Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

Scarred, but smarter.

23 Jul

Dodgers 6, Braves 2…WE COULDA BEEN A CONTENDA

The way this game went we looked over matched in the opening innings. Hill struck out the side in the 1st, Freddie on 3 pitches, and Julio’s poor control put us down 2 early.So thoughts of three in a row were set aside for the realists.

But then Julio settled down and went through to start the sixth with no more damage. Meanwhile we had taken charge of the top of the 5th and put up two run of our own. So midway things were even and at that point you fancied our chances. Why not?

But then. We entered the world of cue ball baseball and some pretty atrocious luck. Dodgers got single runs in the 6th and 7th that both hinged around freakish miscues but one of them we gifted when Julio fielded it, made a great throw to the plate, Flowers caught it, dropped it.

Up 2 the Dodgers padded with two more in the 8th and ended with a comfortable 6-2 win. They finished much the stronger, hit three home runs to our none, the better team on the night won. We were just getting greedy, that’s all.

Let’s look at some individual performances:

Julio…poor start, same old same old with left handed hitters and high pitches. But plenty to like with how he picked himself up, regained control and played with enthusiastic gusto throughout. This was his first road loss of the year – he carried himself well.

Swanson…he must go down and now…as bad as it is for us to watch just imagine the confidence shredding that’s going on inside. He should be told he will stay there till September, so just relax and relearn. Chipper?

Sean R…got his first hit, great but he’s a luxury we can’t afford – half of our infield is non-productive and defensively suspect. I’m aware this is a touchy situation for the FO but you dreamed it up, honorably, you sort it out.

Camargo…yes please…wish there was a bit more elevation in those line drives but who would dare mess with what he’s doing. He lifts my spirits when he comes to the plate, love watching him in the field. 2 more doubles, ho hum.

Matt Kemp…time to say something positive about this guy’s defense. I can remember just 2 errors in the last few weeks – neither was a dropped catch, both were rebounds coming off the wall back at him that he bobbled. His catching of fly balls and line drives has been exemplary culminating tonight in a wonderful flat out effort. Much too easy to be cynical about this guy, give it up.

 

So, it’s a Saturday night but a loss. There haven’t been too many of these. A Country Requiem I like from someone also new to me. Thanks for the company.

http://www.npr.org/event/music/398124312/john-moreland-cherokee

22 Jul

Atlanta 12, Los Angeles 3

Well, well, well.

Don’t you think the Twins are regretting the delay of that rumored trade for Jaime Garcia?

Garcia went out and allowed the Dodgers three runs in seven innings, while hitting a grand slam in the fifth off Alex Wood. The Braves had their hitting shoes on, as Freddie Freeman hit his 18th of the season to open the fifth, and Tyler Flowers added a three run shot in the sixth. Matt Kemp had three hits, while Johan Camargo and Nick Markakis added a pair of hits for Atlanta, which handed the Dodgers their first back-to-back loss since sometime in the early Pleistocene Era. Okay, June 6th if you want accuracy, but who’s counting among friends? Especially when you’ve gone in and outscored the hottest team in baseball 18 to 6 in two games?

Atlanta opened the scoring in the first, when Camargo doubled home Ender Inciarte. He was then driven in by Flowers with a two out single. In the fourth, the Braves doubled their lead thanks to a fielding miscue by Wood. With two out, and Markakis on third and Sean Rodriguez on second, Garcia’s pop-up was lost in the night sky by Cody Bellinger, and Wood, attempting to catch the ball, had it hit off the heel of his glove. Markakis scored easily, and Rodriguez, who ran hard from the sound of contact, was right behind him.

L.A. got one run back in the bottom of the fifth, on a Yasiel Puig groundout, and added two in the bottom of the seventh as Atlanta, with an 11 run lead, was only too happy to trade a run for an out. Ian Krol and Akeel Morris worked the final two innings with nothing exciting happening. Which is EXCACTLY what you want your bullpen to do with a 9 run lead.

Julio Teheran goes tonight against Rich Hill, with a chance to climb back to .500 with Clayton Kershaw looming on Sunday.

21 Jul

Braves 6, Dodgers 3

The Braves limped across the country to LA after losing three straight to the Cubs by a combined margin of 17-6. The Dodgers had won 11 in a row and 31 of their last 35. After the Cubs’ sweep, it appeared that the the Braves’ FO was ready to focus on the continuing rebuild rather than the Quixotic quest for a wild card spot. Reports were that they had traded Jaime Garcia to the Twins for a “minor leaguer.” (What else could the return be–Bartolo Colon?)

So, of course, the Braves defeated the Dodgers 6-3. Folty had another pretty good game. He may not be an ace yet, but he’s becoming consistently good. The offense, which had been moribund through the Cubs series, struck early, scoring 6 runs in the first 4 innings. Inciarte, Freeman, Adams, and Suzuki each had two hits. Kurt’s included a 2 run bomb; why does anyone throw that guy a fastball?

And now this morning, reports are that the Garcia deal may not happen. We’ll just have to keep watching.

If Garcia is dealt, the Braves starter tonight will be Aaron Blair, who has a career MLB ERA of 7 and a half. The Dodgers counter with our old friend Alex Wood, who is 11-0 with a 1.56 ERA. Because this is baseball, the Braves will probably win.

20 Jul

Cubs 8, Braves 2

Blech. We needed a win somewhere in this series. The Braves came into this series with the Cubs six games out of the Wild Card, and left 8.5 games out of the Wild Card. Many people who thought we might have a shot at the Wild Card probably don’t feel as strongly now.

RA Dickey pitched just bad enough to lose: 7 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. But the bullpen gave up another four runs of their own. Cubs scored 8 runs, and Mike Montgomery pitched like the ace he is. And he hit a home run.

We have to play the Dodgers on the road with Freddie Freeman suffering an illness. The Dodgers are 31-4 in their last 35 games. This should be fun.

19 Jul

Cubs 5, Braves 1

These are the times that try men’s souls. Coming out of the All-Star break we knew this was going to be a tough stretch. The Cubs aren’t last year’s Cubs, but they are still a solid team. Facing them before heading out to LA for a four-game set can make you or break you. So far, the Braves haven’t risen to the occasion.

Sean Newcomb got the ball against a struggling John Lackey, who after the game addressed rumors about losing his rotation spot with, “That ain’t going to happen.” His pitching against the Braves showed he meant what he said. The two had to wait nearly three hours to take the mound, after the only rain in the state of Georgia last night formed over SunTrust Park and camped out there for awhile. This is becoming a common occurrence in Atlanta this year. DOB summed up the Braves 2017 experience well on Twitter last night:

The grounds crew pulled the tarp off the field three times in anticipation of the game starting, only to have to replace it again when more rain struck. Judging from the results of the game, the Braves should have tried to take a page from the Nationals play book and delay the game infinitely, in hopes they would never have to play it.

Newcomb has, admittedly, drawn some tough opponents after his torrid start. He was on top of the world, then had to face the Astros, Nationals, and the Cubs back-to-back-to-back. That is not the easiest of assignments, but, if you want to pitch in the majors, you have to be prepared to face major league teams. As his level of competition has risen, so has Newcomb’s old nemesis—walks. He gave up 2 walks against Houston in 3.1 innings, 4 walks to Washington in 4 innings, and 3 against the Cubs in 5.1 innings. It’s hard to find success in the majors when you put baserunners freely on base, but it becomes even more difficult when you start combining that with the long ball. The combination proved to be Newcomb’s undoing against the Cubs.

Nick Markakis accounted for the Braves lone run with a home run in the 2nd inning. Newcomb made sure the lead lasted exactly one pitch into the top of the 3rd, when he gave up a home run to tie the game. If he had buckled down then and there, the inning could have easily been salvaged. Instead, he walked back-to-back men after striking the pitcher out, and then allowed another long ball to give the Cubs a three-run lead. That’s not a winning combination. Newcomb left with the bases loaded and one out in the 6th. One of his runners came in to score after he left the game, but the bullpen held the Cubs there. The problem was the Cubs bullpen held the Braves’ bats in check, and the team never mounted any sort of serious threat to try to regain the lead.

A short night heading into a day game before a flight to the west coast to kick off an 11-game road trip will make for some tired ballplayers during a tough stretch. This could get ugly. The Braves and Cubs will close out their series at noon today, less than 11 hours after their last game ended.

It’s hard to make the claim that any game is a must-win for a team who wasn’t expected to do anything this year and is already playing well over their heads, but today’s game is as close to a must-win as you can get. The Braves really do not want to head into LA having just been swept, when their next four games are against a team who is on a 30-4 tear right now. Yes, you read that right. That was not a typo. And the Braves have to play four against them. If they lose to the Cubs today, they are in real danger of being mired in a 0-7 stretch when they head into Arizona next week. Even though the Braves just swept them in Atlanta, the Diamondbacks have the 4th best record in the majors, and are not exactly the team you want to face at home to get you out of a long losing streak.

Ergo, Cubs delenda est hodie.

And, as always, Natspos delenda est. And the Dodgers too, for good measure.

18 Jul

Battle of the Coral Sea: Braves 3, Cubs 4

A long time ago on a sea far away, a most interesting confrontation ensued. Also, last night, a most interesting confrontation ensued. Hmm.

After 2 and a half wary innings Braves broke through and got 1. To this point, Julio Teheran had looked like VERY GOOD Julio. Also, John Lester looked pretty good and certainly not like the “Master of Disester” (intentional homage to blazon) of recent starts. So far so good. Kind of like when the U. S. Fast Carrier Task Force knocked off a few warships in the Tulagi invasion to open the “Coral Sea.”

Like the Japanese, the mighty Cubs then started asserting their might looking for the lowly Braves in order to crush them. Runners on with no runs in 3, 4, and 6, but in 5, they sank the Lexington and damaged the Yorktown (scored 2). They were convinced the Yorktown would sink or be useless for at least 90 days. (That error in understanding would contribute to a serious disaster at Midway. May the Cubs make such an error).

In the ninth the Braves took out Shoho and Shokaku (got 2 runs), but couldn’t get the third run (I mean carrier).

At the time, Coral Sea was a U. S. desperation survival move. With the line of history it probably serves much as Churchill described the Offensive Battle of El Alamein. “It is not the beginning of the end, but surely it is the end of the beginning.”

16 Jul

Braves 7, Diamondbacks 1

Win, win, win.

Matt Kemp and Matt Adams homered, and to paraphrase Skip Caray, Brandon Phillips had 3 doubles before we had even gotten to the bottom of another fifth. The Braves led 7 – 1 after 4, from which the teams played out the string.  Jaime Garcia went 7 strong innings, allowing 4 hits, 1 run, and 3 walks, and recording 7 strikeouts.

The All-Star break seems to have done Kemp, Phillips, and Garcia some good; let’s see how long it lasts (and for what team.)

The 3 game sweep of Arizona leaves the Braves at 45 – 45, and – might as well say it – 6 games back in the race for the 2nd wildcard. The Cubs come to town on Monday holding a 1/2 game lead over the Braves. Hope, because the winter’s long enough without giving away the summer.

The funniest thing I ever heard about Arizona: Born in Arizona.

16 Jul

VINCERA ! The ‘3/2′ Braves 8…Bumblin’ ‘Backs 5……VINCERA!

 

 

The – young- voice, the famous aria were hardly deserved by this saga of awful pitching and myriad miscues. BUT there was still much to be enjoyed in this hurley burley affair which still managed to bring the tying run to the plate in the 8th with nobody out. We stood firm. And thus we were able to notch back to back wins against a team that on both nights looked better than us and whose season record was far superior, so what is going on? That certain something, we have it, whatever it is and we must try  to keep it for as long as we can.

Pitching. We were awful, starting with Folty sulking already in the first innings and maintaining his pout for 117 pitches till he was mercifully yanked after 5.1 innings – with a one run lead! So the only number that was terrible for him was the number of pitches. It was his bearing that embarrassed every Braves fan tonight. And while we’re on his back it is high time Snit told him to stop these pathetic at bats where he seems to wander around the plate and flap vaguely at the ball and clearly just wants to get back to the bench. Enough. The 3/2 Braves?? There were something over 20 such counts in the game, we prevailed there too.

Pitching Pt 2…The pen, dear me. With the honorable exceptions of Ramirez in the 7th., Brothers 8th, and JJ closing we produced a rag tag bag of Jackson, Kroll and Freeman. All awful. That Kroll ‘got’ the win for his one out  is farcically ironic. On their side we dinged up their starter Corbin who apparently was 2 and 0 against us and hadn’t given up a run to us in something like 25 innings total. That didn’t last long. Nor did our pal Randle Delgado who was fated to give up the big hit that effectively ended a series on one run leads for both teams.

Defense. We were treated to not one but two classic Claude/Gaston moments in back to back innings by Dansby and Camargo, each going for the same ground ball and knocking into each other.Yikes. But Freddie, who could do nothing with his bat all evening, made a fabulous diving save of an errant throw to first which ended an innings and preserved our one run lead. BP had a great evening with the bat- 3 for 5 with a homer and 2 RBIs. Ender too, as he always seems to do, finished 3/5, Kemp and Camargo each 2/4. It is time we stop the nonsense of hitting Johan 8th. We are wasting some of his many talents on the bases and his contact rate, and speed, should be used to score the elite bats ahead of him.

We end this hocus pocus affair with the craziest happening of all, in the bottom of the 6th when we finally scored 4 runs to seemingly end the close nature of the score. The bases were loaded, none out, and yet another awful pitcher was being banished to the showers thus creating a spot for a pinch hitter

The aforesaid Delgado was pitching for them, from the right side.  We had two choices from the bench – the left handed Matt Adams who did not start today and who greatly favors those pitching from the right side. And poor old fingernail chomping Wayne Adams, pinch hitter occasional, who does not.

So it was obviously Matt. And Snit sent Wayne out. Chip snorted, I screamed. Couldn’t believe it. But you know the rest. Bases clearing double to the LF wall. Please someone explain that choice. But Wayne had created our first big lead of the evening at a crucial, late time. 6/3 in an innings we had entered one run behind. But how appropriate for a crazy game and, as it turned out, there was more than one of their bats to come ahead where that lead was threatened. But they couldn’t. Back to Back.

 

VINCERA…WE SHALL PREVAIL.

15 Jul

Atlanta 4, Arizona 3

The second half kicks off with a series against the NL Wild Card leading Diamondbacks, so sounds like as good an excuse as any to inflict a Running Diary on you all! Muwhahaha!

7:00 Happy Bastille Day as we tune into Brave Live Pregame Show.

7:02 The starting line up includes Rookie Shortstop Sensation Dans Johan Camargo at short.

7:03 Lt. Dans not the only regular who’s getting some time off. Paul Byrd is filling in for Joe Simpson, who is off for a well deserved vacation at I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Sabermetrics Park.

7:07 Chip Caray tells us we’re about to “Duel the Desert Denizens.” I see he’s already in second half form.

7:10 During the commercial break we see that NASA is bringing their Mars Rover prototype to Battery Atlanta. I’m disappointed when it doesn’t transform into a semi.

7:19 The pregame show has a cool segment showing how Tyler Flowers and R.A. Dickey have clicked as a battery.

7:24 Acuna, Acuna, Acuna. Thank you sir, may I have another?

7:28 Mars Rover is back and still not transforming. I feel my tax dollars are being wasted on a non-transforming Rover. Get Michael Bay on the line.

7:29 Brian Jordan picks Freddie Freeman and Daniel Descalso (who is ONLY 5-10 lifetime against Dickey) as his Picks to Click. Way to go out on a limb there, BJ.

7:33 Chip lets us know that there are 5 members of the NL All Star team in the game. I count 6, as I am pretty sure he’s forgotten about The Freeze.

7:40 DelayGate in Atlanta! The Natspos aren’t the only team to have suspicious goings on around the start of the game, as the in-stadium music won’t stop, and home plate ump Dana DeMuth has to wave up to the booth to stop the music. Total time of delay – 15 secs. Just 2 hours 59 minutes, and 45 seconds less than the Nats ‘Rain’ delay.

7:42 Dickey’s knuckleball must still be dancing to the DelayGate music, as 4 of the first 5 dance outside the zone and A.J. Pollock walks.

7:43 Nice running backhand grab by Brandon Phillips to force Pollock at second.

7:44 Paul Goldschmidt bounces a come backer off Dickey, who tries to crawl after it. Not a good start so far.

7:45 Jake Lamb with the tailor made DP to Rookie Shortstop Sensation Dans Johan Camargo.

7:46 Chip teases a new Promo – the ‘First Chop’ of the night.

7:47 And the First Chop goes to…Paul Byrd! He gets a big tomahawk to chop with. Here’s his opportunity, but, he swings like the pitcher he was and misses Chip. I think he might have pulled a muscle there.

7:49 Ender Inciarte doubles down the left field line to start the first. Did you know he was an All Star?

7:55 Diamondbacks pitcher Taijuan Walker throws a nasty slider to Freddie Freeman for the strikeout.

7:56 Matt Kemp picks up Freddie with the single to score All Star Ender Inciarte.

8:06 Chip lets us know that Brandon Drury has been to All Star Games in FOUR different Minor Leagues. Man Ender needs to get on the ball, he’s only been to ONE All Star Game in the Bigs.

8:10 All Star Ender Inciarte covers an acre and a half to rob Jeff Mathis of extra bases. Great camera work from high over home plate showed that All Star Ender Inciarte had that all the way.

8:16 Ugh. Chip just said that Jake Lamb was not ‘b-a-a-a-a-a-d’. I bet Paul Byrd wishes he could try the First Chop again.

8:23 Chip tells us about Dickey and his many travels in his baseball career. Drafted by Texas….

8:24 …in the Minnesota farm system, to Seattle, back to Minnesota, back to Seattle, back to Minnesota….

8:25 …and signed by Atlanta. Phew.

8:28 Dickey walks Lamb. Arizona has had runners all over the bases so far.

8:29 Freddie with the dive to spear a liner to end the third! Move over Nolan Arrenado, your new NL Gold Glove 3B, Freddie Freeman!

8:33 Chip: ” Ender lines to Lamb, who wasn’t fleeced on the play.” Gonna be a long weekend with the sheep puns I fear.

8:38 Kelsey Wingert with the minor league report from last night. Acuna, Acuna, Acuna! Yes, please.

8:50 Taijuan Walker settling in. Matt Adams JUST misses one flying deep to right. Ronald Acuna would’ve hit that out.

8:53 Gold Glove Alert. Freeman cuts off a short chopper. Great play! Adams saves the airmailed throw with a swipe tag. So? Rome wasn’t built in a day, you know.

8:55 Dickey quick pitches David Peralta for the strikeout. Peralta looks like he’s complaining to DeMuth. Swing the bat you big baby.

8:56 Goldschmidt grounds to second. Dickey’s first 1-2-3 inning.

9:00 Tyler Flowers doubles off the right field wall, bringing up Rookie Shortstop Sensation Dans Johan Camargo.

9:02 Maybe Dansby isn’t that bad?

9:04 Dickey pops out after a 7 pitch AB. Paul up in the booth was talking about how, as a pitcher at bat, you want to make the other guy throw at least 5 pitches so he’ll be tired for the next batter.

9:06 All Star Ender Inciarte grounds out on the first pitch. So much for ‘tired.’

9:11 Flowers, according to Advanced Paul Byrd Approved Statistics, is getting 9% of pitches outside the zone called strikes. No wonder Dickey has been so good the past 4 starts.

9:12 Chris Owings singles.

9:17 Four Time Minor League All Star Brandon Drury singles. Dickey not fooling anybody.

9:18 Daniel Descalso singles off Dickey’s glove for his third hit of the night as Owings scores. Tie game.

9:20 Mathis bloops one to right, but not deep enough to score Drury from second. Four straight hits, but only one run in, Dickey is living right.

9:23 Walker grounds into what is called an inning ending DP, although replay showed he might have beaten it out. Paul thinks he was safe. Arizona manager Torey Lovullo is apparently on the phone with Dominos and doesn’t ask for a review. Walker has now made the last out of the 2nd, 4th, and 6th innings, yet Dickey has only given up one run. Wonder if that horseshoe placement is hurting R.A.

9:27 Paul talks about how Walker might be tired after trying to beat out the DP last inning.

9:30 Freeman homers on a hanging slider. Quick Paul, text me tomorrow night’s Powerball numbers to play.

9:31 Chip: ‘A defensive ca-Lamb-nity at third.’ And yes, I heard the ‘n’ in there.

9:38 Sam Freeman in to start the 7th. His reward? He gets to face the top of the D-backs order.

9:40 Gold Glove 3b Freddie Freeman with the Hot Corner nabbing of a Pollock liner.

9:41 S. Freeman now has gone 3-0 to Pollock and Peralta. What? Can’t Flowers steal any strikes for him? Did Sam sit in TFlo’s chair? Get Kelsey on this developing story!

9:44 And we’re tied, as Paul Goldschmidt shows why he was an All Star. Just like Ender.

9:56 Acuna, Acuna, Acuna! Sheesh, just call him up already.

10:00 Jose Ramirez in to pitch the 8th. Owings lines one just over Rookie Shortstop Sensation Dans Johan Camargo‘s glove.

10:02 Owings steals second, and goes to third when Flowers tries to catch him stealing by throwing to All Star Ender Inciarte.

10:03 Minor League All Star Brandon Drury pops to short right. Owings stays put. One away.

10:05 Drawn in infield, and Descalso isn’t facing Dickey. He grounds to Rookie Shortstop Sensation Dans Johan Camargo, who holds Owings and gets the out. 2 down and we may get around the throwing error.

10:07 Ketel Marte in to pinch hit for Mathis. I’m waiting for Chip to make the ‘Pot calling the Ketel black’ pun. Although, now that I think about it, that MIGHT not be a good idea.

10:09 And Ramirez throws one to the backstop, and Arizona leads 3-2.

10:10 Marte walks, and the Braves Bullpen Implosion continues.

10:13 Rex Brothers in to finally get the third out.

10:18 Archie Bradley and his Manly Beard in to pitch the bottom of the 8th for Arizona.

10:20 All Star Ender Inciarte with the infield single.

10:22 Dat Dude BP doubles down the right field line. 2nd and 3rd no outs. Here comes the Intentional Pass to Freddie.

10:22:30 What? They’re pitching to Freeman? Is Lovullo busy with his pizza?

10:23 Freddie! Phillips trips as he rounds third, but Gregor Blanco was lobbing the ball in to second, so BP pops up and hustles home with the go-ahead run. I’ll go ahead and say it before Chip does – ‘Brandon comes Stumblin’ Home.’

10:36 Bradley strikes out Kemp and Nick Markakis, but Big City singles Freeman to third, but Flowers can’t get the insurance run in. Jim Johnson on for the save. Goldschmidt lurking as third man up.

10:38 All Star Ender Inciarte with another entry in the Gold Glove campaign, as he runs clear across the Back 40 to make a leaping grab against the fence of Pollock’s screaming liner. It was a poor man’s version of his highway robbery job in New York off Yoenis Cespedes. Thank you Dave Stewart.

10:40 Peralta pops out to second. Only Goldschmidt to get now. Or, as I like to call him, Freddie Freeman West.

10:41 JJ gets a quick 0-2 count on Goldie.

10:41:20 Foul 1.

10:41:40 Foul 2

10:42 Strike 3! Braves win, Braves win, Braves win!

So, a good start to the second half, as Atlanta notches its MLB leading 15th win in their last At bat. Let’s do it again tomorrow.

09 Jul

Nationals 10, Braves 5

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.

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