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‘That’s Alright’ Braves 3 Munificent Marlins 1

‘That’s Alright’ Braves 3 Munificent Marlins 1

Saturday, Saturday.

 

Don’t give us none of your aggravation.  I volunteered specifically for Saturday recaps for two reasons- knowing that you young blades would thus be freed to trip the light fantastic to all hours, such is my empathy.  Secondly because of this song i like which i intend to offer every Saturday night the Braves win until i am overwhelmed with protests. How can you be angry if we win? Saturday day games will be mercifully free of all cant.

 

A good baseball game broke out, two pretty evenly matched teams,till late, a few very big plays and, strangely, we won out on all of them.

JT had a sorely needed excellent outing going 6 innings, 3 hits, 3 walks, 4K., no runs. That obviously put us in a strong position but their guy Volquez was more than decent and Julio left with a 2-0 lead after 6 only because of two big plays, one pure luck the other Braves HOF for me, considering who made it

Scoreless in the 4th Freddie led off with a routine fly ball to left which Osuna lost in the night sky.(Hey There, you with the stars in your eyes). Running hard all the way Freddie was on second. Nick(3 hits on the night) drove him in and a couple of outs later Dansby ‘served in’ Jace with two outs, nice, lucky.

We had a two run lead but almost right away it was threatened. They had the tying runs on with this awful guy Riddle up(wasn’t he in Batman?) Chip and Joe had sworn he couldn’t harm a fly but Joe’s courage began to fail him when the Riddler smashed a vicious line drive over Nick’s head. Amazingly and athletically Nick turned, reached up for it and held on.  Joint play of the game, the other was to come later.

In the 8th we added a much needed third run when Freddie hit his best ball of the night to deep left center for another double. Matt followed with a dribbler to third which Marlena threw away letting that insurance run come home. Dietrich BTW, the culprit here, impressed mightily at the plate with his power, as did Bour of course. Two LH bats that define the word contact either one of whom would add mightily to our arsenal. Bour in fact is beginning to look like another Schwarber, without having to play the outfield. I guess he is untouchable but Dietrich surely not? Some young pitching? They have a real need, now.

In the 7th, Bour leading off , Snit sent in EOF to take care of him. And he did, he was back in the dugout after just one pitch – which halved our lead. Be honest, have you ever seen a second deck home run hit with so little effort, such smooth gentle grace, by a fat man, all wrists?

Snit then did something i could never do. Ho hummed EOF’s first pitch in the upper deck, left him in, he got all three outs to take us to the 8th. No problem.

Viz did a nice job in the bottom of the 8th but was increasingly under pressure when with two out Yelich got on and Osuna the mighty came to the plate as the tying run, Stanton waiting on deck. There then followed the second play of the game  after the ninth pitch of an epic duel., his seventeenth pitch of the innings. He threw a slider inside, it wasn’t a strike likely, Osuna took it, Flowers framed it. Called strike three. Wow. I thought Osuna handled himself very well in the circumstances but it was a massive call and the roof raised a little in our house.

The ninth was anti climactic after all that. We didn’t score and more importantly neither did they thanks to a highly competent save by JJ. Great game, great win.

 

Saturday, Saturday



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Braves 8, Marlins 4

Braves 8, Marlins 4

“Oh, those bases on balls!” For the really old among us (Blazon? Coop?), we remember this as the regular lament of announcer and Hall of Famer Frankie Frisch, the Fordham Flash. Frisch was an announcer for the Braves in the late 30’s (they were then known as the Boston Bees). To tie this lament even closer to our Braves, the manager of the 1914 Miracle Braves was George Stallings. According to legend, when asked by his physician why he had a bad heart, Stallings replied, “Bases on balls, doc … those damned bases on balls.” I also seem to recall Ole Ernie Johnson using this lament occasionally—but my memory is not to be trusted.

Oh, you want to hear about the game? The Marlins had 11 hits, the Braves 10. But the Braves outscored the Fish 8 to 4. The difference? The Braves received 7 bases on balls, while Braves pitchers walked no batters.

Folty is clearly the Braves’ best pitcher this year. That’s damning with faint praise, since the rest of the starters have ranged from disappointing to abysmal. Still, Folty seems to have turned a corner. He had one bad start, but otherwise has been quite consistent. Command was always going to be an issue with him; with 6 walkless innings, his walk rate is under 3 per 9 innings. We’ll take that. And for those who care about such stats, he got his first W of the season.

Offensively, Tyler Flowers was the star, with 2 hits (including a homer, 2 runs scored, and 4 batted in). I know he’s not really as good at the plate as he’s been for the Braves for over a year now. Or is he? Most of the rest of the lineup was productive—Kemp had a couple of hits, Phillips drove in 2, Freddie had a double and walked twice (his OBP is .462!). Even young Dansby had a hit and a walk and a run scored. He’s going to be fine—even if not ROY as most everyone on this blog (including me) predicted in the preseason. I’m especially encouraged that he is now walking at a good clip over the past two weeks.

Offense is not the Braves’ problem. If the Braves are going to win more games than the last couple of years, however, they will have to get better starting pitching. Folty is part of that; just as importantly, Julio needs to get back on track. He takes the hill tonight in Miami. One or two of the one year contract old guys needs to step it up, but truth be told, I would very much enjoy seeing any of Lucas Sims, Sean Newcomb, or Patrick Weigel taking some turns later this summer (or even Wisler—haven’t given up on him yet; even Blair had a good start last week, but I’m not expecting much there). And the AA starters have been pretty terrific—we won’t see them in the big leagues in 2017, but I suspect management may be aggressive in bringing them up as early as 2018.



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Astros 4, Braves 2

Astros 4, Braves 2

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. This game featured a passable start by its starting pitcher (he simply pitched more innings than he gave up runs, which is a rare sight nowadays). The bullpen pitched two scoreless innings. The defense turned three double plays. But even with 2 long balls by Freddie Freeman and Adonis Garcia, the bats were cold with RISP (0-5).

As mentioned, Jason Motte and Arodys Vizcaino pitched scoreless innings, the latter with one strikeout. Jaime Garcia struggled to throw strikes, allowing 5 walks in 6 innings of work.

Aside from the home runs, no one on the offense made much of a contribution, though Adonis did get robbed of a second home run in the 9th.

We’re just bad. Very bad.



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Atlanta 3, Houston 8

Atlanta 3, Houston 8

It is entirely plausible that Bartolo Colon is not a good pitcher anymore. It is the gospel truth that he is not a good pitcher right now. His current mantra is to put his team so deep in the hole after the first inning or two, that his offense has little to no chance to dig themselves out of it. This game was no different. Pitching against our old friend Charlie Morton, Colon allowed five runs before he even recorded an out. Back-to-back-to-back singles followed by back-to-back homers will do that to you. He somehow managed to make it into the 6th inning after that, but two more runs that inning after he had surrendered another home run in the 5th was all Snitker could tolerate. Colon was pulled after 5.2 innings, with an ERA now a lofty 7.22. The good news is we get to see him again in five days. Yay.

The Braves tried to make a game of it in the 6th, when they managed to push across three runs, the last of which was scored on a bases loaded, two-out walk. After Morton was yanked, Danny Santana struck out to end the frame, and the Braves could not muster any other offense for the rest of the game.

The Braves have been on this cold streak for awhile now, so the next hot streak must be just around the corner. Until then, Colon delenda est. Braves pitching delenda est. Heck, the whole Braves team delenda est.

And the Natspos delenda est, because that is never wrong.



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Cardinals 6, Braves 4 (14)

Cardinals 6, Braves 4 (14)

I got ya, Pham.

One of the coolest traditions in baseball is singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 14th inning stretch.  Tommy Pham took a lot of the glory out of it for the Braves, as his 2nd home run of the game came in the top of that inning, and it proved decisive.

The Cardinals jumped out to a 4-0 lead, led by Pham and a home run by Matt Carpenter.  The third time through the order was one too many for Michael Wacha however, as the Braves scratched back 2 runs in the top of the 6th after being shut out for 5.  A Dansby Swanson RBI in the 7th and a Freddie Freeman home run in the 8th tied it.

Seven different Atlanta relievers threw 7 1-hit innings in back of R.A. Dickey, until Josh Collmenter came on in the 14th.  The Braves managed enough baserunners to hit into 5 double plays.  Dansby went 1-6 to raise his batting average to .151.  (Sorry. Had to.)  The highlights really dropped off fast.

Dansby now has a career batting average of .234 in 235 Major League at-bats, which is about what one would project for a .261 hitter in AA (333 at-bats.)  Neither the Major League not the Minor League sample size is satisfactorily large, but they are what we have.  If Dansby can get his 2017 batting average up to .234, then we’ll have some good hitting ahead.

Off Monday, then at Houston Tuesday.

Funniest thing I ever heard about St. Louis:  “St. Louis has the best fans in baseball.” – St. Louis fans



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Meat Ball Braves 3 California Avacado Cardinals 5

Meat Ball Braves 3 California Avacado Cardinals 5

“I could not love thee, here, so much,  loved I not gonners more.’

Respectability of sorts appeared late in this evening’s contest on another rainy night when it looked more than likely we were heading towards a repeat of yesterday’s shut out. They only had a 5 run lead this time but Adonis then hit a 3 run bomb in the 7th to break our duck and we even had, sort of, a mildly suspenseful finish.

‘We pitch such stuff as nightmares are made of, then our little life is rounded with a sleep.’

On paper then, if you just looked at the score, it looked close.  It was nothing of the sort. We were totally outclassed in every department and none more so than starting pitching. Something has gone completely haywire with our starters of late who seem to be a lot more intimidated by STP and its short confines than the opposition.

If you prick us do we not bleed?’

That was certainly true tonight, Leake was masterful, totally in control from his first pitch. Much improved in terms of control from his, decent, early days at GABP. Julio was awful, his third bad start in a row. After three innings Leake had thrown 30 pitches, JT 72 and we were three runs down, again. They were in two different Worlds, Leake’s ERA under 2, Teheran in the high single digits. The starters as a unit now give up more than one earned run an innings.

‘Hell is empty and at all levels we hear.’

Matt Adams, slimmed down version.. Having tonked a hearty homer into the Chop Shop he took up his duties patrolling left field there being no way he was going to replace Carpenter, who also chopped the shop, at first base. Kemp’s line drive double split the fielders, gained the wall, and Adams dutifully scurried along the track towards it, only to be well beaten by the center fielder. It was watching him run that made the evening palatable. The chosen camera angle was predominantly from the rear which emphasized his large ass and his tiny strides which propelled him in more of a wiggle than a run. He looked like a tired rooster frantically trying to escape the pot.

‘For this relief much thanks.’

 

MVP, Mike Leake.   According to Joe, as a high schooler they competed in the Avacado League in Ca and he was MVP there too. Where was our man?

 

‘Good Night, Good Night

Parting is such sweet

sorrow, that I shall say good

night ’till a better morrow.’



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Barves Level: Epic

Barves Level: Epic

That was ugly. The worst loss of the year saw several pitchers not be able to get ahold of a struggling Mets lineup. Bartolo Colon didn’t make it through the 5th, and Josh Collmenter, Eric O’Flaherty and Matt Wisler both threw their share of gasoline on the fire.

Eric O’Flaherty is still more 2016 EOF than 2011 EOF. In 9.2 IP across 14 appearances, he’s only struck out 6 batters and has given up 15 baserunners, including 5 walks. He doesn’t have it.

Matt Wisler did so well he got optioned to Gwinnett before he could get his socks off. As of late morning on Thursday, there’s no corresponding roster move.

Dansby Swanson worked 3 walks, and he’s ever-so-slowly coming out of his slump. Tyler Flowers had 2 more hits and boasts a .918 OPS with not a single ball leaving the yard.

Just a real crappy game.



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MacArthur or Kimmel? Braves 5, IWOTM 7

MacArthur or Kimmel? Braves 5, IWOTM 7

Now, I am worried about Julio Teheran. The start of this season has seemed to reflect the loss of his greatness. Julio was one of the most heralded international free agent pitching signings. Most commentators thought the Braves did a great job of swooping in early and finding a prospect in a lesser scouted country (Colombia). Much like Douglas MacArthur and his perfect 4.3 GPA at West Point signaled potential for greatness (some off the wall step kin legacy of George Washington had lucked up and done that before, somehow), Julio’s early career suggested greatness.

But, after continual progress toward greatness, sometimes there is a fall. Are we experiencing Julio’s fall? I do GREATLY hope not.

In December 1941, the U. S. Military had been in “get ready” mode for over 2 years. The highest echelons of government had received reports from British intelligence suggesting a Japanese surprise attack. After the Pearl Harbor attack, Admiral Husband Kimmel was demoted and retired out for “dereliction of duty.” But then about 12 hours later, MacArthur’s Air Corps sat on the runways at Clark Field under a renewed Japanese surprise attack. MacArthur got a chance to rehabilitate his reputation by commanding troops in New Guinea and up its coast. Will Julio “MacArthur” or “Kimmel?” the best answer I have for that is “we will see.”

A lead off home run for the Mets by Michael Conforto, followed by a lead off home run for the Braves by Ender Inciarte. 1 to 1 after 1. But, in the 4th, the 1 for the Mets got changed. A “5 spot” made it 6 to 1. But, one good thing so far with this version of the Braves, they have offense most of the time. Also, they don’t seem to stop plugging. So we got one back in the bottom half with Freddie Freeman doubling, Matt Kemp doubling (Freeman didn’t score then because there was a chance it would be caught), and Nick Markakis grounding out to the second baseman’s left. Then Adonis singled to make it 6 to 3.

Neck grounded another one in in the 6th, and Adonis sac flied another, so it was now 6 to 5. That was the last number the Braves put up. Jose Reyes homered in the top of the 8th which ended the scoring.

There is still a chance for another game. I am pulling for Lae myself.



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Brewers 4, Braves 3

Brewers 4, Braves 3

Domingo Santana cranked 2 home runs to lead the Brewers in salvaging the final game of the 3 game series, and denying the Braves the series sweep.  Dansby Swanson Barved a routine ground ball with 2 outs in the 6th, allowing Santana to hit his second homer on the next pitch.  The 3 unearned runs turned a 2-1 Braves lead into a 4-2 lead for the Brewers.

Mike Foltynewicz started strong for the Braves, and may someday earn a promotion from Folty to Foltzie, starting the game with a John Smoltz-like 4 hitless innings and 6 strikeouts.  The final line was 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB and 6 K’s.  The ERA for the season is now down to 2.83, and Folty is currently the brightest spot of the rebuild.

Freddie Freeman hit his 9th home run, finishing April with a .381 batting average, and Ender Inciarte stole his 6th and 7th bases.  Matt Garza went 6 2/3 innings for the Brewers, allowing 6 hits, 3 ER, and 0 walks, and recording 7 K’s.

The Braves concluded an initially dire road trip at 4 -4, and hopefully that sustains excitement and attendance (and revenue) at SunTrust Park, as the Braves kick off a 7 game home stand on Monday against the Mets.  The Braves now stand at 10-13, with 16 of those games played on the road, versus only 7 at home.

The funniest thing I ever heard about Milwaukee:  “I signed with the Milwaukee Braves for $3,000.  That bothered my dad at the time because he didn’t have that kind of dough.  But he eventually scraped it up.” – Bob Uecker.



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