Braves 5, Exorcised Rays 2

Wednesday following a win… almost anything could happen…. Though imagine the pressure on me if yesterday had yielded a four game losing streak.

The 35th game in 1966 found the Braves at 15-19 and 8 games out of first, ie pretty much where most of us thought the Braves would be about this time this year instead of where they are.  The Braves went into Forbes Field and beat the Pirates 4-2 before 7,642 paying spectators.  Ken Johnson threw a complete game.  Forbes Field was easily the most interesting NL park of my youth.  When it opened (well before my youth) the dimensions were 360 to left, 462 to center and 376 to right.  You needed steroids just to see all the way to the fence.  By the time the 60’s rolled around, the park was 365 down the left field line, 406 to the alley, 457 to center (where the batting cage was left in play) 375 right center and 300 feet down the right field line. The symmetry of Atlanta Stadium was way boring.

Both teams had Alous leading off. The Braves batted Aaron 3rd (he homered and doubled in 4 trips) while the Bucs countered with Roberto Clemente (1-4 with a double and an RBI).  Rico Carty replaced Joe Torre in this game at catcher, something I do not recall at all, but B-Ref informs me that the The Beeg Boy played catcher in 17 games in a 15 year career, all of them in 1966. It’s hard today to picture any team using an emergency catcher in 17 games in a single season.

Back to the future.  New parks vary dimensions to hearken back to the days of parks like Forbes Field, but the old fields weren’t trying to be cute or quirky for some lame nostalgic reason (looking at you, unlamented and gone Tal’s Hill in Houston) but because, well, it was just the way things were: old Ponce de Leon Park had a tree in center field.  And then we have parks like The Trop, whose ground rules look like a San Francisco Zoning Manual.  (Acuña had his first error when he lost one in the ceiling.)  I don’t have much else to say about Tampa Bay except that they are the only MLB team named after a body of water.

I was a little worried that pulling out of the Iranian deal would have spillover effects for Julio Teheran. But not early on… Julio Teheran apparently learned a lot from his brief time with Big Sexy  – he has picked up the vaunted Colon velocity as a stratagem, and it works, at least against the Rays.  The Rays pitched Raya Yarbrough, which I was really psyched about since I really liked her 2008 self-titled first album ( , and I had kind of lost track of her career and hadn’t realized she’d gone into baseball (and I don’t watch Outlander.)  What I learned is that she should have kept to the music career, since if you can’t avoid giving up 3 run homers to Nick Markakis you probably shouldn’t be a pitcher.  But take that pitch away and she pitched pretty well for 5 innings.

So it’s 5-0 going into the first real threat in the bottom of the 4th with a leadoff single and double.   But JT followed with 2 strikeouts and a 6-3, mixing his 89 mph fastball with 70 mph curve balls.  He was done after 6: 93 pitches, 62 strikes, NO WALKS, 7 Ks.  Sam pitched an inning, which then led to the next crisis, as Peter Moylan loaded the bases with one out leading to another high-leverage AJ Minter appearance.  He struck out Miller, but Wilson Ramos got a single past Culberson to break up the shutout.  Arodys pitched another low-leverage 9th, uneventfully though not unscathed.  Three run homers and six innings of hibernation… Yet another Wednesday win – 21-14, 1st place.  Let me know if y’all need anything else.

Author: JonathanF

Alive since 1956. Braves fan since 1966. The first ten years were pretty much wasted. Exiled to Yankees/Mets territory in 1974 --- bearable only with TBS followed by MLB.TV.

76 thoughts on “Braves 5, Exorcised Rays 2”

  1. And second best record in the National League. I also noted that even with a three game losing streak, we are 7-3 over the last 10 games. It’s all good. The bats are cooling off and the pitching is heating up. Synchronicity.

  2. .338, .419, .554. Markakis BA, OBP, SLG
    Each of those higher than FF.
    I sure wouldn’t have put money on that after 35 games. And Freeman is hitting well, OPSing 925

  3. That 3 game losing streak was some BS, the giants had something like a .500 BA on soft contact. They turned right back into pumpkins against the Phillies.

    Still concerned about the offense, but overall pleased with how things are going, assuming the marlins games are played well.

    Thanks for the recap, jonathanf

  4. Couldn’t help notice that four of nine batters were under Mendoza in last night’s lineup.

  5. I think the Joey Bats experiment will end fairly soon. I don’t know much about how he used to swing, but his long swing is reminiscent of Frenchy. He seems to be living by the motto, “Swing as hard as possible, there’s a chance you may hit it.”

  6. I don’t have much else to say about Tampa Bay except that they are the only MLB team named after a body of water.

    Sadly they only earn this distinction if you add the qualifier “in English.” Colorado and Miami are both named for rivers, and because I am an etymology nerd, I count four other teams that are technically but much more obliquely named after bodies of water.

  7. looking at you, unlamented and gone Tal’s Hill in Houston

    But I loved Tal’s Hill for this reason and this reason only:

  8. Detroit is one – though seems less oblique than Miami or Colorado. I didn’t know the origin of the southern ‘Miami.’ That’s pretty interesting.

  9. @10 AH, Detroit. That’s a good one. Kansas City was my long shot guess because of the Kansas river confluence.

  10. Something I overheard during last night’s game: After Acuna missed that pop fly, it was mentioned that the coaches were talking to him through Ozzie Albies. Does anyone else find this interesting (the concept of having to talk to players through a middle man)? We really don’t have any coaches in that dugout who can speak spanish?

  11. @ #16


    @ #15

    Right you are. I was thinking of the sound, which is named for someone else.

  12. Yeah, Detroit means ‘the Straits.’
    Toronto means ‘the Narrows,’
    from Mohawk ‘tkaronto.’
    Arizona is derived from ‘alĭ ṣonak,’ O’odham for ‘small spring.’
    And, as fans of Hamm’s beer will intuit, Minnesota means ‘clear blue water’, from Dakota ‘Mní sóta.’

  13. Terrible night all around for United at home last night. Ref took a clean and clear goal away in the 6th minute that would have put them up 1-0 and into run-away mode. Then he sent their starting keeper off on a straight red card around the 35th minute, leaving them to play 2/3’s of the match with their fourth string keep (#2 and #3 are both hurt) and only 10 men. Even then, they almost pulled out a draw.

    Ref was horrible all night. Clearly had no idea what a soccer match was supposed to look like. Here’s hoping Kansas City dies in nuclear fire…

  14. We have coaches that speak Spanish, and Acuna is learning English. But Albies is his best friend, and not only speaks his native language fluently, but does so in the same cadence and slang he would know as a 20 year old.

    Think about the slang and shortcuts a regular old English speaking American teen uses and how it might confuse Brian Snitker and friends. Now run that through Google Translate to Spanish.

  15. Would anyone else on here appreciate a filter that hides all soccer chatter? ;-)

    I mean, we might never see Sam’s messages again, but it’s a small price to pay.

  16. @18 No mention of Anaheim? The name is more explicit in its reference to the Santa Ana.

  17. Thanks for the etymology lessons… I still think Atlanta would have been way cooler with either of its prior names: Marthasville (in which current-day Atlanta would be Mayberry on ‘roids) or Terminus (a steampunk name for an overgrown giant airport, with some Asimov overtones) and if Atlanta ever gives up its nickname, I’m going for Terminators.

  18. Filters are complicated to write and implement. Just skip posts you’re not interested in.

  19. @23
    It references the river but mashes it together with the German word for home. So I reckon it means something like ‘Our home by the Santa Ana.’ Almost but not quite named after the actual body of water.

  20. Let me add to the wish list the ability to add accent marks to characters without having to use ASCII codes (e.g., Acuña).

  21. With pitching being so volatile, so expensive, and so hard to evaluate is the current predicament with our guys. There’s been this “Julio is on thin ice” thing for such a long time, and yet here we are again where he’s had a quarter of the season where he’s been quite good, and some fans are back to saying we should continue to build around him.

    Can someone explain the marked difference in bWAR for Folty and Julio? fWAR has them as similar league average pitchers (0.4 and 0.5 respectively). bWAR has Julio at 1 WAR and Folty at 0.3 WAR. Julio has pitched more innings, and therefore able to generate more value, but his FIP is considerably higher than Folty’s. That distinction is putting Julio towards the top of the leader boards.

  22. Use bWAR. fWAR uses FIP, and FIP is crazy. FIP says Peter Moylan is a quality reliever.

  23. Ah, I knew there was some reason I kinda dislike fWAR. FIP is a nice metric. I simply believe we are placing too much emphasis on strike outs.

    I don’t care if you routinely K 10 through 5 IP, you left the game too early.

  24. The vagaries of the offside rule aside, Guzan 100% deserved to be sent off. The ref was weird in a lot of things last night but the red card wasn’t really debatable.

  25. Just don’t read the soccer stuff. If blazon can have his poetry, these guys should have their Atlanta soccer.

    Plus, we’ll probably have much more southeastern (not just SEC) college football in the fall. If things get out-of-hand, then we’ll have to simply make it baseball during the season and baseball + whatever during the offseason. So don’t ruin it.

  26. Knockin’ Nick Markakis is on pace for a career high in home runs. I’m really thinking Seitzer has an approach that produces more consistent power that Fletcher/Walker ever had even though power production was at the forefront of their teaching. Both our BABIP and our power numbers have been incredible. In his 4th year, perhaps Seitzer has earned some influence on the types of players on the roster, and it’s showing.

  27. @34

    The red card was obviously deserved, and I’m pretty sure the goal was properly ruled offside, though my understanding of this portion of that rule is not 100 percent, so I could be wrong about that (and you could certainly argue, in that case, that it wasn’t clear and convincing evidence to overturn).

    The clear hand ball in the box that would’ve given us a potential game-tying penalty kick, though…not calling that was total BS. Like, what is the VAR even for?

  28. The problem with FIP is that it fails to account for exit velocity. It’s the old man’s “new stat.” Somewhere someone should be already working on a better formula for nerdy-ERA that takes the good bits about FIP (it’s not the pitcher’s fault that Derek Jeter is a statue) but improves it’s deficiencies (when they’re hitting rockets right at guys, that’s a problem, even if they’re caught.)

    FIP says a screaming line drive hit 400 feet to the centerfield gap is meaningless if it hits the wall and bounces back to a fielder. Just a double. Pitcher can’t be held responsible for that. But if that ball is lifted another half foot and leaves the park, it’s SUPER important. Cause pitchers are responsible for homers.

    I do not like FIP.

  29. I’m not denying the red card. Guzan clearly played dangerously and took down an obvious goal scoring opportunity. But if they don’t wrongly wipe off Josef’s goal, Guzan plays that more traditionally and doesn’t come out charging. The handball in the box is another obvious problem. Ref was fuggin’ horrible all night. Allowed KC to essentially mug ATL’s smaller attacking players all night long, then called penny ante crap on UTD defenders.

  30. @37 This probably won’t be a popular thing to say, but I think AA is likely creditable here too. Many players are enjoying surprising success and with so many adjustments happening with a high rate of success, I don’t believe it’s coincidental. They’re being fed good data, making the right adjustments, and seeing the success.

    Having said that, I now look at Markakis as this team’s Terry Pendleton. Early in his career, he had some power (hitting 20 homers) and even amassed a 7 WAR season. His bWAR is best on the team at 2.0. He could end up being our team MVP this year if he has turned a significant corner and rediscovered his power stroke. Just unbelievable.

  31. The same sort of offside decision happened in the Champions League game between Liverpool and Manchester City a few weeks ago. A ball in the box came off Liverpool’s player and landed at the feet of an offside Man City player who finished what would have made a 3-1 tie 3-2 and totally changed the last half of the game. In that instance it seemed like the refs thought it actually came off Man City’s player hence why they ruled it offside (and there’s no video review in UEFA).

    The upshot of this is that the consensus was the player was not actually offside since the ball came off the opposing team in a deliberate way to play the ball. So looking at this from the perspective of last night’s game if we assume the SKC defender deliberately tries to play the ball then Martinez should be onside. That Geiger went to the monitor and turned around after 10 seconds is strange. Maybe he didn’t know the rule correctly, maybe he thought the ball was not really played but just deflected from the SKC defender? Who knows, like you said he was making strange calls all night.

  32. Honestly, Geiger looked as dumbstruck and out of place all night as Christensen was when he had to go into goal. He looked like a college kid being put “in charge” and not having any clue how to do the job.

  33. Which is interesting because he was the US official at the 2014 World Cup… ostensibly the best we have.

  34. I don’t like moving the pitcher back to 9th, which is what Snit said he will do. Ender/Ozzie/Acuna/FF5 is a tremendous 1-4, and if they won’t do it 1-4, then 9-3 is just as good. I guess he just hits Ender 7th or 8th. Either way, still a very deep lineup.

  35. If he’s the best US official we have, I have to wonder if he had some debt to some KC area mafia types then. Because his decisions outside of the red card were atrocious and clearly one-sided.

  36. @45 Snitker really doesn’t like the experimental lineup, and I can’t say I really blame him. The goal is to get more at bats for your better hitters. Having the pitcher hit 8th is an anti-pattern meant to compensate for a really poor hitter.

    I expect to see Albies and Inciarte taking turns hitting lead off.

  37. Right. The nerds are all about batting your best hitter second these days. It’s all about optimizing times at bat. There’ s no reason for the pitcher’s spot to come to bat more often than Ender Inciarte. It might make sense if you’re playing Culberson.

  38. @36 plus there’s the Soccer World Cup coming up and… oh, yeah, forgot, you guys won’t participate. Sorry.

  39. Starting pitchers now rarely come to the plate more than twice. So that spot in the batting order (8th or 9th) is a place for your subs to hit for the most part. So with the game on the line, that’s a spot for Flozuki, or maybe Camargo… I don’t think it makes much difference.

  40. Tired: Braves rebuild is doomed; prospects never pan out.
    Expired: Braves will only be competitive again if they spend huge in free agency.
    Wired: The magic touch of a great GM makes all the prospects stars, and all the vets good again.

  41. Do you think ad revenue and corporate sponsorships are driving the need for a new stadium every 20 years? It seems to me that big brands might not want to pay as much to advertise in an older park.

  42. This is such an awful trend.

    Blame FIFA. Google the billion-dollars worth of stadiums Brazil built for the last World Cup.

  43. Has there actually been a ROI analysis on whether it financially makes sense for, say, Cobb County to subsidize STP? And if the numbers aren’t at least at a break even point of, say, 15-20 years (the perceived low-end of stadium life), then is there correlative evidence to prove/disprove the interest in improving a city/county’s perception/appearance? Meaning, if the numbers don’t quite make sense, are they close enough to simply help the city stay competitive with other cities as a destination for people? That’s what’s kept me from forming an opinion on this, and of course, I just spent two days at the second-worst ballpark in MLB saying that they really need a new stadium. Last year, within a week, I went to STP and the Trop, and… it’s different. Yeah, definitely different.

  44. @39 if you don’t like FIP because it fails to account for good/bad luck on home run per flyball rate… well, xFIP improves on FIP marginally by normalizing home run rate.

    There *are* pitcher metrics that account for actual batted-ball outcomes, but the best ones probably aren’t publicly available. I get the sense that it’s a rapidly developing area of nerdery.

  45. There’s a fair amount of literature on stadium economics, and no, it makes zero sense. The community will get pennies on the dollar. Most of the money will go back to the team.

    I am happy to blame FIFA for anything and everything. I don’t know if they started the trend, but as usual, they exemplify its bilious apotheosis.

  46. @56, 58 Before 58 was posted, I would have said that I’m sure the numbers are cooked in such a way as to make it appear economically beneficial, but the devil is always somewhere in the numbers. I’m sure it doesn’t ever really pay off in the way that said deal is sold to the public. Someone is walking away with a big fat pay off but I’m sure it’s not the public.

  47. This is from two decades ago — i.e., the year before the Diamondbacks’ current stadium opened:

    In our forthcoming Brookings book, Sports, Jobs, and Taxes, we and 15 collaborators examine the local economic development argument from all angles: case studies of the effect of specific facilities, as well as comparisons among cities and even neighborhoods that have and have not sunk hundreds of millions of dollars into sports development. In every case, the conclusions are the same. A new sports facility has an extremely small (perhaps even negative) effect on overall economic activity and employment. No recent facility appears to have earned anything approaching a reasonable return on investment. No recent facility has been self-financing in terms of its impact on net tax revenues. Regardless of whether the unit of analysis is a local neighborhood, a city, or an entire metropolitan area, the economic benefits of sports facilities are de minimus.

    Basically any time anyone ever studies the issue they come to the same conclusion.

  48. New stadiums are without a doubt a windfall for construction companies and real-estate developers. Those are the only people that matter – they basically run all local governments.

  49. Folty costs himself a run by his inability to sacrifice bunt Camargo into scoring position and then again his inability to score from second with two outs on a single to the outfield. He can be maddening

  50. I’m not ready to give up on Joey Bats yet, but the early returns are not promising. That swing does not look like it will play.

  51. Gohara looks off compared to last year. The delivery seems a lot less athletic; I don’t think he’s getting the same explosion from his legs.

    The velocity is also 93-96 vs the 96-99 from last year. I can see why he was getting hit in AAA.

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