Brewers 3, Braves 2 (10)

Ben Gamel homered on Wes Parsons‘ first pitch leading off the top of the 10th, the 5th solo home run of the day, and the Brewers salvaged a game from the 3 game set. Christian Yelich and Ronald Acuna Jr. traded homers in the first, and Freddie Freeman bookended Keston Hiura‘s 1st career home run in the 5th by hitting his 200th career homer in the 7th.

Brandon Woodruff and Josh Hader held the Braves to 5 hits; Woodruff and Mike Foltynewicz allowing the home runs in regulation. Folty took a step toward regaining Foltzie status, otherwise allowing only a 4th inning single to Yasmani Grandal, and walking none. He added 3 strikeouts in his 6 innings. Touki Toussaint went 1 1/3 perfect innings in relief, but Jerry Blevins, Jacob Webb, and Parsons allowed 2 hits apiece. However, like Foltynewicz, the bullpen did not allow a walk

Austin Riley went 0 – 4 with 3 strikeouts. Halfway through the experiment (assuming Ender Inciarte will need the 10 day IL minimum) Riley is hitting .421 with 2 homers in 19 at bats, 6 strikeouts, and yet to draw a walk. Where might Riley end up if he manages to stick? We now have 435 AAA and 277 AA at-bats to guide us, in which Riley has put up a .287/.356/.536 and a .321/.391/.570, and 27 and 14 home runs respectively. I’m in. If Riley manages 300 MLB at-bats this year, I see him at around .270 and 17 homers. There’ll be some pain on the way to down to .270, so bear with him.

At San Francisco Monday at 9:45 Eastern; Mike Soroka and Shaun Anderson scheduled.

Author: Rusty S.

Rusty S. is a Braves Journal reader since 2005 and an occasional innings-eater. It was my understanding that there would be no expectations.

91 thoughts on “Brewers 3, Braves 2 (10)”

  1. I like the Riley projection. That looks like it’d be about a .270/.340/.450 line based on his minor league walks and power translating to the major league level.

  2. I know the Braves shorted him that $100k a couple years ago, but can he not afford Chick-fil-A? This is twice already. Eat, man.

  3. Thank you, Rusty. I am encouraged by the team’s recent play. Hopefully we won’t play down to the Giants.

    Once more: I hate west coast games.

  4. West coast games suck, but thankfully the Braves have gotten most of them out of the way.

    I find the scheduling to be kind of inefficient. They got the LAD and ARI series positioned well, but everything else is split up. SFG then STL. SDP then MIL.

    Meh.

  5. Travis Demeritte is absolutely raking.

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=demeri000tra

    In most other organizations, he’d have a bench spot.

    Same with Duvall.

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=duvall001ada

    I would have thought that with the ball flying out of Gwinnett’s ballpark and this being the first year AAA is using the MLB baseball, that something was up. Then Riley rakes for his first 20 PAs of his career, including 2 HRs, and I’m wondering if maybe we’re just producing good talent.

    You can never have enough 1.000 OPS players in AAA, and you have to just be thankful that injuries haven’t sorted this all out naturally.

    With that said, and I say this as a huge Ender fan, but Ender needs to get his defense back if he’s to have a spot on the roster for even the rest of the year. I’m hoping they’re giving him 5-6 days off, then letting him start a “rehab assignment” for 10 days or so in AAA. Gives Riley a full two weeks to see what he’s got, and gives Ender a full two weeks to get his mind right/get his legs back/find his stroke again/etc.

  6. Also, with all of the talk of how good our position players are, the depth we have, etc., we’re only 16th in baseball in hitting fWAR the last two weeks. Over the last two weeks, Dansby, Ozzie, Ender, and Kakes have all had negative fWAR, with Kakes being the worst offender while playing in every game and having the second-most PAs on the team during that stretch.

    I know it’s fashionable to rail on our patchwork bullpen, and that critique is justified, but our bullpen had a 2.25 ERA yesterday (1 ER in 4 IP). We’d have the best bullpen in baseball if we could do that every day. And at some point you have to look at Snit’s complete refusal to give these guys days off while Camargo can’t find the field and Culberson being heavily underutilized and find some fault in the manager’s chair. Kakes has been remarkably durable, but if he were to finally get injured, a reasonable person will have to give credence to the fact that he’s played largely every day for almost a year and a half.

    And when you’re forced to pull your SP after 67 pitches and after he just hit in the previous inning, you have to take a look at the person to whom he reports.

  7. Or is the offense putting pressure on the pitching to prevent runs? I have no idea, but I don’t think one unit affects the other.

  8. It does if you feel pressure to put the best bats out there as much as possible as opposed to giving more rest and using the bench more.

  9. You don’t manage your lineup like it’s a playoff series because you’re worried about your pitching. That’d be a foolish reason for Snit to be running his position players into the ground.

    At best, Snit has a huge bent towards consistency in the lineup.

    At worst, he can’t control the players who don’t want to come out of the lineup.

  10. No, you manage your lineup to try to maximize runs scored, especially when your pitching is making it nearly impossible to keep pace with the division leader.

  11. I think it’d be pretty foolish for a manager to be intentionally running the position players into the ground because the pitching is disappointing while he’s got perfectly good options on the bench.

  12. Fangraphs has the Braves hitting ranked 7th in MLB and the pitching at 22nd in xFIP. Ranked 17th in defense.

    I was being irrationally exaggerative about the 92 losses but really this team is going nowhere really(from a truly competive standpoint) with pitching and defense being this bad.

  13. Fangraphs has had us projected to be a playoff team for a couple weeks now, and that projection continues to increase, and some fans will not be happy with the upward trajectory of this season because we didn’t trade for JT Realmuto and therefore we’re Not Trying(TM).

  14. Rob, the truth is almost always somewhere in the middle. Most teams are not resting their best players much early in the season. The Phillies have 5 players who’ve appeared in all but one game. Bryce Harper has played every game. The Dodgers have 3 guys who’ve played in all but 2 games, and three others right behind them.

    The only player the Braves have legit not given a day off is Ozzie Albies. Kakes and Swanson have both been given a day but then appeared late in the game. I admit it’s a bit of a head scratcher, though, considering we’ve got more depth on the middle infield than anywhere else.

    Still, this team is 2.5 GB of the team that actually spent money to improve its roster. If the Braves are 5+ GB going into June, does it impact their plans for the rest of the season?

  15. I suppose a shutout loss in the Wildcard game is something to look forward to.

    They’ve pulled it out of a slight tail spin but I seriously doubt this team is much more than just contending for a wild card, and that’s even a maybe.

    I don’t care about Realmuto. I still don’t believe the front office is trying to *win*, I believe they are trying to be competitive and there is a difference.

  16. Seriously, ATL just finished going 7-2 against playoff caliber teams, Soroka and Fried are emerging potential aces, Folty and Julio appear to be back on track, Newki and Touki could be really special out of the bullpen and Riley has come up with some of the best easy power the team has ever had.

    You’d think we were in the midst of a 10 game losing streak.

    All that said, I did tell my brother we should just forfeit the season after the 4th straight loss in Arizona last Thursday, so I’m prone to overreact occasionally as well…

  17. If Camargo is to play more, he might want to change things up some and try not being terrible.

  18. I think some fans are incredibly frustrated with how hodgepodged it seemed the roster was put together at the beginning of the season. That the rest of the division started the year guns blazing with their best team, and it looked like we were either ill-prepared, negligent, and/or cheap. And it’s taking people a really long time to realize that our pen is not the worst or second-worst pen in baseball like they were at the beginning of the season. Over the last month, we’ve been a much more respectable 15th in relief ERA, and that should continue to get better.

    But like it or not, the Braves want to see what they have, and considering they haven’t made their final moves (and literally every other team in the division has), we’re right there at 2.5 games back. But because we insist on finding out which young pitchers are good or not, some fans just simply see it as Not Trying (TM), whereas the Braves would say they’re trying to find 5 aces, which, ya know, they are in the process of succeeding at.

  19. Ah, attacking the character/personality now. :)

    You needn’t accuse me of being reactive. I’ve consistently been disappointed with how the front office (and probably team ownership) has chosen to govern this team.

    I simply had higher hopes coming off the playoff berth. I have not, however, continued to drone on about my disappointment. I think you can give me credit for that much.

  20. @30

    Seriously, ATL just finished going 7-2 against playoff caliber teams, Soroka and Fried are emerging potential aces, Folty and Julio appear to be back on track, Newki and Touki could be really special out of the bullpen and Riley has come up with some of the best easy power the team has ever had.

  21. I’m not bashing the Markakis signing when I say this- but I believe one downside to giving him, and him accepting less money to stay in Atlanta is Snit could feel some self imposed pressure to play him every day. It’s clear he’s the type that wants to play, and Snit seems the type to want to do right by his guys. This might be the biscuit they’re giving him, so to speak.

  22. This team is fun to watch and it’s winning more often than not. We are a MadBum and Kimbrel away from being a top contender.
    Be pissed if the Braves don’t spend before the trade deadline, but I strongly believe they will.

    Ugh, I dread playing the Giants. Three out of four would be huge.

  23. Vizzy has announced on his Insta account that he now plays for the Seattle Mariners. I guess he was put on waivers and claimed.

  24. @15 “I know it’s fashionable to rail on our patchwork bullpen, and that critique is justified, but our bullpen had a 2.25 ERA yesterday (1 ER in 4 IP). We’d have the best bullpen in baseball if we could do that every day.”

    I get you’re phrasing it that way to illustrate a point, but you can’t really frame it that way. That would be like clipping the 2nd game Riley played, and saying if he could do that every day, he’d hit .750 with 162 doubles and 324 runs scored.

    As well all know, guys will have highs, and guys will have lows in performance during a season. There are decent pieces in the pen, but one game doesn’t change the fact that the pen isn’t good as a whole. That’s not really on Snit, either. He can’t just throw the guys that are getting it done because they need rest.

    I’m not going to say Snit is the best tactician in the game, but I think he’s capable. The Nationals are an example of why you maybe don’t remove a respected veteran manager who is liked, even if they have their flaws. They’ve been garbage since they let Baker go.

  25. @34 That really doesn’t bug me much I’ve never been the biggest Viz fan.

    Do we offload his salary that way?

  26. It was a trade.

    Braves acquired Anthony Swarzak + $$ in exchange for Biddle and Vizcaino.

    I don’t know what to think.

  27. For Anthony Swarzak. Who’s old, terrible, and being paid 8.5 million this year. Hmmm.

    They must be paying his entire salary or this makes no sense.

  28. So we traded some stale bread and hard cheese for someone else’s spoiled caviar? Fantastic.

  29. Wait, someone paid Anthony Swarzak 8.5M? For what?

    I swear I honestly believe there are days when I could do better than these GMs.

    There are 500 league minimum guys that could put up a 4.25 ERA.

  30. I think it’s Biddle’s spot for Swarzak since Vizzy had already been transferred to the 60-day. It does seem to necessitate clearing a spot on the 25-man.

  31. The old “Maybe he’ll be better for us” doesn’t seem to apply as much to a relief pitcher as it does to a groundball-oriented starter. Oh well.

  32. 55 – Quite possibly, but he was one of the most valuable relievers in all of baseball in 2017.

  33. If it’s a salary-neutral thing, that means someone was not getting value out of their asset. Why would the Mariners do that then? Either they think Vizzy is not done and want his last year of control, or they think Biddle has positive value, or they think Swarzak is completely useless. Could be a mixture of all three.

    If it’s salary neutral, then I guess it’s just Biddle’s talent for Swarzak’s talent, in the Braves’ eyes. I don’t think, though, one can subscribe to the theory that the Braves are sitting on their hands, and then when they do something, think there’s not a reason behind it. I think they think he can get back to where he was when he was in the East. But yeah, I agree, at worst, it’s “a free look.”

  34. The old saying ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained.’ applies here.

    Of course, the way Viz and Biddle have pitched – the Braves may have ventured Nothing.

  35. @32 Markakis is deserving being placed in the lineup every day. His “slump” was deceptive as he never stopped hitting the ball hard. He is currently our 4th best hitter (123 WRC+) behind FF5, Acuna, and Donaldson. And that’s after the slump. He is in the top 40 in AVG, Hits, Walks, OBP, and 2Bs and has fewer Ks than walks. Except for his defense, he should be in the lineup every day. His BABIP is .310 which is almost the same as his AVG.

  36. Thank goodness we weren’t the ones to give Swarzak that contract – 2 year, $14M. He basically cashed in on his one career year (2017). He is worthless but, considering the SEA defense and Swarzak’s GB rate, he may be worth a look. He has no split difference and when he doesn’t get the ball on the ground, it goes out of the park. And his walk rate is terrible, too. Biddle’s DFA gave the Braves no choice. I assume SEA made a claim and the Braves said “give me something, anything” and Swarzak was the answer. If we make a bigger trade, there is no doubt Swarzak will be gone.

    But SEA does get a lefty that can throw 94, so they could hardly be complaining. Looks like we’re getting Swarzak for about twice the amount of Biddle’s salary. Just like Viz is a salary equalizer, Swarzak was a salary equalizer in the Cano/Diaz deal. So SEA gets Biddle and about $1-2M of salary relief. I’d say SEA used their leverage to make a darn good deal.

    Still, it’s hard for me to believe that just letting Biddle go, and trying either de Paola or Rowen wouldn’t be just as effective.

  37. @62

    Yes, but you’re presupposing two things:

    1) Kakes would not be better if he had more rest.
    2) The team itself would not be better if playing time for Camargo was allotted.

    #1 is tough because his whole persona seems to suggest that he benefits from routine and consistency. But does he really not get better with rest like seemingly every athlete on the planet?

    #2, to krussell’s point, gets into a chicken-and-egg. Is Camargo not playing well because he’s not getting playing time, or is he not getting playing time because he’s not hitting well? I’m inclined to think, though, it’s the former since he was not getting playing time way before it was clear he was not hitting well. And at this point, he probably needs to get a week or two in AAA to get going again.

  38. A lot of this is probably a moot point as we will have less days off and scorching heat over the next couple months, so Camargo will be forced to get playing time. I’m sure they told him April and May would be lean months for playing time.

  39. @61 I’m not down on Markakis at all, or trying to suggest they turn him into a platoon bat. Given he wore down last season, I just think it’d be beneficial for him to sit at least once a week, the way they’re doing with Donaldson. The question is will Snit do that, or does he feel as if he needs to play him close to as much as he did last season?

  40. I like Markakis better as part of a platoon.

    He’s probably stubborn. He doesn’t want to sit. My guess is he’s playing pretty much every day until he starts slumping badly.

  41. That’s a change of scenery trade. They take our trash and we take theirs and hope a fresh start helps.

    Camargo in at SS today.

  42. The most distressing thing I’ve learned today is that I have grandchildren older than AAR.

  43. In other distressing news (and really, what other kind of Mets news is there?), Cespedes has “stepped in a hole” and fractured his ankle badly.

  44. Another prospect potentially moving up. He’s built like a tank. I hope he stays healthy.

  45. Riley on fire. Have we come up with a nickname for Riley yet? Austin ‘Big Fly’ Riley. Big Fly Ri for short. Or ‘Big Country’? Or ‘The Mississippi Burning Man’, but that’s too long.

  46. I’m sticking with Austin’s Power for the moment. City Limits? (That’s where he hits them…)

  47. City Limits is good. Or Statehouse, as he is built like one? Or Bevo (XXVII), as he is also built like a steer?

  48. That’s weird behavior.

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