Loss to Reds extends Braves’ Monday blues

They came home flying high after one of their best road trips in years, but the Braves were brought back down by a loss to the Reds that extended their Monday blues.

Jonny Venters allowed two runs on three hits in the eighth inning and the Braves began a four-game homestand with a 3-1 loss, their fifth in seven games at Turner Field.

The Braves are 0-6 on Mondays and 22-8 on all other days. They’ve totaled 11 runs in six Monday games.

“I’ve got to do a better job of going out there and attacking hitters, throwing strikes early in the count,” said Venters, who has allowed five runs and 10 hits in five May innings. “I didn’t do that tonight, and I cost my team the game.”

First baseman Freddie Freeman left after the seventh inning with blurred vision in his right eye. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he tried two different pairs of contacts to no avail, and would be examined by a team specialist late Monday.

The Braves threatened in the eighth inning, loading the bases on a walk and two hits before Reds lefty fireballer Aroldis Chapman struck out Jason Heyward to end the inning. With bases loaded, Heyward is 1-for-7 with five strikeouts.

There were two on with one out when Brian McCann flied out just in front of the right-field warning track.

“Chapman did a nice job wiggling out of that situation.” Gonzalez said. “We had some opportunities; I think the inning before we had some people on base also, and they got out of it.  When Mac swung the bat and that ball left the bat, I thought we had a chance.”

Braves rookie Randall Delgado pitched 6-2/3 innings of four-hit ball and was charged with only one unearned run. It was his third consecutive strong start with nothing to show for it but a loss in that period. He got no decision Monday.

“Delgado pitched his butt off,” Braves second baseman Dan Uggla said.

Since April 10, the Braves are 14-4 on the road and 8-6 at home.

Venters has been scored upon in three of six May appearances. In the late innings of close games, opponents have hit .321 (17-for-53) this season against the left-hander.

“I haven’t seen the video, but I’m sure some of the balls that were hit, were [on] fastballs that didn’t have any depth to them,” Gonzalez said. “That’s something that can be fixed real easily. We’ll keep running him out there.

“It’s unfortunate that it happened with Jonny in the eighth inning, but it’s not worrying me either. He’ll be just fine.”

After Drew Stubbs reached on an infield single to start the Reds’ eighth, he moved up on a wild pitch and scored on Brandon Phillips’ one-out double off the center-field wall. Chris Heisey’s sharp two-out double drove in another run to push the lead to 3-1 and draw a smattering of boos from the crowd of 19,697.

Venters said his rough May hasn’t resulted from any arm soreness or fatigue.

“My arm feels great,” he said. “Like I said, I’m falling behind a lot of hitters. Can’t do that, especially late in the games. I’ve been allowing a lot of baserunners, and tonight I just didn’t make any pitches when I needed to.”

“I’ve just got to do a better job of going out there and attacking guys. I’m making a lot of non-competitive pitches, pitches that guys aren’t even thinking about offering at. And I’m making even worse pitches over the plate and they’re hitting the ball hard.”

Hot-hitting Michael Bourn showed what speed can do when he manufactured the tying run for the Braves in the fifth inning almost by himself. He tripled to the right-field corner with one out, then made a daring dash to score on Martin Prado’s fly ball to shallow right field.

Right fielder Jay Bruce, undoubtedly surprised that Bourn was running on the play, rushed a throw that went a few feet right of the plate. With Bourn bearing down on him, catcher Devin Mesoraco rushed things, too, starting his sweeping motion before he had possession of the ball. The ball fell to the ground as Bourn crossed the plate to make the score 1-all.

That was, however, the only offense the Braves could muster in 6-2/3 innings against Reds starter Homer Bailey, who had posted a 6.19 ERA in his previous three starts.

Bailey allowed one run and six hits against a Braves team that had totaled 97 hits and 56 runs in nine games on its just-concluded 7-2 road trip. A trip that ended with a three-game weekend sweep at St. Louis against the defending World Series champions – and leaders of the NL Central, ahead of Cincinnati.

Delgado has a 1.33 ERA in his past three starts, with 13 hits four runs (three earned) allowed in 20-1/3 innings. The Braves have scored a total of two runs while he’s been in those games.

“He goes 6-2/3 innings, gives up an unearned run, gives us a great chance to win the ballgame,” Gonzalez said. “He just keeps getting better. You can’t wait for him to go back out there five days from now and see what he can do.”

He gave up a leadoff double to Bruce in the second inning, but after a sacrifice bunt Delgado struck out the next two batters to get out of the inning unscathed.

The Reds took a 1-0 lead with an unearned run in the fourth, after two-out singles by Bruce and Heisey. With runners on first and second, Todd Frazier grounded to rookie shortstop Tyler Pastornicky, who tried to get the out at second base with a shovel toss to … well, no one.

Uggla had pulled up on the play, since Heisey, running on a 3-2 count, was already near second base and Pastornicky could have thrown to first for the inning-ending out.

The ball sailed slowly through the air to no one at second base and Bruce scored the go-ahead run. Gonzalez said he only assume Pastornicky wasn’t aware the runners were going with two outs and the count full.

“I think it happens more with younger players than veteran guys,” Gonzalez said.  “Really, that’s elementary stuff, those kinds of situations. But it’s the big leagues and it’s his first year.  We were praising him on how he’s handled all these situations this afternoon [during the manager’s pregame session with media]. I might have jinxed him.”

Pastornicky said: “It’s unacceptable. Had a play up the middle, I was just figuring, throw it to second. But with two outs I’ve got to go to first…. I should have communicated a little better before the play. It’s just one of those learning experiences. It’s unacceptable. It can’t happen, especially in that situation. All I can do is make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

60 comments Add your comment

Tim

May 14th, 2012
10:22 pm

DOB giving Uggla a pass again for his terrible defense. It was a terrible play for both players. Always funny how DOB protects certain players.

Bobby Dews

May 14th, 2012
10:28 pm

What a bunch of bums.

ACE

May 14th, 2012
10:30 pm

Uggs should have been yelling for Tyler to go to first while he was watching. Just have to tip your cap to the Reds tonight.

Peter R

May 14th, 2012
10:35 pm

Uggla could have walked probably two extra times tonight. The Braves could have won that game if they had taken better at bats. They typically have games where they look great, then they just plain suck. Heyward should just realize that he strikes out left and right on pitches outside of the zone time and time again. Also, this game reminds of the loss to Blanton. The Braves got the shaft when it comes to their schedule, but they should just man up and deal with it.

double

May 14th, 2012
10:36 pm

Errors & Excuses both will apply.Venters is either worn out from over use(past seasons)or not enough use now.

Brave Decisions

May 14th, 2012
10:37 pm

Mondays have nothing to do with it, random chance. http://wp.me/p2lqJ1-6G

Ben M

May 14th, 2012
10:41 pm

Why was the speed of pitch gun off only during Venters half inning?? Arm trouble??

kmarshall 4

May 14th, 2012
10:51 pm

its 3 and 2 count with 2 outs the runners will be going theres no play at second all pastornicky fault you have to know the situation you learn this in littie league pastornicky is horrible bring up simmons now i dont care if he hits .150

crapppppp

May 14th, 2012
10:54 pm

time to send down Venters to AAA and call up Gearrin, Varvaro or Flande or any guy for a while….

Venters needs to work with a command ……

Brandon

May 14th, 2012
11:00 pm

this was simply a game where nothing clicked. Pastornicky should’ve known that the runner was going on that attempted force play so the blame should be on pastornicky and not uggla.

The braves had some hard hit outs. I never felt like bailey ever really pitched good tonight, but these losses happen sometimes

@Peter R – Heyward had no chance that at bat. Chapman’s control was iffy so i understood heyward taking that first pitch for a strike. Then Chapman came back with a pitch that heyward accidentally fouled off. At 100 and 101 mph, you have to look for that fast ball, and that was a nasty slider that chapman threw. i think it was just a bad luck at bat for heyward

Overall just a lackluster performance, but we can’t win them all. Time to regroup and get a split tomorrow

Busch Leaguer

May 14th, 2012
11:04 pm

The rookie shortstop craps out on one play ,and it is send him down and bring up another rookie to play short .Great Idea. At least if Uggla would have been at the bag ,he would have caught the toss and the Reds baserunner could not have scored on the play.What was Uggla doing ,flexing his “Popeye” biceps and spectating on the play. If he wants to watch let him buy a ticket and sit in the stands like any other spectator.

Brandon

May 14th, 2012
11:05 pm

@crapppppp i don’t see flande being any better than venters considering that control has also always been his issue. varvaro has never impressed me: i think he gets hit harder than anybody in the braves current bullpen, and gearrin is atrocious against lefties.

I say we should let venters work through it. Kimbrel had a rough patch at the beginning of last season as well (whenever everybody was questioning his ability to close) I can’t imagine sending venters to AAA just yet.

moves

May 14th, 2012
11:09 pm

braves needs 2 moves for now : demote Venters and call up any guy (Flande,Varvaro,Gearrin)
demote Francisco and call up Constanza and make a platoon with Heyward in RF and play Constanza in LF in Chipper’s day off and Prado 3B of course…

kmarshall 4

May 14th, 2012
11:14 pm

have you seen simmons play buschleague he has a great glove, great arm and just good baseball instincts pastornicky has none of those

kmarshall 4

May 14th, 2012
11:15 pm

its more than one play ask medlin against the phillies he cost medlin 3 earned runs

Busch Leaguer

May 14th, 2012
11:16 pm

moves
Who would platoon in right field? Heyward and Georgie both bat from the left side.No need to demote Venters just move him from the 8th inning and put O’Flagherty in his spot .

Who Me?

May 14th, 2012
11:19 pm

How about 0 for 5 with RISP tonight? couldn’t watch the game as my son was playing (hit a grand slam tonight BTW) but you can’t score if you can’t move ‘em over with runners on. What is the deal with this team and runners on base?? Why so Jekyll and Hyde with the offense?? Game we shoulda won, clearly.

Agree with “double” to some degree, Venters either needs side work to fix a mechanical problem, or he’s just rubber-arming it and hoping for the best. Either way, he’s not effective right now and needs to sit and should come in early to work the next 3 days if healthy. Curiously, Livan comes in and set down 1 guy then takes a seat. Might want to re-think that philosophy til Venters gets right.

kmarshall 4

May 14th, 2012
11:19 pm

francisco is out of options cant be sent down i dont think

Who Me?

May 14th, 2012
11:22 pm

Hinske can play RF. 0 for 2 in 2 PA’s tonight though, but hey, it’s no worse than Heyward with men on base….

Brandon

May 14th, 2012
11:23 pm

correct @kmarshall 4 …francisco is out of options. And i still have confidence in him as well, unlike some others. I think his lack of performance is due to lack of playing time. Its hard to hit off of the bench whenever you are use to playing everyday

Busch Leaguer

May 14th, 2012
11:24 pm

K marshall
Have you ever seen Simmons play anywhere above AA, if you want to take the REV off of short you might as well let the veteran Wilson play short. That way when Hudson pitches he can bat 8th and Wilson can bat 9th.Rookies screw up especially when they only play have a season in AAA.Let Simmons finish another year in AA and AAA and he will be ready for the majors next year.

kmarshall 4

May 14th, 2012
11:27 pm

i agree on francisco he is gonna strike out alot but hit alot of bombs mark reynolds like

BravesfaninAugusta

May 14th, 2012
11:30 pm

No cause for panic, Agree that with a full count and two outs Tyler shouldve known to throw to first,

Who knows

May 14th, 2012
11:30 pm

Love our Braves but glad I don’t have Mon tickets. Seems like back when they were “Americas team” they often played better on the road than here at home. gotta change it to both not one or the other

kmarshall 4

May 14th, 2012
11:30 pm

wilson sounds great to me but he will definately hit .150 at least with simmons there is a upside anybody but pastornicky

kmarshall 4

May 14th, 2012
11:32 pm

hinske would have more range

Brandon

May 14th, 2012
11:40 pm

i don’t mind playing pastornicky. mental blocks happen and he is certainly one of our best hitters with men on. Also, i think that his defense is improving the more relaxed he becomes. Let him play and use wilson in high leverage situations

Busch Leaguer

May 14th, 2012
11:43 pm

As bad as they looked tonight the Braves are just a few percentage points out of first place. The Phillies are still floundering and the Nats closer had to be pulled in the 9th tonight before he blew another save.The Fish lost and the Mets won. Top to bottom the NL east may be the most competitive division in baseball. With the un-balanced schedule a team with 90 wins could win the division this year.Kind of makes it unfair in the wildcard though as weak as the NL central is the Cardinals should win 100 games and the Reds should win more than 90 ,if Dusty can manage his bullpen.And don’t get me started on the damn inter-league schedule,the Braves really get burned there.

kmarshall 4

May 14th, 2012
11:44 pm

he does give you quality at bats i will give you that the only thing saving him in my opinion only a matter of time to all the pitchers will be in freddies office wanting wilson

kmarshall 4

May 14th, 2012
11:45 pm

feel bad for delgado thats 3 starts in a row i think wth not much offense

Mitchell

May 14th, 2012
11:53 pm

This is a classic post-road trip, average to small crowd, Monday night performance the Braves have made one of their many idiosyncratic trademarks, like getting owned by one unknown rookie pitcher just as easily owning the likes of Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum etc.

Lord help us if it comes down to a Monday, win-or-go-home one game playoff.

Oh, the season ends on a Wednesday.

Well, Monday… Thursday? Same difference.

By the way, if I’m not mistaken, the nineteen thousand or so who showed up tonight is about fifteen thousand more than than a Yankees vs. Rays Saturday night affair.

Well, it’d be sold out but but not by Rays fans.

Nobody goes to see the Rays and yet they’ve only managed to win two wilds cards and a division title in three of the last four years.

Poor effort tonight.

harleyrednek

May 15th, 2012
12:05 am

well u can blame part of tonights game again on our pitiful catcher. fredi needs to realize mccann cant catch balls in the dirt… he is to lazy and never gets in front of the ball. i mean hell he calls for 10 curveballs in a row maybe he should hit the dirt instead of being lazy. then fredi got outcoached again by not putting ross in with runners on and a lefty pitching. i mean cmon mccann is not the all star catcher this year. and isnt it funny venters is always shaky after not pitching for a few days maybe fredi should use them so there not rusty everytime.
.

Busch Leaguer

May 15th, 2012
12:15 am

Pasternicky will catch most of the heat ,because of the screwed up play at 2nd base, but that play should not have cost the Braves the game. Poor swing selections by veterans Uggla ,and especially Hinske,swinging 3and 0 with no one out and almost grounding into a double play.Why not take the walk with the top of the order coming up it could have led to a big inning. But enough nit picking over another loss. As baseball history tells us everybody wins 50 and loses 50 ,it is what you do with the other 60 that makes or breaks your season.

Cliff

May 15th, 2012
12:16 am

People make the dumbest comments on here. You love Uggla and Heyward one night when they win the game. You hate them the next night and say to platoon and demote them. The Braves would have every player out of options due to you guys wanting to demote them every year. Let me see how many of you can hit a lefty throwing 102. He(Chapman) has had success against every team he has faced this year. These negative bloggers probably would have demoted Josh Hamilton or said Velander is a bum also. Learn the game or else go pick up a bat and play for the Braves if you are that good.

Pete*

May 15th, 2012
12:23 am

Tim : “DOB giving Uggla a pass again for his terrible defense. It was a terrible play for both players. Always funny how DOB protects certain players.”

Actually Tim, DOB is not giving anyone a pass at all. In fact, the issue is you dont know baseball very well. In that situation (3-2 count, 2 out), the runners are always running on the pitch, which means on a grounder, the correct play is ALWAYS to 1st base. Neither Uggla nor any other 2nd baseman is expected to cover the bag.

Brandon

May 15th, 2012
12:40 am

exactly @cliff …chapman was filthy and heyward just got owned. hard to complain

timbo slice

May 15th, 2012
1:09 am

okay, I don’t often make my voice heard on these boards, I prefer to just glance through the comments, but I’ve seen some ridiculous suggestions. Demote Venters? I agree that we should bring up a Gaerrin/Flande type, but why in the world would we demote Venters when we have Chad Durbin in our pen? Venters will figure this problem out in the big leagues. It’s like ever since Jurrjens was demoted people think that the minors are the only place to work through struggles. Get rid of Francisco? we have such dynamic lineup right now with so many options when people get days off. Platoon Heyward? Dude’s only hitting .250, all right, but he’s also got a nice OBP with 9 steals, power, and a number of clutch hits. He won two of the three games in Cincinnati. He had one of the best at bats by a Brave this year. He needs playing time. Bring Simmons up? pastornicky his hitting something like .330 since he was benched for three games. He’s going to make idiotic mistakes. we’ll just have to live with that. He’s not terrible out there. His D is good enough. We have the best record in the majors since starting 0-4. Why not just let the team keep doing what it’s doing?

doc

May 15th, 2012
1:13 am

Chapman’s stuff is not shaky this year, nine total walks and no runs scored, leading majors in that streak…Heyward needed a miracle there….and Pastornicky’s a rookie, give him a break.

MidGaBeast

May 15th, 2012
1:44 am

First and last time I’ve ever wasted my time reading these comments. First of all, I know what it’s like being out there, been there before….
I’d love to see some of you pompous, judgmental Monday morning quarterback desk jockeys get out there and dare tote an MLBers bat bag….
Be happy your so-called team is where they are instead of turning your back after one bad night, a few bad pitches and a couple brain farts.

Serbok

May 15th, 2012
2:37 am

our 3 oventbrel?
Came into this season~ much differently that the last!
Givem time~~!!!
This year they WILL make it thru the whole season!
Watch~ for the “Sharpening” of their repertoire!
\:=)

Younger Than That Now

May 15th, 2012
2:49 am

Well said Cliff and MidGaBeast! The bloggers here get me torqued off as much as anything going on these days for me. I read them as long as I can stand to, mostly for the entertainment value… I mean, some of these comments are as comical as anything on TV. I certainly don’t count on reading anything remotely profound, written by anybody with an ounce of baseball knowledge or experience… if that ever happens, it’s few and far between.

This is the same team that just finished a 7-2 road trip and swept the Rockies and the reigning World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Those blogs had a lot of praise for most everybody… but come home and lose one game 3-1 and it’s “send him down” or “platoon this guy with the batboy” and “DOB is giving Uggla a pass”! Give me a break! In a 162 game schedule it’s very hard to keep the same intensity every game, and I don’t care how many veteran guys you have… a let down is gonna happen every now and again. Be thankful the Braves are where they are with a bullet, and not struggling with a losing record for their 20th season now like the Pirates!

GO BRAVES!

Chris Snow

May 15th, 2012
7:58 am

Not sure what it is about Mondays….

Lobosolo

May 15th, 2012
7:59 am

Armchairs fly from semi-love to hate in the matter of a game… can’t you 20-20 couch taters crawl off of your rubber doughnuts long enough to realize you can’t be “on” every night over the course of a season? Jimminy, you guys just live to whine, whine, whine… Rookie mistake… the kid is doing quite well for such a young’un, .. what kind of idiot could surmise that McCann is LAZY? Six-year-in-a-row all-star and you blubbsters have nothing but contempt for the guy… honestly, I’ve asked before and NEVER gotten an answer from one single armchair – WHY DO YOU WASTE YOUR TIME ON THE BRAVES WHEN IT’S SO APPARENT THAT YOU DISLIKE THEM SO MUCH?

That fellow who posted earlier is right – not one of you wailers could carry even Jack Wilson’s bat bag… Mommas don’t let your babies grow up to be crysters… their daddies hold that distinction down without peers…

Rufus

May 15th, 2012
8:03 am

Good lord people, panic much?

jack

May 15th, 2012
8:08 am

Well at least the women of Atl are prettier than Stl and Chi. in the stands.

alanfalcon

May 15th, 2012
8:23 am

Not a good game from the team but the sky is not falling, settle down and go take your Alka Selzer and and asprin, you’ll feel better tomorrow !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bobby Dews

May 15th, 2012
8:24 am

Looks like someone has a case of the Mundays.

Mikey

May 15th, 2012
8:48 am

Delgardo should be the important story today. He has proved he belongs as a very important consistent starter for this team for a long time. Venters is missing his spots, Pasternicky made a mental error not knowing the situation and finally Chapman throwing 103 from the left side is nasty for all LH hitters. Should have considered PH Diaz for Heyward in that situation. Michael Bourn may be the most exciting player the Braves have had after that triple and tag on a 200 ft Sac. Fly.

Richard Cranium

May 15th, 2012
8:55 am

DOB, after Bourn tripled, did you say “Cha-ching” to yourself? I did.

tony

May 15th, 2012
9:29 am

I wonder if the hitting coaches have notice that J HAYWARD when he has RISP and 2 outs and 2 stikes instead of crowding the plate and foul off pitches he stands far away from the base and swings at outside pitches and of course strikes out time after time, I can tell before the pitches is made that he is going to strike out, the coaches should look at the tape!!!

Ty

May 15th, 2012
10:00 am

So they lose every Monday. Making that point from statistics tells me you are always looking for something negative. Sorry they cannot win 164 games.

buster brave

May 15th, 2012
10:29 am

85% of you clowns don’t have a clue,stick to your “fantasy leagues”. these are humanoids,not robots !!

reckingball

May 15th, 2012
10:47 am

You win some, you lose some.
Thankfully, the Braves are winning more.
go braves, the Juggernaut is still rolling.

Braves Nation

May 15th, 2012
10:52 am

Monday = Lost. Friday = WIN. 2012 Braves undefeated on Fridays!

Jay Dubu

May 15th, 2012
11:08 am

The Braves’ backend trio has not been able to reach the bar that they set so very high last season.

If they can get close to what they were last season, with the addition of Medlen, and the hitting that happens more frequently than last year, this team could be really special.

Fredi has to put Chipper back in the 2 hole. “Small sample size” as the blog likes to note, but the offense just seemed so much more potent with Chipper in the 2 hole. Prado hasn’t been able to get his bat going at the .307 clip that we became accustomed to when he hit leadoff. It seems that sliding down in the order one spot has reduced his effectiveness.

Largo

May 15th, 2012
11:56 am

Who to keep, Venters or Durbin??? It’s about even right now. It’s scary when they bring either one into the game. The big surprise is Venters ever throwing a pitch close enough to the strike zone for it to be hit.

iTiSi

May 15th, 2012
1:14 pm

The Braves do seem to have an irritating tendency after a thrilling hard fought come-from-behind win, or sweep of a good team, to relax and not give it 100% on their next game. I think it’s probably a mental thing, but it sure is disappointing and aggravating. Any of the experts will tell you baseball is just as much mental as it is physical. Last night’s play when TP threw to second and no one was there is a good example of that.

BrandonLee49

May 15th, 2012
1:44 pm

“With bases loaded, Heyward is 1-for-7 with five strikeouts.” – It’s what you don’t do is as important as what you do.

Tommy

May 15th, 2012
1:48 pm

@BrandonLee49…. Relax my friend. He is pressing. He will figure it out.

Mikey

May 15th, 2012
2:03 pm

Like the 2 game winning hits in the last road trip. The don’ts in baseball are 70% for the best that ever played the game. Probably 90% when the guy pitching is clocking 100+mph

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