Braves 7, New York 0 – Sean Newcomb’s Best Career Start

When writing up a game pitched by Sean Newcomb, you think you’ll inevitably have to address his walks. In 100 IP last year, he struggled with a 5.13 BB/9. His entire minor league career is similar to that. “Sean Newcomb” and “walks”, sadly, go hand-in-hand. Not tonight. A day after Mike Soroka pitched a very efficient and effective game, Newcomb went and did the same. Jacob deGrom had to leave early, so it wasn’t quite the pitcher’s duel it could have been, but Newcomb held up his end of the bargain. His line for his night was his best ever: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. A seven-inning performance is what we like to call an Atlanta Complete Game. Make no mistake about it: this is a very encouraging sign for Sean. His BB/9 is down over a full walk to 3.9, the best mark at any stop of his professional career.

The blowout final score is a little misleading as the Braves went scoreless through the first five innings. deGrom was pitching well, and after he left to injury, Paul Sewald kept them scoreless for another inning. But Ender Inciarte, who is waking up from his slow start to a .282 BA and his discipline and power trending upward, had a double and Freddie Freeman knocked a 2-out flare to break the scoreless tie. The floodgates would open as Ender, Johan Camargo, and Ryan Flaherty would all go deep in the 7th and 8th innings. The result was the second consecutive double-digit hit parade, and the rout was on. Freddie and Markakis had 3 hits, and Ender had his 2.

It’s May 2nd, and the Braves are now a first-place team. This team is compared to the 1991 Braves, and by their 29th game of that year, that team was starting to hit its stride. That team began 8-10, but they then went on a 17-9 run. But beware: after that point, their next 29 games saw them go 12-17. This young team could easily fall into a slump so my advice is to enjoy the moment. Enjoy Ronald Acuna‘s development. Enjoy Nick Markakis‘ resurgence. Enjoy Sean Newcomb finding the strike zone. Enjoy a rebound outing by Sam Freeman. Just enjoy it. We haven’t had it as bad as other franchises, but no one likes 3 years of losing. But this could be a year of a lot of winning, and who knows where this team will be at the end of the year, so do your best to just enjoy it.

118 thoughts on “Braves 7, New York 0 – Sean Newcomb’s Best Career Start”

  1. Best run differential in the National League…who would’ve thought.

    For at least one night, the Simmons trade doesn’t look so bad

  2. I am honestly a fan of Newcomb. As a prospect he is wonderful but he has to forever live up to the Simmons trade expectation which is a bit unfair to him. I really want him to do well and I think he will become a better pitcher than Folty.

    We are in first place!!! Boy…this is where we belong with the new ballpark. Keep it up!!!

  3. I watched the Mets broadcast tonight. I liked their crew, but missed the Braves guys. What was up with Dansby leaving the game? Mets announcers didn’t have any info for us.

  4. Re Dansby: Sore wrist, precautionary apparently.

    Given how Camargo’s been swinging the bat, seems a decent excuse to get him in the lineup tomorrow…especially with a lefty on the mound.

    I’ll be curious to see how they do. Vargas is the epitome of a soft tossing lefty, and I don’t think we’ve faced one yet this year as a SP.

  5. Rob..well said

    Bizzaro

    Raw greed…in a first for Major League Baseball players and umpires could be seen scrambling in the dirt driven by the sheer lust for Cespedes’ diamonds. Apparently he himself got only two back – the second base umpire is under review.

  6. Game 1: 2 hours, 43 minutes.
    Game 2: 2 hours, 24 minutes.

    It’s like they remembered what a baseball game was supposed to look like.

  7. Love the recap, Rob. Great message. Savor the way this team is playing right now. It’s a glimpse of what could be to come. The ’91 Braves were up and down before they went on a tear. I don’t expect Albies to be out of his mind all season long. You sorta have to expect that the wunderkinds will hit their share of rough patches, and when they do we will need this rotation to be the foundation of hopefully a playoff run.

    Something else I’ve wondered: as well as Flaherty, Camargo, and Markakis are playing, if it continue into the trade deadline, should this team look to add another bat? At the present, everything but the bullpen appears to be overflowing, and I really wouldn’t think we need to look outside the organization for additional pieces just yet.

  8. Sam (and everyone else), I made a minor change to the hyperlinks display. Let me know if it’s good or needs to go.

  9. Something else I’ve wondered: as well as Flaherty, Camargo, and Markakis are playing, if it continue into the trade deadline, should this team look to add another bat? At the present, everything but the bullpen appears to be overflowing, and I really wouldn’t think we need to look outside the organization for additional pieces just yet.

    If you can get Manny Machado for a reasonable rate, you go get Manny Machado. Ryan Flaherty is not Manny Machado.

  10. @Rob, Lovely recap, thanks. Nice to have some wins to write about, isn’t it?

    At the risk of coming off like an ingrate, though–I don’t really appreciate the embedded videos. There are a lot of places to get Braves highlights, and there aren’t many places to get a good, legible Braves discussion.

    I suppose it’s nice to have that power, but a little restraint would go a long way toward keeping this place friendly on the eyes. I think hyperlinks–especially now that Hap has fixed them–are a far less obtrusive way to bring video into the discussion.

    (You know I’m not an ingrate, right? I love that you’ve taken over the stewardship of Bravesjournal.)

  11. The thing that scares me most about the future of this team is Bautista is starting to hit at AAA. Go Braves! Let’s sweep.

  12. @ #17

    To quote former Georgia governor and U.S. senator Eugene Talmadge, “I concur.” Well said.

  13. Up to 18.7% in the FanGraphs playoff odds. It was at 14.5% yesterday.

    Getting interesting…

  14. @17, 19 What devices do you guys normally browse Braves Journal with (ie. mobile, tablet, desktop)?

    I also agree with the feedback. The embedded video linkage is new, and obviously it will look better when Rob gets the dimensions sized correctly. More importantly, though, is how these pages load across commonly used devices. So feedback regarding page loading and usability with with the videos and ad placement is valuable for him to know.

  15. @14 Hap/Rob

    Is it possible/desirable to reduce the probationary 5 minute period between posting and it appearing? What’s fine on a Monday morning is a nuisance once a game gets underway and may help account for the light traffic we have then. Any post you write can be rendered laughable/irrelevant by events on the field. Cheers.

  16. I miss looking at playoff odds. I don’t miss the Fredi version, where it goes from 90% in July to eliminated in the last series of the season or whatever. This way is much more fun.

  17. Donny @ #19

    I read Braves Journal on my laptop, but I will occasionally use my smartphone.

  18. I think at this stage of the season one of the biggest determinants of our playoff odds will be the Nationals disabled list. If Daniel Murphy and Adam Eaton are both out for most of the first half, that team looks a whole lot thinner. Obviously, that team ALWAYS underperforms and they ALWAYS complain that it’s because of injuries, but that’s a big part of what makes them so joyously easy to root against.

    The numbers don’t believe in us yet. If our offense keeps hitting like this in early June, we’ll start to look like we can control our own fate.

  19. I read mostly on my phone. Like the styling on the hyperlinks. Thumbs down on embedded videos unless y’all promise to keep it to one or two at most per thread.

  20. I went to see the M-Braves play the Blue Wahoos in Pensacola last night. Kyle Wright was pitching. He has a drop and drive delivery, and he seems fairly comfortable pitching out of the stretch. I could be mistaken, but it looked to me like he threw mainly fastballs. He lost the lead in the fourth, regained the lead in the fifth, and looked confident in the bottom half of the inning.

    Austin Riley was responsible for most of the Braves’ scoring, but he is really going to have to improve his defensive game if he ever hopes to play in the big leagues. He’s slow, and he doesn’t get in front of balls. The Braves had a shift on, in which he covered the left side of the field; they would have been better off leaving the shortstop over there.

    But he absolutely crushes the ball, so there is that. Not a bad situational hitter, either.

    Alex Jackson is hitting .200. Travis Demeritte looks like a fourth outfielder at best. He can work the count to take a walk, for what that’s worth.

  21. The size of that YouTube is egregiously large. Instead of including a link to the box score like was done in the past, I thought linking a small(er) version of the highlights was a supplement.

  22. @27, 28 Do these feelings extend to embedded twitter posts/videos in comments as well? How do you feel about images/animated gifs in comments? Also, the embedded youtube video has been resized to fit correctly. Does this change your initial opinion of it?

    Also, these questions are open to everyone to respond to.

  23. Reloading the comments (something we all do quite a bit) can be slow af on a phone if there’s a lot of embeds, youtube seems especially bad sometimes.

    TalkingChop is almost unusable on a phone. I don’t want this place to follow suit.

  24. My personal wish is for separate mobile and desktop versions of Braves Journal. When I’m on desktop, I don’t mind embedded media and/or advertisements, but when I’m on my phone the images take up a lot more screen real estate. It’s still usable, but I think the mobile site can do more to minimize the page footprint (for those who are bandwidth conscious).

    There’s a lot we could do with a mobile version of the site, such as not loading any embedded media, but at least some of this is dictated by the supported features of the word press theme.

  25. Without having to develop an HTML5 site that is responsive to device, a simpler solution might be to teach the recappers to embed that one highlight reel into their recaps, and thus have it not weigh down the comments.

  26. Hang in there with Demeritte guys. He’s going to be a late bloomer. He has “Dan Uggla” (the good kind) written all over him except he’s a better fielder. If he can hit .260-.280, he’ll be a star, but at .190-.200, he’s a bust.

  27. @13 Yes, I think we need another bat. One with HRs attached. How often do you think Flaherty, Camargo, and Inciarte are going to HR much less in the same game? And I do not believe in Bautista one bit. I am in favor of a rental because I think Riley will be “it” but he’s not quite ready, maybe September. And in another year or two, Jackson. And next year, we need a RF. Pache is a Bryce Harper opt out away from being ready.

  28. Bad news re Riley’s defense. What can be done?

    Move him to LF. Move Acuna to RF. Trade for and extend Manny Machado instead of signing Bryce Harper.

  29. One way to make Julio Teheran more appealing is to have him start against Jason Vargas. 3-0 Braves after a half inning in not-Shea.

  30. Sam, I am stuck in the office for the day (I usually work from home) so this is the only way I can follow the game. Please keep the important updates coming.

  31. Jules is perfect htrough two. Ronald singled, but got picked off top 3. Nick has another single.

  32. @40 There is that.

    @42 Me neither regarding Bautista.

    @45 I haven’t been fully sold on dealing for Machado. I used to hate Bryce Harper, and now I want that guy on the Braves — no matter how unrealistic that could be.

  33. Fearing no jinx above or below, I’ll note that Jules is now perfect through 3.

  34. We’re running a proto-Coxian getaway day lineup today, for the record. Culberson at 3B. Carmago at SS.

  35. Culberson singles. Julio bunts him over. Ender walks. 2 out and the A’s coming up.

  36. All, remember that Manny Machado is a SS not a 3B. He won’t sign any contracts to play 3B. I also think you guys are dead wrong about Riley’s defense from only one observation (especially a game where he made an error). Scouts are giving him decent grades for defense now – average. Harper is the best FA bet around. Machado also just recently said he was not going to sign any extensions unless he was “blown away”. Basically said that every player wants to be a FA and he’s not going to miss his chance.

  37. Maybe I’ll relax my old-man stance here…if yall want to put full-screen video of Acuna upper-deckers in the comments, I’m ok with it.

  38. @57 – I think you’re right. Scouting reports have said that Riley’s defense has gotten better each pro season. And, he’s said to have a result strong arm.

  39. @69- 451ft, 112mph exit velocity, 27 degree launch angle. It looked like it went those 451 feet in about half a second- that ball left his bat like a bullet.

  40. 2 out, 2 on, 6 in, top 5. Vargas pulled. Matt Harvey in for relief. How the mighty have fallen.

  41. No, they claimed him off waivers from the Reds. He’s on the 40-man, but he has an option left, so he’s in Gwinnett.

  42. So, he’s through five. And he walked that one guy. But otherwise, he’s still doing that thing that is somewhat rare. And it’s Julio.

  43. @68 Originally, folks were in quandary whether to draft Riley as a pitcher or 3B. The arm has never been a question. He has a cannon.

  44. Charlie gets in on the actoin with an RBI single. 7-0. But the story isn’t about the offense at this point.

  45. If Teheran’s spot comes up a second time this inning, does Snit let him hit for himself again?

  46. This might be a bit on the conservative side…but…Albies/Acuna/Freeman is the best 1 through 3 in the history of baseball.

  47. Jules tiring. Follows up the double with a walk. 2 on, 2 out. 11 run cushion helps. Get the last out of the seventh, Julio.

  48. He loaded them up, but got the final out of the 7th. 95 pitches. His day should be done. He has a game score of a clean 80 today. Vargas has a game score of 9.

  49. There’s so much trash drifting across the field in the top of the 9th…

    (I know I shouldn’t talk about Mets players like that!)

  50. Julio. Julio! Love this guy.
    Best series ever? Maybe. M-M-M-M-Mike Soroka, Newk, Julio. Best case I thought would be 2 out of 3, realistically 1 win. This team is kinda good.

  51. Fun with numbers
    We outscored the Mets 20 to 2 and we’ve won our last 5 games by a combined score of 34 to 4.

  52. While I don’t actually believe Soroka is the Strike Whisperer, I do feel like these guys are at a point where they are starting to compete with each other. Ie. Soroka had a fantastic debut, but Sean Newcomb just had to take it a step further, and then, of course, today Teheran took a no-no into the 7th inning. He was not to be overshadowed. I’m speechless. The poor Mets never stood a chance.

    So, Folty, what have you got for us?? Before this series, we were sure you were the closest thing to an ace for this team.

    I like it. I hope it continues all season long. The early ’90s Braves featured a lot of young pitchers one-upping each other night after night.

  53. I love 538 analyses. What they’re ultimately saying is that when FG predicts the Braves to win 81 (before today’s game), it really means we should win 84 as of the current prediction. That is borderline playoff territory (as of now FG thinks it would take 87 wins to get into the WC).

    It also says these statistics become statistically relevant after about 70 games. So holding our collective breaths until then to see where we stand. By the end of May, AA should be looking how to plug any holes and provide additional upgrade boosts to get over the top.

  54. From the ESPN recap:

    Vargas lowered his ERA from 22.09 to 16.20 despite giving up six runs and 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings

    LOL Mets

  55. You guys are slipping. My fun with numbers above should be 21 to 2 vs the Mets and 35 to 4 over the last 5. I ripped the Braves off by a run.

  56. #114

    No, that umpire at second base ripped the Braves off for a run when he called Ozzie out for “running out of the baseline.”

    I’ll get over it.

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