Braves Forced To Go To Bullpen Late, Inevitable Result Ensues

You expect me to believe this team is buying? I’m supposed to believe the team with Jesse Chavez pitching in extra innings and Abraham Almonte batting lead-off is going to contend for anything? That the lineup Matt Wisler carved up is going to go on a tear in the second half and sneak into the postseason? 

No. The answer to all of them is a resounding no. 

The Braves lost another game they should have won tonight, coughing up a 6-4 lead in the 8th inning on the way to a 7-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. It probably should have been worse than that; Tampa stranded 14 runners and Atlanta pitchers walked six batters. 

Really, I don’t need to say a whole lot more than that. This team is what it is, you’ve known what it is for a while, and it’s not very good. But you’re here for a game recap, so let’s figure something out.

Positives: 

  • It doesn’t matter how cold and dead inside I am about this team, Freddie Freeman going 4-for-5 will always make me smile. Every single time. 
  • Austin Riley and Dansby Swanson both went deep. If this offense is going to do anything in its current beat up state, the left side of the infield getting (and staying) hot will probably be the key.
  • Joc Pederson is a Brave! Buying still doesn’t make any sense to me, but at least it’s something new to look at in the middle of the drudgery. 
  • Charlie Morton found it pretty well. He got better as the night went on after a shaky start, really a microcosm of his whole season. That trade value keeps climbing! 
  • Luke Jackson is genuinely the only saving grace this bullpen has. Once again he bailed out someone else (AJ Minter in this case) by wiggling out of a bases loaded jam in the seventh. 

Negatives: 

  • The bullpen. Just the bullpen. You know what I’m talking about. 
  • Pablo Sandoval has one hit since May 26th. The panda hugs are fun, but are we about done here? Can we *please* be about done here? 
  • Speaking of Panda, was there any reason for him to pinch hit instead of Pederson in the eighth with the game tied against a right-handed pitcher? What is Pederson here for if not to mash righties in big spots? 
  • I recognize that there weren’t many better options, but having Jesse Chavez face the top of Tampa’s order in the 10th inning is a pretty damning indictment on the state of this bullpen. 
  • Chris Martin seems really broken. He was the most reliable arm in the bullpen for the first two months of the season, He has a 6.54 ERA over his last dozen outings and a 1.90 WHIP in that span. This bullpen barely functioned with a good Martin. With this version of Martin, it’s toast. 
  • Matt Wisler walked back into Atlanta and completely shut the Braves down in the highest leverage at-bats of the game. Two innings, three strikeouts, one hit allowed. Woof.

Former Brave Of The Day: 

I suppose it has to be Wisler, huh? Sigh. 

Quote Of The Game: 

“He wants the righty…the wild thing.”

— that fan in Major League, presumably talking about Chris Martin 

Tomorrow’s Goal: 

Don’t let a former Brave dominate with the game on the line.

16 thoughts on “Braves Forced To Go To Bullpen Late, Inevitable Result Ensues”

  1. That is interesting that we are presumably getting rid of Lucroy. His catching skills must have fallen off the charts. I haven’t seen him enough to know.

    One thing about the deal for Vogt, it’s hard to complain that we gave up too much. I have never heard of Mason Berne. Maybe this is the trade that proves we are resigning Freddie.

  2. “Mason Berne” sounds like a pseudonym a screenwriter chooses when he’s not proud of the movie he’s been hired to do rewrites on.

  3. @5 Why would he want to be traded? He has done nothing to show that he is a major league catcher. He is partially the reason why we are in this mess.

    Interestingly, I thought the same thing about Camargo. That he would be begging to be traded at this point. At least he has some major league success to hang his hat on, but even Camargo probably shouldn’t be begging to be traded. He would probably run himself out of baseball if he became an every day player for a non-contending team.

    I suppose my anger in some regard for this year is targeted at guys like Jackson and Camargo who are aging into their late 20s and seem to have not gotten any better at all. But since they are not the only guys to not develop in the organization this year, and the list is quite huge, I can’t help but wonder if we are just simply not good at developing guys. Short of the guys that are true transcendent talents — Acuna and Albies for example — very few of our position players have done any kind of development over the past couple years. Riley would probably be the only guy that we would not describe as a true elite talent who has developed. There’s another world out there where Jackson runs into enough fastballs and calls a good enough game to be useful, Johan camargo is Marvin Gonzalez, and Dansby Swanson is Rich Aurilla. But we are definitely not in that world, and it’s fair to wonder why.

  4. So what has happened to Martin? The drop in spin rate for Matzek since the rules enforcement has been dramatic and seems to be a pretty good explanation for his loss in effectiveness. Has anyone seen spin rate drops for Martin? If not I’ve got to wonder about injury. I just don’t see someone falling off a cliff like he has without something being up.

  5. I know Stephen Vogt is past his prime, but I have fond memories of watching him play in Oakland. So let me be the first one here to say it: I believe in Stephen Vogt!

  6. Maybe Ynoa takes the last three/four innings a couple times a week? Obviously, using Luke more would help, but there aren’t enough good relievers no matter how you use them.

  7. Honestly, why not get rid of both Lucroy and Smith and go with Vogt and Jackson. Jackson’s doing well enough at AAA to get called back and Vogt is a competent back-up. They can still trade Vogt and call Contreras back at the deadline. Maybe Lucroy was a flip candidate too but he’s not showing much.

    Could Jackson really be worse than Smith?

    These losses this year – especially the extra inning losses – are not just frustrating and annoying. They are soul crushing. This continual meme of playing just well enough to create hope and lose close games is beyond maddening. Winning just half of the games in extras would have us near or at first in the division. Half. From 1-11 to 6-6 is a five game swing.

    We really wouldn’t have to be a much better team to win last night’s game. League average relievers could have closed that out.

  8. 12 – I agree. They’ve spent all this time developing Jackson and wanted to keep him on the 40 man roster to protect him from the Rule V draft. They need to give him one more try, and if he continues to whiff at near a 50% clip then it’s time to cut bait. It’s not like Kevan Smith is some valuable commodity.

  9. 9 — That article doesn’t give much hope to the current members of the bullpen pitching any better.

  10. @Rob

    AJax has gathered 50 PAs total in 3 years at the MLB level. Yes, he’s looked overmatched but he’s been given 0 real chance when Kevan, who’s looking atrocious on both offense and defense, starts nearly everyday. At least we know AJax has defensive value.

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