Braves 7, Cardinals 3: Reitsma Room and Fredi Room

I just wanted to conclude my trip down the byways of memory by highlighting a few players from 1966 I haven’t mentioned yet, mostly players who came up right at the end of the season.

Felix Millan: A future all-star for both the Braves and the Mets made his debut in 1966 with 37 games late in the season. He wouldn’t become the regular second baseman until 1968, but an excellent ballplayer and, according to a journalist friend of mine who knew him with the Mets, the nicest guy he ever met in baseball.

Cecil Upshaw: The guy who would eventually inherit the closer’s role and take the Braves to the playoffs in 1969 made his debut in a game in 1966. He missed the 1970 season when, while demonstrating his dunking technique after the second game of the season, caught his right ring finger in a gutter, costing him the season, and nearly, the finger. Let this be a lesson: don’t wear rings on your pitching hand. He came back in 1971 and pitched until 1975.

Ron Reed: The big right hander came up at the end of 1966 as well, finishing 1-1 in two starts. He started for the Braves as a regular from 1968-1974, and after a year in St. Louis, was the top reliever for the Phillies from 1976-1983.

Mike de la Hoz: A journeyman reserve infielder/pinch-hitter who played the whole season.  I mention him because his name was made for the age of Twitter….. He was before his time.

The 1966 Braves finished 85-77, which finished fifth in the pre-division 10 team National League. This would reverse that record the next year, finishing 77-85. In fact, they wouldn’t finish above .500 until 1969, when they won the newly-created Western Division with a 93-69 record. By then, I was all grown up: 13 years old, and saw the fundamental tragedy of life instantiated in a playoff loss to the Mets. The glow of 1966 had succumbed to messy reality, and my life was never the same.

But we now have bigger fish to fry. My job is to beat the Cardinals and keep the train limping towards Playoff Station. Touki took the mound against the best Flaherty in baseball, who unfortunately isn’t Ryan, but is instead the Cardinal’s 22 year old starter, Jack.

Touki got through the first three facing the minimum thanks to two double plays eliminating his walks. His first big challenge came in the fourth when two hits and a double steal meant he had to get Molina. He did.

In the bottom of the fourth, Ender led off with a single and Freddie homered him in for his second hit. The two run lead lasted less than a half-inning when Harrison Bader hit his second homer in two days. But it was solo.

The Braves scored 3 in the bottom of the 5th on a wild pitch followed by a FF5 single followed by a double steal that required a replay review of Freddie’s theft of second (overturned!) to count.

There was a time in Braves history when a 5-1 lead was comfortable. Not now. Molina got one back on the 6th. The Braves scored another unearned run in the bottom, though, to make it 6-2.

Now came the 8th and 9th, our real problem the last week or two. The 8th saw another Cardinals run on a sac fly (but no walks) to close the gap to three. Not quite Reitsma (2018 edition) room. But a Flowers homer in the bottom got it back to a four run differential. I would mention that Adam Duvall struck out swinging to end the inning but there’s no reason to. I joked earlier in a comment that he was the best Duvall in baseball history, but I’m quite sure now he wouldn’t be any better at the plate than Robert, David or Shelley.

The top of the 9th brought Minter, who loaded the bases with one out on a hit and two walks. But two quick outs meant the bullpen had squeezed through.

Thanks for bearing with me through my preadolescent memory banks. I have a math theme planned for next week, so my recaps of 1966 have come to a close.  In 2011 the Braves went 2-8 in their last 10 games.  We still don’t have Fredi Room.  By next Wednesday, my last regular season recap, we will have clinched or our sphincters will be clenching… one or the other.

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.

81 thoughts on “Braves 7, Cardinals 3: Reitsma Room and Fredi Room”

  1. If you take out Touki’s bad relief outing the other day, he’s got a 3.27 ERA in his 4 starts. And that includes what was really a tough start during the day against Boston. I’m not sure how the Braves would want to handle him in a hypothetical postseason roster situation, but I know he’s been very helpful to the team to get us there.

  2. Chief, man, you need to step it up against your playoff opponent. I beat that guy 7-3 last week, and I’m not even any good! This is your thing.

  3. We *almost* have Fredi Room if the two wins are over the Phils. They’d have to win all their remaining games to win the division outright.

  4. Yeah, for whatever reason, Touki and Bryce Wilson haven’t been as good in relief, but their contributions as starters are noted and appreciated.

  5. It appears we will best the 1966 team’s performance, but it has been a well-told story by JonathanF. Thank you.

  6. First round of playoffs in progress in the fantasy league. I think Edward owns the team that won the regular season. He had an unbelievable pitching staff (Verlander, Nola, Sale, and Bumgarner with Wade Davis and Treinen as relievers).

  7. @9

    Worst prediction of this year, pre-season.

    Braves to score no more than 32 runs in April, mine. Crisis of confidence, Rob gently evaluates @ 1 point something a game?? I was undeterred. 4 to 5 would have been closer.

    Touki…

    Don’t let us lose clear sight of what he accomplished yesterday as we set to engage the coup de grace on the Phillies. Having quite failed in his relief debut – and himself agreeing he found it a strange experience- he clearly showed that his potential will be as a TOR starter for us – and that’s only a half season away.

    If we have the sense to stop confusing the issue with the temptation of emergency relief we saw enough of him and his stuff yesterday to be revelatory. If you allow him the indulgence of a young age that removes the only impediment for now, he is for the moment a 6 inning starter. So what, as much as we crave more with our bullpen woes that will happen naturally next season.

    As a starter he is clearly ‘at home’, comfortable, positively challenged. His stuff is at a level which only Folty at his best can equate to. And whaddya bet he turns out to have a more mature attitude. So he’s our pitching Acuna, cherish him, challenge him, don’t patronize him!

    Toussaint, Touki
    we are now beyond the point of calling him kooky, or even flukey
    the bull has been grasped by the horn
    Ask Osuna who has publicly called him to the manner born.

  8. @12 Excellent and agree. But I also think that can be said of most of the prospects that have started this year (Soroka, Touki, Bryse). The only prospects that have shown mediocre capability in the bullpen have been Wright and Fried and neither look like the bullpen “savior”.

    Our bullpen salvation will come from Minter making heavier use of his changeup and Viz rounding into form. With Carle, Biddle, Winkler, and Brach covering setup and Venters as LOOGY, having a solid Minter and Viz at the back end will be a revelation.

    The only issue with Touki as 4th starter is that we’d be left with no lefty starter which may be important against some teams (like the Phils).

    All that being said, we need to take the first two games of this series and get it basically over with before facing Arrieta and Nola. It’s very possible and would really put everything but the last nail in the coffin. I would be very happy with a split. Ecstatic with 3/4.

  9. If we can clinch before our trip to Philly next weekend, we can rest our pen and have a shot at making a run in the NL playoffs.

  10. @16

    If people are still saying “TINSTAAP” about the collection of pitching prospects we have, then they can just stahp. But I know I tend to throw out these poor relief outings by the prospects because a) they have performed well as starters and b) the whole collection of them seem to be struggling to some extent out of relief.

  11. @13 Roger, I agree. I see us with a better shot of winning the first two against the Phils.

    The again, this is baseball and we’ll probably beat Nola and Arrieta whilst losing to Velasquez.

    Go Braves!

  12. I know the 4th starter situation is on the forefront of Braves fans’ brains, but I’m definitely interested to see the Braves clinch and potentially hand some starts to players we have to make decisions about. I also agree with most that if we continue to play poorly at home, I don’t think I want home field advantage. So I would want to throw some prospects — win, lose, or draw — and get some guys some extra rest too.

  13. The interesting thing about throwing Sanchez first is that he would probably be the starter I would be the least concerned about throwing on short rest. Then Gausman. Don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t want to throw anyone on 3 days rest. But if you really don’t like Touki, Newk, or JT vs. a particular lineup, then maybe you do something creative like throw Sanchez and then Newk to give them two different looks. If Snit did that, and they lost a game 4, you can’t say he wasn’t willing to bend off of convention, at least.

  14. Smitty, what are you thinking about UF/UT? I don’t think I could begin to predict a score.

    South Carolina/Vandy will be a doozy as well.

  15. I’m starting to warm to the idea of starting a playoff series with Sanchez or Gausman. If only just because they seem most likely to have more left in the tank. I think Folty could use a rest and Newcomb could use a change of jersey.

  16. @15 I didn’t know how right you are. FG has Phils at -126 DRS. That is by far the worst in the majors and an incredible number (ref. Braves at #3 with +59 DRS). That may be why we have such an inherent advantage over them as we do not strike out (or walk) much – put the ball in play a lot.

  17. Rob

    I agree. Both teams have similar weaknesses (both lines are putrid) Tennessee is at home, so that has to count for something.

    I think Florida has an edge on special teams and on defense.

    Tennessee’s offense may be slightly better.

    I was shocked Florida wasn’t a bigger favorite

  18. If Tennessee doesn’t win this game, they’ve got virtually no shot to win another game until Nov. 3 against Charlotte…so there’s that.

    Some may say they have a shot to win at South Carolina, and if the Georgia/Auburn/Alabama gauntlet goes better than I think it will (in terms of level of play, that is…there are absolutely no wins to be had there), then maybe I will too, but not right now.

  19. I’d be lying if I said that while this season has been extremely exciting, I’m wanting to end the rollercoaster and just close out the division.

  20. I want a pitcher that can at least bunt, damnit. All the pitches thrown to Gaus were balls; he could have walked instead of striking out by bunt.

  21. Let everybody slump right now. They just need to come out of it by the first week in October. Albies is the person, at this point, that I’m most concerned about.

  22. OK the Phillies little Johnny Manziel money motion is dumb.

    That said, they seem to only do it after they score, so maybe stopping letting them score is the solution.

  23. Freddie is really looking good. He had not hit Velasquez well but he is tonight.

    We need Camargo to start hitting again.

  24. Really love Lane on a postseason roster. He can be valuable. Carry a 5-man bench of Flowzuki, Rivera, Culberson, Duda, and Adams.

  25. I don’t think Chip remembers Bull Durham very well. “Hit the bull and you win a suit or something.” Chip, it’s a steak. You know, what the animal is made of.

  26. Good lord, if Sobotka could do that every night… Backing up a 98 mph heater with an 84 mph slider, with movement and placement, is just nasty.

  27. Gaus was shaky and he still gutted out 6 1/3 for a quality start. Really a team win with everyone contributing. Really is like watching April again.

  28. The AP recap says “Luca Duda” had a big pinch hit double. Soon, the Phillies will be sleeping with the fishes.

  29. Good morning, woke up in time to see the bottom of the 8th. Great win. Seems like everyone was hitting when it mattered. Someone said, this game felt like April. So true. And how about that inning from Sobot-K?!

  30. Great piece over at “The Athletic” on the most surprising teams this season. It’s the Braves and the A’s.
    And we have by far the youngest team in the Majors in hitting and pitching:

    “Who’s younger than the Braves? Nobody.
    They (Braves) have the youngest lineup, the youngest pitching staff, and maybe the best farm system in baseball.”

    https://tinyurl.com/y8bq2pq9

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