Not italics again! Once again, apologies for not posting. I’m in the middle of finals and writing papers so the blog has taken a bit of a back seat, but after the paper today, I just have three final exams to take next week so I see the end of this. On the plus side, unlike last week, this OOTP update posted on the right day.
Welcome to Week 4 of the OOTP sim of the 2015 season. For more information about what Out of the Park is and what I am trying to do, please click here. Braves enter this week at 10-5 with a 1.5 game lead in the NL East due in large part to a surprisingly effective offense and a superb pitching staff. The Braves have scored 76 runs in their first 15 games, good for second in the NL. It’s also a 16-run improvement on the real Braves through a similar time period. On tap this week is a three game set in Philly to close out what has been a 4-1 road trip before returning home for three against the Nats. The Braves finish the week by playing the first-of-four with the Reds, also at The Ted.
Nick Markakis (No DL) – Petellar tendinitis (could return this weekend)
Christian Bethancourt – Post-concussion syndrome (Mid-May Return?)
Josh Outman – General Suckage (Mid-May Return?)
Daniel Winkler – Elbow Surgery (June/July Return?)
Shelby Miller – Torn back muscle (August Return?)
Shae Simmons – Elbow Surgery (Lost for Year)
Mike Minor (Shoulder Discomfort) – Threw 105 pitches in his return on April 22. Plan is for a second rehab start before making his return to the Braves next weekend.
April 24 at Philadelphia
Actual Result – ATL loses 1-0
OOTP Result – ATL wins 4-3
The bullpen has been a problem this year for the Braves, but it held up in this one. After Alex Wood was lifted following a 98-pitch four inning outing, Brandon Cunniff pitched the fifth to get the win, his first, while combining with five other relievers for five innings, three hits, and 7 K’s. Jonny Gomes and Freddie Freeman each had two hits while Andrelton Simmons raised his average to .317 with a three-hit day. Wood helped his cause with an RBI single, but he gave up nine hits. In his defense, all were singles.
Meanwhile, the Rockies kicked the tires on a trade that would send Drew Stubbs and $3M to us for Kelly Johnson and Mallex Smith. This was my first real challenge to stick to the script because I’d be intrigued about seeing if there was a deal here, but the real front office just traded a series of guys like Stubbs. I can’t imagine that they would be interested in the soon-to-be free agent. Just to be clear, Mallex Smith wouldn’t have been part of any final deal had I been interested in a trade.
April 25 at Philadelphia
Actual Result – ATL wins 5-2
OOTP Result – ATL wins 11-6
The win streak stretched to seven with big days from Freeman, a returning Markakis, KJ, and A.J. Pierzynski. For the second consecutive game, Cunniff got the win for an underperforming starter who didn’t make it to the fifth, but the offense allowed the bullpen to not worry about being flawless. Of course, FIVE Philly errors helped, though only one run was unearned. Markakis made his first appearance in over a week and singled three times while walking once. He drove in two and scored twice. Freeman added three ribbies while KJ homered as part of his three-hit game, including two RBI.
April 26 at Philadelphia
Actual Result – ATL loses 5-4
OOTP Result – ATL loses 3-2
The Phillies scored a go-ahead run off Trevor Cahill to pull ahead and Jonathan Papelbon went six outs for the save as the Braves win streak ends at seven. Cahill gets the loss despite putting up the best outing of any Braves starter in the series. He went seven innings and gave up eight hits, but only three runs. Andrelton had two of Atlanta’s eight hits off Phillies starter Cole Hamels.
April 27 vs. Washington
Actual Result – ATL wins 8-4
OOTP Result – ATL wins 4-2
Chris Johnson had a big two-run double in a four-run third inning as the Braves move past the Nationals 4-2. Freeman had just tied up the game with an RBI single before Johnson doubled with the bases loaded to put the Braves ahead. An RBI groundout by Yenier Bello, which gave Bello his first major league RBI, finished the scoring for the Braves and Cody Martin continued to impress. He took home his first major league win while going six strong innings. He surrendered a pair of runs, but walked none and struck out five. One of the runs scored after he was lifted in the seventh. Luis Avilan got the game to the ninth where Jason Grilli closed the door for his fifth save.
April 28 vs. Washington
Actual Result – ATL loses 13-12
OOTP Result – ATL wins 3-1
Alex Wood was not his sharpest and only went five innings before ceding the rest of the game to the pen, but he gets his second win with big help from Cameron Maybin, who drove in two. Just like yesterday, the Braves only scored in one inning. Markakis led off the fourth with a single and Freeman doubled to put a pair of runners in scoring position. Maybin followed with a single to plate both runs. He later scored on a Jace Peterson base hit. Grilli worked around two singles in the ninth to secure his sixth save.
April 29 vs. Washington
Actual Result – ATL loses 13-4
OOTP Result – ATL wins 3-1
Add another sweep of a division foe to the books as the Braves send the Nats packing. Eric Stults started the year in the pen, but Shelby Miller’s injury promoted him to the rotation and for the second consecutive start, he goes eight innings and gives up just one run. He only struck out one batter and gave up four doubles, but avoided the big inning. Jace Peterson had two hits, including a triple, and added a sacrifice fly. Maybin went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a steal.
April 30 vs. Cincinnati
Actual Result – ATL loses 5-1
OOTP Result – ATL loses 7-2
Julio Teheran was roughed up for five runs – four earned – in 5.1 ING as the Braves open up a four-game set with a loss. Freeman had a pair of hits, including his seventh double, but the Braves could not keep pace with the Reds. Marlon Byrd had the biggest knock. In the sixth, with one out and the bases loaded, Byrd unloaded for a Grand Slam. It turned a 2-1 lead for the Braves into a 5-2 deficit. The Reds would add two more to put distance between the two teams.
Actual Win-Loss Record – 2-5
OOTP Win-Loss Record – 5-2
Actual Win-Loss Record – 10-12 (4.5 GB)
OOTP Win-Loss Record – 15-7 (3 Games Up)
A Look Ahead – Atlanta, who shares baseball’s best record, continue a ten-game home stand with three games to finish off the series with the Reds before welcoming the Phillies into town. A travel day precedes a nine-game road trip. Mike Minor is expected to make his season debut against the Reds.