The 101 at Bastogne, Braves 2, Rangers 8

I am trying hard to do my duty in a most inglorious operation. For Braves fans and many of the players, all we have left is to soldier on in deplorable conditions and try to hold on for reinforcements. Maybe the victory will come, and in fact, probably the victory will come, but not for now.

R. A. Dickey is worthy of being an honorary member of the 101 (101st Airborne Division). He gives you what he has. He soldiers on. He actually has been pretty good overall this year. But last night was not his best work. Kind of like the bridge at Son.

Ironically, the great knuckleballer of my childhood, Phil Niekro, threw out the first pitch last night. Even for Phil, sometimes the knuckler doesn’t seem to knuckle correctly, and when it doesn’t, it isn’t pretty. Like when Elvis Andrus took one out in the first. 1 to 0 Rangers.

The other knuckleball problem is when you walk bunches of people. Like in the 2nd. Walk, double, walk, sac fly, passed ball. 2 runs in and it is 3 to 0. Then, in the 3rd, out, double, triple, sac fly and 2 more runs are in.

Finally, in the 4th, Braves got 2 on a Matt Adams homer. That ended the run scoring for the Braves.

But the Rangers weren’t through. No, they were Woodrow Call tough on this night. When you catch Cherokee Jack, you drag him almost to death. Then, you get him to give you the info you want in exchange for agreeing to a quick death. Three more runs, but only one after switching to Matt Wisler.

So far, the reinforcements seem like the cooks that were given rifles and not like Patton’s armored column. So we continue to sit in the snow with little food, little ammunition, but with a smidgen
of hope. It is all we have left.

44 thoughts on “The 101 at Bastogne, Braves 2, Rangers 8”

  1. Wow, Gohara is starting tonight. Awesome. They are really stretching him out. So, an 7-man rotation?

    21-year-old lefty Luiz Gohara will start tonight for #Braves in his major league debut. Hasn't been announced yet, but will be.— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) September 5, 2017

  2. Even if this is just one start as a reward for an awesome season, how can one not be excited? This kid is the real deal.

  3. I’m irrationally anxious about this. We are now hitting the ‘rubber meets the road’ part of the rebuild as the key prospects start trickling up to the big club. Swanson’s turnaround was nice, Ozzie is exciting and can’t wait for Acuna, but the success or failure of Coppy’s tenure will be determined by how the pitchers compete.

    and yet, it’s only one start.

  4. You now have 6 pitchers under 26 in this new 7-man rotation if you count Fried and Gohara. Obviously I’m ahead of myself a tick.

    I also find it interesting that they’re moving Teheran back another day. He was already going to have an extra day’s rest and now he’s getting another. It’d be nice if increased competition brings out the best in Teheran.

  5. Camargo activated, Santana called up as well.

    Braves now have the 5th youngest roster in baseball. We also have the oldest player of any of the top 15 youngest teams. If you removed Dickey, who is truly a fish out of water with the young teams in baseball, we’d have the second-youngest team in baseball. So with all of the “why all of the veterans on the team?”, it’s really just about Dickey, and he’s fine.

  6. @8, if you could do with our corner outfielders what you are proposing with Dickey, we could be in business. Oh, and that bullpen could use some culling

  7. Luiz Gohara
    Is gonna be a starr-a.
    At least in his native Brazil
    Where Braves fandom will become quite the thrill.

  8. John R…good to see you back

    fair dinkum on Luiz

    whaddya think of Scarlett O’Ghara from Tara? Deathly silence to this point!

    How’s the weather forecast down there for tonight?

  9. @ 13


    Woodrow Call
    i simply cannot recall
    a slugger/a General?
    his toughness, for me, sadly ephemeral.

  10. methinks that blazon is playing a wordsmith’s game. Such a man of letters should certainly be familiar with Larry McMurtry’s fictional man of the West (he and Augustus McCrae were based off of real people, Goodnight and Loving for whom the “Goodnight – Loving Trail” was named).

    In the event not, Woodrow Call was a Texas Ranger whose stoicism and toughness are such as to scare Walker, Texas Ranger.

  11. @14, I award you full props for Scarlett O’Ghara. I can even hear Berman’s voice in my mind’s eye (…mind’s ear?). Should have applauded you earlier, but I’m barely watching the Braves at this point.

    Tonight’s start is must-see though. Especially when we have a guy fatter than me on the mound.

  12. Would be very surprised if they play this game tonight. Storming here in birmingham, al and it’s heading that way

  13. The front is here now, we’re gonna have a long delay but you gotta think they’ll try to get it in even if it starts at 10:30. Rangers are still in the playoff mix and a double-header tomorrow isn’t ideal.

  14. We gave up Mallex Smith and Shae Simmons. So far it looks like one of the best trades of the rebuild. Maybe *the* best.

  15. @14, Scarlet O’Ghara was “give a damn” good. I’m in Colorado visiting family with limited internet access. Boarding a plane tomorrow to help my folks secure their property and possibly evacuate. Strangely, there were lots of seats and cheap fares available on flights to Orlando at a moment’s notice. Now’s the time for that cheap Florida vacation, y’all!

  16. @16

    cliff…no games i promise…we Scots are not well read on Larry McMurtry and his characters. What we do know a little about in this genre is Cormack McCarthy and his Border Trilogy plus some of the dystopian stuff that followed. All The Pretty Horses is Pretty Special.


    krussell, thanks much for the weather updates. Will hang in there. Something else please. You remember a couple of months back or so you introduced the concept of ‘a baseball savant’, explained it and identified a player you thought worthy of that title. I approved, applauded. The embarrassing thing about being old is 2 months in memory is a long time and i cannot remember anything else than what’s above. When you have a moment could you repeat please, thanks.


    Good Will Hunting
    makes no apparent reference to bunting
    mathematically simplistic
    the savant prefers dilemmas a tad more heuristic.

    Ian Kroll
    his name was first discovered on a dead sea scroll
    brought to task by Moses
    who said he was the first he saw who leftie throwses.

  18. On second thought, the shape of the storm front doesn’t look good for baseball tonight. We’ll be playing 2 tomorrow. Gohara will make his debut in front of several dozen fans.

  19. Apparently we are going to a 6 man rotation including Gohara and Fried. Sims is going to the bullpen.

  20. @28

    Thanks for times, i should read before i write…I suspect not a few will find a reason they have to see a client etc this afternoon.


    Staggering news that you are not in perfect physical shape…we always assumed that your biting, cutting edge critiques were a manifestation of your quest for perfection in all things. Cheers.

    What’s the weather forecast for this afternoon, anyone know?

  21. I imagine even Atlanta will get its own problems with hurricane rains, so it’ll be interesting to see if this 6-man rotation comes to fruition at all.

    But Sims to pen. He got 7 starts. I don’t really have an issue with the events so much as the process. Is this what they’re going to do with Fried, Gohara, Allard, Soroka, Weigel, etc.? You get 7 starts, and you’re off to the pen! Hard to really understand how they plan on giving these SPs a fair shake.

  22. I really want to DVR the first game today, mostly to watch Gohara’s debut. I have Direct TV, and the MLB package, but I’m not seeing the early game on the guide. Anyone have some insight for me?

  23. Newcomb’s burned me on the “he’ll learn to throw strikes at the big league level” thing. Gohara’s walk rate ticked up quite a bit with the more discerning AAA hitters (4.1/9), so my candle has dimmed a little bit with the debuts of pitching prospects. I’m concerned this is no more than a “throwing spaghetti against the wall” thing, except your wall is not big enough to hold all of the spaghetti and you were really hoping the wall would clean soon. Or something. I suck at analogies.

  24. @33, I’m old, have a bunch of kids, and I like beer – all things conspire against staying at optimal fighting trim. I guess that’s why I love it when I see ball players that are on the hefty side.

    I haven’t seen Gohara pitch much except in video clips, but I can’t help but think of Sid Fernandez. If we get something close to that then I’ll be very excited.

  25. 4.1 BB/9 is very manageable in MLB especially when the K-rate is so high. If you’re not excited about Gohara and what he can bring, might as well log out for the next 4 years. His ceiling is as high as anyone’s in the system, and much more of an exciting prospect in comparison to Newcomb whose BB-rate has never been manageable.

  26. @37
    understood, fine answer.

    I Have Dish so i can’t be sure what will work for you but i suspect that 1.30 game, unscheduled, will show up any moment for you to set it up.

  27. Let’s be honest here, outside of Newcomb the guys that came before have been hopes more than expectations:

    1. Wisler: 3 straight years of inflated ERA in Minors when he was called up.
    2. Blair: 4.65 ERA at AAA before being called up.
    3. Folty: converted to pen before being acquired due to inability to keep BB-rate down in Houston, traded to Braves, had a small sample of good work, promoted to ATL on the wings of that sample size, not the body of work prior.
    4. Newk: Same struggles at AAA that is present in MLB.
    5. Sims: 3 straight year in MILB of 4+ ERA ball, finally got it below 4 at AAA due to an increase in Ks and decrease in BBs. However, still very hittable. Came to the MLB and teams teed off.
    6. Fried: TJ in ’15, gained control back at end of ’16 for Rome’s playoff run. Has shown glimpses of being that pitcher again, but it’s still the “throwing spaghetti on the way” cliche.

    Of the above 6, I’d say it was a stretch to look at Wisler or Blair and think MLB pitcher, was a stretch to see Folty as MLB starter, was a stretch to see Newk to be MLB-ready, and was as stretch to see Sims as MLB-worthy.Fried is hard and my jury’s still out as TJ is frickin’ weird and he was damn good before, has been brilliant in stretches since, and has also been downright awful.

    But Gohara? His body of work compared to the aforementioned guys isn’t even worthy of comparison. Upper 90s fastball, devastating slider, developing changeup, and a phenomenal line supported by both basic and advanced metrics.

    With the above debuts, it’s easy to become meh…but Gohara is a different prospect…and there’s about to be a WHOLE LOT of that coming soon with Soroka, Allard, Wright, and many many more.

  28. I’m going to go out on a limb and say I think Fried will have a better career than Gohara (and I really like Gohara). I just think Fried has ace potential and can reach that potential if he stays healthy.

    Ryan is exactly right that the 5 that proceeded these two aren’t really on the same level, though most of them have at least shown flashes especially Folty.

  29. @40 I like Gohara a lot, but Newk has basically all of the same attributes: big-bodied lefty with a high-octane fastball, a deadly breaking pitch, and still working on developing a consistent changeup. Newk is older and his command problems appear marginally worse, but by and large they look pretty similar. I’m not saying all of this as a knock on Gohara – rather, I think it’s far too soon to judge Newcomb as a real disappointment. I think Folty *and* Newk will both be valuable assets for the Braves as early as next season… not 15+ game winners or anything, but 10+ wins or high-leverage bullpen arms.

    @41 I recall reading that Fried was hitting 97 last year in the AFL… I didn’t really see a power pitcher in his start vs. the Cubs. If he can get that fastball back to pair with his wicked hook then he could be good. Not really relevant, but visually he reminded me a bit of Mike Minor on the mound.

    @42 Acuna looks to be the real deal – he hits for average and power (including power to the opposite field), runs and fields well. The Braves’ lineup is going to look a whole lot better next season when Acuna joins Freeman as power fixtures in the middle of the lineup…

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