Braves 5, LOLMets 4

In a pre-game celebration, the Mets honored the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Miracle Mets World Champions.  They are so proud of that season that they recently hired 82 year old Phil Regan as pitching coach.  His apparent qualification for the position is that he was a prominent relief pitcher for the Cubs in 1969 as they collapsed and surrendered their large lead to the Mets.  Regan faced the Mets 7 times in 1969. Hey, maybe he can bring back that magic.  You gotta believe! (as Faith Hill’s father-in-law often said)

Sure, that was a great moment in Mets history, but there was apparently no mention during the ceremony of another significant date in Mets history. Ten years ago today, June 29, 2009, Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison. The federal judge who imposed the sentence stated that Madoff’s crimes were “extraordinarily evil.” Madoff apologized in the courtroom, saying, “I am responsible for a great deal of suffering and pain.”

At first blush, it appeared that a good deal of that suffering and pain was inflicted on Mets’ owner Fred Wilpon. When Madoff went bust, the Mets’ ownership had, according to their eventual settlement, approximately $500 million invested in Madoff accounts. The Wilpons also had used that money as collateral for other loans. Financing these debts, as well as the $43 million annual payment on Citi Field, costs the Mets over $100 million each year, before any of the principal is paid down.

But before you start to feel sorry for the Wilpons or the Mets, you should know that though their $500 million disappeared, the Wilpons allegedly had been reaping false profits for years. The trustee for the Madoff victims sued to recover those profits, and eventually settled, with the stipulation that the Wilpons and their associates had made $162 million over the years in accounts with Madoff.  (I’m not making this up—see the Mets’ own SB website: https://www.amazinavenue.com/2015/3/30/8288295/new-york-mets-wilpon-madoff).

So no, never feel sorry for the Mets.  Not even when they’ve lost 7 in a row, as they now have after the Braves defeated them on Saturday.  The Braves had them right where they wanted them—trailing in the 8th inning.  With one out in the 8th and the Mets leading 4-3, Markakis and Riley went back to back.  Those two runs were the difference as the Braves won 5-4.  In addition to late inning magic, bullpen success has marked the Braves’ run since the middle of May.  And on Saturday, Webb and Jackson shut the Mets down in the 8th and 9th.  Luke had to pitch around an error by Freeman on a grounder by Alonso and his own walk to Davis, but he then struck out Conforto, got Frazier on a slow roller to third, and struck out Smith to end the game with the winning runners in scoring position.  Most impressively, he got both Conforto and Smith on fastballs.

Teheran started for the Braves, and he was the quintessential Julio.  After two innings, he had surrendered two hits, walked two, and hit two batters (for a WHIP of 3.00).  Of course the Mets failed to score in either inning.  Meanwhile, the Braves jumped on Matz in the first on singles by Ronald and Swanson, a HBP by JD, and then a two run single by Ozzie.  (Swanson and RAJ each had three hits on the day.)  Rain came after the second, causing a rain delay of over an hour.  When they resumed in the top of the third, Matz could not continue, so the Mets turned to Chris Mazza, who was making his major league debut at age 29.  After 3 pitches, Mazza had surrendered his first major league run, on a single by Acuña and a double by Swanson.  It looked like the rout was on.  But the Braves never scored again against Mazza, who pitched 4 innings. 

Julio did return to the mound after the delay, even though he had thrown 50 pitches in the first 2.  Not surprisingly, he gave up 2 runs in the next inning and a third, whereupon he was relieved by Blevins.  With runners on second and third, Blevins got Cano and Conforto to end the threat. Props to Snit for using Blevins appropriately against the two lefties.  While the Braves continued to hibernate against the Mets bullpen, the Mets took the lead with two in the 6th against Touki and Newki.  But Newk pitched a scoreless 7th, and Neck and The Human Cheat Code did their thing in the top of the 8th.  In April, you would have been certain that the lead wouldn’t hold up.  But now, I was cautiously optimistic that the pen could hang on.  Luke almost gave me a heart attack, but he came through again.

Freddie Freeman is the greatest Brave, and my favorite, but today’s game revealed once again that baseball is hard.  He went 0 for 5 with 3 K’s, leaving 5 on base.  To make matters worse, he made a crucial error on a fairly routine grounder by Alonso who was the first batter in the ninth.  It didn’t look good.  But this team has so many guys performing so well, they could afford a rare terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day by Freddie, and still win.

In other good news, the Phillies lost to the Marlins (again!:)) and the Nats to the Tigers. The lead is 6 and a half on the Phils and 8 on the Nationals.

They go for the sweep, and a 7-3 road trip, on Sunday behind Max Fried.

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61 thoughts on “Braves 5, LOLMets 4”

  1. So timely, thank you…you can hardly have written this hours ago but still it came through.

    Freddie too, yes, another ‘exhaustee’. When he gets like this he scares the pants off me, that kid pitcher must still be pinching himself= how did i do it?

    Oddly, Freddie’s last extended slump- as opposed to this short one- was in the fortnight immediately prior to the All Star Game to the point where some of us were embarrassed for him going in. But now we might say, exhaustion again – playing every day, bearing the load.

    Is it fair to say we have no one to replace him, in both categories, how could we?!

  2. Very nice, tfloyd. The other adder to the Madoff-Wilpon saga is the effect (mentioned in the article you linked to) that Wilpon figured deferred compensation deals were cheap. After all, when you’re promised 15% per year in investment returns, you can afford to pay a lot more to players nominally than anyone else can, because what looks expensive to them (at, say 6% discount rates) looks cheap to you in present value. Bobby Bonilla is the best example, but it presents a basic bias to give long contracts to “stars” because you think you’re getting them cheaper than anyone else is. And it then causes you to devalue current talent. This is not the only problem of this franchise, which sucks on so many levels that it is a constant source of amusement, but it is probably the most *interesting* problem of this franchise.

  3. I’m calling it: Callaway gets fired if the Braves sweep.

    That’ll make an 8 game losing streak, 14 games back. How long can they keep him? He’s getting booed everytime he pops out of the dugout.

  4. I am convinced that this win, comparing against last year, is a real turning point to a greater season. The 85th game last year was the first in a real slide and this game today had all the hallmarks of potential disappointment that could have led to such a slide. By pulling it out, I really think the opposite could happen. We could continue on the pace for 96 or so wins. And whatever improvements we can make at the trade deadline would be the ones to get us over the top to being a championship team.

  5. These guys… It’s somebody different almost every night.
    I’m not at all worries about Freddie. We know he’s got these days.

  6. Do you think it’s actually Callaway’s decision to bat Canó third, or is that an order from the ownership? I guess my ultimate opinion to the question of if he deserves to be fired depends on the answer to that.

  7. Like Snit in 2017, Calloway looks like a bad manager: all his moves turn out badly. As Braves14 points out, this isn’t entirely his fault as Casey Stengel wouldn’t win with this bullpen. However, Calloway doesn’t seem to understand leverage, has only a vague sense of how platooning works, and is apparently always surprised when a clearly laboring pitcher needs to be replaced. He did handle a double switch yesterday which leaves him one up on Sit…

  8. I’d have to think Callaway will be the first NL East manager fired amongst the current group, but are they really going to fire a guy half through his second season? That’d be too early even if you were the Nationals. Even Jim Riggleman, who managed the least amount of games for the Nats, still got 312 games, almost a full two seasons.

    At this point, Snitker has managed 528 games. He’ll pass Fred Haney and Bobby Bragan for 13th all-time amongst Braves managers. He’s still a little over a few hundred behind Fredi, who’s 6th.

  9. Would any of you be interested in doing a Braves Journal composite prospect list? I’d like to have at least 5 submissions for a Top-30 prospect list.

  10. So is the Braves vastly improved bullpen mostly because of

    A) the organizational focus on drafting and trading for pitching depth (Newcomb and Webb)

    B) shrewd acquisitions and good pitching coaches (Swarzak and Jackson)

    C) luck

    D) something else

    I know that it is a combination of a, b, and c, but which is more? My vote is for A.

  11. I think a lot of it comes from the fact that we spend relatively little money on the pen as a whole. We can replace guys that aren’t performing well, rather than being stuck with riding along with a few guys that are making a bunch of money

  12. I think the org’s success in the bullpen has stemmed from a whole lot of C and the fact that Luke Jackson and Josh Tomlin went to Driveline and re-learned how to pitch, revamping their careers.

    Also, the addition of an analytic assistant GM in Mike Fast who’s affectionately known as the “Spin Doctor” has given the Braves the highest spin rate in the league.

    Also, Kranitz is good at his job.

    So…for me, in order, it’s D (Mike Fast), C (any bullpen performing well likely has a lot of this), B, A.

  13. To me, there’s been an organizational shift. I liked what this had to say.

    https://tomahawktake.com/2019/06/25/acting-fast-mike-foltynewicz-demotion-is-the-new-way-of-the-atlanta-braves/

    Quick reaction to eliminate poor performers has led to more options to find good performers. Last year, we stuck with certain guys and tried to be patient to let them turn around their years and it did not work out so well. That could be due to having fewer guys with no options, but I think the Braves have had a quicker hook this year with poor performers. I hope there is some scouting involved with a deal like Swarzak or Jackson that points to potential being unrealized. But I think it’s more of an iterative process to see what sticks. But the combination of seeing if SP prospects can prosper in the pen, weeding out poor performers, finding gold in scrap heaps, and promoting RP prospects when they’re ready is keeping our bullpen improving. I also think Snitker is using players in situations where they can thrive better. Rather than creating a bullpen in one fell swoop over the offseason, the Braves are doing it bit-by-bit with multiple strategies in play. Two more arrows in the quiver – the deadline deal and expanded rosters – should finish the process.

    Any deadline deal needs to free up a few 40-man slots so that more guys can be promoted before Aug 1st so that they can be eligible for playoff rosters when called up after Sept 1st (Rowen, dePaula, Burrows, Clouse, folks like that).

  14. I think the additions (or deletions) in the bullpen have definitely helped, and I also think there is a fair amount of luck. In April, we were making assessments of people who had only thrown about 10 innings. We were all ready to can Luke after 1 game.

    Even today, among the guys with 0 starts, only Tomlin, Jackson, Webb, and Winkler have thrown as many as 20 innings. That’s not a lot to make real judgments.

  15. Completely off-topic, but there is a youtube video about everyone‘s favourite player that is pure gold:

  16. It is quite a step down from Swarzak to Sobotka considering they are both right-handed relievers with European-sounding names.

  17. Sobotka did well his last time up. Maybe, he’s got himself under better control than earlier in the season.

  18. So the Mets brought in a bunch of high profile players this year and got nothing for it (ESPN just posted their WAR as -1.7). Seems like that’s the result of having an agent as a GM as opposed to a professional GM. Agents don’t make good GMs because they believe the hype they throw at teams about their clients.

  19. It’s so incredibly obvious that the Mets make decisions based on what creates headlines in an attempt to keep up with the Yankees. It’s literally ruining their franchise. And Madoff.

  20. Is it me or does it seem like only Soroka comes up with the shut down inning after we get a lead?

  21. The shift beaten once again. I mean, how many more times?

    That being said, not shifting may not have prevented the hit, but it’s still stupid

  22. Braves should just abandon the shifts completely. Its embarrassing how many hits are getting through. Play everyone straight up and take your chances.

    Omg ESPN announcers make me wish I was deaf.

  23. @36 I think another problem is the pitchers seem to consistently miss their spots and pitch away from the shift.

  24. When was the last time the Braves pulled off a double steal – and successfully preceded it with a dress rehearsal which they escaped from unscathed despite the batter making an out? Never, i would venture. You could not look it up.**

  25. @36

    Awful, you cannot listen to that stuff for 30 seconds without screaming. I allow them a total of 5 minutes an hour.

  26. @37 Agreed, that’s part of the problem, so why not scrap it altogether? They would be trend setters! Lol.

    I like what we see from Sobotka tonight and his previous appearance.

  27. Unreal. You bring in the guy that cant throw strikes to walk a guy to pitch to their best hitter… kudos

  28. Man, this team is showing signs of being really special, but it seems like unreliable pitching out of the bullpen down the stretch is really going to threaten any sort of formidable postseason run.

    It’s like taking M3 on the Autobahn with a speed restraint.

  29. I’m pretty Mintered out for a while. He just hasn’t taken the next step. Really, he’s regressed.

  30. Bullpen needs to be addressed if they want a chance in the playoffs. They may win the division, but the bullpen will cost them the close ones. This one may be over.

  31. The top end bullpen depth still sucks. It seems like dudes are unavailable every night and there arent enough reliable pitchers in the pen, no matter what the last month says.

  32. Buckle up for the rest of these (hopefully only) 10 days without Swarzak. Pitchers like Minter shouldn’t be within a zip code of a high-leverage situation.

  33. Minter can go back and eat sh*t in Gwinnett .

    Donaldson has turned back into a pumpkin.

    Why did Luke pitch with a 4 run lead the other day to make him unavailable today?

    Another ” won the series but should’ve swept” type game like the last one against the Cubs.

    Friggin ESPN announcers along with shitty bullpen management have me cranky as hell.

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