For the second week in a row, I was unable to watch on a Thursday when I have recap duty. I had a work event in the evening, and didn’t get home until the middle of the seventh inning; in fact, I turned the game on just as the umps sent the players to the dugout for the rain delay. The good news is that I didn’t suffer through the excruciating top of the seventh, in which the Braves, trailing 3-0, loaded the bases with no outs on consecutive singles by RAJ, BMac, and Camargo. The Reds brought in veteran righty David Hernandez who promptly stuck out Dansby, Ender, and Ozzie. (By the way, the Braves had Hernandez for a month in the beginning of 2017, but traded him to the Angels for a player to be named later. Does anyone here know what the Braves ultimately got for him? Is there any way to make that player Hernandez himself? We need him or someone like him.)
As I said, I don’t mind missing that inning, or the first seven innings for that matter. The Braves managed 8 hits in the first 7 innings without denting the scoreboard. That’s got to be frustrating. Julio was better than he’d been in his last start in Cleveland, surrendering 3 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks in 6 innings. I guess that’s a “quality start,” but when your team can’t scratch a run, that’s small consolation.
So in the middle of the seventh the rains came. After a couple of hours it became apparent that they would call this game, so I wrote up a recap on the assumption that the game was over and fell asleep.
Around 11:45 I woke with a start and realized they had restarted the game after a delay of well over two hours. Parsons walked a man in the bottom of the seventh, but no harm done as he induced Votto to ground into a dp. In the top of the eighth, the first positive thing of the night happened: Donaldson singled and Freddie crushed a homer to center (Freeman’s third hit of the game). All of a sudden they are down by only a run and, despite the lateness of the hour, I was getting excited.
Leave it to the Braves pen to crush any hope. Parsons walked the first two batters in the bottom of the eighth. Of course that led to a run (could have been worse). Still, these Braves always make a run at it. Dansby led off the ninth with a hit. But Ender, Joyce, and Neck left him stranded—although Markakis did hit a rope, but right at Puig to end the game.
Although I apparently didn’t miss much in the parts of the game I missed, I feel guilty not watching the entirety of games that I’m recapping. If I keep slacking like this, I’m afraid Rob may decide to cut my pay. So, to earn my keep around here, I’ve decided to add a few remarks about a notable Atlanta Brave who made his major league debut on this date. The legendary Biff Pocoroba entered his first major league game as a 21 year old on April 25, 1975. Although Biff (his actual name on his birth certificate) was never a star, he was a career Atlanta Brave who spent nine years with the team, mostly as a backup catcher. Pocoroba was the first string catcher as a 23 year old in 1977, when he had the second highest OPS on the team. Of course, that was a terrible team that lost 101 games. He made the all star team in 1978, even though he wasn’t nearly as good as he’d been the previous year. After that, he never had more than 140 plate appearances in a year, but he stayed with the team until 1984. In my memory, he was always something of a fan favorite.
Oh yes, another kid made his major league debut with the Braves on this date. On April 25, 2018, Ronald Acuña, Jr., played his first game in the Great American Ballpark. I hear he’s off to a pretty good start in the year since. It will be interesting to follow his career to see if he can live up to the standards set by Biff Pocoroba. It’s nice to know that Ronald will be a Brave for at least as long as Biff was.
Braves return home for a seven game homestand, beginning this weekend against the Rockies. Max Fried tries to continue his excellent run on Friday night.