Bravos 3, IWOTM 2

No one can deny that Dansby Swanson has been a big disappointment so far in 2017. His BA has mostly been below the Mendoza line, and his defense hasn’t made anyone forget our late departed Simba.

Well, he silenced those critics last night, didn’t he? Seriously, Dansby did have a helluva game; his performance was the difference between a win and a loss. It turned out to be an unlikely pitcher’s duel—a matchup of two struggling starters, Julio Teheran and Matt Harvey, in the new Launching Pad (Cobb County edition). The Bravos were training 1-0 in the bottom of the 6th when Swanson scorched a two-out, two run scoring double to left. To show what little respect Dansby has garnered among opposing teams, the Mets had intentionally walked Danny Santana (!) just ahead of Swanson.

The Mets tied it in the top of the 7th on a Travis D’Arnaud homer. It remained tied until the bottom of the 9th, when Swanson hit a routine single up the middle. At least Curtis Granderson thought it was a single and did what center fielders routinely do on such hits. Dansby never stopped running, though, and slid safely into second just ahead of Granderson’s hurried throw into second. So the winning run is on second with one out. Young Rio Ruiz pinch hits for the pitcher. Terry Collins did what any competent manager would do and brought in a lefty to face Ruiz. Snit showed a lot of confidence in Ruiz and let him face the lefty (perhaps because Teheran was unavailable as a right handed pinch hitter). Rio hung in against the lefty and hit a groundball through the opposite side. Dansby raced home and the celebration ensued.

In addition to his offensive heroics, Swanson made a couple of terrific plays in the field, one a diving grab to his left and another throwing out a runner after going to his knees in the hole. Someone asked in the game thread if Swanson is coming around. Who knows? For what it’s worth, I think we will continue to see improvement at the plate. I’m not making predictions, but I’ll guess his BA ends up somewhere between last year’s .302 and his current .215 (which is a lot better than it was when this month began). I do love the way Swanson runs the bases. He never trots, and he seems to have a great sense of when he can take the extra base.

The other big story of the game is the start by Julio. Only one run, that a solo homer by Granderson, in 6 innings. That makes four very good starts in a row by Braves pitchers. The weak link all year for this team has been the starting pitching. Actually, another weak link has been the performance of the some of the bullpen. Not singling anyone out, but they throw with their left arms and the names begin with K and O. Last night, Snit brought in both EOF and Krol in leveraged situations to face left handed batters, and both got the job done. If the Braves can get these kinds of efforts going forward, this team may strengthen its hold on second place! Don’t scoff at that—we are ahead of the Mets, and that is a decided blessing in a troubled time.

Speaking of pitching, today marks the major league debut of Sean Newcomb. I’m excited to see him. As you all know, he has perhaps the best pure stuff of any of the Braves thousand or so pitching prospects. He also can be reminiscent of another Nuke, namely Laloosh, in his inability to find the strike zone. Let’s hope instead he has a career like an earlier Newk, the great Don Newcombe. In his career, Don Newcombe won the ROY, MVP, and Cy Young awards. He also led the league in fewest walks per nine innings three times, averaging fewer than 2 walks per 9 innings. Something to shoot for!

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70 thoughts on “Bravos 3, IWOTM 2”

  1. I’m still skeptical, but Dansby had a great game.

    Thanks, tfloyd, for the great recap. Let’s win two today.

  2. After his abysmal start, he had a .900 OPS across about 60 PAs, then went into another slump for about 70 PAs, and now has a 1.000 OPS across about 30 PAs. I think RoY is definitely out of the question, but who cares? I think he’ll end up having a very good rookie year.

    Teheran almost gave the Braves their 4th straight 7 IP starting pitching performance. Sadly, I don’t think we’ll be starting a new streak today.

    Happy Newcomb Day!

  3. Gwinnett has “Rio Ruiz Bobblehead Day” today. The Braves’ marketing team has been out of luck on bobblehead planning.

  4. I’ll be visiting Sun Trust Park for the first time this afternoon. Also visiting Sean Newcomb for the first time. Wish us all luck!

  5. Claude LaLouche
    we are finally going to put him to use
    whether in game one or game two
    i don’t know, do you?

  6. I know this sounds like serious bias, but if we are 500 at the ASB, I’m not sure if we shouldn’t be looking to buy instead of sell. Having Freeman back should give us a boost and any replacement for Colon (or even the unlikely scenario of an improved Colon) should give us a bump. As bad as the NL East is, anything can happen.

  7. I have this fantasy regarding today’s games. After two rain delays Game One has gone deep into extra innings and it’s now well past 6pm. A call from the bigwigs in NY insists Game 2 must be started without further delay.

    So it is agreed that each game plays one innings while the other waits their turn. Thus Game 1 plays the thirteenth followed by Game 2 playing its second. And so on.

    What you might ask about the players involved some of which are due to appear in both games. Catchers and pitchers clearly can be different. Position players are in the main fit young guys and they will play in both save any over 32 who will be substituted by eager young rookies on the bench as needed.

    We shall make history. Clever, eh?

  8. If 28-year old, in his prime, cost-controlled, finally able to play every day Matt Adams still has a .900 OPS at the deadline, and Freeman is on track to come back, then could you not trade that guy for a legitimate SP or 3B? That’s probably a better trade for the offseason, but I doubt Adams even appears in half of the teams games after Freddie comes back, especially if he can’t play LF at all. And the Braves don’t play any road AL games, so no DH’ing there. It’s only been 80 PAs, and Adams could easily turn back into his .271/.315/460 line, but this could be another argument for the Braves being buyers at the deadline.

  9. @8

    Well, apparently it’s Newk in Game One. Why i have to go to TC to find this out is beyond me.

  10. I think you have to listen to offers on Adams when Freeman is back. I hope the braves don’t rush him and have a setback.

  11. I know nothing but see no reason Adams could not play left or perhaps even third. Ron Washington is working his infielders before games. Why not school Adams as well? It would add to his value as a Brave or as a trade piece.

  12. Big day for the franchise. Bring on the prospects! Best of luck to Sean Newcomb. Go Braves

  13. 9 straight strikes to start his career. My prediction is looking a little rough at the moment. This is exciting.

  14. You can’t just simply go play 3rd at this level. I think he’s tried LF before and it didn’t go well. What a great start for Newcomb

  15. @20 There’s no way Adams could hack it at 3B. Also, a buddy of mine from college is a Cards fan and watched Adams attempt to play LF this year (for the first time ever), apparently it was not a pretty sight.

    Newk’s fastball/curveball combo is working quite well so far but he may have to bust out a changeup if he’s going to get through lineups a 3rd time…

  16. I am very excited about Newcomb. He does not seem to try to blow everyone away. He’s pitching. The future is bright.

  17. @10

    I’m honestly surprised they’re letting us start the game as late as 6 p.m. I guess it was either that or mandate they we play a classic doubleheader, and they probably weren’t comfortable with mandating that we give up a gate. Plus, I’m sure the players’ union would’ve complained about the two day games.

  18. That’s that minor league pitch clock, Timo. Minor league games are fun to watch. 15 seconds per pitch, and keep going. He’s probably so used to it that he might be using it to his advantage. Overall, that pitch clock really needs to get to the bigs.

  19. Instantly. His command has been extremely surprising. Good for him. Apparently Chuck Hernandez really likes him amongst our prospects.

  20. Watching him pitch with such good location, it’s hard to see how he has the control issues he does. I watched Juan Jaime and Mauricio Cabrera quite a bit, and they were all over the place consistently.

  21. His ball is heavy and his delivery is effortless and repeatable. I’ve been putting mustard on all the crow I have been eating over here.

    He is also a pitcher, not a thrower.

  22. Newcomb looked great. I didn’t get to see every pitch – did he throw anything besides fastball / curve?

    The side action on that curveball is filthy. Almost a “slurve”

  23. Ironic that his run came because of an errant throw to a base considering his comparisons to Jon Lester.

  24. Motte is quickly becoming a pitcher I can’t stand… can’t walk the pitcher…but he got away with it

  25. @36 Sean, it was only fastball/curve. But different fastball speed 91-95, hit 96 in the first inning.

  26. Chip said Ron Darling called Newcomb the best looking lefty the Braves have had since Steve Avery.

  27. Why in the crap do you put your # 13 pitcher from bullpen in when its a 1-0 game …. you aint got nobody better avaialble ?? you are at home with 2 more at bats left … bad move …..

  28. @41 Thanks, that’s what I thought. I guess there’s no need for a third pitch when your stuff is on like his was today.

  29. Wild pitch and a throwing error has given the Mets both their runs … gotta stop with the mistakes … Flowers cannot block a ball in the dirt at all

  30. Come on Snitker … you leave slow Flowers in as a runner …. should have been 1st and 3rd ….. where is your head at today … asleep

  31. Pretty much everything Tad said is spot-on. Just wanted to point that out and give credit where due.

  32. did he just leave Jackson in for the 9th in a 1 run game .. well there goes a chance to win the bottom of 9th .

  33. see I told you so !!!!!!!!!!!!! come on Snitker .. what are you saving all these pitchers for ?? u must be expecting Wisler to go 1 2/3 innings in the night cap ……

  34. @50 why in the heck did he leave Jackson in? Dude didn’t have it in the 8th so might as well leave him in so there is no doubt. Sleeping at the wheel indeed. Hang the L on Snitker instead of Newc

  35. I guess the thinking is we have a double-header and need to save our pitchers for when we have a lead

  36. When you play double headers to go all out to win the 1st game ….. Snitker has blown this .. now the team has packed it in when they see their Mgr make stupid moves …

  37. @62 . .yea what was wrong with bringing in a lefty to face Conforto abd then Viscaino to face Cespedes or walk Cespedes ???

  38. I think Snitker conceded the game in the top of the 9th so he wouldn’t burn his bullpen for tonight and tomorrow. It will be interesting to see how the strategy works.

  39. There is a logic to it. On the other hand, we might’ve just missed our best chance to get a win. Being down 1-0 in the 8th is pretty high leverage. If you knew you were going to use motte, why not use Jackson to get just 2 outs in the 7th, one of which is the pitcher? Then Motte can pitch the 8th and you can decide what to do in the 9th.

  40. @65

    I think you’re right. Didn’t want to burn JJ/V/Ramirez in a losing affair with another game around the corner. You use them, lose, then Jackson blows a lead in the next game? No bueno.

  41. @66

    Top 7 was a bit more high leverage with the runners on than top 8 when he started a fresh inning.

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