Reds take early lead, beat Braves 4-1

It’s never just one thing with this team. It is always bad news compounded on top of bad games and  disappointments stacked on top of frustrations. The Braves lost 4-1 to the Cincinnati Reds, and again it almost feels like a backburner issue after the news of Mike Soroka’s latest setback. The news broke about Soroka re-tearing his achilles and being officially ruled out of 2021 a couple hours before first pitch, and then the Braves fell flat against Luis Castillo. 

Unfortunately, we’re only just now coming up to the halfway point of this season. 

Positives: 

  • We’re pretty thin here today, but Ian Andesron had his season-high in strikeouts today with nine. The best part of that was those nine strikeouts didn’t just consist of him dropping his changeup; he had five strikeouts with his fastball, two with his curveball and two with that changeup. It wasn’t a perfect start, but he was very effective and at least gave the Braves a chance to win. Or, he would have if the offense had done anything. 
  • William Contreras finally got his bat going with two hits today. One of them even looked like it was going to lead to an RBI before Guillermo Heredia was gunned down at home plate. The dynamic is a lot different when Conteras is hitting and adding depth to the bottom third. 
  • Shane Greene finally looked like the version of Shane Greene the Braves hoped they’d get when they signed him with a 1-2-3 seventh. 

Negatives: 

  • Yet another game where the Braves fell behind in the first inning and never pulled the game back even to a tie. They fell behind in the first inning last Sunday against the Cardinals and never pulled it back, fell behind in the first inning and never got the lead in both losses to the Mets and it happened again today. You can say a lot about this bullpen, but the bullpen isn’t even getting the chance to lose the games right now. 
  • 1-for-7 with RISP, including three soul-sucking at-bats in the second inning with a chance to immediately answer the run the Reds put up in the first inning. Again. Wash, rinse, repeat. 
  • Ender Inciarte’s bat (or lack thereof) was right in the middle of the struggles today. He had one of his patented rollovers to second base with two on and two out in the second, struck out with a runner on base in the fourth and his presence lurking in the on-deck circle probably at least contributed to sending Heredia home on Contreras’ in the sixth inning with two outs. I accept that it’s basically impossible to have a lineup with eight most teams have a weak spot in the lineup, but his time in Atlanta can’t end soon enough.
  • It’s not as awful as 2015 or 2016 of course, but man 2021 can’t end soon enough. We really still have 86 more games, huh? 

Former Brave Of The Day: 

Might as well give it to Brad Brach, who got the biggest out of the game for the Reds today by striking out Contreras with the tying runs on base to end the eighth. 

Quote Of The Game: 

“What else do I have to say?” 

— Billy Joel, and also me trying to figure out different ways to say “2021 has been bad” over and over.

Tomorrow’s Goal: 

Make it out of the first two innings without trailing. Yes, the bar is low, but that’s where we are right now.

42 thoughts on “Reds take early lead, beat Braves 4-1”

  1. Excellent work as always, Alan. You are a true professional—doing your duty with aplomb, perspicacity, and grace, even when the news from this team gets worse by the day.

    Professional, that is, except for the paid part. You’re an amateur in that you do this for the love of it.

  2. In the month of June, we are 15th in team ERA and 16th in wRC+. A very mediocre team.

  3. @3, just embarrassing. He was probably handed the “factoid” from a producer, but come on.

  4. I usually take an optimistic approach, but I’m a little concerned about our trade chips at this point if we try to make upgrades in the outfield, backup catcher or relief pitching. Here is what I see about some potential trade pieces. I’m afraid we would be in a sell low position. Please tell me if I’m wrong.
    Pache (Low) – stock has dropped big time since the start of the year
    Waters (Low) – .237 avg with 3 hrs and a .702 OPS is not looking good
    Langeliers (High) -He’s cooled off since the start of the year. I don’t know if I want to trade him
    Shewmake (LOW) – .556 OPS in AA isn’t going to hack it
    Muller (High) – Injury is a concern
    Shuster (Medium) – He’s a little old for A+ and needs to show something more soon
    Davidson (Low) – 60 Day IL
    De La Cruz (Low) – ERA of 6.16. Last 4 starts have been bad
    Michael Harris (High) – has a way to go at 20 in A+. but looking good so far
    Spencer Strider (High) – was listed as #20 prospect to start the year but is moving up

    I was interested in this based on our desperation in calling up Jesse Chavez. Bottom line is it doesn’t seem like we have many ML ready prospects. I know we have some people with a LOT more insight that me, just some observations.

  5. I’m tired of hearing Snit, Chip, Frenchy (who is worse than even Don Sutton on air!) trying to explain our anemic and inconsistent offense and horrendous results with RISP. The dependence on home runs is doomed to failure, especially if we manage to make the post-season. The real issue is our LACK OF SITUATIONAL HITTING…terrible approach, which is the fault of the hitters and coaches…Seitz, Snit, et al. This is not rocket-science, its a lack of basic approach and coaching!
    GO BRAVES!

  6. Almonte is now 1 for his last 22. He is 32 years old, and he has a career .674 OPS. He is not a major league starter. Pablo is now 1 for his last 21. He is not a major league anything at this point. Almonte might not be a bad replacement for Pablo. He at least provides a little more roster flexibility since he can actually play a position, unlike Pablo.

    I’m ready for Riley to LF, Arcia to 3B. You’ve lost nothing defensively going from Almonte/Ozuna to Riley, so that shouldn’t be a concern. Arcia is an upgrade defensively at 3B over Riley. So as long as Arcia can outhit Almonte (not a hard task), Riley’s offense doesn’t suffer switching positions, and Almonte is nominally better than Pablo off the bench, then it can be a 3-part net upgrade to the roster. This needs to happen immediately. What do you have to lose? Disrupting Riley? Keeping a roster spot for Pablo or a starting spot for Almonte? You shouldn’t be married to any of those 3 things.

    We also need to do something with the backup catcher spot. Kevan Smith is not a major league baseball player. He’s 32, he has a .697 career OPS, and he’s 6-32 with Atlanta. For the month of June, Braves catchers were 29th in fWAR with -0.3. If you truly believe the definition of replacement level, then you should be able to go out and find a dadgum catcher tandem that can be replacement level. Contreras is also not ready, his .597 OPS in June is clear evidence of that, and you have to be able to figure out a way to make this work.

    You only have 13 position players on a roster. If you make marginal upgrades to 4 of them (starting LF, starting 3B, bench bat, half of a catching tandem), you can sneak a couple wins between now and the deadline/return of d’Arnaud/return of Davidson & Ynoa to at least not completely tank your season before it can realistically be salvaged. I think we have a couple more weeks to remain within striking distance of the division, but if we fall behind any further, I don’t think we’ll be big buyers at the deadline.

    I’m ok with us having a down year and missing the playoffs. That happens. What I’m not ok with is rolling into June with the same damn roster that we know is not very good. Keeping Pablo when NO ONE wanted him a few months ago, and we know that his value has largely been derived from hitting a couple balls hard in April off of unsuspecting pitchers, is unforgivable.. If AA and Snit both watch this garbage and make no changes until it’s too late, they’re both not right for their respective jobs.

  7. Muller looking good. More of the rebuild pitchers are starting to be something. We focus on the mediocrity of Wright and Wilson (and Soroka injury issues), but Tucker, Ynoa, Muller, Anderson, are all starting to show good results.

  8. @9 Agreed. I also like how Muller attacks the strike zone and works quickly. He’s plenty talented enough to get hitters out. I like that he goes after them.

    I hate that they were hitting-and-running with Riley with Dansby at the plate, but I get it. Half our lineup isn’t major league quality, so if you don’t get something done by the time you’re halfway through the lineup, then you’re pretty much screwed.

  9. @3

    LMFAO

    Did Chip look that up himself? Did somebody give him that? How in the brightest fires of hell did that factoid make its way onto the air?

    @6

    Is he the only active major leaguer whose name ends in X? If so, you can at least reconstruct how this idiotic atrocity happened.

  10. Terrible play on the pop up that was ruled a hit. The. Muller does a Braves pitcher thing and let’s it get in his head to walk the pitcher. This suddenly looks like it could be a multiple run inning because three of the best players on the team botch an easy play

  11. @12: Nope. Hendrix, Gavin Lux and Griffin Jax

    By the way, Mahle is not the only player in MLB history to be one letter away from “Mahler”

  12. I do believe Jimmie Foxx is the only player in the Hall of Fame whose name ends with 2 x’s, though. (I’m not even going to check!)

    … And Chip just said how impressed he was with Corky Miller. I already rested my case, but I ask the Court’s permission to reopen it.

  13. Corky had a career WAR of 0 in 11 MLB seasons. 0. Career High: 0.6 in 2002. Career Low: -0.7 in 2004. Very impressive indeed.

  14. I just remember the braves choosing Corky Miller over Javy Lopez.
    Pretty sure even a ded Javy would have been better than Corky.

  15. The replay has the pitch Acuña hit out as being a strike on the black down and away. I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to be able to hit that pitch out to dead center.

  16. I get great joy in reading the comments.
    Conclusion the Atlanta Braves are a .500 team, regardless of how everyone digests it. Half the team AAA talent or less.
    Now the question is, next year.
    Who DH’s Riley?
    Than they need a center fielder, left fielder, third baseman and pitching.
    Oh, did I mention a bench, and pitching coach?
    Go Hawks.
    I have been a Canadians fan for 60 years.
    That have no chance.
    My other teams not that anyone cares.
    Sacramento Kings goes back to the Cincinnati Royals and the Big O.
    Green Bay fan since 1958.
    I want to thank all of you who enhance my day.

  17. Maybe I’m being influenced by the strikeouts, but anyone else notice how unbelievably handsome Kyle Muller is? Probably throwing off the hitters too…

  18. Reluctantly I have to agree that Sandoval appears to have lost his effectiveness as a Brave and probably a major leaguer. If we get rid of him can we keep the Panda head?

  19. Reinstating my off-season request to make Sandoval a hitting coach.

  20. Also, rooting for Ronald Acuña is one of the great privileges of my life. Watching him somehow find ways to keep getting better at baseball is such a thrill.

  21. Anyone think Heredia gets that ball that Ender caught? Ender still has some defensive value. I don’t think Heredia would have taken as efficient a route. Maybe Heredia comes in better but Ender is awfully good at going back.

  22. The catch Heredia made going back on Friday night was, I thought, the catch of the year.

  23. @8, on moving Arcia to 3B, Riley to LF, and Almonte to Panda’s role, I like 2/3 of your plan but would be reluctant to move Riley. Riley is much more likely to be a key part of the Braves’ future than Arcia, and he has more long-term value to the team as a 3B than a LF. Messing him up would be more damaging to the team in the long term than possibly misusing Arcia, who is almost 3 years older than Riley and has a career OPS+ of 72 in almost 2,000 MLB PA. If Arcia’s good defensively, he should be able to pick up left field fairly quickly, so put him there and don’t mess with Riley.

  24. P.S. Obviously, give Arcia a couple of weeks at LF at Gwinnett to get him used to the position first.

  25. Inciarte is still grading out well defensively on both WAR systems as of a couple of days ago.

    8 — I agree. The only possible explanation is that they must think Arcia will hit for Atlanta the way he hit for Milwaukee. And as you said, even then, it improves the defense by putting Arcia at third and Riley in LF.

    Sandoval seems to have become close buddies with Acuña, Albies, and the other Latin players. I’m guessing that’s why they are going to wait too long to DFA him. But this is a business.

  26. 35 — Riley is grading out poorly defensively at third and isn’t likely to improve.

    If Freeman leaves via free agency, Riley would likely move to first anyway.

  27. Agree that Muller looked good, but 93 pitches and only 55 strikes over just 5 innings is a little concerning. I didn’t get to watch much of the game but on the radio they said his demeanor was much different than his last start. They said he was much more hyped up and seemed almost angry compared to last start. Did anyone else see that?

  28. On TV Glavine was talking about the importance of exhibiting confidence on the mound, and how Muller was showing a lot of confidence.

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