The Fish Have Been Around for a Few Days, But It’s the Hammers Who Stink: Marlins 6, Braves 5

Another day, another frustrating loss. 

In fact, this one was even more frustrating than the first two losses to the Marlins this week.  After clawing back from a 5-0 deficit, the Braves tied it and took it to extra innings.  The Marlins got one in the top of the 10th to take the lead.  But the top of the order was due for the Braves in the bottom of the inning—and the tying run was already in scoring position.  Remember how the Braves of the last three years always managed to get big hits in the late innings? That magic is gone.  Even Ronald Acuña failed in the 10th, the Braves went down 1-2-3, and the Braves lost 6-5.

Last Wednesday, the Braves entered the day 0-4, and folks were panicking.  By the end of the day, the Braves were 2-4.  This Wednesday, our guys had just lost three in a row, and folks were ready to riot. I figured it was my job once again as the Wednesday recapper to restore some order and calm.

Notwithstanding the first two games, I felt very confident heading into this game.  Charlie Morton against a guy who had never won a game in the big leagues.  Naturally, after two and a half innings the Fish led 5-0.  Because baseball.

Morton was just a little off and had trouble putting them away.  He gave up two in the second, and then Jazz Chisholm hit a three run shot to center, and things were looking pretty bleak.

But Ronald said, hey, 5 runs? I can take care of that. Two run homer in the bottom of the third to make it 5-2.  Double in the fifth and scored on a Freddie hit to make it 5-3.  Then a two run shot in the seventh to tie it at 5-5.

Morton settled down and gave the team a much needed six innings without further damage.  Newcomb pitched a scoreless seventh.  Luke Jackson’s high wire act was in rare form.  Pitching the 8th in a tie game, he surrendered a single, two walks, two stolen bases, and a balk.  And held them scoreless. Is that even possible? If anyone can, Sliderman can. Will Smith struck out the side in the ninth.

Through 8 innings, only three Braves had hits: Ronald with two homers and a double, and Freeman and Ender (!) with two singles each.  Freddie drove in Ronald in in the fifth and Ender scored ahead of RAJ’s first homer.

Going into the ninth, the 7, 8, and 9 hitters were due.  Everyone in the stadium is thinking that someone needs to get on so Acuña gets a chance to hit.  Riley obliged with a broken bat bloop that hit the chalk on the right field line.  The BABIP gods smiled on us for once.  But it was not to be.  Ender squared to sacrifice bunt, but quickly pulled back and hit a one hopper to the mound for an easy double play.  Panda struck out and once again the Braves went to extra innings. (There had been an equally screwy double play earlier when Morton tried to sacrifice Ender to second, but Ender ran on the pitch and Charlie popped into a twin killing). 

Top of the 10th, Aguilar singled in the runner who began on second (I know it was a double, but that’s only because our left fielder has no arm).  Fortunately, Matzek got out of it with no further damage, striking out the next three hitters.

I was still hopeful going to the bottom of 10th.  But even RAJ is human, and the frustration level continues to rise.

  *  *  * 

Our Braves have been stinking up the joint lately. The comments here have been a fascinating study in how fans deal with failure and loss.

In 1902, William James published his classic The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature.  This is my effort at The Varieties of Baseball Fan Experience: A Study in Human Nature.  

The default position of some fans is negative.  If a relief pitcher has a poor outing, he sucks. If a hitter strikes out 3 times in a row, he will never hit again.  If the GM didn’t address a need in the offseason, it demonstrates his incompetence. If the payroll isn’t as high as some other teams’, the owners don’t care about winning. (Well, OK, this one we can all agree on.)

When a team is in a stretch like this, many blame a lack of effort, or claim the team lacks fire in the belly, or assert that then they’re missing an attitude of urgency.

Many assert based on a 4-7 record that the team is lousy, untalented, and has little chance of making the playoffs. My favorite from the game thread tonight was this gem: “Putrid. Sellers at the deadline?”

I’ll admit that the negative option is not for me.  As I said last Wednesday, one of my favorite things about baseball is the length of the season.  One game—or even 15 games—doesn’t mean much of anything to the ultimate record.  So one can take losses, even really frustrating losses, with a good deal of equanimity. Bobby Cox cared fiercely about each game (just ask any umpires of his era), but he always put individual games in perspective, kept the team on an even keel, and never publicly criticized his players.  Snit is very much the same way.

I also have to confess that I can get frustrated with the negativity.  Every now and then, I can’t help posting a sarcastic “DOOMED!!!”  But I have to remind myself that everyone on here is a serious Braves fan and very much wants them to succeed. For some, it must be therapeutic to rant and assume the worst; it’s a defense mechanism to deal with disappointment.  Truth is, I’m in no position to judge.  My own attitude of patience and positivity also serves a psychological need.  I may be in denial about how this team is not what we hoped it would be.

The comment that touched me the most tonight was from Nathan, who gets comfort from watching Braves games in memory of his recently departed father. Bless you, Nathan, and thank you for putting all this in perspective.  For many of us baseball’s deepest appeal is based in those mystic chords of memory that stretch from generation to generation.

 *  *  *

Losing three in a row to the Marlins sucks.  But you know that I’m firmly in the camp that it’s way too early to tell very much about this team.  We’re three games out of first place with 150 left to play.  We have pretty much the same lineup that was an offensive juggernaut last year; they are bound to heat up.  And Ronald!!

On the other hand, if Fried’s early struggles continue and if Soroka’s shoulder troubles prove serious, the rotation which appeared to be a strength is in trouble.  We knew all along that the bullpen was thinner than last year (did you notice that our high leverage guys at the moment are Newk and Sliderman?).  The bench is very thin (notwithstanding the early heroics of Panda and Adrianza). And the bottom of the order has a couple of guys that have yet to show they can hit big league pitching—and they may never do so.

This team may ultimately disappoint.  But why borrow trouble? I prefer to take no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

My money is still on this Braves team.

Let’s salvage one tomorrow afternoon.  Ian Anderson on the hill. Let’s hope his hide is Thick as a Brick, and he rises to the occasion.

Author: tfloyd

Tfloyd was born on the site of Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. Before the stadium was built, that is; it was then the site of Piedmont Hospital. It took the Braves another 11 years to arrive on what is now Hank Aaron Drive, but I‘ve always liked to arrive at the ballpark early.

99 thoughts on “The Fish Have Been Around for a Few Days, But It’s the Hammers Who Stink: Marlins 6, Braves 5”

  1. Thanks tfloyd. Recaps like these, especially after games like this, are why I’ve kept coming back over the years

  2. RUN Brian Snitiker out of town on a Rail followed by his Pitching Coach and Hitting Coach Marcel Ozuna the most Desired Hitter in 2021 FREE Agency a Bust where is my Atlanta Braves ? SHOULD Myself and the Rest of Braves Nation Hire a Private Detective to find the once 12 divisions in a row Team . Let’s Start a Protest March to The Owner ship office . Get Rid Of the pitching Coach and Replace him With Tommy Glaven or Rocking Leo in. Addition Replace Kevin Sitzer and replace him with Chipper Jones. Do it now before its to late.. Bill Edwards 🤠

  3. I was extremely frustrated this winter when the Braves refused to spend any money on the bench or the bullpen. I was afraid this team might not be as good as predicted. (Of course I had no idea Fried would struggle out of the gate. ) The team should have known they needed a solid 4th OF on roster in the event of injury or Pache struggles. Why did they DFA Garlick given they apparently couldn’t afford 7M for Duvall. Why not bring back Melancon?

    So, my frustration goes way back to the winter. This start isn’t totally unexpected to me…….yet still disappointing.

  4. Thanks, tfloyd, a really excellent read. I’m with you. The Braves will turn it around. The lineup is a lot better than what they have shown. Once Ozuna and someone else heat up, we’ll be fine. Go Braves!

  5. Great read. This team is gonna be fine. But they gotta ditch these throwback unis. The way things have gone these past few weeks there’s some bad juju there.

  6. I’ll have more to say about this tomorrow in my recap, but cast your mind back to 2002. On April 16th, after a 3-1 loss to the Mets, the Braves had just won 4 of their last 12 games. That team won 101 regular season games. It was definitely not over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

  7. In our house, we have reached the point where I do not have to check the box score in the morning for games that took place while sleeping

    If Braves lose, fan girl child 2 will not say a word
    If Braves win, she will ask if I have watched the highlights yet…

    I’m going to introduce her to the concept of “Doomed” later in the hope that it rights the ship. We have copious amounts of ale/gin for the next three days viewing, so let’s hope we consume in celebration rather than despair

  8. Tfloyd

    A Masterclass in reasoned serendipity. I had had the same reaction making the last late night post on the previous thread, just after the game ended, but not in such dulcet tones. You hit the nail here and are to be thanked and highly commended.

    Shakespeare had a few great lines on this. Attack the enemy, not your own, when things go against you.

    ‘Cry havoc and let slip the Dogs of War.
    That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
    Like carrion flesh, groaning for burial.’

    Part of all this though is getting real, knowing where we stand, what we are facing. The Fish, at this juncture, are no longer a pushover nor, in the short term, will they ever be again in the next 5 years. THEY ARE BETTER THAN US. Only Acuna is disguising just how much better. What holes exist for us in our roster come from FO decisions not the players themselves. So lay off the easy targets. Be a Braves fan, a supporter of those you hold dear.

    ‘The stone fidelity they hardly meant
    has come to be their final blazon
    and prove our almost instinct, almost true
    what will survive of us is love.’ Philip Larkin

  9. A routine outing for Saint Luke then.

    I am so used to the melodrama I almost look forward to it.

    But everyone was smiling on their way back to the dugout.

  10. I’ve read the sentence about Luke Jackson four times and I still can’t comprehend it.

  11. Luke Jackson: I will throw as many sliders as it takes to get 3 outs, and I don’t care how stressful it is along the way.

  12. This is the worst start to a season since we came out of the great rebuild, but there are so many things that probably change, and the vast majority will go from negative to positive:

    Positive to negative:
    -Acuna will not continue to have a 1.500 OPS
    -Ynoa and Matzek will not have ERAs of zero
    -Panda will not continue to have a OPS of 1.587
    -Luke Jackson will not beat his FIP by 5.22 runs per 9

    Negative to positive:
    -d’Arnaud’s OPS will not be .625
    -Freddie’s will not be .814
    -Ozzie’s will not be .599
    -Dansby’s will not be .480
    -Riley’s probably will not be .496
    -Ozuna’s will not be .519
    -Morton’s ERA will probably not be 4.76
    -Fried’s ERA will not be 11.45
    -Smyly’s ERA will probably not be 5.73
    -Minter’s ERA will not be 5.06
    -Soroka will not be injured all year
    -The Braves will make a trade at some point

    Bottom line: most of our lineup and almost our entire rotation will not continue to suck.

  13. @13 Nor should you.

    The secret to his success has always been confusion. Never explain, always obfuscate. The guys in the other dugout are reading some of all this and the more muddled they become the better.

    Now that he has put on around 30 pounds – don’t ask – they are awash in theories as to why.
    It has to be a new pitch – OMG.

  14. I own up to being one who comes on here to vent. Sorry if it gets old. Some of it is probably necessary to combat some of the toxic optimism on this weblog. Isn’t half the fun of fandom to rant against ownership/management?

  15. I don’t begrudge anyone for being frustrated with this team. We suck right now. I was just merely highlighting that things are quite likely to improve. Last night’s game was the most I had been frustrated since the rebuild ended. I think I was more frustrated last night than when we gave up 10 runs in the first to the Cardinals, which is saying something.

  16. @19–I agree that part of the fun of fandom is ranting/venting about your team’s decision making. I actually meant to avoid judgment on different folks’ reaction; I’m in no position to judge. If venting helps one deal with suckitude, I’m all for it. “Whatever gets you through the night, it’s alright, it’s alright.”
    (Whether I succeeded in conveying non-judgment is another question :))

  17. Regardless of how things progress from here, it’s also important to remember that even if this season remains in a tailspin, it is not over for these Braves. They were one out away from the World Series, a lot can happen this season, and a lot can happen next off-season. We’re not here to win a division every year, we’re here to win championships. This can include trying some things (Smyly rather than bullpen arms) and sometimes stumbling before bigger pieces fall into place.

    I’m channeling some Nationals and Dodgers who only recently accomplished their missions.

  18. It’s tough to come from behind every night when one guy on your team is capable of getting a hit.

  19. So… I’m confused. This is basically the same team that woulda-coulda-shoulda beaten the Dodgers in the NLCS last year, right? We look so bad. Baseball is a frustrating sport.

  20. @29 and what an awful arm it is. It’s not like he can help the team at all if he isn’t hitting.

    Maybe the Marlins are just better than us? Our pitching is a shit show with no guarantee it will improve. The offense should get better but we are still terribly flawed

  21. Wow … bet Anderson thought ..well I gotta pitch a no hitter today after he seen that lineup .. Albies in the 4 hole … look at all the avgs under 200 .. wow .. hitting coach doing anything ??? Chipper take over or what … I dont think these guys now days listen to hitting coaches .. with the shifts being deployed Id bunt down the line every time till they stopped … no punch in this lineup .. we will continue to hit grounders into the shifts or strikeout

  22. @29 .. maybe we can swap Freddie and Ozuna and Riley … Freddie can play 3b and Ozuna 1st ..Riley in LF .. heck they aint hitting grounders anyway .. our pitchers are getting lit up …

  23. On the plus side, I have a table booked in the pub beer garden tomorrow at 2pm (my time)

    By the time of first pitch, I should have had too many beers to be able to see anything

  24. @34 At this point why not just go with Harris or Waters in left. I am not sure Ozuna can play first though…lol

  25. Hearing a lot of things on this blog that just aren’t logical conclusions to be drawn. This isn’t a bad team. The offense doesn’t lack punch–it has plenty of bats capable of hitting for power. The pitching isn’t awful, but we are watching some pitchers who are having struggles. We may have a problem with the pen, though.

    Things for us to consider:
    1. There was going to be some regression on offense for a couple of hitters. MVP Freeman and MVP runner-up Ozuna. These guys are going to hit, though. We’re just a bit cold at the moment.
    2. Anybody with half a brain should have recognized the team was rolling with offensive voids in CF and 3B. SS will be fine as always is. 2B will be fine. 3B and CF will not. The longer Ender plays, the more I’m going to wish for Acuna in CF and for Kakes to come back to play the corner one more time.
    3. Pitching is struggling in a bad bad way. BABIP is telling us a story, but I can’t really figure out what that story would be. The ball is different again. Offense is up across baseball. That explains some of our pitching woes, but it doesn’t explain our offensive woes. Max Fried is pulling a Foltynewicz. He’s not the only one to get BABIP’d to death. It’s a mess, but you would expect every team in baseball to be in the same situation. Our starters are mostly young though.

    We’ll either pull out of this nose dive, or we’ll enter the offseason with a far greater mission than in years past. It ain’t over by a long shot. Ronnie Acuna is so-far having a season to remember.

  26. we could be seeing a Marlin No Hitter today .. with this punchless lineup … ive never seen such avgs .. another round thru the order and Acuna will be only player hitting above .200 … sad … they all struggling at same time … need a player only mtg … find out who trying to improve ..try something different ..maybe lay down a bunt against the shift ..but nobody wants to do anything to spark the team … frickkin lay down a bunt .. somebody …

  27. @37 I agree that Freddie, Ozuna, Dansby and Ozzie will eventually get it together and you made good points, especially regarding the voids in CF and 3B. Pache needs at bats and he can improve, but Ender is who Ender is. Even last night when he got two hits he figured out a way to mess things up. At third base, is Carmago really a worse option that Riley at this point? Theoretically Riley gives the lineup “punch”, but to this point he isn’t producing squat. If Carmago hit .250 it would be a huge improvement.

  28. @36 ..we got 3 more years of Ozuna in LF …. maybe by 3rd year he will be bouncing thows into 2nd base …..

  29. @40 ..we just sat and watched teams imprive in our division knowing we had holes at 3b and cf … HOPING Riley and Pache figure it out ..when you play in the NL championship in previous year ..you dont go into the next season HOPING anything .. you go get what pieces you need .. the cost cutter Braves arent gonna do that so .. get used to not only 2nd fiddle but 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th fiddle ..

  30. @42 we can only hope they adopt it … I hate the DH but since we have grandma arm in Left .. I will have to suck it up and accept the DH … but one good thing about DH ..we wont have to see Snit make stupid substitutions or lack of swap moves .. he wont have to worry bout it … so thats a positive ..

  31. I wish Freddie would quit moping around likehe has lost his best friend … can we get his wife to talk to him again … and tell him he better get with it or else !!

  32. @45 Only controversial opinion I have is that it would have been sweeter had they not waited for the man to die to do the name change. Imagine having Hank give an inspirational speech at the Hank Aaron New Beginnings academy.

  33. Now we just need a second or third person to also show up with Ronald and we might be in business

  34. It’s time to ask just how bad Kung Fu Panda would be in the field. The dude needs more PAs.

  35. We have Charlie Morton in the rotation and Morton’s Fork in the bullpen.

  36. I think Minter hit the Durham Bull mascot.

    This is Snitker telling AA, “This is the bullpen you built for me.”

  37. The only good thing is that I live in a state with legalized gambling, so I was able to place bets on the Marlins moneyline when they trailed and the Braves moneyline after Minter barfed it up, so I make a profit no matter what.

    Going to get something out of this repository of a month.

  38. The Braves have played 13 games.

    Appearances by reliever:

    Smith 7
    Matzek 7
    Minter 7
    N. Jones 6
    Tomlin 5
    Newcomb 4
    Webb 3
    Dayton 2
    C. Martin 2 (injured)

    Tucker Davidson, who was just called up to replace Fried, has zero appearances, though the Braves may be holding him out as a starter.

    I was surprised that Minter and Matzek have only been used in seven games; they’ve been in more than half of the team’s games and it feels like they’ve been used almost every day. They already are starting to look gassed.

    I’m not sure what optimal reliever usage is, honestly, but Minter, Matzek, and Smith have each appeared in more than half of the Braves’ games, while Dayton appears once a week. That isn’t sustainable. If Snit truly doesn’t trust Dayton, he needs to give up his locker for someone else who Snit would be willing to call in, because the current pen is both performing poorly and being overworked for its trouble.

  39. why in the hell did Snit replace Jackson with d’Arnaud and leave ZERO pinchhitters on the bench????

    wait, Gameday must have something messed up. After Gameday altered itself, I get it now.

  40. @77 Too damned many lefties. Duvall is the prime example. He crushes lefties. Needed Luke or someone in that position.

  41. Way to go, Ozzie.

    Two of those pitches to Ozzie were exactly like the pitch that rang up Travis. Annoying inconsistency…

    Anyway, let’s just win this thing

    EDIT: Dansby, clutch… had to have that one.

  42. Why does everything have to be so difficult with these guys.
    Can Ozuna go back to his previous swing already.
    Surprised Ozzie didn’t chase while trying to be the hero.
    Dansby, get hot and stay hot already.

  43. Your offense today folks. Acuna – 2 hits, Dansby – 3 hits, pinchhitters – 3 hits

    A win is a win but this was no turnaround.

  44. Well, given the patterns of the season so far this is the 1st win of our 4 game winning streak.

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