One strike away and we met our match. A team that over the last two nights has an XBH percentage of their hits at around 85 took full advantage of that new life in the ninth and turned a one run deficit into a four run lead, all with two out. Brutal, Minter gassed presumably when it mattered most, losing his control. This Colorado team is awesome in this guise, their power across the board well ahead of ours. 5 in the 9th, dear me.

So let’s talk about pitching, across the nine innings. First things first, how come Sonny had put on 40 lbs and a few inches since we saw him recently? Oh, finally worked it out. Folty had a thoroughly satisfactory first outing with good control and a smooth not stressed delivery. It wasn’t until the sixth inning when he started to tire that he allowed his first 3 ball count and subsequently his only run. 78 pitches, 52 strikes, 1 walk, 5k. easy fastball delivery around 95/96.

Enter our friend Luke who only produced the relief appearance of the year so far. 2 innings, 6 up, 6 down, no K’s, all ground balls at or near Dansby. The last 3 of those hitters, in order, were Story/Murphy/Arenado, all sizzling hot. Remarkable.

Back to reality. On came Minter who started off brightly with pace and control but both deserted him and he left with this ugly line – 2/3 IP, 4 runs, 2bb. Winkler came on and got the last out in the 9th but not before Story doubled the Rockies lead from 2 to 4. Game over.

Our hitters did a decent job you might say by producing 5 runs that included 2 hits each for Camargo, Ender, Acuna and Markakis(who remains our MVP by a clear measure).Ender and Freddie homered. Decent power but not in their league!

To sign off I’m concerned that some of you might be down a bit after all this. So near, so far. Keep your chins up.

What condition would you say you were in?,lock_state=final,game_tab=box,game=567171


  1. What really hurts is that this rebuild was designed all around pitching and we have great hitters and not nearly enough good pitching.

  2. There has GOT to be a team that will take a chance on Adam Duvall to give us something that’s remotely decent in the pen. Do you let him get some ABs, potentially risking cratering any potential value if he struggles, in hopes it carries over to the major league level and increasing his value?

    It doesn’t change the fact that our closer is in a bonafide slump (9 ER in 8.1 IP, 6 BB), but it would at least deepen our pen, increase our options, etc. if we could add someone. Maybe we can steal a game otherwise and/or avoid save situations because the pen won’t create save situations. And just let Minter work through whatever the heck he’s working through.

    I definitely agree that all 3 between Venters, O’Day, and Vizzy were significant injury risks, but I really don’t agree the Braves should have expected that all 3 would go down. And just having one of them right now healthy and effective would make it easier to give Minter a break in closing duties. But since you can’t, who do you put in there? Does it even matter since 7th and 8th are unstable as well? Guys just pretty much need to play better.

    We don’t have a single LH reliever who’s remotely trustworthy. Our 4 “hottest hands” are all RHP: Jackson, Tomlin, Winkler, and, I dunno, Webb or Parsons. The two relievers who seem to have the best stuff (Minter and Sobotka) both have ERAs over 9. I’m just not sure what there is to do when 90% of the financial commitment made has pitched 6.2 IP and there’s no real hope any of it will contribute in the short-term.

    On paper, the pen as assembled was not horrible: Vizzy, Minter, O’Day, Venters, Biddle, Winkler, Sobotka, and Carle with Jackson, Parsons, and SP prospects being available with options as well. I really didn’t hate that pen knowing that we had the money to improve it. But our pen total has pitched 95 IP, and that pen as assembled has only produced about 12-15 IP in effectiveness. That freaking sucks.

  3. Interesting list of decent relievers on non-contending teams:

  4. Well there you go. We traded for Jerry Blevins.

  5. Huh. Didn’t realize Vizzy hadn’t been moved to the 60-day. So yeah, guess you could do the same with O’Day or something.

    And I guess we’ll see if we now have a reliable lefty.

  6. Maybe Blevins will not have the control of a 3-year-old with diarrhea. That would be an improvement for this bullpen.

  7. I am in agreement with Chief on this Blevins is dog meat. We got him for basically nothing (not even a PTBNL). He has had an increasing walk rate over the last 5 years until last year when it was something like 4.8 walks per nine.

    How about Grant Dayton? 1.69 ERA, 0 walks, and 8Ks in 5.1 innings. Easily beats Blevins record (same ERA, same Ks, fewer walks). And Dayton doesn’t have a past record as mediocre at best. If Blevins doesn’t instantly turn into David Hernandez, he’ll be gone in a month. Wouldn’t it have been nice if we had kept Hernandez instead of Jose Ramirez?

    This kind of trade is a stall tactic. They are stalling until they can try and get Kimbrel without draft compensation.

  8. Blevins is old but he has a career walk rate of 9.2% which is a lot better than some of the guys in our bullpen right now.

  9. @5 I will bet dollars to donuts that all of those relievers are either too expense, too young to be traded, or not on the trade block (yet or at all). Example, Giants, who have said they are open to trades. Moronta is 26 and will not be traded. Smith will not be traded until closer to the deadline. Guys that might be available from SF include Dyson and Vincent and they may even require some sort of prospect.

    The Braves will only go lottery shopping right now (i.e. Blevins). Pay $5 hoping for a $1M return. I just hope it works to stop some of the leaks until a real bullpen can be put together.

    If Snitker had put in Jackson at the beginning of the 7th last night instead of trying to get Folty to work an extra inning in his first start back, things might have been very different. I don’t know what happened to Minter, but he got 2 Ks after the leadoff double and that run would not have meant anything if it was 6-3 instead of 6-5. Minter had been 3/3 in saves. Despite the ERA he might have finished if he had a 3-run lead to start.

    Note that I’m not saying Minter didn’t suck just that it’s better to be put in a position to succeed rather than a position where there is no margin.

  10. @16 It’s never about what you have done; it’s about what have you done lately? Last year, Blevins’ walk rate was 11.7% and his FIP was 4.97. That’s why he didn’t even get a ML contract this winter.

    Grant Dayton, 5.1 innings, 0 walks at Gwinnett. Time to see what he can do.

  11. @16 The scary part of that is that his walk rate has been climbing here lately. I guess the idea is we’ll finish “developing” him in that area by helping him achieve a walk every other hitter, too. Lol.

  12. I don’t think he will be worse than Minter’s 15% and Biddle’s 16% walk rate for the year.

  13. I’m somewhat in agreement with MikeM @14.

    This could have been a playoff team, if we had a GM who would’ve addressed the needs in the bullpen before the season, or even now. The lineup is playoff caliber. The rotation is solid enough. However, giving games away in April, May and June over the refusal to give up 1 million dollars in bonus pool money is laughable. Now, no way.

    If you want to win, go sign Kimbrel and trade for another competent RP. Fix the pen!! Otherwise, man up as a GM and admit you’re pseudo tanking.

  14. Right now, we have Jackson for the 7th, Winkler for the 8th, and Minter for the 9th. If Webb and Blevins can help and Tomlin can handle middle relief then we might be somewhat better. That still leaves us two relievers short. I’d like to see Dayton given a chance and Wilson be given a chance to see how he does as a one inning guy. Maybe Biddle, Carle, Parsons, and Sobotka can work out some of their problems at AAA – especially with walks (of course, Biddle will have to do it on a “rehab assignment”). I am not sure if Venters can be better than Blevins.

    Of course, none of Biddle, Venters, O’Day, or Viz have any options so, soon, it’s either swim or sink. We have maybe one more spot on the 40-man to play with (O’Day to the 60 day IL) and then someone will have to be DFA’d or a trade will have to include assets from the 40-man. Either AA’s saving that spot for Kimbrel or he can find one more lottery pick before June.

  15. Blazon will be taking at least May off from recaps, and we’re looking for a permanent replacement for Saturday nights potentially. I can think of no better tribute to blazon in what may have been his final recap than to re-post this blog post in its entirety — comments and all — on the last game of the regular season. You will all see how wrong you were to declare this team legally dead after 26 games. I can think of no better troll.

    Things I need to see before I can properly evaluate this team:

    1) What and when will we do with the pitching prospects going forward.
    2) How much of the difference between last year’s payroll + $1 and today’s payroll will be spent and when. We were promised since the start of the season by AA himself that payroll will be higher than last year. AA is either liar, lunatic, or lord of Braves ball. Has to be one of the three, no other possibilities remain.
    3) Will we continue to hit as many home runs as we have hit in the last 3 1/2 minutes.

    There you go.

  16. Also, I don’t understand the either/or binary decisions between similar relievers that are/were not currently on the roster. It’s not Blevins vs. Dayton. It’s not Blevins vs. Kimbrel. Etc. etc. There are 8 bullpen spots, and you can add Blevins today, give Dayton a few more innings, and add him next week. Shoot, you might even give Clouse a week after that, then Craig Kimbrel in June, and check this, have all 4 at the same time. Crazy, I know. I don’t care. There’s not a single reliever that Braves are above DFA’ing or optioning. Minter has options. Use ’em.

    Listen, run people through. If you think Blevins has something, go get him for nothing. Doesn’t mean you can’t add other players.

  17. At least we’re on the right track today. HRs from Ozzie and Freddie already!!!

    Oh, and one more positive. If we beat the Rockies today, we will still have a winning record against them. We are hanging in – winning a few series and losing a few – swept twice (PHL, AZ) and we swept once (Cubs). After one month, .500 is a reasonable place to jump off from.

    And Folty has had only one start. We just now have a full rotation with Folty Gausman, Fried, Soroka, and Teheran. We even have ML-ready hitters at AAA in case of injury (Riley, Duvall, Ortega, Demeritte). We just need to get the bullpen fixed and we’ll be off to the races.

  18. If Gausman can’t deliver quality starts, the bullpen doesn’t matter, anyway. It’s more likely we’re talking about the trade-deadline return for Donaldson than the postseason.

    This club reminds me of the 2015 Nationals, whose team-wide morale eventually was decimated by a shoddy bullpen.

  19. Gausman is missing the glove pretty badly the last few innings. Each pitch Flowers is having to move the glove a foot or more.

    Chip keeps noting how many extra base hits the Rockies have like its some anomaly. It’s not like random grounders skipping thru defenders all series. The Rockies are hitting the snot out of Braves pitching and extra bases usually result.

  20. We’re gonna have to win a lot of 10-8 games this year, or it’s gonna be a long season.

  21. Gausman approaches Luke from yesterday…Story/Murphy/Aronado with a runner in scoring position. Gun at 97

  22. For some reason I’m liking Chip better this year. OTOH, his obsession with whether a starting pitcher qualifies for the win drives me crazy.

  23. Chip: “There have been a lot of great players who started their careers undrafted. Like Mike Redmond!”

  24. Balls have been juiced for a while. Middle infielders hitting opposite field homers used to be pretty much impossible.

    This is the first year that AAA is using the MLB ball. Don’t expect to see gaudy ERAs in AAA either.

  25. OK, making me like Ian Desmond is the final straw. New nadir.

    *Edit* wait, sorry, our newly-acquired relief pitcher walking the first batter he sees is the new, new nadir.

  26. Rob, to me, the issue isn’t that they can’t do something with the pen moving forward. They certainly can, and there’s no harm in making minor moves like Blevins. How many games are they willing to give in the standings though while they work through it, and where does that leave them in a tight race? With a better pen, they’re likely leading the division.

  27. Haha peace out, Braves. It’s Derby week. I’ll check back in May and see if you got your shiz together then.

  28. We all wish that the front office had done more—but thats why AA signed the bringer of rain.

  29. Who’s in the pen? I missed it. I don’t care if you bring in 3 different pitchers to get 3 outs, just get it done.

  30. He has thrown about 72 straight sliders, so that’s your answer for how he’s become reliable, apparently.

    I’m being serious, he just pitches every inning throwing sliders pitch-by-pitch until he gives up a run. Tell me a better idea!

  31. Props to Snitker for finally deciding that winning a game is more important than building up a reliever’s confidence.

  32. Luke’s meatball (1 per 434 pitches) bamboozled the great Aronado ( 0 for 5).

    Camargo’s full swings from the left side manage to look both ugly and weak. He is a lucky boy with that awful error.

    King Luke
    the Rockies’ spook
    is so much better than Minter
    he who we now anticipate will be released next winter.

  33. With the significant lack of talent and what talent there is having almost no track record, I would think Snit is going to have to re-evaluate the pen on a weekly basis. What other option does he have? And get even more situational than he would ever dream he would.

  34. Jerry Blevins
    while generally at sixes and sevens
    his specialty the walk
    said Snit, just as long as you don’t baulk.

  35. @61 @64 Aw, I wanted to say that.

    Looking at current stats alone, it seems we have 5 decent relievers – Blevins, Webb, Jackson, Winkler, Tomlin. That leaves us three short of having an effective bullpen. Among that list a real closer is not included. Kimbrel solves that problem. Dayton could be a set up man. That leaves someone from among the current guys getting their act together. At any point in time, any of Minter, Venters, Carle, Biddle, Wilson, Parsons have the talent to do the job and could turn it around. It’s going to be a while before the Braves will promote anyone not on the 40-man (Burrows, Clouse, et al…), because they don’t want to lose anyone else.

    I’d like to see Minter spend a couple of years as a set up man for Kimbrel. I would love to see Minter, Winkler, and Jackson as primary set up men. Tomlin as long man. Blevins as LOOGY. Dayton, Webb in the 6th/7th. That could be a good bullpen. Venters, if capable, could replace Blevins (or Dayton, whoever pitches worse).

    I cannot see how Kimbrel does not instantly make the entire bullpen respectable, if not with his own performance but with his existence shifting others’ roles around more reasonably.

    I’d also like to see a real trade where we consolidate our prospect capital into a higher performing single player.

  36. By signing Kimbrel, you shift everyone down a “rung” in leverage. That is multiple upgrades in one. I completely understand that they want to keep the slot money, and so would I. The slot money is going to be really valuable with no IFA money. So if he’s still around in June, they absolutely, positively have to get him.

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