Marlins 4, Braves 2

In tonight’s edition of “Where is the 2020 Version,” we highlight Max Fried. Last year, it seemed Max had turned the corner. He had his lowest ERA, FIP, WHIP, and home run rate of his career in 56 IP. That was good enough to put him 5th in the Cy Young voting in the short season.

This year, he hasn’t been quite as dominant. His 4.62 ERA in a similar amount of innings pitched is much less inspiring than his performance last year, though his FIP is better (3.62). He didn’t pitch poorly this afternoon, but against a Miami lineup that is far from one of the bests in the league, he gave up the gopher ball twice, 4 hits total, and ended up with 3 earned runs in 6 innings. Like I said, not a bad outing at all, but you’d like to have seen a more dominant performance against this lineup.

But it’s hard to win when you don’t score much. Freddie Freeman hit his 15th home run, and that was the totality of the scoring. As bad as Freddie has been relative to this career norms, he’s at least on pace for 39 home runs, which is a lot more than 25. If you prefer the rudimentary statistics, he’s also on pace for 92 RBIs. Freddie had 2 hits, but also hit a rocket that had so much top spin that it fooled Adam Duvall, resulting in an error since it hit his glove. Abraham Almonte contributed a single and a double, Acuna and Fried had singles, and that was all she wrote for this collection of Punch and Judy hitters.

Speaking of Adam Duvall, he hit his 12th home run, a bomb off Fried. Duvall has a 81 OPS+, so I think the frustrations over not retaining him are a little exaggerated. However, I would really like to know what has happened with the Braves’ finances and how they went from paying him $3M to essentially stash him in AAA in 2019 to not even giving him a roster spot in 2021 after a great 2020. He’s sort of the poster child for how much the depth of the roster was stripped back this year.

In what was a microcosm of our season, the Marlins tacked on an insurance run in the 8th with this humorous sequence: Starling Marte grounds to Freddie who had to range from the bag quite a ways. Edgar Santana didn’t quite make it to the bag in time while Freddie inexplicably under-hands the ball, and Marte was safe. Next pitch, Marte steals second as Contreras throws the ball into centerfield about six feet over everyone’s head. Jesus Aguilar then check-swings a ball over Freddie’s head into right field for a single, scoring Marte. If we didn’t have bad luck, we’d have no luck at all.

Well, we suck, right? We’re in mid June and we’re on pace for 76 wins. Those are the facts, and they’re not based on sample size. I’m not sure what can be done about this team right now. I’ll try tequila next.

48 thoughts on “Marlins 4, Braves 2”

  1. From last thread:

    @28

    It’s not unlucky that Adrianza, Heredia snd Almonte are getting meaningful at bats…it’s cheap and terrible preparation.

    That’s definitely not unlucky, I agree. Your starting CF having a -6 OPS+ and your starting LF being under criminal investigation is, however.

  2. Got JC’d from last thread.

    Remember in the off-season when the PECOTA projections came out, pegged the Braves for 82 wins, and everybody lost their shit? Maybe the computers were into something.

    Also, I think the Fangraphs preseason projections had the Braves pitching staff predicted for last in the Division. Nobody wanted to hear it at the time but looks like a good bet now.

    My main point is this team wasn’t bulletproof going into the year and we all suffered from a recency bias of a 60-games season where the Braves probably got real lucky on a lot of fronts.

  3. @1 you are correct in regard to LF, But to not have one usable replacement is awful and coupled with the inability to stop rallies on defense and the inability to play smart baseball to manufacture runs is a season killer so far

  4. Well, if we become sellers, who would be on the block?

    Freddie would have to be. Chris Martin and Charlie Morton are free agents as well who would get something in return. Could we find a taker for Will Smith? Dansby is a free agent after 2022 I think.

  5. This team is destined to go into the final game with an 81-80 record.

  6. AA will just sit on his hands and we won’t try to improve ..Braves are so scared of loosing money …. they are afraid to go all in ….

  7. I am to the point I semi hope we lose 7 in a row and bounce Snit so it looks like they are at least trying to change the trajectory of the season instead of just waiting and hoping something better will happen

  8. @2

    My main point is this team wasn’t bulletproof going into the year and we all suffered from a recency bias of a 60-games season where the Braves probably got real lucky on a lot of fronts.

    The Braves have won their division the last 3 seasons. That’s not recency bias.

    Also, I think the Fangraphs preseason projections had the Braves pitching staff predicted for last in the Division. Nobody wanted to hear it at the time but looks like a good bet now.

    They’re not last, and they probably won’t be now that Max Scherzer is injured.

    Remember in the off-season when the PECOTA projections came out, pegged the Braves for 82 wins, and everybody lost their shit? Maybe the computers were into something.

    The same PECOTA who gave Atlanta a 38.4% chance of making the playoffs last year?

    https://www.mlb.com/news/pecota-projections-2020

    The same PECOTA who has predicted the Yankees, Twins, and Astros to win divisions that are currently led by the Rays, White Sox, and A’s? The same PECOTA that predicted that the Giants would win 75 games who are 39-24 and leading the West? That the Nationals would win 85 games and are currently on pace to win 70? PECOTA definitely got the Mets right; they’ve been picking them for a half decade now.

    PECOTA has not liked Atlanta for the last few years. Couldn’t tell you why. They will probably be right this year, their first time in four chances.

  9. Well, if we become sellers, who would be on the block?

    Agree with your list. Greene probably has some value by the time we get to the end of July. I’d just go ahead and get it done with and deal Newcomb while we’re at it.

  10. We would be trading Newcomb at his all time low trade value. I think we’re stuck with him until he reaches salary arbitration and gets non-tendered.

  11. What PECOTA and all the other moronic number maniacs DO NOT KNOW is who can play intelligent baseball and who can’t. Who throws to the correct base, hits the cut off man. Advances the runner, has the ability to bunt or go against the shift to get on base. Becomes a good base runner, takes proper angles on fly balls. Backs the bases up properly. ALL the things that separate teams with high baseball IQ and those with talent only. Plus I get the feeling the numbers only folks would not know a hit and run from a Texas Leaguer. Also players performance varies often drastically from year to year.
    Why is Minnesota doing so bad and San Francisco so good. Best way to answer is watch every game they play. Stick the numbers where the does not shine.
    Well on Miami Beach beach the sun on occassions does shine there.
    After 162, we will know much more.
    There are those who think Kevin Cash is a genius. I don’t. Who is to say different moves would not produce equal or better results. Batter a left handed hitter who is 4 for 64 against a left handed pitcher is not genius. Use you eyes not your computer. The computer will tell you five and five is ten. I will tell you there is a million other ways. Know the game.

  12. I’ve got a theory. I think there are two reasons the various projection systems tend to “underrate” the Braves pitching staffs.

    They rely heavily on fielding-independant-pitching stats, which really reward high-strikeout numbers. They Braves for decades have loved sinker/slider groundball types and don’t typically roll with the big K starters. As baseball has seen a strikeout/velocity explosion in the past decade, that has become even more prominent.
    The projections systems DO take into account pitcher health when projecting quality and quantity of innings. The Braves of the past few years have had rotations full of injury history. We fans tend to overweight the possibility that Soroka comes back and throws 20+ starts and downplay the possibility that his injury keeps him out the whole year.

  13. Great comment about the finances. Given that the Braves came sooooo close to the World Series last year I had hoped LM would increase the payroll to allow AA to build a deep bench and keep the bullpen strong. NOW is the time to go for it. The reverse happened. Covid shut down the battery and no ticket sales last year (and part of this year) so LM cut payroll by a significant amount. They do not care if the team wins or not.

    AA is getting a ton of the blame but it’s not all on him. He would have loved to have kept Duvall for the bench plus sign another quality bench guy, like an experienced back-up catcher. I doubt he went into the season thinking the bullpen was fine either. Things happened this year that were beyond his control. Who could have predicted that awful Ozuna situation? We all were thrilled when he was signed. The D’Arnaud injury was bad and he had no MLB level backup. (At least Contreras is getting some great experience). Then Pache wasn’t ready and the team had no solid mlb outfielders on the bench. All of this could have been addressed had the payroll not been cut.

    AA isn’t blameless. The Smyly signing was curious given the amount of upper level pitching prospects the Braves have. Also there is Smyly’s injury history. But it would be interesting to know if he knew how low his payroll would be when he signed him. I thought he signed him for the bullpen because I just didn’t get it ……still don’t. I also don’t understand why he retains Kranitz. Good pitchers come to Atlanta and suck (Smyly, Morton, Smith). Bad pitchers leave Atlanta and become aces (Gausman). Even Kolby Allard is doing ok. I just think it’s time for a pitching coach change.

    AA needs to decide to buy or sell. I would sell and call the kids up. Put Riley in LF where he belongs and call up Arcia (unless a team wants to trade for him too). Call up De La Cruz and Wilson. If LM won’t pay for Freddie then maybe he would fetch a top prospect. LM tanked this season because of $$.

  14. I really don’t have a problem with the moves AA did make, even Smyly. It’s the lack of resources for the moves he couldn’t make which is why we are where we are.

    I’m not ready to give up. Mitch Haniger for Kyle Wright, Kyle Muller, and Michael Harris. Who says no?

  15. Since we don’t seem to have a use for Arcia, I wonder if we could get a couple relievers for him. Say, Patrick Weigel and Chad Sobotka.

    Also, Camargo got the start in RF yesterday. 👀 Why RF? He has a great arm, but I wonder if they’re considering the Acuna-to-CF option again.

  16. @15

    We say no. A hard and fast no.

    I do think Acuña to CF could be an option, especially if they grab a corner OFer…or 2.

  17. @17 Who would you remove or add?

    I’ve been beating this drum since last October, but man, Wright is 25 years old, and his value will only get lower. His value is lower than it was two years ago, one year ago, six months ago, one month ago. He’s getting to a point where he’s either valuable for us because he’s a major league quality pitcher and therefore we don’t want to trade him, or he has no value. How many guys are we going to shuttle back and forth between Gwinnett and Atlanta, crater their trade value, and then trade them for almost nothing?

  18. A Sunday Trivia Question: there are ten pitchers in major league history who faced a batter with their same name: like (and I know you want to forget this) Will Smith faced Will Smith in the playoffs last year. (I would note that that is the only time in baseball history a batter homered off a pitcher with the same name as the batter.)

    There is only one case, however, where both of the identically named players are pitchers and each batted against the other — twice. Who are they?

  19. After a wonderful breakfast at Panther Coffee I am at the ball Park. I had a short conversation with Mr. Acuna. I felt a spark of hope from the positive man. Speaking Spanish has it’s advantages. Plus I have his t-shirt on. The Braves hope to get a win with their worse pitcher.
    I guess in baseball as life anything can and will happen. Today the only number that counts is which team has the most runs. May all of us enjoy the game.

  20. Hmm… Roberto Hernandez vs. Roberto Hernandez (aka Fausto Carmona)?

    Bobby M. Jones vs. Bobby J. Jones?

    David Carpenter vs. David Carpenter?

    Amen to that, Ed!

  21. Chisholm just glared suspiciously at Smyly while looking back and forth to the dugout after that strike out.

    Was Smyly doctoring the baseball last year and not so far this year, and maybe trying it again without getting caught?

  22. I think Mr. Riley was offended. GOOD for him.
    Cheating and baseball have always been partners. Cheaters get elected to the HOF. But since batting averages are down MLB has their shorts in a bunch. Yet the DH is ignored. Narrowminded hypocrites.
    Enjoyment so far.

  23. Third time through the order. Everyone knows it. Come on Snit, wake up and make a move.

  24. @32: “Precautionary pectoral tightness”

    [Either that or he couldn’t stand watching Smyly pitch any more.]

  25. Little of both. Hey two runs in five innings. Who would not be happy with that? You expected shutout innings? Being optimistic is one thing, crazy, that’s totally different. Braves may want to add a few.

  26. My boy Smyly putting in a good outing. He’s given up 3 runs or less in 6 of his last 7 starts, but he’s only averaging 5 innings a start in those outings. I still think he’s better off a reliever, and if Ynoa and Soroka weren’t injured, I think he’s a really effective 2 inning guy in relief and we’re a lot better for it.

    But I’ll settle for him making me some coin.

  27. Timo,
    My sincere apologies for not responding sooner. He said while he is hitting HR’s he is not pleased with his average. I asked him if he thought batting fourth was better for him and the team. He laughed and said “Who would bat first amigo?”
    I joined him in laughter as he walked away. I love that dude.

  28. Thanks, EdK, that’s awesome. Thanks for sharing. Hope you’re having fun at the park.

  29. Heredia looked like he had multiple finger fractures, especially based on his reaction, and then stays in the game to finish the AB.

  30. Panda is officially a pumpkin now

    I would have preferred a pitcher (Fried?) to pinch hit and bunt the runners to second and third for just the worry that Panda would do that

  31. Will Woom works as a name since I crawl into the fetal position when he pitches.

  32. Algeria de la victotia.
    The ride north on I95 and across Alligator Alley will definitely be sweeter.
    Joe’s Classic chips and a Fest Almond Cola will assist.
    The game was not all positive but when are they?
    A pleasant evening to all.

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