I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. We know the offense is unfit to start and our bench is unfit to pinch hit, and we sit watching our TV’s while some local newscaster tells us that today we had no hits and five walks, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad — worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my DVR and my TV and my iPad and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad!
This week, the Phillies became the 4th team in Major League history to have 4 players 34 or older receive 550 plate appearances. Ruben Amaro, Jr. is trying to make sure Ryan Howard is playing so they can get Howard traded. Did he learn from Wren, or Wren learn from Amaro.?
So, one of the worst offensive teams in the modern history of baseball (maybe that is an exaggeration, but only slight) faced the best pitcher the Phillies had, Cole Hamels. We countered with the best we have, Julio Teheran.
First inning, 1, 2, 3. We bring up Jason Heyward. Walk. Then, after a Heyward steal, Emilio Bonifacio walked. Then a double steal. Runners 2nd and 3rd, no out, bottom of first inning. The high point of the Barves’ offense for the day.
The Phillies finally scored one in the 3rd. You had the feeling there that they might not need another one. They didn’t.
They tacked on one in the 6th. Then, the dam burst in the 7th. Meanwhile, Hamels came out for a pinch hitter and had given up 5 walks, but NO hits.
Jacob Diekman pitched the 7th with NO hits.
Ken Giles pitched the 8th with NO hits.
The wretched refuse of our relief corps’ teeming shore then gave up 2 more in the top of the 9th.
So, with it 7 to nothing, in comes Jonathan Pappelbon. And, set to greet him is Justin Upton. Wait, no pinch hitting is Jose Constanza. I know WPA tells us our WP was less than 1%, but if that isn’t running up the white flag, what is? So, out, out, out damn Barves. A staff no hitter.
And, occasionally we ask why we don’t like the 2014 Braves. They make me want to Barv.
Alex Wood is a very good pitcher. If his team could score runs for him, he might have 15 wins. Don’t forget he spent a month and a half in the bullpen. I imagine he will undergo 14 Tommy John surgeries over the next five years.
Wood was outstanding. He went eight, striking out 12 Fish and scattering five hits.
The Braves decided to give Wood only one run on Sunday, when El Oso Blanco crushed a 416 footer in the second. Thankfully, that is all we would need. I am not sure how you only score one run on 11 hits, but these Braves are capable of anything.
BJ Upton had two hits, so I am sure Fredi will move him back to the lead off spot.
Lets see…where do we begin. Not a single Braves runner reached second base until the 6th inning. We just could not get a timely hit all night. Jarred Cozart was really good and shut us out for 8 innings, scattering a few singles along the way.
Aaron Harang was typical tonite. 5.2 innings, 7 hits, 3 BBs. Really that’s pretty much Aarons game line.
Donovan Solano was a thorn in the side as he started the game off with a home run to left. He singled in the third and again in the fifth. Christian Yellich scored in the third and again in the fifth. Salty scored the last fish run in the sixth.
3 Brave errors in the 8th, but no runs scored. At least the 8th was interesting as La Stella, Jupon and Heyward all singled, but
it was to no avail as Andrelton whiffed and Freddie grounded out.
The Braves got 9 hits, but with 3 double plays were never really in the game. Jason Heyward had 3, Freddie, Justin, Evan, Chris, La Stella and BJ had one apiece.
The last 14 games the Braves are 10 – 5. We are one back in the wildcard race behind San
Fran. St. Louis and Pittsburgh.
In other news, The Progeny came home from college to attend a funeral for our church’s youth pastor (cancer, so not an unexpected event) and I don’t have a whole lot of time to do a good recap. Hug your kids, and take some time to express your appreciation for the folks that should be told.
Let’s make it two tomorrow.
The Braves entered play Thursday night in Flushing looking to cap a ten game road trip with a series win against the Mets. At game time, the Braves found themselves 6.5 games back of the Nationals for the top spot in the NL East, and deadlocked with the Pirates at 1.5 games back for the final Wild Card spot. The Cardinals and Giants would meet in the play-in game if the standings hold.
Coming off his best start of the season (and likely his career) against the Reds, the Braves turned to Mike Minor to help end the trip on a high note. The Mets countered with their own lefty, “Jawbreaker” Jon Niese.
After playing tight affairs in the first two games of the series, I was hoping for a Braves blow out before heading back to Atlanta. In the top of the second, Minor helped himself by notching an RBI single which scored Andrelton Simmons, giving the Braves a 1-0 advantage. Things stayed relatively quiet until the top of the eighth when the Braves staked a 3-0 lead thanks to an Emilio Bonifacio triple and a Freddie Freeman RBI single.
In between, Minor was brilliant and his renaissance continued. His final line: seven innings pitched with five strikeouts against no walks. The lone run came on an Eric Campbell single which scored Travis d’Arnaud. On the offensive side, Minor went 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored.
Ryan Doumit joined the baseball team, crushing a two-run pinch hit home run in the top of the ninth for his first hit in the month of August. Bonifacio also added an RBI single in the ninth which scored Jason Heyward. The final score saw the Braves victorious, 6-1, totaling thirteen hits on the night. David Carpenter and Anthony Varvaro pitched scoreless frames in relief.
Up next is an important home series against the Marlins, who have been steadily in the Braves rear-view mirror since the All-Star Break. I’m not against sweeping the Fish. Let fury have the hour.
Jason Heyward led off the game with a home run to left off Wheeler (I find it a little weird that both New York teams have a Z. Wheeler this year, the only two such players in MLB history. I know that’s completely irrelevant, but when the Braves aren’t giving you much on the field to keep you interested, you have to get creative.)
In the second, Wilmer Flores tied the game with a home run of his own. The Braves, however, wasted no time in taking the lead back the following inning, when Phil Gosselin singled, Freddie Freeman doubled, and Justin Upton grounded out to score Gosselin for a 2-1 lead. El Oso then hit a grounder to short, which Ruben Tejada failed to catch, allowing Freeman to cross with the Braves third run.
After giving up the homer, Teheran kept the Mets hitless through the 6th, allowing only a walk to mar his consecutive batters retired streak. He left in the 7th with one out and two on, and David Carpenter finished the inning without incident.
Jordan Walden pitched the 8th and made things interesting, giving up a hit, a walk, and a hit to allow the Mets to get within one run. A double play later, Andrelton Simmons saved the game with one of the best plays of his career. My thought process went “Dang! Tied game. Wait, wow, Simba got to that ball. Woah, he’s going to throw the ball. He…he…HE GOT THE OUT!!”
In the 9th, Craig Kimbrel didn’t want to make things too easy, allowing a hit and then falling behind 3-0 on the next hitter before walking him. A sacrifice bunt later, Gosselin got Eric Campbell out at the plate easily after the latter went on contact against a drawn in Braves infield. A popup later, Simba’s play had officially saved the game, and the Braves are once again tied with the Pirates a game out of a playoff spot. If the Braves grab a wildcard spot by one game this year, I think we can safely point to Andrelton as the reason why they made it. Seriously, if you didn’t see it, here’s the link one more time. You really don’t want to miss that one.
I’ve been trying to figure out how the 2013 Braves team was one of my favorite teams ever (I seriously loved that team) while the 2014 team has become one of the hardest for me to root for (I started watching in 1995, so I have no clue what it was like to root for a 70s or 80s team…) I mean, Uggla is the only everyday player who is no longer here, and last year these guys were a lovable bunch. The pitching staff and bench are nearly completely different, but a team’s bench has little bearing on how interesting the team is, and the pitching staff has not been the problem. My affection for the team started to wane with all of the weirdness at the end of last season (no one catching Chipper’s ceremonial first pitch, the team not feeling united in the Division Series, etc.), was somewhat revived with the rash of extensions that happened in February, but has been sorely lacking since Medlen went down. I was also a pretty big fan of Hudson and EOF, but I wouldn’t have thought their absences would affect how I feel about the whole team. Even when the Braves were more middle of the road at the end of last decade, I never felt so uninspired watching a game. What a weird season this has been.
Pirates, Giants, and Cardinals delenda est.
Natspo(s) SEMPER delenda est.
Ed. note: to see the previous installment in the 1914 Braves saga, click here
On August 5, Boston had moved into the first division of the National League, but still remained 6 1/2 games behind mighty New York. Twenty days later, the Braves were tied for first.
The Standings Aug. 5.
|New York Giants||54||37||0.593||-|
|St. Louis Cardinals||51||47||0.52||6.5|
Over that 20 day stretch, the Braves went 13-4-1, including a 3 game sweep over the Giants in New York. Concluding a home stand on Aug 11 with a 13-inning scoreless tie, Boston would hit the road for a swing around the western end of the league.
The Braves made two more personnel moves. On Aug. 10, Boston purchased J.C. “Red” Smith from Brooklyn, inserting him into the lineup in place of light-hitting Charlie Deal. Smith grew up in Atlanta, played baseball at Auburn, and had tied fellow southern collegiate player Del Pratt for the Southern League batting title in 1911.
On Aug. 18 the Braves purchased outfielder Herbie Moran from Cincinnati. With Larry Gilbert on the shelf from an injury, and recently acquired Josh Devore hitting .188, Stallings continued trying to improve his offense.
It wasn’t easy going. During this stretch, Boston played 5 extra innings affairs (counting the tie) and two double headers (sweeping in Cincinnati and splitting in Pittsburgh). On Aug. 8, The Braves played their 2nd game of the season at Fenway Park instead of their home field, Boston’s South End Grounds.
Perhaps equally important, the Giants played poorly. The three losses to the Braves came amidst a 1-8 stretch, such that at the end of the day on Aug 5, Boston had claimed a virtual tie for the league’s lead. Starting July 5, Boston had gone 33-9 and made up 15 games in the standings.
The Standings thru August 25:
|New York Giants||59||48||0.551||-||5-11|
|St. Louis Cardinals||62||53||0.539||1||11-6|
At the start of every baseball season you figure you will win 54, lose 54 and the other 54 will decide your fate. Today was one of those 54 loses. The Reds put three on the board in the fourth and never looked back. The Braves tried to make it interesting in the ninth, but couldn’t get the tying run in.
Don’t worry, the Braves have Monday off and will make their way to Flushing to play the Mets.
College football starts this week, so we have that going for us. I say the Vols go 6-6.