The Atlanta Braves: baseball’s crappiest team

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In some ways the Braves self-immolation in the second half has been a blessing. I’ve gotten more reading done lately. Last night I went out for drinks and dinner with my girlfriend. When got home and looked at the box scores I no longer had that “ugh, I wonder how bad they lost tonight” feeling as it has since been replaced by the dead assumption that they lost by a dozen or more thereby allowing me to be pleasantly surprised when they only lose by six or seven or something.

Really: rooting for a godawful team can be incredibly liberating.

But let us not pretend for a second that this weird feeling of zen relief means that the Atlanta Braves are anything other than horrifyingly terrible. Because boy-howdy they are. From Mark Bowman at MLB.com:

The Braves have lost 16 of their past 17 games, and they have now surrendered at least 15 earned runs in three of their past seven games. To put this alarming stat in perspective, they had allowed 15 earned runs in just 10 of the 3,948 games played from the start of the 1991 season through the beginning of this troubling stretch.

Bowman further notes that Braves’ starters have lasted fewer than five innings in seven of their past 14 games, and fewer than three innings in four of their past 11 games. They’re putting known arsonist Mike Foltynewicz back in the rotation next week and . . . that may actually improve things. It’s been quite a stretch.

So here we stand on September 4, and the Braves are only a game ahead of the Phillies for the worst record in baseball. But they’re charging hard:

  • They currently have the worst run differential in baseball at -164;
  • Since the All-Star break they are tied with the Tigers for the most runs allowed out of any team in baseball;
  • For the entire season they have scored fewer runs than any team in baseball (and no one has played more games than they have);
  • They have 83 home runs, which is 16 fewer than the next worst team and 102 fewer than the Blue Jays, who lead MLB in homers;
  • They have the lowest OPS in all of baseball;

Congratulations to the Atlanta Braves. The crappiest team in the land.

Astros’ Verlander to have elbow surgery, miss rest of season

Justin Verlander
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Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner announced the news Saturday on his Instagram account in a 1½-minute video.

“In my simulated game a couple days ago, I felt something in my elbow, and after looking at my MRI and conversing with some of the best doctors in the world, we’ve determined that Tommy John surgery is my best option,” Verlander said.

He threw to hitters on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in the team’s opener on July 24. He threw 50 pitches in the bullpen before throwing about 25 pitches to hitters in two simulated innings.

“I tried as hard as I could to come back and play this season,” Verlander said. “Unfortunately, my body just didn’t cooperate.”

Verlander has been on the injured list with a right forearm strain. He went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 2019.

“Obviously, this is not good news,” Verlander said. “However, I’m going to handle this the only way I know how. I’m optimistic. I’m going to put my head down, work hard, attack this rehab and hopefully, come out the other side better for it.

“I truly believe everything that everything happens for a reason, and although 2020 has sucked, hopefully, when this rehab process is all said and done, this will allow me to charge through the end of my career and be healthy as long as I want and pitch as long as I want and accomplish some of the goals that I want in my career.”

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