Nationals 11, Ronald Acuña (and no one else worth mentioning) 6

This was the type of game that I typically thank my lucky stars that at least I don’t have to recap. Then I realized a few minutes after midnight that actually I was supposed to recap it, so the following stream-of-consciousness ramble can be partly blamed on my own lack of organization, but I think we can all blame much of it on the franchise.

Tonight I had a really lovely evening. I’m visiting my parents and we’ve come to a group of lakes in upstate Maine, and tonight we went to dinner in one of the camping areas here that maintains a restaurant and bar with a beautiful view over the lake. It was taco Tuesday, so my dad and I both had haddock tacos, and they were incredibly fresh. The Allagash beer tasted pretty fresh, too.

All evening, my phone was buzzing, which indicated that the MLB app was telling me that runs were scoring. Eventually, I briefly glanced at my notifications to see that it was a bloodbath, and was glad that I’d more or less ignored it.

In times like these, there’s a poem I sometimes turn to. It was written by Flann O’Brien in his novel At Swim-Two-Birds, and it’s called “The Workman’s Friend,” and while it’s intended satirically in the text of the novel, many people have taken to quoting it literally, and quite frankly, I can’t strictly blame them.

When things go wrong and will not come right,
Though you do the best you can,
When life looks black as the hour of night –
A pint of plain is your only man.

When money’s tight and hard to get
And your horse has also ran,
When all you have is a heap of debt –
A pint of plain is your only man.

When health is bad and your heart feels strange,
And your face is pale and wan,
When doctors say you need a change,
A pint of plain is your only man.

When food is scarce and your larder bare
And no rashers grease your pan,
When hunger grows as your meals are rare –
A pint of plain is your only man.

In time of trouble and lousey strife,
You have still got a darlint plan
You still can turn to a brighter life –
A pint of plain is your only man.

Go get ’em, Smyly.

29 thoughts on “Nationals 11, Ronald Acuña (and no one else worth mentioning) 6”

  1. Tonight Tuesday June 1st , 2021. The Braves Starting and especially the a Relief pitching sucked I am not sure the Braves are going to fare with the National League Western Division , Especially the Los Angeles Dodgers who the Braves had a 3-0 Lead. In the 2020 NLCS. And the Braves managed to blow the Play offs just as they did in the 1996 World Series To the New York Yankees . It’s time for a Dramatic change. Note to Brian Snitiker And All supporting Coaches wake up you Moreones !!!. Before you are looking up at the Eastern Division Teams for Instance The Miami Marlins who in past years. I am shocked That the Braves beat journalists staff haven’t spoken to management together to get change finaly to occur before the Allstar game in July .Like.Hello.! Wake up are you dead Asleep or Alive.?
    Bill Edwards Sports Editor of The Palm Coast Tribune in Boyton Beach, Florida🏖.

  2. Meanwhile John Freakin’ Gant has a 1.60 ERA after shutting down the Dodgers for six innings last night after Gausman (ERA 1.40) shut down the Dodgers for six innings last Sunday.
    Of course.

  3. @3–true, we do have Bill, but we are also stuck with Moreones as manager and supporting Coaches.

    More importantly, we have Alex and a pint of plain. Thanks, AAR.

  4. @4 That was my favorite part of the performance too! Might be back for the matinee.

  5. I think braves14 asked this last week and it never got discussed: what has exactly happened with Soroka? Last August, he tore his Achilles. That’s agreed upon. He had surgery. He was supposedly fully recovered in March (which is within the timeline of torn Archilles surgery recovery), but was shut down for a short period of time. He restarts again, then gets shut down again. Then there’s a miscommunication by Snit, and then the team makes a point to fix the wrong message. So… what the heck?

    I’m accused of being overly optimistic at times, but unless there is a significant shoulder injury or a re-rupturing of his Achilles (two things I think we’d know by now if they occurred), it’s not unreasonable to think that Soroka could be back by September, 3 1/2 months from now. Like I said, short of a significant injury, which I don’t think he has or else we’d know, then what could possibly take 3 1/2 months to recover from?

  6. Also, as a follow-up, I missed the exact quote from Snit on Friday. I figured that he said something manager-speak like “Well, we don’t really expect him back this year, so we’re moving forward with the guys we got,” or something, and people ran with it. Nope. He said he was “done for the year”.

    https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/31527560/atlanta-braves-manager-backtracks-says-pitcher-mike-soroka-re-evaluated-two-weeks

    Where did Snit get that information, and how was it so wrong? And then accordingly, was it so clearly wrong that the Braves felt compelled to correct it, meaning they definitely don’t think Soroka is done for the year? Or am I reading into that last part a little too much?

  7. Brian Snitker: “The whole game had a bad vibe. It’s just one of them days.”

    The whole season has a bad vibe. It’s just one of them years.

    FIFY, Snit.

  8. @8 – I suspect that is the information Snitker was given, but for whatever reason the Braves didn’t want it public yet.

  9. I’ll have to say that I’m pretty optimistic also but some of the recent “unified messaging ” from the front office is making me a little cynical. Considering his track record, no one that knows anything about baseball would think Abraham Almonte had anything to offer the team. However, I saw at least 2 articles from different sources saying Almonte deserves his shot. That is just the front office trying to sell us a bad product. Don’t even get me started on the injury limbo crap.

  10. In a way I feel for AA, because clearly, he’s been given marching orders to operate on the cheap because of COVID. It’s almost undeniable at this point that this is the case. I stand by my give that until this team is sold to real ownership, it will never truly be a REAL contender and I don’t see any evidence to the contrary.

    It’s nothing but a steady stream of dreck riding the Gwinnett Train of Shoulder Gazing Anxiety.

  11. @8 and 10
    I think Soroka is done for the year, but it’s not the best message to send to the player who’s working hard to rehab. My guess is that he’ll make a start or two in the Instructional League. If he can do that I’d feel optimistic about him for next year.

  12. @13 Agreed. And Rob certainly knows (or should at least remember) the anxiety episodes I would go through during the offseason when the Braves kept touting financial flexibility but would never sign anyone. I firmly believe this team will struggle to make it over the next hump to becoming an elite contender unless they either strike gold in the form of Ynoa or there’s an infusion of funds big enough to offset Ozuna dead money and allow the team to acquire a durable dominant starting pitcher.

    Apart from that, I’ve probably said this at least once, but I’m concerned that we may have already peaked unless there’s a huge infusion of money in the near future. I can’t imagine having to ride out 3 more years of Ozuna money, watching Freddie Freeman walk, and still having the same list of questions to fill every free agency. You can’t just slap 1-yr band aids over everything, and at the same time you can ill afford an Ozuna-sized mistake. The team is being choked.

  13. @8 It’s probably just as you said: Snitker has been told to move forward with what he has and to not expect reinforcements. Somewhere in that conversation was some corporate speak or expectation about putting forward the best portrait of the team to the public but it sailed over Snitker’s baseball-loving head.
    As for Soroka, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around this team’s injury handling when it comes to pitchers. I like to think that they are just being ultra cautious, but it’s a substantial amount of missed time for some shoulder tightness and surgery clean up. I’m reminded of Cole Hamels who went from being ready to pitch to open the season to almost not ever pitching because of tightness or soreness. Whatever the Braves are paying for medical, it’s clearly not much.

  14. I think we can all agree, this season has suuuuuuucked so far. Frankly, suffering through the 2021 season has made me realize that the Braves haven’t significantly flopped relative to expectations since the 2014 season. 2015 – 2017 were rebuild years and then all the sudden in 2018 they jumped to 90 wins and didn’t look back from there. Heck, last year we were perhaps the 2nd best team in baseball. All of that… can spoil fans who haven’t had to sit through a genuinely disappointing season since 2014.

    @13 Clearly, the Braves’ budget restrictions made life harder on AA this offseason… but other teams successfully managed to make do with the same amount of capital as the Braves. We just whiffed on a lot of our offseason signings. The Smyly contract looked like an overpay the moment the news came out, and his performance so far has only made the deal look worse with the benefit of hindsight. Ozuna… well, even if you weren’t expecting a repeat of 2020 nobody was projecting this.

    Anyway, point is, 2021 has sucked for the Braves. That said, we still have the firepower to win the East especially if/when the Mets remember that they’re the Mets. It shouldn’t take 90 wins to finish in first this season.

  15. The question for me is what has Alex Anthopolous contributed, so far, to this organization? Obviously, corporate evaluates him far differently than any fan will, and hence he has already earned a promotion during his tenure. I look at this organization from top to bottom and ask what part of this is his doing? There are the obvious gaps on the roster. We have a closer in Will Smith. What has AA accomplished in building this team?

  16. @18 I would count signing Acuna and Albies to long-term deals as fundamental building blocks.

  17. He extended Acuña and Albies.
    He signed TDA who was good in 2020.
    He turned Kolby Allard into Chris Martin which was a trade win.
    None of the guys he traded for to get Kevin Gausman in 2018 ever amounted to anything while Gausman helped us down the stretch.
    It doesn’t look like anyone he traded to get Melancon is going to amount to anything. The jury is still out on Joey Wentz but the Shane Greene trade is also trending towards the Braves.

    I do think it is fair to criticize him for overpaying for Smyly. Hamels didn’t do anything either but at least it was only a 1 year deal. But overall he has done a good job to this point.

  18. I’m not dissatisfied with AA’s performance. But we’re going to have to do something at the deadline, and since I don’t know how much money AA has to work with, especially now with the Ozuna situation, I can’t fault him for the lack of movement.

  19. For every Smyly and Hamels, there’s a Martin, Joyce, Donaldson, Ehire, Heredua, Pablo. I’m guessing his track record for FA signings/acquisitions is near even in terms of value. If he can get out of Ozuna contract, it’ll be a net positive.

  20. @22 Agreed there. It seems free agency is just playing with fire. It will take luck for him to escape Ozuna.

  21. Adrianza is below replacement level so I wouldn’t consider that one a win.

  22. Facts
    Cheap organization
    Not the same team as last year which had three key players over performing.
    Two way over performing. Both probably gone.
    Likable manager, but not a good one.
    Pitching coach who is not major league capable.
    84 wins is up for debate.

  23. Last night was ugly. In just two of the last three games the Braves’ pen has surrendered a total of 13 ERs. That isn’t championship caliber baseball. The Braves look to me to be on a path to finish .500.

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