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Braves Wagon Wheels 3 Bumbling Brewers 1

Braves Wagon Wheels 3 Bumbling Brewers 1

We are rollin’..

2am this morning, storms finally passed through. 100 souls at an 18 hour all night open air fundraiser wrecked by the rain , 7 still to go -missed Friday’s game. Tired, wet, blah. Then the DJ puts this out. I never heard song/singer before. Transformed the scene, the people.. Fired up for the Brew Crew. WooHoo!

Home to find DVR screwed up – really wanted to see the Camargo/Swanson plays late as expertly recounted by tfloyd. Still, fresh meat this afternoon. My man RAD, i’m a fan, find him intense, committed, he cares. Not pleased Jace has reappeared – why? New haircut, inspired by Johan, won’t help. Brandon Phillips – what a deal. Best example I know of a massive reverse weight shift as he aims for the fences. Twist and turn.

Crazy first inning took 35 minutes, both pitchers combining for more than 50 pitches. Hits, walk, balk, caught stealing overruled, ejection. Ends 1-1, masterly at bat from Flowers gets us level. RA stayed cool, rewarded by 1,2,3 top of the 2nd. JS lobbed softballs by the Fox crew- people would give more credence to them if, just occasionally, there was a critique suggested, implied even, on something. Did i say Brandon at the top? 2 run homer, what are we going to do with this guy? 3/1 Braves after 3.

Top 4.  1,2,3 for RA, looking cool, in charge for now. We waste Camargo lead off double partly due to Jace, predictably looking overmatched. He is not a major league player. Have him manage the Fire Frogs. He proves me right in the top of the 5th with a poor throw to 2nd that costs us an out.Nil desperandum, RA strands him.

Top of 6, Dickey allows long single to Thames off the RF wall but leaves him there. Pitch count in the mid eighties, Garza at 90, retires 9 in a row. You still have the feeling at this number RA is still in control of the game. This is not a Garcia situation  where around inning 5 the Prince turns into a frog. (Do i have that right?)  Swanson playing good D but has not yet middled the ball. Same with Camargo. We want to hear that CRACK. Talk to  Brandon.

Top7. Dickey 1,2.3.  7 strikeouts. It is now very clear, we are en route to our first complete game of the year. Seriously, why not? Pitch counts don’t bother him, he’s still in total charge and our bullpen has been half assed lately. THIS IS A FORMAL PREDICTION. I will not erase it!

I have just heard them say(!) RA is coming out. Absurd, totally stupid. Bill Hader, on for Garza, walks PH Lane Adams. Snit, jumping up and down, says – TOLD YOU !  Hader pretty unhittable, we waste a 2 on no out situation, 1 for 9 RISP. And…Ramirez and JJ warming up. Weak choice, no guts, the whole thing. Ramirez unforgivably walks Sogard after having him 0/2…gets next hitter, lifted for  Sam Freeman to pitch to Thames , 1 out. Sam does a great job, his slider dominating Thames and Santana. Still 3/1 Braves going to the top of the ninth.

And there it stayed, miribile dictu. JJ, to his credit, allowed only a bloop single to close them out. He obviously benefited from his day off. Back to back, nice. RAD was our man of the match (Extend him , now! Why not?), followed by Brandon’s and his homers, Flowers and that big RBI to tie early, and Sam with that excellent hold.

 

Some final thoughts.

As Camargo’s defense at third passes the ordinary, so his bat declines. In Cinci he was squaring everything, hardly now. Talk to him.

Did you get a little, queasy feeling watching him defend the hot corner today? The way we will be structured soon Freddie must have watched that display with just a little twinge. A study in contrasts, particularly laterally and coming in?

Snit. If you get to interview him, go in hard.

If anyone needed and more evidence of how our NL East clearly outmatches the Central and West it was there today, on view. Forget the numbers, we have the mentality. We are the Braves.

The key to Dickey’s success for us was the way he battled through a very difficult first innings giving up just that one run. No others were to follow.

 

Saturday Saturday…that’s alright, that’s alright.

Rock me Momma, on a Southbound train…



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Braves 5, Brewers 4

Braves 5, Brewers 4

These Braves are entertaining. For good or bad, the games are often in doubt down to the last batter. For the past couple of weeks, that’s been mostly good. Last night, the Braves defeated the Brewers, for their sixth win in the last seven games. The final was 5-4, with the Brewers leaving the tying run in scoring position in both the 8th and 9th.

Well, it’s not so much that the Brewers “left” the tying runner on base, as it is the Braves’ much maligned infield defense turned in 3 stellar plays that preserved the narrow lead. The story of the game was the great plays turned in by Camargo in the 8th and Swanson in the 9th. In the 8th, Jose Ramirez entered with a 3 run lead and promptly walked 2. Of course they scored the third and fourth runs, pulling the Brewers within 1, thanks to a sharp double in the left field corner by Arcia. After a hit batsmen, Aguilar came to the plate with the tying run on second and the go ahead run on first. He hit a rope down the third base line that looked for all the world to be a replay of the Arcia double–but Blazon’s man Camargo speared it and started an inning ending 5-4-3 twin killing. In the 9th, Vizcaino allowed a lead off double to Thames. I didn’t consult those win probabilities that you see online at that point, but I was certain (as you were) that the Brewers would at least tie it. The next batter hit a sharp grounder to Swanson’s left. Dansby immediately fired to third in an attempt to get the lead runner. I said “Oh sh–t! Don’t do that!”—and then immediately said “Great play, kid!” What a difference—had that not worked, the tying run would have been on third with no outs. And the next hitter hit one to the wall in left. For the final out, Dansby dove and speared a liner to his right. Game over—Braves win again!

Folty had good stuff, striking out 9 in 5 innings. Took him 104 pitches to get through 5, though, so the bullpen was taxed. Offensively, Brandon Phillips continues to thrive, with a homer, double, 2 rbi’s and 2 runs scored. Flowers had 2 more hits and a big 2 out rbi. And Swanson is quietly getting his numbers closer to what we had hoped. Two more hits, and his OPS is up to .648.

Late afternoon game today at the Launching Pad. Which Dickey will show up?

Let’s keep it rolling.



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Swanson, Camargo save game with gloves

Swanson, Camargo save game with gloves

As Braves manager Brian Snitker digested Friday night’s 5-4 win over the Brewers at SunTrust Park, he marveled at the athleticism and instincts his two rookie infielders — Dansby Swanson and Johan Camargo — displayed while making game-saving defensive plays in the final two innings.

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Braves ride Phillips, defense to narrow win

Braves ride Phillips, defense to narrow win

Given a chance to extend their recent success against a division leader, the Braves got five solid innings from Mike Foltynewicz to claim a 5-4 win Friday night over the National League Central-leading Brewers at SunTrust Park.

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Folty welcomes Crew, live on Facebook

Folty welcomes Crew, live on Facebook

Brewers manager Craig Counsell has fond memories of Turner Field from postseasons past, but he was nonetheless eager to visit new SunTrust Park for the first time Friday at the start of three-game series against the Braves.

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Braves 12, Giants 11

Braves 12, Giants 11

Ho hum. Another routine win.

The Braves scored 12 runs on 16 hits—4 of them dingers—and they managed to eke out a one run win that went down to the wire in the 9th. Jaime Garcia had his second consecutive lousy start, giving up 6 runs (on 7 hits and 3 walks) in 4 1/3. His pitches were consistently up in the zone, which does not work for him. Thanks to an 8 run explosion by the Braves in the 5th, they took a six run lead into the 8th, which is when it got interesting. Ian Krol did his usual, giving up 3 in the 8th, which included a home run by the lefty Brandon Belt. And Jim Johnson had yet another poor 9th, giving up 2 more runs on a couple of hits and a walk. Fortunately, he got Pence to ground out and end the game with the tying run on second.

To be fair to the pitchers in the 8th and 9th, the defense was once again cringe worthy. Last night’s implosion didn’t match the epic fail of Tuesday’s 8th inning disaster—but it came close. An error by Lane Adams in the 8th contributed to the 3 run Giant inning, and Danny Santana made one of the worst defensive plays of the season in the 9th that very nearly cost the game. It was one of those “mental” errors that doesn’t count as an “E” in the scorebook, but it reminded me of a fielding play I used to see when I coached TBall: “Wow, I managed to field the ball, but there are baserunners moving all over the diamond, and I don’t know what to do with it!”

By the way, Adams, L., was in left and Santana was at second because our aging starters at those positions, Kemp and Phillips, both left the game in the middle innings with tight groin and/or hamstring muscles.

What’s up with this team? Your Atlanta Braves have won 5 of 6 and 7 of 10, they’ve won 3 straight series, they’ve only lost 1 of the 6 series they’ve played in June (with one split against the Phillies). Their record since June 2 is 12-8, for a cool .600 winning percentage. And thanks to a woeful division, they remain in second place.

But are they really any good? They are certainly scoring runs. Remember this time a year ago when the Braves had not just the worst offense in baseball, but one of the worst in the history of baseball? Now that Danby is hitting (he’s had a very good June) and Camargo has taken over at third, they’re getting solid performances up and down the lineup. The bench has actually been productive the past few weeks. They are getting career best performances from Flowers and Matt Adams, and Matt Kemp and Brandon Phillips are hitting like it’s 2011. Did you realize our first baseman Fratt Fremadams is on pace for 60 home runs?

Still, the pitchers are not nearly good enough for the team to be truly competitive. We know what a bust Colon has been, and Dickey hasn’t done much to show he has any trade value. Garcia was the one veteran Coppy brought in who was performing, but he may be turning into a pumpkin just in time to ruin what trade value he has. Even Jim Johnson’s stock is rapidly declining.

On the other hand, several of the veteran hitters (Kemp, Phillips, Matt Adams, Flowers, Markakis) are performing well enough to be attractive targets. But it is precisely their performance that has the Braves playing at a pretty good pace and has some of the fans dreaming of making a run for a playoff spot. Coppy and the FO are going to have some very interesting decisions to make in the next month.

Tonight the Braves and Folty take on the Central division-leading Brewers, once again in Coors Field East.



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