I promised Rob I’d talk today about JC’s paper on changes in aggregate player compensation over time. I’m not going to do it, and Rob can fire me if he wants to. I preemptively agree to a 50% cut in pay this week, but I plan to grace the off day next week with a piece on an economist’s take on the Albies extension.
In off the field news, Vizzy has fizzled, as surgery has put him out for the year. Given Minter’s sterling performance last night, one could be confident if only there were an available free agent closer….. But I wouldn’t worry. Kameron Loe has contacted the Braves and his signing would allow them to maintain financial flexibility. This allows me to recycle my favorite Braves song parody from 6 years ago. Anita O’Day would also be a possibility, but she died in 2006. As far as I’m concerned, she’s the best possibility we have in the O’Day lineage at the moment.
Tonight’s game was a battle between the best two pitchers with names beginning with G who aren’t named Greinke. (Apologies to Gohara, but he’s currently operating under the O’Day rule.) Both Kevin “Natural” Gausman and Zack “Next to Cleanly” Godley (and I’m not apologizing to Chris Berman) pitched into the 7th. 3 hits for Gausman and 5 hits for Godley, who departed when he walked McCann to start the 7th with no subsequent damage.
In the bottom of the 2nd, B-Mac marked his return from the International League (I’m sorry… but I’m an old fart and that’s what IL means to me. Don’t judge… I’ll be dead soon enough) with a double scoring Markakis and Swanson. But the ensuing 1st and 3rd with no outs was squandered. Marked for future recriminations if necessary.
Today’s classic Chipism in the 3rd: “You can’t steal first if you can’t hit the baseball.” This has the astonishing virtue of being both incoherent and wrong, since a missed third strike is the only way you can even conceptually steal first.
Adam Jones dinged Gausman in the 4th (his first hit surrendered) to cut the lead to one.
The Braves threatened again with two on and one out in the sixth, but ended with thwarted opportunity #2. Store second potential recrimination. A two-out double from Ketel “One” Marte scored Jones in the top of the 7th to tie the game. Pop the two previous stored recriminations from the stack.
The bottom of the 7th saw another opportunity lost with strikeouts from Albies and Donaldson with two on. Cue more recriminations.
So we enter the 8th tied with the game in the hands of the bullpen. What could go wrong?
Parsons worked around a hit and stolen base in the eighth, matched by Bradley in the bottom. Minter worked around a single in the top of the 9th, and Bradley pitched around an Inciarte double in the bottom of the 9th. (Are the squandered opportunities starting to bug you yet?)
The 10th found the return of Biddle. Let’s see… did he recover from yesterday? What say you to a Biddle error and three walks to walk in a run? What say anyone? That it’s hard to rely on Braves relievers? That it would be great if there were an available competent reliever on the free agent market? That we need to see Dan Winkler? Well, if the last was your feeling, you get your wish! Winkler came in to get the bases loaded strikeout to allow the heart of the order to try and welcome Dan back with a win.
Greg Holland comes in for the DBacks with an ERA of 0 and a WHIP of 0.5. Donaldson? K. Freddie? K. RAJ? Single! Neck? Liner to center. Another loss. Well, at least his WHIP went up.
So do you blame Biddle or the lost chances? I’m not about blame, so I leave it to you. (OK… I wrote the title, so maybe there’s a smidgeon of blame.) Soroka season debut tomorrow at noon.