San Francisco 9, Atlanta 4

From the Braves Journal Glossary:

Episode: When Tim Hudson suddenly loses the ability to get anyone out, to the degree that it is surprising he has full control of his limbs and his bowels, he is having an Episode. Usually in the sixth or seventh inning.

Mike Foltynewicz gave us a textbook example of An Episode in the top of the 2nd inning. More on this in a moment.

The game started out well, with Freddie Freeman belting a two run shot in the first after an Ozzie Albies single and a Ronald Acuna, Jr. screaming line out. With two outs Jose Bautista roped a double off the wall in right center, but was stranded.

Given the early lead, Folty turned around and proceeded to poop the bed. Brandon Crawford singled to open the Inning of Doom. Austin Jackson walked, and both came around to score on a Gregor Blanco triple. After striking out the Giants pitcher, Chris Stratton, Alen Hanson doubled home Blanco. Andrew McCutchen singled Jackson to third, and Buster Posey dribbled one to Bautista, who threw home, but Hanson slid around the throw to score the fourth run. Brandon Belt doubled home McCutchen, and Evan Longoria drove in the final run of the inning with a ground out that Albies couldn’t get the double play on. Folty’s body language the entire inning was bad. Not just ‘bad’, I’m talking ‘Want to reach through the screen and shake some sense into him, except we know that might lead to a concussion, which is bad, but Oh My God, can we just do it and send him to the 10 Day DL right now, and end this inning which just…keeps…going…like this run-on sentence..finally!’ bad. Or, at least, it wasn’t good.

After that debacle, it seemed like a matter of running out the game. Nick Markakis hit a dinger in the 4th to cut it to 6-3, but Crawford hit a two run shot in the 7th off Jesse Biddle, and Longoria homered off Max Fried in the 9th. The Braves final tally came in the bottom of the 7th, when Ozzie drove in Charlie Culberson with a sac fly.

Anyhoo, Folty showed again why the Braves played hardball with him in arbitration. He’s got the stuff to be dominant, and sometimes he is, but too many other times it seems like he just throws the ball up thinking they can’t hit me and seems shocked when they do. All I can think is that there going to be a starting pitcher crunch soon, with Soroka already up, and guys like Allard, Wright, and Gohara lurking. And if Folty can’t figure it out soon, he’ll find himself in the pen. Or Kansas City. Either way, if it spares me efforts like tonight, I won’t shed a tear.

49 thoughts on “San Francisco 9, Atlanta 4”

  1. Hindsight being what it is, I wonder what we would we would it would have cost to have picked up Gerrit Cole this past off-season. The kid was
    Clemons-esque last night.

  2. You don’t have to wonder… it cost Joe Musgrove, Colin Moran, Michael Feliz, and Jason Martin.

    The Astros are spin rate magic for starters. Idk that we would’ve gotten the same results.

  3. @2 – They certainly got him for pennies on the dollar. I remember being very underwhelmed by what the old Colt 45’s gave up. That was one heck of a salary-dump pick-up for Houston.

  4. @4 – Guess I assumed they’d have to give up at least one of Tucker, Whitley, or Buksuskas.

  5. It would be hard to find a comparable deal the Braves would have been willing to do, especially after reading the tea leaves with what they’ve done with their top prospects since.

  6. Great job, Seat Painter. The quintessential episode.

    On Cole, it’s clear the Braves weren’t thinking they’d be contenders in 2018. That is, in the past offseason they weren’t prepared to trade top prospects for stars with only one or two years of control.

    The assumption is that’s what the next offseason will be all about.

  7. Of course if they remain in contention into July of this year, I imagine the Braves will be willing to trade prospects for a top notch rental at that point.

  8. @8 – I think you’re spot on and, all things considered, I think it was the right decision. The Braves are 5-7 years away from their prime. As good as Cole might have been for us, it most likely would have only been a rental.

  9. @122 from prior thread. The worst part about Folty’s performance is that for the first 5-6 batters in the 1st/2nd inning, he went to two strikes on all of them, I think. Then he wouldn’t just dig in and throw strikes – 2-2, 3-2 – until he finally walked someone and then blew up. For the rest of the 2nd, he was never ahead in the count. By the third, he started getting ahead again. You could see the snowball rolling downhill. His mechanics got so out of whack the way he was falling off the mound. I agree with whoever said that you just wanted to go out and shake some sense into him (queue Cher from Moonstruck – “Snap out of it!!”).

    I would still note that the offense was not so bad. They kicked in early and four runs is normally enough to be competitive. A couple of decent bunts and it might have been more.

  10. @10 Flip the scenario. The Braves should have traded to get that haul. All winter many of us wanted to trade for Moran (or JD Davis) and Martin is essentially the same as Preston Tucker. Plus Joe Musgrove is a good pitcher, too. And Feliz would be better than Moylan. I just wonder what we would have had to add to Julio to get the same deal.

  11. Folty threw a lot of fastballs low and in to lefties. I’m not sure if it’s lack of command, or a really bad plan.

    Until he can throw his secondary pitches for strikes he’ll just be what he is right now. Frustratingly inconsistent.

  12. I don’t know about Bautista. Was it just me or did he seem to be overswinging on almost every pitch? I didn’t see all his at bats, but that could explain the high number of strike outs last year.

  13. PitchingNinja/Twitter caught something from Folty’s start yesterday – he apparently has an occasional studder in his arm swing, and only on fastballs. Not on every fastball, but if he did it, it was a fastball. Hmm.

  14. If you had to put 1-5 starter “grades” on each starter for this year, what does it seem like we have? This is where I’m at:

    Teheran-4
    McCarthy-3
    Soroka-3
    Newcomb-3/4
    Folty-4

    If you had a 1-2-3-4-5 setup with your starters (who does?), your total number would equal 15. And of course, the lower the number the better. Based on mine, we have 17/18, which is probably not bad compared to other fringe playoff teams.

  15. I think its too soon to call with Soroka, and mccarthy as a 4 perhaps, wish he would go deeper in games.
    Maybe a 3 to Julio if the next start goes well. agreed on the rest.

  16. A reminder that even after last night’s bed pooping episode, the Braves SP is 5th in collective ERA among NL teams. Proceed…and Mike Soroka’s added velo puts him in ace talks. Proceed again.

  17. Sean Newcomb is the 14th highest starter in the NL by fWAR, so that would make him a 1 so far. Folty is 22nd, making him a 2. McCarthy and Teheran are 35th and 39th, making them 3s.

  18. Markakis is 4th, Freeman 6th, Albies 12th, Dansby 26th, Zook 35th, Flaherty 39th, Inciarte 46th, and Acuña 50th (already!) in the NL in fWAR.

  19. I don’t care about options and all that jazz, but why oh why do the Braves still fool with Lucas Sims? He will never be a winning MLB pitcher, has very little talent and is just not worth fooling with.

  20. He’s just filling in the long relief role since Fried pitched 2 days in a row. After Sims pitches he will go back on the shuttle too.

  21. Good write up of the game, which I watched beginning to end.

    On Bautista, he was about what I expected. I thought he moved well, looked in shape and held his own at third. He drove one ball and struck out twice. This is essentially what he’s been and what I expected. I would give him a month and then evaluate the situation.

    Folty’s effort was very disappointing. He clearly didn’t have his A game but didn’t seem to have much resolve to work around that. If he’s going to ever be more than a back of the rotation starter he needs to learn to handle adversity.

  22. Because that second and third inning really made me think “hey, the fourth inning he’ll get ’em for sure.”

  23. 12 hits in 3 innings…is that bad?

    The pitching tells the story this season. We have the arms in the org, but will they rush em?

  24. This is good. There are no delusions of grandeur with this rotation. It’s a little crazy to think we’re truly on pace for 95+ wins.

  25. Guys, check it at the door. They just won 5 straight. It rains on both sides of the fence, eventually. These are a pair of ugly starts, but you have to expect it with these guys. McCarthy, however, is quickly moving out onto thin ice. Folty has a bit more rope to work with.

  26. But we’re not really this bad either. Honestly, every year, every team has someone they don’t match up well with. The Giants may be one for us. Fortunately, they’re not in our division. Did anyone see the matchup statistics on McCarthy vs the Giants? They were ba-a-ad even before this game and McCarthy is someone they’ve seen a lot from his time with the Dodgers. Hopefully, tomorrow will be different with Soroka. We’re not going to win every series but if we can not get swept then we’ll be fine. All this sound and fury of the last two games won’t mean much if we can salvage one. Soroka is lacking the characteristic that each of our prior two pitchers had – one = poor temperament and two = poor familiarity.

    Add to that Acuna cooling off and it hasn’t been pretty.

  27. Are we expecting every pitcher to be 15-0? I mean, c’mon, the Braves have beaten Thor twice now. Both McCarthy and Folty have given us several good, competitive starts. Both are going to be fine. McCarthy just pitched against the Giants exactly the same as he pitched them before. It’s all good…….

  28. Sims did not pitch too terribly gawdawful bad tonight. 6K’s and 1W over 3 2/3. Hopefully, he’ll get good enough to be tradeable by the deadline.

  29. Does anyone think that “analytics” ought to have a say in something like whether we should skip McCarthy’s start because he gets tagged by the Giants every time out? Why don’t we use analytics in that way more often?

  30. Let’s talk about some positives – nice to see Carle back on the mound pitching zeros.

  31. Well this is just ugly. Acuna isn’t really cooling off, he’s just hitting them directly at everyone.

    Luck goes both ways. The Braves are not bad. They’re still a pretty good team.

  32. @37 LOL

    I agree. When you know your guy doesn’t have good games against the opponent, push his start back or skip him if you have to. There was no need to send McCarthy to go get rocked like that.

  33. It’s not “analytics.” If McCarthy doesn’t start, who’s your next-best spot-starter? Apparently, the answer is Lucas Sims — enough said. So assuming no 20/20 hindsight and given the alternative, you might as well start McCarthy.

    McCarthy has a longer and more impressive track record than Folty. He’s more likely to be injured than on “thin ice” at any point. Don’t judge players by WAR through the month of April. Don’t come up with weird ranking schemes for your team’s starters to talk yourself into playoff fantasies. It’s a team that’s on the upswing, and nobody knows how far they can take it this season. That’s fun. Enjoy it.

  34. @42 Well, Lucas only gave up 2 in the same amount of time McCarthy gave up 8. Seems to me that Lucas would have been the better option. Why not announce a “bullpen game”? Use Sims for 3, Carle for a couple, Freeman for a couple, etc… It IS analytics if the chance you take is driven by analytical knowledge of the history of your pitchers.

  35. @44 Is there a real difference between “injured” and “being on thin ice”? They could DL him for a short time to get a look at someone else. Sooner or later Anibal will be back. They’ve got other guys who can spot start. McCarthy won’t get released after one bad start, but it’s not hard to see that the list of guys looking to break into the rotation is growing.

    I don’t expect the rotation to look the same all year long. I’m expecting incremental improvement as the season progresses whether by players earning promotions or trades.

    And to be clear, I’m not down on McCarthy. His start tonight hasn’t caused a knee jerk change in my feelings towards him. I simply think that these guys are in competition for a rotation spot. A couple more ugly appearances, and I think he ought to expect to get bumped. Next man up.

  36. Well, Lucas only gave up 2 in the same amount of time McCarthy gave up 8.

    It seems like you missed the “assuming no 20/20 hindsight” part of what I said.

    He’s Lucas Sims, aka not a good pitcher. Anytime you’re saying “Should’ve started Sims!”, check yourself. Between him and McCarthy at his worst, it’s kind of a crapshoot. The results were in favor of Sims tonight. The track record shows that’s not especially likely to keep happening if we were to run a simulation of this game over and over.

    And to be clear, I’m not down on McCarthy. His start tonight hasn’t caused a knee jerk change in my feelings towards him. I simply think that these guys are in competition for a rotation spot. A couple more ugly appearances, and I think he ought to expect to get bumped. Next man up.

    I don’t know how else to define being down on McCarthy besides being willing to bump him from the rotation with a couple more bad starts. It’s May 5th.

    When I say “injured,” I mean actually injured. I don’t care if he were to eventually get DLed to make way for a version of Gohara who has kept most of last year’s gains. For Anibal or Wisler…that would be pretty short-sighted and would bother me more. Again, the biggest hypothetical I’d be concerned about is him really pitching with some kind of injury.

  37. I thought our record would be the inverse of what it is right now. There’s no way I could complain with how the season has gone so far.

    I’m more interested in the idea of buying at the deadline. It’s a novel place to be considering what we’ve gone through.

  38. @45 If you really checked into McCarthy’s results against the Giants, you would not hesitate to do anything else. Like I said, you could do a bullpen game. Bring up Wisler or Whitley to do a spot start. Or Hursch or Ricardo Sanchez – anyone already on the 40-man. Save Fried for a spot start instead of using him last night. Lots of options. Do anything except set up a pitcher or a team to fail. I think they brought Sims up knowing they were going to need him for a multi-inning appearance anyway with McCarthy’s history. Just start him.

    What are we supposed to be using analytics for except to put the players on our team into winning situations as opposed to losing situations???

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