Don't Blame The Bullpen...

...IF the Braves Lose

Thomas Mott
October 09, 2019 - 12:15 am

© Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

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Alright so here we go, Game 5 of the NLDS is Wednesday afternoon at 5pm. The Braves will have home-field advantage and arguably their best pitcher over the past month and a half.

It’s a winner-take-all situation so naturally if the Braves lose tomorrow and end their season on a sour note people are going to be upset.

Now, I’m not on the air tomorrow so I feel like it is my duty to prepare you for the different takes and opinions that could follow if the Braves find a way to lose.

For the record, I think the Braves win tomorrow. I think Folty goes 7 innings and the Braves win 3-2.

 

 

But let’s just go worst case scenario. Let’s say that the Braves find a way to lose this game. And let’s say for the sake of parody that either Folty or the bullpen or both are the reason we lose because that would be the scenario that will probably upset us Braves fans the most.

I mean the bullpen has been the #1 topic since at this station all season right?

Well if my worst case scenario comes true and the Braves pitching blows this game for us, I want you to do something for me.

DO NOT BE THE PERSON WHO BLAMES THE BULLPEN TOMORROW.

 

Yes, you heard me right. Even if the pitching staff blows Game 5 it is not there fault.

You want to know who’s fault it is if the Braves lose? The middle of the Braves batting order.

 

  • The middle of the batting order for the Braves this postseason is a combined 6-61.
  • Throw in Matt Joyce’s production and batters 3-7 are a combined 10-70.
  • Combined, the middle of the lineup has stranded 29 men on base.

 

This is the real story of the NLDS right now. It’s not Luke Jackson giving up a home run or Ronald Acuna Jr. not running to second. It’s the very underwhelming play of Freeman, Markakis, McCann and Donaldson.

 

  • Freddie Freeman is 2-16 
  • Nick Markakis is 3-17 
  • Brian McCann is 2-13 
  • Josh Donaldson is 2-15

 

These are former all stars and playoff vets who cannot get hits when the likes of Acuna and Albies are on base.

The middle of the Braves lineup is the reason we are even here. Yesterday the Braves loaded the bases in the 7th and 8th inning. No one could bat in a single run to seal game 4.

We love to blame the starting pitcher for not lasting too long, or Brian Snitker for pulling someone too early or leaving someone in too long. We love to blame Luke Jackson and the bullpen for giving up runs.

But if you actually look at the stats. Take out Mark Melancon and only one Braves relief pitcher has given up more than 1 run. Luke Jackson has given up 2 but we all know he was put in a terrible situation earlier in the series where he had to pitch on a whim with no warmup.

I get it, the Cards have good pitchers. I get it, we like to blame Braves pitching because it’s what we have done all year. It’s easy. It’s fun.

But if the Braves somehow find a way to lose tomorrow and therefore the series, it won’t be because of pitching. It will be because the middle of this line up has been fundamentally unable to conjure up any runs when needed the most.