Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

Thanks to Mac's family, is back.

05 Jul

Phillies 4, Braves 0 (10 innings, recapped by coop)

Philadelphia, the cradle of our republic, rocked the Braves with four runs in the top of the tenth inning to avoid a sweep. In the process, they kept Atlanta below for .500 for the 2015 season.

There are two sides to any coin; so either the starting pitchers were very good, or the opposing offenses sucked. If you must, choose. Whatever your choice, you’re probably right.

Both teams had opportunities to score. Both teams failed, but the Phillies worked harder to do so. After neither team scored after loading the bases in the first, the pitchers settled down. Sort of.

The Phils threatened in the fifth. Odubel Herrera doubled to lead off the inning. Being a typical Philly, he strayed too far off second. A.J. Pierzynski, who hit the heck out of the ball all game long, make a good defensive play that resulted in Herrera being tagged out. Cesar Hernandez promptly singled, but Philadelphia couldn’t recover.

Neither Shelby Miller nor Cole Hamels feels sorry for the other. They both are accustomed to their team putting up nothing but goose eggs while they’re in the game. Miller exited after six and a third, and Luis Avilan closed out the seventh without incident. Hamels one-upped Miller. He went seven, gave up nothing.

Jim Johnson blanked the Phillies in the top of the eighth. Ken Giles dominated the Braves in the bottom of the frame, striking out three. Jason Grilli blew the Phils away in the top of the ninth, duplicating Giles brilliance.

And then the Braves should have won the game.

Kelly Johnson pinch hit for Secret Agent Man Chris Johnson and walked. A. J. sent Kelly to third with his third hit of the game. With runners on the corners and one out, it was time for STRATEGY.

Philadelphia moved one-time third baseman and current left fielder Cody Asche to the infield, leaving the Phillies with two outfielders.

The Braves allowed Pedro Ciriaco to face Luis Garcia. Pedro pooched a weak pop to very short center or moderately deep short, depending on your point of view. Either way, KJ could not score; and Fredi brought Juan Uribe in to pinch hit, in my opinion one batter two late; for it now would have taken a two out hit to bring Johnson home. Since Uribe looked silly striking out, it probably made no difference. Still, I would preferred seeing Uribe up with one out rather than Pedro, regardless.

The Braves rolled over in the tenth. Played dead.

Nick “White Flag” Masset gave up hits to Odubel Herrera and Cesar Hernandez, then walked Maikel Franco to load the bases with nobody out. Dana Eveland was summoned. Eveland held Ryan Howard to the go ahead sacrifice fly. Having completed his task, he surrendered the ball to Jake Brigham.

For the first time in his major league career, Brigham was unequal to the task. First of all, he could not unscore the run already given up. Second, he gave up a two-run double to Carlos Ruiz and saw Ruiz trot home on an rbi single by Freddy Galvis.

Jonathan Papelbon did not garner the save. The game was past saving. He did, however, retire the Braves in order.

Here’s what I saw.

The Phillies should have salted the game away early. They did not.

The Braves should have won the game in the ninth. Nope.

Fredi used his bullpen wisely. I still wish he were gone, but his options beyond Avilan, Johnson and Grilli are not wonderful

I THINK — just fallible me stating my druthers — that Fredi should have used Uribe to hit for Ciriaco in the ninth. If Uribe failed with one out as he did with two, you’ve still got the final out to win the game.

Didn’t happen. Doesn’t matter. Braves lose.

05 Jul

Braves 9, Phillies 5 (by spike)

As is only fitting, Team Blue wiped out the hated redcoats. The first shots were fired when Peterson and Cameron “€œMinuteman” Maybin opened up on Kevin “€œGeneral Gage” Correia. The real damage was done when the Phil charged uphill into a few volleys right into the whites of their eyes from Kelly “€œIsrael Putnam”€ Johnson, Juan “€œWilliam Prescott”€ Uribe and AJ “€œTadeusz Kosciusko”€ Pierzynski.

Our own side switching Jeff Francoeur”>Jeff “Benedict Arnold”€ Francoeur apparently turned over our secret plans for crappy defense over to the Phils as he overthrew a cutoff man to go with two Phillies errors on the night. Maybin swamp-foxed one from here to Athens in the southern half of the second. In the fourth Alex “€œGeorge Washington”€ Wood crossed the Delaware to surprise Odubel “Hessian” Herrera. Maybin, Markakis and Johnson saratoga’ed Correia into surrender to make it 9-1. Darin “Guy Carleton” Ruf put one over the walls of Quebec for three runs, and Herrera homered a few innings later to cut the lead to four.

Jason “Rochambeaux” Grilli blockaded the Phils in the ninth and Maikel “€œCornwallis” Franco’s desperate breakout attempt was turned back to complete the victory. Tomorrow, Shelby “Andrew Jackson” Miller takes on Cole “€œGeorge IV” Hamels for the sweep before heading out to Fort Shelby.

04 Jul

Blazon’s Poetry Parody Thread: Happy July 4! (Game Thread.)

Happy Fourth to all…

for those with the time and inclination have some fun on the holiday parodying in some sort of loose baseball terms what others have written in centuries past…post it here when you have…it can take pretty much any form- sonnets, limericks, w.h.y. from a couplet up…

here’s one original two liner for example, John Betjeman on the inanities of the British class system…

it’s not for us to wonder why
he wears that rather odd school tie’ aa/88 (rhyme/syllables)

an Atlanta baseball fan might retort…

on Fredi flunked in bullpen mode
small modicum of sense bestowed.

or the four line verse…here, Hilaire Belloc on the joys and privations of 1920’s travel in Europe…

do you remember an inn, Miranda
do you remember an Inn
and the fleas that tease
in the High Pyrenees. irregular!

use that if you like as the basis for some fun…

or Philip Larkin’s cynical view of both parents and children…

man hands on misery to man
it deepens like a coastal shelf
get out as quickly as you can
and don’t have any kids yourself. abab rhyme, all lines 8 syllables

moving on to 5 lines, it must be the limerick…born in the pubs and working men’s clubs of southern Ireland three centuries ago it was originally both bawdy and scabrous..we can make it anything we want – poor Fredi again…

if we have five then i’ll use four
all other constructs to ignore
my finger’s in the wind
so many have i binned
but love them all, my darling corps. aabba 8/8/6/6/8

or, with the more traditional meter emphasis …

a hurler we’ve got in a trade
is rather infrequently laid
has been heard to complain
were i Maddox or Sain
exceptions would likely be made. same as above


…here we try to stick however loosely to a single source, Milton on his blindness – here’s his original…

When I consider how my light is spent, abba
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent

To serve therewith my maker, and present abba
My true account, lest he returning chide,
Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?
I fondly ask; but Patience to prevent

That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need cdec
Either man’s work or his own gifts, who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best, his state
Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed

And post o’er land and ocean without rest: de all lines 10 syllables
They also serve who only stand and wait.

ok…some general points…this is obviously a more disciplined and complex structure but don’t be put off by it, not as hard as it looks…and, though it be reverential in tone, WE DONT HAVE TO BE…parody, brother…satire, call it what you will…it’s not sunday yet…poetic licence, bring it on…multiple entries allowed/encouraged you never know, the second try might be an improvement…if you’re entering more than one ‘class'( a limerick and a sonnet for example) please post separately…ONLY THE SONNETS SHOULD BE ,VAGUELY, MILTONESQUE, THE OTHER FORMATS CAN BE ABOUT ANYTHING…

04 Jul

Rebels 2, Empire 1

On Star Wars night at The Ted, the Rebels used The Force and a couple of long balls to overcome the Empire’s stormtroopers 2-1.

Julio Skywalker continues to mystify, as he bullseyed womprats from his T16 to move to 5-0 on Tatooine with a 2.04 ERA. In other parts of the Imperium, he’s 1-4 with an ugly 7.40 ERA. Maybe it’s the gravitational influence of the twin suns that gets his slider moving. I don’t know, and I’m
sure he wishes he knew what was going on himself. He probably spends too much time on the road complaining about not getting to go hang out at Toshi Station with his friends, which affects his road performance.

The Rebels jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the second inning, as Jonny-Wan Kenobi showed why he’s a perfectly cromulent player against southpaws by launching his 4th homer of the season off Morgan. He may only be a shadow of the warrior he was when he fought in The Clone Wars, but upon occasion he can still fight the good fight.

In the 5th, Local Boy Turned to the Dark Side Annikin Morgan scored on Cesar Fett’s single
after a throwing error by Jace Calrissian.

It stayed that way until the 7th, when a bit of nifty defense by Yoda Simmons showed why he’s the best shortstop in all of Space. Cameron the Hutt singled down the left field line, and Simmons
hustled over to the wall to grab the ball and threw out Hutt who was trying to stretch the hit to a double. Hutt was initially called safe, no doubt because as the criminal godfather of all Tatooine, he had bribed the second base umpire, but after a review, the call was overturned. Hutt immediately complained that the crew chief was fooled by a Jedi mind trick, but to no avail.

Juan Solo provided the final run in the bottom of the 7th, hitting another solo shot off Morgan, which got out of the park in a hurry. Like a Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs hurry.

Chewie Avilan and C3PO Johnson closed out the game for Teheran, and now the Rebels are on a win streak. A modest three game streak, but hey, you take what you can get.

03 Jul

Braves 2, Nationals 1

So, Manny Banuelos made his major league debut against the Nationals and Max Scherzer, possibly the best right-handed pitcher in baseball. Scherzer pitched a five-hit shutout and Banuelos was removed after 5 2/3 innings, turning the ball over to the Braves’ trusty bullpen.

And somehow the Braves won. Don’t ask me how, because it beats the hell out of me. But the short of it is that Banuelos was little short of superb, throwing 48 strikes in 75 pitches, racking up seven strikeouts with no walks (though he did hit two men in the sixth, which led Fredi to yank him). He worked in the low 90s with his fastball, featuring an 80-mph changeup and a 76-mph curve. Other than a Denard Span single in the first and a Wilson Ramos single in the second, he basically didn’t allow anyone to do anything. (After the game, the Braves announced he had gotten dehydrated and cramped up, which led to his quick exit. He should be fine to make his next start on Tuesday.)

The Braves won in walkoff fashion on a Cameron Maybin single, and as we get ready to celebrate America’s birthday, I’d just like to say how happy I am that we have him. He’s something else.

02 Jul

Nationals 1, Braves 4 (!)

With Thursday’s forecast looking even more ominous than Wednesday’s, the Braves waited out a rain delay that was over two hours before, like lambs to the slaughter, they took the field.

In a shocking turn of events, playing baseball tonight was actually not an exercise of futility for the home nine. June—and the June swoon—is over!

Chipper’s favorite ump, CB Bucknor, was behind the plate tonight, so the strike zone moved from inning to inning, batter to batter, and often pitch to pitch. As a result, the game felt very uncertain until the last out was recorded, and even then the results may be negotiable. It’s Bucknor, you never know.

Doug Fister held the Braves hitless for the first three innings, and it looked like Matt Wisler might have to figure out a way to win without any offense. Then the 4th inning happened. Cameron Maybin singled to ensure Fister would not record a no-hitter tonight, and A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-run home run to get the team on the board. Not content with two runs, even though that is par for the Freddie-less course, Juan Uribe followed with a shot to center to make the game 3-0. Kelly Johnson singled and went to second on a groundball off Simmons’ bat on an attempted hit-and-run. An intentional walk to Eury Perez brought Wisler up with two-outs and two men on. Wisler made contact and guided a hanger into right field to pick up his first major league hit and first RBI. Suddenly it was 4-0, and Braves fans started thinking that maybe, just maybe, the Braves might be able to snap Washington’s 9-game winning streak against them.

Wisler, on the other hand, looked really sharp. He went 5 1/3 innings of shutout, 1-hit baseball, struck out six but gave up five walks. Fredi was ready with his hook, and rather than letting a guy making his third big-league start begin to falter after a strong start, he pulled him after he allowed a walk followed by a deep fly ball off of Yunel Escobar’s bat that Maybin caught with his back to the center field wall. Luis Avilan relieved him and promptly gave up a single to Bryce Harper, but the double-play combo of Andrelton Simmons and Jace Peterson pulled off a beautiful play to end the Nationals threat and get the Braves out of the inning.

In the 7th inning, Dan Uggla came within a foot of hitting a 3-run home run on a hanging slider, but this time the ballpark held the ball and Dan Uggla, Braves killer and most expensive player this year, ended up with just a noisy out. Denard Span followed that with an RBI single to put the Nationals on the board, but David Aardsma came on in relief of Nick Masset and struck out Danny Espinosa to end the inning.

To remind you of how far this team has come, Andrelton Simmons was the only player in the starting lineup tonight who was even on the team a year ago. In fact, the Braves have now had 46 different players on the 25-man roster this year, which is pretty amazing considering the All-Star Break is still over a week away. For comparison’s sake, on July 1 last year, the starting lineup was:

Upton Jr.
Johnson, C
La Stella

On top of that, Ramiro Pena and Dan Uggla got plate appearances, Shae Simmons, Avilan, Walden, and Kimbrel relieved Minor, and the Braves beat the Mets 5-4. Times have changed.

Barring more rain, the series against the Nationals will wrap up Thursday when Manny Banuelos takes the hill for his major league debut against Max Scherzer at 7:10. With the win tonight the Braves have a chance to win the series against a team that has owned them this year. It’s baseball. Anything can happen.

Banuelos vs. Scherzer. The Braves could win. Ha. Ha, ha. Hahahahahahaha. I crack myself up. And I yield the floor.

Natspos delenda est.

01 Jul

Nationals 6, Braves 1 (by coop)

It was ugly.

The Nats scored four runs in the first inning and coasted to a 6-1 victory. The Braves had a couple of bright spots and a home run. Otherwise it was all Washington. Here’s how it went.

Denard Span singled to start the game, and Danny Espinosa doubled him home. Shelby Miller got Yunel Escobar on a ground out and struck out Bryce Harper. Things were looking up, but appearances deceive. Wilson Ramos singled in Espinosa, and Clint Robinson crushed a two-run home run. Ian Desmond struck out, and the top of the first ended with the Nats up four-zip.

A. J. Pierzynski is an offensive catcher. Every time he dons the gear, it offends baseball fans everywhere. In the third the Braves caught a runner trying to score from third base in a well-executed pickle, but A. J. threw the ball into left field allowing the Nats’ fifth run to score. In the fifth, A. J. botched a Miller pitch for a passed ball. He did double his first time up, however.

Shelby pitched well after the first. He finished five innings, surrendering only the four first inning earned runs and Pierzynski’s gift unearned run. Miller gave up nine hits, four in the first and walked two (one intentional). He also struck out ten, a season high. Then he gave way to the Braves bright spots.

Two nine-year minor league veterans made their major league debuts for the Braves tonight in relief of Miller. Jake Brigham sparkled. He pitched three scoreless innings, allowed one hit, walked one and fanned four. Welcome to the Bigs, Jake. You did good.

Brigham was followed by fellow debutant Ryan Kelly. You’ve got to love the name, although the Irish luck was a little late in arriving. Kelly allowed hits to the first two batters he faced, then got Wilson Ramos to ground into a 5-4-3 double play. Unfortunately a run scored, but this horse had been stolen when Miller left the barn door open in the first.

Juan Uribe spoiled the shutout bid in the ninth by homering off — guess who — David Carpenter.

Here are some things I noticed. They are my opinions only and in no way, shape or form constitute the viewpoint of Braves Journal or Captain Hook. AARgh!

The Nationals are a better team than the Braves. We’ll be lucky to avoid getting swept. With our offense, we’ll likely be lucky just to score.

Like him or not (and Joe Simpson doesn’t), Bryce Harper is an excellent baseball player. Likewise, Jordan Zimmermann’s a pretty good pitcher.

The Nationals played better defense tonight than the Braves, but our shortstop is better than their shortstop.

Freddie Freeman’s wrist is not improving, and he is unlikely to come off the Disabled List when eligible. Great.

The Braves did not quit. Shelby Miller certainly did not. AJP probably didn’t either; but he’s so inept, it’s hard to tell.

You lose some. Then you lose some more.

It’s going to be a long season.

28 Jun

Braves 2, Pirates 1 (by coop)

The Braves did not lose all six games of this road trip. Today they beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1.

Big Dawg Alex Wood was dominant. He had to be. Wood went 7.1 shutout innings. He allowed five hits, hit one Pirate, walked none and struck out eight.

Offensively, the Braves EXPLODED for two runs.

After swapping goose eggs through the first four innings, the Braves waited until two out in the fifth to A-B-E their first run. Cameron Maybin singled, took second on a Francisco Cervelli passed ball and scored on Nick Markakis’ single. Chris Johnson followed Neck with another single, but A.J. Pierzynski’s cued liner was gracelessly snared by Sean Rodriguez to forestall further damage.

Jace Peterson greeted Vance Worley with a home run to lead off the seventh to increase the Braves’ lead to 2-zip. Thanks to Wood’s dominance and despite ninth inning drama, today two runs sufficed.

Wood was good until he allowed an almost home run two-bagger off the left field wall to Neil Walker with one out in the eighth. Fredi, bless his little heart, brought in Jim Johnson in relief. Johnson ended the threat, striking out Always Trouble Josh Harrison and getting pinch hitter Pedro Alvarez to fly out to center.

In the Pirates’ eighth, Eury Perez replaced Jonny Gomes in left field for defensive purposes. What this simple declarative sentence implies about The Grit’s remaining baseball skills I do not know. I have opinions on this subject which I will share if you ask.

Jason “Full Pack” Grilli retired the first two Pirates in the ninth without trouble. Then Grilli breathed life into the Buccos by walking Cervelli. Braves Killer Jordy Mercer hit a long but playable fly ball to deep left center, and Braves fans everywhere learned that Perez and Maybin skipped physics class the day they covered the laws of motion. Otherwise, they would have learned that every object in a state of (Braves) uniform(ed) motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.

Perez and Maybin both ran at full speed chasing Mercer’s blast. Both called for the ball, neither heard the other and…


For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

At Eddie Perez’s urging, Maybin hustled the ball back to the infield, holding Mercer at second. Perez didn’t hustle anywhere or anything. For the second time this series, a Brave lay damaged on the Pirates’ field.

After quite a while, Perez walked under his own power off the field. Joey Terdoslavich took his place in left.

Gregory Polanco pinch hit for Sean Rodriguez. After a lengthy at bat, Rodriguez struck out. Pierzynski kept the bounced third strike in front of him and threw Rodriguez out at first.

Ho-hum. Braves win. Let’s go home.

28 Jun

Pirates 8, Braves 4 (by spike)

The strange case of Dr. Home and Prof. Road continues. Serviceable after the first, but the damage was done and a very depressing set of innings it was. A three run rally got to within two in the 7th, but Masset took care of that in the bottom half by allowing a pair to put it away for the Pirates. Between the bullpen, injuries, lack of power, and erratic performances, it is starting to feel like those preseason predictions of doom are nigh…

27 Jun

Pirates 3, Braves 2

For the seventh time in eight days, the Braves scored two runs or fewer. That runs the streak to four straight losses, two of them in extras. But I can’t really blame this one on the offense. Here is how the Pirates’ first two runs scored.

Williams Perez took a really hard grounder off his ankle. He just lay on the ground for a while, unable to get up. Eventually, Jeff Porter was able to get him standing again, and he took a few practice pitches, told Fredi he felt fine, and they left him in the game. But he didn’t look right: as David Lee noted, he wasn’t finishing his pitches. (The injured leg was his plant foot, which explains why his motion was more constricted afterwards. On the radio, Don was saying that an injury to the plant leg might even be worse than the drive leg, because the plant leg is the one you come down on.)

I didn’t agree with the decision to keep him in the game; it seems to me that you just don’t want to take any chances. But he told them he felt okay, so I don’t totally blame Fredi for that. The very first pitch — low and outside with a different pitching motion than he’d had before the injury — should have made it obvious that he shouldn’t have stayed in. The next few minutes were torture. Each of the next three pitches was way outside and the man walked. Fredi still kept Perez in. The first pitch to McCutchen was way outside — nothing had been remotely close since the ankle injury. Then as Perez came set, he was called for a balk. The next pitch was incredibly high. The next pitch hit McCutchen square in the back. It wasn’t until then that Fredi took Perez out of the game.

So, Luis Avilan came in, and to make a long story short, both inherited runners scored. The sole piece of good news came after the game, when x-rays on his ankle were Williams Perezs-left- foot”>negative. But the team’s press release noted that he might still miss his next start.

The offense has been utterly wretched since Freddie Freeman went out. But Fredi made an incredibly risky decision to ignore an injury to our second-best starter, and we’ll be lucky if it only lost us one game.

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