PURE EVIL 14, Barves 8; Game Thread

He walked out of the hotel into the fog, fog that thickened as he wandered down towards the harbour: fog in his mind as he tried to interpret the strong and sometimes contradictory emotions that overlapped and mingled in his unreasoning part — grief, disappointment, self-accusation, loss: above all irreparable loss — a cold void within.

          Patrick O’Brian, The Fortune of War

Perhaps there was a game last night, and perhaps I watched it. Perhaps a team that has scored 30 runs in its last five games has bigger worries than its offense.

But at this present moment, the Barves are not a team. They are a motley crew of 24 men who are not Ronald Acuña, and only one man who is.

Is Max Fried tipping his pitches? I’m not sure, but even though he’s in the mid-90s, he can’t seem to finish anyone off, and he’s not getting people to chase. Anyway, he’s going to the IL. So is Cristian Pache, who for all I know may have an actual owie, but who for now I’m diagnosing with a sprained bat.

This team isn’t exactly listless — they scored two in the ninth when Adam Duvall decided to giveth after having taketh for most of the game — but the pitching is a serious problem, as pitchers up and down the roster are having trouble hitting their spots and missing bats, and outside of El De La Sabana, most of the offense is simultaneously slumping.

Brian Snitker’s job is to say there’s nothing to worry about in public and to put fire in his boys’ bellies in private. But it’s mid-April, it’s 80 degrees in Cobb County, and it ain’t too cold to play baseball.

One of those other 24 is going to have to step up and start playing on Ronald’s team.

70 thoughts on “PURE EVIL 14, Barves 8; Game Thread”

  1. This will serve as the game thread tonight. Here’s today’s news and lineup:

    And…

  2. Gonna keep beating on this horse… I can’t believe there isn’t more being said about Max Fried right now. Now would seem a prudent time for some video breakdown or pitching analysis to explain what is happening to this guy. His velocity isn’t down; it’s actually up! His control has been questionable from what I hear. What I see staring at Gameday is anything Fried puts near the strike zone is getting hit and often hit hard. Is his location that poor?

  3. I was JC’d on the last thread, but I expect nobody will be interested, but go back and read it if you’re fascinated by people I have known.

    I have no obvious diagnosis for the current Braves funk, but I will say that I’m certainly in the camp that says that team performances vary, and the ability to extrapolate from the first two weeks of the season is a human trait with precious little applicability outside the African savannah. I am for example amused, even as I marvel at RAJ’s start, by Chip’s notion, now stated in almost every game, that “if he keeps this up, no one is going to beat him for MVP.” Well, sure, since he’s currently putting up a season that only Bonds’ best season comes anywhere near. But I just point that it’s two frickin’ weeks. (My granddaughter has informed me that ‘frickin’ is not a bad word.) Almost every good player can have two weeks this good, but having a season this good requires exactly the same sort of extremely dicey speculation that I mentioned above. Acuna is a great player. He is capable of two weeks of otherwordly greatness. He may even be capable of a season of otherwordly greatness, one of the few players actually equipped with that possibility, but calm down everybody. Wait for him to put up a couple of months…. Similarly, the Braves looked bad for a week, then good for a half week, and then bad for a half week. I get it. But let the milk we bought at the beginning of the season curdle before you make judgements about the team….

  4. To piggyback on JonathanF’s comment; despite this early season suckitude, our boys are currently two games out of first place. Ain’t none of those other juggernauts exactly put us away just yet….

  5. Purely speculative on Fried, but here are the top potential problems IMO:

    1) He’s tipping his pitches somehow. This seemed like a possibility dating back to Game 6 of the NLCS when the Dodgers seemed to be on everything in the 1st inning.

    2) He is being impacted more than most by the crack down on use of “substances” on the balls.

    3) Something about the new balls is messing with his curveball.

    4) Some unknown injury. I see this one as most unlikely as the velo is there, but a non-arm injury could (hammy) be altering mechanics.

  6. Fried’s opening day start is the only one I’ve seen, but in that one he had no control of his curveball. If that’s continued to be an issue it could lead to tipping his pitches via an attempt at a mechanical adjustment, and/or hitters sitting on his fastball and spoiling the slider. According to Fangraphs he has virtually abandoned his changeup, which would leave him no effective pitch to employ to throw off hitters’ timing.

  7. Simpson on the radio noted that Fried’s head was moving all over the place, which caused him to leave his pitches up. Sounds like there was a lot of excessive head movement and flying open.

  8. It’s possible the ball has something to do with it. League offense is supposedly up all over. And I recall Fried’s curve being one of those that drops from the heavens right into the middle of the strike zone. I don’t think I’ve seen that this year. When he has gotten it into the zone, it’s not arching as high. But that is what made his curveball so great. It was a strike after the hitter had given up on it. Most pitchers throw curves that look like strikes but end up as balls to get hitters to swing and miss. Fried’s curve gets the strike without a swing. And that’s not working this year.

  9. It’s nice to see the Braves recall another lefty for the pen. I’m not sure we had enough.

    One of the obvious things that I noticed, especially in game 1, was that the Fish were hitting the lefties but not the righties as much (even Tomlin looked good for one inning). The best pitchers over the last two days were Ynoa and Jackson. Of the lefties, only Will Smith failed to get slammed around. The Fish are batting exclusively RH hitters.

    We need a good RH reliever. SIGN SHANE GREENE.

  10. You use words well, Alex. Your writing brings me joy.

    The Braves? No joy. Yet. It is good to fuss about our team though, isn’t it?

  11. @8 I would bet the ball has everything to do with it. Frickin’ Manfred, man. What does Rob Manfred have against major league pitching????

    I vote for a punishment of a thousand major league fastballs to the groin for Rob Manfred.

  12. @11

    One would have thought Andrelton would have had more sense. A good portion of that level of talent is automatically allocated to the brain so they say.

  13. Hell, yes, coop! And it’s a joy to see you around these parts. How are you doing?

  14. Man, I hear all of this w it’s respect to no joy from this team, but I am a Braves fan because of my father, who COVID took this winter, and just watching a Braves game, regardless of details, gives me comfort.

  15. Nathan, my condolences to you and your family. I’m so sorry for your loss. Thanks for watching with us.

  16. I’ve only commented sporadically, but I’ve been reading for over fifteen years; happy to be here.

  17. Nathan, I’m so sorry. I hope watching the Braves continue to give you comfort and great thoughts of your dad. My dad and I shared being James Bond fans, and I still think of him every time I watch his favorite Bond, the awful, awful A View To A Kill (he was also a big Walken fan).

    Hopefully the Braves hoist the trophy this year for your father.

  18. Getting swept in a four game set by the Marlins at home is probably not a good sign to making the playoffs. You can make the argument that we currently have the 4th best roster in the division

  19. In the fireworks show that is Major League Baseball, there is always one firework that is supposed to be a big blast, but goes off improperly and proves to be a dud. Early, yes, but the Braves appear to be it.

  20. I’m not yet ready to panic. If 40 games before panicking was good enough for Bobby Cox, it’s good enough for me.

  21. agree with @29, there are some issues for sure, but the division will be tight all year and 5/7 losses were the close late variety. Also, Acuna is enough reason to watch the team play.

  22. @29 good point. Even if we lose tonight we are at worst only 3 games back. It feels worse than it is for sure

  23. What is the point of running Ender there? I am going to just blame Ender for doing it on his own.

    Of course that stupidity cost us a run

  24. @29,@ 31

    Indeed, we were 3 games back after the first 3 games of the season. Not a big deal at the moment. Things just seem outta wack at the moment.

    And Nathan, my condolences. I hope the braves win it all for ya (as unlikely as that seems right now).

  25. The douchebaggery of Mattingly pulling the kid with two out in the fourth with a dude hitting .190 coming up.

  26. The old age question… can Austin Riley be a productive major league hitter? The signs don’t look promising

  27. Have y’all ever seen anything like this?

    Good God, Ronald ain’t even gonna let us lose.

  28. My name us Bill Edwards SPORTS EDITOR OF THE PALM Coast Tribune and a loyal fan if the The Braves since 1957 At Age 4 years old Certainly Agree 100 percent you are the first Reporter to say his peace . Ot Replicates what I have been saying for The last 3 days where is the Members of the team is not Present No no. Pitching and for sure no Hitting . Offense ROMALD ACUNA EVERY OTHER MEMBER OF THE OFFENSE A RESOUNDING 000.00 did the team hold a pow wow team Meeting has the General Manager comment Freddie Fremen hits a Home run every 3 games He was the NL Mvp. Ozuna Mr Offense not present. Dansby Swanson not Visible the only Offense present Adam Duvall Why Did the General Manager not Renew His Contact Along With The Pitcher Kutcher
    The braves are a shadow of they once were from the last 3 years

  29. Why didn’t Snit have Adrianna go in at 3rd after Riley struck out and hit in 9 spot and Newcomb in Riley spot .. Newcomb could have pitched another inning .. these Mgrs just don’t think ..

  30. Luke’s in midseason form. Thank goodness Alfaro bailed him out by swinging at a ball that was off the plate.

  31. When I express my support for Luke Jackson, that does not mean I think he should be pitching the 8th in a tie game.

  32. @46 I certainly prefer him to Nate Jones or Will Smith

    Edit- as Smith looks as good as he has all year…lol

  33. Isn’t Ender legitimately on the list of most useless Braves ever? Like right there with Keith Lockhart? Does he have the pictures now?

  34. Orson Scott Card is planning on renaming his Nebula-award winning book. The concept of Ender’s Game is now obviously self-contradictory. It will now be Ender’s Black Hole.

  35. There hasn’t been a one-man team like this since Calvin “Megatron” Johnson played for the 0-16 Lions.

  36. Duvall’s a second division starter. Ozuna’s a DH forced into the field. We should have signed both.

  37. If I’m Mattingly, I walk Acuna, gladly putting the winning run on base. (Actually, Mattingly may just hit Acuna since he hasn’t had his pitchers do that recently.)

  38. I hate this Xtra inning rule .. Ender gets bunt down and Freddie comes up with chance to win it .. our fundamentals and Mgr decisions suck

  39. For his final trick, Ender will go for the bonehead triple play as he tags up on a ground ball in the 10th while on second base

  40. So tomorrow we most likely will get Adrianza, Heredia and Jackson. Three guys that should be at Gwinnett.

  41. Y’all blaming the extra innings rule on the Braves losses are kidding yourselves. The rule is the same for both teams. Braves being outplayed.

    This team is complete ass right now. Think I’m gonna check out for a bit and see how things look in May.

  42. We get out managed again .. if these players don’t make these teams get out if these shifts .. why none of them lay down bunts I don’t know.. well yea I do know .. we ain’t got nobody that can bunt .. they would rather pull the ball into the teeth of these shifts

  43. Five-eighths of the everyday lineup currently possess OPS figures below .600, the only starting pitcher with an ERA below 4.3 is Ynoa, and the bullpen is a dumpster fire most nights. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

  44. When do we get rid of these hideous 70’s uniforms ?? Gotta change our luck .. trash them

  45. @ 65

    I saw no Gwinnett level pitching from Jackson tonight…. au contraire.

    On this blog we love to feed on our own flesh. Overkill, what’s the point.

    ‘Tears, angry tears
    we know not what they mean.’

    There is not a baseball fan in America who would not kill to have Ronald Acuna on board every day. We have no need to, he’s all ours.

    So we lose a few games. Maybe no October even till we sort other needs out. Jump off then if you can’t handle it. The game’s the thing.

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