Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

Scarred, but smarter.

17 May

Cardinals 4, Braves 1 (by chasT)

With 44,981 in the seats at St. Louis today, the Braves fall 4-1 to the Cards.
They did almost nothing well today.
In fact they played like horsecrap! Some distressing facts:
* The Braves have scored 2 runs or less in 19 of 41 games this season.
* When trailing after the 7th inning, the braves are 0-16.
* The Braves are one of only four National League teams with more strikeouts than hits.

So: we started strong by hitting Shelby Miller early and
scoring in the second on a single to left by Harang. Andrelton crossed the plate due largely to two poor Cardinal throws rather than Braves offensive production.

In the 4th Tyler Pastornicky misplayed a pop fly by ranging out to take a ball Jason Heyward should have. Instead of keeping the runner at third, Rev stops to have a nice chat with Jason Heyward, seemingly unaware that Wong tagged and scored.

In the 5th, Harang bunted, decided not to run and Molina turned that into a double play. Fredi gets thrown out in protest.

In the 6th, Wong again bunts his way on, Gattis chokes the ball and throws over 20 ft over second base.

In the 7th, Justin misplays an Adams single turning it into a triple. Varvaro misplays a bunt allowing Adams to score.

The Cardinals had four bunts for hits today. Clearly they’ve gotten the memo.

100 Responses to “Cardinals 4, Braves 1 (by chasT)”

  1. 1
    kc Says:

    Walker sucks so bad. While I agree that most of the responsibilities still belong to the players themselves, I honestly can’t think of an example which he has helped improving anyone during his tenure.

  2. 2
    sansho1 Says:

    It’s frustrating particularly because he and Scott Fletcher arrived as the anti-Larry Parrish, who was unqualified for the position.

  3. 3
    SteveS Says:

    It is literally painful to watch BUp bat. He appears to be in recovery of a stroke or some other malady that could cause someone to forget how to hit/bat. At least with Uggla the problem is only with the results not the procedure itself.

    Is Walker the blame for that?.. Could he have screwed BUp’s mechanics so far up that there is no recovery?

  4. 4
    sdp Says:

    Walker will catch heat but I’m not blaming him for the sucky hitters he’s working with.

  5. 5
    sansho1 Says:

    Who knows?

  6. 6
    Rob Cope Says:

    What sucky hitters are Walker and Fletcher working with? I’m not seeing anyone in the lineup who does not have the potential to be a good major league hitter, except for Uggla.

    Perhaps someone who is smarter and has more time should do an extensive evaluation on this (I’m looking at you, Remington), but it certainly seems like the offense has significantly regressed. Ultimately, the hitting coach, manager, and/or general manager deserve responsibility. Is it an organization approach issue, does Fredi not do a good job of managing hitters, or is Walker and Fletcher’s philosophy or leadership not making an impact?

    The way it seems, Heyward, Simmons, BUpton, and Gattis have the tools to be better than they are right now. I’m not totally sure about Johnson, and Uggla just sucks. Freeman and JUpton are performing about what we expected. But when half of your lineup is underachieving, there’s gotta be a reason for that. I’d love to know because my MLB.TV subscription is not getting any use due to this Before June Swoon.

  7. 7
    sdp Says:

    Gattis is a questionable talent over the long term, Heyward is like Francoeur Deluxe, Justin Upton seems to be either off or on, Uggla is Uggla, and who really even knows about BUpton. Factor in the pitcher and that’s 2/3 of your lineup. I could envision Walker being hopelessly cynical about this group.

  8. 8
    urlhix Says:

    Whoever is screwing that chicken, they need to stop.

    More punk rock might be in order, also, too.

  9. 9
    Rob Cope Says:

    If Heyward is Francoeur Deluxe, then he shouldn’t be hitting leadoff and he’s vastly overpaid. Sure you can’t think he’s that bad. Justin Upton has a 144 OPS+, so he’s hardly a problem. Gattis still has a 112 OPS+ as a catcher.

    There’s no reason why this collection of hitters is producing such abysmal numbers. My record speaks for itself that I rarely criticize coaches and umpires and tend to place responsibility on the players, but there’s simply not a good explanation for this widespread ineptitude on the hitting side, especially when you consider the success the pitching side is having.

  10. 10
    Dwight Lowie Says:

    Not trying to be antagonistic, but not placing blame on the hitting coach when you’ve got basically the worst hitting team in MLB seems tantamount to saying he’s immune to any criticism, ever.

  11. 11
    kc Says:

    I am with you Rob.

  12. 12
    Mikemc Says:

    Watching BJ’ s ” at bats”, he has an exagerated open stance. Personally I don’t like it, but can’t say it stops him from hitting. But if you look at his hands, he is wagging the bat while waiting for the pitch. His hands are moving constantly. A number of Braves hitters do this. However BJ doesn’t stop when the pitcher releases the ball. The bat keeps moving back and forth. If he takes a pitch it is still moving going into the catcher’s glove. I don’t think he can make a proper swing with this approach.

  13. 13
    timo Says:

    And this is what Walker has to say (from

    “Braves hitting coach Greg Walker has been frustrated by hitters’ pitch selection and impatience, and says he’s never seen a team swing at more bad pitches. Walker says they must, can and will improve.”

  14. 14
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Comparing Heyward to Francoeur makes no sense. Heyward plays better defense, is a much better baserunner, has more power, and takes walks. The only thing they have in common is Jason sucks at hitting right now.

    A better comparison is old Andruw Jones – mid-2000s. No, he isn’t THAT good a fielder, but he has holes in his swing, strikes out a lot, has a low average with homers, and is generally underappreciated because although he’s a very flawed hitter he’s a productive player thanks to the defense and homers.

  15. 15
    MikeM Says:

    Heyward – this guys was supposed to be Hank Aaron. OK fine, Dave Winfield. Now I’m wondering if we would settle for Mike Cameron.

    Justin – Very good. The on/off switch is frustrating though.

    Freddie – Best we got. Damn fine human being.

    Gattis – who realistically expected more than what we’re getting? He’s doing his thing and it’s fine. Cheap power at a scarce position is a luxury. If he’s you’re 3rd best hitter you have problems, however.

    Chris Johnson – We knew 2013 Johnson wasn’t walking through that door. If you play a corner position and don’t have much power, you’ve got to be a hell of a singles hitter to get by. If he ain’t hitting .300 he’s a bench player.

    BJ – So bad. Took the downward momentum from his last Tampa year and built on it in Atlanta. If he managed to hit .250/.300/.400 we’d throw him a parade at this point, right?

    Simmons – No problems for me here. Play defense young man. You would be an excellent source of power in the 8th/9th spot of a real offense.

    2nd Base Black Hole – Just release Uggla already. Pena is a bench player. You have to really be be a Braves homer to see the Pastor as a real starter. La Stella, I guess? How can I laugh at the Yankees roster if Brian Roberts would be our starter too?

  16. 16
    Remy Says:

    Freddie Freeman, Dancing Fool

  17. 17
    Smitty Says:

    This team needs a true leadoff hitter that will get on base.

    There is no way BJ should be this bad. His failure at the plate will be Walker’s undoing.

    Walker does seem to see the problem. These guys do swing at terrible pitches.

    The next few weeks are important. If one of these teams in the east gets hot, we are in trouble. If we can get to the mid wat point, maybe we can get a second baseman who can lead off.

  18. 18
    timo Says:

    Time to call Chipper or Chipper’s Dad for help. Even though the main issue lies with the hitters, they obviously need somebody to start listening to.

  19. 19
    Adam R Says:

    Gio sent to the DL with shoulder inflammation.

  20. 20
    Rob Cope Says:

    Heyward’s career numbers (.256/.349/.434), while not the numbers we envisioned, make him a very productive player when you consider his baserunning and defense. If he could duplicate his age-22 season (in 2012 when he hit .269/.335.479 with 21 SBs), we’d be in great shape, and he’s only 24. But he’s truly been awful so far this year, and it stands to reason that he won’t continue a .633 OPS for the rest of the season.

    The challenge is players are either regressing, not improving, or slumping all at the same time, and it’s obviously destroying the offense. When it’s a team-wide deal, you have to look at the leaders. Fredi and Wren seem to get a pass in my book (especially considering how well the pitching staff has performed despite the injuries) that this has to come back on the hitting coach.

  21. 21
    csg Says:

    At some point we have to start blaming the hitters don’t we? We wanted Pendleton gone, Parish gone, now it Walker and Fletcher. We even still have Pendleton on the staff and Chipper even makes his appearance every once in a while. Some guys know how to hit and adjust. Seems like our team is just built to hit homers and not be here to play small ball. Too many non competitive AB’s in this lineup. Some of it is on Walker, but most lies on the players hands. They are professional ball players. These 1 and 2 run games are just depressing.

  22. 22
    Adam R Says:

    It’s hard to give Wren a complete pass. It’s hard to imagine that he didn’t at some point consciously decide to take on the risk of having a lineup of hitters who swing a ton, can’t make contact regularly, and half the guys won’t take a walk.

    And maybe it’s fair to say that perhaps the Braves organization understands pitching better than hitting.

    How much more money do you think this season is putting in Chipper’s bank account, for when he inevitably accepts the hitting coach position?

  23. 23
    csg Says:

    @ajcbraves: #Braves Venters had his first live BP session Wednesday cut short due to elbow soreness from increased activity

    He’s done.

  24. 24
    krussell Says:

    BJ and Uggla cancel out all of the good moves that Wren has made. Besides 2B there’s really no positions that can be upgraded (though there are plenty that are in need of an upgrade). We’re stuck with this same team for multiple years. Let’s hope it somehow gets better.

    Teams are already pitching around Freeman because nobody else in the lineup scares them. It’s going to be hard for him to remain patient.

  25. 25
    Edward Says:

    I wasn’t around here when TP was the hitting coach–did y’all want him out? I thought he did a great job. Maybe I’m just wrong on that one, though.

  26. 26
    Brian White Says:

    You know, I’m quite frustrated with this offense, but my frustration is at least somewhat offset by the realization that we are scoring almost exactly pi runs per game.

  27. 27
    MikeM Says:

    @22 & 24 – Agree completely with both assessments. It’s the sobering truth that isn’t fun to hear, but it’s the bed the Braves org has made. At least we’re not Twins fans, right? Sit back, enjoy the pitching and hope for some clutch hits.

  28. 28
    timo Says:


  29. 29
    csg Says:

    LaStella coming soon?

  30. 30
    timo Says:

    Nice job, Floyd.

  31. 31
    Brian J. Says:

    30- I’d say the same thing now, but with added sarcasm.

  32. 32
    Putter Says:

    Your 2014 Atlanta Braves…lol

  33. 33
    timo Says:

    @ 31- I hear you.

  34. 34
    braves14 Says:

    This is the worst Braves offense I’ve ever seen.

  35. 35
    Omar Says:

    We won’t see the Nationals again until June 19th. At this point, a series with them is the only thing that will restore our mojo.

  36. 36
    John R. Says:

    I was hoping Freddie would jog out to the mound there and hug Garcia.

  37. 37
    Smitty Says:

    I look forward to a Cardinal player getting drilled. Possibly Molina

  38. 38
    Brian J. Says:

    Two more random solo home runs and we might be in business.

  39. 39
    krussell Says:

    Drilling the other pitcher gets the point across much better.

  40. 40
    Smitty Says:

    Problem solved.

  41. 41
    Our New Insect Overlords Says:

    It is difficult to mention this team without an expletive or two.

  42. 42
    Smitty Says:

    I dont blame Wren for BJ or Uggla’s issues. There is no way these guys should be hitting this bad. Our team hitting philosophy is terrible.

  43. 43
    Smitty Says:

    They missed it even with the replay

  44. 44
    Smitty Says:

    Replay cost us a run

  45. 45
    Putter Says:

    @43. Yep… And it cost us a run

  46. 46
    krussell Says:

    BJ was in decline before the signing so I do blame Wren for that one. However, I think it’s fair to say that nobody predicted the decline would be more like a cliff than a slow fall-off.

    I don’t know if a new hitting instructor will help. I do think that our pitchers’ complete ineptitude with sacrifice bunts reflects very poorly on all of our coaches. We are not a fundamentally sound team.

  47. 47
    Brian J. Says:

    Freddie obviously lost the script, because he’s actually producing in critical situations.

  48. 48
    krussell Says:

    3 hits in the same inning! That was kinda fun.

  49. 49
    John R. Says:

    The Braves thought they were going to get 8+ years of Dos Uptons to build not just an offense and an outfield around, but a marketing campaign. All those good intentions and the machinations required to make that happen must make some folks in the Braves organization just want to punch a wall every now and then.

  50. 50
    Smitty Says:

    No one thought BJ would be this bad. Someone should be fired for it. My guess is Walker is gone if thing don’t improve.

  51. 51
    Smitty Says:

    Gwinnett game called due to rain.

  52. 52
    Smitty Says:

    I wonder if Chip knows the Cardinals fired his grandfather and Jack Buck was behind it.

  53. 53
    John R. Says:

    Well ain’t that something…

  54. 54
    Smitty Says:

    Schafer and Uggla. Tag team sucking.

  55. 55
    Putter Says:

    @54 Success and Lack There Of combining for yet a new and worse way of giving away the lead

  56. 56
    Smitty Says:

    Our bench is terrible.

  57. 57
    ububba Says:

    Today, the Braves are playing like they’re sharing one big, raging hangover.

  58. 58
    Our New Insect Overlords Says:

    The super-slow motion shot of Success! lost and clueless about the location of the ball neatly encapsulates the month of May for this sad lot.

  59. 59
    krussell Says:

    Bunt and run? Maybe we got bought by an evil owner that wants us to lose on purpose so she can move the team.

  60. 60
    Brian J. Says:

    I think the Cardinals have found Jason’s weakness: Everything.

  61. 61
    Putter Says:

    @60 starting to feel pretty happy Wren didn’t sign Jason to a huge extension like the other guys. His game has so many holes in it

  62. 62
    Brian J. Says:

    This is also every other Brave’s weakness.

  63. 63
    Our New Insect Overlords Says:

    First place was fun while it lasted.

  64. 64
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Mac used to say it about Chipper, but: this team does not deserve Freddie Freeman.

  65. 65
    braves14 Says:

    Freeman hit the other way against the shift. Joe no doubt exploded in his pants.

  66. 66
    Putter Says:

    I figured Regression would hit into a dp, so his K isn’t the worst thing

  67. 67
    Game, Blauser Says:

    @66 Quite a day for CJ – 0 for 4, 2 ks, 2 DPs. Ugh, this team.

  68. 68
    Brian J. Says:

    If Ryan Doumit is the answer, do I want to know the question?

    Edit: Just as I ask, he succeeds in that Braves-in-May sort of way.

  69. 69
    braves14 Says:

    Lol of course it had to be slow Freeman on first.

  70. 70
    JonathanF Says:

    Presumably because BJ was in the bathroom.

  71. 71
    braves14 Says:

    They will probably pitch around Gattis.

  72. 72
    Ethan Says:

    Success time?

  73. 73
    Brian J. Says:

    And it’s all up to Success. Oh joy, oh rapture.

  74. 74
    'Rissa Says:

    And it comes down to Success. Great.

  75. 75
    Ethan Says:

    Swung at Ball 4…

  76. 76
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    What a Successful walk!

  77. 77
    braves14 Says:


  78. 78
    John R. Says:

    Success…took a while, but…

  79. 79
    krussell Says:

    What a break. Now let’s clear the bases.

  80. 80
    Smitty Says:

    Best at bat by any Brave this season.

  81. 81
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:


  82. 82
    Smitty Says:

    A break!

  83. 83
    'Rissa Says:

    Wait a second: the Braves entered the 9th losing and now have the lead? What madness is this?

  84. 84
    Smitty Says:

    This is going to be Heyward’s pitch

  85. 85
    Ethan Says:

    Pitching Rosenthal 4 straight days….even 2012 Fredi wouldn’t have pulled that. 5 out of 6 maybe, but I can’t remember 4 straight

  86. 86
    Smitty Says:

    So we have decided to take some pitches and work the count.

  87. 87
    Smitty Says:

    Damn it Heyward.

  88. 88
    Brian J. Says:

    Hopefully, the Cardinals were better at giving this game away. Now we’ll see if Kimbrel’s interested in playing.

  89. 89
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Well, Jason put a pretty good swing on the ball. But what an inning. Good, old-fashioned ABE baseball.

    (Coined by smitty, that’s like A.B.C. baseball, but instead of getting them on, getting them over, and getting them in, you get them on and over and then wait for an error to score them.)

  90. 90
    'Rissa Says:

    The Cards’ pitchers gifted the Braves the two runs that inning, but the Braves’ defense gifted the Cards all 5 of their runs today, so it’s all fair.

  91. 91
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Come on, Evan, don’t olé that ball.

  92. 92
    Brian J. Says:

    What is this called when the game is over and we didn’t lose?

  93. 93
    ububba Says:

    Well, how ‘ bout that?

  94. 94
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Alright! Stole one out of the jaws of defeat, instead of the other way around.

  95. 95
    John R. Says:

    I’m sure the smartest fans in baseball won’t have much trouble recovering from that loss.

  96. 96
    Marc Schneider Says:

    I’m the reason the Braves won. I was about to post how embarrassing it was to be 2-10 against the Giants and Cardinals. I didn’t actually send it but I had written it down. I take credit for the baseball karma. 3-9 seems a lot better now.

  97. 97
    Z in Tempe Says:

    @85 Went more than an inning in one of those appearances

  98. 98
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Freeman and Upton were 5-7 with two homers. The rest of the Braves were 2-24 with a passed ball and a ball dropped in the sun that led to four unearned runs.

    So it was a team effort.

  99. 99
    krussell Says:

    I think it’s pretty obvious that Uggla’s return to the lineup sparked this win.

  100. 100
    Smitty Says:

    Recap up

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