Atlanta 5, St. Louis 1

The Braves, off of a less than inspiring 2-4 home stand against two of the worst teams in baseball, rolled into St. Louis, with Julio Teheran toeing the rubber. Things didn’t look promising, but this game showed why you can’t get overly excited about any 5 to 10 game stretch.

Julio started off the game like he was shaking off a hangover from getting pounded by the O’s, walking the first two batters he faced. But, a nice running grab by the freshly pedicured Ronald Acuna, Jr. and a couple of flyouts helped him escape any damage. Julio then pitched around a two out double in the second by striking out Miles Mikolas.

After that Julio settled down, throwing 4 more scoreless innings in a sweltering evening, allowing only one more baserunner, a single to Matt Carpenter leading off the sixth.

Meanwhile, Mikolas was matching Julio in a good old fashioned pitcher’s duel, tossing six scoreless frames of his own. In the top of the seventh however, the Braves, as Chip will tell you over and over and over, worked some more of their late inning magic. With one out, Johan Camargo reached on an infield single. Dansby Swanson singled him to second, and Danny Santana, pinch hitting for Teheran, singled to load the bases and chase Mikolas. With bases loaded the Cards brought in a lefty, Austin Gomber, to face Ender Inciarte. That didn’t work out well, as he bounced his first pitch, a looping curve, off the top of Ender’s batting helmet to plate the first run.

At this point, things were looking good, with Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman lurking, the bases still loaded, and only one out. But Ozzie swung at an ugly pitch to strike out, and Freeman grounded out to end the threat. And when Snit brought in Peter Moylan, you started to feel like Tyler Flower’s hamstring felt in the 6th. (Cramps. Replaced by Kurt Suzuki.) But Moylan got Yadier Molina, but walked Tommy Pham. Jesse Biddle came in to squelch any further threat however, retiring Kolten Wong and Harrison Bader.

Atlanta broke it open in the 8th. Nick Markakis walked, and Suzuki follwed it up by taking one for the team just like Ender in the 7th. After Acuna struck out, Camargo doubled them both home, and he was chased in by a Swanson single. 4-0 Braves.

The Bravos added a run in the 9th, when Markakis drove in Albies with a sac fly. However, Luke Jackson made it exciting by loading the bases in the bottom of the 9th after getting the first out. Snit, having used A.J. Minter to pitch a scoreless bottom of the 8th, brought in Dan Winkler with the bases loaded. Winkler got a grounder to nab the runner at second as the Braves traded a run for an out, then secured his first professional save by striking out Bader to end the game.

Camargo and Swanson were the sparkplugs in this game, each with three hits, and Julio settled in after a shaky first to give the Braves six solid innings in the heat and humidity. Max Fried gets the spot start tonight in place of Amanda’s Husband.

31 thoughts on “Atlanta 5, St. Louis 1”

  1. Thanks, SP, for getting them back on track.

    Julio is a significant reason for the difficulty in predicting what this team will do. He now has four “shutouts” (2018 version) in which he has gone six or more innings and given up no runs. He also has six starts in which he’s gone six or less and given up at least four runs.

  2. tfloyd @2,

    On the up and down Julio thing.

    A few years ago I remember reading a SABR influenced article trying to answer the question: “If 2 pitchers have the same overall results, but one is up and down, which is better to have?”

    The answer was the up and down pitcher. The increase in win percentage in “excellently pitched games” exceeded the loss in win percentage in the “poorly pitched games (as compared to say 6 innings 3 runs every time).

  3. Deep dive into Julio’s stats. Last year he pitched his best with lots of run support (6+ ERA with 0-2 runs of support). This year is just the opposite (6+ ERA with 6+ runs of support). Seems very odd. Also, he struggles in the first and fourth innings – i.e. against a team’s best hitters. And #3 hitters have over a 1.100 OPS against him. Similarly struggled against #3/#4 hitters last year but the inning profile was inverted (pitched well in the 1st and lousy in the 3rd/4th). Not sure what to make of it, but last year points to easy fatigue and this year kinda points to worse stuff (i.e. doing worse against better hitters). Does that make any sense?

  4. The Twins have called up our old friend Willians Astudillo, where walks and strikeouts go to die. Offensively, the exact opposite of the modern game. Seems he has added a little ISO in the past few years, so maybe he can have some of that in the Majors.

  5. @3: Yes and no. What you say is clearly right but: (a) the up-and-down pitcher is going to be pulled quickly when doesn’t have it, taxing the bullpen, even if the win comes eventually; (b) there are two kinds of up-and-down: when “up-and-down” is caused by Episodes (TM), then I suspect the W-L isn’t good at all, because Episodes are sort of by their nature unexpected; (c) it’s all relative. Wouldn’t you kill for a number 4 or 5 pitcher who gave exactly 4 runs every nine inning game? You wouldn’t have to worry about your defense or the bullpen anything else — just score 5 and you win every time. Granted, it’s way less valuable in a number 1 or 2.

  6. I have to admit that I’d almost forgotten about Max Fried as a legitimate SP option since he had not been apart of the Gwinnett shuffle (is it shuttle or shuffle?) since early. But he made a start May 28th, threw 5 IP, 1 ER, and like Keyser Soze, he vanished. Since that start, there have been 14 transactions (DFA’s, recalls, options) involving the Gwinnett Shuffle Guys (Gohara, Jackson, Wisler, Sims, Phillips, Parsons).

    While all that was going on, Fried was working on regular rest, making 5 starts averaging 94 pitches a start, including 99, 103, and 97 pitches his last 3 starts. Instead of jacking him around, they let him work consistently and building him up as a starter, so I’d have to think that they don’t consider him part of that other group, for whatever that means.

  7. In other news, in the month of June, Anibal stayed consistently in the rotation on regular rest, made 5 starts averaging almost 6 IP per start, and posted a 2.48 ERA with interesting peripherals: 29 IP, 28 K, 8 BB, 19 H. And his gopheritis subsided. After giving up those 2 HRs in the May 29th game where Wisler and Anibal piggybacked and Camargo hit the line drive walk-off HR, he gave 3 HRs during those 29 IP.

    Brandon McCarthy, though, was a real stinkpot these past two months. In 9 starts, he’s earned a 6.17 ERA in 46 IP. 40 K’s in those innings, but 63 hits including 11 HR. He’s just getting pounded. Walks are fine, he didn’t hit anybody in those 9 starts, but he’s not fooling anybody. In those starts, we were 3-6, and he averaged a little over 5 IP per start.

    Someone on here mentioned that they may want to use McCarthy in the pen considering his inability to work deep into games. He’s only throwing 81 pitches per start, potentially influenced by both ineffectiveness and lack of stamina. He went over 90 pitches in his first start of the year, but has not eclipsed 90 pitches since April 29th. In the last 2 months while he’s struggled, he’s only thrown 79 pitches per outing. Yikes.

  8. I think instead of Jome Julio, it should be Odd Julio and Even Julio. On odd numbered starts he stinks it up, but he’s great on even numbered starts. Maybe it’s the other way around.

  9. 9 — Yeah, that was me. I think this may be an audition for Fried to see if he can be an upgrade on McCarthy.

    And if McCarthy moves to the ‘pen upon return, he may be an upgrade over Moylan, Jackson, Wisler, and Freeman.

    Could improve the rotation and bullpen with that in house solution.

  10. The only reason Moylan hasn’t been DFA’ed is because of his VETERAN PRESENTS and they like him in the clubhouse.

    Still, I think his days are numbered. I doubt he is on the team after the trade deadline.

  11. Johan Camargo has played really well defensively at third and has been pretty good with the bat, too.

    Methinks our prospect capital might be better used on the bullpen than at third base.

    And I’m not sure we should be looking for starting pitchers, either, considering how stacked our depth is.

  12. I wondered yesterday if they were throwing Moylan because he is running out of time. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to get rid of Moylan either. If he can pitch, he’s a cheap 6th, 7th man in the pen. Perfect. I can’t help but think that with the weird Evan Phillips stuff going on that Moylan may have a week or two to prove he can be a reliable reliever that can be used on a daily basis. In today’s age of bullpen usage, they really don’t want to have a guy without options who can’t be used 2 out of 3 days. On the flip side, you also don’t want to DFA a perfectly cromulent reliever because your SPs got bombed 3 days in a row.

    I do think the Veteran Presents thing actually has some value when Freeman is your “old guy” with no MLB experience, Vizzy is your second-most experienced, and everyone else has about 12 seconds of service time.

  13. The problem is Moylan’s only utility is getting out RHB, and he isn’t really good at that anymore.

  14. In fact, if you look at Moylan’s game log, you can see where he’s been teetering for a while:

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.fcgi?id=moylape01&t=p&year=2018

    Strong April, decent May. Mid-way through June, he starts to really struggle, the ERA’s creeping up, fans are getting restless. But he gets 4 days off, throws a scoreless full inning against Toronto, so you can’t DFA him then, right? Then he gets bombed by Baltimore, and that’s got to be it, right? Then he comes back out the next day throwing a scoreless inning with 2 strike outs. He’s good. Then he gets a day off, then nails the one righty. Four days off, nails another righty.

    The problem is they need another full inning guy that can work, as I said, 2 out of 3 days, and he ain’t it.

  15. @11

    Completely agree. If McCarthy can be the effective 2-3 inning option out of the pen we’ve been begging Wisler, Sims, and Jackson to be, and Fried is a quality 4-5th starter, then both are settled.

    And if not, then they can drop him like they did Kazmir and Gonzalez. He can be just a slightly less egregious salary dump.

  16. McCarthy throws hard enough to where he could be considered a late inning reliever as well.

  17. Not every starter can be better as a reliever. I’d think that the ones that can are ones who generally perform well the first time through the lineup or at least in the first inning. Those guys that struggle in the 1st inning and then “settle down” and pitch well would not seem to make good relievers. McCarthy does have his best success in the first inning although he tends to walk more early. In past years, though, he was excellent the first time through the order so he may really improve the bullpen as a long man. Just to contrast, with Teheran’s record in first innings, he would not make any sort of a decent reliever.

  18. This team needs another starter and 2-3 relievers (with one of those being a guy who can be trusted in the 8-9 inning)

    It would be great to get a Bumgarner, but even a guy we could slot in the #3-4 spot would be huge (provided he can get to the 6-7 inning)

    Honestly, I wouldn’t do much more than that. Chemistry is a big reason we are where we are. Too many changes could mess that up. But we do have some big time holes in our pitching staff

  19. @20 Why can’t Fried or Allard be the added SP? If McCarthy and/or Sanchez can relieve then we’re down to needing one lock down reliever for the 8th/9th.

  20. Those guys are pretty funny throwing sunflower seeds and squirting water at Folty while he is being interviewed.

  21. I like Fried a lot. Love watching the curveball. He seems to get better every time he’s up. Hope we’ve got another lefty in the rotation.

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