Braves 12, Mets 5

The Braves can only do one thing consistently well, and that is to be the most streakily inconsistent team I’ve ever had the pleasure or misfortune to root for. They are, I think, in the cold light of day, a bad good team, which is obviously less fun to enjoy than a good bad team. But once in a while, they eat lightning and crap thunder and lay an unholy smackdown that would give a more wistful fan airy notions of what might have been. But for us jaded cynics, it’s just what they do nearly as often as they lose 2-1.

Anyway — let me accentuate the positive!

Actually, this game was one of those rare occasions where exactly what you thought would happen was exactly what did. The Mets started a mediocre journeyman who hadn’t gotten out of the fourth inning in either of his last two starts, Jerad Eickhoff. Coming into the game, his ERA was 4.96 but his FIP was 8.11; tonight, he went 3 1/3 innings, gave up ten earned runs, and left with an ERA of 8.69.

The Braves started Charlie Morton, who at this point I think you’d have to say is the club’s stopper. He’s on something of a roll lately: coming into the game, over his past seven starts, he had tossed 45 innings with a 2.40 ERA and a sparkling 55-to-14 K-BB ratio.

Tonight, he didn’t have to be nearly that fine, but he was still cruising till the fifth. He departed after five innings and 89 pitches, having allowed three runs. It wasn’t any kind of commanding performance, but with the offense piling 10 runs in the first four innings, you basically just needed a guy to toe the bump and throw strikes, and that’s just what he did. He’s not quite Josh Donaldson in 2019, but he has absolutely continued AA’s streak of terrific one-year contracts.

Also on fire entering tonight’s game, and more or less picking up where he left off, was Freddie Freeman. Coming into tonight, Freddie was hitting .403/.489/.675 in July. Tonight, he lowered those numbers just a touch, as he only went 1-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored.

But, really, tonight showcased the awesome power of a fully operational mothership. The first five hitters in the lineup went 7-for-19 with five walks and three homers, and seventh-place hitter Abraham Almonte tossed in a tater of his own for good measure. The game ball goes to Austin Riley, who pulled two towering long flies deep into Queens, including a grand slam that was an absolute dagger in the heart.

Guys like Almonte, Heredia, Vogt, Adrianza, and Kevan Smith can’t be counted on for any offense; anything they give you is lagniappe. So the team will rise and fall on the basis of the production of the top of the lineup. Without rehashing all the stuff we know about them all too well, tonight they delivered, and it was an awesome sight.

Edgar Santana tossed one good inning and then gave up two runs in his second inning of work, which was no problem with the lead that big. Then, somehow, Josh Tomlin and Shane Greene finished up the game with two more scoreless innings, despite Greene giving up a single and Tomlin giving up both a single and a ground-rule double. Nothing we haven’t seen before.

Two more games against these bums coming up, tomorrow night and Thursday afternoon just after noon. Without tempting fate by expressing any hopes whatsoever, I will simply state my gratitude at being able to recap a game which was so profoundly not a bummer.

Oh, and Austin, if you’re reading, I owe you a Coke. Have a night, kid.

92 thoughts on “Braves 12, Mets 5”

  1. Also, I just saw that Strasburg is getting thoracic outlet surgery. That’s devastating — the chances of recovery are not awesome. As MASN notes:

    Strasburg joins a short-but-growing list of major league pitchers who have needed thoracic outlet surgery, and there are few success stories from the bunch. Though most pitchers have been able to return from the injury, only a handful have regained their velocity and effectiveness from pre-surgery.

    Among the most notable names on the list are Matt Harvey, Josh Beckett, Phil Hughes, Chris Young, Chris Carpenter, Alex Cobb, Vince Velasquez and Tyson Ross (Joe’s older brother).

  2. JC’d From last thread.
    I’m not an apologist for Chip, but I don’t think his comparison of Arenado to Riley was off base. He made it clear that he didn’t think Riley was as good as Arenado, but looking at homeruns and rbis for this season only, they are pretty darn close. Actually if you look at WAR before tonight, they were both at 2.8. Riley had an OPS+ of 122 to Arenado’s 125. After tonight’s game Riley’s OPS is at .877 and Arenado’s is at .813. From an offensive standpoint, this year only, I think it’s fair to compare the two. Riley’s 24 and Arenado’s 30, so Arenado may be digressing some (especially considering last year), but my guess is he has a few more dominating years left.

  3. @3 I believe the comparison between them was also in a financial sense; in this case, getting anything close to Arenado for pre arbitration prices is an obvious +

  4. Actually, Joe Simpson did something rather lovely on the radio feed. As Eickhoff was getting shellacked, he talked about having great empathy for Eickhoff, and discussed the conversation no player ever wants to have — the bench coach coming to him after the game and saying, “Skip wants to see you,” presumably to tell him he’s been released. For a journeyman like Joe, that had to have been a conversation he knew all too well.

  5. The Mets TV announcers (Cohen, Darling and Hernandez) did something similar on the Mets TV broadcast. I suspect it was more poignant from Simpson than it was from Darling or Hernandez, given their relative careers. They also had some discussion about what Eickhoff had been doing in the four days he was completely unemployed. Apparently he said he was fully ready to go, but what do you expect him to say?

    But the Mets cut him, no one else wanted him, and then they resigned him for what was obviously going to be one last try because they needed a pitcher. It seems like everyone was coming into the situation clear-eyed, which doesn’t make it any easier. It’s a tough business, particularly for those with marginal talent,

  6. He was one of those guys like Vince Velasquez who seemed like he should have been a part of the Phillies’ great youth movement-led rebuild. But like Velasquez, he just never quite put it all together. So the Phillies tore it all down for prospects, and their prospects didn’t quite develop, and then they spent a ton of money, and they don’t have a lot to show for it.

    I get a deep sense of there-but-for-the-grace-of-God whenever I ponder the last decade in eastern Pennsylvania.

  7. Speaking of the Phillies, I was pondering this the other day: can their rebuild be declared a failure? They rebuilt the same time we did, and they haven’t been to the playoffs since, and they won’t be going to the playoffs this year. Is that enough to declare it a failure?

  8. The mystery for me is how Gabe Kapler could have been such a bust as the Phillies manager but now leads the Giants toward a banner season. I guess he’s a quick study?

  9. I wouldn’t rule out the Phillies making the playoffs this year. Regardless, let’s not pass up any opportunity to declare the Phillies a failure.

  10. At the time Kapler was fired, a lot of people said he actually was a pretty good analytically-driven manager who was being scapegoated. I was totally fine with him being fired because it seemed like he was in the middle of a bunch of dumb stuff, but perfectly willing to buy that much of it was not his fault.

    I’m 100% fine with declaring their rebuild a bust — after all, they fired the GM who managed it! Matt Klentak screwed it up. He’s clearly a guy with some big strengths and some major blind spots (my God, that bullpen!). But their crappy drafts, especially Mickey Moniak, are what sealed his fate.

  11. Braves made a trade proposal to the Marlins for Adam Duvall, but Marlins have refused to trade with the Braves.

    This relationship might continue to escalate both on and off the field.

  12. 13 – I saw that (from Mish) as well and if true it’s really counter productive to say. If you don’t like the Atlanta, try and get the best of them in a trade. All you have done by saying you won’t trade with x team is reduce you leverage with other teams.

  13. @17 A 2020 prospect graduate FV 60.

    Yeahhhh we better not be buying this year if that’s the price for a good outfielder.

  14. Someone send the authorities for the Marlins as that’s a heist.

    Just do nothing and if the season tanks, blame it on the injuries. Don’t get involved in this market.

  15. Please if possible avoid being stupid.
    Asking a lot but THINK.
    I know there is a smart group here, no one offered a Porsche for my Yugo.

    And Braves win two more.

  16. @6 thanks, that’s nice to hear about Joe. It doesn’t look like his career was all that unstable, though – in his four fractional years with the Dodgers, it looks like he played the whole year at AAA and had cups of coffee in LA each year. Then he was sold to the two-years-after-expansion Mariners, where he was a semi-regular platoon CF-RF for four years, getting 284-409 PA each year and never being sent down. He was never very good, but he didn’t stand out on those mostly bad teams. The Royals took him in the post-1982 Rule 5 draft, but he hit .168 for them in 1983 at 31 and played an ok full season for the Angels’ AAA team in 1984 before the end. It doesn’t seem like he would’ve been dreading managerial conversations very often except in 1981 (his worst year with Seattle) and 1983. I’m sure he saw a lot of other players who did, though.

    One thing that looks really odd are his platoon splits. A LH hitter, he had over 9 times as many PA against RHP as against LHP, which suggests that he was platooned almost all the time. Yet he hit much better against LHP. In 150 career PA against LHP, he slashed .311/.359/.407, while in 1,381 PA against RHP, he slashed .235/.282/.307. 150 PA is a small sample size, especially when spread over several years, so maybe his teams never noticed or never thought it was significant. I’m surprised that I haven’t ever heard him mention that. I think of Joe as stereotypical old-school ex-player who would think that the platoon advantage doesn’t matter all that much, and I can see why he might feel that way.

  17. @21 – I will need at least THREE Yugos for that. Preferably one of them is highway-ready.

  18. How many Yugos in total would you guess are still rolling in America in 2021?

    Can’t be zero.

  19. Would we be disappointed if we shipped Kyle Wright off for Starling Marte? Even someone as down on Kyle Wright as me, I would still flinch a little. And Luzardo is MUCH better than Wright. Chief is right again: that’s a heist. Oakland has to know something about either Marte or Luzardo to make that deal considering what us fans can see. FWIW, Miami is sending all of Marte’s remaining $4.57M salary. Still.

  20. I keep reading in various blogs about the big game the Braves had versus the Phillies last weekend as a “statement game” – – with others mentioning that phrase with regard to last night’s laugher vs the Mets.

    Come on man. It’s baseball. The meaningful statements tend to come in streaks, right?

    We’ve all been waiting for the Braves team to at least get a couple of wins in a row. Three wins in a row would blow our collective minds right now.

    Heck, I’ll throw a parade if the Braves beat the Mets for win #2 in a row tonight.

  21. The Marte trade compares favorably with the trade the Marlins did when they traded Gallen for Chisolm. It is exactly the kind of trade the Braves should have made when all the prospects were still “shiny”. Both trades were good for both sides. Trading from excess to fill holes. There is a lot of speculation as Luzardo has been riding the AAA shuttle that he may pull a “Wright/Wilson” and never fulfill his potential. But he is still obviously “shiny” right now. The first time they put Wright and Wilson on the AAA shuttle would have been the right time to trade one or both of them.

  22. This will be Braves game #11 for me tonight… 2 in The Bronx & 9 in Flushing.

    It should surprise nobody that the Braves’ record for the previous 10 games is 5-5, perfectly split in each venue.

    #6-7
    Knowing Eickhoff’s story, I actually felt really bad for him when he left the game to a cascade of boos. They even booed him earlier when he wasn’t pinch-hit for & he put down a successful sac. Tough crowd.

  23. @13 There has been bad blood between the Marlins and Braves for awhile. They refused to talk reasonably on Yelich and Realmuto too. I thought when the new regime took over the Marlins would forget that nonsense. Guess not.

    Given what they got for Marte, I hope the Braves stay quiet this week. That was a crazy high return for a rental.

  24. AA again thinks all his prospects are gold .. we always wait too late to deal .. Pache has lost value… Waters lost value .. Wright lost value … other teams roll the dice .. Braves too conservative .

  25. @31 What’s tough about trading prospects is that when you finally learn the prospect will never reach their ceiling, everyone else has learned it too. And I think it highlights that no one really knows what will happen with these prospects. Every stint that, say, Kyle Wright has had in the minors, whether it’s been successful or a failure, you still really had no ability to definitively say if he’ll be a bust.

    And let’s be honest; as down I am on Kyle Wright, would it surprise anyone at all if he became a decent 4th starter? No? So then you might as well just hold onto him.

  26. Is it still a heist considering that the Marlins are paying Marte’s salary completely? It seems like the A’s valued not having to pay a quality major league player enough to include a top shelf (though struggling) prospect.

  27. Imo many on this blog are valuing prospects too highly. Andy Marte, Scott Thorman, every Braves pitching prospect since 1990 not named Jason Schmidt or Adam Wainwright – y’all wouldn’t have traded these guys for prime Barry Bonds they way you talking.

    Trade prospects for proven talent. Consolidate talent into a kickass major league roster and screw AAA. Shorten the window to 3-4 years with a world-series class roster. Nobody cares if you’re just good enough to make playoffs.

  28. I don’t have a problem trading prospects. This is just a bad season to do it. I would wait to the offseason when the prices aren’t so high.

  29. Braves were apparently in on Gallo until the last minutes when the Yankees upped their offer significantly

  30. @36 Wait, what? Who’s saying that? Your modern day equivalent would be whether we’d trade any of our prospects for Mike Trout. Uhh, I’d trade probably our top 5-6 prospects for Mike Trout.

    You’d have to be more specific with what prospects we wouldn’t want to trade, for whom.

  31. Gallo had some control, so it definitely made sense that Atlanta would be in on him vs. a rental. But the fundamental disadvantage Atlanta likely has is that they just don’t value the next couple months nearly as much as a truly contending team. So with a guy like Gallo being a free agent at the end of next year, I don’t think we’re going to outbid other teams that will also moreso enjoy his services over the next couple months.

  32. @41 OK Rob I was being a bit hyperbolic, but let’s see what folks on here think.

    What do y’all think is a fair return for, let’s say a Kyle Wright/Drew Waters package?

  33. Megill is kind of like Ian Anderson with a really good changeup to go along with a mid 90s fastball.

  34. Chip: “You hear casual fans talk all the time about ‘balk moves.'”

    No, Chip. You don’t.

  35. @44 I don’t even think that gets you Joey Gallo. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong. I would sure as heck do it though.

  36. Braves are SOL .. they are afraid to roll the dice .. just sell off and forget it .. this team is the most inconsistent team I’ve ever seen .. 0 runs to 12 back to 0

  37. @50 Atlanta season was crippled when Soroka again crumpled, died when Ozuna try to use his cast as a weapon, and then was buried when Acuna‘s knee exploded. I don’t know what you’re expecting at this point.

    When we started the season, we were a good team that could become great with deadline moves. When our best players fell off the map, then we became an average team who could become good with the same deadline moves. Forgive me if I don’t see the fruit on the tree to deal future pieces to simply become good.

  38. @44 My issue with trading prospects THIS season is that I wouldn’t trade any of them for a rental. Drew Waters is a top 50ish prospect that people on Braves social media have turned on for some bizarre reason. He has a lot of trade value. Kyle Wright is probably a throw-in in some trade. Those 2 together should get you a good player with a couple of years of control, especially from a cost conscious team. I would pair Drew with someone else like Bryce Elder for more value. Wright could be the throw in.

    The only prospects I would say are off limits are Muller and Harris. I would only trade Pache if a cost controlled CF is coming back.

  39. I wouldn’t say anyone is truly off limits depending on the return. But yeah it would take a whole lot for me to trade Muller right now.

  40. Yankees are sending 6 prospects to Texas but none higher than #14 (mlb.com). Seems like it might be easy to match that deal. And the Yankees are getting a reliever to boot. And the Yankees are not as close to first as the Braves (better in the wild card, though).

  41. @51 …I want them to try and win .. get a boost .. do what other teams are doing that are 4 games out …you watch the kids they want to hold onto will loose value each year ..

  42. If we finish this series just two games back, I’m gonna laugh at all you negative Nancys who’ve already written off the season.

    @59: And they’re idiots for doing so. Their fans should revolt.

  43. Looks like Fried is going back out for the 7th.

    If the Braves had another CF on the roster, Heredia could use a day off.

  44. Assuming this is Max’s last inning, who would you use out of the bullpen in the eighth?

  45. @60 I’ve never been accused of being a negative Nancy. This is interesting.

  46. @67 nah , they are bringing in a hard thrower; Riley still kinda has that weakness.
    It won’t surprise me to see a barving , unfortunately.

  47. Please, please don’t let my prediction come true.
    It would be nice if Atlanta actually had some decent pinch hitters, like every other major league team does.

  48. Contending teams don’t score 2 or fewer runs in 5 of 7 games against the teams they’re trying to pass for the division lead.

  49. That was a pretty terrible at bat by Riley. If it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have been tied, but he looked over matched

  50. What’s the record for a team going loss-win-loss-win etc. that the team has done since the break?

  51. WHY DID YOU SEND HIM, WASH?

    This team is as smart as a bag of hammers.

  52. That was so stupid with one out. That’s the lack of confidence in the big pumpkin.

    Swords and panda hugs are great but they don’t help win games and this inning proves it. Absolutely useless

  53. Ugh……terrible ending. The Panda hugs are cute and all….but it’s probably time for him to retire.

  54. And the worst part is that if they held Almonte, Sandoval’s fly ball would have tied the game. It doesn’t make sense since Almonte didn’t tag on Conforto’s arm before. Why challenge it on the second try?

  55. No, no I did not want to be correct in predicting the exact score. It just so easy with this team. So easy.
    Limited horse power.
    A win tomorrow would be nice. Don’t spit the bit yet. Well don’t spit it at all.

  56. Death, taxes, and the Braves scoring one or fewer after an offensive outburst.

  57. Looks like I picked a good night to sit one out.

    I sure hope Anthopoulos is about to silence his critics. Losing a winnable game to this crappy of a Mets team helps to show that our second-half offense is about as reliable as our first-half bullpen.

    We’re not THAT far off from being a division contender, as horrible as the division is. But I’m with Rob: pushing the chips to the middle and betting on THIS clump of stiffs is not a thought that fills me with confidence. I’m happy to trade away Drew Waters. But I’m not happy to trade him for a guy who plays three months, gets us to 84 wins, then leaves as a free agent.

    Jerad Eickhoff would probably be a better pinch hitter than Pablo Sandoval, and I betcha he’s available. I’d just like us to go make our team slightly better, then cash in our chips in the offseason. I don’t particularly want to pay trade deadline prices for frontline talent unless someone is desperate to unload. (Wish we coulda gotten Arenado at fire-the-GM prices.)

  58. I’m done .. see yall next year .. not gonna keep watching a ownership and AA sit and do nothing … they don’t want to improve team . So might as well tank it .. get a good draft pic .. see ya in 2022 .

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