Tuesday Blues – Braves 3 – Cards ∞

This recapping stuff is getting to be a real drag. Coming into tonight, the Braves were 1-4 on Tuesday and now it’s 1-5. I don’t have the enthusiasm to be witty or clever because this game was just depressing. I’ll give you the bottom lines and hope it’s enough to generate the “continue reading” bubble.

Folty sucked. Biddle sucked harder. And Venters sucked about as hard as Biddle.  The Cards can hit – including two 3-run HRs tonight. I think it was Chip that quoted (supposedly) Jack Morris saying “You can’t beat me with 10.” Well, the Cards scored 14. I mean the Cards had 11 runs before the Braves got a HIT.

The Braves disappointed me in that, when Culby PH for Biddle, they didn’t let him pitch. That sucked. Of the two garbage time guys recalled from AAA today, at least Parsons showed that he belongs on a major league mound.

What are we gonna do with Folty? I looked and, glory be, Folty has an option. Seems to me like the Braves ought to option him to Gwinnett until he can pitch lights out again. TC said, in a story, that Ender couldn’t be optioned without giving him the choice of being released because he has 5 years of service. I looked it up and Ender only has about 4.3 years of service so I call BS. Folty has about 3.3 years of service so the option shouldn’t be a problem.  We should option both along with Biddle.

There’s not a decent starter to bring up so I’d put Newk back in the rotation, bring back Dayton and Duvall, and give either Rowen, De Paula, or Leyva a chance to use that 40th roster spot and see what they can do.  I’d probably go with Rowen since he can be DFA’d with no real harm done.  Even if Newk doesn’t do well, he’ll be better than Folty is now.  Heck, maybe Tomlin can do a spot start (Rowen could be a multi-inning opener).

I should have had this up sooner, but I fell asleep in the 9th.  Hey, AA, get us a MadBum and a Kimbrel.  Do it.  Do it now.

83 thoughts on “Tuesday Blues – Braves 3 – Cards ∞”

  1. Good use of the infinity sign. Very appropriate.

    But people always think more significantly of 4 bad starts when they’re at the beginning of the season and it makes their ERA eleventy billion, but at the end of the day, 4 bad starts in April/May mean the same as 4 bad starts in August when it has negligible impact on your ERA.

    A loss by one run and 17 are the same, but we got a three-for-one with this one because Folty got bombed so hard something will have to happen with him (hopefully just that he makes some adjustments, but we also learned Biddle and Venters are not much improved. Wouldn’t you rather learn all of those things in one loss than figure them out in three losses?

  2. Faulty has a fault. He must be hurt. He is throwing 5 mph slower on his fastball. He needs at minimum a scope and clean up of his elblow. I would hope they would scope his shoulder at the same time. That should not slow recovery. Either way he is 4 to 6 weeks, then LIGHT activity, then probably after 4 more weeks, light throwing. Takes him out for this year, probably, but otherwise, it is a waste of time to keep doing this crap.

    Same with Biddle. I can’t believe he is not hurt. This isn’t ordinary reliever volatility.

    And Venters looks done.

  3. If Riley can hit and play defense in LF slightly better than Ryan Klekso, then we’re in business.

  4. This is exciting news.
    Assuming Ender is on the IL, who is the backup centerfielder if RAJ goes down?

  5. @7 – Last night, he was a Poor Man’s John Cleese (a Fawlty Thrower). (I’ll see myself out.)

  6. Def. think it’s time to option Folty or shelf him. I feel like this was avoidable. Am I wrong?

  7. Is 92 wins or 92 losses more likely? I don’t think that’s as dumb a question as it once would have appeared to be.

  8. Man, the hyperbole gets stiff sometimes. Option Folty? Over 4 bad starts when he was injured and basically didn’t get a Spring Training?

    92 losses — a .432 winning percentage — when we are 21-21 (.500 winning percentage) would mean we would have to go 52-68 the rest of the way to do that. We can alllll agree that this team may not be talented to make the playoffs, but I would hope we can all agree that our roster is more talented than the team that racked up a lot of the losses so far, and it will most likely continue to get better.

    Bad math, Jason! Bad math!

  9. Anyway, am I the only person <a little concerned that Riley may not be the immediate value add some people are thinking he will be? On Twitter, there seems to be a lot of excitement about Riley, and I’m definitely excited. But he “only” hit .282/.346/.464 last year, and he started the year 14-67, .209/.274/.328. He’s on an absolutely torrid pace, but was this someone we considered to be a can’t-miss prospect even 3 weeks ago? It seems like some people think we’re calling up Acuna or Guerrero.

    Or am I just guarding my heart and we should be able to expect that he’s somewhere reasonably close to the 29-87, .377/.461/.987 line he’s had since he went nuts? We have indeed been very successful with our position players so far.

  10. I’ve started to just accept that Folty’s body language and demeanor is not going to be your typical reactions. After all, I love Max Scherzer, and he’s a psycho. Admittedly, Scherzer’s body language is a little more crazy and competitive, and Folty’s body language is more whiny and 12-year-old-girlish. But Folty had a tremendous year last year, and I’m just not going to get worked up about his struggles. If he’s not injured, then he’s probably tipping pitches again or has some mechanical issue to work out.

    I do also think he should probably go see Smoltz’s shrink, but I also like his crazy.

  11. Michael has problems, whether physical, mechanical, psychological or a combination thereof, I know not. He needs to resolve these issues, preferably not every fifth day off a big league mound. Is he toast? No. Is he worth running out there every five days? Nope, not even close.

  12. The only thing for sure about Riley is that his recent work is unsustainable at any level. So, the immediate question is for how many of the next 10 days can he stay locked in?

    If he stays up after Ender returns, then I’ll look a little harder at the longer term picture.

  13. 20 — Agreed. Some naive fans out there appear to think that Riley is going to come up and be a savior immediately.

  14. On Riley, I believe he has started slowly with each promotion, only to tear it up once he gets comfortable. Now would be a nice time to buck that trend and give ATL no choice but to keep him around.

  15. I am not concerned about Riley’s defense. I think his arm is big enough that it can make up for some fielding deficiencies. Last year, Acuna was raked over the coals by metrics for his defense and it didn’t matter much. I expect some misplayed balls in LF and I expect a few unexpected assists.

    I am thrilled to see Riley in the majors. If he hits *only* as well as Ozzie is now then our lineup will have no holes except pitcher.

    The only downside I see in promoting Riley is that he takes up another 40-man spot. And we don’t have a way to show how improved Duvall is or to see if any of the AAA non-roster pitchers are worth anything. Some are pitching very well even though the ball has been juiced (De Paula, Rowen, Burrows, Clouse, Leyva). I’d rather have any of these guys than Blevins.

    Although, one might expect Weigel and Ynoa to get some chances to join the Gwinnett shuttle soon enough. They are exciting relief prospects both pitching well at AA.

    The bottom line is we need another starter (assuming Folty is sent down) and one or two shutdown relievers. The pitching is what’s broken and needs fixing.

  16. I think the Braves will give Faulty at least one more start. Nobody at Triple A is impressing in the rotation right now and Newcomb would have to be stretched out again.

  17. I believe that it is more likely that the *currently constituted* Braves finish with closer to 92 losses than 92 wins, Rob.

    That could change with trades/signings/callups. But as of *right now*, this team is headed for a spiral/bad season.

    If you’re only good against the teams much worse than you, and you’re average against teams about the same as you, and terrible against the teams much better than you, what does that add up to?

  18. A lot of people are crushing Folty today, but what if he had made a start like that on March 15th, in the middle of ST? We’d all be saying it’s just Spring Training, and stats are meaningless. Granted it’s not ST now, but that’s where he sorta is. They need to go with this guy a while longer and give him some time.

    Besides, as Braves14 mentioned, who’s tearing it up at AAA right now on the mound that you’d bump him for? And even if you have a guy you like, why would you bump Folty before Tehran?

  19. @28 I don’t see them losing 92 games. The offense is too talented for that. However, if they don’t fix the pen, they’re probably a .500ish team at the end of the year, same as they are now. That’s not going to sniff the playoffs.

    Furthermore, unless ownership put the kibosh on spending, I think Anthopolous might be up for a job review? I’m annoyed that they haven’t signed Kimbrel. That’s me. It’s inexcusable he didn’t pick up some type of quality RP, though.

  20. A Brave at Sea cont.

    3/14on the tuesday horror show…that’s when the tough get summoned Roger, well done, stay awake.

    Austin Riley
    of whom we once thought merely highly
    we must now revere
    our shining star, our cocky chanticleer.

  21. @20, Rob,

    I am concerned that Riley will do what he has done after each promotion. That is, back up before going to a higher level. So, if anybody is expecting more than .280 / .360 / 480 out of him, then such person is borderline delusional.

    I am “concerned” but not panicked over the defense.

  22. I’m a bit surprised they called up Riley to play LF and not Duvall (an outfielder).

  23. @28, couple of things: technically the team could finish 80-82 and meet your criteria. Or they could go 82-80 and not meet it. Given that so far we’re about a .500 team the odds of going in either direction seem about 50/50.

    Also, the team won’t stay as currently constituted all season, nor will any other team, so there’s really no way to measure that.

    FWIW I don’t think we’ll win 92 OR lose 92. The 2017 only lost 90, and the 2016 team only lost 93. We’re clearly better than either of those teams.

  24. 29 — The pitching staff has bigger problems than Teheran, who has been perfectly cromulent.

  25. I wouldn’t be surprised if Inciarte has played his last game as a Brave.

  26. @19 Man, the hyperbole gets stiff sometimes. Option Folty? Over 4 bad starts when he was injured and basically didn’t get a Spring Training?

    That’s not hyperbole. That conversation is happening at other places. I just posted it over here where for some reason it’s not happening yet.

    Folty will either be sent down or placed on IL if he doesn’t show signs of life. It will happen sooner than later.

  27. It will be interesting to see if Touki is up just to be a long man for a few days, to move into situational relief, or to replace Faulty. I’m guessing to be the long man since they just sent Wright back down.

  28. The best starter for Gwinnett this season so far has been Allard, though he has been hit a bit harder than he was last season. (The juiced ball probably a reason)

  29. @37 I saw that. That’s very interesting as it preserves an open spot on the 40-man roster when they didn’t have to. They may see an opportunity to get Biddle through with no claims as he’s been pretty awful. Or it may be a strategic move that allows us to add Riley while keeping an open spot for Kimbrel or one of the non-roster relievers at AAA. If Biddle makes it through waivers then it will relieve all my concerns about promoting Riley.

    In theory, if Riley doesn’t impress, another Gwinnett shuttle could be created between Riley, Duvall, and Inciarte for LF to play whoever is hot.

    About 2.5 more weeks and we should see the big trade and/or the big signing.

  30. @39 It doesn’t matter where it’s being said. It’s still nutty. And even if Kolby Allard or something was running off a nice string of starts, you’re still not going to demote a 4 WAR pitcher who didn’t get a Spring Training after 4 bad starts.

  31. We’re about 1/4 of the way through the season, and we’re a .500 team. And that’s definitely indicative of the team we broke camp with and improved up to this point. But I couldn’t tell you what “as currently constituted (or constructed)” means. We’ve used 23 different pitchers, including probably 10 different rotations of SP. Our best pitcher from last year (Faulty) has been on the roster for 3 weeks.

    Across varying degrees of sample, we have employed 8 pitchers who have ERAs over 7. 10 over 5 ERA. Gausman is underperforming his FIP and worse than we should expect. We didn’t have a closer through a third of our games so far. We just don’t know what we have.

    We’re probably a .500 team, which is still closer to 92 wins than 92 losses. But with how many blown leads we’ve had, how many terrible starting pitching outings we’ve had, I’m thinking we can turn 5 future losses into wins and win 92.

  32. Sad for Biddle, but man, we have really just not hard luck with strong performers from our 2018 translating over to 2019.

    We now don’t have a single LHP in the pen.

  33. @43 SMH. You’re too hung up on what it sounds like to demote the guy. With Foltynewicz, it could be mental, mechanical, or physical. It’s probably the arm. Either way, if he gets destroyed for a 5th game, I’d bet you will see them make a move–probably to place him on the IL.

    I’m sorry I made the mistake of saying option ahead of IL. I’m not claiming Folty is done. No one is. There is obviously something wrong, and it’s not missing spring training.

  34. @32 I would have to think the Braves — and this fan — would happily accept a .280/.360/.480 and average defense. To be honest, I actually don’t expect that much.

  35. @43 Agreed.

    Imagine if the Red Sox had demoted Chris Sale (who had the benefit of a full spring) after his first few starts? He was struggling, and missing some fastball velocity, similar to Folty. They gave him time, and he’s turned it around. I mean he just struck out, what, 17 the other day?

    Now if he’s legit injured, then you IL him. That’s a different story. I’d only pull him from the rotation for injury though, and not performance.

  36. If he gets bombed again, IL him. There’s no just no way they would nor should option him.

  37. I missed Newcomb, but not Venters. I said left-handed pitcher, not belly-itcher. Zinger!

  38. This bullpen is terrible and I sometimes unironically wonder if Charlie Culberson could pitch better than a few of them.

  39. No lhp’s in the bullpen? Isn’t Venters still around?

    Can Riley and Duvall equal or exceed the production of Donaldson and Inciarte? If so, what trade value is there in the latter package?

    My sense on the Riley call up is they are auditioning him to see if he’s ready this year offensively. That should inform trades later in the year. Inciartes value is in the tank right now. Hopefully he can come back from the IL and increase his trade value.

  40. @52 I think there’s a decent chance Culberson could keep his ERA under 5, so yes, he might very well outperform some of these clowns.

    I’m a baseball fan even over being a Braves fan, which is hard to say. I want position players throwing cheddar on the mound. I like it when basketball centers can hit threes. I like it when kickers throw TD passes. I like it when they pull the goalie and a goalie scores a goal. I want position players mowing down hitters. I want pitchers going yard.

  41. @54 Another option might be to let Riley throw an inning here and there in relief especially if he can hit 94.

    No Braves pitchers are going yard…… Again, worst hitting pitchers in the league. Looking at FG makes it even more ridiculous. The Braves give up 0.4 WAR to the Rockies at 29th best. And that’s offset by the fact that the Braves pitchers are good defenders (7th in the majors). They give away 1.5 wins to the Mets just by being the worst hitters.

  42. Max Fried just this week hit a no-doubter opposite field that missed the fair pole by about 3mm.

  43. @44 – Isn’t a .500 team exactly as close to 92 wins as to 92 losses? 81-81 is 11 games in either direction.

    The Braves are a textbook example of a team that should be spending $$$ on talent. They are in the low 80’s win trajectory, in a competitive division, have money to spend, etc. Ecery win they can purchase increased their World Series odds more than any other team in baseball. Spend. The. Money.

  44. Maybe today will be the start of Anthopoulos’s redemption arc, as Riley was the oft-rumored offered piece going to the Marlins for Realmuto. Riley has a chance to make Anthopoulos’s vacillating look genius.

  45. What a crappy inning at bat for the Braves. They had every advantage and didn’t do anything right after Acuna’s stolen base. The got lucky to get a run but that’s one they should have gotten anyway. Dansby failed to move Acuna over. Donaldson couldn’t make contact. At least they made Wacha throw a ton of pitches.

  46. I really appreciate you guys not roasting me for wanting to trade Riley for Bumgarner and Smith. To be fair, that was about 17 home runs ago.

  47. Snitker is going to Luke now. I like it, this is probably a higher leverage spot now than the 9th.

  48. @72, I would too, but not if it’s Venters. Winkler has been quite effective before tonight’s implosion. At this point Jackson is the only guy who’s been reliable. So it looks like he’ll go for the two inning save.

  49. Thank goodness for Luke Jackson. That was the smartest thing I’ve seen Snit do in a long time. Going ahead and pulling Dan BEFORE any real damage could be done. Not his normal MO.

    Something was bothering Winkler. Maybe it was the mound; maybe he just couldn’t get comfortable. Snit recognizing that he was never going to settle in was brilliant.

  50. Charlie Culberson, Folk Hero remains one of the more bizarre subplots of the past couple years.

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