Braves 6, Cubs 5

My jinx is broken!!!!

Actually, I only checked in on Gameday about 2 times before one out in the 9th and bases loaded, score 6 to 4. So I am only going to be able to recap what is already in the box score. But, winning is better than losing. I had to work today. I also made some money doing that, so I guess that is o.k.

Apparently in the first inning, the Braves were trying to do something unique. How many times can you have the bases loaded in an inning with no more than one out, have at least one home run, and have only one run score. Probably not real likely, but if the homerun is hit by the leadoff man, then that can happen. After Ozzie Albies lead off homerun, Acuna walked, Freeman walked, and Nick Markakis forced Freddie at second. Then, Tyler Flowers walked. then Ender struck out and Bats struck out. Still, a lead.

A short lived lead. Almost Bad Julio showed up. Albert Almora, Jr. hit a two run homer in the bottom of the second. Then, in the third, Tyler Flowers felt the powers and hit a two run home run. Maybe he will get jumped off. But, in the bottom half, Kris Bryant did that two run home run thing and it was back to Cubs 4, Braves (former Barves) 3.

Then, in keeping with the “you see the strangest things if you go to the ball park” theme, Jose Bautista hit a THREE run homer in the 5th.

Julio got through 6. then Sam Freeman, (the “other Freeman”), gave up 2 hits and the ever spectacular Shane Carle covered that up plus got another inning. Then, Minter came in to finish it and caused mass heartache. I rejoined Gameday with 1 out and the bases loaded. Minter got another strike out. Then, he hit somebody, so the lead was down to one. Then, he struck out Kris Bryant.

This team fights. This team does not go into “hibernation mode.” This team does have “episodes,” but they have enough offense to sometimes shed those episodes off. I like this team.

173 thoughts on “Braves 6, Cubs 5”

  1. So, to be clear, you started watching in the inning they almost blew it entirely.

    Your jinx is still heavy and strong.

  2. I was at the game today, and it clearly was a tale of two winds. The wind was blowing out, and home runs reigned until the score was 6-4. To be honest, maybe only Albies’ was gone without the wind. However, my five year old was making me buy him food for Bryant’s. Then the wind switched and nobody was scoring until the hbp in the 9th. Flowers and Joey Bats homers looked like pop ups off the bat. Glad to see a win in Chicago, and here’s to being able to watch the Braves for 3 straight on tv this week in Northern Indiana.

  3. @4, so the last time we were this good we basically detonated the whole team so that we could be this good again…

  4. I know I know, it’s just some almost-irony (Alanis irony?). 2018 is completely different in most ways. #doingitwithkids

  5. @5 I watched the Statcast replay and Bats’ swing and how the ball left the bat sure looked like a pop-up and it only traveled 367ft. I think we need to thank the wind more than Joey.

    Everyone must remember that the Braves were obsessed with Russell. He was supposed to be the left handed savior that would keep the team from falling apart. For even more irony, we are now loaded with good left handed relievers. I have no idea why Boni was thrown in except that the Cubs needed him to be gone so they could win.

  6. I think Minter needs a better offspeed pitch. His cutter is only 5mph off his FB. Kimbrel has the knuckle-curve. Both his pitches are good enough to get any minor leaguers out but the big guys are gonna time him if he keeps throwing FBs.

    Also, according to the pitchcast, he got some bad calls on balls. Seems to happen to him every game. He has got to figure out where the umps are going to give him strikes and pitch there instead of pitching where he thinks the zone is.

  7. I have no idea why Boni was thrown in except that the Cubs needed him to be gone so they could win.

    2B Tommy La Stella* .251/.328/.317
    3B Chris Johnson .263/.292/.361
    CF Melvin Upton .208/.287/.333
    UT Ryan Doumit# .197/.235/.318
    MI Ramiro Pena# .245/.304/.347
    2B Dan Uggla .162/.241/.231
    IF Philip Gosselin .266/.304/.320
    UT Jordan Schafer* .163/.256/.213
    2B Tyler Pastornicky .200/.304/.250

  8. Plus, we’ve been destined to disprove the theory that you can never have enough Emilio Bonifacio.

  9. @12 so your point is that we needed to find someone to make all those other players look good?

    Boni .212/.273/.280

    I guess it’s hard to make Uggla and Schafer look good.

  10. At the time, Boner was seen as a useful utility guy you could move around and wouldn’t hurt you. He cratered in Atlanta.

  11. No, Roger. In 2014, the Braves roster was a smorgasbord of abject shit. They had gaping maws of suck up and down the order (this doesn’t account for how badly Jason Heyward struggled, which is a thousandth repeat of another story.) They threw every live body they had at the problem, from Jordan Schafer to Ramiro Pena to Tommy LaStella to Phil freakin’ Gosselin. None of them worked. They were just throwing shit at the wall hoping something stuck, but nothing did. So they went outside of the organization to get a reliever (Russell) and picked up a random journeyman utility guy (Boneface) in the blind, irrational hope that he might stick where the pipeline from the farm had completely and irrovocably failed.

    He didn’t. But the reason he was acquired as a throw-in that year was because literally everything else from internal sources had already burned out completely.

    This is also why they tore it down to rebuild the farm.

  12. And to @15’s point, prior to cratering in Atlanta, Bonifacio was a replacement level utility guy who could play anywhere (think Charlie Culberson with a bit of a better bat). In Chicago before coming to Atlanta that year, he put up a 92 OPS+ with quality defense at multiple positions. He actually was a 1.3 positive WAR player before coming to the Braves that year.

  13. Also, the Bonifacio trade was a sort of attempt at a redux of one of Wren’s most successful trades ever: prospect Jose Ascanio to the Cubs for supersub Omar Infante and LOOGY Will Ohman. Infante was terrific, Ohman was situationally effective, and Ascanio never really turned into anything. (His major league career comprised 46 innings with a 5.28 ERA sprinkled across four seasons.)

    Unfortunately it didn’t work out nearly as well the second time around.

  14. Congrats cliff. Though I should point out that this was the makeup for a Sunday rain-and-snow-out. So technically, we still haven’t won a Monday game. An excellent effort though, cliff, working up to excellence.

  15. @16 I’m sure the Braves saw, as anyone could have seen, that Bonificaio was having an abnormal stretch for a year and half and was a prime candidate to crater. In his younger years, his OPS+s were in 60s-70s range. I realize he was a mere throw in with a hope for competence but the Braves obviously bought “high”. Russell was the objective all along. And just as obviously, the Braves kept hanging onto Bonifacio while his performance dropped even further, I guess because they needed warm bodies during the rebuild. Bonifacio had one good year for the Marlins as a starter and that was it.

  16. I’m sure that trading a Caratini was necessary to get a Russell. I hope that such a trade this year for someone like Herrera would be for a Cumberland (or maybe two Cumberlands) not an Allard. Allard would be too much. Caratini was ranked high in a weak system.

  17. Are we really going to sit around and cry like Victor Caratini is some sort of a major loss?!

  18. Also, while Boneface was clearly bad and unhelpful, he was taking the place of, who? Jose Constanza? Joey Terdoslavich?

  19. @22 I’m frankly confused as to why we’re discussing Victor Caratini at all. He was a mediocre prospect and even after developing well in the Cubs’ system he still doesn’t look like anything more than a backup catcher/utility guy. It’s not like if we could somehow undo the Bonerface/Russell trade and get Caratini back that it would even be much help to the 2018 Braves – Caratini would likely end up riding the shuttle between Gwinnett and Atlanta.

    Also, I want to say that I’ve been a bit disappointed in how Minter has pitched so far this year… but that said, he really set my expectations high with his incredible SSS dominance at the end of last season. He still has great stuff and I think the only thing standing between him and being a great ‘pen arm is consistent health.

  20. Caratini was a bit better than a mediocre prospect. At the time of the trade he was basically a B-/C+ guy, a decent hitter in the low minors who could have turned into anything. That’s the exact definition of a fungible asset, and trading him for the 24th and 25th man on the roster was a completely reasonable move, despite the fact that Russell and Bonifacio turned out to kind of suck.

    https://www.minorleagueball.com/2013/12/4/5173214/atlanta-braves-top-20-prospects-for-2014

    Caratini will probably have a decadelong career in baseball in some capacity. Hey, Tommy La Stella is still in the majors!

  21. At the time, we also had Cristian Bethancourt, so we just didn’t really care about a B-/C+ guy that may not have even stuck at catcher.

    Caratini-for-Russell-and-Bonifacio was the exact type of deal we should have made, and the first half is probably the deal we make at the deadline this year. Caratini for Russell would have been a fair deal as it sits, but Wren just decided to throw a body — that’s what Bonifacio is — at the middle INF/OF problem we had. We don’t need a middle INF/OF so we wouldn’t go get that type of player, but a C+ prospect for a lefty that deepens our bullpen will definitely happen. If Venters still has his elbow a month and a half from now, you could see Venters for Drew Harrington or Wes Parsons or Huscar Ynoa, as examples.

    That list is probably the low point of our prospect inventory. You get to a grade C+ at #9 on that list. You have to get to #19 to get to a top C+ in Sickel’s rankings this year, and we have a lot more C+’s.

  22. It’s not worth complaining about acquiring Bonifacio 4 years ago. There was a faint hope he might be another Infante (although there wasn’t much evidence to back up that hope).

    I do still like to complain about keeping him and using him 3 years later. The bench in the first couple of months of 2017 was the worst I remember. Boni was often the pinch hitter in the highest leverage situations, which is incredible until you remember that the other two options to Face were Jace and Chase.

    One of the many reasons this team is better than last year’s is a much improved bench.

  23. From David Schoenfield’s piece on the weaknesses with the 10 best teams in baseball:

    Bautista is more of a shot in the dark than a likely solution, given his poor performance at the plate with the Blue Jays in 2017 — let alone his ability to play the position regularly for the first time in years. Given the potential glut of third basemen on the trade market, is there a more perfect fit for Machado to land for three months? The Braves have pitching depth in the minors to make that move.

    The bullpen has actually been surprisingly decent so far, ranking ninth in ERA with some good results from Arodys Vizcaino (a little wild, but a 1.93 ERA), Dan Winkler (1.02 ERA, strong peripherals) and Shane Carle (0.75 ERA). This group has allowed just nine home runs in 150 innings, but adding a quality reliever or two would help balance some of the inevitable regression. The Braves have to be careful about not pushing too early, but this is looking like a team that can contend all season.

    Push our chips into the middle of the table to bring in Machado and make a playoff push? Count me IN.

    http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/23504818/weaknesses-sink-mlb-10-best-teams

    (Also it turns out that Christian Bethancourt is still just 26, and he’s hitting .325/.364/.482 for the Brewers at Triple-A.)

  24. Plus, you’ll get a comp pick for Donaldson and Machado that will probably match the second-best player in the deal anyway. If we are within 5 games of first in the East in early July, we’re probably good enough to contend for the Wild Card if we add.

    It’d be really nice if the Mets decided to sell at the deadline, but I doubt that happens. Marlins will obviously sell, but the Phillies will probably buy if they’re in it. Maybe the Phillies would just stay part. But Milwaukee probably adds a SP, and St. Louis may add Donaldson or Machado themselves, so the Wild Card spots start getting clogged with the 3 teams in the central and at least two good teams in the West.

  25. I don’t think AA will go all-in too early. If we’re in first place in mid-July though…hold on to your butts.

  26. One of the reasons that I was most excited about Anthopoulos as our GM is that he has demonstrated time and again that he’s not afraid to make a bold move. Sometimes it worked (Donaldson), sometimes it the record was more mixed (Tulowitzki, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey), but he never sat on his thumbs.

  27. @31,

    Rob,

    No comp picks if the player is traded after start of season after which the contract ends. That ship has sailed.

  28. Darn it! I forgot about that rule. Thanks cliff. DeRo even got that wrong on MLB Central this morning.

    So no one gets the comp pick, including the team that trades the player?

  29. I wasn’t counting selloff trades, just blockbuster deals to bring back huge pieces for the major league team. The Halladay trade didn’t work out because Drabek couldn’t stay healthy. But the Vernon Wells trade sure did.

  30. Speaking of the Halladay trade, AA pulled off some Zelda-swapping-game-level work to make it better than you’d remember.

    When they traded Halladay to the Phillies, they got back Kyle Drabek, Michael D. Taylor, and Travis d’Arnaud.

    d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard were the two key pieces in the trade that brought back R.A. Dickey — it was a very high price, but Dickey had literally just won the Cy Young Award and was signed to a really reasonable contract.

    Meanwhile, on the same day as the Halladay trade, they traded Taylor for Brett Wallace. The next summer, they traded Wallace for Anthony Gose. Four years later, they traded Gose for Devon Travis, who’s been hurt a lot, but until his injuries took over his career he looked like a solidly above-average starting second baseman. He’s still only 27, so there’s a chance he could have a decent career. Meanwhile, Taylor retired in 2015, and Wallace and Gose haven’t played since 2016.

  31. Also, the Halladay trade was made to respect Halladay and send him to a team that had a chance of getting him a ring, rather than wasting away a generational talent during a rebuild.

  32. And d’Arnaud was a consensus top 20 in MLB prospect by just about every outlet, and Syndergaard was either not in some top 100’s (like Baseball America’s) or no higher than 80 or so. Thor has just become a monster.

    Looking back at these 2012 lists, 6 years ago now, and about 50% of these guys have become productive. It’s surprising to see both how many of the top 10 or 20 have hit as elite players and how many of the bottom 20 of top 100’s are productive major leaguers.

    One interesting note:

    https://www.baseballamerica.com/rankings/2012-top-100-prospects/

    Randall Delgado
    ATL RHP
    Notes:
    ‘It feels like the mid-1990s with Atlanta’s young pitching depth.’

    So, if that’s how they felt in 2012 (Teheran, Delgado, and pray for rain), how do they feel now?

  33. some Zelda-swapping-game-level work

    I lol’ed.

    I’m getting used to the idea of a rental for Donaldson/Machado, and then it’s Austin Riley time. We can top the dumb Cardinals or whomever, and the Jays/Os should want what we have.

  34. So, if that’s how they felt in 2012 (Teheran, Delgado, and pray for rain), how do they feel now?

    That’s not quite the whole story. Coming out of 2011, into the 2012 season (i.e. the offseason when that comment about Delgado was written), the Braves had a starting rotation anchored by two high quality Major League veterans: Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe. After that, they had a *wealth* of young, impact pitching matriculating through.

    Jair Jurrjens was at the peak of his career. Brandon Beachy had just burst onto the scene. Tommy Hanson was a can’t miss flame-thrower. Kris Medlen couldn’t find starts and was working as a swing man out of the pen.

    To that mix were coming Julio and Delgado. It was a heady pipeline of pitching talent.

    Then Jurrjens crashed to his peripherals, Medlen and Beachy broke themselves, and Hanson’s shoulder went to hamburger.

    This is why we are always going on about TINSTAAPP.

  35. Don’t forget that Hanson was the success story in his own class of prospects. Remember when we all used to argue about whether Hanson would be better than Cole Rohrbough or Jeff Locke?

    Locke, at least, made the majors, and was semidecent for the Pirates before his shoulder turned into lunchmeat, too.

  36. It depends on what you mean by “mid-1990s”. In ’95, we had Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Avery, Mercker, Schmidt, and Terrell Wade (#54 on BA’s list). In ’96, Avery was on his way out, but we acquired Denny Neagle.

    Just not sure Lowe, Hudson, Jurrjens, Beachy, Hanson, Medlen, Teheran, and Delgado is up there with Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Avery, Mercker, Schmidt, and Wade. I think they’re over-selling Delgado and Jurrjens there. Plus, Medlen really wasn’t a prospect, especially at the time, more than a swingman about to come into a short(ish) stint of strong performance as you noted. Either way, Teheran, Folty, Newcomb, McCarthy, Soroka, Allard, Gohara, Fried, Touki, Wentz, Muller, yadda yadda beats all of that.

  37. One person we’re neglecting, which strengthens the comparison to the mid-1990s was Arodys Vizcaino still projected as a SP.

    From Sickels:

    2) Arodys Vizcaino, RHP, Grade B+: Another elite arm, he just needs to dispel any final concerns about his durability. Projects as a number two starter for me.

    I think it’s fair that within that snapshot, a comparison to the mid-1990s would be worth it, but it changed very quickly thereafter. Still, my original point stands.

  38. When discussing the Braves mid-90s pitching pipeline, it’s incorrect to include Maddux or Neagle. They were acquired via trades. They were not Braves prospects. It’s also a stretch and a half to include Glavine and Smoltz in that PIPELINE, as they both debuted in the late 80’s and were established superstars by the mid-90s. Avery was a rooking in 1991 and more or less broken by 1995. So again, not “mid-90s.”

    Mid-90s pipeline was Millwood and Schmidt forward, IMHO. Bruce Chen. Rob Bell. Ruben Quevedo.

  39. @46

    I believe Maddux was signed as a Free Agent, not acquired via trade.

    Anyhow, the talent on the farm right now is as tantalizing as any I can remember.

  40. Rob, I think they mean that the young pitching depth of the Braves in 2012 felt like the Braves of the mid-1990s and not that the starting rotation was even remotely comparable.

    There have been only a few comparable rotations to the 90s Braves. There are none comparable today, and quite likely it’ll never happen again. Starters don’t log that many innings, and complete games are exceedingly rare.

  41. Maddux was a free agent signing in 1993, yes. Had been an All-Star in ’88, CYA contender in ’89, and CYA winner as a Cub in 1992 prior to coming to Atlanta.

    Neagle was also an All-Star for Pittsburgh (1995) and was a top-10 finisher for CYA they year we traded for him (1996.) Both were exceedingly well established prior to becoming Braves.

  42. Rob, I think you should restrict yourself to 8 names per post. You’re making me dizzy, man.

  43. I am a “no” on Donaldson and Machado as rentals. First, I think the Jays never give in and trade and second, either will be too expensive for my blood. I would rather trade for what we can get with lesser prospects like Moustakas or Beltre or Frazier, if the Mets give up the ghost. I don’t think the drop-off between them will be too big but I am totally against using top prospects this year. Next year, after we see what FA brings then we can talk about trading top prospects. This team is real good but there is way too much uncertainty to be exposing the farm this soon.

    On the other hand, if we acquire a RP then it has to be a good one. Our pen is not too bad and we need one more “go to” guy. Hopefully, even a top rental as a RP will not require a top asset in return.

  44. Robinson Cano popped for 80 games. It appears that it was pending, and he accepted it right as he got injured and would miss a similar amount of action anyway. Savage, Robby, savage.

  45. The Braves just signed Chad Bell. He’s a 29-year-old lefty with a career ERA of 7.11 in 69 2/3 innings in the majors.

    So he’s this year’s Eric O’Flaherty from Seattle?

  46. @54 Machado would be a far more valuable acquisition than Donaldson. Looking at Donaldson’s numbers, I see a guy who’s trending towards average on defense and is no longer the MVP-level bat he once was… not altogether unsurprising, as he’s now 32 1/2 years old. He’ll want a big contract once he hits FA at the end of the season and I wouldn’t want the Braves to be on the hook for it.

    Machado, on the other hand – he’s not yet 26 and combines great D at 3B (stats don’t love him at SS though) with a good, possibly great bat. He’d be a perfect addition to the 2018 Braves; plus he’s one of the few top-end 2019 FAs that would be a good fit for the Braves, and acquiring him mid-2018 would give us a big leg up on the competition.

    My suspicion is that the Orioles are asking the moon for Machado, especially since he’s started out so hot at the plate (.350/.431/.669). If the price doesn’t come down to something the Braves can/will afford, I bet we see Austin Riley at 3B by this summer.

  47. Acquiring Machado would show the Braves are actually serious about this whole thing. Come July I find it hard to believe Markakis will be hitting .350 and Albies will still be on pace to hit 52 home runs. At some point the regression is coming, when it does if they want to make a run at this thing they’ll need another guy and Machado is the perfect one.

    That said if you listen to DOB he finds it hard to believe the Braves will pay for Machado when they have Austin Riley in AAA who apparently is going to be the solution to all problems. Maybe Riley turns out to be a decent player but the odds are he will never be as good as Machado. If they aren’t going to use their prospect capital and money saved from 3+ years of payroll cuts and new revenue from the stadium to go after him now and try to sign him long term in the offseason then we have our answer of whether they really care.

  48. With all this talk about Machado, is it a given that he’s even willing to play third anymore? I had the impression that it was pretty important to him to move back to short.

  49. It seems like Machado asked the O’s to play SS in hopes of increasing his value in FA. The O’s agreed. I can see the O’s doing that as an easy-to-provide favor, especially considering how bad they knew they were going to be. I don’t think the team that acquires him has to extend to him that same courtesy. Unless I’m miscalculating the leverage a team has over a player, he pretty much would need to play wherever the Braves would want him to play, within reason.

    Either way, it definitely becomes a miscalculation of some players by “refusing” or “being heavily against” switching positions at the request of the team. Look at Brandon Phillips. He’s still a FA. I can only imagine he pissed off teams royally by how he handled his switch from 2B to 3B for the Braves. He then realized he screwed up and had to have Jon Heyman tweet out a mea culpa, if you will, saying that he’ll play wherever a team wants him to play. Hey man, go to the well too many times…

  50. If Riley shows anything at AAA, my guess is they will give him a try before trading for a rental. If he ends up looking like a keeper, they can focus on plugging the outfield hole in the off season.

  51. @66 They could always just trade for an outfielder with multiple years of control at this year’s deadline, both filling the need long-term and helping them compete this year.

    They could essentially “play the FA market” at the deadline. They could dump McCarthy and Markakis and their contracts, get nothing in return, and free up cash to take on a player for just their salary with minimal player outlay that another team may be looking to dump. Limited market, for sure, but certainly not impossible.

  52. Has there ever been an offseason where the Braves have basically been linked to every possible FA or trade target? 1992? That was the offseason where they had deals to trade for Barry Bonds and sign Greg Maddux. Only one was to happen, but they could have gone either way. That’s us this offseason.

  53. Bowman: Snit said if all goes well Swanson will play a rehab game with Gwinnett. There’s a chance he’ll be activated as early as Friday.

    I don’t know why the Twitter widget hates me.

  54. I’m as high on Austin Riley as the next guy, but if you’re in contention this July of course you try to get Machado. Third base is an obvious weak spot in the lineup.And if you can extend Machado then, you do that too. If Riley’s bat is major league ready next year, stick him in left field (a la Klesko).

    Now, it may be that forcing Machado to play third rather than short makes it less likely he’d sign long term, but I wouldn’t worry too much about that now.

  55. As long as we only give up what is standard for a good half-season rental, then yeah do it.

  56. Elephant in the room, of course, is that the last time we pushed our chips to the table, we traded Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, and Beau Jones for a year and a half of Mark Teixeira. That’s three All-Stars (Andrus, Feliz, and Harrison) plus a catcher who’s earned $30 million and played a decade in the big leagues.

    It’s awfully rare that there’s a trade where just about every throw-in lottery ticket actually reaches his potential, and the relative value of prospects has soared since then, so no one would pay that for a rental any more.

    But the price for Machado is going to be exorbitantly high, and the Braves farm system is deep enough to be able to absorb it easily. The real problem is that there are a lot of other teams who badly need a third baseman, so the Orioles are going to have a lot of offers, driving up the price.

  57. Alex is right that the price for a half season of Machado may be too steep. I only meant that I would not let the existence of Riley get in the way if you otherwise think the price in prospects would be worth it.

  58. Braves’ players average exit velocity (mph):

    Acuna 93.61
    Tucker 91.96
    Bautista 91.38
    Camargo 91.24
    Markakis 90.5
    Freeman 90.47
    Swanson 89.55
    Flaherty 88.52
    Albies 88.02
    Suzuki 87.58
    Inciarte 83.12

    Acuna is doing well. A bit surprised to see Albies so low and Tucker, Camargo, and Bautista ahead of Freeman. Small sample size in general and especially for new/part-time players though.

  59. @76 The problem is that Acuna is not making enough contact right now. Someone here suggested he’s getting the Dansby treatment – steady diet of sliders to not hit.

    What I also find interesting is that Acuna, Camargo, and Bautista also have the three lowest BAs among starters. That suggests to me that a couple MPH less exit velocity traded for better bat control might be a good thing. Acuna’s K% is highest on the team.

  60. I will not mourn the loss of Matt Harrison. We had a better version of him in Mike Minor anyway.

  61. I really don’t have an issue with Riley/Gohara or Riley/Allard for Machado. Someone is going to pay the price for him. My bigger concern is even with him trusting any of our starters in a post season series.

    I’m more inclined to ride out this year with existing options at 3B, including Riley of course, and get a clearer picture of what we need in pitching for 2019 and beyond, and use the prospect and financial capital there.

  62. I’ll note that our operating metaphor for this year is “1991.” As in, how much is this team like the 1991 squad?

    The 1991 Braves made now major moves at the deadline, nor did they make any notable move in 1992. They held their fire until Maddux and Bonds hit the free agent wire in 1993.

  63. Harrison turned into the best possible version of himself — he turned into a better Mike Minor despite having been drafted in the third round. It’s a shame that both of those guys lost their careers to injury because both were very effective lefty starters. But it’s also a shame that their success led Frank Wren to conclude that Sean Gilmartin fit the profile of a first-rounder.

  64. @80, you’re forgetting Alejandro Peña!

    Okay, I kid, I kid. But Pena was extraordinary for us, especially given that he came over in August, after the July trade deadline and just before the playoff roster deadline.

    In 1992, the Braves basically did the same thing, bringing in Jeff Reardon at the end of August. He was terrific down the stretch and then twirled three scoreless in the NLCS.

  65. Like @71 says, I think we’re approaching a reality where if Riley is not the 3B answer, then Riley is the OF answer. Right? If it’s worth giving him a try at all, it’s because the bat will play.

    It’s hard to underestimate how huge it would be if Riley could be league average at some position.

  66. DOB: #Braves’ Camargo has started 11 of 12 games (including tonight) since Swanson was hurt and done this: 4-for-33 (.121) with no exra-base hits, one RBI and a .431 OPS.

    Hadn’t realized it was that bad.

  67. In 1991 we brought in Mike Bilecki and Damond Berryhill after the deadline. Berryhill was huge for us in 92

  68. I never tire of the 1991 comparisons (not so much because this team is like that one; I just enjoy the memories of that season).

    One reason the 91 team did not make a move in July is that they weren’t seriously in contention until very late in that month. At the ASB they were one game under .500 and 9 and a half games out. Then they won 9/11 to close to within 2.5 of the division lead. As of 7/28 they had fallen 6 back.

    If this team is 4-6 games out of a playoff spot in mid to late July we won’t see any trading of prospects.

  69. The development of Braves pitchers that led to the 1991 season was remarkable. They had three homegrown starters 25 and younger (Glavine 25, Smoltz 24, and Avery 21) who had bWAR of 9.3, 5.7, and 5.3 respectively. And don’t forget the two 23 year old lefties in the pen, Stanton 2.6 and Mercker 2.4.

    BTW, Smoltz only turned 24 on this very day in 1991

  70. Actually, I got Avery’s and Smoltz’s WAR reversed. Avery’s was 5.7 (as a 21 year old!) and Smoltz was 5.3. I suspect pretty much all of that for Smoltz was accumulated in the second half.

  71. @90–yes, the problem with including Riley for Machado is the very real likelihood they they don’t extend Machado, and then you’ve got no third baseman for 2019.
    In fact, I’d be wary of including any of the highly rated position prospects. Use the pitching depth.

  72. I think a lot has to go right between now and mid-July like continuing to win at this pace and continued development of our SPs before I can get excited about the deal required to get Machado.

  73. Can anyone tell me why Bautista is in against Darvish when he’s a RH and Flaherty is 2/3 against him?

  74. I would guess Flaherty’s position with the club is assured, and Bautista is getting reps to prove he’s a better last guy on the bench than Charlie Culberson.

  75. Folty throws a pitch and does a pirouette. It’s no wonder he can’t throw strikes.

    And he’s not going to make it out of the 5th.

  76. What a completely terrible call. Replay, in its current form, is a complete joke. I love replay, but this is ridiculous.

  77. Ugh. I wonder if replay was in, say, Memphis instead of NY, if the Braves could get better calls.

  78. I agree with Chip and Joe (and all of the rest of you who saw that) that the call at the plate was terrible. And Culberson was also safe.

    Even so, it may be time to time to tone down the aggressiveness on the base paths.

  79. No, keep being aggressive. Eventually one of these calls will benefit us. What a joke.

  80. I’d have eaten up at least 2 minutes after that call at third. They would have heard me all the way back in NYC, the words that would be flying.

  81. While Camargo was safe, it is still a stupid play to try and score on that with nobody out. Yes, it was aggressive, but not smart

  82. Things were better without replay. You chalked the call up to human error, took your lumps, and got on with the game.

    Stay aggressive.

  83. Remy, I agree. I see some calling for AI to make the call, but then the algorithms will just be crooked and favor some teams over others, etc.

    Never underestimate the money.

  84. Gohara looks great. He’s really dealing. Didn’t throw anything over 95 but he was accurate and effective so far.

  85. FWIW I could handle these bad calls more easily without Chip and Joe going all brotherhood conspiracy on MLB and the umps….

  86. Over a long season it’s likely that the breaks will even out… that said, the Braves have gotten absolutely screwed so far today.

    I will say this for the Cubs – they made perfect throws on each of the 3 times the Braves have made outs on the bases (twice at home, once at third). Granted, only one of those plays should have been an out… but good throws made each play close. Bang-bang plays can be tough to call in real time, but that’s what replay is for, right?

    Right?

    *sigh.*

    @122 The umpire’s union SUUUUUCKS. There’s no conspiracy at play, the umpires on the field and in the replay booth are just bad at their jobs.

  87. Joe Simpson can’t call Holbrook out, he agreed with him.

    Camargo should have tried it. He also was clearly safe.

    Snit should have thrown third base. Charlie was safe much easier.

  88. Although I don’t think it’s an explicit conspiracy, I do suspect the reviewing umps are too sympathetic to the call on the field.

  89. I don’t see any fault in Camargo. If you think it was a bad call, then he was justified in trying to score. A bad call doesn’t make an aggressive move a bad one. Get the call right. It’s 2018.

  90. @126 We’ve discussed the replay standard on Bravesjournal before – the review umpire doesn’t just see the replay video and decide what the right call is, they see the replay video *and the resulting call*, and will overturn only if there’s “clear and convincing evidence” that the call on the field was incorrect.

    This standard of review was intentionally designed to put a heavy thumb on the scales in favor of preserving the on-field ruling. It was *not* designed to result in the highest number of properly-decided appeals.

    I want to see Gohara get through the 9th inning. I think he can and will (unless the Braves take the lead, in which case you may see Vizzy).

    EDIT: I am wrong, Snit pulled Gohara after only 26 pitches (and 7! outs). I would have stayed with Gohara for quite a bit longer if it were me. But then again, if I were manager I would’ve gotten tossed after the replay debacle.

  91. It’s a bad play from a game theory standpoint. 1st and 3rd no out top of order up, you can’t make an out at home there.

  92. But I don’t understand why on-field calls in the Braves’ favor seem to get overturned upon replay so often.

    I fear replays.

  93. @130–I’m aware that the standard of review is “clear and convincing evidence.” The problem seems to be that some reviewing officials are applying a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.

  94. Vizzy always has to make it interesting. MLB Network today came up with Fried and Dustin Peterson for Herrera. They won’t stop with the proposals until one of them is right.

    And good for Gohara. Really rooting for him. I hope the succcess is what he needs for himself personally.

  95. Well, .700 in one-run games was nice while it lasted.

    Man, really could use that run right now.

  96. I don’t know how you across-the-board Atlanta fans can deal with all of these blown leads. Hats off to you.

  97. Still best record in National League. At least the Giants actually beat us. Every time out against the Cubs I feel like the game is going to get stolen from us.

    That Fried/Peterson for Herrera idea is awfully tempting even though I think Fried shouldn’t be traded. If we are going to trade Fried, I think we should put together a package that includes Moustakas, too. The trade I’ve been touting had Weigel as the centerpiece but swapping him out for Fried would probably work even better for the Royals. Fried would be on my untouchable list but a good trade often has to hurt some.

    I still think something like:

    Royals: Moustakas and Herrera
    Braves Markakis or McCarthy, Wisler, Fried, Peterson, one more lower level prospect (rated Braves 20-30) + money to even the out the dollars.

  98. You really have to give it to Chip and Joe for really giving it to the umpires after the blown calls last night.

  99. It seems that Carle should be moving up in the bullpen order so to speak, but I really like what he’s doing now. As early as we are going to our relievers, having him come in first to calm things down is working well. Main thing is we get Vizzy out of the closer role. Everything seems to point to Winkler for that role, and I’m good with Biddle as the setup man for now to see how he does.

  100. I wasn’t watching the game last night so I only just saw the replay call. Camargo was safe, but I understand why the umps won’t overturn — they’re basically worried about showing up their brothers in blue, so current replay is mostly a waste of time. It sucks, but I think it makes sense to be aggressive on a wild pitch like that. Too bad the bounceback came so hard that it was a close play.

    Vizcaino’s worrisome right now. He and Minter are pretty clearly already a committee. But the Braves are going to need to get a lot more arms in the pen because they’re already starting to burn out some of these guys.

  101. With regard to replay, I also think that New York is willing to defer to the umpires on the field whenever the cameras cannot decisively rule out a tag, etc.

    If I remember correctly, Montgomery had his near Camargo’s helmet and then brought it across most of his body before making the clear tag. From what they showed on TV, it was certainly possible that Montgomery grazed Camargo at some point in that swipe, and that the umpire caught something that the cameras could not. I thought Camargo was safe, but that’s based on my interpretation of the various angles, as opposed to one definitive shot. I can understand why New York opts to uphold the call in those cases, since it establishes a consistent standard for all reviewers–when it doubt, the call stands. Instead of two instances of human interpretation (one computer-aided, of course), there’s only one.

    It can be frustrating at times, especially with a bad crew, but they seem to even out over the course of the year. What’s worse for me, though, is having to listen to Chip and Joe get one of their cranky rants about the state of baseball over several innings.

  102. Joe Simpson was in agreement with the infield fly rule call, then last night he flip flopped.

    I was at the infield fly game. Screw Joe Simpson.

  103. Only 23 pitchers have made at least 8 starts and have pitched an average of 6 innings. Is averaging 6 IP per start the new definition of ace? It looks like there’s only about 13 pitchers who are on pace to pitch 200 IP.

  104. @133, @159 – agreed that the real problem is not the replay technology, it’s the humans operating the replay technology. Given that umpires (1) make flawed calls and (2) they and all other umpires (including remote review staff) have a vested interest in preserving those flawed calls whenever possible, I’m not sure what can be done.

    Frankly, I would be happy to settle on a more limited replay system that exists to determine boundary calls (was the ball fair or foul? was that hit a HR or not?) – like tennis does – and everything else is left to the umpires on the field. That would make the umps happy and we would be able to skip the infuriating replay charade.

  105. @161 Rob, that’s been my point in several posts of late. Our starters aren’t lagging behind much if at all compared with the rest of baseball.

    Regarding instant replay: Whenever they go to the replay on a call in favor of the Braves, it usually seems to get overturned. Has anyone kept up on the stats?

  106. If they insist on keeping replay, the sanest thing to do is to have the review process done by people that are not part of the umpire union.

  107. I know this will get JC’d but wanted to weign in on a couple of points.

    1) We have gotten absolutely hosed on some huge call by instant replay this year. I’m still hung up on Game 2 against the Phils when Bourjos was ruled safe and the call was overturned, even though there was no way it was clear enough to do so (he still looked safe to me even with the horrible slide). That one cost us the game.

    2) I didn’t see any discussion of the Cubs first run. There was the wild pitch and the ump collided with Suzuki at which point Suzuki made an error trying to make a play at first. While Suzuki never should have made the throw (Darvish was up next), couldn’t the ump have granted interference and frozen the runners?

  108. Always one to add to a conspiracy theory, I would pint out that when it’s the YANKEES in a close replay, the call seems to go the other way, witness a game saving might-have-been-a-tag applied by Sanchez, overruling the umpire, to save a game last week.

  109. Gohara is like a Belgian draft horse: big, calm and reliable.

    Folty is like a Clydesdale: impressively powerful but batshit crazy due to generations of inbreeding.

  110. But that fraternity hasn’t stopped them from overturning calls that shouldn’t be overturned.

    If the current pattern with replay continues this season, there is going to need to be a massive outcry from fans across the league to get this feature repealed. I’m already sick of replay. There is no overcoming the Eric Greggs of baseball… I’m afraid it only gets more biased the more you interfere. I was happier with the instantaneous calls on the field from umps who might for a split second be too afraid to make an awful call for fear of being stuck there on the field.

  111. Furthermore, prove me wrong, but all the bickering from our home town announcers isn’t going to make it any better for our Braves. If the organization and its fans become marked as the team sick of getting hosed by bad calls, expect it will get worse because there’s nothing they can do to defend themselves from the bullies.

    In the ’90s, they got hosed multiple times, but they stood tall. They kept winning. They remained professional.

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