Braves 9, Giants 2

I interrupt this weekly set of baseball musings to celebrate my alma mater for a paragraph.  Yale, defending NCAA champions in lacrosse, has advanced to the Final Four this weekend in Philadelphia.  They take on Penn State, with the winner facing the winner of Duke and Virginia.  Penn State is ranked first in the country, but their only loss this season so far has been to Yale.  The semis are on Saturday and the championship game is on Monday.  Unlike Yale’s women’s soccer team,  the coach doesn’t waste scarce recruiting spots on wealthy alumni children whose only knowledge of lacrosse is a Holiday Inn Express stay in LaCrosse, WI.  Boola Boola.  This concludes today’s public service announcement.

One more late night West Coast game, or as timo calls it, Breakfast with the Braves.  The Braves led off the scoring in the top of the 2nd with a rare (with all due respect to Tony Cloninger) pitcher’s RBI when Max Fried hustled down the line to avoid a double play, scoring City Limits Riley from 3rd.  The second run scored when a third strike got by Buster Posey (who was out back when, by the way.)  At this point, tired of scoring on sloppy play by the Giants, Dansby “Hell to the Chief” Swanson and Freddie went back-to-back to tack on four more.  At this point, former Notre Dame (the college, not the cathedral) wide receiver Jeff Samardzjia had thrown 55 pitches and given up 6 runs, but as Mac was fond of pointing out, none of them were “earned.”

The Giants got on the board in the 4th with a single off the wall by Posey, who was correctly called out trying to take second.  Is he ever safe at second?  Other than this small hiccup, however, Fried was dealing.  I think I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, but my granddaughter will be old enough to date him just around the time he’s eligible for free agency.  I give my blessing.

A second Giants run came in the 6th on a solo homer from Tyler Austin of Conyers.  The next batter, Longoria, drew Fried’s second walk.  Posey then became Fried’s last batter.  Posey was out, on Riley’s best defensive play to date.

Note to Chip (ever constructive): it is inconsistent to argue that a 6-2 lead is far from secure and, five minutes later, to say that the 6-0 lead began a “rout.”  Pick your cliché and stick with it.

Derek Holland came in and promptly walked Acuna and yielded a single to Dansby “Chiefly Great” Swanson.  Two subsequent outs brought up Austin’s Power.  He hasn’t been a Brave long enough to understand hibernation mode, so he hit a three run homer that never got more than about 15 feet in the air, and… ahem… the rout was on.

So when you acquire a new player, you definitely want to test his mettle with a high leverage situation.  Newest Brave Anthony Swarzak came in with a seven run lead: Swarzak Space.  He is wearing #38.  The last Brave to wear that number was Arodys Vizcaino.  That tempts fate, but he had a 1-2-3 opening salvo.

Swarzak Space gave way to Winkler Woom.  (Be veewy veewy careful, Dan.) 1-2-3.  The ninth then landed on Tomlin Terrain: he got the first two, but then gave up two singles before bringing the ceremonies to a conclusion.

Get away day game tomorrow.  Future Brave MadBum takes on former Oriole Gausman.

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.

56 thoughts on “Braves 9, Giants 2”

  1. Best recap of the season! Thank you, Jonathan.
    Woke up in time to watch Riley hit that HR. Great way to start one’s day. Go Braves!

  2. As usual, our homer-happy crew do not make for the most *consistent* of offenses — one night we score three runs and the next night we score nine — but it’s always nice when the boys bop a few and crush the Giants like the bugs they are.

  3. @ 4,

    Seriously Alex. I don’t remember which site or author, but a study has been done which says an offense which depends on high obp is LESS consistent than one dependent on SLG. Meaning at same WRC the standard deviation in runs scored is less for the homer hitting team than for the OBP kings.

  4. I laughed.

    Still think Swanson is a .250 12 HR 55/60 RBI guy. Last night doesn’t change that.

  5. Jonathan F … too good a recap for our limited numbers might suggest an impending mid-life-plus change of occupation to the leathered halls of academe….

    Man and God at Yale…what is Buckley on record for re allowing women in the first place let alone letting them play lacrosse? As you noted at least their coach is not now languishing in jail. We will all be rooting for you.

    And ‘mid-life-plus’? You can imagine the care that went into crafting that. And that wedding in 20 years, bring it home.

  6. @8, the best thing about Dansby’s season is that he has improved his power numbers while drastically cutting down on the number of pitches outside the zone that he’s swinging at. League average is about 30%; last year he was at 35%, this year he’s at 25%.

    (That’s roughly where he was in 2016, when he looked great in his first cup of coffee. It’s also where he was in 2017, but one of his problems that year was that he was swinging at pitches inside the strike zone at below-average rates, too, and he’s making much more contact at the out-of-zone pitches he’s swinging at in 2019 compared to 2017.)

    He’s improving his contact rate, cutting down his strikeouts, and also improving his power, which means he isn’t selling out, he’s actually improving his approach. To me, that indicates good things to come.

  7. @8 – Swanson has 8 homers and 32 rbis over 50 games. You think he will hit 4 homers with 28 rbis over the next 112 games while maintaining a 250 batting average? If he does that I don’t think he’ll be our starting shortstop at the end of the year.

    My guess is closer to 20 hrs and 75 rbis. His average has dropped a little recently but he’s still hitting the ball well for the most part. I’m looking for .262/.320/.470. I can live with a .790 ops.

  8. @10 I agree 100%. He seems to have been a bit unlucky this season as well because he has made a lot of hard outs. He looks very comfortable and has been using the right side more (making Joe happy) and is seems to be pretty confident. If he can produce at this level with the defense he plays I think we are going to be just fine

  9. @9: Thanks, blazon, as always, and welcome back. Just to be clear (and the lack of clarity may imply that your praise is a bit overwrought) this is the Men’s Lacrosse team going for the Championship. The Women’s Lacrosse team went 6-9 (I refrain from the obvious joke here) and no doubt has ample room to stash a faked resume or two. As to Buckley, I’m not sure he ever expressed himself on Yale co-education, or any other co-education for that matter. More relevantly, I don’t think he was much of a baseball fan.

  10. I share Alex R’s enthusiasm regarding Dansby. He seems like the type to keep working at his craft, and I see no reason he can’t become a better hitter. He doesn’t need to be a 30 homer guy, but he clearly can hit home runs too.

    He’s going to be a positive contributor on offense. That’s great.

  11. Thanks to all the recappers for their timely posts after West Coast games. It’s like the old days when you’d go outside to fetch the newspaper.

  12. I think most of us have cranky prostates to thank for the early morning recaps on WC games. At least, I know I do… :/

  13. Dansby is on pace for a .254/.315/.463 season, 26 HRs, and 103 RBIs. He’s also on pace for about 6 defensive runs saved, which would actually be down from his 10 last year. So it remains to be seen if he’s underperforming from last year, or the advanced defensive metrics are messing up in sample. Either way, that’ll be good for a 3.4 fWAR season, and he would be rated higher if he gets any uptick in the defensive metrics.

    He’s also probably a little better contact hitter than he’s shown, but it’s possible he’s not a 25 HR guy, so I don’t know how much more offensive production he’ll provide. He had a 107 wRC+ in his half season in 2016, and he has a 101 wRC+ now. I think he’ll be a slightly above average offensive player, an above average defender, a sneaky good baserunner, and intangibles that people who get paid to win baseball games really like.

  14. JonathonF, good luck to Yale this weekend. They’re gonna need it I’m afraid. Penn State has gotten so much better throughout the season and their offense is genuinely frightening. I watched them destroy Loyola and was amazed at how O’Keefe got a dozen great looks where he didn’t even have to move to shoot. And Ament’s passing had a lot to do with that; I’m pretty new to the sport (my son plays so I’m trying to learn it) but I saw Ament make an underhand pass across the field, pretty much through the heart of the defense, that I’d never seen before. At any rate I’ll be rooting for Yale just so hopefully they can face Duke in the finals and the Blue Devils can avenge last year’s defeat!

  15. I was expecting a little more average and a little less power from Dansby. But overall, he’s exactly the 3-4 win player I expected him to be. And it’s possible that he’ll continue to refine his approach — Andrelton markedly improved as a hitter after several years in the majors. Players with extremely high baseball IQ can do that.

    Right now, he’s basically J.J. Hardy. If he improves any more, he’ll hit the projection that I’ve made a billion times for him — Edgar Renteria.

  16. Wow, Renteria really had the best years of the second half of his career in Atlanta. He had a 4.0 and 6.3 fWAR spike with the Cardinals in an otherwise fairly mediocre tenure, had a mediocre year in Boston, then had 3.6 and 4.0 seasons in Atlanta, and then never eclipsed 1.1 fWAR for the rest of his career. So he had 2 of his 5 3+ fWAR seasons in Atlanta, including one of his only 3 4+ fWAR seasons. Good for us, all for the eventual remarkably low price of Andy Marte.

    Then we traded Renteria for 10.7 bWAR from Jair Jurrjens, which only cost us a total of $10M. But that 10.7 bWAR was heavily consolidated in his age-23 6.5 bWAR season, after which I purchased a Jair Jurrjens shirsey. He then amassed 2 bWAR across the next 3 seasons, thus teaching me that I should never buy a shirsey or jersey again unless the player has completed his tenure. So then I bought a tomato red Smoltz shirsey, which I wore until it disintegrated.

  17. Great piece over at The Athletic:

    Braves pitching ranking tops throwing the nastiest pitches in MLB.
    The Brave with the “nastiest” pitch: Luke and his slider.

    The intro:
    “The great minds at Statcast published a new leaderboard this week, and it’s great: a movement leaderboard that ranks each pitch, from the nastiest on down. The Atlanta Braves are all over the top of these rankings, starting with Luke Jackson’s slider at No. 3 overall. If you take that message into the Braves clubhouse, as I did, you get an inside look at the value of teamwork, coaching and friendship that’s behind all of these ridiculous pitches.”

  18. 24-Yes the back and forth between Touki and Lukey in that article was worth the cost of the athletic subscription.

  19. I too will be rooting for Yale, but that’s mainly because most of us here in Charlottesville think we have a much better shot against the Bulldogs, come Monday.

    Did anyone else see Ozzie razzing Ronald after his ninth inning catch. It was f-ing hilarious.

  20. The Post published a good piece on how Driveline Baseball approaches their work of trying to help pitchers gain velocity while mitigating the risk of injury.

    Then they buried this little gem in there:

    To achieve that efficiency, Driveline employs a squad of trainers, coaches, “biomechanists” and developers, and an array of equipment ranging from the weighted PlyoCare balls to high-tech Rapsodo and HitTrax data-tracking systems (to show spin-rate and axis), Motus compression sleeves (to measure elbow torque), Optitrack high-speed cameras, Keiser pneumatic exercise machines and K-Motion vests for “biofeedback training.”

    Naturally, Driveline’s methods and philosophies have their critics, from old-school organizations that don’t buy fully into the data-driven approach (Boddy names the Washington Nationals as a “bottom-five” franchise in terms of progressiveness) to sports doctors who equate added velocity with added risk of injury.

    How come they underachieve every year? I sure can’t imagine why.

  21. Braves fans on Twitter really hate Donaldson for some reason. Probably the only number they look at is his .260 batting average.

    Really should have taken 3 out of 4 in this series (if we can’t come back today).

  22. Heh, I was just looking at Donaldson on B-R. They have him as our 4th best player currently (in WAR ranking).

    He IS NOT the problem.

  23. I’m not sure we should ever start Culby. He’s been a bust today as he’s left 6 runners on base. Better he get his one fantastic AB per game rather than 4 icky ones.

    It’s gonna be really frustrating to just get a split with these guys.

  24. @33 Donaldson is very “three true outcomes” this year. That’s why it seems like he’s not doing well. He either walks, Ks, or hits the daylight out of the ball. No one notices the walk and everyone notices the Ks. Makes for a bad impression.

  25. Great idea to give Newk a second inning. I like that decision.

    Scratch that only one batter……. oh well…..

  26. ATL really owes Albert Pujols for whatever he said to Riley during their off season workouts. The kid is unreal right now. Too bad he missed that HR a few games ago by an inch.

    Friggin Webb walking the first hitter….should’ve left newcomb in.

  27. @25 – It’s only fitting that Touki, Newky, and Lukey would play for Uncle Scrooge.

  28. For a big, tall, legit power hitter to take a 0-2, 97 mph pitch 3-4 inches below the strike zone and line it to the opposite field for a base hit, that’s impressive. I’m a little in love with Austin Riley.

  29. Ender is now a late-inning defensive replacement. Then again, Snit showed confidence in Riley by leaving him out there. Big payoff!

  30. Riley had a nice sliding catch. I think he’s more athletic than a lot of people expected.

    We’ve had nine quality starts in a row.

    Replace Tomlin with Kimbrel and Blevins with Dayton or Minter, if he gets his act together. I’ll take my chances with that team, come the playoffs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *