Braves tighten hold on baseball’s worst record

Minnesota Twins Jorge Polanco forces out Braves Ender Inciarte on the way to a double play. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Minnesota Twins Jorge Polanco forces out Braves Ender Inciarte on the way to a double play. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Baseball’s interleague production of “The Biggest Loser” closed Wednesday night, with the Braves ever so definitively nailing down the title.

Two questions came to mind as the worst in the American League – Minnesota’s Twins – left town with two victories over the indisputably losingest team in all of baseball.

I wonder if at any time – especially early in Wednesday’s contest when it appeared Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz was throwing live chickens that scuttled this way and that out of the reach of catcher Anthony Recker – did Dansby Swanson ever wonder: “Did I just get demoted?”

His 31-18 Mississippi Braves (in the Southern League’s second half) have to have been playing more attractive ball than what the big league team trotted out there on Swanson’s debut (a 10-3 loss to the Twins).

And, secondly, if you had no emotional attachment, if it was just a matter of choosing an ugly team as one would try to choose between the two skinniest pups at the pound, which team would you rather spend time with: The Braves or the Twins?

Here are two teams whose trajectory this season were remarkably similar in a wet firework kind of way. They both lost 30 of their first 40 games. One – remember Fredi Gonzalez? – fired its manager in mid-stream. The other canned its long-time general manager.

The Twins left town with a 49-71 record, having put a little more distance between themselves and the now 44-76 Braves, refusing to lie down in order to improve their amateur draft position.

A couple of catalysts to Minnesota’s victory Wednesday were a 23-year-old rookie rightfielder named Max Kepler and a 24-year-old centerfielder named Eddie Rosario. So, they appear to be serious about working young talent into their everyday lineup asap (average age of the Twins starting eight Wednesday was 25.9; it was 28.1 for the Braves even with the addition of young Swanson).

Since July the Twins are 24-18. The Braves are 17-24.

To watch the Twins is to enjoy far more offense than the Braves provide: Minnesota hits 12 points higher as a team, has 64 more home runs (145-81) and, consequently, a significantly higher OPS (.751-.671).

And the difference in staff ERA is not glaring: Atlanta 4.40; Minnesota 4.91.

I put the question of which of these toads have the fewest warts to a Turner Field dinner table panel of experts – OK, a few broadcasters/former players – and still they insisted the Braves are the more interesting of the two. If only because the Twins have such difficulty developing pitchers and the Braves at least have young arms in bulk.

You’ll just have to take that on faith, I guess. One more vague nod to the future, added to a very long season of leaning on the thin foam of what might be.

That becomes a little more difficult to do when they are waking up this morning in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area thinking: “Well, it could be worse. We could be in Atlanta.”

Reader Comments 0

7 comments
Jacket Detective
Jacket Detective

Don't get me wrong, Steve. I like your humor. But could we get an economist to evaluate the deals worked by Atlanta and Cobb County to provide new stadiums. I'm thinking Atlanta got a much better deal than Cobb County did.




Harpie
Harpie

Why are the Braves in town? They should be playing in the Little League World Series playoffs right now...

RangeRover
RangeRover

Ask him about his new paycheck net amount with the MLB minimum salary ($507,000.00/year) over what he was getting in Mississippi? 

Then, couple this newfound wealth with the upgraded travel/meal benefits and making it to the bigs and he would still be happy if they lost out.

Gopher
Gopher

I am n have been a Twins fan since their.arrival in the Twin Cities. Now I enjoy living in Atlanta but still watch the Twins nightly. It's been a lousy year for both teams but the young studs of MN are still fun to watch n hold some hope.. Not so much the roster and future of the Braves.

DrTruth
DrTruth

The Braves need a big league catcher.  Coppy knows they need a big league catcher.  Lucroy has hit 7 HRs in 15 games since the Rangers picked him up at the trading deadline.  Atlanta was not on Lucroy's no trade list.

While the Rangers were picking up Lucroy, Coppy was picking Matt Kemp out of the Padres' garbage can.....after the Padres picked Matt Kemp out of the Dodgers' garbage can.  Kemp has a -0.4 WAR since he joined the Braves for $18 Million/yr.

Vindicator
Vindicator

And, don't forget about O'Flaherty. He's an absolute joke. He's done and needs to be DFA'd.

BigMikeyDawg
BigMikeyDawg

It is heartening to me that this team keeps fighting this far into such a miserable season.  Kemp has yet to produce at the level the Braves were hoping for, so we still need at least one more productive bat.  Also, our starting rotation has been a wonder of disorder and disarray due to trades and injuries.  I don't understand why Folty is so inconsistent.  I do think that his tendency (if it can be called such) this season has been to pitch well for four innings or so and then blow up.