Our Braves are playing very good baseball lately. After a scoreless six inning outing by Sean Newcomb on Thursday night, Braves starters have given up 4 runs in the last 6 games.
When Sean Newcomb is on, major league hitters do not make good contact. Miami Marlins hitters do even worse. Newk is now 4-0 this season against the Fish with an ERA below 1.
Newk walked the first hitter he faced, and threw a bunch of pitches (I lost count) before he escaped the first inning without allowing a hit or a run. Then he walked the leadoff guy in the second, and we were all thinking here we go again. Since the first of July, Big Sean has walked about five batters per nine innings. That’s pretty much the ratio he had before this season. Fortunately, he turned it around, getting a double play grounder to get out of the second. Then he retired all but one batter over the next four innings. That one exception was the first hit he surrendered, a double by some guy named Austin Dean (who are these guys?) in the fifth. In the sixth, all of a sudden a seemingly safe five run lead got pretty uncomfortable. After a single, a retaliatory HPB (because Ronald was hit in the top of the sixth), and a base on balls, the Fish had the bases loaded with two outs. A clearly tiring Newk bore down, though, and got the aforementioned Mr. Dean to ground out weakly to second.
Newlk had not been efficient, 111 pitches through six, so his night was over. Jackson pitched a scoreless seventh, and Biddle closed it out with two scoreless innings. It’s not just the starters—this bullpen has been excellent lately.
The offense was also strong. Five runs on 12 hits, including three homers and two doubles. The Braves opened the scoring with a long two run homer by Folk Hero Fake Dansby, who started at short in lieu of Swanson (should he now be Fake Charlie?). Even more exciting than the homer was the fact that Ozzie had reached base ahead of Culberson via a base on balls!!
What more can we say about Ronald Acuña Jr.? In the leadoff at bat of the game, he hit one about 490 feet to straightaway center, but because this is Marlins Park, it was simply a noisy out. Next time up, he was determined not to make that same mistake, so in his second at bat he muscled up and hit one about 652 feet. I think it landed in Coral Gables. (I know you think I’m exaggerating, but if you did not see it live, look at the video. It might have been 691 feet.)
Not to be outdone, Ender also hit a long home run—and off a lefty! Camargo had three hits including a double, and Kakes had two hits including a double. No, Nick actually had two doubles, but thanks to the worst replay call yet, one of those didn’t count.
All in all, a very satisfying win.
I listened carefully to the broadcast, and I heard some things you may not have heard. In his post game interview, Snit was asked about Newk, and I think he said:
“He’s got a million dollar arm, and a five cent head.”
When Kelsey Wingert asked Newk about his outing in his post-game interview, Newk said:
“It feels out there. I mean, it’s a major rush. I mean, it feels radical in kind of a tubular sort of way, but most of all, it feels out there.”
During the broadcast, we heard this exchange:
Chip: He walked 18.
Joe: New league record!
Chip: Struck out 18.
Joe: Another new league record! In addition he hit the sportswriter, the public address announcer, the mascot twice…
Chip: Also new league records! But, Joe, this guy’s got some serious sh_t.
At one point, the catcher went to the mound and this exchange was overheard:
Tyler “Crush” Flowers: You gotta play this game with fear and arrogance.
Newk: Right. Fear and ignorance.
Crush: [exasperated] No. You hayseed. It’s arrogance not ‘ignorance.’
Crush: You got a gift. When you were a baby, the Gods reached down and turned your left arm into a thunderbolt. You got a Hall-of-Fame arm, but you’re pissing it away.
Newk: I ain’t pissing nothing away. I got a Porsche already; I got a 911 with a quadrophonic Blaupunkt.
Actually, although our own Newk used to remind me of the original Newk LaLoosh, he has clearly matured as a pitcher. By the way, this summer marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Bull Durham. We should do a poll–best baseball movie ever?
Still with a 3 game lead over the Phillies, we play three more with the Fish. Let’s crush them. Folty goes Friday.
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