Sep 4, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves pitcher Kameron Loe (40) pitches in the second inning against the New York Mets at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Braves Loss to Mets Began In The Front Office

Braves pitcher Kameron Loe was manhandled early by the Mets at Turner Field. Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Today Braves loss wasn’t catastrophic and of course the Braves can’t win every game. However, today’s loss was easily predicted and almost as easily prevented.  The goal today was to give Julio Teheran a breather against a sub 500 team playing mostly a AAA lineup. The original plan was to start Freddy Garcia but after he pitched on Sunday they decided to call up Kameron Loe – only Kameron Loe – and that was only their first and second mistake.

What Happened and What Didn’t

Loe started his last major league game on 3 September, 2007 for the Texas Rangers against the Royals. He lasted three innings giving up two runs on five hits and finished the season with a 5.36 ERA and 1.603 WHIP.  The Braves are his fourth team this year and when he was called up for bullpen depth in July he made two appearances against the Mets. The first game (one inning) was easy enough but the second appearance the Mets scored three runs on four hits in an inning and a third.  That Loe had been pitching well at AAA was the only thing going for him; it wasn’t enough. The Braves should have expected such an outing and could have been ready to get him out of the game at the first sign of trouble – like after Lucas Duda hit the second home run of the game in the third – but they didn’t. In fact they probably couldn’t without running up innings on their already tiring bullpen arms. That’s where the from office decision makers let them down.

The Braves have been very stingy with September call ups in recent years and no one has asked why when managers are consistently accused of over using bullpen arms, extra arms aren’t made available at the most critical time of the year. Today’s events bring that sharply into focus.  The Braves could have easily called up some extra bullpen cover not just for today but for the rest of the season. As much as Teheran and Mike Minor can use a blow the bullpen arms of Luis Avilan and David Carpenter could also use a break. At Gwinnett with nowhere to go are veteran reliever Joe Beimel along with Juan Cedeno, Cody Martin and Wirfin Obispo. It’s not hard to imagine a veteran lefty like Beimel who put up a 4.36 ERA in his first year back from Tommy John surgery being useful this month and certainly he and any combination of the others could not have done worse than Loe.

That’s A Wrap

The Dodgers are one game behind us in the lost column for best record.  I’m not a Fredi Gonzalez fan but there’s little else he could do with the resources he had at hand and I understand why he didn’t go to an already tired bullpen in the third inning. The Braves more than any other team need home field advantage in the post season and giving away games for any reason is unacceptable. Someone should explain why reinforcements weren’t called up but I’m afraid no one is actually going to ask.

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  • Matthew Jones

    It’s the dreaded “time clock” problem for these pitchers, though (albeit, I think that some players that are going to end up being career minor league guys shouldn’t really count). Follow me on this one…

    Loe already has been on the MLB team, plus he has MLB experience. If I am thinking right (I’m not looking up the numbers), he’s a straight free agent, not somebody who’s eligible for arbitration at any time. Because of the time clock of players that have never been in the majors, I think the front office feels that they will short themselves time on a pitcher that will make the team but be cheaper for longer if they do not call them up now.

    I’m not completely sure if that applies for guys who are going to appear in less than 5 games (which, honestly, they wouldn’t – Freddi’s going to ride his arms into the ground), but I have a guess this is what they are afraid of. Of course, with the AAA team done for the season and our lead SO big why we don’t call up the best four or five players from Gwinnett, clock be darned.

    • fireboss

      Well not exactly. Cody Martin’s clock might start but he needs 3 years of major league time to get to arbitration. That clock doesn’t continue if he goes back to the minors so Martin would accumulate 3 weeks of time. He’s in AAA now and likely to be up[ next year or 2015 at the latest. That 28 days wouldn’t be a significant factor.

      Joe Beimel is a veteran- no clock.
      Juan Cedeno is a 29 year old reliever with 10 minor league years, th eclock isn;t an issue for him.
      Wirfin Obispo is 28 – he’ll be 29 this month- and once again the clock shouldn’t be an issue, he’ll be 32 before the arb clock kicks in.
      Everyday players like Mejia, Gartrel are career minor leaguers without a clock issue. Only Carrithers and Leonard are likely clock worries.

      Even if the clock was a consideration, if they want to win they’d ignore it, they did for Alex Wood who will be a super two unless there’s a signifcant change next year.. The clock isn’t or shouldn’t be the issue

      • carpengui

        The clock isn’t the problem – the 40-man roster is.

        So *none* of the players you mention (excepting Mejia) _can_ be called up to help out. They aren’t on the 40-man roster.

        When I wrote about the roster problems a few weeks ago, this was part of the problem I was alluding to. Right now, there’s only one more player that can be added to the 60-day DL (Tyler Pastornicky), so that’s exactly how many players can be added — unless somebody (Loe?) is released or otherwise outrighted. Getting Loe and Garcia onto the list stretched it to the breaking point.

        So no – there is no further call-up help coming for the pitching staff. There’s simply no place to put them.

        • fireboss

          Cory Gearrin has been on the minor league DL since he went to Gwinnett. Putting him ion the major league DL would open a spot for Beimel. They could also bring David Hale up, he’s on the 40 man and this is his fifth minor league year. The point is Loe was a worn out and failed option. They made room for him because after his previous failure he was removed from the 40 man and DFA’d. He cleared waivers and accepted assignment. they should have known better and or at least added one more arm (Hale or move Gearrin and pick another) as protection.

          • carpengui

            True – and Hale has arguably earned it. That’s a good call, and I’ll bet he’s the next in line. Honestly think Beimel would be worse than Loe – he hasn’t even fared well at AAA. The Gearrin move is possible, yeah, though a little drastic. I imagine it’s one of those “break glass in case of emergency” moves. We’re getting close to that point, though.

          • fireboss

            Beimel is a situational lefty at best but an inning against the Mutts lefties would have been nice. If not Beimel, Obispo or Cedeno just to add depth. An inning here or there to rest arms wouldn’t hurt. Gearrin’s DL could be back dated to August 3 making it a strategic move rather than a restrictive one. Besides, once again they have no confidence in Gearrin and I do not currently disagree with that.

  • carpengui

    Good call, Chief! David Hale called up to Atlanta.

    • fireboss

      Well, everyone gets lucky now and then

  • Jeff Bumgarner

    Thank you for saying what I was thinking. Why wouldn’t you try and get some rest for some of those arms while you can?

    • fireboss

      They are remarkable short sighted in a business that has to be proactive. Called up Bethancourt today and Hale is there though hasn’t pitched but this is reported to be the last move.