Cincinnati 5, Atlanta 2

So, here we are, back to recapping after two weeks away for a vacation. Let’s see, when I left the Braves were up 6.5 in the division, when I get back – up 7. Okay, that’s good. What else has changed? Well, Dansby Swanson and Nick Markakis are on the IL. Not good. Austin Riley was struggling after his hot start, and still is, that’s in the Not Good side of the ledger. The bullpen was teetering on Full Blown Dumpster Fire mode, but there are these three guys that weren’t here as far back as lunchtime on Wednesday, so Good? Oh, Kevin Gausman is trying to cling to the 5th starter spot – and based on his last couple of performances, I’d call that for ‘Not Good.’

So, last night – Alex Wood got the start for the second time this year, and with the exception of two pitches, was in control, pitching into the 7th inning. Gausman, on the other hand, didn’t do anything to encourage the Braves to believe he’s the answer to who’s going to pitch in the 5th starter spot.

In the top of the first, Cincy jumped to the lead after just four pitches, with Jesse Winker singling and Joey Votto followed two pitches later with a two run homer. The lead was stretched to three in the 3rd, when Votto led off with a single, Eugenio Suarez singled him to third, and he scored on a groundout. The Reds finished off their scoring in the 4th, when Jose Peraza led off with a single, went to third on Kyle Farmer single, and scored one out later on a Jesse Winker fielder’s choice. Iniatially ruled out, the call was overturned for a 4-0 lead. Votto then hit a sac fly to score Farmer. 5-0 after 4.

Gausman started the 5th, but after a lead off walk to Suarez and a one out single to Nick Senzel, Snitker lifted him an out later for Josh Tomlin. Tomlin cleaned up the mess, and then tossed two more scoreless innings.

Atlanta got on the board in the bottom of the 5th when Austin Riley hit his first homer in almost a month, and Ronald Acuna Jr. led off the 6th with a no doubter of his own. But Wood and the Cincy pen didn’t give up anything else at all and that’s how the game ended.

After the game, Gausman mentioned how he had to keep his head up, since he planned to take his next start in five days. You have to admire his optimism, but you wonder if he’ll get that chance. He hasn’t really shown any consistent results this year to justify a spot in the rotation. But, with the Braves being 7.5 back of the Dodgers, and 6 up in the division (and a similar lead on Whoever Is Leading The NL Central Today Cardubrewers) perhaps the pressure to lock down that spot isn’t as intense as it could be. However, Mike Foltynewicz is pitching better down in Gwinnett, and if he’s cured his ills, he’s the power type pitcher you’d love to run out in a playoff start. I guess we’ll see how this shakes out in the next week or two.

113 thoughts on “Cincinnati 5, Atlanta 2”

  1. Gausman has no options and that’s really going to put some pressure on AA as to what to do with him. Sure, they likely could find a reason to put him on the fake IL until roster’s expanded but would he accept it? I didn’t really get to respond to the last thread, but the 40 man crunch is going to be real as there’s just not much dead weight on it to consider dropping for Ian Anderson. Also, with the rumor of Lane Adams likely getting a September call-up as the speed off the bench (and likely fill same role in the playoffs), that would make 2 spots needed. Sure, one could make an argument to DFA Blevins but everyone else has real value, future or current. Wes Parsons could be in the pecking order but it would be tough to lose him as he’d definitely get claimed.

    Time will tell if Braves will be bold with roster moves and promote Anderson to test him before the postseason or stay with their current 40-man. Regardless of the decision, it’s going to be a hell of a ride these next 2 months.

  2. There are a lot worse problems in this world than figuring out who your fifth starter is, particularly in preparing for the playoffs where the fifth starter is never needed. Plus, what makes a fifth starter a fifth starter is that he has a lot of not-very-good performances. With Gausman having no options, I’d argue that weighs heavily in favor of just throwing him out there every five days and just going with it. If someone has an injury at some point, including Gausman, call up Folty and let him struggle… or not. And if Gausman shows he really can’t get anyone out, just leave him off the playoff roster. (All this assumes that the lead remains fairly comfortable. If it narrows, then you have to throw the best guy available every day.) Folty is called up in September and given long relief, and *his* presence on the playoff roster is determined by how he does. Andersen is next year’s problem (or, more likely, solution… Like Homer Simpson’s characterization of alcohol. )

  3. I just don’t see Gausman getting any better. It seems like teams scouted his performance against the gNats and have adjusted accordingly. The organization must be really fed up with Folty because he has pitched well enough at AAA (so it would seem) to justify another chance, especially with the way Gausman has thrown this season except for the ESPN Sunday night start. If AA DFA’s Gausman, what are they really losing? Is he really in the long term plans?

  4. JC’d

    How fundamental our game is in its effect on us. A pretty dreary, losing effort is transformed by those two power strokes from our kids. Suddenly the loss is not the most important thing. The future is and it’s the near future in our minds. A good metaphor for life itself, trust baseball to remind us.

    But it can work both ways. That Demeritte triple hurts, just to read about it for the first time. Then wise friends remind us of perspective, sauce for the goose AND the gander, and send him happily on his way.

  5. We have 3 offdays this month. You could always just skip Gaus’ start. You could also option Riley, call up Folty, and just stick Gaus in the pen.

  6. Yep, that’s it. Stick Gaus in the pen and give Folty another try. Meanwhile start stretching out Newk – or go with an opener every fifth day.

  7. Love how Riley was previously 1 for his last 17, he hits a home run, and Chip says, “Riley’s starting to snap out of it,” or something like that. Yeah, sure, Chip.

  8. @6 Newk is a reliever period. Our only reliable lefty.

    @5 Whither Mr. Swanson?

    @1 @2 This is how I see it, too.

    @1 As much as I would love to DFA Blevins (he’s still a Met to me), he is one fantastic LOOGY. His peripherals are not that great (the walks, man), but he has had good results for us. And lefty OPS against him is .415 including a SLG of .154. Read that again – .154. Ultimately that’s 6 singles in 39 ABs against lefties. He’s walked that many lefties (6). Blevins is not going anywhere.

    I think the real question is Swarzak going to get his mojo back since his IL stint. What’s really good about our bullpen now is that one can say that the guys on the lowest rung have had or can be expected to have good performances.

  9. Only problem I see with the bullpen now is what will happen when guys like Swarzak and Jackson get lower innings in lower leverage situations? I can really see them falling off a cliff.

  10. I’m completely against the idea of stretching Newk out to start again too, and I can’t believe the Braves would do it. They’d almost have to go back to Minter again at that point for a lefty, which is like trying to put out a fire with hairspray.

    I’d like to see Folty added to the roster ASAP though to take Gausman’s rotation spot, and I couldn’t care less if they simply DFA Gausman to do it, if he won’t take the IL stint. Got to figure he’s a non-tender this off-season anyway, right? Now or later, what’s it matter?

  11. I am really happy that Martin pitched a clean inning but my eyes didn’t really like what I saw. All the balls were hit hard and he spiked at least two or three FBs about 58ft from the mound. Hopefully, he looks better the next time out and I will be proved wrong in my skepticism. But he does have an option remaining and could be sent down for Folty, if need be.

    Here is the list of players with options that can be exercised (I am excluding guys like Acuna and Soroka and others like Gausman and Inciarte whose options can’t be used):

    Adam Duvall (1)
    Johan Camargo (2)
    Austin Riley (3)
    Shane Greene (1 but he may have entered his 5th year about 20 games ago)
    Chris Martin (1)

    That’s it from the active list unless you want to include Fried or Swanson. I could see using Fried’s option sometime around Aug 20th just to give him a break. Any of the four guys above could be reasonably optioned knowing they will be back on Sept 1st – except Camargo isn’t going anywhere until Dansby is activated.

    Injured guys with options include Dansby, Dayton, and Webb. I’m sure it’s obvious that Dayton and Webb will go to AAA until Sept 1st.

    If the Braves are desperate to see what Folty can do then they will either option Martin to AAA or DFA Gausman (at a cost of several million bucks). I don’t think the Gausman DFA is coming.

  12. @11 Isn’t the Gausman money a sunk cost anyway, though? If they run him out there for the next two months and he’s terrible, you pay him. If they DFA him, pays the same, right? They can’t get those millions back either way, so why not just cut the losses and at least look for better performance? They have enough depth where even if you do it and someone goes down, you can still call up a guy like Wright. What am I missing that they might see as a downside?

  13. If Braves were to DFA Gausman, & no team claim him, He could except this assignment to the minors or Become a free agent. If he becomes a free agent, he will sacrifice his money.

  14. Great post, Seat Painter. Thank you.

    Good test tonight. Bauer has a score to settle. Take no prisoners, Braves.

  15. @15 That may be a way out. I can’t believe there are no teams where Gausman would not be better than their current 5th SP. Heck, he might better than several of the Phillies or Erik Fedde. I guess we’ll see where we actually stand.

    We sure could use a 40-man slot and a spot for the Gwinnett shuttle.

  16. @Rog
    He’s owed quite a chunk of change but I think you’re right in that someone would claim him based on his FIP.

  17. I think it would be a good night to get Joyce a start in LF with Bauer on the mound.

  18. Keuchel has it going so far. I hope the guys wait out Bauer just to piss him off. C’mon Ronald and Ozzie; take a few pitches.

  19. Did Chip just say Michael Lorenzen was a SP or did I mishear him? Homeboy’s in a slump.

  20. Our announcers are really trying to stir the pot over the HBP earlier. In reality, nobody has said anything to each other.

  21. I guess the Braves don’t want to swing again considering Bauer is at 75 pitches. Keuchel at 29 by comparison. It’s hard to believe they will move Ozzie out of 2nd after what he’s been doing. He’s almost passed Ronald in BA and he’s stealing bases, too. Dansby may go back to 7th or 8th.

  22. If Ender doesn’t freeze there he probably gets in. Gah. Well, good hustle all around, gotta keep grinding.

  23. As good as Dallas has been pitching tonight, I just don’t believe he can be perfect. Really need some runs.

  24. Hadn’t kept up with Lucas Sims. How is a guy with 11 K/9 giving up over 5 ER per 9? 4 HR in 18.1 IP ain’t helping.

  25. I hear ya, Braves14, about the third time through the order, and it shows you must be quick to pull him. But you can’t pull him preemptively when he only allowed two base runners the first two times through the order, can you?

  26. In a regular season game it’s fair to give him the opportunity. If this were postseason he has to be pulled at the first sign of trouble.

  27. Lore zen is pretty jacked for a pitcher

    Johan is absolutely lost…what a God awful at bat yet again

  28. Not using the best organist in baseball at every opportunity is like having the best closer in baseball and leaving standing in the bullpen as a playoff game is lost.

  29. Waiting for all of Shane’s regression to happen in his first save opportunity for the Braves.

  30. Nice throw by Duvall to preserve the tie.

    Yes, looks like a Luke inning with the cheap BABIP hits.

  31. I still feel like Ozzie was pulled way over and out of position due to our constantly poorly played shifts. When are they going to learn?

  32. Is there a stat/rating for defensive positioning? I feel like we’ve taken massive steps backwards in that department since last year.

  33. Yes Chip, Tyler just missed … getting it to within 20 feet of the warning track. Get a grip, Skip’s little boy. Nepotism at its finest.

  34. Why lose with a Fake Luke when you can lose with the real thing?

    Luke gets a break by facing Raisel who probably never gets to hit.

    *crossing fingers* maybe Adam can be our savior…….

  35. Charlie got screwed – that was a ball.

    Can’t we get a cheap bloop hit?

    Ronald saves the day!!!! Dang, that was nerve-wracking.

  36. new lamps for old
    but what have we been sold?
    the old remain brighter
    Saint Luke and his mitre.

  37. Sloppy game, great win. Reds pen made us look silly more than once; but old Like is still a real cool hand, and RAJ turned a miserable game into a winner.

    Win the series tomorrow.

  38. And Brian Dozier replaces Gerardo Parra, on the mound, for the Gnats. It’s never a good sign when two position players pitch in the same inning.

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