exactly dazzle defensively last year as the starting 2nd baseman, but this year he just looks totally lost. Makes me wonder if he’s got something going on behind the scenes.

In any event, after only getting one out on the first double play, the Braves managed to get no outs on the second one. It was at the point that your humble scribe commented she was going to watch Albert Pujols hit a home run to give the Angels the lead, and then she would go to bed. So she watched Albert Pujols hit a home run to give the Angels the lead, and then she went to bed. Upon awakening this morning, she found to her dismay that she missed all the fun that came after. Thankfully recordings exist that allowed her to relive the clown show in all of its glory.

Bases empty, one out. The perfect stage for a collapse. First came a single under a diving first baseman’s glove. Then a bouncer to short that should have at least been one out, but the current shortstop was intimidated by the former shortstop, who hit the ball, and he let it get by him. The runners ended up on second and third, and another run came in when the next batter hit a weak ball to the charging first baseman, who couldn’t get the ball out of his glove and spent the next moments charging toward the plate in a twisting and turning sort of way, watching while the opponents jogged contentedly between bases. Next came a ground ball back to the pitcher, the perfect double play chance to get out of the inning! But the pitcher threw home after a double clinch, an off-target deal that allowed everyone to be safe yet again. An actual, legitimate single followed that and chased home another run making it 6-2. Boring. Back to the good stuff.

Another ground ball to the pitcher, and the sixth chance in the inning for the Braves to turn a double play. Sixth time’s the charm! Except, not so fast, my friend, we are talking about the Braves here. The pitcher did attempt to go to second base this time, and threw the ball into centerfield. Now we know why he threw home the first time. So, now it’s 7-2 and still only one official out (about eight unofficial, though, so that makes up for it). Then a bunt up the first base line that didn’t appear to be all that great, but the Braves managed to turn it into a bunt hit and another Angel run. At some point this has to stop, right? Wrong. A grounder straight to shortstop would have, once again, ended the inning with a double play. Only the Braves had the shift on, so the shortstop was playing on the other side of second base, and the third baseman was playing normal since there was a runner on second. At this point the playwright was, admittedly, getting a little absurd, but the cast dutifully played out the script.

Colon was finally yanked, after having induced 27 outs that inning and given up nine runs on six hits, four that made it out of the infield (although two should have been knocked down and kept there). For his efforts he almost lowered his ERA. Had one or two of those outs actually been recorded, he would have. Unearned Run King, indeed.

That offense was all the Angels got, but, really, that was much more than they needed. In the 7th, Tyler Flowers added a solo home run for the Braves, which was cute but not really all that necessary.

For those brave at heart, this cast will perform an encore performance this evening. What tantalizing possibilities lie in store for the audience tonight? Well, as I said earlier, stay tuned to find out more!

Errors delenda est. Fielders Choice delenda est.

BravesTM baseball delenda est.

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91 thoughts on “Just Ignore the One Inning…”

  1. I was looking forward to this and you delivered. Thank you.

    One omission: The fans on their feet for Pujols’ second at bat in the inning, on the precipice of 600, and Luke Jackson making a divot three feet in front of home plate after muscling up for what he hoped would be a strike three fastball. But it was ball four, Pujols took his base, and the fans that had been treated to a 9-run outburst courtesy of the Cobbstone Cops let loose with the boos.

  2. @ #3

    Yeah, I saw that, though I thought he was wiping away sweat, not tears. Then again, that stadium was where he achieved many of his greatest accomplishments. A slo-mo replay is in order.

  3. I stayed around to approx. 11:11 EDT when there were 6 runs in.

    If I were Snit, EVERY DAMN BODY would be taking infield. That is absolutely the worst defensive performance in an inning by a Major League team I have EVER seen. AND at every new stadium, they need mandatory infield and fly shagging.

    Swanson needs to go down. His defense never looked like this last year. It has been wretched.

    Another intriguing commentary from Rissa.

  4. Dansby’ defense sucks. Some of it is an effort issue. No excise for missing the easy ones

  5. Part of Dansby’s defensive woes can be attributed to his difficulty adjusting to the pace of the game. It seems to have gotten much faster for him. Back to fundamentals!

  6. Overhyped ability then? Inexperience? What does ail Swanson?

    Prolonged slumps are part of the game. Failure to hit and field are prelude to seeking alternative employment.

  7. @11

    Some of it has been on the defensive side. Some of his throws have been made with poor effort. He stabs at the ball instead of getting in front of it.

    MLB Tonight did a segment on it the other day.

    I get the game is too fast for him at times. No fault of his. I think he will be a good player, but missing the little league stuff has to stop.

  8. Dansby is definitely hustling. I think he’s trying too hard to make highlight reel plays. As pointed out on last thread – seems like he often goes for a flashy backhand or something and misses. Never quite egregious enough for an error, but enough to make you wonder if he would have made the play with a more straight up approach.

    I think he’ll be fine but you have to think he feels the pressure from FO of coming in and being a “face of the franchise” type performer immediately. Don’t think sending him down would help.

  9. Answering the questions of “why” like these is where sabermetrics fall flat and fans have to speculate. I’m confident he’ll get out of this. His career numbers now sit at .237/.312/.355 with 7 HRs in 344 PAs. 35 BB/84 K with more BB than K in his callup. His contact rate has really taken a dive (double the K rate since his callup), but he’s still taking walks and hitting for power. He’ll clean up the dumb plays and quickly be the plus defender he demonstrated last year.

    Look, it’s the rotation. The bullpen ERA is 3rd in baseball in May (and should get even better), the offense is top 3rd, and the rotation is a dumpster fire if a dumpster fire had another dumpster fire inside of said dumpster fire. Basically, it’s bad. And the more frustrating thing is that we simply don’t have anyone completely ready yet to call up.

  10. Catching the ball occasionally would help the starters. Their collective prayer of “Please don’t hit it to the shortstop” does not help. It’s hard to strike out every single mlb hitter, and STP does not reward fly ball pitchers.

    Just catch the ball, please.

  11. Shortstop is not the only problem. When Jace has found himself in the lineup, he’s been a big problem. There’s definitely a drop in defense between Freddie and Adams. With that said, Ruiz is an upgrade. We also have suboptimal defense in the corners, and our backup utility players are not pluses defensively either. Catching seems to be an average unit as well, even though Flowers has almost quintupled his CS rate from last year.

    Defense has not explained our SP problems, especially with 4 of 5 starters in the bottom third of the league in HR/9 and 3 in the bottom third in BB/9. They’ve sucked, and a shortstop making all the plays wouldn’t change that.

  12. It would be nice though. I agree, Rob. Bartolo, A.J., and the young(er) pitchers will probably never be mistaken for Glavine, Smoltz and Maddux, but Jace and the wunderkind are not major league ballplayers today despite the fact they’re starting for our Braves. They do not belong on a big league diamond.

  13. @16, If the topic is last night, it was the defense in one inning. Otherwise we win 3-0. Colon’s stuff wasn’t terrible.

  14. I mean Sims and Newcomb may not be “ready”, but they can’t be worse than what we’ve got. At least it’ll be a different kind of suckage.

  15. Through the end of May last year, Erick Aybar carried a .424 OPS. Dansby is sporting a .568 OPS. You’d have to concede that’s a far better OPS. You’d have to! So we are “vastly improved” in offensive production from short.

    Aybar made 13 errors all year. Dansby’s already got 10.

  16. That’s a high bar you set, John R. I concede your point. Dansby is a better hitter than our edition of Erick Aybar.

  17. RE Dansby, he’s not this bad, and it’s not his fault that Braves management cares more about marketing than anything else. Sending him down won’t help – what if he hits .240 at Gwinnett with poor defense? We gonna release him? Let him play through it and let’s see what we got. I think he’s our second baseman on a real team. Albies playing SS might be too scary to comprehend though.

  18. The Braves have quite the marketing meatball sundae on their hands. In the beginning of the season, we were inundated with “Come to the ballpark and see Dansby and Bartolo!” to “Uhhh… sorry about all that.”

  19. It is foolish to market unproven talent, especially young and fertile talent. Mallex Smith last year…Dansby this year. It’s a trap you’re setting for these players egos.

    This team didn’t need anything more for marketing than Freddie Freeman, Matt Kemp, Bartolo “Fat Tub of Goo II” Colon and the new stadium. And maybe Julio Teheran. There should be a moratorium on marketing any player in his first full year of playing.

  20. @25

    Remy, explain that metaphor please. I’ve been wondering if he’s slowish on the bases, not sure. But your likely referring to his defense, how he moves his feet to get into the best position to field the ball, correct?

  21. blazon,

    That’s right. From what I can tell, he’s very slow to react. Doesn’t seem to be in rhythm with his pitcher. Ruiz doesn’t appear to take a hop, even a short one, to put him on the balls of his feet when the ball reaches the hitting zone. Consequently, he has no momentum, especially laterally. Often, he seems to be at a 3/4 angle to the ball instead of square. Side saddles the ball. On the other hand, Ruiz seems better prepared to handle slow rollers coming down the line, but those plays you can see coming.

  22. Anyone that thought a SS that will likely never hit more than 12 HRs and play average defense was the face of a franchise should be fired at best, tarred and feathered at worst.

    But…nice salad.

  23. He has 7 HRs in 335 PAs as a 23 year old. I’m confident he’ll hit more than 12 HRs in a year. I wouldn’t be surprised if he averaged 15/yr along with 30 doubles going forward. He just needs to clean up some weaknesses in his game, just like any other prospect.

  24. The mass mindset here is that there’s no such thing as rushing players, so we couldn’t have rushed Dansby. The fact that he’s struggling now, as such, cannot be evidence that we rushed him, and it shouldn’t be remotely considered in the spanse of an extensive discussion on his current struggles.

  25. Well, I’m on the side of “don’t rush the youngsters” so I ain’t no part of no mass mindset!

  26. A big mistake in the off season was not getting a handcuff for Dansby so they could sit him for 2-3 games at a time and let him watch.

    I know Sean Rodriguez was picked up for this, but he was going to start at second.

  27. @33, Forgive me for generalizing. I’m just astonished at reading the comments in this thread. We can blame “over-marketing him” but can’t blame “rushing him”. My guess is that the people who were arguing there would be no harm in rushing him are now so committed to that position that they can’t question it now when it sure looks like they were wrong. Cognitive dissonance sucks.

  28. Overhyped ability then?

    Over-hyped present productivity, yes. Over-hyped long-term outlook or ability at peak? No, no, no.

    Inexperience?

    Yes, certainly.

    What does ail Swanson?

    Other than the same imperfection that ails all humans? Well, bad luck, inconsistent mechanics, out-of-whack expectations, out-of-whack perceptions of what he’s actually done and not done…

    Prolonged slumps are part of the game.

    Yep.

    Failure to hit and field are prelude to seeking alternative employment.

    Dude, he’s 23, and it’s been two months. Seriously. It’s not his fault the Braves were desperate for someone to hype as they moved into the new park.

  29. It would be nice if Dansby was doing something good he could fall back on. “Well, I’m under .200 going into June but I’m making all the plays on defense so that’s something to build on.” Unfortunately he looks totally inept out there. 10 errors after two months is glaring. Getting demoted from second in the batting order to eighth and not improving is also glaring. Styling it out in the field to live up to the marketing expectations is either undue pressure he’s putting on himself, or a bad habit he’s developing in plain view…or I’m being an ungenerous armchair psychologist* and heaping that on him, but even so.

    Here’s hoping he gets up to speed. He defied my reservations last year, but it was a small sample size. And of course I want him to succeed.

    * But speaking of playing psychologist, the one thing I heard about Dansby was scouts going on and on about what a professional makeup he had…he won’t be intimidated by the brights lights of the new stadium and all those attendant pressures. And maybe so. But I don’t think for a dad-blamed second that they *know* that. There’s nothing like the pressure for a ballplayer of the daily major league grind. Nothing is comparable in college or the minor leagues. I don’t take it for granted that lousy play in the spotlight won’t negatively effect his game.

  30. To put things in perspective, Andrelton Simmons has eight errors so far this year.

    Dansby will be fine with the glove once he takes more reps and improves his fundamentals, training which will help him regain his confidence. He will adjust to the fast pace of the game. Because he doesn’t have a cannon for an arm, I think you’ll see him charge the ball more aggressively. He won’t get caught swiping at in-between hops like he did yesterday because he will become more adept at shortening the ball. He’ll put the work in and come out a better ballplayer. But, lord help him, he had better use two hands!

  31. I’m guessing there’s a chance Albies could still be the SS and Dansby could move to 2B

  32. Dansby isn’t ready yet, but he eventually will be a solid player. To me, it made more sense to let him grow at AAA with Ozzie, who also isn’t ready yet either.

  33. Taking his lumps now on a shit team in a lost season is good for his development long-term, imho. If he never develops it’s not because he was rushed, it’s because he just wasn’t good enough. I still think he’ll be quite serviceable.

    Kyle Schwarber is having a terrible start and looks way worse than Dansby. I don’t think they’ll give up on him just yet though.

  34. The only observation I can muster on whether or not Dansby or Ozzie should play SS is the satisfaction of knowing that one of them will have to play 2B. I refuse to forget that a SS/2B/CF of Dansby/Ozzie/Ender will be extremely fun to watch for as long as they’re in Atlanta, and I think we’d be stupid to trade any of them considering how cheap they will all be.

    If you had to guess, based on the way things looked right now, who would be the next SP in line, you’d have to guess… Kris Medlen. Right?

  35. I hope but I tire of the lack of performance. I understand this is his classroom. I’m sure he’s working ceaselessly. He got his reputation somehow. So far, all he’s accomplished in his 335 AB is a quick start.

    God bless him, he’s mired and has been for a while. I hope for glory but would be content with mediocrity.

    I hope Rob’s right @ 43.

  36. @44, setting course for full on tank? full speed ahead?

    Maybe we get Bonafacio some much needed ABs as well.

  37. Also the flood gates opened for Joey Meneses tonight. He let loose on a couple of fast balls.

  38. I’ll admit to being wrong about Kemp. Worth every penny so far. Trading him may be the right thing to do, but I like watching him hit.

  39. things will be pretty straightforward if we struggle and arrive at the deadline 10 games under .500. But if we win a little and hover around .500, Kemp and everyone else is staying put.

  40. Anyone ever notice Dansby’s back foot on certain swings? It goes flying towards 3B. Not sure how he hits anything

  41. If Jace Peterson had been eight feet tall with a similar wingspan there would have been nothing wrong with that throw from Dansby.

  42. Jose Offerman made 40 errors at short for the Dodgers, and he turned into a pretty good first baseman for the Royals.

  43. @51

    It would be a crime to not sell the rentals. I don’t care if we’re 5 above .500, we ain’t contenders. You don’t move into your flip!

  44. Kemp needs to stay put.

    Markakis
    Both Garcias
    Colon
    Santana
    Adams
    Bonifacio
    Phillips
    Vizcaino
    Sam Freeman
    Motte
    Jim Johnson

    Are the trade, DFA candidates

  45. It’s not clear that Kemp fits the rental tag though. We have nothing in the pipeline to replace him. Kakes should go ahead and clean out his locker though.

  46. Or Dustin Peterson and Jaime Garcia are traded for Markakis’ replacement.

    Still figuring out how STP plays but here’s hoping our rookie onslaught winds up being a good fit.

  47. So far, all he’s accomplished in his 335 AB is a quick start.

    Shades of a previous face of the franchise

  48. I think there’s an outside shot at Acuna playing RF next year once we pass super 2 date. Wishcasting? Yes indeed. But it’d be fun.

  49. Gotta eat that, Rio. Take the out and move on. Especially with a lost cause at 1B.

  50. Yeah, Jace could have come off the bag for that one. But who had Jace pegged as our first baseman in interleague games in the Spring?

  51. Angels don’t need Andrelton to beat the Braves. They just need Jesse Chavez and Eric Young Jr.

  52. I don’t know why we are staying up for this, but I feel like we need to be rewarded. Jace Peterson 3 run bomb imminent.

  53. We got beat by three former Braves castoffs and a defensive miscue tonight. Not optimal, but a far better contest than last night!

  54. @86 and Bronson Arroyo is awaiting the Braves and Folty on Friday… Bronson is going to pitch a three-hit shutout and Peraza will beat us with a HR.

  55. If the Shortstop’s name was Bill Jones he’d have been sent down to Gwinnett 6 weeks ago. This is painful.

  56. Alen Hanson waived…that’d be an intriguing claim. Not sure he’ll even make it to the Braves’ spot in the waiver order, though.

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