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VINCERA ! The ‘3/2′ Braves 8…Bumblin’ ‘Backs 5……VINCERA!

VINCERA ! The ‘3/2′ Braves 8…Bumblin’ ‘Backs 5……VINCERA!

 

 

The – young- voice, the famous aria were hardly deserved by this saga of awful pitching and myriad miscues. BUT there was still much to be enjoyed in this hurley burley affair which still managed to bring the tying run to the plate in the 8th with nobody out. We stood firm. And thus we were able to notch back to back wins against a team that on both nights looked better than us and whose season record was far superior, so what is going on? That certain something, we have it, whatever it is and we must try  to keep it for as long as we can.

Pitching. We were awful, starting with Folty sulking already in the first innings and maintaining his pout for 117 pitches till he was mercifully yanked after 5.1 innings – with a one run lead! So the only number that was terrible for him was the number of pitches. It was his bearing that embarrassed every Braves fan tonight. And while we’re on his back it is high time Snit told him to stop these pathetic at bats where he seems to wander around the plate and flap vaguely at the ball and clearly just wants to get back to the bench. Enough. The 3/2 Braves?? There were something over 20 such counts in the game, we prevailed there too.

Pitching Pt 2…The pen, dear me. With the honorable exceptions of Ramirez in the 7th., Brothers 8th, and JJ closing we produced a rag tag bag of Jackson, Kroll and Freeman. All awful. That Kroll ‘got’ the win for his one out  is farcically ironic. On their side we dinged up their starter Corbin who apparently was 2 and 0 against us and hadn’t given up a run to us in something like 25 innings total. That didn’t last long. Nor did our pal Randle Delgado who was fated to give up the big hit that effectively ended a series on one run leads for both teams.

Defense. We were treated to not one but two classic Claude/Gaston moments in back to back innings by Dansby and Camargo, each going for the same ground ball and knocking into each other.Yikes. But Freddie, who could do nothing with his bat all evening, made a fabulous diving save of an errant throw to first which ended an innings and preserved our one run lead. BP had a great evening with the bat- 3 for 5 with a homer and 2 RBIs. Ender too, as he always seems to do, finished 3/5, Kemp and Camargo each 2/4. It is time we stop the nonsense of hitting Johan 8th. We are wasting some of his many talents on the bases and his contact rate, and speed, should be used to score the elite bats ahead of him.

We end this hocus pocus affair with the craziest happening of all, in the bottom of the 6th when we finally scored 4 runs to seemingly end the close nature of the score. The bases were loaded, none out, and yet another awful pitcher was being banished to the showers thus creating a spot for a pinch hitter

The aforesaid Delgado was pitching for them, from the right side.  We had two choices from the bench – the left handed Matt Adams who did not start today and who greatly favors those pitching from the right side. And poor old fingernail chomping Wayne Adams, pinch hitter occasional, who does not.

So it was obviously Matt. And Snit sent Wayne out. Chip snorted, I screamed. Couldn’t believe it. But you know the rest. Bases clearing double to the LF wall. Please someone explain that choice. But Wayne had created our first big lead of the evening at a crucial, late time. 6/3 in an innings we had entered one run behind. But how appropriate for a crazy game and, as it turned out, there was more than one of their bats to come ahead where that lead was threatened. But they couldn’t. Back to Back.

 

VINCERA…WE SHALL PREVAIL.



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Atlanta 4, Arizona 3

Atlanta 4, Arizona 3

The second half kicks off with a series against the NL Wild Card leading Diamondbacks, so sounds like as good an excuse as any to inflict a Running Diary on you all! Muwhahaha!

7:00 Happy Bastille Day as we tune into Brave Live Pregame Show.

7:02 The starting line up includes Rookie Shortstop Sensation Dans Johan Camargo at short.

7:03 Lt. Dans not the only regular who’s getting some time off. Paul Byrd is filling in for Joe Simpson, who is off for a well deserved vacation at I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Sabermetrics Park.

7:07 Chip Caray tells us we’re about to “Duel the Desert Denizens.” I see he’s already in second half form.

7:10 During the commercial break we see that NASA is bringing their Mars Rover prototype to Battery Atlanta. I’m disappointed when it doesn’t transform into a semi.

7:19 The pregame show has a cool segment showing how Tyler Flowers and R.A. Dickey have clicked as a battery.

7:24 Acuna, Acuna, Acuna. Thank you sir, may I have another?

7:28 Mars Rover is back and still not transforming. I feel my tax dollars are being wasted on a non-transforming Rover. Get Michael Bay on the line.

7:29 Brian Jordan picks Freddie Freeman and Daniel Descalso (who is ONLY 5-10 lifetime against Dickey) as his Picks to Click. Way to go out on a limb there, BJ.

7:33 Chip lets us know that there are 5 members of the NL All Star team in the game. I count 6, as I am pretty sure he’s forgotten about The Freeze.

7:40 DelayGate in Atlanta! The Natspos aren’t the only team to have suspicious goings on around the start of the game, as the in-stadium music won’t stop, and home plate ump Dana DeMuth has to wave up to the booth to stop the music. Total time of delay – 15 secs. Just 2 hours 59 minutes, and 45 seconds less than the Nats ‘Rain’ delay.

7:42 Dickey’s knuckleball must still be dancing to the DelayGate music, as 4 of the first 5 dance outside the zone and A.J. Pollock walks.

7:43 Nice running backhand grab by Brandon Phillips to force Pollock at second.

7:44 Paul Goldschmidt bounces a come backer off Dickey, who tries to crawl after it. Not a good start so far.

7:45 Jake Lamb with the tailor made DP to Rookie Shortstop Sensation Dans Johan Camargo.

7:46 Chip teases a new Promo – the ‘First Chop’ of the night.

7:47 And the First Chop goes to…Paul Byrd! He gets a big tomahawk to chop with. Here’s his opportunity, but, he swings like the pitcher he was and misses Chip. I think he might have pulled a muscle there.

7:49 Ender Inciarte doubles down the left field line to start the first. Did you know he was an All Star?

7:55 Diamondbacks pitcher Taijuan Walker throws a nasty slider to Freddie Freeman for the strikeout.

7:56 Matt Kemp picks up Freddie with the single to score All Star Ender Inciarte.

8:06 Chip lets us know that Brandon Drury has been to All Star Games in FOUR different Minor Leagues. Man Ender needs to get on the ball, he’s only been to ONE All Star Game in the Bigs.

8:10 All Star Ender Inciarte covers an acre and a half to rob Jeff Mathis of extra bases. Great camera work from high over home plate showed that All Star Ender Inciarte had that all the way.

8:16 Ugh. Chip just said that Jake Lamb was not ‘b-a-a-a-a-a-d’. I bet Paul Byrd wishes he could try the First Chop again.

8:23 Chip tells us about Dickey and his many travels in his baseball career. Drafted by Texas….

8:24 …in the Minnesota farm system, to Seattle, back to Minnesota, back to Seattle, back to Minnesota….

8:25 …and signed by Atlanta. Phew.

8:28 Dickey walks Lamb. Arizona has had runners all over the bases so far.

8:29 Freddie with the dive to spear a liner to end the third! Move over Nolan Arrenado, your new NL Gold Glove 3B, Freddie Freeman!

8:33 Chip: ” Ender lines to Lamb, who wasn’t fleeced on the play.” Gonna be a long weekend with the sheep puns I fear.

8:38 Kelsey Wingert with the minor league report from last night. Acuna, Acuna, Acuna! Yes, please.

8:50 Taijuan Walker settling in. Matt Adams JUST misses one flying deep to right. Ronald Acuna would’ve hit that out.

8:53 Gold Glove Alert. Freeman cuts off a short chopper. Great play! Adams saves the airmailed throw with a swipe tag. So? Rome wasn’t built in a day, you know.

8:55 Dickey quick pitches David Peralta for the strikeout. Peralta looks like he’s complaining to DeMuth. Swing the bat you big baby.

8:56 Goldschmidt grounds to second. Dickey’s first 1-2-3 inning.

9:00 Tyler Flowers doubles off the right field wall, bringing up Rookie Shortstop Sensation Dans Johan Camargo.

9:02 Maybe Dansby isn’t that bad?

9:04 Dickey pops out after a 7 pitch AB. Paul up in the booth was talking about how, as a pitcher at bat, you want to make the other guy throw at least 5 pitches so he’ll be tired for the next batter.

9:06 All Star Ender Inciarte grounds out on the first pitch. So much for ‘tired.’

9:11 Flowers, according to Advanced Paul Byrd Approved Statistics, is getting 9% of pitches outside the zone called strikes. No wonder Dickey has been so good the past 4 starts.

9:12 Chris Owings singles.

9:17 Four Time Minor League All Star Brandon Drury singles. Dickey not fooling anybody.

9:18 Daniel Descalso singles off Dickey’s glove for his third hit of the night as Owings scores. Tie game.

9:20 Mathis bloops one to right, but not deep enough to score Drury from second. Four straight hits, but only one run in, Dickey is living right.

9:23 Walker grounds into what is called an inning ending DP, although replay showed he might have beaten it out. Paul thinks he was safe. Arizona manager Torey Lovullo is apparently on the phone with Dominos and doesn’t ask for a review. Walker has now made the last out of the 2nd, 4th, and 6th innings, yet Dickey has only given up one run. Wonder if that horseshoe placement is hurting R.A.

9:27 Paul talks about how Walker might be tired after trying to beat out the DP last inning.

9:30 Freeman homers on a hanging slider. Quick Paul, text me tomorrow night’s Powerball numbers to play.

9:31 Chip: ‘A defensive ca-Lamb-nity at third.’ And yes, I heard the ‘n’ in there.

9:38 Sam Freeman in to start the 7th. His reward? He gets to face the top of the D-backs order.

9:40 Gold Glove 3b Freddie Freeman with the Hot Corner nabbing of a Pollock liner.

9:41 S. Freeman now has gone 3-0 to Pollock and Peralta. What? Can’t Flowers steal any strikes for him? Did Sam sit in TFlo’s chair? Get Kelsey on this developing story!

9:44 And we’re tied, as Paul Goldschmidt shows why he was an All Star. Just like Ender.

9:56 Acuna, Acuna, Acuna! Sheesh, just call him up already.

10:00 Jose Ramirez in to pitch the 8th. Owings lines one just over Rookie Shortstop Sensation Dans Johan Camargo‘s glove.

10:02 Owings steals second, and goes to third when Flowers tries to catch him stealing by throwing to All Star Ender Inciarte.

10:03 Minor League All Star Brandon Drury pops to short right. Owings stays put. One away.

10:05 Drawn in infield, and Descalso isn’t facing Dickey. He grounds to Rookie Shortstop Sensation Dans Johan Camargo, who holds Owings and gets the out. 2 down and we may get around the throwing error.

10:07 Ketel Marte in to pinch hit for Mathis. I’m waiting for Chip to make the ‘Pot calling the Ketel black’ pun. Although, now that I think about it, that MIGHT not be a good idea.

10:09 And Ramirez throws one to the backstop, and Arizona leads 3-2.

10:10 Marte walks, and the Braves Bullpen Implosion continues.

10:13 Rex Brothers in to finally get the third out.

10:18 Archie Bradley and his Manly Beard in to pitch the bottom of the 8th for Arizona.

10:20 All Star Ender Inciarte with the infield single.

10:22 Dat Dude BP doubles down the right field line. 2nd and 3rd no outs. Here comes the Intentional Pass to Freddie.

10:22:30 What? They’re pitching to Freeman? Is Lovullo busy with his pizza?

10:23 Freddie! Phillips trips as he rounds third, but Gregor Blanco was lobbing the ball in to second, so BP pops up and hustles home with the go-ahead run. I’ll go ahead and say it before Chip does – ‘Brandon comes Stumblin’ Home.’

10:36 Bradley strikes out Kemp and Nick Markakis, but Big City singles Freeman to third, but Flowers can’t get the insurance run in. Jim Johnson on for the save. Goldschmidt lurking as third man up.

10:38 All Star Ender Inciarte with another entry in the Gold Glove campaign, as he runs clear across the Back 40 to make a leaping grab against the fence of Pollock’s screaming liner. It was a poor man’s version of his highway robbery job in New York off Yoenis Cespedes. Thank you Dave Stewart.

10:40 Peralta pops out to second. Only Goldschmidt to get now. Or, as I like to call him, Freddie Freeman West.

10:41 JJ gets a quick 0-2 count on Goldie.

10:41:20 Foul 1.

10:41:40 Foul 2

10:42 Strike 3! Braves win, Braves win, Braves win!

So, a good start to the second half, as Atlanta notches its MLB leading 15th win in their last At bat. Let’s do it again tomorrow.



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Nationals 10, Braves 5

Nationals 10, Braves 5

It turned out that the Braves didn’t need an ark Thursday night, but they definitely ended the weekend treading water, as they split the 4 game series with the Nationals to remain 9.5 games back in the NL East.

Sean Newcomb and Joe Ross both left early, and the Braves lost the battle of the bullpens.  Ian Krol pitched like a L.A. radio station (KROL – all hits, all the time) allowing 3 of them plus a walk in his 1/3 inning, contributing 2 runs, and Sam Freeman allowed 3 more runs in his 2/3 of an inning.  Newcomb allowed 4 hits, 4 runs, and 4 walks, striking out 7 in his 4 innings. An unearned run off of Jose Ramirez rounded out the Nats scoring.

Among the good news, Freddie Freeman homered and drove in 3, and Johan Camargo went 3 – 3 with a double and homer. There is not much in Camargo’s 2000+ Minor League plate appearances that indicates he’s this good, but let’s enjoy the 111 Major League plate appearances that indicate he is.

A brief editorial.  There was once a team that had a hot young prospect recovering from a major injury. That team was pretty good, and looked to continue to be for the foreseeable future. Should that team have shut down or babied their prospect hoping he would lead them to multiple championships in future seasons, or should they have gambled everything on that single season? If the player you’re thinking about is Chipper Jones, then the answer is clear. The Braves won the World Series in that 1995 season in which Chipper came back from a major knee injury. And the punchline is that Chipper played 17 more seasons in Atlanta, and never won another one.

There is something wrong with the culture in Washington.

In fairness to Nationals management, we’ll never know how well or had badly the decision not to push Stephen Strasburg in 2012 would have turned out had they decided otherwise, and it’s certainly unfair to compare the decision concerning a position player like Chipper to a pitcher like Strasburg (there really was no decision regarding Chipper.) The point is that you never know when you’ll have a chance to win a championship, and the importance for management to set a tone for your clubhouse.

On Thursday, the Nationals, who had a 9.5 game lead in the division, were afraid to take on the below .500 Atlanta Braves. They manufactured a rain delay to hide their flammable bullpen from any possible extra exposure at the expense of paying fans, and their employees, many of whom work for tips. Nationals management runs scared, and it’s bound to have an effect in their clubhouse until it changes.

Natspos delenda est.

The Braves go into the All-Star break 42 – 45; Arizona comes to town Friday.

The 2nd funniest thing I ever heard about Washington: “Anthropogenic rain delays.” – Me.



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Braves 13 Nats 0 … IF WE PRICK YOU, DO YOU NOT BLEED?

Braves 13 Nats 0 … IF WE PRICK YOU, DO YOU NOT BLEED?

 

This fine win ended in sunshine so does not pertain to our established EJ Saturday Night celebrations. Instead we go to Rodrigo and Spain. And basque in victory.

The best way to set up this win was the scoreboard after three innings, 6-0 Braves. An ineffectual Strasburg was already out of the game. Of our 6 runs Julio had driven in half of them, Suzuki another two. Fairyland stuff, but we earned every bit of it and would go on and on from there to add another 7 runs without allowing Washington anything. Julio himself totally dominated their line up and finished with this line…7IP 4H 0R 2BB 5K. And looked happy about it throughout. Brothers pitched a somewhat erratic 8th and Akeel Morris debuted and got his first ML strike out in the ninth. He appears to have a saucy change up.

So much for the pitching, the other surprise was our defense. Our venerable second baseman is clearly a sensitive soul and was clearly shocked by what he read on this blog last night. He transformed himself from a lethargic leviathan to a teenage soccer goalie overnight, made three saving plays, two of which were miraculous. Where’s that been Brandon, call us later.

Offensively we totaled  15 hits with 8 for 16 with RISB.  Everbody in.  Nick had 3 hits and scored 4 runs, Matt Adams 3 RBI scored 2 runs, Suzuki had a grand game with his back to back singles each scoring a run early in the game and thus setting the tone and giving Julio a good feeling. Camargo was Camargo – 3 hits 2 runs one walk. Somewhere soon down the road the fat lady is going to sing and what will we do then?

So we made it all look ridiculously easy, long before the end. Washington pitching was again decimated and did we feel sorry? No. It was a gloriously enjoyable romp to watch, totally relaxed after 3 innings. Shylock’s words on the headline are transposed to suit the occasion – had we lost they would have been in their original order. But there was never any question about that. Tomorrow and tomorrow – we must slam the door shut.



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Washington 5, Atlanta 4 (10 innings)

Washington 5, Atlanta 4 (10 innings)

Another Friday night, another great starting pitching performance, but this time the Braves’ pen outdid the Natspos pen at throwing gasoline on the fire, and Our Heros fell 5-4 in 10 innings.

R.A. Dickey hooked up with Max Scherzer to deliver a classic pitcher’s duel through 7 innings. Both were perfect through 3, and in the 4th, the Braves scratched out a run, with Ender Inciarte leading off with a double for the first baserunner of the game, followed by Brandon Phillips singling him home, when a diving Daniel Murphy couldn’t prevent the grounder from trickling off his glove into center.

The Nats tied it up in the sixth, when Stephen Drew doubled and Matt Wieters singled him home. However, in the top of the 7th, Freddie Freeman homered off Scherzer, somehow pulling an inside hanging slider down the line and managing to keep it fair. After Dickey worked through some two out trouble in the bottom of the inning, the Braves seemed to break it open in the 8th, when with two outs, Inciarte worked a walk off Scherzer, and Phillips blooped a single to right, then took second on a defensive indifference. Oliver Perez came on to face Freeman, who then drove both home. 4-1 Braves.

Jose Ramirez worked around a one out walk in the bottom of the inning, striking out two, but left the heart of the Nats order for Jim Johnson to face in the ninth. The following occurred in what seemed like the space of 45 seconds, or maybe it was a gut-wrenching hour and a half, time is so damn subjective, isn’t it? Bryce Harper singled, Ryan Zimmerman walked, Daniel Murphy singled Harper home, followed by Anthony Rendon singling Zimmerman home. A Chris Heisey grounder to third did not score Murphy, but with Johan Cmargo having to check Murphy to make sure he didn’t break for home, the double play could not be completed, and Matt Wieters flied to center to score Murphy. Wilmer Difo then singled, moving Heisey to third and finally Johnson was lifted, having blown his MLB leading 7th save. Can’t officially blame Snitker, as he was tossed during the Wieters AB for arguing a check swing call with the third base ump (and he was right to argue, as Wieters obviously swung, turning a 2-2 count into a 3-1.) Sam Freeman finally came in to get the last out.

After a top of the 10th that saw Inciarte walk to lead off the frame, followed by a Phillips sac bunt and an intentional walk to Fab Five Freddie, Matt Kemp meekly grounded into a DP to set the stage for the end. Adrian Sanchez collected his first MLB hit off Ian Krol. Bryce Harper lined out, but Zimmerman singled Sanchez to third and Daniel Murphy hit a deep fly ball over a drawn in Kemp for the walk off.

This was the type of game that turns seasons around. Instead of having momentum by winning two straight and beating Washington’s Ace, we now have to show up this afternoon to face the Nats’ OTHER ace, and deal with a tough loss to go with that. We may look back at this game in September with a ‘What Might Have Been….’ view.

Natspos (and Jim Johnson for today at least) Delenda Est.



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Braves 5, Natspos 2

Braves 5, Natspos 2

This game will long be remembered as the no-rain delay game. As you have probably heard or read elsewhere, our friends the Nats held up the start of this game for over 3 hours because there was a threat of rain to arrive two hours after the scheduled start. I’ve been following baseball for over 50 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this. Why the Nats’ management pulled such a stunt is a mystery, but it was most likely a ploy to protect themselves from their terrible bullpen.

But–every now and then in this broken world, justice prevails. You see, the rains never came, and fortunately for the Braves, the game was finally played. Thanks in part to the Nats’ execrable bullpen, the Braves prevailed 5-2. Folty, while not as dominant as in his last near-no-hitter outing, had yet another solid start, giving up 2 in 6 innings. Gio Gonzales gave up 3 in his 6 innings of work. Our Braves jumped on the Nats for 2 in the 7th and the Braves’ own bullpen held the Nats scoreless the rest of the way.

Offensively, Freddie Freeman! It feels good to type those words. Freddie had 2 doubles, including career hit number 1000. All Star Ender, Johan Camargo, and Kurt Suzuki also had 2 hits apiece. Kurt hit the go ahead homer in the 6th, his third dinger in his last 8 at bats. You know, the Braves’ catching duo is a large part of the team’s surprising success so far.

As I said, we’ll be talking about the rainless delay for a long time to come. Will this game also be remembered as the game in which the 2017 Miracle Braves began their unlikely chase of the dominant Natspos? Well, probably not, but if the Braves take at least 2 of the next 3 in this series, they will go into the break only 1 game under .500 and within 7 and a half of the division lead. Both the 1991 the 1914 Braves were in worse positions at the mid-point. Of course, both of those teams bear the “Miracle” label for a reason.

What the hell, let’s go ahead and sweep these jerks. As ‘Rissa always reminds us, Natspos Delenda Est!



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‘stros 10, Barves 4

‘stros 10, Barves 4

Are the Astros this good or are the Braves this bad? Probably a little bit of both. The Astros are surprisingly the best team in baseball even though they’ve had injuries and ineffectiveness in their starting rotation. The Braves threw Sean Newcomb and Jaime Garcia, two starters who have been pitching well for the most part. Freddie Freeman also returned to the lineup, and we are remarkably one of the most healthy teams in baseball right now. None of that mattered. Yesterday, Jaime Garcia was the next starting pitcher to have to pitch against the best offense in baseball. But it didn’t go well, and the bullpen didn’t help things either.

Jaime actually started out fine, giving up one run on a bloop Evan Gattis single that dropped between Brandon Phillips and Nick Markakis (I contend one of them should have caught it, but I digress). But the floodgates opened with 3 runs in the 5th, and then the bullpen allowed Jaime’s only runner of the 7th to score. By the time the 7th was over, the starting pitcher and bullpen had given up 7 runs, and that was enough. Matt Wisler pitched the 8th and 9th, after throwing 7 innings down in Gwinnett three days previous, and he gave up 3 runs of his own. It’s hard to defend Matt Wisler‘s 7.41 ERA, but I doubt Atlanta would have treated Newcomb, Lucas Sims, Patrick Weigel, etc. that way. They seem to have a plan for him and it isn’t to give him the best opportunity to have major league success at this point.

And to compound problems, Matt Kemp, Matt Adams, Tyler Flowers, and Dansby Swanson are all mired in mini-slumps. Kemp is probably injured again, but there’s really no one to spell him for long periods of time in LF. At some point you could look at Sean Rodriguez or Micah Johnson for a time in LF, but Danny Santana, Lane Adams, and Jace Peterson all cannot hit. Kemp may not be a 162 game guy, and he may need a solid LF caddy for the duration.

The Astros are a good team. So are the Nationals, and we’ll be playing them 4 times coming up.



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Houston—16, Braves—Not Quite That Much

Houston—16, Braves—Not Quite That Much

News flash: The Houston Astros are a pretty good team. There just might be something to that 57-win mark they have posted this season. The Braves came into this game on a good roll. They had gone 7-3 in their previous ten games, a span that included a west coast trip where you’d normally be pretty happy with a .500 mark. A quick perusal of the standings yesterday showed that a few teams were also 7-3 over that span, but no team was any better than that. Basically, the Braves aren’t a great team, but recently they’ve been no slouch either.

And the Astros came in and dominated them in every aspect of the game. Actually, demolished might be a better descriptor of the night’s events. They had five multi-run innings, and scored in all but three frames. Brian McCann was the only regular to not record a hit, and Carlos Correa was the only one to not record multiple hits, but he doesn’t really count because he left in the 4th inning with an injury. The Houston pitcher got four at-bats, and he only pitched six innings. How can you compete with that?

Sean Newcomb really couldn’t. His run of quality starts came to an abrupt end, after he had given up 10 hits and 2 walks while recording only 10 outs. He left with the bases loaded after 3.1 innings. Luke Jackson relieved him and allowed two of those inherited runners to score, to bring Newcomb’s total runs allowed for the evening up to 7. He nearly pulled off the Triple Grybo, but a rare 3-1-2 double play, confirmed upon review, kept him from achieving that feat.

Something must have gotten into the water the Braves pitchers were drinking, because all of them struggled with a deplorable lack of control all night. Jackson gave up three runs of his own in the 5th, and our Chief Sibling allowed two in his two innings of work. Ian Krol pitched a clean inning for the home team in the 8th, but Jason Motte gave up a grand slam in the 9th to ensure the bullpen did not end the night on a high note. When the dust had settled Houston had crossed the plate 16 times, knocked out 19 hits, and drawn 5 walks. To say it was an impressive evening would be an understatement.

The Braves finally got on the board with three runs in the 7th and another in the 8th, showcasing their refreshing ability to score in the late innings. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to make the final score go from utter annihilation to mere humiliation. I mean, 16-4 is better than 16-0, right?

Freddie returned to the lineup, playing 3rd for the first time in his major league career. He collected a hit in his first at-bat, and Adams had two hits of his own on the evening. Their combined batting average will have to make up for the limited range the Braves will have on the infield for the duration of this little experiment. That the move to third wasn’t just talk really does cement Freddie as the new Chipper, especially if the move was truly his idea as everyone claims it was. Chipper worked out in left field because Andruw played next to him, and even as Andruw’s range started to diminish, he could still help make up for Chipper’s presence in the outfield. That makes me wonder—what if this Freddie move had taken place while Andrelton was still at short for the Braves? The thought is a tantalizing one (or maybe it’s just I still haven’t gotten over that trade. I miss watching Andrelton’s defense on a nightly basis.)

The Braves just need to weather the last game of this two-game set against the Astros and head into D.C for the weekend series playing like they have over the past few weeks. Wouldn’t it be fun to wreak a little havoc on the Nationals’ home turf to close out the (unofficial) first half of the season?

Natspos delenda est.



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Braves 4, Athletics 3 (12)

Braves 4, Athletics 3 (12)

Kurt Suzuki led off the top of the 12th with his 2nd home run of the game, leading the Braves to the series sweep at Oakland’s sun cussed park.

Julio Teheran threw 6 scoreless innings, but in the 7th, he could not hold the 2 runs he was given to play with, as a Khris Davis solo home run preceded a routine pop up lost in the sun by Brandon Phillips. What should have been the 2nd out eventually came around to score the run that forced extra innings.

The Braves took the lead in the top of the 11th on a 2 out Nick Markakis walk and a Matt Kemp double, but Jim Johnson was not sharp in his 3rd appearance in 3 days.  A couple of walks and a single off the RF wall tied the score, but Johnson was able to battle out of a 1 out, bases loaded situation to force the 12th.  Arodys Vizcaino gave up a 2 out single and walk before nailing down the save.

The Braves finish the West Coast trip at 4 – 2, and stand at the halfway mark as essentially a .500 team. Most encouraging is the 20 – 21 road record, as the Braves can look to improve their 20 – 20 home record in the 2nd half and see where it takes them.  Freddie Freeman and Sean Rodriguez look to be returning soon, at worst giving the Braves a quality bench.  Sean Newcomb is here and Bartolo Colon is not.

Off Monday, then Houston comes to SunTrust Park on Tuesday.

The funniest thing I ever heard about Oakland:  Steve McCatty upon hearing of Charlie Finley’s heart surgery: “It took eight hours – seven and a half to find the heart.”



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Traditional Braves 4…Oakland Bohemians 3…Yay, Danny!

Traditional Braves 4…Oakland Bohemians 3…Yay, Danny!

 

NB…the ensemble kicks off but be sure to stay around for the soloists that follow.

 

To their great credit the Atlanta Braves, who have faced excellent starting pitching on each of these last three days. have won two of these games despite their offense totaling 7 runs for all three. Something must be stirring for this to happen, some individuals likely are taking on new roles, adapting to assuming responsibility in high pressure situations, and we saw just that this afternoon.

They started a kid named Blackburn making his ML debut. Well, you could have fooled me, he looked terrific with a wide variety of pitches, speeds and locations and it was no surprise that when he left after 6 we had only one run on the board and that was gifted by a 2 base throwing error.

We started my man RAD who was good but not quite at the level of his last three starts., his control wavering at times, 3 walks, you know how he hates those. And so, we got to see the other side of his abilities, his gritty determination. Exemplified marvelously by a race to first with their Number one prospect, about half his age, Dickey had to cartwheel past the bag. Great stuff.

And then, grit again towards the end of his 6 innings with base runners abounding and the game in the balance. When he left we were still tied 1-1. We eked out a run in the seventh, another in the eighth but then Vizcaino gave it all back quickly with a CF homer to Davis. Unlike last night we had given up our lead and everything was on the line

Danny led off and made a colossal mistake not running out hard a short fly ball to center which was dropped. So he stood at first only, suitably sheepish, Not for long though, he stole second (he had stolen second and third in the eighth leading directly to our third run). Dansby, more later, doubled him in and we were back ahead. JJ completed his tally of 6 consecutive outs over 2 nine innings stints to seal the win. We don’t give him enough credit, his lollipop off speed stuff, which must take some nerve to throw so frequently when you have a mid nineties fast ball, continues to bamboozle the hitters. Game over, Braves win.

We must now embrace Dansby for those super quick hand inside which he has no problem utilizing in the clutch. He did it twice late in the game, each time driving in a vital run. Why on earth they would pitch him there when he remains so very vulnerable outside heaven knows. And he did another Gatsby  by bobbling a simple ground ball which most conveniently had risen up to meet his glove. Still, he was a big, big factor today offensively.

Let’s talk about Danny. Fair to say his signing, and his occasional play in the first weeks, were mocked by all of us. I was high on that list. Not now. His speed in the outfield and more particularly on the basis takes us to a new level of threat. He is quicker than Ender on the diamond. We have to give up stolen bases via the otherwise excellent Flowers, here’s a guy who can compensate for them. And he can hit. He’s a fixture now. Danny and his jets.

 

Great win. We had to work hard but we did it.

 

SATURDAY  SATURDAY!



Full article @ Traditional Braves 4…Oakland Bohemians 3…Yay, Danny!

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