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Driven – The Josh Ravin Story

Driven – The Josh Ravin Story

The Braves game vs. the Mets scheduled for Sunday has been postponed.  The Braves play Monday in Cincinnati.  Now please enjoy this episode of “Driven.”

Josh Ravin gave the Braves 2 Major League innings Friday night; for his efforts, he was driven – to the airport.

Ravin was designated for assignment after the game, reportedly so that the Braves could add a fresh arm to the bullpen. Ravin is not remarkable by any means. 30 years old, he has accumulated only 39 2/3 Major League innings over a 4 year span. He has a very nice 10.5 K/9 rate in his limited appearances, but is undone largely by a 4.4 BB/9. His minor league rates are worse in both categories, although the K rate is still ok.

Ravin was the losing pitcher Friday night, hitting Robert Gsellman with a pitch, and allowing 2 hits and 2 runs in the 12th, after a scoreless 11th. There’s nothing that in his history or in Friday night that cries out that Ravin shouldn’t have been DFA’d. He’ll probably clear waivers.

But the Braves have a history since moving the AAA team to Gwinnett of “rewarding” long relief efforts with a trip back to the minors. I remember a couple of cases with Casey Kelly; maybe you remember some others. For a front office that has yet to make a “win now” type of move, I find it odd that they can’t play 1 game in April with 7 arms in the bullpen instead of 8.

Sure, it’s a business. Part of running a business is how you treat your people.

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Inciarte's walk-off bunt caps Braves' late rally

Inciarte's walk-off bunt caps Braves' late rally

A night after they were shut down by Mets closer Jeurys Familia, the Braves got their revenge on him Saturday at SunTrust Park, walking off with a 4-3 win on Ender Inciarte’s perfectly placed bunt single. Both Jacob deGrom and Julio Teheran went seven scoreless innings in a pitchers’ duel.

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Squiffed Braves 4 Torched Mets 3

Squiffed Braves 4 Torched Mets 3

Thank you very much. In the oddest , wildest most ridiculous game proceedings were brought to an end in an appropriate manner. The estimable Kelsey was giving the hero of the hour, Ender, a rapid series of ‘how did it feel’ questions to which he replied in graphic detail. Only then did it become apparent that her voice was several octaves lower than his throughout , a perfect ending to a crazy evening.

We were spoiled by the first seven innings of great Major League pitching. The more glamorous and newly shorn De Grom, was matched inning for inning by a newly revived Julio who is rapidly losing any fear he might have had about pitching in our park. They each exited after 7 full scoreless innings, De Grom allowing 4 hits (none till the 5th), 2 walks with 10 strikeouts. Julio’s line was 4 hits 1 walk, six strikeouts. Enthralling stuff.

With the starters gone things came back to earth with a thud generously helped by some appalling defense by the Braves, one of whom fielded as though he was stoned which perhaps he was. He of the Grecian Gods yesterday with his thunderbolt made a series of terrible errors a 10 year old would be ashamed of. Not getting to first base in time on a bunt play, he looked half asleep, maybe he was. Then minutes later when we started what looked to be a pretty easy DP he first dropped the ball then did not recover it. Two outs became none. He looked bewildered throughout these sequences, as though he was having trouble focusing.

All this nonsense plus a lead off walk by Sam gifted the Mets three runs in the top of the 8th. Ho Ho we thought, here we go again. But no. Freddie, who had looked to this point as weak as he did last night hit a powerful high double to split the two outfielders in left center and score our two runners. Familia came on, got the last out, and we went to the ninth down one.

And then Mr. Biddle appeared, to general acclaim, his major league debut. Somehow, not always easily – he joined the bullpen walkers club almost immediately- he finished the innings out with no addition to the Mets one run lead. So to the bottom of the ninth.We had a couple of runners on when Camargo, who had looked awful at the plate all evening with De Grom’s change ups, smashed a low rocket through the drawn in field and outfield alike, scoring the tying run.

Up came Ender who has been much criticized lately for trying to steal third, trying to steal home etc by our friends in the booth. He executed a perfect bunt towards second base and the winning run scored.

The DEA were not involved after the conclusion of this game. Snit confined Ozzie to the clubhouse overnight, under guard, and that was that. A memorable baseball game.

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Mets 5, Braves 3

Mets 5, Braves 3

Noah Syndergaard vs. Sean Newcomb. On paper, it’s wise to be concerned about the outcome. But, Newcomb ever-so-slightly — Games Scores 54 to 53 — out-pitched Thor. Newcomb’s ERA through 4 starts has been a little better — 4.32 last year down to 3.74 this year — but his peripherals have improved across the board through the young season. His K/9 has increased significantly from 9.72 in 19 starts last year to 11.22 so far this year. Home runs are down a tick — .90 to .83 — though that can have a huge sample size swing. And the walk rate is down a little (5.13/9 to 4.57). All told, his 3.37 FIP is second amongst the four starters who have made their way through 4 times. His K rate is tops along with his HR rate. So, really, we’re all good with Newcomb right now.

But once again, you’re facing Thor, so the league’s best offense could only push across 3 runs through 6. The real problem came when the Mets’ bullpen shut the Braves down for 6 innings. The Braves mustered 1 hit, 3 walks, and 6 K’s through the last 6 innings of the game. They’re now 1-4, and the offense goes into Hibernation Mode when they get into extras, it seems. One of the few weaknesses of this team so far. Ryan Flaherty was the only guy to contribute a multi-hit game, though Ozzie Albies destroyed a 99 mph fastball from Thor for a no-doubter home run. In 499 PAs, last year’s predominant second baseman Brandon Phillips produced 1.5 fWAR. Through only 89 PAs, Ozhaino’s got your back to a cool 1 fWAR. So let’s play Fun With WAR: if Ozzie compiles 600 PAs, he’d produce 6.7 fWAR if he kept pace. He probably won’t, but that’s why it’s just for fun.

The bullpen threw 4 straight scoreless innings until the 12th. Dan Winkler actually struck out the side, and looked dominant doing it. Josh Ravin, recently called up to replace Luke Sims, hit the pitcher’s jersey, thus awarding him 1st base. Rosario bunted him over, then Frazier popped up. So the pitcher was on second with two outs. Instead of walking Yoenis Cespedes, who, admittedly, has been struggling, they pitch to him and he singles softly to right in the vacated second base spot. Asdrubel Cabrera then doubles to plate the second run, but that was already more than enough.

Oh well. These guys won’t score 7 a game every time. Let’s get them today.

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