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It's a New Year Are the Atlanta Braves still a good team?



Any baseball story written before Memorial Day should probably begin with the words "It's Early" – because that's the way it is. The Braves have played 31 games or 19 percent of their season. They are 15-16, 2-1 / 2 games in the National League East. With a week of good work, they could look at the rest of this department.

That is …

Something is missing, and it's more than Arodys Vizcaino. (Or Craig Kimbrel.) Everything is at least a hair out, and on Thursday it was a Jon Bon Jovi Headhair Off. The Braves took the afternoon chance to win their second series since April 10th. They lost 11-2.

The Braves sent Mike Foltynewicz, an all-star from 201

8, to Matt Strahm, a 27-year-old left with a career record of 7-13. The Padres started no one with a strike average above .253; The Bravo's starting eight contained only one positional player who beat under .263. After 4: 1/2 innings Foltynewicz was gone and Matt Strahm made like Warren Spahn and the score led 6-0 and soon became 11: 0.

The first run of the Padres met a homer of Ian Kinsler, who on .149 hit. He raised a Foltynewicz slider over the wall in the left middle and one in the third. It stayed 1-0 up to the fifth, which started with a colorful single by Austin Hedges, the San Diego Catcher. Strahm stabbed him. Kinsler doubled it home, again on a slider. Then things became strange.

Franmil Reyes took a ride to the short center. When she left the bat, you thought, "Can corn?". Then you realized that Ronald Acuna, now a Midfield Occupation Center, did not make the biggest leap in the world. "The ball has to be caught," said manager Brian Snitker afterwards. That was not

Next stood Manny Machado, the 300-million-man man who beats a funny .232. He resisted Foltynewicz. The billiards were not far away, and there was still one outlier left. Whenever a thrower accelerates a throw to the second base, he can land in midfield. That did.

Eric Hosmers sac fly made it 4: 0. Wil Myers' single left made it 5: 0. Grant Dayton was greeted by a Manuel Margot Liner to a third, who could have captured a Lunging Camargo, but not. That made it 6-0. In this inning, the easy-flying Padres scored five runs in six hits, two of which did not leave the infield and a third that would have to be caught, plus one penalty. Ergo, horror show.

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A Braves game would not be a Braves game without some kind of bullpen follies. Shane Carle committed. He pulled back two of the first three thugs he met on the sixth, with the reborn Kinsler the exception. The next four Padres brought together a community cycle – Machado Double, Hosmer single, Ty France tripled Acuna glove, Myers back-field Homer. If this minor league – and in a way also – the battle rule had been asserted.

In a six-month season, each team will have such a game. (For your information, this was the first time since the year 2000 that San Diego completed five runs in successive innings.) It is disturbing that the Braves have recaptured their starting pitches. Admittedly, Thursday was Foltynewicz's second start of the 2019 league – and she & # 39; I hit pretty well, and yet they lost 12 out of 20 games. And before you can say, "It's the bull's fault," the bullpen only made Thursday's loss worse. This game was over when Foltynewicz scored the ball into midfield.

When asked if it was right to say his team was underutilized, Snitker offered: "I think it's more than fair. We did not click on all the cylinders. We start to work through the bullpen thing – the guys start to identify themselves. Offensively, the average is good, but we do not meet with people who are like us. And the defensive failures: we are not.

Then: "This inning was a departure, but we are not a team that can afford to do such things. We have to play sound baseball to be competitive, and 95 to 98 percent of the time we do. It was an ugly inning and we did not do things we did not normally do.

Despite the defeat of nine runs against the Padres, who scored only six in the series's first three games, this could be a hidden advantage. Charlie Culberson, who started in the left field, was asked to take ninth place. By the standards of this metropolitan area, he was not half as bad. (Hey, he retired Kinsler.) He mixed a fastball at 88 mph and a slider at 77 mph and made it through the inning without running. His ERA for the season is 0.00, which tops Carles 9.64. Forget Kimbrel! Culberson for closer!

We take a break to note that this game is one of 162, as miserable as this game was. This was a departure, to use Snitker's word. Somehow, however, this one game felt symptomatic of the season so far. This time last season, we realized that the Braves were up to something. But it's another year now, and we're wondering if it really is another team.

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About the Author

  Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.


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