Braves Continue September Swoon With 2-0 Loss

I feel like my recaps keep getting shorter and shorter, but what do you want me to say? 

Nothing will ever compare to 2011 in terms of a regular season collapse, just because it is impossible to comprehend the magnitude of losing 11.5 games in a month. But this sure feels like it. A week ago the Atlanta Braves had a five game lead in the division. Now the lead is one game, and it doesn’t look like the bleeding is going to stop. 

And really, that is the only relevant thing here. We could break down the bits and bobs of the lineup or the minutiae of Charlie Morton’s outing, but does it really matter? The regular season ends in two weeks. We know who this team is, we know what their strengths and weaknesses are, and we know what we have seen for two almost six months. All that’s left to do is determine is if those six months will have been in service of another division title or not. 

And right now, after a 2-0 loss to the Giants on Saturday night that was the team’s fourth consecutive defeat? 

It’s looking pretty bleak.

Positives: 

  • Charlie Morton had one bad inning, but he kept the Braves in the game all night. It’s not his fault the offense is dead as a doornail right now. 
  • A.J. Minter threw a really good 7th inning with a pair of strikeouts. That’s a weapon for this bullpen from the left side when he is on like that. 
  • The Braves held the best team in baseball to two runs on five hits. Usually that should be enough. 
  • The Braves don’t have to play the Giants again after tomorrow. That’s about all I’ve got. 

Negatives: 

  • I mean I kind of covered it in the open, but it’s never fun watching your team break down in September. It’s beginning to feel a lot like 2011, or maybe 2014 is a more appropriate comparison given the fact that this team’s ceiling was probably lower to start with. 
  • The Giants got three innings from starting pitcher Alex Wood and the Braves still couldn’t break through against what was essentially a bullpen game. The offense just needed one big hit and it never came all night. 
  • Orlando Arcia has one hit since July. That’s it. That’s the negative. 
  • Top of the 4th inning, runners on the corners with nobody out. A chance to give Morton the lead or maybe even put up a crooked number. Strikeout. Strikeout. Strikeout. 
  • The Braves really can’t afford to lose the games at the top of their starting rotation given the inconsistency at the bottom, but they just burned a Charlie Morton start. There will probably only be two more of those, and that one just went to waste. 
  • The Phillies are going to lose a baseball game again at some point, right? Right??

Former Brave Of The Day: 

Josh Donaldson hit a two-run home run for the Twins this afternoon in Toronto. 


Quote Of The Game: 

“I’m drowning in the deja vu. We’ve seen it all before.” 

— Bring Me The Horizon

Tomorrow’s Goal:
Just win the game. I don’t want to call it a must-win, but it definitely feels like one.

51 thoughts on “Braves Continue September Swoon With 2-0 Loss”

  1. This has been a flawed team since Day 1. Liberty Media refused to pony up any extra $$$ prior to the season to ensure the Braves were a championship caliber team. As usual, the team was only allowed to spend the revenue from the previous season. There was no depth, no money for the bullpen or a backup catcher. Then Soroka was lost, D’Arnaud was lost for most of the season, Ozuna decided to be an idiot, Ronald was lost before the all-star break, Ian missed significant time and Ynoa decided to be a lesser idiot. All of this is coupled with the strange scheduling that puts them on the West Coast in Sept. These guys are exhausted right now. Guys like Freddie, Dansby and Austin have played almost every game (no depth). AA did a great job at the deadline making minor deals that kept this team relevant. They may still win it. The big win though is that the revenue this year is MUCH improved thanks in part to this competitiveness. I haven’t given up on this year, but next year looks brighter thanks to the heart of these guys for staying in it this year. Go Braves!!

  2. Well said Cindy…

    but, otherwise…

    Never in the field of Braves commentary…

    has so little been read by so few.

  3. It’s a good point about rest. Snit doesn’t seem to believe in regular rest for his starters. He pencils them in every day unless they’re injured. But it’s a long, hot summer in the Deep South, and I’m not at all surprised that they’re wearing down. It could be that Riley and Swanson and Albies and Freeman absolutely hate getting the day off, but this late summer/early fall swoon certainly seems to suggest that the guys have worn down.

  4. Liberty’s counterargument would go something like: if a team this mediocre can still make a tidy profit and maybe even fumble its way into the crapshoot despite everything that’s gone wrong, what’s the incentive to spend more?

    Put another way: Let’s say Liberty approved spending enough to make the Braves a “20% likely to win it all” playoff team — as good as can be hoped for, if I’m understanding JonathanF correctly. Let’s also assume that the Braves front office knows what it’s doing and spends more wisely than the six top-ten spending teams (Yankees, Mets, Angels [good lord…], Padres, Nationals, Phillies) that currently aren’t getting significantly better results than we are… (Admittedly, there’s one recent World Series winner in that crew.) What could Liberty expect to net from this added investment?

  5. I think you can square the circle between CindyJ and Fun Police… There is currently a substantial chance that the Braves won’t make the playoffs. If they can’t, that’s on the Liberty Media decision to pinch pennies… well, that and Will Smith. And even if they do, there’s the gap between a 20% probability World Champ and a 10% probability World Champ that might use some filling.

    Mostly, though, I think the argument for spending more is that, unless you’re the Angels, it makes you a better team, and better teams are more fun to watch whether they win World Series’s or not. Indeed, even the Angels are a lot more fun to watch than they would be if they cut their payroll to an amount commensurate with their current success.

    As to wearing down in the Atlanta heat: Bill James wrote back in the 70’s that Cubs day games in the heat were probably a factor in Cubs futility down the stretch. But it’s not much warmer in Atlanta than it is in St. Louis, is it?

  6. @3 I’m not a big Snitker fan, but I don’t fully blame this on him either. Due to the lack of depth, injuries, etc. that I mentioned he really hasn’t had much choice (at least early in the season). It probably would have been a good idea to give Adrianza more starts to give Austin, Ozzie and Freddie some time off lately.

    @4 We can’t really make that determination on this year’s team though. What if Liberty had given the Braves an extra 15-20M to fill out their roster AND none of the injuries and stupidly happened? This likely would have been a REALLY good team. Hindsight is 20/20. FWIW, I don’t hate LM because I know it could be worse…….like an owner butting in and forcing the GM to trade a top prospect for a rental.

  7. Luke Jackson is back. Arcia back to Gwinnett.

    Joc Pederson is leading off today. He hasn’t hit at all lately.

  8. Varsity is twirling a gem. Be nice if the other 24 guys remembered there’s a game today.

  9. Did Joe not sprint out of the box? I wonder if he could’ve reached third (with 1 out) if he had been running full speed.

  10. @ 15 .. wouldn’t have mattered .. Ozzie swung at a ball on his toes .. what is he 0-35 ??? It is in these guys head now .. choke choke . Hitting with RISP they are dismall

  11. Not having Duvall since day one by stupidly non tendering him definitely cost the braves a few games in the standings.
    Especially since he raked against the braves early in the year.

    Edit: Can they please not use will smith? Thanks in advance.

  12. Yep, we can thank that on Liberty Media for not assisting a little bit with the payroll prior to the season. Duvall was …and is….very important to this team.

    Yes, please don’t allow Smith ANYWHERE near this game.

  13. The team’s in one of its periodic jags where it is pathologically incapable of scoring by any means other than the long ball.

    Hard to complain about that TOO much today, but nevertheless.

  14. @22 I just can’t get too mad at this considering how much we ended up adding at the trade deadline. And I’d rather consolidate talent for half the season in a crappy division. I know I’ve said it a million times and I apologize if it’s getting repetitive, but if you can’t win this division regardless of how the first half went, we have no business even being in the playoffs. Yes, crapshoot and all that, but you still have to be an actual good team. It’s not that. Put the Diamondbacks in a playoff simulation and they don’t win the World Series 1,000 out of 1,000 times.

    Crap, Jonathan is going to prove me wrong again. 😀

  15. Forty percent of all cycles hit by the Atlanta Braves in their 56 year history have been hit in the last two months.

  16. What is with these commercials in the middle of the game!!!!

    Thank you DirecTV, I missed the end of the game.

  17. When it comes to Will Smith, it’s kind of like when Florida was down 21-3 yesterday. Let’s say Bama did hang 70 and that was Chief’s once-a-month accurate prognostication, then I’d rather Bama hang 70 than we lose, say, 35-14. Because then maybe Florida would finally fire their DC because things had gotten so bad.

    So with Smith, I’d almost him rather blow a few more saves so we can finally take him out of the closer role. He’s not a reliable closer, and I’d rather use him the way they use Matzek: bring him in during situation match-ups with two outs and let him start the next inning. Stuff like that.

    Of course he gets the save today (with help), and the wheels continue to turn.

  18. Snitker rewarded. A win for Max!

    Both teams scored 8 runs but the Giants take the series because 2021.

    A sweep in Phoenix would be delicious.

  19. @31 That’s also why he is a very poor tactical manager. Smith should have been removed as closer weeks ago. It could possibly cost us the playoffs.

  20. These two, regardless of records, are extremely evenly matched. Consider the season series – 3-3 with both teams winning twice on home turf. Both series begin with two extremely close games both won by the home team and end with trading shutouts. These two in the NLCS could easily go to a 7th game.

  21. I still trust him about as much as CB Bucknor’s strike zone, but Hancock got the save today, and all’s well that ends well. The team won a must-win game, Varsity put the team on his back, and we beat one of the best teams in the league. Not bad.

  22. @35 Sure. He’s fairly predictable and doesn’t do matchups like some would prefer. But it’s difficult (if not impossible) to measure the effect he has on the team behind the scenes. I know I work harder when I like my boss…

  23. @33 Snit will NEVER remove him as closer. I am convinced of that now. He’s one of the worst relievers on the team yet he closes. SMH. The idea of a closer is dumb anyway, but when you use a guy that gives up bomb after bomb it’s really dumb.

  24. Now some will say look how good Smith looked. He rarely blows 3 run leads. But than who does. It’s the tie, one run and two run leads that he sucks at.
    Also it looks like the Mets have quit.

  25. @41 Max Fried is Varsity. I’m not sure exactly how it came about, but I’m pretty sure it’s because, particularly when clean-shaven, he looks like a very mature high-schooler.

  26. My brother, a comedian, on Max Fried: “Max Fried seems like the nicest guy ever. He looks like he says excuse me if he farts even if no ones around.”

  27. Huh… I thought it was because of the Fried Pie desserts (apple and peach… but seriously… does anyone get anything but the peach?) at the Varsity.

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