Monday, March 6, 2017

Monday Roundup: Bad Innings Lead to Losing Streak

Spring training results are more about individual player performances, especially those competing for a job, than they are win-loss records. This week, the Braves had some big individual performances, but a few players have truly put themselves on the outside looking in after some bad outings. Here's your Monday Roundup for the second week of spring training games.

Chaz Roe struggled against the Tigers / Keith Allison on Flickr (Original version)
UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
TIGERS 10, Braves 7

Chaz Roe's spring debut was about as awful as he could have hoped. He faced six batters and all of them reached base. Jason Hursh entered and was able to get out of the inning, but when you add the three runs he surrendered to the five runs Roe gave up, the Tigers had turned a 6-2 deficit into a 10-6 lead. R.A. Dickey got the start and surrendered two runs, one of them earned. Arodys Vizcaino also got into action with a 2-K perfect frame. The star pitcher of the day, though, was Max Fried. Facing Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez, and Justin Upton, Fried worked a perfect inning with a strikeout of Upton - who the Braves traded in the deal that brought Fried to the Braves. At the plate, Micah Johnson started in right field and went 1-for-3 with 2 BB. Dansby Swanson and Adonis Garcia each had three-hit games.

Who helped himself the most? Johnson
Who hurt himself the most? Roe

BRAVES 2, Cardinals 0

Mike Foltynewicz had a fun first inning. He gave up two hits and walked a batter, yet faced the minimum after two pickoffs yielded three outs. Josh Collmenter tossed two scoreless to match Folty's two scoreless innings and the veteran righty got the win after Brandon Phillips doubled in a pair in the fourth. That was all the Braves needed. After Collmenter left,  Jim Johnson entered and pitched a quiet inning. Lucas Sims (2 ING) and Patrick Weigel (1 ING) kept the Cards at bay before Mauricio Cabrera's 100 mph heat finished the game in the ninth. Freddie Freeman had half of the Braves' four hits with Ender Inciarte adding a single.

Who helped himself the most? Collmenter
Who hurt himself the most? Rio Ruiz (0-for-3, K)

By: Keith Allison via Flickr (CC BY-SA 4.0)
YANKEES 8, Braves 7

The kids led a furious rally as the Braves scored seven runs in the 7th and 8th innings to make a blowout much closer, but Atlanta still came up short in their first night game of the spring. Jaime Garcia surrendered a run in his Braves debu and Matt Wisler struggled tremendously in his two-inning stint that followed. After a quiet 2-K frame from Ian Krol, the Yankees teed off on Sean Newcomb, who couldn't locate his pitches with any authority. The Braves' rally began with the aid of David Freitas and Balbino Fuenmayor, who each had singles with one out in the 7th. After an error led to a run, Johan Camargo hit a three-run bomb. Micah Johnson, who started in right field and also played center, followed Camargo's moonshot with a homer of his own. Atlanta's power showed up again in the 8th when Adam Walker hit a two-run opposite-field homer. Despite Luke Jackson and Eric O'Flaherty keeping the game close after Newcomb's disaster, Atlanta couldn't finish the comeback. Of particular interest was Jace Peterson starting at shortstop. A former minor league shortstop, Peterson might be counted on to fill in from time-to-time if the Braves decline to keep Chase D'Arnaud. Sadly, the Braves received some bad news as Dustin Peterson broke his a bone in his left hand on a check swing during the game and will miss at least two months.

Who helped himself the most? Johnson
Who hurt himself the most? Wisler

CARDINALS 9, Braves 4

John Danks has not had a good spring so far. After relieving Bartolo Colon with a 3-2 lead in the fourth, Danks gave up three runs in two innings to take the loss. Blaine Boyer, who is also trying to make the roster after signing a minor league deal, gave up a three-run homer in his only inning of work. Jose Ramirez also gave up a homer in the 8th. The only real positive sign was Paco Rodriguez, who pitched a perfect 7th with a strikeout. It was his first outing since 2015. The Braves had jumped out to a 3-0 lead after Dansby Swanson, who led off, homered to begin the game. Later in the inning, Adam "Walk-Off" Walker hit his second two-run homer in as many games. Ronald Acuna, who started in center, went 3-for-4 with two doubles, including one that plated the Braves' fourth run. Rio Ruiz got the DH assignment and made the most of it with three hits and a walk.

Who helped himself the most? Ruiz
Who hurt himself the most? Boyer

Red Sox 9, BRAVES 1

Sam Freeman became the latest minor league free agent to have an epic fail of an inning. After Julio Teheran pitched three masterful innings, the lefty Freeman came in to pitch the fourth. He faced seven batters and they all reached base. When the disaster was over, Freeman had given up six runs. The Sox kept scoring, getting single runs off Joel De La Cruz, Aroyds Vizcaino, and Jason Hursh to increase their lead. Atlanta's offense had few answers for the Red Sox pitching. Emilio Bonifacio, who entered for Ender Inciarte, singled and homered to lead the Braves' offense.

Who helped himself the most? Bonifacio
Who hurt himself the most? S. Freeman
Aaron Blair left his start early with an injury /
Editosaurus (Own work) , via Wikimedia Commons

PHILLIES 7, Braves 4 (SS)

Aaron Blair's distant bid to snag a rotation spot wasn't helped by an early exit against the Phillies. Facing Cesar Hernandez to open the bottom of the first, Blair took a hard shot off his non-throwing hand and was immediately lifted. Josh Collmenter was scheduled to pitch next and threw three innings to get the Braves back on schedule. He allowed Hernandez to score, but nothing else. Jesse Biddle took a big step in his return after missing all of 2016 by throwing a scoreless frame against his former mates with a walk and 2 K's. The Braves were leading 4-1 in the 7th when the Phillies exploded all over the duo of Michael Mader and David Hale, who had quietly been signed this winter. For more in-depth analysis on Hale's signing, click here. Back to the game, when the disaster of an inning was over, it was 7-4. Christian Walker hit a homer for the Braves as they managed just four hits.

Who helped himself the most? Collmenter
Who hurt himself the most? Micah Johnson (0-for 3, 2 K)

Marlins 8, BRAVES 6 (SS)

R.A. Dickey was hurt by a Dansby Swanson error and surrendered three unearned runs to go with his two earned runs in his three innings. Ian Krol also gave up a three-run homer as the Braves gave up runs in bunches. Outside of those two, Jim Johnson, Eric O'Flaherty, and Mauricio Cabrera all tossed scoreless innings with Max Fried working two scoreless frames. Swanson did pick up two ribbies and a stolen base. At one point in the game, the Braves had Austin Riley at third and Ronald Acuna and Braxton Davidson flanking Jace Peterson in the outfield. Riley had a pair of hits, including a double, after replacing Adonis Garcia earlier in the game.

Who helped himself the most? O'Flaherty (ING, 2 K)
Who hurt himself the most? Krol

RED SOX 11, Braves 1

For the second time this weekend, the Braves got smacked around by the Red Sox. This time, it would be Patrick Weigel who faced a bunch of batters - six in total - and couldn't retire a single one. All would score. The Red Sox added two more in the long seventh inning off Lucas Sims to turn a 3-1 game into a blowout. Mike Foltynewicz had opened the game with a troublesome first inning, but only gave up one run over three innings. Jose Ramirez worked a quiet inning, which he needed, but Chaz Roe was roughed up again for two runs and now has a 63.00 even ERA. The only other Braves pitcher to work was Blaine Boyer, who pitched a perfect sixth inning. At the plate, Kurt Suzuki singled in Ray-Patrick Didder in the sixth for Atlanta's only run after Didder doubled.

Who helped himself the most? Ramirez
Who hurt himself the most? Roe

Week 2 Record: 1-7
Grapefruit League Record: 2-8, 15th place (last), 5.5 GB

Seven-day Forecast: Idle, @Pirates (ROOT), vs. Phillies, vs. Yankees, vs. Mets, @ Cardinals (FSSE), @Yankees

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