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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110 thoughts on “Braves 5, Natspos 2”

  1. Enjoyable post. Would have enjoyed the game had the Nats played in the Eastern time zone.

    Thanks, tfloyd.

  2. JC’ed!

    I went to the first two hours of the non-game last night. By the time I got home, they finally announced that they were about to start. If I was still in my 20s, I’d have been angry I left. But I’m an ancient 33-year-old and I was happy just to be home before midnight.

    Foltynewicz’s FIP is atrocious this year, but to my eye, he’s showing consistent improvement over previous years — his good starts are better and his bad starts aren’t as bad. He’s basically had three absolute stinkers this year: May 5, when the Cards scored seven earned in four innings off him; May 27, when the Giants scored five runs in four innings; and June 12, when the Nats hung eight earned on him in 3 1/3, including three taters.

    The biggest problem is the homers, obviously. Here are his stats in his last 11 starts, all after that May 5 slaughter:

    63 1/3 IP, 54 K, 20 BB (2.7 K/BB), 10 HR, 3.41 ERA, 1.33 WHIP

    He’s a flyball pitcher with a juiced ball, and homers hurt him a whole lot. He still walks too many people, and his 4.50ish FIP makes him look like a fringy #4/#5 starter, when in reality I think he could be a #3. But even if he is only a back-end starter in a future Braves rotation anchored by studs like Allard, I think that’s a more than acceptable outcome.

  3. Regarding the BA list posted in the last thread (http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/2017-midseason-top-100-prospects-july-7/), the Braves have 9 prospects in the top 100; no one else haas more than 7. (The Phillies and Yankees have 7, the Padres have 6, the Astros and Rays have 5, and no one else in baseball has more than 4.) Here are the counts by team:

    Braves9
    Phillies7
    Yankees7
    Padres6
    Astros5
    Rays5
    Blue Jays4
    Brewers4
    Cardinals4
    Dodgers4
    Indians4
    Reds4
    Rockies4
    White Sox4
    Athletics3
    Nationals3
    Pirates3
    Red Sox3
    Tigers3
    Cubs2
    Mariners2
    Mets2
    Orioles2
    Twins2
    Angels1
    D-backs1
    Giants1
    Rangers1
  4. This team isn’t too bad so long as we’re not playing the Astros.

    Folty is growing on me. I think he has good potential to improve and be a solid piece in the rotation.

  5. It’s cool to see Folty growing right before our eyes. This team is fun when Freddie is hitting and Folty is pitching. I patiently waited for the game to start to be able to see Folty pitching, and I think that says something.

    Albies took a dip on the prospect ranking. I guess that’s a “what have you done for me lately” kinda thing. He was still recovering from his injury in the first 30 games or so, and that’s skewed his first half stats. He’s been raking over the last month, and I’d bet he’d be a 2-3 WAR player over a full season right now if you called him up.

  6. It’s Ozzie time in my house. Dat Dude delenda est. Take what you can get while you can get it. Throw in Jaime, though I was delighted when we signed him.

  7. Freddie is now 9th in Atlanta hits. Brian McCann is 6th at 1,070 hits, so he’ll probably end up 6th by the end of this year by passing Ralph Garr, Jeff Blauser, and McCann on the way. He’d have Javy ahead at 1,148.

    With #Braves Freddie Freeman collecting his 1,000th career hit, I was asked for Atlanta only leader board (1966 – Present). Here it is. pic.twitter.com/NUBhhy607Z— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) July 7, 2017

  8. The demagogue in each of us
    would love to load the Gwinnett bus
    (and thence more modest stations)
    with some of these and that guy there
    with whom we’ve labored to compare
    those now in situ at the Park
    on some of whom our thoughts turn dark.
    Forgive us if we sound entitled
    those overthrown can be recycled.

  9. From Klaw chat:

    Paul

    1:35 I’ve been really excited reading the box scores for Gohara this year. I watched him for the first time last night, and I’d read that he was large, but he’s even bigger than I thought. Can that body work and hold up as a big league starter?

    Keith Law

    1:36 I’m not concerned about the body as much as the fact that he’s been throwing so hard at such a young age. I guess eventually he could have knee and back issues from his size – he looks like CC Sabathia already – but for now it’s just arm health and command that I’d focus on .

  10. In more today’s prospect news beyond the Top 100, up and comer Joey Wentz made the latest BA Prospect HotSheet and Yunior Severino is the guy on their Helium Watch.

  11. Entertain yourself later today by paying close attention to the bunch of rich Gnats rednecks sitting in the best seats immediately behind home plate and a little off to the right. They are obviously all in therapy for BullPen Mania, a nasty disease but well earned in their case.

    One fellow in particular can pay you particularly rich dividends as he starts to shake uncontrollably as soon as the starter departs. He’s about 7 rows back and often has a – different- lady with him who will be looking wildly about for a means of escape. It is not a pretty sight but delendaling never was – ask ‘Rissa, ask the Romans.

  12. Where did Matt Grace spring from last night? Not their bullpen, surely. Struck out all 4 Braves he faced including a particularly emphatic one for Freddie. We don’t need any more of that the next three days.

    Dusty of course still managed to remove him for our last out so that he could once again adhere to his dry R/L mantra.

  13. @2 In reality, Foltynewicz sometimes looks like he could be better than a #3. That is when he isn’t pitching like #2, of course.

  14. I haven’t been able to check… does anyone know if any of the sports networks are talking about the faux rain delay BS the Nats pulled last night? I’m curious if there is any kind of fallout or repercussions from what to me amounts to basically trying to gain an unfair advantage.

  15. Dansby is in the lineup tonight against Cy Scherzer. I predict little success for the wunderkind.

  16. The Washington Post had a few less than complimentary articles about l’affaire Délai.

  17. I noticed a Carlos Baerga playing for our GCL Braves, and as far as I can tell, this is the son of the former Indians second baseman. Sorry if this is old news.

  18. @25 – Agreed

    Question for the board: you guys believe the anecdotes that the reliever following or next day starter benefits from pitching after a knuckleballer?

    When Dickey was with the Mets, after we faced him, I always felt like the hitters were “off” for a few days after (though those teams struck out so much it could be a coincidence), but haven’t really noticed anything either way with Dickey this year.

  19. @26, yes I believe it, but as always, I can be easily persuaded with actual evidence. It shouldn’t be difficult to study. There’s loads of data

    PS, Joey Wentz 7 ip, 4 h, 1 run, 0 bb, 6 k

    He has been a bit overshadowed in our system, but the guy is having a remarkable season at 19 years old.

  20. Three runs is not enough Reitsma Room for Johnson. There isn’t enough Reitsma Room for Johnson. He can’t do anything easily.

  21. The good news is that Jim Johnson can’t blow two saves in one game.

    I’m surprised they Nats didn’t win there. I didn’t think the Braves had a chance to get out of it only tied.

  22. Does it make any sense to bunt with Phillips knowing they will intentionally walk Freeman if it’s successful? A runner on first is still scoring position for Freddie

  23. @55 – was just thinking the same. Of course they’re going to walk him. Kemp has been a corpse lately on top of it.

  24. Inciarte should have been given a green light to run there. Let Philips and Freeman swing the bats against that bullpen

  25. Snitker isn’t much better than Frediot at in-game strategy. Fortunately he should be gone by the time we start playing games that matter.

  26. @61

    Freeman was pitching his 3rd straight day; I can respect them not pushing him into another inning.

    That’s something Fredi would’ve done to Venters.

  27. This one could very well cost us the next 2 games and suddenly we are going to be buried. Just a predictably awful loss

  28. Awful loss. Feel bad for Dickey. He was great tonight and showed some heart staying in to take out Drew after Snitker came out.

  29. Absolutely awful loss that shouldn’t have happened. Nothing gets you in my doghouse faster than giving the Nats a win when they were well on their way to a loss.

    Johnson delenda est.

  30. I admit I had gotten my hopes up a tiny bit. This loss is a good reminder that we are still just as bad as we had planned to be going into the season. Sell the vets and call up the farm.

  31. This team doesn’t have the pitching to stay in any race. The 3 decent arms in the pen have already been overused. We don’t need to fool ourselves and be buyers at the deadline. Look to trade Phillips, Adams, Dickey, Teheran, and the bullpen

  32. I’d flip AJ Minter and Caleb Dirks for Krol and Motte right now.

    Edit: Rhiner Cruz is having a good year in Gwinnett as well

  33. Yesterday morning the point was made on this Board that Albies and Acuna should both be in Washington for this crucial series. Albies for Phillips, Acuna for Kemp.I assume this would have been a FO decision to keep them back so i say FU to the FO.

    How scared and/or stupid can you be not to make the changes that all our eyes have witnessed were needed over these last few weeks? Phillips’ defense, to right or left and now center, is brutal. He made effectively the 2 mistakes that picked up Washington out of the mire in the 9th. Jim was poor but with Albies at second we win the game in regulation.

    Matt Kemp has made some pretty heroic and successful defensive plays in these 2 games which i admire. But his bat has been totally pathetic these last 2 weeks for whatever reason and continued tonight throughout the evening with runners on base culminating, of all things, when Dusty had made the lunatic decision to take out Grace for Albers, in another ground ball double to waste the runners on board.

    How can Management justify this loss when we were poised for the kill against the best pitcher in Baseball and Freddie and RA had been magnificent.There is no excuse.

  34. @82- I’m in for Albies, but I’d leave Acuna alone. Prior to this year, he’s never played more than 55 games in a season. More importantly, if you bring him up, you don’t want to send him back down unless you have to, and contractually, they’ve got to be committed to their starting OF for at least the rest of this year.

    I would DL Kemp though and kick the tires on Dustin Peterson until Kemp was 100% healthy again.

  35. @79

    Why on earth would you trade Adams for whom major changes -off to a good start- have just been made, and Dickey who has got it all together and was terrific tonight against that awesome offense?

  36. Ethan

    You are showing a similar conservative, take-no-risk bent with Acuna. We are trying to win aren’t we? And he is ready without question. And, with him, we get a darn good look at him for at least a month and i would guess indefinitely. The difference at the plate between Kemp’s bat as it is now and Acuna over 80 games could be 4 wins. What will help make up that total is his base running.

  37. Good evening, krussell. I will use one of your own words against you. He is a savant. Wise beyond his years. And ready. You must be hung up on Service Time, correct?

  38. Blazon,

    I love Acuna, but yeah, I have questions on whether a 19 year old who has played a total 55 games above A/+ Ball is unquestionably ready. His K% this year is above 25%, with a BB% of below 10%, and he’s riding a Babip of .400. Past that, while I don’t know where the kid is psychologically, I’ve seen many talented prospects crash and burn in the big leagues and never make it back.

    If there’s even a small chance you mess with the long term development of someone we all hope will be a future superstar, I question whether it’s worth it to maaaybe sniff the second wildcard.

    That doesn’t even get into what you do with Kemp when you’re on the hook for him to the tune of 50 million over the next two and a half years and he’s publicly not hiding the fact he’s pissed off about being turned into a pinch hitter.

    I respect your opinion, but just don’t think the juice is worth the squeeze at the moment.

  39. csg…OK, maybe, but look at the advantages we got out of it tonight…real flexibility with Freddie moving from 3rd to first, 2 doubles from Matt, 5 bases total for Freddie.Impressive.

  40. I’d keep Adams unless someone overpays. He’s under control for cheap next year, and even if Freddie at 3rd doesn’t work out, there are worse things than having actual quality bench players.

  41. Sadly, we’ll be reading a lot of “call ’em up” for the next couple years. When you have 9 of the top 100 prospects at any one time, there’s always going to be a failing position and a potential improvement on the farm. As sure as there will be a weakness to the roster, there will be people ready to start clocks to solve ’em.

    I think the only prospects we will see in Atlanta before the end of the year that will definitely help the team are Albies and Minter, and maybe some of the bullpen pieces. I think we should probably get used to blown saves since we won’t trade for a closer (nor should we), and there’s no one on the farm that you can trust to come in and save 98% of games. There’s just no one in the entire organization that fits that description.

  42. @94

    Ethan

    And i respect yours.

    There was a poster on TC earlier today who had been at the Acuna game yesterday and i believe used the well worn cliche ‘a man among boys’ which still sounds good to me.

    The world is changing, sport is trying to change with it. Bodies and minds are developing faster. 19 per se means nothing now, one way or the other, character beyond talent is all. Maturity. Don’t know him obviously but i would
    hazard a guess he would be at least the equal today in that department to an 18 year old we both know who performed so well on the biggest stage.

    Yes it’s risky. Every decision of consequence is. But the world is full of CMA types who look over their shoulders and risk the least exposure. I don’t want our FO to be that with all young exceptional talent, across the board. Change is happening, embrace it. Tonight was a horrible waste of great performances by others. Cheers.

  43. @ 99

    no…he had virtually nothing to do at 3rd and he switched mid game for tactical reasons. Which i now forget!

  44. No closer with more than 17 opportunities has blown a higher percentage of save chances this year than Johnson. His WHIP is 20th of the 24 pitchers with at least 11 saves (although his FIP number was kinder, at least before tonight). His WHIP since June 1 is 1.57. Of this pitcher, the organization’s major-league manager said this tonight:

    “The guy’s a horse, he takes the ball all the time. I’ve got no problem with Jim Johnson. He’s saved our rear so much.”

    There’s standing up for your guy, and there’s being detached from reality.

    Three more months of the caretaker manager.

  45. @105

    He isn’t, but an acknowledgement that JJ has been suboptimal and must improve would make more sense than the word salad he offered.

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