Braves 5, Red Sox 2

As this series shifted to Atlanta for two games, the starting pitchers treated fans to strong pitching performances. Alex Wood, starting for the home nine, went 6 innings, giving up 5 hits and 2 runs (1 earned) while recording 7 punchouts. His opponent, Joe Kelly looked like a different pitcher from what he has been, holding the Braves to one run on four hits through the first five innings. He was lifted in the sixth after he allowed a walk and a single, and one of his inherited runners came around to score and make his final line look a little less impressive.

The game was scoreless until the 4th inning, when Wood got two outs before walking Blake Swihart to load the bases. He then fell behind 3-0 to Joe Kelly, the opposing pitcher, battled back to make the count full, then gave up an infield single right to Jace Peterson for the first run of the game. Kelly was busting it down the line, but it was still a play Jace should have made.

The Braves did not wait long to even the score. In the bottom of the inning, Juan Uribe scored from second when Pedro Ciriaco blooped a hit into right field. Dustin Pedroia kicked it away from everyone and Ciriaco got credit for a double (following the initial scoring of a single and error).

The scored remained tied until Mike Napoli took Wood deep with one out in the 6th, but once again the Braves came right back in the bottom of the inning. Ciriaco picked up his third hit of the game (and fifth consecutive—raise your hand if you saw that coming) to score Nick Markakis.

In a different turn of events, the Braves continued to beat up on the opposing team’s bullpen while their own bullpen kept the opposing team scoreless. You don’t see that every day. In the 7th the Braves picked up their third and fourth runs to take the lead. Daniel Castro picked up his first big-league hit in the frame and an RBI single by Markakis and bases-loaded walk to A.J. Pierzynski made the score 4-2. In the 8th Jonny Gomes walked, went to second on sac bunt, and scored on a Cameron Maybin single to push the lead to 5-2.

The Braves singles offense put up 10 more hits tonight and continues to defy logic on how they are keeping this offensive pace up. The team did, however, get some help from the officiating crew. The Red Sox lost their replay challenge in the first, and therefore had no way to appeal two blown calls that later went against them. Some questionable balls and strikes calls were more than John Farrell could handle, and he was ejected in the bottom of the seventh. He ran out onto the field and got his money’€™s worth, animatedly getting into the crew chief’€™s face and staying there for awhile. In this age of instant replay, the scene was a blast from baseball’s storied past.

One major concerning development from this game was Freddie Freeman, who went 0-for-3 before being removed from the game in the 7th inning. The Braves have announced he left with a right wrist sprain and is day-to-day. It looks like his consecutive games-played streak is over.

The Braves go for the split-series win tomorrow, when Shelby Miller and Clay Buchholz square off at 7:00.

Next Wednesday I will be on the road and I’m not certain that I will have an available Internet connection. To ensure there is no interruption to your regularly scheduled Braves Journal programming, would someone be willing to pinch hit for me and pick up the recap?

70 thoughts on “Braves 5, Red Sox 2”

  1. Meanwhile… Markakis tied a record tonight for most consecutive errorless games by an outfielder in MLB history at 392.

  2. Ian Desmond had a two error game for the Nats (second one was generously scored a hit by the hometown scorer so Desi doesn’t hit triple digits this season). Best part though was a T-ball hone run given up by Nats when pitcher fielded a bunt, threw it into right field, then Harper picked it up and aired one out to allow the runner to score. Like I said, they’re fun to watch.

  3. And I truly believe that the amazing offense this year is only amazing because it’s in comparison to how bad it was last two years. Having 2-3 automatic outs, and strikeouts at that, in a lineup will kill you. Put the ball in play and good things happen. Particularly if you’re playing the Nats.

    Other than Maybin, no one is having a great deviation from career marks. (AJ was for six weeks, but he’s cooled down.) We’re just having productive at bats as a group, vs last year’s whiff patrol.

  4. Is it wrong that I’m starting to like FatJuan v2? Even when he makes dumb errors (and that ball took a tough hop last night), it seems like he comes back and wacks one but good. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not great. But I don’t mind rooting for him.

  5. That play Uribe made in the seventh (I think) on Pedroia’s hot shot was good, but he was rescued by an amazing pick at first by KJ.

    @9 – That being said, if loving to watch Uribe is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

  6. Juan Uribe was a perennial inhabitant of my rotisserie team roster, because he was so undervalued in my league. I spent $1 on him and he hit 20 hrs, and as a SS. So he’s always been a fave of mine. He’s been a running joke in my household for 5-6 years.

    Mac always used to talk about the value of “useful” players — that having an average Joe guy who can contribute in some ways at a position (rather than an Uggla, Keith Lockhart or Jonny Gomes) is often the difference between a good team and a bad team. I.e., it’s not always the superstars who are the margin of victory in a game. Uribe is a useful player.

  7. Juan Uribe has enjoyed a long and reasonably productive career despite being fat for much of it. Would that the same shall be said of me.

  8. Nice recap, ‘Rissa. Thanks.

    I also am a member of the Juan Uribe fan club. Consider our alternatives.

  9. @16: I first read what you wrote as “Juan Uribe fat club.” Incidentally, I’m a member of both.

  10. Our offense was fine in 2013. We finished 4th in the NL in runs scored (which is more or less where we are now). In 2014, we were next to last, and that September we were by far the worst offense in baseball.

    What’s impressive is how good our offense is at generating runs with only one power hitter in the lineup. We are within 3 runs of the Dodgers and Padres, both thought to be far superior lineups than our own.

  11. Eury Perez has now logged 1000 AB’s at AAA in his career. He’s .305/.358/.403 with 91SB/24CS in that time at ages 21-24, and he reportedly plays impressive CF defense.

    For all that fine work, he has been given 23 MLB AB’s.

    Free Eury Perez.

  12. I pray for the day when the Braves realize Gwinnett is 30 miles away and they don’t need a backup SS. A bench of CJ, Gomes, and Ciriaco negates all bench platoon advantages. I like Eury as a 4th OF, especially if Joey is on the bench. Joey gets the PH ABs and occasional starts in LF/1b, Eury gets the PR/defensive replacements.

  13. I think the reason why Perez hasn’t gotten much action is because Cunningham is better. Cunningham wasn’t eligible to come back up yet, so that’s why we’re seeing Perez.

  14. Ladies and gentleman, presenting Your E. Perez!

    @26, Also bc EYJ and his vet’ran presents

  15. @DOBrienAJC: #Braves will announce Friday starter later tonight. I’d expect it to be Wisler.

  16. @26
    Both sound defensively, have good arms, and OPS in mid-700s for their MILB careers. the huge outlier is Eury’s speed.

    So why do you think Todd’s better?

  17. Fat Club and Fan Club are not mutually exclusive and in many cases are identities.

    Speaking only for myself, of course.

  18. I’m simply concluding that Cunningham is better because two organizations have agreed that Eury Perez is not a major leaguer, and the Braves have identified that Cunningham is. Cunningham has also performed better as a major leaguer. Since I don’t know anything about the two of them other than their minor league stats, I’m going to go with Cunningham.

  19. I don’t think we have much concrete evidence that Todd Cunningham is better than Eury Perez. Both are solid defenders with fringe bats that project as 4th outfielders. The Nats probably would’ve released Cunningham, too, and the Braves’ giving the nod to Todd doesn’t mean he’s demonstrably better or that the Braves think so. Apparently the Braves thought EYJ was better than either one.

    Cunningham is a switch hitter and managers tend to think he’s a gamer, which counts for something. Eury Perez steals a ton of bases. I’m going to say it’s a tie until they’ve both had a chance to show they can play. Eury really has earned his chance.

  20. @33
    I agree with everything from that statement. If both are going to be used sparingly, give me the guy that can steal a few bases.

  21. I might amend that to give me the guy that gets on base considering they’ll be more often used as pinch hitters than pinch runners, don’t you think?

  22. Although I suppose if there obps are roughly equal it might be a moot point and you might be onto something there.

  23. I just don’t think it really matters as long as the team is carrying both Kelly Johnson and Jonny Gomes. The fifth outfielder spot is much less important than the question of who is capable of pitching in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings.

  24. @37
    I really would like to agree with that assessment, but we’ve all seen Gomes get way too many PHs against RHP in close and late games, a problem the Braves wouldn’t have if Joey T was on the bench. Gomes is being misused and Fredi would have an appropriate option with Joey T and Eury in place of Ciriaco and Cunningham.

  25. It doesn’t seem like Eury can hit. I’d take the pinch hitter over the pinch runner, especially with how poorly Gomes is playing and yet has a roster spot. KJ looks like he’s going to be playing a lot, so it would suggest Cunningham could be our best pinch hitter against right handed pitching.

  26. Freeman always struck me as a pretty sharp fella. He’s reinforced in my mind even more that he’s the leader of this team. Chipper is my favorite player of all time, but he was never the sharpest tool in the shed.

  27. My god. A 1-0 game and Fredi decides to get Dana Eveland up?

    That only makes sense if he is planning on waiting until Miller gives up at least 3 more runs.

  28. Gomes vs tough RHP to end the game so I guess everything makes sense. When we failed to score a leadoff double in the first, this game had a bad feeling. This team is not supposed to do that sort of thing.

  29. Jonny Gomes has 92 plate appearances against RHP. He has a .527 OPS against them. That’s a problem. It’s a problem that doesn’t happen with Joey Terdoslavich on the team.

  30. @51, in the preseason, Fredi said you gotta get gomesy some AB vs RHP too. I didn’t realizs he meant most of the ABs.

    Gomes looks gritty. There’s that.

  31. @52: http://m.ajc.com/news/sports/baseball/braves-veterans-have-set-the-tone-on-and-off-field/nkskY/#__federated=1

    Remember this from the article? “Gomes said he didn’t know everything about percentages of pitches that each pitcher threw, but he knew that the Braves were going to bust their tails giving 100 percent to run out every ground ball and to try to break up every double play, and that if anyone had any problem with that, they should see him.” Just dripping with grit. How can Fredi sit a guy who plays the game the right way, amirite?

  32. Having suffered the torment that is watching jonny Gomes play left field, I will heretofore refer to him only as the Manatee.

  33. Natswatch: for the second night in a row, Ian Desmond AGAIN had an error on a tailor made dp grounder that lost the game. This one was actually scored an error (which it was) and changed 2 innings later the scorer was browbeaten into changing it to a hit. It seems if the Nats had official scorers with honesty, Desmond would have 30 errors already.he’s basically the Braves 10th man. On the plus side, he’s hitting .224. ESPN RATEd him the best shortstop in baseball, to which I chortled in glee.

    Harper’s injury is being called a left hammy. He’s going to miss a couple games I bet, and it could be a lingering thing. I pulled mine once and I wasn’t right for a year.

  34. Well, it is if that’s your supposed skill. No one other than the Nats announcers think Desmond is a glove man. But the Nats thought his bat made up for it. He’s a one trick pony who has forgotten his trick.

  35. Desmond’s line this season is something magical. An apparently generous total of 15 errors–one stolen base v. twice caught stealing–13 walks and 79 strikeouts in more plate appearances (282) than anyone else on their team.

    One could argue that Dan Uggla has been a better player for them.

    Really the whole team with the exception of Mutant Supervillians Max Scherzer and Bryce Harper has been a laughingstock. (Actually, I like Scherzer a lot, but he plays for the wrong team.)

    And with Bryce out for a few games? It’s going to be a good weekend.

  36. Desmond has had 3 objectively undeniable errors in the last two games. Only one made it into the official scorer’s book.

    Espinosa is actually playing pretty well for them. But again, stupid. They had convinced him over the winter to give up switch hitting. But when the season started, there was apparently a loophole that he could switch hit if he felt “uncomfortable.” He then proceeded to switch hit every single AB.

    He’s hitting .370 RH and .220 LH (at 3X the PAs), so of course that screams switchhitter to him. He’s an idiot, but he’s improved quite a bit this year and has been an adequate 2B.

    The real fun is going to be if the Nats don’t even make the playoffs with the 5th highest payroll in MLB. And it’s not inconceivable. I can’t wait for the heads to explode around here.

  37. to a now forgotten early draft pick…

    did life prepare thee past that summer’s day?
    thou looked so certain then, replete with hope
    that gaudy million soon got put away
    it pleased you much, we’re now but left to mope.
    sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines
    sweet Chance, his mighty curve was traded too
    e’en Basil as he currently declines
    we do believe he’ll soon plead for review.
    but thou, a few bare summers, fade they must
    all hope forsook, no visit to the Show
    to every talking head thou wert a bust
    name soon forgot, what happened, dost we know?

    so long as men can swing and eyes can see
    so long we search, a better bat than thee.

  38. I think of Desmond’s one skill as his power, not his actual hit tool. But a .122 ISO isn’t gonna cut it. He has completely reverted to 2011 Ian Desmond, which is simply delightful.

  39. I like us disrespecting the Nats if it helps me forget just how much my Braves suck. The Nats suck, but we’re chasing (?!?) them. What does that say about my poor pitiful Braves?

  40. To blazon:

    Let me not to the analysis of baseball
    Accept your foolishness. Fans are not fans
    Who bail before the orange leaves of fall
    Or accept losses sitting on their hands
    Oh no! we suffer every bad blown save
    Each awkward hack by Gomes Godforesaken
    We need a star to bring us to the park
    Whose WAR’s immense and tools unmistaken
    Fredi’s not a fool though some decisions
    Cause many boos (and booze to be consumed)
    It’s baseball not the calculus of nuclear fissions
    But nonetheless we all know that we’re DOOOOOMED

    If Simba errs I’ll eat my throwback cap
    Now a West Coast game… time to take my nap.

  41. JonathanF:

    Word.

    Coop:
    Yeah, we’re chasing em. We’re chasing the anointed and crowned kings of baseball, the 105 win, walk to the WS Nationals. ESPN’s darlings.

    And we’re 2 games back. Us — the redheaded stepchile, 100 loss Braves. I’m as pumped about this team as I’ve ever been. Imagine it. It would be like Agincourt. With tomahawks.

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