Marlins 7, Braves 4

It took the Braves 88 games just to get back even from where they started. Today is the first day of the rest of your season.

The Braves bats held a moment of silence in respect for Ronald Acuna Jr.‘s season ending injury, striking out 9 consecutive times to start the game. The tribute gave Pablo Lopez the modern era MLB record for consecutive strikeouts to start a game. Lopez lasted 6 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits, 2 walks, and the 9 strikeouts.

The Marlins started the scoring off in the bottom of the 1st. Ian Anderson issued back to back one out walks to Starling Marte and Garrett Cooper. He threw a strike to Jesus Aguilar, though. Aguilar’s 15th homer gave the Marlins a 3 – 0 lead. Anderson managed to last only 2 1/3 innings, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits and 5 walks. After the game, David O’Brien reported Ian will likely go on the IL with a sore shoulder (h/t Rob Copenhaver.)

The Braves came back with 2 runs in the 4th to cut the lead in half, but Josh Tomlin gave back 2 in the bottom of the inning. Periodic reminder that the problem with carrying 13 pitchers is that, sooner or later, you are going to use them.

Dansby Swanson hit solo homers in the 6th and 9th for the Braves final 2 runs. Swanson now has 15 homers on the season. Tyler Matzek threw 15 strikes among his 24 pitches. Edgar Santana threw 2 perfect innings. Shane Greene continues to knock off rust however; he allowed the final Marlins run in the 6th.

The Marlins salvage a game from the 3 game set, and the Braves stand tied with the Phillies for 2nd in the NL East, 4 games back of the Mets.

Tampa Bay comes to town on Friday.

Author: Rusty S.

Rusty S. is a Braves Journal reader since 2005 and an occasional innings-eater. It was my understanding that there would be no expectations.

88 thoughts on “Marlins 7, Braves 4”

  1. Does anyone remember when Chipper tore his ACL back in the 90s? The situation with RAJ seems pretty similar. I think Chipper lost quite a bit of speed. Hopefully Acuna will be full speed when he gets back. With the improvements in surgery and physical therapy I don’t see why not.

  2. @1 Chipper seemed to become a different player after his ACL surgery. He went from a true 5-tool player to a 4 1/2 tool player who progressively added size to become the best version of a third baseman.

    It wouldn’t bother me if Acuna went from being a player who could play above average CF to being an above average RF who maybe lost a step in speed but still played really good defense, hit for huge power, stole some bags, and was a fan favorite in the Braves organization for a couple decades. I guess what I’m trying to say is there are worse things than being Hank Aaron.

  3. Folks, I’m out for the rest of this season. Can’t do it. I’d basically been checked out since mid-May probably only watching 2.5 games live since then. But the Acuna injury killed any last bit of hope or interest.

    A month ago I posted something to the effect that if by opening day 2022 the org hadn’t pushed it chips in and put together a roster like they actually wanted to win, I’d be moving my fandom on down the road to Toronto. That stands. Im just not going to bother with this team for the rest of the summer.

    Sell any player not named Acuna, Albies, Anderson, Fried, or Ynoa. Focus on getting guys to help in 2022 in return. Spend some damn money, bring in an ace and some hitters. Move on from Dansby, Carmago Inciarte.

  4. @2, that would be a great outcome, but even before this latest injury, RAJ was nowhere near as durable as Aaron (not that many other players have been either). Aaron’s rookie season was cut short with an (ankle?) injury, but after that he had a nine-year stretch where he never missed more than five games a year. I think RAJ has exceeded that number of games missed in each of his four years to date. I can’t remember if it was here or on Talking Chop, but someone suggested Mantle as a comparison, though he would need to improve his plate discipline from good to great.

    Was surprised to hear that RAJ is going to the All-Star Game. I would be too depressed. I guess that’s a good sign for his emotional state.

  5. I think Chief mentioned Mantle. Aaron, Mantle, Chipper, anything would be good really.

  6. Mickey Mantle hit 536 home runs and amassed 112.1 career fWAR, which is 12th all time. Somehow I think I can find a way to enjoy Acuna’s career if it mirrors Mickey Mantle’s.

  7. @6

    Yeah, I also had an “OH NO!!! NOT MICKEY MANTLE!!!” reaction when I read that comment from Chief yesterday.

    On the other hand, I completely agree with his assessment on Kyle Wright from the last thread.

  8. Tyler Neslony, Braves farmhand, has been traded to the White Sox, and speculation is that Adam Eaton, who was recently DFA’d, could be the return. That…would not be cool IMO.

  9. Kumar Rocker just went to the Mets at pick 10. You have GOT to be kidding me.

  10. Thanks you, Rusty.

    Tyler Neslony is not a part of my memory bank. I know Adam Eaton but thought he was my age.

    Deck chairs.

  11. On the plus side, we won’t have to worry about the 2021 Braves after the heat death of the universe.

  12. I had wondered about getting Eaton, too, but looked at his stats and he has fallen as hard as Ender. So, yeah, Ender may be better at this point.

  13. Ender plays better defense than Eaton, who doesn’t bring anything to the table.

    So this guy we drafted from Wake Forest, Ryan Cusick, throws 2 pitches: an upper 90s fastball and a curveball. I guess they are hoping for a Huascar Ynoa type guy, or that he can add a 3rd pitch.

  14. Cusick sounds like he has a big league fastball and nothing else. Keith Law seems to like him, but others not as high.
    DOB says the Braves may start him out in the pen and move him up quickly. I don’t understand drafting a reliever in round one tough.
    Sounds like a high ceiling/low floor guy.

  15. If we got Eaton, he’s definitely not a big pick up but I think he’s better than Inciarte- that’s not saying much, I know. He had a decent 2019 and hasn’t played that much over the last 2 years. If a change of scenery helps him get back to 2018/2019 levels, he at least won’t hurt us as bad as Inciarte.

  16. Cusick looks like a reliever to me. Which makes, ahem, no sense. At least it’s not another ‘polished’ pitcher and he seems to have great stuff. K/9 numbers are off the charts against good competition.

    I guess at 24 you’re not going to get the pick of the litter but I’d have rather have seen a position player than a RP or a 1.5 pitch college pitcher.

  17. I am little shocked too, but is this a slot savings for round 2+ kind of thing? I am just not sure of all the mechanics of the baseball draft.

  18. @19

    Yeah I don’t think taking a reliever in round one is a good idea. We also passed on Ty Madden. He fell pretty far.

  19. @20 Was Cusick projected for the first round? Would think that’s a clue to whether he was an underslot guy. But I trust this FO a teensy bit more than the Wren FO as far as drafting at the bottom of the draft, and I’m already happy that they’re drafting on upside vs. the Gilmartin’s of the world.

  20. Here is what Keith Law said on The Athletic:

    “Ryan Cusick was the best player available on my board when Atlanta picked — he had been the best player available since Matt McLain was picked — and there’s substantial upside here if he works out as a starter. Cusick has one of the best fastballs in the draft class in overall quality, and his upward trajectory since arriving at Wake Forest points to the potential for even more growth in pro ball. He has three pitches but the slider and changeup are both works in progress. Atlanta’s wave of pitching prospects has started to slow, with some not panning out as hoped, so Cusick can supplement the next group with Freddy Tarnok, Jared Shuster and Victor Vodnik.”

  21. I read somewhere that he has a 55 grade curveball, above average, so even if he never refines a 3rd pitch you would think that he could be a good reliever. Command seems to be an issue, so he would fit right in.

  22. David Lee with a very detailed writeup of Cusick here:

    The big key for Cusick is living around the zone enough to be effective. He may not develop strong enough command to spot up on corners with regularity, but if he can live in the upper part of the zone and show enough feel to utilize a vertical approach, as well as maintain the explosive stuff, there’s a dynamic two-pitch punch here. We’re seeing more and more of this profile in the Braves system.

    There is obvious reliever risk in Cusick; that goes without saying. But Strider is an example of a current Braves prospect utilizing that two-pitch punch well enough to at least project starter possibility. Cusick has that in him if he can harness it enough.

    https://bravesprospects.substack.com/p/weekly-preview-july-13-18-braves

    I highly recommend his newsletter!

  23. @3: (If you’re still reading.)

    I’m as fond of winning the WS as anyone here, and I agree that the franchise is (a) clearly not maximizing that goal for this year; and (b) probably not helping their chances much in future years either, preferring to provide just enough resources to keep the team mediocre-to-good.

    But let me just ask you, and others. Are you really not interested, even as the possibility of a 2021 WS recedes? Can you adopt the Jays (who I admit are a great story) or any other team that easily?

    I can’t. While I readily admit I will watch the RAJ-less Braves less than I would have for the next 2 1/2 months, I’m still going to end up watching them more than is healthy for me. And whether I rage at the perfidy of Liberty Media in doing so, or watch them outperform expectations, it’ll still be my laundry. Mine.

    Who’s with me and who’s with MikeM? (And this is nothing against you at all, MikeM. We all have to make the decisions that we have to make.)

  24. @30 I will watch every night like I did from 1989 until now . It is my laundry as well

  25. @29 I’d see him as sort of a medium ceiling low floor myself.

    Especially when you consider that relievers are largely fungible.

    Not sure how someone with his profile could be high ceiling/high floor.

  26. On Cusick, Law had him 12, fangraphs had him 20, BA had him 39 and mlb had him 26. He won’t be an underslot deal, probably close to slot if I had to guess. I’m pretty high on the upside here, he’s got the frame and mechanics to be a workhorse starter, if he can develop a usable 3rd pitch. His velocity, while already impressive, plays up due to his release point. I’d say he’d be a useful back end of pen type guy if the starter thing doesn’t click assuming health.

    I will also still watch and cheer for the hometown team, but with a little less hope than before.

  27. @30–I can’t speak for anyone else, of course, but I cannot imagine changing my allegiance to any other MLB team. I recall 1964, when I didn’t have a team of my own. I was intrigued by the Phillies and Richie Allen, and i followed both pennant races very closely. But once the Braves announced in 1965 that they were moving to Atlanta, they’ve been my team for better or for worse (and there’s been plenty of both!). I didn’t really choose this franchise, but I also could not choose to change teams.

  28. @30

    My laundry.

    I also live in and am from Atlanta, so there really isn’t another team that it would make sense for me to adopt. Additionally, I’m constitutionally incapable of saying “Oh, that team over there looks cool…I’ll root for them even though they have nothing to do with me geographically or personally/historically” (a fact which completely baffled all my friends who tried to get me to pick a European soccer team to become a “fan” of in the days before Atlanta got an MLS team).

    If I lived in another city with an MLB team that wasn’t a direct rival of the Braves (so not any NL East team or LA or St. Louis) and that team was having a good year while the Braves were not, I might gravitate to them for that year while the Braves remained my No. 1 team overall. But if that team won the World Series, it wouldn’t be anywhere near the same as if the Braves did.

    So no, anybody who announces their fan needs are not being properly serviced by their team and that they’re taking their business elsewhere is hopelessly weird in my opinion…I would even go as far as to say doing it wrong. Because eventually that team is also going to go down the crapper and you’ll be stuck cheering for a team that has nothing to do with you.

  29. @34 My feelings exactly. Only my year was 1969 and I developed an affinity for the Orioles and the Braves (and, oddly enough, a gross hatred for the Mets). Of course, the Braves were the closest thing to a home team (in Alabama). The Braves have always been a constant and ongoing interest (the Orioles fade and return but have been my de facto home team since moving to Maryland).

    So Ryan Cusick. How is he not a right-handed version of Kyle Muller??? Although, admittedly, Muller was a 3rd round pick. Seems to me his floor is Chad Sobotka and his ceiling is Kyle Muller.

  30. I think one can enjoy the components of other teams and still love their team. I really admire how well Tampa Bay’s FO performs in spite of their ownership (beware the corporate human ownership!). I love that Shohei and Trout play on the same team, and I love what the Giants are doing this year without many stars.

    There will be plenty to watch in the second half, and it’ll be interesting to see if we actually end up around the same spot if we sold. You really only have Morton, Smyly, and Greene to deal if you decide Freddie is too important to deal. So if you somehow can get enough production from Davidson, Ynoa, Touki, Wright, Wilson, and whomever as replacement, then you might end up still winning a terrible division, getting drubbed in the playoffs, and you still got everything you got for Morton, Smyly, and Greene. Losing Acuna killed our chances of advancing deep into the playoffs; I’m over that. So at this point can I have my cake and eat it too: deal off the one-year rentals, play the kids, and see if you end up in the same place.

  31. Remind me: how many world series have the Angels won with Trout?
    it’s a team game. I have favorite players; yet when Simba was traded, the Braves remained MY TEAM.

  32. Atl gets Schwellenbach in the 2nd, and he had been seen as a possibility for their first round pick. Law has him 29, mlb 54, BA 52, fangraphs only ranked 78 and he is not on there.

  33. Every time the Cardinals get to make a competitive balance pick, a little part of me dies…

  34. Two future relievers. Thrilling.

    I don’t understand what this organization wants to be. I’ve asked numerous times, who are we? What is our plan ™? Who do we want to be? And all I have heard is that our plan is to lock up young talent early and for under market rate costs.

  35. “his floor is Chad Sobotka”

    Sobotka’s career WAR is -0.1. Just by not playing in the majors, your floor is higher than Chad Sobotka. (I realize I might be wrong about Sobotka’s future, and tbh, I liked Sobotka when he was here, but I just think using him as a floor is funny.)

  36. This sounds like sour grapes, but IMO this MLB draft shouldn’t have been conducted in the order that it was.

    Boston getting to pick 4th after barely bothering to field a team last season by design isn’t fair. Conversely, the Marlins picking where they did doesn’t seem right, either.

    IMO, the results should have been tacked onto the previous season’s results, or some other mechanism to create the order.

    I’m in the strong vocal minority on this board, but the 2020 season meant absolutely nothing. Zero. It’s about the biggest asterisk in MLB history.

  37. Chief, we’re picking 24th. What are you expecting? Who are they not taking that’s available?

  38. @42 I mentioned him because his calling card was the triple digit FB and he was a big guy with no command (and, ironically, just gave up 5 runs in an inning the other day to the Stripers).

    Isn’t that what a floor is? TINSTAPP is a floor. Playing AAA for a competitor is a floor. Bringing back half of Arcia is a floor. Or maybe I’m describing a basement…… lol

  39. @46: No need to defend yourself, Roger. It just struck me as funny.
    Actually, you make a good point. While my MLB WAR count is destined to stay at 0, I am nonetheless considerably less valuable to an MLB franchise than Chad Sobotka, even if his MLB WAR never improves. (And if his AAA ERA doesn’t improve, it never will.)

  40. Complaints about the draft selections are silly. Many complained last year and…

    Also, check the 2019 draft. Same thing. There are some swing and misses there, but 10 or so players from that draft have big league potential (and before Chief poops on that, no I’m not saying there’ll be 10 big leaguers, merely they seem to have MLB tools).

  41. @49 It’s not silly to question why the org would pick back to back college RP-profile guys.

  42. 37 — Chris Martin is another expiring contract who might fetch a lottery ticket.

  43. @49

    Not to be too snarky, but are you familiar with Twitter? It matters not who we draft, they’re going to be terrible picks for some people.

  44. I have been on the fence about selling at the deadline even after Acuna’s injury. However, apparently Anderson will get an MRI during the break. If he’s out I’m definitely no longer on the fence

  45. I need to make a correction in the recap. The Phillies picked up half a game while I wasn’t looking. The Braves are in 3rd by 1/2 game, not tied for 2nd. 4 games behind the Mets remains accurate.

  46. Freddie is hitting clean up for the NL All-Stars. Don’t they know he’s 31 and washed up?!?!

  47. I hate the All-Star Game. I liked it for a brief period as a kid, back before interleague play was a thing. But have hated it for most of my adult life. FWIW, I thought I’d share. I’m not sure if the World Series home advantage is still tied to the ASG, but if it is, my hate is even deeper and stronger.

    Side note: I’ve enjoyed all the draft info here. Ya’ll know this game a LOT better than I. Keep it comin’!

  48. I generally buy into drafting the best player available, applying a certain amount of filtering for mixture of ceiling and floor, which positions you feel your organization is strongest at internally developing, etc.

  49. @60 I feel somewhat the same way. I remember hustling home from my little league game to watch the All Star game on Tuesday night. It used to be much more of a spectacle before the beginning of interleague play.

  50. @60

    Home-field advantage is no longer tied to it, thankfully.

    I kind of hate-love the All-Star Game. I was really into it as a kid and the National League’s constant ineptitude (or inability to win, at least…ineptitude may be a tad unkind) gives me something to nominally root for year-in and year-out, but it’s pretty dumb and unimportant. I don’t think it should go away and I’m not into rooting for somebody on Cardinals to make sure that my best players don’t go (what’s up, JonathanF), but yeah…it’s just kind of there. It’s probably better than any other league’s All-Star Game, if that makes you feel any better. (I say probably because the NBA and NHL recently made interesting changes to their annually terrible all-star games, so YMMV.)

  51. Obviously, the Braves are no longer a WS contender. Still, I doubt they do a complete sell-off. Question: if Freddie walks can we get a supplemental pick from the qualifying offer?

  52. @60,62: As I said last week (though I thought nobody agrees with me — I might be wrong) the ASG has entirely lost its meaning, and simply deprives rest to good players… which is why I don’t want any of my players going… except the injured ones.

  53. If the white flag is waved and Morton, Martin and Smyly are dealt, that leaves a very young rotation. Would like at least one veteran in the rotation to rub off on the young staff. Don’t want Coach Tomlin every fifth day. Would half a year of minimum salary to a Rick Porcello-type make sense?

    As for switching allegiances – I live in Toronto. But I only root for the Jays when with pals. I’m too entrenched in the success of the Braves to switch allegiances to any significant degree. (though I always adopt a different team in playoffs after Braves are eliminated. Usually whoever is playing against the Yankees or Cardinals. Though a case can be made for anti-Astros)

  54. Because there are much smarter people on this website than me, I had a question maybe you guys could answer.

    Who was better through their age 31 season, Freddie or Tex?

    By using the power of Wikipedia, it looks like Tex retired after his age 36 season. I don’t see Freeman reaching Tex’s home run or RBI totals by age 36, but I know those don’t tell the whole story.

    Related: who is Freeman’s most comparable player?

  55. I’m proudly boycotting the all star game. I like this blog and sports in general because we can openly discuss sports and agree and disagree regardless of politics. I don’t think it matters whether it was left or right, the commissioner’s office reneged on their agreement and punished the Braves organization for something they had absolutely no control over. I’m disappointed that the Braves organization didn’t protest more. Not trying to get political, just saying why I won’t be watching.

  56. @68, @70, BRef shows Goldschmidt as the player with the most similar hitting totals, but I’m pretty sure that’s full-career-to-date Goldschmidt, who is two years older than Freddie. For each year of Freddie’s career through last year, the hitter with the most similar numbers through that age has been Eddie Murray. Murray isn’t listed as one of his ten most similar through age 31 (Palmeiro & Hrbek are the top 2), but I wonder whether that assumes that Freddie’s stats so far are all he’s going to get this year. I didn’t try to do the math on his similarity with Teixeira, but Teixeira had somewhat lower batting averages and more isolated power, so they may not have been extremely similar despite similar overall value.

    It looks like Teixeira had about 10% more bWAR through age 31 than Freddie does, but Teixeira only had two more good years (3.3 and 3.8 WAR, 115 and 144 OPS+) after 31. Texeira seemed to peak earlier than Freddie, and I think we expect Freddie to age better. With 259 HR and 908 RBI, I think he has a decent chance of catching Teixeira’s 409 & 1298 by age 36 – he would need something like 10 and 30 in what’s left of this year and then average 28 and 72 for the next five years. That seems reasonable as long as his increase in power in the last couple of years reflects a real change in approach that he can sustain.

  57. In the context of arguing with me that the Braves should trade Freeman (and not sign him long term), my son sent me the following list. His point was that Freddie won’t age well. I look at the list through age 31 and I see some pretty great players. Overall similarity, not as impressive.

    Similar Batters
    Paul Goldschmidt (953.6)
    Justin Morneau (928.4)
    Hal Trosky (914.1)
    Ryan Klesko (912.2)
    Mo Vaughn (904.7)
    Prince Fielder (904.5)
    Dolph Camilli (904.4)
    Adam LaRoche (898.8)
    Cliff Floyd (897.5)
    Ted Kluszewski (896.7)

    Similar Batters through 31
    Rafael Palmeiro (945.5)
    Kent Hrbek (929.6)
    Adrian Gonzalez (926.6)
    Shawn Green (924.3)
    Prince Fielder (922.8)
    Will Clark (922.6)
    Paul Goldschmidt (912.9)
    Carlos Lee (912.6)
    Greg Luzinski (909.9)
    Jeff Bagwell (908.3) *

  58. Not relevant to anything here but I just realized that one of my FB friends’ son got drafted in the second round (actually a prior boss) – not by the Braves of course. I’ve never been close to knowing someone who was drafted before. So cool.

  59. One of my friends’ childhood rivals was drafted by the Braves. (Scott Thorman). My friend didn’t have particularly nice things to say about him.

    Congrats to your friend’s son! Hopefully he fares better than Scott did.

  60. My claim to fame is catching for Paul Shuey throughout high school and legion ball: https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/shueypa01.shtml

    He was almost literally unhittable at that level, I was lucky enough to catch at least two no-hitters. He had a better MLB career than I recalled, looking at his stats, but compared to what I expected from him after high school they’re a little disappointing!

  61. Interleague play lessened my interest in the All-Star game, just like the end of the Cold War lessened my interest in the Summer Olympics.

    I’ll still watch ’em both, but it just ain’t the same.

  62. Hit in the back in All-Stars by Tim Hudson.

    Played against A-Rod in a tournament.

    Mentored Daniel Murphy from 8th grade to 12th grade. He was my next door neighbor in Jax. His dad worked all the time. Did soft toss with him late into the night. Played catch, took him to fields.

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