You say bullpen? I say bull****. Braves fall 6-4 in 10.

TFloyd’s Dylan reverie yesterday was so good that I’m tempted to give up on recapping altogether. (Go for it! I hear many say.) But I will soldier on, much like the Pittsburgh Pirates have for the last 30 years. We can bemoan the tightfisted Liberty owners, regret the team construction that privileges Nate Jones over Mark Melancon, wonder all we like about the status of Mike Soroka’s ankle, but wake up, people. Since Sid slid (in Retrosheet-speak S7/L7S.3-H(UR);2-H(UD);1-2) on October 14, 1992 until today:

  • The Pirates have a record of 1994-2411, which averages to 73 wins a year over a 162 game season.
  • They have never finished in first place.
  • They have made the real playoffs once (losing in the NLDS) and lost two of three wild card games.
  • Those three semi-competent years (2013-15) are the only years they finished above .500 since Sid Bream managed to beat Bond’s not-very-strong throw to the plate.
  • This year, at least thus far, is no different. They arrive in Atlanta 17-25.

It could be worse, folks. A lot worse.

I had a fascinating set of Retrosheet interrogations I intended to put here, but it didn’t come out all that interesting, so it’s shelved until it gets interesting. On to the game…

So the Pirates are a AAAA team, but the Mets put a AAAA team on the field in the last three games and we did little against them. So I come to this game (and this series) with a lack of confidence. Is anybody confident other than Chief? And his confidence is not exactly what I’m looking for.

I had Smyly’s 5th start two weeks ago and produced, after the game, this chart of his productivity:

He’s now got two more starts and he now looks a lot more like the guy we signed:

For the naysayers, though, the progress has definitely slowed. If he keeps this up he still won’t be Johnny Vander Meer by the end of the season. He gave up a two-run two-out homer in the first, and another solo shot in the 6th; a somewhat worrisome 11 dingers on the season. On the other hand, if he can give you six OK innings every time out, he’s useful.

On the other side of the ledger, the offense was all homers as well: a three-run shot by William Contreras in the 2nd and a solo shot by the newly-invigorated (perhaps running scared) Dansby Swanson who also had a hustling double. All of his critics, coop naturally excluded, are now partly silenced. You can’t silence coop.

But he’d thrown 109 pitches by the time the 7th inning rolled around, and we therefore needed to get 9 outs out of the bullpen with a one run lead. Everybody who thought that was likely: raise your hands. Seeing no hands, the lead lasted four batters. Sean Newcombe gave up a run, relieved by Edgar Santana. Matzek pitched an uneventful 8th. Blythe Danner’s ex-son-in-law handled the 9th.

Meanwhile, Chip said “He just missed it” to 436 consecutive Braves’ hitters, only one of whom reached base after Dansby’s homer, a bloop single from Freddie.

Extra innings saw Jacob Webb return to the mound; I confess I’m not sure why. I’m sure there was deep psychological reasoning and pseudo-family dynamical reasons, but nothing that makes strategic sense if you want to win a baseball game. Three straight singles and a sac fly Grybo’d off Dayton led to yet another two-run extra inning. The bottom of the inning saw futile efforts from Freeman, Ozuna and Albies and it was over.

So once again, the manifest failings of the bullpen come to the fore: two squandered leads after the starter left. Ozuna and Albies are clearly struggling now… again. And the bullpen cannot hold a lead. Where’s Sid Bream when you need him? If you can’t get well against the Pirates, you can’t get well. Three more, though. Tomorrow is another day.

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.

50 thoughts on “You say bullpen? I say bull****. Braves fall 6-4 in 10.”

  1. My name is Bill Edwards I have been a Fan Since I Was 4 Years old in 1957. Tue Braves need a Meeting while Listening to MLB Interview with Brian Snitiker .He states just keep. Sending out pitcher’s I’m sure the Attendence will suffer Ozuna And Swanson are not putting out bits Time To sit on the Hard pine . Ozuna when he was a hold out got what he wanted. A Four year contract I’m sure The Snitiker and Hitting Coach as well as Chipper Jones are Being questioned. The Main problem is no one with Exception to Miricle Ronald Acuna let the pitcher pitch the First pitch to see what he has In His assortment of pitches . Than pick the pitches don’t swing on the First pitch Just like we’re trained in Liittle League . If I was the General Manager and Owner I would call for Brian Snitiker ‘s Removal . He is not a manager with Motivational skills another words The coaching Staff is Skating. THE attendance will soon drop. . No one wants a looser . Please respond Give me Mark Bowman’s office phone Number along with yours. I can be reached at
    1(800)Bill-Bill if I don’t answer right away please leave me a message so that I know that you called me. Or I can be reached via carrier pigeon. Bill Edwards Sports Editor of The Palm Coast Tribune. Enough is enough if The Starting lineup is Stuggling send them down to the Minor Leagues its been done before and results occurred. Do you want to continue to see another Miami Marlins of 1998 . Let’s get moving Let’s Go Braves . I’m. Sure you are as tired 😫 as I am watching failure after Failure.
    Bill Edwards 😊

  2. JC’d…

    A word in for Pittsburgh who I was assuming we would put away easily judging by their nondescript reputation. Ha.

    They outclassed us in every position that matters…and sometimes more, you could swear there was two of that guy, always. We had nothing to match the four pitchers, after Crowe, they used tonight. El Greco their man pitched like an escapee from a 15th century working party with evil on his hands. Their guy Frazier I assume we might trade Freddie for, only they would say no.

    Their 3 and 4 hitters combined for 3 hits, 3 rbi…compare our 2, 3 and 4 hitters…0/0/0

    Shame to waste that early 3 run homer that got us out of early trouble only to see it eaten up by the numbers above.

    But it always looked inevitable. All round they were clearly the better team. Reassuring in a way that it’s not only the big teams that can play great baseball. So can we when we pull our collective fingers out…(Brit phrase circa 1600)

  3. Great recap. I felt bad for Webb after him throwing the fastball in the face. I don’t care if you are Mariano Rivera, you are going to struggle on your first game back after that. Why would Snitker choose to use him in a high leverage situation like that?

    On another note, I know it’s low A, but Spencer Strider is someone to keep an eye on. In his last outing he picked 3.2 innings, allowed no hits, 1 walk, and struck out 10!

  4. Why is his email address salsawillie? There’s so much going on here.

  5. @5, I just read about that in David Lee’s email newsletter! It’s about the most fun you can have as a Braves fan these days, so I heartily recommend everyone consider sliding him a few simoleons.

    @8, great band! The lead singer collaborated on the new album by the Anchoress, which I’m really digging. It is perhaps entirely too apropos that it’s called The Art of Losing.

    Honestly, any Russki who tries loving the Atlanta Braves right now will be getting no more than he deserves.

  6. Now every time I speed-skim thru those meanderings, they will speak to me in a cartoon Russian accent, like Boris Badenov.

  7. @10 – Thank goodness that’s a bot. I’ve seen some bad sportswriters, but that writing style is a whole new level of bad. I’m just glad he recognizes Miricle Ronald Acuna.

  8. You guys need to stop disrespecting Bill. He’s been a Braves fan for 64 years!

  9. It’s an honor that Braves Journal is important enough to attract a Russian bot.

  10. What, do we suppose, is BillBot’s endgame here? Are we to become Reds fans? When does the turn begin, or will it be too subtle to detect???

  11. We’ve had a few, let’s say, “stylistically unique” commenters pop up and go away over the years. I always figured it was a regular who was having some fun.

  12. To sin by silence when one should protest makes cowards of men. Conversely, the truth shall set you free.

    Great recap, JonathanF. How about winning one?

  13. Ozuna still batting 3rd tonight. UGH

    Kevan Smith gets his first start batting 7th in between making movies.

    Heredia in CF batting 8th. The rest of the lineup is the same.

  14. Not sure I dig the ride or die mentality with Ozuna but he is going to get more time to fix himself since he is getting paid. Flipping he and Riley wouldn’t be the hardest thing to do to get Freddie some protection

  15. We could get someone who could do better than Ozuna is doing. But the only person who can do what we need doing is Ozuna. So we might as well run him out there and hope that happens eventually.

  16. May I just add that this thread & all replies has been more entertaining than just about any Braves game this week.

    And might I add also that Brian Snitker told 92.9 The Game here in ATL today that the Braves “are just one winning streak from being in 1st place”.

    While technically that is accurate – – it is also technically accurate that I’m eligible to play in the NBA for the Atlanta Hawks. But THAT is also not happening anytime soon.

  17. So, Scott, I don’t feel completely differently than Snit on that. This team isn’t terrible, but insists on sucking.

  18. That’s fair Rob. As I said, it’s technically accurate! ;-)

    And yes, there’s a ton of talent on this team – – but that’s yet to win any trophies in sport history!

    But we’ll pull for them to the end. I’ve seen worse teams go on streaks & win, for sure.

  19. Belated appreciation to JonathanF for another terrific recap, and especially for the reminder of the Pirates’ futility for three decades. This season is indeed frustrating, but I do feel oddly better that I’m not in Pittsburgh.

  20. Welp, a couple of more losses to the Pirates and their record will be better than ours.

  21. To be clear, I’m not suggesting to bench Ozuna. I’m saying to move him down in the order.

  22. It’s hard to believe that swapping Riley and Ozuna in the lineup would be a bad thing.

    I gotta believe that some of Freddie’s production last year was influenced by how well Ozuna was hitting. I wonder how well Riley could do between Freddie and Ozzie.

  23. @36 Good job guys; where is the Patreon to get you guys tickets the rest of the year?

    The power from Riley is starting to come alive……nice!

  24. With all the offensive fireworks, I have to say the best thing about tonight is …… 0 walks by Braves pitchers.

  25. What in the heck are they doing pinch hitting and using another reliever for the top of the 9th? Why not let Tomlin pitch the 9th?????

  26. If the Pirates don’t score, this matches the run differential from the Marlins game (29-9).

  27. @43 When you’ve recently killed a guy and then blew a game, might be a good idea to get him a low leverage opportunity.

  28. @43, even if you want to let Webb pitch in a low-stress 9th (as opposed to, say, in extra innings), at least let Tomlin hit for himself. It’s not like Adrianza is going to get any benefit from hitting against a position player, except possibly to his stat line. I imagine Tomlin (7 career hits) would enjoy batting against a position player.

  29. @48 I could swear I saw that discussion happening in real time in the dugout. Also, did everyone see Ronald with a left hand batting helmet? Snit shut that down real fast.

    I do realize that Webb needs some low leverage situations but you still have to start doing something to save your relievers.

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