With the major league debuts of Lucas Sims and Ozzie Albies, the Braves stepped into the future on a beautiful evening at SunTrust Park Tuesday night. They fell just short, though, of leading the Atlanta club to victory over the best team in the majors, which confirms failure of the whole rebuild and dooooom for the next decade or two in Atlanta baseball. It has now been proven that Albies will bat .000 for his major league career and score 162 runs a year on average. His walk-to-strikeout ratio will be amazing (162 walks to 0 strikeouts), but sadly that won’t be enough to get him into the Hall of Fame. Apparently that place requires a few hits and a home run or two. Equally sure is that Sims’s career will be average, with a not-quite respectable, yet not not-respectable 4.50 ERA and a textbook definition of a quality start every time out. His walk-to-strikeout ratio will also be impressive (around 90 strikeouts each year and no walks), and he will allow around a hit an inning. His major league record will be 0-for-however many games he starts.
So much for hype.
In reality, the Braves did on Tuesday exactly what they did on Monday—got themselves down before the offense finally woke up a bit to claw back to within one run in the late innings to allow the team to only lose by one run. This time, though, the performance was against the team with the best record in baseball, instead of against the team with the worst. So, it was slightly more impressive.
Sims went six innings and looked composed on the mound. He allowed single runs in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings, but never let the Dodgers’ bats break out a big inning. He pitched well enough to keep his team in the game, but the Braves’ bats were stymied by Kenta Maeda, and only managed to collect two hits against him in his seven innings of work. The Braves did not get a runner to second base until the 8th inning, when the now-positionless Brandon Phillips got there on a sacrifice bunt after he registered a pinch hit to follow Camargo’s two-run homerun. Camargo scored the wunderkid Albies, who had coaxed a walk to lead off the inning. Phillips’s hit went for naught, though, after a ground out and soft pop-up ended the inning with his tying run stranded on third. The Braves went weakly in the 9th, with three strikeouts against one of the best closers in the league. I’d forgotten what it felt like to watch someone dominate on the mound in the 9th inning. What memories it brought back.
The Braves have dropped into 4th place in the NL East, behind one in the loss column to the Mets and two to the Marlins. It will be a dogfight to the end between those three teams to see who ends up on top, and whose name will be listed just above the Phillies in the standings.
Of note: Sean Rodriguez really should have gotten an extended rehab/Spring Training assignment before he was put back on the major league roster. Eleven games across four levels just did not cut it, especially when he collected all of three hits in those eleven games—two singles and one double—while he had twelve strikeouts. His presence on the major league roster makes no sense. There were literally zero reasons to rush him up with the number of infielders (and even infielder/outfielders) the Braves have on the roster. I have gotten to the point where I turn the game off whenever he comes up to bat. I just cannot watch him anymore. He makes me yearn for Jace Peterson. Also, Jim Johnson pitched the 7th inning last night and did a good job. For Braves’ fans collective blood pressure, may he stay pitching that early in the game and not see another close/late situation again this season.
Natspos delenda est. This season has gone down the drain over the last two weeks, so all the other teams can be delenda-ed too. Actually, I’d be happy now if the Braves could win a couple in a row. That would be fun. But the Nationals should lose, too. Always. Because that is fun too. So, yeah, Natspos delenda est.