Braves Offense Goes Silent In 5-0 Loss To Brewers
The game began with a thud for Mike Minor, but despite a mild recovery from the Braves ace, Atlanta dropped the series opener to the Milwaukee Brewers, 5-0.
Carlos Gomez took Minor out of the ballpark as the 2nd batter of the game, and that, unfortunately, proved to be all the offense that Milwaukee would need in this one. Jonathan Lucroy’s 2-run home run off of Minor (the only other damager against the left-hander) and a bomb from Aramis Ramirez off of Anthony Varvaro gave the Brewers all of the insurance they would need, but it was a tale of lackluster offense that did the Braves in on this night.
Against Milwaukee start Marco Estrada, the Braves managed only 2 hits over 7 innings, and things weren’t any better against the bullpen once he exited the game. The “bright” spot offensively was Andrelton Simmons, who tripled and walked in the game, but it was far too little even on a night where the Braves pitching staff held the Brewers to a manageable number of runs.
Truthfully, this may have been a bit of a hangover (literally and/or figuratively) from the division-clinching celebration on Sunday. The bats never awakened to pose any appreciable danger for the visiting Brewers, and that isn’t exactly the norm, especially against a subpar opponent.
11 Awesome things about the Atlanta Braves
1. Their park has a Waffle House:
2. Andrelton Simmons’ defense:
3. The best nickname in baseball: Evan Gattis “El Oso Blanco”
4. The second best nickname in baseball: Bossman Junior
5. They have dominated the NL East:
6. Craig Kimbrel is incredible:
7. They have a guy named Terdoslavich
8. Freddie Freeman looks like Buzz from Home Alone
9. They have the best active players from two different countries
11. They have Dan Uggla:
And he’s one of the most entertaining guys to watch play baseball. Uggla is 205 pounds of forearms, and he takes mighty, mighty swings. He doesn’t connect as often as he used to, but he’s still good for 20 homers a season.
Editor Note: My favorite is #11…this author must not watch a lot of Braves games…
Atlanta Braves Rumors
Perhaps Maholm will first explore the idea of remaining with the Braves, who also have Tim Hudson eligible for free agency. The Braves have the pitchers to fill out a young rotation without either veteran, but with uncertainty around Brandon Beachy‘s elbow, it would be wise to sign at least one veteran hurler. Given Hudson’s tenure with the Braves, it seems likely they would address his situation first. The two contracts Maholm has signed have been with Midwest teams, the Pirates and Cubs, so perhaps he’ll turn to the NL Central again if the Braves don’t work out.
After the 2011 season, I considered Maholm the ninth-best free agent starter, and expected him to land a multiyear deal despite his season ending early due to a shoulder strain. His first free agent experience lasted until January 10th, however, and he received just a one-year, $4.75MM guarantee from the Cubs, with a club option. A club option is never ideal for the player, and the Braves picked up Maholm’s for 2013 after he finished one of his finest seasons. Even though the 2011 shoulder injury didn’t linger for Maholm beyond that season, finishing on the DL really hurts a pitcher’s market, and he won’t have to deal with that this time.
While I once thought Maholm was a good bet for three guaranteed years, that seems unlikely now. As I’ve mentioned before, the bar for a two-year contract for a starting pitcher is pretty low, with recent examples like Brandon McCarthy, Joe Blanton, Carlos Villanueva, and Kevin Correia. MLBTR’s Steve Adams has pointed out the importance of timing, as the two-year offers tend to dry up come January. Last offseason, Joe Saunders,Shaun Marcum, and Brett Myers were left standing without a multiyear chair, as Maholm was two winters ago. Though the top end of the free agent market for starters is weak this offseason, there are plenty of hurlers in Maholm’s class, such as Feldman, Jason Vargas,Roberto Hernandez, Phil Hughes, Chris Capuano, Jason Hammel, and Saunders.
While Maholm could reach as high as two years and $14MM, ultimately I think the southpaw will sign a one-year, $7MM deal.