Misery Index = 100

We’ve all suffered enough.  I’ll keep it brief.

Today on the Hebrew calendar is the 10th of Tishrei, 5780.  The 10th of Tishrei is Yom Kippur.  On this day, God decides everyone’s fate for the coming year, and seals everyone’s fate in a book, life or death, at sundown, which in Atlanta today came at 7:12 pm.  But God had no decisions to make at SunTrust Park, because by 5:20 pm, the Braves were already dead.

April is just around the corner, though. Look ahead, not back. And just to keep an ecumenical balance…

Author: JonathanF

Alive since 1956. Braves fan since 1966. The first ten years were pretty much wasted. Exiled to Yankees/Mets territory in 1974 --- bearable only with TBS followed by MLB.TV.

94 thoughts on “Misery Index = 100”

  1. This is so disappointing it’s almost funny. I’m in a decent mood right now. But you really have to wonder if Snitker is the man to get this job done.

  2. I don’t want to be too reactionary, but here’s the deal. The thought was that Snit was not going to be brought back after 2017, but with Coppygate, they didn’t make a change. They hire AA, who doesn’t exactly fit with Snit. But they exceed expectations in 2018, so you’re not going to fire Snit then either. But while Snit has done a decent job overall, he’s definitely had some very bad moves as manager.

    Do you fire Snit?

  3. Yeah, I’m back on the fence on Snitker. I wouldn’t be surprised with whatever they do.

    I thought coming into this series that he’s become so entrenched with the players that AA probably couldn’t dump him even if he wanted to. After that performance, though, it’s possible that rattling that particular cage is exactly what this situation calls for, and if the players don’t like it, they might need to realize that they have themselves to thank for it.

  4. I don’t really care what happens with Snitker. My opinion is the manager doesn’t really change things. I feel they get too much credit for good teams and too much blame for bad ones.

  5. I think this’ll be a very interesting offseason in general. Everything was going either to plan or ahead of schedule until now. I could see AA being much more aggressive this offseason. I would be pretty much certain of that if our ownership wasn’t our ownership, but since they are, I’m less sure about it.

  6. I think the entire coaching staff is back and I think they deserve it.

    Hey AAR, we are going to need a Keltner list post for BMac.

  7. I see ender back, Pache up, a run made at a 2 year deal for Donaldson, a run made at Grandal, though we won’t hear of anything until it’s signed. For that, I am grateful. Oh, and can we get Freddie’s elbow cleaned up, please?

  8. We need to replace half the team. I think we will. The coaching staff matters a lot less than the talent, but we’re not gonna win shit with the guys that thought starting Keuchel twice was a good idea. So what’s the point of getting hopes up.

    Happy retirement BMac. We need to retire a few other things as well – starting with Phil Collins.

  9. We have all offseason to talk about it, but I can’t get this thought out of my head. None of the “ownership sucks and we will be terrible until we have new ownership” folk have articulating what exactly they’re looking for in terms of payroll from ownership, but I can make a pretty convincing argument that upgrading at catcher or right, or going from Dallas Keuchel to a better option, means the difference between moving on and not right now. And maybe you could have gotten that done for $10-15M. And with the way payroll rankings shook out this year, that’s the difference between being ranked 14th (as we are) and 10th.

    I’m not saying the Braves need to spend at the very top of the league since I do think there are some market limitations there, but if you want to beat the teams, you have to get a little closer to spending like them. This is something I have an eye on going into the offseason. Teams that have rebuilt started to spend a lot more as they got into the heart of their competitive window, and I’m interested to see if the Braves get a little better there.

  10. We enter 2020 with pretty much the exact same needs as we entered 2019. Corner OF (both). Catcher. 3B. Top of the line starter or two. Bullpen help.

    I’ll give AA credit for patching together a half-decent pen at the last minute, but we don’t have the swing-and-miss talent there that we need yet.

    Otherwise AA gets a D+ from me mostly due to the fact that he lost the Cards series the minute he allowed this pitching rotation to go forward. It would be an F if not for the Acuna extension.

  11. When I grow up I want to write like JonathanF.

    This team was substantially better than last year’s team. There’s no way to spin losing a series with home field advantage to a team with a worse record as anything but a disappointment. It’s clear there’s still a gap that needs to be closed between us and the Dodgers, but nowhere near where it was this time last year.

  12. What did Atlanta start?

  13. @15

    Jesus, what a bunch of classically insufferable Cardinal bullshit!

    Only the Cardinals could get so worked up over Acuna pimping a meaningless home run, in a game where his biggest transgression actually helped them, that their batshit crazy closer nearly lost them the series because he couldn’t concentrate on anything else.

    Whichever team is playing them in the NLCS should probably just have one of their players loudly and publicly call Carlos Martinez an asshole in Game 1. Martinez will be completely incapacitated for the rest of the series.

  14. Hell I’m kinda jealous. Our guy allowed his best player to get thrown at all series, didn’t play his best players, and let Markakis play every excruciating inning. I’d rather have their guy.

  15. The Braves are in STL on May 19. If Yadi doesn’t take one square in the back, then these guys deserve their annual October fate.

  16. @12 I’d like to see Atlanta consistently open in the 150-160 million dollar payroll range. I don’t see that as a stretch based on the fact that St. Louis (Losers), Washington and Colorado spend in that neighborhood; and none of those markets seem significantly larger than Atlanta.

  17. @23

    Colorado is smaller, but draws an insane amount of fans for a team that has never won a division title. But the Rockies are also evidence that spending alone isn’t enough … they spent on Wade Davis, Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw, and now those contracts are anvils on chains around their neck.

  18. @21 I’ll circle it on the calendar. Hopefully they roster the highest velo guy in the organization, big league caliber yet or not, just for that occasion. I hope they stare Shildt down immediately following, too.

  19. Whoever made the decision to start Soroka only once this series needs to be in trouble. No second guessing here, I said this when it came out he only was starting Game 3.

  20. @24 True, you do need to be smart. I somewhat trust Anthopolous, though. I think Colorado simply doesn’t know how to solve the riddle of pitching in Colorado, and it caused some desperation.

  21. I’ve hated the Cardinals for a long time with their smugness and ungodly amount of luck/favorable umpire miscalls. It’s a despising white hot hatred now. Hate hate having to root for the Dodgers or Gnats but that’s who I’ll be rooting for and unless it’s the evil empire I’ll be rooting for the AL team another year even though I despise the dh as well.

  22. @27 I hope not. I want Donaldson back because I like the swagger he brings, and he’s a force in the 4 hole. If Donaldson walks they could play Riley at 3rd, but I don’t trust him to hit 4th. I think you need a slugger in the OF then, and I just don’t know who that is.

  23. The dodgers have to beat stl.
    There’s just no way they would lose.

    Oh and screw Snit for letting Acuna get hit multiple times with no payback. Get rid of the old bum.

  24. Yeah, we’ll need a McCann Keltner. I’ll work on that.

    Happy New Year to all who celebrated and hope it was a meaningful fast for all who observed.

    Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die and never root for the Dodgers.

  25. I’ve been wanting the Dodgers to win since day one. Don’t like the Nationals, don’t like the Cardinals, and am apathetic towards the Dodgers themselves.

  26. Ugh, guess I’m cheering for the Astros as my last hope.

    If they lose, the path just got really easy for the Yankees.

  27. Your NL East just got much harder to win next year…

    Although it will be sweet to see the Dodgers and those clowns Muncy and Turner sent home early.

  28. Otherwise AA gets a D+ from me mostly due to the fact that he lost the Cards series the minute he allowed this pitching rotation to go forward. It would be an F if not for the Acuna extension.

    This is maybe the most ridiculous comment I have ever read on this blog. One, „he“ didn‘t lose the Cards series. Two, what about the Donaldson signing, the Albies extension, the bullpen reconstruction (you calling that „halfway decent“ made me LOL), the Keuchel signing, etc.? If AA didn‘t do an A job, then I don‘t know who ever did.

    Also, your comments here are 90% negative. You surely are fun to be around.

  29. @15 Shilt is basically saying they hit Acuña on purpose. With what a 10 run lead? Classless to say the least.

  30. @43
    Doesn’t matter. We are feckless.
    We stopped doing the chop because an opposing player was offended.
    The whole organization was so taken aback by it.
    Then our best player didn’t hustle once and the team acts like the world ended.
    We do things “the Braves way” which means we just loose the big games.

  31. We can have a $500 million payroll and it won’t matter if the middle of our order doesn’t hit. One can argue we cheap-ed out in some spots but Freeman and Donaldson are quite well-paid.

    I have a hard time blaming AA for Folty and Fried having a defense-assisted meltdown. He can, along with Snit, take the blame for only starting Soroka once, but I think most of us felt pretty good about our chances with Folty starting yesterday after his G2 performance. And c’mon, no one saw THAT coming.

  32. Interesting stat lines….

    Teheran – 3.81 ERA, 119 ERA+, 4.66 FIP, 8.3 K/9
    Keuchel – 3.75 ERA, 121 ERA+, 4.72 FIP, 7.3 K/9

  33. Kudos to Folty for having the guts to come back up to the top of the steps for 20 minutes of misery, cameras and all. What do you see for his future?

    And Mac, the horror for your last game. I think it was the 10th run which scored after a swinging strike out had the batter heading back to the dug out only to see Mac scrambling back to the wall, grovelling in the dirt making multiple attempts to pick up the ball, then releasing a weak throw from his knees that misses Freddie, where the hitter was now safely installed.

    Snit pinch hitting for him in the ninth was inexcusable unless Mac himself requested it, we must find out.

    Freddie’s errors. A huge part of these two losses.

  34. Obviously a lot of raw emotion expressed here. In baseball, the better team loses all the time in any one game. That’s why the two best NL teams are both gone. For Houston, Cole has been lights out but if he has a bad game the best team in the AL could be gone too. But somehow we attach more meaning to the results of these short series where literally anything could happen than we do to the six months that preceded them.

    There were many here who thought waiting to start Soroka on the road made sense. Personally, I thought that we didn’t have enough data to know whether his home/rode splits are really a thing. Better not to overthink it. But in the final analysis, it was the failure of the middle of the order that was the reason for the lost series. We don’t play yesterday’s debacle if they were even just slightly better when it mattered. Then no one is talking about jettisoning the coaching staff and half the roster.

  35. @51

    Yeah, the middle order, without doubt.

    What are we to make of Fried’s total ineffectiveness? Did he get to warm up at all?

  36. @47, I’d exercise Julio’s option. I’m assuming Dallas is gone. JT eats innings. Mediocre isn’t an unfair description but he is a workhorse who generally keeps us in games. As a back-end of the rotation guy I think he’s pretty good.

  37. @9 My thoughts exactly only that’s a good start. More work to do, too. Folks here need to stop dreaming on Cole. Best case he will have a QO and the Braves will not give up a pick.

    The #1 target (after signing Donaldson) should be Grandal assuming he declines his half of his mutual option. It’s going to be a Grandal contract length of time before Langoliers is ready and we can use Jackson and Contreras as trade bait.

    If we keep either or both of Flowers and Markakis, it needs to be clear that they are bench or platoon players only.

    Commit to an Ender/Pache platoon in CF. Acuna in RF. Worst case for LF is a Markakis/Duvall platoon. Or a Joyce/Duvall platoon.

    Keep the IF intact. Freddie, Ozzie, Dansby, Donaldson.

    Riley, Camargo start the season in AAA. Culby and the platooners on the bench.

    Starters should be Soroka, Fried, and a top tier FA not named Cole (Keuchel, Bumgarner, Wheeler, etc… whoever does not get a QO). although signing Keuchel for anything more than Julio money is out of the question. The 4th and 5th SP will be a competition among our best youngsters. Between Wilson, Wright, Folty, Davidson, Touki, Weigel, Ynoa, etc… we should be able to find two solid pitchers at least as good as Julio or Keuchel.

    Tomlin can come back as long relief. I’d also sign Alex Wood to a minors deal. Melancon needs to be dealt for a low minors lottery ticket for salary relief. He’s not a lockdown closer and he’s too expensive. Folty should be groomed as a closer.

    Add the following to the 40-man to protect from Rule 5: Pache, Contreras, Davidson, Clouse, Burrows, de la Cruz.

    Drop the following: McCann, Cervelli, Hech, Hamilton, Ortega, Keuchel, O’Day, Murphy, Blevins, Martin, Swarzak, Joyce – enough to clear injured players and Rule 5 protectees. You can sign Joyce back later when the roster is more set or decisions are made about Julio, Markakis, and Flowers.

    Add back the injured players: Culby, Jackson, Camargo, Inciarte, Webb, Minter

    Sign Donaldson (QO), Grandal, O’Day (cheap only), and a top tier starter not named Cole. Use Melancon money to sign Will Smith. Sign any of the dropped guys to minor league deals if possible.

    Commit to Pache (platoon) on the roster and possibly Contreras (backup). Give Clouse and Burrows a shot in the pen along with the holdovers who may be improved. Trade out from the 40-man roster to consolidate value.

  38. Charlie Morton at $15MM this year:

    194.2 IP, 3.05 ERA, 146 ERA+, 2.81 FIP, 0.7 HR/9, 11.1 K/9

    Compare that to Keuchel at $13MM and you’ve got to wonder what the Braves’ assessment of Morton was.

    Soroka-Morton would have been a hell of a 1-2 punch.

  39. We’ll never know. Some of us had theorized the Nats could beat the Dodgers and, if they did, we had every reason to believe we could beat the Nats as per regular season. Thus, World Series.

    So our Ace in the hole, we can’t beat the Dodgers ourselves, we need someone else to do it, then they did it, was wasted.

  40. I don’t see how Snitker can be blamed. It wasn’t his fault that Freddie didn’t hit, that Keuchel couldn’t pitch, and that Martin got hurt.

  41. @47 After a decent night’s sleep between the game and now, my perspective has changed a bit. As weird as it feels to say, I think they should retain him. My reasoning is threefold.

    One, Julio was actually worth 2.4 WAR last season. If I objectively look at Julio for what he is, which is a so-so 4th, or good 5th starter, that’s not bad for the price. If you slot him as the 5th, the Braves look great within the NL East. In the division, our rivals 5th starters were Steven Matz who was worth 2.2 WAR for the Mets, Zach Efflin who was worth 1.5 for the Phillies, Austin Voth was who worth 1.2 for the Nationals, and Robert Dugger who was worth -0.6 for the Marlins.

    Two, I believe this is the offseason they non-tender Folty. Someone more versed in pitching stats could probably make a better argument than I rather they should or shouldn’t; but I just feel they will. There have been some fairly contentious arb cases between him and the team in the past, and I just don’t know that his early season struggles and Gm 5 dud did him any favors in the franchise’s eyes. Anthopolous didn’t acquire him, and really has no ties that bind. If they do move on though, Tehran’s innings become more important on a young staff. Those are innings Folty also isn’t as good a bet to give you.

    Lastly, I think (or at least maybe hope) they’ll chase a frontline SP. I know some folks on here are passionate that Sororka is a #1, and maybe he is. I personally prefer slotting a pitcher his age in at #2. If you go into next season figuring a rotation of Sororka, Fried, a prospect 4th, and Tehran 5th; you at least have some insurance of still running a quality rotation in the event you don’t land one.

  42. @55 – Why are you writing off Cole? All it will take is money. That’s the beauty of a sport with no salary cap.

    Heck, I remember a certain team with a young core in the early 90’s that went out and paid for the best pitcher on the planet who happened to be a free agent. Worked out pretty well for them.

  43. Some are born great.

    Some achieve greatness.

    Some have greatness thrust upon them.

    Max Fried was put in such a position yesterday and could not take advantage of it.

  44. One last thing about Mac. He will also be beating himself up about the first batter in the game. Indeed, you could hear him muttering at the time.

    Dropping that tip lead to a walk lead to…………..

  45. For me, the loss of Culberson, Ender and Martin and the injury to Acuna and Freddie’s elbow were the main culprits in the collapse in the series. If we have those guys and they are all healthy I feel certain we win at least one of the two close games we lost and then the last game never happens. I can’t really get behind any other main area of blame (Snit, etc.).

  46. @55 Roger, I’m largely with you, although instead of signing Grandal, I’d make an honest run at Cole. It’s entirely possible they don’t have, or won’t be willing to commit enough for him. You’ve got to try, however- and forget the draft pick. This isn’t the stage of the rise where you worry with things such as that. Let it come down to dollars and cents.

    If that fails, and you can’t pivot to a guy like Wheeler, I’d call work the trade market hard, offering Riley, Contreras and some young pitchers not named Ian Anderson for a guy to pair with Sororka in the playoffs for a legit 1-2 punch.

    I’ve also seen enough of Nick Markakis. The only way he’s not an every day starting OF on a Snitker led team though is if he’s not an option. So let’s cut bait, and either go with an OF of Acuna in RF, Pache in CF, and a platoon of Duvall and Joyce, or Duvall and another competent LH hitter with some pop in LF.

  47. Reports are surfacing that indicate that the ball in the postseason may be different from the one used in the regular season. https://t.co/U4NBMd05k9

    I hate being this guy, and just want to move on, but all those warning track fly balls in game 4 are dragging me into a dark place.

  48. @42, I can guarantee-damn-tee you that I’ve made much more ridiculous comments. And I’m lots of fun in real life, you’ll just have to trust me.

    Trolling the true-fans here isn’t even bringing me joy. I think I’m questioning why get invested in the postseason in a sport where there’s so much random chaos. Wish the outcomes were more evenly distributed.

    Nobody responsible got fired for 28-3. I expect more of the same here. See y’all next season. Hot stove league doesn’t matter when your braintrust starts your 4th best pitcher in game 1 after having 2 weeks to prepare the rotation.

  49. With all that transpired in the series, if Martin doesn’t get hurt, I still think we win it.

    That being said. I think the most questionable decision that Snitker made was the starting pitching rotation. I don’t believe that was done in a vacuum and I’m pretty sure that AA was consulted. I don’t see how you can fire him for that.

    Bottom line is you usually need 2 strong performances from 1 starting pitcher of 6 innings or longer in a 5 game series. We didn’t get it.

  50. I’m writing up a “what went wrong” post, and the starting rotation is 1a with the middle of the order being the 1b.

  51. Snitker doesn’t deserve to be fired at this juncture, but what if this team fails to make the playoffs next year? Or blows another first-round opportunity?

  52. @59

    He will be tendered, but I wonder if he will be traded.
    If you trade him, then you have to sign two starters or go big on Cole.

    Doing what we did last winter won’t work again this winter, IMO

  53. @72 I think that’s exactly right. The front office certainly had a voice in that decision.

    Regardless of the pitching choices, this team wasn’t going to go far if it survived the Cardinals. Freeman wasn’t coming out of his funk.

  54. Yea I kind of love* the internet narrative of Snitker running around making all these decisions unilaterally while the people to whom he reports watch helplessly.

    *I mean something other than love.

  55. @61 @66 Doesn’t matter what you, I, or anyone else wants or knows is best, Cole will most certainly get a QO and this FO will never sign QO FA. I am quite sure their valuation of draft picks is higher than what anyone might consider to be a normal valuation. Maddux did not have this QO millstone when we signed him – really only was money.

    Grandal is the perfect target because he cannot have a QO and many of the big spenders are already solid at catcher (specifically, NYY, PHL, LAD). We need improved performance from catcher more than a TOR SP anyway. It’s been a long time since we controlled the running game and BMac was the best game-caller we had. Further, Grandal slots in very easily at 5th behind Donaldson. We would have a big 5 instead of a big 4. And I don’t see either Jackson or Contreras being good enough to start next year. If we keep Flowers, I’d much rather see him in a backup role.

    BTW, that is another attraction for Keuchel, too – no QO.

  56. @77, that’s why I’m blaming AA, but I guess I don’t expect to hear that he’s fired himself anytime soon. But he’s ultimately responsible for all strategy decisions – his job is to put the pieces and make sure they are utilized in the way that gives us the best chance to win. Epic fail on that front. All I ask is that we play a first round series and there’s nothing to first-guess about – if the players fail then so be it. Strategy-fail drives me crazy.

    Re: catcher – the guy we drafted this year is going to have a very legit shot at making the team.

  57. Outside of the stunned look on the face of Jim Leyritz after the dynasty-ruining home run, I think the worst mental image from a postseason loss in the last 20 years is our beloved manager and Freeman not reacting to Acuna being intentionally hit down 12 runs. It’s clear he was being hung out to dry due to his on field “behavior”, which coupled with Freeman’s very public criticism, makes me worried there’s an imminent clubhouse problem. No arguing with the umpire on why Flaherty wasn’t ejected; no retaliation; no sign of emotion. Just an out of touch buffoon allowing the unwritten rules to play out in hopes of altering behavior that really isn’t that big of a deal in the first place.

  58. Is it really that bad of Freddie to want Acuna to face the consequences of his actions?

    Here’s the thing: we don’t care, but you clearly tell the players do care. Schidt or whatever his name is was able to turn that into a narrative that motivated his players. That’s clear as day from that video. So, at minimum, do you not want to give emotional players more ammunition in a short series?

    Maybe it’s not a matter of right or wrong but a matter of whether or not it’s smart.

  59. The club was more concerned with lecturing to Acuna than addressing their clearly crippled 3-hole hitter.

  60. Quicktakes:

    – I would pick up the option on Julio. The Nats lost the division due to their bullpen and due to the lack of a 5th starter. As a 5th starter you won’t do any better than Julio and he may just be the difference maker again next year

    – I hate that the team lost as much as the next fan, but I don’t heap a ton of blame on anyone in particular. There are certainly things Snit and AA could have done differently especially now that we have hindsight, but AA put together and Snit managed a near 100 win team that won the division many said they would finish 4th in. The series loss is another failure to achieve the ultimate goal, but these things happen in a short series.

    – I would personally, not pick up Markakis’s option. He has some value if used correctly, but I don’t trust him to be used correctly, so like Biddle earlier in the year, sometimes you just have to take these guys away from Snit, as he will continue to believe in them longer than should be allowed (not a horrible trait for manager to have).

    – Finally, I believe it is time to retire the chop (it was stolen from FSU anyway) and while it’s not the most offensive of team names, I’d love to see the team re-named the Hammers. That is such a great name with such a wonderful Atlanta tie-in, you could take what many see as a negative and turn it into a huge positive. I’d love to see a simple two choice poll between keeping the name and chop or getting rid of the chop and changing to the hammers here on this site just to get an idea where everyone is at on the issue.

  61. Does anyone want to give us the reader’s digest on what/who other blogs are blaming for the series lost? Anything noteworthy?

  62. Dusty, during the offseason, I’ll put up a poll of the two team names and let it stay up there a while.

  63. 86 – Thanks Rob, I don’t mean that to be divisive, I respect both POVs, I just generally have no earthly idea where the average fan is on that.

  64. Strong no changing team name, strong yes on ditching the chop. Can’t stop the crowd from doing it, but you can at least stop playing it on the PA system every 5 minutes after a 1-out double in the 5th inning in June. Less is more.

  65. The biggest mistake made in this series is actually two-fold, and is related to the handling of the bullpen and the rotation.

    The biggest mistake was a) not leaving Fried in for the eighth in Game 1, and b) not subsequently setting him up for the start in Game 4. Neither move made any sense, and we didn’t gain anything by using Fried in the role that we did. We gained one inning of good relief work in Game 2…that’s it. It was an inning that would’ve been less meaningful had we won Game 1 in the first place, and that probably could’ve been (though not necessarily would’ve been) replicated by Newcomb or somebody else, anyway.

    After the eighth inning of Game 1, we pretty much lost the initiative for the rest of the series. Even though we were the better team on paper, after Game 1 it always seemed (to me, anyway) like the Cardinals were dictating everything and we were just trying to hang on. That’s all traced back to the somewhat limp forfeiture of Game 1 to the Cardinals for no particular reason.

    And even when we won Game 3, neither of our starting pitching choices for Game 4 (the guy who was rejected from the series roster originally or an under-rested Dallas Keuchel) inspired much confidence. Had we won that game and then had Max Fried ready to roll for Game 4, I think you’re looking at a bit of a different story. At the very least, we’d have been back to dictating the action as opposed to just rolling out what we rolled out and hoping that it went OK.

  66. I would favor becoming “The Hammers” if – and only if – it meant that we would also adopt “2 Legit 2 Quit” as our team chant

  67. 89 – If I’m picking decisions to quibble with, my top 2 were 1) not sticking with Fried in game 1 for one more inning as he looked great (would’ve just let him finish the game honestly) and 2) not sticking with Tomlin in game 4 especially after already letting him pitch to one batter in the 8th.

    On bullpens, the more arms you use, the greater the chance they are going to find one they can hit, so as long as someone is rolling, I prefer to stick with them.

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