Astros embarrass Braves 8-3.

There’s losing, then there’s losing like that. If the Braves were a high school baseball team, they’d still be running poles right now.

In what turned into an incredibly sloppy evening, the Astros embarrassed the Braves by a final count of 8-3.

4/9/12 Houston Astros

Beachy got no support from his team tonight.

The Braves took their first lead of the season in the second with a Tyler Pastornicky single that scored Matt Diaz, then Beachy dribbled one back to the pitcher JA Happ and scored Juan Francisco (who had just recorded his first hit as a Brave). McCann tacked on an RBI single in the third, and the Braves looked poised to have a night of Astro fun.

And then Juan Francisco happened.

With two outs in the bottom of the third, Beachy got a little too picky trying to pitch to Schaefer and issued a walk. Jose Altuve reached on a throwing error by Francisco that allowed Schaefer to take third. Then Francisco made two errors in one play (impressive, right?). What followed was a play so stupid I can’t quite describe it in words, but the result was a Travis Buck double that drove in Altuve and Schaefer and ended with Buck standing on third after a bad throw by Pastornicky. Suddenly, the first Braves lead of the season was gone.

I had a hard time deciding how to describe just how bad Franciso played tonight, so I found a few choice tweets that I believe do it justice:

Atlanta Braves Juan Francisco

You hear that? "Conradian."

In the next inning, Beachy gave up an RBI single to opposing pitcher JA Happ, and suddenly the Braves found themselves losing to an Astro team filled with such household names as Marwin Gonzalez and Jose Altuve. Heard of them? Me neither.

Francisco was mercifully removed from the game in the sixth, as Livan Hernandez came on in relief of Beachy. He reminded everyone of his outstanding athletic ability by failing to get to first to cover a double play. You could tell he was poised to take revenge on the team that cut him just weeks ago by gasing 83 mph fastballs by their eyeballs and lobbing curveball after curveball after curveball in their general direction. Livan gave up two in two innings on four hits.

Oh yeah, then we brought in the soft-toss machine Chad Durbin in the eighth, and Justin Maxwell (who?) hit one 384 feet and trotted the bases like he does it all the time (trust me, he doesn’t). When the dust settled, it was 8-3 and we all just wanted to go home.

Losing three games to the Mets was bad. Losing tonight was embarassing. The Braves committed four errors (three by Francisco) and made many more mental mistakes en route to what was undoubtedly the worst loss of the young season. Time for Fredi to change some things around and try and get this team going, because until now he’s been a bit too casual for this fan’s liking.

On the bright side, Chipper is expected to return tomorrow, beating his own timeline for recovery. Let’s hope his presence (and Francisco’s absence) is the spark this team needs to get going.

The Braves look for their first win Tuesday at 8:05, as Tommy Hanson will battle Kyle Weiland. If we lose to Kyle Weiland, I suggest we give soccer a try.

Here’s one for the road:

Chad Durbin Atlanta Braves


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