Uh, yeah…there was a game today

Well, that sucked. Pretty much nothing worthy of positive note happened in this game, and it was essentially over before the Braves even had a turn at bat.

Ian Anderson was not good. He allowed seven runs on eight hits over three innings, throwing in three walks for good measure. He allowed five of those runs in the first en route to the loss.

There was a lot of talk afterward (from Paul Byrd on the broadcast, anyway) about how good Ian had been his last few starts. I found that to be a lot of hooey. It’s true that he hadn’t had a start where he imploded like this since June 30, and in the interim he hasn’t given up more than two runs in any of his three starts. However, he allowed nine baserunners in five innings in one of them (eight hits), six baserunners in 5.1 innings in another (four walks), and eight baserunners in 5.1 innings in the third (five hits, three walks). He wasn’t great in any of those games…frankly, not even particularly good. I think we have a problem here and I’m not quite sure what to do about it. Anderson in the bullpen is not at all a good idea, for reasons which should be obvious if you watch him. I guess the leading candidate of an idea is to option him to Gwinnett and give the seemingly improved Kyle Muller a shot. I was hoping to leave Muller down there the whole year like worked so well with the other Kyle last year, but I think our hand may be getting forced here. It’s becoming clear to me that, if we start Anderson again in five days, we’re going to get the exact same thing we have been. Which is to say, best-case scenario is a game where he throws seemingly 125 pitches over five innings, walks four guys, gives up five hits and somehow allows only two runs. I don’t think that’s sustainable, and whether or not Paul Byrd agrees, I don’t think it’s enough to keep AA from considering shuffling the deck.

In other problematic news, Adam Duvall is apparently out for the season. That’s fun. I guess we’re back in the market for an outfielder. I’m guessing one can be had fairly easily, given we garnered four that won us a World Series last year for a collective song. I’m not that overly worried about it, especially since Duvall hadn’t been very good anyway, but we do need to get one now when it looked like we were all set at outfield.

And finally, the Mets salvaged a game from the Padres tonight, so we’re back to a game-and-a-half back in the East. We apparently decided to jam all our bad news into one day this weekend.

Next comes three games back in Philadelphia, and the Phillies seem to be in utter implosion right now. Let’s keep it that way, shall we?

47 thoughts on “Uh, yeah…there was a game today”

  1. Thanks, Nick.

    Re: Byrd on Anderson
    The sunny optimism of the announcing corps is simple. In the case of Anderson, where you have a short string of good results that were clearly just luck, argue the results. There is no such thing as “unsustainable.” And every good performance represent a corner turned (See Newcomb, Sean, who turned so many corners in his time here that he probably was negatively affected by dizziness.) If you can’t talk about that, find a statistic that doesn’t depend on results, like Ozuna’s xOBA. If that’s unavailable, talk about work ethic or contributions behind the scenes in the clubhouse. If even that’s unavailable, talk about the Cubs.

  2. To be fair to Byrdie he was pretty much describing his own career as a starter.

  3. That’s a perfect illustration of why Paul Byrd gets on my nerves. He works fine when he’s down in the dugout and half his time gets taken up by sideline reporter duties, but I’m not a fan of his up in the booth. Nor of Brian Jordan. In fact, I continue to wonder what sort of deal they signed with Francoeur where he never seems to have to work. If you had told me back when he was playing that I’d wind up clamoring for Frenchy this much, I’d have thought you were nuts. But here we are.

  4. @3 At least I feel like Frenchy isn’t always blindly following the company like like most do, especially Chip and Byrd. Moylan does a pretty good job of “telling it” without being a douche and I feel like Frenchy is pretty honest too. But like was mentioned at #1, you couldn’t have watched Anderson’s last few outings and thought he pitched well. Too many baserunners coupled with some fortunate balls in play bailed him out.

  5. @5 It was in Cincy I think. I think his Fox contract takes precedent and maybe that is why he isn’t on more?

  6. I like Moylan a lot, Jordan is likable, he is just not very good at it. Byrd is not a booth guy but he is good at the other stuff. I also don’t mind some optimistic homerism, I don’t need Paul Byrd ragging on the guys, let the beat guys do more of that, but you can point out the obvious that he has been struggling to put it nicely.

  7. Sure. Announcers can’t run players down. But there is a huge difference between “Anderson needs to improve his performance to be a productive member of this team” (a fair assessment that is more exhorting Anderson than criticizing him) and “Anderson’s last three outings mean he has turned the corner” (which is just wishful thinking)

  8. Yeah, I kind of liked Moylan in the booth analyst role, as well. If we are in a situation where Francouer is gonna be doing half the games at best, I’d lean in his direction and away from Byrd and Jordan. I wonder if they’re worried about the Australian accent, but I wouldn’t be. It’s not a particularly thick one and he has name recognition with the Braves fanbase. It shouldn’t be a problem.

  9. I have advocated for patience with Anderson, but I’m not so sure now. Let Anderson try to work it out in AAA and see if Mueller can stick. One of the two should be ready for the stretch run in September.

  10. I am completely agreed that fixing Anderson is the top priority for the team. But my prescription depends on the diagnosis. Why is his command so spotty? If he’s nursing an injury, that’s one thing. If an appointment with a sports psychologist might help, that’s another thing. If he just needs to refine his breaking ball, that’s another thing.

  11. Right now, Anderson’s command needs to be perfect in order to have any kind of effectiveness. If he had a decent third pitch, his command wouldn’t seem so spotty. The lack of that pitch puts pressure on everything else.

  12. @11

    Admittedly, it is nearly always my knee-jerk reaction to somewhat scoff when it’s suggested that a pitcher may be nursing a secret injury. Mostly because that seems to be the knee-jerk reaction among some when a pitcher’s fastball is off by a couple miles an hour or his command isn’t great in a start. Sometimes pitchers just don’t have it on a given day and there’s no rhyme or reason for it.

    Having said that, I still find the injury explanation for Anderson doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. With him, it’s true that you have repeated issues and it’s not just one bad start. However, his issues have been repeated basically all year at this point, so if there was an injury, the team surely would’ve stopped throwing him out there every fifth day by now. And even if he were hiding something, surely he would’ve thought, “Might as well tell them about this at this point” by now.

    So I think your second two options are way more likely. I favor him needing a third pitch as the primary reason, not that maybe he couldn’t also benefit from a sports psychologist. But even if it is primarily the latter, he still needs his breaking ball to be better if he’s gonna get where he wants to. And to be able to workshop his breaking ball the way he probably needs to, I’d say a trip to Gwinnett is probably in his future.

    Also, roadrunner is spot on @12.

  13. Time to go get Juan Soto.

    (Admittedly it may seem like I’m being facetious, like I was when I said we should trade Manny Piña for Shohei Ohtani. But honestly, let’s go get Juan Soto. As Kinky Friedman would say, why the hell not?)

  14. @15,

    I don’t really want to commit that much in resources on one player. I say we need a dominant right handed reliever. Also need, probably, a mid level starter.

    But, right now, actually outfielder went from number 3 to number 1 on the “needs” list.

    Cousin Ian needs to be swapped with Muller asap.

  15. I think our priorities should go as follows:

    LF
    2b
    RH reliever (maybe filled by Yates)
    #5 starter (or give Muller a try)

  16. I wouldn’t want to give up on Anderson. I see him as a Charlie Liebrandt/Anibal Sanchez type. He needs an offseason to get started on reinventing himself. But this year, he’s not going to help.

  17. @15 – 2. 5 years of Soto, Acuna, Olson, Riley, Albies, Contreras, Harris, Fried, Wright, and Strider? Excuse me one moment, I’ll be right back.

  18. The shift continues to pay dividends when we use it. If Olson is in normal position it’s an out

    And even when they try to bunt we stay in it. So stubborn…

  19. Schwarber trying to bunt? I’m all for it.

    But I think Schwarber was kinda saying, “I can’t hit this guy anyway, so I’ll just take what they give me.”

    And, from the looks of it, I’ll guess that the last time he bunted was on a Little League field.

  20. Schwarber did the Braves a big favor in attempting to bunt, since he’s so obviously bad at it. If the shift causes him to attempt a bunt, that’s a good thing.
    Edit—or what ububba said

  21. As to the shift more generally, some folks complain every time the shift appears to have cost us a hit. I don’t see comparable praise when the shift saves us from a hit. I don’t have all the data that shows on balance whether the shifts costs more hits than it saves. Neither does anyone else on this blog. But you know who does? The Braves have data on every batted ball by every hitter. They are positioning guys where the ball is most likely to go. Until the location of batted balls overall changes, they will continue us to shift.

  22. I can say this: the Braves didn’t start shifting radically until late last season. Look what happened.

  23. Damn, I thought Austin hit that all the way out. Goodness, he hit that far.

  24. This has been a pretty weird game so far…

    The hardest-hit balls have banged the very top of the fence, bounced off the fence for a single, or got caught. Almost all the runs so far have scored on misplays or corkscrew squibbers.

  25. Riley’s two doubles have been 114 mph and 109mph. Just a little loft on either and he’s got two homers. He’s really locked in.

  26. @27

    While generally I agree, my contention is that folks are breaking down and trying to hit the ball the other way with two strikes way more often this year and we’ve been slow to adjust. Also, shifting yourself out of any real chance of turning the double play is stupid regardless of what their hit location numbers say.

  27. The Phillies must be getting great pitching to stay in contention. Because outside of 3 position players (Hoskins, Schwarber, Realmuto) they are pretty bad. Castellanos was expected to be the DH, but has been forced to play the field with Harper’s elbow problem, and has also struggled offensively. (Harper and Segura are good players as well when healthy.)

    Didi, Bohm, and Herrera are all bad and are the starters at their positions. Each have lost playing time to utilitymen who also suck. And Zach Eflin’s status for the rest of the season is in doubt. That’s a lot of holes to fill.

  28. They also suck at defense, as always. They don’t care about defense in Philadelphia.

  29. AJ really missed his spot on that one. TDA was set up just off the outside corner and the pitch was middle third.

  30. Guess Lee wasn’t pitching good enough .. he was mowing them down .. but Snit can’t leave well enough alone ..

  31. Minter has been mortal for a month now. Felt like a moment like that was coming.

  32. @44 yeah, another case of the fangraphs curse. Minter started being mortal as soon as he got an article praising him. Happened to Strider recently too.

  33. Snit is a below average manager. His management of the bullpen is miserable.
    Like a robot, one inning per man. Painful to watch someone so uncreative.
    A certain reliever is having some shaky games. ERA climbing. But did we really expect a sub 2? Of course not. Did extended rest hurt Fried? Hum.

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