Braves 8, Phils 5

So far so good.

Along about the middle of the sixth, some among us despaired. After all, how often have the Braves ever come back from 5 runs down on Opening Day? Never, apparently, at least according to Mark Bowman.

It was a pretty good pitcher’s duel through 5. Julio Teheran, making his 5th consecutive opening day start, was no Rick Mahler, but he was pretty good. He only gave up 3 hits and 1 run to that point. The problem was that Aaron Nola looked more like Steve Carlton. The Braves offense through 5 was anemic; hard to say if it was weak at bats or excellent pitching–but Nola really is quite good. So 1-0 Phillies after 5.

Unfortunately, in the top of the 6th Julio remembered he was in SunTrust Park and gave up a solo shot to Cesar Hernandez. Then after two outs Teheran hit a batter and then walked a man. He was at 90 pitches for the night, and since he isn’t Tony Cloninger and the Braves aren’t managed by Bobby Bragan, it was time for Julio to call it a night. With a lefty at the plate, two on and two out, Snitker summoned Rex Brothers from the pen. If you’re going to carry Brothers in your pen, this is what he’s there for. Problem was, Brothers walked J.P. Crawford. Well, no one does their job perfectly every time. Right handed Franco coming up with the bases loaded, with the game still within reach–but the possibility of things blowing up. So of course you bring in a righty–maybe Moylan?

No, Snit left Brothers in to face the right handed hitter in the most critical at bat of the game. I think I know what happened. We all know that Rex Brothers is a Loogy. That means Lefty One Out Guy. Our manager took that literally. Brothers had not gotten an out yet, so his turn wasn’t up. Here’s the solution: Loogy needs to mean Lefty Only One Guy. If he doesn’t get the lefty out, take him out.

Anyway, Brothers walked Franco forcing in a run, and then Winkler gave up a two run single and it’s 5-0.

Fortunately, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler (who else remembers Welcome Back Kotter?) removed Nola, who had only thrown 68 pitches, in the bottom of the sixth with a runner on and one out. MVP candidate Freddie Freeman promptly hit a two run homer to bring the Braves within 3. Then in the 8th, Ozzie Albies, who may himself be an MVP one of these years, homered to center. Braves within 2! After a couple of walks, a passed ball, and a throwing error, it’s now 5-4. Preston Tucker (who will never be an MVP, but I’m glad we have him) drove in the tying run with a single.

After Vizcaino held them in the 9th, Culberson led off the bottom of the inning with an infield single, was sacrificed to second, and remained there after Ozzie flied out. Kapler had learned his lesson earlier and chose to walk Freeman and pitch to Markakis. The right call, of course, but Cakes of all people hit the walk off three run homer. What a game! And what a great way to start the season!

So what did we learn about the Braves’ upcoming season? Nothing, of course, except that we are 1-0. More importantly, we are now one game ahead of the pace set by the 1991 worst to first team. Let’s keep that up.

Folty takes the hill tomorrow. My unsolicited advice is not to spot them five runs. But if we do, we won’t give up, will we?

Author: tfloyd

Tfloyd was born on the site of Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. Before the stadium was built, that is; it was then the site of Piedmont Hospital. It took the Braves another 11 years to arrive on what is now Hank Aaron Drive, but I‘ve always liked to arrive at the ballpark early.

109 thoughts on “Braves 8, Phils 5”

  1. Great stuff. Thanks for the doubleheader today, tfloyd.

    There may not be a whole lot of games like that this year, so if you don’t love the heck out of these, you’re doing yourself disservice. That was Kakes’ first career walk-off home run!

  2. The only conclusion I can tentatively draw from the game is that the Braves bullpen may be better than Philadelphia. I think Brothers will be sent down when we need a 5th starter. Other than Rex, I think our bullpen will be decent as long as we don’t get ravaged by injury.

  3. Well, that and Markakis is definitely in the best shape of his life and will hit 35 home runs.

  4. I got tonthe game 2.5 hours early. The Battery is amazing.

    STF is far superior to Turner Field.

    It was a great game to watch and we made it back to the car just before the storm.

  5. Important to note that while Snit did his thing with the pen, he did get himself tossed in that 9th.

    First time at STP, Smitty?

  6. It’s been years and years, and…I still can’t get over what an awful writer Mark Bowman is. I don’t understand how he has the job he has. His writing is TERRIBLE.

  7. It’s either Brothers or Carle when the 5th starter is needed, but after today Brothers seems the safer bet.

    The one thing I’m curious about is what they do if they DL Flowers tomorrow. Do you bring back Rio, or make a 40 man move with Santana/Carrera? (I don’t think a 3rd catcher is required to preserve Stewart’s bat)

    Regardless, I don’t think you can understate how putrid offensively our bench is going to be until Camargo is healthy/Acuna day.

  8. @6
    I went to the first weekend last year and it seemed like a work in progress.

    The only knocks are the width of the concourse. It makes it hard to get around it. The concessions are weak, especially compared to what the Falcons have done.

  9. Every stadium’s concessions are weak compared to what United has done and graciously agreed to share with the Falcons at MBS.

  10. If you’re in the BJ Fantasy BB league, and looking at your team from yesterday, it seems that there’s a problem on Yahoo’s end. Don’t panic, they always get this stuff straightened out. It’s not something I did, etc.

  11. Thanks for an excellent recap of first game of the season. If used properly, the bullpen should be alright this year. And 3 HRs… Albies has gotten too little attention.

  12. Ozzie Albies
    has announced there will be plenty more of these
    but he gets upset when a certain voluble organ
    compares him in any way to the elderly Joe Morgan.

  13. @17

    We’re not panicking, Chief. How could we. After your handsome and abject apology to Cakes last night as his dinger left the yard we know now if there’s anyone here for a timely mea culpa it’s you.

    Glad to hear the league is going well !

  14. @15


    It seems your United can do little wrong. Who can we hire away?

    We had 40,000 last night for Opening Day. What’s your average turn out lately?

  15. As silly as it seemed to carry 3 catchers, it really didn’t take long to run out of them in one game. Snit was less than positive about Flowers’ injury. That could be a huge loss in an otherwise great day. I also finished second in that Office Trivia Night. Literally lost by one point, 102-101, while competing with 18 teams. Jan’s candles and Prince Paper’s family names, they got me.

  16. UTD averaged 48,200 per match last year. That factors in the first half of the season played at Bobby Dodd Stadium (while MSB was being completed) as well as the select games where they opened up all of MSB’s capacity and sat 70k+.

    This season, they opened with the full capacity available and set (another) league record with 72,035 fans at the home opener. (They now own the top three spots for attendance in the history of MLS.)

    The second home match of they went back to the more standard “lower bowl only” seating options and sold out again, with 45,003 in attendance.

    There is nothing I would love to accomplish more this MLB season than to replace the mawkish, outdated, stolen from FSU because Deion Sanders played there “Tomahawk chop/chant” with one or two of the UTD club songs.

  17. Great recap.

    I am all for abandoning the chop as well. It had its time, but it’s a bad look these days.

  18. Dude. The day they break out the “A-T-L” clap/chant at SunTrust is the day I promise to stop snarking about White Flight Field.

  19. Once again Chief and I couldn’t disagree more. The ATL chant would be a welcome change from the chop, which should die along with the wave.

  20. It’s not even a good chant. It’s too slow.

    And FWIW I hate the Chop with the passion of a fiery sun. Let’s have neither and just watch a baseball game without a side of kombucha.

  21. I put disrespect and intent hand-in-hand. You have to intend to be disrespectful in order to be disrespectful. The Warchant is awesome. When you’re at a Braves stadium in an exciting game where the fans are into it, if used properly, The Warchant is electric. The drum beat pounding the stadium, then the actual song, then the whistles, and then the lead back in, that’s awesome. Listen, I’m saying this as a Gator fan with our most hated rival also using the same chant.

    Change the name of it, remove all Native Americans from any signage or logos, shoot, don’t even do the chop itself, but the song is pretty great. At the new stadium on opening day last year, it was almost concussive. Drop the chop, don’t drop the chant.

  22. 32-Perhaps if it were used sparingly, that counter argument would hold some weight, but given that it’s used anytime the Braves get a base runner, then I’d say maybe 1 time out of 40 the chop/chant has the impact you describe.

    I agree that most Braves fans don’t intend to be offensive/racist by doing the chop. That doesn’t make the optics any better from the outside. It needs to go in my opinion.

  23. It’s used too often, in my opinion…like, you don’t have to have it running the entire bottom of the ninth, we get it.

    But there’s no “getting rid of it” at this point. If they did, especially in the current climate, people would freak and start a PR crap storm of the highest order, touching on all sorts of political stuff that the Braves have no interest in wading into. The mild PR hit they take in some circles from keeping it would be nothing compared to what would happen if they suddenly took it away.

    People would insist on starting the tomahawk chop on their own after all this went down, so they would never actually be rid of it, anyway. You could argue that the furor would eventually die down and it might kind of, sort of, somewhat go away, but I’m honestly not sure it’s worth it, and I can guarantee you the Braves don’t think it’s worth it.

    UPDATE: And this is if you even accept the premise that the Braves were clearly interested in getting rid of it, which is obviously not the case at this point.

  24. It’s more that the chop is trite and completely played out. The organist plays it every 30 seconds, regardless of game situation. Less is more. Save it for a night playoff game.

  25. Right. Back in the day, when I was young and virile and you boys were pooping your pants “the chant” was sort of organic and interesting. But now? It’s literally driven by the team organist and they use it, as folks have said, any time there’s a runner on first. That’s not interesting or fun.

    The A-T-L thunderclap is a build chant. It starts very slow, and then increases in tempo and measure until it eventually falls into a chaos of people shouting ATLATLATLATL!!! non-stop. It’s beautiful and gorgeous. And while the “supporters section” at UTD games isn’t *unlike* the organist at WFF, it’s still way more organic and “true” than the chant these days.

    I’d also love to import the “na-nah, na-na-na-nah, Aaaaa Teeeee Elllll” song as well as the “We Ready” riff into Braves culture. It would be true and organic and human and real, and also actually reconnect the Braves of Cobb County back to, well, you know; Atlanta.

  26. @37 – There used to be (may still be) a similar build chant at Durham Bulls games, to wit: “Bulls!” “Hit!” “Bulls!” “Hit!”.

    I don’t think it was team sanctioned though.

  27. The A-T-L chant seems really slow and boring. Is the intent to lull the opponent to sleep with repetitive slow thunderclaps?

    If it would lead to more mistake pitches from opposing pitchers, I’d be on board!

    BTW, I really hope the team never drops the chant or the chop. It would be nice if there was some way to celebrate native american culture through some of these sports teams (ie. Braves, Seminoles).

    But if that’s never going to happen, then I’d like to see the Yankees and Patriots forced to rebrand as well.

  28. Again, the thunderclap BUILDS. It assumes the audience does not consist exclusively of ADHD seventh graders.

  29. Interesting that we called up Socolovich to replace Flowers. I’m thinking we could carry 15 pitchers, 8 regulars and 2 backup catchers. As long as we teach our pitchers how to bunt that should work perfectly.

  30. @39,40

    Jesus! It’s a chant! You guys are describing it like it’s a movie or something.

    Also, throwing Atlanta United chants around and saying that all Atlanta sports teams should adopt them is probably not going to work. A lot of those are very clearly soccer chants. You might as well suggest that United start using the “Center Field” clap section for their games, or the “Charge!” trumpet thing.

    And I’m a big fan of Atlanta United BTW, just so I cut that potential undercut of this post off at the pass before it happens. But I think it’s a bit presumptuous a year in to be deciding that all these Atlanta United things are quintessentially Atlanta and that everyone should start using them.

  31. @41

    I’ve basically given up all hope of figuring out what in the living hell they’re doing with the 25-man roster at this point. They want to keep a completely expendable piece on there since they know they’re calling Acuna up this month? And that piece can’t be Stewart now, so why not an extra pitcher? I guess? I really don’t know.

  32. Ruiz is already on the 40 man and could simply be optioned back down. And since it was an injury to Flowers they don’t have to wait the 10 days since they optioned him. I don’t get it either.

  33. They’re saying they basically had no one else to call up who had options.

    The Chop should only be used close & late with RISP. I 100% agree that it’s over-used — way over-used– but that doesn’t change that it’s a really cool part of a Braves game.

  34. I think they are really trying to keep Ruiz down to develop. I don’t think Ruiz is at the point where they want to be shuttling him back and forth.

  35. Gwinnett doesn’t actually play games until next Thursday, so it’s not like he’s missing everyday at-bats.

  36. I assume you guys have forgotten that Freddie played a passable 3b for a bit last year. Something happens to an IF Cakes comes in to play 1b and Freddie moves over to 3b.

  37. My fantasy team is quite grateful that FF5 played some 3B last year. Tucker to 1b, FF5 to 3B! Print the tickets!

  38. Has anyone eaten at Murph’s? Headed to STP Saturday and wanna check it out…

    Interested to see Folty tonight and hope our offense can keep it up.

  39. Nat Lg East @ Cinci today…
    no sign of Senzel, Peraza short, Suarez 3rd,
    Scherzer 6 !P 100 pitches 10 K, no runs
    Homer Bailey ditto, 1 run
    Peraza 0 for 4, 3k’s, looked awful
    Final Nats 2 Reds 0

    no sign of Senzel…CALL !

  40. I know he just served one up, but Folty looks good. Jittery and unstable, but pitching-wise, good.

  41. Folty’s stuff is quite conducive to dreaming, when he’s painting the corners with a 98 mph heater and dropping the hook in the zone.

    Is it just a dream, or can it become reality? I still have hope that he will command both pitches consistently, but I wouldn’t stake anything crucial on it.

  42. Nice hit by Dansby there. On the radio, Powell just said he hopes Swanson hits well so that his critics will be silenced (or words to that effect).

    And new hero Flaherty with a gapper to drive him in! Who says we needed a third baseman?

  43. You normally think catchers get beat up behind the plate, but both of our guys have gotten dinged up swinging the bat.

  44. Phils are unfazed by Kakes’ HR and still won’t pitch to Freddie. Come Acuna quickly.

  45. Freeman is so good at those tough in-between hops. I know defensive stats don’t like him, but he passes the eye test with flying colors. He saves our guys dozens of errors.

  46. Assuming Culberson was going to pinch hit in the 9 spot next inning anyway, wouldn’t it have been better to leave the pitcher in the 9 spot rather than moving him up to the 7 spot?

    Edit: Or is Vizcaino going to pitch multiple innings?

  47. @91–right. The double switch only makes sense if you want Vizzy to pitch more than one inning. I’ll be shocked if he pitches the 10th. If it goes a couple more innings, you’ve got the pitcher up with no pinch hitters a couple of spots early.

  48. Strike three right down the middle, called a ball. Next pitch, sac fly. Phils take the lead.

  49. This loss and the next one is on Teheran and Folty. You can’t go to the pen this early two days in a row and expect to win. Tomorrow, Freeman, Vizzy, and Moylan will be unavailable. Your first four out of the pen will be Minter, Ramirez, and Winkler. Sweet.

    Or Bourjos could have slid right.

  50. by my count, that’s two balls to rf tonight where a plus rated fielder would have been useful (Acuna?)

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