Ship Righted–Braves 10, Tigers 5

I promised that I was ready to bring y’all a win, if the team did their part.  You’re welcome.

Since I was able to watch Saturday’s game from the start, I took contemporaneous notes. What follows are those notes, without (much) editing. 

It’s Sorokamania time in ATL!  Can he keep up his remarkable run? Saturday is an opportune time for Mike to take the mound.  As you know, the Braves were coming off three of the worst games of the year, two losses to the hated gnatspos and one to a weak hitting Tigers team (who somehow hit four homers on Friday night).

What we now call a TOR starter used to be known as a Stopper.  That sobriquet was created for games just such as this.  I don’t know how many times Phil Niekro started after a three game losing streak, but I’m confident it was a lot.  Some seasons in the late 70’s it seemed like he always started after three straight losses.  As fantastic as Soroka has been, we need to be careful in our comparisons; this is just his 14th start in the big leagues.

Top first: Goodrum (who was 5 for 5 on Friday night) finally retired on a weak grounder.  Soroka also induced a groundball by Stewart, but this one was a double right down the line. With a full count on Castellanos, Frenchy asks Glavine: Sinker in or slider away?  Glav says sinker.  That’s probably what Flowers called, but Soroka shook him off.  He then strikes out Castellanos on a beautiful slider going away. This kid knows exactly what he’s doing.  Unfortunately, some guy named Brandon Dixon (who is hitting cleanup!) hit a liner to right on a two strike pitch to drive in the runner.  This was right after Chip pointed out that hitters are batting .333 on the first pitch against Soroka, but .091 with two strikes. I’m not usually superstitious, but Chip does have a way of jinxing things. Glavine points out, as he always does when a Braves pitcher gives up a hit, that the pitch caught too much of the plate.  I’m not being critical of Glavine; he’s right–he is in the HOF because he never threw a pitch that was “middle middle.”

Bottom first: strikeout and two weak grounders.

Top second: two quick outs, then a grounder up the middle that Ronald mishandled allowing runner to second. Struck out pitcher so no harm done.

Bottom second: Why is Markakis starting today??!!  Ideal time to sit him.  Lefty starter, day game after a night game.  Camargo needs ABs.  And as hot as he’s been at AAA, I’d bring up Duvall. You might be thinking, but he’s no good.  He may not be, but Duvall was at least as good an offensive player as Markakis from 2015-2017.

As soon as I finished typing this, Nick triples off the top of the right field wall.

Bad strikeout by Riley.  I generally think that ABC baseball (aka get em on, get em over, get em in) is overrated.  Earl Weaver was right; outs are precious, don’t give them away.  And 3 run home runs beat the hell out of playing for one run. But with a runner on third with one out, you’ve got to put the ball in play.  Don’t swing for the fences in this situation.  Soroka’s on the mound.  Get the run in. Shorten the swing, try to make contact. 

Top third: Goodrum popup; Christin (Twilight) Stewart line single to right (Glavine: “that pitch caught a touch too much of the plate”). No harm done; with two outs Dixon hit one to the wall that Riley caught. There is a big dent in left field wall after Austin ran into it.

Bottom third: Another 1, 2, 3.  Daniel “Bud” Norris is looking very good.  In fact, he looks like Glavine—noting overpowering, but nothing middle middle.  Chip asks his colleagues: Why are the Braves below .500 at home? Conclusion from Frenchy and Glavine is there is no explanation.  Right! The sample size is too small.  It doesn’t mean anything.

Top 4th: Someone named John Hicks is playing first and hitting fifth.  Followed by Dawel Lugo and Grayson Greiner.  I’d never heard of any of these guys before yesterday. We’ve got to beat this team.

Bottom fourth: Dansby good at bat, on 3-2 pitch lines one up the middle.  Next pitch, boom—Freddie crushed one to right field bleachers. OK, order restored; let’s pour it on.  I know Soroka never gives up more than one run, but at some point that will change. But no such luck.  Next three went down in order. JD struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch.  Frenchy says it’s way too close to take.  Of course, Frenchy thought every pitch was too close to take.

Top 5th:   Pitcher singles on a high chop. Goodrum doubled off left field wall.  Stewart lines one to left to drive him in.  This time, Glavine didn’t say it got too much of the plate; that pitch was around his ankles. (BTW, Chip opens up this inning by saying that although the Tigers are 10 games below .500, they have gotten hot: “They’ve won three in a row and three of their last four.”  He is right about that; I looked it up, and they have done exactly that.)

Bottom fifth:  Ozzie does what he does—hits the ball hard right handed–line drive single to left. Flowers strikes out.  Soroka gets down excellent bunt with two strikes.  Pitcher’s throw is wide, called out but replay says he’s safe. (OK, now I like replay again).  Acuña singles up the middle to tie it and Soroka takes third.  Swanson hits shot to third.  Thought for sure a dp, but third baseman bobbled ever so  briefly and Dansby beat the relay throw to first.  He’s fast and he always runs hard. So Braves lead again.

Top sixth: Soroka does exactly what we need–quick 3 up 3 down. Strikes out cleanup hitter Brandon Dixon (who are these guys?), strikes out Hicks (whose walkup music is the theme from Deliverance—Matthew Kaminski continues to be a delight), and gets Lugo to line out.

Bottom sixth: Riley is due up this inning, and he’s due to homer. 

I swear to you, I wrote this before Riley came to the plate. Sure enough, following a Markakis walk, he drives one deep into the right field bleachers over the Braves bullpen.  Ozzie followed with a double. Chip—“Tyler will try to get him to third… or to home.”  Of course, getting him to third is not what you want with one out and the pitcher on deck. I’m afraid that Chip spent so much time with Joe that his instinct is to wish for the batter to hit a grounder to second any time a runner is on second.

Top seventh:  Two quick outs.  On Soroka’s 100th pitch, groundball to Donaldson, who fumbles.  With the top of the order coming up, Snit calls on Newcomb. Goodrum hits a triple to the gap in right center, bringing the Tigers within two with this guy Stewart up. Fortunately, Newk strikes him out.

Botton seventh: Dansby restores the 3 run lead with a shot to left.  Don’t try to sneak a fastball by him inside.

In the top of the 8th I had to attend a family function, but I kept peeking at the MLB  app on my phone.  Webb Woom wasn’t quite enough, as Jacob gives up a run on doubles by Hixon and Dix (or something like that).  So Snit calls on the Sliderman for a 5 out save.  Which Luke does.  And those 5 outs are 5 K’s.  Luke is for real.  And where would the Braves be without him?

Oh, and the Braves gave him a nice cushion in the 8th with a run scoring single by Camargo and a two run single by Ronald.

So the Braves are back in the win column and all is right with the world.

I know Soroka gave up more than one run for the first time this season, but my gosh is this guy impressive.  After he surrendered the lead, he shut them down for the next couple of innings, looking sharper than he had the whole game.  I love to watch him pitch.  His head is as good as his arm—and he is just 21.  And the other kids who  were also born in 1997 did their thing.  Two hits and 3 ribbies by Ronald, a double and single for Ozzie, and of course Riley continues to make history with his 8th homer in his first 16 games. 

Ok, the midweek funk is over—time for a new winning streak.  Teheran looks to continue his remarkable run on Sunday afternoon.

PS. I may sound critical of the announcing team, but I’m actually enjoying Chip a lot more this year than I used to. Frenchy is really pretty engaging, and Glavine helps to keep them grounded.

95 thoughts on “Ship Righted–Braves 10, Tigers 5”

  1. @52 on the last thread…So you want to throw more money at a fungible, no-track-record-at-all reliever for the sake of altruism while demoting your young star leftfielder because he slumped for a week? I’m very thankful that your strategic instincts extend no further than this blog.

  2. Thanks, tfloyd, for taking up the slack that us midweek guys so shamefully allowed to slip in.

  3. I would go to a 7-man pen and call up Ender and Duvall with Camargo being optioned. Give Acuña, Donaldson, Markakis, and whomever days off through June and into the All-Star break. Call Camargo back up if there’s an injury. I don’t think there are many on the roster that have truly earned being immune from match-up lineup construction.

  4. Great recap, thank you.
    Luke Jackson is turning into one of my favorites. I can recommend listening to the Behind The Braves podcast with him from last week. He seems like a real good guy.
    Go Braves!

  5. Tfloyd, like the notes method for a change, good job.

    Jackson/Minter/Newk/Touki…who needs Kimbrel @10M?

    Donaldson…it ain’t going away, defense too…eat 8M and reinstate Camargo.

    Riley’s catch at the wall bodes well for flexibility in the future. Acuna’s CF instincts do not.

    It’s such a plus to be blessed with strategic insights that escape some others, isn’t it?

    Ps…what do we make of Mr Goodrum who may be about to set records for a visiting player in a 3 game series?

  6. @9 that’s great news. The Tigers pitcher today has a fantastic season. Julio better keep the ball down.

  7. I have never seen a group so deep into “what have you done for me lately” mode. Both Markakis and Donaldson are top 40 (MLB not NL) OBP types at .371. Both have higher OBP than Ronald who hasn’t had an EBH since Cinco de Mayo. JDs Ks have been a concern all season and will ultimately keep him from being the JD of old. Doesn’t mean he hasn’t been productive.

    The best argument I see in favor of Camargo is that his defense will be leaps and bounds better than JD. He will NOT be a better hitter by any measure. Camargo must be able to adjust to his role as SuperUtil. It is the only role he has on the team for the future. Two years from now our lineup will probably look like this:

    OF = Waters, Pache, Acuna
    IF = Freeman, Albies, Swanson, Riley
    C = Contreras
    Bench = Camargo. Flowers (or other), Culby, other (Markakis, Joyce, Duvall, Demeritte, Ortega – could be anyone)

    If Camargo cannot be the SuperUtil then he will be traded to someone else who can make him a starter. Might be the best way to pry someone like Boyd or MadBum away from their team (I’m thinking a Boyd/Greene deal might be better than a MadBum/Smith deal).

  8. @7 Four is not enough good relievers. Only one of those – Jackson – can really be counted on to pull a full shutdown inning. And Jackson is one of the league leaders in blown saves. We need Kimbrel/Minter 2.0 for the ninth, Jackson/Newcomb for the 8th, and Webb/good LH (Dayton?) for the 7th with Touki and Tomlin for long relief. Winkler could still be better than Tomlin, Throw someone like Will Smith or Shane Greene into that mix and you are looking at more of a Yankee-like bullpen.

    Do we need Kimbrel @$10M. Hell yes. We’d need him at $15M, too. I’d love to sign him for three years to provide stability while bringing up new youngsters every year.

  9. I think it’s fair to not trust Kakes and Donaldson holding up for 162. In the offseason, no one had any expectations that we would get more than 140 games from Donaldson and should get more than 140 from Kakes. But here we are with Kakes on pace for 162 and Donaldson “only” on pace for 150 because he actually had an injury that forced him to leave the lineup.

    I don’t agree with this. I don’t agree with torpedoing Camargo’s value to the team by not giving him regular PAs. It’s clear some players can thrive in a bench role, and some can’t. There’s no logical explanation otherwise for why Camargo’s OPS has fallen 220 OPS (more before yesterday’s double) from last year. There’s just no reason for 33- and 35-year olds playing literally every day when you have Camargo on the bench.

  10. I agree with Roger. A lot of folks are pushing the panic button on Donaldson, and there’s no reason for it. He’s producing. He’s just maybe not producing at a 23 million dollar price tag. If you want to dive into the “did the Braves maybe slightly overpay?” argument, fine, sure. They didn’t do so at a cost that’s prevented them from really acquiring anyone else though because they still have money to spend, they just made the choice not to spend it- so his contract doesn’t bother me, because it’s one year. To say they should bench him for Camargo though? No, I’m against that. Donaldson is the better hitter, and Camargo’s not hitting.

  11. 1 WAR equals about 8 million. Donaldson only has to be a 3 win player to be worth his contract.

  12. On the subject of Camargo… if he cannot handle the sporadic ABs that come with a super utility role, he should be traded. Roger laid it out really well. He’s not a starter on this team moving forward over any of the player’s Roger mentioned as the future of the Braves. I know there is a contingent of fans that love him, but 3B is Riley’s moving forward in the coming years.

  13. Great at bats by Dansby and Freddie. Just swing early and often in case you hit it… followed up by vintage JD

  14. #21

    The throw to first hit him in the back. He got hit again when the pitcher threw over to hold the runner.

  15. Camargo was supposed to be a super-sub, but he’s just been a sub. He wasn’t given enough at-bats to justify burying him. And by “super-sub,” I mean in quantity of appearances, not commenting on his performance so far.

  16. Rob and Rusty have it right. It’s not that Camargo is necessarily better than Markakis or Donaldson; it’s that the team will be better with more rest for the mid-thirties guys. And Johan is likely to be better with more ABs. The Dodgers have shown how varying the lineup and spreading the playing time can work well.

  17. Dansby homers. Great. This is not good. He’s 3 away from his limit for the year. Should we phantom IL him or just straight up option his sorry butt?

  18. Another thing about Camargo is that he seems to be getting starts, like today, against tough pitchers, and that’s what get Kakes and Donaldson on the bench. So he’s facing tough lefties and tough righties often times when he’s fortunate enough to get a start.

  19. Snitker over his tenure has shown a relunctance to give his horses a day off. In previous seasons it may have been justified (our bench was awful last season) but that is not the case this season. Camargo, Culberson, and Joyce are all cromulent options.

  20. Acuna K’d on a bad call; I didn’t think Dansby would have more HR’s than him in June.

    Regarding Donaldson, its not a matter of reaching 3 WAR to make his contract worth it, to me the whole situation is disappointing when it comes to opportunity cost. 23 million could have been used on someone else (granted, I’m unsure on who right now), while not tanking Camargos value .
    But its fine, they gambled on Donaldson and so far it hasn’t worked,I can appreciate them trying, even if it possibly wasn’t the best option.

  21. And FWIW, I still think Donaldson could turn in an excellent year. He’s been pretty good in stretches, and overall it’s not bad at all. A two or three week hot streak and his OPS could be .900. But give him a day or two off every week.

  22. Does anyone else get really annoyed by pop ups any time they go to BR or Fangraphs? I keep trying to look at Camargo’s minor league career numbers and can’t.

  23. Chip just said that Austin Riley was the 2nd Brave to hit a grand slam in his first 14 games, the other being Marcus Giles in “May 2005.”

    It’s things like this that make me pull me hair out listening to Chip. Marcus Giles’ rookie year was 2001. I remember this grand slam, it was a come from behind game winning grand slam off of Mike Hampton, who at the time was one of the top pitchers in the National League and had just signed his big contract.

  24. Chip had this genius idea in inter league play, they should play by the visiting team’s league’s rules. Like we’d have the DH today. Then Boyd singled, and that gave Frenchy the opportunity to nicely and abruptly end the conversation. I agree with the person who said that Frenchy deals with Chip’s stupidity tactfully but decisively.

  25. Nice job Julio. Hopefully that’s his last inning with him due up 2nd.

    Chip feels it to be more important to tell us that he needs to pitch 5 to get the win. Thanks Chip…

  26. According to FG, Donaldson is tied with Fried and Dansby for 4th best player on the team. And he has the same WRC+ as Acuna. So…..

  27. Don’t compare Donaldson to the rest of the slumping/underperforming braves, judge him on his own merit.
    Defense value should be going down after constant iffy play this week, that value takes longer to update on fangraphs.

    Side note, where has Acuna’s power gone?

  28. So I guess I’m the only one with pop up problems on Fangraphs since nobody else has said anything.

  29. That was one ugly scoreless top of the fifth. Made me look forward to the bottom.

    That’s my boy Dansby right there.

  30. @37 feel blessed you get to hear Chip today. I get stuck with the crap show that is Matt Shepherd and Todd Jones of the Tigers fox network since I live in Michigan and the Braves broadcast is blacked out on Extra Innings

  31. @48 I have popups blocked and was not able to get an article to load on FG but the stats came up fine.

    @46 I don’t believe that def value takes longer to update. The stats are updated daily and it does show that JD has not been the best defensive player. That’s why i point out that his WRC+ is the same as Acuna’s.

    Besides, you absolutely have to compare him vs whoever might be available to replace him. If JD has any reasonably hot period in the next four months, he will easily make the value which he was paid to make. Like I said before, it’s possible that Camargo might equal his value due to his defensive value, that’s not enough to say that JD shouldn’t have been brought in.

    If the team believes that Camargo’s future is as a SuperUtil (which is apparent) then covering 3B with Donaldson to go ahead and make Camargo a SuperUtil until Riley arrives makes every bit of sense.

    I agree with Rob that Camargo could have more opportunities to rotate around starting spots and get more consistent ABs. I do hope that that will be the trend (and the norm) later in the second half.

  32. I will try my hardest to minimize my pessimism regarding this team and its players. Hopefully everyone will have a great second half of the season.

  33. Swarzak has been ….OK since we acquired him, but if he doesn’t get his walk rate down, he will not get back to his 2017 performance. And he will not be an acceptable long term piece.

  34. I like what they’re doing with Winkler. He’s is a perfectly good pitcher but had two bad outings in a row after getting hit in the back by a line drive. Now they’ve got him in a ROOGY role to get his confidence back up. Hopefully, he is better after his HBBB.

  35. It’s ridiculous. Why does Markakis not even deserve getting a full day of defense off? Is he that good of a defender?

  36. Damn, Webb could have gotten out of this, but it was coming the way he was pitching. Time to get him out of there and let Touki have a shot. My guess is that all those will be unearned.

  37. There used to be a meme around these parts about where and how to spend “all the money.” I hereby propose to spend all of whatever flexibility funds exist on a new bullpen. Every cent. 8 new guys. Nobody stays.

  38. Fortunately, we have many other metrics to help us when ERA comes up short, as it always does.

    That said, Webb’s HR/9 is now 2.04, so, woof.

  39. The last time the Braves had such a disgusting bullpen (2006), the front office responded by signing Wickman and trading for Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez. Maybe we’ll see that again this offseason.

  40. @71 Stop it. There was an error and a flub that caused all of those runs. Webb should have had his three outs. I will admit that the way he was pitching, something like that was inevitable but, for an inning, a good reliever can pitch through it. But combine poor control with errors and it’s hard to do.

    @72 Yes, hopefully in two days.

  41. Some people think the pick attachment ended at midnight this morning for Keuchel and Kimbrel. Perhaps it’s the upcoming midnight. I feel like we’d be hearing something if they were more imminently attractive today.

  42. Why not just leave Touki in?
    He’s burning Luke for no reason IMO.
    Or did he get pinch hit for?
    Anyway, bad Luke usage.

  43. Listen, I would like to think that I’m a fan that’s understanding of Liberty’s thought process — however crappy it may be — and our otherwise limited financial resources, our emphasis on our young staff, etc. etc. I’m trying to say that I’m not naive. But I will be absolutely disappointed if they don’t sign Kimbrel. I’m fully ok with setting myself up for that. Will the sun come up the next day? Sure. But as fans, we should be demanding the Braves make this move, and I’ll be disappointed if they don’t.

  44. Only three NL teams have a better than .500 record against .500+ teams…….. Dodgers…… Phillies…..and Braves.

    FG now has the Braves projected to win the NL East.

  45. Was at the game yesterday and had a nice time thanks to the Braves win and the company of my wife.
    I had an obstructed view of Riley’s swing thanks to some people in front of me but I heard it. I said to my wife, “homer” and sure enough the ball carried on over the fence. This kid may be legit and if he is the Braves need to capitalize this season while they’ve got him and Donaldson. Next season let’s trade for Clint Frazier and put him in LF.

  46. Nobody seems to know when the pick compensation thing ends. I’ve read this morning, 12:01 a.m. on June 3, 12:01 a.m. on June 4 (which is what Caray was saying today), etc. Stupid convoluted MLB rules.

Leave a Reply

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