The Braves Earn Their Loonies: 9-4

For those of us who have been Braves-addled since 1966, some of the run from 1991 to 2005 has aspects of a blur: some things, like 1991 and 1995, have a sharp presence and can be recalled with minimal effort.  Others, like the 1992 World Series loss to the Blue Jays are, at least for me, indistinct.  Looking back at the box scores of that series, and particularly the 6th and final game, the memories just aren’t there.  When I think of Charlie Leibrandt, I think of Kirby Puckett’s homer in 1991, not Dave Winfield’s double a year later.  Indeed, when I think of Toronto in the World Series, I think of Joe Carter’s homer the next year off Mitch Williams.  Something deep in me is oddly anesthetized by a second straight World Series loss.  The 1991 loss is completely memorable: I was thankful we got there, the series was one of the greatest in WS history and there’s very little about it I would or could forget.  The truly traumatic (1996-1997) sticks just fine as well (may Eric Gregg rot in hell, joined by Jim Leyritz when he’s finally dead.)  The mildly traumatic appears to have been blissfully scrubbed away by years of Bourbon, as have a lot of things, I suppose.  Tis a minor blessing, I guess, but not if you’re thinking about Braves-Blue Jays history.  In regular season history, counting last night, the Braves lead Toronto 25-24; if you count 1992, Toronto leads 28-27.  In the initial meeting, Denny Neagle and Roger Clemens both pitched complete games in a 3-0 Braves victory.  The game took two hours and 15 minutes.

The other great connection between Atlanta and the Great Northern Colossus is, of course, Bobby Cox.  Toronto was the site of his temporary exile from 1982-1985, having bequeathed a team to Joe Torre that would make to the playoffs after Cox was fired in 1981.  (A great Ted Turner line when Cox was fired: “If Bobby wasn’t here, he’d be one of the leading candidates for the job.”) Cox then returned as GM from 1986-1990.  It’s interesting to think of Bobby as a GM.  He had the savvy to correctly rate Chipper Jones, and he engineered the Smoltz-Alexander trade, but he also hired Chuck Tanner and Russ Nixon.  His period as GM was the sorriest run of wins in the team’s history, and the history had some pretty sorry runs, including 1976-1979, four last place finishes managed by… Bobby Cox (and Dave Bristol).  At that point, he became one of the few people in history to conquer the Peter Principle, demoting himself from GM to Manager, in the process demoting himself into the Hall of Fame.  (That’s the way I’m telling it.  I realize that the actual history may have been a little different, since he apparently wanted to keep the GM job as well.  But suppose he had kept the GM job and hired another Russ Nixon?  He’d probably be as famous today as, well, Russ Nixon, and just as close to the Hall of Fame.)  Keep getting better, Bobby.

Finally (and this starts the recap) there is yet a third connection between Atlanta and Toronto.  In 1971, the artist John Waguespack was born in Atlanta.  You can see his work here.  The apparently unrelated (is that even possible?) pitcher Jacob Waguespack (an Ole Miss alum from Louisiana) started for the Blue Jays tonight.  If you have trouble remembering his name, it’s an anagram for “Beau wags jock cap.”  Hope that helps.

I’ve been noticing lately how out-of-fielding position Folty appears to be when he finishes a pitch.  Frankly, if he pitches well enough, it’s a price worth paying, but he made a blind stop with his butt in the first inning to save a run.

The top of the order went meekly in the first, as they have lately, but in the second Joyce hit a long one, Hech hit an infield single (called an error), Cervelli walked, Ortega doubled, (Cervelli tweaked a quad instead of scoring) Acuña doubled, and Freddie doubled to plate 5.  Could this be the laugher we’ve been waiting for?

Nope.  Folty was nowhere near as dominant as he was the last start against the Mets, and kept dodging threats, but allowed two in the fourth, the second scoring on Flow’s 835th passed ball of the season.  The third scored on a double from Grichuk.  Folty had exactly zero clean innings and was done after 4 2/3.  Coincidentally, though, he had been pitching at that point for two hours and 15 minutes, so it was just like Neagle’s complete game in 1997, except for the number of batters faced – and the shutout.  Luke extinguished a High Foltage fire (don’t use water!) and we were once again in a close game.

Luke unstanched the bleeding in the 6th to reduce the lead to 1.  (Shakespeare used “unstanched,” and now I have, though his use was ribald: “as leaky as an unstanched wench.”  You won’t see similes like that in the #MeToo era.)

At that point, though, Toronto ran out of pitchers.  Adam loaded the bases on an HBP and two walks, and getting to the potent part of the order, the part nobody liked a couple of weeks ago.  Joyce and Hech singles scored 3 and it was back to a four run lead.

Three innings to go. Martin: first clean inning! 3 Ks.  Greene: Clean inning!  Freddie hit a dinger off a guy fresh from the Mexican League to complete the scoring.  Blevins with a five run lead (the Blevins Bulge): Clean inning! 

Chip Watch:  (a) Right up there with Chip’s nonsensical insistence that pitchers are under more pressure than batters (a thought pulled out highly selectively, by the way) is his observation, which he said in this broadcast he’s said “a million times,” that batters need a time through the order when facing a pitcher for the first time.  I believe the better characterization would include the word “sometimes.”  This game was a good example of “not always,” but, as always, Chip doesn’t revisit these claims when they prove wrong, which just convinces him they are self-evident. (b) “that ball is whacked off the mound” put me in a Beavis and Butthead frame of mind, but that was, I’m sure, just me. (Insert snicker.)

Day off tomorrow to get through customs, then the White Sox come to town, but without the worst announcer ever: Hawk Harrelson.  He Gone.

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Author: JonathanF

Alive since 1956. Braves fan since 1966. The first ten years were pretty much wasted. Exiled to Yankees/Mets territory in 1974 --- bearable only with TBS followed by MLB.TV.

71 thoughts on “The Braves Earn Their Loonies: 9-4”

  1. Go Luiz!

    JC’d

    61 Eephus says:
    August 28, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    Wonderful way to end a tough road trip!

    blazon says :
    @61

    The Lady has the perfect end line.

    I was an early DFA Joyce guy three weeks ago. First time i’ve ever been wrong.

    For Acuna…keep your head DOWN..IT’S JUMPING UP LIKE A RABBIT..
    back to back 3K nights mock your natural talents..

    Bo Bichette is good, as to a lesser extent is Vlad. KLaw on record today as saying Biggio will not endure.

    Billy’s first 0 for 4. Bunt, Billy, bunt.

  2. Could a starting lineup be fielded that consists of nothing but sons of former MLBers? Bichette, Biggio, and Vlad Jr. batting consecutively (has that ever happened?) on one team just got me to thinking.

  3. @4 You could throw in Fernando Tatis Jr., Hunter Harvey and Delino Deshields Jr. It’s probably super doable if you could come up with a Catcher

  4. The good news is that they get Chip as their announcer. Francona can manage, but I’d let the Steinbrenner kid own this mess.

  5. Only things I remember about the 1992 WS are the color guard flying the Candian flag upside down, the same color guard going to Toronto to get it right, and Lonnie Smith homering (GS? perhaps even off Jack Morris), leading the announcers to suggest that this somewhat atoned for his 1991 baserunning blunder (hint: it didn’t).

  6. In the history of baseball, there are three teams who have had three different hitters with 40 or more home runs: the 1996 Rockies, the 1997 Rockies, and of course the 1973 Braves.

    Could our guys make it four? If Josh gets a little hot, I can’t see why not.

  7. Alex is very, very, very careful to avoid disparaging Snitker in any way for not resting his guys more, but if you wanted to read a mildly veiled critique into this, you could.

    On saying during the offseason that Markakis and other Braves regulars would get more rest days this season, but now having three (Freeman, Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies) among the five tied for the MLB lead in games played, with Josh Donaldson just three behind them

    […]

    We could have continued to force the issue and just given guys days for the sake of giving days. But part of the thought was that our bench was strong, we’d get guys more days (off). And our bench is strong. But at the end of the day, I can’t argue with the results.

    […]

    That’s the thing: Yes, in theory, the plan was that. But right now, the results on the field have been good. So, Snit’s done a good job getting wins… his job is to win the game. And he won the game. So at the end of the day, you’ve just got to adjust.

    https://theathletic.com/1170392/2019/08/29/alex-anthopoulos-qa-on-re-signing-josh-donaldson-september-call-ups-lack-of-rest-days/?source=dailyemail

  8. @14: No. He said he wouldn’t tell you if he was talking to him, and he also said in a perfect world he’d think about it in the offseason.

    He then said “And I expect the market for him to be strong because of the year that he’s had and what he’s done.” which certainly doesn’t sound like he expects to have him back,

  9. No, coop, he did not.

    If you read all 4 paragraphs as he speaks, you could definitely read it as, “He’s doing his job as a manager, getting wins, but I don’t agree with everything he’s doing.”

    I’m really not that worked up about the lack of rest, but I don’t know why someone thinks that it’s irrelevant and not a flaw of Snitker’s. With that said, are we really going to be mad about our manager for emphasizing winning when the previous manager got fired partly for presiding over two collapses in September? Snitker doesn’t seem to be giving any indication that he’ll do anything to let that happen.

  10. The thing is that what the Braves are actually doing is not all that bad regarding rest. They should probably give Donaldson more rest, and Freddie could certainly have used a couple of extra days this season. Aside from that, you absolutely do not rest Acuna or Albies. They’re very young, and you should absolutely expect to see them in 160+ games barring injury.

    What more should be done? I know Neck should have gotten about 20 games of rest.

  11. Methinks that Dansby is not fully healthy. His first couple sprints down the line when he came back didn’t appear to be to the typical Dansby intensity, and I thought Hech getting the start yesterday was telling. They said they wanted to keep Hech going. Like, really? All of a sudden getting bench guys ABs when your starter has played 6 games in a month is the MO? I don’t buy that. You’d think they’d want Dansby getting ABs if he was 100% healthy.

    Johan is now absolutely raking in AAA. He’s got a .529/.564/.765 line in his 12 games at AAA. Light on walks, but a nice ISO. I’m sure they’re just counting down to September 1st for him.

    Riley is now 6-14 in his last 3 games at AAA, so he should be close.

    Would think that Markakis will be back mid-September, as many originally predicted. I’d think we’ll start hearing something about him swinging the bat this coming week, and then he’d start a rehab at AAA the week after.

  12. September call-ups? My guess is Camargo, Riley, Wilson, Sobotka, Minter, Duvall, and O’Day. With O’Day, there’d have to be a removal. Guys like Tomlin, Blevins, and even Ortega, who likely won’t contribute in the playoffs, could be DFA’d to make room.

    Also, if Braves want to get real frisky, Waters could be promoted but that would come with another 40-man move.

    I think I’m going to write a piece on this as it’s just too fun to not speculate!

  13. Rob @ 20 re IL schedule,

    The first 2 playoff games are 9 / 3 and 9 / 4. Those are (from what I can tell) the only games Gwinnett is certain to play. I can’t find playoff games after that. All of this to say it is unlikely Markakis can get at bats in at Gwinnett before its season ends.

    Generally, I think if a player is not likely to contribute to ML club significantly, he will not join ML club from Gwinnett until after their playoffs are over. If both McCann and Cervelli are ready to go, they might leave Jackson down. We probably bring up 2 pitchers or so despite AAA playoffs, then a few more when the playoffs end.

    Big week next week for ATL. Split or better with Nats and Phillies and division is almost locked and Phillies are almost knocked out.

  14. You could definitely argue there should’ve been a little more rest for some folks over the course of the season, and a lot more for Markakis before he got hurt.

    But at this point, we have a scheduled day off in four of the final five weeks of the season (including this one), including two days off during the final week of the season. The lone week we don’t have a day off features 11 straight games against the Nationals and Phillies (part of an overall 14-game stretch against those teams). All of which is to say, no one’s getting an impromptu day off until we clinch the division at this point.

  15. Duh, of course the season will be over by then. My bad.

    Also, Folty is becoming excruciating to watch. I’m not sure if there was ever this much optimism with Teheran’s stuff, but it feels like I’m watching the Teheran from 2017-2018. But it’s even more frustrating, I feel like, because Folty has so much more potential.

  16. No way Waters gets promoted. I just don’t see him contributing to this year’s team. His time will come soon enough though.

    I hate to call him out, but could Camargo raking in AAA be all about him getting a kick in the butt and getting over his attitude problems? I’ve always had concerns about his hitting, but when he started making the ridiculous fielding errors, it seemed more mental than anything else.

  17. #20

    I think Hech getting the start had more to do with keeping Dansby off the turf, which has nothing but concrete underneath. It’s like playing nine innings at Lowe’s or Walmart.

  18. There’s absolutely no chance Waters get promoted. They’re not going to give a 40-man spot to a player who will probably not be on the playoff roster. Plus, you’d be starting Water’s clock, which they probably don’t want to do.

  19. 21 — If O’Day successfully returns I’d expect it would be Ortega DFA’ed, since his skill set becomes somewhat redundant when everyone is healthy.

  20. I think they want Pache and Waters to get a significant number plate appearances at Triple A next season before calling them up. Inciarte is still under contract anyway.

  21. IF O’Day looks like a competent Major Leaguer, they will not dfa him. They don’t want him latching on to another contender for the remaining couple of weeks (no postseason eligibility, however).

    I hope they don’t dfa Blevins. Maybe don’t carry him on postseason roster, but if you add a couple of extra pitchers and use Blevins strictly to face lefthanders only, Blevins provides value.

  22. Ortega would definitely be the logical DFA. The best Ortega could have hoped for is to have used this major league playing time to show out and catch on somewhere else. But with a .242/.324/.364 line with Atlanta and a career .586 OPS, he just hasn’t done that. He was really good AAA filler and nothing more.

  23. I’d hate to lose Ortega. He’s been a bit unlucky for the hard contact he’s shown, and appears to be sold defensively. Not sure who would be a better choice though.

  24. @25 I really don’t buy into Camargo as much as some others do. He has always struck me as one of those guys who is probably good enough to start on a bad team, but really is better suited talent wise as a bench piece on a contender. He doesn’t seem to have the mental make up to be effective as a bench piece though, based off this season anyway. I can 100% see why you raised the question about him potentially having a bit of an attitude problem, because some of the fielding mistakes were atrocious. I guess we’ll see moving forward what he does.

  25. To be fair, Young was a monster, just to umpires, that’s all.

    Ortega’s got a .310 BABIP. I don’t think he’s necessarily been unlucky in his contact, has he?

  26. @33 Drew Waters is going to be something special. He’s hit at just about every stop he’s made in the minors, and I expect he’ll do the same in Atlanta one day. The potential talent level of a Braves OF consisting of Acuna, Waters and Pache is really, really exciting to think about. It’s crazy for how much work the franchise has done trying to rebuild with pitching, how wonderfully they’ve done on the position player side.

  27. @35 Haha

    Fun fact, Delmon Young recently just won the MVP award in the Venezuelan Professional baseball league for Magallanes. He hit .294 with 19 HR and 52 RBI.

    Also on that team, former Brave, Adonis Garcia

  28. Lots of outs nowadays are hit right at people. I imagine a lot of data analysis has gone into defensive positioning for each hitter.

  29. Duvall at least has some major league success, just not with Atlanta. Ortega is on his 5th organization and can’t stick anywhere.

  30. The Mets got swept by the Cubs after the Braves and suddenly have a 6 game losing streak. They are 5 GB of the Cubs for the 2nd Wild Card and have 4 teams to jump.

  31. found money
    it sounds funny
    you did something very good
    but we assume that’s it, as so often we would.

    Four A’s
    your occasional forays
    at a higher level
    allow no hope you will again revel.

  32. Bryce Ball
    await the DH then expect the big call
    Freddie at forty
    would have allowed you only the occasional sortie.

  33. I hope they give Weigel a chance in September. Let him get some ML experience. At the least he can add depth to the bullpen.

  34. Patrick Weigel
    how best could we inveigle
    onto the play off roster?
    no walks? then he’s clearly an imposter.

  35. Lieutenant Dans, hey, please
    no more soccer with your squeeze
    back in the two hole
    those quads, them heels, those bases to be stole.

  36. Did anyone catch any of Anthopolous’ comments about Donaldson and Riley? He praised Riley’s OF work while acknowledging there is some cause for concern (assuming he’s speaking to the bat here) with him. More exciting to me though is he left the door open to bringing back Donaldson and playing Riley in the OF again.

    Also of note, it doesn’t sounds as if they’ll rush Pache or Waters, which I think is good.

  37. There’s no doubt in my mind that AA would kill to get Donaldson back on a 2-year, say, $45M deal. Why wouldn’t you? But I would think they don’t want to go beyond 2 years, and Donaldson will undoubtedly be trying to get a longer term deal. I think the moment Donaldson starting bringing the rain, that’s where we were headed.

    But is Donaldson going to want to go where he can also DH? You got Snit out there starting Matt Joyce at DH in Donaldson’s old stadium, and you’d have to think that makes Donaldson think a little bit.

  38. As for Riley, I continue to not be sold. As much as I want to hype our prospects, he continues to look like a volatile version of Jeff Francoeur. I think he’s obviously going to be better than that, so maybe the comparison is not that fair, but he has really struggled once pitchers figured him out. A good September would do a lot, but unless they can get someone to play LF who is as good as Donaldson, then I don’t know how much Riley ought to affect the Braves’ plans.

  39. Rob @ 51,

    It is not just an issue of if Donaldson might want the DH option. An American League team can say “well, if the calves are a little bad, but not too bad, he still would be worth 70% of x as a pure DH, so…” An NL team can’t figure that in. That was a lot of the problem on matching the Yankees on McCann. During the early years of that deal, he could DH 2 days a week against righthanders and catch 4. For the Braves he could catch 4 or 5.

  40. So, Georgia’s -23 over Vandy. Am I wrong to think that a 23-point spread is a little high against Vandy? I mean, at Vandy?

  41. @53 That’s a good point. So with NL teams controlling their downside and the desire for Donaldson to have the option to DH, then it’s a good fit. I do agree that from both angles the DH makes the AL a better landing spot to predict for Donaldson.

    It really just depends on how Atlanta can best spend their money. The newfound positional flexibility with Riley makes that easier.

  42. The difference between Riley and Frenchy is precisely contained in that interview – the team anointed Frenchy from the moment he came up so they really couldn’t send him down. With Riley, they’re openly admitting he’s got stuff to work on.

    For him to reach his potential, that time to work things out and not have to be the face of the franchise may make all the difference.

  43. https://www.mlb.com/braves/news/national-league-east-predictions-for-september

    Their prediction for Atlanta is that they’ll win 100 games. Not gonna happen.

    But as they list our key contributors, they continue to note that Mike Foltynewicz is a huge wild card in how the regular season will go. Personally, I HATE that Mike Foltynewicz might end up being the difference between getting past the NLDS, let alone the NLCS. I don’t fault the Braves for not adding a starting pitcher at the deadline, but I do hate feeling almost reliant upon Folty.

    I know we’ll talk about it plenty between now and then, but I really don’t hate the game 3 starter being Teheran with Fried coming in in relief, then going back to Keuchel on short rest or going to Folty depending on how the series is going. Folty’s got 5 starts in September to figure it out.

    This might be a little hyperbolic, but if Folty struggles down the stretch and they leave him off the playoff roster(s), then I could see him not returning in 2020, which would have been crazy to say this time last year.

  44. IRT to Riley, I do have to remind myself that he hit AA pitching really well at age 20 and crushed AAA pitching here at age 22. Frenchy never did that. To your point, Alex, it seemed to have been a foregone conclusion even with fairly pedestrian minor league numbers that Frenchy was a future star, and I agree that label is not being applied to Riley.

    I just want to see the adjustment process work for Riley. I do agree with people like krussell that you really don’t know what you have until the league adjusts to you once you make it to the major leagues. I like to begin forming an observation at AA, which then means I’m being unfair by my own standard to Riley, but I do also fear for Riley being more Chris Carter than Freddie Freeman when it comes to being a complete hitter.

  45. We’ve won the game in 8 straight Folty starts. I mean I get the concern and know he has disappointed this year, but to act like he’s not a HUGE piece of this puzzle is frankly crazy to me. He’s the only way we win a playoff series, imo.

  46. @51 There seems to be a consistent line of thinking that Donaldson will get 3 years, which isn’t crazy. I wouldn’t be mad if Atlanta went 3 years on him. I wonder what the AAV on a 3 yr deal for Donaldson might look like though? If it’s in the 25 million range, might Atlanta be willing to go 2 yrs and 60 mil? I know the AAV would be high, but the overall commitment would be low. From Donaldson’s side maybe there’s some appeal then to being somewhere you like playing, and basically needing only to accept 15 million or so somewhere to DH somewhere 2 offseasons from now?

  47. I really hope to see Donaldson in Atlanta for awhile. He compliments Freddie perfectly in the middle of the order, and I love his game and how he’s transformed the make up of this team.

    I’m also not completely sold on Riley, either. He has so much boom or bust to his game. If you’re handing him 3B, it’s fine, but then you really need a COF bat that can hit in the middle of the order to protect against the chance Riley goes full Frenchy.

  48. In interviews, Folty comes across as a thoughtful, conscientious young man. That said, he struggles to complete five innings; and despite his “stuff,” his production is consistently less than Julio’s. I see no future for him as even a back end starter unless he magically starts going deeper into the game on a regular basis. I wish him well but doubt he develops into a rotation mainstay.

  49. Folty.

    You guys must be joking. He needs more TLC than most, that’s all. He’s already proved over a whole season he has what it takes. The baby with the bathwater, don’t do it.

  50. I’m inclined to think
    we need a shrink
    as did Smoltz
    now we’ve a couple of dolts.

    There’s always at least two. The names change, not the condition.

  51. I’ll preface this by saying that many will consider these comments stupid.
    I think the cause of Folty’s problems on the mound can be attributed to mentality. He’s high strung while pitching and allows many small negative results to distract him. In my opinion he can help himself through meditation. Meditation can help him separate his mental anxieties from the circumstances happening during the game. It can provide a calming effect that will benefit him.

  52. Just have Folty watch this several times:

    Maybe he can visit a sports psychologist, maybe even the same one that Maddog went to.

  53. @58 Re: Braves getting through the NLDS:

    The way for the Braves to get through the NLDS, and to do it with Folty, might be to do the very thing I actually hate: quick hook, bullpen-style games. We’ve got arguably more starters than most teams, and a lot of these guys you wouldn’t be comfortable handing the ball to for seemingly most of a playoff game. We’re talking Keuchel, Teheran, Folty, and even Fried. Let’s not forget that we’ve got Newk back there in the pen, too. Choose your opener and try and play the hot hand through the rest of the game beginning in about the 3rd or 4th inning depending on how it’s going. Obviously, you stick with Teheran or whomever as long as they’re baffling hitters, but if not you know who you can turn to for 3-4 hopefully good innings.

    All the starting pitching has to do is keep this offense in the game. I think it would also take a bunch of pressure off these guys if they know they’re not the only starter ready to go if they don’t have their best stuff that night.

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