Nationals 6, Braves 4

Soy un perdedor.

It was Los Bravos Day, and the Braves were losers, baby.  Sean Newcomb lasted only 3 innings, allowing 5 of the runs, and despite some occasional signs of life from the offense, that was ultimately all the Nationals needed.  Bryce Harper hit a 2 run home run as part of a 3 run 1st inning, and Anthony Rendon added a 2 run homer in the 3rd.  Newcomb ended with 6 hits allowed, a couple of walks, and 3 strikeouts.

The Braves cut it to 5 – 2 in the bottom of the 4th on a Tyler Flowers 2 run homer, but things remained dire otherwise until the 8th, when folk hero Charlie Culberson cut it to 5 – 4 with (all together now) a 2 run homer.  However, Brad Brach allowed a final run in the top of the 9th, and the Braves could not get the tying run to the plate in the bottom.

Nick Markakis and Dansby Swanson joined 2nd Lt. Dans with 2 hits each.

The Nationals pick up a game as a result of the series, as do the Phillies, but 3 more games are in the books, and the lead is 6.5.

St. Louis comes to town on Monday.

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Author: Rusty S.

Rusty S. is a Braves Journal reader since 2005 and an occasional innings-eater. It was my understanding that there would be no expectations.

95 thoughts on “Nationals 6, Braves 4”

  1. in terms of a postseason roster, are we looking at a 9 man bullpen? how are rosters generally constructed? in terms of position players, obviously 2 catchers, then I’m assuming Duda, Culberson, Lane Adams. but a 4 man bench is awfully thin. thoughts?

  2. I’m confused also on the playoff roster. It looks like Sobotka has played his way on. I think Touissant had a chance but blew it in relief recently. Sam Freeman was borderline, but I think he’s done enough to get a spot. Any news on Moylan?

  3. Playoff roster locks:

    LF Acuña
    3b Camargo
    1b Freeman
    RF Markakis
    C Suzuki
    2b Albies
    CF Inciarte
    SS Swanson

    Bench

    UT Culberson
    C Flowers
    2 remaining spots

    Pitchers:

    1. Folty
    2. Gausman
    3. Sanchez
    One remaining starter

    Bullpen

    LHP Minter
    RHP Brach
    LHP Venters
    RHP Winkler
    LHP Biddle
    4 more relievers

    That is 18 players who will be on the playoff roster for sure, barring injury. 7 spots are up for grabs. By my count, 2 position players, a starting pitcher, and 4 relievers.

  4. We should seriously consider shutting down Newk for the season. It seems like he has hit the wall, and playoff is not the time for a player with low confidence.

    and I have very little confidence in Julio after his last performance…

  5. @4 Moylan is on the 60 day DL and out for the season.

    I think the only way Touki makes it is as the fourth starter. If it were up to me Fried might be the fourth starter and lefty long man. He shows better out of the pen than any of the other prospects.

  6. I don’t think that is how the Braves will roll. I think Newk and Julio are locks. That would be “old school” and I just don’t think the Braves will get away from the old school. I wonder if Newk could be a long man, though. Maybe him over Fried from my last post.

    The biggest difference between starters and relievers is that a reliever’s 1st inning always has to be his best. Many starters have rough 1st innings and then find a groove. That’s true of some of the best pitchers in the game and why you hear “if so and so is on the mound, you have to get him early”.

    Assuming the Braves will require one lefty starter, who would it be? Has to be Fried or Newk at this point; they’re the only ones on the roster.

  7. I don’t know what’s going on with Newk, but I’m sure the Braves know. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the event the Braves clinch they give someone else one of his starts and all but shut him down.

    I do think he stays on the playoff roster whether he’s the 4th starter or not. But man, you really have to hope we can work a sweep on somebody or JT matches up really well with another team.

  8. Kaiser Permanente
    on a scale from one to twenty
    now rate the Braves a ten
    their problem being not how good but simply, rather, when?

  9. Newcomb will be on the post season roster. I don’t think he’s in the starting four, but he’ll be on the roster. They’ll carry him forward simply because he’s part of the team that got them there. They’re not going to give his spot to a September call up.

    Lucas Duda will be on the roster as a LH pinch hitter I suspect. The last bench spot is a coin flip between Lane Adams, whom they’ve shown no faith in all year, and Adam Duvall, who has been a complete dud since coming over at the deadline.

  10. Snit has used Adams as a pinch runner a few times to good effect. But going into the postseason with a 9 man pen, but only 3 pinch hitters seems sketchy.

  11. If you drop to an 8 man staff then Preston Tucker becomes the next in line. I do assume they’d take Duda, a much more established and dependable LH bat, than Tucker, if they go with 9.

  12. It’s when you’re using more than 2 pinch-hitters in a game that it gets dicey. You have two quality PH in Duda and Culberson, so the best use of the 4th spot is Adams. If you have to use a PH before the 6th inning, it’s very possible your starting pitcher got bombed, and if that’s the case, then you probably don’t have a great shot at winning the game anyway. And if you’re not trying to get Duvall or Ruiz or whomever roster expansion guy a PH, then just put Gausman up there to PH if you’re using a long reliever. I’d probably trust Gausman over Duvall anyway, to be honest.

    Hindsight is 20/20, but it’d be nice to have someone a little faster than even Adams on the roster, but they obviously banked on Duvall being a legit asset off the bench and vs. LHP where Inciarte or Culberson could be a PR in a playoff series.

  13. I’m not sure who else we’d realistically need in a bullpen if you already have:

    RHP Vizzy
    LHP Minter
    RHP Brach
    LHP Venters
    RHP Winkler
    LHP Biddle
    RHP Carle
    LHP Newcomb

    You could then use that remaining spot to carry a 3rd catcher (turning Flowzuki into another bench bat) or Tucker.

  14. @19 Sobotka? the non-starter out of Julio, Sanchez and Touki?

    Realistically, I think you’re right though.

  15. Assuming they win the division and don’t sweep their NLDS, they’ll definitely need the fourth starter. There aren’t enough off days to feasibly go with a 3-man rotation.

  16. Actually, we’re all forgetting about Sam Freeman. So if they go with another pitcher, he’d going to be on the roster. If they don’t, then I think it’s Rivera > Freeman > Sobotka > Tucker in the fight for that last spot.

  17. It would make sense to carry 3 catchers, but the Braves don’t seem to want to use Rivera much and that may not change. Since coming to Atlanta he is 0 for 3 with 2 strikeouts.

  18. I think they haven’t used Rivera much because they don’t feel the need to get Flowzuki in as a PH. They’re still trying to give Duvall looks, and they’re also trying to get Flaherty, Tucker, and Ruiz some ABs. In the playoffs, they’ll have less options.

  19. 16 — The beat writers all have said that Preston Tucker is ineligible for the postseason roster since he was acquired after 9/1. The only way he can join is to get a special waiver and approval from MLB.

    I did not consider the following locks in my post above, but I would think Julio is the favorite to be the Game 4 starter and that Newcomb would be carried as a long reliever and extra left handed reliever. I also think that Duda will be on the bench as the primary LH pinch hitter.

    Coin flip for the last guy on the bench between Lane Adams, Duvall, and Flaherty (would be an extra infielder).

    2 bullpen spots to choose either Freeman, Sobotka, Jackson, or Touissaint. Probably Freeman and Jackson (though I’d prefer Sobotka).

  20. 19 — They are supposed to have 13 pitchers and 12 position players I think since that is the roster number that was finalized on 9/1.

  21. Add Vizcaino to my bullpen options in my post in #27. He becomes a favorite if he is healthy.

    Also add Rene Rivera to the last guy on the bench options.

  22. @25 – Understood, but if you want to use Rivera in the playoffs, wouldn’t you at least want to give him some at bats to see what he can do and prepare him?

  23. Speaking of playoffs, the BJ Fantasy league playoffs started today. It should be noted that our esteemed editor and the league commissioner both failed to crack the top four, but somehow a fantasy virgin who had a horrible draft (because he knew not what he was doing) managed to roster-churn his way into a 3rd seed. Not sure how that happened, but I’ll take it.

  24. Damn it.

    The book on our guys is out and it’s being read like a Dickens novel. Take pitches and let them throw their way into trouble.

  25. I was not good at all at drafting. My team in the first half was putrid. When I stopped caring and stopped doing anything, my team did better. Are there second half splits? But I wouldn’t say I lost; I quit because it’s stupid.

  26. This is some epidemic that is going around….could the catchers have something to do with it?

    either that or the curse of eddie perez in the bullpen

  27. @37

    Let’s not think like that. (That said, the answer would have to be no. Sometimes you need to satiate the angry masses with a drop of the guillotine, whether it is deserved or not.)

  28. The good news for me is that if Chief beat me in fantasy baseball, there’s a possibility I’m following the right game of baseball after all.

  29. We’re up 6.5 with 13 games left, so let’s not overreact right now. We may be the worst playoff team to get in, but I wouldn’t be overreacting about the division lead.

  30. Well, 45 pitches through 2. After the horrendous 1st, you have to be happy with that.

    4.42 staff ERA last 2 weeks. Need to do better than that.

  31. I don’t get it. Even in an episode, Folty is usually giving up hits not walks. Four walks and a HBP in one inning??? Is it the humidity? It’s not raining.

    I am getting more and more behind the idea that the catchers may not be setting up good enough targets. I mean it’s more than just the starters. Every pitcher gives up a leadoff walk. It’s insane.

  32. 55 pitches through 3 is even more palpable.

    I don’t get it either, Roger. Such a significant staff-wide issue. If you look at BB%, which accounts for innings pitched or fewer team games better, Atlanta is dead last this month. Fortunately, St. Louis is 2nd to last.

  33. I sure wish they would consider going back to hitting the pitcher 8th. In the last inning Folty could have bunted and then let Dansby hit with runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs.

    I don’t know why they didn’t put Camargo back at #2. That’s where he should be. Ozzie at #2 is not doing well.

    I guess we need to look forward to the Phillies coming in so we can have someone we can beat.

  34. It’s about time Freddie smashed one. I hope that means he’s going to get hot.

    They’ve got Mikolas up to more pitches than Folty. Over 65 pitches in 3 innings and still only two outs.

  35. Dear Chip: any inning in which you give up a run raises your ERA for that inning unless you are a terrible pitcher.

  36. Almost all of the damage in the first was with two outs. So frustrating to watch. Can’t understand it especially when Folty has looked ok the last three innings.

  37. Both of those hits were on center cut FBs. Someone’s got to get Folty out of there. This game is quickly getting out of control.

    He’s not even trying to pitch; he’s just throwing.

    Can we please go on the road again????

  38. If not for the good April and may, we wouldn’t be in this position. Really fortunate to have Preston tucker and the neck whisperer win us a lot of games then.not to mention Ozzie.

  39. The 2006 Cardinals won 83 games in the regular season and miraculously made the playoffs and won the World Series.

  40. @66 Darn right.
    My Allard fixation BTW, is because I want another chance to see that he isn’t as terrible as he showed us.

    How did Freddie not score!

  41. Both of those last balls Biddle threw were strikes. Very small zone tonight. And another strike missed. Biddle got screwed on that walk. Should have an asterisk by it.

  42. Well, Biddle got totally screwed. I saw at least 5 balls that were either direct strikes or definitely on the black.

    At least the gNats lost too.

  43. Nice, real nice.

    Agreed on the first walk. Holbrook BS.

    Terrible pitch call on the HR since it was the same pitch he narrowly missed for a HR on the previous pitch.

  44. Biddle should have had a 1-2-3. All of that crap happened with 2 outs.

    As bad as Folty’s control was in the 1st, Biddle was throwing great until he couldn’t get a call. He got so squeezed that he had no choice but to throw it center-cut.

  45. If not for the West Coast trip, we might set a new record for walks surrendered in a month. This is crazy. Didn’t someone here say, or was it Byrd or Medlen, walks are a rally-starter in the playoffs. Oh my.
    Let’s sign Keuchel for 2019.

  46. Because everybody keeps repeating it… the “in the playoffs” part is weird. Walks are rallies in the regular season too. It’s the same game.

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