The Kids Are Alright–Braves 4, IWOTM 2

One of the many reasons I love baseball is the rhythm of the season. Do you remember how frustrated this blog was just last Saturday? And how pessimistic many of the comments were becoming?

Earl Weaver’s classic comment—“This ain’t football; we play every day”—is especially apt this time of year. Bobby Cox, for all his questionable in game moves, was an all time great manager because he also understood that you can’t let the highs get too high or the lows too low.

Since Saturday, Newk had his near no-no, the Braves swept the Marlins in a rain shortened two game series, and then tonight they beat the Mets for their fourth straight win. All of a sudden, the Braves were tied for first place. (Very briefly, since the Phillies came from behind in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Fish. Frustrating, but we’re still just a half game out.)

Of course, much of the gloom around here last Saturday was based on the fear that the front office was going to stand pat, rather than make any trades to go for it this year. As you know, since Saturday, AA added an outfielder and three pitchers, without giving up anyone that had a realistic chance of being a future star in Atlanta.

Back to tonight’s game. Acuña and Albies are really special. Ronald had a triple, a single, a walk, a stolen base and two runs scored. Ozzie had a double, a single, a stolen base, and an rbi. Camargo had a big two run double; I’m liking him more all the time. Nobody much is complaining that AA didn’t go out and get a third basemen. Folty was not really dominant, but he was much more efficient than he sometimes is. He went six (on only 89 pitches), five hits, two runs, and one (!) walk. Biddle, Brach, and Minter pitched three scoreless, surrendering only one hit and striking out five. All in all, a very satisfying game.

Still have 57 games to play. There may yet be stretches in which the Braves have a bad week, but we won’t panic, will we? It looks like we’ll have a pennant race down to the wire. Six of the last nine games of the season at the end of September are with the Phightin Phils. That’s going to be fun.

Tomorrow night, Anibal faces deGrom. As good as deGrom is—and he is as good as it gets—this is still only the Mets, so I like the Braves’ chances.

94 thoughts on “The Kids Are Alright–Braves 4, IWOTM 2”

  1. JC’d

    Always enjoy your recaps, tfloyd.

    You’ve achieved something rare tonight, posting the recap of a night game the same day/evening it was played. In your case you had an hour plus to spare.

    I had been doing just this for two seasons now on Saturday nights and squeezing it in just before midnight usually. But, coincidentally,in the last week i proved to myself that something written near midnight was demonstrably worse than that done at 7 the next morning. Additionally something posted late at night generally gets no audience till 7am the next morning so why bother!

    But well done you. Any comments/input from other recappers would be welcome. We few, we precious few!

  2. When the Braves were bad, I often took solace when they managed to have the tying or go-ahead run on base in their last at bat. That old me is dismayed that the Mets ended the game with the tying run at the plate. The new me isn’t quite ready yet to accept the new percentages. But I’m working on it, heartened by the notion that Freeman and Moylan appearances in high leverage situations are unlikely the rest of the season. Kameron Loe has left the building.

    PS: I like all the recaps but mine. Thanks, tfloyd.

  3. So the Braves actually have the second fewest losses in the league – only one back of the Cubs. If we get to play some more games and win a few, our record will look even better. Looking forward to this stretch without off days. A day without baseball is like a day without sunshine (which, oddly enough, usually causes a day without baseball).

  4. who knew

    AJ Minter
    will throw his change up now till winter
    unbeknown to us
    it was debuted with great effect and a minimum of fuss.

  5. Just watched the Statcast on Acuna’s triple. Was the fastest home-to-third time on the Braves all year. And I could swear he hesitated around 1st. Wonder what he could do if he was really running flat out. Someone should tell Ozzie (or Dansby or FakeDansby) that Acuna beat his time.

  6. Chip is terrible and somewhat likeable like a clumsy puppy but Joe is the absolute worst. Hope they replace him with Paul Byrd next season. He’s the worst.

    Also, reading the previous thread top to buttom this morning… This is exactly why this place is the best on the internet. Thank you all!

    And it’s hard to believe for me that we’re even discussing getting JTR. There should be no question. We’re loaded with prospects. No minor league prospect should be untouchable for him. THere is no reason to believe that he will fall off a cliff at age 28-29.

  7. @ timo

    Welcome stranger, maybe you’re one of the reasons it’s good to belong here.

    Re our booth. How do you feel about Frenchie when he’s allowed to be on? I think he’s a major plus – witty, fun, knowledgeable, full of insight. I wonder what he wants for his future. We should tie him up. Joe, i apparently alone can handle. Must be a lot to do with age, declining faculties and the empathy that creates. Was amazed to read here Chip was in his early fifties – better suited to a PR position perhaps, waving the flag locally. Paul Byrd, Kelsey both excellent.

    JTR. I explained my new position here yesterday. When the Marlins played that hard to get, switch off, Contreras, next fall. But I’m on board with your more general point, don’t hoard all our young arms like a miser counting his gold.

    Use them, for power bats in the main…. Look after yourself.

  8. @6

    Your Statcast numbers are indeed open to improvement and soon will be. He did back off a gear coming out of first only to pick it up when he saw Conforto bobble. Joe called it I believe!

    Snit hopefully will call him.

  9. Joe was good when he was with Skip. Maybe he picked up all the bad things about Chip.

    I have a hard time liking Frenchy considering what he did for us as a player. All those hard swinging shallow flyouts are still very fresh in my memory. And the best thing Wren ever did was trading him to the Mets.

  10. @8 I’m curious, blazon. What power bats could we trade for that are both high end functioning, controllable, and available – and preferably young? I see the Reds as candidates (Suarez, Gennett, Senzel) and Realmuto but not many others. Eliminate upcoming FA such as Harper, Pollock, Grandal, Donaldson, Machado, etc… Just wondering if I missed anyone. Elsewise it’s TOR pitching that would get targeted with prospect capital.

  11. I get the appeal of armchair GMing, but we’re in the middle of a pennant race here.

    The portmanteau really does work well. Rosterbaiting is more enjoyable if you don’t do it all the damn time.

  12. @8 blazon, definitely see your point about Contreras. He looks like the real deal. Without checking, I think he’s 20.
    Give him some time, maybe a couple of years to be ready and if that falls in our last season with JTR, trade him – if Contreras is ready.

    Just imagine JTR in our lineup next season. Best offense in the NL East.

    Frenchie, yes. Like him in the booth. I prefer Byrd but Frenchie would certainly do.

  13. @1, 2, and 3–Thanks. Doing a weekly recap makes me truly appreciate Mac all the more. What a treasure he was and what a gift he left us.

    I’m with Adam on rosterbating. We all do it occasionally, especially when the real thing may be lacking for whatever reason, but it’s no substitute for real baseball games in a pennant race.

  14. I like Joe, so there. Grumpy old farts are a dying breed, so we need to support each other. I like Byrdie also, but Jeff … Jeff will always be the kid that pouted. Forgiving is easier than forgetting, and I remember his spoiled brattiness.

    Our current children display none of his entitled behavior, for which I am grateful.

    Go Braves.

    EDIT: great recap, tfloyd. Keep winning the close ones.

  15. @8 I like Frenchy and Byrd, but Frenchy adds a much more personal/inside view of what is going on in clubhouse and on the field

  16. Ernie, Pete, and Skip will always be the ideal for me. I can tolerate Joe because he worked with them for so long that at some level I associate him with them.

    Same with Don Sutton, by the way. And Jim Powell is far and away my favorite of all those associated with Braves broadcasts, so I tend to listen to the radio more then the tv.

    Of the newer guys, Byrd is easily the best. He’s quite smart. As to Frenchy, he keeps surprising me with how likable he is in the booth. That’s a real disconnect because he was one of the most unlikable players ever.

  17. I have been reflecting a lot lately on how lucky we were in the 90’s and early 00’s to not only have just those great teams to watch, but the broadcasting talent that was so engaging and and witty that they could even make a blow-out loss worth watching all nine innings. It seems like the Braves and Fox have struggled to re-create that kind of chemistry on both the radio and TV sides since the loss Pete and Skip (and Ernie some time before that). I worry that our collective standards have been lowered by what we’ve come to expect out of our broadcasters in recent years. Joe really needs a good partner in order to be less “grumpy old joe” than he typically is. Chip just tends to play into Joe’s grousing because I guess he thinks that’s what the folks at home want to hear? It’s certainly enough to make Frenchy feel like a breath of fresh air, though – if I’m being perfectly honest – I prefer Glavine or Murph when they are in that seat over Jeffy.

    Sadly the only real bright spots in the TV booth the past 10 years are the ones who went national – Sciambi and Smoltz. Boog really knew how to get the best out of Joe and I genuinely morn the fact that he got away. The only reason we still have Chip is because his attempt at going national failed badly. But as I try to tell myself: at least it’s better than listening to Jeff Torborg tell Joe another one of his stories about the times he’s been fly-fishing with Don Zimmer. Man those were some dark days.

    On the radio – poor Don is about to age out. I’ll be shocked if he gets to continue past this season. You can hear his voice weakening. I got to share a word with him at the last Fan Fest back in February. He just looked and sounded so frail. I like Jim Powell a lot but he seems to benefit more from having Don in the booth with him versus any of the other rotating cast members. Lemke continues to confuse, but he’ll always be our Lemke and I doubt he’s going anywhere anytime soon.

    Hopefully Fox Sports will keep trying to fine tune the product on TV. Maybe give Byrd a shot in the booth? If it means less time watching him sweat through those tacky blue polo shirts they make him wear I think I would be all for it.

  18. @19. Not going the good teams and the broadcasting talents you mentioned…we also had Mac with us. Thanks everyone for keeping this site running. Much appreciated.

  19. The fewer and fewer fans that can remember Mark Lemke as the Lemmer, the more likely it will be that he will move on. For all of the angst about Chip, Lemmer is just flat out terrible. When enough fans don’t remember who the second baseman in the mid-90’s was, he’ll be gone.

    Byrd and Frenchy are fantastic compared to Joe, and one of them needs to replace Joe Simpson tomorrow. Joe needs a change of scenery because I think he’s lost a lot of support from viewers with his 2012 WC game garbage, his most recent garbage about Chutley, and the simple fact that he’s a dinosaur from a previous regime and the new regime doesn’t agree with him. The FO is moving past guys like him.

  20. I agree almost completely, MyOwnWorstEditor, particularly with Sciambi. I only draw the line at “I guess he thinks” because that seems to have no evidence at all behind it. (But I’ll let it pass because it’s just a guess.)

    As to what Fox thinks, does Chip have any actual fans? The world has plenty of terrible broadcasters who are unreleasable because they have an actual fanbase of their own — I’m looking at you, Hawk Harrelson and John Sterling. Chip’s the Keith Lockhart of announcers, so his picture collection must be outstanding.

  21. Folty’s on pace for about a 3 WAR season, which is perfectly fine for what we gave up for him and what we’ll be paying him. But if he could find a way to go deeper into games, he could become of the league’s best. He had 3 pitches working last night, and if they can just get him throwing about 10 more pitches an outing on average, he could be an anchor.

  22. Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that we’d have gone Biddle, Brach, and Minter to close out the game? Obviously we knew Minter would be in the late innings, and we’d have gotten some reliever at the deadline, but Biddle becoming who he’s become and Brach being available on the cheap is huge. Tonight we have Fried, Carle, Jackson, Venters, and Winkler on full rest. I would think it would go Venters, Carle, Winkler 7-8-9, but having Fried and Jackson in the early innings ain’t bad either. And of course, if they feel good, they can go to Brach, Biddle, or Minter again. That’s a pen.

  23. @25: Agreed. The changes in the game make it easy to get fungible arms for bullpens. The real bullpen issues are now management issues: avoiding overwork (which means getting mileage out of your starters and avoiding constant matchup changes) managing warmups, simple coaching, correcting things guys are doing wrong, and, finally, leverage management, which is probably the least important of the new skills.

  24. @24–I was surprised and disappointed when Snit removed Folty after 6 last night. Obviously it worked out well, but I agree completely that Folty will be a lot more valuable if he can go 7. It’s still a minority of his starts this year that he’s even made it through six innings.

    If we really did have six very dependable arms in the pen, then six innings per start is fine. But I worry about undependability of some of these relievers and overuse of the best ones.

    But last night probably was a good call. After the game, Snit said that due to the heat and humidity, Folty appeared to be gassed. We do have to trust his “on the ground” judgment on such things.

  25. @22

    Bullseye. If you spend about a week watching the games where MLB Network simulcasts the local broadcasts, I think you’ll find that the vast majority of them suck.

  26. @13 @15 Rosterbaiting is way more interesting than the ‘casterbaiting which seems to now take up about 40% of this board. If you don’t like the broadcasters, turn the sound off. The game is more interesting that way anyway. There are quite a few here that don’t have access to live Braves broadcasts so ‘casterbaiting is meaningless. Rosterbaiting has value to everyone and is relevant to the team on the field.

    Speaking of which I’ll take Jim Hunter and Jim Palmer over who’s on Braves’ broadcasts. Palmer is deliciously arrogant and inelegantly dabbles in analytics. Plus he’s over 70 and looks under 50; how does he do that?? Mike Bordick has some of the worst cliches I’ve ever heard, but Joe Angell is kinda Harry Caray-ish.

    You guys like what you like and the rest of us like what we like.

    As for me, I was so impressed by what AA accomplished at the deadline that it has energized me to think about how the team could be better next year. Also, we still have the August trade deadline and more deals could be made this month. Rumor has it that AA had another deal on the table that couldn’t get done before the 1st for a LH bench bat. OFR speculated on Dietrich, which could be kinda nice.

  27. @27. I think the team is managing the innings of the starters. Folty’s career high is 154 last year and he is already at about 120 now. Newk pitched 158 last year and he is also at 120 now. We know Teheran needs extra rest and Sanchez is not young anymore.

    This is probably one of the key reasons why they are heading to a six-man rotation because Gausman is probably the only one capable to reach 200 innings this year. I am guessing AA is putting an inning cap on Newk and Folty this season at around 170-180.

    It will probably be next season before the two try to go for 200 innings.

  28. My strong preference would be for Sam and Edward to stage a hostile takeover of the broadcast booth. blazon can be the roving field reporter, dropping clerihew wisdom in postgame interviews. I would find that immensely entertaining. Postgame show can be Rob if we win, TAD if we lose.

    IMO we’re limiting Folty’s innings in part because we, like other teams, realize that the last however many pitches he throws are likely to be worse than those of the bullpen arm we’re replacing him with. We get the added benefit of him leaving his starts on a positive note, which probably helps his mindset as the season goes on.

  29. @12…Roger

    You have me! Senzel was my local project, there must be others for pete’s sake! I make the assumption they exist in every area code!

    Senzel, sadly, has vertigo.

  30. What, no comment on Minter’s change up??

    Or was it one?

    Late in the game…batter bewildered, K…

    Joe called it i believe!

    Your opinion, please.

  31. I try to time by drive home with the start of Braves games so I can listen to pass the time. I’m gonna miss Sutton. His fill-ins aren’t even close to par. Powell bores me to tears, he needs a strong color guy.

  32. Thanks, AAR. I have a face made for radio, but Chief needs a slot to provoke the masses.

    60 games in 58 days: hoo, boy.

  33. @36 I didn’t pay attention at the time because I was still boiling over the leadoff walk and happy to get an out. Looking back at it, Minter’s out pitch is the cutter and Frazier fouled off two in a row and he couldn’t throw the four-seamer for strikes so I guess he had to try something different. And he threw it with a ball to spare so he could go back to the cutter. To me that was some good pitch calling. If he can use it, even once per inning, it will be devastating – the only pitch he threw less than 92 I think. Kimbrel throws his knuckle-curve in the 70s. If Minter is going to be a top-of-the-line closer, he’ll need that offspeed pitch not just a cutter that has a different break.

  34. says coop
    my face may be out of the loop
    but learned opinion
    is clearly my expert dominion.

    Whaddya think the rest of us look like. Cheers.

  35. Alex,

    A great compliment.

    I have done a little radio sports. It actually was a whole lot of fun. I was making $20.00 for a two and a half hour gig when minimum wage was 2.50 or less. I was a a licensed third class radio engineer (mandatory for all on air talent in that day). I always wanted to be Dick Enberg. Voice a little more like Keith Jackson, maybe.

    My baseball ability is limited to color. To announce “slider” in real time for me would be a wild guess.

  36. I hear old Joe change his mind on what the pitch is regularly during replays, cliff. You’re hired.

    Blazon, you’re not the first to suggest I’m loopy.

  37. Re loopy…

    please watch the current Geico tv ad parodying how narcissistic soccer stars celebrate their goals. A brilliant idea, beautifully executed, you will enjoy.

  38. I’m good with Sam and Edward on TV. But I want cliff and coop on radio.

    ARE YOU SAYING I CAN’T PAINT A MENTAL PICTURE?!? BECAUSE I CAN! AND YOU DON’T WANT MY MENTAL PAINTING IN YOUR HEAD!!!

    But yeah. My play by play would basically be something like “2-2 pitch. Lined into center. Which you’d know, if you were actually watching the game here. Put the Cheetos down, Ned. No one needs you to finish the bag, bruh…”

  39. @16…coop

    We were pleased to read that you seem to distinguish your ‘current children’ from those apparently planned to follow. Please keep us advised, this is so exciting.

  40. The funny thing about “line drive base hit” was that you or I would stop talking when we say something wrong and collect our thoughts. Not Chippy. He spoke louder and faster so that you miss it. Well guess what, Chip, there’s the internet, and we heard it.

  41. It’s been said before, but plenty of people would pay money for a Twitch stream type of broadcast where it’s just 2 funny dudes talking shit during the broadcast. MLB is leaving billions on the table by keeping their broadcasts so close to the vest and stodgy.

  42. @50 Count me in on that. I’d watch a random game between 2 last place teams if Cord and Tish were doing the commentary.

  43. If deGrom can’t win pitching, I guess he’ll win hitting. We need to get us some good hitting pitchers.

  44. Loafers who dawdle out of the batters’ box have no right to complain to the umpire about a perfect pitch. Sit your ass down and shut up, Ender.

  45. Reyes may be done in the batter’s box, but the man can still pick it- or at least he can tonight. Also, this ump definitely likes the low strike. I thought the pitch to Ender was low and he had a legitimate gripe, but it looked like the ump called basically the same pitch on Frazier, so I guess he’s consistent.

  46. Anibal is Harangutanian found money. It’s like that time you found those jeans at the bottom of the drawer, you reached into the pocket, and you found… an Aston Martin DB11. It’s just like that.

  47. Great game. Camargo is an athlete and a ballplayer, Anibal pitched a beauty, but I still want Jacob deGrom

    Give them check tomorrow. Just win, Braves..

  48. Can we finally put to rest this old hoax of when will Riley be ready to take over at third. He won’t, ever, the position is filled, so what are we going to do with him?

  49. @73

    Yes, Rob, but…how long did it take you to recognize and admit that? Nick too?

    Books and charts and bookmarks away guys…use your eyes.

  50. If DeGrom wants to win he’s going to have to start hitting better. One puny RBI just won’t hack it given his supporting cast.

  51. I’ve felt Anibal Sanchez might actually be the ace of this staff for a couple of months now. Foltzy has shown flashes of stardom, and then so has Newcomb. I’ve held back on fully accepting Anibal because… and this still partly rings true, but how many times has Anibal Sanchez looked the part of a potential frontline starter only to crash and/or burn or suffer injury?

    Play him when ya got him and he’s bringing his A game, but maybe don’t plop down a ton of money to own him long term…

  52. @ #81

    Riley will probably be included in a trade package sometime this winter, which is perfectly fine by me.

  53. I was just about to ask if it was time to consider Camargo as more than just a placeholder. I see I’m not the only one.

  54. I still think Camargo could probably be our Javier Baez, starting all around the diamond on a pretty much regular basis. Baez has started 63 games at 2B, 21 games at SS and 9 games at 3B. Camargo could do that and also play OF when needed.

    And if he could hit like Baez, well, that would be cool, too.

  55. Well, I guess we didn’t lose much on this front…

    “Kevin Maitan, SS, Grade B/B-: Age 18, signed from Venezuela by the Atlanta Braves for $4,250,000 in 2016; freed due to contract irregularities and signed as a free agent with Angels this past winter; hitting .241/.311/.343 with 11 walks, 33 strikeouts in 137 at-bats in the Pioneer League; hitting mediocre and defense has been atrocious, has .741 fielding percentage at third bae and .809 at shortstop; too early to write him off but so far he has been nothing close to what was advertised when he signed with Atlanta.”

  56. I like the idea of Riley at third and Camargo as the super utility guy playing pretty much every day.
    blazon, hats off to you, sir, you always told us Camargo would turn out like this. What a nice surprise.

  57. If the Braves win tonight, their franchise record, going back to 1876, will be an exactly level 10,569-10,569.

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