It turned out that the Braves didn’t need an ark Thursday night, but they definitely ended the weekend treading water, as they split the 4 game series with the Nationals to remain 9.5 games back in the NL East.
Sean Newcomb and Joe Ross both left early, and the Braves lost the battle of the bullpens. Ian Krol pitched like a L.A. radio station (KROL – all hits, all the time) allowing 3 of them plus a walk in his 1/3 inning, contributing 2 runs, and Sam Freeman allowed 3 more runs in his 2/3 of an inning. Newcomb allowed 4 hits, 4 runs, and 4 walks, striking out 7 in his 4 innings. An unearned run off of Jose Ramirez rounded out the Nats scoring.
Among the good news, Freddie Freeman homered and drove in 3, and Johan Camargo went 3 – 3 with a double and homer. There is not much in Camargo’s 2000+ Minor League plate appearances that indicates he’s this good, but let’s enjoy the 111 Major League plate appearances that indicate he is.
A brief editorial. There was once a team that had a hot young prospect recovering from a major injury. That team was pretty good, and looked to continue to be for the foreseeable future. Should that team have shut down or babied their prospect hoping he would lead them to multiple championships in future seasons, or should they have gambled everything on that single season? If the player you’re thinking about is Chipper Jones, then the answer is clear. The Braves won the World Series in that 1995 season in which Chipper came back from a major knee injury. And the punchline is that Chipper played 17 more seasons in Atlanta, and never won another one.
There is something wrong with the culture in Washington.
In fairness to Nationals management, we’ll never know how well or had badly the decision not to push Stephen Strasburg in 2012 would have turned out had they decided otherwise, and it’s certainly unfair to compare the decision concerning a position player like Chipper to a pitcher like Strasburg (there really was no decision regarding Chipper.) The point is that you never know when you’ll have a chance to win a championship, and the importance for management to set a tone for your clubhouse.
On Thursday, the Nationals, who had a 9.5 game lead in the division, were afraid to take on the below .500 Atlanta Braves. They manufactured a rain delay to hide their flammable bullpen from any possible extra exposure at the expense of paying fans, and their employees, many of whom work for tips. Nationals management runs scared, and it’s bound to have an effect in their clubhouse until it changes.
Natspos delenda est.
The Braves go into the All-Star break 42 – 45; Arizona comes to town Friday.
The 2nd funniest thing I ever heard about Washington: “Anthropogenic rain delays.” – Me.