Braves 4, Nationals 2

So, at what stage of “Major League” are these guys?

A.  They have uniforms and everything
B.  These guys ain’t so (freaking) bad
C.  The veterans are starting to play back to form and the rookies are developing faster than I thought
D.  We’re contenders now

All answers seem defensible as folk hero Charlie Culberson‘s 2 run homer in the bottom of the 9th gave the Braves a 3 – 1 series victory, and forced the Nationals to walk off 1 1/2 games behind the first place Braves.

2nd Lieutenant Dans’ heroics were preceded by a game tying homer by our other shortstop Dansby in the 7th, and Anibal Sanchez baffled the Nationals over 7 innings, allowing only 2 hits, and striking out 5.  The 2 runs were unearned.  The well-rested duo of Dan Winkler and Arodys Vizcaino finished up, with Vizcaino getting the win despite a walk and a hit in his inning.

Jefry Rodriguez went 4 2/3 scoreless innings in his major league debut, in relief  of starter Jeremy Hellickson, who left with an apparent hamstring injury after only 2 batters.  Tanner Roark took the loss in relief, retiring only a single batter.  Both were pitching on 2 days rest; Roark having thrown 98 pitches in his game 1 loss on Thursday, and Rodriguez having thrown 87 for AA Harrisburg.  Bowman on Rodriguez.  Interesting contrast in the use of Winkler and Vizcaino in the series with that of Rodriguez and Roark, although Rodriguez is probably considered expendable.

At San Diego on Monday.

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.

141 thoughts on “Braves 4, Nationals 2”

  1. @beege, nice Kweli shout-out

    Listened to the bottom of the ninth on my way home from a wedding. Powell couldn’t contain his gleeful disbelief.

    Go Braves.

  2. Anibal Sanchez, stopper. Charlie Culbertson, folk hero. How can you not love this team, Go Braves

  3. E: They put a cardboard figure of John Malone up in the clubhouse and start pulling articles of clothing off with each win.

  4. I was hoping we were seeing the end of Anibal, but that last start is looking a fluke more than the rest of his body of work. Let’s get a couple more starts out of him and then get a live arm.

  5. Not sure why we would root for Anibel to do poorly just to get another kid in the rotation. I’m assuming this is in order to call Soroka back up? If so, Anibel Sanchez isn’t going to block Mike Soroka when he’s ready to return.

  6. @13 I think we should. Anibal added a couple mph to his fastball yesterday (he was actually hitting 92 mph), and he was really working the slider to get efficient outs.

    I think McCarthy should be the first one in line. He had an ugly May (3 of his 5 starts were 5 IP or less with 5 ER or more).

  7. Again, it’s pretty clear that the Braves are telling their vet starters (McCarthy, Sanchez) “throw harder than you normally do in the early innings; we’ll sort the 7th and beyond if you can just get through six.”

  8. Not that is matters, but ESPN dropped us to #7 in the power rankings and moved the Gnats up to #5…. after we took 3 of 4 and should have swept them

  9. McCarthy has hit 93-95 consistently in his last two starts.

    Power rankings are click bait.

  10. NL East Power Rankings-Sponsored by Smitty’s Barber:

    1 Braves
    2 Natspos
    3 Girl Horses
    4 Mutts
    5 Shark Bait

    It’s the only poll that matters.

  11. @16 ESPN is a blight upon sports. I won’t even flip through ESPN on my way to another channel so as to avoid accidentally inflating their viewer numbers.

    That said, I’m not sure how anyone could rationalize that. I’m sure the Braves won as many if not more games over the past week, not to mention taking 3 of 4 from the Nats.

    Then again, click bait. Cubs have no business being at #4 anywhere even being tied for fewest losses. Braves only have ONE more loss. Click bait. Click bait.

  12. @19

    Smitty’s barber
    still tends to harbor
    dreams of that exclusive scoop
    though Stewart, Carter
    we plan to barter
    according to the mighty coop.

  13. @20 The Cubs have the 2nd best run differential in baseball behind the Astros. They’ve got a ton of talented players and have won 195 games over the last two seasons, so there’s every reason to assume they are legitimate. Saying they’re not that good simply because they only have 33 wins so far this year is pretty dumb – you can reasonably predict the Cubs as a very good team moving forward. If you want to put the Braves in front of the Cubs, you need a better reason than “we’re 1 1/2 games ahead of them right now”. The Cubs have the best projected rest-of-season record in the NL, it’s perfectly reasonable for them to be higher in power ranking than the Braves.

    PS – Power rankings are click bait crap, best to just ignore them.

  14. I found myself a little less interested in who we’ll take this year since I’ve really grown to trust Brian Bridges until any of his top 3 picks look bad, but I will follow my late-decade yearly tradition of hoping we take a position player with our first pick. So based on the current condition of the lower levels of the farm vs. how well the higher levels are doing, I would love to get AZ HS 3B Nolan Gorman. But I could easily enjoy FL HS P Carter Stewart, who many are projecting to be the pick.

    With that said, it would seem like we’re drafting Gorman based on system need whereas, in theory, I’d think we’d want to just keep taking up-the-middle athletes in the top picks. There just doesn’t seem to be a player like that in our draft slot.

  15. Nolan Gorman
    has a swollen floor, man
    ignore the procrastinators
    who only want us to take non-arrested ex-gators.

  16. SSS, obviously, but Charlie Culberson has inched his way above a .700 OPS. He has options, speed, and can play multiple positions well. He also seems to be well-received in the clubhouse. He also seems to be a guy that relishes and accepts implicitly his role as a backup. I can see why the Braves have manipulated their roster to give him the best possible shot at sticking. The Lemmer never hit, neither did Belliard or ole Mike Mordecai, and no one ever really got worked up about it.

    We have no real pinch-hit threat off the bench, which is a casualty of the 4-man bench and Preston Tucker not quite fitting the bill. There’s no one Snit can run up there in the late-innings to PH that inspires the confidence that he can run into one. Culberson’s gotten lucky, but we really could use someone who’s performing a little better than Tucker unless we can PH the catcher.

  17. @11 Yes, rooting for Anibal to make a couple more good starts, be replaced by Soroka, and he fetch a live arm a la Jhoulys Chacin. His return (Adam McCreery) is on our 40-man. I really don’t think we’re past the stage of rebuilding where somebody like Aninbal is not viewed like Harrell or Chacin. I’m sure we’ll get something for Anibal when Jhoulys expect it.

    I’m sorry.

  18. The baseball team tends to be rather well-behaved, Mr. blazon. Only the football team claims murderers.

  19. Agree with Rob regarding Anibal; he hasn’t been bad, and I always enjoy a good eephus pitch, but the guy doesn’t have a chance to start a game in the next playoff series the Braves are in (whenever that may be).

    Given that and everything else being equal, I’d prefer if starts were given to guys in which that were a possibility.

  20. I prefer the Braves start whoever is more likely to give the team a chance to win the game. I think we are past dumping veterans for lottery tickets for the hell of it. Even if the plan was to do that going into the year, it definitely shouldn’t be the plan now.

  21. Yeah, the Astros were totally stupid for starting Charlie Morton in the playoffs last year.

    Definitely no chance a guy like Anibal Sanchez sniffs a playoff start. That would be really dumb.

  22. I’m gonna need you guys to stop infringing on Adam R.’s POWER RANKINGS turf. He’s the maestro, and I would not want y’all’s intrusions to prevent him from doing his thing.

  23. @30 And would have been a defensible thing for Wren to have traded Ben Sheets in 2012? They were contending on their way to a 94-win season, and Sheets was so clearly a flash in the pan. Is a mid-market team truly able to say that while contending you never dump a player for a prospect? You’re basically signing up for a “rebuild” every 7-8 years, if you’re lucky.

  24. Sanchez and McCarthy have both exceeded my meager expectations. They’re serving us perfectly well as veteran fifth starter types. McCarthy has looked damn good at times.

    Also, Dansby’s hustle play yesterday impressed me. If he makes plays like that, hits 15 HRs a year, and continues to play solid defense he will pretty much live up to what scouts have said about him. Fun team! Let’s not get too greedy.

  25. I think it’s a pipe dream for anyone to think that Anibal Sanchez is both Not Needed in the Braves Rotation ANNNND A Valuable Enough Piece For Someone Else to Trade For Him.

    If anyone needs a crafty veteran arm, it’s the Braves. To think they could flip him for a live arm for the pen or prospect fodder this year seems unrealistic considering the rotation is still solidifying and last year’s champs relied on a 34 year old arm that ain’t that different from Sanchez and McCarthy.

  26. You called it, Jay.

    RE: That link

    Adam, I think we can now agree the returns of those trades are staying to look pretty good. Agreed?

  27. Between all the pretender rankings this week — don’t think I haven’t noticed — and Charlie Morton and Alex Wood’s performances this weekend, I am in a foul mood and was seriously considering throwing Braves Journal into upheaval with a gargantuan POWER RANKING of Kanye takes today.

    Let this be a warning. I don’t let ’em talk to me no kind of way!

    (Seriously, if you’re going to do your own POWER RANKINGS, more power to you, but you gotta at least draw the correct conclusions. I see that Alex has found his way to the heart of POWER RANKINGS darkness. Welcome, my brother. Keep it wavy.)

  28. If we don’t Barve up this west coast swing then I’m gonna have to start believin.

  29. @39, Yes! Every single trade we made is currently looking good. But my point from that day still stands.

    We are setting the industry standard for rebuild speed. (Thanks, Coppy.) If our ascent weren’t so steep this season, it wouldn’t necessarily have jeopardized the whole rebuild.

  30. I mean, if we hadn’t rebuilt, we may have never lost another game ever. WE’LL NEVER KNOW NOW.

  31. How many, if any, draft picks are denied us this time around by l’affaire coppy? thanks

  32. We lose our 3rd round pick this year. I think we lose a 4th rounder this year. By the way, don’t we have pool money to trade? That should help us this year.

    Adam, the reason why the rebuild has gone so fast is because we hit on our trades. We hit on our trades because we had tradeable assets. By deciding to rebuild at the end of 2014, we had those tradeable assets with enough control. We are where we are because we were so decisive during such a crucial window to decide, but I wouldn’t say we’ve “set the pace”. I do think it should make teams more willing to hit the eject button at a point where we did.

    I made this point in that link Jay provided that the “true” rebuild stories, the Astros and Cubs, didn’t actually “rebuild”. They ran out of talent, they were bad, and they rode competitive balance back to the top. They collected enough food stamps until they could afford a feast. To use modern examples, the Royals will not rebuild as quickly if they sell off this deadline vs. if they decided to do so last deadline. The Giants will be back in a similar timeframe as us if they trade off big at this deadline. I think the Pirates were smartly decisive to rebuild when they did.

    We diminish really how great of a spot we were at the end of 2014 to rebuild, and I’ve obviously already teased out that it probably would not have worked if we didn’t decide to rebuild. But if we didn’t sell off at the end of ’14, we wouldn’t have Gohara (through Mallex), Folty, Riley, Minter, Vizzy, Dansby, and Ender, The Best Dadgum Long Reliever Matt Wisler, and we’d have a worse draft position in 2016. So while it has proven to be the right decision to rebuild, I don’t think the Braves have “set the pace”. In that sense, the Yankees’ 12 second rebuild “set the pace”.

  33. Dawgs are pooping the bed against the Dookies in their home park. This is just apparently the way the universe works. Sigh.

  34. Rob’s Predicted August Roster And Who They Were Acquired By:

    Freeman, Ozzie, Acuna, Camargo, Teheran: Wren
    Carle, Culberson, McCarthy, Moylan, Flaherty, Tucker: AA
    Both Flozuki, Dansby, Kakes, Ender, Folty, Newcomb, Gohara, Soroka, Riley, Biddle, Winkler, Minter, Vizzy, Freeman

    I made the roster a little bigger since some are on the bubble.

    Do you think they’ll let Coppy kiss the trophy?

  35. @50 The last HR hit by Duke – the opposite field flyball in the 7th – was a total joke. I simply don’t understand how that ball managed to get out of the park, it looked like a high pop that would be caught 15 feet in front of the fence.

    UGA was already down by a run at the time and they didn’t score again so it’s kinda a moot point… but still.

  36. Meta Power Rankings

    5. Nuclear
    4. Cold Fusion
    3. Grrrrl
    2. Flower
    1. AAR Ranking Ranking Rankings

  37. Has anyone noticed that Powell’s cadence has turned into an exaggeration? He’s in Jim Brockmire territory.

  38. Ohhhhh, I see. It’s the “set the pace” part you’re taking issue with. Well, I still think we are so far setting the pace for the teams that can’t absorb Giancarlo Stanton’s contract.

    The Yankees were never even *that* bad recently.

  39. @49, I don’t think it’s quite true to say the Cubs and Astros didn’t “rebuild.”

    Specifically:

    The 2010 Astros won 76 games. The 2011 Astros won 56 games. Likewise, the 2011 Cubs won 71 games. The 2012 Cubs won 61 games.

    They made the following teardown-style trades:

    • July 29, 2010: Astros trade Roy Oswalt to the Phillies for Anthony Gose, J.A. Happ, and Jonathan Villar.
    • July 31, 2010: Astros trade Lance Berkman to the Yankees for Mark Melancon and another guy.
    • July 29, 2011: Astros trade Hunter Pence to Philly for Jarred Cosart, Jon Singleton, and the Phillies’ boneheaded mistaken PTBNL, Domingo Santana.
    • July 31, 2011: Astros trade Michael Bourn to us for Paul Clemens, Brett Oberholtzer, Juan Abreu, and F’in Success!

    Plus they traded away Carlos Lee, Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, and some other veterans for not a whole lot. (Arguably, you could say that applies to the Bourn trade too.)

    Meanwhile, the Cubs:

    • January 6, 2012: Cubs trade Andrew Cashner to San Diego for Anthony Rizzo.
    • July 30, 2012: Cubs trade Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm to Atlanta for Arodys Vizcaino.
    • July 31, 2012: Cubs trade Ryan Dempster to Texas for Kyle Hendricks and Christian Villanueva.
    • July 5, 2014: Cubs trade Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija to Oakland for Addison Russell and Dan Straily.

    Plus, they traded away Geovany Soto, Carlos Zambrano, Alfonso Soriano, and some other veterans for not a lot.

  40. • July 31, 2012: Cubs trade Ryan Dempster to Texas for Kyle Hendricks and Christian Villanueva.

    Since you brought it up, I will shamelessly link to my all-time favorite comment I’ve made on here.

    Just don’t scroll too far down that page unless you want to be very sad.

  41. Camargo in the two-hole tonight seems wrong, but he’s fourth on the team in OBP, so why not, I guess.

  42. Jeff Conine’s kid is single-handedly ending Georgia’s season. 3rd HR of the day. Wow.

  43. I have a friend, a mentor really, who suffered a stroke. The knowledge of his craft remained, but accessing the data was difficult. As bad as it was for him, it was great for me. When he was needed to give direction or guidance, I was there to pull the words out of his data bank. I learned a hell of a lot.

    Edit: No knowledge claimed here. I just provided John’s words –often on third guess– when they eluded him. I think Peter could use a good word dog.

    If Peter Gammons asks, I’ll gladly serve as his data fetcher. I bet he’s got knowledge it would be worthwhile to access.

  44. 6’6″ 200lb righty with a ridiculous 12-6 curve. Will probably add a couple mph on his fastball as he fills out.

    Was a consensus top-10 pick. Can’t have enough pitching. Or can we?

  45. I think if you can take a 6’6″ HS pitcher considered the best one in the draft with an unhittable curve, then go for it. They said he would have the highest spin rate in the MLB right now. I would imagine he telegraphs it really bad, or else they would be looking to push him quicker than they ultimately will. 6’6″ and only 200 LBs scares me, so he may be on a slow track like Ian Anderson was (6’3″, 170 lbs when drafted).

  46. Is it pretty easy to say that Stewart slides in as our 11th best pitching prospect behind Kyle Muller (2 round, 2016) and ahead of Freddy Tarnok (3rd round, 2017)?

  47. Getting ready to head to Petco with Seat Painter, Jr to see the first game against the Friars. Will do my best to cheer Jome Julio on.

  48. My wife teaches Nolan Gorman, a player that had been linked to the Braves somewhat. He has *incredible* power but there are some concerns about him not being able to play 3B at the next level. He makes a ton of errors and is not super athletic. I’m not surprised to see him fall, somewhat.

    I saw him hit a ball about 440 feet a few weeks ago in front of about 15 scouts.

    The competition here in Phoenix is pretty good, but based on my experience in HS baseball, I wouldn’t say that it is great.

  49. I guess it just gets down to the definition of “rebuild”. From 2009 through 2011, the Cubs won 84, 75, and 71 games. They were going nowhere. On Sickels’ ratings, the Cubs had two B+ prospects. That was it. When Epstein took over, they basically just relied on the draft and international free agency. Is that Rebuilding(TM)? Is a 10-win downshift Rebuilding(TM)? Or did a new GM take over a bad team, trade three good players (Shark, Hammel, and Dempster), and ride the wave of competitive balance up?

    I guess I’m just drawing a line at A) you’re not rebuilding if you’re already bad and (related) B) you really have to deal off some serious assets. As I said, the Giants would be a decade-long monster if they decide to rebuild. Same thing had the Royals done so. When you eclipse your core’s peak, then going through “rebuild” efforts is your only option (unless you’re a top market).

  50. Congrats Duke. UGA is still poorly coached and lacks top tier talent. One day that will change. With all the talent in this state it’s criminal for them to not be in the mix every year.

  51. @74 I feel you. It’s been almost 12 months since the Gators have brought home a championship. What are we doing here?

    Ya know what, that’s not nice, and I’m sorry. I mean, I’m not real sorry though.

  52. And to be fair, when UGA goes 42-7 again in Jacksonville, I’m going to be right here ready for it.

  53. I’d like to make Power Ranking request: Players lost in the Coppy punishment purge.

    Related question: What’s up with Maitan these days?

  54. He’s throwing a lot of off-speed and breaking stuff to try to make up for the batting-practice fastball. He did just get that last one up to 89, though.

    @86

    They did show a replay of him rubbing his fingers together like he’s got a blister or no feeling or something.

  55. Gave up a HR on an 87 mph fastball. That was the speed of Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn’s fastball when he was getting shelled at the start of “Major League II.”

  56. @89

    I’m afraid I agree…and the look on Snitker’s face says he’s coming to that conclusion, too.

  57. 3-15 record at Petco since the Braves’ last series win there. Nothing good happens to our team at this park.

  58. He’s still rubbing his fingers together and the way he’s doing it suggests a lack of feeling more than a blister…to me, anyway. More of a general motion while kind of mimicking a pitch delivery, as opposed to focusing on and rubbing a specific spot.

  59. Well, he’s about to have to throw a BP strike, so that’s not gonna go very well.

    UPDATE: It actually did go alright. I’d say gotta get him out of there, though.

  60. Leaving Julio in accomplishes nothing, except exacerbating whatever the problem is. Not real happy with Snitker the last few days. I’m sure Julio doesn’t want to come out, but he has to put his foot down.

  61. Well, now he is starting to generate some more velocity. The last few fastballs have been 89-90…more in line with where it has been usually this season.

  62. @103

    But he has to save Gohara in case one of the other starting pitchers has an issue in the other two games, right?

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist. Note: Not actually upset about Saturday anymore since we won yesterday.)

  63. Damn you, Chip.

    And thanks, Julio, for wasting no time barfing it back up.

  64. Gohara looked awful. Slow and sloppy with a FB 5-6 MPH slower than last year. Julio wasn’t much better, but with him at least you’d never question the preparation and effort.

    That said, being in a foreign country the year after your Dad passed and your Mom having heart problems must be challenging in ways I can’t even imagine. I’d still option him to AAA though until he gets his shit together.

  65. We drafted a project OF in the 2nd round, while two high profile HS pitchers were still on the board. Must be signability issues, plus our lack of pool money since we don’t have a full array of picks.

  66. @136 I’m giving Gohara a pass. Then again, a couple of games at AAA wouldn’t have been a bad idea.

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