LA is a great big freeway; put a hundred down and buy a car… then leave for Phoenix

The codgerati amongst us all remember when the Braves nemesis was the Dodgers.  From 1969-1993 the East Division had two teams from the Central Time Zone and the West Division had two teams from the Eastern Time Zone.  No, this didn’t make any sense.  But it meant that the Braves had the most travel of any team and we spent a lot of time on the West Coast, and the Giants and the Padres were rarely top-drawer (to be fair, the Braves were rarely top-drawer) and the Dodgers were usually pretty good.  Thus, hate.

At least we only make one trip a year now to LA.  (Well, we made two last year, but I like to forget the second trip.)  And the fact that Dodgers are better than we are is an objective fact, but it doesn’t really explain why we play them as badly as we do.

I’ve spent some time in LA, and I’ve never liked it.  I only went to one game in Chavez Ravine, and it was the day OJ was in the slow-speed chase down the highway to Brentwood.  I ate a Dodger Dog, which was not particularly good.  I really like Randy Newman, but I Hate LA.  (I do like the fact that that song is an ironic paean to brain-dead cluelessness, but that Angelenos, appropriately, don’t get the irony.)

Anyway, the lambs politely took their turn for slaughter last night.  Folty pitched well, except when he didn’t.  Home runs to Hernandez and Muncy were just about countered by an Acuna return to form, but then runs started scoring on wild pitches and such, and it was 5-2 and looking bleak.

But after two easy outs in the 7th, two dribblers down the third base line by Culby and Albies were followed up by a solid JD single to bring SoCal phenom Freddie Freeman to the plate representing the go-ahead run against Scott Alexander.  His 3-2 single brought in Albies and the now it was Acuna against Floro (he of the 0.00 ERA) with two on trailing 5-4. But Acuna bounced out to short. Still, there’s hope.

But as Dante said: Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here.  (Actually, he said: Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate) And who entered here was AJ Minter.  Walk, Single, Stolen Base, Fabulous Sprawling Play By Swanson to Temporarily Save A Run, Intentional Pass, Dribbler Down the First Base Line Scoring A Run, Single Scoring Another Run and Minter’s Night Is Over and the 3 run lead is restored.  Enter Webb when hope is lost.  Two outs follow.  Minter enters the game with a 7.59 ERA and leaves with his ERA raised to a nice even 9.  It’s never good when your runs per inning is equal to Mariano Rivera’s WHIP for his career.

Webb, having had the courtesy not to Grybo any runs for Minter in the 7th, gave up a long two-run homer to Turner in the 8th.  The Braves had to bat in the 9th, because it doesn’t rain in LA during baseball season.  Nothing doing. 9-4.

Forget it, Jake.  It’s Chinatown.

Author: JonathanF

Alive since 1956. Braves fan since 1966. The first ten years were pretty much wasted. Exiled to Yankees/Mets territory in 1974 --- bearable only with TBS followed by MLB.TV.

68 thoughts on “LA is a great big freeway; put a hundred down and buy a car… then leave for Phoenix”

  1. That’s what I said … The Braves and Reds were in The West while the Cubs and Cardinals were in the East.

  2. Thanks for the recap, JonathanF. I generally like it when the Braves are playing on the West Coast, so I can watch some Braves for breakfast. But this certainly has been no fun.
    Off to Arizona, I am expecting the Braves to sweep the Dbacks.

  3. From a memo on the Braves stock:

    Does Liberty Braves Group Have A Good ROCE?
    One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, Liberty Braves Group’s ROCE appears to be significantly below the 10% average in the Entertainment industry. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Regardless of how Liberty Braves Group stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is quite low (especially compared to a bank account). Readers may wish to look for more rewarding investments.

  4. Carrying over from last thread. Riley should be in RF not LF. He may have the best arm on the team. He could be another secret reliever like Culby.

  5. Camargo probably needs some consistent PAs to get out of this. Would you flip flop him and Duvall?

  6. Our first 3 hitters combined to go 7 for 14 with 2 doubles and our 4th hitter hit a home run. Somehow we managed only 4 runs. As someone has said, we are snakebit against the Dodgers. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen against the Diamondbacks.

  7. AA has a hard job right now. We’re clearly better than the majority of teams in the league. We’re clearly struggling against the elites. The rotation is stabilizing but still not there. Same with the pen. The offense is slumping. And all of the internal options would have been upgrades in previous years, but it’s not like Duvall or Riley or Venters or whomever SP we can call up is going to make a difference.

    Still gotta get Kimbrel. Doesn’t change the last 3 days, but that still needs to happen. Get him on a 1YR/$10M (prorated for time missed) pillow deal. Write it into the deal that you can’t give him a QO or something. Not sure if you can do that.

    We’re not short on organizational talent. We’re short on elite, established players. I think Folty, Fried, and Soroka are elite, but not established. Gausman is a really, really good pitcher, but he’s not yet someone I would trust completely (though his 3.67 ERA in 95 Atlanta IP is pretty dang good).

    Just need to finish the roster.

  8. Bad series. Great recap. Thanks, JonathanF.

    Shake it off, Braves; it’s a long season.

  9. Accurate.

    Let’s beat the Snakes.

  10. I really think that AA’s meeting with Liberty leadership around the time of the winter meetings changed the trajectory of the season. It was only after that meeting that we started scaling back our promises to make big splashes. I don’t know if the goal is to position ourselves for next year, make some major moves before the deadline, or something else. Whatever the case, I don’t think AA is very happy right now.

  11. #7

    Sure, send Camargo down and let’s see what Duvall can do against major league pitching. Camargo could use the reps.

  12. I don’t believe a demotion would go over very well with Camargo. I’ll just leave it at that.

  13. To get everyone past this series I’ll note that Atlanta United have been rounding into much better form, finally seem to be gelling with de Boer’s more structured, less frenetic system, and seem to have turned a corner on the season’s lethargic start. Four wins in the last five matches, all of them clean sheets, and they find themselves above the playoffs line for the first time all year going into Saturday’s home fixture against “regional rival” Orlando City.

  14. @9 Agree however the offense is not really slumping.
    Once we’re running into great to elite pitchers, three or four runs should be enough at least for one game out of a series – if we show great to elite pitching ourselves.

  15. @16 Sam, we said we’re looking for more rewarding investments not more boring ones. Thanks anyway!

  16. @18 I understand that this forum is populated by a large segment of people who aren’t smart or cultured enough to enjoy real football. But I persist. Nobility is trying to better not only yourself, but those serfs, proles, and plebes who surround you as well.

  17. from mid-Atlantic blazon suggests…

    Smitty
    produces a quote that suggests we are sucking hind titty
    abandon this sow
    a billionaire would do just fine for now.

  18. Little shoutout to Sam on this Thursday afternoon with a new tagline.

    Real talk, I love the soccer movement in Atlanta. I don’t think Atlanta is anywhere close to being oversaturated with sports.

    Tampa Bay, on the other hand….

  19. For the month of May, the Atlanta Braves baseball club is 4-4. We have 4 @ ARI, 3 vs. STL, 3 vs. MIL, 4 @ SF, 3 @ STL, 2 vs. WAS, and 1 vs. DET that is part of a 3-game series that goes in June. Of those 20 games, I think it’s probable we go 11-9. We win the Detroit game, but we split against Arizona, lose and win 2/3 against each of STL and MIL (don’t ask me which), we split with WASH, and we split with SF. We’ll be .500 at the end of May. With Kimbrel a week away from being much cheaper, the cries get really, really loud for the man. And with more and more teams falling out of the race, the cries to make a trade get louder.

  20. I think this might be the first time Keystone Heights has appeared on the Internet.

  21. @9 are we really clearly better than the majority of teams in the league? Seems too early for that kind of proclamation. We’re better than the Marlins for sure. After that I think there’s still a lot to be determined.

  22. I’m not a history major, but I’m pretty sure we threw a bunch of tea in a harbor and fought a war, so we didn’t have to watch or play that counterfeit football, aka soccer…

  23. @26 The potential is there to be better than most, but I can’t shake the feeling that this team is having trouble jiving. Swanson and Donaldson have had some communication issues on the field. Acuna, Camargo, and Swanson had some last night. I’ve seen Swanson run into Albies territory to grab the ball last season, and that didn’t go over without some non-verbals sent back Swanson’s way.

    Not pointing a finger at Dansby, but I think this defense is struggling in more than just fielding.

  24. @27

    That was supposed to make it so that we didn’t have to care about the British royal family, too, and yet here we still are with endless news stories every time a member of that family sneezes.

    At least soccer is more entertaining than the British royal family.

  25. @9

    I think this team needs a starter who can match up with a Kershaw and keep us in the game. Madison Bumgarner, Kimbrel and Will Smith would make us the favorites in the east and give us a great shot in October.

    In the playoffs Bumgarner, Fried, Soroka and (Julio, Folty or Gausman) would be stout.

    I’d take my chances with that and it wouldn’t cost us a ton.

  26. The Dodgers remind me of how it must’ve felt like to play the Braves in our peak years. 3 superb starters, power up and down the lineup, no huge weaknesses.

  27. @33 I had the same thought. And last night I was thinking that them ’90s Braves would have given these Dodgers a far better match than this team we’ve got right now.

  28. @ 28,

    There was a time 20 years ago when the most likely place you could see George Steinbrenner other than at a Yankee game was at the Ramada Inn in Ocala Florida.

  29. @ 38,

    As in did George have a horse farm there? Yes.
    He also owned “Steinbrenner’s Yankee Inn”.

  30. Maybe its just because my town was even smaller/boring but I always liked the Ocala area. I think some of those little hilly areas along the interstate are kind of pretty in their own way.

  31. @39 – Did guests have to get a haircut & shave their beards in order to stay the night?

  32. Me too, Tfloyd, but we gotta score sometime. Might as well be now.

    JD!

    I am not Nostradamus, but I play him on Braves Journal.

  33. It’s not Luke Jackson about whom I’m upset. He’s been a good pitcher who had a bad inning. That happens. It’s that now, with the game extended, Snitker must turn to Minter, who is clearly and unremittingly terrible.

  34. There has to be some septuagenarian coach throwing BP in the Mexican or Korean leagues that could be signed and deliver better work than A.J. Minter.

  35. I’m not so much mad at Jackson for the HR. He’s human. It’s just as soon as that ball left the bat, like you, I knew Minter was coming in the 10th.

  36. More bad defense. Neck has to call for that last ball. Even if Ozzie catches it, he won’t be able to get the runner at home.

  37. Minter has a 14.3% walk rate and a 9.82 ERA. I don’t see how they don’t option him to Gwinnett.

    Snitker using him there seems like a call to AA. “Get this guy off my roster.”

  38. Minter doing Minter-ish things.

    What’s bad is when the announcer almost groans when you throw one to the screen, like Chip did. Rofl!

  39. @53 Agreed. I was paying more attention to Ozzie, because I could see he was going to be the one to try and make the play. Did Nick even appear to make any type of communication? He just sorta slowed.

  40. Venters should be ready to return, so there is even an obvious replacement for Minter.

  41. This one’s on Snit. Everyone else would have been a better choice than Minter. If you still wanna try him, you take him out after walking the first batter he faced showing that he obviously continued to not have it.

    Very impressed with Soroka. Clearly did not have his best stuff but made the pitches when he had to. He is special.

  42. To reach 93 wins, this team would need to go:

    75-49 from this point forward.

    As *currently* constituted, this team is closer to 70 wins than it is 93. IMO.

  43. I’m saying IF, but IF this team wins in the 70s, I’d hope the Braves would clean house, including AA.

  44. @60 75-49 is a .604 winning percentage. In no month last year did they have a .604 winning percentage, let alone several months. That’s going to be extremely difficult.

    The good news is that neither did the Phils, Mets, or Nationals. And we are only 4 games back. It’s a long, long season. But if we lose the division, it’s because we refused to upgrade the pen for the entire season. I get not wanting to lose the slot money by signing Kimbrel, but there were plenty of relievers available that didn’t have a QO attached. Of course, we did also agree to employ Vizzy, O’Day, and Venters, and any one of those would be closing games for us right now were they healthy.

    If you survey the news articles around baseball and Twitter for mentions of Craig Kimbrel, it’s a lot of fan blogs for the Pirates, Cubs, and Mets talking about signing Kimbrel. The Cubs’ and Mets’ payrolls are already significantly higher than they were last year. The Pirates’ are woefully uncommitted financially; their 2018 payroll of $91M is now $76M. It is also doesn’t seem like they’re particularly interested in contending. If I genuinely thought there was another team that was as logical of a landing spot based on need, competitive window, and finances, I would be really worried we wouldn’t land Kimbrel, but it just makes too much sense to me.

    If you want a .604 winning percentage for the rest of the year, it has to start with getting an elite reliever. When your offense is scuffling, you have to win 2-1 games in the 9th, and while Jackson has had a great run, you can’t be consistently handing him the ball in the 9th.

    If Kimbrel lands elsewhere… I’m just not seeing us being able to win the division.

  45. In the last 14 days, we are 16th in runs scored and 20th in team ERA. You just have to shake some things up.

    Minter down, Venters up
    Camargo down, Duvall up

    Do you let Touki close? Just Adam Wainwright him.

    Newcomb at 14 strikes in 19 pitches. Love that.

  46. It would help if Snitker’s bullpen moves didn’t consistently maximize the opposing offense’s platoon advantage. He brought in Jackson for 3 straight LHB and Minter for 3 straight RHB. This has been a consistent problem for his entire tenure. Lucky for us I guess, at this rate his tenure is going to end mid-season.

  47. I’m in full agreement that Minter should be sent down. I saw the game replay this morning and except for the pitches he threw that were 5 feet outside, he was throwing batting practice.

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