Saturday, May 9, 2015

OOTP: Week 5

For more on this series, read this.

As we flip the calendar into May, it's time for the OOTP 2015 Braves to take stock in the season's first month. It's been a productive run of it with a share of baseball's best record coming as the second month of the season opens. Rookie Cody Martin's 2.74 ERA paces the starting staff while the offense has plated the second most runs in the NL with 105 despite just a half-dozen homeruns. On the farm, Jose Peraza has hit .309 with five steals in as many attempts so far while Rio Ruiz has an even 1.000 OPS to start off things. Many of the young arms have struggled so far, but it is early.

Back to the major league club. It enters May a game into their four game set with the Reds, who beat them 7-2 in the opener. After the Reds leave, the Phillies come to town for three before a travel day as the Braves go on a nine game road trip that will take them to Washington that will open next week's slate of games.

Recent Results
Week 4
Week 3
Week 2

Injury Report
Christian Bethancourt - Post-concussion syndrome (Mid-May Return?)
Josh Outman - General Suckage (Mid-May Return?)
Daniel Winkler - Elbow Surgery (June/July Return?)
Shelby Miller - Torn back muscle (August Return?)
Shae Simmons - Elbow Surgery (Lost for Year)

Rehab Update
Mike Minor got through a second start with Gwinnett last week and is on pace to start either the finale of the Reds series or pitch in the Phillies series. Fortunately, no setbacks like the real version.

May 1 vs. Cincinnati 
Actual Result - ATL wins 4-3
OOTP Result - NO GAME

Game was suspended on account of rain. The game will be made up tomorrow

May 2 vs. Cincinnati 
Game One
Actual Result - ATL wins 4-3 (5/1 score)
OOTP Result - ATL loses 4-2 (10 innings)

Tony Cingrani and Trevor Cahill were both solid, but Jim Johnson was roughed up in 0.2 of an inning. He got the first two, but gave up a walk, an RBI triple, and an RBI single to put the Reds up in the tenth. Nick Markakis and Jace Peterson both had two hits while Andrelton Simmons had three. However, all ten hits the Braves had were singles which doesn't often score a lot of runs. Cahill's line - 8 ING, 5 H, 2 R, BB, 6 K, HR)

Game Two
Actual Result - ATL loses 8-4
OOTP Result - ATL wins 8-2

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fifth when the Braves scored a pair. A two-run shot by Jay Bruce off Cody Martin evened things up, but the Braves would plate a half-dozen runs over the next three innings. Kelly Johnson hit his second homer of the year and also doubled in the game. Freddie Freeman added two singles and a double. Eric Young Jr. scored a trio of runs in the win while Martin pitched seven great innings with 9 K's for his second win.

With no real weakness in the rotation right now, the Braves demoted Andrew McKirahan. I realize that's a little cheap, but hey, OOTP doesn't know he's a Rule 5 pick. :) Mike Minor was activated off his rehab assignment. The move will push Eric Stults to the bullpen, where he started the year. He's actually been great so far. 1.93 ERA in 18.2 ING plus a 0.86 WHIP. Somehow, I don't imagine his 2.9 K/9 will allow him to continue to be successful, though.

Also...I signed Andy Ibanez to a minor league deal. The middle infielder with Cuba profiles as a second division starter or solid utility player. I had money to burn so I gave him $1.5M to sign.

May 3 vs. Cincinnati 
Actual Result - ATL wins 5-0
OOTP Result - ATL wins 2-1 (15)

The bullpen has not been great this year by any means, but it shot the door after eight wonderful innings by Alex Wood. In the 15th, Simmons got the ball rolling by working a walk. After Phil Gosselin singled and Brandon Cunniff put down a surprisingly good bunt, Eric Young Jr. was walked to load them for Chris Johnson. He lifted a ball to right field and Simmons beat Bruce's throw home for the win. The two singles of the inning gave the Braves eight hits. The Reds only had six. Atlanta did maximize whatever baserunners they did have with five steals in the game, including two by Cameron Maybin. Alex Wood went 8 and gave up five hits, a run, walked two, and struck out five.

After the game, the Reds offered us Todd Frazier for EYJ and Rio Ruiz. Frazer doesn't really fit into what the Braves are trying to build and is off to a woeful start in the game. I'm not all that intrigued by the offer.

May 4 vs. Philadelphia
Actual Result - ATL loses 5-2
OOTP Result - ATL wins 1-0

Welcome back, Mike Minor! The southpaw goes eight innings, continuing an impressive string of starts by the Braves. He surrendered five hits and walked a pair while striking out five. The Braves offense didn't give a great starting effort much help for the second day in a row. In the first, Nick Markakis doubled and scored on a Freddie Freeman single. The Braves managed three hits and a walk after that. But a win's a win and this one gets the Braves to ten games over .500.

May 5 vs. Philadelphia
Actual Result - ATL wins 9-0
OOTP Result - ATL wins 7-3

The wins keep coming and Julio Teheran is the beneficiary of some offense. Teheran went eight innings - third consecutive start that a Brave starter has done that. He wasn't great, but avoided the big inning. Eric Stults finished up with a hitless ninth. Meanwhile, Markakis and Maybin each had two-hit games while Freeman homered and KJ stole two bases.

May 6 vs. Philadelphia
Actual Result - ATL wins 7-5
OOTP Result - ATL loses 6-4

The bullpen has shown improvement of late, but it really stunk in this one. Cahill went five in the game - same as his opponent Cole Hamels - and left with a 2-2 tie, but the Phillies got to the Braves pen in the sixth, scoring two off Brandon Cunniff, and added one each off Juan Jaime and Jason Grilli. The latter of which walked the bases loaded. Simba had a double and a triple to up his average to .297, but the Braves couldn't keep up with the Phillies (or the ineffective pitching by the Braves' pen).

May 7 - Idle

Weekly Results
Actual Win-Loss Record - 4-2
OOTP Win-Loss Record - 4-2 (!)

Yearly Results
Actual Win-Loss Record - 14-14 (4 GB)
OOTP Win-Loss Record - 19-9 (2.5 games up)

A Look Ahead - After a 7-3 homestand, the Braves hit the road next week with three in Washington before three at The Great American Ballpark, which is seriously one pretentious name. Hoping for continued success after a wonderful start to the year.

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