So Long Cardinals: ATL 10 – STL 2

The Braves moved to within 1.5 games of the Phillies after smiting Adam Wainright and the Cardinals last night. This may have been the last time we’ll see Wainright pitch in Atlanta (Talk about feeling old…). The Braves scored early and stayed after the Cards in this one. They led by 5 after 3 innings, and Wainright was out after the 4th having made 79 pitches. Doing the most damage for the Braves was Freeman (3-4, HR, BB), Riley (3-4, 2B), and Markakis (2-4, 2B, BB). Julio Teheran carried a no-hitter into the 5th and was the winning pitcher of record in this one–he is now 3-4 on the year with a 3.88 ERA.

The action started in the 2nd inning for the Braves. Nick Markakis led off with a walk. Two pitches later, Austin Riley doubled. I’m saying this in my best Joe Simpson impersonation, whoever designed that fence is a dummy! That was a homer, folks. And this kid is really riding a tidal wave of energy right now. McCann did his part in hitting the ball deep enough to score Markakis and move Riley down to third (Braves 1-0). Ozzie followed with a walk, and Julio would bunt in another run (Braves 2-0).

The Braves didn’t stop, though, as they would pick up where they left off for the bottom of the 3rd. This time, it was Freeman who led off with a walk, and Markakis would follow with the RBI-double. Austin powered in the fourth run on a single, and again Julio would help himself, this time with a lead-extending single. And Ozzie ended up in no-man’s land on this play. It was a shallow single by Julio, and the throw to the plate was cut-off, as one would expect, and Albies was easily out at third to end the inning. Oh well.

Other tidbits from the game. Thanks to y’all, I can no longer ignore Chip. Apparently last night was supposedly a full moon. It very obviously was not courtesy of the zoomed in high-definition view they showed on TV as Chip was making that remark. Oh well. On a more joyful note, Touki Toussaint had the look of a kid at Christmas when he took the Cardinals defense by surprise on a long drive that would land right at the fence just shy of a home run.

The Phillies got whomped in their game against the Brewers (11-3), and the Braves are only 1.5 GB now. We’ll now face the Brewers. Jhoulys Chacins will take the mound for the Brew Crew to face Max Fried and the Braves. Should be a lot of offense in this series.

59 thoughts on “So Long Cardinals: ATL 10 – STL 2”

  1. In response to Smitty’s post in the last thread:

    “I just read an article on the Athletic about how bad the NL east is.

    It just proves if we would have added a decent starter and 2-3 relievers, we would be running away with the East.”

    Or
    We could have gotten Bryce Harper for a ton of money and have a slightly worse record.
    Or
    We could have gotten JT Realmuto for a ton of prospects and have about the same record (considering defense).

    I’m not arguing that either one of these guys won’t be long term positives, but so far their impact over our current roster would have been negligible to negative. Who would have ever believed that?

  2. Thanks Donny.

    I like the pitching matchups for the Milwaukee series. I’d love to take 2 of 3 again. Just based on the blown saves alone, this team is better than they’ve shown.

    For those keeping score, the Braves are on a 85-win pace based on overall won/loss record. We were 0-3 in March, 14-12 in April, and 9-6 in May. We’d be on pace for a 0-162 season based on our March performance, 87-win pace based on April performance, and a 97-win pace based on our performance in May. The 87-win improvement on our pace from March to April was impressive, I guess, but I like the 10-win improvement on the pace for May. If you take 2 of 3 from Milwaukee, you’d be on a 99-win pace based on May performance. #FunWithTrends

    I also don’t think that we would say we’re necessarily playing “over our heads” right now. It seems some people are still disappointed at how we’re playing right now.

  3. That assumes that those players would respond the same no matter what NL East team they play for, which is an assumption I’m not willing to make.

  4. I find it to be a very unpopular, homer-rific take to say that players, on the aggregate, would play better for your team vs. another team. With that said, we can say that Markakis and McCann are playing better for us than they did for their previous team, even as they’ve gotten older. We’ve had some people obviously play worse for us, though I wouldn’t consider one of them to be Donaldson.

    It’s hard to say we wouldn’t have been able to use Realmuto’s framing skills a little better, though.

  5. I really hope to see Fried bring his A game tonight. We haven’t had a good outing from him since May 1st.

  6. @1 I flat out didn’t want Harper on the Braves, and didn’t want them to pay the prospect rate for Realmuto. Those two things make me feel like I’d be a smart GM.

    Then I think I also would’ve spent huge on Manny Machado, signed Adam Jones; and blocked Austin Riley, who I admittedly would’ve traded for a pitcher. Then I think maybe I wouldn’t be such a smart GM… Lol.

  7. @5 Which is why I wouldn’t make that claim. I think we can only safely say that some teams are better fits for certain players. Markakis is a good example of a guy who is right at home with the Braves–I’m ready to just accept that Kakes is a Brave through-and-through.

    Kind of a hard thing to predict without interacting with players, but I do think that’s a component that some GMs take into account. Kind of have to.

  8. @6 Fried’s going to need his A+ game tonight with Yelich on tap. He feels like he’s on pace for about 324 homeruns.

  9. @9 That’s really, really true. As fans we can look at a player and say “he fits, because we needed a right-hand hitting outfielder with power,” or whatever it is we see a team as needing. It’s really hard to say how a guy will fit though without really knowing them. Every team has a personality to it.

  10. I worry about our over reliance on Luke Jackson to pitch two innings of relief for us, but otherwise it feels like a solid team. We still need a little luck to overcome the Phillies, but it is certainly doable.

  11. @1 @5 I would still have taken Realmuto in a heartbeat. He is currently the top rated catcher in the majors (mostly defense) even though his hitting is somewhat down. I realize I suggested having bought into Harper last night, but with all the OF talent coming soon, there is a real concern about tying down one position so long at such a high rate. On the other hand, a guy like Brantley, who is really bashing the ball and playing good defense (and would be our current best player), would have been a good investment. He only signed for two years so would not be blocking anyone. Trading for Realmuto and signing Brantley and Kimbrel (or even a non-QO closer like Britton or Ottavino) would not have cost much more than signing Donaldson, Markakis, and McCann. If you needed someone for the bench Adam Jones only cost $3M for one year. That team might not have been scoring quite as many runs but it sure would have had a better bullpen and better defense.

    Anyone wondering how much our degraded defense is costing our pitchers this year?

  12. Yelich has remarkable home/away splits…

    Home: 15 HR, 73 TB, 32 RBI, 1.665 OPS

    Away: 3 HR, 38 TB, 8 RBI, 0.865 OPS

  13. If this isn’t, then I will stand corrected, but I think this is the Phillies’ best team. I don’t see them trading a ton of prospects, and this is their highest payroll in years by far. And we’ve only had anything close to the team we have today for about 1/3 of our team’s games so far, and I still don’t think this is our best team.

    If you’re a Phillies’ fan, you’re forced to hope that their team can hold off the Braves, but if you’re a Phillies fan, how are you not worried watching MLB Network and they’re talking about Soroka, Fried, and Riley coming out of nowhere (in their minds)? And then MLB Network is talking about how loaded our farm system is still. You’re left to hope Liberty Media is really as cheap as some Braves fans think they are, and we won’t be able to add payroll throughout the season. Looking at their prospect list, though, it doesn’t look like there’s a Riley, Touki, Anderson, Wright, or even Wilson or Pache to call up.

    With that said, the Phillies have a +24 run differential, and we have a +2. They certainly should be better than they’ve shown as well. And yet we’re only 1.5 back.

  14. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still have signed McCann and then traded Flowers. And I’ve got nothing against JD and Kakes; I just think another way would have been a better ft for the team. We could have had Camargo at 3rd and then have a discussion about who would be better to place in LF right now, Riley or Camargo.

  15. @17 I liked, and still do, what they did- up until they failed to address the bullpen. They signed JD, which added the big RH bat. That moves Camargo into a role where he can give guys rest. McCann may not be the player Realmuto is now, but he only cost money- and that was a win. Then they brought back Kakes, and all signs seemed to point toward that being where they saved some money to go get Kimbrel. Then… nothing, aside from financial flexibility speeches.

    When you look at the offense, the moves have worked there. There’s really not that much to second guess, I don’t think. The problem is they paired a top tier position core with a patchwork bullpen. If the pen was better, the Braves are in first by a wide margin right now.

  16. @18 I’m with you. I’d have liked to have spent crazy on established pitching, however that was going to look if it was just money or we traded wisely from prospects a little further away from the big leagues (read: no one impacting this season).

    But it also seems like acquisition of established pitching has a 50/50 success rate, too……

  17. I’m sure he will let us down soon like all managers do, but from my perspective, Snitker’s recent decisions have been really good.

  18. Thank you for the post, Donny. Enjoy the game tonight, krussell. You and Max being us home a win.

  19. Another hit by Riley. I think Acuna seems to read the ball better in center and handles cf as well as Ender was this year at least. Ender obviously had lost a step. Outciarte is in danger of getting Wally Pipped.

  20. Hmmm, I don’t agree with Ron Washington on holding Riley at third with the pitcher coming up.

    This seems like one of those games that should be 6-0 by now; I hope we don’t end up regretting missing out on these early opportunities.

  21. @23 Gosh, man, it’s hard for me to see how Ender isn’t Wally Pipp’ed.

    Alright, 3-0, mid-4, Fried dealing. What is the percentage likelihood we win the contest?

  22. Pretty good, Rob. As you smart guys say, better than zero.

    To Carl’s point, six-zip would improve those odds.

  23. It’s the kind of game that makes you nervous—leaving so many runners on base. Still, Varsity is dealing. I like our chances.

  24. Despite that 3 run homer, Dansby’s OBP is down to .307. Needs to be moved down in the order.

  25. I hope everyone is noticing that the Braves are doing this against the better teams in the league. After getting stomped by the Dodgers, we’ve taken it to AZ, STL, and MIL. All top teams. One more win after tonight and we’re even against >.500 teams.

  26. OK, guys, save some for tomorrow, please.

    Hope we can give some garbage time pitchers a chance to get straightened out tonight.

  27. Oddly, the only guys in the lineup with fewer than 2 hits, other than Fried, all have HRs.

  28. It’s very possible we just witnessed Jonny Venters final pitch as a Major League Baseball player.

    And I hate it. Absolutely hate it.

  29. Eight runs in not even three innings.

    The bullpen is always there to remind us why you can’t get too excited by this team.

  30. I guess I shouldn’t have turned it off in the 9th, huh. Can’t believe we wasted Jackson when we’re likely going to need him one of the next two days.

    It was good to get past Venters, but I’m not happy Parsons couldn’t get an out. Tomlin will continue to be useful for a while for long relief. Maybe, we could DFA Venters and let de Paula or Rowen have a chance.

  31. If our bullpen was just simply league average, our run differential would be higher than the Phillies’. And we’d probably be 3-4 games up.

    At least we know thy enemy, and it’s not the Phils.

  32. Tomlin has never been good.
    He’s given up 7 earned runs in his last 8 innings. It’s time to give him the Blevins treatment.

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