Kooky on Touki Day: Braves 2, Red Smellies 8

I did a few little tasks around my office yesterday morning, but I had the itch to experience Touki Day. So, I saw most of it (except when I intentionally averted my eyes). A primary theme was repeated in many comments in the thread yesterday. This Braves squad isn’t up to AL division leader standards. However, I do believe we are still rising and could project into that rare air in about 2 years with a few strategic moves and a good rate of normal expected development.

Touki Toussaint was actually really good for the first 4 innings and it was 0 to 0. Braves got 3 walks in inning 1 off of Nathan Eavaldi. Nobody scored. Braves squandered an opportunity. Class, our word for today is “squandered, …squandered.” Repeat it often. The Braves sure did.

Finally, the dam began to crack in the 5th. An out. Then, 3 consecutive doubles. Then an out. Then a single that made it 3 to 0 and Touki departed and left it to Sam Freeman. Freeman avoided the Grybo. However, SNIT, FREEMAN WILL BE GASOLINE IF HE PITCHES TODAY. THIS IS AS CERTAIN AS TRAFFIC IN CUMBERLAND / GALLERIA.

But unlike recent years, this Braves team’s offense keeps plugging. Ozzie Albies hit a home run in the 6th (why couldn’t one of those come on one of the 3 times the bases were loaded?). In the 7th, Ender Inciarte, Nick Markakis, and Johan Camargo singled for a station to station set f loaded bases. Kurt Suzuki hit a sac fly and it was back to 3 to 2. After the last 2 games, could we smell teen spirit?

in the 8th, the Hosiery got 2 runs that fully deserved the “unearned” tag (at least as far as the pitcher was concerned.) Two outs and one runner on first. Then, a walk. Then a ground ball hit toward the 3 – 4 hole. Freddie Freeman cut it off and threw to second. Dansby jumped and it tipped out of his glove while he tried to focus on how to get his foot down on the bag. Inning over with decent defense. But no, it was not to be.

In 9, Bryce Wilson showed us he is 20 years old and almost a one trick pony. Against bad hitters at the ML level he can be dominant. Against good hitters, it might be a different story.

132 thoughts on “Kooky on Touki Day: Braves 2, Red Smellies 8”

  1. Thanks, Cliff. We’ll get them today.

    Does any of you have experience with StubHub to buy tickets. When is the best time to buy for the noon game tomorrow? Thanks!

  2. I’ve used StubHub a handful of times, not for any Braves games unfortunately. I would think the fewer the tickets available, the sooner that I would want to buy them. If there are a lot of tickets available, and I didn’t care about a particular location, I might wait until closer to game time.

  3. My general experience with online ticket resellers is that there are so many that it’s usually worth doing a little shopping around. Groupon often has local ticket deals, and my company also uses Perkspot, a sort of corporate deals aggregator that has deals from a lot of other different discounters (including Ticketmonster, Ticketsatwork, and PremiumseatsUSA).

    Your mileage may vary. Good luck!

  4. When we went to the Mets game in May where Camargo walked off, we got tickets behind the first base dugout for about half price right before the game. We did the same for the game we went to in Miami with less of a discount. For a Red Sox game, I would think the tickets would be in demand and waiting til the last minute may not work.

  5. After Week 1, we learned that the three best teams in the SEC are Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia. Who could have possibly seen that coming?

    And in the ACC, it’s Clemson and pretty much no one else. V-Tech?

  6. Over the past century, there haven’t been too many times when the Braves were better than the Sox. Pretty much just 1914, the ’50s, and the ’90s, I think.

    But we had their name first, we owned their city first, and we founded the Jimmy Fund first!

  7. The first strike out of the first batter of the game, Mookie himself, was exquisite. Thereafter a couple of oddball areas emerged. Right away, still at his zenith, he couldn’t pitch at all to left handers. The ball was often a foot outside. He obviously had to pitch them in the minors so what gives on that?

    More seriously, at somewhere near the conjunction of the fourth and fifth innings he started leaving pitches up, the doubles appeared immediately, and it unsurprisingly meant he had to be taken out with a pitch count still only in the low fifties. Anyone have any idea what was happening then?

  8. Yesterday marking the end of the regular minor league season it seems churlish not to thank those three or four guys at TC who provide such excellent and thorough coverage EVERY DAY! We sneak a peek, of course we do. Thanks to all. Some movers from their lists.

    Corbin Clouse (AA, AAA)
    Adam McCreery (AA, AAA, MLB)
    Wes Parsons (AA, AAA, MLB)
    Phil Pfeiffer (AA, AAA)
    Chad Sobotka (A+, AA, AAA, MLB)
    Jacob Webb (AA, AAA)
    Alex Jackson (AA, AAA)
    Austin Riley (AA, AAA)
    Ian Anderson (A+, AA)
    Kyle Muller (A, A+, AA)
    Ray-Patrick Didder (A+, AA)
    Cristian Pache (A+, AA)
    Huascar Ynoa (A, A+)
    William Contreras (A, A+)
    CJ Alexander (R, Adv R, A+)
    Greyson Jenista (Adv R, A, A+)
    Drew Waters (A, A+)
    Izzy Wilson (A, A+)
    Zach Daniels (Adv R, A)
    Keith Weisenberg (Adv R, A)
    Brooks Wilson (Adv R, A)
    AJ Graffanino (Adv R, A)
    Brendan Venter (Adv R, A)
    Justin Dean (Adv R, A)
    Trey Harris (R, A)

  9. @5 I thought Alabama’s schedule was going to be the easiest among title contenders this year but Clemson’s may be just as easy. I was shocked at how poorly both MIA and FSU fared. Penn State and Ohio State may struggle too and Michigan and Michigan State both had issues. Pac-12 sucks. That leaves the Big-12 that may have some strong teams. I just don’t see any dominating teams this year in college football.

    After all, when Rice gets that close to beating U of H (aka YooHoo) then the college season could be turned upside down.

  10. @13 I just checked stats and the Sox are much worse against lefties as righties – especially their lefty hitters. Hope.

  11. You could combine FSU and Miami’s rosters and they couldn’t beat Alabama. And yes, Alabama’s schedule is embarrassing.

  12. An aspiring young hurler named Bryse
    found he never could throw a pitch twice
    if previously spotted
    ’twas violently swatted
    so excessive he said of the price.

  13. @11, It all seemed normal to me. Inexperienced pitcher knows he’s likely to have a tougher time vs lefties, tries to keep the ball away from the inner half of the plate, and overcompensates. And like most starters, he’s gonna get worse as the game goes on.

    Command is not Touki’s strong suit, but his improvement over time is encouraging.

  14. I was surprised about Miami, but FSU’s program is not in good condition. They are inexperienced, and their recruiting classes these past few years aren’t great. Taggart has his work cut out.

  15. Earlier in the season, I think they’d have left Touki in to work through the issues. With the expanded rosters, all hooks are going to be quicker, although it also seemed appropriate in this instance as he just couldn’t get another out.

  16. Somehow I missed this:

    As the Braves have emerged from their multiyear rebuild and find themselves in the thick of the NL pennant race — Atlanta entered Tuesday with a four-game lead over the Phillies for first place in the NL East — Acuna has been a critical cog at the top of Atlanta’s lineup. Since moving to the leadoff spot full time on July 20 (including one game as a defensive substitution), Acuna is hitting .335/.407/.701 with 16 homers over 189 plate appearances.

    Goodness my gracious.

    https://www.mlb.com/braves/news/miguel-andujar-ronald-acuna-rookies-of-august/c-293284828

  17. Harrison Bader has taken the lead in NL rookie fWAR due to some stellar defense, so there’s that, but Ronald still leads in slugging and home runs. Soto’s go the lead in wRC+, BA, and OBP. And if Acuna’s team makes the playoffs and Bader’s and Soto’s don’t, then I think it’s Acuna’s.

    Acuna and Bader share a robust 3.9 bWAR. Baseball Reference thinks Acuna and Bader are 26th-most valuable in all of baseball. Both versions of WAR love Bader’s defense.

  18. More fWAR talk: Camargo, per PA, is the third-most valuable position, behind Freddie and Acuna and ahead of Ozzie.

    More bWAR talk: Camargo is shattering Ozzie per PA, and Ender is ahead of Nick in bWAR, and Ender has less PAs. Per PA, Dansby, Kurt, and Charlie are ahead of Nick in bWAR.

    Speaking of Nick, he’s really playing too much roundball:

    https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&season=2018&month=0&season1=2018&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=4,d

    C’mon. He sticks out like a sore thumb being 34 years old, playing corner outfield for a NL team, no DH work. That list is full of young players, 1Bs, and players who clearly are getting some DH help. Nick Markakis is not the athlete you plug into the lineup every inning of every game during a pennant race. Wake. Up. Snit.

  19. @26 Rob, I’ve been thinking about this. I know you’re right about Nick but who would play in his absence? Take anyone off the bench, say Culby, and say – would I rather have him in the game than Nick? Duvall? Tucker? Adams? It was an easy question WRT Ender with Ender’s splits and lack of power, but I’m not sure the answer is the same with Nick.

    Same question came up all the time toward the end of Ripken’s streak. The year he finally took a day off, his OPS+ spiked up but cam back down the next year and then he went on another 3 year streak of playing all the time and had at least one good year amongst that.

    Is Nick worse than the “standard” Markakis? If so, let him have a week off. We’ve come to expect more this year but maybe that time has passed. I would argue that changing his place in the lineup (say, switching him with Ozzie) might make more sense short term.

  20. @11 Mattingly commented after Touki’s first start that the batter’s approach against him should be to pick one side of the plate to cover. Leave the other half alone.

    Touki is going to have to make an adjustment — i.e., improve his command — very quickly next year. His growing pains are going to be greater than those of the other prospects, but he’s going to be pretty good.

  21. I hate this lineup construction that has 3 LHB batting 2nd-4th. Surprised AA hasn’t put a stop to it.

    I would go

    Acuña
    Camargo
    Freeman
    Markakis
    Suzuki
    Albies
    Inciarte
    Swanson

  22. I think at this point of the season, all our starters need extra rest. A six-man rotation for September is a good idea for our case. Forty and Newk are closing to this year’s inning danger zone and Julio/Sanchez can use extra rest as well to be effective.

  23. I’m convinced that Nick’s lack of production is a product of a lack of rest. So the simple answer with who should play in Nick’s absence is “anyone but Nick”. Culberson got 73 PAs in June, 58 in July, and only 50 in August when we were playing games every day+. That’s an easy start. They could have given Michael Reed a start. Give Lane Adams a start. With how Nick is hitting, Lane might be more valuable because of his defense anyway. And I know braves14 disagrees, but I think Duvall should have gotten more starts than he did. Tucker’s out there too.

    I know this: if you run Nick into the ground, there may not be much left when it counts.

  24. Every Braves game I’ve watched in person, dansby is always out before the game writing autographs for kids.

  25. I like having 3 consecutive lefties essentially guaranteed to see a righty a couple of times through the lineup. It might bite you later, but it might not.

  26. Zuk! I think his spray chart would agree he doesn’t hit a lot of oppo homers. That was a nice sight.

  27. That sounds like a pretty solid concussion. He may be out a week. Did he walk off on his own? Did it hit the helmut?

    @47 OK, thanks.

  28. @43 – Sure, that happens a lot. Game might be over by then too, though. There are pluses and minuses. Somebody’s probably done some math on it.

  29. The Sox have like 2 lefty relievers. I think it’s not a big deal. If you are gonna complain about the batting order, let’s start with Markakis hitting cleanup (or hitting anywhere).

  30. He’s lost the damn strikezone. And he had been doing so well.

    This is not going to end well. Maybe they should take him out before he gives up a boatload of runs.

    10/11 pitches for balls

  31. Venters, Winkler, Brach, and Minter are all available tonight. Jackson also only threw 6 pitches yesterday.

  32. Newk has not been the same since that near no-hitter 130+ pitches performance. I said at that time that his subsequent performances would suffer because of it and it shows.

  33. @51 I’m inclined to believe that a reliever with extreme effectiveness to a particular hand outweighs a hitter’s lack of platoon splits. Not sure if such a study has been done.

  34. 64 — But why put him in a position where he is guaranteed to face a LOOGY? The handedness of the lineup should be broken up as possible. At least make the opposing pitcher have to face a RHB between 2 LHBs, or force the opposing manager to make a pitching change rather than just using the same guy (likely the best LHP in the bullpen) against the middle of the order.

    Markakis is also worse against LHPs, though it’s less pronounced than Inciarte.

  35. @62, agree. One more walk and the game should be handed over to the pen.

    Or if he gives up a bit to the pitcher

    This can’t be good.

  36. Snitker should have a quick hook on all of our pitchers with the larger staff.

    Newcomb is in trouble again.

  37. MLB.com says the Braves bullpen is better than the Red Sox. How about that?

    Just saw the Dansby video and I sure am glad they wear helmuts. I saw last week where Ray Chapman is buried. It’s nice; he has baseballs all over his headstone.

  38. I don’t mind playing with fire every now and then but you have to have a damn good fire extinguisher waiting for the eventual error in judgement.

    Is there anyone warming up?

  39. After all that, he walks one in. Damn.

    Get ready for the fireworks. They like hitting righties even if Pearce is not as good against them.

  40. Newcomb walked 5 and struck out 2. It is at the point now where you have to start thinking about shutting him down.

  41. I can’t stand pitchers (on the Braves) that can’t throw strikes. All the walks and 2-0 and 3-1 counts is too hard to watch. If you’re going to get beat, at least make the other team earn it by getting actual hits.

  42. 83 — We just called up several good starting pitchers. Bryse Wilson and Kyle Wright are available.

    I’m not saying do it just yet, but the Braves have to start thinking about it.

  43. I think someone mentioned here that they felt Newcomb may be dealt in the offseason and I really tend to agree. Hard to imagine going into another year with the frustration of his starts with the young talent that has already begun to show up from the minors. Maybe he can be flipped for a power bat in the outfield in the offseason

  44. We all agree we’re a year ahead, and maybe next year we’ll have an answer to one of the best teams in baseball history. Gausman’s like, “Now you know why my numbers were so bad.”

    At this point, Newk’s season this year looks very, very similar to his year last year.

  45. Newk simply never has been able to command his fastball consistently. When he does, he’s excellent, so the Braves have been patient with him. But at this point I think he’s probably not a starter in the playoffs.

  46. Freeman’s swing is so ugly. I guess you only really notice it when he’s in a funk.

    We may want to look into a regimen of PEDs for the middle of our order.

  47. Now someone’s warming up. Snit is too slow pulling guys. There was no reason to be 1-5 right now. This is so annoying.

  48. I feel like I’ve seen Jackson either lose or put so many games out of reach, and yet he just keeps getting trotted out there again and again and again.

  49. I guess Snit only wants to ruin the psyche of the bottom of the pen. Keep the guys we are counting on down the stretch out of the fray so they don’t get PTSD.

    Maybe Culberson will pitch an inning.

  50. So Markakis and Freeman are supposed to kill Porcello. If tonight doesn’t prove that something needs to change I don’t know what does.

  51. It is now the time to manage the way Kapler did in that first series of the year.

    It probably wouldn’t have mattered in this game, though there might have been a different result if Snitker had been more proactive about pulling guys who can’t find the plate.

  52. I’m usually not too quick to second guess bullpen management, but once Jackson had already walked two in the inning, including one to load the bases, why do you leave him in? The game was still within reach at 3-1; now at 5-1 I assume our win probability is pretty minuscule.

    Isn’t this the very epitome of leverage? It does appear that Snit simply does not believe he should use his best relievers in the 6th, saving them for the 8th and 9th. Of course in a game like this, it will be too late.

  53. Well, it could be worse. Got a guy and his wife sitting next to me, were supposed to be on a cruise right now. He got the port wrong, they went to port Canaveral, the ship was sailing from Miami. So they drove up from Canaveral to watch the Braves. She’s not so happy right now.

  54. They’re taking it in stride. He’s a big Braves fan and happy to be here. Maybe he planned it all along… He wouldn’t say when I suggested my theory. She didn’t think it was funny. Maybe too soon?

    Now he’s bringing Brach. Come on Snit.

  55. I would just like to say that, in light of recent events in the world of sports, I’m really glad that major league baseball largely stays out of politics. How nice is it that we can typically just enjoy the sport and not much by way of politics?

  56. This should answer it:

    wRC+ last 14 days:
    Dansby – 162
    Ronald – 160
    Ender – 158
    Johan – 144
    Suzuki – 131
    Culberson – 94
    Ozzie – 93
    Freddie – 27
    Markakis – 16
    Duvall – -79

  57. I don’t have a huge problem with using Carle and Jackson. It’s September, and we’re trying to prepare for what hopes to be a playoff run. The Phils aren’t taking the division from us, at least for now. They’re affording us the luxury of being experimental and creative. You really have to continue to try out players to see who is going to be on your playoff roster. Our roster is at 33 right now, and every one but one (Rivera) has a shot at the roster. There are 13 people competing for 6 spots. It’s almost like Spring Training all over again. You have to keep throwing guys out there to see who is going to stick. And let’s be honest, we’re not going to be beating the Red Sox a whole lot, so might as well use these games that you’re probably not going to win vs. a game that you expect to win. It’s a long season.

  58. Phils win, so the lead is 3. Since they lost yesterday, and the law of averages would say they’ll take 2 of 3 from the Marlins, so they should win tomorrow. If we lose tomorrow as well, then the lead will be 2. Then we get Greinke, Corbin, and Buchholz in that order. Phils go to New York and get Matz, Syndergaard, and deGrom.

    We then go @SFG, vs. Wash, vs. STL. They’re vs. Wash, vs. MIA, vs. NYM. Then the battle royale starts at the end of September with vs. Philly. But Philly will leave to play @COL, and we’ll leave to play @NYM, then we finish the season with @ Philly.

    If we hit, I think we’ll be ok. If we don’t, we won’t. And while it’s hard to be that simple, I really think it’ll be that simple.

  59. @123 I believe those numbers except for Zuk – unless that includes tonight’s HR. Before tonight Zuk was around 100, too.

    What that means is the Ender’s been doing his job in the #2 spot. Both Acuna and Ender are getting on base but I still don’t think they’re being aggressive once they get there. They may be afraid to break Freddie’s concentration.

    Nick and Freddie are both less than .500 OPS in that time. It might be better to start Duda and Duvall. I wonder how it would work batting Camargo third behind Acuna and Ender. And hitting Dansby ninth behind the pitcher. You might get a few rallies going.

  60. @125 Both the D’Backs and the Giants are worse hitting teams than the Pirates. And they are not playing any better than we are. I’d say we have a chance to win a few 3-2 games against them if we can score three. D’Backs just lost three 3-2 games in a row to the Dodgers. This road trip may not be as depressing as advertised.

  61. Not too surprising that a young team would be streaky. But the bats have gone cold together, just as they all heated up together in April. Over the Braves’ last 20 games, they’re averaging 3.5 runs a game.

    They’ve only gotten shut out once, but they’ve also only exceeded five runs twice, and they’ve scored 1 run three times and 2 runs four times.

    (That came after a mini-explosion, six games in which they scored respectively 10, 2, 8, 9, 6, and 10 runs.)

    You’re going to lose a few games when you play teams who outclass you, like the Red Sox, and there’s no shame in that. And streaks happen, good ones and bad ones. But three runs a game ain’t going to cut it.

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