Braves 2 runs, Mets 2 hits

Sometimes 1966 is intrinsically more interesting than 2018, so I’ll dwell on 1966 a bit more than usual today.

Sixty six games into the 1966 season, the Braves were now in full reversal of the current pleasant surprise: 28-38, a full 12 games out of first place. The 67th game was a tough 2-1 loss in 11 innings. All-Cruelty team member Bob Veale threw a complete game, 11 inning, 5 hit gem. Naturally, Hank Aaron hit a homer for the only Braves run, his 23rd on the season, which tied up the game in the 8th. The Braves lost the game in the 11th when submarining Ted Abernathy gave up a homer to Willie Stargell. Roberto Clemente knocked in the first Pirates run.

An interesting strategic note on the game, one which shows just how much the game has changed. Here was the Braves’ 10th inning at the plate:

1. Woody Woodward, batting 8th, pops out.
2. Ted Abernathy, the pitcher, hits for himself and strikes out.
3. John Herrnstein, who had substituted in left field for Rico Carty several innings earlier is pinch hit for by pitcher Tony Cloninger, who also strikes out.

Now let’s be clear: the Braves weren’t out of pinch hitters. Indeed, after Cloninger struck out, Gary Geiger came in to play left field. Geiger was hitting .228 at the time with a .677 OPS. Cloninger, a good hitting pitcher (just wait for his most famous game at the plate coming up real soon) was hitting .179 with a .559 OPS. And there were certainly plenty of pitchers available if you wanted to pinch hit for Abernathy as well. True, Geiger was a lefty, while the big fella from Iron Station, NC was a righty and was used as a pinch hitter with some regularity. But just try to picture a major league manager doing that now.

This game also had an unusual Retrosheet play which was actually really important in the game. Retrosheet gives a coded description of every play. Deciphering Retrosheet descriptions of plays is fun once you get the hang of it for games you didn’t see. (For example, Sid’s Slide is S7/L7S.3-H(UR);2-H(UR);1-2, meaning a Line drive single to short left, runners on 2nd and 3rd score unearned runs, runner on first goes to 2nd. The biggest problem with Retrosheet notation is that you don’t really show plays not made, so the description would have been the same whether Bonds threw home or not.)

In this game, in the top of the fifth with 2 outs and Bill Mazeroski on 2nd and Donn Clendenon on first and Veale at (or perhaps on) the plate we get this play: S8/G.2-3;1X3(85) Veale singles on a grounder to center and Clendenon is thrown out at 3rd (8-5) before Mazeroski can score from 2nd. Nice play by Felipe Alou from center field. With Retrosheet I can just about picture it, though I’m not sure what Mazeroski was doing, and Retrosheet ain’t talking.

OK… back to current reality. Once again, we play the Mets, this time on a getaway 12:10 start. I have lived in the NYC area for over 30 years now, and I’ve only met about 7 Mets fans. Indeed, the best Mets fan I know is a NY transplant to Atlanta who I met in Junior High in 1970. He still, inexplicably, roots for the Mets, currently from Barcelona. If I were a Mets fan that’s about as close as I’d want to live to the current team as well. (Hey Billy: if you read this feel free to explain yourself in the comments.)

It’s actually quite odd. I don’t literally mean that there are no Met fans. I go to a few games a year, and I don’t think the people who cheer when the Mets accomplish something are Audio-Animatronic cyborgs or anything. And SNY broadcasts all the games, and I presume it’s not just for the fans of other teams. And it’s not because the Mets are bad. I have rooted for a team that from 1966-1990 had two postseason appearances and not a single postseason game won, a team that from 1975-1990 finished last or next-to-last 75% of the time. And it’s not because there’s another better team in town: the Cubs were always more popular than the White Sox and the more popular Red Sox ran the objectively better Braves out of town. I think it’s more like the Pauline Kael theory: Ms. Kael, when asked about the 1968 election, said; “I don’t know how Nixon could have won. Nobody I know voted for him.”

By the way, if you haven’t seen it, watch this video from Syndegaard’s ejection in retaliation for the Dark Lord breaking Tejada’s leg. (note that the end has some salty language):

So the Mets pitched their really good pitcher, Jacob deGrom, against Mike Soroka. It was deGrom’s 4th start against the Braves this season. deGrom has a 1.57 ERA, which is actually higher than the Mets’ average runs scored in the last 10 games. After 3 ½ hitless innings, Dansby doubled and Freddie singled him home. Not quite enough… we’re still probably going to need another half-run.

Soroka was so intimidated by deGrom that he was afraid to give up a hit until the 7th. Once he gave up a single he lost all confidence and was only allowed one more batter, Frazier, whom he struck out. Rookie nerves, I guess. Minter erased the “threat,” which is apparently the baseball code one uses when the Mets get a baserunner.

The Braves managed to turn back-to-back doubles into no runs in the bottom of the 7th.

Winkler pitched the 8th. deGrom, disgusted, refused to pitch the 8th, so Blevins let Freddie hit a homer to make it 2-0. He’s 12-23 against Blevins lifetime – that’s obviously why you put Blevins in the game in that situation.  That provided the other half-run with a half-run to spare.

Vizzy pitched the 9th. He allowed 2nd and 3rd with two outs and popped up The Boss to end the game.  Bring on the Friars Club.

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.

75 thoughts on “Braves 2 runs, Mets 2 hits”

  1. “My ass is in a jackpot”? Didn’t the Mets announcers explain what that meant today?

    Great recap, cliff. Hank had 23 HRs at this point. Sheesh.

  2. Remember back in April, when the Mets were 12-2 or whatever, and there were comments on this very site about how they were going to be good this year?

    Pepperidge Farm remembers.

  3. Remember back in early June when the Nationals were like 9-1 over their last 10 and they were poised to move to the top of the division?

    I don’t give a rip what Pepperidge Farm remembers. Those **** suckers have lost 6 of their last 10 now. Stay down, *****es.

  4. That video is pure gold. Also, nice recap. It should also be mentioned that the Braves played some terrific infield defense in this game. Very enjoyable.

  5. I can’t believe I was offline for like 12 hours and missed a whole baseball game…..

    Harkening back to the last thread, I’m with cliff. Moustakas and Herrera not Donaldson and Archer. I have never been all that impressed with Archer. Every time I see him (mostly against the O’s), he gets hit while getting a lot of K’s and doesn’t win. I understand the idea of all or nothing which has its place but I am not in any way convinced that spending that much prospect capital for this year when the whole team lacks pennant race experience will buy us as much as being judicious this year and going all in next year. I also like the idea of trying to get Happ as a SP and Britton as a backup plan for Herrera. Honestly, of all of these guys, Herrera is the “catch”. Lock down the bullpen and there’s plenty of talent to take care of the rest. We still need another 2 WAR in the field, I think. Acuna and Moustakas should be able to supply it. Get Moustakas out of the AL and Kaufman and into the NL and STP and his production will jump significantly. Happ would be a good backstop to either McCarthy and/or Teheran being traded or just falling off a cliff. Remember that the Braves need help against righties even though you’d think we needed a RH power hitter. Also, we have a buttload of lefties in the rotation, so even though Happ is an ideal trade candidate, it’s unfortunate he’s a lefty (same with Britton and the bullpen).

  6. There is every reason to believe Fried can be a TOR starter. He is still young and not far removed from TJS. He is getting better and better and flashes it often – in the AFL and at Gwinnett. He is almost capable of transferring that capability to the majors but not quite all there yet.

  7. HOT TAKE: with the advent of over shifting defenses, Nick Markakis types are far more valuable offensive pieces than Chris Davis types.

  8. EVEN HOTTER TAKE: with the advent of over shifting defenses, Freddie Freeman types are far more valuable offensive pieces than Chris Davis types. You just hit it over them!

  9. HOTTEST TAKE: overshifts are no longer the new hotness and we’re already seeing a market correction.

    HOTTESTER TAKE: Players with Old Player Skills when they’re young get old quicker than most, and Chris Davis is English for “Travis Hafner.”

  10. THE MOST HOTTEST TAKE IN THE HISTORY OF FUEGO TAKE-OS: Freddie Freeman is one guy with old player skills that will age gracefully and slowly.

  11. 18 — I’d say Freddie Freeman has more than just old player skills. He is a good baserunner, played out of position at third base last year and didn’t embarrass himself, and I’ve seen him do a split on more than one occasion while stretching for a throw. He certainly has more athleticism than a generic first baseman.

  12. You’re right. Freddie is more like Votto, who was drafted at a more demanding position as well (catcher).

  13. Do the Braves sit on their hands at trade deadline in the thick of things or trade some young talent to get some bat and a pitcher or 2

  14. School was out early today, likely the earliest start of the year. It produced an epic game of two hours and twelve minutes which ended with the go ahead run at the plate. Drama throughout you might say.

    The early afternoon finish stimulated our worthy re-capper into a mighty tome worthy of the occasion. He knew he had time to indulge himself and took advantage of it to the benefit of all. He posted at approximately 2.44.

    So far so very good. What followed has taken up nine further hours to this point featuring 27 posts by 13 different posters. Our worthy editor excepted the average length of each, bar a couple, was two or three lines.

    So it’s embarrassing to go to ‘another blog’ and find 100 plus longer posts stimulated by the game and its relevance. There was a good deal of effort and time put into that ‘page’. Rob and Ivan offset each other – each contributes significantly to their thread. What’s missing at this end disappoints. It was a very special game with a prompt recap to match. I don’t believe we did it or ourselves justice.

  15. Blazon – are you chiding the members of Bravejournal for failing to post a sufficient number of replies to the game thread? Seriously?

    Doing a game thread/this site justice is not and should not be measured by the volume of replies. Obviously, it should be measured by the volume of HOT TAKES. I think we can all agree that there’s no shortage of those on here.

  16. I don’t believe one can judge the strength of a blog by it’s comments. I also don’t believe the 2 blogs in question are particularly similar.

    Talking Chop serves a mass market with all that implies: fairly impersonal takes and straight reporting from the staff and a mix of educated fans, armchair quarterbacks and trolls amongst the commentariat. They also put way more focus on the minor leagues. I enjoy the place but other than Ivan I cannot give any biographical details of anyone involved. More importantly, I cannot tell the Vogons from the poets!

    Braves Journal OTOH, is home. Has been home since the days of War Liberal. We may argue amongst the family, but make no mistake that we are family. That other blog doesn’t offer that. We also have literary recaps, poems and whimsey, and the greatest collection of oddballs on the internet (thanks Sam!)

    Braves Journal: quality over quantity. Oh, and the requisite:

    Braves Journal
    A blog fraternal
    Even if some are so dour
    to only want prospects with power

  17. Hear, hear. I never wanted to go to the biggest or most popular bar. I want to go to my bar.

    As C. Montgomery Burns said, “I say let Harvard have academics and athletics, Yale will always be first in gentlemanly club life.”

    That’s us.

  18. They still have academics, but we now have the current NCAA Lacrosse Championship, the 2013 NCAA Hockey Championship, and current Ivy League Football Championship, as well as gentlemanly club life. Monty has obviously been spending his alumni dollars wisely.

    And blazon: we beat the friggin’ Mets, a team that has scored 15 runs in their last 11 games! We “learned” that Soroka was good, which was commented on. We “learned” that Freddie can hit, which we commented on. We learned that I’m a brilliant writer, which was kindly commented on. And I was chided (and correctly so) for failing to mention some outstanding defensive plays, particularly the Simba-like play by Dansby, though it had been mentioned in the comments on the previous thread. And we saw a video in which Terry Collins calls an umpire a cocksucker. What other “very special” things did you have in mind?

  19. @30 and all others

    Snowshine…hoist with my own petard!

    I guess the word i should have used was lazy.

    That was a pretty special game we saw yesterday and it was over by early afternoon. The aggregate response to it jarred. My criticisms were not in the general to be fair but pointed.

    No one is promoting quantity over quality per se. But on the other hand that special bar/club/blog to which we were all attracted to join should not rest on its laurels, therein lies indolence. It needs oxygen like everything else. It got little yesterday..

    Yes,this is a special place. But we must be on our guard keep it that way. Dansby? I always told you he was good!


    Every season, teams emerge as contenders that we had not expected to emerge. That is a literal statement. During the divisional era, an average of 5.6 teams per season have added at least 10 wins to their total from the prior campaign. There is more than one team this season on track for such an improvement, but of those, perhaps the most compelling is the Atlanta Braves, who through Sunday were on pace for 92 wins. That would be a 20-game leap from last season. The last time Atlanta made a 20-game year-over-year jump was 1991, which kicked off one of the most successful eras any franchise has had in any sport.

  21. Jonathan F

    Your recap, its depth and timeliness, I specifically referred to. As an exemplar of what should have followed. Cheers.

  22. No problem… though perhaps with its depth and timeliness, no more comment was necessary!

    But I jest… (Do I do anything else?)

  23. Loved the game, loved the recaps, love Braves Journal.
    Hey, World Cup is starting today (soccer that is).
    All you Americans, if you’re wondering who to root for, here’s a guide (scroll to the very end for the right answer):

  24. @40 Nice link. Wish it discriminated better between hitting and pitching stats. Overall, what stands out other than the fact that the team is good at almost everything is the low rank in pitches seen (thank you First Pitch Freddie and First Pitch Ozzie) and, of course, the high rank in walks allowed.

  25. I don’t want to pile on to our resident bard; your verse and whimsy are part of what makes this little tavern *our* bar. But I agree with so many others that I’d never want this to be that other blog. I do look at TC every day but mostly for the minor league stuff. Given the way this year is going, I don’t do that nearly as often—and isn’t that a good thing!
    (I agree with blazon that Ivan is a treasure)

  26. @39
    Well, that’s one of the only such articles I’ve seen so far that hasn’t suggested that I root for my team’s biggest rival, so that’s a plus.

    Also, if this site ever turns into Talking Chop, I’ll…well, stop coming to this site. I do read a bunch of Talking Chop’s stuff, and much of it is good, but to say that I could do without the comment section there is an understatement. Yeah, they may get 700 comments during a game or whatever, but a) it’s impossible to view them all, there’s so many; and b) 97 percent of those comments are utterly worthless, and you’re so awash in worthless comments that you can’t pick out the worthwhile ones.

  27. And I’ll add my thanks once again to JonathanF for the memories of 1966.

    But you did put me to shame with your earlier recaps from Europe. I’m now in my third week in Europe and keep thinking that I will recap from here. Once again, though, I’m having to lean upon Rob to bail me out this week. I’m looking forward to being home and back on duty next week. I’ve got to say that all the recappers continue to set a high bar.

  28. @blazon I felt I understood the spirit of your comments. I feel it was not that Soroka’s performance was taken for granted. At least in my situation, I didn’t get to see the game and was out yesterday evening.

    Starting to believe the Braves have at least 3 very good starters in the rotation. This team, what it might lack in talent at its peak it makes up for with depth.

  29. I feel a complete lack of suspense or need to comment regarding the trade deadline, and that is wonderful.

  30. Watching Soroka pitch is so fun. I’m not a pitching mechanics expert, but he seems so balanced in the way he shifts his weight from his left to right legs in his delivery. Don’t know how to describe it exactly but it happens so quick and seems really in control. It’s also cool to see all the subtle differences in the way he throws the fastball/sinker.

  31. I also really don’t like some (many) of the comments over at Talking Chop. And I’m at the point where it’s really hard for me to read the comments on that site. I’d love for there to be more comments, but not at the expense of intelligent discourse. If there’s nothing to say, then it is what it is.

    Also, Ivan is very good.

  32. I cannot stand the comments at TC. Too much crap to sift through, and not much worthwhile.

    The old CAC group started a new blog: They haven’t posted since May, though.

  33. ATL: Sanchez
    GWI: Allard
    MIS: Toussaint
    FLA: Muller
    ROM: Zimmermann

    Love these days.

  34. You should care about the farm because the farm can help us win a World Series this year. Do you think Fried is a TOR starter? Awesome. Allard, Wright, and Touki, too? Even more awesome. That means they’ll fetch more in a trade to help our team right now. And if more of those guys in the high minors pitch like TOR SP, then it’s easier to shoulder the risk of trading one in the short-term, and if more guys down the system pitch well, then that makes it easier to shoulder risk in the long-term. Nights like tonight where a guy like Muller — someone with high upside but significant risk — is throwing darts are what make this season look so much better.

  35. @52, You left out today’s DSL starter Jose Olague, who pitched 3.2 strong innings, giving up 13 hits and 9 runs (6 earned)––so by strong I mean smells like a used diaper filled with Indian food.

    Meanwhile, has Drew Waters been mentioned around here lately? He’s putting together a great year at Rome: After 200 plate appearances he’s got a .900+ OPS and 11 SB.

  36. How about that Anibal? One-hitter through five. That’s pretty good. (How’m I doing, blazon? :p )

  37. Not as idiotic as lifting a starter after 85 pitches of shutout ball. Don’t lecture us about saving bullpen arms anymore, Snit.

  38. @59 a prescient comment. *sigh* I guess Winkler’s not perfect after all. Just hope he gets the last out here.

  39. @59 Definitely, I didn’t comment on that since typing on a phone is exasperating……I still trust Winkler, just maybe his second or third bad appareance all year.

  40. We are .500 as a franchise.

  41. Smitty…blazon does not want a TC2, has never said he does. He wants there to be more timely comments, here, of some depth.

    Anibal..when he left our control of the game was lost, it was anyone’s to win.We’ve been told he has now three of our starters he’s helping – JT, Newk, now Soroka. With himself that’s 80% of our starting rotation. He is a treasure.

    He’s no number one starter any more with his pace but i would argue he’s the Braves most valuable pitcher.

    My best to your barber. Does he know Senzel is having vertigo problems, just like Esasky way back?

  42. Does anyone think we might have something in Michael Reed? Obviously his .425 BA and 1.124 OPS at Gwinnett is unsustainable, but he put up a .939 OPS in AA in over 40 games. He’s 25 and has had a very unimpressive minor league track record, but could he be putting something together that would add value at least as a backup outfielder in Atlanta? Bourjos and his sub 200 batting average is getting a little old. Obviously, he’s gone when Acuna gets back, but Tucker has also been less than inspiring lately.

  43. Win, win, win. Three in a row: do I hear four?

    Blazon has bought in to the rebuild bearing fruit. He does occasionally forget that not all are geezers like he and I, for whom the fate of the Braves is a matter of utmost importance. These kids are OUR kids, and we’re proud of them. Cut us old folks some slack if we think our babies are underappreciated.

    Oh, and GO BRAVES!

  44. Obviously I’m just scouting the stat line here @69, but he looks to me like Todd Cunningham — decent walk rate, no real power, and his superficially pretty minor league stat line is not actually an indication of translatable major league skills.

  45. The Braves are 2 games shy of having played 70 and are 1.5 games ahead in the NL East.

    Milestone ahead… then what?

  46. Reed, back in his brief maybe-a-prospect days with the Brewers, was thought to be kind of a poor man’s Drew Stubbs — good CF defense, some pop, some speed. Like, he was drafted by someone in my (admittedly-ridiculously-deep) NL-only dynasty league, so he was on some radars.

    So, it would not shock me if he turns out to be an actual major leaguer.

  47. We’ve got a bunch of crap opponents over the next eleven games. Then we hit the road against the Cardinals, Yankees and Brewers. I’m hoping we take full advantage of the rest of this month and then acquit ourselves well against the good teams.

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