Six games are on tap for this week’s OOTP Update. Last week, I began an on-going simulation of the 2015 season with the assistance of Out of the Park 16, the most recent update to the OOTP series. While the real-life club opened the year with a sweep of the Marlins, my club won two-of-three. This week, the Braves open their home slate with a half-dozen games against the Mets and Marlins. Chris Johnson, who suffered a thigh muscle strain in his first at-bat of the year, will miss the Mets series, but should return when Miami comes into town. Unlike the real-life Braves, OOTP Fredi has Trevor Cahill as his number 4 starter with Cody Martin in the five spot. Eric Stults has been relegated to long relief.
Chris Johnson – Thigh Muscle Strain (Will miss weekend series)
Christian Bethancourt – Post-concussion syndrome (Mid-May Return?)
Shae Simmons – Elbow Surgery (Lost for Year)
Daniel Winkler – Elbow Surgery (June/July Return?)
Mike Minor – Shoulder Discomfort (Maybe less than two weeks if no set-back)
Josh Outman – General Suckage (Mid-May Return?)
April 10 vs. New York Mets
Actual Result – ATL wins 5-3
OOTP Result – ATL wins 8-7
What a wild one this turned out to be. After seven innings, the Mets held a 4-3 lead and Cahill had been chased after 4.2 ING. But in the bottom of the 8th, the Braves got to Mets starter Rafael Montero. With two one, A.J. Pierzynski tied it with a double and after an intentional walk, Eric Young Jr. brought home the go-ahead run with an infield hit. The Braves would use a single, walk, and HBP to increase their lead to 8-4, but would need every bit of that to hold on after Jim Johnson and Jason Grilli struggled in the ninth. With the tying run on first, Grilli struck out John Mayberry Jr. to end the game.
April 11 vs. New York Mets
Actual Result – ATL wins 5-3
OOTP Result – NYM wins 3-2
The real Braves haven’t missed Craig Kimbrel so far, but the OOTP team has. Cody Martin threw five innings of one-run ball, though the Mets squandered a lot of baserunners. In the 8th with the game tied at one, EYJ led things off with a single and scored on a Nick Markakis double. The Braves wasted a chance to add on and that would prove huge as Wilmer Flores hit a two-run homer off Grilli in the 9th. The Braves closer had walked Lucas Duda to open the inning.
April 12 vs. New York Mets
Actual Result – NYM wins 4-3
OOTP Result – ATL wins 4-3
Braves open the year with back-to-back series wins. They were down 3-0 early, but scored two in the third and in the seventh, Jonny Gomes drove in Jace Peterson with a pinch hit single after Jace had singled, advanced on an error, and stole third. After a sacrifice bunt, Alberto Callaspo broke the tie with a pinch hit single of his own, plating Pierzynski who had reached on the previous error. Jim Johnson secured his first save of the year. Juan Jaime was actually closing in on the save before leaving with one out in the ninth. His diagnosis is pending.
April 13 vs. Miami
Actual Result – ATL wins 3-2
OOTP Result – ATL wins 7-1
Julio Teheran was staked to a six-run lead in the first and went the distance from there. He yielded just two hits in the game, walked two, and struck out four. Of the last 17 batters he faced, only Mike Morse, who drew a walk, reached base. He didn’t need much help, but got plenty from both the offense and Miami’s defense. Jace drove in two and leads the Braves with seven RBI.
April 14 vs. Miami
Actual Result – MIA wins 8-2
OOTP Result – MIA wins 10-2
The score was ugly enough, but more pressing was the injuries. Markakis left with a knee issue in the first inning. The Braves will finish off tomorrow’s game and decide then if a roster move will be needed. The far more pressing injury, though, was Shelby Miller. Don’t let the score fool you. It was 1-0 Braves when Miller finished the third, but he left with an injury. The Braves bullpen was roughed up with Johnson and Grilli especially looking bad. Fingers crossed that Miller won’t miss much – if any – time.
April 15 vs. Miami
Actual Result – MIA wins 6-2
OOTP Result – MIA wins 4-1
Before we talk about the game, the diagnosis is in on both Miller and Jaime. The former provided a piece of miserable news as Miller tore a back muscle. A move will be made before the Toronto series to replace him. Jaime will miss the weekend and maybe a little into next week, but his elbow should be fine. Kinda want him and Miller to trade. For today, at least, Michael Kohn will replace Miller on the staff with the bullpen tired. As for the game, Atlanta managed just four hits and trailed from the second inning on. Cahill was much better this time out and worked six pretty good innings. Some bad defense led to a pair of unearned runs that made the game a bit more difficult for the Braves to come back, but considering they had just one baserunner after the sixth, a comeback wasn’t in the cards anyway.
Not the best week for the real-life Braves or my OOTP version as both finish the week 3-3. Still better than more loses than wins, though. Looks like I might miss a week of Markakis, but unless forced to do so, I’ll keep him active. A series in an AL park will limit the need for a full bench for three of those days. Plus, it looks like Stults will, for the time being, be my fifth starter.