Marlins Drop Braves 4-3 In Series Opener

When the Atlanta Braves walked off the field for the 61st time in 2020, it was euphoric. Freddie Freeman had just delivered a walk-off single in game one of the wild card round against the Cincinnati Reds, putting the Braves within a win of their first playoff series victory in 19 years. It was euphoric, the kind of thing that makes you fall in love with baseball all over again. 

The 61st trip off the field in 2021 was a lifeless, yet entirely predictable 4-3 loss to the Miami Marlins. This team still has not crossed over the .500 barrier at any point in 2021, and it will take at least four more games to do that with this latest setback. 

Don’t count on it only being four, though. This is a slog of a summer right now, and unlike 2020 the slog is going to be much more than 60 games long.

 It’s disappointing and frustrating to say, but is anyone really looking forward to watching this team another 101 times? It feels much more like a chore than the fun it has been the last three seasons, and tonight was the latest example.

Positives: 

  • Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies are still really fun to watch. The dynamic duo combined for four hits and three RBIs tonight, once again proving to be among the only reasons to still turn on the television every night. 
  • Dansby Swanson recorded two hits in a game, something he hadn’t done in his last 16 appearances. That’s at least something for him to carry into tomorrow as he continues trying to level off his unbalanced home and road splits. 
  • The bullpen was really good tonight! Four shutout innings from Sean Newcomb, Shane Green, Luke Jackson and Tyler Matzek gave the offense a chance to win. Of course it didn’t matter, but good bullpen nights are too few and far between this season to not acknowledge them when they come around. 

Negatives: 

  • The 4-8 starters in the lineup combined to go 2-for-19 at the plate with seven strikeouts. We know this is a shallow lineup, but that’s not going to cut it no matter what the top three hitters in your lineup produce. 
  • Is there anything really left to say about Charlie Morton? At this point he is who he is, and who has been worth 0.7 WAR so far this season in 13 starts. The most frustrating part of it all might be that it’s the same issue plaguing him every start; one inning per outing is sinking his chances. Tonight it was the fourth inning where he surrendered three runs that ended up deciding the game. 
  • 2-for-12 with RISP with 10 runners left on base. That’ll pretty much kill you in a one-run game.
  • The Mets beat the Padres, so the Braves are now a season-high five games out of first place and staring down the barrel of yet another 4+ game losing streak tomorrow. Anyone having fun here? 

Former Brave Of The Day: 

The Twins lost 6-4 to the Astros, but Josh Donaldson hit two home runs in the game at Target Field. 

Quote Of The Game: 

“You are what your record says you are.” 

— Bill Parcells 

Tomorrow’s Goal: 

Get some semblance of production from the bottom half of the lineup. It would be especially nice if it could come from left or center field given the black hole those two positions have been over the last three weeks.

33 thoughts on “Marlins Drop Braves 4-3 In Series Opener”

  1. One tidbit of marginal significance: Duvall’s 40 RBI are more than Acuna, Ozzie, or FF have put up.

    At least the pen didn’t blow the game. It was all on Morton.

  2. I, for one, am absolutely looking forward to the next 101 games. No matter what, after last year, I’m not taking the opportunity to watch Braves baseball for granted.

    That said, it would be even more enjoyable if they could win a bunch of those games. If not, I still get to watch Acuna and Albies everyday, and that’s not nothing.

  3. I think Charlie Morton has been fine. You’re paying him to be your 4th starter, and I think you’d take it if your 4th starter gave you 2 WAR.

    Since Atlanta drubbed Pittsburgh for 3 straight games including that 20-1 game, the Braves have scored 6 runs or more 3 times in 14 games. Here are some notable OPSes during this 14-game stretch:

    Adrianza: .513 (31 PAs)
    Ender: .367 (20 PAs)
    Panda: .569 (16 PAs). Since May 11th, Panda has a .462 OPS in 25 PAs. He ran into a few balls early in the season, but Panda is now a pumpkin.
    Heredia: .381 (43 PAs). Good gosh, please end this experiment.
    Dansby: .696 (57 PAs)
    Freddie: .658 (62 PAs)

    Our issues with the rotation and bullpen aside, they aren’t the true problem. You ain’t winning anything with anything less than an elite rotation and bullpen with offense like that.

    It’s mid-June. We’re 61 games in. Our pre-season CF is in AAA. Our pre-season LF should be in jail. Our 31-year old first baseman is having the worst season of his career after having his best. We have no bench. There’s no calvary coming over the hill. A lot of hitters are going to have to get better really quickly, or we’re going to need to win a lot of 3-2 games, which we won’t do.

  4. Like Sam H, I will watch the rest of the season as I have every season from 1953, with great interest. I knew this team would not equal last years success. Only the most foolishly optimistic person would think an equal performance was possible. I will stick with the optimistic 84 wins which would require going 55 and 46. Is it doable sports fans? A win today would help.

  5. @3 I think we all see it to. That’s why I think you need to give Arcia and Demeritte some run over Heredia, Ender and Adrianza with no trades apparently on the horizon. Last night when Heredia hit for Morton I thought we might have been better letting Morton hit instead

  6. We’re worried about replacing Ozuna, and we haven’t even satisfactorily replaced Markakis yet.

    If there’s anything Adrianza, Heredia, and Almonte have established in significant numbers of MLB at bats, it’s that none of them are Marcell Ozuna. Travis Demeritte is almost undoubtedly not Marcell Ozuna either, but we don’t know that, or how close he could get. For that matter, Camargo hit 19 homers in the majors one season, and he’s only 27 .

    Hopefully we make a trade, but if not, why not at least try to get lucky instead of going with people who have never demonstrated any potential to be what we need.

  7. Why bother this team SUCKS. Sell out the team including Freddie Freeman who has done nothing but sulk and drag down the team

  8. @4 Wut? Ok, seriously, the negativity can only get so irrational. The Braves last year had a .583 winning percentage, which is a 94-95 win pace across 162. The Braves won 97 games in 2019. Say what you will about this year’s struggles, but there’s absolutely no reason last year’s success can’t be replicated, especially when they returned the majority of the team from last year and sought to address the biggest weakness from last year (the rotation). And they at least tried to keep the option of improving the bullpen by signing Smyly, but our rotation issues has required him to start.

    I get the frustration, but this take rolling around that this team on paper was destined to suck is flat out wrong.

  9. 2nd and 3rd, one out, can’t get a run home. But good news! If my prorating skills are any good, we only owe Ender Inciarte another $15M!! At least he’ll give us lots of at bats!

  10. But this last inning is the Braves season in a microcosm. Lack of execution defensively, pitching, and offensively. You give up a run in the bottom of the first on a walk, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly. Then you get runners on second and third at the top of the next inning, and the next two hitters are retired on for pitches with no run. The black hole that is six through nine is an absolute joke. Some of these dudes can’t play, scratch them off the list and move on and try somebody else that might be able to get it done

  11. Mr. Copenhaver,
    Last year CAN NOT be duplicated.
    Three major over achievers are gone or struggling. THREE are no longer producing. The closer is producing for an other team. Optimism is great, but sir there are no diamonds in the turds in the Braves toilets.

  12. @11 So why did largely the same team win games at an even higher rate the year previous with the majority of the best players on the roster entering their prime?

    Unless you predicted Soroka, d’Arnaud, and Ozuna would be injured, Freddie Freeman and Drew Smyly would put in the worst seasons of their career, Max Fried would regress, Will Smith would have the highest blown save rate of his career, Christian Pache wouldn’t even be replacement level, and we would have one of the worst records in the league in one-run games, I don’t know how you could have predicted this. And if you did, man, give me the lotto numbers tonight.

  13. Team being shut down by a AAA level pitcher. Do SOMETHING as a team, as a coaching staff, as an organization. The apathy is disgusting.

  14. Lol..Duvall . Suck it AA

    Another home run on an 0-2 pitch. How much falls on Contrares as the catcher? His pitch calling skills don’t seem great

  15. I thought you were comparing this year to last. That’s what you said you were doing.
    This years team is not remotely the same as last year. I always get confused when one compare apples to oranges. Please don’t do that. It makes zero sense. This team as built now WILL NEVER win close to as many games as last years team.
    May not even make the playoffs.
    Different catcher
    Different first baseman
    Different left fielder
    Different center fielder
    NO DH
    Different Closer
    Much different bench
    MUCH different team
    84 wins at best.
    Duvall has the almost the same stats as Ozuna except he can field and is a much better human being. I dig it, hind site is 20/20.
    Just not a good team. There is time left for me to be wrong. And it would bring me great joy to be so. Now back to the game in a beautiful stadium.

  16. This is just epic ineptitude.

    I am wondering how much the umpiring plays into this. Bad umpire calls leave hitters not knowing how to react – which pitches to hit and which ones to take. Today is another example. Every slightly high pitch is a strike and it’s been days since any ump called a high strike. This year is the worst ball and strike calling I have ever seen.

  17. Other Braves teams have been worse — far worse, in some cases. None have been more disappointing or dispiriting to watch.

  18. @14- Contreras is a AA catcher who got called up due to injuries; can’t really fault him for being an unfinished product. He’s been a pleasant surprise for me overall even with the defensive mishaps.
    If memory serves me correctly, TDA and Ajax were having the 0-2 problems as well, maybe its more of a pitching issue.

    In other news, we are getting shut out again :(

  19. @19 agreed.

    At what point is Seitzer in question? They don’t take pitches or work counts and if they have an offensive philosophy I can’t tell what it is. If they don’t hit home runs they don’t score

  20. @12 – I dunno Rob, I remember the conversations on this very weblog from the off-season differently then you, I guess.

    Plenty of folks brought up most of those topics many, many times.

    People questioned the Smyley signing from day 1.

    Every reasonable person agreed Fried’s 2020 stats weren’t sustainable.

    We spent November-April pointing out the bullpen was weak.

    Many of us – I know I was one – questioned the decision to roll with Pache given his unproven bat.

    The sober-minded on here were reticent to count on much production from Soroka until he, you know, actually pitched in a game.

    We pointed out again and again that we likely saw career years in 2020 from Freeman, Ozuna, and D’Arnaud.

    Nobody predicted the precise injuries to TDA and Ozuna, but we have talked for 3.5 seasons now about how AA has not put together a deep bench. Injuries happen every year, to every team. Atlanta had crap backups at every position. When the inevitable injuries came, suckage was bound to happen.

    These were all known going into opening day. The roster as constructed was always counting on a lot to (continue to?) go right. Little room for error built in.

  21. The Braves have too many AA and AAA players on the major league roster. Injuries, bad conduct, and cheap ownership lead to that scenario.

  22. @21

    I don’t remember a lot of people saying this was a 76-win team, which is what we’re on pace for if we drop this game. I don’t remember anyone saying anything remotely close to that. I guess we do remember things differently.

    RE: Fried

    Fried is having the worst season of his career, not just merely being unable to sustain last season. I definitely, definitely don’t remember people saying that would happen. Apply that standard to Freddie as well. Regression? Sure. Worst season of their careers? Not a chance.

    RE: Bench

    I do agree there were many, myself included, who lamented how bad the bench looked. I thought Ender as a PH against RHP and backup OF could work, however. I don’t remember people thinking Pache would be so far below replacement level that you couldn’t even afford to let him figure it out. No one predicted Pache would have anywhere close to a -6 OPS+. Seriously, if someone said Pache would have anywhere close to a NEGATIVE OPS+, then I’ll stand corrected.

    A LOT of things have had to go wrong for this very good team to be where it is. Unluckily, they all have. NO ONE predicted that.

  23. @25 I am past the unlucky thing. They just aren’t very good and I don’t see where they magically will become good.

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

    To quote John Wooden- “failing to prepare is preparing to fail”. This roster was not prepared for any type of situation that didn’t go according to plan.

  24. @25 – Nobody was saying 76 win team. But remember 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.

  25. Well a second disappointed in two days.
    Four games 7 runs in regulation. Last years team would be 4-2 or 5-1. This year Miami 5-1. Last place after tomorrow?
    I hope not. But fortunately Miami is much more than baseball. I finished reading an other great Walter Mosley book while admiring the beach views. Next read is James Lee Burke Black Cherry Blues.
    I got the baseball blues.

  26. You said it all . The team as a whole is equivalent to the 1980-1992 Team. Brian Snitiker has no answers . The General Manager Doesn’t or isn’t doing anything to improve things. Does he want to go after true quality pitching No . The Staring pitching is a Night mare . Will he Attenpt to go after Craig Kimbral 🤔 Doesn’t apoear so. Craig Kimbral has been successful with The Boston Red Sox Craig Kimbral got what he wanted a World Series 🌎 ring Thanks to the Former General Manager who traded him away to the Padres and later to the Boston Red Sox. Meanwhile since The Braves were no longer interested in him . He left and Went to the Redsox he is advisor and Got What he was I’m search for . The Braves Go rid of Great pitching on to other Ball Clubs . it is Quite Evident that The Braves Front office and Coaching staff just don’t give a hoot. Perhaps it’s Time To. Have Terrible Thodure Turner to return . Under his Commanding ownership The Team produce 3 Cy young winners who were Later voted into the Hall of Fame with Bobby Cox .
    This Season is Apearing a Bust . Look at the Attendance over the this Home stead or matches Home Attendance of 2010 the Fams want to see a winner 🏆
    Not Losers. I already predicted this the 2 ND Week of The Season. The Braves still have to face The Dodgers . That should be a Real Picknic feeding Frenzy like The Movie Jaws 2 more with The Boston Red Sox, another couple of Series with the Western Division. They are now 3 games from Joining or Falling below the Miami Marlins 🤔 . Perhaps the management and The the pitching staff are suffering from Brain damage due to the Corona 19 Virus. The Only player as it looks like to join the Staring line up of The National League of the Allstar team is Ronald Acuna . This season has proven the 4 P’s Piss Poor production Equals a total loss 📉😑.
    I’m signing off I Told you so I shall as as general William McArthur always said. But But As I said and Await a rebirth of The Once Great Atlanta Braves . The Braves Ship on the High Seas is Sinking Like The Titanic. Except Lives Lost due to Mistakes The Captain and staff made . It’s the The Fan base . This year is Show me And concerned fans might not Invest in a Group of Lossers. Nobody remembers loseers Just Winners 🏆..as Vince Lombardi a true winning coach. Always said ” winning is Not everything it’s The Only Thing ” if Any One recalls The video Qutoes of Vince Lombardi preceeding the 2021 super Bowl in Tampa. Then The Present interviews of a NFL hall of fame future inductee Araron Rodgers . He is Feed up.with The Green Bay Packers. He
    didn’t report to the Rcemt mini camp. That’s what’s going on with the Atlanta Braves The players Are there. But Mentaly Not. Wake ⏰ up Atanta Braves Before the Local press and National Media has A party 🥳 at your expense to put it short You are Stinking up The Joint Watching and Listening to the Braves game this season has been as Exciting as watching a newly painted Room. Watching the paint 🎨 dry.
    Bill Edwards Editor of The Palm Coast Tribune Lauderdale Lakes and Boyton Beach ⛱Florida..let’s all go the Beach or something exciting 😀 until we all see a major turnaround and see the Once winning Atlanta Braves.

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