Mediocrity is as mediocrity does: Game 1, Braves 2, IWOTM 0: Game 2, Braves 1, IWOTM 2.

In Christian scripture this situation is described thusly:

“So, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:16

Yep, these Braves have certainly worked mediocre like PROFESSIONALS this year.

Game 1

Kyle Muller started and went 5 on 75 pitches. The Panda pinch hit for him, but haven’t we seen this enough? Panda is DONE. Don’t stick a fork in him, send him to the funeral home. It seems like Muller should have gone another inning, but he still got the W because 2 rockets off of the Fresh Prince turning into outs. The offense should have scored more runs in light of the hits and walks, but you have to live with what you have to live with.

Game 2

Luke Jackson gave up one run. Nobody else on either team did. So, that kind of stuff makes you lose 1 to nothing. The Mets went “bullpen game” and it worked for them.

FROM HERE: the semi and less than semi knowledgeable fan base will stop buying tickets if there is any semblance of a sale. However, there probably won’t be a BUY of any consequence either. Looking at pythags, if everybody plays to the expected wins from that same pythag in the east the rest of the way out, I think the Braves end up 1 game behind the Mets.

70 thoughts on “Mediocrity is as mediocrity does: Game 1, Braves 2, IWOTM 0: Game 2, Braves 1, IWOTM 2.”

  1. Thanks, Cliff. Our Hammers this year have indeed brought the Laodiceans to mind. I’m not quite ready to spit them out, but the taste is not good.

  2. We definitely need at least one more outfielder for next year, or 3rd baseman if we move Riley to outfield. If we can make a deal for someone with 1.25 years left on his contract without giving up the farm, I say go for it. As far as relief pitchers, we can probably get someone like Chasen Shreve on a 2 month rental for a non prospect/ lottery ticket. Not much to lose there.

  3. They HAVE to trade Smyly and/or Morton, even if they want to buy. They really have no currency to trade with other than expiring contracts and lottery tickets. I’d rather keep the lottery tickets and trade Morton or Smyly. If this were the Rays, then Smyly would be gone, and a hitter would be coming back.

    There has to be a contending team out there that has a surplus of outfielders and desperately needs pitching. Or two separate deals: trade Morton for a prospect, trade a prospect for an outfielder. Trade Morton for a top 200 prospect, then trade a top 200 prospect for Starling Marte, for instance.

    The logic has to go both ways: if they’re taking a snapshot of the season in this last week of July to decide if they want to buy or sell, then they have to take a snapshot of what their strength is, and right now that’s starting pitching. Someone might get a hang nail or punch a wall or get a bum knee next week and ruin it all, but right now, gotta move a pitcher. We have a 2.03 starter ERA in the last 10 games, and we’re 5-5. Unacceptable.

  4. No way the Nats would trade Turner, right?

  5. The team just flat out needs some more star power. Acuna, Albies, & Freeman are your consistent all-stars. The rest of the line-up and entire pitching staff is filled with plenty of average-to-good players, but at some point you’ve got to upgrade from good-to-great to build a playoff favorite.

    IMO they need:
    – Another star-level bat (Ozuna was this in 2020 when offense clicked)
    – A true top-of-the-rotation starter. I’m not convinced anyone on the current roster is winning a Cy Young in their career.
    – 1-2 Relief Aces

    All of the above obviously cost $ or prospect capital.

  6. It might be irrational fear, but SD dealing Hosmer will scare me that Freddie is heading west to either LAA or SD. And I won’t be less scared until he’s re-signed.

  7. Judge for Waters, Muller, and Michael Harris? That was suggested on mlb.com. I don’t think I’d want Harris to be included but there has to be a way to make it work.

    As I said before, the thought of a Judge, Acuna, Pederson/Pache (or Heredia) OF makes me happy all over. If Ozuna were to become a human being again then having the DH next year would turn us into a monster lineup.

  8. With Ynoa and hopefully Davidson returning and Touki possibly emerging, I can definitely see us losing Smyly and Morton and improving the team. For all the angst with both of them, especially Smyly, they have turned out to be good acquisitions.

  9. @8 I’d sure trade Waters, Muller, and ? for Judge. I think we have a lot of OF prospects right now – a minor league surplus and a major league deficit. And a lot of potential SP (again, a minor league surplus). I really think the issue this year has been an unexpected timeline gap in translating the minor league talent to the majors. Maybe the injuries caused it or maybe the prospects just weren’t ready when expected. This is the kind of imbalance we should try to fix at the deadline and over the winter.

    Also, I’d trade Smyly but not Morton. Morton is insurance if we make a late run.

  10. Thanks, cliff.

    MikeM, while I agree with your assessment of Freddie, Ozzie and Ronald, I am not as enthusiastic about the rest of the lineup being filled with average to good players. Average, maybe. Good? I wish.

    Rob, worry is a wasted emotion; but I will be displeased if we dither until Freddie gets tired of our stupidity and signs with a team not so penny wise and pound foolish.

    Roger, I cannot (Aaron) Judge between Waters and Pache, but it would not bother me to include both in that deal and keep Harris.

    As Chief so eloquently stated, I am only one old fool expressing his own foolish opinion.

    And yes, trade Smyly, Morton, and all the veteran bullpen pieces, Newk included, for prospects or controllable better than what we gots.

  11. @11 Agreed.

    I think Freddie has a decline phase very similar to Joey Votto’s, so if they want to give him a deal reflecting that, then I’m all for it. I would not give him the modern-day equivalent of Joey Votto’s. Votto is owed $25M, $25M, $25M, and $20M for his age 37-40 seasons. They undoubtedly thought aging stars would be worth somewhere close to that by the time we got here, but I think the opposite occurred.

  12. I have this Yugo I want to trade for a Porsche. Seems a lot of you would go for that. First one to respond gets the deal.
    Judge, Gallo, Kimbrel, maybe DeGrom. Why not he is hurt all the time.
    Maybe eight players now on the Braves roster for DeGrom.

  13. You can talk all ya want about trades ..fact is AA has waiting to long ..we are in the midst of the most important series of year .. we could be 8 games out by Thur night ..always a day late and dollar short. Braves always think there prospects are world beaters and will be all stars and hold on to them .. then when its apparent that they will hit 220 in the MLB or have a 5.25 ERA in MLB its too late to get any value … ROLL THE DICE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thats is what the front runners do … take a flipping chance .. they too worried of getting flack for trading a All Star in 3 years … if you are in for this year you do what ever to get it done .. I dont think they have the confidence in the team .. sign FF long term or they loose alot of fans !!!!!

  14. I’m sure that the board was waiting with bated breath for this but I finished 82-80 in my OOTP season just now at lunch. I think I finished 2-3 games out but ~10 in the WC.

    I traded Newcomb for PIT RP Richard Rodriguez and although I didn’t catch the Mets, he did help to stabilize the pen.

  15. For those concerned that AA hasn’t made any big trades yet, remember that the vast majority of such deals typically happen in the 48 hours immediately before the expiration of the deadline, with many of those in the final hour or two. People you are trying to deal with often aren’t willing to pull the trigger until they have exhausted all the options.

    Having said that, this year it seems clear that AA really has been waiting to see where the Braves stand after this Mets series. Of course the continued mediocrity hasn’t offered him more clarity.

    Waiting to see if they close the gap on the Met before making any deals is the catch-22 I referred to last week. The pieces they would need to compete could have helped them close the gap before now, but he wasn’t going to acquire them unless they closed the gap by the deadline. It looks like we will be left with a situation in which we are neither buyers nor sellers.

    That does lead to the catch-22 I referred

  16. I think Braves make several smallish trades to shore up the lineup and bullpen, but make no big splash. Guys I think Braves will be in on:
    •Ryan Tepera
    •Asdrubel Cabrera
    •Adam Duvall
    •Eduardo Escobar
    •Chris Stratton
    •David Bednar

  17. @17 I think even those moves could help us catch the Mets, depending on whether or not they make any moves.

  18. @17 .. if thats all they do .. dont bother … just work on signing FF and deal off Morton, Smiley and see what ya can get … bring up some young pups and let them play C, OF .. maybe a pitcher or 2. And look to next year getting a power OF and or a 3B and some relief help !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. The game has a cool feature called LIVE START, where you can choose to start your season either at the beginning of this season, or with everything on the game as of TODAY. The developers backend all of those stats and adjust player ratings over time, etc.

    When I start the season from the beginning, I can usually win the division, but this was my first time doing a live start.

    I just signed Corey Knebel in the 2021 offseason and resigned Rodriguez. Since I subscribe to the relievers are fungible, I cleared out much of the Luke Jackson, Shane Greene, contingent. I also am going to give Corbin Clouse and Burrows an opportunity. They’re younger and cheaper.

    My dream would be to have an OOTP online league of BJ’ers. Online leagues within OOTP are an absolute blast.

  20. The occasional 20-run outbursts may mask this, but it sure seems like the Braves have both scored and allowed significantly fewer runs since the crackdown on sticky stuff, especially if you adjust for scoring usually rising in the summer. That seems…unexpected. Of course even if it is true, there are plausible explanations, like Acuna’s injury, Smyly remembering how to pitch, etc.

    P.S. No on Judge. If we want to gamble that someone who’s hurt a lot will stay healthy, get Buxton.

  21. I just looked, and that’s kind of true, except almost entirely in one direction! So, the sticky substance ban began June 21.

    Pre-June 21:
    69 G, 33-36 W-L, 332 RS – 333 RA (4.81 RS/G, 4.83 RA/G)

    June 21 to July 26:
    31 G, 16-15 W-L, 138 RS – 99 RA (4.45 RS/G, 3.19 RA/G)

    I think the offensive dropoff is almost entirely Acuña, but somehow, our pitchers got WAY BETTER. Thanks, Touki and Kyle!

  22. Jesse Chavez has been a nice lottery ticket as well.

    My guess is that we don’t trade either Morton or Smyly if we end up buying. AA values his starting pitching depth and that doesn’t seem like a move he would make.

    Now if we end up selling, that’s a different story of course.

    I think Wilson and Wright are likely to be moved if the Braves end up buying. Both guys need a change of scenery (and in Wilson’s case, consistent opportunities without being on a shuttle). And both of these guys have been surpassed by Muller, Touki, Ynoa, and Davidson. They will also be out of options after this season.

  23. Mark Melancon and Shane Greene were both acquired at the last minute before the deadline a couple of years ago. I suspect AA will wait until the last minute before committing to the Braves moves this season as well.

  24. The pitching matchup is Morton against Jerod Eickhoff, who has been DFA’d multiple times this year. We have to blitz the Mets tonight.

  25. Let’s call the Nats and get Max and Turner. Then go get Kimbrel and call it a day

  26. Don’t forget how AA has operated in the offseason. His biggest moves are often made very early and nothing except desperation moves after that. Pederson and Vogt may be our “buy”. I hope something more happens but it’s certainly plausible. One could argue that AA did make his moves early enough to impact the post-All Star series. If you throw Greene into that concept then AA has actually added an OF, RP, and backup C. All things we have been asking for the whole season.

  27. Does anyone know/remember the formula for 95% confidence intervals using AB and BA? What I’m looking for is a way to say that, if someone’s “true” batting average is .260, then 95% of the time in 120 AB he will hit between, say, .200 and .320. I expect the formula is pretty simple, but Reagan was in his first term the last time I studied statistics.

    This could be useful in evaluating players like Kevan Smith (does his .192 BA with the Braves in 78 AB mean he’s almost certainly no longer the career .271 hitter he was before joining the Braves? Seems obvious, especially given his age, but I wonder) or whatever AAAA journeyman gets off to a hot start or in figuring out whether Riley’s performance through May meant he really had improved or Dansby’s meant he really had declined. Of course, other factors can suggest whether a performance change is nonrandom, like BABIP or reports of a swing change or an injury or if he’s at an age when players often improve or decline, but my guess is that this would suggest that a lot of changes we think are significant are likely random and that we’re accepting too readily explanations that fit the random changes. It might also be that asking for 95% confidence intervals is too strict to be useful and that 80% or 90% is a better place to draw the line.

  28. Remind me not to complain the next time Ozzie swings at the first pitch right after a base on balls.

  29. These Braves destroy mediocre pitching and fail spectacularly against elite pitching. The Mets seem to have about 2/5 of a rotation (injuries included). If they win more than 2 of every five games, they’re happy. It’s winning by attrition.

  30. I will be heading to my 40 year high school reunion on Friday so I might miss the trade deadline. I have Sirius but sometimes I lose satellite coverage in the mountains. Terrible timing. I will be worrying the entire drive about the Braves doing something dumb like trading for a 2 month rental.

    Wilson pitched decently yesterday but was still shipped right back to AAA anyway. They need to use him out of the bullpen. They will see what they have in him as a reliever before next season too. I detest that shuttle….I feel bad for him.

    I hope the Braves buy one non rental OF or 3B. I could see them getting Duvall if the fish don’t double the price in division. They should trade Kyle Wright to a team that can work with him on the mlb roster next year. He needs a change of scenery. I would be all for selling but they need to keep that park and The Battery as full as possible. They need their payroll back to normal. So, make a couple of buys and be done with it.

  31. @39

    Could be enough to keep him from being traded, though, if that were actually going to happen otherwise (which…color me skeptical).

    UNRELATED UPDATE: Chip already talking about taking Morton out of the game after 56 pitches and 3.1 innings…SMH.

  32. Skip knew how to pass time when there wasn’t much going on the field. That is one of the many things Chip does not know how to do.

  33. @23, it’s a good thing I got @22 in before tonight’s game, as the post-sticky-stuff-ban runs scored/game may soon be above the pre-ssb average.

    Surprised that (per Bowman) Riley’s grand slam was “only” 432 feet. Looked longer.

  34. @43 I can’t imagine they trade him either. Would love to see him go to the AL though. I still can’t get over how they basically got him for nothing……what a trade.

  35. 44 — Yes. According to Chip, it was Pittsburgh’s pitching coach who is responsible for Morton’s late career blooming because he starting throwing lots of sinkers and trying to be like Halliday. Francoeur then brought up Houston and pitching with Verlander, as if he wanted to say “no Chip you are wrong.”

    And I’m sure we will hear the greatest hits too before the end of the game.

  36. Chip and Frenchy are so stupid. Riley is NOT a good 3B. Errors are a stupid way to judge it. Please don’t EVER compare him to Nolan Arenado again.

  37. @48 Actually Pitt sent Morton all the way back to A ball just to emulate Halladay’s motion. I remember when it happened. That was true.

  38. He was an injury prone middle of the rotation guy with the Pirates, and became a top of the rotation caliber starter with the Astros.

  39. Oh come on. That’s not true. Truth be told he was only a top of the rotation starter for the Rays. The Pirates made him a viable starter. The Astros made him better.

  40. @32,34: Apologies. I took the night off.

    The rough answer, for batters whose batting average isn’t close to 0, is

    BA plus or minus 1.96 x sqrt(BA x (1-BA) / AB)

    So Kevan Smith is .192 +- 1.96 sqrt(.192 x .808 / 78) = (.105,.279), unless I’m too drunk to do the math.

  41. 57 — It absolutely is true. From 2011-2015, after Morton made himself into a sinker specialist, he went 34-41 with a 3.96 ERA and 3.85 FIP. He had a walk rate of 3.2 per 9 innings and 6.4 K per 9 innings, almost exactly a 2 to 1 ratio. And he never made more than 29 starts in a season. Solid numbers, yes, but not a top of the rotation guy.

    From 2017 to the present, he is 56-21 with a 3.40 ERA and 3.29 FIP. His walk rate is about the same but his K rate has improved significantly, now getting 10.6 Ks per 9 innings. He has been a bit more durable as well.

  42. Stephen Vogt will get fined in Kangaroo Court for being the only starter (including Morton) without a hit.

  43. @58, thanks. Your arithmetic works, so it looks like Smith’s pre-Braves career BA is barely within the 95% confidence interval of his BA with the Braves (or maybe it’s the other way around, that his BA with the Braves is barely within the 95% confidence interval of his pre-Braves career BA, or maybe the two statements are logically equivalent).

  44. The TV feed showed a stat that, since some arbitrary endpoint (I think June 10), the Braves offense is tied for first in the league in both 10-run games AND 1-run games. Not gonna check the math, but it sure feels right. These guys are so streaky, they make Kelly Johnson look like Freddie Freeman!

  45. @59 Correct all the way.
    No one has pitched well for the Pirates since Doc Ellis. Not all seriousness.
    Who is the best singer of baseball songs?

  46. @59 This is my last statement on the topic. The Pirates salvaged his career by remaking his delivery from a more violent motion to the more sidearm motion of Halladay. He was AWFUL before this happened. The Astros have a great pitching development program. They made him even better. His first year with the Rays and their program he got EVEN better. He slid back last year as father time catches up to him. I don’t see what there is to disagree about. Everything I said is true. All three of those teams had a role in his development. End of story.

    I wish the Braves would promote Mike Maroth to the majors. The longer Kranitz messes with Touki and Kyle the more likely he is to mess them up like the others. The Astros, Rays, Giants, Guardians have good pitching development programs including the majors. We need that.

  47. 66 — I think we are mainly arguing semantics here because I got aggravated by Chip. Chip said that the Pirates were the reason for his late career bloom. “Late career” being the key words here.

    Also, you said earlier “Charlie was an ace with the Pirates” @55.

  48. Gwinnett wins 1-0. Solo HR from Demeritte and 8 shutout innings from Wright. Of course, Minter got the save.

  49. 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.

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