Braves 7, Nats 1 (by JonathanF)

So I retired on February 1st and shortly thereafter, in an attempt to “give back,” agreed to provide recaps of Wednesday games. Appropriately enough, the first of these turns out to be a “Businessman’s Special,” a 12:10 get-out-of-town start that, when I was working, was the sort of game I forgot about altogether. As a former Businessman, I just assume that Businessman’s Special means “can be safely ignored.” Better was Skip Caray’s definition: “the day that 40 year old executives bring their 26 year old daughters to see our Braves.” Somehow my business career missed both this and the three martini lunch.

Like tfloyd, I didn’t come to the Braves. They came to me in 1966. Not Atlanta – Me. Aaron, Alou, Carty, Mathews, Torre, Cloninger and Lemaster apparently had as their mission the capture of a 10 year old mind. Against those gods that bestrode the planet, today’s competitors are well-intentioned impostors. So when the retired guy yells at the screen: “Kids, get off my field,” I mean the parking lot next to Turner Field, not the expansion of Cumberland Mall (where I perfected my video game technique when it opened, but that’s another story.) I tell you all this just to let you know where my Wednesday recaps will be coming from.

The Braves’ sixth game in 1966 was played in Philadelphia before 7,476 paying spectators. The game featured 4 HOFers and one guy a lot of people think would have been if he’d played the HOF game, Dick Allen. The Braves won 3-1 to bring their record to 2-4. Pitching for the Phillies was HOFer Jim Bunning, who, to bring this around to today, is the 10th closest to Max Scherzer in age 32 Similarity Score.

The sixth Braves game in 2018 found 29,834 spectators. Scherzer was not at the top of his game, but he had defensive assistance. In the bottom of the first, a Difo error allowed Preston Tucker to hit a wall-scraping three-run homer. Preston Tucker is easily the best Tucker we’ve had since Michael. He may well be the best Tucker in MLB history. Thurman Tucker had a year as an All Star, but it was 1944. In the second inning Scherzer got an RBI, but Folty responded with a two-run double. The critical game moment came in the top of the 6th: after one-out double, Moylan replaced Folty and sandwiched an out between a couple of walks leading to Freeman (Sam, that is) facing Zimmerman with the bases loaded and two outs. Called strike 3 on a call that could have gone either way silenced the only real remaining threat.

Minter goes 1-2-3 but stays in to face the Mormon Mahatma (Harper) and walks him, then faces Mountain Matt (Adams) but gets him to fly out. Winkler gives up a walk and gets Difo.

Two more runs in the eighth when Lane Adams walks and is doubled home by Ryan Flaherty, who then scores from second base on a two-base passed ball. Flaherty is not the best Flaherty in MLB history – yet, but he’s definitely closing in on John. Arodys did that thing a Closer™ does when not eligible for a save, giving up a walk and a single and a walk to load the bases for Harper: people say he’s talented, but even he can’t hit a 6 run homer…. and he didn’t. An legitimate application of the Infield Fly Rule followed (I’m still not over that) and Mt. Adams struck out to end it.

It wouldn’t be a JonathanF recap without a mention of Chip. I’ve mellowed post-retirement, but Chip remarking how “all of us remember that awful day 50 years ago” is odd. Chip is 53. He doesn’t.

Braves lead MLB in runs scored. They’re 4-2. I’m Tuckered out. Time for a nap.

48 thoughts on “Braves 7, Nats 1 (by JonathanF)”

  1. Thanks JonathanF.

    Things will get interesting in RF if this keeps up. AA was hired to lead the Braves going forward, and he didn’t sign Markakis to a 4-year deal. Who knows if he would have. But if Tucker is more “former prospect getting his opportunity” than “folk hero”, then Tucker is going to be earning RF playing time before too long.

    The pen has given up 5 ER in 24 innings, and while they’ve had off-days, we’ve had to go deep into the pen because of the starters’ performance. If these guys can hold up (SSS, but Freeman is on pace for 108 appearances, for instance), this is encouraging.

  2. RE: Minor league rotations

    Really looks like AA is hitting a reset button and slowing the train of pitching movement down a tick. Remember, a lot of these guys have either been on crash courses through multiple levels of the minor leagues or yo-yo’ing between the bigs and AAA. It does us no good to spend $25M on dead weight to punt on 2018 and then turn around and rush prospects. For better or for worse, hiring a new GM means he gets to speed up or slow down, and that’s his perogative.

  3. If Cakes continues to OPS above 1.000 maybe they should let him play out the contract? Acuna hasn’t taken an at bat since spring training. No need to rush *that* either.

  4. I know he has more power, but does Tucker remind anyone else of Matt Diaz. There’s a little resemblance, but it’s more in their body build and the way they run. If Tucker turns out to be Matt Diaz with power, we have a potential all star.

  5. Congratulations on your retirement, JonathanF. Enjoy.

    Good game, first I’ve watched this year. Folty throws a lot of pitches, but today most were effective. Keep it up, Braves.

  6. @5 – it’s hard to get accustomed to the new “the starter throws hard for 100+ pitches through 5 or 6 and that’s a good day” mentality.

  7. I think we should have a poll on who crashes back to Earth first: Tucker, Markakis, or Flaherty.

  8. According to mlb, Kyle Wright, Ian Anderson, Joey Wentz, Bryse Wilson, Tucker Davidson, and Ricardo Sanchez are all in A+ to start the year.

    Isn’t that 6 guys for 5 spots? Not sure why Wright wouldn’t be in AA.

  9. Of those three I give Tucker the better odds of maintaining something useful. Cakes looked done and is old. Flaherty never even had Cakes career before being as bad as he was last year.

  10. The Fire Frogs had six guys get more than 10 starts last year (plus 7 for Gohara, plus 6 for Wright.) A+ ball isn’t a hard rotational framework. It’s a development league.

  11. It’s a fair point Sam, but given Touki is really the only guy of note in AA, it would seem you could balance out the rosters somewhat. Also, if the number of rainouts they had last year is any indication, getting enough starts for 5 guys doesn’t seem the easiest of tasks.

    That said, given his performance in spring training and even the limited action in High A last year, I’d be pretty surprised if he was there for long.

  12. I was thinking of the OF situation when Acuna comes, and wouldn’t be opposed to rotating 4 guys in 3 spots (given they won’t bench Markakis). If the benched guy is the top PH, its a prorated 525 ABs per 162.

    The handedness of the 4 guys plus Acuna and Ender both being able to play center should make it pretty easy for even Snitker to manage. Tucker might turn into a pumpkin, but you can afford to find out at this point.

    Of course they’ll probably just bench Tucker and we’ll ride out the string with Neck.

  13. Adam, you have been commissioned to update the glossary. Flozuki, Neck, everything outstanding. May the Acuna be with you.

  14. Gonna be fun digging up the first-ever mention of “Neck” on Braves Journal! Anyone want to take credit?

  15. I don’t necessarily feel like anyone in particular needs to have credit for a glossary entry, but if anyone feels like they brought it here first, speak up!

  16. @8 since there’s nothing to not like about Tucker, I think he’ll be just fine. Neck will be Neck and Flaherty will probably regress quickly.

  17. Yeah, I just want to give credit to whomever made a valuable contribution to Braves Journal.

    Here’s what I got:

    Neck – Right-fielder Nick Markakis, so nicknamed for the herniated body part that sapped him of his power. Which the team knew about when it signed him as a rebuild placeholder for four inexplicable years two-time Gold Glover and Veteran Presence from Woodstock, Georgia!

    And a bonus:

    Rebuild, The – Dark Age in which the Braves churned through two now-dishonored GMs and sacrificed a chance at competing in 2015 (trading away Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, and eventually Craig Kimbrel, Andrelton Simmons, and Alex Wood) in order to reload for a period of more sustained and sustainable contention in 2017 2018 2019, we promise!! A time of prospect worship, many an all-caps garment-rending over bad trades and lower team payrolls, and a general feeling of *inhales* DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED. (Coined by Coppy, when he told Braves fans what the team was doing was totally not a Rebuild).

  18. @#4 Yes TD. I’ve thought there was something about Tucker’s body and the way he runs that reminds me of Diaz as well!

  19. If no one gives me a counter or a trade proposal on the fantasy league, I’m going to start sending one of Coppy’s 5-paragraph texts!

    Also, don’t know how to see messages from the app. That could be a problem.

  20. Mississippi starts tonight; Gwinnett tomorrow night. I’m wondering about Mauricio Cabrera’s status. I haven’t heard a thing about him, since he cleared waivers. The world is full of guys who can throw 97 these days, but 102 is different. Hope he is still in the system. Anyone read anything about him this spring?

  21. And for those who were dreaming about Charlie Blackmon he just signed an extension w Colorado

  22. Interesting info on Folty’s change.

  23. MoCab seems to be sufficiently buried on the depth chart until he throws strikes.

    Blackmon’s extension could be a reaction to “how good the FA market will be for teams”. A lot of these guys will extend out, and all of a sudden all these dollars we’re saving is going to a FA class that’s not as good as expected.

  24. The fact that the strike three call on Zimmerman could have gone either way is a sad comment on the pitiful umpiring at home plate. The pitch was clearly in the strike zone and if the MLB used available technology it would be called a strike 100% of the time. Thus baseball would survive.

  25. @4, 24 – his body/stance kept reminding me of someone and I thought Alex Wood. But Diaz – yes!

  26. @RobCope

    I made it clear that Ohtani was to be owned in our league only as either a hitter or a pitcher. He was already owned as a pitcher. And you added him. Most leagues are treating this this way.

  27. The only reason the called strike three to Zimmerman was “questionable” is because Zimmerman ran to first on a clear strike as if it were a ball, because he’s so used to high strikes NOT being called.

  28. I would love it if the Braves could strike a long-term deal to Albies. I’m not expecting that it’ll turn out like the Astros and Jose Altuve, but I’m also not *not* expecting it to, if you catch my drift.

  29. This is my silliest sincerely-held conspiracy theory: I think ESPN is deliberately delaying its weekly Power Rankings because they would rather not put the Braves in the top 5 and acknowledge that they’re presently tied with the world champs for best run differential in MLB. We’ll have plenty of misery ahead, ESPN, just give us this!

  30. Haha…I just saw the highlight where Kapler played Nick Williams at softball rover depth and got burned last night.

    Lord, I hope they don’t fire him; this is enjoyable.

  31. @31 wholeheartedly agree. In addition, all the hand wringing over pace of play boils down to the strike zone and how it is enforced. The nature of the game is that more offense and shorter games are simply irreconcilable.

  32. facepalm. I never considered that before. So the problem is not 3.5+ hour games? Well then, simple answer, outlaw velcro. done. problem solved.

  33. @41 But needing 7 pitchers to go 11 innings is straight nonsense. I simply can’t understand how an 11 inning game lasts for 4 hours.

  34. He could throw 202, and it doesn’t matter when he makes Sean Newcomb look like Greg Maddux.

  35. For all the guff that he takes, there have been about 25K worse miLB baseball players than Tim Tebow since 1871.

    He hit a three run HR today in his first AA AB.

  36. True point about Mo’s command… but for part of one season, he found it, and was successful enough to give all of us optimism. I’m just glad to hear he’s still in the org, and at least will be given a chance to flip that switch. He better do it soon though, not many chances left.

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